Monday, December 6, 2010

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese, from Amber

3 cups pasta, uncooked
3 Tbl. butter, unsalted
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 5 minutes or until it is just under al dente. Drain and place in the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta and stir until well combined. Cook on high for 2 – 3 hours stirring about every 30 minutes. The pasta should still hold its shape and the cheese is completely creamy. This makes about 6 servings as a side dish.

Karli's Chicken Concoction, from Karli

Cut 4 chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and brown in some olive oil. 
Add one 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 2 cups water, 2 cups macaroni, a bag of pepper & onion stir fry frozen veggies and salt/pepper/garlic powder. 
Bring to a boil then simmer until pasta is done. 
Add 1/2 brick of cream cheese and cook just until cheese is melted.

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Lasagna, from Cara

Mix 8oz. of cream cheese with 2/3 of a 16 oz container of light sour cream. Add garlic powder, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, cilantro... like a LOT of this stuff to make it super tasty.

Saute chicken breasts or tenders in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shred with 2 forks in pan and add 1 diced red bell pepper, 1 can of diced green chilis, and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Cook until peppers are tender.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray. Layer taco sized whole wheat tortillas with the sauce and the chicken mixture in any order you see fit. When you're done with that dump an ass-load of sharp cheddar on top and bake until it is all melty, about 20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Apple Casserole, from Kris

Sweet Potato Apple Casserole:

- 4 or 5 small - medium yams or sweet potatoes cut to 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 4 cored apples (granny smith) cut to 1/4 inch rounds
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 4 TBSP butter cut into slices
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2 TBSP dark molasses
- miniature marshmallows to preference

In small bowl mix cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar together.

In microwave safe cup, heat orange juice and molasses and stir together until well mixed.

In a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with no stick spray, layer 1/2 of the sweet potato slices, top with half of the apple slices, add half of the raisins, half of the pecans and top with half of the brown sugar mixture. "Dot" with half of the butter slices, making sure to get little chunks of butter well distributed. Repeat for one more layer and then pour the orange juice mixture over entire casserole. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 20 minutes (or until sweet potatoes and apples are tender). In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add as many marshmallows to the top as you want. Remove from oven before marshmallows burn (this is a very important step!).

Easy As Apple Pie Pork Chops, from Stacy

Spray a 9x13 baking dish.
Put a can of apple pie filling on the bottom. 
Layer with boneless pork chops. 
Prepare boxed stove top and layer that on top of the chops. 
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes covered. 

Note from Stacy:  That stuffing, apples, pork chop casserole was delicious. Easy and probably not all that healthy, but yummy!  

I sprinkled cinnamon on the apples, then garlic salt on the pork. I also used the pork flavored "Stove Top" stuffing. I'll definitely be making it again in a pinch. I have to remember to keep that stuff on hand.

Chicken Comfort Casserole, from Kris

2 cans green beans, drained
breasts of 2 rotisserie chickens shredded
1 can mushroom soup
1 pint sour cream
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 bag/box cubed stuffing mix, preseasoned
1 cup hot chicken broth
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

In 9x13 pan that has been lightly sprayed, add both cans of green beans. Top the green beans with shredded chicken. Mix together sour cream, mushroom soup and onion soup mix. Spread over chicken layer. Mix together chicken broth and cube stuffing, place in pan as top layer. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove cover, sprinkle cheese on top of stuffing and bake additional 15 - 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with a crisp green salad.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Apple-Stuffed Chicken Breasts, from Stacy

Pound some chicken breasts and roll them around sliced apples and sharp cheddar. I usually spray the bottom of the glass baking dish with Pam, then sprinkle it with bread crumbs. Place stuffed chicken breasts on top, then sprinkle those with bread crumbs and squeeze a lemon over them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fried Goat Cheese, Bacon, Pumpkin Wontons, from Sue

(I know...I was shocked too!!!!)

1 can of pumpkin
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 package bacon (I used nitrate/nitrite free bacon)
goat cheese (not sure about how much, this should be to taste
McCormick rotisserie chicken seasoning
1 package wonton wrappers
Hearts of romaine leaves

cook bacon until crispy, set aside keeping the fat in the pan and saute onions in fat until translucent.
Crush bacon into little pieces and mix with onions in separate bowl.
Drain MOST of bacon grease from pan and set aside.
Add pumpkin to frying pan and saute until hot.
Add spices and let cook for a minute
Add goat cheese, stir until it blends
Add a little more bacon grease if mixture gets dry.
Add bacon and onions to mixture and let everything blend.

Let mixture cool in a bowl.

When mixture is cool enough, start making wontons:
Spoon small (like, kid's spoonful) of mixture into middle of wonton wrapper. Fold over on the diagonal making a triangle shape. Seal edges with water or egg whites (we usually use egg whites, but because I made these w/ the kids I used water). Place on floured plate until ready to fry.

When you finish making the wontons heat up a sautee pan 1/3 full of olive oil until it start smoking (HOT!!!). Fry up wontons a few at a time until brown and crispy (you'll probably have to turn them over once) and place them on a paper towel covered plate to cool.
Roll one or two into a lettuce leaf (romaine) and munch away!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mango Slaw, from Sarah

Combine 4 cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw, 1 cup chopped mango, and 1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion* in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat.

Note from Sarah:  Good on bbq sandwiches.

Black Pepper and Molasses Chicken Sandwiches, suggested by Sarah


  • 3  tablespoons  ketchup
  • 1  tablespoon  cider vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  prepared mustard
  • 1  tablespoon  molasses
  • 3/4  teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 12  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4  (2-ounce) sandwich rolls, cut in half horizontally
  • 12  dill pickle chips


1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 23 minutes or until chicken is done and tender. Remove from heat; shred with 2 forks to measure 2 cups meat. Place 1/2 cup chicken on bottom half of each roll. Top each with 3 pickles and top half of roll.

from my

Corn and Bacon Chowder, suggested by Sarah


  • 2  bacon slices
  • 1/2  cup  refrigerated prechopped celery, onion, and bell pepper mix
  • 2  (16-ounce) packages frozen baby gold and white corn, thawed and divided
  • 2  cups  1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (such as Cracker Barrel)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble and set aside. Add celery mixture and 1 package corn to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2. Place remaining 1 package corn and 1 cup milk in a blender, and process until smooth. Add pureed mixture to vegetables in pan; stir in remaining 1 cup milk, salt, black pepper, and cheese. Cook over medium heat (do not boil), stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Ladle chowder into bowls. Top each serving evenly with reserved crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, if desired.


Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, from Stacy

I make stuffed cabbage casserole, because I think that rolling up the beef/rice is a PITA. Plus, when you eat it, you just cut it all up anyway. Here's the recipe that I use. I usually serve it with/over plain mashed potatoes.

9 x 13 pan, buttered
1/2 the height of the dish, fill with chopped up cabbage (almost a whole head)
brown 1 lb. of ground beef (or turkey) and cook a finely chopped onion with it. Drain

In a bowl stir together beef mixture, 1/2 c. uncooked minute rice, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper, 2 cans of condensed tomato soup, and 2 cans of water. Pour mixture over cabbage. Mix gently with fork.

Cover with foil and bake @ 350 F for 1.5 hours

This is my grandmothers recipe. It's a little bland, so I usually just add some salt to my own serving. It's great comfort food on a cold day.

Stuffed Greek Chicken, from Kris

- boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
- s&p to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- frsh baby spinach (about 1 cup per chicken breast) roughly torn
- 1 small white onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- feta cheese (however much you want!)

In medium skillet, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Add torn spinach, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Cook additional 2 minutes (until spinach is wilted). Remove from heat and set aside.

On work surface, lay chicken breasts flat. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over the top side of the chicken (which will become the 'inside' of the stuffed breast). Sprinkle remaining 1/2 tsp of oregano on this side of chicken also. Sprinkle feta cheese onto half of the 'inside' of the chicken breast. Divide spinach mixture amongst chicken breasts and top each chicken piece over the half with feta cheese. Fold the chicken piece in half over itself (now the spinach and feta are on the 'inside' and it is stuffed).

I lightly browned the chicken in a skillet over medium high for 2 minutes per side and then baked it off in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Alternately you can just bake it until done at 375 and skip the browning step. When I took it out of the oven, I immediately squeezed the other half of lemon on top of the chicken.

Pumpkin Soup with Gorgenzola, suggested by Sarah (via Stacy)

2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 slices bacon
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1. Stir together the pumpkin, chicken stock, half-and-half, shallot, molasses, butter, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large stockpot over low heat; simmer 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook until crispy; remove to paper towels to drain, then cool and crumble.
3. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with bacon and blue cheese.

"Chang's Spicy Chicken", suggested by Michelle

10 ounces chicken breast
Potato starch
Canola oil
3 teaspoons oil back into hot wok
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cup green onions
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 ounce house white sauce (chicken stock with a touch of oyster sauce)
1 ounce Chang's Sauce (sugar and vinegar combined)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Diced chicken breast lightly coated with potato starch

Fill hot wok with enough Canola oil to fry chicken. Fry chicken for two to three minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Drain the chicken. Rinse out the wok.

Add oil back into hot wok, garlic, green onions, chili paste, house white sauce, Chang's Sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix in fried chicken. Sauce should bind to the chicken. Serve with steamed rice or noodles.

Note from Michelle: Next time, I'll do half-and-half vinegar and sugar (this time I did less sugar to vinegar and regretted it).

The chili paste is ESSENTIAL!

Sloppy Lasagna, suggested by Amy

From Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals

Basically, you break the noodles, cook them. Then, saute ground beef, onions, and carrots until done. Mix together with tomatoes, white wine and some other stuff. Layer some of the noodles, then meat sauce, dollops of ricotta x2. Pour alfredo over the very top with some shredded parm, cook until the cheese is melty. When I make it, I'll add more seasoning to it. I see mixing basil, garlic, oregano, etc. to the sauce and cheese. But, it only took her 40 minutes from chopping to table. 

Note: The actual recipe calls for ground beef and veal and my neighbor made it with ground beef and turkey.  

Curry Turkey Burgers, suggested by Carrie


  • 1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • A handful cilantro, chopped very fine, about 2 tablespoons, optional
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry paste or a handful of curry powder (Preferred brand: Patak's Mild Curry Paste)
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 crusty rolls, split


  • Bib or leaf lettuce
  • Sliced vine-ripe tomatoes
  • Mango chutney (preferred brands: Major Grey's or Patak's Mango Chutney)
  • Serving Suggestions: Thai Slaw Salad, recipe follows and root vegetable chips (preferred brands: Terra Chips)


Combine first 8 ingredients and form into 5 patties.
Brush or drizzle patties with extra-virgin olive oil. Grill patties 6 minutes on each side on indoor electric grill or pan fry for same amount of time in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
Pile patties on split crusty rolls with lettuce, tomato, and chutney spread liberally on roll tops as a condiment. Serve curry turkey burgers with Thai Slaw and root vegetable chips.

Thai Slaw Salad:

  • 1 (16 ounces) prepared shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix) from produce department
  • 1/4 European seedless cucumber, sliced into thin sticks
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded


  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white distilled or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  • Toasted sesame seeds
Combine vegetables in a bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small plastic container and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Drizzle sauce over vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Let stand 10 minutes and re-toss before serving and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup, from Shelli

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the crock pot.

Two chicken breasts
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
Generous shakes of Fiesta seasoning (TS)

Let get happy on LOW for several hours.

Pull out chicken, shred, put back in (or shred in pot like I do)

An hour or so before serving, I dumped in a bag of Birds' Eye Southwestern Corn and Veggies and about 2 c chicken broth.

Ladle into bowls, crumble up tortilla chips and top w/cheese and sour cream. Yum.

Chicken Portabello Lasagna Roll-Ups, from Stacy

18 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2+ cups marinara sauce
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup portobello mushrooms, diced small -SMALL
1 cup cooked spinach - I used 2 bags fresh spinach as spinach decreases in size once cooked.
2 cups diced cooked chicken - 2 CHICKEN BREAST
½ Cup white wine
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups Alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts

Cook lasagna until noodles are cooked, but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes, drain and rinse. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish; set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and add mushrooms and onion until they soften add wine and simmer about 5 minutes. Add cooked spinach; and cook until hot; remove from heat.

Stir together the chicken, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and the cooked spinach mixture in a large bowl; season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spread large spoonful of mixture on each lasagna noodle. Roll the noodle up, and place seam-side down into the baking dish. Repeat for each noodle. Pour Alfredo sauce over the rollups.
Bake covered, in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and pine nuts. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the pine nuts are toasted, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Note from Stacy re: water content: It doesn't get too watery. You cook the onions, spinach and mushrooms together in a pan before mixing them into the cheese concoction. So if it's watery I just let it simmer off. I also use a rotisserie chicken. That's something that I do for any dish that calls for cut up chicken as an ingredient. I only cook chicken when we're having chicken. Otherwise it seems like I'm making two meals.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff, from Carrie

Beef tips or stew meat
1/2 can beef stock
sliced onion

Cook all day. before serving add rest of beef stock, some sour cream and a "glug" of marsala wine or red wine.

Beef Stroganoff, from Shauna

Beef Stroganoff

1lb beef tenderloin or sirloin steak, cut into chunks or strips.
2 tbsp butter
*1/2 pound mushrooms, washed, trimmed and sliced*
1 can beef broth
2 tbsp ketchup
1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp flour
1 cup sour cream

*Melt butter in large skillet and saute mushrooms until done, then remove*
In same skillet, brown meat. Reserve 1/3 cup broth, stir in remaining broth, ketchup, garlic and salt. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Blend reserved broth and flour, stir into meat mixture.
*Add mushrooms back in* Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, and boil 1 minute. Reduce heat, stir in sour cream, and when hot serve over noodles or rice.

Pita Bread II, from Kris

Pita bread:

380 grams bread flour
1 cup warm (about 115 degree) water
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sea salt
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp sugar

Mix water, sugar and yeast in heated mixing bowl and allow yeast 7 - 10 minutes to activate. Once yeast is activated, add remaining ingredients and mix with wooden spoon until it comes together as a mass. Using dough hook with electric mixer, knead dough for 10 minutes on speed 2, adding any additional water or flour in first 2 minutes. After kneading, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead by hand an additional 1 or 2 minutes - avoid incorporating much additional flour at this point. Roll into tight dough ball and place into lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides of dough ball with oil (alternately, 'paint' small amount of oil onto top surface of dough ball). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size in warm, dry place. Once dough is doubled in size, punch down to remove trapped air bubbles. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. Pull dough apart into 8 or 10 balls of dough. Set aside and cover with dry tea towel. Allow balls of dough to rise for 20 - 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat over to 450 degrees with a cookie sheet upside down on middle rack (this will become the hot cooking surface). After the dough balls have rested, roll them *just before you bake them* I can fit 4 pitas onto my cookie sheet, so I only roll 4 at a time - keeping the others covered until I am ready to use them. Roll to about 1/8 inch thickness or so. Too thin and they won't puff, too thick and they won't puff... Try not to make the pitas too big - maybe 4 or 5 inches across is all. This is the trial and error part! Roll 2 - 4 pitas, depending on what your cookie sheet will fit. Spray the inside of your oven, including the cookie sheet with water before you put the pitas on it. Water should skip and dance off the cookie sheet as soon as it is sprayed. Put pitas on hot cookie sheet and bake for 3 - 5 minutes until puffed and done. I usually don't turn my pitas over, and I prefer not to have them be too brown (they get crunchy that way. So, I usually go for 3 minutes, maybe 4. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool....

Baguette, from Kris

375 grams bread flour
90 grams all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast (I use red star active dry)
1 tsp sugar
1 TBSP sea salt
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/4 cup warm water (approx. 115 degrees)

In mixing bowl (I actually 'heat' my mixing bowl by inverting it and running under hot water for a minute or two so that the water for the yeast doesn't cool down so much to not activate the yeast) combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow to sit for 7 - 10 minutes for yeast to activate. Once yeast is activated, add remaining ingredients and combine with wooden spoon until mixture is sort of together into one mass. I use my electric mixer with dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes on level 2. In first 2 minutes I add more flour or water if necessary. Turn dough ball out onto lightly floured surface and knead by hand for additional minute or two - try not to work any additional flour into dough ball (dough will be sticky). Form into tight ball and place into greased glass bowl, brushing the top of the dough ball lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm dry area for 2 hours or until doubled in size (one technique I read about and I use is turn the oven to 450 degrees for 25 seconds, then turn oven off. Place bowl with dough ball into the slightly warmed oven). After dough has doubled in size, punch down to release trapped bubbles, knead gently on a lightly floured surface for a minute or two, then form into 2 baguettes (or 4 small torpedo rolls), place both onto lightly greased cookie sheet. I can't really explain how to form the baguettes, best I can suggest is to look on you tube for how to instruactions on forming baguettes. Optionally you can sprinkle a little corn meal onto the lightly greased cookie sheet before putting the baguettes on it. Cover baguettes with towel and allow to rise a second time for about 20 or 30 minutes. Just enough time to get the oven preheated to 425 degrees.

Just before putting the bread into the oven, spray the sides and bottom of your oven with water in a spray bottle. About 5 sprays each. The more humid air is supposed to lend itself to a crispier crust. Bake for a total of 12 - 15 minutes. After each 5 minutes of baking, spray the sides and bottom of oven again. Bread is done when it is browned all around and sounds 'hollow' when tapped on the underside. Let rest for 5 or 10 minutes before slicing.

Veggie Burgers, an idea from Berly

One bag of fake ground beef (12 oz. we like Quorn), one package of mushrooms (sometimes we use big; sometimes small), half a package of cream cheese (or neufectal), and four eggs is just right.

Today, I'm making them with one small package of mushrooms and a bunch of red kidney beans that I boiled until they were super soft. I suspect yumminess is on its way!!!

Oh, and fry until brown on both sides. They will be crumbly, but in a super soft and scrumptious way. We eat them on ciabattini rolls.

Pita Bread, from Stacy

3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons dry yeast
3 tablespoons coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Let rise for two hours then refrigerate over night (covered loosely). Then, basically pull off some pieces, shape them how you want them using lots of flour, and bake on a stone. The thinner the bread, the hotter the oven (and thicker bread needs a broiler pan of water on the shelf beneath). The pitas were supposed to be baked at like 500F, which had me freaking out and on edge to begin with.

Veggie and Shrimp Fajitas, from Shelli

Veggie & Shrimp fajitas

Two zucchini
Two squash
One red pepper
One onion (I used a white onion)
1 pkg McCormick Citrus Lime Marinade mix (need oil & vinegar)
One pound 31-40ct shrimp

I used my mandolin to julienne the squashes and pepper. Then I sliced the onion thinly. I peeled/deveined the shrimp and put them in a separate bowl. Then I mixed up the marinade and divided it between the veggies and the shrimp. I let them hang out in fridge for a few hours.

Ex-MIL's Tacos, from Clair

Beef Mixture

Ground beef
Tomato sauce
Diced onion
Hot sauce
Salt & Pepper

Brown the beef and onion until semi cooked. Add everything else to taste. You don't need too much tomato sauce... the mixture should not be liquidy.

Chicken Mixture

Boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can diced tomatoes

Pour diced tomatoes and about 1/2 jar of salsa on the chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for half an hour or so. Once out of the over, shred. I mix in some of the juice to the shredded chicken.

OK, so once you have the mixture of your choice, you need to heat some oil and a pat of butter in a cast iron skillet. Place a corn tortilla in the skillet. Add a TB or two of the chicken or beef to the center of the tortilla. Fold in half to create a taco. You'll have to hold the taco for a few seconds until the tortilla keeps its shape. Cook on each side until the taco is your desired crispness. Jonah likes his semi-soft. I like mine crispy but still chewy. Be sure to add more butter and oil as needed. I usually add butter every other rotation (I will do 3 tacos in the pan at once).

Fill with lettuce, sour cream salsa, cheese & tomatoes. Yum!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Rolls, suggested by Michelle

From "Our Best Bites"

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough* (or make your own)
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
sharp cheddar cheese (I used 75% sharp cheddar and 25% mozzarella)
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
about 1 C shredded, cooked chicken.
3/4 C mayo
3/4 C milk

First take 1 teaspoon of your ranch dressing mix and combine it with 1 1/2 T parmesan cheese. Set aside. Combine the remaining ranch mix with 3/4 C mayo and 3/4 C milk and place in the fridge to chill.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400-425 degrees.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings.

I grab the four corners first and then squeeze the seams shut. Then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish). Brush with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with the parmesan-ranch mixture.

Place your rolls in the oven. I've noticed baking time really depends on the type of dough I'm using. Whether it's different brands from the store, or homemade dough, they all take different amounts of time. Set your timer for 10 minutes and check on them after that. They may take up to 15 or 20 to be done. Take them out when they're lightly golden on top.

Serve them warm with a side of freshly made ranch dressing for dipping.

These can also be baked individually in a mini-muffin tin. This might work better for serving depending on the situation. You're making 24 rolls, so it fills up the pan perfectly. They cook quicker this way than in a pie pan so keep an eye on them. Mine only took about 8 minutes whereas the ones in the pan took about 13-15.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Homemade Buns, suggested by Cara

From "Taste of Home"


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let
  • stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a
  • soft dough.

  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about
  • 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into
  • a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

  • Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes
  • or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
  • Yield: 1 dozen.

Black Bean Burrito Bake, suggested by Cara

From "Cooking Light"


  • 1  (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2  cup  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1  cup  frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 4  (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  bottled salsa
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove one chile from can. Chop chile. Reserve remaining adobo sauce and chiles for another use. Combine sour cream and chile in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
Place half of beans in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add chopped beans, remaining beans, and corn to sour cream mixture.
Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread salsa over tortillas; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Kitchen Notes

Half of the beans are finely chopped to give the filling a thick, creamy consistency. This dish can be made up to 8 hours in advance and chilled; just bring it back to room temperature before baking.

Homemade Cheeseburgers, from Kris

(all measurements are approximate!)
1 - 1 1/4 pound ground 96/4 hamburger
1/4 cup A1 steak sauce (sometimes I do half A1, half BBQ sauce)
1/2 onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 TBSP worchestershire sauce

Mix above ingredients together well. Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours. Shape into hamburger patties and grill over medium heat until desired doneness. Top with Havarti cheese for a fantastic flavor! Serve with sliced onion, tomato, pickles and lettuce. Usually corn on the cob is the accompaniment. These end up peppery and meaty. Despite the low fat content of the beef, they end up pretty juicy. You won't miss the other 16% fat that is in standard ground beef! We find our 4% at Trader Joe's....

Easy Peasy Chicken Parm, Sans Breading, from Kris

-Boneless skinless chicken boobs
- 2 jars Classico "Florentine" style spaghetti sauce (or favorite tomato based sauce)
- fresh slices mozzarella cheese (or shredded if you prefer)
- fresh shredded parm cheese
- cooked spaghetti noodles

Over medium high heat, sear chicken boobs in small amount of olive oil until brown on each side (about 3 - 4 min/side). Using jarred sauce, cover chicken and put in oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cover each chicken piece with slice fresh mozzarella and some shredded parm. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

I serve on some spaghetti noodles, covered with the sauce. The jarred spaghetti sauce condenses down (which is why I use 2 jars!) a lot and concentrates the flavor really well. As the chicken is baking in the sauce, it adds extra flavor as well. It's really good and a fantastic quick go to meal when it's not too hot to turn on the oven.

Baked Chicken Parm, suggested by Sarah

From "Simply Recipes"

Parmesan chicken is traditionally made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. We use breasts, but thighs too, if we are starting with a whole chicken.


  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (we use Muir-Glen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (5-oz) skinless boneless chicken breast halves (or deboned thighs)
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (we make our breadcrumbs from old French bread)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted


1 Prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan, heat the garlic and oil together over medium high heat until the garlic starts to sizzle. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens a bit and flavors meld, about 10-12 minutes. Taste sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary, cover and keep warm.
2 Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut each chicken breast half in half for smaller pieces. With a meat pounder, pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness - between 1/4 - 1/2 inch. You might find it easier to put the chicken between layers of plastic wrap before pounding.
3 Whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl, add the chicken pieces, tossing to coat well.
4 In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, grated cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well and add in the melted butter. Transfer to a shallow plate. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time in the crumb mixture, coating completely. Press the crumbs in gently to adhere and transfer to a stick-free baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Serve with a side of rice or pasta. Ladle sauce over the chicken.
Serves 4.

French Dip Sandwiches, suggested by Michelle

From "Our Best Bites"

French Dip Sandwiches

1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast (you can use a frozen roast if you want)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth
6-8 large buns (or more...6 would be VERY generous servings!)
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.

When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You're not cooking the meat, you're just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.

Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onion soup mixes. Pour water and beef broth over roast.

Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It's hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it's done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with a fork.

Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty.

Ladle juices into small cups for dipping and enjoy!

Arroz Caldo, from Kristina

Arroz Caldo

4-6 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2lbs.  of chicken thighs, seasoned w/salt and pepper
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
6 cups water
2 cups jasmine rice, uncooked
sliced green onions

In a medium/medium-large pot, sauté chicken thighs until exterior looks golden. Add garlic, ginger, and onion, cook until the garlic is light golden. Add water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add rice and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for half an hour to forty-five minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Stir in green onions and serve. It should be like a thick rice porridge.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce, suggested by Cara

From "Our Best Bites"

2 C low-fat milk
1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C grated Parmesan cheese

Toss the milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender.   

Process until smooth and set aside.

In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Stand above the pan (but not close enough to scald your face) and inhale. Ahhh...butter and garlic. Okay, now get cooking again. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don't want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly.

Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it's nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

Korean Beef Skewers, AKA Cara Beef, from Cara


  • 6  tablespoons  less-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3  cup  sugar
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  sambal oelek (chile paste, such as Huy Fong)
  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (1-pound) top sirloin steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 8  ounces  wide rice sticks
  • 3  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a zip-top bag. Add beef to bag; seal. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; reserve marinade. Thread steak evenly onto 8 (8-inch) skewers. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Combine reserved marinade and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute.
3. Soak noodles in boiling water until tender; drain. Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour reserved marinade mixture over noodles; sprinkle with onions; toss. Serve with skewers.

Note from Cara: I just looked at my Korean Beef recipe and realized that I didn't add the sugar when I made it last night. It was delicious anyway and I don't think I would use it next time. Maybe if the things were grilled it would help them to caramelize or something, but for stir fry it was fine without.

Peanut Sauce, from Stacy

Sure! I use one from a Robin Miller cookbook (w/ a few modifications):

1 C reduced sodium chicken broth
3 TBLSP creamy peanut butter
3 TBLSP reduced-sodium soy sayce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp hot chili oil (or more to taste; leave this out for mild sauce. I didn't have hot chili oil in stock, so I used some jalapeno juice)
2 TBLSP chopped fresh cilantro (I don't use this b/c I never have fresh cilantro hanging around)
A dash of brown sugar <--my addition

In a small saucepan, whisk together everything but the cilantro. Set to medium heat, bring to simmer, and let simmer for 5 mins. Remove from heat and add cilantro.

Note from Stacy: Well, I had intended to do stir-fry, but I ended up baking my marinated chicken (I had marinated two large chicken breasts in hot chili oil, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, and rice wine vinegar), shredding it, adding it to cooked egg noodles, ladling on the peanut sauce, then tossing some scallions on top.

Seriously effing yum. Highly recommend, as long as you like things peanutty.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spring Veggie Carbonara, suggested from Cara

From Cooking Light:


  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces uncooked cavatappi pasta
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped seeded red bell pepper


1. Cook peas and asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water; drain. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Combine pasta and vegetables.

2. Combine cheese and the next 3 ingredients (through eggs) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add hot cooking liquid to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Add bacon to pasta mixture. Cook bell pepper in drippings for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat, and stir in egg mixture. Return pan to low heat; cook for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly, stirring constantly.

Creamed Spinach, suggested by Jeni



  • 1 stick Butter
  • 8 Tablespoons Flour
  • ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 24 ounces, weight Baby Spinach

Preparation Instructions

Melt 1 stick of butter in a pot. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until light golden brown. Throw in onion and garlic and stir together, cooking for another minute. Pour in milk, whisking constantly, and cook for another five minutes while you cook the spinach.

To cook spinach, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a separate pot. Add spinach in increments until all incorporated, and cook until wilted but not soggy, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Season the cream sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add spinach to the cream sauce, stirring gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Note from Jeni: This is what I used. I used cream, instead of milk though, and it was way too much onion for my taste.

Freezer Chicken Pasta Soup, by Teresa

I cooked a couple of small chicken breasts in stock I took from the freezer (left over from boiling down a deli chicken). Took the chicken out and added half a package of ravioli, the kind from the deli section - again leftovers from the freezer. I microwaved a package of green giant "Digestive Health" mixed vegetables - carrots, spinach and white beans in an Italian-tasting butter dressing, and put that in the soup along with the chicken, and watered down the broth until it tasted right. Done.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuna Dinner Salad, from Cara

1 large head red or green leaf lettuce, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
4-6 oz. colby cheese cut into chunks, optional
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can tuna, drained (can be tuna in oil or water)

Toss all ingredients with red wine vinaigrette.

red wine vinaigrette
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced OR 1 t. garlic powder
1 c. olive oil

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. While whisking, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Broccoli Chicken Salad, from Karli


* 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
* 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
* 1/4 cup chopped red onion
* 2 tablespoons salted sunflower kernels
* 2 tablespoons golden raisins
* 2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
* 1/3 cup mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


1. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; add to chicken mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

~I have used halved grapes instead of raisins in this and it is good also!

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad, from


* Dressing:
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 2/3 cup light sour cream
* 1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon chili powder
* 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
* 2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
* 1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
* 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained


To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

**Add a spoonful of adobo sauce for a spicier salad. To prepare it quickly, I usually just use a bag of pre-washed mixed greens and the meat from a grocery store rotisserie chicken.

Shazzers Warm Pasta Salad, from

Shazzers Warm Pasta Salad

1 packet of small shelled pasta
20 leaves of fresh basil torn into small pieces
2 tomatoes cut into approx 1cm size pieces (ie small) Or use cherry tomatoes x8 and cut each into 1/4's
2 spring onions sliced into small pieces
1 ball of mozzarella cheese torn into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt and 1tsp cracked black pepper for seasoning

Cook pasta first in salted water.
Drain pasta but leave around 2tbsp of cooking water in the pot with the pasta. (Keep the pasta in the cooking pot when you add the other ingredients)
Add all other ingredients being careful to spread out the mozzarella as it will want to clump together.
Very gently stir and reheat the salad for 30 seconds on the stove the cheese will melt and the basil will wilt. Be gentle as it has a tendency to want to all form one big ball.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies, from Stephanie

1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix together. Drop teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes. Makes approximately 18 cookies.

Indian Eggs, from Sheetal

4 hard-boiled eggs; peeled and halved,
1 onion; finely diced,
1 small tomato; finely diced,
Browned onion paste 1/3 cup (finely slice onions and brown them in oil. When cooled down, grind to paste with a little water)
Desiccated coconut 1tbsp
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (skip the turmeric if you can't find it),
1 tsp red chilli powder (use 1/2 tsp if you don't want it too hot),
1/2 tsp garam masala powder (mixed dry spices). You should be able to find this in the international foods aisle. If not use the recipe given below.
Salt to taste,
Oil for frying,
Chopped coriander leaves/parsley to garnish.

For the garam masala

1 tbsp cardamom seeds (buy cardamom pods and shell them)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
a medium stick of cinnamon, 2-3 inches, broken up into 3-4 pieces
To prepare the garam masala
1. Put all the ingredients in a clean coffee grinder or other spice grinder and grind as finely as possible.
2. Store in a tightly lidded jar, away from heat and sunlight and use as needed.

To prepare the Eggs-

Roast the dessicated coconut without oil and grind with the onion paste.
Heat oil in a wok and add onion. Saute until light brown.
Then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and roast for few minutes.
Then add tomatoes and cook on medium flame, covered till they are soft.
Then add onion-coconut paste and cook for 2-3 minutes until the masala starts leaving oil from the edges of the wok.
Then add garam masala, salt, stir and then add some water to prepare a thick gravy. Bring this to boil.
Then drop in the halved eggs into it. Cover and cook for few minutes on low-medium flame.
Later garnish with coriander leaves.
This is eaten with roti (Indian bread) however pita bread or tortillas should work just as well. Or you could eat it with plain boiled rice.

Egg Lavash, from Carrie

First you need to make dough. I use the dough from "the" tortilla recipe:

2 cups all purp. flour
2 tsp veg oil
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp of baking power
3/4 c warm milk

Mix all of that together by hand, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes, adding flour as needed to the surface to make a nice, soft dough ball. Set kneaded dough aside and cover with cling wrap to rest for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take dough ball and divide into 8ths. (I use a pizza cutter to do this) and roll each section into a ball. Set aside and let rest for 10 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 500

Roll out each dough ball into a 6-7 inch round and place on a pizza sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of raw chopped bacon.
I only use one or two slices, removing most of the fat and only chopping up the meaty part of the bacon. You can also use turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, prosciutto, etc

Cook 2-3 minutes.

Remove and lightly brush with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Crack an egg into the center (pierce the yolk and spread it a bit if you prefer the yolk cooked) and then sprinkle with some type of dry herb mix (I use Tastefully Simple's spinach and herb mix) but you can also use fresh greens, parsley, basil... whatever.

Bake for 4-6 more minutes. Serve. I like to fold it in half to eat it.
Makes 8

****You can also use premade pizza dough but then it will be more pizza-y and less lavash-y and you'll have to cook the bacon and crust a bit longer before you add the egg. *****

Spinach-Sausage Pasta Bake, from Charity


4 garlic cloves (minced)

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound rigatoni (ziti or penne would work well, too)

10 ounces Baby Spinach or chopped spinach

1 package of Italian sausage, we like Hot but mild or sweet would work as well

8-10 ounces Mozzarella cheese (6 ozs will be cubed and 2-4 ozs shredded to cover pasta)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Brown the Italian sausage and then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. (Mince your garlic first)

Cook pasta according to directions until al dente. Go ahead and preheat the over to 400 degrees now too.

Back to the pan, add the crushed tomatoes and oregano to the meat and garlic and cook for a about 5 minutes. Then add the cream and cook until warmed through, another 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper.

When the pasta is a minute or under from being done, put all the spinach in the water too and push it down into the water. Let it cook with the pasta until just wilted. Drain everything in one strainer and return it to the pasta pot.

6 ozs of Mozzarella cheese (cube it first) and the tomato sauce to the pot as well and stir it all together. You'll need to break up some of the spinach to get it more evenly distributed.

Pour it all into baking dishes. I can get mine into one 3 qt rectangular Pyrex casserole dish. Top with the grated mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20-30 minutes.

Red and White (Sauced) Lasagna, from Barbara

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 small white onion chopped
* 1 clove garlic crushed
* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 1 pound ripe tomatoes
* 1 pound uncooked lasagna noodles
* 1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 pound thinly sliced ham
* 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese
* 2 teaspoons oregano
* 2 teaspoons salt

1 Melt butter with flour in saucepan over medium heat. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add milk slowly while stirring mixture with a wooden spoon. Bring sauce to boil and cook 10 minutes. Set white sauce aside to assemble the lasagna.

Peel tomatoes then remove seeds and chop. Brown ground beef in a large sauce pan over high heat with vegetable olive oil, onion and garlic. Add prepared tomatoes and water just enough to cook a thick meat sauce. Set meat sauce aside to assemble lasagna.

Lightly spray two square glass baking dishes. Preheat oven to 350. Bring to quarts of water to a boil. Stir in salt then add noodles four at a time and cook uncovered until tender but firm. Use a large fork or slotted spoon to remove cooked noodles directly to the baking dish. Spoon meat sauce into baking dish. Make four layers of noodles and put first layer of noodles on top of meat sauce. Then alternate each layer with meat sauce mozzarella and ham. In one of the layers put only white sauce with ham. Cover lasagna with sauce, grated parmesan and a sprinkle of oregano. Bake lasagna for 20 minutes. Cover lasagna with foil during baking to avoid cheese from burning.

Grown Up Ramen, from Alison

(Adapted from Real Simple)

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 7 cups chicken broth or stock
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* kosher salt
* 1 pound angel hair pasta
* 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped <---- I usually forget to add this * 1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped * 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. 2. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, red pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. 3. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until the broth is nearly absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and parsley. 4. Divide among individual bowls and top with the almonds and Parmesan.

Rosemary and Creamy Tomato Penne, from Cara

1 lb. penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, minced
4 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Cook the penne in water until al dente. In the meantime, saute the rosemary in the oil in a saucepan over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Pour in the cream and Parmesan, stirring until heated through. Drain pasta and toss with cream sauce.

Yields 4-6 servings.

This dish goes great with sauteed chicken (seasoned with rosemary, s & p, and fresh lemon juice) either served on the side or sliced and added to the pasta.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Korean-Style Beef Skewers w/Rice Noodles, an idea from Cara


Find the noodles and sambal on the ethnic aisle at the supermarket or in an Asian market.

Price: $2.49 per serving

Pantry Checklist:

  • Less-sodium soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Sambal oelek (chile paste, such as Huy Fong)
  • Canola oil
  • Fresh lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a zip-top bag. Add beef to bag; seal. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; reserve marinade. Thread steak evenly onto 8 (8-inch) skewers. Grill 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Combine reserved marinade and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute.

3. Soak noodles in boiling water until tender; drain. Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour reserved marinade mixture over noodles; sprinkle with onions; toss. Serve with skewers.

Note from Cara: We don't have skewers, so I cut the strips shorter and stir fried them.

Another note from Cara: I just looked at my Korean Beef recipe and realized that I didn't add the sugar when I made it last night. It was delicious anyway and I don't think I would use it next time. Maybe if the things were grilled it would help them to caramelize or something, but for stir fry it was fine without.

Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light, MAY 2010

Peanut Sauce, from Michelle

from a Robin Miller cookbook (w/ a few modifications):

1 C reduced sodium chicken broth
3 TBLSP creamy peanut butter
3 TBLSP reduced-sodium soy sayce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp hot chili oil (or more to taste; leave this out for mild sauce. I didn't have hot chili oil in stock, so I used some jalapeno juice)
2 TBLSP chopped fresh cilantro (I don't use this b/c I never have fresh cilantro hanging around)
A dash of brown sugar <--my addition

In a small saucepan, whisk together everything but the cilantro. Set to medium heat, bring to simmer, and let simmer for 5 mins. Remove from heat and add cilantro.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chicken A La King, an idea from Mel

I think Chicken a la King, traditionally, is chicken breast in a cream sauce with mushrooms, green peppers, pimentos and onions.
Mine will have mushrooms, peas, celery, carrots, and onion... and the 'cream' sauce will be made with whole wheat flour, skim milk & chicken stock.

Layered Chicken Bake, an idea from Amy

Boneless/skinless chicken breasts
diced onion mixed with cream of mushroom soup
slice of Swiss cheese over each chicken breast
covered in Pep Farm croutons

Bake until chicken is done.

Freezer Chicken Pasta Soup, from Teresa

I cooked a couple of small chicken breasts in stock I took from the freezer (left over from boiling down a deli chicken).

Took the chicken out and added half a package of ravioli, the kind from the deli section - again leftovers from the freezer.

I microwaved a package of green giant "Digestive Health" mixed vegetables - carrots, spinach and white beans in an Italian-tasting butter dressing, and put that in the soup along with the chicken, and watered down the broth until it tasted right. Done.

Mexican Lasagna IV, from Shelli

In the crock pot went:

1 lb chicken breast
1 jar Trader Joe's salsa verde
1 packet Citrus Lime grill marinade

^cook low and slow till it falls apart

Then I sprayed a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.

12 white corn tortillas (cut in half)
1 28oz can enchilada sauce
1 14.5 oz can Bush's mild chili beans
1 small jar diced green chiles
cheese of choice (I used 2% monterey jack)

Layer 1/3 tortillas, then chicken, beans, chiles, cheese and sauce. Top with 1/3 tortillas, press down. Repeat, then top with last 1/3 tortillas, rest of sauce, top w/cheese if desired (mine had 1/2 cheese b/c Alec doesn't eat it).

Bake at 375* for 20ish minutes.

YUM! I put a dab of guac on top of mine. Sooooo good. You could also put corn or other assorted veggies in it.

Black Bean Burgers, suggested by Cara

Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from "Recipe of the Week: Burgers" by Sally Sampson

4 cups cooked, rinsed and drained black beans (about 2 ½ 15-ounce cans)
1/2 cup Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
4 scallions, both white and green parts, minced
3 tablespoons (a small handful) chopped basil or cilantro, or a combination
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place 2 cups of the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chunky.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add remaining whole black beans, plus panko, eggs, scallions, fresh herbs, garlic, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and mix until well combined.

Using a dough cutter, portion mixture into patties about 1 inch thick. Suggested diameter: 3 inches; otherwise, the patty will be difficult to flip when cooking. KOD extra step that's worth doing: Place patties on a plate or tray and chill for 15 minutes so they can set up.

When ready to cook, remove patties from refrigerator and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat, without any fat; when it is hot but not smoking, add burgers to dry pan.

Cook for about four minutes on first side or until well seared and with a flipping spatula, turn onto second side and allow to cook for an additional five minutes, over medium heat.

Serve immediately with fixins': Monterey jack, cheddar or queso fresco, lettuce, fresh tomato slice, pico de gallo or jarred salsa, sour cream, avocado. Good on a soft bun or by itself.

Makes four to six burgers.

Note from Cara:
I got seven 3" burgers that were 1" thick and 1 thinner burger for Konrad. I used a biscuit cutter to make the patties... put it on a cutting board and spooned the mix into it. I would go with more like 30 minutes of refrigeration before cooking, they were pretty squishy. We just did lettuce and tomato topping, but I think I would do some kind of seasoned sour cream topping next time as well.

Beef Stew, suggested by Stacy


Note from Stacy:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beer Cheese Fondue, from Shelli

I prefer to use a brown ale-ish type beer. For the fondue you ate, I used Sam Adam's Summer Ale.

3/4 c beer
1 lb shredded sharp cheddar tossed with 3 tbsp flour and:
*1ish tsp double ground mustard
*1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste

Rub fondue pot w/fresh clove of garlic
Pour in beer, set pot to 375*
When boiling, slowly stir in cheese mixture. Stir, stir, stir...add hot sauce...turn to warm, keep stirring until smooth.

The end.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Tacos, an idea from Karli

Just throw chicken breasts, taco seasonings and Rotel tomatoes with green chilis in the crockpot until the chicken fell apart.

Note from Shelli: Sometimes I add a can of cream of chix soup to make it creamier and then I roll enchiladas with the mixture.

Sweet Potatoes, from Michelle (via Sarah)

I cleaned and peeled about 8ish potatoes.

I chopped them into half moons.

I melted three (the shame!) sticks of butter and added *cough* several tablespoons of white sugar. Don't let anything boil, but it should all get melty on decent heat. I

put the potatoes in and put the top on the pot. A couple hours later, the potatoes were about to fall apart, so I took them off the heat. I drained off a LOT of the butter, and in the future, I'll offset the butter with water.

Pork Tenderloin, from Michelle (via Sarah)

Um, I took a huge Ass tenderloin (already trimmed) my grandpa purchased from the local butcher and stuffed it the night before with onions and garlic.
When I say "stuffed," I mean I cut holes in it and stuffed the deliciousness right in.

I sprinkled some salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika (regular, not the fancy smoked) on and rubbed it in a la Paula Deen.

When it was time to cook, I put a little olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot, put the fire on medium, and let the pork get a little color on all sides. Then I turned the fire to low (between low and med, but closer to low) and let him cook alllllll day (like for hours).

I knew it was done when it started falling apart. Oh, and as it cooks, I add tiny bits of water. This is a Joy trick, so it's not floating in grease. There's plenty of fat in the pork--even lean pork--and of course the veg oil it starts in.

To make gravy, I added onions to the pot (which had just a LITTLE amount of water) and let them soften, then I added gravy mix + water. Then to thicken (fail!), I put in water + cornstarch.

Beef in Beer with Herb Dumplings, from Betsy

2 tbsp corn oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 carrots, sliced
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
2.5-ish pounds stew beef, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cups stout (I use Guinness)
2 tsp brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (I used half a tbsp of dried)

Herb Dumplings:
Generous 3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp mustard powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish
About 4 tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 325*. Heat the oil in a large, oven safe pot. Add the onions and carrots and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the flour in a plastic ba and season with salt and pepper. Add the stew beef to the bag, close, and shake well to coat. Do in batches if necessary. (I just use a gallon-sized Ziploc and do it all at once)

2. Remove the veggies from the pot with a spoon and set aside. Add the meat, in batches, and cook until browned all over. Return all the meat, onions, and carrots to the pot and sprinkle in any remaining flour. Pour in the beer and add the sugar, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven to bake for 1 3/4 hours.

3. To make herb dumplings, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening and parsley, and add enough of the water to make a soft dough. Shape into small balls. Add to the pot and return to the oven for 30 minutes (covered). Remove and discard the bay leaves and serve, sprinkled with parsley.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Veggie Tortilla Soup, from Michelle

1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (I get the no-salt-added variety)
1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes
4 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
Dashes of cayenne, salt, and black pepper <--you can leave out any of these 2 14.5-oz cans fat-free chicken broth 2 14-oz cans veggie broth 2 bay leaves <--can totally be left out 1 zucchini, sliced into half-moons 1 squash, sliced into half-moons 2 carrots, chopped into rounds 1 large or 2 smallish baking potatoes, cubed Toss the onion, bell pepp, garlic, and green chilies into some EVOO over low/med heat until tender. Add the liquids and spices. Add the veggies. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let it simmer (I enjoy a "violent simmer" here) until the veggies are at desired tenderness. ETA: about 15-20 minutes. **I like to add shredded chicken. Sometimes I poach and shred. Sometimes I buy rotisserie and shred. But it's good vegetarian too.

"Oh So Bad For You" Potato Soup, from Stacy

2 lb. bag frozen shredded hash browns
16 oz jar french onion dip
1 stick butter
1 onion finely chopped
10 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cans cream of celery soup
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can corn, drained

Throw it all in a (large) crock pot in the morning and enjoy for dinner!

Shepherd's Pie, suggested by Shelli

From the Weight Watcher's website...
1/4 cup(s) fat-free sour cream
1 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup(s) onion(s), chopped
2 medium carrot(s), diced
2 medium stalk(s) celery, diced
1 pound(s) uncooked ground turkey breast
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or beef broth


  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.

  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour in enough water to cover potatoes. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes, transfer to a large bowl and add sour cream and margarine; mash until smooth, season to taste with salt and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add flour, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a simmer; simmer until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

  • Transfer turkey mixture to a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Spread mashed potatoes over top and using the back of a spoon, make decorative swirls over the top. Bake until potatoes are golden, about 30 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.
Notes from Shelli--Except I only used 8oz ground beef and added peas instead of celery. I also don't ever, ever use light margarine, so I used butter. Still works out to 4 pts per serving.