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.