Thursday, December 10, 2009

Linguine with Leeks and Prosciutto

Cindy mentioned this recipe when we walked on Tuesday and she's so busy I thought I would post it for her. I made it for dinner the other night and it's truly fabulous... not low-cal, but so delicious it's worth it. The original recipe calls for asparagus, but since it's out of season Cindy substituted peas.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. butter
3 leeks, cleaned well and chopped coursely
1/2 lb. prosciutto, cut into 1/2" strips
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups grated parmesan
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. linguine

  1. Prepare linguine according to directions on box.
  2. Saute the leeks in the olive oil and butter over medium heat until very soft and starting to brown. Add the prosciutto and continue cooking 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add peas and cook until heated through.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add whipping cream and parmesan. Heat until cheese melts.
  6. Drain linguine and add to leek / prosciutto sauce. Gently combine.
  7. Serve with additional grated parmesan.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mexican Turkey Stew

I made this up last night for my kids and one of their friends, and they all loved it... they even asked for seconds! It's a fairly thick stew, definitely something you could eat with a fork, so if your kids like something closer to soup, this may not be for them.

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (or use roasted turkey cut into small pieces, about 2 cups)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1 cup corn
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In large sauce pan, brown the turkey and break it into little chunks as it cooks. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add oil and saute onions until soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
  3. Put turkey back in pot and add tomatoes, black beans, corn, green chilis and spices.
  4. Heat to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with corn bread on the side and grated cheese on top. (Some of us also added some Hot Giardiniera and it tasted wonderful).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Barley Chili

We had this last night and all loved it. It's great on a cold and blustery night.

3 can low sodium chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 cup barley
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

  1. Combine broth, salsa, barley, chili powder, cumin and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and heat through.
  3. This is great as is, but it's also wonderful served with grated cheddar, avocado and tortillas.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sweet Potato Chicken Curry Stew

I had this at a book group a few weeks ago and loved it. It's a beautiful orange color, very flavorful and super hearty. I wasn't sure how my kids would react, but was excited to give it a try. Gavin liked it and Meriel just ate the couscous. Oh well, at least one of them had a decent serving!

1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 chopped onion
1-2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 cups sweet potato chunks
1 cup chopped carrots or parsnips
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 can chicken broth
1/4 cup golden raisins or chopped dried plums
2 tsp. curry
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a large stew pot. Once softened, remove from pan and set aside. Saute chicken is same pan until no longer pink. Add back onion and garlic.
  2. Add sweet potato, carrots, chickpeas, raisins, lemon juice, chicken broth, raisins and spices.
  3. Simmer for around one hour.
  4. Serve over couscous or rice with a dollop of plain yogurt and a handful of nuts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chocolate Ice Cream

This is the best chocolate ice cream I have ever eaten in my entire life... and that's not hyperbole. It's so smooth, so creamy, so chocolatey -- you'll feel like you've gone to chocolate heaven. The recipe is from "The New Best Recipe" cookbook.

8 oz high-quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla

  1. Chop chocolate into small pieces and melt in microwave at 50% power. Set aside to cool.
  2. Position a strainer over a medium bowl set in a larger bowl containing ice water.
  3. Heat the milk, cream and 1/2 cup of sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until steam appears and the milk is warm, about 5 minutes.
  4. While the milk is heating, beat the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until pale yellow. Add the melted chocolate and beat until fully incorporated.
  5. Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.
  6. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the warm milk in the sauce pan. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until steam appears and the mixture is slightly thickened. Do not boil, or the eggs will curdle.
  7. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set in the ice bath. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla, cover and refrigerate until it's cooled to 40 degrees or lower -- at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  8. Pour custard into the ice cream machine and churn for up to 1/2 an hour. (Longer and you risk getting flecks of butter in your ice cream.) It should resemble soft-serve ice cream. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until firm, around 2 hours.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Whole Wheat Crepes

Meriel LOVES crepes for breakfast, so I've come up with a recipe that makes three crepes -- just the right amount for one person. You can easily double or triple the recipe if you want to make more.

1 egg
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
6 Tbs. milk
1/2 tsp. sugar
pinch salt

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Melt a little butter in a non-stick pan and pour in 1/3 of batter.
  3. Fry until starting to brown and flip over.
  4. Meriel likes them with a little sugar and lemon juice, but they're also good with jam, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, or sliced fruit. Just put on what you like and roll the up.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gateaux aux Poires (Pear Cake)

This recipe came from my friend Cindy. I made it last night for book group and everyone seemed to really like it. The quantities below are a little different from the ones she gave me as I needed to make a larger amount for all the gals in my book group. If you want to original, let me know. Cindy counseled that it's really important to not delete the rum -- she's made it without and said it was really bland. It's really a perfect dessert for a fall evening.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2 Tbs. Rum
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 lb. pears
1 Tbsp. soft butter
1 Tbs. sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

  1. Mix together flour, sugar, eggs, yogurt, rum and oil.
  2. Spread half of butter on the bottom of a pie plate or tart pan.
  3. Cover bottom of pie plate with peeled and cored pear slices.
  4. Cover with dough and spread bits of the remaining butter on top. Bake at 400 degrees F, for 25-35 minutes, until it starts to brown around the edges and the middle looks kind of spongy -- it should be firm.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the sugar/nutmeg blend.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Besto Dip

This dip recipe has been floating around my family for years. At my parents house, it's not a party without this among the appetizers. I think the original name was Parmesan Parsley Dip, but since it's kind of like pesto which is made with basil, I started calling it Besto since it's made with parsley... make sense?

Perhaps because it's served on crackers and it's an appetizer, my kids seem to really like it. No doubt it I offered it during dinner they'd turn up their noses since it's green.

2 bunches parsley, washed and spun dry
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 16 oz. package shredded parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
lemon juice

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor.
  2. Process until well blended. Add lemon juice to taste.
  3. Test on a cracker to confirm its deliciousness.
  4. The left-overs are wonderful on top of a baked potato.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gramma Mary's Meatballs

This is a fabulous meatball recipe. How I acquired the recipe is kind of funny. About 9 years ago I had to go to a black tie event with my husband. For whatever reason, I was seated next to this very italian Chicago lawyer. Back then I was teaching myself to cook and was always on the lookout for a good recipe. The lawyer and I started talking cooking. I discovered during the night that his gramma made unforgettable meatballs. I made a deal with him when I learned this, I'd swap my girlfriends cuban flan recipe for the meatball recipe. The next morning his secretary sent me an email with this recipe and I've made it at least monthly since then.

(can be multiplied with no changes, I always made a double batch)

1 lb ground beef (ground round 85%lean)
1/2 lb ground pork (not italian sausage)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup grated romano cheese (use pecorino romano imported it's the best)
1 Cup saltine cracker crumbs (I used puffed rice or rice krispie cereal, gluten free)
3 eggs, slightly beaten (I never, ever beat them)
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup milk

Place meat in mixing bowl an dmix them together. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the eggs to the meat mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the meat mixture. Add half the milk and mix. Add the rest of the milk.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cooking tips:
use an ice cream scoop to assure uniform size (occasionally dipping scooper in water helps meatballs roll in hand easier and with less sticking.)
The more hand pressure used the more dense the meatballs.
Place meatballs in a shallow roasting pan which has been sprayed with non stick spray or lined with parchment paper.
Place meatballs in pan (ensure enough space between meatballs so they may brown, cook 15 minutes per side.
Meatballs will flatten out a little while cooking.
Meatballs should be placed in sauce for at least 3/4 of an hour to affect the flavor of the sauce.
Meatballs may be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer to use at a later time.
Doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing the extras saves trouble for future.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, 15 minutes per side.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stuffed Shells

When I've made stuffed shells in the past, Meriel usually complains if there's "TOO MUCH" cheese. In this version, I've reduced the amount of cheese and added some ground turkey. If you don't have time to stuff the shells, skip 'em and mix the filling with any shape of cooked pasta -- it'll taste just the same.

1 lb ground turkey
12 oz package of pasta shells
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. crushed red peppers
salt & pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 oz. cottage cheese
2 eggs
16 oz. grated mozzarella
26 oz jar pasta sauce (you probably won't use the whole thing)

  1. Brown the ground turkey over medium heat, breaking up into little pieces. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Cook shells (or other pasta shape) according to directions. Add a bit of oil to the water so they don't stick together. Drain.
  3. In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, herbs, salt & pepper, garlic, 1/2 of the mozzarella and the ground turkey.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" lasagna pan.
  5. Stuff each shell with the cottage cheese/turkey mixture and place in pan. (Or, mix the cooked pasta into the cottage cheese/turkey and spread around pan.) Spread sauce over top (don't feel like you need to use the whole jar) and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese starts to brown, about 10 more minutes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mexican Chili with Pasta

I cut this recipe out of the Tribune recently and we all really liked it. Meriel's initial reaction when she saw it was "GROSS!" But she went back for seconds, so I hope she's learning not to make assumptions based on how something looks. I modified the original recipe a bit by adding more pasta and making it less spicy.

1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (15 1/2 oz) chili beans (don't drain)
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 cups pasta (rotini, shells, macaroni, etc.)
1 1/2 cups graded cheddar cheese

  1. Cook the ground beef or turkey in a medium sauce pan, stirring to crumble, until no longer pink and starting to brown. Drain. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in chili beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Add pasta to mixture and stir so that the pasta gets covered with liquid. Cover. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done, usually 8-10 minutes.
  4. Serve in bowls with grated cheese on top.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Amazing Apple Bread

I know, I know, this blog is filling up with apple recipes. But 'tis the season and this bread is SOOOO good, that I had to add it. My friend, Julie, found this on the internet, but I reduced the amount of sugar, substituted some whole wheat flour and increased the amount of cinnamon. You seriously will want to eat an entire loaf all by yourself.

1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups apples, peeled and diced
3 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted 1 1/2 cups whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups white flour)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts, toasted (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine the oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Whisk gently to break up any lumps in the flour.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture.
  5. Blend in apples and nuts.
  6. Pour into 4 mini loaf pans or 2 large loaf pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour. (It may take longer, so check them before taking out of the oven.) Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then cool on a rack.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

Apple season is upon us and with the 2 bushels I picked with the kids I've been busy making some yummy stuff for us. This recipe is for the crockpot, but surely you could use a big old pot on the stove and achieve the same result, however, it would require more watching.

8-10 apples
1/3 C water
2 t. vanilla
2 T cinnamon
the juice of one lemon

Directions, peel and core the apples and cut into quarters, or smaller to fit more. Throw them into the crockpot and pour the water, vanilla, cinnamon and juice of lemon over them. Cook on low for about 3 or 4 hours. Check the apples at about three hours into cooking by taking a potato masher and mashing them down, they should practically fall apart. If there are still some hard chunks let it cook a little longer. When all soft just mash and serve warm. Place into containers and keep in refrigerator. Use in recipes like this one.

Apple Muffins

    1 c. whole wheat flour (I used 2 cups gluten free flour, recipe is in comments here)
    1 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 c. milk
    1 tbsp cider vinegar
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1/3 c. maple syrup
    1 c. applesauce ( I used homemade)
    1 c. chopped apples

makes 12 muffins (about the size of cupcakes)

-preheat oven to 375 degrees F

- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon . Set aside.(Don't have a sifter? instead of using a spoon to mix these ingredients, use a whisk. )

- in a seperate bowl, mix together the milk, vinegar, oil, maple syrup, applesauce, and apples.

- add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together gently until "just" mixed. DO NOT over mix, this will make your batter (and muffins) heavy and hard.

- spoon batter into well greased muffin tins. bake for 15-20 minutes. test with a toothpick to see if done.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lebanese Rice

1/2 cup very fine egg noodles
1/4 cup pineseeds (optional)
2 cups rice (best to use white rice)
1 can chicken broth (optional)
2 TBSP Olive oil
1/2 stick butter

Pour chicken broth and water in a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl so that you have enough liquid that it equals 4 cups and heat until it is boiling.

In a pan large enough to cook the rice, saute the egg noodles. pineseeds (if using them), olive oil and butter over medium heat until noodles are golden. Add the rice and stir the mixture and rice together. Once the liquid is boiling, pour it immediately into the rice mixture and stir until in comes to a boil. This should happen almost immediately. Once boiling, turn down heat until the mixture is just at a simmer and put lid on pan. Cook for about 20 minutes or until you see that all of the liquid is gone. Turn off heat and keep lid on pan for another 10-20 minutes to keep the rice steaming. Serve when rest of the meal is ready. I have had the rice done 30 to 45 minutes proior to the rest of the meal and it remains hot and wonderful under the lid of the pan.

Vegetarian Chili

I received this recipe through one of those email recipe exchanges. I don't know the woman who sent it to me, but it's really good. We've now made it twice and it's on the menu again this week! The only things I changed from the original version were adding more spices and I got rid of the green pepper 'cause my kids don't like it. Feel free to add it back -- I'll bet it's good. This makes enough for two adults and two kids with enough left-over for one person's lunch the next day.

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 30 oz. can chili beans, drained
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use these because my kids don't like big chunks of tomato)
Optional toppings: grated cheddar cheese, Fritos, avacado

  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue cooking over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add chili beans and tomatoes and heat thoroughly. (This is great reheated, so if you can, make it in the morning and then reheat it for dinner.)
  3. My kids love this with some grated cheddar and a big handful of Fritos on top. You can also serve it over pasta.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sauted Apples

We went apple picking last weekend and came home with a bountiful supply. Thus, I'm trying to come up with ways to use them. I made these tonight and wish I'd made more. There was a big argument about who got the last serving!

5-6 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (Use two-three more apples than you have eaters because they shrink)
1 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbs. lemon juice
  1. Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add apples, cinnamon and lemon juice. Saute, stirring periodically until the apples start to brown.
  3. Cover and continue cooking 2-3 minutes. Stir to move the apples that are getting soft from the bottom to the top. Repeat until all the apples are soft. Serve immediately.
  4. We ate these for dinner, but they would be really good served for dessert with a scoop of ice cream.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Squash Soup

I've made this with both butternut and acorn squash. For some reason my kids prefer the one with butternut, but I thought they were both good. When I made this over the weekend, we had just returned from apple picking and so I was inspired to add an apple to the soup -- it was really good!

2 1/2 - 3 lb. butternut or acorn squash
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 can chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk or half & half (plus more if it's too thick)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut the squash into large chunks and bake at 350 until soft, 30-45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onion in olive oil until soft. Add apples, cover and keep cooking for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Set aside.
  3. Remove cooked squash from peel and add to onion mixture. Add one can of broth. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender.
  4. Add milk and stir. If it's too thick, add a bit more milk.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

We had a bunch of family in over the weekend for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. Great fun! I made dinner one night for everyone and there were a few restrictions... one relative can't eat wheat and another is a vegetarian. So, I was thrilled to find something EVERYONE could enjoy. I ended up making two -- one with chicken and the other without. I'll tell you how to do both:

This makes enough for one 9"x13" pan.

1 cup chopped onion
1 red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup salsa
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
14 six-inch corn tortillas, each one torn into around 8 pieces
8 oz. Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can enchilada sauce
Optional garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, chopped black olives
If you're adding meat: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute onion in a little oil until soft and starting to brown. Add red pepper and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Set aside.
  3. Combine beans, salsa, corn and sour cream. Add onion mixture and stir until blended.
  4. Spray 9x13 pan with oil. Layer half of the torn tortillas on the bottom. Cover with the bean/sour cream/onion mixture. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese. If you're adding chicken, put it on now. Top with remaining tortillas.
  5. Carefully pour one can of enchilada sauce over entire casserole. Try to cover eachtortilla with a little bit of sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. (At this point you can cover it and put it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. Make sure to add 15-20 extra minutes of cooking time if it's cold when you put it in the oven .)
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking an addition 15 minutes, until heated through and starting to bubble on top.
  7. Serve hot and garnish with chopped cilantro, sour cream and black olives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken & Bean Main-Course Dip

My friend Maria passed on this recipe because her kids gave it rave reviews. Having made it the other night, we concur. It's awesome! It didn't come with a name, so we decided to call it "Chicken Dip" because you eat it on corn chips. If someone has a better name, let me know.

6-9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces (If you choose to use breasts instead of thighs, increase the amount of salsa to 1 1/2 cups since breasts are dryer.)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup salsa (use one that's a little spicy or it may come out kind of bland)
1 cup frozen corn
Corn chips

  1. Put chicken in crockpot; it's okay if it's still frozen. Top with beans, salsa and corn.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours, or high for 4-5. Cooking time will vary depending on whether or not your chicken is frozen and how big the pieces are. Check on it at the minimum number of hours so that it doesn't get dried out.
  3. Serve with corn chips used as dippers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Zucchini bread

It's the season for zucchini and here's the recipe I've been using for a number of years...... (adapted from better homes and garden's new cook book)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use a gluten free blend I make myself)
2 or 3 teaspoons cinnamon (use the good stuff, it makes such a difference)
1/2 teaspoon baking soada
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (more flavor if you use fresh)
1 cup sugar (or less, it’s pretty sweet if you use all)
1 cup shredded zucchini (unpeeled)
1/4 cup cooking oil (can substitute applesauce)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon zest of lemon peel
1/2 or more cup of chocolate chips

In mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, backing powder, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl combine everything else except the chips. Mix well. Add the flour mixture to the rest and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes (check doneness with a toothpick). Cool on wire rack. Makes one loaf. Double and freeze a loaf, freezes well.

Corn Bread

We make this almost every time we have chili. It tastes so good with a little dab of butter and a drizzle of honey, it makes me lick my lips just thinking about it. It's really wonderful right out of the oven, but seems to lose something with time. Serve generous slices so you don't have much left-over.

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 1/3 cups milk

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
  2. Combine lemon juice and milk in small bowl. Set aside to curdle.
  3. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Push dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl and make a well.
  4. Crack the eggs into the well and stir lightly. Then add the milk/lemon juice. Stir quickly until almost combined. Finally, add the melted butter and blend.
  5. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake until the top is golden brown and lightly cracked, about 25 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes and then serve warm.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Easy Chocolate Fondue

There are many wonderful, complicated chocolate fondue recipes, but this one is super easy. And heck, isn't it really all about getting the chocolate onto a piece of fruit in the easiest manner possible?

This makes enough for 2 adults and 2 kids. We ate 16 strawberries and two whole bananas. If you need to make more, increase the amount of chocolate chips and half and half in a 1 to 1/4 ratio.

1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup half and half (you can probably use milk, I just had half and half on hand)
Possible dippers: strawberries, banana, pineapple, apple, pound cake, short bread cookies, etc.

  1. Combine chocolate chips and half and half in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Heat at 50% power until chips melt, stirring periodically until creamy and smooth.
  3. Transfer to a small crock pot or fondue pot.
  4. Start dipping.
  5. Don't lick the inside of the crock pot or fondue pot when you're done... you could burn your tongue.

Mexican Cheese Fondue

Fondue pots must be the most ubiquitous wedding present ever, so go find yours. I'll bet you have one. If you've never used it with your kids, now is the time. They'll think it's the coolest dinner ever.

Anyway, it's hard not to like fondue -- especially the cheese kind. This version is very kid-friendly as it doesn't include wine or expensive French ingredients. The kids and Dave made this for dinner last weekend and there wasn't a drop left-over. This makes enough for four -- 2 adults and 2 kids.

3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth, plus more to thin the sauce if needed
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
3 Tbs. salsa (mild or hot -- you choose)
Possible dippers: cubes of French bread, pre-cooked broccoli or cauliflower florets, chunks of grilled chicken, sauteed whole mushrooms, red and yellow pepper strips, carrot sticks, jicama slices (almost everything tastes good when it's dipped in cheese!)

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until just starting to brown, around 1 minute. Whisk in flour until blended.
  2. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth.
  3. Continue cooking until it thickens and starts to boil, 2-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until it's melted.
  5. Stir in the salsa. If sauce seems too thick, add a little chicken broth.
  6. Transfer the sauce to a fondue pot and set the flame to keep it warm.
  7. Start dipping

Friday, September 4, 2009

Easy Quiche

We had this for dinner the other night. Everyone was getting home at different times, so it was nice to have something that could be eaten "whenever". This crust is not a traditional flakey one, but it tastes pretty good and is really easy to make.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. milk

  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in bottom of pie plate.
  2. Add milk to oil and whisk until blended.
  3. Pour oil/milk mixture over flour and combine. Once blended, press into pie shell to form crust.
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, monterey jack, etc,.)
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp. butter
Optional additions -- make sure they're all well drained: cooked spinach (chopped), sauteed mushrooms, diced and cooked zucchini or yellow squash. diced ham or crisp bacon.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute onions until soft and starting to brown. Add garlic and continue cooking for 30-45 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk and salt and pepper.
  4. Spread onion and garlic around bottom of crust. Add optional additions. Top with grated cheese.
  5. Pour egg mixture into crust. Dot top with small pieces of butter (this helps keeps the top tender).
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes until set and starting to brown on top.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vegetarian Tostadas

These are really easy to make and my kids like them because they get to choose what goes on top. Meriel tends to stick with black beans and cheese, but Gavin is a little more adventurous, adding onion and mushrooms. You can dice the vegetables ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to use them.

Corn tostada shells
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Selection of diced vegetables: red pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, etc. All put in separate bowls.
Optional condiments: salsa, guacamole, hot pepper sauce

  1. Microwave the diced vegetables briefly so that they're partially cooked. (Put in the fridge if you're not going to use them right away.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Give each person a tostada shell and have them layer their selected ingredients putting cheese on the top.
  4. Place the tostadas on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
  5. Serve with salsa, guacamole or hot pepper sauce.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

World-Beater Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's hard to beat a fresh chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven and it's really hard to find a recipe that will deliver that experience better than this one will. If you like chewy, gooey cookies this is for you... if you prefer cookies that are bit puffier, almost cakey, you'll need to keep looking.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups oatmeal, blended finely in food processor
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed Heath Bar
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Add flour and then oats. Mix well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips, Heath bar and nuts (if desired).
  6. Spoon onto cookie sheet leaving 2" between... these will spread as they bake.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven while they still look a little under done. Cool for 5 minutes on pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  8. Eat immediately with a glass of milk. Save a few for your kids or wipe your mouth well to remove the evidence.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Double Chocolate Brownies

My sister-in-law, Margo, gave me this recipe and it's one that my kids always beg for whenever the word "brownie" is mentioned. I love it because the only chocolate needed is chocolate chips and I always have those on hand.

3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
2 cups chocolate chips or one 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, sugar and water; heat just to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in one cup only of chocolate chips and the vanilla. Stir until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Gradually blend in the flour mixture.
  7. Stir in remaining chocolate chips (and nuts, if desired).
  8. Spread in a greased 9" square pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. This is easily doubled for a 9"x13" pan -- bake 35-45 minutes.
These brownies are very thick and rich. If you have a pan that's a little larger than 9" square, they'll come out closer to traditional brownie thickness. I also don't think there's any need to frost them because they're so dense. Definitely taste one before you lather on more sweetness.

Boy, just writing all this down makes me want to go bake a batch. Too bad they like my thighs so well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All-Butter Pie Crust

Since we're heading into prime apple pie season, I thought I would share this crust recipe. I love a good pie crust, but most of them require shortening and in my mind, "shortening" is another word for partially hydrogenated oil... something I avoid like the plague. There's no question that it helps make a great crust, but I still don't like it. So, I was thrilled to find this recipe (which I've modified a bit) and use it any time I make a pie. I know that butter isn't a healthy form of fat, but at least it comes from a cow and not a factory.

This makes one 9-inch, double-crust pie shell.

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) frozen, unsalted butter; grated
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/3 cup ice water, more if needed

(You can combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, but I always do it the old fashioned way.)
  1. Blend flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add grated butter and combine.
  2. Sprinkle lemon juice and 1-2 tablespoons of water over flour mixture. Combine with a spoon.
  3. Add additional ice water until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains.
  4. Turn dough out onto work surface. Divide into 2 balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1-2 hours, before rolling.
  5. Roll out the bottom and top crusts.
  6. Fill pie shell with something yummy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

We have these almost every Sunday morning. The kids love 'em and I do too! A lot of the best pancake recipes call for buttermilk. Well, I NEVER have buttermilk on hand. However, I almost always have lemon juice. I'm not exactly sure what happens when you combine milk and lemon juice other than it becomes a great facsimile of buttermilk. So, give these a try. They're the best whole wheat pancakes I've ever had!

1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cups milk
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour because that's what I have on hand)
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  1. Whisk the lemon juice and milk together in a medium bowl; set aside to thicken -- at least 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl to combine.
  3. Whisk the egg and butter into the milk until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour the milk mixture and whisk gently until just combined. Don't over mix -- there will be a few lumps.
  4. Fry as normal.
  5. We top these with a little vanilla yogurt, toasted nuts (put walnuts, pecans or almonds in the oven at 350 degrees when you start making the batter -- they'll be ready when the pancakes are), fruit (if I have any on hand) and maple syrup. Wow. This is making me hungry!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cheesy Noodles

This is one of the most loved recipes in our house.  I started teaching the kids to cook this summer and had them start a blog.  You can check out my son's post on this recipe too.

1 16 oz bag of pasta (we used gluten free but any will work)
1 1/2 Cups of parmesan cheese
3 eggs
Salt to taste
Optional: mozzarella cheese

First cook the noodles according to package directions.  While the noodles are cooking break the eggs into a small bowl and add the parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  

Place drained noodles into sprayed crockpot (or oven proof dish).  Pour the egg mixture in and mix well.  Salt to taste.  (you could throw some mozzarella in at this step, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't).

Cook on High for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or low for 3 or 4 hours (if using oven cook at 375F for about an hour or till egg sets).

The kids absolutely love this and if you throw some pesto and chicken on it it's a hearty meal too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Roast Potatoes with Garlic

We all loves these -- they're great with hamburgers or any kind of grilled or roasted meat. I found this recipe originally in Cook's Illustrated, but I've modified it a bit.

2 lbs little red potatoes, scrubbed, dried and cut into 3/4" pieces
3 Tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper
3 large cloves garlic, crushed and mashed with 1/8 tsp. salt (set aside in bottom of large bowl)

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place potatoes flesh side down in a single layer on a shallow roasting pan. Cover tightly with tin foil and cook about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove foil and roast until the side of potato touching the pan is crusty golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
  4. Remove pan from oven and carefully turn potatoes over using a metal spatula to safeguard the crusts. Return pan to oven and roast until the side of the potato now touching the pan is golden brown and the skin is kind of wrinkly, 5-10 minute more.
  5. Remove from oven and place potatoes in bowl with garlic paste. Toss to distribute garlic and serve immediately.
  6. This is really good without the garlic as well, so if you want something a little more traditional, skip it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I first had this several years ago at my aunt's farm in Maryland; it was so good that I made it soon after I got home for my own family. It's one way that I can get my kids to eat spinach or Swiss Chard without too many complaints.

I usually prepare two batches when I make it because then I use all the phyllo dough. If I don't, the left-overs just sit in my fridge... anyone have other good uses for phyllo sheets?

8 cups chopped spinach or Swiss Chard (or 2 packages frozen, thawed)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 cup milk
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 pound feta, crumbled (or other mild white cheese, grated)
dash of nutmeg
8 oz of phyllo sheets (in the freezer section of the grocery store)
1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in frying pan, saute the onion until soft and then add the spinach. Continue to saute for 3-4 minutes until spinach is wilted and heated through.
  3. Stir in flour, gradually add milk.
  4. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in eggs, cheese and nutmeg until smooth.
  6. In 11X14 pan, brush and layer 8 sheets of phyllo with butter. Add filling and top with 8 more buttered sheets.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Butterscotch Yums

My kids all love these, they are easy and fun to make and taste absolutely fabulous!

1 bag (12 oz) butterscotch chips
12-16 oz jar Dry roasted peanuts
9 oz can pik-nik shoestring potatoes

Melt butterscotch chips on stove over medium heat until melted through (or use double boiler).  Remove from heat and add peanuts and shoestring potatoes.  Mix well.  Using a spoon place a small (bite size) piles of mixture onto wax lined cookie sheets.  Place cookie sheet filled yums into fridge until thoroughly cooled.  Makes about 100 yums.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spice Rub for Grilled Pork

I use this whenever we have pork chops -- it's best when you grill them, but even pan fried, this tastes great. It's also wonderful on grilled pork tenderloin. 

This recipe makes enough for about 6 chops or 2 tenderloins. 

1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. brown sugar

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Rub all over meat to be grilled.
  3. Yummy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spaghetti Pie

Huge hit with both kids and adults! This is a great recipe to cook ahead of time and store in the freezer - it's easy to cook from frozen...
  • 3 C Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 C Egg Beaters
  • 1 t Italian Seasoning
Mix ingredients together, then add 4 cups cooked spaghetti. Spread into a baking dish and cover with 2 cups marinara (or your favorite pasta sauce). Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When cooking from frozen, lengthen cooking time to 55 minutes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Carrot Cake

Perhaps it's because of the carrots, but I love to pretend that this cake is good for you. It might be a little less sinful than other types of cakes, but probably not by much. For some reason, I find carrot cake to be a bit more forgiving than other types of cakes. So, if you're not much of a baker, this is a good cake to start with.

Aside from a few nuts, this carrot cake is not full of chunks, so everyone in my family really loves it. Gavin still tends to pick out the walnuts, but I'm hoping he'll grow out of that. If your family really doesn't like nuts at all, just eliminate them from the recipe.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup melted, browned butter, cooled slightly
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups shredded carrots (5-6 medium-large carrots_
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (pecans are a great substitute) 
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, not softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with oil.
  2. Cake: put first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir to blend. Make a well in the center, add oil, butter and eggs. Stir with spatula until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Divide evenly between pans. Bake 35-40 minutes (the 9-inch pan will take less time) until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a mixer until blended. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in sugar.
  4. To frost: Place one cooled cake layer (make sure it's cool or the frosting will melt!) on serving plate. Spread top with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with a second layer, bottom side up. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Pat sides with chopped nuts.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken

I made this last night and it was a huge hit. Both kids as well as my husband, loved it! It's a great option in the summer when you have readily available herbs.

4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (13 1/2 oz) coconut milk (I used low-fat)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup each: chopped cilantro and chopped basil
3 Tbs. grated ginger root
2 Tbs. brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; or one whole chicken cut into pieces
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Ziplock bag. Seal bag and turn to make sure all chicken pieces are coated. Place in fridge at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat grill. Remove chicken from bag and grill until nicely browned on each side.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Grilled Pizza

There is no better way to make pizza at home. Conventional ovens just don't get hot enough to make really good crust, so the grill is a great solution. This is not a quick meal, so save it for a weekend. However, my kids think this is the best pizza ever and would likely eat it every night if I was willing to make it.

This makes enough for one pizza. I usually double it so we can have left-overs and if I'm feeding two families, I'll make three pizzas. Also, many recipes have you do everything on the grill. We're using an old Weber gas grill and it just doesn't get hot enough inside to make the cheese get really melty. So, I always throw the pizza under the broiler for 2 minutes to finish it.

The first two toppings (garlic oil and tomatoes) should be made while the crust is rising or before you even start.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2/3 cup water
1 Tbs. whole wheat flour (if you don't have whole wheat, substitute an additional tablespoon of bread flour)
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
2 cups bread flour (it's worth getting "Bread Flour".  All Purpose doesn't work nearly as well.)

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Put on a dough hook and combine and then knead for 6-7 minutes on lowest speed.
  2. Pull out the dough hook and remove the bowl from the mixer. Leave dough in the bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours. (You can adjust the amount of time the dough rises by changing the amount of yeast -- if it's a warm day and I make the crust 6 hours ahead of time, I'll only use 1/4 tsp. yeast, or if I only have an hour, I'll add 2-3 tsp. and put the dough somewhere really warm.)
  3. Preheat gas grill on high.
  4. Punch down dough and remove from bowl. If it feels like a lot to handle, divide into two or three crusts. Take one piece of dough, gently form a disk and then stretch it, using your hands, until it's a nice round shape and fairly thin across. Don't worry if some sections are thicker than others or if it's not perfectly round... many of my pizzas are quite oddly shaped.
  5. Place dough directly on grill and reduce heat to medium-low. I know this sounds crazy, but I promise that the dough will not fall through the cracks. 
  6. Until you've done this a few times, you'll need to keep a close eye on the crust so that it doesn't burn. I usually let mine grill for 3-4 minutes, until there are dark brown grill marks on the bottom of the crust. Adjust heat and time according to how quickly your crust cooks.
  7. Remove crust from grill and place on a counter or board dusted with corn meal. (If I'm doing this for company, I'll usually make the crusts up to this point and then do the final assembly and grilling just before we're ready to eat. The half-grilled crusts are fine on the counter for an hour or two.)


Garlic oil (this should be made ahead of time):
1/3 cup olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves crushed 
  1. Cook over medium heat until garlic starts to brown
  2. Set aside to cool
3/4 lb tomatoes (about two medium-large tomatoes) cored, seeded and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1/4 tsp. salt
  1.  Combine tomatoes and salt in a bowl and then place in a sieve 
  2. Let drain for an hour or two
1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 lb. grated mozzarella
Optional toppings: pepperoni, spinach, feta cheese, sauteed mushroom, carmalized onions, greek olives, sausage, ham, pineapple, etc.

Assembling the Pizza:
  1. Preheat broiler and place rack in the middle-top position.
  2. Flip the crust over so that the grill side is up.
  3. Brush grilled crust with garlic oil.
  4. Sprinkle tomatoes over crust. Then top with cheese and any other toppings that sound good.
  5. Slide back onto the grill with the un-grilled side facing down. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until dark brown grill marks appear.
  6. Remove from grill and place on rack under the broiler for 2 minutes. (If the toppings look piping hot when you remove your pizza from the grill, you may not need to use a broiler.)
Serve immediately! If you have left-overs, they're better warmed up in the oven than a microwave... microwaves will make the crust really limp.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

In honor of the 4th of July, I thought I would share this recipe. It makes enough for 8-10 people, so serve it to a crowd. It's a huge favorite in our house... especially if the kids get to put on their own whipped cream!


8 cups (2 ½ lbs.) strawberries

6 Tbs. sugar



2 cups flour

5 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

8 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup plus 1 Tbs. half-and-half or whole milk

1 large egg white, lightly beaten


2 cups Whipped Cream


  1. For the fruit: slice strawberries and toss with sugar. Set fruit aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. For the shortcakes: Adjust the oven rack to the lover-middle position and heat to 425 degrees. In the food processor, pulse the flour, 3 Tbs. sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl.
  3. Mix the beaten egg with the half-and-half in a measuring cup. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Combine with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn the mixture onto a floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.
  4. Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a 9 by 6-inch rectangle about ¾ inch thick, being careful not to overwork the dough. Flour a 2 3/4 –inch biscuit cutter and cut out rounds. Pull together left over pieces and cut out a few more rounds. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a small baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbs. sugar. (Dough rounds can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)
  5. Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool the cakes until warm, about 10 minutes.
  6. To assemble: When the shortcakes have cooled slightly, split them in half. Place each cake bottom on an individual serving plate. Spoon a portion of the fruit and then a dollop of the whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with the cake top and serve immediately.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yogurt-Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

I made this up when my kids were little and into dipping things. We all still love this.

1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1-2 Tbs. natural peanut butter (I use creamy, but if your kids like chunky that will work too)

Fruit to dip: sliced apples or pears, bananas, strawberries, pineapple chucks, etc.
  1. Combine yogurt and peanut butter in small bowl until smooth.
  2. Sprinkle with cinnamon and stir.
  3. Serve with sliced fruit.

Best Banana Bread

My kids love this. In fact, during the school year my daughter will often come home and ask to make banana bread for snack. I think she would cook or bake every day after school if she could.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped coarsely and toasted (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 very ripe, soft large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 vanilla yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and walnuts in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Don't over bake. (I start checking it at 50 minutes... I hate dry banana bread!)
  5. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Continue cooling.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grilled Vegetables

I'm not sure what it is about grilling, but my kids will eat almost any vegetable if it's been touched by a flame. Things they normally think are "gross", are suddenly eaten without a murmur. Go figure! 

When I make these I usually do a bunch so we can have left-overs the next day. I use a gas grill, but I'm sure you could do the same on charcoal. If you use charcoal, keep a close eye on the vegetables as you may need to move them around if things start cooking too fast.

2 red peppers, washed and each one cut into eighths
2 zucchini, washed and cut into long strips (make sure they're thick enough not to fall through the grill)
2 onions, quartered and then pulled into 2-3 layers
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Other vegetable options: asparagus (FABULOUS!), any kind of pepper (yellow, orange, green, etc.), eggplant, mushrooms (use big ones -- I like them whole), broccoli (it gets a little dry, but still good)

  1. Preheat grill on high.
  2. Put all prepared vegetables into a large bowl. Pour on olive oil and salt and toss gently with your hands. Try to get some olive oil onto each vegetable.
  3. Adjust grill heat to medium. Place vegetables on grill in single layer. I place the zucchini perpendicular to the grill lines so that they don't fall through. I segregate the peppers since they take the longest to cook; that way it's easy to get to the zucchini and onions. Close lid.
  4. Cook onions and zucchini for 2-3 minutes and then turn. You should see grill marks on the sides. Of not, you may want to turn up the heat. Continue cooking the peppers.
  5. Cook onions and zucchini an additional 2-3 minutes. At this point, if they are limp when you move them around, they're done. Check the peppers for grill marks and turn over. 
  6. Continue grilling peppers an additional 3-5 minutes until they're limp.
  7. When the peppers are droopy, remove from grill.
  8. Tent with tinfoil on a platter until ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Corn and Bean Salad

My kids like this salad because they can pick out the ingredients they don't like. I like it because it tastes surprisingly refreshing on a hot summer day. 

1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
2 cups frozen corn (cooked and cooled)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup red onion, chopped

2 Tbs lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Rinse beans really well in cold water.
  2. Add corn, cilantro/parsley and red onions.
  3. Combine cumin, salt, sugar and pepper in red wine vinegar and lemon/lime juice. Whisk in olive oil.
  4. Toss vinaigrette and bean mixture. Chill.
  5. Bring to room temp before serving -- it really does taste better when it's not cold.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lentil Soup

I can't believe I'm posting a soup recipe in June, but it still feels like soup weather to me. Hopefully, we'll see the last of the chilly, rainy weather SOON!

My kids both like this and have even made it once or twice themselves with a little supervision. You can make it vegetarian by eliminating the ham hock -- it tastes just fine without it.

1 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots (I always cut these big so my daughter can pick them out)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. tried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ham hock
2 cans vegetable broth or chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups water
  1. Rinse the lentils. In a large crock pot or soup pot, place lentils, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf and ham hock.
  2. Stir in vegetable or chicken broth and water.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours, or on stove top for 2-3 hours. 
  4. Remove ham hock and let cool slightly. Discard bone and fat and return meat to pot. Discard bay leaf. 
  5. Serve with oyster crackers and fresh, chopped parsley.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baked Apple Pancake

This is great for breakfast, but it also makes a yummy dinner on those nights when breakfast-for-dinner seems like the best plan.

This serves 4 of us with normal sized portions. If you have big eaters in the house, I would do 1.5X or even double it.

2-3 Tbs. butter 
2 apples, pealed and thinly sliced (I usually use Granny Smith, but any kind will do)
6 eggs
 1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 Tbs. brown sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in baking dish in the oven.
  3. Add sliced apples and put back in oven until they sizzle.
  4. Combine eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Will be lumpy!
  5. Pour egg mixture over apples. If you choose, sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed and brown.
  6. Serve immediately with syrup.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar

I love asparagus. My kids are very lukewarm on this particular vegetable, but here's a way that at least my son will eat it -- my daughter still turns up her nose. Neither of them like balsamic vinegar so I set aside a few pieces before I put it on. I know we're almost to the end of asparagus season, so before it's gone (and all you can get is imported from South America), give this a try, it's really good.

1 large bunch of asparagus, bottoms trimmed or broken off
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss asparagus with olive oil in shallow baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast asparagus, turning once until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  4. Set aside a few spears for your kids. :-)
  5. Sprinkle the rest with balsamic vinegar, toss to coat.
  6. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Monday, June 8, 2009


This is kind of like tacos, but you use rotini instead of taco shells. 

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 package taco seasoning 
As an alternative you can create your own homemade taco seasoning with the following: 2 Tbs. chili powder, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1/8 tsp. cayenne, 
1 tsp. brown sugar, 2 tsp. vinegar (preferably cider) -- add the vinegar when you mix the seasonings with the meat.

2 cups uncooked rotini (I use 100% whole wheat rotini)
1 cup salsa OR 1 eight-oz. can tomato sauce (if your kids like things mild)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Optional toppings: chopped cilantro, chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes
  1. Cook the rotini according to package directions. Drain and place back in pot.
  2. Brown the beef, drain. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  3. Add seasoning packet or homemade seasonings to beef mixture.
  4. Combine beef mixture with pasta. Pour in salsa or tomato sauce and combine. Heat gently until hot.
  5. Serve with grated cheddar and other optional toppings.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pizza with Rice Crust

We make pizza every Friday night and I've found this to be a nice change of pace from our usual wheat crust. If you have rice earlier in the week, make extra (you'll need about 3 cups) so you can use it for the crust.

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice (you can use white, but it won't be as healthy)
2 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pizza toppings (Except for the sauce and cheese, all of these are optional. And, I suppose you could even make the sauce optional as well):
3/4 cups pizza sauce (I just use spaghetti sauce)
1 cup thinly slivered red or yellow bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 can (2 1/4 oz.) sliced black olives, drained
4 oz. sliced pepperoni
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook rice according to directions . Scrape into a large bowl. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs. Then add the eggs and cheddar cheese to the rice and mix well. Scrape rice mixture into a well-oiled, 9X13-inch pan and pat into an even layer.
  4. Bake in oven until rice begins to brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, if you're doing vegetables on top, saute them in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown and the moisture has evaporated. 5-10 minutes. (If you don't cook them until the liquid is gone, they'll make the pizza soggy.) Stir in olives and remove from heat.
  6. Spread pizza sauce evenly over the baked rice and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place pepperoni or spoon vegetables over crust and top with parmesan.
  7. Return to oven and bake until parmesan begins to brown.
My kids prefer just pepperoni, so I usually do half with vegetables and half with meat.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Easy Chicken Curry

Both my kids really like this and it's surprising how easy it is to make! I found the recipe in an old Junior League of Denver cookbook, "Colorado Cache", but I modified it to fit what's usually in my fridge.

6 Tbs. butter
1 minced onion
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
1 can beef or chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 Tbs. ketchup
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. chicken, cooked and cut into bite-size chunks (I always use boneless, skinless breasts and cook them ahead of time so that it's ready to go when I need it.)

  1. Melt butter in large skillet.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion is limp. 
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients and add to the onion mixture, stirring over low heat until blended.
  4. Slowly add broth and milk; stir until smooth.
  5. Add ketchup.
  6. Cook for a few minutes and then add chicken and heat to boiling point. It will thicken as it cooks.
  7. Serve over rice with any or all of the following condiments: shredded coconut, peanuts, chutney, chopped green pepper, chopped olives, raisins, crushed pineapple. (I love it with coconut, peanuts and pineapple, but it's good with nothing added.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Egg in a Hole

These always feel kind of old-fashioned to me and definitely remind me of my grandmother. However, they're yummy and a really easy dinner.

Sliced Bread (I use 100% whole wheat)
Grated cheese (optional)

  1. Take a slice of bread and cut out a 2" hole or oval in the center.
  2. Melt some butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Place the bread in the pan (along with the piece that's the hole) and break an egg into the hole.
  4. My kids prefer a scrambled egg, so I break the yolk and swirl the egg around, spreading it over the bread. If you like an easy-over egg, don't break the yolk.
  5. Fry until lightly browned on the bottom and then flip over (along with the hole). At this point, I sprinkle a little grated cheddar on top and cover with a lid until melted.
  6. Serve immediately... "Mmmm, just like Grammy used to make."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sweet Potato Pancakes

These are some super yum pancakes. Who says you can't eat them for dinner?  We love them for dinner.  Serve with some applesauce or cottage cheese.  

1 1/2 cups flour sifted (I use gluten free flour, and I don't always sift)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-3 teaspoons apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves)
1 1/4 Cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 2-3 sweet potatoes pre cooked in the oven)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup milk (cow, soy, rice, almond)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl.  In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients; add to flour mixture, and stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.  Drop onto griddle and cook on both sides until brown.  

Szechwan Chicken

This recipe is really easy and is great served with rice or couscous. I found it in a cookbook "The Bountiful Arbor" from the Junior League of Ann Arbor and as always, I modified it a bit. I never would have thought of combining salsa a peanut butter, but it's really good! Make sure you use natural peanut butter and not the stuff that's full of sugar and partially-hydrogenated oils. 

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
4 Tbs. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. minced ginger
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 red pepper cut into long, skinny strips
1/2 cut salsa (I use Pace Picante Sauce, medium, however go with a level of spiciness your kids like)
1 Tbs. natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped, unsalted peanuts 

  1. Combine the chicken, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in skillet. Cook mixture until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add red pepper, salsa, peanut butter and cook about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice or couscous and top with peanuts.
  5. Serves 4. My son tends to wipe off a lot of the sauce on the edge of his plate, so he only gets a little. But my daughter likes it. They both usually have seconds.

Friday, May 22, 2009


This is a big favorite in our house, although I don't make it very often because it takes a little more time. However, you can put it together it earlier in the day and then keep it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. 

Pizza dough (Or buy two frozen pizza doughs at the grocery store):
1 1/3 c. warm water
2 1/2 tsp. yeast (or 1 package)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 c. flour (I think it's worth using bread flour instead of all purpose; the texture of the dough is much more elastic-y. However, if you don't have it, use what you've got. I've also tried it substituting whole wheat flour. It doesn't work well if you substitute more than half.)

  • Combine water, yeast oil, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Add flour. Attached dough hook and turn on to lowest speed. Let combine and kneed for 6-7 minutes. Remove dough hook. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to double in size. Should take about one hour.

1/2 lb. sliced ham
1/2 lb. sliced pepperoni or salami
(You can really use any meat you like. Hot Italian sausage, ground beef -- just make sure you cook it first.)
2 tbs. crushed garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. thinly sliced and seeded jalapenos
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced (you can substitute a green pepper, or use half of each)
olives (optional)
4 c. grated mozzarella 
1 c. grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbs. water to make an egg wash

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Cook onions, peppers and jalapenos until very soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning; stir and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. Punch down dough and divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to a large rectangle, about 10 by 14 inches. 
  4. Spread half of the cooled onion/pepper across the dough leaving a 1-inch border. (If your kids aren't huge fans of cooked onions and peppers, leave half of the dough empty... you'll be rolling up the long side.)
  5. Layer half of the ham, pepperoni, olives and mozzarella over the top. Using a pasty brush, paint one of the long side borders. Then starting on the opposite long side, roll up the dough into a cylinder, pinching the edges to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ingredients. 
  6. Let the dough rise again, 20-30 minutes. 
  7. Brush the top of each stromboli with egg wash. Bake until nearly completely golden brown and starting to crisp, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle each stromboli with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted and the dough is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Slice thickly and serve. (Some people like to dip these in tomato sauce, like a calzone, but we prefer them without sauce.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garlic Chicken

This is really good served with rice or couscous. I always have to remind my son that the green stuff is parsley and not spinach so that he doesn't try to wipe it off. Serves 4.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
1/4 c. flour
1 c. water
3 Tbs. rice vinegar
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 2 Tbs. dry

  1. Place flour in a bowl and toss the chicken in it. Mix water, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce and parsley in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet. Brown chicken on all sides. Add sauce and lower heat.
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes, turning chicken pieces a few times. Liquid will reduce and thicken to the bubbling stage. Serve over rice or couscous.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thai-Style Noodles

My daughter loves these. My son isn't as much of a fan, because he only likes peanut butter if it's on a banana. So, when I make them, I always set aside some plain noodles for him.

3 Tbs. natural peanut butter
2 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. honey
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger, grated (I keep ginger in 1" pieces in the freezer. They're much easier to grate when they're frozen. You also don't need to worry about the peel -- I just grate the whole thing.)
8 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped dry roasted peanuts, chopped green onions (all optional)

  1. Sauce: combine peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
  2. In large serving bowl, toss spaghetti with the sauce. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts and green onion (I let the kids put these on themselves if they want).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

I probably make these once a week. My kids like them and I LOVE them. They don't really taste like regular fries, but they're yummy and it's much easier to get my kids to eat them in this form than it is when they're mashed at Thanksgiving!

2-3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick french fry shapes (don't cut them too thinly or they won't fit on the pan and they're more likely to burn; mine are usually about 1/2" thick)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin (optional)
3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine olive oil, cumin and garlic in measuring cup, stir to combine.
  3. Place fries in a large bowl or plastic bag. Pour oil blend over potatoes. Mix gently to coat potatoes.
  4. Place on large cookie sheet in single layer. (The single layer part is important. If you stack them, they'll end up kind of mushy.)
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eggs & Bacon Spaghetti

I think this has a fancy, Italian version, but this simple one is easy to make doesn't require special ingredients. If your kids like eggs and bacon, they'll probably like this.

Enough spaghetti for 4 people
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 oz. shredded cheddar (or parmesan)
salt and pepper, to taste
6 slices bacon

  1. Fry the bacon until crisp, chop into small pieces. Wipe grease out of pan, but don't wash it yet!
  2. Mix eggs, milk, shredded cheese and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cook the spaghetti until done, drain.
  4. In the frying pan (the one you fried the bacon in and haven't yet cleaned!), add a dollop of olive oil (around 1 Tbs.), and turn on heat to medium. Pour the spaghetti in the pan. Pour egg and cheese mixture on top and using a fork, combine with the pasta. Keep mixing until eggs are cooked. Sprinkle chopped bacon on top. Serve immediately.
  5. This is also good if you saute some garlic and onions in the bacon pan before you add the spaghetti. But if you're short of time, skip it. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Black Bean Soup

This is the first soup that BOTH my kids would eat and ask for seconds. I think the original recipe was in Family Fun magazine, but I've modified it a bit. I love this recipe because it's really quick -- I can have it on the table in 15 minutes.

2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can chicken broth
1 cup salsa (I always use Pace Picante Sauce, medium -- but, I recommend using whatever your family's favorite salsa is, so that the flavors are familiar)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
Toppings: grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips

  1. Heat beans and chicken broth to a low simmer. Add salsa.
  2. Place in a food processor to puree or use an immersion blender in the pot.
  3. Add corn and reheat until corn is hot. (If your kids don't like "chunks" in their soup, skip the corn.)
  4. Add lemon juice
  5. Serve with toppings on the table: grated cheddar, chopped cilantro and tortilla chips

Lemon-Cilantro Marinade

We used this on some chicken the other night that we grilled. Everyone loved it. For my kids, it was worth the step of putting the whole batch in a food processor so that the cilantro pieces got really small. If I just chop it, they see little green leaves on their meat and try to wipe them off.

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and loosely chopped (if you don't want to use a food processor, chop it finely)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process briefly so that cilantro pieces are teeny-tiny.
  2. Place chicken and marinade in a large plastic bag and marinate for several hours.
  3. Grill chicken.
  4. Yummy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Potato Chip Chicken

This recipe will work with any kind of cut-up chicken: boneless breasts; quarters; legs; wings, etc. Just modify the cooking time -- if it's got a bone, it's going to take longer.

2 lbs chicken, skin removed (or however much your family will eat at dinner)
1 egg, beaten in a bowl
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
salt and pepper
2-3 cups potato chips, crushed (my kids also love the BBQ flavored ones)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a wide bowl. 
  3. Combine egg and milk in a bowl.
  4. Mix crushed potato chips and cheese in a wide bowl.
  5. Dip chicken pieces in flour until covered. Then dip in the egg wash. Finally, place in the potato chips and turn making sure each piece is completely coated with chips. Place in single layer in a baking dish.
  6. Bake until chicken is done -- 30-45 minutes for boneless breasts. Internal temperature should be around 150-160 degrees.


I made this last night for dinner and it was great. Everyone ate it! It's from the Chicago Tribune, although I modified it a bit.

1 boneless pork butt or shoulder (butchers will tell you it's the same thing), 3 lbs, cut into 2" chunks
1 small onion, peeled, halved
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp each: ground cumin, dried oregano, salt
2 Tbs. lemon juice or lime juice
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 orange, halved

36 soft corn tortillas, warmed (we probably only used around 10 tortillas)
Minced onion, fresh cilantro leaves, sour cream, lime wedges

  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork, onion, and water in Dutch oven. Add bay leaves, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and lemon/lime juice. Juice the orange into a bowl; remove seeds. Add juice and the juiced orange halves to the pan.
  2. Heat mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover; place in the oven. Cook until an inserted fork meets little resistance, 2-2 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove pan from oven; transfer pork to a bowl using a slotted spoon and cover. Discard the orange halves, onion and bay leaves. On the stove top, heat liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook down, stirring often, to a syrupy glaze that measures about 1 cup, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Using a fork or a spoon mash the pork -- it will fall apart easily. Add pork back to pan and stir to coat in the glaze.
  5. At the table, spoon the pork into warm tortillas. We topped ours with cilantro and chopped onion, although I'll bet some sour cream would be good too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

I've never made chicken and dumplings before, but these tasted great and the kids ate everything without complaint. It's based on a recipe I saw in the Chicago Tribune for Chicken Fricassee, but I modified it to fit what I had in the fridge. (The original recipe called for dill in the soup and the dumplings. I didn't add any because I was out, but it would probably be good in both.)

Makes about 8 servings.
1/4 c. flour
salt and pepper
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into quarters or thirds
1/4 c. olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 ribs celery, sliced
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cans low sodium chicken broth (15 oz each)
1 c. apple juice

1 1/4 c. flour (I used whole wheat)
1/3 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs unsalted butter (frozen)
1 c. milk

  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in pie plate. Dredge chicken pieces. Heat 3 Tbs oil in Dutch oven. Cook the chicken in batches until browned, around 5 minutes per side. Remove to bowl.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to Dutch oven. Add leeks and onions; cook unil lightly browned, scraping up the brown bits. Add the celery and apple slices; cook until slighly softened, 3-5 minutes. Add broth and apple juice, heat to a simmer. Return chicken pieces to the pan. Cover. Cook 10 minutes.
  3. For the dumplings, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking power and salt in a bowl. Grate butter on largest side of a grater and add to flour. Stir with a fork until butter is coated. Add the milk , stirring until just combined.
  4. Scoop the dumpling mixture with a large spoon (I used a soup spoon) onto the chicken mixture. Cover and cook over low heat until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 15-18 minutes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whole Wheat Biscuits

I probably make these once a week -- my kids LOVE them and they're really easy.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. unsalted butter, frozen and then grated on the largest side of the grater (or cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
3/4 c. milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

2. Measure milk and add lemon juice; set aside to curdle.

3. Place dry ingredients in a bowl. Add grated butter and combine. (If you've cut the butter into cubes, place dry ingredients and butter in a food processor and process with six 1-second pulses -- it should resemble course meal.)

4. Add milk/lemon juice -- it will be kind of thick and lumpy and that's okay. Stir until just combined.

5. Scoop out a large spoonful and gently shape into a ball. Place on a cookie sheet. You should be able to make 12 biscuits.

6. At this point you can cover the biscuits and put them in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake them, or you can put them right in the oven.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until light brown.