Thursday, December 9, 2010

Potato Soup

YUMMY!  And perfect for a cold winter's day!  I used a recipe on and changed it up a bit.  It was enough for two meals for our family of four (which probably only counts as three based on the little appetites).

6 bacon strips, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
heaping 1/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp dried basil, thyme or Italian mix
1/2 tsp pepper
6 c vegetable broth
4 large potatoes, cubed
2 c milk
dash cayenne pepper
Garnish: cheese and minced fresh parsley
In large pot saucepan, submerge potatoes in water and boil until soft.  Remove  and drain potatoes and mash, being sure to mince skins.  In same saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, milk and cayenne; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Spaghetti Pie

This was delicious!  I actually just used our frozen sauce that I made this summer from our farm share (so the items in italics I didn't use).  I also doubled the pasta and used two pie plates, because we don't like things over-sauced.  I didn't have any cottage cheese or a good substitute of ricotta, so I just put a nice layer of mozzarella between pasta and sauce.

1 (6 ounce) package spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook and drain spaghetti. Stir in margarine, parmesan cheese and eggs, while spaghetti is hot. Form spaghetti mixture into a crust in a buttered 10 inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a skillet cook the beef, onion, green pepper and garlic. Drain off the fat and stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and oregano. Heat through. Spread cottage cheese over the spaghetti crust then pour in the beef and tomato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of the pie then bake for 5 minutes longer, until cheese melts.
* Recipe from by Jennifer Meakings (Spaghetti Pie II)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Nut Muffins

These were delicious!  As usual, I used half wheat flour and I actually replace the butter with canola oil.  My pumpkin was fresh, organic that I had roasted from our farm share.  I also always cheat on buttermilk and use 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice in 1/2 cup that I fill with skim milk (skim doesn't get as much curdling, but it's just as yummy).  I also only had pecans on hand and that worked just fine in lieu of walnuts.

Pumpkin Nut Muffins
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/4 c solid pack pumpkin
1/2 c buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp melted butter
2/3 to 3/4 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper baking cups.  In a small mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.  IN a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, buttermilk or yogurt, egg, butter, and chopped walnuts.  Whisk together.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until ingredients are moistened.  (Do not over mix; a few lumps are OK).  Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin and fill cups 2/3 -3/4 full.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon for topping.  Sprinkle topping evenly on top of batter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are golden brown around the edges.  Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.  Serve warm. 
* Recipe from Cooking Inn Style entry by Inn at Pinewood in Eagle River, WI

Perfect Devil's Food Cake

For Camden's 1st birthday party we made the following cake - it was more than enough for 12 guests!  We made a third more than the recipe to make an extra cake just for Camden (which she proceeded to eat 1/2 of).  But we ended up with plenty left over.  This cake has been in the family for a long time - I'm not even sure where it originally came from.  Oh, and before cake we had Oscar pasta (see recipe in previous entries) and grilled hot dogs and brats. 

Perfect Devil's Food Cake
2 1/4 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. Bkg soda
1/2 c. butter
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
3 -1oz. sq. chocolate
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. boiling water
Grease bottom and sides of three 8" pans. Dust with flour. Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Cream butter and sugar til fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat hard after each addition. Melt chocolate over hot water in double boiler. Add to batter and mix well. Add 1/4 c. flour and 1/3 c. buttermilk and mix. Repeat, ending with flour. Mix in vanilla and boiling water. Bake 350 degrees til toothpick is clean.

1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Mix together and let stand in fridge for 2 hours. Then whip and frost cake.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup and Maple Soy Tilapia

Both delicious dishes, but I'm not sure that they went well together.  I combined a few different soup recipes to come up with the following.  It was absolutely wonderful.  The kids loved this dinner - it was like candy for supper.  The best part is that it was very healthy!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
about 12 cups/4lbs variety chopped root vegetables (such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parnsips, carrots, turnips, beets, radishes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh heirloom celery
2 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
6 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/2 tsp fresh gingerroot, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp curry
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine vegetables in a large pot or Dutch oven. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread vegetables evenly on jelly roll pan. Roast in the preheated oven until the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork, 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in your previously used large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the celery and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Add tomatoes.  Stir in the roasted vegetables and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. If the soup becomes too thick, add more vegetable broth.

Maple Soy Tilapia
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
couple squirts of lemon juice
3 tilapia filets
Cook filets with oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper for about 2 minutes on each side.  Add maple syrup cook another 2 minutes per side.

Fresh Greens Pasta Pie

This was really delicious and fairly easy.  The whole family enjoyed it.  I didn't have vermicelli or spaghetti, so I used rotini and make it in a casserole dish.  In the second step I pureed the 3 eggs with beet & radish greens.  We can't wait for leftovers!

Fresh Greens Pasta Pie
6 oz vermicelli
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
5 eggs
2 tsp cooking oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 c chopped fresh spinach or other greens
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large pie plate.  Cook vermicelli according to package directions; drain.  Stir butter and Parmesan cheese into hot vermicelli.  Beat 2 of the eggs and stir well into pasta.  Spoon mixture into pie plate, and use a spoon to shape vermicelli into a pie shell.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake 10 minutes.  Set aside.  Heat oil in small skillet, add onion and saute until tender.  Beat the remaining 3 eggs and combine with spinach, mozzarella, milk, seasonings, and sauteed onions.  Spoon spinach mixture into pasta shell.  Cover pie with aluminum foil.  Bake 35 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.  Makes 6 servings. 
* Recipe in From Asparagus to Zucchini by Crystal Lake Gardens

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oscar Pasta (a variation) and Roasted Root Vegetables

We usually make Oscar Pasta with spinach and nutmeg, but we had a lot of cooking greens and thought we would try this recipe.  It was delicious as were the roasted root veggies.  Both fantastic dishes we would do again.

Pasta with Dark Greens (or Oscar Pasta)
2 pounds mix of broccoli raab, and Braising Greens
Kosher salt
1 pound orechiette, penne or other pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Pinch dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper and salt
In a large pot, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil.While the water heats, trim the greens and wash them well. Cut the greens crosswise into 1-inch pieces or strips.When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Toss the greens into the boiling water; cook until they are almost tender but still bright green, 8 to 10 minutes. (The time will vary somewhat depending on what kind of greens you use. Testing them is the best way to know when they are done.) With a slotted spoon, remove greens from the pot and toss into a large bowl of cold water.Add the pasta to the pot of water in which the greens were cooked. While the pasta cooks, squeeze the greens to remove as much water as possible. Fluff the greens to separate them, then set aside. In a large, heavy skillet or a wok, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, just until the garlic begins to color. (Take care not to let it burn or the dish will taste bitter.) Add the pepper flakes. When the pasta is almost done, 10 to 12 minutes, add the drained greens to the pan and cook together for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pan from the heat. Drain the pasta, leaving a bit of water clinging to it. Add the pasta to the cooked greens; toss well. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Serve immediately with a loaf of the thick-crusted, whole-grain bread. Makes 4 to 6 servings. [I put the cooked greens and other ingredients into the Magic Bullet and pureed them to make a kid-friendly pasta sauce]
* Recipe from Keewaydin

Roasted Root Vegetables
3 cups radishes, halved (use watermelon and Spanish Black if available)
2 cups turnips, in 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water or white wine
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbs mustard
1 tbs honey
1 tbs tarragon
1 tsp garlic powder
Put Radishes and Turnips in a greased oven pan. Mix all other ingrediens in a bowl and spread on the vegetables, making sure to turn them so they are fully coated. Place pan in oven a 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn vegetables every 10 minutes. If dry add 1/4 cup water.
* Recipe from from "legoflamb"

Burgers, Salad and Goat Cheese Chive Potatoes

We got some goat cheese in our farm share last week and had to find a way to incorporate it with some of our vegetables.  These smashed potatoes were wonderful.  We served them with burgers from the grill and a big mixed greens salad.

Allen's Best Burgers

1 lb lean burger
He puts a little of each of the following in our Magic Bullet: olive oil, dash of worchestershire sauce, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper, Lawry's salt (and a special new ingredient - a quarter of an onion, finely diced in our Magic Bullet). Mixed it with the burger and made patties.
* Recipe from my husband :)

Smashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Chives
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)
3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup (6 ounces) goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with cold water to 2 inches above. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender; drain. Return the potatoes to pan over low heat; add remaining 1 teaspoon salt and butter to pan. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher to desired consistency. Add cheese and pepper to potato mixture; stir until cheese melts. Stir in milk; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in chives.
* Recipe from Cooking Light

Freezer Spaghetti Sauce

It has been far too long since I've posted something.  Yes, my family is still eating.  We got behind this summer with vacations and have barely been able to keep up with our vegetable farm share.  Most days we look at what veggies need to be eaten (and what can be frozen to use later) and we build a meal around that.  This is one exceptional recipe that we used recently.  Even my picky son, who won't eat "spaghetti & meatballs" with jarred tomato sauce, loved this.

Stephanie's Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
4 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
16 cups chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
In a slow cooker saute together the onion, garlic, green pepper, and vegetable oil. Cook until onion is transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, sugar, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on low heat. Stir frequently. Let sauce cool. Pour sauce into quart size freezer containers. Store in freezer. When ready to use sauce, stir in can of tomato paste. [I only did 1/8 c sugar and 1.5 Tbsp sugar, and after having made this with pasta would double the tomato paste]
* Recipe from by Stephanie Lane

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Hodgepodge

August has been a bad month for getting my act together.  What with vacation and many weekends out of town most meals have been whatever we need to get rid of thrown in a pan.  Here's the best of this month from what I can remember.  These were not served together!

The Best Fresh Tomato Salsa
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (including seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Stir the tomatoes, green bell pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Serve.
* Recipe from by Cheryl Dressler

Sweet Restaurant Slaw
1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix (or a fresh head of cabbage shredded)
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip™)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
* Recipe from by Sandi Johnson

Brown Sugar-Rum Pound Cakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups butter, softened and divided
1 (16 ounce) package light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light rum
2 tablespoons water
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)
GREASE and flour 2 (6-cup) Bundt pans or 2 (9- x 5-inch) loaf pans, and sprinkle evenly with pecans. BEAT 11/4 cups butter at medium speed with an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar and 1/4 cup sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. COMBINE milk, dark rum, and vanilla. COMBINE flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. BAKE at 325 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes; remove from pans. BRING remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 cup butter, light rum, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a saucepan, and boil, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Drizzle over warm cakes, and cool completely on wire racks.
* Recipe from via Southern Living magazine

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

Thursday, June 29, 2010
We had a lot of vegetables piling up from our farm share and this was the perfect way to use them.  I used the slow cooker and threw it all in.  I added 1 cup of vegetable stock and two cans of garbanzo beans per recommendations on  We served it on whole wheat cous-cous.  It was good, but a bit bland for our taste so we added some Creole spice to give it some kick.  Very good, but a lot of work in the prep - took over an hour to chop everything.

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille
2 onion, sliced into thin rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
2 medium yellow squash, cubed
2 green bell peppers, seeded and cubed
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 chopped red bell pepper
4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the zucchini in batches until slightly browned on all sides. Remove the zucchini and place in the pot with the onions and garlic. Saute all the remaining vegetables one batch at a time, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet each time you add a new set of vegetables. Once each batch has been sauteed add them to the large pot as was done in step 2. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley to the large pot, cook another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning.
* Recipe from by Rani

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Wednesday, June 28, 2010
We had bell peppers & hot peppers, garlic and tomatoes from our farm share, so this was perfect!  The hot peppers were definitely not as hot as the normal diced chiles.  It was a blander version, but still yummy.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
3 cans black beans
2 yellow or green bell peppers
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
two 4 oz. canned diced green chiles (or 1-2 medium-sized minced Anaheim or poblano chiles)
2 teaspoons dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato puree
Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and all other seasonings, lime juice, bell peppers, and chiles. Sauté over medium heat until peppers and chiles are tender (about 15 minutes). Add sauté to beans and tomato puree. Simmer covered over low heat for about 20 min., stirring occasionally. Serve with dollop of light sour cream, sprinkle of cheese, or without any toppings. We served with taco chips.
*Recipe from

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chicken Nuggets, Buttered Noodles & Baked Green Beans

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This was a delicious and kid-friendly meal.  My veggie loving kid didn't finish his nuggets or pasta, but had three helpings of the green beans (which were actually green and white/purple varieties from our farm share).  The green beans were outstanding - I replaced the salt and pepper with 1.5 tsp of Roman Salt (Italian seasoning with salt).  For the nuggets I replaced the butter with buttermilk (1/2 Tbsp lemon juice in 1/2 cup and fill with milk - in 5 minutes you have buttermilk) as I read that it leaves the chicken more juicy. 

Buttered Noodles
Hodgson Mills multi-colored elbow macaroni
oil butter

Baked Chicken Nuggets
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut chicken breasts into 1 1/2 inch size pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil. Mix well. Put melted butter/margarine in a bowl or dish for dipping.  Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter/margarine first, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place well coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
* Recipe from by Teresa

Oven Roasted Green Beans
1 1/2 pounds green beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Trim the ends of the green beans and add to a large bowl. Toss with the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast, stirring once halfway through, until lightly caramelized and crisp tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
* Recipe from courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flapjacks & Eggs

Monday, June 26, 2010
It was just my son and I for dinner tonight.  We had some beet greens and fresh oregano that needed to be used.  So I asked Greysen if he wanted Oscar Pasta (pasta with pureed greens) or Green Eggs and he voted for the eggs.  Then he wanted pancakes, too.  So we had a fun little dinner, just the two of us!

Buttermilk Flapjacks (small batch)
1/2 cup flour (used 1/4 c white, 1/4 c wheat)
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg white
1/2 c buttermilk (use 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice in 1/2 cup and fill with milk)
1 Tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil (sometimes we use a butter/oil/flaxseed combo)
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a mixing bowl. In a 2-cup glass measure or small bowl, beat the egg lightly. Whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter or oil until well blended. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing only until the batter is evenly moistened; it will still contain small lumps. Grease your nonstick frying pan lightly with a paper towel moistened with vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat for about 1 minute. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. Spread out to 5 inches. Cook until golden brown on the bottom with tiny bubbles all over the top, 1 to 2 minutes. Shake the pan or slip a spatula underneath the flapjack to loosen it.  Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the flapjacks hot out of the pan. Makes about 4 pancakes
* Recipe from A Man And His Pan

Green Eggs
5 eggs
greens (we had beet greens)
fresh oregano
salt & pepper to taste
Steam and puree the greens and mix them with a fork with eggs, a little milk, a chunk of butter, fresh oregano and salt & pepper. I've never used beet greens before but it sort of made the green eggs brown due to the pink hue of the stalks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ramen Noodle Salad

Sunday, July 18, 2010
We needed something to take to a picnic.  We had two smaller heads of cabbage from our farm share and thought of this salad tha my mom has made before.  It was the perfect use for our cabbage.

Ramen Noodle Salad
1 lg. head cabbage - chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 sm. carrots, grated
2 pkg. Ramen noodles (broken)
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1 pkg. slivered almonds
1/2 c. butter
Brown noodles, sunflower seeds, almonds in butter; set aside.
1 c. salad oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix until well blended. Add dressing and noodle and nut mix to cabbage 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
* Recipe from

Sirloin Beef Tips & Prizewinner Green Beans

Saturday, July 17, 2010
We served the sirloin beef tips over brown rice - yum!  These green beans really are wonderful!!!  Hence the "Prizewinner!"

Sirloin Beef Tips
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 lbs. boneless sirloin top roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 lg. onions, chopped
1 beef bouillon cube
3/4 c. boiling water
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a plastic bag; shake to mix. Place beef cubes in bag and shake well. Heat oil in Dutch oven; add beef and cook until browned. Add onion; cook until tender.  Dissolve bouillon cube in boiling water; add to beef mixture. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over noodles or rice. Serves 6. (Recipe may be doubled.)
* Recipe from

Prizewinner Green Beans with Tomatoes & Herbs
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c sliced onions
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried ground thyme
1 lb green beans, ends clipped, beans cut in half
1 sprig rosemary, leaves torn off the stem
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges (peeling is optional)
salt to taste or 2 Tbsp salted butter
Heat olive oil in deep pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and pepper flakes; sauté until translucent, 3-5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup water, the dried spices, and green beans.  Stir, cover, and steam-cook beans until nearly done, 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the rosemary and tomatoes.  Cook very briefly, until tomatoes are warmed through and beans are done,  Season with salt, or, if you prefer, melt salted butter over the beans before serving.  This recipe won a prize in the 2002 Food for Thought Recipe Recipe Contest in Madison, Wisconsin.  Makes 4 servings.
* Recipe by Mara Rosenbloom from From Asparagus to Zucchiuni

Lamb Ragu with Penne & Baked Veggie Fries

Friday, July 16, 2010
I made the veggie fries and Allen was in charge of the pasta/meat.  So he created the Lamb Ragu with Penne.  It was all quite delicious.

Lamb Ragu
1lb ground lamb
2 Tbs EVOO
2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup tomato sauce
1 sprig fresh roesmary
1 clove garlic chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 Tbs chopped fresh basil

Baked Veggie Fries
Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Turnips cut into small sticks
Toss them in a bowl with some oil to coat.  Spread evenly on baking sheet.  Salt and spice as you like and bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes.  Then flip or stir.  Bake another 15 minutes.  You need to watch them as cook time varies depending on thickness of cuts.

Pan-Fried Spiced Cod & Cucumber Moons

Monday, July 12, 2010
I found a yummy looking pre-packaged butternut squash ravioli that I just had to try.  So we decided to pair it with the following delicious recipes.  The cod and ravioli paired quite well.  The cod was Allen's creation and it was to die for!  While the cucumber was delicious it was not complementary to the others.

Pan-Fried Spiced Cod
1 lb wild cod
1 Tbsp EVOO
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1tsp lemon juice
dash or ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Cucumber Moons Sauteed with Fresh Dill
2 large or medium cucumbers
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp minced shallots or chopped green onions
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
Peel cucumbers with potato peeler and clice in half lengthwise.  Scoop out all the seeds with a spoon.  Slice about 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick.  Heat butter in large, heavy skillet over medium flame.  Take care not to let the butter brown, but get it good and hot.  Add the cucumbers and shallots and cook, tossing often, until cucumbers begin to get tender, about 4 minutes.  Stir in dill plus salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to toss and cook until crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes longer.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4-6 servings. 
* Recipe from MACSAC in From Asparagus to Zucchini

Pancakes & Green Eggs

Sunday, July 11, 2010
We've been out of town a lot and eating things that we've put in the freezer.  Now I'm back to it - although a bit behind! 

We returned home from a weekend away and thought breakfast for supper sounded great.  So we made pancakes and snuck our veggie into our eggs.  Pancakes are great even if you don't sift in the first step - also we have a griddle so we haven't tried the flipping instructions.  Our families always used a pre-made pancake mix, but this is so easy and so delicious that we don't need a mix anymore!  I've also premade the dry mix when we took it on an extended family vacation and it worked well adding the eggs, milk and butter/oil later.

Buttermilk Flapjacks
1 cup flour (we use 1/2 c white, 1/2 c wheat)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 c buttermilk (use 1 Tbsp lemon juice in 1 cup and fill with milk)
2 Tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil (sometimes we use a butter/oil/flaxseed combo)
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a mixing bowl.  In a 2-cup glass measure or small bowl, beat the egg lightly.  Whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter or oil until well blended.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing only until the batter is evenly moistened; it will still contain small lumps.  Grease your nonstick frying pan lightly with a paper towel moistened with vegetable oil.  Heat over medium heat for about 1 minute.  Ladle 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan.  Spread out to 6 or 7 inches.  Cook until golden bron on the bottom with tiny bubbles all over the top, 1.5 to 2 minutes.  Shake the pan or slip a spatula underneath the flapjack to loosen it.  Then take a deep breath, jerk the pan up and away from you, flipping the pancake and letting it slide back into the pan, browned side up.  Good luck!  You'll find this takes some practice and a certain amount of trial and error.  When you get it right, repeat with the remaining batter.  Serve the flapjacks hot out of the pan.  Serves 3 or 4.
* Recipe from A Man And His Pan

Green Eggs
greens (we had turnip & radish greens)
We steamed and pureed the greens and mixed them with a fork with the eggs and a little milk.  Yum!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Salmon Risotto

Monday, June 28, 2010
Today we wanted to have salmon, risotto and the farm fresh broccoli (from our farm share).  We decided to make a fairly traditional risotto and combine it with the salmon and broccoli (with a few tips I found online from Jamie Oliver).  It was delicious!  Our creation was a success with the whole family.  We would cut the recipe in half next time.  It made a lot more than we expected.

Salmon Risotto
Serves 12-15
16 ounces salmon, skinned and cubed
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
16 oz. (4c) risotto rice or arborio rice
broccoli - stalk, leaves and florets finely chopped
1/2 c white wine
lemon juice
2 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
Heat the stock in a pan and simmer gently. In another pan heat the oil and butter, add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, until soft. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes or until the rice is transparent. Stir in a ladleful of the hot stock, and a little wine. When all the liquid is absorbed, add a further ladleful of stock and wine. Continue adding the stock and wine, until the rice is cooked and has a creamy consistency. Separately steam or broil salmon until it's nearly finished.  Add the broccoli and let cook for a few minutes.  Add the salmon, lemon juice and Parmesan. Season well and serve.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Burgers & Sweet Potato/Turnip Fries

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The perfect grilling weather means it's a perfect day for burgers!  We had friends over and enjoyed the burgers with our veggie fries, a watermelon & blueberry salad and some other pasta/potato salads provided by our friends.  It was a fantastic summer meal!

Allen's Best Burgers
1 lb lean burger
He puts a little of each of the following in our Magic Bullet: olive oil, dash of worchestershire sauce, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper, Lawry's salt (and a special new ingredient - a quarter of an onion, finely diced in our Magic Bullet).  Mixed it with the burger and made patties.
* Recipe from my husband :)

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe
3 large sweet potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil, to coat
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon (may substitute nutmeg)
½ tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Farenheit. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes well; peel off any blemishes. Cut the sweet potatoes “cactus-style” (wedges) and place on a cookie sheet with edges, or a shallow bowl. Drizzle or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garlic powder, tossing to coat. Transfer to baking sheet and bake in a single layer for 10 minutes. Flip fries over and bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow to cool and serve with Chipotle Mayonnaise.
* Recipe from by Jill Harris 

Turnip Fries Recipe
a few small turnips (~We had hakuri and early turnips, but they were still tasty little treats!)
Extra virgin olive oil (1-2 Tbsp.)
½-1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit. Wash the turnip and peel well to remove the waxy coating (No waxy coating on ours fresh off the farm). Carefully, slice turnip into French fry-shaped sticks. Turnips are difficult to slice – be watchful of your fingers Place sliced turnips into a medium bowl or onto an oiled cookie sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt, tossing well to coat. Transfer to baking sheet, if required, and bake in a single layer for 12-15 minutes. Flip fries and bake an additional 12-15 minutes. Serve as-is or sprinkled with lime juice.
* Recipe from by Jill Harris

Pasta with Greens and Spicy Grilled Salmon

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This dishes were both very good on their own, but shouldn't have been paired together.  The salmon was very interesting.  We really enjoyed the salsa - it was even great to clean off our plates with some corn chips - our toddler thought that was the best part!  We had turnip and radish greens from our farm share, so we used that in the pasta.  We feared that our son wouldn't eat the cooked greens (although he's recently been trying salads!) so we pureed the greens once cooked.  The flavors were delicious.

Pasta With Greens
1 bunch cooking greens (kale, lacianto kale, collard greens, turnip greens, chard)
1 Tbsp. salt plus more to taste
1 lb. spaghetti or linguini
2 filets anchovies (optional)
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 cups freshly shredded grating cheese such as parmesan, asiago, or aged pecorino
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim and wash greens, leaving the leaves whole. Add 1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water. Add greens and blanch until wilted, from 30 seconds for chard to 2 minutes for lacianto kale, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the leaves to a colander and rinse them under cool water. Boil pasta until tender to the bite. Drain, reserved 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside. Meanwhile, chop anchovies, if using, garlic, and cooked greens. Once pasta is drained, return pot to medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, pepper flakes, if using, and anchovies, if using. Cook, stirring, until garlic turns just the tiniest bit golden. Add chopped greens and stir to combine. Add reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Add pasta, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Take off heat. Stir in half of the shredded cheese. Taste and add salt to taste, if you like. Divide between plates or pasta bowls, garnish with remaining shredded cheese, and serve.
* Recipe from Molly Watson, Guide
Spicy Grilled Salmon
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
6 red radishes, chopped, plus 1 sliced for garnish
2 limes, peeled and cut into segments
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Southwest Spice Mix, recipe follows
1 (2 to 3 pound) salmon fillet
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Salsa, put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped; set aside. Heat the grill to medium high.Drizzle some olive oil over the salmon and season it with salt and pepper. Gently rub 2 tablespoons of the Spice Mix into the salmon. Pour some olive oil onto a paper towel and rub the grill with it - this will help to prevent the fish from sticking. Grill the salmon flesh side down for about 12 to 15 minutes. To serve, spread most of the Salsa onto a platter and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. Garnish with more Salsa, radish slices, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Southwest Spice Mix:
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons whole cumin
2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
Put the ancho chiles, cumin, coriander, cinnamon stick, and paprika into a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, and toast the spices just until they begin to smell, about 1 minute. Empty into a spice mill and grind to a powder.
* Recipe from by Tyler Florence

~I used 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp ground coriander, 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, and 1/2 Tbsp paprika and it was delicious!  We're going to try this as a rub on grilled chicken sometime soon.

Homemade Grilled Pizza

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 & Thursday, June 17, 2010
We decided to make pizza to use some extra things we had in the fridge.  Then loved it so much that we did it again on Thursday!

Pizza #1
Whole Wheat Crust from Trader Joe's (yummy and cheap!)
goat cheese
jar tomato sauce
fresh oregano + other spices
apple chicken sausage, cooked (recommend an unsweetened version, go with just plain chicken sausage)

Pizza #2
Whole Wheat Crust from Trader Joe's
jar tomato sauce
fresh oregano + other spices

We grilled the crust for 5 minutes, flipped it, added toppings and grilled for about another 5 minutes (or until cheese was to our liking).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turnip Greens & Mushroom Ravioli

Sunday, June 13, 2010
It is so much fun to explore new recipes and try new vegetables through our farm share.  Pasta Prima All-Natural Ravioli Wild Mushroom and Thyme had caught my eye at the grocery store.  Anything mushroom usually does.  So we needed to find a use for some of our farm-fresh veggies to complement the ravioli.  Well, the flavors didn't really work well together, but both the ravioli and the greens were delicious.

Leon O'Neal's Turnip Greens
1 large bunch turnip/radish greens
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
Dash of maple syrup
6 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon and garlic seasoning
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Wash the greens in several changes of water in the sink until no more grit is seen. Chop the greens coarsely. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the greens, the turnip, and the sugar. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain. In a large skillet, sauté the bacon until it gives up its grease. Add the onion and cook 7 minutes until the onion is soft. Toss the greens with the bacon and onion. Add the lemon pepper and salt. Optional: serve with Louisiana hot-pepper sauce.
* Recipe from by Robb Walsh

Tortellini al brodo

Saturday, June 12, 2010
This is a traditional Italian Christmas dish that we enjoyed with friends there a few years back.  I had always thought of making it.  I used a few recipes that I found and took a little from all of them.  Of course, this dish is best made from scratch, but it's not easy...

Tortellini al brodo
4 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups tortellini
2 teaspoons Parmiggiano Reggiano, freshly grated
2 teaspoons lemon juice
few dashes of parsley
Salt and pepper to taste (I also used a bit of Sale Roma (a favorite we got in Italy) and French Four spice (from Penzey's Spices)
Heat stock to a boil and cook the tortellini. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley and other spices.  Ladle into bowls, grate cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Orecchiette coi Broccoletti & Sauteed Fish with Radishes and Leeks

Friday, June 11, 2010
We were on vacation for a couple weeks and then spent time cleaning out the fridge/freezer to make way for our upcoming Community Supported Agriculture deliveries (a variety of fresh vegetables and herbs delivered weekly and fresh off a local farm). 

This is our first year having a share from a farm.  We received our first delivery yesterday.  Our radishes and leeks were from our CSA and that dish was one of our favorite fish creations that we have ever had.  We also had a delicious salad with nasturtiums - edible flowers!

Yesterday we also went strawberry picking and came home with 6 quarts (picked 7, but we ate that before we left!).  We have saved some for eating at home and today made the rest into Strawberry Jam.  It took some time to find a highly rated recipe that didn't have more sugar than strawberries.  We haven't tested it yet and I'm not sure that it gelled, but it looked and tasted good before freezing. 

Strawberry Jam
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate.
~ Water bath is about 10-15 minutes in boiling water for those that don't know.
 ~ To test for jelling Place three plates in a freezer... after about 10 minutes of boiling place a tsp of the liquid of the jam onto the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate... if it doesn't try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it's ready to be canned!
* Recipe from

Orechiette coi Broccoletti
1 pound broccoli florets
1/2 cup salted ricotta, grated (we don't use fresh and think it's almost as yummy).
2 cloves of garlic, minced
A small bunch parsley, minced
1/2 cup grated cheese, either all Parmigiano or half Parmigiano and half Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup olive oil
Pepper to taste (salt should not be necessary)
1 pound orecchiette or other short firm-walled pasta, e.g. farfalle (butterflies or bow ties)
Set a pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, wash the broccoli florets and break them up into fairly small pieces. When the water comes to a boil, throw in the pasta, stir it, and add the broccoli. While the pasta and broccoli cook, mince the parsley and the garlic, and sauté them gently in the oil, in a large skillet. Do not let the garlic brown. When the pasta is still a minute or so shy of being done, drain it and transfer the pasta-broccoli mixture to the skillet (it should still be a little moist, so don't shake all the water out of it while it's in the colander). Stir in the ricotta, season the pasta with pepper to taste, and continue cooking over high heat until the pasta's done, stirring vigorously. Transfer the pasta to a serving dish, dust it with the grated Parmigiano, and serve.
* Recipe from Kyle Phillips,

Sauteed Trout with Radishes and Leeks
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 c minced shallots
2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 bunches radishes, cleaned and sliced
2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
4 lake trout fillets (we had cod in the freezer, so we used that)
floru seasoned with salt and pepper
chopped fresh chives
Heat butter in skillet over medium flame; add shallots and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Raise heat, add radishes, and cook quickly until barely tender; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Dredge fish fillets in flour, shake off excess flour, and place in hot pan.  Cook about 3 minutes per side.  Remove to a serving dish or individual plates and top with radish mixture.  Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.
*Recipe from From Asparagus To Zucchini - Leah Caplan, The Washington Hotel

Friday, May 21, 2010

BRANana Bread & Zucchini Pecan Flaxseed Bread

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Been on a kick baking bread.  We needed some food for a road trip so I made these and froze them.  It made for wonderful breakfast and snack food!  They are both fantastic and will definitely be made again.  The best part is that they are both relatively healthy (in moderation, as all things are).

BRANana Bread
3/4 c white flour
3/4 c wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c ground flaxseed or flaxmeal
1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 c mashed ripe bananas (about 3 regular sized)
3/4 c yogurt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts
1/3 c dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan lightly with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, wheat bran, sugar, ground flax, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips, being careful not to overmix the batter.  Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until wooden skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely on rack. Slice and serve or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Yield: Makes 1 large loaf, 16 slices. Tip: The bananas must be very, very ripe (sweet!) for this banana bread as there’s very little added sugar. Freeze your bananas as they become over ripe and you will always be ready to throw together a banana loaf!
* Recipe from Taste of Home February/March 2010

Zucchini-Pecan Flaxseed Bread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup egg substitute
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, granulated sugar, and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Spread zucchini onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Press down firmly to remove excess liquid. Combine yogurt, egg substitute, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in zucchini. Add zucchini mixture and 1/4 cup pecans to flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle batter with 3 tablespoons pecans. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.
* Recipe from Cooking Light

Italian Grillout

Saturday, May 15, 2010
We brought together some friends to share one of the things we miss so dearly from Italy - their grillouts.  Although we couldn't entirely recreate that experience, we shared some wonderful food and great conversation with friends. 

Everything was delicious.  I'm still on the hunt for Salsiccia (Italian Sausage) with no fennel.  The salsiccia that we ate in Northern Italy didn't have any and I'm not fond of sausage with fennel.  I found some that didn't have fennel listed, but it turned out it was still in there.  The sausage was still tasty, but after 4+ years of searching I'm still hoping to have true salsiccia that I can grill at home.

The rhubarb pie and carmelita bars were fantastic - even had people asking for the recipes.  They were both successful experiments!  The whole wheat crust is one we've been using for a few years - I'm not even sure where we found it.  It is delicious with anything.

Grilled Salsiccia
Klements Italian Sausage (I believe they were a new line that has no Nitrates and other additives)
We butterflied them (split down the middle) and put them on the grill, just as our Italian friends did!

Grilled Hot Dogs (for the kids)
Oscar Mayer Naturals

Grilled Marinated Chicken
Tossed with: Red Wine Vinegar, soy sauce, garlic salt, maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste

Grilled Marinated Veggies
2 pkgs baby bella mushrooms
colorful assortment of bell peppers
Italian oil-based dressing (we used Paul Newman's Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

Baked Polenta "Chips"
3 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
Sale Roma (an Italian spice)
Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly pour in a continuous stream of cornmeal, stirring constantly. Add the salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Shut off the heat and stir in cheese and seasoning. Working quickly, grease 13x9x2 with olive oil and pour in cornmeal mixture, spreading it out over the whole surface (the thinner you spread it the crispier it will get). Let the polenta set and cool for at least 1 hour. When the polenta has cooled completely, cut into squares. Oil both sides and arrange them on a baking sheet, leaving space around each one so that the edges can crisp. Broil on the top rack in the oven for 15 minutes, or until browned.
Whole Wheat Pie Crust
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
3 tbsp. water
Mix all ingredients together with a fork. Roll out and put in pie pan. [If using crust in unbaked pie - preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick bottom and sides and bake 10-15 minutes.]

Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Pie
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell *see above
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
6 Tbsp cold butter
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg. Add the sugar, flour and vanilla; mix well. Gently fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into pastry shell. For topping, combine flour, brown sugar and oats in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.
* Recipe from by Paula Phillips 
Oatmeal Carmelita Bars
2 c. flour (used half white/half wheat)
2 c. oatmeal
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened (used Earth Balance)
1 (12 oz.) jar caramel ice cream topping (used dulce de leche sauce)
3 tbsp. flour (used wheat)
1 cup(6 oz.) chocolate chips (used dark chocolate chips)
1/2 c chopped pecans
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9x2 inch pan. Blend 2 cups flour, 2 cups oatmeal, 1.5 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 cup butter at low speed until crumbly. Press half (about 3 cups) into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Combine caramel and flour, set aside. Sprinkle warm crust with chocolate chips. Drizzle caramel mixture over top; sprinkle evenly with reserved crumbs. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours until filling sets. Cut into bars.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Black Eyed Peas and Vegetables

Friday, May 14, 2010
We love trying out new bean focused dishes and this was certainly a success.  My sister and her family joined us - she and her daughter are gluten intolerant - so I served this with a honey wheat bread and they brought gluten free crackers/bread.  I should have made twice the recipe, though, because this was gone in no time at all. 

Black Eyed Peas and Vegetables
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of chili powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 small package frozen or fresh spinach
15 oz. can of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 small package frozen corn
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Put olive oil in frying pan and add dry spices, onion and garlic. Continue to stir until onions are soft and spices are fragrant. Add black eyed peas. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add spinach, tomatoes, and frozen corn. Cook another 10 minutes so the flavors will blend and the frozen vegetables are hot.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ligurian Fish Stew with Crostini

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I was checking out another recipe when I stumbled upon this one.  And what a lucky stumble it was!  This is fantastic!  I only used half of the red pepper flakes as suggested in many of the comments.  I don't think it would have been too spicy with all of them, but it was great with only half. 

Ligurian Fish Stew with Crostini
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
3/4 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 (28-ounce) can crushed or pureed Italian tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 pounds whitefish fillets, halibut, cod or arctic char, skinned and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta or rustic bread, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 3 tablespoons
1 garlic clove, halved
In a 6-quart, heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/3 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Season the fish with salt and add to the stew. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season the stew with salt, if needed. For the Crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until light golden, about 12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts with the cut side of the garlic. Ladle the stew into serving bowls and garnish with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a few red pepper flakes on top. Serve with the crostini.
* Recipe from by Giada De Laurentiis

Quick Tacos & Homemade "Spaghetti-O's"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
These were NOT served together.  The "Spaghetti-O's" were for lunch with Greysen's friends.  While feeding my infant sweet potatoes I kept thinking how much they smelled like good old spaghetti-o's.  So I attempted my own healthy version and I thought it tasted just like the real thing!  The tacos were for supper.  Both were very good and well-received by all ages.  It was also a very easy day in the kitchen!

Homemade "Spaghetti-O's"
1/2 bag pasta shaped like ABC's (4 servings)
2 jars (or 2 cubes homemade) sweet potato #2 baby food
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp olive oil
Cook pasta to directions, add sweet potatoes, tomato paste and olive.  Stir in and let warm.

Quick Tacos
whole wheat tortillas
15 oz can black beans for tacos (seasoned)
shredded mozzarella for tacos
pico de gallo
spinach (or lettuce)
On plate, put tortilla, helping of cheese and beans and warm in microwave.  Then add pico de gallo and spinach.  YUM!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pumpkin Penne & Mom's Dressing

Monday, April 10, 2010
We had leftover dressing from my mom's house this past weekend, but nothing to go with it.  I had pulled this recipe a while back and thought it sounded interesting - Pumpkin Penne.  It was a good combination of flavors.  The only problem was that my son (who doesn't like cake and pie) did not like this pasta dish! 

Pumpkin Penne
1 - 12oz. box whole-wheat penne
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1.5 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 - 15oz. can pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped
1.5 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot, covering to keep warm. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat oil on medium.  Add shallots; cook and sitr until tender, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in broth, evaporated milk, pumpkin, spice, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Toss pasta with sauce. Spoon into bowls and top with parsley and cheese.  Makes 6 cups. 
* Recipe from Parents November 2009 magazine

Monday, May 3, 2010

Maple Salmon with Oscar Pasta and Carrot Fries

Monday, May 3, 2010
We wanted to try a new salmon glaze and needed to find things that complemented a maple glaze.  Oscar Pasta (with nutmeg) and Carrot Fries (with cinnamon) helped to create the perfect meal.  The flavors were wonderful - a healthy meal that tasted like dessert!

Maple Salmon
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound salmon
In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.
* Recipe from by Starflower
Oscar Pasta
Any kind of pasta - Greysen prefers penne or rotini
a big container of fresh spinach
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
butter and or milk
(I sometimes also stir in diced or minced carrots)
Cook pasta to directions. Steam spinach in a pot with a tiny bit of water. Put fully cooked spinach in blender or magic bullet, add a dash or two of nutmeg, a dash or two of salt and a good chunk of butter (or natural oil butter). Can add a little bit of milk to make creamier (and easier to reheat). Blend. Pour spinach sauce over pasta. Stir and eat.
* Recipe that we created

Carrot Fries
Serves 4
8 small or 4 large carrots
2 Tbsp butter or oil
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Peel carrots, cut in half the short way, halve or quarter to make relatively even sticks.  Melt butter, stir in sugar and cinnamon. Toss carrots in butter mix.  Place on jelly roll.  Bake at 450F for 12-18 minutes.  Check and flip at about six minutes.
* Recipe memories of a recipe in a Sesame Street cookbook I saw at Menards.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Risotto with Chicken Tenders and Asparagus

Sunday, May 2, 2010
We tried a simple, yet delicious recipe that is perfect for kids!  Yesterday Greysen at brussel sprouts like candy and today he did the same with asparagus - unbelieveable!  The tenders were yummy (on food networks website there is also a dipping sauce which we didn't use so I didn't include here).   I cheated on the risotto today and used a boxed organic Italian blend risotto that we had in the cupboard.  A great, healthy meal!

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 18)
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over each of 2 heavy large lined baking sheets. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes. Stir the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a pie dish. Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Arrange the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the chicken tenders and bake (flip with tongs at about 6 minutes) until they are cooked through and golden brown, about 12 minutes.
* Recipe from by Giada de Laurentiis

Baked Asparagus
Arrange asparagus spears, tough ends removed (which we didn't have to do because we had fresh snapped asparagus from the farmer's market), on cookie sheet, sprayed with Pam, not touching each other.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspon Kosher salt and brush with olive oil.  Bake 12 minutes at 400 degrees.  We then sprinkled with Tuscan Sunset from Penzeys Spices. 

Burgers and Brussel Sprouts

Saturday, May 1, 2010
The perfect meal for a beautiful day!  We grilled the burgers and put them on EarthGrains whole wheat thin buns.  Enjoyed the burgers and brussel sprouts with fresh cheese curds that we picked up at the farmer's market this morning.

Allen's Best Burgers
1 lb lean burger
He puts a little of each of the following in our Magic Bullet: olive oil, dash of worchestershire sauce, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper, Lawry's salt (and a special new ingredient - a quarter of an onion, finely diced in our Magic Bullet).  Mixed it with the burger and made patties. 

Carmelized Brussels Sprouts
Cut in half with a little olive oil in a frying pan until they brown. We seasoned them with Sale Roma or a Roman Salt (or a type of Italian seasoning).

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Perfect for a cooler spring evening.  Maybe I put more cayenne in than before, but WHOO was it spicy!  But our spice-loving 2-year-old devoured a bowl and asked for more! 

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
3 cans black beans
2 yellow or green bell peppers
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
two 4 oz. canned diced green chiles (or 1-2 medium-sized minced Anaheim or poblano chiles)
2 teaspoons dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato puree
Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and all other seasonings, lime juice, bell peppers, and chiles. Sauté over medium heat until peppers and chiles are tender (about 15 minutes). Add sauté to beans and tomato puree. Simmer covered over low heat for about 20 min., stirring occasionally. Serve with dollop of light sour cream, sprinkle of cheese, or without any toppings. We served with taco chips.
*Recipe from

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Spaghetti" Pie with Turkey Meatballs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
We had some extra jarred tomato sauce left from before we started making most things from scratch.  So we decided to do a semi-traditional American "spaghetti."  We didn't use spaghetti, though, because Greysen has trouble eating it.  So we used rotini, seasoned tomato sauce, parmesan and the following Turkey Meatballs and made it a baked dish.  Everyone loved it.

Turkey Meatballs
6 Servings
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
2 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup bread crumbs, the onion, egg, parsley, parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the turkey and mix until combined. Place the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Roll the meat mixture into eighteen 1½-inch balls, then roll in the bread crumb mixture to coat. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low; add 1/2 cup chicken broth and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining chicken broth in 1/4-cup increments until the meatballs are cooked through and all the broth has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
* From Everyday with Rachel Ray - Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zesty Lime Fish Tacos

Monday, April 26, 2010
We're always on the search for new and exciting ways to use fish (and get kids to eat it).  These were delicious!  And everyone ate them.  I only used 1/2 T of the chilis and that was perfect for us.  We used mahi mahi and a bag of "coleslaw" - just shredded green cabbage and carrots.  We will definitely do these again!

Zesty Lime Fish Tacos
1 pound tilapia fillets (about 4)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
3 cloves garlic , finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)
6 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (from 7-ounce can)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
Heat oven to 200°. Cut each fish fillet lengthwise into 4 strips. In shallow glass dish, mix 7 tablespoons of the lime juice and garlic. Add fish; turn to coat. Let stand while preparing biscuits. On work surface, mix flour and cornmeal. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Press both sides of each biscuit into flour mixture, then press or roll into 6- to 7-inch round. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add 2 biscuit rounds; cook about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Place on cookie sheet; keep warm in oven. Cook remaining rounds, adding 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to skillet for each batch. Wipe skillet clean. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and lime juice mixture, chilis, salt and pepper; cook about 5 minutes, turning fish once, until fish flakes easily with fork. In small bowl, mix salsa, sour cream and remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice. Using slotted spoon, remove fish and divide evenly among biscuit rounds. Top each with cabbage and 1 to 2 tablespoons salsa mixture. Fold biscuit rounds in half over filling. Serve with any remaining salsa mixture. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.
* Recipe from Kellie White on

Salmon Pasta With Tomato Cream Sauce

Thursday, April 22, 2010
I loved this recipe when we tried it a few months ago and we're trying to get more fish in lately.  We also added a teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to give it some more kick.

Salmon Pasta With Tomato Cream Sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 salmon fillets, skin removed, chopped (can cook from frozen)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cup cream
4 tablespoons tomato paste (or tomato sauce)
2 dashes of chili pepper
whichever pasta you like, cooked
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until slightly soft. Add the pieces of chopped salmon. Cook about 5 minutes, turning pieces often. Season with the salt and pepper. (At this point you should also start boiling your pasta). Stir in the cream. Add the tomato paste, and blend together. Simmer until salmon in fully cooked. Season again with salt and pepper (if desired). Serve over pasta and enjoy! Serves 4
*Recipe from Marisab / All my dishes on

Spicy Lentil & Chickpea Soup with Chorizo Sausage

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
After our crockpot mishap (see a few weeks ago), we got a new slow cooker.  It's a Hamilton Beach one with three different size ceramic bowls depending on the size of your recipe.  I like it, but miss the old one with the automated settings (that shut off after a certain number of hours).  This was the first attempt with the new slow cooker - from the recipe book that came with it.  It is delicious, but we shouldn't have put in so much cayenne.  We like spice, but not super-spicy.  If I made it again, I've already made a note to only do 1 tsp cayenne. 

Spicy Lentil & Chickpea Soup with Chorizo Sausage
1 lb. brown lentils, rinsed well and drained
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
3 15-oz cans chicken broth
1 large onion, peeled, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
3 carrots, peeled, sliced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
12 oz Chorizo sausage, sliced
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp ground cayenne
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh parsely, minced for garnish
Combine lentils, carrots, tomatoes, 2 cans chicken broth, onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs in stoneware dish.  Cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours until lentils are soft.  Remove thyme sprigs.  Add chickpeas, sausage, 1 can chicken broth, and ground cayenne.   Cook on LOW for 2 more hours, or on HIGH for 1 more hour.  Just before serving, stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serves 4-6.
* Recipe from Hamliton Beach Instruction Manual

Brown Butter Sage Pasta with hot dogs

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
For a quick, fun kid-oriented meal we did a gourmet version of buttered noodles and our favorite Oscar Mayer Naturals hotdogs.  I thought the sage leaves would be our veggie, but once fried they really didn't seem like enough.  Next time I will plan for a veggie. 

Brown Butter Sage Pasta
3 Tbsp butter
6 diced sage leaves
Rest of package of whole sage leaves
Melt with the sage and a pinch of salt until it foams and begins to brown. Remove whole sage leaves and drain on a paper towel (they will be a crispy, yummy treat). Continue to swirl the butter sauce until it turns a rich chestnut brown. Add pasta to saucepan and sauté. Serve with fried sage leaves.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Classic Bean & Rice

Friday, April 16, 2010
I needed something simple and easily reheatable for Nonna to have with Greysen while I went and enjoyed the Wisconsin Film Festival.  This was perfect. 

Classic Beans & Rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (undrained)
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chicken buillon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon cooking wine or cider vinegar
2 cups cooked rice
Heat oil in a medium sauce pan, sauté onion,green pepper, and garlic. Sauté until tender@8-10 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and stir until boiling, reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced@ 20 minutes. Serve over rice. Serves 4.
* Recipe from - Dawn.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Greek Chicken Pasta

Thursday, April 15, 2010
So I haven't been cooking up a storm lately - Allen is working a lot and I had a nasty infection that left me with not enough energy to cook.  So it's been frozen pizza, canned chili and some yummy chicken quinoa soup from the freezer.  I'm finally getting back to normal. 

I thought this recipe sounded very interesting and similar to something I've had before.  I was right - it was delicious!  I did manage to kind of char the top under the broiler, but it was still tasty.  Greysen ate well and my visiting mother-in-law even went back for seconds!  I did use our heart-healthier options and cut up the chicken and artichoke smaller so that it was kid friendly.

Greek Chicken Pasta
2 c uncooked penne pasta (used whole grain)
1/4 c butter, cubed (used 3 Tbsp Earth Balance, 3 Tbsp flaxseed meal)
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 c all-purpose flour (used wheat flour)
1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 c cubed rotisserie chicken
1 jar (7.5 oz) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 c (4 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 c sliced pitted Greek olives
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package.  Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet (I didn't have one, so I used a skillet and transferred it to a corningware dish - probably could have done the stovetop cooking in that as well) - melt butter. Add onion; saute until tender.  Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in the chicken, artichoke hearts, cheese, tomatoes and olives.  Drain pasta; stir into the pan. broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Sprinkle with parsley. 
* Recipe from Taste of Home magazine Apr/May 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Garden Fritatta

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The Spring Garden Fritatta was our choice this week for "kid's night."  It was fun for Greysen to help with and it looked so delicious and colorful.  We don't have the special fritatta pan so it became Spring Garden Scramble for us.  We could have cut the recipe in half and made it in omelette form.  This was fantastic!

Spring Garden Fritatta
6 eggs, beaten
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 lb. fontina cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
7 tsp. olive oil
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 1/2 lb. zucchini, cut lengthwise into ribbons 1/8 inch thick (I did bite-size chunks to be kid-friendly)
1 cup peas
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fontina, parsley, 2 Tbs. of the chives, the 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. pepper; set aside. In the deep half of a frittata pan over medium heat, warm 2 tsp. of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a small bowl. In the deep half of the frittata pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tsp. of the olive oil. Add half of the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and just tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl. Warm 2 tsp. of the olive oil in the pan and cook the remaining zucchini, stirring in the peas during the last minute of cooking. Return all the zucchini to the pan and add the onion mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the egg mixture. Cook, using a rubber spatula to lift the cooked edges and allow the uncooked eggs to flow underneath, until the eggs are almost set, 7 to 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, in the shallow half of the frittata pan over medium-low heat, warm the remaining 1 tsp. olive oil. Place the shallow pan upside down on top of the deep pan and flip the frittata into the shallow pan. Cook, covered, until the eggs are completely set, about 7 minutes. Invert the frittata onto a plate and let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tbs. chives and serve. Serves 8.
* Recipe from Williams Sonoma.

Salmon Orzo Pilaf

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Lots of leftovers and an out-of-town trip gave us a nice reprieve from cooking (and dishes).   This dish was perfect for a busy day - very easy!  And the best part was that everyone enjoyed it.  Greysen liked the salmon "nuggets" and got some good veggies with the leek and pepper.

Salmon Orzo Pilaf
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek (white part only), rinsed well and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (our red was rotten, so I used green - but red is better)
3/4 lb salmon fillet, skinned and cut into bite-size chunks
1.5 c orzo
3 c vegetable broth
1/2 c half and half
Salt and pepper to taste (I also added lemon-garlic seasoning)
Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat.  Add leek and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until pepper just begins to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add salmon and cook, turning, until the fish cubes turn opaque on the outside, 2 to 3 minutes. Add orzo and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to coat with oil.  Pour in broth.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Stir in the half and half.  Season to taste.  Simmer until hot, about 1 minute, and serve at once.
*Original recipe from Man in a Pan - but I've altered it a bit (was chicken broth and heavy cream)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole

Monday, March 29, 2010
Had a yummy crock-pot meal all prepared before having family come from out of town!  It was perfect!  That is, until at the end we decided to speed up the process and boil the crockpot insert directly on the stove. DON'T DO IT!  Unless you have a new model that says it is possible.  The crockpot insert made a lot pop when the base cracked off and we had sauce running over the side of the stove (even between glass panels). 

We were able to salvage enough of the sauce to enjoy it.  This meal was delicious, despite our kitchen mishap!

Pulled Pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup(s) ketchup
1/3 cup(s) cider vinegar
1/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup(s) tomato paste
2 tablespoon(s) sweet paprika
2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon(s) yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
4 pound(s) boneless pork shoulder blade roast (fresh pork butt), cut into 4 pieces
In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker pot, stir onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender. With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly. While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary.
* Recipe from Good

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk
½ cup melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned. Serves 6 to 8.
*Recipe from Diana Rattray, Guide

Pasticcio d'Italia

Saturday, March 27, 2010
We had this wonderful pasticcio (the word means "I mess up" in Italian, but the dish is similar to American lasagna) at our friends' farewell dinner in Italy.  We've tried for some time to recreate the beautiful flavor and simplicity of the dish.  We seemed to have gotten it right this time.  It was wonderful!  And it's actually a lot healthier than your typical lasagna.

Pasticcio d'Italia
1/4 c butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
2 1/4 c milk
pinch of nutmeg
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb lean ground meat
scant 1/2 c dry white wine
8 oz can plain tomato sauce
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pkg whole wheat egg lasagne (we used Gia Russa)
1/2 c water
Bechamel Sauce: Melt 1/4 c butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil.  Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for a least 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Taste and add more salt if necessary and season with nutmeg and pepper. 
Bolognese: Heat olive oil in pan, add the carrot and onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Add the meat and cook until browned, then pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.  Season with salt, add the tomato sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Grease an ovenproof dish. 
Arrange a layer of lasagne on the base of the prepared dish, spoon some of the meat sauce, then some of the bechamel sauce on top, sprinkle with some of the Parmesan and dot with some of the butter.  Repeat the alternating layers until all the ingredients have been used, ending with a layer of bechamel sauce & Parmesan.  Four layers of lasagne noodles is best.  Pour water around edges and cover.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Quick Kids' Tacos

Friday, March 26, 2010
Taco Night!  It was fun and we let Greysen build his own.  We've had tacos before, but he has always refused them.  This time he ate a whole taco! 

Quick Kids' Tacos
can of black beans (preferably with chili and cumin spices)
romaine lettuce
fresh pico de gallo
shredded taco cheese (usually 3 cheese blend with spices)
whole wheat tortillas

We put some black beans and cheese on a tortilla and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds, then added lettuce and pico de gallo.  Yum!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lemon & Pink Peppercorn Parsnip Cake

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Well, I'm a big fan of trying different things.  Things that sound strange like strawberry risotto, or lamb with blueberries or roasted pigeon.  So this recipe caught my attention.  We tried it with vanilla ice cream and another try with leftover cream cheese frosting from Red Velvet Cupcakes.  We were not huge fans. Allen thinks that we should try to cut the peppercorns.  They add an interesting flavor that neither of us is fond of.  We would try it again - maybe with walnuts or almonds. 

Lemon and Pink Peppercorn Parsnip Cake
Serves 10-12
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup olive oil
3 cups flour (I did half white, half wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons freshly ground pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups parsnips, grated
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
juice of two lemons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 10" bundt pan. In a small bowl, mix eggs, honey, sugar and olive oil until sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, peppercorns and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in grated parsnips and ginger and pour batter into bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Poke several holes in top of cake, and pour fresh lemon juice over the cake. Cool 15-20 minutes before inverting bundt cake onto serving plate. Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns.
* Recipe found in the Isthmus from Marcelle Richards, who writes about food at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Honey-Ginger Salmon, Rice Pilaf and Brussel Sprouts

Monday, March 22, 2010
This is a wonderful and not terrbily complicated meal.  The Salmon with Honey-Ginger Glaze and the Maple Syrup Brussels Sprouts were the perfect combination.  I'm not as sure that the Rice Pilaf worked with these dishes, but it was still good.  Everyone enjoyed.  Greysen ate three helpings of the rice pilaf along with a little bit of the salmon and brussels sprouts. 

Salmon with Honey-Ginger Glaze
4 four-oz salmon steaks
1/2 Tbsp peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 c honey
In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce and lime juice.  Stir in the honey and season with salt.  (will keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days)  * Recipe from Get Saucy.
In a little vegetable oil, fry the salmon steaks on low until a little pink in the middle.  Add glaze and take off heat.  Serve. 

Rice Pilaf
1 cup brown rice
1/2 stick butter
1 8oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 small onions, chopped
2 cans beef boullion or consomme (we used 2+ cups vegetable broth that we had on hand)
In a large casserole dish bake at 350F uncovered for 1 hour (or more as needed to fully cook rice).
*this is my family's recipe that I've altered a bit (using brown rice, Earth Balance oil butter, and vegetable broth)

Shredded Brussels Sprouts
12 oz brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
Cut sprouts into thin ribbons (by first removing the core) or cut into quarters or eighths, depending on the size of sprout.  Put them and 1 Tbsp in pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in maple sytrup and saute until crisp-tender.  Serves 4.
*Recipe from Dinner Solutions in Parents magazine, April 2010.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Burgers and Polenta

Sunday, March 21, 2010
We had Allen's somewhat secretive Burgers - but I finally learned the ingredients!  We had them with polenta and pickles.  We used Earthgrains whole wheat thin burger buns - I think they're new - but they're wonderful.  We didn't, but we thought they'd be excellent toasted.  We also topped our burgers with muenster cheese.  Allen and I that it was a fun and delicious meal, but our picky boy wouldn't eat anything but the polenta!

Allen's Best Burgers
1 lb lean burger
He puts a little of each of the following in our Magic Bullet: olive oil, dash of worchestershire sauce, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper, Lawry's salt
Mixed it with the burger and made patties.  YUM!

Homemade Polenta
3 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
we also like to add Sale Roma (an Italian spice that's not too easy to find in the US)
Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly pour in a continuous stream of cornmeal, stirring constantly. Add the salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Shut off the heat and stir in cheese. Working quickly, grease 13x9x2 with olive oil and pour in cornmeal mixture, spreading it out over the whole surface. Let the polenta set and cool for at least 1 hour. When the polenta has cooled completely, cut into squares. Oil both sides and arrange them on a baking sheet, leaving space around each one so that the edges can crisp. Broil on the top rack in the oven for 15 minutes, or until browned.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

Saturday, March 20, 2010
We made Indian!  We tried to make Rogan Josh 4-5 years ago - that was our last attempt.  Although we had to buy a lot of new spices, this tikka masala was not terribly difficult.  And it was DELICIOUS.  Our toddler, Greysen, loved it and the garlic naan (from Trader Joe's) that we served with it. 

Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup blanched whole almonds (I used 1/4 cup almond meal)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1.5 tablespoons garam masala
1.5 teaspoons pure chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 35-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
Pinch of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces. (I skipped the following portion and just used ¼ cup almond meal) Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve. The Chicken Tikka Masala can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving. Steamed basmati rice, rice pilaf or warm naan. *Recipe from Grace Parisi on