Friday, July 19, 2013

Pico de Gallo

I got some tomatoes and jalapenos out of my garden today, so I decided to make some pico!  I used this recipe as a rough guide, since I'd never actually made it on my own before (my mother and I used to make it all the time as I was growing up).

So yummy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Crock pot chicken parmesan

This meal was kind of inspired by this recipe.  I'm exhausted from days of getting my house ready to sell, though, so it's super simplified.

I put some frozen chicken breasts in my crock pot and then dumped a jar of Classico Tomato & Basil sauce over it, and just let it go on low for several hours. (um...6?)

When we were ready to eat, I pulled the breasts out, and put them on a platter.  I sprinkled them with thyme, oregano and basil, drizzled some sauce from the crock pot, and then topped them all with liberal amounts of Parmesan cheese.

I served with cooked spaghetti pasta (with more sauce from the crock pot in a 2c glass liquid measuring cup to pour over if desired), green beans and biscuits.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hawaiian Haystacks

The chicken part is actually kind of similar to beef stroganoff, sort of.  I kind of made up the recipe after making stroganoff anyway.

I cut up chicken and sautéed it with garlic (3 or 4 cloves) and onion.  After it's all cooked I add maybe 2 cups of chicken broth with 3 tbsp of flour mixed in, and basil and thyme and savory, I think.  I just threw some herbs that smelled good in.

Then it's served over rice and topped with pineapple and whatever else you have on hand that sounds good.  For us it was cheese, cucumber, green pepper, olives, green onion, and chow mein noodles.  No tomatoes or I would have had those too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas

This is a pretty simple recipe that I don't really measure.  It has changed a little since going off dairy, though.

Diced/shredded cooked chicken
sour cream (Today I actually used some tofutti cream cheese substitute thinned with a little coconut milk yogurt)
grated cheddar (almond)
can diced green chilis
diced green onions (this is the first time I've put green onions in it, it was pretty good!)
enchilada sauce

mix together first 5 ingredients.  Spread a little enchilada sauce on one side of a tortilla.  Put a spoonful or two of filling mixture along one side, and then roll with the enchilada sauce to the inside.  Place in a pan with some sauce spread on the bottom.  Continue until filling is gone or desired number achieved.  Top with more enchilada sauce.  Bake, covered with foil, at 350* for half an hour or so, or until sauce is bubbly.  top with more grated cheese, and return to oven for cheese to melt (5 or so minutes).  Serve with mexican rice, chips & salsa, or other sides of choice.

Potato soup

I used the Perfect Potato Soup recipe from Pioneer Woman. I used almond milk instead of regular milk, and left out the cream altogether.  It was pretty yummy!

Chinese Pepper Steak

1 lb beef chuck or rounds steak, fat trimmed (I used a buffalo steak that I found. I love bison!)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 clove garlic (I used 3 or 4 :p )
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 c. olive oil
1 c. green onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 tbsp corn starch
1 c. water
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used drained can of diced tomatoes)

served over cooked rice

Cut the beef across the grain into thin strips, 1/8" thick. Combine soy cause, garlic and ginger.  Add beef, toss and set aside while preparing vegetables.  Heat oil in large frying pan or wok.  Add beef and stirfry until browned (if meat is not tender, you can cover and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes).  Add vegetables, toss until tender-crisp, abt 10 minutes.  Mix corn starch with water, add to pan.  Stir and cook until thickened.  At tomatoes and heat through.  Serve over rice.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Stew and Soda Bread

Irish Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
3 bay leaves
2 lbs stew meat
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
2 to 3 tbsp flour
3/4 c. beef stock
1/2 c. guinness stout (I use vernor's ginger ale instead, or you can just increase the beef stock)
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 lbs carrots, sliced
1/2 lbs potatoes, chopped

heat oil in an oven proof pot and add bay leaves. Cook leaves for a moment and add the meat.  Brown meat on both sides on high heat.  Add onion and cook for a few minutes until it is clear.  Reduce the heat to low and add garlic, thyme, rosemary and flour and stir until smooth.  Add the beef stock and stout; simmer, stirring until the stew thickens a bit.  Add the remaining ingredients and cover.  Place the pot in the oven at 275* for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times. Check for salt and pepper before serving.  (in reality I just put everything except the flour [and oil] into my crock pot and let it cook.  About half an hour before serving, dip out some of the liquid from the stew (1/2 c. or so) and blend in the flour, then mix it in the stew and let it thicken that way)

Irish Soda Bread

4 1/2 to 5 c. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c. buttermilk (I dye my milk green and then it makes the bread green)
3 tbsp sugar

Mix dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, stir until it sticks together and forms a dough ball. Knead about 10 times. Put in round cake pan, and press to the edge.  cut and X in the top about 1/2" deep. Bake at 350* for about one hour or until golden. Butter the top & enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

I decided that since we're trying to be healthier, I wouldn't make a dessert pie for Pi Day, like I usually do.  I found instead, a recipe for Shepherd's Pie with Healthier Mashed Potatoes.  And it turned out really well!  The two younger kids actually ate it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I made my own eggrolls to go with a beef and broccoli sauce, and baked instead of the fried them.

1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry (or water)
4 tsp cornstarch

vegetable oil
6 c. chopped or shredded cabbage
1 c. chopped mushrooms
2/3 c. sliced green onions
1/2 lb ground beef (or turkey)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
egg roll wrappers

Blend soy sauce and sherry into cornstarch in cup until smooth.  Heat wok or large skillet over med-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil; heat until hot. Add cabbage, mushrooms, and green onions; stir-fry  2 minutes, cabbage will still be crisp.  Remove from wok, set aside.  Add beef, garlic and red pepper to wok, cook until beef is no longer pink. Spoon off fat.  Stir soy sauce mixture and add to wok.  Stir fry 2 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Return cabbage mixture; heat through, mixing well.  Fill egg roll wrappers, following package instructions for folding.  Bake at 350* until golden brown.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chocolate chip cookies

My dad calls these the best chocolate chip cookies ever, but I don't know about that. But they are pretty good.  It's mostly the Nestle Toll House recipe.

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 c. butter (I used butter flavored crisco)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract (I don't actually measure, I just pour a bunch in. I like lots of vanilla)
2 large eggs
2 c. chocolate chips (or a whole bag, whatever)

Beat butter and sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes at 375* or until golden brown

I like to slightly underbake them.

Friday, March 8, 2013


This is not a "lazy day" dinner.  Homemade pizza takes too much energy.

My belief is that a great pizza starts with a great crust.  I got this recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I tweaked it.  It makes 2 crusts.

2 1/2 to 3 c. flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) regular or quick active dry yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
1 c. very warm water (120* to 130*f)

(my additions)
garlic powder

Mix one cup of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.  Add in the garlic, oregano, basil, and marjoram (I don't measure, I just dump it in and mix until it looks herby enough).  Add the olive oil and water.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping the bowl frequently. (I admit, I mix it with a wooden spoon.  It's too much energy to take out the mixer and then wash it after)  Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is oft and leaves sides of bowl.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead 5 to 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425*  Divide dough in half.  Pat each half into a 12-inch circle on a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Partially bake 7 to 8 minutes or until crust just begins to brown.  Add toppings and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

I topped this one with classico tomato & basil sauce, Galaxy Nutritional Foods mozzarella style rice shreds, cooked & crumbled turkey sausage, olives (on 1/2) and green peppers.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Saffron Chicken

So, this was my first use of saffron, ever.  I used this recipe.  I used the So Delicious coconut milk greek style yogurt (which I was so happy to discover!)

I also grilled it instead of broiling it.  Husband and I really enjoyed it.  The was new.  I'm willing to try it again.  Maybe next time they'll eat more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Poulet Basquaise and Salade Niçoise

This pair are actually both considered a main course, but growing up they were always paired together.     I've modified the poulet recipe to be used in the crock pot (because it's just easier).

Poulet Basquaise

4lbs chicken breasts (bone in or boneless)
3/4 c. dry white wine (optional) [I just used chicken stock]
salt, pepper, sugar
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
1/2 lb each green & red pepper
1 lb each onions and tomatoes ((I never use tomatoes, but if you are going to, add them late in the cooking process so they don't get mushy))
1 clove garlic ((I actually used 3. :p))
1/2 tsp thyme

Put it all in the crock pot until chicken is done cooking

Salade Niçoise

1 lb potatoes
1 can green beans
1 can black olives
1 can chunk light tuna
2 tomates, cut in wedges
2 hard boiled eggs, halved

3/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

Blend vinaigrette ingredients, set aside. Peel slice and boil potatoes until soft. Drain and place into large bowl.  Add green beans and olives. Pour vinaigrette over potato mixture.  Cover and refrigerator and marinate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Place potato mixture (reserving vinaigrette) onto a platter.  Garnish with tuna, tomatoes and eggs, pour reserved vinaigrette over garnishing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Penne with Sausage and Escarole

This recipe has long been one of my family's favorites (the fonts aren't showing up right on my screen any time you see 12 or 14, it's actually 1/2 or 1/4).  I usually make it with spinach because, well, I haven't been able to find escarole.  But I found some this last shopping trip, so I decided to try it since that's what was called for. And I prefer the spinach. It's got more flavor.  This time I also didn't add any salt or black pepper, because I think that the sausage has more than enough salt in it to go around.

My kids couldn't get enough.  The only reason there was any leftover is because I specifically pulled some out so Matt could take some to work if he wanted.  The kids kept going until I told them there wasn't any more.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


This is one of my all-time favorite foods ever.  I love fajitas.

Really, they're quite simple to make, so this is another "lazy day" meal.

First off, I cut up and sauté chicken breast, and then I add onion, green and red bell peppers, and then a packet of seasoning.  I've tried several recipes for making my own, but I haven't really liked them as much, so I'm still on the lookout.

Roll them in a warmed tortilla (one day I'll have to premake a whole bunch of my own tortillas because homemade fresh ones are so much better), and then serve with cheese, sour cream, and chips & salsa.  Sometimes I add spanish rice.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cashew Chicken

It was this recipe.  I didn't flour the chicken first, because it was frozen, so I just stuck whole breasts into the crock pot with the sauce.  I added some chicken stock to give more liquid, and then when the chicken was cooked, I pulled it out.  I diced it and then added some corn starch in liquid to the sauce to make it thicker.  Served over brown rice.

It was pretty good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Taco Salad

This is another of my "lazy day" meals, mostly because it's so uncomplicated.  Matt doesn't ever really take this to work (he doesn't like meals that can't be "assembled" beforehand), but I thought it should go in my "cookbook" anyway.

First off I brown my meat (turkey, as always) with diced onion. Then I add a can of kidney beans.  Last of all I add taco seasoning to taste.  I have a big jar, so I can just had however much I want.  And I usually add a lot more liquid than it calls for so that everything can get mixed together and spread over the meat and beans, and then I just let it simmer until it cooks down.

I serve it over tortilla chips, topped usually with cheese, tomatoes, olives, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. (I used to add ranch dressing, too, it is "salad" after all, but I grew out of that! Now I just liberally sauce it with salsa.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Teriyaki grilled chicken

This is one of my dad's favorite recipes.  Not only that, but since the outside cooking is my dad's realm, so my mother didn't have to do a whole lot, we had it often.  Today, it'll be done on my indoor grill.

1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Put 4 chicken breasts in a gallon sized ziploc bag with the marinade and let rest for 2-4 hours (or more!)  Grill until done.

Tonight we're also doing a salmon filet for Husband. And E as well, since she has decided she really likes salmon.  Served with mixed steamed veg. and salad.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chili Colorado Burritos

This is try #2 of this recipe.  The first time I used a brand of enchilada sauce that I had never used before (Las Palmas) and it was just too spicy for me (don't get me wrong, I love spicy stuff, but after being SO VERY sick through each of my four pregnancies, my esophagus just can't handle much anymore).  So I used a brand (I can't remember which!) that was milder.  I also added chopped onion and crushed garlic to the crock pot while it was cooking.  Turned out quite yummy when I could actually eat it without being in pain.

Served with Lipton's Mexican Rice side and chips & salsa.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

This is a favorite of ours.  Everyone loves it except the 5 1/2-year-old, who has to be convinced to retry it every time, and then remembers she likes it.

I use this recipe.

Today it was served over brown rice with green beans and rolls.  Usually I try to match the ethnicity of the sides, but I didn't want to put forth the effort tonight.

Garlic lime grilled chicken

I started off with this recipe, however, I *really* didn't want to cook it in a pan and such.  So I eliminated the butter altogether and mixed everything else into a marinade, which my chicken sat in for 4 hours.  And then I grilled it.  I think next time I'll double the spices, it could have used a tad more flavor.

I served it with mixed steamed vegetables (I've only had the steamer for a week, but I am LOVING it!), and this yummy bread that had garlic baked into it.

I'm going to label this as gluten free, because I'm pretty sure the chicken is, even though the bread definitely wasn't. :p

Thursday, January 31, 2013

BBQ pork sandwiches

I tried out this recipe today.  Normally when I do this type of thing I just put in the pork roast, onions, and a store-bought sauce, but this was SO YUMMY I'm not sure I'm doing that anymore.  I thought I had some apple cider vinegar, so I didn't buy any, but when I got to my pantry today all I had was basalmic vinegar.  And it was delish.  It didn't even really taste like basalmic vinegar either, so I don't think anyone noticed.  I also used pre prepared mustard (spicy brown), too, instead of powdered.

Served it up with some steamed veggies, and it went over really well!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicken and brown rice casserole

I tried out this recipe today.  It turned out pretty well.  I used brown rice instead of wild rice, and soured coconut cream instead of sour cream, and used the chicken and rice soup instead of cream of chicken. Unfortunately I didn't have a non-dairy substitute for Parmesan cheese.  Oh well.  I also forgot to buy celery and didn't realize it until it was too late.  I would have been nice to have had something with a little color in it though! It went over pretty well, as well, except for the 5-year-old.  Can't win them all!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Summer vegetables with sausage and potatoes

I used this recipe.  Since it was my first time making it, I stuck pretty close to it.  I used turkey sausage instead of chicken, though, because the only chicken I could find was hot Italian  and I really didn't want the hotness.  I checked the packaging of the sausage, and it was gluten free, so here's another accidentally gluten free meal!

Aren't the veggies pretty?? I love colorful food.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Turkey chili

We've been pretty sick lately, but now that we're all pretty much feeling better (especially me...), I'm back to cooking real food!

I started off with this recipe, except that I added a can of tomato sauce and instead of water I used chicken broth.

I browned my ground turkey with the onions and quite a bit of garlic (all the cloves in the middle are pretty small, but it was still quite a bit more than called for!).  After I drained it of grease, I dumped it and all the other ingredients into the crock pot and let it simmer all day.


Today was also my first try at making soured coconut cream (I've been working on eliminating dairy from my diet as an experiment [long story]), and it turned out pretty good!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chicken noodle soup

I guess you can say that this is loosely based on this recipe, but I don't actually even look at it anymore.

Today I put some chicken in the bottom of my crock pot, then covered it with chopped onions, celery, and carrots.  I sprinkled it all with garlic powder (I ran out of cloves of garlic), sage, rosemary, thyme and basil.  I didn't measure, just dumped some in.

Then I added a (4c) container of chicken stock, and let it cook all day.

About 20 minutes before I pulled out the chicken and put in egg noodles.  I cut the noodles up in to bite sized pieces (it mostly fell apart) and then put it back in the soup and let it simmer until the noodles were soft.

No picture today. We've been sick and I haven't gotten myself back together quite yet.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chicken stirfry with Korma curry sauce

Stirfry is one of my favorite foods ever.  Just sauté a protein and whatever vegetables you want, put on a sauce of your choice, and "Voilà!" you have a meal.

Tonight's rendition is chicken, sautéed in a little olive oil with garlic and onions, and then I added green pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, baby corn and broccoli (I can hear my dad go "eugh!").  Tonight's sauce is Sukhi's Korma Curry Sauce.  I love Sukhi's sauces, they're so yummy.  This particular one called for cream as well, but I replaced that with coconut milk.  From my preliminary tastes, it's actually really good.

It's served over brown rice, which I always forget needs a little more time/water to cook with.  And my way of cooking rice is a little different. I got the directions off the bag of calrose rice, call "perfect sticky rice" and I've done it that way ever since.  Preheat your oven to 400* (yes, your oven).  Put your dry rice in the bottom of a casserole dish with some butter and salt.  Then boil the appropriate amount of water (2c. for every 1c. rice.  With the calrose rice I used a little less, with the brown rice I have to use a little more) in a separate container.  I put it in one of my glass liquid measuring containers and put it in the microwave.  Pour the hot water over the rice, stir until the butter is melted, and place it in the oven.  Stir a few times in the interim, and pull out when all the water is absorbed.

Usually I serve Indian food with naan, but...I forgot to buy some and my one try at making my own did NOT turn out well (I may try it again some day).  I think I've forgotten something with every meal I've posted so far.

Oh! And this meal is gluten free!  I have a dear friend that has celiac, so whenever I turn out a gluten free meal I think to myself "if she ever comes to visit, she could eat this!" (except now she's trying vegan, so the chicken wouldn't fly. :/ )

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beef Stroganoff

When I first got married, I made the same hamburger stroganoff (with cream of mushroom soup) that pretty much everyone makes.  And then, for our 5th Anniversary, Husband and I went to Red Square in the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and he ordered the beef stroganoff.  It had a brothy sauce instead of a creamy one, and it was amazing.  He then asked me to find a recipe similar to that to try, and I found one in my Betty Crocker's Cookbook.  It's my go-to cookbook.  It has nearly everything I could ever want in it.

Here's the recipe.  My changes are in {brackets}.
1 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin or boneless top loin steak, about 1/2 inch thick {I used a pound of stew beef and cut up the larger chunks with my kitchen sheers}
2 tbsp butter or margarine {olive oil}
1 1/2 c. beef broth {reduced sodium}
2 tbsp ketchup {omitted altogether}
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic {I put in 2 and contemplated more.  I love garlic.  I also crush it with the flat side of a large chef's knife and then dice it}
3 c. sliced mushrooms (8 oz) {baby bella mushrooms, because they last the longest in my fridge before getting slimy}
1 md. onion, chopped (1/2 c.)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 c. sour cream or plain yogurt {Husband once asked to try it without the sour cream, and I keep forgetting to put it in. It's good with or without}

served over hot cooked noodles or rice {wide egg noodles here}

While I remembered the green beans today (yay!) I forgot the crunchy chow mein noodles we usually put on top (The Red Square version had crispy fried shoestring potatoes and we liked that texture).  I nearly always forget something. I blame it on the "mommy brain."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tired (Lazy) Mom's spaghetti

I do have a handful of "lazy day" meals that I make that aren't entirely premade.  Spaghetti is one of those.  I was raised on homemade spaghetti sauce, so I've never been completely comfortable just opening a jar without doing anything to it.

So I usually brown a pound of ground turkey with diced onion and crushed garlic (I crush it with the flat of a big chef's knife and then coursely chop it before dumping it in).  Then I add the sauce (my current favorite the classico tomato & basil), and sometimes I also add more herbs (oregano, basil, thyme).  All served over warm spaghetti noodles.

Tonight though, it was with premade meatballs that we had in the freezer, that I only bought because I had been recovering from the stomach flu and didn't want to do much for dinner and Erin wanted meatballs with her spaghetti.  I also buttered some bread and sprinkled with garlic powder and toasted it in the toaster oven.  I was going to have green beans too, but I'm tired and forgot until we were mostly done already.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pot roast - in the crock pot

Basically, I started off with this recipe, which claimed to be the BEST pot roast ever  ((it IS pretty good)).

I mixed in the au jus mix instead of just putting it on top, and I used sprite instead of coke or pepsi.  ((from what I understand, the carbonation does something to help make it tender? Don't know if that's actually true.))

I also cooked it with onions, baby carrots, and small yukon gold potatoes.  I served it all up with some rolls with butter & jelly.  Yummy.