Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nut Roast

This nut roast provides a filling, satisfying main dish to a special meal (or any meal). The Brazil nuts and added wine contribute to the robust flavor, but if you prefer, feel free to substitute other nuts, or vegetable broth for the wine.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
3-1/2-4 cups mushrooms, chopped (I used a mixture of white button and portobella)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1-3/4 cups cashews
1-1/2 cups Brazil nuts - I used pecans
2 slices dense wholegrain bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup old-fashioned (not quick) rolled oats
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce -- I used Braggs
1/4-1/2 cup hearty red wine (pick one you’d enjoy drinking) or vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly grease a loaf pan or spray with nonstick coating.

In a nonstick frypan, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms; sauté until onions are soft and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the cilantro and stir to mix; turn off heat.

Meanwhile, place the nuts, bread, flax and oats in the bowl of a food processor and process until ground and a uniform texture (like a coarse meal). Add the herbs and pulse to combine.

Measure 1-1/2 cups of the veggie mixture as well as 1-1/2 cups of the crumb mixture and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Add the remainder of the mixture in the frypan to the crumbs left in the food processor, along with the soy sauce and red wine. Process until smooth. Scrape this mixture into the bowl with the vegetables and other crumbs.

Combine the ingredients in the bowl until you have a sticky, thick “dough”. Scrape this mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for about one hour, turning once about midway through, until the top is dry and the edges are well browned. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Savory Cheesecakes on Greens

Mini Cheesecakes

* 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
* 1 slice bread, processed in a food processor to make 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 cup (one 8-ounce container) whipped cream cheese
* 2 large eggs
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
* 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort

The original recipe called for this to be served on a nice well-dressed, Italian salad. I wanted pizza flavored so I omitted the bleu cheese and added diced tomatoes, basil and grated parmesan. Tasted just like pizza!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat four small (3/4-cup) soufflé molds with the butter. Divide the bread crumbs among the molds and coat the bottoms and sides heavily with the crumbs, pressing them onto the buttered dish so they stick.

Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and add the eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Mix well with a whisk and divide among the soufflé molds. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture in the molds. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Arrange the molds on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecakes will still be slightly wet and soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.

Potato Bruschetta

Try this simple appetizer next time you’re entertaining guests. The potatoes hold up remarkably well, and won’t absorb the moisture from the topping the way toast rounds would.

3-4 large round (not oval) potatoes, washed and cut into disks about 1/2″ thick
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
fine sea salt, to taste
basil-pine nut pesto, as desired (I used about 3/4 cup)homemade or store bought
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
more extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic, for drizzling
2-3 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Put potatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle with the olive oil and sea salt to taste. Toss with your (clean) hands until potatoes are evenly coated. Place the rounds on the cookie sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, until tender and beginning to brown on the edges. It’s nice if you can turn the disks over about halfway through, but not essential.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes until they are cool enough to handle, but still warm. Top each disk with 1-2 tsp of pesto, a good mound of tomato, a slice or two of basil, and a thin drizzle of olive oil. Serve while still warm or at room temperature. These are best eaten the day they’re made. Makes 15-18 appetizers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
* 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
* 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup low-fat milk
* 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
* 1 large egg, well beaten
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
3. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, oregano, sugar, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl.
4. Stir milk, feta, egg, tomato paste and olives into the onion mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full.
5. Bake the muffins until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Jalepeno Poppers

* 12-18 whole fresh jalapeno
* 1 cup nonfat refried beans
* 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
* 1 scallion, sliced
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
* Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray


1. Make a small slit on one side of each pepper. Place the peppers in a large microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on High until just softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine refried beans, cheese, scallion and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds with a small spoon (a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon works well). Fill each pepper with about 1 tablespoon of the bean filling, or until the pepper is full but not overstuffed (the amount will depend on the size of the pepper). Close the pepper around the filling.
4. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
5. Place flour in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Combine cornmeal and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a third shallow dish. Roll each stuffed pepper in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the cornmeal mixture. Place the peppers on the prepared baking sheet. Generously coat all sides of each pepper with cooking spray.
6. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn each pepper over and continue baking until hot and the filling starts to ooze in a few spots, about 5 minutes more.

Apricot Canapes

* 16 dried apricots
* 8 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
* 2 ounces chopped shelled pistachios
* 1/2 teaspoon honey
* Freshly ground pepper

Top each apricots with 1/2 teaspoon cheese. Sprinkle with pistachios and drizzle with honey; sprinkle with pepper.

Tomato Tart

* 12 14-by-18-inch or 24 9-by-14-inch sheets phyllo dough
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon plain dry breadcrumbs
* 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
* 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, (about 4 ounces)
* 1 large red tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
* 1 large yellow tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
* Freshly ground pepper, to taste
* 10-12 small basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 17 1/2-by-12 1/2-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay one large sheet of phyllo on the prepared pan. (If using the smaller size, slightly overlap two sheets on the pan to form a rectangle.) Keep the remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap or wax paper and a damp kitchen towel.
2. Lightly coat the phyllo surface with oil using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon breadcrumbs. Repeat this step, layering the remaining phyllo on top. Brush the final sheet with oil. Carefully roll about 3/4 inch of each side toward the center to form the outer rim of the tart.
3. Using the same brush, paint pesto evenly on the surface of the tart. Sprinkle about half of the crumbled feta cheese over the pesto layer. Arrange tomato slices, alternating colors, over the pesto layer; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
4. Bake the tart until the crust turns brown and crispy, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
5. To serve, lift the parchment paper and slide the tart onto a cutting board or large platter. Scatter basil leaves on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.


* Make Ahead Tip: Bake the tart up to 8 hours in advance; cover and refrigerate. Transport it directly on the baking sheet. Pack basil leaves separately in a plastic bag. Reheat the tart at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warmed through.

* Thaw frozen phyllo in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight before preparing the recipe.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crashed Potatoes

5 whole medium potatoes
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Garlic powder to taste
Oregano to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and spices (garlic, oregano, paprika-- your choice). Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

These were as delicious as I expected.

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Bacon Onion Cheddar Biscuits…
Servings: 12

* 2 cups All-purpose Flour
* 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
* ¾ teaspoons Salt
* ¼ cups Vegetable Shortening (crisco, Etc)
* 10 Tablespoons Milk (whole Milk Is Best) **I used heavy whipping cream**
* 4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
* 1 whole Egg
* 10 slices vegetarian bacon, cooked and crumbled
* 1 cup Finely Diced Onion
* 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese -I also added in about a 1/2 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola

Preparation Instructions

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in shortening until all combined. ***I didnt sift***

Combine milk, oil, and egg in a separate bowl. Whisk together.

Combine flour mixture, milk mixture, bacon, onions, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Stir gently until all combined.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes on 375 degrees until golden Remove from pan and serve warm. ***I used cupcake papers and mine cooked for 30 minutes before they were done***

Oh my this recipe is AMAZING!! Delicious and so very easy to mix up. These little beauties will definitely be on a repeat list in my house.

Yogurt Marmalade Cake


* 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
* 1 cup (heaping) Plain, Lowfat Yogurt
* 1 cup Sugar
* 3 whole Eggs
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* 1 whole Zest Of Lemon
* ½ cups Canola Oil

* ½ cups Prepared Orange Marmelade
* ¼ cups Yogurt

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick baking spray (or grease and flour it if it makes your skirt fly up). Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and canola oil until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined; do not over beat.

Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan. While cake is cooling, pour marmalade into a sauce pan. Heat it on low until melted, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt to the pan and turn off heat. Stir to combine, then pour slowly over the top of the cake, allowing icing to pool around the sides.

Eat. Groan. Repeat.

Avgolemono Soup

When I was younger, I worked in a Greek restaurant for about 5 years. I remember watching Papui make it, every Sunday. The past few days my throat has been raw from coughing... this felt like heaven in a bowl.

Servings: 10

* 2 cups milk
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 6 egg yolks, beaten
* 2 quarts chicken stock -- I used vegetarian chickit stock
* 1/2 cup long grain rice -- I used orzo.
* 1/4 cup butter
* chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
* 1 lemon, rind of, grated
* salt and pepper

**Note** You can vary this to taste, of course. I usually add a bit more cornstarch for thickening, diced vegetarian chicken, double the orzo or rice, about 1/2 c finely chopped onion, and about a handful of chopped celery.

**Note** Keep in mind, with the omission of the rice, this would be a great sauce for chicken linguini. Or atop asparagus. Or fresh snapped green beans. Or potatoes! Actually this reminds me to post the Greek potato recipe, too. Ahhh.... so much to eat, so little time :)

Stir the milk and cornstarch together and beat in the egg yolks. Set aside. Bring the stock to boil in a 4 quart soup pot and add the rice. Cook, covered, until the rice is puffy and tender, about 25 min. Remove the soup from heat, add milk and egg mixture, stirring carefully. Continue to cook for a moment until all thickens. Remove from the heat again and add the butter, chopped parsley, lemon juice, and finely grated lemon peel.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Enchilada Soup

* 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 15 ounce can corn, drained
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
* 1 10.75 ounce can cream of chicken soup - I'm using COM, next time will try homemade chickit gravy.
* 1 cup milk
* 4 (4 ounce) chicken breasts --I used 4 MSF Chicken Grillers
* 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
* 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* avocado, (optional) sour cream, and tortilla chips for topping

* I also added a couple handfuls of diced baked potatoes and 1 small can of green chiles

In a crockpot, combine drained beans, drained tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, soup, and milk. Give it a quick stir. Add chicken breasts. Make sure to push them down so they are submerged in the liquid. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Before serving take out chicken patties, shred them, and return them to the soup. (Actually they're soft enough to cut up while still in the pot) Stir in shredded cheeses. Top with avocado, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips if desired.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Everything Bread

Pesto bread to eat with anything and everything or just all by itself :)

1 loaf french bread
1/3 cup pesto
4 ounces fresh mozzarella

Preheat oven to 425° F. Slice loaf of bread lengthwise and spread pesto on liberally. Thinly slice mozzarella into medallions and lay over top of the pesto. Place bread on a cookie sheet and bake at 425° F for 10-15 minutes until top of cheese just begins to brown.

2-3 servings as an appetizer
5-7 servings as a side dish

Bleu Chicken Pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, cut into thin slices
2 shallots, cut into slices
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 MSF Chicken Grillers
3 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic
1 pound orecchiette pasta
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium high heat. When butter is melted add the onions and shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring frequently. While the onions are browning, start boiling a large pot of water for the pasta with a dash of salt. When the water is at a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until al dente, approximately 14-15 minutes. Once you have the pasta boiling, season both sides of the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into another pan and heat over medium heat, add chicken, sprinkling rosemary over the top. Brown chicken and cook about 3 minutes on each side. Add the garlic near the end of the second side and stir chicken to incorporate. Remove from heat and cool slightly. When chicken is still warm but cool enough to handle with tongs, cut bite-sized pieces.

Drain pasta, which should be done right about the time your chicken is and add to the now caramelized onions. Take a scoop of the pasta and onions and run it through the chicken pan to catch some of the leftover juices and then return to the onion pan. Add the chicken, blue cheese and remaining salt and pepper. Stir in the heavy cream. Serve and enjoy.

Makes 8 servings and reheats even better the next day.

Cheesy Onion Casserole

Cheesy Onion Casserole

* 2-3 Tbs butter or margarine
* 3 large sweet yellow onions
* 2 c. shredded swiss cheese (8 oz.)
* 1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted**
* 2/3 c. milk
* 1 tsp. soy sauce
* 8 or so slices of French bread

Slice onions. You need a lot of onions for this recipe. The best idea/trick I've found for easier slicing is via Martha... slice near a burning candle. The open flame oxidizes the sulfur compounds.

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat, and add onions. Saute onions until clear, a little brown is ok. In a shallow 2 qt. casserole pan, layer onions, 2/3 of cheese and pepper to taste.

In a sauce pan, heat soup, milk, and soy sauce, stirring to blend. Pour soup mixture in a casserole and stir gently to mix. Top with bread slices. Bake at 350 uncovered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, top of bread should be nice and toasted.

Push bread slices under the sauce and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 15 more minutes and you're done. Sooo good!

Veggie Cordon Bleu

This recipe is a little more time-intensive than I generally prefer, but it is worth. every. effort! It actually turned into a cross between cordon bleu and kiev. It's a hybrid ;) The sauce is insane. Next time I'm going to try to make it into mini-bites and serve as appetizer w the honey mustard gravy for dipping. HELLO! :)

5 MSF Chicken Grillers
5 slices Swiss cheese
5 slices wham -- vegetarian deli sliced ham
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon paprika
2 Tbs butter mixed w 2 Tbs chive and onion cream cheese
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup unsweetened white grape juice (I doubled to one cup)
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (I doubled to 2 tsp)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Press the chix thin enough to roll. Place a cheese and wa double ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Slather a healthy bit of the cream cheese/butter mixture inside before rolling. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. NEXT TIME I WILL USE BAKING STRING. (The cheese will leak out a little bit and that's ok! Or, you can wrap the cheese up INSIDE the ham and it won't leak!) Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces. I used garlic herb panko instead.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the juice and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until chicken warm and well gooey-fied.
Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. (I used colored toothpicks. It made them easier to find, but the coloring spread to the chicken. Some people also recommended using baking ties instead of toothpicks).

Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet with the remaining drippings, juice, and bouillon. This makes an a.m.a.z.i.n.g sauce! Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

Btw... a touch of honey mustard would be amazing in the sauce!

Oriental Black Beans

8 c thinly sliced napa cabbage, divided
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained
1 1/4 c chopped sweet red pepper
1 c fresh bean sprouts
1/4 c plus 2 Tbs sesame soy and ginger vinaigrette

Combine 2 c cabbage, beans, and 3 remaining ingredients in a bowl, tossing well.
Divide remaining cabbage evenly among 4 individual servings
Spoon bean mixture evenly over sliced cabbage.

Yield 4 servings
Serve w baked pita chips

The mild flavor and crisp texture of napa is especially good in this recipe. You can substitute angel hair slaw, which is shredded, prepackaged cabbage. It has a slightly stronger flavor.

1/2 c roasted peanuts
1 c edamame

We had this all tossed together with an Asian vinaigrette and it was amazing good!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Broccoli Casserole

I finally figured out what veggie side dish to take this weekend.... broccoli casserole. I had everything on hand to give it a trial run yesterday, so away we went. Let me see if i can describe it.... it was yum, stuffed with awesome with a side of wicked good. No lie. Totally delish. Give it a go, Lovelies. You won't be sorry :)

Remember, I just used what I had on hand. You can adjust the ingredients as strong or mild as you like. Oh! And have I mentioned yet? YUMM!!

Broccoli casserole
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese – I used fiesta Colby/Jack
1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup or broc chz soup --I used com
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cup crushed Ritz crackers or 2 c stuffing mix – I used a pkg of savory herb Stove Top --remember, just what I had on hand. crackers next time though. The top was crunchy and flavorful, but I think the crackers with lighten it up crispy rather than crunchy.
2 tablespoon butter, melted – I also added 3Tbs chive n onion cream cheese
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 cup veggie bacon, cooked, crisped, crumbled.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combing, broccoli, mayo, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix well with a metal spoon. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers or stuffing mix and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Servings: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Difficulty: Easy

Gluten Steaks


3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, molasses or other sweetener of your choice
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 onions, sliced, not chopped
2 quarts hot water

1 cup water
1 cup vital gluten flour


Place broth ingredients in 4-6 quart kettle. Bring to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, place water in large bowl for the gluten, add the vital gluten flour and mix with hands or wire whisk, until mixture is smooth. Take handfuls and squeeze and massage until you have removed the excess water and have a relatively smooth, rubbery ball. Set aside. Continue with remaining mixture. When all the water has been squeezed out of the entire batch, put the balls together to form a log, smooth and shape about 3 inches across. Slice and flatten each steak, drop into boiling broth. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Remove steaks and bread and fry or bake. If you choose to fry them, fry on one side in a small amount of oil, turn and add 1/2 cup of the broth they were boiled in to simmer the other side in. Pouring the broth over all to moisten. These make wonderful, juicy steaks for sandwiches or eating alone. If not fried, these may be chopped and put in casseroles or ground and used in place of hamburger. Follow the recipe directions, ie. if it needs to be fried with seasonings, do so. I know this sounds almost too simple to be true, try them before making a judgment call on them, though, they are wonderful!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nikki's Sweet Potatoes

If you'd like to prepare part of this recipe in advance you can certainly bake the sweet potatoes a day or two in advance and save the mashed sweet potatoes in the refrigerator until you are ready to move forward with the remaining steps. Also, you can make these vegan by using olive oil and not butter.

2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, a rack in the upper third. Butter or oil 6 ramekins or a single medium-sized casserole dish.

Wrap each sweet potato in foil, pierce numerous times with the tines of a fork and place in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes - in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. In a large bowl mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. If my sweet potatoes are on the fibrous side, l take a hand blender to them for a minute or so (alternately you could use a food processor). Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste - adjust the seasoning if you need to - this is your chance to get the right amount of salt and ginger in the sweet potatoes before they go in the oven.

Spoon the sweet potato mixture into individual baking dishes (or single larger baking dish), sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 30 - 40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts.

Serves about 6.

Cheddar Olives

an 8 to 10 ounce jar of pitted green olives, either pimento stuffed or plain.
1 cup sharp Cheddar, shredded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup AP flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne OR 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika or freshly grated black pepper to taste *

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drain the olives well, and dry them completely with paper towels. Set aside.

Combine the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well until a dough forms. You can kneed it with your hands, if necessary, until it has the consistency of playdough.

Pinch off a small amount of dough, flatten it, and wrap it around a dry olive. Being careful not to squeeze the olive, pinch off any excess, then roll it in your hands until smooth. Continue until all the olives are covered.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. OR freeze, wrapped tightly, for up to a week. Bake straight from the freezer for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

*We prefer the cayenne, but in a pinch we've made it with the paprika and it was good as well! You just want a little something in there to cut the richness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Accordian Potatoes

* 8 large (8 ounces each) red potatoes
* 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
* 1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Carefully slice each potato thinly without cutting all the way through.
2. Place potatoes on microwave-safe dish and cover with waxed paper. Cook in microwave on High 12 to 15 minutes or until easily pierced with tip of knife.
3. Transfer potatoes to metal baking pan. Carefully drizzle oil between slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 tea­spoon coarsely ground black pepper. Roast in oven 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer potatoes to platter; sprinkle with herbs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potluck Sabbath

We were invited over to a friend's house for lunch after church this coming Sabbath. I asked her what I could bring. "Entree', vegetable, or dessert", she says. So, I offered to bring one of everything :)

I'll be taking my Italian couscous, tiramisu and strawberry pie. What should I take for a vegetable though? Any suggestions? I think I'm stumped...

Chai Latte Cupcakes

Chai Latte Cupcakes

1 box French vanilla cake mix
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 package (1.1 oz) instant chai tea latte mix (or 3 TBS from larger container)

1. Heat oven to 350°F for shiny metal pans (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.

2. In large bowl, beat cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (approx. 2/3 full).

3. Bake 18 to 23 minutes (10 to 12 minutes for minis) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. Spread or pipe frosting mixture on cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Makes 24 regular-sized cupcakes

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 bag of white chocolate chips
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 teaspoon flavoring (I used Wilton Clear can use regular vanilla, just remember it'll make it off-white in color)
2 tablespoons water
1 lb. pure cane confectioners' sugar (approx. 4 cups)
1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue Powder (You can find this easily at Michael's craft stores)

Melt the white chips in a microwave safe bowl in 15 second increments. Remember to stir the chips between each heating, you likely will need to heat it slightly less than you think (keep stirring!). Once melted completely, let cool for about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy.

Add melted chocolate to the buttercream, blend completely, use immediately.

Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes, and Pesto

Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes, and Pesto

For the pesto -- I went for the store-bought
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
salt and ground pepper to taste

8 new potatoes, 9-10 oz total weight
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and ground pepper to taste
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 14-inch lengths
1 lb. fresh fettuccine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To make the pesto, preheat an oven to 35O°F (18o°C). Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until they take on color and are fragrant, 5-8 minutes. Let cool. Leave the oven set at 35o°F (18o°C). In a food processor, combine the nuts, basil, and garlic. Pulse until the basil is chopped. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. With the motor running, pour in the 1/2 cup (4 fl 02/125 ml) oil, a few drops at a time, until the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise, adding more oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Rub the new potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast, shaking the dish from time to time, until tender when pierced, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Scoop out with a skimmer, cool under running water, and drain.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut into bite-sized pieces. In a large saute pan over high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the potatoes and saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, return the large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the pasta, stir well, and cook until al dente (tender, but firm to the bite), about 2 minutes. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl.

Stir the pesto and the reserved water into the vegetables in the pan (off the heat). Add to the pasta and toss well. Pass the cheese at the table.

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS PER SERVING: Calories 894; Protein 24 g; Carbohydrates 82 g; Total Fat 56 g; Saturated Fat 10 g; Cholesterol 92 mg; Sodium 654 mg; Dietary Fiber 7 g

WW points per serving: I don't wanna talk about it.

CrockPot 5 Layer Brownie Recipe

CrockPot 5 Layer Brownie Recipe

Hold on to your hats. This is one rich, satisfying, amazing dessert. And it took all of 5 minutes to prepare. The most difficult part for me was climbing up on to a bar stool to reach the baking cabinet over the refrigerator.

We were lucky that we had everything on hand for this brainstorm---which is good because after all the vegetable dishes I've been eating lately, my sweet tooth was on the prowl.

The Ingredients.
--1 16 oz package of brownie mix (I had a box of the Whole Foods GF 365 brand--it has chocolate chips in it!)
--1/4 cup melted butter
--1 egg
--1/4 cup water
--1 can sweetened condensed milk
--1/4 cup walnuts
--1/4 cup coconut
--1/4 cup oats (I used Bob Red Mills Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

The Directions.

I used my mini 1.5 quart crockpot for this dish, because my other one had a chicken dish in it (coming tomorrow!). The proportions of the oats, coconut, and walnuts are for the mini crock. If you decide to use a larger size, use enough of the toppings to spread over the whole surface area.

--melt butter (I was lazy and didn't want to dirty another bowl, so I melted the butter in the crock while I was doing the dishes)

--add 1/4 cup of water, the egg, and the brownie mix

--stir until none of the powder is left dry; batter will be quite thick

--pour can of sweetened condensed milk over the top.

--Shuffle children quickly out of the kitchen because you are "working" and lick out the inside of the can, being careful so you don't cut off your tongue.

--wash sweetened condensed milk off of your face

--cover milk with a layer of oats, then coconut, then walnuts.

--close up crockpot and cook on high, if using a little crock, low if using a bigger one. Test with a knife after two hours, if it comes out clean, cook for another 20-30 minutes with the lid off to get rid of the collected condensation and to help solidify the condensed milk. You will know this is done when the edges pull away from your stoneware.

Since I used my mini crockpot, this cooked for about 4 1/2 hours altogether. That's a really long time to wait for brownies, so I needed to go to Target and buy stuff we didn't need to eat up the time.

The Verdict.

Well worth the wait.
We ate these for dinner.
and then for breakfast.
and we were happy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies

Kinda like spoon cookies, but these are better cakey-y than cookie-y :)

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup walnuts (3 ounces), chopped
1/2 cup raisins (2 1/2 ounces)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 2 baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, nuts, and raisins at low speed, then add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons batter per cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, 12 to 16 minutes total. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

While cookies are baking, blend cream cheese and honey in a food processor until smooth.

Sandwich flat sides of cookies together with a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling in between.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

I've heard it called Pumpkin Delight, Pumpkin Dump Cake, Upside-Down Pumpkin Pie..... It's all the same recipe and it's at every potluck and yes, it's always the first one gone. YUM.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

* 1 box yellow cake mix
* 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
* 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
* 3 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
* 1 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of 9 x 13″ pan. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour mixture into greased pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture and top with pecans. Drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake 50-55 minutes.

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cake w Apple Cider Glaze

I know I'm posting a lot of desserts, but I need to localize all of them so I can start choosing what to take where :) And no, this isn't from scratch, sometimes a quickie like this is just as good. And you know me, I love method cooking. This works w any cake mix, any filling combination. Instead of the pumpkin, use a can of diet soda. Super light and moist (the soda version works well w chocolate cake mix. Try a double batch (layered German chocolate and dark chocolate fudge) topped with toasted coconut marshmallows. No need for frosting; truly the most delicious cake EVER... have to increase baking time to 40 minutes though. The glaze is variable too... you notice it's the same as the OJ glaze for my lemon cake? Also you can puree' a can of strawberry pie filling into a box of white cake mix and get an equally amazing result. You can even make it into muffins or cake mix cookies. See? Method cooking, endless variations. Sold.

I've found it.

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze
Sounds wonderful, but cake mix and a can of pumpkin? A cake without eggs and oil and less fat? Trust me here, this is good enough to serve at Thanksgiving. Seriously, look at that!

The Cake:
Spice cake mix (carrot cake would work well too)
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
Add a bit of extra pumpkin or chopped apples or pumpkin pie spice to enhance the flavor. I'm adding 1/2 c pumpkin butter to the glaze to make it even yummier.

The Glaze:
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 Tbs apple cider
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Empty the contents of the boxed cake mix and pumpkin puree into a large bowl. Using a hand-mixer or stand mixer beat until well incorporated. The batter will be very thick, but will come together nicely.

Pour batter into a greased 7 x 11 X 2 pan. This is the small, rectangular-sized pan from your Pyrex set. You know, the set you had to have when you got married and rarely ever used all the pieces. Finally, you have a use for it.

Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. It looks like a regular cake, but it's really not, it's better. Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a platter.

Make the glaze while you're waiting.

Combine 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons apple cider and 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Glaze should be thick but pourable. Add more sugar or cider if needed. Pour over the cake while still warm. Reserve some to pour over each slice when served.

Apple Pumpkin Delight -- for the crustless pie lovers

Apple-Pumpkin Delight

1 pound pumpkin, cushaw, or any sweet winter squash
2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 3 large apples)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Peel the pumpkin or squash and slice it thinly into pieces about 1-inch square (the size matters less than the thinness). Peel the apples and cut into slices, a little thicker than the pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cornstarch. Oil a 2-quart casserole dish. Arrange half of the pumpkin slices in the dish, and sprinkle with about 1/4 of the sugar mixture; arrange half of the apple slices over the pumpkin and sprinkle with a quarter of the sugar mixture. Repeat pumpkin and sugar and arrange the final layer of apples on top, heaping slightly in the center if necessary; sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about another 15 minutes. Use a knife to lift up some of the apples and check to see that the pumpkin slices in the middle are completely done; if not, return to the oven until pumpkin is tender. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 6 servings.

Stop the presses! Just a few minutes ago I made another one of these, a 2-serving size without sugar. Honestly, I was prepared for it to be not that good, but it came out surprisingly delicious. I used KAL-brand stevia for sweetening, but it should work with any sweetener that can be cooked. It is a little dry on top, however, so if you’re not averse to a little sugar, try drizzling some agave nectar over the top after cooking.

Sugar-Free Apple-Pumpkin Delight

4 ounces pumpkin
1 Granny Smith apple
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch cloves, ground
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup apple juice
no-calorie sweetener of your choice

Peel the pumpkin or squash and slice it thinly into pieces about 1-inch square (the size matters less than the thinness). Peel the apple and cut into slices, a little thicker than the pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cornstarch. Add the apple juice and sweetener and mix until well-blended. (Aim for the equivalent of 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. Taste the mixture–it should be sweeter than you’d want to drink.)

Oil a small casserole dish. Arrange half of the pumpkin slices in the dish, and arrange half of the apple slices over the pumpkin. Repeat layers, heaping slightly in the center if necessary. Pour the apple juice mixture over all.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about another 15 minutes. Use a knife to lift up some of the apples and check to see that the pumpkin slices in the middle are completely done; if not, return to the oven until pumpkin is tender. Serve warm or cold.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies -

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 t salt
* 1 t baking soda
* 1 t baking powder
* 2 T cinnamon
* 1 t ginger
* 1/2 t nutmeg
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
* 1 cup canola oil
* 3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
* 2 large eggs
* 1 t vanilla

Maple Cream Cheese Filling

* 3-5 cups powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
* 3 T maple syrup
* 1 t vanilla extract
* I had a lot of extra frosting, so if you cut this in half or by a quarter it’s all good!


1. Make whoopie pies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, mix together both sugars and canola oil together. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until no streaks remain. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and stir using a wooden spoon until mixed thoroughly.
2. Using a cookie scoop for smaller whoopie pies or an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism for bigger whoopie pies, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets (about 1-2 inches apart). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies look firmer and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
3. Make maple cream cheese filling. In a large bowl using a hand mixer on low, beat butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. Add 3 cups powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Being careful not to over mix. If the frosting doesn’t seem thick enough to spread on the cookies, add up to 2 more cups of powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until frosting has firmed up. (I found that it was still a tad bit runny seeming, but it stayed well on the cookies.) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that the frosting can firm up enough for a nice, non-messy bite to be taken out of the whoopie pie.

Sugared Donut Mini Muffins


* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 2 t baking powder
* 1/4 t salt
* 1/8 t ground nutmeg
* 1/8 t ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup canola oil
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1 t vanilla extract


* 2 T butter, melted
* 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease muffin tin(s) with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Add canola oil, milk and vanilla extract.
4. Divide batter evenly into 24 mini muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. (I used my cookie scoop)
5. Bake for 10 minutes (rotating half way through) or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. While muffins are baking, melt butter and pour remaining sugar into a small bowl. When muffins are done, lightly brush the top of each with some melted butter. Remove from the pan by twisting gently and roll the top and sides in sugar. Cool on a wire rack and then promptly eat ten.

Makes 24 donut hole-esque mini muffins.

Bacon Onion Tart

* Use a pre-made tart crust
* 3 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
* 1 large onion, thinly sliced
* Pinch of sugar
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 1 large egg
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* Generous pinch of salt
* Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
* 1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

For filling:
Sauté bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add onion and pinch of sugar to drippings in skillet and sauté until onion is deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Whisk cream, egg, egg yolk, pepper, salt, and nutmeg in small bowl to blend. Spread onion over bottom of baked crust; sprinkle bacon over, then cheese. Pour cream mixture over.

Bake until tart is puffed and filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool tart on rack 10 minutes. Remove pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

A light hand with the dough will help to ensure tender biscuits. This method of folding the dough creates irresistible flaky layers. To maximize the number of biscuits you get from the recipe, gather the dough scraps after cutting and gently pat or reroll to a 3/4-inch thickness. Serve with honey as a dessert and with veggie sausage for breakfast.

Yield: 14 servings

* 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
* 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
* 1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
* 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
* 3 tablespoons honey


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Chill 10 minutes.

3. Combine buttermilk and honey, stirring with a whisk until well blended; add canned pumpkin. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 14 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Zesty Potato Patties

Zesty Potato Patties

Prep Time: 20 min Makes: 4 patties

1 cup mashed potato flakes
1 oz. (1/4 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chicken flavored instant bouillon
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons margarine or butter


1 In medium bowl, combine potato flakes, cheese, flour, bouillon, cilantro
and baking powder; mix well.
2 In small bowl, beat egg with fork. Stir in milk and salsa. Add to potato
mixture; stir just until combined. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid is
3 Melt margarine in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop
potato mixture by 1/2 cupfuls into skillet. Spread each to form 4-inch round..
Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Serve warm.

Fake out Risotto


1) Saute 2 cups of sliced mushrooms in a bit of oil with sliced garlic. Make sure to season with salt and set aside. [Feel free to add some veggie chicken stock and/or butter]
2) Cook a few hand-fulls of orzo in salted water, adding a cup of frozen peas during the last 5 minutes.
3) Drain orzo and peas and immediately add a few tablespoons of cream cheese and some cilantro infused oil. Mix everything together, add sauteed mushrooms with garlic, season with salt & pepper, top with fresh dill and serve immediately!

Baked Potato Soup


2 cups chicken broth
3 med. potatoes - peeled, cubed
2 green onions - trimmed, sliced
1/2 rib celery - minced
1/4 med. carrot - grated
2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk mixed with 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2-6 strips cooked veggie bacon - crumbled


-Bring first 7 ingredients to boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
-Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Whisk milk/flour mixture into saucepan; stir in cheese and bacon.
-Simmer, uncovered, 5-8 minutes, or until thick, stirring constantly.

Add ins:

Make it Reuben soup by adding some vegetarian corned beef and a bit of sauerkraut into your bowl. Swiss cheese, green onion and some red pepper flakes on top complete the meal. DELICIOUS.

Scalloped Potatoes with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto


3 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup sun dried tomato pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbs fresh basil
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs parsley


Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water with salt to boil. Slice potatoes 1/8" thick and add to boiling water. Cook about 8 minutes. Drain and toss with pesto to coat evenly. Season with S/P.

Layer half the potatoes in baking dish; sprinkle evenly with half the cheddar and basil. Repeat with remaining potatoes, cheddar, and basil. Pour hot broth evenly over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with parsley. 8 servings.
VARIATION: Instead of sun-dried tomato pesto and sharp cheddar, substitute regular basil pesto and sharp white cheddar instead.

We have cake.

Kind of like that Southern classic cake, the name of which I cannot say lest an innocent child stumble upon my blog ;), but this one has a few different ingredients.

Servings: 16-20
Cook time:35-38 minutes

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
1 (18.25 ounce) package plain devil's food cake mix
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

1 (8 ounce) jar caramel topping
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 (2.1 ounce each) Butterfinger candy bars, crushed
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature

Spray a 13" x 9" pan with Pam and set it aside. Preheat oven to 350º.

Put cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in large bowl and blend (with electric mixer) on low for 1 minute.
Scrape down the bowl, then resume blending on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour the batter in to the pan and smooth out the top of it.
Put the cake on the center rack and bake for 35 to 38 minutes or until the cake springs back when you touch it with your finger.
When it's done, poke holes in the cake with a chopstick or straw.

Make the topping by combining the caramel topping and sweetened condensed milk in a small bowl; stir.
Spoon it over the warm cake, letting it seep into the holes.
Sprinkle half of the crushed Butterfinger candy bars over the cake.

Put thawed, whipped topping with the cream cheese in a bowl and blend on low for a minute.

Spread over the cake.
Sprinkle with the rest of the candy.
Chill for 20 minutes (in the fridge) before cutting.
Will store in the fridge for a week... if it lasts that long.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Veggie Bierocks

I've been wanting to make these for a while now-- going to give it a go this weekend. Mine will be using pie dough instead of bread dough, and half of them will be using w shredded potatoes instead of cabbage. Posting the original recipe first, with my notes at the end :)


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs

1 pound MSF burger crumbles
2 small onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped cabbage - quick trick: use bagged coleslaw mix!
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce - I'll be using concentrated vegetarian beef stock, less salt, same flavor!

In a large mixing bowl, place 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Heat milk, water, and shortening to 120-130 degrees F. Pour over flour mixture; add the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low until blended. Beat 3 additional minutes on high. Stir in the remaining flour; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, brown beef, onions, and garlic in a skillet. Add the cabbage, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper; cook until cabbage is wilted. Punch dough down; roll into twelve 6-inch squares. Top each square with 1/3 cup meat mixture. Fold into triangles. Pinch edges tightly to seal, and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes: If you don't want to make the dough, try two tubes of Pillsbury Crusty French Bread unrolled, flattened, and divided each tube into 8 squares with a pizza cutter. (I like my bierocks in squares rather than rectangles.)

For the cabbage, I'm substituting most of one 14-ounce bag of shredded coleslaw mix. Put 1/4 cup of filling in each bierock before pinching the edges closed. You may have extra filling, which you may promptly devour by itself as the bierocks are baking.

Also, I'll be using pie crust instead of bread dough -- makes them a little lighter. If you're trying the potato version, add a bit of gravy to the filling to keep it moist. And don't forget, they're amazing w brown gravy over the top of the finished product. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) spice cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

1 container (16 oz.) prepared cream cheese or vanilla frosting
1 small tub whipped topping mixed w 1 small box French Vanilla pudding mix.
I like the 2nd topping better as frosting. Lighter, not so sweet, more flavorful, endless variations. Idea credit to the mandarin cake recipe :)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Paper-line or grease 24 muffin cups.
Blend cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and water in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat medium speed for 2 min. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.
Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Spread cupcakes with frosting. Decorate with assorted sprinkles, candy corn, or dusted cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg.

*cooling time extra

Friday, October 1, 2010

School Lunch Quickie

Won't have time to post this Sunday while putting it together... sharing it now instead :) Maybe another mom out there can use it for their kiddos' school lunches, too. I'm going to be revisiting my appetilla recipe for Monday's lunch. I'll be keeping the same ingredients but adding green chiles and vegetarian deli sliced turkee. Quick and easy and the DD's love them. So do I ;)

Comfort Food for a Rainy Weekend

Broccoli Cauliflower Au Gratin
4 servings -- I could eat all of them!!!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 22 mins

* 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
* 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
* 2 cups broccoli florets
* 2 cups cauliflower florets
* vegetable oil cooking spray
* 1 tablespoon butter, melted
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
* 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 Preheat oven to 425°F.
2 Combine breadcrumbs with cheese, stir mixture well, and set aside.
3 Arrange broccoli and cauliflower in a steamer basket over boiling water.
4 Cover and steam until tender-crisp (4 minutes).
5 Coat a 1 1/2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray.
6 Drain veggies and place in casserole dish.
7 In a small bowl, mix margarine, mustard, & pepper; drizzle mixture over veggies.
8 Toss to coat, and sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top.
9 Bake until heated through (8 minutes).

Texas Two-Step

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
Serves 6 - 8


2 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh corn, cooked, cooled and kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots (you'll need one medium shallot)
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus more to garnish
2 Haas avocados, diced


Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a few springs of freshly chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.
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