Monday, April 26, 2010


I had to switch things up.  Tonight was supposed to be the pork tacos.  But someone would have had to remember to take the pork out of the freezer for that.  So, I did the lasagna.  I left out the meat and added plenty of veggies.  I was a bit worried about the noodles in the crock-pot.  I have only done noodles once before and it was NOT good.  Tonights dinner came out great though.  Everyone liked it...except for Max.  But honestly, the law says I have to PROVIDE food for the kid, its up to him what he eats.  And I figure he can always find something to fill up on.  Lucky for him he likes salad and bread.  Also, there is salad dressing in the pitcher in front.  Are you making your own salad dressing yet?  If you are using the bottled stuff...STOP.  Homemade salad dressing is super easy and way better than anything in a bottle.  Maybe I will put together a couple of my favorites and post them.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The weather is looking cold and Grey over the next few days. My house seems to have gotten away from me and every room needs some major cleaning. We have all of our regular after school activities and golf lessons start this week. Plus, we all seem to be suffering from allergies. I would like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible! So, I am declaring this the week of the slow cooker.

I will serve these with fresh salsa, our local grocery store sells killer fresh salsa. I will probably also make black beans and rice and have plenty of cilantro chopped up.

Served with a green salad and a fresh loaf of crusty bread

Again with a salad and bread. I will use ground turkey in the recipe.

Served with Egg Noodles, Apple Sauce and Asparagus with Maple Syrup and Dijon Mustard

I will serve this with jasmine rice and plenty of chopped cilantro. I may even whip up a cucumber salad like this one:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Straight from the Crock

Ever since I discovered you can make lasagna in the Crock Pot I haven't looked back. It is probably one of the easiest meals you can make. Here's the one I made today. This one is made with soft tofu with seasoning, spinach, ricotta cheese mixture, sauce, and no cook, whole wheat lasagna noodles. I cooked it on high for about 2 1/2 hours and sprinkled mozzarella cheese on the top toward the last 15 minutes.

It was delicious and I have plenty of leftovers. The only tip is to spray the bottom of the pot or put sauce down first and then layer it with the noodles.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


I love making pie. They are, by far, my most favorite thing to bake. Today I made a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I suggest you make one too, it is after all Rhubarb season. Here's how:
The Crust:
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 - 1/2 c. ICED water
This recipe is for using a stand mixer, like a Kitchen Aid. If you don't have one, pie crust is still a snap. You can do all of this with your hands. Just make sure you chill the dough a bit before you try and roll it since the warmth from your hands will make it hard to work with.
In the bowl of your mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Mix on low speed until all of the flour is coated but big pieces of butter still remain.

Now you will add the water. The water should be COLD. I usually fill up a measuring cup with ice and water. Then I pour the ice cold water into the mixer, slowly, until I get the right consistency. If this is your first pie crust, you may want to measure out a 1/4 c. of iced water and then add a tablespoon of iced water at a time until your dough looks like this:

Now gather up all of the dough with your hands and form it gently into a ball. For this pie, which has a delicate filling, I am only going to use a third of the dough for the bottom crust and a third for the top. I will wrap the leftover dough in waxed paper and pop it in the fridge to use over the weekend. If you haven't worked with pie crust much, you may want to just cut the dough into two pieces...its a bit easier to roll out a thicker dough.

Now, flour your rolling surface. Flour the rolling pin. Flour your hands. FLOUR, its your friend. It prevents sticking and sticking stinks! Flatten your piece of dough for the bottom crust into a disk and lay it in the middle of your floured rolling surface.

Roll out the dough, turning the dough a quarter turn every couple of passes with the rolling pin. This will help the dough form a circular shape. If you have a rolling board, it will be easy to determine the size of the final round. Now, here is the trick to getting the dough into the pie plate:

Now onto the filling:
1 LB. strawberries, washed and quartered
1 LB. rhubarb, peeled and sliced into 1/2" slices
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 TBLS. cornstarch
Juice from 1 lemon
In a bowl, combine the strawberries and the rhubarb.

Add the sugar and cinnamon. Sift in the cornstarch.

Add the lemon juice. If you do not own this exact lemon juicer, you should add it to your birthday wish list. It's the best. I got mine in China Town for $2.50. You have NO reason not to own one!

Mix until all of the dry ingredients are wet. Don't smush the berries. Pour the filling into the prepared bottom crust.

Okay, now for the top crust. We are making a lattice top. Stay with me now, you can do this, it's easy! Roll out the next crust just like the first. This time, leave the dough on the rolling surface and with a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips. You can do skinny ones like mine or do them thicker, about an inch wide. If this is your first lattice top, you may want to stick to wider strips.

Now, starting from the middle and working your way out, lay the strips over the pie all going in one direction. You only want to use half the strips here. Make sure you use the shortest strips for the shortest part of the pie.

Once you have the pie covered in one direction, turn the pie. We are now going to weave the lattice. Fold back every other strip.

Lay a strip, now going the other direction, down.

Lay the strips back down over the new strip and now pick up all the other strips, the ones that didn't get picked up last time, and fold them back. Place another strip down.

Continue this until the whole top of the pie is covered. EASY!

Now, roll up all of the edges all around the pie. If it is too bulky in some spots, just cut away a bit of the dough and keep rolling. You can pinch the dough as you go. This will help seal the edges and give you a nice surface to crimp.

So that your finished pie has a nice shine, lets egg wash this baby. I whisk together an egg and about a tablespoon of milk. Then, with a pastry brush, paint the top of the pie.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

You're Welcome!

Night Three - 'What's for Dinner?'

Okay, here's how it went down. I made dinner early because we had a busy night. Doctor's appointment for Max a.k.a. Sir snots-a-lot. Tee-ball practice, guitar lessons and hubby's home brewers club meeting at the local brewery. I made the Taco casserole. I used more spices than just the regular taco seasoning since we like things spicy. I also made a big salad with all the fixings the recipe called for, instead of putting them on top of each serving I served the casserole on a bed of the salad. Anyway, I left everything out on top of the stove so everyone could eat when they got hungry and had time. So, while I was running all over town, my mom, Norman, Jack and Max all grabbed plates. In some cases I think seconds were had. By the time I got around to having time to eat and take a picture...all that was left was a pile of dirty dishes...Grumble Grumble! The good news is, I think that is a glowing review, so this recipe is a keeper.

And, while I don't have a picture of the Taco casserole...I do have a picture of a new favorite. Yogurt pops. I had some yogurt about to go bad (see the date on the lid?). Anyway, I filled up some Popsicle molds, thank you IKEA, and YUM. Cheap and healthy...Sweet!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's for Dinner - Night Two

Night Two - Sorry, I meant to post this last night. Instead, I watched The Blind Side. We had avoided watching it up until now because the book was so good. We were prepared to be disappointed with the movie. We were wrong, really wrong. What a great movie. I fell in love with the story all over again. The actor who played Michael Oher was amazing. If you think about his performance, he really didn't say much until the last quarter (football reference - ha) of the movie. So, for the majority of the film, his character development was based on eye movements, facial expression and body language. Yet, with just that limited communication, I totally fell in love with his character...Amazing! And then Sandy...Poor Sandy... who was so good in this movie. I want to just slap Jesse all over again. FOREHEAD TATTOO! UGH!

Back to last nights dinner. The pasta was good and really easy to make...bonus on a busy school night. Everyone liked it and there was enough left over for Jack to bring to school for lunch!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Double Decker Shephard's Pie

First night of 'What's for Dinner?'. The Shepherd's pie was easy to make, smelled great and was plenty tasty. Norman, Jack and I all really liked it. Max pushed it around with his fork, picked out the meat and then ate all of the tomatoes from his salad and 2 pieces of bread.

Grocery Shopping Report

Okay, so week 1 of meal planning. I went to the grocery store, armed with my list. I have to say, beside some frozen yogurt and icepops I stuck to the list. So, in my kitchen I now have an entire weeks worth of food, minus some fresh stuff for salads that I will buy they day we will eat it. And the best part is that sticking to my list saved me moolah! I spent $100.70. I normally spend more than that and don't have a plan of what we are actually going to eat.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's For Dinner? Week 1

Double-Decker Shepherd's Pie*
2 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (I'm using Yukon Gold)
1 C. milk (I'm using 2%)
1 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 bunch scallions. green parts sliced thing and set aside, white parts chopped
1 large poblano chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (they come together in a package)
2 tsp. worcheshire sauce

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water; return the potatoes to the pot. Mash with the milk until smooth; season with salt.
3. In a large skillet (I use Cast Iron) heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
4. Brown the meat in the pan. Fully cook the meat and drain any liquid. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the chopped scallions, the poblano, peas and carrots. Cook until peppers are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, 1/4 mashed potatoes and the reserved 1 cup cooking water. Lower the heat and simmer until the juices are thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Spread half of the potatoes evenly in a greased 9-by11-inch baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture evenly on top, then spoon the remaining mashed potatoes evenly across the filling to enclose. Bake until lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the sliced scallions. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
*Based on a recipe from Rachael Ray's Everyday Magazine

I'm going to do a mixed green salad with a Balsamic Vinegar dressing.

Zesty Penne with Sausage and Peppers

1 box penne pasta
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 each green and red bell pepper, cut into stripes
1 jar your favorite spaghetti sauce (I like Trader Joe's)
1 tsp. fennel seed
Dash crushed red pepper
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
Parmesan Cheese

1. Cook the pasta according to package.
2. Crumble sausage into large skillet, cook and stir on medium heat until done (about 8 minutes). Drain. Add bell peppers, cook and stir 5 minutes. Add sauce, fennel seed and crushed red pepper and stir until heated through. Add cream cheese, continue to cook and stir until melted.
3. Toss Pasta into sauce and sausage mixture. Serve with Parmesan Cheese, a salad and garlic bread

Taco Bubble Casserole
Don't know why it has that name...but it looks tasty.
I'm going to use ground turkey.

Honey Orange Chicken
Brown Rice
Grilled Marinated Zucchini

For the Zucchini, I just buy 3 or 4 medium sized zucchini and cut them into 1/2 inch slices. I marinate them in whatever I have around...olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and any fresh herbs I want to get rid of. I grill them right on the hot grill for 3 or 4 minutes per side.

Easy Night:
Spaghetti with your favorite jar sauce.
Garlic Bread