Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fruit Dip

This recipe is inspired by the one here.  

1/2 small jar of marshmallow creme
1 container lemon yogurt
1 container strawberry cream cheese

Blend!  Serve with fruit (e.g. apples).  If you are using a softer fruit, don't add as much cream cheese or marshmallow creme.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poultry Spice Rub

1/2 lb salt
2oz chili powder
2oz garlic powder
2oz crushed red pepper
2oz black pepper
2oz MSG (Sold under the label "Accent")-- omit if desired
1oz sage

Use as a dry rub on poultry or pork roast.  

This should last you like 3 years, so you may want to reduce the amount you make...


I hereby declare today the first day I have attempted to cook a whole animal.  In my case, a very small Cornish Hen.  She was beautiful.  I made her in my countertop rotisserie oven, which I love.  I did, however, undercook her because I did not realize where her thigh was and determined her temperature at her calf (drumstick).  She is now in the oven getting fully cooked and her carcass is in a pot (hopefully) making stock for use with the dressing at Thanksgiving.  I will have to post the recipe of the rub I used on my chicken soon, but wanted to document this momentous occasion.  

P.S.  Her hip joint is (was) super cool looking!
P.P.S.  You may be suprised that I have not previously done the frugal thing of cooking a whole animal, but seriously... chicken breasts were 90cents per pound last week...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chicken Salad

This is inspired by Arby's Chicken Salad.

Use the following ratios (I don't measure):
2 parts - Chicken (I prefer not to used canned), cut into small pieces
2 parts - Apples, cut into small pieces
2 parts - Grapes, halved
1 part - Craisins
1 part - Pecans, chopped

Coat with equal parts plain yogurt & mayo (or miracle whip).

Season with Curry Powder to taste (don't skip!).

Serve with lettuce in wraps....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cream Cheese Chicken (variation)

So, I was inspired by Holly's Cream Cheese Chicken. Here is exactly how I made it. It was too salty for my taste, but I'm not sure which ingredient was the culprit since I used homemade versions of some ingredients and it was my first time doing so.

3-4 Chicken Breasts cut into small pieces (Italian Dressing Mix)
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 'can' Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Broccoli Crowns, cut into bite size pieces
4 oz. Sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
(I think I'd do the non-oil kind if I put tomatoes in again. They sure did give it a nice color!)

Gently cook the chicken on the stovetop with Butter & Italian Dressing Mix. Add remaining ingredients and slowly simmer until broccoli is tender. Serve over rice.

Note: I'm exploring the Cream of Chicken Soup mix (see link above). I will definitely let you know if it works for all applications because it was EXTREMELY cost effective compared to buying it. I am mostly concerned about time & consistency. I think I should have used half the amt of water to make it more 'condensed'. I forgot that the recipe's end result was supposed to be the actual soup and not the 'condensed' version.

Note:  I made this again recently in the crock pot as suggested by Holly & it worked even better than sauteeing.  However, I think 1 block of cream cheese is too much unless you have at least 4 breasts.  Adding broccoli when you add the cream cheese works out great, you just have to leave the lid on!!

Scrambled Eggs

Okay, so it's not a new recipe, but rather a new way to make scrambled eggs that makes for easier cleanup.  

Get some sort of bowl (I like my corningware or stoneware) and spray a splash of PAM.
Crack eggs in bowl (add desired extras, like bacon!) and whip.
Microwave for 20 seconds and stir.  Repeat until cooked.


If you just use one egg & you only stir like once, you can end up with a good "egg round" for putting on a bagel....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bran Muffins

Well, I had a bran muffin recipe from growing up that was made with cereal, but it was super sweet & Aaron asked me to look into healthier recipes.  So, here is the one I used as a base and here is my modification.  I did also double the recipe once and use 1/3 c. oil and 1/3 c. applesauce.

1 1/2 c. wheat bran (health food or baking aisle)
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. oil
1 egg
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 375*F.  Grease muffin tin.  Mix together bran and buttermilk and let stand 10 minutes.  Beat together sugar, apple sauce, egg, and vanilla.  Add to bran mixture.  Whisk together remaining dry ingredients and add slowly to wet mixture.  Do not over-mix.  Bake 15 mins.  

Other reviewers of this recipe suggested pureed pumpkin instead of the applesauce and the addition of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.  Some have added raisins, shredded carots, or nuts.  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Knock-off Little Caesar's Crazy Sauce

1 can tomato puree
1/4 t each of basil, oregano, black pepper, thyme, garlic powder
1/2 t salt

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Cool some before trying to use for dipping breadsticks or "pizza bones" (Aaron's word for pizza crusts because they would feed them to the dog in his family).  

WARNING:  I thought this was way over salted and so did Aaron.  I think next time I will halve or quarter the salt (especially since most breadsticks and pizza are already very salty).  

*EDIT*  I made it again and halved the salt.  I thought it still could have less salt in it, but it was much better.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cabbage & Pork Stirfry

Don't freak out on me because of the cabbage in the title.  Remember Egg Rolls have cabbage in them & they are yummy... So basically I took this Egg Roll recipe and changed it around to not include the actual egg roll wrapper.  I also looked in my Joy of Cooking cookbook for a good sauce recipe and kind of made this one up from the "Stir-fry of Napa Cabbage & Carrots" recipe. 

So here is the directions for what I actually did....

1lb ground pork
1t ground ginger
1t garlic powder
2c shredded cabbage (chopping cabbage isn't that hard, don't buy coleslaw!  Of course, 2c is only like 1/6 of a head of cabbage so you better think up some other ways to use it up.  It doesn't go bad quickly, so that helps)
2 carrots, shredded
2t sesame oil
4T soy sauce (low sodium!)
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Cook the pork.  Put the pork, cabbage, carrots, garlic and ginger in pan and saute approx 8 mins.  Combine the last three ingredients as a sauce for serving.  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Soy & Garlic Pork

3T soy sauce
3T brown sugar
2T ketchup
3/4t powdered ginger
2t minced garlic (2 cloves)
2t vinegar
4 boneless chops or pork tenderloin (I vote for pork tenderloin)

Triple all sauce ingredients if making something larger than porkchips.  Marinate for as long as you have.  Brown in frying pan (if you want, but definitely recommend for chops).  Cook in 400* oven (for pork chops) or in your awesome countertop rotisserie (for tenderloin).  Whatever, just go for 160* internal temp.

Green Beans with Almonds

4ish cups of raw green beans
1/2 cup coarsly chopped tomatoes 
1/4 cup sliced almonds

I started off sauteing the beans in olive oil, but that was too slow & labor intensive, so I switched to steaming by throwing in some water and covering.  Anyway, close to the end of cooking I added the remaining ingredients for just long enough for the tomatoes to heat through. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Egg Substitute

This recipe is from here.  

2 egg whites
1 T nonfat dry milk
yellow foodcoloring, optional

Sprinkle milk over egg whites and then beat until smooth.  Use in place of 1 egg.  May be somewhat dry and so consider cooking with other oils/fats.  

I do know Holly makes egg substitute by doing like 12 egg whites & 1 egg yolk to get some of that needed fat in there.  The best part of this recipe is the significant cholesterol reduction and the significantly reduced price (over buying Egg Beaters).

Crustless Spinach Sausage Quiche

This recipe originally came from here, but I made significant modifications.

1 T olive oil.
1 onion, chopped (I actually did 1/2 an onion & added some onion powder)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 lb sausage (I did 1 lb and thought it was too much)
10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained
5 eggs (I did 3 eggs + 2 eggs worth of egg substitute)
2 c shredded cheese (I used 4-cheese because it was cheapest)
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t garlic powder

Saute and then drain onion and pepper in olive oil.  Add spinach and simmer until all waer is gone.  Seperately brown sausage.  Combine remaining ingredients and then stir onion mixture, sausage and egg mixture together.  Place in greased pie plate and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until egg is set. 
I actually used my 4-loaf pan and another corning ware dish &  the cooking time was much reduced and then I had individual serving portions.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

This recipe comes from here and there is a picture on the previous post. The only thing I did differently was to halve it.  I think that this is going to be my new way of cooking potatoes before making sweet potato pie or casserole.  

2 large sweet potatoes (1.5 lb)
2 oz cream cheese (1/3 less fat)
2 T milk (skim)
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 c pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 425.  Cut patotoes lengthwise in half.  Place, cut sides down, on a foil lined (spray the foil!) baking pan or cookie sheet.  Bake 30-35 min or until tender (see the link for microwave directions).  Scoop out centers of potatoes into a bowl, leaving 1/4 inch thick shells.  Add remaining ingredients, except nuts.  Spoon potato mixture into shells and top with nuts.  Bake 7-8 min or until potatoes are heated through and nuts are toasted.  


Per the directions on the package of Tilapia, I cooked the fillets 3 minutes on each side in melted butter.  During the 2nd side, I splashed lemon juice, red pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper on the fish.  YUM!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Light Oat Bread

Once again, an Allrecipes.com recipe. Here is the way I did it (Originally it was a bread machine recipe).

1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Melt margarine and mix with water (112* F), sugar, and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients in Kitchen Aid mixer and use the dough hook to knead until smooth and elastic (and no longer sticky)-- adding flour as necessary. Place in oiled bowl & turn over to coat. Cover & let rise until doubled (approx one hour). Punch down and shape into loaf shape in pan. Allow to rise until doubled again. Bake at 350* F for 30 minutes.

One bread secret is to slice with an electric knife--like the one you might carve a turkey in.


I made this for breakfast cereal. I'm sure it would also be good on yogurt. It is very cheap to make, very filling, easily adaptable (I'm thinking of adding almonds). I got the recipe here. If you go to the site you can see lots of people's comments & adaptations.

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut; set aside. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, oil, honey and cinnamon; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over oat mixture; stir to coat. Spread in a large shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Add raisins. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Southwestern Salad

This is an adaptation of a recipe I got from AllRecipes.com (a favorite site of mine).

Chicken Breasts, grilled, cut up, coated in BBQ sauce + chili powder, to taste
Lettuce, torn or cut
Black Beans
Corn (can use straight from the freezer or from a can)
Onion (pick your form: green, red, yellow, white; sauteed, uncooked, powdered)
Cilantro (I just used the dried stuff)
Tomatoes, diced
Tortilla Chips, crushed up a little bit
1/4 c. BBQ sauce
1/2 c. Ranch Dressing.

Combine Beans, Corn, Onion, Tomatoes, Chicken, Cilantro. Combine BBQ sauce and ranch dressing. Serve with Tortilla chips on the bottom, then lettuce, then Beans & Corn mixture, then dressing. I find that serving & storing the lettuce by itself helps it to keep longer, but everything except the chips could be mixed together for serving & storage.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grilled Salmon Marinade

This recipe courtesy of Jamye H.

1/3 c. Brown Sugar
1/3 c. Water
1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
1/3 c. Soy Sauce
Lemon Pepper, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste

Marinate Salmon and grill. I'm guessing broiling would also work. This is why I love my Joy of Cooking cookbook (Thanks Ruth Ann... it's the only 16th birthday present that I think I still use)... You can always get ideas about how to cook something and how long to cook it, etc.

Hot Fudge Sauce

This is a 'secret' family recipe that I believe came into the family through my ex-uncle. Since I'm making it right now for some neighborly ice cream eating tonight I figured I'd type it up. That's how confident I am that the recipe will get asked for.

1/2 c. Butter
1 SemiSweet Chocolate Square (1 oz)
1 Bittersweet/UnSweet Chocolate Square (1 oz)
1/2 c. Cocoa (sift if lumpy)
1 1/2 c. White Sugar
1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 t. Vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler on med-hi heat. In a seperate bowl mix cocoa & sugar together (I use a whisk & this eliminates lumps in the cocoa). Add cocoa/sugar to chocolate/butter. Stir well. Add cream & vanilla. Whisk well. Cook 15-20 mins on LOW heat. Note: Mixture will thicken, have no lumps and very few air bubbles. Keep refrigerated in glass jars for easier reheating. Reheat on low power in the microwave.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blueberry Sausage Casserole


2 c. Flour
1 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Baking Soda
1/2 c. Margarine
3/4 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
8 oz Sour Cream
1 lb Sausage, browned
1 c. Blueberries
1/2 c. Pecans, chopped
1/2 c. Sugar
2 T. Cornstarch
1/2 c. Water
2 c. Blueberries
1/2 t. Lemon Juice


Cream margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add dry ingredients and sour cream alternately. Fold in sausage and blueberries. Spoon into ungreased 9x13. Top with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. For sauce, combine and cook all ingredients in sauce pan until thick. Add lemon juice. Serve warm.

Cranberry Peach Jam

12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed (about 3 cups)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh peaches
6 cups sugar
3/4 cup peach nectar (on the mexican section- made by Goya)
1 t. grated fresh ginger, optional
2 (3-oz) pouches liquid pectin
1/4 c lemon juice

Process cranberries to 1/8 inch -> put in large bowl. Process peaches to 1/4 inch. Add peaches, sugar, & nectar to cranberries. Add gingerroot, stir 2 mins. Let stand 10 mins. Combine pectin & lemon juice in small bowl;Sstir into fruit mixture; mix well. Spoon into 7 labeled 1c freezer containers leaving 1/2 in headroom. Cover with tight fitting lids & let stand 24 hrs on counter to set. Keeps in fridge up to 3 weeks or freezer up to 6 months.

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 lbs sweet potatoes
2 T olive oil
2 T honey
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350*. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1in pieces and put in a 9x13 baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender. Or, cook longer for chewy, awesome potatoes!

Peanut Butter Pie

8 oz cream cheese (1/3 fat may be used)
2c powdered sugar2/3c peanut butter
13-16oz cool whip (lite may be used)
2 premade crusts (graham cracker or oreo, but not the extra large graham cracker ones)
mini-chocolate chips, optional

Cream together first 3 ingredients. Stir in 1/3 of cool whip and then fold in remaining cool whip. Pour into 2 crusts and garnish with chocolate chips, optional. Chill completely for ease of serving.