Monday, October 20, 2008

Pork Tenderloin and Mushroom Marsala

We've had a pork tenderloin the freezer for awhile. I really needed to make something with it.

I didn't feel like making the pork with tabasco onions recipe. Although it is a good dish, it has never lived up to the incredibly awesome meal that it was the very first time I made it. That night I actually packed up leftovers and drove to Sister #2's house immediately after dinner to make her try it. It was that good. I've made it 3 times since and it's been fine, just not the superb, outstanding, make-me-like-pork recipe it was the first time.

There was a recipe in the newspaper the other day that intrigued me. It was pork tenderloin and mushrooms. DH loves mushrooms. I decided to try it this afternoon.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Mushroom Marsala
adapted from the Dallas Morning News via the Washington Post

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter (divided use)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs pork tenderloins
  • 1 lb assorted mushrooms
  • 1 med onion, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1/2 c dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 2 T parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 375.

Heat oil & 1 T butter over medium heat in large braiser. Season tenderloins with salt & pepper and add to pan. Cook for 6-7 minutes turning halfway through until they are browned. They will not be cooked through. Transfer them to a plate.

Increase heat to med-high. Add mushrooms to pan and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add onion, cook 2-3 minutes longer, until onions start to soften. Season with salt & pepper. Return tenderloins to the pan. Place pan in oven and roast for 20 minutes (until internal temp of meat is 160.)

Remove pan from oven and place tenderloins on a plate. Cover loosely to keep warm.

Place pan on stove over med-high heat. Cook 3-4 minutes until pan juices have almost evaporated. Add the wine and chicken broth, cook 3-4 minutes until reduced by half.

Add remaining butter in small pieces, stirring as butter melts. Taste and season as needed. Cut tenderloins crosswise into thin slices, top with mushroom sauce & sprinkling of parsley.

It turned out to be very good. It was even good enough to make for snobby food type friends. It actually might be impressive. Of course, I need to make it another time or two so I can make sure it stays that way.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pantry soup

This is a boring post. There are no pictures and this isn't a true recipe.

My daughter said she wanted soup something for dinner tonight and then off she went to soccer practice. I had 60 minute to figure out what soup something meant for dinner. I scrounged the fridge and the pantry and came up with this.

1 package of beef sausage, sliced and sauteed
1 can progresso lentil soup
1 can progresso southwest vegetable soup
1 cup rice cooked in chicken broth (2 cups after cooking)

Mix together and simmer.

It was tasty. A looked at it and grossed out for a second, fussing because she wanted her rice plain, not mixed in. I told her I thought it would taste okay and to give it a try. She did and loved it.

Sister#1 makes another dish with the progresso lentil soup so I keep it on hand. The southwest vegetable added a nice, light mexican flavor but wasn't too spicy for the kids. This is a good meal that will do next time I'm in a pinch for dinner.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mom's homemade pizza

Growing up my mom always made homemade pizza. It was actually a dinner roll recipe from a paperback cookbook on breads, maybe by Sunshine, I'm not sure. We made trefoil rolls (or 3 ball dough rolls as I always called them) from the same recipe every holiday.

When one of my nieces had to make a family cookbook, a couple of sisters and I were talking about family recipes that should be included. I immediately said pizza dough. To my amazement, Sister#2 and Sister#5 have NEVER made pizza dough. Someone else always made it so they never had to. Now they just wait for one of us to make it and invite them over.

Last night I made homemade pizza. The dough was beautiful and rose so nicely. The crust was light and chewy and perfect.


Risen Dough

Pizza Dough
from Mom's cookbook
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/4 c warm water
  • salt
  • 2 eggs plus enough scalded & cooled milk to make 2 cups
Proof yeast in warm water with pinch of sugar. Put three cups of flour in the kitchen aid. Add sugar and salt. Turn on mixer to make small bowl. Add butter/oil, proofed yeast and egg/milk mixture. Mix until combined. Add another 2 cups of flour, mix until combined between each cup. Switch from paddle to dough hook. Add last cup of flour and knead until dough forms. You made need add a little extra flour. Pull dough off hook and knead by hand in a little flour if necessary. Put dough in greased bowl and let rise for a couple of hours.

Once the dough has risen, you can put it in cookie sheets and top with favorite toppings. Cook at 375-400 for 15-20 minutes. It all depends on your oven and how thick your pizza is.

There are still some leftovers in the fridge in case anyone want to stop by for a piece. But come early, they won't last long.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homemade Pesto

I planted a basil plant about a month ago. It wasn't doing so great until we went on vacation. I had my husband put the sprinklers on to water that bed every night. When we came home, I found out that I hadn't been watering enough. The basil plant had doubled in size in about a week.

Since it is so big, I decided tonight that I needed to actually cook with it.

I sent the kids out to gather the basil. They got quite a bit. I hope there is some left on the plant.



adapted from Simply Recipes blog
  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (or pine nuts, but I was out)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt
Add walnuts to food processor and pulse a few times. Add basil and process. Add garlic and process. Add cheese and process. Add salt and process.

I sauteed some chicken strips and served them over pasta with pesto sauce. DH hasn't stopped telling me how terrific dinner was, so I guess it turned out okay.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Moroccan Spiced Chicken

I found this recipe on the Simply Recipes blog. DH loves cilantro so I thought it might be good to try. As I knew he would, he loved it!


Moroccan Spiced Chicken
from Simply Recipes blog
  • plain yogurt
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chicken breasts
Mix the ingredient in a bowl. Add chicken and marinade for several hours.

The Simply Recipes blog has measurements. I just added stuff. It really was good and the children didn't complain about it being too spicy.

I also served rice and broccoli. I did nothing fancy except steam it on the stove for 8 minutes after it boils. I think it is the perfect texture. I can't bring myself to microwave it, too rubbery. I realized after I put on the broccoli and looked out the window at DH putting the chicken on the grill that I hadn't started the rice. I didn't have 20 minutes for rice.

I remembered reading about boiling rice. There was my chance to try it. I didn't read the directions thoroughly enough because it says to undercook the rice a little and then steam it to finish it off. The rice was a little gummysticky. The kids loved it. A said she could eat my sticky rice every meal for a year. That's high praise from my 8 year old.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Flank Steak

I've been lazy the past few months. I haven't been cooking much. Well, I've been cooking but nothing to blog about. I've been scrounging for food. My kids have been eating fish sticks, tater tots, tuna fish & scrambled eggs. Last Sunday we realized that we had pretty well cleaned out the pantry and we needed to buy more food. We ended up at Sam's Club because we needed more peanuts and we came out with a bunch of meat. I used half a huge thing of meat to make a triple batch of meatballs. We also bought some a couple of beef roast & pork tenderloins and some flank steak.

Flank steak is one of those meals I remember from growing up. Mom would score the meat and broil it in the oven. When we first go married DH & I took a trip to Denver. I bought the Colorado Cache cookbook as a souvenir. It was a cookbook I remember my mother having. I think I've only used one recipe from it since, the flank steak marinade. We hadn't had it in a long time and DH remembered it as soon as he saw the meat at Sam's.

Tuesday night DH headed out to grill and I went out to document it for this blog. He thinks I'm entirely silly for taking pictures of food, but when he offered to flip the steak to see if the picture was better from the other side, I snapped a shot. Of course he was right.


I served meat with mashed potatoes and green beans cooked with caramelized garlic. It was a yummy meal. Much better than fish sticks and tater tots.


Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
adapted from Colorado Cache Cookbook
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup or more dry red wine
  • 3 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • pepper
  • chopped green onion

Mix ingredients. Put steak in ziploc bag and pour over. Marinate in refrigerator for several hours, turning occassionally.

Broil meat over hot coals for 5 minutes per side for rare.

I used less vegetable oil and soy sauce. I added more red wine. I threw in some parsley because I had some. DH loves it went I throw in some cilantro. It's a good marinade to play with.

Strawberry Coffee Cake

It has been months since I've posted here. This post is from Easter. Yes, Easter was in March and it is now almost May. It's been on my to-do list forever and I'm just now getting around to it.

I got this recipe from the Chronicle Books Coffeecake cookbook from my friend in Seattle. She sent it to me for my birthday because she has loved so many recipes from it. The first one she mentioned to me was the strawberry coffeecake. Now, I'm not a fan of fruit in general. I'll eat a nice tart granny smith, an occasional crisp sweet-tart grape, a clementine when in season. I've recently ventured in the the realm of fuji apples and enjoyed them. But I have a texture issue with most fruit and rarely eat them.

This recipe was well recommended so I decided to give it a try. I made it last September for a meeting of my women's group from church. I was entirely surprised to find that I really liked it. The cream cheese base was delicious and even the strawberry were good (chopped in small pieces.) When I ate it I thought of something different.

Black raspberry jelly. I never eat jelly (back to my issues with fruit) except for black raspberry jelly in a jelly pie. My grandmother used to take her leftover pie crust, slater it with black raspberry jelly, fold it in half and bake it. It was delicious.

I wanted to try the cake again but never really had a reason until Easter. We had brunch with the ILs and I finally had a chance to make this coffee cake again. I decided, in case my jelly idea was crazy, I would make two. One strawberry and one black raspberry. Luckily I was right. The jelly was terrific. Better than the strawberry, if you ask me and the rest of the family who gobbled it down.


Strawberry (or Black Raspberry) Coffeecake
adapted from Coffeecakes from Chronicle Press
  • 8oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 9 Tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan

Combine cream cheese, butter and sugar and beat with until light and fluffy. Stir in milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Scatter the berries evenly over the batter. Dot the remaining batter over the berries. Mix the brown sugar and nuts together and sprinkle over the batter

Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

When I made the black raspberry version, I just put dollops of jelly over the base dough.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Family fun meatballs

I had so much luck with the chicken biscuit pie, I thought I would try another Family Fun recipe. A requested spaghetti (she likes her noodles, doesn't she) so I tried their meatballs. They were quick and easy to make. I used the leftover spaghetti sauce. There wasn't quite enough(I like a lot of sauce) so I added one serving of the tomato soup. It was a terrific dinner.


adapted from
  • 1/4 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 c minced italian parsley
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 T Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t basil
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350

Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands

Form into walnut size balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 20-25 minutes until well browned.

I think next time I would put them on a cooling rack thing so they don't sit in the grease. I also turned them halfway through so they didn't get too brown on the bottom.

Egg noodles & DH's chicken

I noticed this weekend that our pantry was still pretty bare. Actually really, really bare. I needed to make a list and go to the store. I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner. A answered buttered noodles. I said no, we weren't going to have buttered noodles for dinner, but we could have a dinner with noodles in it. If she wanted, she could help me make noodles from scratch.

Sunday night I stopped by my mother's to get the Redbook Cookbook. This was the cookbook we used to make my all-time favorite dinner, ravioli with a spinach & meat filling. I asked for this dinner for my birthday all the time growing up. When I got old enough, I made it myself. I continued that tradition until I had children. I've always been too busy to make it since them. I even got a pasta roller from my father years and years ago. It had never been opened. Now, it was time.

I got the cookbook from Mom on Sunday night. I think the only recipe we've used from the book is the ravioli recipe. In fact the book opens to the page showing how to make the egg noodle dough.

A & I made the dough together, rolled it out and cut it. I should have gotten pictures of A rolling the dough. I forgot. I did get a picture of the noodles drying.

Egg Noodles
adapted from the Redbook Cookbook
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 T lukewarm water

Place flour in a bowl. Make well in the center fo the flour. Add eggs, salt & water into well. Break up eggs with a fork and mix in the flour until mixture is too stiff to stir. With fingers, work the rest of the flour in the bowl. Dough should form into a ball.

Knead dough on the floured surface. Fold it in half toward you. Press down lightly and push away from you with the heels of your hands. Give dough a 1/4 turn and repeat. Continue to knead for 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Again, I subbed 1 cup white whole wheat flour in this recipe. Aside from color, you couldn't tell the difference. Gotta love King Arthur!

Once we had the noodles made, I had to cook something to go with them. I knew immediately what I would make. Chicken Cordon Bleu Skillet. This was a recipe I've had for a long time. I don't know where it came from, probably the internet. DH is a huge chicken cordon bleu fan, but I'm not a fan of making it. This is much simpler. It tasted great over the homemade noodles. We will be making them again.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Skillet
from somewhere
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1/2 c white wine/sherry
  • 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 c shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/2 c cubed ham
  • 4 c egg noodles.

Saute chicken in butter until brown. Remove from pan.

Deglaze pan with wine & broth. Add soup, cheese & ham. Heat to a boil. Add chicken and redule heat to low. Cook 5-7 minutes longer.

Serve over egg noodles.

The recipe I wrote down has 1/4 cup wine & stock. I think that it way too thick. I used 1/2 cup each and even thinned it with a little bit of water last night.

Pizza dough

Friday nights in Lent are hard for me. There is only so much tuna helper I can stomach. All the children eat it so I can't complain too much. It is far from an ideal dinner for me.

Last Friday morning I asked the kids what they wanted to dinner. Both of them said cheese pizza. Again, not my ideal dinner, but better than tuna helper. I decided rather than speed-dial Franki's (the neighborhood pizza joint) I would make it myself. I could run to the store for some small shrimp and spinach and make a fancy pizza for DH & I and leave the cheese for the kids.

As things normally go, I only got as far as making the pizza dough. A had soccer practice and we ended up eating Indian food with the M cousins instead. (My kids did surprisingly well eating Indian food, they had some chicken dish light on the curry spice and A & B ate well, J fell asleep. I should have known he was getting sick.)

The dough came in handy on Saturday. After attending another soccer game, the M cousins came over for dinner. I made 2 cheese pizzas & the adults ordered in Mexican food.

I'm still on the whole wheat kick but I don't think anyone suspected there was anything different (except my sister who noticed the color of the dough was a little dark.) There were only 3 pieces left so I guess they really liked it.

I don't have pictures of the pizzas, but here's my dough before rising.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
adapted from recipe
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 T dry active yeast
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.

Stir olive oil & salt into the yeast mixture. Then mix in whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose flour until dough comes together. Sprinkle remaining flour on surface and knead dough until flour has been absorbed and the dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover loosely with a towel and let stand in a warm place until doubled.

Once it had double, punch the dough and knead a couple of times. Allow it to rise again until double, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Bake pizza 16-20 minutes depending on thickness of crust.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chicken Biscuit Pie

This afternoon at 3:50 I started the never ceasing task of deciding what's for dinner. I looked in my barren fridge to see what I could make. I had chicken, eggs, onion. Not much. I checked the pantry. I saw basic staples but nothing remotely interesting.

So I did what I normally do (and no it isn't call out for pizza, although the children would have love that!) I googled chicken for dinner.

I ended up on the FamilyFun recipes website. They have a whole month of menus available with main course, vegetable and dessert. How cool is that. I checked out the menu for today but I didn't have the ingredients.

Then I saw the menu for next Sunday. Chicken and Biscuit Pie. It sounded promising. I thought it would use canned biscuits which I didn't have. I was surprised to find that it had it's own basic biscuit recipe. This was it.


Chicken and Biscuit Pie
adapted from

  • 4 T butter
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 rib celery chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1/2 t dried sage
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 c diced cooked chicken
  • 2 cups vegetables
  • salt & pepper
Biscuit Topping:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 cup butter cut into quarter inch pieces
  • 3/4 c milk

Milk the butter. Stir in onion & celery. Cook until softened. Add flour, stirring 1-2 minutes to brown. Whisk in chicken stock. When it thickens, whisk in the milk. Add sage, thyme, chicken & vegetables. Stir until heated through about 5-7 minutes. Remove from stovetop.

Heat oven to 375. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar & salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with finger tips. Add milk and stir briskly until dough pulls together. Flour work surface. Knead dough 2-3 times and then flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into biscuits and place (barely touching) on top of the filling.

Bake pie until biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Wow, this was an easy meal to make. And it was great. I knew that A would love this dish. She is a huge fan of pot pie. J ate well and I even snuck a few vegetables into B. After a couple of bites he realized it and started spitting the out, but he actually ate 3-4 kernels of corn and couple of carrots and peas. That is a success in itself.

The broth seemed really thin while it was cooking on the stove so I added a bit more flour. I hadn't measure 1/3 cup of flour so I wasn't sure if I had added enough. After cooking the filling had really cooked down and there wasn't much broth left. I'll leave it thin next time. I did make a few other changes. I had no celery so I added celery salt. I used 2% milk instead of whole. I substituted 1 cup of white whole wheat flour in the biscuits. Although the biscuits were slightly browner than traditional biscuits, no one suspected a thing. Here's a close-up of the biscuits.


I will definitely make this dinner again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Shrimp quesadillas

It has been almost a week and I'm just now getting around to posting the results of my sister's shrimp recipe.

I made it last Friday and I was glad that I did. I didn't have fresh cilantro but I still thought it was great. I told my sister and she said it would have been that much greater with the cilantro in it. She says that it makes the dish. I think I agree, next time I'll run to the store. I do feel sorry for people who don't like cilantro. It's so tasty.

Here's the pic of the filling. I made quesadillas out of it, but those pictures weren't that great.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Food blogging from my sister

My whole family found out that I have a food blog. It was my fault because I liked my picture of walnut chicken so much I had to show my sister M. But I was at my sister B's house when I showed her. She heard me talking to M and then started asking DH questions like "Why is she taking pictures of her food???" The truth came out. I'm an out of the closet food blogger, at least with my family. They laughed at me.

After I left her house, B googled me to find my food blog so she could see it for herself. After several searches, she found me with "walnut chicken blog sarah." She was happy to find that I had given her credit for the recipe.

Then tonight I got this email. I thought it deserved a blog post of its own

My email from B:

Since my voice is not working I'm emailing about the shrimp tacos I made last night, you being a food blogger and all. I should just put it on your blog but I did not book mark it. Anyway, I combined a recipe for shrimp tacos and one for crab quesadillas. I cooked the shrimp in a little oil with garlic and green onion. Then I added small amount of taco seasoning and water. Then I stirred in a few tablespoons of sour cream and cooked until the saucy part thickened a bit. Then I added a generous amount of cilantro and ate on flour tortillas with jack cheese melted inside.


No one else would eat them. They all tried a bite and that's it. Oh well. Mom would have eaten them if she could. I told her not to even look in the pan.

Since tomorrow is Friday night in Lent, I'm going to try out her recipe and take a good picture for her. She deserves it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

King Arthur Pancakes

I haven't been too good at planning and cooking dinners lately. Yesterday morning my husband asked me what we were having and I said I would have to think about it. I then promptly forgot to think about it. When I went to pick up the children from school, I heard a radio report on Shrove Tuesday pancake tradition. It was inspiration, we could have breakfast for dinner. But it wasn't until it was time to cook the pancakes that I realized I was almost out of Bisquick.

I dusted off my King Arthur cookbook and used the pancake recipe. I bought this book years and years ago. Pre-marriage years ago and last night was the first time I used it. I'm glad I finally did. I need to use it more often.

Here's a picture of the extras ready to go in the freezer

Basic Pancakes
adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookbook
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2-4 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart buttermilk, yogurt or sour milk
  • 1/2 c melted butter (optional)

In large bowl, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.
In second bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk together until they are light and fluffy. Add the butter or oil. Take about 20 seconds and blend this mixture into the dry ingredients.

I didn't make it exactly. I used 2 c all purpose flour, 2 cups white whole wheat flour. I didn't have buttermilk so I used milk+vinegar instead. I used 3 Tbs sugar & 1/4 c butter.

Overall these were great pancakes. They were light and fluffy, great texture, not heavy at all. That's what I look for in a pancake. A thought they were better than Bisquick pancakes. I thought they tasted a little plain. They needed something extra. DH doused his with syrup and the kids had mini chocolate chips in their pancakes, so they didn't complain about the bland flavor.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Spaghetti sauce

We went to Jamaica in December with my sister, BIL and another couple. The husband of the other couple (RumChuck, as he was called) was reading a book on the horrors of high fructose corn syrup and how it has made its way into so many of our processed foods. It made me start thinking and reading food labels just to see if it is there.

After reading the labels, I switched brands of bread. I used to just buy what was on sale. Now I'm buying one brand to avoid the hfcs. I had a hard time finding a jarred spaghetti sauce because of the hfcs. It was in so many of them. I decided that I needed to try a suggestion from the same friend who makes crock pot roasted chicken, crock pot spaghetti sauce.

After some googling, I came up with this recipe. It turned out great. I used canned tomatoes, but I can't wait to try it out again this summer when we have fresh tomatoes from the garden. I didn't have mushrooms & used diced tomatoes instead of crushed. That was fine because I got to use my immersion blender again!


Crock Pot Spaghetti sauce
adapted from Lydia's Organic Gardening & Recipes
  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 med onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbs basil
  • 1/2 Tbs oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper

Saute onions until soft. Add garlic and cook a few minutes longer. Add onions/garlic and rest of ingredients to crock pot. Turn it to high and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce it to low and let it cook all day.

Now, here I am trying to reduce the processed foods & hfcs we eat and I used frozen ravioli. I know. I can make ravioli from scratch, but it will have to wait for a weekend when I have more time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Banana Bread & Walnut Chicken

Last night my husband made me invite people over for dinner at the last minute. He wanted me to make pork tenderloin with tabasco onions. I wasn't thrilled about it but sent him off to the store. The husband of the couple who we invited over is a fabulous cook. I was nervous to cook for him.

While DH was at the store, I realized that we had bad bananas. Instead of throwing them out I made a loaf of banana bread for dessert. Nothing fancy, toasted pecans on top since the kids don't like them mixed in the bread. I baked it as usual. After letting it cool a bit, I tried to get it out of the pan and it wouldn't budge. In trying to get the bread out, I stuck my thumb through the crust and discovered it wasn't cooked all the way through. I tossed it back into the oven for a while and let it finish. I couldn't figure out what went wrong. But it tasted good, very good, better than usual. It didn't last long at all. I was able to snap a picture just before we finished the loaf.


Banana Bread
from the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add milk, vanilla and bananas. Mix well. Mix together flour & baking soda. Add to batter and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

And now that I'm writing the recipe out, I know what I did wrong. I used a cup of butter. Wow, not so good for you, but the extra butter made for a tasty loaf of banana bread.

DH came home from the store with chicken instead of pork. I was happy because I'm nervous about cooking pork tenderloin. What if it turned out dry? Yuck. I made Walnut Chicken instead. DH actually requested it and I complied. It is an easy recipe and my kids eat it. I forgot it is spicy so the other kids didn't eat it. Oh well. I offered PB sandwiches instead. They all said no. Their father (the one I was so nervous to cook for) said not to worry about it. He thought the chicken tasted great, not too spicy, his kids are just too picky.


Walnut Chicken
from my sister
  • 2 lbs chicken
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground to a powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix egg & milk in a bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Dip chicken in egg mixture then in walnut mixture and place in pan. When all chicken is breaded, drizzle with melted butter.

Cook for 30-40 minutes at 350.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Country Noodles and Pork

I found a recipe in the newspaper last week in the Double Duty column. That were you cook one meal and then use the leftovers for a second meal. It was for a pork tenderloin. I knew I had one in the freezer so I ripped it out.

The tenderloin was just marinated in italian dressing and roasted. It was good but nothing to rave about. The leftover recipe was Country Noodles and Pork. It seemed simple enough so I gave it a try. Of course, you would think with a name like Country Noodles & Pork, I would check to make sure I had egg noodles. Nope. We had Country Spaghetti and Pork instead.


Country Noodles & Pork
adapted from Double Duty recipe
  • 4 cups chicken stock (divided use)
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 8 oz noodles
  • 1/2 c diced red pepper
  • 1/2 c small green peas
  • 2 cups pork diced
  • 2 T butter

Take 1/4 cup of stock & mix in cornstarch and set aside. Bring rest of stock to a boil and add noodles. Cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers & peas. Cook until noodles are done. Stir in stock/cornstarch. Cook until thickens. Add pork and butter.

So I substituted the spaghetti for the noodles. No red pepper, I used green. No tiny peas, I used peas & carrots that I had in the freezer. I left out the butter.

Overall, it was good. DH & A enjoyed it. Both said that I should fix it again. The boys picked at it. J was eventually cajoled into eating it. B threw it across the room. But he throws most of his food. I'm starting to not take this personally.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

I made my chicken in the crockpot and then froze the meat. I didn't really need the chicken right then, I just wanted to try the crockpot method. So for the past week I've been thinking about how to use the meat. Yesterday I decided on chicken enchiladas. Another favorite from my childhood that I rarely make.

Since the children probably won't eat them, I experimented. I pretty much took what was in the pantry and in the fridge and threw it in. I didn't feel like the mess or the calories of frying the tortillas. I did a quick internet search for "How to soften corn tortillas" and came up with this site. I used the microwave method and it worked fairly well.


Chicken Enchiladas
  • couple of cups shredded chicken
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • cumin
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups sour cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salsa (I used 2 tbsp or so of DH's homemade salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese
Combine the chicken, beans, chiles, onions & 1 1/2 cups sour cream. Mix in sour cream. Add cumin to taste, approx 3/4 tsp. Spray tortillas with Pam, wrap in paper towel and heat in microwave for 1 minute. Add couple tablespoons of filling to middle of tortilla & roll. Place in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Stir some salsa into sour cream and then thin with chicken stock to preferred consistency. Pour over enchiladas, top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Overall this meal was kind of blah. My main mistake was that I didn't add any salt. It needed it. The other issue was that it needed some spice. Some pepper jack cheese or jalepenos, something zippy. I didn't put it in because there was a chance that the kids might eat this meal. A did eat it and said it was okay. I ended up making chicken quesadillas for the boys. DH said it was okay, that it had potential. Maybe next time it will be better.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cheese Soup

Yesterday a cold front came through and dropped the normally tepid temps of North Texas in the 30s. It was cold. DH came home from the grocery store with a bag of potatoes that was only $.99. He showed it to me, very proud of his bargain purchase, and said "You are going to make cheese soup, aren't you?"

Cheese soup is a favorite recipe from growing up. It is yummy and is a definite must on our rare very cold nights.


Cheese Soup
adapted from some old church recipe book
  • 4-5 potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup or so diced ham
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup or so shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Add potatoes & carrots to pan, add water just to cover. Bring to boil and then simmer until cooked. Make a white sauce with the butter, flour & milk. Cook to thicken & then add cheese. Add cheese sauce & ham to cooked vegetables. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crock Pot Chicken & Stock

A friend of my mine months ago told me that she roasts chickens in the crock pot. I've wanted to try ever since. Last week, roast chickens were on sale so I bought a couple for me to try. My crock pot is huge so I thought I could cook 2 at once. I either bought huge roasters or my crock pot is not as big as I thought.

It was so simple. The chicken turned out moist and flavorful.

Crock Pot Roast Chicken
adapted from internet recipes
  • 1 roast chicken
  • salt, pepper
  • any other spices you wish
Crumble 3-4 balls of foil and put at the bottom of the crock pot. Rinse & pat dry the chicken. Salt & pepper the inside & out. Add any other spices you wish. Put breast side down on top of the foil balls.

Cook on high 1-2 hours, then on low 4-6 hours.

Once I gleaned the meat from the bones, I decided that I shouldn't waste all that good stuff. I'm making chicken stock. I went to this site and used his directions.

This is fun!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tomato Soup

A. rarely eats from the cafeteria at school, but when grilled cheese and tomato soup is on the menu, she always buys.

I found an old copy of Everyday Food in a drawer. I paged through and this soup caught my eye. It was a simple recipe, easy to make and it tasted fine. And the added bonus, I got to use my immersion blender. I blended it more than it said, knowing the children wouldn't take kindly to big chunks of tomatoes. All of them ate it. A. liked it even though it wasn't exactly like the cafeteria. My only complaint was slightly sweet. I might try different tomatoes next time.


Classic Tomato Soup
adapted from Everyday Food March 2006

  • 4 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 t dried)
  • 2 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • salt & pepper
  1. In 5 qt dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add oil & onions. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour & tomato paste, cook 1 minute
  2. Add thyme, broth & tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, 30 minutes
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree soup leaving a fair amount of chunks. Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

kid made pizzas

No pictures of this rather unpretty dinner. I'm not suppose to say U-G-L-Y anymore, it isn't a nice word.

Dh picked up ready made pizza crusts, fake boboli. I told him to get more cheese because we didn't have much. He didn't listen.

So I gave the kids tomato sauce, spices, a tiny little bit of motz cheese and a new can of parmesan. The pizza could have been better, but they made a mess and enjoyed themselves.

Here is a picture of the fun:

Pot Roast Meat Pies

DH made pot roast in the slow cooker on Sunday. Yesterday I made the leftovers into meat pies. A loved them, J ate them and B threw them. I thought they were great.

This is by no means gourmet food. But comfort food is good food too.


Pot Roast Meat Pies
  • 2 cups or so of leftover roast, carrots & potatoes chopped
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, cut into 8

Mix leftovers veggies & soup. Put big scoop of filling in pie crust, fold over and fork close. Baked at 400 ~ 18 minutes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Test Post

new blog for cooking/eating/thinking about eating