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.