24 November 2010

Marzipan Bars

Nicole thinks this recipe is from the depression or something because obviously there is no real "marzipan" in here.. the only remotely almond part is in the frosting.

Next time I make these I might put a little almond in the red & green part too, because that's the part that has the texture of marzipan, what with the rice flour and all... although the original way is pretty good too.

1 c. + 2 Tbsp. butter (2 sticks and some change)
1 c. flour
1/4 + 2/3 c. sugar
raspberry jam
2 eggs
2/3 c. rice flour
1/2 tsp. salt
red & green food coloring
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. warm milk

1. Cream together 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, flour and 1/4 c. sugar. Press into bottom of ungreased 8x8 pan, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool, spread with a layer of raspberry jam.

2. Beat together 1/2 c. butter, 2/3 c. sugar, and eggs until fluffy. Add in rice flour and salt. Beat well and separate into 2 bowls. Color one red and the other green. Drop small spoonfuls of each color alternately on shortbread base (like a checkerboard pattern?) Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Cool completely.

3. Frosting: 2 T. butter, almond flavoring, powdered sugar and milk. Beat together and spread over the top of cooled bars.

13 November 2010

Seeds in Your Teeth Dressing

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 T. soy sauce

Shake these together in a screw-top jar until mixed. Then add:

2 T. sesame seeds
1 T. poppy seeds
2 T. minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. vegetable oil

Shake all ingredients together. This is really good on a salad of spinach, oranges and feta.

03 November 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

OK, I can't find this brilliant recipe I saw in Taste of Home mag on Taste of Home's website, because they have a million chicken enchilada recipes... of course, right? So even though I haven't tried it yet, here it is. It stuck out to me because it has few ingredients, and it doesn't have anything gross in it like canned soup or "enchilada sauce" from a can. Why do enchilada recipes have those nasty ingredients? And then also the process always seems time-consuming, whereas this one sounds quick & easy.

I am planning to use corn tortillas for this recipe so I hope they won't get too weird and crunchy and torn, like corn tortillas are wont to do.

"Easy" Enchiladas

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
8 flour tortillas (8") (Again, I'm thinking of using 6" corn tortillas, so I'll do 10-12)
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (I'm straining some plain yogurt for this very purpose)
1 cup salsa (I'll use the salsa I made today out of my last-hurrah tomatoes and peppers)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 2 1/4 oz. can sliced black olives, drained

In a small bowl, combine chicken and cream cheese. Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up tightly. Place seam side down in a greased 9x13 baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt and salsa. Spread over tortillas. Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and olives. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serves 8.


Try this green chile enchilada recipe. I would use TJ's salsa verde instead of doing that whole tomatillo process, which would make it a whole lot easier, and still probably taste awesome. I love this blog!

Frugal Gourmet

So I've been on this frugality kick.

My friend loaned me The Tightwad Gazette and it has been Most inspiring. I highly recommend getting it from the library or at a garage sale, in the true spirit of tightwaddery. But in any case, read it. There are some good ideas [and recipes] in there.

In honor of my new kick, I'm going to put some budget (but still yummy and healthy) recipes up here. Stay tuned.....

23 October 2010

Baked Tomato-Garlic "Sauce"

from Better Homes & Gardens, August 2010 (maybe?)
This is really delicious and super easy.

Enough beautiful similarly-sized tomatoes to cover the bottom of your 9x13 in a single layer
1/4 - 1/2 c. EVOO
7 garlic cloves, peeled, split lengthwise, and that little green shoot part removed
Coarse salt (1 - 2 tsp.) and freshly ground black pepper
Goat cheese or feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer in 9x13 baking dish (make sure it's glass or earthenware, not metal, which is reactive, whatever the heck that means). Stick the garlic halves in between the tomatoes. Pour EVOO on evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until skins split and soften, but tomatoes still retain their shape.

4. Serve hot, warm or at room temp. We smashed ours up and made it into kind of a sauce, just stirring the smashed tomatoes and garlic up with the olive oil that was floating around in the bottom of the dish. Then we tossed the baked "sauce" with some pasta (radiatore, I do believe it was) and feta cheese.

The recipe suggests spooning or mashing the tomatoes over slices of toasted bread and serving with goat cheese. Either way... yum. Roasting the tomatoes gives them this awesome sweetness that even Ken liked. And you know he hates tomatoes usually.

Mexican Chicken Soup

from Cook's Country Feb/March 2006
This makes kind of a lot - it says it serves 6-8 and I think that's really true. It tastes amazing though, so you won't be sorry if you have leftovers.

6 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken - breasts or thighs
1 onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
10 sprigs cilantro
tomato juice (I used a quart of juice that was leftover from straining homemade salsa)
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, plus 1 T. adobo sauce
1 T. vegetable oil
2 c. frozen corn kernels
2 T. lime juice
Toppings: avocado, cilantro, shredded cheddar or jack, sour cream, crunched up tortilla chips

1. Make broth and cook chicken: Bring 4 c. of the chicken broth, chicken, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in large skillet. Cover and reduce heat to low until chicken is cooked through (8-10 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate.

2. Do the tomato part of broth: In a blender, puree tomatoes, remaining 2 onion quarters and 2 garlic cloves, chipotle and adobo sauce until smooth.

3. Get out your huge soup pot: Heat oil in large pot over high heat until shimmering. Add tomato mixture and 1/8 tsp. salt; cook until darkened in color (8-10 minutes). Strain broth directly into pot with tomato puree (discard solids). Add remaining 2 c. broth, tomato (or salsa) juice, and corn. Simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces and add to soup. Stir in lime juice and adjust S&P to taste. Serve with toppings available in small bowls.

How to Do a Roast

Here is the best way to do roast beef that I've found.

This discovery was made when I tried a recipe from good ol' Betty Crocker, and was wowed by the meat (but not by the carrots and potatoes... so now I leave those out). Side note: I am not usually wowed by meat. I usually could not really care less about meat. I'm like, give me mango salsa over roast beef any day. But we live in the Midwest and we're trying to be all things to all men OK? So we do meat and potatoes on Sunday.

Then I asked my friend at church who is an amazing cook: Um, I did a chuck roast in the crockpot, why did it turn out so good? And she said: Chuck roasts are like made for the crockpot. It is a perfect way to cook chuck roast. No more bottom rounds for us. I seriously never buy them anymore. Chuck is just awesome in the slow cooker! Why did no one tell me this before now?

Anyway, without further ado...

Beef with Rosemary
adapted from Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Cookbook

3 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh or 1 1/2 tsp. dried chopped/crunched up rosemary leaves
1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. finely chopped onion

Put the roast in the crock pot. In a small bowl mix mustard, rosemary, thyme, S&P. Spread over beef. Sprinkle onions over the top.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

19 September 2010


I don't think you can call this a recipe, but sometimes people ask me how I make guacamole. Maybe they think that I'm an expert, having lived in an avocado grove. Well, I never compliment myself, but my Friends say that my guacamole is simply divine. So, I will divulge my ingredients. I do wish I could tell you amounts, but, darling, I simply throw it all together. There is no measuring here.

some nice ripe avocados (like 2?)
finely chopped onion (maybe 1/4 of a medium onion)
fresh lime juice (go easy or the lime will be all you taste)
cilantro, finely chopped (a Tbsp?)
kosher salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Smash up the avocados in a bowl. Then mix in the onion, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning, using a chip. Try not to taste and adjust for seasoning until the whole bowl is gone. Share!! or don't :)

What do you put in your guac?

10 September 2010

Potatoes Romanoff

I haven't actually made these yet, so we shall see how they turn out.
(OK, I made them, and they were raved about... best part of the meal hands-down)

10 c. chopped potatoes (cut into about 1" chunks; 10-12 medium potatoes)
1 tsp. salt
3 c. cottage cheese (I might change this to 2 c. next time... there is a lot of sauce)
2 c. sour cream (and this to 1 1/2 c.? see note above)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 c. chopped green onions (having none, I subbed a ton of Sunny Paris seasoning)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook the potatoes in water (cover potatoes by about an inch) and the 1 tsp. salt until tender (simmer about 15 minutes).

2. Mix the cottage cheese, sour cream, garlic and green onions. Mix in the potatoes. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

11 August 2010

Keep It Simple: Tomato Basil Pasta

Martha Stewart had this great recipe in the August issue of Living that you must try. I love Martha when she doesn't get all crazy. This recipe has no mention of parchment paper* or shallots, so I tried it, and it was good.
*Amendment: Susan told me to buy some parchment paper, so I did, and it really is cool stuff.

Tomato & Basil pasta
1/4 c. evoo
3 garlic cloves, pressed/minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. short pasta (penne or something)
tomatoes - she says 4 medium but just however many you have - cut up into bite-size
1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese - cut up into bite-size
basil leaves

1. Cook and drain pasta.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine evoo, garlic, salt & pepper. Toss in the warm pasta. Throw the tomatoes and cheese on top, then top that with the basil leaves and some more salt & pepper.

That's it!

05 August 2010

Coffee Punch

I can't take credit for this lovely recipe, I was instructed how to do it. But I am writing it down so I will remember for next time :)

Coffee Punch
a lovely brunch beverage for a hot nasty day from Hades (like today)
1 pot decaf coffee (12 cups, brew it strong)
Between 1/2 and 1 c. sugar, to taste
1/2 gallon milk
1 quart vanilla ice cream (I used a little more than half of a 1.5 qt container)
whipped cream (unsweetened)

Dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee. Let cool. Refrigerate. Before serving, combine coffee with milk and ice cream. There will be globs, that's OK, they will melt. They are serving as the ice cubes, dontcha know :) Top with whipped cream and prepare to amaze your friends and family. This makes a huge amount - I put it in my punch bowl.

15 July 2010

Leftover Watermelon: 2 ideas

Blending and straining watermelon to make juice is sort of messy and a pain, but it's well worth it :)

First Idea:
Watermelon Sorbet

3 c. watermelon juice (blend and strain about 3 lbs. seeded cubed watermelon)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Whisk sugar and watermelon juice together until sugar is dissolved. Stir in salt and lemon juice. Pour into ice cream maker and let it do the rest of the work :) Let it finish freezing in a different container in the freezer. Just make sure you pull it out of the freezer for a while (10 minutes?) before you want to eat some.


After I made the sorbet, I had extra watermelon juice which I used to make:
Watermelon Lemonade
Juice of 3-4 lemons
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. watermelon juice
add water to make 1/2 gallon

Shake all ingredients together in a container with a tightly screwed-on lid. Soo good over ice on a hot day!


OK, I lied: I actually had 3 ideas. The last one is just almost too simple to mention, which is:
Pour some of that watermelon juice into your popsicle molds and stick in in your freezer.

There you go.

23 June 2010

Berry Tart

I want to try this but it looks kind of fussy. Anybody know a really simple cheater way to make something that looks similar?

17 June 2010

New Look and New Take on Bean Pot

I love this new blog design! The background makes me think of a nice cool Washington day. :)

For dinner tonight, we had a new spin on an old favorite: Jamaican Black Beans. This time I threw it all in the crockpot -
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp (?) molasses
some browned italian sausage that I had in my freezer... so it's no longer vegetarian

I had this going on low heat for about 2 1/2 hours. Then I thought, I should put a sweet potato in there. I don't know about sweet potatoes in the crockpot, and anyway I didn't have much time, so I poked a sweet potato with a fork and put it in the microwave for 7 minutes. Then I let it cool, peeled it, cut it into chunks, and put it in the crockpot for another 30-45 minutes... until dinner time.

Served this goodness with rice and it was awesome! I don't think I'll do it the old way again... and not just because I'm an ENFP. :)

25 May 2010

Thai Beef Salad

Here is a recipe from the coolest restaurant in Dayton, Thai Nine.

4 T. lime juice
3 T. fish sauce
1 T. sugar

Bed of lettuce or cabbage
5 cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
2 T. thinly sliced red onion
1 T. sliced green onion
1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced
1 T. cilantro, chopped
1 T. basil, chopped
1/2 lb. steak, thinly sliced and pan fried -OR- grilled and then thinly sliced (I did option #1)

Toss to combine salad and dressing! Yummm. We ate this salad for dinner with a side of rice, which nicely soaked up the extra dressing.

17 May 2010

Polenta Pie Revival

I updated this recipe. I've been making it forever (never the same way twice... of course :) ) and finally hit upon the brilliance that was tonight's dinner. Even Ken said so..... and it was vegetarian. Now that's saying something.

I think it was the perfect combo of salty cheese plus sweet corn plus tangy tomatoes and tomatillos plus oniony onions plus mildly spicy chipotle pepper. That was just what I had on hand, but we struck gold!! Plus it's easy, and cheap. Check it out.

06 April 2010

Dinner Tonight: Fish Tacos

If you live in San Diego like Tami, just get yourself to your nearest Rubio's. However - if you live far, far away from San Diego and you need a fish taco, here is what you do:

White Sauce:
1/4 c. mayo
1/4 c. plain yogurt or sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
lime juice
chipotle chili powder

olive oil
chili powder
lime juice
salt and pepper
12 - 16 oz. bag of frozen tilapia, preferably farm-raised (just kidding - but that is what was on sale), thawed
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce
8 tortillas - corn to be authentic, but I like flour better

Fresh Salsa:
1/4 c. finely chopped onions (I like red)
1/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 c. chopped tomato

Other stuff:
chopped avocado
lime wedges for squeezing

1. To make the sauce: mix mayo, yogurt, lime juice, garlic, chipotle chili powder and some salt. Taste for seasoning.

2. Marinade for the fish: Combine 2 T. olive oil, 1 tsp. chili powder, juice from 1/2 a lime and some S&P in a shallow dish. Taste to make sure it is yummy. Then place the thawed fish pieces in the marinade and let them hang out for a few minutes. (The marinade recipe is courtesy of Rachael Ray... mostly.)

3. Heat up 2 T. olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until flaky. OR: grill for 3-4 minutes per side (make sure your grill is clean and well-oiled first).

4. Warm the tortillas in a pan (I put them directly on my ceramic stovetop on a burner on low). Layer cabbage/lettuce, fish, fresh salsa, some avocado, and drizzle with the sauce. Roll it up and oh-so-good. If you want to be really authentically Rubio's, serve with a wedge of lime, and a Corona... and another wedge of lime, I guess. :)

Serves 2 starving people and one picky toddler.

16 March 2010

Salmon with Sake and Ginger

We made this salmon last night using the baking method: it was amazing. All you need with it is some rice (to soak up the sauce).

15 February 2010

Chili for 20

This is one of those meals that someone served to me on a Sunday afternoon after church, and it was so good I had to have the recipe...

Chili for 20 (but really more like 15-16... think: chili for a lot of people) :)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 lb. ground turkey
2 sweet onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 16-oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 20-oz can chilies
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Brown meat with onions and garlic. Drain off fat. Add to crockpot. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours.

Note: Above is the recipe as it was given to me. When I halved this last night for a smaller group, I used 1.5 lbs ground beef and 1/2 lb. italian sausage. Instead of the tomatoes and chilies, I used 6 cups (48 oz) salsa (I still browned the meat with 1 onion and 3 cloves garlic). I served it with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

19 January 2010

Maple-Pecan Granola

Thanks to this chick for inspiration on how to make crunchy pecan granola. That's the kind I always want from Trader Joe's ya know.

Maple-Pecan Granola
4 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds...)
1/4 c. Butter (half a stick)
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. real maple syrup
1/4 tsp (a couple dashes?) each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 tsp. vanilla

1. Stir up the oats and nuts in big mixing bowl.

2. Melt butter in microwave in glass measuring cup. Add honey and syrup and microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Pour butter-honey mixture over oat mixture and stir up the whole thing really well.

3. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 300. Don't stir. Turn oven off and leave granola in there for another 20 minutes (or even longer. If you forget about it, it's fine). Remove, let cool completely, and transfer to storage container.

14 January 2010

Artisan Bread

I don't know what artisan bread really is; all I know is that if I make Grandma Dingler's bread recipe and then put it on a cookie sheet instead of in a loaf pan and make some slashes in the top, it looks a lot cooler than when I put it in a loaf pan :)

Now that I got your attention, here is my favorite recipe for...

straight-up white bread
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 c. warm water (120 degrees?)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 c. flour (you can do 2 c. white flour and 1 c. wheat flour)

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Add sugar, let it hang out a few minutes. Add salt, let it hang out a few minutes more.

2. Mix in flour with a spoon. Add more if necessary. Knead until smooth. Cover and let rise for about 1 1/2 hrs.

3. Punch down and get air bubbles out. Shape into a loaf and place on a cookie sheet (or in a loaf pan if you want a nice conventional loaf of bread). Make some slashes in the top with a good sharp knife and let it rise again for about an hour.

4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (optional: before baking, brush with milk). Remove from pan and cool on rack. Eat warm slices with butter and jam.

07 January 2010

Balsamic Mushrooms

This is our favorite way to fix mushrooms...

Balsamic Mushrooms from Martha Stewart
1/4 c. evoo
12 oz. mushrooms, washed, dried and quartered
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms in oil 5 minutes, turning to prevent sticking. Add vinegar, salt and pepper flakes; cook 1 minute longer.

Today I put these mushrooms straight from the pan onto a bed of spinach leaves. The heat wilted the spinach a little bit which I love, and the mushrooms just tasted like a really substantial dressing. SO GOOD.

06 January 2010

Spaghetti Squash

I made this Spaghetti Squash Gratin last night but used kale instead of chard, omitted the green onions and used plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

It was so good that Ken said, can you please make this again, often? :)