Friday, December 16, 2011

Brown Rice Quiche

Makes 2- one to eat for dinner, and one to freeze

1 1/3 cup brown rice
1 large onion, chopped
2 2/3 cup water
8 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese, and kind
1lb bag frozen peas
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs, plus some for the top

In a medium size pot, add rice, onion, & water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients. Stir to combine. Then, fold in the rice & onion mixture.

Grease 2 9" pie plates. Pour half of the mixture into each plate. Top with bread crumbs.

To freeze- Wrap uncooked quiche in plastic wrap and foil. Write directions on the foil (Thaw & Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour), and freeze up to 2 months.

To cook- Bake for about an hour. You'll know it's ready when it's browned, slightly puffed up, and "springy" to the touch.

Serve with a big salad.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cranberry Jalapeno Appetizer

1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. minced green onions
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves
1 8oz. package cream cheese

In a food processor, add jalapeno, sugar, & lemon juice. Pulse to mince the pepper. Add cranberries, green onion, and cilantro. Pulse until cranberries are minced and everything is combined. 

Place the cream cheese in the middle of a serving plate. 

Spoon the cranberry mixture over the cream cheese. 

Serve with a small spreading knife & crackers. 

To eat, spread a bit of cream cheese and cranberry mixture onto each cracker. 

*Thanks to my friend Gail for introducing this to me.

Buffalo Mac & Cheese

3 cups milk
3 cups whole grain pasta
1 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
4 tablespoons Frank's hot sauce (use more or less)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Bring milk, pasta, and red pepper to a simmer on medium/medium low heat. Stirring often, cook pasta in milk until al dente- about 10-15 minutes. Keep the heat low because you don't want to scorch the milk or cause it foam and boil over.

In a separate bowl, combine chicken, hot sauce and butter (optional). 
Remove pan from heat, stir in cheeses and yogurt. Return to warm burner and combine. Fold in chicken mixture and green pepper. 

Top with blue cheese crumbles if you'd like. Serve immediately. 

Serves 4 generous dinner portions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Super Easy Homemade Mac & Cheese

3 cups milk
3 cups whole grain pasta
1 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
salt to taste

Bring milk and pasta to a simmer on medium/medium low heat. Stirring often, cook pasta in milk until al dente- about 10-15 minutes. Keep the heat low because you don't want to scorch the milk or cause it foam and boil over.

Remove from heat, stir in cheeses and yogurt. Return to warm burner to melt everything if necessary.

Serve immediately. Add something yummy like peas, diced chicken, peppers, etc. to give it a little something extra. (Pictured with red & green peppers)

Make it into Alfredo by omitting the cheddar and doubling the parmesan. Grind black pepper onto it before serving. I like adding steamed broccoli to it, too.

You can also turn it into this with a few extra ingredients.

Serves 3 generous dinner portions or 6 as a side dish.

Cheesy Potato Soup

1 large softball size onion, chopped
6 stalks celery including the leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans evaporated milk, regular or low fat will do
1 bag frozen hashbrowns, thawed
5+ cups lowfat or skim milk
3 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream

In a large soup pot, saute onion and celery in butter on medium heat. Add salt, pepper, parsley, & garlic powder. Cook until the onions are translucent.

Add the stock and evaporated milk to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Then, add the hashbrowns. Simmer for 10-15 minutes so you cook the potatoes.

Turn heat to low. Cream soups need delicate heat or they will scorch on the bottom of the pot. Add the milk and cheese to the pot. Using a stick blender, blend the soup until the cheese has incorporated, and the soup is smooth. Add more milk if you'd like it thinner.

SImmer on low for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add if necessary.

Stir in sour cream.

To serve, let cool in bowl for a few minutes. Cream soups seem extra hot when they come out of the pot! Top with green onions or bacon bits.

This soup can be made ahead. It will thicken, so add milk or stock if you need to thin it out.

Serves 12. Refrigerated leftovers reheat well on stovetop.

*I haven't tried freezing this, but I wouldn't recommend it. There's too much dairy in it, and I think it could separate or loose the proper texture upon freezing/thawing/reheating.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry Coffee Cake

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in mixing bowl. Add cranberries and almonds. Stir to coat the berries. Add eggs, butter, and extracts. Fold until barely combined.

Spread mixture evenly in greased 9" pie pan or 8"x8" pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes- until golden brown on edges and cranberries are bubbling.

Cool before serving.

Freezes well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner- Wheat & Corn Bread Stuffing

 1- 1 1/2 lb. loaf whole wheat bread, cut into 1" cubes
1- 1 lb. loaf corn bread, cut into 1" cubes
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped small
3 tbsp. butter
salt, pepper to taste
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup chardonnay
7-10 cups stock

Cut bread the day before and leave out on the counter overnight to dry out.

The day of-
Add onion, celery, and butter to pan.  Season with salt & pepper. Saute until onion is translucent. Add herbs and wine. Reduce liquid by half.

Add bread and onion mixture to a large bowl. Add 6 cups stock. Fold mixture together.

Add mixture to 13x9 baking dish, pressing it in with the back of a spoon.

Let rest for 15 minutes. Check moisture level by feeling a bread cube. If it falls apart, it moist enough. If it's still a little hard in the middle, pour 1 cup stock over mixture in pan & check again after a few minutes. Repeat until mixture is very moist.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 1hour-1 hour 15 minutes.

Thanksgiving Dinner- Green Beans in Mushroom Cream

A homemade & unprocessed version of green bean casserole. Much richer and simpler in flavor.

1 quart half & half
1 quart whole milk

12 oz. white button mushrooms, chopped fine
8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, chopped fine
2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

3 lbs frozen cut green beans (thawed) or 3 lbs fresh beans, cut into 1inch pieces and blanched
Salt & pepper to taste

1 large can fried onions (from the can- not worth the trouble of making these when they are just as effective when purchased from the grocery store)
1 small onion very finely chopped

Reduce half & half in milk by half in a large sauce pan.

In a pan with the olive oil, saute mushrooms until golden brown and reduced in volume.

Add mushrooms and beans to a large mixing bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste.

In the same pan used for mushrooms, add butter and flour to make a roux. Whisk to combine. Then whisk in half of the milk mixture. Thicken by bringing to a boil.

Add all of the milk mixtures into the mixing bowl. Fold ingredients together.

Place in a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped onions and half of the fried onions. Use a spatula to "sink" the onions into the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Then add the rest of the fried onions on top and bake until they are golden brown.

When milk mixture has reduced, pour half

Thanksgiving Dinner- Orange Cranberry Sauce

Nice as an accompaniment to your dinner or as a spread on scones or toast.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest (optional)

Place in sauce pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally, scraping sides each time. Lower/raise heat if necessary to keep a constant low boil.

Cooks down in about an hour, to a very thick consistency.

Serve warm or cold.

*I use my bread machine on "jam" setting to make this.*

Thanksgiving Dinner- Turkey Brine & Roasting

Brining takes place the day before you'll be preparing the turkey.

Brines a 10-15lb turkey.

1 gallon water
1 medium onion, roughly chopped, peel still in tact
1 end of a celery bunch (the part you'd throw out), rinsed
4 cloves garlic sliced in 1/2, peel still on
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tbsp whole coriander
4 dried bay leaves
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

(Thaw your turkey prior to brining.)

In the morning before you are going to brine-
Add everything to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil on medium/high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once boiling, turn the heat off, remove from the burner and let it come to room temperature in the pot. 

The evening before you're going to cook the turkey, prep a small cooler. 
I use this one by cleaning the inside well. Add the cooled brine, 1 gallon or water, and 12 cups ice cubes. 

Unwrap your thawed turkey, remove giblets and neck (save those to MAKE STOCK!), & rinse.

Place turkey, breast end first, into brine. Weigh it down with a plastic container filled with water, heavy lid, etc. Put the lid on the cooler and leave it alone overnight. (Minimum brining time is 8 hours-Max amount is 24 hours)

Before you're going to bake the turkey, remove the turkey from the cooler, rinse it well, and place it onto the the pan/rack you'll be baking on. Then, dry the turkey by patting it with paper towels. Discard the brine. 

Bake at your preference. 

I use this method to bake turkeys- Rub dried turkey with a little oil. Fill cavity with one roughly chopped onion, one quartered apple, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, and 6 smashed cloves garlic. Tie up the legs together with string. Tuck the wings back behind the body (like it's laying with it's arms behiind it's head). Roast turkey in lowest part of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, place a triangle of buttered foil over the breast (white meat)- leaving the dark meat exposed. Put a probe thermometer into the breast and return the turkey to the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. When thermometer has reached 130 degrees, remove the tent and check for even browning. If it's not browned nicely over the breasts, leave the tent off. If it's evenly browned, stick it back on until it's finished. Roast until the white meat has reached 161 degrees (about 15 minutes a lb.) Rest, covered with foil or a large metal mixing bowl for 15-30 minutes before carving.

Thanksgiving Dinner- Fried Sweet Potatoes

Simple dish with lots of flavor. Inspired by the dinner being prepared here (at the Firestone Farm House in Greenfield Village).
makes 8-10 servings

6 sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter

The day before, bake sweet potatoes in 400 degree oven for about an hour.  No need to prep them n any way. Just wash and set them on the top shelf of the cold oven. Turn temp to 400 degrees and check for doneness in one hour with a sharp knife. If the nice slides through, it's done! Still a little hard? Give it a little more time.

Cool and put in refrigerator overnight.

Day of, slice into 1/4-1/2" slices. (remove the skin if you want to)Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt.

Place 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium/high heat. Add potatoes when butter has melted. Let the potatoes brown & caramelize before flipping- a good 5 minutes. Flip potatoes and turn the heat down a bit to medium-medium/low. Once the other side is browned, turn off heat, place lid on potatoes until ready to serve. They will stay nice and warm for quite a while.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipes almost fills up my 8 qt stock pot. The egg noodles are sturdy and hold up to freezing. Just thaw & reheat. Better than the canned stuff!

1 large softball size onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of celery, chopped- including the greens at the top!
1 lb. carrots, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp (or more) parsley
1 tsp garlic (fresh or powder)
1/2 gallon of chicken stock
3 boneless chicken breasts (about 8oz.-1lb.)
Water to fill pot
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute onions, celery, & carrots in butter over medium until they have some caramel color and the onions start to turn translucent- about 5-8 minutes.
Add parsley & garlic.

Add stock and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil. Poach chicken breasts about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pot to a cutting board or plate. Let cool until you can handle it, then use two forks to shred chicken into bite size pieces.

Add chicken back to the stock pot. Fill the pot the rest of the way with water (or more stock if you think it needs the extra flavor).

Simmer on low while you prepare noodles.

2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 tsp salt

Using your bread machine (can be done in a big mixing bowl by hand, too), add flour, eggs, & salt to the bowl with paddle attached. Set machine to "dough" setting. Run for 10 minutes. You may need to add a little more flour or a 1/2 tsp of water at a time until the dough is a smooth, slightly sticky ball. 10 minutes total ensures that the dough is mixed and kneaded the proper amount of time. After time is up, stop machine, and rest dough for 10 more minutes.

Using pasta machine, roll sheets of dough out to thickest setting. Take each sheet, roll it up, and slice 1/2" spirals. Unroll the spirals into long noodles.

Heat soup to a boil. Add pasta to the soup, breaking noodles into smaller lengths if desired. Pasta will be finished cooking in 5 minutes.  Serve immediately or portion for freezing once slightly cooled.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Millet Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Slightly sweet with a nutty crunch from the millet. Goes nicely with morning coffee.
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dry millet

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine butter, pumpkin, sugar, honey, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, & cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl.
Dump in flour, cinnamon, salt, soda, & millet. Fold mixture until mostly combined…not too much though- batter will be thick and lumpy.

Scoop with large-3tbsp size- scoop (I use this one) into greased muffin tins. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

Makes about 18.

inspired by Joy the Baker's recipe

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Truffles

1 sleeve graham crackers, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Blend everything together in mixer bowl until well combined. Scoop 1 tsp. rounds with a small scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap. Chill until firm. Put them in the freezer to speed up the process.

Once chilled, melt about 1lb. chocolate candy melts or chips (any flavor will work, I used milk chocolate) in a double boiler until completely melted. Stir in 1 tbsp oil.

Dip the truffles in chocolate to coat using forks or spoons. The mixture is soft, so you'll need to work quickly when dipping in the warm chocolate. Place back on tray until chocolate sets. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs or sanding sugar/sprinkles while chocolate is still shiny if you want to decorate them.

Makes about 30.

Avocado Red Pepper Pasta

4 ripe avocados, halved and pit removed.
1 medium/large sweet red pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
splash of milk, I used almond milk

Place garlic and red pepper into food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Scoop out avocado flesh into food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Add to hot, cooked pasta. I used angel hair. Makes enough sauce for 1lb pasta.

Store extra sauce in airtight container.


This recipe makes about 20 cups of hummus. It could easily be divided. It can be frozen for up to 6 months, but it won't last that long because it's so delicious! It's made with white northern beans instead of chick peas. This give the hummus a creamy texture like the brands from the grocery store.
2lbs dried white northern beans- cooked (I use the crock pot method)- makes about 14-16 cups OR 8-10 cans beans, drained
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
6oz. Tahini
1 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups bottled lemon juice- this reduces the chances of spoiling
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3tsp. salt- more or less to taste

Measure out all of your ingredients. Add 2 garlic cloves to the processor and mince. Add about 4-6 cups of beans to the processor with garlic. Add about 1/3 of each of the other ingredients and run processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Dump contents into a large mixing bowl.
Repeat until you've used up all of the measured ingredients.
Mix all of the batches well in the large mixing bowl. It will seem a little thin but it will firm up when it's refrigerated.
Divide into appropriate serving containers.
Refrigerate or freeze. Lasts in the refrigerator about 2 weeks.

You can experiment with different amounts of the ingredients- more lemon, more tahini, etc. or add flavorings just like the store brands. Go here for some ideas!

You can also leave out the tahini and it will be white bean dip.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apple Chips

Simple snack that only uses on ingredient!

Cookie Sheet
3 small apples per cookie sheet
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees, 235 if you have a convection oven.

Use apple slicer to core and slice apples. I have this one. If you don't have this tool, just core and thinly slice apples.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Arrange apple slices very closely on pan, being careful not to overlap. Bake for 2 hours. Let cool and store in an air tight container.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Broccoli Millet Casserole

6 cups cooked millet- I used Bob's Red Mill Millet & Chicken Stock
1lb bag frozen broccoli cuts
1 12oz. bag italian cut green beans
2 1/2 cups stock
4 tablespoons corn starch
2/3 cup milk powder
2/3 cup greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream or a combo of them.
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
seasonings to taste- salt, pepper, garlic, onion, Mrs. Dash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the stock, corn starch, milk powder, yogurt, cheese and seasonings in a bowl. Add millet and veggies. Stir to combine.

Pour into greased 13x9 pan. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on the edges.

Serve as a side or main dish.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Barley Tomato Risotto

1 cup pearl barley
1 tbsp EVOO
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups milk (I use unsweetened almond)

Put barley and oil in pot on medium and toast until deep caramel color. Add garlic and let that toast a bit. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook covered on medium/low, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about  40 minutes. Then, switch to low for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn burner off, leave pot covered, and let sit until all moisture is absorbed. Serve slightly warm with Pea & Chive Pesto on top. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pea & Chive Pesto

1 lb frozen peas, thawed
1 cup chopped chives
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil

Puree all ingredients but olive oil in food processor until generally combined. Stream in olive oil. Puree until smooth.

Serve on pasta, rice, or on Barley Tomato Risotto.

Freeze leftovers. Keeps really well.

You can also substitute other herbs like basil or parsley instead of chives.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pizza Dough

Basic Pizza Dough

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey/raw sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups flour (AP, Whole Wheat, White Whole Wheat, or a combo)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add the water, yeast, & honey/sugar into your mixer bowl. Combine. Add the olive oil. Turn mixer on medium speed. Add the salt to your flour. Gradually add flour/salt mixture to mixer bowl. Combine everything until the dough comes away from the sides of the mixer bowl. Work quickly, and don't be afraid to really turn the mixer up. The whole process should only take about a minute. 

Let the dough rest in the bowl while you prep your other ingredients. It doesn't really NEED to rest, but I'm sure it helps the dough cooperate a little. 

Roll it out and top as you'd like. When baking it, use the highest temperature on your oven- like 550 degrees. It's the most promising way to end up with a "pizza place" type crust. Their ovens are usually at least 600 degrees.

You can also use this dough for calzones, stromboli, focaccia, breadsticks, even for quick cinnamon rolls.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Unprocessed

My husband and I are participating in Eating Rules, October Unprocessed challenge. I thought it would also be a good opportunity to work on one of my goals this year- meal planning. I decided that I'd keep a list of meals I'd like to make this month and work off of it. I'm picking something that sounds good and checking it off the list each day, instead of deciding which day we'll eat what…like on a calendar…I'm too finicky to stick to that kind of plan. I'm trying and creating a lot of new recipes, too. The zucchini biscuits are one of the winning recipes so far, as was the rice & bean bake.

I'll be updating this list as I try more recipes. Here's what we're planning on eating so far-

Breakfast Cookies made like granola bars, in an 8x8 pan
Pancake Apple Rings with Pancake Mix

Leftovers from dinner
Fruit on the bottom yogurt- inspired by this post
This soup- with lots of veggies dumped in for good measure

Hummus, no oil, made with northern beans
Chocolate Pudding
Seedy Crisps
Cheddar Coins

Tried & Yummy!-
Homemade Tomato Soup & Zucchini Cheese Biscuits
Rice & Bean Bake
Tofu & Whole Wheat Pasta with Peanut Coconut Sauce-based off of this
Spicy Tuna Melts on Whole Wheat Baguettes with Oven Fries
Patlajan Gouvej with Brown Rice Pilaf
Vegetable Stir Fry with brown rice
Grilled Pizzas with Whole Wheat Dough & veggies & mozzarella
Baked Sweet Potatoes w/ Organic Salted Butter & a Mixed Green Salad with carrots, celery, green pepper, & red onion with this Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
Pumpkin Lasagna
Barley Tomato Risotto with Pea & Chive Pesto
Pasta E Fagioli - Bean and Pasta Stew with Greens

On deck-
Fried Egg with Collards & Barley- based on this
Garlicky Bean Enchiladas with homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas
Potato Frittata with mixed green salad
Eggplant Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Orecchiette & basic tomato sauce
Vegetable Pad Thai
Koftas with Veggie Burger instead of turkey & Homemade Pitas
Pumpkin Soup in a pumpkin with Zucchini Cheese Biscuits
Open Face Veggie Burger Sloppy Joes with BBQ Sauce on Whole Wheat Baguette with Oven Fries
Baked Vegetable Omelet with mixed green salad
Pumpkin Pasta
Meatless Meatloaf
Hummus Melts
Lentil Sloppy Joes
Red Gratin
Squash Crostini-Made with "mock" ricotta (cottage cheese drained & pureed)

Some notes-
-I've decided to use baking powder even though it's considered *processed*- I would like to try this, though
-Using only whole wheat & white whole wheat flour
-Not using any sugar- instead date puree, local honey, black strap molasses, or maple syrup
-Using some cow's milk (homogenized) but substituting with unsweetened almond milk whenever I can
-Using only butter as a fat, and a little EVOO

There are a lot of opinions about what's processed or not…I'm following my own path about it and using some semi-processed ingredients based on what I have readily available and some necessary conveniences.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Zucchini Cheese Biscuits

These biscuits are light and delicious!

Makes about 15

3/4 cup shredded zucchini, with excess moisture squeezed from it-(so start with about 1 cup, you'll end up with 3/4)
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk, I used almond milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese, any kind

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Add zucchini, butter and yogurt to mixer bowl. Cream for about 20 seconds. Stop mixer and add the flour, salt, & baking powder. Combine until the mixture is coarsely combined-like wet sand. Add milk and cheese. Mix just until everything is combined.

Scoop out 2 tbsp. per biscuit onto a parchment lined  baking sheet or onto a stoneware pan. Sprinkle each biscuit with some garlic powder or minced garlic and more black pepper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown on the edges and springy to the touch.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rice & Bean Bake

This makes a really flavorful rice & beans dish. I like it a lot better than making a batch on the stove top, and it's a bonus that you just dump it all in the pan and it comes out beautiful! Easy and delicious!

1 1/2 cups raw brown rice
3 1/3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 15oz. cans, drained)
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
1/2 cup salsa
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 1/2 cups stock, heated to boiling in a saucepan
1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix rice, beans, tomatoes, salsa, onion, garlic, & pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add hot stock and stir. Add the shredded cheese.

Pour mixture into a greased 13x9 baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for approximately 70 minutes or until rice is cooked through.

*sometimes I crank the temperature up to 400 to make things cook a little faster, and sometimes it takes up to 90 minutes…it just depends on the day.

Serve with salsa & sour cream.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ranch Mix

I made this mix as a part of Christmas gifts last year (actually, I've updated the recipe since then with dill & mustard). I gave a seasoning trio wrapped in little clear bags with raffia bows- taco seasoning, seasoned salt, and this. It's so yummy! You can use it to make dressing, dip, or as a seasoning. I've written the recipe in parts. You can make as large a quantity as you'd like. I made it in 1 cup parts to divide up as gifts.

1 part sea salt
1 part dried parsley
1 part dried chives
1 part onion powder
1 part garlic powder
3/4 part paprika
3/4 part dill weed
1/2 part black pepper
1/2 part dried mustard

Combine with a whisk.

Add about 1-2 tablespoons to 1-2 cups sour cream for ranch dip.

Add 1-2 tablespoons to 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo, and then add milk until it's your desired consistency for ranch dressing. Use buttermilk for buttermilk ranch.

Add as a seasoning to chicken dishes, veggie stir fries, etc.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Campfire Chili

This is the chili I make whenever we go camping. It's a hearty chili that's got classic chili flavors with a vegetarian twist. So filling that you won't miss the meat.
This is the pot I use over the campfire. Well, not this actual pot. Mine is a little more "seasoned" looking than this one. You can do this on the stove top or even on the grill too, but the smoky flavor from the fire is what makes this super tasty.

4 veggie burgers or 1 pkg veggie crumbles
1 14oz.-ish can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 14oz.-ish can diced tomatoes with onion
1 14oz.-ish can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups stock or water
3 cups cooked beans (I use red kidney beans, or a combo of black & pinto beans)
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder

Mix everything in the pot. If the veggie burgers are still frozen, just put them in the bottom of the pot. They'll break down when you add the heat.

Cook indirectly over the fire, keeping the lid on & stirring often until the onions are translucent. You can simmer this gently all day long if you'd like to develop the flavors, but it's ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

Cook in the same kind of pot right on the grill or simmer on the stove top.

Serve with cornbread and chili toppings- sour cream, shredded cheese, & chopped onion.

White Chicken Chili

One of the two chilis I made for our Chili Cook-Off party. Makes one very full slow cooker (about a 5qt. size)
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
48oz jar of Great Northern Beans (like this)
1 can drained diced tomatoes
2 small cans chopped green chilies
1 cup frozen corn
3-5 cups chicken stock
2 cans (or about 2 cups) cream soup (any flavor)
1 8oz. pkg cream cheese, cubed
1 cup milk
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. parsley
2 tsp. Mrs. Dash

Add everything but the chicken stock into the slow cooker. Gently mix. Add chicken stock until it's your desired consistency. Cook on high, stirring often for 3 hours or on low for 6.

Serve with cornbread and toppings for the chili- sour cream, shredded cheese, chives or green onions.

Freezes well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

These large cookies are not too sweet. Goes great with a cup of coffee in the morning. You can also freeze these to have on hand for on-the-go breakfasts.

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup almonds
1 cup dried fruit

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheet.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Combine wet ingredients, making sure the banana is well incorporated. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Stir to combine.

Drop large spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Flatten and shape cookies a little with your hands. Cookies should be about 3" diameter & 1/2"-3/4" high. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Store in  refrigerator. 

Energy Balls

Great snack, especially after a workout. 

makes approximately 2 dozen depending on size

1/2 C peanut butter
1/3 C honey or maple syrup 
1 1/2 C quick oats
1 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1-2 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt if using a natural nut butter with no added salt
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C trail mix or nuts, dried fruits like craisins or raisins

Combine nut butter, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon & salt in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients stir until a crumbly mixture is formed. 

Form into balls. Store in refrigerator. 

Sausage Balls

A quick grab & go breakfast or a great appetizer.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8oz. mild cheddar cheese (crumbles or shredded)
8oz. sharp cheddar cheese (crumbles or shredded)
1 lb. pkg. ground sausage (Like Jimmy Dean- any flavor)

Combine all ingredients. Knead with your hands to incorporate everything. The mixture is very dry. It should take about 5 minutes to mix it all together.

Form into small meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches) and place 2 cookie sheets lined with foil & sprayed with cooking spray OR lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for about a minute and then set paper towels to absorb extra oil while they cool.

Makes around 48+ balls.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crock Pot Refried Beans

2 lbs dried pinto beans, rinsed and sorted
6 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pablano pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Add everything to the crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 12 hours or on high for 6, or until the beans are tender.

Remove about 1 cup of liquid from the crock. Use immersion blender to blend beans into smooth puree. Add liquid until you reach the desired consistency.

Let cool and divide into 1lb. portions. Label and freeze in containers or freezer bags. 1lb=1 can refried beans.

To use, thaw and add to recipes or place frozen beans in pot and warm slowly over low/medium heat.

Yields about 7lbs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Instant Oatmeal Jars

Just add hot water and stir, and you've got the perfect size breakfast in it's own little jar. To make, line up ingredients and fill jars in a little assembly line. This would be perfect for kids to help with. They make a great on-the-go breakfast, you can mix it and put the lid back on and eat it on the way. Or, take it to work with you for a mid-morning treat.

You'll need half pint canning jars. Makes a scant 1 cup serving.

For each jar, measure:
scant 1/4 cup whole oats
1/4 cup quick oats
1 tbsp. ground oats (grind up by pulsing in the food processor a few times OR throw some in a coffee grinder until it's like coarse sand)
1 tbsp. non-fat milk powder (this is what makes it creamy)
2 tsp. raw sugar
tiny pinch of salt

Layer the ingredients in the jar, then top with whatever toppings you'd like. Here are some ideas:

  • sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice & dried cranberries
  • broken up banana chips, sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few nuts
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • raisins & cinnamon
  • freeze dried strawberries
  • coconut and dried pineapple or mango pieces
  • dried apple pieces & cinnamon
To make the oatmeal, fill the jar with very hot water up to the 2nd line on the rim for thick oatmeal and the 1st line for thinner. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

A leaner and quick-to-prep version of a classic comfort food.

1 lb whole wheat pasta, any small shape, I used spirals

1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups skim or plain soy milk
1 cup water
1 egg
2 egg whites (eggs are for binding the custard, you could probably use egg replacer)

3 cups shredded cheese, any flavors you like
1 tablespoon butter, for just a bit more flavor
1 lb broccoli pieces, I used frozen, but you could use fresh too
pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Boil pasta for 5 minutes, drain. Spray a 5qt. or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Turn on high to warm it up while you mix. Whisk milk, water, & eggs in the cooker. Add butter, cheese, pepper, broccoli and stir to combine. Fold in par-cooked pasta. Smooth out the top & sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan.
Cook on high for 30 minutes.
Reduce to low and cook for 2-2 1/2 hours.
Keep warm for 30 minutes if you need to.
Serve hot. Store individual servings and freeze the leftovers for quick meals.

12 generous servings, approximately 350 calories per serving

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Farmer's Savory Egg & Bread Pudding

I imagine this is something a farmer would have as part of their Sunday breakfast. We're having it for dinner, made with veggies and herbs from our little homestead farm. It's a little more "eggy" than a traditional bread pudding.

6 cups cubed bread, I use the "heels" I saved in the freezer until I had enough to make something with it
2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4"
2 small eggplant, peeled & cubed
6 small tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, minced

8 eggs
3 cups milk

Arrange bread in 13x9x2" pan with all veggies. Sprinkle with herbs and cheese.

Wisk eggs, milk, salt, & pepper in separate bowl. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Let mixture sit for 20 minutes before baking. Bake 40 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Location:Cogswell St,Romulus,United States

Friday, May 27, 2011

Taco Pizza

Here's a quick and easy dinner. 


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey/raw sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add the water, yeast, & honey/sugar into your mixer bowl. Combine. Add the olive oil. Turn mixer on medium speed. Add the salt to your flour. Gradually add flour/salt mixture to mixer bowl. Combine everything until the dough comes away from the sides of the mixer bowl. Work quickly, and don't be afraid to really turn the mixer up. The whole process should only take about a minute. 

Let the dough rest in the bowl while you prep your other ingredients. 
Ok, now for the Taco Pizza

You'll need:
1 cup Salsa
2 tsp-1 tbsp taco seasoning 
1 can (1 2/3 cups)Black Beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup Shredded Cheese

Roll out your dough and place it on a pizza pan or large cookie sheet (it's ok to make a rectangular pizza…I won't tell!) dusted with a little cornmeal. 

Spread the dough with some salsa.Dust it with some taco seasoning. Sprinkle on the beans, corn, & cheese. 

Bake at 550 degrees for about 8 minutes. 

Top with sliced green onions, chopped lettuce, and chopped tomatoes. 

Serve with salsa, guacamole, & sour cream. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crock Pot Beans

Cooking beans in a crock pot is an easy and affordable way to prepare a large amount of beans. Here's how I do it:
  • 2 lbs of dried beans sorted and rinsed. Any kind of bean will do, except red/kidney beans. Here's why- "Kidney beans contain the toxin phytohaemagglutinin, which will make you extremely ill and in some rare cases has killed. The beans MUST be boiled for 10 minutes before cooking, and that includes slow cooking. These beans become five times more toxic when heated to the temperatures used in slow cooking than they are when raw, so never just add them to a stew or chili without boiling them first." excerpt from this article.
  • Room Temperature water
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda- This has the same effects as Beano. Don't add anymore than 1/8tsp though of the beans will taste "soapy"
  • 1-2tsp. salt
Put the beans in the pot and cover with water, just about to the top. Add baking soda. Cook on high for 4 hours. Reduce to low for another 4 hours. Add salt and gently stir. Adding salt in the beginning can make the skin on the beans a little tough. You can check for doneness after 3 hours on low. Lift the lid as little as possible, it'll just make it take longer to cook. 
Once cooked and cooled a bit, divide into freezer bags or containers. 1 2/3 cups cooked beans equals 1 can from the store (that's how much is in the can minus the liquid). Use thawed beans in recipes as you would canned. Place the frozen beans right in a pot of soup or chili. 
One pound of cooked beans will make you about 4 "cans" worth. A bag of beans costs about $1, and a can of beans costs about the same. You'll be saving 75% by making them yourself, plus you've "Beano-ed" them already and controlled the amount of salt. 

A few facts about beans:
-One serving of beans (1/2 cup of dried beans) supplies about 120 calories and lots of complex carbohydrates. 
-Beans offer a low-glycemic index value. In other words, the carbohydrates in beans do not cause as quick or as steep a rise in blood sugar as do many other carbohydrate-rich foods.
-Beans are a good source of B vitamins including folic acid. Beans also provide the minerals iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium and even some calcium.
-Dried beans are a good source of insoluble fiber, which promotes digestive health and relieves constipation. Beans also provide soluble fiber, which can help reduce fat levels in the blood.
-Beans provide little fat and absolutely no cholesterol.
-Beans are an incomplete protein, yet researchers believe that the particular amino acids in dry beans may help prevent various diseases. Complete proteins contain ample amounts of all essential amino acids. Combining grains and legumes gives you a complete protein, so eat some rice with all these beans you've cooked! (Source Source)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I've been reading...

I thought I'd share what I've been into reading lately (Yes! I read cookbooks!), and where I am getting a lot of recipes from. They aren't all about cooking, but I am growing a lot of our food, so gardening and preserving are big priorities this year too.

Make It Fresh Make It Healthy
Favorite recipe: Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese
My variation coming soon!

Season's Best Spring/Summer
Favorite Recipe: Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
My orange raspberry version coming soon!

Quick Vegetarian Main Dishes
Favorite Recipe: Green Minestrone

Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats
Favorite Recipe(s): Veggie Fritters & Sesame Eggplant Subs

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
Favorite Recipe: Coffee Cake Muffins (My blueberry version coming soon!)
Plus, super useful charts for cooking grains and meats.

A Homemade Life 
Easy to read, with fun stories and yummy sounding recipes. I haven't tried any yet, but I'm enjoying reading it.

Preserving the Harvest
Love the simplicity of this book. Easy to read charts about freezing veggies and fruits too.

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Organic Gardening
I've used this book to reference everything from how deep to plant seeds to how to make your own pest repellent. LOVE IT! Wonderful resource.

Root Cellaring
This book goes a little deeper than I plan on using our root cellar, but the basics are there and it's a good starting point. I plan to get another book or two about root cellars.

Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver
I love Rodale's books. This one is a keeper too. Very useful, with easy to accomplish solutions.

Stocking Up 
Just got this as a gift. Looking forward to gathering lots of info from it.