Monday, October 30, 2006

Tortilla Casserole

This is just one of those Mexican inspired casserole dishes. Nothin' fancy, but it does taste pretty good!

Tortilla Casserole

1 can cream of chicken soup
yogurt (equivalent to one can, measured with the cream of chicken soup can)
1/3 cup milk
3 green onions, chopped
1 can green chilis
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
8 oz. cheese, grated
tortilla chips

Combine the cream of chicken soup, yogurt, milk, green onions, garlic, and green chilis in a bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly.

This casserole goes together in layers. First, spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray and crush enough tortilla chips to cover the bottom of the pan. Then layer the cooked chicken over that. Then layer the creamy soup mixture over that, and finally, top with a layer of grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour, until bubbly and hot.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Curried Split Pea Soup

I'm posting slowly lately. Its not for lack of things to post, though. At any given time, I have a backlog of 5-10 drafts just waiting to be finished and posted. My problem is that I've been spending too much time in cyberland. Yes, my friends, I am an internet addict. I have had to pull back and only get on the computer just a little here and there. Its hardly given me time to get my posts up! Oh well. Its all about balance, isn't it? I'm working on that balance.

This recipe is a wonderful and unique split pea soup recipe. Its from one of Lorna Sass' cookbooks (I don't remember which one, since I checked it out from the library ages ago). Anyway, she specializes in pressure cooking. Some of her cookbooks are vegan, some are not. This particular recipe is vegan (though I added a dollop non-vegan sour cream on top of mine).

I use the recipe as a guideline and vary it as I need too. For instance, it calls for butternut squash, but if I don't have any on hand, I'll use carrots instead. The picture I took has a little sumac sprinkled on top for color.

Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup

1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, crubbed, seeded, and cut into chunks
2 cups yellow split peas, rinsed
1/3 cup raisins
6 cups water, or broth
1 tablepsoon + 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Heat oil in pressure cooker and saute the onion and ginger for 2 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients except salt.
2. Lock the lid into place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just ehough to maintain high pressure and cook 6 minutes. Reduce pressure with a quick-release method. Remove the lid, tilting away from you to allow excess steam to escape.
3. Add salt. Remove bay leaf, and simmer a few moments. Stir well, and thin with water if necessary.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pumpkin Bread

This was originally a pumpkin muffin recipe. I wanted pumpkin bread instead. So instead of putting the batter into muffin pans, I put it into loaf pans.

Actually, I wanted pumpkin bread with a swirl of cream cheese filling in the center. Thinking that I was supercook, I used my creative little mind, and I sort of did my own thing. The cream cheese filling turned out ok, but not fabulous. So I'm going to reccomend that if you want a recipe for pumpkin bread with a cream cheese filling, go find one yourself, 'cause all you're gonna get here is just the pumpkin bread recipe, sans filling.

This recipe has been circulating on a certain attachment parenting forum that I frequent. Everyone was raving about it, so I had to make it too. Mmmm...pumpkin bread...

My family loves banana bread. As soon as it comes out of the oven, they have it sliced and they are slathering butter on it. I gently point out that there is already a stick of butter in the bread, so there is really no need to put any butter on the bread, but they don't pay me no never mind, and they continue to slather away. So, of course, as soon as the pumpkin bread came out of the oven, they were ready to eat it, hot and buttered. Well, my friends, let me tell you that pumpkin bread straight out of the oven is ok. Just ok. But, if you really want to enjoy pumpkin bread at its perfection, you have to let it cool completely, maybe even wait the next day, and then eat it. I don't know why this is, but there you go. It just is.

Pumpkin Bread (or muffins, if you must)

3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together until combined

3 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda

sift dry ingredients, then add wet to dry

2/3 cup milk
1 3/4 cups pumpkin (canned - just a regular size can)

Add half the milk, mix, then add half the pumpkin, and mix again. Then add the rest of the milk, mix, then add the rest of the pumpkin, and mix.

Fold in:
1 cup chopped nuts

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Curried White Bean and Kale Soup

Oh, great. I made this a few weeks ago and now that I'm finally getting around to posting about it, I can't remember the recipe.

Usually when I make up a recipe for the blog, I'll make sure I draft a post and record at least what I put into it! That way, when I get around to posting it, I have a guideline for writing out the recipe, even if its been a few weeks. Apparently I didn't do that this time. All I have is a picture.

I do remember that I really liked this soup!

Curried White Bean and Kale Soup

Ok, so this is what I probably did:

I had some white beans on hand that I cooked earlier in the pressure cooker.

I sauteed some onion, garlic, and maybe celery. After the vegetables were soft and fragrant, I added some curry powder, maybe a teaspoon or so. At this point, I pureed the sauteed veggies with a can of chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and beans in the food processor. I wanted a thick soup with pureed beans and whole beans, so I only pureed about half of the beans. I returned everything to the pan. Then I added about 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin (I had made pumpkin bread earlier and I had some left over), and the rest of the beans. I probably used about 2 cups of beans.

After all this, I added a cup or so of chopped kale and simmered gently for a few minutes to soften and lightly cook the kale.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Apple Crisp

As the cool fall weather hits, we all start dreaming of those wonderful comfort foods... crisp! Its like a pie, but easier!

Sean makes me double the topping.

The recipe calls for quick oats, and I never buy quick oats. So I use old fashioned oats that have been given a quick whir in the food processor. Actually, I only whir about half of the oats, and I keep the other half old fashion-y.

Apple Crisp
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

and peel enough apples to fill an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish about 3/4ths full.

For the topping:

1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and dash salt. Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with ice cream. Serves 6.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Mmmm...this tastes a lot like Olive Garden's Alfredo Sauce. It is very tasty!

I made it again today and I forgot to add the butter. It tasted just as good, so if you want to cut out some of the fat, then leave out the butter.

If you don't have any roasted garlic, then just mince up a few cloves and add it instead.

The side dish is a mixture of vegetables (onion, zucchini, yellow peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms) sauteed in olive oil and a splash of balsalmic vinegar.

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

1 bulb of Roasted Garlic
2 cups milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream)
1/3 of an 8oz pkg of cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 cups grated parmesan (I just used the cheap-o kind)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder (optional)
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (you decide how thick you want it)

In a small saucepan, combine the cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups milk and butter together, stirring frequently until smooth and heated through.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, dry mustard, and reserved 1/2 cup milk. Stir slowly into the sauce and heat until thickened. Remove from heat.

Mash as much roasted garlic as you want and stir it into the sauce. Stir in the parmesan.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

I used a thickener because I used milk. If I had used all cream (holy calories, batman!), I don't think I would have needed to thicken the sauce.

Serve hot, over noodles, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Teriyaki Beans and Rice

I was all "eh, what am I making for I really have to cook???" Apparently the family expected it or something.

This is what I came up with, and it was actually quite good! I should have made more.

Teriyaki Beans and Rice

This was a throw together meal, and I didn't measure. So keep in mind that all measurements are approximate and can be adjusted as you please.

1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
stalk broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups navy beans (probably equivalent to 1 can)
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce
tablespoon rice vinegar
2 stalks green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Saute the mushrooms and broccoli in the teriyaki sauce. Add the garlic and ginger. Saute for a few minutes more. Add beans, rice vinegar, green onions and cilantro and cook until heated through.

Serve with rice.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Ok, I'll have to admit that I was very nervous about trying falafel again. I had made it before, and never met with any success. It always just fell apart when fried. It was a complete failure!

So, I decided to give it a try again, this time with the help of internet research (yeah, the last time I tried was probably 10 years ago, pre-internet).

So, prepared with what seemed to be an authentic recipe, I gave it a try, and was I ever happy!! It was a beautiful sight to behold!

See for yourself!

Ain't she purty?

So, I used a recipe from a Syrian website. When I had tried to make falafel before, I used cooked chickpeas and mashed them, adding spices and such. Well, this is a recipe for disaster. The cooked chickpea mass just falls apart when it touches the hot oil. For a perfect falafel mixture, the key is to only soak the chickpeas. No need for cooked ones in this recipe! A food processor is really essential for this recipe. The website says you can also use a meat grinder. I don't think a blender would be able to do the job very well, though.
For the Falafel Mix:
*500 mL (2 cups) dried chick peas (absolutely not canned)
*1 medium onion quartered
*2-3 cloves garlic
*2-3 slices stale bread
*50 mL (1/4 cup) parsley (I also added the same amount of cilantro)
*110 mL (2 tsp) salt
*3 mL (3/4 tsp) black pepper
*10 mL (2 tsp) cumin
*10 mL (2 tsp) oregano
*10 mL (2 tsp) ground coriander
*5 mL (1 tsp) red hot pepper flakes
*20 mL (4 tsp) flour (I used whole wheat)
*10 mL (2 tsp) baking powder
*50 mL (1/4 cup) water


Pick out foreign matter from between the peas. Place in a large bowl, cover generously with water and soak overnight.
Drain peas. Add onion, garlic, bread, parsley, and red sweet pepper. Run through the fine blade of a meat grinder. (You may process in food processor until mealy.) Add spices, flour, 10 mL (2 tsp) baking powder and water. Mix well. It should look like this:

For Forming the Balls:
*5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
*125 mL (1/2 cup) water
*vegetable oil for deep frying
In a small dish mix the remaining baking powder and water. Use it to moisten the palm of your hands and form balls of the chick peas mixture the size of walnuts, then flatten a bit. It should look like this:

Deep fry in oil at medium high heat until golden brown. Serve piping hot.
Arrange in halved loaves of pita (Arabic bread), topped with salad vegetables and tahina sauce. Some people love it topped with sauerkraut, wedges of tomato and tahina sauce. Hot pepper may also be sprinkled on top.
I made a sauce to accompany the falafel. I chose to do a yogurt based cucumber-tahini sauce. You can also eat it with plain tahini, or hummus. We sprinkled a little Sumac on it also.

Falafel Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup grated cucumber
1 clove minced garlic
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
If you like it richer, more like a whole milk yogurt, add a little cream, or substitute sour cream for all or part of the yogurt.

Mix all ingredients and allow to sit for an hour for flavors to blend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oven Crisped Tofu

I didn't grow up eating tofu. Nope. So I'm having to learn the art of eating tofu as I go. It doesn't help that Sean isn't very, well, appreciative of my tofu efforts. So far, I mostly just make it for lunches for myself and leave him out of the equation.

This is a recipe from the Passionate Vegetarian.

I had to return the book to the library, and I didn't write down the recipe. Lets see if I can remember:

Oven Crisped Tofu

Minced garlic
fresh ground pepper

I'm not sure of the quantities. If I check out the book again, I'll update this post.

Anyway, mix all the ingredients and add the tofu and marinate it for at least one hour. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Line the slices of tofu on the sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then flip over and bake 10 minutes more. I think it was baked at 500 degrees.

I'm really going to have to update this recipe, aren't I?

I served it on some stir fry vegetables with Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Spiced Pork Chops

The apples and squash are a nice accompaniment to pork chops. The major flaw in this recipe is that they were all baked together.

Dh took one look at it and said "um, you know I like my pork grilled, right?"

This wasn't so bad, but for it to be perfect, I'd have to grill the pork, and then make a side dish of apples and squash.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Meatloaf and Hashbrown Pie

This was just plain gross!

As I was making it I knew it was all wrong. For some reason, I made myself follow the recipe, even though I was just aching to "fix" it. The meatloaf portion had way too much bread crumbs and not enough liquid for moistening. Ew.

Want the recipe? I'll sell it to you for a dollar.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. Its gross too.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Blueberry Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup

Ok, Sean is crazy about blueberry pancakes. Just plain crazy. He makes a rich blackberry syrup every summer and carefully hoards it in the freezer. Maybe, just maybe, if you are nice, he will give you a taste. No guarantees, though.

For the blackberry syrup, we don't really have a recipe. We just cook the berries a bit and strain out the seeds and pulp, and make a syrup by adding sugar and boiling for a while. Sean freezes it and gets it out for his pancakes, and returns it when he is done.

I make waffles/pancakes pretty much every Saturday. The kids aren't usually allowed to eat the special blackberry syrup, so they usually stick with waffles and homemade maple syrup, or homemade *buttermilk syrup. Sean always wants his made into blueberry pancakes.

I found that I have eaten as many pancakes (blueberry or not) in my life as I will ever need, and that I just do not require more, ever. For some reason, I do not feel the same way about waffles, and I am more than happy to eat waffles. Just don't give me pancakes. Sean is more than happy with that because, as his equal (i.e., I'm not one of the kids), I have every right to the blackberry syrup. Since I don't want blueberry pancakes, I don't really require the blackberry syrup. Less for me=more for him.

When I made pancakes/waffles, yesterday, I made raspberry syrup. It was not nearly as rich as Sean's blackberry syrup, but I thought it turned out rather nice.

Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries (slighly defrosted)

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add buttermilk, egg yolks and oil. Stir to combine.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the batter until fully incorporated. Do not over mix. You want the batter to be light and fluffy.

Butter a hot skillet. Add about 1/3 cup of batter. Top with a handful of blueberries. When the top of the pancake bubbles, then carefully flip the pancake. After a minute or two, flip the pancake again and check around the blueberries to see if the batter is cooked through. If there is any oozing batter, then cook a little longer.

Raspberry Syrup

1 cup water (or less, if you want it thicker)
2 cups sugar
1 pkg frozen unsweetened raspberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or more, if you like that flavor a lot)

Combine the sugar, water, and frozen raspberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Boil for 1 minute. With a fork, stir and mash the raspberries. Strain, using a fine mesh sieve. Press the solids to extract every last bit of flavor that you can. Flavor with the vanilla and almond extract.

* I'm not giving you the recipe for buttermilk syrup because it is evil. It involves large amounts of butter.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Spaghetti and Brussels Sprouts

Dh really doesn't like Spaghetti, never has. I can only get away with making it very infrequently. He'll eat it, but he just doesn't love it.

Well, here it is: Whole wheat spaghetti with sauce, roasted Brussels Sprouts, and sauteed mushrooms. At least I liked it!!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts, cut in half, with the outer leaves removed
Garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Lightly toss the sprouts and garlic in enough olive oil to coat, and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 (or 400 maybe) degrees for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Night Night, My Little Chickens!

Here are my chickens, getting ready for night night.

We started out with 25 and we are down to 23. A dog managed to catch one, and another was sick and died. They endured a hawk attack a couple of days ago, but none were harmed!

The remaining 23 are alive and strong, although it looks like we won't be getting eggs until this spring, I think.


Yeah, my cilantro is a bit wilted.


4 avocados chopped up
2/3 cup chopped sweet onion
some lime juice (tsp or so, not too much)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of Rotel Tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup sour cream (more or less, you decide!)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Garnish with additional cilantro. OOOOHHH Delicious!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hungarian Meatballs

Everyone really liked this recipe. Dylan and Hannah definitely loved it!

I was supposed to serve it with couscous and peas, but I served it with rice and peas instead. I'm thinking egg noodles would be good too.

The meatballs are supposed to be threaded onto skewers, kabab style. I didn't bother.

When I make meatballs, I use the leanest ground beef I can find. Because all the extra ingredients (like bread or crackers) in the meatballs just soak up the fat, they will be much more fattening if you use a higher fat ground beef. I used a 93/7% ground beef, I think.

The recipe calls for wine, but I didn't have any on hand, so I just increased some of the other liquids in the recipe. We only use wine for cooking, and so we really don't keep much on hand. I've never been a drinker, and so going to the liquor store is just so foreign to me, lol! It just feels weird and I have to either force myself to go or talk dh into going.

Meatball Kebabs
with creamy paprikash sauce

Makes 18-24 meatballs, 3 cups sauce
total time: 1hour

For the meatballs-
Combine; shape;

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground criander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup milk (whole)
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Brown in; Skewer:
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce-
Sweat; Add;

2 cups red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 cup onion, sliced
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
Deglaze with; off heat, stir in:
1/2 cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
salt to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
Serve with; Garnish with:
Couscous and peas, halved kalamata olives, chopped fresh parsley, and lemon wedges

Combine ingredients (except the oil) for the meatballs, then shape into 2" balls using a scoop or spoons (yeah, right, I just used my hands, lol!).
Brown meatballs in batches in oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick saute pan coated with nonstick spray. Saute 5-8 minutes (do not cook though), transfer to a plate, and cool. Thread 3 meatballs on 6"-long skewers and set aside.
Sweat the peppers and onion for the sauce over medium heat in the same pan used for the meatballs (add more oil if needed). Cook until softened, 8-10 munutes; add paprika and garlic, and cook 2 minutes, stirring often.
Deglaze with wine and simmer until reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and salt; cook 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Return skewers to the pan, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked, 4-5 minutes. Transfer skewers to a plate.
Off heat, stir the sour cream into the sauce until incorporated.
Serve meatballs and sauce over couscous garnished with olives, parsley and lemon.

This was another great recipe brought to you by the folks at Cuisine at Home.