Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coconut Milk Ideas?

I have more than half a can of coconut milk left from the Thai Chicken Pasta last night, and I have no idea what to do with it. I hate to just throw it I thought I'd see if anyone had any ideas for it! Post a comment if you have any suggestions.

Vegetarian Frittata

I buy Egg Beaters at Costco. I'm thinking I might stop doing that. I have four cartons of them with a sell by date of August 6th. Look for lots of egg dishes over the next week or so! Or baked goods. I don't know what, but I don't want to throw them all away! When I was figuring out meals for the week I realized we hadn't had a frittata in quite awhile...especially this one! Since I have so many freakin' eggs, I figured now was a good time to make it.

Vegetarian Frittata
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch crescents
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1 bell pepper, preferably red, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch die
6 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
8 grinds cracked black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Generously butter a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add onions and saute until browned. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted. Stir in the roasted pepper and remove from heat. Spoon the vegetables into the buttered pie plate, distributing evenly. Let cool.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a larege bowl just until yolks and whites are blended. Add salt, pepper, parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.

When vegetable mixture has cooled, pour egg mixture over it, again making sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Dish can now be set aside, covered and refrigerated, for up to 8 hours before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the frittata are golden brown and the center is set but still slightly creamy. Do not overbake. Remove frittata to a rack and let cool approximately 15 minutes. Carefully loosen frittata from the paln with a metal spatula. Slide out and continue to cool on rack. To serve either hot or at room temperature, slide frittata onto a flat surface and cut into wedges.


I added in some fresh oregano and basil to the egg mixture because I had them in the fridge and they needed to be used. I also used mozzarella instead of parmesan because I just didn't feel like grating up the parm. It smells really yummy, and I'm really hungry! We're just going to have hash browns and toast with it. THe boy is having chicken nuggets because he doesn't like eggs. If I know he doesn't like it, I'm not going to force it on him. It's just not worth ruining my dinner. ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thai Peanut Pasta

I heart Thai food. I used to get to eat it all the time because one of my work friends also loved it, and there was a really good place near our work with great lunch specials. Then she moved away. :( The husband is skeptical of it, so he won't ever eat it. So sad because it's so, so yummy.

My friend Jen B. posted this recipe on her blog a few nights ago, and I thought it sounded fantastic. She said it was super yummy, so I figured it was worth trying. Decio Pasta is a handmade pasta that's made here in AZ and REALLY GOOD. We each bought some at the Phoenix Farmer's Market awhile back, then she found it at a fancy schmancy grocery store as well. It's made with all sorts of yummy vegetables and spices and has a ton of flavor just on its own. Jen had the flavor called for in the recipe, I didn't, so I just used regular spaghetti.

Decio Pasta Thai Peanut Pasta
1 pkg Orange Szechuan pasta
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped into pieces
1 red or yellow bell pepper chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp minced fresh gingerroot
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

Cook pasta to al dente, drain and set aside. Coat skillet or wok with non-stick cooking spray. cook chicken until lightly browned. Add the bell pepper, cook 2 minutes. Set aside. in small bowl dissolve cornstarch in cold coconut milk. Pour into skillet. Cook stirring for 2 minutes, until thickened. Reduce heat. In small bowl combine peanut butter, garlic, honey, lime juice, orange juice, ground red pepper, soy sauce and honey. Add to skillet stirring until smooth. Add chives, cilantro, and reserved chicken and peppers. Toss with pasta to coat. Garnish with toasted peanuts. Can also toss 1/2 cup of toasted peanut gems in with pasta.


Like I said, I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of the flavored pasta. I liked it, the husband likes the "regular stir fry" I make better. He said it was too peanuty. Sheesh. See what I'm up against when it comes to ethnic food?! Like Jen did, I used a bag of frozen stir fry veggies instead of just a red pepper. I was missing cilantro, chives, and peanuts, so those may have affected the flavor a bit. Oh, and I didn't have limes so I used some Simply Limead instead. (I'm pretty sure that stuff is laced with crack, by the way. I can't stop drinking it. Or maybe it's just the closest non-alcoholic taste to a margarita I can get while I'm pregnant.)

As I was making it I noticed it didn't actually say where to add in the chicken broth. I mixed it in with the sauce. I'm wondering if it should have been added in with the coconut milk because it thickened REALLY fast when I put it in the pan.

All in all, I really liked this and would definitely eat it again. The husband wasn't as impressed but said it was good. I may try it again but serve it over rice instead of mixing it with pasta. I think the sauce would be super yummy on rice! Oh, and the boy liked it. He ate quite a bit actually, so that always makes me a happy mommy!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Mmmmm...paninis. They were awesome!! I put a little dijon mustard on one side of each croissant, but I couldn't taste it at all. The arugula on it was really good, added nice flavor. If you aren't familiar with arugula, it's a peppery lettuce. Has a nice bite to it so it's a nice variation from regular lettuce. I'd definitely make these again, and I think I'd stick with ham instead of salami. I need to get paninis into our dinner rotation more often. They're so easy and so tasty!!

The husband says, "YUMMY!"

Croissant Panini

It's been awhile since I've gotten out my panini maker, so I wanted to give it some use this week. I remembered I had emailed myself a bunch of Giada panini recipes from the Food Network website, so I went through those and found one that sounded good. They all sounded good, but I had to buy the least amount of ingredients for this one.

I heart Giada. Well, I heart her food. She's entirely too skinny to make all that yummy food. But everything of her's I've tried is always yummy. I love croissants, so I'm excited to try them in a panini.

Croissant Panini
4 croissants, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
4 ounces smoked Gouda, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
8 teaspoons grated Parmesan
4 ounces Genoa salami (about 24 slices)
5 ounces arugula

Heat a panini grill. Divide 1-ounce (1/3 cup) smoked Gouda between 1 top and 1 bottom of a croissant. Sprinkle each half with 1 teaspoon Parmesan. Top each side with about 3 slices of Genoa salami (about 1 ounce of salami per sandwich, total.) Top 1 half of the sandwich with a small handful of arugula. Close the sandwich and continue with the remaining sandwiches. Grill the panini until the cheese melts, about 3 to 4 minutes.


I don't like salami, but I figured I'd get it anyway. But then I realized when I was clear on the other side of the grocery store that I'd forgotten it. So I said, "Screw it, I'll use ham." I'm totally excited for this dinner. I haven't decided yet what we'll have with it. I'm so bad at coming up with side dishes.

Deceptively Delicious Mac and Cheese

This is really the only recipe from last week I need to post. Nice!! One night we had the remainder of a lasagna I'd frozen, one night was leftover night while I went out with some friends, and Friday night we just had portobello mushroom burgers. Saturday we were on a date night, last night the husband grilled brats. This week, though, is full of exciting dinners!

Normally when I make mac and cheese I use my mother-in-law's recipe because, frankly, it's awesome. My friend Jen B. said they had really liked the Deceptively Delicious mac and cheese recipe, so I figured we'd try it.

Macaroni and Cheese 1 (as opposed to Macaroni and Cheese 2)
1-1/2 cups elbow macaroni
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup butternut squash or cauliflower puree
1-1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese
4 ounces reduced-fat or nonfat cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture resembles a think paste but has not browned, 1-2 minutes.

Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, cheddar, cream cheese, and seasonings. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.


The husband and boy both liked it, but I swear all I could taste was the roux. I'm not good at making a roux. I know my limitations and that's one of them. I don't know if I got it too dark or what. I maybe should have added more cheese to it. Oh, and I doubled the recipe because it didn't sound like it was going to make enough to feed us. It's possible I messed up doubling and forgot to double something...who knows.

All in all, it was okay. I like my MIL's recipe better and will stick to making that one in the future and just adding in vegetable puree to it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Oops...I fell way behind again, didn't I. These short naps my kid is taking are driving me crazy!! I started bribing him--I mean I started a reward system--this past week, and it seems to be helping some. I'll have to go see what all it was we had this past week to post the recipes, but I figured I'd at least review the enchiladas.

They were okay. I remember them being a lot better when I've made them before. I don't know if it's because I didn't usually use two pounds of ground beef or what, but they were just kind of bland. I threw in a second can of green chilies hoping that would help, but it didn't. I did let the mixture simmer on the stove some before putting it in the tortillas, and that helped a little. I don't know, it was just kind of blah. And I couldn't figure out anything to add to it that wouldn't drastically change the flavor. I wanted to add flavor, not just spice or heat. I think I'll stick with my other white girl enchilada recipe going forward. But don't tell Pam!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pam's Enchiladas

I thought about calling these "White Girl Enchiladas #2" but then figured I'd give credit where credit was due. Remember how I said a few weeks ago I love recipes handed down to me? Or something along those lines, it was when I made a pasta salad. This is another recipe like that...only enchiladas, not pasta salad. It's from a family friend, Pam. I've known her my whole life, her daughter Shelby was one of my best friends growing up. She gave me this recipe at my bridal shower, along with her homemade pizza recipe which is freakin' awesome. I haven't made that in awhile, maybe that will be added in to rotation soon.

Anyway, these are definitely white folk enchiladas, but I figure that's okay since I am white folk. I haven't made them in years. Our church has a new outreach minister that just started, and we're having him over for dinner tonight. I couldn't come up with what to make and then finally thought of this after thinking of my other white girl enchilada recipe. My friend Jen made some awesome pinto beans when we were at her house for dinner on Saturday, so I'm going to try and recreate them, although I imagine mine will be a little different since I don't have some of the spices she used.

Pam's Enchiladas
2 lbs hamburger
1 chopped onion
1 can chopped olives
1 small can green chilies
1 pint sour cream
1 lb grated cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
12 flour tortillas

Brown hamburger and onion. Drain fat. Add other ingredients, reserving some cheese. Pour hot mixture into tortillas, roll, and arrange in 9x13 pan. Pour remaining mixture over top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350.


See? No Mexican would make enchiladas this way, or at least I don't think they would. Oh but they're sooo yummy. I usually take a few bites of the sauce because I heart it so much. I'm getting it together this afternoon so I don't have to be in the kitchen the whole time our guest is here.

Oh, and I'm cooking it in my new Le Creuset buffet casserole pan!! I heart it so much! I used it last night to make the pork chops and swamp, too. I'd post a picture, but both our cameras are upstairs. It looks like this:

But it's in this color:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pork Chops and Swamp

Originally we were going to have grilled brats tonight, but I realized around 2:00 that we didn't have any buns. Better to think of it then instead of 5:00!! I checked my freezer and realized I had some pork and all the ingredients for Pork Chops and Swamp, so that's what we're having. I'm excited...we haven't had it in awhile, and I heart it so much!

I would like to make another batch of apple dumplings to have for dinner, but the only ingredients I have are one Granny Smith apple, the butter and sugar. Sigh. Plus it's probably not that good for our hearts. ;)

Pork Chops and Swamp
4 pork chops (I like boneless but you can use bone-in)
1 packet Lipton Noodle Soup

Spread each side of the pork chops with mustard, then dredge in flour. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add pork chops. Brown on each side. Sprinkle one packet of noodle soup in pan around the pork chops (not on the pork chops). Add water to pan to about the top of the pork chops. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring "swamp" and adding more water as necessary.

Serve with mashed potatoes using swamp as gravy.


When I went back to find this recipe in my blog I saw I had planned on making double swamp, but I only have one packet of soup mix. Oh well. I'm totally excited for this. I think we'll have either green beans or peas on the side.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings

So one of my favorite websites is If you haven't been to her site, go check it out! She has hilarious stories about living on a ranch, great photography tutorials, AND an amazing cooking section. The first time I went to her website, this recipe I'm going to share with you was the one that was up. I wanted to run right out and buy all the ingredients and make it then. But, I wasn't pregnant and didn't have a reason to make them, so I didn't.

We went over to my friend Jen B's for dinner tonight (by the way, she's an amazing cook and just recently started her own cooking blog...go check it out! Notes From The Table), and she prepared a Mexican feast for us! She recently got Rick Bayless' book on Mexican cooking (which I'm adding to my hold list at the library as soon as I get done with this post) and made a whole grilled chicken from that cookbook, some awesome potatoes, and amazing pinto beans. Oh man...we were rolling ourselves to the couch after we were done! So when she was telling me earlier in the week what she was going to make, I first said I'd make Tres Leches Cake because it was so super yummy. Then I remembered this recipe and how Jen and I had both wanted to try it since we read it. So it was decided.

Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings
2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.


If you're thinking, "Eh, that sounds okay, go check out the recipe posted on PW's website because she has pictures on hers. And let me just tell you...unless you're diabetic or on a serious weight loss program, these aren't for you. Everyone else should try them (MOMS Club ladies, I'll try to bring these to the next event to which we take food so y'all can try them). Lordy mama, this was one of the best desserts I have ever had!! Jen and I sampled a small bite of the sauce when we got over to her house and were tempted to eat the whole pan right there on the spot. But, we waited. We didn't let the kids have any because it was getting late. The adults each had two dumplings, and I had made whipped cream instead of using ice cream (don't you love homemade whipped cream?! It tastes so much better than anything you can buy pre-made). Jen thought they were better than sex...I may be inclined to agree with her. There were eight dumplings left, they kept four, and we brought home three (the husband had a third one while we were still there). Then he and Jen's husband went out...I told him the three might not be here in the morning. Those darn apple dumpling fairies coming through our house in the middle of the night and all. ;)

All this talk about them makes me want one more. Seriously, this was one of the best desserts I think I have ever had.

Grilled Pizzas

I can't remember if I had shared that this past week was hard because we moved the boy into a big boy bed instead of a crib. He go tup earlier, took shorter naps...ugh. Friday afternoon the poor kid fell out of bed. :( We had a rail on there, so I don't know what happened. The husband secured it more once he got home, so hopefully we don't have any more mishaps like that. He was okay, just scared, and he only napped for an hour. Yuck. So, I didn't have my usual computer time to update the ol' cooking blog. Today has been a busy day with a birthday party this morning and then swimming and dinner at a friend's house. The husband went out with a friend, the boy is in bed, so I'm getting in some computer time.

Someone left me a comment about doing a BBQ chicken pizza, but unfortunately it was after we had done pizzas. We HEART BBQ chicken pizza in this house, and we haven't had it in a long time. Definitely one we'll be doing again soon. Thanks for the suggestion!!

I asked the husband for topping ideas, and he remembered this amazing, awesome, super duper cheesy pizza we used to get back when we were DINKS (dual income, no kids). Actually, I think it was before we were married. Actually, I think it was when we first met! Anyway, they had this Four Cheese Formaggio (yes, I realize saying cheese and formaggio is redundant, but it wasn't my pizza name!) that was fantastic. Soooo much cheese, and if you've been reading this awhile, you know we love our cheese in this house! So the husband suggested we do our own version of that. I checked the restaurant's website, and it was actually five cheeses...I assume they don't count the mozzarella. Provolone, Swiss, Cheddar, and Monterey Jack (and mozzarella). I wasn't able to find Provolone to shred, so I skipped it. I mixed all the cheeses together in a bowl, finely chopped some fresh oregano (my new favorite herb!!) and fresh basil, and that was that. Oh, and we are no frills kind of folks and just used some Ragu for the sauce. It was pretty good...definitely cheesy. Not as good as the restaurant, but how can anything with four cheeses on it be bad?!

For the other pizza I checked the Cooking Light website. Y'all know I heart Cooking Light! They've never led me astray before. That's probably not true. Anyway, I saw this recipe and thought it sounded really good and it was something new and different:

Mushroom-Prosciutto Pizza
Cooking spray
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 (10-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 450°.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and shallots to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add garlic and thyme; sauté 1 minute. Stir in vinegar; remove from heat.

Place crust on the bottom rack of oven. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes.

Place the crust on a baking sheet. Spread mushroom mixture evenly over crust; sprinkle evenly with prosciutto and fontina cheese. Bake at 450° for 6 minutes or until cheese melts.


Obviously I modified it some since I wasn't using the oven. And I didn't have some of the ingredients, so ours was really a loose adaptation of this recipe. I sauted cremini mushrooms (which were on manager's special when I went to the store because the "use by" date was yesterday!!) with some garlic and some dried thyme. Then, because I didn't have sherry vinegar, I added in a few teaspoons of red wine vinegar. We put that down on the crust of the pizza, then topped it with prosciutto I had sliced up, then put down some of our four cheese blend. Oh man, it was tasty!! I don't know which was my favorite pizza. I honestly think it was this one. The four cheese one needed some tweaking with the sauce for it to have been better I think.

BTW, I recently did a grilled pizza tutorial for a message board I belong to. If you'd be interested in me posting it on here, leave me a comment and let me know. It's complete with pictures and everything!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pot Roast

So, awhile back the husband went grocery shopping for me which was so nice of him. The store had beef roasts on sale, so I had put them on the list thinking they'd be 2-4 pound jobbers. Nope...they were about 10 pounds! Had I seen that, I wouldn't have bought it, but he didn't know. I cut up the huge hunk of meat into several roasts and froze them individually. I remembered over the weekend I still had them and decided to do pot roast with one.

Now, the last time I made pot roast I tried doing it on the stove top and then in the oven. It was okay, but not nearly as tender as when it cooks in the crockpot. So I went back to the crockpot method this time. I'm a bit concerned because it's been in there for four hours already, and I don't smell anything, nor is it really looking cooked (what can I say, I'm a crockpot peeker). I'm giving it another hour on low and then bumping it up to high.

Crockpot Pot Roast
1 beef roast (I have no idea what specific kind of meat it is I'm using), 2-3 pounds
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 packet onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Place potatoes and carrots in bottom of slow cooker. Place roast on top of vegetables, pour soups over roast. Cover and cook on low approximately eight hours.


Mmmm...I love pot roast. And I love the potatoes and carrots with it. That's why I'm so antsy for it to cook! I don't want a repeat of Tuesday night's red beans and rice fiasco.

My mom used to always end up making pot roast on the days I had gone to the orthodontist to get my braces tightened. She claims now she would have never done that, but I swear she did.

BTW, the husband and I are grilling pizzas tomorrow night. He won't be home until later in the evening, so we're going to eat after the boy goes to bed. If you have any ideas for toppings, leave me a comment! I feel like we're in a pizza topping rut.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blueberry Cake

The boy and I were at Walmart yesterday, and they actually had blueberries for a decent price. Normally berries (other than strawberries) are hard to find here in AZ for a reasonable price. I guess I was just spoiled in Seattle because so many of the yummy summer fruits grow there. Sigh. I bought the berries with the intention of baking something but didn't know what I wanted to do.

I thought about Blueberry Muffins from the "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook, but I was missing some of the ingredients. I thought about a Blueberry Crumb Cake from one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (you know how much I heart Ina!!), but it had a lot of ingredients. And a lot of butter...which I didn't mind but figured the husband probably would. I got out an Amish cookbook my friend Jen B. gave me, and there was a recipe in there for a blueberry cake that didn't have a lot of ingredients and sounded super easy.

So I went with that one. I got started on it and realized...I was out of flour. Ugh. It actually kind of worked out that the boy wasn't taking a good nap because we were able to run to the store so I could get some and finish the darn cake.

Blueberry Cake
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries, well drained

Cream together sugar, oil, and egg until lemon-colored. Stir in milk, thoroughly. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then stir into creamed mixture. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spread batter into a greased and floured 9"x9" square baking pan. Sprinkle with topping Bake 45-50 minutes at 375.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter. Stir in sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Crumble over cake batter.


The cake is really yummy. It's not super sweet which I like. I'm thinking of mixing up some homemade whipping cream to top it. Oh, and I just used non-stick spray on the baking pan instead of greasing and flouring. I figured the Amish probably can't use non-stick spray, but I sure can!! And I hate greasing and flouring unless I absolutely have to.

I'm also thinking I need to flip through this cookbook and see what all is in it.


Due to my son's inconsistent napping after moving to the big boy bed, our dinner wasn't done until late last night. The husband and I had hot dogs around 7:45 because we were starving. Kind of worked out nicely because we had the red beans and rice tonight instead. It was awesome!! I wonder if it was better today since it sat and the flavors all melded together more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Oh man...I didn't even realize that my Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps from last night was my 300th post!! How exciting!

So tonight we're having red beans and rice. It's kind of a heavy dish for a hot day like today, but I had andouille sausage in my freezer I wanted to use up, so we'll just deal. My mom got the sausage for me on Manager's Special at Sprouts Market. I love my mom, and I love Sprouts! I wish one would open near me. The recipe doesn't call for andouille, but I had it, and other than gumbo I didn't know what to make with it. It's way too hot for gumbo for sure. Andouille is pretty hard to find here in AZ for a reasonable price, so I heart my mom even more for finding some for us!

I found this recipe on the Cooking Light website a few years ago when doing a search for crockpot recipes. I've tried to do it vegetarian without the sausage, and it just isn't the same. It was okay, but it's definitely better with the flavor of the sausage in it. I don't know if I've made this since I've had my blog...seems like it's been quite awhile since we've had it.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
3 cups water
1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 (14-ounce) package turkey, pork, and beef smoked sausage, thinly sliced (such as Healthy Choice)
1 bay leaf
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Combine first 12 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on high heat for 5 hours. Discard bay leaf; stir in salt. Serve over rice; sprinkle servings evenly with green onions.


First, I think it's funny that it says "electric slow cooker." Personally I've never seen anything BUT an electric slow cooker. Do they have gas powered ones? Propane slow cookers? Hand crank slow cookers? Second, like I said above I'm using andouille sausage instead of the healthy options listed in the recipe. I normally use some kind of turkey sausage in it to be more health-conscious. I sliced up my andouille and then cooked it for awhile in a skillet to brown it and get rid of some of the fat. Once it was browned and cooked I tossed it in with everything else.

God only knows when we'll end up eating dinner tonight. The boy switched from his crib to a big boy bed over the weekend, and I'm having one heck of a time getting him to nap now. I had hoped to get everything in the crockpot by 1:30, but it was after 2:30 when I was done because I had to keep coming upstairs to deal with him. I'd better go make the most of naptime since I have no idea how long he'll sleep. He used to nap 3 to 3.5 hours every day...yesterday it was slightly more than 90 minutes. :(

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ragu Fresh & Simple pasta sauce

I just have to mention this stuff because we had it last night. I told you I've been lazy, and cooking dinner doesn't get much faster/easier/lazy than boiling some water, throwing in spaghetti noodles, and pouring on sauce.

These new Ragu pouches were on sale a couple weeks ago, and I had a coupon, so they ended up being less than $1 each. I figured it was worth trying for that price.

They were surprisingly not bad. The sauce tasted a lot fresher than the jar of Ragu, you could actually taste the spices in the sauce which I appreciated. I'm trying to use less processed foods (do you know how gross and horrible high fructose corn syrup is?!), so reading over the ingredients I was pleasantly surprised that this was actually somewhat decent stuff. THe pouch said it was approximately three servings, and I'd say that was about right. It was definitely better fresh than when I reheated it for lunch today (well, I reheated the pasta with the sauce mixed in already). If I could get it on sale and with a coupon again, I'd probably buy it, but I don't think I'd get it on a regular basis, mostly because of price and the amount you get. We do have one more pouch of it left that I'll use some time.

(Sorry the picture is only partial...don't know why that is)

Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps

Okay, I may have missed a couple, but if I did it wasn't any great thing. Don't worry, you aren't missing out on the newest most best ever recipe. Even this coming week I just don't feel really motivated to cook. Or I guess I should say I didn't feel motivated to plan out dinners. I'm trying to use up some stuff we have on hand, but none of what I've planned really sounds good to me. You know what does sound good? The assortment bag of Mother's Cookies I bought at the grocery store today. I'm ashamed to say how many I've eaten, so I won't go into any more detail.

This is one of our favorite dinners, and I don't think we've had it in awhile. I have quite a few crockpot meals planned this week, so be ready! That reminds me, I need to get out the meat for tomorrow night's dinner while I'm thinking of it. These burritos are super easy to throw together and just let sit in the crockpot for a few hours. I'm all about easy dinners.

Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps
1 16-oz can nonfat refried beans
1 8-oz package nonfat cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
1 4-oz can diced green chilies, drained
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup nonfat shredded cheddar cheese
4 98% fat free flour tortillas

Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine refried beans, cream cheese, chilies, and green onions in slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours or high heat for 2 hours, stirring once or twice during cooking. If cooking on low heat, increase to high. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheesse and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over top. Warm tortillas. Spoon bean mixture into tortillas; roll and serve immediately. Can be served with tortilla chips instead of tortillas.


Now, my son isn't big on spicy, so he doesn't eat these, even though they aren't THAT spicy. I usually just make him a quesadilla instead. But the husband and I heart this very much, and since everything is low in fat (I buy Rosarita Fat Free Green Chili and Lime refried beans), it's pretty darn healthy too. As long as you don't eat the whole pot of beans. ;)

Mu Shu Pork Pockets

Moo Shu Pork Pockets
1-1/2 pound ground pork
1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 gingersnap cookies, ground in food processor
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 egg
1 cup hoisin sauce
6 large (12-inch) flour tortillas

Shred up a pile of your favorite raw vegetables or
2 cups shredded cabbage
Shredded carrots
Fresh bean sprouts
Thinly sliced scallions

Combine the pork and next five ingredients in a bowl. Form mixture into patties. Heat a large, nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Grill patties approximately five minutes per side.

Heat tortillas on a nonstick surface over high heat for 30 seconds on each side. Paint the tortillas with hoisin sauce, leaving a 1-inch rim from edge. Pile shredded mixed veggies in center of tortilla and top with cooked pork patty. Fold the tortilla up on all four sides and wrap burger in a square package. Invert pork pocket and cut on diagonal.

Biscuits and Vegetarian Sausage Gravy

Biscuits and Vegetarian Sausage Gravy
1 (16.3-ounce) can reduced-fat refrigerated biscuit dough
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 (14-ounce) package meatless fat-free sausage (such as Lightlife Gimme Lean)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare biscuits according to package directions.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Crumble sausage into 1/2-inch pieces; return to pan.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1% low-fat milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 minutes or until thick. Split the biscuits in half. Top each serving with about 1/3 cup gravy. Serve immediately.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
3-4 lb. chicken
2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp oil
10-3/4 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
10-3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
10 ounce can green enchilada sauce
4.5 ounce can peeled, diced green chilies
20 corn tortillas
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil chicken. Shred meat and discard bones and skin. Saute onion in oil until translucent. Stir in soups, sour cream, enchilada sauce, and chilies. Heat until warm. Tear tortillas into bite size pieces.

Layer half of sauce, chicken, tortillas, and cheese in slow cooker, alternating layers. Repeat, ending with cheese and suace.

Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.

Saito Chicken

Saito Chicken
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. lemon juice,
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper.

Mix and pour over chicken. Let marinate at least an hour, flipping chicken after 30 minutes. Grill 5-7 minutes each side on medium heat or until no longer pink in middle.

Random Updates

Okay...I'm so far behind, I'm just going to post a few random recipes that we've had over the past couple weeks (if I can remember what we had) since I've been ridiculously lazy when it comes to updating the ol' blog. No clever commentary, just recipes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


It. Was. Awesome!!! The husband had fourths...yup, fourths. I was worried we'd have a ton of leftovers since it was a 9x13 pan, but there's maybe three or four servings left. It was totally easy to make which was nice. I used maybe a little more sour cream and cheese than was called for, but not a whole lot. This is definitely a keeper!!

Taco Crescent Bake

Okay, I know I have a few recipes to go back and post, but I figure I'll start with what I'm doing tonight and post the others at my leisure. I think there's three I'm missing, and they're all things I've made before, so you aren't missing out on any big things. Plus you got the Peanut Butter Frosting, so no complaining! ;)

This is from the cookbook from my message board. I've wanted to try it for awhile and decided this was the week! I've read good things about it from people who have tried it already. My mom said she had a similar recipe she used to make called Taco Pie or Nacho Pie, something like that.

Taco Crescent Bake
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 cups crushed corn chips
1 can tomato sauce
1 pkg crescent rolls
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese

Grease/spray a 9x13 baking pan. Spread out the cresent roll dough along the bottom and sides. Pinch the perforations closed. Crumble a layer of half the chips. Brown and drain the ground beef. Add tomato sauce and taco seasoning to the ground beef and simmer a few minutes. Pour beef mixture over chips. Top with sour cream, cheese and remaining chips. Bake. Enjoy!


I'm excited to try it. I heart casseroles. I only have a pound of ground beef, though. Actually I think I saw 1/2 pound in the freezer last night, so maybe I'll thaw that out and include it. Now to get on with dinner since it's already 5:20!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Peanut Butter Frosting

I know I'm a few days behind in posting and need to go back and fill y'all in on what I've made, but really all I can think about right now is this amazing frosting I just made. The husband and I were sitting around watching a movie this afternoon while the boy napped, and I got a hankering for some brownies. With ice cream and hot fudge sauce. I didn't have a brownie mix in the pantry and didn't feel like whipping them up from scratch (since we were watching a movie and all), but I did have a triple chocolate fudge cake mix (or something ridiculous like that). So I mixed it up...because I'm pregnant and I can make a triple chocolate fudge cake whenever I want!

I thought peanut butter frosting sounded awfully good with it, so I looked in my Cake Mix Doctor cookbook for a frosting recipe. Excellent...I had everything for it! I had never made peanut butter frosting before, but I figured it was worth a try. And if it sucked, I'd just eat plain chocolate cake.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3-4 Tbsp milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the sugar, 3 Tbsp milk, and vanilla. Blend with mixer on low until the sugar is well combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy. Blend in up to 1 Tbsp milk if the frosting seems too stiff. Use at once to frost cake of choice.


Lordy mama, this stuff is heaven on a spatula! I was tempted to skip frosting the cake and eat the whole bowl, but I think that might be a bit too much. Supposedly the recipe was enough to frost a 9x13 cake, but I had quite a bit extra...and I'm a generous froster! So the boy and I have been having bites of it because it's just that darn good.

Now I'm trying to decide if it's overkill to chop up some Reese' Peanut Butter Cups (because I'm pregnant and have them sitting in my pantry) to sprinkle on top of the cake...