Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Cheap, garden fresh, easy, quick, vegetarian, low calorie, high fiber, delicious...

...Introducing the Lentil and Veggie Tostada

Start to finish: 20 min    Makes: 5 main dish servings

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons snipped cilantro
  • 5 tostada shells
  • 2 cups assorted chopped vegetables (such as broccoli, tomato, zucchini, and/or yellow summer squash)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (3 ounces)
  • 1. In a medium saucepan stir together water, lentils, onion, salt, cumin, and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Use a fork to mash the cooked lentils; stir in cilantro.
    2. Spread lentil mixture on tostada shells; top with vegetables and cheese. Place on a large baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from the heat about 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Southwest Zucchini Boats

Remember how I used to be the only one who didn't write on the food blog?  Where'd you all go?!  :)

I've got a new tasty one to share.  Jonny and I really liked this and it wasn't hard at all.  Of course, I always make things more complicated than they need to be, so I'll copy the recipe the way I found it, and then tell you what I did to make it more work!


4 medium zucchini
1 lb ground beef*
3/4 C salsa
1/4 C dry bread crumbs
1/4 C minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp chili powder (maybe less - our first batch made us a bit teary)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (I just do a pinch, otherwise it tastes like a taco)
dash of pepper
1 C shredded monterey jack cheese

Cut zucchinis in half, hollow and place in microwave safe dish
Cover and microwave for 3mnin or until crisp-tender.  Drain and set aside
Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown beef and drain, remove from heat
Stir in all ingredients and 1/2 C of the shredded cheese
Spoon into shells and sprinkle remaining cheese over top
Microwave uncovered 3-4 min until sprinkled cheese melts

* in our house we prefer to cut the meat portion in half and supplement it with rice instead - very delicious.

So when I made it, instead of nuking the zucchini, I put it in a 9x13 glass dish with about 1/2 inch of water at the bottom and steamed it for about 10 minutes in the oven (375 degrees).  I cooked the hamburger (half portion--I used brown rice for the other half) and added the chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to the meat instead of the rest of the stuff.  And I didn't measure the spices, I just eyeballed how many shakes I wanted and it turned out perfect.  After I filled the zucchini I just stuck it back in the oven until the cheese was melted.  It was delicious!  Bon Apetit!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My new favorite homemade bread recipe

This recipe is from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Oatmeal Bread
Makes three 1 1/2 lb loaves

1 3/4 C lukewarm water
1 C whole milk (though regular works fine too)
1/2 C pure maple syrup
1 1/2 TBSP yeast
1 TBSP Kosher salt
1/4 C neutral-tasting oil (I use melted butter)
1/2 C oat bran
1/3 C wheat bran
1 1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C whole wheat flour
4 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Mix the yeast and salt with the water, milk, maple syrup, and oil in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded food container.

2. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading (use spoon, food processor, hand mixer w/ dough hooks). If using hands, you may need to wet your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, about 2 hours.

4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded container and use over the next 8 days.

5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3 loaf pan. Dust the surface of dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 lb (cantaloupe sized) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

6. Elongate the ball into an oval and place it into the prepared pan. Allow to rest and rise for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

7. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350, with an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

8. Place the loaf on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm.

9. Allow to cool before slicing and eating.

**okay, time for my notes. The list looks long. It really isn't that bad, it just takes a lot of time to rise. I have found that sometimes my fresh dough needs even longer than 40 minutes to rise. It is very important to add the water and the boiler tray--it makes the bread AMAZINGLY yummy and crunchy on the top, and moist and wheaty-sweet, and healthy tasting on the inside. I know fresh hot bread straight out of the oven is tempting, but let it cool for a bit, otherwise the loaf doesn't set up as well. It is soo good! I wish I could make this every day!

Hearty Beef Stew-for Erin!

This recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It was definitely more work than a typical beef stew, but it paid off!

*Note: this stew recipe has a few steps that I am going to strongly encourage following – even if it makes you roll your eyes to have to go to the work/mess of browning meat before adding it to the slow cooker. I get it, I do! But let me emphasize that there is a reason this stew has more flavor and deliciousness than any other slow cooker stew I’ve had – and I believe it is because of the few minutes you have to spend at the beginning browning up the meat, onions and quickly bringing the sauce to a simmer. Browing = flavor. Now, if you absolutely refuse to do it…don’t worry, I’ll still like you. Go ahead – throw it all in – but don’t tell me before you do or else I’ll spend the day cringing. Also, unless you can find prepackaged stew meat in large pieces, it pays to buy a whole chuck roast and cut it up yourself, plus if you look for chuck roast on sale, it will probably save you a penny or two!

*Serves 6-8

5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
2 cups frozen peas

After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Cook half of the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through – just get some great brown color all around. Toss the meat in the slow cooker and follow the same process with the second half of the meat (you may need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if it looks a little dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker, trying to keep as much oil in the pan as possible.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker, pouring it over the meat.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the counter, lay out a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (use two sheets of regular foil on top of each other if you don’t have heavy-duty). Place the tossed vegetables on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Stir the tapioca into the slow cooker. Place the foil packet of vegetables on top of the stew, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.

When the stew is finished cooking, carefully remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Discard the bay leaves from the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (be careful of steam that may escape as you open it!). Return the vegetables and any juices to the slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Stir in the frozen peas and let them rest in the stew for 5-10 minutes, until they are heated through. Serve.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2011


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Yummiest Pie Crust EVER!!!

Butter Pie Crust
1 1/4 C flour
1/4 C salt
1/2 C Frozen butter
1/4 C ice cold water

Mix the flour and the salt together. Grate butter with a cheese grater and cut in. Add ice cold water 1 TBSP at a time. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

The Yummiest Quiche EVER!!!

1 1/2 C grated Gruyere cheese (in the fancy cheese section)
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
1 medium diced onion
1 red bell pepper
1/2 TBSP thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I just use regular)

4 eggs
1 1/2 C milk
3 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder (I scoop this generously)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Saute mushrooms, onion, and pepper with thyme, salt, and pepper
3. Combine batter and whisk together
4. Line pie pan with pie crust
5. Layer cheese, then veggies, then pour batter over pie
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until jiggles.

Make this quiche only using the Butter Pie Crust recipe I posted if you want it to be the best. Accept no substitutes. It is totally worth it, I promise!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Christmas Cranberry Salsa

1 bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2/3 C sugar
juice of 2 limes
1 sm can chopped green chilies
1 bunch green onion
1/2 t garlic powder
Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender
Spread 1 8 oz cream cheese and top with salsa
Serve with crackers