Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fancy Pork Chops

I guess this is my week to make fancy looking food. For example, the salmon I made yesterday was just fried with a lot of things added to the top. Today, I fried some pork chops and did the same thing. Here is the Rachael Ray recipe:
Pork Chops with Balsamic Strawberry Salad and Pine Nut Orzo
I didn't think my husband would like the orzo because of the spices used, but he loved this meal. He just wants me to get meatier pork chops next time, the ones I used were sliced pretty thin.
I served some creamed corn and bread to make up for the lack of meat lol. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dressy Salmon and Potato Cakes

Last night was the first time I have made anything notable in a while, but here it is!
Well-Dressed Salmon
Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes
This is the best salmon recipe I have maybe ever made! The relish and the dressing really add a ton of flavor to the fish.
The potato cakes I found a little mushy, and I added salt to mine. But my husband loved them.
I would have made a picture, but the batteries in my camera are dead :(
So take it from word of mouth, this is worth trying!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last week of June Recipes and Reviews

Sorry I haven't updated in a while, health issues got me down again!
This week I selected Rachael Ray recipes because I find them easy to look up and fast to cook!

Day 1- Smoky Red Rice and Chorizo with Black Beans- make sure you cook your rice and sausage longer than the recipe calls for
Day 2- Eating Out
Day 3- Green-Olive Chicken and Couscous- Eric loved this, I made it easy by buying precooked bag of chicken
Day 4- Pot stickers and Asian Salad
Day 5- Ground Beef Not-Potpies- have not made yet
Day 6- eating out

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Catching Up- April Completion of Recipes

Week 4 of April: (back to Rachael Ray!)

Cran-Raisin Barbecue Sauce over Chicken - I subbed some things for the maple syrup so it could have been better
Sloppy Chipotle Joes - AWESOME- we loved these
Braised Bockwurst and Warm Vegetable-Hard Cider 'Kraut with German Style Potatoes - this tastes like Authentic German food, Highly recommended from someone with an obsession for their foodstufs

That was it for this week, we ate out a lot and had leftovers.

Catching Up- More April Recipes

Week 3 of April:

Meatball Soup With Broccoli Rabe - Made with the spinach instead of rabe as it suggests, really good
Pork-Stuffed Collard Greens - This is as Southern as it gets! Great spices!
Basil Ceasar Salmon - Thought it was time to cook some fish again, this was one to use again
Quick Baked Chicken - like shepard's pie only with ground chicken
Creole Shrimp and Grits- Southern Food Again FTW! This time Creole, and it was terrific!

Catching Up- Weekly Recipes from April

Week 2 of April looked something like this:

Darryl Hannah's Curry (vegetarian) - Eric did not like
Thai Beef and Noodle Salad - We both loved this, easiest thing to make ever
Chipotle Chicken And Beans - a little spicy, but great
Confetti Meatloaf - a meatloaf with veggies? whoever heard of such a thing! 4 stars for this one and kiddie friendly

Update for Followers, New readers

I am changing my blog a little bit due to time constraints and other life things going on. Instead of a daily post, I am now going to focus on a weekly post of what I am cooking that week with links to the recipes. Lately I have been cooking different recipes than the usual Rachael Ray, and I am finding that I am not making as many changes and subs to these (ha ha kind of funny isn't it). So I might put some notes next to each recipe about it, but that will be about it for now.

Does anyone find this not as appealing or interesting? Please leave me some feedback!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Baking- Rhubarb Cake

I am still missing my recipe journal, so I had to look up a recipe to make a Rhubarb Cake. It was hard to find a recipe from scratch, most of them used cake mixes (no!).
I did not have quite enough rhubarb, so I mixed in some strawberries. I did not think the cake was sweet enough, but my husband loved it! He doesn't like sweet stuff, so this was perfect for him.
Do not put this in the refrigerator or the fruit gets soggy and molds. Keep it on the counter.

4/6 Cowboy Steak with Chimchurri

I found this recipe on Cafemom, I am copying and pasting so you don't have to join a group to see it.

A cowboy steak is a rather thick (2-inches) cut of meat. It lends itself well to searing first, to get browning, then slower cooking with either indirect heat on the grill, or in the oven.
Yield: Serves 3 - 4.

Steak Ingredients:
1.) 1 2-lb "Cowboy Steak" (frenched beef rib steak)
2.) Salt
3.) Pepper
Chimichurri Ingredients:
1.) 1-1/2 cups firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
2.) 4-6 garlic cloves
3.) 3 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves
4.) 3 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
5.) 3/4 cup olive oil
6.) 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
7.) 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8.) 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the chimichurri sauce/marinade. Finely chop the parsley, garlic and oregano (can do with a food processor), place in a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside two thirds of the sauce for serving with the steak (cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature). The remaining third of the sauce will be for the marinade.
2. Place steak in a bowl or large ziplock bag. Take about a third of the prepared chimichurri sauce and coat the steak for a marinade. Cover completely with plastic wrap or remove air from ziplock bag and secure close. Let steak marinate for several hours. Remove steak from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking so that it gets close to room temperature before cooking. Right before cooking, wipe off marinade from steak and sprinkle steak generously with salt and pepper.
3a. Grilling Instructions Prepare grill so that one side has high, direct heat and another side has indirect heat. Brush grill grates with vegetable oil. Place steak first on the side of the grill with high, direct heat, so that it sears. Grill for a minute or two on each side, enough to brown the meat. Then transfer the steak to the indirect heat side of the grill. Cover the grill, try to maintain a grill temperature of 350°F. Cook for 5-10 minutes (or more) until the steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness. You can use the finger test to check for doneness, or a meat thermometer. For rare, pull the meat off the gril at an internal temp of 120°F. For medium rare, 125-130°F. Remove the meat to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
3b. Stovetop/Oven Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high to high heat. Hold the steak fat-side down to render a little of the fat into the pan. Then sear each side until nicely browned, about a minute or two each. Transfer the steak (if using cast iron pan, can place the whole pan in the oven) to the oven to finish to desired doneness, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of the steak and how well done you like it. You can use the finger test to check for doneness, or a meat thermometer. For rare, pull the meat out of the oven at an internal temp of 120°F. For medium rare, 125-130°F. Remove the meat to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for minutes before serving. Serve steak with remaining chimichurri sauce.

This is a fairly simple recipe. My husband doesn't really love parsely like I do, so I did marinate the steak in the chimchurri. But I did not serve it with the steak. We liked this, but I don't think I marinated it long enough because it was still a bit tough. If I made it again I might use a tad meat tenderizer.
I served this with mashed potatoes and refried beans that I made using leftover kidney beans, black beans, salt and pepper, cumin and coriander. I mashed them in a skillet and heated.

4/3 Disaster Dinner

I am mainly posting this to solicit help from my cousins. I would rather not even talk about it lol, but I guess we all have a meal that was a total failure.
I grew up eating fried catfish and hush puppies because my parents had a lake in their back yard. My uncle and family also had a lake. I don't know the recipes they used, but they were always good.
I tried to make a healthy version of catfish, baked and stuffed. It was SO BAD, and the hush puppies were even worse. We threw all of it out, I felt so bad.
So please help Catherine, I need the family recipes!

4/2 Citrus-Soy Chicken Stir Fry

On the Rachael Ray website you can find this under Citrus-Soy Chicken, Pork or Shrimp Stir Fry.
I used the packaged pre-cooked chicken strips you get in a bag at the grocery. This cut down on the cooking time, and made this recipe super-fast. I had to buy frozen edamame because I could not find fresh, but I just thawed them a little before using.
This is the best stir-fry I have made in years. We both loved it, and I will be making it again!

4/1 Beef n Bean Burrito Burgers

This is from the Rachael Ray magazine:
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1/2 c. white or brown rice, cold
1 T. grill seasoning
1 T. ancho chili powder
1-1/2 t. ground cumin
1-1/2 t. ground coriander
1 T. veg oil
1 avocado
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile or serrano chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
grated peel and juice of 1 lime
1/2 c. sour cream
4 crusty rolls, split
4 leaves red leaf lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
In largebowl combine thebeef, beans, rice, grill seasoning and spices. Form into 4 patties. In large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Add patties and cook, turning once and lowereing the heat slightly for the last few minutes until browned, 12 minutes.
While the burgers cook, in a med bowl mash together avocado, onion , jalapeno, garlic, lime peel and juice. Stir in sour cream.
Layer each roll bottom with lettuce, tomato, beef patty, guac, and roll top.

The first time I made bean burgers was when I was teaching myself to cook. They were HORRIBLE, even my mom's dog would not eat them. So this recipe made me a tad nervous, but it turned out great! Because I seeded the jalapeno, there was no heat to the guac, and it was a nice touch on the burger. Try this!

3/31 Rachael Ray Chili

I decided to try this Rachael Ray magazine recipe:
Texas Turkey Chili
1/4 c. olive oil
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 T. chili powder
3/4 lb ground turkey
salt and pepper
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 12 oz bottle beer
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
Heat oil over med-high heat. Set aside 2 T. chopped bell pepper and add the remaining bell pepper and onion to dutch oven, cook until soft about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and chili powder. Add turkey, season with salt and cook, breaking up and stirring to combine, 3-4 minutes.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and beer, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add the kidney beans and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with cornbread, top with reserved bell pepper.

OK I know you guys are used to me changing every recipe, but I follwed this one to the letter...and it was very bad. The first thing my husband said was, "this is a woman's chili" then he said, "Rachael does not know her chili." We did not like the raw bell pepper on top at all. So we are not recommending this one.

Monday, March 30, 2009

3/30 Some People Make Their Grocery Lists on Mondays Obviously

I found a blog where over 400! moms share their Monday menus for the week. Many have links to the recipes, and most are stretching a small budget like me.
Here is the link for this week, I haven't had time to check this out too much, but I plan to use it in the future:

3/27 An unhealthy? splurge!

I am winding down my Rachael Ray recipes I promise. This time I have chosen something I normally would not cook. I felt like we needed to eat something a little on the wild side, then my husband hurt his leg, and I wanted to make him happy. SO here is:
Cheese-stuffed Hot Dogs with Spicy Onions
4 franks
2 T. grill seasoning (Rachael uses this a lot)
2 thin slices sharp cheaddr cheese, cut into 1/2 in strips
2 T. olive oil
2 small onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. finely chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 1 t. adobo sauce
2 T. butter, melted
4 hot dog buns
Preheat broiler. Make slit down each frank, being careful not to cut all the way through. Place grill seasoning and franks in plastic bag, shake to coat. Place franks on baking sheet and stuff each with 2-3 strips of cheese.
In large skillet, heat the olive oil over med-low heat. Add the onions and cook, until soft and golden 12-15 minutes. Add brown sugar, chipotle, adobo sauce, and 1/2 t. salt and cook, stirring until sugar dissolves. 2 minutes.
Butter insides of buns and place face up on baking sheet with dranks. Broil until cheese melts and buns are toasted, 3-5 minutes. Serve with caramleized onions on top of hot dog.
Only advice I have here is to broil the buns and hot dogs seperately. My oven burned the first batch of buns cause I either had it too high, or you just can't leave them in as long as the franks.
I added mustard to our dogs, but they can be served without cause they are so good. We also had oven fries.

The Great Cookie Mystery

I found this blog post that claimed to have the best chocolate chip recipe in the world-

Then I found it on the back of my NECO (?) bag of chocolate chips....
So I have no idea who actually came up with this recipe for sure, but I did try it.
Husband said- cookie dough (cooked) is too plain and ordinary, not enough taste
I said- Chocolate tastes great and tons of it, dough is ok to me
Baby said- MRM MORE (well he pointed and stuff)
Leave your feedback here or at Daily Dose to tell us whether you liked these!

3/26 Mexican Lasagna

Rachael Ray magazine has turned chiliquiles into something she calls Enchilada Suiza Mexican Lasagna...
2 T. olive oil
2 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. ground coriander
salt and pepper
1 15 oz can hominy, rinsed
1 rec onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 large or 14 small tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/3 c. cilantro or flat leaf parsely leaves
2 avocados
grated peel and juice of 2 limes
1 T. honey
1 11 oz package flour tortillas
1/2 lb monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Siwss cheese, shredded
1 c. sour cream or creme fraiche
Preheat broiler or oven to 400. In large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oilo over med-high. Add meat, crumbling with cumin and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.Cook 3 minutes, stir in hominy and cook for 3 minutes more.
In large saucepan, heat another T olive oil; add onion, chilies, and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, 5 minutes.
Using food processor, process tomatillos and cilantro until almost smooth then stir into onion mix and simmer for 5 minutes. Rinse out food processor bowl, add avocados lime peel and lime juice; puree and season with salt. Stir the avocado mix into the tomatillo sauce. Stir in the honey.
In dry skillet, cook tortillas until charred. In bowl, combine cheeses. In 9x13 baking dish add sauce, tortillas, meat, cheese, tortillas and so on. End with layer of cheese. Broil about 5 minutes and serve with sour cream or fraiche.
OK this week I left my grocery list at home :( So I ended up getting most of this recipe bought, but not all of it. So here are the changes I had to make:
lemon juice instead of lime and peel
corn tortillas instead of flour, I did not char them and I only used about 6 or 9
10 tomatillos
1 avocado
cheddar cheese instead of monterey jack
Believe it or not, this still turned out fabulous, which just proves you don't always have to have everything to make a recipe work! Try it using the recipe or my changes, either way it is great.
And my toddler liked it too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3/25 Total rework of Rachael Ray Recipe- Try mine!

I found a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs in the Rachael Ray March magazine, but then when I read it it called for it to be slow cooked for SIX HOURS! I dread bringing out the slow cooker for anything besides chili and pot roast, and there was no way I was going to use it for cooking some simple meatballs. I am not going to post the original recipe to avoid confusion, but they were using ground turkey and loads of paprika with some veggies, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a jar of roasted red peppers.
I was out of red peppers, and it is hard to find jarred ones at the stores I go to. I also used ground beef because we are cooking a lot of ground turkey later this week. So here is the revised recipe:
Meatballs in Paprika Tomato Sauce Jennifer Style
Oilve oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finelyh chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1-/2-1 c. spaghetti sauce of your choice
1 T. or more paprika (taste test)
salt and pepper
1/2 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 lb ground beef

1. In large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic and cook, stirring often until soft, 7 minutes. Transfer 1-1/2 c. of the onion mix to a large bowl, let cool. Reserve skillet.
2. Add tomatoes and spaghetti sauce to skillet. Stir in paprika and season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile mix breadcrumbs, egg, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper into remaining onion mix. Mix in meat. Form 1-1/2 inch meatballs. Add meatballs to skillet and cover.
4. Sauce will cook down, add more spaghetti sauce and paprika if needed. Flip Meatballs once and cook until done. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

We loved this!

3/23 Spicy Fajitas Recession Style

Earlier this week I made some fajitas following a Rachael Ray magazine article. Here it is:
Red Spice Steak Fajitas
8 flour tortillas
2-1/2 t. chilli powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1-1/2 lb sirloin steak
2 T. olive oil
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
3 bunches scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. cilantro sprigs
1. Wrap the tortillas in foil, place in the oven and heat to 300.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cayenne, and 1/2 t. each salt and pepper; sprinkle all over the steak. Heat a large cast-iro9n skillet over medium heat. Add 1 T. oilve oil and steak, tent with foil and cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rarel trasnfer to a cutting board, tent twith foil and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
3. In same skillet, and the remaining 1 T. oilve oil, the bell peppers, scallions, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the steak along with any juices and the cilantro and toss. Serve with warmed tortillas.
When I went shopping, I found that sirlion steak was a bit more than other kinds. So I bought a round steak on sale, and marinated it in red wine to make it more tender. I ran out of chili powder, so I used what I had and hoped it was enough. I also did not have 3 bunches of scallions, so I used one.
I didn't understand what tenting the foil was all about, plus I was bad this time and didn't read the recipe correctly or something. I cut my steak up before putting it in the skillet, but it cooked fine, and I covered with foil after it was done cooking.
I also warm my tortillas up in a microwave so I don't heat up the whole house for no reason. Put them between paper towels and warm for 20 seconds.
My husband loved these, but I found the cayenne way too much for my tolerance.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Salmon is so Easy!

Here is another Rachael Ray recipe, but really can she claim this as hers? I have seen tons of recipes for salmon, and almost all of them are this easy. This takes 1 minute prep and 8 minutes baking....
Brown-Sugar-Mustard-Glazed Salmon
1/3 c brown sugar
2-1/2 T. Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
four 7 oz salmon fillets (I used 3)
2 t. vegetable oil
(summarized...) oven to 400, bake skin side up with salt and pepper on it for 3 minutes, flip and pour sauce over it using 1/2 t. pepper with the sugar, mustard, lemon...bake for 5 minutes
EASY!!!! Even my mom liked it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Note to followers...

There will be no posts this week- check back next week for more!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

3/5/09 Meatloaf!

I am so full right now I don't know if I can write this, but I will try my best.

Today I made a Rachael Ray meatloaf:

According to the recipe, it makes enough for two meatloafs, two sauces, etc. That is because the recipe is intended to cook enough for leftovers you can use to make another Rachael Ray recipe. I didn't want to do that, so I halved the recipe for the stuffing, meatloaf, and the sauce. I made all of the potatoes and green beans.

I did some interesting things with this recipe, which made me nervous at first, but everything turned out ok...I was out of celery so I used leftover fennel stalks. This added a bit more taste to the meatloaf. I also used beef broth in my sauce instead of chicken broth, which also added more taste. I seasoned my green beans with a touch of herbs, feel free to add something to yours if you want to or just eat them plain.

Whoever wrote this recipe forgot to include the directions on how to finish the potatoes. You might want to cook the scallions before putting them into the mashed mixture of potatoes, milk, and sour cream.

They also say this recipe is for four people...that is crazy. I HALVED the recipe, and I still had enough meat to make 3 huge mini-loaves. My husband and I both ate an entire mini-loaf (or tried to), and I had one left over. So I would say this could feed six if you made the entire recipe. (however, there is no need to make all of the sauce unless you plan on using it all)

This recipe is a keeper! I will have to try the leftover recipe next time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3/4/09 Turkey Burgers

I couldn't find my prized turkey burger recipe, so I tried this one instead:
I halved the recipe. Not as good as my original recipe though. :(

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3/3/09 Chicken and Dumplings

An old recipe handed down through the generations is called an herloim recipe. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been collecting and publishing these old recipes every week. I decided today to cook a comfort meal of chicken and dumplings, the first time I have ever attempted to make them. The recipe is here:

I served this with mashed sweet potatoes flavored with honey and cinnamon. I was going to serve peaches as well for dessert, but we were too full to eat any! This is also a family friendly meal, my son is 15 months and ate at least half a Denby bowl of it.
Eric gave this "two big thumbs up." I gave it an ok because I thought it was a little bland. I would make it again, though, perhaps with some herbs de provence or something to give it more flavor.
Share an heirloom recipe and honor a loved one: Go to, and under Recipe Restoration Project ,click on Submit Yours and fill out the form. Or e-mail it to Or mail it to Southern Recipe Restoration Project, c/o Food Editor Jamila Robinson, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 72 Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30303.

Monday, March 2, 2009

3/2/09 Cobb Salad Triple-Decker Sandwich

Sorry it has been a few days since I have really "cooked" anything. I had some things going on, so we have been warming up things and eating them.

It snowed quite a bit yesterday, and my son is in daycare today. So I wanted to fix something sort of easy that my husband would love. I really wanted to make a soup or vegetable stew, but then I remembered I had some avocados I bought the other day. Avocados are great eating, but have a extremely low life expectancy. Unless there is some way of keeping them around longer, if there is please share it with me!

I used this recipe on the Rachael Ray website (of course):

This sandwich layers things my husband loves such as avocados, tomato, and blue cheese. The recipe is so easy...the only thing I would change is instead of pouring the dressing on top, just put it on the sandwich. It makes it easier to eat, and the sandwich will look more appealing imo. My husband also said to use less blue cheese than called for.
I served with home fries in olive oil, herbs and salt.

So 2 thumbs up for this one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2/25/09 Baked Fish and Chips

This recipe is the Fish N Chips in the February Rachael Ray magazine...NOT the one on her is on page 72. For now, I am not going to type in the recipe, I am hoping they will add it to the website after this week so I can put the link here... if you are dying to try it leave a comment and I will get it to you somehow.

I couldn't get my sweet potatoes to look long and slender like in the magazine picture, but they still tasted good. I left out all parsely in this recipe, and it still tasted great!

This is a baked Fish n Chips instead of deep fried, and it cuts about 1000 calories or more out of it. How is that for healthy!

My husband hasn't come home yet, but I know he will like this. So this recipe gets 2 thumbs up!

Food Product Test- Archer Farms Apricot Currant

This is really a product test, not a recipe test...hey even perfect moms like me need a cooking break sometimes! >:)
I bought what I call a meal in a box at Target. It is one of the brands they carry, Archer Farms, and the meal is Apricot Currant with whole wheat couscous and chicken. It cost $4.99- what a deal right!
This meal was about as easy as it gets. Inside the box is a sauce packet, a can of chicken chunks, some dried fruit, and some couscous. You boil water, insert sauce, chicken, and fruit. Then you boil water and mix in the couscous.
Baby wouldn't touch this with a stick, but he has been that was about everything lately. We loved it and will probably continue trying these meals when we stop in at Target!

2/24/09 Spinach and Goat Cheese Pie

This is a recipe we have already eaten before, I am making it again. It is from THE GREENS cookbook:
1 recipe Tart Dough (or prepared tart crust)
1 bunch spinach
2 bunches scallions
3 T. butter
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T. fresh marjoram or 1/2 t. dried
1 T. parsley, chopped
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
5 oz goat cheese
1 c. milk
1 c. heavy cream
Remove stems from spinach and cut leaves into large pieces. Wash thoroughly in large bowl of water, using 2 chages of water if really dirty.
Trim the roots and most of the greens off the scallions, and thinly slice them. Melt the butter in a wide skillet, add scallions, garlic, marjoram, parsely and cook over med heat about 1 min. Gradually begin to add the spinach, handfuls at a time, as much as the pan will comfortably take. Let each batch of spinach begin to soften and wilt before adding the next. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and set aside.
Beat the eggs and yolks with half the cheese until they are fairly smooth. Then add the milk and cream, a scraping of nutmeg. 1/2 t. salt, and some milled black pepper.
(Prebake the tart dough as directions direct)
Preheat the oven to 375. Lay the spinach over the bottom of the partially baked crust and crumble the remaining cheese on top. Add the custard, then bake the pie until set and lightly browned, about 35-45 minutes. Let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

What can I say about this recipe- it is great! and healthy! I would serve it more as a breakfast or side instead of a main course though, not filling enough by itself to be a meal really. (yes, I would totally ruin a vegetarian item by pairing it with a bacon double-cheeseburger ha ha ha)
So...yes, we like it!

Update on Food Budget Saving

On 2/14 I posted:
"To get back on budget I am currently trying the following things:
buy less meat and cheese- more vegetarian meals
buy in bulk and divide the cost over the number of weeks it will last
get the Sunday paper for coupons (which I have yet to remember to take to the store)
buy all veggies and fruit at a low cost farmers market"
Here is my update:
-Our vegetarian experiment has failed...every time except one that I made it we are still hungry afterwards, and the leftovers never get eaten! I think our vegetarian will continue to be nice soup, salad, and crusty roll
-We are buying most of our meat and cheese at Sam's Club... it is expensive to get it all at once this way, but it usually lasts 3-4 weeks.
- I have saved a lot of coupons so far, and my mom even sent me some. But I am just not using them. I forget them at home, or I find a better deal buying something on sale or store brand. I am going to start looking into coupon websites to see if I can find any better ones.
- Our farmers market keeps raising their prices. They are still a little cheaper on the veggies, fruit and meat/fish, but not as much as they used to be. My husband wants to find another market to shop at, but I like the one we go to :(. So don't know what to do there.
Another update will come in a week or two!

2/23/09- Greek Baked Pasta

When it is time for something different, I grab a food magazine. So here is one from FOOD AND WINE... called Greek Baked Pasta. The recipe can be found at:
I learned three things (again) making this:
1) don't skimp on things like marinara sauce when it makes up 50% or more of the recipe
2) don't get the husband to buy said marinara sauce, he will always buy the cheapest
3) don't get husband to go to store for a few extra items when he has his mind on "more important things"
I know this is kind of a blog about cooking cheaper, but come on. You want that sauce in your baked pasta to taste good right? My husband bought Kroger brand sauce, and I have to diss Kroger this time...sorry your sauce did not taste good.
And I will admit, my husband bought buffalo meat instead of lamb because Kroger was not selling any ground lamb that day. People, ground buffalo is nothing more than expensive ground beef. So if you can't get the lamb, first of all I wouldn't cook this recipe (unless you want to improvise with more spices). But if you do, use the ground beef! It is $3-4 cheaper!
Therefore this recipe was ok, but we gave it two thumbs down. Feel free to try it anyways with a mid-high range priced sauce and the right kind of meat because it would probably make a HUGE amount of difference.

Monday, February 23, 2009

2/22- $10 Rachael Ray- why it didn't work

I am not the type that usually likes recipes with fewer than 6 or 7 ingredients. But since I am on a budget and eating vegetarian lately, I thought I would try Rachael Ray's Baked Nestled Eggs recipe found on page 61 in the February Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine.
I am not going to post the recipe here, but it is basically red bell peppers stuffed with rice, onion, fennel, butternut squash, and cream with an egg on top. Baked.
Here are the reasons why we didn't like this recipe:
1) afterwards we were still hungry and went to Arby's- we don't know if we want to continue eating vegetarian or not since this always happens
2) the rice was not cooked evenly, or some of it was crispy for some reason
3) had to bake longer than recommended to get the egg to set
So this recipe got 2 thumbs down from 2 adults.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2/18/09 Vegetarian Rachael Ray

I wasn't sure how much Rachael Ray knew abuot vegetarian since most days she is whipping up steak or some other meat. Plus, when I first started cooking I had a very bad result in a bean burger recipe, so this recipe for Sloppy Veg-Head Joe made me nervous. But you know me, I decided to try it. Here is the link:
This recipe was SO easy to make, and it made a ton. It most definitely serves four. I used serrano peppers instead of jalapenos thinking it would be mild enough for me to eat, but they were still hot for me.
I did manage to find some fire-roasted tomatoes, but I couldn't tell if they really made a huge difference. Crushed prolly would have been cheaper.
This recipe got 2 huge thumbs from my husband and one from me, so I guess that is 3 thumbs from 2 people lol.

2/18/09 Leftover Indian with Tofu Recipe

I needed something to do with all the leftover Indian vegetables from the past few days. So I found this recipe for Indian tofu at:
Basically did everything it says except I leave anything that says "red hot" out of my cooking. Sorry husband!
Two thumbs up from 2 adults.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2/17/09 Low Cost egg/hash recipe

I chose this recipe because everyone says eggs are a cheap staple to make, and we are trying our best to save some money. Plus I always have some kielbasa or sausage lying around. This is another Rachael Ray recipe, so please don't hate on me for loving Rachael. Somtimes I get on a kick with a certain cookbook or website, and will cook from it for a month before I get tired of it. This seems to be the case with the Rachael Ray website and myself.
Here is the recipe for Campfire hash:
This was really easy to make. The only problem I had was that even with occasional stirring, everything was sticking to the bottom of the pan. I was using a dutch oven instead of a skillet; that may have had something to do with it (I don't know). But since I couldn't let anything sit for too long without the sticky going on, I had to make the eggs scrambled inside the mix instead of cooking them over easy. Big Deal.
This got one thumbs up from me, my husband didn't like the sausage I used (Ukraine or German I forget, but it wasn't kielbasa). Otherwise I think he would have liked it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2/16/09- Indian Vegetarian

I really hate having the same type of thing within one or two days, but I had planned on making this vegetarian stew over a week ago. My vegetables were starting to cry out from the refrigerator, "Use me already!" So it is Indian again folks, really sorry about that.

First let me start with saying this is not a Rachael Ray recipe, so it is going to take a little longer to make. It took me around an hour to make this recipe from a cookbook called THE GREENS it is:

Indian Vegetable Stew with Yellow Dal

The Dal:

3/4 c. yellow split peas (I used green)

1 T. fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopper

1/2 t. turmeric

2 serrano chilies or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

Sort through the peas, rinse them well, then cover them with water and leav them to soak at least 2 hours ahead. Pour off soaking water, add 3 c. fresh water and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the peas are completely soft and have fallen apart, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then blend to make a smooth puree. Measure the amount of puree and add water to bring it up to 3-1/2 c.

3 medium tomatoes

2 Japanese eggplants or 1/2 globe eggplant

2 medium zuchinni

2 medium carrots

4 T. clarified butter

1 t. mustard seeds

1 t. cumin seeds

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 small cauliflower, broken into florets

1 t. salt

fresh cilantro leaves for garnish, chopped

While the peas are cooking, prepare the veggies. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for 10 seconds, then place them in a bowl of cold water. Remove the peels; then halve them and gently squeeze out the seeds. Cut them into large pieces. Cut the eggplant into 1-in cubes, and cut the zucchini and the carrots into sticks about 1-1/2 inches long. Whatever you make, keep them large enough to have a clear apperance on the plate.

When you are ready to cook the stew, have a lid handy in case the mustard seeds splatter and pop. Heat the clarified butter in a large wide skillet, and when it is hot, andd the mustard seeds. Cook a brief 5 secs until mustard seeds turn grayish and start to exlode. Then add the cumin seeds, and after another 5 secs the onion. Saute for one minute over high heat, then add the tomatoes and the eggplant. Cook 2-3 minutes before adding the cauliflower and the carrots. Stir everything together, then add the pureed yellow peas. Add the salt, stir and cook over med-high heat until tender, about 25 minutes. Add the zuchinni during the last 10 minutes, so that it will stay bright and somewhat firm.
Taste again for salt, and add more if necessary. Serve the vegetables and dal garnished with the cilantro.
Serves 4-6

There are plenty of people talented at chopping vegetables. I am not one of those people. My trick with stews, etc. is to take at least 1/2 of it when finished and slightly blend in the food processor. That way my husband doesn't complain about my choppy vegetable cutting. I also did not water down the puree, which made the stew thicker.
This was a very cheap recipe to make. The only thing that really cost anything was the clarified butter, which I opted to buy instead of make from scratch. It cost $8. I also had enough cauliflower left over to make something else this next week and leftovers.
Recipe got two thumbs up out of two adults.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2/14/09 Indian Chicken

So after yesterday I decided to try ANOTHER Rachael Ray recipe...I am addicted to her website and don't mind saying so. Also, I thought the recipe for Indian Spiced Meat with Curried Potato Salad and Creamed Spinach might be a spicy little meal for Valentine's Day.
Here is the link to the recipe:
OK so what did I change about this recipe? Mainly how it was prepared...I rearranged the recipe just a tad. I cooked my potatoes first because I am notorious for undercooking things when I don't prepare. That gave me time to make the spice for the need to buy an expensive spice grinder, we use a Kroger brand coffee grinder. While the chicken was sitting I made the spinach as directed and the potato salad. This allowed me to use the same skillet for all three things, I simply wiped it out twice.
I was a little disappointed with the chicken. After cooking as the recipe directed, it was browned/blackened on the outside, but not cooked on the inside at all. So my husband put them in the microwave for one minute to finish them off.
I was also disappointed with the curry paste that my husband bought at the store. You know...the mysterious food item on your list in a foreign language you can't read. Well the kind we used tasted like it might have had seafood in it, which really didn't go well with the meal. So make sure you use a red curry paste, not a brown one.
To save money on the recipe I substituted mango salsa, which I already had for the chutney...not Indian at all but it worked.
My husband gives this recipe a thumbs up, I give it an ok. I enjoyed the vegetbles but skipped the chicken.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our Struggle with a Grocery Budget

This is not a recipe test, but a short vent about our grocery budget. Since the beginning of the year, we have struggled with staying on our very small budget.
Before Daniel was eating solids, we were spending $60 a week for two adults. Now we have moved it up to $70-80 a week for three because Daniel eats so much. However, during most of January we were overbudget so I was beginning to wonder if this was reasonable.
To get back on budget I am currently trying the following things:
buy less meat and cheese- more vegetarian meals
buy in bulk and divide the cost over the number of weeks it will last
get the Sunday paper for coupons (which I have yet to remember to take to the store)
buy all veggies and fruit at a low cost farmers market

Any other ideas would be appreciated. Or post your frustrations here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

2/13/09 Lunch- a Rachael Ray patty melt recipe

Today for lunch I wanted to make something quick and simple. This is my day off, and I don't feel like standing on my feet cooking when my son isn't even here.
So, I tried making Sour Cream and Onion Turkey Patty Melts by Rachael Ray. The recipe can be found at:
I accidentally used onion rolls instead of the rye bread I had bought (they were out of pumpernickel), but they actually tasted great with the scallions and turkey.
Serve with a pear/spinach salad with blue cheese and dried cranberries. My husband ate his with a root beer.
2 thumbs up out of 2 adults