Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Pecan Praline Topping




SPC 4 life, baybeeeee.
This was so good during the holidays.  Even my picky eater loved it.
The crunchy praline topping was just the right thing to finish off the smooth, buttery taste of the sweet potatoes.

PSA:  Despite the contradictory markings required by the FDA on the can that say both names on different parts of the label, sweet potatoes and yams are 2 completely different vegetables.
Yes, they are both orange in color.
Yes, they are both root vegetables.
Yes, they are often used interchangeably in recipes.
But no, they evolved as two totally different things from separate parts of the world.
Sweet potatoes originated in Central and South America (now grown in the U.S.).
Yams originated in Africa and Asia.  They are more like a yucca root with a starchy, tree-barklike texture.

The more you know *rainbow*.
Anywhooooo, here is a recipe for our tasty "sweet potato" casserole.
*If you don't like your casserole very sweet, you can reduce the sugar by up to half.  We liked ours the sweet way.

Ingredients:
1 40-ounce can cut sweet potatoes
*1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, melted (for topping)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 2-quart sized baking dish.
2. Empty the entire can of sweet potatoes (including the liquid in the can) into a medium saucepan
and bring to a boil.  Cook about 15 minutes, until hot and tender.  Remove the pan from heat and mash up the sweet potatoes.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes with the white sugar, eggs, 1/3 cup butter, milk, and vanilla extract.  Spread the mix evenly into the buttered baking dish.

4. To make the topping: In another bowl, mix the brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and 1/3 cup melted butter.  Spread the crumbly mix evenly over the sweet potato mixture.
5. Bake 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center of the casserole comes out clean.


Tasty Creamy Parmesan Dressing (mayo based)




So many prepackaged salad dressings made by the big brands are overloaded with corn syrup, overly strong or sweet flavors and weird things.  Gross.  But here is a very simple, quick, fresh, and inexpensive dressing that tastes great on any green salad or as a dip/sauce.  It has a Caesar Salad type of flavor.  Once prepared, it can last up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. You'll probably use it up sooner, however.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, if possible but prepackaged is fine)
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice (start small and add to taste)
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to your taste

Directions:
Whisk together everything: mayo, Parmesan, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and Tabasco in a medium-sized bowl.
 Add salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before using.

That's it. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Super Easy Teriyaki Sautéed Mushrooms

This is an incredibly quick, easy, and DELICIOUS way to prepare a batch of sautéed mushrooms to use as a topping on just about anything! It is also extremely inexpensive and the ingredients are likely things you already have in your refrigerator.

I like to put these teriyaki mushrooms on veggie burgers, but I also love them in a rice bowl or noodles, or with other vegetables.

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 clove fresh garlic, smashed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce (such as Mr. Yoshida’s)
1 tablespoon red cooking wine
Black pepper to taste


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. When everything is melted and it starts to get a little bubbly, add in your fresh garlic and stir quickly. Never let your garlic burn.

2. Immediately add the fresh mushrooms and sauté to let the mushrooms cook a little bit. About a minute or two. They will shrink down slightly.

3. Once the mushrooms are starting to get hot, add in the red wine and teriyaki sauce. You can add extra teriyaki sauce if you like. When the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat down to simmer. Gently stir everything for about 4 more minutes.  Add some fresh ground black pepper to taste.

4. Use the mushrooms immediately, or let them cool to store in the refrigerator for later use. 












Sunday, September 15, 2019

Magic Mojo Easy Spaghetti Sauce for Picky Children

My sensitive kid is currently finicky about textures in his food.  He likes sauces that are "smooth with no chunks" and no pieces of unidentifiable herbs or vegetables.  While we are working on helping him broaden his horizons to include more variety and chunky things in sauces, in the mean time he helped me create this great recipe for spaghetti/pizza sauce.  It is simple enough for a kid to assemble, extremely inexpensive, and so tasty!  The credit for the inspiration for this goes to a wonderful and gracious lady/blogger mom, a.k.a. 4hatsandfrugal.com , who also has finicky kids.  We started with her fabulous make-ahead pizza sauce recipe and adapted it to our tastes to be a quick spaghetti sauce.

Ingredients:
1 small can (6 ounces) of tomato paste
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon ground oregano (should be like a powder, not leaves)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

How to make it:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the ingredients (my son measures and combines in the pan for this part).
Turn the heat on to just under medium and continually stir as the sauce heats up.  Make sure it's smooth.  We like to use a whisk; It works great.  It takes just a few minutes before the sauce starts bubbling. Then, turn it way down to simmer while your noodles (or whatever protein/vegetables) are cooking.

We like to put it on Italian Bucatini, which is a large, tubular spaghetti type pasta, and then chop up a baked, crunchy vegetarian "chicken" patty to put on top.  Then we top it all with some Parmesan cheese.

If you are the type that mixes sauce into pasta and mixing before serving, this recipe makes enough sauce to cover an entire 16 ounce package of Italian Bucatini noodles.

SO EASY. SO TASTY. SO YUMMY.





Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Welcome to the Republic of Cold Brew Coffeeland

This summer, I became the queen of the cold brew. It is so easy to make! After being confused by a gazillion online articles about different grind sizes, "gourmet" methods, and ratios, I decided to experiment and keep it as simple and cheap as possible.

One great thing about making cold brew coffee is that once it's brewed in a big batch, it can sit in your refrigerator for up to two weeks (I hear!) and still taste fine (although mine never lasts more than a few days). Making coffee with heated water is not the same. Hot brewed coffee just doesn’t taste fresh or stay good for very long. There are scientific reasons for why cold brew coffee stays stable in the refrigerator with no degradation of quality, but I won’t go into that here. Let’s just get to how it’s made, shall we?


Step 1: Get a container with a lid.  I'm using a 64 oz. Rubbermaid juice thingie that I've had since about 1994.





Step 2: Get a funnel and 8 oz. of ground coffee.  Any kind you like -- it can be freshly ground and gourmet straight from a local fancy roaster, or it can be the standard big brand grocery store stuff.  It is strictly up to you and your taste buds.  It just needs to be a medium grind.
Funnel it into the big jug.



Step 3: Pour cold water into the container and fill it up.  Leave a little room for the coffee to expand.  Put the top on tightly.


Step 4: Give it a good shake to saturate the grounds.  Put it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.  You can also let it sit on your countertop in your moderately temperatured abode.


Step 5: 12 hours later, strain your amazing and delicious cold brew coffee using a French press (pictured above), or whatever straining device you have (coffee filters, cheese cloth, whatever works).

 This cold brew ratio works for me straight into a glass with a couple of pieces of ice and some almond coconut milk (and if we're being honest here, I like to add a few drops of vanilla extract). However, it can also be brewed as a concentrate if you reduce the water to about half the container. The water to coffee ratio can range anywhere from 1:2 to1:8, from the research I have done.  There are a lot of opinions about this out there! Again, it's all up to you and how strong you like it.  

Can you do it with decaf or half caf?  YES, you absolutely can. The process is the same.
Enjoy your delicious cold brew coffee.



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Easy and Cheap 7 Can Vegetarian Chili Soup

This extremely quick, simple, and cheap recipe for chili soup is what we crave on cold rainy nights.  It's inexpensive and goes a long way.  It's based on the Pioneer Woman's meat-based recipe, but I've tweaked it with my own flair as a vegetarian dish and I've added a few extras.  You could definitely adapt this to be vegan if you wanted, I think.  But my version does have some dairy in it.

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1 can white (northern or navy) beans
1 can red kidney beans (light or dark red)
1 can vegetarian chili
1 can Rotel tomatoes, original flavor
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
8 ounces Velveeta (or substitute), divided into several small chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 TBL olive oil or butter to saute

Steps:
1. Over medium heat in a large pot, saute the chopped onion in some oil and cook thoroughly or carmelize as golden as you prefer.
2. Add the chopped garlic.
3. Add the contents of all the cans.  DO NOT DRAIN THE CANS.  Just add every bit of what's in each can.  The liquid in the cans becomes part of your soup.  Every drop is used in this recipe and nothing is wasted.
4. Let it all get hot and start to bubble a little.  Then, add the Velveeta and stir until it's all melted together.
5. Serve when it turns into a beautiful orange soup.  You can top with a little sour cream and chopped green onions if you're feeling festive.

That's it! So easy.  So quick. So tasty.

You could leave out the Velveeta if you wanted to avoid dairy and it would still be tasty.
You could also add a can of green chiles, or use Fiesta style corn for variety.  The beans could also be changed for some other canned beans, if desired. Like navy, for instance.
I also sometimes add a chopped up veggie burger, to make it more "meaty" and chili-like.

See photos below!




The basic recipe ingredients


Saute onions until caramelized


Add garlic and start adding in the cans' contents.  Don't drain the cans. Use every drop.


Veggie chili


Black beans


Northern beans


Light red kidney beans


Sweet golden corn

Chopped up grilled Boca "turk'y" burger from yesterday


Throw in the Velveeta (this was the generic store version, "Nice N' Cheesy")


A few minutes later, it becomes a beautiful, zippy, orange-colored chili soup that will thaw the coldest of hearts on a rainy night.



Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bento Box Salad Dressing

It's no secret that I am a complete sucker for teriyaki and yakisoba.  I am on a quest to test out every teriyaki joint in my city.  I think I finally figured out a good approximation of the creamy, mayo-ey salad dressing comes on the fresh green salads that you get with a bento box at teriyaki restaurants.  I crave that taste sometimes - the crispy-fresh, cold, crunchy lettuce with a delightful dressing accenting the top.  YUM.  In restaurants, the dressing ranges from white to off-white, to beige, but it's always slightly tangy, slightly sweet, kind of aromatic, and slightly creamy.  It balances out the other flavors on the tray perfectly.  This is a basic recipe that can be adjusted, depending on your taste, and depending on what you have on hand for your ingredients.

Ingredients

5 TBL mayonnaise (I used regular American mayo, but many recipes use Japanese mayo/Kewpie)
1 TBL seasoned rice vinegar (if you don't have rice vinegar, you can use a mild vinegar like white wine vinegar)
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar, more or less (some recipes suggest 2 tsp, but I prefer it less sweet)
2 tsp sesame oil

If you have sesame seeds, you can add 1-2 TBL of them, or ground them up and add them.

Mix everything in a bowl until the sugar has fully dissolved and it has a creamy, tan-colored salad dressing consistency.  You really shouldn't taste one overwhelming flavor.  It should be a nice balance of all of the ingredients.  But of course, that depends on your own personal preferences.

Some people add a little grated ginger to this recipe. You could also add some fresh black pepper, a teaspoon of fresh, chopped garlic or onion,  It is very customizable.  But start with the basic recipe and go from there.

I eat this on fresh green iceberg lettuce. It is so simple and so good that I don't feel like anything is missing.  Because Lettuce + Dressing = LOVE.

Occasionally I will add some baby carrots.  Some people put this dressing on soba noodles or cole slaw style sliced, raw cabbage. You could definitely use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things: steamed vegetables, cold noodles, proteins...there's really no limit.  (*But maybe you shouldn't put it on your breakfast cereal.  I wouldn't pour it on ice cream either.)

I'll tell you what would be awesome.  Dip some perfectly ripe, avocado slices in this dressing. Now you're talking.

Once made, if there's any left over, it should be refrigerated and used within a week.

*This is a vegetarian recipe, made with egg-based mayonnaise.  Vegan mayo could be substituted.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Oh my stars, Pickled Red Onions, I love you. Jump on my food.


Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions:

You will need:

1 good sized red onion, sliced into super-thin, longish strips
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 head of garlic - use as many cloves as you like, from 3 to the whole head.  Peel, crush, and chop the garlic.
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper (optional)
crushed red pepper (optional)

In a medium saucepan, pour in the vinegar and water.  Add the salt and sugar, black pepper, red pepper, bay leaf, and garlic.  On medium-high heat, stir the mix until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Add the onion slices and toss everything around lightly.  Keep the heat on medium-high and cook the onion mixture for 3 minutes - no longer than that.  You want the onions to still have a little crunch, but not be raw.  I set a timer to keep myself on track, and also because I am one of those set-the-timer-for-everything people.  It's just my way.  I'm Time Girl,
Stir the onions slightly while they heat up.

Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the onion/garlic pieces to a clean, dry, pint-sized mason jar.  Then, pour in as much of the spiced vinegar liquid into the jar as will fit to cover the onions.  Leave about 1/2" space from the top of the jar.  (Do not overfill.)  Screw the top on, finger tight.  This is not true canning, by the way - this is just a refrigerator recipe.

There you have it.  The tastiest, tangiest, and sassiest condiment you have ever made yourself.  You can put pickled onions on hot dogs, tofu dogs, hamburgers, bean burgers, sandwiches, potato salad, frito pies, chili, tacos, fish, tuna salad, you name it. Any munchies that need to be gussied up, really.

Here's another magical thing about pickled onions:  You can amend the spices in the vinegar mix any way you like.  You can add pinches of cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, lemon zest, lime juice...anything you like, and it will still be AMAZEBALLS.  I personally like it peppery but still on the plainish side, because I like to taste the garlic and onions.  But that's me.

Try this on some fish tacos and fall in love.  You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jacquie's Hearts of Palm Dip

Ingredients:

1 (14.5 ounce) can or jar of hearts of palm, drained and chopped
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese 
3/4 cup mayonnaise (regular or light)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream (regular or light)
1 green onion


Combine all ingredients.
Spoon into lightly greased 9" pie pan.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Serve with crackers or pita chips.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Homemade surface cleaner

Not food, but still a recipe!

So easy, so cheap...
Someone passed this idea and recipe to me from Pinterest, and I use it daily.  It cleans dishes, sinks, tubs, showers, hard surfaces, and all kinds of things - simply and for pennies!

Some people don't like the smell of vinegar.  I don't mind it.  It's a gentle, versatile, thrifty, and effective cleanser and cooking ingredient.  Mostly, the vinegar smell wears off after a bit, and all you have is cleanliness.  If you are on a budget, or just want to avoid complicated, crazy, over-chemicaled cleaning products, TRY THIS.

You will need:
Dawn blue dishwashing liquid  (Must be Dawn, must be blue.  Others may work too, but not as well as Dawn)
White vinegar - you could use regular white vinegar in the cooking aisle of your store, or you could use cleaning-grade vinegar.  Both work well.

In a saucepan, heat equal parts of Dawn and vinegar (I use 1 cup/1 cup) over medium-lowish heat for about 2 minutes, until the solution is hot, but not boiling or bubbling over.  Turn off.  Let cool.  Use a funnel and pour it into a spray bottle.  That's it.  It's ready.

*Why heat it up?  The heat emulsifies the mixture and makes it a little more effective, and also keeps it from separating.  Could you make it without heating it?  Yes, but it may not work as well.

* What can this be used for?  Vinegar is great for cleaning all kinds of things.  This mixture is particularly good for soap scum and bathroom surfaces.  I have used it on laundry stains as a pre-treat.  I have cleaned my floors with it.  I've cleaned off my vinyl couches with it.  I've cleaned my counters with it.

WARNING:  I don't know what it would do to marble - so don't use it on that.  (Vinegar and marble don't mix.)


Sunday, November 11, 2012

JZ's Vegetarian Spinach Muenster Quiche

Everything below will be divided into 2 pies.
You will need:
2 standard pie shells (16 oz. each)
16 oz. grated Muenster cheese
2 packages frozen, chopped spinach
A big onion, chopped finely
1 tablespoon (+/-) chopped garlic
Olive oil for saute
5 eggs
A pinch of salt, to your taste

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Defrost and squeeze the liquid from the spinach and move to giant mixing bowl.
3. Saute the onion and garlic in a pan, over medium heat until soft and transparent. Let cool.**
4. Mix grated cheese into spinach.
5. When onions are cool, fold into spinach/cheese mix.
6. Beat eggs and gently add to the mix.
7. Pour the mix into equal parts into the pie shells.
8. Bake for about an hour, or until each pie firms up.  It may need longer, depending on your oven.

*Because these quiches are so thick, we bake them at a pretty low temp for a long time, to avoid overcooking on the outside and undercooking on the inside.  Depending on your oven, you might need to adjust the cooking time.

*Could you add an herb or spice?  Oh my, yes.  I tend to add a dash of nutmeg to spinach dishes.  But any kind of herb would probably be delicious...maybe a hint of curry?  Or oregano?  Or basil?  Yarp.

**Remember that part I mentioned about letting the sauteed onion mix cool off before adding it to the spinach/cheese mix?  I mean it. 
Hear me now and believe me later:  One thing you don't want is having hot onions melting super soft cheese prematurely and turning the whole deal into a globby, melted cheese disaster in a bowl before you pour it into the pie shells.  Not pretty.

Everyone in our house loves this kickass quiche...even our finicky toddler.
You could sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top, also, btw.

ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING:
After you take the quiche out of the oven, let it sit and rest for about ten minutes.  The eggs will continue to cook.  Also, Jay says, "The cheese needs to calm down." What he means is that the cheese is too hot, angry, and melty, straight from the oven when it's nuclear hot.  Just like pizza, you can't cut a clean slice until the dish sits untouched for a bit.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A little something called quiche

My husband makes the best spinach-Muenster quiche in the history of spinach-Muenster quiches.
AND THAT'S THE FACT, JACK.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

I found this recipe after blackberries completely took over our yard and left it looking like a "Life After People" documentary.  I needed a way to use the berries, after all the trouble they'd caused us.  We collected a bunch of the ripe berries before taking down all of the vines.  This recipe is so simple and easy, and oh my...so good.  Don't forget to put a little vanilla ice cream on top when you serve it.  
Theoretically, you could make someone fall in love with you, using this cobbler.  It is just that dangerous.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt, maybe a tiny bit more.
2/3 cup milk
1/2 butter (1 stick)
16 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen, cleaned and drained.

1. In a 2-quart baking dish, melt the butter.
2. In a separate bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the berries.
3. Carefully pour the batter over the melted butter in the baking dish. DO NOT STIR - you are gently layering it on top.
4. Add the berries on top of the batter, dotting them evenly over the whole thing.  (As it cooks, the berries will sink down and the batter will rise over them and cover them.  It's kind of miraculous how perfectly it happens.  See my picture below.)
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes, or until the crust turns a golden brown.

***For extra flavor, I added a pinch of ground cloves and a few drops of vanilla extract to the batter.









Thursday, June 28, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower, yummmm.

Wash and slice your head of cauliflower into bite-sized chunks.
Toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, or whatever oil you've got.
I sprinkled a little Rosemary Lemon Sea Salt on the florets, that I recently made.
Spread the florets onto a baking sheet. Bake for about ten minutes at 450° F, which will be approximately the halfway point of cooking.  Then use a spatula and stir/turn the pieces.
Cook for another 7-8 minutes.
Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on, and maybe some chopped herbs.  I added some fresh basil and oregano from the yard.  Also, Trader Joe's has some awesome cheese, called Unexpected Cheddar, which is like a cross between a sharp white cheddar and parmesan.  Try that for a treat.
Bake until everything is melty and roasted.
That's it.  Yum.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Homemade baked black bean burgers: with or without avocados, they are superb


These are baked and delicious.
Once you eat these, you'll be hooked and not want to buy the frozen ones (that will suddenly taste way too salty and overprocessed) anymore.

Ingredients:
  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon (or as little/much as you like) chili powder
  • 1/2 (or more) teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. Finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic (you can also use a food processor).  ***At this point, I suggest the optional step of sauteeing the peppers, onions, and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil and letting them cool.  It makes the burgers taste great this way, but you can also keep them raw when you add them to the black bean mash mix.***
4. Stir the vegetables into the mashed beans.
5. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.  Add a little salt at this point, if you like.
6. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together (we use our hands). Divide the mixture into four patties.
7. Place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10-11 minutes on each side.  Keep an eye on them until they feel thoroughly cooked.

Stuff we like to top the burger with, in various combinations:

Cheese
Avocados
Lettuce
Thinly sliced bell peppers - red or green
Sauteed mushrooms
Mayonnaise
Ketchup
Mustard
Thousand Island Dressing
Pickles or relish
Fresh tomatoes

Sometimes we toast the buns.  Sometimes we like them soft and squishy.

My vegetarian spinach mini pizzas were delicious

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Spirals

If you love peanut butter (as I do), this is a tasty, unusual recipe.  So good and so easy.  You can serve it with a drizzle of hot chili oil, if you are a lover of spicy things.


  • 12 oz. uncooked spiral pasta
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mild vinegar
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey or rice syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
1. Cook pasta.  Set aside.
2. Combine all ingredients except peas and blend until smooth.
3. Add peas and sauce to pasta and gently mix together.  The sauce will thicken on its own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creamy Artichoke Heart Pasta

1 jar marinated, quartered artichoke hearts
1 bag frozen quartered artichoke hearts, defrosted and ready to use - or - a can or 2 of quartered artichoke hearts (non-marinated).  (You will want to chop these up a little finer than they are.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 package egg noodles
Plus:
Things to top it with:  Shredded mozzarella, crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese (shaved or powdered)


  • Start boiling your noodles. They will take about 7-8 minutes to cook, which is just enough time to make the sauce.
  • In a very large pan, saute onion with olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Add basil.
  • Add the chopped artichoke hearts.  Cook until everything is very hot.
  • Turn off the heat for the sauce.  Add sour cream and cottage cheese.  You can add more or less of these.  You don't have to use all 8 ounces of either of these.
  • Let the sauce get melty and gooey.
  • After your noodles are cooked and drained, put them back into their large pot, and fold the artichoke sauce into them.
  • When you serve them, top with a little mozzarella.   You can use a vegetable peeler to shave Parmesan cheese from a block, or else sprinkle the powdered kind.  Sprinkle crushed red pepper on top, if you like. 
This is one of those recipes that you can + or - any of the ingredients.  If you are crazy about artichoke hearts, add more.  You could double or triple them.  If you want to use low fat dairy products, go ahead.  If you want to cut down on the cottage cheese and sour cream, you can use only 4 ounces each.
I tend to go heavy on the basil, because I love the flavor.  You could also add extra garlic.  When I was still eating meat, I sometimes added little chunks of shredded, cooked chicken.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tommie Lu's Spinach Casserole

I love spinach!  What's great about this simple recipe is that you taste the delicious spinach - you don't taste a bunch of other things overpowering and covering up the taste of the main ingredient.

Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning or dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 pieces diced bread
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach
1. Stir everything together in a large bowl.
2. Grease a 9x13" casserole dish with olive oil and pour the spinach mixture into it.
3. Bake 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees F.
4. Top with more parmesan cheese.

Siobhan's Salmon Teriyaki

Marinating is magic.

Fish ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon filet
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBL vegetable oil
Marinade ingredients
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry white wine
  • 1 tsp rice wine or sherry
  • 2 TBL soy sauce
On the side, you will want some pickled ginger, and maybe some grated or juilienned jicama for a crunchy garnish.

1. Mix the teriyaki ingredients until the sugar dissolves.
2. Remove the skin from the salmon.  You can sprinkle the salt over the cutting board to keep the fish from slipping around as you take off the skin.
3. Cut the filet into thin strips and put them in a glass (or non-metallic) dish.  Pour the teriyaki sauce over the fish and let it marinate for about 15 minutes.
4.  Drain the fish.  Heat the oil in a hot pan or wok.  When the oil is hot, add the salmon and stir fry gently in small batches for 3-4 minutes each, until cooked.
5. Garnish with the pickled ginger and jicama before serving.

Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce

Put it on spring rolls, salads, or use as a topping for chicken, shrimp, etc.  It will make about 3/4 cup and it is tasty!

Ingredients
  • 1/4 Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less, however spicy you like your sauces)
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the hoisin, peanut butter, tomato paste, sugar and water.  Mix until smooth.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over high heat and add the garlic and red pepper - ***IMPORTANT:  Once the oil is hot, only cook the garlic and pepper for about 5 seconds.  You don't want to burn the garlic.
3. Stir in the peanut mixture and cook for just 3-4 minutes more.
4. Remove from heat and let the sauce get to room temperature before serving.