Friday, July 1, 2011

For those wondering...I haven't gone anywhere. I just haven't found any time recently to sit down and post my recipes. I have several to share, just not the time. Bare with me and keep coming back to see when I finally find the time to post. Hopefully it will be soon! Thanks for reading!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Homemade Applesauce

I made and canned this applesauce recipe at Christmas time as gifts to some of my closest friends. It's June and I'm still receiving kind comments about it. My neighbor calls it "the best apple sauce she's ever had!" and I just gave her another jar of it the other day. Part of me doesn't want to share my secret for the "best apple sauce" but that's what this site is all share great recipes. So here it is. But don't think that because I gave you my applesauce recipe that you're going to get my lasagna recipe too. A girls gotta have some secrets. ;-)

Homemade Applesauce

3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.)
4 strips of lemon peel - use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
3 inches of cinnamon stick
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher. Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated. Delicious with vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.
Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a cold freezer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Corn Salad

In our household this is known as Cornslaw. I made it the other day for a potluck and it was a huge hit, especially by Josh. He loved it. I'm planning on making it again this weekend for my twin nephews birthday bbq. Josh can hardly wait.

2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup canola oil

In a large serving bowl, toss together the corn, apples, fennel, and onion. Add the parsley and cumin and season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and oil. Add the dressing to the vegetables and toss well to coat.

This recipe is from Sandra Lee at the Food Network

What do you like to bring to a potluck?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meals by Mel On The Go!

You can now view my blog on your mobile device! Out grocery shopping and can't remember an ingredient? Need a quick dinner idea? Now you can easily view all of my recipes on the go.

Just scan the bar code below and the mobile version of my site will appear. Save it in your favorites so you can find it quickly in the future.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake III

My dear friend, Sara "The Baker", is sharing another one of her sweet desserts with us. I haven't tried this one yet but Josh's birthday is in July and this is what I plan to make him. He's requested a spider-man cake, I'll let you know if I can pull it off. :-)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake III
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Found at one of the largest online recipe sites, All Recipes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a friend who is an excellent baker! I'm sure she'll be shy and say "Oh, I just follow the recipe, it's nothing." But believe me when I say she's really good! For her hubby's birthday she found a recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just the name excites me. She was kind enough to submit her recipe to my blog to share. "I'm more of a baker than a cooker, and I thought your blog was getting WAY too healthy lately.  So, here's some unhealthy desserts!" ~Sara.

Everyone thanks you, Sara!!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag Oreo Cookies, I used the double stuff

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.  Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie.  Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough.  Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.  Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  Serve with a tall glass of milk, enjoy!
Makes about 2 dozen VERY LARGE Cookies

You can also see more step-by-step photos at Picky Palate.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gnocchi with _________ Butter Sauce

The other day I was looking for a really light dinner option. I had bought some gnocchi a while ago and found it hiding in the back of my pantry. I have only made gnocchi a couple other times in the past and Josh hasn't been the biggest fan. I, on the other hand, really enjoy it. Well this time I was able to win Josh over. I made this new recipe but with a few modifications. The recipe calls for sage, in fact the name of the recipe is supposed to be "Gnocchi with Sage-Butter Sauce" but I didn't have any sage so instead I substituted in Italian Seasoning. When Josh tasted the finished product he suggested I toss in a bit of chopped pepperoni (one of Keller's favorites.) I took his advice and in the end it tasted like gnocchi pizza. Add a bowl of fruit on the side and in ten minutes you have a simple and tasty dinner. 
Note the recipe title change. To us, this is now "Gnocchi with Italian-Butter Sauce" but maybe you'll find another substitute for sage that will be just as great. And if you do, be sure to share!

Gnocchi with Italian-Butter Sauce
2 (12 ounce) packages potato gnocchi
1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped pepperoni

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi pasta, and cook until they float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes; drain.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic has softened and is beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the Italian seasoning and salt for a few seconds, then add the cooked gnocchi.
Toss gently with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, pepperoni and the pepper.
Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese to serve.

Oops, I can't remember where I found this recipe. I'll have to look it up and get back to you. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mushroom Quiche

If you follow my blog regularly then you already know that I'm a lover of mushrooms. It's a weird food to love, I know, but I've always enjoyed them, raw or cooked. When I found this recipe in Costco's cookbook In the Kitchen: The Costco Way, 2008 I was very excited. When I think about picnics with my family I think of quiche. And with the warmer weather approaching (I hope!) I thought you might enjoy this quiche for your next picnic.

Famous Mushroom Quiche
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bake pie shell for 10 minutes, remove and let cool.
Saute mushrooms in butter over medium-high heat until tender. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
In a bowl, toss cheese with flour; add eggs, milk, parsley, garlic salt and pepper. Stir in mushrooms. Pour into crust. 
Bake for 1 hour, or until set, covering edges with foil to prevent overbrowning, if needed. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Take to the park and enjoy!

This recipe is from the cookbook In the Kitchen: The Costco Way, 2008. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lemon Vinaigrette

I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I appreciate all of your comments and feedback and I love knowing that people are looking forward to the next recipe I post...even if it may take me weeks to do it. :) 

On my blogsite there is a place for others to submit their favorite recipes and I'm so excited to share the first submission I received! Thank you Evelyn for sharing this Lemon Vinaigrette recipe with us. "Here's one of my favorite, and very easy, dressing recipes. I've made it a number of times. The only thing I would recommend is make sure to add at least as much zest as it calls for - don't skimp. I personally love lemon, so maybe that's why I'm a fan!" 

Lemon Vinaigrette
Yield Makes 1/2 cup 

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine mustard, lemon zest, and juice in a jar; season with salt and pepper. Add some of the oil, then cover and shake to combine. Continue adding more oil and shaking until all the oil is incorporated and mixture is thickened and uniform in color. Serve immediately.

Evelyn found this recipe at Martha Thanks for sharing, Evelyn!

If you would also like to submit a recipe to Meals By Mel, click here. This form can also be found on the "Contributions" tab at the top of the page. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fruity Quinoa Yogurt

The last "no oil, no fat" recipe that I made while Josh was prepping for surgery was Fruity Quinoa Yogurt. I originally made it as a snack but it ended up being served as dessert two nights in a row. On it's own, it's got a  interesting texture, but if you use it as dip for strawberries, apples or pears, it's great. And knowing that I'm eating a healthy dessert rather than ice cream or pie makes it even better.

Fruity Quinoa Yogurt

1/2 block firm, silken Tofu
1 c. Strawberries (I used frozen)
1/2 c. cooked Quinoa
1 t. Maple Syrup
1/2 t. Vanilla

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. The quinoa will give it texture, in addition to lots of protein and fiber. Eat this straight or with sliced fruit.

This recipe was found, along with many other great vegan recipes, at

Tilapia with Mango Salsa

This is an original Melissa recipe! Bet you never thought you'd get one of these. :) Remember my very first blog post when I said I was a recipe follower, well as true as that is, every once in a while I can get creative. I'm not a big tilapia fan, or at least I wasn't, but I was on a mission. My goals were to: use white fish, not use any oil and find something to do with a very ripe mango. Tilapia with Mango Salsa is what I came up with. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty Tilapia can be. Hopefully you'll agree. I'm not very good with measurements when I'm being creative in the kitchen so bare with me. 

Tilapia with Mango Salsa
2 - 4oz tilapia fillets
1 lemon, sliced
parchment paper
1 large mango, diced
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the tilapia fillets on a flat sheet of parchment paper and place lemon slices on top of fish. Bring long ends of paper together and fold down 3 times to make a seam. Place on baking pan and tuck ends underneath so your fish is completely sealed. Place the fish on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 12 - 15 minutes. If fish isn’t opaque at center, reseal packet and return to oven. Check again after 5 minutes.

To make the salsa, combine the mango, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and agave nectar. Refrigerate salsa while fish continues to cook. This will give the salsa a little time to infuse all of the flavors together.

When fish is done, remove lemons and serve with mango salsa. Brown rice is a nice accompaniment to this dish. Enjoy!

This recipe is an original creation from Meals By Mel

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Creamy Clam Chowder

Josh and I are so happy we found this recipe. It's currently one of our favorites. Who knew Clam Chowder could be so easy to make, taste so good and still be healthy! It takes 5 minutes to throw everything into the pot, 15 minutes to simmer and voila! The best part of this recipe is the coconut milk. It gives the soup a creamy buttery taste. Mmm. Last night I served this with wheat sourdough bread. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Creamy Clam Chowder
2 cups cubed russet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 cup sliced carrots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can broth (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 - 6.5oz cans whole baby clams, undrained (frozen also works)
1 can (15 oz) - white beans, drained

1 can coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups)
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives (1 Tbs dry*)
1 tsp paprika

Put everything except the coconut milk, chives and paprika in a large enough pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 - 20 min. or until potatoes are tender. Stir in remaining ingrediants, and heat through. *If you're using dry chives, add it in the beginning.

Serve with bread and salad.

I stumbled across this recipe when looking for recipes with no oil. So happy I found it in this

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Last week we found out that Josh needs to have his gallbladder removed. The gallbladder is used to help digest fats so when we found out that he was on a strict no fat, no oil diet it gave me a opportunity to find some new recipes. (We have to look on the bright side with these sorts of things, right?) We've really been enjoying the meals we've been making. All this week I plan to post the recipes we've been making beginning with smoothies! One of the easiest way to eat lots of fruits and veggies is by blending them up. Here are two of the smoothies we tried and we enjoyed.

And for those wondering, Josh's surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Once the surgery is over he won't be on such a strict no fat diet so Josh has put in a special request for: homemade pizza, hash browns, a burger and cookie dough. :) 

Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie
1 15oz can Pumpkin

1/2 cup Soy Milk
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Banana
1/3 cup Apple Juice Concentrate
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

I also recommend:

Green Goddess Smoothie

1 cup non-dairy Milk
1 peeled Orange
2 cups Kale or Spinach
1 peeled Banana
1 Pear, cut into quarters
1 cup Grapes, red or green
Blend all ingredients until smooth. This is best cold so either use frozen bananas or refrigerate for 30 minutes before eating.

Both recipes can be found at

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quick & Crusty French Baguettes

HELP! Back in March I attempted to make this quick bread recipe -- twice. Neither time was I able to get the dough to form. I decided to go ahead and post this recipe anyway despite my failure at it. If any of my readers are able to be successful at this recipe I'd love to hear about it. I want to know how I can make quick baguettes so I'm asking for your help. Please try this recipe and report back. Was it a flop for you too? Or were you able to enjoy this simple recipe?

Quick & Crusty French Baguettes
2 cups very warm water
1 packet yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes.  Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky.  Knead the dough until elastic.

Cut the dough into four even pieces.  Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes.  Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf.  Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf.  Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry) or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.

Now for the SECRET: Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice.  Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door.  Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.

Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping.
Recipe found at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Romaine Salad with Choice of Raspberry Vinaigrette or Creamy Italian Dressing

Bummer, I have no beautiful photo to accompany this recipe. I always love photos but I take very poor food images so sadly, you'll have to go without this time. But I'll make it up to you by giving you a delicious recipe for not one, but TWO homemade dressings and a simple salad to pair them with. The dressings make enough for multiple salads so save those old glass store-bought dressing bottles and reuse them to refrigerate your new favorite homemade dressing. :)

Romaine Salad with Choice of Raspberry Vinaigrette or Creamy Italian Dressing
Raspberry Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 shallot, quartered
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Creamy Italian Dressing:
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed with the side of a knife blade, and quartered
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

12 cups romaine lettuce soaked in salt water to remove grit, stiff spines removed, torn into bite sized pieces and dried with a salad spinner (from 2 or 3 heads romaine lettuce)
1 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 small loaf French bread, sliced, toasted and cut into croutons

For the raspberry vinaigrette:
Add the vinegar to a blender, replace the lid, turn it on, and through the feed opening, add, 1 at a time, the shallot, black pepper, salt, mustard, and thyme. Then leaving the blender running, add the olive oil in a slow thin stream.

Wash and dry the blender to have it ready to prepare the other dressing.

For the creamy Italian dressing:
Add the vinegar to a blender, replace the lid, turn it on, and through the feed opening, add, 1 at a time, the garlic, black pepper, salt, red pepper, and Parmesan. Then leaving the blender running, add the olive oil in a slow thin stream.

For the salad, toss the lettuce, red onion, sweet onion, tomatoes, Parmesan, and parsley together in a large bowl. Top with croutons, and serve the dressings on the side.

This yummy salad recipe is courtesy of

Monday, May 2, 2011

Let's the blogging begin...again! (And Spanish Rice)

Ah, Meals by Mel...what happened?

What can I say? I've been busy. I've been unmotivated. I've been distracted. Yes, yes and yes. But I think it's time to come back. I really enjoyed my food blog when I was doing it. And I know a few people who have actually referenced my blog and tried a few of my recipes. I even have a list of recipes waiting in my cue to share with you. So thanks to your positive feedback and requests for me to keep blogging, I am going to get my groove on and start cooking and writing again. Oh, and I know leaving comments are often difficult so I've added a few new buttons at the bottom of each post so you can quickly let me know if you 'like' this post.

As a way to kick things off, here's the Spanish Rice recipe that I promised to share with you back in February. It's super easy and oh so good!

Spanish Rice

2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chunky salsa

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Mix rice into skillet, stirring often. When rice begins to brown, stir in chicken broth and salsa. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.

Recipe found at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Honey Wheat Pizza Crust

I love the standard pizza dough recipe I posted last month, but I was looking for one that included wheat flour so I was happy when I stumbled across this one. So simple to make and it tastes yummy.

Honey Wheat Pizza Crust
Time: 5 minutes prep + 2 hours rising
Yield: 2 twelve inch crusts

1 t yeast (I use active dry)
1 3/4 C water
2 C white flour
2 C wheat flour
1 t salt
1/3 C olive oil
1 T honey

1. Pour the yeast over the top of your warm water. Don't stir....Just let it fall like snow.
2. Pour your wheat flour and your white flour into your stand mixer. Add the salt and stir it around a bit.
3. Pour the oil into the flour. Let your mixer combine it all up, nice and pasty like.
4. Add your honey.
5. Add the water and yeast mixture. Mix it all until it is combined. No need to let it knead for a long period of time. Just get it mixed up well. Cover it with some plastic wrap and let it rise for at least 2 hours. You can also put it in the fridge if you aren't planning on using it until later that day. You can actually leave it in the fridge for several days and it will just get better with age.
6. Divide the dough in half. Pour some olive oil onto a pizza stone, or any other kind of baking sheet. A stone is not required. Let the dough hang out there for about 5 minutes. Then stretch the dough out to the edges of the pan.
7. Cover with sauce and pizza toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutest, or until the cheese is bubbly and the underside of the crust is golden brown.
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up! 

What toppings are you putting on your pizza?

Friday, February 25, 2011

On my table this week...

I realized that today is Friday which for most people marks the end of the week, but in the Matthews' household today is our Monday. Friday is when Josh starts his five day stretch at work which means meal planning and grocery shopping for me. My challenge/theme for this week is to not purchase any "meat" from the grocery store and instead make dishes from whatever I have stored in my freezer. I'm also looking at this as an opportunity to clean out my tiny freezer and make space for some new stuff. Here's what I have planned for this week:

Enchiladas with Spanish rice and black beans -- this is yet another new enchiladas recipe. I'm kind of on a kick to find the best enchilada recipe out there. I plan to use my frozen chicken for this meal. Oh, and I can't forget to share my Spanish rice recipe with you!

Pizza -- yep, again! I found pizza dough hidden in the back of my freezer which will make for a super quick meal one of these nights. Plus I can add fresh veggies from my Wildly Organic delivery that just arrived.

Red Beans & Rice -- Ok, I'm cheating here. I'm not using anything from my freezer for this one but I needed a quick and easy recipe that I can make on a night that Josh is working til 9pm.

Boneless Ribs -- hm, not sure if they're pork or beef ribs since I didn't label them. Guess this will be a nice surprise. :) No recipe for this one. I'll probably bake these slowly for an hour then slather them with some BBQ sauce. Broccoli and cauliflower will join this meaty dish.

Pork Casserole with Biscuit Topping -- This was my sisters "birthday dinner" growing up. I recently found the recipe in my childhood cookbook that my mom put together for me a couple Christmas's ago. Natural ground pork was on sale a couple weeks ago so I bought some and froze it.

Add in a night of leftovers and we're covered until our next grocery shopping trip. I'll be sure to post my recipes as I make them so you can enjoy them too.

What do you have tucked away in your freezer that you could make this week?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cake Mix Cookies

I'm not going to tell you how many times I made this recipe in the past week...ok, fine, you convinced me...three times!!! But I promise I didn't eat all of the cookies myself. Funfetti cake was the best. It was difficult to add chocolate chips to the batter since it's so oily. Instead it worked better to roll the cookie balls then place the chocolate chips on top. Plus you can make cute designs with the chocolate chips that way, like flowers and Mickey Mouse ears. This is a great recipe to do with kids.

Cake Mix Cookies
makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup mix-ins (chocolate chips, coconut, m&ms, anything you want!)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes, or until set in the center.

So happy to have found this recipe at Cafe Zupas

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mushroom Bourguignon

I know I've told you about my love for mushrooms, so I decided to try this mushroom dish the other night and let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS! I was so stuffed by the end of the meal. I ate two huge helpings which was disappointing only because there wasn't any left for lunch the next day. If you love mushrooms, please give this recipe a try. Mom and Dad, I think you could easily make this a vegan dish!

Mushroom Bourguignon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds portabello mushrooms, sliced into ¼ inch slices
½ carrot, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full bodied red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and thawed if frozen (optional)
Egg noodles, cooked

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium dutch oven or large sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms for about three or four minutes or until they start to darken. Before they begin to release much liquid remove from heat and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add in another tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the carrots, onion, thyme, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the wine to the vegetables and turn the heat back up. Reduce it by half, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any bits that are stuck. Add in the tomato paste and the broth. Remove the thyme sprigs (if using fresh) and add back in the mushrooms (and any juices that have collected) and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very tender. Add in the pearl onions (if using).

Combine the tablespoons of butter and flour and stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and has a nice consistency. Spoon the mixture over egg noodles. 

I found this recipe at A Cozy Kitchen

What's your favorite mushroom dish?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I love this recipe. I found it over a year ago and make it at least one a month. I love chicken and I love mushrooms so this is perfect in my opinion! It looks like a lot of work because the recipe is so long, but trust me, it's not as difficult as it may look. Enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe
If you are avoiding cooking with alcohol, skip the sherry and deglaze the pan with a 1/4 cup extra of chicken stock. Depending on how salted your stock is, you may need to more generously salt this dish. Can always salt to taste at the table.
You can make this entire dish on the stovetop instead of the oven if you want. Just use a large sauté pan with a tight cover, cook on low when all is assembled, low enough to keep a simmer, but not so high that you burn the rice.

2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces, patted dry
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
1 1/3 cups* chicken stock**
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream
1 cup raw, medium or long grain, white rice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of Italian seasoning and poultry seasoning (or 2 teaspoons of one of these herb mixes, or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil)**
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
*This recipe assumes the rice requires approx 1 1/2 cups liquid per cup of rice to cook. Some rice varieties, such as brown rice, require more liquid (and a longer cooking time). Adjust recipe accordingly.
**If you are cooking gluten-free, use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock, use gluten-free packaged herbs and spices.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high or high heat (hot enough to brown but not burn). Sprinkle a dash of salt on the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on two sides, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Add a little more salt to the pan (and more olive oil if needed) after every batch. This will help prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan. Remove chicken pieces and set aside in a bowl. Note that the chicken does not have to be cooked through, only browned.

In the same sauté pan add 1 Tbsp olive oil, lower the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 30 seconds more. Remove onions and garlic to a shallow (9 x 13 x 2) casserole dish.

Raise heat to medium high, add the sliced mushrooms. Dry sauté them (no need to add butter or oil), allowing the mushrooms to brown lightly, and release some of their moisture. Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish.

Add 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. (At this point, if you are making ahead, reduce the sherry to 1 Tbsp and pour off into the casserole dish. Refrigerate cooked onions, garlic, mushrooms, and browned chicken pieces until you are ready to make the casserole.) Let the sherry reduce to about 1 Tbsp, then add the chicken stock, and remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cream, and the sour cream. Add the raw rice to the casserole dish. Then pour the stock, sherry, cream, sour cream mixture over the rice. Add the Italian and poultry seasonings (or fresh herbs) and paprika to the dish. Stir the rice, onion, mushroom, herb mixture so that they are evenly distributed in the casserole dish.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture (in a single layer if you can, they will be crowded). Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil. If the casserole is still too liquidy, let it cook a few minutes more, uncovered, until the excess liquid has evaporated away.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving. Serves 6 (with leftovers)

Recipe found at

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update Food Challenge: Shrimp

I couldn't decide which shrimp recipe I wanted to make so I let Josh decide. He chose Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto. It took me a few days to find Gnocchi since Albertsons was out of it but I ended up buying it at Cost Plus World Market. I went with the mini gnocchi since they take only 2-3 minutes to cook. I can't say this recipe was a total winner because both Josh and I weren't a fan of the asparagus in the dish despite how much we love asparagus. We started brainstorming other alternatives like zucchini. Since it only takes minutes to make the gnocchi and shrimp cooks so quickly, this meal was ready within ten minutes. 

Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto
2  quarts plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1  (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
4  cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
1  pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, coarsely chopped
1  cup basil leaves
2  tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2  tablespoons preshredded Parmesan cheese
2  teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2  teaspoons bottled minced garlic
4  teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1/4  teaspoon salt

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add gnocchi to pan; cook 4 minutes or until done (gnocchi will rise to surface). Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add asparagus and shrimp to pan; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Drain. Add shrimp mixture to gnocchi.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon water, basil, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides. Drizzle oil through food chute with food processor on; process until well blended. Add salt and basil mixture to shrimp mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe found at

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I've been on an enchiladas kick recently. I have three new recipes that I plan to try over the next few weeks. I made this recipe last week. It was delicious but it took a little more time than I had planned. Next time I make it, I plan to cook my chicken earlier in the day and omit the chipotles (it was timely to seed them.) I also served my favorite Spanish rice recipe that I'll share with you soon.

Chicken Enchiladas
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.

Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.

Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.

Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans.

Recipe found at Food

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Food Challenge: Shrimp

This week Josh was too busy to get creative and come up with a food challenge for me so I picked one for myself: Shrimp! I have a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer and I want to come up with a new way to use it rather than my old stand-by recipes.

The other night I made a new enchiladas recipe (which I will post in the next few days) and what I learned was that I need to change my focus on food. My food goals are 1. timely meals and 2. healthy food (less heavy cream and butter, more fresh veggies and spices.) I'm looking to Cooking Light and Rachael Ray for help in my new found goals. Cooking Light is an obvious choice for finding healthy meals and Rachael Ray is known for her 30 minute meals. I have a lot of resources at my disposal so finding recipes should be pretty easy. All of the shrimp recipes that I'm considering I found from Cooking Light and Rachael Ray. Here's what I'm considering:

Shrimp and Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes and Romano Cheese by Cooking Light
Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto by Cooking Light

Shrimp Arrabbiata by Cooking Light
Red and Green Pesto with Pasta and Lemon Shrimp by Rachael Ray
Venetian-Style Paella by Rachael Ray
The Devil's Shrimp by Rachael Ray

I'm leaning towards one of the Cooking Light recipes but waiting to find out what I'll recieve in my Wildly Organic Pak to make a final decision.

What are some of your favorite shrimp recipes?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Update Food Challenge: Phad Thai

I fulfilled my Phad Thai food challenge a little later than planned but I did it! My parents were visiting on the night I decided to make the dish and since they are vegan I thought I would make the dish vegan too. I found a simple recipe and replaced the chicken with tofu. Sadly, the tofu I used was too soft and fell apart while making the dish, but had I used a firmer tofu then I think this recipe would have held up a lot better.

In addition to the Phad Thai, I made Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce and they were fantastic! I modified the Salad Rolls recipe and left out the noodles and red peppers since I didn't have them on hand and I was still pleased.

Here are all three of the recipes I made.

Vegetarian Phad Thai
1 pound Asian-style rice noodles
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp hot sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 block tofu, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped or crushed peanuts (optional)
4 green onions (scallions), sliced

Cook noodles according to package instructions.
Whisk together the soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, hot sauce and sugar.
In a large wok or skillet, sautee the tofu, onion and garlic in sesame oil for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Allow to cook for another minute or two.
Add the cooked noodles and the peanut butter and soy sauce mixture. Stir well, and allow sauce to thicken as it cooks for about 3 minutes. Top with peanuts, bean sprouts and green onions and serve hot.
Recipe found at

Spring Rolls
Chopped romaine or butter lettuce (swiss chard can also be used)
1 carrot, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 package of bean sprouts
1 8x50 g package of vermicelli noddles
Basil or cilantro
9 inch, circular rice paper

Place 9 inch rice paper and a pan, larger enough to fit a piece of rice paper, filled with water. Make sure there is enough water to fully submerge rice paper.
Submerge a piece of rice paper into the water for 10 seconds. Remove paper from water, place on a flat surface, and fill center with a small amount of each filling.
Fold the right and left sides of the rice paper onto the filling and then roll paper from the bottom to the top, making sure the the filling stays in the middle and that the paper is wrapped tightly around fillings.
Repeat until desired number of salad rolls is achieved.
Recipe adapted from Suite101

Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste
1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until well combined, adding more water to thin the sauce if necessary.
Note: We like to use natural peanut butter for this recipe. If you use the conventional kind, add less sugar to the sauce.
Recipe found at Chow

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This is what I made for dinner last night. It was the first time I made it and overall, it turned out pretty good. It was a little thinner than I expected but very tasty. 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

4 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large onion, very well chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
32 ounces cups chicken broth
4-6 cups whole milk
2 cup chopped ham (optional)
6 baked potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Toppings: bacon bits, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions

In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat and saute the celery and onion until they are quite soft, about 4-6 minutes. Add the remaining butter to the pot. Once melted, whisk in the flour to make a thick roux, then turn the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the chicken broth, taking care to whisk out any chunky, floury pieces. Stir in the milk (four cups of milk, if you'd like a thicker soup, and more if you'd like your soup texture to be thinner).
Stir in the ham & baked potato pieces (Note: if you don't have baked potatoes lying around the house, you can either cook them until tender in the microwave--just clean them thoroughly, pierce them with a fork, and zap 'em for approx. 15 minutes--or peel & boil them in a pot of salted water until soft & tender. Either way works!) Salt & pepper to taste. If you're like us, you'll probably want a good amount of salt & pepper to really flavor that soup!
Serve with your favorite baked potato toppings. Enjoy!

Almost forgot to thank Cheeky Kitchen Blog for this recipe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Parchment Baked Salmon with Lemon and Basil/Dill

Josh gave me a food challenge a couple months ago and all he said was "find a recipe that uses parchment paper." I thought that was an odd challenge but the first thing that came to mind was fish! I got online and did a searched for a simple fish and parchment paper recipe. I found this one on the Whole Foods website and made it just as the recipe called for...with basil. It was good but I wanted to make it better. The next time I made it I swapped the basil for dill and I gotta say, I prefer it this way. So here it is. I'll let you decide whether to use basil or dill. 

Parchment Baked Salmon with Lemon and Basil/Dill

6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
6 (15-square inch) pieces parchment paper
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves or dill
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Kitchen twine

Place a large baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Cut two half inch slices into flesh of each piece of salmon; roll basil leaves (or dill) and stuff into slits in salmon. 

Place a salmon fillet in the center of each piece of parchment paper. Drizzle each fillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil, then place lemon slices on top. Gather sides of parchment up over salmon to form a pouch, leaving no openings, and tie tightly with kitchen twine. Place packages directly on hot baking sheet in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and carefully open packages to release steam before serving.

Per serving (about 7oz/193g-wt.): 450 calories (220 from fat), 15g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 95mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 2g total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 0g sugar), 34g protein

Thank you Whole Foods Market

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grilled Scallops with Chili-Lime Cream Sauce

Until about a year ago, I would have told you that scallops were on my 'dislike' list. That was until Costco published their Black Friday cookbook In The Kitchen: The Costco Way in 2008. I found a scallops recipe  in that book (on page 144) and decided to give it a try as part of my weekly challenge. Here's the recipe that changed my impression of sea scallops.

approx. 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves

Chili-Lime Cream Sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 large shallot, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper

Combine scallops, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes and garlic. Marinate for 30 minutes.

To prepare the sauce, combine lime juice, wine, ginger, and shallot in a small saucepan. Cook over high heat until reduced by half (3 minutes). Add cream, lower heat and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Stir in chili sauce. Whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat barbecue (I use my indoor grill) and grill on medium-high heat. Grill scallops until cooked to taste. (Don't overcook!)

Serve scallops with sauce and rice.

Thanks Costco for your yearly cookbooks. You can find this year and past cooks books here. Enjoy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cinnamon Muffins

Yummy! I found this recipe on a blog site that I read and I loved it. It's simple and tasty. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee while reading food blogs. 

Cinnamon Muffins
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
cinnamon sugar - for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare muffin tins.

Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix only until moistened. Fill muffin cups and top with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.

Cinnamon Muffins adapted from Ravishing Relative Recipes. Recipe found at Taste and Tell.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tin Can Chili

A know a few friends who have decided to start Weight Watchers this year and since I'm familiar with Weight Watchers I decided to post one of my own dishes that was discussed at a Weight Watchers meeting that I attended years back. I'm not currently doing Weight Watcher though I love to cook their recipes.

Tin Can Chili
1 pound ground turkey
2 cans (15 ounces, each) diced or stewed tomatoes, with liquid
1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans with liquid
1 can (15 ounces) kidney or chili beans, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Brown turkey meat and drain.

Combine tomatoes, corn, beans and seasonings together in a large pot over medium heat. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot with cornbread.

a) Consider adding onion to the recipe. If so, cook the onion while browning the turkey meat.
b) Serve with sour cream and/or cheese. This is not WW approved. :)
c) Brown meat then add everything to the crock pot and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wildly Organic

A friend of mine introduced me to a fruit and vegetable delivery service called Wildly Organic. She told me that they were a local company that delivered organic fruit and/or vegetables every other week to her doorstep. She pays $35 for each delivery and has a lot of control over the items that are delivered. I was very intrigued and, at the time, disgusted with the produce I had been buying from Albertsons so I did a little research. My friend sent me the list of everything that had arrived in her pak that week so I set off to find out if this was going to be a good option for us. I went to Safeway (a place that I consider to have good produce) and weighed all the fruits and veggies to the same amount that my friend received. I priced everything out by the appropriate cost per pound and came to a total of $36.64. Safeway was $1.64 more than the cost that she had paid! Plus she got everything ORGANIC, many of the items were LOCAL and everything was DELIVERED to her doorstep! How could I not choose to buy my produce from Wildly Organic, the answer seemed obvious?! I came home explained my research to my hubby and we signed up that afternoon. I'm so happy we did. Everything we've received has been great. And if there's something we're not interested in that week, we get online and make adjustments to our delivery.

One way I maximize my delivery is by making my dinner menu/grocery list for the week before my delivery is expected. Then prior to receiving my delivery, I go online and update what I'm expected to receive to match the items that are on my grocery list. It saves me money and it ensures that I'm going to use everything that I receive.

I highly suggest signing up for this produce delivery service. In my opinion, the benefits can't be beat. And if you'd like to do your own research before signing up, I'd be happy to send you my pak list. But take it from me, it's worth it!

Pizza Dough

I have a couple different pizza dough recipes but this is my favorite. It's easiest to make in a standing mixer with the dough attachment but if you don't have one, no worries. You can also make this with a bowl and your hands!

Pizza Dough
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk flour and salt together. Make a well and add the water, sugar and yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. When foamy, mix the olive oil in; knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Brush the dough with olive oil and put in a bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Divide into two 1-pound balls. Use 1 pound per pizza. Bake dough at 500 degrees.

I've found that you can also freeze this dough. Wrap it in saran wrap then place in a freezer bag. The day prior to using it, move it to the refrigerator to thaw. Then it will be good to rise the next day. 

Recipe courtesy of Taste and Tell blog.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

On of my favorite crock-pot recipes is Chicken Tortilla Soup. Remember that Juicy Roast Chicken recipe I shared with you the other day? Well, here's something you can make with all that left over chicken.

Note: this recipe can be spicy so if you want to dial it down a bit, reduce the chili powder and use mild enchilada sauce. Also, adding a dollop of sour cream at the end helps tame the spice too.

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cooked, shredded
1 can (15 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
1 teaspoon dried chopped cilantro
6 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Grated cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish.

In Crock-pot, combine shredded chicken, whole tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies and garlic.  Add water, chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper and bay leaf. Stir in corn and dried cilantro. Cover and simmer on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf before serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly brush both sides of tortilla with vegetable oil. Cut tortillas into strips. Spread tortilla strips onto a baking sheet and bake turning occasionally until crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle tortilla strips and grated cheese over soup. Add a dollop of sour cream if desired.


Recipe found in Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes book.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Juicy Roasted Chicken

This was the first recipe that I used to make roast chicken. It received 4.5 stars out of 870 reviews on That alone tells me it's a winner. What I love about it is how simple the ingredients are. It takes my oven nearly two hours to bake (rather than the 1 hour and 15 minutes it suggests) but when I'm busy doing other things I don't even notice the time pass.

This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday afternoon. Then you have dinner ready for that night and lunch meat for sandwiches the next morning. Last time I made this I saved all the meat for Chicken enchiladas the next day.

1 (3 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon onion powder, or to taste
1/2 cup margarine, divided (I use butter since I don't have margarine)
1 stalk celery, leaves removed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Place chicken in a roasting pan, and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Sprinkle inside and out with onion powder. Place 3 tablespoons margarine in the chicken cavity. Arrange dollops of the remaining margarine around the chicken's exterior.
3. Cut the celery into 3 or 4 pieces, and place in the chicken cavity.
4. Bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove from heat, and baste with melted margarine and drippings. Cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest about 30 minutes before serving.

Thank you Allrecipes for this awesome dish. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Giveaway: $100 Visa card

One of the food blogs I read is giving away a $100 Visa gift card! Thanks to Taste and Tell Blog and Jimmy Dean, you can enter to win this generous giveaway. To enter you must go to the Taste and Tell Blog here.

Rules: No duplicate comments.  You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) In the comments section of the Taste and Tell blog, tell me one change you are making this year to make a better you.
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.  Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.  You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. This giveaway will go until January 30th, 2011. A winner will be announced on February 1st. For complete rules, CLICK HERE.
Good luck!