Monday, November 26, 2012

Blueberry Brunch Cake - Secret Recipe Club

So, it's Secret Recipe Club time again, and I see that I haven't posted anything since the last time. Hmmm. I think I know the reason why (again). It's because I'm in one of those "fix the usual, standard things and don't try anything new because I don't have time" moods. We're eating well - I've had a lot of freezer meals to eat, as well as all kinds of other meals. We've even eaten out a couple of times. Most recently we enjoyed an evening at Olive Garden. I just love the salad there.

My assigned blog for this month was My Judy the Foodie. Shari's blog is a memorial to her mother Judy - who clearly was a cook just like my mother. There are so many similarities between the two. It's been interesting to see how a self-proclaimed "NYC carryout junkie" has described her journey through her mother's cookbooks and recipes.

I almost made Judy's Garlic Chicken as my SRC recipe - and it HAS been added to my "must do" list, but I ended up making Blueberry Brunch Cake this morning for breakfast. It's made with ingredients I always have around - even the blueberrries (I used frozen ones) - and Don loves all kinds of coffee cakes.

This one was definitely a hit. The batter was really thick - yet the cake itself was not a dense as I thought it would be. I loved the crunchy top, too.

Blueberry Brunch Cake
from My Judy the Foodie

2 cups sifted flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups blueberries (shake with l tbsp flour to keep from sinking)

3 tbsp sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a greased 9″ pan.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter and sugar. Beat eggs in measuring cup, adding enough milk to make 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsps. Beat liquid into dry (mixture will be thick). Add in vanilla. Fold in blueberries. Put in greased 9″ pan. Combine topping and sprinkle on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until done.

Note:  I used a 12" round stoneware pan from Pampered Chef, and since the cake was thinner, it only needed to cook for 30 minutes. Serves 8. 

Note to SCR Members - I was without internet until noon PST today - just got off the phone with my provider, resetting the modem. Hooray! So that's why this post is 3 hours late.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Bread - Secret Recipe Club

After being out of town for several months - our trip to Colorado, followed by our trip to New York - it's time to be back participating in the Secret Recipe Club.

This month I was assigned Emily's blog Life on Food.  I had a great time going through her blog, checking out as many recipes as I could, but since I had just finished processing two pumpkins, I was drawn to her pumpkin bread. I had frozen 8 two-cup packages of fresh pureé, and was in the mood for baking.

Emily states in her recipe, "To mix things up a bit I like to add 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips or dried cranberries to the batter before baking."  I figured "more is better," and added a cup EACH of chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. Oh my, was this bread yummy! Emily's recipe made two regular-sized loaves and two mini-loaves.

Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Bread
from Emily of Life on Food
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 16oz canned pumpkin (I used two cups of pumpkin pureé)
  • 3 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Beat eggs. Add oil, water, and pumpkin and mix well.
  2. Sift flour. Measure and sift together with the sugar, soda, salt, and spices. Make a well in the center of these ingredients and add the pumpkin mixture to this. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts.
  3. Turn into 3 well-oiled loaf tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove pans from oven. Set on rack to cool.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dump Chicken - 2 recipes tried and reviewed

As I've mentioned before, I put quite a few meals in freezer bags with seasonings, and promised to share the recipes as we ate them. Last week we tried the Herb Wine Chicken, and tonight we had the Spiced Citrus Chicken. They were both from the Yahoo Group Frozen Assets.

Herb Wine Chicken

1 cup Red Wine
⅔ cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
½ Lemon (sliced thinly)
2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley
1 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Basil
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Pepper

Combine wine, oil, and remaining ingredients in a gallon-sized reclosable freezer bag. Add 4-8 pieces of chicken - any pieces will do... breasts, wings, thighs, drumsticks, bone-in, skin-on, boneless, skinless, etc.   Freeze.

To cook:  Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Then you can either a) cook it in the crockpot on LOW for 6-8 hours, b) cook it in an uncovered pan in the oven at 350˚ (boneless - 30 minutes; bone-in up to an hour), or c) grill. 

----while this one smelled really good, the taste was "okay."  Don liked it, but agreed with me that the herbs overpowered the wine.

Spiced Citrus Chicken

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Cayenne
½ Teaspoon Pepper
½ Teaspoon Salt

Combine olive oil, juices, and remaining ingredients in a gallon-sized reclosable freezer bag. Add 4-8 pieces of chicken - any pieces will do... breasts, wings, thighs, drumsticks, bone-in, skin-on, boneless, skinless, etc.   Freeze.

To cook:  Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Then you can either a) cook it in the crockpot on LOW for 6-8 hours, b) cook it in an uncovered pan in the oven at 350˚ (boneless - 30 minutes; bone-in up to an hour), or c) grill.

---this one gets a definite thumbs up from both of us. The citrus juices helped to tenderize the chicken (we used boneless thighs and breasts in this one), and the spices went well with the citrus. We ate this with baked sweet potatoes - a good contrast to the spicy chicken.

Lemon Soufflé Pancakes - tasty!

I admit it - I'm a Pinterest addict.  Almost every time I'm sitting in the recliner with my laptop, I'm checking out the food & beverage section of Pinterest.  I've found so many things to pin; and a vast majority of them are desserts.  Occasionally I'll find something great to try for breakfast - and this morning I tried the Lemon Soufflé Pancakes I pinned Friday night.

These are from the blog Shirley had these light, fluffy pancakes posted on her old blog (Kokken69) and since I love all things lemon, I just had to try them.

Lemon Soufflé Pancakes
from Shirley

¾ cup buttermilk
2 egg yolks
3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
A pinch salt
2 egg whites

To serve
Strawberries, halved
1 tablespoon honey
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Mix egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a bowl. Add melted butter and mix well.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, powdered sugar and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in (1) gradually and mix flour with milk mixture until the dry ingredients are moistened. Be careful not to overmix.
3.  Place egg white in a clean bowl and beat until soft peaks are formed. Fold in egg white into (2).
4.  Melt a small portion of butter in a heated non-stick frying pan. Place 2 tbsp of the batter from (3) into the pan.  [Note: I just used nonstick cooking spray] Cook until the cake turns golden brown on the underside and looking dry on the edges. Flip over and continue to cook the other side. transfer to a plate and keep warm while cooking remaining batter.
5. Toss fresh strawberries with honey and a light dusting of icing sugar. Dust pancakes with powdered sugar and serve immediately.   [I just served them with a few raspberries and dusted with powdered sugar.]

These made 18 4-inch pancakes - and since they're very, very light, it's enough for 3 people.

Verdict:  OUTSTANDING!  Don and I both devoured these, while at the same time, trying to savor every bite. The lemon is subtle, in spite of the amount of zest and juice used - but it is definitely lemon. I liked the light texture as well.  I think Don and I will be fighting each other over the leftovers.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Cooked all day

Don was getting a load of wood delivered today; I knew he was going to be busy so I decided to tackle the rest of the apples. We'd talked about what we liked best, and the #1 choice was apple pie and apple pastries.  So the first thing I did was make another batch of apple pie filling. This time I used more apples, and ended up with 6 quarts and 2 pints.

With about 16 small apples left in the box, and a bag of cinnamon red-hots I'd picked up last week, I made cinnamon apple wedges.  Don said that he ate cinnamon apples a lot as a child; I remember Mom serving them often as a dessert.  This was a simple recipe which didn't require much sugar at all (compared to jelly).

Cinnamon Apples
from Miranda via SB Canning

4 cups water
1 ½ cup red-hot candies
⅔ cup sugar
6 medium tart apples, peeled and quartered (I used about 15 small apples)

In a large saucepan, bring the water, candies and sugar to a boil over medium heat; boil and stir until candies and sugar are dissolved. Reduce heat; carefully add apples. Cook in sugar mixture for 10 minutes on low. Turn off the heat for 10 minutes to let the apples suck up the syrup then just heat them back up to a simmer. Turn off the heat and with a slotted spoon, transfer apples into pint size jars then fill with the sweet liquid. Fill to ½” headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, add lid/rings. Process in water bath canner 15 minutes. I ended up with 4 pints and 5 half pints.

The last canning I'll do for a while (I'm worn out!) was a batch of jelly.  I saw a few recipes around the web for jelly using the peels and cores - cooking them for a while to get the good flavoring, adding some water or cider, and using that juice as the base for a jelly.

Apple Core & Peel Jelly
adapted from a recipe on

cores and peels from 15 -20 medium tart apples
6 cups water (for cooking cores and peels)
1-2 cups apple cider or juice
1 (1 3/4 ounce) box dry pectin
9 cups sugar
1-2 drops red food coloring (optional)

Cook peelings and cores in 6 cups water for 20-30 minutes. Strain through prepared cheesecloth or jelly bag. Add cider or juice as needed, to strained juice, to obtain 7 cups liquid. Whisk in pectin and bring to a rapid boil. Add sugar, bring back to boil and boil hard for 1 minute. If desired, food coloring can be added to juice for color. Pour into sterile jars, leaving 1/8" headspace; wipe jar rims, adjust lids and rings; water bath 5 minutes.  Note:  This jelly will take several days or longer to set up, so be patient!  This recipe made 6 half pints and 8 4-oz. jars, or 10 half pints.

Once I finished cleaning up the kitchen after all the canning, Don decided to take a break from hauling and stacking wood. [Our woodshed is out behind the house. The truck dumps the wood in our driveway, and Don has to put it in a wheelbarrow and go up some stairs and back to the woodshed to unload it and stack it.  It's a two-day job to do a cord.] I knew he'd be hungry, and I had a piece of beef thawing, so I made some gulaschsuppe.  It's a German dish that he and I have had in restaurants when we were stationed there, and I don't recall where I got this particular recipe. It's a bit different from the restaurant versions since it has potatoes and bell peppers in it (in addition to the onions). But we were both pleased with this, and the addition of the potatoes and bell peppers "stretches" it.  We had plenty for dinner and have a bag ready for the freezer for another meal.


1 lb. beef (round, chuck, arm, etc.)
5 slices lean bacon
2 medium onions
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
3 medium potatoes, peeled
6 cloves large garlic
3 medium tomatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (I didn't have any this time, and it was fine)
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water or beef stock
½ cup vegetable oil

Cut beef and bacon into small cubes. Finely dice the vegetables. Heat oil in a large stock pot; add meats and saute onions until brown. Add remaining vegetables. Stir well. Add tomato paste and all other spices. Stir well. Ad 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Monday, October 01, 2012


I took a one-hour subbing job this morning at Yucaipa High School, just to get my feet wet again (I have an all-day job tomorrow). Afterwards, I drove up to Oak Glen so I could get apples and cider. Oak Glen is a small community that sits at about 4500-5000' up against the San Bernardino Mountains above Yucaipa. I live over the ridge from it, at 6000' in a different canyon. Because of the elevation, it's an ideal place for growing apples, and is known all over southern California as one of the best places to go. There are orchards, shops, restaurants, and other related business (pony rides, for example!) and gets pretty busy during the harvest months of September - November.

The first place I stopped was Law's Apple Barn, since I knew he had the best prices. We picked out a box of mixed apples - Pippins, Golden Delicious, Jona-Golds, and a few Granny Smiths. A mixture is best for making pie fillings.  These were "C" grade, meaning they had a few spots (some were perfect little apples) so I got 25 pounds for $20.

My second stop was Parrish Pioneer Ranch, where I got a gallon of apple cider and two apple burritos, one for me and one for Don.  Those gave me the idea for making a few small containers of apple pie filling for desserts like that.

I had to set up my apple peeler/slicer in the basement - it was the only place I could find a spot to clamp it.  I processed about a third of the box, and brought the big bowl upstairs to the kitchen to make the apple pie filling. I think I could have used 3-4 more little apples, but I still had enough pie filling for four quarts and three pints.

Apple Pie Filling
from SB Canning

10 lbs. tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced (~20 cups sliced)
5 ½ cups sugar (I used 2 cups brown sugar and 3 1/2 cups white)
1 ½ cup Clearjel
1 T. cinnamon
2-½ cups cold water
5 cups apple juice (I used apple cider)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup bottled lemon juice

For fresh apples, place 6 cups at a time into 1 gallon of boiling water and boil one minute when it comes back to a boil. Drain but keep fruit covered in a bowl. In a stockpot, mix the sugar, Clearjel, cinnamon, nutmeg together. Add the water and apple juice, stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice. Fold apples into mixture. Pack the apples into hot, sterilized quart size canning jars, about 3/4 of the way. Fill the jars with the prepared hot syrup to fill to 1" headspace. Using a rubber or plastic spatula run through the contents of each jar to remove the air bubbles. Fill again to 1" headspace with syrup. Wipe the rims and place the hot lid/rings on the jars. Process in a water bath canner for 25 minutes at a full rolling boil. Wait 5 minutes, remove and place on dishtowel overnight undisturbed. The next day remove rings and clean jars and label with recipe name and date. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.

On Wednesday, I think I'll freeze a bunch of the remaining apples.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Candied Jalapeños, Pumpkin and a few other things

Our daughter came up today to see us and to do her laundry, so I needed to get out of the living room (we have limited seating). So first, I spent a little time in the kitchen making Cowboy Candy.  If you've never heard of it, it's candied jalapeños.  I ordered a canning pot, rack, and tools while I was in Colorado, and this was my first time to use it.  (I've made jelly and jam before, but this was the first "canning.")

I saw this recipe on SBCanning, and was intrigued.  I love spicy and sweet combined, so I'm looking forward to trying some of these. It's suggested that these are good on hamburgers, and on cream cheese atop crackers. We'll see!

Cowboy Candy
from SBCanning

1 lb. fresh jalapenos
⅔ cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
¼ teaspoon tumeric
¼ teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Slice jalapenos. Mix cider vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seed, garlic, and cayenne to boil. Reduce for 5 minutes to a simmer. Add jalapenos at the simmer for 5 minutes more. Load sterilized jars with jalapenos first and add liquid filling the jars leaving a 1/4 headspace. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Makes 2 pints (I made 4 half pints).

Next, I went down the mountain to pick up some things at Cost Plus (wine and beer), Trader Joe's, Vons, and the Ranch Market (I have to have their tortilla chips).   When I came back, T was sleeping in her father's recliner, and her father was finished with his painting on the deck and was watching the Ryder Cup (go USA!!!!).  So I went downstairs and grabbed the two pumpkins I bought yesterday at the pumpkin patch.  I was given a pretty good deal - they weren't open for business until today, but forgot to close the gate. The guy said he'd be glad to sell me some pumpkins as long as I had cash, so I got two white ones that are great for making pureé. The larger one would have been $10, and the smaller one $8, but he gave me both for $10.

I cooked these two ways.  One was done in the microwave and the other in my 2-tier vegetable steamer. To microwave:  Cut pumpkin in large chunks, scoop out the seeds and junk, and put in a bowl with about an inch of water. Cover the bowl loosely, and microwave on HIGH 20-25 minutes. Check after 15 and then just add 5 minutes at a time until the flesh is soft.

After the chunks have cooled enough to handle, scrape the flesh in to a bowl.  Pureé in a blender in batches, and place in freezer bags.  I did two cups in each quart-sized bag so it's the equivalent of a can of pumpkin.

After setting aside two cups for pumpkin butter, I ended up with 7 bags of pureé.

While I was bagging the pureé, I started the pumpkin butter.  It takes about an hour to cook it down

Pumpkin Butter
by Kevin of Closet Cooking

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

Simmer everything in a pot until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.  Makes 2 cups.

This took about an hour, and after the first 10 minutes I had to use a spatter screen to keep it from splattering all over the stove. 

You can't can this for safety reasons, but you can store it in your fridge for a few weeks (if it lasts that long) or for 3-4 months in your freezer. The batch only makes about 2 cups, so we should be able to eat it up!

I also managed to freeze and bag a pound of strawberries and a big basket of raspberries.  I just rinse, hull and slice the strawberries, and do nothing with the raspberries. I spread both fruits on a large cookie sheet and flash freeze. Then when they're solid, I put them in ziploc bags and put them back in the freezer. They're now ready for smoothies and desserts.

Dinner was Kung Pao Pork - and I forgot the peanuts again!  It still tasted good, but I missed the peanuts.  My daughter had never had it, and she gobbled it up. She says she won't have to eat during work tonight (she works midnight to 8 am).

Friday, September 28, 2012

Oh, my aching feet!

Two and a half days' worth of standing in the kitchen will do it to ya.

We got back from Colorado on Wednesday, and spent much of the afternoon putting things away that we'd brought home from the trailer. I'd asked my daughter to turn the big freezer on last weekend, so it was ready to load.

Yesterday I went to Costco, where I spent $365 on meat and some things like maple syrup, pecans, mixed nuts, and some other staples. Then I went to the commissary at March Air Reserve Base, where I spent $328 on everything else. Those two trips started my feet and legs on their way to being really sore.

It took many trips to get everything into the house. Don just couldn't understand why I did it all at once; I tried to explain that I didn't want to make two trips. From there I had to start getting some of the meats packaged and prepared since I didn't have room for everything in the refrigerator.  At the end of the day yesterday, here's what I accomplished:

1) batch of Ruth's Best Chili Ever - made 2 full meals + a single meal for my daughter
2) batch of Mom's Spaghetti Sauce - we ate half of it for dinner and froze the rest for another meal
3) batch of Freezer Stash Meatballs - it made 5 meals' worth, which will be for things like meatball subs, teriyaki meatballs, Swedish meatballs with noodles, and so on.
4) 4 patties of ground beef for Taco Pockets
5) blanched and froze 1 pound of asparagus
6) blanched and froze 3 bags of green beans
7) 2 patties of ground beef for hamburgers
8) froze 1 lb. of skirt steak for Crockpot Beef Fajitas

By the time I was finished with the dinner dishes and the cleanup from the afternoon's work, I was exhausted and hurting. I watched a little baseball and TV ("Big Bang Theory" and "Person of Interest" had their season premiers) and then went to bed.

This morning, I started early - had one cup of coffee, then went to work. Today's completions:

1) made and froze 2 meals' worth of chicken fried steak
2) made and froze 2 meals' worth of Maui Grilled Chicken Sandwiches (recipe to come later)
3) made and froze 2 meals' worth of Pineapple Lemon Chicken (recipe to come later)
4) made and froze 2 meals' worth of Spiced Citrus Chicken (recipe to come later)
5) made and froze 2 meals' worth of Lemon Garlic Chicken (recipe to come later)
6) made and froze 2 meals' worth of Herb-Wine Chicken (recipe to come later)
7) made and froze Elegant Steak Dionne (recipe to come later)
8) froze 3 sirloin steaks
9) froze 7 double-thick pork chops (each one is a meal for Don and me)
10) made and froze 6 Barbecue Turkey Burgers (3 meals)
11) made and froze 4 marmalade patties for Turkey Burgers with Curry-Lime Mayo (2 meals)
12) made and froze 2 Spicy Asian Turkey Burgers (recipe to come later)
13) made and froze 5 sausage and egg biscuit sandwiches (actually, I made 8, but we ate 3 for breakfast) - I used Grands biscuits, Jimmy Dean sausage, eggs, and Velveeta sliced cheese.
14) froze leftover beef trimmings from the chicken fried steak to make a stir-fry
15) made a batch of Whole Wheat and Oat Baking Mix
16) blanched and froze 2 bags of Brussels sprouts
17) froze 8 packages of ground beef (3/4 lb. each) for other meals

I still have more to do - I might do some after dinner tonight. We're having rahmschnitzel and salzkartoffeln (pork schnitzel with a mushroom and cream sauce, and boiled new potatoes) and possibly a salad. I might just open a  can of peas - I haven't decided yet!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Jumping into Freezer Meals

Hello from Lake City, Colorado. We've been in Colorado for 6 weeks now, and won't be heading home until the first of October. You can read about our fantastic trip on my travel blog, Wanderlust.

Before we left, I emptied out our big freezer in the basement, so when we get back, it'll need to be restocked. Since I plan on going back to subbing, as well as swimming and sewing, I've decided to try making freezer meals - where much of the prep is done all at once, and you pull out your meals or meal components and have an easier time to prepare the meal.

I thought I'd list the resources I'm using to plan this venture:


Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer: Great Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead

Don't Panic - More Dinner's in the Freezer: A Second Helping of Tasty Meals You Can Make Ahead

Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month

When you're looking at those books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you'll see quite a few others.  I just started with those three.  They're on my iPad now so I can access them easily.

Yahoo Groups

I re-joined (I was a member many years ago) the Frozen Assets Yahoo Group. I've noticed that the traffic is fairly slow these days - but joining gave me access again to the files and old messages. 

Friendly-Freezer  - similar to Frozen Assets.  It's also slowed down in recent months.

If you search on freezer meals or once a month cooking, you can find several more groups to try. I'm waiting on membership confirmation from FoodPreservationDryingCanningAndMore - it's a moderated group instead of open, so my application has to be approved.


There are quite a few blogs out there that either focus directly on freezer meals, or have freezer meals as one area.  Here are a few that I follow and have enjoyed reading:

Freezer Meals for Us - oodles and oodles of great recipes

Journey of a Home-Schooling, Transracial Foster Family

Once a Month Cooking | Freezer Cooking | Once a Month Mom


I found several ideas via Pinterest, and continue to follow the links to more sites.  There is a ton of information out there!


I've been going through my own cookbook, and have found many that I will be able to adapt to freezer cooking.  I'll be sharing those as often as I can.  I'll start with one that came to mind after Don and I passed a restaurant called "Southern Vittles" yesterday in Lake City.  Their specialty is chicken fried steak.  Well, I can do my own, thank you.  I like my gravy better than any I can get in a restaurant - I don't care for the heavy doses of pepper you get in restaurant gravies.

Chicken Fried Steak
for the freezer

Note:  this can be adapted to boneless, skinless chicken breasts or pork chops, too.  To make additional meals, just multiply the ingredients by the number of additional meals you'd like to make.

Cooking Day
1 cube steak for each person (my meals are all for 2 people, so I'll use two)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t paprika

Set up two shallow bowls.  In one, put eggs and milk, and mix with a fork or whisk. In the other, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Dredge a cube steak in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture to coat.  Dredge again in the flour.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags. Reserve about 1/4  cup of the flour in a small bag and add to the freezer bag with the steaks.

Serving Day
To cook:  Thaw cube steaks in refrigerator. Fry in hot oil until browned.  Set aside and keep warm. Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the reserved flour, and stir while continuing to heat over medium heat. When flour/oil mixture is lightly browned, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of milk, using a flat whisk to combine. Continue to cook and stir until gravy is thickened.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with steaks and mashed potatoes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quick Huevo Ranchero

Normally, when I make Huevos Rancheros, I make a sauce using onions, bell peppers, and Old El Paso Medium Enchilada Sauce. But today I wanted the taste ( and a bit of protein) for lunch, so I came up with this. It took 5 minutes and hit the spot. [I'd like to point out that I don't make my Huevos Rancheros with beans, but you could easily add some to this dish for more protein and a bit of fiber.]

Quick Huevo Ranchero

1 corn tortilla
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack
1 egg
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons salsa
dollop sour cream (optional)

Put the tortilla in a skillet and top with the cheese. Warm the tortilla just until the cheese melts and remove to a plate. Spray the skillet with the nonstick cooking spray and add the egg. Cook on one side, then flip. Top with salsa and cook a little bit longer (until the egg is done to your liking). Put egg and salsa on the tortilla. Serve with sour cream if desired.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 25, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Rocks!

My assigned blog this month in the Secret Recipe Club was Kudos Kitchen by Renee. In addition to making tasty, healthy food, Renee has a special talent of painting. She does fabulous decorative tiles, bowls, and glassware.  You really should go check out her work - and maybe even visit her Etsy shop. There's a lot of eye candy there!

But on to the food.  I found all kinds of things I will be making on Renee's blog. But the recipe I made almost immediately was Rocks.  Yes, Rocks. Renee had been given a vintage cookbook from the 1930s, and found a handwritten recipe for these cookies inside. Don and I had been wanting some cookies, and these came together quickly.  The dough is similar to that for chocolate chip cookies, but with a little cinnamon thrown in.

My cookies came out looking different from Renee's - mine flattened out while hers retained some height to them. Maybe it's the altitude, or it might have been the fact that I used a silpat while Renee used parchment paper. No matter.  The taste was wonderful, and these are definitely on our "do again" list!


1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
3 well beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add gradually to sugar/egg mixture.  Stir in raisins and walnuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet topped with parchment paper or a silpat.  Bake 9-12 minutes or until lightly browned. (Renee's recipe called for 15 minutes - but in my oven that was way too long.)  Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

Even the cookies that I thought were a bit overdone really weren't.  These stayed chewy even after they'd cooled completely. That's the way I LOVE my cookies.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Whole Grain Mixed Berry Muffins

It's reveal time again for the Secret Recipe Club!  That's the club where we're assigned another person's blog, we select a recipe to try, and then blog about it. The blog assigned to me this month was The Daily Dish Recipes.  Nicole is a wife and mom who loves to cook wholesome meals for her family (along with some not-so-wholesome goodies), and is a much better food photographer than I am. In perusing her blog for recipes to try, her Basic Sour Cream Muffins caught my eye. I've been making different kinds of whole grain muffins lately for Don and me to eat for breakfast in place of those white flour/sugar/fat-laden ones at Costco.  Nicole's recipe is intended for different kinds of toss-ins, from fruit to chocolate chips.

I decided to add some fiber by replacing half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat flour from King Arthur) and by adding ground flax and wheat bran. I've been craving anything berry these days, so I added 3 cups of mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries). I buy those by the bag from Costco.

The result was a much lighter muffin than the ones I've made this month, even with the addition of the whole wheat flour and wheat bran.  It must be the sour cream.  These were delightful, and of course, they disappeared in a couple of days.  Again, I used my Wilton jumbo muffin tin and my brownie tin from Pampered Chef - the recipe filled up both. I ended up with 6 jumbo muffins and 12 square muffins that are about half the size of the jumbo ones.

Whole Grain Mixed Berry Muffins

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
3 cups of mixed berries

Preheat oven to 400˚. Grease the muffin cups or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about a minute. Next, beat in the vanilla, eggs, ground flax, salt and baking soda.
Next, fold in the sour cream.
Now fold in the flour and wheat bran and any of the add-ins that you have chosen.
Scoop batter into muffin cups. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. (Note:  the Pampered Chef brownie pan only takes about 12 minutes, and the jumbo ones take about 20.)
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in pan.
Remove from pan and allow to completely cool on wire rack. Makes 24 muffins.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stinky! Asiago Broiled Tomatoes

I had some Asiago cheese in the refrigerator that will be used for a potato gratin in the next day or so, and decided to use a little of it on these tomatoes. Don was grilling some pork steaks and corn on the cob, and instead of a tomato salad, I decided on these. They tasted wonderful - but that cheese sure stinks!  Don couldn't wait to light the candles to try to get rid of the pungent smell.

Asiago Broiled Tomatoes

1 medium tomato per person
melted butter
salt and pepper
grated Asiago cheese (or Parmesan, if that's what you have)

Slice tomato(es) into thick slices - about 3/4" - 1" thick. Place on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, and top with salt, pepper, and some grated Asiago cheese. Broil 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and starts to brown. 

Monday, May 07, 2012

This weeks' muffins: Zucchini Gingerbread

As we're enjoying a spring Sunday here in the mountains, as well as a Kings playoff hockey game, I decided to make a batch of muffins for the coming week. As I mentioned before, Don used to eat the ones from Costco - the ones with zero fiber and lots of sugar.  He needs fiber.  So I've been tweaking some of my recipes to add it and still make some decent muffins.

I used two different pans this time - I just got my brownie pan from Pampered Chef, and used it along with the jumbo muffin tin I got at JoAnn (I used a 40% off coupon). The recipe is for two loaf pans, so that's just the right amount of batter for the two pans.

Zucchini Gingerbread Muffins

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c wheat bran
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 c ground flaxseed
3 c grated zucchini (3-4 small)
3 eggs
3/4 c molasses
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c oil
1 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350˚. Prepare two loaf pans (or two jumbo muffin tins) by spraying with nonstick cooking spray. (If you're using one of the Pampered Chef brownie tins, it needs no spray.) Combine dry ingredients (except for flax and raisins) in a large bowl. Combine flax and wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, and stir until just combined. Stir in the raisins. Pour into loaf pans or muffin tins. Bake loaf pans 45 minutes/muffins 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

It's reveal day again for my group in the Secret Recipe Club!  I'd like to say that the Club has kept my interest in food blogging alive.  There have been times I haven't felt like writing about what I cook - mostly because I've been making the same things over and over.  But since I started the Secret Recipe Club, I've not only HAD to make new things, I've found all kinds of new blogs to read and new recipes to try.

This month, my assigned blog was The Double Dipped Life.  I spent several hours over a couple of days going through Krista's blog, and made a list of 5 different recipes I want to make.  The one I made for this post is Broccoli-Cheddar Soup.  I had just gone to the commissary the day before, and my refrigerator was full of fresh produce, including two crowns of broccoli.  I'd been thinking about just steaming them as a healthy side dish, but when I saw Krista's recipe for the soup, I knew that was the first recipe to try.  It was a winner!

Don loves soup - almost any kind of soup, so when I asked him if he wanted to give this a try, he was enthusiastic.  We had a loaf of multigrain bread in the freezer, so I thawed that to have with the soup.

This soup was not only easy to make, it came together fairly quickly.  It was nice to find out that it wasn't a cream-based soup as I'd expected, but broth-based, thickened with a little flour, and had only 1/2 cup of cream in it.  It tasted as if it had a quart. We ate nearly all of it for dinner last night, and today I finished it off for lunch - I subbed at Yucaipa High today and needed to take my lunch.

The ingredients I used are below.  For Krista's original version, which is only slightly different, go here.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
from Krista of The Double-Dipped Life
 3 T butter, plus 2 T cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
pinch nutmeg
1/2 t minced garlic
pinch dried thyme
3 T all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth

2 heads (approx. 1 pound) fresh broccoli
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the broth, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender. (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)

Add the cream and bring to light simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.

Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls.  Makes 4 servings.

This is now going to be part of my "routine" recipes. I really, really like this soup!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Whole Wheat & Oat Baking Mix

For many years, I've been buying the Whole Grain Baking & Pancake Mix from Trader Joe's.

Recently I saw a story on the news about labels on "whole wheat" products, and one of the things I remembered was that if the product is truly "whole wheat," then the first item on the ingredients list is "whole wheat flour" - not "wheat flour." I started checking the labels of a lot of the products I buy, and noticed that they all have "wheat flour" as the first ingredient.

I went in search of a recipe to make my own baking mix, and found one to adapt on the King Arthur Flour website.  I borrowed theirs, but added wheat and oat bran to it. In addition, since I wanted one that would have a longer shelf life, I substituted shortening for the oil. If you use the oil, which some people would find healthier, then the mix must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Whole Wheat & Oat Baking Mix
adapted from King Arthur Flour

3 cups old fashioned or rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup wheat bran
3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup shortening

1) To make the mix: Grind the oats and oat bran in a food processor until it's all chopped fine, but not a powder.
2) Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. (I used the bread hooks, since I didn't have a paddle, and it mixed it all beautifully.) Cut the shortening into chunks (if you're using the stick shortening) or drop by spoonfuls into the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, mix until the shortening has been broken up into small bits and all is well-combined. 
3) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.
To make pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (or a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk; or 3/4 cup liquid whey), and 1 large egg. Don't worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands.
Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking.
Yield: a batch using 1 cup of the mix will make about 5 to 8 pancakes, depending on size.

Use mix as you would use Bisquick.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana-Blueberry Jumbo Muffins

I've gotten away from healthy cooking for a while. I'd been doing water aerobics and laps, and everything was just fine. But then I injured myself (it's a long story, but after a month of steroids, muscle relaxants and vicodin all is healed and I"m pain-free), and have to stop the swimming and water aerobics for a while. Following his colonoscopy last week,  Don was ordered by his doctor to start eating more fiber. He has diverticulosis, and we don't want it to turn in to diverticulitis.  So the first thing I did was get some whole wheat flour, oat bran, wheat bran, and flax.  I can make all kinds of things and add fiber to them.  We had oatmeal for breakfast two days ago - I used steel cut oats and added some diced pears and spices.  It was similar to apple pie oatmeal.  This morning I made some waffles with Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix - and added a quarter cup of wheat bran to the batter for some added fiber.  They also had some mixed berries in them, so we used less syrup than we usually do.

Speaking of syrup - I've been using sugar-free syrup for a couple of years, but have gotten tired of the taste.  Regular pancake syrup has too many carbs, so I mix the two together and just use less on my pancakes and waffles. 

Don likes to eat carbs for breakfast - but he's been loading up on empty carbs and I need to change that. One thing I'm doing is making muffins to replace the ones he ate from Costco.  The Costco ones are made with white flour and lots of fat and sugar.  I found a recipe for banana bread that I'm going to adapt for different flavors - it uses whole wheat flour, and I can mix in things like ground flax, oat bran or wheat bran, almond flour, and other things that add fiber or protein.

Today's muffins are banana-blueberry.  I'm going to Costco tomorrow, and decided to finish up a bag of blueberries that's been in the freezer forever - and buy a new one tomorrow. I also had two bananas in the freezer - I just throw them in there in their skins, and they're fine for breads once they're thawed. (Did you notice I just used there, their, and they're in the same sentence?)

Whole Wheat Banana-Blueberry Jumbo Muffins

1 stick butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c oat bran (adds fiber and nutty texture)
1/4 c flax seeds, ground
1 c blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour 6 jumbo muffin tins. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Add the bananas and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour, oat bran, and flax seeds, stirring until smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling almost to the top. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 6 jumbo muffins. 

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I went to Ethiopia for dinner

In a way. Let's say it was my take on some Ethiopian food. My book club recently read Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone. Most of the book takes place in Ethiopia - we attempt to make food related to the books we read, so we had some pretty interesting dishes.

I was hesitant to even try the food my girlfriends brought - but once I tasted each dish, I kept eating, and went back for more!  Each one shared the recipes with the group, and tonight I made two of them. The main dish was Linda's Doro Wat - a spicy chicken stew.  It's a very simple recipe - chicken, onion, and spices. In Ethiopia, it's served on injera, a flatbread made from teff - a flour unavailable here. At book club, Debbie brought some Indian flatbread called Malabari Paratha. It's from the frozen food section at Trader Joe's.  You could also use pita bread or some other flatbread, I suppose. But I really like the paratha, and since we have a Trader Joe's fairly close, I bought two packages. There are five in a package - two for Don, two for me, and one for my leftovers that I'll take to work tomorrow.

The side dish was a room-temperature green bean dish, recipe from Betty. It's actually from South Africa, but I bet something similar is made in Ethiopia.

Doro Wat

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1" chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup water

Sprinkle the cut-up chicken with the lemon juice, and let sit while you cook the onion. In a 4 to 6-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, brown the onion without fat until quite dark, stirring often. Add the butter and spices and stir to blend. Add the water and the chicken, stirring to combine everything. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes until chicken is tender. Add more water, if necessary, to bring the mixture to stew texture. If the dish is watery, then thicken with 2 tablespoons of flour dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. Serve with flatbread or pita bread. I use Malabari Paratha, which you can get in the frozen foods section at Trader Joe's.  This served two with a little for a leftover meal.

Note:  Browning the onion without fat is important - the caramelization of the onions adds both color and a bit of sweetness.

This is the flatbread we had. It needs to be browned more - but can be eaten hot or at room temperature.

African Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 garlic clove, mashed
1/4 c sweet white onion, thinly sliced
2 T sliced green olives
1/2 T hot red pepper flakes

Cut the ends off the beans, and cook in a large pot of boiling water along with the 1/2 t salt for 10 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water for about 5 minutes. Drain again. Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the onions, green olives and beans and toss until well coated. Eat either room temperature or chilled.  4 Servings.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Flapjacks the British way

Here in the USA, flapjacks are pancakes. I was looking through my assigned blog (The more than occasional baker) for this month's Secret Recipe Club, hoping to find some good recipes for breakfast.  Among the categories listed on the side was the heading "flapjacks."  "Oh, goody!" I thought, "pancakes."  I clicked on it, and was taken to two recipes for some bars made of oats with some added sweeteners. "Huh?"  To Google I went, where I learned that in the United Kingdom, "a flapjack is a sweet tray-baked oat bar made from rolled oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup."

Okay. That part's easy.  Now, what's golden syrup?  Back to Google. Golden syrup is a light form of treacle, which is a by-product of refining sugar.  It's similar to molasses - and as a matter of fact, several different sites told me I could combine molasses and corn syrup to make a fairly decent substitute for golden syrup.  So that's what I did!

I decided to follow Ros's idea of adding chocolate chips. Ros says it's important to make sure the oat mixture is cooled before adding them so that they hold their shape while cooking. Otherwise they'll just melt into the mixture.

The verdict:  These remind me of chewy granola bars - but better. Don and I really like these - and since they're so simple to make, we'll be trying a couple of variations - peanut butter chips or  raisins and cinnamon are two combinations that come to mind.

Go here for Ros's original recipe. 

Chocolate Chip Flapjacks

2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons Karo corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats (not steel-cut)
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease a 13 x 9" baking pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the molasses, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Put the oats in a large bowl and add the butter mixture. Stir to combine, and let cool. Add the chocolate chips and press the mixture into the baking pan. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan, and cut into squares.

Monday, February 27, 2012

3-2-1 Mug Cake

In my previous post, I extolled the virtues of homemade brownie mix. I have jars of it waiting to be cooked, in between the other various desserts that are my downfall.

But there IS a good use for packaged mixes!  This one's going around the internet - I've seen it on at least 5 blogs the past week - so I just had to try it.

Take one box, any flavor, of cake mix, and put it in a gallon-sized zip storage bag. Add one box angel food cake mix (the size that makes a tube/bundt cake, not the small one that makes only a loaf pan). Seal the bag and shake to combine.

Put 3 tablespoons of the mix in a microwave-safe mug. Add 2 tablespoons of water and stir to combine. Cook on HIGH in the microwave 1 minute. Eat.

I made my first mix using German chocolate, and opened up the can of coconut-pecan frosting I've had in the pantry for months and put a spoonful on top. You could also try Hershey's syrup, or whipped cream, or ice cream.  If you use other flavors of cake mix, you could try berries, or caramel sauce, or lemon curd - the possibilities are endless.

What do I like best about this?

Portion control.  It's "just right."

A Big Batch of Brownie Mixes - Secret Recipe Club

I was assigned Kelli's blog Ambition's Kitchen for this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment. I've spent many hours going through nearly all of her recipes, and found several different ones I want to try.  But the one that grabbed my attention was one of her Frugal Friday posts.  Every Friday, Kelli gives a recipe for something that is usually store-bought, but is cheaper and usually better for you when it's homemade.  She's given us pudding pops, Larabars, aluminum-free baking powder, maple pancake syrup, and more. The one I chose to make was the homemade brownie mix.  I had plenty of flour and sugar, and last month I bought a bag of Ghirardelli dark cocoa.  I wanted to make multiple batches, so I got out some large mason jars I'd bought for baking small loaves of bread.  As I began to dish out the ingredients, I realized that the jars were too small - I needed quart-sized, not pint-sized.  My husband came up with the solution - just put half the ingredients in one jar, and use two jars for a batch of brownies.

He's so smart.

In less than 10 minutes I'd measured out 5 batches - four into the jars and one into a bowl.   Then to the bowl, I added the wet ingredients; then put the batter into a 9" stoneware pan. 20 minutes later, they came out of the oven -- dark, rich, decadent brownies.  I chose not to do any mix-ins, and these are so good they don't need frosting.  (Though I love a good frosting!) They hold together when cut, and are perfectly fudgy; just the way I like them.

Brownie Mix

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat milk powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup add-ins, such as chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)

In a medium bowl (or deli container), combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, buttermilk powder, baking powder, salt, and whisk (or shake) to blend. Stir in the chocolate chips and add-ins (if using). Store airtight.

To make fudgy brownies

Brownie Mix (above)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Dump the Brownie Mix into a bowl. Add the oil, water, vanilla, and egg, and stir just to blend.
3. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it.
Makes 16 brownies

Just for comparison, here's the ingredient list on a box of Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownies:

Enriched Bleached Flour (wheat flour, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
Chocolate Flavored Syrup (high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, water, cocoa, salt, mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 60, xanthan gum and vanillin)
Cocoa Processed with Alkali
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil
Contains 2% or less of: Corn Starch, Salt, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavor

I like the homemade mix better, anyway!

Follow the links below for more great recipes from the Secret Recipe Club!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Migas - my way

I've "discovered" - or maybe "created" a new breakfast for Don and me. In one of the novels I was reading last week, a character made some migas, and the dish sounded like something I wanted to try. The basic concept of migas is that it's made with tortilla strips, chorizo, and eggs, and some recipes add other ingredients such as cheese, salsa, green chilies, bell peppers, and onions.  I like Jimmy Dean pork sausage, and have used it (with some chili powder added) as a tasty chorizo substitute.

I was given some thick, homemade corn tortillas by a friend a couple of weeks ago, and decided to use some of them in this recipe. (I keep them in the freezer, and take them out as needed.) The steps I used when Don and I had this for breakfast this morning had me blending everything together at the end, and that caused the tortilla strips to lose their crispiness.  We both decided we wanted them crispy, so my solution is to cook them separately, plate them, and then put everything else on top of the tortilla strips.


2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

2 corn tortillas, cut in 1-2" thin strips
4 oz. bulk breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1-2 tablespoons chili powder (I used 1 this morning, and decided it wasn't enough.)
4 eggs
grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add the tortilla strips. Cook, stirring, until strips are crispy. Divide the strips between two plates.  In the same skillet, brown sausage with the onions, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. When it's nearly done, sprinkle with chili powder and finish browning the sausage. Add the eggs - just break them right into the sausage mixture. Cook, stirring, until eggs are done. Divide between the two plates, putting eggs over tortilla chips. Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Enjoy!

Variations:  add bell peppers or green chilies to the sausage-onion mixture

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Days 6, 7, and 8. The end.

I succeeded in getting rid of some more meat:  pork chops, chicken breasts, and ground beef.  On Saturday, we had one of my favorite "comfort food" meals - pork chops and scalloped potatoes. From scratch, the way my mother taught me.  I've tried those dehydrated-nasty-boxed scalloped potatoes, and they are just awful.  I also do not like any onion flavor in mine.  So here's how Mother says you must make these - for two people.

Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350˚.
Peel and slice 2-3 large potatoes - about 1/4" thick.
Slice your boneless pork chops about 1/2" thick.  I use ONE of the thick boneless chops you get at Costco, and I slice it into 4 pieces.
Put a layer of the potatoes in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish (I use Corningware - the one with the glass lid). Sprinkle the potatoes with about a tablespoon of flour, some salt and pepper, and then dot with about a tablespoon of butter (cut in small pieces).
Repeat with another layer of potatoes.
Use the chops for the next layer, and finish with a layer of potatoes - each time sprinkling with flour and dotting with small pieces of butter. You should have 3 layers of potatoes with the chops underneath the top layer.
Pour in about 1/2 cup milk - you should be able to see it down in the layers of potatoes, but it shouldn't be as high as the chops. (How do I know this? Major mess in the oven from overflowing, burning milk!)
Bake, covered, for an hour and a half. I've tried it for an hour, but the potatoes don't get tender.

I used to try to eat ALL of this. But I would have potato overload, and I just don't need this any more. So we have leftover potatoes, which are wonderful fried up for breakfast the next day.

On Sunday, I tried a new chicken recipe, which I won't be sharing because it was AWFUL.  I took about 3 bites, and the rest went into the trash.  A bowl of cereal filled me up.

Tonight we had hamburgers - Don had his with a bun, and I ate mine without. I was just craving some beef.

I'm trying to decide how long I want to go with this.  What's my goal?  To use up some of the excess, I think.  But as I've been doing these posts, I'm now wondering if it's a bad thing - to have the excess.  So, I've decided to stop, and go back to just doing what I've been doing for years. This has been fun, but now it's over.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Days 4 and 5

Yesterday Don went fishing, and I wanted to spend most of my day sewing, so I put dinner in the crockpot.  I made Hearty Italian Sausages - and we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today. I'm going to add a note in my recipe to use the thicker slice setting on my mandoline.  I used the really thin setting, and the bell peppers almost disappeared into the meat mixture.

Yesterday's breakfast was my big sister's recipe - a quiche made with sausage, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Since cream cheese is mixed in with the eggs and milk, the texture is creamy, and the taste is delicious. 

My daughter came up to do her laundry today, and stayed for dinner.  Now, what does a 30-year old request for dinner?  Her favorite - with the fancy name Rice-a-Roni Stroganoff. I take a box of Beef-flavored Rice-a-Roni, and add ground beef, mushrooms, and sour cream.  Sure, I know it's high in sodium - but I eat a small amount, and she and her father eat pretty hefty portions. We had this with some of those little soft rolls you buy by the bag at Costco.

I enjoyed my swimming and water aerobics today - though the knot in my back started hurting at the beginning of the water aerobics class. It was really painful - and the instructor recommended a massage and the hot tub.  I tried the hot tub - and 15 minutes of a hot jet blasting that knot really helped. I was told that it means that there isn't a muscle tear - that if it was torn, the heat would not have  helped. But it really made it feel better.  I told Don when I got home that I wanted him to massage that knot with the heel of his hand - we'll give it a try later. But right now there's no pain.

I had my blood work done this morning, too - so I'm curious to find out next week how the swimming and water aerobics have affected my blood sugar.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Day 3

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and most Fridays (when I don't have my monthly quilt guild meeting) I go to the Drayson Center at Loma Linda University for a water aerobics class. I show up 45 minutes early, and with a classmate named Tony, "swim" laps.  What we actually do is tread water while slowly moving. We do it in the deep water lanes, as both of us enjoy what it does to our backs. The extra swimming before class has really helped - my back is stronger and my blood sugar is slowly lowering.

On swimming days Don and I eat bagels with cream cheese or Nutrigrain Eggos with cream cheese and a small bit of jam.

Lunch was some chile con queso and chips.  I had a craving to satisfy and it worked.

Dinner was going to be Chicken Piccata Potato Salad - but the green beans I'd gotten at the commissary had turned bad more quickly that I'd expected and I had to toss them. So I cooked the chicken in strips, breaded with corn flakes crumbs, and I roasted the potatoes.  I had a new basket of cherry tomatoes, so I used half of them in a tomato salad.

For dessert, we finished up the cherry cobbler. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Day 2

Don and I went down the mountain today to pick up my old drafting table that I used to have in my classroom. I'd lent it to my friend Patrick - and now that he's succeeded me as YCEA president, he doesn't need it. It's now a perfect cutting and ironing table in my new sewing studio. We got down to Yucaipa early, so we went to the produce stand down the boulevard from the high school.   I picked up some mushrooms, cabbage, tomatoes, and some lovely corn on the cob. 

Breakfast - Eggs Goldenrod over toast.

Lunch - Don had corndogs, I had half a PBJ sandwich and some Fritos.

Dinner - Barbecue Bacon Keilbasa (take a piece of kielbasa, wrap it with bacon, and grill it. Brush it with barbecue sauce while grilling. Serve on a sandwich roll), cole slaw, and grilled corn on the cob.

Dessert - Cherry Cobbler

Monday, January 09, 2012

Kitchen stashbusting - Day 1

I know that the first week or so is going to be easy--since there's so much to choose from.

Breakfast- Don had cereal and a banana since he was up before me so he could go fishing. I had two Nutrigrain waffles spread with cream cheese and tangerine marmalade.

Lunch - I ate some leftover blueberry pancakes from the freezer, topped with a sliced banana and some lite syrup. Don came back from fishing around 2 and finished off some whole wheat banana bread.

Dinner - I had 2 avocados that seemed to be perfectly ripe, so I made some guacamole and two grilled California Turkey Sandwiches: turkey, Swiss cheese, sliced avocado, and chopped green chilies (canned) on sourdough which is lightly buttered. We enjoyed the guacamole with some tortilla chips.

Dessert - Date Loaf Candy, made on Saturday. This batch should last another couple of days.

I went down to the basement this afternoon after swimming and discovered that I have a LOT of bread! Rolls, buns, baguettes, loaves, muffins, tortillas and more. I shouldn't have to buy any bread for quite a while.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Kitchen Stashbusting Challenge revisited

Hello, my name is Cyndi, and I'm a food hoarder. 

I think.  I wonder if any of you are like me:  I have way too much food in my refrigerator, my freezer, and my cabinets. I am challenging myself to use what I have on hand for two full months

We came back from a 3-week trip in our RV to New Mexico and Arizona, and I did what I always do:  I went to the commissary and spent $200.  I went to Costco and spent $100 - mostly on meat. Then I ordered produce from Washington Produce (a local wholesaler that recently opened a retail outlet) for $30.  Then, I "took inventory."  I keep a notebook - a list of all the meats and vegetables on hand, from which I make a master list of all meals, meatless as well, that can be made from what I have.  I realized that I could probably cook wholesome meals for 3 months - 3 MONTHS - with everything I have, replenishing only a few items of produce.

Exactly a year ago I did this, but only posted 3 times about it.  I don't recall why I stopped.  I'll try to do better.  

Now that I've made that statement, I need to decide the rules for my personal challenge. Here are my rules from last year:

1. I can buy milk, eggs, and butter/margarine when I run out.
2. I can buy the significant condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) when I run out, unless it's something I can make from scratch. And no, I'm not going to make ketchup from scratch. : )
3. I can buy lettuce, tomatoes, and other salad-related produce when needed. But I need to use up a lot of frozen and canned veggies, so no immediate purchases of other vegetables.
4. When the side dishes get very slim, I can purchase FRESH vegetables only.
5. I get to make up my own rules as I go along, since this is my challenge.
6. I will try to make healthy foods. TRY.

To those rules, I'm going to add coffee and creamer.  Gotta have coffee and creamer. 

 I have a lot of items that have been in the freezer for months that need to be used before I buy more of them:  mixed berries, cherries, peas, blueberries, spinach.  Speaking of spinach - since I'm thinking out loud here - I picked up a bag of spinach balls at a Wal-Mart in Whitehorse, Yukon, this summer. One of those balls is the perfect size for mixing in 5 scrambled eggs for Don and me.  I looked for spinach balls here in the states, but can't find them. Does anyone know where I can find them?  It's not a big deal - I can use little slices from boxed frozen spinach - but those little balls are perfect.

I have nearly 10 pounds of flour on hand, my sugar canister is full, and there's plenty of butter in the fridge. So I have basics.  I was going through my recipes the other day and realized that there are hundreds of dessert items that can be made just from basics - I call them "pantry desserts." One excellent example is Chocolate Cobbler. I always have flour, sugar, butter, and cocoa powder.  (As a matter of fact, I bought a large bag of cocoa powder at a bulk food store last month. I'm set!)  I also have a box of 10 Pilsbury pie crusts in the freezer - got them at Costco - and not only can I make pies, I can use some of them for quiche!

Breakfast:  We currently have 3 dozen Panera bagels in the freezer downstairs, two boxes of Nutrigrain Waffles (I like to make a sandwich with cream cheese and some jam), and lots of breads and rolls. I'll replenish the eggs when they run out.  As for breakfast meats - I have TONS.  Bacon, sausage links, bulk sausage, little smokies, Spam, Canadian bacon - enough for what we call "big breakfast" for several months. (I make "big breakfast" about twice a week.  The rest of the time we eat the bagels or have small breakfasts like egg sandwiches with some kind of meat.)

Lunch:  I think I need to get creative here.  I get tired of lunchmeat and cheese sandwiches, and we're not always in the mood for soup.  Yes, we eat leftovers, since many of my favorite recipes are for 4-6 people, but I bet I have quite a supply of fixings for some different lunches. I recently subscribed to Eating Well and Family Circle magazines to assist a friend's daughter in a fundraiser, and I bet I can find great ideas there.  Well, those and Google searches!

I will try to post every day or every two days with what we've been eating and how I'm doing on my personal challenge.