Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mini Muffin Meatloafs & Roasted Butternut Squash

I got the idea of this meal from a friend who got the recipe from another friend. If I ever get a copy of the original recipe, I'll make sure to post it. The original recipe calls for a box of stuffing mix, but I very rarely buy pre-packaged boxes of food. So I just cut up a loaf of crusty bread and toasted it in a dry skillet before mixing in with the meat.

Mini Muffin Meatloafs

1 lb of ground beef
bread cubes (the same volume as the meat, so visually it's about half meat and half bread.)
1 egg
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
about 1 cup of bar-b-q sauce
1/2 diced grilled onion
1 cup cheddar cheese

Cut a loaf of bread into small cubes and crumbs. In a dry skillet, toast the bread, drizzle a bit of olive oil and stir continuously. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg, and toasted bread. Add seasonings and grilled onion. Fill muffin pan with meat. Press an indentation in each mini-meatloaf and add about 1 tbsp of bar-b-q sauce to each meatloaf. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Halfway through sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of each meatloaf. Yeilds about 8-9 mini meatloafs, serve 2 per person.

Roasted Butternut Squash (and Potatoes)

1/2 of a Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp finely diced rosemary
1 minced garlic clove
3 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, coat squash and potatoes with olive oil. Add seasonings and salt and pepper. Spread in one layer on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 450º and roast for 45 minutes or until soft and starting to brown.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Banana Yogurt Dip

My twins helped me make this dip that the had for snack. They helped me mush the banana and stir all the ingredients together. After eating it with toast sticks they practically licked the bowl! For the full story visit Ditt and Dott.

Banana Yogurt Dip

1 ripe banana
2 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp yogurt
1/4 tsp vanilla
honey or cinnamon

Mush up ripe banana and stir all the ingredients together and serve with graham cracker, pretzels or toast sticks to dip

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fool-Proof Popovers

I woke up a little after 6 this morning and was watching the Food Network. Melissa D'Arabian has a new show called $10 Dollar Dinners. She made these popovers look so yummy and easy. I have never tried making a popover before so I was ecstatic when they popped and stayed popped! She said the biggest secret is to have room temperature ingredients.

Fool-Proof Popovers
(Link Here)

3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 eggs
1 cup milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a pastry brush, coat 8 muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter, and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Butternut Squash & Sausage Pasta

I bought a beautiful butternut squash a couple of weeks ago and I've been eyeballing it just trying to decide on what I want to make with it. I love squash paired with breakfast sausage. I'm not sure why but the flavors go really well together, I think. I put this together in my head, not really sure how it would turn out, but I think with a bit of adjustments its a winner! Next time I'll either roast the squash in the oven before I add it to the sauce or dice it into smaller pieces. (By the way, this isn't a super quick recipe! The squash takes about 15-20 minutes to peel and dice, prepped ahead of time, the dish itself took about 40 minutes to cook.)

Butternut Squash & Sausage Pasta

1/2 lb pasta (I used bow-tie)
1 package of breakfast sausage (I used low-fat)
1/4 onion
3 cloves of garlic (frequent readers know I LOVE garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp oregano (I would have used sage, but didn't have any)
1 cup milk + 2 tbsp cornstarch OR 1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

Cut ends off of squash and peel the thick skin off. Cut lengthwise scoop out seeds, and discard them. Cut squash into small cubes.

In a large saute pan (that has a lid) saute onions and garlic in the olive oil. Cook until caramelized to really develop the onions flavor. Add breakfast sausage and break it up into little crumbles. When sausage is mostly cooked through, add squash. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Stir the squash occasionally but let it brown a bit. Set water to boil for pasta and cook pasta at the same time as sauce. While squash is cooking mix milk, chicken broth and cornstarch. Pour over squash. Cover and let simmer on low until squash is fork tender. You may need to add more chicken broth if it gets to thick.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spanish Style Chicken

Someone please help me come up with a better name for this dish! I was inspired from a Food Network show. She called her's Chicken Marengo, but when I looked up a real Chicken Marengo it is supposed to have crawfish in it. My dish doesn't have crawfish and neither did hers. Anyway, this was really tasty and my husband said the leftovers were better than the first night. I wouldn't know because he didn't share. This dish could possibly be made in a crock pot, but I'm not that great at creating crock pot dishes so, I'm not sure. I did turn the leftovers into a bit of a different dish by shredding the chicken and adding rice. Read on...

Spanish Style Chicken

1 chicken cut into pieces
1 cup flour
3 tbsp oil
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 sliced onion
3-4 cloves of garlic smashed
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
14-20 green olives

Place flour in a pie plate and season with salt and pepper. Dust chicken pieces in the flour. Brown chicken in oil in a heavy bottom skillet (cast iron is great!) Remove chicken and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the white wine bringing up all the browned bits. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add chili powder, worcestershire sauce and chicken stock.

In a roasting pan (or lasagna pan) place sliced onions, bell peppers, and smushed garlic cloves. Pour the tomato mixture over the onions, bell peppers and smushed garlic cloves. Nestle chicken into the sauce. Cover and roast at 350º for 50 minutes or until chicken breast reaches 170º with a thermometer. Add olives at the end. I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans, pouring some of the tomato gravy on the plate.

The next night, I added brown rice to absorb the gravy and I shredded the chicken removing the skin. My husband John said it was better this way than the first night. Probably because you got more of the "gravy" and the flavors melded even more. This is what it looked like:

Monday, January 18, 2010


I was going for a meatball with pene pasta and melted mozzerlla cheese bake. But I didn't have any pene and I didn't have any mozzerlla. But I did end up with some very delicious meatballs despite the fact that they were turkey. I used rigatoni, Parmesan and some jarred marinara, but the meatballs, they were the star of the show!

Italian Meatballs

1.5 lbs of ground turkey
1/3 of an onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 slices of bread
1 egg
2 tbsp italian seasoning
salt & pepper

If your ground turkey is frozen, defrost over night in the refridgerator. Or go very very slowly in the microwave. You do not want the edges to start to cook in the microwave or your meatballs will not turn out right. Place ground turkey in a large bowl. Grate 1/4 of an onion over the meat. Grate the garlic also. I use a microplane. Using a food processor pulse the bread into breadcrumbs. You can substitute Panko Breadcrumbs if you wish to buy premade ones. Add breadcrumbs to the bowl. Add egg and seasonings. Mix gently with your hands just until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Use a 1 tbsp cookie scoop to scoop out balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Spray meat balls with cooking spray. Set broiler to HIGH. Place cookie sheet under broiler about 4 inches away. Cook meatballs for about 7 minutes or until brown. Flip them all over and broil the other side. If you just want the meatballs and not in the pasta dish, but them in the middle of the oven farther away from the broiler and cook for longer until cooked through.

Put the meatballs in a baking dish with cooked pasta, cheese and marinara. Return to the oven and cook through for 25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked all the way and cheese is melted. I made enough meatballs and pasta to make two casseroles. I froze the second casserole, so it just needs to be reheated through.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Spaghetti Pie

I'm not sure where I learned this dish, but it is really easy to make and I hope it can become a family favorite. This is a method, the ingredients are up to your imagination! I made enough for two pie dishes because the leftovers are so great!
Spaghetti Pie

1 pound of spaghetti noodles
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan
10 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup diced ham (or whatever veggies/meat you'd like)
marinara sauce served on the side to dip

Pre-heat oven to 350º. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well and place half of the noodles in a greased pie plate, the other half of the noodles in the second pie plate.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, cheese (reserve 1 cup of mozzarella to top the dish with), salt & pepper and any ham or veggies you'd like (mushrooms, bell pepper, onion etc.)

Pour egg mixture evenly in both pie plates. Take a spoon and wiggle noodles around to evenly distribute egg mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and eggs are set all the way through. Cut into pie pieces. Serve with marinara sauce on the side. Serves 12.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Today was a perfect for beef stew! I pulled out the crock pot and had this simmering away all afternoon. By dinner time it was perfect.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds of beef stew meat
1/2 cup of flour
3 large carrots
1 onion
3 small baking potatoes
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
2-3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Place 1/2 cup of flour in a large ziplock bag. Place stew meat in the bag and shake it around. In a cast iron skillet, heat some vegetable oil. Sear the stew meat in batches so you don't crowd the pan. (This step can be omitted, but the sear adds a nice flavor to the final stew.)

In a crock pot, place the chopped onion, large diced potatoes, chopped carrots, minced garlic and stew meat. In a large bowl mix the worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and mushroom soup. Pour over beef. Add rosemary sprigs. Cook on low for 6 hours or until meat is tender.

Kuru Fasülye and Cacik


This Turkish bean stew is a staple of casual home cooking.  Kuru Fasülye is usually served with rice pilaf and sometimes accompanied by cacik.  I LOVE cacik!  It is watered down salted yogurt with chopped up cucumbers.  I like to spoon it over my pilaf, then have a bite of Kuru Fasülye.  You can also just eat it with a spoon as a side.  Something about the warm beans, soft pilaf and cool yogurt is just fantastic.


Kuru Fasülye

2 cups of cooked white beans --I use dried beans.  I think it tastes better that way.
Pour a good swirl of olive oil in the pan.  at least 4 or 5 tablespoons. 
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 chopped onions
2 chopped red peppers (bell or sweet)
3 chopped tomatoes
2-3 cups of water
1 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of salt

Treat your beans normally. If you used dried beans, soak beans them in water over night and then the next day, boil them until they are soft.
If you use canned beans, drain and rinse them.
In a pan, add the oil and the onions and peppers and sauté until onions are translucent and the peppers are soft. Add the tomato paste (about 10 minutes.)
Drain the beans whether they were dried or canned, pour into the pot with the onions and peppers.  Add the tomatoes and then the water.  Make sure the water covers the beans.
Add the peppers and salt.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until the stew has thicken.

Serve with rice pilaf


1-2 cucumbers shredded
2 cups of yogurt
1 cup of water
salt to taste (about a teaspoon)

Combine ingredients and mix well.
Serve chilled

Friday, January 8, 2010

Simple Chicken Orzo Salad

I forgot to take a picture of this before it was devoured by myself, my husband, a friend and four toddlers! I apparently should have doubled the recipe. I just made this with ingredients on hand, but it came out really tasty.

Simple Chicken Orzo Salad

1/2 lb orzo noodles, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup pecans, toasted in a dry skillet
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup of spinach (if frozen, heat it and drain off all liquid)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (as much as you like)

In a big bowl mix the orzo, chicken, spinach and dressing. This part can be made ahead. Right before serving add the diced cucumber and pecans. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Serve cold. Serves about 4.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Amanda's Chicken and Dumplings

My dumplings sort of disintegrated into the soup, but it still was delicious and hearty. About a cup of it filled me up. I am on a soup kick (as if you haven't noticed.) I think this cold weather has me thinking of warming foods and I love homemade-from-scratch soups. My husband who doesn't really like soup enjoyed this one tonight but he did ask if we have any red meat in the house. The fennel lends a different taste than most Chicken and Dumpling recipes.

Amanda's Chicken and Dumplings

2 chicken breasts bone in and skin on
2 large carrots
2 stalks of celery
3 cloves garlic
1 onion (I used my last leek up, but either would work)
1 tbsp flour
5 cups of water
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp fennel
1 bay leaf

2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup of milk (I originally had 1 cup of milk, which made the batter too loose.)

Chop your onion (or leek) into a small dice. Mince the garlic. Spray a medium stockpot with cooking spray and saute the onion and garlic on medium low heat. Peel carrots and cut them lengthwise. Cut them into 1/2 rounds. Cut the celery into small pieces also. Add the carrots and celery to the onions. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Add seasonings (thyme, fennel, bay, salt and pepper.) Sprinkle one tbsp of flour over vegetables and stir until moistened. Add 4-5 cups of water stirring until the flour is mixed in. Add whole chicken breasts in. I remove the skin so the soup isn't as oily. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through. About 20 minutes. Do not boil the chicken or it will dry out. Remove chicken from pot when it is cooked through and set it on a cutting board to cool down. Shred it with two forks for your fingers.

In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and cut it in using two butter knives or a pastry cutter. Stir in milk.

Bring soup to a rapid boil. Scoop about 1 tbsp of dough onto a spoon. With a second spoon, shape it into a ball and drop the dough into the boiling soup. Use most of the dough this way*. Boil the soup for about 10-12 minutes or until the dough is cooked through. Remove from heat and add shredded chicken back into the soup. If soup is too thick add more water. Serves 8-10.

*with remaining dough, grease a cookie sheet and dollop the dough into mounds about 1 1/2 tbsp. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes for easy drop biscuits.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Carrot and Tomato Soup

This cold weather must have me on a soup kick. That and I thought I might be on a way to get the girls to eat some more vegetables. The carrots make this soup a bit sweeter than a normal tomato soup and the starch from them lend to a terrific creaminess.

Carrot and Tomato Soup

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 leek (or 1/2 a sweet yellow onion)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Italian season blend
salt and pepper
Splash of chicken broth, vegetable broth or water if needed
pat of butter

In medium stock pot saute diced leek in olive oil. Add minced garlic. Cook on medium low heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings, sugar and carrots. Add canned tomatoes and simmer on medium until carrots are very fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add broth/water if it gets too thick. Blend using an immersion blender or regular blender until smooth. Add a pat of butter to finish. Serves about 4.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Curried Potato Leek Soup

This is a clash of cultures. A bit of curry and a poblano chili takes this leek potato soup across a couple of borders but it tastes really rich and creamy. Perfect for a cold day like today!

Curried Potato Leek Soup

4-5 medium russet potatoes
1 poblano chili
2 leeks
4 cloves of garlic
4 cups of chicken stock (use vegetable broth for vegetarian soup)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup fat free half and half
salt and pepper

Cut the tips off leeks and cute lengthwise in half. Fill a large bowl or clean sink with water and rinse the leeks thoroughly. They hold a lot of dirt and this is the only way to get them clean. Shake the excess water off of them and cut into 1/4" pieces. In a small stock pot, melt butter and olive oil. Add leeks and sweat on medium-low heat until tender and wilted. Mince garlic and add it to the leeks as they cook. Chop potatoes into small cubes. You can peel them first if you want, I like the added texture (and vitamins) of the skin. Before adding the potatoes to the pot, salt and pepper the leeks and add the curry powder. Add potatoes and stir until everything is coated with the seasonings. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Either broil the poblano pepper turning every few minutes OR if you have a gas stove, place pepper directly on the flame to blacken also, turning every few minutes. When entire pepper is nice and soft and black, place inside a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will allow the pepper to steam itself and after it is cool, the black skin will peel easily off. Remove the top and the seeds. Cut half of the pepper into tiny little bites and add to the potatoes. Reserve the other half of pepper as garnish.

With an immersion blender blend potatoes into a thick creamy soup. If you do not have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender but add a bit of soup at a time and be careful of splatters, since the soup is hot. Add the fat free half and half. Garnish with diced poblano pepper and bacon or diced fried ham.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tummy’s Welcome to the New Year

pancake and Mim

This morning I wanted to make something special for breakfast, to start the new year off right. What is better than pancakes and eggs? Blackberry pancakes and eggs with a Mimosa using fresh squeezed orange juice. Yes that is right, mimosas with breakfast. My main motivation was economics—I wanted use up the champagne from last night before it went flat. Sure that was my main reason. The fruit pancakes were special because I had to buy and freeze the berries in August. In Turkey they sell fruits and vegetables seasonally. This means certain things are only available certain times of the year. Berries are only found in specialty stores at at exorbitant prices this time of year. I bought the berries in season then washed and froze them so I could use them just for occasions like this.

Blackberry Pancakes and Mimosas

2 cups of Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 tsp of Salt
2 cups of Milk
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well, separately combine the wet ingredients an mix well. Afterwards combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until combined. Do not over mix or the pancakes will be tough.

Heat your skillet with butter or a little oil and pour pancake batter in (about an 1/8 of a cup each). Sprinkle 3-6 berries in each pancake. Flip when pancakes have bubbles appear on top.

For Mimosa

2 parts orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
3 parts sparking wine or champagne.

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