• Spinach with Garlic and Tomatoes


    Tonight -s made a delicious brisket for dinner, and to accompany the brisket I made this side dish that is excellent. I used to make this one a lot (pre kids era), but I think I’ll be fixing this one more often now.


    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 9 oz. bag of pre-washed spinach leaves


    1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Saute until tomatoes get soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    2. Add the spinach, and toss until spinach wilts. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

    Spinach with Garlic and Tomatoes:


  • Beef Stroganoff


    It’s time for the weekly crock pot recipe, and this week we had beef stroganoff. I really enjoy beef stroganoff, while -s is not so much of a fan. He said “this is good, but something I can eat only once every 2 years.” So there you have it. The original recipe calls for cooking 7 to 8 hours, but mine was done at 5 1/2 hours when I checked it, so I’d cook it for 5 to 6 hours. The only other thing I would change from this recipe is to decrease the salt, so the version below calls for less salt (a lot will depend on how salty your broth is). This recipe comes from the October 2004 issue of Cooking Light.


    • 1 (1-pound) top round steak (1 inch thick), trimmed
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp dried dill
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. beef broth
    • 1 (8-ounce) container low-fat sour cream
    • 2 c. hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 ounces uncooked)
    • Garnish with fresh dill


    1. Cut steak diagonally across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place steak and next 8 ingredients (though garlic) in a 3-quart electric slow cooker; stir well.
    2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add broth mixture to slow cooker; stir well. Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting, and cook 3 to 4 hours or until steak is tender. Turn slow cooker off; remove lid. Let stroganoff stand 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Serve stroganoff over noodles and garnish with dill.

    Beef Stroganoff:


  • Stuffed Poblanos


    I saw this recipe on the Small Time Cooks food blog, and the original recipe is from the April 2008 Everyday Food issue. It was quite tasty. The filling made more than enough to fill 4 poblanos, and reading that Small Time Cooks had the same thing happen, I bought 6 poblanos. I also couldn’t fit them all in one pan, so I divided them up into 2 pans. I then had to divide the sauce, so next time I would double the sauce recipe (you’ll have to make it in 2 batches because a double won’t fit in your blender). Next time I will add cilantro to the sauce and the mixture, and I’ll probably play around with the filling so stay tuned…possibly add chipotles to the sauce and/or filling, add corn to the filling, add tomatoes to the filling, add chile powder to the filling…just talking out loud to remind myself. The recipe below is take one of my version.

    I served the stuffed poblanos with my Spanish Rice.


    • 2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes in puree
    • 2 jalapeño chiles, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped
    • 3 small onions, 2 roughly chopped and 1 onion minced (2 onions for sauce and 1 for filling)
    • 4 garlic cloves (3 whole, 1 minced)
    • 1 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped (1 c. for sauce and 1/2 c. for filling)
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
    • 1 1/2 c. shredded pepper Jack cheese
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 3/4 c. water
    • 6 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, combine 1 28 oz can of tomatoes in puree, 1 jalapeño, 1 onion, 2 whole garlic cloves; 1/2 c. cilantro and puree. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Repeat for batch 2 of the sauce and pour into another 9 x 13 baking dish.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin, 1/2 c. cilantro and water; season with salt and pepper.
    3. Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish. Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1 c. cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
    4. Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.

    Stuffed Poblanos:


  • Spanish Rice


    This rice recipe is family classic and pairs very well with all Mexican dishes.


    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 c. frozen corn
    • 1 c. white rice
    • 1 10 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles, drained and reserve the liquid
    • enough chicken broth to make 2 c. of liquid
    • salt and pepper to taste


    1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet or sauce pan. Add the corn and cook for 2 minutes, then add the rice and cook until rice becomes chalky, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and the 2 c. of liquid (reserved juice from tomatoes plus the broth). Depending on how flavorful your broth is, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
    2. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 to 17 minutes, or until done.

    Spanish Rice:


  • Velveeta Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese


    I had such high hopes for this mac-n-cheese recipe, as it came straight from Velveeta. What a huge disappointment. The cheese sauce had a funky taste and the consistency of glue. Only our youngest liked it, and our oldest wouldn’t even touch it–he said it smelled gross.


    • 8 oz elbow macaroni or shells, uncooked
    • 12 oz. 2% milk Velveeta, cubed
    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper


    1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and return pasta to pot.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and over low heat heat until everything is combined.

    Velveeta Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese:


  • Lettuce Wraps


    I saw a recipe for lettuce wraps on the Picky Palate food blog. Since I love the lettuce wraps at PF Changs, I thought I’d give it a try. I originally was going to use ground turkey, but we had a meals worth of salmon left over from the previous night, and even though I’m usually not one for leftover fish, this was an excellent use for the leftovers, and it tasted wonderful. You could also use roasted chicken or tofu in place of the fish or you can use ground turkey. This meal comes together so quickly, especially if you use leftover meat, so it’s perfect for busy night.  Here’s my version of lettuce wraps.


    • 2 tsp. sesame oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • Optional: ground turkey
    • 16 oz. bag of broccoli cole slaw (shredded broccoli, carrots, and cabbage)
    • 1 c. mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 can of water chestnuts, roughly chopped
    • 3/4 c. Yoshida’s Original Gourmet Sweet and Savory Sauce
    • Leftover fish, chicken, or tofu
    • Iceberg lettuce leaves, cut in half
    • Steamed white or brown rice
    • Crunchy Chow Mein Noodles


    1. Heat sesame oil over medium high heat in a nonstick skillet. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for about 2 minutes; then add the onions, and cook for 2 more minutes. If using ground turkey add at this time and cook until thoroughly cooked.
    2. Add the broccoli slaw, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and saute for another minute or two; then and Yoshida’s, and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the veggies reach desired doneness.
    3. Assemble: Take a lettuce leaf, add some rice, then your leftover meat/tofu, then your veggie mixture, and top with crunchy chow mein noodles.

    Lettuce Wraps:


  • Asian Salmon with Chow Mein


    Our oldest requested Chinese food for dinner. Never having this request before from him, I was excited at the opportunity to try something new and expand both kiddos’ palates. When I was younger my dad used Yoshida’s cooking sauce for stir frys and to marinate meat, so when I saw Yoshida’s at Sam’s I picked up a bottle. The dinner turned out really well. The fish was excellent and the chow mein was really good too. I chose to bake the salmon, but you could easily broil or grill it. This meal, including marinating time was quick and easy and from start to finish only took 45 minutes. In a time crunch you could skip the marinating, but just be sure to baste the fish with the sauce.


    • 1 lb. salmon
    • 1 c. Yoshida’s, divided
    • 12 oz. chow mein noodles or spaghetti
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 16 oz. Broccoli cole slaw (mix of shredded broccoli, carrots, and cabbage)
    • 1 c. mushrooms, sliced


    1. Salmon: Marinate salmon in 1/2 c. Yoshida’s for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350, remove salmon from marinade, place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until done.
    2. Chow Mein: cook noodles according to directions. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli slaw, and cook for another minute. Add the mushrooms, cook for another minute, then add the remaining 1/2 c. of Yoshida’s, then add the cooked noodles. Toss to coat.

    Asian Salmon with Chow Mein:


  • Coconut White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


    This afternoon I had an urge to make some cookies. I looked in the pantry to see what I had on hand, and I came up with the most delicious recipe. The base recipe is Quaker’s Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, but instead of raisins, I added coconut and white chocolate chips. I also cooked the cookies longer to get a much more crispy cookie. These were a hit!


    • 2 sticks of butter, softened
    • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 1/2 c. flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 c. old fashioned oats
    • 1 c. grated coconut
    • 1 c. white chocolate chips


    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Cream the butter with the brown and white sugars in an electric mixer.
    3. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.
    4. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and mix well.
    5. Add the oats, coconut, and white chocolate, and combine.
    6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool one minute on cookie sheet and then remove cookies and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

    Coconut White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies:


  • Orange Teriyaki Chicken


    It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s crock pot recipe. This recipe is adapted from Beth Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two cookbook.  This dish smelled so good as it cooked…I had such high hopes.  It cooked for just under 3 hours, and by the time we got home from swim lessons, the chicken was completely dried out, and the sauce had pretty much simmered away, leaving the chicken way too salty.


    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, bite size pieces
    • 1/4 c. soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP mirin or dry sherry
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • Grated zest of 1 orange
    • One 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    • Steamed rice and broccoli


    1. Spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray.
    2. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, to form a nice browned surface. Turn the chicken and brown the other side. Transfer chicken to crock pot.
    3. Return skillet to stove, turn the heat to medium, add the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and garlic. Stir to heat and dissolve the brown sugar. Pour mixture over chicken and add zest and ginger slices. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
    4. Serve over rice.

    Orange Teriyaki Chicken:


  • Matzo Ball Soup


    Before I got really sick last week, the rest of my family was sick, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of cooking or eating going on here. Since no one was feeling great, I took the opportunity to make Grandma’s matzo ball soup recipe. I must admit that I believe this is the first time I’ve made matzo balls from scratch. I’ve had Grandma’s recipe for probably 15 years, but I’ve always just used the mix you buy at the grocery store.

    Matzo balls are as personal as meatballs. Everyone has his or her favorite, and it’s usually Grandma’s. Some like light fluffy and airy matzo balls, while others prefer the denser variety. I’ve found that those who like the light airy and fluffy matzo balls, won’t eat the denser ones and vice versa. I definitely prefer the denser ones, but I’m not one to ever turn down matzo ball soup.

    You can make your own chicken soup or use canned broth, either way, add some roasted chicken to your soup. I also had some fresh dill in the garden so snipped some dill into the soup. It’s delicious!

    The soup and matzo balls are not only tasty, but very soothing on a sore throat.  One last tip, and this is Grandma’s wisdom: “never count the matzo balls as you put them in the pot…it’s bad luck.”  So don’t count!


    • 1 c. matzo meal
    • Boiling water
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 TBSP canola oil
    • Chicken stock, roasted chicken, and dill


    1. Put matzo meal into a bowl and slowly pour boiling water over it, using enough water so that the meal is wet. Mix very quickly. Beat 2 eggs separately, and add eggs to matzo meal mixture; then add the salt and oil. Mix and it should look like cooked cereal (not hard). Refrigerate for a few hours, until it is solid.
    2. Boil a pot of water or chicken stock. Make small balls (1 TBSP each) rolling with wet hands. Boil until all float on top and get large, about 5-10 minutes.
    3. Ladle matzo balls and broth into bowl, add roasted chicken and dill.

    Matzo Ball Soup: