Saturday, December 19, 2009


I haven't posted in a while. Our Hanukkah celebration had me cooking, but no time to post. Here are a few things I whipped up!


A traditional Hanukkah meal. Serve with applesauce or sour cream, or both!

5-6 large potatoes such as Yukon Gold - peeled
1 sweet onion
3 eggs
salt (I use a lot of salt in this recipe - for me. Probably up to 1 T kosher salt.)
oil for cooking

I tried for the first time the double grating method with the potatoes. Grate all potatoes with the shredder blade of the food processor. Set 1/2 in colander to drain while you grate the other 1/2 with the "swirly" blade. Grate the onion right in with the potatoes.

Drain all the potatoes and squeeze until quite dry. Sometimes I put them in an *old* tea towel and Scott and I get on both ends and twist and twist out all the moisture.

place drained potatoes in bowl. Start heating your pan and then oil - start with about 2 T. Mix potatoes/onions, eggs, about 1/3 cup flour and salt.

Flatten out about 2 T batter into pan and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Often you will find the first time around your oil isn't hot enough. Let it get really hot (over medium heat) before you start.

Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and enjoy! We never have leftovers.

French Onion Soup

This is something the Holcombs (my family) have every year on Christmas Eve accompanied by an appetizer dinner.

2-3 large sweet onions
3 T butter
1-2 T oil (canola)
3 cans Campbell's beef Bullion
1/2 to 3/4 cups white wine
2 T (ish) Worchestershire sauce
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt

slices of toasted french loaf

Thinly slice onions while melting butter and oil in pan. Toss in onions, sugar and salt. Cook verrryyyy slowly (about 2+ hours) over low heat until beautifully wilted down.

Add soup, and 3 cans of water, wine, and Worchestershire sauce. Simmer for at least an hour but long simmering makes it great.

When ready to serve, turn on broiler, ladle soup into ovenproof bowls. I use my Fiestaware but my mom had special crocks just for this! Top with bread and cheese and broil until brown and melty. Enjoy some Christmas memories!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 for 1

Two breakfast pies.... why two? Read on.

Breakfast Pies The First

1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 carton Eggbeaters
8 strips turkey bacon (or whatever), cooked and crumbled
1/3 c milk
hot sauce - 1-5 dashes to taste

Spray muffin tin well. Separate biscuits (if using Grands or the like - I would use ½ a biscuit). Stretch them out and line each cup with a buscuit. Mix eggs, milk and hot sauce. Ladle egg mixture into muffin cups and top with bacon and cheese. Make sure not to fill too full as these will puff up very nicely.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes - start checking at 20. Bake until firm.

These were delicious and made enough for 2+ days of breakfasts. HOWEVER, someone (who may or may not have a law degree) left them out on the counter all day after Day One. We were all very sad. But it led to:

Breakfast Pies The Second

5 eggs (yes - we are now out of eggbeaters)
1 can cream of celery soup
8 strips turkey bacon (or whatever), cooked and crumbled (or 8 link breakfast sausage - yes I use turkey)
stale bread - cubed
½ t dried mustard
hot sauce as above

Line muffin tin with papers and spray. Put a few dried bread cubes in each cup. Mix soup, eggs, mustard and hot sauce. Ladle into cups and again top with bacon and cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes checking at 20 minutes.

Both are good - I think we liked the second one better because it is very reminiscent of the famed and loved Paul's Breakfast Casserole.

I baked both these the night before and nuked them in the AM. If I was a more of a "get up early" kinda girl I would have assembled the night before and baked in the AM. But I'm not.

Monday, November 16, 2009


We are on somewhat of a cranberry kick here at Why Mom Why. The Lawyer is the only person I know who eats (whole berry) cranberry sauce year round. Now that the stores are full of fresh ones - he is in heaven. He made cranberry sauce this weekend and I made (a small test recipe of) cranberry chutney.

Cranberry Chutney
½ bag fresh cranberries washed and picked over
1 apple - chopped with skin on - Honeycrisp preferred
10 dried apricots
handful golden raisens
½ small can pineapple (not crushed but in small slices)
½ minced red onion
2 t canola oil
1 t cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 t dried ginger
1/8 to 1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 t ground cloves
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice

Saute the onion in the oil until very soft. Add rest of ingredients and simmer until the dried fruit is moist and the mixture is thick, 20+ minutes. I had planned to put sugar in this but I seriously forgot. It was perfect without for us as we like tart. You could also add 1/4 to ½ cup white or brown sugar. I am planning to make this as gifts and I will definitely put in some sugar. The lawyer loved this. I think it is already gone.

Apple Cranberry pie

1 pie crust (I DO use Pillsbury - I hate making pie crusts!)

3-4 apples (honeycrisp preferred)
½ bag fresh cranberries washed and picked over
3 T butter (which I will omit next time)
1 t cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 t ground cloves
approx. ½ cup white sugar (although I think brown would be good too)

thinly slice apples and layer with cranberries. Dot with butter and sprinkle on sugar and spices. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

This was VERY soupy. I will omit the butter next time or only use 1 T. The "soup" was delicious though. This makes a small pie - just right for a smaller Thanksgiving or if lots of other desserts are being served.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Mah Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies are WINNERS!

My recipe took first place at the Champaign Public Library healthy recipe smackdown! (The events committee has a catchy name which is escaping me right now.)

OH! Did I mention there were TWO "sweet" entries. But HEY - I WON!

ahem. What did I win? A $10 dollar gift card to Latte Da!, the cafe in the library.

and. Since you asked. The ingredients set me back $12. But hey! I WON!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Too Easy

This one is almost too easy and was a surprisingly huge hit.

Italian Wedding Soup

meatballs (one batch - see below)
1 ½ cartons of chicken stock or equivalent homemade
pasta - small shapes cooked
spinach - optional

Simmer the meatballs in the stock for as long as you have time. I simmered for about ½ hour while I was cleaning up the kitchen and running Maya to choir.

If using spinach - right before serving, add to broth.

Place pasta in bowl and ladle soup over pasta. Top with cheese. Compliment yourself on a quick weeknight supper.

Meatballs - I usually make a triple or quadruple batch of meatballs whenever good ground beef is on sale. Here is the basic recipe.

1 lb ground beef (90/10 is good for flavor)
1 medium minced sweet onion
garlic or garlic powder to taste
spicy seasoned salt (just a couple shakes)
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup grated hard cheese, parmesan, asiago, whatever you have in the fridge

Combine everything and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. I usually add in some white wine if the pan gets too dry.

These freeze extremely well. If you have these in the freezer, your life on weeknights will be so much better! Add your favorite pasta sauce and have spagetti and meatballs, or meatball subs. Or make this soup with pantry items and your family will love you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweet and Sour Sausage Bites

This is an old recipe of my mom's. I really need to ask her where she got it. Likely clipped from a magazine. She has a whole notebook full of those that I still look at when we visit Dayton. When she first started making this in the 70's, the crazy breakout ingredient was soy sauce! So daring and unusual! This recipe tastes like childhood to me.

My kids love love love these. Sometimes I use turkey breakfast sausage cut into chunks and sometimes meatballs. Kielbasa would also be good. This time I used turkey breakfast sausage for our Halloween party tonight.

1 cup brown sugar
3 T flour
2 t dry mustard

Mix these well (to avoid lumps) in a sauce pan. add:

1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup white vinegar
2 t soy sauce

cook over medium head until bubbly and thick. Pour over "bites". Make a day or two before your party then heat and serve in a crock pot. Sometimes we have these as a main dish over rice. The leftovers, if any, are always gone by the next day. Seth loves these so much - he asked for them for breakfast this morning. Poor kid had to make do with plain turkey sausage. His life is so hard!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

White Chicken Chili

Maya had her first performace with the Central Illinois Childrens Chorus Friday. My folks came from Ohio to see it. Let me tell you how THRILLED she was to have them at her performance.

We planned on dinner after the performance. I wanted to do something in the crockpot - it was cold and yucky and this perfectly fit the bill.

White Chicken Chili

chicken - rotisserie or 4 cooked breasts - I FORGOT to buy a rotisserie one so we did the four breasts
3 cans chicken broth or equivalent homemade
2 cans white beans - one whizzed up in the blender
1 can chopped green chilis
1 sauted onion (sauteed in 1 T olive oil)
1 cup frozen or canned corn

dump everything in the crockpot and go to a lovely performance of wonderfully talented children. ( cook on high about 4 hours)

When you get home, take out about 1 cup liquid and mix in 1 T cornstarch still smooth. Stir in slurry and continue to cook on high while you set the table and get drink orders. Serve with avocado, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream on the side and let everyone pick their toppings. We also had corn muffins.

this was a HUGE hit. Maya was starving and ate two bowls full. My dad and mom loved it as did Seth and I. Scott liked it okay but soup is not his favorite thing. I will so be making this again and I think my mom will too. My folks, who are retired, get into ruts with their lunches, which they hate. I am thinking this might kick them out of a rut this winter!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

This time of year - I want to use pumpkin, sweet potatoes or squash in EVERYTHING! Therefore:

1/3 cup oil (canola is preferred)
14-15 oz canned pumpkin (there are rumors of a canned pumpkin shortage but I found tons at County Market on Kirby this past weekend)
1 egg
3/4 cup white sugar (or a mixture of white and brown sugar)
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
1 T vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 T pumpkin pie spice (or 2 t cinnamon and ginger, allspice, ground cloves or nutmeg to make up 1 T)

Mix egg, oil and sugar(s). Add in spices and flour. Mix until completely blended. Add in chocolate chips.

Scoop out in small scoops. I used an actual scooper for aabout a 1" diameter cookie.

Bake at 350 for approx. 15 minutes. Make sure these are nicely browned. Start the first batch at 10 minutes and check thereafter.

Devour. These are fairly healthy due to the pumpkin which allows you to use very little oil. These are a cakey cookie that are even better the second day (if there are any left.) My kids love these. I plan to make them again this weekend for my parents - sans chocolate as my mom is strictly no caffeine (and I wonder how she EVER makes it through life....)

Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotenes which are antioxidants that are converted to vitamin A in the body. They are thought to boost the immune system and help to repair free radical damage to cells. Beta-carotenes are being studied to determine what role they play in the prevention of various disease states. These healthy, bright orange pigments are also found in carrots. This is one reason your mom always pushed you to eat your carrots. She would have wanted you to eat pumpkin too. Pumpkin is also a rich source of vitamin C and potassium which may help to prevent heart disease and normalize blood pressure.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Johnny Marzetti - Elementary School Flashback

Do you know Johnny? If you grew up in Ohio and ate in the school cafeteria I'm sure you do!

I had some ground turkey and couldn't think of what to do with it. In the recent past we have had meatballs, lasagne, tacos and sloppy joes. Hmmmm..... Then it struck me! Let's have Johnny over to dinner! Most of the recipes I found (on Allrecipes) called for egg noodles, but we here at Why Mom Why only had about 1/4 of a bag. But - a whole box of Mostacolli. It also usually calls for green pepper (which we didn't have) and olives - but um - yuck. I like 'em - but not here.

So - here we go!

Johnny Marzetti comes to Why Mom Why

12 oz pasta - I would use shapes - cooked

1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 diced sweet onion
1 T olive oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced tomatoes whizzed in the blender
1 can mushrooms or sliced fresh mushrooms
2 T worchestershire sauce
garlic or garlic powder
1/8 cup sugar
cheddar cheese

Brown and thoroughly cook turkey and onion in olive oil. Add in all other ingrediants except pasta and cheese and simmer for a bit. In a large sprayed dish mix pasta and sauce and bake for about 30 minutes. (again - we like the crunch factor - if you don't - use a smaller dish.) Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Most of the recipes said to prepare the night before so I did. I had Seth sprinkle with cheese and put in the oven before I got home. I think he put about 1 teaspoon of cheese on it! I added more cheese and broiled until nice and melty.

Verdict: The kids liked it okay. Maya asked for leftovers the next day. Scott and I liked this. It's a nice change of pace from something like lasagne and a flashback to my childhood at Edwin D. Smith School in Oakwood Ohio!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baked Rice

Do you know Tastespotting? I'm addicted. This rice dish is loosely based on a Tastespotting recipe.

1 cup long grain rice
1 T olive oil
1 finely chopped sweet onion
1 can or some fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cups chicken stock or a mixture of stock and water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
grated sharp cheddar cheese

saute onion in olive oil. When it is nicely brown (I WAY over browned mine!) add in rice and toast until golden.

Cook rice as you usually do. I use a Pampered Chef microwave rice cooker. I love it. It's a no brainer - you can stick the rice in the microwave and forget it until your food is ready - even up to 1 hour before! Just cook it for about 13 minutes and leave it in to steam until you are ready.

Mix in mushrooms and place rice in a 9x13 sprayed pyrex pan. Dot top with undiluted soup and bake at 350 for about ½ hour. Top with cheese and bake for about 15 more minutes. I use a large pan for maximum crunchiness. If you don't like yours so crunchy - cook for about 15 minutes the first go round and use a smaller dish.

I am not really one for making side dishes, even though I love them, usually more than the main dish. Everyone liked this. We had it with some boneless beef ribs at what may be our last grilled meal of the season.

I explored some baked rice dishes in which you do not cook the rice beforehand. I smell a yummy experiment coming up!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Maya's Fav

Maya LOVES Cheese Triangles. She used to get them at Papa George's before it sadly closed..... So we have to make them at home!

Cheese Triangles

1-ish cup cottage cheese
1/2 brick of Feta crumbled
1 sweet onion finely chopped
1 T olive oil
1 egg
spinach - thawed and squeezed of liquid
Phyllo dough - thawed
melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.

Gently saute the onions in the oil until transluscent. Cool. Add in cheeses and egg and spinach, pepper to taste.

cut phyllo into quarters - I use a pizza cutter.

Place a scant 1 T filling in the end of a quarter of two phyllo dough layers. Fold into a triangle. Place on cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet is full, brush with butter. Maya started making the triangles when she was barely 7 and I was sorry I didn't let her try before then. She is way better at it than I!

Bake for 15 minutes - watching carefully after 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm. This recipe made 2 cookie sheets full and the kids and I ate almost all of them almost immediately. No one said a word about EATING SPINACH!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Watermelon Lemonade

So - pretty crappy 4th of July. Maya was NO candidate to go to the fireworks in Monticello Friday night, so stayed home with her.... RAINED. ALL. DAY. Saturday. Craptacular Sunday. Did some cooking though! Yay me.

First off - Watermelon Lemonade - recipe courtesy of Here's my version:

juice of two lemons
1 small watermelon chunked
1/2 cup simple syrup

Whirl chunks of watermelon in food processor. Strain and put in pitcher. Do in batches. If your kids are weird - let them eat the pulp. Mix in simple syrup and lemon juice. Serve super cold. Wow - pictures and everything

Seth LOVED this.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer Cooking

In the summer I get the urge to eat little, often Mediterranean bites of things. Last summer, you may remember I spent quite a bit of money at the Schnuck's grocery store olive bar.

This summer, in the name of economy (and fun!), I'm trying to make the little bits myself.

Roasted Grape Tomatoes (I can't wait to make these with our own homegrown grapes!)

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
1 T+ olive oil
several cloves of garlic - skin on
kosher salt

preheat oven to 400, line baking sheet with foil, spray, toss tomatoes, olive oil, salt and garlic in the pan and roast for ½ hour or until they are done to your liking. The garlic imparts flavor and you can pick it out and use with other dishes like...

Tzatziki Sauce!

1 cup or one container plain yogurt
Drain yogurt through a coffee filter and a colander into a bowl (try to set it up so the yogurt isn't sitting in its own juices) I just set it up and leave it on the counter for several hours - about ½ cup of stuff (whey??) will drain out depending on the type of yogurt.

½ of a cucumber, seeded (VERY IMPORTANT) shredded and squeezed of much of the moisture as possible.

1-2 cloves roasted garlic

kosher salt

Blend all ingredients together and use as a topping for falafel or as a spread for baguette.

Balsamic Onions

Pearl onions or 2-3 large white onions sliced- Vidalias are DELICIOUS!
½ t sugar
1 T butter
kosher salt
Balsamic vinegar

Slowly slowly slowy cook the onions with the butter, sugar and salt. This will take an hour depending on how many and what type onions you are using. Do not brown too soon, let them carmelize. When nicely carmelized, add in a couple shots of vinegar and let cook. Cool and eat with the Tzatziki Sauce or add to pasta salad. Try not to stand over the sink and just eat the whole batch plain. :-)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Roasted Chick Peas

Gawd I love these. I only make them in the summer and am never sure why I don't ever make more at one sitting? Because Scott and I usually eat them all quite quickly? Possibly...

Roast Chick Peas

1 can chick peas rinsed and drained and drained on paper towels
1 T olive oil
1-2 roasted garlic bulbs (I roasted a bunch this morning for various recipes)
chili powder

In a ceramic pie plate combine oil, garlic and spices. Mush up the garlic a lot so it will be evenly spread. Add chick peas. Roast at 350 for 1+ hours. Usually when the hour is up I just leave these in the hot oven for another hour or two.

I should say this makes about 1 cup of the finished product.

delicious. Perfect with a drink about 4 on a Sunday afternoon. Hmmmm... guess what I'm doing RIGHT NOW?!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Clean Out The Fridge Pasta Salad

3 oz dry orzo - cooked
1 ½ cups chick peas
3-5 handfuls (handsful) baby spinach
3 T minced onion (red or vidalia)
1 pint roasted grape tomatoes (see note)
feta (or whatever cheese you prefer - I only had about 1/3 cup but it was fine.)
2+ T olive oil
juice of ½ large lemon
lemon zest of 1 large lemon - chopped finely

Place spinach and onion in bowl. While orzo is still hot - pour into bowl. Stir to partially "cook" spinach. Add in oil, lemon juice, zest, tomatoes and feta. Eat warm or cool.

Roasting grape tomatoes. I tried this both ways this weekend and prefered the 2nd.

1. Line cookie sheet with foil. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle w/ kosher salt. Roast at 250 for 1+ hour.

2. Line cookie sheet with foil. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle w/ kosher salt. Place in a preheated 450 oven and turn off heat. (I had just made tortilla chips - so my oven was nice and hot.) Leave in oven until they are roasted and slight caramelized.

In either case - as soon as they are done - put into a bowl to save all the yummy juices. You could also sprinkle a couple garlic cloves in with these and then have roasted garlic!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Greek Casserole

This is loosely based on a WW recipe - if the queen is coming to dinner you could likely call it Pastitso

1 large onion chopped (why do most of my recipes start this way?) I had a ½ of a HUGE red one so I used that
1-2 stalks of celery (optional but I like a little crunch)
1 t garlic powder or two cloves garlic
½ t cinnamon ( I have to admit I am OUT of cinnamon so used some pumpkin pie spice and some extra nutmeg. Things just go CRAZY when Scott is out of town.)
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
3/4 lb ground meat, ground beef, sirloin, turkey. This time I actually used chicken thighs I ground in the food processor - because I wanted the ground texture, not a cubed one.
1 can diced tomatoes (fresh in season are wonderful)
1 glug white wine

3/4 lb (dry) pasta - cooked - used ziti this time

3 cups skim milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch (does this stuff go bad? I've had the same box for *quite* some time now...)
4 oz shredded white cheese - whatever you've got - I used an Italian blend this time

Brown onion, celery, garlic & spices until onion is soft. Add in ground meat and brown completely through. Add in tomatoes. Simmer while you make the rest of the dish.

Cook pasta. Set aside

Make white sauce. Simmer milk, eggs and cornstarch until thick. Add in seasoning. Add in cheese and stir until smooth. NOTE: I had about 1 cup extra white sauce and a DEEP layer of it on top - I think next time I will make about 1/2 of the recipe for it.

Spray casserole dish with Pam. Add in pasta. Layer in meat sauce. Top with white sauce. Bake at 350 until top is brown and bubbly. About 45+ minutes?

Seth and I loved this. Maya had plain pasta. Scott is away - I think it would not quite be his thing due to the white sauce.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

This is a hit any time I make it. It has endless variations.

9+ corn tortillas (let me tell you the amusing story of how my husband bought 3 lbs of these babies...)
1 lb ground beef, turkey, whatever
1 large can mild enchilada sauce (if this were for grownups only I'd use medium) Green is good too but the store didn't have the brand of green I like
1 onion chopped
1 t garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1+ cups cooked rice - white brown whatever
4 oz sharp cheddar grated

Brown beef, onion and garlic until onion is nicely browned and meat cooked through

spray your favorite casserole dish with PAM.

Coat bottom of dish with some enchilada sauce. Layer with tortillas to cover in one layer.

Layer 1/2 meat, rice, beans, 1/3 cheese and sauce. Add another layer of tortillas and repeat. End with one more layer tortillas, sauce, and cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until nice and bubbly.

I made this last night and everyone also had some for breakfast today!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Passover Roast

By Sunday of Passover, which started on Wednesday, we were dying for meat. We tend to eat a TON of poultry this time of year. This is wonderful anytime though.

So - without further ado - Passover Roast!

1 medium size roast (I forgot to check the poundage)
2 large sweet onions sliced
2 -3 handfuls of baby carrots
½ c. red wine
½ c. water
2 T red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 - 2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic through the masher

Preheat oven to 300.

Get the oil very hot in an oven proof dutch oven. Salt and pepper the roast. Brown the roast on all sides and add the onions in about ½ through this process to get them a little browned too. Add in the garlic & carrots. Add in all the liquids. Cover with an ovenproof lid.

Roast for 3-4 hours. I really don't think you can roast this too long. Try not to peek too often. After 2 hours check for liquid level and add another ½ cup wine if necessary.

Remove roast and let rest. Reduce pan gravy. Slice roast and serve with pan gravy, mashed potatoes and horseradish sauce. Be shocked if you have leftovers!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

We actually had this for dinner Monday night. There were no leftovers....

5 eggs
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can milk
1-2 t good mustard
4-5 shakes hot sauce
½ - 1 lb sausage (you can use turkey breakfast sausage as I do, pork breakfast sausage, turkey or pork Italian sausage
5 slices good bread - cubed (My sister in law Sherry uses tomato rosemary focciacia sometimes)
1 cup shredded super sharp cheddar

Cook and crumble sausage. Drain well. Spray casserole dish and put bread cubes and then sausage in dish. Wisk eggs, soup and milk. Add in mustard & hot sauce. Wisk. Pour over bread & sausage. Top with cheese. Spray foil with Pam (or use no-stick foil) and cover tightly. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for at least 1 hour if not 1 ½ hours. Uncover for last 15 minutes. Yum.

You could also add sauteed fresh mushrooms, or canned , finely diced onions or celery or all three. If you used Italian sausage, you could top with Mozzerella or provolone.

This will puff up and look awesome. It will also look like way too much food. People always love this and I rarely have leftovers. But it re-heats very nicely.

Pot Roast Stew

So - I didn't have pot roast but I did have beef stew meat.

2 onions - sliced into sixths lengthwise
carrots - I had baby ones on hand - used about ½ bag
4 stalks celery - sliced into thirds
1 T olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves
1 lb beef stew meat

Heat oil in a dutch oven until it is very hot. Meanwhile pat beef chunks dry and season with salt, pepper and sugar (the sugar gives it a GREAT carmelized sear). Sear the beef in two batches. Set beef aside. Add in wine - white or red - your preference. I used about ½ bottle of rose for this - cause it's what I had on hand. Using your garlic press, press garlic into wine. Add in veggies and beef. Cover with tin foil or ovenproof lid of dutch oven. Roast at 350 for 2+ hours. Remove meat and veggies. I use a big wok slotted spoon. Add more wine depending on how much is left and start it boiling. Make a slurry with 1/3 cup wine and 2-3 T flour. Add some hot wine into slurry and then add the whole thing into the dutch oven. Wisk to keep it smooth. Add back in meat and veggies and serve over mashed potatoes (as I did), egg noodles, good bread (for a pot roast hot shot), rice, whatever you have on hand!

I realized in the middle of the night - when I have all my great realizations - that the recipe I was cribbing off of called for a can of whole tomatoes - crushed. Totally forgot but this was great anyway. Scott loved it. There were no leftovers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

So - a slight whole wheat bread obsession - compliments of my husband - has overtaken me. He doesn't like the white bread I make. It's too dense and too white for him. (one of his solutions? Yellow food coloring. Really.)

So - I started with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Six or so loaves later I think I've got it.

I used this yeast. I had the thought on about loaf 4 to use more yeast. This caught my eye at the grocery and I like the brand.

I proofed the yeast according to the package (1/4 cup warm water, 1/4 t sugar) BEFORE I added it to the flour mixture.

I used this whole wheat flour and added it first so that I would be sure to get the full amount in the bread.

I used this white flour and only added about 2 1/4 cups. But that always varies.

Wow - a whole wheat dough that actually rose! It responded to the second rising (a problem I'd been having) and baked up wonderfully. The loaf is almost gone - I made it Sunday and it's Tuesday.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Kale Soup

Lisa's making Kale soup on the WILL show and I've been thinking about it ever since she mentioned it. At Wal-mart on Saturday they had HUGE bags of triple washed kale. HUGE. about 16x12 inches. And I had a turkey kielbasa in the freezer so....

Smoked Turkey Kale Soup

1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic - mashed
1 T olive oil
3 medium potatoes diced
1 cup white wine
2 cans chicken stock
1-2 cups water
1 Turkey Kielbasa (1 lb?) chopped
a lot of kale

saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add potatoes and saute the whole mess for a while. (I don't know why - but sauteing the potatoes in soups first makes them more palatable to me.) Add kielbasa and brown a bit.

Add white wine, and start ripping up and adding kale (I had about a 6" long piece of kale in soup at a restaurant recently and it was NOT GOOD.) Let kale cook down a bit. Add some more kale, the chicken stock. Cook down. More kale. Water. Cook down. More kale. I would guess I used about 1/3 of the bag of kale. Let kale simmer and cook down. It really doesn't ever get mushy (a la spinach).

I just had some for lunch. Tasty.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Exciting pieces of news:

Scott reports that Papa Del's now has signage up & equipment inside at their long-awaited restaurant at Village at the crossing.

Secondly - Seth won! Seth Won!! Seth will be cooking live on WILL TV, 3/9/09. He submitted his beef stew recipe and was the only child selected. I have never seen him so excited! Details to follow.....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

DARN! Taco Filling

This was a huge hit and I really wasn't paying attention when I was cooking it.... I *think* this is pretty close.

1 lb beef stew meat (I get ours from Marketday.)
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 onion - diced
4-6 diced pickled jalapenos
1 cup chicken broth
½ -1 t sugar

saute onions and peppers in olive oil. Season meat and brown in two batches. Add tomatoes & chicken broth. Simmer for 2-3 hours until the beef shreds. Use as taco, enchilada, mexican lasagna filling, etc.

And - I'm working on more pictures!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chicken Tetrazzini

This was an attempt to get everyone to eat the same thing for dinner. If I make something very very basic (chicken breasts or steak with [plain] pasta) everyone will eat it. But really - how often can you eat that....

Everyone did eat this. Maya, Scott and I loved it. Seth tolerated one serving and filled up on Clementines. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when that season is over.

Adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe

8 oz. pasta ( I used angel hair broken into thirds) cooked al dente
2 Market Day chicken breasts - cubed
1 onion - chopped fine
2 stalks celery - diced large (the better to pick it out...)
2 T flour
1 cup skim milk
3-4 oz sharp cheddar - separated
Potato Chips [because Seth will eat ANYTHING with potato chips]

Saute chicken in a bit of olive or canola oil. Set aside. Saute veggies and add flour. Cook flour for 3-4 minutes. Add milk and ½ the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Pam a casserole dish. Mix everything together. top with chips and the rest of the cheese [grated]. Bake at 375 for approx. ½ hour. I made this the night before and once again - was SO happy to have a dinner to pop in when I got home.