Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Last nights dinner: Braised Brussel Sprouts

So here I am with some kale that has been in the refrigerator too long and a half a pound of bacon and it is dinner time. I search on the fabulous Internet to see what I can do. I find a few recipes but none that really strike my fancy, so I decided to throw something together. When I get to the refrigerator I find out that the kale had been there longer then I had thought, if you know what I mean. So I snatch up the brussel sprouts I bought because we hadn't had them in a while, and came up with this! I think it would be a much better side dish, probably very yummy with some pork tenderloin.


1 lbs brussel sprouts, cut in half
1/2 lbs chopped bacon, uncooked
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 - 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken bouillon
salt and pepper

Throw your chopped bacon into a large skillet set on a medium heat and let it get nice and brown. Once it is nice and crispy use a slotted spoon to pull them out and place on a plate with a towel on it to drain.

Drain all but about 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and add the onion to remaining grease. Also add just a pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon), this will help draw the moisture out of the onion.

When the onion gets soft add the garlic and continue to saute until the onions start to caramelize. That is when they start to turn brown and get sweet. Add the brussel sprouts and continue to saute until the brussel sprouts just start getting soft and turning bright green (or you can cook it longer until they start to brown a little).

Then add the red wine vinegar and scrape up the little bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the bits are all up add the chicken bouillon and cover. Allow this to simmer about 5 minutes or until the brussel sprouts are thoroughly cooked.

If there is still liquid remaining after 5 minutes, remove lid and allow the liquid to boil off. Remember to keep stirring so the food doesn't get stuck! Add cooked bacon and stir, or just sprinkle it on top for a yummy garnish! Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

you can substitute the red wine vinegar for almost any acidic type of liquid, other vinegar, wine, beer, even tomato juice. just remember you have to eat this when you are done! :)

When I made this I didn't drain the bacon grease after removing the bacon and it overwhelmed the dish when we were eating it. All you need is enough to saute the onion, eyeball it but try not to over do it like I did!

You could also use some precooked bacon and just saute with butter or extra virgin olive oil, or omit the bacon all together (and use vegetable bouillon) to make a yummy vegetarian dish!

I used bouillon because I use it in almost everything. It stores alot easier and is much cheaper then buying or even making broth or stock. Any of which will work in this recipe.

MY RATING: 5 brussel sprouts out of 5!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last night's dinner: My Husband's Jambalaya

He is actually a good cook (awesome with the grill and smoker) but I thought this would be kinda funny to post here, seeing as how I'm trying not to eat processed foods! :) It was good though!


1 box Zaneran's jambalaya
1 can corn niblets
1 can red beans
1 lbs smoked sausage

Follow instructions on box. Drain and add cans of food. Ask wife nicely to cut up sausage, then thank her and add it to the mixture. Finish the instructions on box and serve to wife and family! :)

to make this a little healthier, find a different recipe and use fresh foods and turkey smoked sausage! LOL

MY RATING: 3 husbands out of 5

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last night's dinner: Cabbage Soup

Ok I know what you are thinking, and yeah I do make alot of soup! :) It is just so easy and since it is getting cold here (32 degree right now at 7:55am) it's a good pick me up. I must have done a good job with the soup last night because there was no left overs! Even my 6 year old daughter liked it and she hates cabbage! I am proud to say that this is my own recipe. I researched different caggage recipes to see what mixes well with it and went to my refridgerator to see what I had that would go well with it and came up with this:


1/4 head of cabbage, coarsly chopped
2 peeled and chopped carrots
2 chopped stalks of celery
1 chopped medium onion
1 tbsp garlic
5 boullion cubes
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp all spice
1 tbsp parsley
8 cups water
1-2 tbsp bacon grease or butter
salt and pepper
1 cup basmati rice

Melt bacon grease or butter in the bottom of your stock pot or dutch oven over a medium heat. Toss in onion, celery, garlic, and a pinch of salt (a pinch is 3 fingers) and let those soften. The salt will help pull moisture out of the onions and celery. While these are cooking you can prepare your carrots and cabbage. Once the onions and celery are soft pour in about a cup (maybe a bit more) of the water and get any of the stuff stuck to the bottom. Then you add all remaining ingredients except for the rice, when the mixture comes to a boil add the rice. Let this lightly boil for 20 min, then remove from heat. Let soup sit for 5 minutes before serving.

You can use any boullion you wish, I used chicken. Instead of boullion you can also use 2 qts (8 cups) of stock or broth.

Have fun with the veggies that go into this, I was going to add zucchini but it went bad on me.

If you don't have bacon grease you can always make some! Just fry the bacon in the pan you will be using and you can crumble the bacon in the soup when it's done!

I used basmati rice but you can use any rice you have around. If you don't feel comfortable cooking it in the soup then omit the same amount of water that you would use to cook the rice from the soup. In the case of the basmati rice you would omit 2 cups. You can cook the rice seperatly and add to the soup when you serve it. A nice scoop on top would look neat, like ice cream.

MY RATING: 4 cabbages out of 5

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Last night's dinner: Simple Mini Penne and Tomatoes

I had bought some of those new mini penne and some petite diced tomatoes. My daughter thought the idea of a mini pasta dish was spectacular! So I mixed something up, both of my daughter's loved it, Fred and I didn't much care for it. It was ok but just wasn't enough, you know what I mean?



1/2 box of mini penne
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 tbsp orageno
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 dash cinnamon
mozzerella or parmasan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Simply prepare the penne according to directions on box. Meanwhile in a small saucepan mix remaining ingredients minus the cheese. When pasta is done mix the tomatoes with the penne and serve in a bowl with cheese sprinkled on top.

We didn't have any parm but I think it would be really good. This was just a fun dish on a night when I really didn't want to cook. It is an open book, feel free to add or subtract what you like and let me know if you make it better!

MY RATING: 2 penne out of 5!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last night's dinner: Seven-Vegetable Couscous

So, I have made new friend (mentioned earlier) and she came over to make some couscous with me! It was a lot of fun, I don't have much expierence sharing a kitchen with someone, but it was no problem at all! She is Morroccan, so she also had alot of expierence making couscous. I was wonderful.
However my head wasn't working so great and I got a picture of it in a yellow bowl under a bad light, so it just looks like a yellow bowl of yellow stuff, but it really was much prettier!
We did not follow the recipe exactly so I am going to try to make revisions where it is need but if you would like the original recipe just let me know!



5 onions
3 cloves garlic
1/2 head of cabbage
1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
6 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp tumeric
4 carrots
3 potatoes
3 medium yellow squash
2 medium/large zuccini
3 tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh cilantro

For the couscous:
1 12oz package couscous or 3 cups couscous
6 tbsp butter
4 tbsp oil
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans; 15 1/2 oz)

Peel onions and garlic and cut both into cross sections. Cut half head of cabbage into quarters. In a large, heavy saucepan (stock pot), combine meat, the equivalent of 2 onions, garlic, cabbage and butter. Add salt, pepper and turmeric. Pour 3 quarts of waterover the top, bring to a boil and simmer or 45 minutes.

Scrape carrots and peel potatoes. Cut carrots, potatoes, squash, zuccini and tomatoes into large chunks. Wash cilantro, pat dry and chop leaves. Add carrots, potatoes, squash, zuccini, tomatoes, remaining onions, and cilantro to saucepan and simmer for 1 hour.

Drain chickpeas and add to saucepa for 15 minutes before it ha finished cooking. Season sauce to taste.

At the sametime, prepare the couscous according to packag directions, mixing in the oil and butter.

Transfer hot cooked couscous to a large round serving dish and pour on as much sauce as it can absorb. Form a well in the center and place meat and vegetables in this well. Pour the remaining sauce into a bowl and serve separately, very hot.

Serves 6
Prep time: 30 minutes (yeah right!)
cooking time: approximatly 1 hour and 45 minutes

Well I really don't have any, what few I did have I put before the recipe. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. You mainly want to look for plenty of color (don't use my picture as an example! lol) and be sure to add the things that will take the longest to cook first and the veggies with a shorter cook time should be added later.

I will try to upload the original recipe and put a link on here to it. It is pretty different but I imagine that it would still taste just as good as ours!
ETA: Here is a link to the oringinal recipe:

MY RATING: 4 couscous out of 5!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Last nights dinner: Oven Beef Stew

Ok so this is my absolute favorite food of all time! I have never had anyone make this for me, but that is ok, I would be kinda scared that they might screw it up! Not to mention there is nothing better then tasting the fruit of you labors, or should I say stew of your labors! haha
Anyway, I found this recipe in an old cookbook from the 50's. My friend and I made it for home ec in high school and it has been my favorite ever since! This does take 2-3 hours to make but it is well worth it!



2 lbs boned chuck or bottom round in 2" cubes
1/4 c flour
3 tbsp salad oil
2 1/2 c tomato juice or water
12 small white onions
12 pared small carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 10oz package frozen whole kernal corn thawed just enough to separate
1 tsp monosodium glumate (MSG)I will talk about this later)
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp prepared mustard

Start heating oven to 350. Sprinkle meat with flour. Reserve leftover flor. In hot oil, in skillet, brown meat well on all sides - 15-20 min. Remove meat to 3 qt casserole dish.

Into oil, stir MSG, salt, mustard, and any remaining flour. Slowly add tomato juice (or water), stirring constantly making sure to keep it smooth, then pour over meat. Bake, covered, for 1 hour.

Add onions and carrots and bake, covered, for 45 minutes.

Add corn and bake, covered for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Before serving, stir stew with a fork to bring meat chunks to the top.

Makes 6 servings.

TO VARY: Add 12 pared small potatoes with carrots, substitute peas for corn.

While MSG is still sold in stores, it is not recommended to use it! It can cause very dangerous side effects to some people. Please read up on it before useing it. If you don't use it you can easily substitute an extra tsp of salt, that's what I do.

I usually just buy the stew meat they sell at the store, it is cut smaller so it cooks quicker and is easier to eat in the stew.

I use extra virgin olive oil for the salad oil because I'm not sure what they mean.

I also have no idea what prepared mustard is. I've made this with ground mustard, yellow mustard, I have mixed ground mustard with water to "prepare" it, and I have even combined yellow mustard with ground mustard. They all turn out good, there isn't much of difference, unless you have a VERY trained tongue! My favorite thing to to is add 2 tbsp of ground mustard and 1 tbsp of yellow mustard.

If you don't have enough tomato juice, just add water to it until you have enough!

As far as cutting goes, I usually roughly chop the carrots and just use a large yellow or white onion, which ever I have, and cut it in half then quarter it. It's all good!

MY RATING: 5 Stew chuncks out of 5!!! YUMMY!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Last night's dinner: Curry with Rice

So it has been a little while since I have blogged my dinner, but the good news is that I have finally gone grocery shopping! I took advantage of sales and coupons and got $165 worth of groceries for $90!
Since I have food once again I can cook so many things! I have made a new friend and she is going to come over and we are going to make some Couscous together. Well that got me inspired and I decided to have some yummy Curry for dinner last night.
The recipe came from a Reader's Digest book by the title Homemade. This book has proven time and time again to be a great buy! It gives you instructions on how to make everything from cleaning products to food, from fertalizers to home remedies, it even has pet food recipes!

Curry with Rice


1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breasts or thighs, or lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp Curry powder
1 3/4 c chicken stock or reduced sodium canned chicken broth
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
2 c cauliflower florets (about 1/2 head medium cauliflower)
1 1/4 c basmati rice

In a large, self sealing bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Working in small batches, add the chicken, turkey, or lamb to the bag, seal and shake to coat the meat with the flour mixture.

In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over moderately high heat, heat the oil 1 minute. Divide the meat into 2 batches. Add one batch to the skillet and saute until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining meat.

In the drippings left in the skillet, saute the onion, garlic, and celery, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 inues. Add the curry powder, stock, carrots, cauliflower, and reserved meat to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is just tender, 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over high heat, cook the basmati rice following the package directions. Transfer the cooked rice to a large, heated serving bowl. Spoon the curry over the rice and serve immediately.

NOTES: This note was at the top of the recipe in the book:
Flavorful, economical, and easy to prepare, curry is one of the most adaptable recipes you'll ever make. It's a fast and easy way to use up leftovers. Meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, just about anything can be used to make curry.

It also give you recipes for the curry powder and chicken stock. I just used some mild curry powder I bought at the store and boullion cubes instead of the stock.

Here is the recipe for Curry powder, I haven't tried it so I can't judge this.


1/4 c ground coriander
2 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground celery seed
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in an airtight container. Shake until all the spices are well blended. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

MY RATING: 4 curries out of 5!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Last nights dinner: Modified Lentil Chili

So guess what, I have still yet to go to the grocery store! Can you say procrastinate?! haha So once again I have ran to the pantry and and came up with something to eat. I used the lentil chili recipe as a reference of sort, I did not by any means follow it to a T. That recipe is here: I also have a bad habit of not measuring a lot of things, so I will do my best to estimate the amounts I used.


1/2 lbs lentils (about 1-1/4 cups)
8 cups of water (estimate)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp onion powder
6 beef bouillon cubes
6-10 small-medium tomatoes (diced)
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
dash ground red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lbs hamburger
1/2 - 1 cup potato flakes (estimate)

First you want to prepare your tomatoes. Some like to scrap the seeds out, I am not one of those people, I think the seeds and juice are the best part! Anyway, get your tomatoes diced and put your lentils on to boil in about 4 cups of water (I put enough water so that where was a bunch of water swimming over the lentils) and add the bouillon cubes. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat and let them simmer for 30 min. Instructions from the above website:
"Place the lentils and the water in a large pot. Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the lentils are simmering gently. Cook for 30 minutes. Do not add the other ingredients until after the lentils have cooked. If the lentils begin to get dry, or if their water boils away then add more water. You want the lentils to remain juicy while they cook".

While your lentils are simmering, brown your hamburger. Make sure you break it up while it is still pink and continue to break it up while it is browning. This way you can have itty bitty pieces of hamburger that doesn't crowd the spoon while your eating.
When the lentils are finished you can add all the other ingredients, including the extra water if needed. That is really up to you, see I just added about 2 cups I think, until it was swimming again.
Allow this to simmer as long as you like. The longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors mix, but be careful because you can simmer all the liquid out of it. I let mine simmer about an hour, then added some potato flakes until it was as thick as I wanted it to be. If you like soupy chili you might want to omit the potato flakes. I then let this cook about 10-15 min longer. This served a small bowl (1 ladel) to my toddler, 4 bowls that held about 3 ladles worth, and 1 two ladle bowl for lunch the next day.

Well, really I have none. I added pretty much all my notes to the instructions since it was such a such a hybrid recipe. But then again, most of my recipes are strange hybrid of other recipes or just what I have in my cabinets close to shopping day!
I will add that you can make any modifications you like. I have found that most chili recipes are just a bunch of random ingredients thrown together with the same bases: beans, beef stock, ground meat, tomatoes, and chili powder. Explore your tastes and have fun with it!
Any even though this may not be the healthiest recipe you will read today, it is homemade, so you know what it in it!

3 lentils out of 5

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last night's dinner: Black Bean Soup

So I got this recipe from ( I've been trying alot of things from there lately. It's a great site with all kinds of tips and recipes, I love it!
Anyway once again I was out of carrots and celery so I altered it a bit. My altercations will be listed at the bottom of the recipe. Maybe tonight I will run to the grocery store!


1 pound dry black beans
3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 to 6 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

This recipe is not hard, but it does take a little bit of time for the beans to cook. In a large pot, soak the beans in 2 quarts of cold water overnight, or in 2 quarts of boiling water for an hour or two. After soaking, or the next day, drain the beans and cover them with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat. You want the beans to simmer gently for most of the cooking process. Cover the pot and simmer the beans for an hour. Add more water if needed, to keep the beans covered.

Taste the beans after an hour and see if they are tender. If they are, then you can add the vegetables now; if not, then let them cook another 30 minutes and try again. When the beans are perfectly tender add the vegetable oil, chopped vegetables and seasonings. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it. Put the lid back on the pot and simmer the soup for another 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. The soup will be rich and dark with vibrant colors from the vegetables peaking through. When everything is tender, it's ready to serve.

Some people mash the beans a little bit to thicken the soup. You may do this or not as you like. I like it with dollops of yogurt on top, but it is also good with a few boiled egg slices decorating the top. Makes 8 to 10 servings

I left out the carrots and celery and replaced them with a can of corn. We usually don't do canned stuff unless I know who canned it but that is all we had. I also replaced the vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil and put somewhere between 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of dried parsley flakes in it. I didn't try it with the yougart or the eggs and I didn't smash it up either, but it turned out great anyway! Unfortuately I didn't get a pic of it, but it did make for some great lunch the next day!

MY RATING: 5 black beans out of 5 black beans!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last nights dinner: Cream of Potato Soup

We are in dire need of a trip to the grocery store so our options for dinner are very limited. I wasn't feeling well yesterday and was busy chasing around a naked toddler (yay potty training/learning!). This caused me to forget to soak some beans for dinner. So I decided to make some pototo soup. Unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients for my mother-in-law's recipe, so I made my own with what I had. Here is the recipe, other notes will follow.



6 medium red potatoes
6 chicken buillon cubes
5-6 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

Rinse and chop potatoes into 1/2 - 1/4 inch cubes and place in hot water with the buillon cubes. Bring to a boil over med. high to high heat. While the potatoes are cooking melt butter in a sauce pan. Using a fork or a whisk to stir in flour, gradually. Make sure this stays smooth. Slowly add milk to the butter and flour mixture, making sure it does not become lumpy. If you are using a whisk you should be able to go a little bit faster. When all the milk is in and the mixture is smooth stir in salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring this to a boil and stir constantly. Allow this mixture to boil for a full minute. Now remove this sauce from heat. I like to allow this to sit for just a minute.
Check to see that the potatoes are tender. If they are, add the cream sauce to the potatoes. Bring to a boil and serve warm! This serves about 4-6 people.

To make soup a bit thicker, stir in shedded cheese just before serving or plain yougart for a tangy twist. You can also throw in some chopped carrots and celery for added vitamins and minerals, I didn't only because I didn't have any.

I like to use one of those vidalia onion chopper things to chop up the potatoes. This makes them a great size for kids/toddlers and they cook quicker when they are smaller!

The cream sauce part comes from the Creamed tuna and peas recipe on (

I'm not really positive about the serving, but my husband had 2 bowls, I had 4 (2 at dinner and 2 after the girls went to bed, man that makes me sound like a pig!), my daughter had 1 and my toddler had a very small bowl, plus there is one bowl left over for my lunch today! It just depends on how big your bowl is!

Chicken stock/broth for the bouillon cubes and water
Margerine/oleo/whatever for the butter
Almost any type of potato will work, whatever you have on hand
All-purpose flour for the whole wheat flour

Seeing as how I had no milk or sugar, I made some milk from some non-fat dry milk I had in the cabinet. This is a great thing to keep around for when you do run out of milk! And instead of 1 tsp of sugar I used 1/2 tsp fructose that I had in the cabinet.

If you eat no processed foods then you can make your own broth/stock or even your own bouillon cubes, but that is another blog for another time!

MY RATING: 5 out of 5 potatoes!