Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 #2

Thanksgiving Dinner #2 had seven guests but we ended up with about twice as much food as we had for ten guests on Tuesday!

Scott made the turkey (his third in the last week) and I made yet another batch of Quadruple Bypass Mashed Potatoes (although they were technically Triple Bypass because I didn't have sour cream).

Here's the menu in total:

Roast Turkey
Turkey Gravy
Deli Ham
Cranberry sauce (home made whole berry AND canned jellied)
Brussels Sprouts w/ Bacon & Cream (and a bowl of Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ no bacon for me)
Sweet Potatoes w/ Marshmallows (and a small container without for me)
Mashed Cauliflower 
Green Bean Casserole
Deviled Eggs
Red Velvet Cake

Shiitake and Sourdough Stuffing

I wanted to have stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner this year but really didn't want to venture out into the chaos of grocery stores in the days immediately preceding the holiday.

I checked out what all we had in the house and decided I could make a go of it without trekking to the store.

Here's how it went down.

Reese's Shiitake & Sourdough Stuffing:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tbs butter or margarine (I used Smart Balance)
add 1 large yellow onion, diced
and a pinch of kosher salt

As onions start to soften, add
2oz dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated according to package directions (makes about 3-4 cups rehydrated) - reserve liquid when draining
pinch of kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2 tbs organic dried sage
1 tbs organic dried thyme

Dissolve 1 tbs McKay's Chicken Seasoning into 1 3/4 cups mushroom liquid, add to pan cook another 5 minutes.

1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into slices lay in single layer on cookie sheet bake 10-15 350F
slice into 1/2" to 1" pieces, place in large mixing bowl. Pour mushroom/onion mixture over bread, toss to combine evenly and pour/spoon into large baking dish.

Bake covered at 350F for 45 minutes, then uncover & cook for 20 minutes more or until browned.


I grew up eating apple crisp made by my Mother on select weekends and special occasions. I always loved the sweet, crumbly topping better than the apples when I was young, but as an adult I can appreciate the tartness of the apples as a complement.

Somewhere I have her recipe, but I haven't been able to find it for some time. This is what I came up with last year and it works well enough to satisfy my memory!

Reese's Apple Crisp 

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Krusteaz Gingerbread mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 5 large honeycrisp apples, peeled and chopped into approximately 1" pieces
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tbs vanilla
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs butterscotch schnapps
  • 2 tbs Ellie Bluebell Bourbon Vanilla Bean Sugar
  • (I also added about 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg)
  • In a small mixing bowl combine all dry topping ingredients. 
  • Once butter/margarine is room temperature, cut into dry mixture with fork or pastry cutter.
  • Spread apple slices over bottom of 9"x12" baking dish.
  • Combine filling wet ingredients and pour over apples, tossing to coat
  • Combine filling dry ingredients and sprinkle over apples, tossing to coat
  • Bake at 350F until topping is golden, about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 #1

We are having multiple Thanksgiving dinners this year (seems to be a trend).

Our first was last night and we had 10 people total. It was a group effort and everyone contributed to create a wonderful meal.

The menu:
Turkey Gravy
Quadruple Bypass Mashed Potatoes
*Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
*Quinoa with Roasted Mushrooms
*Sparkling Apple Cider 
Ginger-Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

*Cranberry Sauce (by Kelly)

1 bag of cranberries
2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
Siimmered for 20 minutes-ish

*Quinoa with Roasted Mushrooms
Make quinoa as directed
Sprayed mushrooms with olive oil and roast with dried thyme, salt & pepper 
Toast walnuts 
Combine and toss with Red Wine Vinegar and salt & pepper to taste

*Sparkling Apple Cider (my changes)
Four cans frozen apple juice concentrate
1 1/2 cans cold water
5 or 6 cinnamon sticks, a couple of dashes of ground cinnamon
1 honeycrisp apple sliced thin
2 liters club soda added just before serving 
(served over ice)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Two-Ingredient Sugar Free Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

As usual, I came across an interesting pin on Pinterest that looked both delicious AND easy. I decided to try it out to take to a party this evening, but the host is diabetic so I wanted to try to make it a little more diabetic friendly.

The original recipe called for "a" cake mix, she used a yellow cake mix. The blog that the pin came from used a yellow cake mix with Pudding In The Mix!!.

I found a sugar free yellow cake mix the same brand the other bloggers used, and I grabbed a box of sugar free cook-n-serve vanilla pudding out of the cupboard. The glaze is NOT sugar free, but at least you can control how much glaze you get, if you want to.

Here's how I made it, today:

Two-Ingredient Sugar Free Pumpkin Cake
  • Pillsbury Moist Supreme Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix 16oz
  • 15 oz can 100% pumpkin- puree, (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix cake mix with pumpkin filling using a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 inch baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes (start checking at 25 minutes) or until tooth pick comes out clean. (If you bake in a shallower, longer pan it will not take as long to bake through) Do not overbake! 

Cool partially before glazing, the hotter the cake the more the glaze will soak into it. Serves 9 or 16 depending on how you cut the slices. :)

Apple Cider Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T. apple cider
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
In a small bowl blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour some glaze over Pumpkin Cake letting it drizzle down the sides of the cake, reserve the rest for serving. Let set before covering. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quinoa and Brown Rice Nachos

One of our many go-to dinners around here is nachos. We usually have everything on hand, and lately we've had some microwave pouches of brown rice and quinoa from Costco that I'm putting in to all kinds of things.

I've started substituting greek style plain yogurt for sour cream in dishes as well, so this recipe is not too terrible for you!

I've listed how we made them tonight, but you can add your favorite toppings or take away whatever you don't like!

Quinoa and Brown Rice Nachos

  • Tostitos multi-grain scoops
  • 1 can Black Beans 
  • Seeds of Change Brown Rice and Quinoa
  • Shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • Greek-style plain yogurt
  • Guacamole (ours had fresh cilantro, tomatoes, and onions in it, so I didn't add those things separately on top)
  • Black olives, chopped

Place a layer of parchment paper in the bottom of a small/medium cookie sheet. Spread chips out in a layer without a lot of overlap (the more you overlap your chips, the more likely you are to find "bald" nachos later!).  I used about three handfuls of chips for two people.

Spoon black beans over the chips, try to get a few beans on each chip.  

Squeeze the package of brown rice and quinoa to break up any lumps, partially tear open and cook in microwave (in package) for 90 seconds. Spoon brown rice and quinoa over chips and beans evenly.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over chips, beans, etc. and place in oven on broil just until the cheese is melted (the brown rice and quinoa will be hot still, so it won't take long for the cheese to melt).

Once cheese is melted, remove pan from oven and add remainder of toppings as you like.  


Friday, July 20, 2012

Ginger Stir Fry with Brown Rice and Quinoa

This recipe can barely be called a recipe, it's so easy.

I like to send reasonably healthy food with my husband to work, many times it is easiest to make it the day/night before and send it as leftovers.

Tonight I wanted to use up some veggies that would probably be considered "expired" within a couple of days, so I pulled out what I had in the veggie drawer.

Ginger Stir Fry with Brown Rice and Quinoa

  • 1-3 tbs olive oil (depending on your pan - a really nice pan shouldn't need much at all!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced as small as you have patience for
  • 1 1/2 cups (approx) chopped white mushrooms
  • 3-4 red/yellow/orange mini sweet peppers (I get mine in a big bag at Costco), chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise down the middle, then into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow crookneck squash, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • pinch sea salt (I used to say kosher salt but apparently they are selling it under the name "sea salt" now)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1-3 tbs Tonton Ginger Japanese Dressing/Marinade (I got a 34oz bottle at Costco for $5!)
  • 1 pouch Seeds of Change organic brown rice & quinoa

In a medium sauce/frying pan over medium/low heat (about 3-4 on our stove), heat olive oil and garlic. Once oil is hot, add mushrooms and toss gently to combine mushrooms with garlic and oil.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add peppers and toss gently to combine, cover and cook until mushrooms and peppers are starting to soften, stirring periodically.

Add salt, red pepper flakes, zucchini and squash. Cover and cook until vegetables reach desired tenderness

While veggies are cooking, follow directions on brown rice and quinoa pouch (squeeze packet to break up contents, open top partially, microwave for 90 seconds).

Add ginger dressing/marinade to vegetable mixture, cook just long enough to heat through if your sauce came straight out of the fridge.

Remove pan from heat, dump in the rice/quinoa and toss to combine. My husband added a sliced up grilled chicken breast on his and we both called it delicious!

Friday, April 27, 2012

No-Crab Rangoon

I love cream cheese in most forms.

I AM a vegetarian, but I've been known to eat imitation crab in a Crab Puff aka Crab Rangoon.

Tonight I made up a batch since we have a house-guest and were eating dinner somewhat tapas style.

These were super easy and SO tasty.

No-Crab Rangoon
Oil for frying (I used vegetable oil, you have to adjust the temperature pretty much the whole time to keep it from overheating, but it's a good flavor)
Won ton wrappers
1 pkg Cream cheese (I use neufchatel cheese)
1 tbs Homeward Bound SnapDragon hot sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tbs chopped fresh chives
warm water in a small bowl or dish

Place a small to medium sized pot on medium heat and add oil. Cover, but check the temperature every few minutes by dropping a small piece of wonton into the pot. If it just sinks to the bottom, the oil is not hot enough yet. The oil is the right temperature when the piece of wonton bubbles and starts to float.

While the oil is heating, place cream cheese or neufchatel cheese into a microwave-safe bowl, microwave just until soft (35 to 45 seconds should do it).  Stir in hot sauce, garlic salt, and chives.

Lay individual won ton wrappers out on a clean, flat surface and place about a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture in the center.  Wet your finger with the warm water and wet two edges of the wrapper, folding it into a triangle and press sides together to seal.

Once oil is hot, drop wontons in. The wontons will start to bubble and brown. After about a minute, use tongs to flip the wontons over so they brown evenly.

As they start to turn golden brown pull them out and place on paper towels to dry.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Massaman Curry

Our cupboards are close to bare, as it is the last few days before payday.

I was feeling creative and cruising around on Pinterest, when I came across this pin. It inspired me to want a curry-type noodle dish, but I don't have curry paste hanging around, so I looked up curry paste which then led me to a Massaman Curry recipe.  

I had most of the ingredients so I figured I'd give it a whirl and see how close I could get.  I had no potatoes, (I know, traditional Massaman pretty much always HAS potatoes) so I added some broccoli, carrots and green beans in addition to the noodles to make it go a little further.

Reese's Massaman-ish Curry with Tofu & Veggies
  • 1 to 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili paste
  • 1 tsp cilantro paste 
  • 1/2 cube Not Chik'n boullion dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 3 bay leaves (from Ellie Bluebell)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 chopped dry roasted cashews
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp fine ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cut in 1" chunks
  • 1 13.5oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp Homeward Bound PunJab Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup frozen "cross-cut" carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 3-4 large stalks broccoli, cut into whatever size you like
  • 1/2 pkg Japanese Udon noodles
  • 1 pkg Ramen noodles 
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat a wok, large frying pan, or soup-type pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil and swirl around, then add the garlic, chili paste, and cilantro paste. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes to release the fragrance.

Add the boullion, bay leaves, turmeric, chopped cashews, cumin, black pepper, lime juice, and sugar. Stir and bring to a light boil.

Add the tofu, stirring to coat with the spicy liquid, then add the coconut milk and PunJab. Stir and bring back up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, or just until you get a good simmer.

Simmer 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, add Udon noodles, separate so they don't stick together, and cover.

Simmer another 8 minutes, add Ramen noodles, broken up into quarters. 

Simmer another 2 minutes, add carrots, broccoli and final 1/2 cup of water, stir, cover and simmer until veggies are tender.

Add a handful more cashews and fold in. Transfer to a serving bowl, or plate up on individual plates or bowls. 

(This picture's lighting/color is weird... but it tastes fantastic!)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Reese's Carrot Cake & Cream Cheese SnapDragon Frosting

Growing up, the idea of carrot cake seemed weird to me. Why would you put vegetables in a dessert!? Likewise the idea of zucchini bread, etc.

Then I HAD a good carrot cake, with a delicious cream-cheese frosting (really, what ISN'T good with cream cheese?).

Scott cooked for a Men's Retreat put on by our church last weekend, and part of his menu was our quickly-becoming-infamous Cumin Roasted Carrots. Apparently there were some miscalculations in the quantities and he came home with two 3lb bags of baby carrots and 5 1lb bags of whole large carrots.

I roasted all of the baby carrots over a couple of days, and decided to use a couple of bags of the large carrots in a carrot cake. I am not much of a baker, I can make some decent cookies and can whip up anything from a mix without screwing it up, but baking requires a lot more attention to detail than regular cooking.

I googled Carrot Cake recipes and read through a few, deciding that while I didn't have everything for any one of the recipes, I had various bits of several of them, and might be able to put something together.

I based it primarily on this recipe, although I consulted this one and this one as well. Buttermilk is not something we stock in our fridge, so I used a combination of sour cream and milk for that ingredient. I also didn't have any canola oil, so I substituted applesauce. I don't have anything against raisins in general, but I don't like them in my baked goods, so I got crazy and substituted white chocolate chips (thanks Jess!) for those.

True to my adventurous (in cooking) nature, I had to put a little hot sauce in somewhere. I chose not to put it into the cake, but I snuck a teeny tiny bit into the frosting.

Reese's Carrot Cake with SnapDragon Cream-Cheese Frosting
  • 3 cups self-rising flour (I use Gold Medal brand)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups Splenda
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 2/3 cup or about 7oz mandarin oranges, drained & whizzed in mini food-processor just until broken down
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2lbs carrots, washed, peeled & grated in food processor
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped fine
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • Canola oil spray

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, whisk together gently and set aside.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine eggs, Splenda, brown sugar, sour cream, milk, vanilla, oranges and applesauce. Whisk together just until combined and the big chunks of sour cream are broken up small.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture two cups at a time, stirring in between until all combined.

Add carrots, nuts and white chocolate chips, stirring to combine well.

Spoon batter into three round cake tins that have been sprayed with canola oil, bake on the middle rack of oven for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick poked in the center of each cake comes out clean. If your oven does not cook evenly, you may have to let one cake cook longer than another.

Remove cakes from oven and set on a cooling rack in their tins to cool for at least 30 minutes, then invert tins and continue to cool cakes upside-down on racks. You may need to run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake a little.

Once cakes are COMPLETELY cooled, you can frost them. (This was always the hardest part for me growing up, I never wanted to wait! If you try to frost before the cake has cooled, your frosting starts to melt and it is a lot harder! Granted, that is less true with cream cheese frosting, but still true!)

Cream Cheese SnapDragon Frosting

  • 24oz (3 pkgs) cream cheese, softened 
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 2 tsp Homeward Bound SnapDragon Hot Sauce*
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar to taste

(Note: I left the cream cheese and butter in a bowl out on the counter overnight to soften - I covered it with plastic wrap and it was the PERFECT consistency the next morning)
Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. 

Add extracts and hot sauce and beat just until incorporated. 

Beat in sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting has the flavor and consistency you want. You may not need to add all of the sugar.

*(The hot sauce in the frosting is something you only notice a little bit after you've eaten it. It just warms up the back and sides of your tongue enough to make you say "hey, what's in that?")

I don't own a cake plate, and the only lazy susan I have is two-tiered and holds our vitamins in a corner of the kitchen countertop.

I cleared the stuff off the top of the lazy susan, covered a large sturdy plastic lid (to a large mixing bowl) with tin foil and placed it on the top tier of the lazy susan. It was a perfect size.

I REALLY recommend using a lazy susan to frost your cake - being able to turn it with one hand and apply frosting with the other is made MUCH easier.

This is the first cake that I have made from scratch EVER, and I'm amazed at how it came out. The consistency is dense and a little chewy, which "traditional" carrot cake is supposed to be. I'm very happy with all of the flavors in the cake AND the frosting. I am obviously not too talented at the decorating part, I know it's a little lopsided and the frosting is uneven, I also didn't have any food coloring to create carrot shapes on top, so I wrote "I AM CARROT CAKE" on top instead. (Jess said when she saw it she heard "HEAR ME ROAR" after...

Extra thanks to Jess for loaning me her cake pans and suggesting the white chocolate chips!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hot Tip #6

Probably not news to most, but hot sauce is GREAT on eggs! 

Scrambled, baked, fried, and even in deviled eggs!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Comfort Food: Spaghetti Squash!

There are few comfort foods I love more than a good boxed pasta dinner.  Since we are trying to eat at least moderately healthfully, I've been making a lot of spaghetti squash lately (you may have noticed!)

Tonight's rendition reminds me of a Hamburger Helper kind of thing, but it's vegetarian and there's WAY less carbs.  In true Hamburger Helper/Boxed Dinner style, it's not pretty, but it's good! I prettied up the plate with some roasted carrots, roasted broccoli, and tahini-yogurt dip.

Boxed Dinner Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half lengthwise, spray cut-side with olive oil, and place cut-side down on a cooking sheet (I use parchment). Bake for about 35-40 minutes depending on size of squash.  After 20 minutes of cooking, pierce each half a few times with a fork. Squash is done when it is fork tender - turn cut-side up and let cool until you can handle it with your hand or at least a hot-pad.

Spray a large frying pan with olive oil (or use a tablespoon of olive oil if you don't have a sprayer) and heat on medium. Once heated, add mushrooms and balsamic vinegar.

If the burger crumbles are thawed, add them to the pan when the mushrooms are almost done, cook long enough to brown the crumbles a little, turn off heat.

In a food processor, mini food processor, or blender, combine fresh herbs, garlic, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Whiz/Blend to make a paste, add to mushroom/burger crumbles in pan and stir to combine.

Use a fork to scrape squash out of it's shell into the pan, stir to combine. If squash is cooled significantly, you can turn the heat back up to med/low. 

Add marinara and hot sauce, salt to taste and heat through if not hot.  (I added a little dried parsley and seasoning salt because the marinara I used was a generic store brand and pretty bland.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Easy Egg Bake!

I know not everyone likes or eats eggs, but for those that DO, this is an easy dish to throw together for breakfast or brunch!

We started with this recipe and went from there. You can substitute the cheese/vegetable/hot sauce choices to customize the overall flavor and feel of the dish. Today we used what we had on hand (provolone and mushrooms), but great combos would be:

Mexican blend cheese, tomatoes, green onions, SparkPlug or PattyCake
Feta cheese, tomatoes, finely diced basil and mint, SnapDragon

Scott & Reese's Egg Bake
  • Corn chips (enough to cover the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish) - use pita chips if using feta cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) can mild diced green chiles
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sliced or diced fresh vegetable of choice 
  • 1/2 tbs Homeward Bound Hot Sauce of choice
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan with olive oil or Canola cooking spray.

Pour chips into baking dish and crush to make a sort of crust in the bottom of the dish.

Pour green chilis over the chips, then layer the cheese over the chilis and the veggies over the cheese.

Lightly whisk eggs, add a pinch of kosher salt, a few twists of black pepper, and Homeward Bound Hot Sauce of choice. Stir to combine and pour over veggies, etc. in baking dish.

Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes. Edges will brown and veggies will float to the top, cheese will bubble. If you use tomatoes or mushrooms, they will juice a little - just make sure your eggs are cooked through before serving.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hot Tip #5

When roasting vegetables, add a little Homeward Bound Hot Sauce into the olive oil mixture! Add more or less based on how much ZING you want!

We put a little Drunk Uncle in our carrots...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

People We Love... Not Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

We have lots of foodie friends, some I've never met in person!

My friend Jill is a Copy Editor, Mom, and guest-writer for The Orange County Register.  A mutual friend introduced us through our blogs several years ago (like maybe FIVE years?!) and while we've never met, we have grown to have a mutual appreciation of each other's lives and interests (cooking, crafting, and cats!).

Jill frequently comes up with brilliant recipes that are often easy to transpose into a vegetarian version (if they aren't vegetarian already) and are always delicious!

Here's her latest - a pureed soup that looks like tomato soup, but isn't! It looks and sounds absolutely amazing and we will be trying it, soon!

Go check her out!

Photo by Jill L. Reed

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cucumber Salad - Tzatziki Style

I love middle eastern food.

During the spring and summer we eat it more often and I often make a cucumber salad that borders on being a Tzatziki. It is best when made ahead and allowed to sit in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. I like it chunky and very garlicky, Scott likes it a little more smooth and dip-like, with less garlic. I will sometimes whiz half of it in the blender or food processor and add it back in.

Reese's Cucumber Salad - Tzatziki Style

  • 2 cucumbers, rinsed, peeled and cut into 1/4" chunks
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt (Greek style is best)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
Combine all in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for a few hours. Great by itself as a salad with bigger chunks of cucumber, great as a condiment on pita sandwiches when made as a dip.

Roasted Broccoli with Flax Seed

I had some broccoli crowns in the fridge and didn't want to waste them (I get bored with steamed broccoli, didn't want to do "with cheese") so I was going to make Alton Brown's Roasted Broccoli recipe. Then I discovered I'm out of bread crumbs/panko.

So I made it up as I went along.

Reese's Roasted Broccoli with Flax Seed and Garlic

  • 2 large broccoli crowns, cut into manageable "trees" (between 1"-3")
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (if you want to go Vegan, substitute Nutritional Yeast for the Parmesan and cut out the salt)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine everything but the broccoli in a mixing bowl, combine well. Add broccoli and smear olive oil mixture over broccoli while tossing (I used a big spatula) to coat.

Roast for 8-10 minutes.

Hot Tip #4

(courtesy Brian Edwards)

For a killer shot, mix 1 part Dr Pepper with 1 part SnapDragon. Throw it back and love it. Add additional liquids (leaded or otherwise) as you wish.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hot Tip #3

I cannot eat a piece of pizza anymore without putting hot sauce on it!

The best are SnapDragon and Drunk Uncle!

Pour a quarter size of sauce onto your plate and dip a few bites... TASTY!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hot Tip #2

If a recipe calls for Crushed Red Pepper, or Red Pepper Flakes, substitute SparkPlug in your recipe! A whole new depth of flavor!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Stuff

After a successful first attempt at Spaghetti Squash, I followed it up a few days ago with this recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms.

Tonight I'm kind of doing a combo of the two but adding some asparagus and roasting some garlic with the squash as an experiment.

A lot of recipes I see for spaghetti squash include parmesan cheese, since we try to be low-cal/low-fat we either omit it or just grate a little over the top at the end.

Reese's Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Stuff

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • olive oil (in a sprayer)
  • 1 tbs olive oil (or more depending on your pan)
  • 6oz mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed* and sliced into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 jar marinara sauce of choice (I used Newman's Own Sockarooni)
  • 2 Field Roast Italian Sausages, sliced on the diagonal into 1" slices

  • Homeward Bound SparkPlug Hot Sauce
  • Parmesan cheese (optional) for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and discard them. Spray cut side with olive oil and place four cloves of garlic in each hollow, flip to place cut-side down in a baking dish or cookie sheet (I put parchment down to save on cleanup) so that garlic is underneath the squash while it cooks.

Bake for about 30 minutes, squash is done when fork-tender. Flip squash cut-side up and let cool. (Transfer roasted garlic to your pan during the asparagus section.)

While squash is roasting, collect and prepare the remainder of the ingredients. 

With about 10 minutes left on the timer for the squash: In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and add mushrooms, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a twist of pepper. As mushrooms start to get juicy, add asparagus and cover (add roasted garlic now), allow to cook for about 10 minutes (on about medium/low - my burner was at about 3.5), stirring periodically. (Depending on your pan, you may need to add a little olive oil - I gave the asparagus a light spray.)

Once the mushrooms and asparagus are mostly cooked (but not quite all the way), lower heat. 

Scrape the squash into the pan with the mushrooms, asparagus and garlic and stir to combine. Add spaghetti sauce and raise heat a bit to heat through if necessary (my squash and pan were both still hot enough to counteract the temp of the sauce coming out of the jar).

If you like things a little spicy, add about a tablespoon of Homeward Bound SparkPlug (I would stir it into the sauce before adding the sauce to the veggies).

*I was told by my Mother once that asparagus will snap naturally in the place where it becomes less fibrous, so by snapping each piece individually you won't end up with pieces of asparagus that are too hard to chew.  It may seem like you are wasting more this way, but you don't eat the non-chewable parts anyway so this way you are throwing them away at the beginning instead of the end when they are left on your plate!

Hot Tip #1

Starting today - we will periodically be giving "Hot Tips" on ways to use your Homeward Bound Hot Sauce!

Tip #1: French Fry Sauce
1 tbs mayo (or vegenaise if vegan)
1 tsp mustard
1 tbs Homeward Bound GunSmoke BBQ Sauce
1 tsp Homeward Bound PattyCake

Mix well, dip fries and enjoy! Mmmmmm.... TASTY.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reese's Potato Soup

Scott and I are both on crazy diets right now - two separate ones! We're crazy! He's doing the "Paleo" diet, and I am attempting to go Gluten free to see if it helps with some symptoms I've been having for a long time.

I was in the mood for potatoes all day and decided to make a potato soup, but one that isn't so heavy as a potato-cheese soup. Don't be mistaken, I'll still grate a little cheddar over the top, but I'm hoping to make it a little lower fat.

A lot of soups and gravies start with a roux of butter and flour, since I'm trying to avoid flour right now I can't do that, so I decided to bulk it up a little with more celery and I used neufchatel cheese instead of the milk and cream.

I started with this recipe and then changed it up.

 (sorry my picture is sideways)
Reese's Potato Soup
  • 4 tbs (1/2 stick) Smart Balance w/ Olive Oil  (or butter)
  • 3 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cubes Not Chik'n bouillon cubes
  • 4 med/lg baking potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 pkg Neufchatel cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • In a large pot on med/low heat, melt margarine/butter. Add celery, onion, garlic and salt, and saute until onions are starting to turn clear.
  • Raise heat to medium and add water and bouillon cubes and stir to dissolve.
  • Once it reaches a simmer, add potatoes and continue to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. 
  • Turn heat to low and use a potato masher (I use a silicon one so it doesn't wreck the bottom of the pot) to mash up the potatoes. 
  • Add Neufchatel cheese and stir until melted.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, serve with diced green onion or chives, and a little shredded cheddar cheese.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Other People's Ideas

I've been trying new things as much as possible lately, trying to get healthy food into Scott isn't always easy to do without him getting bored.

Pinterest is great for ideas, and I have made several recipes that I found there recently.

The first one is a Creamy Avocado Pasta - it's basically an avocado-pesto but it's got a great complex flavor. It was easy and fast and is very tasty hot OR cold as leftovers! I didn't have a lime, so I skipped the zest part and used about 2 tbs of lime juice.  I served it with Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta instead of whole wheat pasta.

The second is Roasted Broccoli by Alton Brown. This was faster than most vegetable roasting, only about 12 minutes of total oven time. Next time I will spread the panko out better and stir it part way through, the crumbs around the edges of the pile got a little too brown and the ones in the middle didn't really brown at all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reese's Corn & Black Bean Salsa

An easy meal at our house is burritos/tacos/taco salad. It's reasonably fast, and a tasty and easy way to get fresh veggies and some good protein.

We'll often make guacamole or salsa to go with it, today I decided to make a corn and black bean salsa. I based it roughly on this recipe, but it's a little bit different in quantities (and mine has no green onion).

It went together pretty quick and sat (covered) in the fridge while I was preparing the other ingredients for our burritos.

Reese's Corn & Black Bean Salsa
  • 2 cups frozen yellow corn
  • 1 15oz can black beans (I grabbed the ones with the least amount of sodium and sugar I could find)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium jalapeno, diced small (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (or salt to taste)
  • a grind or two of black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. EAT!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake

I bought a Spaghetti Squash a few days ago and decided I had better do something with it before it goes bad. 

On Pinterest I routinely find a plethora of gorgeous recipes. That may sound wrong, but since Pinterest is all photo-based, any link or "pin" to anything is attached to a photo on that page. 

I'm not saying this picture is anything particularly gorgeous, in fact, if I had thought about plating it would probably look significantly different...but I was starving and we're lucky I remembered to take a picture at all!

I consulted several different recipes for Spaghetti Squash that I found on Pinterest, and then came up with my own.

Reese's Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake
  • Medium sized spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and discard them. Place cut-side down in a baking dish or cookie sheet (I put parchment down to save on cleanup) and stab with a fork a few times in each half.

Bake for about 30 minutes, squash is done when fork-tender. Flip squash cut-side up and let cool while you prepare the sauce.

Browned Butter Sauce:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tbs dried organic sage
  • 1/2 large shallot finely diced

In a small sauce pan on low heat, melt the butter (you may not need an entire stick, but I would make the whole thing and then you don't have to use all of the sauce if you don't want/need to).

Turn heat up to med/low, when butter starts to foam add sage and shallots, continue to brown for a few minutes until shallots are cooked, remove from heat.

Once squash is cooled, use a fork and scrape the squash flesh into a medium sized mixing bowl. It will automatically come out in spaghetti-like pieces (so cool!).  

Pour browned butter sauce over squash and stir to combine. 

Add the following to the bowl, stirring to combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Spoon mixture into a baking dish (I used a 9"x9") and bake at 300F for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and top starts to brown.

Serve with pieces of fresh tomato and ground black pepper on top.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Italian Lentil Soup

I have intended to make this soup for over a week, now. Various life things (including lack of motivation) have hindered my progress.

I am committing to making it today, before my ingredients rot! I will add pics after I make it.

I got this recipe from my Mom, who got it from a family friend.

Italian Lentil Soup
Serves 5-10

  •  Olive oil to coat bottom of pan (can be minimal or up to ½ cup)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • ½ to 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1-3 carrots, diced (be sure they’re not strong or bitter)

Sauté til onions are soft, stirring occasionally.  

  • 2 15-oz. cans tomatoes 
  • 5 cans water
  • 2 cups raw lentils (washed)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste

Cook approximately 1 ½  hours.  Add:

  • 1 ½ tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Cook 15 minutes; then blend about 1/3 of the soup.
Add :
  • Chopped parsley (I use about ¼ cup)

Top each bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Things I want to try...

Have you heard of Pinterest? It's another fabulous time-suck, like Facebook (and blogging?)... but I rationalize my time spent there with the excuse that there are LOTS of great recipes and money-saving DIY projects.

There are many recipes that just look good, but many that I want to actually try in the near future, and a few NOT on Pinterest that I've been wanting to make for the last week and haven't gotten around to!

Cheesy Garlic Bread - from Pinterest, I'm not sure what the mayo does for it, but the picture sure looks tasty!

Cauliflower Steaks (the person that shared this recipe with me substituted capers for the olives, because her significant other detests olives... as does Scott)

Italian Lentil Soup - I've been meaning to make this for a long time.

Black Bean, Veggie & Brown Rice Salad w/ Spicy Lime Vinaigrette - sounds tasty (minus the bacon, for me)!

Quinoa Black Bean Salad w/ Lime Vinaigrette - probably similar flavors, but I've had some quinoa I need to make for several months.

Recipes for Lasagna Cups and Lasagna Soup both sound interesting...

Jalapeno & Cream Cheese Pinwheels - I've already made these, SEVERAL times, and they are easy and tasty. Not too healthy, but good. The first time out I used Splenda instead of sugar and halved the amount. The next two times I didn't sweeten it at all but we spread a little bit of jalapeno jelly on them before eating and THAT was fabulous.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad sounds tasty, a twist on a Caprese kind of thing.

Martha has made some mistakes in her life, but her Stuffed Poblanos look DELICIOUS and pretty simple, too.

I'm going to make a version of this Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich for lunch before I get started making the soup...

AND... this recipe I chose based SOLELY on the picture. I love bread. I love cream cheese. How can you lose?