Friday, November 30, 2007

Simple comfort food
--Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs
Our Favorite Meats Favorites From Home Economics Teachers Copyright MCMLXVI

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. minced onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp. parsley flakes
1 can cream of mushroom soup I used the low-fat version
½ soup can water
1 to 2 tbsp. minced dill pickle
Cooked rice

Mix beef, bread crumbs, onion and parsley (I added salt and pepper); shape into 24 meatballs. Brown meat balls; pour off drippings. Stir in soup, water and pickle. Cover; cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often. Serve with rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

I chose this recipe for the simplicity. The only thing that I needed to buy to make it was the soup. Recipes like this are a crapshoot but luckily this one was a winner in this house. I'm always pleased when my son likes something, not that he's terribly picky.

I made the meatballs in the morning before work and then I just cooked them up when I got home. I think making them ahead of time, even when you don't cook them ahead of time, gives them better flavor. I thought these might be a bit one-dimensional but once the meatballs simmered in the sauce, it developed a lot of flavor. I liked the addition of the minced pickle. It added a bit of a tart little kick.

My grocery bill is creeping up again. It's like falling off of a diet. I just got tired of depriving myself and my family. It still better than it was but I have to buckle down again.

Blast From The Past: Sweet-Sour Meatballs from November 2005. I've been meaning to make these again. My husband really liked them.

Question of the Day: What are some 'extras' or 'treats' that you like to toss into your grocery cart?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A quick one
--Spicy Mayonnaise

Spicy Mayonnaise
Salads A Recipe Book by Heinz Copyright 1956

Blend ½ cup Mayonnaise, ¼ cup Heinz Tomato Ketchup and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Chill. Makes ¾ cup.


I won't sugarcoat this - I was being lazy. Well, not lazy exactly but I realized that I didn't have anything to post for today. For dinner, I freestyled some pork with my homemade red onion marmalade again. I had no new recipe to share. I warned you that this month was going to be tough.

The blend of tomato and ginger really appeals to me. This was pleasant, although I think it could have been kicked up a notch, maybe by using chili sauce instead of ketchup.

This little promotional cookbook has a few decent sounding salads which is rare in an older salad book. I don't know why but most 'vintage' salad recipes just don't appeal to me. There are usually plenty of congealed salads and odd combinations which this book has it's share of but there are quite a few other recipes that actually appeal to me.

I'm going to have to make this brief or next week is going to be even more lame since I need to plan my menu for next week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The roll recipe I've been looking for
--Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls

Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls
The Ugly Binder, from

1 1/4 cups warm milk
1 egg, beaten I used egg substitute
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press start.
When dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out 3/4 inch thick. Cut out rolls with a 3 to 4 inch diameter biscuit cutter. I made two sizes, bigger and smaller dinner roll sized. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets; cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. When rolls are finished baking, brush with melted butter.

This recipe was from I'm sure I have hundreds of dinner roll recipes in my cookbooks but I've seen this one raved about and I didn't have time to mess around. I thought the rolls could use a tad more salt but otherwise, I'm already thinking about making another batch of these rolls. This was the kind of roll I've been looking for. It was soft and a bit sweet.

I had to divide the recipe into two halves since I could only fit half of the recipe in each side of my dual bread machine. That is one nice thing about - they'll do the math for you. It worked out fine. I used egg substitute since I needed to use 1/2 of an egg on each side.

I finally cooked last night. I freestyled some flounder. I topped it with breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter and Old Bay, then I sprinkled on some fresh lemon juice before serving. It was so good! I always forget about Old Bay even though my husband eats it on lots of things. I always found it to be too salty but I started buying the lower sodium version.

Of course, I served the flounder with Spongebob and Scooby Doo Kraft mac and cheese LOL. My son liked that and so did I honestly. That's one of the few convenience foods from my childhood that still tastes good for me.

Blast From The Past: Skillet Chicken Parmigiana from May 2007. I was supposed to make that again this week but it's going to get pushed off until next week. I wish it wasn't though because I'm really looking forward to it.

Question of the Day: Do you like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?

Extreme chocolate
--Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Coffee Mascarpone Cream

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Coffee
Mascarpone Cream

Food & Wine An Entire Year of Recipes 2004

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 large egg, beaten

1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure coffee extract (see Note)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1. MAKE THE TART SHELL: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the confectioners' sugar and salt. Add the butter and egg yolk and process until a soft, crumbly dough forms. Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Pat the dough over the bottom and up the side of the pan in an even layer. Refrigerate until firm.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the shell for 30 minutes, or until golden around the edge and dry in the center. Remove the parchment and weights and cover the rim with foil. Continue to bake the shell for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a rack; let cool.

3. MAKE THE FILLING: In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the milk over moderate heat until small bubbles appear around the edges. Off the heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg; the mixture will thicken slightly.
4. Set the tart shell on a baking sheet and fill it with the chocolate custard. Bake for 25 minutes, or until set around the edges, but still very jiggly in the center. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
5. MAKE THE TOPPING: In a very small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coffee extract and cook over low heat just until the gelatin melts; let cool slightly.
6. In a large bowl, beat the cream, mascarpone and sugar with an electric mixer until firm peaks form. At low speed, scrape the gelatin into the bowl and beat to combine. Dollop the cream onto the tart and swirl decoratively. Sift the cocoa over the cream. Refrigerate the tart until firm before serving.

NOTES If coffee extract is unavailable, dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder in 1 1/2 teaspoons of water. I used a bit of coffee 'flavoring' and then added some espresso powder dissolved in water.
Something went wrong and the gelatin sort of lumped up in the cream. I'm not sure why that happened. They were small bits so it didn't really
affect much.


I was excited to make this recipe. Besides a bit of lumping coffee gelatin and some overdone crust (just around the bottom edge), it turned out really well but this was very, very rich. A little dab with do ya. It was probably second in popularity to the pumpkin pie, although my sister's apple pie might have pulled ahead of it in leftovers.

Excuse the picture as it was taken about two days after it was made and had travelled quite a bit.

I'll still make other chocolate pies. This was very good but not the ultimate. Years ago my sister made the perfect chocolate pie but by the next year she had forgotten which recipe she used. It's been so long I can't even remember what it was like, only that I really liked it. I think the chocolate base was somewhat dense, but not quite as dense as this tart. I was afraid that this tart here might be too intense with only bittersweet chocolate in the filling but it played out okay. I thought the filling could have used a bit of salt.

This reminded me of a fancy restaurant dessert. You eat a small piece, it's heavenly, but it's so rich, you aren't sitting around dreaming about it because
that little bit was so satisfying.

This cookbook will probably be mostly for when I'm feeling a little ambitious.
Not the the recipes are complicated but they're a bit more involved than my
usual fare these days.

We had pizza for dinner! Take out! Totally not my fault. My husband was supposed
to have a hunting buddy staying over and he neglected to tell me he would be there for dinner and I only had a small bit of flounder out for dinner. Two guys sitting it the woods all day didn't really want flounder for dinner. Turns out the other guy went home but my husband still picked up dinner.

Blast From The Past: Ricotta Cookies from December 2005. It won't be
long now and it will be time to bake cookies. I hope I'm in the mood.

Question of the Day: Are in the holiday spirit? It seems to be coming and going for me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A surprise success
--Strawberry-Mallow Pie

Strawberry-Mallow Pie
Better Homes and Gardens Encyclopedia of Cooking Parfait Pie to Popcorn Vol. 12 Copyright 1971

3 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
¾ cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 baked 9-inch pastry shell, cooled
1 21-ounce can strawberry pie filling

Set aside ½ cup marshmallows; melt remaining marshmallows with milk over low heat, stirring constantly. Chill, without stirring, till partially set. Whip cream. Fold cream, vanilla and dash salt into marshmallow mixture.

Spoon half the mixture into pastry shell. Cover with pie filling, reserving ½ cup. Fold reserved marshmallows into remaining cream mixture; spread over strawberry layer. Garnish with reserved filling. I forgot to garnish the top. Chill thoroughly.

I thought this recipe was going to be a bust. The marshmallow mixture was sort of watery before I folded in the whipped cream and the strawberry filling didn't taste all that great on it's own. When I tasted this the next day, all was well. It tasted like soft-serve vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping. It was very light. Is this how they made light and fluffy pies before Cool Whip was invented?

Well I am beat. And I just had five days off. How will I make it through a full, 5-day work week? I haven't had to work a full week in weeks.

Things are going to be simple around here for the rest of the year. That might mean I might miss a day or two but it's the holiday season season and I have to cut back somewhere. For dinner last night I made frozen meatballs with jarred sauce on soft, squishy rolls. It got rave reviews. Seriously. So you can see why I won't bust my hump when so much other stuff is going on.

Skipping the Blast from the Past today.

Question of the Day: Do you tend to eat take-out and eat out at restaurants more often around the holidays?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eating like a trucker
--Trucker’s Polish Sausage Sandwich

Trucker’s Polish Sausage Sandwich
The All-American Truck Stop Cookbook Copyright 2002

5 ounces Polish or smoked sausage
½ cup cooked sauerkraut
2 slices mozzarella cheese
1 hoagie roll
Dijon mustard
3 or 4 onion rings I had breaded onion rings
Pickle I skipped the pickle

Slice the sausage horizontally and grill on both sides. Put the sauerkraut on the sausage and melt the cheese over the top. Serve on the grilled hoagie roll with Dijon mustard. Serve with the onion rings and garnish with a pickle.

1 serving

I've had my eye on this sandwich recipe for a while. It just sounded like a good combination to me and I was waiting for an evening when I wanted to make something super easy. What better time than Thanksgiving week? I don't make sandwiches too often for dinner during the week since our weekend meals are usually some type of sandwich and my husband eats sandwiches for lunch every day.

It was good and I balanced it out with some steamed broccoli.

I may be MIA the rest of the week since we'll be away for a couple of days. I should have pie recipes when I get back. I haven't had much luck with new pie recipes so wish me luck!

Blast From The Past: Key Lime Pie from June 2006. I should make that again but I think I've settled on my pie recipes.

Question of the Day: Do you know any truckers?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pretty good pork
--Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce
The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook Copyright 2002, 2006

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup bourbon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
Mustard Sauce

In an 11 x 7 x 1 ½ -inch non-stick baking dish, combine the soy sauce, bourbon, and brown sugar. Add the tenderloins. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the meat from the marinade, discarding the marinade; place the tenderloins on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 160 degrees F. Serve with the Mustard Sauce.

Mustard Sauce

2/3 cup fat-free sour cream I used lite
2/3 cup light mayonnaise I used regular
2 tablespoons dry mustard
½ cup thinly sliced chopped green onions

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, dry mustard, and green onion. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

I made this last week and it wasn't bad but the marinade didn't penetrate the pork as much as I would have liked (and I marinated it about 9 hours). The sauce was good too but I really like mayonnaise so it's pretty easy to please me when mayonnaise is in a recipe.

Well I'm tired and I'm running behind so I'm going to skip the Blast From The Past and the Question of the Day. I have to work one more day and then I can make pies!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Best muffin topping
--Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
Home Cooking 2005 Recipe Annual Copyright 2005

1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 ¼ cups flour I used about 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and the rest AP
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ tablespoon salt
1 cup applesauce
½ cup milk
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper baking cups.
Combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add applesauce, milk, brown sugar, oil and egg; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups almost full.

¼ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon margarine, melted I used butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

For topping combine oats, brown sugar, margarine and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over muffins before baking. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

This would be a great recipe to use with one of those muffin top pans. The topping is so good! Not that they muffins themselves aren't good but the topping was extra good.

I used about 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. The plan was to use more but that's all I had left of my whole wheat flour.

My son had a birthday party to attend at one of those kiddie gyms. It happens to be right next door to a Tuesday Morning. We were a little bit early for the party so we popped in to Tuesday Morning and I walked out with two cookbooks. They don't have a huge selection but the prices weren't too bad. I've never heard of Home Cooking magazine but there are a lot of good recipes in this annual.

I did end up going to auction Friday and it was worth it if for no other reason I picked up the Sopranos Family Cookbook for $2. I already had the Entertaining with the Sopranos and this one looks even better. I picked up several other good cookbooks too. I had to tell my cookbook guy that he probably wouldn't see much of me before spring and I don't think he was too happy. It's rare that I spend over $10 - he can't be getting rich off of me. As much as I enjoy the cheap cookbook fix, I don't enjoy driving up there in the dark.

Blast From The Past: Butterscotch Pie from November 2006. That's my brother's favorite pie and it's time to make it again like I do every Thanksgiving. Haagen Daaz has gone on sale 2 for $5 before Thanksgiving for the past several years. This year it was 2 for $6.

Question of the Day: Are you celebrating Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 16, 2007

I can't pass up free recipes
--Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Chicken
Good Housekeeping Lighter & Easier (pamphlet)

2 8 oz. cans pineapple slices in pineapple juice
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 4 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoons dried chopped chives
¼ teaspoon pepper
Fresh chives for garnish

(I doubled the sauce ingredients and also thickened it with corn starch)

1. Drain pineapple slices, reserving ¼ cup juice. Cut pineapple slices into quarters; set pineapple and juice aside.
2. On waxed paper, mix flour and salt; use to coat chicken breasts.
3. In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, in hot salad oil, cook chicken breasts until golden and fork-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken breasts to warm platter; keep warm.
4. Into drippings in skillet stir honey, teriyaki sauce, dried chives, pepper, and reserved pineapple juice. Over high heat, heat to boiling; boil 30 seconds. Add pineapple; heat through. Pour sauce over chicken; garnish with fresh chives.

Makes 4 servings.

I avoid collecting small cooking pamphlets as much as possible since I need to draw the line somewhere however my cookbook guy usually throws them in for free when I buy cookbooks from him so how could I say no? And since I have them, I'm going to use them.

I'm always a little bit hesitant with healthy recipes but this came out fine. I did double the sauce since I was serving it over brown rice. One thing I might do differently next time is cutting up the chicken into smaller pieces. I just think the flavor disperses better that way.

Speaking of my cookbook guy, two weeks ago he told me to come back in two weeks because he was getting someone's cookbook collection. It's so dark in the evening now that I really don't want to drive up there but I think I will, one last time this year. If he's not there, I'm going to be ticked.

Blast From The Past: Spicy Meatballs with Fiery Chili Sauce from December 2006. I'm due to make those again soon.

Question of the Day: Do you have dried chives in your spice collection?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging
--Spicy Ravioli and Cheese

Spicy Ravioli and Cheese
Favorite Brand Name Slow Cooker Casseroles and More Copyright 2002

1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder with parsley
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 package (8 or 9 ounces) fresh or frozen ravioli I used a 26 oz bag
1 ½ cups chunky salsa I used 2 cups mild
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced I used more
2 green onions, sliced

Place bell peppers in broilerproof baking dish; sprinkle with oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder and sugar. Broil 15 minutes or until tender and browned, turning once. Prepare ravioli according to package directions. Pour ¾ cup salsa in bottom of 8-inch square baking dish. Alternate layers of bell peppers, ravioli, cheese and green onions. Pour remaining ¾ cup salsa over layers. Cover with foil; bake in 350 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

The phone company came through and fixed the line. It was their problem thank God.

So now I can tell you about this ravioli 'casserole'. This was part of my quest to make more meatless meals. I haven't had any complaints about the lack of meat yet so I must be making good choices.

This was one of those dishes that I started to doubt as it came closer to the time to make it. I had nothing to worry about because I really liked it. I used a mild salsa so it wasn't exactly 'spicy' but it was still very good. In my mind salsa and mozzarella just didn't seem to go but the salsa didn't scream SALSA, it was just a chunky tomato sauce. I used a good amount of peppers and increased the ravioli and salsa to stretch it out. You don't have to be exact with this recipe. It's basically a vegetable lasagne when all is said and done but much easier. You could easily add other vegetables to the peppers or substitute other vegetables - zucchini, eggplant, onions, mushrooms - anything really. It doesn't serve up as pretty as a lasagna but it's a heck of a lot faster and easier to prepare.

Blast From The Past: Cheeseburger Macaroni from March 2006. That recipes is one I'll probably keep making for years.

Question of the Day: Do you make vegetable lasagna? Which vegetables do you use in it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We are experiencing technical difficulties

I have no dial tone at home and that's where all the magic happens. I spoke to a lovely computer (isn't it nice that the phone company doesn't have to deal with so many pesky human employees anymore?) and she said that it was probably their issue and it would be fixed by Thursday. If it's something on our end, I get to pay the lovely sum of $91 just for a service person to come out PLUS $91 for the first half hour and then $46 for every half hour after that. So if a service person came out for an hour it would be $228. $228 for an hour. Compare that to what most Americans make hourly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Portable oatmeal
--Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal Muffins
Best Recipes From The Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and
Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

3 cups Elam’s Scotch Style Oatmeal I used some
old-fashioned and some quick oats

3 Tbs. sugar
3 tsps. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups milk
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbs. cooking oil or melted shortening

Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl; mix. Combine milk, egg and oil or melted shortening; beat slightly. Add liquids to dry ingredients; stir until just moistened. Fill greased muffin cups about 7/8 full using an equal amount of batter in each cup. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees F) until done and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

These weren't like traditional muffins. They were more like mini baked oatmeals. I had trouble with them sticking to the muffin tin but if you use liners, you'd lose the best part (the crunchy sides). I think this would be good made in a shallow baking dish. I took the crumbles and poured milk over them. Yummy!

The benefit to this recipe is that they're almost pure oatmeal. If you're eating oatmeal for health reasons, most oatmeal muffins don't really include a whole lot of oatmeal and most include more sugar.

If you don't like oatmeal, you won't like these.

I heard something rather depressing the other day. Kate Gosselin, the mother of two 6-year-olds and six 2-year olds (from the Discovery show Jon & Kate Plus 8) said that she only spends about $150 per week to feed her family of 10, and she buys as much organic as she can. That's almost what I spend on three people!

Blast From The Past: Overnight Oatmeal Muffins from February 2006. That's a more muffin-y oatmeal muffin.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had baked oatmeal?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Didn't thrill me
--Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Pillsbury Complete Cook Book Copyright 2000, 2006

1 (1 lb 2 2.5 oz) pkg. pudding-included yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup water
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Cinnamon Frosting

2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (16-oz) can vanilla frosting

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In large bowl combine all cupcake ingredients except chocolate chips; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill paper-lined muffin cups ¾ full.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool 20 minutes or until completely cooled.
3. Stir cinnamon into vanilla frosting. Frost cooled cupcakes.

My mother-in-law gave me two boxes of cake mix out of the blue so I went searching for recipes. This is the recipe that caught my eye. I hesitated when it came to canned frosting but I recently had a boxed mix cupcake with canned frosting at my son's fall daycare party and I thought it was the best thing I ever had! They must have used a different brand because I wasn't thrilled with this frosting, maybe because I cheaped out and bought store brand. It was a lot easier than making my own frosting and I don't know if the cupcakes themselves deserved any better. They weren't bad but although they looked pumpkin-y they didn't have a strong pumpkin flavor. The flavor that hit you the most was the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I don't know what I'll do with all of these cupcakes because I don't think that they're good enough for work and we certainly won't eat them all.

I just remembered that I need to bake a batch of cupcakes for my son again too (to keep in the freezer). He's down to his last and he has a couple of birthdays coming up this week. I should have just made these plain. I do have another box in the cupboard.

Blast From The Past: Gooey Butter Cakes from May 2006. I could have made these and taken them to work. I saw Paula Deen selling these for a small fortune on one of the shopping channels. Unbelievable!

Question of the Day: Do you have any good recipes that use boxed cake mix (yellow)?

Friday, November 09, 2007

I messed up
--Balsamic Pork

Balsamic Pork
Mr. Food Every Day’s A Holiday Diabetic Cookbook Copyright 2002

2 large red onions, thinly sliced
One 1-pound pork tenderloin
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup apple juice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Coat a large skillet or wok with nonstick cooking spray; sauté the onion slices over high heat for 10 minutes, or until caramelized.
2. Spread the onions to the edge of the skillet and place the tenderloin in the center. Pout the vinegar and apple juice over the tenderloin and onions, and sprinkle with the salt and the pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until desired doneness, turning the tenderloin once during cooking.
3. Thinly slice the tenderloin and serve with the caramelized onions.

I hate when I mess up and then I don't know if the recipe isn't any good or if I ruined it. I forgot to buy apple juice so I had to improvise by squishing up an apple with water. My apples weren't that sweet so then I had to throw in some sugar. I'm not even sure all that I ended up doing to this. In the end it wasn't bad but it wasn't anything I would make again. I've made similar recipes that turned out better.

I've been slipping up a lot. Usually I go over my recipes the night before but I've been getting sloppy.

My grocery bill was higher again this week. It was steady, then it went up around $10, then it went up another $5 this week. Although I know where that $5 came from. My husband wanted something to eat while he hunts and do you know how hard it is to find something that doesn't have nuts or peanuts or is cross-contaminated? He used to take trail mix. I could make a nut-free trail mix but it wouldn't have protein and lots of things I'd like to put in it (like yogurt covered raisins) are cross-contaminated. I had to buy beef jerky which was $5 for 4 ounces.

Blast From The Past: Crumb-Coated Dijon Chicken from September 2006. I know I've mentioned this a few times but it's just so good. We had it for dinner last night. It never disappoints.

Question of the Day: What could I send with my husband hunting? (Something that goes in a baggie.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

More fun with flounder
--Fillets Baked In Sour Cream

Fillets Baked In Sour Cream
Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

4 tsps. butter or margarine, divided
2 lbs. fish fillets (sole, haddock or flounder)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. Tabasco pepper sauce
1 Tbs. paprika
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs.

Grease 2-quart baking dish with 1 tsp. of the butter. Arrange fish in baking dish. Blend, salt, Tabasco pepper sauce paprika, and Parmesan cheese into sour cream. Spread over fish. Top with bread crumbs and dot with remaining 3 tsps. butter. Bake, uncovered, in 350 degree oven 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon slices, if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

After I picked up more flounder in Costco I discovered that a local store carries the 2 pound bags of flounder for a couple of dollars less than Costco. I'll know for next time.

Flounder is really easy to prepare and my husband hasn't complained about it yet so I'm going to keep making it. This was a bit different than the other flounder recipes I've made. I liked it but I would cut back on the paprika next time. It didn't ruin the dish for me but I thought it was a bit overpowering.

Blast From The Past: Celery-Stuffed Flounder from August. This was one of my favorite flounder recipes.

Question of the Day: When did you last eat fish and what type of fish was it?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's hard to screw up meatballs
--Turkey Cacciatore Meatballs

Turkey Cacciatore Meatballs
Mr. Food Every Day’s A Holiday Diabetic Cookbook
Copyright 2002

1 pound ground turkey breast
½ cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ of a medium-sized green bell pepper, finely chopped
½ of a medium-sized onion, finely chopped
1 jar (28 ounces) light spaghetti sauce, divided
2 eggs
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup olive oil

1. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, bell pepper, onion, ¼ cup spaghetti sauce, the eggs, garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper. With clean hands, combine the mixture until thoroughly mixed. Form into 24 meatballs; set aside.
2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the meatballs in the pot a few at a time and brown for 2 to 3 minutes, gently turning to brown on all sides.
3. Drain off excess liquid and add the remaining sauce to the pot; reduce the heat to low; cover, and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

I don't really ever get tired of meatballs. One nice thing about turkey meatballs is you don't have to cook them for a really, really long time so I put these together the night before but I didn't have to cook them until the next evening when we ate them.

I don't usually put green peppers in my meatballs because they can be overpowering, but since I expected the green peppers to be prominent, they worked here. They really tasted like 'cacciatore'.

I used buccatini or whatever that spaghetti with the hole in the middle is called. It's hard to eat! It's much messier than spaghetti since it doesn't curl around a fork as easily. Thank God I was wearing my husband's shirt while I was eating.

This was a library book. I prefer it to the Mr. Food book I own. It has a lot of promising recipes in it.

Blast From The Past: Cinnamony Apple Streusel Bars from December 2006. I have a surplus of graham crackers and apples - maybe I'll make these again.

Question of the Day: How do you eat spaghetti or
other long pasta? Do you cut it? Do you swirl it
around a fork? Do you use the fork-spoon combo?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Holly comes through again
--Dijon Glazed Carrots

Dijon Glazed Carrots
The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook Copyright 2002, 2006

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Steam the carrots in water until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes, or cook in the microwave. Drain the cooking liquid.

In a small saucepan, combine the margarine, mustard, honey, pepper and ginger over low heat, stirring until just combined and the margarine is melted. Pour the sauce over the carrots, toss gently to coat, and serve.

I've been looking for something different to do with carrots. I wasn't sure if I was going to like mustard with carrots but I really did. This was a nice change of pace although either the white pepper or ground ginger had a hint of bitterness. I think next time I might try just 1/8 teaspoon of those two ingredients.

I've been in a rut with some ingredients lately. Vegetables in general have been giving me the most trouble. You would think there would be endless possibilities with vegetables, and they're probably are, but I just can't think of those endless possibilities. It can be frustrating looking for veggie recipes because not a lot is in season right now. Well, not as much as a month or two ago.

Blast From The Past: Orange-Honey Glazed Carrots from January 2007. Those are really good but I don't usually have an orange lying around.

Question of the Day: What fresh veggies are you enjoying the most right now?

Monday, November 05, 2007


Don’t Eat Your Heart Out Cookbook Copyright 1982, 1987

1 cup enriched white flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking soda
Dash salt
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup raisins
1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute I used an egg
½ cup safflower oil I used canola oil
1 cup skim milk
¼ cup honey
I added a few teaspoons of cinnamon

In a large bowl combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt, wheat germ, raisins and egg. In a separate bowl combine oil, milk and honey; add to flour mixture. Blend with a wooden spoon. Pour into paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

This isn't the first time I ruined a recipe using stale wheat germ but I won't make that mistake again (well, I certainly won't admit it if I'm dumb enough to do it again). I just wanted a basic, healthy muffin and these would have fit the bill perfectly if not for the rancid wheat germ.

I added cinnamon in an attempt to mask the off-taste and also because I bought a huge thing of cinnamon a while back with plans to add it more foods (it's supposed to be good for regulating blood sugar). This seemed like a good time to put that plan into action.

Oh well, that was all the cooking I did this weekend too. I wouldn't have posted this if I didn't have to!

I fell off the cookbook wagon big time this weekend. Friday, I stepped out for a sandwich at lunchtime and walking past the book store I saw that everything was 50% off. They lost their lease. Now, even at 50% off hardcover cookbooks aren't cheap so I only bought what I had my eye on already (a kid's cookbook and a Williams-Sonoma book that was already marked down).

That evening I hit auction and I got a pile of books. He had good stuff this week and he told me he's getting someone's entire cookbook collection and I should come back in two weeks when he has the rest (what I was buying was just part of it). I wish I could take that day off because he has at least one other cookbook customer who comes earlier in the day. Oh well, there seems to always be plenty left for me.

A cookbook I ordered online came Friday too.

I am just too tired to find a Blast From The Past or think up a Question of the Day. I attended one of those My Gym parties with my son and it was exhausting. You would think I was the one running around. (I've been posting each days post the night before, if you haven't noticed).

Friday, November 02, 2007

Not like mom made but still good
--Marinated Cube Steaks

Marinated Cube Steaks
The New York Times Menu Cook Book Copyright 1966

6 cube steaks
½ cup salad oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 scallions, finely chopped I omitted this
1 cup (one 8-ounce can) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon salt

1. Place the steaks in a shallow baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the steaks. Marinate for at least three hours (I marinated these all days about 9 hours), turning once.
2. Cook on a grill over charcoal or under the broiler for five to ten minutes until cooked to desired degree of doneness.

I think this is first time I've had cube steaks any other way besides pan-fried, on buttered toast. That's the way we ate them when I was growing up. I would definitely make this recipe again, when I can find cube steaks on sale. It was fast and flavorful.

Grocery shopping wasn't as depressing this week. There were some good sales. That seems to happen close to the holidays. It seemed weird seeing all of the Thanksgiving items out but it is only three weeks away. Damn! I haven't given any thoughts to pies yet. I'd better work on that this weekend.

Blast From The Past: Quick Tamale Casserole from October 2006. Another good recipe that I almost forgot about.

Question of the Day: Where are you spending Thanksgiving this year?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Better than I expected
--Purist Chili

Purist Chili
301 Venison Recipes The Ultimate Deer Hunter’s Cookbook Copyright 1992

2 pounds ground venison
4 strips bacon, chopped I used turkey bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
Finely slivered peel of 1 orange I omitted this - I just forgot to get an orange
1-2 tablespoons chili powder I used 2T
2 tablespoons ground cumin I only used 1 tablespoon
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons hot paprika I used regular paprika
3 canned jalapeño peppers, finely chopped I used frozen (1)

Sauté the bacon in a 2 quart enamel saucepan until crisp. Add the onion, garlic and orange peel. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until light brown in color, about 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce the heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chili has thickened, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

I thought I was going to have to actually skip a post. This week has been busy with more Halloween activities and I have very little weekday evening time as it is. But I think I can squeeze in this post if I make this short.

I was thinking this might be a disappointment when I made this chili the night before we ate it. However, mixed with some Dreamfield pasta and a shredded cheese blend (provolone, mozzarella and cheddar, I think), this was surprisingly good. I usually like my chili with a tomato base and that probably would have made this even better but it was still quite good without it. If I hadn't made it myself I'm not sure I would have known this was venison.

I had a lot leftover and I think I'll use some of it for tacos on the weekend sometime. It reminds me a lot of taco meat, probably from all of that cumin (and I only used half of what the recipe called for).

I've been finding some good recipes in this cookbook but there is no index. That bugs the heck out of me.

Oh yes, since I completely forgot about the September Cookbook Giveaway, I'll give anyone who hasn't already signed up one more day to do so and then I'll pick a winner. After that I'll probably give it a break until I find another good cookbook to giveaway. It may just turn into a once and a while thing.

Today I'll skip the Blast From The Past.

Question of the Day: How do you like to eat chili? Straight? With pasta? With rice? With crackers? Any other way?