Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quick and Easy Moroccan Chicken

Got this from Real Simple Magazine:

1 box couscous
1/2 tbl olive oil
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbl light brown sugar
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tbl red wine vinegar
1/2 c orange juice
1 can diced peaches or peach slices, drained (I use a bag of frozen instead)
1 rotisserie chicken, cut into pieces (or use leftover chicken)
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the sugar, nutmeg, vinegar, and orange juice and bring to a simmer. Add the peaches and continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Divide the couscous and chicken among individual bowls, top with the peach sauce, and sprinkle with parsley if using.


Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Stolen from the internet, but it has been a huge hit at the office:

8 oz elbow macaroni
4 c. shredded cheddar
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni and drain. Mix macaroni, 3 cups of the cheese, and all other ingredients in the crockpot. Sprinkle Remaining cheese on top. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours, or until firm and golden around edges. Do not remove cover or stir while cooking.

Cucumber Sandwiches

My world famous cucumber sanwiches - that I stole off the internet:

Sweat the cucumbers: (otherwise, they will make your bread soggy)
1 medium cucumber
1 cup water
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 tbl maple syrup (real, not Aunt Jemima)
With a fork, score cucumber lengthwise, peel, and cut into thin slices. Place in a bowl and add water, vinegar, and maple syrup. Let stand for 30 minutes, then rinse well.

The spread:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. mayonnaise (real, preferred)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/8 tsp Worcestershire
Mix together until blended well.

Put them together:
1 loaf bread (I make them open-faced, you may need more bread if you don't. I also cut the bread with a cutter made to seal sandwiches for kids - just for pretty.)
Take each slice of bread, spread with cream cheese mixture, and add cucumber.

If traveling or storing in refrigerator for any length of time:
Cover a cookie sheet with cool, barely damp paper towels. Place sandwiches on top and cover with more cool, barely damp paper towels. If using this method, it's almost preferable to use slightly stale bread - the damp towels will bring the bread back to life without making it too soggy.

Sweet Potato Spears

I got this tasty, healthy side dish out of the October 2002 Cooking Light magazine. I'll often substitute it for French fries if making burgers or meatloaf. It probably takes about 15 minutes of prep, and 25-35 minutes in the oven, so about 40-50 minutes total.

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potato [2 decent sized ones - this will be enough that your cookie sheet will be plenty crowded, so if you do more, plan on more than one cookie sheet]
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Cooking spray

Peel sweet potato, and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wedges [no bigger]. Combine potato wedges, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. [In Ms. Huis Herself Land, a good jot of olive oil, and various size sprinkles/pinches of the rest - no need to get anal on the measurements!] Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; place in oven on bottom rack. Bake at 450 F for 25 minutes [to 35, depending... like if you have your oven at a lower temp for something else] or until tender, turning once.

These heat up well in a skillet, but just get soggy in the microwave.

Footnote for the Cooking Impaired: Yeah, this may be obvious to the rest of you, but your average apple cutter is NOT strong enough to use on a sweet potato, so don't even think about cutting your sweet potato in half, putting the cut side down, then trying to "easily" cut it into wedges that way... not that I'm the voice of experience on that or anything...


This is one I grew up on and it seems to be well liked by others even today. It's "Minnesota Winter Food", but without the cream of something soup. It does take a while to bake - yet another reason to do it in winter.

2 lbs hamburger
2 medium onions -white or yellow - sliced
Potatoes - enough to cover a 9x13 pan with 2 loose layers
1/3 c. uncooked rice (not minute rice)
2 c. tomato juice
1 can tomato soup
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder

9x13 pan

1. Lightly brown hamburger. It doesn't have to be fully cooked.
2. Slice potatoes and place in loose layers on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
3. Place the 2 sliced onions on top of the potatoes.
4. Place rice on top of potatoes/onions
5. Place hamburger on top of above
6. Mix all liquids in a bowl along with the chili powder. Pour over the top.
You can also place cheese on top of all of this, but not everyone likes that for some odd reason.
7. Bake, covered (aluminum foil works fine), at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Check at one hour by poking with fork. If potatoes are soft, it's done.

Mexi-Cali Casserole

This is one I got from the mom of an ex, but the recipe stayed. =) Of course, my sister-in-law already published it in a cookbook - without my permission and under her name... I digress.

I have never tried to freeze this, but it keeps well in the fridge for a few days after cooking and reheats in the microwave easily.

1 lb. hamburger
1 can enchilada sauce
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 chopped medium onion
1 (14 oz?)can chili with beans (Regular sized can. I like to use the Hormel vegetarian chili - very few calories and yummy)
2 c. shredded cheese - (I prefer cheddar)
1 c. sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
@ 12 oz bag of Freetos (NOT tortilla chips. Freetos Scoops has less fat)

1 1/2-2 qt casserole dish

1. Brown hamburger with onion.
2. Mix cooked hamburger, onion, tomato and enchilada sauce and chili in the casserole dish.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and about 8-10 oz of the corn chips to the above and mix.
4. Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 min.
5. Remove from oven, put sour cream, a handful or two of the remaining corn chips and the 1/2 cup cheese on top.
6. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 10 more minutes.
7. Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Baked Ziti

This is a recipe that has made the rounds on a message board I am a member of. It's gotten rave reviews over the years, but tonight was the first time that I'd ever tried it. I am happy to report that the rumors are true, it's super yummy. Three kinds of cheese, plus sour cream, what's not to love?! Definitely comfort food, but it's perfect for making ahead and freezing. My notes in brackets.

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped [I added 2 cloves of garlic]
1 pound lean ground beef
2 26 ounce jars spaghetti sauce [I only used one jar of sauce since I didn't read carefully, it came out fine]
6 ounce provolone cheese sliced
1 ½ cup sour cream [reduced fat works just as well]
6 ounce mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain. 2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. 3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: Half of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, half of the sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. Serves 6-8 regular people, 4-6 hungry people.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chicken Chimichangas

Ok, this is a cheater recipe, because I've posted it before on my own blog when I was living in Ireland, but it makes an easy post to share here. Besides, then (eventually) all my posted recipes can be in the same place. So here it is, copy/pasted from the first time I posted it.

(Oh yeah, that reminds me... Pusher, did you want to include your Bloggy Potatoes? 'Cuz yummy!)

For supper tonight I made chicken chimichangas that were, if I can say so myself, absolutely yummerific. So, I thought I'd share the recipe with y'all. I can't tell you much about its origins, except that I'd cut it out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune... apparently from the ads on the back, near some Memorial Day that was on the 31st.

[Marks made in these square parentheses are my notes.]

1 1/2 c. shredded cooked turkey or chicken
1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese [can't get here - used cheddar]
1 (4 oz.) can diced mild green chilies, drained and rinsed [again, can't get - used about 2 Tbl. of chopped jalepenos in white wine vinegar I'd found at a fancy grocery store]
2 med. tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
2 Tbl. minced fresh cilantro [couldn't get today, so skipped]
1/2 tsp. ground cumin [cumin seed]
1/2 tsp. crumbled dried Mexican oregano [regular]
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbl. salsa
2 Tbl. olive or peanut oil
2 med. cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, minced (about 1 1/4 c.) [plus an extra shallot I had on hand]
6 (12 inch) or 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas [did 6 large]

Garnishes: [Really, whatever you like on your chimichangas, so I'm not going to bother to specify theirs with amounts and all, but salsa, avocados &/or guacamole [made some (since as some of you know, the guac I can get here has PEAS for the first ingredient)...and must confess it was so tasty I ate the last bit with a spoon while cleaning up the kitchen.], lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, etc.]

In a large bowl, combine cooked turkey/chicken, cheese, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt and 3 Tbl. salsa.

In small skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until soft (about 5 min.), stirring occasionally. Stir into turkey mixture.

Lay a tortilla flat on work surface. Into the center of the tortilla, spoon some of the turkey mixture, shaping it into a rectangle about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch deep, leaving about 2 inches of the tortilla uncovered at either end of the rectangle. Fold the ends of the tortilla in toward the middle, then fold the sides down over the middle, securing well with toothpicks. [I skipped the toothpicks since not deep-frying.] Place seam side down on baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining filling and tortillas.

[Here they give directions for deep frying them, but they take like two paragraphs to do so and I don't want to type all that. We baked ours, so that's what I'm going to recommend. Tasty and healthier, too. I put them in a 180C (about 350F) oven for 15-20 minutes - or until they were heated through and a little brown on the top due to the huge old fan in our oven that I hate.]

Serve with garnishes and enjoy. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Suggestions for posting

Ok, then, here are some of my thoughts and sort-of guidelines about posting recipes. Since y'all are contributors, feel free to leave comments if you want me to change these (which are only recommendations, BTW) or just post it your own way.

  1. Include your thoughts and comments and hints about the recipes. That's one of the things that'll make this more useful and entertaining than a cookbook.
  2. If possible, include prep time, cooking time, marinating time, raising time, resting time, whatever... and also total time involved. So if you're giving us a recipe for sourdough bread with homemade starter, please let us know to start it days in advance so we don't try to make it the day we want it.
  3. Where applicable, include the source of the recipe. Tell us if you altered the heck of out it or stayed fairly true to the original. That way if we find that we're making and loving lots of recipes from a certain cookbook or author, we might go out and get it ourselves.
  4. TAG! That's one way this site will be searchable, especially if you're just like, "Hmmm... I've got some chicken... what should I do with it?" We can always use the "Search Blog" button at the top left of the page if we're ever like, "Oh, So-and-So posted that one recipe with the capers...," so don't over-tag, but go ahead and label as appropriate. Here are some suggested tags, but feel free to use something new if it's pertinent.
Tag by course/use like:
  • Breakfast
  • Main Dish
  • Vegetable Side Dish
  • Starchy Side Dish
  • Dessert
  • Soup
  • Sauces & Fillings & Dips
  • Beverage
  • Appetizers/Cocktail Food
  • Breads
  • Salad
Tag by what's in it (or not) (especially for main dishes)...
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Other Meat
  • Vegetarian
  • Cheese
  • Non-alcoholic (specifically meant for beverages)
Tag by cooking method...
  • Slow Cooker
  • Grill
  • Oven
  • Stove Top
  • No Cook
  • Microwave
Tag by style/ethnicity/occasion/et cetera...
  • Mexican/TexMex
  • Italian
  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Quick and Easy (should take under 30 minutes start to finish)
  • Christmas (or Halloween or 4th of July if it's specific to something like that)
  • GAW

Ok, that's all I can think of at the moment, but speak up if you've got anything to add. Also, let the posting begin! I'll try to get something up this week... and remember, you can always post something, then add in details like cooking time the next time you make it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A beginning

Ok, folks,

I've started this little blog about recipes that I'd asked y'all about before. I'll try to send invitations to contribute to those who expressed an interest, but if I don't send one to you either a) I haven't gotten to it yet or b) I don't have your (in some cases, current or preferred) email. So if you want me to do so, either leave me a comment with your email or send me an email or something. (If you know me in real life, you can send it to myfirstname@myhusband'

Here's how I see this working. Whenever you've got a recipe or cooking tip to share, you post it. Simple, huh? And make sure to tag 'cuz that'll make it easier for us all when we go looking for a recipe. Here's some tags I'm thinking would be useful in terms of general organizing of recipes. (And this is the way my box of recipe cards is organized because it's how my brain works.) (Also, yes, thank you, I already know I'm a dork.)
  • Breakfast
  • Breads
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Other Meat (like lamb, um, goat? buffalo? etc. Since I don't like seafood, my recipe box actually is "Other Meat & Seafood," but I figure seafood should really get its own tag here.)
  • Vegetarian Main Dishes
  • Vegetable Side Dishes
  • Starchy Side Dishes (you know, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.)
  • Soups With Meat
  • Soups Without Meat
  • Sauces & Fillings & Dips
  • Desserts
  • Beverages
Will those work? Do you want to just have one "Soups" category? (The division was a carry-over from when we were trying to do two vegetarian and two meat recipes per week, in case you were curious.) Of course, Tips & Hints should have its own tag. Do you want to be more specific in tags or will that end up with too many? Are there others you'd like to suggest because you think we'd have enough of them - Appetizers maybe? In honor of Pusher, do we need a separate Cheese tag? (I vote yes.) Do we want some method tags like "Slow Cooker" or "No Cook" or "Grill" or "No Oven" ('cuz that'd be good in summer in a big old house that has no air conditioning... not that I'm thinking of myself or anything... really...). I mean, you can always do a search within the blog if you want, say, a recipe that uses capers, for example, but are these tags useful enough without being too broad/too narrow?


(Oh, also, if you have a suggestion as to a better name, I'm all ears. Since "Recipeeps" itself was taken, I tried to find something fairly close, but different enough that we'd keep it straight.)