29 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Week Thirty-Six

December's first Menu Plan Monday is all about that which is quick and easy. Things to do, places to be and while I want to make sure supper is still on the table most nights of the week, I don't want to have to think too much while making it! (If I'd hosted Thanksgiving, this week would be all about repurposing leftovers, but I did not so I'm thankful for a well-stocked kitchen).

  • "Tortellini and Peas" from Better Homes and Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith Books, 2008) with salad. Ingredients: refrigerated tortellini, leftover half-and-half, frozen peas, low-sodium canned diced tomatoes, seasoning.

Tuesday (work)

  • "Tomato-Tortellini Soup" from Better Homes and Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith Books, 2008) with soup crackers and satsuma mandarins. Ingredients: low-sodium chicken broth, other half of the refrigerated tortellini, chive and onion cream cheese, low-sodium tomato bisque.


  • Lazilicious potato pancakes (King Arthur Flour's "Potato Pancake Mix") with 2% Greek Yoghurt, freezer apple sauce, peas, and salad.


  • Leftover "Tomato-Tortellini Soup"with more soup crackers and satsumas.

Friday (work)

  • Hillshire Farm "Jambalaya" with salad. Ingredients: farmer's market smoked sausage, Spanish rice packet, onion, bell pepper, garlic, Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

Saturday (UnThanksgiving)

  • Roast turkey (from freezer) with Cook's Illustrated's delicious mashed potatoes, corn, peas, and cranberry sauce.

Soupy Sunday

  • "Wild Rice and Chicken Soup" from Better Homes and Gardens So-Easy Slow Cooker (Meredith Books, 2008). Ingredients: leftover cooked turkey, mushrooms, carrots, celery, long grain and wild rice mix, condensed low-sodium low-fat cream of chicken, low-sodium chicken broth.

Cleaning Out The Fridge Makes Good Noms

Didn't feel soup-ish today, but didn't know what to do for supper so I gave our kitchen a once-over and this is what I found:
  • Chicken cutlets one day from sell-by
  • Cherry tomatoes too mushy for salad, but not mushy enough to bin
  • A pound of wrinkly sliced mushrooms
  • A mostly empty bag of panko
  • A mostly empty jar of Stonewall Kitchen Blue Cheese Herb mustard
  • An open bottle of sherry
  • An open pint of half-and-half leftover from pie making
And this is what I made from all that:

Sherry Mushroom Mustard Chicken

Roast Tomatoes
Toss whole cherry tomatoes with olive oil, sliced garlic cloves, and balsamic vinegar. Roast in 400°F oven for about 20 minutes.

Panko Mustard Chicken
Slather four chicken cutlets with blue cheese mustard and dredge in panko. Put on jellyroll pan and bake in 400°F oven for about 20 minutes.

Sherry Mushroom Cream Sauce
Melt nob of butter in saucepan. Cook one pound sliced mushrooms, four minced garlic cloves, and two minced shallots until mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in half a cup of cream or half-and-half, two ounces of dry sherry, two tablespoons minced parsley. Cook, stirring often, until liquids are reduced by about half. Serve on top of chicken.

(I shook the sherry around in the mustard jar to get the last drop of goodness out of it before adding the sherry to the mushrooms).

28 November 2009

Thankful for Pie

For Thanksgiving, I brought pie. Three pies. And then it turned out my mother had decided to bake a pie, as well, so we had four pies. Four pies for six people ...

Yes, indeed, it was the best of Thanksgivings! We had turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing, peas and carrots, mashed rutabaga and cranberry sauce, kielbasa and green bean casserole, pickles and pie.

I brought:
  • Splenda's "Chocolate Cream Pie"
  • Splenda's "The Great Pumpkin Pumpkin Pie"
  • Pillsbury's "Sweet Potato Pie"
Splenda Chocolate Cream Pie

This, despite everyone's love of it, was only the second time I had made Splenda's "Chocolate Cream Pie." I was worried it would not live up to The Husband's taste-memory of it, but he seemed well satisfied. Indeed, downright cranky about having to share it with other people. Perhaps I should make it more often?

Splenda's "The Great Pumpkin Pumpkin Pie" turned out about as well as I remembered -- very spicy (probably my own fault as I ground the cloves myself) and firm, but not dry. Leftovers make a perfectly adequate breakfast.

Pillsbury's Sweet Potato Pie

Pillsbury's "Sweet Potato Pie" was the first sweet potato pie I ever made and I'd only ever eaten sweet potato pie once before, so I didn't have much to compare it to. That said, we certainly enjoyed eating it. The filling was very smooth and spicy with a nice sherry note. Will make this again, but use fresh mashed sweet potatoes next time instead of mashing canned ones ... depending on how instantly I want pie, of course!

My mother's pie was a sugar-free cherry-cranberry pie she made using a can of sugar-free pie filling and a can of sugar-free whole-berry cranberry sauce (among other things). It is a pie she has been making for years -- although it has only gone sugar-free in the last few years as Splenda-enhanced products became more common. I do not have her recipe, but I suspect it is similar to Pillsbury's "Frosted-Cranberry Cherry Pie" if made without the glaze and almond topping ...

Have to admit, one of the most drool-inducing passages in Farmer Boy is, for me, the Country Fair chapter where Almanzo consumes a preposterous amount of food in the church dining-room, including pie:
When he began to eat pie, he wished he had eaten nothing else. He ate a piece of pumpkin pie and a piece of custard pie, and he ate almost a piece of vinegar pie. He tried a piece of mince pie, but could not finish it. He just couldn't do it. There were berry pies and cream pies and vinegar pies and raisin pies, but he could not eat any more.
Of course, he later eats some peppermint stick Alice shares with him, but that's okay since peppermint's good for digestion!

27 November 2009

My Precious, Let Me Show You It

Muir Glen sent me a free 2009 Reserve kit! I am so chuffed to have received this kit -- aside from salsa ( Green Mountain Gringo) and ketchup (No Salt Added Heinz), Muir Glen makes all my favorite tomato products. And, yes, I would say that even if I hadn't been sent a free 2009 Reserve kit!

Muir Glen 2009 Reserve Kit *Squeee*

Every time I look at the crate I squeee a little and want to hug the darn thing to my chest and never let it go ... precious ... my preciousss ...

What's in my kit?
  • Yolo Red Hand Harvested Diced Tomatoes
    Yolo Red Diced Tomatoes are sweeter than most, high in lycopene and allow you to create wonderful bruschettas, salsas and soups.
  • Brigade Hand Harvested Whole Peeled Tomatoes
    Brigade Whole Peeled Tomatoes are full and plump, have consistent bright red color and are perfect to use in your favorite lasagna, pasta sauce or stew recipes.
  • Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • Fire Roasted Adobo Seasoned Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • Recipe cards from award-winning chefs and The Diary of a Tomato booklet with 25 delicious tomato recipes (including one for "Bacon Ketchup!")
Legalese: I am not affiliated with Muir Glen Organics nor was I compensated for blogging about their Reserve kit. All opinions, such as they are, are my own.

25 November 2009

Four Ingredient Cheesy-Crunchy Comfort Food

I must admit I included "Two-Step Crunchy Chicken Strips" from Better Homes & Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith, 2008) in this week's menu plan simply because the picture of the fish cracker-encrusted chicken strips in the cookbook was, quite frankly, freakin' adorabs. It also helps that The Husband likes fried chicken strips and this seemed like a (slightly) healthier option.

Cheddar Chicken Strips

This was an extremely easy week-night supper dish -- four ingredients and no more than thirty minutes labor! I did use chicken tenderloins, but in a pinch, it would have been just as easy to cut up a pound of boneless breasts. While I didn't own any fish-shaped crackers, 2½ cups crushed Kashi TLC Country Cheddar crackers worked just as well. I imagine many crackers would work well with this recipe -- Cheez-Its, Better Cheddars, Chicken in a Biskit, and Cheese Nips all come to mind. Mmm, didn't someone used to make a cracker that looked like a small rectangle of Swiss cheese?

If I had been thinking about aesthetics, I wouldn't have paired orange-colored carrots with orange-colored chicken, but I was thinking more of the wonderful comfort-food combination that is chicken-carrots-and-mashed potatoes.

The Husband really liked these chicken strips and wants me to make them again, so they will probably start turning up in my weekly menu every couple weeks or so. He was a little put out when he discovered the recipe had come form the "kid-friendly" portion of Quick-Fix Family Favorites, but a contented tummy seems to have triumphed over bruised ego!

23 November 2009

Baconified Brassica Redux

Yes, so I came home from the Coventry Regional Farmers Market with a three-foot long stalk of twee green brussels sprouts and a sack of knobbly Yukon Gold 18th Century Purity Farm's fingerlings. I preheated my oven, dragged out my large baking dish, and went to town ...

Bacon & Brassica Before

Baconified Brassica

1 lb. brussels sprouts (you may halve them if you want even crunchier sprouts)
1 lb. Yukon Gold 18th Century Purity Farm's fingerlings
½ large red onion
6 slices thick-cut bacon
Fresh ground black pepper
Generous splash of port balsamic vinegar

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Trim the bottoms of the sprouts and remove any damaged or loose leaves.
  • Trim the potatoes of any bad spots and chop into 1 inch pieces.
  • Slice the onion half into pinkie-thick slices and then cut those slices into 1 inch lengths.
  • Slice the bacon into 1 inch pieces. (May work better if bacon is slightly frozen).
  • Toss bacon, sprouts, potato, and onion together in a lightly greased 13x9 baker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast, uncovered, for about an hour and fifteen minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes.
  • Remove pan from oven, splash with port balsamic, and toss vegetables while the baker sizzles. Let sit about 10 minutes. Eat.
While this dish is best if eaten right away, it's okay re-heated in the microwave (although you might want to drizzle a little more vinegar on as you reheat it).

22 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Week Thirty-Five

This week's Menu Plan Monday may seem eerily familiar to you and with good cause as much of it is carried over from last week. Stuff happened and I spent more of last week in Lowes than I did in my own kitchen. In the long run, this will have been a good thing -- I hope!

Anyway, noms redux:

  • "Two-Step Crunch Chicken Strips" from Better Homes and Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith Books, 2008) with garlic mashed potatoes and salad. Ingredients: Kashi cheddar crackers, light buttermilk ranch dressing, chicken breast tenderloins.

Tuesday (work)

  • Yummy leftover "Portuguese Kale Soup" (soooo good) from Myra Goodman's Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook (Workman Publishing, 2006) with crackers, cheese cubes, and salad.


  • "Saucy Pepper Steak" with parsley rice and green beans. Ingredients: thawed steak, bell pepper, onion, garlic, low-sodium soy sauce, barbecue sauce.

Thursday (Turkey Day)

  • Driving down to my parents' to give thanks and eat lots of deliciousness. I am bringing the pies (Splenda "Chocolate Cream" and "The Great Pumpkin Pumpkin," because my family is full of hardcore fake sugar users).

Friday (holiday)

  • Jacket potatoes with tuna and sweet corn mayonnaise served with salad. Ingredients: baked potatoes, tuna, corn, light mayonnaise, shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar.

Saturday (work)

  • Turkey pot pie (from freezer) with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Soupy Sunday

  • Slow cooker "Creamy Tortellini Soup" from Better Homes and Gardens So-Easy Slow Cooker (Meredith Books, 2008) with biscuits and salad. Ingredients: white sauce sachet, vegetable broth, mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, tortellini, evaporated milk, baby spinach, Parmesan.

Caldo Verde Like Grandpa Used to Eat?

This afternoon, I came home the Coventry Regional Farmers Market ready to cook. At the market, which was mad crazy with people, I had purchased knobbly Yukon Gold 18th Century Purity Farm's fingerlings, a huge sack of baby kale, a three-foot long stem of brussels sprouts, a quart of yummy goats' milk yoghurt from the Ladies of Levita Road, and some really lovely beef from the folks at New Boston Beef. I'd been craving brussels sprouts roasted with bacon and potatoes all week and so that is what I made as soon as I came home. But, you'll have to wait for that post because right now I want to write about the incredibly delicious kale and sausage soup I just ate.

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)

Oh, meu deus, teh noms!

I found the recipe for "Portuguese Kale Soup" in Myra Goodman's Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook (Workman Publishing, 2006) and this one recipe justifies the entire cost of the cookbook. Seriously, this soup is wonderful -- a hearty combination of fresh kale, sausage, and beans in a rich broth. Easy to put together and good for you! (Even The Husband liked it and he is not that keen on foods that "taste 'good for you.'")

  • I used a combination of low-sodium chicken and vegetable broths for the base.
  • Substituted mild chicken sausage for the chorizo.
  • I did not peel my fingerlings.
  • Because I was using baby kale, I saw no reason to remove any stems, but just rolled handfuls of the leaves up into cigars and sliced them thin.
With rolls and salad, the soup made a perfect Sunday supper. (The salad was a bit amusing -- The Husband had complained that my salads were "salads for salad people" and he needed "salads for hamburger people" so I had him pick out all the salad fixings when we went grocery shopping this week and we ended up with a salad of butter lettuce, red cabbage, cucumber, radish, celery, tomato, and green onion. I see nothing hamburgerish in it, do you?)

19 November 2009

Delicious Smoky Bacon & Egg, I ♥ You

We stopped at Rogers Orchards over the weekend for apples and, somehow, a pound of Nadine's Smokehouse's apple bacon came home with us, too.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the fridge and discovered we already owned a pound of "normal" bacon! How did that happen? I buy bacon so seldom it would seem like an unforgettable event and yet it had completely slipped my mind when I saw the apple bacon.

Oh, well, nothing to do for it, but eat some bacon!

Thursday morning, I made myself a nice bacon & egg sandwich with the "normal" bacon (saving the apple bacon for maple-baked beans) and it was a little bit of smoky-sweet-salty-crunchy heaven ...

Delicious Smoky Bacon & Egg

Baked 6 slices bacon 400°F for 14 minutes (rotating the pan half-way through) and then blotted them a bit with paper towels. While the bacon was almost done, I made a thin omelet of two eggs whipped with a little 1% milk and cooked in, yes, butter. Ate the bacon and (folded omelet) on a dry toasted whole grain white bagel.

Oh, the noms!

18 November 2009

Cheap Pleasures

Last month, BookCloseOuts ran a fantastic cookbook sale – 30% off all (their always reduced) cookbooks plus free shipping on any order over thirty dollars. I must admit I ran a little mad and ended up with an order of six cookbooks for $30.09. This after despairing over the overstuffed conditions of my bookshelves!

How am I going to shoehorn in these little darlings?
  • Betty Crocker Chicken Tonight (List Price: $14.95 Amazon: $10.17 BCO: $4.54)
  • Betty Crocker Quick Fixes (List Price: $14.95 Amazon: $14.95 BCO: $5.19)
  • Better Homes & Gardens Fast Fix Family Food: More Than 400 Easy Recipes Your Family Will Love (List Price: $19.95 Amazon: $13.57 BCO: $6.49)
  • Better Homes & Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (List Price: $12.95 Amazon: $11.01 BCO: $3.49)
  • Better Homes & Gardens So-Easy Slow Cooker (List Price: $12.95 Amazon: $5.80 BCO: $3.75)
  • Taunton’s Fine Cooking Annual: A Year of Great Recipes, Tips & Techniques (List Price: $34.95 Amazon: $23.07 BCO: $6.23)
Time to re-organize, me thinks. Perhaps, the Friends of the Library will get lucky? Certainly, I will not be keeping all the volumes my mother has thrust upon me and there are a few things I’ve picked up over the years that I don’t really make use of …

16 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Week Thirty-Four

Is it Menu Plan Monday, already? I have to admit I had a hard time focusing on this week's menu as I'm pretty well obsessed with Thanksgiving -- and I'm not even hosting dinner! No, I'm "just" bringing the pies! (Of course, we will have a small feast of our own over Thanksgiving weekend with a big ol' roast turkey and all the fixings). Anyway, this week we will be eating:

  • Turkey Pot Pie (from freezer) with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tuesday (work)

  • Leftover turkey-barley-vegetable soup with soup crackers and salad.


  • Fast "Italian Sausage with Saucy White Beans" and salad. Ingredients: garlicky chicken sausages, white beans, bell pepper, garlic, red onion, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, tomato paste.

Thursday (work)

  • Last of the turkey-barley-vegetable soup with Kashi crackers, Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar chunks, and banana.

Friday (work)

  • "Two-Step Crunch Chicken Strips" from Better Homes and Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith Books, 2008) with parsley potatoes and carrots. Ingredients: Kashi cheddar crackers, light buttermilk ranch dressing, chicken breast tenderloins.


  • "Saucy Pepper Steak" with parsley rice and green beans. Ingredients: thawed steak, bell pepper, onion, garlic, low-sodium soy sauce, barbecue sauce.

Soupy Sunday

  • Slow cooker "Creamy Tortellini Soup" from Better Homes and Gardens So-Easy Slow Cooker (Meredith Books, 2008) with biscuits and salad. Ingredients: white sauce sachet, vegetable broth, mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, tortellini, evaporated milk, baby spinach, Parmesan.

15 November 2009

Slow Cooker Turkey-Vegetable Soup

Come to the end up the week, the kitchen contained some odds and ends which wanted eating up. Feeling lazy, I chucked everything into my slow cooker and made a rather delicious soup.
Turkey-Vegetable Soup

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 celery ribs, sliced thin
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
½ cup pearl barley
10 oz frozen corn
14.5 oz no-salt-added diced tomatoes
19 oz Muir Glen Heart Tomato Soup
16 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
Lashings of dried thyme, basil, pepper, and parsley (to taste)

Sauté turkey, onion, and garlic until turkey is cooked through. Add to slow cooker with all other ingredients. Stir well. Cook on Low 8 hours.

13 November 2009

Can She Bake an Apple Pie?

Apple Pie, Filling
Apple Pie, Oven-Ready
Apple Pie from the Oven

Yes, she can!

First apple pie I've made in a couple years, because I was under the (false) impression that The Husband does not eat apple pie. Turns out he does, but not cinnamon-y spicy apple pie (ie, not my pie). So I set out to make an apple pie reminiscent of my paternal grandmother's pie -- a pie that is pretty much pure sugar and apples. To accomplish this, I merged together McCormick's "Classic Apple Pie" and Better Homes & Gardens "Apple Pie" (New Cook Book, Meredith Corporation: 1996) recipes.

Grandma-ish Apple Pie

1 package (2 crusts) refrigerated pie crusts
8 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith and green/gold Golden Delicious apples
1 cup sugar
¼ cup King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
1/8 tsp Penzeys Cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 beaten egg, optional
1 Tbsp sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk sugar, flour, and spices together. Sprinkle over apples and stir until well combined. Spoon into crust-linen 9-inch pie dish and top with second crust. Poke some holes in the top crust. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar for a pretty effect. Bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. (You may need to cover the pie edges with a little foil to prevent burning).

Creamy Seafood Chowder

Creamy Seafood Chowder

This is based on the recipe for "Seafood Chowder Soup" from 300 Ways With Soups (Morris Press, 1991). It's one of the many cookbooks my mother recently foisted off on me when she was weeding her own collection and I've tested a couple recipes from it this week to see if the book was worth keeping.

I found the instructions for this recipe to be annoyingly vague and I greatly resented having to feel my way along. Grr. Bad, cookbook, bad! Not keeping you!
Creamy Seafood Chowder My Way

2 ribs celery, chopped small
6 medium unpeeled Yukon gold, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
1 large sweet onion, minced
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 6.5 oz cans minced clams, undrained
2 6.5 oz cans pink crabmeat
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. sodium-free powdered chicken bouillon
1 stick unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 cup dried parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring carrots, celery, and potatoes to boil and cook until potatoes are tender. While potatoes cook, sauté sweet onion in butter in a large Dutch oven until onion is tender and translucent. Add potato mixture (do not drain), clams, crab, Worcestershire, bouillon, thyme, and parsley to onions. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Whisk in flour to form a paste. Slowly whisk in milk and cook until smooth and thickened. Add to Dutch oven and let contents simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6-8.
In the end, my take on seafood chowder came out really well and I will be making it again. Will not be keeping the cookbook, however,

10 November 2009

Butternut Squash & Apple Bake

I really enjoyed the butternut and apple mash I made at the end of October and have been looking for other (non-soup) butternut and apple recipes. Over the weekend, I picked up a copy of Taste of Home's Best Holiday Recipes 2009 which contained several butternut squash recipes, including this one for "Squash-Apple Bake."

Butternut Squash & Apple Bake

It was a very easy dish to prepare and yielded quite tasty results even though it went a little awry at the end!

First, I sliced a peeled and seeded two pound butternut into quarter-inch pieces and placed them in greased 8-inch square baker. Then, I topped the squash with sliced, cored, peeled McCoun apples. Lastly, I combined brown sugar with melted butter, King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, ground ginger, and Penzeys cinnamon blend and poured it over the apples before popping the dish in a 350°F oven for forty-five minutes.

(I should mention that the recipe did not call for ginger or cinnamon, but I don't own any mace and reckoned I should stick with flavors I knew I liked eating).

After the squash finished baking, I shut off the oven and forgot about it for two hours! Happily, the lengthy oven time seems to have done the dish no harm.

If I were to make this again, I might add in a cup of plumped dried cranberries.

09 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Week Thirty-Three

Time for another Menu Plan Monday! This week's menu is a kind of field test of cookbooks as I'm trying to figure out which of the cookbooks my mother has foisted off on me are worth keeping and which can be donated to the FOL booksale ...

There are many cookbooks to get through, but I'm starting with the two I am least likely to keep -- two comb-bound school fundraiser cookbooks entitled 300 Ways with Casseroles and 300 Ways With Soup. Most of the recipes seem pretty execrable, but my opinion is no doubt tainted by unhappy memories of trying to shill these cookbooks to reluctant family members!

Monday (work)
  • Leftover sauerkraut and pork stew (mom's) with salad and Kashi crackers.

Tuesday (work)

  • Taste of Home's "Squash-Apple Bake" (Best Holiday Recipes 2009) with salad and Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar chunks. Ingredients: butternut squash, apples, apples, brown sugar, King Arthur Flour White Whole Wheat Flour, butter, ginger, and cinnamon.


  • Tuna "burritos" (300 Ways with Casseroles) with French-cut green beans. Ingredients: flour tortillas, tuna, peas, shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, french-fried onions, reduced-fat low-sodium cream of mushroom soup, light sour cream, 1% milk.

Thursday (work)

  • Leftover tuna burrito with diced cucumber and grape tomatoes in light Italian.


  • Seafood chowder (300 Ways with Soup) with garlic toast and salad. Ingredients: celery, onion, potatoes, carrots, minced clams, minced crab, Worcestershire, butter, flour, 1% milk, pepper.

Saturday (work)

  • Ragu casserole (300 Ways with Casseroles) with peas and salad. Ingredients: reduced-fat refrigerated crescent roll dough, jar of spaghetti sauce, onion, ground turkey, shredded part-skim mozzarella, 1% Greek yoghurt.

Soupy Sunday

  • "Mushroom-Barley Soup" from Jacques Pepin's Simple and Healthy Cooking (Rodale Books, 1999) with buttermilk biscuits. Ingredients: pearl barley, fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, garlic, carrots, onion, low-sodium broth.

07 November 2009

Convenient Chicken Parmesan

Friday's supper was supposed to be roasted vegetables with pasta, but birthday festivities got in the way of grocery shopping and I was caught unprepared. Happily, our refrigerator was full of combinable odds and ends ... et voilà, a tasty supper in thirty(ish) minutes!

Convenient Chicken Parmesan

First, I sautéed wrinkly sliced mushrooms (am never able to look at old mushrooms without thinking of Robin McKinley's Sunshine) and minced garlic festival red shallots in a little olive oil. Then I added in a large can of crushed tomatoes, basil, parsley, and a few tablespoons of tomato paste and let the sauce simmer while the oven preheated.

When the oven was ready, I topped refrigerated breaded chicken cutlets with a little of the sauce and some shredded mozzarella cheese and then baked the cutlets as directed by their package.

When the chicken was almost done, I prepared a package of refrigerated fettuccine and microwaved some green beans.


02 November 2009

Make Ahead Cottage Cheese Enchiladas

Last month, in a fit of madness, I bought a twenty-four ounce container of low-fat cottage cheese. What was I thinking? I was unnerved by the sheer mass of it, and stuffed it away at the bottom of the fridge until inspiration or desperation might strike. Well, inspiration never struck, but desperation (brought on by a nearing expiry date) was indeed a powerful motivator ...

Sunday evening, I made "Cottage Cheese Enchiladas" ahead for Monday's supper using ground turkey meat and lots of cheddar from the garlic festival.

Make Ahead Cottage Cheese Enchiladas

I was feeling a bit lazy when I made them, so I combined all the filling ingredients together and then spooned it onto each tortilla. My version only made eight enchiladas, but I probably filled each tortilla more than was necessary!

How were they? Pretty good, but I think a lot of that had to do with all the extras we piled on top -- shredded lettuce, quartered grape tomatoes, 2% Greek yoghurt, and super-tasty Green Mountain Gringo roasted garlic salsa.

Menu Plan Monday, Week Thirty-Two

Last week, I was feeling a bit grim and bluesy so I skipped menu planning as it just seemed like one more complication in my already too complicated life. Anyway, thanks to the wisdom of freezer-stocking, I knew we could get by on a week of mindless thaw-bake/boil-and-eat meals. Also, it was an excellent opportunity to clear out some of odds and ends!

This week, though, I'm getting back on the Menu Plan Monday wagon with lots of easy cold weather comfort food.

  • (Made ahead) "Cottage Cheese Enchiladas" topped with shredded lettuce, quartered grape tomatoes, salsa, and 2% Greek yoghurt. Ingredients: cottage cheese, ground turkey, onion, Penzeys bold taco seasoning, shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, tortillas, enchilada sauce.

Tuesday (work)

  • Leftover vegetable barley stew with slow cooker apple sauce.


  • "Beef Cottage Cheese Pie" with green beans. Ingredients: leftover pie crust, onion, garlic, lean ground beef, ketchup, mustard, cottage cheese, parmesan.

Thursday (My birthday)

Friday (work)

  • "Mixed Roasted Vegetables and Pasta" (Betty Crocker Magazine #181) with salad. Ingredients: bell peppers, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, Italian seasonings, shredded cheese.


  • Saturday or Sunday we're going down to visit my parents and eat some tasty 'cue and greens. Whichever day we don't have 'cue, we'll eat "Slow Cooker Beef Tortellini Soup" (Betty Crocker Magazine #202). Ingredients: thawed cubed beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, no-salt added Muir Glen diced tomatoes, low-sodium vegetable broth, basil, frozen tortellini, frozen green beans.

01 November 2009

Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Stoup

I wanted a slow cooker vegetable and barley soup for Sunday's supper, but couldn't find a recipe I liked so I made one up!

Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup

8 oz sliced mushrooms
8 oz coarsely chopped baby carrots
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen peas
2 minced white shallots
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2/3 cups pearl barley
14.5 oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
6 oz Muir Glen tomato paste
30 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
1 sachet vegetable soup mix

Cook on LOW 6 hours.

Alas, there are no photos of this soup to share with you, because we et it all up as if we had never had delicious soup before!