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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Caprese Calzones

Do you just love the taste of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and tomato?  How about a calzone with those flavors.  Calzones are really a lot like pizza.  Maybe just a bit more finger friendly.  Definitely easier to take in a lunchbox.  You can have two choices for these:  make your own dough, or buy premade dough.  Many grocery stores are now selling unbaked dough ready to roll out and make-and if that isn't available there is pizza dough made by Pillsbury that you can pop out of the can.  I am going to share a quick and easy homemade dough-but choose what works best for you. You can
dip the calzones in marinara or pesto sauce.
For the dough:
1 T. yeast
1 c. warm watr
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 T. olive oil
3-4 c. flour
For the caprese filling:
2-3 sliced tomatoes
1 ball fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
Beat together the water and yeast.  Then beat in salt, sugar and olive oil.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Stir in flour until dough is not longer sticky and forms a ball.  Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.  Roll out into a large rectangle.  Cut the rectangle into squares.

 On 1/2 of a square put a piece of mozzarella, some fresh basil and a tomato slice or two.  Fold shut, pinch edges. 

Place on a greased cooky sheet.  Continue to repeat with remaining dough.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winter Roasted Vegetables with Couscous and Kalamata Olive-Lemon Vinagrette

A delightful dish as is, for a main dish vegetarian meal, or as a side dish to a pork loin or other meat.
This dish comes together quickly thanks to roasting the vegetables and quick cooking couscous.  I used yellow beets just because they are less messy on the hands and my cutting board.  But purple beets would add much more color to the dish.

  1. 20 oz beets, peeled and cut into strips
  2. 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  3. 1 t. oil
  4. 4 oz  kale, chopped with ribs removed
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced
  6. Fresh chives, chopped
  7. ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  8. 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  9. 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  10. ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  11. 1 cup Israeli couscous
  12. 2 tbsp olive oil*
  13. 1 1/2 c.water
  14. Put the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add couscous and simmer for 5-10 minutes until water is absorbed. Set aside.  Put the carrots and beets on a cooky sheet.  Sprinkle with the t. of oil and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Add the garlic, olives, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice and olives to a bowl and mix together.  When the couscous is done mix into the bowl with this vinagretter.  When the carrots and beets are done, mis in with the couscous.  In a saucepan add a small amount of watr and steam the kale until it wilts.  Add to the bowl.

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Two wonderful combinations:  shortbread and coconut.  These are rather fragile cookies-not great for mailing...but wonderful to just sit and enjoy with a cup of tea.

  • 1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup flaked coconut plus some for rolling
Mix butter and sugar until creamy.  Add vanilla and beat well to combine.  Slowly mix in flour and then coconut until batter comes together.  Roll into a 12" log in waxed paper and put in refrigerator several hours.   Before slicing, if desired, roll the log into more coconut.  Slice into 1/4" slices and place on a cooky sheet covered with parchment.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

My sweetheart loves peanut butter and I love oatmeal, so these cookies seemed like the perfect match for us.  If you want to mix it up a bit you could even add in some chocolate chips-yummy!
  • ⅓ c. crunchy peanut butter
  • ¾ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ c. white sugar
  • ½ c. brown sugar, packed
  • ½ c. butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 c. Peanut Butter Baking Chips
In a mixing bowl combine butter and both sugars.  Beat well until fluffy.  Add peanut butter and beat well.  Add vanilla and egg.  Beat again.  MIx in flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat in oatmeal and finally mix in the peanut butter chips.  Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.  Drop by teaspoons onto a greased cooky sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees--11 minutes for a soft cookie and 13 minutes for a more crunchy cooky.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Crockpot Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

This is one of those quick crockpot recipes that takes only a few minutes to prepare and makes a easy comfort dinner.

1-2  jars Alfredo sauce ( or make your own recipe!) Use more if you like it real saucey
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 c. Parmesan cheese
1 T. oregano
2-3 c. frozen spinach, defrosted
2 c. mozzarella cheese
10-12 dry regular lasagna noodles

Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray.  Spread 1/3 c. Alfredo sauce on the bottom of the crockpot.  On top of this layer 3-4 lasagna noodles--you will need to break up one into smaller pieces along the sides.  Mix the ricotta, parmesan and oregano.  Put half of this mixture over the noodles.
Squeeze any water out of the spinach.  Put half of the spinach over the ricotta.  Sprinkle with one third of the mozzarella.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce over this.  Repeat layers.  After the noodles top with remaining sauce.  Cook on low for 3/12 hours.  During the last half hour sprinkle with a little remaining mozzarella cheese.

Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin

Pork loin's are easy to make and cook in only 35 minutes.  Leftovers can be used for some delicious Cuban sandwiches.  They can be expensive to buy, but can be picked up frequently at a reasonable price if you watch for sales.

1 pork loin
3 T. dijon mustard
3 T. rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced

Spread mustard on pork loin.  Sprinkle with rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pizza Meatballs

Once again I have been unable to post due to the fact that I am sick.  This is getting old.  But I would still like to share some tried and true great recipes.  Alas, I don't have pictures to share because I am not cooking.  But bare with me, and give the recipe a try anyway.  These tasty meatballs can be served as an appetizer, in buns as a meatball sandwich, or over rice or pasta.  You choose!

1# ground beef
1 c. Italian bread crumbs
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. diced onion
1 t. garlic salt or 1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
1 jar pizza sauce

In a bowl combine the beef, bread crumbs, milk, onion, and garlic.  Shape into 24 meatballs.  Cut mozzarella into 1/2' cubes.  Push a cube into the center of each meatball.  cover the cheese with the meat.  Put on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Heat the  sauce and put the meatballs into the sauce.  Cook until warmed.  Serve as desired.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cinnamon Roll Valentine Hearts

This year for my class party I decided to use this idea I found on Pinterest.  I thought it would make a great little snack for our party..because all children love cinnamon rolls.  You could certainly make them from your own homemade cinnamon dough.  But if you want it quick and is a way to do it.

You will need
2 rolls Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (in the tube in the refrigerator section)

That's it!  Open the tube and bake out the roll of cinnamon dough and icing.  Set the icing aside.  Pull one of the roll off, unroll, then roll both ends toward each other.

 Squeeze the bottom for the point of the heart.

 Bake on a greased cooky sheet at 350 for 20 minutes.  Frost with the included icing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Homemade Fortune Cookies

Today we are having a Chinese themed family birthday party.  In a town with 4 Asian groceries, no one had the fortune cookies I was assigned to bring.  Hence, my jump into making them from scratch. Really not that difficult, and you can pick your own choice of fortunes to add.  Just google fortune cookies quotes, and take your pick.

First print and cut out your fortunes so they are ready to go!
In a food processor mix:
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 egg whites.
Blend until smooth.  Refrigerate for one hour.
Next on a cooky sheet that has been lightly greased (no silipat/no parchment paper) put a teaspoon of the batter and spread into a 3" circle. 

Bake cookies at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes.
Get a mug or bowl out to drape the cookies over as they cool.
When the cookies come out of the oven allow to sit 5-10 seconds.  Flip the cookie over and place a fortune in the middle of it.  Fold shut, pinching the ends.  Drape over the mug or bowl to cool and shape.

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate and peanut butter are such a delightful duo.  In this recipe an easy chocolate bundt cake is topped with a nice peanut butter frosting for a perfect dessert.  I am making it this weekend for a family birthday party.  And if you don't want to make a whole cake...make a pan of brownies and top them with the frosting for a smaller treat.

1 chocolate cake mix
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding
1 c. chocolate chips
Follow the directions on the cake mix for preparing EXCEPT add 4 eggs instead of the usual 3.
Add the pudding mix in with the cake mix when preparing.  Stir in the chocolate chips after mixing.
Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Cool and remove from pan.

Mix together
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. milk
Spread on top area of cake.  Sprinkle with extra peanuts and/or chocolate chips if desired.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup and Homemade Pretzels

It is snowing here today in the Pacific Northwest..a perfect day for a nice hearty soup for dinner.  This soup fills the house with a delicious aroma.  Since we are both home from work today, we even made homemade pretzels to go with it.  Yum!  (Check in the post search area for this recipe).

3 T. olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 c. fresh cut green beans
1 stalk celery, diced
4 cloves of minced garlic
4 c. vegetable broth
2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 cans small white beans, drained
2 T. parsley
1 1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
1/4 t. thyme
1 (14 0z.) can tomatoes
1/2 c. small shell pasta

Heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion, celery, garlic, green beans and zucchini.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, drained tomatoes, beans, carrots, hot water and spices to the pot.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add spinach and pasta and cook for another 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Veggie Nicoise Salad

This salad is chock full of vegetables and beans.  Although it would make a great summertime salad, it actually serves up just as well in winter.  This recipe serves 2 large salads or 4 smaller ones.

4 yellow potatoes
1/4 c. chopped red onion
1/2 # asparagus
1/2# green beans
1/2 avocado
1 can red kidney beans, drained
2 hard boiled eggs, halve
2-3 c. lettuce
1/3 c. olive oil
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 t. oregano
1 t. thyme
salt and pepper
Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 12 minutes.
After cooking cut into 1/8's.  Slice green beans and asparagus into large pieces.  Put in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.  Drain.
Place lettuce in serving bowls.   Mix olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and sapices.  Whisk well.  Mix several Tablespoons of dressing with the potatoes,  and several Tablespoons with green beans and asparagus.  Mix beans with onion and several Tablespoons of dressing.    Serve by covering lettuce in sections with the beans, asparagus mixture, and potatoes.  Place 1 hard boiled egg and some avocado slices on top.  Sprinkle with remaining dressing.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Very Veggie Egg Salad

This egg salad has the added bonus of veggies mixed in:  carrot, cucmber, and green onion.. It is great on crackers, on toast for breakfast or on bread for a sandwich.  It is mixed with a combo of greek yogurt and mayo for less calories, more and nutrition.

4 eggs, hard boiled
3 T. plain greek yogurt
3 T. mayonnaise
1 T. chopped green onion
1/2 carrots, grated
1/4 cucumber, diced small
Mash eggs with fork.  Mix in yogurt and mayonnaise. Stir in remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Melting Pot Mojo Fondue Broth

As I am still down and out with the flu I will be reposting some of the all time favorites from my blog.  This recipe is number one for views.

The Melting Pot Mojo Fondue Broth

Tonight we will be bringing out the new fondue pot once again.  This recipe is one I found on The Melting Pot's website.  If you have never been to or heard of The Melting Pot, it is a fondue restaurant.  The closest one to me is Seattle, which is a 2 hour drive away.  So instead, we got out our own fondue pot and tried this.  It was fun and a nice change for dinner.  If you don't have a fondue pot you might try heating the sauce on a burner and  gathering around the stove.  OK, maybe not, but it was worth a shot.

5 1/4c. vegetable broth
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 T. cumin
2 T. jerk seasoning
2 T. black pepper
2 T. lime juice
1 T. minced garlic
Combine ingredients in saucepan on stovetop.  Bring to a boil.  Transfer to
fondue pot.
Use to cook beef, shrimp, chicken, potstickers, potatoes, broccoli or anything else you can think of.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cowboy Meatloaf and Potato Casserole

I am down and out with the flu so thought I would repost one of the top liked posts on my blog.  If you haven't tried it yet-enjoy!  The original recipe called for 1 pkg. Ore-Ida Steam 'n Mash Garlic seasoned potatoes....I chose to make my own mashed try it either way.  This is really easy and comes together quickly.

1 pkg. Ore-Ida Steam 'n Mash Garlic seasoned potatoes or 6 small red potatoes cooked until tender
1# lean ground meat
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. barbecue sauce
1 egg
3/4 t. salt
2/3 c. milk
1 T. butter
1 c. bacon bits
1/4 c. crispy fried onions (the canned kind)
2/3 c. cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Coat a 9 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl combine meat, onion, bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, egg, and salt.  Press into baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Carefully pour off any excess fat if needed.

With a mixer, mash potatoes, butter and milk.  Add in bacon bits and fried onions.  Spread on top of baked meat mixture.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Broil for 4-5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jamie Oliver's Sweet N Sour Veggie Stir Fry

This recipe was originally posted for Hello Fresh.  It is a great recipe for getting some veggies into you after all the holiday sweets and overeating.  Most of the work for this recipe is in the cutting of the veggies.  After that is done it comes together very quickly.

6 oz. broccoli florets
8 0z. canned pineapple in juice
1 T. cornstarch
1 lime
1 1/2 T. soy sauce
4 green onions, cut into 1/2" pieces
6 oz. sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 c. peanuts
1 c. jasmine rice
2 c. water
Cook rice in water in rice cooker, or bring to a boil in a saucepan and cook for 20 minutes, covered.
While that cooks, place broccoli florets in a saucepan of water, bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Drain.
Drain pineapple juice into a small bowl.  Put pineapple and red onion in a dry frying pan on medium high heat.  Cook without stirring for 3 minutes.  Add oil. garlic, green onions, and ginger.  Stir fry for one minute.  Add sugar snap peas and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes.  Mix pineapple juice, cornstarch, soy sauce and juice of 1/2 a lime.  Add to stir fry ant toss well until bubbling.  Serve over rice.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Crockpot Savory Beef Sandwiches

These sandwiches are easy to make.  Put your spices and meat in the crockpot and in 4-8 hours they are ready.  You can shred the meat and Eat on whatever type of bun you like.  You can add a slice of provolone cheese or swiss if you like.  Mix it up the way you like.  YOu can even thicken the broth for a gravy on the sandwiches if you prefr.
2 sirloin steaks
1 t. onion salt
1 t. garlic powder
1 t.marjoram
1/2 t. rosemary
1 c. beef broth
 Put steak and broth in crockpot.  Mix spices together and sprinkle over steak.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vegetarian Big Mac Burgers

This burger takes a little bit of prep but is worth the effort.  It has a good variety of vegetables bound together by oat flour and sunflower seeds.  It takes 40 minutes to bake, and another 15-20 to prepare so plan for an hour in the kitchen.  This recipe makes 6 burgers.

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, grated (about 2 large) or chopped in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated or chopped in a food processor
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped fine or chopped in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup oat flour (just grind 1 c. oatmeal in the food processor)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cuplettuce
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp thousand island dressing (per each burger)
  • 1 tomato slice (per burger)
  • 2 dill pickle slices (per burger)
  • 1 slice Cheddar cheese (per burger)-optional
  • 1 slice red onion per burger
  • sesame seed burger buns
Melt coconut oil in a large frying pan.  Add onion, carrot and garlic.  Saute for about 4 minutes, then add in the zucchini, and mushrooms.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  In the food processor grind the oatmeal and sunflower seeds together.  Remove from heat and mix with oat flour mixture.  Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.  Take out of the refrigerator and form into 6 patties.  Place on a parchment sheet on a cooky tray.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Flip and cook for another 15 minutes.  Place a piece of cheese on top of each burger.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.
Serve on a bun with thousand island dressing, pickles, tomato, lettuce and onion.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuscan Ribollita

Ribollita is a bowl of soup full of flavor and veggies and beans and greens.  Top it with some parmesan croutons made from ciabata rolls.  It is great as a comfort food on a cold winter day.  This soup is ready in about 30 it is quick to prepare too.

1/2 red onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. celery, sliced
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 c. fresh spinach
2 t. fennel seeds
1 t. red pepper flakes
2 T. vegetable concentrate
4 c. vegetable broth
2 ciabatta rolls
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
2 T. olive oil

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot.  Add onion, carrots, garlic and celery.  Saute for 8-10 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes, spinach, broth, spices and concentrate. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Slice ciabatta rolls open.  Lay on cooky sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.  Cook in a 400 degree oven about 5 minutes.  Cut into cubes and use as croutons on the soup.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vegetarian Pad thai

Yum!  This is full of delicious veggies and topped with one great sauce.  If you want to simplify, there are many ready made pad thai sauces available.

7-10 oz. rice noodles or mung bean noodles

2 tbsp peanut oil or corn oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 2 carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 2 c. broccoli, divided into florets
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted & unsalted peanuts, pounded in a pestle & mortar
  • 2 c. cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro
SAUCE* can be doubled if needed
  • 1½ tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1½ tbsp  fish sauce*-for vegan you can use tamari
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice
Prepare noodles as directed on package.  Heat oil in a wok or large pan.  Add all the vegetables except for green onions and bean sprouts and stir fry for 8-10 minutes.  Add bean sprouts.  Add sauce.  Stir fry several minutes more.  Top with green onions, peanuts and cilantro.