Monday, February 28, 2011

Skinny Fries



Potatoes (figure on 1 per person), scrubbed & cut into skinny sticks
Salt, pepper & whatever seasonings you like

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the potatoes in a couple Tbs of oil & season to taste. Old Bay Seasoning is one of our favorites for potatoes. Spread out and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour on a lightly greased baking sheet (or better yet, one lined with parchment paper), stirring occasionally so they cook evenly.

This recipe will go great with the one that's coming next...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mini Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecakes

Oooh, la la! Fancy and easy!
These soft little cheesecakes definitely have a bittersweet chocolate taste, so if you'd rather have less of the bittersweet taste, use semi-sweet and they will be a touch sweeter. The recipe was adapted from an issue of Fine Cooking.


1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
4 oz chocolate, chopped, divided and melted (bittersweet or semi-sweet)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 300F. Line 6 muffin tins with liners & spray them lightly with cooking spray. (I used a silicon tart baking pan. Each tart "hole" is about 4" across.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and 3 ounces of the melted chocolate. Add the egg & beat just until blended. Spoon into the muffin or tart tins and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the centers are just barely jiggly when nudged. Cool completely. Refrigerate (up to 3 days) until ready to serve. (Or freeze up to 1 month.) Just before serving, drizzle with the remaining melted chocolate.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

London Broil


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
6 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs oil
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
3-4 lb london broil

Combine everything and refrigerate overnight. Remove the meat from the marinade & set it aside. Grill the meat over low heat until it's as done as you want it. (Sorry I'm not more helpful there. I haven't refined my grilling skills yet. Most directions say no more than 7 minutes per side, but I ended up grilling ours for over an hour and it was perfectly light pink in the middle!) Meanwhile, bring the reserved marinade to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Slice the grilled meat into thin slices and drizzle with the simmered marinade. Serves 6.

The untweaked version of this recipe originally came from allrecipes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate Pudding

First off... my sincerest apologies if you are a reader of this blog and are allergic to chocolate...

And now, back to the subject: Chocolate Pudding!

Recently, when my kids came down with the flu & had very sore throats, I splurged and bought 3 packages of Jello pudding cups. Within what seemed like seconds, all three packages were gone, and my kids were still looking for more. (Not really, but almost... Anyway, they devoured them in no time.) There went my $4, and we were left with lots of trash to boot.

I thought to myself, "there must be a better way!" And then I remembered that pudding is food. And people make food. Yes! I can make my own!

So, off to allrecipes I went and found this delicious recipe. For about $1.50, I made 10 servings. That's half the cost of the packaged stuff and I was left with no packages to fill up the trashcan and it was all made from pronounceable ingredients. Plus, it soothed sore throats & made my little people happy. You can't get much better than that:)

Oh, and I doubled the recipe to get the 10 half-cup servings.

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fudgy Pie

Mmmm... This pie was so good! I found the recipe at allrecipes (surprise, surprise) and changed it a little (surprise, suprise) and discovered a simple, yet richly delicious dessert!


  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix sugar and cocoa together. Beat the eggs then add to the cocoa mixture. Beat in the milk, butter and vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture into 9 inch unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 - 55 minutes or until set. (The middle will be slightly jiggly until it cools & sets.) Let cool before slicing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Very Light Biscuits

Growing up with my great-grandma meant I ate a lot of biscuits. I never did figure out how she made hers -she wasn't the most patient teacher - but I do remember spending time with her in the kitchen, patting the biscuits into shape and begging for bits of dough to eat (maybe that's why she wasn't so patient?). Mmmm... Now my kids do the same thing to me! They hang out next to me under the guise of "helping" because they want a nibble or two, or better yet, a chance to scrape the bowl of all the leftover dough.

This recipe is really good. It is fairly simple and makes deliciously light biscuits. The key to light, flaky biscuits is to work the dough as little as possible.

4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until the dough is crumbly. It's okay if some of the crumbs are lima bean size and some are petite pea size. The butter pieces melt & create flaky, airy biscuits. Stir in the milk, just until combined. Turn onto a floured surface and pat just enough to hold it together. Pat it to about 1" thickness. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter, and place 1" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425F for about 10-13 minutes or until golden on the bottoms. Serve hot & with jam or gravy. Makes about 3 dozen 2" biscuits.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sesame Green Beans

In my opinion, green beans can be pretty boring. But, they are easy to grow in the garden, so we usually have a lot of them. This is an easy and tasty way of preparing them. It went well with the teriyaki grilled chicken & brown rice we had for dinner last night.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add sesame seeds. When seeds start to darken, stir in garlic and green beans. Cook, stirring, until the beans turn bright green.
  2. Pour in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.
Serves 8 people who aren't green bean fanatics. Six people otherwise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cranberry Orange Almond Muffins

This is one of my favorite flavor combinations for a muffin. I love the sweetness of the orange paired with the tartness of the cranberries. I must admit, though, my kids really didn't go for them, but they're not too crazy about cranberries to begin with. (That's okay, it just means more for me! :)

(The recipe originally came from allrecipes & I tweaked it a tiny bit.)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds


In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat egg. Add orange juice, peel, butter and hot water. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Gently fold in cranberries and almonds. Spoon into muffin tins or liners. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Glazed Cinnamon Breakfast Scones

We have another name for these in our house: Lazy Buns. Glazed Cinnamon Breakfast Scones sounds a lot nicer, though, doesn't it? I invented them one morning when I wanted to make cinnamon buns but didn't feel like it. They're like a cross between biscuits & cinnamon buns, except they're a lot faster and don't require all the rolling & cutting (and messing up of countertops). My kids love them and so do I because they are so easy to make.


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups milk

2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tbs sugar

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbs milk

Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until the mixture looks crumbly. Stir in the milk until everything is combined, but do not stir it too much or the lazy buns won't be as tender.

Combine the 2 tsp of cinnamon and the 2 Tbs of sugar and stir/fold these into the dough. You don't want them to spread throughout the dough, but rather be in streaks or veins throughout it.

On a lightly greased baking sheet, pat the dough into a large circle about 1" thick. Cut into wedges and separate slightly. Bake at 400F for 13-15 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden.

While baking, combine the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over hot buns & serve immediately. Serves 6.

A Bread Tip

I just wanted to share a little tip that I figured out for making sandwiches from homemade bread. Often homemade bread is soft -which is a good thing- but it can make it difficult to slice & use for sandwiches. However, if you shape your dough & bake it as long hoagie-like rolls, you can slice it horizontally & it is a lot easier to make sandwiches with it. It even holds up to having peanut butter spread on it. Anyway... you may have already figured this out, but just in case you hadn't, I thought I'd share. Happy Baking!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brown Sugar Apple Lentils

I knew I'd have to doctor up lentils to get my kids to eat them, so I came up with this recipe today. It was really good!

1 lb lentils
5 cups water
2 tsp salt

1 apple, diced
2 Tbs minced onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
2 slices bacon, diced

Simmer 1st three ingredients, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour. Serves 6-8.