Archive for Recipes

Rice & Noodle Risotto

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 pouch Campbell Chicken Noodle Soup
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup long grain rice.

Saute onion and pepper in butter until tender. Add rice, soup, and water. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let it simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add 2/3 cup parmesan cheese for an extra yummy kick!

This is one of my favorite out of box side dishes!

Pizza Hut Pan Pizza Knock Off

DSCN7907It was on Pinterest a few months ago that I first ran across a recipe for the Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza recipe from cdkitchen. I was skeptical but I couldn’t resist giving it a try. The first time it turned out pretty good but I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped to be and I was confessing such to my friend when she asked me, “Have YOU ever had pizza cooked in a skillet? Next time use your iron skillet.” So I did and I confess I’ve had to make pizza almost every week since. It probably helps that I have a convection oven that it turns out so well and I often cook three pizza at the same time. One recipe makes enough dough for two 10- inch skillets.

One of the biggest issues with this recipe however is that I find I never have dry milk on hand so I use 1 1/2 cups of milk instead of water. And I found that the pizza cooks just as well in the skillet with 1.5 ounces of oil versus the three. It would be awesome if I could find a cheap source of butter flavored corn oil and I’ve wondered if I could use butter flavored shortening.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

DSCN8132One of my favorite restaurants to go to years ago was Ryan’s and if you asked me why I would tell you, “Macaroni and cheese!” Unfortunately, as the years passed the restaurant changed owners and … you guessed it… the mac and cheese changed. BLEH!

Ever since then it has been my goal to recreate the original version that I loved. Last month, having gone through many recipes, I accidentally recreated it when I was in a hurry to take something to a friend’s house for dinner. I grabbed a few ingredients threw them in the pan and we scooted out the door.

A few hours later as we sat down to dinner the first thing that was gone was the macaroni and cheese. The consumers raved. The husband and children cheered except for Goldilocks, who turned up her nose as usual. She can’t stand mac n cheese. Can she be my child?!

And now, before I forget what I did to achieve perfection I’m going to immortalize it in this blog.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 16 oz. bag of large elbow noodles, boiled and drained
  • 8 oz. Velvetta cheese
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • water

Keep the pan you boiled your noodles in and place those noodles back in that pan when drained. Reduce heat to its lowest setting. Add velvetta, cheddar, parmesaon, garlic powder, bouillon, and milk. Stir until melted thoroughly. It may be kind of thick at this point. I begin to add water 1/2 cup at a time and stir it in until I have it as creamy as I want; kind of like a cheesy looking gravy.

**PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE**

 

 

 

Finding Cheap Meals~Day 4: White Chicken Chili

One of the reasons I began this cheap meal investigation is to find out exactly where I can slash my food budget. This recipe is going to be cut out for sure! Even the revision is NOT cheap enough for my standards.

White Chicken Chili~ serves 10

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken(ouch) $6.99
  • 2 cans green chilis $2.50
  • 5 cans great northerns $3.50
  • 2 cans broth $2.00
  • onions and spices $1.00

Grand total ~ $15.99! NOT CHEAP but wait….

Let’s remake it…

  • 10 lbs of leg quarters yields three pounds of meat ( thanks to my friend Ashley who likes to figure out stuff like that) plus you’ll have broth from boiling your leg quarters. So broth and meat together $5.90
  • dry great northern beans 2 lbs. $1.75 (soak overnight and cook until done)
  • onions & spices $1.00
  • 2 cans of green chilis$2.50 (even cheaper if you grow them or maybe they are on sale fresh in your area)

New Grand total ~ $11.15

A Simple Gluten Free Life… Lunch Time

Like any other gluten free person I rejoiced to find Tinkyada noodles and I can hardly wait to try Uudi’s bread for the first time. However, it took a lot of rethinking to get into this gluten free mode and those products aren’t always available here in podunkia. The beginning of our homeschool year has inspired me to not only plan school but to get specific about quick lunches.  This is what I’ve come up with for the first week.

School is getting ready to start and I looks like gluten free for a household of eight.

  • Corn tortillas are stuffed with the following combos and heated on the lightly oiled griddle. Basically, anything you would make into a sandwich can be put inside a corn tortilla and heated up on the griddle. The possibilities with this are as endless as your imagination.
  1. mozzarella, chopped zucchini (or other favorite pizza veggies) pizza sauce, and Hormel pepperoni
  2. taco meat (home madeseasoning),black beans, cheddar cheese and dip it in Pace picante.
  3. chopped chicken/turkey, green peppers, onions, sharp cheddar cheese, sprinkled with basil
  4. refried beans, cheese topped with black olives and some sour cream.

Whole Food for the Family

There was a round table discussion yesterday among the ladies of my church concerning rashes, food allergies, and other ailments. It seemed that at every turn we ended up back at the subject of food additives. Our bodies do not get a break from msg, corn by products, wheat products, chemical additives, and dyes. Is this the cause of a system overload leading to yeast overgrowth, skin disorders, nerve disorders, stomach disorders, hormone problems,and etc, etc, etc?

Ever since my appendix came out in 1997 I have had a host of stomach problems. At least, I say that but maybe my appendix had to come out because that was the beginning of my stomach trouble and the doctor’s just said, “hmmm…this might be it – let’s try this.” Regardless, this problem and the approaching world’s end of Y2K sent me delving into natural solutions and herbology.

And ten years later here I am – still with stomach problems – although cayenne is my dear friend when it flares and I have learned how to handle it. Then my throat started to swell up in February and I had a stiff tongue off and on plus in the last year I’ve been battling with constant lung congestion and sinus issues. My son battles Gerd (which we have found is related to SOY) and my other son has asthma (environmental and egg triggered) I know everyone has their host of troubles

We’ve abandoned synthetic soaps, sodium laurel sulfate, and most boxed foods and yet when I discovered that corn may be bothering my sinuses a whole host of NEW food additives were revealed to me as being something other than what they are. Citric acid for instance; you think ah from citrus! Wrong – try corn.

It is SO frustrating! You think you are doing well only to find out you are STILL neck-deep in cow manure or is it corn manure.

My resolve is set. I’m going to cook as much as possible from pure food. I would love for it to be all organic and from grass-fed animals but we’ll start somewhere and this is the place. If it calls for lemon juice it will come from a lemon and if it calls for garlic it will be from a clove and if it calls for chicken bouillon it will be from chicken stock I can. You get the picture. Out with the FOOD ADDITIVES. Time to stop overloading our bodies.

So here is a recipe I made yesterday that was awesome!

Garlic Lemon Chicken

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 12 chicken thighs (give or take 6 ha ha)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (if you can’t do without)
  • 6-8 red potatoes, cut in chunks
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 c. organic white wine
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano

Heat oil in pressure cooker and brown thighs not yours, the chickens. Add remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker and cover with lid. (I use ten pounds of pressure) Bring to low pressure for 16 minutes. Turn off heat and allow pressure to drop before opening. (I know – duh right) I usually drop the pressure with cold water when I’m making food but not when I’m canning.

You could do this in a crock pot on low for 8 hours but the flavors are not as spectacular.

Gluten Free Thin Crust Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

Going gluten free is NOT exactly a change that most people welcome because – let’s face it – who wants to never eat pizza again! Yesterday I converted a gluten containing thin crust pizza recipe into gluten free using buckwheat. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out as you can see from the picture I took of it at the left here.

The entire family (including Jerry) said it was really good. I made four pizzas and they each turned out perfect. So here is what I did:

  • 2 cups of buckwheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. of water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough comes together. (you may have to add a few extra tablespoons of water) Turn dough out onto a heavily cornmealed surface and knead as much cornmeal into as needed until the dough is cohesive.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. This will make 2 – 12 inch pizzas. Make sure you roll your dough out on parchment paper because you won’t be able to pick it up otherwise. I generously dusted the parchment with more cornmeal as I rolled out the crust. Top your crust with sauce, cheese,veggies of choice, gluten free pepperoni (Hormel is GF) and carefully slide your pizza onto a pizza pan. Place pizza in oven (parchment and all) for 12 minutes. Viola – a gluten free pizza! Now grab a Redbridge and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 – 32 ounce can of pumpkin puree (or frozen pumpkin puree)

2 medium bananas, broken in pieces

1 – 16 0z container of vanilla yogurt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup half and half (or evaporated milk if you can stand the stuff)

Place everything in the blender and “zip it.” Pour in a cup and enjoy or just drink it right out of the blender container like I do sometimes. HA.

This is great when you have leftover frozen pumpkin puree and the weather is too hot to light the oven. I do, however, feel the urge to make a pumpkin pie suddenly. It would make an awesome breakfast dish.

Cooking “Outside The Box”

Thanks to Laurie H. I had to blog about this…

Several years ago when I was a single lass I went to a friend’s house to cook dinner. In the middle of cooking one of my favorite Chinese dishes (Mongolian Beef) in walked my friend’s eight year old niece. She was very inquisitive and watched me cook for a while before she asked what I was cooking. My reply, of course, Mongolian Beef. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that she was searching very hard for something and I asked what she was looking for. “I’m looking for the box.” said she. “The box?” said I. “Yes,” says she, “the box the food came in that you are cooking.” I could barely contain my laughter as I replied, “there isn’t a box.” Her eyes got big as dinner plates, she just couldn’t believe that it.

“Yes, Virginia, you can cook “outside the box.”

I am extremely grateful for a mother who taught me to cook from scratch. Not that we never used boxes but they weren’t so common that at the age of eight I thought you couldn’t cook without them. In my teenage years my Mom and I explored the world of Chinese cooking. While our goal was not to achieve real ethnic Chinese cooking my goal was to cook what I had eaten at the local restaurant and beyond.  Although I won’t brag, It is enough to say that certain of the dishes I cook leave the restaurants in the dust. Being modest – maybe it is just because it is “fresh.” :P

The other day I was excited to figure out how to professionally roll an egg roll so that it looks like one from a restaurant. Here follows my personal recipe:

  1. One package of egg roll wrappers (I DO know how to make my own but OH the WORK!!) You can usually find these in the refrigerated produce section of your supermarket. Walmart, of course, is the cheapest.
  2. 1 lb. shredded cabbage (I cheat and buy cole slaw mix)
  3. 1 lb. cooked ground turkey (we used wild, fresh ground) or ground pork, some people like sausage. Whatever your taste.
  4. 3-4 green onions, diced
  5. 1 tsp. ground ginger
  6. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  7. 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  8. 1 -2 tbsp. hot chili sauce (or more if you can take it)

Toss ingredients 2-8 together and spoon about 1/3 cup into the egg roll wrapper. Follow the wrapping directions on the package. Notice I do NOT put only 2 tbsp filling in it as the package suggests. What a joke! You’ll have to figure out for yourself how to make it look restaurant style on your own. If I was there I’d show you. Fry in hot oil (375 degrees) for 5-6 minutes. Makes approximately 20 egg rolls.

The Non Electric Life – Goal #2

First of all, do you know how much grocery money I’ll be saving a month if I can eliminate cheese from our lives?! And no, I don’t buy into the calcium myth about dairy products. Eating veggies gives you plenty of calcium.  Here are a few reasons to avoid it.

Anyway, this train of thought brings me to my second goal regarding going non-electric.  I have to eliminate things that I would normally refrigerate and maybe we’ll end up with some health benefits as well. In the next several days/weeks I’m going to be researching and trying out recipes that are diary free and readily adaptable to using canned meat. I already have several things I make that fall into that category but I don’t have enough.  It doesn’t mean we will always have to live a life without cheese but since my next goal is to unplug the fridge and we don’t have a root cellar yet this is what I’m aiming for.

The Current Good, Bad, & Ugly List:

  1. Canned hamburger tastes odd. (Wonder if canned ground venison will?)
  2. Apparently a wood cook stove will not produce enough heat to warm the entire house which means we will have to install another triple wall pipe. This will mean reconstruction in the kitchen.  NOT something I wanted to add to an already difficult transition.
  3. A friend of mine has offered to trade me her Lehman’s wheat mill for my electric mill with the option of trading back whenever.  This has been one of my hang ups about non electric since I really like to make our own bread and some of this stuff is really expensive to replace.
  4. I’ve researched pressure canning on the WCS (wood cook stove).  It hasn’t been recommended but I did find out that many Amish/Mennonites use a Coleman camp stove for canning and that will suit me just fine.
  5. Keeping a fire going and on the ready may be turn out to be quite a challenge.  It doesn’t stay cold enough around here to keep a blazing fire going which will mean a lot of small wood is needed.  That means a lot of splitting.