Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vegetarian Week: Haystacks

adapted from

1 Can Red Kidney Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Onion, Chopped
1 Cup Salsa
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
Fritos Chips
Spinach (or Lettuce)
Sour Cream
Cheddar Cheese

In a medium saucepan, combine beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, salsa, chili powder, and salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat until heated thoroughly.  To assemble, place chips on a plate, then spoon bean mixture on top of chips and top with spinach, sour cream and cheese.

This dish was so easy; once the veggies are chopped it only takes a few minutes until it all comes together.  You can easily adapt this recipe to your own taste by adding other taco fixings such as olives, corn, another variety of beans, or hamburger meat (but then it wouldn't be very vegetarian!).  Haystacks will definitely be in my busy-soccer-mom dinner rotation!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vegetarian Week: Grilled Green Apple and Mozzarella Sandwich

Grilled Green Apple and Mozzarella Sandwich
makes 1 sandwich

2 Slices of Bread
1/4 Granny Smith Apple, Cored and Thinly Sliced
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Honey
Tiny Little Bit of Salt and Pepper

Preheat a skillet over medium heat.  Butter one side of each slice of bread, then place it butter side down in the skillet.  Layer apple, cheese, and honey evenly on the bread in the skillet.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper.  Top with remaining bread, butter side up.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until bread is browned and cheese is melted.

The original recipe calls for Gruyere cheese, which the local Target doesn't carry, so I substituted the mozzarella.  The sandwich was pretty good, but I think it would have been even better with the Gruyere or some Kraft singles!  This is a great way to jazz up a plain old grilled cheese.  Bonus:  like a regular grilled cheese, this takes practically no time to make and you can snack on the apples while waiting for the sandwich to cook!  Also, I loved the honey in the sandwich, it perfectly balances out the tartness of the Granny Smith apples.  Hopefully I can find some Gruyere in Grand Forks for next time!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vegetarian Week: Tunisian Vegetable Chili

Tunisian Vegetable Chili
makes 4 servings

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped (1/2 Cup)
1 Medium Carrot, Chopped (1/2 Cup)
1 Small Yellow or Green Bell Pepper, Chopped (1/2 Cup)
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1 (14.5 oz.) Can Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
1 (15 oz.) Can Canellini, Great Northern, or Pinto Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 Can Vegetable Broth
1 Can Corn
1/2 Cup Apple Juice or Cider
1/3 Cup Raisins, Chopped
Several Dashes Tobasco Sauce
2 Cups Hot, Cooked Couscous
1/4 Cup Peanuts, Chopped

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cook onion, pepper, and carrots covered over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add chili pepper, salt and pepper, cinnamon, cumin, tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth, corn, apple juice, raisins, and Tobasco. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with couscous and garnish with peanuts.

This chili was delicious. The sweetness of the raisins and corn balance out the spicyness of the Tobasco. This recipe was very simple, as well as very adaptable. Don't skip on the couscous, I love the texture that it adds! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vegetarian Week: Red Bean and Rice Burgers

Red Bean and Rice Burgers
makes 4 burgers

(1) 14.5 oz. Can Red Kidney Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
3/4 Cup Brown Rice, Cooked
4 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns, Split and Toasted

In a medium bowl, coarsely mash beans with potato masher or fork.  Stir in onion, celery, bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.  Stir in rice.  Shape the bean mixture into 4, 1/2-inch-thick patties.  Preheat a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat.  Add patties to pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until heated thoroughly, turning once.  Serve burgers on buns with red onion, spinach leaves, sliced and mayo, if desired.

I was a little skeptical about this recipe because I've never made or even tried anything like it.  As I was plating it, I thought to myself "if this doesn't workout I don't have a back up!".  I was so pleasantly surprised!  My husband said they were awesome.  The burgers weren't overly bean-y, they had great flavor.  I'm definitely going to be making these again! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vegetarian Week

Don't get me wrong, I love meat.  Love it.  But I don't really like to cook raw meat, or touch it.  So I had the idea for a week of all vegetarian dishes.  I hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011


family recipe

2-3 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped (How to Cook Hard Boiled Eggs)
1/2 Pound Ground Sausage
Butter (Optional)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Milk
Salt and Pepper To Taste

Brown the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks over medium heat.  Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon.  Pour out drippings except for 2 tablespoons.  Add an additional 2 tablespoons of butter, if desired.  Whisk in the flour until smooth and bubbles start to appear.  Slowly pour in milk, while whisking and let it cook until it slowly bubbles and thickens.  Toss in the cooked sausage and hard boiled eggs.  Cook until sausage and eggs are heated through.  Season to taste.  Serve over toasted English muffins.

Brunch-osaurus rawwwwwrrrrrr!  My mom use to make this when I was growing up and when she sent me the recipe, she it needed a name.  So when I made it for brunch the other day, my creative husband suggested "brunch-osaurus", which I couldn't top.  He also said this was the best brunch that I've ever made!  Plus, I love sausage... and hard boiled eggs... and my husband :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peaches and Cottage Cheese

Peaches and Cottage Cheese

I love canned peaches with a big scoop of cottage cheese.  My mom use to eat this all the time and I thought it was so gross - until I tried it.  It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, maybe it's considered an acquired taste.  Of course you can try this with other fruits (pineapple or fresh strawberries are really good too!).  I like using canned because that syrup is so good with that cottage cheese! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Chop an Onion

How to Chop an Onion

When I first started cooking about a year and a half ago, my skills were pretty much limited to frying eggs and making pasta.  I had to teach myself practically everything.  I watched a lot of FoodNetwork and looked for a lot of easy recipes.  One of the first things I taught myself was how to chop an onion, which seems pretty easy, and actually it is.  My husband suggested I search You Tube to learn how to do it.  And here it is:  How to Chop an Onion with Gordon Ramsay

Saturday, January 8, 2011

White Chili

White Chili
from my cousin-in-law, Jo

1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut into 1/2 Inch Cubes, or 1 Large Can Chicken
1 Large Onion, Diced
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder, or 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
2 Cans Great Northern Beans or Cannellini Beans, Rinsed and Drained
2 Cans Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 (4 oz.) Can Chopped Green Chilies
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
Splash of Milk

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic with salt and pepper in oil until onions are translucent and chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and milk. Serve immediately.

This was perfect for a cold winter day. Hubby and I both loved it! Honestly, it didn't even need a side dish. Now, let's get real... obviously I went for the canned chicken. I don't think the canned hindered the dish at all. If you're feeling ambitious, you can even cook fresh chicken ahead of time. As for the chicken broth, you should always buy low sodium chicken broth so that you can better control the sodium in the dish. At least that's what I've learned after watching Food Network for the last 18 months. Also, in the origional recipe, Jo calls for 2 tablespoons of fat-free half-and-half, but I substituted milk since I was fresh out of cream. Fun fact: the garnish is a mini Baby Bell cheese sliced and fanned out. Thanks for the great recipe, Jo!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
makes 4 sandwiches

1 Tablespoon Butter or Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Chopped (about 1/4 Cup)
1 Small Green Pepper, Chopped (about 1/2 Cup)
1/4 Cup Chopped Celery (1 Stalk)
1/2 Cup Barbecue Sauce
1 Can (12.5 oz.) Chicken, Drained
4 Hamburger Buns, Toasted

Heat butter in a 2-quart sauce pan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pepper, onion, and celery and cook till they are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir the barbecue sauce and chicken into the pan. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Divide the chicken mixture among the buns.

When I'm a busy soccer mom, this recipe is definitely going into my dinner rotation. It seriously doesn't get easier than this. The secret is using good sauce. I had some homemade from a while back that I froze in 1/2 cup containers. Here is the recipe. My husband and I can just about polish off this whole batch, so if you've got a bunch of mouths to feed, I'd suggest doubling the or even tripling the recipe.

Trying out the new cutting board... it's huge!

First time using my dutch oven. It's so beautiful I want to cry... or maybe that's the onions that's making me want to cry:)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs
serves 1
Inspired by Pioneer Woman Cookbook

2 Eggs
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
Everyday Seasoning Blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small ramekin with butter. Add the eggs, top with cheese and seasonings. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until whites are no longer runny.

The original recipe called for the eggs to be under a broiler and cooked for about 3-5 minutes. However, my pot can't handle temps that high, so I thought slow and low would be the better route. Plus, when I did stick them under the broiler my seasonings burned before the eggs were done. This is a fun little brunch dish. Serve with whole-grain toast.

Side note: This is the seasoning blend that I use. You could call it love. I've mostly use it on eggs, but I've tried it on salads as well and it's never disappointed me. If you have access to Trader Joe's, I may be calling you up.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Additions

New Additions
Friends, I've been very blessed this holiday season. Let me share with you the new additions to the BD kitchen-
I got these cups at Starbucks... I think they are so cute!

My dad made 11 of these cutting boards for me, my mom,

and my aunts for Christmas this year. I think he needs to go into
business selling them! He even personalized them. You can read
more about the cutting boards here.

My husband gave me a little, mini Le Creuset pot for an early

Christmas present. Dijon yellow! I haven't figured out much to
do with it yet, but I'm looking forward to using it!

Last but not least, a Le Creuset dutch oven! Cobalt blue!
I'm so grateful! I can't wait to see what I can make with this!

Monday, January 3, 2011

French Puffs

French Puffs
from the Pioneerwoman cookbook

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Shortening
2 Eggs
1 Cup Milk

6 Tablespoons Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening. Add the eggs and mix again. Alternating adding one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. To make the coating, melt the butter. In a separate container, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the tops of the muffins in the butter, the roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Happy New Year! I hope all of you are keeping your resolutions. Mine is to read one book every month. I know I wouldn't keep a resolution like "workout twice a day" or "no more desserts till 2012". Anyway, back to the french puffs! So, one morning... OK early afternoon, I was in the mood to bake. Just as luck would have it, I had all the ingredients I needed to break in my PW cookbook and make french puffs. Perfect for a quiet winter morning (or early afternoon) with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!