Wednesday, May 20, 2015


~ my own little brain

6 flour tortillas
1 c. salsa
4 c. crockpot beans or 2 cans black or pinto beans
1/2 c. sliced olives
1 c. sour cream
1 c. chopped cilantro
2 T. lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour enough salsa in the bottom of a 9x13 pan to just coat it. Place two tortillas next to each other on the bottom of the pan. Spread two cups of beans over them. Repeat layers, then top with two tortillas. Spread remaining salsa over tortillas, then sprinkle with olives. Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl. Place a dollop of sour cream mixture on each serving.

Friday, May 8, 2015


~ Better Homes and Gardens

1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. finely chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. sesame oil
1 lb. ground chicken
1 T. vegetable oil
8 oz. uncooked angel hair
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized strips
1/2 c. shredded carrot
1 c. green or Napa cabbage
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 c. roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
cilantro sprigs
Asian chile sauce
limes, cut into wedges

In a large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Add chicken and mix well. Shape into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. In a very large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook 10-12 minutes, or until browned and cooked through, turning occasionally. Remove from skillet and cover to keep warm.

Cook pasta to desired tenderness, then drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, add broth to the skillet, scraping up browned bits, and bring to a boil. Add bell peppers and carrots. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Add cabbage, cover, and cook 1 minute. Add pasta and meatballs, tossing gently to mix. Divide among individual bowls and garnish with green onions, cashews, and cilantro. Serve with chile sauce and lime wedges.

Makes four servings.

Notes: The pasta and veggies are fine, but the meatballs are delicious! We've used a 50/50 mix of ground turkey and ground chicken, regular bread crumbs, and bottled lime juice, just because I like to make do with what I already have on hand, and served it with spicy cilantro peanut slaw. Next time I'm going to just make the meatballs and serve them with rice and a veggie stir-fry or with spicy Asian zucchini slaw and  peanut butter pasta.

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Monday, May 4, 2015


~ my own little brain

lettuce and/or spinach
chopped tomatoes
do-it-all chicken, shredded or chopped

Layer ingredients in serving bowl or on individual plates.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015


~ Sally's Baking Addiction

2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. or more cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg at room temperature
2 t. vanilla
granulated sugar for rolling

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir melted butter and brown sugar together until no sugar clumps remain. Stir in egg, then vanilla. Pour butter mixture into flour mixture and stir until will combined. Dough should be soft, but thick. Cover and chill at least two hours, but up to 3 days.

Remove dough from refrigerator, allowing to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes if it chilled longer than 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats or grease lightly.

Pour granulated sugar into a bowl. Roll 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball, then roll in the sugar. Repeat until the baking sheet is filled, then bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and gently press the top of each cookie just enough to create a cracked top, then place back in the oven for another 1-2 minutes. Cookies will be puffy and still be very soft in the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Rolled cookie dough can be frozen up to three months and baked from a frozen state for 13 minutes.

Notes: I doubled the cinnamon and our cookies tasted great, but they were super flat and took an extra minute or two to bake. After reading the notes in the link from Sally's Baking Addiction at the top of this post I've decided that I'll add some extra flour the next time to try and get mine as thick as they appear in the pictures from that link.

Update: I tried our second batch following Mandi's suggestion below. They weren't as puffy as the ones from SBA, but I liked the texture a little better than my first batch and I didn't have to take the time to melt butter. I'll try it with more flour next time, just to see if I can get more height, but I'll definitely skip melting the butter from then on because it's just unnecessary.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


1/2 large head cabbage, core removed
1/2 c. or more chopped peanuts
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c. or more cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper (optional)

2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. sweetener (sugar, honey, agave nectar, etc.)
2 t. sesame oil
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. sriracha  sauce
1/4 c. canola or peanut oil

Cut cabbage half into 1/4-inch or smaller slices, then spin 90 degrees and cut 1/4-inch slices in the opposite direction until it's all finely chopped. Combine cabbage, peanuts, onions, and cilantro in serving bowl.

In a small bowl or jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Shake or stir until combined. Drizzle a little dressing over the salad at a time, stirring to disperse evenly, until the salad is as coated as you'd like it or just leave the dressing on the table so that people can dress their own portions. Serve immediately if you dressed the whole dish.

Notes: The name says this is spicy, but it's not ... and that's coming from someone with a low tolerance for spicy stuff.  

Saturday, April 25, 2015


~ Cooking With Christen

10 pears
1 T. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves

Coat inside of crockpot with nonstick spray. Peel, quarter, and core the pears, then place in crockpot. Add vanilla. Cook on low for 8 hours. Mash with fork, then add both sugars, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook on low for 6 hours. Leave chunky or use an immersion blender to puree.

Makes about 6 cups.

Notes: Since this takes so long, I start the crockpot for the first time when I go to bed, then mash the pears and add the second round of ingredients when I wake up. Ours cooks way longer than six hours on the second round to get thick enough to be considered pear butter instead of pear sauce, but it's not a problem when I'm home all day anyway. After the six hours are up I take the lid off so that liquid can evaporate more quickly to thicken it up, stirring occasionally. 

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015


~ brunch, by Parragon Books

2 3/4 c. rolled oats
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2/3 c. dried figs, chopped
1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 T. honey
1/4 c. cold water
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1 t. butter, melted for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, mix oats, apples, figs, and almonds. Bring honey, water, cinnamon, and vanilla to a boil in a pan, then stir together with oat mixture.

Lightly grease baking sheet with melted butter and spread oat mixture evenly on sheet. Bake 40-45 minutes or until granola is golden brown, stirring occasionally to break up clumps. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Notes: The apples will not dry out completely during the baking process, which means the oats will absorb their moisture if you store the granola for any length of time. You could either skip the fresh apples and just add diced, dried ones to the mixture instead, eat the granola soon after baking it, or reheat the granola for a bit to dry things out if it's softened in storage. We skip the butter and just use non-stick spray.

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