Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Noodle Kugel

I must have been in a strange state of mind while making my menu plan, because after selecting Carrot-Mushroom Loaf (see yesterday's post), I wrote down this recipe as our next meal.  I had no idea what a "kugel" was, but I thought the recipe looked interesting and decided to give it a try.  Well, whatever credit I lost in serving my family the carrot-mushroom loaf, I made up for and added credit by serving them this!  Our meal was interrupted with a need to help our neighbor, and as we were getting up from the table, my oldest exclaimed, "As soon as we get back home, I am coming straight back to my plate and eating all of this because it's SO GOOD!"  And it was very good, similar to a bread pudding that you'd serve for brunch.  It was just sweet enough to combat the sour yogurt, and plenty creamy.  I had enough of the ingredients to make a full 9x13 pan, but wasn't sure if we'd like it that much, so I cut everything in half and just made a square dish.  Which means I can make another square pan next week!  I did use cream cheese, and chose one apple as my add-in with a little brown sugar on top.

A kugel is a baked casserole similar to bread pudding and usually made with noodles or potatoes.  

Recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook


1 1-lb. (or 12-oz.) package wide egg noodles
2 to 3 Tbs butter (optional)
3 eggs
2 cups cottage cheese (lowfat ok)
3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
8 oz. cream cheese (lowfat ok) - optional
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp salt, to taste

optional add-ins:
1 to 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup raisins
1 tart apple, peeled and chopped
2 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

optional toppings:
1 cup breadcrumbs and/or wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Cook the noodles until about half-done.  Drain, and toss with butter (or simply rinse in cold water and drain again).  Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream or yogurt, cream cheese, cinnamon, suer, and salt in a blender or food processor and whip until smooth.  Stir this into the noodles, along with whatever optional additions you choose.  Transfer to the baking pan.

Comine the topping ingredients and sprinkle them over the top.  Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.




Monday, January 26, 2015

Carrot-Mushroom Loaf

I knew when I put this meal on my menu for the week that it wasn't going to be a family favorite.  But for some reason, the recipe intrigued me enough to brave the critics and give it a try anyway.
The result was a bit odd, but in a good way.  It's not really a loaf at all, but more like a highly textured casserole (I would use the smallest setting on my grater for the carrots next time).  I thought the flavor combination was good!  But, as expected, my gingersnaps were not huge fans.  They did okay eating it the first time (I made sure not to give them a big after-school snack that day!), but when I brought out the leftovers again for a second meal, there were major groans.  So I'm not sharing this recipe with you because it was a dinner-winner in my home.  But I do think it was good enough for those who, like me, have some strange taste buds and are drawn to this sort of dish!

recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook

2 cups minced onion
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. carrots, grated (about 6 cups)
2 cups superb bread crumbs
1 cup packed grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
black pepper, to taste

optional toppings:
extra dill
cheese
bread crumbs
a sprinkling of sesame seeds


Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large skillet, saute onions in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms, salt, herbs, and garlic, and continue to sauté for about 10 more minutes.

In a large bowl, combine carrots, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, and pepper.  Add the sautéed mixture and mix well.  Spread into the prepared pan and sprinkle with your choice of toppings.  Cover the pan with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more.  Serve hot or warm.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Apricot-Almond Bread

This recipe comes from the Moosewood Cookbook.  The forward to the recipe said it is a good mid-evening snack, "when you want something - sweet, but not too - and you don't know exactly what you want".  After tasting the bread, I think the description is spot on.  I would adjust the baking time, though.  90 minutes was far too long for my loaf.

butter for the pan
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced dried apricots
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups flour (I used one cup whole wheat and the rest all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup honey or real maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 tsp orange rind zest
1 cup finely chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a large loaf pan.

Place apricots and water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for ten minutes.  Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Sift together dry ingredients (except almonds) in a separate bowl.

Stir the butter plus honey or syrup into the cooled apricot mixture.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, orange rind, and almonds.  Mix minimally but well.

Spread into the prepared pan, and bake about 1 1/2 hours, or until a probe inserted all the way down comes out clean.  I took my bread out at about 75 minutes and it was already past done.  Let cool for ten minutes in the pan, then rap the pan firmly a few times on its sides and bottom.  The bread should slip right out.  Cool at least 15 minutes more before slicing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Overnight Blueberry French Toast

You can't go wrong with dessert for breakfast!  I'd had this several years ago when Jessie made it, so I knew we were in for a treat.  I halved this recipe and baked everything in a square dish.  Yum! 


12 slices day-old bread
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread the cream cheese on the slices of bread and then cut the bread into 1 inch cubes. Arrange 2/3 of the bread cubes in the dish, sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese and top with remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sour Cream Pork Chops

Be careful when you take the pork chops out of the crock pot on this one.  The meat is super tender and falls apart so easily! 


6 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then dredge in 1/2 cup flour. In a skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chops in a small amount of oil.
Place chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Pour chicken broth over chops. Cover, and cook on Low 7 to 8 hours.
When meat is almost done, preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
After the chops have cooked, carefully remove from pot and transfer to the oven to keep warm. Be careful, the chops are so tender they will fall apart. In a small bowl, blend 2 tablespoons flour with the sour cream; mix into meat juices. Turn slow cooker to High for 15 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Grandpa Willie's Chili

Jessie's dad (AKA Grandpa Willie) is serious about his Texas chili.  And this is some serious chili, ya'll!  I halved the recipe and still had enough to feed our family twice.  This is the first time I've made chili and served it over rice . . . I really liked it!  The flavor of the meat was deeeeeelicious!


4 lbs. meat…use either coarse ground beef or hand-cut sirloin, round, etc.
2 medium onions
1-2 cloves garlic
3-4 Tbsp. Chili powder
2 Tbsp. Ground cumin
2 Tbsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Oregano
2 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Black pepper
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 12 oz. can beef broth
1 cup dark beer

cooked white rice
cooked pinto beans
Chop onions. Sauté onions and garlic in a small amount of oil. Remove onions and garlic from oil. Brown meat until cooked through. Add sautéed onions, garlic, spices, broth, tomato paste and beer. Bring chili to a boil, cover and simmer SLOWLY for 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning during final hour of cooking (salt and pepper). You may also want to remove lid to thicken chili. 

Serve with white rice and beans.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Start your year out right and make these for someone you love.  The filling tastes similar to the filling in these enchiladas, which we loved, but I think I might like the baked taquitos even better! 


1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa (I used my homemade red salsa)
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese

small flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge. 

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.



Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Dip 'em in salsa, sour cream, guacamole.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Black Bean Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust

Jessie told me a while ago I should make this pizza.  I've had the recipe saved on pinterest for a long time.  But my oldest gingersnap absolutely hates black beans, so I try to spread out when I use them.  If I had simply read the recipe, I would have known that you mash up the black beans with tasty spices to create a delicious "sauce" for this pizza and we would have enjoyed it much sooner - all of us!  This was also the first time I'd tried a completely whole wheat flour pizza dough.  It was hearty, but tasty, and worked well with the black bean mixture and toppings.  

I made three pizza crusts from the dough recipe.  I baked two pizzas for my family and put the third ball of dough in the freezer for later.  The black bean mixture ended up being enough for four pizzas, so I froze the extra "sauce" mixture as well.  The toppings really do make the pizza, so be sure to plan ahead for those.



  • Pizza Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3-4 cups whole wheat flour
  • Black Bean Mixture:
  • 2 (15-ounces each) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Toppings:
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4-5 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sour cream or ranch for drizzling
  • Salsa
DIRECTIONS
  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (preheating a pizza stone if you have it; if not, flip a rimmed baking sheet upside down and preheat that instead). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or you can definitely do this the old-fashioned way by hand in a large bowl), combine the water, yeast, sugar, oil and salt. There's no need to proof the yeast if using instant yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, let the mixture stand for 4-5 minutes until the yeast is foaming. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms that isn't too sticky to the touch (see the note above). Knead for 3-4 minutes. Cover and set aside while preparing the other ingredients. 
  2. For the bean mixture, in a blender or food processor, combine the beans, oil, salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste), cilantro, hot sauce and cumin. Blend until it reaches the desired consistency. I processed mine until fairly smooth. 
  3. Divide the dough into 2-3 pieces, depending on how big you want your pizzas. Press the dough into a large circle or oval or square (it really doesn't matter) on a piece of greased parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thick. Of course, you can always press into a thicker crust if you'd like. It's really all about your personal preference.
  4. Divide the bean mixture evenly among the pressed out pizza dough. It won't spread as easily as, say, butter, but using the back of a large spoon or an offset spatula, spread it as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect. 
  5. Top the bean mixture with a sprinkle of red bell pepper, green onions and cheese. 
  6. Slide the parchment with the pizza on it onto the preheated baking stone or upside down baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the crust is golden and toppings are bubbling. Carefully remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes or so before serving. Repeat with the remaining pizza(s).
  8. If desired, top with tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream (or ranch) - otherwise, you can eat it without the extra toppings. Delicious either way.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Easy Tortilla Soup

I was shocked at how good this tasted for how easy it was to make!  The flavor will vary depending on what kind of salsa verde you choose, but I went with the basic stuff I found in my regular grocery store and it turned out good.  Sour cream is a must.


1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
3 cups cooked chicken pieces
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained (I used northern beans)
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Tortilla chips (optional)


Empty the salsa into a large saucepan. Cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add the chicken, beans, broth, and cumin (if desired). Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of onions, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips (if desired). For a soupier dish, use 4 cups of broth.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Biscuit Pot Pie

Everyone loves pot pie, right?!  I made a few changes and used leftover turkey and homemade turkey stock in this yummy dish.  I chopped the veggies and made the biscuits earlier in the day, making this an easy dinner to put together on a busy afternoon.  Everyone in my family cleared their plates!  My husband and I both agreed that we could have used more filling, so I might double the veggies and add a bit more liquid next time.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced 
  • 2 ribs celery, diced 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock
  • 1 1/2 cups milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded chicken, or turkey 
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas 
  • FOR THE BISCUITS 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. 
  • Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10- by 7-inch rectangle, about 1-inch thick. Cut out 6-8 rounds using a 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; set aside in the refrigerator. 
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray. 
  • To make the filling, melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth, milk and thyme, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken and peas; season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • Add chicken mixture to prepared baking dish. Place into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Top with prepared biscuits and bake until tops are golden brown, an additional 10-12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
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