Thursday, September 3, 2009

Zucchinis abound!

Tis the season. Do you have a ton of produce to deal with?

I came home from my in-laws this week with over 60 pounds of zucchini. It might even be significantly more, I just know that the two bags that I lifted into the car weighed more than my 3 year old - and he's about 30 pounds. There are quite a few "baseball bats".

Many will automatically assume its all about bread. I like zucchini bread. But there are lots of other options... here are some of the things that I'll do with all these veggies!

I will freeze some. This process, I observed my parent conduct every summer of my entire life. Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds. Blanch - lightly boil for about 2-3 minutes. Drain immediately. Spread across cookie sheets, prop cookie sheets at an angle in front of a fan for 10-15 minutes. Move zucchini into freezer bags or vacuum seal bags and seal, removing as much air as possible. Freeze.

Some of this freezing will be in different formats, depending on how I intend to use the veggies.
Some will be cut into quarters and then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces to be used in soups and stews. I will slice some into 3 inch pieces and julienne into strips. This makes a great low carb pasta replacement for spaghetti - really - even my kids like it!

This recipe is getting quite the raves, even from my husband on Facebook! :-)

Stuffed Cheesy Zucchini

1 large Zucchini - 18 inches long would be ideal
slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
4 cups tomato sauce (add meat if you'd like)
1 pint ricotta cheese
2 cups Italian blend cheese
2 eggs
Fresh basil
2 tbs Parmesan

Place Zucchini flesh side down in pan with 1/2 inch of water in oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes to soften. Drain water and flip zuch flesh-side up. Pour 2 cups of sauce around the zuch in the pan. In separate bowl, whisk eggs. Combine eggs with cheese and ricotta. Scoop into the hull of the zucchini. Drizzle remaining sauce over the top. Garnish tops with basil and remaining parmesean. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

I grew up eating zucchini casserole and it's still one of my favorites!

Zucchini Casserole / aka - Cheeseburger Casserole
3-4 zucchini, depending on pan size - about 2-3 cups raw
1 small package stuffing
1/2 cup of butter
1 large onion
1 lb hamburger or mild sausage
Sliced tomatoes
1 cup grated cheese (or 2 oz of velveeta sliced)

Cook zucchini in salted water until tender - about 5 minutes. Drain and layer in the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer dry stuffing ontop. Dot top of stuffing with butter. Fry onion in butter, add meat, cook till brown and crumbled. Layer on top of stuffing. Layer tomatoes on top of meat. Top with cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I also had a friend recommend this blog for some great ideas for zucchini use, including a zucchini-feta fritter recipe and some chocolate muffins and a zucchini cake with broiled frosting!

Let us know if you try any of these ideas and what you thought or feel free to share other recipes and ideas in the comments.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Grilled Mango Pork

I take no credit for this recipe. It can be found at the original site

I am re-posting it here for my own convenience, so that I can find it again. It was YUMMY!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serving Description: 1 chop, about 1/2 cup slices and sauce
Servings: 4

- 4 pork chops
- 1 large mango, divided
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 cup raisins, preferably golden raisins
- 2 cloves garlic, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

  • Peel the mango and then slice half and dice the other half. Set the slices aside. Chop onion and garlic.
  • Mix diced mango, onion, raisins, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and water in a saucepan. Simmer until onions are soft and mixture is thick, but not dry, about 10 minutes. Add a little more water, if necessary. Set aside (this can be prepared ahead, if desired).
  • Preheat the grill. Trim excess fat from the chops. Lightly salt and pepper each side and grill to desired doneness. Briefly grill the mango slices, if desired. (They are good either grilled or not).
  • Serve chops with sauce spooned over and around them with slices on top.

I would recommend using a mango that is a little bit green, as the tart comes out and blends nicely with the pork and it is also easier to grill when it is less mushy. I think any cut of pork would work fine. I quickly dipped the meat in a rinse of vegetable oil and soy sauce before putting on the bbq. We served it over a wild rice mixture with green beans on the side. Delish!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cheeseburger Salad

How do we eat cheeseburgers and enjoy them if we aren't supposed to be eating processed wheat?

Cheeseburger Salad

There really isn't anything magically about this creation. So much so, I'm not sure if I'd call it a recipe, but here you go!

Make a green salad. We like Romaine or leaf lettuce, a little bit of thinly sliced or shredded carrot, green onion and sliced tomatoes.

Make some cheeseburgers. I like the grill.

Put the salad in a thin layer on a dinner plate. Put a burger in the middle. Add condiments to your liking. I always have a couple of circles of yellow mustard, ketchup and some diced dill pickles. Other fun add-ons: bacon, avocado, sauteed mushrooms, different cheeses like Swiss, bleu or feta.

Not pictured, but I usually add a little creamy salad dressing to the lettuce - ranch, thousand island or bleu cheese.

How would you make your burger salad?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

White man's Guacamole

I grew up in Western New York. That makes me a Yankee. A very white Yankee, at that. The first time I ate enchiladas, it was prepared by my mother in law, before she was my mother in law, and I wasn't quite old enough to know what a Corona tasted like. The first time I ate at a real Mexican restaurant (and no, Taco Bell doesn't count) was after moving to Oregon. So there is a little irony in the fact that I'll post a Mexican recipe, and hence should require the additional title of "White-man's".

White Man's Guacamole

2 firm but ripe medium avocados, peeled and pitted. Save one pit.
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Roses Sweetened Lime Juice
2 green onions chopped
1/4 c cilantro.
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt and Pepper blend (ingr - salt, powdered garlic, black pepper, sugar)

Blend with immersion blender. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, keeping the pit in the airtight container to keep the guac from turning brown.

I attempted a similar recipe from Betty Crocker around Christmas time and spent the evening adding a little of this, a little of that, because it just wasn't right. Tonight's concoction was a complete experiment surprising both Shane and I. I don't want to forget how I made it next time I try, so really this post is completely self-serving, but maybe you'll enjoy it to.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries!

You can do this with regular potatoes, but it is definitely better with a sweet potato or yam.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup baby rice cereal
1 tbs seasoning salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Slice the potatoes lengthwise. Cut down until your pieces are about 1 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick by 3 inches long (approximately). In a large mixing bowl, toss potatoes in olive oil and coat well. In separate bowl, combine corn meal, baby cereal and seasoning salt. Pour half of the breading mix over the potatoes and toss to coat. Add remaining breading mix and toss to coat evenly. Spread potatoes across a baking sheet (I use the bottom of the broiler pan). Lightly spray top with cooking spray. Cook on oven rack approximately 4-6 inches from heat, at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Potatoes will be lightly crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the outside. No need for condiments. :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Turkey and wild rice

2 cups cooked turkey meat, diced
approx 10 cups turkey broth
2 tbs butter
3 cloves minced garlic
1 medium leek sliced and rinsed
3 medium carrots chopped
4 cups sliced white mushrooms
2 cups frozen corn
1 tsp oregano
1 tbs basil
1 tbs onion soup mix
1 cup wild rice mix

Melt butter in stock pot. Sautee garlic, leek, carrots and mushrooms until tender. Add corn, spices, meat and broth. Heat to a boil, reduce to simmer for 45 minutes. Add rice and cook for additional 45 minutes. Salt and pepper as needed.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large leek, split lengthwise and slice, rinse in bath and drain to remove dirt
2 stalks of celery including leaves, sliced
2 tbs flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded swiss
4 oz velveeta
2 cups fresh broccoli - stems removed and freshly steamed
Extra shredded cheese to garnish

In stock pot, melt butter. Sautee garlic, leeks and celery. Stir in flour, coating vegetables and incorporating flour and butter well. Add stock and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Add cheese, and stir until melted and combined. If the heat is too high, it will scald. Add broccoli, stir to combine. Garnish cheese on top. Place lid on stock pot. Keep over low heat for at least 5 minutes or until ready to serve.


1 jar of tomato sauce (ragu or the like)
1 can tomato paste
Meat (I used a package of cheddar brats)
fresh mushrooms
2 green onions
Raw Zucchini - about 4-5 medium
1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup mozzarella
Salt, Pepper (other seasoning if you want - keep it simple - sauce prolly has seasoning already)

Combine the sauce and tomato paste (when the Zucchini cooks - it'll release moisture - so you want your sauce to be pretty dense to start out.) Set aside. I use my handy-dandy Cuisinart Food processor (which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!)...slice the meat, mushrooms and green onions. Sauteed for a bout 5 minutes till the meat is warmed (since I was using a pre-cooked braut - if you are using a raw meat - make sure it's thoroughly cooked - of course!) and the mushrooms are tender. Set aside. slice the zucchini. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in cottage cheese and all except 2 tbs of the Parmesan.
In casserole dish (I used a oval corning wear dish), pour a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce on the bottom. Layer across the bottom Zucchini, then 1/3 of cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle generously with mozzarella. A few spoonfuls of meat / mushrooms. Then sauce, Zucchini, cheese, mozzarella, meat, Zucchini, Cheese... etc. I had enough that I could finish the top with zucchini, sauce and a mix of Parmesan and mozzarella.
Baked covered at 400 degrees for 40 min - 10 min uncovered - rest 10 min before serving.
(May want to bake on a cookie sheet - my boiled over a bit)

Yummy with bread - of course!

Chicken and Pasta Salad

2 cups pasta (macaroni / shells) cooked in salted water, rinsed and chilled
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cooked, diced, chilled.
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery (I like the leafy tops)
1 apple cored and diced
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbs dill weed
6 leaves of romaine (or leaf lettuce)
1 shredded carrot
2 tomatoes sliced

Combine noodles, chicken, onion, celery, apple, cheddar. In separate bowl combine seasonings and cottage cheese and mayo. Toss noodle mix with mayo mix to combine throughly. Break lettuce and line platter with lettuce and carrots. Pile pasta on top of lettuce. Put sliced tomatoes on top. I garnished with "McComrick Grinders" Tellcherry Black Peppercorns and
Roasted Garlic and Sea Salt.

Chill and serve.

Easy Shephards Pie

2 tbs oil
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 green onions
1 carrot sliced
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup left over spaghetti sauce
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups left over mashed potatoes
1/4 c butter
1/2 c sour cream
1 tbs ranch mix
1 cup frozen peas
1 egg yoke
1/2 c warm water.

Start sweet potato to boil in water. Cook the onion, garlic, green onion, carrot in oil till tender. Add meat, cook through. Add spaghetti sauce. Removed from heat.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain water, add butter, ranch mix and sour cream. Mash. Add left over mashed potatoes and combine.

Pour meat into casserole dish. Spread peas across top of meat. Spread potatoes on top. Beat egg yoke, add warm water and whisk to combine. Pour over top of potatoes (makes crunchy top).

Put under preheated broiler for 3-4 minutes until top gets crispy.

Original post with credits here

Tomato Florentine

1/2 lb boneless chicken, cut up.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs rosemary
1 tbs ground mustard
2 tbs lemon juice
2 cups water

Cook in small sauce pan, till tender or falling apart, reserve liquid. (You can use any pre-cooked chicken, its a great way to use up some leftovers. I like the seasoning combination added, even if using leftovers)

1 tbs oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 box frozen, diced spinach, thawed, drained, pat dry with paper towel.
2 cans diced tomatoes, don't drain
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup seasoned spaghetti sauce (Prego)
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry basil
2 cups pasta (I like small shells)

In stockpot, sautee onion and garlic in oil. Drain oil. Add chicken, tomato, reserved chicken water, broth, spaghetti sauce, and spices. Heat to boil, reduce to simmer, cook for one hour. Add pasta noddles, cook 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally to keep noodles from sticking to the bottom. Garnish with grated parmesean and crispy warm bread.

If you want to make it to freeze, don't add the noodles until you are ready to serve.

Extraneous soup lesson extra: any time you have a meat on a bone, make broth. about 6 weeks ago, we had a large amount of fried chicken left over from church event. I stripped off the meat, which went to the freezer, and took all the skins and bones and tossed it in the crock pot for 4-5 hours. I strained out the chunks and froze the rich and tasty broth. The last time I made tomato florentine, the chicken and broth both came from that batch.

Original post here

Sarah's Wedding Soup

Oil for sauteeing
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbs celery salt
1 large onion chopped
3-4 stalks of celery chopped
3-4 carrots sliced
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 box frozen spinach - thawed, drained and patted dry w/paper towel
6 cups chicken broth
Meatballs ***

In a large stock pot, saute garlic, onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms, seasoned with celery salt for about 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are mostly tender. Add tomatoes, spinach and chicken broth. Heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for at least 1 hour. Add meatballs***, cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with Parmesean cheese garnish. It can be served immediately, but I have found that the flavors are more well mingled when you finish cooking and chill over night before serving. Either works.

You can buy the pre-made meatballs and use them if you'd like. I personally enjoy the flavor of the soup when combined with the homemade meatballs. I have also been known to make a large batch of these meatballs and freezing them to be served with pasta at a later time.

1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground Italian Sausage
1 medium diced onion
2 cloves diced garlic
1 extra large (or 2 med) eggs, beaten
1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs dry parsley
salt and pepper

I take off my rings and mix the ingredients with my fingers.... kinda cool and icky feeling, but the easiest way to mix it. Although, you will see in the picture below that I used the cuisinart to mix it and a pampered chef scoop to drop the balls. I still think hand mixing is my preference.

Heat oil in a fry pan over medium heat... if it gets too hot, it'll burn without cooking through and the oil and fat from the sausage will spit and probably burn your hands. Form 1 inch balls and cook in oil, turning occasionally until cooked through. Don't put too many in the pan at once, they will stick together. Drain on a paper towel.

For other yummy soup recipes - check out Tiffany's "Soup's On Saturday"

Olive Garden's Pasta Fagioli Soup

1 lb ground beef
1/2 diced white onion
1 large carrot slivered
2 stalks celery diced
6 diced fresh tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups beef broth from granules
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
3 cups of cooked macaroni noodles

Cook beef. Add onion, carrots, celery and cook till tender. Add tomatoes, saute for 2-3 min more. Add beans, broth, seasonings and spaghetti sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add noodles, cook for 5 minutes more. Serve with Parmesan / Romano cheese on top and crusty bread on the side.

See original post with credits here

Ham N Clam Chowder

1/2 stick butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced (rinse in tub of cold water to remove dirt between the layers)
1 medium or large onion, chopped
1 small banana pepper minced
1 cup diced cooked ham
2 small (6 oz) cans of minced clams (reserve clam broth)
6 - 8 red potatoes, thinly sliced (no need to peel)
4 cups chicken broth (or enough to barely cover potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions, leeks and banana pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown. Add Ham, Clams and clam broth. Add sliced potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached. As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom. Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you desire) and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

See original post with credits here

Pumpkin Pie Lattes at home

8 oz fresh brewed coffee
2 tbs Toriani Pumpkin Pie syrup (or 4 pumps)
1/4 cup steamed milk (milk heated in shallow sauce pan, stirring while heated until just barely boiling)

Hazelnut Pumpkin Cheesecake

originally part of the fallish feast

(adapted from Cooking Pleasures Magazine - Nov 2006 Pumpkin-Praline Cheesecake)

Cook 2 small pie pumpkins, and puree pulp (2-3 cup yield) / 1 can Libby's Pumpkin. Can be done in advance and refrigerated.

2 cups crushed Vanilla Wafer cookies
1 cup chopped and toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Combine ingredients and press into the bottom of buttered spring form pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minute. Cool on rack


3-8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups pureed pumpkin.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs

Wrap bottom of spring form pan with heavy duty foil. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Either process ingredients in food processor or use mixer. Blend cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and blend thoroughly. Add two eggs at a time and blend till combined. Pour over cooled crust. Place spring form pan in shallow baking dish and fill pan with enough hot water to cover the bottom half of the cheesecake pan. Bake 60-75 minutes until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center will move slightly but not ripple. Remove cake from water bath, remove foil. Cook on wire rack for 1 hour.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Heat brown sugar and cream in small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved, stirring constantly lead. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 5 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat, stir in nuts. Pour over cheesecake. Move Cheesecake to refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Cranberry Chicken

2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken
1/4 Cup butter
1 medium onion julienned
1/2 cup sugar
1 bag fresh cranberries, pick through to remove flawed and spoiled berries

Arrange chicken in baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook onions in butter until soft and starting to brown. Add sugar and cranberries. Cook over medium-high heat until sauce begins to gel. Pour over chicken. Cook at 400 degrees until done - about 30-45 minutes.

Originally part of the fallish feast

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

from Cornell Dining (thank you DAD) - originally posted with a fallish feast
1/4 cup butter (or oil)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp curry powder
1 butternut squash
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups water
3 cups fresh apple cider

Sautee onions in butter and curry powder. Peel, deseed and chunk squash and apple and add to onions. Add enough water to cover, boil for 30 minutes or until tender. Puree with immersion blender. Return to pot, add apple cider. Heat and serve. Garnish with Candied Walnuts if you like.

Bon Appetite Cheese Ball

2-8oz packages of Cream Cheese softened
6 green onions, chopped
1 tbs McCormicks "Bon Apettite" Seasoning
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup dry sweet cranberries
Combine cream cheese, onions, Bon Apettite and mustard with hand mixer. Use spatula to form ball in bowl. Lay out a sheet of saran wrap or wax paper, lay out almonds and cranberries in even layer on wrap. Place ball on top and roll cheese to coat. Can be formed into a ball or a log. Refridgerate for at least 3 hours before serving

Strawberry Daquaris

A dozen ice cubes
2 cups whole frozen strawberries
1/4 cup limade concentrate
1/3 cup spiced rum

Blend and enjoy

Mango Peach Sorbet

See the original post with photos here

I peeled 2 large mangoes and 4 very large peaches with my magnificent Cutco Veggie Peeler. Pureed in the blender with 1/2 cup sugar. Fruit puree transferred to a sauce pan, added 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, 1/2 can water, 1 package of unflavored gelatin. Cooked over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just enough time to allow everything to dissolve and mix thoroughly. Transferred to metal 9 x 13 pan and put into the freezer.

After 2 hours, pulled out the pan and stirred with a spatula.

Return to the freezer for 2 hours more.

Removed pan and scraped out with an ice cream scoop.

Found taste testers who review this as "a yummy special desert."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

my kids love instant oatmeal

ok, i do too...

but have you ever looked at the ingredients? can you pronounce all those? even a healthy food like oatmeal, especially the instant with flavors will be full of preservatives and additives. some of those additives might have a good purpose, like vitamins. but it seems to me that it would be wiser to get our vitamins either in foods that they naturally occur in or in a straight up vitamin form. a lot of people are preferring to avoid sugar nowadays and replacing with artificial sweeteners. just my opinion, if sugar is bad for you, don't eat sugar! don't replace it with something that has been created in a lab, for pete's sake! every sweetener that has been developed has shown to have side affects like cancer, except splenda. but i won't buy splenda either. it is made from sugar, yes, but do you know what else? chlorine bleach - ick! so instead, i am choosing to limit my white sugar consumption to a minimum or use something natural instead, like honey.

that being said... this recipe does call for sugar. i have not tried the turbinado sugar yet, but intend to with my next batch. i would use honey, but since it is a dry mix, it would be difficult to incorporate.

so, i just love this cook book for that very reason!


it is full of ideas for pre-made mixes, but non will include unusual preservatives or additives. pancake mix, hot roll mix, taco seasoning, spaghetti seasoning and many more. there is even a second edition that has a great teryaki refrigerator mix. the book was originally published in 1978. it appears that amazon now has listed an updated version.

Oatmeal Mix
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
3 cups rolled oats.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder salt and white sugar. Stir in brown sugar. Mix well. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed. Stir in oats and mix well. Put in a large airtight container. Label. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 10-12 weeks. Makes about 9 cups of OATMEAL MIX. (use to make Oatmeal muffins, Oat Pancakes, Oatmeal Cookies, Carmelita Oatmeal Bars, Fruit Bar Cookies, Peach Blossom Desert from Make-A-Mix)

i found their recipe to be too doughy and not oaty enough. so after some experimentation, this is what i have come up with:

sarah's instant oatmeal mix

10 cups quick oats
2 cups butter flavored crisco
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tbs salt

using a food processor or mixer, encorporate the sugars, baking powder, salt and crisco. place all of oats in a large mixing bowl. using a large, flat wooden spoon or hard edged spatula, combine and cut crisco mixture into oats until mixed thoroughly. add desired fruit flavorings**

**fruit flavoring suggestions
apple cinnamon:
3 cups of dried apples, chopped to bite size pieces.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional - 1 cup dry milk for a creamier texture

bannana and cream:
3 cups of dried bannana chips, chopped in food processor to bite sized pieces
1 tsp orange peel (available in bottles with McCormick spices)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dry milk

tropical cranberry:
2 cups dried sweet cranberries
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 tsp orange peel
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dry milk

combine flavoring ingredients. add to oatmeal mix. store in airtight container and use within 10-12 weeks. makes about 3 gallons (think ziplock bags)

to serve, measure about 1 cup of mix and 1 cup of water, microwave for 1 minute, stir and enjoy.

these ended up being a great stocking stuffer for relatives at christmas, in pint canning jars.

Steak and Potato Soup

The original recipe, I guess I should say, the inspiration for my actual dish, came from the Oct/Nov 2005 older issue of Cooking Pleasures Magazine. You can find the original recipe in entirety on the CCA website here. *It was named Beef and Mushroom Soup in the magazine and included tomato paste and brandy.

Sarah's "Steak and Potato Soup"

1 1/2 lb steak, cut into 1 inch pieces
Oil for frying
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms **
2 cups hot water
4 cloves minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 stalks of celery with tops, chopped
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 bay leaf
2 cans beef broth
2 tbs butter
3-4 yukon gold potatoes (about 1-2 lbs)
1 tsp salt
1 tbs onion soup mix

Place dried mushrooms in bowl of hot water to rehydrate for about 30 minutes. Save the water for the broth. Cook garlic, onion, celery and button mushrooms in butter until tender. Strain dried mushrooms and chop. Add broth and reserve mushroom liquid to vegetables, add bay leaf, heat to boil and reduce to simmer for at least an hour. The longer you simmer, the thicker and richer the broth becomes. In separate pan, fry slices of steak over medium-high heat to sear the sides. Add steak to broth for at least 30 minutes. 30 minutes before serving, add potatoes salt and onion soup mix and cook until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.

**Dried Mushrooms are found in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store, generally on the top shelf in a 1 or 2 oz plastic bag. They are great to keep on hand for soups as they are very flavorful. Fresh porcini and shiitake mushrooms are expensive and the flavors are good but don't seem as concentrated, as is with the dry. I was just reading that dried shiitakes are commonly used in Chinese medicine and are high in iron, protein and fiber, so get a bunch and serve them often!

I had made steak earlier in the week, intentionally making more with the thought of this soup. I still sliced and seared the meat, as it will become more tender in the soup (falling apart).

*I do not necessarily endorse CCA or Cooking Pleasures magazine. I have found some great recipes through them and they provide product recommendations for some of the newer gadgets and even ingredients sometimes. Most of the recipes are complicated and/or time consuming AND tend include unusual or gourmet ingredients. The subscription is a little pricey and ultimately leads to seemingly endless harassment to become a lifetime member for several hundred dollars, which will in turn get you a great cookware set and the 6 issues a year for life, supposedly. I might consider it if I didn't already have good cookware. I have said no on many occasions over the phone, email and through the mail, but I continue to be solicited over a year from the last subscription. If you are looking for a good cookware set, this would be a great way to acquire a quality set at a discount.

what shall we have here

welcome to my recipe blog!

i have something of a reputation for providing tasty victuals on a regular basis and hope to share the love. i wish i was more precise in the way that i work, so that it might be easier to reproduce for those who are stricken with the cooking-phobia. my apologies for that. i tend to find a recipe and change it before i have made it even once the exact way. i haven't figured out if that is arrogance or creativity. if there is a source to share, i will make efforts to include the source and original recipe in addition to my altered recipe and you can try either.

i would very much appreciate any feedback and comments.
if you try it and hate it, let me know.

if you try it and love it, let me know.

if you try it and it is too difficult, let me know.

if you are just a voyeur and just checking it out, let me know.

(i really like comments, can you tell?)

well, here we go! bon appetite!