Sunday, December 27, 2009

December Dinners

Note: Until I make the meal I'm going to link to the site where I got the recipe/idea from. I'll post my version and/or comments after I've made the meal.

Red Beans and Rice (didn't go well, I'm going to try again in a few months and I'll post a recipe then)
Albondigas (Meatball) Soup (I made some errors in following the directions so either go to Crockpot 365 or Simply Recipes and do one of those recipes...I'll try again and post when I've done it right)

Christmas Dinner:  (we made all this food for three people, we're kind of crazy)
   Sweet Potato Casserole
   Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
   Cornbread Stuffing with Apple and Sausage
   Broccoli Casserole
   Pumpkin Pie
   Apple Crumble with Homemade Ice Cream


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples

This is basically a Food Network recipe.  I used different sausage and sprouted grain bread.  It was good just a tiny bit dry.  I'd add a bit more broth and an extra apple or two (I really like apple).

14 oz sausage ring, cut into 1/4 slices and cut those in half
1/2 cup butter
1/2 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced (you could use 3-4 apples if you like it as much as I do)
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
1 9x9 pan cornbread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 slices dried bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 cup chicken broth (you could add an extra couple splashes if it seems too dry)

Preheat oven to 375.

Brown sausage, then remove from the pan and set aside.  Add butter to the pan, and melt over medium heat. Add celery, onions and apple and cook until softened.  Season with about half of the sage and thyme.   Place cornbread and bread cube in large casserole dish, pour vegetables and broth over top, add remaining spices and mix together.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serves 8-10

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

The roasted garlic adds a nice touch to mashed potatoes when you aren't having gravy.  Leaving the potato skins on gives you more vitamins and makes the potato preparation much easier.

1 head garlic, bottom chopped off
1/2 tbsp olive oil
6-8  medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered, but not peeled
1 stick butter
1/2 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Place garlic in a small oven safe dish and pour olive oil on top.  Roast for 1 hours.

Put the quartered potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Place over high heat.  Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Drain water and place potatoes back in the hot pot.  Add butter and let melt.  Peel and mash garlic and add to potatoes.  Add cream and mash potatoes.

Serves 6-8

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is the Allrecipe's Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic but modified so that your sweet potatoes are actually cooked through and will mash easily.  This is a very sweet dish, so the sugar could be at least cut in half.

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (you could use brown sugar instead)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (whole wheat flour works too)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, your preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roast sweet potatoes 1 hour. Cool slightly, peel, and mash.

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.  In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, salt, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and heavy cream. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup butter, flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Mix with a pastry blender or your fingers to the consistency of course meal. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until topping is crisp and lightly browned.

Serves 8-10

Crockpot Grape Chicken

This dinner was very simple and was very flavorful.  It's the Simply Recipes Roast Chicken with grapes cooked in the crockpot.  I used chicken breast instead of a whole chicken.

6-8 chicken breast halves
1 large lemon, sliced
2/3 bag of seedless grapes
1/2 onion, chopped into wedges
At least 1/2 tbsp each thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon
1 cup white wine
Enough olive oil to coat bottom of crockpot

Coat crockpot bottom with olive oil and place onions in crockpot.  Add chicken and spices.  Cut about 1/4 of the grapes in half and place over chicken.  Pour wine over top.  Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high 3-4 hours.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

This is Rachel Ray's Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli but without the chicken or cayenne pepper and with added purees from Sneaky Chef (the puree can be made before and frozen for later use).  It's so much better than the boxed stuff and it's a quick recipe.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists

1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour (whole wheat flour works fine in rouxs!)
1 teaspoon paprika
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar (or any other cheese you like!)

1/4 cup Orange Puree
1/4 cup White Puree
1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard

Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  If using broccoli, put in with pasta when there is 3 minutes remaining cooking time.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter.  Let the butter melt then add onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender.  Once onions are tender, add flour and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.  Add purees.
Add cheese to thickened sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and stir to combine.

Serves 4-6 servings

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crockpot Coconut Pork

This was ok, but I thought that the spices need to be increased a bit, since I didn't use the red pepper flakes from the original . I add more curry, coriander, and cumin when I ate the leftovers. This is from A Year of Slow Cooking's Coconut Beef recipe. I change it from beef to pork and didn't add any brown sugar and some of the spices.

--1.5-2 lbs pork loin, sliced 1 inch thick rounds
--1 yellow onion, chopped
--1 can coconut milk
--1 juice from one lime
--2 cloves chopped garlic
--1 tsp curry powder
--1/2 tsp ground coriander
--1 tsp cumin
--1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

Put onion in the crockpot and add pork on top. Add spices and coconut milk. Cook for 8-10 hours on low or 6-8 hours on high.
Serves 6-8.

Crockpot Pork in Tomato Sauce

We thought that this was a great different way to make pork. It's a very simple recipe.

1 pork loin, 2.5-3 lbs.
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp garlic
at least 1/2 tbsp each coriander, marjoram, thyme, sage

Place pork in crockpot. Rub with spices. Pour tomato sauce and wine over pork. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 6-7.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crockpot Indian Lamb Curry

I modified and double the sauce for A Year of Slow Cooking's Indian Curry Recipe. It was great and I had curry without it being too hot. I don't go out for Indian food because it's too hot for me usually.

2 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 lbs of lamb shank
2 T tomato paste
4 T curry powder
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
2 inch peeled and grated ginger
1 yellow onion. chopped
3 or 4 cloves of smashed and chopped garlic

1/2 of an eggplant, chopped (doesn't need to be peeled)
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

Mix all of your spices, coconut milk, and tomato paste in the bottom of your crockpot. Place the lamb in the crockpot. Pour in the garbanzo beans. Add the vegetables on top of the lamb.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6.

Serves 6-8

Monday, November 9, 2009

Swordfish in Herbed Butter Sauce

We liked this and it added a bit of flavor to the swordfish without overpowering it. It's also very easy for the nights you don't have much time to cook.

4 swordfish steaks
1/2 cup butter, plus 4 pats
1/2 small lime or lemon.

Preheat oven to 425. Coat baking pan with olive oil. Place at least 1/2 tsp of each spice on the steaks (I just use my hand to measure). Place a pat of butter on each steak. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through. When there is less than 10 minute left on cooking the steaks, take a saucepan and melt the remaining butter. Add the same spices in at least the same amount as you placed on the steak. Add lime or lemon. Remove from heat. Serve the sauce over the steaks.

Serves 4

Crockpot Pomegranate Beef

I made this for a dinner party and everyone really liked it. The cranberries and pomegranate make it very fall appropriate. It's a tart instead of sweet version of fruit and meat, which I'm a big fan of.

I'm linking to the recipe on Gluten-free Goddess. My only changes were doubling the recipe, using a much cheaper, pot roast type cut of meat like chuck roast, and cooking for 10 hours on low since I didn't cut the meat into serving pieces or brown it. If I made it again, I'd probably half the amount of balsamic vinegar used.

Crockpot Pesto Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

This was pretty good, but I didn't like how all the cheese fell off my chicken pieces so if anyone figures out a way to make them stay that would be wonderful. My husband isn't a big sweet potato fan, so I'd probably do half sweet and half regular baked potatoes when I make this again.

I'm just going to link to the A Year of Slow Cooking post where I got the recipe.
My change:
I used pecan as the nuts in the pesto since I have a pecan tree and a ton of nuts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Salmon Stuffed and Smothered in Cream Cheese and Spinach

My husband asked if I can make fish this way all the time. I'd say it was a hit, plus it's really simple to make.

2 lbs salmon
1 package cream cheese
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup spinach, packed tightly
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Place cream cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, and spinach in food processor and blend until smooth. Spread baking dish with olive oil or other oil. Cut pocket(s) into salmon, and stuff cream cheese mixture into pockets. Smother remaining mixture on top of salmon. Bake 20-30 minutes or until salmon flakes when you twist a fork in it.

Serves 4-6.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crockpot Cherry Chicken

I'm significantly adapting Rachael Ray's Tangy Cherry Chicken for crockpot and our preferences.  It's good and not really sweet since the cherries are unsweetened.

6 chicken breast halves
3-4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
salt and pepper

Place onions at bottom of crockpot. Rub chicken with spices and place in crockpot. Pour cherries, wine and broth on top. Cook for 6-7 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.

Serves 6

Friday, October 30, 2009

Crockpot Harvest Stew

This recipe is from a great slow cooker blog, A Year of Slow Cooking. I love her recipes and I've made quite a few. I just going to link to the recipe and comment.

D and I both really liked this stew. The only changes I made were not adding the beans since my Crockpot is only 5 quarts and using turkey tenderloins (same amount of meat). It was in the fridge before hand so I cooked it on high for 7 hours.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Spaghetti Sauce

I use this spaghetti sauce recipe for spaghetti and lasagna. This recipe is based on what my parents make. It can be made either as a meat sauce or plain tomato (which I use for spaghetti and meatballs).  The plain sauce or with turkey is endo diet friendly.

4 cups homemade tomato sauce or 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce and 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 cup wine (I use white wine)
1/2 to 1 whole onion (depending on how onion-y you like your sauce), diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, diced
basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram (I don't actually measure it but you probably need at least 1/2 tbsp-1 tbsp dried of each)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil (if you are not making meat sauce)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef or turkey (for meat sauce)

Heat a large pan over medium heat. If you are making meat sauce, add the ground beef or turkey and brown throughly. For plain sauce, add the olive oil to the pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 6 minutes or until onions are tender. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (if using), tomato paste, wine (you can just pour it in the empty tomato paste can to measure) and spices. Let bubble then reduce heat. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Taste about 20 minutes into simmering for spices and add more as necessary. Use for spaghetti or lasagna.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I make my lasagna without ricotta cheese because that's how my parents made it.

Spaghetti Sauce (I use meat sauce for this)
2 cups shredded Italian 5-cheese blend
2 cups shredded Mozzerella
1 package of lasagna noddles
Optional: 1 zucchini, sliced into circles

Boil the lasagna noodles as directed on package, if necessary. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan or casserole dish (depending on the size of your dish this recipe makes 1 9x13 pan or 2 smaller pans). Alternate layers of noodles, sauce, (zucchini) and cheese. Top with the remaining cheese. You can refrigerate for a day before cooking if necessary. Bake 350 for 30 minutes uncovered plus an additional 15 minutes covered (30 minutes if previously refrigerated).

Makes 6-8 servings

November Dinner Plans

Note: Until I make the meal I'm going to link to the site where I got the recipe/idea from. I'll post my version and/or comments after I've made the meal.

Crockpot Pomegranate Beef (for a dinner party)
Repeat: Salmon Stuffed and Smothered with Cream Cheese and Spinach
Buffalo Burgers (just hamburger made with buffalo meat that I found at the grocery store)

Thanksgiving Side that we brought to our friend's dinner:

Crockpot Apple Pork

I made this for my birthday. I love apple, mainly Granny Smith. This is basically just a recipe that I made up on my own.

1 onion, chopped
1 pork loin about 2.5 lbs
4 apples, cored and sliced into rings
1/2 cup apple juice
ginger, nutmeg salt and pepper

Put onion in crockpot. Rub pork with spices and place in crockpot on top of onions. Put apple slices in crockpot on top of pork and pour over the apple juice. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Beef Stroganoff

I got this recipe from Simply Recipes. The hardest part is getting the beef cut into strips. I modified it by cooking the mushrooms separately for my husband since I don't like them. We really liked it but it only made 2 servings.

6 Tbsp butter
1 pound of top sirloin or tenderloin, cut thin into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch long strips
1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of dry tarragon or 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
1 cup of sour cream at room temperature

Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high and add the strips of beef. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. You may need to work in batches. While cooking the beef, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.
In the same pan, melt another 3 Tbsp of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes.
Remove mushrooms and reduce heat to low. Add the sour cream and stir in the beef and shallots, and mix throughly. Don't let the mixture simmer or boil or the sour cream will curdle
Serve over egg noodles (I used whole wheat).

Make 2 servings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

This is a Rachel Ray recipe except I use meatball instead of sausage.

Here's the meatball recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
6-8 fresh sage leaves, shredded, or 1/2 tbsp sage
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb pasta of your choice

Make meatballs and start baking in oven. Start sauce and pasta water while meatballs are cooking.

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Put meatballs in sauce, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute.
Makes about 4-6 servings.


I use this recipe for any meatballs I make. Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker. Just like in my meatloaf, I use oatmeal as the binder instead of bread crumbs.

1 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/8 cup milk
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce (you can just do this by sight if you like)
1 small onion
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Combine all ingredients and shape into meatballs. Place in 9x13 pan, making sure to leave room between the meatballs. Cook 20-25 minutes or until no longer pink in center.

Makes about 12 meatballs.

Upcoming October Dinners

What I'm Planning to Make for the Rest of the Month:
Turkey Meatballs in Pumpkin Sauce
Crockpot Apple Pork (for my birthday dinner)
White Fish in Peach Sauce

Crockpot Ropa Vieja

This was very good. It's a make-again. I love beef in the crockpot since it's always tender and flavorful. I combined a bunch of recipes I found to make one that suited us.

2 lbs beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 apple cider vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf

Rub beef with spices. Place in crockpot and place onion on top. Pour tomato sauce, broth, and vinegar. Cook on low for at least 10 hours or on high for at least 7 hours.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Way more than anyone ever wanted to know about what I eat

Since my last recipe post, I have changed quite a bit about what I eat. I'm following the guidelines from Marilyn Shannon's Fertility, Cycles and Nutirition. I eat at least: 3 servings of whole grains, 3 servings dairy/eggs, 1 serving complete protein, 1 serving yellow fruits/vegetables, 3 serving leafy greens, 1 serving vitamin C source, and 1 serving unsaturated fat. I have also significantly reduced the amount of sugar/white flour I eat.

I plan out dinners for the week and go grocery shopping on Saturday. I'll be starting to post the meal plan for the week. We have leftovers at least one meal after every time I cook, so I'm planning 3-4 meals a week.

Breakfast: I work early in the morning and my husband is the breakfast cooker so I don't eat a hot breakfast in the morning. I have a smoothie and dry whole grain cereal (I like Food for Life's Ezekiel 4:9 cereal, there's no added sugar and it's available in my local grocery store in my moderately sized city) almost daily. I make a couple batches of the smoothie at a time and freeze them. I use yogurt (I've started making homemade in my crockpot), avocado (as a base since I don't like bananas), berries (I change up the berries), spinach (to get in those leafy greens), flax oil (for the omega-3s) and often a peach/nectarine for a bit of sweetness.

Lunch: Most days, I don't eat leftovers for lunch (since we have them for dinner) so I bring lunch components to work (I work at a house so I have access to a full kitchen). Lunch has probably been the hardest meal for me to plan for. One of the things I often eat is cheese sandwiches. I use the Food for Life bread, what ever cheese I want that week, tomato, and spinach (leafy greens). I recently found Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less by Mark Bittman. It has some very simple ideas for meals that I find perfect for lunch (some I save for weekends). My focus for lunch is eating a leafy green and usually a serving of dairy.

Snack: I keep whole carrots, raw pumpkin seed, almonds, and other healthy snack around for if I get hungry.

Dinner: I'll be posting my weekly dinner plans and recipes coming soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pina Coloda Chicken

(this recipe is also good with shrimp or fish)

2 tbsp garlic
1/4 onion, finely chopped or grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp ginger
2 breast chicken, sliced into strips
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice
4 slices pineapple
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp basil
Pepper to taste

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Add chicken and ginger. Brown chicken. Add coconut milk, pineapple juice, pineapple, lime juice, basil, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Makes 2 servings.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cheesy and Creamy Green Bean (or Broccoli) Casserole

This is my favorite holiday vegetable casserole and I make or have my parents make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

1 lb. green beans or broccoli (broccoli needs to be chopped)
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour (whole wheat flour works)
2 cups milk/half & half/heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 325.
Steam green beans for 5 minutes, then place in cool water.  If using broccoli, steam for 7 minutes or until fork tender.
For sauce, melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly, remove from heat.
Gradually stir in milk/half & half/cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; boil and stir 1 minute. Place green beans/broccoli in shallow casserole dish and pour sauce over top. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake uncovered 30 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.


I combined a couple different meatloaf recipes, and came out with one I like. The oatmeal is healthier than the more commonly used breadcrumbs. We have this about once a month.

1 1/2 lb ground turkey (or beef or pork)
2/3 cup milk
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 cup oatmeal
2 eggs
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix loaf ingredients and place in loaf pan. Mix sauce ingredients in small bowl and pour half over top of loaf. Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165 F.
Pour remaining sauce over meatloaf before serving.

Makes 6-8 servings