Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stuffed Pasta Tip

Tonight I made cheese manicotti. (recipe later) It was a breeze thanks to putting the filling in a large zip loc bag, cutting off one corner and viola! An easy way to squeeze filling into the tubes. I think this idea would probably work well for just about any recipe that calls for stuffing/filling pasta.



.....And with cherries on top

For as long as I can remember this has been my mom's company dessert. (She got the recipe from her mom, Carol) She always made it with blueberries on top. Mmmm! I can still remember crushing graham crackers when I was little and graduating to baking the whole thing. Now I'm married to someone who loves cherries so we do cherries. Which by the way, the particular cheesecake pictured was for his birthday. Enjoy!

Filling Ingredients:

8oz. cream cheese

1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs beaten

Crust Ingredients:

1/4 lb. butter, melted

1/4 lb. graham crackers, crushed

1/4 c. sugar


Any canned or fresh fruit topping.

Blend filling ingredients until smooth.

Mix crust ingredients in separate bowl. Press mixture evenly into pie plate.

Pour filling into crust.

Bake at 325 for 25 min. Or until slightly browned on top and filling is set.

Cool and top with your choice of fruit or other topping. Best when served chilled through.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tagged by the Queen

1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?
19 meals. Two of us eat 19 meals at home; one of us eats leftover lunches at work about 4 days a week and either out or at home for one other day. Sundays we usually only have two official meals and lunch is fellowship snacks at church. Saturday is usually the same with the option to grab leftovers from the fridge if you're hungry. Breakfast is hit or miss for M & me, but Ben's favorite meal. Often I just eat his leftovers.

2. How many cookbooks do you own?
I have about three cookbooks, a couple of gift collections of recipes from friends and bunch of Cooking Light magazines.

3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?
Rarely. But I look at magazine recipes (or online) pretty frequently.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relaties, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)
See above.

5. How do you store those recipes?
I have a box and a photo album and an index card binder and I keep the magazine if it is has a lot I'm going to want to refer to.

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?
I substitute a lot of ingredients and occasionally do improvisation.

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?
Just one! Italian, Thai, Indian and Mexican.

8. What's your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count)
I actually like the planning best. It makes me feel very worthy of the title "homemaker" when I'm putting together meal ideas.

9. What's your least favorite part?
Chopping onions.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop?
Yes, except about once a month when I get behind on planning and we fall apart for a few days.

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?
Rice cooker/vegetable steamer, coffee/seed grinder, coffee maker? (I would see blender but mine is no good.)

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have? There are too many to choose; a complete set of Caphalon would be nice, or a complete set of Cutco knives. But a new kitchen would be best of all.

13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?
A dutch oven, probably 4 or 5 qt

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?
Hah! Wouldn't that be nice?

15. Grocery shop alone or with others?
I like to do my big shopping alone, but if I just have a few items, we make it a family outing.

16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week??
Probably 5. Though I make a lot of things that can be made with or without meat, so I can eat too.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?
Decorating theme? Hmmm....

18. What's the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?
I made a pie when I was probably 7 or 8, but no one would eat it because my mom thought it had weird ingredients. I ate it all. It was very good.

19. How did you learn to cook?
My mom taught me a little but I'm mainly self-taught with a good dose of Dana R for teaching me creativity, smaller portions, healthy yummy gourmet stuff.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A handy little method I periodically rediscover: instead of adding more salt, use a little lemon juice to brighten up the flavor. Works especially well on chicken, pasta, or potatoes.

-- SJ

Sunday, February 19, 2006

What Do You Keep On Hand?

I have the challenge of a small kitchen but recently realized that I had to keep a larger stash of certain staples on hand for convenience and economy's sake. A few of mine are:

Olive Oil
Whole wheat flour
Organic black beans (Ben's favorite)

What are yours?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Chicken Paprikash

Once again, the vegetarian is posting something she won't eat. But it is a favorite of my husband and quick and easy.

8-oz pkg medium egg noodles
2 t vegetable (or olive) oil
1 C sour cream (reduced fat works really well)
2 T paprika, divided
1/2 t salt, divided
1/4 t black pepper
1 C vertically sliced onion
1 lb chicken tenders cut into 1/4 inch wide strips (turkey works too)
1/2 C chicken broth (go for the low-sodium fat-free)

Cook the noodles according to the pkg directions omitting salt and fat.

Combine sour cream, 1 Tablespoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1 Tablespoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, onion, and chicken, tossing to coat. Add mixture to the pan; saute 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Add broth; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add sour cream mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated. Serve over noodles. Makes 3-4 servings.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Irish Beef Stew

Serves 4-6 people


2lbs. stewing beef, cubed
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 10 3/4-oz. cans tomato soup
1 soup can water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced potatoes
1-lb package frozen peas
1/4 cup water

1. Place beef, onion soup, tomato soup, soup can of water, salt, pepper, carrots, and potatoes in slow cooker.

2. Cover. Cook on Low 8 hours.

3. Add peas and 1/4 cup water. Cover. Cook on Low 1 more hour.

**I found a bag of frozen peas and carrots in my freezer so I used this instead of the carrots AND the bag of peas.

*** I cut this recipe in half so I wouldn't have too much. It fed the two of us for dinner with one set of leftovers, so for those of you who want more keep it as it is or double it.

This is a FAST prep recipe and is soooo delicious!