Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Delicious Dessert Quesadillas

This post is all about how I'm a genius. I have invented the best dessert that can be made in five minutes. And this is how it goes:
Dessert Quesadillas
1 flour tortilla, soft taco size
2 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp. miniature marshmallows
1 tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips

Cut tortilla in half. Spread peanut butter over half of tortilla. Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Top with other half of tortilla.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray. Cook quesadilla a couple minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Then eat it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another Great Food Quote

I pray that death may strike me in the middle of a large meal. I wish to be buried under the tablecloth between four large dishes.
~Marc Desuagiers

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tuna Pot Pie

We have a very large amount of tuna. I get four cans every month from WIC, but we don't use tuna quite that often. I've been trying to use tuna more often, because we have, like, 15 cans of the stuff. Tonight's dinner was inspired by my quest to use the tuna. I looked up "tuna" in my Betty Crocker cookbook and was led to a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, with a tuna variation. Score! I love pot pie! I was additionally motivated to make this because I was running low on my calories for the day, and could definitely fit in something as calorie-rich as a pot pie. This ended up being about 380 calories per 1/8 slice. I had two.

I adjusted all the ingredient amounts because the original recipe called for a 9-inch square pan and I wanted to use my 9-inch round pie dish, which of course has a different volume.

Tuna Pot Pie
5 oz. frozen peas
1/2 can sliced carrots, drained (the recipe originally called for a bag of frozen peas and carrots, but I believe in the philosophy that you should just use what you've got)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 can (6 oz.) tuna, drained
Pastry for 9-inch double-crust pie

Rinse frozen peas in cold water to separate; drain.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt, and pepper. cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in tuna, peas, and carrots; remove from heat (During the steps in this paragraph I really appreciated the wisdom of pre-measuring your ingredients. There's so many things to add all at the same time, and it really helps to have it all ready to go beforehand).

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Make pastry. Roll half of the pastry into a 12-inch circle; ease into ungreased 9-inch pie dish. Pour tuna mixture into pastry-lined pan.

Roll out remaining pastry. Cut designs or slits into crust (I chose to do a fish, because I like the design to match what's inside the crust. Isn't it cute?). Place crust over tuna mixture; trim, seal, and flute edges.

Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown. I had to cover the edges with foil after about 25 minutes because they were browning too quickly. You could cover them before baking, and uncover them about halfway through the baking time. It works either way.

To make this into a chicken pie, substitute 2 cups cut-up cooked chicken for the canned tuna.

My pie didn't really hold together well. The crust was great, but the filling was just very wet. Next time, we'll let the pie set for about 20-30 minutes to allow the sauce to solidify a bit. Or I'll just reduce the milk and chicken broth. Anyway, despite being all fall-apart-y, this pie tasted fabulous!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lucky Chicken

Jeff made a yummy dinner tonight. This is one of our family favorites that we make over and over. I decided to let him do this post, because he made the dinner:

This is Jeff here. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. It's as good as anything that you could get at a real Chinese food restaurant and it's super easy to make as well! You're almost sure to have the ingredients on hand (except maybe the green pepper which are really cheap right now) A few variations I like to do are to add peanuts (you'll often see those in Asian cuisine so I'm not just a weirdo), carrots, garlic or sesame seeds. If you have chow mein noodles (the little crunchy kind) by all means serve them over this with rice, they're really good.

I think next time I get on the blog here I'll have to share my egg drop soup that was so good that even Zaylee, Samuel and Rheanna (the picky eaters of the family) will eat it. It's even easier and cheaper to make but you'll have to wait for that one. Enjoy!

Lucky Chicken

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into chunks

1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp Oil (for cooking)

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup green pepper, sliced

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

Dredge chicken in flour and coat completely. In large hot pan heat oil and brown chicken. Add vegetables.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar, and ketchup and add to chicken and vegetables. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over steamed or fried rice.

A Yummy Food with a Dumb Name

Who ever thought of calling it Corn Meal Mush? With a texture similar to Malt-O-Meal or Cream of Wheat, and a flavor like cornbread, couldn't someone come up with a better name than "mush"?! I have tried many times, but I guess no name really fits. Cream of Corn? Too close to creamed corn. Corn Meal Cereal? Too boring. I guess you could call it polenta, but it's used a bit differently. So Corn Meal Mush it is.

So look past the name, if you can, and give this humble breakfast food a try. It really is better than its name sounds, and a much better price than Malt-O-Meal or Cream of Wheat!

Corn Meal Mush
1 serving:
3 tbsp. corn meal
dash salt
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water

2 servings:
1/3 cup corn meal
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup boiling water

6 servings:
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water
3 cups boiling water

Combine corn meal, salt, and cold water; pour into boiling water, stirring quickly.

Return to boil, stirring constantly.

Lower heat, cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (I never make it to 10 minutes. It thickens quickly, so I usually just call it done 5-7 minutes in).

Serve with milk and sugar, or however you would serve the above-mentioned hot cereals: syrup, honey, brown sugar, fruit, whatever floats your boat. The dark swirlies on my pictures are dissolved brown sugar - yum!

As a variation, you can do Fried Mush (another bad name for another good food): Rinse a loaf pan with cold water. Pour cooked mush (6 servings) into the pan. Cool slightly; cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cut into slices. Pan-fry in small amount of butter until golden brown, about 10 minutes per side. Serve hot with syrup or honey.

Calories per serving: 95

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tuna Turnovers

This was so delicious you'd never guess that it's cheap, easy, and fast! I think it took me less than 45 minutes start to finish, and it was made of simple, everyday ingredients. The ideal meal for busy nights!

Tuna Turnovers
2 cans (6 oz each) tuna, drained
1 cup (4 oz) cheese, shredded (I used cheddar, others would work too)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. dried minced onions
Mayonnaise and/or Ranch dressing to moisten (I used a little of both. It took about 2 tbsp. total stuff to moisten this to my tastes. Others may prefer a moister or dryer filling)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients. Prepare 1 batch biscuit dough (this link is to a previous post, ham a la king, which also includes the recipe I used for the biscuit dough). Roll or pat out the dough 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut into 4-inch circles or squares. I ended up with 8 squares of dough, which made really large turnovers.

In each square of dough, spoon about 2 1/2 tbsp. filling, then fold over the dough and seal. I didn't end up using all the filling. The leftover filling can be used to make sandwiches later. Place the filled turnovers on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

As we ate these tonight we discussed several variations that could be done here. Wrapping biscuit dough around a delicious filling can really go anywhere - the imagination is the limit! Use chicken instead of tuna, try crabmeat and cream cheese, go for pizza filling, or taco meat! We talked about doing dessert turnovers - using fruit fillings similar to pie filling, and brush the top with milk and sugar. I definitely hope to do a variety of turnovers in the future.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Corn Bread-Topped Ham Loaf

This recipe is adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook featuring hamburger and other ground meats. I didn't have some of the ingredients it called for (such as ground ham), and wanted to make a smaller amount for our smaller family. So I made a few adjustments here and there, and this is what I came up with. The fruity sauce and mildly sweet cornbread topping go really well with the savory ham loaf.
Corn Bread-Topped Ham Loaf
10 oz. ham (I used the extra-processed kind that comes in a big loaf. We've been using this same chunk of ham for meals upon meals - it lasts forever and there's so much of it!)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup peach or apricot jam
1/4 cup fruity salsa (I used Sam's Club Peach Pineapple Chipotle Salsa)

Corn Bread Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. cornmeal
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk (actually, we're running low on milk so I added 3 tbsp. dry milk powder to the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup water to the wet. It worked great)
2 tbsp. melted butter or margarine

I had an interesting time with the ham. The recipe called for ground ham, but I had to improvise. I cut up the ham and stuck it in the blender with the egg and milk. It took some working to get it all chopped up. Just blend for a few seconds, then turn it off and press the goop down, letting out the air pockets, then blend for a few more seconds. It's okay if there are still some kinda big chunks of ham left - it adds to the overall texture.

After the ham has been ground up in the blender with the egg and milk, scoop it out into a bowl and stir in the bread crumbs and chopped onion. Press mixture into a deep 8x8-inch baking dish (I used my 2 1/2 qt. casserole). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

While the meat is baking, combine the jam and the salsa; set aside.

Prepare the corn bread topping by mixing all the dry ingredients(1st 5 ingredients) in one bowl and all the wet ones(last 3 ingredients) in another bowl. Set aside.

When the meat is done baking, remove from oven and turn temperature up to 400 degrees. Spread jam/salsa mixture over the meat.

Add the wet corn bread ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Spread over the sauce-topped meat. Bake at 400 for another 20 minutes or until the corn bread is done.
I'm assuming this was a successful venture, because Jeff says, "That was the most delicious thing I've ever eaten!" And he's been standing over my shoulder making sure I write that. And he says to make sure I write that he wants this on his birthday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What would you get if you crossed a pecan pie and a huge chocolate chip cookie?

I was considering titling this post as Heaven in a Pie Shell, or maybe Pure Evil in a Pie Shell. This is both. Imagine a gooey, warm pecan pie. Now imagine that it tastes like an enormous chocolate chip cookie. In a pie shell. Only better. And you've got a pretty good idea of what this pie is all about. Just thinking about it makes you gain about 5 pounds!

I got this recipe from Bakerella, who got it from Nestle Classic Recipes, 2003. It is DIVINE!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
Serve with ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy.

Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter.

Stir in morsels and nuts and spoon into pie shell.

Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.

* If using frozen pie shell, use deep dish style and thaw completely. Bake on baking sheet and increase baking time slightly.

I had a little pastry left from trimming the edges of my pie shell, so I lined one of my new 4-oz. ramekins with the left over pastry and scooped some of the cookie filling into it. I baked it with the pie, and took it out about 10 minutes before the pie was done (45 minutes of cooking). Yummy!!!

Split Pea Soup

This recipe was on the back of our bag of split peas. I had a headache this evening, so Jeff took over dinner-making duties. He proudly proclaimed that he followed the recipe exactly! He measured the vegetables and seasonings and everything. Except that he added chopped ham instead of a ham hock or meaty ham bone - we use what we have. But other than that, he made it exactly as it said to. That's kind of a big thing for us!
Green Split Pea Soup with Ham
1/2 lb. green split peas
4 cups water
1 ham hock or meaty ham bone (here Jeff made his only substitution and added 1/4 to 1/2 lb. cubed ham)
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Wash, sort and drain split peas. Combine all ingredients in a large pot with lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered, approximately 1 hour or until cooked through; stir occasionally.

Before serving, remove ham hock or bone. cut ham off bone; dice. Add to soup and serve (since our ham was already chopped and bone-free, we were able to skip this step. I keep saying "we," but Jeff was the only one who did any of this. He's great.)
Tip: Green split pea soups are very thick and may need thinning. To thin, heat slowly and stir in small amount of either water, stock, light cream, or undiluted evaporated milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook with lid ajar to avoid boil over and add water if needed.

1 cup = 200 calories

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rice Lasagna

This is one of those things we would have all the time when I was growing up. And like most of those dishes, we've changed it around a bit to fit what we've had in the fridge at the time. Also, like many of the dishes I grew up with, this is more of a formula than an actual recipe. And the cool thing is that tonight we made this almost entirely out of leftovers we had in the fridge already!

We served this tonight with bread sticks: pizza dough sprinkled with shredded mozzarella, Italian seasoning, Parmesan, and garlic.

Rice Lasagna - How I grew up with it

Stir egg into cooked rice (this helps it hold its shape).

Mix cottage cheese, shredded mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Mix spaghetti sauce, ground beef, canned drained spinach, etc.

Divide mixtures in half and layer in a pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Ingredient amounts, pan size, and cooking time vary according to how much lasagna you want.

Rice Lasagna - How we did it tonight
Layer (in whatever order, but put mozzarella on top):
Rice (no egg, there wasn't enough rice to make the egg worth it)
Spaghetti sauce
Seasoned ground beef (Italian seasoning, garlic, etc.)
Canned drained spinach
Ricotta Cheese
Shredded mozzarella with Parmesan and seasonings

Same baking directions as the other one.

Like I said - it's just a formula. But we sure like it!
As a side note, though it was good with ricotta, I definitely prefer it with cottage cheese. It's what I grew up with, and it doesn't have that funny grainy texture.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli (or Pasta, Cheese, Chicken, n' Trees!)

Yesterday I took over lunch-making duty at Mom's house, and began preparing random ingredients with no clear idea of how they were going to come together. I was boiling macaroni, pulling frozen vegetables from the freezer and then changing my mind and putting them back, thawing and sauteeing chicken with garlic and Italian seasoning, grating cheese. Finally I just threw it all together and voila! A culinary success!

My younger siblings, ages 7 and 9, can be a tough audience when it comes to eating foods that they haven't tried before. I suppose I was like that at that age too. Luckily, this dish gained their quick approval. My 22-year-old sister, however, was less convinced, since she has this thing against broccoli. I liked it so much I made it again for dinner tonight. Since it was a throw-together dish, using my mom's ingredients the first time and my ingredients the second, it was different each time. I like foods like that!How I did it:

Boil some water, and dump in some elbow macaroni. If I were to approximate, I'd say I used about 12 oz. when I made it for the whole family yesterday, and only 6 oz. today for my little family. Boil until the macaroni is close to being done.

At this point, add some frozen broccoli. You can also add frozen peas like I did tonight. I used about a cup of broccoli and a half cup of peas. Cook until the pasta is done and the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Drain.

Chop up one partially-thawed boneless skinless chicken breast. Place in heated pan sprayed with cooking spray. As chicken cooks, sprinkle it with garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Or you could use fresh or jarred minced garlic for a great flavor burst! Sadly, I didn't think to do that until I was eating my pasta tonight, so I missed out. Maybe next time...

When the chicken is done cooking, add 2 tbsp. butter or margarine to the pan with the chicken and let it melt. then stir in 2 tbsp. flour. Then stir in 1 cup milk. You've just made white sauce with chicken in it! Heat the sauce until it becomes bubbly. Then add it to the drained pasta and veggies. Or add the pasta and veggies to the sauce, depending on the pan you cooked it in. Whatever floats your boat. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add some more milk. I added about 1/3 cup milk yesterday when I used lots of pasta, but didn't need to add any today.

Grate up about 1 to 1 1/2 cups cheese. Yesterday I used aged white cheddar and it was amazing! Tonight I used Monterey Jack, and it was great too. So use whatever you've got. Add that to the pasta and let it melt for a bit. Make sure the whole thing is heated through, and serve!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pupusas (El Salvadorean Stuffed Tortillas)

A few months ago Jeff convinced me to purchase a bag of masa harina, or tortilla flour. He said we could use it to make homemade corn tortillas. We haven't used it for that yet, but we have made something even better. There is a dish prepared in El Salvador called Pupusas. It consists of corn tortillas with filling, served with a pickled cabbage accompaniment, called curtido. Jeff ate these several times on his Spanish-speaking mission in New York, and we decided to try making them at home. Though they were a bit complicated to make, I loved them! Though we took the easy route for the curtido and just substituted sour kraut.

Tonight we attempted them a second time. Last time we made them, I rolled out the tortilla dough, then put filling on one rolled out disk, topped it with a second disk, and squished the edges together. But as I was food blog hopping today I found one called Little Bits, that had just posted about making pupusas. Her method was much easier. Here is her recipe for pupusas. Her descriptions are a bit more detailed than mine, so if you have trouble figuring out what to do based on what I've written, check out her recipe. Or just check it out because it looks good!And now, here is our recipe that we made tonight:

Ground Turkey and Cheese Pupusas
1/4 lb. ground turkey
1/4-1/2 tsp. each chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper (I just sprinkled each on until it looked about right. This is my standard taco-meat seasoning blend)
1 1/2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups masa harina (we used Maseca brand)
1 1/4 cups water, or enough to make a soft dough
Sour kraut

Make the filling: Brown ground turkey with seasonings. Allow to cool briefly, then add shredded cheese and mix well.

Make the tortilla dough
: Follow instructions on masa harina package to make 16 tortillas worth of dough. It's basically a "mix masa and water until dough forms" - pretty simple. Divide dough into 8 portions, form each into a ball.

: Press thumb into dough ball and form a deep nest in which to put the filling. Spoon about 1-2 tbsp. filling into each ball, then close up the dough around the filling and turn it into a ball again.

Place one filled ball between two pieces of plastic wrap. Press into a disk using a saucepan. Repeat with remaining balls.Heat large skillet or griddle to medium or medium-high heat. Cook pupusas on ungreased skillet for a few minutes per side. To quote Little Bits, "It's kind of like cooking a pancake, you can see the edges start to firm up then you know it's time to turn it over. The second side cooks faster."To serve, split pupusa down the center. Use a fork to open up the pupusa a bit, and spoon sour kraut into the pupusa. Or you could just spoon the sour kraut on top of the pupusa (like I did for the pictures), but it's more authentic to have it inside. Either way it tastes great!

Each pupusa (with sour kraut) = 155 calories

A Treat Made from Leftovers

We've had a ramekin in our fridge for some time now, lined with some pastry leftover from a pie we made. I kept meaning to use it, but never got around to it, so it just sat there waiting patiently for its time to come. Today, I was able to finally come up with a way to use it.
There was some Sweet Potato and Apple Mash left over from last night's dinner. I decided to add an egg to some of it, stir it up real good, and bake it in the pastry-lined ramekin - mini sweet potato pie!
I ended up having to add more sweet potato mash to the egg than would fit in just one 4-oz. ramekin, because otherwise it would have been much too egg-y. So I sprayed another ramekin with cooking spray and poured the rest of the filling into that one. So we ended up with one little sweet potato pie, and one sweet potato custard. I love finding creative uses for leftovers!Directions:
Crack one egg into a small bowl. Add about 1/2 cup leftover sweet potato mash; mix well. Pour into 2 4-oz. ramekins (with or without pie crust). Bake at 425 for about 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Bake until a knife inserted near middle comes out clean. The one in the pastry crust took a little longer to bake. Top with a scoop of sweetened sour cream (make this just how it sounds - add sugar to sour cream until it's sweet enough). Serve warm.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Paprika Chicken and Onions with Spiced Sweet Potato and Apple Mash

Here's a yummy dinner that Jeff and I made up tonight. Jeff was in charge of the chicken, and I did the potatoes. Jeff altered a George Foreman recipe for Chicken Paprika Rub, and thought it would be neat to cook the chicken with chopped-up onion all wrapped in foil. It cooked up in its own juices, creating a deliciously moist and flavorful main dish. As far as chicken goes, this was absolutely amazing!

We had a sweet potato that needed to be used, so decided to create a sweet side dish that would complement the savory spiciness of the chicken and onions. I looked up "mashed sweet potatoes" on, and took elements from lots of different recipes to create this one. The potato mash I came up with was a bit more wet than I would have liked. Next time I think I'll use sour cream or whipping cream instead of milk. But on the whole it turned out quite good. Zaylee didn't end up caring for it on its own, but enjoyed using it to dip her chicken in - she loves dipping foods!

Paprika Chicken and Onions
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 onion, diced

Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl. Coat the chicken with the seasoning mixture. Cut two pieces of foil, 12x12 inches. Place 1/2 chopped onion on each piece of foil, top each with one seasoned chicken breast. Fold foil around chicken and onion. Place foil packets in a 9x13 pan and bake. We took a while figuring out the right temperature with this. We started them at 325, then realized they were cooking too slow, and turned up the temperature a few times until they ended up being at about 425. Cooking time will vary according to oven temperature - just cook until the chicken is completely done (juices run clear).

1 chicken/onion packet = 280 calories

Spiced Sweet Potato and Apple Mash
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks (I used Red Delicious)
6 large marshmallows
2-4 tbsp. milk
2-4 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Place sweet potato and apple into large saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil over medium-high heat until the sweet potato is tender. Drain.

Immediately place sweet potato and apple into a large mixing bowl and add other ingredients. Stir around to cover marshmallows. Cover bowl and let sit for a few minutes to help the marshmallows melt. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until it is mostly smooth, only a little bit chunky. Taste and add salt, sugar, etc. as needed.

Yield 6 servings
1 serving = 100 calories

Original recipe for George Foreman's Chicken Paprika Rub
1/2 cup paprika
1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. cayenne powder
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Makes 1/2 cup.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Creole Tuna

This is a quick, simple dish that we've made several times. It tastes great, and is on the table in no time!

Creole Tuna
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (we rarely have green pepper, though we love it. I often substitute chopped onion, or tonight, chopped celery)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup milk
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked
1 tsp. Creole seasoning (I always use Cajun seasoning, because that's what we have. After the recipe I'll give a substitute if you don't have or can't find either)
Hot cooked rice, optional

If you're going to serve this with rice, get the rice going before starting the tuna stuff, because the tuna gets done really quick, and you want your rice to be done too. I just put one part rice and two parts water (usually 1 cup and 2 cups, respectively) in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the water boils down to about the level of the rice, turn off the heat, cover the rice, and let it sit until the rest of the dinner is ready. The rice should be done by then, so fluff it and you're good to go.

For the Creole Tuna: In a saucepan, saute green pepper (or celery, or onion, or whatever) in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, and pepper until blended. Here I finally got smart, measured all of that into a bowl, and dumped it in together. It helps at this point to be quick, so the flour doesn't gunk up. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add tuna and Creole seasoning; heat through. Serve over rice if desired.

If you don't have either Creole seasoning or Cajun seasoning, substitute: 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of dried thyme, and yet another pinch of ground cumin. Try this seasoning combination in other dishes for a fun Creole kick!Yield: 4 servings
160 calories per serving (not counting rice)