Saturday, May 31, 2008

NOT Your Mom's Tuna Salad

We decided we needed something quick, simple, and light for lunch. And it had to involve tuna. We have lots of tuna, because I get 4 cans per month from WIC and we don't eat that much. So I got online and searched for tuna recipes. And I found this. (Yes, it's from What can I say? They've got some great recipes!)

Cinnamon-Curry Tuna Salad
2 (6 ounce) cans water packed tuna, drained and flaked
2 teaspoons mayonnaise (I used 3 tsp)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (I reduced this to 1/2 tsp)
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.
This is not a typical tuna salad. It has a very strong flavor. The reviews for this recipe were mixed - some loved it, some were very less than enthusiastic. When I first tasted it, I was of the less-than-enthusiastic variety. But the more I ate, the more I loved it! I served this over saltine crackers and cheese, and sprinkled it with coconut and raisins. The coconut and raisins really made it ultra special.Serves 4
126 calories per serving

Honey Baked Chicken and Gravy

We found whole chickens at a great reduced price when we went shopping this week. So we bought two, stuck one in the freezer, and the other in the fridge to use right away. We love to roast up a whole chicken and use it for meals throughout the next week. Jeff found a great recipe for baked chicken and decided to try it. I really look forward to using the leftovers from this chicken!

Honey Baked Chicken
1 whole chicken
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the skin away from the chicken without removing the skin. The idea is to put the seasoning between the skin and the chicken, so that the meat is flavored, but the skin is there to keep in the moisture. I don't like to eat the skin of the chicken, but it keeps it moist when baking, so we leave it on. Then all the flavor is on the skin that I just end up pulling off! So this is a happy medium.

Rub chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper, making sure to rub the seasoning under the skin, onto the actual meat. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with honey and butter or margarine, then brush this mixture over chicken, again putting it between the meat and the skin. Place chicken, breast side up, in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish (not a roasting pan, you want it to sit in its juices). Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound (our chicken was 5 1/2 pounds, so we cooked it for 2 hours) or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, basting with pan juices periodically. After the chicken is done baking, you can drizzle a bit more honey over it if you choose. Then carve and serve that big hunk of chickenny goodness!
This is yet another recipe. Jeff chose the recipe and prepared it. Find the original recipe here. Originally the recipe called for the chicken to be cut into pieces. The juices of this chicken are really good, but didn't really penetrate the chicken as well as I would have liked, so next time we'll probably go ahead and do chicken pieces instead of the whole chicken, so each piece can have more juicy flavor. Also, the pan drippings make a great gravy:

Honey Baked Chicken Gravy
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2/3 cup pan drippings
1/3 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour until smooth. Add pan drippings and milk. Whisk over medium-high heat until thickened. If too thick, add some additional milk as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

More pics:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hamburger Buns

This recipe comes from I love that website, if anyone hasn't noticed! I wanted to make some hamburger buns so Jeff and I could do a day-late Memorial Day celebration with burgers, maybe some homemade fries, just all-American Memorial Day fare. Then Jeff came home from work and said he'd had hamburgers for lunch. And we ended up having to go to my parents' house to do some laundry. I had already made the buns, so we took them with us. Mom had been planning on making sloppy joes for dinner, so we had her homemade sloppy joe meat on my homemade buns. It was terrific! Happy Day-Late Memorial Day!
Tasty Buns
5 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute some whole wheat flour here. I used 1 cup whole wheat)
2 (.25 ounce) packages dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp. total)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Stir together 2 cups flour and the yeast. In a separate bowl, heat milk, water, oil, sugar and salt to lukewarm in microwave. Add all at once to the flour mixture, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes (according to the reviews of this recipe, the 3 minutes is important. A lot of people commented that the buns are hard or dense, and have a yeasty flavor. But if you beat the dough long enough here, they turn our rather soft and un-yeasty).

Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, 2 to 3 cups. Mix well. Dust a flat surface with flour, turn dough out onto floured surface, and let rest under bowl for about 10 minutes. Note here the absence of kneading or rising - this is such a great recipe!

Shape dough into 12 slightly flat balls, and place on greased baking sheet to rise until doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Mom ended up having to go to class, so she wasn't able to have dinner with us. When she got home, there was very little sloppy joe meat left, so she cooked up a hamburger patty and topped it with the leftover sloppy joe meat. She let me commandeer her burger temporarily for some pictures, but after six or seven shots she said that was enough and demanded her dinner back. She said the bun was really good - but I already knew that!
This recipe makes soft, delicious buns, perfect for hamburgers or sloppy joes. You could also shape it into hot dog buns. On it's own, the bread is somewhat bland, but when was the last time you ever ate a flavorful hamburger bun? The texture is great, and the recipe is really easy to make. No kneading, only one rise, this dough takes much less time to make than a traditional yeast bread. This is one I'll definitely be making again!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Scalloped Corn and Broccoli

I spent a lot of time today browsing through the numerous recipes on I found this recipe while searching for low-calorie corn recipes. It looked really good, and I had all the ingredients, so I decided to give it a go. Of course, I changed the original recipe around a tiny bit, because that's just what I do. I'm glad I gave this recipe a try - it had a great flavor, and was really simple and easy. It took less than 10 minutes to put it all together, then all I had to do was bake it. I like recipes like that!
Scalloped Corn and Broccoli
1 can (15 oz)creamed corn
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. sugar (recipe called for 2 tbsp, but most of the reviews said that was too much, so I cut it in half, and it turned out just sweet enough)
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
6 oz. frozen broccoli, thawed (this is slightly more than the recipe called for)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
This wasn't in the recipe, but I also added:
1/2 cup browned ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the corn, eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Add the cheese, broccoli, turkey, and onion; mix well and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.

Bake for 1 hour.
Makes 5 servings.
224 calories per serving (with the turkey and onion. Without, it's 184 calories)

Ramen Goulash

Goulash is a favorite in my family. It's made with pasta (usually something simple like macaroni) and tomatoes. Often we include add-ins such as ground beef, corn, and/or olives. Today for lunch I was in the mood for some tomatoey goodness, but didn't want to do the normal goulash. So instead of reaching for the elbow mac, I chose instead to grab a couple packages of ramen noodles, and a new version of goulash was born.
Ramen Goulash
2 packages ramen noodles (I used 1 chicken flavored, and 1 beef flavored)
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added, undrained
Several slices of lunch meat, sliced long and thin (or whatever other add-ins you want; this is what was in the fridge at the moment)

Break up noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain. Add tomatoes to pan, and the spice packets from the ramen. Stir, then add the lunch meat and the drained noodles. Heat through and serve.
Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 230

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What to Do With Leftover Cake

We've had some cake scraps in the freezer since February, when I made a pink heart-shaped cake for Valentine's Day. I set aside the pieces I cut off, knowing that someday in the future, I would find a use for them. Tonight I finally did.
Both Jeff and I were really wanting to create some sort of dessert tonight. Jeff fulfilled his urge by making candy. I decided to dig into the recesses of my mind and think - what do we have that we need to use, or have been wanting to use? I immediately thought of those cake scraps. I also thought of some cherry-flavored baking morsels I bought about a week ago because they were on sale. I thought they would go pretty well together. Then all I had to do was come up with a simple yet delicious way to use them. And this is what I came up with.Cherry Chocolate Layered Dessert
About 3 cups cake scraps, broken into bite-sized pieces (I used a yellow cake dyed pink. Other flavors would work well also)
1 box (4 servings) instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups milk
2/3 cup cherry-flavored baking morsels

Mix the pudding and milk according to package directions. Assemble dessert while pudding is still runny - you want it to soak into the cake and then set after the dessert is made.

Layer half of the cake scraps in a serving bowl. I really wish I had one of those clear glass trifle bowls - that would have made this so much prettier. As it was, I used a translucent plastic dish. Oh well, it still tasted good.
Spoon half of the pudding over the cake scraps, then sprinkle with half of the cherry morsels. Repeat layers - cake, pudding, morsels. Cover and refrigerate until the pudding is set, about an hour or so. Serve.

Jeff's Invention - Honey Chocolate Peanut Chews

Jeff loves peanuts and candy and chocolate, and decided this evening to invent a chocolaty, peanutty candy. He used the Honey Roasted Peanut Brittle recipe, changed it around a bit, and created something completely new and different. I think he intended to make kind of a chocolate bar, but it ended up being more of a chew. We like it this way!Honey Chocolate Peanut Chews
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups peanuts
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

Mix water, oil, vanilla, honey, and salt in a saucepan. Heat to boiling. Add peanuts. Cook over medium heat until almost dry.

Add chocolate chips and stir. Remove from heat.

Drop by spoonful into mini muffin tin, greased with cooking spray. Let cool to set. You could probably also drop these onto wax paper instead of the muffin tin.

Makes 2 dozen.

Jeff's Cheater Pizza Crust

We decided to make pizza for dinner last night. I was totally going to make the pizza crust from Michelle's food blog, but Jeff forced me to take a much-needed nap while he took care of dinner.

Enter the bread machine.

Jeff, I think, has a phobia of making bread without this invaluable appliance. The mixing, kneading, and rising are just too complicated when there's not a machine to do it for him. I don't mind, though, because having the bread machine encourages Jeff to make bread frequently, and it does turn out quite good. The pizza he made is no exception.
I've found that this dough rolls out MUCH easier if you let it sit in the bread machine for 5-10 minutes after it's done rising. Without this important step, the dough just snaps back into shape every time you try to flatten it, and it takes much longer, and a lot more work. So after my nap, I rolled out the crust, and put the pizza together with all the toppings that Jeff had prepared. And the pizza turned out great!Bread Machine Pizza Crust
3/4 cup warm water (80 degrees)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. dry milk
2 1/4 cups bread flour (we just used all-purpose)
1 tsp. active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Run on dough cycle. If your machine doesn't have a dough cycle, take the dough out after the first rise. Let the dough sit, covered, for five to ten minutes to make it easier to handle.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Place on pizza pan. This recipe is for a 12-inch pizza. It makes 1 thick or 2 thin crusts. We have a 15-inch pizza stone, and it made 1 medium crust.

Spread pizza sauce over the dough and sprinkle with toppings. We used a cheddar-mozzarella blend, homemade turkey sausage, olives, and Parmesan sprinkled on top. Yum!

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown around edges. After the pizza was done baking, we sprinkled it with Italian seasoning. We didn't do this before it baked because we didn't want the seasonings to scorch.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Can't remember what it's called, but it sure tastes good!

I got this simple fruit salad recipe years ago when I was a teenager. I'm sure it has some fancy yummy-sounding name, but it slips my mind, because I only wrote down the ingredients at the time. I didn't end up taking pictures of this today but that's okay, it's just a green goopy pile of fruity salad deliciousness!

Yummy Pistachio Fruit Salad Stuff
Box of pistachio pudding
Can of crushed pineapple, drained (or you could do what I did and accidentally buy pineapple chunks, then crush them in the food processor)
Mini marshmallows
Tub of whipped cream

Mix it all together, chill and serve! Tonight we also added a drained can of mandarin oranges, and it tasted pretty good. This would also be good with some shredded coconut.

Fruity-Crusted Malted Buttermilk No-Bake Cheesecake

This recipe started as an idea. I'm over at my mom's house, and it's fun to see what I can come up with using the oft-changing contents of her cupboards. What if I pulsed some fruit and grain bars in the food processor and turned them into some sort of crust? I gave it a shot, and it looked like a pretty convincing crust, so my thoughts then turned to what would be put inside the crust.

Mom has lots of cream cheese, and pudding mixes. I thought of doing a layered pudding pie - with a cheesecake layer and a pudding layer. I found a no-bake cheesecake recipe that called for sweetened condensed milk. After the fact, Mom told me they have lots of cans of this sweet gooey goodness, but I couldn't find any, so I made my own. Except that Mom doesn't have dry milk. So I improvised.

Somewhere around this time the pudding layer disappeared in my mind and I started working on just making this into a really good cheesecake. As I mixed up the condensed milk using the ingredients available to me, I stuck my finger in for a quick taste.


I knew this would be One. Good. Cheesecake.

Fruity-Crusted Malted Buttermilk No-Bake Cheesecake
5 Fruit and Grain Bars
3 graham cracker halves

Sweetened Condensed Malted Buttermilk:
1/3 cup water
4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup powdered buttermilk
1/4 cup malted milk powder

Here's a picture of the milk powders I used:
1 (8-oz) pkg. softened cream cheese
1 recipe sweetened condensed malted buttermilk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream

To make crust: Break fruit and grain bars and graham crackers into food processor. Process into fine crumbs. Press crumbs into 9-inch pie plate; set aside.

To make sweetened condensed milk: Place water and butter into a glass jar and microwave on high until butter is melted and water is boiling. Pour over sugar, vanilla, and dry milks in medium bowl. Blend with electric mixer until smooth (a few small chunks is okay). Or whirl it all in a blender for a smoother texture. Set aside.

To make filling: In medium size bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed malted buttermilk, stir in lemon juice and sour cream; blend ingredients well. Chill 20 minutes then fill pie crust. Chill 2 hours.

Unfortunately, this cheesecake didn't set up as well as I would have liked (read: it barely set up at all. It was the texture of a very rich pudding). That being said, it was a very delicious un-set cheesecake. The unsightly mounds of gooey filling and the soft pieces of crust tasted so good together, despite looking, well, unsightly. Next time I make this, I would like to try making it into a frozen dessert - freeze the pie for several hours, then let it sit out at room temperature about 15 minutes to soften it a bit before slicing. I bet it would be great! I think another change I would try would be to pre-bake the crust and see if I could get it nice and toasted before filling it.

Sorry the pictures didn't turn out as good as usual. I left my camera at home and had to use Mom and Dad's, and I'm not used to it. I couldn't figure out how to get it to take a really clear, focused picture. Oh well. Guess I'll have to make this pie again sometime, you know, just to take some better pictures ;)

*You can used the sweetened condensed malted buttermilk recipe to make regular sweetened condensed milk: just substitute 1 cup powdered nonfat milk for the buttermilk and malted milk. Use as you would 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Honey Roasted Peanut Brittle

Jeff found this recipe online. We have lots of peanuts, and he loves the flavor of honey roasted, so he decided to give it a try. We all really like the results - both Jeff and Zaylee kept snitching pieces as I was trying to photograph it!

Honey Roasted Peanut Brittle
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. oil
2 cups peanuts

Mix sugar and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

Bring honey, water, and oil to a boil in a saucepan. Add peanuts.

Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

When liquid is almost all gone add sugar/salt mixture and continue stirring on low until sugar turns reddish-brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and spread in one layer on cookie sheet or foil. When cool, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jenny W's Citrus Sweet Bread Glaze

Jenny W. was my absolutely awesome roommate my freshman year at college. This recipe was one of our house favorites - we would gather around the table with a fresh loaf of banana bread and a bowl of citrus glaze and we would down the whole thing! When I made this glaze again today to go with the nut bread, this brought back so many memories of great times together with my roommates. Jenny, I'll always remember you and your wonderful bread and glaze!!

Citrus Sweet Bread Glaze
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2-2/3 cup canned milk (I think we used sweetened condensed milk back in the day, but today I tried evaporated milk and it still tasted great)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine butter, milk, and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until the sugar melts into the mixture. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. You can adjust the powdered sugar until it is sweet to your liking. Refrigerate until thickened.
Use this to glaze sweet breads (banana bread, zucchini bread, nut bread, etc). You can glaze the whole loaf or individual slices. I have it pictured with just the bread and the glaze, but it's also great if you butter the slice and then glaze it. You can also use it over cake, or even cookies!

The original notecard recipe, written out by Jenny W. herself:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nut Bread

I first found this recipe as a freshman in college - I think it was in one of my roommates' cookbooks. It's just a good, basic sweet bread, kind of like banana bread without the bananas. This time around I changed it a bit to make it a little more healthy - substituting wheat flour for part of the white flour, using applesauce for some of the oil, and decreasing the nuts to reduce the calories.

Nut Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cup nuts (I've also used a fruit and nut trail mix with delicious results!)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottoms and 1/2 inch up sides of two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans; set aside.

In large bowl stir together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In medium bowl combine eggs, milk, oil, and applesauce. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in nuts or trail mix. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing (guilty confession - sure, one loaf gets wrapped and stored, but we pretty much cut into the other one as soon as it's cool!)

We used this bread to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches today for lunch. Yum!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Egg Drop Soup

This is a really simple recipe that makes a really yummy soup. I think it's as good as what you'd get at a Chinese restaurant.

Egg Drop Soup
4 cups chicken broth (we used about 2 cups canned, and 2 cups water with 2 cubes bouillon)
1 tbsp. corn starch
3-4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
2 eggs, beaten

Set aside 1/2 cup broth, bring the rest of it to a boil. Whisk together reserved broth and corn starch, then whisk that into the boiling broth. Add food coloring. Drizzle the beaten eggs over the soup, stir gently to break it up, and serve. Garnish with green onion or chives, if desired. Easy and delicious!

Calories: about 70 per cup

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chili Tostadas

This was just a quick and simple thing I came up with for lunch today. We were busy getting our garden started, and it was after 1:00, so we needed something fast and easy. I grabbed a can of chili and a bag of tortillas, and got a little creative!

Chili Tostadas
1 can chili con carne with beans
4 large flour tortillas
6 slices tomato, cut in half
4 oz (1 cup) shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350.

Lay tortillas on baking sheets. I used two sheets because all four wouldn't fit on one. Spread 1/4 can of chili on each tortilla. Arrange 3 half-slices of tomato on each, then top each with 1/4 cup cheese.

Place in oven and resolve to check on them frequently. Forget about them for several minutes as you check blogs. Remember about them when you hear them sizzling. Take them out of the oven when the edges of the tortilla are a much darker brown than you intended, but relax after removing the tostadas from the pan - the dark brown isn't burnt, it's just extra crispy, and the middle is soft and kinda chewy - delicious!
Eat and enjoy!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day Treat

I decided last minute to bake some cookies for my Mom, since we were going over today to visit with her. I had about two hours to decide what to make, mix up the dough, and bake them. I decided on these really simple sugar cookies, which I frosted with a simple, but delicious frosting. Mom absolutely loved them - as did everyone else in the house! Needless to say, they didn't last long!

Moist Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Beat until well blended. Keeping the drops small, drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass in granulated sugar, and press cookies slightly. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes. Do not over-bake (don't under-bake either; the cookies are done when they turn lightly golden around the edges). Cool on wire racks.

Decorator Frosting
2/3 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(optional)
4 drops red food coloring

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, confectioners' sugar, and milk until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and food coloring. Spread on or between cookies.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Coconut-Cornflake Cookies

This is one Jeff found on this afternoon and decided to give it a try. I'm so very glad he did! These are very yummy, chewy, crispy, sweet, and all-around good cookies. They're a refreshing departure from the basics like peanut butter, sugar, and chocolate chip (though, don't get me wrong, I love those too!).

Coconut-Cornflake Cookies
3 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups cornflakes cereal

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat egg whites until stiff (the egg whites not your arm).
Stir in sugar, salt and vanilla. Blend coconut and cornflakes and add to egg white mixture.

Drop on ungreased parchment paper (based on the reviews for this recipe, the parchment really is necessary to keep the cookies from sticking. When people tried this on greased baking sheets, the cookies stuck pretty badly. We had no problems with the parchment). Bake for 15-18 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

This recipe can also be made with Splenda, to reduce the sugar content and calories. As it is, 2 cookies = 114 calories (actually, we made them twice as big, so one serving was only one cookie, but that's okay).

I chose to make these my entry for this month's Master Baker challenge. The ingredient this month is vanilla.