The "Gross-looking" Smoothie -- it looks bad but tastes great
(my kids came up with the name....  I found the original recipe on Pinterest, but forgot to pin it, so now I can't find the source--  my apologies to whomever developed the recipe.  Truly this tastes great and is super fast to whip up.  I think it must also be very good for you.)

In a blender add:
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup (ish) greek yogurt (I use PC vanilla greek yogurt, but any normal yogurt would work too)
3/4 cup (ish) low-fat milk (I think the original recipe used Almond milk but Beatrice 1% is what I have been using)
1 tbsp peanut butter (you can really taste the peanut butter, so if you aren't a fan then skip the PB)
Then fill the rest of the blender with spinach (yep, spinach -- it turns the smoothie green, hence the name, but you don't taste it at all)
Put the blender on high until the banana is well chopped up, then put the blender on liquify for about 15 seconds.
This makes about 2 cups.  I drink the whole thing at once.  If I make it for breakfast then I've found I'm not hungry for a snack mid-morning -- I can make it all the way to lunch...

I also usually add 1 tbsp of "Skinny B" cereal (check out Favourite Things page for the skinny on Skinny B) and sometimes about 1/2 cup of blueberries.  If you add the blueberries the smoothie turns sort of an eggplant-brownish colour.  Also "yucky" looking.


Super Easy Chicken Potpie
(This is adapted from Real Simple Magazine Feb. 2012 P. 142.  The original recipe called for cremini mushrooms -- but DH and the gang don't eat those....)

4 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces (or a large handful of baby carrots cut in  half...)
1 medium onion, chopped (or about 1 tbsp Epicure's French Onion dip mix)
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used bean flour)
sprinkle of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen green beans (I used frozen corn instead)
8ounces cremini mushrooms, if you are using those...
1/3 cup  heavy cream

In the crock pot mix together mushrooms, carrots, onion, flour, thyme, bay leaf and 1/2 cup water.  Place chicken on top; season with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Ten minutes before serving add the peas, corn or beans, cream and 1/2 tsp salt to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.  Cover and cook on high until heated through (about 5-10 min). To serve place chicken mixture in bowls and top with cooked pastry rounds or croutons (we did without either, so it was more like a stew.)
Everybody liked it.  Amazing.

Roasted Beets (and other veggies)
(This is the dish that taught me to love beets!)

There aren't any measurements for this recipe, just chop until you get the right amount for however many you are serving.

Peel beets with a potato peeler (wear gloves or you'll look like you've butchered something...) sweet potatoes, regular white potatoes and carrots.  Cube into similar sized pieces (about 1/2") and put into a casserole dish.  Toss some olive oil over top followed by salt and pepper.  Cover.
Roast in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes.  Stir and return for about 15 more minutes (or until veggies are fork tender).
In the last few minutes of baking toast some walnut pieces in some olive oil.  Watch them closely because they burn really quickly.  Just toast until they are warmed.
Take the veggies out of the oven, toss in the tasted walnuts and then crumble some goat cheese over top. (If you aren't a goat cheese fan, you can leave that out).  Serve immediately.
Sooo yummy.  The walnuts absolutely make the dish.

Boy's Potatoes
Boy has discovered the concept of cooking for himself.  He is getting quite good at it.  Even Girl will eat what he makes...
Boy also loves potatoes.  Sometimes he will have a meal that consists of only potatoes.  Sometimes that meal is breakfast.
He tells me that this is his "Famous Potato Recipe" and he insists that he invented it himself.

Peel potatoes (skins, even of new potatoes are yucky).  Any number of potatoes will do.
Slice the spuds fairly thinly.
Heat about 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  It has to be cast iron, nothing else will work.
Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet.
When you put a drop of water on the skillet and it sizzles, the pan is ready.
Add your potatoes to the pan.
Shake some salt over the top.
Cook potatoes, flipping occasionally until they are cooked through and brown on the outside. Add some more salt.
If you are feeling wild and crazy you can add some garlic powder.

That's it.  Boy's Own Self-declared Famous Potatoes.  Enjoy!

Fruit Salsa
I put all the ingredients in my hand chopper whirly-gig from Tupperware.  You could do it in the food processor too, just be careful not to pulse too much or you will have soup, not salsa.

1 apple
8-10 strawberries
2 kiwi
small handful of purple grapes or blueberries
(this is the basic recipe that I use all the time but you can add any other fruit you would like, though I don't recommend bananas)
1 tbsp jam (I usually use strawberry or raspberry jam, but apricot would be good too)

Chop it all up in the food chopper.
Serve on it's own (Girl eats it by the spoonful), over angel food cake or ice cream, with cinnamon chips or mixed with yogurt.

August 4, 2011
(tried this one for my only-eat-real-food-like-Great-Granny experiment.  I found it on the Tasty Kitchen blog.  Everyone in the family liked it -- a miracle)

Stuffed Mozzarella Chicken Breasts

1 stick butter (I thought this was a bit excessive so I used about 2/3 of a stick and that was plenty)
6 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 large cloves)
4  thick chicken breasts
fresh mozzarella cheese

Melt the butter and mince the garlic into the butter.  Stir together and let sit.
Slice a pocket in each chicken breast (don't cut all the way through -- just slice it like you would a hot dog bun that wasn't pre-cut)
Stuff chicken breast with slices of the mozzarella.  Place chicken breasts into greased glass baking dish.
Take the butter and garlic mixture and rub it all over the top of chicken breasts.  Whatever is left just pour into the pan.
Bake at 375 for about 45 min.

I thought this might be too garlicky (gar-licky?) but the garlic was really quite mellow.  We will definitely have this again.

Better than Pie Fruit Cobbler
Boy loves pie.  LOVES, LOVES, LOVES it.  When he tasted this cobbler and declared it "better than pie" my heart sang.  I don't make pie, but I can make cobbler!  Boy loved this so much that he made a dish of it himself to take to his class potluck lunch.  The dish came back empty, so either the Gr. 7s liked it too, or Boy had a whole dish of it to himself.  
This recipe is called "Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler" in the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook by Ree Drummond.  Be forewarned-- it is not for the calorie-conscious....But so, so worth it.  It's better than pie, you know!

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp white sugar
1 cup self-rising flour (to make self-rising flour mix 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into 1 cup of all purpose flour)
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen berries or fruit -- tonight we are having rhubarb, raspberry and blueberry combo because it is finally cool enough to turn the oven on.  In the photo above it was strawberries and blueberries.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease an 3 quart baking dish with butter.
Place a stick of butter in a microwave safe dish. Heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds until melted.
In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of the sugar with the flour and milk.
Whisk in the melted butter.
Rinse the (fresh) berries and pat them dry.
Pour the batter into the baking dish.  Sprinkle the berries evenly over top of the batter.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top of the berries and batter.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbly.  When 10 mi n. of cooking time remains, sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar over the top.
I prefer to eat mine warm with vanilla ice cream, but Boy likes it cold and "unpoluted."

Smothered Chicken

This is super easy, quick and family approved.

Pound some chicken breasts flat (to about 1/4 inch).
Heat oil to smoking in fry pan or griddle. 
Sprinkle a little seasoning salt and garlic powder on each chicken breast.
Cook on griddle until browned.  Turn and brown the other side (about 4 min. per side)
Once cooked remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Add some chopped onions and mushrooms to the pan. (You  might want to add a little more oil).  Cook until onions are see-through. 
Put chicken back in the pan.  Cover with mushrooms and onions.  Add bacon to each piece and cover with cheese. 
Cover and cook until cheese is melted.

There aren't any amounts here, because you can add or omit as you like.  My family isn't big on mushrooms and onions so I only put those on my pieces.  Boy loves cheese, so I added a bit more to his. 


Menu Planning Monday -- August 16, 2010

I'm linking back with one of my favourite sites -- OrgJunkie -- to post the weekly menu.  I'm hoping if I commit to posting, then I'll be committing to following the menu!

Monday -- Homemade Mac N' Cheese (the Girl's favourite, and she's been asking for it for weeks.  It was just too hot to turn the oven on until today.)  We'll have corn on the cob, tomato and cucumber salad with it.

Tuesday -- Stir Fry Supper (to use up the pork loin roast we had yesterday).  See recipe below

Wednesday -- Chicken Scallopini -- a new recipe; if it's a hit, I'll let you know

Thursday -- BBQ burgers, corn on the cob

Friday -- BBQ pizza (pizza on tortilla shells cooked on the grill.....easy!)

Stir Fry Supper
1/2 lb boneless pork roast
1 green pepper
14 oz can pineapple chunks in juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soya sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil (I use a flax/sunflower oil instead)
2 garlic cloves
4 cups cooked brown rice

Cut pork into thin strips.  Cut green  pepper into bite sized pieces.  Drain pineapple.  Reserve liquid for sauce.
Prepare sauce by stirring 2/3 cup pineappple juice with cornstarch and soya sauce.  Set aside.
Heat oil in fry pan or wok.  Add meat and garlic, fry a few minutes.  Remove meat and garlic.  Fry green peppers.  Return meat, pineapple and sauce to wok.  Add salt to taste.  Serve over rice.

Aug. 5, 2010

Empty Cookie Jar?

Yep.  It was full of  Cookie Jar Gingersnaps -- but they go too quickly to get a photo of the cookies themselves -- unless I stuck my Canon in the oven for a shot....

The recipe --
2 cups sifted all purpose flour (I used 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose plus 1/2 cup almond meal plus 1/2 cup brown rice flour)
1 tbsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1/4 cup molasses
                                                          granulated sugar (for decorating)

Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.   Cream shortening until soft.  Add sugar gradually, creaming after each addition.  Beat in egg and molasses.   Add dry ingredients and blend well.  Form into small balls and roll in sugar or leave as is.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet (they spread).   Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

July 14, 2010
Super Easy Bow-tie Lasagne (great for hot days as you only need a skillet and stove top)

I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman Cooks.  It's one of her 16 minute meals.  Anything involving hamburger and only 16 minutes is bound to be a hit at my house!

I didn't have any gluten-free bow-tie pasta so I used penne.  I used the whole bag and I doubled the amount of pasta sauce and cheese.  I have enough left over for a second meal (again, yeah!)

Check out the "official" recipe

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I got this recipe from my friend, Lorrie.  I used my Kitchen Aid-heavy-as-sin-covered-cast-iron-casserole-that-is-made-for-comfort-food dish, 'cause today seemed like a good day for comfort food...

2 lbs hamburger
1 c. cracker crumbs (since I'm going Gluten-free I used gluten-free-bread crumbs -- I keep the bread ends in the freezer, and when I need crumbs I just pulse the frozen ends through the food processor)
1/2 tsp allspice, some salt and pepper
Mix this well, form meatballs. 

Since one of my "things" is touching raw hamburger, I refuse to properly roll meatballs.  Lorrie used the Pampered Chef medium chef scoop, and I thought this was a brilliant solution.

Put meatballs on large cookie sheet.  Bake at 325F for 10 minutes.  Turn them and bake for another 10 minutes. 

I forgot to set the timer for the first 10 minutes, so I baked them the whole 20 minutes without turning them.  No problem.

Put in a medium sauce pan: 
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp onion salt
Mix well and add 1 cup of cold water.  Cook well, but not boiling.
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
6 Tbsp ketchup
1- 10 oz tin crushed pineapple

Place meatballs in a casserole dish.  Pour sauce over meatballs.  Bake at 300F for 2 hours (or put in the crockpot)

Serve with rice and veggies.

Breast of Chicken Mornay
(I know, totally sounds fancy and complicated.  In reality it's like a Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole.  And it's easy!)

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (more if you like)
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour (I used arrowroot flour -- gluten-free thing, you know)
2 tbsp chopped onion
1/4 tsp sage, or poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (I used about 8 grinds of the pepper mill-- fresh ground is so much better...)
2 cups milk
1 egg
another 1/4 cup milk
6 thin slices deli ham (more if you like)
6 slices combo of swiss or cheddar cheese ( or one or the other)
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs mixed with 4 tbsp melted butter

Put chicken in baking dish and cover about 1/2 way up chicken breasts with water.   Cover with foil.  Cook at 350F for about 30 min, or until cooked.  (My plan for next time, is to cook the chicken the night before, then it will be a really fast weeknight meal.)  Slice chicken the long way across the breasts, so you get long slices not bite sized pieces. 

Make sauce by melting first amount of butter and onion until golden.  Add sage, salt,  pepper and flour.  Stir until mixed with butter.  It should look like a paste.

Add milk gradually; stir until thick.  I use a whisk to help break up the flour lumps. 

Beat egg with 1/4 cup milk; add to sauce.  Remove from heat.

Alternate layers of chicken, ham and cheese.  Pour sauce over top.  Add buttered crumbs on top of whole casserole.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.

This is impressive enough that we'll call it a "company casserole" -- the highest honour, besides "favourite" at our house.

The Neighbours Hamburger Dish  (for the Crockpot)
My friend, L, sent out this recipe, her friend, T, responded with some changes.  I've added a few of my own.  The lesson here is that I think you could throw anything you want into the pot and it would likely turn out.  My kind of dish.....

1 pound ground beef (or 1 1/2 lbs)
3 med. potatoes thinly sliced (or 4)
1 med. onion thinly sliced (or package of onion soup mix)
3 med. carrots thinly sliced (or omit)
1 stalk of celery thinly sliced (or omit)
10 oz. frozen peas (or corn, or omit)
1 tsp salt (or omit)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can tomato soup (or tomato and basil soup)
2 tsp beef boullion powder
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups water (I used about 1 cup and it was more like soup -- less water, more stew-like)
2 cloves minced garlic (my addition)
1 jar tomotoes, undrained
1/2 cup chopped green peppers (my addition)
1 tbsp. flax seed meal (my addition)
Scramble fry hamburger until browned.  Drain.  Rinse.  Put into slow cooker (mine is 5L). 
Mix soup, boullion powder and water in a bowl.  Add to slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.  Stir and cover.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 horus. 
Makes 8-10 cups depending on what you've added or omitted.

Here's what I promise....

I promise that there will never be "weird" ingredients in any of my recipes. In my house nearly any vegetable is considered weird -- but I have a solution to that....just cut them really, really small and throw them in the pot. Your family will never know they are there. I also puree what can't be chopped. My family eats all kinds of things that they don't know about -- onions, kidney beans, celery, mushrooms, flax seed....I am a sneaky, sneaky cook.

I also promise that I'll only post what my family deems as worthy. We have a "Favourites" book at our house. If I make a new recipe and it is liked 3 times by everyone, then it goes into the favourites book. Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, they just tell me to put it into the binder and we dont' need to do the 3x trial.

For the record -- those recipes are rare.

I promise that whatever I post will be time-friendly. I know what it's like to arrive home at 5:30pm, and need to be somewhere by 6:30pm....