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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wow! Great day of subbing for a fantastic group of kids at a charter school for United Cerebral Palsy school. Such great kids and staff! Makes you love life even more when you can be a part of and help in ways more then you can ever imagine when those little eyes and minds connect with you. Just so wonderful!
Was going to go to my produce stand during my lunch break to pick up some fresh veggies for part of our meal tonight. They were closed :( I must have fresh veggies or my life and meals do not feel right but I knew I was a tad limited to what I had on hand. Came home and found my baby Bok Choy, onions, fresh parsley and limes. I knew that this was a salad in the making.  Whoo hoo! I grabbed a can of Mandarin oranges, some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and I'm all set. It's not only pretty but it is fresh and yummy for the tummy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fresh Cucumber Sammie's

Yummy Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Sammies on Whole Grain Bread!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bread Crumbs or Stuffing

Bread Crumbs or Stuffing:

You know all of those ends of the bread that no one want's to eat? Or, when the bread is just not sandwich worthy or eat right now worthy? Most people throw it out or feed it to the birds. I'll talk about what not to feed to birds at a different time.  Do you go to the store and buy prepackaged bread cubes or crumbs for that dish that you want to make?? It's costly for what you are getting if you think about it. Bread, spices and flavoring. Am I right? It's been awhile but the last time that I checked, a little can of breadcrumbs...around $3.00??  Most likely you have all of the ingredient's right there in your kitchen! Not kidding! 

Any bread product that you have on hand can be made into breadcrumbs. The last batch that I made consisted of whole grain bread, flour tortillas and crackers. I use a Vita Mix but you can use a blender as well. Or, just put bread and crackers into a ziplock bag and break up with the bottom of a pan, rolling pin or even a mallet. I either put the crumbs into a ziplock bag and put into the freezer or I vacuum seal in ball jars to put into the pantry. When I go to use them I then add the seasonings to taste for the dish that I am making. IE; Italian dish, basil, oregano, garlic, Kosher salt and perhaps onion powder. You get the idea. 

Stuffing ideas to be posted.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tomato Pie With Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Goooood morning!

I am planning on making one of my favorite dishes today. Tomato pie! YUMMY! If you have never had it, it is so worth a try. So darn tasty and easy to make! Although I am from up North, I just love Southern food with a twist of Northern style and will be adding additional veggies to the mix cause that's what I have on hand and that's what I do ;) My hubby is a meat and potato kind of guy but loves this as well. Go figure ;) I hope to get some pics and post my pie today.

In the meantime I already have my chicken rubbed down with Creole seasoning, garlic and pepper and marinating for a Gumbo for tomorrow. I'm going to add some shrimp to this dish as well. Sounds tasty huh? See y'all soon ;) OR See you guys later ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan Created by me, Christine  ;)

This recipe is perfect for all of you that love eggplant Parmesan but would like an easier way to get all of the great flavors and textures. I whipped this up in no time when I had a craving for eggplant Parmesan.Parmesan but didn't want to invest a whole lot of time. Give it a whirl!

The ingredients can be adjusted in oh so many ways. You can keep it veggie and add any variety of veggies to the stuffing  or add ground meat, sausage...you get the idea ;)

I'm going to just jot down what I put in mine because this is what I had on hand and I'm guessing on the measurements as I'm ...yeah one of THOSE cooks;) 

1 medium fresh eggplant (when looking for a really great eggplant, look for one that is heavy for it's size, a good pure purple color with no wrinkles and no inney belly button :)
1/2 chopped onion
1 stalk of celery
1/2 green pepper
1 T olive oil
1 egg slightly beaten
1 C bread crumbs
1C ricotta cheese
1C cottage cheese
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
Oregano, basil, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Do not cut the ends off. Cut out the flesh of eggplant as close to the skin as possible w/o cutting into the skin. I used a grapefruit knife. Roughly chop eggplant flesh. Set aside. Roughly chop celery, onion and green pepper. In you favorite skillet, heat and add olive oil. If you need iron in your diet I encourage you to use a cast iron skillet. Saute celery, onion and green peppers until slightly soft but still crunchy and firm in the middle to give the stuffing texture. Add spices and salt and pepper to taste. Then add chopped eggplant. Saute until eggplant is soft. This happens rather quickly. Cool a little then add ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and 1/4 Parmesan cheese. Stir until well mixed. Then add egg and 1/2 C bread crumbs. Combine til well mixed. In a somewhat shallow baking dish add 1T olive oil and place the eggplant shells. Stuff shells evenly with stuffing mixture. Pour the can of tomato sauce over eggplant to ensure the stuffing and eggplant skins have a layer of sauce. The sauce will go down into the pan. I want you to use the whole can as this will make a quick marinara sauce all on it's own while baking. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. At the end of that time take dish out, top with shredded mozzarella, then with the bread crumbs, sprinkle with a little more spices then finish the topping off with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until you get a golden and crusty topping. When the cooking is complete, let it rest for about 15 minutes to set.

I served this with chapatti garlic bread and a fresh green tossed salad with homemade dressings of choice.

Gosh! Writing this out makes it seem much more labor intensive then it is. It was a slam dunk for me!

If you try and like this recipe please let me know as I come up with so many creations and want some input. Any input is appreciated as I am a pantry/refrigerator cook and I think that I'm going to actually start writing my recipes down. I think that sometimes I hit home runs and would love to share!

Have fun in the kitchen! Food is the one thing that we ALL have in common! Enjoy!

Sorry no pics:( We were too hungry!

Zucchini Cakes w/Horseradish Sauce

Zucchini Cakes w/ Horseradish Sauce Recipe


 2 Green onions
1/4 C Mayo
2 tsp horseradish
1 tsp Milk
1 zucchini shredded
1 sm clove garlic
1 egg yolk, egg substitute or egg replacement powder
1 T flour, plus about 1/4 C for dipping
S & P to taste
1 T canola oil or other frying oil

Clean and slice up scallions (I use all green and white).
Place 1/2 scallions in bowl with mayo, horseradish and milk. Mix until well blended set aside.
Place grated zucchini in a clean handi wipe or cheesecloth and squeeze over sink to get the excess moisture out. In another bowl put zucchini in with pressed clove of garlic, egg yolk, the rest of scallions and 1 tsp flour. Mix well.
Heat skillet up with canola oil. Form zucchini mixture into a ball and gently place in flour to cover. Once oil and pan are heated place floured ball into pan and gently press down to make a patty. Cook about 5-7 mins on each side until golden brown. Serve hot with horseradish sauce.
This recipe gives you the basic idea but you can mix and match any soft veggie. You really can use any sauce with this. A marinara would be nice :) This go round I used a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice in the sauce. A little bit of hot sauce would be good too. The acid cut's the heaviness of the mayo base. :)


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soup Stock Tips

Soup Stock Tips

I am not a writer so bare with me :) If this blog does not make sense or if I am not clear let me know as I am learning and appreciate any and all input. All of this is in my head without ever writing it down. I'm kind of a just do it kind of person. But since so many people have asked questions of how, when what... I'm here :) Personally this is something that I have needed to do and want to share.

Cold and flu season is coming upon us rather quickly this year. What is one of the best foods for that season? You've got it, homemade chicken soup! Here are some great tips to make that chicken stock a very delectable and vitamin packed stock. This goes for any stock whether it be veggie, chicken, beef and so on. Very Eco friendly and let nothing go to waste kind of tip.
Did you ever wonder why some homemade soups taste so much better then others?? Veggie scraps. Yup, you heard me right, veggie scraps :) When preparing any veggies, keep all of the skins when peeling carrots, potatoes, ends from squash, celery ends, lettuce cores, and even onion skins with roots you get the idea. Just make sure that the veggies are scrubbed and cleaned first before you begin the prepping process to use so that you do not have any dirt or grit in the veggie scraps. Sounds kinda strange I know but it make a huge difference in your stocks. The only two veggie skins that I do not use are peppers and beet. I only use beet skins when I'm not looking for a clear broth. I keep them separate from the rest. What I do is anytime I'm preparing fresh veggies, I scrub, clean cut, peel then get a freezer ziplock bag and throw the skins in the bag and put into the freezer. I just keep adding to the bag until full then start another with dates on them.

When it comes time to make a stock, I pull my veggie scrap bag out of the freezer and put the contents into the pot filled with filtered water. Today I'm making a chicken stock with what I have handy. I have 4 bags of veggie scraps, most are asparagus from the spring harvest, one bone in chicken breast and 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. I try and make the best of what I have in stock ;) I like the FIFO method. First in first out. I do not make special trips to the store because if you can make some of the best dishes with what you have on hand. Getting back to the stock. All 4 bags of veggie skins go into a big stock pot. I then add the chicken, about 8 whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 2 T of concentrated chicken stock bouillon for added depth. Spice to your taste. I put the covered pot on the stove on medium temp. When the pot comes to temperature, of flame or heat source, lower to let simmer for about 2-3 hours. This will get the most flavors from all of what you have in pot. You need to just slowly simmer flavors out. When you have finished this process, strain the contents of your stock pot into a big bowl or another pot. Sift through for the meat if you are using it and put aside. You now have a great stock. You can use right away, or you can save in freezer ready containers. If you save for later, put stock into containers and let cool to room temp. before putting lid on and freezing. And, always leave at least 1 inch from stock to top of container for freeze expansion. I personally make a huge pot of soup and freeze afterwords. Of course I label everything with the date made and what kind of stock made. K, so that is the stock portion. :) Sounds and looks rather lengthy to me, but really very simple. Can't wait to tell you what I make with it! I hope that this can help you become the best soup maker ever! Your family will love it!

Recap, veggies scraps to freezer into stock :) See, it's easy! You can do it too!

BTW! I've taught my sisters this tip.  Interestingly enough, one of my sisters was embarrassed of having the scraps in her freezer thinking OMGosh, what are my guests going to think! My response was, "umm, that you know how to make a great stock?" I hope this helps you make the best stock ever!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Day! I'm posting some of my Sammies from what I call " Refrigerator Creations". I do my best to make the most delectable foods with what I have on hand. The creativity is endless! I personally just love my veggies and try to incorporate a huge variety for my family.  My hubby of the meat and potato generation actually requests some of my veggie dishes....ya never know until you try it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Organic Produce Cleaner Recipe

Organic Cleaner Recipe for Produce 


Although just the pure taste and buying local organic produce is just a great thing, sometimes it is just not feasible. Here is a great recipe to clean your produce, cost effective and uuummmm so clean. I hope this helps you!

The vinegar in this spray has natural anti-bacterial properties, while the lemon juice is a natural astringent. The solution works to both breakdown and clean off pesticides. So if you are not fortunate to have local and organic produce, this can help you cut down on the pesticides on you fruits and veggies.

1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 of a lemon

Combine all ingredients in a large container. Transfer to a spray bottle with a pump. Spray mixture on produce and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub and rinse.