Monday, March 31, 2008

Garden Supper Casserole

I found this recipe in the More with Less Cookbook.

My review. Everyone ate it & seemed to like it. This just barely serves 4. And that's with 2 of the 4 being five yr olds (but then, they're big eaters). And I used more than a cup of the vegetables (had the tail end of a Sam's size bag of green beans so just dumped them all in (didn't bother to cook them either, just added them frozen) probably closer to 2 cups) and more than a cup of the meat (I use "fri chik" (a canned fake chicken type stuff) & I just used a whole can, which again is more in the 2 cup range I think). Doubling the whole recipe in a larger casserole would probably leave enough to send w/ dh for lunch the next day & mean we didn't run out (& even then, I'd probably add some extra veggies, just cuz I prefer a higher ratio of veggies in our meals). This is one I would definitely recommend butter (as opposed to margarine or some other fat) for, I could taste the butter in it, so it's adding flavor, not just texture.

Serves 4

2 c cubed soft bread
1/2 c shredded sharp cheese
2 T butter melted (the cookbook uses margarine throughout, I feel that butter is enough healthier to be worth the extra cost)
Spread half the bread mixture in a greased 1qt casserole and top with 1 c cooked vegetables of your choice.
Saute till tender:
3 T butter
2 T chopped onion
Blend in:
3 T flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Cook over low heat, stirring till bubbly. Stir in:
1 1/2 c milk
Cook, stirring constantly till thick. Stir in:
1 c cooked meat, diced
Pour over vegetables.
Arrange on top:
1 lg tomato, sliced (optional - we'll skip this when making it for meals dh is joining us for)
Sprinkle with remaining bread mixture.
Bake uncovered 30-35 min.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Millet Squares

From the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book. We're going through their "Grain a Day" this week for homeschool, and this was the recipe I decided to try for Millet (since I've never really used millet).

Incidentally, regardless of your school choices, this book is AWESOME! For little kids, it's a whole book of recipes that are whole grain, low (or no) sugar (mostly sweetened with honey & syrup), and just generally nice, healthy snacks for kids :)

Ok, so the recipe:

3 c millet
6 c water
1/4 or 1/3 c maple syrup

Over med heat, toast millet in bottom of a large pot until you start to smell the millet (optional). Add water & syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook at a slow boil for about 20 minutes. Do NOT stir the pot. When all the water is absorbed, pour into a glass 9x13 inch baking dish and allow to cool and harden. Cut into small squares.

Turkey Barley Stir-Fry

I went looking for barley recipes for our "grain a day" this week in homeschool & found this one online, adapted it for things we like/eat, and we'll try it & see what we think:

2 tsp olive oil
2 c cooked pearl barley
1 1/2 c cooked cubed turkey (we'll use fri chik (fake chicken) or soy curls)
1/2 c chopped green beans or celery (recipe calls for red pepper, but we don't like it)
1/2 c chopped onions
3 eggs
1 tsp garlic salt (I think I'll just use garlic powder, maybe not quite so much, the soy sauce should make it plenty salty for me)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce (we use Braggs Amino Acids for soy sauce)
1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted

To cook barley: In a med. saucepan bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 c barley and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes until tender and liquid is absorbed. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups (extra can be frozen).

For Stir-fry: Heat oil in skillet, add barley, turkey & veggies. Stir-fry 4-5 min. In a small bowl beat together eggs, garlic salt & ginger. Add to skillet, stir-fry until eggs are cooked. Sprinkle with soy sauce and almonds to serve.

ETA we had this for supper tonight. The girls liked it, dh & I both voted it "ok" but not great. I think it has potential but I'll do some things different next time. increase the vegetable (green beans is what I used this time) to at least a cup, current proportions it's much more like fried rice than the way I normally make stir fry, which is fine, but extra veggies make it healthier & wouldn't hurt any. If you use garlic powder instead of garlic salt, definitely add salt too. And the big thing, I wondered how it would work adding the egg mixture right into the stir fry to cook, but figured I'd try it. The eggs just disappear, which maybe that's the point, but I think actually tasting the eggs would be a good thing, so next time I'll scramble the eggs (not sure if I'll use add the seasonings to the eggs or the veggies, will probably depend on my mood that day LOL) separately & then add them in at the end like I do for fried rice. But it's a nice mix-up from our normal fried rice, and dh is willing to eat it, so we'll probably eat it at least once in awhile.

Spinach Spaghetti

This is one of dh's favorites, I got it from his mom (and made a few changes, like whole wheat pasta)

1 lb whole wheat spaghetti, cooked & drained
2 10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed & drained
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c milk
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c chopped onion
1 tsp salt
4 c shredded jack cheese
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Combine all but 1/4 c Parmesan. Put in 9x13 casserole. Sprinkle 1/4 c Parmesan on top. Bake 45 minutes, covered. at 350.

This freezes wonderfully and is so easy & yummy!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Shake

I found this on a blog, and jotted it down (& promptly lost track of which blog it was on). And adapted it to reflect what I had on hand & such . . .

Some frozen spinach (probably about 1/3 of a 10oz box), fresh would work too
a pint of frozen peaches
Juice off a can of chunked pinapple, and some of the pineapple
1 apple, peeled & cubed
a handful of dried bananas

Blend it all together & enjoy! Original recipe used fresh spinach, frozen bananas, and included ice cubes, but the blender seemed full enough to not bother w/ the ice cubes (probably could do less peaches). I really don't think you can go wrong here, just stay with the green/yellow/white color scheme if you want to keep it green.

Crockpot Potato Soup

I got this off a message board awhile back and never tried it, will try it this week.

2-3 lbs potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
chicken broth (about 4 cups)
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 c milk
2 c cheddar cheese, grated

Cube potatoes, place in crockpot with onion, salt & pepper. Add broth to cover. Cook on high 4 hrs till potatoes are cooked through. Blend 1/2 potatoes till smooth. Return to crockpot. Leave on low until dinner time (if needed) Right before serving, stir in milk & cheese. The potatoes should be hot enough to heat the milk & cheese right away. Serve.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Crockpot Pinto Beans

One of the meals I decided to try this week was "Pintos & Cornbread", but I was planning to be gone most of the day Thurs (the night I had this meal scheduled), so I went hunting for a crockpot version of pinto beans, and then tweaked it (because it called for lard or bacon fat & we're vegetarian), here's what I came up with:

16 oz pinto beans, picked over, soaked overnight & drained
2 T butter (not sure if we really needed this, I might leave it out, or at least cut it back next time)
1 or 2 (I don't remember) T baco bits
1 sm onion, chopped
1 Tbs fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano

Combine all with 3 c water in crockpot. Cook on high 3 hrs, turn to low & cook the rest of the day. Season with salt to taste.

Now, my day didn't go exactly as planned. I put it in the crockpot, turned it on high, set the kitchen timer for 3 hrs, and left for the day, leaving dh with the instruction to turn it to low when the timer went off. I was planning to be home by 6:00 or so, to check on it, turn it back to high if needed, or off if needed, make the corn bread & serve dinner, but we got to my friend Angie's house & she invited us to stay for supper, so I called dh, told him to see if the beans seemed done & if so, turn off the crockpot (and have some if he wanted) and the girls & I stayed at Angie's till bedtime. I got home around 10pm & found the beans STILL on low, so they were well cooked (though you can't really over-cook pintos, I don't think). I let them cool & put them in the fridge, then made the corn bread & re-heated the pintos in the microwave (just put each person's plate in the microwave) for supper tonight. I made a point of calling these "pintos" not "beans" since the girls claim to not like beans & served up each plate, by putting a big serving of pintos on their plate (heating them in the microwave, then topping the beans with some shredded cheese & sour cream, and put a piece of corn bread on the plate as well. Everyone declared it a keeper, L said it was "even better than Shepherd's Pie" which is high praise from her at the moment. DH really liked the added flavor the baco bits gave it. The girls each ate 2 platefuls.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shepherd Pie

This is my friend, Jenni's recipe, adapted for us being vegetarian LOL.

ETA: I made this last night substituting lentils for half the TVP and it was fine. Lentils are a healthier, cheaper alternative to the TVP :)

DH didn't like this (he informed me that he prefers things "separate") but the girls each had 2 platefuls! It's not something I'd make just for myself, but given how much I've been struggling to figure out stuff to feed my kids lately, we'll be making it for lunch occasionally :)

1 lb rehydrated TVP (1 c dry)
3/4 c diced onion
2 tsp garlic
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 c beef flavored broth
1/2 c milk
some frozen green beans
2 c mashed potatoes

Brown meat, onions & garlic. Add flour & incorporate thoroughly then add liquid & bring to a boil. Transfer meat to casserole, add a layer of green beans, top w/ mashed potatoes & bake 20-30 min at 400.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Breakfast Cookies

Another one from Heavenly Homemakers

1 c butter, melted
3/4 c honey
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk
2 c whole wheat flour
2 c rolled oats
1 c raisins or chocolate chips

Combine first 8 ingredients. Add oats & flour. Fold in raisins or chocolate chips. Place heaped spoonfuls on cookie sheet (leave space between them, they spread) Bake at 350F for 15-20 min. Cool 3-4 min on cookie sheet before removing to wire racks.

I use regular milk instead of buttermilk (because I'm lazy) & chocolate chips. I'm going to let the girls try them in the morning (made them tonight), but the little piece I broke off tasted good, so hopefully these will be a hit for days when we're needing to eat breakfast (or other meals) on the go :)

Whole Wheat Crackers

From heavenly homemakers

2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c oil
1/2 c water

Mix. Roll thin (recipe recommends using parchment paper but the dough was easy enough to work with that I probably won't bother w/ it next time). Cut out with small cookie cutters. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes. Turn off oven but let the crackers cool in the oven so they come out nice and crisp.

These were easy to make, the dough was easy to work with. Dough tasted good. We'll try the crackers when they finish cooling.


I found this recipe somewhere online but didn't keep track of where.

2 c oats
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c chopped almonds
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/2 c honey or molasses
1/3 c cooking oil
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300F. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Stir together. Spread out on greased cookie sheet (I used a "bar pan" style baking stone) Bake 20 min, stir. Bake 10-15 min longer. Remove from oven & immediately turn onto aluminum foil to cool (I used a big wood cutting board) When cool break into clumps & store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Or freeze for longer storage.

I used a mix of oats & rye flakes, and I didn't have sunflower seeds so I increased the oats/rye by 1/2 c as a substitution. I also used 50/50 molasses and honey and it's more molasses-y than I like it, I'll probably use all honey next time. But it was easy, and other than molasses being too strong to be my first choice, I like the flavor.

Recipe also says that you can make granola bars by adding 1 beaten egg per cup of cooked granola & bake in a 300 degree oven until firm, I haven't tried that yet.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Egg in a Basket

A couple weeks ago I was making a meal where I'd normally have included grilled cheese sandwiches but we were low on cheese, but had plenty of eggs. So I thought of one of my favorite meals from Cracker Barrel. It's very simple, just take a piece of bread, use a cookie cutter to cut a round (or we use heart shaped ones, the girls think it's special & it was the first cookie cutters I happened upon in the cupboard that were the right size LOL) hole in the middle. Butter both sides of the bread, put it in the frying pan & break an egg into the hole. Fry on both sides until the bread is grilled & the egg is fried. That's all there is to it. It's become one of our favorite quick lunches (especially with soup of some sort).