Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick and Easy Shrimp Scampi

Tired of the same-old same-old dinners, last night I whipped together a scampi-esque meal, but I used rice instead of pasta. It was a major hit! I don't really have any exact measurements; I just put the ingredients in until it "looked right" to me.

~ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
~1/2 lb. pre-cooked, deveined peeled frozen shrimp (thawed)
butter or margarine (probably about 2-4 Tbsp.)
white wine (~1 cup)
garlic (I used powdered)
onion (I used powdered)
Italian seasoning
lemon pepper
dash salt

  1. Put enough olive oil in bottom of skillet to lightly coat entire surface
  2. On medium-high setting, heat oil and add butter or margarine. Allow to melt.
  3. Add shrimp.
  4. Add garlic, onion, lemon pepper, dash salt and Italian spices. I added until the shrimp had a nice "coat" of spices on it.
  5. Add wine and stir all ingredients well.
  6. Turn heat up to high and allow to boil. Let boil until all alcohol has evaporated off and there is a level of "juice" left in the pan that is to your liking. Don't cook too long, though, or the shrimp gets rubbery.

I had enough juice left that I fished out the shrimp and served on the side separately, then poured the juice over the white rice I served as a side. Add a side of green peas, and you have a yummy, balanced meal. (Note: I have been strongly urged by Jamie to make this again!)

Frugal tip:

You can make a whole other meal if you have left over shrimp. Just add cold shrimp to the top of a garden salad, add some shredded cheese and some vinaigrette, and you have shrimp chef's salad for another meal!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Beef Tips and Gravy

I guess there's been some question as to whether or not anyone is reading. I think people are reading, just not posting!

Here's my favorite fall and winter recipe. Quick and easy and freezes well!

Beef Tips and Gravy

1-2 lbs of stew meat (I just buy one package, who knows how much is in it?)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sliced mushrooms
12 oz 7-up

Toss them all in a 9x13 pan. Stir it around a little to mix everything together. Cover tightly and bake at 350 for 3 hours (yes, three hours). Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.

To make ahead and freeze: Toss everything in a gallon sized freezer quality baggie (not a storage one). Smoosh it all around and freeze. On serving day, thaw, and follow the above directions. You can pre-prep several of these at once and have dinner in the freezer for several meals.

The end! This makes a great meal for company. It's quick and easy, requires little prep and clean up and since you put it on mid-afternoon, you have plenty of time to clean the house while dinner is cooking!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My mother-in-law's Lamb Curry

I don't have the recipe in front of me, but I think I remember it. I'll fix it later if I find a mistake. :-)

1 cup fresh coconut and 1 handful of cilantro (with or without stems) ground to a paste.*
sliced onion (1/8 of a big one? my mother-in-law's onions are the size of golf balls and she uses 1)
3 green chilies, slit in half lengthwise
1 tsp of crushed ginger and garlic (can chop then grind in mortar and pestle)
1 tsp coriander powder (can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder)
1/2-1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2-1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch turmeric
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
lamb shanks*

On medium heat, in oil, saute the onion, green chilies, and ginger-garlic paste (until the strong smell goes away). Add the coconut/cilantro paste. Fry it until it's dry. Add the coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, and turmeric. Fry for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes. Cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes can be squashed with a wooden spoon. Add the lamb. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add about a cup of water and cover and cook for 30 minutes. Or, transfer to a pressure cooker with sufficient water and cook for 4 whistles (about 20 minutes). Serve over rice or with flat bread (rotis, chapatis, even tortillas would be good.)

*I used to have an Indian mixer, but I burned out the motor. It was a good one because you could grind things finely without having to add a lot of water. This time I used a food processor to break everything up, but it was still a little chunky for our taste, so I put it in the blender with some water, and then had to strain it with a sieve. Once I used just the food processor and you could totally feel the texture of the coconut, which wasn't too pleasant with lamb. Last time I used the blender and the coconut was fine, but it took forever to cook out all the water. This time was perfect with food processor, blender, sieve. but if you have a food processor that grinds things finely than you're set. Anyway. Turns out my mixer had a reset button on the bottom. It's okay now.

*My mother-in-law doesn't do this, and I didn't the first two times I made it, but this time I boiled the lamb first and drained off the fat. Then I put it in the fridge until I was ready for it, and the remaining fat totally congealed and I just sliced it right off. It was way less greasy than the other times I made it. Lamb can be pretty fatty. So what I did was sort of poach it. I covered the lamb in water and covered the pan and brought it to a boil then simmered it for 15 minutes. I also cut down the cooking time later so it wouldn't be too overcooked, since the meat was pretty well done after the poaching. But since we used a pressure cooker, it was still plenty tender. This is just if you're concerned about your fat intake or don't like your lamb too greasy. :-) We do this with chicken and ground beef and lots of stuff.

Friday, June 20, 2008

White Bread

In response to Jenn's request for bread recipes, here you go! My mom noted on this recipe card that it was her first loaf of bread. And mine, too!

1 1/4 C warm water
1 pkg dry yeast
2 T soft shortening
2 t salt
2 T sugar
3 c flour (I'd bet on all purpose)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar, shotrening and half the flour. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Add remainging flour, blend with a spoon until smooth. Cover, let rise in a warm place 30 minutes. Beat 25 strokes, spread in a greased loaf pan. Smooth into shape. Let rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375. Bake 45 minutes.


Dump liquid ingredients in your bread machine pan. Dump dry ingredients on top leaving out the yeast. Make a little well in the top of the dry ingredients. Dump the yeast in the well. Turn the thing on and let it do all the stirring, kneading, mixing, spreading and waiting. Go read my blog and enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Banana Bread

From Better Homes and Gardens cookbook

Prep 25 minutes Bake 55 minutes Oven 350

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
NO nuts (but other people can add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts)
optional: Streusel Topping*

1. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch or two 7 1/2x3 1/2x2-inch loaf pans; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Nut people fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pans. If desired, sprinkle Streusel Topping over batter.

3. Bake in a 350 oven for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan, or 40 to 45 minutes for 7 1/2x3 1/2x2-inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

*Streusel Topping: In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all purpose flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2 T butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Nut people can stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.)

I think you could put the batter in a muffin pan and bake it for half the time.

Basic Lamb Curry

I think this recipe is from

Basic Lamb Curry
  • 1 T oil
  • whole garam masala: 3 cinnamon sticks, 6 green cardamom pods, 6 cloves
  • 1 onion, diced (I like red onions for indian food.)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2" pieces of lamb
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp corrainder powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • water
  • 1-2 green chilies, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • black pepper
  • handful chopped cilantro

  1. Heat oil. Add whole garam masala, onion, and salt. When onions begin to brown, add turmeric and ginger garlic. Sautee ginger garlic until the raw smell goes away. Add lamb. Stir. When lamb begins to become white, add cayenne pepper, corrainder powder, and cumin powder. Add 1 cup water. STir. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add green chilies, coconut powder, and black pepper. Add cilantro. Cook 1o more mintues, covered. Serve with rice or flat bread (chapatis, naan, or even wheat tortillas would be good.)

Easy Lamb (or turkey, beef, or chicken) Keema

Recipe by Vijay Golla (our buddy)

This one's super easy, and you can substitute ground turkey, beef, or chicken if you can't get a hold of ground lamb. (If you choose to use beef or lamb, you may want to take measures to reduce the fat, or you may not!)

Lamb Keema

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • oil
  • 1 onion, sliced into strips
  • 1 lb of ground something
  • water
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste (can use grated ginger and minced garlic, or watever you think)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (or less)
  • 1/2 tsp corriander powder (I prefer grinding this from corriander seeds over buying it in powder form--makes a huge difference in flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (I think it's cinnamon, cloves, and star anise--I think it varies. You could probably substitute chinese 5 spice powder, of just use some spices you think would be good with lamb)
  1. Heat 3 tsp of oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds.
  2. Add onion. Fry till golden.
  3. Add ground (Something) and break it up with your spoon or spatula.
  4. Add a cup of water.
  5. Add cayenne pepper, ginger/garlic, and salt (to taste).
  6. Add turmeric and corriander powder.
  7. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, over medium heat.
  8. Add 1/2 tsp garam masala.
  9. Let it cook for another 1o minutes, and it should be ready. (The water should reduce to a gravy.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bread recipes requested

What with Jamie's new food restrictions, and the exhorbitant cost of bread without milk that is also not processed in a facility with nuts or peanuts, I'm begging for simple bread recipes. I think I'll be having to bake my bread this summer (that is, if it's cheaper). I'm trying to find any way I can to cut costs this summer, as we're all broke (I think the whole country can relate to that!)

Also, if anyone has any yummy milkless and nutless dessert recipes, and things a small boy can pack in his lunch to summer daycare, it would be much appreciated if you would share! (Annie-Lou, I'm going to see if Jamie likes your chapatis or not, as that sounds like a good thing for me to put in his lunch this summer).



Okay, now I know how to make chapatis. They may not be the way all Indians make them, but they're the way my in-laws make them, and they're the way I make them, and I really like them and they're super easy. Remember the pages-long post I wrote a few months ago on chapatis? I learn things the hard way. I always make things way too complicated at first. So, here goes.

chapati flour
oil (I've used olive and canola)

scoop out some flour--maybe a cup and a half--into a bowl. Make a hole in the middle. Sprinkle with salt, not a lot. (I sprinkle the top with the shaker. Sometimes I go around twice. I kind of like them saltier, but of course that's not good for you if you eat them often.) Put up to a teaspoon of oil in the hole. Add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water (depending on the humidity in the air). Start with less, and add more if you need it. I just stick the bowl under the faucet and fill the hole I made, then mix around with my fingers, then add more water if I can't make a dough. You want to use just enough water--too much will make your dough unmanagably sticky. (You do want the dough to be a just a little sticky when you're first forming it, because it will become more managable after it rests.) Form a ball. (If you can't form a ball, you'll need to add more flour or water!) Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then knead it again and break off a chunk--a little more than a fistfull for my hands, but I have man hands. Form that into a ball in your hand, and then (still in your hands) stretch into a sort of disk. Then dip it in your flour on both sides and then roll it out on your surface (I think that's way less messy than sprinkling flour on your surface). Roll it into a circle, pretty thin, but not paper thin. Just uniformly thin, about the size of a dinner plate. Then fry it on a heavy flat skillet (mine's anodized, but I've used stainless steel, regular nonstick, and cast iron--all are fine, but I think the anodized is easiest to clean. Ie, I almost never wash it. Gross, huh.) Or, you can do like Daniel's family does, and instead of frying it at this point, instead spread a thin layer of oil on it (a few drops) and fold it into a triangle and roll it out again and then fry it. You can use oil to fry it or not. Your choice. Doesn't that sound easy?

We eat chapatis for breakfast. Daniel dunks them in his tea. (Black tea boiled with sugar and skim milk.) We also sometimes take them for lunch (they're great warmed up in a toaster oven--almost better than fresh), and eat them for dinner pretty often with currys. I like them with meat curries, but they really make some vegetables more palatable. Bell pepper curry, for example, is way better with chapatis than with rice, I think. They're also good for a quick snack. I don't know how long it takes to make--start to finish, maybe 20, excluding the resting time, which can be 5-10 minutes (longer if you cover the dough). You can keep dough for a day or two in the fridge, covered. You can even keep it out of the fridge for a while if it's not too hot--I've kept it overnight quite often and it just becomes softer and more manageable. Toss it if it starts to smell fermented. (Though I've eaten them at that point before and they tasted fine, but I'm not easily grossed out.)

So there ya go. They sell frozen chapatis at indian groceries and they're really good. You may want to try a pack sometime. You'd have to go there anyway to get the flour I think. I"m not sure about that, though.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Make Ahead

I am going for Montessori Training next month (in two weeks) and am thinking about what I can do to help Daniel eat well while I'm gone. I'll be gone for three weeks, home on the weekends. Do you know any good sources for make-ahead meals? He's a good cook, and will be fine, but I'd like to help out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pizza and a tip

Suze posted a beautiful tutorial on pizza making on her regular blog! Click on her name on the right to go see it. She's got skills and smarts!

I have discovered (well, my husband has) a most wonderful website for Indian cooking. It is called, and that is its address. It's not the most technically wonderfully user-friendly website I've ever seen, but it does provide lovely video demos of awesome recipes. I know they're awesome, because every one that we've tried has been fabulous. We have tried the dosais, fish byriani, red kidney bean masala, green bell pepper masala, chicken curry, egg cube curry (maybe not fabulous, but I think it had to do with the baking dish I chose to use), egg byriani, upma rava, and chicken byriani. There are many things I love about this website. First, the man is entertaining. In one recipe, he tastes the food and excuses himself to go and cry. Really. I like that you can see on the screen how much of each ingredient he is using. I like that you can see how the food is supposed to look at the end of each stage of cooking. (He may not specify cooking times and amounts of ingredients every time, but at least you can look at the screen and make deductions). He gives a lot of "why's." I can see what type of vessel to use, and sometimes he even tells specifications on what kinds of pots are best, and once even gave a substitution suggestion. Anyway, just go and click on the video demos tab and then pick your picture and watch. It's fun. Then make something yummy. (Oh, be prepared to pause and take notes. Only a few have written recipes, and they're not the same as what he's showing you on the screen--somebody sent them in and he's adapted to suit his taste.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Secret Project

My class is doing a secret project for an upcoming holiday. Today the kindergartners all wrote recipes. We had one recipe for cookies, one for chocolate chip muffins, one for a boiled egg, two mac and cheeses, one ice cream, and a recipe for pancakes. Some highlights:

One ingredient in the pancake recipe was "2 tablespoons yellow liquid". Pretty impressive memory there on the quantity, I thought.

Ingredient list for one of the mac and cheese recipes: lots of cheese, lots of noodles, not much water. List of ingredients for the other mac and cheese recipe: 1 bag of cheese, 2 sets of water, 6 noodles, a microwave.

Ingredients for the muffin recipe: 4 chocolate chips, sprinkles, 5 chocolates, 2 bread.

Ingredients for cookies: 1 spoon of flour, 7 sprinkles, icing.

My favorite line from all the recipes: "Put it on the frying pan and then it turns into pancakes."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

One of many

Lately I've been dabbling in freezer cooking (not quite once a month cooking, but similar). I make a big batch of something, freeze 2-3 portions and have meals on hand to use later. I have 4-5 recipes that freeze well and that most of my family eats! Here is one of them:

BBQ Chicken Pizza

2 cups cooked and shredded/cubed chicken
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 small red onion, chopped (I only use about 1/3 and chop up the rest to freeze for next time)
2 green onions (which I buy in a bundle of 4-6ish, chop and freeze for next time)
1 cup shredded Gouda (again, one wheel makes 2 cups shredded. Grate all and freeze half.)
1 cup Mozzerella cheese (comes in a 2 cup package, you can figure out where I'm going here!)
1 prepared pizza crust (Boboli whole wheat is great, but the generics are good, too)

Spread 3/4 cup of bbq on the pizza crust, mix the rest with the chicken to coat. Spread the chicken over the crust.
Top with onions and cheese. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.

You can prepare the pizza and wrap it in plastic wrap and foil to freeze. Just thaw it and bake as directed above. Or, you can make a "kit" of the ingredients in 4 different baggies (bbq sauce, bbq-ed chicken, onions and cheese) throw that in the freezer and assemble on serving day. Usually I make a double batch of pizza "guts", freeze one and serve the other!

Maybe I'll remember to post some of the other recipes here someday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Always Remember...

... To check the expiration date on eggs before you use them. I felt like crud over the weekend, and decided fudge brownies would make me feel better. Rachel's boyfriend Will had made a big breakfast that morning with pancakes, bacon, eggs and biscuits. So, when I looked for eggs in the fridge and saw a carton, I assumed (see that's where I get in trouble) that they were leftover eggs from Will's cooking spree.

Anyhoo, I made the brownies, Jamie and I licked the bowl and beater (which included raw egg product, natch), and then we ate some brownies. The next morning, I didn't feel very good, and my tummy and Jamie's tummy were queasy. Then Will asked me how I made brownies when he used the last of the eggs on breakfast.

"No you didn't," I said. Then he told me he had only bought a six pack of eggs.

Little warning bells started going off in my head. There was one of the eggs left from the carton I had used to make brownies. I checked the expiration date on the carton, then quickly threw the eggs away so no one else would make the same mistake I did...

The expiration date was 12-21-2007.

No wonder Jamie and I were queasy! We had eaten raw, expired eggs. We're lucky we didn't wind up with something worse than some queasiness!

Oh, and BTW, we're fine today, for the most part. So no big deal, other than being grossed out by eating eggs that old.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jenn's Chicky-Cheese Casserole

Today, I made a chicken casserole, and it was pretty good. We had a large bag of frozen chicken legs and thighs that needed to be used (I needed more room in the freezer), so I did the following:

Defrosted the chicken for two days in the fridge.
Put the now-thawed chicken in the crock pot with some water, dehydrated onions, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
Cooked it on high for several hours, until the meat started falling off the bone.

Then, I deboned the chicken and let it sit in a bowl in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I cooked some white rice, then put it in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Preheated oven to 375 degrees.
Spread out cooked chicken on top of the rice. Added some water and a can of cream of chicken soup. Mixed well.

Added a can of drained peas. Ditto for a can of drained carrots.
Put more chicky on top.
Covered in shredded cheddar cheese.

Baked for 45 minutes.

It was very good. Even the pickiest eater in the house loved it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's been a while...

since we've posted anything on this website.

What do you think? I don't make up any recipes on my own. I find them in cookbooks, or on other people's websites. Some, I get from my mother-in-law. So, they're not my recipes, but would you guys still like for me to post some of our favorite recipes on this blog? I mean, some of them I'd be just copying directly from the "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook. It's not even an obscure cookbook! Sometimes I think about posting things, and then I think, "Everybody probably already owns this cookbook." What do you say?