Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spiced Corn Chips

One day, we didn't have a side as we were grilling out our hot dogs...Don't forget we have a one year old...so I cut up some corn tortillas and made these tasty chips, so we could eat chips and salsa. They turned out fantastic. Thanks to The Sneaky Chef for the recipe.
You can make these chips as spicy as you wish...or you could even use different spices like chili powder and cumin to suit your own tastes.

1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
12 (6-inch) round corn tortillas
2 Tbl olive oil
  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • Combine cinnamon, ginger, red pepper, and salt in a spice shaker..(or small bowl)
  • Brush both sides of each tortilla with oil. Stack 6 of them together and cut them into 8 triangles, for a total of 48 chips. Repeat with remaining 6 tortillas.
  • Scatter chips in single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with salt and spice mixture.
  • Bake 8 minutes, flip, bake another 8 minutes, until crispy and golden.

Nutella Spiked Brownies

It has just been one of those days...well, yesterday was actually. I'm writing this on Tuesday.
Monday lived up to it's hype, I guess.
I really wanted brownies...
     because it's Monday
          because I'm a girl
               because I went to the gym earlier
                    because J's car is making a weird noise---again
                         because I need to replace my 5 year old camera (Yes, five years!)

picture taken w/ video camera
So to satisfy my craving, I wanted super chocolatey, delicious brownies to make it go away...for at least thirty seconds while I savored the flavor at least. I know I shouldn't look to food to make my day better, but it does work...sometimes. And at least I let out some of the stress in the kitchen while I was mixing up this concoction. I used my great-grandmother's (Mommaw) recipe for chewy chocolate brownies and made it my own with lots of additions and substitutions. Here's another recipe using these brownies as a base: Brownies w/ Peanut Butter Frosting

My Facebook friends begged and pleaded for the recipe, so this one has been moved to top of the "things to post on blog" list. Here it is, friends, here it is...

6 Tbl cocoa
1 Tbl canola oil
1 Tbl spiced rum
1/4 c butter
1/4 c nutella
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 Tbl flax seed + 3Tbl water (or 1 egg)
1 tsp Dr. McGillicuddy's Vanilla
1/2 c flour (I used half whole wheat/half white)
  • Mix cocoa, oil, and rum. Set aside.
  • Thoroughly cream butter and sugar.
  • Add egg, flax, and 3 Tbl water and beat well.
  • Blend in chocolate, vanilla, and flour. 
  • Pour into greased 8x8 pan. 
  • Bake @ 325* for 30 minutes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beefy Shells and Cheese

     My posts have become fewer and farther between as the blog goes on. I have found that I have posted all of my regularly used recipes, and I only get to post those new adventures that I try...which is not very many during this time of year. We have been so busy with summer things, and I have recently starting babysitting a three month old a few nights a week. With a 17 month old and a three month old, I don't get much time to experiment...I'm lucky if we get a meat and a side or two.
     I've been reading The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook as my nighttime reading after Miss E goes to bed, and I have found some fantastic inexpensive recipes that I want to try. I wish I had bought it instead of borrowing it from the library. She does have a website that I haven't check out yet.
     This recipe is one that I have actually made before. It's one of those that tastes really great and every time I make it I think, "This should be a regular dish", but then life goes on and I come across it again every couple of months. I really do like it, and though it starts with a box of processed shells and cheese, the added black beans and carrots make it healthier. I've been sneaking in a lot more veggies lately since Miss E has decided to be more picky about eating them.

1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 pkg (12 oz) shells and cheese dinner mix
2 c water
1-1/4 c salsa
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 carrot, shredded
1-2 tsp chili powder (to taste)
1/8 tsp salt
  • Brown meat. Drain. 
  • Add shells and water to skillet with meat. Bring to boil, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes until pasta is tender. Drain water.
  • Stir in salsa, beans, carrots, chili powder, salt and contents of cheese sauce packet. 
  • Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes.
posted at

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Zucchini bread

    I have posted so many things now that I forget what I have posted and what I haven't. I looked back through the posts, found that I haven't posted a recipe for zucchini bread.  How did this happen, since we have it fairly regularly. I usually make two loaves and freeze one, which thaws in the refrigerator in about a day.

    Anyhow, I made this a couple of weeks ago when my mother in law came to visit. She eats fairly healthily, so I didn't want to send her into a diabetic coma with a lot of cookies or sugar. This time I used homegrown (well, my father in law's home grown) yellow squash and zucchini, so it was maybe a little sweeter than normal but it's all I had. I thought it was fabulous.

    makes 2 loaves
    3 c shredded zucchini (or combo summer squash/zucchini)
    1-1/2 c sugar
    1/2 c canola oil
    4 eggs (or 3 eggs + 1 Tbl flax seed + 3 Tbl water)
    3 c flour (I used half whole wheat)
    4 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    2 tsp vanilla
    • Heat oven to 350*
    • Grease, bottoms only, of two loaf pans.
    • In large bowl, mix zucchini sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients.
    • Pour into pans. 
    • Bake 50-60 minutes. 
    • When cool, freeze one and enjoy the other. I like to eat it warm with a little butter on top.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Best Ever Pancakes

    I think I have mentioned one of my favorite cookbooks before...A PTO cookbook from an elementary school where my grandma used to work. I love this cookbook because it has recipes that real people make....and those real people must think the recipes are fantastic or they wouldn't have submitted them to be published in the PTO fundraiser cookbook. Sometimes, I look through cookbooks and they have a few things I would make, but I would never buy the cookbook because other recipes have crazy ingredients or seem really complicated...not that I don't like a challenge every once in a while.
    Anyway, as I flipped through my favorite, well one of my favorite, cookbook I saw "Best Ever Pancake" and I had to make them. We make pancakes every Friday morning to celebrate making to the end of the week, so I'm always on the lookout for a good recipe. These were great. They were nice and buttery, without being super rich.  We will definitely keep this recipe in our rotation.

    1-1/2 c flour (I used half whole wheat/half white)
    1-3/4 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    3 Tbl sugar
    1 c milk
    2 eggs, slightly beaten (or 1 egg + 1Tbl flax seed + 3 Tbl water)
    3 Tbl butter, melted
    1 tsp vanilla
    • Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large bowl.
    • Combine milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl.
    • Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. 
    • Scoop 1/4c batter onto hot griddle. Flip when edges begin to turn.

    Blueberry Muffins 2

    We went back to get more blueberries. The U-pick season had just ended, the day before-just my luck, so we got some from the cooler. For lack of creativity, I decided to make blueberry muffins again. Though I liked the muffins we made before, I decided to try something different. These were fabulous right out of the oven...and the next morning, too!
    I found it in my favorite old cookbook: Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

    As I type this, I smell the strawberry muffins baking. We like muffins, can't you tell?

    2 cups flour (I use half whole wheat/half white)
    2 Tbl sugar
    1 Tbl baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 egg
    1/2 c sugar
    3/4 c fresh/frozen blueberries
    1/2 tsp lemon extract
    1 c milk
    3 Tbl flax seed (or 1 Tbl oil)
    3 Tbl oil (canola)
    • Preheat oven to 400*. Grease or line muffin pans.
    • In large bowl, mix flour, 2 Tbl sugar, baking powder, and salt.
    • In small bowl, beat egg slightly, then stir in milk, flax seed, oil, 1/2 c sugar, blueberries, and lemon extract.
    • Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Ovoid overmixing to prevent toughness.
    • Spoon into muffin pan.
    • Bake 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Toothpick should come out clean and dry.
    • Cool on wire rack immediately

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010


         This meal takes a little time...well, about 2-1/2 hours actually. And it's a little work, but it's not hard work. It just takes time to make the "pancakes" to stuff everything in...but that is what sets it apart from other recipes. The time is well worth the wait though, and it's much more budget friendly than ordering the same thing at an Italian restaurant....and it tastes like you could order it at a restaurant, too.
         If you don't have 2-1/2 hours, hop in your car and drive to the nearest grocery store. Buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, a package of manicotti shells, and the remaining ingredients.
         This is one of those dishes, since it takes so long, that we only have maybe 2-3 times a year---and it seems like I like it more each time I make it. I usually make it when people come over because it makes a lot of food. Everyone always raves about the sauce, so this is the same sauce I use when I make spaghetti.
         It is possible to buy all the ingredients, except ricotta cheese from Aldi which saves a ton.
    Total cost: $9 for 8 servings
    Adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks: Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

    2 Tbl oil
    1 med. onion, diced
    1 clove garlic, minced
    30 oz tomato sauce
    12 oz tomato paste
    2 tsp brown sugar
    1 Tbl parsley, dried
    1 tsp oregano, dried
    1 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp pepper
    1 bay leaf
    1 lb ground turkey, cooked/drained
    1 c flour
    4 eggs
    1 Tbl oil
    1 tsp salt
    1 c water
    2 c riccota cheese
    2 Tbl Parmesan cheese
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    2 eggs
    8oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
    You could probably put spinach in filling, but I've never tried it.

         Prepare spaghetti sauce:
    • Heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until tender. 
    • Add remaining ingredients. Over high heat, heat to boiling.
    • Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. 
         Prepare pancakes: 
    • Blend flour, eggs, oil, salt, and water at low speed. At medium speed, beat 1 minute.
    • Lightly brush 7-inch skillet with oil. Heat to medium-high.
    • Pour about 2 Tbl pancake batter in pan. Tip pan to spread batter to coat bottom of pan.
    • Cook until top is starting to set, flip over and cook until set. 
    • Lift onto waxed paper. Repeat.
         Prepare filling and put it all together:
    • Mix ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper, eggs, and mozzarella until well blended. 
    • Preheat oven to 375*
    • Spoon 1/3 of the sauce evenly into a 10x15 roasting pan.
    • Spoon heaping tablespoons of cheese mixture down the center of each pancake.
    • Roll pancake edges over to create a stuffed rolls
    • Place seam side down in roasting pan.
    • Spoon remaining sauce over rolls. 
    • Bake 30 minutes or until sauce is hot and bubbly.
    posted at

      Tuesday, August 3, 2010

      Pulled Pork

      Pulled pork is hard to resist. In fact, every year we go to the State Fair to eat see all we can see, and have a conversation something like this...
           J: "What do you want to eat?"
           me: "I think I'll walk around until I find something that smells good."
           J: "I know how this will end"
      And it's true...I always end up getting a pulled pork sandwich, because it smells the best. Although, I have always found it a little disturbing that the pork tent is right outside the swine building.
           Sometimes, I make pulled pork at home with this super easy recipe. It's made in the crock pot, so it's great for those days that you feel like having something that took all day, but without the work of having to slave in the kitchen all day.

      pork roast
      1 c cola
      1 c BBQ sauce (We only use Sweet Baby Ray's)
      • Put cola and roast in the crock pot.
      • Cook on low about 8 hours. 
      • Drain well.
      • Shred up the meat and let it sit in the sauce while serving. 

      Monday, August 2, 2010

      Coconut Cream Pie

           As I mentioned in my last post, I went down to visit my dad for his birthday. My tradition is that I make him his favorite kind of pie: Coconut Cream Pie.Coconut Cream Pie is my favorite, too. I even found a local ice cream place that has Coconut Cream Pie ice cream....Yes!
           This little old lady he used to work with, used to "surprise" him with a pie each year and embarrass the time out of him, but when my dad got a new job, someone had to take over the pie-making. 
           My first few attempts were not so good. I tried using my Mommaw's recipe...which was so old it called for canned coconut. When I asked the bakery worker at the store, she informed me they hadn't sold canned coconut in 20 years! Other attempts included runny pies and meringues that never set. Finally, I found a recipe that worked for me and it tastes wonderful!

      3/4 c sugar
      1/3 c flour
      2 c milk
      3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
      2 Tbl butter
      1 tsp vanilla
      1 c flaked coconut
      9 inch pastry shell (baked and cooled)

      3 egg whites
      1/2 tsp vanilla
      1/4 tsp cream of tartar
      6 Tbl sugar
      1/3 c  flaked coconut

           for filling:
      • In saucepan, combined sugar, flour and salt. Gradually add milk, mixing well. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture thickens and boils. Cook 2 minutes longer.
      • Remove from heat. Add eggs. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
      • Remove from heat. Add butter, vanilla, and flaked coconut. Pour into cooled, baked 9 inch pastry shell. 
      • Top with meringue (see below) and coconut. 
      • Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool.
           for meringue
      • Beat egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar till soft peaks form.
      • Gradually add sugar, beating till stiff peaks form and all sugar is dissolved. 
      • Spread atop pie, sealing edge of pastry. Sprinkle with 1/3 c flaked coconut.

        Nutella No Bakes

             I went to visit my dad for his birthday last weekend. While I was there, I decided to stop by our family reunion. I was at my mom's house, so I didn't have a lot of options. I decided to make NoBake cookies since most people have the supplies on hand to pull that off quickly. I got started, and realized there wasn't enough peanut butter! What's a girl to do?
             As I frantically looked though the cabinets, I came across a jar of Nutella. Hmmm....peanut butter is similar in texture to Nutella...and they are both made from nuts....of course! My mom was skeptical, but I think she was won over in the end. These turned out great, so if you are ever in a pinch...or just want to make something awesome on purpose-substitute Nutella for peanut butter.

        1/2 c butter
        2 c sugar
        1/2 c milk
        3 Tbl cocoa
        1/2 c Nutella
        3 c oats
        1 Tbl vanilla
        opt. 1/2 c nuts/and or coconut (I used coconut)
        • Bring sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa to a boil. 
        • Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly stir in oats.
        • Add Nutella, vanilla, and coconut (or nuts). Mix well.
        • Drop onto wax paper to harden.

        Special Note

        For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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