Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meatfree Monday: Black Beans and Rice

     I'm not sure how I missed planning a meat free dish last week. I was so proud of myself for getting the menu done and following through with all my plans. So, for this week I'm revisiting a favorite recipe that didn't get much love the first time around. Black beans and rice is a meal we eat about once a month in our house. It's so good and filling...and inexpensive! Serve it up with some garlic bread and you have yourself a meal. Yum. Now, I wish I had planned to make this next week.

from March 2011
Since I've started making red beans and rice in the crock pot, I have really come to enjoy this meat free, very filling type of food. Recently, I ate at a place called Yats, a local cajun/creole place, and I was inspired to try out some new dishes. So this week, we tried creole black beans and rice. I was pretty impressed with the flavor, and will definitely make it again. I might even amp up some of the spices to make it a little more intense. I had to tone it down a bit this time for my daughter. She loves beans and rice. Hey Mom, no picky eaters allowed at this house! (and I'm still working on my husband)

adapted from Crock Pot Cookbook
3 (15oz) cans black beans, drained
1-1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2tsp dried thyme
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 tsp bay leaves
8oz tomato sauce
1 cup water
  • Combine ingredients in the slow-cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Serve over cooked rice (and garlic bread if desired).

This weeks featured recipes

Baked Pasta with Roasted Vegetables by My Columbian Recipes

Tomato Corn Pie by The Tasty Cheapskate

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

     If you have been following for a while, you know we really love our pancakes and waffles. We eat them every Friday morning. Lately, since my husband got a new job, I make huge batches and freeze the extras so that he can let me sleep in eat them before he goes to work. For an on-the-go breakfast, Heat a frozen pancake in the microwave and top with peanut butter. Fold up like a taco, and get on your way.
     Usually, I just make plain pancakes, but I went all out last week and added mini-chocolate chips. I hate when you bite into a chocolate chip pancake and all you taste is chocolate. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate! I just don't want to eat something that sweet and rich for breakfast. Mini chocolate chips were the perfect compromise. You still taste the chocolate, but it's note overpowering the whole pancake.
     In addition to the chocolate chips, this particular recipe includes oatmeal. This makes me feel less guilty about serving pancakes to my two year old every Friday! They are super filling and mostly healthy.
     If you want to freeze them....Cool completely and layer wax paper between each pancake in a resealable freezer bag.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  • In a different bowl, mix the milk, oatmeal, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the eggs and then add the flour mixture a little at a time. Stir in the chocolate chips. Stir until just combined. 
  • Coat a griddle (or skillet) with spray. pour about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. 
  • When the edges are cooked and little bubbles form in the middle, flip the pancake over. Cook until golden. 
  • Serve with syrup or peanut butter. 

Check out these other pancake recipes on my blog:
Cinnamon Chip Pancakes
Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes
Best Ever Pancakes
OOPs Pancakes
Cornmeal Pancakes
Blueberry Pancakes

Friday, July 29, 2011

Banana Dogs

     Want another great idea for your leftover hot dog buns? This is it. The inspiration comes from Elvis's favorite sandwich: peanut butter and banana. Why not put it on a hot dog bun? A banana is similar in shape to a hot dog, right? It's great for on the go breakfasts, and you can use up any buns you have leftover from your summer cookouts.

(Measurements are approximate)
1 Tbl peanut butter
1 whole wheat hot dog bun
1 banana
1 tsp honey
1 Tbl ground flaxseed
  • Spread the peanut butter (or IDEA! I need to make that!) on a split hot dog bun. 
  • Put the peeled banana in the bun and squeeze on some honey. 
  • Sprinkle with flaxseed and cinnamon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Burgers and Fries

     I mentioned in my last post that I'm catching up on posting. The heat has drained all my energy, and I have a file of "to-post" pictures.  We are on day 16 of 90* or higher temperatures....most of those days the heat index has been over 100! I'm not complaining though; I remember the winter and don't want that anytime soon (or ever!).
     This burger was so good! My husband was surprised that it was almost as good as our favorite burger joint here in town. I think the most surprising part of this being so good is that it has oatmeal and spinach mixed in! Anything to get vegetables in tummies at this house! Seriously, don't be turned off by that. It is so good, and you won't regret trying it.
     The second recipe is for oven fries that we served with our burgers. I'm still trying to get grilled fries to work, but that hasn't happened yet. I'll let you know when I do.

from David Zinczenko
1 egg
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped spinach
2 Tbl shredded mexican-blend cheese
salt and pepper
  • Whisk the egg. Add everything else and mix. 
  • Form into 4 patties
  • Place on grill over medium-high heat, and cook 4-6 minutes per side. 
  • Top with your favorite burger toppings.
4 russet poatoes, cut into 12 wedges each
1 egg
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper
  • Preheat oven to 450*. Coat a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Dip cut potatoes in the egg and place in a bowl. 
  • Mix remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the potatoes. Toss to coat. 
  • Place potatoes in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn potatoes over and bake for 15 more minutes or until crisp.

Basil Burgers with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

     It's burger week here at Penny Pinching Provisions...well, at least it might seem that way. I have a backup of recipes to post, so I thought since I have a couple of burgers I would post them all this week. Everyone loves burgers for their summer cookouts, right?
     This summer, I have really gotten into using lean meats. Not just ground turkey, but lean ground turkey...and lean ground beef too. Not only is it healthier, but it tastes better too! You wouldn't believe the difference in taste and the amount of fat the drips off these things.
     This basil burger was surprisingly good. I wasn't sure how I would feel about basil and beef together. I think one time I tried a meatloaf with Italian seasoning and it was so gross. It could have been a bad recipe...or it could be something I just don't like.  This changed my mind though. We had fresh basil from our garden which made it even better! Next time, I might actually follow the directions and put the cheese in the patties before grilling them! They were good when added after, but I didn't read closely enough to see that it should have already been done. OOPs! Either way, you should definitely include these on your next cookout menu.
     I've always wanted to try homemade hamburger buns, but I haven't got around to it yet. These are store bought, but you can obviously use whatever you like. Sometimes, we just use toast....We are penny-pinchers after all.

From Healthy Cooking Magazine- July 2011
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup boiling water
1 cup mayo (I like the Olive oil mayo)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp Italian seasonings
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 lbs lean ground beef (90% lean)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
Additional fresh basil, opt.
  • Combine tomatoes and water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes and drain. In a food processor, combine mayo and tomatoes. Chill until serving.
  • Combine worcestershire, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic, pepper, and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 12 thin patties. Place 2 Tbl cheese on six patties, and top with remaining patties. Press edges firmly to seal.
  • Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and coat grill rack. Grill burgers, covered over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear. 
  • Serve on buns with mayonnaise mixture and additional basil leaves if desired.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday July 24-July 29

     I'm so terrible. I didn't even make a menu last week. I had to take a CE class, and it was so crazy. I learned my lesson from the first class I took a few weeks ago. I'm done with classes for about five years now, so theoretically I should be on top of things. haha.

canadian bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich
toast or bagels
yogurt or smoothies, fruit

carrots & Pb
nuts & berries

Dinners/leftover lunches:
Sloppy Joes with Lentils
Philly Cheesesteaks (I'm super excited about these!)
Salad with bacon, strawberries, and mandarins
Meatloaf (new recipe)
Bourbon pork chops
Taco Salad

OrgJunkie has a weekly link up with hundreds of menu plans!

Meatfree Monday: Sloppy Joes with Lentils

     Lentils has been a scary word in our house. The first time we had them, we tried this recipe that I assume was supposed to be a variation of baked beans. It was terrible. I'm not sure if I didn't do it right, or if it was a bad recipe. Either way, it gave lentils a bad name here. I had half a bag sitting around for a while, then I started mixing it into things like chili and other dishes with a lot of texture.
     Last week, I saw a recipe for Tacos made with lentils and I started wondering if lentils could replace meat in other recipes as well. I thought I would give it a try with Sloppy Joes. It turned out great! These sloppy joes really did taste like the "real thing." The texture was slightly more bumpy, but overall I would make these again. Lentils are so good for you, so it's worth the texture tradeoff.

1cup lentils
1 Tbl vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire
1-1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c chopped onion
1/3 c chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped banana pepper or pepperoncini
8 oz tomato sauce
1 (12oz) bottle  Chili Sauce
1/4 tsp chili powder
Hot dog buns (or other buns/bread)

  • Boil 1 cup lentils in about 3 cups of water until soft. I boiled them for about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine vinegar, worcestershire, and honey.
  • Drain lentils if needed. Add onion, bell pepper, pepperoncini, tomato sauce, chili sauce, red pepper, chili powder, and vinegar mixture. Stir to blend.
  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer 20 minutes or until thickened. 
  • Serve on toasted buns.
This week's featured recipes...
Don't forget to grab my "I was featured" button if you are one of the following:

Taco Lentils by Creatively Domestic

Black Bean Burgers at Hezzi-D's

Penne with Creamy Zucchini and Basil Sauce at Eats Well with Others

Monday, July 18, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Vanilla Buttermilk Cake w/ Buttercream and Coconut Pecan

     I'm excited to take part in the Secret Recipe Club again this month.  This month I got my assignment, PheMOMenon,  and went right to work on selecting a recipe. There were so many great choices! I couldn't decide, so I procrastinated like I do every time I don't want to make a decision. I waited until last Thursday when I realized I needed to make my sister a birthday cake. Then I went on a hunt for a non-chocolate cake. What kind of person doesn't like chocolate cake? My sister, that's who.
     In the end, I decided on this Vanilla Buttermilk Cake. Recently, I took a basic cake decorating class, and part of the class included making homemade buttercream icing. I thought this would be a good substitute for the chocolate frosting on PheMOMenon's site....and I knew how to work with the buttercream as that is what we had to use in the class.
     The cake is fabulous! I mean, I should say it's one of the best cakes I've ever had! It smelled just like those birthday cake scented candles as it was baking...and tasted even better when it was done. The recipe instructs that you use three 8-inch round cake pans. Unfortunately, one of my cake pans stuck to the cake (or the other way around) and when I tried to turn it over to cool, it crumbled apart...and this is how I knew, right away, that this was one of the best cakes. Ever. We couldn't stop snacking on the crumbly mess.  Luckily, we had enough self control not to eat the other two layers that did not stick to the pans, and I eventually got to the decorating!
     My sister doesn't like chocolate cake, but she does like the frosting (Coconut Pecan) that is generally on a German Chocolate cake. My mom helped me think up the idea to use that frosting in the Vanilla buttermilk cake. Fabulous idea, Mom! I also used some of the buttercream between layers. Not only was this cake delicious, but it looked pretty too. Everyone was impressed, and my sister had a great birthday (in case you were interested!).

For the cake:
4 whole large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup of buttermilk (I used 1cup milk + 1Tbl vinegar + 1/4 cup plain yogurt)
3 cups of cake flour (I used 2-1/4 cups flour + 6Tbl cornstarch)
2 cups of sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces of butter at room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease the paper.
  • Place the eggs and the yolks in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of buttermilk and whisk all the ingredients well. Set Aside.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a mixer; whisk to blend. Add the remaining buttermilk and butter to the dry ingredients and with the mixer on low speed, blend together. Raise the mixer to medium speed and beat until light fluffy; 2minutes.
  • Add the egg mixture in three additions, scrapping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Divide the batter among all the pans.
  • Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack covered with wax paper, and remove the paper from the bottoms. Cool completely.
for the frosting: Make half of this if you are just frosting and not decorating with flowers

2 cup vegetable shortening (I know it's buttercream icing, but butter will melt when it's this hot outside!)
2 tsp clear Butter flavoring
16 tsp water
2 lb powdered sugar
2 Tbl powdered egg whites or meringue powder
pinch of salt
1 container of Coconut Pecan frosting
  • Cream shortening, flavoring, and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend about a minute or until smooth. Do not overmix to prevent air bubbles. 
  • Take out about 2-1/2 cups of the frosting and add 2-1/2 tsp of water to make it a bit thinner. This medium consistency frosting will be used for the flowers.
  • Add 5tsp of water to the remaining icing. Also add icing color as desired. I used blue. This thin consistency icing will be used to ice the cake.
  • Once your cake has cooled completely, cut each cake in half so you will have six layers (I only had 4 since the one crumbled!)
  • Place one layer on your cake plate. Top with the Coconut Pecan frosting (store bought).Place the second layer of cake on top of the Coconut Pecan frosting. Top with thin consistency colored frosting. Repeat until you have stacked all your layers alternating filling between coconut pecan and buttercream. To prevent filling from seeping out, pipe (tip 12) medium consistency (white) icing around the outside ledge of each layer before adding the filling.
  • Frost the cake with the colored buttercream icing.
  • I used coconut pecan frosting to make the tree and flower centers (tip 3) and medium consistency white icing to make the flowers (2D tip)


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