About Me

Monday, June 30, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 7 Pam's Tuna Dip

My step-mom, Pam, made this (with assistance from her sous chef, my dad) for us last year. Since then, if I need something delicious or something to remind me of Florida, this fits the bill. It is nice and fresh tasting and can be spicy if you dip down into the wasabi, or be mild if you take it just from the top.

1/2 lb raw ahi tuna (I buy it frozen, because, Missouri, ya know...), diced
1 shallot, small diced
1 roma tomato, small diced
2 T capers, rough chopped
2 T fresh parsley (I had basil on hand, so that's what I used in the picture)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 avocado, small dice
1/2 cup mayonnaise

3-4T wasabi

Line the platter with the wasabi. Mix all the other ingredients except the fresh parsley. Place on top of the wasabi and top with the parsley. Serve with ridged potato chips like Ruffles.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 6 IHOP Griddle Cakes

This is a copycat recipe that I have used for at least eight or nine years and it is always a big hit! I don't even know if IHOP still has Griddle Cakes. I think this is where I got it Top Secret Recipes but it was a long time ago, so who knows?
All that was left on Lucille's plate :-)

1 1/2 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
1/3 cup Cream of Wheat
1/3 cup sugar
1t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon (not in the original recipe, but I add cinnamon to most everything)
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I use soymilk with a splash of apple cider vinegar and let it sit until is starts to curdle)
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil today, but you can use whatever you have)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Mix the egg, oil, and buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients. Spray or brush a griddle or pan with oil, heat to medium. I have made these all sizes, just do what you like. I think that very large pancakes feel more like you are eating at a restaurant, but I also like bite-size ones for snacking.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 5 Rice and Beans

This is not a strict recipe. It's a story about my dinner tonight.

Rice and beans is among the most versatile dishes and very hard to mess up, really! When I think of rice and beans I first think of a spicy, red pepper heavy dish, then, secondly, I think curry, but what I have figured out is that seriously, ANY seasoning works for this! Today we have a very simple version. It was destined for a potluck so I wanted to make it palatable to lots of people, including kids.

I pulled one sandwich bag of the par cooked beans described on Day 2 from the freezer and finished cooking them with garlic, Jane's Krazy Salt, chicken bouillon, and pepper. Then I cooked 1 1/2 cups of rice with olive oil, diced onions (previously prepped in the fridge),salt and pepper and about a cup of diced carrots (also previously prepped in the freezer). When they were both cooked, I added two small tomatoes (diced) and some more olive oil and Jane's Krazy (I love that stuff!). It is really perfect for a summer meal where strong flavors seem like too much. I planned on adding some basil from the yard at the very end, but forgot and just ate it as is (maybe some basil will make it to the leftovers). This made easily five large servings or at least ten as a side dish. 

How do you cook this? I use and love my electric pressure cooker. I understand not everyone has one so you can use a crock pot and let it cook all day; a rice cooker; pot on the stove; covered casserole dish in the oven; really whatever is easy for you.

The recipe is this: take some beans, take some rice, add some vegetables, add the first seasonings you see, dump it all together, enjoy.

Any requests for this series of recipes? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recipe of the day-ish 4 - Granola

The measurements on this are pretty flexible and you can add as many or few additions as you like.

1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar (honey, white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, agave or combination of whatever you like)
5-7 cups oats
1-2 t cinnamon
pinch salt
wheat germ, flax, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate, whatever!

Boil the sugars and oil until they are foamy and completely combined, about 3 minutes. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove.

Add the oats, cinnamon, and salt, stir. If you are using flax or wheat germ, add it now. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten out a bit. Bake at about 350* for 8-10 or so minutes, until the edges just barely start to turn brown. Turn the oven off and leave the granola in the oven overnight or at least 4 hours. Add any other additions and put in storage container with lid. It should break into some small and some larger chunks. If there are no chunks it will still taste delicious, but that probably just means you needed to cook the sugars a little longer.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 3

What is the easiest dessert you make? Is it totally from scratch, but includes only two ingredients? I didn't think so! Check this out:


8 oz chocolate (you choose, anything from cheap chips to decadent bars)
1/4 cup coconut milk solids*

Melt the chocolate on 50% power in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until it is smooth, add the coconut milk, stir. Cool in fridge about 30 minutes. Scoop out and roll in balls, whatever size floats your boat. Chill to set up, then you can even leave them at room temperature without them getting gooey. They might melt a smidge in your hand, you can roll them in some cocoa with or without powdered sugar added to keep them a little neater.

But, Kolbi, what if I want to make it more complicated? Well, fine.

You can add whatever flavor you like, a few drops of orange extract is our favorite, then we add some orange zest to the cocoa and powdered sugar and roll them in that.

If you roll them in your hand to slightly melt the outside you can then roll them in coconut flakes (especially good if you also added some almond or coconut extract to the balls).

A little peppermint extract and then rolled in crushed candy canes is delightful.

Ooh, and a sprinkle of flaked Kosher salt is super, too.

They freeze beautifully, also, we usually make a big batch and then can pull out a handful when company comes or we go visit someone.

* Put a can of coconut milk (not low fat) in the fridge for a couple of hours or longer without shaking. Open it from the bottom and let all the liquid drain out. What is left will be a thick, white, somewhat gooey mess. That is the stuff you want. What if your husband brings home cream of coconut even though you were totally specific and he never listens?? It's actually fine, that stuff will separate, too, it will just be sweeter and a bit softer.
YES, usually found in the Asian section of the store

There you have it. Totally easy, allergen free, and kind of impressive dessert. Have fun with it!
(original recipe from: http://www.godairyfree.org/news/nutrition-headlines/tasting-the-dream-decadent-dairy-free-chocolate-mint-truffles)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 2

Beans. Pretty boring, huh?

But, I contend that, no they're not! They are filling, nutritious, and play well with lots of flavors! Canned beans are fine, but dried beans are cheaper and take up less pantry space. I get that they can be intimidating, I keep canned on hand for super quick meals, par-cooked and fully cooked in the freezer, and dry in the pantry.

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. I recommend making 1- 2 lb at a time, even if you won't use that many right away.

Put the beans and fresh water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too dry, add more water.) 

At this point, you can use them just like you would canned beans, they are fully cooked. You can also freeze them flat in sandwich bags. 

One sandwich bag is about one family sized serving for most dishes. 

A lot of my bean recipes are long-cooking recipes like ham and beans, red beans and rice, and minestrone so I usually keep some par-cooked beans in the freezer for these applications. I follow the above directions, but stop the cooking after about an hour. This way I can let them really pick up a lot of flavor and help thicken whatever I am making.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish

I am starting a new series of quick recipes and/or tips. The goal is roughly one per day for about a month, we'll see how it goes. (update:  I managed 10 posts in a month, which seems about right for my "hitting my goals" percentage LOL) Today's is super duper easy, but can be the basis for many, many other meals.

Crock Pot Chicken

Okay, in my book, I give a very detailed set of instructions to make a fantastic baked chicken. I wholeheartedly stand behind that recipe, but also realize that sometimes you are tired, or lazy, or rushed and just need a quick option. Here is that option:

chicken (whole or pieces, with or without bones and skin, but preferably with)
2 carrots, cut in half or the tops and bottoms that you normally throw away or a handful of baby carrots  (optional)
1/2 onion, cut in half or 1t onion powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped or 1t garlic powder (optional)
2 stalks celery, cut in half or the bottom and inside part that you normally throw away or 1/2 t celery seed  (optional)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
1t poultry seasoning (optional)
2t seasoned salt (I like Jane's Krazy Salt or Colton's) (optional)
splash apple cider vinegar (optional)
hot water to cover by about one inch

Turn to low before bed or before leaving for work (8ish hours is ideal). Wake up or come home to the best smelling house ever. Turn off the crock pot and separate the chicken from the liquid. How much chicken depends on how big your crock is, a good rule of thumb is don't fill it more than 2/3 full.

Don't even *think* about throwing away the liquid! Strain the big parts out and put into containers to use for pasta or rice later. Just throw it in the fridge or freezer. If you have time, you can put it on the stove to reduce by about half to intensify the flavor, but I think it's great as is.

The chicken should just fall off the bones and the skin will just slide off. Put the pieces of chicken in containers or bags (I like to give it a quick dice and divide into about 1 lb portions and store in sandwich bags and freeze them flat) or use it right away.

You may notice that the only parts totally necessary are chicken and water. Will it be the tastiest chicken if you don't put anything else in? Nope? Will it still be cooked chicken? Yup. Don't stress, just throw in what you've got.

A word about buying chicken. Would you pay the same amount for low quality chicken flavored water as you would for chicken meat? No, right? But when you buy the cheap chicken it often has as much as 20% retained or added water and/or flavorings. You are paying by the pound, don't pay for water! I'm not saying you have to buy the most expensive chicken out there, just buy the one without a bunch of water added, it is a better deal, it will taste better and you know what's in it!