Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow storm changes meal schedules

Well here in the Northeast we are just recovering from a major blizzard. While I love snow and even blizzards, I know this is a hardship for many. I also decided that this was a good time to write about flexibility in my menu.

While I do keep a menu all the time, and use it every day, I know that there will be days when I just can't make the item on the list. There are many genuine reasons for changing your plans and some are just plain "cause I just don't feel like that today".

This week I changed a few of my days plans because of the storm. I normally bring home pizza on Monday nights after work. The local pizza place has a special on Mondays of a large plain pizza for $6.95 and I can't even start my oven for that, so it has become a standard. Well, my work place was closed and I never got out Monday so no pizza. In its place, we had giant ham sandwiches from the leftover ham on Sunday. I didn't want to make ham 3 days in a row, so we had franks and beans on Tuesday night. I always have franks and beans in the pantry.

Anyhow, all that to tell you that things got pushed around and today is our Short Rib Chili. It is in the slow cooker right now and smells so good!!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Diane's Menu 12/26/2010 - 1/3/2011

Diane's Menu 12/26/2010 - 1/3/2011

Sun 12/26 - Ham, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Salad
Mon 12/27 - Pizza
Tue 12/28 - Mac and Cheese with Ham and Spinach in Rice Cooker
Wed 12/29 - Short Rib Chili in Slow Cooker
Thu 12/30 - Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya in Rice Cooker
Fri 12/31 - NEW YEARS EVE PARTY!!!
Sat 1/01 - Ham Strata
Sun 1/02 - Pasta in Marinara Sauce, Salad
Mon 1/03 - Pizza


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Diane's Cuban Style Pork Stew (in the Rice Cooker!!!)

Diane's Cuban Style Pork Stew (in the Rice Cooker!!!)

You can make really great food quickly with a little help from the super market for this warm and satisfying winter meal.

1 large box of Goya Yellow Spanish style rice
1 pound pork loin, cut into large chunks
1 14 ounce can black beans
1 14 ounce can corn niblets or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small can chopped chilis
1 onion diced
3 1/2 cups of water

Put everything in the rice cooker including all the liquids from the canned veggies. Set on rice mix or white rice if your machine doesn't have a "mix" setting.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

OMG - These Short Ribs are awesome!!!

I love good beef. I love a steak and prime rib and roast beef. I have to have it rare, or black and blue. If it's even a smidge past medium rare, I won't eat it. For this reason, I obviously don't eat beef stew. It is well done and I can't stomach that.

For that reason, it shocked me that I even wanted to try short ribs. I have been watching chefs make them for years. They always looked awesome, but knowing that it was well done beef, made me shake my head and say not for me.

Well, we are on a very tight budget right now. The company that delivers my groceries had short ribs on sale for a price that made me sit back and say "wow, I wish I liked them." I looked up some recipes and in one of them there was a comment about how this is the only beef that the reader would eat well done. So, I decided to try it.

I found a recipe that suited our tastes and tried it today. I AM HOOKED!! I am going to try them in many different styles now. See the recipe posted with the menu for this week.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pistachio Rice

Here is the recipe for the Pistachio Rice I made for dinner today. I doubled the recipe and made it in my rice cooker. I used Basmati Brown Rice.

Rice Pilaf with Pistachios and Cranberries

* Serves 2


* 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1 1/2 tbsp butter
* 1/3 cup long-grain rice
* 2/3 cup chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, toasted lightly, cooled, and chopped (or use slivered almonds)
* 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (or golden raisins)
* 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
* salt & pepper to taste

How to make it

* In a saucepan cook the onion with the turmeric and the cardamom in 1 tablespoon of the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened.
* Add the rice and cook it, stirring, until it is coated with the butter.
* Add the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, covered, and simmer the mixture for apx 17-20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
* Stir in the pistachios, cranberries, green onion, remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Diane's Menu 12/13/2010 - 12/25/2010

Diane's Menu 12/13/2010 - 12/25/2010

12/13 Mon - Pizza
12/14 Tue - Grilled Mahi Mahi with Indian spices and Pistachio Rice
12/15 Wed - Ravioli Lasagna, Sautéed Spinach
12/16 Thu - Braised Short Ribs with Potatoes and Carrots **
12/17 Fri - Vanilla and Black Pepper Pork Loin, Indian Style Mashed Potatoes, String Beans **
12/18 Sat - Grilled Rib Eye Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Salad
12/19 Sun - Rice Cooker Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya
12/20 Mon - Pizza
12/21 Tue - Shoyu Chicken from Aida, Broccoli **
12/22 Wed - BBQ Pork Chops, Roast Potatoes, Salad
12/23 Thu - Franks and Beans
12/24 Fri - AntiPasti Night. (Family Tradition of eating Italian Deli Delicacies Christmas Eve)
12/25 Sat - Merry Christmas!!!! Dinner at my sister's house.

** Recipes below


Braised Short Ribs

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell


* 6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
* Kosher salt
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 cloves garlic, smashed
* 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
* 2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
* 2 cups water
* 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
* 2 bay leaves


Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.


Shoyu Chicken
Recipe courtesy Aida Mollenkamp


* 5 1/2 to 6 pounds chicken thighs
* 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 3/4 cup mirin
* 8 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
* 4-inch piece ginger, sliced 1/2-inch thick and smashed
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 5 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 5 tablespoons water
* Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish


Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and green onions in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes more.

Remove chicken to a serving platter. Remove garlic and ginger and discard. Bring sauce to a boil, skim off excess fat, and cook until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add chicken, turn to coat, and serve chicken with sauce and sliced green onions.


Vanilla and Black Pepper Pork Loin
Aarti Sequeira


* 9 cups water
* 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
* 2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
* 5 whole cloves
* 1/4 cup black peppercorns
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup kosher salt
* 1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) boneless pork loin
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 1/4 cup butter, divided
* 3 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
* 1 celeriac (celery root), skin and roots sliced off, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
* Kosher salt
* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 2 cups apple cider, divided
* 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the brine: In a large saucepan, combine the water, vanilla beans and seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the sugar and salt; stir to dissolve. Turn off the heat, and then cool to room temperature (this can take an hour or so; put it in the fridge to hasten the process. Alternatively, you can boil only 4 cups of water and then add 5 cups of ice cubes).

When cool, pour the brining solution into a container large enough for the pork and the solution, such as a disposable aluminum roasting pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pull the pork out of the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Warm the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the pork to the pan and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the apples and celeriac. Season with salt and saute until golden brown. Deglaze with vinegar and 1 cup cider, scraping up any brown bits. Stir in the brown sugar.

Nestle the pork loin in the apples and celeriac and pour enough cider into the pan to keep things from burning on the bottom of the pan, about 1 cup. Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the loin reads 145 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before carving (pork will continue to cook as it rests).

Meanwhile, return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Finish the sauce by adding in more cider if the pan is too dry. Stir in the remaining butter and the vanilla and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and readjust, if necessary.

Slice the pork into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange on the platter with the apples and celeriac. Drizzle the sauce over the meat.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You can rescue a bread machine mistake

I am in the process of waiting for my rolls to rise for the second time. They look plump and will be ready to bake in about 10 minutes or so.

An hour ago though, I thought I had wasted my time, and ingredients trying to make a loaf of bread in my machine. I had checked the dough and touched it at the appropriate time. It was wonderfully smooth and tacky. I could smell the yeast working away as it rose and was really looking forward to a buttery loaf of bread to go with the apple butter I made this morning.

For some reason when I heard the punch down before the second rise, I decided I wanted to make rolls instead. So, I opened the machine and proceeded to shut it off and remove the dough. This would have been the end of the dough cycle had I decided on rolls from the beginning. When I looked in I saw a smooth ball of dough on one end and a pile of unmixed flour on the other. OH NO!! I thought I had wasted all these ingredients. It was a small recipe and as I know from previous times, the Zo* sometimes has an issues with a dough that doesn't fill the pan completely.

I pulled out the dough and quite a bit of the flour. I added some warm water and melted butter (there was already melted butter in the recipe) and kneaded it all in. I formed 4 long grinder rolls and placed on a pan with a towel covering to rise, hoping for the best. Sure enough, they are almost doubled in size and ready to bake.

OK, so I am sorry for such a long post that doesn't have a recipe, but I wanted to give newbies hope. You can repair a bread dough and bread dough on a whole is VERY forgiving. Don't give up, especially if you know your yeast is working.

* a shortened and somewhat affectionate nickname for the Zojirushi Bread Machine.


Smells that make me smile

When I was in middle school my mother went back to work outside the home. My younger sister was in school a full day and we were never home without her. One day after school the selfish child in me complained that because she was working I felt neglected. Of course I was not neglected, but even at 11 years old, I knew how to push my mother's guilty buttons. She asked why? What was I missing? And I told her that when I came home from school she used to be wearing a house-dress and the kitchen always smelled like something wonderful cooking. Now she was dressed like a business woman and because she got home only minutes before I did, there were no smells coming from the kitchen yet.

Well, it took only one day for that to change. The next day I came home and found her out of her business clothes and in a house-dress and the kitchen smelled like cookies. Don't ask me how she managed to do that so quickly, but she always had a way with magic. Anyhow, I managed to continue complaining. I didn't want the house to smell like cookies, I wanted onions and garlic sauteing wafting through the air. From then on, that's what I got.

So, why do I tell this long winded anecdote? Well, this morning I am making bacon. And, I am remembering that there is nothing better than the smell of bacon in the air, except for the smell of onions and garlic sauteing. Sure I eat sweets, though not as often as my weight would have you think. But, I far prefer the smell and taste of savory foods. Give me the smell of carbonized beef coming from the exhaust fans of a local steak place or even fast food place over the smell of any bakery.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eat at Joe's

For the past 25 years, I have been thankful and at the same time curious why this place was so accessible, quaint and small. Located at a curve on Route 20 right before you leave the wonderful village of downtown Lee Massachusetts is a diner right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. No, I am not using a descriptive term, I am stating a fact. It was actually used in the Norman Rockwell painting called the "Runaway".

Joe's Diner is like stepping back into the early days of service and value. The food is great home cooked and fresh. There is enough variety to please the most picky of eaters and the prices can't be beat. Yesterday I had an eggplant parmigiana grinder with fries and hubby had a pulled pork grinder with fries. I also couldn't resist the homemade grape nut pudding. The grinders were over loaded with freshly made food and the fries were crispy and delicious. Our bill including the tip came to under $20.00.

Joe's is located off exit 2 of the turnpike, about 1/2 mile west on Route 20. You have to pass three fast food places on route, but PASS THEM BY and have real food, that is healthy, satisfying and freshly made. Enjoy the photos, of celebrities that have visited, on the wall and a trip into history of good food gone by.

We won't miss it!! Oh, don't all come at once, cause we like the fact that it is small and homey and rarely crowded.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Diane's Menu 11/20 - 11/28/2011

Diane's Menu 11/20 - 11/28/2011

Sat 11/20 - Braised Paprika Chicken **, Spinach
Sun 11/21 - Stuffed Pork Chops, Home Fries, Carrots
Mon 11/22 - Pizza
Tue 11/23 - Chicken and Broccoli Roll-ups
Wed 11/24 - Ham, Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes
Thu 11/25 - GUESS!
Fri 11/26 - Pasta and Hot Sausage Marinara
Sat 11/27 - Shrimp and Spinach Risotto
Sun 11/28 - Chicken and Chickpea Curry


Braised Paprika Chicken
Aida Mollenkamp

Recipe courtesy Aida Mollenkamp
Total Time:1 hr 5 min

* Prep: 10 min
* Cook: 55 min
* Yield: 4 servings


* 2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 to 8)
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

* 2 medium yellow onions, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 medium russet potato, small dice
* 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Combine kosher salt, paprika, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Pat chicken dry and rub the mixture all over. Place a 3-to 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat and add oil. When it smokes, add chicken, skin side down, and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on second side.

Transfer chicken to a plate and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings. Return to stove on medium heat, add onions, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until golden and softened, about 3 minutes.

Add potatoes and broth and scrape the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Add chicken, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover.

Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Add chicken, turn to moisten in sauce, and serve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Diane's Menu 11/13 - 11/19/2010

Diane's Menu 11/13 - 11/19/2010

Saturday 11/13 Curried Chicken in Slow Cooker over Rice
Sunday 11/14 Turkey, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Broccoli
Monday 11/15 Pizza
Tuesday 11/16 BBQ Turkey Quesidillas
Wednesday 11/17 Roast Pork with Chutney Glaze, Sweet Potatoes, Corn
Thursday 11/18 Turkey Pot Pie
Friday 11/19 Pasta and Peas in garlic sauce


Friday, November 5, 2010

Diane's Menu November 4-November 12

Diane's Menu 11/5/2010 - 11/12/2010

Thursday 11/4 - Chicken Pot Pie
Friday 11/5 - Grilled Garlic Steak Caesar Salad
Saturday 11/6 - Pasta Amatriciana
Sunday 11/7 - Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach
Monday 11/8 - Pizza
Tuesday 11/9 - Burgers, Cole Slaw
Wednesday 11/10 - Hot Sausage, Rice, Broccoli and Cheese Pie
Thursday 11/11 - Out with friends
Friday 11/12 - Rib eye Steak, Baked Potato, Salad


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Potatoes and Wasted Food

How often have you gone out for a burger and after the big sandwich you can't finish those fries on the side?? It happens to me all the time. Or, you just don't want to eat that much more.

Don't send the fries back to the kitchen to be tossed out. Take them home in a "doggy bag". "What???" you say. "Leftover cold fried potatoes are disgusting. They get soggy and are just not good tasting." Well, here is my take on that.

I use leftover potatoes from fast food or a restaurant to make many breakfast dishes. My favorite is potatoes and eggs.

Last week I took about 1/2 a serving of fried potatoes home from a restaurant. In the morning, I preheated the broiler and I sautéed a few leeks (you could use onions) and added the potatoes after I chopped them up. When they were hot through and a bit crispy again, I poured 3 scrambled eggs over them and stirred to make sure the eggs got through the entire pan. After the eggs looked dried on the bottom, I transferred the pan to the broiler and cooked until the eggs were puffed and no longer runny.

Remove from the broiler with a good mitt, careful not to burn yourself. Slice in wedges and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. YUMMY!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blues and BBQ

Tonight is blues and BBQ at Theodore's in Springfield MA

Theodore's is much more than that though. They have big screen TV's to watch your favorite sports and Buzztime trivia too. The beer menu is vast and full of variety.

Try it, you'll like it.


Memories of a dark day

One bright clear September morning, I was working from home. Well, it wasn't my home exactly. I was at the Pocono home of the man who would become my husband a few months later. He was off to work and I was lounging with my dog and a cup of coffee, waiting to take a conference call for work.

I remember making myself comfortable and turning on the speaker phone. I remember dialing into the bridge. I don't remember what the call was for however, because at this point the world changed. Someone on the bridge said "I just heard on the news, that a stray plane flew into one of the World Trade Center towers." Within minutes, the call ended as we all flew to our news sources to learn of the disaster that had befallen us.

I had no TV access at all. I did have radio though, and that is how I spent the rest of my day. I tried news sources on the internet, but I couldn't get through to any of them. It was true, the USA had been attacked by faceless, nameless enemies.

Nine years later, I wake up on 9/11 and still feel a small amount of the terror I felt that day. My heart still aches for those who lost loved ones in those towers. My mind can't fathom the courage and heroics of the fire and police responders who put their lives in jeopardy to save strangers. They do it all the time, and it is amazing each and every time.

This is a day of reflection and somber thoughts. It is also a day to celebrate freedom and family. Of course the way I celebrate always comes back to food of some sort and I will be posting more about food shortly. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this 9th anniversary of a dark day in my life.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Find favorite foods in a new location - PIZZA

We are in the process of moving from a suburban area not far from New York City to a rural area in the mountains of western Massachusetts. The choice of the move is mine, all mine! I have been waiting since 1985 to be able to call the Berkshires my home.

One thing that has occurred to me lately though is that I need to find some "special" foods. For example, I love Pizza! It is a weekly necessity for both my husband and I. If we miss a week, we get irritable and have withdrawal symptoms. Most people think you can't find good pizza if you get too far away from NYC. Well, we have found two places that we love. The first is called Athena's Pizza in Lee, MA. They have a full Italian menu that we haven't tried yet, but the pizza is very good. The second place we found is on Route 20, in a tiny town called Russell, MA. It is in the Russell Inn. The pizza is great and the rest of the menu is just as good. The bar is so friendly, that even though we are new to the area, we felt like we were home.

Stay tuned for the next entry about our quest for good food in the mountains.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

How I Stock a Pantry

Stocking a Pantry for Effective Use of Foods and Last Minute Changes to Your Plan:

The basic list is for people who don't have a stand alone freezer. I have also broken it down by dry goods and perishables. This is my pantry list. Obviously if your family doesn't eat fish you won't be buying the canned fish. Try canned chicken. Also, I am only cooking for 2 people on a regular basis. If you have a large family you will need more for sure! I personally don't like frozen peas and corn; I prefer the canned. However, if you prefer the frozen, replace with 2 bags of frozen each.

I buy most of the dry goods items when on sale and/or when I have a coupon.

This isn't a list for everyone, it is my list. However, it is a good starting point for anyone new to cooking or planning meals. If you don't like pasta, don't add it to your pantry. If you cook Thai food everyday, add the appropriate fish sauce and curry pastes.

DRY GOODS: (Goods that don't require refrigeration and can be stored in a pantry/basement shelves for longer periods of time.)

Olive Oil - a basic one, no need to spend a ton of money
Canola or Sunflower Oil - Or any vegetable oil

Vinegar - I always have cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. If you like making pickles you will also need white vinegar.

Boxed Dried Pastas - buy when on sale and I always have at least 10 pound boxes
Rice - I usually have 5 pounds of brown, 2 pounds of white, 1 pound exotic (Jasmine/Basmati etc)
Dried Beans - I usually have 3-5 pound bags of varied beans
Dried Lentils - I always have 3-5 pound bags, and at least one is the exotic orange/red
Dried Grains - I usually have 2 or 3 kinds - right now I have quinoa, barley, bulgar and wild rice


Paste - 5 small
Crushed - 4 large
Stewed - 4 small
Sauce - 10 small


Beans - I always have kidney, cannellini, chick peas

Canned chicken broth (3-5) and beef broth (1-3) - (non-fat and low sodium is all I use.)
Canned Soups - some "cream of" soups for recipes and your favorites for last minute meals

Evaporated Milk - 2-4 cans (I only use SKIM or FAT FREE)

Canned fish - Tuna and/or Salmon and/or Tiny Shrimp

Jarred Pasta Sauces - 4-6 jars
Jarred Salsa - mild/medium or hot - whatever your personal preference. We like hot as a dip, but I use mild/medium in many recipes.

Peanut Butter

Spices and Seasonings: I have broken them down to what I consider very basic and the next level.

Granulated Garlic
Granulated Onion
Dried Red Pepper Flakes
Vanilla Extract - the REAL stuff

Ground Ginger
Curry Powder
Chili Powder

Flour - 5 pounds
Sugar - 2 pounds

Corn Meal
Oatmeal - not the instant packets
Baking Soda
Baking Powder

Once opened these items should be stored in the refrigerator:
Worcestershire Sauce

If you cook Asian inspired foods (I do!) you will want to add some/all of the following:

Soy sauce, tamari (Japanese soy sauce), oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and black bean sauce, to name a few. These sauces are used in both marinades and stir-frying. For Southeast Asian cooking, stock red or green curry pastes, coconut milk (not the sugared kind for making cocktails) and fish sauce.

Refrigerated/Perishable Basics (including some produce)

Milk (if you make your own yogurt as I do, you will have to figure out how much you need)

Potatoes - white and sweet

Frozen Boxes of Spinach (I always buy when on sale and have 5-10 at any one time)


Harvest Time

So what do you all do with the abundance of squash and tomatoes, among others.

I love zucchini bread and zucchini in my salads and of course zucchini in stewed tomatoes. I also love to pickle zucchini. I love zucchini frittatas and fried zucchini. But I am always looking for new ways to use it.

Tomatoes are one of those fruits that I could eat 3 meals a day. Chopped up in scrambled eggs or hashed browns. On sandwiches with or without anything else. Salads and salsa and all of this without mentioning making fresh tomato gravy for pasta.

What do you do with the harvest?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Menu Planning Diane's Style

I have been menu planning for at least 30 years. My mother was a great menu planner. Anyone on a budget or who does grocery shopping is already menu planning to some degree, but we could all do it better.

For me, the first thing I do is have a good pantry of basics. Ideas for that will come in a future post, but without that pantry, your last minute changes (and all who menu plan have to be flexible) will cost you in calories, lack of nutrients and big bucks of fast or prepared foods.

I plan one to two weeks at a time and usually start on Wednesdays. That's when the coupons and grocery store circulars come out. I choose my proteins first. I find what's on special, look in my "recipes to try file" and pick a few new ones that I want to try using what is on special.

Then I check my calendar. ONLY KEEP ONE CALENDAR!!! For all your family and work commitments. I look to see what days I need to cook fast, what days I am busy all day and need a slow-cooker to greet me when I get home, what days I will be away for meals and what days I will be entertaining. I play mix and match with the recipes I chose in the previous step. Sometimes I will do something like write down slow-cooker here or big roast and leftovers here.

Then I make my shopping list. After the shopping list I shop first in my pantry and cross off what I already have. Or if that item is running low I will then know to replace it and leave it on the list. Then for me, since I have almost all of my groceries delivered. I log in and start choosing my items. I can then see what I will have to go get myself.

I write my menu plan on the same calendar with all the other commitments. I include in the menu plan what I will take out of freezer or what I will do with leftovers. I also do some planning like Robin Miller on the Food Network. (She is the person who cooks/chops/seasons/once for 2-3 meals at the same time.)

Anything better than what you are doing now, is an improvement. Try just planning 2 meals a week. Or if you already do well on the weekends, try 2 meals during the week.

How do you plan? What do you do now? Share your ideas, concerns or issues.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Diane's Menu 8/19/2010 - 8/26/2010

Diane's Menu 8/19/2010 - 8/26/2010

Thursday 8/19 - Franks and Beans, Corn Bread
Friday 8/20 - Out
Saturday 8/21 - Garlic Chicken over Farfalle
Sunday 8/22 - Apple Glazed Pork with Sweet Potatoes
Monday 8/23 - Pizza
Tuesday 8/24 - Cheesy Chicken Chili Bake**
Wednesday 8/25 - BBQ Pork Ribs, French Fries, Salad
Thursday 8/26 - Pasta and Broccoli in Spicy Garlic Oil

** Recipes below
Cheesy Chicken Chile Bake

1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 jar cheese spread, 8 ounces
1/2 cup milk
2 cups leftover cooked diced chicken
1 small can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion or 2 teaspoons dried minced
4 cups corn chips

Chicken and cheese and chile bake recipe directions:
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat soup and cheese until well
blended. Gradually stir in milk; add chicken, chopped chile, and onion.
Cook and stir until bubbly. Crush half of the corn chips. Place the
crushed corn chips in the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Pour in
soup and chicken mixture; top with remaining corn chips. Bake chicken
with chile and cheese at 350° for 20 minutes. Chicken chile cheese
bake serves 4.


Diane's Menu 8/12/2010 - 8/18/2010

Diane's Menu 8/12 - 8/17

Thursday - 8/12 - Veal Parmagiana and Stewed Tomatoes
Friday - 8/13 - Sweet and Sour Chicken Curry **
Saturday 8/14 - Beef Bourguinon a la Julia Child
Sunday 8/15 - Grilled Boneless Pork Chops, Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad and Corn on the Cob
Monday 8/16 - Take Out Pizza
Tuesday 8/17 - Chicken and Potato Bake
Wednesday 8/18 BBQ Riblets, French Fries, Cole Slaw

** Recipe below
Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

1 pound uncooked chicken breast (boneless and skinless), cut into 1-
inch pieces
1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large vidalia onion(s), sliced
14 1/2 oz stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup(s) mango chutney
1/4 cup(s) water
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

Place chicken, pepper and onion in a slow cooker; top with tomatoes.
Mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over chicken mixture,
cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours. Yields about 1 1/2 to 2 cups per


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quick and Healthy Side Dish

I made a really easy side dish today in my rice cooker. Healthy and very tasty too!

Diane's Wild Rice and Veggies

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup wild rice

1 veggie or chicken bouillon cube
3 cups water
1 bag frozen fiesta veggie mix (beans of all types, carrots, broccoli)

In rice cooker add first 4 ingredients. Stir to mix. Add wild rice. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and flavors. Add bouillon cube and water. Set rice cooker to white or brown rice. (Depending on your preference: the white setting will stop when the wild rice is still nutty in texture and the brown setting will stop when the wild rice is a bit softer.)

About 2-5 minutes before the wild rice is done, add the bag of frozen fiesta veggie mix. Stir to mix. Close rice cooker and wait till it turns to keep warm. ENJOY!!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Rice Cooker Pasta

Perhaps you think that it can't be done. Or if you know it can be done, perhaps you think no gourmet would do it. Or, no self respecting Italian anyway.

But, you would be wrong. Pasta cooked in a rice cooker can be marvelous. If you remember enough liquid and to save some of the sauce for the keep warm cycle it can be even gourmet!

Here is one of my favorites:

Curried Pasta with Meatballs
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons curry powder (I use far more, we love it spicy)
1 can cream of celery soup
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes

4 cups water
1 pound orzo
8 meatballs (from a previous recipe or frozen bag works well)
1 package frozen spinach

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

In the rice cooker, melt the butter and add the curry powder. Stir to combine. Add next 3 ingredients. Mix well. Add water,orzo, frozen spinach (no need to thaw) and meatballs (no need to thaw).

For my rice cooker, I set it on mixed and press start. I believe that a white rice setting will work as well.

When cooker turns to keep warm, add frozen peas and stir enough to thaw.

Serve with cilantro and green onions to garnish.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Using up Jam and Jelly

So you finish up a jar of jelly or jam. Well, you finish it as well as you can. There seems to be all sorts of bits and parts stuck to the jar.

One way to use up the last of the jar is to add a mild vinegar and shake to release all the bits. Then add some shallots, garlic and pepper. Shake well, then add in some mild vegetable oil. You can also add chopped fruit or zest of the fruit that was the original flavor of the jar. Shake well and use as a salad dressing or a marinade for fish or chicken.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Diane's Menu 7/15/2010 - 7/22/2010

Diane's Menu 7/15/2010 - 7/22/2010

7/15 Thu - Spicy Kielbasa and Black Eyed Peas
7/16 Fri - Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry with Brown Rice
7/17 Sat - Mock Fried Chicken and Corn on the Cob
7/18 Sun - Mac and Cheese
7/19 Mon - Take Out Pizza
7/20 Tue - Chicken, Bean and Wild Rice Salad **
7/21 Wed - Chicken Parmesan
7/22 Thu - Pasta Amatriciana
7/23 Fri - Indian Chickpea and Rice Casserole **
7/24 Sat - Dinner out

** Recipe follows

Chicken, Bean and Wild Rice Salad

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 package (6.2 ounces) fast-cooking long grain and wild rice, cooked without spice packet, cooled (I will be making my own using brown rice with the long grain rice)
1 can (15 ounces) Light or Dark Red Kidney beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Light or Dark Red Kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15 ounces) Black beans or Pinto beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Black beans or Pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin orange segments, drained
1 cup frozen, thawed peas

Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups spinach leaves
12 to 16 ounces broiled or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced or cubed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecan halves (optional)


Combine rice, beans, orange segments, and peas; pour 2/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette over and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon salad onto spinach-lined plates, arrange chicken on salad; spoon beets to the side. Drizzle remaining 1/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette over beets and chicken. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired.

Raspberry Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice


Whisk together the all ingredients. Prepared ahead, refrigerate until serving time. Mix again before using.

TIP: To save time, prepared raspberry vinaigrette dressing can be used. To cool rice quickly, spread cooked rice on a cookie sheet and refrigerate.
NOTE: Although bean recipes usually call for a specific variety, any canned or dry-packaged bean variety can be easily substituted for another.

Nutrient Information

Per serving: Calories 445; Fat 13g; % Calories from Fat 24; Carbohydrate 65g; Folate 240mcg; Sodium 1326mg; Protein 26g; Dietary Fiber 12g; Cholesterol 37mg


Indian Chickpea-Rice Casserole

2 tsp. canola oil
2 Tbs. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup cooked chickpeas, or canned chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup dried currants
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1/3 cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 1 tsp. oil in 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop (after about 30 seconds), turn off heat, and transfer spice mixture to small bowl; set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and ginger, and cook, stirring often, 6 minutes, or until onion is softened. Stir in spice mixture, broth, rice, chickpeas, currants and carrot.
Cover and bake 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and broth is absorbed. Garnish with cilantro and cashews, and serve hot.

Serves 6

Source: Vegetarian Times Issue: March 1, 2006 p.47
Formatted by Chupa Babi: 06.22.08

Nutritional Information Per SERVING: Calories: 257, Protein: 7g, Total fat: 7g, Carbs: 43g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 159mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 9g

Heating and popping the mustard seeds make their flavor a nutty, not hot, addition to this fragrant rice casserole. For best results, use a mild vegetable broth, such as Imagine or Swanson, preferably one not made with tomatoes.

Pickle Juice?

Do you like pickles? I love them.

When I open a new jar of pickles it is tough for me to stop eating the whole thing. When I am done with the jar, there is always quite a bit of flavorful brine left. I always have a hard time throwing it out. Well not anymore!! There are so many uses for the brine.

I use it as a base for marinating chicken, beef and pork. I use it as a base for a cole slaw dressing. Use it as the starter for a salad dressing. Mix with yogurt for a great salad or cole slaw dressing. I use it to marinate vegetables to be roasted. And, for those more adventurous souls.....don't forget to try a pickletini. Yup! Use a good quality vodka and the pickle juice. Serve with a dill pickle spear as a garnish. It's YUMMY!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Diane's Menu 7/8/2010 - 7/14/2010

Diane's Menu 7/8/2010 - 7/14/2010

7/8 Thu - BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs, Bean and Corn Salad
7/9 Fri - Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice Pilaf, Salad
7/10 Sat - Rib Eye Steak, Baked Potatoes, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
7/11 Sun - Pasta and Peas
7/12 Mon - Take out pizza
7/13 Tue - Hot Buffalo Meatballs over Brown Rice, Salad
7/14 Wed - Asian Grilled Pork Chops, Asian Slaw


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Diane's Menu 6/29/2010 - 7/7/2010

Diane's Menu 6/28/2010 - 7/7/2010

6/28 Monday - Take-out pizza
6/29 Tuesday - Pasta Marinara and Salad
6/30 Wednesday - Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Chicken
7/1 Thursday - Hot Dogs and Beans
7/2 Friday - Spaghetti Amatriciana
7/3 Saturday - Kielbasa and Bean Stew in Rice Cooker
7/4 Sunday - Steak, Sweet Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob
7/5 Monday - Take-out pizza
7/6 Tuesday - Grilled Hot Sausage Grinders, String Bean Salad
7/7 Wednesday - Spinach Ravioli Florentine


Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

Recipe courtesy Devon Delaney

A blend of traditional and fanciful holiday flavors, this side dish is really delicious, all my favorite holiday flavors. I invented this recipe to bring to my in-laws at Thanksgiving time because they needed a new way to serve sweet potatoes. No overly-sweet marshmallows in this! We love it!

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
35 min


8 servings


* 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
* 5 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 1 cup chopped scallions (green and white)
* 1 cup julienned roasted red pepper


* 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1/3 cup mango chutney
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup olive oil


Make the Salad: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a roasting pan, combine the potatoes, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, cumin and ginger. Stir to combine and bake until the potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring, until toasted. Transfer the seeds to a plate and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, scallions, and red pepper and set aside.

Make the Dressing: Prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a small saucepan and heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil.

Assemble salad by gently tossing the roasted potatoes with the red pepper mixture. Add enough of the dressing to coat and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Diane's Menu 6/06/2010 -

Diane's Menu 6/6/10 -

6/6 Sunday - Roasted chicken thighs, corn on the cob
6/7 Monday - Weekly take out pizza
6/8 Tuesday - Hot link grinders on home made semolina rolls, string bean salad
6/9 Wednesday - Jack burger sliders on homemade sour dough rolls, green salad
6/10 Thursday - Steak salad with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese and balsamic honey dressing.
6/11 Friday - Shrimp Jambalaya with corn (rice cooker)
6/12 Saturday - Out to Dinner for Mexican Food


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Diane's Lamb and Cheese Pasta in Rice Cooker

Diane's Lamb and Cheese Pasta in Rice Cooker

(100% Simply Filling Weight Watchers)


Feeds 4 -6 hungry people

1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced leeks
5 (or more) cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 pound whole grain pasta
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
4 cups of water
1 30+ ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 13 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces fat free ricotta

Parmesan cheese to pass


1 - In Rice Cooker with browning cycle, (use a skillet if no browning cycle available)brown lamb in olive oil. If a skillet was used, pour into the rice cooker.

2 - Add the garlic and leeks on top of lamb and stir to mix.

3 - Add dry pasta and remaining ingredients other than the tomato sauce and ricotta. Stir to mix.

4 - Set Rice Cooker to cook. Mine is on "Mix" cycle, but the white rice cycle will also work.

5 - About 5 minutes before it is done or when it switches to keep warm, pour in the 13 ounce can of tomato sauce and the cheese. Stir to combine and close cooker to heat through.

6 - Serve with grated Parmesan cheese to pass.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Pasta Salad

Today for our dinner I made a pasta salad based on Rachael Ray's BLT Farfalle recipe. It turned out great and I want to share it.

Diane's Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Pasta Salad


1 pound whole wheat shell pasta (The shells are the same size as half of a cherry/grape tomato)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 container cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3 cups mixed baby arugala and spinach
1/2 pound low sodium bacon, diced before cooking
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups fat free peppercorn ranch dressing


Cook pasta according to directions. Undercook by about 2 minutes. Drain and toss with the olive oil. Add the garlic.

Cook bacon over medium heat. Do not crisp, but cook long enough to dry out the pieces and melt much of the fat off of the bacon pieces. Remove from the fat with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to absorb the residual fat.

Slice cherry tomatoes, and place in a bowl with the arugala/spinach mixture. Add bacon to the bowl.

Pour still warm pasta over the bacon,tomato and lettuce mixture. Toss with fat free Peppercorn Ranch Dressing. (Kraft makes a good one.)



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Diane's Menu Wednesday April 14 -

Diane's Menu 4/14 - 4/22

Another bout of unemployment has hit us. So far it's 9 out of the last 12 months. So, lots of pasta, lots of roasts with leftovers used in recipes and lots of using up what is in the pantry.

4/14 Wednesday - Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Spinach
4/15 Thursday - Ham and Potato Hash, Carrots
4/16 Friday - Mahi Mahi Skewers with Ham, Pineapple and Ginger-Soy Glaze on Wild Rice
4/17 Saturday - Lamb Ragout with Rigatoni and Ricotta
4/18 Sunday - Roast Turkey, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Carrots
4/19 Monday - BLT Farfalle
4/20 Tuesday - Turkey Shepard's Pie
4/21 Wednesday - Sweet and Sour Thai Noodle Bowl
4/22 Thursday - Turkey Stromboli, Salad


Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's with restaurants and their lack of UN-chocolate desserts?

I am not a chocolate person. No, I am not allergic to it. I just don't like the flavor.

We love to go out to dinner and most of the time I am more than satisfied with whatever I have eaten for my main meal. It is rare for me to look for a dessert. But sometimes, it sure would be nice.

If you are a chocolate person, you probably have never noticed the lack of UN-Chocolate desserts on the menu. Oh, there is the standard fruit pie with ice cream, but their energies and creativity are always spent on the exotic chocolate desserts.

There are a few winners though. Tonight I had one of my favorites. Applebee's Maple Butter Blondie is among my very favorite desserts anywhere. It is a Nutty, Buttery Blondie (a vanilla, nutty version of a brownie) served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And then there is a hot melted butter and maple syrup mixture that is poured sizzling over the ice cream. Oh my!! When I tell you about the foodgasm in my mouth when I taste this it doesn't even begin to describe how luscious this is. Try it sometime!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Always in search of the perfect egg roll....

I am always trying egg rolls from new Chinese restaurants or buffets. Inevitably I am disappointed. I like them filled to the brim and well fried. I like them hot and crispy. Occasionally, I will find one I love and then I have to eat 4 or more of them at a time. One is never enough.

Do any of you have foods you just are obsessed with?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu 1-28 to 2-7- 2010

Diane's Menu 1-28-2010 to 2-7-2010

Thursday 1/28 - Chicken Sorrentino
Friday 1/29 - BBQ
Saturday 1/30 - Brazilian Black Beans and Chicken
Sunday 1/31 - Slow Cooker Lamb, Olive and Onion Tagine
Monday 2/1 - Pizza
Tuesday 2/2 - Pork and Squash Stew in slow cooker
Wednesday 2/3 - Bacon Chicken Broccoli Supreme
Thursday 2/4 - Out
Friday 2/5 Chipolte Chicken and Beans
Saturday 2/6 - Roast Beef, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Peas
Sunday 2/7 - Most Excellent Mac and Cheese (Pressure Cooker)


8-10 Chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 lg. red Onion--Cut into wedges
1 lg. Red Bell Pepper--cut into lg. pieces
8 oz. pimentos
20 oz. can black beans--drained
1 c. green onions--sliced
2/3 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3/4 c. current jelly
6 T. Guava jelly
4 tsp. dry Mustard
3 T. Horseradish
3 T. golden Raisins

Saute chicken quickly in oil, season and set aside.
Saute gently red onion and red pepper.
Add to chicken along with pimentos, drained black beans
and sauteed green onion.

Mix together rest of ingredients except raisins.
Bring to boil and pour over chicken.
Add raisins.

Serve with hot rice.

Slow Cooker Lamb, Olive and Onion Tagine - 10g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : LowCal (Less than 300 cals) LowerCarbs

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 yellow onions -- sliced into rings
1 head garlic cloves -- peeled (about 8 to 10 cloves)
2 pounds lamb stew meat -- or leg of lamb, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 piece fresh ginger -- (1-inch) peeled and grated
12 ounces pitted black olives -- (1 can) drained
2 tablespoons capers
3 1/8 cups red wine -- (one bottle or 750 ml)

Use a 6-quart slow cooker.

Put the onions and garlic into the stoneware. Drop in the lamb, and sprinkle the dried spices and fresh ginger. Add the olives, capers, and wine.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, or quinoa.

Serves 6

ChupaNote: if you prefer a non-alcoholic tagine, use orange, apple or grape juice to replace the red wine. To make this more like a Moroccan tagine, I replaced 1 pound of the lamb with cubed sweet potatoes, red bell peppers cubes, and carrots chunks. Add a handful or two of sultanas or raisins, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Reduce garlic to 2 cloves.

"Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea, 2009"
S(Formatted by Chupa Babi):
"Jan 2010"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 378 Calories; 14g Fat (43.3% calories from fat); 32g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 98mg Cholesterol; 701mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : Cooker: 6-quart
Time: LOW for 8 to 12 hours

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Pork and Squash Stew
============ ========
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds winter squash, such as butternut, hubbard, or
acorn, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup dried apricots
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup packaged instant mashed potato flakes
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 tablespoon bottled steak sauce

Trim fat from pork. Cut pork into 1-inch pieces. In a large
skillet brown pork, half at a time, in hot oil about 5 minutes.
Drain off fat.

In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker place squash, onion, apricots,
and raisins. Add pork. Sprinkle with potato flakes, brown sugar,
pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Combine chicken broth and steak sauce;
pour over meat. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours
or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Stir gently before

Bacon Chicken Broccoli Supreme

1 (3 lb) bag frozen, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb. turkey bacon
1 bag (lb) broccoli florets
4 cans sliced potatoes, drained
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Wrap each skinless breast with 2 pieces of bacon, place in bottom of crockpot, add bag of broccoli, sliced potatoes and top with 2 cans of the chicken soup, just smeared on top. Cover and cook all day on low for an absolutely delicious, complete meal!


Chipotle Chicken and Beans Recipe

* 6 Servings
* Prep: 15 min.
* Cook: 30 min.

* 3/4 cup water, divided
* 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
* 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3 bacon strips, diced
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup chopped plum tomatoes
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
* 4-1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
* 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
* 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
* In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water and broth to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until rice is tender.
* Meanwhile, cut each chicken breast half widthwise into six strips. Sprinkle with salt. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove and keep warm.
* In the same skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 1/2 teaspoon drippings. In the drippings, saute onion and garlic until tender. Add the tomatoes, cumin and cinnamon; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cranberry sauce, chipotle peppers, lime juice and remaining water. Bring to a boil.
* Return chicken to the pan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 6-10 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Remove and keep warm. Add rice and beans to the skillet; heat through. Serve chicken over bean mixture; sprinkle with bacon. Yield: 6 servings.
Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving equals 366 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 66 mg cholesterol, 501 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 32 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 very lean meat, 2-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

Chipotle Chicken and Beans published in Light & Tasty February/March 2006, p19


Most Excellent Macaroni & Cheese

Recipe By :Bob Warden - QVC
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules -- mixed into 2 cups of
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Add all the macaroni ingredients to pressure cooker, set cooker on high and
cook for 6 minutes.

Do quick release. Remove lid and slowly stir in cheese ingredients until
melted and creamy.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 313 Calories; 20g Fat (58.7% calories
from fat); 14g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 61mg
Cholesterol; 454mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 3
Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

(My notes: I use fat free cream cheese and low fat shredded cheddar. I also use whole wheat pasta. I have also added 1 cup of ham or cut up kielbasa - GREAT!)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

How can I cook on a strange schedule?

Since I tutor most evenings until 7 or 8, I have had the luxury of cooking dinner in the middle of the day while my husband has been unemployed. This has worked well for us, and it is also much healthier than eating a big meal after 8PM at night. Not to mention, I am exhausted when I get home from tutoring and don't want to start a meal at 7:30 or 8 PM.

So, what shall I do when hubby goes back to work and doesn't get home until 6 or 7? Planning is the key, or we will be resorting to fast food and eating out. Both of which are not healthy and too expensive for our budget. I am starting a collection of slow-cooker meals that cook in 5 hours or so. I don't mean the long cook ones for 8 hours. I would like to put them in the slow cooker at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and have them done when I get home. Also, I have been contemplating on cooking my way through one of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Cookbooks. I will be blogging about it for sure.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Menu 1-21-2010 to 1-27-2010

Diane's Menu 1/21/2010 to 1/27/2010

Thursday - Pepperoni Orzo Pasta
Friday - Champagne, Prime Rib, Broccoli, Baked Potato, Caesar Salad, Creme Brulee
Saturday - BBQ Ribs, Carrots, Brown Rice
Sunday - Dinner at my sisters house - Roast Pork, Peach Melba Dessert
Monday - Out for Birthday
Tuesday - Ham and Beans in Slow Cooker
Wednesday - Ribs, Cheesy Broccoli Rice