Sunday, December 29, 2013

Use the right onion

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Last of the Turkey

Today, I am using the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.  I froze it all in single recipe packs so that we didn't have to overdose on it like many people do, right after the original dinner.

Turkey Hash Casserole


2 cups shredded turkey
4 cups shredded white potatoes
2 cups shredded carrots
1 shallot, diced
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 can evaporated skim milk
2 teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients well and pour into a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4 hours or until hot and bubbly.   When done, lay slices of cheddar cheese over the top and cover until the cheese melts.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu 11-11 through 11-16

Menu 11-11 through 11-16

Monday 11-11 - Baked Ravioli
Tuesday 11-12 - Reuben Sandwiches
Wednesday 11-13 - Sticky Cider-Soy Chicken Legs and Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad from Rachael Ray
Thursday 11-14 - Baked Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Beans and Pepper Jack Cheese
Friday 11-15 Pizza on Naan
Saturday 11-16  - Spicy Ramen Chicken in Rice Cooker

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Amish Chicken

Amish Chicken is a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  I fell for it because of what it looked like.  After all that is what Pinterest is for!
I made this recipe using exactly the ingredients that were written in the recipe. It was a bit bland for us. I added quite a bit of freshly cracked black pepper and it was AWESOME!! I will make it again using different spices/flavors. I like the technique of roasting/braising it in heavy cream, which is something I had never thought to try before.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Alliterative Pasta in the Rice Cooker!

Pancetta,  Peas, Pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano Pasta

1 pound pasta
32 ounces chicken broth

1 pound bag frozen petit peas

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 pound pancetta
1 large onion, sliced or diced to be the same shape/size as the pasta
2 tablespoons minced garlic - about 6 cloves
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Put pasta and chicken broth in rice cooker.  Stir and put on white rice setting.

While pasta is cooking, put oil and butter in a saute pan and heat to medium high.   Add pancetta and onion and saute until the pancetta begins to crisp and the onion is soft and slightly browned.  Add garlic and saute one more minute.  Remove from heat and hold aside.

When rice cooker turns off, open it and add the bag of frozen peas.  Stir to combine.  Add the onion/pancetta mixture and stir again.  Add ground pepper and stir again.  Close rice cooker and allow to sit at the keep warm setting for 5-10 minutes to thaw peas and reheat the onion/pancetta mixture.

Serve with freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and more freshly ground pepper to taste.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breakfast today

One of my favorite things to eat, no matter what time of the day it is, is eggs.  Today for breakfast I had a "toad in a hole".   It can't be easier to make. 

Cut a hole out of a slice of bread.  I use kitchen shears, but a biscuit cutter or even a juice glass turned upside down, will work just as well. 

In a non-stick skillet, I sprayed with can't believe it's not butter, I turn the burner to medium high heat.  Lay the bread in the skillet.  Crack the egg and drop it into the hole in the bread.   Let cook for 4 minutes and then cover the skillet to let the top of the egg cook.  Cook to your desired consistency.  I like a runny yolk.  A slice of cheese can also be added over the top of the egg before you cover the skillet towards the end of cooking. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Menu 9/9/2013 to

I am back to tutoring starting when school gets out in the afternoon.  What that means is we eat dinner around 2PM in the afternoon.  I actually like this much better than eating later.

Menu 9/9/2013

Monday 9/9  - Spicy Ramen Chicken in the Rice Cooker
Tuesday 9/10 - Mac and Cheese with broccoli
Wednesday 9/11 - Hamburgers and Corn on the Cob
Thursday 9/12  -  Golden Chicken Casserole
Friday 9/13 - Corn Dog in a Pan
Saturday 9/14 - out
Sunday 9/15 - Hot Sausage Wedges

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rice Cooker Risotto for dinner today

For those that follow my blog, you know I am madly in love with my rice cookers.  Today, I invented a new recipe and it is so good that I want to eat it every day!

Bacon and Marscapone Risotto

1/2 pound bacon, diced  (Pancetta would work, but I had regular breakfast bacon today.)
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups arborio rice
5 cups chicken broth
1 container (8 ounce)  of marscarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
1 full teaspoon freshly ground pepper (more or less to taste)

Turn rice cooker on.  (If you have a browning feature, use it.  If you have a steam feature, use it.)
Put diced bacon into cooker.  Stir it around as it browns and cooks.  Once it is browned, but not crispy, turn rice cooker to white rice or porridge setting.  Add shallots and garlic.  Stir around and when softened, add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.  Stir around until the wine is nearly all evaporated.  Add the rice and stir to coat with what is left of the bacon fat.  When the rice is translucent, add broth.  Close rice cooker.  When cooker stops, add the cheese and peas.  Stir around and close again,.  Wait 5 minutes and the cheese and peas will be hot and ready to eat.  YUMMY!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Corn on the Cob in a rice cooker?

Yes you can!

Husk corn and place in rice cooker.  The ears might have to be broken in half to fit.

Put one cup of water in the rice cooker.  If you have a steam function, turn it to 10 minutes.  If it's just an on/off rice cooker, choose white rice and set your own timer for 12 minutes.

Perfect corn every time!!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I love a good pasta salad.  I love when the pasta salad is a meal in itself.  Here is one that I love to make all the time and it is so easy and healthy too.


1 pound whole grain macaroni or rotelli pasta, cooked to al dente and tossed in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Mix with the following:

1/2 cup each chopped celery, red and green sweet peppers.
1 jalapeno diced
1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 red onion, diced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh from the cob or canned is fine
1 13 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed so the black doesn't discolor the salad
1 1/2  cups frozen small peas
2 cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar or splenda
1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Easy and Exotic Breakfast

I sliced up two fresh figs and tossed them with a tablespoon of honey and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  They I roasted them in a toaster oven set at 300F   When the figs were hot all the way through and the sauce was bubbling, I took it out of the toaster oven. (About 10 minutes)  I put a cup of ricotta cheese in a bowl and poured the fig mixture over it.  YUM!!  So exotic and so tasty.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Applesauce in a Rice Cooker? YUP!

Applesauce in a Rice Cooker

4 large apples, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cider
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


Add all ingredients into the rice cooker.  Cover and set on the cook mode. When cycle is compete, check to see if apples are tender. Add additional cook time if needed. Puree with hand blender or food processor if desired.

If you have a food mill, you can put the apples in wedges and even leave the seeds.  Then run it through a sieve and the food mill when the rice cooker is done.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Greek Inspired Lamb Stew with Feta Crumbles

I love lamb and it is usually too expensive for our budget.  Today, I made up a "stew" that uses ground lamb, cooks in a rice cooker and is luscious.  You could use stew lamb as well.  I served it with crumbled feta cheese on the top and it really is a hit here.  It makes 4 hearty servings.


2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 pound ground lamb or 1 1/2 pounds lamb stew meat (which usually has bones)
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 14 ounce can low sodium beef broth
1 cup barley
1/2 pound baby carrots
salt and pepper to taste (I don't add any salt to anything, the feta cheese was salty enough for us.)

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (the fat free works just as well as the regular)

In a skillet brown the lamb in olive oil.  Add garlic, onion and seasonings after the lamb has begun to brown so they don't burn.  Pour all of the skillet into a slow cooker or rice cooker.  Add the barley and stir to coat the barley in the moist lamb and olive oil.  Add the crushed tomatoes and the beef broth.  Fill the beef broth can with water and add that too.  Add the carrots and stir to combine.

If in a rice cooker, cook on white rice setting until it turns off.  In a slow cooker, cook for 4-6 hours.

Serve with crumbled feta cheese.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In the mood for German food this week?

I happen to love sour kraut.  As a matter of fact, I have never met a sour cabbage dish that I didn't like.  But, I know that I am in the minority.  In my slow cooker today is a meal to make even the most devout sour kraut hater change their mind. 

First I cook up 1/4 pound of maple cured bacon.  I dice the bacon before I cook it to make it cook faster and I cook it to a few seconds shy of crispy.  Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  In the bacon fat, saute a large onion that has been sliced very thin until it is translucent.  Mix the onion with 3 cups of drained sour kraut.  Add a tablespoon of spicy whole grain mustard and 3 granny smith apples that have been diced and add the bacon back into the mixture.  Pour into the bottom a slow cooker.  Lay 1 1/2 pounds of kielbasa on top of the mixture and cook on low for 6 hours.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Grilled Cheese

I am not a sandwich person.  Oh, I eat them because they are convenient, but I would always choose a salad or bowl of soup or an entree type meal over a sandwich.  For grilled cheese though I make an exception.

Today is National Grilled Cheese Day.  For the occasion I am planning some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.  Crispy hard rolls will be stuffed with pulled pork and Monterey Jack cheese and I will grill them panini style to melt the cheese.  

This made me think about my favorite diner sandwich.  Most of the time when I go to a diner, no matter what time of day, I order breakfast food.  But, when I order a sandwich, it has to be a tuna melt with Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese.  The tuna has to have crunchy celery in it.  I especially like the open faced varieties because the tuna stays cool and the bread and cheese are crispy and hot and bubbly.   I love that contrast.  YUM!!  Just writing about it, makes me need one (YES NEED!) NOW!!!

I used to go to a local place for live music and they had a grilled cheese on the menu that I just had to order every time. It had 5 different cheese, applewood smoked bacon and tomatoes on it. It was made in a thickly sliced sourdough bread. I have yet to have a better one.

I found a really great link at the Food Network for fifty different grilled cheeses.  Check them out!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

My husband and I have been sick and I haven't been cooking much.  I got a delivery of groceries today and felt like some comfort food.  I did some experimenting and came up with an easy and VERY flavorful chicken and dumplings in the rice cooker.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large jalapeno, diced (or 2 medium sized)
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced including the leaves
1 32 ounce carton chicken broth (I used 99% fat free and 50% less sodium)
1 16 ounce bag frozen gnocchi
8 ounces petite frozen peas
2 cups fresh baby carrots
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

This can be cooked completely right in the rice cooker.  Or, you can cook it in a dutch oven type pot.

Brown the chicken in the oil.  Add the jalapeno, onion and celery and cook until the vegetables have softened.  Add all the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a slow boil then lower and simmer until chicken is cooked and carrots are tender.

Serve in bowls and make sure to use a spoon to get all the warm thickened broth.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

White Turkey Chili in Rice Cooker

White Turkey Chili

1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaping teaspoon dried cilantro or 1-2 tablespoons fresh or to taste
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 13 ounce can of rotel tomatoes (tomatoes with chilis)
1 small can of corn or 2 cups frozen
1 cup pearl barley
1 12 ounce box low sodium chicken broth

Heat a skillet to medium high.  Add the canola oil and cumin seeds.  When the seeds start to brown add the turkey.  Using a potato masher, squish up the turkey and brown it in the skillet.  When the pink color has disappeared add the rest of the spices and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into a rice cooker.  Note:  If your rice cooker has a really good browning cycle, this can all be done in the rice cooker.

Add the remainder of the ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Turn rice cooker to the white rice cycle and close it.  It should be done in about 45 minutes. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beef and Pasta in Rice Cooker Today

Today in my rice cooker is another invention of mine.  I browned a pound of beef stew meat in bacon fat.  Then I placed the browned meat in the bottom of my rice cooker.  I added 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons of hot Hungarian paprika, 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 box of orzo.  It is cooking on the "WHITE RICE" setting of my rice cooker and smells wonderful.  If I didn't have a picky husband I would have also added mushrooms.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Italian Sausage and Barley Stew

I have been trying to eat more whole grains.  So, today in my rice cooker is a new invention of mine.  Here is what I did.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage
2 red bell peppers, cut into once inch pieces
1 hot pepper, diced (all I had in the house was a jalapeno, but I think it would be best with a cherry pepper or some other Italian style chili)
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup pearl barley
3 cups liquid (I mixed beef broth with water, but all water would do)
1 tablespoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
(salt to taste)

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the hot sausage.  I removed it from the casing and used a potato masher to separate it apart.  Add the peppers and onion and stir to combine.  When the vegetables are softening and the sausage is browning, add the garlic and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a rice cooker.  Add the pearl barley.  Stir to coat the barley.  Pour contents of skillet over the barley and stir to combine.  Add liquid, oregano, oregano, bay leaves and tomatoes.  Again stir to combine.

Cook on white rice setting or mixture setting if your rice cooker has one.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

MY DINNER IS SO GOOD! Lamb and Barley Stew in Rice Cooker.

I love lamb!  I love my rice cooker!  And, I am on a mission to vary the whole grains that I eat.  So, here is today's dinner.

1 cup pearl barley

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 onion, sliced thinly
 1 teaspoon ground thyme
3 garlic cloves minced

1 pound baby carrots 

4 shoulder blade lamb chops about 8 ounces each.

1 17 ounce box of beef broth or stock

Measure 1 cup of pearl barley into the bottom of a rice cooker pan.

In a saute pan at medium high heat, add olive oil and mushrooms.  Let sit without moving for at least 2-3 minutes.  Toss around the pan with tongs and again let sit for 2-3 minutes.  Your mushrooms should brown and break down a bit.  Add the onion and stir around and again let sit for 2-3 minutes.   Add thyme and minced garlic.  Stir around a bit and then pour on top of the barley into the rice cooker.  Place carrots on top of barley.

In the same saute pan, brown the lamb chops on both sides until nicely caramelized.    Place on top of the carrots. 

Pour the box of beef broth over the entire mixture and close rice cooker.  My rice cooker has a "mixture" setting, but I think white rice setting would do.  If you have cooked barley in your rice cooker before you will know the setting.

When it switches to keep warm, it is done.  IT IS AWESOME!

Veggie Cooking Cheat Sheet

Veggie cooking guide

I read many food blogs and check out food websites regularly.  I can't get enough recipes.  Even if I ate and cooked 24 hours a day I couldn't come close to 1% of the recipes I have stored "to try soon."

One website I really like is Kidspot.  It is a fun place for all sorts of parenting.  The health and food sections are my favorite.  Recently, they posted a Veggie Cooking Cheat Sheet that is superb!   Check them out!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Effie's Stew in the Rice Cooker

I have been cooking for my dogs for many years.  I supplement with quality dry food and an occasional quality wet food. 

Today, I am using my beloved rice cooker to start a weekly chore of making what I call Effie's Stew.    (I have seen recipes for something called Puppy Stew and don't want to infringe on their name.)

Ingredients and Directions:

8-9 Chicken Thighs (or chicken pieces with skin and bone included)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
8 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 16 ounce bag frozen green beans
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup barley
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
 4 cups water.
 1 cup frozen peas

Put all ingredients except peas in the rice cooker.  Cook until it turns off.  Remove chicken and de-bone and tear or cut into smaller pieces and return to the rice cooker, including the skin..  Use an immersion blender to make it as mixed and mushed up as your dog prefers it.  I leave quite a few chewable chunks.  Then add the frozen peas and stir to combine.  They will defrost and cook almost instantly.  For my dog this is less that $.25 per serving.  This is compared to at least .$80 per serving of prepared canned wet food and my recipe is far healthier as well.

Cool and store in quart size storage bags or 8 ounce containers.  It can be frozen.  Daily, Effie gets one cup mixed with kibble.  For a larger dog you would need more or less depending on how much kibble you also feed.

Using this recipe as a guide for amounts, substitutes could be made to include different vegetables and different grains and proteins.  For example, instead of chicken you could use turkey, beef or even a ground meat; instead of barley and oatmeal you could use brown rice and quinoa.  In the summer when zucchini and yellow squash are in abundance I often use them fresh instead of frozen beans.  I have also added apples to the mix in the fall.

Experimenting Today

Today, I am experimenting.  It will be edible for sure, but not sure how good. This is what I did.

I put two cups of  dried black eyed peas in my extra large slow cooker.  I had a ham bone in the freezer from a spiral sliced ham.  It was full of meat.  I defrosted it and put it on top of the dried beans.  I also poured in the packet of glaze that came with it originally.  (I hadn't used it because the sliced  ham was used for cold sandwiches.)  I then sauteed a medium onion, 5 cloves of garlic and a large jalapeno in bacon fat along with a teaspoon of each cumin and black mustard seeds.  I just wilted the onion and waited for the mustard seeds to start popping.  I poured the entire thing into the slow cooker on top of the ham.  I then added 4 cups of water and set the slow cooker to high.  I chose 7 hours, but will check on it and add or subtract time as I notice how the ham/beans are faring. 

It was actually done in 5 hours and it was AWESOME!!!!  My husband said "DO IT AGAIN," and most of the time he says NOTHING.