Friday, December 24, 2010

Classic Sugar Cookies

I felt a little unprepared when I wanted to make Christmas cookies with the boys when I realized that I don't have a sugar cookie recipe! How can that be? Thank goodness for whole foods recipes! These are easy and fun! Enjoy!


2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out cookies
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well blended. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Divide dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll out dough on a floured surface until (1/4-inch) thick and cut out cookies with floured cookie cutters. Transfer cookies to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.

Bake until just golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool and then decorate as desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Just in case you need permission: Ten Guilt-Free Non-Suppers.

Breathe in, breathe out.


Friday, August 6, 2010


Today I got a whim to boil a chicken and make dressing - getting ready for Thanksgiving. Whether you boil, bake or buy a chicken there are several chicken salad recipes.

1/2 C. mayo or miracle whip
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. chicken
2 med. stalks celery, chopped
1 C. grapes (green or red seedless)

Mix mayo, lemon juice, salt and pper. Toss with chicken and celery. Cover and refrigerate. Stir in grapes and serve in lettuce cups.
Substitute mandarin oranges for grapes.
Omit grapes, stir in crumble bacon.
Omit grapes, add two hard cooked eggs, chopped.
Omit grapes, increase mayo to one cup and stir in two cups macaroni.
Double mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add both grapes, mandarin oranges

3 C. cooked chicken (cubed)
2 C. diced celery
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 C real mayo
1 med. chopped onion
1 small can sliced mushrooms
3/4 C. crushed potato chips
1 lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Saute celery and onion in small amount butter until tender. Add mushrooms, lemon juice and mayo. Mix in chopped chicken and 1/2 the cheese, stirring with fork so chicken won't get mashed.

Place in buttered baking dish and cover with remaining cheese and crushed potato chips. Bake 10 min @ 400 deg. or until hot and bubbly throughout.

*May be prepared ahead and refrigerated, however, baking time will need to be longer if chilled.

You can always add store bought noodles and add to the broth. Serve with salad and you have a meal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Roast Beef and Leftovers

Usually after we have a pot roast there is sufficient left over for a couple of meals. One of them is ROAST BEEF SALAD:

Grind the beef in a meat grinder together with sweet pickles and onion to taste. Then mix in Miracle Whip to taste - makes a tasty sandwich or on crackers.


Cut the beef into small pieces and place on bread in a toaster oven.

Make a white sauce:
1 C. Milk
1 heaping T. flour
1 dab of butter

Bring to a boil, when thickened add salt and pepper to taste and put on the bread and beef. Then put narrow strips of cheese on top and toast. When served with a salad these make a good meal.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Make Ahead Cannellini Bean Chicken Bake

Did the "Make Ahead" get your attention?

My camera is broken so I am sorry I cannot show photos because this is a pretty casserole dish. I like this one and with cheese on it, the kids will enjoy it too. My recipe here is an adaptation of a recipe made for me by a friend, written down, made at home, then lost the recipe and now, I work from memory. I have been making it for several years. The original does not call for chicken. You can use leftover vegetables in this one...(there you go Brandi!) and just season it to be more Mexican or more Italian. Flexible. All ingredients are organic if possible although not noted. I think it is funny that people note that because there is not a taste difference but I said it anyway. To "make ahead" just prepare the ingredients into a mixing bowl, cover and refridgerate for hours or up to a day I think, then pour in oiled casserole and bake.

  • 9 X 13 inch casserole dish
  • Cheese grater
  • Large mixing bowl if making ahead
  • 1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 med. or 2 small diced onions
  • 2 large or 3-4 smallish diced 1/4 " zucchini squash
  • 1 large or 2 smallish diced crookneck or yellow squash
  • 1 lb. ground chicken, beef or turkey
  • 1/2 c. to 1 cup of any chopped green-kale, spinach, chard, etc. (I keep chopped greens that I freeze on a cookie sheet first, then scrape into a Ziploc and label, in the freezer to add to any recipe)
  • 10 - 12 oz. of block Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cans or 2+ cups of cannellini beans (the Italian white kidney bean)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes undrained
  • Herbs- oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh medium ground pepper

In a medium skillet, saute' the onions until a little translucent. Remove to large mixing bowl or into oiled casserole dish if preparing to eat now. In same skillet, cook the ground meat and minced garlic until done mixing garlic well with meat so it won't burn. Remove into bowl or dish. In same skillet, saute' squashes until a little less firm or if you like them really mushy, saute' longer. Remove to bowl or dish. Add greens to bowl or dish. Add diced cannned tomatoes to bowl/dish. Add rinsed beans and herbs/spices to your liking. (Tonight I used 1 heaping tsp. dried oregano, 2 heaping tsp. dried basil, 1 heaping tsp. dried rosemary, 2 heaping tsp. dried parsley, 1 heaping tsp. thyme, 2 tsp. sea salt and, a dozen twists of ground pepper.)

Top with grated Mozerella cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is not burned but veggies seem done and tender or soft. Tent with foil if cheese getting over done.

Make a salad to go along with it. You can also use different vegetables that you have on hand...if corn, then I would use the squashes but use the spices, cumin, chili powder, garlic and salt and pepper to your liking.

Hope someone likes this one! Thank you for letting me share it...gotta go make our salad now to go with it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Leftover Help

I am terrible about using leftovers!! Does anyone else have this problem? I keep them around for a few days and then guiltily toss them out. Or I'll defrost a pound of meat, use half, and forget about the other half until it's too late.

I want to work on my meal planning, and be more intentional about finding uses for leftovers and extras. I would love suggestions!

In an effort to improve, this is my meal plan for this week. I'm using the same rice 4 times, the beans twice, chicken 3 times, and mashed potatoes twice. Also splitting a package of ground beef between two meals.

Thursday: Beans, on bread and cheese. Fried potatoes.
Friday: Ratatouille and rice, fried okra (vegetables are from the CSA and my garden, rice is a mix of brown and wild; the ends of two different bags I found in the pantry.) Make lots and lots of rice.
Saturday: Bean burritos (from Thursday's beans, refried) for lunch; dinner out.
Sunday, family lunch: Minestrone, using leftover vegetables from throughout the week. Stuffed peppers with leftover rice, ground beef, and tomatoes from the garden. Mashed potatoes, just because I have a lot. Broiled peaches with whipped cream. Leftovers for dinner.
Monday: Eggplant parmesan (not a regular for me, but I have a LOT of eggplant!)
Tuesday: Fried rice, again with leftover rice. Add squash and bell peppers, maybe some pork and/or shrimp.
Wednesday: Shepherds pie, with mashed potatoes from Sunday and the rest of that package of ground beef.
Thursday: Roast chicken and potatoes.
Friday: Bowtie pasta with Spicy Romano Chicken (chicken from Thursday).
Saturday: Chicken and rice casserole (both leftover).

This list mostly covers dinners; lunch is typically leftovers or sandwiches. This feels good; I like to cook extra and get several uses out of something. And hopefully I won't be throwing much away! I hate that, but yet I find myself doing it ALL THE TIME. I've started pureeing leftovers for baby food as well. (Tonight the kids barely touched their ratatouille, so I just scraped their plates straight into the blender.) He's not quite ready for anything chunky, but they're in the freezer waiting for him.

Here are some other good ways to plan for leftovers:

1. Roast chicken and potatoes. 2. Make broth. 3. Potatoes in breakfast burritos. 4. Chicken in casserole or pot pie. 5. Soup from broth and any leftover meat; throw in leftover vegetables from other meals.

This one's from my mother-in-law: 1. Ham 2. Beans with ham. 3. Chili with beans. 4. Hot dogs with chili.

I never make the exact number of hamburger patties that we need; I always throw in an extra pound (or at least round up) and freeze the extras. Leftover ground beef can also easily go in tacos or pasta sauce.

Other ideas for cooked chicken? Chicken salad. Chicken enchiladas or burritos. Or on top of just about any pasta.

I need more!! How do you use up leftovers? How do you plan your menu to minimize prep work? I want to do more of this, so let's get creative!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello fellow food lovers! Here's another favorite from my kitchen! I LOVE these cookies. It's egg free so it's fun to eat just right out of the bowl while there is a batch in the oven. (honestly, I eat it with egg too...) I'm spending the weekend with Traci and I'm going to make them for her and her fabulous children. They are going to love will you! Make them! Tonight!

3/4 c applesauce
2 T coconut oil
3/4 c maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c oats
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 package (or less...or more...I just eyeball it) mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix applesauce, oil, syrup and vanilla. Add cinnamon, salt, flour, oats, soda & baking powder. Mix together until "just mixed." Add chocolate chips and mix them in gently. Scoop 2 T sized globs of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use an iceceam scoop) Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden.
Makes 24 cookies (but they don't last long...)