Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year from Mormon Mavens

On this eve of a new year, we would like to take the time to wish you and your families a joyous 2016.   We hope it will bring everything you need, with some good surprises along the way.

2016 will bring new and exciting things to our blog, so stay tuned for news from us as we update and refresh Mormon Mavens--for real.  We know you have been waiting patiently for us to do something.  Good things take time.

Meanwhile, here is a little food-related quiz that we would love to hear your answers to:

  In the South, we have some food traditions on New Year's Day.  Collards, black-eyed peas and cornbread all stand for something for the new year.  Do you know what they represent?  Post a reply and let us know!  

If you have your own traditional New Year's fare, reply and let us know what you will be having to ring in 2016 at your house.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jezebel Sauce

This recipe was originally posted on October 10, 2013.  We get quite a bit of Pinterest traffic on this one, so just thought we would share it again for the holidays.  It's a tasty, easy dish to throw together when you have to take a treat to share at a party.

Here's a quick and easy appetizer or snack for a party. It's a spicier take on the traditional cranberry based sauce--you know that's why it's named after Jezebel...

 1 ( 18-oz.) Jar pineapple preserves (couldn't find these at Food Lion, so I substituted crushed
 pineapple and a little sugar)
1 (18-oz.) Jar apricot preserves
 1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 (5.25-oz.) Jar prepared horseradish (I actually used the 3.5-oz. size which was plenty!)
1 tablespoon dry mustard

  1. In a large bowl, combine preserves, marmalade,horseradish, and dry mustard. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Makes about 3 cups.
     2.  Serve over a brick of cream cheese.

Source:  Paula Deen

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kristen's Lime Punch

This recipe was originally published on December 4, 2014.

It's party planning time and you know what that means--scrambling for the fave recipes that will wow your crowds. If you need a super easy, incredibly tasty punch, this is your lucky day. It goes well with any venue you can throw at it. Do you wonder about the name?  I first tried this at a Pampered Chef party given by my friend, Kristen, in Horizon City, Texas back in the late 90s.  Kristen, if you are out there in the blogosphere and happen to see this recipe, say hello!  Last time I got a Christmas card you guys were still in the midwest and your husband was working at...hmmm...Indiana University?

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6-oz. can of frozen  limeade concentrate
Juice of 2 limes
2 liter bottle of lemon-lime soda

Boil sugar and water together until sugar dissolves.  Chill.  Squeeze juice of 2 limes and add to chilled sugar water.  Make the limeade according to directions on can.  Add to sugar-lime water.  Add lemon-lime soda to taste--don't use the whole 2 liter bottle.  Just taste as you go.

Toast to America! (my family will totally get this.)

  • I like to add crushed ice (Sonic ice is the best, if you can get it!) or make a decorative ice ring ahead of time from the punch before adding the soda.
  • Just googled this great tip from for rimming glasses with sugar (or salt)--get a section of a tangerine or clementine, cut a small slit in it and then run it around the rim of your glass.  Dip glass in sugar and viola!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

This is such a delicious recipe and truly a healthy comfort food. Perfect for this time of year. I have always wanted to try this kind of recipe, since I have never cooked with a butternut squash before. Easy peasy. And when I tasted it for the first time I was transported back in time and space to an appetizer soup that I was served at Alejandro's in El Paso, Texas. I have wanted that recipe FOR.EV.ERRRR. Now I have one!


6 Tablespoons chopped onion
4 Tablespoons butter
6 cups cooked butternut squash - cooking instructions below (about 2 squashes)
3 cups of water
4 cubes (or 4 Tablespoons) chicken bouillon (I used 4 t. bouillon powder)
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
Black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 8-oz package cream cheese
Oregano to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

1. Cut the butternut squash in half. Scoop out all the gunk in the middle, if you have any. Some of mine did not. Here's a tip: I had a hard time cutting the squash lengthwise so I cut across the middle and then vertically on each half. Place cut-side down on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Add 1-2 cups of water to the pan to help it soften faster. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until soft and collapses to the touch.

2. While your squash is cooking, cook your onion in butter until soft.

3. Scoop out the cooked squash and put it in a blender along with the cooked onion and all other ingredients. Blend until smooth and well mixed. You can also use an immersion blender if you have mad immersion skills. I am still learning. You should see the printed recipe I had to go from--splatter city!

4. Return to saucepan and heat through, but don’t allow it to boil. Add more seasonings to taste if desired.

5. I served this with brown, wholegrain rolls from Walmart. Yummy! But crusty bread would be good or even a bread bowl.....must try that myself.

SOURCE: Jordan Page

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mike's Baked Fritatta

We have a guest post today.  My husband decided to cook breakfast one day and he thought it might make a good Mormon Mavens post!  Perfect for me because I have had a long day and don't have time to whip up something myself.  Good thing he dictated the recipe to me that day.

4-6 large eggs, beaten ( add 1 T. of water to this)
1 t. all-purpose seasoning
2 t. freeze-dried spinach, re-hydrated
1 t. chopped green onion
1 t. freeze-dried mixed bell peppers, re-hydrated
1/4 cup sausage crumbles
1 cup Colby Jack cubes

1.  Heat 1 T. of oil (he used coconut oil) over medium-high heat in a medium skillet.  Add vegetables and saute for a couple of minutes.

2.  Add beaten eggs with seasoning, and the cubed cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended over medium heat.

3.  Transfer to a greased round baking dish and put in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  Top with grated Mozzerella cheese and heat until that is melted.

Source: Mike Jenkins.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sunday Night Stir Fry

I was really craving something quick and healthy to eat on Sunday evening--and something that I could just create from what I had on hand.  Fortunately, I had some cut up rotisserie chicken left over from making chopped salad (heaven in a bowl) and several veggies in the fridge that desperately needed to be used before they were unrecognizable.  You know what I'm talking about--those things you buy at the store when you think you are finally going to cook at home and fix all healthy dishes and then life happens, other agendas take over, and there is not time to do anything but go out to eat.  Happens too often at my house, although I do enjoy eating out.  Alas, sometimes even that gets old.  Anyway, here is what I came up with.  I am adding this to my recently-started list of definite menu winners.  I have just got to get organized with a 2 week list of "we will definitely eat this and love it" so that we CAN eat at home more often. 


1 cup cooked or grilled chicken, cut in bite-size chunks
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 or 3 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut up
Carrots (mine were already julienned)
Snow peas, cut in half
Red onion, about 1/8 cup, chopped coarsely
Sesame seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt to taste
All-purpose seasoning, to taste
1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1.  Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add all ingredients and stir fry until veggies are just tender and chicken is heated through.

2. Serve with rice.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Risotto with Brussels Sprouts & Browned Butter

Yes it has Brussels Sprouts and yes it is delicious!  How can we have Brussels Sprouts and delicious in the same sentence?  Did not think that was possible.  The Pioneer Woman does work miracles and I snagged this one from her on Facebook.  Holy moly.  Now, I did not use the European Style Super Premium Butter she used--just regular butter.  I can't even imagine what it would taste like with the fancy stuff.  Next time I make this, I might try--if I can find it.  Let me just say that we were "testing" the sprouts before adding them in to the risotto and just those alone--after having been sauteed in the butter--was amazing.  One tip, though: be sure you have no leftovers.  When I reheated this a few days later the sprouts weren't all that.  Just sayin'.


1 stick (1/2 cup)  Land O' Lakes European Style Super Premium Butter, or just regular butter 
2 cups trimmed and halved Brussels Sprouts (about half pound--I found these bagged and ready
1 whole medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio Rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed (more if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
2 t. fresh thyme leaves (or you can adjust and use dried)
Parmesan cheese for serving

1.  Heat a large, high-sided skillet (nonstick is best) over medium-low heat.  Add butter and allow to melt completely.  Continue letting it heat to a very gentle bubble--swirling the pan to keep it from burning--until butter starts to brown.  There will be golden solids in the bottom of the pan and the liquid will be deep golden brown.  Pour half the browned butter into a heatproof bowl and set aside.

2.  Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and increase heat to medium. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until slightly tender.  Remove from pan and set aside. 

3.  Add the onion , garlic, and 1 T. of the browned butter to the skillet and stir, cooking for 3-4 minutes, until translucent and golden.  

4.  Add the rice and stir for 1 minute.  Add 1 cup of the warm broth, stirring while it absorbs.  Continue adding the warm broth a cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.  Test for tenderness and add more broth if necessary.

5.  When the rice is tender but still has a slight al dente bite to it, stir in Brussels sprouts, thyme, salt, pepper, and the remaining browned butter.

6.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. 

Source:  The Pioneer Woman

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mormon Morsels: Conference Nuggets

Wow.  We haven't posted one of these in a while, so quickly before the morning session of Conference comes on, I am going to share a few thoughts that I get from watching or listening to our Church leaders twice a year.

  • Simplify your approach to Discipleship.  Start where you are.
  • Our individual missions in life started way before we ever came to this earth.
  • I am a child of God.  Therefore, what?
  • No matter where we are, we are the Lord's agents.  We are always on His errand.
  • We are not always aware of what the Lord's sacrifice has done for us.
  • Referring to trials/challenges: It is our load.  Bearing it is necessary on our path to eternal life.  Don't expect to carry it alone.  Seek help.
  • We were tutored in the pre-existence and were given trials and challenges unique to us.
  • For the women of the Church:  Relax and rejoice in our differences and sisterhood.  We need deep, meaningful relationships with each other.
  • Learn to recognize the power of the Atonement in your life
  • The Lord sees weaknesses differently than he does rebellion.
  • You must become the rock the river cannot wash away.
  • Challenges:  some have to be solved, some have to be endured.

Okay!  These were just some that stood out to me from notes I have taken over the past couple of years.  I hope some of them have meaning to you and will help you in your journey.  I am happy to share them and have been strengthened by reading over them again.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mango Lemonade

Over the past several days I have had the opportunity to taste two different versions of Mango Lemonade--one at Outback Steakhouse, and one at Applebee's.  They were both good, but the Outback version was OUTstanding!  I tried to replicate that at home.

Mango syrup, nectar or fresh puree
Lemonade, tangy

1.  Pour desired amount of lemonade in glass.  Add mango to taste.  Add ice.

The quantities you use are according to your taste.  Make sure your lemonade is tart, and if you have carbonated water try using that.  I didn't have any and I think that would be closer to the Outback version.  So good.  And you get more than one free refill if you make it at home!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Breakfast Tostadas

I am currently in a breakfast funk. It's hard to come up with healthy choices when you are used to just throwing some milk and Cheerios in a bowl.   Anyone else out there grow up with cold cereal for the first meal of the day?  I would bet there are a lot of us.  Nothing against Mom--she did the best she could for her kiddos.  I can even remember a time when she was trying to get creative with some healthier options, but we just didn't cooperate very well, except with the frozen banana with peanut butter and wheat germ.  That is STILL a winner!  Maybe that should be a future post!  Stay tuned.

Anyway, as I was scouring my Pinterest folders for some ideas for my post this week, I found this gem and thought it would be a great recipe to share, plus maybe I will love breakfast again.  Plus, their picture looked so colorful and amazing.  By the way, this dish is so easy to prepare and you can do it with the messiest of counters. I had just gotten back from work and the store, plus as I was putting food away I noticed how nasty the fridge looked.  Took all the stuff off the shelves and out of the drawers and that was also on my counters, and I was able to make my tostada amidst the chaos.  Score!  And after my tostada, I cleaned/reorganized the fridge.

1  16-oz. can of re-fried beans
6 tostada shells
6 eggs
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
1 avocado, sliced
hot sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Place tostada shells in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake 6-7 minutes or until crisp.

2.  Place re-fried beans in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until warmed through. For those using freeze-dried beans, follow the directions on the package/can.  Mine was super easy and I made only as much as I needed.

3.  Cook eggs according to preference--I like slightly under cooked.

4.  Assemble the tostadas--put equal amounts of re-fried beans on each tostada and spread evenly.  Top each with queso, a few avocado slices.  Place an egg on each one and season with salt and pepper.  You can also use cilantro and some hot sauce or salsa, if you like.  I used hot sauce because, unfortunately, I did not have any fresh salsa ready.  Serve warm.

Source:  Taste and Tell via Pinterest.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake

I have a couple of dinner guests tonight--sweet missionaries from my church--and there is some gluten and dairy intolerance.  Makes for a lot of fun figuring out something to prepare for dinner. Fortunately (or not) the world seems to be going gluten- and dairy-free so there is a plethora of recipes out there.  I found this one via Facebook and thought I would give it a whirl.  It's a little bitter for my taste, but I am going to use a berry compote to sweeten it up.  Hope it works!  By the way, that is not a giant fork on the plate, but I did serve small wedges of the cake.

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. (about 4-5 large) egg whites
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce (I used regular Cinnamon applesauce because that is what I had in my pantry)
1/3 c. canned pure pumpkin (I used fresh from my freezer)
1/4 c. Truvia spoonable calorie-free sweetener
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
3 T. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a 9" round cake pan with foil and generously spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor.  Puree until completely smooth and uniform.
  3. Fold in 1 T. chocolate chips (hmm...this could be why mine wasn't sweet enough.  I dumped 2 T. before I looked back at my recipe.)
  4. Spread mixture into the baking pan and smooth out the top.
  5. Evenly distribute the remaining chocolate chips over the top and lightly press into the batter.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  I used convection bake for about 28 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
  8. Makes 8 servings.  Top with fresh fruit, compote, whipped cream--use your imagination.
  9. Refrigerate leftover cake.  I will be serving mine chilled.  I think it will taste better.

SOURCE:  Hungry Girl via Facebook.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Aggression Cookies

Hey everyone! I am just bringing back and oldie but a goodie--literally.  Due to a busy week ahead, I thought it would be fun to repost this yummy cookie recipe.  Hope you enjoy.  Maybe you could even whip up a batch and have ready for those school lunches or after school "cookie talks" with the kiddos!

Do you ever just want to stick your hands down into something squishy and just work it until you've gotten rid of all those pent-up complaints/murmurings/naggings/why-can't-you-put-the-toilet-paper-on-the-holders/pick-up-your-clothes-I-am-not-your-maids?  Yes ma'am, this is your kind of recipe.  Check it out.  I apologize for not having a picture of me mixing my dough, but I am no good at selfies and I was by "myselfie" at the time.

3 cups brown sugar, packed
6 cups quick cooking oats
3 cups flour
6 sticks butter, very soft (almost melted)
1 T. baking soda

1.  Put all ingredients in a huge bowl and mix by hand until well incorporated, or until the smile returns to your face.  LOL...
2.  Form dough into small balls (smaller than a walnut in the shell) and place on ungreased cookie sheet (I like to use parchment paper on the sheets.). 
3.  Butter the bottom of a small glass, dip into granulated sugar and press each cookie ball.  Re-dip glass in sugar each time.
4.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
5.  Makes about 11 dozen cookies.

Source:  Pat Brew, Brew Family Cookbook, Vol. 2.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I have collected so many recipes over the years, but the ones I have kept the longest were from college--from  roommates or classes or church homemaking activities.  This is a favorite every time I make it--which isn't often enough.  Everyone raves about it.  I had never even heard of rhubarb until Mom Metzger made it for Sunday dessert when I went home with my roommate, Cindy, over break.  I was like, "That looks like celery, but it's red.  Is it a fruit or a vegetable?" (that's probably not what I actually said.  It was 1980.  Who remembers?) was amazing.  I made the pie a few days ago and decided I needed to know what kind of food this was.  Check out the collage below for the answer.

1 qt. rhubarb, cut up into 1/2" little chunks 
3/4 - 1 cup sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 cup tapioca
3-oz. strawberry Jell-O
about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water

1.  Mix everything but the Jell-O together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
2.  Add the Jell-O and stir to evenly combine.  
3.  Pour into prepared pie crust. Dot with butter, if desired.
4.  Place top crust over pie and flute the edges to seal.
5.  Cut slits in top crust to vent.
6.  Bake 40 minutes at 425 F.
7.  Cool in refrigerator.

*Note:  the filling may boil over a bit so be sure to have something under your pie to catch any drippings.

Source: Cindy Wilson's Mom in Buhl, Idaho, 1980.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Sometimes I just forget about Pinterest.  Can you even fathom that?  And really, that is not a bad thing.  But once in a while I will go to my boards and find something that I really want to try.  This week it is this yummy bread--reminiscent of the bread at Macaroni Grill.  Just sayin'.  When I made this tonight, I put together a little "Italian Salsa" to dip the bread in, just like in a restaurant.  When we lived El Paso, Texas,  we went to another Italian place called Johnny Carino's--best Chicken Scaloppini on the planet, by the way--and when the waiter brought out the bread, he poured some olive oil in a little plate, added a little balsamic vinegar and some herbs and BAM!  He called it Italian Salsa.  You know because we were in Mexican salsa territory.  Get it?

1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 T. sugar
2 t. active dry yeast
1 t. salt
2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped (you can use 2 t. dried, instead)
1/4 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 t. black pepper
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour 
1/2 cup bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 egg, whisked with 1 T. water, for egg wash
dried rosemary for sprinkling on top

1.  In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and yeast.  Let sit 10 minutes to proof.

2.  Stir in the salt, fresh rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and whole wheat flour.  Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball.  Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, adding in more flour to prevent sticking and for a smooth dough.

3.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4.  Punch down the dough and form into a round loaf.  Place on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or parchment paper (I used this), cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, preheat oven and a pizza stone to 400 degrees F.  When the dough has risen, gently brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with some dried rosemary.

6.  Bake  for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap on it.

SOURCE:  A Hint of Honey via Pinterest

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Non-Alcoholic Substitutions

I don't know about you, but as a cook who doesn't partake of alcoholic beverages, I have a hard time figuring out what to substitute in recipes that call for wine and liquor.  I was looking through a cookbook the other day to figure out my next blog post and found this list of substitutions that seem to be pretty good.  It's a little lengthy, but comprehensive.


  • Liquor/Liqueurs--sub an equal amount of fruit juice
  • Wine--sub equal amount of fruit juice plus 1 T. vinegar


  • Liquor/Wine--sub equal amount of liquid: chicken, beef or vegetable broth, or even water.  Add 1 T. of red wine vinegar or white vinegar for a little zing.  Also consider available non-alcoholic wines, but still add a vinegar to balance their sweetness.


  • 2 T. Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur--sub 2 T. unsweetened orange juice concentrate.
  • 2 T. Rum/Brandy--sub water, white grape juice, or apple juice.
  • 1/4 c.or more White Wine--sub equal measure of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or clam juice (If      using non-alcoholic wine, add 1 T. vinegar to cut the sweetness.
  • 1/4 c. or more Red Wine--sub equal amount of chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, clam juice, flavored vinegar, fruit juices, apples cider, and non-alcoholic wines (remember the vinegar trick).


  • 2 T. Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur--sub 2 T. orange juice and 1/2 t. orange extract.
  • 2 T. Rum/Brandy--sub 1/2 to 1 t. rum or brandy extract for recipes in which liquid amount is not crucial.  Add water, white grape juice, or apple juice, if necessary, to get the right amount of liquid.
  • 2 T. Amaretto--sub 1/4 to 1/2 t. almond extract.
  • 2 T. Sherry or Bourbon--sub 1 to 2 t. vanilla extract.
  • 2 T. Chocolate Liqueur--sub 1/2 to 1 t. chocolate extract plus 1/2 to 1 t. coffee granules dissolved in 2 T. water (I don't drink coffee either, so if you know of another way, let me know)
  • For 1/4 c. or more port wine/sweet sherry/rum/ brandy/fruit-flavored liqueur--sub equal measure of orange juice or apples juice plus 1 t. of corresponding flavored extract or vanilla extract.

Source: Just a list stuck in my cookbook.
Image courtesy of

Thursday, June 18, 2015

White Texas Sheet Cake

White Texas Sheet Cake.  Hmmmm.  For a southern girl who has only had the chocolate version, this seemed a bit unnatural, but I was game, so I tried the recipe for my daughter's 27th birthday.  Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.  It was so good, and we were all snatching little pieces of it the rest of the evening.  I had to give half to my daughter to take home because I knew I would not be able to stay away from it.  Enjoy this.  And definitely use the coarse sugar sprinkles.

1 c. butter
1 c. water
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. almond extract
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

FROSTING: (Mix well in large bowl. Frost cooled cake.)

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. almond extract

1.  Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

2.  In a saucepan, bring water and butter to boil and add to dry ingredients.

3.  Mix eggs and sour cream together in a small bowl and add to mix, along with almond extract.

4.  Pour into a jelly roll pan and bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 minutes.

5.  Cool and frost. Coarse sugar sprinkles are great on top.

SOURCE:  Shawni Pothier

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

I could not tell you how many times I have prepared a roast this way.  I learned it from a roommate in college, and have used it ever since.  Everyone loves it and I rarely fix it any other way.  So easy, so delish.  This is my favorite roast beef dish.  It's actually cooking in my CrockPot, as we speak.

3-4 lb. chuck roast (cheaper cuts are fine, because the slow cooker tenderizes everything)
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 10-oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup (Golden Mushroom is great, as well)

1.  Place roast in slow cooker.

2. Sprinkle onion soup mix over roast.

3.  Spread condensed soup over top of roast.

4.  Cook on HIGH 4-6 hours (you can cook this on low; just make the time adjustment.  I usually only have time to cook on HIGH!)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Low Country Beef & Rice

Have I ever told you how much I love one dish meals?  Seriously.  They just find me and I love to make them.  I found this one in a great cookbook that I have already shared.  It's called Saving Dinner.  So Sunday was a good day to throw this one together since I had been on church assignment 1 1/2 hours away for half the day.  And just a little note, I left out the fresh, chopped tomatoes when I first made this.  They were right there in the dish drain but we were in such a hurry to eat, I forgot about them.  I added them in the next day and reheated the dish for my supper and believe me it was even better!

3/4 lb. extra-lean ground beef (I used a whole pound and it was fine.)
1 stalk celery, chopped fine (used my re-hydrated Thrive celery, already chopped.)
1 large onion, chopped (or re-hydrate some Thrive chopped onion, no tears.)
1 small green pepper, chopped (what do you think?  Yep, freeze-dried green peppers)
1 t. Cajun seasoning
1 cup oats (recipe did not specify, so I used quick oats)
3 cups brown rice (I had some Sushi rice to use up)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped--don't forget!!
2 11.5-oz. cans V-8 juice

1.  In a skillet, over medium-high heat, cook beef, celery, onion, bell pepper, and Cajun seasoning about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is brown and vegetables are tender.

2.  Blot any excess grease with a paper towel.  I didn't have any grease.

3.  Stir in oats and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients.

4.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

Source:  Leanne Ely, "Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table," p. 148.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Roasted Baby Red Potatoes with Garlic & Thyme

So how many great recipes have you gotten off of a food package?  Yeah, me too!  This one came in really handy.  I had to come up with a meal on the fly while in the meat section of Walmart.  I decided to get small red potatoes because they would cook fast and I did not have a lot of time after work to put this meal together.  As I was preparing to boil the potatoes--and I hate waiting for the water to boil--I saw this recipe on the bag and thought that roasting would be so much quicker.  And there you go--a tasty side dish that was not a lot of work.

1.5 lbs. baby red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, chopped (I just used whatever minced garlic I had in the fridge.  I need to buy some more)
6 sprigs fresh thyme, or you can use dried thyme.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  
  2. Combine all ingredients in baking dish and mix well.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned.
  4. Stir gently a couple of times during cooking time.
  5. Remove from oven and serve warm.

NOTE:  I am going to add some chopped onion next time.  I think that would be really yummy.

SOURCE:  Melissa's Baby Red Potatoes, package recipe. Check out their site HERE.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lemon Mashed Potatoes

When I was a kid, my mom used to make lemon potatoes. She would cut and par-boil her potatoes and then pour lemon juice over them and add some dried parsley. I decided to alter the recipe a bit and came up with this yummy version of lemon mashed potatoes. It is a great side dish to go along with fish and I like to make them with my halibut cakes. They have a lot of lemon flavor without being too sour.

Lemon Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. Butter
1/3-1/2 C. Lemon juice
2 tsp. Lemon zest
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Chopped fresh parsley (or a little bit of dried parsley)
Pepper to taste 

1. Scrub the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until tender. 10-20 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes, add in the butter and milk and mash with a masher until you reach your desired consistency.
3. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper.


Serves about 6-8

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Succotash Soup

This is a tasty, healthy soup but it does require some planning ahead.  If you are using fresh veggies, then I would prep them earlier in the day or the day before.  I used freeze-dried foods and just had to re-hydrate them during some of the cooking time.  I found this in a really cool cookbook called Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely.  You should check it out.  Lot's of good stuff, besides recipes.  I like the way the book is organized by season, so that you are eating foods that are available and better for you during certain times of the year.

1 10-oz. bag frozen lima beans
1 cup water
2 14.5-oz. cans of chicken broth*
1 T. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup chopped onion*
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper*
1/2 cup chopped celery*
3/4 cup chopped green onions*
2 1/2 t. dried whole thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash cayenne pepper
1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (or already diced)
1 11-oz. can whole kernel corn*

1. Place lima beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.

2.  Drain beans; add 1 cup water and broth.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until beans are tender.

3.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper and celery; saute 2 minutes.  Add green onions; saute 1 minute.

4.  Add onion mixture, thyme, and remaining ingredients to bean mixture and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

*This is where I substituted freeze-dried veggies or other items from my Home Store.

Serves 10.  Freezes well.  Leanne suggests serving with a big green salad and whole grain rolls. Sounds like a good plan to me!

Source:  Saving Dinner, Leanne Ely, p. 133.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fluffy Yogurt Frosting

This is a recipe that my mom used to make. It is just whipped cream with yogurt folded in. It is a light alternative to heavy frosting recipes. However, it is a pretty soft consistency and is best suited for sheet cakes or 9x13 baked cakes. You can change the flavor of the frosting by using different yogurt flavors and I like to garnish the cake with fresh fruit that corresponds with the yogurt I use.

1 pint of heavy whipping cream (2 Cups)
1/4-1/2 C. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 or 2 containers (6-12oz.) of yogurt (flavor of your choice)

In a stand mixer of with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the yogurt.
Spread on your cake and garnish with fresh fruit. (refrigerate the leftovers-including the frosted cake)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tres Leches Cake

Has anyone out there noticed that I post a lot of recipes for Hispanic foods?  We lived in El Paso, Texas for 6 1/2 years--right there on the US/Mexico border. Oh my yum!  Last night we had the sister missionaries over for dinner.  One of them had completed her mission and was heading back home to Arizona this week. She wanted her last dinner appointment in her mission to be at our house and she wanted a fiesta!  So cool that both missionaries are Hispanic.  They know how much we love Mexican food so I was happy to oblige. Chile Rellenos, Spanish Rice, Frijoles Charros and Tres Leches Cake.  The rellenos were homemade, but I bought my favorite rice and someday I will learn to make the beans, but for now canned is great.

For those who have never had Tres Leches (3 milks), this cake is meant to be soggy.  If yours turns out dry, you didn't make it right.  Just sayin'.


3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided (or not.  I forgot to divide, so my cake was a little sweeter.  Who cares?)
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract, divided
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cream of tartar
1 cup whole milk (I had 2% and it was fine)
1 12-oz can evaporated  milk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 T. rum (we don't drink so I used 2 T. rum flavoring--I Googled this)
Fresh fruit for garnish--I recommend mango, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi combined.
I cut them up a little bigger than a dice.  Leave the blueberries whole.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9 baking dish.  I like using glass for this, so I adjusted the oven temp to 325.

2.  Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy.  Add 1 t. vanilla.  Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well.

3.  Combine four, baking powder and cream of tartar.  Add to slowly to butter mixture and beat well. Spread batter in pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.

4.  Stir together milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk.  Pour 3 cups over cake*.  Reserve remaining milk mixture to serve with cake.  Refrigerate cake.

5.  Combine heavy cream, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/2 t. of vanilla and rum or rum flavoring. Beat until thick and spread over cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6.  Pour leftover milk mixture onto dessert plates.  Slice chilled cake into squares and place on plates. Garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.  Serves 16.

Source:  I clipped this from a magazine, so I am guessing Better Homes & Gardens.

*no need to poke holes in the cake before you pour your milk mixture over it.  The cake does absorb the liquid very easily.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Play Dough

2 C. Flour
1 C. Table Salt
2 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 C. water

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot. Cook and stir over medium heat til it comes together and clears the sides of the pot. It will get tough to stir. Remove from heat, knead the play dough and add food coloring or essential oils for colored/scented dough. Mix til smooth.

Store cooled play dough in a ziploc bag. It should last for several weeks or a couple months.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Almond Butter Quinoa Brownies

I am not saying that I have jumped on the quinoa bandwagon, but I got a free "Eating Well" magazine in the mail this past week and was just flipping through it and left it open on the kitchen island.  Next thing you know I have a request to make these lovelies.  Okay, I was game.  These are actually pretty good.  And I had all of the ingredients on-hand, including a hand-crank grinder that I haven't used in forever*.  Pretty handy little tool, really.  Mental note to use this more often.  

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used salted because that is what I had.  Paula Deen says that's okay.)
3/4 cup smooth or crunchy natural almond butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cup quinoa flour (I used my hand-crank grinder to make this)
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil allowing it to slightly overhang on opposite ends so you have "handles" to lift the blondies out of the pan.  Coat the foil with cooking spray. Seriously. These things are a little sticky when you cut them and pull them off of the foil.

2.  Beat butter and almond butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy.  Beat in eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.  Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

3.  Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes--until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.  DO NOT OVER BAKE.

5.  Remove from oven and let cool about 45 minutes in the pan.  Lift the blondies out of the pan with the foil  and transfer to a cutting board.  Let cool completely and cut into bars.

6.  Makes 24 blondies.

7.  These should keep up to 5 days in the fridge, in an air-tight container.

*Check out this cool grinder...

SOURCE:  Eating Well Magazine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chicken Satay and Thai Peanut Sauce

For this post, you get two recipes in one! The chicken satay recipe came from here. And the most amazing Thai Peanut Sauce recipe came from here.

Thai Chicken Satay:

2 normal to large sized chicken breasts
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 wooden skewers

1. Soak the skewers in water while prepping your chicken and sauce. This will help keep the skewers from burning when you place them on the grill. 
2. Cut the chicken into thin slices. 

3. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, add the chicken and massage. The chicken does not need to marinate in the sauce for very long, in fact only a few minutes. Place the chicken on skewers and drop them on the grill at medium heat. Flip the skewer just before you start to see grill marks on the chicken. This makes for the perfect “doneness” without drying it out. 

This marinade also goes great with shrimp! 

For the Thai Peanut Sauce:

One 13.5-ounce can of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
2 ounces (approximately ¼ cup) of Thai red or Massaman curry paste
¾ cup unsweetened (natural) creamy peanut butter (Do not use regular peanut butter or anything with added emulsifiers. I get mine fresh ground in the bulk section at Winco.)
½ tablespoon salt
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (Do not use white wine, red wine, balsamic, or anything else — not even rice vinegar)
½ cup water

Put everything into a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat; be careful not to let the mixture scorch at the bottom of the pot.
Take the pot off the heat, let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with satay or fried tofu.

This peanut sauce keeps in a glass container in the refrigerator for weeks. Refrigerated sauce will thicken up considerably. All you have to do is thin it out with a little bit of water to desired consistency, reheat, and serve. The sauce also freezes beautifully.