Aug 31, 2010

White Bean & Spinach Pizza

1/2 c. sun-dried tomato halves (not oil-packed)
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans or great northern beans, drained, rinsed
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 prebaked pizza crust (12 inch)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 c. spinach leaves, shredded
1/2 c. cheese

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Pour enough boiling water over dried tomatoes to cover; let stand 10 minutes. Drain. Cut into thin strips; set aside.
2. In food processor, place beans and garlic. Cover; process until smooth. Spread beans over pizza crust. Sprinkle with oregano, tomatoes, spinach and cheese. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Submitted by Shelley Schneider and Charise Cooley (from

Homemade Dry Onion Soup Mix

Create this at home if you don't have the Lipton package on hand...Super easy. You can pre-make your own to keep on hand.

4 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules
8 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper

Asparagus Soup

This is a German soup Paul ate on his mission and it has now become our favorite and Christmas tradition.

1/2 c. chopped onion
2 T butter
1 1/2-2 lbs white asparagus (or green; reserve heads to use at end; but cut the stems)
5 1/2-6 c. chicken broth (this is key...add more bouillon for flavor as desired)
opt. 1/2 c. cream/milk/etc.

salt and pepper to taste (don't skimp on the salt!)

1. Sautee onion in butter 4 minutes until soft
2. Add asparagus stems (not heads) and steam 5 minutes
3. Add broth and boil gently 30 minutes (until asparagus is soft)
4. Puree soup in blender; return to pan (may need to strain asparagus stem fibers out)
5. Add asparagus heads and simmer (med-low) 5 minutes
Serve hot with sour cream optional

Submitted by Shelley Schneider

Kettle Corn

1/3 c. peanut oil (vegetable oil)
3/4 c. popcorn kernels
1/3 c. sugar (brown sugar if you desire carmel corn)
1/2 tsp. salt
cinnamon (optional)

In a big 10 qt. pot with lid, place the peanut oil and popcorn kernels. On a med. high setting, when oil sizzles, sprinkle sugar over the kernels. Cover pot with lid and shake the pot as it is still on the stovetop until the popping of the corn slows down. Quickly remove and stir in the salt (cinnamon if desired). I like to quickly remove the pot and dump all the popcorn in a brown paper bag so as not to have it start sticking and letting the sugar burn on the bottom. The key to great kettle corn is to just keep shaking that pot over the stove so the whole kernel evenly cooks and doesn't get burned! ENJOY kettle-corn like you get at the fair!

Bok Choy Soup

4 garlic cloves
1 piece fresh ginger (1 in. square), cut into chunks
2 pork loin chops or beef steaks
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 T olive oil
4 c beef broth
2 T soy sauce
1 head bok choy
1 sm. onion, diced

1. Whirl garlic and ginger in a food processor until minced. Trim fat from pork.
Sprinkle meat with half of garlic mixture and all the salt.

2. Heat oil in a 5- to 6-qt. pan over high heat. Brown half the pork lightly, stirring occasionally, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer meat to a cutting board and cut across the grain into 1/4-in. slices.

3. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining garlic mixture and diced onion to pan and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add broth soy sauce and galungal root. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, trim end from bok choy, rinse, separate leaves, and cut in wide diagonal slices. Stir bok choy into stew and simmer just until wilted and tender. Stir in pork slices and cook until cooked through.

Optional: I like to throw in some rice noodles or serve over a bowl of jasmine rice to add a little bit more substance and my kids LOVE this light and delicious soup!

Swiss Chard Cakes with Mascarpone-Creamed Spinach

recipe by Douglas Keane

3 T unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced (or red onions)
1 garlic clove, minced
5 pounds Swiss chard (about 3 bunches w/ thick steams discarded)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups panko (coarse dry bread crumbs)
Dijon mustard, for brushing
1 pound baby spinach
1/4 cup mascarpone (cream cheese/sour cream mixture)
1/2 cup pure olive oil

1.In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add half of the minced shallots and all of the garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the Swiss chard and cook, tossing, until wilted. Transfer the chard to a colander and let cool. Press out as much liquid as possible and coarsely chop. Season with salt and pepper and press the chard into 6 patties; don't worry if they don't hold together.
2.In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle the mixture onto a work surface and set the chard cakes on top. Turn the cakes, pressing and squeezing them into compact patties and working in a little of the flour mixture as you go.
3.Spread the panko (bread crumbs) on a plate. Brush the tops of the cakes with mustard and invert them one at a time into the panko. Brush the bottoms with mustard and sprinkle panko on top; press to adhere. Transfer the cakes to a plate and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
4.In a large skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the remaining minced shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander and press out as much liquid as possible. Return the spinach to the skillet. Stir in the mascarpone and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
5.Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the chard cakes and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 6 minutes. Spoon the spinach onto plates and top with the chard cakes. Serve right away.

*Hint: I cut the recipe in half and is nice with a piece of meat and some small red potatoes...YUM!

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

1 lg sweet potato, cut into French fries
2 t. canola oil

1 t. garlic
salt and pepper to taste

1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2.Combine all ingredients except pepper.
3.Spread the fries out in a single layer, spread apart, on two large baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside. Thinner fries may not take as long.
4. Season with fresh pepper and most as if desired (right when they come out of the oven).

other options
- add garlic
- add rosemary and garlic
- add cinnamon (without the pepper)
- add cumin and/or chili powder

*from AV Thomas Produce - Costco Yam's

Aug 30, 2010

Wheat Thin Crackers

1 3/4 c. Wheat Flour
1 1/2 c. White Flour
1/3 c. oil
3/4 t. salt
1 c. water
opt. add 1-3 T honey

1. Mix together dry ingredients (dry sweetener goes here, otherwise, wet sweetener goes with wet ingredients)
2. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients (don't over mix)
4. Roll out as thin as possible (1/8") and use the blunt side of a knife, or fork prong to make vertical and horizontal lines (for 1" square crackers). But don't cut all the way through the dough. A prick each square with the fork.

5. Bake on a baking stone (or cookie sheet--greased if you use butter instead of oil. I use those silicon liners) at 350 for 30 minutes (pull out before they get golden!!).

Heart-Healthy Choc. Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 c. walnuts
3 T. oil
1 c. brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. oat flour (ground oats)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 c. rolled oats
1 c. choc. chips

1. Blend walnuts to fine meal; add oil and blend together (nut butter)
2. Boil sugar in a pan with 1/2 c. water
3. Mix sugar and nut butter together
4. In separate bowl mix all dry ingredients
5. Stir wet and dry ingredients together; cool 10 minutes
6. Fold in last two ingredients
7. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 for 8-10 minutes

Submitted by Shelley Schneider

Aug 25, 2010

Corn and Zucchini Medley

4 slices bacon
2 c. chopped zucchini
1 1/2 c. fresh corn kernels
1 small onion, chopped
1 pinch pepper
1/4 c. feta cheese

1.Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings. Drain bacon, chop, and set aside.
2.Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Saute the zucchini, corn, and onion until tender but still crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper. Spoon vegetables into a bowl, and sprinkle with chopped bacon and cheese.

Homemade Pesto

*pesto used for chicken pesto pasta

1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup parsley or spinach leaves (or cooked peas)
handful almonds or walnuts, ground
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup parmesan
2 T olive oil

1. Blend up all ingredients except oil
2. add the oil
*This only lasts for a week, so a good idea is to freeze them in ice cube trays and then put them in a bag, so you can just pull out one or two whenever you need them (I date them by month and year and use within 6 months).
a) serve with pasta noodles (add more oil as needed)
b) spread on pizza cust instead of pizza sauce
c) use inside grilled cheese sandwich (ham & swiss = delightful)

Cheesy Dill Popcorn

Paul & my favorite movie snack:
4 c. popcorn
2 T. butter
1 t. salt
1 t. dill
1/2 c. shredded aged white cheddar cheese (or parmesan could work)

Submitted by Shelley Schneider

Homemade Ceasar Dressing

This is a version that doesn't require egg or any difficult prep.

1 T dried lemon peel
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
1 t oregano, dried
1 t thyme, dried
6 T parmesan, grated
1/2 t salt

Mix all and store tightly in fridge.
To prepare: Add 1/4 mix with 1/2 c oil and 1/4 c lemon juice.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

You can just make this mix ahead of time and keep until needed. No more needing to buy a packet of this from the store.

2/3 c parsley, dried
1/3 c onion, dried
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T dill, dried
1/4 t pepper

To prepare: combine 1 cup of this mix with 1 cup mayo and 1 cup buttermilk (you can try just using plain yogurt or milk with 1 T lemon juice that sits in it for 5 minutes before mixing with other ingredients.)

Simple Steak Seasoning

Why buy it from the store if the recipe calls for it. You could prob. get by with this simple steak seasoning recipe.

3 T salt
3 T paprika
2 T pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T thyme, dried

"Laborade" Drink

Here's a homemade version of the familiar drink of athletes--gatorade--without extra ingredients you can't pronounce. It provides carbohydrates, electrolytes, and minerals to help keep your body chemistry balanced. I've heard this is also good during labor when you need to drink, hence the title.

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-2 calcium tablets, crushed
Add enough water to make one quart

You can add an additional eight ounces of water for a milder flavor, or you can flavor this blend with your favorite juice.

Aug 24, 2010

Red Lentil Curry

2 c. red lentils (we bought orange Dal from an Indian Market)
1 onion, diced
1 T. vegetable oil
2 T. curry powder
1 t. ground turmeric
1 t. cumin powder
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1 t. white sugar
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. ginger powder
1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree

1.Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear (this is very important or the lentils will get "scummy"), put the lentils in a pot with water to cover and simmer covered until lentils tender (add more water if necessary).
2.While the lentils are cooking: In a large skillet or saucepan, caramelize the onions in vegetable oil.
3.While the onions are cooking, combine the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix well. When the onions are cooked, add the curry mixture to the onions and cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
4.Stir in the tomato puree and reduce heat, allow the curry base to simmer until the lentils are ready.
5.When the lentils are tender drain them briefly (they should have absorbed most of the water but you don't want the curry to be too sloppy). Mix the curry base into the lentils and serve immediately.

Submitted by Shelley Schneider (from

Easy Chickpea Curry

1 T. butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 t. curry powder
2 t. garam masala
1/2 t. ground paprika
1/2 t. white sugar
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground turmeric
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
2 potatoes, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 c. milk
2 T. ketchup
2 T. sour cream
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1/4 c. ground almonds, or as needed

1.Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Cook and stir the onion and garlic in the melted butter for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Sprinkle in curry powder, garam masala, paprika, sugar, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook and stir 3 to 4 more minutes, until spices are lightly toasted.
2.Mix in the garbanzo beans, potatoes, coconut milk, tomato, milk, ketchup, sour cream, and bouillon cubes. Simmer the curry over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in ground almonds to thicken.

Submitted by Shelley Schneider (from

Aug 23, 2010

Chicken Zucchini Tostadas

1 t. cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2 t. oil
12 oz chicken, cubed
1 c. chopped onion (opt. = red)
1 c. corn
1 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. salsa
3 T chopped fresh cilantro, divided
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1 c. cheese

Preheat broiler.
Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring well. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Add onion, corn, and zucchini to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in salsa and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.
Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 3/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle each serving with about 3/4 teaspoon of remaining cilantro. Serve immediately.

Submitted by Shelley Schneider