Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Before you set out to organize your meals, here are some things to consider:

* How many people are you cooking for?
* How many weeks are you planning for?
* Are you going to cook everyday?
* What meals are you planning for? (just dinner or others as well)
* Are you cooking side dishes with every meal/dinner?
* Where are you going to write down what you planned?

Answering these questions has helped me to plan my menu for 4 weeks. I have a little index card with 4 columns- one for each week of the month. When it is time to plan meals for the week I look at my card, see which week I'm on and assign each day a meal from my list. I shop every week and I only use cash. Seems extreme, but it is one of the best tools for sticking to a budget. I cook Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday are leftovers, homemade pizza, or grilled cheese...etc. Sunday evenings we have pancakes or waffles, fresh fruit, and scrambled eggs. I keep track of my menu on my palm pilot. It's very frustrating to plan out the week only to lose my plan on a misplaced scrap of paper. I like to try new recipes and I'll just sub one of those in during the week. If we like it I work it into the rotation, if not it's one less recipe from the "recipes to try" stack. One other thing that helps me stay organized is well stocked pantry- based on my menu.

Friday, January 21, 2011


1 stick margarine, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c yellow corn meal
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c milk

Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and corn meal. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to corn meal mix alternately with milk. Bake at 375. Can bake in greased 8x8 dish( about 40 min)
or as muffins (about 20 min).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies from

These are a tasty, healthier version of chocolate chip cookies.
Makes 2 dozen

"The instant pudding and applesauce replace the shortening entirely. (Use chocolate pudding for chocolate chocolate chip cookies.) Since these cookies
are so moist, I suggest storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. They freeze wonderfully." (from Zonya's website)

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat one 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1 lg pkg (5.1 oz) instant vanilla or (5.9 oz) chocolate pudding
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour*
1 cup oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
1/2 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

* You can substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose

Using a fork, mix applesauce, brown sugar, vanilla and egg whites well in a large bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the pudding, baking soda, baking powder, and flour with a fork. Then add to the liquid ingredients and stir well. Add oats and mix.
Add chocolate chips and mix. Let dough sit about 10 min. Place dough in baking dish.
Lay a sheet of wax paper on top. Press dough out. Remove wax paper.
Bake 25 minutes. When you take the cookies out of the oven, they will look lightly
browned on top and be soft to the touch. They will firm up as they cool. Then cut into 24, equal-size bars. If keeping past 2 days, store cookies in refrigerator or

Nutrition information for 1 bar cookie:
135 Calories, Calories from fat 14%, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 0 mg of cholesterol, 165 mg sodium, 3 g protein, 28 g total carbohydrates, 16 g sugar

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole chicken (any extra parts inside removed)
4-5 ribs of celery, diced
6-7 carrots, sliced into coins
1 yellow onion, diced
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

wide egg noodles- I usually use about 1 bag

In a tall stockpot put in the chicken and fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken. Add in the celery, carrots, onion, salt and pepper. (I like to add as much water to the pot as I can without it boiling over once it gets boiling to make as much broth as I can) Boil chicken til done, about 1 hour. (the wing or leg joint should move easily when the chicken is done) Debone chicken- throw bones away and put the chicken in the fridge. Strain out the vegetables, but keep the broth and set both in the fridge. You can either let the broth set in the fridge til the fat forms on top and skim off the fat (this takes a while), or you can use a fat separator instead of putting it in the fridge. After the fat has been removed, cook noodles in the broth for about 10 min. While noodles are cooking, cut up chicken into bite size pieces. When the noodles are done, add the chicken and vegetables back into the broth & noodles. The heat from the broth will heat up the chicken and vegetables very quickly. At this point the soup still needs a little salt and pepper to taste, but I let each person season their portion individually.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roasted Carrots- Cook's Illustrated

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise if necessary to create even pieces
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Table salt and pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, combine carrots with butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Transfer carrots to foil- or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in single layer.

2. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook, stirring twice, until carrots are well browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

*I haven't tried the sauce yet. We really liked the roasted carrots.

Optional Chermoula Sauce

1 tablespoon oil
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon

While carrots roast, heat 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne in small skillet over medium-low heat; cook, stirring frequently until sizzling and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, then stir in cilantro and lemon juice.

4. Transfer roasted carrots to serving bowl and toss with oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.