Monday, February 28, 2011

Quick update :)

Jon has been sick with bronchitis for the last several weeks. But, thanks to modern medicine and prayers from family and friends, he's nearly back to normal :)

We didn't buy a lot of groceries when Jon was sick, so the fast few meals have been done on the fly. Let's face it, it's just not as fun to cook for one. And when Jon is sick, he doesn't eat a whole lot.

As my sweetheart started to feel better, we decided to use what was on hand to make some simple meals.

We had sweet potato hash with diced ham and eggs over-easy. For the hash I used leftover shredded sweet potato I had in the freezer, some diced onion, garlic, and some seasoning. Once the potatoes were done, I threw in the ham and heated it through on my griddle. Quick, easy, and filling.

Last night we had chicken biscuits. I shredded some left over rotisserie chicken, added some cheese and spices. Then, I filled store bought biscuit dough with the chicken mixture, baked the bundles for 15 minutes, and tada! Supper on the table in 20 minutes.

Today we filled the pantry back up so you'll soon see more cooking light recipes :)

Also in fun news- my parents came to visit this past weekend. We went to my local library's annual book sale. Seriously, all the books you can fit into a brown paper grocery bag for $5- it was heavenly! I got three human interest, fiction novels and a few quilting books. Mom and Dad both found books too. So, big thank you to my parents for the free to me books!

All that book browsing works up an appetite! We walked to a local pizza parlor called Arte Pizza. Wood fired,thin crust, and minimal toppings. It was everything a good slice of pie should be. It was fantastic. Big, filling slices of pizza sold by the slice at the amazing price of $2.50 per. So so good.

Today was unseasonably warm, even for these parts- it was 87 today. I sat in the sun for about 10 minutes reading one of my new books and got a bit pink. Oops. When the temperature began to fall for the day, 79 degrees felt just right. So, back out to read I went. The rest of the week is set to be typical seasonal temperatures in the upper 60's and low 70's. Jon said he likes this season of Swinter. (This is from the cartoon Phineas & Ferb, the two main characters combine summer and winter into a new season called Swinter.)

I'm happy that he's happy. Because, you know what, I am too. :)

So, that's the update for now!

Here's to you and our culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Veal Piccata

Today was my first ever experience with veal. Ever.

In fact, a few weeks ago I had to do a food search to even see what veal was. It's young cow. Instead of a deep red beef it's light pink.

It was very tender and was a beautiful match with the piccata sauce. We served it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Jon won out on this one and got canned cranberry sauce. The sweet was a very nice contrast to the savory, tart piccata.

This entire meal took about 20 minutes start to finish. Great for a quick weeknight meal.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Veal Piccata
Serves 2
281 calories per

2 TBS all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 TBS water
1 large egg white
1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
4 (2-ounce) veal cutlets
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp grated lemon rind
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS capers, drained and rinsed
lemon wedges (optional)

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Combine water and egg white in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge in flour mixture. Dip floured cutlet in egg white mixture; dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cutlets to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add broth, rind, juice, and capers to pan; simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over cutlets; serve immediately. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Monday, February 21, 2011


“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”

~Robert Muller


“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”

~Martin Luther King Jr

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pot Stickers

I happen to love pot stickers.

In fact, this is the second time this week we've had them for supper. The first round was the much loved turkey pot sticker (which by the way is also a CLP recipe) and today, well, today was just fabulous. Shrimp and pork pot stickers with a tangy ginger dipping sauce.

I fell in love with these bite size filled dumplings all over again.

I think it would be so fun to have a little dinner party and serve pot stickers, pork buns, rice noodles, and other fun Asian dishes. Yum.

I told Jon I really need to stay away from the 10 for $10 bins at work- we have a delightful selection of bamboo mats, chop sticks, sauce bowls, and other themed decor items that would complete my party plan. Anyone want to come over for dinner?! ;)

Spring has arrived in my humble kitchen. It's been a lovely 70 degrees accompanied by plenty of sunshine for the last few days. The windows are open letting in the fresh air, my bones finally feel warm, and my skin is starting to look, um, less Northern.

I spent the afternoon reading a book in the sunshine and listening to birds I have yet to identify sing beautiful songs. It was heavenly.

God is good. All the time.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Shrimp & Pork Pot stickers
Serves 8
150 calories per serving

1 cup chopped napa (Chinese) cabbage
1 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
Dash of white pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 pound lean ground pork
1/4 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped
24 round wonton wrappers or gyoza skins
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
Green onion strips (optional)

Combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover the remaining wrappers with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon filling into the center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with water. Fold in half, pinching the edges together to seal. Holding the sealed edges of the pot sticker between the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, form 3 to 4 pleats along the seal. Place dumpling, seam side up, on a platter. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers to form 24 pot stickers.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet.

Arrange 12 pot stickers in the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn dumplings; add 1/4 cup broth. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Repeat procedure with remaining dumplings. Serve with tangy ginger sauce.

Tangy Ginger Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup
11 cal per TBS

1/4 cup peeled, diced tomato
1/8 cup chopped green onion
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped*
3/4 TBS sugar
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk until sugar dissolves.

* I used a little Franks Hot Sauce instead

Saturday, February 19, 2011


No reason to mince words- this was WONDERFUL.

Jon likes it. I like it. It's a winner.

Serve with mashed potatoes and corn for a quick, and delicious comforting meal.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Easy Schnitzel (Chicken)
Serves 4
328 calories

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS all-purpose flour *
2 TBS Dijon or Creole mustard
1 large egg, lightly beaten **
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 TBS grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 TBS finely chopped fresh parsley
2 TBS chopped fresh chives
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TBS olive oil
4 lemon wedges (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Combine mustard and egg in a shallow dish. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, chives, and garlic in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 chicken breast half in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour. Dip in egg mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumb mixture.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 2 1/2 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Turn chicken over; place pan in oven. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

*I completely omited the flour and the breading was still full and crunchy.
** I used 1/4 cup Egg Beaters instead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bowl of Comfort

Oh my goodness.

A heaping bowl of goodness.

Jon-boy has a cold and I decided he needed some food love. So I made him chicken and dumpling soup. From scratch.

It turned out to be phenomenal.

It started with some simple ingredients. Water, bullion base, chicken, and few aromatics. That simmered away for about an hour and made this GORGEOUS base for my soup:

The color doesn't translate well onto my camera- it was a dark carmel color. It was perfectly clear. I was so proud I made Jon come and look at it :) I could have just had the stock for supper and been happy.

Making the stock from scratch left me with this chicken that is infused with great flavor. YUM.

Then we came to the dumplings. I always sift my dry ingredients together when I make dumplings. And I always use my dad's flour sifter for this step. This makes my dumplings light and airy.

After all that work I ended up with a big ol' bowl of love for my honey. It was delicious.

Creamy, flavorful, down-home. Comfort and love. All that in one bowl.

You could easily use store bought chicken stock instead of making your own. And substitute a baking mix like Bisquick for your dumplings. But, I wanted to do the entire recipe from scratch. It was well worth the effort.

Don't be turned off by the lengthy recipe. It's fairly easy and hands off. And, if you make the substitutions I listed above it can be done even quicker.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Serves 6
334 calories per

1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut up (I used a pre-cut whole chicken)
12 cups water
2 TBS chicken bouillon
2 TBS beef bouillon
1 large onion, cut into large wedges
1 cup rough chopped celery
1 cup rough chopped carrot
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
2 tsp cornstarch
3 TBS heavy cream*

3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk **
1 large egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1 3/4 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS cornmeal
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Remaining ingredients:
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare stew, remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water, and place chicken in an 8-quart stockpot. Add 3 quarts water, bouillon and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaves); bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes; skim surface occasionally, discarding solids. Remove chicken from pot; cool. Strain stock through a sieve into a large bowl, and discard solids. Remove chicken meat from bones; tear chicken meat into 2-inch pieces, and store in refrigerator. Let stock cool to room temperature.

Let stock stand in a bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Discard fat from the surface. Bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 8 cups (about 15 minutes).

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour to pan; cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Combine browned flour and cornstarch in a large bowl; add 2/3 cup stock to flour mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to remaining stock in pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat; stir in cream. Add chicken; keep warm over low heat.

To prepare dumplings, combine 1% low-fat milk and egg in a medium bowl. Lightly spoon 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, cornmeal, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture, stirring with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened. This should be fairly stiff but still sticky.

Drop one-third of dumpling batter by 8 heaping teaspoonfuls onto chicken mixture. Cover and cook for 3 minutes or until the dumplings are done (do not allow chicken mixture to boil). Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon; place in a large serving bowl or on a deep serving platter; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining dumpling batter.

Remove pan from heat; slowly pour stew over dumplings. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

* I used fat free half and half.
**I used 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/4 cup fat free half and half.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day to all you love birds out there!

My husband and I usually like to celebrate UN-Valentines day aka Just Because Days. We feel like we should give each other reminders of our love and affection throughout the year instead of just one single day. So, once in a while we give each other a card or flowers or even a special dinner. Why? Just because.

It's a tradition I grew up with. My parents always had just because days. Dad would leave little notes for Mom on heart shaped doilies. Mom would request a song to be played on the radio for Dad. Sweet gestures to let the other know- hey, I love you more today than I did yesterday.

I call Jon my sweetheart, and he calls me his babe.

My parents (who may read this and be slightly embarrassed, but I am gonna tell you anyway!) called each other "my sweet baboo" I still don't know why. Perhaps my father could enlighten me???

I was very pleasantly surprised to find this on my kitchen table today when I got up-

A happy little sock monkey (he has a cute tail, you just can't see it in the picture), a card, and flowers. He knows I am not a rose girl, so he bought me this beautiful mix of spring flowers. It was just what I would have picked.

Ok, disclaimer-the card in this picture is actually the one I made for him. I got to use my fun new stamp that says "Olive Juice!" for the inside note. I was so excited :)

He bought me a very cute card that reads, "To my beautiful wife on Valentine's Day. Honey, I hope you know that all of your hard work has NOT gone unnoticed." Then you open the card and it says, "I've been watching you from the couch during commercials. LOVE YOU!" Then he hand wrote some squishy, sweet nothings to me.

*Sigh* Yep, he still knows how to make me swoon after all these years.

Before I headed to work I threw some chili in the crock pot for my sweetheart. It was a new recipe from the CLP.

Mixed reviews on this puppy. I thought it was pretty good. He said it was too much like gumbo for him. That's fair. It's definitely not what comes to mind when I say chili, but, it was still delicious. :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Slow Cooker Chili (Gumbo)
Serves 4 (easily could feed 5-6)
412 calories per

Chili ingredients:
1 1/4 cups bottled salsa
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 TBS chili powder
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 12 oz package chicken or turkey sausage cut into 1/2 inch pieces*

Remaining ingredients:
2 cups hot cooked rice
1/4 cup baked tortilla chips
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro**
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream

In a slow cooker combine all the chili ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours.

To serve- in each serving bowl place 1/2 cup rice, top with 1 1/4 cups chili, 1 TBS chips, 1 TBS cilantro, 1 TBS onion, and 1 TBS sour cream.

* I used a smoked turkey kielbasa.
** I used parsley due to a cilantro intolerance.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Potato Hash Browns

We enjoy eggs and hash browns for supper on occasion. It's quick, easy, and filling. Besides, there are so many ways to prepare eggs!

We had new hash browns last night from the CLP. They were delicious!

I made two changes- I used turkey ham and Lawry's Season Salt. The ham was because well, that's what we had on hand. As for the season salt- Jon loves it on his hash browns. If I leave it out he feels like his potatoes are missing something.

This hash is so quick and done completely in the microwave!

We served it with eggs over easy and toast. Dinner in less than 20 minutes. Perfection!

Wanna see?

I know it's not much to look at, but holy moly- the flavors are fantastic. Jon said he'd like some crunch, so we are going to add some crumbled crispy bacon next time we have these. (You could do this on the stove top to get the caramelized crunchy goodness, but its a good excuse to add some bacon LOL)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Ham & Artichoke Hash browns
Serves 2
378 calories per

3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes with onions and peppers aka O'Brien potatoes
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup drained canned quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/8 tsp black pepper
Lawry's season salt to taste
3 oz smoked ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Combine potatoes and chicken broth in a 1-quart microwave-safe casserole. Cover with lid, and microwave at HIGH 12 minutes, stirring after 6 minutes.

Uncover dish. Stir in 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, green onions, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, season salt and ham. Sprinkle with cheese. Microwave, uncovered, at HIGH 1 minute.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Catch up day

Where have the last few days gone?!

Well, work and the Super Bowl mostly.

Even on my day off of work, I went to work. Though it was for purely selfish reasons. I needed rubber stamps for some cards I'm working on (they were on sale for 40% off, I couldn't pass that up!) And I needed a shadow box for the sand dollars we found on our last beach trip. (Those were on sale for 40% off too! The shadow box, not the sand dollars) And since we were there... I got a cute little spring welcome sign with three little bunnies (I had an awesome 45% off coupon for that) What can I say, I love a good craft sale!

How cute is this?

Then there was the super bowl. Jon calls it "Man Day" because it's filled with manly sports and lots of food. If his Vikings don't make it to the big game, we automatically become "fans" for the NFC team who did make it. This year was rough, the rivalry between the Vikings and Packers runs deep. But, we set that aside and cheered on Green Bay.

So what did we eat? Little smokies, spinach & artichoke dip, pizza, and caprese salad. It's not our usual spread, but it was just Jon and I so I didn't want to make a ton of stuff to have sitting around the house for days.

Our typical game day eats in the past have included little smokies, crackers with cheese and meat, raw veggies and dip, sloppy joes or pulled pork sammies, chips, BTS cake,pickle roll-ups, and various other treats that friends would bring over for our pot luck.

We ate well and enjoyed the game. It was a lovely night in together.

My favorite item was the caprese salad I made. Usually a caprese salad is made with thick slices of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves. Seasoned up and served chilled. It's very refreshing, especially in the summer.

I went a different route this time and made a chopped caprese salad. It was awesome. I let the leftovers sit in the fridge over night and then tossed them with some fresh pasta. It made a killer lunch. :)

The recipe for my salad is more of a guideline than an actual recipe. Adjust things to your taste and enjoy!

Well kiddos, the sun is finally showing its face after about a week of rain. I think that means it's time to go soak up some rays and recharge my batteries.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Chopped Caprese Salad

2 large vine ripe fresh tomatoes (these need to be fairly firm, but have a deep tomato smell to them)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella pearls (check the deli case)*
fresh basil
olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Core and dice tomatoes. Place in a large bowl.

Pull the mozzarella pearls apart and toss into the tomatoes.

Stack 5-7 basil leaves on top of each other. Roll up tightly. Thinly slice (this is called a chiffonade). Toss into the tomato and mozzarella mixture.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Check the seasoning. Adjust as needed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

* If you can't find mozzarella pearls, you can use mini mozzarella balls or a regular mozzarella ball. Just dice the cheese to about the size of the tomatoes.

DO NOT use aged mozzarella (the shredded stuff or the hard block for shredding). It isn't even remotely the same flavor or texture.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Thin Mints

It's that time of year- those sweet, innocent looking girls come around selling their tempting treats.

They sing their siren song, luring you in with promises of carmel, chocolate, peanut butter, short bread, lemon creme, and coconut.

Then there is Jon's favorite- chocolate wafer cookies enrobed in a luscious mint chocolate.

Unless you've been living under a rock for, um, ever, you know what I'm talking about.

Girl Scout cookies.

And in that moment, gone are your healthy eating habits. Your will-power has been smashed upon the rocks. You are doomed until the last box is gone.

Well, I'm going to make it worse. Much worse.

I'm going to make it possible for you to enjoy thin mints year round (for a fraction of the cost).

Since we don't know any girl scouts in the area this year, and Jon needed a fix, it was left to me to make my own.

They are wonderful! Pretty darn close to the treasures you find the emerald green box each year at this time.

Here are the chocolate wafers, ready for their mint chocolate coat.


Drool over the yumminess!

There will be about 2 TBS of leftover melted chocolate when you finish dipping your chocolate wafers. Now, what you do with it is up to you. I see that spatula sitting next to the bowl... I'm gonna just look away and if that little bit of melted goodness happens to just disappear, well, I won't judge you... ;)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Home Made Thin Mint Cookies
Makes 175 cookies (about 14 1/2 dozen)
22 calories per cookie

1 (18 1/4 ounce) package fudge cake mix
3 TBS best life margarine for baking, melted (or butter)
1/2 cup flour, measured then sifted
1 egg
5-6 TBS water
nonstick cooking spray

2 (10 oz) bags Andes thin mint bits
2 TBS melted paraffin wax

Combine the cake mix, melted margarine, egg, flour, and water together in a large bowl, adding the water a little bit at a time until the dough forms.

Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough to just under 1/16 of an inch thick.(they puff up as they bake) To cut, use a lid from a spice container with a 1 1/2-inch diameter.

Arrange the cut dough rounds on a cookie sheet that is sprayed with a light coating on non-stick spray.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the wafers from the oven and cool completely.

Combine Andes chips with the wax in a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water or in a double boiler. Melt, stirring well.

Use a fork to dip each wafer in the chocolate, tap the fork on the edge of the bowl so that the excess chocolate runs off, and then place the cookies on wax paper or on cooling racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Refrigerate until firm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sand Dollar Days

Jon got off work in the early afternoon and took me to lunch at a little chicken joint called Chik-Fil-A. It was 73 and sunny, and we were both off for the rest of the day- it seemed like a perfect opportunity to go to the beach.

We went to Jekyll Island to go beach combing. It was a spur of the moment decision. It turned out to be a great day at the beach.

Due to storms off shore last night and this morning there were loads of treasures to find. Shells, horseshoe crabs, bits of coral, various types of vegetation, gelatinous blobs that used to be jelly fish, and the best thing of all- sand dollars.

Jon and I have never seen a complete sand dollar while beach combing. Ever. There are often broken pieces, but we've never seen one in it's entirety.

When I was a kid, my Grandma and Grandpa Spranger sent me some sand dollars with the story about the doves inside (search your favorite search engine for "legend of sand dollar" for more on this). Ever since then I have had a fascination with sand dollars. I have always searched for a perfect specimen.

Today was wonderful. Jon and I found 22 sand dollars, each one complete and whole. It was amazing. We only brought the 16 that were dead home. The ones that were fuzzy were still alive so we put them back in the water to live another day.

We've begun the preservation process that began with soaking these bad boys in water and then bleach water. Now they have to sit and sun bleach for the next week or so. Then, Jon and I will paint on a layer of thinned glue to help preserve them.

Here's the ones we brought home after they've been soaked:

We had so much fun today just walking the beach. The sand dollars were a bonus.

God is good. He sends us reminders of his love all the time. These are a reminder for me.

When we got home we were hungry! So, I quickly made up a batch of sausage gravy and biscuits. This was my first ever experience with it.

Loved it. Jon also loved it.

These are going to be a regular at our house. Enjoy!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Turkey Sausage Gravy & Biscuits
Serves 8
345 calories per

1 can Grands Homestyle Biscuits
16 oz turkey breakfast sausage*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Prepare biscuits according to package directions.

Brown and crumble the turkey sausage. Drain if needed.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 minutes or until thick.

Split the biscuits in half. Top each serving(one whole biscuit) with about 1/3 cup gravy.

Serve immediately.

* Can be made with meatless sausage crumbles.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We have stir fry

Jon loves Korean stir fry. This is no big secret at our house.

This recipe is very similar, only with less steps and less work.

Jon gave this recipe a 9 out of 10. That means it was amazing in his universe. :)

Also no big secret- I detest oyster sauce. Seriously. My mom eats it on green beans. Why she feels the need to kill perfectly good green beans is beyond me.


I have to admit, it was fantastic in tonight's stir fry recipe.

The best part of this recipe is you probably have most of the ingredients already. I say most because, well, I don't know many people that keep oyster sauce on hand(myself included- Thanks for the oyster sauce, Mom!).

With that I give you- beef and broccoli lo mein. Enjoy!

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein
Serves 6
327 cal per

8 oz uncooked spaghetti
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp peanut oil (olive oil works fine too)
1 TBS minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped broccoli*
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/4 lb flank steak, trimmed and cut across the grain into long, thin strips
4 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS oyster sauce
1 TBS Franks hot sauce OR your favorite chili paste

Cook pasta according to package directions omit any oil, drain. Combine pasta and sesame oil, tossing well to coat.

While pasta cooks, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the ginger and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.

Add broccoli and onion; sauté 3 minutes.

Add steak, and sauté 5 minutes or until done.

Add pasta mixture, soy sauce, and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until lo mein is thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.

* Frozen broccoli works really well for this recipe. Throw it in directly from the freezer, just be sure to drain any excess liquid before adding the steak.

Bayou Catfish for Adam

Jon and I aren't big fish people. Well, that isn't fair- the truth is we are picky about our fish. So the fish and shellfish chapter in the CLP book is a bit challenging for us.

My husband and I both grew up on fresh water fish from Northern MN. That means walleye, pan fish, and northern pike. There are many other varieties, but those were the fish of our choice. Other fish are fun to catch- like bass and rock bass, but they tend to taste a little muddy since they are on the bottom of lakes and rivers. Perch used to be really good eats, but now most of them have little black dots on them (its a parasitic worm of some sort) so they are no longer a tasty treat.

Here's me this summer with a bass I caught on Little Bass Lake at my grandparents house.

Look at this cute little pan fish! He was dying (he swallowed the hook too deep, you can see the blood on his gill) so I figured the least I could do was give him a kiss goodbye...

Fishing can be very serious work-

When I was a kid my Grandma and Grandpa Zimmy used to make us fish caught from their lake . Nummins. Super simple- pan fish fillets lightly floured and pan fried on the stove top. So good.

Dad used to make walleye. The best fresh fish in my opinion. My favorite way to eat it was grilled- put it in foil with a little butter and season salt, cook it over charcoal with apple wood smoke. I can't even describe how amazing it is. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Jon grew up on the same types of fish. And fish sticks, but I don't count them as real fish because they are icky. LOL.

I was very surprised when we vacationed in GA and FL last winter and Jon couldn't get enough grouper. I admit, it is a pretty good fish. Not oily, white flesh, and dense texture, yet it flakes apart easily.

I'm still trying to adjust my taste buds to non-MN fish. It's a challenge for me.

The recipe we had was bayou catfish. The fish isn't as dense as we like it. Since catfish doesn't have a ton of flavor, the breading does a lot of the work.

Jon and I agree, we like the coating, but not necessarily the texture of the catfish. We will most definitely use the coating again, but with about 1/3 of the spice. It was just too much heat for us. We will probably try the breading on tilapia next time, it is a firmer fish that we are far more familiar with.

My brother, Adam, likes catfish and spice so he will most likely add extra cayenne pepper to the party.

The spice for this recipe comes from cayenne and chili powder. It's a slow burn. You don't have a burning sensation when you first put the bite in your mouth. But, after a bite or two a slow, lingering warmth fills your mouth and the back of your throat. It was very good, just a bit too much for our taste.

Bottom line- great fish coating. If you like it spicy, keep it as is. If you like a bit more mild flavoring, reduce the cayenne and chili powder.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Bayou Catfish
Serves 3
247 cal per

1 TBS corn meal
3/4 tsp season salt
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 (6oz) catfish fillets- rinsed well

Preheat broiler.

Spray a broiler pan (OR a wire baking rack that has been placed over a baking sheet) with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients except fish in a zip top bag. Add 1 fillet. Shake well to coat.

Place on the broiler pan. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Broil 6 inches from heat for 7 minutes. Carefully flip fillet over. Broil 7-8 minutes longer until fish flakes apart easily.

If desired serve with a lemon wedge or tartar sauce.