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Monday, October 27, 2008

Unsloppy Joes

Another allrecipes recipe. This is a recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes. I changed it a bit and we didn't use it on sandwiches, but as a topping on baked potatoes. It was mucho good on the potatoes, but Elliot and I weren't sure how we'd enjoy it on the sandwiches. Maybe one of you all can tell us if you feel like giving it a try. I'll italicize the changes I made.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used some green and some red. Nice color.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (I cut this in about 1/2)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I didn't have it, strangely, so I used 2 Tbsp. of tomato sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (I doubled this)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (1/2-ed this)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 kaiser rolls (Omitted this)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic: saute until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in kidney beans, and cook an additional 5 minutes.***
  3. Cut a 1/4 inch slice off the top of each kaiser roll; set aside. Hollow out the center of each roll, leaving about 1/2 inch thick shells; reserve the inside of rolls for other uses.
  4. Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls and replace tops. Serve immediately.
***Again, we topped baked potatoes with this and whatever else we had around--sour cream, etc.--and served it with fresh salad. VERY filling and nutritious. Yum.

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

I am not a huge fan of Olive Garden but I do love this soup and usually order just this, indulging in three or four bowls. I found the recipe on the Internet where they said someone who used to work at the Olive Garden sent in the original recipe. I knew it would be blog worthy but as our blog title says, we always try it for ourselves and cook then tell. So I just got done making a triple batch, for the freezer of course, and haven't stopped sampling since (I should just have a bowl or two but have to save my appetite for supper). It is as good or better than Olive Garden's and it will definitely be on my list of favorites. You can also find a recipe for Olive Garden's Salad online which makes a complete meal paired with the soup. As for freezing, I would freeze it without the kale and add that in fresh when reheating. Makes: 6-8 servings


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 1/4 cup bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale or spinach*
  1. Saute Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, saute bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 min. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water (or 10 cups broth), then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
  4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage.
  7. Add kale or spinach just before serving. Delicious!

* If preparing in advance, reserve cream and kale and add just before serving.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crack Salad

For those who didn't hear the story, this salad was named by my brother's mother-in-law. My mom makes it regularly for parties and such, and people get "addicted," hence the name "Crack Salad." If the name is offensive to you, you can call it Bow Tie Pasta Salad.


1 box bow tie pasta--cook 12 minutes
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 c. sliced celery
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 c. cashews, light salt
Optional, add some red grapes and/or Craisins


1 bottle cole slaw dressing
1 c. mayo

OR, if you want to make your own...
1 1/4 c. mayo
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 tsp celery seed

Mix and add 2/3 of the dressing to the salad. Let stand. Add rest just before serving.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baked Turkey Sandwich

This is a great dish for leftover turkey, or even chicken.
It makes a nice presentation for a dinner party.

Makes 10 slices


  • 2 cups diced turkey
  • 1/3 cup pepperoni, chopped
  • ¾ cup (3oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup (3oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 Loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 T water
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Combine ingredients for filling (all ingredients minus dough, egg white, water, sesame seeds).
  2. On floured surface, roll dough into a 14X11 inch rectangle. Place on greased cookie sheet. Spread filling lengthwise on center third of rectangle, leaving ½ inch on each end. Cut 10 equal strips on each side of rectangle almost to filling.
  3. To enclose filling, take a strip from each side, twist once and pinch ends together. (use a bit of water to stick dough down.) Continue with remaining strips. Press each end of loaf together and tuck under. *See video demonstration*
  4. Mix egg white and water. Brush on dough. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Bake 35 minutes at 375° or until golden brown.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nancy's Chicken Enchiladas

I actually made this layered, like a lasagna, because it was easier than rolling the tortillas up, and it's what Nancy suggested. This is SUPER EASY and very good.

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cans green chiles
garlic power to taste
salt and pepper to taste
chicken (I used 2 chicken breasts, boiled and then diced.)
corn tortillas
grated cheese (I used colby jack and filled in with cheddar)

Mix the first 6 lines of the ingredients together. Layer a 9/13" pan, first with chicken mixture, then tortillas, then cheese, and repeat. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 until hot, and cheese is melted.
Elliot and I decided that this would be especially good with some extra sour cream,chopped tomatoes or salsa, olives, and shredded lettuce on the side (and whatever else you enjoy...guacamole, etc.)

April's Chocolate Mint Indulgence Cake

This is the cake that I made for Elliot's birthday, and we loved it. I might say also that it is even better the next day. mmm. I actually got the recipe from, and it is called "Double Chocolate Brownie Cake." Because I made a couple minor changes (which are in italics), Elliot renamed it. You could really do just about anything with this recipe. Add any flavors you like--change the flavors of the cake or pudding...endless possibilities. People have left many suggestions on the allrecipes site. The way I did it is really rich, so it's imperative that there be some vanilla ice cream to "cut the sweetness." I added the recipe I used for the glaze as well.


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt, or a combination of the two)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I did one cup semisweet and one cup mint chocolate chips--it was just enough mint, not overwhealming)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool (for a minute or two). note: be sure not to overcook. It might not look done, but test it after 50 minutes. Besides melted chocolate chips, the tester came out clean, and it was perfect.
  4. Empty cake to platter. If desired, sift some powdered sugar over to top for looks.

Satiny Chocolate Glaze for cake


  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.
  2. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

White Bean Chicken Chili

When the hearty goodness of chicken, corn and beans mixes with the colorful flavors of tomato, cilantro and cumin, your mouth will never be the same again. This one is a must make! A big thank you to Analisha Peterson for the recipe!!

2 Tbs vegetable oil or canola oil
1 lb diced, cooked chicken
1 onion
1 can chicken broth
4-6 tomatillos, pureed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green chiles, diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 bunch cilantro chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 can great northern beans
1 can butter/lima beans
1 can white corn (optional...I use frozen corn)

chicken, onions and garlic in oil. Add all ingredients except for the beans. Simmer 10 min. Add beans, simmer 5 min. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

***This is a great freezer cooker! Especially when ingredients are on sale, just double, triple, or 'even more' the recipe and then bag up the extra meals. Perfect for a fast, yet substantial meal worthy of company.***