This blog... a compilation of my favorite recipes. They have been collected over several years found in various places: the internet, magazines, and cookbooks to name a few. These recipes are meals that I consider to "feed more than your body". These are meals that I hope nurish the heart and soul of those who eat them. I hope that when you have cleaned your plate, you feel like you have taken part in more than just a meal-that you have taken part in something bigger than yourself and food. Whether it is culture, your local place of living, or the life of the plant or those who share this planet, I hope these meals help your family-and mine-to appreciate that we are more than just beings consuming food; we are all connected. And more than that, I hope that these meals help you remember how fortunate you are and that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fruit Pancakes Two Ways

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes:

Mix up everyday pancake mix as directed on the package. To it, add one cup of finely chopped apples and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Fry in a frying pan and serve.

Banana Pancakes:

Mix up everyday pancake mix as directed on the package. To it, add 3/4 cup mashed bananas and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Fry in a frying pan and serve.

**Note-as with other recipes in this collection, these are both staples from my childhood. I can remember my mother or father sitting at the kitchen table on weekend mornings, meticulously chopping up apples for the pancakes or saying that morning that the bananas were going to go bad so we were having banana pancakes. Although these two recipes are not very inventive or unusual, I included them purely for sentimental reasons. May your family start memories as I have.

Broccoli-Cheese Muffins

1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli pieces
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix

Oven at 400. Grease muffin tin. Microwave broccoli for about 2 minutes, to defrost it. Meanwhile, whisk together egg, milk, and cheese. Add muffin mix and stir until just combined. Remove broccoli from microwave and press out any extra water. Finely chopped the broccoli and add it to the muffin mix. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 12-14 minutes, until the muffins just begin to brown around the edges and spring back when touched.

Tortilla Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery stalk, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-oz can yellow corn, drained
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15-oz can black beans, drained
1 15-oz can small white beans, drained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 tablespoon dried basil
5 10- to 12-inch soft tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Oven at 350. In a frying pan, heat oil and saute the onions, celery, and garlic until onions are transparent. Add corn, beans, tomato paste, and seasoning, heat thoroughly. Set two tablespoons of the bean mix aside. Place one tortilla shell on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray, and spoon a few tablespoons of the bean mix onto it; spread evenly. Place a tortilla on top of beans, top with mix again, and repeat until pie is five layers high. Add two tablespoons water to the remaining mix and spread over the top of the tortilla (this will prevent it from drying out during baking). Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake until cheese is melted. Let sit for 15 minutes. Serves six.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rice Pudding

3 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
Ground cinnamon

Oven at 325. In a bowl combine all ingredients except cinnamon. Bake in a large, greased, baking dish for 25 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Return to oven and continue baking 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean. Serve warm or cold, with cream or milk, if desired.

**Note-this is another one of my mother's recipes. I remember this rice pudding very clearly from my childhood. I always loved to eat it for breakfast, heated up with cold milk on top.

Basic Vinagrette

1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or basil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.

Easy Spanish Rice

1 1/2 cups rice (preferably brown)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon chili
1 4oz can of diced green chilis (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil. Add garlic, onions and peppers. Saute until softened. Add rice and chili powder. Stir and saute for 5 minutes, until rice browns a little. Add broth, tomato sauce and chilis, if using. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer according to packaged directions.

Kids Twirly Whirly Pizza

1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza dough
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded Italian-mix cheese, divided
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

Oven at 400 degrees. Unroll dough from tube. Spread pizza sauce on top. Sprinkle with half of cheese and top with spinach leaves. Roll up, starting with short end. Cut into 8 pieces, then lay pieces flat in a greased pie tin. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

**Note-this is a perfect dish for kids to help out with. They can spread the sauce and sprinkle the cheese and spinach. It is not the most sophisticated pizza but sometimes having fun with your family is more important.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Oven at 450 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

**Note-feel free to use all Mozzarella if you don't have Fontina
**Note-this makes a great potluck dish or a dish to give to a friend who is sick or just had a baby. It's also a perfect, quick weeknight meal when you don't know what to make. Chances are you have all ingredients on hand and all you really have to do is chop everything up.

Primavera Orzo

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, a handful
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan in a slow stream. Add garlic, shallots, zucchini and carrots. Saute 5 minutes. Add curry, chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add orzo and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally until pasta absorbs the liquid and is al dente in texture, 10 minutes. Uncover and stir in cheese, parsley and peas. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

**Note-feel free to substitute any vegetables you have on hand.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomato and Spinach Pasta Toss

2 cups Rotini pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves (7 cups)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, cook tomatoes and spinach 2 min. or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Drain pasta; return to pot. Add tomato and spinach mixture and cheeses; toss lightly.

Creamy Pasta Primavera

3 cups Penne pasta, uncooked
2 tablespoons light Italian Dressing
2 zucchini, cut into chunks
1-1/2 cups cut-up fresh asparagus (1-inch lengths)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add vegetables; cook 5-7 min. or until veggies have softened stirring frequently. Add broth and cream cheese; cook 1 min. or until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add Parmesan cheese; mix well. Drain pasta; return to pot. Add vegetable mixture; toss lightly. Cook 1 min. or until heated through. (Sauce will thicken upon standing.)

**Note-may substitute any veggies you have leftover and need to use up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Moroccan Cous Cous

1 cup uncooked couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas
2 cups vegetables (good for this recipe would be peppers, zucchini, or carrots but use whatever you have on hand), chopped to match in size the chickpeas
1 cup jarred or homemade salsa
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons golden raisins (or whatever dried fruit you have on hand)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or whatever natural sweetener you have on hand)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cooked couscous in water according to packaged directions. Cover to keep warm and set aside. Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute your veggies in the oil until softened, about 5 minutes. The last one minute, add garlic, being careful not to burn it. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, stirring to combine. Let simmer/warm for 10-20 minutes, letting the flavors blend.

**Note-this is a recipe I altered to fit what I had in my cupboard at the time. It is very versatile and perfect for using up little bits of left over things. Don't have brown sugar? Use honey! Don't have raisins, use dried apricots! There is a lot of play in this recipe, which is great when you clean out your cupboard and realize you have 2 bags of dried cranberries and don't know what to do with them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup natural apple sauce
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
3 cups whole wheat flour**
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Oven at 350. Cream eggs, oil, apple sauce and sugar. Add vanilla, zucchini and pineapple, mix well. Add dry ingredients, mix until moistened. Stir in the raisins and walnuts. Divide batter between 2 greased standard loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour. Slice each loaf into 12 pieces.

**Note-You can use regular flour or a mix of whole wheat and white flour, but I encourage you to use at least some whole wheat flour as it is a super easy way and tasty way to get whole grains into your diet.
**Note-this recipe does not taste too much different than standard zucchini bread recipes. I included it because with apple sauce, zucchini, pineapple and raisins, each slice has nearly a 1/4 cup of veggies and fruit in it, which is much more than your standard zucchini bread recipe. Because of all the added fruit, it is an extra moist bread as well.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Double Chip Cookies

1 cup melted butter (2 sticks)
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped, salted cashews

Oven at 350. Melt butter in microwave. Mix in the sugars. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt. Mix well. When the mixture is cool enough, add the eggs. Add 1 cup of flour, mix well. Add the chips and the nuts and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining flour, stirring well.

Drop by teaspoonful** onto a greased cookie sheet**. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish.

Yield 5-6 dozen cookies

**Note-I would highly recommend using parchment paper or a non-stick cooking mat for these cookies. They do not exactly stick to the sheet but they do tear and break apart some when you try to take them off the sheet without using paper or mat.
**Note-These cookies do spread out quite a bit and tend to get very thin. I recommend using a normal table wear teaspoon and not overfilling it when dropping these cookies.
**Note-These are really yummy cookies-very similar to a regular chocolate chip cookie, but a step up.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Easy Bake Cheddar Biscuits

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, cut into smaller pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup milk.

Oven at 450. **In a food processor, combine all dry ingredients with a few pulses. Add butter and pulse until it resembles peas. Add cheddar cheese and pulse to combine. Add the milk and combine until the dough forms a ball. Remove from a food processor and knead on a floured surface 8-10 times until dough becomes more smooth and elastic (this will become apparent after kneading the 8-10 times.) Pat dough into a 6x6 inch square and then cut into 9 pieces. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet 10-12 minutes.

**Note-you can do these biscuits by hand but doing them in a food processor is infinitely easier and I highly recommend doing it this way.
**Note-these biscuits are so incredibly yummy and so easy, I always make a double batch. 9 is just not enough!

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon course salt

**Note, this is probably equivalent to 1-2 packages of the premade taco seasoning. I use about 2 tablespoons to equal about one package. You probably will want to make extra of this seasoning since it will last a while in your pantry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tex-Mex Bean and Potatoes

1 can beans (Red Kidney, Pinto, or black bean are preferred)
1 tablespoon oil
1 pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
4 cup cubed potatoes
1 (10oz) package of frozen corn (about 2 cups)
2 cup shredded cheese

Oven at 350. Bring chopped potatoes and enough water to cover them to a boil in a shallow saute pan. Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and set aside. Cook onion and pepper in oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add water, corn, potatoes, and beans and mix to combine. Put into a greased baking dish and bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes more.

Corn Souffle

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 lb fresh corn or 10oz frozen corn, thawed and drained

Oven at 350. In a medium saucepan, heat butter with sugar. When melted, stir in flour until blended. Remove from heat. Stir in milk, eggs, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Fold in corn. Put in a 1-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 40 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

**Note-this is a twist on a traditional holiday classic corn casserole dish. It is much less fatty and caloric, but you don't notice the difference.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup jam, desired flavor

Oven at 350. Cream the butter, peanut butter and both sugars until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until completely mixed. Form dough into 1-inch balls and use your thumb to make a well in the center of each cookie. Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cook 1 minute on sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Upside Down Sunshine Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package orange Jell-O
1 can pineapple rings
10 maraschino cherries
Whipped Cream (optional)

Oven at 350. Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan generously with cooking spray. Sprinkle with dry Jell-O mix. Top with pineapple rings, putting a cherry in the center of each ring. Pour batter evenly over Jell-O and fruit. Bake 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and then invert on a serving platter. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pizza Soup

1 pound (Mild) Italian sausage
1 cup celery
1 pound chopped zucchini
1 large onion chopped
1 chopped green pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart canned tomatoes
2 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon Italian seasonings

Brown sausage until gray. Add to it the veggies and cook about 5 minutes, until soft. Add in spices and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with their juice) and the stock and simmer about one hour. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese and either French or Italian bread.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Taco Pizza

1 package prepared pizza crust
3/4 lb ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup corn chips

Oven at temperature on pizza dough package. Brown ground beef, drain and set aside. Mix tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Spread over pizza crust. Dot with ground beef and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with tomatoes, lettuce and corn chips.

**Note-This is another recipe of my mother's. We used to eat it often and I have very fond memories of us, sitting around the table eating this pizza. I can still remember the taste of the chopped tomatoes and the distinct tomato sauce.

Onion Sandwiches

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 loaf thinly sliced bread (like party rye)

Oven at 325. Mix together all ingredients. Spread a thin layer on slices of bread. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until top is golden brown and it is bubbly.

**Note-this is my mother's recipe and one of the ones she was "famous" for. At every get together that we hosted as a child, my mother would make these. Everyone would rave about how delicious they were and there were never any leftovers.

Potato Hash and Cheddar Omlet

1 cup shredded potatoes
4 eggs. scrambled
2 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mist a pan with cooking spray. Add potatoes and cook 5-10 minutes (until tender), turning once (do not stir so that the potatoes develop and "crust" like hash browns). Add eggs, spinach, salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, or until egg is done and spinach wilted. Top with cheese. Serves 2.

Open-Face Garden Sandwiches

1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
4 pitas
4 teaspoons Italian salad dressing
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Oven at 450. Place veggies on a greased baking sheet, coat with cooking spray, season with salt and pepper. Roast 10 minutes, or until tender. Arrange vegetables evenly over pitas. Drizzle with dressing and top with cheese. Place pitas on the baking sheet and broil about 3 minutes, until cheese melts.

Double-Decker Confetti Brownies

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 cup M&M candies

Oven at 350. Grease a 13x9 baking dish. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into creamed mixture. Divide dough in half. Blend together cocoa powder, melted butter, and coffee. Stir into one half of the dough. Spread cocoa dough evenly into prepared baking pan. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup candies into remaining dough. Spread evenly over cocoa dough in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup M&Ms. Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely. Cut into bars and store tightly in a covered container. Makes 24 brownies.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

White Chocolate and Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp orange zest
3 cups quick oats
1 cup white-chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Oven at 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and both sugars in a large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in oatmeal one cup at a time. Add chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls, 1 inch apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

**Note-These cookies are a great way to use up the odds and ends in your pantry (oatmeal, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips) as well as getting something fairly healthy into your kids (or spouse!).

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

1 16oz. package ground breakfast sausage (or if you are feeling really time crunched precooked sausage links or patties, equal to 16oz)
12 eggs
1 can your favorite condensed cream soup
1 soup can of milk
1 green pepper chopped
1-32oz bag frozen tater tots
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Oven at 350. Brown the sausage and green peppers in a skillet and then drain the fat and set aside. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Beat together in a large bowl the eggs, cream of mushroom soup and milk. Stir in the sausage and peppers. Pour mixture into the baking dish.
Add tater tots and lightly mix in so tots are covered in egg mixture. They will naturally float to the top and brake apart during cooking. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50min. Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 10min to melt the cheese.

**Note-this is not a traditional "healthy" meal or vegetarian. I added it, however, because it's a very fast and tasty dish. Perfect for a holiday meal with the family or brining to a breakfast or brunch potluck.