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.".

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kitchen Sink Black Bean Burgers

1 15oz can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2-3/4 cup cooked/softened veggies**
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup bread crumbs (more or less as needed)
1 egg, beaten

Combine all ingredients, through chili powder, in a food processor. Process until consistency of precooked ground beef hamburgers. Remove mixture from food processor and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add beaten egg to mixture and mix until well Incorporated. Add bread crumbs, about half at a time, until mixture is as dry as you like it.
Form 6 patties** and cook on a skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook about 4 minutes per side.
Serve on hamburger buns and with traditional hamburger fixin's.

**Note-Part of the reason I call these "kitchen sink black bean burgers" is because it's a great way to use leftovers. If you have some left over rice and veggies from dinner earlier in the week, you can make these burgers. Use whatever veggies you have on hand-carrots, celery, onion, corn, etc. Just make sure the veggies are either cooked or softened. Feel free also to substitute the spices that sound good to you, or you need to use up.
**Note-I make my patties a bit thinner than traditional burgers as I want to insure that the middle gets cooked both to cook the egg and avoid a soggy burger.

Baked Spaghetti Florentine

1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons minced dried onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (16-ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1(10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Oven at 350*F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine egg, onion, garlic, sour cream, milk, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Add Monterey Jack cheese; mix well.
Add the spinach and cooked spaghetti and toss to combine well. Place mixture in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Bake for 15 minutes covered; remove cover and continue baking for additional 15 minutes.

**Note-this is a great dish to prepare ahead of time. It basically assembling everything and no cooking (you don't even have to cut onions or garlic!). I have made this during my kids' naps then after naps, we play outside, pausing only long enough for me to toss this in the oven. Perfect!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Strussel Muffins

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour**
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups canned (pure) pumpkin
2 eggs
¼ cup veg oil
2 cups apples finely chopped**

¼ c sugar
2 T flour
½ t cinnamon
2 T butter

For muffins:
Oven at 350. Combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin, eggs, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Stir in apples. Spoon batter into muffin cups (sprayed or lined w/ paper). Makes 24 muffins.

For streussel topping:
Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over muffin batter. (About one teaspoon over sprinkled over each muffin)

Bake muffins w/ topping for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

**Note-These muffins are quite nutty/chewy with all whole wheat flour. If you are more sensitive to that you may want to use half whole wheat flour and half regular flour.
**Note-I recommend shredding your apples, that way the peel is small enough that you can leave it on and not notice it in the muffins.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Baby Spaghettie Casserole

8oz spaghetti, cooked to al dente or just under
1/2 cup each onions, bell pepper, carrots and celery, all in small dice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can tomatoes, undrained
1 can creamed soup
1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
Approximately 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Oven at 350. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, taking care not to cook past al dente. Saute onions, pepper, carrots and celery about 5 minutes. As they are sauteing sprinkle with chili powder and salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and saute about 5 minutes more to fully soften vegetables. Mix together the two cans of soup and add to the veggie mixture. When pasta is done, add to the vegetables, stirring to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake, covered, about 30 minutes. Take out and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

**Note-this was a dish someone from our church made for us when we had our second child. We had a lot of it, but it was one of our favorite dishes we received. It is a dish we will always associate with the birth of our baby. I have altered it a bit to suit my tastes and cooking style more. Enjoy!
**Note-you could also double this recipe and freeze half of it. In that case, take extra care not to over cook the noodles as they might get a bit more mushy in the freezer. If you are making double, do not use 2 cans of cheddar cheese soup, instead just use 2 additional cans of a creamed soup of your choice.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pork Chop and Pear Skillet

4 bone-in pork chops (1-1/2 lb.), 3/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
1 can (15-1/4 oz.) pear halves in juice, undrained

Cook chops in oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 3 min. on each side or until browned on both sides. Remove chops from skillet; set aside. Add onions, garlic, rosemary and 2 tablespoons dressing to skillet; stir. Cook 3 min., stirring occasionally. Return chops to skillet. Add pears and remaining dressing; simmer on medium 10 min. or until chops are done (160ºF). Serve chops topped with the sauce.

**Note-the main reason I included this dish is because when I was a newly wed, way back when, this was one of the first recipes I tried out on my husband. I felt like a real cook, not just someone assembling ingredients together like with hamburger helper, previously our mainstay meal. With how fast and easy this recipe is, I hope you too feel like a real home cook making this for yourself and your family.

Simple Honey Ginger Stir Fry Glaze

3 cups vegetables of your choice
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
2 Tbsp. honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
1/4 cup soy sauce

Saute vegetables of your choice in 1 tablespoon oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables. Simmer about 2 minutes to let flavors combine. Serve over rice.

**Note-As written this makes 4 side dishes and 2-3 main dishes. Increase veggies, sauce or rice as needed.

Suspiciously Simple Chrildren's Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened**
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
food coloring (optional)

Do not need to preheat oven. Beat together the butter and sugar until they are very fluffy. Mix in the cornstarch and flour until well blended. If you want to make rainbow cookies, mix in a few drops of food coloring. The dough will need to go in the refrigerator for an hour so it is not too sticky to handle. When ready, preheat the oven to 325 F. Break off pieces of dough and roll them between your hands into one-inch balls. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for about 15 minutes. Allow them to cool on racks. This recipe makes about 40 cookies.

**Note-if you didn't have time to soften your butter-and since this is a kid recipe and you probably have kids chances are you didn't have time!-then go ahead and melt (or partially melt) the butter in the microwave. The cookies turn out yummy either way.
**Note-While this recipe looks suspiciously simple, it really is very tasty. Only 4 ingredients and it takes less than 10 minutes to combine everything. Enjoy the simplicity and get in the moment with your kids!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

1 pkg. (16 oz.) farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 bottle (8 oz.) Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing (or dressing of your choice)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the boiling water the last 3 min. Drain. Place in large bowl. Stir in peppers and tomatoes. Add dressing; toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle pasta salad with cheese right before serving.

**Note-Do I have to tell you this is a perfect dish to use up some of your vegetables from the garden? Use whatever veggies you have on hand that you think mix well!

Creamy Tomato Pasta Bake

1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. (16 oz.) rotini pasta, cooked
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Oven at 375. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish. Bake 25 min. or until heated through.

**Note-This is the simplest of simple recipes! It is quick, tasty, easy and uses ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now. What's for dinner tonight? This!

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Fruit Dip

1/4 cup Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and serve with cut up fruit of your choice.

**Note-I love this recipe because it can help you use up left over cream cheese, which, at my house, I never know what to do with and also it's a great dip to entice your children to eat their fruit-especially for a snack!
**Note-Using the milk makes it a more runny dip, so if you'd like yours a bit more solid, use less milk to start out with and add more as necessary.

Easy Chili Mac

1 1/2 c uncooked macaroni
1 green pepper
1 onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t cumin
2 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
1 can beans
1 can diced tomatoes undrained
Cheese for topping

Saute onion and green pepper in olive oil until soften some. Add garlic last minute or two of cooking. Add cumin, chili powder and salt. Saute a minute or two more. Add beans and tomatoes and let simmer while pasta is cooking. Before starting veggies, boil water and cook macaroni according to package directions. Once cooked add to "chili". Top with cheese.

**Note-You can keep the chili and mac separate in case we wanted to use them differently for leftovers.
**Note-I think this is a great recipe for nights when you haven't planned anything and need to use up leftovers. You could easily adapt this recipe for what you have on hand: ground beef, other veggies, etc.

Spinach and Swiss Quiche with Potato Crust

1/2 pound (Depending on the size of potatoes, 2-4) Yukon Gold potatoes, shredded**
3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, diced
1 10 oz package of frozen, chopped spinach
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie dish** with cooking spray. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Press into an even layer in pie dish, up the sides like a crust. Bake until golden brown at the edges and dry, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Lower the oven to 325 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoon oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add spinach, garlic, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until any water from the spinach evaporates; 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread the spinach mixture in an even layer in the pie dish, and top with an even layer of the cheese. Carefully pour in egg mixture. Bake until firm around the edges and egg is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool, and serve warm or at room temperature.

**Note-you can use whatever potatoes you like-I used regular baking potatoes (Russet) and they worked perfectly.
**Note-You can also use an 8x8 square baking dish.
**Note-although this recipe seems complicated, it is fairly simple and very very tasty. It is nice that the crust is made out of potatoes, which are a vegetable. So you are still getting a "carb" crust but it's a vegetable also!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crockpot Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup instant rice
2 eggs
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hot water
1 package dry onion soup mix

Mix ingredients, form into a round loaf in a crock pot that has been completely lined with aluminum foil. Cook 6-7 hours on allow. Remove carefully.

**Note-my mother made this recipe quite often as a child, and to be honest I never liked it. I haven't tried it since childhood. I have included it, however, because it is my great-grandmother's recipe. My mother was very close to her grandmother and this is one of the only, if not the only, tangible thing I have of my mother's memories of her grandmother. So I have included it for that reason.

Cheddar Baked Potato Slices

1 can cream soup
4 medium baking potatoes, cut into 1/4" slices
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Oven at 400. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Arrange potatoes in overlapping rows. Pour soup on top and then cover with cheese. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until potatoes are fork tender.

**Note-again, this isn't the healthiest dish, but sometimes when you buy a big 10lb bag of potatoes and have exhausted every other recipe, this is a good one to have on hand. It's also perfect for a potluck or gathering as what's not to like about potatoes, creaminess and cheese?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rotini and Black Bean Salad

8oz rotini pasta, cooked according to packaged directions
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup corn (my use frozen, fresh or canned)
¼ c green onions
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

Mix oil, vinegar and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Mix pasta and other ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top. Toss gently to combine. Refrigerate at least one hour, up to 24 hours.

**Note-to make this a main dish, add cheese cubes and or cubed chicken.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pepper steak with rice

1 lb round steak, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cup beef broth
2 green peppers, cut into strips
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
1/4 cup, each, soy sauce and water
Cooked rice

Cut meat into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle meat with paprika. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients. Brown meat in butter. Add garlic and broth. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in green peppers. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Blend cornstarch, water, and soy sauce together. Stir into meat mixture. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir gently. Serve over rice.

**Note-this dish tastes just like Chinese takeout!

Meatball Espanol

1 lb ground beef
1 c bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons worchestershire sauce
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon, each, oregano, basil and sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Cooked rice

Oven at 375. Combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, celery, worcestershire sauce, egg and garlic salt. Form into meatballs. Bake for 20 minutes in a casserole dish. When done, remove from dish and place on paper towels to drain fat. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, zucchini, and remaining seasonings in a small saucepan. Simmer for five minutes. Blend cornstarch into beef broth and stir into tomato mixture. Return meatballs to dish and pour tomatoes over the balls. Bake for 10 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

**Note-this is another recipe compliments of my mother that I am including purely for the ease of the dish and sentimental reasons.

Turkey Divan

1 package of frozen broccoli, thawed
Left over turkey slices/pieces
1 can creamed soup (your choice of flavor)
1/3 c milk
8oz shredded cheddar cheese

Oven at 450. Arrange thawed broccoli in a shallow baking dish. Top w/ turkey. Blend soup with milk and pour over turkey. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.

**Note-this is a very easy and very yummy dish (what's not to love about creamed soup, turkey and cheese?). Although it isn't the healthiest, I have included it for sentimental reasons as well as it is a perfect way to use up left over turkey from the holidays.
**Note-This dish would freeze well. Do not defrost the broccoli and lower the amount of milk to 1/4 cup. Assemble in a disposable pan. When ready to use, thaw completely in the fridge and bake as directed.