Monthly Archives: October 2010

Chipotle Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

It’s like a traditional shepherd’s pie…but with a little more kick.

1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 1/4 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or Yukon gold potatoes)
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds ground sirloin, ground turkey or ground chicken
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons steak sauce (such as A-1)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare topping, remove 1 chile and 2 teaspoons sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Coarsely chop 1 chile.

Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Place potatoes, chopped chile, 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, milk, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

To prepare filling, cook beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan; drain.

Heat pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Return beef to pan; stir in peas and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 minutes.

Spoon beef mixture into a 3-quart casserole; top with sweet potato mixture, spreading evenly. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

What did the family think? This is great warm homey food on a chilly fall or winter night. I really liked it. Hubby said he would have liked it better if I would have used regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.

from Cooking Light

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Vietnamese Sandwich

After watching the Great Food Truck Race, I was inspired to make these after watching people gobble up Nom Nom’s sandwiches every week.

4 boneless pork loin chops, cut 1/4 inch thick
4 (7 inch) French bread baguettes, split lengthwise
4 teaspoons mayonnaise, or to taste
1 ounce chile sauce with garlic
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven’s broiler.

Place the pork chops on a broiling pan and set under the broiler. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once, or until browned on each side.

Open the French rolls and spread mayonnaise on the insides. Place one of the cooked pork chops into each roll. Spread chile sauce directly on the meat. Sprinkle with a little lime juice and top with slices of onion, cucumber, cilantro, salt and pepper. Finish with another quick drizzle of lime juice.

We had these with some Egg
Drop Soup
and some sushi I got at the store.

Did I change anything? If I was going to make this again, I would definitely cook more meat. Maybe 6 pork loin chops instead of 4. I also cut the pork chops into strips so that they would fit on the bread better. Speaking of the bread, I didn’t buy real french bread, but I did buy long hoagie-like buns. I just thought they would be too hard to eat like that, especially for the boys.

What did the family think? Hubby and I really liked them. The boys liked their sandwiches, too, but I made theirs much more plain…just meat and bread.


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Egg Drop Soup

We needed some soup on this chilly night, but I had also planned to make some Vietnamese sandwiches. These two paired up nicely with the sushi I got at the store…we had an Asian sampler night. 🙂

4 cups chicken broth, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Reserve 3/4 cup of chicken broth, and pour the rest into a large saucepan. Stir the salt, ginger and chives into the saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil.

In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining broth and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk together using a fork. Drizzle egg a little at a time from the fork into the boiling broth mixture. Egg should cook immediately. Once the eggs have been dropped, stir in the cornstarch mixture gradually until the soup is the desired consistency.

Did I change anything? I had some shredded carrots left over from a recipe I made earlier this week, so I added some of those.

What did the family think? I was a little nervous that the soup would not taste AT ALL like restaurant soup, but it turned out great. Hubby and I liked it. Our oldest tried it, but he was not impressed.

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Filed under Easy, Side Dish, Stew/Soup

Cobb Salad Wrap

These can be served hot or cold. You can make them ahead of time, stick them in the frig and get them out when you are ready. They are very transportable too…make it, wrap it up in plastic wrap and take it with you for lunch or a picnic.

1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
4 8- to 10-inch whole wheat or Southwest-flavored flour tortillas
4 romaine lettuce leaves, ribs removed
4 strips bacon, crisp-cooked and drained
2 green onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces cooked chicken, shredded

Spread salad dressing over one side of each tortilla.

Top with lettuce, bacon, green onions, tomato, cheese, and shredded chicken. Roll up tightly.

Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and chill up to 4 hours.

Makes 4 main-dish servings.

Did I change anything? The only thing I changed was that the kids only got chicken, lettuce and cheese in theirs.

What did the family think? Everyone liked theirs except for our youngest…the cheese was sticking to the chicken! Horror!!! He did finally manage to work his way around it and ate his dinner though.

from Better Homes and Gardens

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Filed under Chicken, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Sandwich

Sunshine Cupcakes

I used to make a version of these a lot when the boys were little for birthday parties, preschool birthday celebrations, etc. I haven’t made them in forever, but I know they’d still like them. It’s a cupcake…what’s not to like?

1 package of yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon of orange zest
1 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 large eggs

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and orange zest. Whisk to combine.

Add orange juice, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs. Blend with the mixer on low speed for one minute, then speed it up to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.

Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake at 350F until golden in color and a toothpick test comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.

Did I change anything? The only thing missing from these cupcakes is the frosting. I never put frosting on them when I was taking them up to preschool…the preschool teachers REALLY appreciate that. They are good just the way they are.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

from Family Fun magazine

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Filed under After School Snacks, Definitely Making it Again, Desserts, Easy, Six Ingredients or Less, Vegetarian


Hubby asked me if I would put this in our dinner recipe rotation this week. Our oldest son gave it “five stars”…it is a very “kid-friendly” dish.

1 pound ground beef, turkey or chicken
2 cups shredded carrot
2 (10-3/4-ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
2 1/2 cups water
8 ounces dried cut whole wheat ziti pasta (about 2-1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoongarlic powder
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook ground beef and shredded carrot over medium heat until meat is brown. Drain off fat.

Stir tomato soup, the water, uncooked ziti, dried basil (if using), onion powder, and garlic powder into meat mixture in Dutch oven.

Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook about 25 minutes or until ziti is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh basil (if using) and mozzarella cheese.

Sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese.

Did I change anything? I used macaroni noodles instead of the ziti the recipe called for.

What did the family think? Our oldest son liked it so much he requested the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow. Everyone else liked it too…it was perfect for the chilly weather.

adapted from

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

We go through granola bars like crazy around here, so I thought I would give these seasonal treats a try.

3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Makes 10-12 granola bars

*Note-You can double the recipe and bake in a 9 by 13 pan.

What did the family think? I will let you know as soon as they cool.


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Filed under After School Snacks, Desserts, Vegetarian

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

It’s been a while since I made this, but this is a staple in our house. It is perfect for a cold and rainy night like tonight.

3/4 lb Italian sausage
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 cup red wine
2 cans chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound dried tortellini
1-2 cups fresh baby spinach (depending on how much you like spinach)
grated or shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a Dutch oven, cook Italian sausage using a wooden spoon to crumble. When Italian sausage is cooked through, add tomatoes, wine, chicken broth and garlic. Bring to a simmer.

Add tortellini and cook until done.

Add spinach right before serving. Stir until wilted.

Serve and garnish with Parmesan.

Did I change anything? Sometimes I add a little chopped zucchini and/or some diced carrots.

What did the family think? We love this one. It’s definitely comfort food at our house.

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Stew/Soup, Super Easy to Make

Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins

Yesterday I was craving a blueberry muffin. I started searching for a blueberry and sour cream muffin recipe, but then stumbled upon this one.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream cheese filling:

3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan or line pan with muffin liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub sugar and zest together, until fragrant. Add to the flour mixture and whisk again.

In a separate medium bowl, mix canola oil, egg, milk, and vanilla together.

Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and do not over mix. The batter will be lumpy and thick. Gently fold in the blueberries.

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar until smooth. Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling to each muffin cup. Cover each cup with remaining batter so you can’t see the cream cheese filling.

Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool on a cooking rack.

Makes 9 regular size muffins

Did I change anything? The recipe called for sprinkling turbinado sugar on top of each muffin. I left it out just to reduce our sugar intake a little.

What did the family think? I am the only one who has had one so far since everyone else is asleep, but I will tell you they are fantastic. I love the cream cheese in the middle, but if for some weird reason you don’t like cream cheese, I think they would be good without the cream cheese as well.


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Filed under After School Snacks, Bread, Breakfast, Definitely Making it Again, Desserts, Vegetarian

Orechiette with Sausage, Beans and Mascarpone

If your family INSISTS on having red sauce on their pasta (like mine does) then this may not be the dish for you. However, I will say that having served them a couple of pasta dishes lately without red sauce, they are s-l-o-w-l-y coming around to the idea that pasta does not have to be covered in marinara.

1 pound orechiette pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound turkey sausage, casing removed
1 small onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onions. Using a wooden spoon break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it browns.

Continue cooking until the sausage is golden and the onions are tender. Add the beans and oregano cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cup of pasta cooking liquid and stir, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until it dissolved into a light sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and hot pasta. Stir until coated and serve.

Did I change anything? I didn’t use as much pasta as the recipe called for. I used probably closer to 3/4 lb.

What did the family think? After they got over the fact that it didn’t have red sauce in it, they liked it.

from Food Network

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Filed under Everybody Ate It, Italian