Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enchilada Hash Browns

Made this the other night and it worked well. Everyone liked it except Kendra, our potato and cheese hater. Definitely want to keep this in mind for future really easy meals.

Enchilada Hash Browns

1 Tbsp of vegitable oil
grated potatos (or a bag of frozen hash browns)
1 lb browned ground beef with the fat drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red enchilada sauce
a cup or two grated cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large deep skillet, and tilt the pan so the oil covers the bottom. Add the hash browns and cook until golden, then flip them. Spread the ground beef evenly on top the hash browns, same with the beans, then pour the sauce evenly over them. Top with the cheese and cover. Cook until the cheese is melted and then serve.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Tomorrow is the last day of Hanukkah. We made latkes today! This recipe is for a small batch, because then they all cook before the oil burns. This amount made 10 small latkes (about the size of coasters).

We used:

3 potatoes
1 onion
1 egg
1 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt
a dash of black pepper

enough canola oil to put 3/4 inch in the bottom of a deep skillet/frying pan

Shred the potatoes and onions. You can use a food processor, as I did, or a potato peeler, which takes hours and hours.

Put the shredded potatoes and onions into a clean tea towel and squeeze as much liquid as possible out of them. The best latkes start with the driest potato and onion shreds. Don't skip this step like I did a couple years ago; it will make the whole process easier, safer, and tastier.

Put your drier potato and onion shreds into a mixing bowl. Stir in the egg, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix it well.

Heat your skillet. Pour canola oil in to a level of about 3/4 inch. Turn the burner to about the lowest possible on a gas stove, or maybe a low medium on an electric stove. Wait a couple minutes for the oil to get hot.

Use about a handful of the mixture to form each flattish, roundish latke. Use a metal or wooden slotted spoon to carefully lower each latke into the pan. You can put a few latkes in at once, as long as there is room between them. Let them cook in the oil for a couple of minutes until the bottoms are brown. Carefully flip each latke over to cook the other side. When both sides are cooked, carefully remove the latke from the oil and set to cool on butcher paper (or a brown paper bag, or newspaper, whatever you have).

Let the latkes cool for at least 5 minutes, but then eat them pretty soon because they are best fresh. Eat them plain or serve with applesauce, sour cream, or jam.

Happy Hannukah!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flatbread Pizza!

Okay, this is the easiest recipe ever, and so intuitive that you've all probably made a variation at one point or another. It's especially good for kids and folks who like to eat different things, because everyone gets to make their own. Mostly I just wanted to post about how AWESOME this version tasted tonight. WOW. Forrest rated it a 9, and only 9 rather than 10 because he wanted more when he had finished his!

You will need:

flatbread pitas (softer and more wonderful than pocket pitas)
tomato paste (about 1 oz per pita. Try to get the unadulterated kind; the ingredients on the can should say "Tomatoes" and nothing else)
garlic powder
onion powder
mozzarella cheese, between one and two ounces per pita.

toppings! (this evening for two pita pizzas we used about 1.5 cups of frozen kale, 1 finely diced medium spicy jalapeno, 1 tomato, and about 1.5 ounces lower-sodium salami)

Mix the tomato paste with a little bit of water, until it is easy to stir without being at all runny or soupy. Mix in oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder to taste.

Use a soup spoon to plop just one big spoonful onto the center of each pita. Spread it around with the back of the spoon. If you think you need more, add a little at a time. Don't go overboard or the final result will be sticky and mushy.

Top each pita with shredded mozzarella cheese and your other toppings. I always put a little bit more cheese on top at the end.

Place the pita pizzas onto a cookie sheet (or right onto the oven rack if you want extra crispy crust). Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes. There is no need to preheat the oven.

Eat and enjoy!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast

I love cinnamon french toast, but I hate how the cinnamon clumps in the egg batter. I've tried various solutions (btw, adding it to the milk and stirring it up just makes cinnamon-milk foam) but this is the one that actually works.

8 eggs
1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar mix (nice and blended)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
16 slices bread

The only thing I actually measure are the eggs :P. Put the cinnamon-sugar in the dipping bowl. Add the eggs and the milk and the vanilla. Let sit for a couple minutes while the egg/milk soaks into the sugar. Mix well. Dip the bread as usual. Stir the eggs every time they sit for more than a minute or so, or the sugar accumulates on the bottom.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Delicious, Vaguely Asian or Middle Eastern Any-Nut Sauce

Most of my cooking tends along the lines of Italian or Latin American type seasoning. Yesterday we had some leftover quinoa and wanted some kind of sauce and a change of pace. I derived this recipe from some suggestions I found on intertube. It was AMAZING! I think it would go well on pasta, rice, or any other kinds of grains, or even hot or cold vegetables. It's very taste-ful, so you only need a couple of spoonfuls over your meal.

As you might have noticed, my recipes tend to be very flexible. You can use more or less of any of the ingredients, according to your preferences.

2 Tbs nut butter (I used tahini, but you could use peanut butter or another nut butter)
Juice of a lemon OR 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp powdered garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne powder (or more or less to taste)
1/2 Tbs sugar
Water, enough for dissolving sugar and thinning to the right consistency

Dissolve the sugar in a bit of warm water, then mix everything up together! Add enough water to make a nice sauce consistency -- not pasty and not soupy.

Tags for special diets!

Hey Fam,

I just went back and added a "low sodium" tag to the recipes of mine that qualify. What other tags would be useful to folks? I'm thinking "gluten free" (which Mindi might already have done, but I'll go back and add to mine that are gf). What else?

Caveat: The labels will go on recipes that CAN be made low sodium or gluten free (or whatever else you guys suggest). If you are trying to cook for a special diet, choose wisely the specific ingredients you use for a "low sodium" or "gluten free" recipe. For instance, some mozzarella cheese has 1% or less of your RDA of sodium, but some other brands have up to 12%. Similarly, some peanut butter is gluten free, but other peanut butter is processed in a plant that also processes gluten, so choose wisely.

Also, if you're not sure how to add tags, it's easy. Just click the pencil at the bottom of a post you published. It will take you to a page that lets you edit the post. At the bottom of the page you will see "labels" and you can add a label to it there.

The low sodium label will be tremendously useful to me, so if you're still not sure how to add the tag, but you know a recipe can be made low sodium, gluten free, or something else, leave me a comment or send me an email and I will go in and tag it. ***Edit: Or maybe I can't, but maybe Dave can?***




Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Pie

This was my favorite recipe from our Thanksgiving. You can buy a regular pie crust (or buy a gluten free one if you would like) to save on time and patience. I love Butternut Squash, so I enjoyed having a new way to share it. I also made this same recipe with fresh pumpkin for a pumpkin pie. Both were wonderful. Nobody would have know the crust was gluten free, if I hadn't have told them. :) Mindi

(Bryan found this on npr.org about a Gluten Free Thanksgiving. Very good recipes.)

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Pie

What's Thanksgiving without pie? This gluten-free version is every bit as delectable as those containing wheat flour, with a flaky crust and a creamy, spicy filling. Butternut squash pie is a fun departure from traditional pumpkin, but for purists, check the variations for the good old standard. This version has a bit of a kick and goes amazingly well with cold whipped cream on top.
Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Pie
Enlarge Stephanie Stiavetti for NPR

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Pie
Stephanie Stiavetti for NPR

Makes 8 servings


1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe below)

5 teaspoons sweet rice flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Pinch of salt

6 tablespoons cold salted butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon orange juice

Prepare a 9-inch pie pan by greasing it with butter or nonstick baking spray and generously coating it with Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe below).

Mix flours, sugar, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut cold butter into dry ingredients until it becomes crumbly and resembles small peas. Add egg and orange juice, and mix with a fork until the dough combines. Form into a ball and place in the refrigerator, covered with wax paper, for 10 minutes.

Lay down a sheet of wax paper and place the ball of dough in the middle. Lay another piece of wax paper over the top and press down gently with your hands to flatten the ball. Roll the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4-inch thick, making sure to keep an even thickness and fill in any cracks with dough from the edges.

Remove the top sheet of wax paper and place the dough in the pan, then peel off the remaining sheet of wax paper and gently press the dough into the pan. Take care not to puncture the dough with your fingers or fingernails. Crimp the edges and prick a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork. Cover pie pan loosely with wax paper and place in freezer for 15 minutes.

While the dough is freezing, place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove pie pan from freezer and line crust with aluminum foil, making sure to seal the edges so they don't burn. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until crust is a pale brown. Remove from oven and set aside.


2 pounds butternut squash

3/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

5 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs


Preheat to 425 degrees.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Lay squash facedown on a jelly-roll pan and pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Roast in oven for 1 hour, checking occasionally to make sure there is still water in the pan. Squash is done when a fork easily penetrates the flesh. Remove squash from oven, allow to cool and scoop flesh out with a spoon. You need 1 1/2 cups of mashed squash for the filling.


Make a shield for the edge of the pie crust by cutting 3-inch-thick strips of foil and folding them over the edges of your crust to protect them from burning. The foil should not dip down into the basin of the pan. Make sure it just covers the crimped parts around the rim of the pie pan.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on high for 1 minute, or until ingredients are liquefied. Pour filling into pie crust and carefully place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the pie comes out clean.

Place pie on wire rack until completely cooled. Slice and serve with whipped cream, which is nice with a little cayenne pepper.

Variation: For standard pumpkin pie, replace the butternut squash with 1 1/2 cups of fresh, unseasoned pumpkin puree. If you are roasting your own pumpkin, cut open the top, scoop out the seeds and split the body into four pieces. Roast according to directions above.
Gluten-Free Flour Mix

This flour mixture is light while remaining sturdy, and acts as a great alternative to wheat flours. Make up a big batch and keep it in your pantry for when you need gluten-free flour.

Makes 3 cups

2 cups finely ground brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)

1/3 cup tapioca flour

Mix flours in a large bowl. Sift and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Gluten Free Corn Bread

Adapted from a recipe by Patsy Watkins via Crescent Dragonwagon

1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
¾ cup sweet rice flour
¼ cup corn starch
½ tsp. Xanthan gum
1 Tbsp. gluten-free baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ c. buttermilk (or almond milk soured with ¼ tsp. apple cider vinegar)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
¾ cup grated cheese
2 Tbsp. butter or canola margarine

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the butter or margarine in a 9” X 9” cast-iron skillet or baking pan and place it in the oven until the butter is melted.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, Xanthan gum, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the cornmeal and mix well. Add the grated cheese and mix until the cheese is coated with the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix the buttermilk and baking soda. Add the beaten egg and the canola oil and mix thoroughly.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mix into it. Mix the liquid ingredients with the dry with as few strokes as possible. Pour the batter into the hot pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool for about 20 minutes before cutting.

Serves 6 – 8

Wild Rice Stuffing (Gluten Free)

Bryan's dad has been trying to cut gluten out of his diet, so I contacted a lady who lives in this area to help me out with some gluten free recipes. They were delicious! Hope you enjoy. Mindi

Wild Rice Stuffing
It’s best to prepare this the night before you will use it.

1 large onion
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
2 cups wild rice

3 Tbsp. olive oil

7 cups chicken stock, or half stock and half water

3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. dried parsley leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the onion, carrots and celery. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot or saucepan large enough to hold 2 quarts. Sauté the onion, carrots and celery in the oil until the onion is translucent. Wash the wild rice and add it to the onion mixture. Sauté for 5 minutes more.

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan until it is boiling. Add it to the rice and onion mixture. Cover and allow the rice to cook for 40 to 50 minutes. It should still be a bit chewy, not soft.

Slice the garlic cloves. Add the garlic, parsley and rosemary to the rice mixture. Add salt and pepper.

Place the stuffing in the bird so that the stuffing takes up about ¾ of the cavity. Also stuff the crop area. Close the bird according to your preference (i.e., sew it shut or use skewers) and bake it according to the directions for a stuffed bird, usually around 25 minutes to the pound.

Other things that can be added are: wild mushrooms, dried cranberries, pecans, sage, thyme, chunks of sweet potato, etc.

Makes 8 cups