Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Vintage Kitchen is moving.

Yes, you read that correctly!  My Vintage Kitchen is going to move! 

I've been having a heck of a time trying to keep up with two blogs and a toddler.  It was a lot easier to find time to post when Grace was an infant and slept most of the day, but now that she's running all over the house, I get less opportunities to post and My Vintage Kitchen  is suffering.  Since I also post recipes on my other blog, Under the Big Oak Tree, it makes more sense to combine the two blogs. 

I know that some of you follow both of my blogs.  But I hope the My Vintage Kitchen readers that don't already follow my other blog will decide to follow us Under the Big Oak Tree where you can find menu plans, deals, product, reviews and other recipes that haven't been shared here! 

This week, I'll be announcing some great product reviews and giveaways so I really hope to see you all Under the Big Oak Tree

Friday, July 2, 2010

Check Out My Other Blog: CSN Stores Giveaway

I know that I've been neglecting this blog.  I'll be posting some new recipes soon.  But for now, I want to share some giveaway news with the readers of My Vintage Kitchen. 

Some of you may know that I have another blog:  Under the Big Oak Tree. I use that blog to post about daily stuff:  deals, household tips, my family, some recipes, product reviews, etc. 

Just in case there are some of you that don't know about that other blog, I wanted to be sure that I told you about a great GIVEAWAY that I'm hosting over there: 

Caitlin from CSN Stores contacted me and offered me the chance to give one of my lucky readers a $40 gift certificate to be used at any of their 200 + online stores

Since this is a cooking/food/kitchen blog, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the kitchen items that they carry: 

Can you tell I love Le Creuset?  Maybe just a little? :) 

Like I said, you can use the gift certificate at any of the 200 + plus CSN Stores websites, but in the spirit of this being a food blog, kitchen stuff seemed appropriate! 

What are you waiting for?  Get over there and enter!!! 

Good luck! 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

While my little family is all still asleep on this beautiful Sunday morning, I wanted to wish everyone a very happy Father's Day!

This is my favorite picture of my little family. 
It was taken on the night we brought Grace home from the hospital. 
We were so worried that our spoiled puppy wouldn't like the baby.  We worried for nothing.  Remmy is wonderful with Grace.  They are buddies! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crunchy Tuna Salad with Egg

When I was a kid, I hated Tuna Salad.  I really, really hated it.  It wasn't the tuna itself that I didn't like, it was the chunks of onions that my mom added to it!  I remember asking my mom to just take the tuna out of the can and put it on some bread for me.  She did that occasionally.  But most of the time I was stuck with the chunks! 

Now, as an adult, I love to add not only onions, but also celery and carrots.  Mmmm!  I love all the crunchy veggies mixed with my tuna!  I also add hard boiled eggs to my tuna.  All those added items really makes a hearty sandwich and helps to stretch a can of tuna! 

 I make it pretty much the same way each time except I don't measure.  Here's a rough idea of how I made it tonight (you can adjust the add-ins according to your tastes): 

Crunchy Tuna Salad

  • 3 cans Albacor Tuna packed in water (drained)
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/4 Hellmann's Mayonnaise
  • pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Place eggs and tuna in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork to separate the tuna chunks a bit. 
  • Add vegetables, stir until well mixed. 
  • Stir in the mayo. 
  • Add pepper (optional)

  • Crisp-cooked bacon or the bacon sold in the salad dressing aisle is also a good addition to this salad. 
  • I like to serve this on toast, crackers, or in a wrap with some lettuce.  

I used to get tuna salad similar to this from a deli in Philly on my lunch break.  The deli changed owners and the new owners had a different type of tuna salad.  While this is a similar salad, I was never able to duplicate the deli's salad.  That's okay, I like this one too! 

It's so much cheaper to make this tuna salad than it was to buy a single serving at the deli every day.  And it's a great way to use up some fresh vegetables.  I try to plan tuna salad whenever I buy celery for a recipe since we never seem to be able to use up the celery before it turns to mush in the veggie bin. 

I'll be linking this recipe to the following blog carnivals: 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Last week, I made some barbecue chicken breasts in the oven. Grace loves chicken so I like to keep it made and in the fridge for her. It makes it easy for me on nights when she can't eat what we're eating.

We usually use store bought barbecue sauce but we ran out a couple weeks ago. The store was sold out of our favorite brand (Famous Dave's Sweet & Zesty) and I didn't care for the brand that Joe bought instead. It had way too much smoke flavor for my taste. 

I checked out my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (it's seen better days) and found a basic recipe. I was happy that I had all of the ingredients needed. As always, I adapted this recipe to suit our tastes and added or switched some of the ingredients.

Easy Barbecue Sauce


1 C. ketchup
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
1/2 C. water
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1 T. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 T. brown mustard
3 T. finely diced onion
1 T. finely diced celery
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 oz. liquid smoke
several dashes of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
ground black pepper to taste


In a small sauce pot, stir together all ingredients. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often. After sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) until sauce is thick, stirring often.

A couple of years ago, I never would have made my own barbecue sauce.  I wouldn't have even thought to do it.  I'm so happy that I made this sauce, it was so easy and so much cheaper than the store bought sauces.   I think we'll be sticking with this sauce for more daily use and save our favorites store bought brand as a treat. 
I'll be linking to the following blogs this week: 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Easier Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I've been wanting to post more kitchen tips and other kitchen related topics to this blog but I've been focusing on recipes.  Since I haven't tried any new recipes lately, I thought I'd post this tip for easy grilled cheese sandwiches.

I  hate spreading butter onto bread.  Mainly because I always forget to take the butter out to soften and trying to spread the cold and hard butter on the bread tears the bread.  Sure I could soften it in the microwave, but I usually end up with an entire stick of MELTED butter.

For grilled cheese, I make it the way my Mom always made it for us.   With mayonnaise instead of butter.  It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I realized that most people used butter for their grilled cheese sandwiches. 

You've got to try it!  Instead of spreading butter onto the slices of bread, try some mayo!  I guess the oils in the mayo keeps the bread from sticking to the pan.  It still gets nice and golden brown too, just like a "regular" grilled cheese sandwich.  Joe even thinks that the mayo makes it taste creamier than the traditional way. 

Here's another tip:  For best results, use regular mayonnaise.  Don't use lite mayo or miracle whip.  The grilled cheese tends to stick when using those types. 

********Be sure to check out my other blog for a giveaway to celebrate it's 100th post!********

I'll be linking to:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! 
This photo is from my FIRST Mother's Day.
Grace is so tiny in this picture. 
Just 8 days old. 
I cannot believe that it's been a year already! 

I'm looking forward to a quiet day with my 2 favorite people (and my favorite puppy).  We may possibly run an errand or two, but for the most part, a nice quiet day....we need it!  

My other blog:  Under the Big Oak Tree is getting very close to it's
100th post!  
Soon, I'll be announcing a giveaway to celebrate! 
Check back this week for more details!   

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ham and Cabbage Skillet

I'm not a huge fan of the traditional boiled ham and cabbage St. Patrick's Day dinner.  I also don't like Corned Beef and Cabbage.  Honestly, I am Irish!  :) 

When I eat ham, I tend to only enjoy it if it's a spiral cut ham from either Heavenly Ham or Honey Baked Ham.  Or if it's in the form of deli meat.  Even then, I'm picky about it. 

I will, however, eat ham steak.  And I do enjoy that!  MMmmm! 

In the past, Joe and I never really did anything to "celebrate" St. Patrick's Day.  Well, besides wearing a green shirt to avoid pinching! 

Now that we have Grace, I want to celebrate all the special occasions in little ways.  You know, heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine's Day and stuff like that. 

Grace is still too young to even realize that it's a special occasion and she's just starting on table food, so this year was "practice".   We were out yesterday during dinner, so I put off making our St. Patty's Day dinner until tonight.  I really enjoyed it and think it will be a keeper.  Not only for St. Patty's Day but as another way to serve ham steak throughout the year. 

Ham and Cabbage Skillet

  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 3 potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrot, chopped
  • 4 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Mrs. Dash, paprika, black pepper,  to taste
  • 1 lb. ham steak, diced 
  • Boil potatoes in a pot until tender, drain.
  • In a skillet, melt butter and cook onions and carrots until onions just begin to become translucent. 
  • Add cabbage and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in water.  This will help the cabbage cook and also deglaze the pan. 
  • Cook until vegetables are tender.
  • Season to your liking and combine well. 
  • Add diced ham, heat through.  
  • Mix in the drained potatoes.  You may want to add another Tbs. of butter. 
  • Cook a few minutes more. 
If you happen to make the traditional boiled ham dinner.  This would be a great way to serve the leftovers.  Just drain the juices, add to a hot skillet with melted butter and saute until slightly browned.  

Twice Baked Potatoes

Usually when I cook, I find a recipe I think we will like and then switch some of the ingredients around.  Sometimes I make changes to exclude an ingredient that I don't like (i.e. mushrooms) or I make a change because I think the recipe could be improved if something was added (like peppers and onions) or I make a change simply because I don't have a specific ingredient and I don't feel like waiting until I go shopping to make the recipe. 

When I make twice baked potatoes, I follow the recipe as it is written.  Every time.  (except I leave out the green onion.) 

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 8 baking potatoes*, scrubbed
  • 2 sticks butter, sliced
  • 1 cup bacon bits**
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1 cup cheddar jack cheese, shredded
  • black pepper
  • additional cheddar jack for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Bake potatoes on cookie sheet for 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Place sliced butter, bacon bits, sour cream and Lawry's Seasoned Salt in a large mixing bowl. 
  • When potatoes are done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. 
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
  • Hold potato with a clean dish towel or pot holder and cut in half (lengthwise).
  • Scrape out the potato pulp into the bowl with the other ingredients, being careful to leave a little still attached to the skin.  Also, being careful to not tear the skin. 
  • Place the skins on a cookie sheet. 
  • Mash the potatoes and other ingredients with a hand masher (not the electric mixer) to the texture you like.  I like them a bit lumpy. 
  • Add the shredded cheese and mix together until ingredients are well blended. 
  • Stuff the potatoes. 
  • Top with additional cheese. 
  • Bake on cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes. 
*I prefer to use the huge potatoes from Costco, but the more normal sized baking potatoes from the grocery store work great, too. 

**Don't use the hard, crunchy kind of bacon bits.  Use the soft kind by Oscar Meyer or similar.  This can usually be found in the salad dressing/crouton aisle or in the canned tuna/chicken/Spam aisle. 

This recipe can be found on The Pioneer Woman Cooks! blog along with a great, step-by-step picture tutorial! 

Check out my other blog

I know it's been a while since I posted anything new.  I do have a few new recipes to post, it's just been a challenge trying to find the time to sit down and type them out. 

In the meantime, hop on over to Under the Big Oak Tree (my other blog) to read my review of the 12" x 9.5" Le Creuset Rectangular Dish that CSN Stores sent me! 

Here's a couple of pictures of the dish in action:

Green Bean Casserole

Stuffed Peppers

The recipe for Stuffed Peppers will be posted sometime soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

For years, I only bought baby carrots from the grocery store.  I like them better for snacking than whole carrots.  Recently, I started buying whole carrots for cooking.  I still buy baby carrots for snacks, but if I know I'm planning to make soup or stew, I'll buy the whole carrots. 

Now that I'm hooked on making my own veggie broth from scraps and peels, the whole carrots really come in handy!  For some crazy reason, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a 5lb bag of carrots! 

When I wasn't using them as quick as I thought I would, I started to get worried that they would go bad and I'd have to throw them away, so I searched for recipes for carrots.  I found a few recipes for carrot soup and decided to attempt to create my own recipe in my Crock-Pot. 

Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled & sliced into coins
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced thin
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground thyme
  • dash of cloves
  • Sour cream (optional)
Add all ingredients to Crock-Pot, cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender. 
Blend with stick blender to desired texture.  Top with sour cream and serve. 

I served the soup along with grilled cheese sandwiches for a Lenten Friday (meatless) meal.  Both of us agreed that the soup would have been better with some meat (maybe ham) added.  Or if left as a meatless soup, it would make a delicious first course to a nice steak dinner. 

I'll be sharing this recipe with the following carnivals:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lovin' My Crock-Pot

It's been a bit slow in the kitchen this past week as far as recipes go. 

I've gotten some use out of my Crock-Pot.  Have I mentioned how much I love that thing?! 

I cooked up my first batch of dried beans!  I am so proud of myself!  Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love beans!  The fact that I am such a bean lover and only ever prepared them by using canned beans is amazing to me. 

Wanting to attempt cooking dried beans, I bought a 2 lb. bag of pinto beans from Aldi.  Two years ago.  I bought them, then felt intimidated by them.  So, I ignored them and let them just sit there in my pantry.  Doing nothing. 

Then, I found out that beans shouldn't sit for more than a year.  After that, they don't soften.  Great.  Just great. 

Since Joe does a lot of the food shopping, there's no way I can convince him to buy more dried beans if I throw this  2 year old bag of beans away.  So, I attempted to cook them anyway.  Fully prepared for failure. 

They turned out great!  After they were done cooking (in my Crock-Pot) I seasoned them a bit and let them cook a little bit longer.  I served the beans over rice with corn muffins on the side.  A perfectly filling, meatless meal for Ash Wednesday. 

We made refried beans out of the leftovers and have several containers full in the freezer for taco dinners. 

I will  post in more detail about cooking the beans and also the refried beans.  This time I really just threw stuff in and didn't measure a thing.  Next time, I need to measure and write it all down, so I know what the heck I'm talking about!  And of course, I'll have to remember to take pictures. 

I also used my Crock-Pot to cook some split chicken breast.  I cooked it and diced it to use in future meals.  With the cooking juices and bones, I made more chicken broth!  Two quarts of homemade chicken broth!  MMmmmm!  I see chicken rice soup and croquettes in my future. 

I made more vegetable broth.  Again, in the Crock-Pot.  I think I made about 10 cups of veggie broth.  That will be perfect to add to some minestrone soup I forgot was in the freezer.  I remember that I made it a bit thick and that it would need to have some broth added when served again.  Perfect.  I think this will be on the menu for this week's Lenten Friday meal. 

I did try a new recipe.  I bought a 5 lb. bag of carrots a couple of weeks ago.  I have no idea what I thought I needed 5 lbs. of carrots, but the price was low and I wanted carrots.  Impulse buy, I guess. 

Anway, I made a carrot and sweet potato soup on Friday.  I need to gather my notes, so that I can post the recipe soon.  

Now that I think about it, maybe the kitchen wasn't so slow after all! 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tutorial: Make Your Own Veggie Broth in the Crock-Pot

I've said before that my Crock-Pot is one of my most-used appliances in my kitchen.  Only to be beat by my constantly running dishwasher! 

After making my own chicken broth (I'll post about that soon...I promise) last month, I decided to find out if vegetable broth can be made in the Crock-Pot.  Sure enough, it can!  Yay! 

Searching the Internet, I found a lot of information for making homemade vegetable broth.  Rachael wrote this post for Buffalo Frugal Living Examiner and it seemed to have the best information for me.  After reading her post and seeing how simple it was to make veggie broth, I wanted to jump right in and make it that very second.  But, it wouldn't have been a very good vegetable broth, since I didn't have any veggie scraps saved. 

I decided to share my  vegetable broth making experience with you and was even prepared with the camera close by  and took step by step photos of the entire process! 

I started by saving all of my veggie scraps while preparing recent meals.  I saved everything:  carrot ends and peels, potato peels, celery (tops, bottoms and leaves) onion peels and tops, bell pepper tops, garlic peels, broccoli stems, cabbage cores, etc. 

I stored the scraps in gallon size Ziplock Freezer Bags in my basement freezer. 

I poured the frozen** scraps into my Crock-Pot.  My oval Crock-Pot only needed one of the gallon-sized bags to fill it.  This particular bag was full of scraps from carrots, peppers, celery, cabbage and onions. 

**Remember:  if you are using cold or frozen vegetable scraps, to start off with a room temperature Crock-Pot.  If it's pre-heated, it may crack when the cold items are added.

I added COLD water to about 1/2 inch from the top.  Then I covered it and cooked on LOW for about 13 hours. 

After letting it simmer through the night, this is what it looked like in the morning.  I took the lid off and let it cool for about half an hour. 

I placed  a large bowl in my sink and then placed my colander inside of the bowl to strain the veggies from the broth. 

I used a large ladle to scoop out most of the veggies and broth and let it strain through the colander and into the bowl until there was enough removed so that I could pour it through the strainer without making much of a mess! 

After that, I just had to pour it into my large measuring cup to see just how much broth was made!  It's past the 8 cup line!  So, that's about 4 cans of broth.  Four less cans I have to buy not only means that I saved money, but four less cans to throw away recycle. 

My next step will be to pour it into Ziplock Freezer Bags when it's finished cooling.  I'll store them in 2 cup portions and freeze flat on the shelf of my kitchen freezer.  Once they are solid, they will stack nicely in my basement freezer! 

I will be sharing this blog post with the following blog carnivals this week: 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Rice Soup ~ Easy, Fast and Frugal

Last week, I made some homemade chicken broth.  I had a quart left in the fridge that needed to get used, so I threw together a quick soup. 

I'm posting this, at the request of my friend Lisa.  Although, it's a pretty easy recipe, I thought I'd share! 

Chicken Rice Soup

  • 1 quart homemade chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups water (or additional broth) *
  • 1 cup carrots, carrots
  • 1  medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1-2 cups cooked rice
  • bring homemade broth to a boil in soup pot on stove, medium-high heat.
  • add water (or additional broth) if needed
  • add vegetables, cover and reduce heat to low
  • simmer until vegetables are tender
  • stir in chicken and rice
  • heat through

* I made the homemade broth (more about that in a future post) using the cooking juices and bones/carcass from a whole chicken cooked in the crock pot (recipe on my other blog).  The spices on the chicken made this a very dark, spicy broth.  I needed about 1 1/2 cups of water to dilute it enough to be a light flavored broth for a light soup. 

This soup turned out great!  It was a really quick, easy and frugal meal!  I really just cleaned out the fridge of some veggies that needed to get used and the homemade broth I had made the week before!  Joe picked up a loaf of crusty bread on his way home from work! 

There is just one small bowl left and I'm eating that for lunch today! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup ~ Crock-Pot

If you read my recipe post for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, then you know I added some potatoes and onions under the chicken to cook at the same time. 

When the Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves was finished cooking, I removed the chicken to one bowl and the potatoes, onions and some of the garlic to another bowl.  I reserved those potatoes for this recipe: 

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup

  • Roasted Potatoes, Onions, Garlic*
  • 1 quart homemade chicken broth**
  • 2 additional cups potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Place previously roasted potatoes, onions and garlic in crock-pot with chicken broth, cover and cook on high for one hour.
  • Using a stick blender,*** puree the potatoes and onions to your desired consistency and texture. 
  • Stir in the additional potatoes along with the carrots, celery, water, salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until vegetables are tender. 

Potatoes and onions in chicken broth.

Pureed potatoes and onions in chicken broth.
Finished product! 
  *I really love how easy it was to make this soup using the previously roasted vegetables.  I added extra veggies since I planned on pureeing the roasted veggies, but still wanted a chunkier soup. 

 **I made homemade broth using the bones and the cooking juices from the Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves.  Store bought broth or stock can also be used. 

***If you don't have a stick blender, a food processor or standard kitchen blender will work.

I really enjoyed this soup.  It was very hearty and had lots of flavor.  We each had two bowls along with sliced French Bread for dipping! 

Even after our hearty portions, there was still about a quart of soup leftover.  I put that in the fridge for leftover night (probably Saturday)!

I'll be sharing this recipe with the following blog carnivals: 

Crock-Pot Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Do you know there are several recipes for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic posted all over the Internet? 

Seriously, I didn't realize it until I decided over the weekend that I wanted to prepare this dish for dinner on Monday night.  You can find some version of this recipe pretty much anywhere:  Food Network, Bloggers, Allrecipes, etc.! 

With the help of my friend (in real life) Lisa, I was able to decide on a combination of flavors that would work for me. 

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic with Roasted Potatoes & Onions

  • 3lbs. potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cups onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced 
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 4 bone-in split chicken breast (approx. 4 lbs.)
  • 33 cloves of garlic*, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
This is a photo of the raw chicken layered in the crock pot on top of the potatoes and onions.

  • In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and onions with the sliced garlic, olive oil, rosemary and thyme. 
  • Spread the potato and onion mixture evenly on the bottom of a large crockpot.**
  • Use the same large bowl; toss chicken pieces with the olive oil and the remaining ingredients.  Fit a garlic clove or two into open spaces in the chicken breast (optional). 
  • Fit the chicken parts in the crock pot on top of the potatoes and onions. 
  • Place lid on top and cook on low 6-8 hours.***
This photo is the chicken after it cooked in the crock pot for 5 hours. 
See the nice roasted garlic? 

     * I was tired of peeling garlic at this point, we never missed the other cloves! 
   ** I reserved the potatoes and onions to use for another meal later this week. 
 *** I cooked this on high for one hour, then turned it to low for 4 hours. 

I really enjoyed this recipe.  The flavors were wonderful!  The chicken was a teeny bit dry, I'm thinking that I layered too many potatoes and they didn't allow for the chicken to baste in the cooking juices.  But I like that we were able to eat it like a nice piece of roasted chicken.  Sometimes meat is too tender when cooked in the crock pot.  At least to my liking.  I think I will try this combination of spices with a whole chicken the next time.  With less potatoes on the bottom.

When I began deciding how I wanted to season the chicken and prepare everything, I knew the chicken wouldn't fill the entire crock pot.  I remember someone telling me that they cook their chicken and potatoes at the same time in the oven.  I thought that was a great idea, but decided that the garlic potatoes along with the garlic chicken would be a bit much for one meal.  So, I came up with a plan for those roasted potatoes. 

Be sure to check back to find out how I used those potatoes and onions in another meal!

I will be sharing this blog post on the following carnivals this week: 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Asian-Style Pepper Steak: Take Out Fake Out

Joe picked up some London Broil the other day after seeing a really good price in the Acme sale ad.  I was trying to decide what to make using one of the packs of meat and I decided on Pepper Steak.  Instead of using my recipe, I decided to try my friend Lisa's recipe

But true to my usual form, I didn't follow her recipe completely!  Mainly, due to the fact that I didn't have all of the ingredients.  Plus, she makes her recipe in the crock pot.   I didn't have much luck using the crock pot for Pepper Steak in the past, so I used my dutch oven on the stove.  Other than that, I didn't stray from the original recipe TOO MUCH! 

You'll want to check out Lisa's recipe if you plan on using the crock pot to prepare this meal.

Here's my version of Lisa's Asian-Style Pepper Steak: 

Asian-Style Pepper Steak

  • 1-2 lbs. London Broil, diced
  • A-1 Steak Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. beef bouillon granules
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp.  sesame oil 
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 4 Tbsp.  Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce*
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • Marinate diced meat in A-1 Steak Sauce, overnight. 
  • Remove meat from marinade with a slotted spoon and add to hot olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven with the cayenne pepper and salt and pepper, over medium high heat to brown the meat.  
  • Mix the bouillon granules with the boiling water and add to the pot along with the the remaining ingredients. 
  • Bring to boil. 
  • Cover and reduce heat. 
  • Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes to a half hour. 
  • Add peppers and oinons, continue to simmer until veggies are tender.
  • Serve over your favorite white or brown rice. 
*I didn't realize we were out of soy sauce.  After searching for substitutions, I found an easy solution to my problem on  I found out that for a 1/2 cup of soy sauce, you can mix 4 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce with 1 Tbsp. of water.  Since I only needed 1/4 cup, I cut that in half.  I didn't miss the soy sauce at all! 

This dish was excellent!  I may never switch back to my recipe again! 

As it was cooking, I tasted the sauce to see if it was tasting like I thought it should taste.  I was so tempted to call Joe and ask him to pick up egg rolls on his way home from work.  I resisted!  But I'll be buying some frozen egg rolls from Costco or Trader Joe's to keep in the freezer just for this meal! 

I served this over white minute rice with a some steamed broccoli on the side.  I really enjoyed this Asian-inspired meal.  I think I will make this often when I crave take-out but can't fit it in the budget.  It's a very frugal meal if you manage to get a decent sale on the meat.

This post is linked to Taste the World hosted by Alison at Hospitality Haven. 
Click the button below to find more Chinese inspired meals. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rice-A-Roni Fake Out

While taking stock of my pantry, I found 3 bags of fine egg noodles.  I didn't even realize they there!  I don't use them and I didn't buy them!  Sometimes Joe does the food shopping and odd things like this end up in our pantry! 

I made chicken noodle soup the other night and included some of the fine noodles instead of the heartier noodles that I prefer.  I was shocked at the small amount that was needed from the bag!  Still had more than half a bag left and 2 more full bags in the pantry!  I'll never use them up! 

I saw a recipe on the package for Pasta Rice Pilaf.  After checking to see if I had all the ingredients, I planned this for dinner the next night! 

I am known to be product loyal with some things.  For instance, Acme's knock off of Bush's beans are awful!   Other things, I love buying the store brand in order to save some money.  Giant brand of Raisin Brand is just like Kellogg's Raisin Bran.  (Before that  discovery, I could only eat Kellogg's Raisin Bran...see, I'm product loyal.)

I was super-surpised and thrilled with this recipe!  Not only did it taste better than beef-flavored Rice-A-Roni, it was easy, made larger serving sizes and I am sure WAY cheaper!!!!  (I don't have a price break down at the moment.) 

So, here's the recipe: 

Pasta Rice Pilaf


  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice

  • 1/2 cup fine egg noodles

  • 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

  • 2 3/4 cups water

  • 2 Tbsp. dried minced onion

  • 4 tsp. beef flavor bouillon granules

  • chopped fresh parsley, optional 

  • In large skillet, cook rice and noodles in melted butter or margarine, stirring frequently until rice and noodles are lightly browned.

  • Add water, onion and bouillon granules.

  • Bring to boil.

  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes until rice and noodles are tender.

  • Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

I served this with grilled London Broil and steamed broccoli. 

This recipe makes 4 hearty portions.  Hubby and I have big appetites and usually when a recipe serves 4, we don't have any leftover.  I had plenty of rice to put away! 

I left off the fresh  parsley, since we didn't have it, and I'm not much for garnishes when it's just the two of us for dinner. 

The recipe calls for beef bouillon, but I cannot wait to try it with chicken bouillon next time! 

Also, the recipe calls for the fine egg noodles, but I'm sure this would work great using the broken spaghetti, angel hair or vermicelli bits left at the bottom of the boxes.  Save them up and use them for this recipe!  I also think that orzo pasta would be a great match too!  We always have a 1/2 a box or so left in the pantry! 

This post is linked to Food On Fridays

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

We do a lot of visiting over Christmas and New Years. I planned making some Cranberry Walnut Fudge and baking a few Gooey Butter Cakes to take to the homes we were visiting.

My friend Lisa posted a recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies that I just had to try! I had all of the ingredients so I made a double batch and took a half a batch to each house for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.

When I first saw her recipe, I immediately wondered how great a chocolate version would be! I found out on New Year's Eve, when I made a batch of each! YUM!!!!!

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies


  • chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • powdered sugar


  • Add cake mix, egg, cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  • Chill over night (or at least 4 hours)
  • Roll into balls to desired size.
  • Roll in powdered sugar.
  • Bake at 350* for 9-12 minutes.

I plan on making these, using Lemon cake mix for Easter.