Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Greek Salad

I had a tasty lunch today. As a 'temporary' housewife, I have the luxury of cooking at lunchtime. Not that I would make anything too complicated for lunch. But.... I can make a fish sandwich without all of my co-workers screaming about stinking up the workplace! And my cats didn't even complain when I didn't share.

I had Greek salad with my sandwich. The Real Greek salad, you know, without any lettuce. There's this crazy Greek man that I know.... this is how he makes it.


2 cups coarsely chopped tomato
2 cups thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; cover. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours, stirring once or twice, before serving.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chicken Stir-Fry

We had a nice Chinese chicken stir-fry for dinner tonight.

I saute the chicken pieces in oil first. When that is done, remove from the pan. Add some more oil and add vegetables (I use a packaged mix of vegetables [broccoli slaw, snow peas, broccoli] from the produce department). I add onions and carrots to that. Once the vegetables are done to your liking, add the chicken back to the pan. I use a mix of about 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup General Tso's sauce, stir that in until all is heated. Serve over rice. Yum!

That's my 17 year old cat, Ashley, watching me cook. For about the last 6 months, she comes to the kitchen to watch me cook, stares at us while we eat, often begging for 'people' food. After 17 years of eating hard, dry cat food, I guess she thinks it's time for something better. I understand.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just Peachy

Peaches are in season!

This is based on a recipe by Paula Deen, so naturally, there's an entire stick of butter in it. I've added more peaches to the recipe this time, just seemed like it needed more. Next time, I'll try half of a stick of butter, I just can't see that the entire stick is doing that much to improve the recipe.


6 - 8 cups peeled, sliced peaches (about 10 medium peaches)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
ground cinnamon

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in 350 degree oven to melt. Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in a little of the syrup, not all of it. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon. Don't worry if it looks really soupy. The batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hoisin Chicken Salad

With local temperatures in the 90's this week, I thought it would be nice to share a recipe that doesn't require the stove or oven.

Try this when you have some leftover grilled chicken or buy pre-cooked chicken for convenience (and to avoid the stove or oven).

Find the Hoisin sauce in the Asian section of any grocery store. For those who haven't had Hoisin before, I wish I could describe the taste. It's a little like sweet, thick, sticky soy sauce??!! It's tasty!


1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 cup packaged coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons bottled Hoisin sauce
few dashes of hot sauce or dash of crushed red pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. (How easy is that?)

In the original recipe, the salad was to be served cold. I like to microwave the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes and fill large flour tortillas for Hoisin Chicken Wraps (reminds me of Moo Shu chicken, also known as Chinese burritos). Spread a little extra Hoisin sauce on the tortillas first. This amount of chicken salad can fill 2 - 4 tortillas depending how you stuff them. The one in the picture was one of four lunch-size wraps.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crafty Housewife

I have been obsessed with koozies forever. I will only drink soda without a koozie in emergency situations (you know, when other people don't own koozies and I forgot my own).

Top 5 reasons to use koozies:

1. Your drink will stay cold longer.

2. You won't get wet from the condensation on the can.

3. The can won't slip out of your hand if you've just put lotion on.

4. Give a person a koozie and you won't have to nag about coasters.

5. You'll always recognize which drink belongs to you if you have a special koozie.

Take a look at the koozies I've been making at Etsy.com.


Use the search at the top of the page, choose sellers, enter cleverkoozie.

Feel free to contact me for more information.

email: cleverkoozie@yahoo.com


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mediterranean Shrimp with Orzo

This is what I had for dinner tonight.
I guess you can tell which photos I take and which ones I borrow from the professionals. I think you can see all the yumminess anyway.
Remember, keep the raw frozen shrimp on hand for dinners like this. Total prep and cooking time was less than half an hour (includes thawing shrimp under running water).

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (garlic, onion, oregano variety)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup dry orzo pasta

Cook orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes. Add green onions, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook until pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Toss with feta cheese. Mix in cooked orzo and serve.

Yield: 2 large main dish servings

Shortcut: Instead of fresh oregano, salt and pepper, use 1 teaspoon Cavender's Greek seasoning and 1 teaspoon dried oregano.

Monday, June 22, 2009


One of my favorite websites: http://icanhascheezburger.com/

Broccoli Salad

I've had many versions of Broccoli Salad at potlucks and picnic gatherings. Here's my spin on it.


1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 bunch fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or 1/2 cup of Hormel bacon pieces)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dry roasted sunflower kernels

Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine all other ingredients. Pour dressing over and toss to combine.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Frosty Key Lime Pie

I made this for our cookout last night. It always goes over well and I get lots of requests for the recipe. It's a great dessert for hot weather!


2 (3 ounce) packages of lime Jello
2 cups hot water
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed

Dissolve Jello in hot water. Cool in refrigerator until it is about room temperature. Don't let it set.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar together and press into a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add Jello slowly until blended. Blend in Cool Whip with the lime mixture. Pour into crust and freeze overnight. Serve frozen or thaw slightly to make cutting easier.

Yield: 12 to 18 servings

Variations: Use any flavor of Jello that you like. Lemon is also good. Try pineapple Jello and add flaked coconut to make it “pina colada” flavored.

Note: They no longer make a 12 ounce container of Cool Whip, you'll have to get the 16 ounce and just use 3/4 of the container. I bet you can find another fun use for the leftover Cool Whip.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Product of the Day

Sometimes I just have to share a good product find.

I'm making coleslaw for the Hood family cookout this weekend. I like to use Concord Foods coleslaw mix. I use less mayonaisse than the package calls for and I also add a splash of apple cider vinegar, sweet pickle relish and celery seeds. And, of course, I don't shred the cabbage myself, I buy the pre-shredded bags. I love convenience items.
I bought this at WalMart, but I know they have it at Publix, too.
Update 6/20/09: The in-laws made potato salad for the cookout. They used this same coleslaw mix in it. How do I say this politely? Uh.... I don't recommend it for that purpose.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lasagna for dinner tonight!

This is not an advertisement!

Or maybe it is!

Does anybody out there make lasagna?

Stop buying the Stouffer's frozen junk and make your own!

First, you have to get the Ronzoni Oven Ready Lasagna noodles. (There are other brands, but not as good.) Second, just use the recipe on the box. Next, rather than try to read the box as you go, write down all the layers you will need like this:

1- meat sauce




etc, etc.....

For this recipe, you will end up with 5 layers of meat sauce, 4 layers of mozzarella and 3 layers of ricotta. This is good to know so that you can divide the larger amounts evenly into the smaller portions and you won't run out of something by the time you get to the last few layers.

Normally, I divide the usual recipe in 3 large aluminum loaf pans. I freeze them, and then when I want lasagna, I thaw one overnight in the fridge. This way you will have smaller lasagnas that will serve 2 or 3 people.

By the way, the silly recipe says it makes 10 to 12 servings. Very funny! I don't know anyone that would want such a small portion. I say it makes 6 or 8 servings.

Summer Side Dish

Here's a great summer side dish to take along or serve at an outdoor gathering. Sorry I don't have a picture with this, it turns out really pretty with the green, yellow and red of the peppers and tomatoes.


1 (16 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 (6 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half

Cook tortellini as label directs. Drain and cool by running cold water over it. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper and pesto. Combine green and yellow peppers, tomato, artichokes and tortellini in a large bowl. Pour dressing in; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate if not serving right away.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine

Just sharing one of my favorites. I found this recipe on myrecipes.com.

I like to buy bags of frozen raw shrimp to have on hand. Shrimp can be thawed quickly at the last minute, so not too much planning ahead is required.

Feel free to leave out the fresh parsley, I do. Fresh herbs are great, but I hate to buy them only to use such a small amount and waste the rest.


6 ounces linguine
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon butter
1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and bell pepper to pan; sauté until tender. Add flour, Cajun seasoning and cayenne to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in half-and-half; cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are done. Remove from heat and mix in pasta and parsley.

Yield: 2 servings

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pork Cubed Steaks

For dinner tonight, we will be having Pork Cubed Steaks. The original recipe was from Publix Apron's Simple meals, they called it Pork Schnitzel. Publix is also the only place I can find the pork cubed steaks.


1/4 cup flour
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
4 pork cubed steaks (1 1/2 lb)
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Place flour in shallow bowl; bread crumbs in second bowl. Beat eggs gently in third bowl until blended.
Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Dip pork in flour (coating both sides) then dip into egg mixture (allowing excess to drip off). Finally dip into bread crumbs (wash hands).
Place 2 tablespoons of the oil in pan; swirl to coat. Place 2 pork steaks in pan (wash hands); cook 4–5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature is 160°F (for medium). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.
Remove pork steaks from pan; cover to keep warm. Repeat steps with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 pork steaks. Serve.

Summer 2009

Again, it's been a long time since posting here. A quick rundown:

I have been unemployed for six months.

Eddie and I got married in Jamaica in April 2009.

Christopher is living in San Francisco and getting his master's degree in fine arts.

Nick is on the road working with a band.