Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Potato Salad, Hubby's Way

I have a couple of ways that I make potato salad, but this is how my husband likes it. I especially like the pimentos for the color and the taste. And leave the potato skins on (it's healthier and colorful).


2 to 3 pounds small red potatoes
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
4 tablespoons diced pimentos
1/8 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup diced onion
1 hard-boiled egg, diced
salt and pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients in a large bowl to create dressing. Add potatoes and toss well.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Monday, September 28, 2009

Smoky Black Bean Soup

So sorry! It's not the most appetizing picture... But the soup tastes really good and it's quite healthy, too. Even healthier if you add brown rice instead of white like I did.


2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces cooked ham, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced zucchini
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed and divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced ham and cook until lightly browned. Add onion and zucchini; cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in minced garlic and chipotle chili powder; cook 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, 1/2 cup black beans and salt. Puree remaining beans with water in a food processor or blender; stir into soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer for 30 minutes.

Optional: Garnish individual servings with sour cream and cilantro. Serve topped with a scoop of rice.

Yield: 4 servings
Be sure to dice the ham, onion and zucchini the same size. I forgot to do that, and my zucchini stood out because I didn't cut it as small. Not a real problem, but I think I'll prefer the zucchini smaller next time. Also, just 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder is pretty hot, reduce that if you don't care for hot.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spaghetti Pie

You know that I put some spaghetti sauce in the freezer recently, right? Well, here's one of the ways I like to use it.


8 ounces spaghetti
2 eggs, beaten separately
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups meat spaghetti sauce (heated)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray a deep dish pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Combine one egg, Parmesan and butter with the cooked pasta. Press mixture evenly into bottom of 9-inch deep dish pie plate.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese with one egg; spread over pasta. Spoon spaghetti sauce over ricotta layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

Cut into wedges to serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Friday, September 25, 2009

Italian Sauteed Beans

1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini or great northern beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Cut peppers into 1/4-inch pieces. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes.

Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic, peppers, and remaining ingredients (except basil); cook 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans are thoroughly heated. Stir in basil; cook 1–2 more minutes or until fragrant.

Yield: 4 servings

Note: This can also be served as a cold bean salad. It was really good when I ate it cold the next day for lunch!

This recipe came from Publix Simple Meals.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thrifty Housewife

I have enjoyed going to Goodwill and other thrift stores for many years. The first time I went was to search for a Halloween costume or maybe it was for a Hawaiian shirt for a luau party. Anyway, you can find a lot of interesting things at thrift stores. I still look there when I need something for a theme party.

I also discovered that they are a great place to find some everyday clothes. It takes a lot of patience and time to sort through clothing that is arranged by color, rather than size. Sometimes you just get lucky and find something good that looks almost brand new.

Here are a few recent items I found.

This turquoise top will be nice when I have a job again... Cost $4.00.

I had this eggplant top in a larger size and gave it away when I lost weight. I found another at Goodwill in a smaller size. It was about $4.00.

This military style jacket is a dark chocolate brown heavy twill. It will look better once I iron it. This cost me $5.50.

I bought some other items that I will show you another time. I am cutting and sewing and making them better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Upside Down Potpie

Next time you bake, grill or cook chicken, make a little extra for this.


2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas)
1 (5.5 or 6 ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I use Grands)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Meanwhile bake biscuits according to package directions.

Split hot biscuits in half; spoon chicken/vegetable mixture over biscuit halves.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kitty Conversation

Woodrow says: "What's for dinner?"

Ashley says: "I don't know, but I can cook it with my laser eyes!"

Creamed Spinach Casserole

Stop reading here if you don't like spinach. I know, it's a love it or hate it kind of thing...

I happen to love it!

This is similar to the traditional green bean casserole we all have at holiday meals.


1 (16 ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach [or 2 (10 ounce) boxes]
4 ounces cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small (2.8 ounce) can fried onion rings
black pepper to taste

Cook spinach; drain well. Add cream cheese; mix well. Add soup; mix well. Add half the can of onion rings and pepper. Stir and pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining fried onion rings.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Yield: 5 or 6 servings

Friday, September 18, 2009

Five Bean Chili

For most of you, it's the time of year to start making chili... I really like my own chili, so I make it all the time. I would hate to wait for Fall every year!

Since I've been making it year round and freezing it, I have a collection of pictures to show you a few ways to serve it.

Standard serving style with cheese on top.

On pasta, with onions and cheese.

In a tortilla bowl with cheese quesadillas. I have a special pan to bake the flour tortillas like this, but you could use a small oven-proof bowl or casserole dish. I bake them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

That's a cornmeal waffle with the chili served on top. An idea I got from a Paula Deen show.

I've made myself hungry!

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans (pintos)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
2 (24 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (don’t drain)

4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper OR chipotle chile powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons hot sauce (use your favorite)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine (optional)

Combine ground beef, onion, bell pepper and liquid smoke in a large skillet. Cook until ground beef is browned; drain. Move beef mixture to a very large pot. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour.

Yield: about 8 servings

I know, that looks like a lot of ingredients, but there's a bunch of canned things and a lot that you might already have in the pantry.
Look! A bonus recipe!

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add milk, oil and eggs; stirring until smooth. Pour batter onto hot waffle iron and cook in batches.

Use right away or let cool, then freeze for later use. They can be thawed and heated in a toaster if your waffle shape will fit.

Serve with chili and cheese on top.

Yield: 6 to 8 waffles depending on your waffle iron

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pineapple PepperJack Bites

I can't remember where I saw this recipe (it's hardly a recipe, just something you put together!). I just remember being intrigued by the odd combination of sweet and spicy. It was really good.


fresh pineapple, cubed
sugar (just sprinkle some over pineapple in pan)
PepperJack cheese, cubed

Over medium heat, sauté pineapple cubes and sugar until pineapple browns/caramelizes, turning pineapple cubes occasionally. Let cool.

Slide one piece of pineapple and one piece of cheese on toothpick or skewer. Repeat as needed.

So easy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Skillet Lasagna

A yummy one-pan dish...

Next time, I'll doctor it up a bit. Needs a little more seasoning than the recipe calls for.

This is one of those dishes where the leftovers are better than the original.


1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
8 ounces curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths (about 10 whole noodles)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
8 ounces ricotta cheese

Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a quart measuring cup. Add enoughwater to the tomatoes to measure 4 cups.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat untilshimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened,about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about15 seconds. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat into smallpieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the noodle pieces evenly over the meat. Pour the diced tomatoesand tomato sauce over the pasta – don’t stir. Cover and bring to a simmer.Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally,until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and the basil. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles. Cover the skillet and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Snickerdoodle Blondies

These are amazingly delicious for having just the simple flavors of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon! And so chewy!

Take them to the office (I would, if I had a job) or a potluck, they will disappear fast.


2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Lightly grease a 9x13x2 pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan. (Batter will be thick like cookie dough.) Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Yield: 24 to 30 bars, depending what size you like

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chicken Oregano

So easy and healthy, too!

It's simmering away, reducing the liquid...

On my plate with pasta and bread...


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1/4 dry red wine

In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray or a little oil, brown the chicken on both sides over medium heat, about 5 minutes in all (chicken does not have to be completely done at this point). Add the onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes more, until the onions are tender. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and wine. Cover and cook on low heat about 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Serve with pasta.

Yield: 2 servings

There’s enough tomato mushroom sauce to use 4 small pieces of chicken if you like.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baked Fish w/ Parmesan-Sour Cream Sauce

This is one of those recipes that just comes out right every time. It's so easy, yet so good. Use any kind of white fish that you like. I used orange roughy this time.


2 halibut, orange roughy or tilapia fillets
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Place fillets in a lightly greased baking dish.

Stir together sour cream, cheese and salt/pepper to taste; spread mixture evenly over fillets. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and drizzle with butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 35 minutes (depends on thickness of fish) or until fish flakes with a fork.

Yield: 2 servings

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Top Heavy Crumb Cake

Don't worry Mom, I only had a little and sent the rest to the office with my hubby.

Food in picture is actually smaller than it appears. That's a small plate. You can cut these up in really small pieces and still be satisfied.


1 box yellow cake mix
1 box (4 serving) vanilla instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Crumb Topping:
4 cups flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 sticks butter, melted (Yes, that really says three sticks of butter!)

Combine all of cake ingredients in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Grease a large jelly roll type pan (15x10x1). Pour just enough cake batter into prepared pan to cover the bottom (maybe 1/2 inch of batter); you will not use all of the cake batter. (Bake the rest in another pan for another use.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until it can hold the crumbs.

Meanwhile, mix all of the dry ingredients of the crumb topping in a large bowl. Drizzle melted butter into dry ingredients slowly, using a fork to mix and form large crumbs. Add vanilla and mix. Put aside until ready to use.

After initial baking, carefully crumble the crumb topping onto the cake, covering completely. Bake for about 15 minutes more or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. When cake is cool, you can sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

Note: I used one 13x9x2 pan and one 9x9x2 pan instead of the jelly roll type pan (I was concerned about the crumbs falling off the edge of a one inch deep pan). I also used more of the cake batter than suggested, so my crumb cake is not really top heavy, but about half cake and half crumb topping.

Yield: at least 30 servings, if not more