Friday, December 28, 2012

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I don't care what people say, it doesn't get better than homemade. Once in a while we're craving spaghetti and since I started making my own I can never bring myself to buy it again.

1/2-3/4 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 1/2-2 Tbsp Basil
1 1/2-2 Tbsp Oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1-3 Tbsp sugar, to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Opt: 1 tsp cayenne pepper

1- Cook garlic and onion on med/high in olive oil until brown and translucent.
2- Add tomatoes, juice and all. Smash as much as you can with a potato masher. If you do not have a masher, blend up 1/2-3/4 of the canned tomatoes before adding to the pan.
3- Add the rest of ingredients. Mash and stir some more. Turn down to low/med.
4- Simmer for 20+ mins, occasionally stirring.
5- serve with your favorite pasta.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

In an effort to eat healthier I've introduced meals into our normal repertoire that have no meat. The family members frown in unison but they ended up liking these burgers. I thought they were very tasty. You be the judge.

Black Bean Burgers

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup red onion
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup green chiles (from can, drained)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (from can, rinsed, pressed to remove liquid)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs or crushed pork rinds OR 10 crackers
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp additional olive oil (for frying patties)

1 - Heat up the 1-2 Tbsp olive oil until it slightly sizzles. Add onion, cloves, chiles and tomatoes and saute until lightly brown and wilted.
2 - Drain and rinse beans and place in a bowl. Smash beans, leaving many partly whole pieces. You don't want to make a mush.
3 - Add cooked ingredients to the black beans.
4 - Add seasonings and mix up.
5. Add binder (bread crumbs or pork rinds or crackers.)
6 - Form four patties onto a plate. I placed ours in the fridge for an hour to firm them up but really I don't think it made much difference in the cooking.
7 - Heat up 1-2 Tbsp olive oil until it slightly sizzles. Carefully add the bean burgers and cook on each side about 4 minutes. When you flip them the first time they'll still feel squishy but when they're done, they'll be firmer.
8 - We added sliced cheese but its not necessary. try a slice or avocado or some homemade guacamole. ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fancy Tuna Melts on Light Rye Bread

I've taken to trying out new recipes lately and this whole combination is a hit with our family. It requires a bit of prep work since you're making a whole loaf of bread. I did this the night before, let it rest overnight and then was able to cut it into 16 generous pieces. No need to buy store bought bread now!

Light Rye Bread

1 1/2 cups water + up to 1/4 cup water (save for later)
3 Tbsp Blue Agave Nectar (you can also use honey)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 tsp caraway seeds, whole
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups rye flour (light or dark)
2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt

Either throw in your 1 1/2 lb bread maker machine OR mix in a mixer and turn into a greased loaf pan. Let rise 1 1/2-2 hours.  NOTE: last 1/4 cup of water is for consistency. If dough is nice and slightly sticky, no added water is needed. If its real dry, add the water.
Preheat oven to 375. Bake about 30-40 minutes. I pulled the loaf out and cut in half to make sure the inside was all cooked. It's hard to tell by just sticking a knife in it. The crust is nice and hard crusty.
Let set overnight for easy slicing (or eat with honey butter right away, steaming hot from oven!)

Fancy Tuna Melts

3 cans tuna, drained
1 Tbsp mustard
4-6 Tbsp mayonnaise (to preference)
3 stalks celery diced
1/4 cup red onion diced
2 Tbsp relish
1 packet splenda
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled
optional: 1/4 cup diced green or red pepper

To make tuna melt, put oven on to broil. Lay out slices of bread onto a sheet of foil.  Top with tuna salad. Top with 1/2 a slice of American cheese. Broil until cheese starts to brown. Voila! Fancy tuna melts on bread you made yourself!

OPT: Toast the bread first if you like a nice crispy texture. This bread is dense so we didn't really need toasting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spicy Salmon Tacos w/Citrus Slaw

Last year in April I ran off on a cruise with my mother & a friend through the Caribbean. Our last stop was in Cozumel, Mexico. We rented a car for the day and drove around the whole little island. Before we hopped back on the big boat we stopped at a little beach side cafe, run by 2 people. We ordered the best nachos and fresh fish tacos I've ever had. Okay, they were my first fish tacos if you don't count those fried things you get at a Long John Silvers or somewhere. Anyway, last night I was thinking about those tacos as I was making normal boring salmon patties (you know, the frozen ones from Costco.) I wanted fish tacos!

What follows is a recipe I came up with after surfing the net and not finding what I wanted. It's more of a throw together meal so you'll have to guess at measurements. Just add to taste. I used salmon although no doubt in Cozumel they used local fish. I can't wait to make these again! I would make them with a bit more heat. But ohhh, do they transport me back to the little shack on the side of the road with the waves crashing a few feet away as we ate. I can almost smell the sea air...


Salmon patties (frozen from Costco, no breading) (could use fresh salmon)
La Tiara's corn taco shells (nice and thin!)
lime juice
cayenne pepper
broccoli slaw (premade in baggies, or use broccoli, cabbage and carrots julienned)
red wine vinegar
olive oil (any oil will do)
1/2-1 tsp splenda or sugar
1 clementine orange (or small orange)
1-2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced (seeds removed, retain a few for heat)
1-2 tsps ranch dressing (this is what I used only because I was out of mayo)
salt/pepper to taste

1 - Cook your salmon patties in olive oil according to instructions, careful not to dry out the patties/fresh fish.
2 - While cooking, squeeze a good amount of lime over each side of the patties. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
3 - In a medium bowl, dump 2 cups of broccoli slaw. Pour vinegar, a bit of olive oil over the slaw. I can't give you measurements of exactly what I did. I'm thinking several tsps. Add splenda/sugar.
4 - Cut and peel your orange, removing the orange from the pith and squeezing some of the orange pieces for their juice.
5 - Finely dice the jalapeno peppers, removing most the seeds, retaining a few for heat. 
6 -Add a sprinkling of cayenne to the slaw, to taste. 
7 - Add a couple tsps of ranch dressing or mayo. Not to make it like a cole slaw, but to just barely give it a creaminess. Stir and set aside slaw.
8 - Set up your taco shells on a plate and cut up the salmon patties in the pan. I cut in strips.
9 - Add the salmon to the shells, spoon on some slaw and enjoy!

* Optional. I think a bit of avocado would be delicious with this taco. Just put a few diced pieces in with the slaw. Another option is adding fresh diced tomatoes to the slaw. I think we had tomatoes in the ones by the beach (as seen in the picture above.) *

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cilantro Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

Contrary to popular belief, jalapenos are not really hot after you scrape out their seeds and white pithy part. The spiciness comes from the white pithy part which is full of capsaicin which enjoys burning your lips off. This recipe is so easy to make. My only recommendation would be protective eye gear. And don't itch your nose. The freshness of the jalapenos made for squirting of juice, you don't want it in your eye.  Enjoy!

Cilantro Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

20 Jalapenos
4 oz Cream Cheese (1/2 a box)
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
dash of salt

1 - Donn your protective eye gear and cut the jalapenos lengthwise. I used a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the insides, very handy. But a plain old spoon should work as well. Don't worry if a few seeds are left in. Just spices up the ingredients.
2 - Combine the cheeses, cilantro and salt, mashing until thoroughly mixed. At this point you could also add other things such as lemon or cumin or even cinnamon for a twist on the normal jalapeno hors d'oeuvres. The batch pictured above is the regular recipe.
3 - Using a spoon, fill the jalapeno halves with the mix.
4 - Place in a Pam sprayed pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. Watch for golden brownness. I use a fork to lift up the edge of a jalapeno to make sure the bottoms have cooked through.
5 - Remove and enjoy. Try not to eat them all in one sitting!

P.S. If you're low carbing, 2 halves of these peppers have: 35 calories, 1 carb, 3 fat, 1 protein, 0 fiber, 33 sodium.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crockpot Peach Cobbler

I was commenting on Facebook that I had gotten a great deal on peaches and was trying to figure out what to do with them. I've been wanting some sort of cobbler and thought this to be the perfect time to try it out. I also needed to make it a bit healthier since I'm trying to BE healthier so I modified the recipe I threw together by adding in Splenda instead of sugar and whole wheat flour instead of white. Splenda could also be put in place of the brown sugar if you choose, although I like the taste of brown sugar so decided to leave it.

My friend, Marj asked if there was a way to make Peach Cobbler in the crock pot. I had not thought of this! I immediately modified the recipe further to add water to the topping to combat the longer time of cooking. I hope you enjoy!

Crockpot Peach Cobbler

8 peaches (or about 2 lbs)
1-2 tsps nutmeg
1 Tbsp flour (or cornstarch)
1 1/2-2 Tbsp lemon juice
5-6Tbsp splenda
opt: ½ cup blueberries or other fruit

¾ cup oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1/2-1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 - ½ cup butter
1/3 cup water (or milk)
opt: ½ tsp cinnamon
opt: sugar or born sugar for sprinkling on top

Plug in your crock pot and set on low.

Take your washed peaches and cut in small slices into the crock pot. I left the peels on for this reason (found here) "In the peel of a very ripe peach, at least 10 enigmatic elements exist which activate some substances which destroy the fat layers, this is why peach diets are effective." Add the nutmeg, flour, lemon and splenda and stir a bit in the bottom of the pot. You can always add berries or other fruits at this time.

Mix all ingredients. It will make a thick mix. Spread it over the peach mixture in the bottom of the crock pot, sprinkle sugar or brown sugar on top and put on the lid. (Optionally, if you would like more of a crumble, leave out or use less water/milk.)

Bake on low for 3-5 hours. Topping will be moist and slightly squishy. Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream. So yum!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chorizo Vegetable Frittata

Ohhh, this is so yummy. My mouth is watering right now just typing all this up! It's really a simple thing and you probably could do it on your own but I wanted to share it here so I don't forget its deliciousness.

Chorizo Vegetable Frittata

3 large eggs, stirred up with a touch of water
1/4-1/2 cup diced green peppers
handful sliced mushrooms  (canned or fresh)
2 oz cheese, diced small
3-4 oz chorizo, cooked and drained (if you can't find this, use spicy pork sausage)
salt/pepper to taste
Opt: red pepper flakes
NOTE: Chorizo - a Spanish or Mexican pork sausage highly seasoned with garlic, paprika, and other spices

1 - Fry up the chorizo in an OVEN SAFE until cooked through, drain on a paper towel (it's very greasy).
2 - Clean the pan and then heat up for eggs. Dump in 3 eggs liquid with a touch of water in them.
3 - As the eggs are setting up on the bottom, turn the oven on to broil.
4 - Sprinkle the wet eggs with all your ingredients.
5 - Add salt and pepper to taste. Another great thing would be red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.
6 - Once the egg is set up on the bottom (but still wet on the top), take your oven safe pan and place it in the oven under the broiler.
7 - When everything is heated, melted and sufficiently cooked (doesn't take long, so don't walk away!), take it out, slide onto a plate and serve! So delicious. Perfect for any meal!

Feeds 2 to 4 but it's so good, we usually just split it between 2.