please leave your comments, criticisms, recipe ratings & requests or input for future posts! comment or email me at with any of the above.

Monday, September 21, 2009

recipe of the week: steph's asian beef and broccoli

this dinner was awesome. my friend steph passed along her super easy and delicious recipe and i made some very minor adjustments... and viola! soooooo good and soooo simple. and i love it because it is adjustable to however much you want to make!

steph's asian beef and broccoli

about equal portions:
broccoli florets, steamed to crisp tender
very thinly sliced beef (i used london broil - it's the leanest!)

equal amounts of:
soy sauce


green onions
red pepper flakes

combine enough soy sauce, sugar and water (equal amounts of each) to just cover the meat in a bowl. marinate at least 1/2 an hour (i marinated mine for a few hours). mix in a few large spoonfuls of cornstarch to thicken the sauce a bit.

heat your wok or large frying pan on low and add the meat in the sauce with a dash of red pepper flakes if you'd like. when the meat looks 70% cooked and the sauce is gelling to the meat, toss in the already steamed (crisp tender, not soggy) broccoli (with a bit of water if you feel like your sauce is getting too thick) and a few chopped green onions (optional) and mix around so the broccoli absorbs the sauce too. cover with the lid and let it simmer until meat is completely done.

serve over white rice.

Monday, September 14, 2009

recipe of the week: jalapeno pico burgers with homemade guacamole

this is hands down my husband and i's favorite way to eat a cheeseburger. we try and replicate it at restaurants, but it is always better at home. if you love spicy food you'll love this burger. it's fabulous. pair it with oven fries and some corn on the cob for a perfect dinner.

and notice the recipe for homemade guacamole - it contains the secret to perfect guac. getting a big clump of onions always ruins guacamole for me and onion salt isn't the same, but my friend maggi taught me the secret to fix that in college. you need the onion and its juice for perfect guac. see how below.

jalapeno pico burgers with homemade guacamole

hamburgers, grilled at home
cheese of choice (really good with cheddar or pepper jack)
jalapenos (from the bottle)
homemade guacamole (below)
fresh pico de gallo
extra cilantro
tomato, lettuce or other desired burger toppings

put burgers together as desired with above ingredients. (if you spread the guac nice and thick on the bun and then put the jalapenos, pico and cilantro right on top of it it usually stays together pretty well!)

homemade guacamole

roma tomatoes (optional)
an onion (yellow or white)
garlic salt
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste if desired

peel, pit and mash avocados in bowl or tupperware (keep a pit to leave in with leftover guac - it keeps it from getting brown as easily). chop a roma tomato or two (or however many you like), leaving middles out, and add to avocado. slice onion in half and then use a spoon to scrape the onion into the bowl, allowing juice and flesh to fall from the onion. alternate adding scraped onion, garlic salt, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste until your guacamole is exactly how you like it! some people like more/less onion so there is no exact science here. just bust out some chips and try it as you go. mmm....

Friday, September 11, 2009

our favorite easy crookneck squash

no matter what delicious thing i try and do to crookneck (yellow) squash, this is always our favorite way to eat it. i know its just squash, but its soooo good. give it a chance. i guess its a good reminder to me that sometimes simple is the most delicious.

easy cheesy crookneck squash

small crookneck squashes, sliced in half as shown above (the little ones from your neighborhood garden are the best)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
grated cheese

1. boil sliced squash in a pan in just enough water to almost cover it until fork tender.
2. remove squash from water with fork. sprinkle with salt and pepper and grated cheese.


and do share - do you have a squash secret that could oust this one as our favorite??

Monday, September 7, 2009

using your garden: roasted tomato soup and soft garlic knots

i'm only speaking from semi-vicarious experience here since my garden consists of a fairly prolific basil plant and a zucchini plant that is finally yielding its 1st two fruits - and they are both in pots on my front porch (yeah apartment living!). but i do occasionally yield the fruits of my mother-in-law's garden when i visit her. she last sent me home with 3 bags of tomatoes, a bunch of zucchini and some crookneck. clearly i had to make something yummy with all of those tomatoes (okay, everything i made last week had tomatoes) so thanks, meghan from you're gonna bake it afterall, for posting this delicious soup and the garlic knots that i made with them. i seriously felt like i was eating in a restaurant. too good for words.

so if you have a garden, please, use it. i'm jealous. do it for me.

next time i'm going to try it with half milk and half chicken broth to see if a creamy version is just as good. i bet it will be. mmmm....

roasted tomato soup and soft garlic knots
from you're gonna bake it, my changes included
6 servings

3 lbs. vine-ripened tomatoes, cut in half and insides removed
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 pinches dried thyme
4 cups chicken stock

1. preheat oven to 400F. toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet covered in foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

2. in a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes until the onions start to brown. add the canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.

3. use an immersion blender (or food processor) to puree the soup. serve with garlic knots below.

soft garlic knots

for the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast (AKA rapid rise)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (i used a little less - probably 1)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the glaze:
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

1. Make the dough: combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a large food processor. process for a few seconds to mix. add the olive oil, milk and water and turn on until ingredients have formed a ball (it won't take long, maybe 30 seconds). (can also do in a kitchenaid stand mixer or the like - here's the link)

2. knead the dough on a lightly floured surface to form a smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed.

3. place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, and cover with lightly oiled/sprayed plastic wrap. allow to rise for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in bulk.

4. divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. roll each into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot. take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center. take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center.

5. transfer the shaped rolls to a baking stone or a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy. meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.

6. make the glaze: finely mince the garlic (or use a garlic press). mix the melted butter and italian seasoning.

7. brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

easy peasy lemon squeezies

if you haven't seen disney's "the greatest game ever played" you really should. i don't even like golf and this movie is AWESOME!! the name of these cookies comes from a phrase i picked up from that movie - the main character's little caddy always says, "easy peasy lemon sqeezey" and its the 1st thing i thought of when looking for a name for these.

these are cake mix cookies and can technically be adjusted to throw in whatever with the same ratio (taught to me 1 box cake mix + 1 stick softened butter + 1 egg. i made the sour cream adjustment - i tried this way back when - read here). these cookies are sooooo yummy - i ate something like them somewhere before and decided to make them when i read jenny at picky palate's post about cookies with panko bread crumbs.

so after that long explanation, here's my recreation of the ones i tried once... but made the skinny bovine way of course. the rice crispies give them a crisp/chew that is to die for. love them!

easy peasy lemon squeezies
30 cookies

1 box lemon cake mix
1 egg
1/2 a stick of butter (1/4 cup), softened and starting to melt (use microwave)
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1-2 cups rice crispies cereal (depending on how much of that crunchy, chewy goodness you want to include!)

1. mix cake mix, egg, butter and sour cream together until you have a cookie-like dough. stir in cereal.
2. use a small cookie scoop to scoop cookies onto greased baking sheets. bake 7-9 minutes in oven at 350. cook until edges are slightly brown. definitely error on the side of undercooking.

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!