Category: Family


I am so loving Goya empanada dough.  So crisp with great lamination.  You can make filling of almost anything.  We like ground meat, vegan crumbles, tofu crumbles, or sausage mixed with onion best.  Sometimes I make it with Korean BBQ, Pizza sauce, Tex Mex style, whatever.  They are always a winner.  We’ve been on a teriyaki ranch kick lately.  They are soooo good together.

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I sauteed onion and browned ground turkey with Chinese five spice and added teriyaki and ranch.  Here are the specifics.  First start with my favorite dough by Goya:

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1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 tsp. seasoning of choice – I used Chinese five spice

2 lb. ground turkey

2 packages empanada dough

Oil to soften onion

3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (I used garlic teriyaki)

3 Tbsp. ranch dressing

1-2 tsp. corn starch to thicken

1 packet Daiya Pepper Jack Shredds

1 egg, beaten

The empanada dough has to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before you can use it.

Prepare a large baking sheet ahead by covering it in foil and spraying with cooking spray.

Cook onion, sprinkled with seasoning, in a little oil until softened.  Add in turkey, chopping it up in little pieces as it cooks.

Add in teriyaki, ranch and corn starch.  Simmer until thickened.  Let cool.

Once filling is cool, add in shredds.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Hold dough in the palm of your hand and spoon filling in middle.  Seal edges by pressing between your fingertips.

Lay out on prepared baking sheet.

Brush with beaten egg and bake about 20 minutes until golden brown.

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I’ve been craving egg salad and I’ve been meaning to try no knead peasant bread.  Today was the day.

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I boiled eggs and activated the yeast  simultaneously.

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As you can see, some were super easy to peel, others not so much!  They were all cooked using the same method and peeled using the same method, so I got to wondering why some were easy and others not.  Apparently, the fresher the egg, the harder to peel.  Who knew?  They say to use eggs you’ve had in the fridge for a week or more and to store them on their sides if you are going to hard boil them.  The most recommended method is:  Bring water to a boil.  Turn off heat and cover and let sit 11 minutes.  After boiling, pour off the hot water, shake pan back and forth to crack the shells. Cover eggs in cold water and let set for a couple of minutes. Leave water and eggs in pan and peel, using water to rinse away excess shells.

Peasant Bread was according to a recipe on a website called alexandracooks.com

https://alexandracooks.com/2012/11/07/my-mothers-peasant-bread-the-best-easiest-bread-you-will-ever-make/

Follow the link to a great video and printable recipe.  I wasn’t intimidated because her instructions are so specific.  I made one loaf in a larger bowl than she uses.  You could easily use gluten free flour blends for this!  Everyone loved it.   This is a picture of my dough after the first proof.

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This is how it looked when done.

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I like a simple egg salad, similar in flavor to deviled eggs.  You can certainly add celery or onion in yours, but I love it like this:

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I made a huge batch using 18 eggs.  I’ve scaled the recipe down for a smaller batch.

6 eggs, hardboiled

1 heaping Tbsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1/8 tsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. pickle relish

Salt and pepper to taste.  I used seasoned salt and a pepper blend.

The brunch was such a success, I will do this again and soon.  So easy and inexpensive!

 

 

 

I had leftover risotto from the Waiting for Dorian meal.  The local market had some chicken tenders on sale. Inspiration kicked-in!

Risotto casserole:

4 C. Leftover risotto

1 C.  Leftover chard and cannellini beans chopped up in the food processor. Any leftover cooked vegetables will do.

1 egg

1 C. Vegan mozzarella shredded

1/2 C.  Crumbs from seasoned chips or crackers. I used some organic multigrain crackers.

3 Tbsp. butter

Combine leftover risotto, chard, egg, shredds and crumbs.  Place in 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.  I refrigerated it overnight. This is not a necessary step. I just did it so dinner will be easy tonight. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with little pieces of butter turn heat up to 450 and cook for another 15 minutes to make golden brown across the top.

For the chicken skewers:

Weave chicken tenders on to skewers. Marinade overnight in marinade of choice. I combined 1/2 C. pineapple jalapeno jam and 1/4 C. balsamic glaze. It was amazing! Bake in the oven side by side with the risotto casserole. After 30 minutes at 350 take the chicken out and cover with foil tossing around first to make sure it all has plenty of the juices on it. Finish cooking the risotto casserole with the butter on it.

This was a huge hit!

 

I cooked this for the boys, but didn’t have any because of the nightshades.  They loved it.  Super easy weeknight meal.

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1 large onion chopped.

1 c. chopped bell peppers.

1 package Gardein crumbles

2 cans store bought sloppy Joe sauce

1 recipe gluten free biscuit or corn bread, loose and wet enough to spoon over Sloppy Joe.

Cook onion in a little oil till translucent.   I seasoned with some seasoned salt.  Optional.  Add in crumbles.

Meanwhile, make batter for topping.  I used gluten free Bisquick.

Add sauce into crumbles and heat through.

Pour into 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.  Top with batter.  Bake 350F 40 – 45 minutes.

Some days dinner just comes together and is perfection.  My picture doesn’t do it justice, but you will thank me!!!  Yummmmm.

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All convenience foods, so easy.

2 to 3 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

1 bottle Organicville Miso Ginger Vinaigrette

1 pouch Kame Thai Stir Fry Noodles

1 bag Eat Smart Stir Fry Noodles

Cook thighs in slow cooker on low 7 hours.

Cook noodles and vegetables in microwave.

Cut up thighs into bite- size pieces using kitchen shears.  Stir in noidles and veggies. It sat on warm for 30 to 45 minutes and held up well.

I keep cooked, crumbled ground meat and sausage in the freezer for night like tonight when I can’t decide what to make and want dinner in a hurry!

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1- 2 lb.  Cooked crumbled meat I used Turkey brats

Broccoli florets

Chopped onion

Oil to cook veggies

1 tsp. Garam Masala

1 container vegan cream cheese

1 can pumpkin

1- 2 cups vegan shredded

1 lb. Cooked pasta

Cook veggies in oil.  Season with Garam Masala.

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Add defrosted meat.

Mix in cream cheese and melt.  Stir in pumpkin.  Place in greased 13×9 casserole dish.

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Top with shredded and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

A total success!!

Every 4th of July, there is a parade that passes my house.  This year for the first time, my grandsons got to see their Uncle Elliot take part!  Elliot’s dream.

The brunch was cheesy apple grits and apple crescent casserole, two family faves!

July 4 brunch

Top photo:  Apple Crescent Casserole

2 tubes crescent dough

2 apples, cut into 8 pieces each

4 eggs

1 c. almond milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1/2 c. sugar or agave

Core and cut apples into 16 wedges.

Wrap each piece of apple into a wedge of crescent dough and place into 13 x 9 casserole dish sprayed with coconut oil.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile mix  eggs, mil, vanilla, and sugar or agave.

Crescent dough should be golden at this point.  Pour egg mixture over crescents and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve with vanilla yogurt as a topping.  Yummy!

Cheesy Apple Grits:

4 c. water

1/4 c. sugar or agave

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. quick cooking grits

4 eggs

2 c. shredded cheese (I used Veggie Cheese)

1/2 c. almond milk

1 apple, thinly sliced

Heat water with sugar or agave and salt.  Once at a rolling boil, add grits gradually and cook until thickened.  Add in shredded cheese and stir until melted.  Temper with milk and add in eggs.  Once blended, pour into a prepared 13 x 9 baking dish and top with apple slices.  Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes.

Ideally, this goes into the oven prior to the first phase of the crescent casserole, so they can finish up together.

This is also delish with vanilla yogurt as a topping.

Our 4th was fun!   My grandsons got to see their Uncle Elliot in the parade with the local fire department, and had fun collecting and eating the candy!

 

 

I try to make a breakfast/brunch every Sunday.  A busy schedule led to frozen breakfast sandwiches on BOGO.  Today, I felt inspired to use the pie crusts that had sitting in the fridge for too long, and the diced ham I bought on BOGO for the corn chowder, which ended up having the leftover chicken or turkey or whatever in it instead.  I bought berries intending to make a berry salad.  There’s some endive from our salad the other night.  Lots of Banh Mi style veggies still.  Setting everything out and letting everyone visit the table like a salad bar/buffet was great!  It looked kind of nice, too.

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The quiche were asparagus ham or spinach ham.  Both used tofutti cream cheese substitute and vegan mozzarella shreds, for a healthier take.

2 pie shells (I like to buy Immaculate brand, but any will do).  These will be baked before filling at 375 for 10 minutes, or as directed on the packaging.  Pierce them with a fork to prevent lifting and cracking.  Turn oven down to 320 when you take the crusts out.  The quiche cook at a lower temperature.

Filling:

8 eggs

1 container tofutti cream cheese substitute

4 Tbsp. butter

1 package mozzarella shred vegan cheese

2 (8 oz) packages diced ham, drained and dried

1 can spinach, well drained (ideally overnight)

1 can cut asparagus, drained

  1.  Place drained asparagus in one bowl and the spinach in another.
  2. Melt butter in dutch oven over medium heat.  Add in ham and cook and caramelize a little  to richen the flavor.
  3. In the meantime, you can crack four eggs over each bowl of vegetables.

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  1. Stir in cream cheese and melt over low heat, stirring regularly.
  2. Spread half of the cream cheese ham mixture into each baked pie crust.
  3. Whisk eggs and veggies.  Add in mozzarella shreds and pour over ham mixture.

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  1. Bake at 320 for about 45 minutes.   They never seem completely set because of the cream cheese, but they are done when they don’t jiggle.

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Sunday morning, I helped out by watching my 5 and 2 year old grandsons while their parents went off to work.  Their other grandma, Tina,  lives there, and treats them to homemade fare regularly.  She’s the one who deserves Grandmother of the Year for all she does.

The boys wanted Mickey waffles, and luckily, their mom had some shake and pour pancake mix on hand.  However, never being one to use just water with any mix, I added an egg, some vanilla, sour cream, and (don’t laugh) coffee creamer.  It makes for fluffier waffles, and beats straight mix.  Grandma Tina had strawberries and whipped cream on hand, so they had the option of a strawberry shortcake Mickey waffle, or simply Mickey with maple syrup.  Yummmmm.

Mickey waffle

I introduced them to the movie “Matilda” and they loved it.  We all love to hate the nasty Miss Trunchbull, right?!?  We all love Miss Honey too.  They were glued to the screen (eating PB&J for lunch).  Hard to believe it’s a movie from 22 years ago.  It really holds up well.  We had it on VHS when my kids were little.

Matilda

Being the food-obsessed person that I am, I offered to prepare the ground meat my daughter had in the fridge.  It’s always harder to work with someone else’s ingredients, but by the time I left, they had precooked meatballs that were in a baking dish with doctored up marina, ready to throw in the oven.  I also prepared cooked taco meat (with instructions of how to make burritos like I make) and meatballs for a night when they wanted Asian inspired teriyaki meatballs.

They just had to cook some spaghetti and garlic toast to accompany the meatballs when they got home.

Sunday dinner

Saturday, being my day off lends itself to being a day to clean, meal plan, and shop.  Some weeks it feels like a chore and others, I remember to count my blessings and enjoy the journey this life is.

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It is always surprising when inspiration comes unexpected sources.  I learned this week of the passing of a first cousin with whom I had lost touch years ago.  Tommy was twelve years older than me, lived 1,200 miles away, and his father, Tom, and my mother, Grace, who were siblings, had a falling out fifty years ago.  I do recall, however, being at my Uncle Tom’s bedside while he was in the VA hospital during his last days, so I am hopeful that my mom and her brother made some sort of peace.  I also have a vivid and emotional memory of the night my cousin flew out of Greater Pittsburgh Airport to go fight in Vietnam.  Chronology is not my strong suit, but I was probably about 8 or 9 years old.  Seeing his mother Jane, his father, and sisters, Sally and Kathi, cry on that rooftop observation deck, the feelings surrounding it all, still brings a lump to my throat.

AirportPgh. Post Gazette archives photo

I have been friends with Kathi on Facebook for a while, and she let me know of his passing.  Since then, I have friended his son, Thomas, who also lost his mother about a year ago.  It made me realize that we all race through life and miss opportunities for connection daily.   At dinner last night with some incredible ladies I am fortunate to call friends, one of them counseled the other to walk slower.  I realized she could be talking to each and every one of us.  Rita even went so far as to say “God gave you a friend with a cane” and I had an aha moment.  It shouldn’t take a death or an injury to slow us down and remind us to live in the moment, but it does.

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As I sat outside and looked over a beautiful garden on a breezy, perfect weather day, I was seeing things as if for the first time.  Although I’m not much of a photographer (yet) I snapped some shots of the garden my surrogate son, Daniel, grows, and the yard that my son, Austin, keeps beautiful.  I hope they can inspire some of you out there to slow down and see the wonder of the world around you.

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There is whimsy.

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There is life.

There is love.

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There is the beauty of this world that is just waiting to be appreciated.

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Somehow the rest of my day just got a whole lot more opportunity and a lot less chore.

 

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