April 11, 2014

Did You Know. . .

that the "sweet" in sweet and sour sauce is due to the sugar in the recipe and the "sour" is due to the vinegar added?

that it is said that sweet and sour sauce originated in China?

that the Chinese serve sweet and sour pork on their New Year's Eve because the Cantonese word for sour is similar for their word for grandchildren?  They feel that by eating this food they will have more grandchildren in the upcoming year.

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

Anyone in the mood for Chinese?  Here is a recipe that is really quick to put together.

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

4 chicken breasts, cut in chunks
Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken
2 carrots, sliced thin
1/2 onion, halved & sliced
1/2 green pepper, cut into chunks*
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 Tablespoons flour
4 servings of cooked rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place chicken, carrots, onions and green pepper in a 9 x 13" pan.  Season with pepper.

In a medium bowl whisk sugar, honey, vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and bouillon.  Mix in garlic.

In a small bowl blend water and flour.  Add to honey mixture and mix.  Pour over chicken and vegetables.

Bake 45 - 60 minutes until chicken is tender and cooked.  Serve over cooked rice.

Servings:  4

*I didn't have any green pepper so I used yellow pepper instead

March 8, 2014

Games and Puzzles

Veggie Chain

Since I still have vegetables on the brain, I thought you might like to try this fun game. I call it Veggie Chain.  In the following list I give the beginning and ending letter of a vegetable. See if you can guess all nine of them.  

L . . . K
K . . . E 

Answer would be LEEK, KALE

C . . . R
R . . . B 
B . . . T
T . . . P
P . . . P
P . . . O
O . . . A
A . . . S
S . . . T


Cucumber or Cauliflower

March 7, 2014

What's For Dinner

This is what our dinners looked like this last week.  However, as I'm making my list of what to cook this upcoming week, I am struggling to come up with ideas.  Any suggestions?!

Vegetarian Calzones
*Veggie Calzones, Strawberries

*Eggplant Parmesan, Spinach Salad, Apple Slices

*Sausage & Cabbage Skillet, Watermelon, Rolls

*Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole, Green Beans, Pears

Slow Cooker Pork Chops
*Baked Whitefish, Herbed Rice, Broccoli, Pineapple

*Slow Cooker Pork Chops, Microwave Potatoes, Soup Carrots, Homemade Applesauce

*Veggie Burritos, Salsa & Chips, Orange Slices

Note:  if the dish is highlighted, the recipe has been posted

March 6, 2014

Daily Deal

Here's a freebie for you. . . You can get free petite pastry samples at McDonald's from March 6th thru March 8th during the hours of 6:00 - 11:00 a.m. Not every McDonald's is participating though, so you may want to call ahead first.

March 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

“I talked to a calzone for fifteen minutes last night before I realized it was just an introverted pizza. I wish all my acquaintances were so tasty.

~Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title


February 27, 2014

Let's Talk

Speaking of calzones, did you ever watch the Seinfeld episode called "The Calzone"? Here's a link if you haven't:  http://seinfeld-episodes.com/the-calzone/

February 23, 2014

Veggie Calzone

I am always trying to create more vegetarian meals and this is one I served to my family last week.  I did make my pizza dough in my breadmaker but you could also buy frozen pizza dough. . . just unthaw it first.

Vegetarian Calzone
Veggie Calzone

olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups baby spinach, sliced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1.5 pound pizza dough (or enough for 2 thin pizzas)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
cornmeal (for dusting)

Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.*

Heat 1 - 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet.  Add mushrooms, green pepper and onion.  Cook on medium heat until crisp tender.  Sprinkle oregano, basil, salt and pepper over vegetables.  Add garlic, spinach and tomatoes.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.  Remove from burner.

In the meantime, divide pizza dough into two.  Roll into an 8 - 10 inch circle (about 1/2" thick).  Brush olive oil onto middle of dough leaving 1/2" space around edge free of oil.  Place half of vegetable mixture onto half of one pizza dough.  Sprinkle half cup each of the cheeses over vegetables.  Fold over half of dough.  Using tines of a fork, press and seal edges.  (I usually fold bottom of dough over a little of the top dough and then seal edges).   Make 3 small slits on top to allow steam to escape.  Brush a little bit of olive oil over top and sprinkle on some cornmeal.  Repeat with second pizza dough.

Slide onto pizza stone (*or greased cookie sheet) and bake 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.  If desired, serve with some pizza sauce.

February 21, 2014

Freezer Fun

I freeze my coconut all the time, mainly because I don't use coconut too often when I'm baking.  All you need to do is pack the grated or shredded flesh of the coconut into small containers after moistening it with its own milk.  Make sure to leave about 1/2" space near the top to allow room for expansion.  You can also toast the coconut first and then freeze it in your containers.

If you are like me and just buy the coconut already shredded (in a bag at your local grocery store), you can just throw the coconut into a covered container as well and freeze.

To use just thaw at room temperature for one to two hours before using.  The freezer life for fresh coconut is about 6 months, for toasted coconut it is about 2 months and for bagged coconut it is one year.

February 19, 2014

Tip of the Day

If your coconut has turned hard, there is a way to soften it.  Just soak it in milk for 30 minutes and then drain it and pat it dry using paper towels.

You can then use the leftover coconut milk in your smoothies or baked goods.  Keep in mind that it should be used up within five days.

February 17, 2014

Daily Deal

Would you like to have a free coupon booklet from Mambo Sprouts?  Just click on this link and fill out your mailing address.

February 16, 2014

What's For Dinner

I just finished cleaning up from dinner so I thought I would tell you what I cooked this week.  Maybe it will give you some ideas for your upcoming dinners.

*Tacos, Spinach Salad, Pears

*Vegetarian Chili, Peaches, Homemade Rosemary Bread

Turkey Tenderloin
*Flatbread Pizza, Garden Salad


*Homemade Chicken Soup, Sunday Sandwiches, Bananas, Pickles

*French Toast, Sausage, Home Fries, Orange Slices

*Turkey Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Corn, Watermelon

Note:  if the dish is highlighted, the recipe has been posted

February 10, 2014

Coconut Poke Cake

This is a recipe where I took a little from one recipe and mixed in a bit from another but don't remember where they came from.  The frosting is a fairly standard frosting -- again where it originated from, I don't know.  All I do know is that it is yummy!

Coconut Poke Cake
Coconut Poke Cake

white cake mix

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
2 cups shredded coconut

Prepare cake mix as directed on package and bake in a 9 x 13" greased and flour pan.  Cool for 15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, prepare filling.  Mix milk, sugar and coconut.  Bring it to a boil and then simmer on low for about a minute.  Using handle of wooden spoon or other utensil, poke holes into cake.  Pour milk mixture over top of cake.  Cool completely.

Once cake has cooled, prepare frosting.  In a medium saucepan blend sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook on medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved and boiling (the syrup will be clear).  Remove from the burner.  In a medium bowl (make sure it is grease free), whip egg whites and vanilla with electric beaters until soft peaks form.  Gradually add syrup to egg mixture and continue beating for 8 to 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form.  Spread over cake.  Sprinkle coconut over top.  Cover cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note:  This type of frosting will dry out if it is not covered.)

Servings:  12 - 16

*For a more coconut flavor, you can use coconut extract