Super Easy Potatoes

I made this one night to go along with Vann’s awesome barbecued chicken (he invented a wonderful sauce, but it takes forever to make). This is so easy and very tasty.

  • 1 can of sliced new potatoes
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 5 mushrooms
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher or sea salt
  • pepper
  • dill
  • garlic

Chop the onion and mushrooms. Drain the potatoes. Combine in a bowl.

In a jar or bottle (I used a glass baby bottle with a cap instead of a nipple), combine the oil and lemon juice with a dash each of salt and pepper. Put the lid on and shake very well.

Pour the lemon sauce over the vegetables and stir, then liberally sprinkle with dill and stir again. I recommend letting this marinate for 30 minutes or so, but you can go ahead and cook if you’re in a hurry.

Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat and toss in a spoonful of minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add your potato mixture. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until the mushrooms are tender. Voila!


Squash Boats

So, WIC thinks we need to eat more beans, apparently. I’m not a big fan, but I didn’t need four more cans of chickpeas, so we got a couple different kinds and I was determined that I would find something tasty to do with them. This is what I came up with for the pinto beans (I also needed to use up my last squash!).

  • 1 large yellow squash
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can sliced olives
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (if you don’t like spicy, just sub regular diced tomatoes)
  • olive oil
  • garlic

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

First, slice the squash in half down the center (so that they’re still round). Then slice them down the middle and scoop out the meaty part, leaving the rind intact. Drain the olives and tomatoes, and drain and rinse the beans. Dice the onion. In a bowl, combine the squash meat with the other veggies.

Once you have everything in the bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add some minced garlic, and mix well. Now brush some olive oil on the inside of the squash rinds, or boats. Scoop the veggie mix into the boats and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your squash.

As long as your squash is not shaped oddly, you should be able to get 4 boats out of one squash. You will have lots of veggie mix left over, so you could either use more squash to make more boats, or do what I did — I used the extra to cover some chicken legs and wings and baked them for about 45 minutes. I won’t lie, though; the chicken was juicy and good, but not the high point of this dinner — the veggie mix was!

The next time I make this, I am going to add some herbs and other stuff to the olive oil. Maybe cilantro, maybe dill, probably some lemon juice…I haven’t decided yet. And definitely a little bit of corn.

Scratch Pancakes

Ok, I know it’s really easy to go to the store and buy pancake mix. But I read the ingredients and decided I would see how difficult it would be to do at home, from real food. Turns out, it isn’t hard at all.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used the unbleached kind)
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (I used corn, but vegetable would work too)

Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the egg, milk, and oil together in a different bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients bowl and pour the wet stuff into that well. It’s going to overflow, so don’t worry. Now whisk everything together until it’s smooth, and you have pancake batter. (Not really much more complicated than “Pour our powder made out of weird stuff into bowl, add milk (or water, or oil),” and *I* think worth an extra few minutes)

Heat over medium heat a lightly oiled pan. I do mean lightly. The first batch of pancakes I did didn’t turn out nearly as well as the second or third, because my pan had too much oil in it. Honestly, you might be better off just using a generous amount of cooking spray.

I like small pancakes (I will post a picture soon of my pancakes) — about the circumference of a baseball. So I used a slightly large regular spoon to drop my batter on the pan. This will produce about 12 baseball sized pancakes. If you want fewer, bigger pancakes, you can used a 1/4 cup measure — it’s what the recipe actually called for.

Anyway, put your batter in the pan, let it sit until it is firm enough on the bottom that you won’t break it by flipping, and flip. Let cook, and I usually flip mine a couple of times to keep the browning even on both sides. Then I poke it with a toothpick to make sure it’s done in the middle, too.

YOU know what to do after that! Butter and syrup! (next on my list — figure out how to make my own syrup)


Beef Stroganoff

So this is another favorite at our house. I know it’s not the *prettiest* of dishes, but it is so so tasty!

  • 1 pound stew meat (or other cheap meat cut into small chunks — you can buy the cheapest meat you can find and cut it yourself to save money)
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • water
  • cooking sherry
  • sour cream
  • egg noodles
Heat some olive oil (just enough to coat bottom of pan) over medium heat. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a quart Ziploc, then add meat, seal and shake. When meat is well coated, brown it in the oil.

Add the can of soup, the onion soup mix, and enough water and cooking sherry to thin it out. Probably 1 cup water, and about half that in cooking sherry, but everyone likes it a different consistency, so just add and stir, add and stir. 😉

Cover and simmer. Go take a nap. The longer you simmer, the more tender the meat, so if you’re using a cheap meat, you’re going to want to simmer for a long time. But 30 minutes is ok too, if you’re in a hurry or have a more tender cut of meat.

Start your egg noodles. Uncover your meat and stir in about 3/4 cup or 1 cup sour cream. Drain noodles. Cover noodles with stroganoff on your plate. Enjoy!

Oh, for the picture I sprinkled parsley and a little paprika on top, just to make it a little prettier. My husband said it was tasty that way.

Thanks, Mom, for this recipe!

Mmmmm! Zucchini

When I posted the chicken dinner with asparagus and garlic bread, some told me that they didn’t do asparagus. I can understand that, so here is an alternative veggie for that dinner.

  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • garlic powder
  • bread crumbs

Heat oven to 350 and spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

Place 2 Tbsp butter in a little bowl and sprinkle garlic powder on it. Melt in the microwave, a little at a time, swishing to make sure the garlic is well mixed in. In between swishings, slice zucchini into wedges. You should end up with 8 approximately 2-inch wedges per zucchini. Once the butter is well melted, pour it into a Ziploc baggie and add the zucchini wedges. Shake well.

Using a fork or tongs, move the zucchini from the bag to the dish. Sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your ‘zukes.’ These have a nice buttery flavor that my toddler quite enjoyed. 🙂

Thanks, Mom, for helping remember how to do this. 🙂

Chicken, Asparagus, and Garlic Bread

This one is pretty easy and quick.

You will need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Lemon juice
  • Seasonings
  • Butter
  • Cheese (preferably something like Monterrey Jack)
  • Asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Cheese (preferably something like grated Parmesan or finely grated Italian cheese)
  • Italian bread
  • Garlic spread

Marinate your chicken breasts in lemon juice and seasonings — I used garlic and herb seasonings — Mrs. Dash — for however long you want. I think I let mine marinate for about 2 hours, but I had to go take a nap with Elliott. 😉

Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan and brown your chicken breasts at high heat for just a couple minutes. Then turn the heat way down and cover them and let them steam/simmer while you do everything else. All told, they should probably cook for at least 15-20 minutes this way, but cut into the thickest part of one of them to make sure it’s not still pink before you serve.

Heat the oven to Broil.

While your chicken breasts are steam/simmering, get out your asparagus. This is really easy. Simply snap the asparagus where it wants to snap, and you won’t end up with those tough stringy ends. Then put all your asparagus in a Ziploc bag and put in some olive oil. Shake to coat all the stalks with oil. Then arrange them on a rack on top of a roasting pan.

Before cooking the asparagus, I prepare my bread. Just slice off the amount of bread you want, and then cut it lengthwise. Spread your butter/garlic spread on it (I cheat and buy the one from Wal-mart or Kroger). Because I only have one set of racks, and I’m using those for the asparagus, I just put the bread on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Put the asparagus and the bread under the broiler for just a couple of minutes — it really does not take long, and you don’t want to overdo it, because overdone asparagus is a bit gross, and you don’t want charcoal bread. For me, tonight, I checked the bread after 4 minutes or so, and it was perfect, so I pulled it out and then checked the asparagus. It was done too — but I like my veggies pretty crisp.  If you like yours softer, of course you’ll want to leave the asparagus in a little longer — but not too long!

When you put the asparagus and bread in, cover the chicken breasts with their cheese and put the lid back on.

When you pull the asparagus out, spray it with lemon juice and sprinkle it with cheese while it’s still warm. Serve right away, because cold asparagus just isn’t as good.

Easy easy dinner, and very tasty. Even our son has loved this asparagus since he was only a year old!

Thanks go to my mom for the asparagus recipe, and for teaching me that garlic bread does not live in the freezer!

Chicken Not-Quite Caprese

So, the other night I was in a bit of an embarrassing spot. I had proudly announced I was going to make Chicken Caprese (Caprese Salad needs grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil), and when I went to prepare it, my mozzarella was moldy. What was I going to do? Well, I had everything else I needed, and some shredded cheese…

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • bread crumbs plus salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • shredded cheese
  • grape tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • basil

I like to prepare the Caprese salad early, so that the tomatoes (and usually mozzarella) have a chance to soak up the flavors. Cut up your tomatoes, put them in a Ziploc bag, and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil. Place in the fridge until you need them. I did mine about an hour before I was ready to cook dinner.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Coat the chicken breasts in flour, then dredge in egg and coat with the seasoned bread crumbs, pressing them into the bread crumbs to thoroughly coat. Place into the heated oil and cook on medium heat about 7 minutes, then flip them. Cook for about 3 minutes, then sprinkle shredded cheese on them, cover and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Either use a meat thermometer (temperature should read 170 degrees), or cut into the thickest part of the breast to make sure they’re done.

Once the breasts are done, place them on their plates and spoon the Caprese salad (in this case, just marinated tomatoes) over the chicken.

It really is quite tasty, even if it’s Not-Quite-Caprese. 🙂 My husband wants it again, anyway.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Basil

This is a most amazing recipe that I got from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook. We don’t usually eat vegetarian, since I don’t feel like I have had a meal if there isn’t meat in it (those are called “appetizers,” usually), but this really hit the spot, and it makes a SPECTACULAR leftover (since a pound of pasta is a bit much for two adults and one toddler just discovering that he loves noodahs (noodles).

  • 1 pound noodles (tagliatelle is what is called for, but I used fettucine because my local grocery store doesn’t seem to carry tagliatelle, and I think the only difference is a slight width difference)
  • a package of fresh basil (even if you have the dried stuff, do yourself a favor and buy the fresh at least this once. You won’t believe how awesome it smells and tastes…mostly how awesome it smells. Your hand will smell like a eucalyptus tree all night — and that’s good!)
  • 1 medium potato (trust me)
  • salt (preferably kosher or sea, but regular would work too)
  • 1/4 cup green pesto (you can buy it in a jar at the grocery store, or make your own. This time I bought it, but I plan on making my own next time, because now I know this dish is worth the extra effort.)
  • 3 ounces grated parmesan cheese (the stuff that comes in a bag, not a can, or you can buy a block and grate it yourself)
  • some broccoli (I’m going to leave this up to you — how much do you like broccoli? He calls for a head. I probably used 2/3 of a head, and I like broccoli)

Salt your water and put it on to boil, then cut up your broccoli, keeping stalk and florets separate. Wash and peel the potato, discarding the skin, then shave it with your potato peeler until you have a pile of nearly see-through potato shavings. When the water is boiling, put your noodles and broccoli stalks in and cook to package specifications (personally, I never cook my pasta to specs because that makes it over-cooked for me, so I compensated).

While this is cooking, chop your basil up (yummy smell!), discarding any stalks that might have been in the package. Two minutes before the pasta should be done, add the florets and potato. After 2 minutes, drain everything in the colander, but reserve a little cooking water just in case your sauce is too thick. Pour the pasta, broccoli and potato back into the pan and add the basil and pesto and half of the Parmesan cheese. At this point, if it’s too thick, add a splash of cooking water.

Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan over the pasta once it’s been served up into separate bowls.

This may sound like it would take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s really very easy — most of it is just cutting stuff up.

Help me get somewhere…

I hope you have all been enjoying the recipes I’ve been posting.  For those of you who followed my old blog, some of these will be repeats until I get all the old ones re-posted here.  Bear with me, and I hope to be adding new ones in frequently to keep you entertained.  🙂

Here’s what you can do to help make my blog a success:

  • Most importantly — try the recipes!  Then…
  • Comment on the blog posts — it lets others know you were here and gives the place a “lived in” look, as opposed to a place no one ever goes because the recipes stink.  😉
  • Subscribe to the blog — this way you will receive an email every time I post something new
  • Click on the links at the bottom of the page to other cooking blogs I’ve checked out and enjoyed.  The more visitors they get from MY blog (and yes, most blogging sites can track which link sent you there (but not who YOU are, so don’t get paranoid on me!)), the more likely they are to post a link to my blog on THEIR blog, which equals more traffic for me, which equals a very, very happy MommyEfvie.  🙂
  • Share my URL and my recipes with your friends.

I’d like to make something bigger out of this blog than I was able to with the last one.  I love sharing recipes with my family and friends, but I also want to reach a wider audience, and if you all could do one or two (or all) of the things I listed above, it will go a long way towards increasing my traffic, which is the name of the game in blogging.  🙂

With your help, I think we can have a pretty good thing going here.  Anyway, keep checking out the recipes, and Happy Cooking!

Foil Packet Potatoes

Foil Packet Potatoes

(sausage cooked separately)

This is an easy, delicious new recipe I found in a Sam’s Club cookbook (we only changed it a little…).  I don’t usually post grill recipes, since I don’t grill (that’s one of my husband’s specialties), but you could probably do this in the oven, too.






You will need:

  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can chopped green chilies (or some chopped jalapenos, if you prefer)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Mexican blend, or Colby Jack, or Cheddar, or…whatever kind you like best!)
  • chunky salsa
  • sour cream
  • chopped cilantro

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Tear yourself a good-sized sheet of aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray.  Put the onion in the center of the foil and then top with the potatoes.  Sprinkle potatoes with seasoned salt, chili powder, garlic and cumin, then top with the chilies (or jalapenos).  Sprinkle everything liberally with Worcestershire sauce.

Fold up the sides and double fold the top and ends of the packet to seal it, being sure to leave some room so the heat can circulate inside.  Put the packet on the grill and close the lid.  Grill for 30 minutes or so, until potatoes are tender.  Open up the packet and sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes.  Once the cheese is melted, serve. topped with the salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

This goes really well with grilled Italian sausages, as you can see in the picture above.  It was really easy, and a definite keeper, since we pretty much always have the ingredients already.