Monday, October 27, 2008

Zucchini Brownies

My daughter brought home a huge zucchini the other day, and we figured we'd better put it to good this is the recipe I adapted from one I got off the internet. It turned out WAY yummy - enjoy!

Zucchini Brownies
2 C zucchini, shredded (then run through the processor till fine)
1 C Sugar
1/2 C sugar free applesauce (my addition-cuts down on the sugar)
1/2 C oil
2 ripe bananas mashed (my addition-cuts down on the oil)
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1/3 C cocoa
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt (I didn't add)
1/2 C walnuts, chopped (optional- I didn't put them in because my daughter won't eat them, but it would have been very good with them)
1 pkg Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (optional)

Combine zucchini, sugar, applesauce, oil and bananas. Add dry ingredients (sifted together if you'd like) and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 min.

The recipe called for frosting, but we didn't think it needed any -- it was very rich and chocolaty. Kind of more a cake than brownie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Glorious Tomatoes!

I never thought that I'd think tomatoes were cool. lol. But, we grew lots of them this year, and I especially like the yellow ones! Who would have known? I didn't know before this year that there were such things! Yellow tomatoes? They are gorgeous, and their flavor is so much milder...ahhh.

Anyway, I've actually made two things I've never made this summer -- Salsa and homemade marinara sauce. I think the salsa turned out too hot, but we haven't tried it yet; and the marinara tastes okay, but it's kind of chunky and I didn't get all the seeds and learn! Well, my sister-in-law had Roma tomatoes, which apparently are THE best tomatoes to make tomato sauce, so I'm going to be doing that today with the rest of my red tomatoes. The freeze got the plants we couldn't get pulled up and we have tons of green tomatoes that I'm hoping will turn red within the next month or so...

But for today, I wanted to share a recipe I got from a farmer's market in August. I was hoping for more than it was, but perhaps next year I'll know better. This recipe is the best though...and be sure to use fresh cilantro if you have it -- it's amazing the difference it makes.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
(U of U Extension)

1 15oz can Black beans (I use low sodium) rinsed and drained
1 11oz can whole kernel corn (I used frozen)
1 tsp minced fresh jalapeno pepper (no seeds)
1 Avocado, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper (I used green ones from our garden)
1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 C diced red onion (I used a sweet one)
1/4 C fresh lime juice (about 2 limes -- I used the reconstituted stuff)
1 tsp salt (I never put salt

Italian dressing (dry packet made into dressing- I didn't use the Italian seasoning, I didn't have any. I just mixed some olive oil into the mixture)
Tortilla Chips

Combine all ingredients except avocado and chips. Add Italian dressing to ingredients. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. (drain excess dressing off before adding avocados) Add avocado just before serving.

The batch I made filled a large salad bowl. I'm not sure how much this makes, but it looked like quite a bit. My whole family loved it with chips. Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Well, I figured my next recipe should be the one my kids like the most...Lasagna. I do it just a little different, and they say it's way better than anything else they've eaten, so I guess they like it...grin. You can cook the noodles ahead of time, I guess it saves about a half hour baking -- but I like to simplify and just bake it longer.

Meat Lasagna
(makes 2 13x9 pans)

2 pkgs lasagna noodles
3 Large cans Spaghetti sauce (any flavor)
1 - 2 lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
1 large tub low fat or fat free cottage cheese
1 large tub Riccota low fat cheese
1 bag (2 lb) mozzarella cheese (I prefer pre-grated...saves on time)
3 eggs
parsley to season

Prehead oven to 350.
Mix meat and sauce together (I usually do this in the pan I've cooked the meat in). In a large bowl, mix cottage cheese, half the mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese. Add eggs, stir in well. Add Parsley.
Spray 13x9 pans and then pour a layer of sauce over the bottom of each pan. (I usually make one pan at a time, but it depends on what you like to do.) Layer lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread a layer of cheese mixture over the noodles. Add another layer of noodles, and continue alternating between sauce and cheese. I like lots of layers, and so do my kids.
You should end with the sauce on top -- but I've mixed the leftover cheese into it too. Sprinkle cheese on top, as thick as you want, and then cover with aluminum foil. Put in middle of oven and bake for 1 hour. Take the foil off and let cheese brown a little on top -- about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes before serving. Will really be hot!! Very yummy! We usually have a big green salad and sometimes breadsticks with this. (we make so much so we have leftovers for hubbies lunches)

Family Favorites

Another favorite we like in the summer is Hawaiian Haystacks or sometimes known as Hawaiian Sundaes.

These are easy to whip up, (especially if you use instant or quick rice) and a fun way to eat a mix of items.

Hawaiian Sundaes
Serves 8 (two servings each)

3 boxes of 5 minute brown rice (we use generic brands...) cooked
4-5 C gravy -- chicken is the one we usually use, but brown works too..with chunks of meat in it (chicken chunks or beef) you can also use cream of chicken soup
2 C grated cheddar cheese
1 sweet onion chopped (or 3 green onion)
3 celery stalks chopped
2 C veggies...mixed variety or whatever you prefer
1 can pineapple tidbits or slices made into tidbits (drained)
2 tomatoes, chopped
chow main noodles (optional)
Almond slivers (optional)

The rice is layered on the plate first, then the gravy. We usually put the cheese on next so it can melt, and then layer the rest to taste. It's a great left over meal too...


Well...last night I was in the mood for something different, so we did fondue. Since we don't use, we used broth, and it turned out pretty good. Good enough that I thought I'd post it for future use. We love to do fondue, but it's hard when you have 8 people dipping in the same pot...and they're all siblings. grin. There are lots of different pots...we have one that uses the little flame, but we use the electric one the most. It's bigger...

cheese fondue

Summer Favorite

Okay...probably the most popular dish in our house during the summer is pasta salad. This thing has evolved from the original that I used to make with green and red and yellow bell peppers, crab meat (the imitation stuff), cheese and onions to just about whatever we have available to toss in. Something like what I've heard you do with fried rice. grin. So, I thought I'd tell you our basic ingredients so that you can toss whatever you have in with it! You'll love it, if you haven't already tried it. Um...and remember, whatever I toss out here for recipes are going to feed 9 people with at least two servings...And I will add a photo as soon as I make it again...grin

Summer Pasta Salad

3 bags of pasta (we usually do shell, but rotini is nice -- I like to get the three color if it's on sale) Cooked, drained and cooled.
1 each green, red, yellow sweet bell pepper, cored and chopped. (when I use frozen veggies I put them in the strainer with the noodles and defrost them in the boiling water.)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1/2 lb medium cheddar cheese, chopped (about 1/4" squares)
1 pkg frozen crab meat (usually about a lb) (We have also used cubed ham, chicken, turkey and tuna as well as no meat at all!)
1 can sliced black olives
pepper/salt to taste

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except mayo together. Add mayonnaise one large spoon full at a time until the wetness/consistency you like. (We don't like ours really wet) Sprinkle pepper or seasoning you like and stir through. Basil is also another good spice to add. Fresh cherry tomatoes sliced in half would be good with this, as just about any veggie will too. Best if chilled for an hour or so, but we don't usually wait. Enjoy! Our favorite way to eat this is with lemonade and slices of sourdough bread.

I also had a gift recipe from a friend. Mary contributed this quick and easy fudge recipe that I'm dying to try. If you make it, let me know how it turns out! Simple is my idea of wonderful!

2 Ingredient Fudge
1 12-oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips (you can use semisweet if you like
1 can milk chocolate frosting (not Whipped), you can use reg, rather
than milk if you like)

Melt together slowly. Stir together with nuts if you wish. Pour in
buttered 9 x 9 inch pan. Refrigerate. You can use butterscotch
chips, white chocolate and mint, any combination you like. The main
thing is that this is very very quick and easy.

Viva Summer!

Okay...Here I am complaining about how many deadlines I have for writing, and I'm creating a new blog? Sigh.

But I couldn't help it -- I love to cook, I love recipes, and I think so many cooks (or chefs) don't think of the Low Income group of moms (i.e. those that are stay at home moms or work part time outside the home) when they are dreaming up those recipes that call for expensive ingredients.

So -- Here is my new blog. One dedicated to everything FOOD! I love to cook, but I'm getting to where I hate to shop. sigh. That's to do with

Anyway, hopefully you've discovered this because you like food too, so I hope that what I end up posting will be something you enjoy as well. I figure sometimes I'm an Italian at heart, so it's probably going to be more pasta than anything else...just a forewarning...grin.

But hey, we're in America, the land of homemade rootbeer, fruit pies, BBQ everything and that homemade ice cream that melts almost faster than you can dish it up.

Viva Summer!