Friday, October 29, 2010

Egg salad

Just a simple idea, for a quick and yummy dinner: egg salad!  
-4 eggs
-1 Tbs mayonnaise
-1 (2 oz) jar diced pimientos, drained
-2 drops Tabasco sauce
-1 Tbs real bacon bits
Boil the eggs until hard (10 minutes after the water started boiling).  Peel the eggs, then mashed them with a fork.  Combine them with the rest of the ingredients and spread on toast.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Romanian Sour Meatball Soup (Ciorba de perisoare)

This is probably my most favorite dish ever!  I could eat it every day, honestly.:)  Romanian soup is supposed to be sour (very sour for me).  Traditionally we use bors to sour it.  Romanian bors (borsh) is different than the Russian one, which is made out of beets.  The Romanian type is actually fermented wheat bran.  The modern version of it comes now as a powder, which I've been very fortunate to get from my family.  If you don't have bors, don't worry.  The soup can be made sour by adding lemon juice or sauerkraut juice.  It is worth the try, trust me!  I also like that I can use my food storage, i.e. my dehydrated onions and peppers.  It also saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent chopping all the veggies.  Anyway, enough said.  Enjoy it!
For the soup:
-10-12 cups of water
-1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
-3-4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
-1 onion, finely chopped or a handful of dehydrated onion
-1 bell pepper, chopped or a handful of dehydrated peppers
-1 Tbs tomato paste
-bors (or lemon or sauerkraut juice), at least 1 cup, depending how sour you want your soup

 For the meatballs:
-1 lbs ground pork
-1 slice bread
-2 Tbs rice, washed and drained
-1/2 onion, finely chopped or 1 Tbs dehydrated onion
-1 egg
Place water in a large sauce pan.  Add the carrot, potatoes, pepper and onion.  Boil for about 15 minutes.  Add tomato paste, salt and bors, as desired.  I like mine very sour so I add a lot of bors. 
Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs.  Soften bread in some water, then drain it very well, until no more liquid comes out.  In a large bowl add ground pork, drained bread, rice, egg, onion, salt and pepper.  Mix well with your hands.  Form meatballs and add in the simmering soup.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuna melts

Everyone has their own version of tuna salad.  I like mine very simple.  Sometimes simple is best.  I also like to add cheese to mine and then melt it in the oven.  This recipe makes 2 sandwiches.  Enjoy!
-1 can tuna, drained
-1 Tbs mayonnaise
-2 tsp lemon juice
-2 slices American cheese, or any cheese you prefer
-4 slices bread, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Mix tuna, mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Place on toast, add sliced cheese and bake for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peas and pork (Mancare de mazare)

This is another one of the yummy comfort foods I grew up with.  I absolutely love this dish.  It is extremely easy to make, fast and delicious.  My older brother and I pretended to be giants eating the little people (the peas).  How much fun that was!  I told my children about it and they now have fun with it.  I hope y'all give this yummy dish a try.  I chose to use fried pork  this time, but you can use fried chicken as well.  Enjoy!
-4 cans sweet peas, rinsed and drained
-4 cans water
-1 medium onion, finely chopped (or a handful of dehydrated onion)
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-1 Tbs cornstarch
-1 lb pork
-seasoned salt
-frying oil
If using raw or frozen onion, saute it in 1 Tbs vegetable oil in a large saucepan, until translucent.  Add the peas and water, and let it cook on low heat.  If using the dehydrated onions, add it now, after mixing the peas and water.  Add the tomato paste and mix well. 
Meanwhile, cut the pork into bite size pieces and lightly season them with the seasoned salt and pepper.  Fry in a little oil until golden brown on all sides.  Once cooked, drain them on paper towels. 
Take about 1/4 cup of the water out of the sauce pan in a small container.  Add the cornstarch and mix until nice and creamy (no lumps).  Add the mixture to the peas.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Add the pork and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavors blend together.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taco salad

I like quick and easy dinners.  This taco salad is one such dish.  It's fast and enjoyed by everyone in the family.  You can add pretty much whatever you want to it.  Enjoy!
-1 lb extra lean ground beef (turkey works fine too)
-1 packet taco seasoning
-3/4 c water
-1 can corn
-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 can sliced black olives
-sour cream
-shredded cheese (I like mozzarella)
-corn chips
Brown beef.  Add taco seasoning and water.  Mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Place corn chips on bottom of the plate, then add beef, cheese and the rest of the ingredients, as desired.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Romanian Dumpling Soup (Supa cu galuste)

This is one of those comfort foods I grew up with.  It is very easy to make and very yummy.  My children love it!  The semolina flour required to make the dumplings can be found at most grocery stores or whole foods.
For the chicken stock:
-1 chicken breast (skinless, boneless)
-2 large carrots (peeled and washed)
-1 potato (peeled and cubed)
-1 diced onion
-parsley (finely chopped)
Place all ingredients in about 10 cups water and boil until meat is cooked through.  Strain the broth and bring it to a boil (use the cooked meat for a different dish or store in freezer until needed).
For the dumplings:
-2 large eggs
-1/2 tsp salt
-about 1/2 cup semolina flour
Salt the eggs and beat until nice and fluffy.  Gradually add the semolina flour and mix until smooth ( not runny and not stiff).  It should look like this:
After the strained broth starts boiling, lower the heat.  With a spoon, scoop the semolina mixture into the broth.  Poke the dumplings with a fork.  Cover and raise the heat a bit.  After about 5 minutes the dumplings should be fluffy and look like this:
Enjoy the soup with some nice hot rolls!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Parker House Rolls

This is one of Bobby Flay's amazing recipes.  I love the way he cooks!:)  Anyways, these rolls are amazing!  So soft and sweet...  I couldn't get enough.  I'll definitely make them again.
-1 1/2 c milk
-1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
-1/2 c sugar
-1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4Tbs)
-1/2 c warm water
-3 large eggs, slightly beaten
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-6-8 c all-purpose flour
Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy. Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until a smooth ball forms.
Remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 70 minutes.
On a floured surface, punch down the dough and shape into desired shapes. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before serving.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I love, love, love this dish!  Maybe it's because French cuisine is fairly similar to the one I grew up with.  Either way, this dish is absolutely amazing!  The flavors are just incredible.  It is very important that you do not substitute the kalamata olives with regular black ones.  It will ruin the dish, as the saltiness of the brine is necessary for the perfect flavor.  Also, you could use plain pizza dough instead of the puff pastry, but again, the flavors will differ.  Enjoy!
-1 sheet frozen puff pastry
-3 Tbs olive oil
-4 yellow onions
-2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
-1 Tbs brown sugar
-1/4 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese
-6-8 kalamata olives or other black brine cured olives, cut in half
-a can of anchovies, drained
-4-6 capers

Thaw out the pastry sheet about an hour before making this dish.
Heat the oil in large pan over medium heat.  Slice the onions nice and thin and and add them to the pan.  Caramelize until golden (not brown) for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and vinegar, and cook for a few extra minutes.  Take the mixture off the stove and set aside. 
In a baking dish, spread the thawed puff pastry sheet.  Sprinkle the cheese on top.  Spoon those delicious onions on top of cheese, spreading them evenly.  Arrange the anchovies, capers and olives in a decorative manner, if desired.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fried chicken

I LOVE fried chicken!  For me, it's one of those comfort foods.  This is another simple recipe, quick to put together, with amazing results.  Just a little tip about frying: make sure the oil is very hot.  This ensures that the chicken cooks through at a faster pace and amazingly, the oil doesn't seep into the skin as much, thus making it less fatty!  Enjoy!
-chicken pieces for frying (thighs, drumsticks, wings, etc)
-seasoned salt
-garlic powder
-black pepper
Cut a couple of slits in each chicken piece (it helps the chicken cook evenly).  Season on both sides with seasoned salt, garlic powder and pepper.  Dredge in flour, shaking off the excess.  Fry until golden brown.  I served mine with garlic sauce and french fries.  Enjoy!

Spicy garlic sauce (Mujdei de usturoi)

I grew up without things like ketchup, steak sauce and so on.  But I had the best sauce on the planet: garlic sauce!  It is the easiest thing ever and sooooo delicious!  If you love garlic, this is definitely for you.  Also, you can put it on pretty much anything: fried fish, fried chicken, even french fries (super yummy!).  The key is to kind of paste the garlic cloves.  The more you mash them, the spicier the sauce gets.  There aren't any measurements to how to make it, as each person has their own preferences in spiciness and saltiness.  Anyway, enough said.  Just enjoy it!
-6-8 garlic cloves
Peel garlic cloves.  Press them in the garlic press, mashing them more if desired.  Add salt to taste.  Add water as desired (the more water, the less spicy the sauce).  Mix well, chill a bit in the fridge, pour over food and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Candice's Chicken Fajitas

This is my sister in law's recipe and we absolutely love it!  It's super easy and fast to make.  Enjoy!
-1 large onion, thinly sliced
-2 uncooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in bite size chunks
-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-2 tsp soy sauce
-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp garlic powder
-2 tsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 medium green pepper (or frozen pepper strips)
-6 inch flour tortillas
Combine liquids and spices to make marinade.  Marinate chicken and onions in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (the longer, the better).  Heat about 1 Tbs olive oil in skillet on medium-high to high heat.  Discard marinade, and place chicken and onions in hot skillet.  Once chicken is cooked through, add peppers and cook 2-3 minutes longer.  Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream on top of warm tortillas.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beans and sausage

I grew up on beans and sausage, and I do make a similar dish to this one quite often for my family.  This recipe is super easy and I again get to use my slow cooker.:)  The taste is absolutely amazing!  My husband and I absolutely loved it.  I'll definitely make it again.  Enjoy!
-6 slices bacon
-1 onion, chopped
-1 lb polska kielbasa (smoked and fully cooked), thinly sliced
-2 (15 1/2 oz) cans great northern beans, undrained
-1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
-1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies, undrained
-1 medium green pepper, chopped (or a handful of dehydrated peppers)
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 tsp black pepper
Cut bacon in small chunks and fry in skillet until crisp.  With a slotted spoon remove the bacon and put it in the slow cooker.  Add onions and kielbasa to drippings in the skillet.  Cook until onions are soft.  Transfer onions and kielbasa to the slow cooker.  Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker and stir together well.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Annemaw's pocket book rolls

Besides being a remarkable woman and a great example for everyone, Annemaw, my husband's sweet grandma, was also an amazing cook.  While I enjoyed these rolls very much made by other family members, I have never made them myself until today.  I guess my oven is very powerful because I baked them for the lower amount of time recommended and they still came out a lot more brown than I would've liked.  They were still absolutely delicious!  The sweet buttery taste will sure win you over.  Enjoy!
-1 packet yeast
-6 Tbs sugar
-1 3/4 tsp salt
-1/4 c melted shortening
-3/4 c lukewarm water
-3/4 c milk, scalded and cooled
- 5 to 5 1/4 c flour
Soften yeast in cooled milk.  Add salt, shortening, sugar and water.  Add flour, a little a a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.  Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Cover with a warm, damp cloth.  Let rise until double in bulk.  Roll to 1/3 inch thickness.  Cut in rounds 2 inches in diameter.  Crease middle of each roll with dull edge of knife.  Brush lower half of the roll with melted butter.  Fold over, pressing together with the palm of the hand.  Place close together in rows on well greased baking sheet.  Cover again and let rise until double in bulk.  Bake at 450 for 15-18 minutes (or 10 minutes if you have a newer oven) .  Enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The best clam chowder (Slow Cooker)

I love clam chowder.  It's the perfect cold weather soup.  Although this one is not made from scratch, it adds so much flavor to the bland canned type.  It's creamy, smooth and absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
-2 (18.5 oz) cans New England clam chowder
-3 (10.5 oz) cans cream of potato soup
-1 quart half and half (I used 2 cups half and half, and 2 cups milk)
-1 (6 oz) can minced clams, with the juice
-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (the frozen type works just fine)
Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until soft.  Meanwhile, add all the other ingredients to the crock pot.  When ready, add the onion and butter to the crock pot.  Stir well to mix.  Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours.  Serve hot with crushed Ritz crackers on top.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate.  This was an experiment and I'm happy to say that it came out delicious!  I'll definitely make this again.:)

-1 c butter
-2 c sugar
-4 eggs
-1 1/2 c canned pumpkin
-3 1/2 c flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-4 tsp pumpkin spice
-1 tsp salt
-1 1/2 to 2c chocolate chips (any kind you want-I used half milk chocolate and half white chocolate)
-chopped pecans, optional
Cream butter, sugar and eggs.  Add pumpkin and mix.  Set aside.  In another bowl sift all the dry ingredients.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamy mixture.  Beat until well blended.  Add chocolate chips and pecans, if desired.  Grease a bundt cake pan (I like to use the spray bake with flour).  Pour batter and bake at 350 for 70 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Breakfast in the slow cooker

I was quite excited to try this recipe.  I have to say that although it tasted good, it was a bit bland.  Luckily, the awesome Tabasco sauce came to the rescue.  Just a little bit, and the taste changed to much better. :)  I also think that some browned sausage would've made it even better.  I'm adding the sausage and Tabasco sauce as optional to the recipe.  Enjoy!
-12 eggs
-1 (32 oz) bag frozen hash browns (southern style)
-1 lb bacon, cut in small pieces, cooked and drained
-1/2 c diced onions (I used the dehydrated type-just a handful)
-1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
-1 cup milk
-1/2 tsp dry mustard
-salt and pepper (be generous)
-sausage, cooked and drained -optional
-Tabasco sauce -optional
Layer the ingredients in the crock pot as follows:
-1/2 the potatoes on the bottom
-1/2 the bacon
-1/2 the onions
-1/2 the sausage, if using
-1/2 the cheese
Repeat layers.  Beat the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Pour mixture over layers.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Serve hot and season with Tabasco sauce if desired.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

As a busy mother of 4 and part time student, I get to use my crock pot quite a bit.  I don't know about where you live, but in my neck of the woods we definitely got some serious fall weather (cold and rainy).  As I was looking for a soup recipe, I stumbled over this one on this blog.  Awesome, since I get to make some soup and I get to use my crock pot.  This soup is absolutely amazing!  So creamy and full of flavor!  I love the sweetness of the leeks and the saltiness of the bacon.  Heavenly combination!:)  Enjoy!
-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
-2-3 leeks, washed, sliced, including white and light green parts
-1 cup chopped onion (or a handful of dehydrated chopped onion)
-1 carrot, sliced
-1 stalk of celery, sliced
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 Tb dried parsley flakes
-1 tsp garlic salt
-2 Tb butter
-12 oz. can evaporated milk
-16 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled
-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
-chives or green onions, chopped
-black pepper, to taste
Combine everything except last 5 ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low 7-9 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Stir in the can of evaporated milk the last 45 minutes. Serve hot topped with pepper, bacon, cheddar, and chives.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No knead rolls or bread

I got this recipe from a lady at my church.  It is super easy and sooo yummy!  The rolls come out soft and puffy, enticing you to eat them hot, right out of the oven.
-1 cup warm water
-2 T yeast (or one packet)
-1 cup boiling water
-1 stick margarine
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 tsp salt
-2 eggs, beaten
-5 1/2 cups flour (you can also do 2 1/2 c white flour and 3 c whole wheat flour)
Soften the yeast with warm water and set aside.  Mix boiling water and margarine until melted.  Cool it a bit, but not completely.  To this, add the sugar, salt and eggs.  When completely cool, add the yeast mixture and the flour.  Stir together and let it rise for 1 hour.  Add 1/2 c more flour and let it rise again (about 1 hour).  Shape into rolls, bread, pizza or whatever you want.  Let it rise again (for about 30 min).  For rolls, bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.  For bread, bake at 400 for 35 minutes.  Enjoy!

Quick Gumbo

I have never tasted okra until a couple of years ago.  I instantly fell in love with it.  That was when I tried gumbo for the first time in my life.  I recently came across a Weight Watchers recipe and absolutely loved it.  I tweaked it a little bit according to my family’s liking and I can say that it’s a success!  It’s not as spicy as a normal gumbo, but this way my children can enjoy it as well as I hope you will.
-8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped or 1 cup of frozen chopped green pepper
-12 scallions, sliced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 bag frozen sliced okra
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
-1 cup regular long-grain rice
-1 pound frozen shrimp (peeled, deveined and cooked)-remove tails
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
-about 16 slices of kielbasa
In a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.  Saute the bell pepper, scallions and garlic until softened (about 5 minutes).  Stir in tomatoes, broth, okra and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the rice, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Add the chicken and kielbasa; simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.  The chicken needs to be fully cooked and the rice tender.  Add the shrimp, stir and enjoy!  If you want more kick, you can add a couple drops Tabasco sauce.

Slow cooker barbecue meatballs

Meatballs are  always a crowd pleaser and of course, they are quite popular in our home.  I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website, but I couldn’t find a couple of ingredients.  So I replaced them with something else, and came up with this recipe.  These meatballs are seriously so good, that every time I serve them they are gone in just a few minutes.  Enjoy!

 -1 cup bbq sauce ( we prefer the Sweet Baby Rays)
-3/4 cup orange juice
-1 can (16 oz) of jellied cranberry sauce
-1/2 tsp ground mustard
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 lbs frozen meatballs (I used the Costco brand)
Directions: Set the slow cooker on high and mix all ingredients except the meatballs. I used a whisk to mash the jelly and to mix everything very well. Once the sauce looks smooth, lower the heat to low and add the meatballs. Mix them well into the sauce. Cook on low for 2 hours. They keep well on the warm setting for up to 24 hours (you have to stir them occasionally). Enjoy!


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