Friday, August 29, 2008

Looks Good- Greek Bread

I picked up the new "WW 20 Minute Recipes" magazine-like book while at the grocery store today and I haven't even finished looking through it and I found a recipe that I can't wait to try. First off - I love Greek Salads, although I don't think hubby is so enamored of them or I would serve them more often. Anyway, I found this in the Breads Section.

Greek Bread
POINTS: 4 Serve Greek Bread with a simple green salad, and you'll have the flavor and crunch of a traditional Greek Salad. Toss in some grilled fish or chicken for a tasty meal.

1/2 (16 oz) package twin French Bread loaves (such as Pepperidge Farm)
1/2 cup (4 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tsp Greek Seasoning (to make your own go here )
6 Tbsp (1 1/2 oz) crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped pepperocini peppers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice bread loaf in half horizontally. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and Greek Seasoning in a small bowl; stir well. Spread evenly over cut sides of bread; sprinkle with feta cheese, olives, and pepperoncini peppers.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until bread is toasted. Cut bread into 6 equal portions.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 slice). Per serving: 199 Calories (38% from fat); Fat 8.4g (sat 4.2g); pro 7g; carb 23.6g; fib 1.1g; chol 19mg; iron 1.2mg; sod 701mg; calc 89mg

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I made pudding today for dessert. And I don't mean Jell-O brand either. I did a search, and most of them required a double boiler and/or a sieve. I didn't feel like dealing with that. I found this recipe through a printout I had from the Alabama Cooperative Extension and it can be found here: Weekly Menu Ideas for the Family . It was very easy and tasty. And the pdf has a lot of easy recipes, btw- nothing fancy.

Chocolate Pudding

1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp sugar
dash of salt
1 cup nofat dry milk
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 egg, well beaten
2 cups water
2 Tbsp margarine (I used butter)

Combine sugar, flour, salt, dry milk, and cocoa in saucepan. Stir until well blended. Combine beaten egg and water. Gradually add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring as you add. Continue stirring until thoroughly mixed. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add margarine and stir until melted. Cover to prevent a tough surface from forming. Chill.

Serves 4.

The success of tonight's pudding makes me want to try these:

Vanilla Pudding Mix

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Stir the ingredients together until well mixed. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. Makes enough mix for 24 servings.

Chocolate Pudding Mix - Add 3/4 cup cocoa and 1/4 cup more sugar to above ingredients before stirring.
Caramel Pudding Mix- Substitute 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar for granulated sugar.

To Make Pudding (from Mix)

1 1/4 cups pudding mix
2 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 egg, beaten

Combine mix with water in top of double boiler. Place over boiling water and cook
until thickened, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the butter or margarine. Remove from heat and beat half of the hot mixture into the egg. Blend slowly into the remaining hot mixture. Cook over hot water for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and chill. Serves six.

These recipes came from Ohio State Co-Op Ext.

The thing with the newer recipes is the fact that they call for a double boiler and I wonder if I could just cook as I did tonight's without any ill effects. And looking around the net (mostly from astray) I have a few more variations I could add:

To make chocolate without having to make a whole chocolate mix: Add 3 Tbsp to the vanilla when I make it
Rice Pudding: Add 2 cups cooked rice into cooked vanilla pudding. Add raisins and nutmeg if desired
Peanut butter: Add 1/3 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup chopped peanuts to hot prepared vanilla pudding and chocolate chips when it's cooled if desired
Coconut, Banana and any other fruit: Add 1/2-1 cup fruit to prepared vanilla pudding before chilling - can add extract in place of vanilla too.

All of these recipes with flour make me wonder about the ones with cornstarch instead of flour. I imagine the ones with cornstarch would be a bit clearer and not quite so gummy and I guess I'll be trying those too. The big thing with these is that it calls for milk when you make them so you are getting a double dose of calcium (not that you couldn't use milk to make the flour ones) and they don't call for a double boiler. There's also no egg. So - just so I'll have them in one place:

Vanilla Pudding Mix

3 cups nonfat dry milk
4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all except the vanilla, and store in an airtight container. To prepare, mix 1/2 cup of mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then add 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Chocolate Pudding Mix

2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
5 cups sugar
3 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa

Mix and store in airtight container. To prepare, add 2/3 cup mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then serve.

Coconut Cream Pudding Mix

3 cups nonfat dry milk
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups cornstarch
1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Mix the extract and the shredded coconut in a small bowl until the extract is absorbed. Add the coconut to the other ingredients and store in airtight container. To prepare, add 2/3 cup mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then serve.

Butterscotch Pudding Mix

2 cups nonfat dry milk
5 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups cornstarch

Mix and store in airtight container. To prepare, add 1/2 cup mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then serve.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm finishing up the recipes from the "Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way" Summer Week Two this week (Monday-Wed). This weekend I fixed Monte Cristo Sandwiches (recipe based on This Baked Monte Cristo Sandwiches but I made them in the Electric Skillet. Hubby loved them - I thought they were ok. But I knew they wouldn't be a favorite of mine - you see, I don't like soggy bread - so I don't like French Toast or bread pudding. As I was making it, hubby came up and looked at it and realized it was like stuffed French Toast. "I just realized you're not going to like it. I'm sorry." Isn't he sweet? I just smiled and told him it was ok. I make him French Toast occasionally just because I love him anyway. :) Anyway, next time I'll make his like the French Toast and mine like grilled cheese, I'll like it better that way at least.

I made Fake NC-Style Pork BBQ to take to MiL's on Sunday along with homemade coleslaw. I threw a pork butt (it was short-dated and marked down to $1.49/lb) into the crockpot with some sliced onions on the bottom, some Penzey's BBQ 3000 (I got it free when I visited the store with the coupon from their catalog) and a bit of cider vinegar and let it cook for about 12 hours. I let it cool and shredded it, then put it into a container with some Vinegar sauce and when we went to MiL's I reheated it and put it on Martin's Potato buns (our fave hamburger buns). The Carolinas have 3 different style BBQ sauces, the vinegar ones (Eastern North Carolina), the mustard ones (South Carolina) and ones that have a bit of ketchup in them (Western North Carolina). This is the Eastern Style- Vinegary and is used more as a finishing sauce - put on at the end. I don't believe in putting coleslaw on the BBQ unless the BBQ itself has no taste. :) My BBQ was good enough - just missing the smoke.

Here's the recipe for the Vinegar Sauce-

Eastern North Carolina Style Sauce:
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika
2 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients until sugar and salt have melted (can warm until it does also). Let sit overnight. If you want something that is less vinegary (and a bit more Western) add 1/2 cup ketchup and make sure to store in the fridge.

My menu plan for this week: (For more menu ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie

Monday: Pork Chops & Squash
Tues: Taco Salad
Wednesday: Stuffed Red Peppers
Thurs: Salmon Burgers
Friday: Chez JJ Pizza (Homemade Pizza) (hubby will be happy to see this return)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Since we ate leftovers this weekend (Or in the case of yesterday - weren't even home to eat) I moved two recipes from last week to this week. I am going to also use some more recipes from "Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way" by Leanne Ely since I've pretty much already got what I need for them.

Monday: Salmon with Horseradish Cream
Tues: Crock Swiss Steak
Wed: Mu Shu Chicken
Thurs: BBQ Beef Kabobs
Fri: Greek Summer Fish
Weekend: Leftovers

For more menu ideas (last week she had over 300!) visit I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Late Menu Plan Monday

We traveled to New York City this weekend for FiL's birthday (his 60th). We were supposed to return to Richmond Sunday evening (around 6 pm or so), but a band of severe weather caused them to cancel our flight. We were stuck in New York for another night, and we ended up flying into Washington, DC and driving back home instead (getting up at 3 am to catch our flight included) since the flight to Richmond was full (they actually ended up canceling the totally full flight that we couldn't get on Sunday night into Richmond because of the weather also). I was able to get my next door neighbor to come over and take care of the dogs (my mom and stepdad stayed the weekend), whew! Anyway, because of all this, by the time we got home yesterday, hubby and I were exhausted and we spent most of yesterday napping/sleeping. Luckily he had already asked off for yesterday. My plan to take Sunday evening to Menu Plan like usual was thrown off, and maybe even wait until Monday was totally thrown out the window. And heck even today I'm cheating, I'm using Saving Dinner Low Carb book to do it. Here's the shopping list for Summer Week 1 that I'm using.

Tuesday: Tandoori-style Chicken with grilled yellow squash and brown rice
Wednesday: Thai Beef Salad with celery stick and spaghetti
Thursday: Greek Turkey Burgers with grilled eggplant and onions and a salad with red potatoes
Friday: Pub Pork Ribs with Coleslaw and potato salad
Saturday: Skillet Salmon with Horseradish Cream,Caprice Salad and brown rice
Sunday: Crock Swiss Steak with Mashed Potatoes and steamed broccoli

Monday, August 04, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Since we're heading to NYC this weekend, I'm only technically planning for 3 days of dinners - with Thursday being leftovers since we're leaving Friday morning. Mom said not plan to leave anything for her since they're planning to eat out. Oookay... that's kinda wierd for me, but I'm trying to do that. It's not like they can't find food either in this house or go buy it themselves, so I'm trying not to worry about that. My trip to the grocery store was to get stuff for the pantry (like coffee and milk) and to get a few things that were on sale and use my coupons. Did pretty good today, spent $94.04, saved $14.22 with the store card, and $21.82 with coupons ($36.04 saved total and most of the stuff on sale also had coupons). I know that my grocery total could be lower if I drove into Richmond and shopped at some of the other stores, but then I'd also have to factor in my time and gas. And I didn't have any other trips to make (not to mention - if I went elsewhere I'd be tempted to buy other stuff - Target I'm look'n at you!) Anyway.....

So, dinners this week are as follows and if you want to check out more menu plans go to:
I'm an Organizing Junkie

Monday (tonight): Swimming Rama (from last week - we ended up spending pretty much all day at MiL's yesterday so it didn't get made).
Tuesday: Indian Lentils and Rice -from Saving Dinner the original book - I've got everything on hand already
Wednesday: Grilled Ginger Fish - also from Saving Dinner & the meal right before the previous one - I also have everything in the pantry & freezer
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: We're outta here and don't return until Sunday evening. I'm not sure if my mom and stepdad will still be here or not.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Farmer's Market Trip

Had a great haul at the Goochland Farmer's Market today. First off, I finally got up enough nerve to say hello to Amy from She Knits. She doesn't bite. :) I wish I knew some little ones so that I could buy some of her little knits to give them. They are so cute! At this point, no one I know is reproducing. Anyway, I had to get more eggs, since I'm trying a new (to me)Granola Bars recipe and since I'm doubling it, it will take 4 eggs, leaving me with two. So, first things first, I had to return an egg carton and get more. I did my normal sweep of the market to see what they had, and I saw lima beans. Yay! If it wasn't going to be in the 90's this week I'd make our favorite Mediterranean Lima Beans (From Veganomicon) but since it's baked in the oven for a bit, not a good choice. Anyway, I picked up a bag of already "shucked" lima beans (I know I can do it myself and there were others and even that vendor selling them them in the pod for cheaper - but I didn't want to deal with the shell and sometimes the shell makes me break out (yeah -the fuzzies make me break out on beans and peaches and some other veggies *sigh*). Anyway, I also found a vendor selling yard long beans - an asian green bean. So we're having Sczhuan beans at some point this week too. YUM! Probably this weekend with the Swimming Rama since I put it off last night and it doesn't matter to me if I mix Chinese and Thai. I bought 2 bags of green beans, one yellow one green. Wow, I guess it was a bean week for us. I bought a container of mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, and I had a few when I got. I'm not sure they will make it through the day, I keep popping one everytime I walk by the bowl. :) And then I also bought a Canary melon. I haven't cut into it yet, and I also haven't tried one of those before. So, it's not really a lot to actually make meals out of, but it's a start. :)

I don't want to go all out anyway, we're headed to NYC this weekend. For those of you planning on hitting up our house while we're gone - I've got some bad news for mom and stepdad are staying here and watching the animals for us. :P Mom is all excited because she can get my stepdad to take her out to the Italian Kitchen in Richmond (it's on W. Broad in the strip in front of Books-A-Million near Fuddruckers) she loves that place and is all excited about that since he's never been there. Silly mom. ;) I need to ask if she wants to go to the Farmer's Market and church while they are here so I can leave them directions. Anyway, she said not to leave them anything since they'll want to go out and they can buy what they need.