Monday, June 30, 2008

Paula Deen would be proud as a peach

Recipe name: Bundled up peaches
Source: somewhere online
Servings: 10
Cookbook date: June 15
Date prepared: June 16

5 peaches
1 can biscuits (must contain 10 biscuits)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon

Peel peaches and cut in half. Roll out each biscuit and wrap one around each peach half. Pinch dough so peach is completely covered. Lay in buttered casserole dish. Boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Pour over biscuits. Dab butter on and around each peach. squeeze lemon over. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until biscuits are done.

I debated for a long time over whether or not to post this recipe. Since I won't have much to report on this week, though, I thought I might as well.

First, let me say that this dessert is incredibly yummy. If I died from heart disease and then went to heart disease heaven, these peach bundles would be waiting for me there. And I would eat them. I know that there are other desserts with more butter and sugar in them, but for the record, I used Grands biscuits, which are brimming with fatty goodness on their own. To slather them in a simple syrup and butter is out of control, folks.

The bundles came un-bundled in the oven, so if you decide to make these, spend extra time making sure that they are secure. When they came out of the oven looking ugly, I decided not to take a picture. I had already decided that I wasn't going to keep the recipe on account of how ridiculously fattening it would be.

And then I ate one. It was magical. Tim ate one, and he said that Paula Dean would be beaming with pride at us if she saw what we just made (I used to watch Paula Dean's show on Food Network but I stopped after realizing that I simply could not try her food without using 1-2 sticks of butter for everything she cooks).

So....maybe I'll keep the recipe on file, not as a part of our cookbook itself, but as something to turn to when I have an emergency situation and nothing but a peach bundle will improve the situation. You know it could happen!


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Creative cooking

Hi folks,

I'm not sure how many recipes I'll have to share this week. We are getting ready to visit a good friend out of state later this week, and in an effort to use up what we have already purchased (and in the process cut back on our grocery bill to give us more gas money) we are going to be eating some creative dishes this week. We'll be pulling stuff out of the freezer, the fridge and the cupboards and seeing what we can come up with. If we stumble upon greatness, I'll let you know. My guess, though, is that we will be doing good to come up with dishes that are edible at all. Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Moose's Kitchen

Inspired by this post on Shabby Cheap, I thought you all might like to see the kitchen where Tim and I make all these fabulous (and sometimes not so fabulous) recipes. I cleaned the kitchen this morning just so I could take the picture. It was NOT fun, but now I get to enjoy it and pretend that it always looks like this.

We bought this house last year, and one of the main reasons that we fell in love with the place was because of the kitchen. Most of the houses we were looking at were built in the '20s and '30s, and most of the kitchens were ROUGH. We're talking appliances from the 1970s, refrigerators in the room next to the kitchen due to a lack of space, nasty cabinets that had been painted over who knows how many times, etc. When we saw this kitchen, which was completely redone sometime between 2002 and 2005, we hit the floor. They say that kitchens and bathrooms sell a house, and that was true in our case.

We had been married for 5 years when we bought the house. We knew from experience that we fought the most in the kitchen because we have very different cooking styles, and because we always cooked in really cramped spaces. We totally play nice in this kitchen. Tim is typically the chef on duty by the stove, and I am the prep cook taking up residence at the island. We have our own space to do things just the way we like. Our kitchen fights have reduced by at least 75%, I'd say.

So now you've seen it! I'd love to see pictures of your cooking space, and hear what you love about it, and if anything, what you don't love.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

5 minutes in heaven

Recipe name: 5 minute creamsicle mousse
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: June 18
Date prepared: June 15

1 box orange gelatin
1 box white chocolate pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container cool whip

Mix gelatin with 1 cup boiling water. Dissolve gelatin completely and add 1 cup cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Using an electric beater, beat in pudding mix until well combined.
fold in cool whip.
chill and serve until set.

This stuff rocks, and you can totally make it (mostly) fat and sugar free! You can use fat free cool whip and sugar free gelatin. I couldn't find sugar free white chocolate pudding mix, so I'm not sure if they make that or not.

The mix needs about 3 hours before it is ready to eat. You will eat 2/3 of it before you even look up from the bowl, I promise.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Taco, Burrito, What's Coming Out of Your Speedo?

Recipe name: Larry's Black Bean Tacos
Source: Recipezaar (and of course, Larry)
Cookbook date: June 28
Date prepared: June 23


  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 lb ground beef (turkey for us)
  • 1 package soft tortilla


  1. Brown ground beef with taco seasoning.
  2. Add stewed tomatoes and black beans.
  3. Simmer for 5-10, until black beans heated through.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips or make soft tacos using soft tortillas.
Larry, this post is dedicated to you and yours. We don't know you, but we like you.

Our substitutions were as follows: We used ground turkey. We also used large tortillas so that these turned into burritos rather than tacos. Oh, also, we started out with dried beans rather than canned beans. If you don't know us well, I should tell you that Tim and I are pretty serious about saving money on food. We go cheap or we go home! So canned beans was simply not thrifty enough for us. Because we used canned beans this took a lot longer than it otherwise would have, which accounts for this dish not scoring well in the "time" department.

The dish was really simple to put together, but Larry, you made one crucial mistake; you left out the cheese! We added a small amount to ours, and that was a great decision on our parts (one of only a few great decisions we managed to make today!).

So make this dish, eat it, love it, take it to work the next day, and make your co-workers jealous Spartan Cheerleader-style (I wish I could post this skit, but it looks like Saturday Night Live has their skits on lock-down...nothing to be found on YouTube!).


Monday, June 23, 2008

Salmon with Mango-Grape Salsa

Recipe name: Salmon with mango-grape salsa
Source: Weight Watchers (I think)
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: June 17
Date prepared: June 19

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 cup halved red and green seedless grapes
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (1/4 tsp dried)
1 tbsp drained canned jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 pound salmon fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces

To prepare salsa, in a large bowl combine mango, grapes, onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper; refrigerate, covered, until flavors are blended, 1/2 to 1 hours.
Preheat grill or broiler; cook salmon, turning once, until fish flakes. Serve topped with an equal amount of salsa.

Tiffany and I both enjoyed this dish. The salmon was dry but that is my fault. I didn't defrost the salmon completely. As a result I had to cook it longer, drying it out in the process. While the salmon was dry the salsa helped to cover up the dryness and the salsa went very well with the salmon. I think if you have a room temp fillet and grilled it rather than broiling you will have better luck than I did. This is a keeper but we will probably only cook it once a year.

value: *
time: ***
taste: ***

Friday, June 20, 2008

Easy Crepes

Recipe name: Easy Crepes
Source: unknown
Servings: 12
Cookbook date: June 16
Date prepared: June 16

1 cup cold water
1 cup cold milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbsp butter, melted

Put ingredients into a blender in order listed above. Whirl for 1 minute, thats what it says, whirl. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and whirl another minute. Refrigerate batter at least 2 hours. Heat griddle pan over med-high heat until very hot. Pour in roughly 1/4 cup of batter. Spread with a spoon or spatula. Turn when bottom is slightly browned. Cook 30 seconds on each side. Fill with chocolate, whipped cream or fresh fruit.

Tim here. I made one change to the recipe, I used whole wheat flour. We are trying to eat healthier here at the House of M and using whole grains has been part of that switch. It took a little time to adjust but now we are pretty much used to it. That being said there are still some things that are just much better with regular flour. I think these might fit into that family as well.

The recipe was super easy to and quick to make, if you don't consider the chilling time. Which I didn't, so I ended up putting it in the freezer for half and hour. I decided that a half hour of hard core chilling would be roughly equal to 2 hours in the fridge. All in all I think this recipe is a winner. Quick, check! Cheap, check! Tasty, check! You know how the first pancake is usually messed up, well apparently the same is true for crepes. One look at the crepe below from Tiffany and I knew it would be me eating it.

value: ****
time: ***
taste: ***

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mexican Beef and Bean Casserole

Recipe name: Mexican beef and bean casserole
Source: no idea
Servings: 4-6, depending on appetites
Cookbook date: June 18
Date prepared: June 15

1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
2 cans pinto beans
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

Heat oven to 375
Cook beef over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until brown. Drain. Rinse and drain beans. Mix the beef, beans, sauce, salsa and chili powder in an ungreased baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes. Stir. Bake another 20 minutes. Uncover. Add the cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.

My post must begin with an apology. I TOTALLY forgot to take a picture of this casserole. But I'm sure you can imagine this....think ground meat, sauce, lots of beans, topped with cheese. Yup, what you are imagining is pretty much what this meal looks like.

Overall, this dish was very tasty and actually easier than the instructions would have you believe. The shortcut that worked for us was to add the sauce, salsa, beans and chili powder to the cooked beef (turkey for us) and let it get hot in the pan, which took maybe 3 or 4 minutes instead of 20 in the oven. Then follow the rest of the directions. Serve this with tortilla chips for scooping.
Oh, our head chef Tim has one more important note: 1 cup of cheese is ridiculous. You definitely need to double that, and don't apologize for doing it!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Shrimp Scampi

Recipe name: Shrimp Scampi
Source: no idea
Servings: 3
Cookbook date: June 12
Date prepared: June 11

3/4 lb uncooked, peeled, cleaned medium shrimp
1 medium green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 oz uncooked fettucine
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp parsley flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
grated parm, to taste

Cook fettucine as directed. Rinse shrimp with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove tails. Heat oil in a skillet for 1 minute. Add shrimp, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, lemon juice and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Do not overcook, or shrimp will toughen. Remove from heat. Toss in noodles. Sprinkle with cheese.

This dish came together surprisingly quickly! If you time everything out well (get the water boiling fast, and then cook the pasta while you work your mojo on the shrimp) you will get this on the table in under 15 minutes.

I added more lemon juice than it called for, pretty much by accident, but I'm glad I did. The lemon-y taste was super yummy and made it taste very fresh, despite the fact that I used frozen shrimp (work with what you've got, right?).

While you can always adjust this recipe to make more than 3 servings, I wouldn't recommend that you make this dish with the hopes of having leftovers, as the quality diminishes by the next day. Definitely give this a try the next time you crave a bit of seafood but don't want to spend the gas money it takes to get to Red Lobster.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Huevos Rancheros

Recipe name: Huevos Rancheros
Source: no idea
Servings: 2
Cookbook date: June 10
Date prepared: June 9

4 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tortillas
1 cup monterey jack cheese
salsa, to taste.
scramble eggs. add some cheese. meanwhile, heat tortillas on skillet with a dab of oil. add egg mix to each tortilla, add more cheese. add a small amount of salsa. top with another tortilla.

What can I say about this dish? It is a culinary trifecta, in my opinion (cheap, fast, and good). You need to be in the mood to basically eat some jazzed up scrambled eggs for dinner, but if you are, you will find your perfect dish right here. The only drawback to making this dish on a weeknight is that you don't have any leftovers to take to work the next day.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chicken Burritos

Recipe name: Chicken burritosSource: somewhere online
Servings: 8
Cookbook date: June 13
Date prepared:

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 undrained 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice
1 14.5 oz can water
1 medium chopped onion
1 8 oz bag black beans and rice
8 large flour tortillas

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. place chicken in slow cooker. pour undrained can of tomatoes over chicken. In a small bowl, combine taco seasoning, cumin, lime juice, water, and onion; pour into slow cooker. cover and cook on low 7 hours (or high 3 1/2). remove chicken and shred with fork. lace chicken back into c rockpot and mix in bag of black beans and rice. cover and cook another hour, until rice is tender. serve in tortillas with cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired.

I love when I find a crockpot recipe that actually works. This one does, I'm happy to report. I made this on my day off, though, which in some ways is counter intuitive. Isn't the point of a crockpot to make dinner for you while you are gone (generally to work?). The problem is that I'm at work for more than 7 hours, which is typically the upper limit of how long a dish can simmer in a crockpot before it starts to burn.
Anyway, the main thing I did for this recipe was cut back on the amount of chicken it called for. I didn't see a reason to have burritos that were so intense with the amount of chicken. I mean, they are burritos...the genius of which is in the amount of rice and beans you can add to help out your budget!
My can opener totally broke while I was trying to open my can of tomatoes. You don't want to know what words were spoken in my kitchen while I wrestled with the can, but I did take a picture to show you the aftermath. I won, but just barely.

We are headed to Target after I finish this post to find a new one.
This dish made a lot of servings, as promised, and Tim and I are currently enjoying them as tasty lunches at work. We give this dish two thumbs up and will definitely make it again.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Garlic Chicken Pizza

Recipe name: Garlic Chicken Pizza
Source: Cooking Light Magazine
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: May 26
Date prepared: June 7

2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
4 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Prepared Pizza Crusts
1 1/2 cups Cooked Chicken Breasts
1 cups Plum Tomatoes
1 cup Mushrooms
3/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 Feta Cheese
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Green Onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first three ingredients. Place crust on backing sheet or pizza stone; brush vinegar mixture over crust. Top with chicken, tomato and mushrooms; sprinkle with cheeses and green onions. Bake for 15 mins or until the cheese melts.

Tim here. Ok first with the substitutes. As noted previously, neither of us like mushrooms so they were cut out of the recipe. I didn't have any plum tomatoes so I had to used canned diced tomatoes. I think the plum tomatoes would have been a little bit sweeter and acidic which would have added more flavor to the dish. Other than that the recipe was kept pretty much the same.

We are a house divided over this dish. I didn't really care for the dish but Tiffany really liked it. You may be asking yourself, "What's not to like? It's pizza, one of my favorite foods, uses tons of cheese and is both simple and fresh." For me it all boils down to one thing, the red wine vinegar. This has been a long time coming and god knows I've tried. For the past six years I've tried recipes with red wine vinegar and dismissed my dislike. "It was the onions I didn't like, not the vinegar." "Its not really that bad, you can hardly taste the red wine vinegar." Well no more.

I don't like red wine vinegar.

There, I said it. There isn't a redeeming thing about it. I don't like the vinegar taste. I don't like the acidic red wine taste and I especially don't like those two things together. That being said, if you like the stuff you may actually enjoy the dish. What do you think Tiffany?

Tim, you are out of your mind. This dish is a tasty treat for weary travelers coming back home from Meadville, PA, land of really crappy food (no offense intended, Allegheny College, but your campus dining is truly awful). After having 4 days of bland, bleached, frozen and canned institutional junk this pizza was divine, vinegar and all. If you don't mind the taste of red wine vinegar, please give this a try and let me know what you think. I suppose it is possible that my taste buds were so desperate for some flavor that they were too quick to offer up their praises, but I don't think that's the case. Try it,'ll like it.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Iced Green Apple Tea

Recipe name: Iced Green Apple Tea
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: June 1
Date prepared: June 1

4 bags green tea
4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
2 cups apple juice, chilled

  1. Place the tea bags in a pitcher and cover with the boiling water; allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Discard used tea bags.
  3. Stir in the honey (if using), until dissolved.
  4. Add apple juice
  5. Chill tea and serve over ice.
I was inspired to seek out a green tea recipe that I could stomach in light of a recent blog article by someone (I can't remember who....BAD blogger!) on the health benefits of green tea. I think green tea tastes like really gross water. I also don't typically like hot beverages (I will take my coffee iced on the coldest day in January, thank you very much). So I searched for and found this iced green tea recipe. It is simple to make and tastes ok. I still think it is really weak, but I can convince myself to drink this. I also like the slight tartness that the apple juice adds. All in all, this is a nice drink to have in your fridge for those first hot days of summer.

value: ****

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chicken Hero

Recipe name: Chicken Hero
Source: no idea
Servings: 2
Cookbook date: June 7
Date prepared: June 2

1/4 cup Mayo
2 green onions thinly Sliced
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
3 drops Tabasco sauce
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 loaf french bread
1/2 cup chopped tomato

In a large bowl combine mayo, onion,s mustard, salt, and sauces. Stir in chicken and half of cheese.

Split french loaf in half, lengthwise. Trim any uneven crust from the bottom so the loaves rest evenly. Place bread, face up, on baking sheet. Mix tomato into the chicken mixture. Spread evenly over loaves and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Tim here. In true form to this blog I tweaked this recipe a little. I didn't grow up eating common everyday condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayo. As a result I don't really have a taste for them in my adulthood. Ok, I hate them and have a hard time eating anything where I can taste any of the big three mentioned above. As a result I had to get creative and split the recipe in two, one with condiments and one without.

I thought the recipe worked just fine without the condiments, maybe a little dry, but hey thats how I roll so it didn't bother me. I tried some of Tiffany's and it was not as dry but I could definitely taste the mayo. The only other thing I changed was that I added more hot sauce to my serving because I tend to like spicier dishes than Tiffany and since we were already separating them I thought why not. Overall we both liked this recipe. It was very simple and quick to make, tasty and pretty cheap. Definitely a keeper, I'll probably try some variation of the recipe with the other half of the loaf of bread while Tiffany is away at a conference the rest of the week.

time: ***
taste: ***

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Summer Salad

Recipe name: Green and Red Salad
Source: no idea
Servings: 4-6
Cookbook date: June 4
Date prepared: June 1

Mixed greens or spinach
2 green onions, chopped
1 medium red apple, diced
1 cup fresh raspberries or strawberries
raspberry vinaigrette dressing

In a bowl, toss salad greens, onions, and fruit. Drizzle with dressing, toss and serve immediately.

This was a great choice for us as we faced our first dinner at home after eating out and at the tables of others for a full week. It was super simple and required no cooking, just some chopping. Also, this was a feel good dish. I was eating vegetables and fruits, and for a brief moment I convinced myself that this is how I always eat. The only downside is that this can be sort of tough to fill up on, but if you add some pine nuts and some goat cheese, and maybe some raisins it would be more filling. Otherwise, I would recommend this as a starter or side dish.

expense: ***
taste: ***