I wish I could say that the recipe for frozen lemonade pie was my brilliant idea, but alas… it is not. It seems to be everywhere these days. I was having my parents down for a lunchtime visit today, and with the hot and humid weather, this pie seemed like the perfect way to end a meal of burgers, chips, and oriental cole slaw. It’s just too easy to make and chances are you have everything in your pantry!
Frozen Lemonade Pie
1 container of frozen lemonade concentrate
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 regular-sized tub of whipped topping
1 Keebler pie crust (such as graham cracker)
In a large bowl, mix the lemonade concentrate and condensed milk. Carefully fold in the whipped topping, being careful not to overstir. Fill the pie crust with the filling, being careful not to overfill (like I did). Stick in your freezer for at least 6 hours before serving. If you have extra filling, place it in a container and stick in in the freezer. It is just as delicious on its own, without the crust!
Of course, don’t limit yourself to lemonade. Limeade and orange juice concentrate would also be yummy. And do they have grapefruit juice concentrate? Because I used to looove Tastefully Simple’s Grapefruit Cheese Ball mix; I think the tart flavor would translate well to this pie. And if I ever see Five Alive again? You bet I’m going to make a pie out of it!
If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s Indian buffet night at my favorite local Indian restaurant. And until my children learn to appreciate the cuisine (or I find a babysitter), I’m left with little choice other than to learn to make it on my own. Sure, I could order take-out but it’s great to have a handful of easy Indian recipes I can go to at a moment’s notice. Last week Dara made a slow cooker chicken vindaloo that sounded delicious and I thought I’d give it a try.
The recipe can be found at Chaos in My Kitchen and as Dara said, it is very quick to throw together. I stayed true to the recipe with two exceptions: I cut the salt back to 1 tsp. and I omitted the green beans. Drew loved it and I enjoyed it as well, though I would have preferred a little more heat. In the future I’d probably dice a chili pepper, too. It’s probably not authentic but I think that would add the flavor that seem “missing” for me.
We both really enjoyed the consistency of the sauce and I think it’s because I used crushed tomatoes rather than sauce or freshly chopped tomatoes. It was thick and yummy over rice. This recipe is a keeper!
Wow, it’s really been a long time since I posted any recipes! Trust me, I’ve been cooking. I just haven’t been great about documenting everything. Well, there’s no time like the present to remedy that, right? Right! I wanted to share a recipe I threw together on Good Friday. Now, crab cakes are one of th ose things I just can’t be bothered to make. Both Shop Rite and Hannaford have great seafood sections in the store and offer store-made crab cakes for as little as $1.25 each. When you take into consideration the cost of the ingredients and the time putting them together, for me this is a no-brainer.
It was just Drew and I for dinner that night (the boys were at my parents’ already) and I wanted something quick and easy. Along with the crab cakes I made a package of saffron rice and warmed up a stir-fry vegetable mix of broccoli, corn, and red peppers. I mixed the rice and vegetables together and served the crab cakes over them. But what made the dish so good was the sauce. I can’t wait to make it again!
Spicy Jalapeño Ranch Sauce
1 jalapeño pepper (seeded if you don’t like the heat)
1 handful of cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup ranch dressing
Combine first three ingredients in your food processor and pulse until pepper is chopped. Scrape down the sides and add the ranch dressing (add more or less if you want, this measurement is a guesstimate) and process until the sauce is smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Serve with crab cakes.
Yield: 2-3 servings
We opened up the bottle of Magnolia from Duplin Winery that we bought last summer in N. Carolina. It was a very sweet wine and kind of mead-y. It’s not something I’d rush to have again because of my preference for drier whites, but if you like your vino on the sweet side, I bet this would be up your alley.
Yesterday morning my four-year-old ran into the kitchen with a back issue of High Five Magazine in hand (basically, a Highlights for pre-schoolers). He was insistant that we make this recipe for “apple pies with frosting!” I looked over the four-step cartoon panel of instructions and thought it was something we could do. The only ingredient we didn’t have was apple pie filling, but I would rather use fresh apples anyway. And there wasn’t any information on what temperature to cook them, but I could wing it. The cooking activity did not happen yesterday (we postponed it for a game of Candy Land), so after lunch today we got to it. Please excuse my highly arbitrary measurements; I figured this was something you could gauge for yourself.
2 flour tortillas
1 apple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp. sugar
pinch of cinnamon
drop of vanilla
pinch of flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
a few drops of water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together the apple pieces, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. Then mix in a pinch of flour (this will help bind everything together so it’s not too runny). Divide the apple mixture between two tortillas and roll them up burrito-style. Place them on a baking sheet with the folded side down and bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. (Check them every five minutes because flour tortillas will burn quickly. At least they do for me.) Meanwhile, mix together the powdered sugar and a few drops of water (it does not take much) to make the “frosting.” When the handpies have finished baking, drizzle the frosting over the top.
I added a little too much cinnamon to the pies we made, but there’s lots of potential here. It reminded me of a McDonald’s apple pie (including the burning hot filling, so beware). I think these are great when you need a little pie fix but don’t want a giant plate of sweets in the house. I also think they’d freeze incredibly well so you could pop one into the oven whenever the feeling hits you.
The first time I had kheer was at Basera Indian Bistro in New York City. I wasn’t sure what it was and hadn’t intended to try the white, soupy dessert until my husband told me it tasted like coconut. I love coconut so I ran over to the buffet to get a cup and I was sold. I’ve not been able to duplicate that initial bliss, but through trial and error I’ve come up with a recipe that works for me. Kheer, unlike other rice puddings, is not thick and goopy. My version is not quite as soupy as restaurant versions, so if you like it that way please add a little extra milk. I prefer it cold, but it’s good warm as well. I make no claim that this version is authentic; only tasty.
Coconut Rice Pudding (Kheer)
14 oz. can of coconut milk
14 oz. milk (just fill up the empty coconut can to measure)
3 to 4 Tbsp. white sugar (depending on your preference for sweetness)
1/2 cup rice (Basamati is preferred, but I’ve used regular long grain rice with much success)
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder *
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup shredded coconut
In a large saucepan, bring the coconut milk, milk, and sugar to a boil. Add the rice and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has slightly reduced and the rice is tender. Add the cardamom, raisins, and coconut and cook for approximately 5 more minutes. You may serve this pudding warm, or chill it in the refrigerator and eat it cold. Garnish with sliced almonds.
* If you don’t have cardamom in your spice cabinet, you may substitute a combination of 1/8 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp. allspice. While the taste will not be exactly the same, it works for this recipe.
I love hot and sour soup. Love. It. Unfortunately the nearest Chinese restaurant doesn’t have very good hot and sour soup. It’s super gelatinous to the point of nearing Jell-O consistency. My favorite place for hot and sour soup around here is the Mid-Hudson Buffet in Kingston, NY. It’s perfect every single time, but let’s face it — it’s not practical (or healthy) to head to the Chinese buffet every time I have a craving for this soup. It was time to learn to make it on my own. I looked over several recipes and figured out a recipe that would work for me. It couldn’t contain any of the slimy mushrooms I dislike, it could not be too gelatinous, and it had to be easy. Now, I’ve never had good luck with Chinese cooking at home. Everything turns out kind of ho-hum at best. Luckily, this soup proved to be the exception.
Hot & Sour Soup
4 cups of chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 cups of water
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (I used a 3.5 oz. package)
2 cups of white mushrooms, thinly sliced (or other mushroom of your choosing)
4 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Wondra
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 package extra-firm tofu, well-drained and sliced into small rectangles or squares (I like a mix of both)
2 Tbsp. fresh finely grated ginger
In a large stock pot, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, crushed red pepper, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add all of the mushrooms and simmer for about 10 minutes. Next, whisk together 3 Tbsp. of rice wine vinegar and the Wondra. (I like to use Wondra because it adds just a bit of creamy mouthfeel to the soup, but it doesn’t do the gelatin thing that I dislike.) Add the slurry to the pot and stir for one minute.
Next, add the egg to the soup through a slotted spoon and immediately stir. This will create pretty egg ribbons throughout the soup. Finally, stir in the tofu and remove the soup from the heat. Cover the pot and let it stand for a couple minutes.
Put the grated ginger in a small sieve, and squeeze the juice into soup. Add the remaining Tbsp. of vinegar. Serve with scallions. For a little extra heat, add a few drops of Sriracha!
Drew and I both ate two bowls of this for lunch. I could have eaten a third, but I held back. I also want to see how it holds up overnight. This is a great change from regular old chicken soup and one that I’ll make again and again.
I’ve had a recipe for Indian-spiced chicken burgers bookmarked in my Great Food Fast cookbook since I bought it, shortly after it came out. A couple Saturdays ago I took inspiration from it and made my own version. The boys wouldn’t touch it so I made them plain chicken burgers and they were quite happy with them. (My seven-year-old did try a bite, to his credit, but didn’t care for them.)
Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers
First, make the cumin yogurt sauce so the flavors have time to come together. You’ll need:
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
handful of chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Combine the first three ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Set aside.
Next, gather your ingredients for the burgers:
1 package of ground chicken breast (approx. 1 lb.)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper
chopped onions and tomato
Cumin yogurt sauce
If you’re cooking these burgers outdoors, pre-heat your grill to medium-high. I just cooked mine on the Foreman Grill (yes, I still have one!) and it worked out just fine. Now, combine the ground chicken, scallions, jalapenos, ginger, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir everything together really well then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Gently form burger patties. I made mine more oblong in shape to better fit inside the pitas. Season the patties with a little salt and pepper if you desire and then grill until the ground chicken is opaque throughout the burger. That should take about 3-4 minutes per side. I grilled mine on the Foreman for about 8-10 minutes total.
Cut four pitas in half and warm them either on the top rack of your grill or in a toaster oven. Don’t overheat them or else they’ll get too crispy. Place two patties in each pita half along with diced onion and tomato. Add a healthy dollop of the cumin yogurt sauce and serve.
While these were very tasty, they didn’t have the curry flavor I’d imagined. Instead they had the flavor and texture of falafels. They were still really good and we went back for seconds. I’m going to come back to these and see if I can tweak the flavor further. I might use ground turkey next time. It doesn’t dry out as much as the chicken, and the extra bit of fat holds flavors better I think. Still, a good lunch.
I’ve been making the same mac & cheese recipe for about seven years now. I originally found it in an issue of Everyday Food magazine, but over the years I’ve tweaked it just a bit to stretch it further and make it just a tad healthier (though admittedly, not much). My seven-year old had four helpings of this the other night. Four. My four-year-old had to be coerced even though it contains everything he likes: pasta, cream cheese, and cheddar. For this recipe I prefer to use small shells instead of elbow macaroni. I like the way the sauce gets into the opening of the shell pasta.
Gather your ingredients:
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 C. breadcrumbs
1 1/4 C. low-fat milk (I use 1%; I have not tested this with skim)
8 oz. (one package) neufchâtel cheese
2 cups grated white cheddar
8 oz. uncooked shell pasta (about half a box)
1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Butter a 13 x 9 dish. In a small bowl, toss the melted butter with breadcrumbs. Set aside. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
In a large non-stick stock pot, bring milk to a boil over medium heat. (Keep your eye on it, or it will bubble over and make a big mess; trust me.) Reduce heat to med-low; add neufchatel cheese, cut into cubes. Stir until melted. Gradually add cheddar and stir slowly until it has melted
Add cooked pasta to the melted cheese.
Add salt and pepper and stir it all together. The mac & cheese is delicious like this if you prefer it extra-creamy, but if you want to bake it, pour it into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Because of my schedule during the day, I’ll often make it up to this point in the morning, put it in the fridge, then finish it in the oven later (just let it come to room temperature first).
When you’re ready, bake the mac & cheese in a 450 degree oven until it starts to bubble (about 10 minutes). Take it out of the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top, then bake it for an additional 10 minutes.
Typically I serve this as a main dish along with a salad that has been dressed with a vinaigrette, but naturally it makes a great side dish, too.
I’m not a big fan of pork chops or pork roasts, but this week Stop & Shop had center cut pork loin roasts on sale and for whatever reason I picked one up. I brought it home and then realized that I had to do something with this roast. I looked around for inspiration and decided to do something with rosemary, garlic, and white wine. The result was an incredibly flavorful roast (with a delicious gravy) that surprised both Drew and myself. Better yet — even the boys ate it! Noah took a little coaxing and I allowed him to dip it in ketchup, but he eventually ate his whole slice. I served it with rice, sweet & sour red cabbage and homemade applesauce. I will be making this again, without a doubt.
2-lb. center cut pork loin roast (not pork tenderloin)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. dry white wine
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add just enough olive oil to make a paste. Set aside. Place your pork in a roasting pan and cut three slits along the top. Season the roast with salt and pepper, then stuff a bit of the rosemary-garlic mixture into each of the slits. Spread the rest of the mixture over the top of the roast. Add the wine to the bottom of the baking dish.
Bake until the internal temperature of the roast is 160 degrees F (approx. 1.5 hours). Remove the roast to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil.
To make the gravy, pour the pan drippings into a sauce pan. Scrape any bits of tasty goodness that are stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan. Add one cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn to medium and sprinkle on some Wondra, whisking constantly to thicken. Add a little more Wondra (remembering to whisk, otherwise you’ll get clumps of flour) until the gravy is your desired thickness. Strain through a mesh sieve and then pour into a gravy separator (whatever it’s called) to separate the grease from the gravy. Serve and enjoy!
That’s right, I plan to start posting here again! I’m hoping for two to three posts per week as I try new recipes. I’d been including recipes in regular blog posts on my personal blog, but I think it might be nice to have everything organized for easy reference. We’ll see how it goes.