Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hearty Fish Chowder

Finally, I have something to cook! I seriously spent all of $5 on this recipe, so as long as you have a few staple foods at home you can make it just as easily as I did. It just takes about 45 minutes overall to put together and cook. Sorry I haven't added anything until now; I've been surviving on dishes that I've already blogged about. This idea came to me after I bought a package of Tilapia at a regular (not even Super) Wal-Mart, as a last-ditch effort at eating something healthy before I could afford to go buy groceries this week.


3 frozen or thawed Tilapia fillets
5 red potatoes, washed and cubed
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup frozen corn (you can add more if you like, this is just what I used in this particular recipe)
1 can Cream of Celery soup
1 Tbsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp basil

Put all the chopped vegetables (potato, onion, garlic and carrots) into a large pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are almost fork-tender.

Add all other ingredients, covering the pot with the lid tipped to let out a little steam. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes, until fish is cooked and soup is well-mixed into the broth. The fish will break apart and distribute itself nicely into the soup, as long as you mix it well a couple of times as it's cooking.

This is my bowl of hot fish soup served with a buttered slice of my artisan bread. Yum! I estimate this batch of soup will make about 8 servings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pound Cake

I got this recipe out of a really old copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Here it is for your taste-testing pleasure! I'm bringing it to a party tonight, which I'll only be at for an hour or so as I'll have the baby with me.


3/4 cup butter (room temp or warm)
zest of one medium-sized lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

I used my big red KitchenAid mixer for this, but you can get the same results just as easily with a hand mixer and a big bowl. Cream the butter and peel together. Gradually add sugar, creaming til light and well-mixed.

Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Sift together dry ingredients (I always sift over a piece of waxed paper; makes it easier to dump the whole thing into the bowl later) and stir them into the mix.

Grease the bottom of a 9x5x3-inch pan and add batter.

Bake at 350 F for 50-55 minutes. Yum!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

So I bought a package of mushrooms, thinking I'd do something with them...put them in a sauce, make them a side dish, whatever. My husband hates them so it was a perfect idea for me to eat them alone while he's gone. I could only find one recipe for stuffed mushrooms in my cookbook and it didn't look very appetizing, so I decided to wing it. I put the baby on a blanket on the floor with a few toys for tummy time and set off to make up my own recipe for stuffed mushrooms with what I had in my cupboards.


1 pack of white mushrooms
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp parsley flakes
dash of black pepper and sea salt
1 cheese stick (or about 1/4 cup mozzarella)

Use a knife to carefully loosen the stems from the mushroom heads and pull them out, making the heads into little cups.

Drop 1/2 the butter into a frying pan on low heat and add the onions and garlic. Chop up the mushroom stems as small as you can get, then add to the mix in the frying pan, cooking all for about 8 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, and parsley near the end of cook time.

In a separate bowl, melt the remaining butter in the microwave. Add the bread crumbs.

Add the food from the frying pan to the bread crumb/butter bowl and mix all together well. You will end up with leftovers of this mixture, which tastes pretty good on toast. Use a spoon to stuff this mixture into the mushroom heads.

Grease a large cookie sheet and place the stuffed mushrooms on it in rows. Slice the cheese stick into thin rounds and place atop each stuffed mushroom. CAREFULLY load the pan into the oven and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Enjoy as a side dish, snack, or lunch item.

Super Easy Lemon Pepper Fish

I'm a little embarrassed to actually be blogging this recipe, but I feel bad for not posting anything lately. I've been living off leftovers, freezer food, and cucumber sandwiches all week. This "recipe" only takes a couple minutes to throw together, and can be modified for as many fish fillets as you have available. I just bought a big pack of frozen Tilapia fillets and thawed them in the fridge as needed.


Tilapia or other white fish fillets
olive oil
lemon pepper

Spray olive oil all over a baking sheet/cookie pan, and set the fillets on top. This works best if the fish pieces have been thawed in your fridge over night. Spray olive oil over the top of the fillets to coat lightly, then sprinkle generously with lemon pepper. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Serves however many people you have fish fillets for.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fancy Cucumber Mint Sandwiches

I actually had a tea party today. No fooling, with china and everything. I made these for the friends that came over with mint from my garden. I got the recipe from The Paupered Chef. We had these with my artisan bread and a very good loose-leaf Earl Grey tea.

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter ( I ended up using salted regular butter and they tasted fine)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
6 slices of bread (more if it's a small artisan loaf)
3-inch length of cucumber
dash of ground black pepper

Pick off some mint leaves from your garden and rinse them all by hand, shaking them dry. Dice with a knife or use scissors to chop them finely into a bowl. Add the cream cheese, butter, and pepper and mix well, making an herb-paste. Spread this on either side of slices of bread and place cucumbers between to make sandwiches, slicing the results into triangles. Very tasty! Serve with cups of your favorite English tea.

Easy Pan-Fried Porkchops

Yesterday my aunt and uncle were visiting, my uncle fixing various things in my home, so I decided to cook them dinner as thanks. This also meant it was very easy to do because my aunt was watching the baby, but this recipe would have been a snap even if she wasn't here.


2-4 bone-in 1/2-inch thick pork chops
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Put olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and add the pork chops. sprinkle half the seasonings on the raw side that's up, then turn over and sprinkle the other half (of all seasonings) on the partially browned side.

Cook 10-15 minutes, flipping over occasionally so chops brown evenly on both sides. Serve with mashed potatoes or crescent rolls and peas.
Serves as may people as you have pork chops for.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuna Noodle Salad

This is kind of a shortened version of this salad that I usually make for lunches, as I didn't have a cucumber or tomato or celery....things I normally put into it. I wasn't even going to blog it, but I figured what the hell. The baby entertained herself watching me, as this only takes about ten minutes to make.


1 box of either elbow noodles or multi-colored spiral noodles
2 cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
3-4 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp dry parsley or 2 Tbsp fresh
pinch of dried basil

Cook the pasta for 8-9 minutes in boiling water. While that is cooking, combine the other ingredients in a large bowl (preferably one that can be covered easily). When pasta is cooked, drain it and run cold water over it til it's cooled down, then add the pasta to the bowl of other ingredients. Mix all well with a large spoon and refrigerate an hour til all is cold. Eat and enjoy! Feeds 8. Feel free to add other vegetables like I suggested above.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meal's Meatloaf

My nickname is "Meal", and the recipe card I have for this, written years ago, actually says "Meal's Meatloaf," though I'm pretty sure I dug it out of an old cookbook somewhere. The baby was able to play with her new toy cell phone in her high chair while I put this together. This doesn't take very long to prepare and is about as cheap as the ground beef to make it, so for less than $5 you have meatloaf. You might want to let the meat sit on the counter about 20 minutes or so to warm up though, since you'll be mixing with your hands and it really sucks to mix cold meat.


1 1/2-2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley, or 1 Tbsp dried
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup ketchup

Combine eggs and milk in large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, (onion), parsley, salt, sage, and pepper til all is mixed well.

Add ground beef. Mix well with your hands. Put in a greased glass loaf pan, pushing the meat down into the sides of the baking dish so there are crevices and it rises up toward the middle.

Bake at 350F for 60 minutes.
Drain fat with a spoon.

Mix ingredients for sauce and spread over top of meat loaf.

Bake 10 more minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables. This tastes great! Serves 6.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Easy, Quick Cucumber Sandwiches for Tea Time

I watched The Importance of Being Earnest the other night, and it got me back into the English mood. I have phases like that, mostly when going to Renaissance Faires, but also often when watching a Jane Austen or other period English movie. Thankfully, this recipe takes all of five minutes to put together, and the baby was well able to entertain herself with her toys for that time. Try making these with a cup of Lady Grey tea. And of course, you can make as many as you want; I only made four cut finger sandwiches.


a few thin slices of Artisan Bread
8-12 slices of cucumber
a few dashes of ground black pepper

Butter the insides of the slices of bread, then layer cucumber slices inside, as high as you want your crunch to go (I had four slices on each side of the bread halves so I could cut them down the middle). Sprinkle a little black pepper on top of the cucumbers, then top with the opposite side of bread, butter side down. Cut each sandwich in half, or into finger-sandwich sizes. Make as many as you want! And serve with cups of English tea. Very tasty for something so simple, and I'm told these are actually authentic.

Black Bean Soup

It isn't easy doing the single-parent thing, even if it is only for a few months. I managed to keep the baby entertained via the flashing-light toy on the tray for her highchair. Thankfully, this recipe takes 30 minutes (at the most) to make.


3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 14.5 oz. cans black beans
1 regular-sized can of vegetable broth
salt & pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried or 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped), divided
6 oz. tub of light sour cream

Saute onion in olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot.

When onion is translucent, add the cumin. Cook 30 seconds, then add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add 1 can of beans, drained and rinsed, 1/2 tsp cilantro, and the can of vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Once simmering, turn off heat and put into a blender (in small batches, transferring to a temporary bowl if need be) until all is blended. Return to the soup pot and add the second can of beans, straight from the can, along with a few shakes of salt and pepper and a little more of the cilantro. Heat on medium until just simmering.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little cilantro as a garnish. Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Easy No-Cook Faux Taco Salad

So, after about 4 hours of not napping and screaming whenever I put her down, the baby FINALLY took a nap on my lap while I sat on the couch reading a book. After this stressful day, I didn't want to cook anything fancy or spend very long making dinner, so I made the fastest thing I could just for myself. This recipe serves two, so I can have it again for lunch tomorrow, and give the baby whatever avocado is left over.


1 can of black beans
1/2 jar (or 1 cup) mild salsa
1 bag of mixed salad greens, or the same amount of chopped dark leaf lettuce
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp chopped avocado
(I threw in half a chopped cucumber because it was sitting in my fridge and that tasted great with everything else as well)

Drain and rinse out the beans in a colander. Mix them in a small bowl with the salsa.

Fill a salad bowl with the greens (and cucumber if you want it), then top with the bean-salsa mixture. Sprinkle some cheese and avocado on top of that, and you're done. This tastes great, and is really cheap to make.