Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Baked Potatoes with Spicy Chili Bean Topping

From AMA Family Health Cookbook, p. 411


  • 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14 to 16 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup bottled or canned tomato sauce
  • 1 can (19 oz) pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups cooked beans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees.  Prick the potatoes in two or three places with a skewer or small knife.  Place the potatoes directly on the over rack and bake until soft in the center when pierced, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, preferably nonstick skillet, cook the pork over medium heat with the onion, green pepper, and garlic, stirring to break the meat into smaller pieces, until the pork is no longer pink and the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly and the flavors blend.  If the sauce is too thick, add up to 1/2 cup water as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make deep crisscross cuts in the top of each potato and gently squeeze to expose the flesh and make a cavity for the sauce.  Spoon the sauce into and over each potato and serve.


Vegetarian (no pork) option shown.

Some of the usual baked potato garnishes would give it a bit more body... butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon... (but I guess the pork might do that as well).

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Turkish Red Lentils and Rice

From AMA Family Health Cookbook p.302


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons sweet paprika (such as Hungarian paprika)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups white rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.  Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the broth and add the lentils, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are very tender and almost completely dissolved, about 30 minutes.  Adjust the liquid if necessary, adding more if needed to achieve the consistency of a very thick soup.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium-large saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and the rice.  Return to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Season the lentils with salt to taste.  To serve, spoon the lentils over the rice and sprinkle with the mint.  Serve the yogurt and lemon wedges in bowls for garnishing.


The garnishes (lemon, mint, yogurt) really make this dish kick.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vegan Moussaka

Got this recipe from here.


5 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (3 ½ lb.)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)
3 Tbs. dried oregano
2 15-oz. cans chopped tomatoes
⅔ cup green lentils
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium eggplants, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced


1. Cook potatoes and garlic in boiling salted water 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain, and reserve liquid. Mash with 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 cups cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and oregano, and sauté 5 minutes. Add [canned] tomatoes, lentils, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and 3 cups potato cooking liquid. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaf and cinnamon, and purée lentils in food processor until chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place eggplant slices on paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Rinse, and pat dry.

4. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat deep 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1 1/2 cups lentil mixture into bottom. Top with eggplant, followed by zucchini and [sliced] tomatoes. Spoon 2 cups lentil mixture over top. Spread half of potatoes over lentil mixture. Top with remaining eggplant, and lentil mixture. Spread remaining potatoes over top, making sure to cover completely. Bake 1 1/2 hours, or until top is browned.

  • Favor more potatoes and less eggplant
  • The way of preparing mashed potatoes here is strange... probably better to do it another way
  • No need to puree lentils
  • The end product is kind of crumbly
Not my favorite recipe (nor an exceptionally clear nor logical one).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Apple Cider

Found recipe here.

  • 8 cups fresh apple cider or apple juice 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 4 whole cloves 
  • 1 orange, cut into slices 
  • cinnamon sticks 
  • sweetened whipped cream 
  1. Heat the cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange slices in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot, stirring occasionally.
  2. Strain the cider into a heatproof pitcher or individual mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and whipped cream, if desired.

Could use a lot more spices... maybe double the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Black eyed peas

Got this recipe from here.

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cups dry black-eyed peas
  • 5 cups water, plus more, if needed
  • 2 15-ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 2 T. dark brown sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add the vegetable stock, black-eyed peas, water, tomatoes, tomato paste and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, adding more water as necessary, or until the peas are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Kind of bland; BEPs are not my favorite...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Split pea soup

Basically followed the recipe here.

  • 2 1/4 cups dried split peas
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham bone
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch dried marjoram
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 potato, diced

In a large stock pot, cover peas with 2 quarts cold water and soak overnight. If you need a faster method, simmer the peas gently for 2 minutes, and then soak for l hour.

Once peas are soaked, add ham bone, onion, salt, pepper and marjoram. Cover, bring to boil and then simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove bone; cut off meat, dice and return meat to soup. Add celery, carrots and potatoes. Cook slowly, uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.


The green sludge is very filling.  Ideally prepare peas overnight.

Thursday, October 17, 2013



Loosely followed the recipe here.

Basically, get some eggplants, squash, red/green peppers, etc. and sauté them with some spices.


The herbes de Provence (not listed in the above recipe) are the key spice

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fettuccine Bolognese


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 ounce prosciutto or smoked ham, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 small celery rib, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28 oz) peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine, or 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • cheese for topping
  • fettuccine (or whatever other pasta)


In a large saucepan, heat the oil and cook the turkey, prosciutto, onion, carrot, celery and garlic over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the turkey is white throughout and the vegetables are softened.  Drain off any accumulated fat.

Stir in the oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper flakes.  Add the canned tomatoes and the wine.  Bring to a simmer, then cook partially covered over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.  Use the back of a spoon to break up the tomato pieces.

Serve over cooked fettuccine.  (This sauce can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.)


Not sure if carrot and celery are really necessary; haven't seen those in other bolognese.  Was a little darker than I expected; maybe try a non-red-wine base next time to emulate other lighter bolognese I have had.  Maybe add more thyme.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Jalapeño peppers, Serrano peppers
  • (Tortilla chips to serve with)

(Duh) Combine everything.


The best way to mash avocados is probably to do it with a potato masher.  The avocado/other veggie ratio is pretty low (especially if using whole other veggies) so more avocados definitely don't hurt in that case.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Beef Chili

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teas. Chili powder
  • (optional garnishes) cheddar cheese, red onion, sour cream
  • Brown ground beef, drain beef fat.  
  • Remove from pan, and sauté onion in the pan.  
  • When onion is translucent, add all ingredients together and simmer for 1/2 hour or so.  
  • Add garnishes of cheddar cheese, red onion, sour cream to taste

A bit bland as is; much better with cheese.


This recipe is taken from the back of the Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme package.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1.5 sticks butter
  • 1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1.5 12 oz bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil in large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil 4 min or until 234 degrees F on candy thermometer, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
  • Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted.  Stir in nuts and vanilla.
  • Pour into pan and cool.

Evaporated milk cans seem to be way more than 5 oz.  Could probably use more walnuts.

Not vegan because of the egg whites in the marshmallow creme

Thursday, July 25, 2013

French Toast

Used this recipe 


  • 6 slices bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional for serving: maple syrup, butter, fresh fruit


(Duh) Mix all the non-bread ingredients up in a mixing bowl.  Then dip the bread slices into the mixture and cook both sides in a skillet.


Real maple syrup is better than the nasty imitation kind

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lentil Soup


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 pkg lentils (16 oz.), rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. rosemary, dried
  • Ham chunks, optional
  • Salt and; pepper, about 1 tsp. each
  • 10 cups water

  • Sauté vegetables until soft.  
  • Add water, salt and pepper. Bring to boil.  
  • Add lentils and rosemary and bring back to gentle boil.  
  • Lower heat after it comes to a boil, add ham, and cook about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  

Goes well with green salad and good bread!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spicy Chicken Soup

Makes 8 servings


8 cups water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon onion powder
5 cubes chicken bullion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (16 oz) jar chunky salsa
2 (14.5 oz) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed tomato soup
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (16 oz) cans chili beans, undrained
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
(tortilla chips to serve with)


In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, chicken, saly, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder and bouillon cubes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, or until chicken juices  run clear.  Remove chicken, reserve broth.  Shred chicken.

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly browned.  Stir in salsa, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato soup, chili powder, corn, chili beans, sour cream, shredded chicken and 5 cups broth.  Simmer 30 minutes


I might leave out the whole tomatoes if I made it again; they're difficult to eat and there's plenty of tomato in there already.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vanilla protein shake

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons cashews
Makes 1 serving

Monday, March 04, 2013

Vegan Blueberry Kale smoothie

  • Kale
  • Bananas
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumber
  • Ginger
  • Blueberries - fresh
  • Blueberries - frozen
  • Apple juice
  • Peanut butter

Basically followed the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU0ZWTmamKI


It's a smoothie, so... dump in as much of everything as you want.  If I were doing it again, I would probably go with a little less apple juice and a little more peanut butter.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

From here: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegancookierecipes/r/gingerbread.htm


  • 1 cup margarine (make sure it's vegan margarine!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


Beat together the vegan margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg replacer, molasses and vinegar and set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients. Combine with margarine mixture and stir until well mixed.
Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. This will help the mixture become firm.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Form mixture into 1/2 inch balls and flatten, or, roll out onto floured surface and cut into shapes using cookie cutters.
Place on cookie sheets and bake for 6-8 minutes until done.
Not sure why two bowls are suggested if the ingredients are going to be combined anyways... I just used one.
This recipe makes big, soft gingerbread cookies, not the thin, brittle gingerbread cookies of yore.  If the latter is desired, it might make sense to bust out a rolling pin and cookie cutter before putting the dough onto the cookie sheets... that also might leave you short of cookie sheet space, however.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spiced Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

From http://vegetarian.about.com/od/desertrecipes/r/oatcrancookies.htm


  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups quick cooking or rolled oatmeal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


Cream together the margarine and sugars until smooth. Add vanilla and soy milk and mix well.
Add flour, baking soda and spices until well mixed, then stir in oats and cranberries.
Spoon 1 1/2 inch balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until done.
Spices are very mild, might be a good idea to use some more next time.
Makes 2 cookie sheets worth.
Cooking time is a bit longer than 15 minutes; needed to be flipped to cook through and not burn -- maybe they should be spooned smaller next time.