Archive for July, 2011


Serves 8-10


8 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

parmesan cheese (optional)

1 loaf french bread, sliced and toasted*

In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, and garlic.

Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

Serve on toasted bread slices. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.

*Here is how we toast the bread slices:

Brush the bread slices with olive oil.  Broil on low until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

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Brownie Pudding

This is a dessert that my mom grew up with. It definitely satisfies her chocolate cravings.

Serves 9-12


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 1/2 cups hot water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the first 5 ingredients.

Add the milk, oil, and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Stir in the nuts.

Pour the batter into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan.

Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

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Chili Garlic Beef with Asparagus and Cashews

An easy meal that tastes like something you would get at a Chinese restaurant.

Serves 6-8


For the sauce:

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce ( if you use regular, don’t add any salt)

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (you can add more if you want the dish to be spicier)

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the stir-fry:

4 teaspoons olive oil

2 pounds flank steak, cut into bite sized pieces or strips

2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

salt and pepper to taste

First, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients and set aside.

In a wok or large nonstick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add the flank steak and cook until slightly browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the meat and pour off the fat from the pan.

Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender.

Return the meat to the pan, add the sauce and toss to coat.

Stir in the nuts and cook until the meat is done, 2-3 minutes.

Serve over rice.

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Coconut Curry Lamb

If you like curry, you’ll LOVE this recipe that we got from my Aunt Luann.

Serves 8


3 pounds ground lamb

1 onion, chopped

2 (13.5 oz) cans coconut milk

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon spicy curry powder

8 oz spinach

First, brown the meat with the onion in a large saute pan or dutch oven.

If you look closely at this picture, you’ll see that we forgot to put the onion in (as usual).  If that happens you can always saute the onion separately, which is what we did.

Drain the lamb and onions and return it to the pan.

Add the coconut milk and both curry powders.

Bring to a low boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Place the spinach on top, cover, and simmer until the spinach is tender, 4-5 minutes.

Stir, then salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over basmati or white rice.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

These scones are bursting with lemon!

Makes 8 scones


2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

zest of 2 large lemons

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup milk or cream

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a food processor or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse crumble.

Stir in the milk and 1/4 cup lemon juice, stirring just until a dough forms.

There are 2 ways to do the next step:

1. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and form into an 8 inch round about 1 inch thick.

Cut into 8 wedges and place on a greased baking sheet. (Double Chocolate Scones)


2. Divide the dough among the 8 sections of a scone pan.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 10-12 minutes.

Transfer the scones to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together the 1 tablespoon lemon juice with the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones.

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Meal Plan #2

Here is our meal plan for this week:

Sunday: Hot dogs and S’mores

Monday: Spaghetti and a green salad

Tuesday: Coconut Curry Lamb

Wednesday: Chili Garlic Beef with Asparagus and Cashews (Chinese)

Thursday: Hamburgers

Friday: Steaks with grilled vegetables and pineapple.

Yesterday we went to the Farmer’s Market and found some spices.

I am going to make some desserts with the poppy seeds.

Meat Loaf

This is my favorite meal.

Serves 6-8


2 1/2 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped green pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked

2 tablespoons tomato puree or ketchup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon creole seasoning

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 egg whites

3 tablespoons milk

ketchup, tomato sauce, OR salsa

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together all of the ingredients except the ketchup.

Shape into 1 or 2 loaves and place in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Using the back of a wooden spoon or your finger, make three 1/8 inch slashes diagonally across the top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until it is no longer pink in the middle.

Drain off any juices.

Serve with ketchup, tomato sauce, or salsa.

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