Archive | January 2014

Southwestern Scramble

Another Parents magazine recipe here that my children had no interest in, but I did, so I fixed it anyway:


In case this is another one you can’t see without logging in to the site:

Southwestern Scramble


  •  1 – 15 ounce can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  •  1 avocado, chopped
  •  2 tablespoons  weekend-prepped salad dressing
  •  1/4 teaspoon  salt, plus more to taste
  •  Freshly ground pepper
  •  1 tablespoon  olive oil
  •  2 corn tortillas, sliced into thin strips
  •  6 eggs, beaten
  •  1/4 cup  chopped cilantro

Make It

1. In a medium bowl gently toss together the beans, avocado, salad dressing, and salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tortilla strips and fry until golden, turning once, about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan and scramble until set. Top eggs with fried tortilla strips and cilantro and serve with the bean salad.

If you can see the recipe at the Parents website, you’ll notice something about the picture.   It shows tomatoes.  There are tomatoes in the bean salad in that photo.  Do you see tomatoes listed in the ingredients?  In the instructions?  I didn’t either.  And I didn’t pay any attention to the picture when I made my grocery list, so I didn’t have tomatoes when I prepared the meal:  2014_0119January20140023  It was a good, light dinner.  But what was my husband’s comment?  “It would have been even better with tomatoes”.  You know what?  I think he’s right.


Old World Ham & Slaw Kaiser

The Kraft website is loaded with good recipes, but I also subscribe to their food & family magazine, which is where I saw this recipe that I chose to try out for lunch recently: 


Many a sandwich is prepared by simply stacking some ingredients that you think will go well together.  This one is like that, except that you do need to take the time to stir some dressing into the slaw mix before adding it to the stack:  2014_0119January20140041  The one thing I discovered when I was out grocery shopping was that kaiser rolls were nowhere to be found, so I guess mine, served on “sandwich rolls”, are just plain old “sandwiches” instead of “kaisers”.  But we enjoyed them anyway:  2014_0119January20140045  It’s a good way to add a few veggies to your sandwich, and my husband was pleased that it wasn’t overly saucy.  (I tend to “drown” sandwiches and salads 😉 )

Festive Apple-Cranberry Salad

I admit to often using bagged salad blends and salad kits.  We usually eat every bit of them, and if I buy the ingredients separately to put together a salad I often end up tossing what didn’t get used up into the garbage can a week later when they’re still sitting in my vegetable bin in the refrigerator.  But there are salad recipes that catch my eye and beg me to try them, such as this one:

When I went to gather my ingredients, I made a startling discovery:  2014_0123January20140008  I had NO pecans!  I LOVE pecans and I ALWAYS have pecans!  So how did this happen?!?!?  I’m rarely ever willing to make an unplanned run to the grocery store for a missing ingredient.  Instead, I check my menu and switch meals around, or I find an acceptable substitute for the missing ingredient, or I simply omit it. In this case, I had some honey roasted cashews and decided to toss those in instead.  As it turned out, they worked just fine:  2014_0123January20140012  When I make this again (I will, someday, because we did enjoy it) I will use pecans, because they just seem to pair so well with apples.  But if I’m somehow out of pecans again, I won’t hesitate to use cashews in their stead, honey roasted or simply roasted and salted.  Cashews are wonderful too 😀


Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos

Not every good recipe from a magazine is actually from a cooking magazine.  There are many other magazines that usually contain a few recipes, and one of those is Parents magazine.   One would think that recipes found in a magazine called Parents would be of the “ultimately family friendly” variety, but not so when it comes to my uber-picky children.  That doesn’t stop me from trying them out on the gang anyway 😉

This one calls for tomatoes, pineapple chunks, and Romaine lettuce:  You may not be able to see that recipe if you aren’t signed up as a member of the Parents website, so here it is:

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos


  •  4 pounds  boneless pork shoulder, cubed
  •  1 – 28 ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  •  1 tablespoon  cumin
  •  1 tablespoon  chili powder
  •  3/4 teaspoon  salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon  ground pepper
  •  8 6-inch corn tortillas, wamed
  •  2 cups  pineapple chunks, chopped
  •  3 cups  romaine lettuce
  •  1/4 cup  chopped cilantro
  •  1 tablespoon  weekend-prepped lime salad dressing

Make It

1. In the morning, spray a 4quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Trim the fat from the pork. Place in the cooker with tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 hours.

2. Shred meat using 2 forks. With a slotted spoon, top each tortilla with 1/4 cup pork. Divide the pineapple among the tacos. Save 2 cups leftover pork for Wednesday and freeze any remaining up to 3 months.

3. In a medium bowl combine lettuce, cilantro, and salad dressing. Serve with the tacos.

And that “weekend-prepped lime salad dressing” is as follows:  Shake up 1/4 C lime juice, 1/4 C olive oil, 1/4 t sugar, and 1/4 t salt.  Easy enough to fix while you’re preparing the tacos.  No real need for “weekend prep” if you don’t want to fix it ahead of time (I didn’t).

I had the pork in the slow cooker before I thought, “Oh!  This is a new recipe!  I ought to take a picture!”  So I snapped this one of the remaining ingredients to go in with the pork:  2014_0123January20140015  Not too complicated,  huh?  I didn’t save any pork for a different recipe.  If my kids actually start eating “real food” there won’t be any leftovers anyway.  As it is, on our house the leftovers get packed in my husband’s lunchbox the next day.  And if there’s more than one serving left, I heat the rest up for my lunch at home the next day too 🙂

I used canned pineapple chunks (packed in juice) and omitted the cilantro (because we don’t like it).  I warmed the tortillas one at a time in a small skillet sprayed with a little bit of olive oil right before topping them.   We had these tropical flavored tacos with “Arroz Blanco” on the side:  2014_0123January20140019

I wouldn’t want this flavor for my tacos every time, but it was a nice change from the usual Mexican/Southwest/Tex-Mex flavors that I am so often drawn to.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios

In a Facebook group I belong to, we are sharing recipes each week for a chosen “healthy food of the week”.  Just recently that food of the week was Brussels sprouts, and one member shared this recipe:

The word “caramelized” always catches my eye, and I knew there were pistachios in my pantry cabinet, so I decided to try that recipe first.  I didn’t prepare a full 4 pounds of Brussels sprouts, though.  Here is what I used:  2014_0123January20140031  If I recall correctly, that’s 24 oz. of Brussels Sprouts.  I cut the remaining ingredients in half and proceeded as directed.  The end result was this delicious meal:  2014_0123January20140041  (Behind the Brussels sprouts you see caramelized onion pot roast.  Didn’t I tell you the word “caramelized” always catches my eye?)

This is a really good recipe for Brussels sprouts, especially if you don’t care for plain, steamed ones.  The only thing I might do differently when I fix these again is to roast the Brussels sprouts in the oven (drizzled with olive oil) first, then stir them into the onion/vinegar/sugar mixture.  I think the flavor would be just a tad better that way.  As for the pistachios, they do add a nice contrast in texture, but they aren’t necessary.  We just happened to have some that we received as a gift.  If you don’t want to spend the money on the pistachios, don’t.  Go ahead and try this recipe without them.  You’ll like it just as well.  I promise! 🙂

Easy Red Beans and Rice

There are probably countless similar recipes, and I’ve used some of them myself, but this time I ran across this version and decided to give it a try:

It doesn’t require an unreasonable number of ingredients:  2014_0124January20140002  And it doesn’t take all that long to put together either (a big plus when you end up being out and about in the evening when you thought you were going to be at home cooking dinner!)

You’ll notice that my pepper is red, not green as called for in the ingredient list.  Green bell peppers cost less (usually much less) than the red, yellow, and orange varieties, but my husband’s stomach rebels against the green ones, so I pay the extra and buy one of whichever other color looks the “healthiest” the day I’m at the store.

The only other change I made was to follow the package directions to cook the rice (place rice and water in pan, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes).  To bring it together at the same time, I started the sausage mixture first, then the rice.  I knew the sausage mixture would be okay if it simmered an extra minute or two.  Rice isn’t as forgiving.  The end result looked like this:  2014_0124January20140006 and was rather tasty, even if it is almost monochromatic.    It’s not overly expensive or complicated to fix, and makes a warm, filling meal on a cold evening 🙂

Skillet Franks in Beans

This past week I pulled out a couple of my older cookbooks in search of some recipes using fewer ingredients and less expensive ingredients.  I think this book used to belong to one of my great aunts:  2014_0119January20140047  And within its pages I found what I thought would be a low-cost, family-friendly meal:  2014_0119January20140053  (If you look closely, you can see that the pages are falling out of this dear old cookbook.)

I didn’t follow the ingredient list exactly:  2014_0119January20140056  Instead of 2 smaller cans of baked beans, I used one larger can.  Which is not quite as much as called for.  And I used that entire package of hot dogs, which was a little more than called for.  Then the entire meal suffered a mishap.  I went to fix something else to keep my pickiest kids happy, and I turned the burner under the other stuff to high.  Only I didn’t.  I actually turned the burner under the “franks in beans” to high.  I discovered my mistake before all was lost, but I did end up with a thicker, slightly scorched version of what I should have ended up with:  2014_0119January20140059  But this is a solid recipe.  Just make sure not to turn the heat up to high, LOL!