Rata what?

Ratatouille! I had my first ratatouille dish at Disneyland's Cafe Orleans and fell in love. Since then I have been trying to find a recipe to try so that I could enjoy my love for the dish at home. My friend Anmarie, a vegetarian, checked out a slow-cooker vegetarian book at the library and found a ratatouille slow cooker dish. She tried it out and nothing but good things to say about it.

So I finally got my hands on the recipe and had to try it right away. I ran to the store to buy my veggies. This was the first time I cooked with eggplant and I think I am hooked! I will definitely be trying some other eggplant recipes soon. I have to let you know that Joseph was not pleased with the dish. Mainly because of the lack of meat and the surplus of veggies he didn't like. But too bad. He did eat all of the corn cakes I made as a side dish though!

Source: Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

Half-Day Ratatouille
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (I did a rough chop because I wanted larger pieces)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices (I used two 14 oz cans)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons pesto, homemade or store-bought (I used 1/2 cup)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook until soft (I also added garlic), about 5 minutes. Add the onion to the slow cooker along with the bell pepper, garlic (if you didn't saute), zucchini, tomatoes and their juices, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours until the vegetables are tender.

Just before serving stir in the pesto.

Serves 4-6, 3 WW points if 6 servings, 4 WW points if 4 servings
And I noticed that this whole recipe except for the pesto was core! So maybe if I make the jump it won't be soo bad...

Corn Cakes
Source: Elly Says Opa
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (you could also just use AP flour)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • good pinch of salt
  • cayenne and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    canola oil, for pan frying.

Combine the masa, cornmeal, salt, peppers and baking powder in a bowl. Add the milk and the beaten egg. Depending on the texture you want (I wanted something a little firmer), you could always add some more milk to resemble something more pancake-like. Stir in the corn and cheese.

Heat canola oil in a skillet (I use a nonstick skillet to minimize the amount of oil). Add spoonfuls of the mixture to the skillet (depending how big you want the cakes) and press down lightly with a spatula. Cook until one side has set and is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until golden.

Serves 2 with two cakes each

2 WW points per 1 cake, but only 3.5 WW points per 2!!! Don't you love WW fuzzy math??

Raving Roast

I just made the best roasted chicken ever! It was sooo good and smelled just so wonderful that I didn't get a full shot of the whole chicken (and this recipe is definitely worth posting without a perfect picture to accompany it... that's how good it is). Below is a picture of one of the legs. Even Joseph enjoyed it.

His exact words as he's chomping down... "Whoa, this is really good!" For Joseph this is huge. For him to verbalize his like for a dish just made my evening. Usually he just requests it again a while later... he doesn't normally comment on the dish right away... as he's eating it! :) Score for me!

Source: Culinary Infatuation

Lemon Thyme & Rosemary Roasted Chicken

  • 1 31/2 -4 lb chicken rinsed, patted dry and giblets removed


  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 whole lemon halved (juice reserved)
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper

Stuff cavity with all ingredients and tie legs together with butcher twine


  • 1 sprig thyme and 1 sprig rosemary leaves removed
  • juice of lemon
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 TBS. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Put all ingredients in processor and blend thoroughly. Massage into bird making sure to get under the skin. Put bird in roasting pan add stock* and roast for 30 minutes breast side up.

Turn chicken and roast another 35-40 minutes breast side down. Cover with foil for the next 10-15 minutes so skin does not overcook. When thickest part of thigh reads 180 on a meat thermometer the bird is ready.

Take out of oven put on carving board to rest for 15 minutes. (cover with foil to retain heat.)

* The reason why I bold this is because I didn't see this step and included it in the "rub" for the chicken. What I ended up with was a half solid/half liquid mess that turned out pretty good. My butter was cold so the rub was pretty stiff. I used the liquid part to pour over the whole chicken after putting the rub under the skin. I also added EVOO on top of the skin with some salt and pepper.

Chocolate Chewy Yum

Joseph LOVES chocolate chip cookies. I don't know what it is about the little guys but he requests at least one batch a month. We haven't chosen the perfect recipe yet so we're still trying different ones out. And that has proven to be quite fun. One I wanted to highlight was America's Test Kitchen's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. These were one mean cookie. It was the perfect balance of chocolate chip and cookie. Not too much of either.

Source: America's Test Kitchen

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 T. (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients; set aside.

With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.

Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.

Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in chips.

Roll scant 1/2 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.

Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are soft and puffy (15-18 minutes).

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

Craving satisfied...

I have been having the worst craving for chili dogs ever. So I finally broke down and indulged. But I did make a few modifications. I used 97% fat-free Hebrew National hot dogs, Trader Joe's light cheese blend and 1-Point Chili. I didn't skimp out on the bun though... All in all it definitely curbed my craving and I am sooo full right now.

Next time I'll only have one but I had enough points today and really wanted two. The best part about the whole meal is that a Wienerschnitzel chili cheese dog is 8 points and this one was 6 points! So since I ate two I "saved" 4 points and was completely satisfied!

Source: Weight Watchers and me

One Point Chili
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 summer squash, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with jalepenos
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 2 cans of chicken broth (I used 1 can of vegetable and 1 can of beef)
  • 1 package of chili seasoning (I used one part paprika to two parts chili powder)
Spray large pot with non-stick spray and saute onions and garlic until onions are clear. Add turkey and brown. Add all other ingredients, stir and let simmer for 15-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

1 cup = 1 WW point

Breakdown of One Chili Dog in Points:
1 Hebrew National 97% fat-free hot dog - 1 point
1 Trader Joe's Honey Wheat Hot Dog Bun - 3 points
1/6 cup Trader Joe's Light Shredded Cheese Blend - 1 point
1/2 cup One Point Chili - 1 point

So really... If I wanted to lower the points even more I would just choose a lower point bun. Definitely worth it.

Best Breakfast Ever!

When people find out I am on Weight Watchers they sometimes wonder what types of foods I eat. I share my snacks, lunches, dinners and desserts but almost always forget about the most important meal of the day. I love breakfast. I love all sorts of breakfast foods and can eat breakfast any time of the day.

One of my favorite breakfast meals (and one that seems to keep me full all the way until lunch) is scrambled eggs, hash browns and sausage. Yup! All that and it's within my points limit for the day!

Here's how I do it:

1/4 cup eggbeaters
1/6 cup WW Mexican shredded cheese
1/4 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup refridgerated Ore Ida hashbrowns
1 Morningstar sausage pattie

Preheat large skillet and add two teaspoons of olive oil. Swish around to spread over the whole pan. Add hash browns and season with salt and pepper. Add sausage patty. Cook hash browns until golden brown on one side and flip over. Squish the hash browns in the pan and mold together. Flip the sausage pattie and press down a bit.

Add eggbeaters and broccoli into skillet and turn pan so that eggs don't touch the hash browns and sausage. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs. Keep lifting the eggs from the side of the skillet to fully cook the eggs. Once the eggs are fully cooked check the hash browns and sausage pattie. Both should be done. Plate, serve an enjoy!

Points breakdown:
Eggbeaters - 1 point
Cheese - 1 point (HG!)
Broccoli - 0 points (HG!)
Olive Oil - 2.5 points (HG!)
Morningstar breakfast pattie - 2 points
Ore Ida hash browns - 1 point

So for a whopping 7.5 points I am full until lunch and have satisfied three healthy guidelines including the hardest for me (the oil). It's so worth the points and tastes sooo good! Sometimes I add ketchup to the hash browns for an extra .5 points. YUM!

Keema Karma

Another great recipe I tried from my Pakistani cooking class. I definitely liked this one and know I'll make it again and again. It was simple and cooked in under 30 minutes! I loved how it had meat, veggies and a starch all in one. And you couldn't beat the flavors!

Source: Laila Daudani

Keema (Ground Turkey)
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (or soy or beef)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large potato (or two medium)
  • 1 teaspoon zeera (whole cumin seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon green chilies (finely chopped or ground)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced or ground)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (ground)
  • 1 tomato chopped or crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dhanya powder (coriander)
  • 1 teaspoon zeera powder (cumin)
  • 1/4 teaspoon haldi (turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
Add zeera and chopped onions to oil ("vagar"). Saute until onions are light brown. Ad chopped potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add ground turkey an cook until turkey changes color. Add all spices and cover. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Check to see if potatoes are cooked. When potatoes are fully cooked turn heat off. Garnish with cilantro before serving. Serve with roti (wheat flat bread), tortillas or rice.

Roti Rama

I went to a Pakistani/Northern Indian cooking class and learned some great recipes (My girlfriend Anmarie is the woman on the right). The best one though, was the simplest. It was the dough and technique to make roti, the Indian version of a tortilla. It's made out of whole wheat so it's bit "healthier" and sooo easy to make! Enjoy! I should have a few other recipes to follow as I start to make the other recipes we learned.

Source: Laila Daudani

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • a pinch of salt
  • olive oil (just enough to rub surface of roti)
  • AP flour (enough to coat roti while rolling it out)
Mix wheat flour, water and salt together with hands to form dough. Roll dough into 1-1 1/2" balls. Lightly coat dough in AP flour. Flatten and roll out to a 3 inch diameter. Rub surface of dough with olive oil and pinch up the dough to form a pocket of air in dough on oiled side. Seal the dough and start to roll out. If needed lightly coat dough into AP flour. Roll out to a round 7-8" circle or until the dough is fairly thin.

Heat up a pan on medium heat and cook dough, flipping every few seconds. Dough should start to puff up (as shown in the picture below). Just use a spatula to push the roti down. Once the roti is cooked on both sides place on a plate and lightly coat with butter or margarine of your choice. Keep cooking roti one at a time and stack on top of the last one you made until finished. Enjoy with your favorite dal or keema.

Juicy Pork

The perfect main dish to my Mother's Day spread. Juicy succulent pork chops with a sweet balsamic glaze. The flavors all blended so well making the whole meal perfect. I seared the pork chops to lock in the juice and the glaze made a great caramelization (sp?) on the chops.

After letting the pork chops rest (as seen on the plate below) for five minutes I served them and every one was perfectly done. I always am afraid I will either dry out the chop or will under cook it but this time it was perfect. Very light pink in the middle and a great seared edge.

Source: Noodle Nights & Muffin Mornings

Pork Chops with Balsamic & Brown Sugar Glaze
  • 6 boneless center-cut pork chops (1- 1 1/2inch thick)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until browned. Carefully place 1/2 of the pork chops into pan. Do not move pork chops once they are in the skillet so you can get a great sear. Cook each side until brown (about 5 minutes depending on thickness) and then remove from skillet and place on plate. Cover with tented foil.

In same skillet add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Reduce heat and stir until mixture reduces. Return pork chops to skillet and turn to coat with sauce. Once coated, remove and put on plate spooning additional sauce on top if needed.

Place pork chops in oven and cook for 15 minutes or until done. Repeat above instructions for second half of pork chops.

Creamy Orzo

After racking my brain for a good starch for Mother's Day I finally went to The Nest's What's Cooking board for more suggestions. Annie with Annie's Eats gave me another great idea with her Mushroom Orzo with Cheese. As soon as I saw her picture I knew I had to try it. I ran to the store to get some cremini's and was ready to go!

I loved the orzo and will definitely shred two cups of cheese next time vs. the one I used this time (Joseph didn't want to shred that much...). I will definitely be making this again for weekly meals.

Source: Annie's Eats

Sautéed Mushroom Orzo with Cheese
  • 2 cups uncooked Orzo pasta
  • 3 Tbs. cold butter
  • 2 cups parmesan/romano blend (I only used 1 cup)
  • 5-6 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. butter or olive oil

Cook Orzo according to package directions.

In the food processor combine cheese, 3 tbs. cold butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt remaining butter or olive oil and sauté mushrooms until tender.

Drain pasta, add to mushrooms and stir. Gently stir in the cheese mixture. Stir until cheese has melted. Serve.

Mozz & Tomatoes!

In going with the EVOO and Balsamic theme on Mother's Day I found a great salad on my friend Alanna's blog. It was fresh and cool. A perfect way to start a meal!

Source: Artists in the Kitchen

Caprese Salad
  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella
  • Basil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • EVOO
  • S&P

Slice up a tomato, layer it with fresh mozzarella and basil, and drench in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper and let it marinate for a bit (while your main meal cooks).

Fab Foccacia

I wanted to make something unique for Mother's Day this year so I started looking for ideas for themed dinners. I found a great Pork Chop recipe from Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings that had a yummy sounding Balsamic Glaze so I based the rest of my meal off of that.

To start I needed a great bread to soak up the glaze on the plate so I started looking around the blogs I frequent and found a great focaccia recipe on Annie's Eats. It looked challenging and I was up for a challenge. This recipe did not disappoint. For the effort I put into it the flavor, texture and look was PERFECT. I had nothing but rave reviews from Joseph's parents and brother and sister in law. I will definitely be making this again.

Source: Annie's Eats

Herb Focaccia Bread

  • 5 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups water, at room temperature
  • ¼ to ½ cup herb oil (recipe below)
Stir together the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the oil and water and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. (You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough enough to clear the sides of the bowl, but the dough should still be quite soft and sticky.)

Sprinkle enough flour on the counter to make a bed about 6 inches square. Using a scraper or spatula dipped in water, transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust liberally with flour, patting the dough into a rectangle. Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax.

Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it, letter style, over itself to return it to a rectangular shape. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil, again dust with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with spray oil, dust with flour and cover. After 30 minutes, repeat this one more time.

Allow the covered dough to ferment on the counter for 1 hour. It should swell but not necessarily double in size.

Line a 17×12” sheet pan with baking parchment and proceed with the shaping and panning (instructions below).

Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight (or for up to 3 days).

Remove the pan from the refrigerator 3 hours before baking. Drizzle additional herb oil over the surface and dimple it in. (You can use all of it if you want; the dough will absorb it even though it looks like a lot.) This should allow you to fill the pan completely with the dough a thickness of about ½-inch. Add any other pre-proof toppings desired. Again, cover the pan with plastic and proof the dough at room temperature for 3 hours, or until the dough doubles in size, rising to a thickness of nearly 1-inch.

Preheat the oven to 500° with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Gently place any pre-bake toppings on the dough.

Place the pan in the oven. Lower the oven setting to 450° and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking the focaccia for 5-10 minutes, or until it begins to turn a light golden brown. If you are using any during-baking toppings, sprinkle them on at this point and continue baking an additional 5 minutes or so. The internal temperature of the dough should register 200° (measured in the center), and the cheese, if using, should melt, not burn. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack. If the parchment is stuck on the bottom, carefully remove it by lifting the corner of the focaccia and peeling it off the bottom with a gentle tug.

Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Shaping Focaccia:
Drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil over the paper and spread it with your hands or a brush to cover the entire surface. Lightly oil your hands and using a plastic or metal pastry scraper, lift the dough off the counter and transfer it to the sheet pan, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible.

Spoon half of the herb oil over the dough. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it simultaneously. Do not use the flat of your hands – only the fingertips – to avoid tearing or ripping the dough. Try to keep the thickness as uniform as possible across the surface. Dimpling allows you to de-gas only part of the dough while preserving gas in the non-dimpled sections. If the dough becomes too springy, let it rest for about 15 minutes and then continue dimpling. Don’t worry if you are unable to fill the pan 100 percent, especially the corners. As the dough relaxes and proofs, it will spread out naturally. Use more herb oil as needed to ensure that the entire surface is coated in oil.

Herb Oil:
Warm ½ cup olive oil over low heat in a small saucepan. Add about 4 tsp. of dried herbs, such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or sage. Add about ¾ tsp. of kosher salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, and 1-2 finely minced cloves garlic. You may also add paprika, ground cayenne pepper, fennel seeds or onion powder to taste. Allow to remain on low heat for about 1-1 ½ hours to allow the oil to become infused with the flavors. Store any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Delightful Diet

You ever hear of a diet recipe and think... no, that can't work. And that definitely cannot taste good! Well, since joining Weight Watchers I have tried a many recipes that sound weird and unusual but one always stands out as a crowd favorite... diet soda cupcakes. Yup, diet soda! It's a three ingredient recipe that is so simple and easy. You can make a cake out of it instead of cupcakes but I need the portion control. The frosting is even easier (and just as tasty)...

Source: Weight Watchers message boards

Diet Soda Cupcakes
  • 1 box (18 1/4 oz) of cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 can (12 oz) of diet soda (any flavor)
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites (I used 1/4 cup eggbeaters)
Mix all ingredients together and bake as directed on box.

Cool Whip Frosting
  • 1 tub Cool Whip Free
  • 1 package sugar free/fat free jello pudding mix (any flavor)
Mix both ingredients until well blended.

Top cupcakes with frosting when fully cooled and serve.

It's that simple!

2 WW points each including frosting

And a list of different flavor combos (I used Diet Sierra Mist with White cake mix and Cheesecake jello mix):
  • Spice cake mix w/ diet orange
  • Banana cake mix w/ diet root beer
  • Lemon cake mix w/ diet 7-up
  • Chocolate cake w/ Diet coke
  • Lemon cake w/ Diet ginger ale
  • orange cake w/diet Mountain Dew
  • cherry chip cake w/ A& W diet Cream
  • Lemon cake w/ Diet Lemon lime
  • angel w/ Diet Orange
  • White w/ Diet Orange
  • yellow cake w/ Diet orange
  • white cake w/ Diet Peach
  • spice cake w/ diet lemon-lime
  • White w/ diet ginger ale
  • chocolate cake w/ Diet cherry coke
  • devils food w/ diet vanilla coke
  • chocolate cake w/ rootbeer
  • marble cake w/ diet cream soda
  • lemon with tangerine diet rite
  • white cake mix w/ diet sprite
  • Red Velvet w/ Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper
  • Banana cake w/ diet root beer
  • Pineapple cake w/ diet Squirt

Asian Flavors

I needed a simple meal for dinner last week and ran across this recipe stared in my GR. It's definitely simple. I only marinated 2 of the chicken breasts for 30 minutes for dinner that night but had an extra one and marinated it overnight. I recommend marinating longer. YUM!

I didn't have a chance to clean the grill so I pan fried these and they turned out great. I will definitely be using this marinade this summer when we start putting the grill to work.

Source: Good Things Catered

Asian Style Grilled Chicken
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp hot chili oil
  • 4 medium chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
Combine all ingredients but chicken in large bowl and stir to combine. Add chicken and toss to coat and submerge. Place in fridge and marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat. Take chicken out of marinade and place on grill breast side down. Cook without moving until grill marks have formed on the breast. Flip chicken and brush top with more of the marinade mixture. Cook breast side up until grill marks have formed.

Brush chicken one more time and flip breast side down. Turn grill to lower setting and continue cooking until done. Remove from grill and cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.

Full of Fiber

I saw this recipe on Gillian's blog and knew I wanted to try it. It just sounded so filling. I put it off for a while because I didn't have sherry and didn't want to open a bottle of wine cause I knew that once I opened it I'd have to finish it ;) So I bit the bullet and made the recipe with rice vinegar.

Needless to say it turned out am
azing. So amazing that I made it twice this week. Yup, move over Garlic Cheddar Chicken and Grilled Mahi Mahi, I want to make the beans and rice again! These were even better the next day when I reheated them and put some in a La Tortilla Factory tortilla. YUM!

"Fresh Mama's: Whole Cooking for Our Whole Families" cookbook.

Black Beans & Rice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (I used a white onion)
  • 1/8 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 can (15 ounce) black beans, undrained
  • 3/8 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. sherry, cooking wine, or cider vinegar (I used rice vinegar since I didn't have these)
  • 3 sun dried tomato chicken sausage links (I added)
  • 1 cup hot cooked rice (white, brown, or wild)
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Dice up sausage and throw it into the pan when the peppers and onions are halfway through.

Add in the remaining ingredients (except the rice) and stir until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until the sauce is reduced. Serve over rice.

Serves 2

Sugary Snickers

My husband really does surprise me every once in a while. Sometimes he just gets this bee in his bonnet and he jumps into the kitchen to surprise me with one new treat or another. This time he wanted to try a recipe for snickerdoodles from the King Arthur Flour website.

These cookies were soft and chewy and really hit the spot. They definitely were a great snickerdoodle and we had a hard time not eating the whole batch. I only ate two a day :) Ok, maybe three...

Source: King Arthur Flour

  • 1 cup (6 1/2 ounces) shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups (11 5/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • cinnamon-sugar**

*Or substitute 2 teaspoons baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda (2 teaspoons total, not 3!)

**Mix cinnamon and sugar till you've got just the flavor and color you want; if you have no idea where to begin, try 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1/2 cup sugar, which makes a "middle-of-the-road" version of cinnamon-sugar.

Dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar till smooth, then beat in the eggs, again beating till smooth. The mixture will become lighter, and lighter-colored, as you beat; this is the result of air being absorbed. And this is why cake recipes tell you to beat sugar, butter and eggs till they're very light, in both texture and color; the light color assures you air has been incorporated into the mixture, and your cake will be nice and light.

Beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar and baking soda (or baking powder, in place of the cream of tartar and soda), then add the flour, mixing slowly till combined. (If you beat the dickens out of the dough at this point, your cookies run the risk of being tough.) Place about 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar in an 8" or 9" round cake pan.

Shaping: Drop the soft dough by tablespoonfuls (a tablespoon cookie scoop works wonderfully well here) into the pan with the sugar, about 6 to 8 balls at a time. Gently shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten each cookie till it's about 1/2-inch thick. Repeat till you've used up all the dough.

Baking: Bake the snickerdoodles in a preheated 400°F oven for 11 to 12 minutes, reversing the position of the pans (top to bottom, and back to front) midway through. They'll be set and just starting to turn golden. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them on a rack. Yield: about 40 3-inch cookies.

Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 23g): 101 cal, 4g fat, 1g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 9g sugar, 9mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium, 34mg potassium, 4RE vitamin A, 2mg calcium, 11mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 1, Holiday 2000 issue.

©2008 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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