Thursday, April 24, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake No-Bake Treat Bars

A quick and easy treat on the line of Rice Krispie treats.  But instead, you use vanilla-flavored Chex cereal and freeze-dried strawberries (not frozen).  I had never used freeze-dried strawberries, but they lend a wonderful tartness to counter the sweetness of the marshmellow.  I found these at my local natural-food store (Earth Fare here, or someplace like a Whole Foods or maybe Trader Joe's).


4 Tbsp butter
10 oz bag mini marshmellows
1 (13.5 OZ0 box Vanilla Chex
1 to 1.5 oz bag freeze-dried strawberries

Spray a 9x13" baking dish with nonstick spray then set aside.

Add butter to a very large microwave-safe bowl then microwave for 30 seconds or until melted.  Add marshmellows then stir to coat and microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir until marshmellows are smooth then immediately add Chex and freeze-dried strawberries.  Mix until evenly coated then scoop into prepared baking dish and press into an even layer (use the bottom of a large measuring dish with nonstick spray then use it to press).  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuna and Hummus Sandwich

Last week I caught an episode of "The Barefoot Contessa."  I have to admit, while I usually liked her shows, I quit watching her after the whole "Make-a-Wish Foundation" gaffe (a young boy had asked twice to visit her on set and she turned him down both times).  But as I was flipping through the channels, I caught the end and saw this very different sandwich.  I looked at the recipe on-line and decided to try it.

A couple of things:  You could absolutely use your own tuna salad recipe and if you don't want to make your own hummus, buy some prepared hummus in your favorite flavor at your market.  Also, she calls for sourdough bread (which would be wonderful), but I had some Panera whole-grain bread which I used.  I would also suggest toasting the bread because there is quite a bit of heft to this open-faced sandwich and I just don't think untoasted bread would hold it very well.

Also, I liked a bit more hummus than tuna since the taste of tuna, even albacore, can be pretty strong.  Lastly, do not omit the radishes!!!  Not only do they give a lovely presentation, but a nice crunch and peppery taste.


Tuna Salad:
14 oz jarred or canned Italian tuna in olive oil
1/4 cup minced celery
2 Tbsp minced yellow onion
2 Tbsp minced cornichons
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together.  Let stand in refrigerator for several hours to allow the flavors to meld.

1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1/3 cup tahini or sesame paste
4 tsp minced garlic
6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (start with 3 Tbsp and add more to your liking)
8 dashes hot sauce
2 tsp kosher salt (start with 1 tsp and add more to your liking)

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired smoothness.  Add additional reserved chickpea liquid and more lemon juice if necessary.  Adjust lemon and salt to your taste.

Sourdough bread, halved and sliced 1/2" thick
fresh radishes, sliced

To assemble sandwich:

Toast (if desired) bread of choice.  Spread with hummus, then tuna salad, and top with sliced radishes.

Recipe Source:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

I had a hankering for some tortilla soup last week and ran across a recipe in a crock pot cookbook.  As I put everything in and tasted it after it cooked for a bit, I knew it was way too spicy for our tastes.  So I started doctoring it up and ended up with a fantastic tortilla soup.

So easy....just throw everything into a 4-5 quart crockpot, turn it on low, and in about 8 hours, you'll have a wonderful tortilla soup.

CROCK POT TORTILLA SOUP (about 6 servings)

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast (thawed or frozen)
1 can black bean, undrained
1 can mild Rotel
2 cup chicken stock
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2/3 cup green pepper, chopped
2/3 cup white onion, chopped
1 can crisp corn
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup cream
4 corn tortillas
sour cream
Mexican blend grated cheese
chopped cilantro, optional

Place first 12 ingredients (chicken breasts through cilantro) in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours.

Meanwhile, slice the tortillas in 1/4" strips and place on a lined baking sheet.  Cook in a 350F oven until crisp (5-10 minutes).

Remove chicken breasts from crock pot and shred or cube.  Return to crock pot.  Stir in cream.

Garnish with baked tortilla strips, sour cream, cheese, and extra cilantro, if desired.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Nellie (begrudgingly) sends her Happy Easter greetings to you all (she's the only one I could get to stay still long enough to snap this adorable photo).  I hope you're all having a lovely day.  See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Remembering Oklahoma Ctiy 19 years later

Saturday will be the nineteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing.  I hope you will all take a moment to look at the website and think of the 168 family members and dear friends who were murdered that day.

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.®

Currently at the Memorial & Museum

19th Annual Day of Remembrance

19th Annual Day of Remembrance

Join us this Saturday, April 19, for the 19th Annual Day of Remembrance. The Remembrance Ceremony will be held at 8:55am, and the Memorial Museum is FREE all day for visitors thanks to Cox Communications. Later in the day, motorcycle riders participating in the annual Memorial Motorcycle Run. Click More for detailed information. More »

New Lesson Plans Available!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

While eating out last week, I ordered Eggplant Parmigiana.  And it were good.  And I wanted some more.  But I just could not justify frying eggplant to make it.  So looking at a few recipes, I came up with a simple, baked version which takes just a few ingredients and minutes to make.  You could serve this with some spaghetti on the side, but I just ate the dish as it came out of the oven.

I don't have quantities for this recipe, I guess it's more for my own reference.  If you want to try it, make it to satisfy your appetite.  More/less sauce, more/less cheese.  Your preference.


1 (1 pound) medium eggplant, sliced, about 1/4"
eggs, egg whites, or egg substitute
bread crumbs (I suggest using traditional breadcrumbs instead of Panko)
shredded Parmesan cheese
homemade or jarred pasta sauce
mozzarella or Italian-blend shredded cheese

Slice the eggplant.  Dip in the egg.  Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan.  Dip the egged eggplant into the breadcrumbs.

On a baking sheet, line with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.  Place the eggplant slices on it.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.  Turn the slices and bake for another 10 minutes.

Spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the cooked eggplant slices in the dish.  Cover with pasta sauce and bake (covered) for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and additional parmesan, if desired, and cook (uncovered) for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: adapted from "Weight Watchers: New 365 Day Menu Cookbook," p. 342

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crab Louis

My favorite salad in the whole wide world is a Cobb Salad.  Perfection.  But a distant second is a Crab Louis.  I don't know if it it's the crab or the dressing.  And since a Crab Louis has boundless variations (asparagus, cucumbers, avocados, black or green olives), the dressing is pretty much a staple.  So this post is about the dressing. 

This recipe is a staple.  As with the salad, you could certainly vary it in several ways.  But this is a great place to start.

LOUIS DRESSING (makes about 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp grated onion
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
S&P to taste
1 Tbsp cream or half-and-half
hot sauce to taste

Mix all ingredients.  Chill several hours to allow flavors to combine.

Recipe Source:  South Beach Diet cookbook, p. 227