Tuesday, December 30, 2008

From Scratch BBQ Sauce

Just found this recipe, called "Kathryn Dupuee's BBQ Sauce", given to me by a friend who also lives overseas. This should be particularly helpful for those of us who live abroad and can't just run down to the grocery store and grab any variety of BBQ Sauce we want.

1/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. chopped onion

Saute slowly until onions are transparent, not brown.

3/4 c. ketchup
3/4 c. water
3 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. of brown sugar (fyi, I use the same amount of sugar and tint it with molasses to substitute for brown sugar since we can't get it here, and it works great!)
2 Tbsp. mustard (American-style, prepared-- not the spice)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4-1/3 c. lemon juice (fresh is best)

Saute over low heat until thickened.

My friend says this is absolutely delicious, and it sounds easy-peasy. I hope to make it soon. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Maple Granola

After trying this recipe for the first time a few days ago, this is already a big hit around here, and I'm making it again. We'll store it in an airtight cookie jar and make it probably a few times a month to sub in for expensive cold cereals for breakfast. It's DELICIOUS!!! Enjoy~~~

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dump into a big bowl, and stir until the oats are evenly coated:
  • 10 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup real maple syrup (you can use the fake stuff... we did and it was tasty!)

As with the other granolas I posted about, spread it all out on a large cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, taking it out every five minutes to stir it around, and keep it in an airtight container shortly after taking it out of the oven, so it stays very crunchy.

If you're reading this and thinking "that sounds too sweet for cereal", well, think of it as a snack then -- it's very crispy and when you're crunching it up in your mouth it really does taste like you're eating some kind of fancy maple cookie.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Aunt Pearl's Coffee Cake

Preheat @ 350 degrees

4 T. Brown sugar
1 T. Cinnamon
1 C. finely chopped nuts (optional)

2 Sticks of oleo/margarine
2 Eggs
2 Cups of Sugar
1 cup of Sour Cream
1 t. vanilla
2 Cups of Flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

1. Cream the butter and sugar.
2. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add gently to creamed mixture.
4. Generously grease a tube/bundt pan and dust with 1/2 of the spice mixture. Put 1/3 of the dough in the pan.
5. Sprinkle the remainder of the spice mixture over the dough before adding the other 2/3 of the dough.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

DELICIOUS! My sister-in-law Jill made this tasty cake for us the last time I was in Texas. It's a great coffee cake, swirl cake, dessert, or breakfast! ENJOY!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Planning & Preparation-- my thoughts-- please add yours!

I have shared on Making Home how having a four-week rotating meal plan helps me so much. Crystal's online course "Supermarket Savings" (which it appears is no longer available) helped me SO much in this area. Other things I do to save time/money include:

* making double or triple batches of things and freezing things so that I can use them to reduce cook time later.

* bending my "plan" to fit reality (for example, if we are having people over Tuesday night, but Tuesday's "planned" meal is something boring, I'll switch it out with something else planned that week so that I'll for sure have all the ingredients but have something more savory to serve to guests)

* cooking from scratch a lot (while still buying store-bought in some areas to keep things simple)

What ideas do you have for saving money/time, particularly on the planning/preparation end of things in the kitchen?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lunch Ideas for Busy Moms

Here are some ideas for lunches:

PB & J sandwiches
Tuna sandwiches
Lunchmeat/cheese sandwiches
Grilled cheeses
~Any and all of these can be served with fruit, pretzels, chips, or yogurt~

Other ideas:

Cheese Quesidillas
Oatmeal w/ cinnamon and sugar swirled in
Homemade breaded chicken strips/nuggets/thighs, warmed up from the freezer
Baked potatoes (w/ cheese, ranch dressing, butter, salt, etc.)
Maple Granola
Fried eggs with french bread (bakeries here are just a quick walk away)
Salad (yes, my kids eat salad- it's seen as big people's food and we do cover it in ranch, so it's coveted.)
Tortillas or bagels with cream cheese
Pasta w/ homemade white sauce
Omelets (egg & cheese with some tomatoes if desired)
Rice w/ warmed up cream of chicken soup (it's delicious, I'm telling you!)
Plain rice (eaten the world over)
Rice with grated cheese on top (don't knock it till you try it)
Carrot slices ~Boiled, with butter and molasses stirred in. yum!
Broccoli florets ~Steamed with garlic
Green beans {Seriously, what's so wrong with serving a whole meal out of vegetables? Try it... after you do this a handful of times, it will be "normal" and they won't know that you're asking them to do something abnormal.}
Pancakes- I use the classic Better Homes & Gardens pancake recipe- easy and quick (and best of all, tasty)!
Dutch Puff
Ikea meatballs with rice or french fries
(a good variation is covered in BBQ sauce)

LEFTOVERS (the great secret!)
~ extra pancakes, lasagne, spaghetti, tacos, egg rolls, whatever from the night before! This is a BIGGIE in our home. It's easy-peasy to make extra of whatever you're making the night before, and then you can just heat it up the next day for lunch~

Take all your leftovers, the half-eaten bag of pretzels, the muffins that will go bad in a couple days if no one eats them, whatever fruit is in your fruit basket, etc... and put them on the counter. Give everyone one small portion of everything, make it look pretty, and serve it in a splashy way.
They'll think it's neat, *AND* you get a clean fridge and pantry.

These are just the ideas that work for our family. Please feel free to share anything that I didn't mention that you like to do for lunches... and I hope this helps!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meatless Meals: Save Some Serious "Dough"!

This is our biggest "do without"... instead of always including meat in our meals, several times a week now, we eat meatless meals... variations:

* Rice with cream of chicken sauce.
* Pasta with white sauce
* Cheese quesadillas with salsa (or guac)
* egg spaghetti
* Make-our-own cheese pizzas (I often mix ranch into the pizza sauce for a little pizazz!)
* Homemade pancakes and/or waffles with homemade syrup
* Rice w/ leftover chicken teriyaki sauce (sans chicken, since that's usually eaten up in the first meal )
* Cornbread and milk
* Peanut butter/PBJ sandwiches w/ chips of our choice
* Homemade biscuits with jelly or honey
* Buy one really good fresh veggie and eat a ton of that (buttery carrots or garlic-y green beans fried up in a wok)
* Oatmeal or Cream of wheat (made with non-name-brand semolina, rather than buying the expensive box)
* Egg & Cheese breakfast burritos (or egg & cheese biscuits)

All of these meals cost significantly less than a meal with meat, and are still very tasty and filling. I try to rotate in at least 3 of these into our lunch/evening meals on any given week.

(If you have a question about recipes for any of these, lemme know and I'll post it.)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Authentic Chinese Spring Rolls

A Chinese friend of mine taught me how to make these, and they are SOOOOO yummy and very easy to make. (I should've taken pictures and I didn't... forgive me.)

3-4 zucchini, diced small
2 medium-sized purple onions, slivered
1.5-2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into small chunks/pieces/slivers
soy sauce
phyllo dough (cut roughly into 5 x 8 inch rectangles or triangles of that same basic size--it'll work out great either way)

Marinate chicken pieces in 1-2 Tbsp (or more, if desired) of soy sauce. Sprinkle with salt.

Mix marinated chicken, zucchini, and onions until well-mixed in bowl. Then use 1-2 heaping Tbsp. of mix per eggroll wrapper/phyllo dough piece.

Place mix at base of wrapper/dough and roll twice. Then fold sides in and keep wrapping to the end of the dough.

Fill corn oil to about 2-3 inches deep in a small sauce pan and heat. Once ready, quickly (and carefully!) place eggrolls side by side in the oil so that they press up against each other to help keep them wrapped. Use tongs or chopsticks to keep the dough from unrolling as needed. Fry in oil until the dough is a nice golden color, then turn over if needed to brown the top.

Place on paper-towel lined plate to cool and serve hot, warm, or room temperature-- it's delicious no matter how it's served! ENJOY!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Make-Your-Own Seasoning Mixes

Here are a few from-scratch seasoning mixes I picked up from an online friend:

Chili Seasoning
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp season salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Add 1 Tbsp seaoning to 1/2-1lb browned ground beef. (add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can beans and you've got chili)

Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp onion flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder/salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp sugar

Add to 1 lb (or so) browned ground meat along with 2/3 c water.

Italian Salad Dressing Mix
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp celery salt
2 Tbsp salt

Mix together. Store in a tightly sealed container.

To use:
1/4 c white vinegar
2/3 c canola oil
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp mix

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Shared by a Sonlight friend of mine:


1 ½ lb chicken breast (boneless/skinless)
¼ cup butter
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
10 oz can Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup
½ cup dry white wine (note – my friend uses white grape juice and it is fine)
4 oz. Cream cheese with chive and onion
hot cooked angel hair pasta

Place chicken in bottom of electric crockpot. You don’t have to cut it up now. It will be so tender when it is done you can do that as you serve it.

In medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the salad dressing mix.
Stir in soup, wine/juice, and cream cheese until combined and smooth. Pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve chicken and sauce over hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle with chives if desired. Makes 6 servings.

The friend who shared this recipe with me said: "It smells so yummy while it is cooking! You can serve it over spaghetti, and I have in a pinch, but the angel hair pasta is much better with it - I don't know why."

Sunday, March 30, 2008

English Muffins to try

English Muffins

1 1/4 cups very warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
1/4 cup butter softened

Grease large cookie sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Mix sugar in water; dissolve yeast in sugar-water mixture. When yeast is frothy, add salt and 2 cups flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth (2 to 3 minutes). Add butter and 1 cup flour; continue beating until batter is smooth. Gradually, add in remaining flour, then beat until batter is smooth, sticky and thick. Turn out onto a well-floured pastry cloth, board or sheet. Coat all sides of the dough with flour. Cover with bowl and let rest 5 minutes. Knead dough five minutes until smooth. Roll out ¼ inch thick. With a biscuit cutter or a large can, cut into muffins. Place onto cookie sheet coated with cornmeal. Let rise in a warm place, covered with a towel about 50 minutes or until double in size. Bake muffins on ungreased griddle or skillet until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chicken Pocket Sandwiches

Let me just preface this by saying that this is one of the first recipes I've ever made where the ingredients are native to a place other than America. I *THINK* it's easily adaptable, but you'll have to try it and let me know.

Here's how I make it here in Turkey:

(Thanks to my friend Kelly for this tasty recipe!)

* Milfoy (Frozen pastry dough squares)
* 1.5-2 pounds of chicken, cooked and shredded
* 8 ounces cream cheese
* 1 tsp garlic salt
* one red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
* 5 green onions (5 onions, not 5 bunches), finely chopped (optional)

1- Cook & shred chicken, chop bell pepper and green onions.
2- Mix chicken & veggies with cream cheese and garlic salt.
3- Put one heaping Tbsp of mixture in each pastry square and tightly seal.
4- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

*** So, I think a good substitution for this would be to use something like Pillsbury crescent rolls (*but not break them up into the individual triangles, and instead use 2 of them at a time*) and make oblong pockets, filled with more than just the 1 Tbsp I mentioned above. You'd still seal them up carefully and possibly baked for 10-15 minutes, perhaps a little longer depending on how they cook on bottom. You want them to be crisp, but not burned. ***

These tasty sandwiches are absolutely delicious, and the recipe makes a good amount of them (great for having some left over for kids' lunches, etc.). Eat & enjoy!

(FYI-- I also adapt this same recipe by using taco-seasoned beef mixed with cheddar cheese for the filling, to make taco pockets.)