Saturday, August 5, 2017

Coconut Curry Noodles

I'll be honest, at one point while cooking this, it smelled so awful that I feared I had stained the walls of my apartment and lost my deposit. But the spices just seemed so right together, so I pressed on and it turned out absolutely FANTASTIC. I changed the original recipe quite a bit, so feel free to add shrimp or tofu, substitute light coconut milk, brown rice noodles, add more cabbage, or whatever else you like.

  • 2 Tbl red curry paste
  • 2 Tbl sesame oil
  • 2 Tbl fish sauce (omit for vegan/vegetarian) 
  • 3 Tbl sugar
  • 1 Tbl sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 2 Tbl soy sauce
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 C shredded carrots
  • 1 C frozen edamame
  • 1 C vegetable broth or water
  • one 14-oz can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbl minced or shredded fresh ginger 
  • 8 oz rice noodles (pad thai style)
  • Shredded or chopped purple cabbage (1/4 to 1/2 cabbage as desired)
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


  1.  Soak the rice noodles in cold tap water for 30 mins. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Heat a large wok or skillet on medium-high. Add the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili paste, curry paste, and saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Add all the vegetables, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and 1/2 of the coconut milk. Let simmer for 10 mins.
  4. Add the rice noodles to the skillet along with the vegetable broth/water, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook uncovered until the noodles are done to taste. Be careful not to add too much water or stir the noodles too much, or they will get sticky. Shake the skillet or wok occasionally to stir. Makes a great meatless meal by itself!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Slow Cooker White Bean Stew

This blog is a year old today! Woot woot! (OK maybe I'm a day or 2 late.)

I haven't posted in quite a while. Life has been hectic around here. But with the onset of some cooler weather - FINALLY! - comes the craving for a hot, hearty meal. I've been experimenting with some meatless recipes too, and this white bean stew is flavorful enough to stand on its own without the ham. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


  • 1/3- 1/2 lb diced ham
  • 1 lb dry navy beans, soaked and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 5-6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1-1 1/2 qts Homemade Vegetable Broth , chicken broth, or water. (See directions for how much you will need.) 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbl white sugar
To thicken:
  • 4 fl oz heavy cream (1/2 pint)
  • 3 med-large potatoes, peeled and diced
  1. Either make your homemade broth now, or bring whatever liquid you're using to a boil in a separate pan first BEFORE adding to the slow cooker. Slow cookers take a very long time to heat liquid, and this gives the whole process a jump start while looking out for food safety.
  2. Prep all of your vegetables.
  3. Combine everything from the first set of ingredients to the slow cooker, and add your hot liquid last so you can tell how much you need. Only fill up to about 1 inch above the top of your beans and other ingredients. 
  4. Boil the potatoes until soft and drain. Mix in the 1/2 pint of heavy cream and make mashed potatoes. *The mashed potatoes must be smooth as possible, this is what is going to thicken the entire dish.*
  5. Stir the mashed potatoes into the pot until thoroughly combined. Set to cook on low for 6 hours. 
  6. Top with cheese if desired and serve with crackers. Serves 4-6. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

I have been wanting a slow cooker for a while now, and finally took the plunge. It does take some getting used to, but the ability to throw it together ,set it, and forget it - I'm sold! If you want to make this in a regular stock pot, that's easy! Just brown the meat and onions, combine everything else, simmer covered until the celery is almost done, then add your barley and simmer for another 45 min.


  • 1 large or 2 medium steaks, cut into small 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 2-3 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped (or use 1 can diced tomatoes, juice and all)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1 Tbl dried parsley 
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl soy sauce
  • 3 quarts Homemade Vegetable Broth
  • two 12-oz bags frozen mixed veggies (peas,carrots, green beans, corn)
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped fine
  • 1 C plain pearled barley (do not use the quick cooking kind!)
  1. If you have the broth made ahead of time, bring it to a boil in a separate pan to speed up the heating process. Slow cookers take a long time to heat up that much liquid, and it becomes a food safety issue. I just made the broth right then, so it would be hot going into the slow cooker.
  2. Combine everything in your slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Pepper Steak and Rice

Hearty, spicy, satisfying, and pretty easy to make. This will take about an hour and a half to make and feed 6 people easily. Cut the recipe in half if you need to. For a while there, I had 6-10 people to feed on any given night, and I really need to learn how to cook smaller batches of food!

  • 2 lb steak, stew meat, beef roast, any kind as long as it's beef. Cut into cubes.
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 sweet onion, sliced julienne style
  • 3 bell peppers, any color, sliced into 1-2 inch strips 
  • 2 C beef broth, chicken broth, or Homemade Vegetable Broth
  • 3 cubes of beef bouillon 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbl paprika
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 3 Tbl corn starch
  • Jar to make the gravy with 
  • Salt to taste, at the end
For the Perfect Rice:
  • 2 C parboiled rice
  • 4 C water
  1. Cut the beef into cubes. You can make just about any steak work, from very thin to very thick, just cut it into bite-size pieces.
  2. Pour a little bit of oil into a large, deep skillet. Add the meat and chopped onions and peppers. Cook until the meat is well browned.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, broth, and all spices (save the soy sauce and corn starch to make the gravy thicker). 
  4. Cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. At the end of that hour, start making the rice. It should take 15-20 minutes to cook. Keep shaking the pan while it's covered to prevent the rice from sticking. 
  6. Remove from heat and let the rice stand for 5 more minutes, covered.
  7. Combine the 1/4 C soy sauce and corn starch in the jar. Make sure the lid is on tight and shake it until contents are smooth. 
  8. Bring the pepper steak to a soft boil, and start adding your corn starch mixture while stirring until desired thickness is reached.
  9. Salt to taste and serve! 

No-Lump Gravy and Sauce

You know why boxed pasta meals are so popular? Because they give you this powder stuff that makes a yummy sauce. You can do that yourself at home! You know what you like and what tastes good, all you need to do is thicken it. So here's an easy way to thicken any sauce, to make any gravy, with NO LUMPS:

  • The next time you use a glass jar, wash it out and keep it. Any kind of glass jar with a lid will work: a jelly jar, a pesto jar, salsa, you get the idea. Keep that sucker.
  • When you're ready to thicken your sauce/gravy, add some water, chicken broth, whatever you're working with to that jar - but it has to be cold or at room temperature. (Hot liquid will make lumps.) You can use plain water if you want, or you can use broth, white wine, or soy sauce like I'm doing here, to add extra flavor to the dish.
  • Add flour or corn starch. I prefer flour for a thicker gravy (for pot roast, biscuits, or pork chops, for example) and corn starch for a lighter sauce texture (for pasta, vegetable, and Asian dishes). Just dump some in your jar. You'll figure out how much you need in a minute.
  • Make sure the lid is on tightly and shake! Shake the hell out of it until you can see that it is a smooth mixture. Then pour a little into your pan, stirring while adding, and bring to a gentle boil. Add in parts while boiling. Keep stirring. If it's not thick enough, add more of your jar mixture.
  • Voila. No lumps!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Growing up in San Antonio gave me a deep love for Mexican food. It's my go-to comfort food. I've since moved to a different state, but the cultural imprint is still running strong. You can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl!

This is another low-cost, easy to make recipe that feeds 5-6 easily, and leftovers will NOT languish in your fridge until the trash run comes next Tuesday.

  • 2 chicken quarters (drumstick and thigh together)
  • 3 qts water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder (or just use regular chili powder)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbl paprika
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 C frozen corn
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 C rice
  • 1-3 tsp salt, to taste (at the end!)
  • tortilla strips for garnish
  • avocado for garnish
  1. Cover the chicken with 3 qts of water and boil for an hour and a half.
  2. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Pour the chicken broth through a fine strainer and skim some of the grease off the top. You can use a liquid measuring cup to do this or use one of those grease cups with the spout at the bottom, OR you can refrigerate the broth overnight and skim the fat off easily when it hardens. 
  3. Add all spices, all the veggies, and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for an hour.
  4. While the broth is cooking, pull the chicken off the bone, keeping large chunks of meat.
  5. Add the rice and chicken and set a timer for 20 minutes. Be careful not to stir too much after adding the chicken. 
  6. Salt to taste, garnish with tortilla strips and avocado, and serve!

Country Style Pinto Beans

Bacon grease. Chili powder. Onions. Salt. Really, that's it! So simple and so good. Try these on top of Ruth's Best Cornbread or even better, cornbread waffles. 

"Cornbread Waffles??! What??" Yes! It's the same cornbread recipe, except with 1.5-2 cups of milk and a waffle iron. You can even make the cornbread waffles ahead of time and freeze them. Beans and cornbread will never be the same.

  • 2 C dry pinto beans
  • 1 Tbl ancho chile powder (or substitute regular chili powder)
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbl salt (3 Tbl to soak the beans and 1 Tbl to cook with)
  • a big spoonful of bacon grease, about 1/4 cup
  1. Soak the beans one of two ways: overnight in the fridge, or a quick soak. Quick soaking consists of bringing the pot to a boil, then turning off the heat and letting it sit for an hour and a half. Make sure you add the salt when you soak, to keep the beans from breaking apart when you cook them.
  2. Drain the beans and rinse well.
  3. Put them back in the pot and fill with water to 2 inches past the beans.
  4. Add the onions, salt, bacon grease, and chili powder.
  5. Simmer covered for an hour and a half.