Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mashed Potato Bake

This is a nice change from mashed potatoes served from the pot after being boiled.  I added some vegetables to the original recipes to give it some personality.  As a potato lover, I knew, I would like this and was happy to see that others did also.  The cream cheese makes a major difference.  The creaminess and added flavor makes the dish.

Mashed Potato Bake


5 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 cup shredded carrots
1 onion, diced
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper


Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

In a large bowl, mash the potatoes.  I user a ricer and it does a magnificent job.

Add the remaining ingredients; beat until blended. 

Transfer to a round. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until top is lightly browned. 
*Originally published as Mashed Potato Bake in Country Woman September/October 2004, p36

Linked to:  Waste Not Want Not Wednesday     What's Cooking Wednesday     Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays            Allergy Free Wednesday  Gluten-Free Wednesday

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bok Choy and Noodle Stir-Fry --- Donna Hay

This is another Donna Hay recipe from My Sweet and Savory.  I was going through a bok choy stage, putting it into one dish after another.  That period came to an end but I still like bok choy and should use it more often.

.  This should have been a no brainer since I made a similar recipe, not too long ago.  I was captivated by using bok choy in a stir fry.  In that one, the bok choy was sliced into small pieces.  Here, we used it quartered.  I was correct, making this went smoothly and I was able to enjoy my dinner, without a hitch.

It was the before I got bok choy into my kitchen that was interesting.  Both my hubby and my daughter called from the grocery, last Friday, asking me if I wanted anything.  I told hubby about the bok choy.   Shortly after, he returned the call to tell me, the store had no bok choy and should he go searching other stores.  No problem, I figured, I would ask my daughter to pick it up.  She gladly agreed and all was well again until she called to tell me, the store she was in, also did not have any bok choy.

Yesterday, I went to a third store, figuring someone had to have bok choy.  I never had trouble, getting it before.  You guessed - no bok choy.  Today, I went to the best of the stores in terms of variety and of course they had both baby bok choy and regular bok choy.  The question haunts as to why, I didn't go there first.

This is one that I was glad, there was a picture to see before making it.  I could not envision it with the larger pieces of bok choy.  

I must share how excited, I am about selecting this recipe, for all of us.  I like bok choy and I adore Donna Hay's recipes and I felt confident that this would be good.  We liked it and it was a success.  I only hope that my fellow cooks also enjoyed it.

This did not take long to make.  The noodles, I got, cooked in 5 minutes and the vegetables did not take much longer.  This recipe can be found in Off the Shelf by Donna Hay on page 62.


2 cups cooked rice spaghetti
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
a few mushrooms, chunked
1/2 Bunch of baby  bok choy
soy sauce


Heat oil in large skillet. 

 Add onions and cook until translucent. 

Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.

Add bok choy.  Saute for 2 minutes.
Saute until  heated through and the bok choy is slightly wilted. Serve with soy sauce.

Magazine Week - Menu Plan Monday

For a long period of time, I have been collecting magazine recipes and while I have made a few, I have not made a dent in the many, I want to make.  I am dedicating this week to those magazines that share such gems with us.  Most of the recipes come from Cooking Light, a magazine that has become near and dear to me, in recent years.  It is easy to find interesting recipes that appeal to us here.

Monday - Zucchini Walnut and Feta Cakes - Cooking Light  Broccoli Mango Salad  

Tuesday - Yorkshire Pudding - WWDH Veggie Burgers- Vegetarian Times

Wednesday -  Grilled Apple and Cheddar Sandwiches

Thursday - Crispy Cauliflower Cakes - Cooking Light  Quinoa Salmon Meat(less)balls

Friday - Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Kugel

Saturday - Chulent

For more weekly menu plans - Please check out the other menus at
Menu Plan Monday

Photos from Bing Images.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Baked Hash Brown Omelet

Do you remember those potatoes, onions and cheese, I always have on hand?  I also keep frozen broccoli for immediate use.  These are the ingredients, I had to work with and the final results say, they were used well.

Using the skillet to boil the potatoes saves a pot and time.  I am always looking for tips to make my life easier and to save time.

Baked Hash Brown Omelet (inspired by Hungry Jack)


3 potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 cup broccoli, diced
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
In a skillet with depth, add water and boil.  Add diced potatoes. After 3 minutes, add broccoli and let that cook along with potatoes.  When potatoes begin to soften, remove from skillet.

Using same skillet, add olive oil or butter.  When it heats, add the chopped onion and cook until it softens.

Whisk together eggs and milk in a large mixing bowl. Add potatoes, cheese, and vegetables and mix to combine.

Transfer mixture to the  baking pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to brown.

Linked to:   Real Food Recipe RoundUp       What’d you Do this Weekend?        Mix it Up Monday         Melt in Your Mouth Monday    Linked to: Tuesdays Table           Gluten Free & DIY Tuesdays       Southern Special      Fat Tuesday      The Yuck Stops Here          Totally Talented Tuesday    Simple Supper Tuesday     Treasure Box Tuesday     Hearth and Soul Hop            In and Out of the Kitchen             Two Cup Tuesday        Waste Not Want Not Wednesday   Wednesdays Whatsits   Fresh Foods Wednesdays 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Baked Chicken, Lemon and Pea Risotto

Written in the past and copied here from My Sweet and Savory.

I love Tuesday nights when I cook with our Donna Hay group. Now, that I have cooked a number of her recipes, I feel confident, in them. Each one is good and easy to make, just right for me. The other members of the group reiterate this thought.

This week Gaye selected the baked chicken dish with a delicious risotto. I have never made risotto in the oven and was leery of the results, especially when I took the baking pan out to see what appeared to be almost all liquid. I mixed it and put it back in the oven for another ten minutes. It seemed somewhat watery but this time, when I mixed it together, it thickened up. Two more minutes with the chicken and peas and it was creamy and delicious.

What a wonderful combination this is. My husband thought the lemon was too strong but I think, if you like lemon, it will be just right. You can cut it down, if in doubt about the taste. I thought it was fine.

Of course, when I went to make it, I discovered I had no aborio rice and no fennel. I did get the rice but the store didn't have fennel. I stuck a red onion in since I love onions.

This is another winner which I would happily make again. Great choice, Gaye.

Baked Chicken, Lemon and Pea Risotto 


2 tablespoons olive oil

3 chicken breast fillets, quartered

2 leeks, sliced 
1 tablespoon shredded lemon zest
2 cups Arborio  rice
5 cups organic vegetable broth
1 ½ cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
cracked black pepper and sea salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until well browned. Set aside for later.

Add the leeks and zest to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks are golden. 

Place the leek mixture, rice and stock in a casserole dish. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and add the chicken and peas to the risotto, cover tightly and bake for a further 20 minutes. The risotto will still have a bit of liquid in it.

Stir the lemon juice, pepper and salt through the risotto. Stir for 2 minutes to thicken the risotto and serve.

Eat and enjoy.

Linked to:  Real Food Recipe RoundUp       What’d you Do this Weekend?        Mix it Up Monday         Melt in Your Mouth Monday  Linked to: Tuesdays Table           Gluten Free & DIY Tuesdays       Southern Special         Fat Tuesday      The Yuck Stops Here          Totally Talented Tuesday    Simple Supper Tuesday     Treasure Box Tuesday     Hearth and Soul Hop            In and Out of the Kitchen             Two Cup Tuesday   

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cannellini and Fresh Tomato Broth - DonnaHhay

I will be bringing over the remaining Donna Hay recipes in the next few weeks.  I hadn't realized just how many we had made and in reading my reviews of the recipes, I find that I liked almost all of them.

Cannellini and Fresh Tomato Broth, page 80 in Off the Shelf is my choice for this week's recipe. Soup has been waiting to be made in my house and each soup recipe, calls my name. This is another easy Donna Hay recipe which I made weeks ago so that I would have it, for this week. 

I enjoy cooking from Donna Hay's books with interesting recipes that are made with ease and with ingredients that are found in most stores. I also have found, subbing ingredients is easy to do.

This soup was good but I didn't find it to be the best tomato soup, I have made. I would make it again but more likely, I would go to another one of my tomato soup recipes.

I added Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top to the recipe and it gave it additional flavor.

Cannellini and Fresh Tomato Broth

6 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 (14 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons garden fresh chopped oregano

Place the tomatoes and half the stock in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Pour the mixture through the sieve and place in a saucepan with the remaining broth over medium heat. 

Allow the soup to come to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, then add the cannellini beans, salt, pepper and oregano. 

Simmer for 2 minutes and serve in bowls .

Linked to:  Real Food Recipe RoundUp       What’d you Do this Weekend?        Mix it Up Monday         Melt in Your Mouth Monday     Waste Not Want Not Wednesday    Wednesdays Whatsits   Fresh Foods Wednesdays 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Creamy Spinach Mac and Cheese

As I mentioned in a previous post, this is what we had to end our fast, one of the most popular comfort foods.  After not eating for a day, we wanted something that would fill us up without having to eat a lot.  Pasta does that for us.

I made quite a few changes in this recipe as I went along.  I added some plain yogurt to make it creamier.  I used to use sour cream for this but I think that this is probably healthier.  I had baby spinach instead of curly and I had Cheddar instead of  Gruyere.  I used shells instead of elbows because that is what I had which fits into  my "use what is here" attitude.

Creamy Spinach Mac and Cheese  adapted from Everyday Food, April 2011


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 minced yellow onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, room temperature
ground pepper
1 bunch baby spinach, trimmed, washed, and cut roughly
5 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 pound Brown rice shells macaroni, cooked according to package instructions


In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.Add onion and cook until translucent, 6 minutes. 

Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a slightly nutty aroma, about 2 minutes. 

Whisking constantly, add 2 cups milk. 

Add remaining 2 cups milk, raise heat to medium-high, and whisk until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

 Cook, whisking constantly, until sauce comes to a boil, 8 to 10 minutes. 

Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 13 to 15 minutes.

Add yogurt and mix in to sauce.  Simmer for an additional 2 minutes until the yogurt is warm.

Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 3 minutes.

 Add cheese and stir until melted, about 2 minutes. 

Eat and enjoy!

Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately. 

Eat and enjoy:

I was playing and ended up with this artistic rendering,  if you can call it that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Potato, Spinach, Egg Bake

Nothing has changed in my quest to use what is on hand.  I buy Costco sized bags of potatoes and onions which means, it is a rare day that I don't have these two waiting to be used.  Onions are probably the most used vegetable in our home.  Since, I can't use garlic, I add onions to everything or a member of that family. It has become a habit when starting a new recipe to take out he onions.  Doesn't work too well for cake though.  OK, I'm kidding.

Salads, casseroles, meat, dairy......what can't be improved with onions.

Varieties of onions are recommended for certain recipes.  They come in varied colors and textures.  They can be stored for weeks in a cool dark area.  Bottom line is though, you can substitute different onions for almost any recipes.  

Yellow Onions - I always keep these on hand and I think they are used most often.  When cooked, they become sweeter, the longer they are in that pan.  " Yellow onions have a complex flavor, and a firm texture that can survive long cooking" (Chow)  Great for stews and soups. 
White Onions - These onions have a sharp and  pungent flavor.  Add them to salsas or cook them like the popular yellow onion.
Sweet Onions - My daughter used Vidalia for almost any dish.  They are sweeter and used raw on a sandwich or in a salad, are delicious. I wouldn't keep these around as long as the yellow onions.
Red Onions - I love how these look in salads.  The added color brings that salad together. 
If you really want to know about the many different kinds of onions, check out Saveur.
We are really talking about spinach because I used MORE spinach, in this recipe.  As I said, this is a recipe, where I looked around to see what I had and put it all together to make a yummy meal.  We understand the potatoes and onions.  Eggs are another staple as is cheese and in this house, as you now know, spinach is a star.  I grabbed a little of this and a little of that and shortly, we ate a delightful  dish. 
I have these little orange square dishes which I use rarely since they are small but they are perfect for individual servings which this was perfect for.  I sprayed them with cooking oil and layered onions, potatoes, spinach, cheese and eggs.  Easy to put together.
Potato, Spinach, Egg Bake
2 yellow potatoes, diced and boiled for 5 minutes, just to soften a bit
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups microwaved spinach
1 cup cheddar cheese
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F,
Spray individual  ramekins or mini casseroles with cooking olive oil.
Layer chopped onion and diced potatoes.
Cover with spinach.
Use 1/2 cup cheese on each individual casserole.
Top with 2 eggs on each.  (I had difficulty with them slipping to the sides.)
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes depending on how firm or loose you like your eggs.
Eat and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Little Green Omelettes

Today was a fast day and when I planned my weekly menu, I did not take this into account.  I shifted gears and made Wednesday's meal which is a macaroni and cheese with spinach, nice and creamy, real comfort food.

We have a number of fast days in Judaism, some are long and some are shorter.  This is a short one and we could eat until sun-up and it lasts until after 9 in the evening.   We usually want something light to eat after a day of not eating so it is usually a dairy meal or simply a bagel with cream cheese.  The mac and cheese fits right into our needs.

My husband says that I am a strange faster which means, I fast well.  I may get a headache or feel tired but I do not feel hungry or yearn for food.  He, the other hand, wakes up picturing all kinds of plates  filled with anything and everything edible.

I am thankful with my fasting status and it is really easy.  I find it a little hard to cook at the end of the day and that is when I visited Kahakai Kitchen where Deb made these little green omelettes.  It was love at first sight and I knew, at that moment, I was making them, even though they did not go along with mac and cheese.

Of course, you may know me well enough, I usually don't leave well enough alone and when I found that ll the cilantro, we grew was gone, I had to improvise and I did my adding 2 cups of spinach, a tablespoon of soy sauce and a tiny bit of maple syrup.  Please go over to Deb's for the correct recipe.  She has tons of great ideas on her blog along with these who were inspired by Nigel Slater. 

Little Green Omelettes

1 cup ricotta cheese
4 eggs
2 -  3 cups baby spinach, rough chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
3 green onions  (I hate to admit this but I forgot these and they were what attracted me to the recipe, in the first place and I am sure, make everything taste better.  I plan to make these the right way in the near future.
1 tablespoon olive oil.......I added more as needed
salt and pepper to taste


Mash the ricotta with a fork. 

Lightly beat the eggs and stir into the ricotta. 

Oops......Finely chop the green onions. 

Fold them and the spinach into the ricotta and egg mixture with salt and a little black pepper.

Heat oil in a frying pan.

When it starts to sizzle gently, pour a spoonful of the mixture in and let it settle into a small pancake, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. 

Add as many others as you can comfortably fit in the pan. 

Let them cook for a couple of minutes till lightly colored on the underside, then flip gently over and cook the other side for a minute. 

I have a small electric fry pan - about 10 inches square which I used.  Easily 4 pancakes fit, nicely spaced and I made a smaller one for the middle.  I found that if I poked at the pancakes right away to compact them into a thicker, smaller size, they cooked better and were easier to turn over.  I liked them better than the thinner ones.  I wonder if a tablespoons of flour would make a difference.

Eat and enjoy.

This is linked to: Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays        Gluten-Free Wednesday     Fresh Foods Wednesdays       What's Cooking Wednesday     Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays    Foodie Friday   Full Plate Thursday   Freedom Fridays     Real Food Friday    Fight Back Friday      Foodie Friday   Foodtastic Fridays           Gluten Free Fridays     Weekend Social

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spinach and Cheese Strata - Martha Stewart

I think, I mentioned before that in the evening after the Sabbath, we have a special meal.  It is not a big one, nor is it a fancy one but it is good eating.  Tonight, I made a spinach and cheese strata based on a recipe from Martha Stewart.

We have been eating spinach daily, not with any intent, but with lots of love.  As I search for something that appeals to me, I keep being pulled in by spinach recipes.  On the Sabbath, I had both a main dish with spinach and a delightful salad that I concocted with the extra spinach from that dish.

During the past week, I also served a few dishes with spinach.  I have a feeling that this is not a vegetable that I will easily tire of.  That may be because it adapts to so many different foods.  It is good plain or with other vegetables, it is great with dairy and I love it with fish or meat.  

I think Popeye had something when he touted how his muscles came from all the spinach he ate.



Spinach and Cheddar Strata 

adapted from Martha Stewart


1 teaspoon olive oil
10 ounces spinach
3 cups gluten-free bread cubes (1 inch)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups grated Mexican cheese
salt and ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large skillet, heat oil over   medium-high. 

Add spinach and cook, , until wilted, about 2 minutes. 

Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible. 

Divide bread and spinach among 3 small, shallow 8-ounce baking dishes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and 3/4 cup cheese. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Divide mixture evenly among baking dishes and top with 1/2 cup cheese.

Place parchment paper on  a rimmed baking sheet 

Put baking dishes on sheet and bake until set in middle and golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes.