Lupe’s Recipe Swap

Lupe suggested a recipe swap/exchange/post and it’s that time of the year when good food is one of the few Sure Things we have left so here we are. Feel free to post links, descriptions that aren’t really recipes but that will lead to people eating well, and actual recipes. Mostly let’s just distract ourselves from the cold and politics and international news by talking about delicious comfort food. (You get to define “comfort food.”)

My contribution: Chicken Marsala.

82 thoughts on “Lupe’s Recipe Swap

  1. Every time I read that book I think about making Chloe’s cookies and then forget. Saving recipe now. I have always loved food in your books, even in Manhunting when I really wanted homemade gravy and mashed potatoes. I also asked my sister to make me a Dulche Leche custard pie with mocha meringue for my birthday, she has the skills, she refused however as she was trying to reduce my sugar intake at the time.
    I remember you also posted some cheat recipes involving potatoes and low sodium beef broth and desserts… I can’t remember the context though

  2. So I’m including one of my favorite recipes of all time.

    If anyone wants vegan and/ or vegetarian recipes, I have a whole lot of them.

    Miso-Marinated Black Cod

    * 1/4 cup sake
    * 1/4 cup mirin
    * 4 tablespoons white miso paste
    * 3 tablespoons sugar
    * 4 black cod fillets about 1/3 pound each
    * vegetable oil for cooking

    * Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
    * Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
    * Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stovetop. Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets, but don’t rinse it off. Add a little oil to the pan, then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily.
    * Serve over a bed of white rice and charred broccolini

  3. I like to cook and eat so I’m here for this all the way.

    This Minestrone is a staple recipe in our house, we eat it all year with variations, give pots of it to people who need some TLC, it always makes me feel good.

    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 stalks of celery
    2 carrots
    2 leeks
    2 cloves garlic
    *Saute all above 10 mins
    300g diced potato
    1.5l stock
    *Add and simmer 10-15 mins
    tin of tomatoes
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    tin of beans (I like 4 bean mix)
    2 zucchini (or beans, peas, whatever is in season/frozen)
    200g silverbeet (I think you call this something else but I can’t remember what) or kale
    *Add all above for another 10-15.
    50g (dry weight) pasta, cooked
    *Stir in to soup

    Serve with a dollop of basil pesto

      1. I do too if that’s all I have, but spinach is a lot softer, so if you’re using spinach I’d just stir it through int he last minutes with the cooked pasta. Kale and silverbeet can stand up to a bit more heat.

        I forgot to say, everything gets diced to the size you like. When I cook it, it’s small, when my partner cooks it, it’s chunky.

  4. This is a comfort casserole, that I make about once a year. I’ve been told it is “very Midwest”. Meanwhile, I learned it from my mom who probably clipped it from a newspaper or magazine recipe section years ago. It’s called “Lick em Good”.

    1lb of sausage, browned, crumbled and mostly drained.
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    1 can of cream-style corn
    1 can of tomato soup
    about 3-4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.

    In your casserole dish, put your sliced onions at the bottom of the pan. Then layer half of the potatoes, half of the sausage and half of the creamed corn. Repeat the layers. Top with the tomato soup

    Back at 350 for 1 hour, or until potatoes are cooked.

    This casserole freezes well. This past November, I split it into two pans to take to some shut ins – one to cook for now, and one to put into the freezer for later. When I make it for the two of us, we have leftovers for days that reheat well in the microwave.

    1. Amended cooking instructions – cover the casserole with foil and cook for an hour at 350F. Then uncover and cook another 15 minutes or until potatoes are done.

  5. It turns out I have no recipes. At best, I have vague descriptions. None of those descriptions will tell you to use a teaspoon of this, a tablespoon of that, a pound of meat, a cup of vegetable. I also have trouble following someone’s recipe. I have measuring cups and spoons and four scales to weigh whatever needs weighing, but I don’t, for example, “take two pounds of ground pork…”. No. I take the ground pork and weigh it. However much I have, that’s what I’m cooking. I weigh everything, because that’s how I calculate, measure, and track my calories, carbs, and sodium intake.

    Sometime this week I’m going to have Pacific Island Stirfry. It’s full of oriental vegetables (diced water chestnuts, bean sprouts, baby corn, sliced bamboo shoots, bok choi) and pineapple chunks or rings, onion, garlic, bell pepper and hot peppers. Also maybe green beans or peas. How much? Whatever the peppers weigh. Whatever the cans contain. Some kind of meat goes in mine. I’m the kind of vegetarian that processes grass and corn and oats and such through the cow, pig, or bird that eats it for me. Choices for meat are poultry, pork or beef in that order. Seasonings always include garlic pepper and habanero powder. I can’t afford to store a bunch of stuff that’s going to dry up before I use half of it. Every recipe I see says “add salt to taste or more.” No salt. Salt is death.

    I’m still going to call my descriptions “recipes.” Click on my name above – my blog is mostly about whining and dining.

    1. Today is the 4th of February, and I done did it. Pacific Islander Stirfry. What’s in it?
      Chicken Breast 500g
      pork chops, boneless 301g
      Food Lion French cut green beans, No Salt Added 268g
      Serano pepper 43g
      Mushrooms, no salt added 123g
      Oriental Veg: Ty Ling Stir-fry vegetables 448g (two cans)
      green onion 24g
      yellow onion 135g
      minced garlic 18g
      bok choi 106g
      carrots 77g
      Dole Pineapple chunks 227g
      Extra Virgin Olive Oil 50mL

      I opened all the cans, drained the stuff that needed draining (everything but the pineapple), sliced and diced all the fresh stuff, chopped the meat. I added the oil to my wok, turned the burner to high, and threw in the meat. When the chicken and pork no longer looked uncooked, I dumped in the rest, and kept stirring.

      My previous stir fry was on January 26. That’s the one where I drained a jar of hot banana pepper rings and dumped the whole jar in. The sodium content was through the roof. This time, fresh serano peppers. Unfortunately, I only bought 3, and that wasn’t enough. Serano peppers are supposed to be 10 times hotter than jalapenos. I had some jalapenos in the fridge – I should’ve added 100 grams or so. As it is, the sodium content of all 2.3 kilos of stir fry didn’t exceed my daily limit. Not that I ate more than a pound. In one sitting.

  6. Perfect timing! I’ve been looking for a few good, family-tested recipes.

    Here’s my contribution. I sort of smushed two recipes together to come up with it.


    Shrimp component:
    1-1/2 pounds raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails removed)
    1-1/2 T. olive oil
    black pepper to taste
    2 tsp chili powder
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1/2 tsp onion salt
    1/2 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp cilantro
    juice of 1 lime

    Rice component:
    6 bacon strips, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    1 bell pepper, chopped
    1 package boil-in-bag rice*
    2 tomatoes, chopped (do not de-seed — you want all that juice) (you can used canned diced tomatoes, too)
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    salt to taste

    * I use boil-in-bag rice, but you can cook a cup of uncooked rice and use that too.

    Mix all the shrimp seasonings, oil and lime juice together. Pour over shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate shrimp while you’re cooking the rice.

    Cook rice according to package directions.

    Cook bacon; add onions and bell pepper. Saute until bacon is done and veggies are tender. Don’t drain the bacon fat. It adds flavor. And calories, but whatever.

    Add cooked rice, seasonings and tomatoes. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or so. You may need to add some water, too.

    Drain shrimp. Add to rice and cook through.

    Garnish with shredded Mexican cheese and chopped avocado.

  7. Here’s my “go to” casserole. I’m presenting it in a fashion that will suit Gary.

    Eggplant Zuccini Casserole

    Tomato sauce — I make mine from scratch with chunks of green bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, celery, sausage — but canned or bottled works fine — with or without meat (vegetarians love this)

    Zuccini — cut into pieces and cooked — microwave cooking decreases the amount of extra water, but steaming, roasting, sauteing all work

    Eggplant — you’ll need eggs, breadcrumbs, and oil. Peel and slice the eggplant into rounds. Dip each round into beaten eggs. Flip each round into breadcrumbs to cover. Saute in olive oil.

    Cheese — Cheddar is my usual choice, but I have used up all the odds and ends of cheese in the fridge at different times. Grated or cut into small pieces.

    Layer the some of the eggplant, then the zucchini, then the sauce, then the cheese into greased baking pan. Repeat until everything is used up, ending with sauce. Add grated cheese — maybe parmesan reggiano — on top.

    Bake at 375F (191C) for 1 hour.

    Serve with garlic bread and a big salad. Wine optional.

    Proportions: Two large cans of tomato sauce : 6 small zucchini : 2 medium eggplants : 2-3 eggs : 2 cups bread crumbs : 1/4 cup olive oil : 12 oz cheese. Roughly.

    Note: I don’t prepare the eggplants with salt. I suppose recipe would remain the same.

  8. Banana Trifle

    Prep Time: 4 hrs Cook Time: 35 mins Servings: 16 servings

    Vanilla Pudding:

    9 Egg Yolks

    1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar

    3/4 Cup all-purpose flour

    6 Cups whole milk

    1 vanilla bean, or 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

    4 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

    Trifle Elements:

    6 Bananas, ripe, thinly sliced

    2 cup whipping cream

    1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

    1 Package Oetker Whipit Stabilizer for Whipping Cream

    1 package vanilla wafer cookies

    rum, for sprinkling over

    orange peel, thinly sliced

    candied flowers

    Before you start:
    You will be stirring constantly for about 20 minutes, so be prepared — get yourself a comfortable chair to sit in (I use a bar stool), and a tall cold drink, and turn on the TV — once you start cooking, you cannot walk away until you’re done.

    Set a wide strainer over a bowl. Beat the yolks and set aside in a place convenient to the stove.

    Whisk the sugar, flour, and milk in a large heavy saucepan until free of lumps. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape it with the back edge of a paring knife, and add it to the milk mixture — pod, seeds, and all. Set over medium heat and cook mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, just to a boil. This takes a while, and the mixture scorches easily, so don’t answer the phone or the door.

    Remove from heat and whisk a little of the hot, thick pudding into the beaten yolks, then pour the yolk mixture back into the main pudding mixture, whisking really well. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring constantly, until thick.

    Remove from heat. Strain into a bowl. Stir in butter. If you are using vanilla extract, add it now. Cover with plastic wrap (directly on the surface of the pudding), and let cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

    Assemble Trifle:
    Cut up bananas.

    Combine cream with a splash of Grand Marnier, and the package of “Whipit”. Whip the cream until peaks form.

    Line a large bowl with 1/3 of a box of vanilla wafers. Sprinkle wafers with rum.

    Spoon in 1/3 of the vanilla pudding. Arrange 1/2 of the bananas on top. Continue to arrange layers in this order: wafers sprinkled with rum, pudding, banana; wafers with rum, pudding).

    Cover with whipped cream, smooth the top, and decorate with slivers of orange peel, or candied flowers, or something Martha Stewart-ish.

    Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    1. Sounds delicious. One of my favorite Friends episodes was the one where Rachel made trifle. She got pages stuck together and her trifle included beef and and gravy as one of the layers among the pudding and fruit and stuff. It was hysterical and made funnier by Joey’s description of why he liked it.

    1. My trifle is a little less elegant than Elizabeth’s but a sure-fire favourite nonetheless! Not for anyone avoiding sugar (or alcohol, depending on how heavy-handed/generous you are, lol)

      1 ready-made Swiss roll (jelly roll?) with raspberry filling
      Sherry, to taste
      1 packet raspberry flavour jelly/jell-o
      1 small tin pineapple rings
      1 tin ready-made custard
      whipped cream
      whichever sprinkles you wish to use as decoration

      slice Swiss roll into rounds and use to line bottom of trifle dish
      sprinkle sherry over Swiss roll (to taste)
      make up jelly with slightly less water than it says on the packet, and pour over Swiss roll pieces
      place in fridge for jelly to set
      once set, add a layer of pineapple rings
      cover pineapple rings with ready-made custard
      top with a layer of whipped cream, and decorate as desired

      I’m not sure how well the ingredients translate across the Atlantic (or elsewhere), but fairly confident the idea at least travels well.

      And I’m sure you could make everything from scratch and it would be lovely, but I suspect that Mum got this from a magazine in the 70s or 80s so it makes full use of convenience food, and this is the form I love it in. 🙂

  9. For anyone who has to go low-salt, Penzey’s spices has some good salt-free mixes that can be substituted for the spices in salted recipes here! In particular, they have a salt-free Italian seasoning mix that I use a lot, and a southwestern mix called “Arizona Dreaming.” I’m not a fan of Cornish game hens, so I haven’t tried the salt-free seasoning for them, but after yesterday’s discussion, if anyone’s looking for a salt-free seasoning for them, Penzey’s has one called Singapore Seasoning. (No, I don’t get kickbacks from Penzey’s, just appreciate the variety of mixes they have and the quality of their offerings. They can be pricey, so watch for sales; they have some excellent ones.)

    Anyway. A comfort recipe. I used to make dirty rice using the Zatarain’s packaged dinners, but the seasoning packet has way too much salt, so I switched to using Penzey’s “Arizona Dreaming,” which is more southwest than New Orleans, but I’m not a purist, so it’s close enough for my purposes. (I had the real thing at a restaurant in New Orleans, and it was fabulous, but probably off the charts in salt, so I make do.) I’m also not allowed sausage, so I make it with a little ground beef (about 2-3 oz. per person).

    I don’t have a recipe per se, and I’m cooking for one, so my measurements wouldn’t work for most, so choose your own amounts: brown ground beef (and sprinkle with some of the Arizona Dreaming mix on it at the end — it absorbs better in the pan than while simmering later), sautee some onions and peppers and garlic, add the chosen amount of rice to the onions & peppers & garlic at the last minute and stir a bit. Then bring water to a boil in a large pot (amount/size needed to cook the chosen amount of rice), and when it’s boiling, toss in 1 beef bouillon cube per four servings (so there’s a little, controlled amount of salt), the beef, rice, & vegetables, along with the Arizona Dreaming (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per half cup of raw rice; start on the low end and add more if needed at the end). Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until rice is done. Stir in corn if desired and some chopped fresh tomatoes if available, and cook another minute or two, just until the additions are heated through. Serve with a sprinkling of cheese on top.

    1. I love Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon, sandwich sprinkle (great in olive oil then dip fresh baked bread into it, and their frozen pizza seasoning.

  10. The original recipe for this came from the woman who stayed with my older siblings while my Mom was in the hospital having me. Over the years, I added to it to account for the fact that I was then baking for some hard-core chocoholics. When I told my oldest sister how I had changed the family recipe, she said, “You didn’t change them, you made them lethal.”

    Lethal Brownies

    4 oz unsweetened chocolate
    1/2# butter
    4 eggs (the larger, the better)
    1/2 C flour
    1C chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts, but pecans are also very nice)
    a good dash of ground cinnamon
    2t vanilla extract
    2C chocolate chips (a large package)

    Melt together the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix together the flour, cinnamon and chopped nuts until the nuts are coated, then add them to the chocolate mixture. Stir until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla extract. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13″ pan.

    Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes. (The directions originally called for 15 minutes, but I like them slightly gooey. Since ovens vary, you’ll have to experiment a little until you figure out what you prefer. Cool completely.

    3/4C heavy cream
    2T unsalted butter
    2T granulated sugar
    8oz semisweet chocolate, in 1/2 oz pieces

    Place the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Heat the cream, butter and sugar until it comes to a boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth, then pour it over the brownies in the pan. Smooth with an offset spatula. Let cool or refrigerate until set.

    These are easiest to cut when somewhat cold, but taste best at room temperature. I have, however. been known to eat them almost frozen.

  11. I do lazy cooking now, if I cook at all. Nor do I measure (Sorry, Gary.). It depends on how many people I’m feeding. This is a favorite easy Crock Pot recipe; I don’t recall the source. It could also be baked in an oven, but the Crock Pot really makes it tender. I assume InstaPot would do the same thing.

    Pork or chicken
    can of peaches, drained

    Brown the meat, just enough to seal the juices.
    Slop a little salsa in the bottom of the Crock Pot.
    Add the meat and the drained peaches.
    More salsa.

    Cook 4-5 hours on low.
    I serve it over brown rice and sprinkle cheese on it.
    If I’ve got cornbread or tortilla chips, I have those as well.

    A side salad somewhat mitigates the guilt.

    1. This reminds me that it is time for me to cook a chicken in cranberry sauce sometime soon.

      Chicken (with some garlic in the cavity if desired, but not necessary)
      Half a can of cranberry sauce (freeze the other half for next time)
      Place in crock pot. Cook.

      I don’t do this often enough because I don’t like cranberry flavored soup.

  12. Lacey Wilde’s Christmas Casserole Recipe (from Wilde Christmas)

    Lacey’s Christmas Casserole can be enjoyed any time of the year. You can add other vegetables (broccoli works well) or add some diced ham. However, the red and green peppers make this egg casserole a little more festive for the holidays. Enjoy!


    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 green bell pepper, diced
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
    6 eggs
    12 oz evaporated milk (1 can)
    2 cups shredded cheese (Lacey uses a cheddar and Monterey jack mix)
    1 – 28 oz package of frozen Tater Tots (Lacey prefers mini Tater Tots)

    Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking oil and set aside.

    Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté diced peppers and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are translucent (about 4-5 minutes).

    In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in evaporated milk. Add cheese, Tater Tots, and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.

    Pour mixture into the baking dish and place into the oven for 1 hour or until eggs are set. Serve hot.

  13. This is one of two recipes that people ask me for when they’ve either eaten it, or smelled my lunch. The recipe that inspired me will show you how I treat recipes. It freezes extremely well. If I am disciplined enough to put any of it in the freezer.

    [of course I never make it with shrimp and onion]
    1 unbaked 9 inch pastry shell. Microwave at High 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 minutes. [Don’t bother; it cooks fine with the quiche in it. And sometimes nowadays I skip the crust entirely.]
    1/2 c. green onion
    1/2 c. frozen shrimp [which equals 1 c. of “whatever”–broccoli, asparagus, snow peas have all worked well for me]
    1 c. grated [it does need to be grated, not just sliced. I experimented.] Swiss cheese [or cheddar, or mozarella, or provolone]
    1 egg
    1/2 c. half and half [or evaporated milk]
    1/2 t. salt [Don’t worry, Gary, I leave the salt out. I must have left pounds of salt out of things. But the cheese has enough salt to kill you anyway.]
    1/8 tsp. cayenne [I use a lot more than that]
    [Since I don’t actually make it with green onions, I add onion flakes along with the cayenne. I’m allergic enough to onion that I can only eat it when it is deaddeaddead.]
    paprika [have I ever used paprika?]

    Combine onion and shrimp in small bowl. Cover. Microwave at High 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. [ For vegetables I only do 1 minute] Drain. Spread in crust. Top with cheese. Beat egg well in a small glass bowl. Stir in half and half, salt and cayenne. [and onion flakes.] Cover with waxed paper. Microwave at High 1 minute. Pour over other ingredients in crust. Microwave, covered, at High 1 minute. Microwave at Medium 3 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika. Let stand 1 minute.

  14. Microwave Spinach Lasagna
    (also freezes well)
    (I don’t have any exact amounts here because the sizes things come in don’t come out even. I have a 4 quart casserole I use for this.)

    Layer in casserole:

    uncooked lasagna noodles (or substitute zucchini sliced lengthwise, as I do when my celiac goddaughter visits.)
    fresh spinach
    3 cheeses: ricotta, grated parmesan, provolone (which the original recipe tells you to grate but which, I discovered when I bought some at the deli counter and they sliced it without asking me, doesn’t need to be grated, just chunked.) (and I usually use cheddar, because I keep it around.)
    canned pasta sauce

    I usually manage to squeeze in three layers but I have to really squash the spinach down.
    Microwave on High for 20 minutes.
    The original recipe called for ground beef, too, which you don’t have to brown first, but you do have to cook it for 30 minutes, then. I don’t like meat and cheese together so I experimented with cutting back the timing, and 20 is just right.

  15. I used to cook a lot. Then there came a time when I was just done with it. And now I don’t even have the skills I used to have.
    Once I was having a yard sale, so to speak,. People were actually traipsing through my apartment. These three ladies were talking to each other and when they came to my stove one of them said I don’t cook anymore. I have covers to go over the burners on my stove and I have begonias sitting on those covers.
    I thought to myself – that’s what I want.
    This week I am experimenting with sandwiches. My daughter canned cranberry chutney. I’m obsessed with it – it’s the perfect balance of sweet and sour. So I have multigrain Italian bread that I’m going to toast and lightly butter. Then I’m going to put a piece of cheese. I have some white cheddar or gouda or havarti. Then I’m going to put cranberry Chutney. I think it’s going to be an excellent sandwich.
    I did Noom for a while. They taught me to recognize “scripts” that aren’t necessarily true. Like the script that says you have to have chips or fries with a sandwich. You don’t. I’m trying to break that habit. Wish me luck!

      1. In days of yore, the dotter and I would stop at a Subway. She always layered Doritos on her sandwich. We don’t go there anymore. Her Keto diet forbids all that bread and the chips. My whiner’s diet looks at the calories, carbs, and sodium and throws up my hands, and cries, “Oh what’s the use. You might as well die with a smile on your face. But if you eat that, it’ll be a lot sooner!” My inner voice loves me and wants whatever is best for me, and the guilt is very, very tasty. Yum!

    1. I have also gone on a cooking strike. I used to do all the cooking until last August. I went to see my mum for a month and when I cam back, my husband had got into the habit of cooking every night so he does it all now. Whenever he moans about it, I tell him I did it non stop for 24 years so it’s his turn now.

  16. No more apologies for doing food your way. I do it my way because I don’t want to revisit hospital. When I stop doing what I do, chaos abounds. So I don’t. Nobody else has to. I think Sinatra had a song that applies, here.

    I cooked and ate that baby chicken. It was surprisingly good, stuffed with rice, onion, and red pepper. And rubbed with olive oil, coated with garlic pepper and habanero powder. The cavity didn’t accept much stuffing, though. Basting washed away much of the seasoning, too. I just found my go-to dish for single dining at T-day and Xmas.

  17. Not really a recipe Vegetable Soup

    Quantities used vary on what you feel like and the size of your pot.

    Saute chopped onion, minced garlic and sliced celery in some butter until softened. You can use EVOO if you need to feel virtuous.

    Add frozen mixed vegetables, V-8 (I use low sodium), chicken bouillon (I use a little Better than Bouillon paste), red pepper flakes, spice blend of your choosing (Herbes de Provence for me) and if you have it, leftover pot roast. If what’s in your pot is too thick, add water. Cook until it looks and smells like soup. Taste for seasoning and tell yourself it’s a January-appropriate salad. Freezes very well.
    One of the reasons I tend to make a large batch is to use up the V-8. The l0w-sodium makes a nice soup but I don’t care for it as a beverage.

  18. Baked stuffed pork chops my way.
    There is the newlywed version and then there is the married, three children working mother version.

    Newlywed Version

    Pork chops
    Opt white wine, Apple juice, chicken broth or water
    Pork or chicken gravy – Heinz or Campbell’s cream of your choice soup

    Season chops, Brown on both sides and set aside in casserole dish
    Make stuffing, your own or from a box adding any extras exp cranberries, sauteed celery, onions your choice.
    Slice Apple and fan out over chops.
    With a scoop place a mound of stuffing on each chop. Mix the gravy or soup with a bit of the liquid to thin it out and pour over and around chops. Cover with foil.
    Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes uncovered and finish about 20 more minutes till done.

    Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

    Married with children, working mother version.

    Come home from work and realize that I did not take pork chops out of freezer. Put them in microwave to defrost. Next start sorting laundry to get a load in the machine to get ahead for the week. Do mostly all of the above except the wine and sliced apple. Put applesauce on the table and just carry on.

  19. I finally realized empty calorie foods include as anything you really don’t like. I don’t like sweet potatoes so, although they are healthy, they’re an empty calorie food.

    1. Years ago we travelled cross country and one of the easy cookbooks I brought was Betty Crocker’s Bisquick Cookbook. Later on I found in a magazine a recipe for Buttermilk Pie which we tried and it works.

      1 1/4 cups sugar
      1 cup buttermilk
      1/3 cup butter, melted
      1 tsp vanilla
      3 eggs
      1/2 cup Bisquick
      opt. grated nutmeg

      1. Preheat oven to 350*
      2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until smooth.
      3. Pour mixture into a 9″ pie plate and bake in center oven for 45-50 minutes, until toothpick or knife inserted comes clean.

  20. For when we have lots of leftover grain and I want to run the oven. Not now, summer, hot, and air conditioner still due to be fixed. It’s been a month. I may be somewhat grumpy.
    Easy, tasty recipe from ingredients that all keep well so it’s often a “need to shop soon” meal, as long as it’s not eggs I don’t have 🙂

    Square brackets mean optional to me though really the whole thing is rice, eggs and cheese with options

    2.5c cooked grain, room temp
    1.5c thawed frozen spinach
    Sub cooked greens of choice
    120g firm tofu
    10 olives, chopped
    1/2 red onion
    1/3c pine nuts/almonds [toasted]
    [2 T olive oil]
    45g shredded cheese of choice
    often parmesan mixed with cheddar/jarlesburg
    [feta, ham, not both, salty]
    3 eggs
    [salt / pepper]

    205˚C/400˚F, oiled 10-inch/25cm pan, 30min, until set, toasty and golden.
    (if cold – bake time closer to an hour – add cheese topping last 15min)

    squeeze liquid from greens
    Chop everything

    [Reserve for garnish bit of olive, onion, nut]

    Whisk together eggs [olive oil][salt] mix in greens
    then add rice, tofu, 1/2 cheese, olives, onion, nuts, mix

    Pour into the oiled baking dish, top with cheese.
    Bake for 30min, until the casserole is set, toasty and golden.
    Remove from the oven, garnish with onions, olives, and nuts.

    Original recipe

  21. My boss asked me how I made it – I told her. She said “That’s not cooking, that’s assembly” Yep. People love it and it make a LOT and freezes well.

    Chicken Mushroom Artichoke Casserole

    2 lb boned chicken (I use breasts, but dark would work) chopped in bite size pieces
    Marinated artichoke hearts (33 oz from Costco is best, but 4 small jars is fine)
    1 large or 2 small jars/cans of sliced mushrooms
    1 jar of Alfredo sauce for pasta (11 oz?)
    I can condensed cream of celery soup (or cream of mushroom fine too)
    1-2 t dried onion
    Pepper to taste
    6oz (half a large package) wide egg noodles or whatever pasta you like
    LARGE mixing bowl, baking dishes (I use my 10×13 and my 9 x12)

    Bake the chicken in parchment paper with all the juice from the artichoke hearts until done, about half an hour at 350 (but I also usually stir them in the middle to keep from sticking together)

    Roughly chop up the artichoke hearts to bite size pieces and throw them in the mixing bowl.
    Drain the juice from mushrooms into the noodle pot and throw mushrooms in the mixing bowl (cut up if needed)
    Cook the pasta per their instructions to al dente
    When chicken is cooked, drain most of liquid and toss into mixing bowl
    Add onion, pepper, soup, alfredo and stir
    Add drained noodles and stir some more
    Put in casserole pan(s) and back in oven for 20 minutes, or refrigerate and bake later for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your pans. I like to leave this a little juicy and bake with no covering, stirring once or twice.

    Serve with romaine lettuce with simple salad dressing and garlic bread.

    1. My definition of cooking: There are at least three ingredients, and you have to chop something. If there’s no chopping involved, it becomes “convenience cookery.”

      Here, you’re chopping the chicken and the artichokes — that’s cooking in my book.

    2. Hopefully it was a joke/said with love…because if not, your boss sounds a bit demanding.

  22. Mushroom Barley Soup
    1 onion
    Chopped celery
    Some sliced mushrooms
    Glug of wine (red or white), optional
    Sliced carrots
    Broth (I like beef but mushroom or vegetable is good too)
    Fresh thyme if you have it

    Saute onion and celery until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to juice up. Pour in a little wine and cook until mostly evaporated. (You can skip the wine)
    Add carrots, barley, broth and thyme. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and cook until carrots and barley are soft. Toss thyme stalks Taste for salt.

  23. And since baking counts as eating well, here are two family recipes I’ve been making for at least 30 years that are both old fashioned and really good and also super simple. Excuse the minimal instructions. My mum’s recipes are a bit slapdash.

    Fruit Loaf.

    1 c sugar, 1 cup water, 1 cup dried fruit, 115g butter, 1/2-1 tsp each of cocoa, mixed spice, cinnamon (to taste). Boil for 5 minutes. When cool, add 1.5c flour, 1 tsp baking soda, a pinch of salt, and a small egg (recipe originally called for one egg in double this size for two loaves. My mum was one of 6 kids, they baked big). Bake in a lined loaf tin at 160c until done (an hour ish).

    Caramel slice (a really good one, not a stodgy bakery shortcake version).

    3 weetbix
    1 c flour
    1 c coconut
    1/2 c sugar
    1 tsp baking poweder
    125g melted butter.

    Mix dry ingredients, stir in butter, press into tin, and bake at 170c for 15 minutes.

    heat 3/4 tin of condensed milk (use the rest for chocolate chip cookies), 30 g butter, and 45g (ish) of golden syrup, stirring until blended. Pour onto hot base, and bake an additional 5 minutes.

    When cool spread with a thin layer of simple chocolate icing (small knob of butter, bit of hot water, melt, stir in a decent spoonful of cocoa and enough icing sugar so it’s still pourable but not really thin).

    I could go on and on and on. Also, I’ve made that Marsala Chicken more than once, so good.

  24. New vegetarian recipe that’s on the menu rotation:
    This is the non-fancy version we’ve come up with: Saute potato gnocchi until brown on one side, remove from pan, add butter and chopped garlic (yeah for bottles of chopped garlic) and a some red pepper flakes. Stir until fragrant and add a container of cherry tomatoes. Let tomatoes burst (and smush with wooden spoon). When it’s jammy, add back gnocchi, generously top with mozzarella (shredded works fine) and put in the oven until cheese is melted. Takes maybe 15 minutes.

  25. Gary and Gin, have you looked into using miso as a seasoning? It does contain an ungodly amount of salt but apparently there’s something in the soybeans that cancels out the effects. Feel free to ignore, I obviously don’t know your individual health circumstances, but I use miso as a salt replacement wherever I can.

    One of my plans for this year is to eat more greens, so I’m falling back on simple sauces like this one until I get enough energy back to actually cook proper food again.

    Spinach Tomato Sauce
    Mince some garlic cloves (I use 4-6) with a sprig or two of fresh oregano and fry in some olive oil with a pinch or two of (Italian, Vietnamese are too hot for this sauce) chilli flakes.
    Chop a large salad tomato and chuck that in when the garlic is cooked but not browned. Fry until the tomato starts to break down into sauce, then tip in some frozen spinach (200g? I don’t really measure) and pour some hot water in to help it defrost.
    Let it stew until the spinach is part of the sauce, then season with a glop of tomato paste and a spoon of white miso (or some salt). If if needs some acidity to lift it a splash of white wine or white wine vinegar works well.

    Also, for anyone who loves Indian food but finds it a bit complicated to make at home, Meera Sodha has a brilliant dal recipe in her book East. I generally double it because it freezes so well.

  26. This is the original recipe for Greek lamb stew but now that we don’t eat red meat I make it with chicken thighs and it works well. A great winter recipe.

    2 lb lamb finely chopped
    8 c water or stock
    1 onion large
    2 celery stalks
    3 tablespoons fresh dill
    4 teaspoons fresh mint
    1 cup rice I use brown
    3 eggs
    Lemon juice—1 or 1 and half lemons
    Heat large heavy pot. Sauté lamb ( if using chicken use olive oil) until well browned and remove with slotted spoon
    Blot with paper towels
    Remove all fat from pan and add 2 tablespoons olive oil
    When hot sauté chopped celery and onion til golden brown
    Return lamb add stock, herbs, rice,salt
    Bring to a boil, Reduce heat, Simmer until rice fully cooked about 20 min -40 for brown
    Just before serving break 2 or 3 eggs into bowl beat well and slowly stir in lemon juice.
    Gradually add two cups hot soup stirring constantly then poor this mixture back into the soup stirring constantly until thickened
    Do not boil
    Serve immediately

    The other recipe I’m longing for these days is cornbread made with buttermilk or sour cream and frozen corn kernels. I will try to find it for this blog .

    1. I favor cornbread that is not sweet. My favorite is 1 part (eg 1 cup) Martha White corn meal mix to 1 part no fat buttermilk. Stir that together and pour into a cast iron slillet that has been generously coated with olive oil. Bake at 350 until done in the center.

  27. I want you all to know that I am grateful for this topic. To save it, I “printed” the page to a PDF file, so I have all your recipes and suggestions. Thanks especially Gin, for Penzey’s. I have occasionally suffered to use DASH, formerly known as Mrs. Dash (a divorce, y’think?), also salt-free seasonings. Jolly Green offers some frozen veggies seasoned with Dash for us heart patients. I will be using some variations of many of the recipes here. 🙂

    1. Well duh. and here I’d been copying them and pasting them into a Word doc. Your way is so much more sensible.

  28. Does anyone have a make-your-own recipe for Old Bay Seasoning? I’ve been using the recipe from Chowhound but suspect there’s something closer to the original.

    My problem with Old Bay Seasoning is that it’s way too salty. I grew up in a salt-substitute family and don’t like the taste of more salt than necessary.

    1. I typed in Low Sodium Old Bay Seasoning and let Google take me away. Followed an ad to Amazon and discovered another world of seasonings. Everything from a “30% reduced sodium Old Bay” to a batch of salt-free substitutes. Some look promising, so I’ve bookmarked this page.

  29. One of my recipes, such as they are, is “poor man’s beef Stroganoff”, which is not at all original with me. I think they used to put this recipe on the label of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

    The difference from theirs is that I use more sour cream and no soup. 🙂 Also, instead of pasta, I serve it on brown rice or konjac noodles.

  30. On a day when you have the spoons, preparing spices is really valuable. The easiest thing for me is to use good whole spices, toast them in dry pan on stovetop and grind them individually in a coffee grinder (mine has never seen coffee, lol).

    Those powders then go on to form the base of everything – roast chicken, roast salmon, roast veggies, curried veggies, stir fried veggies, soups, and even pasta sauces. It’s basically garam masala, but not pre-mixed. Garam means hot, but it is not a pungent chilli-pepper heat but a warming internal heat for digestive fire. Most of these spices are considered “sweet.”

    Star Aniseed.
    Mace (nutmeg husk) or nutmeg itself which is sweeter.

    I omit coriander seeds and bay leaves because some people can’t eat the former and I have a preference for whole dried bay leaves or fresh green bay leaves. I also prefer to omit ginger, caraway, and black pepper as these can be overpowering, either sharp. minty or pungent. I want flavour and not heat or sharpness.

    This recipe is for a mix and is a good one to adapt as it uses weights and cup measures. There are two types, but choose spices based on your preferences.

    I have found that once I make up my spices, cooking becomes adding it to ingredients with water, oil, and some salt! It’s a about 5 or 6 steps to cook anything appetizing. YOU CAN BUY PRE-GROUND POWDERS. Just ensure it is from a reputable/ fast moving store.

    A week later, when you have spoons make this It’s magic. Cubed ice curry sauce that just rocks. Again here, I really struggle with chilli powder so I substitute with 2 or 3 fresh whole green chillies from a mild cultivar! And then I curry everything, chicken, seasonal veggies, and soya based products.

    Fewer steps, the better.

  31. I am also an “eyeball it” cook. If I’m making something new, I usually read several recipes and see what *has* to go in, then figure it out from there.

    I’ve made this potato soup several times this winter and it hasn’t failed me yet (yet being the operative word). I like my potato soup to be just potatoes but you can put in whatever other veggies you like.

    Yukon gold/yellow potatoes, as many as you need. For 2 people plus leftovers I usually use 2 to 2-1/2 pounds but, like I said, eyeball it.

    2L/boxes, I think they are about 16 ounces in the US of boxed broth or home made. Again, this is a use-what-you-have recipe, you can augment with water or just use water if you want but the broth adds flavour. If you are feeding a crowd, you may need more broth.

    Wash then chop the potatoes to a small dice, trying for a nice uniform size. Add salt and pepper to the potatoes to taste/sodium tolerance. I use a small pinch of kosher salt at this point and maybe 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

    I also add garlic powder (1t), onion powder (2t), and some turmeric and paprika some times as well, about 1/2t each.

    Stir the potatoes around so the spices coat.

    Add your liquid and bring to a boil, turn your heat down and let it simmer until the potatoes are done. Do not drain the potatoes, the liquid you cooked them in is your soup broth. If you like chunky potato soup, you can just mash the potatoes with a masher until it’s your desired consistency but I like to take an immersion blender to mine until it’s creamy.

    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Personally, I do not add any dairy products to mine, but you can always add a splash of cream or sour cream.

    I do occasionally like to add a few crumbled pieces of bacon and a little cheese on top but it’s good on its own.

  32. My go-to Sure Thing Comfort Food is actually my Mum’s fruit salad. It isn’t necessarily as virtuous as it sounds since there is the option of adding Grand Marnier and cream…

    Mum’s Fruit Salad (with apologies to Clement Freud – ‘adapted’ from his original)

    1 tin pineapple chunks in juice
    12 glace cherries
    2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur (optional)
    2 apples
    half a melon (I use Honeydew), peeled and de-seeded
    1 tin mandarin oranges in juice (not syrup)

    (original recipe also used a banana, sliced on top as decoration – neither Mum nor I bother with that as it turns dark and unappetising unless the whole thing is eaten in a very short timeframe)

    Tip tin of pineapple, including juice, into serving bowl.
    Add glace cherries, halved or quartered depending on your patience.
    [If using, add Grand Marnier and leave to marinate for half an hour.]
    Add apples, chopped into chunks (peel if desired, I don’t bother).
    Add melon, chopped into chunks.
    Add tin of mandarin oranges, and juice.
    Mix together.
    Chill and serve.

    Original recipe did a sugar syrup to increase the liquid, but I prefer it with straight fruit juice – if it needs more than that provided by the cans I just add a bit of orange or pineapple juice from the bottles of ‘drinking’ juice we usually have in the fridge.

    I like this with cream – it can curdle a bit, but I like it anyway 🙂

    Thinking about it, this is a recipe that we’ve mainly converted from the original by using convenience foods – I believe Clement started by finding a ripe whole pineapple, which Mum and I agreed is nigh impossible over here. Plus all that peeling, coring, and trimming is a phaff, so we went tinned.

    I did once render Mum (nearly) speechless, when she was complaining, sort of, that everyone asked her to make this fruit salad as her contribution to any bring-a-plate event, and she absolutely loathed peeling and slicing the wedges of orange the original recipe asked for – messy, time-consuming, and downright annoying. I responded that I just tipped in a tin of mandarin oranges, and there was a silence, followed by “That’s genius!” And lo, she never used a whole orange again…

  33. Most Wednesdays I make Rustic Clam chowder. There is chopping involved. It is for two senior adults so you might have to up the quantities for larger appetites or more people

    @ 2 cups chicken broth or clam juice. You could use water if you wanted. I have been known to save the water from boiling crabs or shrimp and using that. Bring to a boil. Add
    1 large yellow potato, small dice – about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Add
    1 bay leaf. Simmer until potato is done. At the same time in a medium size sauce pan that you have a lid for, fry

    1/3 to 1/2 pound country sausage, broken up into bite size pieces (can use a small amount of cooked, minced bacon or minced ham- @ 1/3 cup). Discard excess fat from pan. Add to sauté pan

    @ 1/2 cup medium chop onion. Sauté. Add
    1 stalk celery, minced. Sauté for a minute or so. Add sausage-onion mixture to the potatoes.

    While the potatoes are finishing cooking ( it takes me about 20 minutes start to finish depending on the dice of the potato and how hot of simmer), finely chop 3 or 4 stems worth of parsley leaves and 1 or 2 green onions.

    When potatoes are cooked, turn off heat and add
    1 cup of cream

    In the pan you cooked the sausage and onion in, add

    @1/2 to 1 cup dry white wine. Vermouth works in a pinch or you could just use water. You need enough liquid to steam the clams. Just a slight covering on the bottom of the pan. I think the clams are a little more tender steamed in wine or Vermouth. Add

    1 pound small clams. Add parsley and onion over clams. Cover pan with lid. Bring to a boil and cook until clams open. This only takes a few minutes.

    Add the clam mixture to the potatoes. Serve in big bowls topped with a

    pat of butter and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. This is not just decorative – it contributes to the flavor. This is messy to eat, since you need to fish the clams out to remove them from the shells. Have lots of napkins or paper towels.

    I usually serve a green salad and the rest of the white wine I used to steam the clams.

    1. Depending on the clams, this can be salty enough but you need to add pepper if you want it. I will also add a pinch of pepper flakes to the potatoes as they cook.

  34. I’ve been cooking so much more this past year that I could contribute a ton of new favorite recipes! I make these two frequently:

    Chicken with White Beans and Olives
    (I usually substitute pepper flakes for the calabrian peppers because they are hard to get here.) The castel vetrano olives are the BEST but you can use any green olive. It works well with boneless skinless chicken for a lower fat version. As the mood takes me, I add canned artichoke hearts, red bell peppers, more lemon or shallots, etc.

    Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

    1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or equal amount of another fruit like peaches, black berries or raspberries)
    ½ tsp lemon zest
    ½ Tbsp lemon juice
    1 cup sugar, divided
    2 cups flour
    ½ Tbsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
    1 egg
    ¾ tsp vanilla extract
    ¾ c buttermilk
    1 Tbsp turbinado or demerara sugar for sprinkling (optional)

    1. Combine blueberries, lemon zest and juice, and ¼ cup granulated sugar. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until berries start to release their juices, 30-40 min.
    2. Preheat oven to 375. Line 12-15 cup muffin tin(s) with paper liners or parchment; coat with cooking spray.
    3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and remaining granulated sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 min. Beat in eggs, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until just combined. In 2 batches, fold in blueberries and their juices. Spoon into muffin pans, filling just under rim of liners. Top with turbinado sugar.
    4. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

  35. My comfort breakfast is savory oatmeal.

    Cook your oatmeal how you like (I prefer rolled oats but steel cut work fine), only for each 1/2 cup of uncooked oats, add this to the water:
    about 1/2-1 tsp of a mix of oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and ginger

    While it’s cooking, if you want to add some protein, cook up some bacon or ham (cubed) so it’s fairly crisp. Steak works, too. Tofu not so much.

    When it’s just right, pour it into the bowl and add toasted nuts & seeds (sunflower, pecan and pepita are my standard), and top it all off with a bunch of grated parmesan, romano, or other really sharp not-too-melty cheese.

    I know it sounds crazy, but man, is it good. If I’m in a sweet oatmeal mood, I’ll go with toasted pecans and a side bowl of brown sugar. I don’t like my brown sugar melted, so I take a spoonful and dip it into the sugar (or take a wee bit of sugar, then get the oatmeal).

  36. My contribution for a main meal will be Alton Brown’s king salmon recipe.

    Place in food processor
    1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    2 Tbs fresh Lemon Zest
    1.5 tsp. kosher salt
    .5 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    Blend until thoroughly combined.
    Dump on salmon which is on foil lined baking sheet.
    Spread on fish. Pat it on fish.
    Let sit at room temp for 45 min.
    Position rack 3″ from broiler
    Set broiler to highest heat. Wait 2 min.
    Cook until fish is at 131 degrees. approx. 6-8 min and exterior is golden brown.
    let rest for 5-10 min.

    The King Salmon you are spreading the lemon sugar on feeds 4-6 people. So if You are preparing a smaller piece of fish, cut the recipe back.

    Otherwise, for comfort, I like to bake. King Arthur Flour has an amazing collection of recipes for so many baked goods. Their blog is wonderful with photos and step-by-step instructions. They also have a Baker’s helpline. My favorite currently is probably their cinnamon star bread.
    For the filling, I use 3.5 oz sugar, 2 TB cinnamon, and 1 TB butter. Rub all the ingredients together.

    I smother frosting on it while it’s still warm. The frosting recipe is as follows:
    2 oz cream cheese
    1/8th teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter
    1.5 cups powdered sugar

    Blend all ingredients together

    Also look for King Arthur flour’s pumpkin gingerbread with orange glaze. It’s so yummy!

  37. Spinach a l’Oignon

    This recipe caused Grandmother to say “I’ve disliked spinach for ninety years . . . may I have another helping?” It’s almost too simple to be a challenge to a serious cook, but guaranteed never-fail. I make it at Thanksgiving because my cousins request it every year (my mother, on the other hand, preferred buttered carrots with two tablespoons of some interesting liqueur — citrus-based always goes over well — added).

    4 packages frozen chopped spinach
    1 pint sour cream
    1 envelope dry onion soup/dip mix
    Your choice of garnish, as desired

    Mix the dry onion soup mix into the sour cream to create California dip (can be done the day before, which makes this one even easier).
    Heat the spinach. Turn it into a colander or strainer; press as much liquid out as possible. Combine the drained spinach and the sour cream mixture.

    At this point, the spinach may be held, carried to a potluck and reheated just to serving temperature — any more may curdle the sour cream, which will detract from the appearance though not the taste.


    Low-fat sour cream is fine; I haven’t tried this with non-fat, but it should probably work out well, since the onion flavor predominates. Half low-fat and half non-fat should certainly be workable.

    In theory, there’s no reason not to use some other flavor of soup or dip, but most other flavors aren’t as robust as the onion.

    Garnish can be anything you like; I’ve used slices of hard-cooked eggs; a handful of frozen corn, carrots, or mixed vegetables; croutons; cracker crumbs; or onion rings.


    IF you have any left over — I never have, but it’s theoretically possible — it makes an excellent omelet filling, and would probably be okay as an ingredient of spinach quiche.

  38. Comment may have gotten swallowed?

    short version

    mostly easy, awareness of other countries in temperatures and substitution possibilities
    she’s in Australia so summery now but her search function is good too.

    short clear videos and a picture of her dog for every recipe

    I’ve done maybe 10 of hers and they have all come out well without aggravating me. Even recommended the site to the less experienced here at home.

    1. I’ve been reading Nagi’s web recipes these past two days and am SO inspired. It was a little disconcerting at first because she presents the recipes in layers (the quick video overview, how-to and when-to descriptions, and lastly the ingredient measurements) but for a disaster-prone cook like me she tells all–and most helpfully, WHY she does things the way she does (often labelled Pro Tips). I think she’s pretty unique in that. She’s highly readable and fun, and the site and pictures are colorful too. Thanks so much!

  39. I’m not a very good cook, but I love cheese, and can make a decent cheese sauce from scratch. I need to do it that way, as my insides don’t tolerate cowmilk, though luckily goat’s milk is OK and hard cheeses made with cowmilk don’t trigger the runs.
    I too mostly cook (the few things I can cook) by eye, the way I learned them from my mom, so the following amounts are rough indications.
    1 small-household saucepan of sauce takes 1 knob of butter (about 20-25 grams I’d guess), a high-heaped tablespoonfull of flour, and about 1/4 – 1/3 liter of milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Anything from 125 – 300 grams of grated cheese, depending on how much sauce you want to make from this starting point; more cheese needs a bit more milk as well (about 330 instead of 250 ml for the whole 300 grams bag of grated cheese).
    So I make a roux: melt a pat of butter (don’t let it brown! A fairly low heat is better), add a heaping spoonfull of flour and stir till all the flour is coated, add a splash of (goat’s)milk and stir to remove the lumps. Keep adding splashes of milk and stirring, to avoid getting a doughy pancake on the bottom with milk on top. Keep the heat low so the natural sugars in the milk don’t caramelise on the bottom of your saucepan and burn. Keep adding milk until your sauce is smooth and as thick (or thin) as you want it and stops getting a lot thicker fairly quickly after each new splash. Keep stirring regularly, while the flour is slowly cooking in the milk for about 8-10 minutes.
    Once the sauce is smooth and the required density, flavor the sauce with salt and pepper and a bit of nutmeg for bechamel sauce, or turn it into cheese sauce by adding a load of grated cheese and some pepper (and not too much salt, as there is salt in the cheese), and keep it on low heat with occasional stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth again.
    This works with all kinds of cheese, for different tastes: Cheddar, Gouda, goat’s cheese, mozzarella, whatever you like and have in the house. With soft cheeses instead of grated hard cheese, you can just cut the cheese into smallish chunks instead of grating it, as it melts & dissolves easier.

    I tend to cook on the weekend and freeze 3/4 portions, and heat a frozen portion in the microwave on workdays.
    I like pasta, mostly eat vegetarian, and have found that several different kinds of lasagna work well for me to get enough vegetables. I bake a large dish, eat one portion and freeze the other portions in the usual single-serving plastic takeaway boxes that you can wash and reuse many times before their edges or lids break. If you let the remainder cool before scooping it into the takeout box it will keep its shape pretty well.
    I put in 2 1/2 layers of lasagna sheets (=1/2 packet Honig wavy semi-fullwheat which is my favorite), so it’s not too awfully carbohydrate loaded, though the cheese sauce with its butter, flour and milk is definitely not low-calory.
    I try to combine them with healthy vegetable layers in many different combinations, for variation and just because they taste good.

    Some vegetarian examples:
    1) Thawed frozen spinach (half of a 700 gram box), maybe sprinkled with a bit of feta cheese crumbles – lasagna sheet – sauteed mixed mushrooms (shi’itake, sliced portobello, cave mushrooms, whatever you can get; add some flavorings like a bit of thyme and salt) – lasagna sheets – remaining spinach (the other half of the box) – remaining lasagna sheets – cheese sauce (maybe sprinkle it with some pine nuts if you have some spare, or stir in some more feta crumbs of you want to go for bechamel instead of cheese sauce).

    2) Tomato & vegetables sauce* (I make this with a 750 ml. bottle of sieved tomatoes & 2 bags of precut soup vegetables, 700 grams of combined leeks, cauliflowers, carrots, red bell peppers and celery leaf, let it cook while you make the cheese sauce, no added salt as there is some in the sieved tomatoes) – lasagna sheets – cheese sauce – more tomato & vegetables sauce remaining lasagna sheets – cheese sauce.

    * Freeze any leftover tomato & vegetables sauce in single-serving portion bags to eat with spaghetti, serve it with some small gherkins or a spoonfull of little silver pickled onions, and some grated cheese.

    3) Shave 2 medium courgettes into thin slices. Buy a pot or bag of tomato sauce, or make your own (add a small-diced sauteed onion or 1/2 leek and small-diced bell pepper, garlic if you like, and italian seasoning, or at least oregano, or maybe basilicum if you want to make your own). Get slices of hard goat’s cheese.
    Layer tomato sauce, courgette, goats cheese, lasagna, bechamel sauce, courgette, lasagna, tomato sauce, courgette, goat’s cheese, remaining lasagna, bechamel sauce (maybe sprinkle with sesame seeds if you have those).

    4) White & green lasagna with summer vegetables: no tomato sauce, just bechamel- or cheese sauce; if you use bechamel sauce use a layer of sliced mozzarella in the middle, or crumbled white cheese for flavor. End at the top with a layer of cheese sauce or bechamel+crumbled white cheese.
    Blanch the summer vegetables before layering them in the lasagna (i.e. cook them for 2-3 minutes, then drain off the water – for an extra green, less creamy taste you can use the vegetable water instead of (part of) the milk to make your sauce). Use green asparagus tips, a diced courgette, frozen peas, maybe some fresh spinach leaves or chopped sugarsnaps (too many green beans tasted a bit too beany for me, so not my favorite; but then my insides have Opinions about beans, as about so much else…).

    2 non-vegetarian options:
    A) cook a fillet of salmon (+- 300 grams) in the oven at 100°C for half an hour (or a bit higher, as my oven doesn’t go that low) and do the same, in a separate bowl, with a box of sweet cherry tomatoes (150-250 gram), and thaw a 450 gram box of frozen spinach.
    Layers: spinach – lasagna – poached salmon with a bit of bechamel sauce – lasagna – poached tomatoes with a bit of bechamel or white (goat’s) cheese sauce, unless you have enough tomatoes to really fill that whole layer – remaining lasagna – finish with the white (goat’s) cheese sauce, and sprinkle with some pine nuts if you have them. I made this for Christmas dinner for my dad who loves fish, and even my brother decided it was quite tolerable. This is a lot heavier and higher calories than the vegetarian options, as salmon is a fatty fish AND you need the extra sauce for the salmon layer to keep the lasagna sheets as well as the salmon moist!

    B) Prepare a chicken and vegetables mix first in a large and deep frying pan. I can’t eat onion or garlic, so I use a quartered and finely chopped half a leek instead.
    Sautee the leek (or onion) in a pat of butter or squirt of olive oil in your frying pan, add ground chicken, salt and pepper and stir until it’s browned. Add a diced red pointy bell pepper (an ordinary one will do if your store doesn’t have the thinner-walled pointy ones), and a bag of julienned carrots (about 150 grams, cut into matchsticks, from the salad coolers) and let it cook a bit. Add a box of sliced mushrooms (250 grams, preferably the more flavorful brown cave mushrooms) and let them cook until the mushrooms are soft and brown (put on a lid but stir occasionally).
    Add a good spoonful of flour for a binder and stir that in, then add a splash or two of milk or water and stir that a few times so it doesn’t stick to the frying pan, allowing it to cook for a few minutes and start binding so the mass has some sauce to give liquid to the lasagna sheets while they cook.
    Layers: chicken & vegetable mix – lasagna – cheese sauce – lasagna – chicken & vegetable mix – remaining lasagna – cheese sauce.
    This mix is also well with mashed potatoes or macaroni, without the cheese sauce, for a meal a bit lower in fat & calories, except then I tend to use more of the alternative carbohydrates than I do with the lasagna.

    C) Not lasagna, but still based on the same basic cheese sauce: add a small packet of diced ham (125 grams) to the sauce, and it goes very well with potatoes and fresh cooked chicory or cauliflower.

    Even a one-trick-pony sort of cook like me can get quite a bit of variety and different vegetables into my meals this way. I can cook a few other things, but this one basic sauce is by far the most versatile element that I use several times a week.

  40. The cornbread recipe I like can be made in a 9X9 pan or a couple of bread pans. I have a pan that makes triangle shapes which is fun and sone people have corn stick pans.

    Preheat to 425 and butter pans
    Mix 1 cup flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal ( I like stone ground), 4 tblespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Melt 4 oz butter and quickly add along with 1 cup sour cream 1/4 cup milk , and 2 eggs well beaten . I like to add about a half cup of frozen corn kernels. Bake for 20 minutes

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