Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Everyone in our family loves cucumbers.  Our favorite way to have cucumbers is marinated in apple cider vinegar.  I wanted to find a new and easy way to prepare cucumbers and came across this recipe for Sesame Cucumber Salad.  It is from the Carolina Country magazine that my mom gets every month.  

This is now one of our favorite ways to eat cucumbers.  The flavors are well-balanced and they are almost like potato chips, where you can not eat just one.

Sesame Cucumber Salad


1-2 Large cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 Tsp salt
1 Garlic clove, minced
2-3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil (or sesame oil)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper

Place cucumbers in a colander.  Set in the sink and sprinkle with salt, toss.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Rinse and drain well.

In a bowl combine garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, sesame seeds and cayenne.  

Add cucumbers to a bowl and toss with dressing to coat.  

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* Another great ingredient to add would be green onions, sliced.  I did not have any on hand or I would have added them.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Asian Noodle Tofu Stir-Fry

I would have put more on the plate, but this is all that was left!
In the past I have had a hard time cooking tofu in a way that ....well, does not taste like tofu.  I tried some things tonight that really worked.   I thought I would share them with you since I believe they made a huge difference.
  • Drain tofu, slice width-wise, and place paper towels on a plate.  Put tofu on top of paper towels, top again with more paper towels, another plate and something super heavy.  Place in the frig and let the water drain.
  • After about 30 minutes or so, cut into cubes and place in homemade marinade for a few hours.
  • Put 1/2 cup of cornstarch in a plastic bag
  • Remove tofu from marinade and place in plastic bag, seal and shake.
  • Heat oil in pan (I used sesame oil) and add tofu, turning to brown on each side.
Asian Noodle Tofu Stir-Fry


1 1/2 Fresh lime juice (about 3 Tbsp)
8 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
7 1/2 Tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tsp fresh ginger
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 Large onion, sliced
1/2 Large green pepper, sliced
2 Cups julienne carrots
16 oz Extra firm tofu, cut into cubes after draining water - see instructions above
2 Packages ramen noodles (seasoning discarded)
3 Green onions, sliced

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and ginger to make marinade.  Set 1/2 of the marinade aside and use the other half to marinate the tofu cubes (see instructions above).

Add 1/2 cup of cornstarch to a plastic bag, add tofu cubes, close and shake.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add tofu, turning to brown on each side.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in wok or saute pan and add carrots, onions and green pepper.  Cook until soft.  Add any leftover marinade from the tofu marinade to the pan, as well as the other 1/2 of the marinade that was set aside previously.  Cook on low-medium to heat the marinade and allow the vegetables to absorb the flavor of the marinade.

Cook noodles according to package.  Drain the noodles and add to the vegetables.  Stir to combine, add tofu and stir some more.

Top with green onions and serve.

 Verdict: My husband said and I quote "This is so good!"

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Dinner Menu Plan

All three of my local grocery stores had amazing sales this week.  What does that mean for you? More new recipes...yeah!

This week I only have two new recipes that we will be trying, all the rest are true family favorites. My husband is not too excited about one of the recipes I am trying this week because it has tofu.  He is not a fan of tofu and I am convinced I can change his mind this week.

You may notice that we are having Mushroom Quinoa Burgers this week as well.  If you have never tried these burgers you must give them a try, they are simply fantastic!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Monday - Asian Noodle Tofu Stir-Fry with Egg Drop Soup

Tuesday - Chicken Meatball and Greens Soup with Pretzel Rolls

Wednesday - Tuna Cakes, Black- Eyed Peas, and Sesame Cucumber Salad

Thursday - Mushroom Quinoa Burgers, Fries, and Carrot Sticks

Friday - Tacos and Side Salad

Saturday - Leftovers

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bean and Barley Vegetarian Crock Pot Chili

Vegetarian Chili
What a great night it has been!  The whole family loved this Bean and Barley Vegetarian Chili that I created tonight.  Everyone cleaned their bowls, including my four year old who asked me if I would please make it again.  

Bean and Barley Vegetarian Crock Pot Chili


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green pepper, chopped
1 Carrot, shredded
4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
3 Cups Vegetable broth or water
1 Can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 Cup black beans
1 Cup great northern beans
3/4 Cup pearl barley
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Optional toppings: green onions, cheese, sour cream and avocado slices

Heat oil in skillet and add onions, green pepper, and carrots.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and continue cooking for another 30 seconds.

Add chili powder to the vegetables and continue to cook for another minute.  Add just a little of the vegetable broth to the pan to get all the extra bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the vegetables to the crock pot, with the remaining broth and all the last six ingredients.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.

Serve topped with cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream and avocado slices.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Menu Plan

There is nothing better than scoring an amazing deal at the grocery store.  Today I bought Earthbound Organic Romaine Hearts for free.  Actually, I should say the store had a keying error so not only did I get them free, I was also able to use my coupon so they paid me $1.50 to buy the lettuce.  It pays to check your grocery receipts.

Anyway, let's talk about menu planning.  My husband's birthday is Sunday so he requested Chicken Pot Pie for dinner.  Instead of placing the ingredients into a pie crust and having a pie crust on top I think I am going to drop biscuit dough on top and hope he likes it just as much.

Have an outstanding week!

Our Menu Plan

Sunday - Chicken Pot Pie (with biscuit topping) and Fruit

Monday - Bean and Barley Vegetarian Crock Pot Chili with Side Salad

Tuesday - Cabbage Casserole and Chocolate Pudding

Wednesday - Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Fresh Bread

Thursday - Chicken Piccata, Scalloped Potatoes, and Balsamic Green Beans

Friday - Homemade Pizza

Saturday - Leftovers

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hawaiian Turkey Quesadillas

As all of you know I love this food blog called Budget Bytes.  I have never been disappointed with any of the recipes I have tried from this site.

Budget Bytes has a recipe for Hawaiian Ham Quesadillas that I decided to alter based on what I had on hand in our pantry, as well as make just a tad healthier.

Here are my alterations:

Hawaiian Turkey Quesadillas


8 oz Low-fat Cream Cheese (room temperature)
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese 
1 8 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 -1/2 pound of deli turkey, chopped
1 Package of flour tortillas (about 8) - whole wheat would be great, however I only had white on hand

Combine cream cheese, green onions, and mozzarella cheese until combined.  Then add the drained crushed pineapple and deli turkey.

Once combined add some of the mixture to one side of the tortilla (make sure not to put too much because this is very rich.  Fold the other side of the tortilla over and cook in a skillet until both sides are light brown.

Cut and serve!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our Menu Plan

Our house has been without heat for about four days now and I am so thankful that the weather has been unseasonably warm.  Praying for the parts to our furnace to come in tomorrow before the weather returns to normal January temperatures.

Since it was so warm this week I decided not to have the soup I had scheduled, so I will add it to the menu for this week.

Our Menu Plan

Sunday - Hawaiian Turkey and Cheese Quesadillas with Spinach Rice

Monday - Broccoli and Cheese Soup and Fresh Bread

Tuesday - Almond Encrusted Chicken Breasts (recipe coming),  Fresh Pasta Salad, and Fruit

Wednesday - Pesto Chickpea Salad in Pita Bread and Breaded Okra

Thursday - Green Pea Spaghetti Carbonara and Fresh Bread

Friday - Homemade Pizza (maybe Mediterranean Pizza) and Baby Carrots

Saturday - Whole Chicken Pressure Cooked,  Vegetable Medley Pressure Cooked and Pretzel Rolls

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Menu Plan

I am so excited to get back into things.  My focus for this year is to find easy, healthy and delicious side dishes that my family, especially my kids, will eat.

It seems like I always struggle with what to prepare with the main course.  If you have any great healthy side dishes that you would like to share please do so on the comments section of this blog.  New ideas are always welcome here!

Our Dinner Menu Plan

Sunday - Egg Drop Soup, Wontons and Edamame

Monday - Baked Ziti (Vegetarian) with Salad

Tuesday - Chicken and Broccoli in Peanut Sauce over Rice

Wednesday - Beef and Cheese Enchiladas (I baked my corn tortillas instead of frying them and I used queso mexican cheese) with Side of Green Beans

Thursday - Turkey Flatbread with Pesto Mayo (a little goes a long way), Smile Fries, and Baby Carrots

Friday - Broccoli and Cheese Soup with Fresh Bread

Saturday - Leftovers

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Foods I Would Like To Try In 2013

2013 Food Calendar

Sorry I have not been writing on this blog lately, but things at the end of last year were pretty crazy.  I have a dear friend who encouraged me to find the time to post more recipes and meal plans so here I am. 

While incorporating some of our family favorites into the menu plan for the weeks to come I have also found some other new recipes that I can not wait to try this year.  I hope to add even more throughout the year.

Here is a short list of some of them: 

  • Spaghetti with Bok Choy and Poached Egg
  • Miso-Vegetable Soup
  • Cauliflower- Cheese Soup
  • Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Tomatoes and White Beans
  • Dragon Noodles
  • Pesto Chickpea Salad on Pita
  • Vegan Red Lentil Stew
Meat Recipes:
  • Chicken Meatball and Kale Soup
  • Chicken Potpie (Healthier version)
  • Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara
  • Slow-Cooker Pork Cacciatore
  • Beef- Orzo Soup
  • Ginger-Plum Chicken Thighs
  • Cabbage Enchilada with Chicken
  • Turkey and Cheese Flatbread with Pesto Mayo
  • Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Chicken in Peanut Sauce
  • Soy Dijon Pork Tenderloin
  • Chicken Piccatta
  • Hawaiian Ham Quesadillas
Side Dish Recipes:
  • Black-Eyed Pea Casserole
  • Sesame Cucumber Salad
  • Cheesy Zucchini Rice Casserole
  • Lighter Version of Corn Pudding
  • Japanese Salad
  • Lemony-Garlic Spinach
  • Italian-Style Cauliflower
  • Parmesan Swiss Chard
  • Sesame Soy Asparagus
  • Pesto Asparagus
  • Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad
  • Mac n Cheese with Butternut Squash 
  • Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad
  • Lemon Pudding Cakes
  • Carrot Snack Cakes
  • Chocolate Coconut Granola
  • Crock Pot Carmel Apples
  • Lemon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote
  • Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits
  • Applesauce Carrot Cake
  • Peanut Fruit Salad
  • Fruit Pizza

I will try and post the new recipes on this site or a link to any originals that I do not change.

Happy 2013!