Friday, June 27, 2008


Or is it two-for? Either way, since I've been a bit absent I'm providing several tasty recipes in one post. That's right! A two-fer (two-for, whatever you prefer)! The hubby and I just came back from a wonderful trip to Key West where we ate and drank and soaked up the sunshine. It was very relaxing and much needed! I thought I'd be so tired from the whirlwind Keys mini vacation to actually cook something, but I wasn't.

Wait! Before I go into that recipe, let me show you the beautiful red chile-infused tequila that I made for our friend's birthday margaritas. These were one of the best margaritas I've had in a long time. I make guava margaritas at home, but using the red chile-infused tequila just gave it that special touch. You can find the very easy recipe here.

The next recipe for you are these tasty Greek flat bread "things" I put together. Instead of grilled chicken (which I've done before) I used chicken meatballs just for a change. They were VERY good and made even better by the accompaniment of homemade tzatzki sauce and feta.

Greek-Style Chicken Meatballs
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves or minced garlic (I usually mince it with a microplane so it's really fine)
1 tsp lemon zest
a couple pinches of salt and pepper
1 small onion cut in wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the ingredients with the ground chicken. On a tin foil lined baking dish, place meat balls about 1 in apart. Place onion wedges between the meatballs. Drizzle it all with olive oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes until meatballs are cooked through and onion wedges are browned.

Homemade Tzatzki Sauce

I make mine with a lot of garlic since I like the bite and heat of the garlic. Use less garlic or even roasted garlic for milder flavor.

1 7 oz tub of Greek yogurt (whole, low fat, or nonfat all work)
2 large cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
2-3 tbsp of fresh chopped dill
salt to taste
Mix it all up and serve! It works great on sandwiches and for a veggie dip too!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another Dessert...

I know I said no more dessert, but this recipe came out so well I just had to share. For the exception of what seems like an endless amount of dessert posts, I do not claim to be a dessert maker. I have only recently been "practicing" my baking and dessert making skills, and thankfully I've been having some mild success. I can't take any of the credit since the recipes that have really turned out best are thanks to my little Gourmet mini paper cookbook. This upside down berry cake was delicious and probably one of the easiest things to make! It would be perfect for a Fourth of July picnic, and you can substitute just about any fruit for the berries.

I used a mixture of blackberries and raspberries.

Just click the link for the recipe. Why retype it when someone has already done the work, right?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Little of This and a Little of That

I'm starting to see a pattern. It's a good pattern. With food costs going up more and more each day (I will not grumble about this here), I've learned to really cut back. My "cut backs" though are not in the way I buy my food. I've always been pretty thrifty and a big label reader- one skill I can say I have out of many I don't. I walk up and down comparing prices and ingredients to get the most bang for my buck. It takes me more than an hour and a half to do my shopping. Anyway, back to my point, my cut backs are how I use my groceries. I've been trying to think outside the box on how to use up every little bit of leftover from various meals that sit inside my fridge. Usually, I would just throw them out after awhile. These days I turn them into meals (see last posting).

I'm forever making tacos in our house. It's easy and cheap. If the leftovers aren't eaten or turned in taco salad (great for lunch the next day), then I turn them into stuffed peppers! These peppers were filling, so only half a pepper per person is needed. It was such a great way to change the pace in our house!

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
for 4 stuffed peppers

This recipe can vary depending on how much leftover you actually have.

2 cups leftover taco meat (we use ground turkey mixed with a can of black beans)
2 cups leftover Spanish rice
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
2 cups (depending on how much leftovers you have and how many peppers you are making) of Monterrey jack cheese (or whatever you have on hand)
1 cup (depending on how much leftovers you have and how many peppers you are making) of good quality salsa
handful of chopped scallions
2 large green (or red) peppers sliced

In a skillet, brown onion and garlic in about tbsp of olive oil. Add leftover taco meat, leftover Spanish rice, and salsa. Heat all the way through. Slice green peppers in half and clean out the seeds and spine on the inside. Spray the outside of the peppers with olive oil and stuff the peppers with the meat and rice mixture. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until green peppers are slightly soft to the touch. Top with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with scallions and a spoonful of sour cream.

Note: You can add just about anything to this mixture- avocados, more beans, any other leftover veggies. It's very versatile!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Back to Business

Okay...I fully admit that I've been lazy this past weekend. Well, really it's been a month of eating lots of pizza and tacos and pasta, then travelling and being sick in between them all. We actually ate a good share of spaghetti and I usually had leftovers sitting around for a few days. Don't get me wrong...leftovers are great! They're especially great when you need to take something to work for lunch each day. What I don't like is eating the same meal again for dinner the next night. I'm high maintenance like that.

So what do you do with leftover spaghetti? Turn it into spaghetti pie! I've seen this recipe done by several Food Network folks. I just combined them all to make this one. It is such a great (and cheap) way to use up leftover pasta!

Leftover Spaghetti Pie

your leftover spaghetti
1 egg, beaten
1-2 cups (depends on how much leftovers you have) of mozzarella cheese and Parm cheese together (or Italian cheese blend)
chopped basil or Italian flat leaf parsley for the top

In a big zip lock bag mix the egg and cheese together with the leftover pasta. Shake around the zip lock to make sure everything is coated. Over medium heat, put in the spaghetti mixture so that it is a flat and rounded pile in a non-stick or very well-oiled (olive oil, of course) large pan. Don't touch it! Let it cook in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bottom is brown and crusty (the cheese and egg will bind it together for you). Then, place a large plate or cutting board over the pan and flip the pan over. The top will now be at the bottom of the plate/ cutting board and the browned part will be at the top. Carefully slide the pie back on to the pan so you can brown the other side (another 10 minutes or so). When it's done put onto a plate, top it with chopped herbs, and cut in slices.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Back in the Kitchen

I have a few recipes to post in the next couple of days. I've been sick and traveling, but now I'm back to my normal life. I know all you five readers out there were wondering what happened ;) Some delicious meals are coming your way- no desserts for a bit, promise!