Archive for the ‘Recipe Box’ Category

cucumberPhoto by Nick Atkins Photography 

Set for a Sizzling Summer with Easy Summer Dressing!

At the ladies retreat each year they make the most scrumptious salad. I think it is partially why I attend the retreat! LOL. The dressing is simple and I have found it works great on a variety of salads! And Summer is the time For Salads

The Multi-Purpose Dressing:

  • 1 Cup of Mayonnaise (we’re working on making our own but we’re not there yet)
  • 2 TBSP Vinegar
  • 2TBSP Sugar
  • 2TBSP Poppy Seeds

Just mix all the ingredients together. Easy! You can make a double batch and keep in the fridge for a couple weeks. It means easy side salads for dinners!

Spinach Salad:

  • Spinach (6-8 cups)
  • Strawberries (mandarin oranges or whatever is seasonal; about 2 cups)
  • Slivered Almonds (1 cup)
  • White Sugar (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
  1. Wash spinach and let drain
  2. Slice fruit into bite-sized pieces
  3. Put almonds and sugar into frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is caramelized and almonds are browned. Set on wax paper to cool. When cool break apart into bite-sized pieces. Try not to eat them all before they make it into the salad!
  4. Mix dressing and toss all ingredients right before serving!

Cucumber Salad

Slice desired amount of cucumbers thinly. Add desired amount of dressing. So simple, fresh and summery!


Shred red cabbage, green cabbage and carrots. Add desired amount of dressing and let sit to soften.

Do you have a great summer salad dressing or salad recipe? Love to hear it!!


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Well, this week’s URS theme works out well for me since I actually happened to take photo’s of our meal from our anniversary last week. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of our cooked meal…oopsies!

Anyway, our meal was very easy to put together and in no way healthy or frugal. But it sure was yummy!

We had a porterhouse steak from Strodes but any steak can be done the same way; let it come to room temperature, salt, pepper and a little olive oil and grilled over high heat on a charcoal BBQ.

For the shrimp, we purchased frozen ones on sale (hey, there you go, a little frugalness!). We thawed them, grilled them and then immediately soaked them in melted butter. MMM.




For the cake…I almost hate to admit this because I really do all of our baking from scratch…except this! With the cost of coco it is actually cheaper for me to make a chocolate cake with Betty Crocker (on sale) than it is for me to use raw ingredients! I simply make a box cake mix in two circle pans, and let them cool. I whip up whip cream and add a little icing sugar. I slice up berries (any kind but we like strawberries best!) and put them in the middle with a layer of whip cream and then ice the top with the cream and berries. It is best to sit overnight in the fridge to let the inside berries soften but it is not necessary. This is one of Scott’s favorite cakes…and he has a very discerning palette so when he likes something, I know it must be good!


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This week we have a guest post from a wonderful man, my husband, Scott! He is far more adventurous than I when it comes to making things like this from scratch. Though he has had a few things that…umm..maybe weren’t so great, the bulk of his attempts turn out fantastic. Yogurt is one of them!

“ My daughter loves Yop, the yoghourt drink.  It’s pretty pricy for the minuscule bottle, so I checked the ingredients and found skim milk, sugar, vanilla, active bacteria and some other stuff.  Since this sounded like skim milk yoghourt with sugar and vanilla I decided to make my own by mixing these ingredients with enough milk to make it look like a thin milkshake.

She didn’t seem to mind the changeup but I was still a little price sensitive and thought to make my own yoghourt and then I’m really just using my own raw ingredients.  I described the plan to my wife and she took it the same way she does all my raw ingredient experiments: not saying much and I believe not expecting much.

Searching the web for recipes and techniques proved to be enlightening: yoghourt (or yogurt or yoghurt) is dead easy.  You need any kind of milk, a large pot, thermometer, a small amount of yoghourt and sterilized containers.

I had a box of mason jars in the garage so I measured them up (1 gallon each) and boiled two in my large pot for ten minutes then left them to dry.  I then poured two gallons of 3.25% fat milk (a little under two litres) into the pot and set it on medium high heat, checking for 195 degrees F.  When it reached that I took it off the heat and watched until it dropped to 115 degrees F and then poured it into the two mason jars.  Next I added a big tablespoon of yoghourt to each jar, stirred it up and sealed the jars.

From here the milk and yoghourt mixture needs to ferment so there were a few suggestions: put the jars in the oven with the light on or wrap in towels and put in a cooler.  Either method recommended 8-12 hours of fermentation so I went with the oven since it seemed easier and we weren’t using it.

The next morning I took the jars out and had a nice consistently of home made yoghourt: not too thick or thin.  For eating and sauces I would like a firmer yoghourt so I could add whole milk powder before the yoghourt or just strain out the yoghourt.  For my daughter’s drinking pleasure I still need to add milk but it just feels great knowing I made that, all by myself (and twenty or so websites I read first).”

For more of his fabulous tips, check out his blog eBabble!

Wednesday WFM


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tortillaPhoto by hummingrow 

There is something terribly appealing about making your own food; knowing exactly what you’re eating! My husband jumped on this bandwagon first and I (a little unwillingly at times) joined him!

Mexican is the theme for the week at URS and here is my contribution:

Handmade Corn Tortillas

  • 2 Cups Masa Harina (more as needed)
  • 1/4tsp table salt
  • 1 1/4 Warm Water
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the masa harina and salt with the water.
  2. Mix and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and homogenous. It should be soft, not sticky (think play doh!) If needed, add more water or masa harina to adjust to the right texture.
  3. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  4. Cut two squares of plastic to fit the plates of a tortilla press or you can roll out your own!
  5. Set a large flat griddle on the stove straddling two burners. Turn one burner on medium low and one on medium high (you can use two frying pans if you don’t have a large griddle).
  6. Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough and use the press to or roll out to make the tortilla approx 1/16 inch thick. If dough breaks it is too dry and if it sticks it is too wet.
  7. Cook on the low side of the griddle for 15 to 20 seconds until the tortilla loosens from the griddle then flip it to the hot side for another 20 seconds to brown in spots.
  8. Immediately wrap in a clean, dry cloth and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  9. The scent alone will make your mouth water! Top with your favorite toppings 🙂


  • I must give credit where credit is due – I haven’t actually made these *gasp*. My husband has many times. I did eat them though so I think that entitles me to use the recipe. LOL! Scott blogs here.
  • We use a tortilla press but you can roll it out – it’s just a little slower and less consistent.
  • They keep well in the freezer for a month+/-. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat before using.
  • They do taste much different than your store bought flour tortillas!


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mmm…Easy Baked Pasta

Well I am still in search of the perfect baked pasta…but this is my pretty-close recipe based on a scalloped potato recipe of all things!
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Cups Scalded Milk
  1. Melt butter in saucepan and slowly blend in flour, sale and pepper. Gradually add hot milk and stir constantly until it thickens.
  2. Melt in grated cheese if desired.
  3. Boil pasta until just before done, take out and put in oval dish and mix in the sauce. Sprinkle with a little bit of breadcrumbs and some Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes. If necessary, put under the broiler for the last minute to crisp up the top.


  1. Wash and Peel 6-7 medium potatoes. Slice thinly. Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a buttered dish (we actually use several individual dishes). Sprinkle with 1/2 a chopped medium onion.
  2. Same as step one above for the sauce. Pour 1/3 of the sauce over the potatoes
  3. Cover another layer with potatoes and remaining onions and 1/2 the remaining sauce.
  4. Place remaining potatoes on top and cover with remaining sauce. Make sure all exposed potatoes have sauce spread on them.
  5. Bake uncovered at 375 deg for 1 hour or until done and lightly browned on top.


Make extra sauce so that you have have the potatoes one night and the pasta the next!

This scalloped potato recipe is compliments of my Aunty Pat. She impressed me with it last summer when we went to visit her and was kind enough to share it. The sauce is so basic, versatile and produce great results every time!
I’d welcome any suggestions or new recipes for baked pasta! It is something we love and I have not yet found the perfect recipe.

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mmm…Delicious Cookies

Delicious Cookies
(thanks mom!)

Heat Oven to 375 deg.

Mix Together:
  • 1 Cup butter or margarine
  • 1 Cup brown Sugar (You can use a little less!)
  • 1 Cup white Sugar (You can use a little less here too)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract (optional)

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut (optional)
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cereal (rice crispies, muslix or whatever – optional)*
  • 1/2 cup bran or wheat germ (optional)
  • *I usually add 2 extra cups of oats rather than the cereal. I like oats*
Drop onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 deg for approx 12 min (though in my oven they are done in exactly 8 minutes).

I love this recipe simply because it is such a basic recipe and I can throw in a little of this and a little of that. I sort of clean out my pantry leftovers into it. Sometimes I add raisins or sunflower seeds too….and they are soooo yummy! (and you can make them healthy!)

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This week’s focus is Holiday Main Dishes. As you may have gathered if you’ve spent any time reading my blog, I was domestically challenged when we got married. I am slowly learning but for the first couple years of our marriage, my husband did all of the cooking. It has only been in the last year that I am slowly taking over during the week. My husband loves to cook so weekends are still his to create his culinary masterpieces. Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t really have any holiday mains to share unless it encompasses holiday sides as I have yet to cook a holiday main dish. My chef husband always does it and I sous-chef.

The ultimate holiday dish for me (being the veggie lover that I am) is Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Growing up we always ate steamed brussel sprouts at every holiday meal but rarely in between. After watching a cooking show about a year ago, we stepped it up. While I always have loved them – they take on a whole new taste like this! The ultimate brussel sprouts are as follows:

Steamed, then Pan-Fried
Cut your sprouts in half and steam until almost done. While they are steaming, fry up some shallot (or onion) and a little bacon in a pan. When your sprouts are almost done, toss them into the pan with the bacon and let them crisp up. Mmm.

Half them, spread them cut side down on the baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and roast for 35+/- minutes. They will get crispy and yummy!

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