August 31, 2015

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

When I was a kid, my Mom made two quiches as part of her dinner menu rotation:  a spinach quiche, and a sausage mushroom version.  I loved them both.  And I was going to make one for this week’s Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour blog post and then I realized:  I don’t need a crust!  I can turn my Mom’s quiche recipe into this Sausage Mushroom Frittata, which is just as tasty, saves calories when you don’t include a crust, and cooks up quicker to boot!

You can use any kind of cheese you like.  I think my Mom used Swiss, but my girls don’t like it, so I used Monterey Jack.  You can also mix some cheese into the egg mixture for a richer taste, but I wanted mine to be a lower-calorie meal.  I used bulk breakfast sausage (the kind you get in a tube, by the bacon), but you can use any kind of sausage.  Serve a slice of this frittata hot, with maybe a side salad and a piece of nice bread.  You can also have this for breakfast, of course, with some fruit or toast.  Get crazy – get cooking!

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bulk sausage
  • 8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (or use half and half for a richer taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 or more slices of Swiss or Jack Cheese

Directions:

  1. In an oven-proof skillet, cook the sausage, crumbling it with your spoon as it cooks.  After 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Season them with a little salt – this helps draw the water out of the mushrooms.  Cover and simmer on medium for five minutes.
  2. Lift the lid and let all the water in the pan cook off.  If the pan looks dry, you can add a tiny bit of olive oil or butter and mix that in.  If it looks like the sausage left enough fat to lubricate the pan, go to Step 3.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on the broiler in your oven.
  5. Pour the eggs over the sausage mixture and stir a few times.  When the edges look set, put the cheese on top of the eggs and place the pan in the oven.   Make sure it’s not too close to the broiler!
  6. Broil for about 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on this!  Take it out when things look golden and bubbly.  Slice and serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

It has been quite some time since a packet of that kind of famous ‘Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix’ has been in my pantry!  We have been pursuing this healthy but oh-so-yummy POV for about 3 years now.  But it took a little while ’til I realized that there were quite a few additives in that little packet.  (Have you looked at the list of ingredients?  I suggest you do.)  Nowadays I read the ingredient list as well as the nutrition label on every food item I purchase.

However, there is one person in our little household of 2 who simply loves Ranch Dressing.  He enjoys it on salad, of course, but also as a dip…and as a baked potato topping and as a spread on deli sandwiches.  So I continued to try to find (and purchase!) bottles of prepared dressing that were “better.”  But I have only found 2 that are on the ‘healthier’ end…and they are so expensive!  So I did a tiny bit of research…really less than an hour or so…and found that, for less $ and hardly any time, I could mix up a batch that IS healthy but oh-so-yummy!  happy me…happy hubby!

I suggest you give this a try!  Three tablespoons of this mix = 1 packet of store-bought “ranch dressing” seasoning mix.   Also, click here for a great list of ideas/recipes using Ranch Dressing/Dip!

Down below is a recipe using this mix to make Avocado Ranch dressing…really, really delicious!  And made with only two tablespoons of mayo (or, as I make it, with NO mayo)! Enjoy!

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing/Dip Mix

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ingredients:

1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley + 1 teaspoon extra
1 teaspoon dried dill + 1/2 teaspoon extra
2 teaspoons garlic powder or ground garlic flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder2015-08-24 17.08.11
2 teaspoons dried onion bits
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoons cayenne (optional)

 

directions:

  • for a finely-ground mix, pulse the mixture in a food processor until it is a uniform consistency
  • stir in the extra parsley and dill for texture (or simply whisk all ingredients together until blended)
  • store in a small airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months

Avocado Ranch Dressing

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ingredients:

3 tablespoons homemade ranch dressing mix
1 ripe avocado (peeled and pitted) *KEEP the pit*
1/4 cup 0% fat Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (add milk to adjust consistency)

directions:

  • in a blender or food processor, combine first 6 ingredients; blend until semi-smooth
  • then, in a slow stream, pour in olive oil continuing to blend together
  • then add 1/4 cup of milk or buttermilk (adding more if needed) ‘til desired consistency is reached
  • store in an airtight container in fridge ‘til ready to serve **place the pit into the container, too**
  • stays fresh about 4-5 days in an airtight container

Moo-less Chocolate Pie

moo-less chocolate pie

If you’ve never had tofu before, this Moo-less Chocolate Pie may be the dish to break you in softly.  Soft tofu is a master of disguise, and here it takes the place of dairy and eggs to form a soft custard base.  Serve this to anyone who swears they hate tofu, and see if you can change their mind!

There are dozens of ways you can customize this.  Use a graham cracker crust like I did, or a regular pie crust instead of the chocolate pie crust.  Drizzle with homemade caramel, or serve with strawberries.  Walnuts or pecans would be delicious too, with a light pour of hot fudge.  Or go classic and just serve with whipped cream.

Moo-less Chocolate Pie
(Recipe Courtesy of Alton Brown)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (or use black coffee)
  • 1 block silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 prepared chocolate wafer crust

Directions:

  1. Place a small metal bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water.  Melt the chocolate chips and the coffee liqueur together in the bowl.  Stir in the vanilla.
  2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the jar of a blender or food processor.  Add the tofu and honey and mix until liquified and smooth.
  3. Pour the chocolate-tofu mixture into the pie crust and refrigerate for two hours, or until set.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Broccoli Salad

Summertime get-togethers…how many have you gone to or hosted this summer?  This past weekend we celebrated the 80th birthday of my dad, Jack McElroy—{4 great-grandchildren, 10 grandchildren, 4 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, our stepmom, and a few others who love him}.  Our family loves to pitch in and all contribute to the meal.  But this Broccoli-Craisin Salad always seems to be requested.

Recently, I have tweaked the recipe to include (or NOT include) about half of the mayonnaise I originally have made this with and I <shhhh! not everyone knows!> substituted plain Greek yogurt.  It worked amazingly well…and lowered the calories/fat grams by approximately 650 calories (yes, you read that correctly) and 80 grams of fat.  And added a significant hit (about 10-11 grams) of healthy protein.  And, honestly, you could even further reduce the mayo/increase the yogurt because of all the flavor variations in this salad.

This is a beautiful raw salad, a very healthy but oh-so-yummy addition to the array of delicious salads on the picnic table.  It has a slightly smoky (from the bacon), slightly sweet (from the Craisins and honey), slightly tart (from the vinegar), very mellow taste.  I have had MANY supposed broccoli haters be prompted to try just one tiny taste…only to find they enjoy it and come back for more!  We enjoy this salad all year long!  Hoping that your family enjoys it, too!

Broccoli Salad

ingredients:

2 heads broccoli crowns, cut into tiny florets
1/2 pkg Craisins (dried cranberries)
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2  cup plain Greek yogurt
3-4 tablespoons honey, warmed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup roasted/salted sunflower seeds
freshly ground pepper

directions:

  • in a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, and vinegar; set aside
  • in a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. take liquid mixture and pour over broccoli mixture, tossing gently <go ahead!  use your hands!> to thoroughly coat and massage that  broccoli
  • pour the dressed mixture into a large zip-top bag to go into the fridge.  every once in a while, give the bag a flip-over and a couple of squeezes to spread the yumminess all around
  • when ready to go onto the table, pour the salad out into a serving bowl and top with sunflower seeds and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.
  • easy-peasy!

notes:

–  definitely prepare this at least 4 hours beforehand…up to 24 hours or so

–   the biggest hint I can offer to you for this salad is to cut the broccoli florets as small as you possibly can.  consider this a ‘labor of love’ and, oh, so worth it!  this will make it  MUCH more palatable to have little florets in your mouth as you munch on this salad rather than a big chunk of broccoli!  and the chopping can be done ahead of time, even a day or so, and simply stored in the fridge.  honestly, i have been known to sit in front of the television while doing it!  😉

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

God loves you!    (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat Berry Salad

If you’ve never had wheat berries, you’re in for a treat!  These grains have a delightful chewiness and enough fiber to fill you up.  Combine them with a mild vinaigrette, some fresh vibrant herbs, and a little tangy fruit, and you have the perfect salad.

You may need to search around to find wheat berries, also known as hard winter wheat.  Whole Foods and other health food stores will have them in the bulk section.  They cook up just like any other grain (barley or rice); I actually cooked mine in my rice cooker.  This salad keeps in the fridge for a few days…so have some with dinner, or breakfast, or whenever you like.  Also try subbing out the dried blueberries with raisins, dried cherries, minced dried apricots, dried cranberries – you get the idea.

Wheat Berry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • optional:  a few tablespoons of crumbled feta or goat cheese

Directions:

  1. In a heavy pot with a lid, or in a rice cooker, pour in the wheat berries, as well as two cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. The wheat berries should absorb all the water from the pot.  If not, drain them.  Pour them into a large bowl.  Add the blueberries, parsley, and green onions.  Toss to mix.
  3. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  Taste for seasoning.  Keep  in the fridge until ready to eat.  When serving, you can sprinkle some crumbled feta or goat cheese over the top.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Mango Lassi

This past weekend, my sister and niece were visiting from Minnesota <happy me!>.  On Sunday, rather than cooking another meal together, we decided to treat ourselves to some yummy Indian take-out…yup!  (Actually, Amy “treated” us all!)

So I wanted to add a couple of special beverages and decided on these lovely shakes and a big pitcher of iced sweet&spicy chai tea.  They turned out to add just that extra touch to our smorgasbord (I know, I know…crossing cultures here!) of delightful Indian curries, chickpea salad, lovely appetizers…and, of course, a pile of naan to scoop it all together!  According to Wikipedia, a lassi is a traditional, yogurt-based drink and is popular in India.

Whether you enjoy this beverage to cool yourself on a hot summer’s day or, as we did, to accompany some hot & spicy Indian food—this is refreshing and delicious.  And it fits perfectly into our POV—healthy but oh-so-yummy!  I used a few ripe mangoes as the base for ours, but this would be equally delightful prepared with strawberries, or papaya, or bananas!  Enjoy!

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Mango Lassi

(this makes enough for (4) four tall glassfuls)

ingredients:

2 large mangoes, pitted&peeled – cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sweetened almond milk (or regular milk)
2 tablespoons honey
dash or two of ground cardamom
1 cup ice cubes

directions:

  • place mango and milk into blender; puree
  • add balance of ingredients; blend thoroughly ’til ice is crushed and all is frothy

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Muddy Buddies

… also known as People Puppy Chow.  I really can’t describe for you how delicious and addictive this stuff is.  I first had People Puppy Chow at a friend’s house as a kid, and it was a game changer!  From then on it always showed up at parties and potlucks and is an easy win.

Full disclosure:  I didn’t make this batch.  A friend dropped it off for us, and I’ve had to hide it, because my older girl is allergic to peanut butter, and I didn’t want to salivate over this stuff when she can’t have any.  My days of Muddy Buddies may be limited, but yours don’t have to be.  Make this for the next party / movie night / kids sleepover, and enjoy!

People Puppy Chow

Muddy Buddies / People Puppy Chow

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box of Crispix or Chex cereal
  • 1 box powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla, until smooth and melted.
  2. Empty the box of cereal into the largest bowl you have.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir to completely coat.
  3. In a large paper grocery bag, pour in the powdered sugar, then pour in the coated cereal.  Close up the top and shake and toss to cover the cereal in powdered sugar.
  4. Dump it all out of the bag onto a few baking sheets to cool.  Separate any big clumps.  Try not to eat it all at once!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

 

Shrimp, Pasta and Veggies

During the summer months, I like to have a few healthy but oh-so-yummy meals in the rotation that are quick to prepare, don’t heat up the kitchen (and the cook!), but are still delicious and satisfying.  You, too?  I find the easiest way to accomplish this is to keep the ingredients on hand for these few meals.

This recipe is a good example.  The frozen shrimp is a standard in our freezer (oh…the possibilities!).  Mushrooms and onions are always on hand, too…and any fresh green veggie (broccoli, for example) would work well, too.  Everything else is pretty much a pantry staple.  Be sure to generously season this dish as you go along…and taste just before serving to add more, if needed.  Enjoy!

Shrimp, Pasta and Veggies

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ingredients:

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1# large raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
lemon pepper seasoning
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, then into half moons
2 tablespoons minced garlic, I use jarred
1-1/4 cups chicken broth (I subbed in white wine for 1/4 of broth)
8 ounces dry spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup packed basil, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried basil)
juice from 1/2 lemon

directions:

  • heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat
  • pat shrimp dry then season on both sides with lemon pepper seasoning
  • add to pan,  saute until pink on both sides and just barely cooked through, less than 2 minutes per side; set aside in a separate bowl
  • add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to pan along with mushrooms and onions.  saute ‘til mushrooms are golden brown, 7-8 minutes; then add zucchini and cook ‘til veggies are just turning tender
  • add garlic and season with additional lemon pepper seasoning; stir continually for about 1 minute ‘til garlic is aromatic
  • pour in chicken broth then turn heat up to high and boil ‘til broth has reduced by approximately 1/2
  • meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add spaghetti and cook according to package direction ’til just al dente (spaghetti will cook a bit more in the sauce). drain and set aside
  • once broth has reduced, turn heat to medium low; then add basil, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; stir to combine
  • add pasta and veggies to sauce;  toss to coat the pasta w/ sauce and distribute veggies
  • finally add shrimp and parmesan cheese; toss ‘til combined

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Summer Thai Steak Salad

Thai Salad

There were lots of adjectives to sift through in trying to create a name for this recipe!  ‘Salad’ had to be in there, of course…and ‘Thai,’ too, because of the peanut dressing.  But feel free to use chicken instead of steak, and you can switch out the veggies used to suit your tastes.  This Summer Thai Steak Salad is really flexible!  Ready?  Let’s go!

Summer Thai Steak Salad

(recipe makes two salads)

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or use a little less apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (use grapeseed or olive oil, if you have to)
  • a few handfuls of salad greens
  • 1/2 pound cooked steak or chicken, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 sweet or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
  • other options:  tomatoes, avocado, basil, cilantro, carrots

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend together the peanut butter, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Taste for seasoning – add more sugar, or more vinegar, or whatever you want.  You can even give it a hit of Sriracha if you like!  Set aside.
  2. Wash greens and divide between two really big salad bowls.  Top with diced steak and thinly sliced veggies.
  3. Toss with lots of peanut dressing.
  4. Do a little happy dance in your chair!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Garlicky Green Beans and Pignoli

Who has memories of sitting with their gramma or favorite aunt and snapping green beans?  Such a simple, enjoyable way to accomplish a task that takes time AND have a great conversation.  Oh, and the end result? A big pile of fresh veggies just waiting to be prepared in the simplest of ways.  And truly it didn’t matter whether they were boiled or steamed or roasted (or microwaved…!), they were DELISH!!!  Just remember—only snap the stem end NOT the end with the little tail!  😉

The recipe I am sharing today uses a pile of green beans which have been steamed for just a few minutes. Click here  for a few ways to steam any veggies.  Meanwhile a simple sauce (yet VERY flavorful!) is prepared.  This sauce could also top any variety of fresh veggies…perhaps some broccoli or zucchini or carrots, even. And it all fits nicely within our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV, too! Enjoy!

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Garlicky Green Beans with Pignolis

ingredients:
1# fresh green beans, snapped and rinsed
2 tablespoons butter (or a combo of butter and olive oil)
2 (or more) tablespoons finely minced garlic (I used jarred)
2 ounces pignoli (pine nuts)
sea salt, freshly ground pepper (I used a lemon-pepper blend)
zest and juice of 1 small lemon (optional)

directions:

  • steam the prepped green beans in the manner of your choice
  • in a large skillet, melt the butter/olive oil over a medium-low heat
  • add the garlic and pignoli stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes making sure they do not burn; remove from heat
  • add the cooked, drained green beans and toss together along with a generous amount of salt & pepper (and the optional lemon, if using)

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

  coleen