Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

St. Patrick’s Day Non-Authentic Irish Traditions & Pistachio Pudding Cookies

I have a mixed European ancestry. My ancestors from Ireland arrived in the United States a long ass time ago. My  Irish American immigrant ancestor had a child born in 1758 in Virginia.  On St. Patrick’s Day my family so long removed from Ireland  always ate corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. We usually had some green gelatin dessert.
I’ve read two articles today about how  St. Patrick’s Day  food traditions in the US changed from traditions in Ireland. It is interesting to find out about why we do these things. Corned beef is delicious so I don’t really need a historical reason or a holiday to eat it. I’m sure whatever people are eating today in Ireland is awesome too.
Today I absolutely have my corned beef in the slow cooker and I am going to make pistachio pudding cookies for our dessert. The pistachio pudding adds a little green. The cookie is not Irish or a particular holiday tradition but has a tasty memory attached.

When I was young my parents would take us all to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin… really we would descend on their peaceful home in a noisy herd. We would read my cousin’s comic books and play on his tire swing. We didn’t have these things at home. My aunt would often bake soft, buttery vanilla pudding cookies on these occasions for us. My mom never made these kind of cookies. I have great memories of the treat of these cookies all warm from the oven. My aunt sadly died of cancer when I was a sophomore in high school but years later when we made a family cookbook we all agreed to the inclusion of Aunt Bev’s pudding cookie recipe. I’m sure she got it from a newspaper, magazine or pudding box but it was still HER recipe. It is a favorite cookie of my daughter now too. You can use any instant pudding flavor you like and add things like chocolate chips. It is fun to experiment with different flavors.


Pistachio Pudding Cookies
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
3.4 oz box pistachio instant pudding
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix flour and baking soda in one bowl. In separate bowl, beat butter, sugars and instant pudding until combined. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until combined. Drop by the spoonful onto baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake 8 -10 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on the baking sheet. These cookies stay soft. Store in a tightly sealed container. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

These turned out to have a very pale greenish cast and subtle flavor. I added a bit of green tea powder to the last batch and it made the cookie a little darker and stronger flavor than just pistachio alone.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

From my home to yours,

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Simple And Frugal Mujadarra

This is a great tasting dish for a low budget. You need just lentils, onions, rice and a few spices. Everything is easy to get and keep around. It is super filling and is not high calorie. It is not fast food. It takes time to cook the onions. is the recipe I have used as the basis for mine. There are many mujadarra recipes on the internet with slight differences. I increased the seasonings a bit and added a dash of cinnamon to mine. Delicious!
We have packed this in lunches. It is good reheated or cold. It is great with a simple salad.


3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
3 yellow onions, cut into quarter slices
1/3 cup olive oil (I have used peanut oil so if you don’t have olive oil use what you have)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
Dash of cinnamon, optional


Cook rice in water following package directions. Set to the side. ( I cook this while I am cooking the lentils. If you have leftover cooked rice you could use it.)

Rinse lentils, then place in heavy pot with about 1 quart water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let lentils simmer  uncovered until they are soft- about 20-30 minutes. When lentils are cooked, cover and let them absorb any leftover water.
While lentils cook, chop onions. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until deeply browned and caramelized.
When onions are browned, remove half the onions to drain on a paper towel to crisp if you want. I don’t bother with this.  Stir 1/4 tsp cumin into the onions in the pan and cook 1-2 minutes.
Combine drained lentils with the onions in a pan. Season the cooked lentils and onions with salt, black pepper and cinnamon if you like and cook 1-2 minutes to blend flavors.
Mix cooked rice into the lentils and caramelized onions, heating for a minute or two if the rice is not hot. Top with crispy caramelized onions if you want. Serves 4.

Give this dish a try!

From my home to yours,


Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole & Game Night

Several months ago I went looking for chicken casserole recipes on Pinterest. I found this great recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Since it uses pre-cooked chicken it is a great way to use leftover chicken.  On Monday I had cooked a bunch of chicken in the slow cooker to use in three planned dinners this week and this is the last one. The most time consuming part of the preparation is the sauce and then after that you pop it in the oven and go on your merry way for 45 minutes.  I used the time to exercise.

I did some math and made half of this recipe for about 4-6 servings. ( I do the most math when I cook it seems.)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 1/2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
4 thin sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
2 oz thin sliced baby Swiss cheese

For the sauce:
2 T  butter
2 T  flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 T milk
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 teaspoons pepper

For the topping:
3 T butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an  8″ x 8″ baking dish.
2) Layer cooked shredded or cubed chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Chop the ham and put it on top of the chicken. Layer the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.
For the sauce:
3) Melt the butter in a  pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour until smooth. Do not brown! Once smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce over the casserole and spread to edges.
For the topping:
4) Melt the butter. Stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the casserole.
5) Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.


It tastes great and is filling!

A handy site for converting all kinds of measurements-

Tonight was game night at our house. We played Gears of War: the board game. It is a cooperative game (which we love) and can be played by 1-4 players. Our team emerged victorious (barely). It was the first time Amethesto and I had played this so Hagbard had to patiently explain everything to us. Neat game!

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Lounmoun’s Picks

Here are some things I like this week.

The JV Club with Janet Varney- episode 18 Maria Bamford
I felt very moved by this episode and their open conversation of their mental health issues. Free to listen to.

Native American Seed
Last year we got a Bee Happy wildflower seed mix and it was great. This year we plan to get one of their Sustain the Migration kits.


From our wildflower garden last year.

The Slayers anime-
Amethesto read my blog and saw me mention this show and wanted to see it. You can watch it for free online so we’ve been enjoying that together this week.

Open Library
I read books from Open Library all the time. It is free and they have all sorts of books- from children’s books, textbooks, romances, catalogs and even cookbooks. No library card required. Read something!

It’s Friday, the sun is shining and I’m wishing everyone a great weekend!

From my home to yours,

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Oyakodon is a Japanese dish of chicken and egg simmered in a dashi stock served over a bowl of rice. It is not complicated to make. I used this recipe->

4 cups steamed rice
3/4 lb chicken thighs or chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 2/3 cups dashi soup stock
7 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp sugar
4 eggs
nori dried seaweed *optional

Put dashi soup stock in a large skillet and put on medium heat. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in the soup. Put chicken and simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Add onion slices and simmer for a few more minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Bring the soup to a boil, and pour the eggs over chicken and onion. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. After about one minute, turn off the heat.

Serve steamed rice into individual deep bowls, then serve simmered chicken and egg on top of the rice. Sprinkle strips of dried nori on top if you would like.

Since I live in a small town in Kansas, I ordered a jar of Hon-Dashi bonito fish stock granules off the internet. There were no instructions on my bottle on how to use it which was kind of curious and irritating. I found a ratio of 1/2 tsp to 2/3 c water on the internet and went with that.

Amethesto opted out of eating this. She complained about it having a strong fishy smell.
Hagbard had two bowls of it and thought it was great.
I wanted to like it but I couldn’t even eat half of my serving. It was super salty from all the soy sauce. I started feeling unwell at dinner so it just wasn’t appealing to me.
I’ve looked at other recipes now that use just 1-2 T of soy sauce and I bet that would be more pleasant. So if you use this particular recipe I’d recommend using less soy sauce.

From my home to yours,

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Black Bean, Chicken & Spinach Taquitos

I have two recipes for my taquito inspiration today.

Black Bean Baked Empanadas & Spanish Rice

Black Bean, Chicken & Spinach Taquitos

  • 6 oz cooked chicken, shredded
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz baby spnach, chopped
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 c salsa
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10-12 tortillas 8″
  • cooking spray or melted butter

Heat oven to 350°F.  Mix filling together. Spoon 1/4 to 1/2 c of filling onto one edge of tortilla. Roll up tightly and place seam side down on baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray or brush with butter. Bake 5-10 minutes, turn over and bake 5-10 minutes or until crispy. Serve with sour cream and salsa if you like.

Makes 3-4 servings

Mistakes I made: #1 I completely forgot to add the salt. They tasted good without it to all of us so you might want to just leave it out. #2 I set the oven to 450°F initially. The taquitos got pretty brown on the edges after just 10 minutes.

If you wanted to make it spicier you could add red pepper flakes or chopped jalepeno peppers. You could try it with Monterrey jack cheese also.

Verdict: Pretty good.

Hagbard: “How is your taquito?”

Amethesto: ” It’s okay I guess.”

High praise from Amethesto.

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Another Oatmeal Cookie

Amethesto wanted cookies this week so I asked if we should buy some or make them. The answer was a resounding vote for making cookies. She wanted chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Hagbard wanted butterscotch chips in the cookies. So we decided to do some of both.
I have a confusing amount of oatmeal cookie recipes including pumpkin oatmeal and Snorlax’s chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (from Amethesto’s hardcore Pokemon phase). The Quaker Oats container had a recipe under the lid so I decided to just try that and replace raisins with the chips.
After mixing up the dough, I divided it into two bowls and stirred the different flavored chips into each bowl. I got  3 dozen cookies that are about 2″ to 2 1/2″ across from this recipe.
The cookies seem crisp and I really noticed the cinnamon. I think my preference is the butterscotch chips. Amethesto snagged a couple of the chocolate chip and went away so I guess they may really be vanishing cookies.
Here is a bad picture of cookie making:


From my home to yours,

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“Hey there! It’s me.”- Spring

A present from my home to yours.


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Chicken Caesar Sandwich for One

I have seen slow cooker chicken Caesar sandwich recipes floating around Pinterest and blogs. It looked tasty to Hagbard and me for a quick dinner or lunch. Amethesto does not want to try it at all so she is having a plain chicken sandwich.
Basically you will need some cooked chicken to start with. You can slow cook the chicken like they do in the other recipes but if you don’t have a slow cooker you could also just boil/bake some chicken, use leftover chicken or buy a precooked chicken from the deli and use that.
For a 4-6 serving recipe version using a slow cooker try this->
I’m going to give you the ingredient list for my faster version with one sandwich. I added a bit less parmesan cheese and dressing to my mixture than the other recipes would have you do because I am watching calories. I used baby spinach instead of romaine lettuce for more of a nutritional punch. I had it all on a warm crusty ciabatta roll.

Chicken Caesar Sandwich for One
3 oz cooked shredded chicken
2 T Caesar salad dressing
1 1/2 tsp parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dry parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
Lettuce or baby spinach (about 20g)
Bun or roll (58-85 g)

Mix chicken, salad dressing, parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper. Heat in pan on stove over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Put mixture on bun with lettuce or baby spinach.

Verdict: This is a keeper!
Hagbard- “This tastes like Caesar salad.”
Loumoun- “It is supposed to so that’s good I guess. Do you hate Caesar salad?”
Hagbard- “No, it’s fine.”
Lounmoun-  “Is there anything you would change?”
Habard- “The only thing I might add is some bacon. It is pretty flavorful and tasty as it is though. I would eat it again.”

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Dinners This Week: 3/7 to 3/13

This week’s dinner menu includes:
Chicken cordon bleu casserole
Chicken and spinach taquitos
Sesame chicken, vegetables
Ravioli, salad
Chicken Caeser sandwiches

The three underlined meals use pre-cooked chicken so I am cooking a mixture of boneless thighs and breasts in my slow cooker today. I will shred the meat and portion it into baggies.  These recipes would also be fine with leftover chicken or  you could buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli and use that to save time.

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