Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Fun Food For Kids

Years ago a young Amethesto received a book titled Silly Snacks: Family Fun in the Kitchen.
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It had been forgotten on the shelf for quite awhile but she was flipping through it recently and wanted to try the “bugs and grubs” recipe. Sounds pretty gross but it is really just cocktail sausages wrapped in dough with pretzels stuck in for legs. Whew!
This would be great for young bug enthusiasts, nature themed parties or homeschool units, or even Halloween. It is simple so kids can help out easily.
My plan was to make a batch of crescent roll dough but a migraine struck me and I was not up to doing anything for quite awhile today. Just opening and closing my eyes hurt so no way was I making dough! Hagbard ran to the store and bought 2 cans of crescent roll dough- 16 oz of dough if you are making your own.
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Grubs and Bugs
12 oz cocktail sausages (32 links)
2 cans crescent roll dough (8 oz each)
Thin pretzel sticks

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheet.
Cut triangles in half. Roll sausage up in dough triangle. Place on baking sheet.
For bugs- break pretzel sticks in half and insert 3 on each side of body for legs.
Bake 11-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 32 bugs and/or grubs.

We are having these with baked beans (bug eggs?), salad and fruit.

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Beans: Ham & Bean Soup, Tomato Bean Salad

I have two bean recipes to share today.

The first is a great simple salad with tomatoes, red onion, and chickpeas. This is great for summer potlucks and using tomatoes from the garden.  The recipe comes from the Taste of Home magazine years ago. http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cathy-s-tomato-bean-salad

Tomato Bean Salad

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced thick

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 can (6 ounces) medium pitted ripe olives, drained and halved

1/2 cup olive oil

5 to 6 large fresh basil leaves, snipped or 1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt to taste

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill 3 hours or overnight. Serve cold.

When I make this salad I just chop the onion and cut the tomato smaller instead of having big slices. You can do whatever you prefer. Today I used kalamati olives. We had this for lunch today accompanying chicken breast.

My second bean recipe is for the slow cooker. I combined 2 recipes. They are both good as they are but I think they are better together. The slow cooker is great for beans and great for not heating up your kitchen on a warm day.

http://www.food.com/recipe/crock-pot-ham-and-beans-96347

http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/09/slow-cooker-white-bean-soup/

Slow Cooker Ham And Bean Soup

1 lb dry white beans (Great Northern or Navy)

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 lb cubed ham

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dry rosemary

1/2 tsp dry thyme

1/2 tsp paprika

1 T parsley, chopped

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp paprika

1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt

5-6 cups water

Rinse and soak beans overnight. Drain.

Put beans and other ingredients in slow cooker.  Add enough water to cover- about 6 cups. Cook on low 8 hours or until the beans are tender. Mash some beans to thicken soup if you like.

If you want to use already cooked/canned beans- increase the amount of beans. Add enough water to cover. Drain and rinse canned beans before using.

1 pound dried beans = about 7 cups cooked beans

Use 4  (15 oz) cans of beans to equal 1 lb of dry beans

 

 

 

 

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Thai Chicken Pizza

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My basic pizza crust recipe comes from allrecipes.com. I’ve been using it for 15 years now. My preference is to use 1 tsp honey instead of white sugar and I let it rise for 1 hour. I divided it in half to make 2 thin crust pizzas about 10″-12″ across. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/20171/quick-and-easy-pizza-crust/

Hagbard and I have been talking about trying different pizzas. Once upon a time he had a Thai chicken pizza at a restaurant far away. I found some recipes through Pinterest but none seemed exactly right to him. He said absolutely not to carrots on pizza but maybe to bean sprouts or zucchini. I was unable to get bean sprouts so I used my spiralizer device to make zucchini noodles (zoodles) and put some of those on the pizza. I had some leftover grilled chicken. I found jarred sweet chili sauce and peanut sauce at my local store. The amounts I am giving are for 1 medium pizza.

Inspiration recipes:
http://www.cookincanuck.com/2012/07/thai-chicken-naan-pizza-recipe-with-peanut-sauce-red-pepper-carrots/
http://www.carlsbadcravings.com/25-minute-thai-chicken-flatbread-pizza/
http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/thin-crust-thai-chicken-pizza-like-papa-murphys/200673

Thai Chicken Pizza
Sauce:
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 c sweet chili sauce
1/4 c peanut sauce

Toppings:
3 oz cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 c zucchini noodles- cut into about 4″ pieces
1/4 c slices green onion
1 c shredded mozzarella
1 T crushed peanuts

Preheat oven to 425°F.
If you are using pizza stone put it in the oven to warm for 10 minutes.
Prepare pizza dough and roll out to about 12″ circle. Transfer dough onto warm pizza stone. Mix together sauce ingredients and spread on raw dough. Sprinkle with cheese and other toppings. Bake about 15 minutes.

Verdict: Somewhat spicy but not too spicy. Different but tasty. Hagbard said it was pretty close to what he had before. He experimented with putting some bbq sauce on a piece and really liked that combination. I think one recipe used a coconut sauce drizzle on top of the cooked pizza and that might be fun to try in future.

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Sausage Stuffed Potatoes

A couple of years ago Hagbard decided to try beer making. He got a kit from Midwest Brewing Supply. It was fun to try but we aren’t really drinkers so we have boxes of bottled beer. I want to use some up so I went looking for recipes that use beer. I found a recipe for Oktoberfest Potato Skins that also used sauerkraut. I also had excess sauerkraut that needs to be used so this seems like a great idea.
I searched the dairy and deli section of my local store. My local small town store does not have gruyere cheese. They did have one big block of white cheddar cheese so I triumphantly grabbed that. That was the only difficult ingredient for me to obtain.
I don’t remember what kind of beer Hagbard made and it wasn’t labeled. Just use whatever beer you like I guess.
In the original recipe you are instructed to scoop out the potatoes and discard that or use it for something else. That seemed ridiculous to me so I just mashed the potato and mixed it with the filling.

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Sausage Stuffed Potatoes
4 russet potatoes
2 T cooking oil like canola or peanut
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bratwurst sausages, cut into circles
1 onion, sliced thinly
1/2 c beer
2 T butter
1 c shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 c sauerkraut

Heat oven to 350°F.
Wash and dry potatoes. Poke a few holes. Spray with cooking spray or rub with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
While potatoes are baking heat 2 T oil over medium heat. Add bratwurst slices and brown 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and chop into smaller pieces and set aside. Add onions to pan and cook 20-25 minutes stirring frequently.
Add chopped bratwurst pieces back to pan along with beer, sauerkraut, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until slightly thickened. Set aside.
Cut potatoes in halves. Scoop out flesh leaving 1/4- 1/2″ border. Place skins in baking dish and brush with some butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Mash potato flesh with 1-2 T butter and mix with sausage mixture and half of the shredded cheese.
Fill each potato half heaping full with the mixture. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. 3-4 servings.

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Verdict:
Hagbard and I really liked these potatoes. Lots of good flavors and very filling. Amethesto did not join us for dinner. I don’t think she would try this because so many things are mixed together.

One bottle emptied… now to find more recipes that use beer!

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Slow Cooker Black Bean & Rice Soup

This week I made black bean and rice soup in my slow cooker. I found two similar recipes for inspiration.
http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/07/slow-cooker-black-bean-soup/
http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2006/12/black-bean-and-rice-soup-with-lime-and.html

Slow Cooker Black Bean & Rice Soup
2 cans (30 oz) black beans, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 c salsa
3 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
1 T chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 c long grain white rice
1/4 c lime juice
Put beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, salsa, broth, cumin, oregano, chili powder, coriander, paprika in 3.5 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Turn cooker on high and add rice. Cook 30 minutes or until rice is done. Add salt and lime juice and cook 5 minutes more. Makes 8- 10 servings.

Verdict:
Hagbard- Tastes like chili. Would eat again. (Yes, you will because we have a bunch!)
Amethesto- It’s okay. (High praise from her.)
Lounmoun- Easy to prepare. We’ve been eating the leftovers and it reheats well. We discussed blending it but decided we preferred it chunkier.

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