Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Chicken Planks & Greek Cabbage Salad

Tonight we had battered chicken planks and a Greek cabbage salad.

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The chicken is a copycat Long John Silvers chicken plank recipe. I think it tastes pretty close to the restaurant version. I didn’t alter the recipe at all.  http://www.passionforsavings.com/copycat-long-john-silvers-chicken-planks-recipe/#_a5y_p=2483145

The Greek cabbage salad is based on one from Kalyn’s Kitchen. There are lots of great recipes on that blog. It is focused on tasty low carb recipes so if you follow a lower carb way of eating it is a great recipe resource.

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/09/recipe-for-greek-cabbage-salad-with.html

I had cabbage to use up as well as part of a red onion and some feta cheese . The original recipe did not have onion. I used dried herbs because that is what I had. I made it a few hours in advance.

Greek Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded

1/2 large red onion, sliced thin

4 T olive oil

3 T red wine vinegar

2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 tsp dry marjoram

1/2 tsp dry thyme

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1/8 tsp black pepper or to taste

1/8 tsp lemon pepper seasoning or to taste

Mix oil and vinegar together and pour over cabbage and onion. Toss all ingredients together. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Makes about 4 servings

Verdict: Everyone likes the chicken. Hagbard put his chicken and cabbage salad together in pita bread and thought they made a tasty sandwich. Amethesto didn’t eat the salad. I thought the salad was tasty and super easy to make. I think it would be better with some grilled chicken rather than battered chicken.

 

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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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Taco Casserole

This taco casserole recipe is based on a post on the Mothering message board from March 2007.  The topic of discussion was cheap meals. I actually found the thread even after all this time and there are lots of good ideas.  I’ve adapted the recipe a bit.

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Taco Casserole

1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 c cooked rice
1/4 c salsa
1/3 c taco seasoning
1/4 c water
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish. Dump all ingredients except cheese into dish and stir well. Sprinkle top with cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

You can serve it with chips, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, etc if you like.

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Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese

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People have been eating macaroni and cheese for a long time. It first appeared in a modern cookbook in 1769.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaroni_and_cheese
There are tons of recipes for this dish and people can have very strong feelings.
Growing up we never had boxed macaroni and cheese at my house. My mom added cubes of Velvetta cheese, milk and pepper to cooked macaroni. (I would steal cubes of cheese.) When I got older I started to dislike the taste of Velvetta cheese product so had to find a recipe for this classic comfort food that I could enjoy.
From the 1946 Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School cookbook via http://www.food.com/recipe/fannie-farmers-classic-baked-macaroni-cheese-135350 comes my favorite mac and cheese. I use just 2 c of regular milk instead of milk and cream and add 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/4 tsp dry ground mustard.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounce dry macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry ground mustard
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko crumbs, buttered

Preheat oven to 400°F .Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a pan melt butter over medium heat.Add flour mixed with salt, pepper, onion powder and mustard powder. Whisk until well blended. Pour milk in gradually while stirring. Bring to boiling and cook until thickened stirring constantly about10 minutes. Add shredded cheddar little by little and cook until cheese melts. Stir sauce and macaroni together and put in 8″ baking dish. Sprinkle top with buttered crumbs. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. 4-5 servings.

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Falafel

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Falafel is a ball or patty made from chickpeas and spices and fried. It is a middle Eastern food and typically would be served in a pita with lettuce, tomato and a yogurt or tahini sauce.

I live in small town Kansas. I can’t go out and buy falafel at a restaurant. I have tried to make falafel at home several times somewhat unsuccessfully. I really feel it has become something of a quest. We got a falafel mix once that you just added water to. That was not great. I’ve tried a few recipes and the taste would be good but they would fall apart. Last night I tried again and was pretty successful. So successful that Amethesto devoured all the falafel. If you have been reading this blog you might have noticed that my daughter is not an adventurous eater… some might even call her picky.

I looked at several falafel recipes on the internet and noticed a few were refrigerating or even  putting the batter in the freezer for a time before cooking. Some added flour and some had eggs.  Some recipes insisted that you absolutely must start with dried chickpeas and soak and cook them but other recipes did use canned which is what I had.

My inspiration recipes are http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25309/seans-falafel-and-cucumber-sauce/  and http://www.marthastewart.com/349175/falafel


Falafel

15 oz can chickpeas, drained

1 onion

1 T dried parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 eggs

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 c flour

1/2 c bread crumbs

cooking oil (I used peanut)

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except oil. Puree until it is a thick paste consistency.  Freeze batter 20 minutes or refrigerate an hour or more. Heat 1- 2″ of cooking oil over medium high heat to 350 F. Drop 1 tablespoon size portions of batter into the hot oil. Cook until browned on both sides.


Verdict:

I didn’t make a sauce or have pita bread. We just had these plain with some Greek rice on the side. The outside of the falafel was brown and crispy and the inside was soft and fluffy. They held together very well this time. I think I got about 24 falafel balls so maybe 3-6 servings.  My family loved them. No leftovers!

 

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Baked Spaghetti Olivetti

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I found this old recipe the other day for spaghetti olivetti. I remember it was one of the first things I cooked for Hagbard before we got married 16 years ago. We haven’t had it for years so I decided to make it and see if we still liked it.

I don’t know where I originally got the recipe but I found it on Food.com when I searched for it. http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-spaghetti-olivetti-63612 I made a few changes like reducing the cheese and skipping the oil and salt in the pasta water.

Baked Spaghetti Olivetti

6 oz dry spaghetti

6 oz. muenster cheese, shredded

6 oz. green olives, sliced

6 oz black olives, sliced

1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

4 c spaghetti sauce

1/4 c dried parsley

Cook the spaghetti about 1/2 the time the package calls for. Drain. Mix with sauce. Mix cheeses and parsley together. In a greased baking dish layer 1/2 of spaghetti, 1/2 of cheese and 1/2 of olives. Layer the rest of spaghetti, olives and cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Makes 5-6 servings

Verdict:

Hagbard- It was tasty.

Amethesto- It was okay. (She picked out the green olives)

Lounmoun- I think it was pretty good but in future I would probably just mix the olives with the spaghetti  and sauce and just put all of the cheese on top instead of trying to do layers. Everything got separated and mixed up when served anyway.

 

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Lasagna Zucchini Boats

I’m pretty new to eating zucchini. We never had it in my home growing up. I was aware of it but it just wasn’t something I made an effort to try until a few years ago. Now I’m thrilled with this versatile vegetable and love to find new ways to eat it.

My recipe for today is this-http://www.cookingclassy.com/2015/06/lasagna-zucchini-boats/

I was excited to try this recipe for lasagna zucchini boats. I know lasagna is in the name but it is more like manicotti or stuffed shells to me. I  followed the recipe except made my sauce meatless.

The verdict:

Hagbard- Very good. Would eat again.

Amethesto- <scraped off cheese and ate it, scooped out filling and left most of it and all of the zucchini on plate>  Not a fan.

Lounmoun- I liked it. It was easy and pretty quick to prepare. It was also fairly low calorie.

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Fassolatha- Greek Bean Soup

Everyone in my house really likes Fassolatha. It is one of the soups we have in regular rotation. Since it uses dry beans, simple ingredients and no meat it is very economical and accessible to make. I have also seen it spelled fasolatha or fasolada.

I first made this soup after a death in the family 9 years ago when we had a lot of sudden house guests to feed and some were vegetarian. This soup was great for a large group and was warm and comforting. It reheats and freezes well.

Fassolatha

1/2 lb dry white beans- Great Northern, cannellini or Navy

8 c water

2 bay leaves

2- 3 oz carrots, sliced or chopped

1 large onion, chopped

5 stalks of celery, chopped (about 2 c)

1 can diced tomato

3 T – 1/2 c olive oil- to taste)

1 1/2 tsp salt- or to taste

1 tsp ground black pepper- or to taste

parsley, chopped

3 T lemon juice- optional

Rinse and soak dry beans at least 8 hours in a large pot of cold water. Drain.

Add 8 c of water to pot along with bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer  1 hour. Remove bay leaves.

Add chopped carrots, onions, celery and simmer 1 hour longer. Add tomato, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. I use about 3 T olive oil.

Serve warm with feta cheese, olives and crusty bread.  Makes about 10 servings

I have made this soup in the slow cooker. I just dumped everything in at the beginning after soaking and draining the beans and cooked it on low 8 hours.

 

 

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