Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Homemade CoCo Wheats Mix

A few years ago someone gave us a lot of farina (cream of wheat). I appreciated it because money was tight but my family didn’t like it much. They did like the store bought chocolate hot cereal from Malt O Meal.
I found a recipe to make a copycat mix for that and it is pretty close. It is inexpensive, keeps for a long time and uses common ingredients.

Homemade CoCo Wheats Mix
14 oz farina
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 T salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything together and store in an air tight container.

To cook 1 serving:
Boil 1 cup of water in pot on stove. Add 3 T of mix while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer while stirring 3 minutes or until desired thickness is reached.


Amethesto likes a bit of milk stirred into her cooked coco wheats.

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Naan Personal Pizza


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread cooked naan with sauce, top with cheese and preferred toppings. Bake about 10 minutes. Easy fast pizza for a busy night.

From my home to yours,

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Pizza Sauce, Substitutions And Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken


Even when you plan meals sometimes you run into little bumps that change your direction slightly. Today is one of those days for me.
We were supposed to have pizza quesadillas for dinner tonight. Last night we had chicken tacos and all but one tortilla got eaten. I had some naan in the freezer so now we will have naan pizza. Still quick and easy.
Usually I just use spaghetti sauce for our pizza but we didn’t have any. I found a recipe for “exquisite pizza sauce” on that seemed pretty popular.
The recipe calls for anchovy paste which I do not have. I probably will never have anchovy paste. However, the internet tells me I might try substituting things like miso, kalamati olives or Worcestershire sauce for anchovy paste. I do have all 3 of those things so I decided to use a bit of all of them. Worcestershire sauce actually contains anchovies so if you are wanted to do a vegetarian substitute do not use that. Some of the recipe reviews say that the sauce is too sweet with the 2 T of honey or too spicy with cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. I went ahead and added them. It tastes fine to me but if you are more sensitive to spicy foods you could reduce or leave out the cayenne pepper and pepper flakes.
I decided to heat my sauce a bit as the miso paste wasn’t mixing in very well. It helped. I have made this in the morning so I will put it in the refrigerator until later. I think there will be a bunch leftover so I will probably end up freezing some for another time.
This morning I also put some chicken breast in the slow cooker to make crock pot buffalo chicken. I plan to use that tomorrow in a stuffed bread.   I’m making half a recipe today and expect to have some leftover. You could also use this chicken on pizza, with pasta or in a casserole if sandwiches don’t appeal to you. If you have a lot more than you can use at once, you can freeze the cooked shredded chicken for future meals.

From my home to yours,

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Oven Roasted Chicago Style Hot Dogs

I’ve always hated hot dogs… until a couple of years ago when  Hagbard got me to try a Chicago dog that is. A Chicago style hot dog is a beef frankfurter topped with mustard, chopped onion, sweet pickle relish, tomato, dill pickle, celery salt and pickled sport peppers often on a poppy seed bun. I was really dubious of this combination since I hate sweet pickle relish. Hot dogs and sweet pickle relish!  I was shocked at how good it is though. This is now my preferred way to have a hot dog.

I’m not a purist. Where I live poppy seed buns are not in the stores so we just use a regular hot dog bun. We don’t find jars of pickled sport peppers locally either so I use pepperoncini or pickled banana peppers. If that scandalizes you then there are places where you can order more authentic peppers and things online. Vienna Beef offers a Chicago Dog kit.

Maybe you don’t have a grill and don’t like boiled hot dogs. You can put your hot dogs in the oven and get a pretty good result.


Oven Roasted Hot Dogs

Heat oven to 400F. Put your hot dogs on a baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes. Serve in a bun with your favorite toppings.

For a Chicago Style Hot Dog: Put cooked beef frankfurter on a bun. Put relish on one side and mustard on the other. Put tomato slices on one side and pickle spear on the other. Top with chopped onion and peppers. Sprinkle with celery salt.


What is your favorite style of hot dog?



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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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Beef Stir Fry & History

I grew up in Council Bluffs, IA (population 62,000ish) right across the Missouri River from Omaha, Ne (population almost 430,000). For Iowa and Nebraska these are  the 7th largest and the 1st largest cities in their respective states. The reason why these cities are bigger is location and history.  Council Bluffs and Omaha are on the river so goods and people could be transported from other places along the Missouri river by barges and steamboats. The Lewis and Clark expedition went through and met with tribes in the area- the reason why it is named Council Bluffs. This area was the originating point of the Mormon trail. The eastern terminus of transcontinental railroad was in Council Bluffs  and Omaha became the location of the Union Pacific Railroad headquarters. Council Bluffs was a center for grain storage and had massive grain storage elevators. When I was in elementary school there was an explosion at one of the elevators. I think I was at school at the time and the school shook and we could see the smoke from there.  There was a huge stockyard in Omaha and was in the 1950’s the largest livestock market and meat packing center in the country. People came here. Things happened here. End of history lesson.
So, I guess my point is that the central United States is not all scattered farms and living in the Council Bluffs and Omaha area we had stores and restaurants aplenty. My family just didn’t eat out often but when we went out to eat it was burgers, pizza, or steak. I had never eaten food from a Chinese restaurant until I went to college in a small Nebraska town even though there were certainly Chinese restaurants where I grew up. Crab rangoon and egg rolls eaten while sitting on my dorm room floor with friends was kind of a revelation. What was with sitting on the floor to eat at that age? I remember eating nachos and pizza sitting on the floor too. There was furniture. It may have just been more delicious that way.
Okay. Coming back to Chinese food. I know U.S. Chinese food is different from food in China. A fascinating documentary about Chinese immigration and restaurants is The Search for General Tso. It explains why even a small town of 1,500 people in Kansas has a Chinese restaurant and is serving up the same dishes as in restaurants in every other US city.
My mom- of British heritage married to man of German heritage- often made a “stir fry” at home with ground beef and cabbage that is very similar to what I’m making today. It is kind of fake Chinese food. It is economical though which is probably what she was aiming for with having to feed a family of five. My mom died several years ago and I hadn’t eaten this in maybe 20 years but last year I was thinking about it and went looking for a recipe.
The closest one I found was . My mom’s stir fry definitely did not have mushrooms or ginger but I like those additions. I use some sesame oil, minced garlic, pepper and more soy sauce. My version is not as allergy friendly so if you have allergies you might want to use the version I linked to.
If you have extra fresh cabbage you can actually freeze it and use it in recipes like stir fry, soup, or homemade Runzas. I know because Hagbard purchased a couple of huge cabbages a couple of months ago when I only needed one small one so I shredded it in my food processor and froze the extra in plastic baggies. I’m using up the last bag of that cabbage today. Yay for gaining more freezer room! I have thawed the cabbage a bit in my refrigerator so it isn’t one hard chunk.
I don’t have any mushrooms today which I will miss a bit because I love mushrooms. It is fine without them though.
This is a faster recipe to prepare especially if you use pre-cut or shredded vegetables. If you can cut vegetables and brown meat you can make this.
You can have it with or without rice.

Ground Beef Stir Fry
1 tsp sesame oil
1 T peanut oil
1  lb ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 c shredded carrot
1-2 c shredded cabbage
1/4 c soy sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Brown ground beef in a big skillet with sesame oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 T peanut oil to pan . Add carrots and onion and cook over medium high heat until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add cabbage and cook until until it wilts a bit- 2-3 minutes. Mix together soy sauce, garlic, pepper and ginger. Add beef and soy sauce mixture to cabbage mixture and cook a few more minutes. Add a tablespoon or so of water if it looks dry.

One last piece of trivia: Council Bluffs is part of the Loess Hills geological formation. The only comparable depth of deposits of loess soil like this is in China.  I played in this dirt as a child. It is a yellowish color and the eroded soil feels fine and soft like flour.

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