a shameless plea for help

In recipes, thrifting + vintage on 12/21/2009 at 8:47 pm

I’ve never really been one for New Year’s resolutions, however this year, I do have just one: to add more hearty, healthy dinners to my repertoire. I’m in such a rut! I have a long and sordid history with my cookbook collection. Consorting them always feels a bit like a game of roulette. One in particular, has a recipe for “stinky chicken surprise”, filed under some other innocuous title.  I’m typically not feeling that adventurous at 5:00 in the afternoon with a cranky toddler hanging onto my leg. I need field-tested, family-approved fare for my table.

As I’ve pondered this, it occurred to me that you probably have at least one “go-to” recipe that your brood applauds, so consider this my shameless cry for help. I also figured I’m probably not the only one with this dilemma, so if you’re feeling generous, feel free to share your favorite dinner recipe in the comments or put it in your own post and leave a link for me to check it out. (A plug for your favorite cookbook or recipe site is equally welcomed.) After today, I’ll add a link to this post in the sidebar so we can continue to share  favorites throughout the new year. Feel free to add as many as you like and rest assured, I’ll be consulting the list often.

In the spirit of reciprocity, I’m passing along one of our new favorites.

Open-Faced Crab Cake Sandwiches
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp canola oil
12 oz. lump crab meat
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup of low-fat mayo or fat-free Nasoya
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350. Gently, but thoroughly, fold all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup or an ice cream scoop, form small mounds of the mixture on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking oil or lined with parchment paper. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve open-faced on toasted sourdough or french bread with your favorite clam chowder and a bowl of fresh fruit.

p.s. The recipe box is my new favorite piece of vintage. In case you were wondering, yes, it’s still empty!

  1. Amazing that we both posted recipes the same day! I am thrilled to help you out.
    Sweet Potato Pasta with loads of spinach!

  2. hmm, I’m not sure I know how to make anything that’s “healthy”. One of my fave time saver moves is to cook a bunch of chicken breasts in the crock pot with a can of mild rotel – you can throw in frozen chicken, cook it during the day and then you have a bunch of shredded chicken to use. I drain it and freeze portions for pot pies, enchiladas, soups – you get the idea. I tend to cook large batches and then freeze dinners for later. I just started doing that, and wonder why I never did before! I have three kids age 5, 3, and 2, so trying to come up with a dinner last minute used to mean grilled cheese!

  3. oh, I forgot! best sites? allrecipes for sure. also http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

  4. I love Mary’s cookbook, Family Feasts for $75 a week. It’s a long, strange title (but her editor titled it, so it’s OK 🙂

    My favorite meal right now is black bean chipotle chili. You can see it here on my cooking blog- my sister and I post all our favorites 🙂 http://chowreview.blogspot.com/2009/11/black-bean-and-chipotle-chili.html

  5. It has been one of my goals this year to find healthy meals that both myself and my husband will enjoy – he is a picky eater, especially when it comes to vegetables. In my search for recipes, I have come across a few sites that almost never failed to produce a good result:
    The food network recipe collection http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/index.html but more specifically, anything created by chef Michael Smith http://www.chefmichaelsmith.ca/en/home/Recipes/default.aspx We especially have come to love corn fritters (just as good with frozen corn) and salsa chicken. I have also found http://www.orgjunkie.com Menu Plan Monday post to provide a wealth of tried-and-true recipe ideas – the number of posts can be overwhelming at first, but I just chose a few I check each week and have found a lot of great ideas that way. Happy cooking!

  6. You simply can not go wrong with any of the Rival Crock Pot cook books! We have a couple of ’em.

    I have a quick pasta dish for ya

    1 lb uncooked pasta (any variety)
    1 jar of your preferred pasta sauce
    1 jar of water (great for getting the last bits of sauce out)
    2 cups of shredded cheese (any variety or combo of)

    – Place pasta, sauce & water in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish
    – Cover tightly with aluminum foil
    – Bake at 425 for 30 minutes
    – Stir
    – Top with cheese
    – Bake another 10 minutes or until pasta is tender

    I usually add shredded cheese to the baking mixture AND top with cheese. We like a lot of cheese 🙂

  7. I love the Pioneer Woman blog. She has tons of wonderful recipes and best of all – great photos to go with them! She also just published a cookbook. There’s several recipes on my blog too if you want to go check them out.

  8. Have you tried http://www.taste.com.au

    Excellent recipes (with pics…I cant seem to make anything that I cant see a finished photo of even if mine doesnt always end up the same) and very searchable website

    Also any of the DONNA HAY (Food Fast, Flavours, From the Pantry etc) and/or MARIE CLAIRE cookbooks are well worth the price. Sure you could find on Amazon 2ndhand

  9. I am trying to post a favorite recipe once a week in my Monday Bites….. There’s a handful of recipes there now and more to come 🙂

  10. Spicy Turkey Burgers- I directly linked my blog to this recipe page.

    Spicy Turkey Burgers Originally got this recipe off of allrecipes.com, but I have tweaked it a little to fit our needs. I also have it doubled so I can save some in the freezer.


    * 4 pounds lean ground turkey
    * 4 tablespoons minced garlic
    * 2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
    * 1.5 medium onions, diced
    * 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
    * 2teaspoon salt
    * 3 tablespoons Bragg’s Amino Acids- (replacement for soy sauce)
    * 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 5 tablespoons paprika
    * 2 tablespoons ground dry mustard or even 2 tablespoons course mustard
    * 2tablespoon ground cumin
    * 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    1. Preheat the grill for high heat.You can also heat a frying pan and put a little oil in it.
    2. In a bowl, mix the ground turkey, garlic, ginger, onion, cilantro, salt, Bragg’s Amino Acids, black pepper, paprika, mustard, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 16 burger patties.

    3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place turkey burgers on the grill, and cook 6 minutes per side, until well done.

    4. Serve with Fresh Spinach, Tomato and your favorite condiment. I love to use mayo, but my husband uses a hot pepper relish which he loves….

    5. Place extra patties on plastic wrap and individually seal them. When ready to use, place in refrigerator that morning or night before.

    I ALSO LOVE these- Snobby Joes


    1 cup uncooked lentils
    4 cups water

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, diced small
    1 green pepper, diced small (optional)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 – 1 Tablespoons chili powder (orig. recipe called for 3!)
    1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
    1 teaspoon salt
    8 oz can tomato sauce
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    3 tablespoons maple syrup
    1-2 tablespoons yellow mustard (wet mustard)

    4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns

    Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

    About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.

    Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.

    Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can’t wait. I like to serve these open faced, with a scoop of snobby joe on each slice of the bun.

  11. Pork Chili Verde-YUM!

    1 can green chilies
    1 jar green salsa
    1 pork tenderloin (or other more fatty pork roast, but I like tenderloin because it is leaner and it shreds easily)

    Throw it all in a crockpot for 4 hours or so (until your meat shreds)

    Nuke some refried beans and corn tortillas
    Garnish with Fat Free feta (gives it a great zing) cilantro, tomato and lime
    (I use red salsa when I feel really lazy and don’t want to cut anything up!)

  12. Here’s a healthy, simple pasta sauce recipe that everyone in my house raves about:

    Tomato and Spinach Sauce

    3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
    1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped, juices included
    10 fresh basil leaves, or 1/2 tsp dried basil
    2 cups fresh baby spinach
    salt and pepper to taste

    Add about 2 Tbsp of the olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and saute a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the rest of the olive oil and tomatoes and juices, and simmer over low to moderate heat for about ten minutes. Add the basil and the spinach and simmer another 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over linguine, and enjoy!

  13. I have a few ‘go to’ meals, but one base that you can make so much with is a White Sauce/Cheese Sauce based on a Roux.

    You put about 60g of butter in a pan, let it sizzle, then add a couple of tablespoons of flour, mix it till its sorta a paste, cook stirring for a minute or two, till it smells sorta nutty.

    Then add Room temp/warm milk or stock or cream, depending what you want to make with it, you add a splash and stir and it becomes a ball of ick heh, then you add some more, mix it till it comes together, and more and mix, etc etc till you have a lovely thick sauce base.

    Then from that I make various things…

    Tuna Mornay Bake – Add Tuna, steamed veggies, tin corn, a bacon stock cube, cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of parmesan. Mix cooked pasta through, stick in a casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese, cook for 15mins till browns on top.

    Veggie and/or Chicken pot pies – Add veggies, Chicken and/or meats/beans/lentils etc, anything else you want really, use a muffin pan, line the muffin pans with shortcrust pastry (the frozen stuff is fine!) scoop in the filling, put a little circle of shortcrust on top and press to seal, put a knife mark in the top for steam.
    (these freeze well and when reheated in an oven are nummy!)

    etc 🙂

    NB: my daughter is gluten, dairy, wheat and soy intolerant.
    I can make this Roux with Nuttelex, Gluten Free Flour and Rice Milk 😀

  14. I can totally understand your plea for help. I often get in a dinner rut too. This time of year that means I turn to soup. Black bean soup, chili, tortilla, borscht, the possibilities are endless aren’t they. And, you have to love how easy they are on the wallet. So, here is a recipe I came up with last winter trying to copy the Amy’s Brand no Chicken Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s easy and good and makes a lot; that’s my kind of soup.

    GET WELL SOUP, makes A LOT
    2 onions
    5 T. Oil
    4 quarts (16 cups) water
    1 c. green split peas
    5-6 large carrots, peeled and diced
    5-6 stalks celery, peeled and diced1T salt
    1/2 t. pepper5-6 C. whole grain spaghetti, broken into ~2in. pieces
    4 T. Nutritional yeast or white flour

    saute onions in oil until translucent, set aside (with all that good yummy oil).
    1. For Pressure Cooker:
    Add half the water and split peas, cook under pressure for 20-30 minutes (lots of fudge space here). When the pot comes down from being under pressure, your water should have a broth-y look, the split peas are almost dissolved.
    For Non-Pressure Cooker:
    Add half the water and split peas to your pot bring up to a rolling boil and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, when the split peas have created a yummy broth and are almost dissolved.
    2. Add the second two quarts of water, onions carrots, celery, salt and pepper to your broth and cook about 20 minutes.
    3. Add spaghetti and cook another 20 minutes.
    4. Wisk the n. yeast or flour in a bowl with a bit of cold water and add to the soup, cook another 10 minutes.
    You will probably have to add salt and pepper to taste.

    I liked this soup with a bit of Parmesan Cheese and a big stack of saltines.

    Eat up and Get Well Soon!!

  15. My husband is the music pastor at our church, so by the time we get home from being at church all day Sunday I don’t have much energy left for cooking! My husband enjoys these open-faced black bean quesadillas:

    Tortillas – one per quesadilla (I use organic, whole wheat ones from Trader Joe’s)
    1 Can refried black beans
    Shredded cheese of your choosing

    Spread enough black beans on a tortilla to cover and top with shredded cheese. Toast in a toaster oven, or make several at once, place them on a cookie sheet and warm them in a 350 degree oven until cheese melts.
    I like to serve these with salsa, crushed red chili peppers, and either a side salad or carrot sticks, whichever is on hand at the time.

    My little brothers enjoy these too when they visit. For them, I just roll up the “quesadilla” and make a burrito so it isn’t so messy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: