Tag Archives: Cooking

70’s Casserole | Recipe

27 Mar

If you are looking for a way to use leftover rice, I have the answer for you. Occasionally George and I will treat ourselves to a lazy mid-week dinner of Chinese food. We almost always have rice remaining, and I’m not about to waste it. That’s when I make what I call “Weird 70s Casserole.”


It is named mostly because of the condensed soup that I use. All of my very health-conscious coworkers love the smell of the final product, and I enjoy the taste. Don’t let the name scare you off!


This time I had cream of celery, but you can use whatever creamed condensed soup you want. You’ll also need some broccoli and/or cauliflower.

To make the casserole, combine in a ceramic, covered dish:

  • the condensed cream soup
  • about half of a can of milk
  • your pre-cooked rice (about a cup would be ideal. variation is fine)
  • 2+ cups of broccoli and/or cauliflower (I used a whole bag of frozen broccoli, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • a third of a cup of shredded cheese

Cook, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.


Since this is a recipe designed to use what you have on hand, it is very flexible. I love it as an easy meal that uses up leftovers and can be brought in for lunch.


Treat Yourself: Paninis

4 Feb

I love to go out to eat, but obviously it is not the most budget-conscious choice. Sometimes treating myself to a fancy meal meal at home can be just as good as eating out, and still cost less money.

panini ingredients fancy at home

This weekend George and I tried making Paninis on his new George Foreman Grill, which he received as a Christmas present. I was sent to the grocery store to pick up ingredients and decided upon: fresh baked multigrain bread, a tomato, an avocado, a ball of mozzarella cheese, and sliced cheddar cheese. I figured those ingredients were different enough from my usual grilled cheese ventures of loaf bread and sliced cheese.

cooking paninis on george foreman grill

The George Foreman is really simple to use, and works great for Paninis. Since it cooks on both sides at once, you don’t have to manage the trickiness of flipping your sandwich without loosing all the insides (maybe that just a challenge for me!).

Cooked Panini at home

So there you have it! Even though we had some ingredients left over, the cost of the supplies were:

Bread: $4.29
Avocado: $.99
Tomato: $1.73
Mozzarella: $3.99
Sliced Cheddar cheese: $2.75

Since those ingredients total $13.75 and made 4 sandwiches, it was about $3.50 per sandwich.  That’s certainly an expensive at-home meal, but it was a nice treat for the weekend inside of going out!

10 Minute Snack: Puppy Chow

25 Jan

Ever since buying an excessive amount of Chex cereal because of a sale, I’ve been looking forward to making Puppy Chow (also called Muddy Buddies, if you prefer). It’s a very sweet snack, and simple to throw together.

puppy chow

I modeled my snack after this recipe, but made some alterations. To make Puppy Chow you need butter, chocolate chips, peanut butter, a crispy rice cereal, and powdered sugar. In addition to the ingredients listed, I also added a little Nutella to the chocolate mix, and some shredded coconut to the dusting.

Since you’re making this snack from scratch, you can shrink down the recipe so you don’t have loads of this around to tempt you.

From beginning to end, it took me less than 10 minutes to make. Just be sure to let it cool a little before digging in! I loved the extra flavor from the shredded coconut.

Vegetarian Chili

30 Dec

It snowed all day yesterday. I spent much of my time watching TV (I’m bad, I know!), but I also squeezed in a couple projects. To warm myself up, I made vegetarian chili.

Ingredients for veggie chili

What I love best about making chili is that you can use a wide variety of ingredients, depending on what you have on hand. For this particular chili, I included: half an onion, a couple garlic cloves, 2 stalks of celery, a little bit of carrot, a bell pepper, kidney beans, black beans, diced tomato, and tomato sauce. When I have it available, I also like to use fake meat crumbles (ground beef substitute) and corn.

Adding in Spices Chili

For this meal I also added some spices, including loads of chili powder.

vegetarian chili

I like to scoop my chili with tortilla chips after adding cheese on top.

This was a really delicious and simple meal. I even have leftovers for today!

Squash seeds

21 Dec

I recently cooked some butternut squash for dinner. I keep things very simple: cutting the squash in half, scooping out the “guts,” brushing the halves with olive oil, and cooking the squash upside down.

butternut squash insides

In addition to making the squash, I also decided to try roasted butternut squash seeds. I love freshly cooked pumpkin seeds, so I figured it was worth a shot.

I cleaned the seeds off with warm water, trying to get rid of as much of the stringy “guts” as I could. Usually I use a colander to help. I put the seeds in a dish with olive oil and salt and cooked it at 375 degrees. Every 5-10 minutes I shook the pan to stir up the seeds. I believe it took approximately 20 minutes for the seeds to cook so they were crunchy but not burnt.

roasted butternut squash seeds

Please note that I ate some seeds before snapping this picture. The squash yielded a little more seeds than are pictured.

I thought they were very good! The squash seeds weren’t as delicious as pumpkin seeds, but it was certainly worth the tiny amount of effort to have my food go a little further.

Making my Own Banana Pancakes

21 Oct

I have an amazing recipe for banana pancakes. This week when I had a banana that was a little past its prime, so I seized the opportunity and got cooking!

Here’s my recipe for banana pancakes, adapted from All Recipes:

This time I made a couple of changes, because I wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth. I added about a tablespoon of coco powder and a handful of chocolate chips into the mix.

I also should confess that I served the pancakes with ice cream because I was out of any sort of syrup. They tasted delicious!

Variations on Grands! Biscuits

7 Oct

One downside of couponing is that I sometimes end up with a significant quantity of items I wouldn’t normally purchase. I try to be careful and only buy items I can and will use. So after recently purchasing 4 tubes of Grands! Biscuits, I came up with some creative ways to prepare them. Both are extremely simple, but offer variation from the original.


The first is a Chocolate Biscuit. I simply peel open each piece and fill it with a teaspoon or two of chocolate chips. Bake following the normal directions and you have a nice dessert!


The second variation is a Mini Pizza. Stretch and flatten each biscuit to make a small circle. Cover it with a little tomato sauce, cheese, and your other favorite toppings. Bake for the normal time and temperature.

My favorite variation so far has definitely been the mini pizzas. I have also tried stuffing the biscuits with cut up apples and cinnamon, but found that you need to precook the apples a little. With the remaining plain biscuits I’ve eaten them with peanut butter, spreadable cheese, jelly, butter, or just plain.

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