Friday, January 20, 2012

Pantry-friendly North African Peanut Stew

This is a nice stew for a cold evening and full of protein. Most recipes call for broth rather than the water and tomato soup I suggest, and typically use diced sweet potato instead of the mix. This version is silky in texture without requiring the blender that some recipes call for, and is my new favorite variation on the overall theme.


  • 1.25 lb ground turkey breast
  • 3 big scoops of peanut butter or to taste -- creamy or chunky works fine, but creamy does go nicely with the generally smooth base
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • candied ginger
  • sliced onion
  • olive oil
  • North African spice blend (cumin, oregano, garlic if you don't have it)
  • hot pepper (I used mozambique peri peri but cayenne works just as nicely)
  • powdered mashed sweet potato mix (the stuff I bought was sweet potato/potato flakes from BC, on deep discount post-T-Day)
  1. In a nice-sized dutch oven, brown your turkey, breaking it into bits as it cooks, and sautee your onion in some olive oil.
  2. Add the soup, four cans of water, and sweet potato flakes.
  3. Depending on your preferences, add as much or as little ginger, spice blend, and hot pepper as you like. The pepper and ginger add nice depth to the flavor and help cut through the peanutty taste (which can be a little cloying if you went crazy with your scoops), but won't actually make the stew hot unless you really work at it.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes or however long it takes for people to be ready to eat dinner, adding more water if it starts to stick. Great the second day, if you have any left.

Meal Plan for 1/20/2012 - 1/28/2012

  • mac and cheese
  • tomato soup and grilled cheese
  • chicken tacos w/peppers and onions
  • Prep: soak more beans
  • Prep: rest of peppers
  • Roasted Turkey
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Freeze:cook then freeze beans
  • Pot roast
  • Chili made from leftover pot roast
  • Lamb curry in crockpot
  • Pork chops
  • Steak
  • Leftovers

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mealplanning for the Family Holiday Cookathon

Some multi-day leftover conversion combinations that have worked for me this year:

Meal 1:
Holiday Turkey
Mashed potatoes

Meal 2:
Turkey tacos (lime juice helps counter some of the 'heaviness' of the roasted meat)
Corn chowder (2 cans corn, leftover mashed potatoes)

Meal 1:
Oven-roasted sweet potatoes
Homemade bread

Meal 2:
Homemade stuffing w/sweet potato & toasted homemade bread crumbs (sherry, diced sauteed onions)

Every Christmas, I get a chance to practice my "cooking for a crowd" skills – when I go to visit my brother in Texas, I get to cook for six or so more people than I usually do. I'm not a particularly fast cook, and there are a wide range of tastes (conservative, semi-vegetarian, exotic) and 4-6 children (4 of whom have decidedly "preschool" tastes). The challenge I set for myself is to cook balanced meals with something for everyone without spending too long in the kitchen, or spending excessively. Plus, it's Christmas, which means there are a range of traditional foods that everyone likes to have this time of year.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cherry-Coconut Pie

Cherry-Coconut Pie

Most of what you see here is the "Amazing Coconut Pie" recipe from the back of the coconut bag, but the addition of cherry filling and the blendering and then post-baking sprinkling of the coconut is my variation.


  • pre-made pie crust -- graham cracker was tastier than flour in my opinion, but oreo might be even better
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 2 C milk
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 6 T butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.3 C flake coconut


  1. Spread filling in bottom of pie crust.
  2. Blender up the milk, sugar, flour, baking powder, butter, vanilla, eggs, and coconut.
  3. Pour into pie crust over the cherries.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until top is golden.
  5. Cover pie with remaining coconut.
  6. Store in fridge.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving: Mission Complete

This year's Thanksgiving Menu:
  • Traditional appetizers: carrot sticks and pickles. Whether they get eaten or not, these are necessary.
  • Salad
  • Turkey: from Wallace Farms. Brined, stuffed, roasted....perfect. Definitely the most moist & flavorful turkey I've made.
  • Ham Steak: (flop! Didn't defrost it, then burned it...tossed it out. Gotta have one flop/holiday, and this was it.)
  • In-bird stuffing
  • Baked stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes & pineapple
  • Green bean casserole
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Wild Rice
  • Stella's cornbread
  • Homemade Cloverleaf Rolls
  • Cranberry Orange Sauce
  • 2 pumpkin pies
  • 1 pecan pie
  • 1 coconut cherry pie (the experiment...recipe coming soon)
Mission for next year includes:
  • All above criteria
  • Don't forget olives
  • Another pie or dessert
  • Another vegetable
  • New sweet potato dish
  • Home made stuffing both in-bird and out-of-bird
  • An experiment
  • Wheat or multigrain rolls

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tricky Baked Potato Wedges

I read something in Cook's Illustrated about microwaving potatoes then finishing them up on the stove or in the oven to cut cooking time without losing the flavor you get from baking potatoes. It really does make a big difference in speed and the flavor is great! Here's what I made tonight:
  • some medium potatoes cut into quarters
  • pepper, salt, etc
  • olive oil

In my au gratin pan, I stirred around the potatoes and seasonings and oil a bit.

Microwave for 12 minutes

Bake at 375 or so for 20 minutes

Eat. Delicious!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Garage Sales and Farmer's Market

My Saturday winnings this week were a Little People zoo set and two kid's lawn chairs for a grand total of $7. We did our usual morning cookie run and hit the farmer's market, stocking up on a whole pile of favorites since the market is ending soon and we won't be able to go next week. Sunday we hit Office Depot for Pre-School Supplies and CVS for a stack of household supplies. We are pretty stocked except for paper products and milk.