Chocochip Cookies…and my secret ingredient


  • 2-1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocochips
  • And…my secret, 1 vanilla pudding package


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a smaller bowl.
  3. Mix sugars, vanilla and butter.  (If the butter is still hard, sometimes – usually – I put in the microwave for 15 – 30 seconds. Makes it much easier to mix.)  Beat in the eggs, pudding packet, and flour mixture.  Mix in chocochips.
  4. Grease cookie sheet.  Dollop decent sized tablespoons of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and put in oven for approx 8 – 10 minutes (but make sure to keep your eye on them).

Sage and Black Pepper Pork


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 center cut bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon


  1. Combine the salt, sage and black pepper in a small bowl and rub on both sides of the chops. Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium high heat and saute the chops for 5 minutes per side, or until well browned.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan over high heat, combine the water and the bouillon and stir until bouillon dissolves. Add this to the chops, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer chops for 45 minutes.
Much easier than you would think, considering that it takes 45 minutes to cook.  So amazing.  I then used the remaining broth-y stuff as a gravy for the mashed potatoes.

Sloppy Joe’s – both veg and with meat.

Meaty Sloppy Joe’s:

(from one of Mom’s recipe books)

  • Ground beef
  • Bell pepper(s)
  • Onion
  • I used tomato paste.  But really, you can use anything you have that’s tomato based – tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, etc.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt

(I didn’t really put how much of the veg and meat because you should just take into account 1. how much you have, 2. how much you want and 3. your own personal preferences.  At any rate, I used about 1 lb of meat, 1/2 an onion and 1 bell pepper.)

  1. Brown the meat.  Set aside.  (And, if possible, you can use the hot beef fat that’s collected in the bottom of the pan in the next step so try to separate them out.  If not, then it’s fine.)
  2. Chop and fry the vegetables until tender.
  3. Add the beef, tomato, paprika, salt and pepper.
  4. Serve hot.
And of course, there’s the recipe for the veg Sloppy Joe’s.  Which is really good, if you were wondering.  (Not that I would put a recipe up here that’s bad, but still.)

Come to think of it, that recipe might just be vegan.

I’ve always wanted to throw a coup.

The thing with making (or even looking for) vegetarian recipes is that it makes you realize how much we depend on meat in this country.  I mean, I was looking through a recipe book (one of recipes for stuff that you might use a 9×13″ pan for) and it contained all of maybe 10 recipes (out of almost 200) that were completely vegetarian (meaning that I very much consider fish and other seafoods to be meat, as does my vegetarian brother).  Of those 10 recipes, about 6 of them were variations of lasagna (one of which I plan on trying tomorrow.  My new things is beans.  I love beans!  They’re great!).  And did you realize that places like Applebees and TGIFriday’s serve next to no vegetarian meals, aside from salads where you have the chef’s hold the meat?

The point here is that we rely on meat too much as a food.  We eat too few veggies and fruits and the overcompensate with too much meat.  Meat takes over our meals and our menus and it’s absolutely ridiculous.  Veggies are great!  That’s why I’m holding somewhat of a rebellion.  A coup d’etat, if you will.  Meat should be king in our diets like my brother should be president.  (Sorry, Russ.)  Meat is good for you, but not in the amounts that we eat it today especially in comparison with how much of…well, of everything else that we eat.  (I might also mention that it’s not good for the environment to eat as much meat as we do, but that’s an entirely different topic altogether.)

As a result of this realization, I’ve taken a liking to making vegetarian meals for my brother but making enough so that the rest of us can have some too.

Tonight, I made equal portions of two different variations of Sloppy Joe’s: a meat one and a vegetarian one.   When the meat one went faster than the veg one, I wanted to laugh and say, “Well, now you’re gonna have to eat your veggies, huh?”  (Just for the record, I put onions and bell peppers in the meat one, so they did get some veg.  And there was corn on the table.)

When I stock my own fridge and get my own place, I’m going to install a Meat Monday plan.  I’ll be vegetarian 6 days a week.  Obviously not on principle, but because we need to learn to eat more veggies and to have them take the center stage, letting meat back down.

And if you were wondering, the vegetarian sloppy joe’s was pretty good.  I rather enjoyed it.

Cream cheese brownies

So, these are the best cream cheese brownies ever.  In fact, best brownies ever.  If you make them from scratch, they turn out to be more fudge than brownie.  And oh, so good.

What’s Cooking?: July 3 – 9. Well, maybe.

I realize that I haven’t been on here in a while, but…I’ve resolving that issue.  Now.

For tomorrow, there is no recipe (not really, anyways) for what I’m going to make.  It’s just chicken thighs marinated in teriyaki sauce and then either baked or grilled.  (We’re not sure which yet.  Baking them heats up the house, but Mom isn’t sure that Dad knows how to grill chicken.  Thus the dilemma.)

Monday: Sloppy Joe’s.  There’s a great recipe I found in one of my mom’s cooking books, but I have to find it again.  The recipe is great and it uses bell peppers (I think), which we need to use up.  (And I found a vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s for Russell.)

For Tuesday: Veggie Shepard’s Pie

For Wednesday: Black Bean Lasagna

For Thursday: Garden Vegetable Pizza

The recipe includes a recipe to make your own dough (and we could actually do it.  To my surprise, we have the most obscure ingredient in the recipe – corn muffin mix) but Mom buys good pizza dough at Trader Joe’s so maybe she’ll buy some there.  If not, I can make it (I hope).  I’ll probably make one veggie and one pepperoni (as we still need to use those).

Friday: Rice, corn and cheese casserole.  Easy family recipe.

Saturday: Pasta of some sort.  Maybe one of the bags of tortellini in the fridge.  (And I’ll use the pasta sauce here that I used for the pepperoni pizza.)

I’m going to compile a list of things I need.  I don’t think it’s that much.  But still.  I might have to postpone this list until next week, when my mom goes grocery shopping.

EDIT: I compiled a list of everything we need to buy.  Ready for this?

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Possibly frozen peas
  • Corn
  • Bell peppers
  • Cottage cheese
Short list.  Six items.  Five of which are vegetables.  Hey, look at that.

Pasta Primavera

We had leftover spaghetti from the other night and my mom and I were tying to figure out what to do with that. Finally, I suggested pasta primavera and we went with that.

Pasta primavera must be one of the easiest recipes in the book.  Really, all it entails is the following:

  • Veggies of your choice.  I’m a vegetable maniac so I used a lot of different vegetables: 1/2 an onion, 1 broccoli (it sounds weird to be using that to refer to one singular stem of broccoli), 1 red bell pepper (which was my first time cutting a bell pepper), 1 large carrot, 1 zucchini, 14 oz (1 can) of diced tomatoes and 8 oz (2 small-ish cans) of sliced mushrooms.  There might have been more, but I can’t remember what it was.  I do know that we had celery and spinach in our fridge that I thought about using, but ended up deciding to save it for another day.
  • Sour cream (I used 1 cup, but I probably should have put more in)
  • Spaghetti (cooked)

You can also use things such as freshly shredded Parmesan cheese or maybe a touch of garlic.  A recipe I briefly considered recommended using heavy cream.  And then all you really do is saute the vegetables, giving the vegetables time to cook before you throw more vegetables in there.  Cook it to your liking.  Just before you take it off the stove, mix in the sour cream/Parmesan and give it a couple minutes to really cook in.  You can also throw the spaghetti in, which I probably would have done had I been the only person I was feeding.

If you didn’t already add Parmesan into the mix, add it in after you put it on your plate and it becomes really yummy.

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it before it was all gone.  😦

PS. I’m putting this in the vegetarian category, but also in the vegan category because if you took out the sour cream/cheese, then it would be vegan and that’s an easy fix.  Especially if you want to get adventourus and try mixing in some herbs.  (If you do, let me know.   I’d love to hear how it turned out.)

Vegetable Casserole with Herb Dumplings

Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 1/4 of a teaspoon of minced garlic from a can in the fridge
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 large potato, chopped (I used a couple small ones)
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14oz)
  • 1 package of vegetable stock (The recipe says 1 1/2 cups, I just used the entire thing.  It wasn’t that much more)
  • 14 oz sweet potatoes (I used about 1/2 a yam.  Or maybe it was 1 1/2.  I forget.), sliced
  • 5 1/2 oz broccoli, cut into florets (I used 1 bundle.)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (or just use Bisquick, like I did)
  • 20g chilled butter
  • 2 teaspoons Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (I didn’t use any parsley or rosemary as we didn’t have any at the time.  It turned out just fine without it, but I certainly would have liked to try it with it.)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the oinion.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until soft.  Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring constantly for one minute.
  2. Add the potato, carrot, tomato and stock to the pan.  Bring to a boil, the reduce the head and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Add the sweet potato, broccoli and zucchini and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3.  Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and add the butter.  Rub the butter into the flour with you fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the herbs.  Add thte milk and mixuntil the mixture comes together in beads.  Gather up the dough and lift onto a lightly floured surface (with your lightly floured hands).
  4. Finish off the casserole mixture by adding in the sour cream.  After that’s mixed in, move the vegetables to an ovenproof dish.  Spread the dough as evenly over the top as you can.  (There probably won’t be enough to cover the top, but that’s okay.  It turns out well anyway.)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dumplings are golden and a skewer comes out clean.  Let sit for 10 minutes.
This recipe actually gives the nutrition facts (per serving), so I’ll list them here too:
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7.5 g
  • Cholestorol: 16mg
  • 230 calories

I don’t have a picture of this, as I made it before I decided that I was going to put this together, but it looks and tastes amazing.

(I got this recipe from a book my mother bought at Barnes & Nobles titled Delicious Vegetarian Food published by Bay Books in 2008, edited by Anna Sanders.)

Amazing Zucchini Bread

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup veg oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (hey, wait, really?  Whoops)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat until well-blended.
  3. Add zucchini, applesauce, and orange juice.  Stir well.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Add to the zucchini mixture and stir well.
  5. Add nuts and gently stir.
  6. Pour into 2 greased and floured (whoops – forgot to flour them.  But they came out beautifully anyway) 9in loaf pans.  Bake for approx 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  (Mine were only in for about 40 minutes, but the oven is old and unreliable.)  Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and let cool completely.  Then, eat while still warm.  If you’re feeling nice (or full), save some for later so other people can eat it, too.  Or just so that you can appreciate the yumminess of zucchini bread at a later time.

I love love love zucchini bread.  One of my favorite things to do with it is to toast up a nice thick piece on the griddle.  Or eat it fresh from the oven.

But then I just love zucchini bread.  Ohh, so good.

So, I bring out my camera to take a picture and my youngest sister decides that she has to get in on the action.  “Take a picture of me with the bread, okay, Charlie?”  “Yes, Sara.”

(My mom found this recipe, actually.  I just found it in her binder full of recipes she’s made and liked.  The original recipe is here.)