Mushroom Cheese Quinoa

I seldom making the same recipe twice in a month. Even before I had a blog, I was always trying new recipes or tweaking old favorites. So it tells you how much I loved this recipe when I not only made it twice in the same month, I made it twice in the same week.

If you have never tried Quinoa before there are two things to remember, 1. It is pronounced keen-wa. 2. Always rinse your Quinoa well. It is covered in a bitter substance called saponin. If you don’t rinse it you aren’t going to like Quinoa at all.

The original recipe called for three wedges of Laughing Cow cheese instead of shredded cheese and for the mixture to be made into patties and fried crisp. You can certainly, do that if you wish.

Mushroom and Cheese Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup water
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 oz mushrooms, chopped, about 5 medium, whole mushrooms
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

⋅In a medium sauce pan, combine the water and Worcestershire. Add the quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes then fluff with a fork. Meanwhile, spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and sauté the onions until soft. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked quinoa to the onion and mushrooms. Stir in the cheese. ⋅In a non-stick skillet or griddle, sear quinoa for 3-4 minutes. Flip and sear for 3-4 more minutes. The crisper you can get the quinoa mixture the better it will taste.

Adapted from My Skinny Sweet Tooth

Fruit Cake Bread

I am one of the few people in the world who like fruit cake. No, like isn’t a strong enough word. I love fruitcake. I will gladly collect all the lost and forsaken fruit cake from my friends and neighbors after Christmas and give them a home in my belly. The fruit cake that is not my friends and neighbors. However, I have never tried to make fruit cake from scratch because the candied fruit is so expensive.

This year I found a recipe that relies on dried fruit, canned fruit and only a hint of the expensive candied fruit. As a result, we have a lighter loaf of fruit cake, that is moist and lightly sweet. It might even make you as big of fan of fruit cake as I am.

Note The last few days have been so overcast and gloomy it has been impossible to take decent pictures for my blog but I have decided to post without pictures this week. I will post pictures as soon as I can get some decent ones.

Fruit Cake Bread

¼ cup butter
6 TBS sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup crushed pineapple, undrained
½ cup dried fruit, chopped
¼ cup candied cherries, halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 5×3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt and vanilla. With an electric mixer beat until smooth. Add the egg, beat until smooth. Add the flour, stir to combine. Add the undrained pineapple, stir to combine. Stir in the dried fruits, nuts and candied cherries. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake cake for 30 minutes then tent it with foil and bake 15 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Let cool completely before slice. 1 loaf.

Adapted from the King Arthur’s Flour website

Classic Green Bean Casserole

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Green bean casserole is one of the recipes I am most often asked to adapt by my friends and coworkers. The problem is I really can’t stand the stuff. Cream of crud soup really grosses me out. So the challenge was to find a recipe to adapt that didn’t use cream of crud soup or anything else out of a can, except the onions. I always use a can of French’s onions for my casserole except when I forget to buy them like I did the day I took the picture for this post.

I know 80 minutes seems a really long cooking time for a casserole but the green beans really do need the time to cook through. Like any casserole, you can make it your own by varying the seasonings you use and even adding your favorite vegetables.

Classic Green Bean Casserole

1 slices hearty sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned fried onions

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces white mushrooms , sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 TBS all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons broth
3/4 cup milk
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Pulse bread, butter, and salt in food processor until coarsely ground. Combine bread mixture and canned fried onions in a bowl. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large small skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, stirring, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. In a bowl, toss the green beans with the cornstarch until the beans are evenly coated. Transfer the beans to a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Pour the warm mushroom mixture evenly over the beans. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake, covered, until the sauce is bubbling and the beans are tender, about 80 minutes, stirring the beans thoroughly after 50 minutes. Remove the foil and spread the topping mixture over the beans. Bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Serve.

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café

Making Your Own Bread — Equipment

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The first step in any cooking or baking endeavor is to gather your equipment. If you do any cooking or baking you probably have most of the equipment you need to make bread. To make bread you will need–

A big bowl — I use a 5 quart stainless steel bowl I bought at Walmart. It needs to be a big bowl to contain your dough when you mix it and when it rises. It doesn’t need to be stainless steel. It is just what I found at the time.

A wooden spoon or rubber spatula — You need a sturdy instrument that will stand up to vigorously mixing a heavy dough.

Dry measuring cups
Liquid measuring cups
Measuring spoons
A clean towel — to cover your bread dough while it rises.
A cutting board — This is optional but I find kneading bread dough on a cutting board makes clean up easier.
A thermometer — This is another optional piece of equipment. When I first started making bread I used a thermometer on all my liquids fearing that if the liquid wasn’t exactly in the range specified the bread would fail. I stopped using a thermometer once I got enough experience to tell by touch if it was too cold or too hot.
Bread pans– 1 9×5 inch which is the most common size and an 8 x 4 inch size. I prefer a solid heavy gauge tin or aluminum pan to either glass or silicone.

There isn’t a big investment of money to get started making bread. You probably have the majority of equipment in your kitchen already. The rest can easily be found at places like Walmart, Target and local dollar stores.

Millet Vegetable Soup

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Like most people, my first experience with millet came in the form of bird food. These twigs covered with little balls of seeds were my Budgie, Ernie’s, most favorite thing in the world. I am pretty sure Ernie would have sold his little birdie soul if he could have gotten a couple pounds of millet for it. It wasn’t until many years later that I understood what all the fuss was about.

I love to use millet in breakfast as a porridge, as a substitute for rice, and as a main ingredient in things like this soup. Be aware though millet soaks up the broth as it sits so if you have leftovers you may have to add extra broth to it when you reheat it.

By the way, don’t buy your millet at the pet shop, it is not hulled. These days, grocery stores carry hulled millet for human consumption. If you can’t find it at a grocery store try your local health store.

Millet Vegetable Soup

1/2 cup millet
2 1/2 cups stock, plus
1 1/2 tablespoon stock
1 1/2 scallions, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 cups frozen vegetables
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped(optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of stock to boiling over high heat. Add millet. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, until millet is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 25-30 minutes. In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of stock. Add scallions, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups stock and tomato paste. Add vegetables. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper, cooked millet and parsley. Cook 5 minutes longer.

Adapted from