Saturday, January 29, 2011


From: Another great one from my friend, Annie


frozen bread dough (I find it in the frozen foods section in a pack of 3)  Italian bread is best but plain white bread will do.
1 lb of ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp barbecue sauce
1/4 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp of ketchup
shredded mozzarella cheese (to your liking)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
optional:  mushrooms, turkey sausage, red pepper, cilantro or any other pizza toppings

How to:  

Set a frozen bread dough loaf on a cutting board dusted with flour to thaw for 3-4 hours (see package for length of time)

Brown the ground beef and onion with your favorite spices.  I use cinnamon, sugar, barbecue sauce, salt and ketchup.  Flatten the bread out by stretching or rolling it.  Lay it out in a 9x13 baking pan so that the dough stretches over the sides.  Along the center, place the browned meat.  Layer on top:  mozzarella cheese and half of the jar of spaghetti sauce.  You may also add mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni, red pepper, cilantro or any other pizza toppings.  Along the long sides of the dough, cut with scissors like this:

Then braid the dough strips over the meat as shown.  And don't make fun of my drawing.  ;-)  It was WAY easier than trying to explain.

Sprinkle with more mozzarella cheese on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°F, or according to bread dough packaging, so that the bread bakes and the top is golden brown.  Slice and serve right away.

Fetuccini Alfredo


1 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter (or regular, if it's cheaper and you don't care like me)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or the cheap canned stuff, again if you don't care like me)
salt and freshly ground (or not) pepper
freshly grated nutmeg (or the not-so-fresh kind)
1 lb homemade tagliatelle or purchased fresh fettuccine (Who are we kidding?  I buy the box off the grocery store shelf.)

alternative proportions for more sauce (heavy whipping cream is often sold in 15 oz containers):

16 oz of heavy whipping cream
7 Tbsp of unsalted butter
8 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese (for the sauce) 

How To:  

Start by cooking the pasta.  Generously salt the boiling water before adding the pasta.  

While cooking the pasta, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring the cream and butter to a boil.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 1 minute.  Add 6 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and whisk over low heat until smooth, about 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Be careful not to add too much salt, as the Parmesan cheese is salty.  Add a generous pinch of nutmeg.  

When the pasta is ready, drain it and place it in shallow bowl.  Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle 6 more tablespoons of the cheese.  Toss well.  Serve immediately and pass the remaining cheese at the table.  

Side Notes:  

This dish should be eaten all in one sitting, as it does not warm well the next day... however if you find yourself with leftovers anyway, don't throw them out.  First re-warm the noodles.  Add a splash of milk to help prevent drying of the pasta.  Then add more Parmesan cheese to taste.  Not as good as fresh, but not bad at all.  

Makes the amount shown in the picture above.  That serving dish is similar to a 9x13 baking pan in size.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Decadent Hot Chocolate

*Picture provided by Sarah Valente.


hot cocoa mix
chocolate chips
kosher marshmallows
peppermint candy cane

How To:  

I've lost the original link to Sarah's version of this, so I start by heating water in a teapot, while at the same time, filling about a third of the mug with milk.  Heat the milk so it's steaming hot.  Add your desired amount of hot cocoa and mix until smooth.  Then add the water when it's hot enough.  Drop in a small handful of chocolate chips and stir so they melt.  Top with marshmallows and mix it with a candy cane.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Turkey Penne Pasta Salad



cooked and drained whole wheat penne pasta
cooked turkey, shredded OR canned chicken
thinly sliced celery
cherry tomatoes, halved
one avocado, cut into hunks (optional)
bleu cheese crumbles
dried basil leaves, flaked
sea salt to taste
olive oil

How to:  Just click here.

Side Notes:  In the picture above, I used canned chicken instead of turkey (don't tell Mckmama about my unhealthy substitution - this recipe is one of the few really healthy ones on this blog), and omitted the avocado. I love avocado, but I actually like this recipe better without it.

For lactose intolerance, omit the bleu cheese and add Ranch dressing or balsamic vinegar instead. Raisins (for sweetness) and peanuts (for crunch) make good additions as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Play Dough

From: I got this one from a preschool teacher friend of mine.


2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 teaspoon of food coloring or more
1 teaspoon of cream of tarter
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups of water

How to: 

Combine all the ingredients in a medium size pot.  Mix thoroughly.  Adjust the color if desired by adding more food coloring.  I found our wok to be perfect for this... but I use our wok for just about everything under the sun.  Cook on medium heat until the dough turns from liquid into a mushy mess and starts to form into a mass and the dough pulls away from the sides of whatever you're cooking it in. At this point, remove it from heat and place on a cutting board to knead until the dough becomes dry and un-sticky.  Now you're ready to play!  For storage, simply seal it in a couple of air-tight Ziplock bags at room temperature.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brown Rice

From:  This one is my own concoction, although I'm sure it's already been created by someone else out there somewhere.


One cup of brown rice
2.5 cups water
1 bouillon cube or 1 "Sazonador de Res" packet (can be found at any Mexican farmers market store) or the flavor packet from the chicken Top Ramen package
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter

How to:  Toss it all in the rice cooker and turn it on.

Side Notes:  My friend Sarah suggests, "For those of you who think you don't like plain rice, try sauteing the dry rice in a little butter, cilantro and lime zest before adding hot water and bringing it to a fast boil."