Thursday, December 5, 2013

GreenTomato Enchilada Sauce

"I found this recipe in an issue of The Oregonian newspaper's Food Day.  Right before the Autumn rains hit, I would pick every last green tomato from our garden and use them to make batches of the enchilada sauce for my freezer.  Not a tomato went to waste!  I'm posting the original recipe as printed by The Oregonian, but my changes are reflected below.  See Notes."

Green Tomato Enchilada Sauce
Makes about 3 cups

Try making extra of this sauce and freezing it in 3-cup portions.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 7-ounce can whole green chiles, drained and chopped
1 pound green tomatoes, or tomatillos, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable broth (or 1 vegetarian bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute more.  Stir in the green chilies, green tomatoes, cumin, oregano, salt, broth and water.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture becomes sauce, about 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor, add the cilantro and puree until smooth.


I cut up the tomatoes and onions into about 1 inch chunks and roasted them, along with the whole cloves of garlic, in the oven at 350 degrees until softened and slightly browned on the tips.  I then scraped it all into my food processer, adding the other ingredients, with water to thin as necessary.  I omitted the vegetable broth completely.  I would season with salt to taste, along with the other seasonings, and I omitted cilantro (not a fan).

I poured the finished product into Quart-sized freezer Ziploc bags, removing as much air as possible.  Freeze flat for good space usage.

Barbequed "Pork" - using turkey tenderloins!

"This recipe was shared with me several years ago by my husband's younger sister.  It's been a favorite ever since!"

Barbecued "Pork"

4 lbs turkey tenderloins
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sherry (or wine - Lambruisco)
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
4 Tablespoon honey
6 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 bottle (1 oz) red food coloring

Combine ingredients & pour over meat.  Marinade over night, turning back and forth to coat.

Remove from marinade and bake in 325 degree preheated oven for 1 hour in roasting pan.

Slice diagonally, like Asian Barbecued Pork.  Dip in cranberry mustard, or red sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Salmon Loaf with Dill Sauce

"This recipe is truly a favorite "pantry meal".  I have adjusted a Taste of Home Recipe for Mini Salmon Loaf to suit our needs, and doubled it to support my cook once, eat twice rule. I always keep Costco's Kirkland canned salmon on hand. I make the dill sauce seasoning mix ahead and just mix a couple Tablespoons of it into some mayo and sour cream as we need the dip. It doubles as a great vegetable dip!"

Salmon Loaf with Dill Sauce
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 cans (7 oz) salmon, drained (bones & skin removed, if necessary)
1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
2 Tablespoons almond milk (or regular milk)
2 cups soft bread crumbs (I use 2 Fiber One English muffins, chopped up in my food chopper - low carbs!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sauté' the vegetables in canola oil in a non-stick pan on the stove.  Cool slightly.  Then, mix the vegetables and remaining ingredients together lightly.  Lightly spread into a small baking dish (8"x6" rectangle, or a 8" loaf pan) sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Don't pack it down into the pan!  Bake in 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with dill sauce.

Notes:  The fresh bread crumbs are key!  Use whole wheat, or some other good bread if you like.  Run them through your food processor, or food chopper, or even tear up finely with your fingers.  I often soften the vegetables in the microwave, with a smaller amount of oil.   I use ingredients to lower the carbs, to support my diabetes, but you don't have to.  Leftovers heat up quickly in the microwave.

Dill Sauce Mix:

2 teaspoons celery salt
2 Tablespoons minced onion
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
2 Tablespoons dill weed

Mix these dry ingredients and store in an air tight container until ready to use.  I usually double it when I mix up more.

Mix two Tablespoons of the above mix with 1/4 cup mayo and 3/4 cup sour cream and refrigerate until ready to use.  I usually thin it down a bit with cold water to make it to the consistency I enjoy.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shrimp, Zucchini, Corn, Tomato and Onion Skillet

I tried this recipe recently, inspired by the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Summer Stir-fry.  Steve and I love a summer vegetable recipe taught us by my sister-in-law, Judy - a medley of zucchini, onion and corn, sautéed in a little butter.  The original Summer Stir-fry recipe didn't include onion, and called for more fats that we typically use.  This is my variation - again a hit with the hubby!  Steve deciding he enjoys shrimp has changed my life for the better!


1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound easy-peel  raw shrimp, peeled with tails removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 whole small zucchini (1-1 1/2" diameter), sliced in 1/4" slices
1 can whole kernel corn, drained well (or use fresh or frozen)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
salt and pepper to taste


Sauté onion in butter and olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and shrimp.  Cook shrimp until just pink.  Remove shrimp from the pan to a plate, leaving juices in pan.

Add zucchini to pan, cooking until just tender.  Add corn and grape tomatoes.  Heat through.  Add shrimp and any juices collected back to pan with vegetables.  Saute' for a minute to heat up the shrimp, adding salt/pepper to taste.

Serve with garlic toast, or brown rice medley.

Penne Pasta with Shrimp and Grilled Vegetables in Cream Sauce

I made my own version of Pioneer Woman's "Pasta a la Betsy". I lightened up the carbs by using Dreamfields Pasta, lightened up the fat a bit, and added some vegetables I had left over from a grilled dinner. It turned out very yummy. Even my husband, who claims not to be a big fan of shrimp, went back for a second serving  Note:  Did you know that fats have no carbs?  I use cream and butter sparingly, but it's allowed!

¾ pound Dreamfields Penne Pasta
1 pound frozen easy-peel raw Shrimp
Previously grilled vegetables, asparagus, zucchini & onions, diced into 1/2” pieces
1 Tablespoon olive Oil
1 Tablespoon butter
½ large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine (I used a chardonnay)
1 can, 8-oz, tomato Sauce
3/4 cup heavy cream (or use part or all evaporated milk)
Fresh parsley, to taste
Pesto – jarred – about 2 Tablespoons, or to taste
salt/pepper to taste


Cook the penne pasta in salted water until al dente.

Peel, devein, remove tails and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of large, or extra large shrimp.

Heat about 1 Tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes until just opaque and pink.  Do not overcook them.  Remove shrimp from juices, and let cool on a plate while preparing the rest of the sauce.

Finely dice onion and mince garlic (if not using prepared garlic).

In juices from shrimp, add remaining onion and garlic, sautéing until tender. Add wine, stirring occasionally. Add pesto, stirring into sauce. Add cream. Turn heat down to low and let simmer a few minutes, stirring to combine.

Chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and add to sauce, along with diced vegetables and chopped parsley. Add cooked pasta and mix together, coating pasta with sauce.

Serve with a green salad, or broccoli.



Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage

"Since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, this recipe has become the most convenient, healthy breakfast for me on an almost daily basis.  I have a patty on a Fiber One Multigrain English Muffin for breakfast most every morning.  It's my own sausage muffin sandwich.  Add an egg if you like!  I originally found a version of this recipe online as a copycat Jimmy Dean-style sausage and over time have made my own adjustments.  If having more fat is what you like, use whatever higher fat meat you'd like."   ---Merilou

20 oz package of 93/7 Ground Turkey
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients well.  Divide into 10 portions for 2 oz patties.  Shape and pat until about 1/4" thick.  Fry in dry non-stick fry pan, over low heat to cook through.

Note:  I slightly under cook the patties, cool, then wrap well to freeze.  I cook each individual patty wrapped in paper towel for approximately 1 minute, judging doneness by the amount of steam coming from the patty.  Don't overcook!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Homemade Baking Mix

I got this recipe from a friend in college.  I recently tried making it with whole wheat flour, adding a bit of gluton flour, as I would with whole wheat bread.  It worked!  To be candid, I really don’t know what the gluton flour does (besides add gluton, which would be important in yeast breads), however I used it here, just in case.  Whether you use it or not, think of how much $$ you will save making your own version of the packaged baking mix!  
                                                                                        --- Merilou


Small Recipe (double for large recipe)


4 ½ cups flour (white, whole wheat, or white whole wheat!)

8 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it isn't old!)

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon cream of tarter

½ cup shortening

2 Tablespoons sugar


Mix with pastry blender (or 2 knives, or your fingers) and store in sealed storage container in a cool place. 
Use this mix in the same way you would use Bisquick (copyright General Mills/Betty Crocker) or other baking mixes.  I just made one of those popular "impossible pies" and it was yummy!  Mix with milk into a somewhat stiff dough and bake drop biscuits on demand.  Use the dough as a biscuit like crust for pizza.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cabbage Salad with Peanut Sauce

My sister shared the recipe for this salad with me.  Since receiving my diabetes diagnosis I've made a few changes and both Steve and I love this recipe.  It's a great way to get fiber and it tastes so good!  I usually serve some kind of barbecued chicken along side, however it is just as good alone.  Enjoy adding whatever vegetables you enjoy!


1/2 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces, blanched (or microwave about 3 minutes)
2  large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, shredded
6 green onions, sliced (or 1/2 finely minced red onion)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional - I don't use)


1/3 cup peanut, or canola oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons) peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural Creamy)
1 T brown sugar blend Splenda (or 2T brown sugar)
2 T grated ginger (or process a good chunk of peeled ginger in food processor with all the dressing ingredients)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (or process in food processor)
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce  (or process a jalapeno or two)

Toss all vegetables together in a large bowl.  Process all sauce ingredients in a food processor or small blender.  Pour sauce over veggies, toss together and chill.

Serve along side grilled chicken (marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and a squirt of Sriracha sauce), if desired.

Optional - garnish with dry roasted peanuts

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mulligatawny Soup

We were dining with our good friends, the Sundin's, when Shelley ordered this soup at the Orenco Station Grill in Hillsboro.  She thought it was wonderful and offered me a taste.  It was yummy!  Shelley ventured to ask our waiter if the chef would share the recipe, which he did.  This soup is now added to our favorite soup list.  It smells heavenly while it's cooking on the stove!  Don't leave out the apple.  You'll hardly know it's there, but it adds just a touch of sweetness that really makes the soup special.
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  1 hour
Yield:   6/12/24 servings


Ingredients:  (quantities shown for 3 Yields - 6, 12 or 24 servings)
1/2 / 1 / 2 cups chopped onion
2/ 4 /8 stalks celery
1/ 2 /4 carrots
1/4 / 1/2 / 1 cup butter
1&1/2 / 3 / 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1&1/2 / 3 / 6 teaspoons curry powder
4/ 8 /16 cups chicken broth
1/2 / 1 / 2 apples, peeled, cored & chopped
1/4 / 1/2 / 1 cup white rice (I use brown rice, and let it cook longer in the soup)
3/4 / 1&1/2 / 3 skinless-boneless chicken breast half - cut into cubes
Ground black pepper to taste
1/16 t/ 1/8 t/ 1/4 t dried thyme
1/2 / 1 / 2 cups heavy cream, heated  (I use 1% milk or evaporated milk)

  1. Sauté onions, celery and butter in a large soup pot.  Add flour and curry and cook 5 more minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock, mix well and bring to a boil.  Simmer about 1/2 hour.
  3. Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper and thyme.  Simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice is done.
  4. When serving, add hot cream.

Anglo-Indian Inspired Soup



Saturday, March 9, 2013

Merilou's Favorite Homemade Chili

When my husband and I married, I loved Nalley's Chili, and he loved Stag Chili.  We compromised on not buying canned chili.  I found a Betty Crocker basic chili recipe we found we enjoyed.  Over the years, we've gotten away from eating so much red meat.  I've experimented with substituting 93/7 Ground Turkey for the ground beef in many recipes, using beef boullion or beef base to add that beef flavor. Chili was an easy recipe to revise.  It is one of our favorite meals.  If you like your chili spicier, add more chili power or hot sauce, some diced jalapeno, or even cayenne pepper to taste.
Serves:  4-6


10 oz Foster Farms 93/7 Ground Turkey (half of a 20 oz package)
1 large onion, diced
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (from a jar is fine)
1/2 cup diced green pepper
2 cups pre-cooked or canned small red beans (or your choice of bean)
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato sauce
2-3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons beef base

Saute ground turkey and onion together until turkey is fully cooked.  Break up turkey fairly finely.  Add garlic, green pepper, tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings and beef base.  Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Serve with optional diced onion and grated cheese.

Note:  I cook my dried beans in a pressure cooker without salt, so I use some additional salt.  I often double this recipe so we have leftovers for lunches.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

We love soups - lots of different kinds.  When selling our Hillsboro house, our realtor, Barbara Nelson, made this soup for a realtor open house, and was lovely enough to share the leftovers with us.  It's been a favorite ever since.  I've made only a few minor adjustments to suit our tastes.



2 tablespoons butter
1 onion (chopped)
1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms, button or cremini (quartered) [I half cremini mushrooms, then slice them in about 1/8" slices - Cremini's have a bit more texture than the button mushrooms.]
2 teaspoons dill
1 tablespoon paprika  [I love using smoked paprika]
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable broth)  [I use chicken broth.]
1 cup milk [fat free or 1% works fine!]
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice [or more!]
1/2 cup sour cream [light sour cream works great]
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)  [I just add dried parsley to the soup when making it, if I don't have fresh on hand]



1. Melt butter in a pot.
2. Add onions and saute until tender.
3. Add mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are cooked.
4. Add dill, paprika, soy sauce and chicken broth.
5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Mix the milk and flour in a bowl.
7. Add the milk mixture to the pot, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
8. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
9. Remove from heat.
10. Add the sour cream and parsley and stir.

Garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley, if desired.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Mexican Style Meat

I found this recipe online, revised it for my own preferences, and was very pleased with the results! The flavorful meat can be used for tacos, enchiladas, or whatever you can imagine. I like having quart ziplock bags of the leftover meat in the freezer - ready for a quick meal for the two of us!


4 pounds of beef, pork, or chicken (cheap cuts of meat work well for this)  
good amount of salt & pepper to season meat 
1 large onion, chopped 
3 (7 oz) diced green chile peppers, undrained 
2 tablespoons chili powder  
2 tablespoons ground cumin 
2 tablespoons garlic powder 
Chipotle Flavored Tabasco (to taste) 
1/4 cup of water 


Trim the meat of any excess fat, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the meat in the hot skillet, and sear it quickly on all sides. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker and top it with the chopped onion. Season with chopped green chiles, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, & hot pepper sauce. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender & falling apart, checking to make sure there is always at least a small amount of liquid in the bottom of the cooker (add more liquid if need be). 
Transfer the meat to a bowl and shred it using two forks. 
Note:  There will be some juice along with the meat.  If you don't like it, you could thicken it up, or drain the meat.  For freezing purposes, freeze the meat with the juice.

Mashed Cauliflower

I'm a type 2 Diabetic.  This was a recipe I just wanted to try, even though it sounded a little strange to me.  I love cauliflower, and most vegetables, but mashed?  I like to say I'll try anything once.  I'm so glad I tried this one, as both my husband (who didn't really love cauliflower) and I really enjoy it.  It's surprisingly filling, and the leftovers reheat nicely! 

Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 8

1 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1-2 cups of water
1-2 Tablespoons butter, or lite butter
1-2 Tablespoons sour cream, or lite sour cream

Put water in the bottom of a large saucepan and add all of the cauliflower florets.  Cover and bring water to boil over high, then reduce heat to medium and cook until cauliflower is very tender.

Drain off water, and let the cauliflower sit in the uncovered pot to let as much water be released through the steam as possible.

Mash cauliflower with a hand potato masher (a power tool will puree it too much!).  Add 1-2T butter and 1-2 T of sour cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well with a fork and enjoy!

**Note:  I find that having this on my plate creates the same kind of happiness as seeing mashed potatoes on my plate, though it really doesn't taste like potatoes.  I've also read of some people combining mashed potatoes and cauliflower together to lower the carbohydrate count in a serving of potatoes.  I might just try in one day.  For now, I'm enjoying my mashed cauliflower too much!