Saturday, December 18, 2010

Apple Pork Loin

My husband and I went to this holiday cooking class and learned how to make this. It is really good, and low in calories.

3  lb. pork tenderloin
Salt to taste
2 Cups apple juice
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Poke holes in roast with fork. Season pork with salt. Marinate the pork in apple juice overnight. Put in crock pot on low all day or high for 4-5 hours. Mix the remaining ingredients together to make a paste and spread over pork the last 45 minutes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cherry Chip Cheesecake

I have the same cake for my birthday every year -- it's been Cherry Chip since I can remember, possibly since my first birthday. I love that stuff. It's so good.

But I hate frosting cake. For one, I always accidentally buy the vanilla frosting (ick!) instead of the cream cheese. And I never remember to make the cake the night before so it's cooled in time to frost, meaning I frost it too early and it gets all crumbly and gross looking. Plus, smearing a bunch of frosting on top always makes me feel inadequate 'cause I know everyone else is doing the whole fondant thing and making Cake Boss-worthy creations. Blech.

Well, this year was a milestone birthday so I decided to take advantage of the occasion and switch things up. I stole this recipe from the Betty Crocker Web site and made DELICIOUS Cherry Chip Cheesecake Bars. (That's not what the site calls 'em, but I'm too lazy to look up the real name.)

I couldn't believe how easy it was.

You need:

1 box Cherry Chip cake mix
1/2 cup butter softened (not melted)
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 container cherry frosting
3 eggs

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, beat the cake mix and butter with an electric mixer on low until crumbly. (I thought for sure this part wasn't going to work, because it was still basically all cake mix powder when I was done. Trust me, though, it turns out. It's amazing.) Reserve 1 cup, and press the rest in an ungreased 13x9 pan.

In the SAME BOWL (so efficient!) beat cream cheese and frosting with the SAME ELECTRIC MIXER on medium until smooth. Add eggs and beat until blended. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserve crumbly mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

The end result was delicious. My husband has never raved so much. My 3-year-old helped make the whole thing, it was that easy. And in the end I just had to clean one bowl, one spoon and two beater thingies.

We're planning to experiment later with different kinds of cake and frosting, but this one will now be my official birthday celebration cake.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cilantro Lime Rice

This is yummy all by itself, but I serve it with the Cafe Rio Pork. It's a tasty addition.

1 cup white rice
2 cups chicken stock
2 T. butter
1 T. lime juice
3 T. cilantro
1 T. sugar

Cook rice in chicken stock, according to package directions. When rice is done, add butter, lime juice, cilantro and sugar.

Cilantro Lime Ranch

Serve this on Cafe Rio Pork ... or as a different dressing to spice up a salad. It's good.

1 package Hidden Valley Dips Seasoning (NOT the dressing mix, you have to use the Dips mix)
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup buttermilk*
Salsa Verde (how much depends on your preference)

(looks like this)
Combine all ingredients and shake until throughly mixed.

K, this is what I do. I make the ranch dressing in a shaker, without the salsa verde. Then I pour some of it into my Magic Bullet, and add some salsa verde, and blend it together. It's good, promise. I only use it for Cafe Rio Pork and then I still have the regular ranch to use. That's just my personal preference, obviously.

*I never have buttermilk, so I make my own. Use 1 T. lemon juice, and add enough milk to make a cup. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Cafe Rio Pork

All I can say is YUMMY. This is just like the sweet pork at Cafe Rio. I've had a few other versions of this pork (made with Coke or Dr. Pepper or some sort of pop) and I think this one is the best.

1 pork roast (3-3.5 lbs)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup worcestershire sauce
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. salt
1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
2 T. dehydrated minced onions

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, then place roast on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (depends on how hot your crockpot cooks-- mine is fast). Flip the roast once, about halfway through cooking. One hour before serving, shred the pork, remove any bones (if there are any) and stir in 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup red enchilada sauce (I always throw in the whole can). Allow to cook for remaining time and serve warm. Serve with black beans, cilantro lime rice, cilantro lime ranch, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, olives... pretty much whatever you want on there. Can be served on a salad, or in a burrito.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Busy Day Pork Chops

4-8  pork chops
2 Tablespoons   Worcestershire sauce
1 Cup  Ketchup
2 Cans  Chicken Gumbo Soup
1/2 Cups  Brown Sugar

Put uncooked chops in roasting pan (I use a 9x13). In a bowl mix soup, ketchup and worcestershire sauce together to make a rich sauce. Pour over chops and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

* Serve over rice or with a baked potato.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I know this blog is supposed to be for dinner ideas... but these are the best cookies in the entire world. Trust me, they're tasty. Unless you don't like peanut butter... then I guess these aren't for you...

You'll need:
Mini muffin tin
1 bag mini peanut butter cups

For the cookie dough:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. baking soda

Make the cookie dough. Put a spoonful into the mini muffin tin -- like so:

Spread out so you can put in the (unwrapped) Reeces cups.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. They'll look a little doughy when you take them out, but they need a minute to cool before you can get them out of the pan, and they'll keep cooking while they're cooling. Trust me, they're divine. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yumbo Gumbo

PER SERVING (1/5th of recipe, about 1 cup): 133 calories, 1.25g fat, 710mg sodium, 14g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 7g sugars, 17g protein -- POINTS® value 2*
This soup is packed with shellfish and tons of tasty items -- but no rice. Trust us, you won't miss it for a SECOND...
One 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes (not drained)
8 oz. peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp with tails removed
8 oz. white crab meat (about two 6-oz. cans drained)
1 cup Spicy Hot V8 vegetable juice
1 cup frozen cut okra
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, or more to taste
1 tsp. Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, or more to taste
black pepper, to taste
Directions: Bring a large pot sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 3 minutes, until tender. Add tomatoes, V8 juice, and cornstarch. Stir well, making sure cornstarch dissolves completely. Cook until mixture begins to bubble. Add okra, Cajun seasoning, and Frank's RedHot. Stir and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add shrimp, and continue to simmer until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add crab meat and 3/4 cup water. Raise heat to medium, and return to a boil. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let thicken for 5 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper. If you like, add a little more Cajun seasoning and Frank's RedHot. Enjoy! MAKES 5 SERVINGS

Monday, August 2, 2010

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Man, people are really slacking on posting on this blog (and by "people", I mean me!) Here's a really easy and delicious recipe for bbq chicken sandwiches.

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup ketchup
2 T mustard
2 t lemon juice
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t chili powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper

Place chicken breasts into the bottom of a slow cooker. In seperate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients (*I always forget to do this-- I just throw everything into the crock pot*) Pour the sauce over the chicken, set cooker to low and cook for 6 hours. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and cook for 30 more minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grandma Roy's Creamy Chicken Soup

2 chicken breasts
3 carrots diced
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
water to cover
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour

In large kettle, place chicken, carrots, onions, parsley and celery. Add water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 45-50 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and vegetables and boil liquid until you have 3 cups* remaining. Stir in milk. In a bowl, cream butter and flour into a paste. Stir into water and milk. Simmer and stir over low heat until soup bubbles and thickens. Dice or shred the cooled chicken and return it and vegetables to the soup.

*Before adding the milk, flour and butter, you can freeze half of the soup to use next time. If so, half the milk to 1 1/2 cups, the butter to 1/4 cup and the flour to 1/4 cup. With the frozen half, just thaw and warm then add milk, butter and flour.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Raspberry Pretzel Salad

This is soo good enjoy!

Bottom Layer:

1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
1 cube (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Mix and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Put into the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let this cool off completely.

Middle Layer:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. cool whip

Mix together. Spread this over the pretzels. Refrigerate until cool.

Top Layer:

6 oz. raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 bag unsweetened raspberries

Dissolve jello in the water and then add the raspberries. Pour over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.

*You can use strawberries instead of raspberries. This is great for bbq's, Thanksgiving, special events, etc.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Morning protein shake

I know Sarah posted a request forever ago about smoothie recipes. Well, I'm just starting to enter the breakfast club ... aka for the first time in my life I'm really making an effort to eat breakfast every day. I'm also following a suggestion from Sarah's wise, wise, wise husband to add some whey protein to my diet. Enter the morning razzmatazz.

Clearly I start with the blender.

I toss in some drinkable yogurt (yes, I know all yogurt is drinkable) -- I go for the raspberry. Blend with orange juice (pulp-free for me, please), frozen fruit (raspberries and peaches) and a scoop of whey protein. And then, the secret ingredient -- a couple of Oreos to mask the whey protein taste. (Hey, three Oreos has 10 percent of my daily allowance of iron, which is something I'm always low on. I count it as healthy.)

Blend it all on up and gulp away. When I have some avocado handy I toss that in, too, but that's another story for another day ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Delicious Sunday Roast!

This is a different but delicious Sunday Roast.

2 lbs beef roast (mine was 3.4 lbs and worked just fine)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1pkg dry onion soup
2 cups beef broth (I used 2 bouillon powder packets dissolved into 3/4 cup hot water each)
1 1/2 tbls Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder to taste
Any other seasonings to taste ( I use Montreal steak spice)
1 Bay leaf
2 tbls Chopped fresh parsley

Spray crock pot with cooking spray.
I put Montreal steak spice on bottom of crock pot before I put in the roast. Sprinkle Montreal steak spice on top of roast also. (or whatever seasonings you like).
Mix remaining ingredients except for parsley and bay leaf. Pour over top of roast; sprinkle parsley over top and throw bay leaf in.
Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Makes its own gravy!!!!!!!

We made garlic mashed potatoes to go with this roast.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipe courtesy of Paula Dean)

3 med. potatoes chopped
4 tbls butter
1/4 cup sour cream( I didn't have enough sour cream, so I used cream cheese instead)
1 tsp finely minced garlic(again, I didn't have, so I just sprinkled some garlic powder)
1 tbls whole milk
Salt and Pepper

This recipe serves 2 to 3 servings. I had to more than double for my Sunday dinner, so just do what is best for your family.

Cook Potatoes; Mash with ingredients. Add more milk to get desired consistency.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

White Chili

White Chili

3-4 15 oz. cans of white chili beans

2-3 cups uncooked cubes of chicken

1 t. cumin powder

1 t. chili powder

1 t. garlic salt

1 cup white onion, cut up

2 T. butter

6 cup chicken soup stock, or prepared bouillon

1 c. salsa

Sauté onions and chicken in butter, add to rest of ingredients. Cook until hot.

*I made mine in the crock pot and it worked great. I had uncooked white chili beans (not canned), so I let them cook in the crock pot for a while before adding the rest of the ingredients. I didn’t measure exactly some of the ingredients; just go by taste. It was super yummy and made for good leftovers*

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Easy Enchiladas

Whenever we make enchiladas, we make chicken ones, since that's what we both prefer. But we've got lots of frozen hamburger that needs to be eaten before we move in 2 months... so I went searching for an easy beef enchilada recipe and here's what I found. From It was pretty tasty... and so easy!


Flour or wheat tortillas
1 lb. ground beef or chicken
1 can green or red enchilada sauce
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 pkg. shredded cheese

Melt cream cheese in microwave until very soft. Add half of can of enchilada sauce to cream cheese, reserve remainder.

Cook beef or chicken and add to mixture.

Heat tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm. Place mixture in tortillas and wrap.

Place enchiladas in baking dish.

Pour shredded cheese and remaining sauce over top.

Bake 20 minutes or until hot at 325˚.*

*We're almost at sea level, so I had to cook mine at a hotter oven temp*

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmigiana

I made this tasty recipe for my anniversary and my husband thought (and still thinks I am) a gourmet cook. If you want to see her step by step directions with pictures click here. Mine looked like this:

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 6

4 whole (up To 6) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
½ cups All-purpose Flour
Salt And Pepper, to taste
½ cups Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)(I used Chicken Broth instead)
3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cubes Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pound Thin Linguine

Preparation Instructions

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.
At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.

Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.

Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.

Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies...Heavenly

For Sarah...I actually posted. :) Miracles happen.

These are worth every calorie. They are the closest cookie to a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. I love them. Yum. (I have no clue how to change the underline. Sorry.)
Doesn't get much better than Chocolate and Peanut Butter! I found this recipe on my friends blog. You have to try these...they are worth every calorie. We made these yesterday since everything was closed down for 2 inches of snow...seriously. Church was even canceled. Crazy. Anyway, these were blissful. Yum! The name says it all. Now I better go work out. :)


Magic in the Middle Cookies
from My Kitchen Cafe Blog via King Arthur Flour Blog

Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
9. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
10. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.
11. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I am trying really hard to cut down on our grocery bill. Am I the only one shopping for 5 people that spends close to $500.00 a month? I loved Jade's idea for "food storage" meals. But I was wondering if anyone had some good Vegetarian/meat free meals. I'm not a veggie lover, but I'd like to cut down on our meat intake. If you can help I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6

1 package (6 ounces) long-grain and wild rice mix, prepared according to package directions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 (about 8 oz. total) boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped (OR USE ½ ROTISSERIE CHICKEN INSTEAD)
2 cups (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed (I left it out the first time, still good)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Sliced green onions (optional)
Toasted slivered almonds (optional)

HEAT vegetable oil in large saucepan. Add chicken, mushrooms, chopped onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink.

ADD rice, broth, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine small amount of evaporated milk and cornstarch in small bowl; stir until smooth. Add to saucepan with remaining evaporated milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until soup is thickened. Garnish with green onions and almonds.

PREPARE as above; do not top with green onions and almonds. Cool soup completely. Place in airtight container; freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.
HEAT in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with green onions and almonds.

Easy Baked Ziti

1 package Ziti noodles (or Rotini or Penne) (1 lb.)
1-2 jars pasta sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
1 package sliced provolone cheese (not the processed kind)
Ground beef (desired amount- 1 lb. or more)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried parsley
Cottage cheese (about 8 ounces)

Parmesan cheese

Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, drain then add the garlic and parsley and sauté a minute or two longer. Cook the pasta, drain then add half the noodles to a dish smeared with pasta sauce. Spread a small amount of cottage cheese on the noodles, then layer with ½ of the ground beef, one jar of sauce and a layer of sliced provolone. Repeat the layer with the remaining ingredients. Top with the remaining cheese slices, sprinkle with parmesan and parsley. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is lightly brown.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed Potato Casserole

2-3 pounds potatoes
4 oz. cream cheese
1 t. garlic salt
¼ t. pepper
½ cup sour cream
2 T. butter

Make mashed potatoes however you usually make them – you can use instant, if you want to. Beat into mashed potatoes the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic salt and pepper (use some sort of blender to get out the lumps). Pour into baking dish, dot with small pieces of butter and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes (until top is golden brown).

* Yummy, yummy. I always serve as a side dish to porcupine meatballs, along with a salad *

Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
¼ cup chopped onion (if I don’t have an onion, I’ll use dehydrated onion, found in the spice isle)
¼ cup water
1 t. salt
Dash of pepper

Combine beef, rice, onion, water, salt and pepper. Shape into small balls (1 – 1.5 inches in diameter).

1 can condensed tomato soup (can use store brand, doesn’t taste any different than Campbell’s)
½ t. chili powder
½ cup water

Blend soup, chili powder and water into a saucepan. Add meatballs. Bring to boil, then cover and turn down heat to simmer. Takes about 45 minutes or so (depends on how hot your stove is). When meatballs are cooked through, you’ll know it’s done.

Homemade Pancakes

1 ½ cup flour
3 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 – 1 ¼ cup milk
1 egg
3 T. canola or vegetable oil

Beat together until smooth. Sometimes I cut the sugar in half and do half white flour and half whole
wheat flour. I’m too lazy to measure the milk; I add enough ‘til I get the consistency I want.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicken Won Ton Salad

This is an easy to throw together salad that we use as a main dish or a side dish.  You can eat a ton of it, so get plenty of lettuce.  All the amounts are personal preference.  Hope you enjoy!

Lettuce (green leaf/Romaine with iceberg)
Chicken breasts diced and sautéed
Sesame seeds-toasted with little oil
Won ton wrappers lightly fried

Tear lettuce to bite-sized pieces, top with sautéed chicken, and toasted sesame seeds.  Top with dressing and slightly crushed fried won tons.

½ c sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
2 Tbsp salt

Combine the ingredient in a pan and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Let cool, then add:
½ tsp pepper
½ c vegetable oil

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fresh-free ingredients

We recently had a week-long family reunion where we based all our meals off food storage -- meaning, rather than having to go buy tons of stuff to feed all 17 solid-food-eating people (the three babies were easy), we chose recipes for which the ingredients were already stocked up in our pantries. We ate great food, and we only spent about $200, which included all the food for an extended-family feast on Christmas Eve (which was not food-storage themed).

Aside from saving money, it was great to not have our fridge overloaded with stuff. During past reunions, the fridge has been overloaded with all sorts of things that we needed for each meal, leaving little room for the real important things of life, like leftover pie.

Sooooo ... this whole thing has me itching for more recipes that don't require fresh ingredients. I'm itching so much, in fact, that I'm interested in putting together a little cookbook full of fresh-free recipes.

By fresh free I mean any recipe that you can store all the ingredients, unrefrigerated, in your pantry or closet or whatever. That doesn't mean it has to be meat free -- canned chicken is easy enough to come by, and I know you can personally can just about anything. Instead of milk you can use dry milk, instead of butter ... um, churned dried milk?

If you have any recipes you can share, PLEASE post them or e-mail me at stellmonquarterly AT gmail DOT com.