Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens | Ghosts in the Graveyard

Happy Halloween! I have been busy today getting Saul's and my costumes ready for tomorrow. We are going to meet my sister and go trick or treating and then go out for pizza with the kids. So I thought I should do something "spooky" for our supper. I just made a very simple hot dish (casserole for those not of the Minnesota region). I call it Ghosts in the Graveyard. I saw something like it in Taste of Home magazine but couldn't find where I put the book! So I just did it my own way. Saul thought it was hilarious! I love making silly meals for him, it gives me so much joy when he sees silly food on his plate.Such simple little things creates lots of laughter out of my sweet boy! Hope everyone will have a "spooktacular" Halloween! Be safe!!!!!

Click here for Printable Recipe

Ghosts in the Graveyard


  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 medium potatoes cubed
  • water for boiling
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/8 cup milk (more or less)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked Peas for the eyes and mouth
Put potatoes on to boil. Meanwhile, brown ground beef, onion and garlic until cooked through. Add vegetables and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in soup and milk and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. After potatoes are fork tender, drain and coarsely mash with the butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mashed potatoes in about 1/2 cup increments into the prepared ground beef and shape with two spoons to look like ghosts. Add the peas for the eyes and mouth.

I only made three ghosts because there is only the three of us, but you can form as many as you would like!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not all meals have happy endings.....

I BOMBED it tonight. Yes, that is right. I decided to be completely honest and not just write about the good, but the bad as well. Multi tasking can be a wonderful thing, but not all the time!!! I made pork loin medallions---I usually sear pork on both sides quickly and then simmer on low, that way they do not dry out. I thought I turned the knob down to med low but Saul was flopping around in the bath tub and called for me, so it stayed on med high. They weren't burnt, but lets say that they were a tad on the dry side (understatement of the year). Then I thought instead of just steamed carrots I would make this recipe that I made at Christmas last year. I started the recipe and then found out that it was a totally different recipe. It was not very good, at all. But the plain old buttered noodles turned out. Of course how on earth do you mess up buttered noodles? So in the world of kitchen fairy tales, this one had a unhappy and unsatisfactory ending. And I am hungry. I want CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, but alas I have taken an oath to stay away from them for a month. Only 2 weeks left of my self induced cookie fast. I hope I can make it. In the epic words of Scarlet O'Hara, Tomorrow is another day!

Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake

It's usually my responsibility to provide desserts for our family dinners on Sunday evenings. Some weeks, I am really busy and don't have time to create anything elaborate. At times like this, I usually throw together something very simple, like a dump cake. I got this particular recipe from the 101 Things To Do With A Cake Mix cookbook. Even though it's super simple, I'll still give you the recipe with step-by-step photos.

Click here for Printable Recipe

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 to 1 stick butter (My husband LOVES butter, so I used an entire stick)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.
Dump 1/2 of the cake mix into pan, spreading to evenly distribute.
Dump crushed pineapple in pan, spreading to evenly distribute.
Dump cherry pie filling over pineapple, spreading to evenly distribute.

Dump the remainder of the cake mix over the top of the cherry pie filling, spreading to evenly distribute. Top with thinly sliced butter.

(I forgot to take a picture before putting in the oven, so here's a pictue with the butter slightly melted from being in the oven for a few minutes.)

Serve warm with ice or cooled with whipped topping.
Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens | Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My husband's idea of heaven.....

Chicken & BroccoliI was so excited about doing this blog with my sister, I just had to put a few posts on (recipes earlier posted). So I thought my sis's pics looked so nice I decided that I needed to add them as well! Things always are easier to make when you see a finished product, I think. I went to pick up my husband from work and picked up the chicken and broccoli. When I told him what I was making I thought I might have to find a napkin to wipe the drool from his face! It was kind of fun making dinner with the thought that I would take pictures of it! All in all it turned out super! Of course Saul and I don't have the nerve for the sauce. My face starts to turn red and Saul pulls out his tongue and says "oww mama oww". But as for Todd, he just sits on his side of the counter and has a silly little smile on his face and occasionally utters a weird "mmmm" sound. That is all I have to hear to know that dinner was a success!!!

Onion Rice

Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens | Onion Rice

I have a love affair with onions. They are in almost everything I cook. Who can resist the smell of sauteing onions???? When I made a new recipe which I called Jamaican jerk pork roast in the crock pot, I needed something to serve it over because of its yummy juices and pineapple. I was SO bored of just plain old rice. Seriously tired of it. So I jazzed it up a bit with the help of a beautiful yummy onion. Family loves this side and it is so incredibly easy! You don't even feel like you have done ANYTHING! P.S. I have a crummy microwave so I make the rice on the stove top. Feel free to make it in the microwave!

Click here for Printable Recipe

Super Easy Onion Rice
Serves 2 (and one little Saul)

  • 1 cup Brown Minute Rice
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp or so of onion salt (you can add more later if needed)
  • 1 medium Onion coarsely chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring water and onion salt to a boil. Add the rice and cover for about 8 minutes (until the water is all absorbed). Meanwhile, Spray pan with cooking spray and saute onions until clear and translucent. When rice is ready toss onions with the rice and salt and pepper to taste.

My secret sauce

Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens | My secret sauce
So everyone will figure this about me pretty fast, I am a throw this and throw that in a pot add a bit of sugar and love and BAM (thanks Emeril) voila I have dinner! Sometimes I can recreate, sometimes it is a one hit wonder! But this sauce that I made by complete accident I make over and over again for my Hubby! It is pretty spicy, so I and my wee lil' boy don't eat too much of it, but my Husband eats the WHOLE bowl! It is especially good with sauteed chicken served with onion rice and steamed broccoli. You can make this is as spicy as you would like!

Click here for Printable Recipe

Todd's Favorite Sauce
Serves 2-4

  • 1/4cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/8 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tblsp Red Curry Paste
  • 1 Tblsp Soy Sauce
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (to your specified taste)

Mix all ingriedients in a small sauce pan and bring to a slow boil.

* Different brands of Hoisin sauce are sweeter than others. I prefer using a darker colored one instead of the more red toned ones. But since it isn't always available at my grocery store I just add a little bit more brown sugar or a touch of molasses to give it the flavor I like.*

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apple Crisp

For dessert tonight, I made an Apple Crisp. Last summer (2008) I bought a huge container of ground flaxseed at the MN State Fair. I don't know why. I'd ever used flaxseed before. I didn't really understand its purpose or function.

Before today, I'd only used a few tablespoons here and there on yogurt or in a smoothie. I've heard that you can use it to substitute flour, fat, and eggs, but making those substitutions makes me really nervous. When I bought the flaxseed, I was given a small packet of recipes they'd found online that used flaxseed. Today, more than a year later, I finally braved up and tried out a recipe.
Click here for Printable Recipe

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

  • 6 cups fresh sliced Braeburn Apples, or your favorite apple (I used a combination of red and green apples because that's what I had on hand)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T plus 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 c quick cooking oats (I used old fashioned)

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. Combine apples (I peeled before slicing) and lemon juice in baking dish and toss gently to coat.
3. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir with a whisk to blend.
4. Add cornstarch mixture to apple mixture and toss well to coat.
5. Combine flax, remaining cinnamon, brown sugar, and oats in separate bowl. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture.
6. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.
Apple Crisp
Again, I promise to take more, and better, pictures for future posts.

Sneaky Baked Ziti

I LOVE being sneaky. Ever since my husband came home with a borrowed copy of The Sneaky Chef, I've been hooked. I love how easy it is to sneak in veggies without affecting the taste at all. I've tried quite a few recipes and never been disappointed! I highly recommend this series of books to anyone who has trouble eating veggies or getting their spouse or children to eat their veggies. The recipes are simple and delicious!

I'd been wanting to try this Sneaky Baked Ziti recipe for quite awhile. It has pureed tofu in it, so I bought that and was ready for this dish--except it feeds 8-10, and we are only 2. I waited and waited for the perfect opportunity until the expiration date of the tofu was only a week away! I needed to use it and use it I invited our home teacher and his wife and son over for dinner. I still thought it might be too much food, so I invited my parents as well. The good thing is that my husband loves that I'm sneaking veggies into his meal. The bad part is that he likes to know what it is. It's never made him not eat what I've prepared, but I'm not sure if our dining guests always appreciate knowing.

Ok, this introduction has gotten quite lengthy...

Unfortunately, since I love The Sneaky Chef so much, I just don't feel right posting the recipe on my blog, since it's only found in The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. It's not included in one of their free recipes that can be found online. Even though I'd totally give credit, I just don't feel right posting the entire recipe.

I will tell you to check out the book from the library or buy it on or Barnes & or your favorite book retailer. I promise you will not be disappointed.

This recipe is chock full of Orange Puree. Can you guess what's in it?

This is then mixed with pureed tofu and store bought spaghetti sauce. It's all tossed with cooked penne or ziti noodles and mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella and Parmesan are sprinkled on top. Cover with foil, and bake.

 Sneaky Baked Ziti
Sorry about the poor picture. I wanted to take a picture of it when I took it out of the oven, but it seemed too weird with our guests. With time, my picture taking while prepping meals will get better, I promise.

Delicious! Everyone approved. Well, some wished for meat. I don't think that adding some hamburger or ground turkey would be a bad idea. My parents actually suggested pepperoni and sausage. Sounds good to me! We might be having this for dinner again on Sunday.

Welcome to our blog!

This morning, I thought, "Hey! I should totally create a recipe/cooking/baking/kitchen blog. I'll call it Clarinda's Kitchen."

Then I was chatting with my sister on Facebook, and she got really excited about it. She thought it sounded like fun, so I told her I could make her an author, too, so she could share her favorite recipes.

Well, Clarinda's Kitchen, just wouldn't cut it if we both contribute our favorite recipes, so...

Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens was born.

We're both very excited to begin sharing with the world our favorite recipes and our adventures in our kitchens.

Please stay tuned for exciting recipes that we hope you'll just love.


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