cranky kitchen


Quick & Easy is not just for the bedroom!

Leigh's White Chili
joyful feet
Leigh's White Chili

3-4 chicken breasts
1 large onion, diced
2 cans of white beans (Great Northerns, Cannelinis, etc.), drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 T olive oil
1 4oz. can chopped green chiles
2 t cumin
2 t oregano
2 t cilantro, chopped
1 can Ro-tel
1 box of chicken broth
Toppings: shredded cheese, sliced scallions, cilantro


Put chicken breasts in a large pot. Put in the entire box of chicken broth, plus a little water if you feel like they aren't completely submerged. Add half of the chopped onions and salt and pepper. Boil until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium size skillet, saute the rest of the onions in the olive oil. Once translucent, add the cumin, oregano, garlic and green chiles. Cook one minute. Add the Ro-tel, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for five minutes. Add the cilantro.

Remove the chicken from the pot and cut it up into small cubes. Add it back to the pot with the contents of the skillet. Add the two cans of white beans. Stir.

Simmer the chili for 20-30 minutes or until ready to serve. Top with cheese and scallions, and enjoy!

*NOTE: I love cilantro. But sometimes I feel like the only person on the planet who does. If you're like Cranky and think it tastes like soap, use flat leaf parsley instead.

Swiss Steak w/ Mashed Potatoes
joyful feet
Sorry for the lack of photo, but trust me, it's good. And easy. And child-friendly - my two year olds love it.

Joyfulleigh's Mom's Swiss Steak

one very large steak (I used a top sirloin)
2 cans of V8 juice (roughly)
a few carrots, sliced
half an onion, thinly sliced
3 large potatoes for mashing
staples (vegetable oil, butter, milk, flour, salt, pepper)

Put your steak between two pieces of Saran Wrap and beat the heck out of it until it's thin and flat. Then cut it up into medium pieces (three to four bites apiece). Season generously with salt and pepper. Then lightly coat it in flour.

Saute in a very small amount of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet just long enough to get a sear on each side. Then throw in the vegetables and pour in enough V8 juice to just barely cover the meat. Turn the heat down to very low. Cover and simmer until done, approx. 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil up your potatoes. Drain and mash with butter and milk.

Serve the meat and use the vegetables and sauce as gravy over the mashed potatoes. Serve a green vegetable on the side. We like peas, but use whatever tickles your fancy that day. This makes enough for two adults and two kids. You could easily just use more meat and stretch the recipe a bit.


Mushroom Bourguignon
Claire fur
So for vegetarians a good "meaty" mushroom dish is great to find!

In the recipes they use the same dish for stove top and oven. If you have one of those cast iron pans that would work great. I don't so I transfered to a casserole dish with no problems.

I actually used two different recipes and combined to make this. They can be found here and here.

Basically, it ended up looking like this:


1 Onion, diced
1 pound crimini mushrooms, generously sliced
1 portobello cap, generously diced
4 medium sized carrots, generously sliced
1/2 stick butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cups Vegetable broth
1 cup red table wine
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon flour, for a roux if needed

Preheat oven to 350º.

In an ovenproof and stove top friendly casserole, melt butter over medium heat. When melted, add onions. Cook over medium heat until browning, about 10-12 minutes. Butter will also brown, this is ok.

Add generously sliced mushrooms to onions. I cut jumbo mushrooms in thirds and halved regular sized ones. Stir to coat. Saute 5-7 minutes, until brown.

Add carrot. Then add ground pepper, herbs and garlic. Stir and saute another 2-3 minutes.

Add wine and bay leaf Let wine come to a simmer.

Once wine is simmering add Veg stock. Let come to a simmer again. Add tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer again.

Let simmer for 5 minutes. In this time put 1 tablespoon flour in a bowl and add broth from pan to make a roux. Return roux to pan to thicken. Incorporate.

Taste. What do you think? Depending on your stock, it may need salt. Add a pinch if necessary.

Place a sprig of fresh or dried thyme on top of bourguignon and cover pan. Put in pre-heated oven for :30 minutes. Serve immediately! Make sure to take your bay leaf out!

We served it on top of eggs noodles and with french bread covered in butter. :X



Vegetarian pot pie with puff pastry
Claire fur
My recipe was adapted from Food Network's Vegetarian Pot Piel


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (about 5 cups)
1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup whole milk
1 cup frozen baby green peas
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 large egg yolk
7 ounces store-bought puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Melt butter over medium heat in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add peas, thyme, and vinegar, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.

With kitchen shears, cut dough to fit over the baking dish. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Side note - I LOVED how the puff pastry held up (even though it sunk on one corner) but Brian still prefers a more "pie crust" topping. You could also add a layer of crust on the bottom if you like that as well!

Also, make sure you taste as you go! I had to add a little salt before I poured it into the casserole dish.


Easy Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
make lemonade
Easy Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
*Recipe originally from Southern Living Magazine (Dec 2006) but tweaked by me

In the pan:

On the plate:

1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (16 oz.) jar medium salsa
1 28-oz can red enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken
10 (7-8 inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Toppings: shredded lettuce, guacamole, chopped red onion, and/or halved grape tomatoes

1. Drain spinach well, pressing between paper towels. Set aside.
2. Stir together 1/4 cup salsa and enchilada sauce. Pour a small amount into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and set the rest aside.
3. Microwave cream cheese in a large bowl on high one minute or until very soft. Add spinach, chicken, and remaining salsa. Stir until well blended.
4. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cupful chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas and place, seam down, in the dish. Pour enchilada sauce mixture evenly over the top of rolled tortillas and sprinkle with all of the cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve w/ desired toppings.

Leigh's notes:
- 2 1/2 cups is probably about two large chicken breasts (or 3 small ones). I used the remaining half of a rotisserie chicken I bought earlier in the week and used to make Stuffed Pasta Shells (recipe below).
- I topped with shredded lettuce and served refried beans and guacamole with chips as side dishes. Some sour cream would also have been good.
- I used Old El Paso enchilada sauce (mild) and Ortega medium chunky salsa. I don't think it much matters since there's no way this recipe can be called "authentic". Get whatever your family likes, or whatever's on sale. (I had coupons.)

Pronto-Stuffed Pasta Shells
Fuzzy - corn dog
Pronto-Stuffed Pasta Shells
*recipe originally from Southern Living Magazine (Aug 2007) but tweaked by me

Yield: 4-6 servings

18 jumbo pasta shells (about half a box)
2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach
2 cups chopped roasted chicken
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 16-oz. container low-fat cottage cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 (16 oz) jar pasta sauce of your choosing (I used Alfredo)

1. Prepare pasta shells according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, defrost and wring spinach in towels to dry well.
3. Stir together spinach, chicken, basil, and next 4 ingredients. Spoon mixture evenly into shells.
4. Spread half of jarred pasta sauce in a lightly greased 13x9 pan. Stuff and arrange shells in the pan, and pour remaining sauce on top.
5. Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.

Leigh's Notes:
- The pan fits exactly 18 shells: two rows of 7, and 4 shells sideways down the middle. So don't just dump the box in the water! Count, people!
- I bought a rotisserie chicken pre-cooked from the store and used half of it in this recipe and will use half in enchiladas later in the week. If I hadn't done that, I assume 2 breasts roughly equal 2 cups.
- This tastes VERY spinachy. If you don't love spinach, skip this one.

Mom's Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 bay leaf

In heavy pot, brown ground beef with onion and green pepper until meat is well browned. Drain off all fat. Stir in chili powder, cook for 1 minute. Then stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Top w/ cheese or sour cream, if desired. Serve w/ crackers or cornbread.

Yield: 4 generous servings.

- I finely chop the onion and green pepper since my husband isn't a big fan of either. This way they just blend in and he can't really discern them.
- I frequently use more chili powder than this. Use what tastes good to you.
- If you're going to serve it w/ Ritz crackers or something salty, feel free to omit the salt. I almost always leave it out.
- My two year olds gobble this up.
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Sugar Free Hungry Girl Brownie Bites
Since I've had Weight Loss Surgery, I can not eat sugar without getting very sick.  Now, that doesn't mean I don't still jones for chocolate, so today I'm making Hungry Girl Brownie bites.  Easiest recipe EVAR.

1 box of Pillsbury Sugar Free Devils Food cake mix
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  You can either do a regular sized muffin pan or two mini muffin pans.  Spray them good with non-stick cooking spray or use liners.

In a large bowl, dump in the cake mix, the pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice.  Mix it all together.  It will be a very thick batter, and you will be tempted to add liquid, but don't.  It is supposed to be that thick, and just think of the tricep workout you'll get from it!!

Now, divide the mixture up into your muffin pans, and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then cool on a wire rack.

Then, nom accordingly.

Mushroom Stroganoff
Claire fur
Now that I'm writing this I'm hating that I don't have the stuff to make it!


Mushroom Stroganoff

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced (Note: I used Portobello and white buttons)
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3/4 cup non-fat yogurt (Note: You can use a combination of low or non-fat Greek yogurt and light sour cream, or use one exclusively)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Half a bag of wide egg noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and cook according to your desired level of doneness. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring until softened.

Add the sliced mushrooms, cooking until they are softened and lightly browned.

Next add the stock, soy and Worcestershire sauces. Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until the mixture has reduced by 1/3.

In a small bowl combine the yogurt and flour. Add this mixture to the pan and stir. Continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Pour mushrooms over noodles. Serve, seasoning with salt and pepper.

I serve with additional veggies and corn bread muffins.

Coq au Vin in a Crockpot
joyful feet
So, Cranky asked me to post my Coq au Vin in a Crockpot recipe, but alas, I cannot take credit for this gem.

I got it from my friend Gina over at her blog, Moneywise Moms. (If you're a mom on a budget, do support Gina by reading her blog. She's amazing.) But Gina got this recipe from another blogger, a crockpot blog extraordinaire called Crockpot365. So... without further ado, I give you: Coq au Vin in a Crockpot!

It looks like a purple mess but man, is it tasty! And my toddlers love eating their purple food!


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