Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Butterfinger Brownies

We got this recipe from a girl I used to coach in soccer. She is a fabulous baker!! She now plays for TCU and makes her teammates lots of yummy treats. The Butterfingers really does add something special!

1 pkg brownie mix made according to box
1 king size Butterfingers or 5 "fun size" Butterfingers if it is Halloween time:) crushed

Two minutes before the brownies are done, remove brownies and sprinkle with Butterfingers. Put back in oven for remaining 2 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy with milk!

A quick taste of Thai?

So, I really did take this month's challenge to heart and thought it was a great idea!! I have seen these at the HEB, but never had an excuse to get one. This month, I had two reasons...the challenge and I am pregnant. Now, it was pretty tasty for noodles made in a box, but it was not really coconutty or gingery. I will probably try another flavor because that's the kinda girl I am.

Sherry...from the liquor store.

When cooking with Sherry or Marsala, you gotta go with the stuff from the liquor store, NOT the grocery store. They have significantly better flavor. While my mom was in town a number of weeks ago, I made the easy cheesy fondue from Rachel Ray that I had made previously because it really tastes better with good sherry!!

Best Laid Plans

It's hatch chile season, and I used this challenge as an excuse to order some online. Just so you know, it is pretty difficult to find these chiles for a decent price. Even more difficult, it is hard to find these chiles in smaller amounts. I finally found a website that did offer them, and was looking forward to receive my chiles end of September.

So, a month later, still no chiles. I have talked to the company and they have just been overwhelmed with orders (probably because of the reasons listed above). I had hoped to make chile rellenos and/or green enchilada sauce. Oh well, maybe next month.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Product: Jiff's extra crunchy peanut butter


I really prefer smooth peanut butter myself, but the extra crunchy kind is really good in peanut butter cookies. The best peanut butter cookie recipe that I have found is from Cook's Illustrated, and it recommends the Jiff brand. This one will be in your Kerri's Greatest Hits cookbook, or you can find it here.

I am off to eat a few more right now...YUM!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tasty Bite - Jaipur Vegetables

Ok, first of all I don't think I bought this at Trader Joes. I believe I bought it at another specialty grocery store, called Sprouts. The brand name is Tasty Bite. The dish is cubes of paneer cheese, with vegetables and cashews in a creamy curry sauce. I did not have high hopes for this meal. I thought it would be ok at best or absolutely horrible. It was actually pretty darn good. The only thing I beg to differ on is the portion size. The package says it is for two but if you have two adults especially if a man is one of them, you may find yourself fighting over the last bit. This is the ingredient list: water, tomatoes, potatoes, green peas, carrots, paneer cheese, french beans, cashew nuts, onions, oil, raisins, cream, salt, chilies, ginger, garlic, herbs and spices. I love it ... nothing unpronounceable ... no partially hydrogenated anything. And, on the back it says it can be used as meals for hiking and camping ... no cooking or refrigeration is required until the foil pouch is opened. It was a good find especially on those nights where you may be cooking for one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Go old trusty Trader Joes

Are you sick of all my Trader Joe posts? Well, I have one more. This Trader Joe's Chai drink was so good. I subbed warm milk for water. I think it's official ... with all these great products I'm a Trader Joe's convert!

Trader Joe's Chicken-Less Strips

Wow, these are so tasty I might consider becoming a vegetarian full time! Honestly, I don't think people would be able to tell the difference between this and chicken if you served it to them. The light seasoning is really good. I topped a large green salad with these strips, feta, and a balsamic vinigarette.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This one goes out to Mark

It occurred to me as I was watching Sunday football that my Simpler Times beer would make a good product challenge. This is also something I picked up at Trader Joes the other day. It is a family owned brewery that specializes in Pilsener and Lager beers. This one is the Pils. It was nice, light and smooth ...everything I like about a Pilsener. Not as good as Mark's homebrew but maybe the next best thing. I would get it again.

Trader Ming's Vegetable Shu Mai

I have some apologizing to do and some catching up to do! Sorry, I have been missing for this challenge. We are moving into a new home (finally) and I forgot how much work home ownership is! We haven't been venturing out lately. Phoenix has some great supermarkets ... among them my most recent find Trader Joe's. I really didn't know what to get here so I started by getting a few things off their most recent flyer. Here is a frozen product that we tried, vegetable dumplings. They were great and the ponzu sauce that comes with them was unbelievable. Mine don't have that browned look, which I think they get by pan frying near the end of cooking time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Southwestern Vegtable Bake


This one was actually first discovered by DH in the Cooking Light, 5 ingredient 15 minute cookbook I gave him for Christmas one year. (talk about a hint hint!) I know, you are all shocked that Mark would pick a vegatarian entree to try, but I tell you, that meat eater act is all a show. This recipe is so simple, that it is hard to see how it will work as a main course, but it really does. The key ingredient that gives it so much flavor is a can of Rotel's chili fixings. This, or any "chili style tomatoes" aren't always easy to find, so when I do see it, I will buy more than one can. I always serve it with torilla chips, then pair it with either apple slices or avacado. This week, I made quesadillas to go along with it. This would make a great side to any mexican meal, or it would be good just with chips.

Southwestern Vegtable Bake

1 can white hominy, drained
2 cans mexicorn, drained
1 can rotel chili fixings
i can black beans, drained

Combine the above ingredients in 2 qt casserol dish. Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle grated pepper jack cheese on top and bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve with tortiall chips.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lemongrass in a jar

Lemongrass is impossible to find here, but I found some chopped and jarred lemongrass and decided to give it a try for this recipe. Turned out excellent. The flavor was presented well and it added a lot. Since I haven't used much of the fresh variety, I can't give it a fair comparison, but it was good and I would make this recipe again.

Lemongrass Pork - Cooking Light 10/08

DH said it's one of the best meals I've ever made. Not sure I completely agree, but it was delicious. I'm still drooling over that gorgonzola penne from last month.

Friday, October 10, 2008


They are like raisins but better!

I figured since cranberries were hard to come by in Germany, that craisins would be a good product to mention. I like to use craisins in some homemade granola. I made some granola for a snack with a playdate with someone who had celiac disease. It was soooo good, that I went out and bought some. YUCK! It wasn't even the same thing. James and I like to make a variation of classic granola from USA Today. I use craisins, coconut, and pecans for my "extra ingredients". I think what makes this recipe so good is that you bake the craisins along with the granola. That dries them out and keeps your granola crunchy. I am going to make this for Christmas gifts for James's teachers this year. It is that good and that easy!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Product: store bought pie crust


My name is Kerri, and I use store bought pie crust. I have made homemade pie crust in the past, and yes, it is good, but there are several acceptable uses for a store bought one. I am not sure if this counts for this challenge, but I thought for sure this is something they wouldn't have in Europe!

After I had my baby, someone brought me a quiche for a new mom's meal. Then I saw this recipe in a Parenting magazine, and I found a new easy recipe! Eggs are still one of the cheapest protein sources and the quiche itself is so versitle for whatever you have on hand. Of course, couldn't do it without a store bought pie crust. I got the store brand, which I don't recommend, but it is a very forgivable pastry.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Light Life Smart Ground

Since I'm a vegetarian, we don't cook meat at home and are always on the lookout for ways to change things up a little. For me, that is actually making meals that are pretty standard for most people using meat substitutes. One that we like to sub for ground beef is Light Life Smart Ground. Our market carries it in the produce section with the other soy products. It comes in a variety of flavors, but I prefer to use "original" so I can season it the way I want. I've tried similar products, but I like the texture of this one best. For those of you who have no problem eating ground beef, this is a good sub once in a while to lighten up a dish, speed up the cooking time (no browning necessary), or to please other "picky" eaters like me! If you are going to use it for something such as tacos, I would suggest adding a little water to the pan while heating to loosen things up.

The discovery of this made it possible for me to enjoy my family's traditional "Christmas Eve Queso" for the first time in over 10 years. My family didn't even know the difference, and my sister freaked out when she saw me eating it!

Chili con Queso
(Makes a lot. Freezes well)
1 medium onion, diced
1 can Rotel
1 12 oz pkg Smart Ground (or 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained)
8 oz can tomato sauce
4 oz can chopped green chilis
16 oz American cheese, cubed
Dash of garlic salt

Saute onions in a little oil over medium heat. When soft, add beef or Smart Ground. Stir to break up large chunks and add remaining ingredients. Lower heat and stir occasionally until all the cheese is melted.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Product Review: Penzey's Cocoa and Vanilla

I like to order my spices from Penzey's. It is very cost effective. Buying my natural cocoa and double strength vanilla from there is not as cost effective, but it sure is good.


My favorite thing to make from these products are Alton Brownies. Actually, yes, they are good, but it is actually my husbands favorite thing that I make. He gets mad when I make any other kind of brownie. These are a nice in between of cake and fudgy brownies. Would you believe that after making these with the Penzey's cocoa, I actually cut back on the amount used? It comes out too chocolately otherwises. As for the vanilla, I buy double strength just because I tend to use it up too quickly otherwise.

Other penzey's must haves: cumin, turkish oregano, northwoods seasoning, cinnamon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Challenge - Product Review

Reminder: October's Challenge is a product challenge (see post below for further detail). This is a great excuse to try out some new products in the grocery aisle or introduce us to some great internet ordering sites. New recipes using these products are welcome! Enjoy!