Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs

From Alton Brown on the Food Network.

4 ounces stale bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place all of the ingredients into a blender carafe, cover and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 2 minutes. Spread the crumbs evenly on 2 half sheet pans and bake until the crumbs just begin to brown and are crisp, about 5 minutes. Cool the crumbs on the pans for 15 to 20 minutes, and then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 15 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 3 to 4 cups
Level: Easy

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Classic Baked Acorn Squash

Stephanie has made this recipe several times in the past, so I know it’s good. I’m going to try it out with the acorn squash I bought yesterday.

From Simply Recipes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.

1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt

1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Using a strong chef’s knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.

3 Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4 Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.


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Cheese Sauce

From the kitchen of: David Speakman

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black or white pepper (I use white)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheese


Melt butter; remove from heat. Stir in flour and seasonings. Gradually add milk, stirring until well mixed. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Cook for 5 minutes longer; add cheese. Stir until smooth and well blended.

If it is too thick – add milk to get it the correct consistency. Salt to taste (if ti tastes too floury, add a little more salt)

Also – feel free to add more cheese to make it cheesier.
Serve with pasta or vegetables.

Extra can be refrigerated and re-heated (add milk to thin as needed)

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Cooking Templates

via Jezebel – Resolved: Eat Better, Not Less, for a Healthier Diet Jezebel’s article on healthy eating covers an approach that I’ve heard from many of my thin friends:

What you need are a few core recipes that you’re good at, or can get good at, that can be adapted for almost any combination of ingredients. You probably already know them–they’re the safety recipes you go to when you’re cooking for other people, and you want guaranteed success. In my household, it’s a chicken with Thai basil stir-fry (despite almost never having actual Thai basil), a recipe for stuffed peppers, and a few different ways of making thin white fish: broiled with butter or oil, pan-fried with a coating of flour mixed with spices, and cooking en papillote, or wrapped in tinfoil or wax paper.

Mark Bittman recommends three more “core” recipes, which have the added benefit of being very sustainable for the Earth and healthy: a broccoli/chicken/mushroom stir-fry, a chopped cabbage salad, and a lentil/rice boil with pork as an optional add-in. The Boston Globe has a few more. They work the same way my own recipes work: when you’re missing something, throw something else in. By making the basic version a few times, you learn how the dish should come together, how to use your knife or food processor to prep the ingredients, and what kinds of cook times you should expect. At that point, the proteins, beans, vegetables, rice, leafy greens, and other ingredients all become plug-and-play elements.

You’re no longer beholden to everything–time, ingredients, recipe, and mood–falling into place. You can just cook with what you’ve got, and be assured that the results are pretty good. Save the Martha-impressing recipes for when you’ve got a Saturday night off.

I’m going to spend some time putting some ideas like this together with Stephanie, because this tends to be where we scramble to get stuff made before it goes bad, rather than having a plan and throwing in whatever ingredients.

And some other ideas blatantly copied from the comments:

My favorite go-to quick dinners: Sauteed cherry tomatoes, spinach, and feta over whole what pasta. Sautee the veggies with some garlic, toss in cheese, throw over pasta. Mozzarella or parmesean or peccorino work well if you don’t have feta around.
Also my “fiesta bowl” Brown rice (I usually cook a bunch at once and keep it in the fridge-it keeps for a good two weeks with canned beans, salsa, and whatever else you have on hand-chicken, beef, cheese, peppers, broccoli Both require 1 pot and 1 pan, and if I’m really lazy I just eat it right out of said pot.

-A lentil-potato-coconut-milk curry that probably ends up costing about 60 cents per serve and is super yummy with corriander and yogurt on top.
-Veggie & bean Chilli. I make a huge pot and then use it for nachos, tacos, serve it over rice etc. Sometimes I even wrap it in puff pastry and bake it.
-Colcannon. Kale, onions, garlic and taters on crusty bread with butter. Mega-Irish comfort food.
-Pasta suace with beans and lentils. I can use this sauce for a lasagna with cottage cheese and spinach or chard if I feel like something different.

cooked brown rice tossed with sauteed spinach, sliced sauteed onion (if I have one) and chickpeas. Sometimes I add chopped cherry tomato if I have a few hanging around the fridge. top with 1 fried egg and a spoonful of garlic sriracha. Sometimes, I sub quinoa for the rice. Quantites depend on whether I have company or not.

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Anchovy-stuffed Olives

Anchovy-stuffed Olives
Anchovy-stuffed Olives

As long as I’m blogging about silly stuff — Anchovy-Stuffed Olives are yum!

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love these. So much I put ’em on my Amazon Wishlist.

2022-03-12 Update:
Well literally nothing about this post is relevant anymore. Every link broke, I decided I like garlic-stuffed olives better… It’s interesting though, that I became aware of my olives/anchovies/capers savory sort of taste enjoyment right about this time. I know known that the savory flavor profile is sometimes called Umami. Between this and sour beer, I’ve got that flavor profile covered.
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MJ’s ‘Up North’ Chili

From the the kitchen of: MJ at Friday Fishwrap.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Total pots to clean: 1 stock pot, bowl, cutting board and knife.

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin (or beef chuck, trimmed, if you prefer)
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small can of green chili’s
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 – 8 dashes cayenne pepper, more if desired
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans beer
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with puree
  • 1 large tomato – coarsely chopped
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • Red onions, chopped, for garnish
  • Limes, wedged, for garnish
  • Oyster crackers or sliced baguette, for garnish

In a 5 quart pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the meat, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the meat. Add the garlic and onion, cook until soft. Return the meat to the pot. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, cayenne, 1 can of beer (use rule #486; one for the pot, one for me…), green chili’s, crushed tomatoes and coffee. Simmer uncovered at a low temperature for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir occassionally. Don’t let it dry out, add beer as necessary (see rule #486). Add chopped tomato, kidney beans and second can of beer. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, squeeze of lime, or chopped red onions. Or all of the above.

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Tuscan-Style Baked Pork Chops

  • 4 or 5 thick center-cut pork chops
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine

I adapted this recipe from one in the Weight Watchers cookbook – theirs was for a pork roast with this marinade, which I picked because Stephanie and I love rosemary dishes. I chose to bake the pork chops according to the instructions from a different recipe, but with this marinade instead. I suspect I might also use this marinade for a chicken recipe soon, because we loved it.
Cut excess fat from pork chops. Stir together the garlic, olive oil, rosemary, salt and ground pepper, baste over pork chops in a baking dish, then pour the wine into the bottom of the dish around the chops. Let the chops marinade in the refrigerator for several hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve with a side dish, vegetables and the rest of the bottle of wine.

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Dan’s Turnovers

These were one of the main dishes served at our friend’s wedding reception, and we enjoyed them, so we asked for the recipes.
6 filling types, recipes for 16 turnovers each.


1 lb (3.25 C) flour
1/4 lb (one stick) butter
1/4 lb (1/2 C) vegetable shortening (contains soy)
1 t salt
3/4 C ice water
The dough is mixed as a short crust (butter and vegetable shortening at room temperature before being cut into the flour to consistency of course meal, then add ice water). The fillings were fully cooked before putting in the turnovers.

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Dirt Pudding

From the kitchen of: unknown

  • 1 large package oreo cookies
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 small boxes instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping

Crush cookies, sprinkle 1/2 on bottom of 13 x 9 dish. Beat together the milk and pudding until the mixture thickens. Beat together margarine, sugar and cream cheese, add whipped topping and pudding, stir well. Pour mixture over crushed cookies, sprinkle remaining cookies on top. Refrigerate 4 hours.

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