Curry topped sweet potatoes

We made this meal for the second time a few days ago, and it was just as good as we remembered.  It’s not fast owing to the baking of the potatoes, but it is easy and lets you clean up the kitchen while you wait.


We found Three Many Cooks
We made it…The only things we changed were to split a thai chili in half and let that hang out to replace the jalapeno and used the whole can of crushed tomatoes to avoid having to figure out what to do with the rest.  We also only cooked 3 sweet potatoes and avoided the scooping and mixing part and just smothered the sweet potato instead.
We ate it…It gave us 6 generous servings with a half sweet potato each.
We thought…It’s probably a better winter meal, but it is is a keeper.  Chris loves sweet potatoes, so that really helped, too.

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Skillet tuna noodle casserole

I know we shouldn’t like tuna noodle casserole as much as we do, but there it is.  It’s delicious.  This recipe isn’t necessarily super fast because it takes a while for things to brown, but it is tasty and doesn’t use a lot of dishes.  Which means it wins a weeknight possibility award in my kitchen.


We found it…The Best 30-minute Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but this recipe is almost identical.

We made it…We always do this dance about which tuna is cheaper/will provide us with all that we need for the recipe, and this time we went with the large can instead of the bags.  It was less tuna than called for, but was fine.  Though I wouldn’t have protested more.  We also just used a half pound of mushrooms since the package was on sale.  Other than that, the recipe was followed as is.

We ate it…3 times/6 servings

We thought…We’ve made this before.  It’s sort of a fancier version of Tuna Helper, and we like it.  Again, probably more than we should.

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Russian vegetable pie

This pie is not Hungarian, much to my dismay. I spent a fair amount of time looking for the recipe under that name, only to realize I’d mixed up my geography. The internets cannot find things that don’t exist.  It was especially frustrating because I had found the recipe I wanted to try the week before.  I was afraid I’d gone crazy.


We found it… as written in The Vegetarian Epicure

We made it…As written.  It doesn’t specify how much dill, and I would put at least a 1/4 teaspoon.  The 1/8 teaspoon of the other spices was plenty.  The dough was a little difficult, though I didn’t follow directions well and cut the cream cheese and butter in at the same time.  I had to use a bit of water to get it to come together.  It rolls out thin, so be prepared for that.  We made it one day and baked it the next, so it took a while longer to brown.

We ate it…We’re still eating it, but I’d wager we’ll get 3.5 meals or 7 servings.  And mostly because I was super hungry, so it could go 8 next time.

We thought…This was a little weird but quite delicious.  We might just use our regular pie dough next time for ease, perhaps using some whole wheat flour.  We weren’t sure what the cream cheese added, so it might be easier to skip that next time.  Overall it was a hearty meal that we enjoyed once it was finally done baking.

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Broccoli, Corn and Potato Soup

Though I can refer you to a website that again will always have better pictures than me, I did remember to photograph this one.


We found it…MADE

We made it…This time we substituted some frozen ham we had instead of bacon.  We always saute an onion and some garlic in the bacon drippings/oil before adding the flour.  This time we used Italian seasoning because we were out of thyme and it worked well.  I usually take my 4 cup liquid measure and add 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn and then top it off with frozen broccoli because we like our soups thicker. Also Chris love broccoli.

We ate it…6 servings/3 meals for us.

We thought…The fact that this uses frozen vegetables helps a lot.  It means it can be made easily or shuffled around if changes plan without the fresh ingredients going bad.  Overall, a really great staple soup.  It also scales up well – we’ve made tons of it at a time for a big group before.

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Red kidney bean curry

No picture of this one, but it necessitated a post because it was delicious!  Also, Smitten Kitchen‘s pictures will always be better than mine anyway. (c:

We found it…Smitten Kitchen Red Kidney Bean Curry

We made it….As described, by using the lower amount of ginger.  We meant to put in an jalapeno, and it would have been nice with a kick of spice.  You could also split a thai chili and let it hang out before taking it out at the end for some heat.  Served over brown rice with a dollop of plain yogurt.

We ate it….6 servings/3 meals for the two of us.

We thought…This was super easy and very tasty.  It more than satisfied and we look forward to making it again.  Even better leftover.

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Curried Singapore Noodles

This was a quick meal, and pretty good.  It would be great with shrimp as it was written, but it works well substituting more veggies as we did, too.


We found it…America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook or here
We made it…by leaving out the shrimp and stir frying broccoli instead.
We ate it…6 servings
We thought…it was quick, easy and tasty.

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Dinner table topper

I jumped on the bandwagon that I’m pretty sure most crafty/sewey blogs on the internets jumped on. Quilters all over, young and old have been making scrappy trip around the world quilts – Quiltville.

I had previously made a full trip around the world quilt for a friend, and it was pretty easy and satisfying. I needed a table topper for our table since place mats often don’t cover enough area and the (cheap) veneer is starting to chip.  Wanting to make our table last a little longer into our debt repayment process, I decided the scrappy trip was a perfect project for it.

The scrappy trips around the world encourage you to choose whatever fabrics you have in hand. Luckily I had been collecting some cute fat quarters during various trips, and this gave me an opportunity to use them.  I added in some extras from other sewing projects I’ve done here and there.  I made 4 blocks, each containing a strip of orange in the center since our kitchen contains a lot of that (as does our whole house…).  The cows on the corners were obvious.  It is out kitchen after all!


Most of the fabric was acquired because I loved it, and the rest made me think of other people I’ve made things for.  That alone made it a really fun project to work on.  I only had to pick up a little bit of the trees and the brown stripe/binding.  I just couldn’t make any of my meager stash work the way I wanted.  The quilting design was fun, and I’m particularly tickled at how the quilting looks on the back.  I learned the right ways to start and stop in the middle on my machine, which will help me in my next project.


Of the fabrics I loved, the back was most definitely included.  I love paisley, particularly if it’s ugly.  I had just enough of this fabric to make it work.  Best of all, now the topper is reversible!

I did have a lot of help in the process. Ping decided he’d have to try it out to make sure it was comfortable enough for his spot on the table. Yes, our cat is a pest and often joins us at the dinner table.


What can I say? It’s a good thing he’s cute!

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Crispy black bean tacos

There is really not much to report on this meal, except that it is easy and delicious.


We found it…Smitten Kitchen black bean tacos

We made it…We don’t change much other than shredding our own cabbage for the slaw and sometimes using corn tortillas instead of flour.

We ate it…We generally get 2 meals/4 servings out of it.  The second day we usually just eat it warmed up rather than crisped.

We thought…We love this.  It’s fast, easy, light and a regular go to in our kitchen.

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Chicken salad from roast chicken

There’s no recipe here, just a money and time saving trick that Chris and I often like to use.  It generally starts on Sundays.  Every once in a while we enjoy what we call ‘Sunday dinners’.  These usually entail a meat of some sort, a potato type side and a vegetable.  We generally only do them on Sundays because a.) meat usually takes longer to cook that way and b.) the rest of the week we have meals that are self contained (stir fry over rice, pasta, etc.) and don’t have sides.

Last week our Sunday dinner meant roasting a chicken.  We’ve used many recipes, but the basic and easiest one is the favorite.  Put a chicken (less innards and neck) on a sheet pan, season with salt and pepper (or Buck’s!) and roast until it’s done.  That night we have some of it with our veggie and side, and that usually gets us another lunch with all of those things.

Later that week, we usually take one of the breasts and make chicken salad for sandwiches.


This one consists of mayo, green onions, chopped almonds, dried cranberries and chopped apple. Other times we put just onion and celery with the mayo. Sometimes we add parsley and lemon juice when they’re around. My friend makes one with Miracle Whip (which usually makes me gag), dill and mandarin oranges that’s great. Or make it buffalo style. Eat it open face or in a wrap or just on crackers. The point is you can make it how you fancy. For us, that means another 2 meals/4 servings.

Finally, I’ll spare you the picture, but the bones make good stock with some leftover veggies in the crockpot. We throw it in the freezer until we’re realdy to deal with it. Call it frugal if you will. I call it convenient!

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Valentine’s Day

Meet Baxter.


Yes she’s a calico. Which means she’s a girl. She can handle the name Baxter all the same. What’s it to ya?

That aside, she’s an aspiring cook so I’m sure you’ll see more of her.  In the meantime I offer you indoor s’mores.


Given that he does not need much in the way of stuff, I’m always looking for interesting gifts.  Chris loves roasted marshmallows. I had the idea of finding a way to do indoor roasted marshmallows anytime he wants for Valentine’s Day.  I found the little grill on Amazon – it’s called an indoor or tabletop mini hibachi.  There are also s’mores sets that you can purchase, but that was a little more space in our kitchen than I wanted to devote.


The fire itself comes from Sterno.  You scoop some out of the metal tin it comes in and into the hibachi before lighting it with a match.  It lights incredibly easily and only burns until the fuel is gone, so it’s pretty easy to have it go for just long enough to roast what you want.  You can’t put water on it to put it out, so keep a tin can nearby.  You can invert that over the flame and let the lack of airflow extinguish it.

The marshmallows are America’s Test Kitchen, though The Frugal Girl has written the recipe out to make it easier to gather your ingredients.  I was never able to get the sugar mixture up to 240 degrees.  It hovered around 230 and they turned out just fine.  It does require almost a whole box of gelatin, so be prepared.  Finally, the video cautions you to move quickly.  Though it’s helpful for nice and smooth marshmallows, it’s not the end of the world if some gets stuck in the bowl.  More to eat while you’re waiting for the bulk of them to do their marshmallow thing!

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