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Big Welfare Green Pepper Burgers

21 May

So I made burgers yesterday. I am house sitting and get use of a grill. I love grilling. One of my favorite Public Access cooking shows is Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen. I was excited until I opened the grill.

This grill is busted. In every sense of the word. I am sad just posting this picture.

They have a gorgeous back yard with a large pool and two levels of decking. Beautiful. They have an $8,000 stove and a beat the heck up grill! You can get a nice simple grill for $99 (put together courtesy of Walmart). So I made burgers and the BF was watching me. Watching me and wondering what I was doing-


85/15 ground beef
ground pork
bread crumbs

I mixed all the ingredients together and started making into patties. He asked if I was making burgers or meatloafs. I said burgers- meatloafs have no pork and more seasonings. I asked him how does he make burgers. He says that burgers have one ingredient- ground beef. no eggs. Nothing but ground beef.

He asked if i was making house burgers- big welfare green pepper burgers. I didn’t understand what he meant.

Watch this video. You will understand what he meant.

Not Very Vegan, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

14 May

The first time I tried to make shepherd’s pie, I followed a recipe from Racheal Ray. TOTAL FAIL!

So I decided to try again. This time I picked a highly rated recipe from

Traditional Style Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.

I kept everything pretty much the same except for one major thing- I substituted 1lb of ground Turkey for the 1lb of vegetarian ground beef substitute.

I also used Philadelphia cream cheese instead of vegan cream cheese. I had the Philadelphia in the fridge. I can tell you that vegan cream cheese is pretty good. I am lacto-intolerant so I had all of the other ingredients on hand.

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Sometimes you need to adjust

7 May

I made this week’s menu plan last week. Something I rarely do. I mentioned in my first menu planning post that I like to sit down and take 30 minutes on a sunday night. But I had extra time last week. One of the reasons I suggest doing it every week is that sometimes we need to make adjustments based on price and availability.

This week’s plan is attached in PDF below. I went through my grocery circulars and though I planned on a nice potato and leek soup to accompany my chicken on Thursday, leeks were just too pricey. I know I wanted a meatless soup (I do not mean vegetarian because I like to use real chicken stocks and broths, I simply mean “no meat” because I am planning on having soup as a side- not as a main)

I tend to use three websites when finding dishes

Each has their pluses and minuses. I will rate each on another post.

I decided to change up and go with Fresh Asparagus Soup from All Recipes. Asparagus bunches were less than $2 at Aldi!

For my “daily fish” I bought two tilapia fillets for $6.99 a pound. Here is the thing for those that are wary of cooking fish. It is so simple- just bread and be done! After breading you can bake or pan fry depending on the meal (or in my case the HEAT in my kitchen). Once you learn to bread, chicken and flakey fish will be your BFF in the menu planning. Plus you save money by breading it yourself!

Schmecipe for breading

dish of dredging (I use a bunch of AP flour and a paper plate.) Dredge your item just to coat

dish of egg (I use 1 white, 1 full egg and a pie dish.) Dip your item and make it nice and goopy.

dish of breading (I always pour more than I think I need. It is easier to do it ahead when your hands are not gross from the first two steps.) Bread your item. Get all 6 faces of it. I tend to lay mine on a drip rack as I finish all of the items.

Dredge, Dip, Bread. Done and Done

This works with panko, bread crumbs, or even left-over crusty bread pulsed through the processer (or knuckle hand grater like I do). Within the breading you can get creative with your mix-ins.

Add some cheese- I do not use the bagged cheese here- it is too big and moist, instead I take out my grater and a nice strong rind you can get near the deli for a great price. (When the rind gets too small to grate, throw into your pot of soup!) Please note, if you are pan frying your cheese will fry in a bad way if you add too much. Just a bit to spruce up the breading.

Change up the spices (Savory Spanish theme? Rosemary, Thyme, Orageno! Zippy Mexican Theme? Chilis, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cocoa! Italian Theme? Corriander, Nutmeg, Pepper! Some swear by the Salt Trilogy) I tend to do all of my mixing on the side and then add to the breading. I never mix directly in- I feel I cannot smell it correctly to get a good ratio.

Here is a Spice 101 from the Food Network. I actually abridged it on a couple of index cards and taped inside my cabinet.

Don’t forget your freshly ground Salt and Pepper Blend. I actually put a couple passes through in the flour, not the breading. I want it as close to my source as possible.

That being said, here is this week’s menu plan. I will let you know how these worked out. Monthly Menu

Summertime cooking in an apartment

4 May

I live in a nice little 2-bedroom apartment. No yard. No deck. No patio. A bunch of windows and wall-to-wall carpet in the kitchen. I find that to be a nice little touch.

It is hot right now in W. PA. Very hot. I do not do heat well. So my kitchen transformed into summertime cooking two days ago.

Summertime cooking? Without outdoor space? How you ask?

It is quite simple. IF it cannot be cooked on the George Foreman, in the rice cooker, or eaten raw, it is not on my menu.

Last night’s dinner consisted of grilled chicken (Foreman), green beans (microwave), and quinoa (rice cooker).

Cooking quinoa in the rice cooker is simple. My rice cooker does not like to use anything less than 2 cups of dry.


Rinse quinoa (I buy mine in bulk. Sometimes the bulk bins @ the groceria scare me. So I rinse!)

2 parts chicken broth, 1 part quinoa (I used ~2 cups broth, ~2 cups water, 2 cups quinoa)

Season to taste (I used my new penzey Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Chicken and Fish Seasoning)

Set to steam (I use the brown rice setting. You can stir throughout unlike with rice)

Drain (Always drain your quinoa!)

NB there is serious debate on how to pronounce this little round pellet of versatility. It is pronounced KEEN-wah