Showing posts from July, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Buns using your Bread Machine

If you have a bread machine, you probably already have flour, sugar, salt, and rapid rise dry yeast on hand. Frugal, homemade hamburger buns can be made easily using my all purpose dough recipe.  Not only can you avoid an extra trip to the store and feel good about serving buns made from all natural ingredients, but hot, fresh homemade buns can take your burgers to a whole new level!

Bun Directions:

Once your bread machine's dough cycle is complete, grease a cookie sheet with a little oil or cooking spray. Divide the dough into nine portions and shape the buns into circles about one inch thick...

Allow the buns to rise for about thirty minutes on the cookie sheet. They will rise some when baking anyway so you can skip this extra rising if you are short on time...

If you have any sesame seeds, sprinkle them on the hamburger buns just before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Slice each bun with a bread knife after baking to separate the tops and bottoms.


So I was planning to make quesadillas and realized I was out of cheddar cheese. Here's how the conversation went between my picky six year old son and me:

Me: Will you eat a quesadilla made with white cheese?

Son: NO. Don't you have any orange cheese??

Me five minutes later: Wanna try one of these PIZZAdillas?

Son: Okay!

Son: MOM, Can you make these another day!? PUT THESE ON YOUR BLOG!!!

He likes it! Hey Mikey!!!

So here's what I used to make my pizzadillas:

Monterey Jack cheese
Pepperoni (preservative free)
Flour tortillas


Place cheese, salsa, and pepperoni on one side of a tortilla and place in a pan over medium heat.

Fold it over and turn it a few times with a spatula, making sure the tortilla doesn't burn on either side.

Pizzadilla is ready when the cheese is melted.

Serve with raw veggies for a fast weeknight dinner.

Copyright 2013, Raani S., Two Chickens In Every Pot

Two Ingredient Banana "Ice Cream" Pie

This cool, refreshing pie was inspired by banana pudding which is traditionally topped with vanilla wafers. As I expected, the 'Nilla wafer crust turned out to be the perfect addition to the already decadent one ingredient banana "ice cream."  If you haven't tried eating bananas this way, yet, you will be surprised at how creamy and delicious they are after being frozen and blended!


4 bananas
1 store bought 'Nilla wafer pie crust

Yep. That's it! Okay, okay...I garnished mine with whipped cream and walnut pieces, but those are optional.


Cut up bananas into slices about one inch thick and freeze in a plastic bag for at least four hours.

Blend until smooth in a food processor, mini food chopper, or blender. It's okay to add a a few spoonfuls of water if you need to.

Spoon creamed bananas into pie crust and chill in freezer for two hours before slicing.

Warning: It will not be as creamy if you leave it in the freezer indefinitely s…

Frugal Freezer Burritos

I recently froze some homemade bean and cheese burritos after my sister mentioned this idea she saw on Pinterest. Since the refried beans were homemade and I got the tortillas on sale, I felt very frugal. I do make my own tortillas, but we had eaten all of the homemade tortillas the night I made the beans. Making tortillas is less expensive, but let's face it, it can be time consuming. A few days later, I froze some leftover breakfast burritos, and now I have come up with yet another frugal frozen burrito idea...

I used leftover bean soup to make more burritos! Ever notice how homemade soups and chilies thicken in the refrigerator? That consistency is perfect for spooning onto tortillas for burritos! 


Flour tortillas
shredded cheese
leftovers (bean soup, chili, refried beans, scrambled eggs, meats, etc.)
hot sauce or salsa


Spoon those thick, cold leftovers onto a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and perhaps a little hot sauce, and wrap it up. I wrap each bu…

Senate Bean Soup

I don't remember where I originally found this recipe years ago, but I remember reading that it was served in the cafeteria of the U.S. Senate which is how it got its name. I've been making this simple bean soup for years, and my husband really likes it. The following is my most recent adaptation of the recipe...

1 lb dry navy beans
1 or 2 meaty ham bones
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks chopped celery 1 chopped carrot
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
salt and/or chicken bouillon to taste


Rinse and sort beans. Cover beans and ham bones with 8-10 cups hot water.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, checking occasionally. You can cook this soup covered or uncovered depending on how watchful you want to be. If you cook it uncovered, you may need to add a little more water at some point.
Add remaining ingredients except for the salt or bouillon.

Simmer for another 1 1/2 hours, for a tota…

Fun Lunches for Kids

I've started making colorful lunches for my children in the morning while they are still sleeping. Not only is it fun to surprise them later in the day with their pre-made "bento box" inspired lunches, but it also frees me up from having a lot of clean up to do after lunch. Just because most of us are home all day, doesn't mean we can't enjoy the benefits of lunches packed ahead of time...and the little ones eat more fresh fruits and vegetables when they are presented in interesting ways...

I sometimes do the prep work for dinner in the morning so I am thinking about experimenting with morning only food preparation on most days. What if I made the lunches, perhaps put together a lasagna, and then made breakfast all before waking the littles?

I could do most of my cooking alone without distractions, clean it all up, and have more time to spend on other things throughout the day like reading to the kids, cleaning and organizing other areas of the house, running er…

Fast No Bake Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This creamy, rich cheesecake takes only minutes to assemble and the recipe is so simple that I have it memorized. Sometimes it's nice to throw a dessert together that isn't completely from scratch and doesn't require a lot of measuring or effort. This cheesecake will impress your guests while still leaving you with plenty of time to primp before the party...


1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 cups whipped cream
1 graham cracker crust
1 cup dulce de leche (caramel sauce)
 a few dashes of coarse sea salt


With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar for about 30 seconds at medium speed. Add whipped cream and beat for thirty more seconds.

Spoon creamy filling into crust.

Spoon caramel sauce on top.

Sprinkle generously with salt.

Chill in refrigerator before slicing.


Sweetest Sweet Potato Pie

I absolutely love pumpkin pie, and I had some organic sweet potatoes sitting neglected in the fridge that I couldn't let go to waste. By putting the sweet potatoes into a pie, I was able to get even my pickiest eater excited about eating sweet potatoes! It helps that sweet potato pie looks and tastes very similar to pumpkin pie. Yum! I should make this more often...


2 ½-3 medium sized sweet potatoes  or about 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato

½ stick of butter, melted

3/4 cups white sugar

scant ¼ cup brown sugar, NOT packed

½ cup milk

2 eggs

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


Boil three sweet potatoes whole in skin for 45 to 50 minutes until tender. Allow to cool and remove skin.

Break apart sweet potatoes in a bowl, removing any stubbornly hard chunks that you will sometimes find near the ends. Add butter, milk, eggs, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla.…

Whole Wheat Pie Crust Dough

With only half a cup of all purpose flour, this whole grain pie crust is nutritious as well as delicious. Whether or not that 1/2 cup of all purpose flour is bleached or unbleached is a personal matter--no judgment here! I am already impressed that you are considering using this healthy crust for your next dessert or savory pot pie. This recipe makes a single pie crust so you will need to double the ingredients if you are making a pie with crust on both the top and bottom like an apple pie or a chicken pot pie.

Ingredients for single pie crust:

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (½ cup) cold, salted butter
6 tbsp cold milk


In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, sugar, and salt. Cut in slices of butter using a pastry cutter or simply grate the butter with your cheese grater and finish cutting it in with a fork. The largest pieces of butter should be pea sized and evenly distributed.

Pour the milk into the mixtur…

Busy Day Split Pea Soup

I've been making this split pea soup for years. It's amazingly easy to make. We are talking five minutes of prep time...And you can leave it alone for hours. I am always surprised at how flavorful cooked split peas are--this soup needs very little seasoning other than salt and pepper and maybe a few small pinches of garlic powder and onion powder. Pork neck bones also enhance the flavor, and I'm pretty sure that eating this soup counts as consuming "bone broth" which is all the rage right now. You can use fresh garlic, of course, but who wants the smell of garlic on their hands when heading out the door on a busy morning? This is an easy soup that you just throw together and it comes out great!


1 bag of yellow or green split peas
2 pork neckbones
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 of a medium sized onion, diced
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups of water
1 to 2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)


Man Pleasing Spring Rolls

Why is this recipe "man pleasing?" Because my husband made it, and it has bacon in it. Spring rolls are deep fried so they are more of an occasional weekend splurge for us than an everyday meal. On a more positive note, this is yet another one of our sneaky ways to get the kids to eat spinach.


1 lb bacon, chopped
1 head of cabbage, chopped
1 bunch of spinach, chopped and stems removed
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/2 ham steak, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tsp pepper
24 spring roll pastries
vegetable oil (enough to cover the spring rolls)

Fry bacon pieces and chopped ham until crispy. Set ham and bacon aside. Add the cabbage, spinach, and green onions to the bacon grease and sprinkle with pepper and ginger. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, for several minutes or until vegetables are wilted and somewhat soft.

While the hubby was sauteing the vegetables, he was also making fried rice which I will have to post about another time. Steamed…

Personal Pizzas

Who doesn't like building their own pizza?

There are a few secrets to making good pizza at home. First, heat the oven to about 500 degrees or hotter and preheat a pizza stone. It can be tricky transferring a large pizza onto a hot stone which is already in the oven. Some people make a full sized pizza on parchment paper and transfer it to the oven using a "pizza peel." They say you can slide out the parchment paper after cooking the pizza for a few minutes.

I use nothing but a metal spatula to transfer these small personal pizzas back and forth from my kitchen table to the oven. One thing that makes it so much easier, is that I cook the dough a little bit by itself before adding the toppings. Doing it this way not only makes for a crispier finished product, but it also provides a sturdy base which is easier to transport to the oven after loading it with sauce, cheese, and other toppings.

I made the dough in my bread machine, but you could also make it by hand or even bu…


Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting mainly of mashed potatoes mixed with some type of green vegetable. Usually kale or cabbage are used, but I make mine with spinach. The great thing about making Colcannon for your family, is that even some of the pickiest children will eat "green potatoes," if you catch my drift. Spinach is not the dominant flavor in these buttery potatoes so there is no need to include the "S" word in the name--especially if you are making it for children who say they don't care for spinach.

Not only is Colcannon a sneaky way to get kids to eat greens, but it is also serious comfort food for adults. Sour cream, garlic, and diced green onions give this dish an irresistible creamy, savory flavor. The fact that it is riddled with tiny pieces of spinach is just an added nutritional bonus. I first tried Colcannon at my sister-in-law's house, and I LOVED it. I believe hers was made with kale and coconut milk... Whaaaat?

A few days …

Simple All Purpose Breadmaker Dough

This recipe is so convenient since you probably already have these four ingredients on hand:

flour, sugar,salt, and bread machine yeast. (You will need a bread machine like this one that is large enough to hold four cups of flour.)


1 1/2 cups water
4 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp rapid rise / breadmaker yeast

This dough is a great go-to recipe I like to use when I am low on groceries and don't want to make a trip to the store. For me, it is sometimes easier to bake some type of bread at home than to lug everyone to the store and perhaps mess up a toddler's nap schedule. This is also a frugal recipe since it uses the cheapest type of flour and not much else.


Pour the water into the bread machine, followed by the flour, salt, and sugar. I sprinkle the salt and sugar around toward the outside so it won't come into contact with the yeast immediately. I think I read that tip somewhere. When using a bread machine, th…

Summer Squash Bread in Your Bread Machine

I just discovered recently that my bread machine has a setting for quick bread. The "quick" setting is for quick breads like banana bread or zucchini bread that call for baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast. There is no kneading or rise cycle on the quick setting--it simply mixes and then bakes.

My husband brought home some crookneck squash a coworker grew in his garden...

So we made "summer squash" bread...


1 egg, beaten2/3 cup sugar1 teaspoons vanilla1 1/2 cups grated fresh yellow squash, zucchini, or other summer squash1/3 cup melted butter1 cup all-purpose flour1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg1 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoons baking soda1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

This recipe makes about a one pound loaf. You may be tempted to double the amounts, but DON'T! A larger loaf does not come out quite right due to the shape of the bread pan and the timing of the automatic cycle.

Place all ingredients into the bread mac…

Honey White Wheat Bread

The great thing about baking your own bread is that you know exactly what goes into it. There is no need for preservatives so homemade bread is a great way to "eat clean." I love my breadmaker since I don't have time to knead bread and keep track of all the rising times. Don't you just love the smell of freshly baked bread?

For this recipe, you will need a bread machine that can hold four cups of flour for a two pound loaf.


1 cup water
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons whole milk
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp softened butter
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white wheat flour*
1 tsp vital wheat gluten 
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp fast rising dry yeast


If you keep your yeast in the refrigerator, set it out ahead of time to get it to room temperature. You will also need to soften your butter.

Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. With mine, the liquids go in first, and they tell you to make a well in t…