Last night, I was stuck in a stairwell at work, waiting for a tornado to rip the roof off the building.

So instead of cowering in a corner and crying, I decided to be a bit more constructive with my time…  So here is a recipe for a little something I whipped up that morning.  And let me tell you, it was GOOD.

Vegetable Couscous


  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • A handful of golden raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Garam masala
  • 1-2 tbsp cardamom
  • 1/4 c white wine or vodka
  • Salt, pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup couscous, uncooked
  • 2 c vegetable stock
  • zest and juice from 1 orange


  1. Sauté onion, garlic, and other chopped vegetables in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garbanzos, tomatoes, tomato paste, raisins, and spices.
  3. Add alcoholic beverage of your choice.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the orange juice.
  6. In another cooking vessel, boil vegetable stock. If you want to get all fancypants, you can even add a small pinch of saffron… Add a bit of olive oil, then add couscous. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
  7. Serve veggies over couscous.
  8. Garnish with orange zest.
  9. And feel the Yum.

(If you would like a more traditional recipe for 7 vegetable couscous, you can find it HERE.)


Today we’re going to make more comfort food!  Yay!

This is a pretty basic recipe for macaroni and cheese, zhoozhed up a bit courtesy of Alton Brown and Williams-Sonoma…

On with the show…


  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni.  (Use Dreamfield’s if you’re feeling low-carby.)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded  (use white cheddar if you’re feeling saucy.  Or you can throw in some Fontina, smoked gouda, Gruyere, or any other interesting cheese that haz a flavor.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • White pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup (panko) bread crumbs  (If you don’t have panko, you can grind up some stale white bread in your food processor.)


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to one minute less than the directions say.  (It will finish cooking in the oven.)

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, nutmeg, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring constantly, then remove the bay leaf.  (The bay leaf is optional, BTW.)

Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and white pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

It’s the middle of summer. Among the thousands of vacu-seal bags of produce in your freezer, you have a bag of cherries.  What to do….?

If you have a well-stocked liquor cabinet and random herbs growing in your front yard, the possibilities are endless!

For instance, you could totally rip off one of the super-yummy menu items from last year’s Restaurant Week at Stephen Pyles…

Is it ice cream? No, it's cheesecake!

(a.k.a. the infamous thyme-infused cherries jubilee with goat cheesecake!)

…and here’s my ripoff version for breakfast:

French Toast with Cherry Sauce


  • White bread.  The staler the better.  You could even use up the rest of that super-dense Italian loaf that you got at the farmers’ market two weeks ago!  (Or at least, that’s what I did…)
  • Cherries. (Duh.)  About 1/2 cup per person.
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • Something alcoholic.  Preferably something that goes with cherries.  Vodka might be nice, as would brandy.  I used Triple Sec.  You’ll probably need 1/4 cup liquor per cup of cherries
  • A sprinkle of cornstarch.  Maybe 1 teaspoon per cup of cherries?
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar per cup of cherries.
  • a few eggs
  • milk or cream
  • butter
  • powdered sugar



  • This is important!
  • For Sunday a.m. listening, I highly recommend Morcheeba or Zero 7.  Or maybe even Thievery Corporation or Hall and Oates.  Whatevs.
  • Crank it and get to cookin’.  Because you aren’t really cooking unless you’re totally jamming out to some groovy tunes…  =-D

Cherry Sauce:

  1. If you are working with a bag of cherries from the grocery store, you’ll want to get up super early in the morning and pit them.  My cherry pitter from Williams-Sonoma is one of my most prized possessions.  For real.
  2. Throw the pitted cherries into a bowl, add sugar, cinnamon, salt, and thyme*, and stir.  Let these sit and get syrupy while you make the french toast…
  3. *A note on the thyme:  You can either leave the sprigs whole and remove the stems after cooking, or you can strip the leaves off the stems before cooking.  Whatever floats yer boat….

French Toast:

  1. If bread isn’t already sliced, get a serrated knife and make 1/2″ slices of bread.
  2. In a decent-sized casserole dish, mix together eggs (about one egg per 2 slices of bread) and milk.  Add cinnamon and mix some more.
  3. Add bread to dish and let soak.  Flip over after a few minutes and soak some more.  (See why we wanted a wide, flat dish?)
  4. In a wide skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter.  Add bread and fry.
  5. When the first side is brown, flip over and brown the other side.
  6. Remove when done.

Cherry Sauce, cont’d:

  1. Melt 1-2 Tbsp butter in a small pan over medium-hi heat.
  2. Add cherries and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add your beverage of choice and let the alcohol cook out.  This will also thicken the sauce a bit.
  4. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, add a sprinkle of cornstarch, stir, and cook for a couple more minutes.


  1. Cut each piece of french toast in half and assemble on plates in your pattern of choice.
  2. Divide cherry sauce among servings of french toast.
  3. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  4. Nom.

Fall is finally here, and with the cold weather comes the best time for BAKING!

So to start the season off right, last night I made Pumpkin Bread!

For the recipe, I used the Official Libby’s Pumpkin Bread recipe, with a few minor alterations…


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (feel free to replace with applesauce for lowfat version.)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten  (replace with 2 mashed bananas for vegan version)
  • 16 ounces canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ***NOTE:  For the above spices, I used 3 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice***
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • ***OPTIONAL***   assorted nuts for sprinkling
  • ***OPTIONAL***   1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 9 by 5 loaf pans. Stir together sugar and oil. Stir in eggs and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Blend dry ingredients and water/orange juice into wet mixture, alternating. Divide batter between two loaf pans. Top with nuts if desired.  Bake for ~1.5 hours, or until cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.


From September 22 to October 22, The JohnnyCakes and I are being vegetarians.  After that, I’m going to try to go macrobiotic, just for funsies.

So, to keep with the vegetarian theme, last night I made a vegetarian pizza.  And it was crazy good.  And because I’m such a nice person, I am giving you the recipe….


  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1 summer squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded or julienned carrots
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pizza crust of your choice
  • pizza sauce of your choice (When I can find it, I like to use sundried tomato pesto.)
  • Pizza seasoning and/or dried oregano and basil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425, or follow directions for your pizza crust.
  2. Saute garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add pizza seasoning.
  4. Add zucchini, carrots, and summer squash and saute until slightly tender.
  5. Add mushrooms and cook until tender
  6. Add broccoli, turn off the heat, cover the pan and let sit for 3 or 4 minutes.  This is so that the broccoli doesn’t overcook.  You will thank me later.

  7.   Shmear pizza sauce on the pizza crust

  8 .   Top with cheese

   9.   Top with veggies.  If you have extra, save it to put on top of rice,  quinoa, polenta, or pasta later on.

  10.   Place tomato chunks on top of the pizza.  Ooooh…Pretty!

  11.   Throw that puppy in the oven and find something to do for 15 minutes…

  12.   After 15 minutes, you will hopefully get THIS:


Last night, I made the ultimate in comfort food, and the ultimate in Polishness….The lowly Pierogi…

Behold the yummy goodness!

Behold the yummy goodness!

My Polish/Ukrainian grandmother used to make these from scratch and send us piles of them.  But since I no longer have this grandmother, and because I’m both busy AND lazy, I prefer to just get the pierogies frozen.  (You can also make these sort-of from scratch, using wonton/gyoza wrappers.  I might do that when I’m craving some sort of crazy, off-the-wall filling, but for now, plain old frozen potato/cheese pierogies will do…)

Come to think of it, you can make ravioli with wonton wrappers as well…But that’s for another time…

The ingredients:

  • Box of frozen pierogies
  • 1 or 2 onions, diced
  • butter
  • 8 or 16 oz container of sour cream (I used the 16-ouncer, since sour cream is pretty much a food group for us Polocks.  Feel free to use the lowfat stuff, since you won’t be cooking with it, and there is therefore no danger of it falling apart and turning to a pathetic, watery mess.)

The pierogies:

  1. Grab a huge saucepan/soup pot and fill it 3/4 of the way with water.  Enough so that the pierogies have room to float when they are done.
  2. Boil the water.
  3. Throw in the pierogies and boil for 5-7 minutes (or whatever the box says to do).  They should float when they are done.
  4. When the pierogies are done, fry them in a big skillet, in butter.  They should be just browned on both sides.

The Sour Cream:

  1. Saute the onions in a skillet with butter until they are at least clear, and you can even go all the way and carmelize them if you want.  Feel free to also add salt and pepper. 
  2. Throw the cooked onions into a bowl with the sour cream and mix them together.
  3. Serve over pierogies.  YUM!

 If there is one thing that  I do rather well, it’s CHILI!  I love to make beef chili, turkey chili, venison chili, and the other night, I made vegetarian chili!  (This is the kind with TVP as a sort of meat substitute.  If you are copying this recipe, you can sub black beans instead.  But I’m sorta diggin’ the TVP…)

Ingredients for TVP Chili:

Chili ingredients

Chili ingredients

You will need:

  • 1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) granules
  • +/- 1 cup boiling water, to reconstitute TVP
  • 1 can chopped/diced/stewed/whatever tomatoes
  • 1/2 can corn, drained (Use the other half for the cornbread below.)
  • 1 can tomato sauce or tomato paste
  • 1/2 bottle of beer
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 cups frozen mixed veggies (optional)
  • chili seasoning of your choice, in the amount of your choice.  I used 3 Tbsp of a really nifty chili seasoning that I got in Terlingua.
  • 1 can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • whatever secret ingredients you use for your chili.  I have mine, and no, I’m not sharing. 




  • Add boiling water to TVP and let it sit there and reconstitute for 10-20 minutes.  Add some tamari or worchestershire sauce for flavor if you want.
TVP and H2O

TVP and H2O



  • Get out your favorite chili-making pot/pan, and fire that sucker up!
  • Add olive oil, and saute onions and garlic until clear.


  • Add veggies, tomatoes, and beans, and warm through.
Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn't it?

  • Add tomato sauce/paste, and TVP
TVP in chili...

TVP in chili...

  • Stir…

(Add 1/2 of the bottle. The rest is for the cook!)

  • Add the chili seasoning and the rest of your secret ingredients and warm though…
Yay, Chili!

Yay, Chili!




Cornbread ingredients

Cornbread ingredients

  • 1 box Jiffy or Martha White cornbread or corn muffin mix.
  • 1 small can of evaporated milk.
  • 1/2 can whole kernel corn, drained (split with chili recipe above)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced and sauteed
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar or mexi-mix cheese
  • 1 aig


  • Preheat your oven according to cornbread package directions.
  • For the onion, an easier way to go would be to saute the whole onion from the chili recipe above first, and then take out about 1/3 of it for the cornbread.
  • Put onion and corn in mixing bowl.  
  • Basically, you will be following the directions on the package of cornbread, but adding other ingredients and substituting the evaporated milk for the regular milk called for on the package.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
Cornbread batter

Cornbread batter

  • Pour into 8×8 square pan, or cake pan, and bake according to package directions.
...And after!
…And after!