Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Simple Freezer Pickles

Make syrup:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cool.

Slice 5 cups of cucumbers very thin (do not peel). Fill freezer containers ¾ (three-fourths) full. Pour syrup over cucumbers. Place a crumpled piece of waxed paper on top of each container. Cover and freeze. Thaw to serve. Makes 5 pints.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Orange-Cashew Chicken

Orange-Cashew Chicken w/ Brown Rice
I prepped most of the veggies and chicken the night before and measured out my rice and set it to go in my rice cooker so that I was ready to go when I got home from work tonight.

I forgot to photograph this week’s market box, but this is what it included: 3 summer squash, 3 kirby cucumbers, 1 lb green beans, 2 lbs red new potatoes, 1 head purple cabbage, and a container of strawberries.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day weekend

We had a full weekend of great food...

Prosciutto-Wrapped Tilapia (recipe from Everyday Food) - Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Season tilapia or cod with s&p. Wrap 1 slice prosciutto around each filet; drizzle with EVOO, and place seam side down, onto baking sheet. Broil until prosciutto is browned and fish is opaque throughout, 8-12 minutes.

Harvard Beets (recipe from Mom) - a warm, thick version of pickled beets. Remove the tops and boil them until tender, approx 30 minutes. Then slip off the skins (might want to wear rubber gloves since this will stain your hands). Slice or wedge into smaller pieces. Mix 1 tab cornstarch into 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk into 2 tablespoons boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Bring to boil to thicken, add more sugar or vinegar to taste.

Whole Wheat Bread French Toast with Pure Maple Syrup and Fresh Strawberries

My favorite Turkey Meatloaf, Mac-n-Cheese with whole wheat penne, and Roasted Summer Squash and Bell Peppers. Drizzle with EVOO, s&p, and baked at 425 degrees for approx 15-20 minutes.

A little ooey-gooey goodness!!

Friday night --- PIZZA

Buffalo Chicken Pizza***** - this is the best stuff, you've got to try this. I take whole wheat pizza dough (whatever your favorite is) and place on a pizza stone. Then mix approx 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce with hot sauce, to taste. Spread sauce on the bottom of the dough, scatter pre-cooked diced chicken breasts, thinly sliced red onion, 4 oz shredded mozzarella, and a good sprinkling of gorgonzola cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly!

I served the pizza with roasted new potatoes and broccoli - drizzled both with EVOO, s&p, and baked 425 degrees; approx 30-40 minutes for potatoes and 15-20 minutes for the broccoli.

Snap peas...Add chicken broth and peas to a medium pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to med-low and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Drain liquid but leave peas in the pan. Add EVOO and chopped onion and saute for 5-6 minutes. Splash with rice vinegar.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Week Day Meals

Whole Wheat Ravioli with Spinach and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce


16-ounce package frozen ravioli or gnocchiSalt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound gorgonzola crumbles
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup pistachios

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the ravioli. Once boiling, add some salt and the ravioli, and cook according to package directions.

While the water is coming up to a boil, place a medium-size skillet with EVOO over low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and gently cook in the oil for a minute or two, shaking the skillet every now and then. Add the spinach and toss to combine with the oil, and then season with a little bit of salt and a lot of pepper. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble. Once the stock is simmering, add the gorgonzola crumbles and toss until the cheese is nice and melted.

Add the ravioli to the skillet and toss to coat. Place in individual serving bowls and sprinkle with nuts. (Adapted from Rachael Ray recipe)

Mexican Pizza

2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne sauce
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small can, 2 1/4 ounces sliced green chillies, drained
2 scallions, chopped
2 small vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons drained sliced black or green olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together 2 packages muffin mix with 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons melted butter (melt in microwave 30 seconds), 1 1/2 cups milk and frozen corn kernels. Wipe a nonstick skillet or two tart pans with a little extra or vegetable oil and pour in the muffin mix. Place in oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden in color.

Brown the meat over medium high heat in a second skillet in extra or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add onions and spices and cook meat 5 minutes more.

Remove cornbread from oven and top with meat, cheese, and veggies. Add pan back to oven and cook 5 minutes more to melt cheese. (Adapted from Rachael Ray recipe)

Week 4 Mobile Market of these dishes coming soon

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Muesli (Overnight Oats)

This is my favorite and most frequently eaten breakfast in the summer. It is so easy and versatile.

The Basics: per serving

  • 1/3 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup milk (I add enough just so the oats are barely floating in the liquid)
  • 1-2 Tbsp dried fruit, I like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots (or you can add any diced fresh fruit in the morning, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and banana)

Optional Add-ins:

  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp slivered almonds or other chopped nuts
On Sunday, I streamline the process and perpare a weeks worth of tupperware containers with the dry ingedients and place in the pantry ready to just add milk or fresh fruit. Mine includes oatmeal, mixed dried fruit, cinnamon, and ground flax seed.

Night before: add milk/yogurt and place in fridge overnight. It's ready to enjoy in the morning!!

Delicious Weekend

Andy and I had a great weekend – it was calm and peaceful at times, and loud and crazy with friends at times…what more could one ask for?

Saturday morning

Cherry Almond Chocolate Clusters *****– second time I have made these…so they must be good for me to go back to a recipe. Here’s a photo of their chocolaty goodness.

We used a Christmas gift certificate on saturday for lunch at Applebee's. That night we went to our friend Amanda's college friends house for burgers and a round of cornhole.


I pretty much hung out at the house today so a lot of cooking got accomplished. I made a great supper and dessert. We both really enjoyed all of these dishes. In the morning I made the Cranberry Apple Chutney and Wild Rice Salad.

Wild Rice Salad***** - The rice salad called for canned peas, not a fan of canned veggies much – so I used frozen edamame instead. The last 5 minutes of cooking the rice I stirred in the edamame and let it heat through.

Cranberry Apple Chutney:

1 apple, any kind you like, cored and chopped

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Nutmeg, freshly grated

1 bag whole cranberries

1/4 cup raisins

In a small saucepan, cook the apples, cider vinegar, brown sugar and nutmeg until the apples are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Once the mixture has reduced and is thickened, add in the cranberry sauce and raisins. Chill in the fridge to set.

Panko Crusted Tilapia Filet

The panko was light and crunchy; I really liked it compared to regular bread crumbs. I thawed frozen tilapia filets, made one pan with a beaten egg, salt, and pepper. In a separate pan I spread out 1 cup panko crumbs and 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning. I then dipped the filet in the egg mixture and then dredged in the bread crumbs. I then placed each filet in a preheated med/high skillet with EVOO in it. Let cook 4-5 minutes on the first side and then 3-4 minutes on the second time, or until no longer translucent. I squeezed a little lime over the filets and served.

Orange Apricot Amaretto Sour - my own's a keeper!

1 1/2 oz apricot nectar
2 oz orange juice
Juice of one lime
1 oz amaretto

Pour all in a double old fashioned glass, stir, and enjoy!

Lastly...a sweet ending to a wonderful weekend...

Strawberry Strata

Friday, May 18, 2007


Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Calzone

Friday’s are typically homemade pizza night in the Johnstone household. This time I took a pizza dough ball (make ahead and keep in the freezer), split it in two, and turned them into calzones. Serve these with a side of marinara for dipping, a cold beverage, and a movie at home! The perfect Friday night at home!

My Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I make this on a weekend and place in the freezer
- then later it is ready to go for a pizza.

1 package dry yeast (or 2 tsp)
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

*I make a double batch - so that I have four dough balls at a time in the freezer waiting to be used.

Proof yeast in a measuring cup with lukewarm water.

In a food processor add whole wheat and all purpose flours, oil, honey, salt, and proofed yeast. Pulse processor to combine all ingredients. Then process until the dough forms a ball on the blade. Remove dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough and transfer to a floured board and knead briefly. Divide dough into 2 equal portions and roll each piece into a ball.

Option 1 for Freezing: Place each dough bowl on a sheet of plastic wrap, allow to site for 30 minutes, wrap individually in plastic wrap, place in freezer safe bag and freeze till ready to use. When ready to use thaw ball of dough in fridge over night.

Option 2 for "Ready to Use": Place the balls of dough, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding.

On a floured board roll and stretch each piece of dough into a 10-12-inch circle. Place each circle on a wooden pizza peel or pizza pan and top as desired.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and bake 10 to 12 minutes per pizza.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Egg-stra Delicious!

I made a recipe from this months Everyday Food magazine (love that little mag). We had an Apple and Cheddar Frittata last night along with a side salad. This is one of those recipes that can be altered to whatever you have on hand or a "clean out the fridge" night.

I also made my own Zucchini and Cream Cheese Pasta - that turned out to be a real winner. First I chopped up and roasted a couple zucchini's with EVOO and s&p for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees. While that was going I cooked the pasta according to the box directions (I always use whole wheat pasta). Then I took 4 oz of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the pasta water, little more s&p and whisked that together until smooth and creamy. Drain the pasta, stir in the cream cheese sauce and top with roasted zucchini. This REALLY was good and satisfying. We had a salad with feta and roasted peanuts and a rice vinegar/EVOO dressing along with this...killer combination too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cool Purple Cauliflower!

I picked up my market box tonight and it had purple cauliflower in it!! I had planned on having leftover ham tonight (last bit of frozen Easter leftovers) so I went ahead and heated the cauliflower and broccoli along side the ham. Pretty simple supper tonight, but still very good and fun to make! Check it out…

Tonights dinner - ham, broccoli, and purple caulifowler

Monday, May 14, 2007

Provencal Tuna Melt w/ Mediterranean Couscous

This was quite good and simple to make on a week night, thanks Rachael Ray. We both loved the combination of mixing tuna with olives, capers, shallots, and lemon juice. I served it with the couscous that I made yesterday and plan to have a slice of the banana bread for dessert…maybe with a little Nutella or a drizzle of honey on top. Mmmm.

  • 4 cans of tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • 5 to 6 sprigs tarragon, stripped from the stem and chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 12 black or green pitted olives, about a handful, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 French baguette, cut into 4 sections and split on top
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 ounces Gruyere or Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the tuna, tarragon, basil, parsley, olives, shallots and capers. Squeeze the lemon over the bowl, being careful not to get any of the seeds in. Drizzle in the EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. While the skillet is heating, brush the baguettes with the melted butter. Toast in the skillet until golden brown. Fill the baguettes with the tuna salad. Top with gruyere cheese and pop under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with carrot and celery sticks, and healthy potato chips alongside.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Banana Bread, Mediterranean Couscous, and more salad

Saturday morning I made Banana Bread - I love to make something sweet on the weekends and snack on it all week long. This basic recipe was altered by using half whole wheat flour (instead of all white flour), and by reducing the amount of total butter by using some applesauce.

Mediterranean Couscous*****, I love this stuff! The Israeli couscous (cooked in chicken broth and lemon juice) has a little bit of a creamy texture, mixed with the crunch of the nuts (I used cashews), and the sweetness of dried fruit and fresh herbs! So good!

Lastly, I had several items left in the fridge from the market box. I roasted the broccoli (drizzled with EVOO and s&p - baked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes) along side the roasted beets.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on a piece of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold foil and parchment up to enclose beets. Place on a small baking sheet and bake until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle. I recommend at this point putting on a rubber glove – cut off top and bottom of beets and you can easily peel off the skin; roughly chop them into bite sized pieces.

Fill a large salad bowl with spinach leaves and top with roasted beets, broccoli, and feta cheese. Drizzle the salad with vinaigrette (I used rice vinegar and EVOO).

I forgot to take a photo until I was already about half way through :0)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bean, Corn, and Tortilla Salad

This was wonderful on a warm spring afternoon - I love the combination of the warmed beans with the cool, smooth avocado, and then the crunch of the corn tortilla's.
I bought small corn tortilla's, sprayed them with EVOO and sprinkled with chili powder and s&p. I then heated them in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees until crisp. I wedged them up into triangle shapes and they looked wonderful... however; quite frankly, though these were easy to make I would rather have had baked tortilla chips.

To get the recipe for the bean and corn salad click here

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Roasted Salmon

I have been wanting to try salmon at home for a while now. I found a simple and easy recipe for roasted salmon. I purchased 1 lb of fresh salmon and asked the fish monger to cut it into strips for me. I then drizzled with EVOO, s&p, and baked at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. In this weeks market box I received more fresh strawberries and lettuce. I decided to pair these together with a balsamic vinaigrette and a sprinkling of cashews. Yummy!

Tonight's dinner:

Fresh Market Box - week 2

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Slow Cooked a Sunday should be

I made a couple new recipes today. This morning I made Breakfast Bulgur Porridge with dried cherries, walnuts, and brown sugar. I have used bulgur wheat before in Tabbouleh Salad as a savory side dish, but I had never tried it with more of a sweet side. This was a very nice warm and stick to your ribs breakfast...was great for a Sunday morning.

For lunch, I just finished making Spinach Risotto with Spring Peas. This was very good but I prefer and will continue making mushroom risotto in the future.

It's looking like frozen pizza and a spiced wheat ale beer for dinner...then a big bowl of kettle cooked popcorn with a movie at home...I'll have to post that recipe sometime soon.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Derby Day, Cinco De Mayo...well not tonight anyway

Though we did make strawberry margarita’s, ate some baked tortilla chips with mango salsa, and had an afternoon siesta…our main meal had a little different flair.

Early this morning I made some crisp, quick pickles with the kirby cucumbers I received this week.

Green Leaf Salad with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Red Onions and Apricot Nectar Dressing

This was a killer salad; I will definitely make this again this summer. The original recipe called for spinach leaves, I switched that out with my green leaf lettuce from the mobile market and since the dressing called for apple cider, and that's not in season right now, I used an apricot nectar. It all turned out great.

And one of my FAVORITE dessert standby's…a Rhubarb Raspberry Crumble. (I stock up on rhubarb when it’s in season – I wash it, chunk it, and freeze it in individual servings.) So good, in my opinion vanilla ice cream not required, but a welcome addition. I think I hear it calling my name...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Welcome! I have decided to start my own food blog. This blog is my way of sharing my love of food and cooking with my family and friends whom have influenced my food philosophy. I hope whomever stops by enjoys reading this blog, posting comments, and sharing their thoughts with me! So here we go...

Mobile Market Week 1

Duke offers a Mobile Market to employees who would like to support local farmers. Once a week I pick up my share of fresh locally grown produce, it contains whatever the farm had in season and ready to pick for the week.

My first share included: strawberries, white onions, cucumbers, asparagus, green leaf lettuce, broccoli, and homemade strawberry jam. Throughout the week I plan to post pictures of the different ways I use the produce.

Wednesday night I made a prosciutto, fontina cheese, and roasted red pepper sauce panini. I served it with the local strawberries, roasted asparagus, and broccoli I received the day before.

Pasta night!

Pasta Cake:***** On weekends I tend to make "comfort" food. Something with some consistency to it, like a big ole' pasta "cake"! You prepare the pasta, make the cheese/egg mixture and then bake in a spring form pan. Needless to say this hit the spot. I decided to serve this with a simple salad with EVOO and rice vinegar dressing and grilled plantains with a cinnamon brown sugar glaze!