Tuesday, January 31, 2012


To be perfectly honest, I've been avoiding blogging this recipe. I didn't keep track of how many potatoes or how much of the potato/cheese mixture I used in this recipe, so the measurements won't be very exact.  It's also an intimidating, long recipe...and I've been trying to post simpler foods.  But, this was really good and definitely worth the work, so I want to share it.  I boiled the pierogies when I made them for us and they were wonderful.  I will try to saute them next time, because that's my favorite way to eat the frozen ones.  I apologize in advance if you have too much potato mixture left over. As I said earlier, I didn't keep track and was in a rush to get dinner on the table the night I made this.  You could very easily double or triple the recipe and freeze some of the extra pierogies.  I will include the recipe for the caramelized onions.  They could be their own blog post, but I'll share them now. We put them on everything!

makes 16 pierogies

4 Yukon gold potatoes, boiled and drained
Milk (for mashing potatoes)
1/2 package Friendship brand farmer cheese
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese mix
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
16 wonton or gyoza wrappers
Melted butter
Caramelized onions, recipe follows

1) Mash potatoes using a potato masher or electric mixer, adding milk if necessary to make smooth.  After potatoes are mashed, stir in farmer cheese, Italian cheese mix, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
2) Place just under 2 tablespoons of potato mixture into the center of each wonton or gyoza wrapper.
3) Place water in a cup or small bowl. Dip fingers into water and run the wet fingers along the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and seal with more water, if necessary.
4) Repeat with remaining wrappers.
5) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pierogies.  Boil for 3 - 4 minutes. Remove pierogies and drain.
6) Top with melted butter and caramelized onions.

Caramelized Onions

2 Onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium low heat in a large, heavy skillet.
2) Add onions and remaining butter.
3) Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes.  Add salt and pepper if needed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lucy and the Tomatoes

Meet Lucy.  She is a border collie/something mix, and a very sweet dog.  She was an early Christmas present to the kids from my sister. We love Lucy and she loves us.  She really loves playing in the back yard and sleeping in the sun.  She also loves playing with tomatoes.  I had 4 roma tomato plants and a beefsteak tomato plant in the garden this fall.  At the beginning of December, I had about 80 tomatoes between the 5 plants.  I started thinking about buying a pot for canning so that I could enjoy my tomatoes all year. We had unusually warm weather, so I was confident that I'd be able to harvest the tomatoes before we had a freeze (if we even had one this year). 
One day I was sitting on the couch and folding some laundry. Lucy went running past the sliding glass door with her small, puppy-sized tennis ball.  All of a sudden, I realized that her "ball" looked a little bit green, so I went outside.  It was a beefsteak tomato.  I took it away from her and walked into the garden, where I found 4 more beefsteak tomatoes on the ground with bite marks in them.  
For the next few weeks, I found tomatoes in the yard every day.  We harvested one beefsteak tomato this year.  The roma plant is still blooming, so I have hope that I will harvest at least one or two tomatoes.  
We are looking into fences for the garden right now.  I think I may grow my spring tomatoes in containers and put them on the picnic table.  That's where the strawberries are right now... I don't trust Lucy with them. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed when neither one of my kids got excited when I made soup.  I love making soup- it's easy, usually healthy, very cheap, and I love eating it.  It turns out, I was just using the wrong noodles in my soup.  I picked up some fine egg noodles one day and made chicken noodle soup with it.  All of a sudden, my kids loved chicken noodle soup.  Things got even better when my mom gave me a box of alphabet pasta.  Now I have 2 children who happily eat soup- as long as it has the right kind of noodles in it.  

Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 6 - 8

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup egg noodles or shaped pasta

1) Bring chicken broth, chicken, carrots, and celery to a boil in a large pot.  Reduce heat, and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.  
2) Add peas, corn, and noodles.  Bring to a boil and cook according to package directions for noodles. 
3) Serve with homemade bread.