Hungry Visitors who came to play

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cabbage Roll Casserole, why roll when you can stir, bake and eat? My all in one bowl, all in one pot meal that satisfies, fills, feeds an army for pennies and is absolutely delicious!

I love cabbage rolls.  I love them but I find them exhausting to even think about making.  I have gotten together with friends to make cabbage rolls, perogies or lasagna.  They just aren't something I make on a Wednesday for dinner.

Years ago, in a fit of brilliant laziness, I came up with this version of cabbage rolls.  My roll casserole.  Delicious, all the flavors and textures hit right and easy easy easy.  Sure there's the 2 hour bake time but it's not time where I have to DO anything and that's my kind of cooking time. 

Here we go, 

Tracy's Cabbage Roll Casserole

1 large cabbage
2 lbs ground beef
1 28 oz can whole, peeled, tomatoes
1 (scant) cup long grain rice
carrot, celery, onion
salt, pepper, worchestershire sauce
apple cider vinegar

Chop the veggies and put aside.  Brown the ground beef until it sizzles, you want to cook of the liquid and leave just the little bit of fat in the pan. When the meat is brown, add the veggies and cook for a few minutes.
Add the chopped garlic when the veggies are soft. Add a little water and some worchestershire.  Add a little apple cider vinegar, about 2 Tblspoons.  Simmer until the veggies are cooked through and the meat is tender.
Add the liquid from a can of whole tomatoes with the same amount of water and simmer.  Set aside until you're ready to cook, about 2 hours before you want to eat.


Chop the cabbage into quarters, remove the core and slice into squares.
In an ENORMOUS bowl, put the cabbage, the meat mixture, the tomatoes (squashed) in a 4 cup glass measure with enough water to bring it to full and 1 cup of uncooked, long grain rice.
Mix it well, I use my hands.
Divide into two casserole dishes and add enough water to come 3/4 up the side of the dish.
Cover, tightly with parchment paper and then tin foil.
Toss into a 350 degree oven and leave for 2 hours.
After about 15 minutes on the counter to rest and DIVE IN!
Generously dish it up into fabulous pale sage green bowls that I just got from Ikea
I made "cheater" garlic cheese biscuits to go along
So, an easy dinner on a Wednesday.  Sure, it takes 2 hours to cook but it's not hours that require any attention or involvement from you, that's free cooking in my books.

The meat is flavorful, the rice is perfectly cooked, the cabbage has texture and is separate yet involved in the dish.  It's not mushy food at all, it's perfect food.  You can make extra tomato sauce to pour over but I really don't think it needs it.  This is moist and scrumtious and worth making for the pennies it costs.

This is a delicious casserole and it feeds an army.  It freezes beautifully, reheats just fine and is even one of the meals I don't mind if they use the microwave to reheat.

go on, go make some cabbage roll casserole,


Friday, January 10, 2014

QUICK hacked Ramen Tom Kha soup lunch, crazy fast, crazy easy, crazy cheap and absolutely super delicious.


OK, welcome back.  Hello 2014! 

I had to start the year with a ridiculous, quick, kitchen alchemy moment I had this week.  I am not a fan of prepared food of any kind.  I don't like Ramen noodles (the fake ones that my husband buys by the case and adores!)  

I DO, however, like a quick, easy, hack of something I'm not a fan of.  THIS recipe fits the bill! 

Do not blink, this goes FAST.  It's not a recipe, it's an idea, use it to leap off!  I'd love to hear how you like it and what you did with your version. 

IN a saucepan, put 2-3 cups of water and one (large) garlic clove sliced thin.  Bring it to a boil

While it's coming to a boil, assemble the pantry ingredients, the Ramen and the coconut milk, sriracha and chili garlic sauce. 
Slice up a green onion and grab a handful of parsley or cilantro.  Chop and slice while you wait for the water to boil so you feel as though you're actually cooking something.  
Cook the noodles in the boiling garlic water for 3 minutes and drain them. 
Pour half the can of coconut milk into the saucepan and bring to a hard boil.  Add half the flavor packet, for the sodium and some additional background flavor. Add a squirt of sriracha and a little of the chili garlic sauce.  Stir it in and add the green onion.  Add the noodles back to the pan and stir it around so the noodles absorb some of the liquid and the flavor.  This whole process took 3 minutes.
Pour into a bowl (or two) add the parsley/cilantro, a few drops of sesame oil and a squirt of lime. 

EAT!  We ate the noodles with a fork (or chop sticks) and slurped the "soup" from the side of the bowl. 

It's absolutely ridiculously good.  It's 5 minutes and it's worth the .33 investment in those fake ramen noodles.  I am absolutely DELIGHTED with how it turned out and there's not much I'd change.  

We made another packet immediately to split.  Connor is thrilled he can make it himself and any of his buddies who come to hang out ... yet another recipe for my son in high school.

Go make it, it's a quickie, it's easy and it's yummy!  Add cooked chicken or add some fish while the coconut milk boils, there are a million variations, this is my base version.  I will be absolutely playing with this for a while and I'll let you know what I add! 


BY THE WAY, you can ABSOLUTELY make this in the NESCO pressure cooker!!  The only change is you break up the noodles and put them in the cooker, cover them with water to 1/2 inch and add the garlic, lock and load for 4 minutes, open and continue the rest of the instructions.  ELIMINATING the need to drain the noodles.

/enjoy again!!  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Taking a moment to wish everyone, everywhere, a very happy New Year and an exciting, joyful, culinary 2014!! 

Here's to our next year together! 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I want to wish  very Merry Christmas to all my visitors.  I hope the joyful season finds you well and happy and able to celebrate what it is that you celebrate with the people who give you love in your life. 

A healthy and happy 2014 to all! 



Thursday, December 19, 2013


I wanted to thank you, all of you.  Your support of my linen bread bags has been overwhelming.  I'm humbled and so very appreciative.

I took some time off writing the blog to get work done for the 30 days a year I'm employed full time, my crafty business.  

Anyway, I'm done now so I joyfully return you to your regular foodie blog...  

OK, so I made mince in the Nesco, you're going to love it, I'll post it when I'm back from the store.


Tracy  xo

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Linen Bread Bags, Sunset Magazine and other cool stuff.....

HEY there! 

A little more blatant self promotion for a moment... then I'll show you how I made these rolls.  I saw a picture of something similar and wondered if my easy, one rise, roll recipe would work to make just 6 and, well, it sure did!  Look at these lovelies!  

I'll write out the recipe when I'm back later, I have a million errands to run.  It's hard organizing to get away for a few days without any help whatsoever.  

BUT IN THE MEAN TIME, this news:

My linen bread bags are in the December issue of SUNSET Magazine.   Sunset Magazine is available in the 14 Western States, if you're west of me, go get it!  It's a great magazine with great ideas and articles and this month, there's me too! 
*I haven't seen it yet but I'm hoping someone west of me will sent me a picture until I receive one in the mail

You can email me at : to get more information if you want to buy privately, I take paypal.


You can find (and buy) them here:

the linen bread bags

or the proofing cloth

or the napkins

December 2013

Your ultimate holiday gift guide, ideas for an eco-friendly home remodel, and more

Your holiday gift guide

Our favorite baked goods, gift plants, DIY gift baskets, wrapping, and more

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Voyages with my Waffle Maker OR What ELSE can I cook in my Waffle maker besides waffles OR Reasons I'm the best house on the block to visit

Seriously.  I don't think I actually cook as many waffles in my Waring Pro as I do other things. A girlfriend and her daughter came over tonight for chicken lessons.  No, we have actual chickens and they are babysitting them when we go out of town so they had to have chicken lessons.

After the lesson, we were standing round in my kitchen, like we do (there's not much to chicken lessons)  I pulled out the waffle iron and yeah, we played.

No big recipes, kitchen alchemy moments or epiphanies here, it's just more of what I do with what I have.  I just throw stuff against the wall (metaphor) and see what sticks. :)

Hello MUFFLE! *yeah, Connor named these too.  I've made these since he was little but they're WAY better in this sort of waffle maker...

Grasp one boxed, bagged, sacked, muffin mix, the one that you only have to add water or milk to.  We don't want high brow here!

Well, I don't need to tell you the rest, just look:

One pack of Blueberry muffin mix, just add milk.  The bag said 1/2 cup, I added slightly less.  Mix it up in a big plastic bowl and put a blob on each quad of the waffle iron, close the lid, flip and wait.
OK, 2 mins and you're eating muffins.  OK, it's not muffins but you're eating Muffles!  Delicious and easy and quick and you can add butter in the nooks and craters and, well, c'mon there's nothing bad about this, nothing at all!  I didn't take many pictures because, well, we ate them as fast as they came out of the waffle iron which was FAST, 2 minutes each batch.

Another bag, they were on sale for .30/each, I couldn't NOT buy them.  Same deal, dump into bowl, add milk.  These were considerably runnier so they ran together more like a, well, waffle.  Drop into waffle maker, close the lid, flip, wait for the dulcet tone signalling muffin joy and ... well ...  here you go.

Eggs, you know I did!  You know I HAD to.  2 eggs in a bowl with a tablespoon of water, some salt some pepper, whip like mad with a fork. Pour it into the preheated, greased, waffle iron.  How COOL does this look?  It almost filled it.  I tipped it back a bit to try to fill in the holes.  I waited a second before I closed and flipped and when I did...
OH it was not happy with me.  My girlfriend and I squealed with delight as it spit and sputtered and spewed forth eggy goodness from the sides.  I had faith though.  I merely scraped the eggs away and waited... You could see it trying to expand, look at the growth on the side!
I didn't wait for the ding... LOOK!!  Holee cow!  It worked!  I picked it out and we ate it fast.  Fabulous and I think a fun way to get kids to eat eggs!  Sprinkle cheese or throw it in a sandwich.  I cheered that we'd invented a gluten free waffle! HAHA

Well, OK, that's tonight's little play date with the Waring Pro.  I love this thing and am continuously on the look out for stuff we can make in it. 

So, besides the Stuffle 

the cornbreadwaffle thingy

the sweet rolls

the cinnamon rolls

and actual waffles

I am having quite the relationship with this little appliance!  I'm secretly hoping I get to play with the counter top roaster because I can only imagine what I could do in THAT. 

Go get one of these things, they're crazy fun.