It’s Meatless Monday-Tomato and Basil Crostini



I can’t wait until basil season is in full swing. Last week I got a great deal on it at the local supermarket. Tomatoes were on sale too so I thought I’d put together one of my favorite meatless recipes. It’s a quick and easy meal to enjoy now that the weather has turned warmer.


1 tablespoon cream cheese

1 tablespoons pesto

2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced (you can also soak it in some vinegar for about an hour to take away the raw flavor)

Salt and pepper

Shredded fresh basil

1 loaf of French or Italian bread


Slice the bread and toast it. Set aside.

Mix together the cream cheese and pesto and spread on each slice of bread.

Top with a slice of tomato and about a tablespoon of the onion.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a couple of shreds of basil.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Friday Round-Up-Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes


Happy May. April went by really fast but maybe that’s because I’ve been so busy with various writing projects.


Finally a Greenhouse

The veggie seeds I planted about five weeks ago are all doing really well. I’ve even started the seeds for the cucumbers, broccoli and Brussel’s sprouts. And yes, the potatoes are even planted. And this weekend I’ll be planting lettuce outside. I’ve been looking for a cheap greenhouse for months and finally found one. Just a small one but it’s going to extend the growing season which means more homegrown vegetables. Another buy this week was the purchase of two blueberry and raspberry plants. Can’t wait for those to start yielding fruit.

Homemade Pesto

I used the remaining tub of my homemade pesto sauce the other day. It’s lasted a long time and was made from the basil I’d grown in the backyard. Today I needed some for a recipe. I had some basil but no pine nuts or walnuts but what I did have was some raw sunflower seeds. And guess what? You hardly notice the difference so moral of this story, try what you have on hand because most of the time it works.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Time hasn’t been on my side these last few weeks but sometimes mashed potatoes have to be made to satisfy my need for this comfort food. My shortcut is the slow cooker. I used one pound of Yukon gold potatoes and didn’t even have to peel them. Just give them a good wash and cut them into one inch cubes. Put them into the slow cooker along with about ½ cup milk and 4 ounces of cream cheese, some salt and pepper and cook on high for about two hours. Best thing is you can even mash them while they’re still in the slow cooker. I’ve tried this more than a couple of times now and you can even add different flavorings to them while they cook. Try a good sprinkling of Italian seasoning or about a tablespoon of either onion or garlic powder.

And the Web’s had lots of great food related articles. This first one list some cheap ways to get your protein-

If like me you’ve been looking for kitchen shortcuts you’ll love this article from Chow-

And finally I’ve featured Lindsay’s cookbooks a few times here and she had an interesting post on her blog about her recent supermarket trip and how healthy foods don’t have to cost a lot-

Have a money saving week.


It’s Meatless Monday-Spicy Potatoes, Black Beans and Eggs


If you’re looking for a speedy supper or even a lavish breakfast I think this one fits the bill. I put it together when one; I was short on time, and two, clearing out the fridge and pantry. Add more spices if you want the potatoes to have more heat and you can even add some to the black beans too.



2 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 green or red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

4 eggs

1 cup salsa

½ cup sour cream

Optional, guacamole and tortilla chips



Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet and over medium high heat, add about two tablespoons oil and cook the potatoes, peppers and onions.

Cook until the potatoes are fork tender and the onions slightly caramelized and then pile the mixture into a large oven proof dish.

Layer the black beans over the potato mixture.

Cook the eggs. I fried them but you if you want to lower the fat content you can poach them.

Put them on top of the black beans and then top with the salsa. Place the dish in the oven for about five minutes or until everything is heated through.

Place the sour cream on top and serve immediately.

Serves 4.


Friday Round-Up-Free Craft Classes


A superfast Friday Round-Up, seems like the last few weeks have flown by and it’s hard to believe it’s almost May. I’ve been doing lots of outdoor work ready to plant my vegetable garden and if you’re thinking of revamping your outdoor living space this summer I found this link with some budget ideas-

I love anything arts and crafts and saw this site mentioned in a newsletter I receive. While you can sign up for their premium all access membership, there’s also lots of great free classes you can take like learning to sew and knit-

And if like me, you buy lots of the non-meat products and know how pricey they’re getting (and not to mention high in sodium), I found this e-book about making your own. So far I’ve tried one recipe, the breakfast sausages, and they’re delicious and easy to make so I’m looking forward to trying more recipes-

Have a money saving week.

It’s Meatless Monday-Spinach and Feta Stuffed Peppers or Tomatoes


I love recipes that multi task. I often use this mixture for stuffed peppers but tomatoes work just as well too. Combine them with some crusty French or Italian bread and it’s simple meatless meal for Monday or any night of the week.


3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

½ cup of crumbled feta cheese

1 small onion peeled and very finely diced

Salt and pepper


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash, cut off the tops of the pepper and remove the seeds. Lots of recipes call for raw peppers but I like to cook them in boiling water until they’re crisp tender which takes about 5-8 minutes.

While the peppers are cooking and in a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together.

Drain the peppers and place them in a baking dish.

Divide the mixture between each pepper, pressing down well.

Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Serves 4. 


It’s Meatless Monday-Quick and Easy Mushroom Stroganoff


One thing that’s a constant in my pantry is canned soup. I seldom eat it as is but it’s perfect for impromptu sauces and the building block for meals such as this one.

Cream of mushroom soup is the base for this sauce and it makes the ideal meatless meal. Combine this with a side of steamed green beans and dinner for two is ready in a flash.


1 10 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

½ cup sour cream

2 cups sliced mushrooms


Salt and Pepper

1 tablespoon dried dill

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1-2 tablespoon oil

8 ounces whole wheat linguine


Cook the linguine as per package instructions.

While the pasta cooks, over medium high heat, and in a skillet, heat the oil and saute the mushrooms for about five minutes.

Drain the pasta and add the mushrooms, mushroom soup, sour cream, dill, soy sauce, and salt and pepper. Stir everything together and if the sauce seems too thick, add some milk.

Heat the mixture through and taste test and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2.


Friday Round-Up-Dijon Mustard and Dill Carrots


It’s snowing and I guess winter doesn’t want to say goodbye just yet. I can’t wait to head outside and get gardening again. A few stores in the area have already opened up their outside gardening area and there are some bargains to be had. I bought two bags of seed potatoes and two of onion sets. This will be my first time trying to grow potatoes. Some people have told me they’re easy, some warned me not to be disappointed. I guess we’ll see who’s right or how green my thumb is.



The seeds I started a few weeks ago are doing really well as you can see by the photo I just took. The tomatoes are especially doing well. So well that I might not have to buy any tomato plants this year. The other seedlings are peppers and eggplant. On Monday I also planted Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cucumber seeds and they’re already starting to sprout. I’m planning to grow everything in either raised bed or containers, less work and less weeds. I like the sound of that.


In the grocery stores the first of the strawberries are arriving. I shopped at two different stores this week and now have about 5 pounds of the goodies. I’ve eaten some as a snack and now I’m deciding what to do with the rest. If I come up with any good recipes I’ll pass them along to you.

Another fruit that’s on sale right now is mango. I found some for as low as 68 cents. I always buy them with the intent of making mango chutney…great in egg and chicken salads. However, I usually end up eating them or putting them in smoothies.

And as winter seems to be hanging on you can still find good deals on last season’s clothing like coats and boots.

I’ve been working on recipes for side dishes this week and I came up with this one when I found a great deal on bags of baby carrots.

Dijon Mustard and Dill Carrots

1 12 ounce package baby carrots

2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon dried dill

Salt and Pepper

2 tablespoons butter or low fat spread

I steamed the carrots as I think it brings out their sweetness.

Once they’re cooked toss them with the salt, pepper and butter. Next add the mustard and dill and make sure each one gets coated.

Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4


Have a money saving week.