Friday, October 30, 2009

Ode: Logan's Heroes

In Logan, there is a dive-y looking place on the corner of Main and about 1st south called Logan's Heroes. If you were a visitor to Cache valley, you'd never dream of visiting- there's very little parking, the wood panelling on the outside appears to be full of wormholes (although it is painted nicely). It's probably just as well, though, because once you've had a Logan's Heroes sandwich, you will crave it for the rest of your life.

In spite of the dive-y look (or perhaps because of it?) it is a super-friendly place to eat and hang out. It's the kind of place that the "regulars" know to come in the back door- like you do only at a good friend's home. The fake wood paneling, cheesy booths and faded pictures on the wall reminds you of a worn, comfortable family room. The owner knows and remembers everyone (even if you haven't been in years!) and greets you warmly. After we moved to AZ, I returned on a visit and he remembered me and I hadn't been there in at least 2 years!
I don't know what it is about these sandwiches. They appear to be just your average (to slightly below-average) sandwich filled with shredded iceburg, pickles, tomatoes, olives, mystery cheese and meat of your choice (although I LOVE the veggie). Even the picture above makes it look like nothing too special.

But oh, there is nothing in the world like the taste and, for the life of me, I can't figure out what makes it sooo good. My theory is that there is pixie dust (or crack) sprinkled on every sandwich that makes it taste so good. Or perhaps it is the dusting of green flecks (basil? oregano?) that every sandwich gets. Or the delicious, soft and extremely rich-tasting bread.

Who knows? All I know is that when I've lived far away (CA, AZ) I've frequently thought and plotted about how to get one mailed to me. That's how addicting these things are- I'd pay $30 to have it overnighted in a special cold box. They are that good.

BTW- This is my 200th post! Go me! I deserve a reward- like a Logan's Hero...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My All-Time Favorite Food Site

Ahhh- Tastespotting. How I love thee, my community-driven visual potluck! I can't decide what I love best... Is it the new food ideas? The beautiful photos of yummy food? Or is it the dozens (literally) of new recipes you've inspired me to try?

I may never know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Veggie Pot Pie= Comfort Food

Sunday dinner was so delicious I just had to share! I adapted this veggie pot pie recipe to make these love vegetarian pot pies. They were SOO good even meat-eaters would have to agree they rock. I really, really encourage you to try this one out.

There is a bit of prep with all the veggie cutting, but it really is worth it and if you do it in advance (like on a Sat or Sun afternoon?) this would go together super-fast for a weeknight meal.

My favorite things about pot pie in general is the gravy and the crust. This recipe has both- we were suprised at how rich and "deep" the flavors of the gravy were for a non-meat meal- I think it's the combo of the veggies and the soy sauce.
For the veggies, we mostly used what we had on hand, but you could pretty much do anything you wanted- peas would be nice. I think we'll stick with the baby 'bello mushrooms for this- I think it contributed to flavor and color of the gravy. Next time, we're going to also try adding barley or bulger wheat to give it even more substance.

In order to cut down on the calories (and make and excuse to use my new ramekins) we opted for puff pastry instead of the full on top and bottom pie crust the original recipe called for. I think either would be good, but the puff pastry was a hit with everyone- especially the girls.

Mak's Veggie Pot Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces baby 'bello mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat olive oil over med heat (use a deep skillet or dutch oven). Add onion, mushrooms and garlic and cook about 2 min.

2 large carrots, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 can Garbanzo beans
1 cup thawed frozen green beans, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable broth

Add the rest of the veggies, salt, pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling reduce and let it simmer until the veggies are just tender- about 5 min.

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 c. water

In a small bowl, mix the water, soy sauce and cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Bring the veggies and broth to a boil and add the cornstarch/soy mixture. Cook until the gravy thickens- about 3 min.

Spoon veggies and gravy into ramekins (or a pie plate or 11 x 7 casserole). Cover loosely with 1 sheet of puff pastry (cut to size for the ramekins). Bake at 400 for 15 min for ramekins, or 20-30 for a larger dish.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tomato, Tomato

A while back, DMP and I canned tomatoes. Lots, and Lots, and LOTS of tomatoes. We were very optimistic and bought about 25 lbs at the farmers market. This is the first time we've canned tomatoes and it was pretty fun and easy. We'll see if and how we use the final product!
As you can see from the pic above, we canned diced tomatoes, salsa, and when we discovered we still had a TON of leftover tomatoes, we decided to try tomato sauce.
Canning tomatoes is a gory process- very suitable to October. Especially squishing their guts out for tomato sauce:

Thanks to DMP for helping. I learned that canning with company is WAY more fun than canning solo- plus there is someone to take pictures of your gory hands!

Friday, September 25, 2009

St. Louis Toasted Ravioli

Since we started eating meatless at home, our "go to" meals have become breakfast for dinner or ravioli or tortollini. Both are quick and easy to get on the table when we are busy.

I was getting ready to make ravioli and sauce for the 10th time (it seemed) and I decided to ask the internets if there was some other option for ravioli. I'm happy to say, the internets came through with a recipe for St. Louis Toasted Ravioli.

This dish is super-easy to make and uses stuff that we usually always have- eggs, milk, seasoned bread crumbs. It can double as a great, easy appetizer that you can make a bunch of all at once. Plus- it was a big hit with the kiddos. Anything that can be dipped and resembles chicken nuggets has GOT to be good- right?

So, here goes. YOu can also get the super-print friendly version on, but keep in mind I changed it a bit and bake instead of fry...

St. Louis Toasted Ravioli
24 packaged ravioli (or about 4-6 per person)
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce
2 Tablespoons skim milk
1 egg
3/4 c. Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Beat milk and egg together. Pour bread crumbs into a ziploc bag. Dip the ravioli in the egg/milk mixture and then place them in the bag with the bread crumbs.
Once all ravioli has been dipped, seal the bag and shake to coat. Place ravioli in a single layer on a foil-covered cookie sheet (the foil seems to make them crispier). Bake at 375 until they are brown and toasty looking.

Dip hot ravioli in warmed spaghetti sauce and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Wow- this is a very interesting photography series of fast-food against a plain black background. Worth a look:

I should print these out and look at them when I'm thinking I need a burger. Although, does anyone else look at the fries and think- yum?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It may seem strange, but for DMP and I, Vietnamese food is "comfort food". When we were dating and first married in Logan, there was a little family-run Vietnamese place called Saigon. It had awesome, delicious food for really cheap. We went there a lot for date nights.

After we moved to Tempe, we located "the best Vietnamese food in the Valley". Boy, were they right. Yen Mei was tucked inside the giant Asian food store and was always packed. The decor wasn't anything to write home about, but it more than made up for it in the taste of the food. The funny this is that we were usually the only all-white family or couple in the place. That got us some strange looks, but hey- you know it's good if the locals love it.

After we moved here, we were sad to discover there were no Vietnamese places close enough for regular eating. We've had a fix occasionally (Roy, UT has one for heaven's sake) but never had full access to the goodness whenever we wanted. Until now.

About a month or two ago, I noticed a sign on State St. in Orem "Pho Noodle House- Opening Soon". Can it be? I thought?!?! Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, so I figured a place named "Pho" had to include some Vietnamese goodness right?

On my way home from work, I noticed an "Open" sign. Joy! DMP, the girls and I went last night. It's menu has a unique hybrid of Japanese and Vietnamese (and a little Thai) noodle and rice dishes, but we were over the moon to discover that they had spring rolls (called summer rolls, but still super delish) which our our absolute favorite. DMP had the Pho made with brisket and it was excellent. It was fun, too, because they give you bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos, limes, hoisin and chile sauce on the side. It is interactive food- you can make it to your taste.

The girls and I got my "regular"- BBQ pork and chicken vermicelli. It is a dish with vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber carrots and the BBQ (which isn't like American BBQ, of course). It was SO good. Their vinegar sauce (not sure what it is called but it is rice vinegar, carrots, and other stuff) was the best we've ever had- a perfect blend of sweet, vinegar and it had a little kick. The girls ate their dinner right up- I was so proud but not surprised since EJ is practically made from Vietnamese food (and french fries and corn dogs...).

If you are in Provo, definitely visit Pho. Super-fantastic yumminess. I'll even take you!

P.S. DMP came up with the title of today's post. Don't make fun of him TOO much, it was better than anything I could come up with.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Best. Burger. Ever.

Behold- the Bowling Alley Cheeseburger!
Sure- we may be way more veggie at home nowadays, but we still eat meat when eating out (if the fancy strikes us) and that is a good thing because I can hardly make a trip to Heber to visit my parents without going to the Bowling Alley for a cheeseburger.

When people ask me "where is a good place to eat in Heber?" I usually try to tell them to go to the bowling alley. I don't think any believe me (or have taken me up on it) but that is OK with me- the less the merrier.

You see, the bowling alley burger is cooked one order at a time. Yep, none of this quick "30 seconds" stuff- nope a labor of love like this takes time. The burgers themselves are made of something that tastes like real beef- not cardboardy stuff - and they aren't too thick and have a perfect bun-to-meat-ratio. They are also cooked on a grill that is as old as the rest of the bowling alley and it probably hasn't been cleaned in 50 yrs. (which is a good thing, according to Alton Brown) so the burgers get a nice crust on the outside- not burned, just a crust.

The bun is brushed with butter and toasted on the grill as well. The burger usually comes with a tomato slice, onion slices, pickles and lettuce. Take a second to appreciate the beautiful tomato in the picture above. Delish!

When I was preggo with EJ, a Bowling Alley cheeseburger was pretty much all I craved. I even found myself plotting how to get one from Heber to Tempe, AZ! It is also the cheeseburger by which I judge all cheeseburgers.

I love the Bowling Alley for their burgers, sure, but I also love that the place literally never changes. It still has the look of a 60's classic bowling alley. It also reminds me of my childhood. AJ (my aunt) would take us out of school when she visited and we'd have lunch there. It was a BIG DEAL!

So now I'm really glad to pass on the food and tradition with my girls. If only we could eat lunch without begging for a game of "balling"...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Harvest Veggies & Creamy Polenta Recipe

Here is a recipe that we just created based one we got from the Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats cookbook. Bless her, her stuff is usually good, but not very veggie. Her original recipe has chicken in place of the squash and beans, if you want to meat this puppy back up :).

If you try nothing else, make the creamy polenta part- it is SOOO good!

Fresh Harvest Veggies and Creamy Polenta
1 c. chicken stock or broth (or veg.)
1 lg. Red onion- thinly sliced
1 zucchini, cubed
1 summer squash, cubed
1 can white beans (cannelloni)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cloves garlic- chopped

1 pint whole grape tomatoes (we’ve used chopped tomatoes)
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn

Heat EVOO in a pan. Add squash and zucchini and salt and pepper to taste. After the squash has softened a bit, add the white beans, red onion and garlic and cook 3 min. Add 1 c. of chicken stock and cook until the stock has reduced by half- about 3-4 min.

After the stock has reduced, add the tomatoes and cook for 1 or 2 min. or until the tomatoes are heated and starting to burst. Add basil and toss.

Creamy Polenta:
3 c. Chicken stock or broth (can use veg.)
1 c. polenta
½ c. cream cheese
¼ c. Parmesan cheese

Bring chicken stock to a boil and whisk polenta in until it gets thick-ish. Stir in parmesan and cream cheeses. The polenta should have a mashed-potato consistency. If it gets too thick, add some water or stock to thin it up a bit.

Serve the veggie mixture over the polenta.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stuff that will change your life- Kitchen Edition

I just have to blog about some kitchen gadgets that we have that are so awesome that I must encourage both of my readers to go and get some.

First is the y-peeler. This will change the way you peel veggies. Seriously. Once you use one, you'll wonder why you ever did it the old way. They are super-cheap at IKEA and places like Target and Walmart.
Next is the super-duper pizza stone. I got one because Macey's ran a deal that involved a cheap one and some free frozen pizza. This thing renders basic blah frozen pizza to crispy, bubbly brown-baked cheesy topped pizza. Better than (or at least equal to) delivery- and hotter. The best part? The stone keeps the pizza hot while you eat your first piece. Totally worth it!

Next up- our smoothie maker. Not just a regular blender- our smoothie maker is heavy duty and takes care of ice lickety split. We get on kicks where we make smoothies almost daily. We've found it is a good way to get rid of ripe fruit in a hurry. Ours has a handy spout at the bottom that makes dispensing super-easy!

Last, but not least, the humble pizza cutter. We use it for sooo much more than pizza at our casa. Quesidillas, waffles, pita pockets, hotcakes- they all get cut into bits by this handy tool. I'm thinking we need at least two...

How 'bout you? What can't you live without at your house?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recipe- Eggplant Pannini

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I've kind of had blogger's block. I was actually trying to think of something interesting enough to post and came up with nothing. Good thing we went to an indoor arena football game and had a family party this weekend to spice things up!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe for the awesome sandwiches we had tonight. We gobbled them up so quickly I forgot to get a picture- sorry! We got this recipe from our new BH&G "Vegetarian Cooking" cookbook.

Eggplant Panini

1 cup torn arugla (can sub spinach, arugla is spicer)
2 t. red wine vinegar (we had garlic flavored- yum!)
1 t. olive oil

Toss together in a small bowl.

1 Eggplant, cut into 1/2 in. thick rounds
3 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 12in. plain or seasoned round foccacia bread, halved horizontally
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1/3 c. seasoned dry bread crumbs
2T parmesan cheese
1 egg
1T milk
2T flour

In a shallow dish, beat together egg and milk. In another dish, stir the bread crumbs and parm. cheese. Put the flour in a third dish. (we're breading the eggplant, see how that works?) Dip the eggplant slices inot the flour to coat, then dip into the egg mixture and last, into the crumb mixture.

In a 12 in. non-stick skillet, heat 1T oil over med. heat. Add eggplant slices and cook for 6-8 min. or until lightly browned, turning once. Top the eggplant slices with the mozzarella cheese. Cook, covered, just until the cheese begins to melt.

To serve, put the eggplant slices cheese side up on bottom half of bread. Top with the arugala mixture and tomato slices (and the top half of the bread, of course). Cut into serving-size wedges.

TIP: To keep the eggplant from tasting bitter, you will need to "degorge" it (I know, it sounds disgusting). Just make sure you rinse it really well- we didn't do a great job and it was a bit salty...

This was super-quick and really, really yummy! You can also make a great "second day" meal with the leftovers- just put some spaghetti sauce and some of the parm cheese on the eggplant/mozz and viola- eggplant parm!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Food Storage Audition- Curried Lentils and Rice

You thought I'd forgotten- right? Nope. It's just that Meatless May sucked all of our food experement mojo so we kind of slacked on the food storage auditions. We did manage to do one.

For those of you who might be new to my blog, we've been auditioning shelf-stable recipes to be part of our 3 month emergency food supply - you know, in case someone looses a job, or whatever. You can catch up on all of it here.

Anywho- today's dish is Curried Lentils and Rice from- you guessed it- Safely Gathered In. This dish is completely veggie (yeah!) and uses lentils which is on my list of "learn to cook with these ingredients" along with polenta.

The reviews on this one were mixed. I don't know if it was the day or what, but when DMP made this for dinner, I couldn't eat it, smell it or be in the same room as it. DMP and the girls ate it right up. I was able to eat the leftovers a couple of times and found it both filling and yummy, though.

I know that isn't a glowing recommendation, but I'm trying to be honest here. Following the recipe directions produced nicely flavored lentils (even for someone like me that isn't wild about Balsalmic Vinegar) that didn't taste too "dry" and enough sauce to go nicely with the rice. I do wonder what it would be like without the cilantro and sour cream (added because we were "rotating").

So in all, this recipe probably deserves another shot to see if we still like it without the cilantro and sour cream.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Veg-tastic Recipes

A couple people have asked for meatless recipes (no, really!). So I figured I'd post links to some of our new favorites here. 

We made and froze a ton of these "Make Ahead Lunch Wraps" and I've been taking them for lunch (imagine that!). They heat up really well and are tasty with salsa.

Our all-time favorite veggie meal is this yummy California Grilled Veggie Sandwich- sooooo good.  Don't be afraid of the grilled red peppers or red onion- I'm not a fan of peppers, but I"m finding I like them grilled and the onion gets all sweet and mellow.

One night we made Carmelized Onion and Gorgonzola pizza (it was my first time carmelizing onions and it went really well!).  This is a good recipe, but we cut the gorgonzola in half and used a cup or two of mozzerella.  I wouldn't have wanted just gorgonzola!  But still use both onions- we only used one and wished there were more. We used an easy Garlic  Bread Machine pizza crust and our pizza stone and it was fantastic. Next time we are going to grill the pizza.

For quick and easy stuff, we liked this Tortellini with Fresh Vegetables although next time we'll try to grill the veggies and just toss with the tortellini.  For other "quick" nights we had breakfast for dinner (with Morningstar sausages - they are veggie and very yummy).  We also like the Bisquick "impossibly easy pies" recipes-  Especially the Quesadilla Pie and the Spinach Parmesan Pie- they taste like a lighter version of a quiche.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Food Storage Auditions- Black Bean Burgers and Chicken Salad

Last week, we auditioned two more potential 3 month food storage candidates. 

First we tried the Black Bean Burgers from the excellent Safely Gathered In blog:


Before we proceed with the results of the audition, I want to add my standard disclaimer to this as well as any and all types of "veggie" burger.  If you are expecting it to have the texture and taste of a ground beef burger, you will always, always be disappointed. If you are expecting a delicious grilled sandwich- you may be suprised that you like it in spite of the missing meat.

So- back to this recipe.  It was excellent- one of the best bean burger recipies we've tried (and one of the easiest).  We did almost double the amount of salsa called for in the recipe, and we added about a 1/4 or 1/2 coup of corn (about 1/3 of a can). 

They cooked up nicely on the stovetop, too- crispyish on the outside and mushy (creamy?) on the inside.  We served them with melted cheddar, salsa, tomatos and lettuce.  Kid rating was a double-thumbs-up- Birdy ate her whole sandwich (which is the ultimate kid test). 

My only issue is that I wonder about the suitibility for "shelf storage" since it relies on buns (which, technically I could make- you know, if they have a "hamburger bun" recipe for the bread machine).  However, I think for the practical purposes of the 3 month supply, it gets a "pass".

On Saturday we went to the zoo.  We have a new commitment to NOT eating out, so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to bust out the Chicken Salad  recipe (also from Safely Gathered In) and give it a try (Pic from Safely Gathered In- not mine):


I only became a Chicken Salad sandwich fan recently, and have been pretty committed to a great recipe that my sister  found on one of my favorite recipe sites,  It is awesome, but definately not food-storage friendly.

We really enjoyed this chicken salad. The canned chicken suprised us again by being really good. The craisins gave it a great shelf-stable sweetness and the toasted almonds provided the crunch. Our only complaint was that it seemed a bit dry and we had to add a good 1 1/2 extra tablespoons of mayo.  The girls also thought it was great and ate up their whole sandwiches while watching the rhinos.

So now our total is up to 4 recipes and we have started shopping and collecting ingredients.  I'm curious, readers, shall I continue these reviews? Are you interested? Do you care? Do you want me to just send you our final list/recipes?

Let me know in the comments!~

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Food Storage Auditions- Coconut Curry Chicken and Garbanzo Bean Soup

In order to build our list of 15 dinners to help us on our goal of having a 3 month supply of food we actually eat, we decided to "audition" 2 recipes a week for the next little while.

The first one we tried was Coconut Curry Chicken and rice courtesy of  Safely Gathered In


 This one was a total winner.  It was our first time ever using canned chicken in any way, and we were suprised at how good it was, and how the texture worked with this recipe. The sauce turned out kind of salty, but it was OK when you mixed it with the rice. I think the saltiness could have been the cheap-ish spice mixes we used- we'll have to try another. 

I think the "eatability" of this dish outweighs the fact that coconut milk is kind of expensive and it uses some "uncommon" spices that, from a food-storage perspective, will likely only be used for this recipe (vs garlic, rosemary or other more universal stuff). But one bottle of each of the spices will likely see us through the 6 times we are planning to make it.  Since we were "rotating" (internet food storage blog speak for just making something to use up your supply, I've learned) we added peas and the sweetness, color and texture really made this extra-yummy and added some more veggie power.  This one also got a high "kid rating". EJ gobbled it up and asked for seconds (something she never does).  Birdy was just ticked that I "sprinkled" her rice and "ruined" it so it is hard to say what she would have thought if she had decided to try it.

Next we made the Pasta and Garbanzo Bean soup, also from Safely Gathered In


This one is probably a keeper, but less of a slam dunk than the Coconut Curry Chicken.  since we were "rotating" and I love to add veggie power wherever I can, we dumped a bag of frozen peas and carrots in and it turned out nicely.

It was nice to have the convenience of a crock-pot recipe, and the taste was awesome, but I think before we add this to the "keeper" pile, we'll make a few changes.  First, the texture wasn't that great- part of that was our fault because the garbanzo beans were undercooked- but I think that the water-to-stuff-that-soaks-up-water is low- the soup was thick the day we made it, and the next day it was about the texture of refried beans.  Not really the best, but we added some water and that made it work again.

I think I'd like to try this one again and substitute lentils or barley for the orzo- just to give it more of a nutritional boost.  I think we'll also try canned garbanzo beans- I think they will make for a better and less grainy texture.  So I think after one more try, this one will be a keeper because the taste really is great!  The "kid" rating on this one was also high- EJ asked if we could "eat it every day" and Birdy ate most of her bowl- unheard of for soup.

So we basically have 2 down, and 13 to go!  I'd love any recipes you might have that are "shelf stable" or easily adapted. We are focusing on main dinner dishes first, and then we'll stock up on canned fruit and veggies and lunch and then we'll probably work on breakfast stuff last. I think it would be fantastic to have a full 3 month supply- breakfast, lunch and dinner including sides- but I think it is more realistic to focus on small goals first :)