Friday, May 29, 2009

Laura's Granola

This is my favorite granola recipe courtesy of my high school friend's Mom, Laura.  You can make it crunchy or gooey:

6c rolled oats
1/2 c wheat germ
1c unsweetened coconut
1c nuts
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 c vegetable oil
1c honey
1c raisins or other dried fruit (chopped to raisin sized pieces)

Mix grains, nuts, and seeds.  Pour oil and honey in and mix.  Spread on oiled cookie sheet and bake at 275 for 30 mins or until golden brown.  Stir occasionally.  Put in bowl after it has cooled and add fruit.  If you like it crunchy, stop here.  For gooey granola, drizzle an extra 1/2 c honey and stir.

Store in airtight container.

I'm sure you can see that any of the nuts and seeds can be substituted or omitted, so there is a lot of room for customization.  This is a great summer snack, in fact, I think I'm going to make one for the road trip we are heading on next week!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


ok, no pic for this one, kids were screaming, people were stressed (and by people I mean me), and all were hungry.

But they turned out just delicious!  Here's what I did:


1lb ground beef
1/2 cup steamed and pureed carrots (or carrot baby food if you are lazy like me) give or take
1 1/2 Tbsp. Shirley J all purpose seasoning

Mixy mix and form into 8-9 small patties (remember they will shrink when cooking so don't make them too small).  Grill on a skillet for about 10 mins flipping half way through.

Serve on dinner rolls with a pickle slice and ketchup and whatever else on the side.

These were great--I think the seasoning added some really good flavor, and the carrot puree adds moisture so the patties don't dry out.

resist the urge to smash the patties with your spatula while they cook--sure it makes a super fun sizzling sound, but it also squeezes out all of that succulent juice that makes your burger taste great.  I learned this from one of the Food Network shows, but I forget which :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roast Beef

Another slow cooker meal!


Beef roast
Shirley J's slow cooker seasoning for Beef

Super easy, just follow the instructions on the Shirley J canister to mix with water right in the slow cooker, and then add your beef and veggies. Set it and forget it baby!

The flavor was delicious, and the seasoning makes a perfect gravy to go on top.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shirley J

What is Shirley J?

Let me try to give you the reader's digest version:

First of all, I should mention that I am an official Shirley J Home Chef now, which means that you can purchase the products from me if you are so inclined. Also it means that I will eventually be holding cooking classes in my home where we will demo and taste their products and you will be able to purchase them right there.

Ok, now on to the company and it's products:

Shirley J was started 30 or so years ago by a food chemist that wanted to come up with a universal cream sauce/soup base (basically like what you would call a roux or white sauce). He did, and it is inexpensive, delicious, heats and freezes without breaking down, easy to make (just add water and heat), and so versatile that you can use it almost every day. It has a 30+ year shelf life so it can be part of a food storage system, but I challenge you to try to keep it on your shelf for that long!

From this product many others were designed which you can peruse on their website by clicking on the Shirley J button on the right ---->
(Also newly added a line of bakery mixes which I made a loaf of bread with recently)

FFWD to 2009, the company was purchased by my Dad and his brother and a couple of other friends-- ergo I learn a lot about the products and how great they are. Then, I pass that knowledge on to you. Generous of me, no? Oui.

Chicken Cordon Bleu --Crockpot style!

I actually don't have a picture for this one, but try to imagine:


Frozen Chicken Breasts
Shirley J cream sauce base
Leftover Honey baked Ham
Emmenthaler Swiss Cheese

So, I mixed up the cream sauce base in the crock pot, added the frozen chicken and ham and cooked for about three hours on high. Add the sliced cheese when plating the dish and not while cooking it. We also cooked green beans to go along with it and drizzled the sauce over it all.

My kids loved it!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ham Soup

Um, this was too easy. I love making soup!


Leftover honey baked ham (still good though) cut into bite sized pieces
frozen corn/black bean/pepper/onion veggie mix (generally called southwestern mix found in most grocery stores --this does so many things)
1 c. Shirley J cream sauce and soup base mix
3c. water + more to thin to desired consistency

This was a great use of leftovers, what I did was mix up the soup base in my pot and started cooking it. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and cooked through. The best part about this Shirley J soup base is that I can (and did) boil it back and forth as I played with the burner temp, and it doesn't curdle like cream. This is what also makes it a dream to reheat--which I also did.

my kids think that anything above lukewarm temp is burning hot, so to cool down soup I figured out this little trick: Add crushed ice and stir, no blowing necessary!

That's another great thing about the soup base, you can add water and it thins evenly! Hooray for Shirley J!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Crockpot Chicken

My first easy meal. You'll see a lot from the crock pot with me, because I love to set it and forget it ( I never tire of that phrase!).


Frozen chicken tenders
vegetables (I used a medley of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, but I think I would like it better with just carrots and celery because they hold up better)
Shirley J crock pot chicken seasoning

Brown rice (cooked separately) to serve with

This was delicious, I love the way that the chicken sauce tasted and thickened up! All I had to do was add it with a little water and throw in the chicken and veggies. SUPER-FREAKIN-EASY.