Mandie's Dinner Diner

October 22, 2011

Concentrated Broth? Yes, really!

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings, Soup and Stew — ruralmomof3 @ 6:35 pm

I have been using a very handy product from Meijer for quite some time now.  When I shared it with one of my classes they were surprised to hear about it.  Concentrated broth is in the soup aisle with the regular broth.  You use it just like you would boullion – 1 packet per cup of water but you get the benefits of less sodium!!   I prefer Meijer Brand over the few other choices because it has vey few extra ingredients.  Here, I’ll show you!


July 31, 2011

Baked “fried” Fish with Dill Sauce

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings, Fish and Shrimp, Vegetables, What's for Dinner? — Tags: , , — ruralmomof3 @ 12:36 pm

  The quality of this picture does not give this deliciously crunchy fish justice but when your 9 y.o. offers to help- you have to say yes!

Today for lunch we had Baked fried Fish,  Oven fried Sweet Potatoes, Corn, and Lemon-Lime Aid.  Frying in the oven doesn’t make for a low-fat fish but it does make a lot less of a mess in your kitchen!  Here’s how you do it!

The Recipe:

Baked “Fried” Fish

Enough thawed or fresh Fish to feed your family – I used 4-5 White Fish fillets

Buttermilk or Regular Milk



Butter (4 Tbl is what I used) -melted

Salt n Pepper


Preheat oven to 450^

Drain and pat dry your fillets and cut them into appropriately sized pieces for your family.  Prepare the flour dredge by putting some flour, salt, pepper into a ziploc bag.  I’m not giving measurements because it depends on how much fish you’re frying- but I used about 1 1/2 cups flour.   Place some buttermilk in a bowl (I used about 1 cup).  As you cut up the fillets, place them into the buttermilk.  Once all is cut up, take the fish the has soaked the most first and put it into the flour bag.  Continue wetting your fillets with milk and placing into the flour.  Zip the bag shut leaving air in there so there is room to toss things about inside the bag.  “Manhandle” the bag until all the fish is coated.

Spread a good coating of vegetable oil onto a cookie sheet (that has sides).  Place the fish skin side down onto the oil.  Drizzle some melted butter onto each piece of fish until all “gets some butter flavor”.

Bake for 15-20 min. until fish flakes easily.  If you would like your fillets to be well browned on each side, flip them over about half-way through.

Sweet Potato Slices

Wash and peel 2-4 sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/2 – 3/4 ” slices.  Put them into a Ziploc bag with a splash of oil.  Seal and “manhandle” until all have nice coating of oil on them.  Bake in a single layer in a hot oven until they are soft and slightly brown.  I baked mine while I was prepping the fish.  Then I put them in a heavy bowl covered with foil to keep them warm while the fish baked.


Dill Sauce

1 Tbl dried onion

1 Tbl dried Dill

2-4 Tbl lemon juice


1/8- 1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)


Combine well and let sit for 10 min or so (while the fish bakes)  to soften the herbs and blend the flavors.  Serve over fish and “lop up” any drips with the sweet potatoes.  Delicious!!!



September 28, 2010

Spagetti and Meatballs

We eat spagetti weird around here. My husband’s allergies are such that he avoids tomato sauce, especially seasoned tomato sauce. So our spagetti is prepared in 3 completely separate pans: spagetti noodles, sauce, and meat. Then it is assembled on each person’s plate in the manner to which they are accustomed. Husband gets noodles and meat smothered in sprinkle cheese (parmesan). First born gets noodles, meat, small serving of sauce, small sprinkle of cheese. 2nd born gets the traditional noodles, meat, sauce, sprinkle cheese combo- the one you get in restaurants. 3rd born gets noodles, sauce, only a sampling of meat, and oodles of sprinkle cheese. I am a sauce lover so if there is not sauce left on my plate when I’m done with the noodles, something was not assembled correctly. I also occasionally stir-fry a few peppers and onions and maybe a slice of pepperoni or two and add to mine as well!

Oh, you wanted a recipe??? Oh, almost forgot!!!

We prefer angel hair pasta because it cooks in only 3 min. but any pasta will do.

Mandie’s  spagettie sauce? (this is also my pizza sauce recipe)

Take a  regular size can (12 oz or so? not the little can) or two small cans of tomato sauce and dump it into a pan.  Add the following:

  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic or one pressed clove or equivalent of garlic powder (garlic is not absolutely necessary)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley

Bring this to a simmer and serve.  If you are worried that your kids only eat spagetti sauce and ketchup for veggies, you can sneek some stuff in your sauce. 

  • jar of strained baby food carrots or some shredded carrot
  • finely chopped spinach and tell the kids it’s fresh basil (hee, hee)
  • finely chopped onion (just get into the habit of ALWAYS putting onion in your ground beef)
  • mushrooms
  • bell peppers
  • even corn or peas (if you think you can get away with it!  Good luck!!)


Our meat usually consists of browned hamburger that is browned with chopped onion.  You can make meatballs if you want to be fancy.  Just make your basic meatloaf recipe- turn it out onto a cutting board, flatten it into a rectangle, and cut it into desired meatball size squares.  Pick up each square, give it a slight roll in your hands, and throw it on a baking sheet or in a skillet.  Brown and serve!!  The trick to round meatballs is turning them often so I don’t recommend the baking method if you have to have round meatballs.  The smaller the meatball, the faster the cook time.  If your’s are golf ball size or bigger, be careful that you have cooked them thoroughly!  No one wants cold in the middle meat balls with their spagetti!!

Garlic toast-

I prefer to be lazy when it comes to garlic toast.  I wait for the sale on the already prepared kind in the freezer section or buy the clearance rack kind in the bakery!  If you prefer to make your own or have leftover bread, buns, etc to get rid of- Here you go!

Spread bread or buns or whatever out on a cookie sheet.

Butter each piece well.

Sprinkle with your favorite garlic spice blend (if you don’t have one, you can soften a stick of butter and stir in a tsp minced garlic and some parsley- don’t forget the parsley because the little green flecks will keep you from putting the leftover garlic butter on your cinnamon toast tomorrow morning!)

For a crisp toast, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake in 400^ oven until browned.

For a soft toast, sprinkle with mozzerella cheese (or american, or colby, or whatever) and broil for a minute or two until the cheese melts.


September 12, 2010

Freezer Salsa

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings, Preserving and Canning, Vegetables — ruralmomof3 @ 6:24 pm

I’m waiting for my salsa to cook down and I thought to myself, “why not share this recipe while you’re waiting, Rosita?” (my dh’s name for me when I’m cooking some Mexican delights). I have exactly 10 min before I have to go pick up the kid from church youth group so here goes!

20 lbs of tomatoes (Roma or other pulp tomatoes are best)
2 c. fresh, chopped cilantro
2 chopped onions
10 chopped cloves of garlic (or 5 tsp of minced garlic from a jar)
5-15 chopped jalapenos (I used around 6, include the seeds and it’ll be even hotter)
2 c. chopped bell pepper (I used yellow and orange ones but any variety will do)
1 Tbl cumin (or 2 if you like that smokey flavor strong)
1/4 c sea salt
1/4 c. vinegar
3/4 c. lime juice (or 4-6 fresh squeezed limes)

Blanch, peel, and chop your tomatoes. Chop half of them really fine using a processor or food chopper and dice the other half. Throw everything in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a bubbly simmer and let it cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the thicker your salsa will be. Reducing it by half is a good rule of thumb but if you’re in a hurry, you can leave it runny. DON’T TURN UP THE HEAT TOO FAR when in a hurry- you’ll scorch and burn the bottom and then you’ll have to throw away 20lbs of beautiful tomatoes and all the other yummy ingredients.

To freeze: If using freezer safe jars, you can fill them, leaving half inch head space but DO NOT PUT THE LIDS ON UNTIL IT’S COOL. If you put the lids on before the salsa has cooled to room temperature, it will condensate and be really watery when you thaw it. If you are using plastic containers or freezer bags, cool the salsa in the pan or spread it out in several pans to cool faster or if it’s midnight and you have to work in the morning, put the stock pot in the fridge WITH NO LID and leave it until you have time tomorrow. Do not wait a couple days, just wait until tomorrow. . . . . . Leave 1/2 inch headspace in plastic as well (bags- if they are pint bags or 2 cup bags, put 1 3/4 c. salsa and get out as much as air as possible before sealing).

If you need to thaw in a hurry, run the container under warm water or defrost in microwave for a couple minutes. Chop or mush with a fork to break up and wait 10 min or so.


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September 6, 2010

Lime Syrup for Fruit

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings, Fruit — ruralmomof3 @ 11:17 am

A while back I had some mixed melon leftovers that I wanted to freshen up to take to a family get together. I cut the melon up into small pieces (1-3 pcs per bite/spoonful) and put it in a pretty bowl. Then I made a lime syrup. . . .

The Recipe:

1/4-1/2 c. sugar
1 c water
1 Tbl lime juice

Bring to a boil. The longer you boil it, the thicker the syrup. You want it to boil for a little while because the juice from the fruit will mix with it and thin it. Cool and then pour over your fruit. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

I used a combination of watermelon, cantalope, and honeydew. I bet it would be good on any fruit combo!


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May 5, 2010

Janet and Laura’s Mexican Dip

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings, Leftovers, Pantry Food, Snacks and Appetizers — ruralmomof3 @ 8:19 am
This version is more of a pantry “store bought” recipe but it is fast and easy and an awesome thing to serve to guests when you’re in a hurry! If you don’t buy store-bought chili, save a cup or 2 the next time you make some from scratch. Cook it down until it is thick and put in the freezer until you need it for this dip. Serve this dip with thick cut tortilla chips that can hold up to the thick dip!

Here we go-

The Recipe:

8 oz package of cream cheese
1 can chili (Hormel, no beans – is the preferred brand but any will do)
1-2 handfuls of shredded cheddar (or any cheese)

Laura’s directions:

Put the cream cheese brick in a microwave safe dish. Pour the chili on top of the brick, sprinkle with cheese and microwave until hot and bubbly.

Janet’s directions:

Spread the room temperature cream cheese into the bottom of a square cake pan. Spread the chili on top and then sprinkle the cheese. Bake in a moderate oven until hot and bubbly.

Note to Laura and Janet- I am basing this recipe off of my memory of having eaten it at both of your houses- if it needs correcting- please let me know!


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Mexican Dip

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings, Leftovers, Snacks and Appetizers — ruralmomof3 @ 8:13 am
Addicting? yes! Serve with baked chips so you won’t feel near as guilty!!! Any of the ingredients can be left out if you don’t like them but if you leave out the beans, make sure you use the cream cheese and I would highly recommend the taco seasoning as well.

The Recipe:

8 oz cream cheese
1 Tbl taco seasoning mix
1 c. refried beans
1 c. shredded cheese (cheddar is best but any will do)
1 c. each of any of the following (or all of them)

  • guacamole
  • salsa
  • shredded lettuce

1/2 c. chopped green onion

2 Tbl sliced black olives

Combine the cream cheese and taco seasoning well and spred in the bottom of a pie pan or square cake pan. Then spread on the refried beans and cheese. At this point, you can heat this in the oven or microwave to melt the cheese or you can leave it cold. If you leave it cold, I would save the cheddar to sprinkle on top of the lettuce instead of underneath it. Add everything else in layers, in order and serve with corn chips or tortilla chips.


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April 24, 2010

Fruit Dip

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings — ruralmomof3 @ 4:40 pm
Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

8 oz cream cheese -room temperature
1/4 c. favorite ice cream topping
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream well. If too thick add a tablespoon of milk.

For peanut butter fruit dip you just add peanut butter instead of ice cream topping and will definately need at least 1 tablespoon of milk if not more.

Great on Strawberries, Bananas, Pineapple, Apples, etc!


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German Chocolate Cake Frosting

Filed under: Cake, Dips, Sauces, and Dressings — ruralmomof3 @ 7:28 am
There are two different recipes for that yummy coconut/pecan frosting that tops German chocolate cake. One of them is the brown, clear, caramelly one and the other is more of a white, yellow, pudding type. I love them both but prefer the caramelly one. BUT- I’m not sure if this recipe that I found in my file is that one. (go ahead and laugh because I know you’ve been in this same situation at least twice. . . . lol) The file box that I’m getting the recipe from is the one for recipes that I have tried and enjoy so I’m guessing. . .. yes, guessing. . .. that this is the one I prefer.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. coconut
1 c. nuts (pecans are best but any kind will do), chopped coarsely
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove heat, cool just a little and spread on cake. This is supposed to make enough for one 9×13 cake or one round layer cake (middle and top) but I think it’s pretty stingy. So, we usually make a double batch and have a little bit of cake with our dish of frosting.

BTW- if you’re looking for a recipe for the cake part of this- go buy the boxed kind. Yes, I- the make it from scratch queen- just told you to buy the boxed cake mix. To make German Chocolate Cake from scratch, the only recipe I’ve found uses German Chocolate Squares (in with the unsweetened baking chocolate). I don’t buy those hardly ever- any of the baking chocolate. Most recipes that I use- use the powdered baking cocoa and I don’t know what the conversion would be to make the chocolate German. I’m assuming it is different- otherwise it wouldn’t be labeled differently? If any of you have a recipe from scratch that uses regular cocoa powder- I would love to include it!!

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April 22, 2010

Hot Fudge Sauce

Filed under: Dips, Sauces, and Dressings — ruralmomof3 @ 5:24 pm
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. milk (any variety but if you use cream it is really rich and yummy)
1/2 c. corn syrup
1 1/2 Tbl butter (real butter is best but not necessary)
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the sugar and cocoa in a saucepan. Mixing this prior to adding the other ingredients helps keep the lumps out when you cook it. Add milk, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t boil. Stir in Vanilla and serve over your favorite ice cream.

Have you ever tried hot fudge sauce over sherbet? It is excellent! It tastes like those Brachs Candies that you pay by the pound in the bulk candy section of the store or like valentine candy from the heart shaped box. Try it and let me know what you think!


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