Friday, December 26, 2014

Slow Braised Red Chile Beef

4 to 5 cups reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
12 dried California or New Mexico chilies*, stemmed, seeded, and rinsed
1 large onion, cut into chunks
4 large garlic cloves
1 TBS ground cumin
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 boned, tied beef chuck roast (3 ½ to 4 lbs.) rinsed and patted dry
Kosher salt
2 TBS olive oil

Bring 3 cups beef broth to a boil. Put chilies in a blender and pour boiling broth over them.  Let stand, mixing occasionally, until chilies are limp, about 10 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and oregano and whirl until very smooth.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325F. Sprinkle beef all over with salt and pepper. Pour oil into a large heavy pot (not extremely wide) over medium-high heat. When hot, add roast and cook, turning as needed to brown all over, about 10 minutes total. Pour chile mixture over meat and add enough beef broth to come a third to half of the way up roast. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and transfer to oven.
Bake until beef is very tender when pierced, about 3 ½ hours, turning once. Transfer roast to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, remove string and pull meat into bite-size chunks, or shred as desired. Discard excess fat.
Meanwhile, skim fat from chile sauce in pot. Boil sauce over high heat, stirring often, until reduced to about 4 cups. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return beef to sauce and simmer until heated through. Serve in tortillas as burros or tacos, or in a bowl topped with cotija cheese and diced avocado. Serves 6. Takes about 5 hours from start to finish.

*I buy these in a bag at Food City. They are usually located with the other bagged spices, not in the spice aisle, closer to the produce section.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Energy Bars

I'm so thrilled you gals like the Incredible Granola!! We love it ourselves.

Garret and I started making these Energy Bars a few months ago. Garret would take Clif Bars to work with him in case he couldn't get a normal lunch - which often happens. He can eat a couple and be fine until dinner. But, he was getting a bit tired of the cardboard-y taste. Clif Bars are great once in a while, but if you have to eat them day-after-day, it can get a bit old.

So I tried this recipe for Energy Bars, which also comes from the Make-A-Mix cookbook. MUCH tastier! I'm certain they have more sugar than the purchased kind, but we don't really feel like sugar is a 4-letter word at our house. We're pretty much "moderation-in-all-things" kind of people.

Oh, and, for those who aren't fond of peanut butter, these are not over-powered by the peanut butter flavor. Give it a try and see what you think.

Energy Bars

1/2 C. dark brown sugar

1/2 C. light corn syrup
1/2 C. peanut butter
3-1/2 C. Cori's Incredible Granola
1/2 C. peanuts

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter until smooth. Stir in Granola and peanuts until coated. Press into prepared pan. Cool to room temperature. Cut into bars.

Note: Original recipe suggests cutting these into 1" x 3" bars to make 27 servings. We like to cut them bigger so they can fill in for a meal, if necessary. We get 12 bars per batch.

We've added chopped, dried fruit and mini chocolate chips to these with great success. If adding chocolate, it helps to let the bars cool a bit and then press chocolate chips into the top so the chocolate doesn't just melt away.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cori's Incredible Granola

This is my adaptation from the Granola recipe in the Make-A-Mix cookbook. One of my favorite things about this is how easy it is to adapt it to suit your own tastes. It also lends itself well to halving the recipe for smaller families.

Cori's Incredible Granola

10 C. old-fashioned oats (we now use the 5 Grain Cereal Mix from Winco's bulk - yum!)
1 C. sunflower seeds
1 C. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 C. sesame seeds
1/2 C. wheat germ
1/2 C. flax seed meal
1/2 lb. shredded coconut
3 C. walnuts, pecans, almonds, or combo (I use 1 C. sliced almonds and 2 C. walnut pieces)
1 1/2 C. brown sugar

1 C. water
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. molasses
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (sometimes I use other spices like Homemade Apple Pie Spice)
3 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300ยบ. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, oil, honey, molasses, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat on medium low until sugar is dissolved, but do not boil. Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, combine oats, 
seeds, wheat germ, flax seed meal, coconut, and nuts. Blend well. Pour prepared syrup over dry ingredients and stir until well-coated. Spread onto at least two jelly roll pans lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes, stirring after fifteen minutes (this creates a soft-textured granola; if you like it crunchier, bake an additional 15 minutes). Keeps up to 6 months in an airtight container.

Cori Gillespie (adapted from Make-A-Mix)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Amalie's Amazing Orzo Salad

Okay, so I was going to wait patiently for Amalie to post this lunch bunch favorite but when I went to print it from my email I realized my printer is out of ink (ugh!) so I am going to post it here so that I can view it nice and easily from my iPad while I make it! (so much easier!) So please Amalie, make any edits as needed! :)

1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup* 
2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces**
3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
1/2 cup dried cherries
12 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts***
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.

Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.

*(I actually omitted this 1/4 cup and it was still really good).
**You can find this in the organic produce section of your grocery store or next to the bagged salads / spinach. 
***I used way less than 1/4 cup since pine nuts are expensive. I used approx. 1 TBSP. To roast the pine nuts, put them in a pan on the oven (without oil) on low-medium heat for a few minutes, string frequently. Watch them closely so they don't burn. 
*If you only use 2 tsp. olive oil, this recipe is 6 WW points+ per cup. I can't really tell a difference by cutting the olive oil - it's still really good.

Recipe compliments of Giada De Laurentiis.

Amalie - your turn!

ummm.... why is Amalie's Amazing Orzo Salad not on this website! We are going to have it today at girls lunch (because it has been at least 2 months since we've had it!) and now I have to search my email inbox. lame.


Friday, February 21, 2014

5 minute salted caramel apple dip

5 Minute Salted Caramel Apple Dip 

4-6 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 package of softened cream cheese. {8 oz}
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

what to do:

melt  the butter and sugar in the microwave together for 2 min covered, stirring half-way.
mix in cream cheese until its all melted and combined, may even need an electric mixer to be sure it's completely smooth.  add vanilla and salt (or omit the salt if you use salted butter).
done and done. best with green apples, but any will do.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Double Chocolate Baby Lava Cakes

3/4 C. Butter
1 C. Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 recipe praline sauce (recipe follows)
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. flour
3 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/3 C. pecan halves - chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease and flour six 1 - 1 1/4 Cup souffles dishes or 6 - 10 oz custard cups. Place dishes in a shallow baking pan an set pan aside. In a heavy small saucepan melt butter and semisweet chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool. Meanwhile, prepare praline sauce; cover and keep warm until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until thick and lemon colored. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture on medium speed. Sift flour and cocoa over chocolate mixture; beat on low until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared dishes. Bake 10 minutes. Pull cakes from oven. Using a table knife, puncture the top of each cake and gently enlarge to make a dime sized hole. Slowly spoon about 1 Tablespoon of praline sauce into each cake. Return to oven. Bake 5 minutes more or until the cake edges feel firm. Cool in dished on a wire rack for 3 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and slip out onto dessert plates. Stir the pecans into the praline sauce and spoon sauce onto cakes. Serve immediately.

Praline Sauce:

1/2 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Packed Brown Sugar
2 T. Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 C. Whipping Cream

In a heavy medium-sized sauce pan combine the sugars and corn syrup. Stir in the whipping cream. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture boils - stirring constantly. Reduce the heat, cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick. Stir occasionally. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I LOVE the background on the blog. It's a keeper!

Salad from December Lunch Bunch

Mandarin Orange Salad

Darcie Naylor

1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 head romaine lettuce - torn
1/2 head iceberg lettuce - torn
1 cup celery - chopped
2 whole green onions - chopped
1 can mandarin oranges (11 oz) - drained

1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon parsley -- chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
Dash Tabasco sauce

In small saucepan over medium heat, cook the almonds and sugar, stirring constantly until the almonds are coated and sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in airtight container until needed. Mix all the dressing ingredients and chill. Mix lettuces, celery and onions. Just before serving, add the almonds, oranges and toss with dressing. This salad wilts fast, so it is important to not add the dressing until just before serving.

I have also added:
*sugared pecans          *craisins
*orange slices              *pear slices
*strawberries               *apple slices

Note: This is delicious served with Hawaiian Chicken and Fried Rice-a-Roni

NOTE - This is the original recipe. I take huge liberties with it on a regular basis and mix up the ingredients to whatever I have on hand or whatever is in season, etc. The only constant is that I always use romaine in the salad and the dressing stays the same.

Mom's Mexican Green Salad

Mexican Green Salad 

Rub for the chicken breasts:

1 1/2 TBS. Olive Oil
1 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder (Use ONLY chipotle chile powder, it has a distinctive taste)

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and then the seasonings. You can either put the seasonings on the chicken separately or mix them together in a small bowl and then put them on the chicken breasts. Let rest for 10 minutes for the seasonings to absorb, then grill the chicken until done.


4 cups shredded greens
1 can corn
1 small can sliced black olives
1 can black beans
chopped avocado
grated cheddar cheese
Fritos corn chips

Refrigerate all the cans overnight; then drain them all in a colander and add to the greens. Toss together. Add the cheese and avocado at the last minute. Crunch up the corn chips and add them at the same time you add the dressing. Lightly toss and serve.


1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. chili powder (any kind)
1 tsp. sugar
4 TBS. salsa
4 tsp. cider vinegar

Mix well and chill thoroughly.

Funny? Interesting?

Does anyone else think it's funny that we have a Lunch Bunch Ladies BLOG that only posts recipes? Did I miss something and that is what this blog is for or is that all we think about posting - food items. Funny? Interesting? Probably just apropos.

That being said - I posted the requested recipes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Request for Jeni

Jeni: Please post your recipe for Double Chocolate Baby Lava Cakes! I tried to transfer it from your old site to my personal recipe book, but the link no longer works.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chicken and Dumplings


Published February 15, 2005. From Cook's Illustrated


Chicken and dumplings make chicken pot pie look easy. There’s no disguising a leaden dumpling. One goal was to develop a dumpling that was light yet substantial, and tender yet durable. The other was to develop a well-rounded recipe that, like chicken pot pie, included vegetables, therein supplying the cook with a complete meal in one dish.

Dumplings can contain myriad ingredients, and there are just as many different ways to mix them. We tried them all—with disastrous results. But when we stumbled on a unique method of adding warm liquid rather than cold to the flour and fat, our dumplings were great—firm but light and fluffy. The reason? The heat expands and sets the flour so that the dumplings don’t absorb liquid in the stew. The best-tasting dumplings were made with all-purpose flour, whole milk, and the chicken fat left from browning the chicken.SERVE 6 TO 8

Don't use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe. Start the dumpling dough only when you're ready to top the stew with the dumplings.


  • Stew
  • 5pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 4carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1large onion, minced
  • 6tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4cup dry sherry
  • 4 1/2cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4cup whole milk
  • 1teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1cup frozen green peas
  • 3tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Dumplings
  • 2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 1cup whole milk
  • 3tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)


  1. 1. For the Stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.
    2. Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
    3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.
    4. For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
    5. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Following the photos below, drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.



1. Gather a golf-ball-sized portion of the dumpling batter onto a soup spoon, then push the dumpling onto the stew using a second spoon.
2. Cover the stew with the dumplings, leaving about 1/4 inch between each.
3. When fully cooked, the dumplings will have doubled in size.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Recipe Requests

Mom: Could you please post the recipe for the Mexican Chicken Salad-thing you made that one Girls' Lunch? The one with the grilled corn. Also, you once made a breakfast casserole that had sausage but no bread. I would love that one, too.

Darcie: Could you please post the recipe for the salad you made for December Girls' Lunch? (I lost the one you sent me, she says sheepishly...)

Thanks, Ladies!!