Pantry Party September Round Up


Though our first month back at Pantry Party has been small, we are back nonetheless! This month at Pantry Party we made dishes that used fish in some way. Fish can be made in many different ways. I love the different selections here!


Denise at Soup Spice Everything Nice shares the first recipe for September: Baja Beach Tacos Two Ways. These tacos are Denise’s recreation of tacos from a restaurant, Don Juanz. Denise was successful in her recreation of two different tacos from Don Juanz, the Pacific Rim and the Baja Beach. This taco recreating project appears to be a success! Both Denise’s mom and her sister enjoyed them (and really, how could they not?)

perch spaghetti a

Michelle from Ms. enPlace continues to be a loyal participant at Pantry Party. This month she shares her Perch Spaghetti. Michelle shared insight about the Louisiana wetlands and the problems that the area faces. Litter, dumping, things that should occur at a dump and not at the wetlands. Perch is one of the varieties of fish that come from the wetlands. Michelle made this lovely pasta dish using perch (as well as many other yummy ingredients.)

Fresh Tuna Mozzarella and Basil Pizza-Simple Living and Eating

Diane from Simple Living and Eating shares the next recipe: Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza. Diane made this dish for French Fridays with Dorie. Instead of using fresh tuna, Diane who was on vacation, relied on the canned variety. These little bites look divine and would be a wonderful addition to any meal as an appetizer.



The last recipe is my entry: Fried Tilapia with Lemon Sauce. I brought this with me for lunch to work one day. While not a traditional lunch to actually bring to work, it was so good and I’m so glad I did. Using breadcrumbs, cornstarch, honey, soy sauce, and more, I relied on my pantry heavily for this breaded, sauced-up fish. It was a nice way to come back to hosting the Pantry Party!

Though just a small party this month – Welcome Back! And I hope you join us next month.

Soft Pretzels

Since I’m done with that horrible exam that will determine by future come November, I’ve decided a few things:

– I want to read more.
– I want to cook more.
– I want to participate in blog events more.

And with those goals, it only makes sense that I participate in the Cook the Books Club. I participated once, a while back, but school took over any ability I had to read. Joining this month was the right time to join. The August/September pick was The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy. Heather at girlichef made the great selection. The Baker’s Daughter is a story about Elsie Schmidt, a German teenager during the Nazi regime. Though the book takes us between Germany (the past) and Texas (the present,) the book focuses a lot of Elsie’s experience in Nazi Germany. Ever since I was a little girl I have been drawn to reading books about this period in history. It will always be my favorite genre of books. It was a good month to start Cooking the Books.


The Baker’s Daughter is full of mention of different delicious German foods. Elsie’s parents were bakers in Germany. In Elsie’s adult life, in her room in Texas, she runs a German bakery with her daughter. Some mentions of food include Roggenbort, Bauernbrot, Doppelback, Simonsbrot, Black Forest, Onion Rye, Pretzels, Poppy Seed Rolls, Brotchen, Marzipan Tarts, Amarettis, Kuchen, Cream Cheese Danishes, Almond Honey Bars, Strudel, Stollen, Orange Quittenspeck, and Lebkuchen. I can’t imagine how good the smells of the bakery were.

The story tells about Elsie’s encounter with a Jewish boy, Tobias. Elsie’s actions help save Tobias, an action that was brave beyond her years and put her own life in danger. While Elsie’s parents are out of town, Tobias helps Elsie make pretzels for the bakery:

“He was surprisingly skilled at pretzel making, knowing exactly how to roll and twist the dough for perfect knots.”

Tobias’s presence in this story had a profound effect on Elsie. It also had a similar effect on myself, as it showed Elsie for being the strong woman she was and explained so much about her.

I decided to try my hand at pretzels, for Tobias and for Elsie, an example of the brave Germans who protected others despite it putting their own lives at risk.

I’d never made soft pretzels before. I found a recipe for easy soft pretzels and WOW! These were wonderfully easy. I’ve always been intimidated by pretzels, which is why I’ve never made them. But I guess there was no reason for that intimidation. I sprinkled them with cinnamon-sugar and had one for breakfast this morning. Some of them turned out kind of goofy looking . . . but I did get one perfect looking pretzel.

Soft Pretzels

10 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1 packet active instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten


1. In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups warm water and the yeast. Mix together with a spoon. Let sit for 1 minute. Stir in the sugar and salt.

2. A cup at a time mix in the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is thick. If after 3 cups the dough is too sticky, add another 1/2 cup.

3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Portion the dough into 1/3 cup portions.

4. Bring 9 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a big pot.

5. Take each portion of the pretzel dough and roll the dough into a rope of an even diameter. Once the rope is to your desired length, twist the dough into a pretzel.

6. Drop each pretzel into the boiling water, one at a time. Boil for 30 seconds.

7. Beat an egg in a shallow dish. Dunk the boiled pretzels into the egg, making sure to cover on both sides. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle the pretzels with salt, cinnamon-sugar, or topping of your choice.

8. Bake the pretzels at 425 for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to broil and bake for 5 more minutes.

* makes 8 pretzels
* Besides Cook The Books, I’m sharing this recipe with Full Plate Thursday & Showcase Your Talent Thursday

Spaghetti Bolognese


This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.


For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles


1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday


Fried Tilapia with Lemon Sauce



I’ve been trying to make this fish dish for a few days, but thins kept getting in the way. There just kept being a reason I couldn’t cook or didn’t want to cook.  But I needed to make this dish for this month’s Pantry Party: FISH!

I decided to use the container of bread crumbs I had stuffed in the back of my cabinet to make a fried fish dish. Though I initially had followed a recipe, the dish evolved into its own creation when I actually realized I didn’t have the right ingredients to follow the recipe.

My changes though were great, This is a dish I’d cook again.


Fried Tilapia with Lemon Sauce

2 tilapia fillets, cut in half
3/4 cup beer
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp cornstarch, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
vegetable oil for frying


1. In a shallow dish combine the beer, flour, 1/2 tbsp cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. ix together until you create a batter. In another shallow dish, spread with breadcrumbs.

2. Dip the fish in the batter. Once coated, dip in the breadcrumbs. Set fish aside.

3. In a cast iron skillet heat vegetable oil until hot. Add the fish and cook 4 minutes per side.

4. Remove and set on a wire rack.

5. In a small pot whisk together 1 tbsp water and the remaining cornstarch. Add the lemon, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and the remaining cayenne pepper. Whisk together. Put on low heat until it begins to thicken.

6. Spoon the sauce over the fish.

* serves 2
* Though made for Pantry Party, I’m sharing this dish with Mix It Up Monday

Faux Tom Yum Soup


This month at Cooking Around the World we’re heading to Thailand. My google-fu suggested I make Tom Yum Soup. I agreed.

Now . . . I live in a very Asian area. I very easily could have gotten all the ingredients I needed to make this authentic. But I just don’t have money to be spending on ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I subbed and I skipped and I made a soup with too many noodles (oops!) But you know, it doesn’t matter. It still tasted delicious.

If you want the authentic recipe go to the source. If you want mine . . . well, it’s below.

Bloggers Around the World Logo


Faux Tom Yum Soup

1 package soba noodles
2 1/2 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tomato, chopped
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
3 tbsp lime juice


1. Cook the noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a pot bring the water to a boil. Add the lemongrass, tomato, shrimp, mushrooms, and chili garlic sauce. Boil until the shrimp is cooked all the way through. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir together.

3. Pour the broth over the noodles. Toss the noodles into the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Cooking Around The World, this is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo


Pantry Party September 2013 Announcement


After taking a two month nap, Pantry Party is back! My life has returned to normalcy and I once again have time to run this challenge!

Welcome to a round up featuring recipes you cook with ingredients found in your pantry. On the 1st of each month (well, this post is going up early because I got excited) I’ll announce the pantry party challenge of the month.  All you need to do is cook something based on the theme with at least one ingredient found in your pantry. Have some pasta? Some jelly? Some sauce? Flour? Sugar? Canned foods? We all have stuff pushed in our pantries that get forgotten about, so now is the time to make use of these otherwise forgotten foods.

On the 29th of each month I will post the round-up, with all the recipes and links to your blogs showcasing your contribution to the party.

I hope you’ll join me and explore your pantries!

How to Participate:

1. Visit The Law Student’s Cookbook on the 1st of each month to find out the Pantry Challenge Theme of the month.

2. Cook up something delicious based on the theme for the month with at least one ingredient found in your pantry.

3. Post the recipe on your blog. You can submit more than one recipe in a month if you wish, but all recipes must be current. If you don’t have a blog, you can still participate! Just send me an email with a write-up of your recipe, a picture, and any other information. I’ll make a post with recipes from readers who participated.

4. You must link to the announcement post for the given month in your blog post. If you wish, you can also use the graphic above in your post or sidebar (which you can find here.)

5. Email your recipes to no later than the 28th of each month. In the email include:

* Your name

* Your blog name

* Permalink to the blog post

* A photo of your recipe or permission to pull one from the post

6. On the 29th of each month visit The Law Student’s Cookbook for the recipe round up!

The theme for September is FISH.
Make a dish featuring items from your pantry that includes fish! I don’t know if there’s fish substitutes for vegan/vegetarians, but if so, those are welcome also. Let your imagination run wild and create a dish featuring fish, using at least one item from your pantry!

Banana S’More Quick Bread



Surfing the internet makes me drool sometimes. I’ll be looking from blog to blog and I’ll start feeling hungry. My mouth will start watering. I will browse my refrigerator to see if I can make the thing that made me drool. The answer is usually no. Then I bookmark it and I usually forget to actually make it.

This followed that same course, up until I actually went to the grocery store and bought what I needed to make the bread.

It’s been hot out. And despite feeling hot and sweaty, I made this in the kitchen and just got sweatier. That’s what happens when the oven’s on, obviously.

This bread was great. For as much sugary items are in it, I somehow wan’t overwhelmed by it being too sweet.

I think I’ll have a slice for breakfast.

I’m going to share this quick bread with Alpha Bake’s monthly challenge hosted by Ros and Caroline. This month’s letter is Q. I also plan on making a quiche later this month, but I figured I might as well share what I have!

AlphaBakes Logo

Banana S’More Quick Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 baking pan and set aside.

2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat together until combined.

3. In a large bowl sift together the baking soda and flour. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, beating together.

4. With a wooden spoon, stir the mashed bananas, graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate chips into the batter. Pour into the prepared baking pan.

5. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting.

* serves 8
* Besides AlphaBakes I’m sharing this with Mix It Up Monday

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad



I would have figured that being done with the bar exam and having significantly more time in my life that I would have more time to cook. And that’s true – I have a lot more time to cook. But the weather has been making it really hard for me to want to. When it’s 100 degrees outside, turning on any source of flame just seems unbearable. So I’ve been eating out more than I should, so that I can pay other people to be in a kitchen that’s too hot.

Last night was an exception though. It wasn’t excruciating hot and I really did need to cook. So I made this very easy recipe.

I can’t even believe how easy it was. It was so easy. But despite being super simple, my boyfriend announced, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”

I’ll leave that credit to the very garlicky store bought hummus.

Though not pictured, we ate this with tortillas that I fried up in the leftover cumin infused oil.

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb skirt steak, cut into small strips
1 tbsp ground cumin
6 tbsp garlic hummus
2 cucumbers
1 wedge lemon
salt, to taste


1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil. Add the beef and stir fry the beef for 2 minutes.

2. Add the cumin and continue to cook the beef until no longer pink. Stir occasionally.

3. While the beef is cooking, skin the cucumber. Then shave the remaining cucumber into thin ribbons, making sure to discard the watery seeds in the middle. Place the cucumber shavings in a bowl. Toss with the juice from the lemon wedge and salt.

4. Smear 3 tbsp of hummus on each plate. Top with the beef. Arrange the cucumber salad on the side.

* serves 2