First Free Saturdays at Walker Art Center

Free admission to the Walker on the first Saturday of the month. Family friendly activities for the 6-12 year old crowd, including hands-on art activities, performances, and gallery exhibits. 


So with baby #1, I dropped off this page for 18 months. With baby #2 it was nearly 8. I guess this is an improvement? This time, in addition to coming back to writing about how I cook with even less time than I had with one kiddo, I also am adjusting to a new gluten-free diet. After struggling with tummy troubles since I had my gall bladder removed 5 years ago, I did some reading on celiac and gluten intolerance and recognized myself in the list of symptoms of a gluten intolerance. Six weeks and counting, and I’ve never felt better.

As I’ve been thinking about starting up this blog again, I wondered if I should start from scratch and start under a new handle. But when I think back to when I came up with Savoir Flair, it was because I liked the idea of knowing just what to do in any situation. While I might not be throwing smart cocktail parties as often as I once did (confession: I didn’t do it all that often), I do still care deeply “about what tastes good, what makes me feel good, and what makes the people I love happy and healthy.” So I’m sticking with it.

More Make and Freeze Magic

I keep plugging away – a recipe every weekend – but I may be at the end. This coming weekend my in-laws come for a visit (bringing supper with them!), then it’s Easter and then….baby. So perhaps my cooking spree has come to an end? For now.

In the mean time, a few more recipes discovered and loved: the Chicken and Corn Chowder was GREAT and I loved starting with the bacon except for the fact that the fat from the bacon and the cream at the end did not really merge at any point, so I had to do some skimming before serving. But between a large spoon and a gravy separator, it took me about 5 minutes of extra work. Totally worth it.

The Chicken, Mushroom, and Noodle casserole is basically a one-pan chicken a la king (with noodles vs. biscuits) and it is GREAT. Can’t wait to be pulling that one out in the next few weeks.

Chicken and Corn Chowder
Recipe From Williams Sonoma

3 slices Bacon, chopped
1 large Red pepper, seeded and chopped
4 c corn kernels
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 c Chicken stock
1/2 c white wine
3/4 lb Skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 Green Onions, thin sliced
3 tbsp thyme, minced
2.5 c half and half

Cook the bacon: In a saucepan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tbsp of the drippings.

Cook the veggies and chicken: Add the bell pepper, corn, and potatoes to the same pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are softened and the corn and potatoes are lightly tinged with gold, about 4-5 minutes. Add the broth and the wine, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, covered, until opaque throughout, 5-7 minutes.

Finish the Chowder: Stir in the onions, thyme, and half and half. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce the heat to med-low, and cook uncovered until heated through about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls, sprinkle with the bacon, and serve.


Chicken, Mushroom, and Noodle Casserole
Recipe From Big Book of Easy Suppers

2 c egg noodles, cooked and drained
4 tbsp butter
1/2 c green pepper, chopped
1/2 c yellow onion, chopped
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1.5 c milk
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp parsley, chopped
1/2 c sour cream
2 c cooked chicken, cubed
1/4 c sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350. Put noodles in a 3 qt casserole lightly coated with cooking spray or oil. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of the butter. Add bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms and saute until tender about 5 minutes. Transfer to casserole. Add remaining 2 tbsp butter to the skillet, add flour, and stir until bubbly. Add milk and stir until thick, 1-2 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper, and parsley. Remove from heat and slowly stir n sour cream and chicken. Transfer to casserole and mix well. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and almonds are toasted about 30 minutes.

Stocking the Freezer

This weekend my mom and I had a marathon kitchen session to get our freezers ready for the spring. Mine, because of baby coming. Hers, for sort of the same reason – my sister, her husband, their toddler and THEIR newborn (due a few weeks after my new guy) are moving in with them for the summer as they move from Sidney, AUS to the midwest. So they’ll have new baby, toddler, and 4 adults in their house. Makes my house seem sane by comparison.

We did 4 different recipes for staples to have in the freezer, and each one we tripled or quadrupled. Here were the 2 winners from the endeavor, based on the ROI (effort vs. outcome):

Quick Black Bean Burgers (Cooking Light recipe)
Yield: 4 patties

(Cooking notes: Have some extra breadcrumbs on hand. My mix was very soft so I ended up almost doubling the number of breadcrumbs from the bun. And it helps to chill the mix a bit before sautéing – an easier time forming the patties, I think.)

1 (2-ounce) hamburger bun, torn into pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 (15.25-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Place bun in a food processor; process 4 times or until crumbs measure about 1 cup. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and beans in processor; pulse 8 times or until beans make a thick paste. Scrape bean mixture into bowl with breadcrumbs. Stir in rind and remaining ingredients. With moistened hands, divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions (about 1/3 cup mixture per portion), shaping each into a 3-inch patty.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes or until bottom edges are browned. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until bottom edges are done.

To serve: Serve on a bun with a hot sauce-spiked ketchup, spinach leaves, tomato slice, a slice of Monterey Jack cheese, avocado slices, and onion.

To Freeze: stack with wax paper between and roll in a plastic zip lock so you can pull out one at a time.

Recipe as conveyed by my mother-in-law, Peggy (first person voice is hers!)
Yield: 65 meatballs

1 lb ground turkey breast
1 ground pork
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1 small grated onion or about 1/4 cup
2 Tbsp. milk ?
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice

I use my KitchenAid mixer with the stirring paddle to mix it up well. I only add the milk – 1 Tbsp. at a time – if the mixture seems too thick. Ground turkey can have a lot of moisture in it and it’s hard to shape into balls if the mixture is too sticky.

I use a greased 1 1/4 inch scoop to shape the meatballs and place on a greased half sheet cookie sheet. Then I pick up each one – with oiled hands – and smooth and round the shape. I use nonstick spray for the scoop, cookie sheet and my hands.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 13 minutes.

Kid’s Favorite Meatloaf

OK. One more. After telling you that Max can’t eat tomatoes, I confess that I let a little in to his diet recently, and so far, so good. He has a thing about meatballs – LOVES THEM – but not always practical. I found this recipe, from my mom’s childhood friend Lavonne, called “Kids Favorite Meatloaf.” Skeptical, I put it into the weekend rotation to make enough for sandwiches this week. Big Hit. Huge. And not just for the kid – Brent and I were picking at the second one I made as it was going into the fridge for the week. I don’t think it will see this side of Tuesday.

Kid’s favorite Meatloaf
Yield: 2 loafs

1/2 c ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1.5 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1.5 c bread crumbs
1.5 lbs ground beef

1. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard. Mix. reserve 4 tbsp for later.
2. Add worchersrshire, onion, garlic, egg, milk, and pepper. Mix.
3. Stir in bread crumbs and beef, mix, and let stand 5 minutes.
4. Put into loaf pans or shape and put into glass baking dish.
5. Spread with reserved mixture, bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes. (Done when instant read thermometer inserted into center reads 160).

Breakfast for….Breakfast

So we do breakfast for dinner once a week. I’d do it more, but I fear a rebellion if I do. I usually save it for Thursday night (grocery delivery night) as I can usually eek out enough stuff out of an empty fridge and pantry to pull it off. It’s usually eggs, but I’ve been promising pancakes for a few weeks, when I found this recipe. Well – that hasn’t happened yet, so I made them this morning (Saturday) for breakfast. My girl Nigella Lawson has these in one of her US cookbooks, can’t remember which. But these are WAY better and cheaper than Bisquick or store bough mixes. The proportions made a thin batter, so play around if you like yours more cake like. Me, I thought the lightness of these- a pancake fancying itself a Parisian crepe – to be completely addicting.

Instant Pancake Mix
Recipe By: Nigella Lawson

4 c flour
3 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar

Mix dry ingredients together and store in a jar.
To make the batter, for every 1 c of mix, add 1 egg, 1c milk, and 1 tbsp melted butter.

Welcome Back

Truth: I sort of forgot I had this blog, until I got a message that someone had commented this week. Turns out, 8-10 of you visit this little project every day, which is WAY more than I deserve given it’s been about 18 months since last I posted. And I am not about to promise that with this reminder comes a change of habit, that I’ll be blogging regularly again. Being a full-time mom and a full-time career gal and a full-time anything else that I can cram into my day has made me entirely too efficient with my cooking to let much creativity sneak in.

But… as we eagerly await baby #2’s arrival next month, I have turned my attention to stocking the freezer with easy heat-and-serve-and-open-a-bag-of-salad meals. And with a toddler with an intolerance for tomatoes (he’d eat them in any form if I let him, but his skin does not seem to like it in the least) it’s actually really a challenge to have good variety in our freezer preparations. Just try thinking about it for a minute – your weekly meal plan, but no spaghetti, no quick tomato sauce with chicken and rice. Tomatoes are everywhere, especially in the 20-minute meal section of my favorite cooking mags, and it’s a real bummer.

Before embarking on the freezer cooking, I did a complete overhaul of my cookbook collection. I found a few that no longer represented my approach to cooking – any collection of long ingredient, high maintenance, advanced palate recipes were gifted to friends with no young children in the home. And I rediscovered a few that were full of whole grain, healthy fats and proteins, simple cooking method meals that I had disregarded long ago as “not challenging enough”. And at the same time, I reviewed my recipe collection, making a file for weeknight meals (quick, shortcut laden meals that allowed me to get something healthy on the table in 10 minutes of largely distracted activity in the kitchen), as well as weekend meals that will generate leftovers for lunches and other meals through the week.

The result? Hello! I have some amazing recipes that I long ago forgot I had. My weekly battle for a meal plan suddenly felt a whole lot easier (and far less redundant.) I have given in to tacos once a week, and pizza once a week, but made healthy and simply. The fact is, I think Max gets about a weeks worth of nutrients on taco night, as he loves to load his tortilla with brown rice, black beans, cheese, a few small tomato bits (all I’ll allow him), avocado, lettuce and peppers. Who am I to argue with that? And while I am not exactly going to get full use out of some of my more sophisticated cookery skills for the next few years, the fact is I’m too tired to spend that much time in the kitchen anyways. Now I’m all about speed and efficiency, baby.

So my thinking is that I’ll share a few of my favorite rediscoveries here, at least for the next 4 or 5 weeks. Then we’ll have a baby, and my entire cooking repetoire will be reduced – again – to what I can pull out of the freezer and serve along side a pre-bagged salad. But hopefully, I’ll emerge once more. In another 2 years or so.