Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tortillas, Eggs, And Cheese = Quick Chilaquiles=quick breakfast in one pan

Yummy breakfast chilaquiles, all made in one pan.  Think
of it like a tastier quesadilla or enchilada with a twist.

Well this is what I cooked to feed my hungry mouths today.  All I had was three eggs and four unexpected mouths to feed.  Well to stretch the food out and still make it tasty, filling and really cheap, I added corn tortillas.  

I know there are many variations in making chilaquiles.  I like them with chicken, olives and cheese, or with green chili, cheese, and a white sauce. Yummy.  Anyway, back to this breakfast quick one pot dish. Besides the main ingredients, using the right spices is key to making anything taste good.  This is what I did.

  • Corn tortillas 6-8 cut into two inch strips
  • Eggs 3
  • Cheese 1/4 cup (white or yellow)
  • Oil 1/8 cup
  • Chorizo 1/2 sausage (Mexican sausage, I used soy and found it at the dollar store(optional)
  • Onion 1/2 chopped small
  • Garlic 1-2 cloves
  • Salt to taste or chicken bullion like Knorr
  • Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne Red pepper 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed or powder (optional)
  • Chili powder 1 teaspoon (optional)


  • In a large skillet heat oil on medium/high.  Fry tortillas till crispy and remove to a dish.
  • Add onions and garlic to skillet and brown
  • Add chorizo, cook till brown.
  • Add tortillas back to the pan, mix lightly
  • Add eggs and stir in spices.  cover till eggs are cooked
  • Top with cheese and serve warm. 
I was able to stretch out the three eggs to feed four, and this meal probably cost about $2.00  Well everyone here is now a happy camper, especially me.  I hope you can use this chilachiles for breakfast, or any time of day.  It works, and is tasty too.  Well, till the next time, many blessings.


Mary Helen

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

Here I have wheat crackers, corn flakes, flour, cornstarch,
and the main ingredient...dry bread.  Don't forget the
Seasoned bread crumbs made from day old bread can be used in many recipes like breading fish, chicken, or vegetarian patties.  If you make the bread into larger pieces, it is great to stuff that turkey or chicken without having to purchase the packaged stuffing.  Seasoning your dry bread is easy to do using your favorite herbs and spices. It is a great way to use that extra bread that is either getting dry or just forgotten.  Just make sure it is still good and not moldy.  Once prepared, I keep a large canister with all my seasoned breadcrumbs in the pantry ready to scoop out whatever I need, whenever I need.  However, my breadcrumbs don't just contain bread.

All blended nicely in my Ninja
I use whatever has been made with nuts or grains.  For example there might be 1/2 cup of corn flakes left in the box, or other non sweetened cold cereal.  That will go into my canister.  Maybe I had some extra toasted sesame seeds, that too goes into the canister.  Perhaps I have some leftover sourdough bread, or any other kind of bread.  That too goes in the canister.  Anyway, here is a basic recipe guaranteed to give your meal that crispy crunchy texture one looks for in a fried chicken or fish, or veggie patty.  This is what I do.

Ingredients: Note, all ingredients must be dry.
  • Bread any kind, 1/2 pound of dry bread. You can dry it on a cookie sheet in your oven, using your pilot light, or oven light.  Note, you can use some cold cereal like corn flakes, just add it to the bread crumbs.  It gives it taste and texture.   You can also use crackers, like matzo, and saltines, and wheat crackers.
  • Cornstarch 1 cup
  • flour  1/2 cup.
  • Wheat bran 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Salt  Season to taste
  • Pepper season to taste
  • Garlic  season to taste
  • Onion season to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper, season to taste
  • Parsley dried 1/4 cup
  • Poultry seasoning if you are cooking chicken and want that Southern fried taste
  • Italian seasonings if you want that Italian Kick
  • Curry powder and so on.  Get the picture.  
I would make a basic seasoned bread crumbs ready for you to use, using all but the last three spices.  I only add the last three spices when I know I am cooking Italian, etc.  Then I add some Italian herbs.  I wouldn't want to add Curry powder when I am going for Italian right?

Voila!  Instant seasoned bread crumbs.  It still has bit of corn flakes,
 and wheat crackers.  Also helps to  give it great texture.
Anyway, it's that simple.  You get to use all that extra bread.  By the way, every loaf of bread usually has a few pieces of bread that does not get used up.  I freeze them in a freezer bag until I accumulated enough to make these seasoned bread crumbs.  See, I told you it was easy.

Well, that's it for tonight.  Thank you for allowing me to be of service.  Goodnight, and many blessings:)


Mary Helen
Below are some dishes I made using this Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

This bread crumb stuffing is made with my bread crumbs.  Only difference
is I used larger pieces of bread.  I pre-cut the bread before I dried it.
Here are vegetarian patties that held up well with my seasoned breadcrumbs
These Chicken strips were cooked with my seasoned breadcrumbs.

And so was this shrimp:)
Finally, but not all, my boneless fish strips and potatoes were also made with my seasoned breadcrumbs....see
the heart potato?  Yum Mojo style.  Crispy and not greasy.


Easy Roasted Bread Stuffing With Chicken Breast.  The stuffing was tasty with the chicken breast on top with some of it's juices running into the dressing while roasting.  That's what made made it flavorful.   Perfectly moist chicken too.
Today I'm fixing dinner. It's not a day where I want to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. However, I do have some bread crumbs, vegetables,and a large chicken breast. This dish is so tasty, and costs no more than $2.00 to serve 3-4 servings, if you break it down piece by piece. It's a great way to use that extra bread you might have on hand.  It's so easy to make.  I do have my powerful Ninja to do my chopping, and that alone is most of the work. If you don't have a Ninja, it's not a lot of veggies to chop anyway, it's still easy to make.  This is how I made it to the table in 30 minutes, with 3 min prep time.
All I had was a few ingredients besides the chicken breast.

  • Chicken breast 1 large cut in 4 pieces slices leaving the meat on the bone. (Can use any  part of the chicken, this is what I had on hand:)
  • Bread crumbs, Seasoned 2 1/2 cups
  • Celery stalks 2 chopped
  • Onion 1/2 large or 1 medium
  • Apple 1 small
  • Raisins 2-3 tablespoons
  • sesame seeds 1 tablespoon (totally optional)
  • Water 1 cup
  • Butter or oil 3 tablespoons (I used coconut oil.
  • Chicken bullion cube 1 (I use 1 teaspoon Knorr Chicken seasoning)
  • poultry seasoning 1/2 teaspoon
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 375 F

Instructions will be tutored via photos.  Enjoy:)

Chop, celery, onions, and apples.  I used my nifty Ninja,
which processed all this in 3 short pulses.  Yes folks, that's
a total of three seconds to chop this.  Sweet huh?  I'm
still enjoying my Ninja and have definitely put it to
use every single day.  
Add to breadcrumbs, and mix in raisins and sesame seeds.
In a small sauce pan heat water, oil, bullion cube, and poultry
seasoning. Heat till dissolved and add evenly to bread crumb
mixture.  Mix well.  You want it moist, not too wet.
Top with chicken breast which has been sliced in four...
leaving to meat attached to the bone.  Cover well with
foil and bake for 12 minutes.  Remove foil and bake
another 12 minutes.  
Let set 5 minutes before serving.  This picture just does not do this meal
 justice.  Both the Chicken and the dressing came out moist and tasty.

Okay, so now you know a little more about and easy.  In the kitchen that is:)  I also like to make food as healthy as possible using as much fruits and vegetables whenever possible.  It gives me more nutrition, as well as fiber and keeps me more in check.  Besides I believe in waste not want not.  Nothing goes to waste in my kitchen.  However, there is an exception to this rule, as this is a test kitchen, and I do a lot of experiments here.  So my rule is, if it...
looks bad,
smells bad,
You do NOT want to take the taste test.  It get's trashed fast.  Other than that, I use everything nowadays.

Well that's it for now.  If you like this recipe please check a box on the right of this blog.  Remember, as I share with you, please feel free to share with others.  Someone you know could possibly use this simple, super cheap meal.  It tastes good, and fills the belly with nutrition.  Feel free to check out my other easy recipes designed to fit a paupers budget.  Besides it will fill all those hungry bellies.  Till the next time...Many Blessings.


Mary Helen



Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Thanks to my Ninja,  I was able to have this Potato Cheese Soup on the table in less 8 minutes without any effort.  That means more vegetables, fiber, and nutrition.  Sweet:)
I can't believe how easy it was to prepare this Creamy Potato Cheese Soup now that I have my Ninja.  It makes it so  easy to literally throw something together.  Just like I threw these veggies in the Ninja to make my soup "instant".  My vegetable intake for my family has increased 10 fold if not more daily.  The containers wash so nicely.  It makes me want to use all those vegetables I bought and said I was going to use. Right?  I'm not alone here I know:)

1.  Put vegetables and meat in the blender.  I didn't add the
smoked sausage in this pic, but I will in the future.
Sad to say sometimes I have to throw some fruits and vegetables away because it goes bad.  My intentions were to use all those fruits and vegetables I had bought at the beginning of the week. However, time goes by, I am either too tired to prepare them as I had initially planned, or just plain too busy.   Now I able to use all my fruits and veggies I buy because my Ninja Mega Kitchen System does all the hard work.  Those fruits and veggies get pureed, chopped, or added to bread dough, sauces, etc.  They get used, and we get the nutritional benefits.  Anyway, enough chit chat, and lets do what I do best...cook and share:)

2.  Pulse 3 times
  • Potato 1 med/large cut in 1/2
  • Celery 1 stalk cut in pieces
  • Onion medium 1/4
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Parsley or cilantro a few sprigs
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (white or yellow mellow)
  • Smoked dogs 2 (Can use any meat like bacon, chicken, or none at all)
  • Milk 1/2 cup
  • Cornstarch 1 tablespoon
  • Chicken boullioun (I used Knorr)
  • Enough water to cover veggies.

Instructions will be tutored via photos:)

3.  Saute in a pan for about 2 minutes

4.  Add water to cover food.
Add chicken boullioun
Mix cold milk with cornstarch and add slowly to soup
Cook for about 4-5 minutes till tender.
Top with cheese and parsley or cilantro, and serve.

Voila, here you have it...Instant Potato Cheese Soup, made with my nifty Ninja.  Gosh,
the more I use it, it more I like it.
One more comfort food for you to enjoy during this cold winter.  I got so caught up with telling you how nifty my Ninja was, I forgot to mention that this Potato Cheese Soup is not only easy to make with or without the Ninja.  It's a great comfort food, that can be served alone as is, or with a sandwich.  Yum.  It is fresh, has no preservatives, and is loaded with nutrition and fiber.  Did I mention how cheap this dish is if it is homemade.  

Well I hope you like this easy dish made with my Ninja.  Now,my job is done.  Time for an easy clean up:).  I love one pot dishes, so convenient.  Till then, Many Blessings:)


Mary Helen

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Crispy Crusted Pita Pizza.  So quick and easy especially if you have a Ninja.  You can top it with whatever you have on hand.
Did you know that pita bread makes a great crispy crust?  Well it does if you know how.  Imagine how many individual pizza's you can make with just one bag of pita bread.  You could fee a whole family.  Sometimes, I have company and I always like to share with them something to eat before they leave.

This is so quick, it only takes a few minutes to chop whatever you are going to use.  Only 3 seconds to chop if you have a Ninja Pulse.  Yes, my Ninja makes my life so much easier.  I absolutely love it!

Anyway, you can top it with just about anything you have in your refrigerator.  It's also a great way to get rid of any left-over food too.  Just don't tell them it's re-hashed.  Anyway, it's healthy, easy, cheap, and by all means definitely tasty.  This is what I did to serve 2.

Ninja Kitchen System - PULSE (Google Affiliate Ad)
By the way, this Temptations bakeware is the best I've ever used.  And I've been baking for many years now. If you ever try Temptations bakeware  by Tara, you might not ever want to go back.  Why?  Because it's presentable,
durable and so easy to clean.  Nothing every sticks.  Ever!
  • Pita bread 2 (just double or triple recipe for more)
  • Spaghetti Sauce 1/2 cup (Canned spaghetti sauce is ok)***
  • Mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup shredded or chopped in small pieces.
  • Meat topping your choice (I used turkey pastrami slices for this one.  One per pizza.)
  • Vegetable topping (your choice)
  • Olive oil  enough to brush each pita bread
  • Oregano, a pinch crushed between your fingers for each pizza.

***The secret to the success of any pizza is in the dough,  and the sauce.   The dough is taken care of by the "no-fail pita bread".  As for the sauce canned is fine. But if you saute some chopped veggies, you can hide them in the sauce.  Again I used my nifty Ninja Mega Kitchen System to chop some onions, garlic, bell peppers and carrots in no time.  I sauteed them, added the spaghetti sauce and no one will ever know anything came from a can, or that it has carrots.  Lol.  Just like semi-homemade.
  • Preheat oven to 380 F
  • Brush olive oil abundantly on each pita bread to avoid bread getting soggy.
  • Top with Spaghetti sauce.  
  • Add meat, cheese, oregano, then veggies.
  • Place on cookie sheet and bake for 4-7 minutes depending on desired crispiness.
  • Let cool one minute before serving
There you have it.  Another quick, cheap and easy meal for 2 or more.  They will definitely ask you to make it again, because it's definitely a winner.  It's so easy, you just might oblige.  Have fun, be creative, and share.  If you find this recipe helpful, please click the box on the right.  And again, feel free to share.  Till then, Many blessings.


Mary Helen

Saturday, December 1, 2012


"CREAM OF CABBAGE SOUP WITH SMOKED DOGS" made using my Ninja Pulse.  It makes it so easy to make dishes like this that is loaded with phyto-nutrients that help me with cellular rejuvenation.  Food is medicine.  Taking this kind of medicine has helped me get off hundreds of pharmaceutical meds.
Soups on folks.I like to think of my food as medicine. I enjoy eating food so much more when it is loaded with nutrition. Why?  Because food is medicine when using wholesome unprocessed foods with herbs.  You get lots of micro phyto-nutrients.  Phyto-nutrients are found in plant foods like cabbage and chili peppers.  Cabbage and chili peppers rank high on the phyto-nutrient list.  It is necessary for cellular rejuvenation, aka cellular reconstruction.  To me, cellular rejuvenation is all that I need to hear.  Here is a creamy cabbage soup with smoked hot dogs,  It is easy to make. very healthy and so comforting to eat. This recipe serves four and costs no more than $2.00 to make. By the way, it absolutely delicious! Now with the weather cooling down, hearty soups are the perfect solution to warm up with on a cool day. So with that, no more talk. Lets get down to business and cook.

Okay, okay, before I continue, I will give credit where credit is due.   What made this recipe so quick was I used my Ninja Pulse.  It chopped my onion, and cabbage  together in just a few pulses.  I just love my Ninja.  I could have spent 5 minutes chopping the cabbage and onions.  But I didn't.  I could have shed tears while chopping the onion.  But I didn't.  It washes so well as long as you wash it right away.  Yup, I'm a happy camper.  So happy, I just had to share.


Lot's of Micro Phyto-nutrients here.
  • Cabbage 1/2 head chopped small
  • Onion 1 large chopped small
  • Smoked hot dogs 4-6 sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • Water 1 1/2-2  cups. (Approximately more or less, adding more till desired thickness is obtained.)\
  • Vinegar 1-2 tablespoons  (you decide)
  • Milk 1/2 cup cold (more if you want a white sauce)
  • Cornstarch 1 tablespoon
  • Red chili pepper. 3 pods
  • Parsley flakes 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste or bullion cubes
  • Pan large saute 
  • Butter 1/8 cup (can use oil)

Add smoked hot dogs after you slightly
caramelized the veggies.

  • In a large pan add butter or oil, heat on med-high.
  • Add chopped vegetables and chili peppers and sauté till slightly caramelized or tender.
  • Add vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Add 1/2 of the water and hot dogs
  • Mix cold milk with cornstarch slowly adding to vegetable mixture, keep stirring.
  • Add any additional water till you reached your desired thickness.  Stir
  • simmer for 5 minutes 
  • sprinkle with parsley or chopped chives.
  • serve hot and enjoy

Cream of cabbage soup with smoked hot dogs served in
my favorite cookware.  Temptations.  I really like cooking
and presenting my dishes in them.  They wash so well.
Nothing ever sticks.  Ever:)
Well here you have it.  So easy, so quick, so cheap, and so nutrition.  Best of all, it is so delicious.  Your family would think you took hours to make.  It's another "poor mans food" that is really not poor at all.

Please share if you like it and if it was helpful please click the box on the right.  Again, thank you for allowing me to be of service.  Till the next time...Many Blessings.


Mary Helen

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I want to dedicate all my recipes that have to do with bread, to all the folks who stand in bread lines.  I promised I would give you some recipes using all that bread you are given. I know you have to work with what you have, and you have to work quick because the bread has expired and wont last long.   I am a woman of my word, so this is for you.  God bless you wherever you are.

This is not your regular ham and cheese sandwich.  In the past I always found ways to get as much vegetables in my family as possible.  When my kids were younger, eating vegetables was not their choice food.  But what they didn't know, was I always stuffed veggies in everything.  That way  we were all happy campers when it came to dinner time.  Well, my kids are all grown up now.  However, my son a college student, lives alone, and does not cook at all.   He ends up eating a lot of fast food junk with his busy schedule.  He loves my cooking, and today he can now appreciate any veggies I serve him.  I admit he comes by often to get a home cooked meal.  Lucky him.  I wish I had a place where I could drop by and get a home cooked meal right?  I love him coming by anyway so I try to make sure he is fed well.  Sometimes I am unaware that he is coming, and I quickly put something together.  Here is my version of my fast food... Grilled Ham and Cheese Stuffed With Vegetables.  Healthy, but fast, cheap and easy.  1/2 of this flat bread is all that I used as it was wide and a foot long.  This will cost under $2.00 if the bread was given to you.  Even if you paid for the bread it's still a tasty recipe that serves 4, or two hungry men.

  • Flat bread  cut in 1/2   (You can adjust the recipe to use the whole loaf if you like.)
  • Mozzarella string cheese 1 stick (any white or cheddar will work)
  • Ham 2-4 slices  (I cut mine so the whole ham slices do not come out with one bite)
  • Pasta sauce 1/4 can (more or less.)
  • Water 1/4 cup
  • Medium Onion  1/4 diced  (Don't forget that this is medicine, so use as much as you want)
  • Tomato 1 diced (vitamin C and lycopene comes to mind)
  • Carrot 1 diced (Vitamin A)
  • Parsley 1/4 cup chopped  (I love this herb.  I'ts full of potassium, and can be used in a lot of recipes because it is so mild in taste.)
  • Oregano a pinch crushed between fingers(Goes great with tomatoes and is loaded with micro-nutrients.)
  • Garlic 1 clove minced  (Natural antibiotic.)
  • Olive oil 3 tablespoons, plus just enough to drizzle on bread both sides.  (Any oil will work but olive is a better choice for this recipe.)
Instructions for sauce:
  • Dice all vegetables small.  Lucky me, I was able to use my nifty Ninja Mega Kitchen System with 1500W.  It diced all my veggies at the same time in 3, one second pulses.  The more I use it, the more I like it.  Anyway.  
  • Put all diced vegetables and two tablespoons olive oil in a pan and saute till they are tender.  This shouldn't take long because you diced them small right? 
  • Add pasta sauce and water.
  • Simmer till it is a thick sauce.
Putting the sandwich together:
  • Slice flat bread in half to make a sandwich
  • Drizzle both sides with olive oil.
  • Heat large pan on medium and toast sides of bread that has drizzled oil.
  • Flip over and carefully spoon sauce over both sides, leaving one side with less sauce.
  • Add cheese and diced ham on side with less sauce, and toast for one minute.
  • With a large spatula, flip one side over the top to complete the sandwich.  
  • Continue to toast till cheese is melted.
  • Remove from pan and wait a couple of minutes before you cut this.
  • Eat hot so the bread does not get soggy.
  • Voila, dinner is ready
  • Enjoy:)

Don't forget to share this post with your friends.  Check out my other post that are also healthy, fast, and easy.  If this recipe was helpful please click the yes box on the right.  Thanking you in advance, and so grateful to be of service.  Many blessings to all.


Mary Helen

Monday, November 26, 2012

BBQ Spicy Frank And Black Beans

BBQ Spicy Frank and Beans (black beans) .  It can be made just as tasty without the franks:)
Vegetarian is good.
If you like the sweet taste of pork and beans, then I think you will really like this simple recipe of BBQ Spicy Frank & Beans made with black beans, aka Hot Dog & Bean Soup.  You can always leave out the spicy, or the franks for that matter.  Then it's just a tasty Vegetarian Black Bean Soup. It is a high protein soup made on a poor mans budget.  My mom always called these money saving meals, "Poor Mans Food".  However, I find it ironic because my mama's "poor mans food" was rich in flavor and nutrition. Anyway this meal cost me about $2.00, and serves 4 bowls.  All it takes is a few ingredients.  This is what I used.


  • Black beans 2 cups cooked (soak uncooked beans for 18-30 hours prior to cooking for optimal protein nutrition, and to remove toxic waste which causes gas.)
  • Weiners  5-6 sliced 1 inch bite size pieces
  • Tomato 1 large diced
  • Onion 1 small diced fine
  • Garlic 1 large clove
  • Water 1/4 cup
  • Tomato Ketchup 1/4 cup
  • Brown Sugar 2-4 tablespoons to taste (white sugar will work too)
  • Cayenne red pepper 1-4 teaspoons to taste (optional but its a good blood purifier)
  • Sea Salt to taste (please don't use table salt, so harmful)
  • Cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon  (Not optional, but good for gas)
  • Oil 2 tablespoons  (Make it a healthy oil)
  • Tumeric 1 teaspoon (optional but good for all that ails you:)
  • Chives 2 teaspoons (optional for topping, but good for you too)
In a medium pot heat oil, add...
  • onion, garlic, cumin, tumeric, cayenne pepper just to caramelize a little
  • Add all other ingredients, and simmer on low for 20 minutes.  This allows time for the beans and liquid to blend with the other flavors.  Serve warm and enjoy.
See, I told you it was easy.  I hope you enjoy this simple "poor mans food".  It is pretty hearty, and such a comfort food.  Feel free to share this recipe with others.  Check out my other delicious, easy, and healthy recipes here at Mary Helen's Test Kitchen.  Well that's it for now.  Goodnight and God Bless:)


Mary Helen

Friday, November 2, 2012


A.  Stove Top Hot Chocolate Gravy cold, frosted this cake just fine.
 Compared to your typical store bought frosting, this stove top Hot Chocolate Gravy which can be served hot or cold is tasty, fluffy, and low in fat.  It also calls for a lot less sugar.  It is not only easy to make, but easy on the pocket book too.

I had guests coming for dinner today, and I decided to bake a cake for dessert. All I had was a box of yellow cake mix and nothing to top it. I was thinking of chocolate.  I'd add cocoa to the cake mix no problem.  However, I thought of the idea of biscuits and gravy and how that goes well together. Why not make a sweet gravy sauce and add chocolate cocoa, a healthy oil, and sugar.  I had to work fast as my  guests were so ready for dessert. The results were amazingly delicious. I just had to share.

Before I continue I do have to say this was so good that we could not wait and voted to served it hot over a slice of cake. It was a very good idea, as we all enjoyed every bite of it.  However, once cooled, the left over gravy still held its shape and I was able to actually frost the other piece of cake.  Nice to know it can be served hot or cold.  I believe it can be used to actually put in a cake decorating bag and piped on a cake.  For more detailed piping you might add more coconut oil or butter, or bakers merengue, chill well before piping. This can be done, and will be done, just not today. This is what I had and how I did it.

1.   On a stove with a low flame, in a
small saucepan, toast flour till it has
a caramel color.  
  • Flour 4 tablespoons
  • Milk or water 1 1/4 cup (I used water with coconut powder.  You can even use water with non dairy creamer)
  • Butter 1/2 cup (I use 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup butter.  You can use margarine or crisco if that's all you have)
  • Sugar 1/2 cup (I used brown sugar)
  • Cocoa powder 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla 1 teaspoon
  • Salt 1/4 teaspoon

Please see photo tutorial:)

2.  Add 1/2 cup of milk or liquid slowly stirring
constantly to avoid lumps.  Just like making
a white gravy sauce.  Add the rest of milk slowly,
 then the oil, salt,and vanilla.  Continue
stirring on a low flame.  Bring it to a low
rolling boil
3.  Once it is at a low slow boil, add cocoa,
stirring constantly.
4.  I cooked this on a low boil stirring constantly
to avoid burning for about 5 minutes.  This gave
the brown sugar a nice caramel taste.  Yum.
Chocolate and Caramel marries well together:)
At this point it is done and ready to use as
a Hot Chocolate Gravy. See Pic B. shown below.  Or...
5.  This made about 1 1/2 cups of  Low Fat Hot Chocolate Gravy.
 I had about one cup leftover after I topped my cake.  I put in the
 refrigerator and lowand behold, once cooled, It looked more like a
real frosting in this picture. This is because the butter and coconut
oil hardened.  Note, being that is was cold, I did notice some oil separation.  No problem.
I re-whipped it till it was fluffy and topped my cake in pic A. shown above.
B.  Here  I served it as a Hot Chocolate Gravy over my chocolate cake.
Well, I really hope you like my simple Low Fat Stove Top Hot Chocolate Gravy recipe.  Hopefully, enough to come back and visit my other recipes.  Please feel free to share it with others.  So till then...Goodnight, and Many Blessings:)

Mary Helen

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sweet White Bean Pie made with baby lima beans
I started off soaking my baby lima beans for 24 hours when I realized I had soaked more than I needed for the bean curry I had intended to make.  In searching for a recipe to use these excess soaked beans, I remembered those bean pies I used to buy from some Islamic vendors dressed in suits on Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson in Los Angeles.  They were so good. You would never know they had beans in it at all.  If my memory serves me right, it was more like rich custard pie that was a cross of sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie..  So I continued my research till I found one similar to what I thought it would taste like.  First a tidbit of information.  Lol actually it wasn't a recipe at all.  Just some ingredients of what a bean pie has in it.  I know my  spices so I can do the math.

According to the free Wikipedia, it states that a bean pie is a sweet custard pie whose filling consists of mashed beans--usually navy beans--sugar, butter, milk, and spices.  Common spices and flavorings include vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Variations can include cloves, ginger, etc"  It's interesting to know that, "Bean pies (except those containing vanilla or imitation vanilla extract, as these contain alcohol) are commonly associated with African American Muslim cuisine.  They are also associated with the Nation of Islam movement its leader, Elijah Muhammed, encouraged their consumption in lieu of richer foods associated with African-American cuisine, and the followers of the community sell bean pies as part of their fund-raising efforts. I like that idea, and I'm already sold.  That's all I needed to hear.  It's healthy, cheap, and easy to make.  Best of all, its so delicious. so lets do it:)

Soak your beans for 24 hours for
better nutrition absorbtion
  • White Beans 2 cups cooked and drained
  • Sugar  3/4 cup  (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 6 artificial sweeteners)
  • Butter 3/4 cup softened
  • Milk 1/2 cup (or non dairy, I used coconut milk)
  • Flour 1 tablespoon
  • Vanilla 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon 1 teaspoon
  • Pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cloves 1/8 teaspoon
  • Pie Crust 9 inch (Not cookie crumb crust)
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 350 F
    Mix all the ingredients together till blended
    • Mix all the ingredients together in mixer and mix well.
    • Strain through strainer to catch all the bean skins.
    • Pour into a 9 inch pie crust, and set that on a cookie sheet
    • Put in oven and bake approximately 45 minutes, or until there is a nice golden crust and a knife comes out clean once poked in the center.  It smells so lovely with all the spices.  

    Yes, tis the season folks. Holidays are right around the corner, and this is just a beginning of more delicious recipes that are cheap and easy to make for those Holiday dishes.   Your family and friends will think you really outdid yourself with one of these pies. They do make great "I love you gifts" any time of the year. My brother used to say that I was the "Hostess with the Mostest" with my million dollar recipes.  I hope this Sweet White Bean Pie sparks an interest to do something creative with those beans besides baking them, or serving them re-fried.  It's healthy, cheap and delicious and so easy to make.
    Yummy Sweet White Bean Pie tastes like a cross
    of sweet potato pie, and pumpkin pie, with a
    strong egg custard texture.  Mmm. GOOD.

    Well, that's it for now.  Again I leave you with many blessings.  If you like my simple recipes please feel free to share this site with others so they too can be inspired to cook too.  Goodnight dear reader.

    Mary Helen

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012


    Canned Milk
    Canning milk at home save you money, especially when it comes to soy and nut milks.  Whether it be a dollar here or a dollar there, by the end of the month  you will definitely see the savings if you drink dairy or non dairy milks.  Another benefit of canning milk, is that you have the satisfaction of knowing what exactly is in that jar, and how long it has been shelved.  No preservatives here if I can it properly, right?

    As you know I cook a lot using dairy and non dairy milk.  I stay busy in my kitchen so I like to not run out.  One way to do this is to keep my pantry stocked with my dairy and non dairy milks which l have canned. The dairy milk is similar to boxed milk that can be shelved, but not quite like evaporated milk.  However, the soy and nut milks taste just as fresh as when I first made it.  Soymilk  and nut milks do not last in my house more than a month, because my son loves it and takes a jar with him in his backpack for school.  It's makes it very convenient and it costs very little to make the milks yourself if done at home.  All you have to do is can it.  By the way, you can also can store bought nut milks too.  Yum almond milk.

    1.  Here are 8 sterilized jars (under the
    cloth) and my dairy milk
    2.  These are the utensils I used
    For some reason there is not much information of canning milk, but you know it's out there as it can readily be bought at the grocers.  Another YouTuber, named, "The Preppers Wife" has really helped me out canning milk.  She was able to get some info from the universities regarding safely canning milk.  Great video. I highly recommend it.  So like she said, she received canning safety info regarding pressure canning, which gave her a large range to choose minutes and weights. The only canner I have is a  10 quart, Fagor pressure cooker/canner. It works fine since my family is small.   There are no weights just a knob with 3 positions, steam, 1 and 2...2 being high of course.

    Again, there are no official guidelines for home canning milk so, please use your own  canning manual for safety measures as they all differ. However, I just realized that I opened my last jar of canned milk.  So, I thought I'd share with you how I do it since I am canning more dairy today.  Note, I haven't had a problem with it yet, and I've canned a lot of dairy and non dairy milks with success.  I am sharing with you how I do it.
    First of all I am using 12 ounce jars.  They are the same size that the markets sells evaporated canned milk.  The difference here is they cost averaging $1.10 per 12 ounce can in most markets today.  I am using a little over a half gallon, to get eight 12 ounce jars.  I paid $2.79 per gallon of milk so I paid approximately $1.60 for the whole eight 12 ounce jars.  Not bad huh?

    • Milk  Dairy or non dairy   Enough to fill you 12-16 ounce jars
    • Jars and Lids  12 - 16 ounce  MUST BE STERILE. 
    • Canning utensils
    • Vinegar 2 tablespoons
    • Moist cloth to wipe rims of jars
    • Kitchen towel to put hot jars on

    • 4.  Yes it can get messy  (I  was born with
      essential tremors and this was a good day
      for me.  lol)

    3.  I filled each jar using a funnel leaving
     a one inch headspace from the top.

    5.  Make sure you clean the rims with a
    damp cloth

    6.  Add the hot lids and twist hand tight.

    8.  I have the steam venting on a high
    stove flame for 10 minutes.  I them put the
    pressure on # 2.  Which was high
     for another 10 minutes with the stove flame
     on  medium # 5 on my stove.
    I then turned the stove off
    7.  Add the vinegar to three inces of water.
    Then add the jars.  They fit nicely in the
     pressure canner.
     9. Once the safety lock released automatically I opened and set the jars to
     cool on a towel.  I then waited to hear that ping
    sound.  That took about another 15 minutes.  But now I'm
    done, and I have 8 jars of milk that looks very close to
    shelf carton milk that is still good for cereal, and anything
    you would do with milk except make cheese, or yogurt.

    So there you have it.  Well actually I have it, for I now have 8 jars of canned dairy milk that I can use for a rainy day.  Good to know I have it for food storage too.  And it cost very little to make it at home.  I use this same instructions for soy and all my nut milk canning. I hope you too can benefit from this simple canning knowledge.  Yes you can, can dairy and non dairy milk.  Please feel free to share this site with others so they too can benefit on the savings.
    Please feel free to ask any questions and or comment.  Well that's it for now, so till the next time...Goodnight and God Bless you all.

    Mary Helen