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