Category Archives: Cooking Scrapbook

Cooking Scrapbook – Mom & Lauren’s Tostada

Based on my past history of delayed flights, I was all worried about being delayed again last night.  Turns out, we completed our audit earlier than expected and I was able to switch to an earlier flight for free and I was able to get home nearly 3 hours early.  Score! 🙂

Having been gone for several days, I knew I didn’t have too much in the fridge for dinner so I resorted to an all-time favorite.


The easiest tostada ever!  My mom and I used to make these for lunch quite often when I lived at home.

tostada 2

We are convinced there is a touch of Mexican blood in us somewhere.  Both of us love Mexican! A longgggg time ago, I remember Taco Bell being ‘our spot’ when my brother and dad weren’t around for dinner.

tostada 3

I know, Taco Bell isn’t exactly the best Mexican food out there, but there was something about those little dates together eating our shared love for tostadas and bean burritos… definitely a cherished memory! 🙂

So when we weren’t at Taco Bell, we often assembled these tasty little tostadas and so, for obvious reasons, they made the cut in the Family Secrets section of the cooking scrapbook.

mom and lauren's easy microwave mexican tostada

mom & lauren's tostada recipe





Spread salsa, black beans, corn and shredded cheese over a tortilla.

tostada layers

Microwave until cheese is melted and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and hot sauce (optional for you, not optional for me! 😉 )

tostada 5

Easy as 1-2-3!

Note:  since the tostada is heated in the microwave, the tortilla does not get crispy, so it is a knife-and-fork kinda meal.  I would not recommend trying to pick it up!


Cooking Scrapbook – Mexican Flank Steak

Can you believe today is the last day of May?  This year is flying by!

I don’t know if its the crummy weather this week or what but I have been feeling really tired lately.  So tired, in fact, that I was too lazy for anything other than cereal last night for dinner and I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  Yep, I’m a party animal.

honey nut medley crunch

Side note – have you tried this new cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch?  It tastes like a combination of Honey Bunches of Oats and obviously Honey Nut Cheerios.  Very good!

Cooking Scrapbook Recipe


Last weekend, Dave and I grilled flank steak on the grill using a favorite family recipe for the marinade, which I included in my mom’s cooking scrapbook.

cooking scrapbook flank steak recipe

I’m sure this marinade would work well on just about any cut of steak or perhaps another type of meat, but I just love the way this tastes using the flank steak.

Mexican Flank Steak


2 lb flank steak

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbls vinegar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1 garlic clove, minced


1.  Combine all ingredients (except steak) into a ziplog bag.  (I used a bowl to help keep the bag open.)

flank steak marinade

2.  Add flank steak and make sure the marinade gets evenly distributed over the entire steak.  Let marinade for about 2 hours on the counter to bring the meat to room temperature.

flank steak marinating

3.  Cook on the grill until meat is at desired ‘doneness’.  Let steak rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing on a diagonal.

flank steakA couple of things to note:

  • I recommend the steak to be cut at a sharper angle than what the above picture shows. This was my first time slicing it since my dad wasn’t here to do it for me. 😉
  • After only 2 hours of marinating, the steak is chocked full of flavor.  According to my mom, I would highly suggest not letting it marinade overnight as the flavor ends up almost too powerful.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

Cooking Scrapbook – Curried Chicken Salad

TGIF!  Hope everyone’s week went by smoothly and quickly.  I’m definitely ready for a 3 day weekend!

I planned on posting yesterday while I was in St. Louis for an audit but technology wouldn’t allow it.  We are in transition at work for new laptops and I was selected to test out one of the new models to ensure there aren’t any problems.  I brought it with me and sure enough, major glitch #1: neither the wireless network on the laptop, nor my AT&T wireless card gave me internet access.

But I’m back in town and all good in the (internet) hood!

Cooking Scrapbook

Just a little reminder, a few years ago I put together a cooking scrapbook for my mom.  It includes various recipes from my childhood through current (or since I moved out a couple years ago).  I thought it would be a neat idea to cook my way through those recipes and remember all the memorable times I spent growing up and being in the kitchen with my mom.

Here’s a little recap of ones I’ve done so far:

Curried Chicken Salad

cooking scrapbook curried chicken salad

Since I thought summer was finally here last week, I was in the mood for a crisp, refreshing, light salad so I dusted off the old scrapbook and decided to make this chicken salad.

curried chicken salad 4

I even enjoyed a big bowl of it outside… when it was still nice out!

curried chicken salad 5

Note the sarcasm?  I’m a little bitter than I had to dig out a coat this morning since it’s in the 40s around here.  Ridiculous!

curried chicken salad 1

Anyways, this salad is light and refreshing. It would be perfect for a summer picnic!

curried chicken salad 3

It does contain curry (which can be strong in some dishes) but the flavor here is subtle and gives it a nice touch.

Curried Chicken Salad


3/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt

3/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved

3/4 cup celery, sliced

1/3 cup green onions with tops, thinly sliced

2 Granny Smith apples, diced

1/3 cup pecans, chopped (I ended up using half pecans, half walnuts since I ran out)

Butter lettuce leaves, optional


1.  Mix together yogurt, curry, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

yogurt mix for chicken salad

2.  Combine all chopped ingredients in a large bowl (chicken through pecans).

curried chicken salad ingredients

3.  Add yogurt mixture to large bowl and stir until evenly coated.

curried chicken salad mixed up

4.  Serve over large butter leaves, if desired.

curried chicken salad 2


Enjoy your weekend and Happy Memorial Day!

Curly Pasta and Chicken Toss

Good morning!  Just popping in real quick to report back on the recipe from yesterday’s lunch.

curly pasta and chicken toss


Curly Pasta & Chicken Toss

Slightly adapted from Pampered Chef recipe.


1 8 oz. package of uncooked gemelli pasta

2 tbsp corn starch

1 tsp salt

1 10.5 oz. can chicken broth

1 lemon

2 large carrots, peeled & cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tsp canola oil, divided

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups broccoli florets

2 tbls fresh basil, snipped

1/4-1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated


1.  Cook pasta according to package directions.

2.  Meanwhile, combine cornstarch, salt and chicken broth in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

3.  In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat and add minced garlic and diced chicken.  Stir-fry for 5 minutes just to brown the outside of the chicken.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  (Note:  the chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through at this point; however, it should be cooked a bit more than shown in the following picture.)


4.  Heat remaining tsp of oil in skillet on medium heat and add carrots.  Stir-fry for about 2 or 3 minutes.


5.  Add broccoli and bell pepper and continue stir-frying for another 2-3 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender.


6.  Pour broth mixture and browned chicken into the skillet with veggies and cook until slightly thickened.


7.  Remove from heat and stir in snipped basil and cooked pasta.

curly toss

8.  Scoop into individual bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese liberally over the top.  Serve immediately.

curly bowl

1-19-13 lunch



Cooking Scrapbook – Spritz & Molasses Cookies

Only 4 more days till Utah!!  I just need to survive a few more days and then Dave and I are off to Park City for the rest of the year.  Can. Not. Wait.

Last night I received a nice little surprise in the mail from my Grandma Saar for Christmas.


And inside…


Full of Ghiradelli chocolate goodies!  She knows me too well 🙂  Dave and I snacked on quite a few items.  One of the silver bags on the right has HUGE dark chocolate chips so I’m already dreaming up what cookie I could use those in.

I fit in a 5 mile workout this morning consisting of both running and walking intervals on the treadmill.  Got nice and sweaty!  I had this delicious combo this morning.


Plain Chobani greek yogurt topped with banana slices, chocolate banana granola, and peanut butter.  Chocolate AND peanut butter for breakfast?  Don’t mind if I do 😉

We had our company Christmas party this afternoon.  They offered a choice of beef, turkey, or tilapia for lunch with lots of sides – rice with mushrooms, sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, caesar salad, cranberry sauce, and rolls.  Plus, lots of desserts – red velvet cake & cupcakes, brownies, chocolates, candies, and hot cocoa.  They decked out the cafeteria, had Christmas music playing and also had a group of employees who performed a few songs.

In light of the Christmas spirit, several coworkers and I dressed up.


Ugly Christmas sweaters, anyone?  Yep, we looked fabulous!  Nice job ladies 😉

Cooking Scrapbook Recipes

Since I hadn’t come up with my idea until recently to highlight every recipe in the cooking scrapbook I made for my mom, I’m going back in time to post 2 cookie recipes my mom and I baked during our holiday baking a couple weeks ago.

Spritz Cookies


Christmas Cookies 2012

As I had mentioned in the previous post, these cookies have the best tasting dough!  The addition of almond extract makes a subtle appearance but really brings the flavor up a notch.  Dave and I normally aren’t huge sugar cookie fans (except for PotBelly’s sugar cookies, unbelievable!) but we both loved these cookies – especially Dave!!


1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tbls milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

4 cups sifted flour

1 tsp baking powder

Sprinkles, red hots or other decorations – optional


Thoroughly cream butter and sugar.  Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond.  Beat well.  Sift flour and baking powder and gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing until smooth.  Do not chill.  Force dough through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet and decorate, if desired.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes (or until the bottoms JUST start to turn brown.)  Cool on cooking rack.

Christmas Cookies 2012

Molasses Cookies



These molasses cookies are my mom’s favorite!  Growing up, I remember my mom and Grandma Meyer carried on a tradition of baking TONS of Christmas cookies every year and these always made the cut.  As long as they aren’t baked too long, they end up with a slightly crispy edge and a soft & chewy middle.  Plus, the spices add some warmth and depth of flavor.


1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 cups sifted regular flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

Extra sugar for rolling (1/2 to 3/4 cup)


Cream together shortening, butter and sugar.  Add egg and molasses; blend well.  Sift together remaining ingredients and gradually add to molasses mixture.  Mix well and chill overnight (or for at least a few hours.)  Form into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet.


Now I’ve got 3 recipes down and 40 to go!


Cooking Scrapbook – Mom’s Goulash

Okay back to reality!  I started off the week on the right foot – 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by Bodypump.

Breakfast was yet another yogurt bowl – plain Chobani greek yogurt, sliced bananas and a big scoop of crunchy peanut butter.

photo (3)

My mom took me out to Panera for a birthday lunch.  I ordered the Thai Chicken Salad, my absolute favorite!

Cooking Scrapbook

A couple years ago, I put together a cooking scrapbook filled with my favorite recipes growing up and others that my mom and I would cook together.  I gave it to her as a Christmas present and made a copy for myself as well.


The scrapbook is in a similar order of any normal cookbook.


I also dedicated a section for our ‘family recipes’ and added one recipe for each member of the family.


Finally, I included Julia Child’s famous recipe for Boeuf Bourguigon.  Neither my mom nor I have ever attempted the recipe but we’ve talked about it several times since watching the movie Julie and Julia. I’m determined for us to cook it together some day!



Ever since I moved down to the city, I have only made a few things out of the cookbook.  I decided I will make it a goal over the next couple months to make every recipe and post it on this blog.  Kind of like Julie and Julia, right? 🙂

So here is one of my very favorite recipe growing up.



Mom’s Goulash


1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)

1 medium onion, diced

1 can of diced tomatoes (15 oz)

1 can of kidney beans (15 oz)

1-2 tbls taco seasoning

1 cup water

1 cup pasta, any kind

Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


1.  Put diced onions and meat into a large pot and cook on medium heat until the meat is no longer pink.


2.  Add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, taco seasoning, and water.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.


3.  Add pasta and cook for 7-10 minutes until al dente, or to your liking.


4.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, if desired.


This goulash is a one-pot meal, super easy, and delicious!  It reminds me a bit like chili but not as thick or soupy or tomato-y and more of a Mexican flavor.  I also love this recipe because it is so versatile as you can easily add extra veggies (i.e. mushrooms, green peppers, etc.) or anything else you feel like!

Enjoy 🙂