Archive for September, 2010

by Caitlin Saniga

For a dessert? For a snack? For breakfast? You pick. Watermelon's versatile.

  • 4 slices watermelon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, combine salt and chili powder.

Sprinkle chili-salt over watermelon. Squeeze lime juice over watermelon. Chow down.

Recipe: Bon Appetit

Photo: Kristina Deckert

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by Caitlin Saniga

This is what the sauce portion of the recipe calls for: green onion, parsley, garlic and butter. I'd only use half as much butter if I made these burgers again, though.

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions, chopped very finely
  • 3 tablespoons very finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds 80% lean ground chuck
  • 4 burger buns

These burgers looked so good, I couldn't keep my hands off them.

In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, garlic, green onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Heat a gas grill to high or burn coals (or turn on your George Foreman Grill).

Divide meat into 4 portions. Loosely form each into 3/4-inch patties. Season each side with salt and pepper.

Brush insides of buns with the butter sauce.

Brush burgers with butter sauce. Grill burgers on one side for about 3 minutes, brushing them every 30 seconds with remaining butter sauce. Flip burgers and cook for about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast buns. When burgers are done, serve immediately on buns.

Makes 4.

Recipe adapted from: The Columbus Dispatch

Photos: main photo by Caitlin Saniga, secondary photo by Kristina Deckert

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by Sarah Steimer

Vegetarian chili for Meatless Monday!

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans
  • egg roll wrappers
  • sour cream or plain yogurt (healthier) and shredded cheese to garnish

Place a few tablespoons of oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and pepper to the stockpot and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies have softened considerably and are on the edge of browning. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Toss in the diced tomatoes and add seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the beans.

The uncooked wrappers and ingredients. Plus marigolds I accidentally plucked.

Adjust seasoning to taste and reduce heat to low. Simmer for at least 45 minutes, preferably longer. The longer the chili simmers the better the flavors will meld.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray or oil. Spray or brush the eggroll wrappers with another light coating of olive or canola oil.

Place the eggroll wrappers in the muffin tins, pleating the wrappers up the sides of the greased tins so it forms a bowl. Place any extra wonton piece on a baking sheet to make dipping crisps with the leftover strips.

Bake the wonton wrapper cups and crisps for 8-10 minutes, or until the cups are crisp and browned. Serve the chili into the wrapper cups. Garnish with dollops of yogurt/sour cream and cheese, if desired.

Recipe adapted from: Fab Frugal Food via Meatless Mondays

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga


To make a long story short, I live in Roanoke, Va., now.

To fill in some blanks:

  • I got a job as a copy editor for The Roanoke Times. I’ll probably be here for awhile.
  • One of my best friends from college, Kristina Deckert, is living with me for the next couple of weeks. Then she’s moving away because she got a job, too. In the meantime, I’m feeding her and she’s taking some of the photos for my blog posts.
  • I live about five minutes from the Roanoke City Market, the oldest open-air market in Virginia. During my visit to the market the other day, I got tomatoes, a basil plant, peaches, redskin potatoes and lime cookies.
  • Downtown Roanoke is brimming with local eateries and bars. I can’t wait to start putting together $6 Snacks posts here. (And on that topic, did you notice the new $6 Snacks map?)
  • My kitchen was completely remodeled before I moved in. I have new appliances and plenty of storage, which rules.
  • My dad sent me to Roanoke with my Baboo’s (my grandma, in case you were wondering) old upright KitchenAid mixer. Enough said.
  • I plan to start a vegetable garden, but it’s going to take some hard work and patience.
  • And one of the best parts is I live at the base of a mountain, under this:

the Roanoke Star

Photos: Kristina Deckert

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by Sarah Steimer

Black bean burger in Boston. Booyah.

  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 of an onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of cumin, chili powder and herbs of choice
  • toppings

Bill (my boyfriend and sous chef) with our Boston hosts Jayne and Brenden loading up their burgers.*

Mush the black beans using your hands — it’s just easier that way. Add all ingredients. Fry on a grill or in a pan as you would a regular burger, except it should take about half the time. Makes four large burgers.

We topped our burgers with avocado slices, spinach and homemade salsa (which was just simply tomatoes, onions and jalapeno peppers). Be warned, though, that even though they may resemble “real” burgers, they’re much softer and mushier. And healthier. Next time I may actually try adding corn to the patties.

Recipe adapted from: Another One Bites the Crust

Photos: Sarah Steimer

*For more food photos from Sarah’s trip to Boston, check out our Flickr site!

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by Caitlin Saniga

I love these ingredients separately, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous about this recipe's combination of them. Tomatoes and watermelon, really? But this salad was really, really good.

  • 1 green onion
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • juice squeezed from half of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • feta cheese

Finely chop green onions and toss lightly in a large bowl with watermelon and tomato.

In a small bowl, mix lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper to make vinaigrette. Pour the vinaigrette over the watermelon mixture.

Serve the salad chilled, and sprinkle each serving with feta.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

For cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cups Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pan (the recipe calls for two 9-inch round baking pans, but I used a bundt cake pan this time around). Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For frosting:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

    A picture I took at Primanti’s in Pittsburgh during the 2009 Superbowl win. The day I made this cake the Steelers won 19-11 against the Titans.

  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons  skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until all ingredients are well mixed. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy. Yields three cups of stiff buttercream frosting.

Cake recipe: Hershey’s Cocoa box

Icing recipe: Wilton Beginners Guide to Cake Decorating (copyright 1981)

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

Load a scoop of this chicken salad on a bed of spinach and top with feta (not pictured).

  • The almonds, pickles and cranberries should be roughly chopped into fine pieces.

    6 small chicken breasts, thawed and sliced into chunks

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dill pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup chopped dill pickle
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • dash of onion powder

In a medium skillet over medium heat, simmer chicken in oil and 1 tablespoon pickle juice.

Once chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Add remaining 1 teaspoon pickle juice, mayonnaise, pickles, almonds, cranberries and onion powder. Stir to combine.

Serve over bed of greens or on Italian bread. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe adapted from: my mom’s (Stephanie Saniga) recipe

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

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by Caitlin Saniga

I used sweet white corn straight from the cob for this batch, but frozen yellow corn (about 3 cups) can work in a pinch.

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked and rinsed
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add corn and cook until kernels pop when pricked with a fork. Use tongs to remove corn from pot, and run each ear under cool water.

On a large cutting board, prop each ear of corn on its end and run a knife lengthwise down to the cob to remove kernels.

Transfer corn to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add zucchini, garlic, butter and 1/2 cup of water. Cover partially with a lid and allow vegetables to simmer until water is evaporated. Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm.

Recipe: my grandma, Patricia Janis

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

Breakfast smoothie with my morning paper.

  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 plum
  • 2/3 cup of organic vanilla yogurt
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite healthy tea (I used maté and rooibos)

Steep your tea in only about a 1/4 cup of hot water (this way you get the maximum amount of tea flavor/benefits and you don’t water the smoothie down). Add all ingredients and pulse in a blender until you reach a consistency you like. This makes two tall glasses.

One of our raspberry plants.

Don’t feel as though you need to keep strictly to this recipe. Add and subtract ingredients. I only added the plum because it happened to be sitting in my kitchen.

I’ve been inspired to start making my own smoothies since one of my visits to my friend Leah in Chicago. She made this great energy-packed smoothie for us that made me want to take 18 nonstop tours of the city. Running. Leah actually gave me the idea of adding tea to the smoothie. Why not? It’s good for you.

So here’s the healthy rundown of my smoothie today: The raspberries (from our garden, picked literally moments before I made this) are full of Vitamin C. Blueberries are known as a superfruit and contain antioxidants and other vitamins. Rosemary (also from the garden) may help memory as well as relieve muscle pain and stimulate the nervous system. Yogurt has “probiotics” — literally translated to “for life” — which are the good bacteria that help your digestive tract.

Rooibos tea has antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and can help with colds and allergies. Maté is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps suppress hunger. It also has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but won’t let you crash.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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