becoming a better cook – one recipe at a time

As some of you may know, Isaac is finally home after almost one and a half years of commuting from Wyoming to Indiana (Indianapolis on the weekdays, Laramie on the weekends)! I don’t know when he will be traveling again, but for now I’m elated to have him home. Not to mention that there is now some semblance of a normal schedule in our lives. This has been particularly helpful as we train for the Inca Trail in July – more on that later.

What I really wanted to start blogging about tonight was food! I’m not sure if I qualify as a foodie or not, but I like delicious homemade flavors and have recently been on a quest to kick out bad food habits (i.e. fast food & frozen dinners). One of my challenges with cooking is simply that I strongly dislike leftovers. I know, I know – how could I? There are some leftovers that I do like, but I happen to be very particular about them (i.e. my mother-in-law’s leftovers that always taste fresh OR my mom Debbie’s pasta salads which taste better with time). This aversion to leftovers makes it somewhat difficult to cook for two people without being wasteful. Now that Isaac is home and frozen dinners are out, I’m challenged. The solution to my leftover-issues has come mostly from online sources. My hope is that I can share some of my most favorite recipes and that I can get some feedback on what you think too! =)

There are two recipes I thought I’d share to start this blog off: Hominy Sausage Soup and Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries Cream Pie

Hominy Sausage Soup

A Cooking for 2 recipe. Isaac made this for me after my wisdom teeth came out a few weeks ago. He had to puree it, but it was awesome anyway! Hominy reminds me of my dad, and in that sense this soup is very comforting.

Be warned that it is a bit spicy, but you don’t have to use the jalapeno. Also, I used ground cumin rather than seeds.

  • 2 Servings
  • Prep: 10 min. Cook: 25 min.
  • 1-1/4 cups equals 276 calories, 18 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 47 mg cholesterol, 1,768 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 15 g protein.


  • 1/4 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup canned hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro


  • Crumble sausage into a small skillet. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. In a small saucepan, toast cumin seeds over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Stir in coriander and cayenne; cook and stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add the broth, hominy, jalapeno, pepper and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until heated through. Stir in cilantro. Yield: 2 servings.

Chocolate-Drizzled Strawberries Cream Pie

An Our Best Bites recipe. I made this for a Fellowship of Christian Graduate Students dinner last Saturday. It was sinfully delicious. So so so so good. Its like a lighter no-bake version of cheesecake! As strawberries come into season, this recipe is a must make!  Its super fast/easy and looks like you spent hours.


  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1  8-oz. package cream cheese at room temperature (light is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1  9″ graham cracker crust
  • 1-2 ounces chocolate


  • In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a separate large bowl, beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks form.  Add about 1 c. of the whipping cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until smooth and well-combined. Add the remaining whipping cream mixture and mix until just combined.  Spread in the graham cracker crust and refrigerate for a few minutes while you prepare the strawberries.
  • Wash the strawberries and cut off the stems. Blot dry with a paper towel and then gently press, cut side down, into the whipped cream mixture. Set aside.
  • If using a chocolate bar, break it into equal pieces and place in a small Ziploc snack bag. Microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes, stopping the microwave every 20 seconds to mash the bag. You want the chocolate to be melted but not hot at all. When the chocolate is melted, snip a corner off the bag and drizzle it over the strawberries. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. Serves 8-10.

Here is the link for pictures:

Happy Cooking!


3 responses to “becoming a better cook – one recipe at a time

  • lizcarmichael2

    What a nifty idea to use a ziploc bag for melting the chocolate, then cutting a hole!!
    Also, I will have to ask Kathy how she makes her leftovers taste fresh. I usually cook enough meat for 2-4 meals and freeze it in portions. Then I reheat in the microwave…which doesn’t always make the item taste fresh. Then I microwave a potato or two, microwave a veggie, add a salad, and we’re good to go!

    • wiggletracer

      It works splendidly so long as you don’t melt the plastic! ha ha. A snack size bag works perfectly for just a few ounces of chocolate.

      I don’t know how her leftovers taste fresh. I’m not sure there are any secrets either. It must be one of those magical ‘mom’ things. ;o)

  • lizcarmichael2

    Ha! The special ingredient must be “love.”

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