Part 10: More from Harar

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

Oh, what a trip we’ve had! We are back home now, so I want to tell you the rest of our story.

In Harar, we saw many ladies in dresses that they called pyjamas (pee-JAH-mahs). Women and girls of all ages wore these very lightweight dresses, often with a head covering as well. One day we wandered through the market in Harar, picking fabric we liked. About $4 per person bought the fabric, and then for another dollar, seamstresses sewed the fabric into dresses in 15 minutes or so while you waited.

Fabric options were many, making it very hard to decide. The fabrics and patterns we chose were (believe it or not) smaller-patterned and more muted than many we saw. Here we are modeling our pyjamas. They are exceedingly comfortable, and– funny factoid– you get the tucking-in at the hip by tucking the sides of the fabric into your underwear.
Our pyjamas

We all wore our pyjamas around town one day. I couldn’t help but feel like the Ethiopians in our group wore them with more authority and panache than Sophie and I could muster up, but it was really fun. And the outfits are so comfy that I could totally picture wearing them as actual PJ’s in America.  Harar

Here’s a Harar lady wearing hers.  She has a lovely slip underneath hers, as well as, of course, a head covering.  Very elegant. And it’s completely normal to own a cell phone these days, while also still needing to tote water to your house.  Such interesting contrasts.

Also in Harar, Lidya helped me go shopping in the market, though her ability to bargain well was severely hampered by the white lady (me) following her around. Everybody knows all white people are rich, after all. :)

One of the hardest things for me the entire trip was to ignore the beggars walking around.  If you gave them money, even more would follow you, which would eventually feel very uncomfortable and intrusive. We experienced the most begging in Addis.  Harar people were actually very respectful, however.

At one point we were sitting in a neighborhood in our van waiting for Lidya and Zeytuna to get back from a quick visit with some family.  The day was warm and so we opened our side van door.  A couple little neighborhood girls watched us with interest, and when Julianna waved at them, one came to the door to shake hands with her.  But then they beat a hasty retreat and went back to watching from a distance.  Sophie said if we’d been in the same situation in Soddo, we’d have had 50 kids clamoring around the car door within minutes, and was amazed at how circumspect even the children were in Harar.

We also visited a very old church in Old Town Harar. On the front of the church is Isaiah 50:4-7. Reading the verse on Sophie’s phone, I had to smile, thinking of all the times this trip we’d been awakened by voices chanting over loudspeakers from Mosques and orthodox churches early in the morning in every city we stayed.  (Interestingly enough, after about a week in-country, however, the chanting from various churches no longer awakened us.)
Harar Church




We had no trouble filling three days in Harar with visiting and shopping and touristing around.  But by the end of our 3rd day we were more than ready to head back to Addis.  Our hotel there in Harar was almost perpetually out of water, which meant we could only do wet-wipe ‘baths’ and did lots of bucket-flushing of toilets.  Fortunately Sophie had had the foresight to bring a whole big pack of wet wipes, which along with the small packs I had, lasted just long enough.

Sophie (in a room of her own down the hall from us) was being bitten in the night by unknown creatures.  We are fervently hoping it was fleas, not bed bugs, and have a heap of laundry on the back porch that we are gradually HOT water washing as I speak just in case we brought any creatures back with us.  We’re baking the suitcases in Hefty bags in the sunshine, too, just in case.  On the bright side I only saw one spider and two cockroaches, so they must be doing some kind of critter control there.

Hotel Belayneh offers free pedicures  (if you're lucky enough to be traveling with Julianna!)

Hotel Belayneh offers free pedicures (if you’re lucky enough to be traveling with Julianna!)

The hotel’s proximity to the market, though absolutely delightful fun during the day, meant that the evenings were very noisy until 11PM or so, ramping up to a dull roar again by 6:30 or so in the morning.  One morning we had a very loud man singing at the top of his lungs, Ethiopian-church-style, right under our windows at 6 AM.

On the bright side, the Belayneh hotel has a very nice hot breakfast complete with fresh-squeezed orange juice, scrambled eggs, fresh bread, and the very best coffee we had in all of Ethiopia.  Breakfast for 6 of us was a total of $10USD– crazy affordable.  Always, Julianna scarfed down her eggs like lightening, as they tended to be the most familiar food we had all day.

Sambusas (Photocredit: My Somali Food)

In Harar there are many sambusa sellers.  Sambusas are little fried bread packets with lentils or potatoes inside, and cost only 1 birr each. 20 birr is $1USD, so they were a very affordable quick meal. Many that we bought were mildly seasoned, but one batch ended up being insanely spicy, leaving everyone but Lidya carefully picking everything green out before each bite.  Here’s a recipe for beef sambusas and another for lentil sambusas if you want to try making some yourself.  And here’s a fun video in Amharic showing how to make zilzil alecha, another Ethiopian dish.

One other fun food factoid about Harar:  the Teodros Hotel had been recommended as a good place to eat.  Once there, we found it to be only moderate.  But the very kind owner stopped at our table to chat with us, and when he heard Julianna wanted french fries, he sent one of his workers out on a fry hunt.  He ended up with potato chips (‘crisps’), not fries.  But we were very touched that he tried so hard to please us.

Goodness, this is getting long!  I will quit now and try to finish out our story in one more post.  Thanks for following along.  I’ve so much enjoyed hearing from all of you as I’ve shared this story.

Hazel’s Gluten-Free Bread

As promised many days ago, herHazel's Yummy Gluten Free Breade’s my momma’s wonderful gluten-free bread recipe. Her gluten-free flour recipe is included at the bottom. If you like, you can mix it in a bread machine or with a Kitchen-Aid. This bread is especially fabulous toasted.

Hazel’s Gluten Free Bread

Makes one loaf


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk,  room temp (or regular milk + 1 T. vinegar)
  • 1-2 t. salt (May use seasoned salt such as Jane’s crazy mixed-up salt)
  • 1 T. xanthan gum (If your flour blend includes xanthan gum, add only 1 t.)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour blend (recipe below)
  • 1 T. active dry yeast


For bread machine:

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the sweet dough cycle. Five minutes into the cycle, check the consistency of the dough. Add additional rice flour or liquid if necessary. When bread is finished, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.

For oven baking:

I use Artisan blend flour (see below) and have mixed it with either my electric mixer or the dough cycle of my bread machine. As indicated in the recipe, I added 1 extra teaspoon of xanthan gum, over and above what is in the flour blend. After thoroughly mixing, I put the dough into a greased bread pan and smooth out the top with a greased rubber spatula.

I let it rise in a warm place for an hour or so (barely warm oven works fine), until it is nearly double in size and is about even with the top of the bread pan. With bread on middle rack of oven, turn the oven on to 375. (The bread will complete rising and begin baking as the oven heats up.)

I bake it at 375 for about 40 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave it in for 10 more minutes. Cool it in the pan for 10 additional minutes, outside the oven. It slices and tastes great, and has a nice consistency. After experimenting, this is my favorite way to manage the baking (a single rising and then having the bread in the oven as it heats up). It is less likely to fall in the middle.

This is my current flour blend, taken from the cookbook Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking: 275 Great-Tasting, From-Scratch Recipes from Around the World

  • 5 cups brown rice flour (or a mix of white/brown)
  • 3 cups sorghum flour
  • 2 2/3 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup + 4 tsp potato flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 tsp xanthan gum



Good pressure cooker recipes?

pressure cookerMany years ago I inherited a pressure canner from John’s grandmother.  It made a great boiling water bath canner, but since it was so very elderly, I honestly didn’t feel comfortable using it as a pressure cooker.   Recently I’ve been hearing about the more modern pressure cookers, and how quickly you can get a meal to the table with them.  I did a little investigating, saved up some amazon credits and ended up purchasing this pressure cooker.

Now I’m on the hunt for good recipes to try in my new gadget.  I’ve pinned a few on Pinterest so far.  The mac and cheese one was fabulous!  But I’d love some more ideas and suggestions.  Do you have a pressure cooker?  What do you most like to cook in it?

Work is going well– actually, I LOVE it– and the kids continue to do well with the transition, but between work and home and school and various recertifications, I am lucky to get my email read most days, let alone do much here.  (Sorry!!!) My full-time work has been slightly extended  (through mid-June) to give me some needed experience assisting with c-sections.  But I’ll have a bit more time after that, and get back to checking in more often. This afternoon I am getting certified in neonatal resuscitation– wish me luck!  If you’re curious, here are a few brief video clips highlighting some of what I’ve been studying.

One other little note:  if you’ve hunted for a recipe here lately, you may have noticed that some of them are missing.  I just migrated my blog to another server and in the process seem to have lost some of the recipes. (Boohiss…)  My bloggy expert is on the job and will hopefully find those lost recipes. But if not, I’ll gradually try to work on restoring them.  Thanks for your patience.  Thanks, as always, for checking in. And also keep in mind that some of those missing recipes can be found in my cookbook, Family Feasts.  Hope you’re enjoying your spring!

Recipe: Restaurant-Style Guacamole

The other day I had the brilliant idea of sharing our favorite restaurant-style guacamole recipe in honor of Cinco de Mayo. I didn’t get around to it.  Instead I spent the day with laboring women whose baby’s births have now given them an extra-special reason to love May 5th.  :)  So the recipe ended up late for Cinco de Mayo.  But, hey!  It’s four days early for Mother’s Day, and even earlier for all sorts of summer celebrations, all of which will be improved by a hearty dose of guacamole. I’ve discovered that for our weekly Sunday crowd of 20 or so people, 8-10 avocados is about right. So that’s the size recipe I’ll share with you here. Feel free to cut it in half if your group is smaller. And remember my handy-dandy tip for freezing avocados if your avocados are ripening faster than you can use them!  We’ve never had enough guac left over to try freezing it, but I’m sure it would work great too.



Easy Restaurant-Style Guacamole

  • 8-10 medium avocados, soft and ripe
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, minced finely
  • 2 small Roma tomatoes, diced finely
  • 6-8 stems of fresh cilantro, minced finely
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup lime juice, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste

Peel, de-seed, and mash avocados in a medium sized mixing bowl.  I like to use a heavy wire whisk for this task.  Once the avocado is well mashed, add all the remaining ingredients, combining well. If you like your guacamole spicy, try adding one finely minced serrano pepper to the mix. Enjoy!

Hint:  if not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the surface of the guacamole, to prevent browning.  I like to make my guacamole no more than a couple hours ahead of time, so it stays a nice bright green.







Julianna’s Favorite Breakfast

Once when I was a little girl, my Aunt Edie came to our house and made us deliciously thin pancakes for breakfast that she buttered, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and rolled up before serving. We kids inhaled them, told our mom she needed the recipe, and then ever after that, called the lovely creations ‘Aunt Edie Pancakes’.

This recipe has been a perennial favorite of my own kids as well, though we tend to save them for things like birthday breakfasts. Recently that all changed, however, when Julianna, age 10, learned how to make them for herself. She’s in love, and so pleased that she can make this yummy treat herself!
Julianna's pancakes

Aunt Edie Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Yield: Serves 5-6

Aunt Edie Pancakes


  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter (you will only use part of it)
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and whisk into a thin smooth batter. (Add a dab more milk if it looks thick.) Julianna usually mixes her batter in an 8-cup glass measuring cup with a spout, so it is easy to pour the batter onto the skillet.
  2. Oil a skillet lightly and set over medium heat. When skillet is hot, pour enough batter onto the skillet to make a thin pancake about 6-8 inches in diameter. Tilt the pan a little to spread the batter out even more, as these pancakes should be very thin.
  3. Cook until the edges of the pancake start to dry and curl up a bit and it is just beginning to get some golden color on that first side of the pancake, about 30-60 seconds.
  4. Flip and cook pancake on the other side for another 30 seconds or so. Remove pancake to a plate and immediately butter by rubbing with a stick of butter.
  5. Sprinkle the whole buttered surface of the pancake with a couple tablespoons powdered sugar, then roll it up. Keep warm until serving.

PS-My Aunt Edie also happens to be a very talented art glass designer.   Click on over if you should happen to be interested in seeing the beautiful things she creates.

Recipe: Hearty Crab Chowder

Weather around here has been lovely and spring-like, but I see that all over the U.S. much of the weather has been awful. If you’re looking for a warm winter chowder, you might be interested in trying this recipe. I always use imitation crab, but of course it would work with real crab as well. Just be sure to add the crab near the end of the cooking time so it stays together. CrabChowder I like to add fresh chopped spinach to my chowder, but if your family looks cross-eyed at greens, feel free to skip them.  The chowder is wonderful either way.  This recipe should serve 5-6 fairly generously.  

Hearty Crab Chowder

Hearty Crab Chowder


  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Fresh spinach, a couple handfuls (optional)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 T. chicken (or seafood) bouillon
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1 lb crabmeat (imitation is fine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Finely chop onion. Melt the butter on medium-high heat in a large heavy pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent.
  2. While onion is cooking, peel and chop potatoes into 1/2 inch dice. Turn heat to high. Add potatoes, water and chicken bouillon to the pot, and bring to a boil.
  3. After it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until potato is soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Chop spinach, if using, and add to the pot. Whisk cornstarch with milk, and add to pot.
  5. Cook on medium low it begins to thicken, about 5-10 minutes. Once milk has been added to the pot, you'll need to watch carefully so the chowder doesn't scald.
  6. During this time, you can mince cilantro and green onion. When chowder is thick, gently stir in cilantro, green onion, and roughly chopped crab.
  7. Season to taste, and enjoy!
  Crab Chowder ~~~~ Interested in other recipes using imitation crab?  Try Mexican Crab Cakes and Spicy Crab Dip. And for more affordable and easy recipes of every type, check out my cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week

Easy affordable gluten free recipes

I’m getting a fair collection of easy and affordable gluten free recipes here, and I thought it might be helpful to some of you  to list them all together into one post.  If gluten free is not your thing,  don’t forget about my main recipe collection— it’s up to 105 recipes now, all affordable family-friendly food. And as always, if you find this resource useful, I’d love a pin on Pinterest.
Gluten-Free Recipes from Owlhaven)





Pork and Veggie Stir Fry

Pork and Veggie Stiry Fry


Prize Winning Chili for a Crowd

(Imagine a photo of chili here– I made it the other day but forgot — again- to get a photo!)


Ethiopian Sloppy Joes

Ethiopian Sloppy Joes


Sriracha Barbecue Chicken

Sriracha Barbecue Chicken


Thai Lettuce Wraps

Thai Chard or Lettuce Wraps


Sesame Chicken and Veggie Stirfry

Sesame Chicken and Veggie Stirfry




Gluten Free Meatballs (served over rice instead of the pictured rolls)

Gluten Free Meatballs and Sauce


 West African Sweet Potato Soup

West African Sweet Potato Soup


Molly’s 10-Minute Chicken



Hearty Meatloaf  (Use gluten free oats to make this recipe completely gluten free)

Hearty Meatloaf



Eggplant Tomato Bake

Eggplant Tomato Bake






Lemon Cilantro Rice

Lemon Cilantro Rice


Alecha (Ethiopian Comfort Food)

Alecha (Ethiopian Comfort Food)


Blue Cheese Biscuits

GF Blue Cheese Biscuits


Creole Cobb Salad

Creole Cobb Salad


 Three Great GF Salad Dressings

GF Salad Dressings


Vegetable Pancakes

Vegetable Pancakes


Kimbap (Korean Sushi)  — I even made a video for this one!

Kimbap (Korean Style Sushi)



Cauliflower ‘Mac’ and Cheese

Gluten Free ‘Mac’ and Cheese



Scalloped Potatoes for a Party

Scalloped potatoes (alongside my Hearty Meatloaf)






Christmas Breakfast French Toast Casserole (with regular and gluten free options)

French Toast Strata


Hash Brown Combo

Hash Brown Combo


Lemon Cream Cheese Pancakes

(no photo yet!)




Berry Pudding Dessert (regular on left, gluten free on right)  The pix is a little rough, but I snapped it quickly in the midst of serving 80+ people this dessert.

Berry Pudding Dessert


The Best Banana Bread Recipe Ever (no gluten free collection would be complete without this one is from JoLynne– yum!)














Reeses Peanut Butter Bark

Reeses Bark

Flourless Chocolate Cake

GF Flourless Chocolate Cake

Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses

Royal Icing for Candy Houses (Recipe)

Each December in our homeschool craft co-op we get together to make candy houses, which we put together using graham crackers and royal icing.  Once the houses are built, it’s best to wait 5-10 minutes before adding candy– regular frosting works fine for that — but royal icing is essential for making strong structures on which to place all that candy. Here’s the recipe I use to make royal icing, just in case you’re interested in a similar Christmas craft with your own children.

Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses


  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


  1. In the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer, place egg whites, powdered sugar, and cream of tartar. Using the whisk attachment, beat all together on low speed until combined.
  2. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat for 7-10 more minutes, until the icing is very thick, shiny, stiff and white. If icing doesn't look stiff enough, add a little more powdered sugar at this point and whip a little longer.
  3. If you want colored icing, divide it among several bowls, adding drops of food coloring to each bowl to get the colors you want. Usually we just make ours white, but red and green would be fun too.
  4. Scoop the icing into heavy ziplock bags, squeezing all air out of the bags before zipping them shut. At this point I also usually double-seal the top of each bag with a strip of clear packing tape, to keep bags from bursting open while they are squeezed. Icing will last several days, refrigerated, sealed in ziplocks.
  5. When you're ready to use the bags, just snip a TINY corner off each bag so that when squeezed, the icing comes out in a thin line.
  6. Royal icing dries to a very hard consistency, and sets quickly once exposed to air. It will be hard within 15-30 minutes of application.

Note: This type of icing is great for glue, but potentially not great to eat, since it contains raw eggs. We've never had issues, but be aware of the risk, especially with young children and immune-compromised folks. For those people you may want to skip the eggs and instead use meringue powder. Happy building!


Julianna's House

Julianna’s House

Emily’s House


Recipes for holiday gatherings

If you’re wondering what to bring to a Thanksgiving gathering, here are a few yummy ideas for inspiration.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread With Orange Glaze is always a hit.

Reeses Bark

Reeses Peanut Butter Bark

This recipe for Reeses’ Bark is from the Hershey’s website. It is yummy, easy and SO pretty!  Seriously, a 20 minute recipe. I’d definitely melt the chocolate over a double boiler instead of in the microwave.  It just turns out a lot better.

Easy  Homemade Eggnog

Easy Homemade Eggnog

This Easy Homemade Egg Nog is cheaper than store bought, and is very rich and creamy without requiring any raw eggs.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

If you’re cooking with little ones, try this easy recipe for Jam Thumbprint Cookies.  It comes together very quickly, and kids can help with some of the steps.


If you would like more easy recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill. (Hint: it makes a great Christmas gift!)  I’m taking the week off from blogging, but I wanted to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  Thanks so much for coming here to read each week.

6 quick kitchen tricks

6 quick kitchen tricks

Have you ever read the book Cheaper by the Dozen?  Though the dad in that book is a little extreme, I have always secretly identified with his eternal quest for greater efficiency in the home.  I am always on the lookout for ways to save time, and thought it might be fun to share some of the ways I save time in the kitchen.  I’d love it if you add your own ideas in comments, below.  Who can’t use a few good time-saving strategies?

1. I double-batch whole meals at least a couple times a week. It only takes a few extra minutes to measure out more ingredients or chop more veggies or meat while the kitchen’s already a mess. Leftovers can go into the fridge to serve at lunch later in the week or in the freezer for a different week entirely.  Common examples include big pots of soup or chili, or pans of enchiladas to stash in the freezer.  Time savings per meal: at least 30 minutes per meal, especially when you consider there’ll be much less mess when serving that second meal.

2.  You don’t have to double batch a whole meal to save time, however.  Even doubling one portion of the meal can save prep work a different day.  For example, when I am cooking meat for a meal like tacos, fajitas, or Molly’s chicken, I will often cook more meat than I need for that meal, setting aside the extra to use a different day  in a soup or a stir fry. (Remember to set that extra meat aside before the meal, however, so your family doesn’t just gobble up the extra.) Other examples of this tip include making extra pizza dough one day so kids can easily make their own pizza another day, or making extra rice and setting it aside for fried rice another day.  If your rice AND your meat is already cooked, it’s perfectly possible to get a meal of fried rice onto the table in 20 minutes flat.  Time savings:  20 minutes per meal

Creamy Chicken and Potato Soup3. When I am beginning dinner, I always think about which part of the meal will take longest to cook and start there. Since I have lots of meals that take less than 30 minutes to get to the table, that often means starting rice or pasta cooking. On spaghetti nights I  get pasta water heating first, then cook ground beef and simmer sauce while noodles cook.  If the meal is a stir-fry, I’ll get the rice going in the rice cooker, then chop/cook the chicken, then work on the veggies while the chicken (and rice) chicken cook.  I love having multiple pots going at the same time– it feels so efficient. Time savings: at least 10 minutes per meal.

4. Especially when meals are labor-intensive, I get help! The other day I had 10 pounds of potatoes to peel– we were bringing mashed potatoes to a potluck.  I started by putting the water on to boil, then asked 5 kids to peel three potatoes each.  (We have lots of peelers!) It was a tiny bit of work for each of them, but getting their help made the job at least 20 minutes shorter than if I’d worked alone.   Even tiny kids can peel carrots or garlic.  Elementary age kids can set them table and pour drinks.  Bigger kids, with training, can do almost any part of cooking that I can.  And whatever you do, always say yes to a kid who wants to make cookies.  When they’re little, it feels like more mess than it’s worth, but they get efficient quickly, and there’s not much in the world that’s nicer than fresh-baked cookies that you didn’t have to bake yourself.  Time savings: probably at least 5 minutes/child/meal, but this varies by your child’s age. :)

5.  If you need a quick side dish to fill out a meal on a busy day, crank your oven t0 475 and chop whatever fresh veggies you happen to have into bite size pieces.  Almost any veggies are wonderful roasted;  I’ve roasted carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, whole peeled garlic cloves, Brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli.  Toss your choice of veggies (cut into similar sizes) in a couple tablespoons of olive oil on a cookie sheet.  Then spread them out evenly across the pan, top with a few grinds of salt and pepper,  and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are getting browned bits and are cooked to your liking.  Yum!  You may even convert a veggie hater in your house– this is the only way my husband will eat Brussels sprouts.  Time savings:  depends on what you would’ve made instead. :)  This recipe takes about 10 minutes of prep time.

6. One last tip for frazzled mommas:  often I’ll decide at the last minute that I want baked potatoes for dinner.  Problem is, they take an hour to bake, and they’re just not the same when cooked in the microwave.  But there’s a way to shave half an hour off that cooking time.  Just preheat the oven to 425. (convection is best, if you have that feature) Then wash and poke potatoes, then zap them in the microwave 2 or 3 potatoes at a time for about 3 minutes.  By the time the oven is hot, the potatoes have already begun the cooking process in the microwave, which means they’ll only need another 25-30 minutes in the regular oven.  But they’ll end up cooked as nicely as if their whole cooking time had been in the regular oven.  Time savings: 30 minutes per meal.

OK– your turn!  What are your best quick kitchen tricks?

For more affordable and quick recipes, check out my cookbook: Family Feasts for $75 a Week