June 30, 2007

Spinach & Basil Frittatas

I picked up a copy of the free issue of Delicious Living at my grocery store today (you can find them in the organic section). I've been reading this magazine since around 2001 or so. I absolutely love it! I can't afford to buy all organic foods to feed our family of five (2 high schoolers, 1 middle schooler, my husband and I) but I do love to use organic when it fit's in our (tiny) budget and I feel so inspired when read their magazines. It's motivation to live better, healthier, more 'green' and more organic.

This recipe comes from their latest edition and I just finished making them. YUM! Made all the more better and healthier because I used fresh basil and spinach from my own garden!

Spinach and Basil Frittatas

4 eggs
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon reduced-fat
(2 percent) milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups (1 ounce) baby spinach leaves

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Coat four 1-cup ramekins or eight 1/2-cup muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg whites. Add milk, pepper, salt, basil, tomatoes, and cheese.
3. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil; sauté garlic over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add spinach and sauté 1–2 minutes, until spinach is wilted but still a vibrant green. Add spinach mixture to egg mixture. Ladle into prepared ramekins or cups. Bake for 18–20 minutes, until eggs are cooked thoroughly. (They will expand while cooking and will collapse while cooling.) When cool, remove from cups. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

My only personal tips to these is that I lined 8 muffin tins with a circle of parchment on the bottoms and I had leftover egg mixture so I made 3 more just by spraying canola oil alone. The ones without parchment were more persnickity to remove from the cup. I'd suggest lining your muffin tins with parchment if you can, or just be careful when removing so they don't break apart.Print Friendly and PDF

June 29, 2007

A Different 7 Layer Bar

I think most people have had the traditional 7 layer bars that use sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and coconut, however, as much as I love sweetened condensed milk and coconut, I've never loved those bars. They are quite popular with the rest of the population but I'm weird I guess. When I saw this recipe I decided it had enough different ingredients to make it interesting. The rice cereal and the toffee are both good ideas in my book. I haven't made this one, but I decided to post it in my recipe files for future reference.

7 Layer Toffee Bars

1 c toffee bits
12 whole graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
8 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c Rice Krispies cereal
1 c pecans,toasted and chopped coarse
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c sweetened coconut,toasted
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 13x9x2 baking pan with foil, allowing some excess overhang at edges. Coat foil with cooking spray. Process toffee bits in food processor to a fine powder. Add graham crackers and process to fine crumbs. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add butter. Press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Bake till beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle crust with milk chocolate, and allow chocolate to soften, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, smooth chocolate to an even layer. Scatter Rice Krispies over chocolate pressing to adhere. Add layers of pecans, chocolate chips and coconut, in that order, pressing each layer to adhere. Combine condensed milk and vanilla in a bowl then pour over coconut. Bake till golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, about 2 hrs. Using foil overhang, lift from pan and cut into squares.Print Friendly and PDF

Hamburger Salad Sandwiches

When I saw this recipe on an old time recipe board I had to read through it a couple different times. I couldn't decide if you really, truly, served it cold. Ground beef and 'cold' just don't go together well in my mind.

It's a recipe that I know is at least 40 years old and I suspect even older, as I would hedge a bet I'd find similar in some of my old church cookbooks from the 30's and 40's. After I sat and read the recipe a little more I realized that I had seen this before and I dug deep in my memory to see where it might have been. After awhile it occured to me that my Grandma H used to make this! I never ate it, because, as a kid, this was just scarry. LOL. But sure enough, my Grandma H served this on buns.

As an adult I don't find the thought of it scarry anymore and I've added it so others can enjoy as well.

Hamburger Salad Sandwiches

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 hamburger buns, split
Lettuce leaves

In a skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until meat is browned; drain. Cool. Add the next six ingredients. Spoon about 1/2 cup onto each bun; top with lettuce.Print Friendly and PDF

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

When I was a child my Mother didn't stray too far into the cooking realm. Angel food cake for birthdays and banana cake and banana bread. Once in a great while she'd attempt chocolate chip cookies but you had to get them asap out of the oven or they would be rock hard within the hour. Once she made oatmeal raisin cookies but she cooked with lard instead of shortening... so you can see where that is going, right?  Christmas Cookies? Yes. We got Christmas Cookies. But that was pretty much it.

It was during coffee and cookie time following elementary school concerts when I got my first taste of real baked goods. All the families would bring bars or cookies to share and they would be lined up on tables at the back of the gym along with red kool-aid for everyone to enjoy when the concert got over. I still, to this day, remember my first taste of a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting. It was so delicious and I had no idea what it was. I also had a spice bar that now know was made with carrots but at the time, I only knew the orange colored bars with white icing were heaven, and I was glad most of the kids grabbed cookies and chocolate 'stuff' because that meant I could find the bars.

Now, I'm happy to say my kids have grown up eating pumpkin bars, spice cake, carrot cake and everything inbetween. And pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are still a favorite of mine.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t salt
4 eggs
1 (15oz.) can pumpkin
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c canola oil

For the frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add the dry ingredients. Mix well and pour into a prepared jelly roll pan with 1 inch sides. (You can use a 9X13 pan but you'll end up with a pumpkin cake rather than bars... which is still good!). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until done in the center. Cool completely. Mix the frosting ingredients and spread over all.Print Friendly and PDF

June 28, 2007

Chile Artichoke Dip

Another artichoke dip!? Why yes! Can you tell artichokes are one of my favorite foods? You can never have too many artichoke recipes. *wink* This one is copied from a website online for my 'make sometime this week' list. I've never added chilies to my artichoke dips before so it will be an interesting twist. I don't plan to fondue it either, as I have an aversion to fondue (snicker) but served warm straight from the microwave, artichoke dips don't last long around here anyway!

Green Chile and Artichoke Dip

1 c chopped artichokes, either marinated or not - your choice but drain them well
1 can diced green chilies (4 oz)
3/4 c chopped black olives
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c mayonnaise
1/2 c grated Cheddar cheese

In a saucepan or in the microwave, heat artichokes, chilies, olives, Parmesan and mayonnaise. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm over low flame. Serve with assorted cubes of bread, crackers or breadsticks.Print Friendly and PDF

June 26, 2007

Zucchini Casserole

I was just out in my garden today and had to laugh. You see, it's had a rough start this year, with the bunnies eating a good portion of it, bugs eating a quarter of what was left and two days of a vicious hot strong wind that blew across the fields and twisted and snapped the few things that were left. It's slowly coming back from the dead, but there is one thing that is healthy, strong and growing like a weed.
You know what it is.
Ah yes... time to get a few recipes out there for you! I was surfing online and came across this one. It's different than any of the other casserole's I've had so I copied it down to save for my files. I'm keeping a copy here as well so you can have it handy for all those zucchini that will miraculously show up in your car next month if you leave your doors unlocked.

Zucchini Casserole

~6 cups zucchini, sliced
~1/2 cup chopped onion
~1 can (12 oz.) Southwestern Pepperjack soup
~1 cup sour cream
~1 cup shredded cheese
~1 (8 oz.) package herb seasoned stuffing
~1/2 cup melted butter
~salt and pepper to taste

Boil zucchini and onion in salt water for five minutes and drain. Combine soup, sour cream; mix together. Combine zucchini and onion mixture with soup and sour cream mixture. Combine melted butter and stuffing mix. In a cake pan, add 1/2 stuffing mix, then all zucchini mix, 1 cup of cheese, then add remaining stuffing on top of zucchini. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.Print Friendly and PDF

Jalapeno Popper Bites

One of my all time favorite foods are Jalapeno Poppers. I love them so much I could eat them for lunch and dinner every single day. However, they are quite expensive. I've made many versions at home over the years... everything from bacon wrapped, to stuffed with cheddar and monterey jack to my favorite; cream cheese. However, I will readily admit that I hate (hate hate hate) breading things. I just don't have the patience, and I hate getting my fingers full of breading. I don't like making poppers, I don't like making onion rings, homemade Orange Chicken (Chinese versions), etc. all because of the breading steps.

Still, when it comes to balancing the cost of the poppers to the task of breading, I admit I end up doing it. I'd say it's a happy medium - I do both equally. Although I love cream cheese stuffed the best, this version is good too as it's still a nice white cheese filling.

Jalapeno Popper Bites

12 large jalapenos, seeded and cut in half

2 c monterey jack cheese, shredded

1 large egg

2 T milk

1 T flour

1 t parmesan, grated

salt and pepper

1 1/2 c bread crumbs, seasoned or unseasoned

vegetable oil/shortening

Wash jalapenos, cut in half, and take out seeds. Stuff each half with grated jack cheese. In shallow bowl, mix flour, egg, Parmesan, milk, salt, and pepper to taste. Place breadcrumbs in flat dish and dip jalapeno in egg mixture and then in breadcrumbs.

Place in freezer for 1/2 hour. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown.Print Friendly and PDF

June 25, 2007

Coffee Granita

I've been waiting oh-so-patiently for the warm weather so I can make this one. This week it's in the 90's so it's perfect! I am putting this one here just as I found it, with no tweaks or changes as I haven't made this particular version before. I have another version I have made, but I'm always open to try new versions.
Coffee Granita

1 1/3 c ground espresso coffee beans (about 4 oz)
2/3 c sugar
Unsweetened or unsweetened whipped cream (optional)

With automatic drip or percolator coffeemaker, prepare ground coffee using only 3 cups of water. You should have 2 cups of strong coffee. If using an espresso maker, make 2 cups. In a medium bowl, stir sugar and coffee until sugar dissolves; cool to room temp. Pour mix in 9" square metal baking pan. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and freeze for about 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is partially frozen. Stir occasionally. Cover and freeze for about 3 hours. Using a metal fork or spoon, scrape across the top of the frozen surface. To make granita. Spoon into chilled goblets and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

*Updated to add my notes*

I can never really truly follow a recipe, and this is no exception.

I used about 2 cups of regular coffee and 1 cup of espresso because I wanted to use up some leftover coffee and didn't want to waste it.

I put it in the freezer to freeze but then forgot about it and froze it solid. I put it into the blender instead, and added about 3 T of International Coffee's Caramel flavored creamer. After blending, I refroze it until semi-solid and then used a metal spoon to scrape it.


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Lettuce With Sour Cream Dressing

While surfing the internet a couple months ago I came across this old fashioned recipe that brought a smile to my face. I hadn't thought of this recipe in about 30 years, but the second I saw it, my Grandmothers face flashed in my mind. My Grandma H made this every so often when we would be at her home for dinner (or 'supper' as she called it).

It's perfect for a hot summer evening meal with a tall glass of ice cold water or lemonade.

Lettuce with Sour Cream Dressing

1 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 t vinegar
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1/4 c minced green onions
1/4 c minced radishes
1/4 c minced cucumber
1/4 c minced green pepper
1 small clove garlic. minced
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 8 wedges

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring well. Add green onions, radishes, cucumber, green pepper, and garlic, mixing well. Chill several hours. Spoon dressing over lettuce wedges on individual salad plates. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.Print Friendly and PDF

June 22, 2007

Why Didn't my Pickles Stay Crisp?

I admit that my home canned pickles (dill) get soft and it drives me crazy. I've used recipes completely from scratch, I've used dill pickle mixes. I've used 3 different kinds of cucumbers. Nada. The odd thing was that one season I had 2 quarts stay semi-crisp but the rest got soft. Now that was confusing!

I came across the advice from people 'in the know' - the makers of Bell and Kerr brand canning equipment.

There are several factors that may cause a soft pickle:

  • * using a vinegar with an acidity level that is less than 5%;
  • * pickles were not processed or not processed long enough in a boiling-water canner to destroy spoilage microorganisms;
  • * variety of cucumber used;
  • * brine was too weak when fermenting cucumbers;
  • * cucumbers were not completely covered with brine while fermenting;
  • * cucumbers were not completely covered with liquid when packed in the jar;
  • * scum was not removed from top of brine while fermenting;
  • * improper storage or handling of cucumbers before pickling.
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A Beautiful Sound

The 'pop' 'pop' 'pop' of lids sealing... it's a beautiful sound.

Earlier this week I bought a large container of plums that we just couldn't seem to keep up with as they ripened quickly and were so juicey they were splitting their seams in the bowl. Time to make jelly!

For all the sticky sweet mess homemade jams and jellies make you would swear you never want to go through it again. But, much like childbirth, the pain is quickly forgotten. For as you get just one taste of the homemade goodness that is a true jam or jelly you swear once again that you will never... ever... buy store bought preservative laden jams and jellies ever again.

Plum Jelly

4 1/2 cups crushed plums with the pits removed
7 1/2 c sugar
1 packet (3 oz.) liquid pectin
8 jelly jars and 2 piece lids - sterilized

Run your jars and lids through the dishwasher hottest setting. Place the crushed plums and sugar in a large stock pot and bring to a boil on high, stirring. When it comes to a full boil, let hard boil for 1 full minute. Remove from heat. Strain through a wire strainer if a clear product is preferred, otherwise skip that step and add liquid pectin, stir smooth and skim any foam from the top. Ladle into hot jars. Wipe the mouths of jars with a hot wet cloth before sealing. Water bath the jars for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool at room temperature until the lids pop. Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

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June 21, 2007

Three Layer Chocolate Cake

I was going to make this cake today for my father in law, but at the last minute decided to make my old 'standby' chocolate cake that I make with mayonnaise I knew it would turn out, I knew what it tastes like and I didn't have time for any 're-do's' if I didn't care for it. I'm not sure where I got this one, it's one of those 'typical' recipes like a million others except this one has 'crumbs' that come from baking cupcakes with the layer cake. I don't usually make my chocolate cake with brown sugar so I'm saving this one for a later time when I can try it on my family first!

Three Layer Chocolate Crumb Cake

3 1/3 c cake flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 c unsalted butter
3 1/3 c light brown sugar
4 eggs
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
1 c buttermilk
1 c boiling water
1 T vanilla


2 3/4 c milk chocolate chips
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sour cream
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
1 lb. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 3 round cake pans. Line 4 standard cupcake cups with paper liners. Combine first four dry ingredients in bowl. Beat together butter and brown sugar in bowl until combined. Then increase speed and beat until creamy. Add eggs, beat well. Beat in chocolate. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk to egg mixture, beat well. Beat in boiling water and vanilla until smooth.

Pour 3 2/3 cups batter into each cake pan. Divide remaining batter among cupcake cups. Bake 20 min. for cupcakes and 35 min. for cake layers or until done. Let cupcakes cool in pans 5 min. Unmold. Cool layers in pans 15 min. Invert.

For the frosting - Melt chocolate chips in saucepan until smooth. Let cool 15 min. Beat butter and chocolate in bowl until creamy. Blend in sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat in confectioners sugar until smooth and spreadable. Tear cupcakes into pieces. Coarsely grind in food processor. Place 1 cake layer onto serving platter. Spread top with 1 cup frosting. Add second layer, spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with third layer, spread thin layer of frosting around sides and top of cake. Reserve 1 cup frosting for top. Frost side with remaining frosting, sprinkle with crumbs. Repeat until entire side is covered with crumbs. Frost top with reserved frosting.Print Friendly and PDF

June 20, 2007

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

When I use bacon bits (as compared to real crumbled cooked bacon) I think this salad tastes just like the store bought, boxed version. That is a good thing though, as our family loves the store bought version too! To give it a fresher taste I like to use the crumbled 'real' bacon or the Hormel 'real' bacon pieces that you can buy in a bag.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

1 sm. box of shell pasta
1 pkg. of Ranch Dressing Mix
1/2 c. Mayonnaise
3-4 T. bacon bits
1/2 c. peas
1/2 c. shredded carrots

Cook your pasta until almost done and add shredded carrots. When pasta and carrots are done rinse under cold water. Place in bowl. Add peas. In a smaller bowl mix together ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise and bacon bits. Add to pasta mixture. Mix well. Refrigerate and keep cool until ready to serve.Print Friendly and PDF

Summer Slush

Whenever I see 'slush' recipes that call for gin I instantly feel like it's 1972 and a crowd is gathered on the patio, the women in brightly colored, flowered patterned short mini dresses, the guys in long baby blue polyester pants and wide sideburns. Something about 'slushes' just takes me back to the 70's even though, of course, I was just a baby then!

I love everything retro though, and when I saw this recipe I thought; wouldn't it be cool to throw a retro party this summer and serve this!?

Summer Slush

2 c sugar
7 c boiling water
2 c tea
12 oz can frozen orange juice (undiluted)
12 oz can frozen pink Lemonade (undiluted)
2 c Gin Or Vodka

Mix all ingredients together and freeze. Scoop out 1/2 to 3/4 glass full of "slush" and fill glass with 7 up or Ginger ale. Stir and top with a Maraschino cherry and/or orange slice if desired.Print Friendly and PDF

Coconut Pound Cake

When I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for five years, one of the best things about living in the South was learning to make, (and eat) all that wonderful Southern food. This is a recipe from Southern Lady May/June 2007 issue. I personally haven't made this cake yet, but intend to do so soon. It has all the ingredients I absolutely love! I found the baking temperature and the time on this cake very interesting... 300 for 2 hours? I've never made a cake like that before! I can't wait to see how this one turns out.

Ahhh my heart yearns to be back in the South... but until I get to move there I'll just have to cook 'Southern'.

Coconut Pound Cake

6 eggs
1 c Crisco
½ c butter, at room temp.
3 c sugar
½ t almond extract
½ t coconut extract
3 c sifted cake flour
1 c milk
2 c packaged or fresh flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 300. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Separate the eggs. Set the whites aside to come to room temperature. Beat the egg yolks with the Crisco and butter at high speed until well blended. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add the extracts and beat. At low speed, beat in the flour (about one-quarter at a time), alternating with the milk (about one-third at a time) Begin and end with the flour. Add the coconut and beat on medium speed until well blended.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan.Bake for 2 hours. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15-minutes. Remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.Print Friendly and PDF

June 19, 2007

Kashi Cookies

No matter how you cut it, a cookie is a cookie is a cookie. You're going to get things like flour, sugar and fat in it. So if you can make one that has at least some healthy redeeming qualities it can only be an improvement, right?

I made this recipe up this week when I wanted to use up the last of the large box of Kashi cereal I had bought at Costco a couple months ago.

I used Kashi "Go Lean Crunch" cereal which is a protein and high fiber cereal. Has has twice the protein and the fiber, which helps you feel full longer, keeps your digestive system running smoothly and helps balance blood sugar. Of course the sugar in the cookie is going to neg legate that little nutrient fact. LOL.

This a light, crumbly cookie with fabulous flavor and makes a good 'coffee' cookie. Small children may not care for it as much if they are only used to chocolate chip cookies as there is (thankfully) no chcolate in this one. Just a crisp delicious 'light' cookie, perfect for summer coffee or brunch.

Kashi Cookies

1 c sugar
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 t cream of tartar
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 1/2 c Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal

Cream sugar and butter. Add dry ingredients. Fold in cereal. Use a small cookie scoop or a Tablespoon to place round balls on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until just golden on the edges and set. Let stand 1-2 minutes before removing to a cooling tray. Cool completely. Serve with milk or coffee.Print Friendly and PDF

June 16, 2007

Homemade Noodles

There is a food product I never, ever have on hand. I've never thought about it, never needed it and didn't realize until the last 5 years or so that a lot (A LOT!) of people do. It's a Bisquick mix. It seems every time I'm seeing recipes for biscuits, homemade noodles, dumplings, pancakes, waffles and even a lot of breads... they start with this mix. Ewww!

It's sad to think that this chemical tasting mix is what people will come to equate homemade biscuits, pancakes and other food items with. No wonder everyone raves about their grandmothers biscuits or dumplings. They taste 'real' and 'fresh' and not laden with preservatives. If it's the simplicity of the mix you want, well, you already have the ingredients in your home. Do you have flour? Sugar? Baking Powder? There are a hundred copy cat recipes online for bisquick (maybe I'll post some here in the next couple days to help you out) because you can whip up a homemade mix that is exactly the same, simple, quick, easy to use and tastes so much better without preservatives ruining the flavor.

Now, go make yourself some homemade noodles. You can cook them in chicken broth, add them to homemade chicken soup, make chicken and noodles or chicken and dumplings with them, serve them with a red sauce of your choice, an alfredo sauce... go crazy! Me? I'll be making them today and happily eating with a little butter, salt and pepper. One of my favorite comfort foods.

Homemade Noodles

2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3 eggs
4 T cream (milk in a pinch)

Put the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and cream. Stir with a fork to bring together. Roll thin on a floured surface. Let dry a few minutes and cut. If using right away cook in boiling water/broth 2 minutes. If you want to store them, let them air dry 1-2 hours and then freeze. Cook 5 minutes in boiling water/broth from frozen.

My FAVORITE homemade noodle recipe is here with photos!!!
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June 15, 2007

Artichoke Squares

One of my all time favorite foods is artichokes! I didn't have my first one until I was about 32 years old, thanks to growing up in a small town in the middle of corn fields in the midwest. After I moved to California I became a little more familier with them, but was rather intimidated by them. After we moved to Minnesota and I had 3 children I finally decided to buy some. I steamed them, we dipped them in butter and I was hooked! Now? I have them any way and every way I possibly can. We always have them on hand in some form, usually canned in water, bottled in brine and fresh. Ready for anything! Here is a delicious appetizer recipe that is from; Come Into the Kitchen.

Artichoke Squares

2 jars marinated artichoke hearts (6 oz. each)
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 eggs
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. oregano
1/8 t. Tabasco sauce
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 T. chopped parsley

Drain artichokes, saving marinade form one jar. In marinade, saute onion. Cut up artichokes. Beat eggs and add crumbs and seasoning. Stir in remaining ingredients. Turn into a greased 7 x 11 inch pan. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Let cool a little before cutting into squares. Serve hot or cold. Makes 40 squares.Print Friendly and PDF

June 14, 2007

Oatmeal Chocolate Bars

This recipe is similar to the traditional O'Henry bars that you and I grew up loving. I decided to try it because the chocolate layer is inbetween the oats, making it more portable and less messy. I was actually able to put one in a baggie and send it in a cold lunch with my daughter on a field trip and not have to worry about chocolate smearing all over the plastic nor her fingers. Next time I make O'Henry bars I'm going to use this idea because I like the flavor of the O'Henry's better than this, but these are ok too!

1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 c quick cooking oats
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c peanut butter

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over medium-low heat 3 minutes. Press half of mixture into the bottom of a 9X9 inch prepared pan. Reserve the other half for topping. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the oats in the pan, and spread evenly. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, press gently. Chill until set. Cut into bars.

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Cauliflower Casserole

I love French's French Fried Onions so much (used to be Durkee Onions) that I can sit and eat an entire canister of them plain and in one sitting. I don't typically buy them or keep them in the house because I am known to 'snack' on them. (That's what happens when you don't like sweet foods or chocolate!). I think the french fried onions in this recipe is what caught my attention. I've not made it yet, but wanted to be sure to get it stored for future use after I buy the french fried onions.

Cauliflower Casserole

1 head cauliflower
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 cup French fried onions

Preheat oven to 325. Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces and then cook cauliflower until just tender. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream and garlic salt together. Drain cauliflower and place in a greased casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper and cover with mayonnaise mix. Top with cheese and bake uncovered for 15 min until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle French fried onions on top and continue cooking for 8 minutes to crisp the onions.Print Friendly and PDF

Key Lime Daiquiri Pound Cake

I have a softspot in my heart (my stomach?) for key lime food products and daiquiri's so when I saw this recipe online I had to get it saved and printed out before I lost it again! (How many times have you found a recipe online, intended to go back and print it off and then lost it or forgot it? Exactly!) So I made sure to get this one down. I actually plan on printing it off and sending it to my SIL as she just moved back to Florida 2 weeks ago and she loves to bake and cook. This would be perfect for her and husband to enjoy as a little celebration cake of finally getting to move back to Florida, as she's wanted to for so many years!

Key Lime Daiquiri Pound Cake
by Suzanne Zick

1 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon grated key lime zest
2 teaspoons key lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons key lime juice
3 tablespoons rum

1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
3. Mix together the flour and baking powder.
4. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter, shortening, and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
6. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
7. Stir in 2 tablespoons of rum, key lime zest, 2 teaspoons key lime juice, vanilla and lemon juice.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
9. Bake in a preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until tests done.
10. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes.
11. Turn it out onto wire rack.
12. While warm, prick top of cake with toothpick.
13. Pour Key Lime Daiquiri Glaze over the warm cake.
14. Cool completely.
15. To make Glaze: In small saucepan, combine ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup butter and 2 tablespoons key lime juice.
16. Bring to boil.
17. Continue boiling, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
18. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons rum.Print Friendly and PDF

June 13, 2007

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers are one of my all time favorite foods. I can't even buy boxes of them at the grocery store because if they are in my freezer, they are made immediately and I eat the whole box. I love them! Because of the cost I have made them at home a few times, but one of my pet peeves is 'breading' things. I don't like the dipping in the egg mixture and then the crumb mixture. I hate the way my fingers get coated with the thick breading, I hate the mess and in the end I always wish I would have spent the money and just bought them in the first place.

Here is an un-breaded version that I've made a few times. I never typically use a recipe, and I don't always mix cheddar cheese in, as I love jalapeno's stuffed with only cream cheese. But I did quick search online for a recipe written out already so I didn't have to type mine from scratch. LOL. As you can tell, you can adapt this recipe to your own tastes.

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

20 medium jalapeno peppers
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cut jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise: remove seeds. Place peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes: drain well. Combine the two cheeses, stir well. Place one heaping teaspoon of cheese mixture on each pepper half. Sprinkle with bacon and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Can place under the broiler for 1 minute as well.Print Friendly and PDF

Cereal Bars

This is a recipe I've been making for about 12 years now. It's one of those classic recipes your family knows, loves and can't get enough of. I started to make it for one reason; to use up the cereal left in the bottom of the packages that never seems to get eaten. And because the kids loved them so much we've been making them ever since. (Even when we don't have to use up the last of cereal.)

You can use a variety of cereals in this, but I've found that unsweetened or lightly sweetened 'healthier' cereals work best. Crispex, rice chex, corn chex, corn flakes, honey bunches of oats, etc. all work. It's the best made with corn flakes or a mixture of flakes and chex.

Cereal Bars

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c white corn syrup
1 c peanut butter
2 1/2 c dry cereal

Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved. After it's completely dissolved, do not let it come to a full boil, but if it starts to simmer/boil let it slow boil or simmer for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add peanut butter and cereal. Stir to coat and press into a sprayed or greased pan. I usually double this recipe and use a 9X13" pan. You can also drop spoonfuls quickly onto a greased cookie sheet, foil or parchment paper.Print Friendly and PDF

June 12, 2007

Grilled Chicken with Chipotle and Lime

This one uses the Chipotle Tabasco I talked about in an earlier post. Yum! Lime and tabasco are two of my husbands favorites!

Grilled Chicken with Chipotle and Lime

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chipotle Tabasco
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs (2 1/2 lb total)
2 teaspoons mild honey

Stir together lime juice, oil, Tabasco, and salt in a liquid-measuring cup. Put chicken in a large sealable bag and add 1/3 cup marinade (reserve remainder in cup). Seal bag, forcing out excess air, and marinate chicken at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Stir honey into remaining marinade until dissolved to make sauce. Grill chicken (discarding marinade in bag) on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning chicken over occasionally and moving it to avoid flare-ups if necessary, until just cooked through, 10 minutes total. Brush both sides of chicken with some of reserved sauce, then continue to grill, turning over once, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Serve chicken drizzled with remaining sauce.Print Friendly and PDF

Grilled Chicken

I subscribed for years to this cooking magazine until they were bought out by another large company and the customer service changed considerably. I still love some of the recipes I have from them and am considering subscribing again but want to wait until we move as I suspect we will within the year. From: Taste of Home Aug/Sept 04

Grilled Thighs and Drumsticks

2 1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 c water
2 c cider vinegar
2 c ketchup
1 c vegetable oil
4 T salt
3 T prepared mustard
4 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 t pepper
1 t Liquid smoke
10 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
1/2 t seasoned salt

In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Pour into two large resealable plastic bags; add chicken. Seal bags and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight.
Prepare grill for indirect heat. Drain and discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt. Grill chicken skin side down, covered, over indirect medium heat for 15 minutes. Turn; grill 15-20 minutes longer or until juices run clear.

Yield: 12-14 servings.Print Friendly and PDF

Paprika Chicken

This one is adapted from The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook by Christopher Hirsheimer and Peggy Knickerbocker.

Paprika Chicken

1 T sweet smoked Spanish paprika
1 T salt
8 chicken thighs, rinsed, patted dry
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 small red onions peeled and cleaned, sliced in half
4 lemons, halved
Freshly ground pepper to taste

In small bowl, combine paprika and salt. Rub evenly over chicken. In large, heavy skillet, melt butter with oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, cut side down. Cook 5 minutes to brown. Flip; cook 5 minutes to brown. Add chicken, skin side up. Cook 10 minutes to brown; flip. Add lemons. Reduce heat to medium. Cover. Cook until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

To serve, place 2 thighs, 1 onion half and 2 lemon halves on each of 4 plates. Spoon sauce over each. Season each with pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

I would adapt and grill these!Print Friendly and PDF

Spicy Grilled Chicken

I have chicken thighs out to grill tonight but haven't decided which recipe to use for a marinade. I've decided to add a few to my site for reference. Enjoy!

Spicy Grilled Chicken

2-3 lbs. chicken pieces
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T liquid hot pepper sauce
1 T chili powder
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper

Combine vinegar, sugar, pepper sauce, powders, and pepper; mix well. Set aside 3/4 c. of mixture to serve as dipping sauce; use remaining for basting. Place chicken on grill. Brush with sauce. Grill for 15 minutes (10 minutes for wings), basting often. Turn chicken over and baste again. Grill for 20 minutes more (10 minutes more for wings) and continue basting every 5-15 minutes until the chicken is done (until chicken juices run clear)

Serve with the extra sauce as a side to dip.Print Friendly and PDF

June 11, 2007

Flounder Cordon Bleu

If you love seafood and you love chicken cordon bleu, you'll want to give this a try. I make another recipe with a sauce similar to this and it's a family favorite. I hope this one becomes a tradition in our family as well.

Flounder Cordon Bleu

2 lbs. flounder fillets
6 slices deli ham
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 egg beaten
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 c milk
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Place 1 slice each of ham and cheese in the center of each fillet. Cut to fit. Season with salt and pepper evenly over each fillet. Roll the fillets and secure with wooden picks. Gently dip rolls in beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs. Place in a baking dish. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium-heat; blend in flour. Slowly stir in milk and cook until thickened. Pour sauce over fish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily.Print Friendly and PDF

Tuna Salad

It's funny that when the children were smaller I would make tuna sandwiches once in awhile but only 1 of the 3 kids really liked them. For a few years I let tuna salad fall by the wayside as I really would rather make a whole meal than assemble a sandwich. I'm just not a sandwich girl, so my kids would eat real meals rather than me throwing together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I despise making PB&J!!!! I won't feed my kids them... never have!)

But suddenly, in the last 2 years my husband and my oldest daughter (16) can't get enough tuna salad! Whether they eat it on a sandwich, crackers or with a fork out of a bowl, they adore tuna. This is one salad that I will eat as well. I love the salty green olives in it.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
2 (6-oz) cans tuna
1/4 c sliced green olives
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
2 T finely chopped red onion

1 loaf french bread
2 T olive oil
Green leaf lettuce

Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients and stir together gently. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the french bread and brush cut sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sandwiches with bread, lettuce, and tuna salad.Print Friendly and PDF

June 10, 2007

Layered Fudge Cake

Sometimes I jot down recipes by hand or take a photo of them when I'm sitting in the waiting room of a dentist or doctors office, or even having my car fixed at the dealership. Other times I scribbed down (by hand) a recipe I see online but I don't have my printer hooked up to my laptop at the moment... still other times I get recipes from friends and family. I don't always jot down where I got the recipe from. This is one of those. I have it sitting in my files and I think it came from a magazine. Either way it's a rich, delicious cake that would be wonderful with a tiny dollop of whipped and sweetened heavy cream on top. Heavenly!

Layered Fudge Cake

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup Dark Cocoa
2 t baking powder
2 t espresso powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 cups water

12 oz. semisweet chocolate
6 oz. cream (light, whipping, or heavy) or milk, or a combination
flavors of your choice (see filling directions below)

8 oz. semisweet chocolate
4 oz. cream (light, whipping, or heavy)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) two 8" x 2" round cake pans. Note: These pans need to be at least 2" tall; if you have non-standard, shorter 8" pans, substitute 9" round pans.

To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9" pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

To make the filling: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, and the chocolate very soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very briefly if necessary.

Either flavor the filling all one flavor, or use a different flavor for each layer of filling.

To mix and match flavors, divide the filling into three parts, and flavor each differently to taste, with an extract; or with about 1 tablespoon liqueur for each flavor.

Divide the cooled layers in half horizontally, to make four layers. Place one layer on a serving plate, and spread with filling. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer.

To make the icing: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, and the chocolate very soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very briefly if necessary. Pour and spread the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drip over the edges and down the sides. All to set overnight to set up. Does not need to be refrigerated, but it does need to be covered.Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday Morning Waffles

As I sit here sipping my coffee I'm also making fresh waffles for my youngest daughter and her friend who I think will be waking up soon. I was wondering (to myself) if I posted my waffle recipe on my site yet... I'm sure I have... but I was going to check to make sure. In the meantime I realized while making it that I didn't have a few of the ingredients called for so, as usual (for me anyway) I improvised. I love the finished product so it looks like I have a brand new waffle recipe to offer my readers now!

It's a nice thick Belgian waffle that is happy with butter and syrup, or as a dessert with berries, powdered sugar or whipped cream. They are even delicous completely plain (that's how I typically eat them!) I think they taste a little like a cake donut. They
are fabulous and I hope you enjoy them too.

Belgian Waffles
1 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
2/3 c sugar

1 egg
2 T canola or vegetable oil
1/2 c heavy cream
1 c milk
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla

Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl with a whisk to blend. In another bowl add the rest of the ingredients and whisk smooth and incorporated. Add to the flour mixture and whisk until most of the lumps are gone but not completely smooth. At this point you can cover and refrigerate your batter until the next morning if you like, or you can use it right away. Using a waffle maker, make the waffles according to your appliances directions.

Makes about 8 large Belgian waffles.

Print Friendly and PDF

June 09, 2007

Black Bean Salsa

I haven't tried this one yet, as it uses dried beans and I typically buy my black beans in the can (quick and easy!). I made one similar using canned beans that I thought was pretty good, but it used prepared salsa in place of the tomatoes and chilies. I am anxious to try this one because I think it will have a fresher flavor.

Black Bean Salsa

1 pound dry black beans, soaked and cooked about one hour until just tender*
1 - 11 oz can white corn, drained
2 - 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice of one lime
salt to taste if using dry beans

Mix it all up. Chill overnight. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired. Serve with chips or use in burritos.

Print Friendly and PDF

June 08, 2007

Homemade Rice Mixes

When dinner is almost ready and I'm in a pinch for a last minute side dish I like to grab a box of Rice-A-Roni or similar. For the money they can't be beat, as I've been able to get them on sale for about a dollar each. However, I love to find ways of making my own mixes from scratch and if they taste just as good and can be made for less, then I'm happy. I found these mixes in various places on the net. It seems to be a popular item and that tells me that it's probably good. (A thousand people posting the same recipe can't be wrong... right?)

Onion Rice Mix
4 cups uncooked rice
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 T. parsley
1/2 t. salt

Lemon Dill Rice Mix

4 cups uncooked rice
1/4 cup grated lemon peel
1/4 cup powdered chicken soup base
2 T. dill
1 T. chives
1/2 t. salt

Vegetable Rice Mix
4 cups uncooked rice
1 envelope vegetable soup mix
2 T. dried minced onion
2 T. dried minced celery
2 T. dried minced pepper
1 t. salt

Spanish Rice Mix
4 cups uncooked rice
1/2 cup Mexican seasoning mix
1/2 cup dried corn
2 T. parsley
1 T. basil

Creamy Herb Rice
4 cups uncooked rice
1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup dried minced celery
2 T. parsley
2 T. thyme
1 T. marjoram

Combine the ingredients specified for each different mix, and store
Each different mix in a glass jar or tightly closed container on the pantry shelf for up to 4 months.

To Use: Mix 1 cup of any of the rice mixes with 2 cups of liquid, either water, juice, broth, or a combination along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Place the rice, liquid, and butter on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Immediately reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer the rice for 10-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

To cook in a microwave, combine the rice, liquid, and butter in a 1 1/2 quart casserole, and heat, uncovered on high or full power for 12 minutes. Top and stir once or twice during the cooking. Cover the casserole and let rice stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Variations: It's easy to make a meal in one pot if you sprinkle a cup
of rice mix around a roast or several meat or fish pieces before baking. Just remember to add 2 cups of liquid, cover, and bake for at least 30 minutes or until meat is tender. Or, try serving the prepared rice combined with stir fried vegetable, shrimp, or chopped ham. When making Spanish Rice, it's a good idea to use tomato juice or sauce as the liquid. The mixes make 32 oz. each.Print Friendly and PDF

The Worlds Best Cole Slaw

The sun is out and it feels almost 'summery', maybe that is why I'm suddenly craving good southern fried chicken, cole slaw and biscuits. Mmmm. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water.

I started making this cole slaw in 1993 when we lived in Nashville, TN. My handwritten recipe card is actually yellowed with age by now... which doesn't make me feel very good! LOL. I also notice that I wrote it out in green ink pen. It's my favorite recipe for cole slaw and I have a hard time eating anyone else's but mine since I'm a bit spoiled now! (I do love Long John Silver's Cole Slaw though!)

Cole Slaw

1 head finely chopped cabbage
1 medium carrot, grated
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
1½ T white vinegar
2½ tablespoons lemon juice

Combine everything but the cabbage and carrot and whisk until smooth. Add the cabbage and carrot. Chill 2 hours and serve.Print Friendly and PDF

Lemon Upside Down Cake

Sometimes I post recipes on my site that I haven't tried yet, but I don't want to 'lose' them so I put them here to hold. This is one of them. I don't have a skillet that I can make this in, so I would probably use a different heavy pan and play with the recipe a bit, but I'm a big fan of lemon and I like the idea behind this one. Will hold it here for future reference and future 'tweaking'.

Lemon Upside-Down Cake

4 small lemons (about 4 ounces each)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350º

Slice, grate lemons: Cut 3 of the lemons into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Remove seeds and set aside. You will have about 30 lemon slices. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon peel from the remaining lemon. Set aside the grated peel; save the lemon for another use.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or an ovenproof 10-inch saute pan until melted. Brush the sides of skillet with a little of the melted butter. Add the brown sugar, stir until it is moistened with the butter and spread it into an even layer. Arrange the lemon slices, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into a mixing bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the point of a knife onto the butter. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until creamy. Add the sugar and grated lemon peel and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add half the flour mixture and beat until blended. Add milk and beat until comibned, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until blended.

Assemble, bake the cake: Spread the batter over the lemons in the skillet to cover evenly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and the center tests done. Let the cake stand 5 minutes, then invert the skillet onto a platter.Print Friendly and PDF

June 07, 2007

Buffalo Onions

In our household we love almost anything that is hot and spicy! I've served buffalo wings and chicken for many years so even our kids eat (and prefer) hot and spicy over sweet sauces. Onions are a favorite of mine and my youngest daughter and just the thought of these makes my mouth water!

Buffalo Onions

1/2 c Red Hot Sauce
1/2 c butter, melted or olive oil
1/4 c chili sauce
1 T chili powder
4 sweet onions, cut into thick slices

Stir together hot sauce, butter, chili powder and chili sauce.

Brush mixture onto onion slices. Grill onions over medium for 10 mins. or until tender, turning and basting often with the chili mixture.

Mmmm!Print Friendly and PDF

Coconut Gelato

When I travelled to Italy last year I had the best gelato I've ever tasted. I ordered two flavors, pistachio and coconut. It was heavenly. I've been wanting to make it since I've returned home but it always slips my mind or I don't have the ingredients on hand. (I don't regularly buy nor keep Cream of Coconut on hand). I'm determined to make this in the next few weeks on a hot and sunny day. I want to eat it in itty bitty bits and savor the flavor as I did in Italy.

After searching the internet I have found the same exact recipe used over and over again. Not only on American sites, but French, Italian and Canadian. Tiny differences include people toasting the coconut first or blending it to make the pieces smaller, but the general recipe is always the same and posted all over the net. One of the differences in the ice cream verses gelato is to use all milk instead of heavy cream. I don't like the way ice cream coats my teeth and tongue so I'll be making gelato.

Coconut Ice Cream (if made with cream)
Coconut Gelato (if made with milk)

1 cup milk
1 - 15 oz. can cream of coconut
1 1/2 cups heavy cream or additional milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Combine the milk and cream of coconut in the container of a food processor or blender, and mix thoroughly. Stir in cream and flaked coconut. Pour into the container of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

*If you try this at home please note you do not use coconut MILK and you do not use UNsweetened cream of coconut. You need the thick, sweet cream of coconut. Many people confuse these as they do sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. They are completely different products and you can't complain it didn't turn out for you if you don't use the correct ingredients.
Print Friendly and PDF

Crab Cakes

I am always on the look out for the absolute perfect crab cake. I've found a few over the years that were good, a couple that were great, but I've never found one that made the skies part, the sun shine and a chorus of angels sing. (Ok I've HAD crab cakes that did that - at one particular restaurant we visit every year in Myrtle Beach, SC - but haven't yet found my own perfect receipe for them and they wouldn't give me their recipe when I asked a few years ago.)

This one is from Southern Living back in 2005.

It's a double-use recipe. They offer the suggestion of making crab cakes with it, but also using it to make stuffed jumbo shrimp. Both sound excellent to me!

Crab Cakes

3 white bread slices
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
Pinch of pepper
Dash of hot sauce
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and picked
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Pulse bread in food processor 6 times or until coarsely crumbled.

Whisk together mayonnaise and next 9 ingredients in a large bowl; gently fold in breadcrumbs and crabmeat (being careful not to break up crab). Shape mixture into 6 patties; place on a baking sheet. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Cook crab cakes, in batches, in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden.

Yield: Makes 6 cakesPrint Friendly and PDF

June 06, 2007

Simplified Chicken with Sour Cream Mushroom Sauce

The way I usually make this dish involves rolling up a chicken breast with ham inside and wrapping the bacon around the outside (recipe is on this site). However sometimes I don't have the time or energy and other times I use frozen chicken breasts or the kind that do not roll up very well. For whatever reason, I tweaked the recipe to make it quicker and easier... but still with the same great taste.

Simplified Chicken with Sour Cream and Mushroom Sauce

5 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I like the flavor of the 98% fat free the best)
1 c sour cream
1/2 c cooked, crumbled bacon (I use Hormel's brand that I buy at Costco)
salt and pepper

Place the chicken breasts in a baking pan. Mix the soup and sour cream. Spread over top of the chicken breasts and sprinkle with bacon pieces. Bake at 350 or 375 until the chicken is done, about 45 minutes for thawed or 1 1/2-2 hours if frozen.Print Friendly and PDF

June 05, 2007

Saving for Future

I keep trying and trying to find 'just the perfect' speghetti sauce. So far I've not found it, but tonight I found two recipes online that are being raved about by people who have tried them. Noting them for future reference.

Giada De Laurentiis
Everyday Italian; Episode: Light Pasta Classics

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Yield: 6 cupsPrint Friendly and PDF

Onion Roasted Potatoes

Honestly I wonder if I even have to list this one, as it's not even a real recipe. It's so easy it's a great recipe to have your 3 year old help you make. We had steak on the grill last night and as I looked at the potatoes in the pantry I suddenly remembered this 'recipe' and that I hadn't made it in a long time. I started making this recipe about 13 years ago and my entire family loves it.

Onion Roasted Potatoes

6 potatoes, washed well and diced or chopped
1 package dry Lipton Onion Soup Mix (or store brand is fine for this too)
1/4-1/3 c vegetable or olive oil

Pour the oil into your baking pan. Dump the diced potatoes in. Stir to coat (you can also put everything in a large ziplock baggy if you prefer, but I hate to waste a gallon sized baggy for this purpose) so I use my hands to mix. Sprinkle with the soup mix. Bake at 375 degree's 35 minutes. Serve.Print Friendly and PDF

Three P Salad

I found an old cookbook that my elementary school had put out years ago as a fundraiser. While flipping through it I spied a salad I don't remember seeing in there before, but as I'm not a real 'salad' person I guess I skip that chapter most of the time!

 It was strange sounding to me, so I turned the internet to look it up and see if anyone else truly made (and ate!) this salad. Well, there weren't too many entries, but I managed to track down a site that said it might have originated in the 1920's and another in the 50's. I found it was a recipe fad in 1969 which didn't surprise me, as the 50's and 60's had a lot of odd concoctions they called food (like lime jello with pickles and olives in it!). Yes, my FIL still makes that one. No. I don't partake of it.

Three P Salad

3 can of peans, drained
1 small jar sweet pickle relish
8 oz. peanuts, chopped

mayonnaise, just enough to moisten it.

Be brave my dear readers... be brave.Print Friendly and PDF

Homemade Rolls (Buns)

I've never been good at kneading my bread dough so about 10 years ago when I got a bread machine I became one of the happiest housewives around. I finally got a loaf of bread to rise and bake beautifully from scratch. I never actually bake the bread in the bread machine, as I don't like the shape of the loaf and it just isn't the same to me... but I use it to knead the dough. When I want to make bread and cinnamon rolls or something else at the same time I often will use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook to mix and knead. Both work well... and both work better than my own arms and hands seem to do.

Homemade Buns

12 oz. water
2 T butter
1 1/2 t salt
4 c flour
2 T dry milk powder
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t dry yeast

Put in the bread machine or KitchenAid mixer in the order listed. Turn on dough cycle (#9 on my machine) or on the #1 (lowest speed) on the KitchenAid. Let your dough cycle run on the machine (mine is 1 1/2 hours which includes mixing, kneading, 1 rising, 1 punch down and then a 2nd rising). In the stand mixer I mix it for about 20 minutes. I let it rest and rise about 1 1/2 hours and then punch it down, shape it and let it rise again. Both ways seem to work about the same. It's trial and error. Rising time depends on the temperature in your home.

To shape the buns I take the 2 lb. loaf and split it in half. Then I continue splitting each new piece in half until I have a piece of dough roughly 2 inches in diameter for a dinner roll or 3 inches for a larger hamburger bun. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart to let raise and touch each other for softer buns or rolls, or 3 inches apart to allow each space and will be a crisper roll. You can sprinkle flour on top for a finished look, or wait and brush with butter or shortening when they come out of the oven, or beat an egg white, brush the top of the dough and sprinkle with seasonings. Italian blend for a speghetti dinner, rosemary and thyme for a chicken entree' meal or any herbs your family tends to like.

Bake about 20-25 minutes at 375 until golden brown. The bake time depends on the size of your buns and the thickness and material of your baking sheet or pan. For a crisp roll you can bake on a baking stone and brush the top with water. Smaller rolls can bake in as little as 15 minutes and large hamburger sized buns may take up to 25.Print Friendly and PDF

June 03, 2007

Easy and Delicious Pumpkin Mousse

Tonight we had oven baked tilapia, broccoli with lemon pepper seasoning and a last minute dessert I whipped up by combining three different recipes that I found in cookbooks as well as my own 'winging it' on what I knew my family's tastes were. (You all know by now that I never, ever follow a recipe directly!) I have now a simple, quick and delicious mousse to share with you all.

- Just make sure you pronounce it clearly when you serve it to your 14 year old son. If he askes "What's for dessert?" and you quickly answer "Pumpkin Mousse...." and he gets a very confused look on his face, it might be because he's sure you just said you were serving Pumpkin
Juice for dessert. *grin*

Pumpkin Mousse

1/2 t rum flavoring

1 packet dry unflavored gelatin powder
1 (15-ounce can) pure pumpkin
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 c light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 egg yolks
1 t grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2-4 T powdered sugar (more or less to your taste)
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

In a microwaveable cup or mug, sprinkle the gelatin over a mixture of the rum extract and about 1/4 c water, or use 1/4 c of rum if you prefer a heavily rum flavor in your mousse. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Microwave the rum/water/gelatin mixture approximately 45 seconds until hot and stir until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add to the pumpkin mixture whisking gently or folding by hand.

Spoon into parfait glasses, top with a ginger molasses cookie. Chill.Print Friendly and PDF