Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla
dash of salt

Stir all ingredients together and melt over hot water (double boiler). Thin with a little hot water if necessary.

Baker's One Bowl Brownies

I almost caused a rift in the family by breaking with the family brownie recipe and claiming the Baker's recipe as my standby. What can I say? I prefer fudgy brownies to cakey ones. Besides, you can make these with only a bowl and a fork!

4 squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350. Melt chocolate and butter together in a large microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir sugar into chocolate mixture until well blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour until well blended. Spread batter in a 9”x13” pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Do not overbake. Cool in pan. Makes 24 brownies.

(Several variations found inside Baker’s Unsweetened Choc. box. We particularly enjoy the variation with peanut butter swirled in.)

Snowcap Lemon Pie

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. lemon juice
3 T. cornstarch + 1 1/2 T.
4 T. butter
1 t. grated lemon peel
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 c. whole milk
1 c. sour cream
sweetened whipped cream

Mix sugar, cornstarch, butter, zest, juice, egg yolks, and milk together in a saucepan. Stir and cook until thick, about 5-10 minutes. Cool. Fold in sour cream and chill at least 12 hours.

Pour chilled filling into a pie shell and top with plenty of sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with sugared lemon slices, if desired.

Ultimate Quick & Easy Pasta Sauce

1 t. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. red wine or 2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. sugar
2 t. dried basil
2 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 t. black pepper
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained

Heat oil in a saucepan or large skilled over med. high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in wine or vinegar and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes. Stir in chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Yields 3 cups.

Chicken Parmesan

(not to be confused with Parmesan Chicken, which is much quicker and easier...)

4 chicken breasts
1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 c. parmesan
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning
1/8 t. black pepper
1/3 c. flour
2 lg. egg whites, lightly beaten
2 t. olive oil
4 c. hot cooked spaghetti (~8 oz. uncooked)
3 c. Quick & Easy Pasta Sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella

Flatten chicken to 1/4” thickness with a rolling pin. Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge each chicken breast in flour, then in egg whites, then in bread-crumb mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet over med. high heat and add chicken. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until done.

Place 1 c. spaghetti on each plate. Spoon 1/2 c. pasta sauce over each serving. Top each with 1 chicken breast and spoon 1/4 c. sauce over. Sprinkle each with 1/4 c. mozzarella. Microwave until cheese melts.

Chicken Couscous

This is one of those quick & easy recipes that always tastes good to me.

1 1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut in strips
1 T. olive oil
1 5.7-oz. box couscous
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. golden raisins
1 t. salt
1 3/4 c. water

Mix spices in a large Ziploc bag. Add chicken and shake to coat. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet and add chicken. Sauté until cooked through, ~8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

In skillet, sauté bell pepper and scallions until softened. Stir in raisins, orange juice, salt, and water. Bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous.

Remove from heat, cover, and let stand until liquid is absorbed, ~5 minutes. Add the chicken; mix thoroughly with a fork. Serves 4.

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

I'm going out on a limb and declaring these my favorite cookies.

1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. dried cherries, optional (this makes it for me, and is a deal-breaker for the rest of my family)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
1 c. toffee pieces

Sift together flour & baking soda and set aside. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg & vanilla; mix well. Add the sifted flour in additions on low speed until well combined. Stir in oatmeal, cherries if desired, chocolate and toffee pieces and mix to combine.

Dough can be frozen in logs, chilled for 1-2 days, or baked immediately. Bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

From Martha Stewart.

Chicken and Brie Sandwich with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Quite possibly the best sandwich ever.

1 t. olive oil
2 c. halved cherry tomatoes
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1 T. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
16 oz. loaf French bread
4 oz. Brie cheese, sliced
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
2 c. fresh spinach
1/4 c. mayonnaise

Cook tomatoes in 1 t. hot oil over med. high heat for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 T. vinegar. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Wrap handle of pan with foil and bake at 300 for 15 minutes.

Combine mayo, mustard and garlic in a small bowl. Spread mixture evenly over top half of cut bread loaf. Spoon tomatoes over bottom half of loaf. Arrange Brie over tomatoes, top with chicken. Add spinach and replace top half of bread. Cut loaf into 6 pieces.

Tortellini with Cherry Tomatoes and Corn

One of my favorite things to eat in the summertime!

10 oz. cheese tortellini
10 oz. frozen corn
1 clove garlic, halved
2 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
2 T. grated parmesan
2 t. olive oil
1/4 t. pepper

Cook tortellini in boiling water for 3 minutes. Add frozen corn and cook another three minutes. Drain well.

Rub the inside of a large serving bowl with the garlic halves; discard garlic. Add tortellini mixture, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients, tossing gently to coat.

Serves 6.

Penne with Chicken, Peas, and Asparagus

2 1/2 c. uncooked penne pasta
1 1/2 c. diagonally cut asparagus
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 lb. chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 T. olive oil
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Place the broth and 1/2 c. peas in a blender; process until smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil over med. high heat. Sauté garlic for 30 seconds. Add asparagus and chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is done.

Add pea purée, remaining peas, and salt; stir well. Stir in pasta and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Add cheese and pepper; toss.

Red Pepper Pasta Primavera

1 c. snipped fresh basil (or 1 c. parsley + 1 T. dried basil)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. ground cayenne pepper
8 oz. fettuccine
3 large carrots, julienned
1 med. onion, in thin wedges
1 med. yellow squash, julienned
10 oz. cooked chicken strips

For pesto, combine in a blender container or food processor: basil (or parsley), red pepper, mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, salt, cayenne, and 1/8 t. black pepper. Cover and blend or process till puréed.

Cook pasta for 6 minutes. Add carrots and onion. Return to boiling and cook for 2 min. Add squash; return to boiling and cook for 2 min. Drain pasta and vegetables. Stir in pesto; add chicken.

Toss well to combine. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Toffee Dip with Apples

3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. toffee bits
1 c. pineapple juice
6 Red Delicious apples
6 Granny Smith apples,
cut into wedges

Combine sugars, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Stir in toffee bits; mix well. Cover and chill.

Combine juice and apples in a bowl; toss well. Drain apples. Place in an airtight container and chill. Serve dip with apples. (I never use Red Delicious, because I don't care for them. Use whatever apples you like!)

Parmesan Chicken

As Denise once said when asked what to make for dinner, "Parmesan chicken, duh!"
It's just that kind of recipe.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. fine dry breadcrumbs
1/3 c. grated parmesan
1 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. melted butter
2 T. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
minced parsley

Blend breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Combine butter, garlic and lemon juice.

Dip chicken into butter mixture, then crumb mixture, coating well.

Place chicken in an 8x8” baking pan and pour any remaining butter mixture over. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Broccoli with Blue Cheese

2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, steamed

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and heat until bubbly. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat until mixture thickens. Add cream cheese and blue cheese to sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Pour over broccoli and serve.

(Arrange broccoli spears on a platter, alternating stems and tops. Pour the sauce down though the middle of the stalks.) Serve with rice.

Zesty Lemon Chicken

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 c. fresh lemon juice (~10 lemons)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. paprika
1 t. black pepper

Marinate chicken in lemon juice overnight.

Mix flour with salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large skillet and fry chicken until browned, about 10 minutes.

Arrange chicken in a single layer baking dish and pat generously with brown sugar (I usually use more than the recipe calls for.) Mix chicken broth with 2 T. of the marinade and pour around chicken.

Place a thin lemon slice and some chopped parsley on each breast and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Delicious with Broccoli w/Blue Cheese and rice.

Nicole's Avocado Salsa

6 roma tomatoes (or another type, if the roma tomatoes aren't available.)
3 avocados, finely chopped
3 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 11oz. can white shoepeg corn
1 15.8oz can black eyed peas
8 oz. zesty Italian dressing

Combine tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and corn in a medium bowl. Drain and rinse peas and add to bowl. Add avocados last and pour dressing over top, stirring as little as possible. Gently mix ingredients evenly with a large spoon. Serve with tortilla chips. Keep refrigerated up to one week (not that it will last that long!)

4 corn or flour tortillas (8')
2 T butter, melted
2-3 pinches of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut tortillas into triangles (four cuts per tortilla equaling 8 chips) and place on baking sheet. Brush each chip with butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 6-8 min. until golden and crisp. Let cool. Serve with fresh salsa or guacamole.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts, Caramelized Shallots and Garlic

From Jamie's Palate in the Bucks County News

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

3 shallots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Next, remove the exposed (cut) end of the sprouts. Then, cut them in half and place them in a bowl, mixing them with an eighth of a cup of olive oil and salt and pepper.

From there, spread the sprouts out evenly on a baking sheet. If they are bunched together, they will steam instead of roast, and you’ll lose the beautiful flavor because the sprouts will not caramelize. Put them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s okay if the outer leaves turn brown.

The shallots and garlic really make this dish. While the sprouts roast, heat an eighth of a cup of olive oil in a skillet. Then add the shallots, chopped thyme and garlic and sauté the mixture until it begins to soften and turns translucent.

Once you remove the sprouts from the oven, add them to the garlic-and-shallots mixture. Check the seasoning before serving.

Nicole's Strawberry Spinach Salad

My niece Nicole took a cooking class and made this salad for a family function. It was a huge hit!

6 c fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1 1/2 c fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
1/2 c red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 c swiss cheese, grated
1 c candied pecans (recipe below)

candied pecans:
1-1 1/4 c pecan halves 1 1/2 T sugar
3 T light corn syrup 1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Add nuts and toss well to coat evenly. Place nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick coating spray. (I like to use parchment paper.)

Bake for 12-15 min, or until golden brown. Immediately scoop nuts onto a sheet of foil and spread nuts apart to cool thoroughly. Stores for 1 week in an airtight container. (this is by far the easiest way of making candied nuts I've ever tried)

poppy seed dressing:
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian dressing
2 T sugar
1 T poppy seeds
3 T water
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c canola oil

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adding the oil last. It's best to first toss the spinach with the dressing, then add the strawberries, pecans, and onion and toss again. Add cheese at the very end. Don't over-mix.

Spaghetti Pie

1 lb. ground round
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. sour cream
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. chopped green onions
4 c. hot cooked spaghetti (~8 oz. uncooked)
1 1/3 c. shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. Cook meat in a large nonstick skillet until browned. Drain and return to pan. Stir in salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Combine sour cream, green onions, and cream cheese in a small bowl. Place the noodles in a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the sour cream mixture over noodles. Top with meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serves 6.

Green Beans with Bacon/Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 bacon slices
1/4 c. minced shallots
3 T. coarsely chopped almonds
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. brown sugar

Cook beans in boiling water for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Cook bacon in a small skillet over med. high heat until brown. Remove bacon from pan and crumble. Add shallots to bacon drippings in pan; saute 1 minute. Add almonds; sauté 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Add vinegar and sugar to pan and stir until sugar dissolves. Add crumbled bacon. Pour vinaigrette over beans, tossing gently to coat. Serves 8.

Brownie Pudding

{I found this recipe in one of those funny old ward cookbooks.}

1 c. flour
2 T. cocoa
1/2 c. chocolate chips
2 t. baking powder
2 T. oil
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional
1/2 t. salt

Mix all ingredients until smooth; then add just enough water to make a thick batter. Spread into an 8x8 pan.

Then mix 3/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture on top of batter.

Pour 1 3/4 c. hot water over top of this.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. It will make a brownie top with warm chocolate pudding underneath. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Barbecued Chicken Pot Pie

1 t. butter
2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. ground coriander
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 t. ground cumin
4 c. shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/3 c. chicken broth
2 T. brown sugar
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated
12 oz. bottle chili sauce (find it near the ketchup)
1 can refrigerated corn bread twists (or regular breadsticks)

Preheat oven to 375.

Melt butter in a large skillet and add onion, pepper, chiles and garlic. Saute 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in coriander and cumin; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar.

Add chicken, broth, brown sugar, chocolate, and chili sauce; cook 15 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.

Spoon chicken mixture into an 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Unroll corn bread strips and place dough strips in a lattice fashion over chicken mixture.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Americana Pot Roast

4 lb. rump roast
3 medium onions, sliced
2 T. paprika
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 c. red wine OR 2 T. red wine vinegar
1 can beef broth
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
6 carrots, cut into 1 1/2" thick pieces
6 small red potatoes
1/2 c. water

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat a large pan over med. high heat. Add roast, browning on all sides. Remove from pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes. Add paprika, basil, oregano, thyme, and garlic; cook 1 minute.

Add water, wine, and broth; bring to a boil. Stir in salt, pepper, carrots, and potatoes. Return roast to pan.

Cover and bake at 300 for 2 hours. Turn roast, cover and bake an additional hour or until tender.
Yields: 8-10 servings.

Denver Sheet Cake

{also known as Texas Sheet Cake in some circles!}

2 1/3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 c. butter
1 1/4 c. water
4 T. cocoa
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla

Mix flour, sugar and soda in a bowl. Bring butter, water and cocoa to a boil in saucepan. Pour over dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

1/2 c. butter
4 T. cocoa
6 T. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

To make frosting, heat butter, cocoa and buttermilk to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla, sugar, and nuts, if desired.

Note: A delicious, moist, chocolate cake. Cake freezes well. Serve with ice cream!

Mom's Barbecued Beef Brisket

Marinate a beef brisket in 2 oz. Liquid Smoke, a few dashes of worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and onion, garlic and celery salts. Marinate overnight.

Place marinated brisket in a covered roasting pan in a 275 oven. Cook 5 hours. Uncover and pour 6 oz. barbecue sauce over and baste every 15 minutes. Cook one hour longer.

This crowd-pleasing meat will make wonderful sandwiches or will make a great main dish for picnics or potlucks.

Linda's Orange Cream Cheese Biscuits

{I've made these for Christmas breakfast.}

2 pkgs. Extra-large buttermilk biscuits
1/2 pkg. cream cheese
juice and zest of 1 orange
powdered sugar

Open each biscuit and put a dab of cream cheese inside; pinch closed.

Dip each biscuit in melted butter and then in sugar that has orange zest mixed with it.

Stack the biscuits upright in a lightly greased Bundt pan and drizzle with any remaining melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees until browned.

Make a glaze of orange juice and powdered sugar. Unmold biscuits onto a large plate or platter and pour glaze over while biscuits are still hot. Dazzle your family and friends!

Judy's Chicken Salad

6 chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
12 oz. pkg. curly pasta
1 bag seedless red grapes
20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, optional
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3/4 c. slivered almonds

1 pint sour cream
1 pint mayonnaise
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 - 1 t. ginger, to taste

Cook and drain pasta. Toss with chicken, grapes, pineapple, celery, and onions. Mix together dressing ingredients and toss with salad. Refrigerate several hours and add almonds just before serving. Wonderful with croissants. Serves a crowd.

Oatmeal Rolls

This is a very simple yeast dough recipe, yet it yields impressive and delicious results!
(Lucas's favorite thing to eat in the world.)

2 c. water
1 c. oatmeal
1 1/2 t. salt
3 T. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1/3 c. warm water
4 3/4 – 5 1/4 c. flour

Cook oatmeal in 2 c. water and salt. Stir in butter and brown sugar.

Proof yeast and 1 T. sugar in 1/3 c. warm water.

Beat cooled oatmeal mixture and egg. Add yeast, then flour to form a soft dough.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. Punch dough down and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Shape into balls and place in 2 round cake pans (greased). Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks; brush tops with butter.

Makes 20-24 rolls.

Winter Salad

(we enjoy it all year round)

8 c. mixed greens
3/4 c. toasted, chopped pecans
3/4 c. dried cranberries or cherries
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1 med. red onion, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, sliced

2/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. dry mustard
1/3 c. cider vinegar
(the dressing originally called for 2 T. grated onion, but I'm usually too lazy to do it.)

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined. Mix salad ingredients and add dressing to taste.

Charmaine's Ultimate Fudge

1 1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 1/4 c. sugar

Put above ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat to dissolve sugar. Cook to soft ball stage (240 degrees) and remove from heat.


2 small packages of chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
16 oz. walnuts
1/2 stick butter
1 pt. Marshmallow topping
large Hershey bar with almonds

Pour hot mixture over above ingredients and stir well to mix and melt chocolates. Pour mixture into a greased jelly roll pan and allow to cool. Cut into squares. Makes a hefty batch of pure bliss.

Poppy Seed Cake

{This is one of only two recipes my family uses which involves a cake mix! Super quick and easy.}

1 yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. oil
1 t. butter flavoring (I sometimes put in a t. of butter instead)
1/3 c. sherry or water
1/3 c. poppy seeds
4 eggs

Combine all ingredients and beat well. Pour batter into a greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (test with a toothpick for doneness; there should just be crumbs, no gooeyness). Enjoy your fabulous creation. (This was the groom’s cake at my wedding reception.)

Marinated Flank Steak

Marinate 2 lbs. of flank steak in:

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 lg. Clove garlic, minced
2 T. sugar
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. ginger

Put all ingredients in a ziploc bag and place steak inside. Refrigerate overnight, turning once. Grill on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.

Let rest 10 minutes and slice thinly against the grain.

Grandma's Angel Biscuits

5 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3 T. sugar
3/4 c. shortening
1 T. dry yeast
1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 c. buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients together and cut in shortening. Add buttermilk and yeast dissolved in water. Mix with a spoon until moistened. Cover bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Roll out as much dough as needed – 1/2” – 3/4” thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter or a glass. Place close together on a baking sheet or pan. Bake 12 minutes in a 400 oven.

Grandma's Enchiladas

Large onion, chopped
2 T. flour
1 quart crushed tomatoes
18 corn tortillas
1 1/2 T. chili powder
1 lb. ground beef, browned
garlic salt to taste
shredded cheese

Sauté onion and add flour. Stir well, then add tomatoes. Add seasonings and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in a small skillet and dip corn tortillas to soften. Drain on paper towels.

For each tortilla, place a spoonful of beef and a small handful of cheese on one side. (If desired, sprinkle a small amount of chopped raw onion as well.) Place a spoonful of the tomato sauce inside and fold tortilla over. Place folded tortillas in a large baking pan (they can be squished together if necessary) and pour sauce over. Sprinkle lots of cheese on top and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Garnish with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and sour cream as desired.

{These are also good with chicken or just cheese.}

Lazy Daisy Cake

{This is the kind of dessert you can make almost any time because it is quick and easy and you most likely have the ingredients on hand.}

1/2 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
4 T. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
5 T. butter
1/2 t. baking powder
4 T. canned milk
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. coconut

Heat milk to scalding and remove from heat. Add butter. Beat eggs and add sugar, baking powder, salt and milk/butter mixture. Add flour and vanilla and beat well. Pour into an 8”x8” square cake pan (or double recipe for a 9”x13”).

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Mix together brown sugar, butter, canned milk and coconut for topping. Spread over still warm cake and place under the broiler just until topping is lightly browned and bubbly.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

{My grandmother invented this, which amazes me to no end. I don't invent recipes. You can't serve this to people without being asked for the recipe.}

1 angel food cake mix
Reserve 2 T. mix and replace with 2 T. cocoa

Follow instructions for cake. (must be made a night in advance)


Melt together 40 large marshmallows
1/2 c. milk
10 oz. giant Hershey bar w/almonds (or without, to taste)

Cool to room temperature, then fold in 1/2 pint of heavy cream, whipped.

Slice cake into three layers. Frost in between layers and around outside of cake. Chill several hours before serving. (Also may be frozen at this point.)

Hot Punch

1 small can frozen orange juice
1 small can frozen lemonade
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
10 cups water (or more, to taste)

Mix all together and heat in a large pan. Enjoy!

Jess's (now Marc's) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter
2-3 T. peanut butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Cream butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Mix in vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients and add chocolate chips.

Press dough into balls. Bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes. Allow to rest for a few minutes on cookie sheet.

These have an unusual, crumbly texture, and are a definite family favorite around here.

Makes 1 dozen large cookies.

Frozen Cheesecake

{This is my kind of cheesecake -- not too heavy on the cheese!}

1 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
3 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 t. salt
1 c. heavy cream
graham cracker crumbs

Cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Separate eggs and beat in yolks. Add vanilla and salt.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture.

Whip cream and fold into mixture.

Spread a layer of graham cracker crumbs in bottom of a 9x13 inch pan or springform pan, pour in cream cheese mixture, and freeze.

Grandma's Sweet Roll Dough

2 T yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. + 2 t. sugar
1 cube butter
2 c. water
2/3 c. powdered milk
2 t. salt
7 c. flour
2 eggs

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water with 2 t. sugar.

Melt butter; add 2 c. water and powdered milk.

Put milk mixture, 1/2 c. sugar, and salt in mixer. Add 3 c. flour and beat well.

Add yeast and beat well.

Add eggs and beat very well.

Add another 4 c. flour and mix.

Let rise 2 times (45 minutes each).

Form into loaves of cinnamon bread or rolls.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees. Brush bread with butter after baking.

*For caramel rolls, place a generous amount of brown sugar in the bottom of a cake pan. Dot with butter and sprinkle with pecans. Roll out dough with butter and brown sugar and form into rolls. Place in prepared pan. Turn out of pan after baking onto a wire rack.

*Generously frost cinnamon rolls after baking!

Blackberry-Lemon Pudding Cake

This is one of my favorite Spring/Summer desserts. By the way, I am a big Cooking Light fan; I was a subscriber for years and years and they have great recipes. Their website is very cool, too. (This is 6 points for you Weight Watchers fans.)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl; add buttermilk, rind, juice, margarine, and egg yolks, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Beat egg whites at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into buttermilk mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Fold in blackberries.

Pour batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Place in a larger baking pan; add hot water to larger pan to depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 285(23% from fat); FAT 7.2g (sat 1.7g,mono 2.8g,poly 1.8g); PROTEIN 6g; SODIUM 198mg; FIBER 3.3g; CARBOHYDRATE 51.2g

Green Green Salad

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. fresh lime juice
3 T. water
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. white pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. celery salt
6 paper-thin slices of fresh lime

1 1/2 quarts mixed greens

anything green - my favorites include thawed frozen peas, green onions, avocado, cucumber, kiwi. Grandma adds celery and green grapes. Add anything you like that is green! Toss the salad with just enough dressing to cover the greens.

Pasta with Carrot/Shallot Sauce

This is something I really like, and I frequently make it when I haven't planned or shopped for anything because I usually have all the ingredients on hand. It's also quick and easy!

5 or 6 carrots, diced fairly small
4 or 5 shallots, minced (I have used 1/2 an onion in a pinch)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. white wine
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
evaporated milk or fat free half-and-half
1 pound fettuccine

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Saute the carrots and shallots until they start to get soft and lightly browned. Add the tomatoes (undrained) and the wine. (You can omit the wine if you wish -- it will still be good, but there won't be as much depth to the flavor.)

Simmer until the carrots are just soft (not mushy). Use an immersion blender to puree most of the sauce -- you still want it to be a little chunky (or not, depending on your preference!). If you don't have an immersion blender, just puree 2/3 of the sauce in a regular blender and then return to the skillet. Add the butter to smooth out the sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the parmesan cheese and maybe 1/4 c. of evaporated milk. (How I love a good rosy-colored sauce!) Serve over al dente fettuccine or angel hair pasta.

Double Chocolate Chews

1 ¾ cup Flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 c semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 ½ tbs light corn syrup
1 tbs water
2 ½ tsp vanilla
3 large egg whites, beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt and set aside. Melt ¾ cup chocolate chips and oil in a sauce pan over low heat until melted. Pour melted chocolate into mixing bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, syrup, water, vanilla and egg whites to chocolate and stir well. Add flour mixture and remaining chocolate chips.

Space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake 7-8 minutes or until just set. Cool on pans 2 minutes then transfer to wire cooling racks.

1 point!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 stick of butter, melted
3 very ripe bananas
1 egg
1/4 c. milk

1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Melt butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Mash bananas with butter. Add egg and milk and stir well.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add banana mixture and stir just until mixed. Stir in chocolate chips, and spoon batter into a muffin tin.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 muffins.

Hannah's Chewy Ginger Cookies

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup molasses
¾ cup sugar

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening on low for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups of sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses until combined. Mix in flour mixture, stirring by hand if necessary to incorporate it all.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in the ¾ cup sugar and place 1 ½ inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are puffed. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen

Amie's Gooey Chex Mix

Box of Rice Chex
Half box of Golden Grahams (secret ingredient)
2 c. coconut
8 oz. slivered almonds
Small bag of mini marshmallows

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. light Karo syrup
2 sticks of butter

Spray 2 large bowls with PAM then add all the dry ingredients together in the two bowls (2 for easier mixing later)

On the stove--melt the sticks of butter, karo syrup and sugar all together. When it comes to a boil, boil for 2 minutes then pour over the dry mixture and toss until completely incorporated.
**Spread mixture onto wax paper or onto the counter sprayed with PAM.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This recipe is from Ann Hodgman's Beat This! cookbook. I just can't say enough good things about her cookbooks. Or this cake.

1/2 c. water
1 1/3 c. sugar
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 c. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and brought to room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
whipped cream for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9" round cake pan and line it with a round of parchment or waxed paper to fit.

In a heavy saucepan, combine the water with 1 c. of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Boil it for 4 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees. Take the pan off the heat and immediately add the chocolate pieces, stirring until they are melted and smooth. If the mixture stiffens, don't worry; it will loosen up again when you add the butter. Add the butter immediately, bit by bit, stirring until all of it is used.

Place the eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes are up, turn the mixer down to low. Add the chocolate mixture, stirring only until it is fully incorporated. Do not overbeat, or air bubbles will form.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Set the pan in a slightly larger baking pan and pour hot water all around it. Do not allow the sides of the pans to touch. Place the cake in the oven and bake it for 25 minutes. Insert the sharp point of a knife into the center of the cake; it if comes out clean, the cake is done. If it does not come out clean, continue to bake for up to 10 minutes. Don't bake the cake for longer than 35 minutes.

Remove the pan from the water bath and immediately unmold it onto a cookie sheet. Remove the parchment or waxed paper. Invert a serving plate over the cake and turn it right side up onto the serving plate. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Whipped cream is mandatory.

{That last step was the tricky part for me. I wasn't careful enough about inverting the cake, and it kind of went splat on the cookie sheet. Max called it Chocolate Splat, but it was still very delicious! The recipe says it serves 6-8, but it is extremely rich, so I would say that is a conservative estimate.}

Katrina's Authentic Italian Lasagna

(Katrina is my best friend from Seattle. She learned to make this from a friend who served a mission in Italy. It's totally different from American-style lasagna, and it's also one of my very favorite dishes.)


Mince the following ingredients to a pulp: (I do it in my mini food processor)

1 onion
4-5 cloves garlic
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery

Cover the bottom of a large, heavy stockpot with good-quality olive oil. Add the minced vegetables and saute. Add:

1 c. white wine
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
salt and white pepper to taste
1 lg. can crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce

Simmer for a good long time. When sauce is finished, turn off the heat and add 1 jar of good-quality alfredo sauce (Classico is good). (By the way, I've tried making my own alfredo sauce for this recipe and you really can't tell the difference.)

spinach lasagna noodles

2 eggs
1 can or 1 pkg. frozen spinach, drained and sqeezed dry (juice reserved)
about 2 c. flour?

Mix eggs and spinach with enough flour to make a stiff dough. (Add a little of the spinach juice if it gets too stiff.) Knead well, until dough is nice and elastic. Make flat lasagna noodles with a pasta maker. (I suppose you could do this with a rolling pin, but I'm really not that committed.)

Layer sauce, noodles, and good shredded parmesan cheese in a 9" x 13" pan. Continue the layers until 1) you're out of pasta, or 2) your pan is full. End with sauce and another layer of cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. Enjoy!

Mousse au Chocolat

200g good quality semisweet baking chocolate (preferably imported)
6 very fresh eggs
Grand Marnier liqueur (optional)

Melt the chocolate in the microwave with 4 T. water (or Grand Marnier) for about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove chocolate from microwave and stir until completely melted. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Separate the eggs; beat the whites with a dash of salt until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg yolks into the melted chocolate.

Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Carefully fold in remaining egg whites. Chill for 3 or more hours.

I like to serve it with fancy cookies, but you could also add a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 6.

Cream Pie

(Just so you know, I had never made just a plain vanilla one before Jill requested it. I usually pour the custard over sliced bananas or mix in shredded coconut, but to each his own!)

mix in a medium saucepan:
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
rounded 1/3 c. flour

whisk in:
3 c. milk (whole is delicious here)

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Boil for one minute.

Remove from heat and pour about 1/3 of the mixture into a heatproof bowl with 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten. (I use the Pyrex measuring cup that I used to measure the milk.) You must whisk the egg yolks the whole time you are pouring in the hot mixture.

Immediately pour the egg mixture back into the pan and return to a boil (this will be very fast). Cook for 1 additional minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 4 T. butter and 1 1/2 t. vanilla.

Prepare an ice bath. I plug up one side of my sink and put in lots of ice cubes and about 3 inches of cold water. Place the hot pan in the ice bath. (This cools the custard down more quickly.) Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent a skin from forming on the custard. When it has reached room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

**To make a delicious chocolate cream pie, increase the sugar to 1 1/2 c., the flour to a rounded 1/2 c., and add 1 1/2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate when you add the milk.**

To assemble the pie, pre-bake a pie crust, let cool, and pour in the chilled custard. Top with a generous amount of whipped cream. Sprinkle with toasted coconut for coconut cream pie, chocolate shavings for chocolate pie. I have tried a lot of different pie crusts, but, truth be told, I am not a crust connoisseur. For me, the crust is just a vehicle for the filling. Lately, I have been using this recipe from the old Betty Crocker cookbook.

For a 9" pie crust:

Mix together 1 c. sifted flour, 1/2 t. salt. Cut in 1/3 c. shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with 2 T. ice water and quickly mix with fingertips. (You don't want to handle the dough too much or it will not be tender and flaky.) Gather the dough together and press firmly into a ball. Roll out into a circle about 1" larger than your pan. Fit pastry loosely into the pan -- avoid stretching to prevent shrinking. Crimp the edges and prick all over with a fork. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Sheepherder's Bread

3 c. very hot water
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. salt
2 T. yeast
9 - 9 1/2 c. unsifted flour

In a heavy-duty mixer, combine the first four ingredients. Stir until butter melts; let cool to warm. Stir in yeast, cover, and set in warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Add 5 c. flour and beat to form a thick batter. Add enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Knead 5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.

Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour, punch down; let rise another 20 minutes and punch down again. Knead on a floured board to form a smooth ball. Grease inside of a Dutch oven or large heavy-duty stockpot (including lid). Place dough in the pot and cover. Let rise in a warm place until dough pushes up lid about 1/2" - approximately 20-30 minutes.

Bake, covered with lid, in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. Loaf is done when golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Brush the top with butter and cool on a wire rack.

Serves a crowd!

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

{recipe from Martha Stewart -- photo from Amy S.}

one sheet of frozen puff pastry dough
one round of brie (I got it at Costco)
1/2 - 1 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 - 1 cup of brown sugar
egg yolk

Thaw puff pastry sheet. Roll it out to a larger, thinner rectangle. Cut out two circles that are bigger than your brie. Place the cheese on one circle of dough and pull up around the sides of the cheese. Top with as much brown sugar and pecans as you can manage to pile on. Cover the entire thing with the other circle of pastry, pinching the two circles of dough together. Use the scraps of dough, if desired, to decorate the top -- adhere with an egg wash and brush top of pastry as well. (In the past I have done leaves. This time I used my new teeny tiny alphabet cookie cutters -- thanks, Mom! -- to spell out Happy New Year.)

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 20 minutes more. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with crusty bread and tart apples.

Peanutty Noodles

Peanutty Noodles (from Cooking Light)

2 carrots, peeled
1 T. vegetable oil, divided
2 t. grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. fat-free chicken broth
1/2 c. natural-style peanut butter
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 T. rice or white wine vinegar
1 t. chili garlic sauce
1/4 t. salt
2 c. red bell pepper strips
1 pounds snow peas, trimmed
8 c. hot cooked linguine (about 1 lb.)
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Shave the carrots lengthwise into thin strips using a vegetable peeler; set aside.

Heat 1 t. oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and next 5 ingredients (broth through salt); stir until well-blended. Reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

Heat 2 t. oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and snow peas; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Combine carrot, peanut butter mixture, bell pepper mixture, and linguine in a large bowl; toss well. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature (I even like it cold).

Yield: 10 1-cup servings.

296 calories
8.8g fat
11.7g protein
3.4g fiber

Limpa Rye Bread

Mix together: 1/3 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. molasses
2 t. salt
2 c. rye flour
2 c. boiling water

Set mixture aside to cool.

In mixing bowl, combine cooled molasses mixture, 1 T. yeast dissolved in 1/2 c. water, and 6 c. flour. Knead well (5 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand). Let rise twice.

Mold into 3 round loaves and let rise until double. Bake at 300 for 30-35 minutes. Brush loaves with butter when you take them out of the oven. Allow to cool before cutting.

Pasta with Grilled Vegetables

10 oz. short pasta (I used whole wheat penne -- Target makes ww pasta that is both inexpensive and tasty)
2 bell peppers (I used yellow and orange), cut in large chunks
1-2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
3 t. crumbled blue cheese (I used 3 tablespoons!)
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

The recipe calls for grilling the vegetables, but since we still have snow, I just sautéed them in a little olive oil. Either way, cook the peppers and asparagus while the pasta is cooking.

In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, blue cheese, and tomatoes. Add the drained pasta and the cooked vegetables and mix well. Add a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary.

Fast, easy, good. Enjoy!

Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

(from Everyday Food Great Food Fast)

serves 6
prep time: 25 minutes
total time: 1 hour

4 flour tortillas
1 T. canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 jalapeno chile, minced (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. ground cumin
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces beer or 1 1/2 c. water (I used water)
10 oz. frozen corn
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (I used colby jack)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the tortillas, if necessary, to fit into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the beans and beer or water to the skillet, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium; simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and scallions, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Fit a tortilla in the bottom of the springform pan; layer with 1/4 of the beans and 1/2 c. cheese. Repeat three times, using 1 c. cheese on the top layer. Bake until hot and the cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes. Unmold the pie; sprinkle with scallions if desired. Slice into wedges, and serve immediately with salsa and sour cream.

Quick, easy, and delicious!

CPK-style Cobb Salad

Serves 2

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
3-4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, diced
2 roasted beets (canned in a pinch, NOT pickled)
1 avocado, diced
crumbled blue cheese
blue cheese dressing

Divide lettuce among two plates. Arrange diced ingredients in separate piles and drizzle all with dressing. Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Cover a whole chicken with water and simmer with:
salt & pepper
1 whole onion
1 rib of celery
1 carrot
2 or 3 bay leaves

Simmer for 2 hours. Cool chicken, skin and cut into bite sized pieces. Discard vegetables and bay leaves, skim fat. Season broth with garlic salt, table salt and pepper to taste. Add bite-sized chicken pieces, freshly chopped celery and carrots and noodles.

Homemade noodles:
1 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
Enough cream (or milk) to fill 1/2 an eggshell.

Beat egg slightly with a fork. Add cream and stir. Stir in flour and salt. Knead gently; roll out on floured surface. Cut into thin strips with pizza cutter. (The noodles will expand as they cook...so thin strips are best!) Add to soup and cook at least 45 minutes.

**Note: I usually double the noodles...they are the best part!

**I made this with canned chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken, and I thought it was even better! And much faster.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pie
Emeril Lagasse

2 cups crushed chocolate cookies (Graham crackers, oreos or chocolate wafers)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter, in all
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (do not omit! unless you don't like a crunchy texture)
2 3/4 cup heavy cream, in all
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the cookie crust with 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter. Combine the mixture thoroughly and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes.

In an electric mixer with a whip attachment, whip the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup peanut butter, milk and nuts and whip for 1 minute. Turn the peanut butter mixture into a mixing bowl. Whip 2 cups of the heavy cream and fold into the peanut butter mixture. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and refrigerate for 2 hours or until the pie is set.

In a sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the chocolate with the remaining cream, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove the pie from the springform pan and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour the chocolate topping over the pie, covering the top and sides completely. Refrigerate the pie for 2 hours or until the chocolate coating is set. (I often leave the pie in the springform pan and just pour the chocolate on top.)

Green Pork Chili

Green Pork Chili
serves 8

1 pound tomatillos (husks removed), washed
2 T. olive oil
4 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed and cut into 1" chunks
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 4-oz. cans diced green chiles
1 T. dried oregano
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed for less heat (I used one because that's all I had)
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro (I forgot it)
shredded cheddar and lime wedges for serving

In a blender, purée tomatillos until smooth; set aside.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over med. high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown pork, 6-8 minutes per batch.

Return pork (with any juices) to pot. Add tomatillos, green chiles, oregano, onion, garlic, jalapenos, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, and stir. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 2 hours. (To store, refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.)

Just before serving, stir in chopped cilantro; serve chili with grated cheddar and lime wedges.

(It was more watery than I was expecting, so I served it over cooked rice. Yum.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

18 Oreos
12 oz. chocolate chips
3 pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 t. vanilla
4 eggs

Crush Oreos and press crumbs into a 9" springform pan to form a crust.

Microwave chocolate chips 1 1/2 minutes, and stir until completely melted.

Beat cream cheese for 2 minutes. Add condensed milk and vanilla. Mix on low, just until combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix just until combined.

Add chocolate and mix just until combined.

Pour into prepared crust and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or just until the center is set. Turn oven off and cheesecake remain in oven for 30 minutes without opening the door. (may be baked in a water bath)

Remove cake and run a knife around the edge of the pan. Cool in pan on a wire rack to room temperature, then cover and chill for 8 hours.

Remove sides of pan and pour warm ganache over top and sides of cake. Chill 1 hour before serving.

Chocolate Ganache
1 c. cream
1 c. sugar
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 squares German chocolate
(may substitute chocolate chips for chocolate squares)
a few grains of salt
1 t. vanilla

Melt all ingredients except vanilla over low heat until combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly.

Crab potatoes

(This recipe was originally crab-stuffed twice-baked potatoes, but Mom came up with a much simplified, casserole version -- it tastes just as good but is so much faster and easier!)

3 pkgs. Idahoan Baby Reds instant mashed potatoes
lg. can lump crabmeat
2 T. dried onion
6 T. butter
dollop of whipping cream or milk
salt and pepper
2 c. grated sharp cheddar

Mix up potatoes according to package directions. Stir in remaining ingredients and bake until browned and heated through. Serves a crowd! (may be reduced)

Shannon's grandpa's homemade granola

3 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1 t. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and vanilla.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

After baking, mix in 1/2 . dried cranberries, if desired.

Butternut Squash Gratin w/Blue Cheese and Sage

6 servings

2 lbs. cubed, peeled butternut squash
1-2 slices bread
4 t. olive oil
2 c. thinly sliced onion
1 T. chopped fresh sage
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Steam squash, covered, until tender.

Pulse bread in food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. Place crumbs in a bowl and add 2 t. oil, toss with a fork.

Heat remaining oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Transfer onion to a bowl and add squash, sage, and salt and pepper.

Spoon into a 7x11 dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle blue cheese and bread crumbs on top and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Splendid Raspberry Spinach Salad

2 T. raspberry vinegar
2 T. raspberry jam
1/3 c. vegetable oil
8 c. spinach, rinsed and stemmed
3/4 c. coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 c. fresh raspberries
3 kiwis, peeled and sliced

To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and jam in blender or small bowl. Add oil in a thin stream, blending well.

Toss spinach, 1/2 of nuts, 1/2 of raspberries and 1/2 of kiwis with dressing.

Top with reserved berries, nuts and kiwi.

Serve immediately.