Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peppermint Ice Cream

Mmh, I found this recipe today, and I was dying to try it! I LOVE peppermint. And if I make it at home, it's got to be healthier for me, right (please, just agree, and let me delude myself...) I understand this recipe comes from a man by the name of David Lebovitz, who is supposed to be divine with desserts.

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candy

1. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
2 . Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and set a medium-mesh sieve on top.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Then stir until cool over the ice bath. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
7. One the mixture is thoroughly chilled, add peppermint extract, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting the mixture after each addition, until you reach the desired level of peppermintiness. (Different peppermint extracts vary in strength. I like mine pretty pepperminty!)
8. Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
9. Once the ice cream has been formed in the ice cream maker, it will be fairly soft. Fold in the crushed peppermint candy. Put in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hot Spiced Cranberry Cider

This is really yummy, and a nice twist on traditional hot cider.

2 quarts apple cider
6 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 orange, thinly sliced

In a large pot, combine apple cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon slices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove cinnamon, cloves, and orange slices. Serve hot.

Bread Bowl Spinach Dip

I double this recipe to fit into two bread bowls. The recipe here is not doubled.

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 TSP dried parsley
1 TSP lemon juice
1/2 TSP seasoning salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TSP onion powder
1 (1 pound) loaf round, crusty Italian bread
***I used a wonderful loaf of rosemary olive oil Italian bread from Stater Bros.
I think it added a lot of flavor to this already yummy dish!
In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, parsley, lemon juice, and salt. Mix until well blended, then refrigerate.

Cut a circle out of the top of the bread and scoop out the inside. Tear the inside into pieces for dipping. Spoon the dip into the center of the bread bowl and serve accompanied by the pieces of bread for dipping.

Cocktail Meatballs

Not a bite was left of these sweet and tangy meatballs, so I call that a success!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
2 TBS water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 (8 oz.) can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 TSP lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.

In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.

****Please note - I got all my meatballs to come out evenly by using a dough scoop from Pampered Chef. Email me if you don't have one, and want another way to make all your meatballs the same size.

Herb & Garlic Cheese Spread

I served these with some nice whole wheat based crackers, but it could go on anything - vegetables, bread, etc. This was the most requested recipe at the party! Please note that margarine can not be substituted.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon Dill Weed
1/2 teaspoon Thyme Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Oregano Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Seasoning Salt

Combine all ingredients in food processor or mixer. Mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to one week.

Amazing Egg Nog

For everyone who attended my Christmas Party & Ornament Exchange this year, I wanted to say "thank you"!! It was such a lovely turn out, and the food everyone brought was delicious.

Everyone at the party was amazed at this wonderful tasting eggnog. I have to admit, I have never had eggnog before (it's made from eggs, and you drink it....and that's supposed to be good?!) so I made this for my guests. Well, my DH talked me into a sip, as he said it was the best he'd ever had too (that is HIGH praise indeed) and I must admit, it was good! I can't speak for other eggnog's, lol, but this is delicious (with out without the brandy/rum).

4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum or brandy, your preference
4 cups light cream (not whipping cream, just the regular cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.

Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cabbage Rolls

This is very popular with everyone I ever make it for. It's simple, and with the crockpot, makes for a nice hot meal at the end of a long day. As a side note, I've recently started using crockpot bags, from Reynolds, which makes clean up SUPER easy for this dish. Well worth every penny. I also double the sauce, because we like lots of sauce, and I don't like the top ones to get dry. You will need to check on the capacity of your crockpot to make sure there's room to double these.

  • 16-20 leaves cabbage
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, ground
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil cabbage leaves 2 minutes; drain.
  2. In large bowl, combine 1 cup cooked rice, milk, onion, ground beef, salt, and pepper. Place about 1/4 cup of meat mixture in center of each cabbage leaf, and roll up, tucking in ends. Place rolls in slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over cabbage rolls.
  4. Cover, and cook on Low 8 to 9 hours.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Not Your Mom's Pecan Pie

This is a little different than how a "traditional" pecan pie is made. My mom would be giving me the "you never do anything the way I do anyway" speach if I told her, so this recipe is dedicated to her.

If traditional pecan pie gives you a toothache just thinking about it, you will love this. A little less sugar, and the addition of a little molasses really enhances the wonderful tast of the pecans!

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch pie shell, chilled for an hour if freshly made, defrosted for 10 minutes if frozen.

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread pecans along the bottom of the pie shell. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over pecans. The pecans will rise to the surface of the pie.
2. Bake at 375°F for 45-50 minutes until the filling has set. About 20 minutes into the cooking you may want to use a pie crust protector, or tent the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent the pie crust edges from burning.
3. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Serves 8.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rosemary Roasted Chicken

This is a mouthwatering chicken that will leave your whole house smelling aromatic!

1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
4 TBS minced fresh rosemary
2TBS dried rosemary, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt (I use sea salt for this one)
1/2 tsp pepper
5 lb. chicken
10 small red potatoes, halved
6 medium carrots, halved and cut lengthwise, then cut in 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, quartered


1. In a sauce pan, melt butter and stir in the seasonings. Place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan.
2. Spoon half of butter mixture over chicken. Place carrots and onions around chicken. Drizzle remaining butter mixture over vegetables.
3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear and vegetables are tender, basting occasionally

Note: I always recover my chicken with foil for about 10-15 minutes, which makes this really juicy and moist.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vegetable Broth

I use vegetable broth a lot when I cook. I almost always substitute all chicken broth for vegetable. I think it makes the flavor so much better. I have recently started making my own vegetable broth, because it's more cost effective.

2 TBS olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in wedges
2 celery ribs, cut into 1 inch pieces
15 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups water
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender. Add leeks and carrots; cook and stir 5 minutes longer. Add the water, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

2. Remove from heat. Strain through a cheesecloth lined colander; discard vegetables. If using immediately, skim fat or refrigerate 8 hours overnight, them remove the fat from surface. Broth can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 4-6 months.

Yield: 5 cups

Mango Salsa

I made this today because I was craving salty and sweet. I forgot how good this really is!

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped1 JalapeƱo chile, minced
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juiceSalt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hearty Lentil Soup

There is nothing like a hearty bowl of soup on a cold evening. This reheats great for lunch the next day too!!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cubed red potatoes (1/4 inch pieces)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup medium pearl barley
8 cups water
2 TBS vegetable broth base (this is a paste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

In a nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Layer with the potatoes, celery, carrots, lentils and barley. Combine the water, vegetable base, white pepper, salt and lemon-pepper; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables and barley are tender. Add the tomatoes; cook 2 hours longer.

Baked (Fake) Steak

Funny name. This is either a recipe that you enjoy because it's cheap, easy, and taste good; or you don't because it's not really steak. Please note that you do need to prepare your meat overnight before you stick it in your crock pot. Also, if you're not using a lean ground beef, you will need to pat off the grease. My family enjoys it!


  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed beef and mushroom soup
  • 1 (.75 ounce) packet dry brown gravy mix


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, saltine crackers and milk. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and mix until well blended. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Press the beef mixture firmly into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 to 10 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from meat, and rub flour over the top side of the beef. Flip out of the pan onto waxed paper, and rub flour on the other side as well. Cut into pieces (I use a pizza cutter).
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the meat until browned on each side, turning only once. Remove to a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the water, condensed soup, and gravy mix. Pour over the meat in the dish. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven. This goes great with potatoes!

Slow Cooked French Dips

Despite the fact that we can still hit 80 degree's on any given day, fall is on it's way. The cool crisp mornings, the nice cold nights. By October 31st, we'll be nice and chilly. Which is why I'm enjoying cooking our favorite cold weather foods again. This is a recipe that's great to stick in the crock pot, and just go. By the end of the day, you've got a yummy dinner that takes just minutes to put on the table. The men in your life will particularly appreciate this....

4 pounds rump roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (I highly recommend Samuel Adams)***
salt to taste
6 French rolls
2 tablespoons butter

Trim excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion soup and beer. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through.

Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls. Serve the sauce for dipping.

***Do NOT use light beer. If the thought of beer just doesn't work for you, substitute beef broth. But the flavor won't be the same (and no, it doesn't taste like beer) and remember that the alcohol does evaporate, and your just left with really great flavor...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Buttermilk Biscuits

When it comes to breakfast, the only ones I really enjoy are fattening. So of course, I love biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, corn beef hash, and breakfast skillets. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to make homemade biscuits and gravy for years. My first failure was the biscuits. I guess Bisquick is not my friend for biscuit making. I recently tried this recipe, and I found success!

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, stirred before measuring
  • 2 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/4 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening, chilled
  • 2 TBS butter, chilled
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the chilled shortening and butter until you have pieces the size of small peas.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in buttermilk. With a wooden spoon (you can not use an electric mixer, you need the air mixed in to make these light and fluffy) gently blend the dry ingredients into the buttermilk, just until the mixture is clumpy - you do NOT want to over mix this!! You made need to add an additional TBS of buttermilk.

4. Transfer the dough to floured cutting board. Pat out into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. If you have a biscuit cutter, cut out your biscuits. If you don't, I suggest a glass juice cup, also lightly floured (grandmother used this for years, always worked for her). Place cut biscuits on a ungreased baking sheet (if you have a cooking stone, that's even better!) Bake on center oven rack for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Makes 10-12 biscuits, depending on the size cut.

Italian Baked Cannelloni

Our days are still warm here in the desert - pleasantly warm. But the nights definitely feel like fall is around the corner. By dinner time, my family is ready for something warm and filling. This recipe is another from my grandmother. I suspect that she could have gotten it from her sister in law's mother, who was Italian, but she didn't leave any notes on this one.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 TSP dried sage
  • 1/2 TSP dried rosemary
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 12 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 TBS all purpose flour

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 cannelloni (manicotti) shells

1. Make the Cannelloni Filling first: in a large skillet, saute the ground beef with the onion, sage and rosemary; cook until the meat is evenly browned and crumbly. Add salt and 1/2 white wine; cook until the wine is evaporated. Turn heat to lowest setting and start the Bechamel Sauce.

2. Bechamel Sauce: melt 4 TBS butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until completely blended. Slowly stir in mil and bring to a slow boil until the mixture thickens; remove from heat and stir into the meat mixture; mix well. Stir in the mozzarella and egg yolks; set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 TBS butter and saute onion until translucent. Add 1/2 cup white wine and let it cook until evaporated (your heat show be medium). Add tomato and salt. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Cook the cannelloni/manicotti noodles until al dente; cool pasta in cool water when done. Drain.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

6. Spoon the filling into each shell. Place stuffed pasta shells in a 9x13 baking pan (deeper is better). Cover with tomato mix.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

TIPS: Use real white wine, not cooking wine. A medium priced white wine ($10-$12) will give you the really good flavor. Cooking wine is little more than vinegar. Buy a cheap bottle of wine if you are cutting costs, rather than cooking wine.

My grandmother used to mix 1/2 lb. of pork and 1/2 lb. of sausage for the meat sometimes. Extra yummy, but also extra fattening.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Crockpot London Broil

Yes, my local supermarket was having a sale on London Broil. This is great to put on in the morning, and when you come home after a long day, it's just falling apart delicious.

2 pounds flank steak
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix

Slice the London broil to your desired thickness. Place meat in the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, mix together mushroom and tomato soup. Pour mixture over beef. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over top.

Cover, and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours.

yes, it's really that simple...

Summer London Broil

Summer is coming to a close for us, so I decided to have one last good barbecue before it's too cold (ok, I live in the desert, so it won't be cold until November - but it does get dark a lot earlier now!) This is a favorite Sunday meal for us. You will need to start this about 4 hours ahead of time to have time to marinade and tenderize this.

1 1/2 pounds top round, London Broil cut
meat tenderizer
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar

Sprinkle meat liberally with unseasoned meat tenderizer, then pierce with fork 1/8 inch apart and at least half-way through the meat on both sides. Rub in tenderizer. Place on a plate, cover, and set aside for an hour.

In a small bowl, mix together oil, lemon juice, seasoned salt, lemon pepper, garlic, parsley, and tarragon vinegar (note: if you don't have tarragon vinegar, which can be hard to find, substitute 2 TSP white vinegar and 2 TSP dried tarragon) . Pour marinade over meat, reserving a portion to be used for brushing (Note: DO NOT mix the reserved marinade with the meat; set aside for later). Pour remaining marinade over meat, recover dish and refrigerate for three hours, turning every half hour.

Preheat grill for hot heat.

Lightly oil grate, and position it 2 inches above the coals. Place meat on grill, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn meat over, brush with marinade, and cook for another 5 minutes or desired tenderness (I like my meat medium rare.)

Serves 4

Garlic Lemon Italian Chicken

Something all four of my children will easy feet!

3 lbs. chicken thighs or drumsticks
8 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups canola oil for frying
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup lemon juice
10 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350F

Arrange the chicken pieces in a enameled roasting pan.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, fry the potatoes, sprinkling the Italian seasoning and seasoning salt on them while cooking, in 1/2 inch deep oil until golden brown, then put them in the pan with the chicken.

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, parsley, onion, salt and pepper with the 1/2 cup reserved frying oil and pour this mixture over the chicken and potatoes.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours, basting the chicken and potatoes with the sauce mixture. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve hot.

Alfredo Sauce

Per the request of my friend Robyn :o)

  • 1/2 cup butter (NO substitutions)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic - we LOVE it)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (fresh parmesan, not the canned kind)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Note: this thickens up as it cools. If you have leftovers (I have to double it to have leftovers in my house) you will need to add more milk to get that nice creamy consistancy, but it doesn't take away from the flavor at all

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oatmeal Delights

These are a childhood favorite that my grandmother used to make me. I recently found the recipe, written in the back of one of her cookbooks that I inherited when she passed away. This is one of the best surprises I could have found...after I made it, I found I did need a 9x13 pan (not specified originally) and it need to cook for about 20-25 minutes in my over, so I updated that today.


  • 1 stick of margarine or butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract (or orange extract)
  • 3/4 TSP all spice
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1/8 TSP salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla, and all spice. Mix after each addition. 
  2. Add flour and mix well. Add oatmeal then nuts and chocolate chips. 
  3. Pour into 9x13 pan (sprayed with cooking spray first). 
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Check to see if it's done. 
  5. Let cool. Cut into bars.

Garlic Butter

I used to just buy frozen garlic bread. It was, perhaps, a tad on the pricey side, but it was good. Well, I made my grandmother's homemade spaghetti sauce recipe recently, and I NEEDED garlic bread. Since I did not have time to run to the store, I decided to just make some. How hard could it be? My first attempt, was bland. DH said to not be so cheap next time and just buy some. But I wasn't convinced. Surely it couldn't be THAT hard. After some more tweaking, I cam up with the following recipe, and it is DIVINE, if I do say so myself :o)

1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh, not in a can)
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika

In a small bowl, combine softened butter, minced garlic and Parmesan cheese. Season with garlic salt, Italian seasoning, pepper and paprika. Mix until smooth.

Southwestern Turkey Soup

What to do with the leftover turkey carcass. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we get a LOT of leftover turkey. This recipe solves the problem for us! Plus, if there happen to be any leftovers (has happened only once in the 3+ years I've been making it) this soup freezes up beautifully.


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey ***
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced
  • fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine turkey, broth, canned tomatoes, green chilies, fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and lime juice. Season with cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in avocado and cilantro, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Spoon into serving bowls, and top with shredded cheese.
  3. ***I usually cook the turkey carcass down to nothing to use for this recipe. I have a bad habit of not watching soups closely enough, and then I run out of broth. Using the broth from the turkey carcass really adds great flavor. It's also good if you just want more broth!

Tortellini Soup

This is a recipe that is not only a family favorite, but friends are always asking me for the recipe! I started out with a recipe that I found on another site, and then tweaked it to be what it is now. Even my four children enjoy this yummy soup.

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup merlot (red wine)
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini
  • 8 ounces fresh tortellini pasta
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings.

Saute onions and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Skim fat from the soup. Stir in zucchini and parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Oriental Rice Bowl

I am a HUGE fan of the terriyaki bowls you find at many popular Chinese food restaurants. Recently, I came across a recipe for one, and with a few tweaks, it now suits my craving for a "bowl" style dish, without the cost of going to my local take out!

1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
1 cup water
1 TSP onion powder
1 TSP ground ginger
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS hot chile paste (you can use up to 4 TBS, but that's not for the faint of heart)

  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, water, onion powder, and ground ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from heat, cool, and whisk in lemon juice and hot chile paste. Place sliced strips of uncooked chicken breast into the mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours before preparing chicken as desired.

I use 4 chicken breasts, sliced, to marinate. I often double the sauce recipe, and set a portion aside, so I can pour it over the rice and chicken. But we're a sauce family!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Beef Bourguignon

Many times in cooking, I will change a recipe. For either personal prefrence, dietary reasons, etc. This is NOT a recipe you can change! You need to use REAL bacon. You need to use peppercorns. You need to use fresh herbs. If you do not, it absolutely will not come out mouth watering delicous! Please don't email me and tell me you "have" to make changes, and can you substitute "xyz" for "abc". It won't taste right. End of discussion.


  • 3 cups Burgundy wine
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds cubed beef chuck roast

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cubed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1. For marinade: In a large bowl, combine the wine, cognac, onions, carrots, parsley, bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns and salt. Mix well and add the cubed beef. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 days.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
3. Strain the meat from the vegetables and marinade; reserve marinade. Dry meat with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
4. Add the meat and saute for 10 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer meat to a separate medium bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
5. In the same skillet, add the bacon and saute until lightly browned. Transfer the bacon to the bowl with the meat. Drain the skillet and return it to the heat. Pour a cup of marinade into the skillet to deglaze the skillet, scraping the bottom to loosen up all the little bits. Return this liquid to the reserved marinade.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the onion and carrot from the marinade, along with the additional onion that you've chopped, and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the meat and bacon, again using a slotted spoon, and return skillet to the heat. Add the flour to the skillet, combining with the oil and stir until well mixed and brown, about 2 minutes.
7. Now add the tomato paste, garlic, beef broth, reserved marinade and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and whisk to remove any flour lumps. Add this to the meat and vegetable mixture. Place entire mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
8. Bake at 300 degrees F for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. About 15 minutes before meat is done baking, melt butter in the skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. When meat is done, add the mushrooms to the meat mixture, stir well and let sit for about 15 minutes.

Serves 8

This recipe is from and not an original creation.

Chicken Penne Pasta

This recipe serves 6, and is very nice for summer.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 onion, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
3 carrots, diced
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces penne pasta
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.

2. In an electric skillet, saute garlic and onions in olive oil till onions are soft. Over high heat, quickly saute cut up chicken. Sprinkle with paprika, and cook until chicken is nicely browned.
Add vegetables and tomatoes. Simmer untill vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add pasta to mix and stir into sauce. Serve with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chicken Coq au Vin

This is a favorite, even for my four picky little eaters! This recipe feeds 8


  • 5 pounds chicken legs or thighs
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 containers of sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 TSP dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper

1. Remove and discard skin from chicken; rinse chicken and pat dry. Pull off and discard lumps of fat
2. In a electric skillet, stir bacon until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions and mushrooms and stir often until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chicken, broth, wine, mustard, and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is no longer pink at the bone (cut to test), 20 to 25 minutes. Cook at 250 degrees.
3. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from pan; set aside. Increase heat to high and boil liquid and vegetables to concentrate flavors, about 5 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Add to broth mixture and stir until it boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.