Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup

Ever since the weather has turned rainy this November, my thoughts have been filled with hearty one-pot meals and homemade soups. I made this soup on Friday night and we ate it for every meal until Sunday lunch. It tasted better the longer it sat in the refridgerator. By Sunday it was perfectly delicious and we were sad to see the last bowl of soup go.

1-lb thin cut round steak, sliced thinly across grain and then diced into tiny cubes of beef
2 or 3 stalks of celery, diced small
3 large carrots, diced small
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced small
3/8 cup of uncooked barley
1 box-4 cups of Low Sodium Beef Broth
4 cups water
4 large scallions, sliced small
2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion
1 large bay leaf
seasoning salt
ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
Worcestershire sauce-couple of dashes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste

Heat a little olive oil on med-hi in a soup pot. Add chopped beef, celery, bell pepper, and carrots. Saute until meat is browned. Add all other ingredients except the barley and

bring to a boil. Season to taste. Add barley and cover. Simmer on low for 45 minutes until barley is cooked. Serve with crusty french bread.

This soup tastes even better the next day and each day afterwards. The flavors mingle and it is even more tasty.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joe's Special

This recipe is something my mother made often as I was growing up. It came from Original Joe's restaurant in San Francisco. The dish doesn't look very appetizing, but as children my brother and I loved it. Mother served it as dinner along with crusty French bread, and the adults had red wine with it. I recently saw it on a local menu in the Seattle area so I ordered it. It was pretty good, but not as good as homemade. The dish is a quick and easy meal. The recipe serves 4.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1/4 to 1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 lb fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Brown meat in a large skillet on med-hi heat in a little oil to keep from sticking. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Lower heat and cook until onion is soft. Add 1-1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg and oregano. Add the fresh spinach and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make a hole in the center of the mixture and add the eggs. Stir into mixture quickly and cook a couple minutes more until the eggs are done. Serve immediately.

This dish smells divine, looks horrid, but once you taste it you will be hooked.
For a low carb meal just use less onion.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cream of Peanut Soup

With the fall chill in the air my thoughts have turned to warm and hearty soups. This recipe comes from one of my favorite books, full of comfort foods and traditional southern favorites. The book is The African American Heritage Cookbook by Carolyn Quick Tillery. If you love peanut butter this will be one of your favorite soups.

1/4 cup chopped celery
1 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons flour
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, add more to taste
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup coarsely ground, unsalted peanuts, for garnish

In a large saucepan, over low heat, saute celery and onion in melted butter until onion is transparent. Add flour and blend until lump free. Slowly add chicken broth, continue to stir, and bring to a boil. Blend in the peanut butter. Add spices and simmer about 15 minutes. Just prior to serving, stir in cream and garnish with ground peanuts. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yada Yada Yada -The Crab Bisque

For those of you who are Seinfeld fans you will know what I mean. I couldn't resist when I found this delicious looking recipe in the African-American Heritage Cookbook. It sounds wonderful, especially the small amount of whisky that is added for flavoring. It might calm the kids right down. I have added the recipe for Seafood Seasoning, also from the same cookbook. This makes 4 to 6 servings.

2 Tablespoons butter
1-1/4 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 small bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons Seafood Seasoning (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
4 cups clam juice
1/2 cup peeled and diced russet potato
3/4 cup light cream
2 Tablespoons Scotch Whisky
1 lb. lump crabmeat
salt & pepper
chopped chives for garnish

Over medium heat, melt butter in a heavy medium-size pot. Add onion, red bell pepper, bay leaf, celery, and seasonings. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir a couple of times to prevent sticking. Add clam juice and diced potato; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover pot, and simmer until the potato is very tender. Puree soup in blender until smooth (or use a wand blender in the pot) Return to pot; add cream, scotch, and crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish individual servings with chopped chives.

Seafood Seasoning

This makes about 1/2 cup of seasoning.

2 Tablespoons celery salt
1 Tablespoon ground bay leaves
1 Tablespoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground thyme
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready for use.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sausage, Red Beans and Rice

I just got home from a 5 day motorcycle trip so I had to get creative until I felt like going to the grocery store. I made up this concoction and it was perfect. I didn't add any more spice to this, but would if I made it again. I like to add several dashes of my favorite hot sauce to most anything. I served this along with corn. Here is what I did:

1/2 chopped bell pepper
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 lb. Hot Jimmy Dean Bulk Sausage
1 pkg. Zateran's Red Beans & Rice Mix
black pepper
olive oil

Brown the sausage on Med. Hi heat, stirring and crumbling in the pan. Add onions and bell pepper and saute all until soft. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 3-1/4 cup water, and the Bean & Rice mix. Season with black pepper or hot sauce. Bring to a boil, stir, then add lid and turn down to Low heat. Cook for 25 minutes. If it is too runny for your taste, remove the lid and cook on Med. heat for a few minutes. Stir often so it doesn't stick, and reduce until you like it.

This dish would serve 4 people, along with a nice tossed salad. It was very satisfying.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jalapeno Poppers

These poppers are not the deep fried type. They are completely low carb, and they're fresh and great for barbeques. I do them in the oven in the winter time.

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 package real bacon bits (the soft kind)
a squeeze of lime juice (optional)
8 or 10 fresh jalapeno peppers--larger ones are milder than small ones

Put on rubber gloves if you need to. Slice the jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise. Carefully scrape out all the membranes and seeds. I try to do this with a small knife so my hands don't burn. Be very careful not to touch your face or eyes for several hours after doing this, if you don't use gloves. Once the jalapenos are prepared, mix together the other ingrediants until creamy. Stuff the peppers with the cheese mixture, slightly mounding.

If you are grilling, place on the hot grid. As they warm, they will start to 'pop' and dance around on the grill. They are done when the pepper is a little blackened and the cheese is starting to come out of the peppers. Take them off the heat and eat while warm.

If you do them in the oven, heat to 450 degrees. Place poppers on a sheet pan. After 10 minutes check them. They may take about 15 minutes, but keep watching and remove when the cheese starts coming out. They should be a little black on the bottom of the peppers. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lemon Chess Pie

My mother cut out this recipe from Country Magazine. It turns out it is the same recipe my Great-grandmother made often in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a basic recipe with minimal ingredients but turns out to be a wonderfully creamy and delicious pie. She always served it at room temperature with whipped cream on top.

1 sheet of refrigerated pie pastry
4 eggs
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Unroll the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a 9 in. pie plate. Trim pastry to within 1/2 inch beyond the edge of plate; flute edges.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and lemon-colored. Beat in the lemon juice, butter, cornmeal, flour and salt.

Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife insterted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fuzzy Navel Milkshake

To go along with my current summertime favorite, here is another milkshake recipe. These can be done in a blender, or use a wand hand blender like I do. That way you can mix it right down in a large cup. This one comes from Young's Jersey Dairy, Yellow Springs, Ohio. If anyone lives near there I'd love to know if Young's is still there.

Makes 2 tall glasses. Increase for a larger batch.

4 scoops high quality vanilla ice cream
1 cup peeled cut up peaches
1 cup cold orange juice

Mix to desired consistency. Add more liquid to make it drinkable.

This is fantastic stuff!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My New Vice -- Buttermilk Shake

Recently my mother sent me a few recipes that she had collected over the years. Funny how when you have a recipe blog, your mom starts digging recipes out of the woodwork. I have found some old favorites and wonderful sounding new recipes to try out.

One of the recipes she sent on an index card and it caught my eye. It was for a Buttermilk Shake. Having lived in the South I grew to enjoy anything made with buttermilk as an ingredient. I had to try the Buttermilk Shake as soon as I could purchase the ingredients. I shopped the next day and made a milkshake that evening, and the next, and the next, and the next until the ice cream was gone. Needless to say, I really loved the flavors and eventually got the texture I liked after a couple of tries. It tastes like liquid cheesecake. It is not sweet, but has the mellow tart flavor of cheesecake, or buttermilk if you want.

Buttermilk Shake

I mix the ingredients in a large plastic cup, using a wand blender to mix directly in the cup.
You could also mix a larger amount in a blender.

Scoop ice cream to just above the level that you will want the shake to end up. Fill the cup with buttermilk until it just covers the icecream. Blend with wand blender. If it is too thick add just a little more milk until it is the texture you like. Enjoy.

Don't get started on these, they can be addictive. I imagine they could cause a little weight gain if you made them too often. Try one on a hot day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

3-way Onion Burgers On Kalamata Focaccia

At a loss for how to create a tasty dinner out of a package of lean ground beef, I resorted to an old standby. I always called them "Hamburger Steaks" when cooked for dinner and served on a plate without a bun. In this case, we had just shopped at Trader Joe's and had a lovely loaf of Kalamata Olive Focaccia bread. It was thin, so we sliced it in burger sized lengths, then sliced it through parallel to the table so we could open up each section and lay the burgers in.

I mixed the Lean Ground Beef with 1/2 chopped Onion, added 1-1/2 teaspoon of Dehydrated Minced Onions, a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, along with Seasoned Salt and Pepper. I mixed this together with my hands and made 4 big pattys. I did not add an egg or fillers. I just wanted them to be meat and onions. I then sprinkled the pattys heavily with an onion powder (not salt) on top. I browned them in an old cast iron skillet and then turned down low until they were done inside.

We both made our own version:

3-way Onion Swiss Burger with Fresh Tomato, and Mayo on Olive Focaccia Bread

3-way Onion Gorganzola Burger with Romaine Lettuce and Steak Sauce on Olive Focaccia Bread

These were so tasty, and the bread was just perfect with a chewy texture and moistness from the olives. It held up well to the juicy burger and didn't fall apart.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barbeque Beef on Noodles

This is one of those easy to make dishes. I've made it for years and it is very versatile. You can use any type of thinly cut beef, or other meat for that matter. Today, this is what I did.

I used:

Package of thinly cut round tip steak, meant for stir fry

3/4 cup of your favorite Barbeque Sauce

Half an onion, chopped

Half a yellow bell pepper, chopped

Salt & Pepper

Thinly slice the beef into strips. I added a little olive oil to a heating pan, then the meat. Brown the meat on Med-Hi heat, then add the bell pepper and onions. Alot of liquid comes out of the meat, so simmer until most of the liquid is gone, stirring occasionally. Add your Barbeque sauce and stir until everything is well coated. Turn to low and simmer with a lid for 30 minutes.

I served this over wide noodles and along with green beans.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pickled Okra

When I lived in the South these were one of my favorite things to do when I had a bumper crop of okra. You want to use small pods that will fit into a pint jar. These are tender and stay crispy. These are the easiest pickles to make and a great summer delicacy to eat when the warm weather is long gone. Some people like to add red pepper flakes or hot peppers to spice them up a little. I like the dill flavor without the spice. This amount makes 4 pints. Increase if you have alot of okra to deal with.

2 lbs okra (3" pods)
12 celery leaves
4 sprigs of dill weed
4 garlic cloves
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
2 Tablespoons salt

Cut off the okra stems and pack pods into sterilized jars (Sterilize jars by boiling in a water bath for 5 minutes) Add 3 celery leaves, 1 dill sprig, and 1 peeled garlic clove to each jar. Bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil and pour over okra in the jars to cover. Seal. Let stand at least 1 month before using. They go fast so make plenty!

Monday, July 21, 2008

German Carrots

This is a great way to get the children to enjoy carrots. My mother wasn't a fan of carrots, but these are sweet, creamy and delicious so she would make them occasionally. I love them.

1 lb. carrots, sliced
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
3/4 cup carrot liquid
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Cook carrots in salted water until tender, or about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup liquid. Melt butter, stir in flour to form a roux. Add reserved liquid from the carrots, pepper, nutmeg and sugar. Bring to a boil and add the carrots. Let stand a few minutes to season through.

Bean Bowl Salad

This is another of my great grandmother's recipes that I have made repeatedly over the years. It is great this time of year for pot-luck dinners, BBQs, and summertime meals. It must be made ahead so is ready when you are. I can't get enough of this and use the leftovers to top off big chef salads or dinner salads.

Mix and marinate 24 hours in refrigerator:

1 can green beans, drained
1 can wax beans, drained
1 can rinsed kidney beans
1 onion, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons parseley
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salad oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Stir a few times while marinating. To serve, drain, and pour beans into a lettuce lined bowl. Add pickle relish on top (optional).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cyndi's Spicy Skewered Shrimp

I've been out of town recently, to the sunny, hot, and smoky Bay Area. It was a lovely trip and we saw lots of old friends and family. One evening we grilled at our friend's Paul and Cyndi's and she made these wonderful shrimp. Here is what she did:

Take alot of fresh tiger shrimp, or previously frozen but thawed. They must be of good size to go on the skewers later. Peel and clean the shrimp. Place in a large plastic zipper bag.

In a small bowl mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup chili powder with a little Tequila Liquor, or other alcohol of your choice. Add just enough to make a runny paste consistency.

Pour the paste over the top of the shrimp in the plastic bag. Shake and smoosh around in the bag until all the shrimp are coated. Leave in the bag for 1/2 hour or more.

Place 5 or 6 shrimp on bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for a while. This way they won't burn. Place skewers on the grill and lightly brown. They cook fast so only do a few minutes on each side. These are very yummy, not too spicy, but with a little kick. The sweetness of the shrimp comes through.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Granny Vick's Cake with Mocha Frosting

This is another of my Granny's recipes. She lived in rural Eastern North Carolina. Our family visited her every 4 years or so as I was growing up in California. We drove across country in a big Plymouth sedan which was an experience in itself. North Carolina was such a different place and culture than I was used to, but I always loved it. I would still enjoy living there. Granny was a great cook, and always made fresh items out of her garden. When we visited, she would make desserts. This was one of our favorites.

2-1/4 cup sifted flour
2-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or crisco shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs to butter mixture and beat well. Combine both dry and creamed ingredients. Add milk and vanilla. Beat all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Adjust timing for different sizes of pans.


1/3 cup melted butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
3-1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
dash salt
1/3 cup strong hot coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir cocoa into sugar and salt. Add butter and coffee with vanilla. Stir until the right consistency. Spread on cooled cake.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ham & Asparagus Casserole

It's fresh asparagus season in Washington. It is one of the locally grown favorites this time of year. I picked some up at the grocery and they were young, small, and delicate. I decided to create a dish using ham and cheese, of course. This is the recipe I came up with. It was very good, but got a little juicy. It was still delicious and we ate the whole casserole (two people!)

1 bunch of fresh young asparagus
A few scallions, chopped into pieces
1 package of ham slices, or slice your own
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt & pepper

Parboil the trimmed asparagus for 5 minutes. I left mine in long spears, but it was hard to serve. I would cut them into large pieces instead. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Drain the cooked asparagus and arrange in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle scallions over the asparagus.

Lay ham slices over the top. Salt and pepper over the ham. Mix the soup, mayo, mustard, and lemon juice. Spread this mixture over the ham.

Cover with shredded cheese and sprinkle paprika over all. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

When I was asked to try Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce I was happy to. I love barbeque sauces and condiments of all kinds.

A package came, nicely packed with 2 plastic bottles of Bob's Sauce. I had thawed some chicken in speculation of their arrival. I immediately got online and went to the Country Bob's website. They have a large selection of recipes to try out using their sauces.

The first dish I made was Country Bob's Simmered Chicken Chunks. It is very easy and delicious. You cut chicken into chunks and saute. I sprinkled some dehydrated onions over the chicken while it simmered. After mixing 1/2 cup of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce and 1/4 cup jam ( I used cherry preserves) you pour it over the chicken and simmer while stirring to cover with sauce just 3 or 4 minutes.

I really liked this dish. The sauce is not very sweet at all, so needed the sweetness of the jam. This combination turned into a delicious sauce for the chicken. The All Purpose Sauce reminds me of a combination A-1 sauce, Worcestershire, with a little sweetness in the background.

I haven't tried Country Bob's on french fries yet, but I was thinking about putting it on tater tots. It will be very good on a steak, or even a pork chop. Alot of the recipes on the website require you to add so many ingredients you probably can't taste much of Country Bob's. I think it adds alot to the background flavors of any dish. I added 2 Tablespoons to my last pot of chili, and it turned out to have an intensely flavorful soup.

I can't wait to try some of their other products such as Spicy All Purpose Sauce, Seasoning Salt, and Barbeque Sauce. They are a small company in Illinois who make just a few choice quality products. Take a look at their website and you might want to order some products. They have many specials and combination orders. They do sell retail but Country Bob's items are only available in some states. Their website allows you to search by zip code for the store nearest you. I think I'd really like the Spicy Sauce. Apparantly there are no stores within 100 miles of me that carry Country Bob's. They ship fast so I won't mind ordering the sauce anyway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Way back in April Biker Chickz Recipes was awarded the Excellent Blog Award by Julie of Noshtalgia. This means alot to me to be recognized by another Food blogger who has a really top notch blog.

The rules are that you must pass the award on to 10 other of your favorite blogs, on any topic. This is a hard task since I frequent so many blogs and enjoy them all. I've taken a long time to narrow down my favorites, so here they are. I have kept with the Food theme since there are so many good ones. They are not in any particular order.

  1. Last Night's Dinner: An almost daily post with photos of what this family eats. It is always a treat.
  2. Hunt The Recipe: Nothing but delicious looking recipes that you want to try for yourself.
  3. What Did You Eat?: Just a real good food blog with lots of photos and good recipes.
  4. Homesick Texan: Even though I'm not from Texas these recipes are always appealing and I can't wait to try them myself.
  5. Cumin & Coriander: A blog from Canada with simple, healthy, and creative dishes made more appealing by great photography.
  6. Food On The Brain: A lovely blog by a fellow Seattle resident who makes everything look great. She mixes in garden photos which are a treat.
  7. Smitten Kitchen: This is mostly photography that will make you want to reach into the page and touch the food. I also learn alot from this blog.
  8. Closet Cooking: A food blog by a male Canadian. He makes delicious looking dishes with mouthwatering photographs.
  9. Everybody Likes Sandwiches: Another Canadian who blogs about all kinds of good food, not just sandwiches.
  10. White On Rice Couple: A couple who blog about cooking, what's in the garden, and an interesting twist is that they ride a motorcycle together.

All of these blog writers have the most excellent photography I think that is what makes me keep coming back. I hope I have given you some new blogs to try. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Broccoli Salad

I have made this salad many times and taken it to pot-lucks, dinner with friends, and eaten it at home. It is delicious and a little unusual to have sweet, nutty, cheesy, bacony, and broccoli flavors together. It keeps well for a couple of days in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long.

3 to 4 cups small fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/2 cup. sunflower seeds
10 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled or
4 Tablespoons of real bacon bits
2/3 cup raisins

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar or
2 packets Splenda sweetener
2 Tablespoons cider or rice vinegar

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the broccoli mixture, stir well, and chill. Stir just before serving.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chicken Salad in a Pineapple Boat

When I was about 13 years old, I had the opportunity to go along with some family friends to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. It was the one and only time I've been. I had always remembered going to this tropical jungle area. We watched a Tahitian show with fire dancers and there were Toucans and Parrots all around with lots of tropical plants. I ordered a chicken salad for my meal and it came served in a half of a pineapple. I was in heaven. It was the loveliest thing I had ever seen, and something my mother had never served. I have never forgotten about that salad. Recently my husband came home with a whole ripe pineapple and that Disneyland memory was the first thing that came to my mind. I happened to have everything I needed to make a nice chicken salad so here is what I did:

Cut a ripe pineapple in half lengthwise, leaving the beautiful tops attached. Hollow out by cutting out the pineapple in chunks and wedges, leaving the outer shell intact.

Chop 2 cooked boneless chicken breasts into small chunks. (I cooked mine by boiling for 20 minutes on medium heat. I added some of the pineapple juices and ginger to the cooking water.)

Chop about 1-1/2 cups pineapple into small pieces. Add chicken, some mayonnaise, toasted sliced almonds, finely chopped celery, chopped scallions, a handful of crispy chow mein noodles, salt, pepper, parsely, dried mustard, and a little tarragon. Mix well, adjusting mayo and seasonings as needed.

Finely shred some romaine lettuce and make a bed in the bottom of the hollowed pineapple. Spoon the chicken onto the lettuce and mound up in pineapple boat. Sprinkle with paprika.

We each ate one half, which is what I was served at Disneyland. Two could probably share one half easily. Try adding other fruits, nuts, and seasonings.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bavarian Wiener Supper

I got this recipe from my friend Christina. I work with her husband and always envied him when he was warming up the leftovers from this meal and enjoying them for lunch. It smelled and looked really good as I have always loved sauerkraut, and frankfurters. I finally got the recipe from Christina and have made this dish often. I really enjoy the creamy texture along with the sauerkraut, and you would never know what makes it that way. If you can buy real German frankfurters for this dish it is the best. I use Kosher wieners. I think this dish is delicious and a great family meal, or if the franks arranged in a fancy pattern it would even be good for guests. This recipe makes 5-6 servings.

1 lb (8-10) frankfurters
1-10-1/2 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1-1lb can (2 cups) sauerkraut, drained
4 cups diced cooked potatoes
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, spread with butter
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Halve 4 franks, reserve. Slice remaining franks 1/4 inch thick. Mix soup with the mayonnaise. Combine sliced franks with half of the soup mixture, the caraway seed, and kraut; spread in an 11x7x1-1/2 inch baking dish. (I used a 9x13 inch) Stir remaining soup mixture into potatoes; arrange around the edge of dish. Combine buttered bread crumbs with paprika; sprinkle over potatoes. Arrange franks in a design. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with spicy German mustard or mustard of your choice.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lemon Chicken with Olives

I was ready to make Chicken Picatta the other night, and found that I had no capers. That isn't an ingredient I use often, but I had thought there were some in my cabinet. So plan B was to make the chicken anyway without the capers. It would be lemony. Then at the last minute I chopped some pimento-stuffed green olives and threw them in the pot. It was delicious. This amount made 6 thin pieces of chicken.

3 fresh boneless chicken breasts
all-purpose flour
white wine
lemon juice
olive oil
chopped onions or shallots
salt & pepper
Pimento-stuffed green olives

Place a chicken breast on your cutting board and slice in half horizontally; you are basically butterflying the breast. Then cut that piece into 2. Heat a large skillet to med-hi and add equal parts olive oil and butter. Dredge the chicken lightly in flour, mixed with paprika, salt and pepper. Place in the pan and brown about 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onions. Saute quickly. Pour in about 3 'glugs' of white wine, and a couple of Tablespoons of lemon juice. Add a little more butter and stir with a wire wisk. The sauce should begin to thicken and bits from the pan will loosen. Taste for seasoning. You may like more lemon vs. wine flavor. When the sauce looks nice add the chicken back to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Throw the coarsely chopped olives on top of the chicken. Serve.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mer's Ginger Snap Cookies

When I was growing up my mother would make this recipe once in a great while. It came from my great-grandmother, Mer. She was the strong, matriarch of the family and everyone loved her. She was also a great cook. As children, my brother and I would wait for these cookies to come out of the oven. They harden up a little as they cool, so we would get them while they were warm. We also enjoyed making them into balls and rolling them in sugar. Recently, my mother sent me this recipe. It is on a card, and says the recipe is from 1945. It makes 4 dozen small cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

2 cups sifted flour
1 Tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, extra for rolling the balls
1 unbeaten egg
1/4 cup molasses

Sift dry ingredients. Cream shortening and gradually add sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients with the wet and blend. Form a teaspoon of dough into a small ball. Roll in extra sugar. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Salmon Salad

After we had the nice salmon with sundried tomatoes for dinner, the following night my husband thought it would be a good idea if I should make a fresh salmon salad, "kind of like a chicken salad". I thought that was a great idea, even though it meant work for me. But I love to be creative with food, so my ideas started coming and this is what I did. It was delicious!

2 crumbled baked salmon portions with sundried tomatoes

chopped celery

sweet pickle relish

dry or fresh dill weed


lemon juice


salt & pepper

(chopped fresh tomato) optional

I mixed all of this and tasted for seasoning. I served it over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, with my favorite green olives, and warmed flatbread with hummus on the side. It really made a nice meal. The salmon had an even fresher taste than when it was first baked!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Baked Salmon w/Sundried Tomatoes

I saw a similar recipe on the early morning TV today, and decided it was time that I cooked salmon myself. I don't buy it very often, because you have to cook it right away. I tend to shop every week or so. This is an easy way to prepare a salmon filet. The prep time is short, and can be done no more than an hour ahead. This would be a lovely dish to serve company.

1 section of salmon, cut into 2 " strips
1 orange
Olive oil
White wine
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper
Sundried tomatoes in oil
Dill, fresh or dry
Brown sugar

Slice the orange and lay in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the sections of fish on top of the orange slices, skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt & pepper. Drizzle the fish with lemon juice. Pour white wine over all until about 1/4" deep in pan. Crumble a teaspoon of brown sugar over each piece of fish. Chop the sundried tomatoes along with dill to combine. Spread over the top of each piece of fish. Cover with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for no more than an hour(the salmon starts 'cooking' from the acids). Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove saran wrap and place uncovered casserole in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to see if the fish is done at 15 minutes. When the sauce in the pan is bubbling and the fish is beginning to look opaque it is cooked. I prefer mine well done. Remove and serve.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Trader Joe's had this bag of tiny fingerling potatoes that caught my eye. When I got them home I wasn't sure what I would do with them. Then I remembered how I love to roast potatoes, so I tried it with these. They were very delicious and tender. This is very easy to do with little prep.

Wash desired amount of fingerling potatoes and trim off any bad spots. Leave the peels on, of course. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil, add salt and pepper, dried thyme, garlic powder, parsely, and any other seasonings you prefer. Stir, or blend well with your hands (the olive oil is great for your skin). Place in a baking dish in a single layer. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 to 30 minutes depending on size of potatoes. Stir halfway through cooking time. Potatoes are done when you easily can stick a fork in them.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Country Cole Slaw

During the time I spent living in East Tennessee I became fond of the cole slaw that was served on top of hot dogs. My friend there was a local so she showed me how to make the tangy dressing. Now that slaw mix comes ready to eat in bags, it is a fast and easy side dish to any meal. We like it with fish, burgers, chicken strips, etc. My favorite is on a hot dog, with mustard.
I make this recipe 1/2 bag at a time for 2 hungry adults.

1 bag of shredded slaw mix
1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 heaping Tablespoons sugar
2 or 3 Tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoons celery seed
salt & pepper

Mix all together and adjust seasonings to taste. Chill and serve.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You Can Start Your Garden Now

Harvest Herbs Year Round

Now that it's officially Spring the weather in the West is turning a little warmer and the outdoor plants and trees are starting to bloom out. This time of year always makes me want to start a vegetable garden so that we can enjoy the bounty of fresh produce all summer. I love to cook and eat fresh vegetables, but I also enjoy going out and picking fresh lettuce, radishes, and carrots right out of the ground. The taste of fresh lettuce is unmatched for its delicate flavor.

For those of you living in areas that haven't warmed up yet, there is Aerogarden Logo indoor garden. This is an amazing set-up that uses zero soil and practically tends itself. It is the first indoor 'smart garden'. The computerized Aerogarden tells you when to add water and nutrients, and the built-in micro-processor automatically adjusts the delivery of the nutrients and water flow. It also turns grow lights on and off to simulate the sun. Like I said, it almost tends to itself. All you have to do is decide what to grow.

I plan to do alot of motorcycle riding this Spring and Summer, so the Aerogarden would be the perfect way for me to grow my own salad and eat it too. And I won't even need to be home.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stir Fry Shrimp and Asparagus

This is a quick meal for those nights when you haven't planned ahead. I used frozen jumbo shrimp, but fresh would be even better. It is asparagus season in the Northwest, so I used baby fresh asparagus that were wonderful. I made some brown rice to have with this dish. I will give the ingredients and method; the amounts are up to you.

1 bunch of fresh young asparagus
Thawed, frozen jumbo shrimp
Prepared chili-garlic sauce
Scallions, chopped in large pieces
Red bell peppers, sliced into strips
Soy sauce
Salt & pepper
Sesame seeds
Sliced almonds
Canola oil

Heat a wok on Med-Hi heat, with a little canola oil in the bottom. Add some chili-garlic sauce to the oil and stir around. Drop in the thawed shrimp and stir fry just a couple of minutes. Remove. In the same oil add the asparagus, which has been cleaned and chopped in half. At this time also add scallions, red pepper strips, and seasonings. At this time you can add more chili-garlic sauce if you like. Stir fry until the asparagus begins to wilt, then add seeds and almonds and continue stirring. Add the shrimp back into the mixture and then drizzle molasses over the top of all. Stir well and serve with rice.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Favorite Kale

I love to cook Kale because it reminds me of the years I lived in East Tennessee. As a child I hated and despised any kind of leafy greens, which was something my parents ate on a regular basis. As I've grown older my tastes have changed along the way, and now I really love spinach dishes, and Kale is one of my favorites. It is very easy to make and doesn't wilt down as much as other greens, so it makes a good amount. For a purely vegetarian version, use a little olive oil to brown the onion, and leave out the bacon. Still a delicious and nutritious dish.

This is my method:

1 bunch of leaf Kale

2 strips of lean bacon chopped in small crosswise slices

(optional) 1/4 of an onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dry red pepper flakes

salt & pepper

A dash of vinegar

Rinse the leaves well by submerging in a large bowl of cold water. The curly leaves trap soil so rinse well. Using a very sharp knife, cut the stem out of each leaf. I fold them in half so there is just one easy cut and the stem is out. When all stems are removed, coarsely chop leaves in about 1-2 inch sections crosswise. In a very large pan over med-hi heat, brown the chopped bacon and (optional) onion for a minute or two. When they are starting to brown, add the chopped kale, salt & pepper, and pepper flakes. Stir, then turn heat down to medium. Add 2 cups water and cover. When it comes back to a boil, add a dash of vinegar to the greens and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until your choice of tenderness. Drain and serve with corn bread and beans. I always add red wine vinegar at the table.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

My daughter-in-law makes this recipe for my son and he raves about it. I asked her for the recipe because it sounded so delicious. I like anything with a Mexican flair. The recipe comes from the Campbell's Kitchen so it incorporates soup in the recipe. I made it and the results were wonderful. I will put my little adaptations in parentheses ( ). Try making it for your family because even the kids will like this one. And it's pretty easy. It made a full 9"x 13" casserole with 10 enchiladas.

1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
1-8oz container sour cream
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
(1-1/2 teaspoons cumin powder)
(Your favorite bottled hot sauce)
2 cups(4 small chicken breasts) chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 flour tortillas, 6" size
1 cup chopped tomato
3 scallions, sliced thin

Stir the soup, sour cream, picante sauce, chili powder, (and cumin) in a medium bowl. Stir 1 cup picante sauce mixture, chicken and cheese in a large bowl (with a few dashes of hot sauce). Spread about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down in a 3 quart shallow baking dish. Pour the remaining picante sauce mixture over the filled tortillas. Cover the baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes (375 for 45 minutes) or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top with chopped tomato and scallions.

Tip for 2 cups chopped cooked chicken:
Heat 4 cups water in a large saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Add 1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken breasts or thighs, cubed and cook about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Drain and chop the chicken smaller.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Orange Sourdough Pancakes with Orange Syrup

I made these pancakes on many occasion when I had my live sourdough starter. They melt in your mouth and are special enough to impress visitors. They are good with real maple syrup, but it covers some of the orange essence. The orange syrup recipe is easy. It's worth the trouble.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup orange juice
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Orange Syrup, warmed

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Set aside. In a medium bowl beat the eggs. Stir in sourdough starter, orange juice and butter. Stir into flour mixture until dry ingredients are just moistened. Preheat griddle pan or electric griddle to medium high heat. When a drop of water bounces across the surface of the griddle, it is hot enough. Grease the griddle. For each pancake, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter onto preheated griddle. Cook 1 to 2 minutes each side until golden brown. Serve with warm orange syrup. Makes 4 servings.

Orange Syrup

1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup butter

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, and cornstarch. Slowly stir in orange juice. Add butter. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Pour into a pitcher. Serve hot or cold. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Basic Pizza Dough Using A Bread Machine

This recipe came from my friend, who got it out of The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia. You can make calzones, pizza, or any other variation with this wonderful dough. It is done in the bread machine, so when it comes out it has already risen, and is ready to press out into shape. This recipe serves 4.

1 package dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Dump everything, water first, into the bread machine. Select dough cycle. When it is finished, oil your hands and spread out into a pizza pan, or make smaller circles and do individual calzones.

Mable's Pizza Dough

This recipe is especially for Lucky over at The Great Motorcycle and Pizza Tour. When I was young my best friend's mother made large quantities of pizza dough, pressed it into pans, and put it in the freezer for future pizzas, covering each one with plastic wrap and possibly foil, from what I can remember. They were a teenager's dream. We would take one out and let it thaw slightly, put on the sauce, cheese and other toppings, and bake it. The recipe mentions keeping the dough in the refrigerator. Then you can use as needed. I guess it would keep a few days. This amount makes one pizza.

Here is Mable's recipe:

1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cup flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, salt and oil. Add 1/2 of the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in additional flour. Turn out on lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and brush with soft shortening or oil. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Remove and warm 15 minutes, then press out into pizza pan. Brush a little olive oil on the top before adding the sauce. Bake at 425 degrees until done.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Homemade Sausage Patties for Dinner

Tonight for dinner I decided to make a recipe for homemade pork sausage patties that I had seen on one of my favorite food blogs, Homesick Texan. I had purchased all the ingredients and just had to try it. The sausage was wonderful, and she is right. I will probably never purchase ready made sausage again. Here is the recipe, straight from Homesick Texan. I seasoned the sausage just as the recipe states and it was to my liking. It is spicy, but doesn't linger. I loved it.

Breakfast sausage Ingredients:

2 lbs of ground pork
1 tablespoon of sage
2 teaspoons of marjoram
2 teaspoons of thyme
2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper


1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Form into patties and fry six minutes on each side. Keeps in the refrigerator for a week.

Note: The spice measurements are not an exact science, and what I tend to do while mixing is pinch off a little bit and fry it up to see if I like the flavor. This is what I start with, but feel free to experiment.

I served the sausage with homemade cornbread and cooked kale. It was a simple meal but wonderful. Of course, you can serve the sausage for breakfast. It would be great with eggs, biscuits and gravy.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Crimini Mushroom Soup

I usually create my meals out of an urgency to use up a particular fresh ingredient that I have on hand. This week it was a giant box of Crimini mushrooms from the giant food warehouse. They had to be used up, and quickly. I had everything in the house for this good soup recipe. I made it using my basic soup method to start. At the end I used a stick blender( the kind you make milkshakes with) right in the pan and pureed the soup until there were still a few chunky mushrooms left. This makes a good meal along with crusty french bread. We had flatbread and hummus with our soup.

3 Tablespoons butter
1-1/2 lbs. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cups chicken stock or 2 bouillion cubes with 3 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 can evaporated milk
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

In a large saucepan over med heat, saute the onion, celery, and mushrooms in the butter. When they start to carmelize a little, add the stock and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 25 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend soup in the pan. Leave some mushroom chunks if you prefer. Add the can of milk and 1 teaspoon parsely and bring back to a slow simmer. Mix cornstarch into 2 Tablespoons of milk or water. Stir while adding to soup. Cook on low 5 more minutes, stirring until thick. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Raven's Curry with Rice

I've been waiting with baited (curry) breath for Linda over at Raven's RV to put up the Curry recipe she talked about making early in the winter. She's finally let the cat out and posted a fine recipe with pictures on how to make Easy-peasy Curry. I am making it soon, as it looks and sounds delicious.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:
(The parenthesis are the original recipe)
1 chicken breast or 1/2 lb ground meat
2.5 cups water
2 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
1 onion (1/2 onion plus 1 green pepper)
Sprinkle of salt (1 teaspoon salt)
Sprinkle of pepper (1/8 teaspoon pepper)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Go on over to Raven's RV to see the steps to make this delicious Easy-peasy Curry.

Pineapple-Cheese Sourdough Muffins

I have in my notes this recipe was "great". I remember how good they were and it was back in the '80s. I am a sucker for anything with cheese, or pineapple for that matter. The smell that fills the house while they bake is amazing. The recipe takes 1/2 cup of sourdough starter which should be removed from the refrigerator a few minutes before using. This recipe makes 15 to 18 muffins.

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (3 oz)
1 egg
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup milk

Grease 18 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Stir in cheese until evenly distributed. In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Stir in sourdough starter, oil, pineapple with juice and milk. Add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from muffin cups. Serve hot.

Cinnamon Sourdough Biscuits

These biscuits use the sourdough starter from a previous post. I've made them several times and they are heavenly. They are wonderful for breakfast, along with a strong cup of coffee. The aroma that fills the house is memorable. The recipe comes from the book, "Sourdough Cookery" by Rita Davenport. This book is a great wealth of easy and wonderful sourdough recipes. I found this recipe made about 16 biscuits.

Remove 1 cup sourdough starter from your supply in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temp for a few minutes before mixing in.

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup sourdough starter
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Grease a baking sheet; set aside. Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add raisins and sourdough starter. Stir until well blended. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough about 30 seconds. Roll out dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut the biscuits with a biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour. Arrange on pan with sides of biscuits touching each other. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from pan. Serve hot.

Note: The original recipe says it makes 20 to 22 biscuits - 2 to 2-1/2 inches across. I use an old biscuit cutter and it makes 16.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Basic Sourdough Starter

I have always loved sourdough bread and other baked goods. The aroma is the best part of the experience. Years ago I was into sourdough and began a 'starter', which is what you use as the basis of any sourdough recipe. You grow your starter until it begins to ferment, then keep in the refrigerator until you use it. The starter must be maintained by 'feeding' periodically. The older the starter is, the better the flavor develops. The gold-miners in California were known for their sourdough breads; they would carry and protect the 'starter' while they travelled. Starters were known to have been passed down from generation to generation. I had one for a couple of years once and it was really good. It becomes something that is alive, and you must feed and nurture. It's kind of rewarding in a funny sort of way. Once you start it though, you must bake at least every 10 days. So don't do it if you are going to be on a low carb diet. The recipe is from 'Sourdough Cookery' by Rita Davenport. I will follow this week with ways to use the starter and recipes.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast(1 Tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
2 cups warm water(105F, 40C)

In a 4 to 6 cup non-metal container, combine all ingredients. Beat with a wooden or plastic spoon. Sourdough is very sensitive to metal. Fermentation will dissolve small lumps. Cover bowl with a cloth. You want the yeast organisms in the air to permeate the mixture, so don't seal the bowl off tightly. Set in a warm place, free from drafts(85F, 30C) Let ferment for 2 to 3 days. Stir the mixture several times a day. Check after 3 days that the mixture is bubbly and beginning to smell good. Refrigerate starter until use, in a container with an air vent or hole in the top. Label container. Replenish every 7 to 10 days by stirring equal parts flour and water into starter. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Return to refrigerator. If a clear or yellow liquid forms on top just stir it in. If the liquid is brown or pink, throw it away.

To use: Remove amount of starter needed for your recipe. Let sit at room temp for a while before using, until it looks bubbly again. Keep the unused starter in the refrigerator.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

I had some sausage to use up so made this casserole for our Saturday morning late breakfast. It was delicious. I made something similar for Christmas morning once and everyone loved it. I couldn't find the recipe, but remembered the basics. This amount served 2, but could serve 4 if they aren't piggy like us. This is best served warm, but could also be good at room temp at a brunch or buffet.

1/2 lb of spicy bulk sausage
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, in small strips
3 eggs
3/4 to 1 cup of milk(adjust until consistency looks right)
1 day-old whole wheat BBQ bun, cubed (they're a little larger and firmer than a hamburger bun)
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
black pepper

Brown up the sausage in a pan. Spray an 8"x8" casserole with cooking spray. Spread the crumbled sausage in the bottom of casserole. Saute the red pepper and scallion in the sausage pan, then layer those over the sausage in the casserole. Cube the whole wheat bun and throw it on top.

Beat the 3 eggs with a fork, then add milk to just past the thickened consistency. You don't want it too runny or it won't set. Add seasonings, then pour over the top of other ingredients.

Press bread into egg mixture, then mix so all bread can absorb. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is heated, place on center rack for about 25 minutes, or until poking a fork in the center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and eat while warm.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Beef and Lentil Soup

The last time I made the Stove-top Machaca Beef recipe, I saved the juices from the pot and also had some leftover meat. This formed the base for a great soup. I may have added too many lentils, so next time I would only use half a bag. Here is what I did.

1 bag of dried lentils
1-8 oz. box of fresh mushrooms, quartered
Leftover machaca beef, shredded
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced thin
1/2 chopped onion
1 beef boullion cube
1 teaspoon each dried thyme, sage, and seasoning salt
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper

Start with the leftover machaca beef juices and put them in a large pot. Bring up to a fast simmer. Add the beef, and all other ingredients except the lentils. Rinse the lentils and drain. Add to the pot and bring back to the boil. Add water to cover and keep adding water as the lentils cook down and absorb the liquid. Make the soup the consistency you like. Lentils should be tender in about 20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy with a loaf of crusty french bread.

Chicken Salad with Gorganzola Cheese

Last week we came to one of those nights when we decided to eat up leftovers or fend for ourselves as far as dinner went. My husband came up with this lovely salad for himself. He really should cook more......

Romaine lettuce, chopped
One side breast of a roasted chicken
Cherry tomatoes
Crumbled gorganzola cheese
Sliced pepperoncinis
Ranch salad dressing
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper

Arrange ingredients in a salad dish. Slice the chicken breast and place on top. Add dressing.

Be creative and add any variation of ingredients. This salad is a meal!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stove-top Machaca Beef

Back in November I posted a recipe for slow cooked Machaca Beef. Every day since then I have had hits on that recipe and people searching for it. Last week I had a chuck roast that I didn’t get around to putting in the crock-pot in the morning before I left for work. When I got home, I decided to try the same recipe on the stove-top, in a deep pot. The beef came out tender and delicious, just like the slow cooked version. I decided to shred the beef by hand, after it cooled a little. We made wonderful shredded beef tacos out of the meat. I used the leftover meat and juice to make a very tasty beef and lentil soup the next day.

Here is what I did:

1-1/2 lbs. beef roast (chuck or round)
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz. can diced green chilis
2 beef bouillon cubes
1-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup salsa

I used a 2 lb. boneless chuck roast. Brown it over med-hi heat on both sides. As you turn to brown the second side add the sliced onions and other ingredients to the pan. Add just enough water to barely cover the meat.

Cover the pot and simmer on low heat about 2 hours, or until beef is tender. It will depend on the size of the roast. Drain and reserve liquid. Shred the beef using 2 forks to pull it apart. It should come apart easily. Combine beef, salsa, and enough of the reserved liquid to make of desired consistency.

Use the meat to make tacos, burritos, or other dishes where you want a flavorful, but not too spicy beef. I add the leftover juice to my next pot of soup or chili for a tasty broth.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mixed Berry Pie – Crisp with Cherries

I wanted something sweet and pies are my favorite things. I had one frozen pie crust. It was the kind that is ready made, and then rolled up. You find them near the canned biscuits at the grocery store. I also had purchased a bag of frozen mixed berries, with Cherries. I set both out to thaw for an hour. I couldn’t wait and used them after 40 minutes, very carefully.

I first preheated the oven to 425 degrees. I stirred the berries in a bowl along with 2 very heaping Tablespoons of cornstarch; then sprinkled with a tiny bit of cinnamon. I let the berries sit for a while.

The crust is easy to roll out right into the pie dish once it’s thawed. I press into dish gently, trim off excess from the edges, and turn under the top rim a little. I use my thumbs to make an attractive pattern all around the rim.

I filled the crust with the berries and spread them out evenly. I lightly sprinkled the whole thing with just a little lemon juice.

In a small bowl I mixed about 3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal with about 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I spread this on top of the berries, then dotted with butter, placed very closely all over the pie.

The pie went in the oven and took about 45 minutes at 425 degrees. The crust can get too brown in which case you place a little aluminum foil over those areas. Let it cool and serve wedges with whipped cream, or iced cream. The oatmeal topping gives a crunch that’s appealing with the berries and not too sweet.

Mer’s Tuna Macaroni Salad

Before I ever moved away from home, I went through my mother’s recipe folder where she kept family recipes written down. I latched onto this recipe and have made it ever since. My great-grandmother was known within the family as ‘Mer’. Everyone called her that and still refers to her as ‘Mer’, who passed away in the 1960’s. Her husband was ‘Per’. I remember her making this salad and I loved it as a small kid. She would serve it to her lady friends at luncheons, and make it for us when we visited. The recipe would serve 6 to 10 people, depending on the serving size.

Mer's Original Recipe:
2 cups cooked macaroni - the small salad type
1 can drained tuna chunks
1/2 cup chopped sweet pickle
2 tomatoes, chopped small
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion and sliced radishes can be added

Use mayonnaise thinned with cream or vinegar as a dressing.
Variations: add chopped cucumber, or fresh minced parsely

When I made it recently I only had one tomato, and half of a cucumber so I chopped those very small. I used about ¼ cup sweet pickle relish with the juices mostly drained, instead of the sweet pickle. I didn’t have the radishes. Mer’s always had the tiny sweet pickle chunks and very thinly sliced and matchsticked radishes, which gave it a wonderful kick. I thinned my mayo with cream, and then added a splash of rice wine vinegar after I had mixed it up. I gave a quick taste for salt and pepper and chilled it for 30 minutes. We ate it in bowls. It made a great early lunch. The following day I made a big green chef's salad, and placed a scoop of the Tuna Macaroni Salad on one side of the salad. It was great. It’s best if chilled.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quick Strip Steak Dinner

The other day I needed to cook a piece of thinly cut round steak that I had purchased. This is what I came up with. It was delicious. I served it with saffron rice and green beans.

1 lb thin round steak
1 onion, sliced thinly
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 beef boullion cube
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
seasoning salt

Slice the steak up into thin strips. Saute quickly in a large pan with a little olive oil. Add the onion and stir. When the meat is browned add the tomatoes, and all the seasonings.

Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat. Take the cover off and simmer until the juice starts thickening. Serve over rice or noodles.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Zucchini Bites

This is a healthy snack food which is actually very tasty. This would be another good Superbowl party snack.

2 zucchini
parmesan cheese

Slice zucchini into 1/2" rounds and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Spread with a layer of mayonnaise. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle with your favorite spices such as salt, pepper, chili powder, basil, cayenne, oregano, etc. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes. Serve.

Blanched Fried Almonds

My mother gave me this recipe years ago and it is a tasty treat. You can spice these up any way you creative. These would be a good Superbowl snack.

Put 2 cups or less almonds at a time in a bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes, then drain. Cover with cold water. Slip off the skins. Pat dry with a towel. Put butter or oil in a skillet, add 1 cup of nuts. Fry over low heat, stirring, until brown. Drain on paper towels. Add salt, spices, or any other flavoring you prefer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Max Gail's Beef Stroganoff

Sometime back in the '70s I saw Max Gail on a daytime talk show cooking this dish. It was the Dinah Shore Show, which probably gives away my age. Max Gail played Det. Stan Wojciehowicz in "Barney Miller" for several years. Anyway, he cooked this very simply and quickly and I wrote down the sketchy recipe he gave as he did it. I usually adapt it slightly but I always refer back to this one for the basic stroganoff.

This is THE basic recipe he gave:

1 lb. meat
1 cup sour cream
1 can beef consomme
egg noodles
salt and pepper

Put meat in a pan. When its on it's way to being cooked, add onions, mushrooms, consomme, and seasoning. Throw noodles in the same pot; not too many. Cover and cook until the noodles are tender. Add sour cream and heat. Serve.

Now this is what I do:

I use lean ground beef, or thin strips of round steak
1 medium onion thinly sliced 1/2 to 1 lb. fresh sliced mushrooms
5 or 6 handfuls of dry egg noodles
1 can Cambell's beef consomme
a couple dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon dry parsley (fresh would be better)
1 teaspoon dried dill (fresh would also be good)
1 small container of sour cream

I use the same simple method, just give it a little flavor. Don't add more liquid or it will become soupy. The noodles need to be stirred in and stirred a few times until they are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve and sprinkle some parsley on top.