image


  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest
  • google plus
  • goodreads  
Recipes

1. Jane's Sausage Casserole
2. Decadent Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Mama Dee's Barbecued Briskets
4. Start my day Apple Stuffed French Toast
5. Kelly's Cheescake
6. Calico Bean Bake
7. Mormor's Gravalax
8. Dutch Richards Killer Chocolate Cake
9. Caramel Overnight Rolls
10. Breakfast Tart
11. Ricotta Cake
12. Savory Mini Ham &- Egg Muffins
13. Doc's Oven Beef Burgundy
14. Doc's No Fail Buttered Noodles
15. Charlie's Sausage Gravy with Biscuits
16. Noelle's Artichoke & Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops with Sauce
17. Cora's Raspberry Tart
18. Reuben Sandwich - Serves Four
19. Jonah's Mud Pie
20. Pork Medallions with Wine Sauce
21. Onion Bites
22. Mexican Chocolate Mousse
23. Hot Sausage Goodies
24. Herbed Olives
25. Oven Baked Zucchini Strips
26. Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
27. Frozen Butterfinger Pie
28. Congo Bars
29. Tomato Salad
30. Super Easy English Trifle
31. Apricot Bread
32. Big Smile Cake
33. Stuffed Baked Jumbo Pasta Shells
34. Cantaloupe Salad Dressing
35. Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls
36. Warm Asian Noodles
37. Salmon over Spinach with Bernaise Sauce
38. Forgiving Stuffed Zucchini Boats
39. Limoncello Desert
40. Pork Loin Roast with Milk
41. Torta di Noce (Calabrian Walnut Cake) with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
42. Braised Artichokes with Potatoes, Parsley & Garlic
43. Crostata Della Nonna or Granny’s Tart
44. Cubano Sandwich
45. Mexican Eggs Benedict
46. Pan Fried Rib-Eye Steak with Cabernet Reduction Sauce
47. Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt Sauce
48. Virgin Pomegranate Blueberry Rickey
49. Cassoulet
50. Strawberry Almond Flour Cake
51. Coq Au Vin
52. Biscuit and Sausage Gravy
53. Easy Peasy Appetizer Bites
54. Gazpacho
55. Seafood Paella
56. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
57. Zucotto (Florentine Pudding)
58. Pecan Caramel Candies
59. Arroz Con Pollo
60. Arroz Con Leche
61. Albondigas
62. Tres Leches Cake
63. Morros Y Cristianos
64. Catfish Pasta Primavera
65. Chocolate Fillng or Frosting
66. Erick's Santa Fe Boneless Pork Loin
67. Twice Baked Potatoes
68. Nepolitan Ice Cream with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
69. Brie & Egg Strata
70. Cornish Game Hens with Apricot Stuffing & Orange Sauce
71. Easy Peasy Baked Beans
72. Killer Double Cheeseburgers
73. Fisherman's Fried Rice
74. Extra Fudgy Brownies
75. Blaine's Beef Stroganoff
76. Comfort Food Linguini with Clam Sauce
77. Chicken Manicotti with Italian Sausage
78. Kat's Coffee Cake
79. Western Chili
80. Honey Cornbread
81. Hachis Parmentier
82. Bacon Waffle Appetizers
83. Make it your way Fruit Sticks
84. Risotto with Pancetta and Mushrooms
85. Pecan Pie with Vanilla Bean Icecream and Bourbon Molasses Sauce
86. Lump Crab Meat and Citrus Salad with Chardonnay Dressing
87. Lemon Souffle Pancakes with Blueberry Pancakes
88. Avacado Halves with Chilled Brocolli Cheddar Cheese Soup
89. Carbonado Criolle
90. Dulce de Leche
91. Matambre
92. Ensalade Palmitos
93. Tomates Rellenos
94. She Crab Soup
95. Apple Crisp with Topping
96. Lobster Rolls
97. Boston Cream Pie
99. Pasta with Seafood & Fra Diavolo Sauce
100. Orange Balsamic Lamb Chops
101. Cold Trout Cucumber Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing
102. Beef Wellington
103. Osso Buco
104. Kat's Little Lemon Cheesecakes
105. Not your Mama's Mac & Cheese
106. Spinach, Pistachio & Picorino Salad
107. Tom's Chilled Cucumber-Avacado Soup
107. Liam's Peanut Butter Cookies
107. Chicken Cordon Bleu with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce


FREE COPY
Kelly's Koffee Shop &
Murder at Cottage #6
Award Winning Bestsellers


Jane's Sausage Casserole

Ingredients

12 slices of sourdough bread, cut into 2” cubes
1 ½ pounds Jimmy Dean mild sausage
1 7 ounce can of chopped green chilies
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 ½ cups milk
4 eggs
1 can golden mushroom soup mixed with ¼ cup milk (to be prepared next day)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Grease a 9 x 13 Pyrex glass dish and place the bread cubes in the bottom. Brown and drain the sausage. Add chilies, cheese, and sausage to the bread. Stir lightly. Mix eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper together and pour over the mixture in the glass dish. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the dish from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare the mushroom mixture and pour it over casserole. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Don’t over bake! It will firm up during the 10 minute cooling time.

Back to the top


Decadent Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookes

Ingredients

2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces chocolate chips
12 ounces bacon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fry the bacon and drain it on a paper towel. When the bacon is cool, break it into small pieces or put the pieces in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break them up.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Mix the butter, sugars, and vanilla until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. When combined, stir in the chocolate chips and bacon pieces. Drop rounded teaspoons of the cookie dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Back to the top


Mama Dee's Barbecued Brisket

Ingredients

5-6 pound brisket
3 ounces liquid smoke
5 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
Onion salt
Salt and pepper

Directions

Place the brisket in a glass baking dish. Add the liquid smoke, 3 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. When ready to bake, drain off the seasonings. Sprinkle with the remaining Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 5 hours. Let cool. Can be made up to a day in advance. Sauce can be made in advance as well. (I often double the sauce recipe to keep a good barbecue sauce on hand.)


Barbecue Sauce

1 cup catsup
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup water
½ cup worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon each of chili powder, salt, and celery seed
Bring all to a boil and simmer until thickened

One hour before serving, slice the brisket against the grain and pour some of the sauce between and on top of the slices. Bake one more hour at 275 degrees. Serve with the balance of the sauce on the side.

Leftovers are great slightly warmed and in sandwiches.

Back to the top


Start my day Apple Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

12 slices Italian bread
½ cup butter, cubed
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 large tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped pecans
6 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with half of the pecans, a single layer of bread, and then the other half of the pecans. Arrange the apples and remaining bread over the top.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla together. Pour over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 35 – 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand for five minutes and invert. While baking, make the sauce.


Caramel Sauce

½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Combine the sauce ingredients and stir over medium heat until thickened. Serve with the French toast.

Back to the top


Kelly's Cheescake

Crust

¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 ¼ cups chocolate wafers, crushed (a food processor works well for this)

Combine and press into 8” spring form pan with removable bottom.


Filling

½ cup heavy cream
24 oz. cream cheese
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the cream cheese, eggs, and cream are at room temperature, add the sugar and vanilla, mixing until there are no lumps of cream cheese. Pour into the crust and bake for approximately 70 minutes or when the center no longer jiggles. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.


Topping

1 jar hot fudge topping
1 jar caramel topping
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Spoon the hot fudge around the border of the cheesecake. Make an interior circle with the caramel topping. If using pecans, scatter them over the top. Refrigerate until served. When ready to serve, remove sides of spring form pan.


Back to the top


Calico Bean Bake

Ingredients

½ pound hamburger
½ pound bacon (cut in 1” pieces)
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup catsup
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 16 oz. can kidney beans
1 16 oz. can butter beans
1 16 oz. can pork and beans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the hamburger and bacon. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent. Place the mixture in an ovenproof casserole dish. Stir in the catsup, salt, sugar, and mustard. Drain kidney beans and butter beans and add to the mixture. Add the can of pork and beans, undrained, to the mixture. Stir mixture until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!


Back to the top


Mormor's Gravalax

Ingredients

1 salmon filet, approximately 3 lbs
1 large bunch of dill (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns (I crush them in a small food processor)
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
Pumpernickel bread, cocktail size rye bread, or crackers for serving
Optional – diced red onion, diced hard-boiled egg, capers

Directions

Remove any bones that may be in the filet using a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers. Cut the salmon filet in half crosswise and place half of it, skin side down, in a flat deep dish. Wash and pat the dill dry and place it on top of the filet. Combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle them evenly over the filet.

Place the other half of the salmon on top, skin side up. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place a pan weighted with food cans on top of the foil. Refrigerate the salmon for two days, turning the fish every 12 hours. Baste with the liquid that will accumulate in the bottom of the dish.

Drain the liquid and wipe the fish clean. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the salmon filets across the grain in long thin slices, removing the skin as you cut it. Arrange the slices on a serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, surround the salmon with bread or crackers and place the mustard sauce in the center.

Scatter the chopped, reserved dill, on top of the thinly sliced salmon. You may also sprinkle the optional diced red onion, diced hard-boiled egg, and capers on top.


Mustard Sauce

¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Combine the mustards, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and stir in the chopped dill. Serve chilled with the gravlax.

Back to the top


Dutch Richards Killer Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Set aside.

Combine the butter, cocoa, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Use electric beater to combine ingredients thoroughly. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking dish and dust with flour. Pour the mixed ingredients into the dish. Bake for 20 minutes. If the middle of the cake is wiggly, continue baking. Check every five minutes. Baking time varies with ovens. Don’t over bake.


Chocolate Icing

1 stick unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons buttermilk
16 oz. box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional – chopped nuts

Combine the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and nuts if desired. Pour evenly over the hot cake and let cool.

Back to the top


Caramel Overnight Rolls

Ingredients

One 15 oz. package frozen dinner roll dough
One large package dry butterscotch pudding (not instant)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Optional: chopped pecans

Directions

Lightly grease a 10-12 cup Bundt pan.

Arrange individual balls of dough in the pan, evenly stacking one on top of another. Sprinkle each layer of the balls of dough first with the dry pudding mix, then the brown sugar.

Pour melted butter over the top and scatter with chopped pecans, if desired.

Cover with a towel and let rise overnight, unrefrigerated.

When ready to cook the rolls, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cook for 30 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for five minutes. Place a plate on top of pan and flip over. Slide the pan up and off the rolls. Cut or pull off individual rolls and serve.


Back to the top


Breakfast Tart

Ingredients

1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten combined with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
3 ounces crème fraiche (if you can’t find it, substitute 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup plain yogurt
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (I often substitute Jarlsberg or Swiss because it’s cheaper)
Salt and pepper to taste
8 bacon slices, cooked until crisp
4 eggs
10 fresh chives, cut on the bias into ½” lengths

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with raised sides.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pasty to approximately a 1/2” thickness and cut into a 10” x 8” rectangle. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Using a paring knife, lightly score the border ½” in from the edge of the pastry. Using a fork, prick the center of the pastry about 10 times. Brush the border with the egg wash and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the crème fraiche and the cheese. Season with the salt and pepper.

Spread crème fraiche mixture on the pastry, keeping the border clean. Lay the bacon on top and slightly overlap the slices. Bake the tart 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using a fork, prick any large air pockets on the pastry. Crack the eggs onto the tart, spacing them about 2” apart. Bake until egg whites are set and yolks are still soft, approximately 7 – 10 minutes. Transfer the tart to a platter and garnish with the chives.


Back to the top


Ricotta Cake

Ingredients

1 box yellow or lemon cake mix
1 ¼ cups water
1/3 cup oil
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake batter according to package directions mixing together oil, cake mix, water and 3 eggs. Pour into 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish which has been lightly oiled and floured.

Mix ricotta cheese, sugar and 2 eggs together and pour mixture on top of prepared cake mix, smoothing it out so it’s level.

Bake one hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 45 minutes. When cool sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into serving size squares.


Back to the top


Savory Mini Ham & Egg Muffins

Ingredients

1/4 baguette loaf or other bread (should be fairly dry) cut/torn into small pieces
4 oz. of a block of cream cheese, cut crosswise into 12 slices
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ lb. thinly sliced ham, chopped (about 1 cup) (A left-over cooked meat may be substituted for the ham, chopped medium fine)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups half-and-half
6 eggs
1 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a 12 cup muffin pan, fill each cup half full with bread pieces. Top each cup with a cream cheese slice.

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add ham. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, thyme, and green onions together, then whisk in the warm half-and-half mixture. Add salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture on top of the bread/cheese in each muffin cup and bake 15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of each cup. Remove from muffin pan and serve.


Back to the top


Doc's Oven Beef Burgundy

Ingredients

3 lbs. beef stew meat, cubed. I use boneless chuck roast.
2 large onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. soy sauce
¼ tsp. thyme
1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce
¼ tsp. marjoram
1 cup red wine

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Blend soy sauce and flour together in large ovenproof deep baking dish. Add cubed meat, toss, coating all pieces. Add onions, seasonings and wine to meat mixture. Stir and bake, covered, for one hour.

Remove from oven and stir. Return to oven and bake, covered, for another hour.

Remove from oven and stir in mushrooms. Return to oven and bake, covered, for the last hour. Total cooking time is three hours.

Serve over Doc’s Buttered Noodles.


Back to the top


Doc's No-Fail Buttered Noodles

Ingredients

2 chicken bouillon cubes (I use Wyler’s)
1 ½ cups water
1 stick unsalted butter
8 oz. egg noodles

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring water, bouillon cubes, and ½ stick of butter to a boil over medium to high heat. Add egg noodles and cook to desired texture, approx. 6-8 minutes. Divide remaining ½ stick of butter into 3-5 pieces and stir into hot noodles until the butter is completely melted. Remove from pan and serve with Doc’s Oven Beef Burgundy.

Back to the top


Charlie's Sausage Gravy with Biscuits

Ingredients

16 oz. package of Jimmy Dean sausage (sage flavor)
2 tbsp. ground sage
2 tbsp. Wondra flour
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 roll of refrigerated biscuits (large flaky type)

Directions

Bake the biscuits according to the directions on the package.

While the biscuits are in the oven, tear the sausage into bite size pieces and place in a large frying pan. The pieces should nearly cover the bottom of the pan. Shake the ground sage evenly over the uncooked pieces and fry the sausage over medium high heat, turning the pieces so each piece is evenly browned - about 5 minutes.

Push the cooked sausage to one side of the pan and tilt pan to the opposite side, allowing the sausage grease to collect on the empty side of the pan. Shake the Wondra flour into the grease and stir with fork for 1 minute.

Combine the sausage and flour mixture and slowly add the cream, approximately 1/3 at a time, until all the cream has been added. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the mixture becomes a thick gravy (about 3-5 minutes). Add more flour as needed to make it thicker. Remove biscuits from oven and break in half. Spoon the sausage gravy over each biscuit half.

Back to the top


Noelle's Artichoke & Blue Cheese Stuffed Porkchops with Sauce

Stuffing Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. shallots, sliced
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, thinly sliced
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs

Stuffing Directions

Heat the oil in a skillet. Sauté shallots until they become soft and translucent. Add the artichoke hearts and sauté for additional minute. Combine artichoke mixture, blue cheese, and panko breadcrumbs in a bowl. Set aside.

Pork Chops and Sauce Ingredients

4 pork chops (8-10 oz. each)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
4 tbsp. green onions, sliced
1 tbsp. butter
Parsley for garnish

Pork Chops and Sauce Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a sharp knife, cut a slit into the side of each pork chop, about 2” long, creating a pocket. Stuff each chop with ¼ of the stuffing previously set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté pork chops for 3 minutes on each side. Remove chops from the skillet and place on a baking sheet. Continue cooking chops in oven for 6 – 8 minutes.

Return skillet to the range and over medium heat, add green onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with red wine for 3 minutes. Add beef stock and cook 2 minutes. Add butter and tomatoes, reduce heat to simmer, and continue cooking 1 – 3 minutes. Add blue cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Back to the top


Cora's Raspberry Tart

Ingredients

2 eight oz. boxes of fresh raspberries
16 oz. roll of refrigerated plain cookie dough (you’ll only need ½ of it)
1 ½ cups whipped cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 jar of seedless raspberry jam
Vegetable oil spray, such as Pam
10” or 8” spring form pan

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut refrigerated cookie dough package in half. Remove wrapper and bring to room temperature. You can freeze the unused portion. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on cutting board. Place cookie dough on plastic sheet and with heel of hand press into a circle about the size of the bottom of the pan. Place second sheet of plastic wrap on top of dough and with a rolling pin, roll out until slightly larger than the size of the pan and about ¼” thick.

Lightly spray bottom and lower inside ¼ of pan. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. With one hand hold bottom section of pan over rolled out dough and slip other hand under bottom layer of plastic dough. Lift and flip onto bottom of pan. Remove remaining layer of plastic wrap. Trim excess dough that may have overlapped the edge of the pan. You can press a small piece of the extra dough into any thin areas, using your thumb and forefinger (helps to dip them in water first). Pinch the dough together along the outside edge to create a small raised ¼” high edge. Fit the spring form over the bottom section of the pan and tighten the spring.

Bake crust for 17 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rack for 30 minutes. After crust has cooled, take a sharp knife and run it around the edges to loosen the crust from the side of the spring form. Once loosened, release the spring form and remove it up and off of the bottom. Using a sharp knife or a cake icing spatula, work it under the crust to free it from the pan bottom. Slide crust onto flat serving dish. (If you have a raised pedestal serving dish, that works well.)

Mix the whipped cream cheese and brown sugar together and stir until consistency of cake icing. Using the back of a teaspoon, spread the mixture evenly over the crust.

Place the fresh raspberries, one at a time, open end down, in a circular pattern starting on the outside edge. Press the berries into the cream cheese mixture until they are firmly fixed in place and touching each other. Continue to make smaller circles of berries until the crust is completely covered.

Pour the raspberry jam into a small bowl and stir until the consistency is smooth. Spoon the jam into the spaces between the berries until the cream cheese mixture is covered. Don’t cover the berries.

Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes. Cut into pie shaped wedges and serve. Can be prepared in advance.

Back to the top


Reuben Sandwich - Serves Four

Ingredients

8 slices rye bread
8 slices deli corned beef
8 slices Swiss cheese
1 cup sauerkraut, drained (I use a colander and press my hand down to get rid of the excess liquid)
2 tbsp. butter, softened
4 tbsp. catsup
4 tbsp. mayonnaise

Directions

Preheat large skillet or griddle on medium heat.

Combine catsup and mayonnaise.

Lightly butter one side of 4 bread slices. Set aside. On the other 4 bread slices evenly spread the catsup mixture then layer l slice Swiss cheese, 2 slices corned beef, ¼ cup sauerkraut and second slice of Swiss cheese. Top with the buttered bread slices which have been set aside, buttered sides out. Place assembled sandwiches in skillet or on griddle, buttered sides down. Flip when golden brown on the bottom and cook the other side until it is golden brown. Serve hot.

I love to serve these with big steaming bowls of soup on a cold night.

Back to the top


Jonahs's Mud Pie

Ingredients

1 ½ quarts of ice cream (I like caramel or butter pecan)
½ cup Nabisco chocolate wafers, made into crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
9 oz. jar fudge sauce
¾ cup whipped cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together butter and chocolate cookie crumbs. Press into 9” pie plate to make a crust. Bake in oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

When crust is cool, spoon ice cream into it and smooth with the back of a spoon. The ice cream layer should be about 2 inches thick. Put in freezer for two hours or more. Take out of freezer and spread the jar of room temperature fudge sauce over the ice cream. Return to freezer for two hours or more. Take out of freezer and smooth whipped cream on top. Put back in freezer and when ready to serve, remove from freezer, cut into pie shaped wedges and serve.

Back to the top


Pork Medallions with Wine Sauce

Ingredients

1 large garlic clove
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into ¾ inch thick medallions
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup white or red wine (I’ve used both – whatever is on hand)
¼ cup chicken broth

Directions

Smash the garlic clove with the flat side of a knife, remove papery covering, and roughly chop. Combine rosemary, sage, and garlic on cutting board and finely chop. (If fresh rosemary and sage aren’t available, you can use dry Italian seasoning.)

In a 12 inch skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over high heat. While the oil heats up, season both sides of the medallions with salt and pepper. Wait until a drop of water sizzles when dropped in the oil, then place medallions in the pan in a single layer and cook on each side for 1 ½ minutes. (Doesn’t seem long enough, but trust me, it is.) Transfer the medallions to a plate to rest or put in a warming oven.

Add remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Add garlic, herb mixture, white wine, chicken broth and any juices the pork has released on the plate. Boil the mixture for 1 ½ minutes. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve. NOTE: I like to serve it over rice or noodles.

Back to the top


Onion Bites

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup firmly packed grated Jarlsberg cheese
3 tbsp. dehydrated minced onions
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
2 large egg whites
¾ lb. challah bread (You can substitute either Hawaiian or brioche bread) crusts removed and cut into ¾ inch cubes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add fresh onion, salt, pepper, and cook about 4 minutes. Put cream cheese, Jarlsberg, and dehydrated onions in top of a double boiler set over water. Cook on low heat until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add onions, remaining 7 tablespoons of butter, and chives. Mix well.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold ¼ of egg whites into cheese mixture and combine. Fold in remaining egg whites. Dip bread cubes, one at a time, into cheese mixture and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake until puffs are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

NOTE: You can freeze the puffs on a baking sheet and transfer to a container. Take from the freezer and bake as directed, without thawing.

Back to the top


Mexican Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 oz. Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped (I like Iberra)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. Amaretto (optional)
Pinch of salt
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 ½ cups heavy cream, heated to boiling over medium heat

Directions

Put all ingredients except cream and bacon in blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. With blender running, pour in hot cream and blend for 1 minute. Pour mixture into individual serving dishes. Refrigerate until set, about an hour. Sprinkle bacon on before serving or let diners may help themselves.

Back to the top


Hot Sausage Goodies

Ingredients

1 package Jimmy Dean hot sausage at room temperature
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. sage
2 ½ cups Bisquick
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls. Freeze on a cookie sheet. When frozen, bake for 25 minutes or can be put into container until ready to bake. Keep frozen.

NOTE: Sometimes I have a dish of mustard out for dipping.

Back to the top


Herbed Olives

Ingredients

1 cup mixed olives (3-4 different kinds) in brine, drained
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely chopped mixed herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil, etc.
¼ tsp. lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and let stand for 1 hour. Serve at room temperature. May be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Back to the top


Oven Baked Zucchini Strips

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 egg lightly stirred
1 tbsp. water
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 medium size zucchini squash
Sea salt, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet lightly.

Trim ends of zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 3 lengthwise strips. If you’re using large zucchini, reduce the size of the strips by cutting crosswise.

Mix egg and water together. Dip each zucchini strip in egg wash and then coat with the bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly spray zucchini with cooking spray.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, lightly sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and sea salt. Serve immediately.

Back to the top


Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Ingredients

1 pkg. sour cream dark chocolate cake mix
1 small pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
1 ¼ cups sour cream
½ cup cooking oil
½ cup lukewarm water
2 cups chocolate chips
4 eggs
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine, cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, and eggs in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl combine water, chocolate chips, and oil. Add the mixture to the cake mix mixture. Blend together by hand.

Turn combined mixture into a lightly oiled bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool 30 minutes on baking rack and remove from pan. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake when cool.

Back to the top


Frozen Butterfinger Pie

Ingredients

40 Nabisco Famous chocolate wafers
1 ½ tbsp. butter, melted
1 large egg white
Cooking spray
4 cups vanilla frozen yoghurt
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. milk
2 chocolate covered Butterfingers, (2.1 oz. each), chopped into ¼” pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9” pie plate with cooking spray.

Place chocolate wafers in food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add butter and egg white. Pulse until moist. Press mixture into prepared pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes and put in freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Spoon yoghurt into frozen crust. Combine corn syrup, peanut butter, and milk in small bowl. Stir until smooth. Drizzle ½ of peanut butter mixture over yoghurt. Sprinkle with ½ of chopped candy bars. Repeat drizzle and sprinkle. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3 hours. Enjoy!

Note: If you wish to make this lighter, use non-fat frozen yoghurt and milk.

Back to the top


Congo Bars

Ingredients

1 box light brown sugar
1 cup margarine
3 eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
2 ½ tsps. baking powder
1 ½ tsps. salt
12 oz. package chocolate chips
12 oz. package chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9” x 13” Pyrex pan.

Melt butter and brown sugar over low heat and let cool. Add eggs to mixture, one at a time and combine after each addition. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and mix well. Add chocolate chips and lightly stir into mixture.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.


Back to the top

Tomato Salad

Ingredients

4 large ripe tomatoes
½ tsp. salt
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 lettuce leaves

Directions

Core tomatoes and finely chop. Put the tomatoes in a colander and drain. Finely chop garlic. Combine drained tomatoes, garlic, and salt in mixing bowl. Stir in olive oil. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour. If desired, drain in colander again to get rid of excess liquid (salt draws liquid out of tomatoes) and spoon over lettuce leaves. Enjoy!


Back to the top

Super Easy English Trifle

Ingredients

6 cups sponge cake, torn into pieces (about 1" in size)
1 basket strawberries
1 basket blueberries
1 basket raspberries
3 bananas peeled and sliced in 1/4" rounds
3 tbsp. raisins
3 ¼ oz. package vanilla pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 8 oz. carton whipping cream
2 tbsp. slivered almonds
3 tbsp. powdered sugar, sifted
Optional: 1 ½ oz. brandy

Directions

Chill mixing bowl and beaters of electric mixer in freezer. If desired, sprinkle brandy over sponge cake pieces.

In a separate bowl, mix pudding mix and milk together according to package instructions. Place 1/3 of the sponge cake pieces in large bowl that is 10 – 12 inches deep. (If you have a large glass bowl or trifle bowl, use it for a nice presentation.) In a separate bowl gently mix blueberries, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and raisins together, and place 1/3 of them over sponge cake. Smooth 1/3 pudding mix over the fruit mixture. Repeat layers as above until you have assembled three layers in the bowl.

Take the mixing bowl and beaters out of the freezer and pour in the whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until whipped cream holds stiff peaks.

Spread whipped cream on top of the last layer of pudding mix. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top of the whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE: Feel free to experiment with different seasonal fruit.


Back to the top

Apricot Bread

Ingredients

1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut apricots up into small bite-size pieces and soak in water for 30 minutes.

Mix rest of ingredients together in a bowl. Drain the apricots and add to the mixture in the bowl. Place in greased and floured loaf pan for 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 55-60 minutes.


Back to the top

Big Smile Cake

Cake Mix Ingredients

1 box of yellow or lemon cake mix
3 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water

Rest of Ingredients

2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tbsp. powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix according to directions on box and place in lightly oiled 9” x 13” Pyrex glass pan. Mix ricotta cheese, sugar, and eggs together. Spread evenly over cake mix. Bake 1 hour. When cool sprinkle powdered sugar on top.


Back to the top

Stuffed Baked Jumbo Pasta Shells

Ingredients

4 mild Italian sausages
1 box jumbo pasta shells
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided in half
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
2 egg whites
10 oz. box frozen spinach, thawed with moisture pressed out
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. Kosher salt (for pasta water)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 ½ cups prepared marinara sauce
1 cup water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the sausages on a microwave-safe plate, place a paper towel over them, and microwave for 8 – 10 minutes on high, until cooked through. Let cool and cut in half lengthwise, remove casings and discard. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil, add Kosher salt and the pasta. Cook 10 minutes. Drain but don’t rinse.

In large bowl place chopped sausage, ricotta cheese, ½ of mozzarella cheese, ½ of parmesan cheese, egg whites, garlic powder, spinach, onion salt, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

In another large bowl combine marinara sauce and water. Pour 1 3/4 cups of mixture in bottom of 9” x 13” Pyrex pan. Fill pasta shells with cheese and sausage mixture and place on top of marinara sauce. Pour the rest of the marina sauce over the assembled shells. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese on top of shells and sauce.

Cover with tin foil, place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove tin foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and serve. Enjoy!


Back to the top

Cantaloupe Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 cup cantaloupe pieces
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
4 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt

Directions

Combine ingredients and puree in blender until smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate until needed to serve over melons as a fruit salad.


Back to the top

Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
3 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
¾ lb. thick cut bacon, preferably applewood-smoked, sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. cream cheese
2 tbsp. butter
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. sifted powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk for thinning glaze
Silpat cookie sheet liner or parchment paper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Open the can of rolls and separate them into triangles. Place them on a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet, approximately ½ inch apart. Fry the bacon for about 15 minutes until crisp. Reserve 2 tbsp. bacon grease.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add 2 tbsp. maple syrup. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Brush the crescent roll dough triangles with the butter-maple syrup mixture and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Top with bacon bits keeping 1 inch empty along the long side of the dough triangle. Roll each triangle into a tube beginning with the long side and ending with the point. Place the rolls, seam side down on the lined cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until brown. Remove the rolls from the cookie sheet and cool for a few minutes on a baking rack.

While rolls are cooking, make the glaze. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 tbsp. each bacon grease (melted) and maple syrup. If too thick, add the milk until the desired consistency is reached. Plate and drizzle the glaze over the rolls. Enjoy!

NOTE: These can be assembled the evening before and refrigerated. Take them out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature, then bake as directed.


Back to the top

Warm Asian Noodles

Ingredients

12 oz. thin Asian noodles
¼ cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. cooking oil
3 tbsp. hot chili sauce (start with 1 tbsp. until desired heat is reached)
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions

Cook noodles in boiling water according to package directions. While they’re cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the green onions. Pour the sauce over the warm noodles and toss to combine. Sprinkle the green onions over the noodles and serve.


Back to the top

Salmon over Spinach with Warm Bernaise Sauce

Ingredients

1 large fillet of salmon or steelhead trout (skin on)
1 pkg. Knorr béarnaise sauce
¼ cup butter
1 cup milk
3 bunches of fresh baby spinach (stems removed)
1 tsp. Lowry’s Lemon Pepper seasoning salt
½ tsp. paprika
3 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

Prepare béarnaise sauce per package instructions in small saucepan. Set aside and keep warm on low heat until salmon is finished and ready to serve.

Heat the barbecue to medium hot. Lightly brush olive oil on “good side” of fillet and place “good side” down on hot grill for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, using two thin spatulas loosen the fillet from the grill and flip the fillet away from you so it is now skin side down.

Lightly baste “good side” with olive oil and lightly sprinkle Lowry’s Lemon Pepper salt on fillet. Cook another 4 minutes with skin side down. One minute before fillet is removed from grill shake very small amount of paprika on it (for color only).

After 8 minutes total cooking time, remove fillet from grill to cookie sheet. Slide fillet onto cutting board. Using long-handled flat spatula, slide it under the fillet lengthwise and flip fillet so skin side is up. Using sharp edge spatula and your fingers, gently pull the skin off. It will come off in one piece.

Using sharp edge of spatula gently scrape off the “dark matter” that’s left after the skin is removed. When finished, flip fillet so “good side” is up. Place the uncooked spinach leaves on the plate. Cut the fillet into serving size pieces and place on top of the spinach leaves “good side” up. Spoon warm béarnaise sauce over fish and serve.


Back to the top

Forgiving Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

4 medium zucchini, washed and halved, lengthwise
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup mushroom, chopped
2 tbsp. white wine
1 lb. extra-lean hamburger meat
3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. butter
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop out zucchini halves with a small spoon. Reserve the inner pulp.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until oil is hot. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute. Add the garlic and the reserved pulp of the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for one minute. Add the hamburger and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until brown, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, place in bowl and let cool.

When cool, mix in egg, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper. Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture and fill a baking pan with ¼ inch water. Place the zucchini halves in the pan and bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Place the cooked zucchini halves on plates and serve.

NOTE: I have substituted ground pork or veal for the hamburger as well as a finely chopped rib eye steak. Cook as per directions for hamburger. I have also used whatever cheese I had on hand and Panko crumbs to bind the mixture and change the taste. This is something you can play with.


Back to the top

Limoncello Desert

Ingredients

1 pint lemon sorbet
1 pint vanilla ice cream
6 oz. limoncello or any Italian lemon liqueur
1 lemon, zested
Biscotti (any kind)

Directions

Place one scoop each of lemon sorbet and vanilla ice cream in a small bowl. Top with 1 ½ ounces of the lemon liqueur. Sprinkle the zest on top. Serve with biscotti.


Back to the top

Pork Loin Roast with Milk

Ingredients

2 lb. pork loin
1/3 cup butter
2 medium sized fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, diced
4 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ cup flour
String

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place an ovenproof pan with deep sides on the stove top and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, leeks, garlic, and celery and cook until soft. While the vegetables are cooking, put the thyme leaves on a cutting board and spread to about the width and length of the pork roast.

Roll the pork loin over the thyme and tie lengthwise with a long piece of string and then tie three times around the width. Pat with salt and pepper. Dust the pork with the flour, increase the heat to medium-high and brown, pushing the vegetables to the sides. Heat the milk and pour it over the pork. Transfer the browned pork and vegetables to the oven and cook for 35 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, put the pork on a serving platter and let it rest for 5 minutes. If the milk sauce is too thin, thicken with a mixture of water and flour and add to milk until desired consistency. (I have found it makes a nice sauce thickening on its own.) Slice the pork into thick medallions, pour a small amount of the sauce over them and put the rest of the sauce in a serving bowl, letting people serve themselves.


Back to the top

Torta di Noce (Calabrian Walnut Cake) with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Ingredients

12 oz. walnuts
4 eggs, separated
8 oz. sugar
1 lemon peel, finely grated
1 lb. fresh strawberries
4 tbsp. powdered sugar, divided equally
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
9 inch springform pan
3 tbsp. water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” springform pan. Put walnuts in a blender or food processor and finely chop. With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy. Fold in the ground nuts and grated lemon. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the nut mixture. Gently pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes until cake rises and is firm. Cool. When cool remove the cake from the pan and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. powdered sugar. To make the strawberry sauce, hull and halve the strawberries and place in a saucepan with 3 tbsp. water and remaining 2 tbsp. powdered sugar. Heat slowly until soft and mushy. Pour into a food process or blender. Add balsamic vinegar and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover, and chill.

Serve the cake in thin wedges with the strawberry sauce drizzled over the top and down the sides.


Back to the top

Braised Artichokes with Potatoes, Parsley & Garlic

Ingredients

6 medium sized artichokes
1 lemon, quartered
1 head fresh garlic
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of flat leaved parsley, roughly chopped
2 lbs. new potatoes, peeled, and cut into chunks
½ tsp. salt
4 cups water

Directions

Squeeze the lemon quarters into the water. Trim and then quarter the artichokes, putting them immediately in the lemon water. Peel off the first layer of skin from the head of the garlic and cut into six wedges.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven type pan. Add the garlic and parsley and sauté until the garlic is slightly colored. Add the artichokes, potatoes, salt and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are soft and most of the water has evaporated. Can be served hot or cold.


Back to the top

Crostata Della Nonna or Granny’s Tart

Ingredients

7 ½ oz. slivered almonds
3 oz. sugar
14 oz. cake flour
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 orange
10 ½ oz. unsalted butter, cubed in small pieces and chilled
3 eggs
Water

Note: All ingredients and utensils must be chilled several hours prior to preparation. Make the pastry a day before you wish to serve it.

Directions

Place the almonds, sugar, and food processor blades in bowl and thoroughly chill. When chilled, place in food processor and pulse to reduce almonds to a powder. Transfer to mixing bowl and gently mix with a hand mixer. Add flour, salt, zest, and mix.

Add butter and mix until just incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time and pulse on and off until large loose crumbs start to form. If too dry, add a few drops of water. Turn the bowl over and remove dough. Press dough into a ball and knead a couple of times. Don’t over process. Wrap ball in saran wrap and refrigerate for one day.

There is enough dough to make two tarts. If you only want to make only one, freeze half the dough. Will keep for two months in the freezer.

Filling Ingredients

3 oz. raisins soaked in a few tbsp. of warm red wine
2 cups plus 1 tbsp. milk
Peel from one lemon
4 eggs, separated
4 oz. sugar
4 tbsp. corn starch
10 ½ oz. ricotta cheese
3 ¾ oz. sugar for whipping egg whites
Large bowl of cold water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan bring milk and lemon peel to a boil. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch until thoroughly mixed. Remove the lemon peel and pour hot milk on top of egg mixture, stir well. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it forms a smooth cream.

Transfer to a bowl set in ice cold water. Stir from time to time to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. It will develop into a custard-like filling. Sieve the ricotta cheese in a strainer to release the liquid and add it and the drained raisins to the cold custard.

Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until they form soft peaks. Fold them into the custard. Place the pastry in a Pyrex 9” dish so it covers the bottom and sides of the dish. Pour the mixture onto the rolled out pastry and level the top with a spatula. Put in the oven and check after 20 minutes. Filling should be just barely set. Let cool. Cut and serve.



Cubano Sandwich (Serves Four)

Marinade Ingredients

Boneless pork shoulder butt roast (5-6 pounds)
4 garlic cloves, sliced into 16 pieces
2 large onions, sliced
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Sandwich Ingredients

4 oval French rolls (shape of a hot dog bun)
¼ cup butter, softened
4 tbsp. Dijon mustard
8 thin sandwich dill pickle slices
¾ lb. sliced Black Forest deli ham
¾ lb. Swiss cheese slices

Directions

Cut 16 one inch slits in roast. Insert garlic slices.

In a large bowl combine onion, orange juice, lime juice, and seasonings. Reserve ½ cup marinade. Put a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom of a large shallow roasting pan to help with clean up. Put the roast in the pan and cover with the remaining marinade. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain marinade off of roast. Pour the reserved marinade over the roast and bake for 2 ¾ hours – 3 ¼ hours, depending on size of roast. Let stand 15 minutes before thinly slicing.

Sandwiches

Cut rolls in half lengthwise. With a serrated knife blade, trim a thin slice off the top and bottom of each roll. Spread butter on the outside top and bottom of each roll. Smear mustard over the inside top and bottom halves of each roll. Layer bottom halves of roll with pickles, pork slices, ham, and cheese. Replace tops. Cook in panini cooker or in heavy pan over medium high, turning when brown. Enjoy!



Mexican Eggs Benedict

Corn Bread Ingredients

2 tbsp. butter
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
3 tbsp. honey
¼ cup cooking oil
1 cup milk

Remaining Ingredients

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cold water
¼ cup white vinegar
½ tsp. salt
8 large eggs
½ cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
½ cup chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Directions for Cornbread

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the butter in 8” x 10” pyrex pan. Set in oven to melt. In large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Whisk the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix the two together. Tilt the pan with the butter to coat all sides and bottom, and then pour batter into pan. Bake until corn bread is golden on top and begins to pull away from the edges, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 6 to 8 squares. Set aside.

Directions for Eggs & Beans

Heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat and add beans, stirring to coat. Add ¼ cup water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Combine the 3 cups of water, vinegar, and salt in a large skillet and bring to a simmer. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and gently slide them into the skillet. Poach the eggs, spooning some of the water over the tops of the eggs occasionally. Cook until the whites look firm and the yolks are slightly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and transfer to a plate to drain.

To assemble the eggs benedict, place 2 squares of corn bread on each plate and top with black beans, 2 poached eggs, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!



Pan Fried Rib-Eye Steak with Cabernet Reduction Sauce (Serves Two)

Ingredients

16 oz. boneless rib-eye steak (thick cut)
2 tbsp. BBQ seasoning rub (Monterey Steak Seasoning recommended)
1 tbsp. cooking oil
¼ cup shallots, rough chopped
½ cup cabernet sauvignon wine
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup rosemary, chopped w/stems removed
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup mushrooms (quartered)
1 tbsp. dried herbs de Provence
1 tbsp. corn starch mixed w/two tbsp. water

Directions

Trim all excess fat off steak. Generously coat and pat both sides of steak with seasoning rub. Lightly oil 12” frying pan and pre-heat on high. When pan is hot and thin film of oil is sizzling add seasoned steak and cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side for medium. Remove cooked steak from pan, cover w/foil and set aside while sauce is prepared.

Reduce heat, add shallots and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add green onions and cook for 1 minute. Add wine, increase heat to high and reduce volume by half (takes about 3-4 min’s). Add butter, rosemary and herbs de Provence. Cook 2 min’s. Mix corn starch and water in separate bowl until well combined. Slowly pour and stir into pan as needed until proper thickness of sauce is obtained. Cut steak in half and plate. Spoon wine sauce over steak and serve. Enjoy!



Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt Sauce

Meatball Ingredients

1 lb. ground lamb (look for it in frozen food section)
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup finely diced onions
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cumin
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil

Yogurt Sauce Ingredients

1 cup chicken broth
2 cups plain yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
2 tsp. butter
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 16 oz. package egg noodles

Directions

Combine lamb with the next seven ingredients and mix well with your hands. Shape into 24 balls, dipping hands in cold water as needed to keep mixture from sticking. In 12” frying pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add meat balls in single layer. (You may have to do this in two batches) Fry gently, turning with two soupspoons or tongs so they brown on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. Remove meatballs to a plate and discard any excess fat in pan. Return pan to medium-high heat, add broth, and heat for 2 minutes. Add meatballs, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon return meatballs to plate.

In a large bowl whisk yogurt, egg, garlic and dill together. Slowly whisk in about ½ cup of hot broth. Pour yogurt mixture into pan, cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until sauce thickens and just begins to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs to pan, turning to coat. Cover and simmer until hot.

Boil the egg noodles per instructions on packet (approximately 10 minutes) and pour in a strainer when cooked. Place equal parts of cooked noodles in 4-6 separate bowls. Spoon meatballs and sauce on top of warm noodles. Melt butter in small sauce pan and add red pepper flakes and cumin. Swirl until butter is foamy and aromatic. Drizzle over each portion and garnish with chopped dill. Serves 4 to 6. Enjoy!



Virgin Pomegranate Blueberry Rickey

Ingredients

2 cups seltzer water
2 cups 100% pure pomegranate juice
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
¼ cup water & ¼ cup sugar simmered together making a syrup
¼ cup fresh blueberries

Directions

In a pitcher, combine pomegranate juice, seltzer water, lime juice, and syrup. Place ice in four tall glasses and top with blueberries. Pour the pomegranate mixture over the ice and blueberries. Enjoy!

If you prefer an alcoholic drink, you can add vodka to each glass.



Cassoulet (Classic French Casserole Dish with beans, pork chops and sausage)

Ingredients

4 bone-in chicken thighs
1 tbsp. seasoning salt blend of choice
6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 boneless center-cut pork chops, cut into 8 pieces
6 oz. bacon
1 ½ medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
¾ cup chicken broth
1 ½ tbsp. tomato paste
Bouquet garni – bay leaf, celery stalk cut in two pieces, sprig of thyme (tie in a bundle)
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. pepper
15 oz. can great northern beans, drained
15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained
½ lb. Polish sausage, cut in ½ inch diagonal pieces
6 tbsp. minced fresh parsley plus 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
½ cup of white wine or chicken broth, as needed

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix parsley and thyme. Place 4 tablespoons of mixture in a dish with the rest in another dish. Season chicken thighs with seasoning salt on both sides. Place in a single layer in baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.

Put olive oil in deep ovenproof casserole. Add bacon and pork chops. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn once.

In a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in broth, tomato paste, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 2 minutes. Stir in beans and 4 tablespoons fresh herb mixture.

Remove chops and bacon from casserole, draining any excess oil. Pour half the bean mixture into casserole. Add bacon, chops, chicken thighs and sausage. Top with remaining bean mixture. If mixture seems too dry, you can add a little white wine or chicken broth.

Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. Remove and discard bouquet garni. Garnish with remaining fresh herb mixture. Enjoy!



Strawberry Almond Flour Cake

Ingredients

4 eggs, putting yolks and whites in separate bowls
½ cup sugar, divided
2 tbsp. sugar (for cake pan)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups almond flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups sliced strawberries
Optional: ice cream, chocolate sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters in the freezer. Lightly grease an 8 inch round pan. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. sugar into the bottom and lower sides of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the 4 egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar and vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, and salt.

Remove the bowl and beaters from the freezer and put the egg whites in it. Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer. When they form soft peaks, add remaining ¼ cup sugar and incorporate into the egg whites.

Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Add the egg whites (about ½ cup at a time) to the mixture. Pour the cake batter into the sugar coated cake pan and bake on center rack for 30 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the sides and turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Top with sliced strawberries in a circular pattern or one of your choosing. Might want a little ice cream or chocolate sauce with it. Enjoy!



Coq Au Vin (Chicken Braised in Red Wine)

Ingredients

One 4-5 lb. roasting chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (I usually substitute 8 chicken thighs)
8 oz. bacon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery ribs, trimmed and chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, diced
3 tbsp. tomato paste
8 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1/3 cup flour
1 bottle (750 ml) full bodied red wine, such as burgundy
2 – 3 cups chicken stock
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns (I put them in a baggie and use a hammer)
18 pearl onion (I use frozen)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. crimini or white mushroom, bottom of stems sliced off & quartered
3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or parsley for garnish

Directions

Place bacon in a Dutch oven type pan and fry over moderate heat until crisp and fat has rendered, 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Season the chicken pieces on all sides with salt and pepper. Place chicken in pan and brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to baking sheet.

Add onions, carrots, celery, and leek to Dutch oven and cook until vegetables are browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetable mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add wine to the Dutch oven and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits. Cook 5 minutes. Put chicken and bacon in a slow cooker or crock pot. Add vegetable wine mixture and enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. Add thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns stirring to combine. Cover the mixture and cook on medium for 4 – 5 hours. 1 hour before serving add the mushrooms and onions. Turn to low, if cooking a little too fast. Garnish with thyme leaves. If your slow cooker or crock pot won’t hold all of it, divide in half and freeze for another time. Enjoy!



Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Ingredients

1 lb. pkg. Mild Jimmy Dean Sausage (comes in a refrigerated plastic roll)
1 refrigerated roll ready to cook Hungry Man biscuits or similar brand
2 tbsp. ground sage
1 pint heavy cream
2 tbsp. Wondra flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Open the roll of sausage and with your fingers tear out small individual bite size pieces and place them in a 12” frying pan or electric skillet until the bottom of the pan is covered. OK to pack pieces in tight. Shake ground sage evenly over the sausage pieces. Turn heat to medium high and fry sausage, turning the individual pieces with tongs so all sides are evenly browned and cooked thoroughly.

If some pieces seem too large, use a pair of scissors to cut large pieces in half as they cook in the pan. When sausage is cooked, slide it to the side of the pan, turn down the heat to medium, and shake flour into the sausage grease and pan drippings, stirring to make a thin paste (1 min). Stir the sausage into the flour mixture so it covers the entire bottom of pan. Slowly add the cream (1/3 at a time). Stir constantly with a whisk or fork until a thick gravy is formed (approx. 3 minutes). If a thicker gravy is needed, add more flour, one teaspoon at a time until desired thickness of gravy is obtained. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to simmer.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake according to package directions. When baked, remove biscuits from oven, split in half, and place on a dinner plate. Spoon the sausage gravy over the biscuits, completely covering them. Two fried eggs is a nice accompaniment. Serves 4. Enjoy!



Easy Peasy Appetizer Bites (See Note)

Ingredients

1 can refrigerated pizza dough
4 slices bacon
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. diced green chilies
1 tbsp. sliced black olives
1 egg
1 tbsp. water

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Fry bacon over medium heat. Drain bacon pieces on paper towel lined plate. When cool, crumble. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a small dish.

Tear off pieces of pizza dough into 2 inch squares. (Dough is very pliable so feel free to pull it out to the desired size.) Put a little bacon, cheese, chilies, and olives in center of dough and pinch ends together to close. Place pinched side down on prepared cookie sheet. When cookie sheet is filled, put remaining dough in plastic bag and return to refrigerator for a later use. It will hold for several days. Lightly brush egg wash mixture over tops of bites. Bake 10 – 12 minutes and remove from oven. Let rest for 2 minutes and place on plate for guests. Enjoy!

NOTE: This is about the most forgiving thing I’ve ever cooked. You can fill them with whatever’s in your refrigerator or pantry. Feel free to exchange the mozzarella cheese with whatever cheese you have on hand. Bacon can be replaced with any cooked leftover meat. Jams, jellies, there are no rules here. Play and have fun.

Caution: Be prepared to make another batch because people LOVE them!



Gazpacho

Ingredients

1 ½ red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
½ red onion, roughly chopped
½ cup water
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
14 oz. can of crushed or chopped tomatoes
1 ½ fresh ripe tomatoes, cored, and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup ready-made salsa
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. dried Italian herbs
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (for garnish)
1 ripe avocado, chopped into small square pieces (for garnish)

Directions

Place the chopped bell pepper, cucumber, celery, onion, half of the canned tomatoes, and the water in a blender. Pulse until the chopped vegetables have been further chopped to a consistency you like. Add the remaining canned tomatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce, and blend.

Add the salsa, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, Italian herbs, garlic salt, Kosher salt, pepper and blend. Chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve use chilled soup bowls and spoons (30 minutes in the freezer) and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a little chopped avocado, and a sprinkling of cilantro.

I like my gazpacho to have texture, but I dislike large chunks of anything in it. Serves 4 to 6. Enjoy!



Seafood Paella

Ingredients

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 skinless boneless chicken breast cut into ¾ inch cubes
¾ tsp Kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
8 large cloves garlic, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
3 8 oz. bottles clam juice
15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
8 oz. spaghetti, broken into 1” pieces
12 small little neck clams OR half a bag of frozen clam meat
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the sausages and stir, breaking them into small pieces with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken, ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken and sausages to a medium bowl, using a slotted spoon.

Add the garlic, leek, onion, bell pepper, and ½ teaspoons salt and pepper to the pan. Cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the clam juice, tomatoes with their juice, paprika, turmeric, cayenne, and bay leaves. Add the spaghetti and cook, uncovered, until almost tender. Add the clams and shrimp. Cover and cook until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Remove the cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer gently until shrimp and chicken are tender, 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the parsley and serve. Enjoy!



Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups almond oil
2 cups grated carrots
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” x 13” pan. Mix together first 7 ingredients. In a separate bowl beat the eggs until light and fluffy, then beat the oil into the eggs. Add egg and oil mixture to dry ingredients and beat well with an electric mixer. Add grated carrots and pineapple. Stir in nuts, if desired. Bake for 50-55 minutes. When cake is cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting - Ingredients

½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 lbs. sifted powdered sugar

Directions

Combine butter, cream cheese, and orange juice, and beat together until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. If needed, add more powdered sugar to get desired consistency. Enjoy!



Zucotto (Florentine Pudding)

Ingredients

½ cup shelled almonds, chopped
14 oz. sponge cake or lady fingers (you can buy these at the store)
½ cup of liqueur (brandy, orange) for non-alcoholic use coffee
1 ¾ pints of heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup sugar
1 cup chocolate (not less than 50% cocoa bean content) sliced in thin strands
For garnish you can use unsweetened cocoa powder, roasted almonds or hazelnuts and extra chocolate.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the almonds in a fry pan over medium heat and cook until they’re brown. Cool completely.

Lightly wet a 2 quart bowl and line with plastic wrap, allowing it to hang over the rim.

If using sponge cake, slice it thinly and cut each piece in half diagonally. Use about 2/3 of the pieces of cake or lady fingers and line the bowl, laying slices with the narrow ends pointing to the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle the cake with liqueur and set aside. The moisture will allow the pieces to mold to the bowl.

Melt half of the chocolate and let it cool.

To make the filling whip the cream and the sugar together at a very low speed until it forms soft peaks.

Fold in the nuts and the remaining chocolate. Transfer 1/3 of the filling to a separate bowl and fold in the cooled chocolate.

Spoon the “white” cream mixture into the cake-lined bowl spreading it against the sides to create a well in the middle. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the well and level with a spatula. Lay the remaining cake slices/lady fingers on top and sprinkle with liqueur. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

To serve: turn the pudding upside down on a large plate. Remove the setting bowl and the wrap. Decorate as your wish. Enjoy!



Pecan Caramel Candies

Ingredients

63 miniature pretzels
1 package (13 oz.) Rolo candies
63 pecan halves

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line baking sheets with foil. Place pretzels on foil and top each pretzel with a candy. Bake for 4 minutes until candies are softened – they will retain their shape. Immediately place a pecan half on each candy and press down so the candy fills the pretzel. Cool for five minutes and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until set.



Arroz Con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup chopped onion
1 ½ tsps. minced garlic
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
½ cup white wine
1/8 tsp. saffron
1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. each of salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, turning, and cooking until golden. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add green pepper, onions, and garlic to skillet. Cook for 5 minutes. Add rice and cook until rice is opaque, 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, wine, saffron, tomatoes, remaining salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower temperature to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.

Return chicken to pan until reheated. Stir in parsley. Serve and enjoy!



Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Ingredients

2 ¾ cups water
1 ½ cups short grained rice
1 (1/4 inch x 3 inch) strip lime peel
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp. anise seed, crushed
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 tsp. salt
¾ cup raisins, optional

Directions

Combine 2 ¼ cups of water, rice, and lime peel in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until rice is tender. While the rice is cooking, combine ½ cup water, cinnamon stick, and anise in another saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a low boil for 3 minutes, then remove saucepan from heat.

When rice is finished cooking, reduce heat to low, remove the lime peel with a slotted spoon, and gradually add evaporated milk and condensed milk into the rice. Add the cinnamon and anise flavored water, vanilla, salt, and raisins, if desired. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens, about 7 – 10 minutes. If the pudding is too watery after 10 minutes, turn up heat to medium-low and stir continuously until it reaches desired consistency. Remove from heat and pour into individual dishes. Refrigerate until fully chilled and ready to serve. Enjoy!



Albondigas (Cuban Meatballs) in Sauce

Meatball Ingredients

2 eggs
1 cup cracker crumbs (I use packaged)
¼ cup milk
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. dry yellow mustard
2 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. pepper
1 small onion, chopped
½ green onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
Flour for coating meatballs

Sauce Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, mashed
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

Directions

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cracker crumbs, and milk. Blend in the ground beef and remaining ingredients. (I use my hands to mix it.) Form into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Lightly roll meatballs in flour. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add meatballs to oil. Cook 3 – 5 minutes turning so all sides are browned. When fully cooked remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.

To make sauce, sauté onion and green pepper in olive oil until translucent. Add mashed garlic during the last minute or two of frying. Remove garlic. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour sauce into a large sauce pan, add the meatballs, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 30 minutes. To serve, remove meatballs to a serving platter, topped with desired amount of sauce. Enjoy!



Tres Leche Cake (Cake with three kinds of Milk)

Ingredients

1 cup sugar, divided
5 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour, sifted
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cream of tartar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl beat ¾ cup sugar and 5 egg yolks for approximately 5 minutes or until the yolks are pale yellow. Gently stir in the milk, vanilla extract, flour, and baking powder.

In another bowl, beat the 5 egg whites until soft peaks form, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the batter into a baking dish and bake 40 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cake cool completely on a metal rack. While the cake is cooling, prepare the syrup.

Syrup Ingredients

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. dark Cuban rum

Directions

In a large bowl combine the ingredients until well blended.

When the cake has cooled, pierce it about every ½ inch, taking care not to tear the cake. Keep the cake in the baking dish and place it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch the syrup when it overflows. Slowly pour the syrup over the top of the cake, spooning the overflow back on top until all the syrup is absorbed.

Topping Ingredients

1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently spread over the top of the cake after the syrup has soaked in. Enjoy!



Morros Y Cristianos (Black Beans and Rice)

Ingredients

1 ½ cups dried black beans
¼ cup olive oil
2 ½ cups diced onions
2 ½ cups green pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
3 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 ½ cups chicken stock
3 cups long grain white rice
2 tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

Directions

Cover the dry beans with 4 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for one hour.

Drain and rinse the beans. Add enough water to cover them and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 45 – 60 minutes. Drain.

Rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Use a large covered stockpot and sauté the onion and green pepper in the olive oil until tender. Add garlic and sauté 1 – 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, black beans, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, and vinegar. Cook for about five minutes, stirring gently. Add the chicken stock and rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes until rice is fully cooked.

Adjust seasonings by adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf and serve. Enjoy!



Catfish Pasta Primavera

Ingredients

12 oz. fettuccine
½ small red pepper, cut into strips (I usually quarter them, take out the white membrane and the seeds with a knife and put them in a stack. Think it makes cutting them easier. I do the same for the yellow pepper.)
½ small yellow pepper, cut into strips
4 oz. pea pods, trimmed (By trimming, I mean to cut the end off and then pull off the tough string that runs along the length of the pod. You might get lucky and find the store has already done it for you.)
6 green onion, chopped in thin slices
2 tbsp. chopped shallots (Remember to remove the outer papery covering.)
¼ cup butter (An easy way to measure this amount is to fill a one cup measuring cup to ¾ with water and put the butter in until the water comes up to one cup. Voila!)
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lb. catfish fillets, cut into bite-size pieces, about 1” square
4 sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Food divas all say to use freshly grated. I fudge here and often use cheese I’ve bought that’s already grated.)
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
Grated Parmesan cheese to put on the table and let people help themselves.
Freshly ground pepper after plating

Directions

Microwave the peppers about 3 minutes on medium. Cook the fettuccine according to the package direction in a large pot of boiling water. I like to put enough salt in it that it tastes like the ocean. After you put the pasta in the boiling water, cook the peppers, pea pods, onions, and shallots in butter in a large skillet until the peppers are tender. Remove the vegetables from the skillet.

Add the wine or chicken stock, salt, and pepper to the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the catfish. Return the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 3 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally. Add the tomatoes and return the vegetables to the skillet, tossing to coat.

Place the cooked fettuccine in a large serving bowl. Add the catfish mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dill. Stir to mix. Serve with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Enjoy!



Catfish Filling or Frosting

(Had to put this in, because it brings back wonderful memories of making it with my grandmother when I was a child)
Ingredients

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels (Might want to get two bags if you’re like me and find that you eat as many as you put in the recipe!) 3 tbsp. hot water
4 eggs, separate yolks and whites (Some people are brilliant at breaking an egg in half and going back and forth between the two halves until only the yolk is left. I’m not. I use a plastic egg separator I’ve had forever.)
½ pint of heavy cream, whipped (Before you whip the cream, put the bowl and the beaters in the freezer. Takes a lot less time when you do this.)

Directions

Melt the chocolate morsels in the hot water over a very low heat. Remove the pan from the stove and beat the chocolate mixture for 1 minute. Let it cool. Beat the egg whites until they get to a stiff peak stage. (What I do is put another pan and the clean beaters in the freezer while the chocolate mixture is cooling.) Add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Slowly add the beaten egg whites and then lastly add the whipped cream. Refrigerate until chilled. Enjoy!

NOTE: My grandmother split a white or vanilla cake into two layers and used this both as the filling and the frosting. When I’m running short on time, I’ve also been known to buy a pound cake r angel food cake, split it in half and use the mixture as the filling and frosting. Trust me, this is really good!



Erik's Santa Fe Boneless Pork Loin

(My husband got this recipe from a friend he visited in Santa Fe and I fell in love with it!)
Ingredients

1 lb. boneless pork loin
4 tbsp. cooking oil
½ cup raspberry chipotle sauce (I use the Robert Rothschild brand and get it at Costco. If you don’t have a Costco near you, you can buy it online.)
¼ cup barbecue seasoning rub (The one I use is a mixture of salt, sugar, paprika, garlic, & turmeric, and yes, I get it at Costco too, but others will work equally as well.)

Directions

Using a sharp thin filleting knife, cut and peel off the thin outer membrane of the port loin. (It’s called silver skin and is quite tough.) Rub the barbecue seasoning mix into the pork loin on all 4 sides. Heat the oil on medium-high heat until it’s very hot. (Rather than burning your finger by testing it, just flick a drop of water into it. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough.) Sear the pork on all 4 sides for 1 minute per side. Remove it from pan. (When I’m entertaining, I do this several hours in advance. If you’re doing it ahead of time, after it’s cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Take it out of the refrigerator 1 hour before placing in oven.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the seared pork loin in a glass dish or ovenproof pan. Cook for 23 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 125 degrees. The last minute or so heat the chipotle sauce in a small cream pitcher in the microwave. To serve, slice the meat on the diagonal and put it on a plate. Drizzle the warm chipotle sauce over the pork. Place the pitcher on the table for additional sauce. Enjoy!



Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

4 medium size potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
4 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, chopped, green part only, and divided
1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing
¼ cup milk

Directions

Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork and microwave on a high setting for 12 minutes. Turn them every 4 minutes so they cook evenly. (Cooking time depends on the size of the potatoes, so if you’re using large ones, cook until they’re soft to the touch.) Fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove from frying pan and set aside. When you can handle the bacon you can either crumble it with your fingers or cut it into small pieces with a pair of scissors. (I’m a crumbler. My husband uses scissors. Both ways work equally well.)

Cool the potatoes for about 10 minutes. (If you go much longer than that, it’s hard to scoop out the insides.) Cut in half lengthwise and spoon out the potato flesh, leaving the skin intact. Place the potato flesh in a large bowl and add the sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, ½ cup cheese, ½ of the chopped green onions, the package of Ranch dressing, ½ of the crumbled bacon, and then slowly add the milk at the end. You may not need to use all of the milk. It depends on the texture of the mixture. You don’t want the mixture to be soupy.

Mash the mixture with a potato masher by hand until creamy and well-blended. (Don’t use an electric mixer, they’ll get mushy.) Scoop the mixture back into the potato skins. Top each one with the remaining bacon, cheese, and green onions. Press the topping down gently with fingers. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. (If the potato skins have separated, you can always fasten them back together with toothpicks. Just be sure and tell people about the toothpicks so no one gets hurt!) Enjoy!



Neopolitan Ice Cream with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Ingredients

1 pint strawberry ice cream
1 pint green tea ice cream (if you can’t find it, substitute pistachio)
1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 cups strawberries (Remove the stems with a paring knife and quarter them.)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup sugar

Directions

Remove the ice cream from the freezer for about 15 minutes to soften it up. Line a 4” x 8” loaf pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap, 1 going lengthwise, the other crosswise. Put it into the freezer while the ice cream softens.

Spoon out the green tea ice cream into the bottom of the loaf pan and spread it evenly with the back of the spoon. Make another layer with the strawberry ice cream and do the same with the vanilla. Close the plastic over the mixture in both direction and put the pan into the freezer for at least 3 hours before serving. Put serving plates in freezer.

Strawberry Balsamic Sauce Directions: Put the strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar and sugar over them. Toss gently and marinate for 2-3 minutes.

When you’re ready to serve the dessert, remove the plates and the ice cream from the freezer. Unwrap it and put the ice cream on a cutting board. Run a knife under hot water for a moment and slice the ice cream into ¾” slices. Place a slice on a chilled plate and top with ¼ cup strawberry balsamic sauce. (This is really pretty when it’s served.) Enjoy!



Brie & Egg Strata

Ingredients

2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 large Yukon gold potato, diced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 tsp. salt, divided in half
¼ lb. ciabatta bread, cut in 1 inch cubes and toasted (You may also use a French baguette or sourdough bread)
Cooking spray
4 oz. Brie cheese, rind removed and chopped
1 cup egg substitute (usually comes in a cardboard container like cream)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. dried Herbes de Provence or an Italian herb mixture
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 cups milk
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

NOTE: The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before. If you’re going to do that, combine the ingredients as directed below but without the egg mixture, then cover that mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Combine the ingredients for the egg mixture and refrigerate in a separate container. Thirty minutes before you’re ready to bake it pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture, and let it stand at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch glass dish. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, potato, and red bell pepper. Sauté about 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt. Combine onion mixture and bread. Place half of the bread, onion, potato, and pepper mixture in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half of the Brie. Top with the remaining bread mixture and the remaining Brie.

Put the egg substitute and the eggs in a medium size bowl. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, herbs de Provence, and pepper. Add the milk, whisking until well blended. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture and let stand for 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Enjoy!



Cornish Game Hens with Apricot Stuffing & Orange Juice

Ingredients for Stuffing Hen

4 Cornish game hens
1 cup orange juice
½ cup apricot brandy or regular brandy
8 oz. package cornbread stuffing mix
¾ cup chopped dried apricots (I use scissors to chop them. It seems to work well)
¼ cup butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the orange juice in a medium size saucepan. Add the brandy and butter and stir until the butter is melted. Add the apricots and simmer 2-3 minutes until they’re tender. Add the stuffing mix and stir to blend. Remove from heat and use mixture to stuff game hens. (I know it’s messy, but whenever I’m stuffing something like a turkey, I use my hands. Naturally, you’re going to want to wash your hands before you ever start cooking!) Bake about 1 hour uncovered or until the hens are browned. Baste the hens when you first put them in the oven and again after 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Basting

½ cup orange juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce

Directions

Combine and set aside.

Ingredients for Orange Sauce

2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. grated orange peel
1 ½ cups orange juice
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup apricot brandy or orange flavored liqueur

Directions

Combine the sugars in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cornstarch, orange peel, orange juice, salt, and liqueur. Stir while simmering until slightly thickened. Spoon the warm sauce over the game hens after they’re removed from the oven and serve. Put the remaining sauce in a dish on the table. Enjoy!



Easy Peasy Baked Beans

Ingredients

1 can M & M baked beans
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. chopped onions, lightly sautéed
½ cup catsup

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and when warm, serve. Enjoy!



Killer Double Cheeseburgers

Ingredients

¼ cup catsup
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard (use the prepared, not the powder)
2 ¼ tsp. sweet pickle relish
2 ¼ tsp. dill pickle relish
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. sugar

Directions

Stir the ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. Sauce can be kept refrigerated up to two weeks. (I use it on all kinds of sandwiches.)

Cheeseburger & Topping Ingredients

½ lb. ground beef (try to get as close to 80/20 ratio as possible. I sometimes have to mix two different packages of ground beef together to get the right ratio)
8 iceberg lettuce leaves
4 large tomato slices
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced (separate them into rings)
4 slices American or Swiss cheese
4 soft white hamburger buns (I use the cheap plain ones - no sesame seeds, onion, etc.)
¼ tsp. salt

Directions

Heat a griddle or a heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot. Measure out 4 two ounce patties and flatten to about ¼ inch thick. Toast the cut sides of the buns on the griddle. Cook the burgers on one side for about 45 seconds. Flip them and put a slice of cheese on each one, frying them for an additional 45 seconds. Remove from the heat.

Assembly

Put a tablespoon of sauce on the bottom and top sections of the bun. On the bottom of each bun, put two lettuce leaves, a cheeseburger, a slice of tomato, onion rings, and then the second burger. Enjoy!



Fisherman's Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 cup white rice
2 cups water
8 strips bacon
8 green onions, chopped
8 eggs, whisked in small bowl
3 tbs. soy sauce
4 pats of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place the rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the cover and continue to cook 6-8 minutes to reduce moisture content in rice.

Fry the bacon in a 12-inch frying pan until crisp. Remove, drain on a paper towel, cool, and crumble. Put the crumbled bacon in a small dish and set aside. Drain half of the bacon grease into a separate bowl, add the cooked rice to frying pan and fry the rice on medium high heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the rice gets evenly browned.

Add additional bacon grease as needed. Add chopped onions and bacon pieces and gently combine into rice. With a spatula, push the rice mixture to one side of the frying pan, add the butter to the empty side of the pan. Once the butter is melted pour in the egg mixture and cook on medium heat, as if making soft scrambled eggs.

When the eggs are slightly firm, flip them and using the edge of the spatula cut the cooked eggs into small bite size strips 1-2 inches long and ½ inch wide. Combine the rice mixture with the cooked egg strips and add soy sauce, stirring gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon equal portions of cooked mixture onto serving plates and place soy sauce on the table. Serves four. Enjoy early in the morning before the sun comes up and then go fishing!



Extra Fudgy Brownies

Ingredients

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use a big knife to chop them. Make sure the cutting board is dry, or you’re going to have a big mess on your hands and starting a recipe off with an immediate mess is not fun!)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Same as above.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs (I use jumbo, but large works well.)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup walnuts (optional - I don’t use them because my grandchildren don’t like nuts!)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate bits

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex glass dish. (Truth be told I bring butter to room temperature and use my fingers, just make sure they're clean.)

Use a double boiler pan and bring the water to a boil in the lower pan. (If you don't have a double boiler you can substitute by putting a glass or metal bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Slowly heat the butter and the chocolate in the top pan until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl and whisk in the sugar and salt. When it’s cool enough so that the mixture won’t cook the eggs, add them, one at a time, stirring to incorporate after each one. Add the flour and mix it in. Gently stir the chocolate bits into the mixture and if desired, the walnuts.

Pour mixture into prepared dish and bake 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Ovens vary so times will too. There are two schools of thought on when a brownie is done. I’m of the just cooked through school, but a lot of people prefer to have them a little drier than I do. Your choice. Cool on a cooking rack and then cut into squares. Enjoy!



Blaine's Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

1 lb. sirloin steak
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 oz. mushrooms (cut the stem ends off and quarter them)
2 tbsp. chili sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 16 oz. pkg. wide butter noodles
2 tbsp. chopped chives for garnish

Directions

Put the steak on a cutting board and cut it into approximately 1 inch square pieces. Put the flour in a paper or plastic bag and add one-fourth of the beef pieces. Shake the bag so the pieces become coated. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. When it’s hot remove the pieces from the bag and brown them in the oil, about 2 minutes on each side. When both sides have been browned, remove them and set aside.

Repeat with 1/4 of the pieces at a time. When the last batch has been removed from the oil, add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. Return the meat to the pan and add the chili sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for approximately one hour or until the meat is tender.

When the meat is tender bring the water for the noodles to a boil and prepare them according to the directions on the package. Just before serving stir one cup of the meat mixture into the sour cream and then return that mixture to the remaining meat mixture, stirring to combine. (I know it sounds like an unnecessary step, but trust me on this one) Heat slowly until the entire mixture is warm. Drain the noodles. Put a serving of noodles in a soup bowl or spaghetti bowl. Top with the meat mixture and garnish with the chives. Enjoy!

NOTE: You can also serve this over rice or mashed potatoes.



Comfort Food Linguini with Clam Sauce

Ingredients

1 box linguini
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup diced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10 oz.) cans whole baby clams, drained (I used minced and chopped for years, but I found that whole clams really make a difference) 1 tsp. dried oregano
8 oz. bottle clam juice
½ cup chicken broth (If I don’t have homemade broth on hand, I prefer the concentrated brand that comes in a jar called ‘Better than Bouillon’ to cubes)
½ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt so that it tastes like the ocean. Cook the linguini according to the directions on the package. You want the linguini to just be done, not mushy.

While you’re bringing the water to a boil, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until tender. When tender, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the clams and sauté 2 more minutes. Add the oregano, salt, pepper and gently combine.

Finally, add the clam juice, chicken broth, and wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour the clam mixture over the drained linguine. You can add the parsley and stir to combine or use it along with the Parmesan as a garnish. I like to serve it in pasta bowls. Enjoy!



Chicken Manicotti with Italian Sausage

Ingredients

1 box of manicotti noodles
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 skinless chicken breasts or thighs (It’s usually cheaper if you buy them with the skin on and then remove it)
3 Italian sausages with the casings removed, torn into small bite size pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 pint ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Optional: Fresh parsley leaves, minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the skinless chicken in an ovenproof pan and bake, covered with tin foil, for 45 minutes. Let cool. When cool, shred or cut into bite-size pieces and set aside. Fry the sausage pieces over medium heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt until it tastes like the ocean. Cook the manicotti according to the package instructions. Drain and immediately transfer the manicotti noodles to a large bowl of ice water with plenty of ice cubes. While you’re cooking the manicotti noodles, put the olive oil in a small frying pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove and set aside.

Combine the ricotta cheese, chicken, sausage, egg, Italian seasoning, sautéed onions, garlic, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a mixing bowl. If you have oval individual dishes, spread ¼ cup of the marinara sauce in each one. If not, spread one cup of the marinara in a 9 x 13” pan. Gently remove the cooked manicotti noodles, one at a time, from the ice water and stuff them with the cheese, chicken, and sausage mixture. (It’s messy, and I’ve found the best way to do it is with my hands. Not particularly fun, but it works! Some of the noodles will probably tear. Don’t worry about it, just put the torn side down and no one but you will ever know.)

If you’re using individual dishes, put two stuffed manicotti noodles in each dish. If you’re using the large pan, fill the noodles, allowing about ½ inch between them. Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the noodles and place them side by side in a pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each of the individual dishes. If using one large dish, sprinkle all of the mozzarella cheese on it and the remaining marinara sauce. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. I like to sprinkle a little parsley on the top just before serving. Enjoy!



Kat's Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake Ingredients

2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
2 tbs. granulated sugar
1 egg

Streusel Swirl Ingredients

½ cup Bisquick mix
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. firm butter cut into 12 pieces
Optional: ½ cup walnuts or pecans (Like I said earlier, my grandchildren are not fans of nuts)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9” round baking dish. In a medium bowl, prepare the coffee cake by combining the Bisquick mix, milk, sugar and the egg. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. In a small bowl prepare the streusel by combining the Bisquick mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Spoon it over the coffee cake. Using a table knife, push it back and forth through the streusel mixture so as to swirl the streusel into the coffee cake mixture. If desired, top with the nuts. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until brown on top. Enjoy!



Western Chili

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into small bite-sized cubes
1 lb. hot Italian sausages
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder (if you like it hotter, feel free to add more, but if you add a lot, keep in mind that you’ll need to simmer it longer to let the chili powder lose it’s bitter taste and let the flavors marry)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 14 ½ oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1 14 ½ oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1 can beer
Chopped onion for garnish
Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

Directions

Remove the casings from the Italian sausages. Place them in a 12-inch frying pan. Break them up into little pieces and fry until cooked through. Remove the sausage and transfer to a bowl. Fry the hamburger and the steak until cooked through. Remove them from the pan and put them in the same bowl. There should be some grease left in the pan after cooking the meat. Add the onion and sauté until it’s soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the onion and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the frying pan and put in the bowl.

In a large heavy pot combine the tomatoes, beer, beans, meat, onion, garlic, seasonings, and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered for one hour. (You can make this several hours in advance by cooking it to this point. If you make it in advance, put a cover on the pot. Turn off the heat and then reheat it for 30 minutes before serving.) Thirty minutes prior to serving, adjust the seasonings. If necessary, add more liquid such as beer, water, or the drained kidney bean liquid. Ladle the chili into serving bowls and garnish with the chopped onions and shredded cheese. Enjoy!

NOTE: Personally, I like to serve this with honey cornbread!



Honey Cornbread

Ingredients

1 pkg. corn muffin mix (I usually use Jiffy)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
Soft butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish or muffin pan. You can also use paper baking cups by placing them in the muffin pan. Combine the ingredients together until just blended and then let the mixture stand for 4 minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish or fill the muffin cups ½ full. If using a baking dish, bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. If making muffins, bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with soft butter. Enjoy!



Hachis Parmentier (French Shepard's Pie)

Ingredients

2 cups chopped leftover pot roast or lamb
2 cups chopped cooked vegetables (You can pretty much use anything. I like to make it attractive to the eye, so I use a combination of colors, like orange for carrots, green broccoli, etc. You also want to use vegetables that were hardy on their own before cooking as opposed to lettuce or cabbage)
1 cup beef gravy (Unless I have some left over, I usually use a packet like Knorr’s.)
2 cups mashed potatoes (Remember to use a hand potato masher as opposed to an electric mixer. It makes a big difference!)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the meat, vegetables, and gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into individual dishes or a glass baking dish, approximately 8 x 8 inches. Spread the mashed potatoes over the mixture. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese. If you’re using a glass baking dish, bake for 45 minutes. If you’re using individual dishes, bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!



Bacon Waffle Appetizers

Ingredients

10 slices bacon, fried until crisp and then crumbled
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use the real deal. Think it’s much better than the imitation.)
1 large egg, white and yolk separated
½ cup butter, melted (Always use unsalted, because the level of salt in salted butter can really affect the outcome of a dish, and not particularly in a pleasant way.)
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped chives
Waffle iron
Round 3-inch cookie cutter or water glass that has a 3-inch diameter
Mixing bowl and beaters which have been put in the freezer to chill

Directions

Preheat the waffle iron to its highest setting. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Place the egg white in the prepared bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.

Stir the buttermilk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the melted butter. Gently fold the egg white into the mixture and add the bacon bits, reserving some for garnish. Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter onto the heated waffle iron and bake until crunchy and golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the waffle from the waffle iron and let cool. Use your cookie cutter or glass to cut circles out of the waffles. Mix the sour cream and chives together and spread about ½ tablespoon on each one. Garnish with bacon bits and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!



Make it your way Fruit Sticks

Ingredients

3 cups of different fruits such as strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, grapes, watermelon, pineapple, etc.
Wooden serving sticks

Directions

This is where the make it your way comes in. You can use a melon baller to make balls out of the melons. You can use cookie cutters to make stars, half-moons, or other shapes as desired, or just cut them free form. When the fruit has been cut to your liking, thread the pieces onto the wooden sticks, taking care to vary shapes and colors.

Depending on how much time you have and how many people you’ll be serving, arrange the threaded fruit on a medium or large serving platter. Another way of serving it is to use one of the melons as a base and secure the bottom of the sticks in the melon so that they stick out of the melon.

If serving a large group of people, a watermelon is always a show piece. (I recently served one at a baby shower and it was a big hit!) Cut in half and serrate the rim so it looks like the teeth you cut in a pumpkin at Halloween. This is a nice accompaniment whether you’re serving several sweets or appetizers. You could also use a wide-mouthed glass vase. Be creative! People who are watching their weight are always grateful for low-calorie options. Shows you’re a caring host or hostess. Enjoy!



Risotto with Pancetta and Mushroom

Ingredients

8 thin slices of pancetta (I prefer this, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute bacon)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms, thickly sliced (This completely depends on what you can find at the market. Sometimes my only choices are the brown and white ones. Once you start buying the others, it can get a little pricey. Be forewarned)
¼ tsp. sea salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter (I always use unsalted, so I can control the amount of salt in the dish. If you use salted butter, you’re at the mercy of the butter producer)
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley or tarragon
5 cups chicken stock (If you’re worried about too much salt being in non-homemade stock, use low-sodium stock)
1 garlic clove, smashed (I use the blade of a heavy knife. Whack it, remove the papery peel, then smash it again)
1 shallot, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice (Don’t think you can substitute this type of rice with another variety. Believe me, if you use a different type, the dish will not turn out well!)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus ¼ cup shavings for garnish
2 tbsp. heavy creamv Fresh ground pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees or if you have a plate warmer setting, use that. Place four shallow soup bowls in it. Cook the pancetta in a frying pan until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and cook over high heat, stirring until they begin to sweat. (In other words, start losing their juices.) Transfer the mushrooms and the liquid to a strainer set over a bowl. Lightly press on the mushrooms with the back of a spoon, reserving the liquid. Wipe the skillet clean and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about three minutes or until they become brown. Add the parsley, turn the heat to low, cover and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock with the reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. In a large deep skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat for one minute. (You don’t want it to brown.) Add the minced shallot and cook until softened. Add the rice and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated with butter.

Slowly add 1 cup of the hot chicken stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Cook the risotto, adding the stock 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly between additions until each cup is absorbed. Continue to cook the risotto until it has a creamy consistency, about 20 minutes.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, cream, and remaining tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to the warm soup bowls. Garnish with pancetta, and Parmesan shavings. Serve and enjoy!



Pecan Pie with Vanilla Bean Icecream and Bourbon Molasses Sauce

Pie Crust Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup unsalted butter plus more for buttering pie plate
4-5 tbsp. ice water

Directions

Coat a deep 9-inch pie plate with butter and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (well worth the money and a lot less messy than doing it with your hands. If you don’t have one you can use your fingers to mix the flour with the butter. Some people use two forks or two knives to work the butter into the flour. Your choice.) Keep at it until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water and with a wooden spoon, mix until a ball of dough is formed.

Put the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a disc. Dust the top of the dough with flour and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Use a rolling pin and roll from the center out until the dough is round and about 1/8-inch in thickness. Remove the top piece of the plastic wrap and lay the dough across the pie plate. Remove the remaining piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Cover the plate with a piece of plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Chef Jackson's Pecan Pie Ingredients

1 ½ cups pecan pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ light corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted melted butter
½ tsp. salt
1 sheet of aluminum foil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake them for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted. Stir together the rest of the ingredients. Remove the pie shell from the freezer and pour the filling in it. Bake for 55 minutes or until set, placing aluminum foil over the pie after 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Remove from oven.

Bourbon Molasses Sauce Ingredients

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup water plus 2 tbsp., divided
3 tbsp. bourbon
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ tbsp. molasses
¼ tsp. salt
Pastry brush (or any other type of brush)

Directions

Bring the sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, wash down any sugar crystals from the side of the pan. Boil, without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally until the color becomes a dark amber. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon, butter, molasses, and salt. Return to heat and simmer, stirring to dissolve any hardened caramel if necessary (Can be made ahead and reheated.)

Assembly

Pie crust
Pecan pie
Vanilla bean ice cream (Don’t skimp here. Treat yourself to the expensive stuff. You’ve come this far and believe me, it will be worth it when you taste the finished produce!)
Bourbon molasses sauce
Slice the pie into 8 pieces and plate as many pieces as needed. Using an ice cream scoop, put one scoop of the ice cream on the warm pie. Top with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Enjoy!



Lump Crab Meat and Citrus Salad with Chardonnay Dressing (Serves 4)

Dressing Ingredients

2 tbsp. Chardonnay or white vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp. olive oil

Directions

Whisk together the chardonnay or vinegar, mustard, and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil to the mixture, whisking until it has all been incorporated. Set aside. (May be made ahead and refrigerated.)

Salad Ingredients

2 cups lump crabmeat
1 orange, peeled and sectioned
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
16 leaves romaine lettuce
1 tsp. chopped chives for garnish
4 cylindrical glass sundae dishes

Directions

Gently combine the crabmeat, orange, and grapefruit in a bowl.

Assembly

Line the sundae dishes with the romaine leaves. Divide the crabmeat, orange, and grapefruit evenly and place in the sundae dishes. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the dressing over each mixture and top each one with ¼ teaspoon chives. Enjoy!



Lemon Souffle Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Syrup Ingredients

2 tbsp. butter
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

Directions

Place ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted. Turn heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

Pancake Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 tbsp. lemon juice
Put bowl and beaters in freezer for beating egg whites

Directions

Turn oven to 250 degrees or use warm if you have that setting. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, grated lemon, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons butter. Take the bowl and beaters out of the freezer and whip the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir to blend. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Butter a frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Pour batter in ½ cup portions onto the pan or griddle, being careful that the portions don’t touch each other. Cook until golden brown on each side, turning once. Keep the finished ones warm in the oven and repeat the process to cook the remaining pancakes.

Serve the pancakes with the warm syrup. Enjoy!



Avocado Halves with Chilled Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

Ingredients

1 packet of cheddar cheese broccoli soup (I’m not a big fan of canned soup. Far prefer the packets of soup, and they’re available pretty much everywhere)
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup broccoli florets (I use small prepackaged florets that come in a plastic bag)
2 avocados, cut in half with about 2 tbsp. flesh scooped out (Leave enough in there to form a boat shape)
8 lettuce leaves
Chives, chopped for garnish
Salsa Verde for garnish (There are a lot of bottled brands available. I don’t really have a preference)

Directions

Place 4 salad plates and forks in the refrigerator to chill. Prepare the soup according to directions on packet. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and broccoli florets and cook until florets have lost their crispness. If you want a thicker consistency add the additional ½ cup grated cheddar cheese. You can enjoy a bowl of hot soup at this point. Refrigerate the rest.

Assembly

Place 2 lettuce leaves on a chilled plate. Place one avocado half on each plate and spoon chilled soup into each half. Garnish with chives and/or Salsa Verde. Enjoy!



Carbonado Criolle (Argentinian Beef Stew)

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 ½ pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 ½ cups beef broth
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsps. sugar
1 large winter squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup dried apricots or fresh, roughly chopped (we have an apricot tree, so I use fresh ones)
1 cup frozen corn
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Directions

In a large pot, sauté the onions, green pepper, and garlic in the olive oil until soft and golden. Add the beef and cook on medium-high heat, turning to brown it on all sides. Add the stewed tomatoes, 2 cups beef broth, potatoes, sugar, squash, and apricots, and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for one hour. Season with salt and pepper. Add more beef broth if the stew seems too thick.

Stir in the corn and simmer 10 minutes more. Enjoy!



Dulce de Leche (Caramelized Sugar in Milk)

Ingredients

4 cups milk
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, using a whisk to stir the sugar until it’s completely dissolved. (Otherwise, your Dulce de Leche will not be smooth and trust me, you definitely want a smooth consistency!) Cook on medium low heat for 2 to 3 hours until it reaches the consistency you want (some people prefer it a little thinner, it’s your choice!) It should have a rich tan or brown color and a smooth texture when done. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, spoon into individual small bowls. Enjoy!



Matambre (Argentine Flank Steak)

Ingredients

2 ½ lbs. flank steak
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ lb. fresh spinach, washed and drained with stems trimmed
4 small thin carrots
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 cup pitted green Spanish olives, halved lengthwise
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into rings
1 large onion, cut in half
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 750 ml. bottle red wine (since Argentina makes a great Malbec wine, I recommend using it)
1 cup water
1 head garlic, cut in half
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Handful of fresh oregano sprigs
2 bay leaves
Butcher’s twine

Directions

Butterfly the steak by slicing almost through it horizontally and opening it up like a book. Pound the meat gently with a mallet to flatten it and even out the thickness. Rub all sides with olive oil and season with the 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper.

With the steak lying lengthwise, scatter the spinach leaves evenly over the meat, leaving a one-inch border on each side. Arrange the carrots in long rows across the steak, about 2 inches apart. Put the egg strips and olives between the carrot rows. Scatter the onion rings and cheese over the filling. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. salt and the red pepper flakes. Roll the meat up over the filling into a cylinder (like a jellyroll). Tie three pieces of the butcher’s twine around the cylinder horizontally to hold it together.

Coat a large pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Sear the stuffed steak in the hot oil until it is browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan and enough water to almost cover the meat. Put in the head of garlic, onion, and herbs to flavor the broth. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Turn the meat over once. When it’s cooked, transfer the matambre to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Remove the twine and cut crosswise into 1 inch slices. Remove the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme and oregano from the mixture. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve. You can put the remaining sauce in a gravy boat and put it on the dining table. Enjoy!



Ensalade Palmitos (Argentina Hearts of Palm Salad)

Ingredients

1 can (14 oz.) hearts of palm, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 avocado, quartered and thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

On a platter, arrange the hearts of palm, tomato, and avocado in a single, overlapping layer. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Enjoy!



Tomates Rellenos (Argentine Stuffed Tomatoes)

Ingredients

2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and finely chopped
2 cans white tuna (albacore), drained
Mayonnaise to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
8 tomatoes, tops cut off, cored and seeded
Lettuce for serving, optional

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise (to your taste and consistency), garlic, parsley, and the chopped hard-boiled egg. Stuff the tomatoes with the tuna mixture, and garnish with a sprig of parsley. Serve on a bed of lettuce if desired. (I like to make these ahead of time and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.) Enjoy!



She Crab Soup

Ingredients

1 lb. lump crabmeat, divided (If you can get fresh crab, it’s better, but if you’re like most of us, it’s going to have to be canned. Just make sure it’s lump crab meat, not some imitation crab meat.)
1 large onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups crab stock (Good luck getting that! I’ve used fish stock when I could find it, and if not, I’ve found that chicken stock works well.)
2 cups milk (I know some of you use 2% or skim, but I like whole milk in this. Yes, it’s rich, but that’s part of what makes it so good.)
1 ½ cups heavy cream (Said it was rich!)
2 tsp. paprika
½ cup dry sherry wine
½ cup crab roe, divided (Once again, good luck! It does give the soup a nice red-orange color, but I think it’s close to impossible to find, unless you live on the East Coast, but if you can find it, use it.)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chopped chives
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Splash of dry white wine (I use a lot of wine in cooking. Think it makes things taste better, but if you choose not to, it’s not going to ruin the dish!)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Dash of hot sauce

Directions

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf, and lightly sauté for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour in and stir to coat. Whisk in the stock until the mixture is lump free. Gradually add the milk, cream, paprika, 2 tablespoons of sherry, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, wine, and the squeeze of lemon, stirring constantly for 2 more minutes.

Remove contents from the heat, transfer to a blender, and blend. Return the blended mixture back to the pan. Add half the crab meat and if you’ve been lucky, the roe. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring until it’s thick and blended.

Divide the remaining sherry and crab meat among four bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the crab meat and sherry. Garnish with chopped chives. I like to serve this with warm crusty French bread. Enjoy!



Apple Crisp with Topping

Ingredients

6 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 tbsp. white sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon (Freshly ground is lovely, but if you don’t have it, you can use prepared.)
9” square glass pan (If you only have a round one, that’s fine.)

Topping Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar (I prefer light brown sugar.)
¾ cup rolled oats
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup cold butter
Whipped cream (You can make it yourself or use canned whipped cream if you’re short on time, but I think freshly made is ever so much better!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples with white sugar and ½ tsp. cinnamon to coat. Spoon into a 9” square glass baking pan. Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a separate bowl. Use two forks or a pastry cutter to mash the butter into the oat mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over the apples and pat down gently.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for about ten minutes. Cut into pieces, plate, and put a dollop of whipped cream on top. Enjoy!



Lobster Rolls

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs. cooked lobster meat chopped into bite-size pieces (Fresh lobster meat from lobster tails or claws is preferable, but it you don’t live where it’s available, pre-packaged will do.)
4 top slit hot dog buns
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (I like to use the ones from inside the celery bundle. I think they’re more tender.)

Directions

Combine the lobster meat, mayonnaise, celery, salt, and pepper in a bowl. (I like to let the flavors marry for about thirty minutes in the refrigerator before serving.)

Pull the sides of the hot dog buns apart, but don’t completely split them. Fill each roll with ¼ of the mixture. Enjoy!



Boston Cream Pie

Ingredients - Cream Filling

1 ½ cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla (Don’t skimp on costs and use imitation. You can taste the difference!)
Plastic wrap

Ingredients - Cake

Baking spray & 2 tbsp. flour to prepare pan
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour or 1 ½ cups cake flour
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup whole milk
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
Rubber spatula
9” round cake pan
(Truth be told, I have substituted a yellow cake mix or even bought a yellow cake at the supermarket when I was tight on time, although I think “from scratch” is always preferable. Let your schedule be your guide!)

Ingredients - Chocolate Icing

3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
3 – 4 tbsp. water
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
¾ tsp. vanilla
1 glass measuring cup

Filing Directions

Place the yolks in a bowl and beat with a fork until mixed. Stir in 1 ½ cups milk and set aside.

In a medium saucepan stir ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp. salt until mixed. Gradually stir the egg mixture in. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and boils. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Stir in 2 tsp. vanilla. Cover the top with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent a tough layer from forming. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. It will hold up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” round cake pan with spray and flour, tapping out the excess flour. Combine cake ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric beater for 30 seconds on low speed. Scrape sides from time to time with a rubber spatula. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and keep it on the cooling rack for one hour.

Chocolate Icing

In a small saucepan melt 3 tbsp. of butter and the chocolate over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Microwave the water in a glass measuring cup until hot, 15 – 30 seconds. Remove chocolate mixture from heat, whisk in the powdered sugar and ¾ tsp. vanilla. Stir in 3 tbsp. of water. Stir in additional water, l tsp. at a time as needed, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to spread.

Assembly

Split the cake horizontally. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate, cut side up. Spread filling over bottom layer. Place the top of the cake on the filling, cut side down.

Using the back of a spoon or a frosting knife, spread the icing over the top of the cake, allowing some to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate uncovered. Slice into pie-shaped pieces, plate, and enjoy!



Pasta with Seafood and Fra Diavolo (Brother Devil) Sauce

Sea Food

8 oz. scallops
8 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz. mussels
8 oz. clams
(I like to prepare this dish with fresh seafood, but I realize this may be a problem for some of you. It’s usually pretty easy to get frozen shrimp and scallops, but clams and mussels may not be available. If not, use a large can, 16 oz., of whole baby clams and forget the mussels. I made it that way a few nights ago, and it was delicious!)

Sauce Ingredients

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups canned chopped peeled tomatoes, with liquid
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz. package linguine

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add garlic. Cook for one minute and stir in tomatoes and liquid. Season with salt and red pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. If using fresh clams and mussels, put them in the last ten minutes. (If they don’t open after ten minutes, toss them. They might be bad.)

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (It literally should taste like the ocean.) Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on package instructions.

In a large skillet heat the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil over high heat. Add the shrimp and scallops and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. (Caution! Don’t overcook them, because they’ll taste rubbery.) Add them to the tomato mixture and turn up the heat to medium high. If using canned clams, add them now. Cook for about 4 minutes. Serve the sauce over the cooked linguini and enjoy!



Orange Balsamic Lamb Chops

Ingredients

4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided (You’ll see a lot written about extra virgin olive oil vs. regular, but when I’m doing a salad dressing or a marinade, I think extra virgin is better.)
2 tsps. grated orange rind
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
8 (4 oz.) lamb chops, trimmed (I usually buy a rack of lamb, cut them into individual chops, and trim them myself.)
1 tsp. kosher salt (And yes, I do prefer kosher salt for most kinds of cooking when fine salt isn’t called for. Think it gives the dish more flavor - a major source of disagreement in the Harman kitchen depending on whether I’m cooking or my husband is!)
½ tsp freshly ground pepper (Believe me, it’s worth the extra effort.)
3 tbsps. balsamic vinegar
Cooking spray

Directions

Combine 3 tsp. olive oil, orange rind, and juice and put into a large zip-lock bag along with the lamb chops. Coat well. Let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. When hot, add the lamb chops to the pan and cook 2 minutes per side medium rare, longer for medium or well done. (If the lamb chops are of different thicknesses, put the thickest ones on first and cook for about a minute longer. You may have to adjust more than that if there is a wide variation.)

While the lamb is cooking, put the vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil to reduce it. Cook 3 minutes or until the vinegar is syrupy. Mix the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil with the vinegar and drizzle over the lamb chops. Enjoy!



Cold Trout Cucumber Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients

2 whole trout (Believe it or not, a lot of supermarkets do carry whole trout!)
½ head red leaf lettuce, shredded
½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly cut crosswise
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered lengthwise (If you can’t find them, you can use another kind of tomato.)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces (about ¾”)
½ red onion – slice the rings into bite-size pieces (about ¾”)
8 mushrooms, quartered with stems removed
¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a frying pan for 3-4 minutes
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in a frying pan for 3-4 minutes
½ cup creamy yogurt dressing (I use Boathouse Farms Cilantro Avocado, but if you can’t find it, look for something similar.)
Lemon pepper for garnish (I use Lawry’s, but again, if you can’t find it, look for something similar.)
Oil spray

Directions

Trout: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the heads and tails with a cleaver and discard (If you’re like me, this is where husbands or significant others come in handy!) Place trout in a slightly oiled ovenproof dish and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place trout on a plate and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour. Place chilled trout on a cutting board, and with your fingers, peel off the skin on both sides and discard.

With a sharp thin knife or a spatula scrape away and discard the dark material under the skin that runs down the center on both sides so you end up with clean white meat. Slide the knife along the backbone, separate the top filet from the backbone, and set aside. Starting at the head end, gently lift the backbone from the bottom filet and discard. Remove and discard the fins and any small bones not removed when the backbone’s removed. Return the boneless filets to the plate and refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad. (I know it sounds complicated, but it’s not, trust me!)

Salad: Place all ingredients with the exception of the toasted nuts in a large bowl and gently toss while adding the dressing. Place dressed salad equally on 4 serving plates and sprinkle with toasted nuts. Sprinkle lemon pepper on each trout filet and place one filet on top of each salad. Serve additional dressing on the side in case more is desired. Enjoy!

NOTE: I recommend you prepare the trout several hours in advance. The filets are quite delicate and break apart easily. When transferring them to or from the refrigerator, use a long thin spatula and “scoop” each filet up lengthwise by sliding the spatula gently under the filet, starting at the thickest end.



Beef Wellington

Ingredients

1 center cut beef tenderloin about 8 inches long and 2 ½ lbs., trimmed
4 tbsp. butter
2 lbs. cremini mushrooms finely chopped in a food processor (If you can’t find cremini, don’t worry about it. Plain white mushrooms work just as well.)
1 lb. frozen puff pastry (You can easily find this at the supermarket.) Thaw in refrigerator.
¼ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper on beef surface. In a large skillet over high heat, melt butter. When it foams, add a handful of the mushrooms. Cook for 1 minute. Repeat until all of the mushrooms have been sautéed or until the liquid they release evaporates and they’re brown. Season with remaining salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Sprinkle a sheet pan with cold water. Scatter the flour on a wooden surface and roll pastry dough into a rectangle large enough to completely wrap around the tenderloin. Evenly spread the cooled mushrooms over the dough. Place the beef along one long edge of the dough and roll the meat up in the dough so it’s completely enclosed in the dough.

Place the wrapped beef on the sheet pan, seam side down. Seal each end by folding it under the beef. Using a thin sharp knife, make a series of diagonal slashes into the dough across the top. (Don’t cut into the meat when you’re doing this.) Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. (You might want to use a meat thermometer as ovens vary. For rare, 120 degrees, medium, 125 degrees. Keep in mind that the temperature will rise another 5 degrees while the roast rests.)

Transfer the roast to a serving platter and lightly cover it. Let it rest about 10 minutes. (I usually use loose tin foil or paper towels.) Use a sharp knife and cut pieces approximately 1” thick. You can plate it or let people serve themselves. Enjoy!



Osso Buco

Ingredients

3 veal shanks, about 1 lb. each, trimmed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tbsps. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 dry bay leaf
3 whole cloves
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dredging
½ cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (I use one from the center because I think it’s more tender.)
1 tbsp. tomato paste (You can use canned or one that comes in a tube – I prefer the tube, because it seems every time I buy a can, I end up throwing the unused portion of it out.)
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock (If you don’t have homemade, and most of us don’t, you can make your own from cubes or Wyler’s – think it’s a lot cheaper than buying it in a can or box.)
Cheesecloth
Kitchen twine

Directions

Put the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves in the cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. Tie it off with the twine. Pat the veal shanks dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Secure the meat to the bone by tying each one with the kitchen twine. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge the shanks in flour, shaking off the excess flour.

In a large Dutch oven pot, heat the oil on medium-high until it smokes. Add the veal shanks and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and put on a metal tray. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle with the remaining salt to draw out the moisture. Sauté until soft, about 7 – 9 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well.

Add the veal shanks and the wine. Simmer over medium heat until the wine is reduced by half. Add the bouquet garni and 2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Check every 20 minutes and add additional chicken stock as needed so the liquid remains about ¾ of the way up the shanks.

Remove shanks and place on serving platter. Cut off the twine and discard. Remove bouquet garni. Pour the juice and sauce over the shanks and garnish with lemon zest and parsley. Enjoy!



Kat's Little Lemon Cheesecakes

Ingredients

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tsps. finely grated lemon peel
Two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 extra-large or jumbo eggs (I prefer jumbo.)
1/2 cup lemon curd (I buy it ready-made at the supermarket.)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 8 ramekins or custard cups with the spray. Beat sugar, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add softened cream cheese and ricotta cheese and beat until smooth. Add eggs and beat until well-blended. Divide the batter among the prepared cups and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 18 minutes or until puffed, set in center, and golden brown. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Enjoy!

NOTE: I like to serve this with the Italian liqueur, limoncello, and top the cheesecake with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.



Not your Mama's Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

3 ½ tsps. kosher salt (If you don’t have it, you can use table salt, although I definitely prefer kosher.)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 lb. orecchiette pasta (Sounds exotic, but it’s easy to find in the pasta section of your supermarket.)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
3 tbsps. butter
4 tbsps. all-purpose flour
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (While I do think freshly grated is better, if you don’t have it, you can use nutmeg that’s already been grated.)
¾ lb. crab meat (Fresh is best, but pretty hard to find. I did find lump crab meat at a Costco store. You could always substitute another type of seafood, but I’m not a fan of the fake crab meat.)
2 tbsps. fresh chives, finely chopped
NOTE: I’ve been known to substitute other types of hard cheese if I happen to have some already on hand.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add 3 tsps. kosher salt and vegetable oil to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cooked per directions on package, usually around 8 minutes, but do taste it for doneness. Drain in a colander. (It’s a thicker pasta than say linguine or fettucine, so you don’t want to undercook it.)

While the pasta is cooking, put the milk in a small saucepan and heat but don’t boil. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven type pan and add the flour. Whisk the flour and butter together for 2 minutes. Add the milk to the flour and butter and whisk for 2 more minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened. Turn the heat off.

Add cheese, remaining ½ tsp. salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, seafood, and pasta. Stir to mix well. Transfer to individual gratin dishes or to an 8” x 8” glass baking dish. For gratin dishes, bake for approximately 35 minutes. If using a glass baking dish, bake for 50 minutes. Ovens vary, so check for a little browning on the top.

Garnish with chopped chives and enjoy!



Spinach, Pistachio & Picorino Salad

Ingredients

2 tbsps. Extra-virgin olive oil (As you know, I do think it makes a difference.)
4 tsps. cider vinegar (If you don’t have cider vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar.)
½ tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
½ cup red onion, sliced vertically
¼ cup unsalted pistachios, roasted and chopped (You can also use walnuts or sliced almonds.)
1 5 oz. package of baby spinach
¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (I use a vegetable peeler.)
4 medium mushroom caps, sliced

Directions

Whisk first 5 ingredients together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine onion, nuts, mushroom slices, and spinach. Add the oil mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve and enjoy!



Tom's Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely diced (reserve 2 tbsps. for garnish)
1 avocado, peeled and coarsely diced (reserve 1 tbsp. for garnish)
½ tsp. finely grated lime zest (You can substitute a lemon, but since we have a lime tree that produces and produces, I always use limes.)
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (reserve 1 tbsp. for garnish)
1 large green onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup cold water
1 ½ tsps. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions

Puree the ingredients and ladle into 4 bowls, garnishing with reserved cucumber and avocado. Cover each bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with reserved cilantro leaves. Serve and enjoy!

NOTE: I prefer this soup on a hot day. Another reason I like this soup is in addition to the lime tree we have an avocado tree as well as lots of green onions and depending on the season, cucumbers.



Liam's Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar (I prefer to use light brown sugar.)
½ cup peanut butter (Creamy or chunky, your preference.)
¾ cup softened butter
1 egg (I like jumbo eggs.)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. table salt
8 oz. peanut butter chips
2 tbsps. sugar for fork dipping

Directions

In a large bowl mix the peanut butter, sugars, butter, and egg. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When fully combined, gently stir in the peanut butter chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into balls, approximately 1 ¼ inches. Place about 3 inches apart. Dip a fork in the remaining sugar and flatten the balls, making crisscross patterns.

Bake until light brown, approximately 9 – 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy!



Chicken Cordon Bleu with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Ingredients

2 large skinless chicken breasts
12 slices of Black Forest deli ham
4 slices of pepper-jack cheese
½ cup raspberry chipotle sauce (Sometimes I can find it at Costco. When I can’t, I go online and buy it. Caution: refrigerate after opening, as it’s very susceptible to mold if you don’t.)
Oil cooking spray
Salt and pepper
Toothpicks

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the chicken breasts in half, widthwise, making 4 chicken breasts. Butterfly each one and lay it open like a book. Make four stacks of 3 pieces of ham and 1 piece of cheese. Tightly roll each one up and place it in the center of a butterflied breast. Fold over the top of the breast to conceal the ham and cheese and secure with toothpicks. Repeat for other 3.

Spray baking dish with oil. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts on both sides and place in dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Heat raspberry sauce in microwave for 2 minutes. Remove the toothpicks, plate chicken breasts, and drizzle sauce over the top. Place extra sauce in a gravy boat to be used as needed. Enjoy!