Kitchen Kapers

By Mary John Resch

Margaret and Jonathan served this dish as one of their sides at their Christmas dinner. I thought it was absolutely delicious and undoubtedly one of the best ways to prepare Brussels Sprouts that I have ever tasted.

If you don’t have any anchovies, substitute Worchestershire to taste—it contains anchovies. I plan to use some of the anchovy paste that comes in a tube. 

BRUSSELS SPROUTS ROASTED WITH CAPERS, WALNUTS AND ANCHOVIES

3 pounds Brussels Sprouts, quartered or halved if small
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup walnuts
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
One 2-ounce tin of anchovies, drained and minced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels Sprouts with ¼ cup of the olive and season with salt and pepper. Spread the Brussels Sprouts on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and charred in spots; shift the pans halfway through roasting.

Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard and honey. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup of oil until emulsified. Add the capers, garlic, shallots and anchovies; season with salt and pepper. Add the Brussels Sprouts and walnuts and toss well. Serve and enjoy.


 

This recipe for Apple-Sausage Macaroni and Cheese appeared in the Food Network Magazine several years ago. We tried this and both of us thought it was very tasty. When you prepare this you can use any type of small pasta that you happen to have on hand – the small shells are nice because they hold the sauce when you take a bite better than elbow macaroni.

This recipe made enough that we were able to freeze about half of it for later. We enjoyed this the second time around and had enough left from that meal for me to have lunch later. Meat lovers will enjoy this variation of an old favorite. 

APPLE-SAUSAGE MACARONI and CHEESE

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
¾ pound medium pasta shells
½ cup diced onion
6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
1 tablespoon mustard powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups apple juice
1 poundMontereyjack cheese, shredded (4 cups)
½ pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
½ cup sour cream
35 small butter crackers (1 sleeve Ritz), crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Butter a 2½ quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil’ add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage, mustard powder, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring until the sausage is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring until light toasted about 2 minutes. Stir in the apple juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 8 more minutes.

Slowly stir about three-quarters each of the 2 cheeses into the sauce until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the pasta and sour cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the crushed crackers and remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


 

I tried this Apple Cake recently and we both loved it – a perfect fall dessert. The thing that I like so much about the recipe is its versatility. You can serve it plain like any bar cookie. You can also ice it with your favorite cream cheese icing – this was what I did when I made the cake. Or you could serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and perhaps to top it off, some hot caramel sauce.

You might come up with your own ideas about a different way to serve the cake – whatever you choose to do I think you will want to use this recipe often. I do store this cake in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

APPLE CAKE – THREE WAYS

½ cup butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.

Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

Mix next four ingredients in another bowl until blended, then stir into first mixture until well-blended. Stir in the apples and toasted walnuts. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.


 

I tried this recipe several weeks ago and both of us enjoyed it. I have done similar ones just using olive oil and salt and pepper but I thought the zesty Italian dressing added a new twist.

SWEET and WHITE POTATO SPEARS

1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, cut into spears
1 ½ poundsIdahoor russet potatoes, cut into spears
½ cup zesty Italian dressing
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Coat the potatoes with the dressing and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes, turn the potatoes, cook an additional 30 minutes, sprinkling with the cheese the last 5 minutes cooking time.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


 

I tried this recipe recently and thought that it was incredibly easy to prepare and very tasty. When I made it I used a package of frozen carrots, cauliflower and broccoli but I only thawed these since they were going to cook as the casserole baked. I think the casserole will be even better if made with fresh vegetables. The choice is up to you and there are simply times when we all find ourselves needing something really quick and easy with little or no prep work required.

VEGETABLE CASSEROLE with CREAM CHEESE SAUCE

1 (16-ounce) package cauliflower, broccoli and carrots (or vegetables of your choice)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
Salt
Pepper
Parmesan cheese

 

Cook vegetables until almost done but still crisp-tender. If you are using frozen vegetables just thaw and drain them.

In a saucepan melt butter. Add flour and stir for a couple of minutes. Add milk, cream cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat and stir until creamy and smooth. Pour over the drained vegetables in a casserole dish (I used a 4×6-inch rectangular pyrex dish). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.


 

Now that cooler weather is here some days and definitely on the horizon, many of us enjoy soup for lunch or a light supper. I tried this recipe recently and both of us liked it. It really proves that sometimes simple and quick things can be as tasty as something you spend hours preparing.

QUICKIE CORN CHOWDER

1 (10 ½ ounce) can cream of potato soup
1 (15 ounce can) cream-style corn
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley
Paprika

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat together the potato soup, corn and milk. Simmer until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. (Do not boil.) Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika. Yield: 6 cups

**If I decided to double or triple the recipe, I might add some additional cream-style corn because can sizes are smaller than they were when this recipe was printed in a 1989 Pinetops UMW cookbook.


 

When my daughter Margaret was here helping out after my recent appendectomy, she prepared this chicken for us and both of us thought it was delicious.

Margaret froze some of the thighs (uncooked) in the marinade for us to enjoy later and they were as good as the ones that had not been frozen. I put the frozen chicken in the refrigerator the day before I planned to cook it and it was ready to go at supper time the next night.

Margaret saw this recipe in the Food Network Magazine and they grilled the chicken, which you can do, but she Convection Roasts her chicken at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, which if you are trying to help with homework or other things is certainly simpler.

CAROLINA-STYLE BARBEQUE CHICKEN

½ cup yellow mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons hot sauce – optional
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (2 to 2 ¼ pounds)
Vegetable oil for brushing

Set oven to Convection Roast at 375 degrees. Whisk the yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard powder, hot sauce, Worchestershire sauce; ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the butter.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with about 1/3 of the mustard sauce in a zip lock plastic bag until coated. Refrigerate until ready to use. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

If grilling: Brush the grill grates generously with vegetable oil. Put about ¼ cup of the remaining sauce in a bowl and use to baste the chicken as it cooks – reserve the rest to serve with the chicken.

Grill the chicken, covered, basting occasionally with the sauce, until well-marked and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees; about 10-12 minutes a side. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

If Convection Roasting: Line a pan with non-stick aluminum foil. Spread chicken in pan being careful not to crowd it – you want the chicken to roast rather than steam. If you want, you can put a rack in the pan and place the chicken on the rack. If you do this, be sure to spray the rack with Pam.


 

This recipe is actually sort of a cross between a sausage ball and sausage muffins. However, regardless of what you choose to call them, they’re really tasty and if you are lucky enough to have any left over, they freeze beautifully.

This is a Taste of the South recipe from several years ago.

SAUSAGE BITES

1 pound hot pork sausage
3 cups baking mix such as Bisquick
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ to 1 cup whole milk (I used ¾ cup and added another table  spoon or two)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large skillet, crumble sausage. Cook over medium heat until browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine cooked sausage, baking mix, cheese and paprika. Stir in milk until dough reaches desired consistency. (The more milk you use, the more the dough will spread.)

Depending on the consistency, either spoon the dough onto prepared pans, or form dough into walnut-size balls (approximately 1 ½ tablespoons), and place on prepared pans, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake in batches, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Store in refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.


 

I saw this recipe in an old Bon Appetit magazine and it was a staff pick as a favorite – the writer described it as a dream dessert. Chef Raymond Vandergaag from The Tasting Room at CityCentre inHoustoncreated the recipe. He serves it with whipped cream and truffled honey – I also think it would be good with vanilla ice cream but the cake itself doesn’t really need any extra embellishment. I especially like the texture that the roasted pistachios give the cake.

PISTACHIO POUND CAKE

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all-purpose flour plus more to dust cake pan and pista  chios
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided (I had a package of roasted, unsalted pistachios in my freezer and I used these and was very happy with my cake. I will use these again when I make this cake)

Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Dust pan with flour; tap out excess.

Whisk 2 cups flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add sugar; beat until well incorporated, 1-2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Add juices and zest; beat until well combined (mixture may look curdled), 2-3 minutes. Add dry ingredients; reduce speed to low and beat just until blended. Lightly dust ¾ cup of the pistachios with flour and fold them into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup pistachios over.

Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 ½ hours. (If your cake seems to be browning too much, lightly cover it with aluminum foil.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in pan. Run a sharp knife around sides to loosen; unmold cake. Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. (I made the cake on Saturday and it was still great on Monday.)


 

This is a good one-dish meal and that is something we all need every now and then. It is easy to prepare and fairly quick to cook. Each serving has approximately 385 calories based on 4 servings. This is very tasty and makes a nice change from the same old rut we sometimes fall into when planning menus.

SAUSAGE and CABBAGE STIR FRY

1 ¼ cups egg noodles, uncooked
¾ pound Polish sausage, sliced
8 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
1 small onion chopped
1 apple, cored and grated
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse with hot water and set aside.

In a large wok or skillet cook sausage until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; set aside.

Add cabbage, onion and apple to skillet. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring until cabbage is tender, 7-10 minutes. (You may need to add a little additional oil when you add these ingredients.)

Add brown sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar. Cover; cook over low heat 5 minutes. Return sausage to skillet. Add noodles and toss.


 

This recipe is one that was given to me by my Mother and I have passed it on to a lot of people. You will also see it in a lot of older cookbooks. At any rate, this is certainly a recipe that has stood the test of time.

When my daughter Margaret was here several weeks ago, she suggested that we make some of these muffins. We used part of the batter and made 6 muffins. Margaret says her daughters like them with chopped walnuts and pieces of unpeeled apple rather than the raisins. She says she has also made them with chopped banana and blueberries. So use your imaginations and update this recipe and enjoy it.

SIX WEEKS BRAN MUFFINS

3 cups all bran cereal
1 cup boiling water
½ cup canola or safflower oil
¾ cup sugar or to taste – the original recipe called for 1 ½ cups
2 eggs, beaten
1 pint buttermilk
2 ½ cups unsifted flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt.

Put 1 cup bran cereal into a large bowl. Pour boiling water over it and let stand while assembling the other ingredients. Mix in the canola or safflower oil.

Mix remainder of bran with sugar, eggs, and buttermilk.

Mix together the flour, soda and salt. Combine all ingredients. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Bake as much as desired in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. The batter will keep for up to six weeks. Makes about 30 regular-size muffins.

May add raising, apples and walnuts or any combination of fruit and nuts your family enjoys, if desired.


 

During the summer, or almost any time, it is nice to have a recipe that can be done ahead and is a meal all by itself – or at least you only have to add a bread or perhaps a small green salad. This recipe certainly fits that description. It is easy to prepare and has flavors that most of us enjoy. Best of all, it makes a lot so you will have some to share or perhaps for lunch later in the week or both.

TACO MACARONI SALAD

1 (7-ounce)  package macaroni
1 (12-ounce) package ground sausage
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, diced
1 green pepper, diced
¼ cup diced onion
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
½ cup taco sauce
1/4 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped, or more to taste

Cook macaroni according to directions and drain. Fry sausage and drain on paper towels and cool. Combine sausage, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, onion and cheese. In another bowl, blend together the taco sauce, oil, salt, and basil. Combine with the sausage mixture; add the cooked macaroni. Toss all together and chill until ready to serve.


 

We tried this chicken recipe several weeks ago and both of us enjoyed it. If you chicken breasts are really large you might want to halve them. The only drawback that I see with this recipe is that if you have leftovers, the bread crumbs tend to not be as crisp the second time around so in the future I will try to fix only as many servings as we will eat at one time.

I will do this recipe again – the flavor is good and it is easy to prepare.

CHICKEN BAKED WITH BREAD CRUMBS

4 chicken breasts, skinned and deboned
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons paprika – add until the sour cream is pink
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
½ stick butter or oleo, melted

Combine sour cream, lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Place chicken breast in shallow dish and pour marinade over the chicken. Allow to stand in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from the marinade, coat with the breadcrumbs, place in a greased baking dish and drizzle melted butter over the chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until done.

Be careful not to overcrowd the chicken in the baking dish.


 

I am very fond of squash casseroles and am always disappointed when I go to a covered dish meal and there are no squash casseroles to sample. I tried this recipe several weeks ago and both of us enjoyed it. Because Alan likes some texture in his casseroles, I roughly mashed the squash leaving some recognizable pieces of squash in it.

I used a mixture of cheddar cheese and a blended mixture of Italian Cheeses – in short, what I happened to have in the refrigerator.

SQUASH SOUFFLE

2 cups cooked squash, mashed
1 large onion, chopped, cooked with the squash
1 cup grated cheese
2 large eggs, well-beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to sprinkle the top of the casserole

Heat milk; add crumbs and butter. Mix well and add the mashed squash and onion mixture and cool. Add the remainder of the ingredients. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until set.


 

I hope that by now a lot of you are being rewarded with a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. This recipe is one of our favorite ways to use these tomatoes. It is also a good year-round recipe because you can usually find good cherry or grape tomatoes whenever you happen to be in the grocery store.

 HOT HERBED CHERRY TOMATOES

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, stems removed
¾ cup soft bread crumbs
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons minced onion
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
¼ cup julienned fresh basil
1 large clove garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup good quality olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place tomatoes in a single layer in a lightly oiled 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.

Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil; sprinkle crumb mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil.

Bake until tomatoes are puffed and the skins begin to split and the crumbs are a golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. May take a little longer if your tomatoes have been in the refrigerator and are cold.


 

This recipe appeared in Our State Magazine last summer. The recipe originally appeared in The Old Bridge Cookbook fromSunsetBeach. We tried the recipe and it quickly became a family favorite. As well as being delicious it’s the easiest Peach Pie that I have ever baked. We think the pie is actually better if you refrigerate it overnight.

 PEACH CREAM PIE

2 tablespoons butter
1 9-inch deep dish pie shell, unbaked
3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut butter into small pieces and dot the pie shell with butter. Cover with the sliced peaches. Combine sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Stir in the cream. Pour over the peaches.

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 35-40 minutes. (You may need to cover the edges of your pie shell to keep it from getting too brown.) You want the center of the pie to be slightly set. Chill the pie before serving.


 

My daughter Mary Alice Lloyd sent me this recipe and added these comments about it.

Several years ago, I clipped this recipe from a magazine and promptly forgot about it. I found it again recently when I was cleaning out my overloaded “recipes to try” file. The results were so good (Caroline came searching for leftovers the next day and there weren’t any), that I had to share it with Mom. I hope you enjoy. She reports that she fixed it and both she and Dad loved it!

 SOY-CHILE GLAZED FLANK STEAK

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (I used minced from a tube)
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 ¼ lbs. flank steak

Marinate the flank steaks in the glaze for about 2 hours. Then grill to the desired doneness. (We like ours medium rare.)

Because of the sugar, this can make quite a mess on the grill, but it is delicious and worth the trouble.


 

Years ago Copper Penny Carrots were a favorite salad and you could rely on them being served at most covered dish get-togethers. This recipe is an interesting variation on the old go-to dish. I think you will enjoy it.

When boiling the cauliflower and carrots, be careful not to overcook them. You want them to be tender but a little bit on the crisp side.

 MIXED MARINATED VEGETABLES

1 can tomato soup
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar or to taste
¾ cup vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head cauliflower
2 cups sliced carrots
2 green peppers
1 medium white onion
1 can cut green beans, drained

Mix soup, oil, sugar, vinegar, prepared mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

Cut cauliflower into flowerets. Boil lightly. Boil sliced carrots lightly. Cut green peppers into rings or bite size pieces. Slice and separate onion into rings. Halve the rings. Drain green beans. Mix vegetables together.

Stir marinade again and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. I like to take this out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before I plan to serve it.


 

Green beans should soon be available locally and when they come in you often have so many that you are looking for different ways to prepare them. Try this recipe if you are having this problem. It is delicious and easy to prepare. Since the green beans have to marinate for twenty-four hours, this means that you won’t have to prepare them at the last minute – always a plus for me.

MARINATED GREEN BEANS with TARRAGON DRESSING

2-3 pounds young fresh green beans (trim ends but do not cut)
2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, julienned

Boil fresh green beans in salted water until crisp-tender (don’t overcook). Drain. Layer green onions in the bottom of your serving bowl and put hot beans over them. Sprinkle with the basil leaves and pour Tarragon Salad Dressing over all. Marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.

TARRAGON SALAD DRESSING

2 cloves of garlic or to taste
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons white tarragon vinegar

Combine dressing ingredients in an electric blender or food processor until well blended.

Beverly Goldston sent me her recipe for 7-Day Sweet Pickles. Since cucumbers are beginning to be available locally, I thought some of you might like to try her recipe. These pickles will certainly be a welcome addition to any meal.

7-DAY SWEET PICKLES

7 lbs. cucumbers
  water to cover
1 quart vinegar
8 cups sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices

Wash cucumbers and cover with boiling water.  Allow to stand for 24 hours, then repeat this process daily using fresh boiling water until the fifth day. On morning number 5, slice cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick rings.

Prepare a Vinegar Brine:

In a non-reactive saucepan, boil vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Pour over cucumbers. Allow to stand for 24 hours.

The next morning, drain brine. Bring brine to a boil; add cucumbers.

Pack in sterilized jars and seal while hot.

Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.


 

The recipe for these cookies appeared in one of Paula Deen’s early Christmas specialty publications. I saved it thinking the cookies sounded just a little different due to addition of the corn flake crumbs. When I tried the recipe I like it. The crumbs and the oats gave the cookies just a little different texture that we enjoyed. I also liked the fact that it made a lot of cookies. (If I am making cookies, I like to have a lot to show for my work and clean up.) I hope you will enjoy these cookies, too.

When I made the cookies I bought a box of corn flake crumbs and used those to make things a little easier.

LOTS OF GOOD STUFF COOKIES

(Serves 25)

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups crushed corn flake cereal
1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
2 eggs 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla, until smooth. Stir in cereal and oats.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Stir in chocolate morsels and walnuts. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

(I made smaller cookies and had approximately 90 pieces.)


 

I tried this Roasted Cheddar Broccoli recently and really enjoyed it. Because there are just two of us, I bought just a single crown of broccoli which was enough for one meal with a small amount left over for another serving. If you wanted to, you could double the amount of topping and fix a large head of broccoli. If you do this, you may have to slightly increase your cooking times.

 ROASTED CHEDDAR BROCCOLI

1 crown of broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
¼ cup panko-style bread crumbs
½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ bunch sliced green onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut broccoli into spears. Place on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt. Roast at 425 degrees until almost tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven.

Mix crumbs, cheese, green onions, additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil and nutmeg. Sprinkle on the broccoli and continue roasting until the broccoli is tender.


 

This recipe appeared in Southern Living several years ago and immediately caught my eye because it is basically a salad version of a Frogmore Stew. We tried it and think it is definitely a keeper. Because you can cover and chill it if you desire, you can get the work done before you serve your family and friends and therefore clean up is easy. I like to serve this with slaw or perhaps a platter of fresh sliced tomatoes or both.

 SHRIMP BOIL POTATO SALAD

1 (3-ounce) package boil-in-bag shrimp and crab boil
3 pounds baby red potatoes, halved
1 pound smoked link sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 ears fresh corn, husks removed
2 pounds peeled and deveined, jumbo raw shrimp with tails   (26-30 count)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons Creole mustard
4 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

 

Bring 10 cups water to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat; add crab boil, potatoes, and sausage; return to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Add corn and return to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add shrimp; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice and next 7 ingredients in a bowl.

Drain shrimp mixture. Cut kernels from cobs. Discard cobs. Stir together corn kernels, shrimp mixture, and lemon juice mixture in a large bowl. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Serves 6. (Depending on what you serve with it and how big appetites are, I think it will serve more.)


 

A treat that we look forward to every spring is the arrival of Vidalia onions in the stores. Although we can usually buy sweet onions year round now, Vidalias are still a little special.

Several days ago I tried this recipe for Stuffed Vidalia Onions and we both enjoyed them. Alan cored the onions for me and used a melon ball scoop to make the center a little larger. I used the herb-flavored Stove Top stuffing and only mixed half of the box (1 ½ cups).

I’ll make this again.

 STUFFED VIDALIA ONIONS

1 large Vidalia onion per serving
1 tablespoon butter per serving

1 box Stove Top dressing, mixed according to package directions but not cooked – in this case I mixed it using slightly less water but did not cover it for 5 minutes the directions indicated.

Peel and core onions. Stuff centers with prepared dressing mix. Top with butter. Wrap each onion separately in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I had enough stuffing mix to prepare 3 onions – I’m saving the remaining stuffing mix for later.


 

I made this sauce recently and both of us really enjoyed it. Although I think you could serve this as a main dish, I served it as a side with a piece of steak and because it contained the tomatoes and arugula, I thought it took the place of vegetables and a starch. This is quick and easy to prepare and as well as tasting good it is really visually a winner with the bright green of the arugula and the red tomatoes contrasting with the pasta. I served the sauce over Orecchiette but you could use any small pasta. If you don’t find arugula, I think you could substitute baby spinach but I really like the peppery flavor of arugula if it is available.

TOMATO and ARUGULA SAUCE WITH BREAD CRUMBS

12 ounces of a small pasta like Orecchiette or Mini Penne
2 2/3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 5-ounce bag baby arugula
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin cooking the pasta according to package directions. (It will take about the same amount of time to cook the pasta that it will take to make the sauce.)

Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the fried bread crumbs; cook stirring often about 5 minute or until toasted. Remove to a small bowl; stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet. Add the cherry or grape tomatoes and the minced garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until the tomatoes start to burst. Add the bag of arugula and salt and pepper to taste; sauté 1 minute, or until the arugula wilts. Turn off heat and add the hot drained pasta and stir to combine.

Place on plates and top each serving with some toasted bread crumbs.


 

This classic Pimiento Cheese is hard to beat. I made it recently for a meal at the church and doubled the recipe. This gave me enough pimiento cheese for 39 sandwich thirds using large bread, crusts removed, with a pint container to have in my refrigerator. A friend has told me to try making this substituting roasted red peppers for the pimientos and it will be even better. I’ll try this the next time I make pimiento cheese.

PIMIENTO CHEESE

Serves 12

1 cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons grated onion or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
¼ teaspoon or more to taste hot sauce
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4-ounce jar diced pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons sugar

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, onion, Worcestershire, hot sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir in cheeses until blended. Gently stir in pimientos. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Yield: Approximately 4 cups


 

This Apricot-Dijon Chicken is very easy to prepare and I loved the flavor. The leftovers were good, too, reheated in the microwave at 50% power.

I made this on the spur of the moment and did not have either hazelnuts or long grain wild rice mix. I substituted slivered almonds for the hazelnuts and used brown rice instead of the wild rice mix. I would not hesitate to do this anytime I make this.

APRICOT-DIJON CHICKEN

½ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoonDijonmustard
½ teaspoon ground ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces each)
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 box (6 ounces) long grain and wild rice mix
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the apricot preserves, ketchup, mustard and ginger. Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture.

Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish and spread the remaining apricot mixture over the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Prepare rice following package directions, using the olive oil.

To serve, sprinkle the hazelnuts over the chicken breasts and stir the reserved apricot mixture into the cooked rice.


 

Anticipating the local strawberry season, I tried this recipe several months ago and really enjoyed it. It’s quick and easy to prepare and I’m looking forward to making it again when strawberries are available here. This trifle will be a wonderful easy make ahead dessert for your Easter meal.

I found that regular yogurt worked better for this recipe than the Greek yogurt that seems to be so popular now. If you want to make a lower calorie version of this dish use reduced-fat yogurt and reduced-fat whipped topping. If you make this version a 1 ¼ cup serving comes in at 230 calories.

STRAWBERRY-YOGURT TRIFLE

5 cups cubed angel food cake
8 ounces vanilla yogurt
1 cup whipped topping, divided
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted or flaked coconut, toasted  (I used the almonds)

Place the cake cubes in a 2 ½ quart bowl. Combine the yogurt and ¾ cup of the whipped topping; spoon over the cake. Top with the sliced strawberries and the remaining whipped topping. Depending on the width of your bowl you may need a little extra whipped topping to cover the strawberries. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds or coconut before serving.

I prefer to make this at least 8 hours in advance and refrigerate it until I am ready to serve the dessert.


 

I found this recipe in a cookbook that I bought many years ago. The cookbook was and perhaps still is a feature of the Stockton,California, Asparagus Festival and is truly all asparagus recipes. This particular recipe was contributed by Julie Abate who was a member or wife of a member of the 1985 Board of the California Asparagus Growers’ Association.

She says that a lot of people ask for this recipe. It can either be used as a side dish or cut into very small-bite-sized appetizers.

We both liked this and it should be even better when local asparagus are available.

ASPARAGUS TORTA

3-4 cups fresh asparagus, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 cup whole wheat flour (white can be used – this is what I did)
1 cup good quality grated parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
½ cup olive oil or salad oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine asparagus, onion, parsley, flour and cheese. Beat together eggs, water, oil, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into the asparagus mixture and combine. Spread the mixture evenly into a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves as many as 18 cut in squares as a side dish, or approximately 100 bite-sized appetizers, depending on the size of the cut.


 

I really like this recipe and because it does not have a crust the calorie content is reduced by a little. The flavor is delicious and I found it easy to prepare. We did not eat all the quiche so I individually wrapped the remaining pieces and froze them. I have enjoyed taking a piece out of the freezer and having it for lunch.

CRUSTLESS CRAB QUICHE

1 pound backfin crabmeat, shell and cartilage removed – drain  on paper towels
½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
4 tablespoons flour
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
¼ teaspoon OldBay seasoning
6 drops Tabasco sauce
2 cups grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10-inch quiche dish or deep pie dish with cooking spray.

Saute mushrooms in butter. If slices are really large you may want to halve them. Drain mushrooms on paper towels.

In food processor or blender, process eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, flour, green onions,OldBayseasoning andTabasco.

Pour mixture into a large bowl. Stir in mushrooms, cheese and crabmeat. Fold mixture into prepared dish and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let the quiche stand for at least five minutes before cutting.


 

I copied this recipe when I was visiting Mary Alice several years ago and finally tried it. Alan and I both thought it was delicious and found that the leftover pieces reheated beautifully in the toaster oven set on a low temperature. This is a great way to try to sneak some spinach in people who are convinced that they don’t like this vegetable.

SPINACH CORNBREAD PUFF

(Serves 6 to 8)

10 ½-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 7-ounce box cornbread mix
4 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces cottage cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Thaw spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible. Combine spinach and remaining ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.


 

This recipe appeared in a 2008 copy of Family Circle Magazine. The recipe was submitted by Cindy McCain in a presidential cookie bake-off among spouses of the candidates. Mrs. McCain’s recipe won handily over ones submitted by Mrs. Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

Alan thought the cookies were delicious and I enjoyed them too, although, unlike a good chocolate chip cookie I was able to be satisfied with one cookie. This makes this an excellent choice for me.

The next time I make these I may try adding some pecans or walnuts.

OATMEAL-BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the butter or margarine, granulated sugar and brown sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well.

In a medium-size bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture; stir until blended. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Drop by tablespoons about 2 inches apart on to ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When I made these, I made smaller cookies and adjusted the baking time as needed.


 

We tried this recipe several weeks ago and I think it’s a great Saint Patrick’s Day meal. Colcannon is a classic Irish dish and I have used a recipe for it in this column before. It comes in many versions but most recipes add cabbage or kale to mashed potatoes with green onions and butter. This recipe for  a Chowder version was developed by the U.S. Potato Board in 2005 or earlier for the Associated Press.

From the time Alan and I started peeling and dicing until the chowder was ready to serve was only about an hour and the results were very tasty. Be sure not to overcook your cabbage or potatoes – you want the cabbage to be green.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

COLCANNON CHOWDER

3½ cups baking potatoes cut into ¾-inch dice
14 ounces chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
3½ cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
¾ cup finely chopped onion
8 ounces smoked chicken or turkey sausage in skin,  sliced ¼ inch thick, slices halved
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
½ cup milk or more if needed
Pepper, to taste (I used between ¼ and ½ teaspoon)
Chopped chives – optional

Place potatoes in a 3-quart saucepan and add broth and enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Uncover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add cabbage and onion. Saute  10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add sausage; sauté about 10 minutes more, tossing occasionally, until vegetables and sausage just begin to brown. Add carrot. Remove from heat.

With slotted spoon, remove about ¾ cup of potato pieces and add to skillet. In electric blender, blend remaining potatoes and liquid until smooth, being careful to hold blender lid town with a kitchen towel; return to saucepan. (You may prefer to do this in the saucepan with an immersion blender.) Add contents of skillet to saucepan; mix in enough milk for consistency desired. Heat to simmering. Season with pepper and additional salt, if desired.

You may garnish individual servings with chopped chives.


 

We tried this recipe last winter and both of us thought it was delicious. In fact Alan thought it was the best cauliflower he had ever tasted.

As you can see this is quick and easy to prepare, just be sure not to overcook it.

SMOKY CAULIFLOWER

1 large head cauliflower, broken into 1-inch florets (about 9   cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, mince
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Place cauliflower in a bowl. Mix oil, paprika and salt. Drizzle over cauliflower; toss to coat. Transfer to a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic, Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cauliflower is tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.


 

Alan bought a beautiful piece of halibut recently and it was up to me to decide how to cook it. I happened to look at a copy of the 90th Fighter Squadron Cookbook that Mary Alice had given me when Steve was stationed inAlaska serving with this squadron. I saw this recipe for halibut that Mary Alice had contributed and we decided to try it.

HALIBUT with ROSEMARY

1½ to 2 pounds halibut, 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
All-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water
3 whole cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dry rosemary
1 tablespoon capers, drained (optional)

Cut fish into the serving-size portions you desire. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Coat with flour, shaking off excess.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Arrange fish in a single layer; turn once. Cook until fish is browned and flakes easily, this will take approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Remove fish from pan, add vinegar, water, garlic, rosemary and capers if using; boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat and discard garlic. Spoon sauce over fish.

Yield: 4-6 servings, depending on your portion sizes.


 

Either my food preferences have changed or this is the best Waldorf salad that I have ever tasted. I remember my mother making Waldorf salads when I was a child and although I would eat them I did not really care for the apple and mayonnaise combination. This mayonnaise-yogurt dressing combination with curry powder is delicious. However, before you make this be sure that your curry powder is fresh – this is a spice that we don’t use very often and over the course of time it can lose some of its flavor. This salad will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

I hope that you will enjoy this version of an old favorite as much as we did.

WALDORF SALAD with DRIED CRANBERRIES

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
½ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ large Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
1 ½ large Red Delicious apples, cored and diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped pecans
1 ½ ribs celery, thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries

Mix first 6 ingredients for your dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. You may find that you will not need all of the dressing—it will depend on the size of your apples.

Core and dice your apples. Place the diced apples in a bowl. Sprinkle and toss with lemon juice. Add celery, pecans and cranberries and toss to combine. Pour dressing over the apple mixture. Toss. Cover and refrigerate until serving time, up to one day ahead.

Yield: 6 servings or more.


 

This recipe appeared in Southern Lady magazine last January and I made it to give some to a friend who loves Nutella. I took the rest to the Chatham News and they inhaled them and said that I really needed to practice on that recipe and bring them some more so they could be sure that I had the recipe down pat.

This is a wonderful Valentine chocolate treat.

HAZELNUT BROWNIES

1 cup butter
5 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (13-ounce) jar chocolate hazelnut spread – I used Nutella
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
½ cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate in microwave oven on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted (about 1½ minutes total).

In a large bowl, combine chocolate mixture and sugar. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Add flour, salt, and vanilla, beating until just combined. Add chocolate hazelnut spread and chocolate morsels, beating to combine. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top of batter with hazelnuts. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out still slightly sticky. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.


 

I tried this recipe last winter and because I had both leftover turnips and mashed potatoes in my refrigerator, I used them rather than starting from scratch. The Gratin was delicious and I had enough left that we were able to eat it; again several nights later and it was as good then as when I first prepared it. I will definitely do this again and not just when I happen to have leftover turnips and potatoes.

I was able to buy the pecorino Romano cheese here inSilerCityand it was the perfect cheese for this recipe although I am sure you could substitute another cheese – just be sure it doesn’t overpower  your vegetables.

MASHED POTATO and TURNIP GRATIN

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium)
1 ¾ pounds turnips (about 5 medium)
1/4 cup butter
½ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Butter 11x7x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cook potatoes and turnips in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain. Cool vegetables slightly and peel. Cut into large chunks, place in a food processor. Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add ¼ cup of the cheese and a pinch of ground nutmeg; blend briefly. Season puree to taste with salt and pepper. (Go lightly with the salt because the cheese is a little salty.) Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheese. (Gratin can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake gratin until lightly browned and bubbly.

Alan’s high school classmate Amber Morris King sent me this recipe several weeks ago. Amber says this is a good one for cold weather and that she made it for two different groups during the Christmas season. Since is sounds like we still have a lot of cold weather ahead of us you might enjoy trying this recipe.

I haven’t tried this yet but I think it will be delicious — especially if you serve it with a piece of cornbread.


 

This should be a great addition to your Super Bowl menu.

SAUSAGE CHOWDER

1 large onion, chopped
1 large smoked sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3-6 cups water (Amber says she used a little water but mainly boxed chicken stock)
1 beef bouillon cube
1 chicken bouillon cube
2-3 cups chopped cabbage
4 medium potatoes, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ teaspoon basil (add near end of cooking)
Pepper and parsley to taste

Brown sausage and onion in vegetable oil for a few minutes. Add 3 cups of mixed chicken stock and water. Add more liquid if needed after the rest of the ingredients have been added to the pot. You be the judge of how thick you want the chowder to be and this will determine the amount of additional broth you add. Simmer for about 1 hour before serving.


 

My daughter, Mary Alice Lloyd sent me this column. Thanks MA – I’m sure I never did this to you!

Call me a little sneaky, but sometimes a mother knows best. My children, while good eaters, are sometimes hesitant to try new things. And they have never liked Sloppy Joes. I had tried this recipe for Sweet and Sour Sloppy Joes a couple of months ago, and Steve and both loved it. Even better, we discovered that you could make lettuce wraps with it, and it was just as good. So when I made it again this week, I just told the kids it was Asian Lettuce Wraps like a certain Chinese restaurant they like. I served in on leaves of Boston lettuce. They loved it and were none the wiser!

SWEET and SOUR SLOPPY JOES

1 T canola oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 T fresh grated ginger (I used the tube of minced ginger)
1 lb ground beef
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
3 T light brown sugar
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup water

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the scallions and ginger and cook, tossing, until softened (ginger will make the oil pop, so be careful), 2-4 minutes. Add the beef and cook breaking it up with a spoon until browned, 3-5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, sugar, pepper and water. Cook, stirring until slightly thickened, about 1 minute more. Serve as lettuce wraps on Boston lettuce or on a bun for sloppy joes.


 

I made this Red Pepper-Tomato Soup recently. I saw this recipe in clippings from a2011 Family Circlemagazine and I was anxious to try it because I have bought this soup in a carton from Trader Joe’s and it is one of my personal favorites. I thought the soup was very good and preparing it is truly something that you can sling together at the very last minute.

ROASTED RED PEPPER-TOMATO SOUP

(Yield: 6 Servings)

1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers in brine, drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil1 28-ounce can tomato puree
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Croutons, for serving

Combine drained peppers and diced tomatoes in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add pepper-tomato mixture, tomato puree, chicken broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat just to simmering, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream. Return to stove and heat through. Ladle soup into bowls; top each serving with a few croutons.


 

We tried this recipe last year and it quickly became one of our favorites. I did not have the apples called for in the recipe on hand and just used whatever I happened to have in my refrigerator. We found that we did not need all of the prosciutto called for in the recipe. We have also mixed some chopped onion with the apples. This really makes a delicious combination. This would be a good way to prepare your New Year’s Pork and the ingredients are available locally.

PORK TENDERLOIN ROASTED WITH APPLES AND PROSCIUTTO

4 apples, such as Empire or Braeburn, each cut into 6 wedges
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 ¼ pound pork tenderloin
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss first five ingredients together and roast on a shallow baking sheet for 10 minutes. Since prosciutto is salty you will need very little salt.

Wrap pork in prosciutto and nestle in the apples and continue to roast until the internal temperature of the pork is 145 degrees – about 15-18 minutes.

The recipe also suggested that you could substitute Bartlett pears for the apples, but I have not tried that yet.


 

Mary Alice’s friend Karin sent her this recipe two years ago and said that it was her new favorite Christmas cookie recipe so I was looking forward to trying it. Karin says that she sometimes adds white chocolate chips to the recipe but she didn’t give an amount. I did not use them but I would guess to use a cup to a cup and a half. Karin also says that she used a shorter cooking time so she will have a chewy cookie. I recommend baking just a few cookies on a trial run to find out how long you need to bake them to get them just the way you want them.

Karin says that she rarely ices her cookies because she thinks it is just a little bit too much sugar.

Alan wanted me to leave out the coconut next time and perhaps use pecans instead but I noticed that he finished the whole tin of cookies!

COCONUT-CRANBERRY CHEWS

1 ½ cups margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 ½ cups sweetened flaked dried coconut
White chocolate chips – optional
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 ½ tablespoons water
½ teaspoon vanilla

In large bowl beat butter, sugar, orange rind and vanilla at medium speed until smooth and fluffy.

In another medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, then, beat on low speed for about 5 minutes until the dough is a soft and smooth blob. You want to make sure that the dough is not crumbly.

Mix in cranberries and coconut and the white chocolate chips if you are using them.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on buttered 12×15-inch baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown about 10 to 12 minutes. A shorter baking time means a chewier cookie, a longer time a crispier cookie. If you are baking 2 sheets at one time, switch their positions midway through the baking time.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer them to racks to cool completely.

Mix icing ingredients together, stirring in a drop or two of food coloring if desired. If the icing it too thick, add a drop or two of water or if too thin, add a little powdered sugar.


 

When you have guests during the holidays and want to offer them something besides coffee or tea, try one of these recipes. I had not made hot chocolate from scratch in a long time and I had forgotten how much better it is than something that you fix from a packet. In addition the light brown sugar gives this a wonderful flavor.

The Hot Buttered Lemonade is a nice change from hot cider. In addition, I bet this might be a good recipe to remember the next time you have a scratchy sore throat.

BROWN SUGAR HOT CHOCOLATE

(Serves 6)

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup water
5 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine brown sugar and cocoa in a saucepan; stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally: reduce heat and slowly stir in milk. Cook until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. Taste and add additional sugar if needed but remember if you are going to top with whipped cream or marshmallows you will automatically pick up some additional sweetness.

 HOT BUTTERED LEMONADE

(Serves 6)

4 ½ cups boiling water
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons butter
6 cinnamon sticks

In saucepan combine water, sugar, lemon rind, and juice. Cook stirring occasionally, until heated through. Pour into mugs; top with 1 teaspoon butter. Serve with cinnamon stick stirrers.


 

I tried this recipe for Thanksgiving rather than the “sweet” sweet potato casseroles that we traditionally serve and enjoy. I adapted this recipe from one that Daisy sour cream is featuring in some of the current magazines. Both of us really enjoyed this and I will definitely make it again. I served the leftovers with steak last night and it was delicious once again. However, I must confess that when I told several friends what I did they looked at me and said “You did what?”

SAVORY SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 generous cups of baked sweet potatoes, mashed (I used Beauregards)
1/3 cup sour cream (you could use light or even no fat sour cream)
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
¼ cup loosely packed chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup dry panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use 1 teaspoon butter to grease a shallow 1 quart casserole.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small nonstick skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

Mix the mashed sweet potatoes, the onion and garlic mixture, sour cream,OldBayand chopped fresh parsley. Taste and adjust the seasonings—you may want to add a little additionalOldBayor even a pinch of salt. Spread this potato mixture in the prepared casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour it over the panko crumbs and grated Parmesan that you have mixed in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed. Sprinkle this mixture over the potatoes. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and breadcrumbs are golden brown.


 

This is one of our favorite things to do with leftover chicken or turkey. Alan says that when he was a little boy this was how he knew that all the turkey was gone. We like to serve this over Belgian waffles but if you want to make the dish a little healthier, use frozen whole grain waffles or make your own whole grain waffles.

CREAMED CHICKEN or TURKEY on WAFFLES

2 cups cubed cooked chicken  or turkey breast
1 tablespoon butter
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
½ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dry Sherry or Madeira
4 waffle squares

Melt butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth, cream and tarragon. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer sauce for one minute. Add Sherry orMadeiraand simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add chicken or turkey to sauce. Simmer until chicken or turkey is heated through, about 1 minute. Arrange 2 waffle squares on each plate. Top with cream sauce and enjoy!


 

If you would like to try a different salad from the tried and true congealed salads that are often a part of the Thanksgiving feast you might enjoy this recipe. It is really simple because you can prepare all the elements in advance and then assign someone to assemble it just before you eat.

SALAD of WINTER GREENS, ROASTED BEETS, WALNUTS, AND GOAT CHEESE

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ tablespoons grated orange peel
4 2 to 3-inch diameter beets, unpeeled, scrubbed, all but1-inch of tops removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 4.5 ounce bag mixed baby lettuces
½ cup walnut pieces, toasted
4 ounces chilled soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Thin strips of orange peel

FOR DRESSING: Whisk all ingredients in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

FOR SALAD: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss beets with 1 tablespoon oil in 11×7-inch metal baking pan. Roast beets until tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool beets; peel and cut into ½-inch wedges. (Dressing and beets can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill. Bring both to room temperature before continuing.)

Mix lettuces, toasted walnuts and dressing in a large bowl; toss. Divide among individual salad plates. Arrange beets around greens; sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and orange peel. (If you serve it like this or similarly on a large platter, someone who absolutely won’t eat beets can avoid them.)


 

I prepared this sauce several days ago and served it over a head of fresh steamed broccoli. Sometimes you feel like you just want to jazz up your vegetables. Both of us enjoyed this and because the pimiento adds color it makes your bright green broccoli very attractive. When you taste this sauce before you serve it over the broccoli you will find it salty but when it is served over the broccoli you will not think it is too salty. I think the sauce would also be good served over cauliflower.

BROCCOLI with CARNIVAL SAUCE

1 head of fresh broccoli
½ cup sliced green onion
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp chopped pimiento
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Wash and remove tough ends of broccoli. Make lengthwise slits in thick stalks. Steam, microwave or boil your broccoli until it is crisp tender. Don’t overcook or it will lose some of its bright green color. Drain and spray with a little cold water to stop the cooking process. Arrange in a serving dish.

Saute onion in butter until tender. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Pour over the broccoli.


 

This oyster recipe is very high on my list of favorite comfort foods for a chilly winter night.

It is very quick and easy to prepare and it is so delicious. If you really want to treat yourself, add some extra oysters.

CREAMED OYSTERS

1 pint of shucked oysters
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
OldBay to taste (optional)
Tabasco(optional)

Simmer oysters in their juices for about 5 minutes or until edges just begin to curl. Remove oysters from the liquid.

Melt butter in the top of a double boiler. Blend in flour, add milk, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add oysters and desired seasonings. Heat and serve on buttered toast.


 

I bought some apple cider so I could try this recipe from a Taste of Home 2006 Tailgating special publication. Both of us enjoyed this version of the old favorite beef stew during the cooler weather several weekends ago. The cider and vinegar really gave the stew a little different and I thought very delicious taste. This makes a great meal served with a green salad and fresh bread.

CIDER BEEF STEW

(4 Servings)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup apple cider
½ cup water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, sliced

In a bowl or bag, combine flour, salt and pepper; add beef and toss to coat. In a large saucepan, brown beef in oil. Add cider, water, vinegar and thyme; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add carrots, celery, potato and onion; return to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.


 

This recipe for Brussels Sprouts Gratin appeared in the Food Network Magazine several years ago and we both thought that is was delicious. We have made it several times since and Alan thinks it is even good straight out of the refrigerator. The leftovers reheat beautifully. The magazine said that the recipe came from aHouston,Texas, Steak House and was their most requested side dish.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS GRATIN

(Serves 6)

1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed.
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup grated white cheddar cheese
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain the Brussels sprouts and coarsely chop. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes and black pepper. Spread this mixture out evenly. Pour the cream over the top and sprinkle with the cheese and top with the breadcrumbs. Dot with the pieces of unsalted butter.

Bake until the gratin is bubbly and golden brown, about 15 minutes.


 

I tried this recipe last weekend and Alan loved it. I thought they were especially good when they had cooled only a little bit after coming out of the oven. As well as serving these as a bar cookie, you could also serve them as a desert with ice cream or whipped cream. Regardless of what you do, I think you will enjoy indulging in these apple bars. (I am going to try reheating these at a low temperature with some cheese on top.)

APPLE BARS

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups peeled, diced apples
1/4 cup chopped pecans
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press in 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, apples and pecans.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir into egg mixture. Spread over baked bottom layer.

Bake for 30 minutes or until apples are tender and the crust is a golden brown.  Makes 16 bars.


 

I tried this recipe recently because I like the idea of being able to combine several food groups to go with a meal. We both enjoyed this and I will prepare it again. The addition of the parsley makes this really colorful and attractive.

CARROT BROWN RICE

2 1/3 cup chicken broth
1 cup brown rice
½ pound carrots, peeled and chopped or julienned
2 medium onions sliced
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Bring broth to a boil. Add rice, carrots, onions, butter and salt; stir. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until all liquid is absorbed, about 50 minutes. Add parsley and pepper and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve and enjoy.


 

I picked up this recipe recently when we were in a seafood market and when I read it I thought it was the easiest recipe for Shrimp Scampi that I had ever seen. The market had made copies of it from Cooks.com.

We tried this several weeks ago and it was as easy to prepare as I thought it would be and we both thought it was delicious – and so quick to prepare – a real plus these busy days.

SHRIMP SCAMPI

¾ pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon green onion, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
¼ teaspoon lemon peel, grated (be careful not to get the white part)
1 dash hot pepper sauce

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels; set aside. Melt butter in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Stir in green onion, oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt; cook until bubbly. Add shrimp to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink (4 to 5 minutes or less). Stir in parsley, lemon peel and hot pepper seasoning.

Serve over rice or a small pasta. Makes 2 servings.


 

My daughter, Mary Alice is also responsible for this week’s column.

When Jackson’s godparents, Matt and Karin Evans, visited this summer from Alaska, Matt offered to make breakfast one morning. Their son, Tanner, was about to begin school at the Merchant Marine Academy in New York, and he had requested his favorite breakfast – kaga. Kaga is a Swedish egg dish best described as a baked egg pancake. We’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed this treat several times over the years, and it is always a bit hit! Karin agreed to share the recipe, so here it is:

KAGA

½ cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

While oven preheats, place a 9×13 baking dish in the oven with the butter inside. Allow butter to melt while oven heats. Mix remaining ingredients. Pour into the baking dish over the melted butter. Do not stir. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven as the kaga will fall. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar, syrup, or honey, or jam, or nutella. Yummy cold too!


 

Cherry and grape tomatoes seem to still be producing abundantly based on a recent trip to a farmers market. These are wonderful raw but if you have a lot of them you probably are wondering what else you can do with them. I have made this Crisp several times and have used cherry tomatoes at one time and grape tomatoes when I made it last night. We really enjoyed this and it is very easy to prepare which makes it a winner in my book. I used this recipe in the column years ago and ran across it several days ago. I hope I won’t forget about it in the future.

CHERRY or GRAPE TOMATO CRISP

(Serves 4)

1½ lbs. cherry tomatoes (about 5 cups)
2 slices white sandwich bread
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon coarse salt – like Kosher
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, combine bread, cheese, parsley leaves, olive oil, and chopped garlic clove; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Pulse until bread is very coarsely chopped.

Spray an eight-inch square baking dish with an olive oil spray. Arrange cherry tomatoes in a single layer; sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake until crust is browned and tomatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.


 

My daughter, Mary Alice Lloyd did this week’s column for me.

Nearly ten years ago, I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine. I’ve made it countless times over the years and it never fails to be delicious! Steve especially likes the pineapple salsa. While the recipe calls for broiling the tenderloins, I often choose to bake them at 400 degrees until a meat thermometer registers 155 degrees, approximately 20-30 minutes.

CARIBBEAN PORK with AVOCADO-PINEAPPLE SALSA

One package pork tenderloins (contains two tenderloins)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Spice Rub (see below)
Avocado-Pineapple Salsa (see below)

Heat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat source. Line a broiler-proof rimmed baking dish with foil. Place pork on pan and rub all over with oil. Then coat evenly with spice rub.

Broil, turning occasionally, until a meat thermometer inserted into the pork registers 150, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Wrap loosely with foil in pan and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with salsa.

Spice rub – In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp light brown sugar, 2 tsp coarse salt, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp ground allspice and ½ tsp ground black pepper.

Avocado-Pineapple Salsa – Drain juice from 1 can sliced pineapple (8 ounces) into a small bowl. Finely chop pineapple and add to bowl along with 2 thinly sliced scallions and 1 diced avocado. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Toss gently to combine.


 

Kathy Grigg passed along this recipe to me that Jane Butler had sent to her – they both said that it was wonderful and after making the biscuits, I agree with them that they are great.

I believe the recipe came from Wiki Recipes from the internet.

When I made the biscuits I used the last of my sweet potatoes from last fall and they were nice and moist when baked. Try this when you have some extra sweet potatoes. 

SWEET POTATO BISCUITS

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup plain mashed sweet potatoes

About ¼ cup skim milk or as needed to make a nice biscuit dough – Jane used about ¼ cup or less and you may find you need a little extra flour to work the dough. She made her biscuits using her hands, rather than rolling and cutting the biscuits.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet.

Combine flour, baking powder and sugar. Cut in margarine or butter. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes. Gradually add milk as needed to form dough.

Form biscuits with hands or roll to ½ inch thickness on floured board and cut with biscuit cutter.

Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until done.


 

This salad is one of Mary Alice’s favorites. She made it for us last Thanksgiving and everyone enjoyed it. Try this now with some mountain apples, that are just becoming available.

SPINACH-APPLE SALAD with MAPLE-CIDER VINAIGRETTE

1 6-oz. package pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoonDijonmustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1 10-ounce package fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed
1 Gala apple, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 4-ounce package crumbled goat cheese

PREPARE PECANS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss pecans in butter. Stir together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; add pecans, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer in a nonstick aluminum foil-lined pan. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes; separate pecans with a fork.

MAPLE-CIDER VINAIGRETTE: Whisk together cider vinegar and next 3 ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil until well blended.

PREPARE SALAD: Combine spinach and next 3 ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of Maple-Cider Vinaigrette; toss to coat. Sprinkle with pecans. You may place a container beside the salad bowl with any leftover vinaigrette in case someone wants to add additional dressing.

NOTE: Pecans may be made up to 1 week ahead. Store in an airtight container. Vinaigrette may be made up to 3 days ahead.


The broccolini recipe is a great one for a hot summer day because you serve it at room temperature or even slightly chilled. However, if you try to make it too far ahead it loses the bright green color that makes this so attractive on a white plate, although it still tastes good. I will continue to eat it for several days if I have any leftovers. Both of us enjoyed this dish and found it a welcome change from the usual vegetables.

BROCCOLINI with HARD-BOILED EGG

2 bunches broccolini, tough ends trimmed
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small minced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Boil broccolini in salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain, cool in ice water and pat dry.

Whisk mustard, vinegar, olive oil, shallot and salt and pepper together. Drizzle over the broccolini and top with 1 chopped hard-boiled egg.


 

Mary Alice gave me this pasta recipe that her husband’s mother had made for them when she visited and she thought we might enjoy it.

Alan and I made this several weeks ago and both of us like it. We used a really thick bacon that Margaret had given him for his birthday and it was wonderful in this dish. I think the dish needs a thick cut bacon We omitted the jalapeno and served the sauce over penne pasta. When we made this we halved the recipe and I have enough in the freezer for another meal. I’ll reheat it in the microwave at 50% power.

When we ate this we sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese and I think it is a nice touch to the recipe.

BACON and PEPPER PASTA

½ pound bacon, diced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 medium red pepper, julienned
2-3 14½-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 pound pasta of your choice
1 small jalapeno, sliced, if desired
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on pasta when serving (optional)

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside.

Saute onions and garlic in drippings for 3 minutes. Add peppers and continue sautéing for 3 more minutes Stir in tomatoes and jalapeno if using and heat through. Add bacon and stir well.

Serve over the pasta of your choice. Sprinkle with parmesan if desired.


 

At our last circle Meeting Teresa Freeman brought some Pecan Pie Bars to share that a friend had shared on Facebook. I think the friend may have found the recipe on the internet.

The bars were delicious and once more prove just how versatile a roll of refrigerated Crescent Rolls can be. In this case, as a base for the bars.

We all enjoyed sampling these and several of us wanted the recipe so Teresa shared it with me. I hope you will enjoy these as much as we did.

PECAN PIE BARS

1 8-ounce package of refrigerated Crescent Rolls
¾ cup chopped pecans
½ cup sugar
½ cup corn syrup – Teresa used light (you could probably use dark instead)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll dough in a 9 x 13 pan and seal the seams and crimp the edges. Bake the dough for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients. Pour over the baked crust and bake for an additional 18-22 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting into bars – waiting for the bars to cool is probably the hardest part of the recipe.


 

I tried this recipe this weekend with a mixture of tri-color and silver queen corn which happened to be what I had in the refrigerator. We both enjoyed this – both the night I made it and leftovers the next night. The dish is relatively easy to assemble and I think you will like it.

CORN CASSEROLE with PARMESAN CHEESE

2 cups fresh corn
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; remove from the heat and blend in flour, sugar and salt. Return pan to heat and slowly stir in milk and stir constantly until thickened. Add corn and slightly beaten eggs. Place mixture in buttered casserole and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives.

Bake for 30 minutes or until casserole is lightly browned.


 

I used to bake this Blueberry Cake quite often—it was one of Mary Alice’s favorites. Like so many recipes however, something new came along and I forgot about it. When we were in Maine this summer, my sister-in-law served it and it was as good as it was the first time I tasted it. I’m sure the recipe was in this column many years ago but those of you who have forgotten or lost it might want to bake this cake again. Some of you may be trying it for the very first time—I hope you and your family will like it as much as I do.

BLUEBERRY CAKE

(Serves 8)

2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add about ¼ cup of the sugar called for in the recipe to keep them stiff.

Take a bit of the flour called for in the recipe and gently shake the berries in it so they won’t settle.

Cream shortening, add salt and vanilla to this. Add remaining sugar gradually. Add unbeaten egg yolks and beat until light and creamy. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Fold in the fresh blueberries.

Pour batter into a greased 8×8-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter lightly with granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.


 

This recipe appeared in the Greensboro Daily News several years ago and I wanted to try it because I thought it might be a good way to use some smoked salmon that I had on hand.

This actually is an excellent egg salad even if you don’t have the smoked salmon. I served it on a bed of baby spinach on a cold plate with fresh tomatoes, melon and muffins. I also think this would make an excellent appetizer served open faced on the little cocktail slices of pumpernickel bread or perhaps even on a slice of cucumber.

When seasoning the egg salad, remember that the smoked salmon is salty.

EGG SALAD with SMOKED SALMON

8 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt (may substitute regular or low fat mayonnaise)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or more to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
3 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped

Combine the hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, dill, parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder and celery seed, stirring to incorporate. Gently fold in the smoked salmon. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve right away, or cover in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.


 

Many of you are probably planning a big meal for the fourth of July. These are always a lot of fun but it certainly makes life easier if a lot of the preparation can be done in advance. Baked beans are always a favorite but this recipe that Margaret gave me many years ago takes them to a whole new level. But the best thing about this recipe is that it’s easy and requires that you assemble the beans ahead of time so that all you have to do in the last hour before you eat is to simply put your casserole in the oven and continue to enjoy being with your family and friends.

I believe Margaret found this recipe in Out of Our League which was published by the Greensboro Junior League.

MARINATED BAKED BEANS

8 slices of bacon
4 medium onions
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 28-ounce can Van Camp’s pork and beans
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1 can green limas, partially drained
1 can white limas, partially drained.

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove and crumble and save until later.

Saute onions in the bacon fat; add sugar, vinegar, mustard, and salt to the mixture. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the beans and the reserved bacon. Place in a casserole dish. Refrigerate and marinate for 6-12 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

This recipe will serve a lot of people.


 

We tried this recipe which was in one of the daily newspapers some while ago and both agreed that it is a keeper. I actually think that these potatoes are much better than French fries and far easier to prepare. It could easily become one of your favorite ways to prepare potatoes!

ROASTED RED POTATOES with ROSEMARY and ONION

2 pounds quartered red potatoes
1 large chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet in a 375 degree oven until the skillet is hot. Remove skillet from oven; add potatoes and onions and drizzle with oil.

Add rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are browned and tender when tested with a fork.


 

When I found this recipe I immediately thought that this was one that my grandchildren would enjoy and their mother’s would certainly appreciate how easy it is to prepare. I made this for us a month or so ago and of course I modified it but I think this only improved the recipe. This is also a wonderful use for leftovers which is certainly important these days.

When I used this I had only 2 cups of chopped chicken and this was fine, but if I had it I would use a little more. The only soup I had was a Cream of Chicken with Herbs which I used. I like this so much that I have already bought another can for future use.

CHICKEN and CORNBREAD PIE

Serves 4 to 6

2 to 3 cups chopped baked chicken
1 can cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery soup (I used Cream of Chicken with Herbs)
1 soup can of milk or water (I used milk)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed, (optional – I used them)
1 box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
Lightly spray an 8×8-inch baking dish.

Place chicken in the bottom of the baking dish. Scatter green peas over the chicken. Mix the soup as directed on the can with either milk or water. Pour this mixture over the chicken and peas. Follow the directions on the corn muffin mix and prepare the muffin batter. Spoon over the top of the soup mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is browned.


 

Gloria Lee sent me this recipe last week and I want to share it with you while fresh strawberries are still available. It sound delicious and Gloria says that they loved it. She added that it was fun to make.

The recipe was in a Better Homes and Garden Best Loved Desserts book that came with the regular magazine.

Gloria says that she did not use the malted milk powder when she made the pie.

SODA FOUNTAIN ICE CREAM PIE

(10 Servings)
1 ½ cups (or one 5-ounce package of 12 cones) crushed rolled
sugar ice cream cones
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
3 ½ cups fresh strawberries (3 cups crushed in blender and ½ cup chopped)
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1/3 cup malted milk powder (optional – Gloria did not use)
1 ½ cups hot fudge ice cream topping

In a small bowl combine the crushed cones, butter and sugar. Press onto the bottom and 1-inch up the side of a 9-inch spring form pan; set aside.

Place 3 cups of the strawberries in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. CHOP the remaining ½ cup of strawberries; set aside.

In a large bowl stir together the ice cream, malted milk powder if using, the strawberry puree and the chopped strawberries. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover. Freeze at least 8 hours or until firm.

Spread fudge topping over the pie; freeze at least 2 hours more.

To serve, let pie stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut into wedges. If desired, top each serving with whipped cream, chopped malted milk balls and additional whole strawberries


 

I made this salad recently and we really enjoyed it. This is a good dish to make and carry somewhere during the hot summer months because it doesn’t contain mayonnaise.

I opted not to put green olives in the salad when I made it because I find the flavor a little overwhelming but you may want them in your salad.

Be careful not to overcook the limas because you do not want them to be mushy.

CUBAN LIMA BEAN SALAD

2 8-ounce packages baby lima beans
1 red onion, thinly sliced (I didn’t have a red onion so I substituted a Vidalia)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
¾ cup pimento stuffed olives (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme
½ teaspoon dried crushed oregano
½ teaspoon salt
Black Pepper, freshly ground, to taste

Cook lima beans in lightly salted water according to package directions until firm and done but not mushy. Drain, refresh with cold water and drain again.

Combine lima beans with onions, garlic, tomato and olives if using.

Mix olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and seasonings and pour over the salad. Gently toss until vegetables are well coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This salad improves the longer it refrigerates, so try to chill it at least 24 hours.

Serves 6-8 or more.


 

I tried this Strawberry Bread recipe this weekend and we both enjoyed it and agreed that it was a keeper. The grated lemon rind added a nice additional flavor.

I also liked the Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread to serve with it. I did not have regular cream cheese in my refrigerator but I did have a container of whipped cream cheese so I just added strawberry jam to it to taste. Use what you have on hand.

STRAWBERRY BREAD

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (be careful to only use the yellow part)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and lemon rind.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs and stir in vegetable oil.
Stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients until most.

Fold strawberries into this mixture. If the batter appears too thick, (mine did) add a little oil or some milk. (I ended up adding an additional tablespoon of oil and 3-4 tablespoons milk.) Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 55 minutes or until loaves begin to pull away from edges of pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack. Loosen around the edges with a knife as needed and remove from the pans when cool. Serve with the Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread if desired.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Mix softened cream cheese with the jam. Refrigerate until ready to use.


 

Margaret and Jonathan served this dish while we were visiting them at Christmas. This dish is almost identical to a bread pudding or a casserole, with the magic words —assemble, refrigerate and bake the next day. They served this at a brunch but I think it would make a great dessert. Alan and I both love bread puddings and we thought this was yummy!

Personally, I think it might be a perfect Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch – hint, hint!

EASY SLOW COOKER CARAMEL-BANANA-PECAN BREAD CASSEROLE

Disposable slow cooker liner
1 12-ounce loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or whole mile
3 eggs or ¾ cup refrigerated or thawed frozen egg product
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
Caramel-Banana Sauce (recipe to follow)

Line a 3½ or 4 quart slow cooker with disposable slow cooker liner. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until bread cubes are golden, stirring once or twice; cool. Place bread cubes in prepared slow cooker.

In a large bowl whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour mixture over bread cubes in slow cooker. With back of a large spoon, press bread down slightly to moisten cubes completely.

In a medium bowl, using a pastry blender, cut butter into brown sugar until pieces are pea-sized. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the bread mixture in the cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove crockery liner from the cooker, if possible, or turn off cooker. Cool mixture for 30 minutes before serving with the Caramel-Banana Sauce.

Caramel-Banana Sauce

¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup whipping cream
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana, thinly sliced

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, whipping cream, butter and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally; reduce heat to medium. Boil gently uncovered, for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour sauce into a small bowl; cool to room temperature. If desired, cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight. To serve, let chilled sauce stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Stir in sliced banana.


 

Several years ago Southern Living Magazine featured this recipe for Key Lime Pound Cake. Kay Lime Pie is one of my favorite desserts so I wondered how this flavor would be in a pound cake. We both thought it was delicious. I did not have any Key Limes so I had to use bottled Key Lime juice that I had brought at a kitchen shop. This makes a really nice big cake and should freeze beautifully. The next time I see some Key Limes I am going to buy a bag and try the recipe with fresh juice.

KEY LIME POUND CAKE

(Serves 20)

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lime zest
¼ cup fresh Key Lime juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon fresh Key Lime juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup tube or Bundt pan.

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand-mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, lime zest and lime juice. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack.


 

Brenda Gilliland gave me this salsa recipe and I agree with her that it is one of the easiest that I have ever tried and both of us thought it was delicious. However, it is hot and so you might want to go cautiously when adding the jalapenos and then add more as needed. Brenda also said that she tried this once and rather than using Rotel tomatoes, she used a house brand and found that it was much hotter. Also be sure to use the mild Rotel with green chilis.

EASY and DELICIOUS SALSA

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 onion, chopped
½-1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful of chopped cilantro, or to taste
1 tablespoon honey

Mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings – you may decide you want a little more cilantro or jalapeno. Serve with corn chips – some of the scoopers would be ideal. Refrigerate any leftovers.


 

Kathy Grigg shared this recipe with me several weeks ago. Her description of the cake is “light, airy and delicious”. I tried this recipe and she is absolutely right about it. But best of all, the cake is extremely easy to prepare and only has three ingredients!

When I made this I used unsweetened crushed pineapple with no sugar added and will do this when I make it again. My 9×13-inch pan was a non-stick pan – I was a little concerned since the recipe called for an ungreased pan but my pan worked perfectly.

PINEAPPLE ANGEL FOOD CAKE

1 box angel food cake mix
1 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple (I used unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place dry angel food cake mix in a bowl. Add pineapple with its juices and vanilla. Stir with a spoon just until well combined. Place batter in an ungreased 9×13-inch pan. Place in oven and bake until browned – about 25-27 minutes in my oven. Jiggle the pan before removing from the oven. You want to be sure the cake has set up in the middle.

Remove pan from the oven and invert to cool upside down. I served my cake in squares from the pan.


 

I found this recipe in a Florida cookbook and was eager to try it because it is similar to a Frogmore Stew. I like this cooking technique because you can do all the messy work in advance and roast the shrimp a little later. Both of us thought this recipe was a keeper and we have already prepared this several times.

In the winter I definitely prefer this to a Frogmore and the clean-up is a breeze. I prepared the roast in a large pyrex dish and all the cleanup that I had to do was putting the dish in the dishwasher. You can’t beat that.

If you don’t care for Creole seasonings, try substitutingOldBayseasoning for the Creole seasoning.

CREOLE STYLE SHRIMP ROAST

1 pound medium shrimp (headed and peeled)
4 ounces Andouille sausage, cut into thin slices
1 red pepper, julienned
1 green pepper julienned
1 red onion sliced
1 pound fingerling potatoes or small red potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon or to taste Creole seasoning  (Tony Cacherery’s or Prudhommes seafood magic). Remember these seasonings have some heat so use with care – you can always add more when the dish is served.

Cook potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain, cool and cut in half lengthwise.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all ingredients except shrimp in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat. Arrange in four individual or one large baking dish. Place shrimp on top of vegetable mixture and season with Creole seasoning.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the shrimp are just cooked.

Serve with a green salad and some good crusty French bread.

This is one of my favorite ways to cook asparagus. It is easy and so good. When I prepared this I used button mushrooms buy you could experiment with some different types of mushrooms.

ASPARAGUS and MUSHROOM STIR FRY

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup beef bouillon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
Salt to taste – you may not need any because of the salt in the  bouillon

Sauté mushrooms in the olive oil in a wok or large skillet until just tender. Add bouillon and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and seasonings and simmer until asparagus is crisp tender – about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

 

When I prepared this Rice and Spinach with Peas, we both enjoyed it – because I like the flavor of lemon, I may decide after tasting this, the next time I make it to add a little extra zest or lemon juice. This dish is also very visually appealing. It’s a winner in a lot of ways.

This would be a great side dish for your Easter dinner.

RICE with SPINACH and PEAS

3 tablespoons butter
1½ cup long grain rice
3 cups chicken broth
7 cups washed and roughly chopped baby spinach
1 cup fresh frozen green peas, thawed in hot water – but not additionally cooked
1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add rice, stirring to coat grains. Stir in chicken broth. Cover and cook according to package directions.

Place rice in a large bowl. Add spinach, stirring to wilt. Add thawed and well-drained peas. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stirring well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.


 

Carolyn Clark gave me these two muffin recipes that a friend had shared with her. She said that she especially liked the Blueberry Muffin recipe because she can assemble all her ingredients the night before and in the morning all she has to do is to combine the wet and dry ingredients and then add the blueberries. Carolyn says that she has used both fresh and frozen berries when making these muffins and thinks both are good. She prefers reheating them in the toaster oven rather than a microwave.

I tried the Pecan-Pie muffins last week and we both enjoyed them. It’s hard to believe that you can make something that good with only five ingredients.

When I have leftover muffins I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip lock bag and freeze them for later use.

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins.

Mix liquid ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Combine the two mixtures until just mixed. Gently stir in 1 cup of blueberries.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

PECAN-PIE MUFFINS

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped pecans
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper  liners.

Mix together the brown sugar, flour and pecans.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and butter until smooth. Combine the egg mixture with the dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed together.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. You will have 11 or 12 muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on wire racks when done.


 

Today’s recipe is really more of an idea and a technique. A friend in Greensboro told me about this treat that a friend had given her and she made a copy of the recipe for me but gave it to somebody else before she saw me. I was so intrigued by the idea, however, that I made up my own version and Alan and I both thought the Brownie Surprises were great as did our friends that we shared them with last night at a Sunday School Class supper.

The Brownie Surprises are rich so you might want to divide them in half and if you do, you can clearly see the layers inside. You can make these using two Oreos as I did or with a single Oreo-peanut butter layer –- your choice. I think if you wanted to make a lot of these, you could use miniature muffin cups and the miniature Oreos. Play with this recipe with your children or grandchildren and have fun.

BROWNIE SURPRISE

1 batch of brownie batter –- you can use your favorite mix or  make one from scratch. I used a family-size box of Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie mix.  I followed the cake-style instructions.

1 large bag of Oreo cookies
1 jar of creamy peanut butter –- I used Jif
Paper muffin tin liners
Place paper liners in regular sized muffin pans.

Spread the top of the Oreo cookie with peanut butter. Top with a second Oreo spread with peanut butter on top. Continue until you run out of cookies.

Mix your brownies and top each Oreo stack with brownie batter letting it run over the sides of the cookie stack. (This is easier if you center the cookie stack in the liner.) I used an iced teaspoon to do this and found it took about a spoonful and a half of batter to do this. When you finish, look all around your paper liner and add more batter if needed if part of your cookie stack is not covered.

Bake at the temperature call for in your brownie instructions. I baked mine at 325 degrees and found that it took about 18 minutes for the Brownie Surprises to bake.

I had 26 Brownie Surprises, but used a few Oreos that I had on hand as well as a full bag. I had brownie batter left over so I also baked a very small pan of brownies.


 

I tried this recipe several weeks ago. It appeared in a 2004 Good Housekeeping magazine and I clipped the recipe and put it in a file that I went through recently. Both of us enjoyed the chicken. It is so easy to prepare that I feel sure I will use this recipe often. If you don’t have any panko, I wouldn’t try this with regular breadcrumbs. Panko is available in several stores locally and I find that I use it often.

We did have leftovers and I found that the best way to reheat the chicken breast was briefly on a low setting in my toaster oven. I you do it this way, the panko crumbs will retain some of their crispness.

ROASTED PANKO-MUSTARD CHICKEN

1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard with seeds (use regular Dijon if you don’t have this)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) – don’t substitute
4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1¼ pounds)
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, place shallot and 2 teaspoons of the butter. Cook in the microwave oven on high 45 seconds to 1 minute to cook shallot slightly. Stir in mustard and tarragon.

In another small microwave-safe bowl, place remaining butter. Heat in the microwave oven, on high for 15 to 20 seconds, or until melted. Stir in panko until mixed.

Arrange chicken breasts in 15×10-inch jelly-roll pan; sprinkle with salt. Spread mustard mixture evenly over the breasts; top with the panko mixture, patting on gently. Bake in the top third of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of breast is pierced with a knife.


 

Recently I tried this recipe for Molasses-Oat Banana Bread that appeared in Cooking Light Magazine several years ago. Both of us thought it was one of the best Banana Breads that we had tried. The whole wheat flour and oats make this a dense chewy bread which I really enjoyed. The molasses also adds a different flavor from the usual. The leftover bread is delicious when toasted with butter or whipped cream cheese.

When I made this I could not find any low-fat plain yogurt on my side of town so I used non-fat yogurt and added an extra teaspoon of butter.

MOLASSES-OAT BANANA BREAD

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup regular oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup dark molasses
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spoon flours into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flours, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar, butter, and molasses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8½x4½-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf, approximately 14 servings.


 

We tried this recipe recently and thought it was a wonderful way to prepare fish. The original recipe called for Red Snapper but we had some Mahi Mahi in our freezer and used it instead. The fish was delicious and our house did not smell at all fishy after we finished cooking. We’ll definitely be using this recipe often.

MAHI MAHI or RED SNAPPER/BAKED

4-6 red snapper or mahi-mahi fillets – about 1 inch thick
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup bread crumbs – I used Panko
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.

Combine the breadcrumbs, butter, parsley, dill, lemon zest, and garlic in a bowl. Divide the mixture among the fish fillets, coating each fillet evenly with the topping. Transfer the fillets to a baking sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes or a little longer if needed, just until golden. Be careful not to overcook. You don’t want your fish to be dry.


 

February is a month in which heart health is emphasized and because of this I wanted to feature a recipe for those of you who still want your chocolate fix but realize that a recipe like the fudge that appeared in last week’s column is perhaps one that you should avoid except as a special treat. Perhaps this recipe will help you with this dilemma.

I made this cake several weeks ago. I had never substituted applesauce for the butter or margarine usually found in a cake and wasn’t sure I would like it. It was very tasty although I can’t honestly say that it is as good as a cake made with butter. This is a dense cake and I think it is better the second day after you make it.

FAT FREE CHOCOLATE CAKE

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa
¾ cup applesauce
1½ cups nonfat sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift flour, sugar, and cocoa together. Slowly work in applesauce with a fork. Add sour cream, baking soda and vanilla. Mix well – I used a portable electric mixer at this point. Pour into an 8×8-inch baking pan that has been sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serves 12 or more – you only need a small piece for a serving.


 

Several weeks ago several of us who were neighbors of Zouline Machada when she lived in SilerCity, went to Galloway Ridge for a luncheon celebrating her 100th birthday. On the drive over, we were sharing fond memories of the time she lived here and Lou Brooks said that Gib remembered her chocolate fudge and wished someone had that recipe. At the luncheon I sat next to Pat Donaldson, Zouline’s daughter, and mentioned the recipe to her. She said that she had her Mother’s recipes and would try to find it for me. When I came home, I mentioned this to Alan and he said he really hoped she sent it, because he remembered how good her fudge was, too.

Last week Pat sent me some of her Mother’s recipes including the one for fudge. I thought this recipe was perfect for Valentine’s Day. The wonderful thing about the recipe, as well as how good it tastes, is that it is incredibly quick and easy to make. Alan watched me make it and kept saying are you sure this is all you do? He will probably want a batch more often than is good for us. I sent some to Gib as well and he is sure this is the recipe that he remembers so fondly.

Pat said her Mother took this recipe from one that is in her Key Biscayne cookbook from the 1960’s. The recipe won a first prize at a New York State Fair.

ZOULINE’S EASY YUMMY CHOCOLATE FUDGE

2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
1/8 pound butter
1 tablespoon marshmallow crème
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 package nut meats, about a cup (optional – Zouline used English Walnuts)
Combine granulated sugar, milk, and butter and cook for 5 minutes – no longer.

Remove from the heat and add marshmallow crème, vanilla and chocolate bits. Stir with a spoon (you’ll need a metal or wooden spoon) until smooth. Quickly add nutmeats if you are using them and pour into a buttered pan (I used an 8 x 8 pan.)


We made this last week and decided that this would be a good addition to your Super Bowl Menu. This is about as easy to assemble and prepare as anything we’ve ever done. You may find that you will need to cook the roast longer than 7 hours to get it as tender as you want it.

After you shred the beef, degrease the broth and taste. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Then add the shredded beef back in the broth and warm before serving.

Let people fix their own sandwiches. Alan suggests putting a bowl of shredded lettuce and a bottle of hot sauce beside the crock pot so people can add these to their sandwiches if desired.

BEEF/FRENCH DIP ROAST BEEF FOR THE CROCK POT

3½ – 4 pounds boneless chuck roast
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
2 cloves garlic crushed
12 French Rolls, split on top (do not cut them all the way through – you want them to be a little bowl for the roast beef and sauce.

Place roast in a 5-quart slow cooker.

Combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients and pour over roast.

Add water to slow cooker until roast is almost covered.

Cook, covered, on LOW for 7 hours or longer until very tender.

Remove the roast and shred it with a fork, reserving broth. Degrease broth and adjust seasonings. Return meat to broth. You may serve it at this point or refrigerate it to serve later.

Serve on buttered and lightly toasted French rolls. I also think this would be good served over either a bed of mashed potatoes or rice.


 

When we visit our daughter in Florida we usually break our trip in Fernandina Beach. This Christmas we ate in a restaurant there and shared a Spinach and Orange Salad with Roasted Macadamia Nuts. I thought this was delicious and was determined to try to recreate this when we came home. I tried this last week and was extremely pleased with the results. I hope you will enjoy this salad as much as I did.

If you are allergic to macadamia nuts I think roasted almonds would be equally good or just eliminate the nuts altogether.

SPINACH and ORANGE SALAD with ROASTED MACADAMIA NUTS

2 fresh oranges peeled and sectioned (or more depending on the number of people you are serving)
Fresh baby spinach
¼ cup chopped roasted macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
1 ½ tablespoonsDijonmustard
6 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Crumbled goat cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)

Whisk together the orange juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil. Fold in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You may do this 2 to 3 days ahead and refrigerate in an airtight container. Let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before assembling the salad. You will have enough dressing for 6-8 salads.

Arrange the spinach on individual salad plates. Halve the orange sections and place on top of the spinach. Drizzle dressing over the salads. Lightly sprinkle goat cheese over the salad if using. Enjoy.


This is a recipe that I used to do years and years ago but then forgot about. Recently I bought some eggplant and came across the recipe when I was trying to decide how to prepare it. We enjoyed the eggplant and I’ll try not to forget about this recipe in the future.

CHEESE-COATED EGGPLANT

1 medium eggplant
4 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Cut eggplant into ½-inch slices and soak in cold salted water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat the slices dry. Combine the Parmesan, crumbs and seasonings. Melt the butter. Dip the eggplant slices in melted butter, then the crumb mixture and place in single layer on a 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.


 

I was interested in this recipe because unlike so many marinades, it does not contain soy sauce. Both of us enjoyed this when we tried it and found the leftovers to be as good as the pork was when we first cooked it. We’ll be using this again.

PORK/BALSAMIC-MARINATED PORK TENDERLOIN

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon regular salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 pounds pork tenderloin

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and the next 4 ingredients. Place the tenderloin in a large heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag and add the vinegar mixture. Seal the bag, turning to coat the tenderloin and chill for at least 4 or up to 8 hours.

Spray grill rack with nonstick, nonflammable cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium high heat (350-400 degrees). Remove tenderloin from marinade, discarding marinade.

Grill tenderloin, covered with grill lid for 10 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the meat registers 145 degrees. Let tenderloin stand for 10 minutes before slicing.


 

Gloria Lee sent me two recipes yesterday and I think this is a wonderful gift. If you are still making sweets when you pick up this paper, you might try one of these treats.

Gloria says that she has 3 or 4 recipes for the Snowball Cookies, all with different names (Sand Tarts, Lady Fingers, Mexican Wedding Cookies, etc.) and she always makes these at Christmas. She says this particular recipe was given to her by Linda Warfford and this is just a little memorial to her.

The Wacky Rabbit Fudge is so named because the owner of a gift shop, The Wacky Rabbit, in Myrtle Beach has this on the counter for her customers at all times. Because her customers like this fudge so much, she has shared her recipe with them.

SNOWBALL COOKIES

1 cup shortening (Gloria uses butter)
Dash of salt
½ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted flour|
2 cups pecans, chopped

Blend shortening with salt and vanilla, add sugar and cream well.

Add sifted flour and pecans. Shape the stiff dough into small balls. (Gloria actually takes the little ball and shapes it into a crescent.)

Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from pan and quickly roll in additional sifted confectioner’s sugar. (Gloria sometimes rolls hers a second time before storing them in an airtight container.)

Keep an eye on these as they bake because just as they begin to get a little color, they are done. (Gloria always starts off by baking just a few so she can adjust the baking time if needed. She doesn’t usually bake them the full 15 minutes but different ovens bake differently.)

WACKY RABBIT FUDGE

5 cups sugar
1 8-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 13-ounce can evaporated milk
|7 ounces Marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½-2 cups chopped nuts
Mix sugar, butter, salt and milk.

Cook, stirring, on medium heat, until mixture reaches 236 degrees  on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat, add nuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and marshmallow cream.

Mix and pour into a buttered 10×13-inch pan. Spread evenly.

Cool and cut into squares. (Gloria says this makes a good amount of fudge.)


 

I wrote this column months ago but haven’t used. When I looked at it again, I decided that these Proscuetto Breakfast Rolls would be a nice addition for your Christmas breakfast.

I am always amazed at the number of different ways that you can use refrigerated crescent rolls. I discovered this recipe inA Savory Place– Culinary Favorites of AmeliaIslandpublished by the Micah’s Place Auxiliary.

I decided to try this recipe because I had some prosciutto (the Italian version ofCountyHamwhich you can buy locally) that I had brought to wrap melon wedges. I think you could probably substitute paper thin slices of baked county ham for the prosciutto. This roll is very tasty and I think it would be good with a bowl of soup as well as a breakfast treat. The cookbook has lots of interesting recipes and if you are breaking yourFloridatrip in theFernandinaBeachorAmeliaIslandarea would certainly make a nice gift or souvenir of your trip.

PROSCIUTTO BREAKFAST ROLLS

2 (8 count) cans refrigerator crescent rolls
16 thin slices of prosciutto
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoonsDijonmustard

Unroll the crescent roll dough. Separate the dough into eight rectangles, pressing the perforations to seal.

Top each rectangle with two slices of prosciutto. Roll up to enclose the filling, beginning at the long side. Cut each roll-up crosswise into halves. Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the honey andDijonmustard in a small bowl. Brush over the tops of the rolls.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 16 rolls.


 

I tried this recipe this weekend and both of us really enjoyed it. The feedback from other people who have tried it has been positive  too.

This recipe is very quick and easy to prepare. I did not have a lemon on hand when I made these so substituted ½ tablespoon of dried lemon peel. You could substitute grated orange peel as well which would be good.

I cut my bars into small pieces and wound up with approximately 50 bars rather than 24.

SOUR CREAM CRANBERRY BARS

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups dried sweetened cranberries (I used craisins)
1 cup dairy sour cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the butter and brown sugar with a spoon. In another bowl, stir the oats, flour and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture, stirring until crumbly. Press half of this mixture in an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Mix remaining ingredients; pour over hot crust. Crumble remaining oat mixture over filling. Return to oven; bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and filling is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 24 bars or more, depending on size of bars you cut.


 

Alan’s sister sent me this recipe last week. She says that this makes a nice light alternative to the pecan pie that we all enjoy so much but that unfortunately really packs on extra calories that I don’t need – especially at this time of year. She said that she made several batches of these for her church’s Holiday Fair and they sold very quickly.

I have not tried these yet but I did buy a package of the frozen Phyllo Cups inSilerCityon Friday and I will bake some of these soon. I will try to use will power and only eat one or two!

PECAN PIE in PHYLLO TARTS

15 frozen Phyllo Cups
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend melted butter, egg, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add your chopped pecans to this mixture. Distribute evenly into the frozen Phyllo Cups.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and enjoy. 68 calories per cup.


 

I found this recipe for Ham and Potato Soup last winter and was anxious to try it because it sounded like a good way to use leftover ham. (I once read that two people and a ham was a definition of eternity!)

This recipe could not be easier if you do a little advance planning and have all of your ingredients on hand – the slowest part of the recipe was waiting for the cream cheese to melt. The flavor was very good and the ham makes this a filling soup that will stick with you and not leave you looking around for something else to eat a couple of hours later.

HAM and POTATO SOUP

(Serves 5)

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup diced ham
1/3 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 24-ounce package refrigerated mashed potatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add ham, onion, and garlic; cook until onion is softened and the ham is lightly browned.

While the ham mixture cooks, microwave mashed potatoes according to the package directions.

Add the potatoes, chicken broth, and dill to the onion mixture stirring until well combined. Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cream cheese, pepper and salt; cook until the cream cheese melts.

Ladle soup into individual bowls, garnish with fresh chopped dill and mini-crackers if desired.


 

When I tried this recipe I used leftover roast chicken and I was pleased with the results. I think this is a good use for some of the turkey that you don’t consider quite up to sandwich quality. Because my gravy was very thick, I found that I needed to add some chicken stock to my batter.

I thought the muffins were very good and made a nice addition to a lunch of soup. I am freezing part of the muffins to enjoy later.

TURKEY DINNER MUFFINS

(Yield: 10-12 muffins)

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ – 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 large egg
¾ cup turkey gravy (you may need to add some chicken stock if your gravy is very thick
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup diced cooked turkey
3 tablespoons jellied cranberry sauce or enough to top each muffin with ½ teaspoon of sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and poultry seasoning.

In another bowl, combine the egg, gravy and oil; mix well. Stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in the turkey. If your batter is too thick, add some chicken stock.

Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Top each with ½ teaspoon cranberry sauce. Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and the muffins are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.


 

If you are looking for a new side dish to add to your Thanksgiving or any dinner for that matter this recipe using turnips and green peas is worth trying. We made this last week and both of us were going back for seconds. I am looking forward to serving this often. Although I haven’t tried my leftovers yet, I think they will be delicious reheated in the microwave at 50% power so you could easily do this dish a little ahead of time.

I clipped this recipe from a 2002 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

GREEN PEAS AND TURNIPS w/BACON and DILL BUTTER  

8 tablespoons butter at room temperature
4 generous tablespoons chopped fresh dill
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 ¼ pounds turnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4  cups)
2 16-ounce bags frozen petite peas, thawed

Mix 6 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons dill in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. (Dill butter can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Saute chopped bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. )Can be made 2 hours ahead; let stand at room temperature.)

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turnips and sauté until tender and golden, about 9 minutes. Add peas and dill butter and stir until peas are heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon dill and serve.


 

When my Sunday School Class was responsible for coffee hour last month, Joan Thompson made these Apricot Bars and they disappeared quickly. Several people asked Joan for the recipe so I asked her if I could use it in the paper and she agreed. The bars are delicious and you’ll probably make them often. Joan said she found the recipe in the Penzey Spices catalogue.

 COOKIES/NORWEGIAN APRICOT BARS

1 cup dried apricots
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, well packed
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 – ½ cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the apricots. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Cool and cut into small pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar and flour. Blend together until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a greased 9-inch square pan. (The person who submitted the recipe also has used a 9×13-inch pan to make a thinner bar and the crust still holds up well.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking prepare the topping. Beat the eggs and add the brown sugar gradually. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the nuts and apricots.

Remove the crust from the oven. Spread the topping over the crust, return to the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes more. Cool, then cut in bars or squares and sprinkle with the powdered sugar.


 

This recipe originally appeared in the Greensboro Daily News long enough ago that my clipping is very yellow. It was featured with a group of recipes that gave you ideas about what to do with leftover Halloween candy. I must confess that if I have any Heath Bars, they seem to mysteriously disappear and are rarely handed out to Trick or Treaters.

I made the cookies and they are now at the top of my favorite cookie list. I chopped the Heath Bars and the whole roasted unsalted almonds on a wooden cutting board with a heavy duty knife—I find that a food processor tends to pulverize them.

TOFFEE CRUNCH COOKIES

1 cup chopped roasted almonds
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
¾ pound unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 ½ cups chopped Heath Bars
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 buy whole roasted unsalted almonds, but you can buy whole raw almonds and chop them and then place them in a dry skillet set over medium heat. Toast the raw chopped almonds until golden—about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Sift together the flour and salt. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg until well blended. Add the dry ingredients, mixing well. Work in the almonds and candy chunks with your hands.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop tablespoons of the dough in mounds about 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from the oven; after 1 minute, transfer to racks and cool. Store in an air tight container or wrap well and freeze for longer storage.

Since so much of my older daughter’s family time seems to be spent at the soccer field these days, I thought I should try this recipe and see if I thought it was on that would make her life easier. This is a delicious beef stew and so easy to prepare. The V-8, corn starch and sugar makes a delicious sauce. If you wanted, I see no reason that you could not add some celery if you wished and try some additional seasonings although it is just about perfect as written. We had leftovers, of course, so I discarded the potatoes and froze the rest of the stew and the second time around I will serve it over a bed of rice or noodles.And yes, Mary Alice, this is definitely a recipe that you should try.


SOCCER STEW

1 ½ pounds stew beef
1 medium onion, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
5 red skin potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces of V-8 juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces, cutting off fat as needed. Put the meat in the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole. Add layers of vegetables, very lightly sprinkling them with salt and pepper.

Mix sugar, cornstarch and V-8 juice and pour over the top of the casserole. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil

Bake for 4 hours at 250 degrees.


My daughter Mary Alice gave me this recipe and at my suggestion she wrote the comments about the recipe. “Being a fan of Mexican food, but looking for something that wasn’t too heavy, I decided to give this recipe a try. Steve and I loved the fresh taste of the tomatillos and the heartiness that the hominy added. Steve said that this is one of those dishes we should have on the menu if we ever open a restaurant.”

TOMATILLO CHICKEN

2 pounds tomatillos (husks removed), washed and halved1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds) cut into pieces, save wings for another dish
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (reduce if you want a less hot dish)
½ medium white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (15-ounces) hominy, drained (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a food processor, puree tomatillos; set aside. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot, skin side down.

Cook until browned on one side, 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add jalapenos and onion to pot and cook, stirring frequently until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatillo puree and hominy, if using; season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken, skin side up, in sauce. Cover pot; simmer until chicken is cooked through, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and skin and pull off the bone and shred. Return to the pot and stir in the cilantro; taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with shredded cheese—either cheddar or Monterey jack.


Last weekend I tried this recipe for Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes and both of us thought the recipe was definitely a keeper. The maple syrup adds just a little sweetness without overpowering the flavor of the potatoes.

MAPLE-GLAZED SWEET POTATOES

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (can substitute brown sugar)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, cover and place over medium heat. When boiling, reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring or shaking pan every 5 minutes until sweet potatoes are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. (Add additional water if mixture cooks away.

If you want to serve these immediately, uncover pot and cook until liquid mixture is slightly reduced. If you want to serve the potatoes later, reheat and reduce the liquid just before you are ready to serve.


I found this recipe on the internet and because Butterfingers are Alan’s favorite candy I thought I should try it. These blondies are delicious and very easy to prepare. However, like all brownie-type recipes, be very careful not to overcook them. I set my oven timer as soon as I put them in the oven and removed them immediately after 25 minutes and the cooking time was perfect.

BUTTERFINGER BLONDIES

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt. On low, add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine.

Stir in the Butterfingers by hand. The mixture will be very thick.
Spread the batter in the prepared baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the center is just barely set—it will be a little soft to the touch. Let cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Yield: about 45 small squares


Several years ago Alicia Ross and Beverly Mills featured this recipe for Baked Fish with Cornbread Crust in their Desperation Dinners column. I tried this and we both thought it was a great recipe and incredibly easily. I was lucky enough to have some Wahoo in my freezer that a friend had given us and this was the fish that I used. It was delicious and my house did not smell like fish. Ross and Mills used a large corn muffin to get their cornbread crumbs. I used part of a square of a fairly sweet cornbread – whatever you happen to have on hand.
Mary Alice has used Ross and Mills Desperation Dinners cookbook and at hectic times in her life has found it to be a great resource.

BAKED FISH with CORNBREAD CRUST

(Serves 4) 4 boneless, skinless fish fillets (about 6 ounces each, 1 to 1½    inches at thickest) such as tilapia, catfish, trout, grouper,halibut, or red snapper)
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper or to taste
1/3 bottled Italian salad dressing
2/3 cup coarse cornbread crumbs (crumble these a little before using and allow to dry a little)
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat an oblong glass baking dish with cooking-oil spray.
Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper and place in the dish. (The thin edges may overlap.) Pour dressing evenly over the fish.
Sprinkle the cornbread crumbs evenly over the fish.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes until dressing bubbles at the edges, the crumbs lightly brown and the thickest part of the fillets are opaque and flake easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook – depending on the size and thickness of your fillets, it may not take the full cooking time.
While fish is baking, quarter lemon and set aside. To serve, squeeze lemon juice over the fish and serve immediately.


I made this Apple Oatmeal Crunch several weeks ago and both of us really enjoyed it. It is very easy to assemble and has lots of crunch topping. When I made this I used unsalted butter which is what I almost always have on hand. When I make it again if I use unsalted butter, I will add a pinch of salt to the flour-brown sugar mixture. This is really yummy when it is served warm and I have found that the leftovers heat beautifully at 50% power in the microwave. Alan like to top his with a little vanilla ice cream!

APPLE-OATMEAL CRUNCH

(Serves 9)
6 cups peeled, sliced apples
1 cup flour
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of salt if you are using unsalted butter
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange apple in a greased 8” square baking dish.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt (if needed). Cut in butter until crumbly. Add oatmeal and walnuts; mix well. Crumble over the apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm.


I had never thought of using escarole except as an addition to a salad but this recipe intrigued me so I tried it. We both enjoyed it. The sweetness of the apple is a great contrast to the slightly bitter flavor of the escarole. This is something that I will prepare and serve again.

WILTED ESCAROLE WITH APPLES

(Serves 4)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced small
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored – cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 bunch escarole, roughly chopped

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper; cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
Add apples and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in cider vinegar.
In a large bowl, toss escarole, roughly chopped, with apple mixture. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed


When the girls were home I used to serve smoked center cut ham slices fairly often, usually topped with a slice of pineapple but I haven’t done this in ages. Recently I came across this recipe for Baked Ham Slices and thought that it might be tasty. We both enjoyed this and it is certainly one of the easiest recipes that I have done in a long time. This is ideal for two people because you don’t have a lot of leftovers. Although the recipe calls for a ½ – ¾ inch thick ham slice, the one I bought here in Siler City was vacuum packed and not quite ½ inch thick. I cut it into 4 portions and we each ate one piece. I thinly sliced the rest and used it on a chef’s salad and it was really delicious.

BAKED HAM SLICES

(Serves 2-3)

1 ( ½  – ¾ inch thick ) smoked, fully cooked ham slice
½ cup water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Combine water, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire in a 9 x 12-inch baking dish. Stir well.

Cut ham slice into desired number of servings. Place ham pieces into baking dish and cover tightly. Refrigerate for 2 – 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the covered dish for 30 – 4- minutes or until ham is completely heated and juice is bubbly. If you are working with a thinner piece of ham like I was, reduce the baking time to about 20 minutes. Baste the ham with the juices a couple of times during the baking process.
Remove ham to a platter to serve.


What could be more perfect for a hot summer day than homemade ice cream. My friend Linda Walls Gave me this recipe for vanilla ice cream that she says is absolutely the best that she has ever tasted. Try this recipe and see if you agree with her.

VANILLA ICE CREAM

(Yield: 4 quarts)

2 ½ cups milk
2 ¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups half and half
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups whipping cream

Scald milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Stir in the half and half, vanilla and whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes – Linda puts hers in the freezer to do this. She also puts her freezer can in the freezer at this point.
After 30 minutes, place ice cream mixture in the freezer can and proceed according to your freezer directions.


Last week I had some mushrooms in the refrigerator that I needed to use as well as some shallots so it seemed like the perfect time to try this chicken dish. We both thought it was delicious and look forward to making it again. Instead of the mozzarella cheese called for in the recipe I used an Italian cheese blend that I bought at a grocery store here in town.

CHICKEN with SHALLOTS and MUSHROOMS

4 chicken breast halves, boned and skin removed
¼ cup margarine or vegetable oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced shallots
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese<

Sauté chicken in margarine in skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn chicken pieces.
Add mushrooms and shallots to pan. Season with salt and black pepper. Add wine. Cook for additional 10 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Place chicken on platter. Sprinkle with cheese and top with mushrooms and shallots and accumulated pan juices. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy!


This recipe is almost identical to the original Angel Biscuit recipe that I have featured in this column several times through the years – that recipe is a staple for my family. I saw this variation of the recipe and I thought it was interesting because many of us are trying to incorporate more whole grains in our diet. In addition this recipe uses a tablespoon less sugar and ¼ cup less shortening which cuts the guilt a little when  I reach for the second biscuit.
When you bake these, be sure to choose a pan that you have had success with your biscuits browning on the bottom – my Mother would say a well-seasoned dark pan. Shiny metal pans don’t seem to work as well. The leftover biscuits freeze well and reheat nicely at a low temperature in a toaster oven.

WHOLE WHEAT ANGEL BISCUITS

1 package dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk

Dissolve yeast in 3 tablespoons warm water.
Sift together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in shortening until particles are very fine.
Stir yeast mixture (it should be bubbly at this point) into buttermilk. Add this to the sifted dry ingredients and blend. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down and roll out and cut biscuits. Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Let rise again until doubled in bulk. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 and 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


This is a great dish for these endless 90+ degree days we seem to be having this summer. When it is as hot as it has been our favorite meals seem to be cold plates and the Green Beans Vinaigrette are a good way to incorporate vegetables in this type of meal. I’ve already made this several times recently and everyone who has tried this seems to enjoy this. I do prefer using small tender beans for this dish.

GREEN BEANS VINAIGRETTE

3 pounds fresh green beans
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (May substitute a sweet onion if
preferred)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook green beans 7-8 minutes or to taste. (I prefer them crisp-tender for this dish.) Drain and pat dry.
In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients, except onions, into a vinaigrette. Add red onion slices and mix and separate the onion pieces. Add beans and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. (If you refrigerate them, take them out of the refrigerator early enough to allow the olive oil to completely liquefy – about 15 minutes.


Gloria e-mailed me this recipe which she found in a magazine. Gloria says that this is a pretty salad and that everyone that she has served it to has asked for the recipe. She says that even her husband who is not a lover of fresh raw vegetables actually liked this salad. She served it with grilled marinated chicken tenders.

GLORIA LEE’s MARINATED VEGETABLE SALAD

WHISK TOGETHER
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup bottled Italian dressing (not called for in recipe but
Gloria added it and thinks it helps)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon pepper

COMBINE
3 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup bottled cherry peppers, halved (Gloria did not use these)
3 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, sliced

Pour the whisked dressing over the vegetables. Toss and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours stirring occasionally.


Joan Thompson baked these Sour Cream Raisin Squares recently for coffee hour at our church and a lot of people asked her for the recipe. I was delighted when she gave it to me to use in the column. Joan found the recipe in the Penzey’s Spices catalogue (a Wauwatosa, Wi, business). This is an interesting catalogue that features quite a few recipes that of course use spices and flavorings that you can order from Penzey’s.

The woman who submitted this recipe confessed that she could eat the whole pan of raisin squares herself. Joan says that when she bakes these she prefers to bake them in a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan, but she says the cooking time is about the same–just watch them. You want the topping as well as the crust to be golden brown. Joan also says that rather than having 4 leftover egg whites she has used 2 whole eggs sometimes.

SOUR CREAM RAISIN SQUARES

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking or regular oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 egg yolks (may use 2 whole eggs instead)
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups raisins
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; gradually add to the creamed mixture (mixture will be crumbly). Set aside 2 cups; pat the remaining crumbs into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan or 10×15-pan like Joan used if you wish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool (but don’t turn off the oven).
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the filling ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 5-8 minutes. Pour and spread over the cooled crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Bake for 15 minutes longer.


Margaret fixed this Carolina-Style Barbeque Chicken for us when we were in Florida last summer. This was a recipe that she had found in the Food Network Magazine. We thought it was delicious. Margaret says that when she fixes this for her family, she uses little or no hot sauce because she will be serving it to small children. She also will marinate extra chicken thighs and freeze them for a quick and easy meal later. She says that if the weather is really bad, she will bake the chicken at 375 degrees, being careful not to overcook it.

CAROLINA-STYLE BARBEQUE CHICKEN

½ cup yellow mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons hot sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs (2 to 2 ¼ pounds)
Vegetable oil for brushing

Preheat grill to medium. Whisk the yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce; ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the butter.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with about 1/3 of the mustard sauce in a zip lock plastic bag until coated. Refrigerate until ready to use. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Brush the grill grates generously with vegetable oil. Put about ¼ cup of the remaining sauce in a bowl and use to baste the chicken as it cooks—reserve the rest to serve with the chicken.
Grill the chicken, covered, basting occasionally with the sauce, until well-marked and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees; about 10-12 minutes a side. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces.


Gloria Lee sent me this recipe for Peach Enchiladas last fall but I waited until peach season to try the recipe. This is so easy and delicious that you will probably want to make it several times.
Once again I never cease to be amazed at all the things you can do with a can of crescent rolls!

PEACH ENCHILADAS

2 8-ounce cans refrigerated crescent rolls
2 pounds fresh, firm, ripe peaches, peeled and quartered (4
large ones)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 12-ounce can citrus-flavored soft drink like Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unroll crescent rolls; separate into triangles. Place 1 peach quarter on wide end of each triangle; roll up triangles around peaches, starting at wide end. Place, point sides down, in a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan.
Stir together sugar, butter and cinnamon and drizzle over the rolls; pour the soft drink over the rolls.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.


Several weeks ago I was browsing old cookbooks looking for a pasta salad recipe that would be similar to a potato salad but easier and quicker to prepare. I discovered this recipe and decided to try it. It was delicious and about as foolproof as a recipe can be if you don’t overcook the macaroni. Use a timer as a reminder. I think the salad is best if you refrigerate it overnight. Don’t be alarmed when you mix it if you think it looks soupy—the macaroni will absorb the dressing.
I like to take the salad out of the refrigerator and stir it about 15 minutes before I plan to serve it. This is a recipe that I will use a lot. It will make a great addition for your 4th of July meal.

MILLION DOLLAR MACARONI SALAD

(Serves 8-10)

2 cups small-sized uncooked macaroni
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ cup half and half
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped onion

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain but do not rinse or cool. In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, white pepper, cayenne and vinegar. Slowly mix in half and half. Add butter; stir until dressing is blended. Toss dressing with the macaroni; add celery, onion, and green pepper. Toss again until salad is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate covered, 4 hours or overnight.


This salad is one that is certainly a change from the usual green or congealed one but I think you will enjoy the flavors. I especially like the crunchiness that comes from the celery and the pistachios. I hope you will like this recipe, too.

ROASTED BEET, PISTACHIO and PEAR SALAD

(Serves 2)

2 fresh beets (about 12 ounces)
1 cup chopped ripe pear
¼ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon light brown sugar
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Dash of ground red pepper
2 leaves curly leaf lettuce

Leave the root and 1 inch of the stem on each beet. Scrub with a brush. Wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1½ hours. Chill in the refrigerator. Peel and chop the beets.
Combine the beets, pear, celery and pistachios in a medium bowl.
Whisk the lemon juice, honey, brown sugar, salt and peppers in a bowl. Drizzle over the beet mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve chilled on the lettuce leaves or at room temperature.


This is an old fashioned tea cake type of cookie that many of you have told me that you enjoy. These cookies are very easy to prepare and the refrigerating time called for gives you some time to do part of the clean up before you even start baking. I think you will want to add this cookie recipe to your list of favorites. If you don’t like nutmeg, I see no reason that you could not use a different spice but you may need to play with the amount you use.

NUTMEG COOKIES

2 eggs
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk

Beat eggs well. Add the shortening and sugar and blend thoroughly. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Drop by rounded teaspoons on cookie sheets. Then flatten with a floured fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees.


Mary Alice was at a Memorial Day Cookout and the hostess served flank steaks that had been marinated in this sauce. Mary Alice said the steaks were delicious and the men almost inhaled their portions – needless to say there were apparently no flank steak leftovers. This is really an all-purpose marinade recipe that can be used on beef, chicken or pork.

SOY GINGER STEAK MARINADE

(Serves 8)

1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 piece of fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
¼ cup sugar
1 ounce of gin or vodka

Please all ingredients into blender and puree.
Pour over steak and marinate for 2-3 hours.
Remove meat from marinade and grill.


I clipped this recipe from a newspaper several years ago and finally got around to trying it last night. We thought these were delicious when we sampled one immediately after I took it out of the muffin pan but they were even better when I reheated them at 250 degrees in the toaster oven this morning! I see no reason why they should not freeze and be just as good several months from now. Be sure and try this soon while local blueberries are plentiful.

BROWN SUGAR BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

2 cups blueberries
1½ cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons additional flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup milk
1 lightly beaten egg
1 tablespoon melted butter

Mix the egg with the brown sugar and milk. Add the melted butter.
Combine 1½ cups flour, salt and baking powder in another bowl and then quickly combine with the wet ingredients.
Toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and mix with the other ingredients.
Add blueberries to the mixture and gently and quickly combine.
Fill well-greased standard sized muffin pans three-fourths full. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until nicely browned. It took 12 minutes in my oven and I had 12 muffins.


I baked this Blackberry Cobbler last summer when fresh berries were available and it was truly yummy. Both of us found ourselves going by the dish and taking a spoonful until it was all gone. I’m looking forward to baking this again as soon as blackberries are ripe.

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

(Serves 6 to 8)

3 cups blackberries
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream, whipped and sweetened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a buttered shallow baking dish, place the blackberries. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a couple of times. Cut 1 stick of butter into pieces and add. Pulse to create a lumpy mixture. Add the sweetened whipped cream and pulse until a dough forms. Sprinkle this dough by hand over the blackberries.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the mounds of dough. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar.
Bake about 30 to 40 minutes or until the dough and fruit are cooked through and the dough is a light golden brown.


I clipped this recipe for Shrimp Tortellini Marinara last year because the idea of adding the fresh grape tomatoes to the prepared marinara sauce intrigued me. The recipe did not disappoint me. It was very easy to prepare – just be sure not to overcook the shrimp.

SHRIMP TORTELLINI MARINARA

(Serves 5)

1 (16 ounce) package refrigerated 5-cheese multicolor tortellini
(or the closest type cheese tortellini available here)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound medium uncooked peeled and de-veined shrimp, tails
removed
1¼ cup no-salt added marinara sauce
½ cup dry white wine
2 ounces sliced white mushrooms
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook tortellini according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot. Add shrimp; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Add mushrooms and stir into shrimp mixture. Add marinara sauce, wine, tomatoes and seasonings.
Cook 4 minutes more or until hot. Drain tortellini; add to skillet and mix.
Serve and top with a little Parmesan cheese if desired.


Several months ago I tried this Breakfast Cornbread at coffee hour at my church. I had no idea who made it but I liked it and went in the Sunday School class that provided the food that Sunday and found out that Shirley Frye had brought this dish that her son Matt had made. I asked her if she thought he would share the recipe and she said she thought he might. Sunday, I was delighted when she handed me the recipe. I look forward to making this myself and hope you will try it and that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
I believe Matt used mild sausage when he prepared this but if you want to kick the heat up with hot sausage you certainly can do that.

BREAKFAST CORNBREAD

1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
4 eggs
6 ounces cottage cheese
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
½ pound sausage
½ onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brown crumbled sausage in a skillet with the onion. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl. Add the un-drained sausage/onion mixture to the bowl. Stir all together. Pour into a greased 9×9-inch baking dish. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the mixture is lightly browned and begins to pull away from the sides of the baking dish.


I tried this several weeks ago using a recipe from an insert in the Rachel Ray magazine that was very similar to one that I had seen somewhere several years ago.
We both enjoyed this and I thought it really made a nice change from the usual rice or potatoes.

COUS COUS with GRAPE TOMATOES

1 10-ounce box plain cous cous
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or a little more if needed
½ teaspoon salt
½ pint of grape tomatoes, quartered or more if you need to finish a container
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or a little more to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, prepare the cous cous according to package directions using the ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the water comes to a boil, add the cous cous and immediately remove from heat and cover. Time the 5 minutes that you keep the cous cous covered or you will dry it out.
After 5 minutes, fluff the cous cous with a fork. Stir in the tomatoes, almonds, vinegar and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little extra olive oil and or balsamic vinegar if you think it is needed.


I clipped this recipe several years ago but I promptly hid it from myself before trying it so I was delighted to rediscover it several weeks ago. This time I tried it and both of us enjoyed it. If you are really in a hurry you can use some of the pre-baked cornbread that is available in the grocery stores today—because this is a little sweet, my grandchildren adore it.I think this is an excellent recipe for tuna salad that I will use from now on. I usually put sweet pickle cubes in tuna salad but I think I prefer this version with the fresh dill weed.
I would use either mild or medium cheddar cheese. I think sharp or extra sharp would overpower the tuna salad.
I’m looking forward to enjoying this dish again during the late spring and summer.

TUNA MELT on CORN BREAD

1 package (8 ½ ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
2 cans (6 ounces each) light water-packed tuna, drained and
flaked
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed or to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 slices mild or medium cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, sliced
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced (optional)

Prepare and bake cornbread according to package directions, using a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, egg, dill weed, salt and pepper. Cut cornbread into six pieces, place on an un-greased baking sheet. Top each with ¼ cup tuna mixture and a slice of cheese. Broil 4-6 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with tomato and avocado.

Comments are closed.