Sunday, December 30, 2012

Italian Meatballs

These meatballs have multiple uses.  They can be paired up with pasta and sauce, used in a hoagies for sandwiches, or by themselves as an appetizer for a party.  Make a lot because you will want these leftover for the next day.

1 Pd. Ground Beef
3 Garlic cloves, minced
½ C. Parsley, fresh, minced
½ C. Parmesan, grated
1 medium Onion, minced
½ C. Breadcrumbs
1 Egg, lightly beaten
6 Oz. Tomato Paste
¼ C. Dry Red Wine
Spaghetti Sauce (your favorite, homemade or store bought)

Mix all ingredients except spaghetti sauce.  Shape into balls.  (I use an 1/8 C. measuring cup to make uniforms balls.)  In a non-stick skillet, lightly brown on all sides.  Pour into the skillet your favorite spaghetti sauce to cover.  Bring to a low simmer with a lid on.  Simmer until meatballs are cooked through.  Serve with pasta, on hoagies or as an appetizer. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

Not the healthiest of meals but a very comforting one.  This recipe makes alot of mac and cheese.  However, the recipe can be easily halved.  It is also good leftover the next day heated in an oven proof container with sauted panko breadcrumbs on top.  Can also be put into a shallow dish and refrigerated overnight.  Then cut into slices, dip in egg, then panko breadcrumbs and deep fried.  Your arteries will hate you but your tastebuds will love it.

6 Tbsp. Butter
¼ C. Onion, minced
½ C. flour
4 C. whole milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 Pd. Macaroni
5 C. Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

In large saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. butter.  Add onion.  Cook until soft.  Add remaining butter, flour and salt.  Cook until golden in color, stirring to prevent scorching.  Pour in 2 cups of milk.  Whisk until smooth.  Add remaining milk and cayenne.  Heat to low boil then simmer for 15 minutes until starting to thicken.  In separate pot, cook macaroni unit salted water until al dente and then drain.  Set macaroni aside.  In sauce, add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour over noodles and stir.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mushroom Wine Sauce

Absolutely love this sauce.  It has a great taste and is so easy to make.  Give yourself enough time to let the sauce simmer and develop depth.  You can adjust the amount of sauce so want by changing the amounts of liquid, just keep the same ratio.  As always, never cook with a wine that you wouldn't drink on it's own. 

2 Tbsp. Butter
8 Oz. Sliced Mushrooms
2 C. Beef Broth
2 C. Dry Red Wine
1 tsp. Gravy Master

In large skillet, melt butter.  Chop mushrooms and add to skillet.  Stir and cook until softened.  Stir in the beef broth and red wine.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add gravy master and black pepper. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.   Adjust all seasons to taste.

Spinach Meatloaf

I usually bake this a day before serving it.  The second day, I cut into slices and brown in a skillet.  I think that the flavors are more pronounced this way.  This is good one its own, but is truly excellent when served with the Mushroom Wine Sauce.

2 Pd. Ground Beef
10 Oz. Spinach with cream sauce
1 envelope Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350.  Thaw spinach.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Mix well.  Form into 2 loaves.  Bake on an oven safe rack for about 60 minutes until cooked through.  Serve with Mushroom Wine Sauce.

Asparagus with Parmesan

I used to hate asparagus.  I would never touch it willingly as a kid.  Even today, I don't like the canned version.  However, once I've had it fresh, this is now one of my favorite vegetables.  I usually buy the asparagus in the container found next to the salad in the grocery store.  Snap off the bottoms because they tend to be a little tough.

10 Oz. fresh asparagus
1 Tbsp. Butter
Parmesan Cheese, grated
Garlic Salt

Add asparagus to a small skillet.  Add about a 3 - 5 Tbsp. of water, butter and salt.  Cover with lid and bring to a low simmer until vegetables are just tender.  Stir and top with the cheese.

Carrots with Thyme

This is not your run of the mill heavy syrupy glazed carrots.  Much more flavorful and healthier.  New twist of flavor with the wine and thyme.

1 Pd. Carrots
1 C. Chicken Broth
½ C. White Wine
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. Honey
Peel and slice carrots into rounds.  In large skillet combine all ingredients.  Heat carrots to a simmer with the lid on.  Cook until carrots are crisp-tender.  Remove lid and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and carrots are tenders.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beijing Noodles

I was a little hesitant about the black bean sauce at first.  It has a pungent smell, but an excellent flavor.  So glad I tried this recipe.  It reminded me of Miso. 

½ C. Black bean sauce with garlic
2 Tbsp. Sugar
3 Tbsp. Oil
1 Pd. Ground Pork
1 Pd. Thick Spaghetti
1 bunch Scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced

In bowl, mix bean paste and sugar.  Set aside.  In skillet, heat oil.  Add pork and cook until cooked through, breaking up into small pieces.  Add scallions.  Cook until beginning to soften.  Add bean paste.  Remove from heat and cover with lid.  Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water until al dente.  Drain pasta, reserving 1 – 2 cups of the pasta water.  Mix in pasta and reserved water.  (Add water amount depending on preference)   

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chocolate Truffles

Wonderful chocolate flavor.   Roll in your favorite topping.  I love the bitterness of cocoa powder while my husband prefers the crunch of toasted coconut.  Chopped nuts are also a good choice.  This is a messy recipe and I can never achieve the perfect rolled ball, but worth the effort.

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. milk chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. Water
5 Tbsp. Butter, unsalted
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
1 1/8 C. Powdered Sugar
3 Tbsp. Concentrated Orange Juice
Cocoa Powder

Melt chocolate, butter and water in double boiler over low-medium heat.  While chocolate melts, in separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.  Set aside.  Stir chocolate until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Whisk sugar mixture into chocolate until smooth.  Pour into a shallow dish and refrigerate until firm.  Shape into balls and roll in cocoa powder.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Southwestern Turkey Soup

I absolutely love the tubes of chopped herbs that you can now buy in the salad section of grocery stores.  What a time and back saver!  I'll still grow my herb garden, but in the winter, it's a nice alternative.  This is a nice hearty cold winter soup.  Add shredded chedder, sour cream, tortilla chips or extra lime when you serve.  Save your corn tortillas and cut into sixths.  Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake until crispy. 


1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Onion, minced
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Chili powder
½ tsp. Cumin
½ tsp. Oregano
10.75 Oz. Condensed Tomato Soup
28 Oz. Tomatoes, diced
4 C. Turkey, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp. Lime juice
1 C. Water
3 C. Chicken Broth
14 Oz. Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 C. Corn, frozen
½ C. Sour Cream
3 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in large stockpot.  Add onion and sauté until soft.  Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.  Cook 2 – 3 minutes.  Add tomato paste.  Cook 5 – 7 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 20 -30 minutes.  Serve with crushed tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

Italian Sausage Ragu

If you want a spicer version, use hot Italian sausage and red pepper flakes.  Serve over the type of pasta that you like the most.


2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Pd. Mild Italian sausage
1 C. Whole Milk
2 Lg. Carrots, shredded
1 Lg. Onion, shredded
1 tsp. Celery seed
6 Oz. Tomato paste
1 C. Dry white wine

Heat oil and butter in skillet.  Saute onion, carrot and celery until softened.  Add garlic.  Saute 10 minutes.  Add sausage.  Cook, breaking into small pieces until cooked through.  Add tomato paste.  Cook 5 minutes.  Add wine and milk.  Simmer covered about 1 hour.  Serve over pasta.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Olive Dip

Use your favorite type of olive in this recipe.  If you want to tone the taste of olives down, use less juice.  Letting the dip sit in the fridge overnight really lets the flavors develop.

8 Oz. Cream cheese
½ C. olives, chopped
¼ C. olive juice
¼ C. mayo

Have the cream cheese at room temperature. In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix with blender until creamy. Season with pepper. Cover tightly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours up to overnight.

Pork chops with Olivero peppers

Super easy, tasty weeknight meal. 

8 boneless pork chops
1 jar Olivero style peppers
15 Oz. Tomatoes, Petite Diced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients into a crock pot. Cook on low 8 – 10 hours. 

Serve over brown rice.

Kale and Ham Gumbo

Very comforting cold weather recipe.  Use as many different greens as you want for this, eg. spinach, mustard greens, etc.


2 Tbsp. Oil
1 - ½ C. Ham, diced
1 onion, diced
3 Pds. Kale, chopped, ribs removed
45 Oz. Chicken broth
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Bay leaf
½ tsp. Thyme, dried
1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper

In large stockpot, heat oil. Add ham and onion. Cook until onion is softened. Add garlic. Cooked 5 – 10 minutes more. Add greens. Cook until wilted. Add broth, 5 C. water, bay leaf. Thyme, salt and cayenne. Bring to boil, then simmer 2 – 3 hours until kale is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over cooked rice.

Banana Nut Bread

Nothing smells better than bread straight from the oven.  Swap in the type of nuts and spice you prefer.  This is also good with pecans.

1 - 1/3 C. Flour
¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Baking powder
5-1/3 Tbsp. Butter
2/3 C. Sugar
2 Lg. Eggs
2 Bananas, Mashed
½ C. Walnuts, chopped
½ tsp. Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Nutmeg

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Heat oven to 350. Grease 6 cup loaf pan with oil. In bowl, cream butter and sugar until light in color. Beat in flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mixture will be very dry. Beat in eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in bananas and nuts. Batter will be very thick. Scrape into pan and bake about 50 – 60 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle of loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Loosen sides and turn out on cooling rack.


The grocery stores now sell the tubes of chopped herbs.  What a time saver!  This time of year, when my herb garden is no longer an option, it is a great alternative.  Use fresh lime and when covering the dip, press the plastic wrap lightly on top to keep out the air.  Otherwise, it will turn a darker color on top.

4 avocados
2 medium tomatoes
1 lime, juiced
½ onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 2 Tbsp. Cilantro, minced
1 jalapeno, minced

Remove skin and pits from avocados. Dice tomatoes, removing some of the pulp if the tomatoes are not “meaty”. In large bowl, place all ingredients. With a large wire whisk, smash until you have the desired consistency. Season with salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Chicken Pomodoro

Ask my husband how many ways you can cook chicken and he will just laugh.  However, this is one of his favorite dishes.  If you don't want to use the vodka that this recipe calls for, you can just use the chicken broth to help deglaze the pan. 

4 Chicken Breast
2 Tbsp. Oil
½ C. Vodka
¼ C. Heavy Cream
2 C. Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
15 Oz. Diced Tomatoes

Cut each breast into 4 or 5 pieces. Pound lightly until ¼ inch thick. Dredge chicken in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet. In batches, sauté chicken until lightly browned. Transfer to platter. Deglaze pan with vodka. Add broth, tomatoes, cream and lemon juice. Return chicken to pan. Cook on low with lid on, for 30-40 minutes.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicken and Carrot Stew

If you prefer not to have the stew version of this meal, you can follow the recipe to the point of deglazing the pan with wine and then return the chicken to the pan with a lid on and fully cook the chicken. 

2C. Carrots, sliced ½ “ rounds
1 Lg. Onion, diced
1 ½ Pd. Chicken, cubed
4 Tbsp. Flour
1 tsp. Thyme
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Paprika
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 C. White Wine
2 C. Chicken Broth
½ C. Heavy Cream
¼ C. Fresh Parsley, minced
1 ½ C. Bowtie pasta

In a large Ziploc bag, combine flour, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Add chicken and shake well to coat. Heat 1 Tbsp oil a in large skillet over med-low heat. Cook onions, stirring frequently until softened. Remove from skillet. Increase heat to med-high. Add chicken in a single layer, cook until browned. Flip chicken and brown on the other side. Chicken will not be cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet. Add wine to deglaze the bottom of the skillet, bringing to a boil and scrapping the browned bits from the bottom. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced by a third. Add the chicken broth and carrots. Return the onions and chicken to the skillet. Cover with a lid and cook on low until the carrots are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the mustard and cream until mixed. Add pasta, making sure it is submerged in the liquid. Cover and cook on low until pasta is cooked ., stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, keeping the skillet covered for 5 – 10 minutes.

Below is a picture of just cooking the chicken in wine.

Jerky Marinade

This is the marinade that we use for deer jerky.  If you prefer, you could also use this for beef.  This recipe has just a hint of heat despite the cup of hot sauce used.


1 C. Hot sauce (we use Tapatio)
1 C. Soy sauce
1 C. Worcestershire
1 tsp. Liquid smoke
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
½ C. Brown sugar
½ C. Ketchup

 Mix all ingredients in large container. Add the sliced meat and turn to coat all pieces evenly. Marinate in refrigerator at least 18 hours or up to 30 hours. Place in a single layer in a food dehydrator or hang by toothpicks on the oven racks. Time that it will take to fully dehydrate the meat will depend on the thickness of the slice and the cut of meat.

*When slicing the meat, it is helpful to have an electric slicer, because getting the meat into pieces that are of a consistent thickness is key to even dehydrating. Before slicing the meat, try putting it into the freezer so that it is semi-frozen. It will be easier to slice.

Stuffed Peppers

A family favorite.  A bit of a hassle with three pots on the stove, but well worth the effort. 

1 Lb. Hamburger
1 Onion, chopped
1 ½ C. Rice
1 tsp. Garlic Powder6 Oz. Tomato Paste
¼ C. Brown sugar
8 Oz. Brown sugar
5 Large Bell peppers
56 Oz. Tomato Juice

 In skillet, combine hamburger and onion.  Cook until browned and cooked through.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.   Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions.  In separate pot, core the peppers and de-seed.  Boil peppers in salted water until crisp tender and then drain.  Add the tomato paste to the meat, and stir to incorporate into the meat mixture.  Add 2 cups tomato juice to the meat and stir in the hot cooked rice and cheese.  Stir and cook on low until cheese is melted and mixture is uniform.  Stuff into peppers.  Place peppers in large Dutch oven.  Pour enough tomato juice around the peppers so that the liquid will be about ½ way up the peppers, about 4 cups.  In small bowl, combine 1 cup of tomato juice with the brown sugar.  Pour the tomato juice with the sugar over the tops and sides of the peppers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until heated through.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beef Stew with Beer over Barley

One pot meal that's easy to throw together.  You can add carrots, parsnips, potatoes if you want a more traditional stew in the last 20 minutes of cooking.  We had this over barley which we seldom eat, but is also excellant over brown rice.

3 lb. Beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ “cubed
¼ C. Flour
4 Tbsp. Butter
6 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Cider vinegar
1 tsp. Thyme
1 Bay leaf
3 Yellow onions, thinly sliced
24 oz. Belgian ale
1 C. Beef stock
2 tsp. Brown sugar
2 tsp.  Parsley
¾ tsp. Tarragon
1 tsp. Bacon drippings

Season beef with salt and pepper.  Toss with flour in bowl to coat.  Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in large Dutch oven.  Brown beef in batches.  Remove and set aside.  Add remaining butter and bacon drippings.  Sauté onions and garlic until caramelized.  Add 12 oz. of beer.  Simmer until reduced by half.  Add beef, beer, stock, sugar, vinegar and herbs.  Bring to boil then simmer, covered about 1 ½ hours until tender.  Serve over barley or brown rice with crusty bread.    

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup

A good alternative to the traditional version of potato soup.  A satisfying winter dish.


3 Tbsp.  Butter
3 Leeks, finely chopped
3 Lb. Potatoes, cubed
5 C. Beef Broth
½ C. Heavy Cream
¼ C. Parmesan, Grated

In pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add leeks.  Sauté until softened.  Add potatoes, stirring to coat with the butter and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add cream and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.

Chicken Stew over Rice

This is a very flavorful stew.  Bold flavors of lime, cumin and turmeric really come through.  The sugar provides a nice touch of sweetness.  If you want a spicy version, add a jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes along with the bell pepper.  Excellent over rice or noodles.

2 lb. Chicken breast, sliced 1 inch
¼ C. lime juice
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Onion, chopped
2 C. chicken stock
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire
2 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Dry mustard powder
1 tsp. Turmeric
½ tsp.  Cumin
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
15 oz. Diced tomatoes

Combine chicken, lime, Worcestershire, sugar, mustard, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, garlic, bell pepper and onion.  Marinate for at least one hour.  Remove chicken from marinade.  Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned.  Remove from the skillet.  Add the marinade to the skillet along with the tomatoes.  Cook until onions and peppers are softened.  Add stock and chicken to skillet.  Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 20 – 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Serve over rice or noodles.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

White Pizza Sauce

My family's all time favorite sauce for pizzas.  A truly fantastic flavor.  You can use a homemade dough or if short on time, then I like Boboli original pizza crust from the store.  Top with the spinach or sliced tomatoes, you really can't go wrong.  The sauce is also a good base for a cheese sauce for Alfredo type pasta dishes. 

2 Tbsp. Butter
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 -4 oz. Fresh Baby Spinach
1/3 C. Dry White Wine
1/3 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Mozzarella, shredded

Heat butter and 1 Tbsp. Water in saucepan on low until melted.  Add garlic.  Sauté until softened and light golden.  Add wine.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Add cream.  Simmer on low until thickened.  Spread on crust.  Top with mozzarella, and pepper.  Toss spinach with oil.  Spread on top of cheese.  Bake at 375 until crust is done.  Place under the broiler to finish and crisp the spinach.   
Pizza Dough
1 C. Warm water
1 tsp. Salt
1 ½ tsp. Yeast
3 C. Flour
Add salt and yeast to warm water.  Add flour and knead until smooth.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size.  Punch the dough down and roll out on floured surface in desired thickness.  Place on pan or pizza stone and top with your favorite pizza sauce and cheese.  Top with sliced tomatoes and bake at 375 for 25 to 45 minutes depending on thickness.  This recipe makes 1 very large pizza or 2 regular pizzas.

In the version below, I replaced the spinach tossed in olive oil with sliced tomatoes. 

Tortilla Soup

Very flavorful soup.  Grocery stores now stock already minced cilantro in the salad section which is a great time saver.  Use less chicken broth if you want a thicker soup as the recipe below tends to have alot of broth.  Leftover corn tortillas brushed with oil, cut into sixths and baked in the oven are a great low fat version of the chips that you buy in the stores.

8 C. Chicken broth
2 ½ lb. Chicken
1 Onion, chopped
1 Jalapeno, minced
15 oz. Tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp. Veg. Oil
½ Bunch Cilantro, minced
3 Tbsp. Lime juice
1 C. Frozen Corn
Tortilla Chips, broken

Boil chicken in salted water until cooked through.  Remove and let cool.  Shred.  Heat oil in Dutch oven.  Sauté onion and jalapeno until softened.  Add broth, tomatoes, lime, cilantro, corn, chicken, salt and pepper.  Simmer until flavors blend and soup is reduced by about 1 Cup.  Ladle into bowls and top with the chips. 

Chicken Salad

The taste of the tarragon will become more pronounced after mixing the ingredients.  Use a little less than you think you'd like and let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to develop.  After an hour, stir and adjust seasonings.

3 large chicken breast, trimmed
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp. Tarragon, dried
1 C. mayo
1 C. sliced grapes
½ C. chopped walnuts

Slice the chicken breast into 4 or 5 pieces.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add chicken and garlic and cook until cooked through.  Drain the chicken and discard the garlic.  Shred or chop the chicken into a large bowl.  Add tarragon, mayo, grapes, walnuts, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add more mayo for desired consistency. 

White Bean Chicken Chili

This chili can be made in a number of different ways.  Leftover rotisserie shredded chicken also works well with this.  If you like more heat add additional jalapenos or for a mild version substitute bell peppers.  A great alternative to tomato based 'traditional' chili.

2 Tbsp. Veg. Oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
¼ tsp. Crushed Red pepper
1 pd. Ground Chicken
45 oz. White kidney beans.
4 C. Chicken broth
1 C. frozen corn
2C. Fresh Spinach, chopped

Heat oil in Dutch oven.  Sauté the onion and garlic until softened but not golden.  Add the ground chicken.  Cook on medium heat breaking up the meat until cooked through, stirring to prevent sticking on the bottom.  Drain and rinse the beans.  Add beans and the remaining ingredients to the pot.  Simmer, covered, on low for ½ - 1 hour.  Add salt, pepper and adjust seasonings.

Italian Sausage and Grapes

What could be easier than a four ingredient weeknight meal?  I love balsamic vinegar, much more than my husband.  I always add extra to the rice once I've made my plate.

1 lb. Mild Italian ground sausage
1 ½ C. sliced grapes
¼ C. balsamic vinegar
Cooked brown rice

In skillet, break up and cook sausage until cooked through and browned.  Stir in the grapes.  Cover skillet with a lid and turn heat on low.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Stir the sausage and grapes and add the vinegar, tossing to coat.  Cover the skillet with the lid and continue to cook on low for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve atop cooked brown rice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bratwurst in Beer and Tomatoes

Super easy weeknight meal.  Add a salad to balance the heaviness in the dish.

12 oz. Beer
1 ½ Tbsp.  Soy sauce
1/8 tsp. Red pepper flakes
1 large onion, thickly sliced
3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
1 lb. Stadium bratwurst
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Brown rice, cooked

Slice bratwurst into rounds, rinse over hot water.  Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add bratwurst and onion.  Cook until some slight caramelization appears.  Add remaining ingredients except tomatoes.  Cook covered on a low simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add tomatoes.  Cook uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve over the rice.

Homemade Pizza from the garden

Why order out for pizza when with just a little planning, you can have a delicious homemade pizza at home?  This is a basic pizza crust recipe.  You can add garlic salt or herbs to the dough for extra flavor or brush the dough before baking with garlic infused butter.
The sauce is time consuming to make, but if you raise a garden or have the time on your hands, this recipe can be easily converted into a thousand uses.  Anything from pizza sauce to spaghetti to a marinara for cheese ravioli.  It is easily canned to save for future use. 


Pizza Dough
1 C. Warm water
1 tsp. Salt
1 ½ tsp. Yeast
3 C. Flour
Add salt and yeast to warm water.  Add flour and knead until smooth.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size.  Punch the dough down and roll out on floured surface in desired thickness.  Place on pan or pizza stone and top with your favorite pizza sauce and cheese.  Top with sliced tomatoes and bake at 375 for 25 to 45 minutes depending on thickness.  This recipe makes 1 very large pizza or 2 regular pizzas.

Spaghetti Sauce
½ bushel tomatoes juiced
3 lb. Onions, chopped
6 C. green peppers, chopped
½ C. sugar
1 pint Vegetable Oil
42 oz. Tomato paste
6 C. celery, chopped
2 Tbs. Dried oregano
2 Tbs. Garlic powder
1 Tbs. Black pepper
Combine all ingredients in large stockpot.  Cook uncovered on low heat until mixture is just at a simmer for 6 to 8 hours.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pork Zuppa

This is a very nice hearty winter soup.  This is a recipe that I found from diabetic living and tweaked.  Don't be afraid of changing up some of the ingredients e.g. substituting chopped kale for the spinach or adding minced jalapenos for a little extra heat.  The base of this soup is delicious.  

1 Pound ground pork
1 Large onion, minced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Oregano
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Crushed red pepper
4 c. Chicken broth
4 Small potatoes, peeled and cut ½” cubes
12 oz. Evaporated milk
6 oz. Frozen spinach
2 C. Frozen corn
2 Carrots, peeled and grated

In large pot, cook pork, onion and garlic until pork is cooked through.  Break up pork into small crumbles.   Add salt, oregano and red pepper.  Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer on med-low heat until potatoes are tender and soup has thickened slightly.  Serve with crusty bread or over cooked brown rice

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

halloween recipes

More halloween recipes from years past. 

Human Pate

4 cups of cooked diced ham
3/4 cup mayo
2 -3 Tbsp. sweet relish
1 tsp. Celery seed
Black pepper
Various plastic, food safe body parts
In a food processor, finely grind the ham.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir until well blended.  (*All ingredients are approximate; adjust to suit your taste.)  Arrange body parts on top.  Serve with cracker or mini croissants.

Dragon Eye Punch

2 liters ginger ale
1 lg. container frozen lemonade
1 lg. can pineapple juice (chilled)
1 qt. lime sherbet
 Green grapes, peeled
Dried cranberries

Make a horizontal slit in the side of the grape.  Insert the cranberry and set aside.  Stir together all ingredients except the grapes until the sherbet is melted and punch is milky green.  Float the grapes on top. 

Moldy Cheetos

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
14-1/2 ounce package Cheetos
Green food coloring

Bring sugar, margarine and syrup to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from fire. Add baking soda and green food coloring. Stir. Pour over Cheetos in large bowl. Quickly toss and spread on 10x15 pan, sprayed with PAM. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Pour out on waxed paper and quickly separate Cheetos pieces.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween recipes

Halloween is my favorite time of the year.  Every year my husband, son and I cook a meal for friends.  The following is my husband's all time favorites.  (More to follow)

Witches Fingers

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup almonds, whole
1 tube red decorator gel

Beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Beat in flour and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll heaping teaspoonful of dough into finger shape for each cookie. Squeeze twice along finger length to create knuckle shapes. Press almond firmly into one end for nail. After arranging on the lightly greased baking sheets, make slashes with a paring knife across in several places to form knuckles.
Bake in 325 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes. Lift up almond; squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back in place, so gel oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with "blood."
Let cool on racks before storing. Repeat with remaining dough.

Alien Secretion

Mountain Dew

Have all ingredients chilled.  Pour Mountain Dew into a glass.  Dip a straw into the bottle of grenadine.  When the straw is submerged, place your finger over the top to trap the liquid inside.  Place the straw in the bottom of the glass with the soda.  Slowly lift your finger so the grenadine settles on the bottom of the glass.  Repeat the procedure with a clean straw with the Baileys.  Drizzle this on top of the soda.  Serve immediately.

Ghostly Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes
2 tbsp. Butter
White pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Canned Black beans, rinsed

Rinse and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes.  Boil in lightly salted water.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  With an electric mixer, beat potatoes with butter and cream cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cool slightly.  Spoon into a gallon baggie and seal the top.  Snip a corner off the bottom edge.  Pipe into a lightly greased baking sheet to form the ghost.  Place the beans for eyes.  Bake in a 325 F oven for 15 – 20 minutes until heated through.

Mummy Dogs

1/4 cup cheddar spread
2 Tbsp. Honey mustard
11 ounce breadstick dough
I pack hot dogs, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten
Black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 350 F.  With a sharp knife CAREFULLY cut the peppercorns in half.  Combine cheese and mustard.   Spread on each separated breadstick dough strip.  Wind each strip around one hotdog, leaving a small opening near the top.  Brush with egg.  Arrange peppercorns for eyes.  Bake about 13 minutes or until golden brown.

real food for real people

I love to cook for my family and friends.  However, with some recipes you really have to wonder 'Has anyone ever really tried this'?  The ingredients just don't seem to come together.  Here are some recipes that I love.  So grab a glass of wine, relax and start cooking!