Friday, November 15, 2013

Hickory Nut Cake

This recipe came from my grandmother Cozeta Webb and is one of my favorite cakes.  The hickory nuts were collected from our farm but just about any nut could be substituted.  My husband likes this made with black walnuts.  The icing is a bit touchy to make but is well worth the effort.  Follow the boil times exactly.  If you cook it too long then the icing will be crumbly, not long enough and it will not set up.  The taste however, is better than anything you could buy from the store.  If you find that you overcooked it slightly, then taking it off the heat and whisking in a little bit more milk might save it.  This will make one 9 x 13 sheet cake or 2 round 9 inch pans.  

2 C. Sugar
2/3 C. Butter, softened
3 Eggs
2 ½ C. Flour
1 C. Hickory nut pieces
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with mixer until light in color. Add eggs one at a time. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternating with the milk. Mix well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Pour in greased and floured pans. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until done .


½ C. Butter
1 C. packed Brown Sugar
2 C. Powdered Sugar
¼ C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ C. Hickory nut pieces

Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar. Boil 2 minutes. Add milk. Bring to boil, then remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add nuts.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

One of my favorite cakes.  It has carrots, so it has to be healthy right?  This can be made as an 9” x 13” pan or as a 2 round  9” layer cake.  This cake is very heavy and rich.  You won’t need a big piece. 

2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 C. Carrots, shredded
2 C. Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp. Salt
1 C. Vegetable Oil
1 C. Pecans, chopped

In a bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil for 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour mixture , beating just until blended.  Mix in carrots and pecans.  Batter will be very thick.  Pour batter into greased cake pans.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.  Cool completely on rack before icing. 

 Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick Butter, softened at room temp.
16 – 24 oz. Powdered Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
8oz. Cream Cheese, at room temp
1 C. Pecans, chopped

In large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except pecans until well blended.  Stir in nuts.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vodka Sauce

One of my husband’s favorite pasta sauces. If you can’t find the prosciutto, you can substitute a good quality thinly sliced ham. However, it won’t have quite the same taste. As for the parsley, I prefer the curly leaf over the flat leaf variety. Just make sure to finely mince it.

 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Large Onion, Chopped
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 bunch Parsley, minced
6 oz. Prosciutto, minced
56 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
¼ to ½ C. Vodka
1 C. to 1- ½ C. Heavy Whipping Cream
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Large Rigatoni Shells, Cooked and drained

In large stockpot, melt butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, ham, parsley and red pepper flakes until onion turns translucent. Add crushed tomatoes and vodka. Bring to low boil then simmer over low-medium heat with lid off for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream. Simmer until slightly thickened. Serve over pasta.  Sprinkle with additional parsley.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Cheesy Sausage Hash

A good one dish recipe that comes together quickly.  This recipe makes a lot.  However, it can be easily halved.  Or double it if feeding a large crowd.  The addition of carrots and spinach are a sneaking way of adding some vitamins to an otherwise meat and potatoes dish.

1 lb. Ground Sausage
½ C. Onion, chopped
6 C. frozen Potatoes, cubed
2 C. Monterey Jack Cheese
½ tsp. Celery Seed
1 C. frozen Spinach, chopped
3 Carrots, shredded
Red Pepper Flakes, (optional)

In large skillet cook sausage with onion, carrots and celery seed over medium heat until sausage is browned. Add potatoes and spinach. If you want a spicier dish, add the red pepper flakes. Cook until potatoes are tender and starting to brown. Top with the cheese. Cover with a lid 3 – 5 minutes to help the cheese melt.

Pear and Walnut Pizza

A good alternative to traditional style pizza.  Pears should be ripe, yet firm.  If they are soft they will be mushy when cooked.

2 Tbsp. Butter
1/3 C. Dry White Wine
1/3 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Fontina cheese, shredded
1 Pear, thinly sliced
½ Cup Walnut pieces
Heat butter and 1 Tbsp. Water in saucepan on low until melted. Add wine. Simmer 5 minutes. Add cream. Simmer on low until thickened. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Spread on your favorite pizza crust, (I like the Boboli thin crust style). Top with Fontina. Arrange the pear slices on top. Scatter with the walnut pieces. Bake at 375 until crust is well melted and starting to bubble in places. Take out of oven and let cool 5 – 10 minutes. Drizzle lightly with honey.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sandwich Spread - (Tail of the Garden)

An old recipe handed down from my mother, which she received from my grandmother.  Excellent on burgers, hotdogs, or really any sandwich.  Can also stand alone or eaten on crackers.  You can substitute any relish type condiment with this spread. 

1 Doz. Green Peppers
1 Doz. Red Peppers
1 Doz. Green Tomatoes
5 Lg. Onions
1 Tbsp. Salt
3 C. Sugar
1 C. Cider Vinegar
½ C. Corn Starch
6 – 8 oz. Yellow Mustard
1 Qt. Miracle Whip
Finely grind peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Place in large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Add salt.  Let sit 5 minutes, then drain.  In a very large saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar.  In separate bowl, combine cornstarch with enough water to make a paste.  Add to the vinegar mixture.  Bring to a boil.  In sauce pan, stir in mustard and cooked vegetables.  Cook until blended, stirring frequently abut 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add Miracle Whip.  Pour into clean canning jars.  Hot water bath jars for 15 minutes for jars to seal. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Marinated Tomatoes

There is nothing like the taste of tomatoes fresh from the garden.  The marinade for these tomatoes only accentuates their taste.  Very good as a side dish or serve with crusty bread and some good cheese for a meal.  Vary the spices for your own personal preference.  Leftover marinade is also excellent as a salad dressing.

¼ C. Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
1 ½ tsp. Seasoned Salt
1 ½ tsp. Ground Black Pepper
¾ C. Vegetable Oil
½ C. Red Wine Vinegar
¼ C. Onion, chopped
3 – 5 Tomatoes, sliced

Blend all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a large sealable container. Add tomatoes. Marinate in refrigerator overnight.     

Monday, June 17, 2013

Teriyaki Sauce

This is a good sauce that goes great with chicken, salmon or tofu. Grill your choice of protein, add crisp-tender veggies and toss with the sauce. Pair it up with rice and you have a fast weeknight meal.

1 C. Chicken Broth
1/3 C. Soy Sauce
1/3 C. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Mirin
2 Tbsp. Sake
In saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Stir to dissolve sugar, continuing to simmer until sauce starts to thicken and turn syrupy.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer Cranberry Seltzer

Light summertime drink for people that don’t like the strong taste of alcohol.  It is almost like a wine cooler in flavor.  You can change the cranberry juice to almost any other juice. Grape or pomegranate juice works well.

2 C. Cranberry juice
2 C. Seltzer
2 Tbsp. Lime
6 oz. Vodka
Fill glasses with ice.  Mix all ingredients in small pitcher.  Divide among glasses.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Sauce

I have to admit, I have a love affair,….. with balsamic vinegar.  I absolutely love the stuff.   This sauce has a good balance of flavors and would pair equally well with chicken or salmon.

1 pd. Pork Tenderloin, ½ “ slices
1 ½ tsp. Butter
1 ½ tsp. Olive Oil
1 Onion, minced
2 Tbsp. Honey
½ tsp. Allspice
2 C. Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
¼ C. Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Parsley, minced

Pound slices of pork to ¼ “ thick. Season with salt and pepper. Heat large skillet. Melt butter and olive oil. Cook pork slices in batches, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan. Add onion, honey, and allspice. Saute until softened and translucent. Increase heat to high and add stock and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Continue to simmer until the sauce is starting to thicken. Add the cream and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Return pork slices to pan. Heat through.


The Salty Dog

I like just about any drink that has salt on the rim.  The grapefruit gives a nice sourness to the drink.  This is a great summer evening porch sitting drink.

½ C. Vodka
¾ C. Fresh Grapefruit juice
Coarse Kosher Salt

Moisten the rim of 2 glasses. Dip in salt. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Divide the vodka and juice evenly between the two glasses.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Meatball and Bean Stew

A hearty soup that is high in protein and in flavor.  Keeps well in the fridge, so you can make a big batch on Sunday night and then enjoy during the week.  Serve with crusty bread to soak up all of the delicious broth.


2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 small Yellow Onion, minced
1 ½ tsp. Paprika
1 Pd. Ground Chuck
1 ½ tsp. Cumin
1 Tbsp. Cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp. Parsley, minced
1 Egg, beaten

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
5 C. Beef Stock
16 oz. White Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 large Yellow Onion, chopped
1 C. frozen Spinach, chopped

Heat oil in large soup pot for meatballs. Saute onions. Let cool and mix all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into 1 oz. balls. In the same pot, add meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Heat oil for stew. Add onions and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add stock and bring to low simmer, loosening any browned bits from the bottom. Add meatballs, beans and spinach. Cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Moscow Mule

Heat up the grill and pour some cold drinks!  This is one of my favorite summertime beverages.  This drink has an unassuming visual quality about it, but truly does have a kick. I have never been a fan of sweet, fruity drinks and the mule has neither. Ginger beer doesn’t contain alcohol, but don’t confuse it with ginger ale. I like the Jamacian style. It has a spicy flavor to it that really pairs well with the vodka.

¼ C. Vodka
6 Tbsp. Ginger Beer
Lime slice

Rub the inside of a chilled glass with lime slice. Discard slice and fill glass with ice. Pour the vodka and ginger beer into the glass. Stir well.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Morels in a White Cream Sauce

Morels are a seasonal spring treat where I live.  They grow wild in the woods around our house.  If you are lucky enough to find them, cut into halves and soak overnight in a bowl of salted water in the refrigerator.  Use your favorite type of pasta for this dish.  I like Campanelle.  Their shape allows the sauce to cling to the pasta, plus they remind me of mushrooms.  This dish does not heat up well, but is easily divided in half.


2 C. Dry White Wine
2 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Morels, diced
1 C. Parmesan-Romano, grated
1 Tbsp. Butter
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
¾ Pd. Dried Pasta

In large skillet, melt butter with 2 Tbsp. water over low medium heat. Add garlic. Saute until beginning to soften. Add morels. Continue to cook until just beginning to turn light golden, stirring frequently. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add cream. Turn heat to low-medium and simmer for about 30 minutes until thickened. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. Turn heat to low and stir in the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Be careful and don’t overheat the cheese as it will clump. Stir in the pasta.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicken Soup with Tomatoes and Paprika

Easy weeknight meal that only takes a few minutes to throw together.  The beans add a comforting feel to the soup.   Serve with baked chips or cheese quesadillas.  

2 Chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 C. Chicken Broth
15.5 oz. Can Navy Beans
15.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
½ tsp. Smoked Paprika
¼ C. Cilantro, minced
Sour Cream

Drain and rinse beans. Lightly mash. In a large saucepan, add all ingredients except sour cream. Heat soup over medium heat until simmering. Cover with a lid and continue to simmer for 20 minutes to let flavors meld together. Top with sour cream.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chicken with Almonds and Chow Mein Noodles

This is one of the first meals that my son made when he was first starting to learn how to cook around the age of ten.  He picked the recipe out of the cookbook and was responsible for the whole meal, from making sure that we had the ingredients and prepping the vegetables to checking the dish once the timer sounded on the oven.  If you let kids in the kitchen and let them help, they will try such a greater range of foods that they might otherwise turn down. 

3 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
2 C. Celery, diced
1 C. Carrots, shredded
1 C. Bell Pepper (red and green), diced
8 oz. Canned Mushrooms, sliced
2/3 C. Almonds, sliced
1 can, Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can, Cream of Mushroom Soup
Chow Mein Noodles

In large bowl, stir together all ingredients except chow mein noodles. Transfer to a baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes until hot. Remove foil and top with noodles. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 5 – 10 minutes.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

Catalina Chicken

A recipe received from a very dear friend, who used this as a camping treat for years.  It is a super easy weeknight dinner and is delicious whether from a gas or charcoal grill.  Add a side salad and bread for a complete dinner.  Or add mashed potatoes and veggies.  Nothing gets easier than a three ingredient meal.  The chicken turns out super moist and tender. 


3 Lb. Chicken Breast
1 C. Seltzer Water
1 C. Catalina Salad Dressing

Trim chicken of fat and slice against the grain into 4 or 5 pieces per breast. In large bowl, combine seltzer water and salad dressing. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Pour into foil pans or boats. Grill over medium heat until chicken is done and marinade has reduced to a glaze.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spicy Ground Pork with Ramen Noodles

This is a very spicy but flavorful dish. I think traditionally it is served with thread (glass) noodles. They look beautiful, like strands of icicles. I tried these originally but did not like the taste.  Instead, I substituted Ramen noodles for the dish. If you want to use the dried bean thread noodles, use ¼ lb.  and cook in boiling water for 4 minutes until soft and then add the noodles to the finished dish.  Toss to coat.

3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
8 Oz. Ground Pork                                                                                                                                
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
3” Ginger, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp. Chinese red chile bean paste
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 tsp. Rice wine vinegar
4 C. chicken stock
1 bunch scallions, diced
6 oz. Ramen Noodles

Heat oil in large skillet. Add pork. Cook until browned, breaking up meat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook 5 minutes. Add chile paste, soy sauce, vinegar and stock. Bring to boil. Add noodles and cover with lid. Simmer with lid on until noodles are tender. Stir in chives.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bailey’s Irish Cream Bundt Cake

This is a very moist, dense cake. It has a wonderful flavor. One of the most requested cakes in our household. Drizzle as much fudge sauce as you want over the cake. Everyone absolutely loves this!


2 Tbsp. Instant Coffee
¼ C. Bailey’s liqueur
1 pkg. Yellow Cake Mix
3.4 oz. Vanilla Pudding mix, instant
¾ C. Sour Cream
½ C. Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs, beaten
1/3 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
1/3 C. Sugar
1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon
¾ C. Pecans, chopped
16 oz. Chocolate Frosting
Fudge Sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Combine coffee and liqueur. Add cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, and eggs. Beat for a full 4 minutes. Batter will be very thick. Stir melted chocolate chips into 2/3 cup batter. Combine sugar, cinnamon and pecans in separate bowl. Pour ½ of batter into greased Bundt pan. Top with ½ of chocolate batter. Sprinkle with ½ of sugar mixture. Repeat layering. Use a butter knife to swirl batters. Bake 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Loosen sides by running a plastic knife around the edges. Turn out on a cooling rack. Cool completely. Heat frosting in the microwave (lid and foil removed) stirring every 20 seconds until smooth and pourable. Pour over cake. Let the icing set up. Drizzle the fudge sauce over cake.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

WV Ramp Burgers

Nothing says springtime like ramps.  It is a traditional spring ingredient in many dinners.  If you have the chance, try to get out and support the local ramp dinners or try to dig a few wild ones yourself.  The creativity in the kitchen can be endless.  We have many dishes that we use them in, but these burgers are by far my favorite.  When shaping the hamburger patties, indenting the middle with your thumbs, will help to ensure a more even burger  in the finished product.

1 Pd. Hamburger
1 Egg, beaten
1 C. Ramps, cooked, (Vary depending on taste)
¼ C. Breadcrumbs, unseasoned
1 pkg. Bacon

Wash and clean a large plate full of ramps. Finely chop. In large skillet, place 3 bacon strips and heat over medium heat. Add ramps. Cover and cook over low heat until softened and tender. Meanwhile, fry the remaining bacon until crispy and then drain on paper towels and set aside. When ramps are finished, remove the bacon from the skillet and place ramps in sieve to drain any extra liquid.  Measure out 1 cup of cooked ramps.  Reserve any remaining ramps for another use or for burger topping.  In a large bowl, combine hamburger, egg, ramps and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into patties and grill over medium heat until desired doneness. Top with the reserved bacon and your favorite condiment on buns.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Shrimp

This can be made with just chicken or just shrimp. Control the spiciness with the amount of hot sauce used. If you do not like hot foods, you may want to reduce the hot sauce down to 2 - 3 Tbsp.

1 Pd. Jumbo Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Pd. Chicken Breast, sliced into thin pieces
1 med. Onion, minced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
12 oz. Lager Beer
½ C Frank’s Red Hot, hot sauce
4 Tbsp. Butter

Melt butter in skillet. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Sauté shrimp until just turning pink. Transfer to a plate. Sauté chicken until lightly browned on both sides. (Meat may not be cooked through.) Transfer to plate. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Sauté until softened. Stir in turmeric, coriander, cumin and oregano. Cook about 1 minute. Add beer. Bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half. Stir in hot sauce. Add the chicken and shrimp. Cover skillet with lid. Cook until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chicken with Wine and Grape Sauce

This sauce has a very heavy, sweet grape flavor. If you are a grape lover, you will like the distinctive flavor, if you do not like grapes; this is probably not the sauce for you. The grapes could be substituted with mushrooms instead.

4 Chicken Breast
1 Lg. Onion, Minced
1 C. Grapes, halved
1 C. White Wine
2 C. Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
Canola Oil
All-Purpose Flour

Place about 1 cup of flour into shallow dish. Season well with salt and pepper. Trim chicken breast of fat. Slice into 3 or 4 pieces. Lightly pound to flatten to ¼ “pieces. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in skillet over med-high heat. Reserve the flour. Cook chicken in batches until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. (Chicken may not be cooked through.) Transfer to plate. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent. Add grapes. Cook until softened. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of reserved flour. Stir to coat. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine and broth. Bring to boil, stirring to break up any clumps from the flour. Return chicken to skillet and cover with a lid. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened. Stir in parsley. Serve over rice.

Sloppy Joes

A little bit more time consuming than just opening a jar, but well worth the effort.  You can also substitute ground turkey for the beef.

6 oz. Tomato Paste
1 lg. Onion, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Butter
½ C. Dry Red Wine
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 Carrots, Diced
1 Celery Stalk, Diced
1 ½ Pd. Ground Chuck
1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
Kaiser Rolls

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté until softened. Add beef. Cook until browned, breaking into small pieces. Add chili, cumin, salt and pepper. Add tomato paste, wine, Worcestershire and sugar. Simmer until thick. Serve on Kaiser Rolls.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Citrus Pulled Pork

Nice easy weeknight meal that’s ready when you are.  Minimal prep and with the gallon baggie, cleanup is fast.  Before refrigerating the filled baggie overnight, I place it in a large bowl.  If the bag happens to leak, the bowl will catch it and will save you a cleanup.


2 Pd. Boneless Pork shoulder
4 tsp. Oregano, dried
2 tsp. Cumin
1 Onion, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 Lg. Orange
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

In a large gallon ziplock plastic baggie, combine the oregano, cumin, onion, garlic, oil and jalapeno.  Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the bag.  Add the oranges halves as well into the bag.  Cut the pork shoulder into 2 or 3 large pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Add the pork to the bag and rub the mixture to thoroughly coat.  Seal tightly and refrigerate 6 – 24 hours.  Place pork and any accumulated juices into a slow cooker.  Arrange orange halves on top of pork.  Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours until meat is very tender.  Remove pork to platter to cool slightly.  Discard orange halves.  Transfer the cooked onions and juices to a blender and puree into a sauce.  Return sauce to slow cooker.  Shred pork and return to slow cooker.  Adjust all seasonings.  Heat cooker to high and let pork simmer for about 30 minutes or until hot.  Serve with tacos, as a side over rice or as a filling for quesadillas.

Corn Soup

Easy weeknight meal and reheats well for leftovers.  I usually make quesadillas to go with this soup.  Also good with crushed tortilla chips.  Make your own chips by lightly brushing leftover corn tortillas with oil and cutting into sixths.  Season with salt or spices and arrange in a single layer on cookie sheet.  Bake until lightly browned.


12 oz. jar Roasted Red Peppers, diced
2 Tbsp. Veg. Oil
1 Onion, diced
32 oz. Frozen Corn
4 C. Chicken Stock
½ C. Heavy Cream

Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add onion and sauté until softened and becomes translucent.  Add to the pan, corn red pepper and liquid from the jar.  Add the chicken stock.  Simmer on low for 25 – 30 minutes.  Puree until desired consistency.  Stir in cream.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

White Chocolate Chip Black Walnut Cookies

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Nestle chocolate chip cookies.  Sometimes though, you want something different.  These are the cookies for those moments.  They remind me of Blondie Brownies.  Substitute English walnuts if the Black walnuts are too strong for you.  These cookies are also good with some chopped coconut added in the dough.  Make sure you have plenty of milk for the dunking!!


12 Tbsp. Butter, Melted
1 C. Brown Sugar
½ C. Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 C.  All purpose Flour
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 ½ C. White Chocolate Chips
1 C. Black Walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Set oven racks to top and middle position.  Whisk flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.  In large mixing bowl, mix butter and both sugars.  Beat until light in color.  Add egg, yolk and vanilla.  Beat until incorporated.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix until well combined.   Stir in chips and walnuts.  Measure out 1/8 C. portions.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 15 – 18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.  Cookies should be lightly brown on the edges but still soft and slightly moist in the middle.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 10 minutes.  Transfer to rack to cool completely.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Turkey Ragu

This is a healthier, lighter version of the Italian Sausage Ragu using ground turkey.  All of the wonderful flavors of Ragu are still present though, so you won’t feel as if you’re skimping on anything.  For an extra benefit, serve with a whole grain pasta and salad. 

1 Pd. Ground turkey
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 oz. Tomato Paste
2 Bay leaves
1 Onion, minced
2 Bell Pepper, minced
3 Carrots, minced
28 oz. Tomatoes, diced
1 C. Red Wine
1 C. 2% Milk
1 – 2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add carrots, onion and bell pepper.  Sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften.  Add ground turkey.  Cook until turkey is fully cooked and beginning to brown, breaking into small pieces.  Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well incorporated.  Cover with lid and turn heat down to low.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove lid.  Continue to simmer until desired thickness is reached.   Remove bay leaves.  Serve over your favorite cooked pasta.  Top with Parmesan.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chocolate Cookies with Coconut

These cookies make me think of devil’s food cake.  Has a nice, dense, moist flavor.  If you don’t care for the coconut, substitute orange extract in the icing and top with a light sprinkling of orange zest.


1 ¼ C. Flour
1/3 C. Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
½ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Salt
1/3 C. Butter, softened
1/3 C. Granulated Sugar
1/3 C. Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2/3 C. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Coconut extract
1 – 2 tsp. Milk
½ C. Coconut, unsweetened, shredded

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.  In separate bowl, beat butter until light in color.  Add granulated and brown sugars.  Beat until combined.  Add egg and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Add flour mixture.  Beat until combined.  Divide dough in half and form into 6 inch rolls.  Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours until firm.  Spread coconut on baking sheet.  Toast in 350 oven until lightly browned.  Remove to bowl.  Slice dough into 1/3 inch slices.  Place on baking sheets.  Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until set.  Transfer to rack to cool.  In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and coconut extract.  Add enough milk for a drizzle consistency.   Drizzle cookies with icing and sprinkle with shredded coconut. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Glazed Kielbasa

Nice appetizer to serve at gatherings or parties.  If you do not want to include the wine, just substitute additional apple juice. 

1 pd  Kielbasa, ½ “ diagonal sliced
1 C. White Wine
¼ C. light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ C. Apple Juice

Place kielbasa in large skillet.  Add wine and heat to medium heat.  Simmer until almost all of the wine has evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Add brown sugar, mustard and apple juice.  Simmer until syrupy.  Can transfer to a crock pot to keep warm until ready to serve. 


Bobotie is the national dish of South Africa.  It is the accumulation of many different influences that have passed through that region over the years.  Tamarind can be hard to find.  Look for it in an international store or the international aisles in the bigger supermarkets.  It has a flavor that is truly unique.  Like a traditional meatloaf, this meal has many variations, so feel free to substitute ingredients. 


2 Oz. Tamarind Paste
2 Slices White Bread, torn
½ c. Whole Milk
2 Lb. Ground Beef
¼ C. Almonds, sliced
3 Tbsp. Golden Raisins
3 Eggs
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Lg. Yellow Onions, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. Curry
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Mix tamarind with ½ C. water.  Set aside.  In large bowl, soak the bread with ¼ C milk.  Heat butter in skillet.  Sauté onions and garlic.  When onions are just beginning to soften, add the curry and sugar.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add beef to skillet.  Cook until beef is done and browned, breaking up into small pieces.  Transfer to bowl with the bread.  Add the tamarind, lemon juice, raisins and 3 Tbsp. almonds.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly.  Add 2 eggs, slightly beaten.  Mix well.  Transfer to a 9” deep pie plate.  Press down meat mixture to compact.  In bowl, whisk egg and remaining milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour on top.  Sprinkle top with remaining almonds.  Bake about 30 minutes, until egg is set and cooked through.  Let cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Irish Beef and Stout Stew

Nice hearty cold weather stew.  If you’re not a fan of stout beer, don’t be turned off by the recipe.  I personally don’t like the taste of the beer straight from the bottle, but do love the taste of this stew when it’s been simmered for hours.  Serve with your favorite bread.

4 pds. Beef Chuck Roast, 1” cubed
¼ C. Flour
12 oz. Tomato Paste
12 oz. Irish Stout Stew
20 oz. Baby Peas
2 pds. Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 med. Onions, diced
4 C. Beef Broth
8 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss beef with flour. Set aside.  In large Dutch oven, heat broth over medium heat.  Stir in tomato paste, until dissolved.  Add remaining ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Cover with lid and transfer to oven.  Cook, covered until tender 2- ½ to 3 hours.  Adjust seasonings to taste. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Homemade Canned Italian Sausage

Every year the Rock Cave  IGA grocery store sells pork sausage labeled as “Ground Hog” for the week during Groundhog Day.  This may sound like just another sausage to some, but this is truly the best and leanest sausage I’ve ever eaten.  This year they sold 17,400 pounds in the one week selling period that they do every year.  They do their own grinding and custom seasoning per customer request.  We usually order their sausage with extra sage, but this year we also ordered 20 pounds of plain and seasoned our own.  We canned the Italian seasoning version listed below and also a hot version called mititei.

5 pds. Ground pork sausage unflavored
5 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Parsley, dried
1 ½ Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 ½ Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 ½ Tbsp. Basil, dried
4 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ tsp. Oregano, dried
½ tsp. Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Thyme, dried

Combine all ingredients until well incorporated.  Shape into desired size of fingers or into balls.  Bake for 20 minutes or until just browned.  Sausage will not be cooked through but will be able to hold its shape in the jar.  Pack into canning jars as tightly as you can without breaking or crumbling the meat.  Pressure cook for 90 minutes on 10 pounds of pressure. 

Swiss Cheese Fondue

This recipe was given to me by my sister, who spent several years living in Switzerland.  This was the recipe given to her by the locals.  The Gruyere is a must, but you can substitute the Jarlsberg for Emmenthaler.  The first time I tried this recipe it was a failure.  I overheated the cheese which turned it into a gooey mass.  Do not overcook or overheat the cheese; it will rebel against you.  Keeping a constant eye on the heat and stirring constantly will prevent this.  Once this dish is smooth and velvety, don’t hesitate to start dipping.  It won’t wait on you.  Truly a great dish for those who love cheese, bread and wine. 


Cut bread and place into bowl.  Let the bread openly sit and lose some of its moisture for 2 – 3 hours to dry out slightly.  Peel and cut a garlic clove and thoroughly rub the entire inside of the fondue pot.  Use more garlic if necessary.  Add the white wine to the pot and heat gently over medium heat.  Alternately add the cheese by small handfuls, stirring constantly after each addition to melt the cheese.  Once all of the cheese has been added and melted, dissolve the cornstarch in a small additional amount of white wine or brandy.  Add the cornstarch to the fondue stirring constantly to incorporate.  Serve with the cubed bread.
**If you do not have a fondue pot, you can use a thick walled small kettle.  Keep the kettle on the stove over low heat to keep the cheese in a smooth consistency.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Za'atar Dip

Excellent dip for bread.

1/3 C. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. za’atar
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Bunch Cilantro, Minced

Combine all ingredients.  Mix well, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.  Let sit for 6 hours or overnight for flavors to develop.  Bring to room temperature before serving.  Serve with crusty bread to dip. 

Szechwan Spiced Ground Pork

Pork and dill pickles???  This recipe sounded so odd I had to try it and then fell in love.  It has a quite the flavor.  The dill pickles are not authentic, but are an acceptable alternative and are easier to buy.  Don’t hesitate to try.  Adjust the garlic and ginger to your personal taste.     

1 Onion, chopped
2 tsp. Oil
1 Pd. Ground Pork
1 C. Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Sugar
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ C. Dill Pickle, chopped
3 inch Ginger, peeled and grated
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp. Cornstarch, dissolved in water

Heat oil in skillet.  Sauté onion until translucent.  Add garlic and ginger.  Sauté 1 minute.  Add pork.  Cook until done, breaking up into small pieces.  Add remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Simmer over low heat with lid on for 20 – 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  Serve over rice.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spicy Sweet Meatballs

These are great meatballs whether you make them as an appetizer, for a party or for dinner.  Vary the size of the meatball for each occasion.  We have made them smaller when we have had them for a party, and bigger when we made them for dinner.  Try them over rice with some steamed broccoli or asparagus on the side.  Also great on a hoagie with some sauted strips of onions and peppers covered in provolone cheese.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ C. Breadcrumbs
1 Lg. Onion, minced
¼ C. Milk
1 Lb. Pork Sausage
1 Lb. Ground Beef

16 Oz. Apple Jelly
2/3 C. Spicy Brown Mustard
2/3 C. Apple Juice
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce                                                                                                                   

In a crockpot, combine all ingredients.  Heat on high until jelly melts and sauce is smooth.  Meanwhile, in bowl, combine eggs, bread crumbs, onion, milk, sausage and beef.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix well until ingredients are combined.  Shape into meatballs.  Cook in a skillet until browned on all sides but not cooked through.  Add meatballs to sauce in crockpot.  Cook on high for 5 – 7 hours or until meatballs are cooked through depending on size of meatball. 

Smoky Lentil Soup with Bacon

Comforting bowl of soup for a cold winter day.   When adding the paprika, use a good quality smoked paprika, not the regular paprika.  I never thought that there was much difference until I tried it.  There is a huge difference!   I like to serve this with a grilled provolone cheese sandwich made on crusty Italian bread.  But really, any sandwich would work well with this recipe.

4 slices Bacon
1 Onion, diced
3 Carrots, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
6 oz. Tomato Paste
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
14 oz. Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
1 C. Red Lentils
4 C. Chicken Broth
Sour Cream
Parsley, minced

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until cooked through and crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels, leaving the grease in the pot.  Crumble the bacon.  Add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and paprika.  Cook 2 – 3 minutes.  Add 1 Tbsp. of the tomato paste.  Cover and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are soft.  Add the broth, lentils, tomatoes and the remaining tomato paste.  Cover the cook until the lentils are tender, about 35 -45 minutes.  With an immersion blender, puree to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls.  Top with sour cream, bacon and parsley.      

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spinach Lasagna With Italian Sausage

This uses the same cheese filling that is in the spinach rolls.  Make sure that the spinach is wrung dry between two towels to try get out as much liquid as possible. 


1 pd. Italian sausage
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
3 (15oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
6 oz cans tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaf

Cheese Filling:
16 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
20-oz package frozen spinach, drained well
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

4 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
cooked lasagna noodles

To prepare sauce:
Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté onions, and garlic until softened. Add Italian sausage and cook, breaking up into small pieces. Once cooked, add tomatoes, tomato paste and sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, bay leaf. Simmer on low until thick. Season with salt and pepper.
To prepare filling:
Add ricotta cheese, cooked drained spinach, eggs, basil, pepper, and Parmesan in bowl and mix well.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of 13 X 9 baking dish. Cover with noodles. Cover noodles with half of the cheese mixture. Spread evenly with about 1 cup of sauce. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat one more time. Add another layer of noodles and top with 1/4 cup extra Parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly brown.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken with bacon and garlic

The chicken in this recipe is ‘oh so tender’.  Whenever you are cutting the chicken breast into slices, make you that you are cutting across the grain for the most tender cuts.  As a time and mess saver, place the flour, salt and pepper in a large Ziploc baggie and shake to coat.  So much easier than coating each individual piece. 


½ C. flour
3 Chicken breast, sliced
2 C. Chicken stock
1 C. Dry Sherry
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Bacon slices, chopped
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
5 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour.  Cook bacon in skillet.  Remove and chop.  Add oil to skillet.  In batches, brown chicken on both sides.  Remove to a plate.  Saute garlic until golden brown.  Add stock, sherry and parsley.  Bring to simmer.  Return chicken to pan.  Simmer uncovered until thickened.  Serve over rice, noodles or in a sandwich.  Top with chopped bacon. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Pre-made seasoning can be so expensive.  And if your like me, when you get the craving for something with a Mexican flavor, you don't have those little packets.  We have been making this spice blend for so long, I can't remember when the last time was that I bought those little packets.  This is good for tacos, burritos, rice, etc.


½ C. Chili powder
2 Tbsp. Oregano, dried
2 Tbsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Mix all ingredients well. 

Ground turkey taquitos

These are not rolled as tightly as traditional taquitos nor fried in oil.  With the ground turkey instead of beef it's a little healthier than what you might normally make.  Chipotle peppers would mix in nicely if you like their flavor.  I love it, my husband doesn't.  If you do not want to make the taquitos, try topping the mixture over rice.     


2 Tbsp. + plus more Olive oil
1 C. yellow onion, chopped
1 C. bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbsp chili powder or taco seasoning
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 C. frozen corn
Mexican blend cheese
Corn tortillas
Sour Cream

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 -3 minutes.  Add the ground turkey in the pan, season with salt and chili powder.  Cook the turkey, stirring until it is browned and cooked through, breaking into small pieces.  Add the corn.  Cook until heated through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in fresh chopped cilantro.  Lightly brush tortillas with oil.  Spoon 2 – 3 Tbsp. of turkey into corn tortillas.  Top with cheese.  Roll up sides and secure with toothpicks.  Place on a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20 – 25 minutes.  Serve with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Spinach Rolls

Use your favorite spaghetti sauce with these rolls, whether it's homemade or store bought.  This makes alot of rolls, so it's perfect as an appetizer or as a buffet style entree.  We have made them for occasions like a Superbowl Party where everyone can help themselves.  Adjust all seasonings to taste.  Leftovers taste wonderful the next day, so plan to take some to work for lunch.


Cheese Filling:
16 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
20-oz package frozen spinach, drained well
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 C. Spaghetti sauce
cooked lasagna noodles
Add ricotta cheese, cooked drained spinach, eggs, basil, pepper, and Parmesan in bowl and mix well.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of 13 X 9 baking dish.
On workspace, lay one noodle flat. Spread noodle with a couple of tablespoons of the cheese mixture, spreading to 1/2 inch of far edge.  Roll up and place in baking dish seam side down.  Repeat.  Top with remaining spaghetti sauce.  Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly brown.