Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Throat Lozenges

These lozenges are quick and easy to make and are a good alternative from the ones you get from the store.  Substitute in different flavorings for an endless variety of combinations.

4 Tbsp. Honey
½ C. Sugar
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper, ground
1 tsp. Ginger, minced
1/8 tsp. Salt
Zest from one Orange

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, honey and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Cover with a lid and continue to cook on a low boil for about 4 minutes.  Remove lid and check temperature with a candy thermometer until temperature reaches 295 degrees.  Remove from heat and stir in ginger, salt and zest.  Let cool for 1 minute.  Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper or you can use a small candy mold.   Cool until hardened.    

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Polenta Rounds with Black Eyed Peas

Quick easy weeknight dish. If you can not find the tube of already made polenta, you can easily make it yourself. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 tsp. Salt, 1 C. yellow cornmeal. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture is thick about 40 minutes. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into thin slices.  

16 oz. Tube Polenta
15 oz. Black Eyed Peas
15 oz. Tomatoes, diced
4 Tbsp. Cilantro, fresh, chopped
½ C. Onion, minced
¼ C. Water
¼ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
¼ tsp. Salt
Sour Cream
Vegetable Oil

Cut polenta into ¼ inch rounds. Heat a small amount of oil in large non-stick skillet. Cook polenta in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce. In a skillet, saute onion until translucent. Add water, peas, tomatoes and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over rounds and top with sour cream.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tofu with Spicy Orange Sauce

A great sauce that goes well with tofu, grilled chicken or pork.  Vary the intensity of the heat by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes that you use.

3/4 C. Orange Juice
 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
 2 tsp. Orange Peel, finely grated
 1/2 tsp. Ginger, minced
 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
 ½ tsp. Crushed red pepper

Tofu Extra firm
Vegetable oil

Slice tofu into 1 x 1 ½ inch cubes. Place on paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels. Press gently but firmly to remove moisture. Replace the wet towels with dry towels. Place a large heavy plate on top of the towels and place in the fridge to continue to press the tofu.
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine all ingredients. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to thicken slightly. Press the tofu again with dry towels to remove as much moisture as you can. Place tofu in large zip lock bag. Add roughly ¼ C. of cornstarch to bag. Shake to coat tofu pieces. Shake off excess cornstarch. Heat several cups of oil in a large heavy deep pan to around 350 degrees. In batches, carefully place tofu in the oil, avoiding overcrowding. Fry until tofu is golden and floats to the top of the oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.
Once all of the tofu is cooked, toss with the sauce.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Drink - Strawberry Slushies

Nice fruity summer drink without being overly sweet.

2 C. Strawberries, hulled
750 ml. Dry Riesling
½ tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp. Sugar

Chill 1 cup of the Riesling in the refrigerator. Pour remaining wine in a blender. Add the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Puree. Pour mixture in a glass dish and place in freezer. Let the mixture sit in the fridge until frozen. Add back to the blender along with the chilled wine and puree.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ramp Pasta with Morels

The recipe below is a good basic Alfredo sauce that is excellent as is, or can be altered by adding chopped fresh herbs, red pepper flakes or try adding grilled chicken and steamed vegetables with the pasta. You can also replace some of the mozzarella with pepper jack cheese for a little more heat.
The pasta we used in the photo was a gift. It is made with ramps and tofu from a company called Integration Acres. It truly has a unique flavor and texture.


½ C. Butter
2 Garlic cloves, minced
½ C. Parmesan
2 C. Heavy Cream
¼ tsp. White Pepper
¾ C. Mozzarella, shredded

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, cream and pepper. Bring to a low simmer. Add Parmesan and stir until smooth. Add mozzarella. Stir constantly until smooth. Season sauce with additional pepper and salt to taste. Serve over cooked noodles.

For the Morels:

Slice the morels in half lengthwise. Soak overnight in salted water in a large bowl in the refrigerator. Drain and pat dry on paper towels. Melt butter in a large skillet. Dredge morels in flour and fry in batches in the skillet over medium heat until crispy. Flip and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Tofu and Vegetables with Stir Fry Sauce

Over the past few years, I have really come to appreciate tofu.  It is a great source of protein, low in calories and fat and does not contain any cholesterol.  It is available in many different textures, from silken, soft, firm, or extra firm.  For a crispy exterior for this recipe, make sure you buy the extra firm variety and press as much water out of it as you can.  Tofu has very little taste on its own, so it soaks up the flavor of whatever sauce you put on it.


2/3 C. Soy Sauce
1/2 C. Chicken Broth
1/3 C. Rice Vinegar
3 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1 pkg. Extra Firm Tofu
1 Onion, Chopped
2 – 3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
2 C. Broccoli Florets
Vegetable oil

Slice tofu into 1 x 1 ½ inch cubes. Place on paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels. Press gently but firmly to remove moisture. Replace the wet towels with dry towels. Place a large heavy plate on top of the towels and place in the fridge to continue to press the tofu while you chop the vegetables and make the sauce.
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a low boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken slightly. Add the vegetables to a large skillet. Add 3 -4 Tbsp. of water and cover with a tight fitting lid. Heat the skillet to medium high heat and steam the vegetables until crisp tender adding more water as necessary.
While the vegetables are cooking prep the tofu. Press again with dry towels to remove as much moisture as you can. Place tofu in large zip lock bag. Add roughly ¼ C. of cornstarch to bag. Shake to coat tofu pieces. Shake off excess cornstarch. Heat several cups of oil in a large heavy deep pan to around 350 degrees. In batches, carefully place tofu in the oil, avoiding overcrowding. Fry until tofu is golden and floats to the top of the oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.
Once all of the tofu is cooked, add to the skillet with the vegetables. Pour in the sauce and toss to coat everything.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pork potstickers

Not the prettiest dumpling out there, but oh what a taste!  You can make the round pleated dumplings if you prefer, but I like the no fuss triangles.  The taste will be the same.  I like to use a non-stick skillet when making these.  You’ll still get a nice browned side, but won’t have to worry about tearing the bottoms off when removing from the pan. Serve with wonton dipping sauce, steamed rice and veggies.

1 Pd. Ground Pork
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 egg, beaten
½ Onion, minced
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
½ Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Ginger, minced
Wonton Wrappers
Vegetable Oil

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes. Heat a small amount of oil in skillet over medium high heat. Place about 8 wrappers (or what will fit comfortably in the skillet) on work surface. Place the unused wrappers under a towel to keep from drying out. Place 1 Tbsp. of pork filling in center of each wonton wrapper. Lightly moisten two edges of each wrapper. Fold over to form a triangle, pressing down on edges to seal seams. Cook until browned on each side. Pour in ½ cup of water in skillet and cover with lid. Cook for about 5 minutes until filling is cooked through. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Serve with Wonton dipping sauce.

Wonton dipping sauce

Excellent complement for wontons, it really enhances the flavor of this delicious dish.  Equally good when drizzled over chicken, tofu or veggies.  Add more Sriracha to increase the heat to the level you prefer. 

½ C. Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Chives, minced
1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
1 tsp. Sriracha

Mix all ingredients together. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


Every culture seems to have some version of a meat and bread pocket sandwich.  I think these originated in Germany.  Easily taken and eaten on the run, these make for a no fuss breakfast or lunch option.  They also freeze well.  Just reheat in a low oven to warm through. 


1 pd. Ground Beef
1 Onion, minced
½ Head of Cabbage, diced
Hot Sauce, optional
¼ C. Warm Water
¾ C. Milk
¼ C. Canola Oil
¼ C. Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
2 ½ tsp. Dry Active Yeast
½ tsp. Salt
4 C. Flour + more for kneading

Make the filling:
In skillet, brown ground beef, breaking up into pieces. Add the onion and cabbage. Cover and cook until cabbage is tender. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Set aside to cool.
Make the dough:
In small bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. In saucepan, heat milk, sugar, oil and salt over low medium heat. You want to scald the milk but be careful not to let it simmer. Stir to completely dissolve the sugar into the milk. Pour milk in large bowl and cool to lukewarm. Temper the egg by pouring a small amount of the milk mixture into the egg whisking constantly. Add the yeast and egg to the milk mixture and stir to combine. Add about 2 cups of the flour. Mix until smooth. Continue adding the rest of the flour until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn out on floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, incorporating as much flour as needed. Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Lightly brush the top of the dough with additional oil. Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to double in size. Punch down. Take a small amount of dough and on a floured work surface, form a disk about 6 inches in diameter. Place around 1/3 of a cup of filling in the center. Pull up edges of dough to the center and twist to seal. Place seam side down on baking sheet. Cover baking sheets with towel and let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately brush the tops of rolls with melted butter. Let cool on rack.

Poppy seed honey Cookies (Pirishkes)

These cookies are very light and crumbly, reminds me of a traditional shortbread cookie.  The subtle taste of the poppy seed and honey make these an excellent pairing with coffee or tea. 

3 C. Flour
¼ C. Poppy Seeds
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
½ tsp. Salt
¾ C. Sugar
8 Tbsp. Butter, softened
1 C. Honey

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl, whisk flour, poppy seed, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla in bowl until light in color. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in dry ingredients. Dough will be very dry and crumbly. Turn out on work surface. Roll out to ¼” thick. Cut dough into diamond shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. While cookies are baking, bring the honey and ½ C. water to boil. Remove from heat. Place cookies on a rack to cool. Brush cookies with the honey mixture several times. Cool completely on rack then store in an air tight container.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Banana Nut Blondies

Good way to use up those remaining bananas that are slightly past their prime.  Once you taste these little delicacies, you may end up buying more bananas than you need just as an excuse to make them. Use the type of nut that you like best.  I prefer the taste of black walnuts, but pecans work nicely too. 

3 C. All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
½ C. Butter, softened
3 ripe Bananas, mashed
1 ½ C. Brown Sugar
½ C. White Sugar
2 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Nuts

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan. Whisk dry ingredients together. Set aside. In separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined. Add banana, eggs and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated. Add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in nuts. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the Blondies comes out dry. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes

It’s been a tough battle, but I finally have my husband eating ground chicken.  Don’t understand why he put up a fuss with this when he doesn’t have a problem with other ground meat,( i.e. pork).  Just another little mystery of life. J  Add as much hot sauce as you want.  I like to use Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce.

1 tsp. Vegetable Oil
½ Onion, chopped
1 C. Carrots, diced
1 lb. Ground Chicken
8 oz. Tomato Sauce
¼ - ½ C. Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
½ tsp. Celery Seed

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion, carrot and celery seed until softened. Add ground chicken. Cook until browned and cooked through, breaking up into small pieces. Stir in tomato sauce and Worcestershire. Simmer on low until thick. Serve on buns or over rice.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Red Curry Beef

One of the best curry dishes I’ve tasted outside of an authentic meal.  Don’t be afraid of the pungent aromas of the fish sauce.  It has a very strong unique smell, but tastes like heaven when it has time to incorporate with the dish and mellow out, and a necessary ingredient for the dish.

2 Pd. Cubed beef
1 lg. Onion, minced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
15 oz. Coconut Milk
2 C. Baby Spinach, rough chopped
1 C. Beef Broth
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. Red Curry Paste
2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Fresh Basil leaves, chopped

In a crockpot, combine broth, fish sauce, coconut milk, brown sugar, curry and lime. In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Cook beef in batches until browned. Place in slow cooker. Saute onions and garlic in skillet until translucent and tender adding more oil if necessary. Place in the crockpot. Stir to evenly coat the beef with the liquid mixture. Cook on low for about 8 hours or until the beef is tender. Add spinach. Cook about another hour until spinach is wilted. Serve with jasmine rice. Sprinkle with basil if desired.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meatball Tortellini Soup

When the temperature drops, there’s nothing like curling up on the couch with a bowl of hot, comforting soup.  This one fits the bill.  As an extra bonus, this soup is pretty healthy and great as a leftover meal the next day.  Add extra heat with the red pepper flakes.  If you are not a fan of ‘heat’ in your foods, than leave that ingredient out altogether. 

½ Pd. Hamburger
¼ C. Parmesan, grated
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Parsley, minced
1 Egg, beaten

¼ C. Parsley, minced
1 tsp. Celery Seed
2 Carrots, diced
1 Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 C. Spinach, chopped
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
6 C. Beef Broth
16 oz. Cheese Tortellini
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Vegetable Oil

Combine all ingredients for meatballs. Season with salt and black pepper. Form into balls. Heat oil in stock pot. Fry meatballs in batches until cooked through. Set aside. Add more oil if necessary to the pot. Add carrots, onions, garlic. Saute until softened. Add spinach. Cook about 5 minutes until wilted. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add meatballs, parsley and tortellini. Simmer until tortellini float to the top and meatballs are heated through. Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Chipotle Turkey Chili

Is this a soup or a chili?  I don’t really know, but I do know that it tastes really good.  Especially on a cold day.  I like to have corn bread with this, but cheese quesadillas are also nice.  Don’t confuse the chipotle Mexican cooking sauce with the can of chipotles in sauce.  The latter is much stronger in taste.  The chipotle sauce I like is made by Herdez.

1 Pd. Ground Turkey
1 Onion, minced
4 oz. Green Chilis
1 C. Chipotle Mexican Cooking Sauce
15 oz. Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ C. Frozen Corn
15 oz. Diced Tomatoes
4 C. Chicken Broth
8 oz. Sour Cream
Vegetable Oil
Saute onion in vegetable oil over medium-low heat until softened and translucent. Add ground turkey and chilis. Cook until completely done breaking up into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients except the sour cream. Simmer on low for about an hour to let the flavors develop. Stir in sour cream. Heat through. Serve with lime and/or cilantro if desired.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sticky Cranberry Sweet Rolls

A great recipe to use up the leftover cranberry sauce from the holidays.  Make sure the sauce is of good quality, since it is the foremost taste of these rolls.  The glaze makes these rolls super sticky.

2 ½ C. Flour
1 ½ tsp. Yeast
½ tsp. Salt
1/3 C. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Egg
½ C. Milk
1 C. Cranberry Sauce
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Orange

In bowl combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar. In separate bowl, combine butter and egg. Beat until light in color. Add milk. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add the liquid. Stir until dough comes together, adding more milk if needed. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Place in bowl and lightly coat all sides with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled. In bowl combine cranberry sauce and cinnamon. Set aside. On floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about half an inch thick. Spread the sauce mixture evenly across the dough. Zest the orange over the sauce. Roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into 1 ½ inch slices. Spray a 9 x 13 glass pan with non-stick spray. Arrange rolls in pan, spacing evenly. Cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour. Pre heat oven to 375. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly browned. Brush with glaze.

½ C. fresh squeezed Orange Juice
½ C. Sugar
¼ tsp. Vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to boil, then simmer until glaze is slightly thickened, about 7 – 10 minutes. Let cool.