Tuesday, December 16, 2008

World's Best Cookies

1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup Crisco oil
1 egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1 cup Old-fashioned Quaker Oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup Rice Krispies

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In mixing bowl, cream butter and margarine.
  3. Add sugars, vanilla, and oil. Beat until smooth.
  4. Add egg and beat again until smooth.
  5. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.
  6. Add nuts, oats, coconut and Rice Krispies. Fold in until well blended.
  7. Cover bowl with waxed paper and refrigerate for an hour. Dough will be stiff enough to handle.
  8. Spray cookie sheets lightly.
  9. Pinch off small piece about the size of a marble. Flatten with your fingers. (Regular size cookie sheet will hold 24)
  10. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  11. After taking them out of the oven, leave on the cookie sheets for a few minutes. Cool on racks.

No Fail Fudge

1 bag chocolate (or other flavor) chips
1 pinch of salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk

  1. Put ingredients in a heavy pan and melt on low heat until completely melted, and there are no lumps.
  2. Pour into a buttered 8x8 pan, chill until set.

Maple Fudge

3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons maple extract (to taste)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

  1. Combine sugar, milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook until it forms a soft ball in cold water (234° F. on candy thermometer) stirring often.
  2. Remove from heat. Drop in butter. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Add maple extract and beat with mixer for 1 minute.
  4. Add nuts and cool in buttered pan.
  5. Cut in squares when cool. To ensure freshness, wrap cut pieces in squares of plastic wrap. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Pizza Dip

1 8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 small jar pizza sauce
Pizza toppings of your choice (all chopped up)
Mozzarella Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together, place in bottom of dish or bread bowl covered in foil.
  3. Place in oven until hot and bubbly, and cheese is melted.
  4. Serve with or in bread.
I like to get a loaf of round bread, hollow it out and put the dip in it, then take the chunks from the inside to dip into this. Can also use crackers or bread sticks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pumpkin Cake



2 C. sifted flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Soda
2 tsp. Baking powder
Mix these dry ingredients together and add to the following mixture:
4 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. Wesson oil
2 C pumpkin

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Beat wet ingredients together then add dry ingredients.
  3. Add pumpkin.
  4. Bake in 2 nine inch pans for 35 minutes or until cake tests done.
  5. Cool completely before frosting with recipe below.

Frosting (Have all ingredients at room temperature)
1 stick butter or margarine
1 8oz. package Philadelphia cream cheese
Cream together and add:
1 lb. box of confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. broken pecans

Meatballs with Parsley and Parmesan

These are super yummy!!

4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
6 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 large garlic gloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
Additional olive oil for frying

Suggestions for additions.
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
crushed red pepper
1 small onion
baby carrots chopped finely.
I have also made them using minced lamb.

  1. Stir eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp olive oil, parsley, garlic,2 tsp salt & pepper in large bowl to blend.
  2. Add ground beef and mix thoroughly.
  3. Form mixture into 1 1/2 inch diameter meatballs.
  4. ***For healthier option you can bake them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes otherwise: Pour enough oil into heavy skillet to coat bottom. Heat over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add meatballs and fry until brown and cooked through, turning frequently and adding more oil as needed. About 15 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate.

Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

1/3 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 Cup Sugar (can sub in honey...I sub in to taste. Have never measured)
1/4 Tsp Dry Mustard
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Canola Oil

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend in a blender until emulsified.
This is a really yummy salad dressing.

Crockpot Beef Stew

* stewing beef (approx 1 lb)
* 3 onions, halved
* 5 peeled potatoes
* 6 carrots peeled and cut up
* 1 can Golden Cream of Mushroom Soup
* 1/2 envelope dry Onion Soup Mix

  1. Throw all ingredients together in Crockpot first thing in the morning.
  2. Cook on low.
  3. Serve at dinnertime with rolls and a salad.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

Crockpot Pulled Pork

* 4 lb pork roast
* 2 onions, sliced, divided
* 1 onion, chopped
* 5 or 6 whole cloves
* 2 cups water
* 16 oz bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
* salt and pepper

  1. Place one sliced onion at the bottom of Crock Pot.
  2. Stud pork roast with cloves and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place roast in slow cooker on top of the sliced onion.
  4. Cover with the second sliced onion.
  5. Add enough water to fill Crock Pot two thirds of the way.
  6. Cover and cook on low 8 to 12 hours.
  7. Remove roast.

Spiced Beef Brisket

Spiced Beef Brisket
3 1/2 to 4 pound fresh beef brisket
2 cups of water
1/4 cup ketsup
1 envelope regular onion soup mix
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (I use fresh garlic myself)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Place beef in a 3 1/2 to 4 quart crockery cooker. If necessary, cut brisket to fit into the cooker.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the 2 cups water, catsup, soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, garlic, and pepper. Pour over brisket.
3. Cover; cook on a low-heat setting for 8 - 10 hours.
4. Slice beef thinly across the grain OR shred it with two forks. Serve a French roll with your favorite BBQ Sauce. YUM!

Enchilada Casserole

Texas Enchilada Casserole

2 pounds ground meat
salt & pepper to taste
1 large onion
1 fresh jalapeno (seeded),
1 can each: cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, enchilada sauce
1 pound Colby-jack cheese
12 corn tortillas- quartered

  1. Preheat oven 350.
  2. Brown the meat.
  3. Add onion, salt and pepper and cook for a bit.
  4. Add jalapeno, soups, and sauce
  5. In a casserole dish, layer tortillas, then meat mixture, then cheese.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Bake in oven until the cheese begins to bubble.

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff

This is a super clone for the real stuff, easy to make if you are in need for marshmallow creme for a recipe, and CHEAPER!!

Fluff was always a treat at Grandma Mima's house!

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff (Yield 2 quarts)

3 egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, syrup and salt beat with mixer for 10 minutes or until thick
  2. Add confectioners sugar.
  3. Beat on low speed
  4. Add vanilla and beat until blended.

***NOTE*** This recipe makes a lot of fluff, but it can be frozen for later use. Remove from freezer and stir well with a spoon. It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, just make sure to stir well with a spoon before using. I put it into a ziploc freezer bag and just squish it when I get it out of the freezer. Works great!

Use in any recipe calling for marshmallow fluff.

Peanut Butter Fudge

4 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cups milk
1 cup flour
1.5 cups peanut butter, Skippy works best.
7.5 ounce jar of marshmallow Fluff
  1. Cook sugar butter and milk on med high heat for 15 minutes or until rolling boil.
  2. Time for EXACTLY 7 MINUTES.
  3. Take off stove and immediately add flour, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff.
  4. Blend until melted using wire whisk to help eliminate bumps.
  5. Put into buttered 13x9"pan and let harden

Easy Apple Cake

This is an easy cake the family will love.

Super Easy Apple Cake

1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans
cups granny smith apples, peeled and cut into small chunks

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. Combine everything except apples in a large bowl with mixer. The batter will seem stiff but the apples will release a lot of water.
  3. Fold in by hand the apples . This will be hard to do b/c batter is stiff but make sure they are evenly mixed in.
  4. Pour into a greased bunt pan.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes and let cool on racks.

Easy English Toffee

This simple candy recipe is on my list of gifts to give this year!

English Toffee Candy
1 C. granulated sugar
½ lb. Butter or margarine
3 T. water
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 small Hershey bars, chopped
¾ C. chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Place the first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook until brown, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  2. Pour onto a buttered cookie sheet.
  3. Carefully place the Hershey bars across the hot mass and spread gently as it melts.
  4. Sprinkle pecans over the top.
  5. Let cool.
  6. When cooled break into pieces of the desired size.

White Christmas Soup

This really is nothing more than a simple white soup, but being such a family tradition, it deserves a good name!

White Christmas (Cream Cheese Potato) Soup
Serves 8-12

3 (14 oz) cans of Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup milk
2 Packages (8 oz) Cream Cheese, Cubed
1/2 stick of butter
1 Package (30 oz) Frozen Cubed Hash Brown Potatoes, Thawed
1/2 to 1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Dill Weed

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the broth and milk.
  2. Add the cream cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Simmer, uncovered, for 18 - 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Run through blender in small batches or use an immersion blender to emulsify.

Orange Rum Sweet Potatoes

I'm not a fan of canned sweet potatoes and prefer them fresh. It is easy to translate.

2 large cans of sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3-1/2 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. softened butter
5 Tbsp. rum
salt and pepper to taste

1/3-1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
crushed pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven 350
  2. Mix together until smooth and place in a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
  3. Mix topping and spread over sweet potatoes.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes.

Sinful Cake

There is far too much sugar in this cake so be warned!


* 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
* 1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 6 ounces caramel ice cream topping
* 3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped
* 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


1. Bake cake according to package directions for a 9x13 inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.

2. In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended.

3. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm.

4. Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping.

5. Refrigerate and serve right from the pan!

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil ( I substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce to cut calories and fat)
1/4 cup milk (skim)
1 Tsp vanilla
2 cups blueberries (raspberries work well too, sometimes I do a mixture of both)

1/4 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add eggs, oil, milk and vanilla.
  4. Beat until smooth
  5. Fold in berries
  6. Pour into bottom of a greased bundt pan or 9 inch round pan.
  7. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Serves 10-12.


3/4 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
3 tablespoon butter
1.5 cups canned pumpkin
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cups brown sugar, firm packed
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 packages (8 ounce) cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine first three ingredients and press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Bake 10 minutes.

  1. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar and spices.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Blend in pumpkin mixture.
  4. Pour over crust.
  5. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until center is just set.
  6. Remove from oven and run knife around rim of pan.
  7. Cool thoroughly at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

Farmer's Casserole

Farmer's Casserole
Yield: 6 servings

4 cups frozen shredded hashbrowns
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 pound cooked and crumbled sausage
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 eggs
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Place potatoes in an 8 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, sausage, and onions.
  2. Beat eggs, milk, pepper, and salt; pour over everything in baking dish.
  3. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Bake, uncovered 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sausage Brunch Casserole

Sausage Brunch Casserole
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 (8 ounce) package
refrigerated crescent roll dough
2 cups mozzarella cheese
6 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  3. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet.
  4. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.
  5. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  6. Lay crescent rolls flat in the bottom of the greased baking pan.
  7. Cook rolls 5-10 min till just starting to brown.
  8. Combine cooked sausage, cheese, eggs, milk, salt and pepper pour over crescent rolls.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until bubbly and rolls are baked
Serve with good cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders

My dear husband found this recipe to make for me while caring for our colicky middle child. The recipe uses no eggs (for once) so it's OK for those allergic. It does use a lot of butter, so it's not necessarily heart healthy. What it is is a kid and party favorite, versatile, and easy to modify or use as appetizers for a large group or kids party. Made with love for all to enjoy!

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders
Serves a family or a party of 12 children
takes 30 to 45 minutes

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, or chicken tenders
1.5 sticks melted butter
a dash of salt
and a sprinkle of pepper
6 cups coarsely crushed flake cereal of your choice (we have used corn flakes, Total and special K)

Serve with ranch dressing, ketchup, honey mustard - you choose!

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Butter 2 large baking pans
  3. Gently pound chicken with tenderizer or a rolling pin
  4. Cut chicken into strips 1/2 inch wide.
  5. Stir melted butter, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan.
  6. Put crushed cereal in another pan.
  7. Using one chicken strip at a time, dip into the butter and then dredge into the cereal flakes. Press flakes firmly to adhere.
  8. Transfer coated strips to baking pans.
  9. Bake, switching pans positions once or twice, until cooked completely roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven to cool slightly.
  10. Transfer chicken to wire racks- crust will firm as it cools.
Enjoy this scrumptious and buttery delight!

Petersen Pie crust

Now where is a good pie pic from the last party!?


2.5 cups flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 sticks chilled butter cut into small pieces.

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in food processor and pulse until combined into a pea sized grain.

  2. Slowly pulse in the ice water until dough adheres to itself and is no longer crumbly.

  3. Form into ball in hands and wrap in Saran wrap.

  4. Chill for at least 1/2 before rolling out on a well floured or even Saran Wrapped surface.

Makes enough for the top and bottom of a pie.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Strawberry Tart

This recipe was written as a cooking lesson from my Great grandmother Baba.

1 quart strawberries (or peaches, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup red wine
1.5 cups Rice flour
1 cup butter, softened
dried beans

  1. Preheat oven 300.
  2. Heat strawberries, sugar, and wine on back of stove. Do not boil, pour of juice, and simmer to reduce.
  3. Meanwhile to make the pastry, mix flour and butter with hands.
  4. Add two dessert spoons cold water.
  5. Pat into balls and then throw back and forth from hand to hand for 5 minutes.
  6. Roll to the size of a pie plate.
  7. Put in pie plate and fill with BEANS.
  8. Bake in hot oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove beans
  10. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
  11. Just before serving put in berries and pour juice over.
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Easy to make and perfectly delicious!

Honolulu Salad Dressing

This recipe is credited to my great grandmother Baba.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large spoonful vinegar
4 large spoonfuls oil
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
chopped onion
a little sugar

  1. Mix ingredients
  2. Put in a glass container
  3. Shake well before using.
  4. Dress Salads.

The General's Soup

My ancestors are not so sure what General this is attributed to, and my father can not come up with what Generals were in the family either. There were not even Generals on my father's side of the family. Any searching I do only turns up with the history of Generals soups being poisoned, which this recipe is not an example of. So who knows what General this is named after, but more importantly is where they got their sense of measurement!

Equal portions: tomato soup, pea soup, milk
1/2 as much cream
white pepper
curry powder (mixed to a paste with a little cold milk)
Sherry or brandy
croutons or Melba toast

  1. Take equal portions of tomato and pea soup, milk, and 1/2 again as much cream
  2. Season to taste with salt, white pepper, and curry powder mixture.
  3. Heat in double boiler
  4. Add sherry or brandy to taste
  5. Stir well
  6. Serve very hot in soup cups, with croutons or Melba toast

Juno Fish Chowder

I used to have a picture of this boat from the Maine Maritime Museum, but it has since been lost. What I do have is a picture of a newspaper article written about the ship. This wonderful Maine chowder recipe was named after the ship Juno, owned by the Houghton family which married the Sewall's. Oddly enough, Samuel Sewall also had a Native American "servant" by the name of Juno.  I can only imagine how many times this savory chowder, adored by all family members it seems, would have been eaten on board. 
1 quart potatoes, diced
1/4 cup cream
1/4 pound butter
1/8 pound salt pork
1 pound onions, chopped
4 pounds Haddock, wrap in cheese cloth
3 pints milk ("+ cream" added in my mother's handwriting)
Major Grey's chutney
Pilot crackers

  1. Try out pork (which means to cook or render it before use. )
  2. Strain onto potatoes and onions.
  3. Cook slowly for 1/2 hour.
  4. Boil fish (in cheese cloth) for ten minutes.
  5. Remove fish and add potatoes and onions.
  6. Let simmer until it steams, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add milk - but do not let boil.
  8. Add fish.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls with Major Grey's chutney and Pilot crackers with butter (browned in the oven). This chowder is best made a day ahead as it improves with age. Unless you have a lot of people, halve the recipe if it is just your family.

Kidney Beans and Red Wine


1 large (No. 2) cans baked Kidney beans
3 small spring onions/scallions - tops and bulbs chopped
I small can tomato paste1/4 cup chopped cooked ham
8 bacon strips
1 cup red wine
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped

  1. Preheat oven 350.
  2. Saute onions, pepper and ham in butter.
  3. Add tomato paste and wine and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Add kidney beans and heat.
  5. Turn into low buttered casserole dish.
  6. Cover with bacon strips.
  7. Bake 30 minutes or until bacon is cooked. Serves 4.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Minced Lamb with Poached Eggs

Traditionally a spring meal this recipe is meant for those occasional left overs of a roast lamb. Serve for breakfast or for dinner.

some cold roasted lamb
poached eggs
chopped mint

  1. Take some cold roasted lamb and mince it.

  2. Season with pepper and salt and a little chopped mint.

  3. Make or heat gravy in saucepan, thicken with browned flour, and stir in meat and heat.

  4. Put poached eggs on triangles of toast and garnish with lamb.

Hominy Grits Souffle


2 cups cold cooked hominy grits

1 cup warm milk

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons butter

2 eggs, separated

butter to grease a baking dish


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Take cold cooked grits and add 2 cup warm milk.
  3. Heat mixture to soften, beat well and stir in salt and butter.
  4. Once it has cooked some, add well beaten egg yolks.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Gently mix in stiffly beaten egg whites.
  7. Turn into buttered baking dish and place in oven until it becomes a delicate brown and firm through out.

Chocolate Dessert

My great grandmother clearly loved chocolate! She said, " Good for anyone, but the children love this too!" What a simple dessert!

whipped cream, slightly sweetened.
Bakers chocolate grated

  1. Put whipped cream in bottom of sherbet glass.
  2. Covered with thick layer of grated bakers chocolate.
  3. Cover with another layer of whipped cream.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chicken Custard

Another wonderful creation compliments of Baba. I find this recipe to be quite the filling and cheap dinner for two! It may be perfect for our current ailing economy, but it is troublesome on the cholesterol levels!

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 cup very strong chicken broth
1 cup light cream
3 egg yolks, well beaten
  1. Scald together the broth and cream.

  2. Pour over egg yolks .
  3. Cook in double boiler stirring constantly until slightly thickened.

  4. Season to taste.

  5. Put in cups and serve ice cold.

Baba's Ham

This recipe compares to a Virginia Ham recipe, but is better, because my great grandmother says so! This is an all day recipe so start it in the morning and allow an hour for the final heating process. It sounds so good I think this will be on my Christmas Eve cooking list in place of the traditional smoked spiral ham. I have included a picture of a clove studded ham for your viewing pleasure!

Ordinary unsmoked ham
1.5 cup ground coffee
1 cup vinegar
4 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon allspice
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
grainy mustard
more brown sugar
whole cloves

  1. Place ham in stock pot over medium heat and cover with water, coffee, vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, and cinnamon.

  2. Simmer for 4 hours.

  3. Let stand in water until cold.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  5. Put ham in roasting pan, cover with mixture of mustard and brown sugar. Stud with cloves.

  6. Place in oven and bake for an hour or until heated through.

Pate de Foie Gras Mousse

Another recipe from Baba. I am not a fan of pate and had no idea you could get it canned. My husband however was delighted that I found a pate made from mushrooms. SP thinks he has now gone to heaven!
1 large can pate
one cup whipped cream
mold pans
French Dressing


  1. Open large can of pate and work into a smooth paste.
  2. Soak 1 Tablespoon gelatin in 3 Tablespoons Luke warm water.
  3. When dissolved, beat, to make sure there are no lumps.
  4. When cool, fold in one cup whipped cream.
  5. Work in pate paste, season with salt and paprika.
  6. Pour into wet mold and set in refridgerator.
  7. Serve on shredded lettuce with French Dressing. (really?)
  8. Garnish with olives. This makes about 20 slices.

Caviar Jelly

This recipe is from my great grandmother Baba. It is enough to make 2 rings.

1.5 quarts highly seasoned rich soup stock
1.5 Tablespoons gelatin dissolved in water
2 molded pans
2 jars caviar.


  1. To each quart of stock, add I level Tablespoon gelatin.

  2. Add sherry to taste and heat

  3. Have wet molds ready with pimentos, cut into stars, on the bottom.

  4. When stock begins to thicken fold in two jars caviar.

  5. Fill molds and chill.


This famous dessert that may have originated in Italy. Ingredients have changed over time, from a traditional Italian wine to sugar in place of honey. Traditionallyserved with figs, Zabaglione is sometimes also spelled sabayon, while its real Italian name is zabaione (or zabajone, which is an archaic form). It is also popular in Argentina, where it is known as sambayón. In Colombia, it's known as sabajón. In Venezuela, a related egg-based dessert drink is called ponche de crema.
1/4 cup sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sherry
  1. Mix sugar and eggs in saucepan

  2. Blend sherry in a little at a time.

  3. Place in double boiler and cook.

  4. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and sticks to wooden spoon.

  5. Serve in sherbet glasses, with fresh fruit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Maine Indian Pudding

A perfect traditional New England recipe just in time for Thanksgiving!

1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup Pearl Tapioca
4 cups milk
1.5 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar mixed with
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg slightly beaten

  1. Butter an 8 inch baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Soak Tapioca in water for 1 hour. Drain.
  4. Scald 3 cups milk over boiling water in a double boiler.
  5. Stir in corn meal gradually.
  6. Add salt and Tapioca.
  7. Cover and cook for ten minutes
  8. Add the butter, sugar, molasses, and cinnamon and stir to mix until butter is melted and blended.
  9. Stir in the egg.
  10. Turn into baking dish and pour remaining milk over the top -do NOT stir in.
  11. Bake in oven for 1.5 hours or until fairly firm in the center. Stir 2 or 3 times during the first hour of baking.
  12. Serve with plain or whipped cream.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spiced Maple Apple Butter

16 to 20 apples
2 cups water
3 to 4 cups sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup (or more along the way if you like the taste)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice (or more)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

  1. Core and chop apples (no need to peel).
  2. Put in 9 quart pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir several times and continue until it looks like all apples are mushy.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Run through food mill.
  6. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients.
  7. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  8. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and cook stirring frequently.
  9. You want the mixture to reduce and congeal reaching a stiff sauce consistency. It will become quite molten so watch out for splattering.
  10. When finished, ladle hot butter into hot jars and arrange lids.
  11. Process in a hot water canner by bringing to a boil and keeping at a boil for 10 minutes.
Enjoy! The perfect breakfast toast spread this time of year! I love the addition of syrup.

Wanna-be Samosas

Last night was another refrigerator dinner night, so many odds and ends that could come together to make a yummy surprise. Well this night was inspired by a recipe from the Kiwi magazine that was called Curry Potato Puffs. I of course did not use the recipe for anything more than an "ah ha!" moment. I said, "Ah ha! I have puff pastry in the freezer and those look remarkably like Samosas!" I know when I started this blog I said I would not be adding any of the famous Indian recipes. That still holds true because this recipe was a first time creation, so enjoy the small peek into my Pakistani teachings! Well, my first ever journey down the culinary road of puff pastry (yes I have had it in the freezer for at least a year!) was a success. I hope you enjoy, particularly my lack of specifics about the pastry!

4 medium to large potatoes
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
One onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon + ground coriander
2 Tablespoons mild curry (if you cook Indian food like I do you have multiple types of curry. I made this for the children, so I chose a mild curry)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 pound ground beef (or any other but tonight I used beef)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (because I had it left from another dinner)
2 sheets frozen puff pastry.
sides of chutneys or even Raita

  1. Unpack puff pastry and thaw side by side on cutting board on counter top.
  2. Peel and halve potatoes and put them in a sauce pot of water over high heat. Add some pieces of carrots too. Bring to a boil.
  3. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium to medium high heat.
  5. Add chopped onion and saute until slightly translucent.
  6. Add three spices and stir to mix well. Saute some more.
  7. Add the ground meat to the skillet, breaking it up, and stirring to mix evenly.
  8. Remove potatoes and carrots from boiling water and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain.
  9. Stir meat mixture, reduce heat to medium low, and cook two minutes.
  10. Dice the potato, and cut the carrots into round slices or half slices. Add to meat mixture and stir.
  11. Season with dashes or grinds of salt and pepper.
  12. Add milk and stir into mix, cooking for one minute. Remove from heat.
  13. This is where I will get vague with you, because having never worked with puff pastry before, things didn't come out even. What you want to do is roll out each sheet and cut it into small 5" by 5" squares. I rolled mine too thin at times, so I caution against this. I think you want it rolled out only to half of it's original width. What ever size squares you get at that point, use them! :)
  14. In the center of each square, place a couple/few heaping teaspoons of the meat mixture.
  15. Using a basting brush, gently wet the edges of the square.
  16. Grab one corner of the square, and bring it diagonally across the square tot he opposing side. Seal edges of now triangle together and press together to adhere. Your final product should be a triangular shape.
  17. Place each samosa on an un-greased baking sheet.
  18. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until browned on top. Serve with a chutney or pickle, I served with Mom's tomato chutney I will be making again in the months to come.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is taken more or less straight out of the Ball book for canning. I made sauce this weekend as a table setting gift for my Thanksgiving guests. I had gone into a store to get a sandwich for lunch and saw a basket of local organic cranberries and knew I had to fill a bag to bring home and work with. It was also the perfect project for our daughter to help with. Here's the recipe.


9 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups water
4 cups sugar

  • Wash cranberries and drain.
  • Combine cranberries and water in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until all the skins burst.
  • Press mixture through a food mill.
  • Return pulp and juice to a pot. Add the sugar. Boil to the gelling point (when it falls off the spoon in a sheet and not drops)
  • Boil hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space, affix lids, and jar by bringing to a rolling boil and keeping there for 15 minutes.

Middle Eastern Kebab Marinade

Tonight was a refrigerator dinner night, that is, one of those evenings when you know you have odds and ends in the fridge that you need to use. Tonight the left over stock, raw pork and chicken were demanding to be cooked, so I thought to create a nice spicy marinade. We are serving it with the Caesar salad. To prepare the marinade, combine the following ingredients
Ingredients for Marinade
1/8 cup stock
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon tomato paste (I actually had some homemade left)
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 /8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoons Olive oil
A couple grinds of Salt
Several grinds of black pepper

Marinate the meat in it for at least 30 minutes before preparing on skewers.
You may make additional skewers with onions and your choice of kebab veggies but they may want to start them about 15 minutes ahead of the meat. Arrange meat and veggies onto Kebabs.

Bake on a broiler tray at 425 for 30 minutes or more, until done. This could also be done on the grill. Tonight, when cooked, I will be serving it with a side sauce of last nights attempt at homemade ranch dressing. The dill, buttermilk, and sour cream in it could make it a decent tzatziki, but I didn't like it enough to post the recipe - YET!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Breakfast Baby

I am reposting this today because we are eating it for breakfast. Why are these things called babies? This is a FABULOUS breakfast recipe. It feeds 4 to 6 people, so is perfect for a family of 5. If you have a large amount to feed, make 2! it's super easy and takes little prep time. If you need to make 2, don't double the recipe, just make two different babies. I bake mine into a deep casserole pan or a 9x12 baking pan! It works both ways! I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine. When we woke up the kids were chanting BABY! Yum yum yummy!

1 stick butter
6 eggs separated
1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups milk
lots of grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
pinch of salt
2 cups blueberries (or raspberries)
maple syrup

  1. Preheat OVEN 425 degrees.
  2. Put butter in large pan (9 x 12 or a deep casserole pan or baking dish, and melt in oven.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (mix-master users - if you end up meranging them it will still work).
  4. Mix egg yolks, milk, flour, nutmeg, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. GENTLY fold in egg whites.
  5. Pour batter in pan of melted butter. Arrange fruit on top.
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes - when brown on top and center is not liquid.
  7. It is VERY hot - give a few minutes to cool
  8. You may dust with powdered sugar if you wish.
  9. Cut into squares and remove from pan with a spatula. Serve with real maple syrup.

Becki's Macaroni and Cheese

Another version of a family favorite. This recipe is what got me liking Dijon in my Mac and Cheese! I recommend doubling this recipe so that you know there will be left overs.


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Black pepper to taste
8 ounces Grated Cheddar Cheese (we use Cabot)
8 ounces elbow macaroni

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Begin cooking macaroni as directed.
  3. As that cooks, melt butter in large saucepan.
  4. Whisk in flour and salt, stirring constantly until thickened.
  5. Add all but 1/4 cup of cheese, the Dijon mustard, black pepper, and stir until melted.
  6. Add drained macaroni to cheese sauce and mix well.
  7. Turn mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese.
  8. Bake in over for 15 minutes or more, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Microwavable Macaroni and Cheese

I got this recipe from a Mom in my mom's group. I believe it was Erin. I forgot all about this low hassle recipe and just found it while going through my cook book shelves. I have only made it once and doubled it easily for our family of five. Anyone with kids knows that mac and cheese is always a winner with kids!

Makes 4 servings

1 7 ounce package of elbow macaroni
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (but fresh Dijon would be good too!)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. Cook macaroni as directed and drain.
  2. Melt butter in 2 quart microwavable casserole dish.
  3. Stir in flour and seasoning.
  4. Microwave 30 to 45 seconds on high.
  5. Add milk and stir until blended.
  6. Microwave 4 to 6 minutes until thickened, stirring EVERY minute.
  7. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  8. Microwave and additional 30 second if needed.
  9. Stir in macaroni and microwave5 to 6 minutes, stopping halfway to stir.


Crockpot Meatloaf

Friends that came over last night asked about this recipe. I had made it one night that they babysat for us. It's super simple and yummy!

2 pounds ground meat (beef, chicken, pork, or turkey)
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup Stove top (or bread crumbs)
1 large egg
1 cup shredded cheese
1 generous Tablespoon Worcestershire
salt and pepper to season

  • Lightly grease your crock pot.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients by stirring well.
  • Pack into crock pot - pushing to edges and flattening top - kind of molding the meat into your crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on high one hour.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook 3 more hours.
  • Before serving pour off grease so you can reduce your fat intake.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Big Martha's Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

I am making this tonight to accompany Martha's pork, here is her mother's mashed potatoes.

Hard Cider Braised Pork Shoulder


This is what I am making for dinner tonight. I saw this recipe in this month's Martha Stewart Living magazine. I thought it sounded like a yummy autumn dinner and is perfect for this rainy night with friends over. I have doubled the recipe and find it is a struggle to flip that piece of meat. I am definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone because I am actually working with a piece of raw meat with a bone in it! I am using Hornsby's hard cider. The smell as it is coming to a boil is fantastic. I wish I had time to make my own hard cider but if it turns out to be a good recipe, maybe I will plan ahead next year! I'm not going to tell you how it turned out, I will let my guests do that for you so keep an eye out for comments! Here's a couple of pictures I took though.

Crockpot Tuna Casserole

I make this recipe differently every time. Sometimes it is simply the pasta that changes but other times it is the extra ingredients I might add. When I made this the other night, I added pearl onions. With anything in the crock pot, you can always mix and match at will just as long as your proportions even out or your sauce is enough to cover the bulk of the recipe. In this recipe you may choose 2 cans of the same type soup. You could also choose cream of mushroom soup if you like mushroom. Feel free to improvise - that's my favorite thing about cooking in crock pots! Regardless, here is my crock pot tuna casserole from the other night.

12 ounce can of tuna (you can add more if you want)
6 ounces egg noodles, cooked al dente first
1/2 cup to a cup pearl onions (if frozen like mine, thaw first)
1/2 cup to a cup green pepper
1/2 cup to a cup peas
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 can condensed cream of onion soup
1 can water
shakes of lemon pepper
shakes of celery salt
several dashes Worcestershire

  1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or in a pinch on high for 2 to 3. If you cook on high please be around to check for scorching on the edges, and stir or reduce heat to low if necessary.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mima's Egg Salad

This recipe is written as the intended filling for a Caviar Jelly ring. I had hard boiled eggs on hand and was going to make the Egg Salad Ring recipe, but couldn't find my gelatin. So I fast forwarded in my recipes to go ahead and make this. Great idea for lunch, and a kid friendly recipe for little cooks. Our daughter helped shell the eggs, noticed the smell, remarked that she didn't like the yolks, but after tasting the salad said, "Well now I like the yellow things!" Enjoy any day as a snack, salad, or sandwich! Yum!

8 eggs, hard boiled
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
A few minced sour pickles
2 teaspoons chopped pearl onions ( I didn't have any so used a few of the onions in my Cornichon pickle jar)
1/2 cup + mayonnaise


  • Hard boil 8 fresh eggs (often done the night before so they chill)

  • Peel and chop eggs.

  • Mix with celery, pickle, pearl onions, and mayonnaise.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste (I often add a little curry powder)

  • Serve on lettuce as a salad,as a dip with knife and cracker, with 2 slices rye bread for a sandwich, or as a center stuffing on the other mold recipes.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chicken Mousse with Nut and Celery Salad

This one is credited to my great grandmother. While somethings have clearly gone out of style in terms of eating gelatinous chicken for lunch, the use of salads in this recipe and another soon to come has not changed a bit in three generations! When we have leftover chicken we make it into a salad with celery and pecans. I like the use of French dressing over the top of this one!

Chicken Mousse with Nut and Celery Salad

1 cup cream, milk, or chicken broth (I live how this ranges from least to most healthy)
3 eggs separated
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup cooked chicken, pounded and chopped very fine.
1 cup whipped cream
leaf lettuce
chopped celery
chopped pecans
French Dressing

  1. Scald one cup milk cream or chicken broth.
  2. Beat yolks three eggs and add salt, celery salt, pepper, and paprika
  3. Cook as a custard...
(So this is where this recipe comes to a screeching halt so that I can insert the proper directions from Joy of Cooking for modern cooks who don't eat or cook custard on anything close to a monthly basis.)
  • ... whisking together ingredients until blended.
  • Bring to a summer in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking gently all the while.
  • In a separate bowl, add 1/4 package gelatin with 1/4 cup cold water
  • Place chicken in bowl and strain custard over cup of chicken.
  • Place over ice bath
  • Stir over ice water until thick
  • Add 1 cup whipped cream and stir.
  • Pour into mold and chill.
  • When ready to serve, place on lettuce.
  • Cover with chopped celery and pecans.
  • Pour French Dressing over the top.
The notes in the margin state: "4 lbs. chicken serves 18", but I wonder if she actually meant to write 4 cups of chicken and thus encouraging you to quadruple the recipe for a party?

Chicken Meatballs served on Rotini with homemade sauce

Yesterday was a busy day getting the garden put to bed for the winter, so when it came time for dinner we needed something easy and on hand. SP made chicken/turkey meatballs and put them on top of Rotini pasta with homemade sauce I had already canned.

Chicken Meatballs

2 lb ground chicken and/or turkey
3/4 package Italian dressing seasoning
1.5 cup bread crumbs
a dash of shredded Parmesan cheese

pasta and sauce for the meal

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. Mix ingredients
  3. Form into 2" size balls
  4. Cook on a greased cookie sheet for 30 minutes, turning every ten minutes, or until it reaches an internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Serve over cooked pasta with sauce
This recipe can be easily modified or added to for any craving.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Candy Corn Crisped Rice Cereal Treats

This was the perfect activity for today, the day after Halloween. I cleaned up a bowl of candy decorations into a perfect snack for the kids lunch boxes. Perfect way to find a use for that extra Halloween candy!


1 stick butter, plus more to grease the pan
10 cups crisped rice cereal.
9 cups marshmallows
2 cups candy corn
1 cup chocolate bits (chop some candy bars or else use chips)
  1. Grease a large lipped cookie pan

  2. In a big saucepan, melt 1 stick butter with the marshmallows. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and ensure smoothness.

  3. In a large bowl, mix cereal, chocolate and candy corns.

  4. Add melted marshmallow to cereal mixture and stir thoroughly to combine.

  5. Spread mixture onto cookie sheet and press together and into corners of pan.

  6. Refrigerate until well chilled and then cut into small pieces. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sauteed Grouse on Wild Rice with Brandy Cream Sauce

SP has always made me gourmet meals out of the birds he kills. More often than not these birds die upon impact with his truck. Tonight we ate roadkill and it was scrumptious. I remember, when miserably sick when first pregnant with our daughter, SP made pheasant with sour cherry and blueberry sauce. Last night one male grouse made the perfect dinner for two - no marketing necessary!

1 Grouse breast
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Cream Sherry
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup wild rice
handful sliced mushrooms (optional)

  • Bone breast and separate tenders.

  • One at a time place pieces between two sheets of waxed paper and gently pound into 1/4 inch thick paillard (I don't have a fancy paillard which I think is a French word for 'meat hammer', so I use an empty beer bottle- funny, I always seem to have plenty of those)

  • Make rice. Wild rice is fickle and tough to pin down regarding proportions and time. I add 1 cup uncooked rice to 3 cups water. Bring water to a boil, stir once and cover.
  • Simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed by which time the rice kernels should crack open revealing their tender white innards. It will take between 30 minutes and one hour. If all the water is absorbed before the kernels break open, add more water 1/4 cup at a time until the rice is fluffy, cracked open and tender.
  • While rice cooks, melt butter in a 12" skillet over med heat.
  • Saute paillard in butter- about a minute per side.

  • Add Cream Sherry and saute until meat is glazed and sherry is mostly gone. Probably unnecessary but I happened to have Cream Sherry on hand (leftover from last weekend's soup) and I love the flavor.
  • Remove meat from pan and cover to keep warm.
  • Add minced shallots and saute for about a minute. My wife, your blog mistress, simply abhors mushrooms, but if you, like me, love them- add a handful of sliced mushrooms. I recommend shitakes, but use what ya got and we just happened to have some leftover int he fridge from last weekend's pizza making!
  • Remove pan from heat and add brandy. If brandy flames don't panic, just wait for it to burn out. Return pan to heat, bring to boil and cook until brandy is nearly gone- about 5 minutes.
  • Add stock, bring to boil and cook until reduced by half- about 5 minutes.
  • Add cream, return to boil and cook until reduced by half.
  • Finis
  • To serve: Place a bed of rice on plate, top with one breast piece and one tender and smother with sauce. What I did was make a plate for the mushroom hater ... ... then add mushrooms to the remaining sauce in the pan, hit it with a splash each of brandy and cream, cook until the mushrooms were tender then plate up mine (see photo at top).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bread and Butter Pickles

I finally made a recipe for these that worked! It is straight out of my Ball jar book. I am excited to have enough of them to give away this year. The best part is that when they were done and I started to can them, the family was outside working or playing on a cool October afternoon. So I decided to bring a warm ladle outdoors for everyone to try.

Who knew that warm pickles had a spot to be hit!? It was PERFECT!
Even the baby loved them, and yes he is wearing his big brother's batting helmet.

Bread and Butter Pickles
*I doubled the recipe the first time I made it and it was perfect!

4 pounds 4 to 6 inch cucumbers, cut into slices
2 pounds onions, about 8 small, thinly sliced
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 cups vinegar

  1. If you plan to use a hot water canner, fill it with clean jars and water and bring to a boil.
  2. Combine cucumber and onion slices in layers in a bowl. Layer with the salt.
  3. Cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1.5 hours (or more).
  4. Pour into colander.
  5. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Repeat if necessary and turn batch with your hands. You don't want them to be too salty! Put aside.
  6. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
  8. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. (warm pickles made a great snack on an autumn afternoon!)
  9. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps.
  10. Process 10 minutes at a rolling boil in hot water canner.
  11. Yields about 7 pints.


Macaroni and Cheese

As you know, I am just crackers for cheese. Any request for cheese demands my immediate attention. Therefore tonight, per my 10 year old son's request, we are having home made Mac and Cheese.

This recipe is taken straight out of Joy of Cooking. Tonight's modifications will be written, in honor of Halloween, in orange! I have simplified the assembly for less prep time.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

An especially good rendition of a timeless classic. The sauce can be made ahead and blended with just cooked noodles before baking, or the entire casserole can be assembled a day in advance.

2 cups elbow macaroni
2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar, Colby or other cheeses.
bay leaf
(or mustard)
optional - chopped green peppers


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 1 1/2 quart deep baking dish.
Bring to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan:
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Add and cook just until tender:
2 cups elbow macaroni
Drain and remove to a large bowl.
Have ready :
2 1/4 cups Cheddar or Colby Cheese (today I used Cheddar and Mozzarella cause we had it already shredded from making pizza this weekend)
Melt in large saucepan over medium low heat:
2 Tablespoons butter
Whisk in and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes:
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour (We use whole wheat flour)
Gradually whisk in:
2 cups whole or skim milk (we use low fat)
Stir in:
1/2 medium onion, minced (I used a whole onion and pan fried it a bit before using)
1 bay leaf (I instead used some chopped green peppers, thawed from the garden store)
1.4 teaspoon Paprika (I used a teaspoon + of mustard powder - fresh mustard works even better)
Simmer gently stirring often for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and add in 2/3s of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the macaroni. Pour half the mixture into the baking dish. Top with some more cheese and a sprinkle of bread crumbs. Top with remaining macaroni mixture and top again with cheese and then bread crumbs.
Bake uncovered until lightly browned. 30 to 35 minutes.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We carved our pumpkins last night and so I had to roast my seeds tonight. I sorted the seeds out from the pulp of my carved Jack O'Lantern, rinsed them well in a large colander, pulled out the bits of pumpkin guts so that you have only seeds, and allowed them to air dry for an afternoon. I spread a few handfuls out on a sheet, sprayed with oil and seasoned with either lemon pepper or Worcestershire and roasted for about 20 minutes.
Then I tried the recipe below. The roasting is a FAR cleaner process, but the taste hits the sweet tooth spot on! This recipe's seeds is shown in the round plain orange bowl in picture above.

Happy Halloween!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

a la Allrecipes.com!

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Larger seeds may take longer.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of white sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle the remaining sugar over them. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 45 seconds. Pour seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar and stir until coated. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Caesar Salad Dressing

SP makes a fantastic mock Caesar dressing. I have asked him to write it down, but he says its impossible because he just eye balls it. We now choose this recipe from Cook's Illustrated, spring 2008 edition. It's better for saving in the fridge than his version. We made it last night to accompany the lobster and saved the extra dressing. We are using it tonight as the dressing for chicken wraps (cubed chicken cooked with a little lemon pepper, in a wrap with dressing, chopped Romaine, and shredded cheddar cheese).

1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons mayo
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy fillets (we use anchovy paste instead)
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce Parmesan cheese
  1. Mix all dressing ingredients except oil and Parmesan with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Slowly add oil in a steady stream, whisking all the way.
  3. Slowly stir in cheese.
  4. Use as wanted and refrigerate unused portion.

Maine Lobster Dinner

I highly recommend lobster for dinner right now. Icelandic banks have bankrolled the Canadian lobster processors so lobster prices are at an all time low. Last night family visited from Wisconsin and they were floored that the 6 lobsters they bought cost the price that one would back in Wisconsin. I never eat lobster but it is a regular meal in the house, particularly when there are house guests. Lobster is a New England tradition. For the longest time, lobster was so plentiful that it was a food for poor people. Colonial indentured servants staged an uprising in Bar Harbor requesting that one meal a day be something other than lobster. It's an easy meal to prepare - the bigger challenge is getting through the carapace to all the meat. Boil, steam or even grill its a great crowd pleaser. Steam until bright red and you can smell them. Serve with drawn butter and lemon wedges. Accompany with corn or potatos and a green salad. Enjoy a colonial tradition!


Cheese is a staple in my house. I am a self proclaimed fromagophile and will make a meal out of cheese if I have no one to cook for. My daily lunch is a cheese sandwich, with mayo, tomato, and lettuce, on Rye bread. A grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup has long been my comfort food, offered by my mother when I was a young girl. I recently learned that the real word for one that loves cheese is a turophile. I don't think it has the same ring as fromagophile. Cheese is the most versatile product in the kitchen and is a valuable tool in many recipes. I think cheese is the unsung hero of diversity and I hope one day to be a cheese maker, from the milk of my own goats. For this reason, and artisan cheese holds a special place in my heart. I highly recommomend the book The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. I am sure there will be cheese recipes to follow because winter is coming which means fondue and raclette are just around the corner!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

McGrath Easy Chicken

The McGrath Chicken was sent to me from a recipe exchange.

Easy Chicken
Frying chicken - preferably legs
garlic powder
Italian seasoning

  1. Prepare chicken by cleaning and removing skin. Leave bones in.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with seasonings and sugar.
  3. Put enough olive oil in frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan.
  4. Brown chicken on both sides on high heat.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until chicken pulls back from the bone.
  6. Uncover pan and cook chicken on low heat.
  7. Turn chicken every five minutes. Repeat 4 times or until cooked through.

"Finger licking good!"

Artichoke Dip

This recipe is very versatile. Feel free to tinker, add, or exchange ingredients!

Artichoke Dip

4 oz diced pimentos
1 14oz can artichokes drained & chopped
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cans diced green chilies drained
4 oz Jack Cheese shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Add pimentos to medium bowl (save 2 tsp)
  3. Add rest of the ingredients, stir.
  4. Spoon into 1/2 quart shallow dish.
  5. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese plus 2 tsp pimentos.
  6. Bake uncovered at 325 for 30 min. or until bubbly. Yields 5 cups.
  7. Serve with large corn chips

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

This recipe came to me from Mushy's sister in law Bev during a recipe exchange.

3-Cheese Pasta Bake
Prep: 20 minutes; Bake: 30 minutes

1 (16 oz) package Ziti
2 (10 oz) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce - (I use Buitoni Refrigerated Alfredo Sauce)
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
2 Large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the ziti according to package directions, drain and return to the pot.
  3. Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with the ziti until evenly coated.
  4. Spoon half of the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  5. Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese and parsley; spread evenly over pasta mixture in your casserole baking dish.
  6. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. (If it's not browned slightly - I leave it in a little longer just for the color.)

Layered Asian Spread

This is a yummy and healthy appetizer. Omit the peanuts in case of allergies.

Layered Oriental Spread

¾ cup cooked chopped chicken (Canned white chicken also
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped peanuts
3 tbs. sliced green onion
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs. soy sauce
¼ tsp. ginger
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
1 tbs. milk
1 cup sweet & sour sauce
Dash sesame oil
sesame seeds

  1. Combine chicken, carrots, peanuts, green onion, parsley, garlic, soy sauce, and ginger in medium bowl.
  2. Add a dash of sesame oil and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill for 4-12 hours.
  4. In a seperate bowl, combine cream cheese and milk, mix well.
  5. Spread cheese mixture onto a plate.
  6. Top with chicken mixture and drizzle with sweet & sour sauce.
  7. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
  8. Serve with crackers and a spreading knife.
Because of the nature of this dish I recommend serving it on top of a larger platter in order to catch any crumbles. You can even spice it up using a drizzle of hot sauce in place of the sweet and sour.