Showing posts from August, 2011

McCalls' Devil's Food Cake

A dear friend introduced me to this cake a dozen years ago. It was her birthday cake for years. Her birthday is coming up in a few weeks. So I thought I would find a red velvet cake to share in honor of her birthday.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon red coloring gel (see “thoughts on food coloring” below) or 2 tablespoons standard liquid red food coloring
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted buter, room temperature
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Baked Ziti with Sausage


1/2  pound sliced Kielbasa sausage
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or small clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces ziti, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


Saute sausage, mushrooms, onion, and green bell pepper in a large skillet until onion is tender and beef is lightly browned. Drain off excess fat; add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well; stir in ziti and 1 cup of the cheese; transfer to a 2 1/2-quart casserole. Top with the remaining cup of cheese. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Bubble gum Pie

Bubble gum Pie is a favorite at my house. Remember the idea, everything but the kitchen sink...? just like Bubble gum casserole... only dessert...

1 graham cracker  pie crust 
1 package of pistachio pudding
1 1/2 cups of cold milk
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cups peanuts
1/4 cup m&m's
1/4 cup raisins
1 banana
whipped topping.

Slice the bannana in 1/4 in slices and layer in the bottom of the pie shell. Mix the pudding and the milk with an electric mixer unil smooth and a little stiff. Stir in the chocolate, m&m's, peanuts, and raisins.

Chill for 2 hours,

Before serving, top with whipped topping.

Lemon Baisl Pasta with Chicken

This recepie is easy and pretty Serve as romantic dinner for two, or take to work, and wow the co-workers.

8 oz farfalle pasta (bowtie)
1 lemon
1/4 cup shredded  fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 chicken stock
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 4-oz chicken breast cutlets.
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons  butter
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
salt and pepper
flour for dredging
dried Italian seasoning

Mix flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning together. Dredge the chicken cutlets. Fry the cutlets  in the butter, 5 minutes on each side. set a side, and keep warm.

Zest the lemon then squeeze tout the juice.

Boil the pasta in salted water.

Cut the tomatoes in half, cut the basil in small strips if not already.

in a small sauce pan add the sour cream, corn, tomatoes stock, lemon juice and pine nuts. As soon as the cream starts to simmer, add the cheese and the pasta.

Serve with the chicken. Garnish with the basil and lemon zest.
Take this to your next party, and watch it disappear. By the way, this recipe make 6 servings with only has 1 carb per serving.

¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 ounces white crab meat, drained and picked over
2 green onions, finely chopped
½ chopped red bell pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground pepper


1. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream, seasoning and lemon juice until smooth.
2. Add crab, green onions and pepper; stir until ingredients are well combined.
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with vegetables for dipping.

Baby Spinach Salad with Avocado, Olives, Feta and Walnuts


1 cup baby spinach
1 ounce feta cheese, drained and crumbled
7 walnut halves
½ avocado, diced
5 olives


1.Combine spinach with feta, avocado and olives.
2.Toss with low-carb dressing of your choice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3.Top with walnuts.

The Mint Julep

The mint julep has been a southern staple for years. One thinks of hot summer days with ladies sitting on wide porches fanning themselves talking about the latest gossip or politics of the day.
This is the low carb version from Atkins.


Granular sugar substitute to taste
6 fresh mint leaves
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
1 small mint sprig


1.In the bottom of a medium glass, combine sugar substitute to taste, mint leaves and 1 teaspoon water.
2.Crush the mint lightly with the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill glass with crushed ice.
3.When frost forms on the glass, slowly pour in bourbon. Garnish with mint sprig.

Chicken Portobello Broilers

This week I think I will share some more low carb treats.  These are quick and easy recipes everyone will like.


8 oz chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 large scallions; chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 large eggs; beaten
1/4 teaspoon herbs
6 large (2 oz) portobella mushroom caps; cleaned
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese; shredded


Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise, then slice crossways into thin slices. In a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat, cook the chicken and scallion in the oil for about 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients and cook until egg is firm. Meanwhile, place the mushroom caps, ribbed side up, on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt , pepper, herbs, and broil for about 7 minutes until beginning to soften, turning once. Remove from oven and spoon mixture into the mushroom caps, top with cheese and broil for 1 minute to melt cheese. Serve immediately.

Veggie Bake

(20 oz.) pkg. frozen cauliflower, broccoli and carrots.
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
2/4 Cup Bread crumbs
2 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine veggies soup and cheese in a  8 x 8 inch oiled baking dish.

Toss bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle atop casserole. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before

Road Trip!

Well It's about that time. I'm planning a road trip next week. Reminds me of road trips when I was a kid.  Often, I would walk in the house on the last day of the school year, and Mom would be putting stuff in the car. She'd tell me  to pack a bag, and with in an hour we'd be at the grocery store buying deli ham, Longhorn cheddar cheese, diet Coke and ice. This would all put put into a small Styrofoam cooler behind the driver's seat.
In the car, would be a selection of cassettes. Music ranging from folk, country, and pop. A fill up at the gas station, a quick read o the map, and we were off.

The old Toyota didn't have air conditioning, so we'd put bandannas in the ice and then wrap them around our necks. There we were out on the road, singing to the radio, eating ham and cheese, drinking diet Coke, and having the best time. A  day or two later, we'd be at the Grandparents, where we were often given a cold dry meat loaf sandwich. 

We'd cross the borde…

Tropical White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was actually looking for a cake recipe with these ingredient, but... who doesn't love cookies. The fruit is great. it adds a different texture and kind of a brightness, but i think that is the lime zest.
If you can't find the dried fruit by itself, you can substitute tropical trail mix. just pick out the nuts and other stuff.

•2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

•2⁄3 cup packed light-brown sugar
•2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
•2 tsp vanilla extract
•2 large eggs
•3⁄4 tsp baking soda
•3⁄4 tsp salt
•2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
•12 oz coarsely chopped white baking chocolate
•1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
•1⁄2 cup chopped dried mango
•1⁄2 cup chopped dried pineapple
•1 Tbsp grated lime zest

1.Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheet(s) ready.

2.Beat butter, sugars and vanilla in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in coarsely chopped…

Dinner at Luzerne

Upon frequent trips to San Francisco, we were often introduced to new tastes and restaurants. One of our favorites was a little neighborhood restaurant near the park. It was called Luzerne.   This was a small place,  The service was always friendly and outstanding, and the food was amazing, if you like German/Swiss style cooking.  Painted on the walls was a mural of one of the quaint European villages

It was like an old world family restaurant. The couple that ran it were from Germany. and our favorite server was an adorable French woman, who didn't really speak English well, but she tried.

alas the restaurant is no longer there, but what nice memories.

One of our favorites was a Speatzle and Veal Schnitzel with a cream morel sauce

 What is it?  Speatzle is a tiny little dumpling, and schnitzel is veal or pork pounded thin and then lightly floured and fried, like a scallopini only German Switzerland and  Austria it is called schnitzel.  Sometimes it is served by itself with a l…

Old Fashioned Baked Beans.

Well, so it's more picnic food. Labor Day is coming. If you do picnics or cook-outs, or any type of get together, this is a wonderful side dish. It goes with anything from hamburgers to grilled chicken.

For probably 50 or so years now my Grandmother's brothers and sisters would have a reunion on Labor Day. Everybody would bring something. Believe me those women could cook. So everything was so good. You couldn't help but over eat.

Grandma always brought a big dish of baked beans, and then went home with an empty dish.  This is my version.  It's a two day process, but worth it. Enjoy.
1 ham hock
2 cups dried navy beans
9 strips thick-cut bacon
1 white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp. molasses
1 1/2  tsp. yellow mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste

1 Soak navy beans in a bowl in water overnight to soften. Drain the beans in a colander and transfer them to a large crock pot.

2 Cover the beans with 4 cups of water.Rinse the ham hock and trim …

Tropical Fruit Salad

. Dressing

1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons apricot preserves or orange marmalade
1/4 teaspoon poppy seed


1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
1 mango or papaya, peeled, seeded and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium banana, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup seedless red grapes
2 tablespoons coconut, toasted if desired*

In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients

On serving platter, arrange fruit in decorative pattern; sprinkle with coconut. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Sweet Mango

More treats from Weight Watchers. This is from the Weight Watchers new Complete Cookbook. 2011.

Frozen Mango-Lime Mousse:

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced  
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon gated lime zest
2 tablesoons lime juice
1 package unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1cup low fat milk

1. Combine mangoes ricotta, sugar, and lime zest and juice in food processor or blender to puree.
2. sprinkle gelatin over water in cup, let stand until softened, about 2 minutes. add to mango mixture in food processor
3 Bring milk to boil in small saucepan. add to mango mixture and puree. Pour mousse into four 8 ounce ramekin's, dividing evenly. cover with plastic wrap. freeze until set, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Cherry Pizza


Pizza Dough

(Also available at local pizzerias.)

1 packet dry yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup canola oil

Cherry Topping

3 pints Bing cherries, halved and pitted
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1⁄8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Canola oil
2 tablespoons white chocolate, shaved into large curls
Fresh mint leaves


Pizza Dough

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 3⁄4 cup warm water. Place the flour in the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the yeast mixture, and mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and the canola oil, and continue mixing on low speed until a nice, supple dough forms, about 3 to 5 minutes. If the dough looks too wet, sprinkle in 1 more teaspoon of flour, and continue mixing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and allow to rise on the countertop until it has doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.

Cherry Topping

In a medium bowl, toss …

Chicken-Zucchini Alfredo

Chicken-Zucchini AlfredoRecipe courtesy Ellie Kreiger for Food Network Magazine

Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons
4 4-ounce thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fettuccine (preferably whole wheat)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup cold low-fat milk (1%)
1/2 cup evaporated nonfat milk
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 clove garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, cover and cook until tender, stirring, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat another tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water as the label direc…

Weght Watcher's Hamberger Night.

See, even with Weight Watchers you can have hambergers. I'll take mine with lettuce and tomato pleease.

1 spray(s) cooking spray
1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
4 item(s) reduced-calorie hamburger roll(s)


Coat a large griddle, outdoor grill rack or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.

In a large bowl, combine beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper; mix well and shape into 4 patties, about 1-inch-thick each. (To retain juiciness, be careful not to overwork the meat.)

Place burgers on hot griddle or grill and cook 5 minutes per side for medium (or longer to desired degree of doneness).


While it's still hot out there, here is another wonderful dish that won't heat up the house.


1 slice bread, crust removed and torn into pieces
2 cups vegetable juice
1¼ pounds ripe tomatoes, half roughly chopped, half in ¼-inch dice
1⅓ cups cucumber, peeled and seeded, half roughly chopped, half in ¼-inch dice (1 1/3 cups)
1 medium onion, half roughly chopped, half in ¼-inch dice
½ large red bell pepper, half roughly chopped, half in ¼-inch dice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced


1. In a small bowl, soak bread with tomato juice until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Place bread and juice in blender with the roughly chopped vegetables, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic and jalapeno. Blend until very smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining vegetables.

3. Season to taste with salt and pep…

More Salad

More Salads. how about a traditional Cesar Salad. Green crisp, tangy. creamy. Why don't we dive in.

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1½ Worcestershire sauce
1 chopped garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
7 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 head romaine lettuce
8 canned anchovies


1. To make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, anchovy paste, lemon juice, oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and Tabasco until smooth. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the cheese.

2. Toss lettuce with dressing until evenly coated. Divide on plates; top with remaining cheese and 2 anchovies per plate (optional). Sprinkle each salad with a few croutons.

Quick Orange Pork Chops with Green Beans.

These citrus pork chops with a twist. Easy to do, and so good.

4 boneless center cut  pork chops
1 medium orange
3 Tablespoons Lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 Table spoon Worcestershire sauce.
1 pound clean stringed green beans.
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a small sauce pan add the honey, lemon, a pinch of salt, paprika, Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar. slowly bring to a simmer.
Peel and chop the orange into small pieces, add to the honey mixture.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan. Bring to medium heat and add the pork chops. cook for 4 minutes. Turn over, add the onion bell pepper mushrooms and the honey orange sauce.
Bring a pan of salted water up to a boil add the green beans. cook 5-7 minutes until tender. drain the water. return the beans to the pan and add a little butter. Strain half the mushroom onion mixture out …

Grandma's Potato Salad

Grandma’s mashed potato salad:

6 large potatoes
2 eggs
¼ cup onion minced
¼ cup chopped celery
4 Tablespoons of sweet pickles chopped
3 Tablespoons mustard
Salt and pepper
1 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Ranch dressing

Put the eggs in a pan of cold water, bring to a boil, take of heat, cover and let and let them sit for ten minutes. Take each egg out of the hot water with a slotted spoon, and run cold water over it. When cool enough, peal the egg. A trick is to roll it on the counter, putting just enough pressure on it until you hear a cracking. Do the same with the other. Chop the eggs, put them in a small bowl and refrigerated.

Peal the potatoes and put in a pot of boil water. Boil until tender. Drain the water, let cool.

Get a large bowl. Put the potatoes in it. Cut them up in the bowl. The pieces don’t have to be uniform. Add the chopped egg, the pickles, onion celery, and a little pepper and salt to taste. In another bowl mix the mustard ranch dressing and mayo. Slowly a…

First you Dig a Hole

I was thinking about summers on the Cape, Cape of Cod, that is. We had so much fun playing in the water, fishing, and sunning ourselves.

Sometimes we'd invite friends. As evening approached, there  would be a clam bake. What fun... I have to admit that somewhere along the way, I lost my taste for sea food. Too much flounder I guess. I don't know, or maybe is it was "that day" The day Mom told me it was time to take a bath, and the tub was full of freshly caught flounder... ugh. I screamed; she laughed, that was that, no more fish for me.

I still have fond memories from the Cape. I found this wonderful article from
There's one thing that goes with summer as much as grilling burgers, and that’s a clambake. The tradition of the clambake goes back to the Native Americans who taught the new comers the art of steaming clams, corn, potatoes and other things in a hole in the ground. This ancient form of cooking has grown in popularity and is an event for cel…

Monkey Bread

Breakfast Wraps

Are wraps still popular? I like them. I usually use whole wheat tortillas. I like the nutty flavor, and I get a little more fiber. I like mine for breakfast. They are fast, and I can eat them anytime.

Anyway, I thought I would share a few ideas.


One tortilla,
2 tablespoons Nutella
1 banana, sliced

Spread the nutella on the tortilla, warm in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. This will soften the tortilla enough for rolling. Add the sliced banana roll up.

Ham and egg

1 tortilla
2 slices deli ham
1 fried egg.
1 tablespoon salsa
2 tablespoons cream cheese

Put the ham and cram on the tortilla and the ham and microwave for 45 sec. add the fried egg. Roll up, and enjoy

The original

1 tortilla
1 scrambled egg
1 table salsa
1 oz of sausage crumbles
½ cheeses
6 tater tots

Cook the sausage, scrambles the egg. Put the cheese on the tortilla, micro wave 45 seconds. Top with the rest of the ingredients and roll.

Lunch at the Star Light Lounge

There are times when you have a taste for something, like good Mexican food, you need to skip the chains, and head for the smaller, “Mom and Pop” type restaurants. Sometimes you might even find the best food in taverns and bars.

My first summer in Denver,  I had just that experience.  We wanted Mexican food, and was directed to a tavern style eatery. We called it the “Star light lounge”. I don’t remember if that was its real name…

This place had a bar on one side and a small restaurant on the other. Even though the look of the place was not something we’d expected,  small, brightly painted, with a black ceiling with silver sparkles all over it, and not one word of English spoke in the bar. our meal was incredibly good. The chips were hand made and warm. And the salsa was just the right amount of spicy and tangy-sweet.

For the main entre we had chicken and green chili burritos. All I can say is Oh, My God! I had Mexican food before, and I spent some time in Colorado when I was littl…

Meatball Stew

Meatball Stew

Servings: 4


12 ounces frozen fully-cooked beef meatballs (about 23 meatballs)
1 jar (12 ounces) beef gravy
1 can (8 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 package (16 ounces) frozen vegetable mixture (with potato)


Combine gravy, tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, thyme and pepper in large saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in meatballs and vegetable mixture; reduce heat. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.

Thanks Hen House.

Italian Wedding Cake

Tell me am I a little off because I like to read cookbooks. At one point I had a whole kitchen cabinet devoted to cook books, diet books, and magazines related to food.

Unfortunately, when I moved to Kansas, I had to cut down. I kept my favorites. I still surf the web looking for ideas. What am I looking for? Recipes that are inexpensive, but taste that way, anything chocolate, and twits on my favorite comfort foods, and dishes I’ve tried in restaurants that I think I can redo at home.

And on that note, years ago, so coworkers and I were having dinner and a local Italian restaurant (yes, it was a chain) in Little Rock, OK North Little Rock, (known better for bar b.q. and soul food, but that is for another post). We had a really good dinner and followed with dessert of course,

They serve this cake; they called it “Italian Wedding Cake”. Well this cake is a white cake with a coconut frosting. The cake itself was moist and had a nutty flavor, without being overly crunchy. The frosting…