Tuesday, August 30, 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

Monday, August 29, 2011

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.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

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. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

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.

Friday, August 26, 2011

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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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.

Monday, August 22, 2011

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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

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 border of Kansas into Oklahoma just around sun rise. the light would be start to shift, then the sky would slowly turn purple, then lighter and lighter. If there were any clouds around they would start to take on an orange then pinking hue. When the sun finally rose it would be a big red ball on the horizon. then slowly turn brighter and brighter. I remember a feeling of true peace watching this.

Well this year will be a little different. We're a bit older;  we're not driving 1100 miles in less than 24 hours. Sure, we'll still play music, sing off key. have a ham sandwich or two, but i lot can be said for a comfortable car, and air conditioning.  
Today what is good car food?
Take a whole wheat tortilla, spread 2 tablespoons of Nutella, add a peeled banana, roll up. wrap in plastic wrap.
another yummy treat: frozen grapes.

lay out grapes in a single layer on a cookie sheet of plate. place in the freezer for 1 hour.
for the cooler put them in a zip lock back. keep in the ice.

Hummus and chips.
Cut up a package of pita bread into small triangles, put them on a baking sheet in one layer. leave them in a 250 degree oven for 10 minutes.
when the chips cool put them in a zip lock bag. 
for the hummus,

1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with paprika (optional).

place in an air tight container, keep cold in the ice. until ready to eat.

Ham and cheese roll ups.

one large slice of deli ham
1 ounce of longhorn cheese.

roll the ham around the cheese.  also can be wrapped in plastic wrap for the cooler

Enjoy the holiday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

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 white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, chopped dried mango, dried pineapple and grated lime zest.

3.Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheet(s).

4.Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown. Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, August 19, 2011

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 lemon wedge.

Serves 8

Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup wild mushrooms of your choice, sliced thinly, like morels.
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon rubbed sage

In a saucepan over medium-high heat saute sliced mushrooms and minced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter until liquid evaporates. Increase heat to high, add dry vermouth and chicken broth, reduce liquid to 3 tablespoons; add the cream. Continue cooking until large bubbles appear and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, add thyme and sage. Set aside.

Veal Schnitzel

2 pounds Veal slices, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
Salt and pepper, to taste
Flour for dredging
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cut meat into 8 servings. Season with salt and pepper, dredge in a small amount of flour; shake off excess. In a large skillet over high heat in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter saute meat very quickly for 1 minute each side. Add any juices from the pan to the mushrooms, spoon onto individual plates, add the sauteed meat on top and serve with  zucchini or asparagus.

Adapted recipe courtesy of http://www.finedinings.com/

Thursday, August 18, 2011

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 excess fat. Add to the crock with the beans. Let the beans cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until tender and the meat has fallen off the bone.  Drain in a colander and set aside. Save the liquid and the meat.

3 Fry three strips of thick-cut, diced bacon in a skillet until it is crispy. Add the chopped white onion and saute it in the bacon fat until it is translucent. Set aside. Mean while, pick any lean meat from the bone, chop and set aside.  Save any left over broth for another use.

4 Mix together brown sugar, ketchup,  molasses, mustard, sauce and salt and black pepper to taste in a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Remove the sauce from the heat. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

5 Transfer the beans to a 2-qt. casserole dish. Add the bacon, bits of ham and onions. Pour in the sauce and stir all of the ingredients until they're well-blended. Place six raw bacon strips across the top of the beans. Cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil for half of the baking process.

6 Bake the beans for one hour, or until they are tender, the sauce is bubbly and the bacon topping is crispy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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.

Monday, August 15, 2011

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 together the cherries, sugar, vanilla seeds, lemon zest, and white pepper. Make a double-layer tinfoil pouch, and place the cherry mixture inside, folding over the edges to form a seal.

Set the pouch on a grill over medium heat, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cherries are soft.


Cut the dough in half, and roll out each half on a flat, floured surface to form a 12-inch-diameter round about 1⁄4 inch thick. Brush both sides with oil. Move the coals to one side of the grill, and when the fire is medium hot, place the rounds over the coals. When the rounds start to puff up and take on a little color, turn them over, and place on the coolest part of the grill. Ladle half the cherry mixture onto each pizza, and return to medium heat until the underside is cooked but does not burn. Remove from the grill, sprinkle white-chocolate shavings over each pizza, and top with scissor-snipped fresh mint leaves

Sunday, August 14, 2011

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 directs. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water; return the pasta to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour and low-fat milk in a bowl. Place the remaining 1 clove garlic and 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, 30 seconds. Add the flour-milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese; stir to melt, 1 minute.

Cut the chicken into strips. Toss with the pasta, sauce, zucchini and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water to loosen.

Friday, August 12, 2011

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).

Thursday, August 11, 2011


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 pepper and chill for 1½ hours before serving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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 the pork chop pan and add to the beans.
Serves 4.

Monday, August 8, 2011

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 add this mixture to the potatoes, mix as you go.

When all the ingredients are well mixed, sprinkle top with paprika, cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

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 About.com...

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 celebration all over the world.

The traditional method for throwing a clambake is to start by digging a hole in the ground. Cover the bottom of the hole with large stones and build a large, hot fire on top of the stones. This fire needs to burn for a couple of hours to heat those stones as hot as they can get. In the meantime you can prepare the food. A clambake consists of a lot of food, most importantly fresh clams. Typically the menu will include:

•3 to 4 pounds round clams
•6 to 10 large baking potatoes
•6 medium onions, peeled
•6 to 10 ears of corn (husk left on but silk removed)
•12 live lobsters
•12 lemons cut into wedges
•Lots of melted butter

You will also need enough seaweed or rock weed to cover the fire pit and plenty of cheesecloth. Wire baskets are also helpful to hold everything together, but not necessary. Wrap individual servings of the above ingredients in cheesecloth, tying the corners together and place in baskets if you have them.

Once the rocks are hot enough to spit a drop of water back at you, rake off the coals from the fire and cover the rocks with seaweed. Place the food packets on the on the seaweed and cover with more seaweed. It's then best to cover the whole project with a large tarpaulin. After about 2 hours everything should be done. Serve with melted butter, salt and pepper and ketchup.

That's how you hold a traditional clambake. Of course there are regional differences, but you get the general idea. Of course most people don't live on a beach and don't necessarily want to dig a hole in the backyard. So how would you do this on, say, a charcoal grill?

First of all cut way down on the seaweed. You will only need a small amount soaking in water. Second wrap the food packages in cheesecloth, then add a little seaweed and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place the packages on a hot grill and close the lid. In an hour you can eat.

Of course you can add most anything to your clambake you want. The secret is that the seaweed steams the food, so it's important that you have something sitting with the food to provide moisture. If you don't have access to seaweed you can add about 1/4 cup of water to the food packages as long as they are sealed completely. If there isn't enough moisture then the food won't cook properly.


Friday, August 5, 2011

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.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

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 little, that’s how a developed a taste for it. To start with the burrito was huge. The chicken was shredded and mixed with peppers and cheese, and smothered with a topping of cheese and sour cream.

There have been other chicken enchiladas, and other burritos, but that was the best.

This is my version, based on taste, it is very close.

1 lb chicken breasts without bone or skin
1 can green chills, mild heat save the juice.
1 cup sour cream
½ jalapeño seeded and chopped
½ small green peppers chopped
½ small onion, chopped.
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 cup cooked chili beans
½ cup chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
½ cup Monterey jack cheese shredded.
8 large tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in a baking dish. Add the broth, 1Tablespoon of the onions and 1 tablespoon of the green peppers 1 tsp of the chopped chilies, and the juice from the green chili can. Cover with plastic and set in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Take plastic off chicken. Add the chilies, the onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and peppers. Bake for 30 minutes. When the chicken is cool, shred the chicken with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste Mix the shredded chicken with the pepper mixture

To ensemble, scoop 3 tablespoons of beans  and 2 oz of chicken on each tortilla. Add 3 oz of cheese and 1 tablespoon of sour cream, fold up. Add burritos to a clean baking; add the rest of the sour cream and the cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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 was light and sweet. It didn’t over power the cake like some can.

I have been looking for this cake again. Years have gone by. The chain restaurant that I originally had the cake has yet to feature it again. Boo hiss.

But, as I was digging though my box of books, I found a small, spiral bound cookbook. And as flipped though the pages, it’s called Arkansas favorites. It was published back when Bill was the governor, there was a recipe for Italian Wedding Cake,

It just needs to be changed a little, and it will be that cake from all those years ago.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I give you Italian Wedding Cake.

1Cup Butter Milk
1 tsp baking soda
5 eggs separated
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 can coconut (3 1/2 oz.)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 Cups Flour

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter
1 box powdered sugar, sifted

combine soda, and milk. cream sugar, butter and shortening. Add egg yolks one at a time, beat well. Add milk and flour alternately. Stir sin vanilla . Beat egg whites until stiff: fold int mixture. Stir in nuts and coconut. Bake in three 9" round cake pans for 30 minutes.

For the icing cream the cheese and butter  and add the powdered sugar a little at a time. 

Gluten free Gnocchi

Once upon a time in Santa Rosa, CA at my one of my favorite little eatery’s, (Mary's Pizzza), I discovered something so tasty, so good...