Jan's Home Page Biography Music Jan's Fans Jan and Friends Jan On The Go Jan's Recipes Guestbook Merchandise

Jan’s Recipes

Each month on this page we’ll be adding a favorite recipe or
two provided by Jan…so keep checking back.

Click here to view some of Jan's past recipes!

 

March 2014

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES

  • 8 slices French bread or Italian bread, (3/4 inches thick)
  • ¼ cup grainy mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces old Cheddar cheese
  • 4 thin slices sweet onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with mustard.
  2. Using cheese slicer, thinly slice cheese; arrange half on half of the bread slices. Top with onion and remaining cheese.
  3. Sandwich with remaining bread, mustard side down. Spread butter over both sides of sandwich. (Make-ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 4 hours.)
  4. Place on greased grill over medium-low heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until golden and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Cut in half.

QUICK HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions and garlic, stirring, for five minutes or until softened.
  2. Add tomatoes, stock, tomato paste and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  3. Using immersion blender or in blender, puree reheat if necessary.

February 2014

LASAGNA DIP

  • ½ pound Italian sausage (if desired, use lean Italian turkey sausage)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tablespoon dried basil
  • salt to taste
  • 1½ cup ricotta cheese (part-skim is okay)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish; set aside.
  2. In a skillet, brown sausage. Try to break the pieces up; you don't want any giant pieces of sausage in the dip. Drain, and return to pan.
  3. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 30 seconds, stirring the entire time. Add tomatoes, basil, and salt to taste. Let simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the sauce simmers, stir together ricotta, egg, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  5. Spread cheese mixture into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Top with tomato sauce, and then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and Italian cheese.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. This dip is especially good when served with garlic knots.

GARLIC KNOTS

  • Basic Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Prepare Basic Pizza Dough as recipe instructs below and set aside to rise.
  2. Combine butter and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover, remove from the heat and set aside. Keep warm.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease two large baking sheets. Set aside.
  4. Remove risen dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough out into a large rectangle, about 16 by 12 inches. Brush the dough lightly with the olive oil. Cut the dough in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into strips about 1¼ inches wide. Tie each strip loosely into a knot, stretching gently if necessary, and place on prepared baking sheets about 2-inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the knots with salt. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes.
  5. Bake until golden brown and risen, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss gently with the warm garlic butter, Pecorino Romano cheese, and parsley. Add salt to taste if necessary. Serve immediately.

Basic Pizza Dough:

  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 (¼-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet
  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, ¼ cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. You may not need all of the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1½ hours. Yield: dough for one (15-inch) pizza.

January 2014

HEALTHIER BISCUITS

  • 6 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan and shaping biscuits
  • 5 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 ounces cold non-hydrogenated leaf lard, pinched into small pieces, plus extra for pan
  • 1 cup cold low-fat buttermilk
  1. 1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch straight-sided aluminum cake pan with lard and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the lard and quickly rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Blend in the buttermilk using a large wide spatula until the dough just comes together. The dough will be very loose and shaggy. Knead the dough in the bowl by folding it on itself 6 to 8 times.
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and pat into ½ inch thickness. Dip a 2-inch biscuit cutter into a little flour and press straight down, cutting as many biscuits as possible. Place the biscuits in the prepared pan so they are just touching each other and the pan. Fold together the remaining dough and repeat until you no longer have enough dough to form a biscuit. Press down lightly in the center of each biscuit with a fingertip. There should be approximately 14-15 biscuits, with some dough leftover.
  4. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven and increase the heat to 500 degrees. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the biscuits are just golden brown. Serve warm.

BANANA NUT MUFFINS

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 standard size muffin pan cups or use paper liners.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas until smooth.
  3. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Alternately stir flour mixture and buttermilk into egg mixture until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Do not overmix batter; it should not be completely smooth.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling two-thirds full. Bake until lightly golden, 15-18 minutes.
  6. Transfer muffin-pan cups to a wire rack to cool slightly. Turn out onto rack. Serve warm.

7-UP BISCUITS

  • 4 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup 7-up
  • ½ cup melted butter
  1. Mix Bisquick, sour cream and 7-up. Dough will be very soft, but don't worry.
  2. Knead and fold dough until coated with your baking mix. Pat dough out and cut biscuits using a round biscuit /cookie cutter.
  3. Melt butter in bottom of cookie sheet pan or 9x13 casserole dish. Place biscuits on top of melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until brown.

December 2013

BALSAMIC ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

This is a very simple recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and carrots with garlic and balsamic vinegar. You can substitute in other vegetables, use rosemary instead of thyme, or swap out the balsamic for another vinegar or even orange juice.

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3-4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss in thyme sprigs. Spread onto a baking sheet and give it a shake to allow the pieces to spread out. Reserve bowl.
  2. Roast, uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes until potatoes are cooked through and vegetables are browned. Run your forefinger and thumb down the thyme stem to remove the roasted leaves. Discard stems.
  3. Using reserved bowl, toss cooked vegetables, garlic and thyme leaves with cumin and vinegar. Serve immediately.

SALTY HONEY PIE

  • 1 single-crust pie shell
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons flake sea salt, for finishing
  1. Have ready and frozen one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan, crimped.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, salt and vanilla paste. Stir in honey and eggs, one at a time, followed by the cream and vinegar.
  4. Place the frozen pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell.
  5. Bake on the middle rack 45 to 50 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 30 to 35 minutes through the baking time. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed up high, the center is no longer liquid, but looks set, like gelatin, and is golden brown on top.
  6. Let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Sprinkle with flake sea salt. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 4 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

November 2013

CRESCENT SAUSAGE BITES

  • 1 pound sausage (pork or turkey)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 2 packages crescent rolls
  • Dash salt and ground black pepper
  1. In a sauté pan, brown sausage; drain. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Blend in cream cheese until the cream cheese is melted.
  2. Unroll one package of crescent rolls and place on a baking sheet. With your fingers, gently press the seams together to seal them. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the crescent roll dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border along the edges.
  3. Unroll the remaining package of crescent rolls and place on top of the sausage mixture. Press the edges together to seal. Gently press the seams together.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until crescent roll dough is golden brown.

Cut into small squares and serve. A pizza cutter makes the cutting really quick and easy work.

BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITS

Try these biscuits for breakfast, split in half and topped with a spoonful of scrambled eggs and melted cheddar cheese. Since the biscuit dough balls can be frozen and then baked straight from the freezer, it’s easy to keep some on hand to be made anytime. (You can make bigger biscuits if you like; just increase the baking time.) If you have the time, freeze the mixed dry ingredients overnight. When the dough is really cold it is more difficult for gluten to form, and less gluten means softer biscuits.

  • ½ cup diced slab bacon (about 3 ounces)
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned but not crunchy, about 6 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel–lined plate and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat with the flour mixture, then flatten the pieces of butter between your fingertips. Flattening the bits of butter to mix them with the flour helps produce a really tender biscuit. Stir in the bacon and cheese. Add the cream and mix with the spatula until just combined.
  5. Divide the dough into about 50 tablespoon-sized pieces and shape into balls, handling the dough as little as possible. Put the balls about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. (The dough balls can be frozen at this point; once hard, transfer them to a freezer container for up to two weeks.)
  6. Bake until golden and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes (add a few minutes if frozen). Brush with the melted butter and serve hot or at room temperature. Yield: 50 small biscuits.

October 2013

FRESH APPLE CAKE WITH STREUSEL TOPPING

  • 1 yellow cake mix 16.5 ounces (such as Duncan Hines Classic Yellow)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1½ cups fresh grated apples – about 3 small apples

Streusel Topping

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked
  • ½ cup self-rising flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup walnut pieces or nuts of your choice
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  1. Empty cake mix into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in eggs, milk, oil, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and margarine mixing well after each addition.
  2. Fold in apples.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and pour in batter.  Top with streusel topping.
  3. Mix together brown sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the cake batter above.  Sprinkle on nuts.  Cut butter into small pieces on top of the streusel.
  4. Bake cake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes checking for doneness as ovens vary. Enjoy!

PUMPKIN CAKE ROLL

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon almond extrac
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pan with waxed paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and lemon-colored. Beat in pumpkin and extract. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger and salt; fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
  2. Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched (do not overbake). Cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Invert onto a kitchen towel dusted with 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For filling, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and remaining confectioners' sugar until fluffy.
  5. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly over cake to within ½ inch of edges. Roll up again. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

September 2013

The recipes for this month are taken from Mel Tillis' fun cookbook titled "Mel's A-Cookin'". Mel highly recommended the first recipe.

BROCCOLI CORN BREAD

Mel writes in his cookbook: "I never cared too much for broccoli until I tried this recipe. It was given to me by a girl who works for us at the theater. Her name is Cookie, and you'll love the recipe."

  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
  • 1½ sticks melted butter
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 7-ounce packages Jiffy corn bread mix
  1. Mix all ingredients and put into greased 9" by 12" pan or 11" iron skillet.
  2. Bake one hour, or until good and brown on top, at 350 degrees.

The broccoli can be substituted with cauliflower also.

MEL'S HOT WATER CAKES

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter
  1. Sift the corn meal and salt through a coarse sifter into a bowl.
  2. Add the boiling water and stir to form a stiff dough.
  3. Dip hands into cold water. Then mold dough into flat oval cakes into ½ to ¾ inch thick.
  4. Drop into hot oil and fry until crisp. When done, these hot water cakes will be crusty on the outside and moist inside.
  5. Break into pieces and serve hot with butter. Makes four servings.

MEL'S CHICKEN AND RICE SUPREME

  • 1 (4 pound) chicken (whole)
  • ¼ red bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • ¼ yellow bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • ¼ green bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 carrot, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped into small cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups Jasmine Rice (purchase at Oriental markets)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  1. Cut up chicken in desired pieces and remove excess fat and skin; leave just enough for flavor. Put cut up pieces into a medium size pot.
  2. Chop the following into small cubes: red, yellow, and green peppers, carrots, celery, and onion. Add minced garlic and combine in same pot. Put rice into pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix all ingredients by hand until well distributed. Add five cups of water or chicken broth. (If you use the broth, don't use any salt, as the broth is plenty salty.)
  4. Put the pot with all the ingredients on the stove and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, put the lid on the pot and turn down to low heat. Let cook at low heat for approximately one hour. Serves about six people. Suggestion: Serve with potato salad, cranberry sauce, corn bread, green beans, corn on the cob, and iced tea. You can top this off with homemade apple pie!

August 2013

The squash recipes below are from my longtime friend Maxine Brown.

MOMMA BROWN'S FAMOUS GOLDEN SQUASH

  • 6 to 8 yellow squash
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup bacon drippings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  1. Cut squash cross-ways about ¼ inch thick.
  2. Heat drippings in skillet. Add squash, salt, onion, pepper, and water.
  3. Cover and simmer until tender and the water has cooked out. Stir occasionally. It only takes about 12 to 15 minutes for squash to get tender. Uncover last few minutes so all the water will evaporate. If you prefer not to use bacon drippings, you may use approximately ¼ stick butter or margarine.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

Cook 6 or 8 yellow squash the same way as the Golden Squash recipe, except if you do not use bacon drippings, then use ½ stick butter or margarine. When squash is tender, drain and add the following:

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
  • l cup Ritz cracker crumbs (approximately)
  • 1 small jar diced pimentos
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Arrange in layers, in a buttered casserole dish. Top with Crumbs.
  2. Bake until hot and bubbly.

FRIED SQUASH ROUNDS

There are many different way to enjoy squash. Fried is one of The Browns' favorite.

  1. Cut yellow squash in ¼ inch rounds.
  2. Fix a bowl of cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Place rounds in bowl and coat each slice.
  3. Fry on each side until golden brown. (My family never gets enough of this, so when you cook it, make sure you have plenty. Enjoy while they are still hot.)

July 2013

COBB POTATO SALAD

  • 3 pounds red potatoes, cubed, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings

  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 1 cup bacon, fried and diced
  • 1 cup turkey breast or chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup hard-boiled egg, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, diced (for garnish)
  1. In large pot of water, cook potatoes until soft (not mushy) and drain. Add to large mixing bowl.
  2. In separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to potatoes, toss.
  3. Gently add salad to new bowl for cleaner presentation. Chill while preparing toppings. Note: You may want to add about ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley to mayonnaise mixture.
  4. Prepare topping ingredients. Remove salad from fridge and layer toppings in order of ingredient list (or to your preference).
  5. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Notes: Make sure not to overcook potatoes. Potatoes should be soft but not mushy to the point of falling apart. Salad can be made the day before, adding toppings the next day. Stir well before adding toppings.

SPINACH-APPLE-BACON SALAD

  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Royal Gala or Granny Smith apple, cut lengthwise into 16 slices
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • sliced red onion
  • sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked until crispy
  1. Combine first six ingredients (water through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to make the dressing.
  2. Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Spoon two tablespoons dressing over apples; toss to coat. Add spinach, onions, mushrooms, and remaining dressing; toss to coat.
  3. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle over the top of salad. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes four servings.

SKILLET CORNBREAD

  • 1½ cups corn meal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ to ¾ cup corn nibblets (frozen or canned)
  • 2 or 3 jalapeno peppers, diced (optional)
  1. Place your 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven and pre-heat to 425 degrees while you mix the batter.
  2. In a large bowl combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Wisk in the buttermilk, whole milk, eggs, and melted butter.
  3. Remove the hot skillet from the oven; reduce heat to 375F. Coat the sides and bottom of the skillet with butter (about 1 tablespoon).
  4. Add corn nibblets and diced jalapeno (optional) to batter and whisk briefly.
  5. Pour batter into the skillet and place it in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until center is firm and cornbread is golden brown.
  6. Let cool for about 15 minutes and serve.

June 2013

BANANA ICE CREAM WITH SWEET-AND-SALTY ROASTED ALMONDS

This recipe has all the rich, creamy texture of ice cream with none of the dairy or sugar.

  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • ¼ cup roasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons good-quality maple syrup, divided
  • A pinch (about ½ teaspoon) coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy or cow's milk), cold
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Freeze the banana slices in a single layer on a tray or plate lined with parchment or wax paper. Once the slices are frozen, use them immediately or keep frozen in a zip-top plastic bag or airtight container for up to a month.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the almonds with 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup and the pinch of salt and set the mixture aside.
  3. Combine the frozen banana slices, the cold almond milk, the remaining 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, and the vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the texture of soft-serve ice cream, scraping down the sides as necessary. Don't worry if the mixture is not totally smooth at first – once the bananas start to break down and defrost in the food processor, they'll give in, and the "ice cream" will take shape quickly.
  4. Spoon the banana "ice cream" into bowls immediately and sprinkle each serving with a bit of the almond mixture. Yield: 4 servings

PEANUT BUTTER GOO GOO CLUSTER BROWNIES

  • 6 Peanut Butter Goo Goo Clusters
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • A couple pinches of flaked sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment or wax paper, making an 'X' with two long pieces of the paper so it hangs over all four sides. Grease the paper with butter or spray. This will ensure easy removal of the bars once they've cooled by simply lifting the paper and transferring the bars to a cutting board.
  2. Chop Peanut Butter Goo Goo Clusters into small pieces, place in a bowl and put in the freezer.
  3. Mix the flour and cocoa powder in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
  4. Fit a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until thick and pale, 3-5 minutes. Slowly incorporate the butter.
  5. Reduce whisk speed to low and slowly add the dry mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl until fully combined. Stir in two-thirds of the chopped, chilled Goo Goos and pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining Goo Goos over the top of the brownie mix. Lightly sprinkle flaked sea salt over top.
  6. Bake about 45-50 minutes until center is no longer jiggly and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool in the pan, then transfer to a cutting board by lifting all four sides of the paper.
  7. They can be eaten immediately, but they taste best after sitting in the refrigerator overnight. Cut into squares & serve. Makes nine large or twelve small brownies.

APPLE CRISP CHEESECAKE

  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup quick-cooking oats
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup sliced peeled apple

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cold butter
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, oats and brown sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a 6-in. springform pan coated with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. For filling, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the sour cream, cinnamon and ginger. Pour over crust. Arrange apple slices over filling. For topping, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, remove sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes four servings.

May 2013

MARYLAND CRAB CAKES

  • 1 large egg
    2½ tablespoons mayonnaise (such as Hellman's Real)
    1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard (such as the Maille brand)
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ cup finely diced celery (you'll need one stalk)
    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
    1 pound lump crab meat*
    ½ cup panko (such as the Whole Foods 365 brand for this recipe)
    Canola oil
  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, celery, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard and sharp cartilage) and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined, being careful not to shred the crab meat. Shape into 6 crab cakes (about ½ cup each) and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Preheat a large nonstick pan to medium heat and coat with canola oil. When oil is hot, place crab cakes in pan and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Be careful as oil may splatter. Serve immediately with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon.
  4. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

BAKED ASPARAGUS

  • Fresh asparagus (2-3 bunches)
    ¾ stick melted butter
    Herbed goat cheese roll
    Italian bread crumbs
    Rosemary
    Italian seasonings
    Oregano
    Salt and Pepper
  1. Wash and trim asparagus. Spread out on jelly roll pan (baking sheet with edges). Pour melted butter over all. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients to taste.
  2. Bake in 400-degree oven 10 to 15 minutes or until desired tenderness.

SHROOMS

  • 1 roll of Italian hot sausage, cooked and drained
    1 box of cream cheese
    1 large carton plus 1 small carton of mushrooms
  1. Combine sausage and cream cheese. Wash, cap, and fill mushrooms with sausage and place on small baking tray (with edges).
  2. Bake 350 degrees approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

April 2013

SOUTHERN OVEN UNFRIED CHICKEN

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1½ cups whole wheat or regular Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Organic olive oil spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Submerge the chicken breasts in the buttermilk marinade. Allow to soak at least 1 hour (and up to 24 hours).
  3. While the chicken is marinating, make the breadcrumb mixture. In a large self-sealing plastic bag (gallon size), add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and spices. Shake to blend.
  4. Using tongs, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and place directly in the bag of breadcrumbs and spices. Shake the bag well, until the chicken breasts are evenly coated in breadcrumbs.
  5. Remove the breaded chicken breasts from the bag and lay flat on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Allow to chill uncovered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Lightly coat each chicken breast with spray oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn over and bake 15 to 20 minutes more or until done. Serves 4 to 6.

SPICY GRILLED PESTO CHICKEN

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
  • 1 large plastic resealable food storage bag
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thawed (approximately 4 medium to large thighs)
  1. Wash and de-stem parsley, then chop until finely minced (for about 30 seconds in a food processor). Combine parsley, pepper, Worchestershire sauce, and pesto in resealable bag. Mix the ingredients well with a spoon, or by squeezing closed bag with hands.
  2. Add thawed chicken, one piece at a time into the bag making sure to coat each piece thoroughly. Marinate chicken in bag for 15-30 minutes at room temperature or in the fridge. Remove pieces with tongs and grill for about 12-15 minutes, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches a safe 165 degrees. Serves four. (For a refreshing side dish to balance the sizzle of the grilled chicken, serve with chilled pickled vegetables. Refrigerate any leftovers.)

March 2013

The recipes for both March and February are some of Kathy Whitson's favorite dishes. Kathy (from Trimble, TN) is the mother of singer Steven Whitson and the wife of Ricky Whitson.  Kathy learned how to make several of these items from Steven's great-grandmother Pauline Whitson.  The Japanese Pie is from Steven's "college grandmother" Ruth Ann Atnip.  She makes this pie for the Whitsons at Christmastime every year.  Steven says that the homemade ice cream recipe is one of the very best there is!

JAPANESE PIE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar white
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  1. Mix sugar and butter together, and then add the remaining ingredients. 
  2. Bake in regular pie shell at 350 degrees for one hour.

DIVINITY FUDGE

  • 2½ cups white sugar
  • ½ cups corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Cook sugar, water, and syrup until it spins a long thread or to a hard ball stage. (270 degrees). 
  2. Slowly pour syrup over stiffly beaten egg whites.  Add vanilla. 
  3. Continue beating until candy holds its shape when dropped from a spoon.
  4. Spread in a greased pan or on oiled paper.  Cut into squares.

February 2013

STRAWBERRY PIE (SUGAR FREE)

  • 1 baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 4 cups sliced or whole strawberries

Glaze:

  • 1 box sugar-free strawberry Jell-O
  • 1 box sugar free vanilla cook n' serve pudding
  • 2½ cups cold water
  1. In saucepan mix the pudding mix, Jell-O mix, and 2½ cups water. 
  2. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat.  Cool in refrigerator until slightly thickened. 
  4. Arrange strawberries in pie shell.  Pour cooled mixture over berries.
  5. Chill till set.  Serve with whipped cream.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

  • 1 quart of cooked squash 
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ pack of Ritz crackers
  • 1 pack of extra sharp cheddar cheese (12 or 14 ounces)
  • 1 stick of margarine
  1. Cook squash and onion.  Drain if needed 
  2. Add two eggs and cook until eggs are heated through.
  3. Put in a casserole dish. 
  4. Melt one stick of margarine and add grated crackers and grated cheese.
  5. Put half in mixture and rest on top.  Place in oven on 250 degrees for 20 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

GRANDMOTHER WHITSON'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 can Pet milk
  • 1 can Eagle brand milk

Mix all together. Cook in double broiler until thick. Cool completely and add Cool Whip.
Fill ice cream freezer the rest of the way with your choice of milk (2%, whole, etc.). 


January 2013

BLACK-EYED PEA CHILI

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, three minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.  Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with the spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the bell pepper, jalapeno pepper and chili powder, and cook for one minute more.
  2. Add the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, and chicken broth or water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring a few times, until the ingredients soften and meld, 20 minutes.  Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves.  Yield: 4 servings.

CORN MUFFINS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups canned cream-style corn
  • ¾ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • ¾ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 10 cups of a standard muffin pan with foil baking cups or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix corn, egg substitute, and yogurt.  Transfer to the large bowl and stir.
  4. Distribute batter among the 10 cups of the pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool before serving. Makes 10 servings.

Variation Options:

  • Cranberry:  Stir ¼ cup roughly chopped sweetened dried cranberries into batter.  Bake as directed.
  • Cheese and Scallions:  Stir ½ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese and ¼ cup chopped scallions into batter.  Bake as directed.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato:  Stir ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not from an oil-packed jar) into batter.  Bake as directed.

HEALTHY HARVEST CHILI

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (11-ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 1 (1-ounce) package dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 (1¼-ounce) package spicy taco seasoning
  1. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Heat onion, stirring occasionally, until browned, 8 to 9 minutes.
  2. Add turkey and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, 20 minutes.  Serves 6.

December 2012

The following two recipes are courtesy of my dear friend Georgette Jones whose mother Tammy Wynette, also one of my dearest friends, made them for her. 

TAMMY’S HOMEMADE BANANA ICE CREAM 

Georgette says this recipe is very simple, and that her Mom made many versions of the recipe.  You can substitute two cups of any favorite fruit for the bananas.

  • 2 cans Eagle brand condensed milk
  • 1 large can Pet evaporated milk
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 or 5 medium mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together and freeze in an electric or turn-style ice cream freezer.  Serve and enjoy!

TAMMY’S BANANA PUDDING

Tammy was probably best known for this recipe.  Georgette has made it for me, and her Mom would be proud….it was delicious!

  • 1 12 ounce box vanilla wafers
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 6 cups milk
  • 6 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Crumble enough vanilla wafers to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish to 1-inch thickness.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine flour and 2 cups sugar in top of a double boiler and mix thoroughly.  Add egg yolks and mix well.  Gradually add milk to the mixture and blend until smooth.  Add vanilla and cook over simmering water at medium temperature until thickened, stirring continuously.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Pour mixture over wafers and cover evenly with sliced bananas.
  4. Beat egg whites in mixing bowl, gradually adding remaining ½ cup sugar.  Beat until stiff.  Spread meringue over bananas and brown for 8 to 10 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

ROASTED BANANA SCONES WITH PEANUT BUTTER GLAZE

  • 3 medium bananas, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten

Glaze:

  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Chopped peanuts, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place bananas in medium baking dish.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and caramelized.  Let cool.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/3 cup light brown sugar.  Cut in butter, using fingertips or pastry cutter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together 2 eggs, the ricotta cheese, and the roasted bananas with a hand mixer until mixed.  Mixture will be lumpy.
  4. Add banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined.
  5. Drop dough into 12 equal mounds on baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Brush tops with the beaten egg.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. About 5 minutes before scones come out of the oven, make the glaze.  Place the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  7. When scones come out of oven, place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet.  Drizzle with the glaze.  Sprinkle the tops with chopped peanuts if desired.  Makes 12 scones.

November 2012

The following two crock pot recipes are courtesy of Maxine Brown, one of my friends from way back.

COKE ROAST

  1. Buy a two or three pound eye of round, rump, tenderloin, or any good cut of beef.
  2. Coat all over with flour, salt, and pepper.  Place in skillet with 2 or 3 tablespoons oil.  Brown on all sides.
  3. Peel and quarter two or three Irish potatoes and two sliced carrots.  Place in bottom of crock pot, and then place the browned roast on top.
  4. Mix together one can cream of mushroom soup, one onion (diced), and one can of Coke.  Pour over roast.
  5. Cook on high for 6 to 8 hours until tender.
    Note: For all crock pot cooking, make sure the crock is at least ½ to ¾ full of liquid. These recipes are for a 4-7 quart slow cooker. Depending on size of roast, you may need to add more than the one can of Coke so the crock will be at least one half full. Coke makes any cut of meat very tender and delicious!

CROCK POT SPAGHETTI SAUCE

  • 3 to 4 pounds lean ground beef, browned, drained and rinsed to remove all fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or garlic juice
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (14 ounce size) or use one large can
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
  • 1 can tomato paste (12 ounces)
  • 1 cup beef bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper
  1. Cook onion with beef and when browned, drain through a colander to make sure there is not fat content.  Rinse with warm water.
  2. Combine all ingredients together.  Cook in crock pot on high for 6 to 8 hours.

You will never find a better spaghetti sauce.  Serve with spaghetti and garlic bread.  This is always good frozen (if you have any leftovers).

CORIANDER CRUSTED PORK TENDERLOIN

  • 1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/8 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spread the pork evenly with mustard, and then sprinkle with the coriander and pepper, pressing down so the spices adhere to the pork.
  3. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over a medium-high heat.  Brown the pork for 3 minutes per side, then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees, 15-20 minutes.   Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thin.  Season sliced pork with salt to taste.  Yield: 4 servings.

October 2012

FRESH TOMATO SOUP WITH MASCARPONE

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about ¾ cup chopped)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (about ½ cup chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 5 ripe medium tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese

Note:  While perfectly ripe, peak-season tomatoes are what make this soup truly special, during the rest of the year you can substitute a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes.  Mascarpone is a soft fresh cheese similar to cream cheese. You can find it locally at some grocery stores, but you can substitute heavy cream if you can’t find it.

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot and sauté until translucent, 6 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add the tomato paste and stir until all the vegetables are evenly coated.  Add the white wine and cook for about a minute or until the liquid is mostly evaporated, stirring to incorporate any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add tomatoes and their juices along with the sugar and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and just beginning to break down.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Transfer to a blender or food processor (working in batches if necessary, and be careful when blending hot foods!) and puree until smooth.  Return to saucepan set over medium-low heat until heated through; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add mascarpone and stir until smooth and serve warm with crusty bread.  Makes 4 servings.

IDAHO BAKED POTATO SOUP WITH BACON

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 cups milk
  • 4 large baking potatoes, baked, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 4 green onions, sliced (or one diced and sautéed onion)
  • 12 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
  1. In a large soup kettle or Dutch oven, melt the butter.
  2. Stir in flour; heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Gradually add milk, stirring until thickened.
  4. Add potatoes and onions.  Bring to a boil; stirring constantly.
  5. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add remaining ingredients; stir until cheese is melted.
  7. Season to taste with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder and serve immediately.  Serves 8 to 10.

CHICKEN SALAD BALSAMIC

  • 3 cups diced cold, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup diced apple
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix chicken, apple, celery, onion, and walnuts together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix vinegar and oil in separate bowl, toss with salad.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let rest 10-15 minutes, mix again, and chill.

September 2012

NORWEGIAN RICE PUDDING

  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • ¾ cup long grain rice
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional) or ½ cup currant (optional)
  1. Boil water and add rice, cover and lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add milk and, if using them, the raisins or currants and vanilla and bring back to a boil.
  3. Cover, lower heat and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Serve with butter, milk, sugar and cinnamon.

For a sweeter rice try adding ¼ to ½ cup sugar with the milk.

SALMON CAKES WITH GINGER-SESAME SAUCE

  • 6 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • Two 15-ounce cans salmon, drained and picked over for skin and bones
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 scallions (white and green parts)
  • ½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  1. Remove the crusts from the bread, tear into pieces, and process in a food processor until you get fine bread crumbs.
  2. In a large bowl, flake apart the salmon with a fork.  Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Finely chop 4 of the scallions and add to the bowl.  Add the water chestnuts, cilantro, pepper, and the bread crumbs and mix well.  Shape the mixture into 12 patties.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1½ teaspoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add 6 patties and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover with aluminum foil.  Add the remaining 1½ teaspoons of oil to the pan and cook the rest of the cakes.  Serve the cakes with the sauce on the side, garnished with scallion.  Yield: 6 servings.

Ginger-Sesame Sauce

  • ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt or 6 tablespoons plain Greek-style non-fat yogurt (for a lighter tartar sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

If using regular yogurt, place the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel.  Set the strainer over a bowl and let drain and thicken for 30 minutes.  Place the drained or Greek-style yogurt in a small bowl.  Add the mayonnaise, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce and whisk until smooth.  Yield: 7 servings.

HEALTHY PASTA SALAD

This is a quick, easy, and fresh pasta salad that’s healthy.  Penne-style shirataki noodles are ideal for this recipe, but they can be harder to find. As an alternative, use fettuccine and cut the noodles into 1- to 2-inch lengths.

  • ½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Three 8-ounce packages shirataki noodles
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 2 ears corn, husks removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, hot sauce and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Drain the noodles, then place them in a large saucepan.  Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, then bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil the noodles for 2 minutes.  Add the peas and return the water to a simmer, then drain and spread the noodles and peas in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Transfer to the freezer to cool and dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the kernels from the ears of corn.  To do so, one at a time stand each ear on its wide end and use a serrated knife to saw down the length of the cob.  Add the kernels to the yogurt-sour cream mixture in the bowl and mix well.  Mix in the bell peppers, red onion and tomatoes.
Once the noodles and peas have cooled, add those to the bowl and gently mix in. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Yield: 6 servings.

August 2012

KUGELIS

This is a tasty potato breakfast dish that was brought to this country from Lithuania.  This family recipe won the grand prize in a heirloom recipe contest.

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 7 eggs, beaten
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, or more to taste
  • 5 pounds red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1 medium onion, shredded
  • Sour cream, to top
  1. Cook bacon until crispy.  Set aside to cool, reserving fat.  Finely chop in food processor.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper; plus reserved bacon fat.  Add bacon and mix well.
  3. Peeled potatoes should be shredded as the last step to keep them from turning color.  Shred onion with the potato.  Mix potatoes/onion with the egg mixture completely and pour into a greased 10-by-15-inch baking dish.
  4. Bake and test for doneness at 1 hour.  Like a cake, it will pull from the sides of the pan, and a knife should come out clean when done.
  5. Slice and serve with sour cream on top.  This can also be sliced thin and fried with butter as a side with eggs for breakfast.

CREAMY POTATO SALAD WITH EGGS, PEAS AND CHIVES

  • 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled (about 4 medium)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup nonfat, plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup green peas, steamed until tender (2 to 5 minutes) if fresh, or thawed if frozen
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  1. Place the potatoes in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until the potatoes are knife-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool completely. Cut the potatoes into ½ -inch cubes.
  2. Place the eggs in a medium pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse the eggs under cold water, or refrigerate until cool enough to handle, and peel them. Discard two of the yolks and then coarsely chop the remaining eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Add the eggs, potatoes, peas, and chives and gently fold until combined. Cover and refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.  Yield: 6 servings.

COLORFUL COLESLAW

  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¼ large head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced (1½ cups)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  1. In a large serving bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, 2 tablespoons lime juice, cider vinegar, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Add the cabbage, carrots, fennel, onion, cilantro, and poppy seeds and toss well to combine.
  3. Season with more lime juice, salt, and black pepper, if desired.  Yield: 6 servings. 

July 2012

SWEET POTATO BREAD PUDDING WITH WHISKEY HARD SAUCE

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon best-quality bourbon or rye
  • Pinch of salt

For the bread pudding:

  • 8 cups torn or cubed stale raisin bread (about 1 large loaf)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed baked garnet sweet potatoes
  1. To make the sauce, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla, liquor and salt. Continue mixing until smooth and creamy. Cover and set aside.
  2. For the bread pudding, heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 2-quart baking dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl toss together the raisin bread with the pecans, then set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and salt.  Toss the sugar mixture over the bread and pecans, then stir well. Drizzle everything with the melted butter, then toss to evenly distribute.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, cream, eggs and brown sugar. Add the vanilla and sweet potatoes, then mix well.  Pour the sweet potato-cream mixture over the bread mixture and stir until well blended.  Let stand for about 5 minutes, then spoon into the prepared baking dish or ramekins.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (bake ramekins for just 15 to 20 minutes), or until set.
  7. As soon as the bread pudding comes out of the oven, top with hard sauce so that it melts into the crevices.  Serve warm.  Yield: 10 servings.

ORANGE-SCENTED COCOUNT “CREAM” CUSTARD PIE

  • 8- or 9-inch prepared raw pie crust
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Toasted flaked sweetened coconut, to garnish
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange the crust in an 8- or 9-inch pie pan, folding and crimping the edges as needed.  Place a sheet of parchment paper over the crust, then set enough beans or pie weights in the center to weigh down the bottom of the crust.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned.
  3. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the egg yolks, flour, sugar, salt, orange zest, vanilla, orange juice, heavy cream and coconut.  Mix until slightly frothy on the top, then pour into the cooled pie shell.
  5. Place the pie in the center of the oven and bake until set, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Set the pie aside to cool completely, then top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

    NORWEGIAN DROP COOKIES
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 teaspoon clove
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  1. Cream shortening, brown sugar and egg until fluffy.
  2. Sift together flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  3. Mix with batter.
  4. Add raisins and walnuts.
  5. Drop by teaspoon on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 12 minutes.

June 2012

This is a healthy dish that’s full of flavor.  It’s great to accompany roasted poultry or meat, and because it’s served at room temperature it’s perfect for a potluck or to serve on a buffet.

ORANGE-PISTACHIO WILD RICE SALAD

For the salad:

  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 2/3 cup wild rice
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachios
  • 1 orange
  • 10 large fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • ¼ cup minced red onion

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the brown rice, wild rice, and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, and cook until all water is evaporated and the rice is fully cooked, 45 to 55 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. Toast the pistachios in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about three minutes, stirring frequently; cool.
  3. Grate the zest from the orange; measure one teaspoon and set aside.  Cut the top and bottom off the orange.  Stand it on one end and remove the rest of the peel and woolly white pith by cutting down the orange, following its curve with your knife.  Then remove each orange segment from the membrane.
  4. When the rice is cool, add the orange sections, the basil, onion, pistachios, and orange zest, and mix to incorporate.
  5. To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, oil, orange juice, mustard, honey, and salt in a small bowl.  Pour over the rice mixture and toss.  This salad will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a day or two.  Serves six; 280 calories per serving.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe from Trisha’s great book “Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share with Family and Friends”.

CROCK-POT MACARONI AND CHEESE

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni
  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
  • Dash of paprika
  1. In a large 4-quart crockpot sprayed with cooking spray, mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs, and all but ½ cup of the grated cheese.
  2. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture and then sprinkle with paprika.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off the crockpot, stir the mixture, and serve hot.  Makes 12 servings.

Cook’s Note:  If you don’t have a crockpot, grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan with butter, add the mixture, and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.


May 2012

This Italian-style recipe is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and a good source of protein and minerals – all for less than 150 calories a serving.

TERRIFIC TUSCAN VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 15.5-ounce can cannellini or other small white beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small zucchini (about ½ pound), diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or ½ teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (2 cups lightly packed), chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon; set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about five minutes.
  3. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves; cook until the spinach is wilted, about three minutes more.
  5. Serve topped with the Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Yields six servings.

COCONUT PINEAPPLE CLUSTERS

  • 1½ cups Minute white rice, uncooked
  • 1 pkg. (14 ounces) flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour         
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare rice according to package direction. Cool.
  3. Combine coconut, condensed milk, crushed pineapple, rice, flour, lemon juice, lemon peel, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt in large bowl; mix well.
  4. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes; remove cookies to wire racks. Cool completely.
  6. Melt chocolate chips according to package directions. Pour chocolate into a resealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner with scissors or a knife to make a 1/8-inch hole; drizzle chocolate over cookies.

            Prep: 20 min.   Bake: 20 min.   Makes: 3 dozen  
Tips:   

  • Chocolate can be drizzled using a spoon.
  • Can use cooked leftover rice.
  • If desired, chocolate chips do not need to be melted and drizzled over cookies, can be added to the batter before baking.

April 2012

These pancakes don’t have the unhealthy downsides of most recipes which are typically loaded with sugar, white flour, and butter.  The combination of whole wheat and buckwheat gives these heartiness, plus antioxidants and fiber.  These pancakes are also moist and tender due to the low-fat buttermilk and a little canola oil – no butter is necessary.  A bit of honey and lots of blueberries add just the right sweetness, especially when drizzled with real maple syrup.

BLUEBERRY BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

  • ¾ cup buckwheat flour
  • ¾ cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ¾ cup non-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups fresh (or thawed) frozen unsweetened blueberries
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a medium bowl, beat together the buttermilk, non-fat milk, honey, eggs, and oil.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them (the batter will be somewhat lumpy).  Stir in one cup of the blueberries.
  2. Coat a large non-stick griddle or skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.  Use a ¼ cup measure to ladle the batter onto the griddle or skillet.  Flip the pancakes when they are golden brown on the bottom and bubbles are forming on the top, about 1½ minutes.  Keep the pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven as you finish cooking the remaining ones.
  3. Serve topped with the remaining blueberries and the maple syrup.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BARS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of banana, ripe and mashed (about two bananas)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 
  3. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy.  Add bananas and egg to butter mixture and beat until combined. 
  4. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter into a greased 9-by-13-inch (or 10-by-15) pan.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.

March 2012

MAXINE’S SWEET POTATO PIE

This recipe (which makes two pies) is from my dear friend Maxine Brown…who said it came from her mother’s old Southern cookbook.  Please check out Maxine’s website at www.TheMaxineBrown.com for more recipes, as well as information about Maxine, her music and her great book!  We certainly appreciate her sharing this recipe with all of us!

  • 3 average size sweet potatoes
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 large can Pet Milk
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pastry for two pies

Wash & boil potatoes.  Cool and peel.  Mash with a potato masher.  Add sugar and mix well.  Add beaten eggs, milk, salt, flavorings, and butter.  Mix all together.  Pour into two pie shells.  Bake at 375 degrees until brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Prior to baking, sprinkle sugar on top, as that helps make them nice and brown. 

PECAN–PEANUT BUTTER–BANANA BREAD

  • 1 cup each sifted all-purpose and whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 to 3 large bananas (1 cup)
  • 1½ cups pecan halves, toasted
  1. Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter two 8-by-4-by-2½-inch pans and dust with wheat germ or dry bread crumbs.
  2. Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. 
  3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until softened.  Add peanut butter and beat to mix.  Beat in sugar, then the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Coarsely mash bananas and add to the bowl.  Then, on low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients and beat only until incorporated.
  5. Pour half of the batter into each pan and smooth tops.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan before turning out.  Makes two small loaves.

February 2012

HALIBUT ENCHILADAS

  • 3 pounds halibut fillets
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (10 ounces) hot enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (10 ounces) green enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 2 cans (10 ounces each) mild enchilada sauce
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • 24 flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ripe olives
  1. Place fillets on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  3. Flake fish with two forks; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the hot enchilada sauce, green enchilada sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise, chilies, onion mixture and fish. Spread 1/2 cup mild enchilada sauce into each of two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle each with 1 cup cheese.
  4. Place a heaping 1/3 cup halibut mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up each and place seam side down over cheese. Pour remaining sauce over top.
  5. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the green onions, olives and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 12 servings.

ROASTED SALMON

  • 1 half of salmon, filleted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few cups of coarsely chopped scallions, dill and chives
  • ½ cup white wine
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place salmon on baking sheet, skin side down.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice.  Drizzle over salmon and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  4. Place salmon in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  5. After salmon has marinated, remove it from refrigerator and heap it with scallions and herbs.  Slide baking sheet into preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, pouring wine over salmon about halfway through cooking time.

January 2012

TERRIFIC BANANA TRIFLE

This spinoff of banana pudding is easy and fast to prepare…and it makes an attractive dessert that’s very delicious!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk plus 1 cup whole milk to equal 4 cups
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 box (12 ounces) vanilla wafers
  • 6 bananas, peeled and sliced, plus another ¼ for garnish

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small Dutch oven or soup kettle.  Just before adding milk, whisk in egg yolks, then turn heat to medium and vigorously whisk in milk.  Continue to whisk occasionally and more frequently as it heats, until mixture boils and thickens to pudding consistency.  Remove from heat and stir in 4 teaspoons of the vanilla.  Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep a skin from forming.  Cool to tepid.

When ready to assemble, whip cream with remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla to soft peaks.  Reserving 12 vanilla wafers and the ¼ banana, arrange a portion of ingredients in 3 layers in a 3-quart decorative bowl in the following order:  vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding, whipped cream.  Line bowl circumference with remaining wafers, standing them up by pressing them into the pudding.  Cover and refrigerate until cookies soften, a couple hours and up to overnight.  When ready to serve, slice remaining banana and garnish.  Serves 12 to 16.   

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY CUBES

  • Six ¼ -ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin, divided
  • 4 cups grape juice, divided
  • ½ cup honey, divided
  • ½ cup cool water
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  1. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray, then line with plastic wrap.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 4 of the envelopes of gelatin with one cup of grape juice.  Let sit for five minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining three cups of grape juice and ¼ cup of the honey to a boil.  Pour into the bowl with the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm and set up, about three hours.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the cool water with the remaining two envelopes of gelatin.  Let sit for five minutes, then add the bowling water.  Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese and remaining ¼ cup of honey until smooth.  Slowly beat in the gelatin mixture.  Pour and spread this mixture over the set up grape jelly in the pan.  Refrigerate and allow to set up completely, about three hours.
  6. Using the plastic wrap to assist, remove the set up gelatin from the pan and peel off the plastic wrap.  Cut into cubes.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.  Makes 32 cubes.

December 2011

MAXINE’S BLACKBERRY COBBLER

Maxine Brown fixed this during her son Tommy’s Arkansas visit.  It was so good he asked her to make a second batch.  This is an old-fashioned recipe handed down through many generations of Maxine’s family.  Maxine says that t’s quick, easy and so delicious…and you can serve it with vanilla ice cream if desired.  This recipe is also posted in the “News” section of Maxine’s website which has great information and photos.  Please check out Maxine’s website at www.TheMaxineBrown.com.  Thanks to Maxine for sharing this recipe with all of us!

  • 1 quart blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla

Mix with enough water to cover.  It takes a lot of juice to make a good Cobbler.  Taste to make sure it’s sweet enough; if not add a little more sugar.

Pastry:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups evaporated milk (1 large can)
  • 4 heaping tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter

Place 2 sticks butter in heat proof, deep dish casserole (casserole must be at least 4 inches deep).

Mix flour, sugar, milk and baking powder together.

When butter has melted in casserole, pour the batter directly over hot butter. Then, pour the berry mixture directly in center of batter.

Bake at 400 degrees.  The dough will come up around sides and over top to form a complete crust. Bake until it’s nice and brown all over.  Remember that you must use a deep dish.

This recipe is also good for Peach and Plum Cobblers.  For Plum Cobbler, make just as you would the Blackberry Cobbler.  For Peach Cobbler, make the same way, only use:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon each of cloves and allspice
  • 1 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour

November 2011

SOUTHERN COCONUT CRÈME MERINGUE PIE

This recipe won the “Best In Show” award this year at the 2011 Tennessee State Fair for Areeda Schneider-Stampley who is a Williamson County cookbook author….and wife of country singer Joe Stampley.  Areeda also won five blue ribbons and the “Best In Show” award at the 2010 Tennessee State Fair for her chocolate meringue pie….and her coconut meringue pie won top honors at the Williamson County Fair this past summer.  Areeda Schneider-Stampley’s cookbook titled “Areeda’s Southern Cooking” is available at www.AreedaSouthernCooking.com.

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt in saucepan.  Gradually add milk; blend well. 

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. 

Blend over small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks, then add to hot mixture, continuing to stir constantly. 

Remove from heat.  Stir in butter, vanilla and coconut.  Blend well.

Pour into baked pastry shell and spread meringue on top.

Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Beat egg whites until fluffy, then add remaining ingredients and continue beating until it reaches high peaks.

After spreading over filling, lightly sprinkle coconut over the meringue.  (Tip: Always use whole milk, butter and good quality brands.)

Pie Crust

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup Crisco shortening
  • About 5 tablespoons cold water

Blend flour and salt.  Work shortening into flour mixture with pastry cutter until crumbly. 

Add just enough water to form a dough.  Roll into a ball.  Refrigerate a few minutes before rolling out.

Roll out on pastry board and cut into 9-inch crust.  If baked before filling, bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly golden.  About halfway through, if the edge of crust is getting too brown, place an aluminum foil ring just around the edge.


October 2011

EASY PUMPKIN CAKE

  • 2 packages (16 ounces) pound cake mix
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs

Streusel Topping:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup nuts, chopped
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup margarine, softened

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine cake mixes, spice and baking soda in a large bowl.  Add water, pumpkin and eggs; beat well. 

For streusel topping, combine brown sugar, nuts and flour.  Cut in margarine until crumbly.

Spread half of batter in a greased 13 inch by 9 inch pan; sprinkle with half of streusel topping. 

Carefully spread remaining batter over streusel layer; sprinkle remaining streusel topping over batter.  Bake 50 minutes, or until done

SPICED AND SMASHED SWEET POTATOES

  • 6 sweet potatoes, washed well
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • About 2 tablespoons of butter substitute
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Rub sweet potatoes with light coating of olive oil, and bake about one hour or until tender.  Remove potatoes from oven and let cool.

Peel potatoes using hands (skins should come off easily).  Scoop out flesh into a medium-size bowl.  Add butter substitute, nutmeg and cinnamon and mash to combine. 

SPICED APPLESAUCE

  • 3 pounds apples, such as McIntosh, Empire or Macoun
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 whole allspice berries
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel, core and chop the apples.  You should have about six cups.  Combine the apples in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, ginger, anise, cloves and allspice.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and falling apart, 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir in brown sugar and vanilla.  Remove from the heat and puree in a food processor or blender.  Serve with cake.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.


September 2011

BACKYARD RED POTATO SALAD

  • 2½ pounds small red potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh tarragon

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Drain; cool slightly. Cut each in half.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, ¼ cup oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Arrange cut sides down on a grilling grid; place on a grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, turning occasionally. Chop onion. Place onion and potatoes in bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, garlic and remaining oil, salt and pepper. Add to potato mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with tarragon. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 9 servings. Note: If you do not have a grilling grid, use a disposable foil pan. Poke holes in the bottom of the pan with a meat fork to allow any liquid to drain.

ALMOND PORK CHOPS WITH HONEY MUSTARD

  • ½ cup smoked almonds
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (1 inch thick and 6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

In a food processor, process the almonds until finely chopped. Transfer to a shallow bowl; add bread crumbs. In another bowl, beat the eggs. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add pork chops, one at a time, and shake to coat. Dip in eggs, then coat with almond mixture.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chops in oil and butter for 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey and mustard. Serve with pork chops. Yield: 4 servings.


August 2011

SKILLET PIZZA

  • 1 package (6½ ounces) pizza crust mix
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ cup pepperoni slices
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced ripe olives
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Grease a 12-inch electric or stove-top skillet. Prepare pizza crust according to package directions.

Line bottom and ½ inch up the sides of the skillet with dough. Combine tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and oregano; spread over dough. Layer pepperoni, onion, green pepper and olives over sauce; sprinkle with cheese.

Cover and cook over medium heat (set electric skillet to 375°) for 15 minutes or until crust is brown on bottom and cheese is melted. Slide out onto a cutting board and cut into wedges or squares. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 pizza (12 inches).

ASPARAGUS STIR-FRY

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 8 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup julienned carrot
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch, sugar, broth, soy sauce and ginger until blended; set aside.

In a small skillet or wok, stir-fry the asparagus, mushrooms, carrot and garlic in oil until crisp-tender. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Yield: 2 servings.

FROZEN TIRAMISU DESSERT

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers, split
  • 5 Heath candy bars (1.4 ounces each), crushed and divided
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons creme de cacao, optional

Dissolve coffee granules in hot water. Cool to room temperature; set aside.

Meanwhile, line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with ladyfingers. Set aside 1/4 cup crushed candy for topping. Stir coffee mixture and remaining crushed candy into ice cream. Spoon into prepared pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in creme de cacao if desired. Spread over ice cream. Sprinkle with reserved candy. Cover and freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Remove sides of pan. Yield: 12 servings.


July 2011

STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER DESSERT

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1½  cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured star-shaped cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cool.

In a large bowl, combine berries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add remaining sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Place sour cream in a small serving bowl; fold in whipped cream.

Place bowl on a serving platter. Spoon berry mixture onto platter; top with pastry stars. Yield: 8 servings

SQUASH MEDLEY

  • 3 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, saute the squash, zucchini and onion in oil until crisp-tender. Add the mushrooms, tomato and garlic, saute 4-5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: 12 servings (2/3 cup each).


June 2011

ANTIPASTO PICNIC SALAD

This creates a tempting blend of meats, veggies and pasta.  It goes together in no time, serves a crowd and tastes as delicious at room temperature as it does cold.  Giardiniera, a pickled vegetable mixture, is available in mild and hot varieties and can be found in the Italian or pickle section of your grocery store.

  • 1 package (16 ounces) medium pasta shells
  • 2 jars (16 ounces each) giardiniera
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli florets
  • ½ pound cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ½ pound hard salami, cubed
  • ½ pound deli ham, cubed
  • 2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) sliced pepperoni, halved
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 can (6 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained

Dressing:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, drain giardiniera, reserving ¾ cup liquid.  In a large bowl, combine the giardiniera, broccoli, mozzarella, salami, ham, pepperoni, green pepper and olives.  Drain pasta and rinse in cold water; stir into meat mixture.

For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt and reserved giardiniera liquid.  Pour over salad and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until serving.  Yield: 25 servings.

GARDEN VEGETABLE QUICHE

  • 1 unbaked deep-dish pastry shell (9 inches)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ¼ cup diced yellow summer squash
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Let pastry shell stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 4 minutes.  Remove foil; bake 4 minutes longer.  Cool on a wire rack.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, mushrooms, squash and garlic in butter until tender.  Add spinach; sauté 1 minute longer.  Spoon into crust; top with cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, salt, rosemary, and pepper until blended; pour over cheese.

Cover edges of crust loosely with foil.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  Yield: 6-8 servings.


May 2011

CHERRY ALMOND GRANOLA

Skim milk turns this crunchy snack into a healthy breakfast cereal, while a dollop of low-fat yogurt makes it a delicious dessert.  You can try adding a little baking cocoa to the brown sugar for a flavor twist.

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1/3 cup thawed unsweetened apple juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1½ cups dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • Fat-free vanilla yogurt, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk powder, honey, apple juice concentrate and oil.  Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved; stir in extract.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, cherries and almonds.  Drizzle with sugar mixture and mix well.

Spread in a thin layer in two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Cool completely.  Serve with yogurt if desired.  Store in an airtight container.  Yield: 3 quarts.

ZESTY OATMEAL COOKIES

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temp ½ cup white sugar ½ cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate for dipping (optional)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and orange zest in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth.  Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended.  Stir in dried cranberries.

Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart.  Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes.  Cool on sheets 5 minutes.  Transfer to rack to cool completely.

Optional, but recommended: Melt semi-sweet chocolate in double boiler until soft.  Dip sides, edges, or all of cookies in chocolate and place on wax paper to allow chocolate to cool and harden.

BANANA BLUEBERRY PIE

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 4 medium firm bananas, sliced
  • 2 pastry shells (9 inches), baked
  • 1 can (21 ounces) blueberry pie filling
  • Fresh blueberries and mint and additional sliced bananas, optional

In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping and bananas. Pour into pastry shells. Spread with pie filling. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, garnish with blueberries, mint and bananas if desired. Yield: 2 pies (6-8 servings each).


April 2011

CREOLE BAKED TILAPIA

  • 4 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 small green pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

Place tilapia in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, green pepper, onion and Creole seasoning; pour over the fillets.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

The following spices may be substituted for 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning: 1/4 teaspoon each salt, garlic powder and paprika; and a pinch each of dried thyme, ground cumin and cayenne pepper. 

MANGO COUSCOUS WITH SALMON

This elegant meal-in-one features a hearty portion of salmon served on flavorful couscous and topped with an amazing mango sauce featuring basil, honey and Dijon mustard.  It’s delicious, and only requires 30 minutes total prep time.

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley, divided
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 package (10 ounces) plain couscous
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and chopped

MANGO SAUCE:

  • 1 medium mango, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons parsley. Rub over salmon. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring broth and butter to a boil. Stir in couscous. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, mango and remaining parsley.

In a blender, combine the sauce ingredients; cover and puree for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Serve with salmon and couscous. Yield: 4 servings.

March 2011

I have been very neglectful about doing this lately, but, since I like to cook, every now I like to have a few friends over for dinner.  One time that “few friends” turned into thirty. Two of the guests had an unexpected friend from New York drop in, and asked if they could bring him.  “Sure”, I said, “the more the merrier”.  And I meant it.  Turned out their friend was a well-known Broadway actor (I would name drop if I could remember it) who loved this HOT FRUIT dish.  He not only had three helpings, but came in the kitchen as I was cleaning up and scraped the dish.  This recipe came from a cookbook given to me in 1980 by General Carl Wallace, who was AG of the TN National Guard at the time, and his wife, Yvonne.

HOT FRUIT

  • 2 cans salad fruit
  • 1 can pitted dark sweet cherries
  • 1 can sliced pineapple
  • I package dried apples
  • 1 package dried apricots 
  • Brown sugar (approximately ¾ to 1 cup)
  • ½ cup brandy
  • Butter
  • Macaroons

Drain liquid from canned fruits.  Combine all fruits in three quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top of fruit with brown sugar and pour brandy over fruit and sugar.  Dot top with butter, and cover with crushed macaroons.  Cover and bake 2 hours in 300 degree oven.  ENJOY!

SOLE AU GRATIN        

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chives, chopped
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound sole filets
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dill weed
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Melt butter in skillet, and sauté shallots, parsley, chives and mushrooms for 2 minutes.  Spread half of mixture in bottom of shallow baking dish, lightly dusted with flour. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of breadcrumbs.  Place sole filets in dish and season with salt, pepper and dill.  Cover with remaining bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and dot with butter.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes until top is slightly browned.  Serves four.


February 2011

ACORN SQUASH BISQUE  

Rinse, dry and cut in half about two medium acorn squash. Remove the seeds and place, cut side down, on greased baking sheet.  Bake for about 1 hour or until the skins can be easily pricked with a fork.  Remove from oven and let cool enough to remove pulp.  Discard skins.

In large pot over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil.  (I use butter.)  Add and cook, stirring until tender, 2 leeks (white part only) cleaned and chopped, 4 teaspoons minced, peeled, fresh ginger, 2 stalks celery, chopped, and 1 carrot, chopped.

Stir in Squash pulp along with 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock.  Bring to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or so.  Put above contents into food processor and puree.  Return to pot and add 2 more cups broth and 1½ teaspoons of salt. 

Heat through and serve in warm bowls.  Garnish with fresh parsley and croutons.  I LOVE THIS!! 

OVERNIGHT HONEY-WHEAT ROLLS

  • 1 package (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1¼ cups warm water (110-115 degrees), divided
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Melted butter, optional

In a small bowl, dissolved yeast in ¼ cup warm water.  In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.  Add the yeast mixture, honey, oil, salt, whole-wheat flour, and remaining water.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough (which will be sticky).  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Punch dough down.  Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half.  Shape each portion into nine balls.  To form knots, roll each ball into a 10-inch rope; tie into a knot.  Tuck ends together.

Place rolls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 50 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter if desired.  Yield: 1½ dozen.

January 2011

MUSHROOM STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

  • 4 halved chicken breasts, deboned, skinless and beaten thin
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1½  cups Italian bread crumbs
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken broth
  • ½ to 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper.  Cook until the mushrooms are golden dark and have absorbed the liquid.  Remove from heat and add almost all of the bread crumbs.  (Save some for the topping.) 

Divide the mushroom mixture among the chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.  Place chicken breasts in a large casserole seam side down.  Brush with melted butter and use remaining bread crumbs for topping. 

Pour the heavy cream around the chicken mounds and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned.  These are delicious served with buttered egg noodles.  This recipe can be doubled.

BLUEBERRY & PEACH OATMEAL BAKE

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cups fat-free milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in juice, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • Additional fat-free milk, optional

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk the egg whites, egg, milk, oil, and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and stir until blended.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in peaches and blueberries.

Transfer to an 11-inch x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with walnuts.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and a thermometer reads 160 degrees.  Serve with additional milk if desired.  Yield: 9 servings.


December 2010

EGGNOG BANANA CREAM PIES

  • 21 reduced-fat vanilla wafers
  • 1 small banana, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon rum extract
  • ½ cup fat-free whipped topping

Garnish:

  • 1 small banana, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Line three ungreased 5-inch pie plates with vanilla wafers.  Arrange banana slices over bottom of crusts and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add pudding and rum extract.  Beat on low speed until blended.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spoon over banana.
Cover and refrigerated for 1 hour before serving.  Just before serving, garnish with banana and nutmeg.  Makes 3 servings.

GINGERBREAD MEN

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 3½ cups flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ cup water
  • Raisins, nuts, flaked coconut for decoration

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in molasses.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to molasses mixture alternately with the water.  Dough will be stiff.  (You may need to add another teaspoon or so of water.)  Roll out dough and cut figures with gingerbread man cutter.  Make face, hair, belt, buttons, etc. with raisins, red hots, nuts and bits of coconut.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

SPICY BANANA NEW YEAR’S CAKE

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-5 ripe bananas, mashed

Sift together dry ingredients.  In separate bowl cream sugar and butter.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Blend in mashed bananas.  Gradually stir banana mixture into dry ingredients.  Pour batter into greased, floured 9 x 13-inch pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.


November 2010

WINTER ROASTED VEGETABLES

  • 1 medium acorn squash, seeded and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium pears, cut into wedges
  • ¼ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Place the squash, potatoes, and onion in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add 2 tablespoons oil.  Seal bag and shake to coat.  Place in a single layer in a greased 15-inch x 10-inch x 1inch baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.

Place pears in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the thyme, salt, pepper, and remaining oil.  Seal bag and shake to coat.  Arrange with vegetables.  Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until tender.  Arrange in an ovenproof dish.  Drizzle with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with hazelnuts.  Makes 6 servings.

SLOW-COOKED NEW ENGLAND POT ROAST

  • 1 (3 pound) chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 onions, cut into quarters
  • 4 carrots, cut into quarters
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 wedge cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Sprinkle the roast with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper.  Place the onions, carrots, and celery in a slow cooker and top with the roast.  Add the water, bay leaf, and vinegar.  Cook, covered, on low for 5 to 9 hours or until the roast is tender.

Remove the roast to a platter and cover to keep warm, reserving the broth and vegetables in the slow cooker.  Increase the heat to high.  Add the cabbage to the slow cooker and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.  Discard the bay leaf.  Strain 1½ cups of the broth into a heatproof measuring cup.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the onion and flour.  Cook until bubbly and then stir in 1½ cups strained broth, the horseradish, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Cook over low heat until thickened and of a sauce consistency, stirring constantly.

Arrange the vegetables around the roast on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the roast.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  Serves 6.

CARAMEL SWEET POTATOES

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Drain and transfer to a greased 13-inch x 9-ince baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, and then pour over sweet potatoes.  Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until glazed, basting frequently.  Makes 10 servings.


October 2010

TRAIL MIX APPLE SALAD

  • 1 medium apple, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower kernels
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine the apple and lemon juice.  Add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.  Chill until serving.  Makes 2 servings.

SALMON PATTIES

  • 16-ounce can red (or pink) salmon
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pimento (optional)
  • ¼ cup cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Drain and remove any large bones from salmon.  Mix with remaining ingredients except oil.  Add more cracker crumbs if needed to make mixture hold together.  Form into 4 patties.  Heat oil in skillet and fry until brown on both sides.

APPLE RAISIN CRUNCH

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2/3 cup biscuit/baking mix
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • Cheddar cheese slices

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add apples, raisins, and lemon peel.  Toss to coat.  Transfer to a greased 8-inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine baking mix and brown sugar.  Sprinkle over apples, and drizzle with butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with cheese slices.  Makes 6 servings.


September 2010

DEAR ABBY’S FAMOUS PECAN PIE

This recipe has appeared in the “Dear Abby” column and in Abigail Van Buren’s (pen name for Jeanne Phillips) set of cook booklets.  Her mother discovered the pie when she was a guest at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky.  The recipe had been created by the hotel’s pastry chef, who kindly shared it with her.  It has been considered by many to be the best pecan pie they’ve ever tasted. 

  • 9-inch unbaked pie crust
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 heaping cup pecan halves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt and vanilla; mix well.  Pour into unbaked pie crust; sprinkle with pecan halves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is set.  (Toothpick inserted in center will come out clean when pie is done.)  If the crust or pie appears to be getting too brown, cover with foil for the remaining baking time.  Cool.  You can top with a bit of whipped cream, but even plain, nothing tops this!

TIP: The original recipe stated that the pie should be baked 45 to 50 minutes in a 350-degree gas oven.  If an electric oven is used, it may be necessary to add 15-20 minutes to the baking time.  (Begin testing the pie after 45 minutes.)
Enjoy!

HONEY OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together honey, shortening and butter with electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla; beat.

In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.  Add dry ingredients to honey mixture; mix thoroughly.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Place cookie sheet on center rack and bake 12 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cookies stand one minute, then remove to wire racks to cool.  Makes 5 dozen cookies.


August 2010

UPTOWN BANANA PUDDING CHEESECAKE

  • 1½ cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 large ripe bananas, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Meringue (recipe below)

Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl.  Press evenly into bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Combine diced bananas and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar.  Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute or just until sugar has melted.  Set aside.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth.  Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.  Beat in coffee liqueur and vanilla.  Pour into prepared vanilla wafer crust.  Spoon tablespoons of banana mixture evenly over top, and swirl gently into cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set.

Drop spoonfuls of meringue gently and evenly over hot filling.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.  Remove from oven and gently rub a knife around edge of cheesecake in springform pan to loosen.  Cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack.  Cover loosely, and chill 8 hours.  Release and remove sides of pan.  Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Meringue:

  • Makes about two cups
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Beat egg whites and salt at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy.

Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until soft peaks form and sugar dissolves (about 1 to 2 minutes).

BANANA PUDDING

  • 3 cups scalded milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers
  • 6 bananas, sliced (amount may be adjusted to personal preference)
  • 1 package gelatin (plain), dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/3 cup sugar (for meringue)

Beat egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until creamy.  Add salt and vanilla.  Mix with hot milk.  Cook until it coats spoon.

Dissolve gelatin mixture in custard.  Cool.  Pour over bananas and vanilla wafers placed in layers in 9-by-13-inch Pyrex baking dish.

Top with meringue, made with egg whites beaten with 1/3 cup sugar.  Brown in oven at 350 degrees.

BANANA CAKE

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas and milk; mix just until combined.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture; beat for 2 minutes.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold into batter.  Pour into greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth.  Spread over cake.  Store in the refrigerator.  Yield: 15 servings.


July 2010

SPINACH DUMPLINGS

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups water
  • 1¼ cups (2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter

Squeeze any excess moisture from the spinach.  Add ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup flour and eggs and yolks, stirring well.  Shape the mixture into eight balls.  With remaining flour, pat outside of balls until just covered.

Bring the water to a rolling boil.  Drop the dumplings gently into the water one or two at a time.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the dumplings begin to float to the surface.

Remove with a slotted spoon to a buttered baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining dumplings.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  Serves 8.

This first recipe is very light but filling….a good salad for those watching their weight.  Go easy on the dressing, as too much will spoil the natural flavors of the salad.

CUCUMBER SALAD

  • 1½ cups thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared ranch salad dressing
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced

Arrange cucumbers on a serving plate.  In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, dressing, onion, ½ teaspoon parsley and ½ teaspoon dill.  Spoon over the cucumbers.  Garnish with egg slices and sprinkle with remaining parsley and dill.  Yield: 2 servings.

THREE-CHEESE QUICHE

  • 7 eggs
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1½ tablespoons salt-free seasoning blend
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, whipping cream, half-and-half, mozzarella cheese, ½ cup cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, seasoning blend and basil.  Pour into a greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  Yield: 6 servings.

HASH BROWN POTATO QUICHE

  • 3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup green, yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Spread the potatoes on paper towels and press out any remaining moisture.  Pat the potatoes over the bottom and up the side of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.  Drizzle the butter over the potatoes, making sure the edge is totally covered.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Layer the ham, cheese, pepper, onion and jalapeno over the baked crust.  Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl until blended and pour over the prepared layers.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  Serves 8.


June 2010

This first recipe is dedicated to Norwegian friends Aslak and Marie Gjennestad, and their two daughters Anniken and Mathilde.

NORWEGIAN APPLE PIE CAKE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2½ cups diced, unpeeled apples
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and beat until well blended. Next add the dry ingredients. Mix in the apples and nuts, then stir in the hot water. Bake in a greased 9-inch pie pan for 40 minutes. Serve warm with Rum Sauce. Serves 6 to 8.

Rum Sauce:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cream (or half-and-half)
  • ¼ cup rum
  • ½ cup whipped, heavy cream (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cream over low heat. Stir constantly. Add the rum slowly when the cream mixture begins to thicken. This sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream. Drizzle over the warm Apple Pie Cake. For added richness, whip ½ cup heavy cream and spoon the whipped cream on top of the cake before drizzling the Rum Sauce.

I had fun making these Chocolate Toffee Crunch Bars on a show I taped this year with Keith and Emy Joe Bilbrey. They’re easy to make....but just a warning that they’re also addicting.

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE CRUNCH BARS

  • One sleeve of Saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Toasted chopped pecan pecans

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the saltine crackers on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

Melt butter oven medium heat. Once melted, add the brown sugar and bring to a rolling boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. After three minutes pour butter and brown sugar mixture over the crackers, making sure to cover each one. Place in oven for fifteen minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crackers. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers, then sprinkle the pecans over the chocolate. Refrigerate for a couple of hours until the chocolate has hardened. Break into pieces and enjoy.

BANANA WALNUT BUTTERMILK BREAD

This recipe makes one loaf of delicious, rich bread which can be sliced and stored in the freezer.

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1½ cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in mashed bananas and vanilla, and continue beating until mixture is smooth. In a measuring cup stir baking soda into the buttermilk and add it to the banana mixture along with the flour and chopped nuts. Stir the batter until it is just combined. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x5-inch loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the bread to a rack and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out onto a rack and let it cool completely.


May 2010

LIGHT AND CRISPY ASPARAGUS QUICHE

  • 1 pound asparagus, ends snapped off and discarded, stalks cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 to 5 green onions, trimmed and sliced thin (about ½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 sheet (half a 17.3-ounce box) puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1½ cups grated Swiss cheese (about 5 ounces)

1. Adjust oven racks to lowest and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss asparagus and green onions with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
3. Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface into an 11-by-16-inch rectangle. Fit into a 10-by15-inch jellyroll pan, making sure the pastry is not stretched. Evenly distribute asparagus mixture over pastry. Bake on lowest oven rack until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and remove pastry from oven.
4. Whisk eggs, milk, sour cream, tarragon, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over crust and sprinkle with cheese.
5. Put quiche on upper-middle rack; bake until filling is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn on broiler; broil until cheese bubbles, about 2 minutes. Remove, let the quiche rest a few minutes, then cut and serve. Serves 8.

ROMANO POTATOES

  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • ¼ - ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated, divided
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 25 to 30 minutes or just until tender. Drain and then slice the potatoes into quarters.
2. Melt the butter with the garlic in a saucepan. Combine the garlic butter, potatoes, milk, 3 tablespoons Romano, ½ cup Monterey Jack, and ½ cup Cheddar cheese and green onions in a large bowl. Season with salt, black pepper, and white pepper. Combine ingredients until moist. Do not over mix; some large chunks should remain.
3. Spoon into a lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Romano cheese and the paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 8.

ZESTY SPINACH, TOMATO, AND RED ONION SALAD WITH WARM BACON DRESSING

  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 ounces (about 15 cups) pre-washed baby spinach
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly salted

Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels, reserving ¼ cup of the warm drippings. As bacon fries, mix mustard, vinegar, and a large pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in oil, then set aside.

Place spinach, red onion, tomatoes, and bacon in a large bowl. Whisk warm bacon drippings (reheat, if needed) into dressing. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary, and serve. Serves 8.


April 2010

TANGY CHICKEN SALAD

  •  ½ cup plain fat-free yogurt
  •  1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  •  1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  •  1/8 teaspoon paprika
  •  1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  •  Dash of pepper
  •  2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
  •  1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  •  4 cups torn mixed salad greens
  •  ½ cup chopped fresh tomato
  •  ½ cup chopped hard-cooked egg whites
  •  1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup fat-free honey Dijon salad dressing

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Roll chicken in bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear, turning once.

On two plates, arrange salad greens, tomato, hard-cooked egg whites, and cheese. Slice chicken and place on salads. Serve with dressing. Servings: 2 Per serving: 366 calories; 8 grams of fat.

BEST-EVER CARROT CAKE

Carrot Cake:

  • 4 cups carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1½ cups walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped to cover sides of cake (optional)

 Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Mix the carrots, nuts, and raisins together in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla until well-blended. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mixing just until all ingredients are moistened. Fold in the carrot mixture until well-combined. Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool in the pans 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pans to a cooling rack to continue cooling completely.

For the icing, cream butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. Add grated orange zest and vanilla. Continue beating one minute to make the icing very fluffy. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread with one-third of the icing. Top with second layer and spread top with about half the remaining icing. Use remaining icing to cover the sides of the cake. If using nuts for the sides, press these carefully into the sides as well. Prep time is 30 minutes, bake time is 45-50 minutes. Serves 10-12.

CARROT CAKE COOKIES

  • 2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup shredded carrot (about 1 large carrot)

1. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy (about three minutes). Beat in egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Gradually beat in oat mixture just until blended. Stir in raisins and carrot.
3. Turn dough onto waxed paper and form into four 7-inch-long logs. Wrap tightly and freeze until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For two servings, slice off four 1-inch rounds from the log, then refreeze remaining dough until ready to bake. Arrange frozen cookie slices on baking sheet. Let stand for 10 minutes. Bake eight minutes or until edges are golden and centers are set. Cool two minutes on wire rack. Remove from sheet and cool completely. When you want more cookies, just slice and bake them using the above directions. Prep time is 15 minutes. Yields 28 cookies.


March 2010

The recipes for this month are from the Trisha Yearwood cookbook titled "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen" which was published in 2008. You can order the cookbook from www.TrishaYearwood.com.

TRISHA'S CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 14-ounce cans chicken broth
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 10.75-ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup prepared salsa, mild or spicy, according to your taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled, drained and shredded
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1.27-ounce packet fajita seasoning
  • 1 16-ounce bag tortilla chips
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup sour cream

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat; add the garlic and onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the broth and the half-and-half. Bring to a boil over medium heat, about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cream of chicken soup, salsa, chicken, beans, corn, cumin and fajita seasoning. Continue to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Crumble the tortilla chips into individual bowls and top with a ladle of soup. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and add a drollop of sour cream.

STUFFED PORK CHOPS

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inches thick, with pockets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the parsley, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir in the beaten egg.

If your pork chops don't have pockets cut into them, insert the point of a small sharp knife horizontally into the fat-covered edge. Move the knife back and forth to create a deep pocket about 1½ inches wide.

Fill the pocket of each chop with the bread crumb mixture. Secure the openings with toothpicks and cotton thread or twine.

Dredge the stuffed chops lightly in flour, shaking off the excess. Wipe out the skillet used previously in making the stuffing and place over medium-high heat. Add the oil and, when hot, add the chops. Sear over medium heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

Put water in the bottom of a roasting pan with a rack, being careful not to cover the rack with water. Place the chops on the rack and cover the roaster with the lid or aluminum foil. Bake the chops for 1 hour, then uncover and continue baking for 20 minutes longer, to crisp the surface a bit.

FRENCH COCONUT PIE

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated coconut, fresh or frozen
  • 1 deep-dish unbaked 9-inch pie shell, homemade or purchased

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and flour with the melted butter. Add the eggs one at a time,

mixing well after each. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and combine again. Stir in the coconut.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until lightly brown and the center of the

pie doesn't jiggle when shaken lightly. A toothpick inserted into the center of the pie should come out moist but not covered with custard. The coconut will rise to form a top crust during baking. Set the pie in the pan on a wire rack and cool completely before serving.


February 2010

The recipes for this month are from the second edition of Alan Jackson's cookbook titled "Who Says You Can't Cook It All". You can order the cookbook from www.AlanJackson.com.

ALAN'S FAVORITE CHICKEN SALAD

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 (46 ounce) can pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup toasted almonds
  • 1 cup craisins (optional)

Cook chicken, juice, vinegar and honey on low heat until tender, about one hour. Shred cooled chicken. Mix shredded chicken with toasted almonds and mayo. Salt and pepper to taste.

NISEY'S CHILI

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) can whole tomatoes, blended
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or more, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mustard

Brown ground beef and onions in large saucepan. Drain grease. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.

Then simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, approximately one hour until thick. If desired, add grated cheese

and/or sour cream before serving.

ALAN'S SOUTHERN STYLE CORNBREAD

  • 2 cups self-rising buttermilk corn meal
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix ingredients well. Coat 12-inch iron skillet with non-stick spray and a tablespoon of oil. Pour batter into skillet. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

BANANA PUDDING

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 2 large egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 bananas, sliced or smashed
  • Approximately 45 vanilla wafers

Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Heat condensed milk on medium heat. Add in flour, salt and milk, stirring constantly. Add in egg yolks and bring to a low boil. Heat until thick like pudding. Remove from heat, add in bananas and vanilla.

Line bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish with vanilla wafers. Slowly pour in pudding mixture. Line side and top of dish with remaining vanilla wafers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small metal bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar while beating. Spread over banana pudding. Bake until peaks are light brown, approximately 15 minutes.


January 2010

MEXICAN MEATBALLS

The use of no-fat milk and very lean ground beef makes this a low-calorie alternative to traditional party meatballs.

  • ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup no-fat milk
  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef (4 percent fat)
  • 1 envelope 30 percent less sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 egg white
  • Pepper
  • Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl, let soak for 2 minutes.
3. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Add pepper to taste. Mix well and then roll into 18 small balls. Place meatballs on a flat baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray.
4. Bake 30-40 minutes or until cooked, turning once. Serve hot or cold. Makes six servings.

KOREAN SPINACH SALAD

This delicious salad is a flavorful twist on the classic spinach salad, and the sweet and sour dressing is just right.

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Dash of pepper

 Salad:

  • ½ pound fresh spinach, torn
  • 1 cup canned bean sprouts
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Place the first six ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid; shake well. Chill until serving.

In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, sprouts and water chestnuts. Just before serving, shake dressing and pour over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with bacon and egg. Makes eight servings.

TWICE-BAKED SWEET POTATOES

Many cooks like these potatoes because they can be made ahead of time and they aren't overly sweet. Increasing the quantity is easy also.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes. Bake at 375 degrees for 1½ hours or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of each potato and discard. Scoop out the pulp, leaving thin shells.

In a small bowl, mash the pulp with cream cheese. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Spoon into potato shells. Sprinkle with pecans. Place on a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Makes two servings.

CHOCOLATE BOMBES

  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 16 mini candy bars (Snickers, Milky Way or 3 Musketeers)
  • 6 to 8 ounces of bar chocolate (without nuts)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Remove crescent rolls from package. Separate crescent rolls and cut each in half, creating two equal-sized triangles from each piece. Unwrap each of the mini candy bars. Place one candy bar in the middle of each triangle. Fold crescent roll over candy to create a bundle. Place each bundle onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake in oven for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.
3. While crescents are baking, melt bar chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave.
4. After removing the crescents from the oven, allow them to cool on baking sheet. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of each crescent. Serve immediately.


December 2009

The first two pie recipes below are courtesy of Nina Harman from Tionesta, PA. She included them in the "Harman Family Cookbook", a collection of recipes collected by her niece, Patti Wheeler of North East, PA. My friend Ron Harman (Nina'S son and Patti'S cousin) gave me a copy of the cookbook a few months ago. This fall I used the recipe for Banana Cream Pie below when they asked all of the Grand Ole Opry members to submit a pie recipe for the annual pie auction held during the Opry'S Birthday Celebration.

BANANA CREAM PIE

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Sliced bananas

1. Combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch in saucepan. Stir in milk and cook over medium-low heat until slightly thickened.
2. Combine a little of the hot mixture with beaten egg yolks, return to hot mixture and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
3. Stir in vanilla and butter and pour into baked pastry shell, lined with sliced bananas.
4. Top cooled filling with meringue made by beating egg whites with ½ cup sugar until soft enough to hold in peaks.
5. Brown in hot oven, 425 degrees, about 5 minutes.

PEACH CUSTARD PIE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter (heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Peaches

1. Blend ingredients with mixer.
2. Slice peaches and place in pie crust.
3. Pour mixture over peaches.
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.

QUICK-AND-EASY PEANUT BUTTER PIE

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 8-ounce carton whipping cream
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust
  • 2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts

1. Combine cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Beat well.
2. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream into peaks. Fold into first peanut butter mixture. Pour into crust. Sprinkle on peanuts. Chill 3 hours.

CARAMEL BANANA ICE CREAM PIE

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping, divided
  • 1 graham cracker crust (9 inch)
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant banana cream pudding mix
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1½ cups whipped topping
  • 1 English toffee candy bar (1.4 ounce), chopped

1. Spread ½ cup caramel topping into crust. In a large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Add ice cream; mix well. Spoon into prepared crust. Top with whipped topping. Drizzle with remaining caramel topping; sprinkle with chopped candy bar.
2. Cover and freeze for two hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.


November 2009

SQUASH DRESSING

This recipe was received from Mary Courts, who notes she doesn't normally care for squash, but will eat it cooked this way. She also adds that she uses 6-7 yellow squash and two boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix when she needs to make it for more people.

  •  3 cups cooked squash
  • 3 cups corn bread, crumbled
  • ½ stick margarine, melted
  • 1small onion, chopped
  • 1can cream of chicken soup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Slice squash and boil until tender. Drain. Measure 3 cups corn bread and mash well. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until done.

AU GRATIN POTATO CASSEROLE

This Au Gratin Potato Casserole recipe uses reduced-fat dairy products to trim the fat and calories from this creamy, satisfying comfort food. Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, niacin and minerals. Potatoes also contain good amounts of vitamins B6 and C, and the potato skin is rich in fiber and iron.

  • 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, not peeled (about 5 to 6 medium)
  • ½ cup very finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups fat-free skim milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, divided
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Scrub potatoes and remove eyes. Cut larger potatoes in half. Place potatoes in large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Cover pan and heat over high heat until water boils. Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool slightly.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11-by-7-inch (2-quart) casserole dish with nonstick spray coating.
3. Combine onion, garlic, flour, milk, salt and pepper in a medium, heavy saucepan. Whisk thoroughly, blending until the flour is completely dissolved. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until milk is bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in one tablespoon parsley and the cheddar cheese; stir until cheese is blended.
4. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and slice ½-inch thick. Place sliced potatoes in prepared casserole dish. Drizzle cheese sauce over potatoes, covering slices evenly and completely. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and golden. Sprinkle with remaining parsley just before serving. Makes 12 servings.

POTATO BACON CASSEROLE

  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt

1. In a greased 8-inch square baking dish, layer half of the potatoes, onion, bacon and cheese. Repeat layers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and seasoned salt; pour over potato mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Makes 8 servings.


October 2009

SPICED APPLE BUTTER WITH RAISINS

  • 8 medium apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups apple cider or juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 2½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel

1. In a large saucepan, combine apples, apple cider, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 1½ to 2 hours or until mixture reaches a thick, spreadable consistency, stirring often.
2. Remove from the heat. Stir in raisins and lemon peel. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yield: 4 cups.

OLD-FASHIONED APPLE DUMPLINGS

The syrup that is poured over the apple dumplings bakes into a delicious sauce. Eat the dumplings straight from the oven or warmed up.

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled butter
  • ½ cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 4 medium baking apples (such as Rome, Ida Red or Cortland), peeled and cored
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (optional)

Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. To prepare dumplings, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter, using your hands, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in milk and stir to form a dough. Add more flour if needed to make dough less sticky. Do not overwork. Divide dough in half. Roll out one half on a floured surface to about ½ inch thick. Cut into two 6-inch squares.
3. Cut off top and bottom of each apple to flatten. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
4. Mix together 4 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place one apple in center of each dough square. Fill cores with cranberries and a little sugar mixture. Generously sprinkle half the remaining sugar mixture on apples. Moisten the edges of pastry square with a finger dipped in cool water and bring corners together at the top of the apple. Press edges together to seal and pinch together any tears in the dough around the apple. Repeat with remaining dough and apples.
5. Place all four dumplings in a baking dish, one inch apart, and decorate with cut-outs made from leftover dough.
6. Combine syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat to cool slightly. Pour around dumplings and sprinkle with remaining two tablespoons sugar. Bake 45 minutes, until apples are tender and pastry is nicely browned. If pastry is browning too quickly, place foil over the top for the final 10 to 15 minutes of baking. Serves 4.

APPLE CREAM CRUMBLE

Crust:

  • 1½ cups cinnamon sugar graham crackers, crushed
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, mixing thoroughly. Sprinkle half of the crumb mixture in bottom of 8"x8"x2" cake pan. Alternate layers of ice cream and apple filling, ending with ice cream and crumbs on top. Freeze until firm. Makes 6 generous servings.


September 2009

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 pounds (approximately) cooked chicken

1. Cook the vegetables in the broth until tender. While they are cooking, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and milk to resemble a sticky biscuit dough.
2. Remove the cooked vegetables and set aside.
3. Bring the broth to a full boil and drop the dumplings in by tablespoons. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Uncover, add back the vegetables and chicken and heat through. Divide among soup bowls and serve at once. Makes 8 servings.

LOVELESS CAFE HASHBROWN CASSEROLE

  • 4 (12-ounce) bags shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (12-ounce) bags shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (12-ounce) container of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the potatoes, onion, cheese, soup, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Mix well, pour into a casserole dish, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is browned. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

BREAD PUDDING

  • 2 day-old French baguettes, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 banana, diced
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, place the bread cubes, raisins, apple, banana, and nuts and toss to combine. In a medium bowl with a whisk, combine the eggs, sugar, spices, vanilla, milk, and cream. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cube mixture and let sit 15 minutes. Pour into a 9 x 13 greased baking dish and bake for 45 minutes. To serve, spoon pudding into dish and top with vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 6 to 8.


August 2009

ASIAN SALAD WITH BERRIES AND GOAT CHEESE

Dressing:

  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai chili, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 4 cups mixed greens, such as arugula, red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, endive, and romaine
  • ½ cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 orange pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cups fresh berries, well rinsed and cut if necessary
  • 6 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small jar. Shake until well mixed. Chill until use. Assemble the salad in a large bowl. First mix together the greens, cucumber, and pepper. Gently toss in berries. Toss with dressing and top with goat cheese and chopped peanuts right before serving. Prep Time: 15 minutes. Servings: 4 dinner or 6 side salads.

STRAWBERRY MANGO SALAD

  • 2 cups spring mix salad greens
  • ½ cup chopped peeled mango
  • ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

In a serving bowl, combine the salad greens, mango, strawberries, and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with almonds. Yield: 2 servings.

COWBOY CORN BREAD

  • 2 cups biscuit/baking mix
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream

1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, butter, and cream; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Spread into a greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm. Yield: 12 servings.

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These cookies result in a soft, cake-like cookie that will remind you of banana bread.

  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon soda
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

1. Mix together dry ingredients.
2. Cream shortening with sugar and beat until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
3. Stir in vanilla and bananas alternately with dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Drop from teaspoon onto greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.


July 2009

GRILLED STUFFED PEPPERS

  • 3 large green peppers
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1½ pounds bulk Italian sausage
  • Additional shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Cut peppers in half lengthwise; remove stems and seeds. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the tomato, cheeses, basil, and oregano. Crumble sausage over mixture and mix well. Spoon into pepper halves.
2. Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place peppers over drip pan. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 30-35 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and peppers are tender. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

BAKED ITALIAN TOMATOES

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • ½ cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Halve and seed tomatoes; invert onto paper towels to drain. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over tomato halves. Transfer to a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 2 servings.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

  • 7 whole cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • Melted white chocolate

Filling:

  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 8 squares (1 ounce each) white baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • Strawberry Sauce:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ cups chopped fresh strawberries

1. In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 10-ince springform pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs and yolks. Beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in white chocolate. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until center is just set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool one hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
4. For sauce, in a large saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water until smooth. Add strawberries. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened. Cool.
5. Remove sides of springform pan. Spread strawberry sauce over top of cheesecake. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.

PEANUT BRITTLE

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Put the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large, heavy saucepan and cook over moderated heat, stirring only until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook to soft-ball stage (238 degrees). Add the peanuts and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches the hard-crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from heat and stir in the butter, baking soda, and vanilla.
2. Pour into a generously buttered, shallow 9-by-13 inch baking pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Cool completely. When hardened and completely cooled, break into irregular 2-inch pieces and store immediately in a tightly sealed airtight container. Makes about 2 pounds of brittle.


June 2009

ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN AND MUSHROOM MARSALA

This one-pot dish has the flavor profile of classic veal Marsala but requires less prep work. It can be made with any types of mushrooms; Oyster, Portobello, and tree ear varieties are particularly good. Serve with steamed asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, or sauteed summer squash and rice.

Using a large shallow nonstick braiser works best here, but a roasting pan or a deep saucepan that'S ovenproof also can be used.

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ to 2 pounds pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, stemmed and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • ½ cup dry Marsala (Sicilian dessert wine)
  • ½ cup low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat in a large braiser, deep saucepan, or heavy roasting pan large enough to hold all the ingredients.
3. Season the trimmed tenderloins all over with salt and pepper, then add to the pan. (If the tenderloins are a little long for the pan, cut them in half cross-wise.) Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, turning the tenderloins halfway through, so that they are browned on the bottom and top. Use tongs to transfer them to a large plate. They will not be cooked through.
4. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the onion. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the onions start to soften around the edges. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
5. Return the pork tenderloins to the pan, which will be a little crowded, then place the pan in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the tenderloins registers 160 degrees.
6. Use tongs to transfer the tenderloins to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
7. Return the pan with the mushrooms and onions to the stove over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pan juices have almost evaporated. Add the Marsala and broth; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.
8. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into several small pieces and add to the pan in several additions, stirring as the butter melts. Taste and add seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat.
9. Cut the tenderloins crosswise into thin slices and divide among individual plates. Top with a portion of the mushroom sauce and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve immediately. Makes six servings, 294 calories per serving.

MINNIE PEARL'S CHESS PIE

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbaked (8-inch) pie shell

Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter melts, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs; whisk the eggs into the hot mixture. Whisk in the vinegar, vanilla, and salt.

Spoon into pie shell and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.


May 2009

SWISS-ONION POTATO BAKE

  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (30 ounces) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

1. In a small skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, and onion mixture.
2. Transfer to a greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Pour over potato mixture.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

APPLE DUMPLINGS

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cinnamon
  • 1 cup 7-Up soda

1. Unroll crescent dough and separate into eight triangles.
2. In the center of each triangle place one or two pieces of the apple. Wrap dough around apple piece.
3. Place in a greased baking dish. Pour melted butter over the dumplings.
4 .Mix together sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dumplings to taste. Cover with 7-Up.
5 .Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes

You can also wrap whole apples, peeled and cored, in crescent dough to make a more generous dessert.


April 2009

ASPARAGUS AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

  • 3 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry and chopped
  • ½ cup minced fresh basil

1. Place asparagus in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the broth, oil, lemon peel, and salt.
3. Transfer asparagus to a serving platter. Drizzle with butter mixture. Sprinkle with pepper, then top with tomatoes and basil. Yield: 12 servings.

CREME BRULEE

This recipe makes 5 servings, and has a prep time of 10 minutes. The cooking time is 50 minutes, plus 2 to 5 minutes to broil. The chill time is 1 hour or longer.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure bourbon vanilla extract
  • 10 teaspoons brown sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Scald cream using a double boiler, if available. Whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Temper the eggs by mixing 2 tablespoons of hot cream into the yolk mixture. Stir the tempered yolks into the cream. Strain cream and evenly divide the mixture between 5 broil-safe ramekins. Place ramekins in a 1-inch waterbath. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until set. Remove ramekins from waterbath and cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Refrigerate a minimum of one hour. Just before serving, sprinkle 2 teaspoons brown sugar evenly over each ramekin. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat for 2 to 5 minutes until sugar is melted. Serve immediately. For a crunchy topping, use a kitchen torch to brown the topping.


March 2009

This recipe for Chicken Scaloppini was given to me by my neighbor, Richard Tomlin, who is a very good cook.  If you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share, please email it to me and I’ll add it here to the website…and, of course, I’ll provide credit for the recipe.

CHICKEN SCALOPPINI

You’ll need chicken tenders or chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)….the amount depends on the number of servings you want.

Place chicken between plastic wrap and flatten.  Use either a rolling pin or one of those fancy flatteners you get at Williams and Sonoma….I prefer these.

Make a marinade of beaten eggs (one or two) and milk.  Soak flattened chicken in marinade for at least 1-2 hours.  Drain and roll in Italian breadcrumbs.  Fry in Olive Oil or bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Place fresh lemon slices on top for decoration.

Serve with side of pasta.  Or, if you’re not a pasta eater, try the Birds Eye Steam in Bag vegetables or rice mixture.  OR…..whatever you’re hungry for at the moment.

This is an easy and fairly quick meal.

FROZEN TIRAMISU

  • 2 packages soft ladyfingers (3 ounces each)
  • ½ cup coffee liqueur or strong brewed coffee
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 container (1½ quart) coffee flavored ice cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup thawed frozen whipped topping or 1 cup fresh whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom and sides with ladyfingers. Brush with coffee liqueur. Freeze at least 20 minutes. (If you don't have a springform pan, use a 9-inch cake pan lined with plastic wrap instead.)
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the melted chocolate with sweetened condensed milk. Chill 10 minutes. Into prepared pan, scoop ½ of the coffee ice cream, pressing to form an even layer. Evenly top with chocolate mixture. Scoop in remaining ice cream, pressing to form an even layer. Cover and freeze 5 hours or overnight.
3. To serve, remove ring from pan and arrange cake on serving platter. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer. Fold in whipped topping. Evenly spread over ice cream layer, then sprinkle with cocoa powder.


February 2009

First, here'S some information about Sorghum – a sweet Southern tradition:

An old-fashioned sweetener, sorghum syrup is the primary product made when the extracted juice from the sorghum plant is boiled down. Sorghum was the principle form of sweetening in North America'S Colonial times, and it remained America'S primary sweetener right up to the beginning of the 20th century when sugar use began to rise. The syrup retains many of the plant'S nutrients including calcium, protein, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. Sorghum syrup and molasses are not the same thing. Molasses is a by-product of the sugar-making process, and has no nutritional value and a very simple sweet taste.

On the other hand, sorghum has a very complicated flavor as opposed to being very sweet. The Sorghum Pecan Bar recipe below is a perfect way to showcase its flavor. The bars taste more like an exotic treat from another country rather than an American dessert, which tend to be straight-ahead and simply sweet. The bars call for a lot of sorghum so you really get to experience the full flavors of sorghum at its best. (Do not try to substitute molasses, honey, or sugar for the sorghum syrup.) Sorghum can be stored just like honey.

SORGHUM PECAN BARS

Bars:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup Tennessee sorghum syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Tennessee sorghum syrup
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • Toasted pecan halves for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 by 8 baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda. In a large bowl, blend sugar and butter to form a grainy paste. Add syrup, egg, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Add flour mixture and pecans. Blend at low speed just until combined. Pour batter into a baking pan and smooth top with spatula. Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add brown sugar and sorghum, beating until smooth. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners sugar, mixing until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled bars; cut and garnish each with a toasted pecan half. Yield: 12-16 bars.

WALNUT COFFEE CAKE

Don't let the brown sugar, cinnamon, and rich, crunchy walnuts fool you. This cake recipe is actually on the light side, with less fat and about 100 fewer calories than its full-fat counterpart. Make sure to chop the walnuts (or pecans, if you prefer) to the size of small peas so they’re evenly distributed in the cake. This recipe makes 16 servings.

  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour (about 14½ ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups nonfat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
4. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add egg substitute, beat 3 minutes or until combined. Beat in vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping sides of bowl. Spoon half of batter into a 10-inch Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of brown sugar mixture evenly over batter; spoon remaining half of batter into pan. Top with remaining brown sugar mixture.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.


January 2009

BANANA PUDDING BITES

The banana pudding should be made a day ahead so it can set, but of course you can purchase already prepared banana pudding from the deli section of your grocer. This recipe makes about 3 dozen.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 box vanilla wafers, divided
  • 16 ounces confectionary coating, candy-quality white chocolate or almond bark
  • Assorted sprinkles, if desired

1. Mix together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy saucepan. Stir in the milk. Over low heat, stir constantly for 10-12 minutes until slightly thickened.
2. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually stir about one-quarter of hot mixture into the yolks to temper the eggs. Add this back to the hot mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.
4. Line a baking dish with 12-15 wafers. Top with half of sliced bananas and pour half of the custard mixture on top. Repeat layers. Let stand overnight.
5. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
6. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, place rounded spoonfuls of pudding onto the parchment paper about 1 inch apart. Place cookie sheet in freezer for 20 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, crush about 2 cups worth of vanilla wafer crumbs.
8. Remove puddings from freezer. Working quickly, dip each pudding scoop into the crumbs, rounding into a ball shape between your palms. Return balls to freezer for 30 minutes, or overnight if preferred.
9. Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Remove from heat. Using a fork and working quickly, dip each pudding ball into the chocolate, coating thoroughly. If using sprinkles, decorate immediately after dipping, as shell will harden quickly.
10. Store pudding balls in refrigerator. Set out at room temperature an hour or two before serving.

ROASTED RED PEPPER, FETA AND ARTICHOKE DIP

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) jars of artichokes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 4-6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix mayonnaise and cream cheese until blended. Add roasted red peppers, artichokes, seasonings, and feta cheese. Place in a casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Serve with crackers and French bread. Serves 12-15.


December 2008

MARTHA WHITE CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

Cupcakes

  • 2 (7.4 ounce) packages Martha White Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 12 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Frosting

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In large bowl, combine all cupcake ingredients except peanut butter cups. Stir just until blended.
2. Fill muffin cups about ¾ full. Press peanut butter cup into center of each until even with batter.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edge of cupcake springs back when lightly touched.
4. Cool in pan 10 minutes; place on wire rack; cool completely.
5. Cream together peanut butter and butter. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and milk to spreading consistency. Spread over cool cupcakes.


November 2008

HONEY OAT GRANOLA BARS

You can add any of your favorite flavors to this recipe like coconut, chocolate or differently flavored chips, nuts or dried fruits.

  • 4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup sunflower kernels
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, peanuts, chocolate chips and sunflower kernels. Stir in the butter, honey and vanilla until combined (mixture will be crumbly). Press into a greased parchment paper-lined 15 inch x 10 inch x 1 inch baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Cool completely before removing from pan. Makes three dozen bars.

ORIENTAL COLESLAW SALAD

  • ½ cup oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 packages beef flavor Ramen noodles
  • 1 cup silvered almonds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 package coleslaw mix
  • 2 bunches scallions

1. For the dressing: Combine oils, sugar, vinegar and both beef flavor packets from the Ramen noodles and whisk. Refrigerate.
2. For the salad: Break apart noodles into bite-sized pieces.
3. Toast noodle pieces, almonds and sunflower seeds. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Slice scallions and add to the coleslaw mix.
5. Toss salad, dressing and noodle mixture just prior to serving. Makes 10 servings and tastes great in a wrap.


October 2008

BEEF KABOBS WITH PARMESAN ORZO

Kabobs:

  • 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian dressing
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

Parmesan Orzo:

  • 1 cup orzo pasta, cooked
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Soak eight 8-inch bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Cut beef into 1 inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss beef and bell peppers with basil, dressing, and garlic. Alternately thread beef and peppers onto skewers, and place on grill over medium heat. Grill uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, or to desired doneness, turning occasionally. In a medium bowl, toss orzo with Parmesan and olive oil. Serve beef kabobs on a bed of orzo.


September 2008

HONEY SPICE-RUBBED PORK TENDERLOIN

  • 1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
  • ½ cup Catalina Dressing, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush meat with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Mix dry ingredients; rub onto meat. Place in baking pan. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons dressing and the honey; set aside.

Bake 15 minutes; brush with dressing mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cooked through (160 degrees). Remove meat from oven; cover with foil. Let stand five minutes before slicing. Makes four servings.

To make this on the grill, start by preheating it to medium heat. Prepare meat as directed, rubbing with spice mixture. Place meat on grill; cover grill with lid. Grill 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush with some of the honey mixture. Continue grilling five to ten minutes or until meat is cooked through (160 degrees), turning and brushing frequently with honey mixture. Let stand, covered with foil, for five minutes before slicing.

HIS ‘N’ HERS DEVILED EGGS

The following recipe is from Trisha Yearwood'S cookbook titled Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours. Trisha says that both she and Garth grew up eating different versions of this dish, so she included both varieties in her book.

12 large eggs

His Filling

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • salt and pepper to taste

Her Filling

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika for garnish

Place the eggs in a medium saucepan with water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pan and let stand for 20 minutes.
Pour off the hot water and refill the saucepan with cold water. Crack the eggshells all over and let them sit in the cold water for five minutes. Peel the eggs, cover and chill for at least one hour.
Halve the eggs lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and transfer them to a small bowl.
Mash the yolks with a fork, then stir in the filling ingredients of your choice. Add salt and pepper.
Scoop a spoonful of the mixture into each egg white half. Sprinkle the tops with paprika.


August 2008

PARMESAN PORK MEDALLIONS

  • ½ pound pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Cut pork into four slices; flatten to ¼ inch thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add pork, one slice at a time, and turn to coat.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook pork in oil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove and keep warm.

Add onion and garlic to the pan; cook and stir until tender. Serve over pork. Yields two servings.

SUCCOTASH SALAD

  • 2 quarts water
  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen shelled beans, such as butterbeans, baby limas or lady cream peas (about 1½ pounds unshelled)
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, skinned, seeded and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add corn, return to a boil and boil vigorously for two minutes. Using tongs, transfer the corn to a colander. Place it beneath a stream of cold water to halt the cooking. Set it aside. Add the beans to the corn cooking water, return to a boil and boil vigorously until the beans are soft, 13 to 18 minutes. Strain the beans in a colander and place them beneath a stream of cold water for one minute to halt the cooking. Set them aside.

Cut the corn from the cobs, making sure to scrape the cobs up and down with the edge of a spoon to remove the juicy bits still adhering to them. Place the corn kernels and corn juice in a large bowl and add the beans, tomatoes and basil. Stir gently to combine. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil and mustard until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.

Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to four hours. Toss every 30 minutes to make certain the flavors meld evenly, and toss once again before serving. Makes six servings.


July 2008

RED POTATO AND PARSLEY SALAD

  • 1½ cups diced red potatoes with skin on, cut in ½-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon very finely minced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon very finely minced garlic, mashed to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes, salt and enough water to cover potatoes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring them to a boil and let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender, and not falling apart. Put ice cubes in a bowl of cold water and set aside. Drain the potatoes. Rinse with cold water and immerse the potatoes in ice water to stop the cooking.

When the potatoes are cold, drain them and place them on paper towels to absorb the excess water. Combine the parsley, onion, garlic, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add the potatoes and toss. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled. Makes four servings.


June 2008

This recipe was provided to me by my granddaughter, Anita Simpson.

24 HOUR SLAW

Place in bowl:

  • 1 large head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced in thin rings
  • 1 medium jar diced pimentos, drained
  • Do not stir (keep layered).

Dressing:

  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

Mix together, then boil for 2 minutes. Pour over slaw and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

EASY ITALIAN MEATLOAF

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 package (6 ounces) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1½ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients except ½ cup each of the spaghetti sauce and cheese. Shape into loaf in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 50 minutes. Top with remaining ½ cup spaghetti sauce and remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until loaf is cooked through (160 degrees). Makes 8 servings.

You can use this same recipe to make mini meatloaves by shaping the meat mixture into four 5x3½-inch loaves.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Top with remaining sauce and cheese as directed.  Bake an additional 5 minutes or until loaves are cooked through (160 degrees).  Eat one and freeze the others for up to three months.

ROASTED NEW POTATOES WITH BACON & CHEESE

  • ½ cup light ranch reduced fat dressing
  • ½ cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup real bacon bits
  • 2 pounds small red unpeeled potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dressing, cheese, and bacon bits in large bowl. Add potatoes, toss lightly. Spoon into lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with parsley. (You can substitute chopped fresh rosemary in place of the parsley.) Makes eight servings, 2/3 cup each.


May 2008

SPINACH-STUFFED BAKED SALMON

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup chopped roasted bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • cooking spray
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each) rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for two minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the bell peppers, basil and walnuts. Let cool for five minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful not to cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant ½ cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and the filling is warmed through. Serves four.

TRIPLE-LAYER BANANA CREAM PIE BARS

  • 1½ cups crushed Nilla Wafers (about 60 wafers)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 2 packages (4-serving size each) vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling
  • 2½ cups thawed Cool Whip whipped topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix wafer crumbs, pecans, and butter in 13x9-inch baking dish; press firmly onto bottom of dish. Bake 8 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Top crust with banana slices. Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk for two minutes or until well blended. Spoon two cups of the pudding over banana layer.

Gently stir one cup of the whipped topping into remaining pudding; spoon over pie. Top with remaining 1½ cups whipped topping. Refrigerate three hours. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 16 servings, one piece each.


April 2008

SIMPLY LASAGNA

In this version of the Italian favorite, the noodles are cooked right in the sauce to keep things easy.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, mix egg, 1½ cups of the mozzarella cheese, the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, and the parsley until well blended. Set aside.

Drain meat and return to skillet. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Add water to empty sauce jar; cover with lid and shake well. Add to meat mixture; stir until well blended. Spread 1 cup of the sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; top with layers of 3 lasagna noodles, one-third of the ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of the sauce. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining 3 noodles and the remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1½ cups mozzarella cheese and remaining ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Cover with greased foil.

Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake an additional 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting to serve. Makes 12 servings, 1 piece each.

EASY CREAMY BAKED ASPARAGUS

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
  • ½ cup Peppercorn ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup coarsely crushed Ritz Cheese Crackers (about 12 crackers)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook asparagus in simmering water in large skillet two to three minutes or until bright green, but still crisp; drain. Toss asparagus with dressing in 1½ - to 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and cracker crumbs. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and mixture is heated through. Makes four servings.

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

These nutritious treats are really popular with children. They can even help make them.

  • 3 cups raw oatmeal
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup bran
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins, nuts and/or dates (optional)

1. Mix honey and peanut butter until smooth.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients
3. Shape into balls, about 1½ to 2 inches.
4. Refrigerate if you want to serve chilled. Otherwise, serve at room temperature.

You can substitute one cup of regular or chocolate soy protein mix for one cup of oats. Other additions could include chopped coconut, Rice Krispies or Honey Bunches of Oats.


March 2008

ROASTED MUSHROOM SALAD

Research has shown that mushrooms have hidden anti-cancer activity and may stimulate immune function. Add red bell pepper'S Vitamin C, olive oil'S good fat, and the antioxidants in basil and garlic for a very healthful salad.

  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup fresh basil or mint leaves, torn
  • ½ cup pine nuts, roasted
  • 4 large leaves Boston lettuce

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Spread on large baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Drain off liquid. Cool slightly. In a bowl, combine mushrooms, red pepper, basil or mint, and pine nuts.

Whisk together dressing ingredients; toss into mushroom mixture. Place lettuce on 4 salad plates and spoon mushroom mixture on top. Serves 4. 179 calories per serving, 5g protein.

JACK DANIEL'S BREAD PUDDING

This recipe is from Elaine Taubin, executive chef at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville.

  • 8 ounces milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 2 ounces sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Jack Daniels
  • 6 ounces bread
  • 2 ounces butter, melted
  • 2 ounces raisins, optional
  • 4 ounces caramel sauce
  • 2 ounces pecans, toasted

Combine milk, eggs, yolk, sugar, vanilla, and Jack Daniels. Mix well. Cut bread into cubes and drizzle with butter. Place in oven until toasted. Combine milk mixture and bread with raisins, fill buttered custard cups. Bake in water bath at 325 degrees for approximately 35 minutes or until custard has set up. Remove from water bath, top with pecans and caramel sauce. Makes four servings.


February 2008

NO CREAM CREAMY BROCCOLI SOUP

When you blend Minute White Rice into this soup recipe, you get delicious creamy taste and texture without the fat and calories of cream.

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cans (14½ ounce each) chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 small bunches fresh broccoli, trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths (about 4½ cups)
  • ½ cup Minute Premium White Rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook and stir carrots, onion, and celery in hot oil in large saucepot on medium-high heat 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and water; stir. Bring to a boil. Stir in broccoli and rice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.

Add soup, in batches, to blender or food processor container; cover. Blend until pureed. Return soup puree to pot. Add milk and cheese; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Makes 8 servings, 1 cup each.

PERFECT CRAB CAKES WITH GREEN ONIONS

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion tops
  • ½ teaspoon Chesapeake seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • ½ teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
  • 1 pound lump or backfin crabmeat, drained and picked over for shells
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 10 saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Mix egg, mayonnaise, green onions, Old Bay seasoning, and hot sauce in a small bowl unto mayo is completely incorporated, then set aside. Lightly break up crabmeat in a medium bowl. Add milk; toss gently to coat. Add crushed saltines; toss gently to combine. Add egg mixture; gently toss, once again, to combine. Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, scoop up a portion of crab, forming mixture into a very compact cake. Repeat to make 8 cakes (can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 8 hours ahead).

About 10 minutes before serving, heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Carefully add crab cakes; saute, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.


January 2008

MUSTARD-CRUSTED SALMON

This recipe makes two servings and is great served with a wild rice pilaf and a green vegetable.

  • 3½ teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 salmon filets (6 ounces each)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup soft bread crumbs

In a blender, combine the vinegar, sugar, and mustards; cover and process until smooth. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Place salmon, skin side down, in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Spread mustard mixture over filets; gently press bread crumbs on top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.


December 2007

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

  • 4 (4 ounce) cubed steaks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4½ cups milk, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooking oil

Sprinkle steaks with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.  Set aside.  Combine crackers, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, red pepper and baking powder.

Whisk together ½ cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker mixture, dip in milk, and dredge again in cracker mixture.

Pour oil in 12 inch skillet (not non-stick....buy you can use an electric skillet). Heat to 360 degrees. Fry steaks 2 to 3 minutes, turn and fry another 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Remove to wire rack and keep warm in 225 degree oven. Drain oil from pan, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon oil in skillet.
Whisk together remaining 4 cups milk, ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add to reserved drippings in skillet, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve over steaks and mashed potatoes.

GERMAN POTATO SALAD

This recipe (passed on by Jean Wood of River Forest, IL) has a prep time of 15 minutes and a cooking time of 25 minutes.  It yields 8 servings but can be easily doubled or tripled for a crowd.

  • 6 to 7 medium red potatoes
  • ½ half pound bacon
  • 1 pasteurized egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.  Heat to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook, partially covered, until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes.  Drain, set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large skillet.  Cook, turning occasionally, over medium heat, until bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels.  Turn off the heat.  Discard all but two tablespoons of the bacon drippings.

Peel and slice potatoes and set aside. Beat together the egg, vinegar, salt, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir into the reserved bacon fat in the skillet. Add the onion and potatoes and toss mixture together lightly. Add bacon and chopped parsley; toss.


November 2007

GOAT CHEESE DROP BISCUITS

  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 4 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Extra butter to grease pan and top biscuits
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one 10-inch iron skillet into the oven while it is preheating. Place flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl. Cut in the butter and goat cheese. Make a well in the middle of ingredients and pour in the milk. Stir until just moistened, adding extra tablespoons of milk if needed.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and place 1 tablespoon of butter into it. When the butter is melted, drop ½ cupfuls into the pan. Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake until browned, top and bottom....about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


October 2007

PUMPKIN SPICE FROSTED SNACK CAKE

Enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin pie in this sweet and perfectly spiced cake. Each bite is lusciously moist!

  • 1 package (2-layer size) spice cake mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip dressing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package (16 ounces) powdered sugar (about 4 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan; set aside. Beat cake mix, pumpkin, dressing and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 32 to 35 minutes or until wooded toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition until well blended. Spread over cooled cake. Cut into pieces to serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 24 servings, 1 piece each.

PUMPKIN ICE CREAM PIE

  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 16-ounce can pumpkin
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 9-inch graham-cracker crumb pie shell
  • sweetened whipped cream and nuts for topping

In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, pumpkin, milk, and spice. Mix with an electric mixer at low speed for about one minute, until well blended. Add ice cream, about a fourth at a time, and beat until mixed. Spoon into pie shell; wrap tightly to prevent freezer burn and freeze. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before slicing. Let stand another 30 minutes before serving, or place in refrigerator up to two hours before serving.


September 2007

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

In October of 2005 we included a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes, but the one below is different.  My father loved them and so do I….hope you do as well.

  • 3 green tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

Wash and slice tomatoes into approximately ¼ slices.  Mix buttermilk and eggs in a mixing bowl. Add half the salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of flour.  Mix well.  Place tomatoes slices in buttermilk and egg mix.  Preheat oil to 350 degrees in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) or electric skillet.  Mix the remaining flour, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Toss in tomato slices.  Place in the oil and fry till medium brown, turning two or three times. Cook to desired crispness and drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately….alone or with your favorite sauce.


August 2007

My oldest sister, Louise, lived in Independence, Missouri. Every time I'd visit we'd go for lunch at a place called the Apple Barn. This was one of their specialties.

GREEN RICE CASSEROLE

  • 1½ cup uncooked instant rice
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1-10½ can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2-4 ounce cans chopped green chilies, undrained
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup American cheese, shredded

Cook rice according to directions on box. In a mixing bowl combine the cooked rice, sour cream, soup, chilies, and salt. Stir to blend. Lightly butter a 9X13 baking dish. Pour in half of the rice mixture. Combine the cheeses and sprinkle half over the rice. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Serves six to eight. Great side dish.


July 2007

I made these several years ago and liked them so much I saved the recipe. They're great with the sauces I included below.

CRAB AND SCALLOP CAKES

  • 1 pound bay scallops, drained
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded and diced
  • 2 pounds fresh, lump crabmeat, drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • Red pepper sauce
  • Yellow pepper sauce
  • Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges

Process Scallops in food processor till chopped. Add cream and next four ingredients. Process till combined, scraping sides often. Combine scallop mixture, onions, and tomatoes. Fold in crabmeat. Cover and chill at least two hours. Shape mixture into patties (approximately ½ cup each). Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add cakes and cook, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until medium brown.

RED PEPPER SAUCE

  • 2 Large red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Combine mixture in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Process mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve warm. For yellow pepper sauce just substitute yellow bell peppers for red bell peppers.

Another suggestion; I have served these over fresh greens with one of the sauces. Makes a great main dish salad.

Here'S another recipe I came across that sounds really good.

SPICY DIJON MARINATED GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Make a marinade with the last six ingredients. Mix well. Place chicken breast in mixing bowl. Pour marinade over chicken breast and refrigerate for two hours. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken breast on grill and cook until nicely browned and until internal temperature is 170 degrees. Serves four.


June 2007

BLACKBERRY ZINFANDEL GLAZED RIBEYE

Recently I was in my hometown of West Plains, Missouri, and had dinner at Cafe 37, a great upscale restaurant located at 37 Court Square. I was very hungry and ordered this wonderful ribeye. The marinade was created by general manager and chef, Bruce Carr. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

  • One small jar of blackberry jam, homemade if you have it
  • Red zinfandel wine
  • Beef stock
  • 10 ounce ribeye steaks (depends on how many you are serving)

Mix the jam with the jam jar's worth of red zinfandel and a small can of beef stock. Bring to a simmer on stove, then let cool. Marinade the steaks for at least two hours but no more than 6 hours ahead of time. Grill to order.

COCONUT PECAN CHICKEN

These nutty chicken fingers are a crunchy treat with lots of flavor, high protein, antioxidants in the nuts, and low saturated fat. This is a great alternative to deep-fried chicken.

  • 1½ cups plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1½ pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch-wide strips

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put yogurt in a small bowl and set aside. In a shallow pie plate, combine coconut, panko, and pecans. Dip chicken strips in yogurt to cover, then roll in panko mixture. Place strips on an oil-sprayed baking sheet. Spray top of chicken. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 more minutes. Check that coating browns but does not burn. If desired, broil 2 minutes for an even crunchier top. Makes six servings.


May 2007

BREEZY BURRITO BANANAS FOSTER

  • 9 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tequila or dark rum (optional)
  • 3 flour tortillas (10-inch or burrito-style)
  • 2 large bananas, peeled, cut in coins
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • Toothpicks, for securing tortillas
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups premium vanilla ice cream

In a small saucepan, bring 6 tablespoons of brown sugar and the butter and water to a boil. Stir in liquor (optional); simmer to blend flavors about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place one flour tortilla on a work surface. Place 1/3 of the banana slices just below the center, forming the fruit into a log; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon walnuts. Fold both sides of the tortilla over the filling, then fold bottom of the tortilla over the filling and roll it over to form a packet. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat with remaining tortillas, bananas, sugar, and nuts. (You can make ahead to this point and hold at room temperature for 1 hour.)

Meanwhile, warm oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Add all three stuffed tortillas. Fry, turning once, until golden brown (about 2 minutes on each side). Transfer to paper towels, lightly blot surface oil, remove toothpicks and halve on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Spoon 1 tablespoon butter sauce in the bottom of each of six shallow bowls. Place half a tortilla and ½ cup of ice cream in each pool of sauce. Drizzle with remaining sauce and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.


April 2007

BREAD PUDDING WITH BUTTER SAUCE

  • 2 slices white bread, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Butter Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon, optional

Divide bread cubes and raisins between two greased 8-ounce ramekins or custard cups. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, water, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over bread mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the sugar, egg yolk, and water. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir in bourbon if desired. Serve warm with bread pudding. Yield: Two servings.


March 2007

I made several loaves of this special banana bread and gave them to friends. It's the best banana bread I've ever tasted. I hope you agree. I toasted a slice just this morning for breakfast - delicious!

DOUBLE BANANA BREAD

  • 1½ cups of flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1½ cups Post Banana Crunch Cereal
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first five ingredients in large bowl. Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add bananas, oil and water. Mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Stir in cereal and walnuts.
This can be baked in four miniature loaf pans or one or two regular loaf pans, depending on how thick you want the loaves to be.

BANANA PUDDING SQUARES

These scrumptious squares allow you to savor the delicious flavor of banana cream pie. The special ingredients save 80 calories and 13g fat per serving.

  • 20 reduced fat Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
  • 3 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, softened (this is 1/3 less fat than cream cheese)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tub (8 ounces) Cool Whip Free whipped topping, thawed
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 3 cups fat free milk
  • 2 packages (4-serving size each) Jello-O Vanilla Flavor Fat-Free Sugar-Free Instant Reduced Calorie
  • Pudding & Pie Filling
  • ½ square Baker'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, grated

Mix wafers and margarine. Press firmly onto bottom of 13x9-inch dish.

Mix Neufchatel cheese and powdered sugar with wooden spoon until well blended. Gently stir in 1½ cups of the whipped topping. Spoon mixture evenly onto crust and spread carefully. Cut bananas in half crosswise, then cut each piece lengthwise in half. Arrange bananas over Neufchatel cheese mixture.

Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk two minutes. Spoon over bananas. Spread with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate. Refrigerate at least three hours before serving. Makes 24 servings. Each serving is 120 calories and 5g fat (sat. 2.5g).


February 2007

I'd like to claim this recipe but I can't.  It was featured on the front page of a “Southern Living” magazine.  I made it at Christmas and took it my friends, Bobby and Jeannie Bare.  They gave it rave reviews and said "don't lose the recipe".  It takes some effort to make….but it’s well worth it.

LEMON-COCONUT CAKE

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Lemon Filling (see separate ingredients below)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (see separate ingredients below)
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut

Beat butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time...beat till blended after each addition. Combine flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; fold in third of egg whites into batter. Fold in remaining egg whites till blended. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack ten minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on racks. Spread Lemon filling between layers. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top and sides with coconut.

Lemon Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan; whisk in boiling water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar and cornstarch dissolve. Gradually whisk about 1/4 of hot mixture into egg yolks; add to remaining hot sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in lemon rind and juice. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in butter; let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixture until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed till blended; stir in vanilla.


January 2007

This next recipe was submitted by Nina Harman from Tionesta, PA. This recipe works great and is fun for when all your family or friends gather together. Everyone gets involved in the process and it'S a great conversation piece. The best part is that no one has to wait for their own special omelet!

ZIPLOC OMELET

  • After all of your guests have arrived for this meal, have each of them write their name with a permanent marker on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag.
  • Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large, but not more than two) into the bag and shake to combine them.
  • Put out a variety of ingredients such as cheeses, ham, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, hash browns, salsa, etc.
  • Each guest adds the prepared ingredients of their choice to their Ziploc bag and then shakes the bag.
  • Make sure to get the air out of each bag and zip it up.
  • Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water.
  • Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed!
  • These omelets are nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake.

PRIZE-WINNING CHILI RECIPE

  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large can tomato sauce, 16 ounces
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, 12 ounces
  • 1 jar mild picante sauce, 16 ounces
  • 8 ounces dried kidney beans soaked overnight
  • 8 ounces dried pinto beans soaked overnight
  • 8 ounces dried white beans soaked overnight
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoon original Mrs. Dash
  • Salt to taste, about 1-2 teaspoons
  • ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 2½ - 3 tablespoons chili powder, to taste

Chop the onion and bell pepper and sauté in the bacon grease.   Brown the ground beef, and add the cooked onion and bell pepper to this.  Add the minced garlic, sauces, ketchup, and crushed tomatoes (water to add some liquid, maybe a cup).  Bring to simmer.  Add the spices and 1/3 of the chili powder.  Add 1/3 chili powder after 2 hours cooking.  Add the remaining chili powder about 1 hour before finished cooking.  Total cooking time is about 5 hours on simmer.

That’s it.  Of course if you like hotter chili, add more black pepper, cayenne pepper, or chili powder.  For more tomato favor add small can of tomato paste and a bit of water.


December 2006

CINNAMON APPLE DUMPLINGS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 medium baking apples
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Half-and-half cream

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red-hot candies, or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Additional half-and-half cream (optional)

In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With a fork, stir in water until dough forms a ball. Roll out on a floured surface to a 14-inch x 7-inch rectangle; cut pastry in half.

Peel and core apples; place one on each square of pastry. Combine sugar and cinnamon; spoon into apples. Moisten edges of pastry and gather around apples; pinch and seal. Place dumplings in an ungreased 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan or a shallow 1½ quart baking dish. Brush with cream.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, red-hots, cornstarch, water and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently; boil for 2 minutes. Pour between dumplings. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender. Serve warm with cream if desired. Makes two servings.

BEST-EVER MEAT LOAF

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 slices bread, torn
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, thyme or sage, optional
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef

Topping:

  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Add milk and bread; let stand until liquid is absorbed.  Stir in the onion, carrot, cheese and seasonings.  Crumble the beef over mixture and mix well.  Shape into a 7½-inch x 3½-inch x 2½-inch loaf in a shallow baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Combine the topping ingredients; spoon half of the mixture over meat loaf.  Bake 30 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees, occasionally spooning remaining topping over loaf.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Makes six servings.


November 2006

APPLE PECAN CHEESECAKE

This recipe combines the taste of creamy cheesecake, sweet apples, crunchy pecans, and the perfect touch of cinnamon.

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups chopped peeled apples (about 3 medium)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Mix crumbs, butter, and two tablespoons brown sugar; press firmly onto bottom of pan.

Beat cream cheese, one cup of the brown sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust. Mix remaining ½ cup brown sugar, the apples, pecans, and cinnamon; spoon evenly over cheesecake batter.

Bake 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate four hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Lift cheesecake from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 16 pieces. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

SALMON CROQUETTES

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless cooked salmon
  • 1½ cups mashed potatoes
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Tarter sauce, for serving

Flake salmon into a large bowl. Add potatoes, peas, lemon zest, mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix well, then use your hands to form into eight patties. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate. Set each patty into the breadcrumbs, flipping to coat both sides. Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Two or three at a time, set the patties in the skillet and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Serve with tarter sauce.


October 2006

This next recipe comes from friend Ann Allen in Sevierville, Tennessee.

PEACH BRULEE

  • 8 canned peach halves with juice
  • One quarter cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
  • One quarter cup orange liqueur
  • One quarter cup brown sugar
  • Whipped cream
  • Toasted almonds

Place peaches in a saucepan with butter, juice from peaches and cinnamon, then simmer for 10 minutes. In a blender, combine raspberries, orange liqueur and brown sugar and puree. Place peaches in individual serving bowls with some of the butter sauce in each bowl. Pour raspberry sauce over peaches and top with whipped cream and toasted almonds.

The Skinny: Use fat free whipped topping. You can also use fresh peaches in this recipe. If using fresh peaches, add some liquid to the pan with the butter and cinnamon, such as peach or apple juice, and simmer until peaches are just tender.


September 2006

This recipe is courtesy of Bernice Putnam. Bernice and her husband, Curly, live in Lebanon, TN. Curly has written many great songs, including "My Elusive Dreams", "Green, Green Grass of Home", and "He Stopped Loving Her Today", and he is a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Bernice is "the woman behind the man" and also a great cook. They are both long-time and dear friends.

Recently Bernice invited several of her "girl friends" to spend the weekend at their second home in Gatlinburg, TN. I wasn't able to go but from what I hear, the weekend was fabulous and they ate a LOT! This is the dish everyone raved about.

BERNICE'S CHICKEN, SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • ½ onion
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • ½ pound of Velveta cheese
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt
  • ½ pound of spaghetti

saute the onion and celery in butter, then set aside. In medium sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients and cook only until cheese melts. Add chicken, onion and celery. Prepare spaghetti. Place in 9 X 13 dish and top with other ingredients. Bake in 350 degree oven approximately 30 minutes.


August 2006

This is a great recipe for a summer picnic. It takes about 30 minutes of prep time.

ASIAN COLESLAW

  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root (or substitute½ tablespoon ground ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. In a large bowl, mix the green cabbage, red cabbage, Napa cabbage, red bell peppers, carrots, green onions, and cilantro. Toss with the peanut butter mixture just before serving. Makes 10 servings.

BANANA SPLIT CAKE

This has all the elements of a banana split made into a delicious cake…but there’s no oven required!

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 6 medium bananas, divided
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 2 packages (4-serving size each) vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling
  • 2 cups thawed whipped topping, divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup sugar, and butter, then press onto bottom of foil-lined 13x9-inch pan. Freeze for 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over crust, then top with pineapple. Slice 4 of the bananas and arrange over pineapple. Pour milk into large bowl and add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Stir in 1 cup whipped topping and spread over banana layer in pan. Top with remaining whipped topping and sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for 5 hours. Just before serving, slice remaining 2 bananas and arrange over dessert. Make about 24 servings.


July 2006

This is a great potato salad recipe and is best served at room temperature. It even gets better over the course of a few days.

GERMAN POTATO SALAD

  • 3½ pounds red bliss potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar (if using unseasoned rice vinegar that does not contain sugar, add 1½ teaspoons sugar)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked
  • Spanish paprika

In a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat, add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and peel while they are as hot as you can handle. Cut one-third of them into ½-inch-thick slices directly into a large resealable food storage container. Drizzle one-third of the oil over them, then one-third of the vinegar. Top the potatoes with one-third each of the onions, salt, pepper, and parsley, in that order. Repeat the process twice. Sprinkle the salad with the paprika. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate at least overnight.

Turn the container over for several hours so the juices permeate the potatoes. When ready to serve, bring the potato salad to room temperature and serve with a slotted spoon. Makes 8 cups.

PICNIC FRUIT SALAD

  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 pound red or green seedless grapes, pulled off the bunch
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and wiped clean, large ones halved

Place 2 cups of pineapple, 1 cup of grapes, and about 8 strawberries in a 1-gallon resealable plastic food storage bag. Press out excess air and freeze. Store the remaining fruits in separate resealable bags and refrigerate. Just before leaving for your picnic, add all the fruits to the bag with the frozen fruits and toss to combine. This keeps the fruit salad cold, but freezing some of the fruit also brings out the sugar in it. As it thaws, it macerates the rest of the fruit as if some sugar had been sprinkled on it. This recipe makes about 4 to 6 servings.


June 2006

This recipe was provided by Karen Wheeler, a good friend and great entertainer. I love the notes and directions she adds below.

DEEP-FRIED FROG LEGS

  • About 1 dozen frog legs, soaked in salt water in refrigerator till ready to use (at least 2-3 hours)

BATTER:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt

BREADING:

  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup plain cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) Zatarain's Creole Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Beat eggs, add flour, milk, garlic powder, hot sauce, and salt. Mix well. In another bowl mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, red pepper, Zatarain's Creole Seasoning, and onion powder. Dip frog legs first in batter mix, then into breading mix. Deep fry in hot oil at 350 degrees. They will float to the top when they are done.

Notes from Karen:  “Glen & I live in Lebanon, Tennessee with lots of acreage between us and our three sets of neighbors.  Our little area is called "Pulltight", so we call ourselves the "Pulltight Eight".  The eight of us will get in the back of Bobby's truck and go frog gigging.  Bobby's family owns several hundred acres and several ponds that we can hit in one night.  The women hold the toe-sacks (burlap sacks…or maybe they're really saying "toad-sacks”! ha!) and the men-folk gig the frogs.  We get to carry-em' back to the truck!  People in the north put a little square piece of red cloth on a hook and sit on the bank and wait for the frogs to bite the cloth.  Ya' think maybe we're having way too much fun, and going about this the hard way?"


May 2006

FRESH BANANA PUDDING SMOOTHIE

Place 3 cups of milk, one package (4 serving size) of vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling, 2 bananas (cut into chunks), and ½ cup of Banana Nut Crunch cereal in blender. Cover and blend on high speed for 15 seconds or until smooth. Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each.

HOMEMADE PEACH ICE CREAM

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 2 ½ cups sugar, divided use
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups light cream (half and half)
  • 1 quart crushed fresh peaches

1. Scald milk in the microwave, about 5 minutes or until bubbles begin to form around the edge.
2. In separate bowl, mix 2 cups of the sugar, flour, and salt. Add enough hot milk to sugar-flour mixture to make a thin paste. Stir paste into hot milk and return to the microwave, cook till it thickens slightly, 5-7 minutes.
3. Add hot mixture gradually to beaten eggs and place back in microwave until thickened, about 2 minutes - watch carefully. Cool in refrigerator overnight.
4. When ready to freeze, add light cream and vanilla and place mixture in prepared ice cream maker and start to churn.
5. Peel and dice peaches; mix with remaining ½ cup sugar. After ice cream has begun to freeze in ice cream freezer, take top off and add peaches. Continue freezing according to manufacturers' directions. Makes one gallon.


April 2006

This muffin is packed with antioxidants in the apples, cranberries and nuts, fiber in the oats and even cinnamon to cut blood sugar. All benefit your cardiovascular system.

OATMEAL APPLE MUFFINS

  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Splenda or sugar
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a bowl, beat together egg, half-and-half, oil and Splenda (or sugar).  In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Fold egg mixture into dry mixture, just to moisten.

Fill non-stick muffin tins ¾ full.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

COCONUT CREAM PIE

This coconut cream pie has a delicious, crunchy layer of nuts and brown sugar under the coconut filling.

  • 1 10-inch pre-baked pie shell

For the filling:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 10 egg yolks
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups finely shredded coconut (use freshly grated coconut or packaged sweetened coconut)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the pie shell praline:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or macadamia nuts

  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Finely grated coconut, toasted, for garnish

1. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, scald the milk. Do not let it boil.
2. For the filling: In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Temper the egg mixture by whisking in about 1 cup of the scalded milk. Pour this egg-milk mixture back into the remaining scalded milk. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Stir in the shredded coconut and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Let cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. For the pie shell praline: In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and cook and stir until bubbly. Stir in the ½-cup coconut and chopped nuts. Quickly stir until well mixed. Gently spread on the bottom of the pie shell. Bake until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. Cool on rack.
6. Pour the cooled filling into the pie shell on top of the praline. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
7. To serve, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut.


March 2006

Following is a recipe submitted by my son Corky for a red and green salsa that is very good….and a favorite of his daughters Mitsi and Anita.

CORKY’S SIMPLE RED AND GREEN SALSA

  • 1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 16 oz. can prepared tomatillos (drained)
  • ½ small white sweet onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Garlic juice to taste
  • Pickled jalapenos to taste
  • ½ bunch cilantro

All of the above should be put in a food processor and blended until it is chunky, but not watery.  Serve with chips of your choice.

Fried dill pickles are very popular throughout the Southern states.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for them….no matter where you live.

FRIED PICKLES

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks

Mix together all the above ingredients. Dredge sliced dill or sweet pickles (about ½ inch thick) in the mixture and deep fry in 375 degree oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and serve with mayonnaise or ketchup.


February 2006

Here's a great recipe that only takes about 10 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes total from start to finish. There's even an option to prepare it using the microwave.

WHIPPED SWEET POTATO BAKE

  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) sweet potatoes, drained
  • ½ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sweet potatoes, butter, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spoon into lightly greased 1½ quart baking dish. Top with the marshmallows. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until sweet potato mixture is heated through and marshmallows are lightly browned. Makes 10 servings, ½ cup each.

To use the microwave: Mix all ingredients except marshmallows as directed. Spoon into lightly greased microwaveable 1½ quart dish. Microwave on high 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through, stirring after 5 minutes. Top with the marshmallows. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until marshmallows begin to melt.

NO-KNEAD REFRIGERATOR ROLLS

This simple yeast dough recipe is great for everything from sweet rolls to pizza. Keep it on hand for last-minute baking.

  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 packages dry yeast (dissolved in ½ cup warm water)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

Mix oil, salt, water, yeast, sugar, wheat germ, and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least two hours before using. This dough lasts up to five days in the refrigerator. To bake, make 2-inch balls from the dough. Place them in a large greased cake pan, about 1 inch apart, and cover with a damp cloth until they double in size. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Invert pan to remove rolls, and serve warm.


January 2006

A crunchy, nutty coating gives this chicken dish an interesting taste.  It also suggests that the cook has been toiling away in the kitchen fixing a special presentation….but this is not a lengthy labor at all.  It only takes 10 minutes of preparation and a half-hour of actual cooking….and then you have dinner on the table.

PECAN-CRUSTED CHICKEN WITH CORN SALSA

  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup prepared salsa
  • ½ cup crisp-cooked corn
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

In a food processor, combine the bread crumbs, pecan pieces, and thyme. Process until texture is medium-coarse. Beat salt with egg white. Dip chicken cutlets in egg, then press into crumb mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cutlets and cook to brown one side, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and cook other side until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets and oil.

Meanwhile, combine salsa, corn, and cilantro. Serve cutlets individually, topped with salsa, or cut crosswise into strips and arranged on platter, topped with salsa and garnished with fresh cilantro.

LATTE CHEESECAKE BARS

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For the Topping:

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan.
2. Combine 2 tablespoons heavy cream and coffee granules in small bowl. Let stand five minutes or until coffee dissolves.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add coffee mixture, eggs, and vanilla. Beat, scraping bowl often, until just combined. Pour over crust. Bake for 20 or 25 minutes or until center is nearly set. Cool on wire rack for one hour.
4. Place 1/3 cup heavy cream in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until cream just comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until melted. Spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate until chocolate sets, about one hour. Cut into bars. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.


December 2005

PRETTY DARN GOOD SPAGHETTI SAUCE

  • 1 package frozen chopped green peppers
  • 1 package chopped onions
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large cans tomato puree (sauce)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tomato paste cans of red wine
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large pan brown the ground beef, then set aside. saute the onions and green peppers. Add the meat and remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat for one to two hours. This recipe makes quite a large amount, but can be adjusted to your needs. I make the whole recipe and then freeze amounts needed. It's another one of those "stir and taste" recipes. It also helps if you drink a little wine along the way.

SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE CASSEROLE

Not too long ago we offered a recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Dip. This one uses the same two main ingredients, but it'S for a casserole.

  • 1 tablespoon butter, for greasing dish
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 9 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • ½ cup coarse Ritz cracker crumbs, about 10 crackers

Adjust oven rack to middle level and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter shallow 2-quart casserole. Cook spinach according to package directions, drain very well and place in mixing bowl. Add 8 tablespoons melted butter, cream cheese and lemon juice and blend well with fork.

Scatter artichoke quarters evenly over casserole bottom. Cover with spinach mixture and smooth the top. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake until bubbling in center and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes. Let cool five minutes and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


November 2005

PUMPKIN COBBLER

Thanks to Ann Allen of Sevierville, Tennessee, who sent this recipe to me.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup self-rising Flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small (5-ounce) can of evaporated milk
  • 1 large (30-ounce) can of pumpkin pie filling
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into 4 pieces. Place butter into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven to melt the butter. Meanwhile in a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour mixture into the heated baking dish. Do not stir. Set mixture aside.

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk. Add the evaporated milk and pumpkin pie filling. Stir to mix well. Slowly pour or spoon the mixture onto the crust batter, but do not stir. (The crust batter will rise to cover the pumpkin as it bakes.)

Bake until the crust is dark, golden brown on top.....about 50 minutes to one hour. Let the cobbler rest 20 minutes or up to one hour before serving. Top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

COMPANY MACARONI AND CHEESE

  • 16 ounce box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can chopped pimento (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion

Cook macaroni as directed. Drain and mix with other ingredients. Put into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake in 325 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes.


October 2005

NUTTY STOVETOP GRANOLA

  • 1 cup quick rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced (not slivered) almonds
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup wheat germ (found in the cereal aisle in most grocery stores)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup real maple syrup (not pancake or imitation maple syrup)
  • ½ cup light-brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine both types of oats, almonds, walnuts, pecans and the wheat germ, then set aside. In a 12-inch extra-deep nonstick skillet, place the oil, maple syrup and brown sugar. Place the pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is melted and the mixture just begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Add the oat mixture and stir well to completely coat with the syrup mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the granola begins to sizzle and toast, about 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the raisins. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the granola into a sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid. Serve immediately or let rest until cool enough to cover and store. Will keep for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 7 cups.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings and only takes 30 minutes from start to finish.  It is from Ronni Lundy’s In Praise of Tomatoes book.  This recipe calls for eggs which help the crust stick to the tomatoes.  It also follows a triple-dredge technique – first flour, then egg, then crumbs.  Green tomatoes are tasty but astringent.  When they’re fried according to this recipe, they sweeten and soften.  The juices burst from beneath a crisp crust as you bite.

  • 5 green tomatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cups bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (dried also works)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Trim the ends off each tomato, then cut into slices about ½ inch thick.  Arrange the tomatoes on a cooling rack and allow to stand 15 to 20 minutes (to drain, to help reduce the mush factor).  In a wide bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.  In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  In a third bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and orange zest.  Heat about ½-inch oil in a wide, heavy skillet over a medium-high flame.

Dredge the tomato slices first through the flour, lightly coating both sides. Next, drag each floured slice through the egg-milk mixture, again covering both sides. Finally, place the slices in the bread crumbs, coating both sides evenly. Fry the tomato slices two or three at a time, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Return to the cooling rack to drain excess oil. Serve hot.


September 2005

SAUSAGE AND EGG CASSEROLE


Earlier this year while in Middletown, Ohio, I attended a brunch hosted by Beverly Claunch where this was served. It was delicious. With her permission I thought I'd add it to the recipe page. This, along with a bowl of fresh fruit, hot biscuits and jam (and of course...gravy) will get your day off to a great start.

  • 1 pound hot sausage
  • 8 slices bread without crust
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 small cans mushrooms
  • Paprika

Fry crumbled sausage until slightly browned. Drain well. Place bread on bottom of 9 X 13 pan. Spread with cooked sausage. Top with cheese. Beat eggs with milk and dry mustard. Pour mixture over bread and sausage. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning spread with mushroom soup (undiluted) and mushrooms. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately one hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

NUT-TOPPED STUFFED MUSHROOMS

  • 1 (8-ounce) tub light cream cheese spread, softened
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 medium Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • ½ cup chopped mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cheese, red pepper, onions and seasonings. Spoon evenly into mushroom caps; top with nuts. Bake 20 minutes or until nuts are golden brown. Serve warm.


August 2005

BAKED SALMON WITH COCONUT CRUST

  • 4 4-ounce salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs available in the Asian food aisle), or substitute dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place salmon fillets on a non-stick baking pan. Brush juice on salmon. In a shallow dish, combine panko, coconut, salt and pepper. Dredge each fillet in the mixture and return to baking pan. Spread leftover crumbs on top of each filet. Coat with cooking spray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. If desired, put under broiler until crust is golden brown.

CREAMY COLE SLAW WITH BLUE CHEESE

This easy recipe takes only 7 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese of choice, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag already-shredded cabbage cole slaw mix, or thinly sliced green cabbage for about 6 to 7 cups

1. In a small bowl, make a dressing by mixing together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, water, sugar, blue cheese and black pepper. Whisk well.
2. Place the cabbage in a medium serving bowl and add the dressing, tossing to coat well. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving. Makes 6 servings.


July 2005

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER RIBBON DESSERT

This special treat has a cookie crust on the bottom, chocolate ribbon on the inside and luscious frozen peanut butter dessert on the outside.

  • 12 Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 (12-ounce) tub Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1. Crush 8 of the cookies in a resealable plastic bag with rolling pin. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of foil-lined 9x5-inch loaf pan.
2. Mix cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 3 cups of the whipped topping. Spoon ½ cup of the cream cheese mixture into a small bowl. Stir in melted chocolate until well blended, then set aside. Spoon half of the remaining cream cheese mixture over crust. Top evenly with chocolate mixture; cover with remaining cream cheese mixture.
3. Freeze 4 hours or overnight until firm. Invert onto plate. Remove foil, then re-invert onto serving platter so that crumb layer is on the bottom. Coarsely break the remaining 4 cookies. Top dessert with remaining whipped topping and cookies. Makes 12 servings.


June 2005

FRESH SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD

  • 12 ounces torn fresh spinach (about 10 cups)
  • 3 cups halved or sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup broken walnuts
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

In a bowl place the torn spinach, strawberries, and green onions. Cover and chill up to 2 hours. For citrus dressing, measure salad oil and add lemon juice. Seal, shake well, and chill. Shake citrus dressing again and pour over the spinach, strawberry mixture. Top with walnuts and optional toasted sesame seed. Toss salad lightly to coat. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

LEMON PARMESAN ASPARAGUS

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Trim tough ends off asparagus and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Steam the asparagus until crisp-tender (about 8 minutes). Place asparagus in large bowl, drizzle with lemon juice, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and toss well to coat. Makes 4 servings.


May 2005

SWEET POTATO-BANANA CASSEROLE

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Cook potatoes in small amount of water until tender. Mash and beat. Add nuts, 4 tablespoons butter, sugar, and coconut. If the mixture is dry, add either a little cream or orange juice to moisten. Pour 1/2 of the sweet potato mixture into a buttered casserole. Cover with mashed bananas and then top with rest of sweet potato mixture.

Combine crushed corn flakes, 2 tablespoons butter and brown sugar. Cover top of sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP

  • 1 (16 ounce) can light sour cream
  • 1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch original dip
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed well and drained
  • 1 (2 ounce) jar diced pimentos, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large round loaf bread, sourdough or any variety used for dipping
  • Assorted vegetables for dipping (optional)

Combine sour cream and party dip mix in medium bowl. Stir in artichokes, spinach, and pimentos. Cut slice off top of round loaf of bread. Hollow out center of bread, leaving 1 inch shell. Reserve bread pieces for dipping. Spoon dip into bread shell. Serve warm or cold.

To serve warm, bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Cover loaf with foil if browning too quickly. Serve with bread cubes and/or assorted fresh vegetables. Serves about 12.


April 2005

CHEWY OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 1/3 cup flour

Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add salt, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well. Mix in eggs. Add raisins, oatmeal, and flour. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

STRAWBERRY BANANA FREEZIE

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 medium size banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened strawberries, halved
  • Crushed ice

Combine orange juice, honey, banana and strawberries in blender. Cover, whirl at high speed until smooth. With motor running gradually add as much crushed ice as necessary for desired thickness.


March 2005

SMOKED SALMON TARTARE

  • ½ cup diced smoked salmon
  • 2 teaspoons minced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dill
  • 8 toast points

Combine the salmon, red onion, capers, olive oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl and mix well. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Combine the sour cream and dill in a small bowl and mix well. Top each toast point with about ½ tablespoon of 'tartare' and a small dollop of sour cream. Garnish with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Makes two servings.


February 2005

ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP

  • 8 cups homemade chicken broth
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 3 eggs, plus 5 eggs
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus 1 cup
  • 2 medium heads escarole, cleaned and chopped

In a separate pot over medium heat, bring the broth to a boil. In a separate large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, three eggs, breadcrumbs, basil, parsley, and ½ cup Parmesan. Mix well and form into bite-size balls. Drop the balls into the broth. Add escarole into broth. When meatballs rise to the top (about 6 to 7 minutes), they are cooked. When escarole is wilted, it is done. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining five eggs with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Pour this mixture into the soup, stirring continuously until the egg is cooked. Serve with crusty bread. As an option, pre-cook pastina and add to the finished soup.


January 2005

SWEET POTATO SOUFFLE

  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 stick margarine
  • ½ cup sweet milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the above ingredients thoroughly, then pour into a greased dish.

Topping:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (use either walnuts or pecans)
  • 1/3 stick margarine

Mix the above ingredients thoroughly, then add topping on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.


December 2004

LORETTA LYNN'S PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

Fellow Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn released her first cookbook earlier this year called You're Cookin' It Country. It includes the following recipe for peanut butter fudge. Loretta mentions in the book that she was probably 11 or 12 the first time she ever tasted peanut butter, and she still loves it very much.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter

In a large bowl mix the sugar and cocoa well. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cocoa mixture. Cook to soft-ball stage or about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the peanut butter. Stir just until blended. Pour immediately into a greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Score 1-inch squares while warm. Let cool about 20 minutes and cut when firm. Makes 24 squares.

MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD

This easy salad is great for parties and can be prepared a day ahead.

  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (2 ounce) package slivered almonds, toasted

Combine the first five ingredients, stir well, cover and chill for several hours. Add mayonnaise, grapes, oranges and almonds to chicken mixture. Toss well.


November 2004

GRILLED SALMON WITH ORANGE GLAZE

This recipe was published by USA Weekend's "Eatsmart" Columnist, Jean Carper, as one of the "6 Healthiest Recipes in History". According to Jean, these recipes contain the essential foods our genes crave for optimal health and long life. The reason this particular recipe is good for you is the high omega-3 fat in salmon, the antioxidants in the orange rind, scallions, and garlic, and the anticoagulant activity in the ginger. Harvard investigators say that eating fatty fish could prevent an astounding 80% of sudden deaths from heart attacks.

  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons white rice vinegar (or other white vinegar)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet, cut in four pieces
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced with green (optional)
  • ½ cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Combine marmalade, oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and vinegar. Heat grill. Brush glaze on each side of salmon; grill about 5 minutes on each side. Top with scallions and sesame seeds. Serves 4. Each serving contains 226 calories, 23g protein, 15g carbohydrates, 8g fat (1.3g saturated), .2g fiber, and 140mg sodium.


October 2004

HONEY APPLE CAKE

This delicious honey apple cake combines the sweetness of honey with apples and cinnamon. I thought this sounded like a good recipe for the autumn season.

  • 1½ cups honey
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • ½ cup very strong coffee
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith apples
  • ½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Stir together the honey and almond extract, then set aside ½ cup of the mixture. Combine the remaining honey mixture with coffee, oil and eggs, and then whisk until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Stir into wet ingredients, stirring until the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Add chopped apple and raisins, stirring just until moistened.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Tent with foil halfway through baking if necessary to prevent over-browning.) Spread warm slices of cake with butter, and drizzle with remaining honey mixture. Makes 10 servings.


September 2004

GOO GOO BARS

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the wonderful GooGoo Clusters made by the Standard Candy Company right here in Nashville. As a sponsor, the GooGoo Clusters are closely associated with the tradition of the Grand Ole Opry. From what I’ve been told, one of the most popular myths about GooGoo Clusters is that the GOO in GooGoo is the acronym for the Grand Ole Opry; however, the truth is that GooGoos were actually first marketed in 1912 which was 13 years before the Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting in 1925. Regardless, it is a neat coincidence and Standard Candy is still proud to be one of the oldest sponsors of the Opry, the world’s longest running radio show. Some of you might remember a few years ago when David Letterman flew an entire audience of Nashvillians to see his Late Night show in New York and included GooGoos in his Top Ten List. And going even further back, some of you might remember the 1975 movie titled “Nashville” in which GooGoo Clusters had a featured cameo.

Nobody can make GooGoo Clusters like Standard Candy but if you need a quick fix, here’s a recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth until you can get to a store to buy some of the real thing.

  • ½ stick of margarine
  • 1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounce package of chocolate chips
  • 1 large bag of miniature marshmallows
  • 12 ounces of dry roasted unsalted peanuts

Mix all ingredients except marshmallows and peanuts together and heat over medium heat until chocolate chips are melted. Add marshmallows and peanuts. Mix well and pour into pan. Chill two hours, then cut into bars.

FABULOUS FRUIT SALAD

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Here’s one for a quick, easy, and delicious fruit salad.

  • 2 cups diced apples
  • 1 cup sliced banana
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a bowl, mix the apples, banana, strawberries, and walnuts. Fold in the yogurt. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Gently stir just before serving.


August 2004

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD

Here’s an idea for something great to fix for those summertime picnics.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup crushed pretzels
  • 4½ tablespoons of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (6 ounce) package of strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 (16 ounce) package of frozen strawberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the pretzels, 4½ tablespoons of sugar, and melted butter. Press this mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch pan and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside and cool completely.

  2. In a medium bowl, beat 1 cup of sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping and spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. In a bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries and stir until thawed. Pour over the cream cheese mixture in the pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled.


July 2004

DOUBLE-COCONUT CREAM PIE

This is a recipe that was given to me by Gene Chrisman, the drummer for Mandy Barnett. He said it was from Better Homes and Gardens. I couldn’t wait to try it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 3 beaten egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 9-inch baked pastry shell
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut

Directions:

  1. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium saucepan combine the first 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk and cream of coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return all of the mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in margarine or butter until melted. Stir in the 1 cup coconut and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour hot filling into baked pastry shell.
  3. For meringue, in a mixing bowl beat egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cream of tartar on medium speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Evenly spread meringue over hot filling; seal to pastry edge. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons coconut. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill 3 to 6 hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.


June 2004

TANYA TUCKER’S OLD-FASHIONED BANANA PUDDING

I first met Tanya when she was fourteen years old and had out the smash hit "Delta Dawn". She and her Dad were visiting backstage at the Ryman. I asked if she was on that night...."No", she said "they didn't have room for me". At that time the regular members had two spots and two songs each spot...not like it is today. Anyway I asked the manager if I could give her one of my spots. He said "it's up to you". I knew the audience would love her (which they did) and would be cheated out of something special if she had not appeared. Recently she told that story on TV. I was honored that she remembered. Hope you will enjoy one of her family recipes.

When Tanya was a child, her mother taught her how to make banana pudding using this recipe. Now Tanya makes it for her own children – Beau, Presley, and Layla. According to Tanya, it’s best to slice the bananas real thin….and add lots of extra cookies!

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 5 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half-n-half
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box vanilla wafers

Blend sugar, salt, flour, milk, and half-n-half in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When heated thoroughly, carefully stir in egg yolks and continue cooking until thick. Stir in vanilla. Line a 2-quart dish with vanilla wafers and top with half the sliced bananas. Pour half of the pudding over bananas, then repeat the layer of bananas and pudding. Prepare meringue with ingredients below:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Mix sugar and cream of tartar, adding one tablespoon at a time to egg whites. Add vanilla and continue beating until mixture is stiff but not dry. Top pudding with meringue mixture and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.


May 2004

IRMA’S CHICKEN

I used to know this lady named Irma (I never knew her last name) who lived near me. One particular time I was not feeling well and she brought this dish over. All she said was that this was one of her mother's recipes.

  • Bake three chicken breasts, covered, at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Place one 11 ounce can of asparagus spears in an 8" square dish.
  • Tear up the chicken breasts and layer over the asparagus.
  • Combine one can of Cream of Chicken Soup, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder. Spread over the chicken.
  • Top with grated cheddar cheese and bake 10 or 15 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

This is an easy recipe and is very good.


April 2004

BROCCOLI-CHEESE CORNBREAD

I don't know who gave me this recipe, but do know it's very tasty. And it goes great with turnip greens and pinto beans....or anything else.

  • 2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread mix
  • 10 ounces chopped broccoli
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 5 eggs (I use egg substitute)

Bake as you would any cornbread. I use a large iron skillet.


March 2004

PECAN PIE MUFFINS

Recently I had some friends over for lunch and made these. Everybody raved and wanted the recipe. Instead of the large muffin pans I used the small ones. What was left over I froze and had sweet snacks for a week. Delicious!

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine


Combine the first three ingredients. Make well in the center. Beat eggs till foamy. Stir together eggs and butter...add to above ingredients. Fill muffin cups to 2/3 full. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.


February 2004

BANANA BREAD FOSTER

One evening while dining with my friend Ron Harman, I ordered a dessert that sounded delicious – and it was. I ate every bite of it! Later I thought "I can make that". The Green Hills Grille where we dined was kind enough to send me the recipe but it was written in restaurant sized portions.

I don't know what to call it other than Banana Bread Foster since it is a version of Bananas Foster served at the renowned Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans during the 1950’s (and supposedly created for a regular customer named Richard Foster).

First bake the banana nut bread. A great recipe for this can be found by clicking the above link for past recipes. (Banana nut bread was our featured recipe in September 2003.) Store the bread in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use, then place in the oven to warm. Slice in reasonable portions and place on dessert plates.

Topping: Amounts depend on how many you will be serving. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc.

  • Slice bananas and set aside
  • In a large, heavy skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Place bananas in skillet and cook over low heat for five minutes on each side....do not overcook.
  • Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on taste) ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg.
  • Remove bananas. Add to the skillet 1/2 cup of dark rum. Using a spatula loosen any caramelized bits in the skillet as the above heats. (If you're brave and not afraid of setting the kitchen on fire you can then add 1 tablespoon of brandy and ignite with a long match.)
  • Pour mixture over Bananas.
  • Pour mixture over Bananas. and top with vanilla bean ice cream.
  • If desired you can top with dabs of whipped cream.

January 2004

BEST CARROT CAKE

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3½ ounce can of flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Buttermilk Glaze (see below)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Line 3 nine inch round cake pans with lightly greased and floured wax paper. Stir together first four ingredients. Beat eggs and next four ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next three ingredients. Pour into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze over layers, cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

BUTTERMILK GLAZE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Boil, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • ¾ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Site hosted by Harris/George and maintained by Ron Harman.