Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whole Beef Tenderloin

 Whole Beef Tenderloin
  • 1 whole beef tenderloin (about 6 lbs. or so)
  • garlic flavored olive oil
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking twine
  • paper towels
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • bar-b-q brush
  • gas grill
About 1 hour before you cook the tenderloin remove it from refrigerator to clean the meat. I like to line a sheet of tin foil with a double roll of paper towels underneath the meat. You will need to pat excess juice from beef with paper towels. 

With a sharp knife remove silver like sheath on outer edge and all visible fat, discard. This will take about 20 minutes or so. You need to take your time and work on it moving meat around and following the silver like sheath and fat until there is nothing left but pure lean tenderloin.
On the thinner tail end of the meat fold over and tie the end together two times with twine so that meat is an even thickness for cooking. If thicker end of the meat has separated some tie that area as well but just once. 

Coat both sides of beef well with olive oil using a Bar B Q brush, also a  light coat of sea salt and black pepper. Let meat rest on counter until ready to cook, about 1 hour total from prep time to cooking time.

Preheat your grill to 450 degrees. Cook beef directly on grill for 10 minutes on each side, then 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill onto a serving platter and let meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing into individual steaks. This is for a rare steak, cook longer if you want it more well done.

My family said this is the best Filet Mignon they have ever eaten.

Horseradish Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Hellman's light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. grated hot horseradish from jar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Egg Nog Custard Pie

Egg Nog goes together with the holidays like Chevy Chase chopping down a 20 ft tree in the wilderness and driving it back on the roof of his sedan, like Ralphie and his Red Ryder air rifle, or like warm hearths, and the smell of spices and cinnamon, and good times by the Christmas tree. This recipe combines this perfect holiday treat into the perfect holiday dessert. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. vanilla
  • 21⁄2 cup egg nog (scalded*)
  • 1 tsp. rum (Bacardi light) or rum extract
  • Nutmeg (sprinkle on top)
  • prepared pie crust
Scald egg nog. Blend eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and rum. Stir into scalded egg nog, then whisk together well. Pour into pie shell adding the sprinkling of nutmeg on top. Bake at 400° for 25 to 35 minutes or until a clean knife inserted in center will comes out clean. Cool for 15 to 30 minutes. Chill. Great for the holidays.

If you already have liquor in your Egg Nog delete the rum from this recipe. Now let's get rid of the leftover Egg Nog with dignity.

*How to scald eggnog: Place egg nog in a thick bottomed pan over medium heat, stirring constantly so that a skin will not form on top. It is ready when you see steam rising out and small bubbles on the edge. Do not boil.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce Fondue

My Stud Muffin says, "This is so good, you can make this for me any time."
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 8 oz. Raclette Cheese from Switzerland, cubed rind removed
  • 1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 loaf hearty multi-grain bread, cubed
Warm up spaghetti sauce in microwave. Add to fondue pan sauce and next 4 ingredients. Heat over low flame until melted. Slowly beat in egg yolk while stirring. As soon as it is smooth and heated through dip in cubes of bread. Enjoy!

I always have enough Spaghetti Sauce leftover from my recipe in my book to use it for this fondue. Make sure the wine that you use is good enough to drink. The multi-grain bread goes well with this hearty fondue. You can find Raclette cheese in any store that has an extensive cheese selection. Do not use French Raclette, it has a strong odor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sausage and Bean Chowder

On a cold winter day this hearty sausage chowder is sure to warm you up. As good as it is, it will be even better on the next day after the flavors meld. I substituted turkey sausage to make it lower in fat, without sparing any flavor. Enjoy!
  • 1 pkg. Shady Brook Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, 20 oz.
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (40.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans, undrained
  • 2 (16 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. dried whole thyme
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. season salt (Morton’s)
Brown sausage in a large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking oil or you may cook sausage on grill. Set aside to cool. Add remaining ingredients to a large soup pot and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Dice cooked sausage and add to soup pot. Cover, simmering 2 to 3 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving. Yield: 3 quarts.

Variation: use white kidney beans (cannellini beans) instead of red kidney beans.

Monday, November 29, 2010

White Christmas Cheesecake Bars

  • 6 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cold butter into chunks, add brown sugar and flour to an electric mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes until mixed well and crumbly. Remove ½ cup of crumb mixture and set aside for later use. Press remaining crumb mixture into an 8 inch square pyrex dish. I like to press this down evenly with a flat spatula, pressing down firmly and making sure crust is even. This mixture will look like it will not stay together, once it is baked it sets. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Meanwhile in a mixer bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and lemon juice at high speed until fluffy, about 2-4 minutes, stir in nuts and chocolate chips at this time. Spread filling over crust, then top with the ½ cup of reserved crumb mixture, coating evenly and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Then cut into 36 mini bars (cut into 4 even quarters, then cut each quarter into 9 even pieces, like a tic tac toe). I like to place these on top on top of mini baking paper cups (1 5/8 in). They sell these around the holidays decorated with fall leaves, holly and such. Cover and store in refrigerator.

It is very easy to triple this recipe and use the 8 inch square pyrex along with a 13 x 9 inch pyrex. Just divide portions of 1/3 into the 8 inch and a 2/3 portion into the 13 x 9 inch. The baking time will be the same. Also it tastes just as good with 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Enjoy, it's another fat cell singer here.

These make a really nice gift over the holidays. I go to the dollar store and buy a 3 pack of cookie tray bags. I fill a plate of these with the bars and wrap it in the pretty cookie tray bag. They really look good in the mini baking cups all wrapped up. It gets a big smile everytime. You can give a nice plate out for a gift, or even use a paper plate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Stuffing

  • 2 loaves of white or whole wheat high fiber bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • 3 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cup celery, diced
  • 5-6 cup chicken broth
  • 2-3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking spray
The day before, toast bread cubes in 350° oven: Spread bread cubes evenly over large cookie sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. They will be done when they are dry to the touch. After bread cubes have cooled place them in a large mixing bowl, leave them uncovered over night.

The next day in a large, flat nonstick skillet melt the margarine, then add the onion and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add the celery and onion mixture to the bread cubes. Add salt and pepper, then add 4 cups of chicken broth, mix well. Add more broth as needed until bread cubes are just moistened through but not soggy.

Place in a 9 x 13 inch glass Pyrex dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350° oven uncovered for about 45 minutes until just browned on top.

I try to make the stuffing healthier. For my bread I use a high fiber bread. I also use margarine instead of butter. If you can not find chicken base you may buy ready made chicken broth. Chicken base comes in a jar. It is a paste that you mix with water. Just follow directions on jar on how to make 6 cups of broth.

This is my recipe for Thanksgiving. I like the whole grain flavor of this recipe.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Buttery Mashed Potatoes

Well, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I just love Thanksgiving; it gives everyone a darn good excuse to get together. The suspense builds all day as the air is filled with the aroma of the turkey and fixings. People often say it is the hardest meal to make, but if you'll just follow my recipe to simplify the mashed potatoes, you will be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
  • 5 (lb) Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt plus 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup butter or maragaine
  • 2 ½ cups warm milk
  • cooking spray
You will need a large crockpot to keep these warm. Wash and peel potatoes. Dice into about 1 ½ - 2 inch cubes. Bring a large pot of cold water to boil with ½ tsp. of salt added. When water is boiling add potatoes, bring to a boil again then lower heat to just keep it boiling. Cook potatoes for about 15-20 minutes or until a fork inserted into potatoes is tender. Meanwhile just before potatoes are done microwave milk until warm. Drain potatoes in colander in the sink. Add potatoes to a very large mixing bowl (if yours is too small you will need to mash ½ at a time). Then add butter and milk along with salt and pepper. Whip pototoes at a slow speed until ingredients are blended, then whip at medium speed for about 2- 3 minutes or until smooth. Spray the crockpot with cooking spray inside and add potatoes to crock pot set on low then cover with the lid. You may keep these hot for up to 4 hours in advance.

A yellow meat potato makes a more buttery tasting mashed potato. I use Smart Balance margarine and fat free milk and it does not affect the flavor. It is so nice to be able to make these in advance. You may also leave the potato skin on; I always do. It is more nutritious and tastes delicious, and can save you some time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sherried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a really nice twist on mashed sweet potatoes. The sherry adds a rich flavor to the dish. You may want to make these for Thanksgiving. Being able to prepare this in advance is a big plus. Enjoy!
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup milk, microwaved until warm
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet sherry
  • cooking spray
Dice sweet potatoes into chunks, leaving skins on and place into a large boiling pot of water. Boil for about 20 minutes or until a fork inserted into potato is tender. Drain potatoes into a colander.

At this point I use rubber kitchen gloves to
protect my hands from the heat and peel off potato skins. If you do not want to wear gloves you will need to wait until they are cool enough to handle. You may need to use a paring knife on some spots, but they peel off very easily. When all potatoes are peeled place them in a large mixer bowl.

Then add next 4 ingredients. Mix well on slow
speed with an electric mixer until blended, then raise to medium speed. Mix until free of lumps, stopping and stirring occasionally. Then I like to place them in a crockpot sprayed with cooking oil on high for about 3 hours. You may then lower crockpot to the low setting after that until ready to serve.

I make this every Thanksgiving. It is the sherry
that makes these sweet potatoes taste so rich. Of course they are so good you will want to make them anytime.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fried Oysters

In the fall I always think of Fried Oysters and my recipe is the best. My Stud Muffin loves my Fried Oysters and he frequently requests them. Also homemade cocktail sauce. A must for Fried Oysters. The prepared cocktail sauce you buy in the store does not taste as well. It is so easy to make your own and inexpensive as well.
  • Saltines or cracker meal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 pints select oysters
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • canola oil
Whirl saltines in a blender or food processor until fine crumbs. In a large bowl whisk together 2 cups flour and 2 cups cracker crumbs. Set aside.

Drain oysters in colander. Meanwhile, whip together milk and egg mixture. Dip oysters into egg mixture (I like to work with 4 oysters at a time) then into flour mixture being careful to coat evenly. Lay on top of a large platter covered with paper towels. You will need more than one platter. When all oysters are breaded place in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes uncovered. They need to dry so that flour mixture will stick to them when you fry them.

In a large skillet add enough oil so that it is about 1 inch high. When oil is hot add oysters and cook for 3 minutes on first side, then turn over and cook for 2 minutes on other side. Remove to platter covered with a few layers of paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve immediately with cocktail sauce. You will probably need to cook these in 2 to 3 separate batches.

These are the best fried oysters I have ever eaten.

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup
¼ tsp. mustard powder
¼ cup horseradish in jar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Mix together above ingredients well. You may make this a few hours in advance. It is so easy to make. Always use fresh lemon juice.

This blows away expensive store bought cocktail sauce in a jar.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 °. In a large bowl mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and sugar. Sift the rest of ingredients together and slowly add to the pumpkin mixture. You may mix this by hand or use an electric mixer. Mix well.

Pour into greased and floured 3 loaf pans, 8½ x 4½ inches, or 2 loaf pans, 9¼ x 5¼ inches. Bake at 350 ° for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Eat one now and freeze a few for later or make some friends or family happy with some pumpkin bread. This is a favorite of Kathy's.
I prefer the smaller loaves.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Maryland Crab Soup

This is the best time for crab season, and here is the perfect recipe to take advantage of that. Maryland Crab Soup is perfect for a chilly fall day in Maryland.

I made this recipe for a group of friends, and one of them insisted that his recipe was better than mine, but when he got to try it he told me he liked mine better. So, here it is. Enjoy!

  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen petite peas
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen butter beans
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen corn
  • 1 (20 oz.) bag frozen cut green beans
  • 2 cups diced raw potatoes diced with skin on
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cabbage
  • 1 ½ cubs fresh carrots, diced
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chicken or crab base*
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. pasteurized lump crab meat

In a large 8 qt. or larger soup pot add water, tomato paste, base, Old Bay, black pepper and salt. Stir well with wire whisk, breaking up base. Bring to a boil then add peas, butter beans, corn, green beans, potatoes, cabbage and carrots. Bring to a boil again. Lower heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Simmer for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally.

Just before serving add crab meat and mix well. Heat for a few minutes then serve immediately. Leftovers freeze well.

*If you do not use base you may use 10 cups chicken broth instead of water and base.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Teriyaki Wings

Now that football season is here, try some Teriyaki Wings for a nice change of flavor. Wings and football go together like peanut butter and jelly.
  • 2 cups Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 to 5 lbs. wing sections
  • cooking spray
Mix first four ingredients together and set aside. In a large roasting pan sprayed with cooking oil layer wings over bottom of pan in a single layer. Stir marinade well, then pour over top of wings in pan. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days in pan (no need to thaw out frozen wings), turning wings over every 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 °. Place roasting pan in oven and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, then remove pan from oven. Using tongs turn wings over and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve wings. You will want them to caramelize and they will be dark.

These are so delicious it is hard to stop eating them. Make sure your refrigerator is large enough for the roasting pan. If not you will need to marinate in another container making sure wings are coated well and turned every 12 hours.

My favorite brand teriyaki sauce is Kikkoman marinade and sauce. Other brands are higher in sugar and will burn. You can buy fresh ginger root in the produce department. Keep it in the freezer as it will grate much easier and last longer. Just peel skin away on a small portion and grate. I also like to use frozen wing sections. You can buy them in bulk at wholesale food clubs. Also you do not need to cut and separate them this way.

Only use a wine that is good enough to drink. If you can't drink it, don't cook with it. Enjoy!

These will make your fat cells sing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cucumber and Onion Salad

3 Burpless or regular cucumbers
1 sweet Vidalia onion
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar or Splenda
⅛ cup canola oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Skin cucumbers and slice very thin, I like to use a food processor. Mix together vinegar with sugar or Splenda. Add all ingredients in a large airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Serve the next day. It will keep for several days. This is a refreshing summer recipe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Grilled Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 loaf of crusty Italian bread
  • 3 Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. of garlic flavored olive oil
  • 3 yellow sweet bell peppers
  • 1 ½ cup mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese (optional)
Slice bread, remove crust and cut into 1 inch croutons until you have 1 ½ cups. Saute bread in a nonstick skillet with 3 Tsbp. olive oil over medium heat until browned. Set aside.

Cut tops off of peppers and reserve for caps, remove seeds and membranes. In a bowl mix together croutons, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, cheese, basil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Mix well. Stuff peppers with mixture dividing evenly between peppers. Place pepper caps on top of pepper. If peppers will not stand up, roll up a long strip of aluminum foil and wrap around base to hold them in place.

Over indirect medium heat on your grill cook peppers for 15 minutes or until tender, you do not want the pepper to lose it's shape. When peppers are cooked remove to platter and cut in half lengthwise.

You may serve this way or you may also sprinkle on some Asiago or Parmesan cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes. I like to use a hearty grain bread.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mango Salsa

  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 3 jalapeno peppers (stems removed and deseeded)
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper (stems removed and deseeded)
  • juice of one lime
Process in food processor until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips or as topping over grilled tuna or mahi mahi.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Halloumi Cheese

  • 4 Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 bottle Caesar or Greek salad dressing, oil and vinegar
  • ½ lb. Halloumi cheese
  • 4 pita breads
  • Vidalia onion sliced thin
  • baby spinach leaves
  • 2 (1 gal.) zip lock bags, depending on size of mushrooms
  • cooking spray
Wipe off mushroom caps if needed. Remove stem and place mushrooms bottom side up and slowly pour dressing onto mushroom gills coating evenly, but not overflowing. Place in zip lock bag and marinate overnight.When ready to grill heat up grill on high. Place mushrooms bottom side up (gill side) on grill and cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook on other side for 5 more minutes. Remove from grill.Meanwhile slice cheese into slices about ¼ inch thick. Heat up a non greased nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add cheese to skillet and cook on one side until it is golden brown then flip to other side and until brown, too. This should only take 3 or 4 minutes to brown the cheese. Take pita and slice through top and place one mushroom inside with a slice of cheese, onion and spinach into pita bread. Add 1 Tbsp. dressing if needed. 

Another variation is to top mushroom with some pizza sauce and a slice of provolone cheese for an Italian twist. I call it a Pizzabello.

This is a two person operation or if only one is cooking prepare mushrooms then set aside while you brown the cheese. Halloumi does not melt, it browns. Halloumi is an expensive cheese, but it is well worth it. I find it at my organic grocery store. Also found in grocery stores that have an extensive cheese department. I like to use whole wheat pitas. Halloumi cheese is very delicious. You must try it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Italian Minestrone

Tomatoes and zucchinis are in abundance now. Use them up in this healthy but so delicious minestrone. Garnish it with grated parmesan and you will be in love.
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups chopped carrot
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 5 cups cubed zucchini and yellow squash
  • 4 cups chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth or Chicken Base*
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped minced garlic from jar
  • Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)
  • ½ cup whole wheat pasta (elbow or shells)
  • 1 can 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans (undrained)
  • ½ cup Benefiber powder (optional)
In a large Dutch oven pot combine first ten ingredients. Add Benefiber at this time if you want it. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Add the beans and pasta and bring to a boil again then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

If you like to chop veggies then this is your recipe. This is a healthy recipe that will satisfy and surprise you about how good it tastes. Parmesan is a high calcium low fat cheese. I like to use kidney beans with no added salt as well.

*I also like to use chicken base to make my chicken broth. Just follow instructions on jar.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Muffaletta is a famous sandwich invented by Italian immigrants back in the early 1900's. It was a
popular sandwich in New Orleans and still is popular today. This delicious, sturdy sandwich is made with round Italian bread, cold cuts, Italian cheese with an olive spread. I just love this sandwich and it is a great make ahead meal. It serves 6 portions! 
  • 1 round loaf of Italian bread (about 8-10 inches in diameter)
  • 4-6 oz. each of the following lunchmeats: salami, ham, bologna, prosciutto
  • 6 oz. provolone cheese
  • 1 small sweet onion sliced very thin
  • pepperoncini peppers in jar sliced and drained
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • olive brushetta in jar or olive tapenade
*** Read below for my healthier and time saving tips.

1) Cut bread in half crosswise leaving 2/3 on the top. Spread ½ to ¾ cup olive mixture on bottom half. Then layer evenly with lunchmeat and provolone cheese. Spread onion over top, then pepperoncini's, covering completely. Cover generously with black pepper and oregano.

2) On bread top brush with olive oil until an even layer covers the inside of the top of bread. You may brush on with a pastry brush. Place top of loaf over sandwich and cover with foil.

3) Then place sandwich in a pan and cover it with a cast iron skillet with some heavy cans on top. You will need weight to flatten sandwich down and flavors will meld overnight. Refrigerate overnight.

May be kept for 2 days before eating. When ready to serve slice in half then cut each half into thirds. This will give you 6 pie shaped servings. Mmmm!! Enjoy!!

***Healthier version: I like to scoop out extra bread from top piece leaving a concave shell. To cut back on the fat in the lunchmeat I have used a variety pack of butterball turkey lunchmeats (turkey ham, white turkey, bologna, and turkey salami), and low fat provolone as well.

*** For a time saver I used brushetta olive mix bought in the ethnic isle. Your preference as to whether or not you want black or green olives. Or you can use olive tapanade in the refrigerated section of most stores. This is a great make in advance meal that will be sure to create a buzz. Yummy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Asian Burger

 This recipe is a really great twist on an old classic, it has a delicious flavor and the toppings bring it over the top. If you want to surprise someone with a different burger recipe you need not look any further. Stud Muffin gave this baby a two thumbs up He would have given it more, but he only has two. Get your Asian twist American style right here.

  •  1.3 (lb) ground turkey 93% lean or ground beef
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • green onions sliced very thin green tops too, about ¼ cup
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
  • 5 hamburger buns
  • Garlic flavored olive oil or olive oil
Burger Topping
  • 6 cups Bok Choy, sliced thin, but cut off bottom 1 in. & throw away (I used 1 large one)
  • ½ cup green onion sliced thin
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic from jar
  • 1 Tbsp. Teriyaki sauce (Kikkoman's)
  • Tuong Ot Sriracha sauce and mayo, optional
You will need a helper to saute the Bok Choy while the burgers are cooking. Unless you have a side burner on your grill to saute it on. Add Bok Choy, green onion, sesame oil, and garlic to a large non stick skillet to stir fry. Mix in the Teriyaki sauce at the end.

Mix all ingredients together well with your hands. When mixed well divide evenly into 5 portions. Shape into burger patties and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Cook on hot grill for about 8 minutes per side for a total of 16 minutes or until no longer pink in center. I know this sounds like a long time, but they are big burgers. Brush inside of HB buns with oil and grill for about the last minute to toast the buns. While burgers are cooking stir fry all ingredients of the burger topping. When all is prepared place burgers on top of buns and with a slotted spoon add some of the Bok Choy mixture over top of burgers. You will have some extra left over and it can be eaten on the side.

I like a squeeze of straight Sriracha sauce on mine, but my Stud Muffin prefers it mixed with mayo. I use a ratio of 1 Tbsp. Sriracha and 2 Tbsp. Sriracha for the Sriracha mayo mixture.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Greek Burger

A greek Salad was my inspiration for this burger. We had this for dinner with fresh corn on the cob. It was oh so delicious.

Greek Burger

  • 1.3 lb. ground turkey or ground beef, 93% lean
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Hamburger buns
  • garlic flavored olive oil or olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp. feta cheese
  • 5-10 pepperoncini peppers, sliced thin
  • red onion, 5 very thin slices
  • cucumber, 15 very thin slices
  • 1 large tomato, 5 thin slices
  • Kalamata olives, whole, for garnish.
Mix together first 5 ingredients very well with your hands. When mixed well divide evenly into 5 portions. Shape into burger patties and refrigerate until ready to cook. I like to do these a few hours in advance to let the seasonings meld.

Cook on hot grill for about 8- 10 minutes or until no longer pink in center. For the last minute brush inside of HB buns and grill with olive oil for about 1 minute. Place burgers on buns and top each one with 1 Tbsp. feta cheese, pepperoncini's, 1 red onion slice , 3 cucumber slices, and 1 tomato slice. Garnish on side with olives.

Shady Brook Farm is my favorite brand ground turkey.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

All American Potato Salad

All American Potato Salad
  • 1 (5 lb.) bag small red potatoes (cleaned then diced bite size w/skin on)
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced fine
  • Celery, hearts only, using 6 stalks, diced fine
  • 2 cups mayonaisse, I use Hellman's light
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt plus 3 tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
In a large pot add potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, and enough water to cover potatoes & bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes or until just cooked through and tender when pierced with a fork. Do not overcook. Drain potatoes in colander and run cold water over them to cool them down. Let drain, and cool for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium size bowl mix remaining ingredients together and stir well. In a large bowl add potatoes and mayonnaise mixture together and stir well, being careful not to break up potatoes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This should be made one day in advance.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Greek Salad

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • pepperoncini's (pickled in jar)
  • Kalamata olives, pitted

In a measuring cup mix salad dressing ingredients together with a wire whisk and set aside.

Wash romaine and tear into bite-size pieces, placing lettuce into a large bowl. Pat lettuce with paper towels to absorb extra water.

Add the following as prepared. Washed and chopped roma's. Cut off about a 5 inch chunk of cucumber, peel then slice thin, reserving the rest for later use. Peel and slice onion very thin, only using about ½ of onion, reserve the rest for later use. Add feta cheese and salad dressing, toss well. You may serve as a small side salad (serves 4-5 ) or a big dinner salad (serves 2-3). Then add 2 pepperoncini peppers and a few olives on top of each salad.

I love greek salads and found myself craving them so I decided to come up with a recipe I can make at home, it is so good. Perfect for dinner on a hot day or a side with a meal. Be creative and top with grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, or tuna salad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Strawberries seem to be plentiful year round these days. Dark chocolate is good for you, and so are strawberries, hey it works for me. Besides Valentine's Day would not be the same at my house without these babies and it's become an annual tradition at our house. I like to make some extra and surprise someone with them. My favorite person to surprise is an elderly person whose spouse is no longer alive. No one thinks about them anymore at this time of the year and what was once a day to look forward to has fallen by the wayside. I'm sure you can think of someone's day to brighten up. They are not just for Valentine's Day as there are so many occasions that you would enjoy these so put your thinking cap on. Sweets for the sweet.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

  • 2 cups Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips from a bag, 60 % Cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp. Crisco
  • ½ cup Ghirardelli Classic White chips, from a bag
  • 2 (lbs.) large strawberries w/ leaves (and stems if possible)
  • wax paper
  • cooking spray
Wash strawberries and dry them well. The trick to coating them well is to have a dry cold berry. Place berries in refrigerator until ready to coat. Chill a cookie sheet in refrigerator.

Meanwhile melt bittersweet chocolate with 2 Tbsp. Crisco over top of double boiler over low heat. Stir with a wire whisk occasionally until just melted and smooth. Do not overheat chocolate, it will burn easily. When chocolate is melted remove berries and cookie sheet from refrigerator.

Cover cookie sheet with wax paper then spray with cooking spray. Hold onto leaves of berry and dip into chocolate coating evenly (start with the larger berries first working down to smaller ones). Hold above chocolate and when chocolate is done dripping place on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat process until all berries are coated. Place cookie sheet with berries in refrigerator. Let berries chill for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat white chips and 1 Tbsp Crisco over double boiler repeating same steps to melt chocolate. Scrap melted chocolate into a small ziploc baggie and trim off one corner. Remove strawberries from refrigerator and drizzle white chocolate over top of berries. The trick to a nice fine line of white chocolate is to have a tiny end cut from bag corner and drizzle in a swift back and forth motion squeezing chocolate from bag, about 8 inches above berries. Chill berries in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

Seal berries in an airtight container, if you need to layer them place a sheet of wax paper between them. They will keep about 1-2 days in refrigerator. Every time you make these it will get easier. Expensive to buy but inexpensive to make.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spicy Gazpacho

I am dogsitting two Jack Russell terriers this week, what a couple of characters. Izzy & Spanky. Well, it has been a hot couple of days, so I thought I would post a cool and refreshing recipe that's great for summertime.

Spicy Gazpacho
  • 1 cup spicy V-8
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped and peeled mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped and peeled papaya
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. tabasco
Chill V-8 and pineapple juice. Dice fruit and vegetables into very tiny pieces. Mix all ingredients together well and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gluten-Free Energy Bars

This is the time of year when we are more active, and these bars are a great source of energy. They blow away the expensive energy bars, and they are so delicious you will have a hard time eating just one. I tweaked this recipe for one of my favorite spin instructors who has celiac disease, otherwise known as gluten intolerance. These bars helped her through her Iron Man Triathlon. But you do not need to be gluten intolerant to enjoy these yummy bars.

Energy Bars (gluten free)
  • 3 cups crispy rice cereal (Perky O's Nutty Rice Crunch cereal, gluten free), organic
  • 3 cups toasted oat cereal (Perky O's gluten free, looks like cheerios), organic
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • ½ cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 16 oz. jar Smucker's Natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Combine cereal, raisins, sunflower nuts and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Combine honey and sugar in medium pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter is melted. Pour over cereal mixture, mix well. Press mixture into greased 15" x 10" x 1" jelly roll pan. When cool, cut into squares. Makes 5 dozen. They freeze well.

You will need a strong arm to stir these and a very large mixing bowl. Very addicting!

: Dried cranberries instead of raisins, silvered almonds instead of sunflower seeds, and white chocolate chips instead of chocolate.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pizzelle, A Classic Italian Treat

Pizzelle (pronounced purtsell), are a classic Italian cookie. They are light, thin and pressed with an intricate pattern; you will need a Pizzelle iron to make these. There is a mild licorice flavor from the anise seeds. They have been a treat in our family for generations. Pizzelle is plural, the word for one cookie is Pizzella. They are popular during the holidays and at Italian weddings.

  • 1/2 lb margarine, melted but not hot
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 1/8 cup anise seeds
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
Preheat Pizzelle iron. Mix all ingredients together well. You may do this by hand or use the large paddle on your electric mixer on low. On a pizzelle iron that has 2 large sections place 1 heaping Tbsp. batter on iron and close for about 1 minute. Remove cookies and repeat process until dough is used. If they stick wipe clean with a paper towel and spray iron with cooking spray, you should only have to do this once.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summertime Zucchini Recipes

Get rid of your excess zucchini with dignity! I can not claim this recipe as mine as I found it in the Valley Elementary cookbook that I volunteered to publish back when our boys were in elementary school many moons ago. These are two great things you can do with excess summer zucchini!

 Zucchini Relish

  • 10 cups unpeeled grated zucchini
  • 4 cups grated white onion
  • 5 Tbsp. salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 grated green bell pepper
  • 1 grated red bell pepper
Prepare first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, add water to cover mixture and let sit overnight at room temperature. Drain, then add remaining ingredients. Stir together well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Place into sterilized jars and seal according to regular canning process. Makes 12 1/2 pints.

I won a blue ribbon with this recipe in
The Great Frederick Fair. If you have ever grown zucchinis in your garden then you know what it is like to miss one or two now and then. Before you know it, you have a zucchini baseball bat. This is a perfect way to use up the larger zucchinis.

Grilled Zucchini

  • 2 zucchinis
  • Pam olive oil spray
Wash zucchinis and cut off ends. Slice zucchini's lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces depending on how large they are. Spray both sides of zucchini with oil. Cook over high heat on your grill for 5 minutes on each side.

So easy, but so good. I have had friends tell me they don't like zucchini but they like it this way. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spicy Meatball Soup (Pillsbury Bake-Off 1994)

February 21, 1994 was a magical day in my life. I was selected to be 1 of 100 finalists to be at The Pillsbury Bake-Off in San Diego at The Hotel Del Coronado. On the day of the Bake-Off we were all a little nervous. I walked into the ballroom with 100 ovens all set up and my mini kitchen area fully stocked. It took them 2 weeks to set this up. Can you imagine supplying electricity for 100 ovens in one room? Then of course they had to have the temperature controlled as well. True professionals! They did not let the media in to talk to us until 30 minutes had passed. Smart on their part, I was able to start cooking and I was immediately at ease. By the time reporters came to interview me I was in my element. Alex Trebek was the host that year and he was very nice. 

So the next day the deal was that they would go through one category at a time, and if your name and recipe was called out you would stand up and that meant you won $2,000.00.  If they called your name the second time it meant you won $10,000.00. Well I almost passed out when they called my name out the first time. I was in total shock when I was called a second time. I won $10,000! I'm proud to say that I did not spend one penny on myself, but put it all into our sons college funds. 

This is a delicious soup recipe and I have since decided that it tastes even better with black Beans instead of red kidney beans.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, 93% lean
  • 1/3 cup hot salsa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions with tops
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole tomatoes, undrained, cut up
  • 1 (15.5-oz.) can Green Giant or Joan of Arc Dark or Light Red Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 (11oz.) can Green Giant Niblets Golden Sweet Corn, drained
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2/3 cup hot salsa
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Toppings, if desired
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions with tops
  • 1/4 cup dairy sour cream
In large bowl, combine ground beef and remaining meatball ingredients; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet.

Meanwhile in 5-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, combine corn and all soup ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; carefully add raw (yes raw) meatballs. Simmer uncovered 45 to 60 minutes or until flavors blend and meat is no longer pink. Garnish individual servings with toppings. 6 (1 1/2-cup) servings.

I won $10,000 back in 1994 at the Pillsbury Bake-Off with this recipe. You may read more about my weekend of a lifetime by clicking on the Pillsbury Bake -Off link in the upper right had corner.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


On a cold and wintry day, this recipe will warm you up. I always try to make this at least once a year when my family is home visiting for the holidays. It starts with everyone waiting for the first loaf to come out of the oven. It takes 30 minutes for it to bake! It seems like an eternity, smelling the aromas, getting hungrier by the minute. Finally, it is ready, and the first loaf is always eaten before the second one comes out. The next 4 loaves I make go into the refrigerator for everyone to microwave at their leisure in the days to come. I always make 5 loaves. That way, we all get our fill, and everyone can take a little bit of home with them when they leave.

  • 8 oz. pepperoni
  • 8 oz. grated or sliced Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 frozen bread dough loaf
  • flour
About 4-5 hours before baking Stromboli, thaw out bread dough according to package directions. Do not let dough rise, you just want it completely thawed and room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°. On a large floured surface, coat both sides of dough with flour and roll out with a rolling pin. Try to stretch more in width than in length. It will take strong arms, and it is a workout. You will find the dough will have memory, but it will eventually give. You will want dough to be about 10 in. x 20 in. It does not have to be exact. Layer grated or sliced cheese over top of dough leaving about a 1" border without cheese on top and sides. Then, layer pepperoni in a single layer on top of cheese. Starting from bottom, slowly fold over about 1" across tucking in cheese and pepperoni. Keep rolling up from bottom until all is rolled up like a cinnamon bun. Then wet edges inside and pinch dough together to seal. Pull stromboli into a horseshoe shape so that it will fit on a cookie sheet. Make sure that your cookie sheet has sides because sometimes the grease from the pepperoni leaks through the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Don't worry if some of the loaf pulls apart, it just means you did not seal your edges well, it will still taste delicious. Remove from cookie sheet if grease has leaked out, lay dough onto paper towels to absorb grease. Cool for 5 minutes, cut into 1" slices and serve immediately. If saving for later, use just cool dough, then cut in half and wrap in foil to refrigerate. When ready to serve, cut into 1" slices and microwave slices for a short time.

It is much cheaper to buy freshly sliced pepperoni and mozzarella cheese from the deli department rather than buying prepackaged. Just ask them to wrap it in 8 oz. portions.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chicken Quesadillas

Who has ever said that they don't have time to make dinner when they get home from work? I know there were times when I really did not feel like it as well. But sometimes you don't want to go out for dinner either. This was my solution for a quick and easy dinner, and it works well for lunch too. You can always make a couple of extra, and the leftovers microwave well. Fast food at home, but healthy and tasty.

Chicken Quesadillas:
  • 4 tortillas, 10-inch round
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken strips
  • 1 8 oz. pkg. grated cheddar or mexican cheese blend, 1/3 less fat
  • sliced jalapenos from jar
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, about ¼ cup
  • 3 spring onions, sliced thin, green tops too
  • cooking spray
  • Cholula Hot Sauce
  • sour cream (fat free)
  • dry seasoning of your choice

Place chicken strips on large plate and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice or you may leave plain. Microwave until heated through. Meanwhile, preheat a large nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium heat. On one half of tortilla add cheese, chicken, sliced jalapenos, cilantro and spring onions. Evenly divide ingredients over all 4 tortillas. Fold over top to form a half circle. Spray skillet with cooking oil and add 2 tortillas to skillet, turning over after about 2 minutes or until lightly browned. When other side is browned remove from skillet and serve on plate with sour cream and Cholula hot sauce. You are able to heat up 2 at a time, they cook quick. These may be made on top of a grill too. Preheat grill and follow same cooking directions. This is a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Serves 4. Enjoy!

My favorite brand tortillas are La Tortilla Factory wraps, they are made with extra virgin olive oil. They have 13 g dietary fiber, only 3 g fat and they are 90 calories. Some grocery stores carry them, you may also purchase them online. My favorite spice is Mexican Seasoning by The Spice Hunter, it is salt free as well. I found this in the organic section of my grocery store. It is a great way to use up leftover chicken. Or you can omit the chicken and just do cheese quesadillas. Try leftover beef or shrimp too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Summertime Tomato & Onion Salad

Seasons change, and our cooking choices change with the season. Here is a fast and easy recipe for the warmer weather. It is so good that I find myself craving it year round.

The Tomato & Onion salad is great as a side. Make sure you have some crusty bread to dip into the juice, or chop and place the bread in a bowl with the tomato & onion salad on top. Or, serve it on a crusty Italian roll. Also, you may top salad greens with it and you will not need any salad dressing. Try filling up a pita with it. Enjoy!

Tomato & Onion Salad
  • 2 lbs. grape tomatoes, rinsed and sliced in half
  • 1 large sweet vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Prepare tomatoes and onion then place into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat. It will taste even better the next day.

It is also scrumptious when you add some fresh mozzarella balls to the salad. You can eat it on a pita or a crusty Italian roll.

I remember my Mom would make this salad for the family when I was a little girl. Summertime fresh tomatoes always spurred a craving for this one. When I was young I did not like the taste of tomatoes or onions, but I would dip Italian bread into the juice. It was delicious. Not anymore, I love tomatoes and onions. This is a summertime favorite. What more can you ask for, quick and easy to make, delicious and healthy too.