Friday, December 31, 2010

Calzones with Italian Tomato Sauce

Bake: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 6 servings

1 pound lean ground beef

3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 (6-ounce) can low-sodium tomato paste

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

2 (10-ounce) cans refrigerated pizza crust

Olive oil

Italian Tomato Sauce

Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
Combine beef, 2 1/2 cups cheese, and next 3 ingredients.

Unroll each pizza crust, and cut each crust into thirds. Roll each portion to a 5-inch circle. Spread 3/4 cup of meat mixture evenly over half of each circle. Moisten edges with water; fold dough over, pressing or crimping edges to seal. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, and cut slits in tops to allow steam to escape. Brush with olive oil.

Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Top with Italian Tomato Sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Melt cheese under broiler, if desired.

Note: Freeze baked calzones up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Wrap calzones in aluminum foil, and bake at 300° for 1 hour or until thoroughly heated.


1 1/4 cups tomato sauce

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated

Southern Living, SEPTEMBER 2003

Note: Some used Jimmy Dean Sausage and Pepperoni and added Italian Seasoning to the meat and cheesemixture (I also added a little more cheese). When brushing with Olive Oil I added a little Parmesan Cheese to the Oil. All in all a great recipe

Steak Frites with Shallot Pan Reduction

Many users crave hearty meals, and our take on the classic French bistro dish satisfies.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak, about 3 tablespoons sauce, and about 8 frites)

1 3/4 pounds baking potatoes (about 2 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks

Cooking spray

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided

1 pound boneless sirloin steak, trimmed (or ribeye)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (or red onion if you can't find shallots)

2 tablespoons brandy

3/4 cup less-sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons butter


1. Position 1 oven rack on the highest setting. Position another rack on the lowest setting.

2. Preheat oven to 450°.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheets. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring potatoes and rotating pans halfway through. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon thyme.

4. Heat a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add steak to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; keep steak warm.

5. Add shallots to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add brandy; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add beef broth, Dijon mustard, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 3 minutes). Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add butter, stirring with a whisk.

6. Slice steak. Serve with shallot pan reduction sauce and potatoes.

Wine note: This classic dish deserves its classic match: cabernet sauvignon. If price is no object, opt for a top red Bordeaux from France. But to stay under $30, a rich, full-bodied cabernet from California will do the trick. The Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is a steal at just $18. —Karen MacNeil

Nutritional Information

Calories:347 (18% from fat)

Fat:6.8g (sat 2.7g,mono 2.4g,poly 0.4g)








Jeanne Thiel Kelley, Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2008

Chicken Fried Cube Steaks with Gravy

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Yield: Makes 6 servings

6 (4-oz.) cubed steaks (1 1/2 lb.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup egg substitute

45 saltine crackers, crushed (1 sleeve plus 7 crackers)

Vegetable cooking spray

Cream Gravy


1. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge steaks in flour; dip in egg substitute, and dredge in crushed crackers. Lightly coat steaks on each side with cooking spray. (may want to add a little oil to the skillet you are going to use to brown the steaks in so the skillet doesn't burn the cracker crumbs.

2. Cook steaks, in batches, in a hot nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden, turning twice. Transfer steaks to a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Keep warm in a 225° oven. Serve with Cream Gravy.

Note: Nutritional analysis does not include gravy.

Nutritional Information

Calories:315 (0.0% from fat)

Fat:11.9g (sat 3.9g,mono 5g,poly 1.1g)








Southern Living, MARCH

. I did use 2 eggs instead of egg substitute to dip. I served cheese grits and sliced fresh tomatoes with this and it took me away to Anna Maria Island, FL! Thanks! Will definitely make again!07/25/10

This was a great, light version of an old favorite. I did add some oil in the pan to keep the crackers from burning. And the cream gravy was very salty -- next time, I'll be sure to get the low-sodium base.11/09/09

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade pizza dough like this recipe calls for is definitely worth the effort, but if you need to cheat, store-bought dough will work just fine. Instead of rolling it out, place the dough in a baking dish and start laying the toppings: ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese, flavorful Italian chicken sausages, tomatoes, fresh herbs, sautéed mushrooms, and plenty of peppers. Thick, bubbly, and covered with cheese, this deep-dish pizza scores!

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 piece)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

12.38 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 3/4 cups), divided

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 precooked mild Italian chicken sausages (about 6 ounces), casings removed, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil

2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (about 6 ounces)

3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper - optional

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in olive oil.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 11.25 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Stir flour mixture into yeast mixture until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into an 11 x 15–inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; press dough up sides of dish. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly over dough. Arrange chopped sausage evenly over cheese.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. Chop tomatoes; place in a sieve. Stir in oregano and basil; drain tomato mixture 10 minutes.

6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in bell peppers; cook for 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Arrange vegetables over sausage; spoon tomato mixture evenly over vegetables and sausage. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until crust browns and cheese bubbles. Cool 5 minutes before cutting.

Nutritional Information


Fat:9.2g (sat 4.6g,mono 3.2g,poly 1g)








Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2009

Reviews -

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Recipe: Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

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Excellent. This is a great recipe to have on hand for those nights in with the family while watching a movie. Didn't use any cornmeal and used with my own toppings and pizza sauce. Use any toppings you like and it will turn out great! Served with a side spinach salad. 12/28/10


I used whole wheat flour so this did taste distincly "healthy, but it was still very yummy. Very filling, I couldn't believe my husband only ate one serving. I couldn't find the precooked chicken sausage so I just diced up some Hillshire Farms turkey kilbasa. Next time I will make the recipe exactly as written based on all the rave reviews it received. 10/20/10


This recipe was FANTASTIC!!! The dough was super easy to make. The tomato mix was yummy, I added fresh basil and oregano and also sprinkled garlic powder and a drizzle of red wine to jazz it up.I have made this twice within 2 weeks and it is a huge hit! I did spicy Italian sausage and then one with sausage and peperoni.My husband ate half a pan it was sooooo good!!!! 07/21/10


Made this last night and everyone in my loved it. Made this really easy on myself and bought whole wheat crust (made fresh daily at our grocery store). I used spicy venison sausage, a can of Rotel, one can of regular tomatoes, and added onions, chopped artichoke hearts, and fresh spinach to the vegetables in the recipe. Also had wonderful fresh picked basil and oregano to add. Absolutely fantastic and healthy to boot! Served it with a Spinach Caesar Salad. I will definitely make this again! 05/13/10


This is a really good weeknight dinner, and it leftovers well. I make the dough in the morning, cover it, and let it rise 8 hours in the fridge while I am at work. Works very well. I added some onion, but for the most part, made according to recipe. it's a household favorite. 05/01/10


This recipe is absolutely fabulous! I live in the Chicago area and have had deep-dish pizza from the kings and this is pretty much right up there. Plus, its way healthier than what you would normally get from a restaurant. Making the dough from scratch was kind of intimidating, but the success of making made the pizza that much more enjoyable. If you’ve never done it I would recommend going to YouTube and watching some instructional videos. I would recommend using dried oregano and basil than getting the fresh stuff, which read in one of the other reviews. Enjoy! 02/27/10


Wow! This was so good. I regularly make pizza dough, but this was the best I've made. DH and I don't like mushrooms or peppers (weird, I know), so we used regular sauce, turkey pepperoni and cheese. It was awesome. I wish I had doubled the recipe. 02/27/10


I opened an account on this site just so I could rate this recipe and tell EVERYONE how great it is! You must try this! I didn't have mushrooms so I used frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed out), and I used jalapeno chicken sausage. I can't wait to experiment with some other ingredients! 02/27/10


I admit, when I saw the outstanding, I was like...yeah, yeah, it's pizza. However, after I made it, I agree. This was delicious and of course the highest praise is it doesn't skimp on taste at all. A definite repeater for pizza night at my house! 02/26/10

Carie CPink

Wowzers! We substituted Tofurkey Italian sausage for the real stuff. This was great! Lots of veggies and super tasty. Already thinking about the next one I'll be making. Mushroom, olive and blue cheese next time? 02/24/10

Kristen Faith

My husband and I made this for dinner tonight and we absolutely loved it! We bought whole wheat pizza dough from the grocery store and followed the rest of the recipe as stated. It was a such a success that we even sent pictures to friends and family to brag about how amazing it turned out. Perfect meal and much better than take out! 02/21/10


This recipe turned out great! The crust was very easy to make. I used rapid rise yeast but still let it go 45 minutes and it turned out fine. I also used a 28oz can of italian-style diced tomatoes rather than using whole tomatoes and chopping them. 01/25/10


My husband and I loved this dish. It was hearty, full of veggies, and we loved the tomato topping. The dough turned out great, it was chewy but crisp on the bottom and sides -- just like the "frying" of a deep dish pizza, without all of the grease. I used 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried basil because I didn't have any fresh on hand. Also, my grocery store didn't have the chicken sausage, so I cooked and crumbled 2 Hot Pork Italian Sausage links. Can't wait to make this one again! 12/30/09

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are easy to prepare and budget-friendly. For this recipe, throw all the ingredients together and let your slow-cooker do the

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (16-oz.) package ground pork sausag
1 large onion, chopped
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Brown beef and sausage with onion and bell pepper in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring 10 minutes or until beef and sausage crumble and are no longer pink. Drain well.

 2. Place beef mixture in a 4 1/2-qt. slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce and next 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours.

Serve on hamburger buns.

Stovetop Method: Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 1, 8 ingredients, omitting flour.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Note: To freeze leftover Sloppy Joe mixture, let cool completely. Place in zip-top plastic freezer bags; lay bags flat, and stack in freezer. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or defrost in the microwave.

Slow Cooker Rocky Road Chocolate Cake

Prep: 15 min.; Cook: 3 hr., 40 min.; Stand: 15 min. This cake will look like it needs to cook just a little longer, but by the time the topping is set, it's ready to serve. Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings Ingredients 1 (18.25-oz.) package German chocolate cake mix 1 (3.9-oz.) package chocolate instant pudding mix 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup sour cream 1/3 cup butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 1/4 cups milk, divided 1 (3.4-oz.) package chocolate cook-and-serve pudding mix 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels Vanilla ice cream (optional) Preparation 1. Beat cake mix, next 5 ingredients, and 1 1/4 cups milk at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour batter into a lightly greased 4-qt. slow cooker. 2. Cook remaining 2 cups milk in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or just until bubbles appear (do not boil); remove from heat. 3. Sprinkle cook-and-serve pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk over pudding. Cover and cook on LOW 3 1/2 hours. 4. Meanwhile, heat pecans in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. 5. Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle cake with pecans, marshmallows, and chocolate morsels. Let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted. Spoon into dessert dishes, and serve with ice cream, if desired. Southern Living, OCTOBER 2008

Sunday, December 26, 2010

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Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 325F with rack in middle.

Whisk together both flours and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until well blended.

Divide dough in half and pat into 2 (8-inch) round ungreased cake pans. Score each round into 16 pieces. Prick all over with a fork.

Bake until golden, about 1 hour. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen shortbread, then cut each shortbread, then cool completely in pans on racks. When cool, carefully remove with a small off set metal spatula.

Shortbread keeps in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

Oven Fries with Herbs and Pecorino Romano Cheese

This recipe comes from the Kitchen Daily web site. Made with starchy baking potatoes —flavored with garlic, fresh herbs and Pecorino Romano cheese— and tossed with just a little extra-virgin olive oil, these fries emerge from the oven crisp and delicious. 
Serves 4 

2 large baking potatoes, cut into 4-by-1/2-inch sticks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon each of minced sage and rosemary
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss the potato sticks with the olive oil until evenly coated. Spread the potato sticks on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake in the upper third of the oven, turning once or twice with a spatula, until they are golden and crispy, about 30 minutes.

2. Sprinkle the minced garlic and herbs over the fries and toss well. Roast for about 5 minutes longer, until the herbs are fragrant and the garlic is lightly browned. Transfer the fries to a large bowl and toss with the grated Pecorino Romano. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Friday, December 24, 2010

How to Make Cold Brewed Coffee

How to Prevent Clogs in Your Sink

How to Make A Funnel out of a Plastic Bottle

How to Dry Salad Greens without a Spinner

The Science Behind a Perfectly Browned Cookie - 356 Degrees

How to Get the Seeds Out of Vanilla Pods

Spiced Simple Syrup

This comes from the foodie web site,
Makes: 2 3/4 cups

Infused with warm spices, this simple syrup adds wintry cheer to anything it tops. Try it on citrus fruits for a winter fruit salad or in this Spiced Cranberry Sangría by Chef Jose Garces.


• 2 cups water

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

• 8 allspice berries

• 6 cloves

• 3 whole star anise pods


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm. Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof airtight container and discard spices.

3. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Spiced Cranberry Sangria

Adapted from Jose Garces from Amada Restaurant - adapted even more by me.

By dressing up classic Spanish sangría with Spiced Simple Syrup and tart cranberries, If you can't find a bottle of Sangria use a bottle of red wine.

This recipe was featured as part of our Suckling Pig for the Holidays menu.

Makes: 2 1/2 quarts


For the fruit:

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 Granny Smith apples, large dice

1 cup Spiced Simple Syrup

3/4 cup Cointreau

For the sangría:

1 (750-milliliter) bottle Sangria
1/2 cup Cointreau

1/2 cup cranberry juice

Add a little 7 up to your glass if desired.... not to the sangria unless it will all be consumed at once event


For the fruit:

1. Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart container with a tightfitting lid.

2. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

For the sangría:

1. Add all ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir to combine.

2. Refrigerate until chilled; serve over ice.

Spiced Simple Syrup Recipe

Makes: 2 3/4 cups

Infused with warm spices, this simple syrup adds wintry cheer to anything it tops. Try it on citrus fruits for a winter fruit salad or in this Spiced Cranberry Sangría by Chef Jose Garces.


• 2 cups water

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

• 8 allspice berries

• 6 cloves

• 3 whole star anise pods


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm. Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof airtight container and discard spices.

3. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blitz Bread - No Fuss Focaccia Bread from King Arthur

1 1/2 cups warm water

3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast

4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor, optional

1/4 cup Vermont cheese powder, optional

Pizza Seasoning, optional

12 ounces warm water1 1/4 ounces olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)1 1/4 teaspoons salt14 3/4 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour1 tablespoon instant yeast4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor, optional1 ounce Vermont cheese powder, optionalPizza Seasoning, optional


1) Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

2) Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3) Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it's become puffy.

4) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5) Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

6) Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.

7) Bake the bread till it's golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

8) Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Crispy Crunchy Chopped Salad ~ Karin Calloway

Another great recipe from Karin Calloway!

This Crispy, Crunchy Chopped Salad is tossed with a classic vinaigrette with a twist from champagne vinegar and a hint of sweetness from agave nectar. Feel free to customize the salad, substituting pears or peaches for the apple, dried cranberries for the cherries, honey-roasted peanuts for the candied pecans and feta for the blue cheese.

* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

* 3 tablespoons champagne or rice wine vinegar

* 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 1 head radicchio, cored and finely chopped

* 2 heads romaine lettuce, finely chopped

* 1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely diced

* 3 green onions, thinly sliced

* 1 cup dried cherries

* 1 cup store-bought candied pecans or pecan halves, toasted, coarsely chopped

* 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Whisk Dijon mustard, vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place lettuces, apples, green onions, cherries, pecans and cheese in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over salad just before serving and toss to coat.

Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Don't Really Need a Meat Mallet

Make sure you use a wooden cutting board that can absorb the shock ... don't beat up your countertop!

Fried PB & J or Nutella Sandwiches

I was recently reminded of this "recipe" - again from my college days.......... stretching a nickel.

2 slices of bread
Peanut butter
Your favorite jelly   or Nutella

Spread peanut butter on one side of the bread, top with jelly then the other slice of bread.  Put butter on the outside of the sandwich. Place buttered sandwich in a heated skillet until each side is browned.

Easy Baked Brie

Put the desired amount of Brie in a bowl in the overn. Bake at 300 until it is bubbling.

Remove from oven and serve on a platter with slices of apple, pear, bread, or crackers surrounding it.

If desired, top with a jelly.

Super Simple Parmesan Sticks

My sons used to make these when they were little......... great "cooking" experience for little ones.  My sons used to like to dip these in pizza sauce.

Slice  each  piece of white or wheat bread into four "fingers".

Dip in melted butter and roll in grated Parmesan cheese.

Place on greased cooking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Use as an appetizer or break up for croutons.

Hot Cheese and Bacon Hors d'oeuvres

2 cups grated cheese
1 cup mayo
2 TBSP minced onion (green onion best)
1 can minced black olives (optional - I don't use these)
Cooked bacon, crumbled
Party bread (I like the rye)

Mix together:
Cheese, mayo, onions and olives, if using them.  Spread on party bread. Sprinkle cooked and crumbled bacon on top and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Makes 30

King Crab Dip

This recipe came from a former co-worker who was a great cook. I don't care for seafood so I have not made this but she made this for parties often and it was quickly gobbled up.

6 oz cream cheese
1 TBSP milk
4 TBSP chopped green onions
1 tsp horseradish
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Splash of Tobasco sauce
1 pint fresh crab meat
Grated Swiss Cheese
Slivered almonds (optional0

Mix all ingredients except cheese and almonds
Put 1/2 mixture in an ovenproof dish
Layer with half the cheese and almonds
Put the rest of the mixture on top of the almonds
Top with the rest of the cheese and almonds.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with crackers.

Serves 8 - 10

Budget Hotdog Appetizer

Another recipe from college days.......... to save money, instead of buying the little cocktail hotdogs, we bought hot dogs on sale and cut them on angles... mix all together and put in the crockpot ........till heated through. 

Serves 8

1 lb. hotdogs
1 jar sliced French mustard
1 jar current jelly

Summer Guacamole

2 large ripe avacados
1 ripe tomato
4 green onions
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Salsa, either medium or hot
Pepper to taste

Dice onions, cube tomatoes, cube avacados, mix with a fork.  Don't blend - the person who gave me this recipe insisted only imitation Mexican restaurants puree their quac!

Add salsa, pepper and lemon to taste.  Serve in a bowl or on lettuce with HOT tortilla chips right out of the oven or microwave.

Best with Sangria or margaritas.........or iced tea.

Easy Spinach Dip

In my college days, we often made spinach dip sandwiches.........sometimes we added this to burgers to have spinach burgers with a slice of swiss cheese.

1 pkg Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix - dry
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed to remove excess moisture

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors blend.

Serve with crackers, raw vegetables or torn bread. This dip can be used in a bread bowl.........just hollow out the center of a round loaf of bread and serve with crackers and the bread.

Also very good on French bread that has been brushed with butter and garlic salt and heated until warm.

Cinnamon Popcorn

Another recipe from my college days, so many years ago...  back then, we all knew how to pop popcorn. I am adding those directions here since I recently gave this recipe to someone who said she's never made anything but microwave popcorn. Yes, you can use the microwave popcorn but I prefer Black Jewel  or sone of the other "gourmet" popcorn kernels.

Cover bottom of heavy saucepan with a thin layer of vegetable oil (or lard). Add layer of popcorn. Cover pan with a lid and pop corn, shaking pan.

After the kernels are popped, pour popcorn into a large bowl. 

Pour 1/4 cup of melted butter over popcorn.

Mix together and add to the popped corn.......

2 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Sprinkle sugar mixture over popcorn and toss carefully.

If desired, add raisins, dates, dried fruit, peanuts or mixed nuts.

Carefully spri

Quick Chili Con Queso

I am not  a Velveeta fan but I was when I was in college and this recipe was one we often made...especially since it was quick, easy, and inexpensive!

1 small Velveeta cheese
1 small can Picante sauce
5 - 7 chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)

Melt cheese over low heat, add taco sauce. Serve with nacho chips or pour over vegetables.

Green and White Delight

Appetizers don't get any easier than this!

1   16 oz package cream cheese
1 jar of your favorite Jalapeno jelly
1 box of Triscuits

Put cream cheese on a plate. Cover with the jalapeno jelly. Surround cheese with Triscuits.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quick and Easy Beef and Boursin Sandwiches

Another great recipe from Karin Calloway -

"Sandwiches are usually reserved for lunchtime, but in my house they’re given a special place as an evening entrée. My recipe for Beef and Boursin Sandwiches takes advantage of deli meat and cheese while creating a memorable sandwich that’s worthy of the dinner hour.

It doesn’t take much to prepare a sandwich that’s supper-worthy. Just take a look at the array of deli meats and cheeses your supermarket has to offer today and you’ll find lots of inspiration.

This special sandwich begins with French hamburger rolls from the bakery department. Head on to the deli for some sliced roast beef, and take a look in the deli cheese case for a package of Boursin cheese spread. The spread is the secret ingredient here, offering a creamy herbal accent to the sandwiches.

Boursin isn’t the only brand of herb-and-garlic flavored cheese spread in your supermarket, so feel free to substitute another brand. In fact, the whipped cream cheese flavored with chives that can be found in your supermarket’s dairy case is a fine substitute."

  • 4 French hamburger rolls, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 12 slices deli roast beef, about 3/4 pound
  • 4 ounces Boursin cheese spread, at room temperature
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices ripe tomato
  • Salt and pepper
Brush the cut sides of the hamburger rolls with melted butter. Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add two rolls, cut-side down. Grill until they are golden brown. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining rolls, remove and set aside.
Heat the roast beef in the same skillet, in batches, until heated through. Spread both the top and bottom halves of the rolls with the cheese spread. Place some of the roast beef on the bottom half of each roll. Top with a lettuce leaf and a slice of tomato. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste, and top with the remaining buns.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Creamy Onion Soup ~ Karin Calloway

The transformation from raw onion to melted, sweet cooked onions is one of the truly amazing culinary conversions. What once made you cry, turns into something smooth and luscious. The perfect example of this transformation is in onion soup, and I’ve come up with a quick and creamy version that is full of mellow onion flavor.

While homemade beef broth is always preferable to canned broth, I’ve found that I can obtain a tasty pot of soup with a combination of canned reduced-sodium beef and chicken broths. The onion is the main flavor here, so the broths only play a background role. If you have time, by all means substitute real, homemade stock for the broth.

The key to the flavor of this soup is taking your time when sautéing the onions. Nearly caramelized onions impart richness in this soup, which is heightened by the addition of heavy cream and two types of cheese. A food processor helps take the time and tears out of slicing multiple onions. Simply peel, cut off the root and tops, slice in half and slice thinly in a food processor which has been fitted with a slicing disc.

Like most hearty soup recipes, all you need to complete your meal is some good crusty bread and a salad.

* 1/4 cup butter

* 4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced, about 8 cups

* 1/3 cup flour

* 4 cups (32 ounces) reduced-sodium beef broth

* 4 cups (32-ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth

* 1 cup whipping cream

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese, plus 1/4 cup for garnish

* 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions, reduce heat to medium and sauté, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until onions are wilted and beginning to caramelize. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add the broths and simmer 10 minutes. Add whipping cream and 1 cup of cheddar cheese and simmer 5 to 10 minutes more.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with additional shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Italian Meatball Stoup -IStew Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into a small dice
  • 1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
  • 2 small ribs celery from the heart, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups tomato sauce or 1 (14-ounce) can plus 1 (8-ounce) can
  • 3 cups chicken stock, available in a box on the soup aisle
  • 1 pound ground beef, pork and veal mix (meatloaf mix) available at butcher counter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano, plus more to pass at table
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, a few handfuls
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn or shredded
  • 1 loaf Italian crusty bread, for dunking


Preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, carrots, onions, celery, garlic and saute 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and stock and cover pot. Turn up heat and bring to a fast boil.
While soup comes to a boil, mix the ground meat with cheese, bread crumbs, egg and parsley. Roll into 1 1/2 to 2-inch balls.
Remove lid from soup and slide balls into soup. Bring back to a boil then stir in spaghetti. Reduce the heat and simmer soup 10 minutes more, until pasta is tender and balls have cooked through. Stir in basil and remove "stoup" from the stove. Serve soup with bread and cheese.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Roll Dough Without a Rolling Pin

I should have thought of this!

Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

Low sodium cooking takes some practice but once you "get it" - it become much easier.  This recipe came from combining a few different ones and trial and error.... tweak it until it pleases you. I often double the garlic in this.

1 Lb. celery, whole, with leaves, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb.carrots- cleaned and cut in 1 inch pieces
1.5  lb. onions  -quartered
1 lb. tomatoes (if in season) Cored
3 cloves garlic,
1 teaspoon thyme
bay leaf removed after simmering
1 teaspoon  sweet basil bl
8 black peppercorns
1 gallon water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Remove leaves and tender inner parts of celery and set aside.

Toss onions, carrots, tomatoes, with olive oil. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and place them in the 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) oven. Stir the vegetable every 15 minutes. Cook until all of the vegetables have browned and the onions start to caramelize, this will take over one hour.

Put the browned vegetables, celery, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, pepper corns, Italian parsley and water into a large stock pot. Bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until liquid is reduced by half.

Pour the broth through a colander, catching the broth in a large bowl or pot. The liquid caught in the bowl or pot is your vegetable broth it can be used immediately or stored for later use. Although the vegetables are no longer necessary for your broth they are delicious to eat hot or cold, don't waste them

Place all the ingredients into a stockpot and simmer, partially covered, for 8 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally. Skim off any scum that appears. Cook it this way for 45 minutes. (If using a crockpot, cook on LOW for 8-12 hours and skim scum when done.).

Remove the ingredients from the pot and strain the stock through cheesecloth or a cheesecloth-lined vegetable strainer or sieve. Throw out the solids.

Simmer the strained stock until it reduces to about 8 cups.

If making ahead, let cool and store in 2-cup freezer containers to approximate the volume of one can of soup.

Add dried herbs at the beginning of the cooking time, and fresh herbs right before serving.
If your recipe calls for a heavy cream, use pureed cooked potatoes instead. Or remove about two cups of your cooked soup and blend until smooth. (Use a stick hand blender for best results, or puree it one cup at a time in a blender. Hold the lid on tight with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from burns.) Stir the puree back into the soup to thicken it. 
To add real cream flavor, stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream when the recipe calls for 1 cup--a little cream will go a long way.Note: because cream is an emulsion, it doesn't "break" or curdle--like milk or sour cream can do--if the soup starts to boil. Use the real thing, but in small amounts, if you're watching your saturated fat intake.

If low sodium is NOT  a concern  you can add Miso--fermented soybean paste--adds savor to soup stocks, especially vegetarian broths. Add a tablespoon or so per quart of water, or to taste. Miso is high in salt.

Baking Powder - Make it Yourself

I've had this recipe for a LONG time - since my high school Home Ec days. While I tend to like the convenience of reaching for the can of Baking Powder on the shelf, this recipe is aluminum FREE and probably healthier than many of the store bought brands.

This simple recipe may save you a trip to the store at 10 PM or it may become a staple in your pantry.

Mix together and store - may be made in larger batches with the same ratio.
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch 

To read more about baking powder, click here

Tomato Sliders from the Sassy Radish Blog

Wouldn't you know I'd have the misfortune to find this recipe in the dead of winter?

The good news is, at least I found it... and I've bookmarked it so I can try it next summer when tomatoes area in season.

This photo and the recipe are from the Sassy Radish Blog - please visit her blog... good stuff!


If  making this for a crowd, I let everyone add their own onions, peppers and olives, sour cream, salsa at the table….that way picky eaters have it their way!
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope taco seasoning
  • ¾  cup water (slightly less than seasoning mix calls for)
  • 2 (12 inch) prebaked prepared pizza crust
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips (or Doritos)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce (optional)
  • Green Onions, Black olives and jalapeño peppers to garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream if desired.
  • Extra Salsa
In a saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes; set aside.
Place crusts on ungreased pizza pans or baking sheets.
Combine beans and salsa; spread over crusts.
Top with beef mixture, chips and cheese.
Bake at 350° for 13-16 minutes or until cheese is melted
 Sprinkle with tomatoes and lettuce – and toppings .

Monday, December 13, 2010

Citrus Drops

Bridesmaid’s luncheons, cocktail parties or large group gatherings all call for crowd-pleasing desserts in bite-sized servings. Lemon squares, brownies and cookies are all nice choices as pick-up desserts, but my Citrus Drops top them all in presentation and ease of preparation.

This cake-mix recipe allows you to turn out 96 individual citrus cakes in under an hour. An orange or lemon cake mix is combined with lemon instant pudding, eggs, water and sour cream to for a rich, dense batter. The batter is baked in miniature muffin tins for one-bite citrus morsels.

The Citrus Drops get added citrus tang when they are dipped in a special orange glaze right after baking. The glaze is a simple mixture of powdered sugar, orange juice concentrate and melted butter. These Citrus Drops please children as well as adults, and can be absolutely addicting. Serve them at your next group function and watch them disappear.

  • 1 18.25-ounce Orange Supreme or Lemon cake mix
  • 1 3.4-ounce package lemon instant pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 6-ounce can orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 2 24-cup miniature muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Place cake mix, instant pudding mix, eggs, water and sour cream in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer or large bowl. Beat with the stand mixer or an electric hand mixer on medium, until well blended and smooth. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on oven racks. Continue baking batches until all batter is used. You should have enough batter for 96 muffins.
While muffins bake, combine confectioners’ sugar with orange juice concentrate and melted butter. Beat until smooth using a hand whisk or electric mixer. As the batches of muffins come out of the oven, dip them in the glaze by inserting a fork in the top of the muffin and dipping the bottom and sides in the glaze. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, top side down, until glaze is set. These can be prepared several days before serving. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Makes 96 Citrus Drops.

Chunky Applesauce


8 cups chopped, peeled tart cooking apples (Fuji)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract - optional
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1.In a Crockpot, combine brown sugar and apples.Cover and cook over medium-low heat for several hours until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat;add cinnamon, mash apples (a potato masher works well) until sauce is desired consistency. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mocha Java “Cigars” - Great to serve with chocolate sauce or ice cream

Even great with Port Wine for dessert! One per person is not enough in my book, so you may want to double or triple this recipe.

* 1/4 cup granulated sugar

* 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

* 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

* 6 sheets defrosted filo dough

* 2 tablespoons melted butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder in a bowl. Place one sheet of filo on a flat work surface and brush with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle with some of the sugar mixture and roll up around a small wooden dowel, or other long, thin round object. Place on a parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until crisp.

Makes 6 servings.

Poverty Pasta

Some of the best recipes in the world were created as a way to sustain a family on little income. Called "peasant" food, most cultures have traditional dishes that were created for just this reason. And while the dishes were created out of poverty, their popularity continues during more prosperous times.

The hot sausage makes this a piquant dish, but mild sausage can be used instead.

While the ingredient list is short, the flavor of this sauce really sings. Other ingredients can be added to make the dish even better. The addition of shredded carrot and chopped celery along with the onions and peppers called for would make this a quick Bolognese sauce. Sliced, sautéed mushrooms also are a tasty addition. Add a tossed salad and some crusty bread for a delicious Italian-American meal.

  • 1 pound hot bulk sausage
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 25 to 28 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain the sausage and set aside. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet, add the spaghetti sauce, garlic salt and Italian seasoning and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Serve over the pasta and sprinkle with the shredded Parmesan.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Portobello Burgers make a wonderful light lunch or supper served with a Caesar salad. Or, cut each burger into quarters and skewer with a toothpick for a great appetizer.

  • 8 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems and gills removed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large red, ripe tomatoes, slightly firm, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 8 large crusty rolls, cut in half
  • 1 cup Roasted Garlic Aioli (recipe below)
Brush mushrooms with half of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil on a preheated grill or broiler pan until soft, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a warm platter.

Brush tomatoes with the remaining oil. Sprinkle each slice with salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and chopped basil. Grill until soft, about 2 minutes on each side.

Toast rolls until lightly brown in color. Spread Roasted Garlic Aioli (below) on both sides of each roll; place the mushrooms on the bottoms, then top with the tomato slices. Replace the roll tops and serve warm.

Makes 8 burgers or 32 appetizers

Roasted Garlic Aioli

  • 1 head garlic (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice off the top quarter of the garlic head to expose all of the cloves. Place the head of garlic in a clay garlic roaster or oven-safe roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, apply pressure to the base of the head and squeeze out the pulp; discard the skins.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk roasted garlic pulp, mayonnaise and chopped parsley until completely incorporated; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes about 1 cup

Pork Chops with Ginger Ale Marinade

Using ginger ale in a marinade has many benefits. First, you get bold ginger flavor without grating fresh ginger. The carbonation also makes the ginger ale a great meat tenderizer.

The longer the meat or poultry marinates, the more tender and flavorful it will be. Consider combining the marinade and pork loin chops before heading off to work in the morning. Dinner will be as simple as firing up the grill when you get home. The marinade is also delicious with pork tenderloin. The longer it soaks the better, so combine the marinade and meat before you head off to bed to grill the next evening.

Serve the marinated chops with your favorite packaged Oriental rice mix and some sauteed bok choy for a great meal.

  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 to 5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 6 3/4-inch thick pork loin chops
Place marinade ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze to combine. Add pork chops and marinate several hours or overnight. 

Heat grill on high for 5 minutes. Place chops on the grill and cook for 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature of 145 degrees is reached for medium or 160 degrees for well done when instant-read meat thermometer is inserted in center of meat. Total cooking time should be 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

My Big Fat Greek Spanakopita Pie

Spanakopitas are popular Greek appetizers in which spinach and feta cheese are encased in buttered phyllo pastry. The original version is quite delicious, yet extremely labor-intensive.  I’m passing along my Spanakopita Pie, which combines the ingredients from the original Spanakopita filling and bakes them up into one delicious pie.

Although this pie contains more spinach and fewer eggs than most quiches, it is like a quiche in that it can be made ahead and freezes well. A whole, baked pie can be reheated in a 300-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or individual slices can be heated in the microwave. The baked pie can be frozen for up to one month.

Spanakopita Pie is a great meatless entrée for a light supper served with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers or a fresh fruit salad. Or, serve your pie as a side dish to grilled chicken or lamb chops for a Greek-inspired meal.

  • 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, green and white parts included, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 frozen deep-dish pie shell
  • Paprika, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter or heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add green onions, oregano and dill weed and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach, black pepper, salt, nutmeg and cayenne and sauté 3 minutes more. Set aside to cool.

Combine feta and cottage cheeses with eggs in a medium bowl. Add spinach mixture and pour into the pie shell. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 6 servings.

Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Easy meals can also be elegant, as illustrated in this Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli. The clever use of convenience products can add up to full gourmet flavor with a little supermarket savvy. This  recipe, a combination of sauteed chicken breast strips, broccoli florets and bow-tie pasta in a creamy sauce, uses several time-saving supermarket offerings.

Purchase stir-fry ready chicken and washed and cut broccoli florets to save time at the cutting board. Then, you’ll only have to slice up a small red bell pepper. And forget time-intensive sauce making, as soft-spread cheese and chicken broth come together to form a creamy sauce.

There are several brands of garlic and herb soft-spread cheeses on the market, including Alouette, Rondele, and Boursin. Simply use whichever one you find at your favorite supermarket. The recipe comes together quickly, and is best served right away. Add mixed greens with a zesty balsamic vinaigrette and some good bread to complete the meal.

  • 8 ounces bow-tie pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 to 6.5-ounces garlic and herb soft-spread cheese*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add bow ties and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until done, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Add broccoli, red bell pepper strips and chicken broth to skillet. Cover and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the cooked pasta and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Makes 4 servings.

*A 6.5-ounce container of Allouette garlic and herb cheese was used for testing purposes only.

Bousin Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are an all-purpose side dish, almost as American as apple pie! The recent revival of "diner" dining and trendy diner-style upscale restaurants has elevated this blue plate special side dish to new heights. Garlic mashed potatoes and other flavored varieties abound today on chain restaurant menus despite the trend for low-carbohydrate diets.

These Boursin Mashed Potatoes are flavorful with garlic and herbs, are a snap to prepare and can be made ahead. Reheating is usually an issue with mashed potatoes, but the additions of the Boursin cheese spread, sour cream and milk provide enough liquid and fat to ensure creamy, delicious results. Serve as a side dish to our Garlic-Herb Prime Rib (recipe available on this site), or this also makes a terrific side with oven-roasted salmon or store-bought rotisserie chicken and gravy.

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 3-ounce container herb and garlic flavored cheese spread*
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Wash, peel, dice and cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Press through a potato ricer and add cheese spread, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper to taste. Place in a large casserole dish, cover with foil and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove potatoes from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Makes 6 servings.

*Boursin brand herb and garlic cheese spread was used for testing purposes.

Ina's Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"

Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but their prime season is really autumn and winter. Choose potatoes that are smooth and unblemished, and use them fairly soon because they don’t keep as well as other potatoes. These potatoes are crispy like fries but they’re better for you because they’re baked.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Halve sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil. Spread potatoes in one layer. Combine brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

Serves 4

Italian Rag Soup

Another recipe from Karin Calloway  and it’s a snap to prepare with store-bought reduced-sodium chicken broth.

The broth is brought to a strong simmer, and then a mixture of eggs, freshly grated Parmesan and fresh breadcrumbs are whisked in. Using good freshly grated Parmesan (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano) and fresh breadcrumbs is critical, and the soup is even better when homemade chicken stock is used. Fresh breadcrumbs can be made in the food processor, but for the small amount needed for the recipe I usually grate a day-old baguette on a box grater.

The soup is pure comfort, and is especially enjoyed by my children and their friends, who all learned to make the soup during one of my summer cooking camps. While the children like the soup as is, a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley, basil or chives makes a nice finishing touch.

  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Bring broth to a simmer in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and beat well. Add cheese and breadcrumbs and beat again. Ladle 1/2 cup of the hot stock into the eggs. Bring stock up to a boil and whisk in the egg mixture. Reduce heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls and top each serving with more Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 6 1-cup servings.

Brown Sugar and Black Pepper Bacon

If you love bacon, you know that it is almost impossible to make it any better than it is when you simply fry it up in a pan. But if you’re a fan of “salty/sweet” AND a bacon fan, then this dish is for you.

You simply place some strips of bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper and brown sugar and bake until the bacon is crisp. The splatters and mess associated with frying bacon in a skillet are eliminated, and you end up with delicious sweet and salty bacon strips that can be served at breakfast or brunch, or cut into small pieces and passed as an hors d’oeuvre.

  • 1 pound high-quality bacon
  • 1 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil and then place a piece of parchment paper on top of the foil. Place strips of bacon on the parchment, spacing them evenly. Sprinkle with pepper and press into the bacon. Sprinkle with brown sugar and press into the bacon.

Place baking sheet on the top rack of the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Best Baked Eggs

If I could pick a personal chef, it would be Karin Calloway.... another great recipe from her!

I call these the “best” baked eggs for two reasons. First of all, they’re delicious. Second, they free you up to prepare the rest of your breakfast or brunch while they bake.

Maybe a third reason to bake up this simple egg dish is that you can add whatever you have on hand to flavor up the eggs. While the recipe below is my favorite combination of ingredients, feel free to dig through the fridge and use whatever cheese or combination of cheeses you find. You can’t go wrong with crumbled goat cheese combined with the fresh herbs, and sharp cheddar would be delicious, too. Add some diced ham, crumbled bacon or browned sausage if you’d like a more substantial dish. The possibilities are limitless.

The eggs puff up when baking, but they deflate quickly. They’re delicious served immediately and leftovers reheat well in the microwave.

  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil, chives, thyme)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese, herbs and green onions evenly in the bottom of the pan.

Beat eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Pour egg mixture on top of cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes or until firm.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Perfect Potato Soup

I call this recipe "perfect potato soup" because it’s perfectly delicious, perfectly simple to prepare and my perfectly picky children love it. Potato soup was considered simple, inexpensive comfort food until chain restaurants began serving "baked potato soup." This popular soup calls for baking potatoes, removing the skin and making a rich soup with traditional baked potato toppings like bacon, shredded cheese and sour cream.

This recipe is a cross between the old and the new, made simple by using convenience products like frozen pre-chopped onion and Southern-style hash browns. Both can be quickly thawed in the microwave or measured out and thawed in the refrigerator while you’re at work. Serve your potato soup with a fruit salad and cinnamon muffins, baked from a mix or purchased at the supermarket.

  • 6 slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes or frozen Southern-style hash browns, thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 10 3/4-ounce cans regular or reduced fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 soup cans milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Fry bacon until crisp in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and set aside. Add onion to bacon fat and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and water. Cover pan with lid and cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Stir in salt, soup and milk. Heat through but do not boil.

Ladle into bowls and top each bowl with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and some of the crumbled bacon.

Makes 6 servings.

Green Jacket Salad

by Karin Calloway - May 28, 2010
One week a year the town I call home turns into a completely different universe. There are golf lovers everywhere, changes in the traffic patterns and people dressed in chef’s clothes pushing buggies through the local supermarkets. One of those buggy pushers is me.

The rest of the year I love my home city, too. Augusta isn’t know for much besides the famed tournament but maybe we can begin being known for this: Green Jacket Salad.

The salad is unique to Augusta. Originally served in the Green Jacket restaurant, which was directly across the road from the Augusta National, the salad can now be found on the menu at Rae’s Coastal Cafe and Stonecrest Grill.

But you don’t have to come to Augusta to give this one a try. I’ve cracked the code and here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Augusta’s Best Tossed Salad

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion, about 1 green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 12-ounce bags prepared Iceberg and Romaine salad
  • 1 pita bread, split in half, toasted and broken into bite-sized pieces
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional

Combine vegetable oil, vinegar, tomato, seasoned salt, oregano, green onion and parsley in a jar or bowl. Shake or blend well. Place salad greens in a large bowl and add the pita chips and dressing. Toss well and serve. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Garlic Soup- with or without cream

Some people love garlic, others don’t. But few would pass on a creamy bowl of this delicious Garlic Soup. Yes, two cups of garlic is a lot. But the flavor of the garlic mellows as it simmers with leeks, onion and chicken broth. A bouquet garni (a little bunch of parsley stems, thyme and bay leaves tied together with butcher’s twine) gives the soup an herbal aroma and the surprising addition of French bread thickens the soup nicely. While the recipe calls for a cup of whipping cream or half and half, the dairy products can be omitted completely for a lighter version.

If your supermarket sells jars of peeled garlic cloves, this is a great place to use them. The purchase will save you the step of peeling seven or eight bulbs of fresh garlic. Serve the soup as a first course for a French menu or with a tossed salad and crusty bread for lunch or supper.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), trimmed and sliced, about 2 cups
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about 7 bulbs)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bouquet garni (parsley stems, thyme sprigs and bay leaf tied together)
  • 2 cups stale French bread, cut into 1⁄2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, onions and garlic and sauté until golden, about 20 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bouquet garni and bread. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove the bouquet garni and puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the cream and heat to boiling. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Freezer Aisle Corn Chowder

This recipe was created  by the fabulous Karin Calloway, so you can take advantage of frozen convenience products. While these products save you time, they also allow you to create a rich and filling homemade soup. Using frozen  whole kernel corn and diced Southern-style hash brown potatoes keeps your time at the cutting board to a minimum.

This flavorful chowder can be prepared from start to finish in 30 minutes. Add a tossed salad and rolls, and dinner is served.

* 3 slices bacon

* 1 cup  chopped onion

* 2 ribs celery, chopped

* 1 clove garlic, minced

* 1/4 cup flour

* 1 bay leaf

* 2 14.5-ounce cans low sodium chicken broth

* 3 cups diced potatoes or frozen Southern style hash browns

* 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn

* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

* Dash cayenne, optional

* 1 16-ounce can cream-style corn

* 1 cup whipping cream

Fry bacon in a Dutch oven over medium high heat, until crisp. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Add onion and celery to bacon grease and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add flour, stirring, 1 minute. Add bay leaf and 1 can of the chicken broth, stirring until smooth.

Add remaining can of broth, diced potatoes, frozen corn, thyme, salt, black pepper and cayenne, if desired. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. When potatoes are tender, stir in cream-style corn and whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Haute Chocolate ~ Karin Calloway's

"In this extra-rich version, whole milk and half and half are simmered together with two types of sugar and chopped chocolate. For the chocolate, I usually choose a bar of Valhrona bittersweet (look for bars with around 70 percent cocoa) and Ghirardelli semisweet, with 60 to 65 percent cocoa. If I have leftover milk chocolate on hand, I’ll usually add some in place of some of the semisweet chocolate for further chocolate character."

The cocoa can be served as soon as the chocolate melts, but I like to froth it up with an emersion blender before serving. Top each mug of cocoa with a big marshmallow.

 * 3 cups milk

* 3 cup half and half

* 4 tablespoons granulated sugar

* 3 tablespoons brown sugar

* 3.5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

* 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Marshmallows, for garnish

Heat everything in a saucepan, except the vanilla, until chocolates melt and sugar dissolves. Stir in the vanilla. Blend with an emersion blender until foamy. Ladle into mugs and serve with marshmallows.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Chocolate Peppermint Chews - Karin Calloway's

"These Chocolate Peppermint Chews use a devil’s food cake mix and a few other ingredients for home-baked holiday treats that disappear fast. The cake batter is made extra chocolaty with the addition of chocolate morsels, and is flavored with a bit of peppermint extract. The peppermint flavor is further enhanced with a drizzle of mint glaze and crushed peppermint candies."


* 1 18.25-ounce devil’s food cake mix

* 1/2 cup vegetable oil

* 2 large eggs

* 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

* 1 cup mini or regular semisweet chocolate chips or mint chocolate chips

Combine first 4 ingredients, and beat at medium with an electric mixer until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool cookies on the pan about 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

To finish the cookies

* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

* 2 drops peppermint extract

* 4 teaspoons water

* 1 cup crushed peppermint candies.

Combine the sugar, extract and water in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.

Pour into a zip-top plastic sandwich bag. Seal and cut off a small piece at one of the corners. Drizzle over the cookies and sprinkle immediately with the crushed peppermint candies.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Soft Molasses Cookies

Sift together:
3 ½ C Flour
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp clove
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp all spice
½ tsp salt

Beat together:
1 egg
2/3 C sugar
1 C molasses
½ C melted shortening

Add 1 cup of flour mixture to the wet ingredients then mix in ¼ c cold water and ¼ c vinegar. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix well.

Chill for 1 hr. Preheat oven to 375. 

Roll out to ½ thickness and cut out cookies.

Bake 12-15 minutes and immediately take off cookie sheet and cool on wire rack. 

Makes about 4 dozen depending on how thick you roll these out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Perfect Two-Crust Apple PIe


1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box


6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon juice


1.Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.

2.In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.

3.Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.

Homemade Italian Sausage Patties or Links

4 pounds coarse ground pork shoulder

1 pound coarse ground pork back fat

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 cup ice water

80 inches sausage casing, 1 1/2 inches wide


1.Using a spice grinder or food processor, pulverize the salt, black pepper and sugar. In a large bowl, mix together the pork shoulder, back fat, garlic powder, mace, coriander, cayenne and ice water. Mix in the salt, pepper and sugar. Use latex gloves when mixing to avoid contamination of the meat, and keep the mixture cold.

2.Stuff the sausage mixture into the casings and twist off in 3 inch lengths. If you do not have a stuffer, the sausage can be formed into patties or rolled into logs. Refrigerate and use up in one week or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 372
Total Fat: 31.9g
Cholesterol: 71mg