March 27, 2011

Potato Rye Bread

Well, some days you have to bake two batches of bread to get one to turn out well. Unfortunately, today was one of those days. Even more unfortunate, I was craving for cinnamon raisin bread, not Potato Rye Bread. Guess which one turned out well?

Although I was disappointed about my other batch of bread, I was pleased with how this one came out of the oven. The bread loses a bit of it's crustiness on top when brushed with melted butter, but the benefit is added flavor.

Potato Rye Bread
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. corn oil
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup dried potato flakes
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup rye flour
3 cups bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and molasses. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add oil, salt, potato flakes, dry milk and rye flour. Beat well. Add half of the bread flour, and beat well again. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Add remaining bread flour. (Note: I had to add additional flour to get the dough to the proper texture.)
Knead the dough until soft and springy but soft to the touch. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Turn dough onto lightly greased or floured surface, and punch dough down. Shape dough into a round loaf, and place on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden. Brush with melted butter if desired, and cool on wire rack.

March 22, 2011

Blackberry Muffins

I wanted fruit muffins this weekend, so I adapted a blueberry muffin recipe into a blackberry muffin recipe. I did this because I had frozen blackberries on hand. (And that reminds me that I can't wait until summer to pick as many raspberries and blackberries as possible!)

Blackberry Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup non-fat yogurt (I used strawberry that I had in the refrigerator)
1/2 cup milk (may need to add slightly more)
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine all dry ingredients together with a whisk. In separate bowl, beat together sour cream, yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla and egg. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, and stir until just mixed. Stir in blackberries. 

Spoon two rounded tablespoons of batter into greased muffin tins. 

Combine streusel ingredients together, and sprinkle streusel evenly over muffins. 

Bake muffins 15 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly. Cool in pans 10 minutes and then completely on wire racks. (Or devour while still hot!) Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen muffins.

Eight-Grain Honey Sunflower Seed Bread

I had postponed making this bread because I never had eight-grain flour. However, this weekend I realized I had seven-grain cereal and enough random flours that it was close enough to eight. So, I ground the last of the seven-grain cereal into flour and proceeded with the bread.

My husband said this has been one of his favorite breads in a while, nice dense chewy texture.

Eight-Grain Honey Sunflower Seed Bread
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/3 cups water
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups eight-grain flour
3 cups bread flour

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast, oil, honey, salt, eight-grain flour and half the bread flour. Let stand 5 minutes.

Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Add sunflower seeds and remaining bread flour. (Note: I had to add additional flour to get the dough to the proper texture.) Knead the dough until soft and springy but soft to the touch. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn dough onto lightly greased or floured surface, and punch dough down. Shape dough into a loaf, and place in a greased 9 x 5 bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Glaze with egg wash and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from bread pan, and cool on wire rack.

March 21, 2011

Ice Cream Cake

My aunt made this ice cream cake for a family gathering years ago. It was a hit then, and I imagine it would be just as good now.

Ice Cream Cake
2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cool whip

Combine crushed graham crackers and 1/2 cup melted butter and sugar. Press into the bottom of a large cake pan. Set in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes. Cut ice cream into 1/2-inch slices, and lay over the crumbs. Cover, and return to the freezer. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup butter. Add powdered sugar and milk. Cook and stir for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Cool sauce completely.

Pour sauce over ice cream, and return to freezer for at least 30 minutes until firm. Spread cool whip on top. Freeze until serving time.

March 20, 2011

Chocolate Eclair Bars

These are a fairly quick to put together and taste delicious.

Chocolate Eclair Bars
36 graham cracker squares
12 oz. instant french vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
2 cups cool whip
8 oz. chocolate, melted
3 Tbsp. butter
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Lay 12 crackers on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. In separate bowl, mix pudding mix and milk together, and then fold in cool whip. Spoon half of the pudding onto the crackers. Top with another layer of graham crackers, and then the remaining pudding. Top with last layer of crackers.

Melt chocolate and butter together, and fold in powdered sugar. Spread chocolate on top layer of crackers. Chill at least 8 hours prior to serving.

Snicker Apple Salad

My company's shrimp boil would not be complete without this on the dessert table.

Snicker Apple Salad
3-4 large apples, unpeeled
3 Snickers bars
8 oz. cool whip
1 box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding

Dice apples and Snickers into bite-sized pieces. Combine pudding mix and cool whip in a large bowl. Fold in diced apples and Snickers. Serve cold.

Tooti Fruiti Ice Cream

Although it snowed (and then rained) today, that doesn't mean we can't dream of warm weather. I am sure Baby will appreciate some ice cream during the warm summer months. This is a refreshing fruit-flavored ice cream.

Tooti Fruiti
Juice of 6 lemons
2 cups sugar
1 jar cherries, cut into pieces
1 can crushed pineapple

Combine all ingredients together in an ice cream maker. Add whole milk to fill container. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

March 19, 2011

Saltine Toffee

My mom would make this toffee as a Christmas candy. It doesn't require a candy thermometer, which makes it easier on the candy scale.

Saltine Toffee
37 saltine crackers
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 to 2 oz. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place crackers in a single layer on a foil-lined 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan. In a pan, bring butter and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 5 to 6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Spread mixture over crackers, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes until bubbly. 

Sprinkle with chocolate chips, and put back in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until chips begin to melt. Spreak the chocolate evenly over the cracker mixture. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, and drizzle over the toffee. 

Chill until set, and then break into pieces. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1 3/4 lbs.

White Chicken Chili

This is a recipe my co-worker makes for every potluck. It can be eaten as a chili or used as a warm dip with tortilla chips.

White Chicken Chili
48 oz. Great Northern beans
39 oz. medium salsa
32 oz. jalapeno or pepper jack cheese, cubed
Two 9.75 oz. cans white chicken breast

Combine all ingredients together in a slow cooker. Heat until cheese melts completely, stirring occasionally.

Cherry Pineapple Surprise

This is a simple recipe that's popular with children.

Cherry Pineapple Surprise
1 can crushed pineapple
2 cans cherry pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread pineapple evenly on the bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Then spread the pie filling evenly on top. Sprinkle the entire cake mix on top of the fruits. Cut butter into thin slices, and layer pan with butter pats evenly. 

Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 24.

Dirt Cake

This was probably my second favorite cake as a child. (Nothing tops my mom's chocolate ice cream cake with chocolate ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce.)

Dirt Cake
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
8 oz. cool whip
1 lb. package Oreo cookies, crushed

Prepare pudding according to package instructions. Fold in cool whip, and stir in some of the Oreo cookies. Top cake with cookie crumbs. Add gummy worms if desired.

Note: This is best presented in a clean flower pot.

Chicken Cacciatore

This recipe brings up bittersweet emotions for me. My grandfather, who passed away this week, prepared this recipe for my family when we visited him in Michigan. We all enjoyed the recipe so much that he sent each of us a copy.

Simple Chicken Cacciatore
3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
1 small white onion, chopped
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
14 1/2 oz. whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Layer onions in the bottom of a crock pot. Place the chicken breasts on top, and then place in the remaining ingredients. Cover the crock pot, and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 1/2 hours.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

This is the last of my recipes from the healthy heart seminar, and this was probably my favorite recipe. I love roasted vegetables!

Roasted Winter Vegetables
7 oz. carrots, peeled
5 oz. beets, peeled
7 oz. sweet potatoes
7 oz. red potatoes
5 oz. butternut squash, peeled and seeded
6 oz. red onion, cut into quarters or eigths
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cut all vegetables into 1-inch cubes. Toss all ingredients together until vegetables are evenly coated with oil. Additional oil may be added if necessary to coat all vegetables. 

Spray a foil-lined pan with non-stick spray. Distribute vegetables evenly onto a 9 x 13 baking tray. Bake 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Vegetables are done when they are tender and lightly browned.

Tuscan Bean Soup

This is a far more desirable white bean soup than the garlic, cabbage and bean soup I posted a while ago. This is another recipe from the healthy heart seminar.

Tuscan Bean Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Italian tomatoes, undrained
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

In a soup pot over medium-high heat, cook onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add squash, and saute one minute or until squash begins to soften. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer approximately 10 minutes or until the spinach is defrosted and soup is thoroughly heated.

Black Bean Brownies

I tried this recipe at a heart care seminar, and surprisingly, the brownies were delicious. I'm not sure everyone would enjoy them knowing the secret ingredient. This is one of those recipes where full disclosure doesn't come until everyone is done eating.

Black Bean Brownies
1 box brownie mix
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven as brownie mix box directs. Place drained beans and water into a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Combine this with the brownie mix (and omit the eggs, water and oil the box directions specifies). Pour into desired size pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake as directed on the package.

March 6, 2011

Italian Pasta

My mother-in-law obtained this recipe from one of her co-workers. This woman celebrates her Italian heritage by growing her own garlic (hundreds of heads) and making this Italian Pasta for Christmas Eve dinner every year.

Italian Pasta
1 cup olive oil
2 garlic heads
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. basil
4 tsp. parsley
4 (28 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
28 oz. tomato puree
2 lbs. fettuccine

Combine all sauce ingredients together, and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with fettuccine cooked al dente.

Salsa Chicken Fiesta

I went through a phase where I tried a variety of bisquick recipes. This was a weeknight meal that we thought was worth repeating.

Salsa Chicken Fiesta
2/3 cup bisquick
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups salsa

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray 9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. In small bowl, combine bisquick, water and egg product. Spread in bottom of pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups of the cheese. 

In non-stick skillet, cook chicken until outsides turn white. Drain chicken. Stir in salsa, and heat until warm. Spoon over batter to within 1/2 inch of the edges. 

Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until edges are dark golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Serves 6.


This is also another recipe from Shelly. Great lasagna!

1lb. ground beef
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
3 tsp. oregano
2 cans tomato soup
2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 lb. lasagna noodles
1 large cottage cheese
Shredded mozzerella
Shredded Parmesan

Brown beef. Add onion, garlic and oregano. Cook until the onion is tender, and then add tomato soup, water and vinegar. Simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook and drain lasagna noodles. Rinse noodles in cold water to stop cooking process.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In greased 9 x 13 pan, layer noodles, 1/3 cottage cheese, 1/3 beef, 1/3 mozzarella, and repeat until all ingredients are used. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 30 minutes.

Beef Stroganoff

This is my friend Shelly's recipe. It's something she's made since we were in college, and it's good comfort food.

Beef Stroganoff
1 large round steak, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 cans mushroom pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom or celery soup
1 box onion soup mix
16 oz. sour cream
Egg noodles

Mix all ingredients in slow cooker except sour cream and noodles. Cook at 375ºF for two hours. Add sour cream and cook another 30 minutes. Serve warm over cooked egg noodles.

Potato-Tuna Avocados

Although I'm still learning to like tuna, these won me over with the combination of flavors.

Potato-Tuna Avocados
1/4 cup milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup potato buds
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
2 Tbsp. chopped olives
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. minced onion
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
6 oz. tuna
4 ripe avocados, cut in halves lengthwise
Paprika to garnish

Heat milk and soup to boiling in 2-quart saucepan, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining ingredients, except avocados and paprika.

Place avocado halves, cut sides up, in baking dish. Divide potato mixture evenly among avocado halves. Sprinkle with paprika. Pour 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the pan.

Broil 4 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted and tops are light brown. Serve warm. Serves 8.

The Best Chocolate Cheesecake

One of my co-workers makes the best chocolate cheesecake I have ever eaten. It's rich, creamy and delicious.  Of course, it's horribly unhealthy, but it's worth it.

The Best Chocolate Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. chocolate chips
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Combine cracker crumbs, butter and sugar together. Press into sides and bottom of 9-inch pan. Bake 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Melt chocolate chips, and set aside. Use blender to combine chocolate, cream cheese, milk and vanilla. Pour into the pie shell. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. 

March 5, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This is a quick dessert to put together. It combines chocolate and peanut butter, the classic combination.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
3 cups multi-bran chex cereal
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 small box chocolate pudding (not instant)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Crush cereal. In ungreased 9-inch microwaveable pie plate, mix butter and 1 Tbsp. peanut butter. Microwave until melted, and stir together until blended. Stir in crushed cereal until evenly coated. Press evenly on sides and bottom of pie plate. Bake 10 minutes, and then place in freezer.

Make pudding as directed on package, except after cooling 5 minutes, add 2 Tbsp. of the peanut butter. Stir a few times until melted and marbled throughout pie filling. Pour into pie crust. 

In microwaveable dish, microwave remaining 2 Tbsp. peanut butter until melted. Drizzle over pie. Refrigerate until set, and then serve.

Grilled Tangy Onion Flowers

My husband didn't care for these, but my family had enjoyed them. I'm not sure it's worth having the grill on for an hour just for these, though.

Grilled Tangy Onion Flowers
4 medium onions
Vegetable oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup seasoned croutons, crushed

Heat coals or gas for direct heat. Peel onions, cut 1/2-inch slice from top of each onion, but leave root end intact. Cut each onion from top into 8 wedges to within 1/2 inch of the root end. Gently pull wedges apart to separate slightly.

Brush four pieces of foil with oil. Place one onion on each piece of foil. Sprinkle onions evenly with remaining ingredients except croutons, and wrap tightly in foil.

Grill onions 4 inches from medium heat 50 to 60 minutes or until very tender. To serve, sprinkle onions with croutons.

Minestrone Soup without the Minestrone

A few years ago, I got this recipe and soup at a soup swap. Healthy and delicious.

Minestrone Soup without the Minestrone
3 cans stewed tomatoes
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
Thyme to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
4 Italian sausages
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
Dash of garlic
Parsley to taste
A bunch of water
Potatoes (optional)
Elbow macaroni

Throw everything in a pot, and let it simmer for a few hours. Add potatoes after the first hour of simmering. Add macaroni near the end unless you like mushy noodles. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Crossword Cipher Chicken

My brother and I were huge fans of Nancy Drew in elementary school. When we discovered a Nancy Drew library book, we were so excited to try the recipes. This Crossword Cipher Chicken recipe became our meal to prepare for family gatherings.

Crossword Cipher Chicken
3 cups saltine cracker crumbs
2 tsp. garlic salt
4 Tbsp. parsley flakes
4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 sticks butter
2 lbs. chicken pieces

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine crackers, salt, parsley and cheese together. In a separate dish, melt the butter. Dip each piece of chicken in butter, and coat well with dry ingredients. Place chicken on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Bake for one hour. Serves 6.


I found some recipes that bring back memories of when I was creating my own cookbook in elementary school. The recipes were all typed on a word processor. How times have changed!

What hasn't changed is how delicious this simple lemonade is, regardless of it being the middle of winter. It makes you dream of spring.

3 cups water
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Stir all ingredients together until blended. To make pink lemonade, add a few drops of red food coloring. Serve chilled over ice.

Cheesy Potatoes

I can't believe I have never posted this recipe, as this is a staple in my husband's family. This is a holiday meal, but it's also a special get-together menu item. Unfortunately, since I've been pregnant, the thought of this repulses me (even the idea of typing the recipe, so I'm just going to type quickly). They are delicious, so I can't understand why baby does NOT like them.

Cheesy Potatoes
2 lbs. hashbrown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups grated cheese
Crushed cornflakes

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine first 8 ingredients together. Place into a 9 x 13 pan coated with non-stick spray. Top with cornflakes. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until cornflakes are golden and potatoes are bubbly. (This freezes well for later baking.)

Cayenne Pretzels

These are the pretzels David loves. (It's also a good way to use slightly stale pretzels.)

Cayenne Pretzels
1 1/4 cup oil
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
 2 lbs. pretzels.

Preheat oven to 225ºF. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except pretzels. Pour pretzels in a large bowl, and drizzle with oil mixture. Toss until pretzels are well coated.

Spread pretzels evenly in two large cake pans or cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, and then stir pretzels. Bake another 15 minutes. Spread pretzels on paper bags to cool.

Pickled Brussel Sprouts 2009

While organizing my recipes, I found the version of pickled brussel sprouts I created in 2009. Those were immensely popular, so here's the recipe:

Pickled Brussel Sprouts
2 lbs. brussel sprouts
2 1/2 cups vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 heads of dill

Cook brussel sprouts until just tender, leaving whole. Combine water, vinegar, salt and pepper. Boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pack sprouts into prepared hot jars. Add 1 clove garlic and 1 head of dill to each pint jar. (You can substitute 1 tsp. dried dill.) Pour hot liquid over sprouts, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, and adjust caps. Process pint jars 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 4 pints.

Chocolate Revel Bars

I think these bars are best served slightly warm, although the recipe calls for them to be served after the bars have cooled. Hmm ... maybe that's my impatience.

Chocolate Revel Bars
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 cups oats

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cover a 15 x 10 pan with foil or non-stick spray.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Stir into creamed mixture, and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except nuts and vanilla. Heat over low until everything is melted together. Remove from heat, and stir in nuts and vanilla.

Spread 2/3 of the oatmeal batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover evenly with chocolate filling. Dot with remaining oatmeal batter.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool, and cut into squares.


This was a failure for me, but I'd love to get the recipe right because my friend from Guatemala describes pupusas as delicious cheese-filled delights. (OK, those are her exact words, but you get the point.) Mine turned out thick and chewy and tasted raw.

2 cups masa harina
1 cup warm water
1 cup queso fresco, in small pieces

In large bowl, mix together masa harina and water. Knead in more water, one Tbsp. at a time if needed, to make a moist yet firm dough. (It should not crack on the edges when you push down on it.) Cover, and set aside 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a log, and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Either use a tortilla press or two pieces of wax paper to roll each piece of dough into a 5- to 6-inch circle. Divide filling evenly among four pieces of dough, and cover with remaining dough and seal edges with fingers.

Heat an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat. Cook each pupusa about 1-2 minutes per side, until lightly browned and blistered. Serve warm.

Vegetable Pizza

This was a recipe shared at work for a wellness event. Somewhat surprising to me was that I really like cold vegetable pizza.

Vegetable Pizza
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 package dry ranch dressing
1 baked pizza crust
1 package shredded cheddar cheese
Carrots, diced finely
Broccoli, chopped finely
Cauliflower, chopped finely

Mix together cream cheese and ranch dressing. Spread on top of baked pizza crust. Top with cheese and vegetables. Serve cold.

Chicken Booyah

I had never heard of booyah prior to moving to Green Bay. I discovered it's a regional specialty. Booyah, for those of you who don't live in Northeast Wisconsin, is a huge pot of chicken soup. Yes, booyah is glorified chicken soup that is cooked outside in a huge pot akin to a metal barrel stirred with a wooden paddle. (That should give you the scope of the project.)

Chicken Booyah
16 lbs. chicken
3 lbs. stewing beef
3 lbs. onions, diced
2 bunches celery, chopped
20 carrots, diced
3 cans mixed vegetables
1 can corn
1 head cabbage, shredded
12 lbs. potatoes, cubed
1 quart tomato juice
2 cans tomato soup
3/4 cup salt
5 Tbsp. pepper

Combine chicken and beef with plenty of water to cover. Boil for two hours until chicken falls off bones. Remove skin/bones. Then add onions, celery and carrots. Boil for another two hours. Then add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil, and cook for two more hours. Enjoy!

Note: This soup freezes well.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This was my go-to cheesecake for a period of time, partially because it was relatively healthy and partially because it was delicious. It's also extremely easy to make.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 can pumpkin puree
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup bisquick
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with non-stick spray. Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover, and blend on high 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into pie plate.

Bake about 45 minutes or until just puffed and center is dry. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes.

Optional Topping
1 cup sour cream (or 1 1/2 to 2 cups) yogurt cheese
2 Tbsp. sugar or splenda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine topping ingredients together. Spread on top of cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.

Note: I often made this using fat-free cream cheese, egg substitute and splenda. It turns out well with those substitutions.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This is another pumpkin breakfast recipe, which yields a healthy (about 140 calorie) muffin. The pumpkin and applesauce add some nutritional value.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
2 cups bisquick
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 heaping Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Use muffin liners. Mix all ingredients together well, and spoon into 12 muffin liners (each will be about 3/4 full). Bake 17 minutes or until done.

March 2, 2011

Cherry Bounce

This is a family recipe passed down through David's family. He created these cherries for the first time for his college years, and they've been a staple in our household ever since. We either travel to Door County or his parent's backyard for cherries. Although you may certainly eat the cherries after the waiting period specified in the recipe, we've discovered the cherries are best enjoyed after waiting two years when they nearly melt in your mouth.

Cherry Bounce
2 quarts cherries with pits (sour cherries are fine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 quart alcohol

Pick each cherry with a toothpick, leaving pits inside the cherries. Combine all ingredients together, and seal tightly in a jar. Shake the jar often for the first week until the sugar dissolves. Then, leave stand until about deer season. (For those non-Wisconsinites, this means let them stand from July/August until November.)

Note: We've tried rum, vodka, brandy, tequila/triple sec and long island cherries. The best in my opinion are tequila/triple sec or long island. Yum! (I picked a good time to get pregnant because we're in the process of waiting a year for melt-in-your-mouth cherries.)

Santa Fe Foldover

This was a Lenten Friday meal for my husband and I. Surprisingly, it became a repeat meal for us. It's satisfying and healthy, and you can adjust the recipe pretty easily to suit multiple people.

Santa Fe Foldover
1 cup bisquick
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1/4 cup very hot water
1 cup drained & rinsed black beans
1/3 cup salsa
2 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/3 cup chopped tomato
3 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream

Move oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, combine bisquick, cornmeal and water until a soft dough forms. Coat dough in bisquick or flour, and knead approximately five times or until smooth. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle (or two 5-inch circles as I prefer).

In another small bowl, combine beans and salsa. Spread over dough to within 1-2 inches of the edges. Sprinkle with onions and cheese. Fold edges over to keep fillings inside the dough.

Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Top with remaining ingredients. Serves 2.

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

These are an odd creation that I'm not sure meet the requirements in my mind to be called a cookie. They did not rise at all, so they looked quite odd. The flavor was OK, but this is probably not worth repeating.

Oatmeal Banana Cookies
1/3 cup peanut butter (original recipe called for butter)
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Melt peanut butter in a microwave-safe dish. Add all remaining ingredients except milk. Add milk last to make sure you only add enough to create a moist mixture, not a soupy one.

Let stand for 5 minutes until oats are wet. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Spoon by tablespoons onto the greased cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Let cookies cool on cookie sheets for one minute, and then cool completely on wire racks.

Egg Bake

This is a simple recipe that a co-worker shared. It's quick to put together and quite delicious.

Egg Bake
10 oz. box frozen broccoli & cheese
10.2 oz. Grands flaky layers biscuits
10 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. dry ground mustard
1 cup diced cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
4.5 oz. sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cook broccoli as directed in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray. Separate dough into five biscuits, and cut each biscuit into 8 pieces. Arrange biscuit pieces evenly in bottom of pan. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, mustard, salt & pepper to season. Stir in ham, onion, both cheeses, mushrooms and cooked broccoli. Pour mixture over biscuits. Press down with back of spoon to make sure all biscuit pieces are covered with egg mixture.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

March 1, 2011

Poached Pears with Marscapone

This was a recipe I received at a Wine Premiere event, back when Wine Premiere held events. This is a slightly more elegant dessert. It's a delicious combination of flavors.

Poached Pears with Marscapone
2 firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup syrah wine
1 cup water
6 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup marscapone
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. port

Toss pears with lime juice, and set aside. Combine syrah, water and honey together in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add pears. Cover mixture with parchment paper, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are tender, turning halfway through cooking (about 15 minutes). Transfer bears to a large bowl. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Cool syrup, and pour over pears. Cover, and refrigerate until cold.

Whisk together marscapone, sugar and port until smooth. Add 1/4 cup chilled poaching syrup, and whisk until soft peaks form.

Thinly slice each pear half, and fan on a small plate. Spoon poaching syrup over pears, and spoon marscapone cream along side each pear. Serves 4.

Reuben Spread

Ah, with St. Patty's Day approaching, it's nearly time for Reuben sandwiches. This is a cold spread that tastes exactly like a Reuben. It's great for rye bread or crackers. (I'm not necessarily opposed to licking the spoon, either.)

Reuben Spread
1 package cream cheese
2 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 lb. corned beef, finely chopped
6 oz. Thousand Island dressing

Soften cream cheese at room temperature. Then combine all ingredients together until well mixed. Let stand 30 minutes outside the refrigerator prior to serving.

Caramel Rolls

This is a recipe my MIL shared from a co-worker. Although the cleanup is messy, they're quite tasty. (And, really, when isn't the cleanup from caramel rolls messy?)

Caramel Rolls
1 small box cook/serve butterscotch pudding
24 frozen dinner roll balls
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Grease 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan. Sprinkle dry pudding mix around pan, and evenly place frozen rolls on top. Melt together butter, sugar and cinnamon. Pour evenly over rolls. Cover with a towel or pan cover, and set on cupboard overnight to thaw and raise.

Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Flip onto a cookie sheet while still warm. Makes 24 rolls.

Toffee Bars

This recipe reminds me of my grandmother's toffee bars, although it's not her recipe. They're rich, chocolaty and buttery ... what more could you want in a bar?

Toffee Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, stir together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until well mixed. Stir in flour and salt. Press dough into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until very lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let them stand to melt, and then spread them evenly. Sprinkle with nuts if desired. Cut bars while still warm, but cool completely prior to serving.


This is a traditional Lithuanian recipe that has been passed down through my paternal grandfather's family. This is a staple dish for my family at our holiday gatherings. This is a dish that often tastes better the next day when reheated, although it's delicious the first day. Grating the potatoes by hand provides the dish with a slightly gray color, which adds character.

1 lb. bacon
1 medium onion
10 large Idaho potatoes, peeled
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk, scalded
2 Tbsp. salt (may decrease to desired flavor)

Chop bacon finely, and fry until crisp. Drain bacon, and reserve grease. Finely grate onion and potatoes into a large bowl. Add eggs, salt, flour, milk and a portion of the reserved bacon grease. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes and then 350ºF for another hour. Serve warm.

Teriyaki Salmon Marinade

My mission to create more space in my house is to convert paper recipes I've tried in the past into blog entries, so I can search electronically for them. That means I'll have a multitude of posts without photos because I don't always photograph everything I eat (and especially didn't do this in the past).

This is among the best marinades I've found for salmon. Absolutely delicious.

Teriyaki Salmon Marinade
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sherry
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp. ginger
2 lbs. salmon

In saucepan, combine soy sauce, sherry, sugar, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Remove from heat, and place in shall glass pan. Marinate fish for 30 minutes, turning several times. Cook on a well-oiled grill, brushing with additional marinade at start of grilling. Cook until salmon is flaky.