Monday, November 23, 2009

Banana Bread

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
3 1/2 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Cream together the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time blending well after each. Blend in bananas. Add remaining ingredients to banana mixture and stir until smooth. Turn into two greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Bake at 350 f for about 50 min. Cool on rack for 10 min. then remove from pans.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Something yummy and different than Pumpkin Pie this time of year!

1 round loaf of Hawaiian Bread or Challah bread (I used Hawaiian)

4 eggs

4 cups (1 quart) heavy whipping cream

2 cups sugar

3 cups canned pumpkin

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

Pinch of ground cloves

¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside. Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, sugar, pumpkin and spices. Slowly add the bread to the mixture, pressing bread down with your hands to submerge in the liquid (do not stir the bread into mush). Let stand for 20 minutes so that the bread becomes saturated.

Place the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 to 25 more minutes until crisp and brown. Serve warm. If desired, top each serving with a dollop of Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

Makes about 8 servings

Top with real whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tiramisu Layer Cake

All I can say is this is worth every bite! I found this recipe on Click on the title and it will take you there. I wanted to make something that said our company was special, I think this did nicely. Great meeting you Brandon!

1 (18.25 ounce) package moist white cake
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/4 cup coffee
1 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur
1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) pans.
2.Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Divide two thirds of batter between 2 pans. Stir instant coffee into remaining batter; pour into remaining pan.
3.Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. In a measuring cup, combine brewed coffee and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; set aside.
4.To make the filling: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, combine mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur; beat just until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
5.To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur until stiff. Fold 1/2 cup of cream mixture into filling mixture.
6.To assemble the cake: Place one plain cake layer on a serving plate. Using a thin skewer, poke holes in cake, about 1 inch apart. Pour one third of reserved coffee mixture over cake, then spread with half of the filling mixture. Top with coffee-flavored cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour another third of the coffee mixture over the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour remaining coffee mixture on top. Spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
7.To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of a chocolate bar.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweet and Sauer Beef

Thoroughly a Norsk-y dish and soooo good. I like to use short ribs, but you can use any kind of beef you would use in a stew; and like all recipes you can adjust the ingredients to the way you might like it. More or less sauerkraut, plain mustard instead of spicy mustard, etc....

2 lbs. short ribs
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion chopped
1 16-ounce can sauerkraut, drained and rinsed.
1 cup beef broth
1 cup current jelly
2 tablespoons prepared spicy mustard
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed

Brown short ribs in oil in large dutch oven (remove ribs from pan and set aside), add onions and brown. Add beef broth, jelly, mustard, salt, pepper, caraway seed, simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add beef, water chestnuts and sauerkraut and mix well, continue to simmer slow for about 2 hours, or place dutch oven in a 250 F. oven for 2-3 hours, or in a crock pot on low for about 8 hrs. Serve over rice or dumpling noodles.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)

*8 cups thinly slice apples
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon flour
slightly heaped teaspoon cinnamon
juice of one small lemon
1/3 cup water

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter melted

Scatter sliced apples in a 11x8 inch baking pan, sprinkle with lemon juice and toss. Mix sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over apples and pour water evenly over all.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar , baking powder, baking soda and butter mix till crumbly. Crumble evenly over apple mixture. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 45-50 minutes. Serve warm or cold with lots of freshly whipped whipping cream or with Vanilla ice cream.

* 8-10 cups thinly sliced apples, I use approx. 8 depends on how many apples I have : )

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Iceberg Apple Salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 crisp red apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup Miracle whip
1/4 cup milk
Tbls. sugar
Lemon pepper to taste, a few good shakes

Whisk together Miracle Whip, milk, sugar and pepper until smooth.
Pour over lettuce and apple and toss.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quite a Summer

I'm starting to blog a few recipes again... it has been a hectic summer to say the least. We spent 4 glorious weeks in South Africa visiting family, what an adventure!
I also took on the task of painting the interior of our home. This has kept me busier than I anticipated, but I'm loving it.
As the seasons begin to change I will be busier in my kitchen again, stay tuned : )

Zulu Cabbage

1 large onion, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
salt to taste

Saute onion and green pepper till soft.
Add cabbage and cook until it begins to wilt.
Add tomatoes and curry powder
Stir occasionally adding a little water if needed.
Simmer for about 1.5 hrs.

Salt to taste.
This is a dish you can change up how you like but this is the basic recipe. I like to add tumeric, garlic and some cardamom seed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, sliced

8 slices bacon

2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup milk

2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 325 f.

Pound chicken breast until flattened.

Place a slice of cream cheese in center of each breast and sprinkle with chives.

Roll up Chicken Breasts and wrap with bacon and secure with toothpicks.

Place in a large baking dish.

In a large bowl wisk together Cream of Mushroom Soup, mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth and pour over chicken.

Bake for 1 hour.

Serve with brown and wild rice mix, or over noodles.

Makes 8 servings - recipe can be cut in half easily!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 lg)
1 large egg
1/4 lb butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Mix dry ingriedients together.
2. Mix wet ingriedients together.
3. Stir banana mixture gently into the dry ingriedients till just moist.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Divide into 12 lined muffin cups and bake at 350°F about 30 minutes.

12 Muffins

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pickled Eggs

2 jars pickled beets
1 dozen medium sized hard boiled eggs
6 -8 whole cloves
1 onion sliced*

In a large bowl pour jars of pickled beets over peeled hard boiled eggs, sliced onion and whole cloves. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

*parboil the onion (whole) for 7-10 minutes to soften slightly before slicing, if desired.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Chocolate Mousse-ee Mousse

I just returned from spending a glorious month in South Africa this past week. On Sunday my Daughter came over and like many Sundays we run to the grocery store in search of something fun to make to eat later in the day. We just had breakfast so neither of us were very hungry, so finding something was more of a challenge this time... we decided on marinaded chicken, simple tossed salad, baby red potatoes and some sweet corn. For dessert my daughter kept saying she thought something like mousse would be nice, something like a chocolate mousse or a cake with mousse or anything mousse-ee mousse-ee..... ha! That's what she said, really : ) We found a real nice Chocolate at Sprouts grocery store called "Chocolate Block French Vanilla". Now neither of us have ever made homemade mousse so this was going to be a first. Guess what? It turned out divine! It was super easy too. Here it is:

8 ounces semi sweet or french vanilla
chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons butter
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups whipping cream,

In a microwave melt chocolate, 1/4 cup water and butter until the chocolate and butter are melted. Cool for 10 minutes.
In a small heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar and remaining water.
Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
Remove from the heat; whisk in chocolate mixture. Set saucepan in ice and stir until cooled, about 5-10 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into dessert dishes. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 baked pie shell (cooled)
5-6 cups fresh strawberries divided
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)

Mash 1 cup strawberries

In a small saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in water and mashed berries.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, stir in food coloring if desired.  Cook and stir for 3 minutes.   Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Slice the remaining strawberries in half and place in baked pie shell.  Pour cooled strawberry glaze over strawberries.  Chill for at least 3 hrs.  Serve with fresh whipped cream.  

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Jalapeno Poppers

Everyone loves these, especially Sissy : )
and they're a cinch to make.  

Preheat oven to 375 F.

8 Jalapenos, cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds
1/2 package cream cheese
8 slices bacon, cut in half

Fill jalapenos with cream cheese, wrap with bacon and secure with toothpicks.

Place the poppers on a wire rack over a broiling pan or baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.


Pasta Salad Texas Style

1- 16 oz package rotini pasta (I used Barilla Plus this time, wheat pasta would be nice too)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
4-5 (small bunch) green onions, Chopped
handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives

1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup oil

Prepare pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
Wisk together dressing ingredients
Toss veggies with warm pasta, and dressing.

Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pecan Pie

I was digging around my cupboard this afternoon and discovered I still have a bag of pecans from Christmas in there!  Being that Pecan is probably my husbands most favorite pie I thought I would go ahead and make one.  He is partial to the the one I make with chocolate (posted 09/19/08), but I don't have a single bit of chocolate around here,  so I made this one instead.  I Wonder if he will go for this one...

Pecan Pie - with a tad of Brandy because that's what I have, but Jim Beam would be nice too : )

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup broken pecans
3 eggs slightly beaten
1-2 teaspoons Brandy

Melt butter in a small saucepan add sugar and corn syrup.  Cook until the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat.  Whisk in eggs, brandy and stir in pecans.  Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 350 F. for 50-60 minutes or until set

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Robert's Stuffed Cabbage on the Grill

When I met my husband, we lived in Minnesota. We joined up with a few friends of his for an afternoon Braai, that's what they call a BBQ in South Africa. Mind you this wasn't your typical fun in the sun on a Sat. or Sun. afternoon in July or August... it was February and it was cold, really cold... like -20 F degrees cold... on a frozen lake!!! Geez and I thought I had seen everything! Well turns out it was great fun; what the heck else can you do when it's that cold on a frozen lake in the dead of winter? Ice Fish? Yep they were doing that too : ) They had the Weber grill out there with lots of great food cooking over the hot coals, and passed around a tot or two to warm the innards. The pictures below are of one of those Braai's. I think this one was on Lake Minnetonka.

OK back to Stuffed Cabbage on the Grill.... everyone would bring something to throw on the grill. Sometimes my husband would wrap one of these up and toss it on the grill, it was always a big hit. Last night we had a Braai here at our now Texas home; we cooked up some lamb chops, green beans & onions wrapped in foil and a stuffed cabbage! Give it a whirl it's fantastic!

1 small cabbage
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 stick butter, slightly softened
salt and pepper

Cut 4 equal cuts through cabbage close to the core, being careful not to cut all the way through. Rub butter into each cut, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place slices of onion and tomato in each cut. Take a large piece of aluminum foil and butter one side and sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap the cabbage tightly with the foil. Wrap the cabbage with another piece or two of foil. Place on a med-high grill and forget about it for about 3 hrs. No turning!

This can be tossed into a camp fire too, just be sure to wrap it well, and the cooking time will be less, depending on the fire.

Unwrap and enjoy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Perfect Super Easy Oven Barbeque Ribs

1 rack pork loin ribs
Salt and pepper

Place Ribs in a large roasting pan.
Season with Salt and Pepper
Tightly Cover
Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Uncover and brush with *BBQ sauce, bake for another 20-30 minutes brushing with sauce every 8-10 minutes or so.

BBQ Sauce:

This sauce is more tangy than sweet (my husband likes it that way) but if you like your sauce more on the sweet side just add more brown sugar.

3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup minced onion
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Cup tomato sauce
1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Teaspoons brown sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash Tabasco sauce

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 6-8 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn golden. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the mixture thickens, approximately 20 minutes, Stir frequently.

Use the Sauce warm. It keeps, refrigerated, for a couple of weeks.

*We use the bottled stuff now and then too, Stubb's spicy is our favorite!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bean Salad

Well another salad here.... I love bean salad! It is easy to make and you can adjust it to fit. Normally I make it very simple and plain 3 beans, vinegar, sugar, oil and salt and pepper. Today I felt like changing that up just a little.

1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can chick peas
1 can dark red kidney beans
1/2 small onion sliced very thin
1/2 small green pepper, chopped
1 jar pimento
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

In a small bowl whisk sugar, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, pepper and celery seed together

Drain all beans, chick peas and pimento. In a large bowl mix the beans, onion, green pepper and pimento together. Pour liquid over the salad and toss to coat. Chill for at least an hour and toss before serving.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Broccoli Salad

This is a great tasting salad and if you use Splenda instead of the sugar, it's low carb friendly if your into that kind of thing. The bacon is a must, it really makes the salad.

8 slices bacon, fried very crisp, drained and crumbled
2 heads fresh broccoli cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl combine broccoli, cheese, onion and bacon.

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, mayonnaise, and lemon juice, pour over salad ingredients and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and toss before serving.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

French Bread or Baguettes

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a mixing bowl ( I used my Kitchen-aid mixer bowl) dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it begins to foam.

Add sugar, salt and flour. knead on a lightly floured surface, or using a mixer with dough hook attachment. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes with a mixer.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 30-60 minutes. Dough is ready if indentation stays after being touched lightly with your finger.

Punch down, place on a lightly flour dusted surface, flatten to about 16X 12 rectangle, cut in half so you have two approx. 8 X 12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half tightly starting with the 12 inch side. pinch seam closed on the bottom and gently turn ends under and pinch closed. If you prefer a larger french bread loaf don't cut in half. Place on baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise for approx. 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Brush lightly with egg wash. With a sharp knife cut slits diagonally across loaves every 2 inches or so.

Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
cool on rack for 1 hour before cutting.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pastel de Tres Leches

Pastel de Tres Leches (Spanish) - Three Milk Cake (English)

This is my husbands favorite cake of all time.  
It's origin is disputed by many but some say it originated in Nicaragua, others say Mexico or Costa Rica.  No matter where it came from it is a fantastic dessert, and it's simple to make.
It's a sponge cake soaked with three kinds of milk then topped with whipped cream and fruit if you like.  I have tried many recipes but this one is my favorite. It's best made early in the day or the day before. 

Click on picture above to see how the milk has absorbed into the cake.

5 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups whole milk
1-14 oz.  can sweetened condensed milk
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 f.   Grease and flour (or use cooking spray) a 13X9 inch baking pan.

2. In a small bowl using a whisk mix flour and baking powder together, set aside

3. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add  vanilla and eggs one at a time mixing well between each egg.

4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, mix until well blended.  Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.  

5. Bake at 350 f. for 20-25 minutes or until it springs back when lightly touched in middle. Cool

6. Pierce several times all over the cake with a fork.  

7. Combine milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk together.  *Pour all of the milk mixture slowly over the top.  

8. Whip the whipping cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup of sugar until fairly stiff.  Spread over the top of the cake.  Garnish if desired with fresh fruit, or canned mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, pineapple etc....  or you can sprinkle with chopped nuts instead. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

*yes use all the milk mixture.  Most of it will soak in, but it is normal for the cake to have some milk on the bottom as you serve it.  Enjoy!

Stuffed Vetkoek

Vetkoek Afrikkans for "fat cake" is a fried bun doughnut like in texture.  My husband goes wacky over these things.  In South Africa Vetkoek are cut open and filled with curried mince or jam.   I found a recipe that puts the curried mince inside then you fry them.  I just had to try them out.   They turned out very nice! You can freeze the leftovers and reheat them on the fly for a quick snack. 


4 cups (560g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoon (10 ml) salt
10 g sachet instant yeast (a packet will do)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) cooking oil
1 -1/2 to 2 cups lukewarm water
Cooking oil for deep frying

Curried Mince

1 tablespoon (15 ml) cooking oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon(15 ml) medium curry powder
1 lb. (about 500 g) ground beef
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 green apple, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon (15 ml) white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric

To make the vetkoek, sift together the flour and salt, then mix in the yeast.  Mix in the oil and enough  water  until a dough forms.  Knead well until smooth and elastic. Cover dough on floured surface let it rest for about 15 minutes.

For the filling, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the curry powder and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and fry until brown.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes, then set aside and cool.

Knock dough down and divide into 14 equal balls.  Flatten each slightly and place some filling in the center.  Press the ends together to enclose the filling.   Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or deep fryer.  Fry the vetkoek for about 4 minutes, turning often until golden brown.  Drain on a rack over paper towels.  Serve warm
Makes 14

Monday, March 23, 2009

Linguine with Spinach and Feta Cheese

1 16 oz. pkg linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomatoes chopped
1 pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
handful of fresh thin asparagus tips (optional)
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
6-7 whole Kalamata (pitted) olives
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
8 ounces of feta cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, cook pasta as directed on pkg. 

Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onion until just beginning to soften, add garlic and saute for about 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and asparagus (if using) and saute for about 2- 3 minutes, until softened.  Mix in tomatoes , spinach leaves, olives, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Heat until spinach has just wilted and tomatoes are heated through.  Stir in pasta and feta cheese, cook until heated through.  Drizzle with a little olive oil if desired.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the salad below and a nice french bread.

Italian Garden Salad

If you have ever had Olive Garden's soup and salad lunch, this salad comes real close to that. My Daughter said she thinks this salad dressing tastes better than theirs!
Salad Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
sugar (optional)*

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended. Chill for at least an hour for the flavors to blend

*Personally I like it just like that, but if you feel it's just a little too tart add a pinch or two of sugar.

For the Salad:

1 bag American blend salad (or one that is mostly Iceberg lettuce)
4-5 thinly sliced red onion rings
4-6 Kalamata olives
2-4 Pepperoncini peppers (can also use banana peppers)
1/2 cup seasoned croutons
1 small tomato quartered
freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
salad Dressing

Chill large salad bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Place bag of salad in bowl. Place on top of lettuce, red onion, Kalamata olives, Pepperoncini peppers, tomatoes, and croutons. Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like, pour entire salad dressing mixture over the top. Mix thoroughly at the table.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Garden Box

They did it out of Love :  )  
A little inside joke, when my son told me after their hard work that I owed them big!  His dad said (with a grin) no-no we do this out of love...  

Isn't it cool though!  Robert built the box last week, but we had about 5 inches of rain over the past week, so they didn't get to filling it until yesterday.   I promptly planted some veggies and herbs.  Thanks guys, I love you with all my heart for it!

Friday, March 13, 2009


This is a cool cucumber, yogurt and mint salad to temper spicy Indian foods.   

2 English cucumbers, seeded and chopped fine*
1 1/2 to 2 cups plain yogurt** 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch of sugar 
pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped 

Place yogurt in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and let drain for about 1 hr.  in the refrigerator. Discard liquid from the bowl.  

Mix with the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hr. to cool and blend. Stir well and serve. 

*Peel cucumbers and cut lengthwise in half, and lengthwise in half again.  Remove the seeds by sliding a sharp knife down the edge with the seeds.   

**if you can find plain Greek yogurt, you can omit draining it.  Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular plain yogurt. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken from India

2.5 lbs.  skinless and boneless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 (1 ½ -inch diameter) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1¾ teaspoons garam masala
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or to taste)
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
½ to 1 teaspoon red food coloring  

Rinse and pat chicken dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, make 2 diagonal slashes on each thigh.

Put onion, garlic, ginger and lemon juice in a blender, and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken. Add the yogurt, spices, salt, oil and food coloring, if using. Mix thoroughly. 

Add the chicken to the marinade and rub the marinade into the slashes with your fingertips. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the chicken 4 or 5 times while it is marinating. 

To cook on a gas grill: Preheat grill by turning all burners on High for about 15 minutes. Once grill is hot, turn one burner off and turn the others to Medium. Place chicken pieces over the burner that is off. Close the grills lid and cook the chicken for 45 to 60 minutes, turning the chicken every 15 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear. 

If using a charcoal grill, light the coals about 1 ½ hours before serving; it should take 20 to 30 minutes to get red-hot. Place the barbecue grid on its lowest setting.  Lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade and place on the barbecue rack. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, then position the rack farther from the heat source. Cook the chicken more slowly for another 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade from time to time. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Pico de Gallo

Fresh and simple!
I like to make this when making Fajitas or Tacos, but it is also nice with a big bowl of Tortilla Chips.  

1 1/2 - 2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped fine*
handful fresh cilantro chopped
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
dash or two of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Toss chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and cilantro together.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and lime juice, then stir in olive oil.  

If the tomatoes are a little too acidic, a little sprinkle of sugar (not too much) will tame that down. 

* the heat of the peppers are mostly in the seeds and the white pith they are attached to - depending on how hot or mild you like it add those accordingly. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chocolate Trifle

This dessert is to die for.  
My first "Trifle" and I didn't have the layers down quite right.  I wasn't going to publish this with a photo, but after encouragement from my daughter and husband, I took photos anyway.  I guarantee this will look even prettier if you give it a try, because you will know that you only use half the cake in this recipe.  So when baking it perhaps using two 9 inch rounds would be best. That way you will have a Trifle and a small cake you can frost or freeze it until your next Trifle! 

1 devils food cake mix
1/2 cup Kahlua
1- 3.4 oz package devils food instant pudding mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Heath English toffee bits
1- 8 oz container cool whip, thawed
1- 12 oz container cool whip, thawed
1 chocolate bar

1.  Prepare cake as directed on the box, cool completely.  Cut about half the cake into 1 inch cubes and sprinkle with Kahlua.  

2. In a large bowl blend pudding mix with water and condensed milk until smooth.  Blend in 8 oz. container of Cool Whip until no streaks remain. 

3.  In a trifle bowl scatter half the cubes of cake over the bottom.  Sprinkle half the toffee bits over the cake.  Spread half the pudding mix over the toffee.  Spread half the 12 oz. container Cool Whip over the pudding.  Repeat, then garnish with chocolate curls on top. 

Tip: Run a vegetable peeler along the edge of the chocolate bar, to make chocolate curls. 

Orange Cornish Game Hens

3 Cornish game hens (without giblets, about 1.25 lbs. each)
2 oranges
1 can chicken broth
2 teaspoons rosemary
7 tablespoons apricot preserves, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice

1.  Rinse the hens with cold water and pat dry.  Salt and pepper the cavity of each hen. Cut one of the oranges into wedges.  Stuff cavity of hens with the orange wedges, tie the legs together with string. 

2. Rub a little oil all over each hen and place on a rack in a roasting pan.  Reserve 1/2 cup chicken broth pour the remaining broth over the hens.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rosemary.  Bake at 400 f. for 45 minutes, basting occasionally

3. Remove hens from oven.  Brush each with 1 tablespoon apricot reserves.  Return hens to oven, and bake 25 min longer or until juices run clear. 

4. While hens bake.  Prepare orange sauce.  First cut off the peel of the remaining orange and cut between sections and remove the fruit from the skin.  Cut into bite size pieces, set aside. 

5. In a small sauce pan, dissolve cornstarch in reserved chicken broth, add orange juice and remaining 4 tablespoons of apricot preserves.  Cook over medium heat.  Stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens slightly.  Let mixture simmer about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in orange pieces. 

6.  To serve - cut each hen in half along one side of breast bone.  Garnish with slices of orange and pass the orange sauce at the table to pour over hens if desired.   A side dish of long grain and wild rice and steamed fresh green beans makes this a special meal. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frikadeller or Danish Meatballs

Pan fried meatballs traditonally served with milk gravy made from the leftover bits in the pan.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 slices bread soaked in water, squeezed dry
1-2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Finely chop onions. Add beef, pork, eggs and seasonings, mix well. Add bread and bread crumbs mix to incorporate.
Shape into balls (a little larger than a golf ball) and flatten slightly as you lay them in the pan.
Fry until nicely brown on both sides and cooked thru. Remove from pan, set aside. I usually put them in a warm 200 F. oven while I make the gravy

Milk Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 - 2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Loosen brown bits in the pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Add about 3 tablespoons flour, stirring constantly and allow to bubble for about a minute. Whisk in milk and simmer, adjust as needed depending on the consistency you like. Sometimes I end up adding 2 or more cups to get the thickness of the gravy I like. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve Frikadeller and gravy along with boiled or Mashed potatoes and a side of pickled beets, or cooked red cabbage.

Makes 4-5 servings

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Really Easy Truffles

Have a Happy Valentines Day!

Be sure to use quality chocolate; I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips .  My only other advice,  is to hide them if you want them around long enough for the event you made them for. They magically disappear!

1-8 oz pkg.  cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons *vanilla

In a large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Beat in powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth and creamy.  Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla until well blended.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in cocoa, powdered sugar, finely chopped nuts, colored sprinkles, dip in chocolate etc...  They are a bit messy to make, but so worth it!

Makes about 50-60 Truffles

* you can try other flavors, just omit the vanilla and add 2 tablespoons of Irish cream, Kahlua, brandy, rum just about anything you can dream up. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cake Balls

These I believe have taken this country by storm. There is a gal here in the Dallas area that opened her own shop just to sell these things, check it out, This is my first try and I think they turned out beautifully a few more times and I ought to be a pro myself! With Valentines Day in a few short days I may have to make more of these.

These beauties are so simple.... they're one of those things that make you go hmmmmm.

This is what I made today, but the combinations are endless.

1 (18.25 oz) box Red Velvet cake mix
1 (16 oz) can prepared cream cheese frosting
Almond Bark candy coating

Bake cake as directed and cool.
While still slightly warm crumble cake into a large bowl with a hand mixer to a fine texture.
Mix in 3/4 to 1 can frosting (according to your taste) blend into a paste. Using a melon baller or your hands shape into 1-1/2 inch balls.

Place in freezer for a couple hours, then coat them with melted almond bark flavor of your choice.

Here are some variations:
• White cake mix and mint chocolate chip icing and dipped in chocolate confectioners coating. • French vanilla cake with white chocolate almond icing and dipped in chocolate confectioners coating. • Red velvet with cream cheese icing and vanilla confectioners coating. • Red velvet with cream cheese icing dipped into milk chocolate coating. • Chocolate cake, milk chocolate icing, dipped into chocolate bark. • Lemon cake with lemon frosting and dip them in white chocolate. • Lemon cake mixed in white chocolate chips and lemon frosting, dipped in white chocolate. • Spice cake with cream cheese frosting and coated them with white chocolate coating. • Cherry chip cake mix and cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate. • Fudge cake, mixed in peppermint chips and fudge frosting. Dip in dark chocolate. • Chocolate fudge cake mix and coconut pecan frosting dipped into chocolate. • Chocolate cake, butter cream icing, and dark chocolate coating. • German chocolate cake mix with coconut pecan frosting & dipped in melted semi sweet chocolate chips. • Strawberry with vanilla frosting and dipped in chocolate. • Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cottage Pie or Shepherd's Pie

This is a real comfort food.  The way I make this is semi simple, however you can make it super simple if you like; by using instant mashed potatoes, frozen  mixed vegetables and packet gravy. I use packet gravy but make real mashed potatoes and fresh cooked sliced carrots, and I prefer fresh mushrooms, but if you only have canned like I did here, that works fine too! 

4 potatoes
1/2 cup warm milk 
2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots sliced, and cooked
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can mushrooms, fresh is better if you have them, but I used canned this time. 
1 or 2 packets brown gravy mix, so that you have 2 cups gravy total.
2-3 shakes Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in two separate saucepans, boil potatoes in one and carrots in the other, for 20 minutes or until tender, drain and set the carrots aside. Drain potatoes and mash them with 
the butter and milk,  cover and set aside.
Brown ground beef, onion and garlic, drain.
Stir in the gravy and Worcestershire, simmer for 8-10 min. 
Mix in Carrots, peas and mushrooms. 
Salt and pepper to taste.

pour into a greased casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes, dot with butter and bake at 350 F. for 35-45 minutes.  Serve with slice of fresh baked bread.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Our family is a real mix no kidding!  My husband is South African and me well my dad says I'm half Dane and the rest Ish!  This sits just right with me; I love to explore all kinds of different foods and the traditional dishes of all cultures.  

Several times throughout  the year on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, we make a South African sausage called Boerewors (farmers sausage),  yesterday was one of those times.  Though Boerewors is a rich sausage on its own, it has also become somewhat of a tradition for us to have Lamb Chops with this meal.  We had Bread Pudding for dessert- that recipe follows this one, be sure to check it out, it is to die for!

South African Boerewors recipes are a plenty and each one tries to perfect a better, tastier sausage.   

I have read along the way, that it was and still is, a point of honor with farmers wives and butchers not to add breadcrumbs or soya to bulk up the meat filling.  

This is our favorite basic recipe:


3 lbs. beef (chuck)*
3 lbs. pork (pork butt)
1 lb. bacon 
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoon ground coriander (slightly toast coriander seed and grind with pestle)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 oz sausage casing

Soak sausage casing in water for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile Cut beef and pork into about 1 inch cubes.  Dice the bacon into pieces no larger than 1 inch.  Mix it well with all the other ingredients, except the sausage casing. 
Grind the meat using a medium-coarse grinding plate. 

drain casings and rinse by running water through the inside several times to remove excess salt. 

slide casing on the sausage stuffer.

Fill the sausage casings firmly, but not too tightly with the meat mixture. 

If you haven't already, get the braai (grill) fired up and slap a coil on!

fresh sausage with keep for a couple days in the refrigerator or about 1 month in the freezer. 

*Traditionally Boerewors is made with a combination of pork and beef; it can be with beef only, but add 2 teaspoons oil or fat for each lb. of meat.