Follow on Facebook!

Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Feb 24, 2014

Cheesy, Garlicy Au Gratin Potatoes

What goes better with ham than au gratin potatoes?    

7 c  Potatoes,Sliced Thin
4 ea Garlic,Minced
1/2 t  Dry Mustard
4 T  Butter
4 T  Cake Flour
1 c  Half And Half
3 c  Milk
2 c  Cheddar Blend
1/2 c  Parmesan

Wash potatoes and slice very thin.  Cover with water and set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 2 quart casserole dish, set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add garlic and mustard, cook until fragrant.  

Add flour and stir until mashed potato consistency.  

Add half and half, cook until thick.  

Add milk, one cup at a time, cooking until thick after each.  When all milk is added and thick, turn off heat and stir in cheeses until melted.  

Drain potatoes well, add to cheese.

Stir then pour into prepared pan.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours until potatoes are tender.

Feb 22, 2014

Pineapple Sauce

Made yesterday's ham loaf without the sauce?  Make this to go with it.

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
8 Ounce Crushed Pineapple in Sauce
1 Tbl Cornstarch 
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tbl Lemon Juice
1 Tbl Yellow Mustard

Combined all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Feb 21, 2014

Ham Loaf - Revisited

We recently had dinner with our niece who likes ham loaf.  She likes pineapple sauce and I didn't think the sauce with the original recipe would go well.  Pineapple sauce recipe to follow.

1 1/2 lb smoked ham (I purchase a ham steak)
1/2 lb ground pork (I purchased a pork chop)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1 Large Egg

Grind ham and pork through the largest hole grinder attachment.

Grind again through next size down.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put meat into a large bowl.  Add Bread Crumbs.

Add milk and egg.

Mix well and press firmly into a loaf pan.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until 155 on a meat thermometer.

Feb 17, 2014

Citrus Steak and Beans

Tasty marinaded steak.  Seasoned corn and beans.  Peppers, citrus, cumin....all the flavors that can be eaten with a fork or wrapped in a tortilla.  It can even be made with twice the beans and no steak.

1 md Orange
2    Limes
1 T  Garlic, Minced
1 t  Cumin

1/8 t  Salt
1/4 t  Pepper
12 oz Sirloin
1 c  Bell Pepper, Diced
15 oz Black Beans, Drained
2 c  Frozen Corn

Into a small bowl, zest and juice the orange and 2 limes.  
Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.  Place 1/2 the mixture in a vacuum marinader OR in a plastic bag.  Add steak, run vacuum (if possible),
let sit for at least 4 hours.  

While marinading, thaw corn in refrigerator, drain the beans and dice the peppers.

When ready to cook, heat a heavy pan over high heat until VERY hot. Coat the steak lightly on one side with non stick cooking spray.  Place into HOT pan, sprayed side down, and cook 3 minutes. 

Spray lightly and turn, cooking for another 3 minutes or until 155 degrees.  Transfer to cutting board and let rest.

Add the remaining ingredients (including reserved citrus mixture) into the pan.  

Cook until hot, adding a tablespoon of water if it begins to stick.   

Slice steak and serve with the bean mixture.

Feb 15, 2014

Infused Water

Recently, I participated in an online discussion with friends looking for options other than soda.  One of the discussions lead to how to flavor water.  We talked about fruit, flavor packets, soda streams....but nobody mentioned infusion pitchers.  I had heard Tory Johnson talk about them on GMA and I wondered if they could really make a difference.  How is it any different than adding fruit to a glass?  I didn't go looking, but then I was at a kitchen store that was going out of business and they had an infusion pitcher on sale.  I took a chance.

My assessment?  It really does make a difference.  I cut up fruit, squeeze it slightly, fill the infuser then add water.  I will add water up to three days.  It encourages me to drink not only because having a flavor is a nice difference but also because I don't want to waste the fruit.  Options for additives?  I have used grapefruit, limes, oranges.  I have added three slices of cucumber to one grapefruit because I heard that it is good for you.  I thought the grapefruit would overpower the cucumber (it is not one of my favorites).  Boy, was I wrong! All I could taste was cucumber, so I won't do that again.  I want to try grapes, apples and various berries, as well.  The insert with the pitcher also said it is good for making sangria.  So, find a pitcher, give it a try.  You'll be glad you did.

Feb 14, 2014

Curried Red Lentil Soup

This is a nice vegetarian soup option for those cold winter days.

1 sm Leek,Minced
1 T  Olive Oil
3/4 c  Celery,Finely  Chopped
1 1/2 c  Carrots,Finely  Chopped
4 ea Garlic,Minced
2 t  Curry Powder
4 c  Vegetable Stock
3/4 c  Red Lentils
2 c  Tomato Juice

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the leek and garlic.  

Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.  Add celery and carrots, cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened.  

Add the curry powder, stock, lentils and tomato juice.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and cover.  Simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Feb 13, 2014

Cherry Chip Cake

A friend recently requested a cherry chip cake for her birthday.  I was more than happy to bake it for her.  She asked for pink frosting - how could I not use the Pillsbury frosting that even included pink sugar sprinkles?  Don't have cake flour?  No problem, see What Your Recipe Don't Tells You - Flour.

3 c  Cake Flour
1/2 t  Salt
1 3/4 c  Sugar
1 1/2 t  Vanilla
10 oz Maraschino Cherries
2 1/2 t  Baking Powder
1 1/2 Sticks Butter
2 lg Eggs
1/2 c  Maraschino Cherry Juice
1/2 c  1% Milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 oblong OR two 9 x 3 round pans.  Set aside.

Put a colander over a bowl, turn cherry jar upside down and let drain while preparing batter.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt together.  

In separate bowl, cream butter and sugar.  

Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mixing well after each.  

Squeeze all juice out of cherries then chop the cherries.  If you have more than 1/2 cup juice, decrease milk amount.

Add cherry juice to egg mixture.  

Add flour mixture, mix well.

milk and mix until combined.  

Fold in chopped cherries.

Pour into pan(s).

Bake until toothpick comes out clean (20 - 25 minutes for round pans,
35 - 40 minutes for oblong).

Cool completely and frost.

Feb 12, 2014

Brown Sugar Cake

As listed, this tastes a bit like Almond Joy baked in a cake - coconut, dark chocolate and almond extract work well together.  Other options:  Use all vanilla extract, double the coconut, double the chocolate, use cinnamon chips, use nuts - go nuts....or not.

1 1/4 c  Flour
1/2 t  Salt
1 1/2 t  Baking Powder
2 T  Sugar
2 c  Light Brown Sugar
4 lg Eggs

1/2 t  Almond Extract
1/2 t  Vanilla
1 c  Coconut
1 c  Dark Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.  Set aside.

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and brown sugar.  

Add eggs and vanilla, beat with a spoon until well blended (will be stiff).

Add coconut and chocolate chips.  

Spread into pan.

Bake 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Feb 9, 2014

Lime Zucchini Bread

Hubby loves lime (and so do I).  I know that zucchini is WAY out of season right now and why would I make it now instead of peak zucchini time?  Why not?

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 2/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
zest from 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 cups powdered sugar
zest of 1 lime
3 tbl lime juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat two 9 inch bread pans with bakers cooking spray OR coat with oil and flour.  Set aside.

Grate zucchini, put into a tea towel and squeeze.  Set into a colander and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt - set aside.

Beat tougher sugar and oil in a large bowl for 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add zest, lime juice and vanilla - mix well.  Slowly beat in flour mixture.  Fold in zucchini an pecans.  Divide between prepared pans.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes until wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely.

Once cooled, if you only need one initially, wrap one tightly and freeze, mix half of the glaze only.  If you need both, mix complete glass recipe, divide between loaves.

Let glaze set, slice and enjoy.

Feb 8, 2014

Zia's Red Door

Four our anniversary last fall, we tried a new (to us) restaurant - Zia's Red Door.  The atmosphere was wonderful, the food was fabulous and it was a wonderful evening out.  We enjoyed it so much that when we wanted a place to celebrate Tom's 40th birthday with his parents, we went back.  We were even more impressed the second time around.

First, the food.  Tom ordered the scallops both times we have been there.  The are cooked extraordinarily well - fantastic color, not rubbery, wonderful flavor.  Served on a bed of risotto and sautéed spinach that complimented it very well.  I have enjoyed both the Sea Bass with Risotto and Tuna with fresh pasta.  Not fond of seafood?  Mom's steak was expertly cooked and had wonderful accompaniments.

Next, the attention to detail.  Once they learned that we had a soy allergy, they took multiple steps to ensure we could enjoy our evening.  Anything sautéed was cooked in olive oil instead of the vegetable blend.  The waiter was in the kitchen when they started to cook the Filet, identified that the cooking spray they used contained soy, so they cleaned the grill and re-fired a new steak.  It was identified that all desserts contained soy, but the chef had a 'private stash' of pineapple, so they brought a bowl of that.

Finally, the wine and drink list.  Zia's has a wine bar, so the wine list is extensive.  They offer different wine flights that allow you to try a sample af a few.  They also offer other flights - Scotch, bourbon and Walker.  It allows you to try a sample of multiple varieties without getting drunk.

Zia's is the new to go restaurant on our special occasion list.  Learn more at and,  if you are in Harrisburg, stop and enjoy a meal.  You'll be glad you did.