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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.

Mar 30, 2020

Garlic Green Beans

Another option for green beans - fresh, canned or frozen.  Drain if canned, thaw if frozen.

1 lb green beans
2 T Olive Oil
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
8 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 Cup Grated Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Heat oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with non stick foil or parchment paper, set aside.

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat.  Pour into pan, arrange in one layer.

Roast for about 20 minutes until crisp tender.  Stir once during cooking.

Remove from oven, add any salt and pepper to taste, serve and enjoy.

Mar 28, 2020

French Bread

I like to make bread to go with winter soups and summer salads.  Hubby wanted a Baguette Pan and this is what we use to put that pan to use.

1 Cup Warm Water - no warmer than 110 degrees
2 Tsp Yeast
2 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
1 Tbl White Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Yolk
Sesame seeds (optional)

Put yeast in the water and allow to bloom.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 Cups Flour, Sugar and Salt.  Add Warm Water.  Run mixer with dough hook on low until well combined.  Add remaining flour 1 Tbl at a time until dough ball forms.  It will be tacky, but should pull away from the dough hook easily.  You cannot over mix, but you can add too much flour.

When completed, place in a greased bowl and turn to coat.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled and indentation remains when poked.  While rising, make a 16 x 12 template from parchment.

Lightly grease pan.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Roll into a 16 x 12 rectangle,  Cut in half to two 8 x 12 rectangles.  Roll up each half tightly, rolling from a 12 inch side.  Place in baguette pan OR on a cookie sheet, 3 inches apart.  Make deep, diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix egg yolk with 1 Tbl water, brush over top of loaves.  Add sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and has a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

Mar 25, 2020

Fruity Pebbles Cheesecake

I don't often like no bake cheesecakes.  I couldn't find a baked cheesecake large enough, so I made this recipe.

5 Cups Fruity Pebbles
5 Tbl Melted Butter

32 Ounces Cream Cheese
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tbl Cornstarch
2 Tsp Vanilla
4 Eggs
1 1/4 Cup Fruity Pebbles

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 10 inch springform pan with aluminum foil - non stick if you have it.  Butter sides of pan - bottom if NOT non stick.  Set aside.

Combine crust ingredients in a large bowl then pour and press into the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Add sugar, cornstarch and vanilla - mix until well incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.  Fold in cereal.  Pour over the crust and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hour.  Check to see if sides are done and middle is loose.  If not, bake for up to additional 20 minutes, checking ever 5 minutes.  When done, turn off oven.  Gently loosen the cake with a knife and return to the oven.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Before slicing, top with additional cereal.

Mar 24, 2020

Sauced Up Green Beans

This recipe can be made with fresh, canned or frozen green beans.  If canned, please drain.  If frozen, thaw first.  Bean weight is approximate - over or under is acceptable.

6 Slices Bacon
24 Ounces Green Beans
1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tbl Melted Butter
1 Tbl Worchestershire Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon and crumble, set aside.

In a square cake pan, place the beans.  Top with crumbled bacon.  Stir together the remaining ingredients, pour over the pan.  Bake 40 minutes, toss and serve.

Mar 23, 2020

Sunny Citrus Cake

With a beautiful color and dense crumb, this cake is wonderfully citrus laced.  Coconut is the figurative icing on the cake.

5 Tbl Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
8 Oz Kumquats
Zest of 1 Lime
Zest of 1 Lemon
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Tbl Lime Juice
1 Tbl Lemon Juice
1 Tbl Orange Juice
8 Oz Kumquats
2 Cups Cake Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbl Baking Powder
2 1/4 Cup Sugar
3 Oz Instant Coconut Pudding Mix
4 Large
1 Tbl Coconut Extract
7 Oz Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Butter and flour a 9 to 10 inch bundt pan, set aside.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan, melt the butter and turn off heat.  Add coconut milk, ensuring to get some solids.  Stir together with hot butter until you melt the coconut solids.  Set aside.

Cut the Kumquats in half, remove the seeds, put the remainder of the fruit (including the peel)  into a food processor or blender and puree.  Add the zest of 1 lime, 1 Lemon and 1 Orange to the puree. Juice the fruit, adding 1 Tbl of each to the puree,  Set aside.

Stir together the flour, instant pudding, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and eggs.  Beat on high until it gets fluffy.  Add the coconut extract and beat to combine.  Add the puree mixture and slowly beat until completely incorporated.  Slowly mix in the butter mixture until completely incorporated.

Fold in coconut.

Gradually add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, completely incorporating before adding more.  When mixed, pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until edges brown and toothpick comes out clean (crumbs are okay, there should not be any liquid).

Cool in the pan for 1 hour then turn onto a cake plate.


Mar 22, 2020

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

Some time ago, I shared a patience building bread recipe book with you (find it here).  This recipe is baked in the same vessel - but it takes a little less time and has jalapeños and cheese.  Pick any cheese you like - Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar.....anything shredded.

2 Cups Warm Water - not over 110
2 1/4 Tsp Yeast 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
2 Cups Shredded Cheese
2 Jalapeños, Coarsely Chopped (keep seeds for more heat, if you like)
1 Tbl Salt

In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast, set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, cheese, jalapeños and salt.

Add the yeast and mix by hand until blended.  Fold and punch 10 times.  Cover with towel and let rise until double.

Fold and punch 10 more times - cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes.

When done,  put a lidded cast iron dutch oven into your oven and preheat to 450.

While heating, pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Fold the edges into the middle and punch down 8 times.  Form into a ball and place onto a piece of parchment paper.

When oven is heated, carefully remove the dutch oven.  Turn the bread from the paper into the oven, replace the lid and put into the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, remove lid and continue to bake until browned.

Place finished bread onto a rack to cool.  DO NOT CUT UNTIL SQUEAKING STOPS.

Slice and enjoy.

Mar 21, 2020

Southwest Chicken Soup

Still a chill in the air?  Still time for soup.  Work in an office with air conditioning turned to arctic?  Soup for lunch.

1 Pound Dark Meat Chicken, cooked and shredded
2 Cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
32 Ounces chicken broth
14.5 Ounces Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
8 Oz Chopped Chilis
15.25 Ounces Whole Kernel Corn
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbl Chili Powder
2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
3 Tsp Cumin

Optional Toppings:  Cheese, Sour Cream, Fresh Cilantro, Tortilla Chips

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Top as desired when serving.

Mar 20, 2020

Rustic Tortellini Soup

I was referred to a local Italian foods shop called Penne From Heaven.  I stopped in and found the most wonderful things - including frozen cheese tortellini and fresh hot Italian sausage.  Soup was called for - I needed fresh tortellini, so I put the frozen in the refrigerator over night to thaw.  You can use dried pasta but you will need to add additional liquid to the recipe.

1 Pound Hot Italian Sausage, Casings Removed
1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Cup Carrot, Finely Chopped
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced
6 Cups Roasted Chicken Stock
14.5 Ounces Petit Diced Tomatoes
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1 Tsp Oregano
1 Pkg Tortellini - Your Choice of Filling
6 Ounces Fresh Baby Spinach, Coarsely Chopped
1/2 Tsp Pepper
1/2 Tsp Aleppo Pepper
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan

Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven set on medium heat and brown lightly.  Add onion and carrot, continue cooking until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Stir in stock, tomatoes and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a bil.

Add tortellini, return to a boil.  Cook just until the tortellini loosen, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat, stir in the spinach and peppers.  Stir until the spinach is wilted and tortellini is tender.  Remove from the heat.  Add the parmesan and serve.

Mar 19, 2020

Chicken and Bean Casserole

A quick, easy dish with chicken thighs.  Vegetables, beans spices - all combined into baked goodness.  If you do not like spicy foods, omit the cayenne.

15.5 oz Can Great Northern Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 Tbl Olive Oil
4 Chicken Thighs
1/2 Cup Matchstick Carrots
1 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
4 Cloves Garlic
14.5 Ounce Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1/2 Tsp Thyme
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Cayenne

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken and reduce heat tp medium low.  Cook chicken about 10 minutes, turning once to brown both sides.  Remove chicken to a plate.  Add Carrots, tomatoes and garlic to the pan.  Cook and stir about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in beans, tomatoes, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil and put into a 2 quart baking dish.  Arrange chicken into a single layer on top.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes until chicken is 165 degrees.

Mar 18, 2020

What is a King Cake and how did I make it?

I decided to make a King Cake for trivia night.  Granted, they are usually served Fat Tuesday and this was for Ash Wednesday, but that is okay.  I had no idea, really, what a king cake was, so I went looking and discovered there are many options, but it is very much like a sweet bread/sweet roll.  If you are interested in a history of King Cake, go here

The tradition includes hiding a trinket, usually a baby, in the cake.  I found multi color metallic babies on Amazon to add after the cake was baked.  This recipe makes two cakes.

16 Ounces Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Butter
1 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
4.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
6 - 7 cups bread flour

Combine sour cream, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat until butter is melted.  Cool to less than 110 degrees.

Stir together yeast and warm water and let stand to bloom.

Once sour cream mixture is cooled so it doesn't kill the yeast, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer with 2 cups flour, 2 eggs and yeast.  Beat at medium with paddle attachment until smooth.  Gradually add the remaining 4 cups flour, beating until a smooth dough.  Turn to low, add additional flour 2 Tbl at a time until smooth and elastic.  You cannot over beat, but you can add to much flour.  It will be a little tacky, but it will pull away from the paddle easily.

Grease a bowl, add the dough and turn over to grease entirely.  Let rise until double.

Meanwhile, make the Filling
16 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Granulated SugaR
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Large Egg
1 1/2 Cup finely chopped pecans, toasted and cooled

Beat the cream cheese, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in egg.  Set aside.

Cut a template from Parchment Paper that is 22 inches by 12 inches. 

Once dough has completed rising, gently punch it down and divide in half.  I chose to weigh the entire amount so I could divide evenly, but that is your choice.  Keep 1/2 covered, lightly flour a surface and roll the other half into a rectangle that fits your template.  Spread with half the filling, let 1 inch on a long side and 1/2 inch on other three.  Sprinkle with half the nuts.  Start rolling on a long side - rolling toward the 1 inch border.  Bring the ends of the roll together, moisten with water and pinch to seal.  Place on a silicone baking mat, cover and let to rise until doubled.  Repeat with second half of dough.

Heat oven to 350.  Uncover dough rings and make until deep golden brown and done - about 30 minutes.  Rotate shelves in your oven after 15 minutes.

Set pans on wire racks.  Cool completely before decorating.

4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 Cup butter, melted
1 Tbl vanilla
3 - 5 Tbl Whole milk
Purple green and gold (or yellow) sparkling sugar

Stir together powdered sugar, butter and vanilla.  Stir in milk 1 Tbl at a time until thick but pourable.  It should still be opaque.

Remove pans from racks.  Place racks over wax or parchment paper.  Move cakes from pans to racks.  If you are using trinkets, turn the cake over, make a small slit and insert the trinket.  Turn right side up before placing on the rack.

Pour the topping evenly over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides.  Decorate with sparkling sugar.

Mar 14, 2020

Pineapple Stuffing

At Easter Dinner a few years ago, my sister in law introduced me to pineapple stuffing.  She makes hers with white bread and I talked to her about the option of using King's Hawaiian I tried it and it is wonderful.  Great with a grilled ham steak.

1/2 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Sugar
4 Eggs
20 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
6 slices king's Hawaiian bread, cubed

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch baking pan, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the pineapple and bread cubes.  Stir gently then put into the prepared pan.  Bake for one hours.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Mar 11, 2020

Vanilla Creme Brulee

Another option for all of those yolks you have after making angel food cake is creme brûlée.  Vanilla is a good choice as it is excellent with fruit or by itself.  To make vanilla sugar, I keep a container of granulated sugar with two to three vanilla beans.

4 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Vanilla Sugar
10 Egg Yolks
More sugar for topping

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream, vanilla and sugar.  Bring to a simmer over low heat then remove from the heat and add the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale.  Once pale, continue to whisk while slowly adding some of the warmed cream - I like to use a gravy ladle to do this.  Ladle about 1/2 cup of the cream into the eggs then slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the pot of cream.  Thoroughly combine.

Arrange 8 ramekins in cake pans.  Divide the cream mixture evenly between the ramekins.  Carefully fill the pan around the ramekins with boiling water until it is half way up the ramekins.

Bake for 50 minutes or just until set.

Cool the custards to room temperature then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the custard with sugar and melt the sugar with a torch or under the broiler.

Serve immediately.

Mar 9, 2020

Double Oreo Cheesecake

When asked what she would like for her birthday, our friend asked for something with oreos.  Oreo Cheesecake it is.

14.3 Ounce Package Oreo cookies
1/4 Cup Butter

32 Ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbl Cornstarch
4 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup Half and Half
2 Tsp Vanilla
20 Double Stuff Oreos, lightly crushed

Crushed Oreos
Torani Cookies and Cream Syrup
Whipped Cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 10 inch springform pan with aluminum foil - preferably non stick.
Butter the sides of the pan thoroughly.  Butter the bottom if NOT non stick foil.

Place the oreos in a large food processor or blender and pulse to fine crumbs.  Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl and add the cookie crumbs.  Stir well.  Pour into prepared pan and press into the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes and set aside on a cooling rack until needed.

In the same food processor/blender container, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until completely smooth.  Add the sugar and cornstarch and beat until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour in the cream and pulse.  Roughly crush the double stuff Oreo's, add to the bowl and pulse a few times.  Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour.  Check the cake - if the edges are set and the middle wobbly, it is done.  If it is not, continue to cook, checking every 5 to 10 minutes.

When done, Turn off the oven.  Gently run a knife around the edge of the pan and return to the oven.  Close the door and let sit in the oven for 30 minutes.  Then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Top with crushed oreos.  When served, add syrup and whipped cream as desired.

Mar 8, 2020

Sorta Sourdough

I am taking a sourdough starter class in June.  I have a pottery bread baking bowl I wanted to use today - and I used it to make bread that starts with a sponge that is allowed to 'ferment' for a few hours before beginning the bread.  Hence, Sorta Sourdough.

  • 1 Tsp Yeast
  • 1 Cup Warm Water - no warmer than 110 degrees
  • 1 Cup Bread Flour 
  • 2 Tbl Sugar
In a large bowl(I used a bowl for my stand mixer), mix ingredients with a whisk until smooth.  Cover and let stand about 2 hours - will be very bubbly.


  • 1/2 Tsp Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water (No warmer than 110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
Stir the yeast into warm water, set aside.

Stir sponge with a wooden spoon.  Add the yeast mixture, salt and olive oil to the sponge and beat well with spoon.

Put bowl on mixer with dough hook attachment.  In a separate bowl, stir together the Wheat and Bread flours.  Add 1/2 cup flour mixture at a time, up to 2.5 cups, mixing well after each addition.  You will add flour until a soft dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl but will be sticky.  Knead for at least 5 minutes - dough will form a ball and will be lest sticky.  If it is not pulling away from bowl and hook because it is too sticky, add more flour 1 tbl at a time.   Be careful - you cannot over knead, but you can over flour.

When done, put into a bowl coated with olive oil, turn to coat evenly, let rise in a cool room temp (I set my proofer to 70).  

Rise until tripled in size (2 to 3 hours)

Butter your baking dish, set aside.

After the second rise, place the dough into your baking vessel, then turn the oven on to 425 degrees.  

Allow bread to rise at least double again.  

Bake for 30 minutes - if it starts to brown too much, cover lightly with non stick foil.  Check for doneness and cook for up to another 15 minutes.

Cool completely before slicing.

Mar 7, 2020

Baked Potato Soup

Warm soup on a cold winter, or spring, day is just what the weather calls for.  This soup uses Cauliflower to add to the starch and remove calories.

12 Ounces Potatoes
16 Ounces Cauliflower Florets
1 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Cups Lof Fat Milk
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
3/4 Tsp Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to Taste
3/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar
3 Slices Crisp Bacon, Crumbled

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Add the potatoes and bake for about an hour - until soft.  Once potatoes are in the oven, toss florets with oil and spread on a pan.  Add to the oven with the potatoes and cook until soft - stirring periodically.  When the potatoes are done and cool enough to handle, peel and chop.

Once the cauliflower is soft, add it to a pot over medium heat.  Add the broth and milk.  Bring to a boil.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Add the copped potatoes, sour cream, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook until thick, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Ladle into bowls and top with bacon.

Mar 5, 2020

Pierogi, Sausage and Broccoli Skillet

Hubby made sausage, so I made dinner.  I used his homemade chorizo to make this recipe, but you can use whatever sausage you like.  Same with the pierogi, you use what you like.  For this recipe, and most of my recipes, I really like the better than bouillon products.  I usually choose the low sodium option, when available

Olive Oil
Mini Pierogi - your choice, approx. 12 Ounces
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound sausage of your choice - casings removed
1/4 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Pound Broccoli, cut in small pieces (if using frozen, please thaw first)
1 tsp Roasted Garlic Better than Bouillon
1 cup hot water
2 tbl grated Pecorino Romano

Put non stick pan on stove over medium high heat.  Add 2 Tbl Olive oil.  Arrange the pierogi flat side down (they will be snug and may overlap).  Cook until bottoms just begin to brown.  Add 1/2 cup water and simmer until water has completely evaporated.  Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, turning as necessary to ensure both sides are browned.  Remove to a large serving bowl.

If necessary, add a little more oil to the pan and add the sausage.  Stir and break it up into bite size pieces until evenly browned.  Add the pepper flakes, broccoli and broth, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and the broccoli is tender.

Pour over the pierogis and toss to combine.  Top with more cheese as desired.

Mar 4, 2020

Caramel Topped No Bake Cheesecake

I'll admit, I don't often make no bake cheesecakes.  I do not often like their consistency.  This recipe hasn't made me a believer in all no bake cheesecake, but I believe in this one.

3 - 4.3 Ounce Package Biscoff Cookies
1 Stick Butter, Melted
14 Ounce Hershey Caramel Topping

24 Ounce Cream Cheese
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Half and Half
1 Tsp Vanilla

Remaining Caramel

Put the cookies in a food processor and make crumbs.  Add butter and combined.  Press into the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan.  Top with 1/2 of the caramel.  Put the crust in the refrigerator.

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor until well combined and thick.  Pour into the crust and refrigerate at least overnight.

Top with caramel and rolls before serving.