Tuesday, August 31, 2010

132. Green Tomato Mincemeat, Fragrant

During a garden's growing season, tomatoes are probably the most prolific fruit compared to anything else. Once they get going, there is no stopping them until the first hard frost takes the plants down. Eating, canning and supplying friends with tomatoes is a great way to use up all that abundance, but sometimes the sight of one more tomato is almost too much of a good thing.

Using unripe or green tomatoes is a plus for the overwhelmed gardener. Most of us know about frying green tomatoes as a tasty side-dish, (outstanding fried green tomato recipe post # 137), but today's recipe for green tomato mincemeat is quite unusual. The fragrance while it simmers has that familiar wonderful aroma I remember from my childhood...but, the flavor is better...perhaps it is the tomato base and the orange...at any rate it is a terrific recipe which can be frozen and vacuum-sealed for use at another time. Be sure to look for my next post #133...it will feature Mincemeat Bars...they are very special.

Green Tomato Mincemeat

3 pounds green tomatoes, thinly sliced
¼ C salt

2 large apples, chopped, cored but not peeled
1 large orange, unpeeled

3 C seedless raisins (about 1 large pkg)
1 C sugar
1 pint dark corn syrup
2 T pumpkin pie spice

Spread sliced tomatoes in a non-metal container; sprinkle with salt and let stand overnight. Rinse tomatoes, drain and rinse quickly again. Put rinsed tomatoes, orange and apples in a blender or Vita Mix and coarsely chop.

Place all the ingredients in a large, non-aluminum pot. Cover the pot and let simmer for 40 min. Uncover the pot. Allow the mincemeat to simmer gently for 1 hour 15 min. During this time, stir the ingredients occasionally. Do not burn or the recipe will be ruined.

Monday, August 30, 2010

131. Chicken Skewers, Lemony

With so many ways to fix chicken, why is it the recipes we know the best become the only ones we fix - over and over again? In an effort to put variety into my family meals, I purchased a book with more than 100 chicken recipes. My hope was to find dozens of great ideas, but many of the 100 recipes were either fried, smothered with less-than-healthy ingredients, layers of cheese or combinations of unappealing flavors.

Not one to give up, I continued in my quest for better chicken recipes. Unfortunately human nature likes the well-traveled path and many of my "wonderful'' discoveries, soon fell by the wayside and became forgotten.

Today's recipe is one of those. I made the featured  marinated chicken dish for the first time when my children were little. I loved it - my husband loved it and so did the kids - but,  Grilled Chicken Skewers became a forgotten treasure. I am happy to have rediscovered its wonderful flavors and lemony tang.

Grilled Chicken Skewers


1/2 C soy sauce
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 C Canola oil
3 T ketchup
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper blend

3-4 chicken breast halves cut into cubes

Sweet onion chunks
Bell pepper chunks
Mushrooms, halved
Zucchini chunks

Combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken and stir. Cover container and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. * If using metal skewers, spray with a non stick spray and force pieces of chicken onto skewer. Alternate with vegetables if desired. Do not pack too tightly.

Heat grill to med-high. Spray meat and vegetables with non-stick spray and place on grill. Baste with juice. Cover. Cook for 3 minutes. Open grill and, using potholders, rotate skewers half a turn. (The browned side will be on top). Grill, covered for 3 minutes more. Open grill and turn a quarter turn. Cover and grill for 2 minutes more. Remove to a plate.

Divide meat and vegetables. Allow 1/2 breast per serving.

*Wooden skewers, must be soaked in water for at least 15 minutes prior to using to prevent burning.

Friday, August 27, 2010

130. Quick Mac and Cheese for Two, Popular

My kids used to eat macaroni and cheese as a side dish, as a snack food, or when I wasn't looking, as a meal...it didn't seem to matter...to them, every spoonful was comforting and filling.

Mac and cheese was not a weekly menu item for my family, but I must confess...whenever it was served...it was not homemade. To me, macaroni and cheese was a dish that filled in the gaps and only received minimal effort on my part. I don't remember my mother ever making it and perhaps that is the reason I never gave it much thought. To me, it was something that came out of a box.

Over the years, and to my surprise, fiercely competitive mac and cheese cook-offs have been held. The concoctions in these challenges are amazing, creative and sometime, over the top. Many recipes include several varieties of cheese as well as  cream and milk products, meat, vegetables, herbs, bread crumbs or crackers and the dishes are often baked.

Because I am lactose intolerant and limit my intake of cheese and milk products to a select few recipes, I did not jump in to try any of the hundreds of contest or internet recipes.

Recently, however, I had a little left over macaroni and thought I would try out at a mac and cheese recipe that only served two people; it took very little time to prepare. I made two different versions; my husband loved version #1 which uses Velveeta while I liked the flavor of #2 which is made with sharp cheddar cheese. Both recipes are below.

Quick Mac and Cheese for Two, version #1

(2) 1-inch slices of Velveeta from a 1-lb sized box
2-3 T milk
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 green onion, chopped
Pinch of pepper blend
1 C cooked elbow macaroni, room temperature
1 saltine cracker, crushed (optional)

Add Velveeta and milk to a microwave safe container. Cover lightly and heat on HIGH at 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval. When Velveeta is melted remove container and add onion, Worcestershire, pepper and room-temperature macaroni. Return to microwave and heat for 30 seconds more until hot.

Spoon out two servings and top with crushed cracker if desired.

Quick Mac and Cheese for Two, version #2

1 T margarine
1 T flour
dash of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 C milk
1/3 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 green onion, chopped
2/3 C cooked elbow macaroni, room temperature

Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Whisk in milk while mixture just comes to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 2 minutes; continue stirring. Mixture will thicken and become smooth. Add all other ingredients except macaroni. Stir gently while cheese melts. Add macaroni and continue to stir until ingredients are hot. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

129. Cinnamon Tortilla Chips, Fruit Scoop

Tortillas are an interesting, if not ancient, product. My first introduction to them was the corn variety and they were used to make tacos. As commercial products evolved, I found that I liked the crispy, pre-formed corn tortillas made especially for tacos. Their flavor was consitent and the crunchiness was a definite plus.

The only thing wrong with those hard shells was the occasional terrifying moment when a too-large piece had been swallowed. The only recourse was to continue the swallowing process while that knife-like taco shard sliced its way down the esophagus...ow, ow, ow...ow, ow! With that having happened to me more than once, I began to investigate the soft flour tortillas. I did like their flavor and nothing about them could hurt my throat!

Unfortunately, I never seemed to use up the left over shells. They would sit in my refrigerator until mold appeared and then be tossed out.  Over the years, I found a few recipes that made use of the tortillas for more than taco/burritos.

(Post #78), Tortilla Fruit Shells is a clever way to use up flour tortillas for a dessert shell. Today's post is another way to use up the left-over shells...the tortillas are used to make little triangles chips...perfect for a snack or the fruit scoop companion for the second and third recipes of Fruit Salsas (post #128).

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

2 T sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cinnamon and sugar. Brush tortillas with water and sprinkle them with the sugar mixture. Cut each prepared tortilla into 8 wedges. Place on a baking sheet and bake 5-7 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

128. Fruit Salsas, Multi-faceted

Mention the word salsa and various images come to mind. It could mean a vibrant, Latin dance or any number of tomato-based sauces. The dance comes from Cuba while the sauces originated in Mexico and Latin America. In the American market, salsa...the food...became popular when tacos and taco chips became mainstream and people, suddenly, could not get enough of the tasty and often tangy dip.

Today, the chunkier varieties are the most popular...and whether chunky or not, they are usually prepared with peppers that make the selection mild, medium or HOT! Before long, however, cooks figured out that freshly made salsa had flavor advantages that the bottled kinds just did not convey.

Fresh salsa can be purchased at deli counters or it can be made at home. The better the ingredients, the better the salsa. Summer is the best time to combine freshly grown tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro along with the typical salsa seasonings.  (Because of the fresh-factor and lack of preservatives, these salsas should be used within a few days).

Desire for more flavors propelled chefs and cooks to integrate less traditional ingredients into salsas of all kind...avocado, cucumber, corn, bean, and many, many kinds of fruit. From the traditional salty, pre-meal snack some salsas are actually more like a refreshing  dessert. 
(Any fruit choices may be chopped and mixed together...use your imagination).

Mango-Cilantro Salsa with Lime

1 mango, peeled and diced
1/4 sweet onion chopped
2-3 T roasted red pepper, chopped
1 lime, juiced and skin grated
1/4 C cilantro, minced

Combine above ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Apple-Pear Salsa

1 crisp apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1/2 C red or green seedless grapes chopped
1/2 C celery, chopped
1 T brown sugar, packed
3 T orange juice
2 tsp grated orange peel (optional)

Combine salsa ingredients. Chill and serve. (The pear and apple do not need to be pared).

*Chopped pecans, to taste - mix in with desired amount of salsa just prior to serving.

(This salsa is great served with cinnamon chips, post #129).

3-Fruit Salsa

1 kiwi
1 half fugi apple
4-5 cantelope chunks

Peel kiwi, slice and chop into small pieces. Chop apple half  and cantelope chunks into small pieces. In a small bowl, mix all chopped fruit together.
Serve as a side dish with pork or chicken.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

127.Overnight Layered Salad, Celebrate

American cooks can be as inventive as anyone and someone really hit upon a great idea the day he or she probably decided to clean out their refrigerator and invented the layered salad.

I remember seeing one for the first time in the late 60s or early 70s. I loved the colors of the vegetable layering which showed through the clear, glass bowl. The salad was served at a luncheon and we were all impressed with the fact that it had been made the day before which released the hostess from most of her kitchen duties the day of the get-to-gether.

I had no idea how the salad was going to taste, but was pleasantly surprised with its fresh, crisp flavors and ingredients. Everything blended nicely and the mayonnaise made it more than just a pile of vegetables.

That particular dish was a 7-layer salad but, if you  hunt around, you will find 8 and 11-layer recipes. Actually, these salads have no real rules...they can be made with a huge variety of ingredients and with as many layers as will fit into your container. The salad can be made for just one or two people or a crowd...

The ingredients which showed up the most often for this salad are as follows: Lettuce, carrots, celery, red cabbage, broccoli, green peppers, peas, red onion, water chestnuts, mushrooms, macaroni, eggs (chopped), egg whites (chopped), chicken (chopped), bacon, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, corn, green onions, black beans, green onions, jalapeno peppers, black olives, cucumber, caulifower, zucchini, and  mayonnaise.

Today's recipe is a layering of ingredients from my refrigerator that I needed to use up...so, find a reason to celebrate the little leftover things in your kitchen with a happy, layered salad!

Overnight Layered Salad

Iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
Spinach, fresh, torn into pieces
Real bacon bits
Green onions, chopped
Frozen peas, thawed
Water chestnuts, drained and sliced
Chopped hardboiled egg, chopped
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Mayonnaise, Hellmann's Real

(Quantities are not given because this salad can be as large or as small as you want to make it)

Layer all but the mayonnaise in the bowl in the order listed. Spread the Hellmann's over the top of the salad carefully to from a light layer. Seal to the edge of the bowl. Cover salad tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Optional: Garnish with chopped peppers or tomatoes or another vegetable of your choice.

Monday, August 23, 2010

126. Cordon Bleu Croissants, Almost Paris

The name Cordon Bleu just seems to conjure up visions of something wonderful and French. The school in France with that same name is well known for turning out superior chefs and cooks. Besides the culinary courses and master's programs, each Cordon Bleu school offers a list of short courses, based on demand.

Students are put through weeks of cooking and pastry making classes. The very top students who complete each course at three levels are awarded the Grand Diplome...a very prestigious rank to attain.

The term Cordon Bleu, when it designates the name of a recipe, usually refers to a layered combination of chicken or turkey, ham and Swiss cheese topped with a rich creamy sauce. There are many recipes for this dish and they can make a tasty entree for a luncheon or dinner; however, if I am in a hurry or just want a light and tasty meal, today's recipe is a great substitute.

It gives the flavor of Cordon Bleu, but none of the fuss. It can be made for one person or for a whole family. Each tasty bite can almost make you think you are in a sidewalk cafe right in the middle of Paris...happy eating.

* I bought very thinly sliced meat and used 2 slices of smoked ham, 2 slices of smoked turkey and 1 slice of Swiss cheese per sandwich.

Cordon Bleu Croissants

Quantities are per serving:

1 croissant
2 thin slices of cooked ham
2 thin slices of cooked turkey breast
1 slice Swiss cheese

Spread ham slices with 1 tsp horseradish; top each with 2 slices of turkey and a slice of Swiss cheese. Roll up ham jellyroll fashion, and secure with wooden toothpick.

Place meat roll(s) on a microwave safe dish. Cover with waxed paper and vent. Microwave at HIGH for 30-50 seconds or until cheese melts. Remove picks, and discard. Split croissant and place meat roll inside. Serve immediately.

*You may warm the split croissant if desired.

Friday, August 20, 2010

125. Broiled Apple English Muffin, (G,V)

Today's recipe idea was a happy mistake. The original recipe called for a bagel. I read the word bagel. I wrote the word bagel, but I used an English muffin!  Because I had just bought a package of muffins to use for another new recipe, I used what was in front of me. I did not even realize the mistake until after I had eaten my creation and began to type my notes.

My thoughts: the English muffin tasted wonderful and its softer texture made for a better base than the bagel would have.

On another note, the apple I had on hand was starting to shrivel, so I peeled off the skin. Otherwise, peeling is not necessary. This recipe is a great way to use up the last bit of cream cheese, older fruit, the end of a bag of brown sugar; just use your imagination.

Apple English Muffin is a terrific change of pace for breakfast; additional toppings listed below.

Broiled Apple English Muffin

2 English muffins, split (optional -gluten-free English muffin)
3 T cream cheese, softened
1/4 apple, chopped
Golden raisins, (regular raisins may be substituted)
1 T brown sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Spread cream cheese on split English muffin halves. Top with chopped apple and a few raisins. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle on top of apple. Place prepared muffin halves on baking sheet. Broil 6-8 inches from heat, 2-3 minutes. WATCH carefully, and do not let sugar burn. Serves 2.

Addtional toppings: chopped nuts, dried cranberries, grated orange peel

Thursday, August 19, 2010

124. Mint-Chocolate Parfait in a Jar, Happy Flavors

Whether it is peppermint or spearmint, mint is a happy flavor. Not only is it refreshing, but the healing properties associated with mint are not to be discounted. There are dozens of informative websites touting the benefits of mint and mint oil. Widely held beliefs suggest that mint can settle a nervous stomach, slow the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi and help reduce the pain from a headache and the actual length of time it lasts.

Mint is present in medicines such as cold remedies, muscle rubs, vapor rubs, and vapor bathing supplies.  It is absorbed into the skin quite easily and it has the temporary pain-relieving effect as it relaxes organs or muscles that spasm. When I was growing up, many parents used Vick's Vaporub to comfort children and themselves if they were congested with a cold . The salve was rubbed onto the sick person's chest; the effect was immediate...a sensation of warmth and coolness...nasal passages often opened up, at least temporarily. The smell of Vick's was comforting and somehow seemed necessary to getting better.

One of my first experiences with the flavor of mint, on the other hand, had to be in toothpaste...it is still the predominant flavor among all the toothpaste varieties. No matter how many alternate flavors I try, I always go back to mint...it is familiar and the most refreshing.

Many people brew mint tea for its fresh flavor and healthful properties. During the steeping process, it is recommended that the cup or pot should be kept covered to keep the oils from evaporating.

 Mint candy and mint ice cream have always been favorites of mine. Combine chocolate and mint and it becomes a heavenly partnering of flavors. Today's post combines those flavors, requires NO cooking and is very, very pretty. While I made the parfaits in jars, they can be layered in dessert or drinking glasses.

The jars I used, however, can be capped and if you are not going to eat your serving in one sitting...simply twist on the cap and return it to the refrigerator.

Mint-Chocolate Parfait in a Jar

1 pkg 4.4 oz Jell-O Chocolate Mint Chip Instant Pudding
2 C cold milk (do not use soy milk, the pudding will not set up!)
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 C whipped topping
8 drops red food coloring
15 candy mints, crushed finely

Combine pudding mix, milk and extract with whisk for 2 minutes.
In a separate container, mix whipped topping and food coloring until evenly blended. Add crushed mint candy and mix gently.

Layer jars starting with pudding and alternating with whipped topping. Cap jars  and refrigerate. (Eat within 24 hours).

Makes 4 servings.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

123. Parmesan Chips, One Ingredient

There are many recipes I probably would never try just because of the long...actually too long...list of ingredients. Somehow, if the number of things I have to pull out and assemble is more than ten or so, I just get too mentally overloaded with the thought of the excessive preparation and the eventual clean up...

Favorite recipes that are longer than this '10 or less' rule are usually those that I know by heart...for their ingredients can be added by taste and composing and balancing the flavors is like painting a picture...a little of this and a little of that hardly seems like work.

Sometimes, however, a recipe with few ingredients can become an easy disaster if the formula is not followed to the letter...there is little room for making mistakes. Today's recipe, however, is a bit of a surprise...it has only one ingredient. The cooking process changes it to become something very different from its beginning. The resulting chip can be used as a snack, an appetizer or as a companion with soups or salads.

Parmesan Chips

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Non-stick griddle

Heat griddle to 350 degrees. Place small mound of grated cheese on hot griddle and spread lightly and evenly. Brown cheese for 1 minute or so and then *turn over with a plastic spatula. Brown second side for about 1 minute. Remove to a piece of waxed paper. Continue. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container.

*(I lifted the edge of the chip with a spatula  and grabbed it with a pair of tongs and pulled the partially browned chip over to cook the second side...trying to slide the spatula under the whole chip made it crush together).

**These chips are tasty with a slice of cucumber.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

122. Marinated Cucumber, Crisp...No Cooking

Cucumbers are a very recognizable vegetable no matter which variety shows up in your garden or stores. The most common type of cuke here in America is the slicing cucumber. With all that commonness, though, I find that the price for them is all over the place. Unfortunately, when the prices are at the low end of the spectrum, buying them in bulk is hardly an option. Slicing cucumbers have a very, very short shelf life.

I do make bread and butter pickles with the pickling type cuke ( post # 102), however, the slicing cucumbers generally cannot be used that way. They are almost always coated with wax which would unfavorably impact the brine and their texture is too soft to make a satisfactory pickle. Try as I might, I usually wind up throwing out at least part of my slicing-cucumber purchases because I either forget to use the cuke or just don't have a taste for a salad and let them sit too long. It is a maddening dilemma.

Today's recipe is a wonderful solution to this cucumber problem...it makes a great side dish or salad accompaniment. It is not a pickle...yet it almost could be. The cukes remain crisp and the recipe requires no cooking...a great summer treat!

Marinated Cucumber

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced


1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 T sugar
2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp pepper blend (Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute)
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 T chopped onion
1/2 lemon, juice from

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl; add sliced cucumbers and toss. Cover and chill for 2-3 hours. Use within 24 hours.

Monday, August 16, 2010

121. Pork Madeira for Two,

Pork is such a versatile meat and fresh pork has a mild flavor that blends well with others. Unfortunately, pork does have the  reputation for being hight in fat. To help dispel this notion, an ad campaign started a number of years ago by the pork industry, proclaimed that pork is the other white meat...which lead comsumers to believe that the fat and cholesterol content was as low as chicken or turkey meat.

While the USDA treats pork as a red meat, we need to know just exactly how pork compares to other meats for fat, calories and cholesterol. According to the pork industry, "...the meat provides more vitamins and minerals and many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken. Pork tenderloin, for example, is just as lean as skinless chicken breast and meets the government guidelines for 'extra lean. ' "

A more detailed comparison of pork and other meats can be found at the following site:


People in China, Europe and the United States all consume great quantitites of pork, and yet, there are whole regions and cultures in the world that consider eating pork to be taboo. For the rest of us, careful handling and thorough cooking is the best way to control anything that could be problemanteic in the meat.

Thorough cooking, however , does not mean frying or grilling the meat unitl it is like a piece of shoeleather. If you love a tender piece of meat with a light, lovely sauce smothered with mushrooms, this is the recipe for you.

Diane's Pork Madeira for Two

2 pork steaks (other cuts of pork may be substituted)
Pepper blend
Dry basil
Olive oil

2 C thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
1/2 C beef broth
1/4 C white wine (chenin blanc)
1 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T cornstarch
2 T water

Sprinkle pork with pepper blend and crumbled, dry basil on both sides of meat. Heat a large frying pan on med. hot. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Place pork in pan and cook until browned well on both sides. Remove pork to a plate. Turn heat down to med.

Add more olive oil to pan and add mushrooms and minced garlic. Saute until musrooms are tender. Add broth, wine and Worchestershire sauce; stir to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Add pork back to pan with mushroom sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until pork is tender.

Remove pork again to a plate. Combine cornstarch and water in a cup and stir well. Stir into mushroom mixture in pan and raise temperature to med. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Spoon sauce over pork to serve. 2 large servings.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Recipe Index 1-120

Daily recipes are pulled from the following 5 groups. Each group is only used once/week.

1. meat/fish  2. pasta/veg/fruit  3. bread/pastry  4. soup/salad/dessert  5. eggs/easy

1. Italian Beef
2. Chicken Artichoke Festiva
3. Tuna Potato Patties
4. Soup Au Pistou
5. Danish Potato Bread
6. Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner
7. White Chocolate Cookies
8. Banana Bread
9. Mussels
10. Fruit Slaw
11. Oven Barbecue Chicken
12. Carrots in Broth
13, Easy Pancake Syrup (2 recipes)
14. Chocolate-Pecan Crescent Puffs
15. Sweet Potato Pie
16. Pie Crust and Pie Crust Secrets
17. Fruit Dumplings
18. Hard Boiled Eggs and Easter Eggs, easy dye method, Cold Water
19. Bunnies on the Lawn
20. Crunchy Beef Turnovers
21. Italian Sausage with Tomato and herbs
22. Bacon Potato Patties
23. Butter Lamb
24. Easter Nest Coffee Cake
25. Lime Pineapple Salad
26. Zucchini Casserole (Italian style)
27. Shrimp Scampi
28. English Muffin Loaf
29. Broccoli Salad
30. Basmati Rice, how to cook perfect rice
31. Sloppy Joe
32. Back-Burner Beans
33. Chocolate Covered Strawberries
34. Pita Bread
35. Caramel Popcorn
36. Chicken Breast Strips
37. Pita Egg Sandwich
38. Spice and Sweet Potato Squares
39. Napa Cabbage Salad
40. Praline Cookie Bars
41. Spaghetti Pie and Spaghetti sauce
42. Sauteed-steamed Asparagus
43. Egg Drop Soup
44. Cocktail Sauce
45. Fruit Flower for Two
46. Golden Chicken
47. White bread, rolls, buns
48. Strawberry spinach salad
49. Fruit Crisp, microwavable
50. Hash browns
51. Chili Meat Cups
52. Green Onion Biscuits
53. Fruit Pizza
54. Potatoes in a Bag (Savory Microwaved)
55. Corn bread, microwaved
56. Ruben sandwich
56-B. Russian Dressing
57. Cream of Asparagus Soup
58. Whipped Sweet Potatoes
59. Easy Pizza
60. Chocolate-Striped Orange Slices
61. Mile-High Lasagna Pie
62. Artichokes
63. Chocolate Dessert Waffle
64. Ruby Whipped Cream Cheese Pie
65. Eggs Benedictive
66. Fruit Smoothie
67. California Rolls, Sushi Made Simple also Seaweed Free Rolls
68. Breakfast Sandwich
69. Frosty Pineapple Juice Pie, No-Bake
70. Huevos Rancheros
71. Turkey Burgers, Delicious
72. Shrimp-Stuffed Green Peppers
73. (3) Baking Powder Biscuit Recipes
74.  White Chocolate Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies, Deluxe
75. Deviled Eggs
76. Chicken and Dumplings
77. Stuffed Mushrooms
78. Tortilla Fruit Shells
79. California French Dressing
80. Peanutty Ice cream Pie
81. Ham Roll With Pea and Olive Sauce
82. Lemon Mousse Cake
83. Blueberry Fruit Sauce
84. Danish Puff
85. Thousand Island Dressing
86. Red Beans and Rice
87. Creamed Asparagus on Toast
88. Cornbread Loaf with Buttermilk
89. Rum-Pineapple Fuff 'n Crunch
90. Bulls-Eye Eggs
91. Southwestern Chicken Salad
91-A Southwestern Salad Dressing
92. Zucchini Bread
93. Mock Pimentos
94. Potato Salad with Radish
95. Barbecued Pulled Chicken
96. Salmon with Cilantro and Lime
97. Hot German Potato Salad, microwaved
98. Zucchini Squares
99. Mini Pineapple Upside-down Cakes
100. Cinnamon Sugar Pecans
101. Tuna Salad  
102. Bead and Butter Pickles
103. Oatmeal Maple Granola
104. Easy Fresh Peach Pie
105. Homemade Taco Seasoning
106. Spanish-Style Grilled Chicken
107. Grilled Corn on the Cob
108. Open-Faced Vegetable Sandwich
109. Cheese-herb French Bread
110. Plum Pie
111. Steak Diane
112. Pickled Beets
113. Chocolate-Orange Banana Crepes
114. Spaghetti-Lover's Soup
115. Banana Whip
116. Steak Barbecue, Beijing Style
117. Grilled Shrimp and Lettuce
118. Mini Quiche
119. Chicken Pasta Salad
120. Strawberry Cookie Cup

80. California French Dressing, American Red Dressing

120. Strawberry Cookie Cups (G, V)

I used to grow my own strawberries. After they ripened and the gathering baskets filled up with globes of beautiful red fruit, I rejoiced in my garden's bounty.

I ate them fresh from the garden, topped them on ice cream or sprinkled a handful of cut up strawberries on salads. We also put strawberries on pancakes, cereal or cake  - wow - they were versatile and delicious.

Note:  Unless you grow your own fruit - try to buy ORGANIC. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that a single sample of strawberries contained 13 different pesticides.

Strawberry Cookie cups are easy to make and eye appealing - you will love them!

* This recipe makes 12 servings. You may cut the recipe in half if desired. Pour half of the dissolved gelatin in a dish and refrigerate, halve the other ingredients and proceed as directed.

Strawberry Cookie Cups

2/3 C boiling water
1 pkg strawberry gelatin (4 serving size)
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, cubed
1 cup whipped topping
12 chocolate chip cookies (these may be gluten-free)
12 small strawberries, optional

Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in a small bowl until dissolved. Cool for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into a blender. Add cream cheese and blend on medium for 30 seconds. Add whipped topping. Blend for 5 seconds on low.

Spray the inside of 12 paper muffin liners with non-stick spray. Place liners in muffin pan. Put one cookie in the bottom of each prepared liner. Top evenly with gelatin mixture. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Top each with a sliced strawberry just before serving if desired.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

119. Chicken Mac Salad, (G)

When my children were in college, they often called home to ask for my recipes. What a treat for a mother to know they loved, loved, loved my food!

However much I wanted to share my recipes, I had to keep these facts in mind:  my kids were on strict budgets, had long study hours, class time, jobs and social activities -  shopping for hard-to-find ingredients and lengthy meal preparations were not going to be possible. The recipes had to be simple to create and easy to prepare and if they could be used for several meals, it would be a big plus.

The recipe for today's post was part of a collection that I sent to my children. The collection told them how to up to use a 1 lb. box of elbow macaroni to create four different recipes.

 All ingredients for the chicken salad are ‘to taste'; use your imagination, if you want to add something else…try it. (The pecans are wonderful and add that little something extra!)

Diane's Chicken Mac Salad

1/3 of a 1 1b. box cooked and cooled elbow macaroni (gluten-free may be used)
2 lg. spoonfuls of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
¼ C chopped green pepper
1 celery rib, chopped
½ C sliced black olives
pepper blend, (21 seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s)
Juice from ½ small lemon

*Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (cheese may be mixed in with salad ingredients or saved and sprinkled on top)
1 can chicken, shredded

Lettuce, shredded
Salad dressing, your choice (optional)
Whole pecans

Mix first 9 ingredients together. Chill. Place shredded lettuce on plate. Drizzle with a light salad dressing. Put ¼ salad mixture on top of lettuce, * add cheese and pecans.  Makes four servings.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

118. Individual Quiche, Microwavable

The first time I had quiche of any kind was when it was served at a luncheon when I was a young mother. Although I loved its flavor and texture, I never made one for my family...ever.

For one thing, I did not want to buy a special quiche pan, but the other reasons were mainly mental: in my mind I thought quiche was hard to make, prone to falling and might be disliked by my family...all good reasons to avoid making one. As frugal as I was with my food shopping budget, I was not going to waste ingredients that might be rejected. No quiche passed my way again for years...I wasn't making it and neither was anyone else I knew.

The day I found directions for individual quiches, my interest picked up on this egg-based dish.There are many reasons to love this particular recipe: there is no crust to make, bacon bits and egg substitute are used and the whole thing is cooked in the microwave.

There were no more excuses for NOT making a little quiche! I could even make it for myself and enjoy the novelty without wasting a bite. As it turned out, my husband loved this quick, quiche recipe. It is a nice change for a light breakfast.

Individual Quiche, Microwavable

(Recipe is for one quiche)

1/4 C Egg substitute
2 T milk
1/2 slice of bread, crust removed
1/2 green onion, chopped
Salt, pepper blend, chili powder
1 tsp Real Bacon Bits
1-2 tsp Monterey-Jack cheese blend

Coat the inside of a  custard cup with non-stick spray. Break up bread into small pieces and place in bottom of prepared custard cup. (I used seeded rye bread). Top with onion and bacon bits. Pour egg substitute into a small dish and add seasonings, mix well and pour over layers in custard cup. Sprinkle with cheese. Microwave on MEDIUM for 5-6 minutes or until egg rises above cup edge and center is done. Check each minute during last 2 minutes of cooking. Do not over cook. Allow to cool slightly before serving...it will be very HOT!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

117. Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad with Shrimp, Not Wilted

I recently tasted grilled Romaine lettuce. Not only was it delicious, but it was far different from what I thought it would be. My mind pictured the lettuce becoming a wilted, gloppy mess. Perhaps lettuce with a higher water content would deflate, but Romaine can take the heat...for a short time, that is.

Many of the recipes floating around the internet for grilled Romaine give the lettuce the center stage as it becomes a main or featured side dish. In those recipes, the basted, halved-lettuce head is grilled for 4-5 minutes on two sides, coarsely chopped and then sprinkled with a seasoned, balsamic vinegar mixture.

The following recipe, however, keeps the lettuce in the background as it is surrounded by many other grilled vegetables and lovely  shrimp. My daughter and her husband had tasted a similar dish at a Chicagoland restaurant, recreated it at home and then taught it to me. It is a delicious, healthy meal that is sure to be added to our list of family favorites.

Grilled Romaine Salad with Shrimp

1 head of Romaine lettuce
Olive oil
1-2 zucchini, sliced into chunks
1 red onion, sliced thickly
1 lb of asparagus, trimmed
4 ears fresh corn
16 grape tomatoes
1 pkg of uncooked *shrimp, shelled and cleaned (optional)
* other meats may be substituted (allow for longer cooking times, however)

** omit meat or shrimp for a vegetarian meal

Skewers, greased


1/2 C Balsamic vinegar
1/2 C Olive oil
Cracked pepper blend
Salt, optional

Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded

Prepare vegetables for grilling:

Split Romaine lettuce head lengthwise, into quarters (retain core to hold quarters together); wash and dry lettuce;  baste with olive oil and sprinkle with a cracked pepper blend. Set aside.

Thread chunks of zucchini, shrimp and tomatoes onto separate skewers, (do not mix items on a skewer). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked pepper.

Brush sliced onions and asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper.

Wrap cleaned corn ears, individually, in plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes per ear. Remove to a plate and cut away plastic. Baste ears with olive oil, season with pepper blend.

Thread shrimp onto skewers, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper blend. (shrimp may be grilled on an oiled, perforated grilling pan instead of skewers).

Prepare grill, medium hot temperature. Grill in this following order and when vegetables are cooked, remove and keep warm: zucchini, *asparagus and onions (5-7 minutes total), shrimp (3-4 min. per side or until no longer transparent), pre-cooked corn ears (2-3 minutes), quartered romaine (2-3 minutes), tomatoes (1-2 minutes per side).
*(The asparagus can be cooked on an oiled, perforated grilling pan or it may be sautéed indoors).

When all of the vegetables are crisp tender, remove to serving bowls. Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a separate bowl.

Lettuce should be chopped into 1-inch chunks.
Divide evenly among serving plates and drizzle with balsamic dressing which has been well-shaken. Sprinkle lightly with cheese.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

116. Steak Barbecue, Teriyaki Style

I ate more red meat in my past life. It was fairly inexpensive and did not contain hormones, antibiotics or suspicious feed additives. Even the cuts of meat were different than those seen in stores today. Many packages of beef included the marrow bones which gave an exceptional flavor to certain dishes which cannot be duplicated otherwise.

When queried as to why the bones have disappeared, several butchers have given me various answers. One: the meat is cut at a central butchering location and the stores have no sayso in the way they receive their meat. Another answer is: after the mad cow scare, stores were reluctant to include bones with the packaged beef. I do not believe these butchers because they do offer -for a hefty fee - soup bones sold separately. Either there is a problem with the bones or there is not!

Unfortunately, today's cooks are not learning what they should know about the flavor-enhancing property of bones and marrow. Instead, they learn to rely on artificial flavors such as steak sauce. The few times I tasted steak sauce, I thought its flavor was similar to the fragrance of a familiar liquid cleaning product that ends with the word Sol.  Blech!

Actually, most steaks I grill are not coated with anything; the meat's distinct and delicious flavor was wonderful with mimimal enhancement like like salt and pepper or sauteed garlic and onion.

The glaze used in today's post, however, is terrific with grilled steak and not only does not cover up the meat flavor, but actually brings it out.

 The pictured recipe meat was cooked on a *Foreman grill and the steaks were tender, moist and delicious.
(Directions given for indoor and outdoor grilling below).

Steak Barbecue, Teriyaki Style for Two

1/2 C teriyaki baste and glaze sauce (Kikkoman makes a great sauce)
1T ketchup
1 T chianti (red wine)
1 clove garlic, pressed

2 boneless tender beef steaks, (rib eye or top loin), about ¾ inch thick

Combine first 4 ingredients and mix well; brush steaks thoroughly with mixture. Place steaks on grill. Cook 4 min on each side for rare, or to desired doneness, brushing frequently with remaining basting mixture.

*(Foreman grill: 6 1/2 minutes total cooking time for medium and do baste as the meat grills.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

115. Banana Fluff, Sweet Idea

I had never associated anything but goodness with bananas, but I recently found out that they can cause allergy problems especially for people who are allergic to, of all things, laytex. Actually, those who have laytex allergies may also be allergic to a number of plant products.

This response is known as the latex-fruit syndrome...something I had never heard of before. Fruit involved in this latex allergy syndrome include banana, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, strawberry, and soy. Some of these fruits actually contain a form of latex. Natural latex comes from rubber trees, and it is a plant product...so, it is not too great a leap to connect the latex-allergy dots back to other plants.

Hopefully, today's post will not cause anyone an unpleasant reaction but,  it must be mentioned that it does contain bananas! This recipe is a little summertime treat, requires minimum effort and few ingredients...it also can be made for just one or two servings...what a great idea!

Banana Fluff

1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/4 C milk or soy milk
1/2 C whipped topping
1 diced, ripe banana
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 cookies, crushed
Walnuts, chopped

Combine marshmallows and milk in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Fold in whipped topping and add banana and vanilla. Spread cookie crumbs on the bottom of two dessert or custard cups. Top with banana mixture and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Chill before serving. 2 servings

Thursday, August 5, 2010

114. Spaghetti Lover's Soup, Light, Summer Soup

Spaghetti is loved by almost everyone. Making a good spaghetti sauce is not hard and a lot cheaper than buying the jar varieties. ( A great recipe for the spaghetti sauce that I developed over years of tasting and testing is featured with the Spaghetti Pie recipe, post #41). If you don't have time to make your own sauce or just don't feel inspired to even try to make your own, store shelves are stocked with canned varieties. Some taste terrible...others are great...one of the good ones is listed in today's recipe.

In the summer, spaghetti is not a food choice on my menu...I just don't crave all those carbs. I did, however, discover a spectacular soup that is a light, fragrant and healthy cousin to the much heavier spaghetti. The list of ingredients seems lengthy, but most people should have them on hand...and it is a good way to use up some of those stock vegetables languishing in those crisper drawers.

The key to making this soup wonderful is to use, as always, the best ingredients. I have tried several types of pasta sauces and the one listed below is perfect! Just add a few more seasonings and your soup will taste just the way it is supposed to. This is a wonderful, one-pot meal...great for summer lunches or dinners.

Spaghetti-Lover’s Soup

1-2 T olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
½ C chopped sweet onion
1/2 small green pepper, chopped
½ C chopped celery (1 stalk)
1 med. carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ C water
2- 14 ½ oz cans diced tomatoes
1- 13-15 oz jar Newman's Own Tomato-Basil pasta sauce
1 T sugar
½ tsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

2 oz dried spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces

Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large Dutch oven, on med-high heat add olive oil. When hot, add next 6 ingredients and stir-fry until veg. are tender and meat browned. (Meat should not be gray...the flavor comes from the browning process). Drain off fat.

Add water and remaining ingredients except pasta. Bring to a boil and add broken pasta. Return to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve immediately. 6 servings.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

113. Chocolate-orange Banana Crepes, French Pancakes

My mother made crepes, (pronounced 'creps' - short 'e' sound), - once! They were a seafood entrée drizzled with a slightly bitter wine sauce - not a great introduction crepes.

What exactly is a crepe? It is simply a thin, delicate pancake wich is, then, filled with a variety of food! The crepe batter may be flavored and the fillings may be sweet or savory. Toppings or sauces may be added to the filled crepes.

A crepe pan is the ideal utensil used to make crepes, but any small pan will work. In fact, I used a griddle to make today's recipe.

 I love chocolate, orange and banana together and used those flavors for this easy, spring/summer recipe.

The batter has minimal ingredients and, because I let the batter sit for an hour before frying, every one of the crepes turned out well.

*The griddle had an advantage over a crepe pan in that I could make two crepes at a time and the batter was very easy to thin out with the use of the back of a spoon. The crepes were not quite as thin as the crepe-pan version.  *Directions for using a crepe pan and griddle below

Most crepe recipe directions say the filled crepe should be turned fold-side down. However, with the fold on top, the filled crepe is easier to handle and I thought it looked quite pretty.


Diane's Chocolate-Orange Banana Crepes

Crepe Filling:

8 T  cream cheese
3 T sugar
1 tsp orange flavoring
1/4 C semisweet chocolate mini-morsels
1/4 sliced banana per crepe
Chocolate syrup
Powdered sugar
Orange slice (optional)

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well. Spoon 1T filling in the center of each crepe and spread to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Slice banana quarter and layer in an overlapping row down the middle of the prepared crepe.

Sprinkle with desired quantity of mini chips. Fold over opposite edges and place on dessert plate. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and sift powdered sugar lightly over crepes. Garnish with orange slice if desired.

Chocolate Crepes:

1 egg
1/3 C flour
1/2 C milk
1 T unsweetened cocoa
1 T canola or vegetable oil
Dash of salt

Cooking spray

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender and process 30 seconds. Scrape sides and blend for another 30 seconds. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (This allows the flour particles to soften and plump up  for a lighter-textured crepe).

Coat the bottom of a 6-inch crepe pan with non-stick spray. Place over med heat until hot, but not scorching. Pour 2 T batter into pan and quickly tilt pan in all directions so batter covers bottom of pan completely. Lift edge of crepe to test for doneness. When it can be loosened completely, it is ready to flip. The second side only takes 30 seconds to cook; this is the side that is filled. Place on paper towels to cool and place a piece of waxed paper between each crepe (the waxed paper was not necessary if spray is used for each crepe).

 Repeat with the rest of the batter, stirring occasionally. Yield: 8 crepes.

Griddle directions: Heat griddle to med. Spray with non-stick coating. Spoon out 2 T of crepe batter with a spoon and immediately spread the batter in a thin, uniform circle with the back of the spoon. Stop spreading if the batter starts to tear. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until crepe is able to be flipped. Cook second side for a few seconds until set. Remove to a plate. Continue as above.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

112. Pickled Beets, Earthy and Sweet

Beets are a wonderful vegetable. They are rated very highly as an antioxidant as well as containing many other healthful properties. I just love them.

Even when I was little, I loved beets and their earthy, sweet flavor. They are wonderful simmered, peeled, sliced and buttered. That is the only way my mother fixed them until a neighbor invited us to dinner and prepared beets as she would have in her homeland, Poland.

The beets were cooked until tender, peeled and sliced. Next they were mixed gently with a little sugar and sour cream. It was a new instant family favorite.

Along the way, with all my gardening and cooking contacts, some wonderful person gave me her recipe for perfect pickled beets. I had only tasted the canned varieties and was surprised how much better homemade pickled beets were. This recipe makes a small enough batch, so canning is not necessary.

  You may grow your own beets, buy them at a farmer's market or grocery store. You could even buy them canned and just pickle them like fresh ones.

Pickled Beets

2 ½ C beets

½ C white vinegar
½ C beet juice
2 T sugar
2 cloves
½ tsp salt
3 peppercorns
¼ bay leaf
1 onion, large sliced

Beet stems should not be cut shorter than 2 inches from the beet top. Do not cut the root end. Wash beets gently.  Put beets into a large pot and cover with water. Boil gently until tender. Remove beets, save beet water. Slip off skins and trim root and leaf ends. Slice beets 1/4 inch thick and place in a large bowl.

Add remaining listed ingredients to a pot. Reheat to a boil and simmer until onion is slightly tender. Pour over sliced beets. Refrigerate.

Monday, August 2, 2010

111. Steak Diane for Two, Namesake

It isn't too often that a person can open a menu and find one's name as part of a titled dish. The first time I saw Steak Diane on a menu, I know I sat a little taller in my chair. My dad actually let me order it, even though it was not inexpensive. Not only did I love the regal flavors but, I felt the dish was aptly named.

My mother would make her version of steak Diane from time to time after I had that restaurant meal. I loved letting the rest of the family know that we were having a dinner named after me. While there is no definite answer as to who the real namesake for this glamorous dish is, I want to think she was exceptional.

There are hundreds of recipes for steak Diane and, in very posh places, it would probably be fixed tableside; the chef might even light the plate after pouring brandy around the meat. I choose to cook my version in the kitchen, using basic ingredients, (no brandy or flames). The aroma of the butter, garlic, onions and mushrooms simmering is pure heaven.

While a tenderloin of beef, (filet), is the cut of choice, any good steak will fill the bill. Just don't overcook the meat or the mushrooms.

Steak Diane for Two

1/2 C fresh mushrooms, sliced (use more if you love them)
2 T minced onion (I use sweet onion)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C butter
2 T parsley, chopped
2 T butter
1 lb. beef tenderloin, cut into 8 slices

In a large pan, on medium-high heat, cook and stir the first six items in the 1/4 C butter. Saute and stir until mushrooms are tender. Stir in parsley. Remove and keep warm.

Melt 2 T butter in the pan; cook tenderloin slices, turning once, until the center of the meat slices are still pink. Divide slices between two plates. Smother the meat with the mushroom sauce. Pasta and fresh green beans are wonderful side dishes.