Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ranch Oyster Crackers

New Year's almost here! This recipe was popular at parties about 20 years ago, so it deserves to make a comeback. I'm thinking a little cayenne pepper would make it even better!

Ranch Oyster Crackers

12-16 ounces plain oyster crackers
1 package dry Ranch Buttermilk Dressing Mix
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3/4-1 cup canola oil

Combine the Ranch Dressing mix and the oil.  Add the dill weed, garlic powder, lemon pepper (and cayenne-optional).  Pour the mixture over the crackers and stir to coat. Place the coated crackers on a large baking sheet with edges. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Eve Pecans

Let's sneak in one more recipe before Christmas......this recipe originally came from a Southern Living magazine. It's just like the warm, cinnamon pecans you can buy at special event booths. The recipe comes together quickly and easily. We absolutely LOVE these!

Christmas Eve Pecans

1 egg white
4 cups pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat egg white until foamy. Add pecans, and stir gently until pecans are coated. Set aside.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Sprinkle over pecans, and stir gently until coated.  Spread pecans in a lightly greased 15x10x1 inch jellyroll pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool and store in an airtight container.  Yields 4 cups. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Portuguese Tomato and Kale Sausage Soup

I'm sharing my winning recipe from the Dei Fratelli contest. I like my soup a little spicy, but you can reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. This is a VERY tasty soup. If you haven't used kale before, it's a nice addition to the favorite vegetable list. The Portuguese call this Caldo Verde (Green Soup).

Portuguese Tomato and Kale Sausage Soup

  • 1 28 oz Can Dei Fratelli Seasoned Diced Tomatoes
  • 64 oz Chicken broth
  • 2 (15 oz) Cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 12 oz Andouille sausage, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 1 Large onion, diced
  • 6 Cups Chopped kale
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

In a Dutch oven or large pot, combine the Dei Fratelli Tomatoes and chicken broth. Add the cannellini beans, andouille sausage, onion, kale, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bring the soup to a simmer.

Simmer for 45 minutes.
Servings: 8-10

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Party Tarties

I just submitted this Christmas recipe to a contest. It turned out really well. SO easy with four ingredients!


6 ounces Brie cheese
15 Athens Mini Fillo Shells (1 box)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 kiwi, peeled and small diced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the brie into 1/2 inch squares. Place a square of Brie into each Fillo Shell. Place on a metal pan in preheated oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is just melted. Remove from oven and top with half pomegranate seeds (red) and half diced kiwi(green). Serve warm.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole-reposted for 104.7 The Fish

I was selected to compete in the "Sweet Potato Battle" on Kevin and Taylor's Thanksgiving Homemade Smackdown on Christian radio station The Fish 104.7 on Monday, November 21 around 7:30am. I'm re-posting my Sweet Potato Casserole which tastes like a cross between a casserole and souffle.

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes, baked (fresh is best)
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees to cook the fresh, sweet potatoes.  Rub the sweet potatoes with a little oil; place on a baking sheet and bake for an hour at 400 degrees for the best result. Allow to cool, peel, then mash the cooked, sweet potatoes and set aside for later use in the recipe.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla and milk. Pour into a casserole dish or 8 inch by 8 inch pan. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Givin' Thanks for BAKED CORN PUDDING

The holiday countdown is on! This is a tasty side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and it's not difficult or expensive to make. It relies on canned corn and creamed corn. Everyone will think you worked much harder than you actually did. ;)

Baked Corn Pudding

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1-14 ounce can cream-style corn

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Whisk in the eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper. Stir in the corn and creamed corn. Pour the mixture into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a knife comes inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serves 6-8

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Best Ham Sandwich Rolls

I've been craving these, so I pulled out this old recipe. If you make them on the small dinner rolls, then it's an appetizer. If you make them on sandwich buns, then it's lunch or dinner. You can't get much better than that!

Best Ham Sandwich Rolls

1 package Pepperidge Farm dinner rolls (split horizontally) or 6 sandwich buns
1 stick butter (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 pound shaved ham (I love Black Forest)
1/4-1/2 pound Swiss cheese slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the softened butter, mustard, Worcestershire, and poppy seeds in a small bowl until combined. Spread the butter mixture on both sides of the rolls/buns. Place the ham and cheese in the middle of the bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mexican Pork Stew - In the Crock Pot

It's that time of year. Pull out your Crock Pot and make some stew! In Spanish, this pork stew is called "posole". The Mexicans use hominy, just like the Southerners, but I actually prefer the Mexican recipes using it better. If you can't find hominy, just substitute regular corn.

Mexican Pork Stew - In the Crock Pot

2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
2-16 ounce cans posole, drained
1-28 ounce can GREEN Enchilada Sauce, medium (I love Las Palmas brand)
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
chopped cilantro (optional as topping)

Combine all ingredients, except cilantro, in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve as is in a bowl or with tortillas.  Serves 6.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mini Meat Loaves

Here comes a son-requested recipe from my family-favorites file. I hardly make a meatloaf any other way any more. It's YUMMY in your tummy!

Mini Meat Loaves

3/4 cup ketchup (divided into 1/2 cup and then reserve 1/4 cup for glaze)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups Chex corn cereal, crushed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 and 1/2 pounds lean, ground beef

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the first 9 ingredients (everything except the meat) in a large bowl and allow to soften for a minimum of five minutes. Mix the ground beef into the cereal/ketchup/spice mixture until well combined. Portion the beef mixture into 12 metal cupcake tins. Top with the reserved 1/4 cup of ketchup for a glaze. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Healthier Chicken Lasagna

I use this recipe when I want a break from regular beef lasagna. It's a nice change of pace. It's a good way to sneak a few vegetables into your family too. Using the "no boil" lasagna noodles saves time and a dirty pan.

Healthier Chicken Lasagna
½ cup chopped onion
2 carrots-peeled and diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 rotisserie chicken, remove skin and cut into bite-size pieces
1-10.75 ounce can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
½ cup low fat or skim milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 -10 ounce box frozen, chopped spinach-thawed and squeezed dry
12 ounces low fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese
8 no-boil lasagna noodles


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Saute the onion and carrots in the butter in a medium saucepan until tender. Stir in the soup, milk and basil. Heat thoroughly.  Pour half of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place four of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Spread the chicken pieces evenly on top of the noodles.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, cheddar cheese, and cottage cheese.  Evenly spread the spinach/cheese mixture on top of the chicken. Top with the remaining four lasagna noodles and then add the remaining soup/milk sauce as the final layer.  Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
Serves 4-6

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rice-a-Roni Meatballs

This is SUCH an easy recipe for meatballs. I thought I had posted this recipe in June. Ooops! Doesn't look like it worked. Rice-A-Roni meatballs are nice for the beginning of Fall. It's hardly any work at all  :D

Rice-a-Roni Meatballs
1 (7 ounce) package beef Rice-A-Roni
1 lb ground beef, prefer 85/15
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons cornstarch in 3 tablespoons cold water

Set seasoning mix aside.
 Combine the rice mix and the egg in a large bowl.
 Add the raw beef to rice/egg mixture and combine with your hands.
 Roll into meatballs (about an inch and a half).
 In a large skillet, brown the meatballs on all sides.
 Meanwhile, mix the seasoning packet and boiling water.
 Pour over the meatballs and simmer for 30 minutes.
 Pour the cornstarch/water mixture into the skillet and simmer for 2 minutes.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pillsbury Pretzel Pups - should have been a contender

This is the recipe I submitted to this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off. I went to the mall and tasted one of those pretzel-wrapped hot dogs, but they cost almost $5 apiece. Outrageous!  I used Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf for the pretzel dough component. You can make all 8 hot dogs for around $10. I'm still sad that it wasn't a contender  :(     I hope you enjoy having these at home. They're perfect for dinner or watching football on TV.

Pillsbury Pretzel Pups

Pretzel Pup Ingredients:
1-11 ounce can Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf
1-16  ounce package jumbo hot dogs
1-8 ounce block Pepper Jack cheese (can substitute cheddar, etc)
1 egg white
3 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
cooking spray

Pretzel Pup Honey Mustard:
1/2 cup mayo or light mayo
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the hot water and baking soda. Set bowl aside to allow it to come to room temperature.

Place the opened Crusty French dough on a large cutting board. Look for the seam on the dough. Unroll the Crusty French dough horizontally. Cut into eight equal length strips.
Spray a large baking sheet with the cooking spray. Butterfly the hot dogs. Cut the Pepper Jack cheese into 8 equal length strips. Place a cheese stick in the opened hot dog. Wrap a single strip of the Crusty French dough around the hot dog containing cheese in a spiral fashion. Place the wrapped hot dog on the baking sheet. Repeat the process for the remaining seven hot dogs, spacing them evenly on the baking sheet.

Add the egg white to the cooled water/baking soda mixture and mix well. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of each wrapped hot dog with the egg white mixture. Sprinkle an equal amount of coarse salt on each pretzel wrapped hot dog.

Bake the Pretzel Pups for 14-17 minutes until browned. While the Pretzel Pups are baking, mix the 4 ingredients for the honey mustard. Cover and refrigerate the honey mustard until serving time.

Makes 8 pretzel-wrapped hot dogs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Red Velvet Milkshake

This is the recipe that got me into the top 10 finalists in the Below Zero Hero contest. (I bet you could see this post coming :P )  You can use a cupcake or a cake slice from the bakery to prepare the milkshake. We tested out the milkshakes at home and inhaled them. You can vote for the Red Velvet Milkshake at www.belowzerohero.com through September 1.

Makes 3 servings


  • Milk:  
  • 1 cup of milk
Ice Cream:
  • 15 scoops vanilla
  • 1 red velvet cupcake from the bakery


  • 2oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp 2% milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract


Place 8 scoops of vanilla ice cream in the blender. Crumble the red velvet cupcake over the ice cream. Place the remaining 7 scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of the crumbled cupcake. Pour the milk over the mixture and blend until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Set aside for topping the milkshake.

Divide the Red Velvet Milkshake among 3 glasses. Drizzle the glaze evenly on top of the milkshakes. INHALE before someone tries to drink your shake!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

S-A-S-S-Y Brat Burger

I just submitted this recipe to the Johnsonville Bratwurst Burger contest. It turned out to be tasty enough to share. I bought the Brat Burgers ($8 for 6) and Southwest Spicy Mustard-Great Value Brand ($1.50) at WalMart. You can even get 6 bolillo rolls for less than $2 in the WM Bakery. Double or triple the quantities as needed. If you go to this link, I'd appreciate your vote:  http://www.midanmarketing.com/Walmart_Brat_Burger_Contest/?pg=recipes

S-A-S-S-Y Brat Burger

Cook Time: 20 minutes

2 Johnsonville Bratwurst Patties
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons Southwest Spicy Mustard or comparable Sweet/Hot Mustard
 2 bolillo rolls, wheat or white

Steps: Place onion, poblano pepper, olive oil and salt in a medium skillet. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15-17 minutes. While the onion/pepper mixture is cooking, grill/cook the bratwurst patties according to package directions. Slice the bolillo rolls horizontally. Top each bratwurst patty with 2 tablespoons Southwest Spicy Mustard and evenly divide the onion/pepper mixture.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Clahan's Jersey Beef - Best Steak Recipe EVER

In 2000, there was a show on Food Network called Calling All Cooks. The man, Mr. Clahan, and his wife didn't have any children and passed this recipe on as their legacy. It's been one of my family's favorites for over decade. I serve it as dinner and also as an appetizer. I did reduce the amount of sauce from the original recipe, but you can double it, if you want more. This recipe has never failed to draw raves!

Clahan's Jersey Beef - Best Steak Recipe EVER


2 1/2 lbs top sirloin steak, 1 and 1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic clove
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, fine grind
1 loaf white bread, toasted

1 stick butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons red wine
1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper

Trim off all fat from the outside of the steak.

Mix the mustard, garlic, Worcestershire and pepper in a small bowl. Spread the marinade all over the steak. Marinate at room temperature for 1-2 hours, but do not marinate for more than 2 hours. Preheat the grill. Cook 10-12 minutes per side for medium. Let meat rest before slicing across grain in 1/4 inch slices (I use an electric knife.) In a small saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Cut the toast into thirds. Place a slice of the sirloin on top of the toast section. Drizzle with the sauce.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Homemade Microwave Peanut Brittle

I have had this recipe for so long, I kind of forgot about it. It came from the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper originally. The recipe is SO old that it probably used a 700 Watt microwave. Most of the current microwaves are 1000 Watt, so you might want to reduce the cook time by a third.

Homemade Microwave Peanut Brittle

1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanuts or pecan halves
1 and 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon baking soda

As prepared in a 700 Watt microwave oven. 

Butter a 9x13 inch pan and set aside for later use. Using a 1 and ½ or 2 quart microwave-safe, glass casserole dish, combine the sugar and corn syrup.  Cook on 100% power for 4 minutes.  Remove the mixture and stir. Cook an additional 4 minutes at 100% until mixture is a light brown.  Add the butter and vanilla and blend well.  Cook at 100% for 1-2 minutes. Syrup will be “lava hot”. Add the baking soda and stir. The syrup will become foamy. Gently fold in the peanuts or pecan halves.  Pour the brittle mixture in the prepared pan while it’s hot. Allow the brittle to cool for 1 hour.  When the brittle is cooled, break it into pieces and store in an air-tight container. Makes 1 pound of brittle.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leftover Meat?? Make TAMALES

I didn't make my own tamales for years. I heard they were hard to make. When I finally broke down and made them, it was w-a-y easier than I expected. It is one of my favorite ways to use leftover rotisserie chicken, pork, pot roast, etc. I don't buy those corn husks you have to soak; I just use parchment paper cut into roughly 10" x 10" squares. I'll include my inexpensive idea for a steamer at the end of the recipe. I recommend buying a large can of Las Palmas Green Enchilada Sauce (medium) for a nice sauce on top.

Leftover Meat?? Make TAMALES

3 cups masa  (instant yellow corn masa flour)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Scoop 3 tablespoons of the dough into the parchment paper.  Press it into a rectangle shape.  Put some meat (1-2 ounces) down the middle of the rectangle. Fold one end over to the middle.  Fold over the remaining end to cover any exposed meat. Wrap the parchment paper around the tamale "burrito style"-like a gift. The recipe makes 12-14 large tamales. Place the tamales in a covered steamer and simmer for 40 minutes.  Recipe halves well.

Steamer Hint:  Take a very large pot (spaghetti size) and place a collapsible, metal steamer in the large pot.  Pour 1-2 inches of water in the pot. Layer the tamales evenly on their sides, so they all fit in the pot and stay balanced. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Be sure to check on the water level occasionally.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grilled Adobo Pork Skewers

I entered this recipe into a grilling contest recently. Eating the pork adobo tacos at La Carreta was my inspiration.  I marinate the pork in an adobo/pineapple juice mixture. If you can't find canned adobo sauce, then buy chipotles in adobo sauce and just use the sauce. I freeze any leftover chipotles and adobo in an ice tray (from the dollar store) for later use.

Grilled Adobo Pork Skewers

2 pounds pork loin roast, cut in 2 inch cubes
1-20 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, reserve 1/4 cup juice
4 tablespoons adobo sauce (not the chipotles)
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
fresh avocado, diced

Mix the adobo sauce, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, chile powder, and garlic powder in a large zip loc bag. Add the pork cubes to the adobo mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or longer. After marinating, put the pork on skewers alternating with the pineapple chunks. Grill 13-15 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Make Your Own Iced Coffee

I had some friends over for dinner last week, and I served iced coffee with dessert. Everyone really enjoyed it and wanted to know how to make it at home. There is NO WAY I pay $2.50 a glass for iced coffee when I can make it so easily and cheaply at home. Check it out....

Make Your Own Iced Coffee

Your favorite ground coffee
A full coffee pot of water
2% milk
sweeteners: sugar or artificial

Make your regular pot of coffee, but DOUBLE the amount of ground coffee you use. Brew the coffee as usual. Pour the coffee into a covered pitcher. (NOTE: The hot coffee will discolor a plastic pitcher, so use an old or cheap one.)  Allow enough time for the coffee to chill in the refrigerator.
Place ice in a glass. Pour the iced coffee about 1/2 to 2/3 full in the glass. Top off with the 2% milk. Add your favorite sweetener and stir.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spinach, Rice and Ham Casserole

My son, Glen, called me this week to request this easy recipe. It's a GREAT recipe for young children, because it doesn't look like there's "rice confetti" everywhere after they eat it. I usually buy one of those packaged ham slices at the grocery store to make this. You'll have dinner on the table in no time!

Spinach, Rice and  Ham Casserole

8 ounces processed cheese (Velveeta), cubed
1/2 cup 2% milk
3 cups cooked rice (instant or regular)
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the cheese and milk. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-1/2 minutes or until cheese is melted; stir until smooth. Stir in the rice, ham and spinach. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through OR Transfer to microwave-safe 1-1/2 qt. baking dish and cook at 80% power for 5-9 minutes or until heated through.

 Yield: 3-4 servings.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Marinated Black-Eyed Pea Salad

I got this recipe from a cookbook featuring former Presidential White House Chefs. This was from Lyndon Johnson's chef. You can serve it as a side dish with fried chicken, etc. It's a good choice for a summer picnic. My absolute FAVORITE way to serve it is as an appetizer with Tostitos Scoops. It's affordable to make, and everyone always raves about it.

Marinated Black-Eyed Pea Salad

4 cups black-eyed peas, cooked and drained (fresh, frozen, canned or dried)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and small diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup each red pepper, red onion and green pepper (1 1/2 cup total)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix black-eyed peas with all the ingredients. Cover and chill overnight. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blueberry Jezebel Sauce for Pork

I love that Jezebel Sauce, but it's usually made with apricots. The blueberry crop this year is beautiful that I wanted to take advantage of it, so I tweaked and tweaked the recipe to come up with this Blueberry Jezebel Sauce for Pork. I recommend serving this with grilled pork tenderloin or pork chops. It only takes 10 minutes to simmer the sauce too.

Blueberry Jezebel Sauce for Pork

1-15 ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice
1 dry pint container (551 ml) of fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium sauce pan, pour in  the pineapple and its juices. Add the horseradish, mustard powder and pepper. Stir until well-combined. Simmer over low heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pint of fresh blueberries. Allow the mixture to return to a simmer. Simmer and stir gently for 3 final minutes. Delicious served over grilled pork tenderloin or pork chops.

Serves 8

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fried Rice by Stephen Yan

I posted Yan's Perfect Rice last week. This is step #2. If you want really good fried rice, you must make the rice, then REFRIGERATE it for at least four hours. It's not a difficult recipe, and making it yourself saves some serious $$$.

Fried Rice by Stephen Yan

6 cups COLD rice
2 large eggs, beaten
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, diced
2-3 tablespoons Chinese Cooking Rice Wine
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
4 tablespoons canola oil
leftover cooked meat, diced (if you have some)

In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Beat eggs, pour eggs in skillet, and cook a thin egg patty til done. Shred the cooked egg patty and set aside. In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil.  Add the rice, soy sauce, and cooking wine. Stir fry until all the rice is hot, and the ingredients are well-combined. Add the peas, green onion and egg slivers and leftover meat. Stir fry until all the rice is hot, and the ingredients are well-combined.

Serves 4

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Perfect Every Time" Rice by Stephen Yan

My son, Glen, was having trouble making regular rice, so he called me for this recipe. I have made Stephen Yan's recipe forever. It works every time, and it's similar to the rice served at Chinese restaurants. My personal, favorite brand happens to be Mahatma.

"Perfect Every Time" Rice by Stephen Yan

1 cup long grain rice     (keep this 1:1&1/2  ratio if you double the recipe)
1 and 1/2 cups water

Wash the rice. You can use a mesh strainer or colander to help you remove the outer starch. Put the water and rice in a medium pot. Cook over a high heat, UNCOVERED, until craters appear in the rice. Lower the heat and simmer the rice, COVERED, for 15-20 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the rice is cooking, and never stir the rice as it cooks.

Hint: If you're going to make fried rice from this recipe, refrigerate the cooked rice first. It makes a much better fried rice for the home cook.

Monday, June 6, 2011

C-R-A-Z-Y Easy Lo Mein

When my sons were young, they used to beg to go out to eat Lo Mein in a Chinese restaurant. I ran across this simple recipe somewhere (perhaps Quick Cooking magazine?) , and we never ordered Lo Mein in a restaurant again. No joke. You are going to flip out when you see how easy and yummy the Lo Mein is. This is for 6 servings, but the recipe halves easily.

C-R-A-Z-Y Easy Lo Mein

16 ounce package spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
2-12 ounce jars home style beef gravy
1-10 ounce package frozen stir fry vegetables, thawed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine cooked hamburger, both gravies, soy sauce, thawed Asian veggies and all the spices in a large, deep skillet. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cooked/drained noodles. Stir well before serving.

Serves 6

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Suddenly Pizza Mac and Cheese

It's 95 degrees in Atlanta, and it's only the first day of June. When I don't want to heat up the kitchen, I make this really, easy recipe. Everyone needs a "shortcut" every now and then. This pizza mac and cheese is especially popular with kids.

Suddenly Pizza Mac and Cheese

1-7& 1/2 ounce package macaroni and cheese
1 pound of ground beef, cooked and drained
1 jar or can pizza sauce (Dei Fratelli at Publix is great & cheap)
1-3 & 1/2 ounce package sliced pepperoni (those mini ones are cute)
1-8 ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese

Make the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Mix the cooked ground beef with the pizza sauce in a medium bowl. Put the cooked mac and cheese in a microwave safe, round casserole dish. Layer in this order:
1) mac and cheese
2) hamburger with pizza sauce
3) pepperoni slices
4) mozzarella cheese
Cover and cook the casserole for 4:30 minutes in the microwave on high or until hot.

Serves 4

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Copycat: Taco Bell Fiesta Bowls

Do you remember Fiesta Bowls from Taco Bell? I always liked those things. Here is a "shortcut" way to make them at home. It's hardly any real cooking at all. It uses the stove top and the microwave-no reason to heat up the kitchen in the Summer. This is an easy, family favorite at my house.

Copycat: Taco Bell Fiesta Bowls

1-6.8 ounce package Spanish Rice a Roni (made with canned tomatoes)
1-15 ounce can chili with beans
1 jar beef tamales, drained and cut into 1 inch pieces (take off paper first)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare the Spanish rice according to package directions. Put the chili into an 8 inch square baking dish. Top with the prepared Spanish rice. Layer the tamale pieces and top with the cheese. Heat in the microwave at 80% power for 6-7 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mexican Microwave Risotto

I just submitted this original recipe to Kraft for their RWoP contest. I've already gotten a great response from their website. It is super-easy! It's not fun to stir "real" risotto constantly for half an hour, so this version eliminates that problem. If you want a complete meal and have some leftover rotisserie chicken, you can stir it in near the end of the cooking process.

Microwave Mexican Risotto

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 37 minutes | Total time: 47 minutes | Servings: 6

  • 1- 10 ounce tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme-Santa Fe Blend
  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 cup(s) of rice (standard, not arborio)
  • 3 1/2 cup(s) of chicken stock
  • 1 cup(s) of onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced (not a very, spicy pepper)
  • 1 cup(s) of frozen corn kernels, defrosted

  1. In a large, microwave-safe, uncovered dish (ie-a 10x10x2 casserole), cook the butter and oil for 2 minutes on high. (This was cooked in a 700 Watt microwave.)
  2. Add the onion and stir. Cook for 3 minutes on high.
  3. Stir in rice to coat and cook on high for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and the diced poblano pepper to the rice and cook on high for 18 minutes.
  5. Stir the rice, and add the corn and half (5 ounces) of the Santa Fe Blend Cooking Creme. Combine well and cook for 5 minutes on high. Stir the rice mixture (this is the point where you can stir in cooked, leftover meat) and cook for the final 5 minutes on high.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Real Thing: SCONES

I got this recipe years ago from a friend of mine whose parents were from England. This version is "the real thing", and I prefer it to any other scone I've ever eaten. They are not hard to make either.

The Real Thing: SCONES

2 cups self-rising flour
6 tablespoons butter, near room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup milk

Crumble butter and flour in a large bowl. Add sugar. Then add the milk to make a dough. Stir the raisins into the dough.
Place the dough on a floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes. Roll out or pat the dough into a rectangle. Cut into circles using a standard biscuit cutter.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
Makes 16-20 scones.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My WINNING RECIPE: Easy Buffalo Chicken Quiche

I just got back from the Georgia Egg Commission Cook-Off. I took second place-SWEET! I am tickled pink about it too. I'll provide the link to the Egg Commission's web site later. Here is my very affordable, easy-to-prepare quiche recipe for you try.

Easy Buffalo Chicken Quiche

Cooking Spray
2-5 ounce cans chicken breast, drained
1 small onion, diced
1-3 ounce package cream cheese, cubed in small pieces
1 cup sharp, cheddar cheese, shredded
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup baking mix-like Bisquick
1/2 cup hot sauce-like Texas Pete
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a standard pie pan with the cooking spray. Mix the chicken, cubed cream cheese, onion and shredded cheddar in the pie pan. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, baking mix, hot sauce and salt for about one minute with a hand-mixer or until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the pie pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

Taste of Home has published this recipe I submitted in three of their cookbooks. The latest one is Contest Winning Recipes 2011. It's on page 114. I ate at Chicago's restaurant in Marietta and recreated their Pecan Chicken at home using simple ingredients. I don't pay $14.95 a plate any more.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

3 egg whites
1-4.2 ounce package seasoned coating mix (Oven Fry brand is recommended)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
4 to 6 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Beat the egg whites in a shallow bowl. In another bowl or plate, mix the coating mix, pecans and five-spice powder. Dip the chicken in the egg whites, then roll it in the coating mixture.

Place the chicken breasts on a large baking pan with an edge. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken Oriental Slaw Salad

I made this recipe last week. I almost forgot how delicious and easy it is. This is an "oldie but goodie"-probably 25+ years old. It uses a bag of the prepared cole slaw, crunchy chicken ramen noodles and some cooked chicken. VERY budget-friendly! You can omit the chicken for a great cole slaw, side dish too.

Chicken Oriental Slaw Salad

2-3 ounce packages chicken ramen noodles
1-16 ounce package cole slaw mix
one bunch of green onions, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
8 ounces cooked, diced chicken breast (or rotisserie)

2 flavor packets from the ramen noodle package
2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
pepper to taste

Crumble the ramen noodles before you open the package. Remove the flavor packets from the ramen package and set aside. Mix the ramen noodles, cabbage, green onion, toasted almonds and sesame seeds in a LARGE bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients and toss lightly with the cabbage mixture. Makes 4-6 servings.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monkey Bread Muffins (using canned dough)

I got the 2011 Pillsbury calendar because it was free. They had a recipe for making a dozen pull-apart muffins on March. I tweaked the recipe to use just one can of Pillsbury Grands. I love that old, monkey bread recipe, but this is much more practical and budget-friendly! Get ready to INHALE these things...

Monkey Bread Muffins

1-10.2 ounce can Pillsbury Grands
4 tablespoons of butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spray a 6 muffin tin with oil. In a small bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar together.
Put 1/6 of the butter/brown sugar mixture in each muffin tin.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a one gallon zip-lock bag. Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces. Shake the biscuit pieces in the bag to coat them. Place 5 pieces of coated biscuit in each tin.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 min. Allow to cool for a minute. Invert the muffin tin to get all the gooey goodness out of the pan, and serve the muffins upside down.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Better Than Olive Garden's Soup

I got this recipe from a Quick Cooking magazine a l-o-n-g time ago. It is really called Italian Peasant Soup. I am making it for dinner tonight, since I have some Italian sausage leftovers to use up. I am substituting a little orzo I already have on hand for one of the cans of white beans too-it's a flexible recipe.  I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine has!

Better Than Olive Garden's Soup

1 pound Italian sausage, cut in 1" pieces
2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves garlic (or equivalent), minced
1 pound chicken breasts, cut in 1" cubes
2 cans white kidney beans, drained
3 cans chicken broth
2-14ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package frozen, chopped spinach (defrost and squeeze dry)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano

In a large pot, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink and drain grease. Add onions and garlic and cook til tender. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add all the remaining ingredients to the large pot. Stir together. Simmer for 20 minutes on stove top over medium heat. You can also cook the soup in a slow cooker all day.

Makes 8 servings

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cornbread and Chorizo Poblano Boats

I invented this recipe for the National Cornbread Cookoff. I think it's one of the best things I've ever come up with. If you like chili rellenos, it's similar to that, but it's not fried. Poblanos are not an overly hot pepper either. I prefer the Banderita brand of Mexican Chorizo that you can find at WalMart in the Latino section.

Cornbread and Chorizo Poblano Boats

1-7.5 ounce box Martha White Yellow Cornbread Muffin Mix
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blen cheese, divided
3 large, fresh poblano peppers
12 ounces Mexican Chorizo
1 small onion, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Crumble the chorizo in a large skillet. Add the diced onion. Cook over medium heat until the meat is thouroughly cooked. Drain the grease and set the sausage/onion mixture aside.

Cut the poblanos in half horizontally. Trim the stem to one inch and remove the core and seeds. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cornbread mix, 1/2 of the Mexican Cheese blend, milk and mayonnaise. Stir in the chorizo/onion mixture until well-combined.

Put 1/6th of the cornbread/chorizo mixture into each halved poblano pepper. Place the filled poblanos on a baking sheet or metal skillet(s). Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet/skillet(s) from the oven. Top the poblano peppers with the remaining Mexican shredded cheese. Cook for the final 4-6 minutes.

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easy Beer Bread for St Patrick's Day

You don't need a bread machine for this simple recipe. I'm thinking about adding some green food coloring to swirl around in the bread dough for St. Paddy's. Have a fun Saint Patrick's Day!!!

Easy Beer Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 ounces beer
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make sure the oven rack is in the lower-middle position. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the beer and stir til just combined.  Turn dough onto floured cutting board. Knead into a ball. Place the bread dough ball on a baking sheet and cut a large X into the dough. Brush the loaf with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown-about 45 minutes. Serves 8.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My National Cooking Contest WINNER: Slow Coooker Short Ribs

This simple recipe won a national cooking contest sponsored by Dei Fratelli. They have a really good tomato product line. I can find it at Publix here in Atlanta. The Dei Fratelli pizza sauce is far superior to that stuff in a jar, and it's only $1.39 a can.

Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu

  • 2 14.5oz Cans Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15oz Dei Fratelli Pizza Sauce
  • 2 lbs Beef short ribs
  • 1/2 Cup Red wine
  • 2 Onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Combine all the ingredients in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Remove the short rib bones prior to serving. Serve over your favorite pasta or cooked slices of polenta. Serves 4.

If you want to see the ten winning recipes, here is the link:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kittencal's Greek Lemon Chicken

I think this is my new, favorite, chicken recipe. The originator of the recipe, Kittencal, is actually Greek. I wasn't sure how the lemon and the potatoes would taste together, but they're delicious. You can find more of Kittencal's recipes on http://www.food.com/

Kittencal's Greek Lemon Chicken

1 whole chicken, remove backbone
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 lemons, juiced and zested
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 large bulb of garlic, peeled
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced green olives
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan with oil. Place butterflied chicken breast-down in the pan and add potatoes. Season chicken and potatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle garlic and olives around potatoes. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a medium bowl and drizzle over potatoes and chicken. Sprinkle oregano on top. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the broth in the corners of the pan. Roast uncovered for 50 minutes. Flip the chicken. Baste the chicken with the pan juices. Add the remaining chicken broth in the corners of the pan. Cook 30-40 minutes more. Serve with the pan juices.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Have you tried Broccoli Slaw yet?

Well, Spring is getting closer, and I need to get a girlish figure. I really like this Broccoli Slaw for a change of pace. It's been a hit with everyone I've made it for. Check it out.....

Broccoli Slaw

1-12 ounce bag Broccoli Slaw (broccoli, carrots & red cabbage mix)
3/4 cup light or no fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup light or no fat sour cream
1/8 cup sugar or equivalent sugar substitute
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt mix
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and apple cider vinegar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the mayo, sour cream, and all the spices. Stir until well combined. Add the bag of Broccoli Slaw and mix well. Serves 4. (HINT: This makes a nice dressing for regular cabbage slaw too.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

AB's Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

This mac and cheese is based on a recipe by Alton Brown on Food Network. It's the only mac and cheese I make any more. If you like a crusty top on your mac and cheese, just put the completed stove top mac and cheese in a casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. It just doesn't get much easier or tastier than this!

AB's Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 half pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
5 oz can of evaporated milk (one small can)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-8 oz package shredded, sharp cheddar cheese

Boil and drain the macaroni noodles according to package directions. In a medium-large sauce pan, add the butter to the hot pasta to melt. Toss to coat. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, evap milk, hot sauce, dry mustard and the S&P. Stir the milk/egg mixture into the pasta, then add the cheese. Over low heat, continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SUPER BOWL Spicy Garlic Shrimp

I make this recipe as an appetizer or a meal. When I make it as a meal, I save the shrimp shells, simmer them in a 1 and  3/4 cup of water for 5 minutes, and strain. During the final minute of cooking, I use the stock in the recipe with a little butter and serve it over pasta. If you've been at a party at my house, I've probably served this wonderful recipe. This is based on an old Rachel Ray recipe.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound shrimp, raw with shells on
2 teaspoons Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick (don't substitute)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan, then the spices: Montreal Steak Seasoning, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Add the shrimp to the pan, and cook for three minutes, stirring regularly. Add the lemon juice, zest, and the fresh parsley. Cook for one minute longer until shrimp are just pink. Place shrimp on a serving platter, and watch them disappear.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lo-cal Tilapia: Only 5 WW points

This is one of my favorite recipes for tilapia. It is based on an old Weight Watchers recipe. It includes capers (please don't omit), and even the big "box stores" carry them at a reasonable price now. I think it tastes like a restaurant-quality meal.

Lo-cal Tilapia

1-12 ounce bag frozen tilapia fillets, thawed
3 tablespoons flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons parsley
1 and 1/2 tablespoons capers

Lightly coat the fish in flour and shake off excess. In a hot skillet, heat the oil and lightly brown the fish 1-2 minutes per side over a medium heat. Remove fish from pan and set aside.
In a large skillet, mix chicken broth, lemon juice, parsley and capers. Boil 2 minutes. Add the browned fish to the sauce and cook together for one minute.

Serves 4

Monday, January 17, 2011

Perfect Winter Soup: Baked Potato Soup

What did we crave during Deep Freeze 2011? This homemade baked potato soup! I just microwave 3-4 potatoes, let them cool, peel them and dice. That's the most difficult part of the recipe. This recipe originally came from a Quick Cooking magazine (no longer published).

Baked Potato Soup

1/2 to 1 pound bacon, cooked and cut in 1 and 1/2 inch pieces (Reserve 2 Tblsp drippings)
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups of chicken broth
3 large potatoes, baked, peeled and diced
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook bacon and reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Set cooked bacon aside. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the drippings until soft. Stir in the flour, salt, basil and pepper. Mix well and continue to cook for a couple minutes. Slowly add the broth. Bring to boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add diced potatoes, cream and hot sauce and simmer until cream is heated. Garnish with bacon and shredded cheese. Serves 4. A+ DELICIOUS

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Game Day Dip: Marinated Black-eye Pea Salad

If you eat black-eye peas in the New Year, it's supposed to be good luck. This recipe can be used as a side salad or, my favorite, as a dip with Scoops. It originally came from a book of favorite Presidential recipes. This was created by Lyndon Johnson's down-home, White House chef.

Marinated Black-eye Pea Salad

4 cups black-eye peas, cooked and drained (fresh, frozen, canned or dried)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup each red pepper, red onion, and green pepper (1 1/2 cup total)
Salt and pepper

Mix the black-eye peas with all the other ingredients. Cover and chill for 8 hours. Makes one and one half quarts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sin & Repent: Healthy Zucchini Recipe

Well, looks like it's time to repent after the holidays and cook something healthy for a change. I created this recipe recently, and it only takes three ingredients. I prefer mine on the grill over medium heat, but you can bake it in the oven or put it on a grill pan too. I strongly recommend you look for the Badia Complete Seasoning-Original (Sazon Completa) in the Hispanic section your grocery store. The main ingredient in the Badia Complete Seasoning is dehydrated vegetables. The Badia website is http://www.badiaspices.com/    Here's to a healthy, happy New Year!

Grilled Badia Zucchini

3 large zucchinis
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Badia Complete Seasoning (Original)

Preheat the grill, grill pan or oven at 350 degrees. Trim the ends off the zucchini. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slabs (not circles). Place the zucchini slices in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the zucchini and toss to coat them all. Place the zucchini on the grill and sprinkle liberally with the Complete Seasoning. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip the zucchini to cook on the remaining side. Sprinkle with Complete Seasoning again. Cook for 5-7 minutes longer.