WELCOME!

Browse the over 1,000 recipes for the beginner to the experienced cook... with lots of photos and all with easy to follow instructions, helpful hints and tips...plus loads of information..... enjoy!







Never Miss a Post... Subscribe Via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Or Subscribe to Our Feeds Via a Reader

Recipe: Mexican Layered Dip


I love Mexican Layered Dip… everything in it… I could sit and eat the whole thing… I don’t.. thank goodness… but I could.

All you really need to do is layer the ingredients and … voila! … it’s done.

TIPS

There are two schools of thought on its assembly…. You can use a glass dish that shows the pretty layers….. and the only way you really see the layers is if you make it deep… which makes dipping chips difficult. I prefer this method… I just put a spoon in it so my guests can scoop out a serving on their plate… this way the spoon can “catch” a little bit of each layer.

The other method is to use a shallow pan that’s longer and layer it in that… so you would have shallower layers… I honestly don’t think the presentation is as nice… and I’d rather not have people digging through a dip to get what they want with a chip.

For the guacamole you can use my recipe that I previously posted.

For the salsa.. I always use fresh salsa… never the jarred stuff… but that’s just my personal preference. Use whatever your favorite salsa is.

Just a quick point… you have to be sure to drain the fresh salsa.. otherwise your dip will get runny… I use a slotted spoon when putting it on the dip.







PRINT RECIPE

Recipe: Mexican Layered Dip

All you need:

1 can refried beans
Guacamole
Chopped green onion
Sour cream
Salsa
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced olives

All you need to do:

In a clear glass bowl put the refried beans in the bottom.

Take a paper towel and wipe around the glass to get off any refried beans that may have smeared aboved its layer.

Layer the guacamole and again, wipe the sides.

Sprinkle the green onion.

Layer the sour cream and wipe the sides.

Layer the salsa using a slotted spoon to drain off any excess liquid.

Sprinkle the top of the salsa with the cheese.

Sprinkle with sliced olives.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Read more...

Recipe: Mexican Salad


This recipe for a Mexican Salad hardly qualifies as a recipe…. but I wanted to include it… our local Mexican restaurant serves this with main entrees … and we like it so much that we added it to our meals as well.

For the Guacamole… you can use my recipe that I previously posted.

Try adding it to your next Mexican meal.







PRINT RECIPE

Mexican Salad Recipe

All you need:

Shredded lettuce
Sour Cream
Guacamole
Chopped plum tomatoes (optional)

All you need to do:

Pile a handful of shredded lettuce on a plate.

Add a dollop of sour cream and a dollop of guacamole.

Sprinkle with chopped tomato.

Read more...

Cinco de Mayo Menu Ideas – Part I


Commentary

Whew! This week coming up is a busy one! The 135th annual Kentucky Derby is Saturday… and Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo. While Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful event… with everything happening in Mexico this year… it’s doubtful there will be many celebrations there.

I will continue to post menu ideas for a few days… some for family meals…. some for adults… and there is no reason why some of the “party foods” can’t be included in your menu.

Appetizers go well with a soup and a dessert… so don’t discount them if you’re not having a party.

Feel free to browse our “Mexican” Label for complete listing of the many recipes you might like to try. You can also go to our recipe index for a listing of all the recipes…

As always…. Enjoy!

To get you started thinking… here are some examples of our many recipes we already have in our archives..

Breakfast

Breakfast Burritos

Appetizers

Buffalo Style Beef Empanadas
Mini Buffalo Style Chicken Empanadas
Mexican Layered Dip with Tortilla Chips

Soups

Black Bean & Bacon Soup
Tortilla Soup
Salsa Corn Soup

Main Events

Smoked Turkey Quesadillas
Beef and Bean Burrito Casserole
Jalapena Burgers
Mexican Mac N Cheese
Fiesta Beef Enchiladas
Easy Taco Pie

Side Dishes

Corn and Green Chili Rice
Guacamole
Mexican Salad

Dessert

Flan
Margarita Ole Bars

Beverages
Classic Margarita
Cuervo Frozen Margarita
Non-Frozen and Frozen Raspberry Margarita
Non-Frozen and Frozen Peach Margarita
Non-Alcoholic Margarita Punch
Non-Alcoholic Strawberry Margarita

Read more...

The Early Times Mint Julep – The Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby

Commentary

No Kentucky Derby menu could be complete without the Mint Julep... but not just any Mint Julep... The Early Times Mint Julep.

This Mint Julep is not a traditional one… a traditional Mint Julep is made with four ingredients, mint, bourbon, sugar and water…. this recipe uses a Kentucky whiskey instead of bourbon.

The official mint julep of the Kentucky Derby is made with Early Times, which is a Kentucky whiskey, not bourbon, like the traditional recipe requires.

The Early Times Mint Julep has been the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby since 1938.

You can purchase a pre-made Early Times Mint Julep at your favorite retailer…or make it yourself… personally… I would go with the pre-made one… these people have it down to perfection.

But if you must make it yourself.. the Early Times website has a recipe just for you.

Read more...

Kentucky Derby Day Menu Ideas

Commentary

As promised, I have a list of foods that would be excellent for menu items for a Kentucky Derby Party. It’s always a fun day to watch the race and see all the beautiful horses…not to mention the fancy hats women wear… besides.. it’s a great excuse to get together with some friends for some good times and great food.

For Starters


Crab Stuffed Mushrooms are great with anything and these will disappear before you know it.








Benedictine Cucumber Tea Sandwiches are a tradition.. and so easy to make…





Deviled Eggs are terrific with Tea Sandwiches... and best of all this is one recipe you can make ahead...




The Main Event




Ham as the main meat is perfect for this kind of event… and it requires little work. Baked Ham with Rum and Coke Glaze or Jack Daniel's Glazed Ham are perfect for this.







Southern Corn Pudding is a great go-together with ham. A truly delicious accompaniment.







Scalloped Potatoes is another terrific side dish to go with ham.







Asparagus with a Classic Hollandaise Sauce adds a great color to the buffet and the flavor is wonderful. Just trim the hard ends off a bunch of asparagus and rinse them. Set them in a microwaveable dish.. and about 2 tablespoons water and cover with waxed paper…. A quick nuke on high for about 7 minutes or until tender…and voila! …. they’re done… drain off the liquid and drizzle Hollandaise Sauce over them…

The Finale



Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart is always a great ending to a fabulous meal… serve it with fresh whipped Chantilly Cream….




Beverages

Mint Juleps

Fresh Lemonade

Iced Sweet Tea

All these foods are truly delicious and not difficult to make… and best of all they can all be prepped ahead… make as much as you can completely ahead and the rest will be a snap.

Have a wonderful Kentucky Derby Day!

Read more...

Recipe: Benedictine Cucumber Tea Sandwiches


This recipe for Benedictine Cucumber Tea Sandwiches is a very old one and popular in Kentucky. The recipe for this cream cheese and cucumber spread is basically “common knowledge”, if you live in the south or if you have heard of them…

To those of us, Northerners… well… let’s just say… I was completely unaware. My son, oddly enough, knew all about them and gave me a quick rundown on what they were, the history of them and how to make them before I could even tell him I did the research on them….. kids… go figure… who would have known…

I honestly didn’t think I would like them… but you know me.. I’ll try most things … and try I did… they were surprisingly tasty… a definite do-over.

As for the history, apparently, a caterer named Miss Jennie Benedict from Louisville, Kentucky created these wonderful tea sandwiches around the turn of the century. It’s a tradition in Kentucky to serve them at gatherings.

I will tell you… my picture came out a good deal lighter than they really were… but I also suspect I didn’t add enough green food coloring for fear of making them look like the color of shamrocks. They were tasty though and devoured moments after the picture was taken.

This can be used as a dip or a spread for Tea Sandwiches (with the crust cut-off, of course).

Enjoy!

PRINT RECIPE

Benedictine Cucumber Tea Sandwich Recipe

All you need:

1 large cucumber
8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, softened (*you may need about 2 tablespoons more.. see note below)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Dash of green food coloring

All you need to do:



Peel and grate the cucumber. I used my food processor.

Take out the cucumber and place in a mesh sieve and gently press out the water.

Wipe out the excess water out of the processor.

Cut-up the cream cheese in chunks and put in the processor.

Add the salt, onion, cucumber, mayonnaise and food coloring… start a drop at a time.

Using the metal blade, process cream cheese mixture until smooth and well incorportated.

*Mine was a little thin… you can add a little more cream cheese to get a spreadable consistency.

Read more...

Recipe: Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart


A Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart is a wonderfully decadent dessert.. a perfect ending to a great meal. All the flavors mingle so well… the bourbon, the butter, the chocolate and of course, the pecans.

I made a Geechee Pecan Pie recently which called for bourbon … I used an “airplane bottle” size of Maker’s Mark… that recipe also called for 2 tablespoons of bourbon… I had enough left for this recipe and a little left in the bottle. If you don’t normally drink bourbon or have it in your house.. I would recommend looking for a small bottle like this.

A couple of quick notes...

The bourbon is not as evident as it was with the Geechee pecan pie... it can be left out of this recipe without a tremendous affect on the pie for those of you that would rather leave it out.

The chocolate flavor is quite heavy in this... if you would prefer not as heavy a chocolate flavor, just reduce the chocolate chips to 1/2 a cup.

This is surprisingly simple to make…

You can use any pie shell of your choosing.

Enjoy!

PRINT RECIPE

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Tart Recipe

All you need:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
3 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely broken pecans
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 pie crust for a 9 –inch tart pan (unbaked)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare the tart pan with the crust.

In a large bowl (I used my mixer), beat the eggs.

Add the sugar to the eggs and beat until light in color.

Add the butter and beat the mixture.

Add the corn syrup, salt and bourbon, beating until well mixed.

Add the chocolate chips and pecans to the mixture, mixing well.

Pour into the prepared tart pan.

Bake for 55 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Read more...

Recipe: Chantilly Cream


This recipe for Chantilly Cream is very easy to make and so delicious… as I’ve mentioned before, this is the only way I was taught to make whipped cream….

Chantilly Cream is a terrific topping for so many desserts…

I hope you try this!







PRINT RECIPE

Chantilly Cream Recipe

All you need:

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla (to taste)* I use 1 teaspoon

All you need to do:

Whip all ingredients until the cream forms soft peaks.

Read more...

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes


This post for my recipe for scalloped potatoes has been planned for weeks… actually about two months. I originally planned on including it in my Easter menu suggestions… but decided to wait for Derby Day.

Recently, in anticipation of coming up with menu items for Kentucky Derby Day… I‘ve tried numerous scalloped potato recipes. All of them didn’t pass the “Goldilocks Test”… they were either bland.. or the sauce wasn’t really a sauce .. it ended up into a cottage cheesy mess… some were just way to rich…and so it went…..

I honestly don’t know why I did that. I have a recipe that I love… and have made for years. In fact, it was one of those recipes “by eye”…(don’t you love those?... ). I just know how many potatoes I need for each size baking dish I own… and just how much sauce to make.

So much like the recipe I recently posted for macaroni and cheese… I made my scalloped potatoes and measured everything I did…. so the recipe below is the real deal.

General Directions

In a nutshell… you need thinly sliced potatoes, thinly sliced onions, fresh chopped parsley and snipped chives… you start off making a white sauce and add Gruyere or Swiss cheese to it… season it with a little thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne (cayenne is optional)… layer it in a baking dish… in the oven it goes… and in Emeril’s words.. BAM!... it’s done.

Low Fat Ingredient Suggestions

Now I made mine with margarine not butter… and I made my white sauce with skim milk… you can use butter and whole milk if you prefer… but you do shave a lot of fat and calories off by using margarine and skim milk… and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

Quick Notes

You may have a little sauce leftover... I wouldn't over-fill the casserole with sauce...otherwise it will run all over... if you do decide to use it all... use a bigger baking dish.

Servings and Baking Dish Sizes

The recipe below is for 4 servings… you can use two medium size au gratin dishes like I did.. or use one bigger dish… a 2 qt should be plenty big enough… I would recommend you use a rectangular dish as opposed to a round one… everything bakes better because the potatoes aren’t as deep… and the top is better… more surface area.

I hope you enjoy my recipe!



Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

All you need:

4 medium potatoes (Russet work well), sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced thin
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons margarine or butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated Gruyere or shredded Swiss cheese
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh chives, snipped
Cayenne (optional)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat.

Add the flour and mix to form a paste.

Add about ½ the milk into the saucepan, whisking vigourously to remove any lumps.

When the sauce is smooth, add the remainder of the milk and continue to whisk.

When sauce begins to thicken, add the cheese.

Stir until sauce is to desired thickness. Remove from heat.

Spray your baking dish with cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred).



Layer 1 layer of potatoes in the dish.

Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.






Sprinkle with parsley.






Layer the onions over the potatoes.

Snip some chives over the potatoes.






Layer spoonfuls of the sauce over the potatoes. DO NOT completely cover the potatoes with sauce (see picture)… the sauce will expand during baking.




Layer another layer of potatoes on top of the sauce.

Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Sprinkle with parsley.

Cover with sauce (a thin layer is sufficient).

Sprinkle with cayenne pepper (optional).

Snip some chives over the potatoes.



Place baking dish on a cookie sheet (I cover the cookie sheet with foil for easy clean-up if the casserole runs over).






Cover the whole top with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and top begins to brown.

Serves 4.

Read more...

Recipe: Southern Corn Pudding



This recipe for Southern Corn Pudding is a tradition in the south and goes well with many foods, ham in particular. There are many recipes for Corn Pudding … all fairly similar… proportions change slightly with different recipes. I’ve made this numerous times adjusting the butter or sour cream or sugar amounts… the recipe below is the result of all the tweaking.

I posted a recipe for Corn Casserole last fall which is similar, but has cheese as an ingredient…. both casseroles are very good. I would make the Corn Casserole if my other foods didn’t contain any cheese… and this one if other food items on my menu had cheese in them.

The recipe is extremely easy and quick to put together… a great side dish.

I hope you enjoy it!








Southern Corn Pudding Recipe

All you need:

1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup sour cream
1 package (8 ½ ounces) corn bread mix
1 can (15 ¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14 ¾ ounces) cream-style corn

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly spray a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking spray (Butter Flavor preferred).

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light in color.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.

Add the sour cream. Beat well.

Alternately add the milk and the corn bread mix. Mix well.

Add the 2 cans of corn and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until the pudding is set and the top is lightly browned.


 

Read more...

A Look Ahead….

Commentary

This will be a busy week for us here at Cooking Tip of the Day…. We have Kentucky Derby Day on May 2nd… next Saturday … and closely followed by Cinco de Mayo on the 5th…. both are certainly cause for celebration… and celebrate we will!

Theme parties are so much fun… it helps get everyone in the spirit …. and we will help!

To kick the week off….today’s recipe … Southern Corn Pudding … is a possibility for a place on the menu for a Kentucky Derby Party…. and more possibilities to come… so come back often … and see what we have to offer for menu ideas.

There will be plenty of Mexican recipes too! … What better way to celebrate Mexican Independence Day than with festive foods and friends to help you enjoy them.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee and pull up a chair and visit our kitchen…

Read more...

Romantic Dessert for Two


Commentary

I’ve posted romantic dinners for two… and romantic breakfasts for two… now I have a romantic dessert for two… Strawberries and Chantilly Cream Crepes … one chocolate covered strawberry… Champagne or an American sparkling wine would go well with this… a truly romantic ending to a dinner and beginning to an evening.

What’s especially nice about this… it can all be prepped ahead and just a few minutes to assemble it… perfect for that special evening.

Read more...

Recipe: Strawberries and Chantilly Cream Crepes


This recipe for Fresh Strawberries and Chantilly Cream Crepes is so good and just so perfect for that evening alone… kids are away or asleep… candles lit… maybe a fire in the fireplace… a light dessert that is prepared ahead and assembled in minutes just before serving. Garnish with a chocolate covered strawberry… and the presentation is stellar.

Actually this also makes for a great dessert for guest also sine you can prepare the parts ahead and quickly assemble the crepes just before serving.

You may ask just what is Chantilly Cream?… it’s freshly made whipped cream made from heavy cream with sugar and vanilla in it. It’s only within the last few years did I even realize this was called Chantilly Cream… this was the way I was taught to make whipped cream…

When I was a child we visited relatives in Germany… that summer, in Germany, was a bumper crop of the most wonderful large strawberries… wherever we went they had large bowls of these strawberries… and along side of it was a bowl of freshly made whipped cream… we called it schlag… oh was it good… something I will never forget… I think that summer started my love affair with strawberries… and of course.. this wonderful whipped cream.

For this recipe… see my Crepe Recipe and Crepe Making Tips… make sure you add the vanilla to the crepes… I cut the recipe in half… the recipe divides easily in half.

Since these crepes do not have to be hot… you can make them in advance layering them on a plate with wax paper between them… Before serving, I would microwave them for a minute or so on high… just to get them warm.

You can make the whipped cream ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours… it keeps longer but after an hour or two it starts to get runny.

For the chocolate covered strawberry in the picture, in a small bowl, I melted in the microwave on high for 1 minute a square of dipping chocolate. Stir after a minute… and microwave until melted… after a minute, do it in 15 second increments… you don’t want to burn the chocolate. Just dip a clean strawberry in the chocolate and place on a piece of waxed paper and place in the fridge to set. You can find dipping chocolate in the supermarket usually next to all the baking chocolates.

Enjoy!



Strawberries and Chantilly Cream Crepes

All you need:

Crepes
1 pint of fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon of sugar (optional, use only if strawberries are not sweet enough)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ -1 teaspoon vanilla (to taste)
Powdered sugar for garnish

All you need to do:

Make the crepes according to the crepe recipe.

Beat the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and *vanilla to soft peaks. Do not whip until stiff. *Start with ½ teaspoon and whip the cream… taste it just before it’s done whipping.. add the other teaspoon of vanilla if you want or leave out. I use 1 teaspoon of vanilla… a lot of recipes only use a half… it’s just a personal preference.

Taste the strawberries, if they aren't sweet enough, sprinkle them with 1 tablespoon sugar and let them set for at least 15 minutes.

To assemble… put strawberries up the middle of the crepe… cover the strawberries with the Chantilly Cream. Pull sides up of the crepe to cover the cream.

Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar JUST BEFORE serving. The sugar will be absorbed into the crepe pretty quickly.

Serve 1-2 crepes per person.

Read more...

Recipe: Quick and Easy Salami and Provolone Pasta Salad


This recipe for Pasta Salad is so easy and quick… and best of all… it’s always a hit wherever I have taken it… church suppers… school events… parties… food days at work… it goes so well with so many foods… it’s perfect with sandwiches… and hot foods too… I had it the other night with an Italian Sausage Stuffed Portobello… I posted that recipe a while back…

As I mentioned the other day, I’m cooking for one this week and most of next week… so I was looking for recipes that I could either cut back… or have a great leftover for the next night. The Stuffed Portobello works well because it’s easy just to make one… and Pasta Salad is easy to make for one too.

I keep some of my pasta in jars in my kitchen… rotini is in one of them… so all I had to do was boil water and throw a few handfuls into the water… I have a pretty small hand.. but it was three handfuls to be exact.

When I got the Genoa Salami and Provolone … I simply asked the deli clerk for 1 slice of each (each was about ¼ inch thick). I used only one tomato, cut-up and I had a small can of sliced olives… I took what I wanted and put the rest in a container in the fridge… I will use the rest for something else.

I made enough for about two servings maybe a bit more… I like it for dinner… so that’s what I’m having as I type this… there won’t be any left… trust me.

I admit I used Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing – Free… I like the flavor and the fact that it’s fat free.

You can use either Kraft’s dressing or use your own. Just add the dressing just before serving this as the dressing will eventually soak into the macaroni.. the taste is terrific.. but if you like to see the dressing on the macaroni… add it just before serving.

Enjoy!



Salami and Provolone Pasta Salad Recipe

All you need:

1 lb. box rotini macaroni
3 slices deli Genoa Salami sliced ¼ inch thick
3 slices deli Provolone sliced ¼ inch thick
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half OR 4-5 Plum (Roma) tomatoes cut-up
1 small can sliced olives
½ bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (I use fat free)

All you need to do:

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and allow to cool.

Cut the provolone and salami into small cubes.

Mix all the ingredients together and then toss with the dressing.

Makes about 6 servings.

Read more...

Recipe: German Potato Pancakes


This recipe for German potato pancakes is wonderful…. I grew up loving these… my Mother would make them when we had left over mashed potatoes…. They’re practically a staple in a German household. I especially love them with Weiner Schnitzel, (but that will be a different post) red cabbage and apple sauce… my favorite meal growing up.

These are not to be confused with Latkes… I published a recipe for those a while back… those pancakes use shredded potatoes… this uses mashed potatoes.

TIPS

They really are easy to make… and I would recommend when you plan your dinners… have mashed potatoes for a meal and plan to make more than you need… and use the leftovers with this recipe…. or just make the mashed potatoes ahead so you have less to do when cooking these… less clean up too… which is always nice.

Serve these with apple sauce…. hmmm… sooo good.

I hope you enjoy these!






PRINT RECIPE

German Potato Pancakes Recipe

All you need:

4 medium sized potatoes, peel and diced
½ cup milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 egg
6 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

All you need to do:

Put the peeled and diced potatoes into a large pot and cover with water.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Drain.

In a small skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.

Add the chopped onions.

Cook until they are translucent… about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Return the potatoes to the pot and mash the them with a potato masher.

Add the onions, milk, flour, parsley, snipped chives, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly.

Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil.

When skillet is hot, drop spoonfuls of the mashed potato mixture into the skillet…about the size of a serving spoon… flatten with the back of the spatula.

Turn when the bottom side is golden brown.

Cook until the other side is golden brown.

Drain on a paper towel.

Makes 4 servings…. About 2-3 pancakes per person.

Read more...

Using Leftovers in New Dishes

Tip of the Day

I once knew a chef who taught me that nothing should ever go to waste. His role model was the “Frugal Gourmet” … remember him? His name was Jeff Smith and he had a very popular cooking show devoted to cooking “frugally”.

Using leftovers in new dishes is something chefs do every day. They make the most of all parts of foods… making stocks from bones and bits of meat… or from vegetables… using left over vegetables in soups… so many ways to use what we have.

Leftover mash potatoes make wonderful German potato pancakes. My grandparents lived during the Depression and through the shortages during the war.. .they learned to make meals out of what they had… using everything they had available. Many of the foods of my childhood are “holdovers” from those lean days… they became family recipes.

Before throwing that bit of leftover away… think about what you could possibly use it in. In fact, when meal planning… think about foods that might be leftover and how you can use them in another meal. We can learn a lot from frugal chefs and older relatives that lived through and thrived in lean times.

Read more...

Recipe: French Onion Soup


This recipe for French onion soup is from my son, Erik’s friend, Hillary. It’s simple to make … it does simmer for a long time… so I started it a skillet… and put everything together in my crock pot and let it simmer for about 5 hours… so quick and easy… and the result was awesome…

Her recipe calls for 8 onions… she didn’t specify the size… my onions were very large… I only used 5. She uses four garlic cloves… mine were extremely potent so I used only two.

The wine does not have to be expensive… as she put it… even cheap wine is okay…. but do not use cooking wine… it’s too acidic and salty.

Hillary never made mention of the bread in the soup… so I did it as I was taught… slicing a day old baguette … spread butter (or margarine) both sides and place in a hot skillet… lightly brown both sides and it’s ready for your soup. The light butter flavor really adds to the soup.

In traditional French onion soup you should use Gruyere … but Swiss will also work…

This is a truly wonderful soup. Thanks Hillary!

Bon Appetit!






PRINT RECIPE

French Onion Soup Recipe

All you need:

8 onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup red wine (Cabernet is fine)
1 tablespoon flour
1 container (26 ounces) beef stock
16 ounces (½ container 32 ounce size) beef broth
Salt to taste
1 baguette
Butter or margarine for the bread
Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded

All you need to do:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter.

Add the onions and cook until the onions are mushy and brownish in color.

Add the garlic when the onions are just translucent... allow to cook until onions are mushy.

Add ¼ cup (half the wine) to the onions and cook until the wine is absorbed into the onions.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions. Mix well.

Add some of the stock and make sure there are no lumps of flour.

In a crockpot, pour the beef broth and the remainder of the stock in.

Add the onion mixture.

Add the rest of the wine.

Turn the crock pot on high and let simmer for 4-5 hours.

If you want to make this on top of the stove…. Simmer on low for 1 ½ - 3 hours.

Slice the baguette into ¼ inch slices.

Spread butter or margarine both sides of the bread and place in a heated skillet.

Cook until lightly brown on both sides.

Fill oven proof bowls 2/3 full with soup…. Add the bread and add more soup. Put a handful of cheese on top.

Place the bowls on a baking pan and put into a 400 degree F pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and slightly browned.

Makes about 6 servings.

Read more...

Recipe: Peachy Yogurt & Granola Crepes


This recipe for peachy yogurt and granola crepes was just one of my inventions I came up with when I was fooling around in the kitchen trying to come up with a new “Springy” filling for a Sunday morning breakfast crepe. I love fruit and yogurt… and I especially like granola with it… adds just the right amount of crunch…. so I decided to start with those ingredients. I kept it simple…

I always have vanilla non-fat yogurt on hand… you can use the regular yogurt or even non-fat light if you want to save on calories.

The peaches can be fresh, canned or frozen… if you use fresh.. then you will need about 2 tablespoons of some kind of juice to add to the granola bits… I would stick to an orange juice or an orange juice mixture juice…

You can add other fruits into this… raspberries go extremely well… as does strawberries…

For my crepe recipe… you can go to my previous Crepe Recipe post. I also previously posted Tips on Crepe Making that you may want to read.

If you decide to make them the morning you use them… you can do a handy little prep ahead… I sometimes prepare the dry ingredients ahead and put it in a Zip Loc bag… saves you time by sifting the flour ahead… also makes that much less clean-up in the morning.

You can make the crepes and the filling ahead… but it really only takes about 45 minutes beginning to end to do these up… and 30 minutes of that time is for letting the batter “rest”. See my Tip of the Day about Making the Crepes Ahead.







Peachy Yogurt & Granola Crepes

All you need:

Crepes
Vanilla non-fat yogurt
Peaches (fresh, frozen or canned), sliced
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars (I used Oats ‘N Honey flavor)
Honey
Orange juice (if you use fresh peaches)
Powdered sugar

All you need to do:

Prepare crepes according to my crepe recipe.

In a mini processor chop 1 package (they contain two bars) granola bars. …or place in a plastic storage bag and crumble with a mallet. 1 package should be enough for 4 crepes.

Place chopped granola bars in a small bowl…

Add 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons juice from the can of peaches to the granola… or if you used frozen… 2 tablespoons of the thawed peach juice…. or if you used fresh peaches… use 2 tablespoons orange juice. Mix with a fork.

Note: Use 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons juice per package of granola bars. If you need more bars… then up the quantities of honey and juice.

Place the crepe on a plate…. Put yogurt down the middle (about 3 tablespoons).
Place about 3 peach slices over the yogurt.

Sprinkle the granola mixture over the peaches.

Fold the sides of the crepe over.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar… and serve immediately.

Note: Make sure you sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving… as the sugar will be absorbed into the crepe… you can always add more… but… best to do it just before serving.

Read more...

Crepes Can Be Made Ahead

Tip of the Day

You can make crepes 1 day ahead….. layer unfilled crepes between sheets of wax paper and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Take them out about ½ hour before you intend to use them…then reheat them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes or about a minute on high in the microwave. Do not try to heat a large stack at once… divide them up into batches of a few at a time.

Most fillings can also be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Read more...

Sunday Breakfast Idea – Peachy Yogurt & Granola Crepes

Since spring is officially here …. apologies to those in Colorado… hopefully you will have spring weather soon too…. I wanted something light for our weekly Sunday Breakfast Idea. Crepes are wonderfully light and easy to make.

You can fill them with a multitude of wonderful things. This week to make the filling, I combined vanilla yogurt with peaches…. and combined a crumbled oat and honey granola bar with a little bit of honey and juice. It is absolutely delicious… sweet enough that kids will like it …. just don’t tell them it’s good for them…

Serve them with a basket of warm mini muffins… and some juice… and you have a wonderful spring breakfast.

Read more...

Recipe: Bacon and Cheddar Potatoes


Mmmmm.... Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Potatoes .... sliced potatoes a creamy cheddar cheese sauce... bits of bacon..... so perfect!

I’m cooking for one for the next couple of weeks… Warren is away on a business trip…so I’ve been thinking of recipes I can cut back on and easily make for one or two (leftovers are always welcome in this house… it means a night I can relax).

I decided to make these potatoes and see how well it cuts back… and it worked extremely well. The recipe as written will serve 2 generous portions or 3 average size servings.

TIPS

You will have a little leftover cheese sauce… but it stores well in the fridge and is delicious over a vegetable… or eggs… or boil a little macaroni and have baked macaroni and cheese for one.

To adjust the recipe for 4 servings… use 3 potatoes, 3 slices of bacon, 1/3 of a cup chopped green onion … keep the sauce ingredients the same… just use all the sauce.






Recipe: Bacon and Cheddar Potatoes

All you need:

2 medium size russet potatoes, peeled and sliced fairly thin
2 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup skim milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne pepper (to sprinkle on the top)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Peel, rinse and slice 2 russet potatoes.

In a medium sauce pan melt the margarine over medium heat.
Add the flour and mix.

Add about ½ the milk and using a whisk, whisk the mixture until all lumps disappear.

Add the remaining milk.

Stir until sauce begins to thicken.

Add the shredded cheddar cheese, stirring until fully incorporated.

Remove from heat.

Note: You will be using only about 2/3 of the sauce… otherwise it will be likely to run over the side during baking.

In a medium size Au Gratin dish ladle a small amount of cheese sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish.

Layer the potatoes in a single layer on the bottom.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over them.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the bacon over the potatoes.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the green onion over the potatoes.

Ladle sauce over the potatoes to cover.

Repeat by layering the potatoes, sprinkling salt, pepper, bacon and green onions.

Ladle sauce enough to cover.

Layer a final layer of potatoes… turning them over as you layer them so the top has some sauce on it.

Sprinkle bacon and green onion.

Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper.

Cover a small baking sheet with foil.

Place the au gratin dish on the baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with foil to cover the potatoes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Remove the top foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly brown and bubbly.

Read more...

Recipe: Chewy Blondies


This recipe for chewy blondies was a labor of love…. because I love white chocolate… and wanted the perfect blondie….. oh I know white chocolate isn’t really chocolate…. Does it really matter?... as long as it tastes good…

I hunted and hunted for the perfect blondie recipe… this hunt took me years to complete… tons of trials… followed recipes to a T…. tweaked them… nothing hit a home run for me…. either the taste was right on but they were cake-like…. not bad… just not perfect… or the taste was not what I was looking for… some were just too sweet… some were not sweet enough….

I decided to fool around with my brownie recipe… I did find out in my trial and error method that unsweetened chocolate melts far different than white chocolate… so out the window went that ratio in the ingredients… but we happily ate the rejects. I finally hit, what I think is the right amount of sweetness and the texture of a chewy brownie…

What I did find in my hunt for a blondie recipe… was that… some people like them cakey and others, like myself, want them moist and chewy…. and the biggest difference was that some people wanted a true vanilla taste and others wanted a more butterscotch flavor…

The recipe below should satisfy you chewy brownie and blondie lovers…. If you prefer a more vanilla taste… use white chocolate chips in them…. if you want a more butterscotch flavor… use butterscotch chips…

TIPS

Lightly flour your chips before adding them into the batter to help them not sink to the bottom.

I personally would recommend you use a quality white chocolate… I used Baker’s white chocolate… next time I think I will make them with Ghirardelli white chocolate… I know it’s more expensive… but I‘ve used their chocolate before and theirs is the absolute best…. the flavor is stronger… with these blondies… I wanted a very strong vanilla flavor…

Lastly… I put the pecans as optional… unless you have an allergy or an aversion to pecans… I would recommend you put them in… they really add to the blondie.








PRINT RECIPE

Recipe: Chewy Blondies

All you need:

6 ounces white chocolate
2 sticks (1 cup butter), cut into 2 tablespoon chunks
1 1/3 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1¼ cups flour
1 cup vanilla chips or butterscotch chips
1 cup coarsely broken pecans (optional but recommended)

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick foil. (I use Reynolds Wrap Foil)

Lightly spray the foil with butter flavored cooking spray.

Place 6 ounces of white chocolate and butter chunks into a medium bowl. If you use bakers white chocolate… it comes in 1 ounce pieces… which is fine to use as is… if you get a bar of white chocolate… then break it into smaller pieces.

Cover the bowl with waxed paper.

Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, or until butter and chocolate have melted. Stir at 1 minute intervals.

Let the chocolate mixture cool for about a ½ hour.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light and frothy, add the salt and the sugar…mix well.

Fold in the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture…. until fully incorporated.

Stir in the vanilla.

Stir in the flour.

In a small bowl, lightly flour the vanilla or butterscotch chips.

Fold into the mixture the chips and the nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Cool completely before lifting them out of the pan.

Store on a plate covered with plastic wrap.

Read more...

Cutting Bar Cookies with a Pizza Cutter

Tip of the Day

A pizza cutter is a handy little tool that can be used for much more than pizza...I use my pizza cutter to cut my bar cookies…. it’s so much easier… and because the “blade” rotates… you can get through an entire length before having to wipe the blade (as with chewy brownies… they tend to gum up the blade of a knife... which makes getting clean cuts difficult).

It’s also easier to cut a straight line and it’s much faster.

Read more...

Recipe: Geechee Pecan Pie


This recipe for pecan pie came from a friend of Warren’s family, Douglas (aka “The Old Man”) Tibbs. The recipe has been in Warren’s family for years…. it isn’t overly sweet… and mine was a bit runny… but the flavor was excellent. Usually pecan pie is loaded with so much sugar you can’t even finish a piece of pie. This was sweet but not sickenly sweet.... Best of all...it's extremely easy… you can use any pie shell recipe you like.

I was curious who or what was a Geechee… so I went researching...different sources have slightly different definitions… but most agree it is a person who lives in the South Carolina and Georgia low country. According to Wikipedia, the term Geechee comes from the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia. The term is most commonly used in Charleston, South Carolina. You can find more interesting facts about the Geechee online at Wikipedia.

TIPS

The recipe lists Bourbon as optional… Warren wanted me to include it and it was good… just be aware there is a distinctive Bourbon flavor. Another request with this recipe was NOT to use Jack Daniels….(you can use Jack Daniels if you want).

So off to the liquor store I went … the gentleman at the store found an “airplane size” bottle of Maker’s Mark Whisky (yes… that’s spelled right… that’s how it is on the label). It more than covered what I needed and I have enough left for another pie…. any excuse to have more pie… is always a good excuse.

I hope you enjoy this different pecan pie.






PRINT RECIPE

Geechee Pecan Pie Recipe

All you need:

1 9" pie crust - unbaked
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup Karo
½ cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
2 cups broken pecans (you can save some for the top to make it pretty)

All you have to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs.

Stir in everything else.

Pour into an unbaked pie shell... if you saved some whole pecans... distribute them on the top of the pie.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 40 minutes.

NOTE: Keep an eye on your pie crust… at this high temperature it will tend to burn… if you see it getting too brown… lay strips of foil over the crust.

Read more...

Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu


This recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu is a classic. Tasty little bundles of ham and cheese wrapped in chicken…. Yummmm

I know this is a long post... but I am giving you several options of ingredients and cooking methods.... so read on.... and find what strikes your fancy.

TIPS

There are numerous variations of Chicken Cordon Bleu… some recipes don’t add breading to the little bundle…. some use Swiss cheese… some use Provolone… some use prosciutto …some use ham…. some fry it in butter and olive oil … some bake it…. it really is up to you…. you choose what you prefer.

I was taught to use very thin boneless chicken cutlets…. Actually I first learned to make Veal Cordon Bleu with veal cutlets…. Veal is so expensive… the recipe just morphed into Chicken Cordon Bleu.

In any case, the meat was pounded thin between two pieces of waxed paper with a kitchen mallet. Then a piece of thin sliced ham and Swiss cheese was put on it and rolled. The bundle was secured with a toothpick and then dredged in seasoned flour, dipped in an egg mixture (beaten egg and milk) and then rolled in unseasoned bread crumbs. A skillet was heated with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in it and the chicken bundles were cooked over medium heat for about 15 minutes a side or until the chicken was fully cooked…( a meat thermometer is the best way to check doneness).

I have had trouble getting thin chicken cutlets where I am in the south… what they consider thin, in my opinion is not… no amount of pounding with a mallet will thin these…. and I’m not about to try and fillet them myself… so I buy the thinnest chicken breast cutlets I can find… and instead of rolling the Cordon Bleu… I fold it over… secure it with a toothpick and proceed with the breading.

You can also buy thick boneless chicken breasts and cut a slit into the side and make a little pocket and stuff the ham and cheese in that way and just secure the open side with a toothpick.

In the picture above, I had to fold mine over, I used thin sliced deli ham and thin sliced Swiss cheese. I breaded mine with Panko bread crumbs (the best for this) and I cooked mine in a skillet with butter and olive oil.

In the instructions below… I will also give you instructions for baking so if you prefer to bake rather than use butter and olive oil….. but be aware… baking will produce a drier breading. You can spray them with olive oil cooking spray to help… but the breading will not be as moist as with pan frying.

You can partially pan fry them and then finish the cooking by placing them in the oven to bake… the advantage to this method is that the breading will have the taste and crust from the pan frying and the ease of cooking with the baking. When they’re in the skillet, make sure your heat is medium… you don’t want breading done and chicken completely raw on the inside.

You can use this method when entertaining … you can prepare them ahead and cover them loosely with foil and finish them up in the oven. I would fry them until golden brown on each side… baking times will vary… and you should check doneness with a meat thermometer… but about 10-15 minutes a side in the oven would be about right.








PRINT RECIPE

Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

All you need:

4 boneless, skinless thin sliced chicken breasts
4 thin sliced ham slices
4 slices of thin sliced Swiss cheese
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups Panko bread crumbs, unseasoned
Toothpicks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (If you are planning to bake rather than pan fry).

Lay the chicken breast on a flat surface.

Lay 1 slice ham and 1 slice Swiss cheese on each, leaving a little border of about 1/8 inch (you may have to cut the ham and cheese… just layer the cut pieces.

If the chicken cutlet is thin enough, roll it up. If not, fold it over.

Secure with a toothpick.

On a plate or in a wide bowl, prepare the seasoned flour.

In a small bowl beat the egg and milk until thoroughly mixed.

Place the Panko crumbs on a plate or in a wide bowl.

Dredge the bundle in seasoned flour, dip in the egg mixture and roll in the bread crumbs.

If baking…. Liberally grease a large baking pan with olive oil. Place the chicken bundles in the pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes a side. If the breading darkens too much… loosely cover with foil.

If pan frying…. Heat a large skillet with the butter and olive oil in it over medium heat. Place the chicken bundles in the pan and cook until chicken is done…about 15 minutes a side.

If breading darkens too much lower the heat and cover the pan… keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn….. turning occasionally…..or you can place them in a baking pan and cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees until done. Do not grease the pan… the chicken bundles will have enough grease from the pan frying.

Test for doneness with a meat thermometer.

Read more...

Cordon Bleu for a Crowd

Cooking Tip of the Day

Cordon Bleu… whether you chose chicken or whether you spring for the veal…. Cordon Bleu can be a fantastic possibility for a main dish at a celebration party. The presentation can be sensational and best of all it can be prepared ahead.

Another major perk to choosing Cordon Bleu as a main dish is that you can do a couple of simple vegetables (fresh asparagus, green beans or carrots to name a few) and a potato dish or a rice (pilaf is great for this) …. maybe include a light wine sauce on the side …and you’re good to go… very simple and elegant.

You can prep them and partially cook them in a skillet (see my Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe) and cover them loosely with foil and finish them up in the oven.

I would fry then until golden brown on each side… then bake them to finish them.

Baking times will vary… and you should check doneness with a meat thermometer.

I would definitely do a couple of “dry runs” by cooking them with this method for a family meal. The dish is delicious and not expensive to make…. so the dry runs should be enjoyable. Make note of the thickness of the chicken breasts you purchase for the dry runs…. and the heat setting on your stove… so you will be able to duplicate what you did during the dry run.

You can place an order with the butcher at your supermarket... make sure you specify exactly what you want.... the size and thickness... If you are purchasing a considerable amount... ask if you could possibly get a discount... I did... and the manager gave me a percentage off. Make sure to make the arrangements well in advance... talk to the butcher and ask how much notice they would prefer.

Each stove and oven is slightly different, so unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact setting and time for cooking… only approximates that worked for me, that’s why I would recommend you do a dry run and purchase an instant read thermometer, if you don’t already have one.

Read more...

Instant Mini Grilling Thermometers


Tip of the Day

I while ago I did a post on the various types of thermometers available… one I didn’t post about is an instant grilling meat thermometer. They aren’t used solely for grilling… they can be used in an oven as well… and they can remain in the food or they can be used to poke the meat and get an instant read.

I watched a short video clip that Emeril used when making a Chicken Cordon Bleu in connection with Whole Foods. He used an instant thermometer… one very much like the picture on this tip and it reminded me that I wanted to mention this as a tip.

I took the picture from the Williams Sonoma website. They have a set that is a Williams Sonoma exclusive by Taylor. A set of two poultry thermometers and two beef thermometers for $20.00 (US) … price as of today. The beef thermometers indicate rare, medium, and well-done temperatures, and the two for poultry indicate the ideal temperatures for breast and thigh meat temperatures.

I don’t get anything for “hawking” their stuff… I just wanted to list it since I did use their picture as an illustration of the type of thermometer I’m talking about… and the price … to give you an idea of how much they are. The price is definitely in the range of others like it.

These types of thermometers are an excellent tool for your kitchen and takes the guess work out of deciding if something is done or not… very much worth the investment.

Read more...

Tips for Making Coffee for a Crowd


Tip of the Day

The secrets to making great coffee for a crowd are accurate measuring, brewing time, a clean pot and, of course, the coffee itself.

Whether you’re renting, borrowing or you own the coffee maker… it is important to start out clean as a whistle….

Simple Operating Tips

Use cold water and fill the coffee maker to the proper level… remember accurate measuring is as important with water as it is with the coffee itself.

Make sure you use the proper outlet… if renting be sure to ask any questions you may have before you leave the rental store. Do not feel intimidated … different makers have different instructions… so it’s always wise to ask…. remember this is your party and you want it perfect… that’s all that matters.

Ask the rental store for any operating manual they may have or instructions regarding the use of the coffee maker.

If borrowing it from a friend, neighbor or relative… be sure to ask them for the information.

Ask the owner about cleaning instructions (rental store or person you borrowed the coffee maker from).

Always remove the coffee grinds when the coffee is finished brewing.

Cleaning Tips

Always rinse the coffee maker before returning to the party rental store.

Never immerse the coffee maker in water.

Brewing Time

This is a handy little piece of information to help you plan your time accordingly:

30-60 cups takes 60 minutes
90-100 cups takes 90 minutes

I was surprised myself at how long a pot for 100 cups can take… certainly you would need to start it well in advance of when you need to serve it.

Coffee Equivalents

1 pound of coffee is equal to 4.75 cups of ground coffee.

Always measure accurately when measuring your coffee… it can make a big difference.

30 cups = 2 cups of coffee
55-60 cups = 3.5 cups
90 cups = 6 cups

One final note…. The quality of your coffee matters too…. get a good quality coffee… don’t skimp.. assuming you’re making coffee for 100… you would use about 2-3 pounds (see the coffee buying guide post)… and assuming the difference in price is 3 dollars a pound between great coffee and passable coffee… do you really want to do that for a total savings of $6 or $9?…

Read more...
.

Foodie Blogroll

  © Blogger template ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP