What Exactly is Free Range?

Cooking Tip of the Day

Know what you are paying for....

You hear the term, Free Range, and many people touting their virtues…. I have yet to find a person really knowledgeable on the subject. I have been told many things, from free range raised meat, poultry and eggs being more nutritional (I haven’t found a resource to back that up yet) to the more humane aspects of the raising of the animals. I wanted the facts…. so I went hunting… surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of information on the subject.

I knew the general description of what free range food is(meat, poultry, eggs and dairy farming) but I wanted more information about it. More and more people talk about it and I wanted to know its benefits since these items tend to be considerably more expensive. I understood the humane aspect of free range, at least I thought I did, but I wanted to know more about health and nutritional benefits.

According to Wikipedia,” free range is a method of farming husbandry where the animals are allowed to freely roam instead of being contained in any manner. Farmers practice free range to achieve free-range or humane certification to reduce feed costs, to improve the happiness and liveliness of their animals, to produce a higher-quality product and as a method of raising multiple crops on the same land.

In ranching, the free-range livestock are permitted to roam without being fenced in, as opposed to fenced-in pastures.”

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service states that it does not know of any valid scientific information that shows that any specific type of chicken has more or less Salmonella bacteria than other poultry.”

In the United States, the term free range has become largely a marketing term meaning something on the order of “low stocking density”, “pasture-raised”, “grass-fed”, “humanely raised” and etc.

Free range poultry is probably where you will find the biggest difference… since poultry kept in small fenced in areas are restricted in their movements.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service requires that chickens raised for their meat have access to the outside in order to receive the free-range certification. There is no requirement for access to pasture, and there may be only access to only dirt and gravel.” So if you are purchasing free range chicken for the humane aspect of it… then I would recommend you check out the brands you purchase and see exactly how they are raising these free-range chickens….you may be surprised.

"Free-range chicken eggs have no legal definition in the United States. Free-range egg producers have no common standard on what the term means. Many egg farmers sell their eggs as free range merely because their cages are two or three inches above average size or because there is a window in the shed.”

With the holidays approaching, many are considering using free range turkeys... my advice... know what you're paying for.

In a nutshell…. I would investigate the brands you are purchasing to be sure they are what you think they are…. some brands include pictures and detailed descriptions on their websites as to what exactly they do.

For more information go to Wikipedia online.

Source: Wikipedia, Free Range

Recipe: Banana Crepes

This recipe for Banana Crepes is very Bananas Foster-like. I just took parts of the Banana Foster recipe and applied it to dessert crepes… the result? … sinfully good.

I used rum extract instead of the real thing…. obviously using real rum would be great…. Just be carefully when your pan ignites. I think you could leave out the rum or rum extract and it still would be good. I must warn you… this is very sweet…. so adjust the sugar to taste if you’re not into sweet things.

You may want to take a peek at my crepe making tips if you’re a novice at it.

This filling recipe will make 4 crepes … figure one crepe per person. The crepe recipe will make about 8 crepes... either make more filling... cut the crepe batter recipe in half or keep the remaining crepe batter for another use... it can be stored in the fridge for at least 3 days.

Top the crepe with Chantilly Cream.


Recipe: Banana Crepes

All you need:

4 large bananas, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon rum extract

For the crepes:

1 cup sifted flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Chantilly Cream:

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

All you need to do:

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat… do not allow butter to brown.

Add the bananas and cook until soft.

Add the brown sugar, stirring to evenly coat the bananas until all the sugar has melted.

Keep the bananas on low heat to keep warm while you make the crepes.

To make the crepes:

Sift together the 1 cup sifted flour and sugar.
Beat 4 eggs.

Add the dry ingredients to the eggs.

Beat the mixture until smooth.

Add gradually the 1 cup milk and the 1 cup of water, beating after each addition.

The batter will have the consistency of heavy cream.

Let the batter stand for 30 minutes.

Follow my tips on making crepes.

To make the Chantilly Cream:

Whip all ingredients until the cream forms soft peaks.

Recipe: Spaetzle

Spaetzle have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My Mother has always made it with Sauerbraten.... well that’s actually somewhat of a lie… she used to make these potato balls that were more like lead balls with her Sauerbraten… tasty but… OMG don’t ever eat two of them… you’ll explode… anyway we convinced her to stick to making spaetzle……. and we never… and I mean never … had any spaetzle leftovers….

So just what are spaetzle… (pronounced sch-pet-z-la) they have been described as noodles or dumplings… but that description is misleading… to me dumplings a large globs of dough that are boiled… these are small…. the same dough is used for dumplings (we call them knadle) as it is for spaetzle. The dough is squeezed through a press and are dropped into boiling water… they cook in a few minutes.

They’re served with gravy or just butter…. some people butter them then sprinkle them with cheese…

I posted a Jagerschnitzel recipe a couple of weeks ago… spaetzle go very well with that…. the spaetzle are great with the sauce from the Jagerschnitzel….

The dough is extremely sticky and can be tricky working with it…. you mix it in a bowl… and put it through a “spaetzle maker” …

There are several different types… and prices range from under $10 US to very expensive ones $39.99-$54.95 US (which doubles as a potato ricer) you can find them at Amazon.com. What's nice about the Amazon site is that there are quite a few reviews on each. You can find them in most kitchen stores too… you may have to ask for them though.

I have the expensive type… I’ve had it for years… my Mother bought it for me years ago….unfortunately it’s at the New York house and I’m in Georgia…. This type of spaetzle maker produces strands of dough while the other types produce rounder, smaller pieces… both taste the same and are very good… honestly.. this type is worth every penny... even the novice can make them with this.. perfect every time and no mess.

So I went to a local kitchen outlet store and we picked up a cheaper one … we got it for $7.99… it worked fine… but was messy... it gummed up with the dough.. but it worked... I still recommend you get the professional type above.

Some people have said they use a colander…. All the power to them… I tried it… and let’s just say … don’t ask Warren about the mess I made all over the kitchen and stove… he was a real sweetie and cleaned most of it up for me…. we went out the next day and he bought me a spaetzle maker… guess he didn’t want to chance me trying it again and facing a mess again.

The recipe is extremely simple…. in fact…. the ingredients are basic…. flour, eggs, salt and water….that's it.... those are the traditional ingredients…. Sunny Anderson of the food network recently made them… adding all kinds of ingredients …. it’s great to experiment… but this recipe is authentic…

Recipe: Spaetzle

All you need:

2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
About 1 cup of water*

*If you use large eggs, decrease the water…. add it slowly and keep stirring until smooth… I used a little more than ¾ of a cup.

All you need to do:

Heat a large pot of water.

In a large bowl, mix the flour eggs and salt together. Then slowly add the water (a little at a time), stirring constantly until the dough is smooth. You do not want it too stiff… it will have to drop through the holes of the spaetzle maker.

Make the spaetzle in batches. Put the dough in the little “hopper” on top of grater… slide the hopper back and forth over the boiling water …. The dough will drop in …. The dough sinks then comes to the top to float.

If you're using the recommended deluxe type...  just load the little canister ... and drop the top on it and squeeze... it comes out in long strands... just give it a quick shake and they drop off or use a sharp knife to cut them off... let them cook and float to the top.

Cook for 2-3 minutes… use a large slotted spoon to take out the spaetzle… place them in a colander or bowl while you make the rest of the dough.

Serve with butter or gravy.

Recipe: Death by Chocolate Cookies

Death by chocolate ……….. If you have to go this is the way to go…. at least they’ll put on the tombstone you died with a smile on your face…. These chocolate cookies are very fudgy… and taste almost like a rich chocolaty brownie. .. a chocolate lover’s dream, for sure.

I came across this recipe by Kraft years ago and it really needed little adaptation… They’re quick and easy…. you don’t even need a mixer… just a cooking spoon ……. here are some quick tips..


Nuts are listed as optional… I left them out this time... so you need to make up for the nuts so the cookies aren’t flat by increasing the flour to ¾ cup.

I used an ice cream scoop to drop the batter onto the cookie sheet, they were a nice big size… and they were all the same size… which helps baking them all evenly.

You can make these and freeze them for up to a month. Wrap them in plastic wrap and then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag or an airtight freezer container… just bring the cookies to room temperature just before serving.

The recipe calls for you to chop 8 squares of Semi –Sweet Baking Chocolate… use a large cutting board and a large chef’s knife…. the chocolate tends to get all over… MAKE SURE you put a towel under the cutting board to keep it from slipping… you want all your fingers when you're done. I chopped them into small pieces …these are the chunks that will go into the batter (yummm).

I diced the butter for easier melting…. I also beat the eggs separately … I find they blend better when you do that.

I suggest you use parchment paper, the recipe says to drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet, but I like to use parchment paper anyway… prevents any sticking and makes for easy clean-up… I don’t change the paper between batches.

This makes about 14 large cookies… you may want to consider doubling the recipe… they tend to disappear (hungry burglars… so I’m told).

If you like chocolate …. and who doesn’t? …well… I suppose there are people out there that don’t … but if you do… you will love these… honest… I wouldn’t lie to you.


Recipe: Death by Chocolate Cookies

All you need:

2 packages (8 squares each) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided
½ stick butter, diced
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups nuts (optional- if omitting …remember to increase flour to ¾ cup)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Chop 8 squares (1 package) of the semi-sweet chocolate. Set aside.

Place the 8 remaining squares of semi-sweet chocolate in a large microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Add butter, stirring constantly.

Add the sugar and vanilla, continue stirring until incorporated.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then add them to the chocolate, stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.

Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, stirring until well blended.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts (if you’re using nuts)

Drop by scant ¼ cupfuls (I used my ice cream scoop ...I measured the scoop with water and found it to be exactly ¼ cup) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 13 to 14 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. (14 minutes did it fine for me)

Cool on cookie sheet for a minute…. then remove to a rack and cool completely.

Cookie Jar by RECO International.

Use an Ice Cream Scoop to Drop Cookies on the Baking Sheet

Cooking Tip of the Day

I use an ice cream scoop (for large cookies) or a melon baller (for smaller cookies) to drop my cookie batter onto cookie sheets. This way they’re all the same size… and they all bake evenly. They’re handy little gadgets…. and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can load up a cookie sheet this way.

They’re also great for filling muffin and cupcake liners…. The ice cream scoop is perfect for regular sized muffins and cupcakes… the smaller one is great for minis.

Recipe: Crunchy Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This oven “fried" chicken recipe was inspired by a Stuffing recipe and a Campbell’s soup recipe. It was so easy and very quickly put together…. a really nice weeknight meal.

I know this is one of those “semi-homemade” recipes that uses Campbell’s canned soup and Stove Top stuffing mix…. I think sometimes we deserve a break and not make everything from scratch. For the blog snob that sniffed at me for using “boxed ingredients”… apparently you don’t have to work and come home and make dinner for a hungry family every night… sometimes shortcuts work very well… and this time is one of them.


The chicken is oven baked instead of fried so it cuts down on the fat and calories. You can use the 98% fat free or Healthy Request varieties and use low fat or fat free milk to cut even more fat.

I crushed the stuffing by putting the stuffing in a Ziploc bag and using a rolling pin to crush them…. my suggestion is forget doing it like that… if you have a mini food processor… just put it in there and coarsely chop it… you will get a more even set of crumbs.

I use Sargento shredded cheeses because I really think they are the best…. you can use any other shredded Swiss cheese… but consider using Sargento’s blend if its available in your area… the mix of Swiss and Gruyere give it a nice smooth flavor.

I used canned mushrooms… if you use fresh… plan on cooking the sauce a bit longer so the mushrooms cook through.

It was very tasty and even the pickiest eaters will like it.


Recipe: Crunchy Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

All you need:

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Campbell’s condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
¾ cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix (Savory Herb or Chicken Flavor), crushed
Cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred)
½ cup Sargento Artisan Blend Swiss and Gruyere shredded cheese
1 small can of sliced mushrooms
Sprinkling of dried thyme (to taste)
2 tablespoons sherry (optional)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil (I use Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick foil).

In a shallow dish, combine 1/3 cup soup and ¼ cup milk.

Put the flour on a plate.

Either crush or process the stuffing mix to make coarse crumbs. Put the crumbs in a shallow bowl.

Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, then dip them in the soup mixture than roll them in the crumbs to coat them.

Place the chicken on the baking sheet.

Lightly spray the chicken with butter flavored cooking spray.

Turn them over and spray the other side.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink (you will need to make a cut in the center to check)… but 20 minutes should be enough.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the rest of the soup and milk and mix until smooth.

Add the cheese and mushrooms and cook until cheese is melted. Stir frequently.

Add the sherry (optional).

Add the sprinkling of dried thyme (to taste).

Keep warm on low heat until chicken is done baking.

Serve the chicken with some sauce over it.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with noodles,creamy mashed potatoes or stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Recipe: Chocolate Frosted Shortbread Bars

This recipe for Chocolate Frosted Shortbread is a combination of a shortbread recipe and a chocolate frosting recipe… who can go wrong with that?? The chocolate and the buttery shortbread… just divine.

I decorated the top with M&Ms mostly because I just bought them (I’ve been craving them for weeks now after watching all those cute commercials). You can leave them off or do whatever strikes your fancy…. these won’t last long anyway… beware …. they are addicting…. the Betty Ford clinic really should have a wing for chocoholics.

Yes, I know my recipe uses brown sugar not white sugar… it really doesn’t make them brown….try it you’ll like it…. I promise….

TIP: I’ve mentioned this before… but it’s worth mentioning again… if you line your pan with aluminum foil you can easily remove bar cookies from the pan and onto a cutting board by just lifting the foil up…and for easy cutting…. I always use my pizza cutter to cut the bars… it makes a cleaner cut and is easier to clean the blade in between cutting rows.

Try these… a guaranteed hit!


Recipe: Chocolate Frosted Shortbread Bars

All you need:

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Chocolate frosting (homemade or store bought)
M&Ms for decoration (optional)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 13x9x2 baking pan with foil. (I use Reynolds wrap non-stick… if you use the regular variety… then lightly grease the foil)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add the flour slowly with the mixer on low speed.

Mix the dough until the dough is stiff.

Press the dough into the prepared baking pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until firm.

Cool completely.

Frost with chocolate frosting.

Cut into bars then decorate with M&Ms.

TIP: It’s easier to cut into bars without the M&Ms on top.

Recipe: Chili Seasoning

With the cooler weather upon us… I have a yen for chili. I love to make chili on cool autumn nights… served with warm cornbread…I’m in heaven.

I make my Chili from scratch and have an excellent Chili Recipe I’ve posted before….

This recipe for seasoning comes from that recipe.... I hope you try it.


Recipe: Chili Seasoning

All you need:

½ teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons paprika (I use sweet paprika, but regular paprika will be fine, too)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried green pepper
3 tablespoons dried red pepper

NOTE: You can substitute the dried onion, garlic and peppers with fresh….to do that… omit the dried and use the following when making your chili:

3 medium onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 peppers (red, green, yellow…any combination), diced

The amounts above are for chili made with:

2 pounds of ground beef
2 cans (about 15 ounces) of kidney beans (light red or dark or a combination)
2 cans (14.5 ounces) of tomatoes (I use Delmonte canned tomatoes with Zesty Mild Green Chilis and Zesty Jalapenos)…

All you need to do:

Stove Top Method:

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, drain the fat off and crumble.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients, including the ground beef, and simmer for 2 hours or longer… (3-4 hours is better). Stir occasionally.

Crock Pot Method:

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, drain the fat off and crumble.

In a crock pot combine all ingredients, including the ground beef.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until done. Stir occasionally.

Suggested Garnishes

Grated Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Finely chopped green onion
Tortilla chips

Stocking Your Spice Cabinet and Freezer with Herbs

Cooking Tip of the Day

As cooks, we all have spices in our cabinet. There are, however, those we don’t think about having around until we need an ingredient and don’t have it.

As many of you that come here often know, I prefer fresh ingredients in most cases…. but there are those times when at the last minute I need to cook something and simply don’t have everything. Dried ingredients can be a lifesaver.

Dried minced onion, garlic and red and green peppers are among those “extra” spices or ingredients that are good to have on hand… while not as good as fresh, they certainly can do the job in a pinch. Dried chili peppers and jars of pimentos are also good to have around.

With winter approaching, and in the northern parts of the country where it can snow substantially and often…. it’s a particularly good idea to check over your spice and ingredients cabinet for those items you can readily use as substitutions for fresh ingredients in recipes you are likely to make.

Many herbs, such as parsley can be cleaned and chopped then frozen in airtight containers… ready to use when you need it. You can also freeze chopped onion and peppers.

Recipe: Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest Cherry Cake is a traditional German cake, its original German name is Schwärzwalder Kirschtorte, and is made with chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream… and with or without Kirschwasser. Most German made cakes contain the Kirsch, Austrian recipes usually use rum and in the United States the cake is most often made without the alcohol.

The recipe for Black Forest Cherry Cake is easy…. trust me…. decorating it… well…. just have patience… it will be fine… as for the cake and filling…. the cake is very easy and …I admit I took a small shortcut…. I used cherry pie filling…. the icing is whipped cream… and I know you can do that. Trust me…. no matter how well you decorate this cake… and there are numerous ways to do it… it’s a show stopper…. just delicious.

Decorating Tips and Ideas

There are lots of ways to decorate this cake….

You can completely cover it in whipped cream and chocolate shavings…maybe a circle of maraschino cherries on top….

You can cover the sides and a small circle around the edge of the top with whipped cream and fill the center of the top with cherry pie filling… grate a chocolate bar over the cake for a little more chocolate and decoration.

Some recipes split the layers … this is a little tricky… very doable… but requires patience… I recommend if you do that… stick toothpicks around the sides… maybe four or six… so you have a guide while cutting…. You can use a long serrated knife or unflavored dental floss… then use a cake spatula to separate them…

You can crumble one of the split layers into fairly small crumbs and put them over the whipped cream on the side of the cake…. this requires a little more skill and a lot more patience but very doable.

You can put chocolate sprinkles on the side of the cake.

You can put the whipped cream on the side of the cake smoothly… then run a serrated steak knife around the sides to decorate it with ridges….or if you have one.. a cake decorating gadget that does that… I have one… but unfortunately it’s in New York and I’m in Georgia… so I used the knife… it turned out nice… the picture doesn’t do it justice.

I like to pipe the whipped cream around the edge of the top using a pastry bag and a decorating tip…. My last bag split and the idea of using a plastic storage bag, just didn’t work for me… this was after 9 at night so running out to get more pastry bags wasn’t an option….so I used a spoon and swirled it… it turned out fine…. but I do recommend a pastry bag and tip… it will make it look professional and just beautiful and it is easier…. pipe it using whatever tip you like and either a steady stream or individual “spurts”.

Some people use only pie filling for the filling…. I like to use pie filling and then put a layer of whipped cream…. I think the flavors are better that way.

The original recipe uses Kirsch…. a cherry brandy….. you can sprinkle Kirsch on the layers to soak the cake a bit with the brandy…. this is optional… and the cake is delicious without it… it’s up to you.

I wouldn’t be intimidated by the cake…. Cake baking is fun and so is decorating them…. when making them for friends and family… the taste matters most and the effort is appreciated… and besides… you will probably surprise yourself at how wonderful it tastes and looks…



Recipe: Black Forest Cherry Cake

All you need:

For the cake:

½ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling and decorating:

1 can cherry pie filling
3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Kirschwasser (optional)

All you have to do:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

Mix together the flour, cocoa and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating constantly at medium speed.

Add the vanilla and continue beating.

Add the dry ingredients and continue beating until incorporated.

Beat at high speed for 3 minutes, scraping sides occasionally.

Pour the batter into the two prepared baking pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool completely.

For the Filling and Frosting:

TIP: make sure your layers are pretty flat. If they have a hump in the middle, you will want to shave off a little so they are flat…. otherwise the filling between the layers and/or the top will slide over time…. you could end up with a “landslide” of frosting and filling.

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle Kirschwasser over the layers.

In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

Pipe a ring around the edge of the bottom layer’s top surface. This will keep the cherry pie filling from seeping out.

Spread the center of the bottom layer with cherry pie filling.

Spread a layer of whipped cream over the pie filling.

Put the second layer of the cake on top of the first.

Choose a decorating style (see suggestions above) and complete the decoration.

Refridgerate. I found the cake cut much better after being refrigerated for at least two hours.

Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf

This recipe for Turkey Meatloaf was inspired by watching several TV food chefs make theirs. Most of my ingredients are original and unique to me… I just thought of ground turkey as bland and thought of flavors I would like to try…. I figured nothing ventured nothing gained.

The result is a terrific meatloaf…. I served it with cheesy mashed potatoes and a vegetable…. It was sooo good…. but frankly… I like it best on a sandwich …. with some lettuce and Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise…. Yummmm!


I roasted my peppers in the oven…. most recipes that I see for roasting peppers do not use olive oil…. I did…. I really like flavored oils… and I have a garlic olive oil that I used to brush the inside (not the skin of the pepper)…. I think it just adds more flavor.

I like the onion and garlic very finely chopped…. I cut up the onion and garlic a bit and throw it into my mini processor so that it they get incorporated together.

I always use fresh parsley… personally… I use curly parsley, but Italian flat leaf parsley is good too. I try and stay away from dried parsley… it just doesn’t add much flavor.

Keep in mind my recipe is a start… you can add or take-away any ingredients… I encourage you to experiment.


Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf

All you need:

1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
½ cup grated Romano cheese
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped in a food processor or minced
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ green pepper, roasted and skin removed and chopped
½ red pepper, roasted and skin removed and chopped
Garlic olive oil
2 Plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

All you have to do:

Preheat oven to broil.

Line a baking pan with foil (for easier clean-up).

Remove the seeds of the red pepper and cut into large chunks.

Brush the inside of the peppers with garlic olive oil.

Place the peppers skin side up in the foil lined baking pan.

Broil for about 8 minutes or until the skin starts to blister and char.

Remove and allow to cool enough for handling.

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat.

Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent… if the garlic or onions start to brown, reduce the heat a bit. Allow to cool a bit for handling.
Peel off skins of the peppers and discard skins.

Chop the peppers and set aside.

Reduce the heat in the oven to Bake and at 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (except for Parmesan cheese and garlic olive oil)….add the onions and garlic with any butter still in skillet... best to mix with clean hands.

Shape into a loaf and brush the top with garlic olive oil.

Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees F.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Mayo

This recipe is another super easy flavored mayo that’s just wonderful. You need to Roast Garlic…. See my other post on how to Roast Garlic, if you need directions.
This is wonderful with sandwiches, vegetables (as a dip) and French fries…. I’m sure you can think of other uses too!


Recipe: Roasted Garlic Mayo

All you need:

1 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
Roasted garlic from 1 head, skin removed
Juice of ½ lemon

All you need to do:

Mash the garlic and combine with the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Cover and chill until use.

Recipe: Cheddar and Chive Scrambled Eggs in a Pastry Shell

This recipe for Cheddar and Chive Scrambled Eggs in a Pastry Shell is so elegant looking …it’s perfect for a weekend romantic breakfast. Serve it with a fruit salad and mini muffins and coffee and you have a wonderful start to your day.

I like to do add-ins in my scrambled eggs…. cheese and chives are among my favorites…. so it was a natural thought to pile them into a warm pastry shell over a slice of deli ham…. drizzle a wonderful cheddar cheese sauce over them…. a perfect breakfast idea and so simple to make.

You can use a thin slice of deli ham…. or Canadian bacon…. or go meatless… either way… it’s delicious…. the light oniony flavor of the chives is just terrific with the cheddar cheese.


Make sure you preheat your oven before baking the pastry shells.


Recipe: Cheddar and Chive Scrambled Eggs in a Pastry Shell

All you need:

2 frozen pastry shells, baked according to package directions
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, divided
¼ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
Cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred)
2 slices of deli ham (thinly sliced)
Cheddar Cheese Sauce

For the cheese sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

All you have to do:

Prepare the pastry shells according to package directions.

Meanwhile, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan.

Add the flour and whisk well to incorporate the flour.

Add the milk, whisking constantly until all ingredients are incorporated and the sauce is smooth.

When the sauce begins to thicken, add the cheddar cheese.

Whisk constantly until the cheese has completely melted and the sauce is thick.

Note: If the sauce is too thick, add 2 tablespoons milk to thin it slightly.

Keep the sauce warm over low heat.

Spray a large skillet with the cooking spray.

Heat the skillet over medium heat.

Beat the eggs and milk well.

Add the eggs to the skillet.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons chives over the eggs.

Sprinkle ¼ cup cheddar cheese over the eggs.

Continually stir the eggs over medium heat until fully cooked. Set aside.

Cut the top off the pastry shell and set aside.

Fold the ham slice into half and half again and lay it on the bottom of the pastry shell.
Spoon half the eggs into each pastry shell.

Drizzle some cheese sauce over the eggs.

Place the top of the pastry shell on top.

Drizzle a little more cheese sauce.

Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of chopped chives.

Recipe: Classic Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This recipe for Cheddar Cheese Sauce is the classic French way to make cheese sauce. First you make a roux, melted butter and flour…. then add milk … then add cheese. It’s easy and very quick…. It takes about 5 minutes or so… and the result is well worth the effort.


Recipe: Classic Cheddar Cheese Sauce

All you need:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

All you need to do:

Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan.

Add the flour and whisk well to incorporate the flour.

Add the milk, whisking constantly until all ingredients are incorporated and the sauce is smooth.

When the sauce begins to thicken, add the cheddar cheese.

Whisk constantly until the cheese has completely melted and the sauce is thick.

Note: If the sauce is too thick, add 2 tablespoons milk to thin it slightly.

Recipe: BBQ Chicken Pizza

This recipe for BBQ Chicken Pizza was inspired by those BBQ Chicken sandwiches with bacon that are so yummy… I thought why not put the same ingredients on a pizza…. The idea of the addition of pineapple came from some of my shish kabob recipes..

My last post was about making Homemade Pizza…. well this recipe came about because I had leftover pizza dough… enough for a small pizza… and two small boneless chicken breasts that I had defrosted for supper and realized too late that there were only two not three and not enough for supper… so I decided to make a BBQ Pizza…. we like all the flavors in it… so I thought why not?... Glad I did… this is a definite do-over… very tasty indeed.

Try it … you’ll like it!

As always…enjoy!

Recipe: BBQ Chicken Pizza

All you need:

1-2 boneless chicken breasts
Sprinkle of paprika
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of onion powder
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of ground pepper
Your favorite barbeque sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 can (8 ounces) Dole pineapple chunks
2 large green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
3 strips of thick sliced bacon, cooked and cut-up
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Pizza dough, (homemade or store bought)
Olive oil

All you need to do:

Take the prepared pizza dough (if you have stored leftover pizza dough or follow directions on store bought pizza dough)out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using to get t close to room temperature (will make rolling it out easier) or make pizza dough.

If making the pizza dough:

See my previous post “Homemade Pizza” … if using Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise yeast… figure about 15 minutes to make the dough and about an hour for it to rise… if using regular yeast… the dough will need to rise for about 2 hours.

When the dough is already made…. continue with the directions:

Line a small baking sheet with foil. Lay the bacon strips on the foil and place in a cold oven… set the oven for 400 degrees F and set the timer for 15-20 minutes…. bacon should still be bendable but cooked…drain on paper towels…. Do not allow it to get crispy since it will be baked again on the pizza.

Chop the bacon into ½ inch pieces. Set aside.

Line another baking sheet with foil.

Season both sides of the chicken with the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper… rub it in.

Drizzle a little bacon grease on the foil.

Place the chicken on the foil… spread about 1 tablespoon on each side of the chicken breast… and place in your already heated 400 degree oven.

Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes (depending on thickness) or until juices run clear when cut.

Allow the chicken to briefly cool for better handling.

When cool… cut the chicken into small dices. Set aside.

Cut the pineapple chunks in half and set aside.

Lightly spray the pizza pan with cooking oil.

Flour a board and gently knead it a few times using some of the flour if the dough is sticky.

Roll the dough out to about 1 inch larger than the pizza pan.

Roll the edge to form a crust.

Prick the bottom of the crust about 6 times to prevent the dough from puffing up during baking.

Lightly brush the crust with olive oil.

Lightly spread barbeque sauce over the bottom….

Layer the pizza with the diced chicken, cut-up pineapple chunks, chopped green onions and bacon.

Dot the filling with additional barbeque sauce.

Spread the cheddar cheese over the top (I used about 1 cup for a 12 inch pizza… adjust the amount to the size pan you are using).

Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly.

Making Pizza Dough Ahead

Cooking Tip of the Day

Whether you’re making your pizza dough ahead of time or you need to save portion of the dough because you have more dough than you need…. you can easily store it in your fridge.

All you have to do:

Just roll your dough in a ball….

Take a large Ziploc bag and spray the inside with cooking oil.

Place the dough inside the bag… press out all the air and seal.

Refrigerate up to 5 days.

The dough may rise a little more again… that’s okay.

The bag may puff up … just let the air out again and reseal the bag.

When you’re ready to use the dough… take the dough out of the fridge about 30 minutes before use to get it to room temperature or so (this will make rolling out easier).

The dough may have risen a bit and be a little sticky so you may have to knead it by hand a few times on a floured board. The dough should be smooth and elastic. (The consistency of bubble gum that has been chewed for a while …I know …yuck…. but hey… the description fits)

Then use the dough as your recipe directs.

Recipe: Homemade Pizza Dough

When my son was young, I made pizza almost once a week…. it was very inexpensive and frankly, it was easy. Well… it’s easy if you have a mixer with a dough hook. My recipe for Pizza Dough is from The Joy of Cooking…. a very basic bread dough. The dough is fool-proof..... I swear to you.


When making any kind of yeast dough… you have to remember that the recipe is a little flexible. Believe it or not, the amount of humidity in the air will determine the exact amount of flour or water you need. What I like about the Joy of Cooking recipe is that I always start with their amounts… and have to vary it very little. Where I live in New York… we don’t always have high humidity… so I rarely have to add more flour…. where I live in Georgia… well let’s just say it can be Amazon-like humidity…. so I almost always need to add a couple of extra tablespoons of flour.

My husband taught me to make bread dough (pizza is a bread dough) many years ago…. He was so funny…. He kept saying you have to feel the dough …. I thought he’d lost his mind… He taught me to start by using a recipe… but then go by the feel of the dough to direct me as to what I need to add.

In a nutshell…. If your dough is sticky to the touch… it needs more flour… add a tablespoon at time… knead it and feel it again…. what you are aiming for… and forgive me this analogy… but it really is the closest description to what you need to have…. It should have the feel and texture of bubble gum after you’ve chewed it for a while…. By the same token… if the dough feels a bit dry… add a tablespoon of water… but I must tell you… in all the times I’ve made this dough… I have never had to add water… just a little flour.

I love Fleishmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast…. The recipe calls for you to allow the dough to rise for two hours… using Rapid Rise… it took only about an hour for the dough to double in size… and that’s what you’re looking for… it needs to double in size.

The warm wet towel you will need to put over the dough will get dough on it... it will just peel off.

I always put the yeast in a measuring cup with warm water and about ½ teaspoon of sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so… you want to see it foam … I usually get a nice little head on it like a beer… but I have had it where it foamed but not much… and I thought the dough wouldn’t rise, but it did…

I mentioned that I add a bit of sugar to the water and the yeast…. I haven’t read it anywhere else… but this is the way I was taught and it works… so I don’t change what isn’t broken…

I have a pizza dough pan with holes in the bottom that works well…. I also have a pizza stone that works well…. and frankly… I’ve used my 17 ½ inch rectangular baking pan for a rectangular pizza that worked well too. I wouldn’t get too caught up in buying expensive equipment until you’re sure you like doing this and will do it regularly…. Honestly my results have been good with all of the pans.

Topping possibilities are endless…. use whatever strikes your fancy…. My ingredient list is just a suggestion. When I use meatball or Italian sausage, I use leftovers from previous meals… if I don’t make pizza a day or two after having meatballs or sausage… I freeze it in quantities I can use for pizza…

This recipe makes two 14 inch pizza crusts…. If that’s too much for you or you have a bigger pan…. when the dough is in the shape of a ball after rising… cut the dough in half or to the size you need and put the leftover dough in a Ziploc bag that you sprayed the inside with cooking oil. Squeeze all the air out and seal and put in the fridge… you can refrigerate it up to 5 days. The dough may rise some more… and if the bag puffs up… just let the air out and re-seal.

You can use the leftover dough for so many things… calzones… stromboli… bread sticks… individual pan pizzas…. rolls …. the list is probably even longer.

This is really easy… honest!


Recipe: Homemade Pizza

All you need:

4 cups of flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet dry Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (about 85 degrees F.)
½ teaspoon sugar
1 jar Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Cooking spray (olive oil preferred)

Topping suggestions:

Pepperoni slices
Onions, sliced thin and sautéed in a little olive oil until translucent
Italian sausage (hot or sweet or both), cooked and crumbled
Meatballs (2 large should do it), cut-up or crumbled
Red or green peppers, sliced

All you need to do:

Heat your oven on “warm” for about 5 minutes, then leave the door closed and turn off.

Spray your pizza pan with cooking spray… is using a pan without holes… sprinkle coarse cornmeal on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a measuring cup… measure 1 1/3 cups warm water (from the tap is fine)… make sure it’s not too hot... should be warm... not cold either.

Add ½ teaspoon sugar and yeast packet. Let it sit for about 10 minutes while the yeast grows.

In your mixer bowl, add 4 cups flour.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Add the yeast and water.

You can use your paddle attachment first to mix the dough until the ingredients are incorporated.

Switch to your dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes.

Check the dough… if it is sticky to the touch add a tablespoon of flour and continue to knead the dough.

Re-check the dough…. It should be smooth and soft and elastic.

Dump the dough on a heavily floured board and hand knead it several times.

Lightly oil a large bowl.

Add the dough and roll it in the bowl several times to lightly coat with oil.

Place a warm damp towel over the bowl and place in your warm oven… the oven should not be hot… just mildly warm.

Allow to rise for about two hours…. If using Rapid Rise yeast… it may take only an hour….so check it after an hour... the dough should be doubled in size.

When dough has doubled… remove from the bowl to a floured board.

The dough will deflate, knead the dough lightly by hand with the flour on the board until it is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic.

Roll the dough out to about 1 inch larger than your pan.

Roll the dough slightly over the rolling pin to help transfer it to the pan.

Roll the extra ½ inch of dough around the edge to form the crust.

Using a fork, prick the bottom of the dough about 6 times or so…. this is so the dough doesn’t puff up.

Brush the dough with a little olive oil.

Spread the pizza sauce over the dough.

Sprinkle whatever toppings you decide to use over the dough.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese…. sprinkle desired amount… we like it cheesy … I used about 1½ cup for a 16 inch pizza.

Spray the cheese lightly with cooking oil spray… this will help the cheese to melt and spread.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 25 minutes or until cheese has melted and pizza is bubbly.

Product Review: Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast

I have always liked Fleischmann’s yeast… but I recently used their Rapid Rise yeast…. I had used it in the past and simply forgot about it…. (its been around since 1984)....it is terrific…. cuts the time the dough needs to rise by about 50%... I highly recommend it. I honestly don't know why anyone would use the slower acting yeast... but to each his own.

According to the official Fleischmann’s website… you can add it directly into the dry ingredients… I didn’t… I did it the old fashioned way by adding it to warm water first… either way… it cuts the time you have to wait to use your dough in your recipe…. and who doesn’t like that?

You can also use it in bread machines.

Recipe: Chewy Fudgy Oatmeal Bars

This recipe started out as a recipe from Toll House called Oatmeal Fudge Squares from their book “Holiday Baking with Nestle Toll House” from November of 1991.…. I didn’t want to use nuts so I had to adapt the recipe slightly to compensate…. After making them… and they were sooo good…. I decided the next time I would try adding pecans… the flavor of pecans will go wonderfully with the other ingredients.

Now for a couple of tips….

The dough is very, very sticky….. you need to spread it on the bottom of the pan… when you dump the dough in the pan and start spreading it with the back of a spoon… you think it will never spread far enough…. It eventually does… it will be a very thin layer…. I even had a few slightly bare spots where the pan peeked through…. That’s okay… the heat of the baking will spread it. The same goes for the chocolate layer, although that wasn’t quite as bad.

The top layer is a portion of that sticky dough for the bottom layer… the original recipe says to “crumble” it over the top…. trust me…. this dough doesn’t crumble… so I just dropped small pieces of the dough all over the top…. I worried that it wouldn’t spread… but it did… in fact it puffed up toward the end of the baking time…

I thought this would be one for the recipe graveyard (that place where I throw all those recipes that are not blog worthy)…. Well happily I was wrong…. They cut easily after being cooled (I use a pizza cutter for an easier cut) and were fantastic…. a chocolate lovers bar cookie for sure.

Take note…. The recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk not evaporated milk… there is a huge difference.

Warren brought some to work with him… to make them look extra nice… I flattened white muffin cup liners and laid them in there…. (see picture).

This really wasn’t hard… it was a little more difficult for me because I wasn’t warned what to expect in the recipe…. sometimes you just have to dive right in and try things… glad I did.


Recipe: Chewy Fudgy Oatmeal Bars

All you need:

2¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups quick cooking oats (uncooked)
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1 (12 ounce package or 2 cups Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
1 (14 ounce) can Carnation sweetened condensed milk

All you need to do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line your baking pan with foil for easier removal of bars after baking. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy.

Add the egg and beat at low speed.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time.

Stir in the oats and pecans (if adding nuts).

Reserve 1 cup of this dough. Set aside.

Press the remaining dough into the bottom of an ungreased 15 ½ x 10 ½ x 1 inch baking pan. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 ½ cups of the Nestle semi sweet chocolate morsels with the sweetened condensed milk, stirring constantly until smooth.

Pour over the unbaked crust. Spread out the chocolate to cover.

Drop very small pieces of the reserved dough all over the top of the chocolate. (I tried to drop pieces the size of peas… some were larger though).

Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate morsels over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 23-27 minutes until topping is golden brown.

Cool completely before cutting.

Cut into 2 inch bars.

Recipe: Bacon Egg Salad in a Pita

I’m always looking for a new way to serve up sandwiches … make old favorites interesting again. I have been craving egg salad for a while now and finally…. I made it for myself. I like to use pitas because they hold the contents together so nicely. … the addition of bacon adds a completely new layer of flavor that’s so good…. and leaf lettuce… I love lettuce, especially leaf lettuce… goes on every sandwich… well… almost every sandwich.

As for the bacon…. I suggest you read a post I ran recently…. Making Bacon in the Oven…. I swear to you this is the way to go! A couple of food network chefs raved about this method…. and I had to try it… it truly is the best… no mess no fuss… just terrific.

I made a couple of extra pieces over the weekend when we had bacon…. and had to practically hog tie Warren and the dogs from eating them…. you think I jest…. those three little noses (Warren, Bubba and Duke… in case you needed to know) smell bacon from 100 yards away…. and try to explain to the happy taste testers that those two extra slices are mine for egg salad…. (big sigh) … truth be told, I hid them when I made them. By the way… I used thick sliced smoked bacon…. great flavor.... because of the salt in the bacon... you really don't need to add salt to the salad.

For a great tip on boiling eggs perfectly without “gray around the yolk”… see my tip for boiling Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs.

This recipe for Bacon Egg Salad is a basic egg salad… with finely chopped bacon in it…. I used my mini processor to chop the bacon… I wanted it very finely chopped…… I chopped the eggs myself with a knife because I wanted a “rough” chop… and I always use Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise … you can use whatever brand you like… I just think theirs is the best.



Recipe: Bacon Egg Salad in a Pita

All you need:

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sliced of bacon, cooked crisply and finely chopped
2 tablespoons Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
Pepper to taste
2 pieces leaf lettuce
1 pita pocket

All you need to do:

Combine the chopped egg, chopped bacon, pepper and mayo in a bowl. Mix well.
Slit open the pita… lay the lettuce in and stuff the egg salad in…. and enjoy!
Makes 1 stuffed pita sandwich.

Recipe: Spinach Mushroom Quiche

This recipe for Spinach Mushroom Quiche evolved, as many of my recipes do. I’ve had my own recipe for Spinach Mushroom Quiche for years … which admittedly, after experimenting with adding ingredients, was on the bland side, at least I thought so. I always added sautéed onion and garlic… I always added cheese but I usually used Gruyere ….

This time I decided I wanted a little more flavor punch… and looked around for suggestions.... and decided on a couple of changes....I wanted a flavor punch and I got it!

I used equal parts Colby Jack Cheese and Cheddar instead of Gruyere…. I added herb and garlic pub cheese… I even used a “Light” Herb and Garlic Spread ….. but that’s where the “light” ends… I used real butter and whole milk… I can see substituting margarine… but I would use the whole milk… makes for a better custard…..

I loved the flavor of the spinach mixture so much… (everything minus the eggs and milk)…. that I have a few ideas for other uses…. Don’t you just love experimenting?

Another thing I did was to make it more of a deep dish quiche I used my deep dish pie plate… I wanted to be sure I had enough eggs and milk in this… I wanted it definitely custardy (is that really a word? … well you get the idea).


The recipe calls for 1 cup of frozen spinach… I use frozen spinach in the bag… I always have some in the freezer because we like it so much… and by the way…. I measured the 1 cup before I thawed it.

I chopped the onion and garlic cloves in my mini processor…. I find that the fresh garlic gets incorporated with the onion better that way. The mini processor gets the onion and garlic finely chopped so that no one will get a mouthful of either… you want the flavor of the onion and garlic, not the pieces.

I used a regular pie shell and fluted the sides… you can use a deep dish pie shell (store bought or homemade) but I firmly believe quiche is more about the filling and less about the pie shell… I wouldn’t add more crust … but that is entirely up to you.

My oven was exactly at 375 degrees F… it baked perfectly in 15 minutes plus the 35 minutes. One major tip I have is that you really need to let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting it…. mine set-up perfectly and even the first piece came out perfectly (see picture).

This was truly easy and delicious…. I hope you try it.


Print Recipe

Recipe: Spinach Mushroom Quiche

All you need:

1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (homemade or store bought)
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed in a strainer to get all excess liquid out
6 tablespoons butter or margarine (I used butter)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ (8 ounce) package of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
¾ (8 ounce package) of Light Garlic and Herb Spreadable Cheese (pub cheese or Rondele)
½ cup Colby Jack Cheese, finely shredded, divided
½ cup Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded, divided
1 cup whole milk
4 eggs
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay pie crust in deep dish pie plate. Set aside.

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

In a mini processor, chop the onion and garlic together until finely chopped.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Do not let the onions or garlic brown…. if they start to brown… turn the heat down a bit.

Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for about 3 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften a bit.

Add the spinach and the Garlic and Herb Cheese… mix well.

Add ¼ cup of the Colby Jack cheese and ¼ cup of the Cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.

In the meantime, in a medium bowl, whisk the milk and the eggs together until well blended.

Add the spinach mixture to the egg mixture and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the remaining Colby Jack cheese and Cheddar cheese. Toss with your hands until well blended.

Sprinkle the cheese over the quiche.

Continue baking for an additional 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the center is set.

Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe: Sausage and Potato Soup

This recipe for Sausage and Potato Soup started as a feeble attempt to re-create my Grandmother’s Brotwurst Soup. First I need to explain…. Brotwurst is a Hungarian sausage that I grew up eating… it’s similar to Polish Kielbasa but much more flavorful. It’s made with lots of Hungarian spice… and you guessed it… that means lots of paprika.

My grandfather used to make it… and when we ran out of his or he didn’t make it… we bought it from a wonderful Hungarian store in Brooklyn. You could get it smoked, which is similar to what unsliced pepperoni looks like …. or fresh …. which looks similar to Polish Kielbasa, except more red in color.

We also used to buy Hungarian paprika there… the owner had his own mix of sweet and hot Hungarian paprika that was a staple in our house…. and then a staple in my house when I had my own family.

Sadly, the store is no more…. and I haven’t had my Brotwurst in years. I truly miss it.

My Grandmother and Mother made the best soup with the fresh brotwurst. … the soup was flavored with vegetables and the brotwurst…. and was clear not thick like the recipe I’m going to give you…

I started out trying to re-create the soup using Kielbasa… but it just didn’t work… just not enough and certainly not, the same flavor… so I did the next best thing… made a different soup. The result is a really hearty soup that is loaded with flavor from the Kielbasa.


I used seasoned potato flakes to thicken the soup… you can use flour and water …. I just wanted to add a little more flavor to the soup by using seasoned potato flakes.

I served it with bread for a wonderful weeknight meal.

Recipe: Sausage and Potato Soup

All you need:

1 pound smoked sausage (I used Hillshire Farms), sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
4 fresh carrots, peeled and sliced
5 small to medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
About 3 cups chicken broth (enough to cover)
½ teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Salt to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)
Pepper to taste (I used about 10 turns on the pepper mill)
3 cups whole milk
½ cup seasoned potato flakes (I took this from a Butter & Herb Potato Flake packet)

All you need to do:

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots and cook another 3 minutes.

Add the sliced sausage and potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Add the chicken broth… just enough to cover.

Cook the soup over medium high heat to a simmer….. if the soup begins to boil, turn it down a bit.

Cook on low, uncovered for about 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked but not too soft. You will need to check on the potatoes periodically… you don’t want mush.

Add the milk and cook for about 3 minutes… then add the potato flakes and stir well. The soup will thicken.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until soup is at desired thickness.

Serve with fresh crusty bread.

And The Winners Are…..

As promised…. I’m posting the winners from last week’s Country Bob’s Give-Away… thank you to all who participated….

To the winners…

Please email your name and address to cookingtipoftheday@gmail.com … I will forward it to Country Bob who will send you two bottles of Country Bob’s All-Purpose Sauce. I’ll email you when I've sent the information on…. let me know when you receive your gift from Country Bob. I hope you enjoy his sauce!

Now for the winners…. (drum roll please)

Year on the Grill


To all you that didn't win... I hope you still try Country Bob's Sauces... they are terrific... go to their website to find a location near you or to order directly from them... tell 'em Linda sent ya!

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Chicken Noodle Soup