Dessert Delight

Dessert Delight

Bacon Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts

Excellent with either frozen or fresh Brussels sprouts, this fancy fixin only takes five ingredients to prepare.

4 bacon slices
1 (14 ox) can chicken broth
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved

  1. Cook bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon, and drain on a paper towel reserving drippings in dutch oven.
  2. Add broth, brown sugar, and salt to drippings in dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in Brussels sprouts. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Transfer Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl using a slotted spoon, and sprinkle with bacon. Serve immediately.
Tip: if you are looking to switch things up, 4 oz chopped pancetta would be a fantastic substitute for the bacon.

Crunchy Banana Colada Bread

This recipe if from Susan Adamas of Naperville, IL who won the bake off contest in 2004.

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted or regular butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 medium)
1 container (6 oz) pina colada fat free yogart
1 1/2 cups Pillsbury Best all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 banana nut crunchy granola bars (2 pouches from 8 .9 oz box) coarsely crushed
1/4 cup flaked coconut

  1. Heat oven to 350. Generously greased 9x5 inch loaf pan with shortening, or spray with cooking spray.  In large bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Beat in eggs, bananas and yogurt.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, and salt' beat well.  Stir in 1/2 cup of crushed granola bars. Pour batter into pan.
  3. In small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup crushed granola bars and the coconut.  Sprinkle evenly over batter in pan; press in lightly.
  4. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, covering with foil during last 15 minute to baking to prevent excessive browning.  Cool in pan on cooling rack. 15 minutes. remove from pan to cooling rack.  Cool completely about 2 hours. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator.

Banana Nut Bread

1 3/4 cups sifted whole wheat flour
2/3 cup raw sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup safflower oil (or apple sauce)
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Sift dry ingredients together, combine eggs, milk oil and bananas.

Add dry ingredients and beat well.  Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into a 9x5x3 inch greased and lightly floured loaf pan.   Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Makes 1 loaf.

Citrus scented Rice with Fresh Basil

Serving this dish with orange and lemon slices lets you use every bit of the orange and lemon needed for the zest.

2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1tsp lemon zest
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Garnishes: orange and lemon slices, orange zest, lemon zest

  1. Stir together chicken broth, butter, orange zest, fresh orange juice and lemon zest in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. stir in basmati rice; cover; reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in basil. Garnish, if desired.
Note: If you don't have fresh basil on hand, try using 1/2 tsp dried basil and achieve the full flavor of this dish; just add it to the broth in the first step.

Roasted Carrots

Though this four indredient side dish is already simplicity at its best, you can also use bagged baby carrots for even quicker assembly.
3 lbs small carrots with tops
1 Tbls. olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat over to 450 degrees. Peel carrots, if desired, trim tops to 1 inch.
  2. Toss carrots with oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, stirring once. Reduce heat to 325 and bake, stirring occasionally, 15 more minutes or until carrots are browned and tender.
Note: if you have thick carrots, cut them lengthwise so that they cook evenly.

Spanish Chicken and Dumplings

Try a new twist on traditional chicken and dumplings with the addition of paprika and chorizo sausage.

6 cups low sodium fat free chicken broth
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
4 oz chorizo sausage or smoked sausage diagonally sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (8 oz) package baby portobello (crimini) mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups all purpose baking mix
13 cup milk
2 cups shredded rotisserie's chicken

  1. Bring broth and saffron to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook sausage in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Stirring occasionally, 6 minutes or until browned. Remove sausage, reserving drippings in skillet. Drain sausage on paper towels.
  3. Saute onion and mushrooms in hot drippings 6 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add broth mixture, thyme, and paprika simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Stir together baking mix and milk in a medium bowl with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead 4 to 5 times. Roll dough to 1/8 thickness; cut into (1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch) strips.
  5. Bring broth mixture to a rolling boil. Drop dumplings, 1 at a time, into boiling broth mixture. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sausage and chicken; bring to a boil, and cook just until thoroughly heated.  Let stand 5 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.
Note: we tested with Bisquick Original Pancake and Baking Mix.

Bistro Grilled Chicken Pizza

The rectangular shape, grilled crust, and fun toppings like feta, fresh basil, and chicken make this pizza taste like something you would order at a restaurant but better.

1 (13.8 ox) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup pizza sauce
4 plum tomatoes, sliced 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1 (14 oz.) package tomato and basil feta cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. small fresh basil leaves

Preheat grill to 300 degree to 350 heat.  Unroll dough and place on a lightly greased 1xx12 inch sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.   Starting at center, pressout dough with hands to form a 13x9 inch rectangle. Brush dough evenly with olive oil.

Invert dough onto grill cooking grate; peel off foil. Grill covered with grill lid. 2 to 3 minutes or until botton mof dough is golden brown. Turn dough over and grill covered with grill lid. 1 to 2 minutes or until bottom is set. Carefully remove crust from grill to an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.

Microwave pizza sauce in a small glass bowl at high 30 seconds or until warm, stirring once.  Spread sauce evenly over crust; top with tomatoes and chicken. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses.  Retun pizza to cooking grate (pizza should slide easily) Grill, covered with grill lid, 3 to 5 minutes or until crust is done and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil leaves.

Tips: you can also use a pizza stone instead of a grill.

Fettuccine with Chicken and Creamy Herb Sauce

This recipe is from Southern Living Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook. 101- Hearty  Recipes with Store bought Rotisserie Chicken.

6 oz uncooked fettuccine
1 3/4 cups milk
1 (1-oz) envelope garlic herb soup mix
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbls chopped fresh (or dry) parsley
Freshly ground pepper

1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together milk and soup mix in a 2 quart saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add chicken and peas; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is well heated. Toss with fettuccine; sprinkle with Parmesan, parsley and freshly ground pepper.

Tip: By using garlic herb soup mix, you are adding lots of flavor in just one step, saving you time and money.

Best Ever Chicken Noodle Soup

2 onions, chopped

2 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled

1 packet chicken noodle soup mix

5 black peppercorns
1 pinch dried parsley


  1. Place chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Place celery leaves in pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and place in a bowl until cool enough to handle.
  2. Meanwhile, strain the cooking liquid, discard the celery tops and place the cooking liquid in a large pot. Place celery, carrots, onion, bouillon, soup mix and chicken broth in the pot and let simmer. Season with thyme, poultry seasoning, basil, peppercorns, bay leaves and parsley.
  3. Remove the skin from the chicken and cut up meat into bite-size pieces. Return meat to pot. Cook until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended, up to 90 minutes.
  4. Stir pasta into pot and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, until noodles are al dente. Serve hot.
Freshly Ground vs. Pre-Ground Pepper

Cherry Cream Crunch

Another wonderful recipe from my Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook. From Joyce Herr

Becca,  this one is for you my friend. xox

Base and Topping:

1 cup Pillsbury best all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
dash of salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can (21 oz) cherry or blueberry pie filling

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In large bowl, beat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, dash of salt, the butter and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until crumbly.  Stir in coconut, oats and walnuts. Press 2 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture into bottom of ungreased 12 x 8 inch (2 quart) glass baking dish or 13 x 9 inch pan; reserve remaining crumb mixture for topping.
  2. Bake base for 12 minutes or until light golden brown.  Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix all filling ingredients except pie filling.
  3. Spread filling evenly over partially baked base. Carefully spoon pie filling evenly over condensed milk mixture. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture over top.
  4. Bake 15 to 18 minutes longer or until top is golden brown.  Cool 30 minutes.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving or over night.  Cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.

Southwest Sausage Tortellini Chowder

Here is another wonderful recipe that is good for those long winter nights. This is from Loanne Chiu from Fort Worth Texas.

3 cans (10 1/2 oz each) condensed chicken broth
1 1/2 cups mild chunky style salsa or picante
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 packages (9 oz each) refrigerated sausage filled tortellini
2 cups frozen cut broccoli (from 1 lb bag)
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn (from 1 lb bag)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
Dash of salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. In Dutch oven or 4 quart sauce pan, heat broth, salsa and orange peel to boiling.  Reduce heat to low; simmer 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in tortellini and vegetables; cook over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until tortellini and vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in milk and salt; cook 1 to 3 minutes or just until hot, stirring occasionally. DO NOT BOIL.
  4. Top each servings of chowder with cilantro. Serve immediately.

Chicken Curry Stir Fry

Here is another wonderful recipe from the Pillsbury cookbook. This is by P.S. Kenney in Denver, CO. who entered the contest in 1994 and won $10,000.

2 cups uncooked regular long grain white rice
4 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup peanuts, if desired
1/3 cup chutney
2 tablespoon coconut
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 to 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips

  1. Cook rice in water as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot.  Cook and stir onion in oil until hot.  Cook and stir onion for 2 minutes.  Add chicken, 2 tablespoons water, the curry powder, salt and pepper; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
  3. Add peanuts, chutney, coconut, currants and frozen mixed vegetables; cook and stir 7 to 8 miutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.
  4. To serve, spoon rice onto serving platter.  Top wiht chicken mixture. Garnish with bell pepper strips.

Creamy Parmesan Broccoli

This recipe is from a cookbook that I bought "Pillsbury Bake-off Cookbook from Mildred D'Elia who entered the Pillsbury bake off in 2000.

1 lb frozen broccoli spears or 4 cups frozen broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 medium green onions, chopped, (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts (toasted)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degree. Cook broccoli as directed on package; drain. Place in ungreased 12 x 8 inch (2 quart) baking dish or 2 quart casserole.   Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheese; toss to coat.
  2. In medium bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup cheese and remaining ingredients except pine nuts. Spoon over broccoli.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble and brown. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

Sauted Mushrooms with Sherry

1 onion; chopped
6 slices of bacon; chopped
1 green bell pepper; chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/3 stick of butter
1/3 cup of olive oil
6 chopped chives (or green onions - tops only)
1 tablespoon parsley
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 or 1 large carton (pd) of button mushrooms (pre-sliced)
1/4 cup cream or cream cheese

Cup up and chop, onion, bacon, red and green bell pepper. Place veggies in a saute pan with olive oil and butter saute until tender and bacon is slightly crisp.  Add in your mushrooms. (NOTE: do not wash your mushrooms) for this will cause them to have a rubbery texture. The pre-sliced mushrooms usually don't have any dirt on them but you can wipe them with a paper towel or buy whole mushrooms and you can clean them with a paper towel to ensure that you will not get any of the dirt.

Saute for a few minutes (about 4) add in chives, parsley, peper flakes, cooking sherry and salt and pepper taste. Simmer on low/medium heat until mushrooms are tender.

Perfect for serving over file migon or any of your favorite steak.

Sausage and Kale Stuffing

This recipe is also from the HEB Texas Life Magazine.

Sausage and Kale Stuffing

1 pkg Fresh maple pork Sausage or Turkey Sausage (or if you want the flavor of pork sausage you can use this as well)
3 cups kale, roughtly chopped in 2 inch pieces
1 pkg Corn Bread Stuffing
1 cup raisins (optional)
5 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons pecan halves

Heat a heavy bottom skillet 2 minutes on medium-high heat.  Add sausage and saute until cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Add kale and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Fold in corn bread stuffing, raisins, and chicken broth, and cook an additional 2 minutes or until stuffing is moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with pecans.

Turkey Texas Style

I have to share this recipe since we who live in Texas (me) love to BBQ. This is a twist on your boring turkey. So if you have an opportunity to cook outside and want a twist instead of the old traditional turkey, you might want to try it.

Fire up your grill and everyone's appetite with this Grilled Texas BBQ Turkey. It has just the right amount of down-home flavor so you'll receive plenty of compliments, not to mention request for seconds and thirds. 

Recipe and picture from HEB TexasLife

1 (12 lb) turkey (thaw 2 days ahead if frozen)
2 bottles (16 oz) Texas Barbeque sauce (or your favorite)

Remove turkey neck and giblets package from turkey cavity and set aside for other use.   Rinse turkey and pat dry.

Prepare an outdoor grill or smoker for indirect medium-high heat. Use your fingers to carefully loosen turkey skin; from the cavity to the neck and from the thighs and drums. Spread barbecue sauce under skin and all over the outside turkey.

Place turkey breast side up on a metal rack in a large roasting pan.  Arrange pan on prepared grill.  Grill 2 to 3 hours; about 11 to 13 minutes per pound, until turkey registers an internal temperature of 165 degree in the thigh and 180 F in the breast.  Remove from grill and let stand 15 to 30 minutes before carving.

NOTE: to collect drippings for making gravy pour a little water into the foil pan.   Replenish the water as needed to keep the drippings from burning.  Remove pan from beneath the turkey about 30 minutes before the bird should be done and make gravy. Continue cooking turkey directly on cooking grate.

Mamma German Chocolate Cake


This recipe is from My

  •  (4-oz.) packages sweet chocolate baking bars
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Coconut-Pecan Frosting
  • Garnish: chocolate-dipped toasted pecan halves
  • Preparation

    1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper, and lightly grease paper.
    2.  Microwave chocolate baking bars and 1/2 cup water in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring once halfway through.
    3.  Combine flour and next 2 ingredients in a medium bowl.
    4.  Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
     Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
    1.  Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cake layers to loosen from sides of pans. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; discard parchment paper. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Coconut-Pecan Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.

    Note: We tested with Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate Bar.

    Northern Beans and Ham

    All this really takes is to plan ahead. My daughter and husband had two hugh bowls full of this wonderful hearty meal.

    1 bag (medium or large size depending on how many you plan for) I used the medium size bag of Northern Beans or you can also use Navy beans as well.
    4 to 6 large bay leaves
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    1 tbl smoked paprika
    1 large thing ham steak
    crushed red dried pepper flakes (optional)
    1 tsp garlic salt
    1 tbl parsley flakes

    Rinse beans and remove any bad beans or stones. Very important step. Put your beans in a crock pot and fill with water to the halfway point. Add in the bay leaves.

    Place your crock pot on low for 5 hrs adding water as needed.  After 5 hours then you add in all your seasonings and diced and trimmed ham. If you want the extra spice then add in the red pepper flakes.

    Cook for an additional 2 hrs on low. Before serving, remove the bay leaves.

    Make come corn bread and there you go!!!

    Mississippi Mud Pie/Cake

    This cake is as much fun to make as it is to eat.
    Servings: 16 to 20 servings
    Prep Time: 10 min
    Cook Time: 35 min
    Difficulty: Easy

    Ingredients Add to grocery list

    1/2 cup cocoa
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
    4 eggs beaten
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups granulated sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
    1 16-ounce box light brown sugar
    1/3 cup cocoa
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
    1/2 cup milk
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 10.5-ounce package miniature marshmallows


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
    Grease a 13x9x2-inch pan. 
    Stir cocoa into mixing bowl with butter. 
    Add eggs, flour, sugar, salt and vanilla. 
    Beat well with a mixer. 
    Fold in nuts. 
    Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.
    While cake is baking, prepare frosting. 
    Scald the milk. 
    Beat the brown sugar and butter together. 
    Add cocoa, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. 
    Remove cake from oven when done and pour marshmallows over hot cake. 
    Pour frosting over marshmallows on top.

    Cauliflower Fontina Gratin

    Cauliflower Fontina Gratin

    Cauliflower reaches it's peak seaon in the fall, making it a perfect veggie choice for the holidays.

    6 cups cauliflower florets (2 small heads)
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup all purpose flour
    2 cups hall and half, light cream or milk
    1/2 cup milk
    3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese (3 ounches)
    1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2/3 cup soft bread crumbs
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    snipped fresh thype (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease 2 quart square baking dish; set aside.  In a Dutch oven cook cauliflower florets in boiling lightly salted water about 5 minutes or just until tender; drain. Transfer to a boil of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again; set aside.

    For sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium low heat. Stir in flour.  Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stirl in half and half and the 1/2 cup milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, the 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, the salt and pepper.

    Spread about 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Add cauliflower.   Top with the remaining sauce.

    Sprinkle gratin with bread crumbs; drizzle with oil.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown and bubbly.  If desired, sprinkle with additional thyme.

    Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Fontina Cheese and Thyme

    If you aren't a fan of sweet potatoes then you can always use any potatoes such as a russet or red potatoes instead.

    Sorry the picture isn't that clear but I took it from my ipad since it was handy..  This recipe is from Better Homes and Garden Holiday magazine.

    Non-stick cooking spray
    2 pounds of sweet potatoes (3 medium), peeled - or any other potatoes you prefer.
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoon all purpose flour
    1 1/2 cup half and half, light cream or milk
    1 cup shredded Fontina cheese (4 ounces)
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground  pepper

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 2 x 2 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.  Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, cut sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Set aside.

    For sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook and stir for 1 minute.  Stir in half and half.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 1 minute more.

    Reduce heat to low. Add 3/4 cup of the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.   Stir in thyme, salt, and pepper.

    Place potatoes slices in the prepared baking dish.  Pour sauce over potatoes; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4  cup cheese.

    Bake, covered, about 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Bake uncovered, about 20 minutes more or until edges are brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

    Simple Sirloin Steak with Shallot Butter

    This recipe proves that you can eat an honest steak dinner even if you are a budget driven food shopper.  This is from the cook book $10 dollar dinners from Melissa d'Arabian.

    Tip: For a great steak, let it sit at room temperature before cooking; don't overcook it and let it rest after cooking.  Don't be tempted to skip this final step; the impact of resting is hugh.

    For the butter

    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 small shallot, finely chopped or 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press.
    (I use both)
    1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herb's (basil, chives, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, tarragon, or thyme)

    To make the Shallot herb butter

    1. Place the butter in a medium bowl and stir in the shallot and herbs.  Transfer the butter to the center of a piece of plastic wrap and tightly fold it around the butter.  Roll the plastic wrapped butter into a log and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days (or freeze for up to 1 month).

    To make the steak:

    2 10-12 ounce sirloin steaks
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 tablespoon vegetable oil

    1. Set the steaks on a cutting board and slice them in half crosswise so you have 4 steaks.  Using your knife, round out the clean edges so the sides look softer.  Use paper towels to pat dry both sides of the steaks, then season all over with the salt and pepper.  Set the steaks aside for 15 to 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

    2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat.  Brush both sides of each steak with vegetable oil and place it in the pan, letting it cook without moving it for 3 minutes. Flip the steaks over for medium rate cook until the steaks are 125 degrees (the steaks will continue to cook as they rest) transfer the steaks to 4 plates.

    3. Unwrap the butter log and slice off 2 to 3 thin pieces.  Place them on top of each steak and let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes (the butter will melt over the steaks) before serving.

    Dry aging at home

    Dry aging meat is a great technique to concentrate  the beefy flavor of a steak or roast.  Doing it yourself won't cost you a pretty penny, though dry aged meat will if you buy it from a butcher shop.  Here's how to dry age.

    1. Place the steaks or roast on a rack (so air can circulate around the meat) set over a rimmed sheet pan.

    2. Leave in the refrigerator at least 3 to 4 days.

    3. Slice off any hard, dried bits on the surface before cooking.

    Set the steaks on a cutting board

    Easy Phyllo Egg Rolls

    Holiday Inspiration

    Crispy, crunchy and flaky on the outside and full of traditional egg roll flavor on the inside. And the best thing is - they're fat-free. Serve them with a purchased sweet sour sauce.

    1 lb ground turkey breast or ground chicken
    4 cups coleslaw mix (from 1 lb bag)
    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon grated ginger root
    1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
    1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    18 frozen (thawed) phyllo sheet 18x14 inches)
    cooking spray

    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In 10 inch skillet, cook turkey or chicken over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until no longer pink; drain.  Stir in remaining ingredients except phyllo and cooking spray.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally, until coleslaw mix is wilted.

    2. Cover phyllo sheets with plastic wrap, then with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.  Place 1 phyllo sheet on cutting board; spray with cooking spray.  Repeat with 2 more phyllo sheets to make stack of 3 sheets.  Cut stack of phyllo crosswise into thirds to make 3 rectangles, about 14x6 inches.

    3. Place 1/4 cup turkey or chicken mixture on short end of each rectangle; roll up, folding in edges of phyllo.  Place roll, seam side down, on ungreased cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining phyllo and turkey or chicken mixture.  Spray rolls with cooking spray.  Baking 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

    Chocolate Dream Tart

    1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon butter or margarine
    1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
    1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chip (2 cups)
    1/2 cup shopped walnuts
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Unsweetened whipped cream, if desired

    1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In medium bowl, cut 1/3 cup butter into flour, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until mixture is crumbly.  Stir in egg until dough forms. Press firmly and evenly against bottom and side of ungreased 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, cool on wire rack.

    2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degree. In 2 quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat.  Stir in milk and chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Spread in baked crust.

    3. Bake about 25 minutes or until edge is set but chocolate appears moist in center.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 1 hour. To serve, top each slice with whipped cream.

    Brunch Oven Omelet

    Holiday inspiration - go easy on yourself and de-stress not everything has to be made from scratch.  Add store-bought caramel rolls and Muffin's, cut up fruit and one of those tasty orange juice blends and you will have a great hassle free brunch.
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    18 eggs
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup milk
    2 teaspoons salt
    4 medium green onions chopped (1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

    1. heat oven to 325. In 13 x9 inch (3 quart glass baking dish, melt butter in oven; tilt dish to coat bottom.

    2. In large bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, milk and salt with fork or wire whisk until blended.  Stir in onions.  Pour into baking dish.

    3. Bake uncovered about 35 minutes or until eggs are set but moist.  Sprinkle with parsley.

    Bacon and Swiss Quiche

    Here is a wonderful Breakfast Quiche for the Holiday's when you have guest over.  Another recipe from Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook.


    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
    2 to 3 tablespoons cold water


    8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
    1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz)
    1/3 cup finely chopped onion (I like chives)
    4 eggs
    2 cups whipping (heavy) cream or half and half
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

    additional crisply cooked crumbled bacon, if desired for topping

    1. In a medium bowl, mix flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle with cold water. 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

    2. Gather pastry into a ball.  Shape into flattened round on a lightly floured surface.   Wrap flattened round on lightly floured surface.  Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable.   This allows the shortening to before slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky.  If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

    3. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle dish or glass pie plate.  Fold pastry into fourths; place in quiche dish or pie plate. Unfold and ease into dish, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

    4. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in pastry lined quiche dish. In large bowl, beat eggs slightly with fork or wire whisk.  Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into quiche dish.

    5. Bake 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake about 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with additional bacon.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Seafood Bisque

    This is one of my new finds from a cook book from Betty Crocker So I can't the credit for it but I can sure share it with you.


    1/3 cup butter or margarine
    1/3 cup all purpose flour
    2 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth
    4 coups (1 qt) half and half
    1/2 dry white wine or water
    1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red bell peppers (from a 7 oz jar)
    12 oz cod fillet, cut into 1  inch pieces or any other fish that you prefer
    12 oz uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp, thawed if frozen and tail shells removed
    1/2 cup basil pesto
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    1. In a 4 quart Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth, half and half and wine. Stir in bell peppers and cod.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

    2. Stir in shrimp.  Simmer uncovered 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink.  Stir in pesto, salt and pepper.

    Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Ya-Ya

    Here's another great recipe from my Country Soup cook book.

    1/4 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
    1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (or chicken breast)
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) campbell's condensed chicken broth
    1 can (about 14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
    2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
    1 large onion; chopped  about (about 1 cup)
    1 large green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
    3 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 1/2 cup)
    2 bay leaves
    1 package (10 ounces) frozen cut okra, thawed
    Hot cooked rice (optional)

    1. Mix the flour and thyme in a gallon size resealable plastic food storage bag. Add the chicken and shake to coat.

    2. Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned, stirring often.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.  Add the sausage to the skillet and cook until it's well browned, stirring often.

    3.  Stir the chicken, sausage, soup, broth, tomatoes, hot pepper sauce, onion's green bell pepper, celery, bay leaves and okra in a 6 quart slow cooker.

    4. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the bay leaves. Serve with the rice, if desired.

    Durango Chili

    Here's another wonderful Recipe from my country soup book.

    3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
    1 pound ground beef
    1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    2 medium onions, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    4 cloves, minced
    2 cans (about 14 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed beef broth plus 1 can water
    1 bottle (12 ounce beer)
    2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chiles, undrained
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chili powder
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    3 to 5 jalepeno peppers, minced (omit if you don't want the heat)
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    2 cans (about 15 ounces each) pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    Shredded cheddar cheese
    sliced green onions

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown ground beef, stirring to break up meat. Add cubed beef; cook stirring occasionally, until meat is lightly browned. Transfer meat to a medium bowl.

    Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic; cook until tender.  Return meat to Dutch oven.   Stir in tomatoes, broth, water, beer, green chiles, chili powder, tomato paste, jalapenos, bay leaves, salt, cumin and black pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 2 hours or until meat is very tender. Stir in beans.  Simmer, uncovered until heated through.  Remove and discard bay leaves before serving. 

    Top with cheese and green onions.

    Penne Pasta with Sausage Fennel

    This is a recipe that I found from Fine Living magazine.
    Kosher salt
    4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
    12 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
    2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
    1 large fennel bulb (about 1-1/2 lb.), halved, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
    2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
    1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
    10 oz. dried penne
    1 oz. finely grated Pecorino Romano (1 cup using a rasp grater); more for serving
    Freshly ground black pepper

    Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it up into smaller pieces with the edge of a slotted metal spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Use the spoon to transfer the sausage to a paper-towel lined plate and pour off any fat left in the skillet.
    Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the onion.Cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens and begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fennel, sage, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is softened and the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked sausage and chicken broth and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
    Meanwhile, cook the penne in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot over medium-high heat and stir in the sausage mixture until well combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and enough reserved pasta water to moisten, if necessary. Distribute among 4 bowls and sprinkle with additional cheese.
    nutrition information (per serving):
    Calories (kcal): 640; Fat (g): 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): 8; Protein (g): 23; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16; Carbohydrates (g): 70; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 1030; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 8;
    photo: Scott Phillips
    From Fine Cooking 119 , pp. 14

    Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque

    The key to making sure that you have all the shells out of the crab is to lay out the crab on a baking sheet in a oven at 300.  The shell's will turn to a pink color. This way you will know that there are shells and you need to pick them out.   Much better then eating them in the Bisque.


    1 tablespoon butter
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 can (8 ounces) hunts tomato sauce with roasted garlic
    1 cup half and half
    1 cup coarsely chopped cooked crab meat
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 ground black pepper
    1/4 chopped fresh basil leaves.

    1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender stirring frequently.

    2.  Add tomato sauce, half and half, crab, broth, salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and simmer 5  minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

    Art Smith's Roasted Vegetable Oven-Baked Frittata

    This recipe is from my Diabetic Living magazine. Art Smith use to be Oprah's Chef. Since my hubby has diabetes's and we've had a few scares with his health lately I've decided to try to make better healthier dishes for him. Which unfortunately, that means I'll be making two different meals. Most of the time I can get my daughter who is 12 to try just about anything but not my picky 15yr son.


    Servings 8 (1/8) Frittata each
    Carb per servings 4 g
    Prep 15 minutes, roast time 15 minutes
    Bake 22 minutes - let stand 10 minutes before cutting

    1 cup thin red onion wedges
    1 cup sliced fresh cremini mushrooms
    1 cup red sweet pepper strips (1 medium)
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach
    2 ounces goat cheese
    24 egg whites, beaten or 3 cups pasteurized liquid egg whites
    2 tablespoons snipped fresh oregano

    Preheat oven to 400 degree.  Lightly coat a 15x10x1 in ch baking pan and a 3 quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl toss together onion mushrooms, sweet pepper, olive oil 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spoon evenly into prepared 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Roast 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

    In a large bowl toss together roasted vegetables mixture and spinach.  Spread in a prepared 3 quart baking dish. Dot with small pieces of goat cheese.  Pour egg whites over top. Bake 22 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with oregano.

    Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

    This was a wonderful soup that I made last night that is full of wonderful veggies and good for you.  I couldn't find a recipe that I liked so I just put it together as I pretty much do all my recipes.

    1 large head of (washed chopped) Cauliflower
    3 large (chopped finely) stalks of celery
    1 large (chopped)  carrot
    4 large garlic cloves (chopped)
    1 small onion (chopped fine)
    1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like the spice)
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 quart Chicken stock
    1/2 cup milk or heavy cream or half and half
    1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    4 tablespoon butter
    1 dash of Cayenne pepper

    Chop up all of your veggies. Make sure everything excluding the cauliflower is finely chopped. You  want medium size pieces of Cauliflower unless,  you prefer it large/smaller pieces it's up to you.

    Place butter and veggies in a large soup pot and saute for about 8 minutes until veggies are tender.  Add the Chicken stock and cook over medium heat until all veggies are soft.  Add in the milk, or half and half and your cheese. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes over low heat. Add in your seasonings.  Adjust to taste if needed. 

    At this point when the veggies are soft and soup is well mixed and cheese is melted then you can take a your smart stick (which is a hand blender for soups) and blend to the consistency you like. I left some large chunks of Cauliflower for great texture. Some people like it nice and smooth. It's your choice.

    For the picture I just place some fresh basil on top which added wonderful flavor for the short time it was in there just for the picture.


    Best Ever Turkey Meatloaf (by Mary Wachel Noble)

    One of my high school girl friends made the BEST turkey meatloaf. So I thought I would share it with you guys as well. I'll ask for a pic later and post it. 

    2 pkg Jennie O turkey
    One 95% lean
    One 85% lean
    1 pkg sweet Italian turkey sausage

    (squeeze out of casing)
    I egg
    1 can Rotel
    Seasoned Italian bread crumbs
    2 cups chicken broth
    ( turkey gets dry and the broth gives a great flavor and keeps it moist)
    You can add minced fresh garlic..I didn't have any on hand .
    Season with salt and pepper
    Then form your loaf in pan and pour I small can of V8 juice on top
    Bake 350 degree oven for 1 hour 15 min.

    It was soooooo good!