Friday, May 29, 2009

Lingonberry Chicken

A couple of months ago, Wayne brought home a jar of lingonberry jam from Sweden. Wasn't that nice of him? Anyway, we tried it on toast and it just doesn't compete with homemade freezer strawberry jam, so I had to come up with something else to use up the rest of the jar. I decided it would probably work as a substitute for the jam in Russian Chicken. It was perfect! Lingonberry Chicken

8 oz. Russian salad dressing
8 oz. lingonberry jam
1 package onion soup mix
6-8 chicken thighs

Combine the salad dressing, jam, and onion soup mix. Pour over the chicken. Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes. Serve over rice. Serves 6.
I also learned that lingonberries are from the cranberry family. My original Russian Chicken recipe calls for apricot/pineapple jam, but I've also seen variations using cranberry sauce. I guess that's why it turned out so well.

Russian Salad Dressing

Russian salad dressing isn't something I normally keep in the pantry. However, when we want to have some, it's really quite simple to make ourselves. Here's the recipe:

Russian Salad Dressing

1 cup ketchup
2-3 tablespoons sugar
3/8 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons grated onion
1 tablespoon Worcestshire sauce
1/4 to 3/8 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients.

Note: to make 8 oz. for the Russian/Lingonberry Chicken recipe, just divide this in thirds. Or, make up the whole recipe and use the extra on salad.

Our Favorite Pancake Topping

I grew up with homemade syrup for topping our pancakes and waffles and so that's what I'v always served my kids. I guess we could spend a lot of money on "real" maple syrup, but we have other priorities. I'm disappointed that I can't find this in my local grocery stores, but the brand they have instead does the job. To make your own pancake syrup, combine 2 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water and a couple of tablespoons of light corn syrup. Bring to a boil.
After it's boiled for a minute, remove from heat and stir in about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring. That's it!
To store our syrup, I use recycled containers from past campouts. The other day I felt the one we had was past its prime, so I bought a new bottle. My "I don't like change" son revolted! Fortunately, his older brother is here to finish off the bottle so we can refill it with the "normal" mixture. And I guess I'll send a bottle of the secret ingredient with him when he leaves home!

Strong Men need Spinach

Jeff eats a lot. He exercises a lot too, so it's okay. But I don't think he gets enough vegetables, so when I suggested adding some spinach to this simple salisbury steak, I was pleased that he followed my advice. And he said it turned out to be another delicious creation!

Combine a leftover cooked hamburger patty (when Jeff's around we cook extra on purpose) with some mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, onions and spinach (just toss in a handful from the bag of frozen spinach). Heat through and serve over rice. Add a dash of Tabasco sauce if you want.

The Ultimate Quesadilla


Jeff did some more creating this week.  This quesadilla is made using a wrap.  Top it with refried beans, a cooked hamburger patty cut in pieces, tomatoes, and cheese.  Then fold it in half and grill it on both sides. Garnish it with salsa and ranch dressing.  Today he added avocado slices because we finally had some in the house.  Delicioso! (Can you tell he made more than one!)

Chinese Noodle Casserole

The kids said to never make this again, but it brings such fond memories of my own childhood, that I can't make that promise. Chinese Noodle Casserole

1-2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I omit)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can water
3/4 cup uncooked cracked wheat (can substitute brown rice)
1 (5 oz) can Chinese noodles

Brown meat in frying pan. Add onion and sauté briefly. Stir in everything else but the Chinese noodles. Pour into large greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with Chinese noodles. Cover and bake at 350° for an hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.
Yes, it does look and taste like it should have worms in the title, but it's still delicious! And it's great comfort food. Add some green vegetables and it's even better.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rice Krispy Treats

Did you know that if you make Rice Krispy Treats with stale rice krispies and old marshmallows, they taste stale even though they're newly made?  Of course you knew that.  But that didn't stop me from making these to use up the old box of cereal, and it didn't stop the kids from eating them.
Rice Krispy Treats
¼ cup butter or margarine
4 – 4 ½ cups marshmallows
6 – 6 ½ cups rice krispies

Melt butter. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Take off heat and stir in rice krispies. Pat into buttered 9x13” pan.



Now that the kids are gone and we don't make these frequently, I often discover that the marshmallows in the pantry have gone stale. Here's a website that has a lot of suggestions for ways to use up stale marshmallows. Some of them are ingenious, like stirring into hot cocoa, ice cream, frozen yogurt, or even cold cereal (think Lucky Charms). You could add a slice of bread to the bag for a day or two to help "rehydrate" them. If you don't want to deal with any of these suggestions, putting the bag of marshmallows into the freezer before they go stale will keep them fresh.

Spanish Omelet #2

Wayne made the second recipe in our new cookbook (The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook) and it was even more delicious than the first one!  I never would have thought of serving cauliflower for breakfast!!


Tortilla de Coliflor

1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1/3 cup olive oil
6 eggs

Boil cauliflower in salted water with lemon juice.  Remove when barely tender.  Fry garlic in oil until golden brown and discard.  Sauté onion in same oil for five minutes.  Add cauliflower and cook for five minutes.  Beat eggs until frothy.  Salt and pepper to taste and add to pan.  Spread evenly and cook over medium heat.  When eggs leave sides of pan, invert a plate over the pan and flip omelette onto plate.  Slice omelette back into pan to brown on the other side.  Repeat.  Serve hot.  Serves 4.

(We topped it with salsa at the table.)

Ramen Deliciousness

It's always fun to watch Jeff fix his lunch!  For this one he cooked a package of ramen noodles, but didn't add the seasoning packet (which will save the next time someone wants a light broth soup).  He drained the noodles and put them back in the pan with a little seasoned olive oil, mushrooms, green beans and cooked chicken.  When that was all warmed through he tossed in a few cherry tomato halves and ate it.  He said it was a keeper.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cookie Dough Sundae

The other day Jeff decided he'd make his own cookie dough ice cream. It doesn't look very pretty, but it was delicious, particularly with the hot fudge sauce on top.

Salsa Chicken with Squash


This doesn't have a "real" recipe, but it turned out pretty well.  Combine chicken chunks, some onions, garlic and zucchini and sauté it briefly in a little olive oil.  Then stir in a bunch of salsa and heat through.  Serve over rice topped with grated cheese and sour cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Jeff shared this idea with us when he came home from school (thank you Emily) and it's become Steven's new favorite brownie recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Prepare a brownie mix as package directs and pour into a 9x13" baking pan. Prepare a package of chocolate chip cookie mix and dollop onto the brownie batter. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool and serve.

That was the original recipe. We don't keep brownie and cookie mixes in our pantry, so we just made our regular brownie and chocolate chip cookie recipes and then combined them (using just part of the cookie dough) before baking. It's yummy. Actually, we experimented with a new brownie recipe - the one from the Make-a-Mix Cookbook, and that's the one Steven decided he liked better.

Brownie Mix

Brownie Mix

6 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
8 cups sugar
3 cups unsweetened cocoa (an 8 oz. can)
2 cups shortening

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, then cut in shortening. Cool in a cool, dry place. Makes about 17 cups.
Our Best Brownies
Combine 2 1/2 cups Brownie Mix with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 eggs. Spread into an 8" square pan. (Mixture will be stiff.) Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. (Double for a 9x13" pan.)

3/1/2017 - I'm going to try cutting the recipe in sixths to make a single batch. We'll see how it works. Seemed to work okay!

Chicken Parmesan

A Specialty of Wayne

Going through high school, Wayne worked in an Italian restaurant. He learned to really appreciate a good Fettucini Alfredo. But he also learned how to make Chicken Parmesan. And that's what he fixed for my special Mother's Day dinner.
We had a jar of spaghetti sauce in the pantry, which he tasted and added seasonings to until it was just right.
The next step is to season some flour with salt and pepper, dredge the chicken breasts in it, and then sauté them in olive oil until browned.
Place the browned chicken on a cookie sheet and top with Mozarella slices, some spaghetti sauce, and then grated Parmesan cheese.Place under the broiler until the cheese melts, and you're finished! It was scrumptious!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

Hawaiian Haystacks

2 (10 3/4 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth or water
(or make your own chicken gravy)
2 cups diced chicken
4 cups cooked long-grain rice

Combine soup and chicken broth in a medium saucepan to make gravy. Stir to blend. Add chicken. Simmer about 8-10 minutes, until heated through.
Layer on plates-first stack rice, chow mein noodles and chicken gravy. Add toppings as desired.
Makes about 8 servings.

Topping choices
chow mein noodles
diced or sliced tomatoes
chopped celery
diced green pepper
green peas
chopped green onion
pineapple chunks or tidbits
shredded cheddar cheese
slivered almonds
shredded coconut

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Layered Pineapple Cream Dessert

Layered Pineapple Cream Dessert

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
2 bananas, sliced
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups cold milk
2 pkg (4 servings each) instant vanilla pudding
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (8 oz) carton Cool Whip, thawed

Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter together and press evenly onto bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Arrange banana slices on crust. Beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in the milk. Add the pudding mixes and stir until well blended and thickened. Spread evenly over banana slices. Spoon pineapple evenly over pudding mixture. Spread cool whip over pineapple. Refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to serve.

Jello Cake

As Wayne and the kids were preparing dinner on Mother's Day, someone asked what was for dessert. I said there was ice cream in the freezer if they wanted. However, Steven immediately volunteered to make Jello Cake instead. And he did. Jeff reminded us that he made it last year as well, and David made it often on his mission. It's a great, easy dessert.
First, prepare a regular cake mix and bake it according to the directions. (We usually use a white cake mix in a 9x13 pan.) Just before it's done baking, dissolve one 3 oz. package of jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Then stir in just 1/2 cup of cold water.
Poke the cake with a fork every inch or so and then carefully pour the jello all over the cake.
Go slowly to allow it some time to seep into the holes you made.
Chill for a couple of hours, then cut into pieces and serve with a dollop (this is a teen-aged size one) of whipped topping.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's our family's favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's a particular favorite of Jeff's and he decided he wanted some this afternoon. So, he made a double batch.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1-2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts and/or M&M's, optional


Cream butter and shortening with sugars. Stir in vanilla and eggs. Combine and add dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips and optional nuts. Drop by spoonfuls on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes.

Listen for the timer to go off! Let sit on the cookie sheet for just a minute, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Store them in a covered container before Dad comes home.This is just the basic Nestle's Tollhouse cookie recipe. However, when we moved to Florida we discovered it needed some adjusting. My best guess is the humidity gives the flour a higher moisture content, so we had to add more. Normally we have extra-large eggs, but today we used regular large ones. So, we didn't need quite as much flour. Also, a couple of years ago the formulation of our regular margarine changed and ruined our cookies. We did some experimenting - with real butter, 3 types of margarine, and butter-flavor Crisco. The butter-flavor Crisco won the taste test, so that's what we use now, along with regular Crisco. We like puffy cookies, not flat ones.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

White Bean Dip

When you're looking for a way to use beans that's not chili or soup, give this a try. It's great.

White Bean Roasted Red Pepper Dip
by Karine Tolman
1 (15 oz.) can cannelloni or navy beans
1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained, (about 1 cup)
3 oz. cream cheese (or use sour cream)
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
salt & pepper to taste

Pureé all in blender or food processor. Serve with baked pita chips.

Note: to make pita chips, just brush a piece of pita bread with some olive oil, sprinkle with whatever seasoning you desire, slice (a pizza cutter works great), and bake at 400° until as crispy as you like.

Spicy Mexicali Beef

Spicy Mexicali Beeffrom Kathy Ashley
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup salsa
1 cup corn (use canned or frozen)
1 can (14.5 oz.) white kidney beans (rinsed) and/or
1 can (14.5 oz.) red kidney beans (rinsed)
1 can (14.5 oz.) black beans (rinsed)
1 can (14.5 oz.) tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

Brown ground beef. Then add all remaining ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes until hot. Serve. (All of these ingredients can be adjusted to taste.)

Note: Blanca Gerlach also uses this recipe, but with only one can of beans instead of three.

Black Beans and Tortillas

Rennie shared one of her favorite lunches which is to spread a flour tortilla with black beans, and top it with some Rotel tomatoes and low-fat grated cheese. Pop it in the microwave to melt the cheese, then roll it up. Top with lettuce, salsa and a little sour cream and eat it with a knife and fork. Or, put the condiments inside, roll up, and eat with your fingers!
That sounded really similar to this crispier version:
Black Bean Quesadillas

Combine 2 cups cooked black beans, slightly mashed, with ½ cup salsa. Spread on a tortilla. If desired, add corn, tomatoes, olives, avocado or grated zucchini. Top with grated cheese, and then another tortilla. Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes. Cut in wedges to serve.

It would look much prettier topped with some salsa and sour cream!

Black Bean Soup

The Feijoada was delicious, but it was also very high in calories! We tried a vegetarian black bean soup that was just as delicious, just as filling, and much better for the waistline.

Black Bean Soup

1-2 onions, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
7 cups cooked black beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder, optional
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
celery, carrots, green peppers if desired

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for a while. Top each serving with chopped green onion, sour cream, and/or grated cheese. Can also serve over rice. Serves 8.

Tuscan Sausage & Bean Soup

Tuscan Sausage & Bean Soup

1 ¼ cups dry white beans
12 oz. Italian sausage, sliced
4 cups water
1 ¾ cup beef broth
½ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 zucchini, sliced (or yellow squash)
1 can (15 oz) Italian tomatoes
1/3 cup dry red wine or water
5 oz. thawed frozen spinach

Soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse. Brown the sausage and drain. Combine beans, sausage, water, broth, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, zucchini and tomatoes in crock pot. Cook on low for 11 hours. Just before serving stir in the spinach. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 4.

Cowboy Beans

Cowboy Beansby Peggy Redd
This was really yummy!
1-2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
4 cans of assorted beans (pork and beans with black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, or any favorite – use as many or as few varieties as you like)
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
1 cup catsup
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, optional

Brown hamburger and onion together. Add the rest of the ingredients, adjusting to taste and desired thickness. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes. (Can also be simmered on the stove, long enough to blend flavors.)

Feijoada

FeijoadaOriginally created by slaves from pig ears, tails and feet, it was elevated in status to become the national dish of Brazil.

Whenever he's traveled to Brazil on business, Wayne has heard raves about this dish and wanted to try it. However, they only serve it in restaurants on Wednesdays and Saturdays - I guess that helps keep it special - and he was usually in a plane on those two days. He was so excited when on his last trip he was able to arrange be in Brazil on Wednesday so that he could finally try it. Imagine his disappointment when they finally checked into the hotel only to be told feijoada is a lunch menu item and by the time they could get anywhere, it would no longer be served. To help him feel better, I did some searching and found a few recipes. Here's the combination we tried, and it really is very delicious!

Soak one pound of dry black beans overnight. In the morning, rinse, return to pot with water to cover and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, cook one pound of pork sausage (I used a mild Chorizo) and one pound of pork sirloin, cubed (I used leftovers from a pork roast).

Combine beans, meat and the following ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer until done, (I used the crock pot - several hours on low).

If desired, you can add additional meats – cubed ham, diced bacon, dried beef, and of course the pig ears, tails and/or feet!

Or you can leave all the meat out for a vegetarian dish. (Add extra onions, celery and peppers.)

Serve over rice, with collard greens on the side, and oranges for dessert.