Saturday, December 30, 2006

Boxty with Roast Pork and Whiskey Cream Sauce

Prepare the boxty batter;

1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes (cold is fine or if you are in a hurry, some Bob Evans packaged mashed potatoes)
1 cup of shredded raw potato, rinsed and drained in a colander twice to remove the starch.
two cups of milk (NOT skim, but I used 2%)
dash of salt
dash of pepper
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour.

Put in a bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth. Let stand about 20 minutes at room temperature while you prepare the filling, then give it a quick whisk again before cooking.

Whisky Cream Sauce with roasted pork.

1 pork tenderloin
Jameson's Irish Whiskey
Penzey's Galena Street Chicken and Rib rub
1 pint heavy cream (NOT whipping cream)

Dust the tenderloin with the Penzeys Galena Street Rib and Chicken Rub (salt, sugar, tellicherry black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, sage, cayenne and crushed red pepper) and roast at 350 degress per package directions to medium rare. (For the medium sized one I had, 350 for 40 minutes. It will cook further in the cream sauce so don't cook past medium rare.)

Remove from oven, cube and set aside. If there are any small fatty pieces, or more rare bits, throw those in to the next step to saute with the veggies for extra flavoring, I did.

In a medium fry pan:

In a couple of tablespoons of olive oil , saute two cups of sliced mushrooms and an onion diced.
Cook on medium until mushrooms are soft and the onion is caramelized. (Throw in a couple pork bits if you like)
Pour in a pint (two cups) of heavy cream (not whipping cream).
Add several shakes of of Penzey's chcken and rib rub (the same as you used on the pork to cook) and several grinds of fresh black pepper. (I would guesstimate about 1/2 t. of the Penzey's, and 1/4 t. of the pepper).

Cook on low until it begins to steam

Add 2 1/2 to 3 ounces of Jamison's Irish Whiskey carefully so you don't set your eyebrows on fire. :-)

Remove the mushrooms and veggies in the mixture with a slotted spoon to a bowl with the remaining pork. (this makes it less messy to whisk, trust me on this).

Cook cream/whiskey mixture on low/medium (gentle simmer or less) for about 10 minutes until it starts to reduce, stirring fairly often. Add a couple of tablespoons of the boxty batter to the cream mixture, and whisk over medium while it simmers, whisking constantly (the boxty batter has flour in it which will help it thicken). Don't let it come to a full rolling boil, just a gentle, bubbly simmer. If you started this when the boxy batter was prepared, the 20 minutes for the batter should be about up. Add the meat and veggies back in to the cream sauce, turn the heat down to low and let it gently cook a bit more, stirring occasionally, while you cook the boxtys. .

Cook the Boxty
Heat a large fry pan to medium (I had a "six" setting on the stove I was using). I tried one with a fair amount (two or three tablespoons of butter) in the large pan on the first one and the boxty fell apart. A spray of non stick cooking spray worked better, then just a teaspoon or two of butter. Less is better on this one. Between each boxty, give it a quick spray of Pam if needed.
Pour a generous soup ladle full of batter in the pan, spreading it out from the center with the back of your ladle and cook just like a pancake Unlike a pancake though, it doesn't get tiny bubbles all over and it should be much thinner. When it looks "dry" around all the edges (and you may see a bubble or so in the center) and the underneath is a golden brown, you can flip it over, VERY carefully (this may take some practice).

NOTE: Try a small "test" boxty (your dog will thank you). If it's too thick, you may wish to add a bit more milk. If you add more than a couple of tablespoons of milk, add in another teaspoon of flour. If the boxty "falls apart", add a little more flour to the mix. I had two "here Barkley" boxty's and some cursing before I got the hang of it. (this is my largest size fry pan). The goal is a boxty not a whole lot thicker than a crepe and very tender.
When brown on both sides, and dry in the center, remove from pan, pour some of the creamed meat mixture in the middle and fold over like a omelet. Put a little more meat and sauce on top and top with watercress. (find with the parsley in the store, it's less than $2 and it's good here and added to salad for the leftovers). You can cook one at a time, or cook them all at once, placing on a plate with a warm towel over until they are all done.

Serve with mashed potatoes and salad. Sprinkle with a bit of cheddar and/or fresh watercress.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Enchiladas Range Style

3 tablespoons and two teaspoons Penzey's 9000 chili powder (yes, that is a lot but this is a sauce that isn't poured on, soaking the tortillas, so it's deep and rich tasting).
1 teaspoon Penzey's Ancho Chili Powder
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 heaping tsp.Penzey's Italian seasoning ( or any type Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon wild honey
2 cups chicken or turkey stock (broth)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil divided
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 and 1/4 cups chopped cooked leftover chicken or turkey
1 cup Vidalia onion, diced
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
2 to 2 and 1/2 cups shredded cheese ( I used low fat)
8-10 flour tortillas, regular or whole wheat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray.
Heat 2 T oil in saucepan over low for a few minutes. Add in seasonings and stir. Add in flour and honey and stir to make a paste. Add in chicken broth, whisking constantly, raising heat to medium. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking, then simmer on low for 10-15 minutes to thicken, whisking as it does (though, towards the last couple of minutes you can just whisk it every minute or so).

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until caramelized (adding another tablespoon of oil if it starts to stick) adding in drained chilies as it starts to soften and cook down. Stir in cooked diced chicken and turn off heat.

To assemble. Get 8-10 tortillas (not the huge burrito sized). Drizzle a tablespoon or so of the sauce down the center of the tortilla. Top with beans, chicken/chili mixture and some cheese (the amount you can grab with the end of all your fingers). Roll up and place seam side down in the pan. Drizzle remaining sauce over the top. Bake 20 minutes, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes, until melted. Serve with salad and condiments of your choice (I had mine with just salad and vinaigrette and a a pitcher of something cool. It's smoky and you'll feel the heat at the back of your throat but it's not overpowering.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove and sprinkle extra cheese on top, and bake for 5-10 minutes more until tortillas begin to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Cheddar Peppered Biscuit Bites

Cheddar Peppered Biscuit Bites.

4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lard
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cups sharp cheddar (I used a combination of white cheddar and Tillamock).
3 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1 andc 1/2 cups whole milk
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon water.

preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a large baking pan and set aside. In a big bowl, combined flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in lard and butter with a pastry blender until you have course crumbs. Sti in cheese and pepper. Make a well in the center and add all at once, stirring JUST until moistened.

Pat down out on a lightly floured surface, kneading a dozen times or until smooth. Lightly pat dough into a 1 inch thick square. Cut into four inch squares and then cut each square into a triangle (more surface area equals crunky cheesy edges). Combine egg and water and brush over biscuits. Place on prepared baking pan and bake until golden brown 11-15 minutes. (watch carefully, ovens vary quite a bit).
Serve warm with butter and a big bowl of soup, stew or chili.

Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are adapted from one that was common in the depression era, using no milk, only one egg and no butter.

They turn out light, chewy and surprisingly good. I only changed one thing, adding a dash of Penzey's Vietnamese Cinnamon.

3/4 cup shortening (that's right folks I use plain old fresh lard, be advised though that the packaged for long term store bought lard may be hydrogenated to preserve it)
1 cup firmly packed light browns sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 cups uncooked oatmeal (NOT the kind from the tiny packets)
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a good dash of Penzey's Vietnamese Cinnamon

Cream the shortening, sugars, egg, water and vanilla until creamy. Combine the remaining ingredients, add to the first mixture and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Toll House Cookies - Dark and Twisted

Thin and Chewy cookies with dark chocolate and cinnamon

These are a thin and chewy cookie, with just a hint of something. Could that be cinnamon? The first batch was an experiment and they didn't last long, once I took them to work.

1 cup (220 g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (165 g) brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. (5 mL) mexican vanilla extract
2 large (100 g) eggs
Cinnamon (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
2-1/4 cup (280 g) flour
1 tsp. (4.6 g) baking soda
1 tsp. (6 g) table salt
2 cups (340 g) dark chocolate chips or chunks
(Note: dark chocolate doesn't melt quite as well as semi sweet but it's a great taste)

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the sugar and the butter until creamy with a mixer, adding eggs one at a time at the end. Do NOT over mix once the butter is incorporated. Drop by heaping teaspoons on an UNGREASED coookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes. (check at 9 minutes). Cookies should be light brown around the edges and still a bitsoft in the middle.

The recipe on the Toll House bag makes some good cookies, just like my Mom made. But that being said, there are few recipes in this house that go "untweeked" or are just made up from scratch. Whatever you do to them, some cookie advice

(1) Use butter, not margarine, It DOES make a difference. Yes you can use butter flavored Crisco but in a word (OK, two words) HYDROGENATED OILS. . Butter, at least, is a natural product and in moderation won't hurt you.

(2) Don't use imitation vanilla.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie

1 and a 3/4 cups of homemade cream of cluck soup* (or use cream of chicken soup and omit the salt in the chicken filling.)
2/3 cup mayo (don't use low or non fat kind)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
two pinches of crushed red pepper
dash or two of salt and pepper
4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
3 cups chopped veggies (if frozen - thaw but don't cook)
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup grated sharp cheddar

2-3 tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (if using the smaller four pack of bargain biscuits it will take  a few biscuits shy of 3 tubes.  If using homemade biscuits you'll need a couple of dozen)


2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons celery seed
3/4 salt

Heat oven to 375 F. Saute chopped onion in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to caramelize and release the sweetness. In a very large bowl, mix onion with soup, mayo, Worcestershire, red and black pepper, salt, chicken and veggies. Transfer to a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch glass casserole or lasagna pan. Sprinkle with cheese, cover with foil and bake at 375 F.for 20 minutes.

It's important you get the filling very hot before you put the biscuits on, or they will not bake properly.

While it cooks, separate the biscuits and cut in half.

In a bowl, combine sour cream, celery seed, eggs and salt, whisk up with a fork and set aside.

Remove casserole and place biscuits, cut side down over hot chicken mixture, about an inch apart. (If using canned biscuits, you will have a few biscuits left, save for later or freeze).  Pour the sauce over the top and spread with a spatula.

Immediately return to oven at 375 F. and bake uncovered until top is golden. Bake about 4 minutes more than what the biscuit package calls for. For me, using small biscuits in my 70 year old gas oven, it was about 18 minutes after returning it to the oven with toppings, turning it half way through.

With the 13 x 9 pan, it's enough for a large family and freezes well. Recipe also cuts in half easily to make an 8 x 8 pan.

*Cream of Cluck Soup

Makes about 4 cups worth, I put in separate freezer containers and freeze and  thaw and use as needed.

4 cup half and half or whole milk
2 and 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon melted butter
2 teaspoons white sugar
chicken bullion cube
2 cups finely chopped, cooked chicken meat
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use Jane's Krazy Mixed up Salt  - a salt/herb blend which has less sodium than table salt).
pinch of sage
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves roasted garlic  finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder).

Make a white sauce of milk (or half and half), flour, and melted butter. Add chicken. Add sugar, salt, pepper,sage and garlic (may use more or less as desired). Mix well and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.

If soup is not as thick as desired, mix a small amount of cornstarch with a small amount of water and whisk in slowly to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Creamy Veggie/Cheese Dip

Picture courtesy of Nugget Market - check out their website
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (separate 1/4 cup or it for topping)
1 pound asparagus spears, roasted and chopped
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
8 1/2 ounce car (or jar) artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup mayo (not "lite"version)
1 tub (about 8-9 ounces) Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese chive and onion flavor.
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper .
2-3 cloves roasted garlic, chopped (or you can replace each clove with 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)

To Roast Garlic for cooking purposes:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves. You don't need to peel the heads but do rub of any flaky or papery skin. Use a paring knife to cut off the stem end of each clove.

Put the cloves in the center of a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and using your fingers rub the oil around the entire clove. Gather the aluminum foil into a pouch and set it directly on the rack of your oven. Roast until the garlic becomes very soft, approximately 1 hour. Do a maximum of 2 cloves per pouch.

After baking, carefully open the pouch let the cloves sit until they are cool enough to handle. When cool, squeeze each clove gently at the untrimmed end and the roasted garlic goodness should slide right out.

To Roast Asparagus (again, I roasted mine for another meal and then saved some for this).
1 lb asparagus spears (thick spears are best for roasting)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper, lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Thoroughly wash the asparagus, breaking off the touch ends and discarding.

Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer in a baking dish and drizzle with just a little olive oil, turning them over with a fork in the oil until all are covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (if you are making these just to eat and not use for a recipe later, also sprinkle with some garlic).

Roast for 8-10 minutes until just slightly brown and tender when pierced with a fork. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve or save for the recipe.

NOTE: If you use packaged or (shudder) canned asparagus in this recipe drain and then add in a drop of lemon juice to the cheese veggie mixture.

Mix 1-1/4 cups Parmesan with all remaining ingredients. Spoon into 2-qt. baking dish; top with remaining Parmesan. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until heated through and top is light brown

Vanilla Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

Makes about two dozen good sized cupcakes. The basic recipe came from a friend and I tweaked it, the original source is unknown. 

1 3/4 cups  King Arthurs cake flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped into fairly small chunks
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon Penzey's Mexican Vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325° With an electric mixer with a paddle attachment,combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a spatula as it mixes. Add butter pieces, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a small bowl mix together the liquids, eggs, milk, Penzey's vanilla and almond extract. Whisk together eggs, Set your mixer down to medium and add wet ingredients in 4 equal parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated.  But do NOT overbeat!.

Divide batter evenly among two cupcake pans, using the little paper liners if you like.  Fill each about 2/3 full,. Bake, rotating pan halfway 17-21 minutes, inserting a toothpick into one in the center at about 19 minutes.  If it comes out clean, it's done 

Unless you have a really big oven, you'll have to cook one pan at a time to do the turning, but it does make them cook nice and evenly.

Cool on a wire rack and frost when cool. Top with crumbled Cadbury Flake chocolate, or shaved chocolate of your choice.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

1/2 pk (11.5-oz) Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips (NOT semisweet chips)
3 tb unsalted butter; room remperature
1 tb Frangelica (hazelnut flavored liquor)
2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

small drop of Penzey's  Mexican vanilla
1/3 cup cream

Carefully melt the chips in a microwave or over a pot of simmering water, set aside while you mix up the rest and set aside; In a large bowl, combine butter and Frangelica (replacing with a teaspoon of vanilla if making these for the kids), and a drop of vanilla and beat it well with a hand mixer. Carefully blend in the melted morsels, alternating with powdered sugar and heavy cream. It makes a couple of cups of frosting.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006



1 (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts
olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
drop of honey
splash of dry red wine
2 or 3 grinds of a pepper mill
(Note: I don't use salt, as the artichokes and olives I use as a topping have sodium, you can use to taste)


Drain the artichokes, don't rinse.

Cook chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat for about 10 minutes so they start to caramalize. Bump heat up to medium, add another tablespoon of olive oil if it needs it and cook an additional 10 minutes, adding the garlic during the last 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes and honey (use a tiny pinch of sugar if you don't have the honey). Season with pepper and salt (optional). Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

Add the artichoke hearts and red wine and stir occasionally while simmering for 20 minutes more. Pour on uncooked chicken breast or fish fillets and cook as you would for the meat selected (I used large chicken breasts, cooked at 350 for 50 minutes, covered with foil). Sprinkle with low fat Italian cheese, some sliced black olives and/or chopped fresh tomato, if you wish, the last 10 minutes of baking.
Pasta Side Dish

Cook 1 1/2 to 2 cups pasta and drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water. When chicken is done, mix with 2 cups leftover roasted vegetables and a tablespoon of the pasta sauce. If it's dry, add a tablespoon or two of the cooking water. Add a sprinkle of Penzey's Italian seasoning (or your favorite) and a dash of freshly grated Parmesan.

Feeds 4 hungry people with leftovers for lunch

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Malted Milk Ball Cookies

Malted Milk Ball Cookies

1 stick butter

1 stick margarine (I used Blue Bonnet) If you use all butter, they're spread too thin, if you use all margatine they won't taste as good

1/2 capful of pure vanilla

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup regular sugar

Cream ingredients together until blended. Add 3 SMALL eggs. (or two extra large).

Mix in 2 and 1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking SODA

1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add 2 1/4 cups chopped malted milk balls.

Place in rounded tablespoon sized globs on a baking pan sprayed with non stick cook spray.

Bake at 350 for 8-11 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen depending on size.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hibachi Steak and Salmon

For 2, you will need one rib eye
1 salmon steak
rice (if making fried rice you'll need an egg and extra soy sauce)

Prepare Home on the Range Happy Sauce:

1 Tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon Sirracha sauce
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

sesame seeds for topping
a lemon slice, seeds removed
additional sesame oil for stir frying

Mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

Prepare Side Dishes:  Prepare steamed or fried rice.  Keep warm. Stir fry some veggies (carrots, squash, onion, broccoli, etc) in a little oil under tender crisp.

Prepare Salmon Marinate the salmon in about 1/4 of the sauce while you let the steak come up to room temperature. (about 30 minutes).

In a pan over med-high heat, a tablespoon of sesame oil and the salmon fillet and sear.  After four minutes turn, sprinkle with black pepper and a squeeze of lemon and cook for an additional four minutes topping with a splash of the sauce as the other side cooks. Remove from the pan before it's fully cooked, and let sit, basted with some additional sauce and loosely covered with foil while you cook the steak.

Prepare Steak - Trim the steak, removing excess fat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat a wide, shallow skillet to medium high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add a Tablespoon of oil, wait til  it begins to shimmer slightly, then add the steak, cooking until a nice crust is built, about 2 minutes a side. Set the steak aside and let rest 5 minutes (so the juices don't bleed out so much when you cut it).  Cut the steak into bite sized portions.

Return pan to medium heat and add a Tablespoon of unsalted butter.  When butter is frothy, add the steak bits , cooking for about 15-20 seconds and add remaining sauce to pan.  Stir quickly as it thickens and finishes cooking, about a minute (the meat should still be slightly pink inside).

Serve immediately.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Range Chili

This makes one large crockpot full (about 20 regular sized bowls). For the smaller crockpots or less servings, simply cut in half. It's got a hint of sweet, a bit of smoky and has just the right amount of "hot", that those that like mild will still eat it and those that like zippy won't be bored. The surprise ingredients, a little bit of cola and some dark unsweeted chocolate.

The Penzey's Chili 9000 spice is available on line. It's worth getting it as it really adds something. For IN residents there is a Penzey's store on the Northeast side of the city and there's a couple in Ohio as well as I have gotten the spice as gifts from that area.

2 29 ounce cans tomato sauce
2 28 ounce cans chopped, diced or stewed tomatoes, or any combination thereof
2 cups diced onions
1 heaping tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 pound Applewood smoked thick cut peppered bacon, cooked until done but not too crispy and then chopped into bite sized pieces.
3 pounds burger or venison (lean as you can get it)
2 pounds Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans spicy sausage
4 cans kidney beans - drained and rinsed (canned beans have a LOT of sodium)
1 bottle (about 18 ounces I think) Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup Penzey's 9000 chili seasoning
1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper
approx. 3/4 cup Coca Cola (yes, and not Pepsi and certainly not diet), use the Mexican Coca Cola in glass bottles made with sugar, not corn syrup if you can find, Costco often has it.
2 individually wrapped squares Baker's unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped (each square breaks into two pieces so it's pretty easy to chop up).

Cook the meats separately and drain well. Saute the onion in with the burger so that it caramelizes. Mix in with rest of ingredients adding the dark chocolate last. Cook in the crockpot on high about 2 hours, or on low 4-6 as as desired.

I've never seen anyone not eat a second bowl of this.

Peanut Butter Cup Dessert

crush chocolate wafer cookies to make about 1 1/2 cups. Mix with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Press into 8 x 8 pan
Bake at 325 for six minutes. Chill completely.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse

1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream, chilledIn a large bowl,
using a handheld electric mixer set at medium-high speed, cream together peanut butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract.
Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar.

Using an electric mixer fitted with chilled beaters and a chilled bowl, beat cream just until stiff peaks begin to form.

With a rubber spatula , stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until smooth. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream until incorporated.

Spread evenly pan with cooled cookie crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until peanut butter mousse is firm. If you'd like, top pie with whipped cream, chopped peanuts and/or chocolate curls.

Or make a hard chocolate glaze

1/2 cup unsalted butter
10 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Combine chocolate with butter in the top of a double boiler, over simmering water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour oer dessert, tipping pan to coat evenly. Cool.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Chicken with Ancho Chili Barbecue Sauce

Chicken with Ancho Chili Barbecue Sauce

3 -4 cups of bottled barbecue sauce. I used a 18 ounce bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's honey version and about a cup of bottle Kraft hickory Smoked barbecue

1 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's Ancho Chili Powder

1 teaspoon Dried Jalapeno (I had some Spice Islands brand)

1 teaspoon Penzey's ground Garlic Powder

1 tablespoon APPLE CIDER vinegar

2 generous tablespoons Raw Honey.

Mix, pour over chicken pieces and bake, covered with foil at 300 for about 2 hours. Used 5 leg thigh quarters with teh skin on.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Venison Lasagna

Meat Sauce
1 pound ground venison
1 medium to large chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 8 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato paste
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons dry red wine (look I didn't meausre, just give the bottle a small shake over the sauce and say your favorite Irish blessing).
1 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon honey

cheese filling

2 cups low fat cottage cheese (even people that hate cottage cheese like this but you can use ricotta)
1 extra large egg beaten
1/2 cup grated Romano and Parmesan cheese mixture
2 teaspoons parsley
2 teaspoons basil
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Make sauce. Sauce onions until starting to caramelize. Add venison and garlic and cook until meat is no longer pink. There isn't enough fat to drain, so just leave it. Stir in tomatoes and seasoning and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer on low, covered, for 30 minutes. Add wine and honey and simmer uncovered on low for an additional 15 minutes.

Make filling: Whisk egg and then blend into cheese and spices, stirring well to break up cottage cheese and egg into a smooth mixture.

Cook 10 lasagna noodles and drain, patting dry with a paper towel. Layer half of the lasagna noodles in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Spread with half the cheese mixture and half the meat sauce, repeating the layers. Sprinkle the top with a bit more Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until it is beginning to brown and bubble just at the edges.

Let sit 10 minutes and then serve.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Chuck Wagon Pasta

3 Bratwurst (yes, you can use 4)
1 cup Alfredo Sauce
1 can sliced black olives
2 cans MILD Rotel (tomatoes with green chilis) DRAIN before using.
1/4 tsp dried jalapeno (I used Spice Island brand)
1 to 3 shakes of dried red pepper (three makes it HOT, but not "reach for the water" hot).
1 cup lightly steamed veggies such as broccoli
smoked cheddar

Mix Rotel, olives, and Alfredo sauce (I used half a small jar of Bertollis) and spices, and heat on low. While that heats, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente (about 10-11 minutes for the thicker wagon wheel style pasta). While pasta cooks cook Brats. I pan fried 3 in a little olive oil until brown on each side, poured half a can of beer over the top and covered, reducing heat, letting them steam while the pasta cooks.

Drain the pasta, and keep warm. Uncover the Brats and saute in the pan juice/beer mixture (you can use water if you don't wish to use alcohol) until nice and brown and about 170 degrees internal temperature (easy way to figure, slice, should not be pink in the middle). Should be just a minute or two on the saute part.

Slice bratwurst and mix with pasta, sauce and a cup of steamed veggies (I nuked a cup from frozen) Sprinkle with freshly shredded smoked cheddar.

Makes enough to feed 4 hungry people.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chicago Chili with Cheddar Toasts

It may be the only thing packing heat but it's good!

1/2 pound ground beef
2 cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, most of the seeds removed
1 can sliced olives
1 small can tomato sauce
1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup dark beer
2 Tablespoons molasses (I didn't measure, but that's close)
2 heaping Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tien Tisn Chinese chili pod (the red ones you make chili oil out of)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Heavy Metal Heat hot sauce (we used the whole 1/2 tsp)
one square of M.C.'s Dark Chocolate and Cayenne Fudge (or use a square of dark unsweetened cooking chocolate with a small dash of cayenne, cinnamon and ancho chili powder added).

Mix beans, tomato products, olives, beer, molasses chili powder and chili pod in a bowl (be gentle with the chili pod, you do NOT want to break it).

In a large, deep pan, caramelize the onion in a little olive oil while in another small pan you fry the beef. Roughly chop two jalapenos and add to the beef and onions as they near the end of their cooking. Mix beef and onion in the larger pot and add the tomato mixture. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook 1 hour. Add the piece of Midwest Chicks ancho dark chocolate fudge (or square of dark chocolate with the accompanying spices). Cover and cook on warm /low another hour, to blend the flavors, adding a few tablespoons beer or water if it gets too thick. Remove chili pod and serve.

Serve with cheddar toasts (you can cut recipe in half to serve 2-3)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked Paprika.
4 eggs

Melt first 5 ingredients in top of double boiler, until melted. Cool to lukewarm. Whip in eggs. Dip 12 pieces of bread into the mixture (both sides) and lay on well-buttered cookie sheet (I used some homemade, yeasty toasting bread). Bake at 350 F 12-15 minutes until just starting to brown and bubble on top (underside will be more done so don't overcook). Top with a few sprinkles of cheddar as it comes out of the oven.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Malted Milk Waffles

This recipe was adapted from several identical ones that are on several cooking blogs so I am not sure who originated it.

Malted Milk Waffles

1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup flour
1 t. baking powder (look at the date on your baking powder, if it's expired you won't get the same results, it does go "flat" after a while, so check that).
1/8 t. salt
1 and 1/2 to 2 T. granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like them).
4 T. malted milk powder
dash of pure vanilla
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter

Separate egg into two separate bowls. You will need three small bowls, including these two. In one, beat white until stiff peaks form. In another, combine dry ingredients. In the third, whisk together butter, milk, vanilla and egg yolk until well combined. Stir in dry ingredients. When batter is smooth, gently fold in egg white (do not over-mix)

Heat up your waffle iron and get ready. This doesn't make a whole lot (3-4) so if you have kids you will want to double it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Best Corn Muffins Ever

They are moist, just slightly sweet and don't crumble under pressure.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup honey

Heat oven to 400 degrees (about 200 C). Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole milk and eggs. In a small glass bowl in the microwave, melt butter and then add the honey to that. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Bake in a greased 12 muffin tin, or use the little paper muffin liners. Bake for 14-15 minutes, just until golden. Goes well with Range Chili.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chocolate/Chili Bread Pudding

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Kick - for two. (photo and adaption from Gourmet

2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus additional for greasing ramekins
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened or extra-bitter), chopped
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs lightly beaten'
2 pinches of salt
1 1/2 cups firm white bread (about 4 slices) NOT Wonder bread, real bread from a bakery or a loaf you made yourself, day old is just dandy.

You will need 2 8 ounce ramekins or muffin tin that makes the large 1 cup muffins.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter ramekins or 2 muffin cups. Cook butter (1 tablespoon), cream, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, and a pinch of salt in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs until combined, Fold in bread cubes and let stand 5 minutes.Fill ramekins with bread mixture and bake until puffed and set around edge but still moist in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Wing Sauce

3 tablespoons butter (not margarine)
3 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup Frank's red hot sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 to 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (with 3 it's HOT!)

Saute the garlic in the melted butter for 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and mix to make a roux, whisking and cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the hot sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the red pepper, reduce heat and let simmer gently for 3 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas.

Roast and slightly cool a medium roaster. You can get one of the ones already done at the store but get a plain seasoned one, Remove skin and shred or chop meat. Pour wing sauce over chicken in a bowl starting with 1 cup. It should lightly coat all of the pieces but they should not be soaking in it. Depending on the size of the bird you may use all of it or have up to a half cup left. If you have any left, it keeps well and it's really good on hash browns with eggs for breakfast

Creamy sauce

Mix 1 medium (look at them, they all tend to come in small, medium and large) container sour cream with one envelope ranch dip dry mix or use one medium container of the ready made ranch dip. Add one can of undiluted cream of chicken soup and mix well.

Have 2 cups of shredded Colby and cheddar cheese standing by. (Those often come premixed together)

Place a good heaping spoonful of chicken in the middle of a flour tortilla. You will need 8-10 depending on how stuffed you make them. Drizzle with a spoonful of the ranch dressing mix (separate spoon). Sprinkle on a bit of cheese (a good pinch of the fingers worth). Roll up and place in a 13 x 9 pan that you have sprayed lightly with non stick cooking spray. When all of them are assembled, cover with the remainder of the sauce to which you added any little drips of wing sauce left in the bowl (not more than a 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon though) Top with remaining cheese, and if you are EXTRA brave, a dash of Penzey's Allepo pepper (not more than that, trust me).

Cover with foil and bake at 350 until hot and bubbly. Abut 20-35 minutes for most ovens. Good with rice and salad.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (trust me on this one)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla (I use Penzey's)

several pices of bacon per person

Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour". Sour milk is often used as a substitute for buttermilk, but you don't have to waste a container of buttermilk that won't get used up, and the apple cider vinegar sour milk mixture gives it a really good flavor you don't get from straight buttermilk.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg,  melted  butter and vanilla into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and gently whisk until lumps are gone.The mixture will foam up when you stir.  Once the biggest lumps are gone, do not restir.

While batter sits for 20-25 minutes (repeat after me: do not restir), heat a large griddle and cook up some bacon.  When bacon is done, remove to keep warm.  Remove most of the drippings by pouring off the grease, leaving just a bit in the pan or griddle.  Blot and rub gently, ensuring the surface is evenly covered with a slight sheen of grease but not so much that it puddles on the pan.

Pour 1/4 to  1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook on medium heat until bubbles appear on the surface and the edges appear slightly dry. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.Serves 2-4 people.

Honey butter - whip a cube of softened butter, 3-4 tablespoons of honey and a tiny pinch of cinnamon with a hand held electric mixer until light colored and fluffy.  Also good with maple syrup and a tiny pinch of cayenne in place of the honey and cinnamon.

Turkey With Red Chili Gravy

Recipe/food photo from Lillian Chou. Courtesy of Gourmet Magazine (one of my favorites)

It blends toasted guajillo and ancho chiles with a range of spices and aromatics to create a brick-red adobo sauce that seasons both the bird and its gravy. After a long marinate, the adobo permeates the bird’s juicy meat during roasting. (If you haven't tried red chili gravy before it's worth the time - Brigid)

GEAR: kitchen string; a 17- by 14-inch flameproof roasting pan with a flat rack; a 2-qt measuring cup or a fat separator

4 dried guajillo chiles (2 oz), wiped clean
3 dried ancho chiles (1 1/2 oz), wiped clean
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 stick, cinnmon, smashed
2 whole allspice
1 clove
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For turkey and gravy
1 12- to 14-lb) turkey, neck and giblets (excluding liver) reserved for turkey stock
2 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

About 4 cups turkey stock, divided
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Melted unsalted butter if necessary

Make adobo:

Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a large heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles in batches, opening them flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until more pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds per batch. Be careful as not to char them.

Transfer to a bowl and cover chiles with boiling hot water, then soak until softened and plumped. about 15 minutes. While they soakm toast the spices in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Drain chiles, discarding liquid and purée in a blender with spices, garlic, herbs, vinegar, water, oil, and 2 tsp salt until very smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside 1/2 cup adobo for gravy.

Marinate turkey:

Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle 2 tsp salt evenly in turkey cavities and all over skin, then rub remaining adobo (a scant 3/4 cup) all over turkey, including cavities. Fold neck skin under body, then tuck wing tips under breast and tie drumsticks together with string. Transfer to rack in roasting pan and let marinate, covered with plastic wrap and chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 24

Roast turkey

Let turkey stand, covered, at room temperature 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third.
Add 1 cup water to pan and roast turkey 1 hour.
Brush turkey with oil and add remaining cup water, then tent loosely with foil and rotate pan. Roast (if bottom of pan becomes dry, add 1/2 cup more water) until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of each thigh (test both; close to but not touching bone) registers 170°F, 1 3/4 to 2 3/4 hours more (total roasting time: 2 3/4 to 3 3/4 hours).Carefully tilt turkey so juices from inside large cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey to a platter and let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes (temperature of thigh meat will rise to 175 to 180°F

Make gravy while turkey stands
Straddle the roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 1 cup turkey stock and boil over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into 2-qt measure and skim off fat (or use a fat separator), reserving fat. Add enough turkey stock to liquid to bring total to 5 cups. whisk together flour, 6 Tbsp reserved fat (if there is less, add melted butter), and reserved 1/2 cup adobo in a heavy medium saucepan, then cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 3 minutes (mixture will be thick). Add pan juices and stock in a fast stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt

Serve with roasted vegetables, and pureed sweet potato.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sweet and Spicy Empanadas

Sweet and Spicy Empanadas (double or triple the recipe if needed, heats up well in a crockpot after frying the beef and veggies).

1 to 1.2 pounds ground beef
1 sweet onion chopped finely
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot (I julienned and then chopped)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sherry (alcohol will cook out, you'll just get flavor)
1 Tablespoon wild honey
1 Tsbp balsamic vinegar (I used a 20 year old one aged in bourbon barrels)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 or 2 drops of Scoville Brothers Rockin Red Hot Sauce
small pinch of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
dash of salt and pepper
3-4 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed and unfolded

Preheat oven to 375 F. (about 200C.). In a hot skillet, cook beef until no longer pink. Once done, drain excess fat and set aside. In same pan (which should still have a little fat adhering to it) cook onions and carrots in a splash of olive oil until onions are golden brown and caramelized, being careful not to burn. Add just enough olive oil to keep from sticking. When done, add beef mixture back in. Add in sherry and garlic (I didn't measure the garlic, but 3-4 cloves) and cook until sherry has evaporated.

Add in honey, vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, dark cocoa powder, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook till the sauce is thickened and there is hardly any liquid, but it's not dried out.

(Yes, you can click to enlarge the photos). Roll out thawed puff pastry, cut into 4 inch circles (I used a drinking glass to cut them out). Place a heaping tablespoon of beef mixture onto pastry. Fold in half and press sides well with a clean and dry fork to crimp and seal.

Pierce top of the pastry once with fork. If you wish, brush with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of milk). I didn't, only in that I was out of eggs, but they were still great, just not as glossy. Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden brown.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Black Hole Brownies

• 1 C Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (250 mL)
• 5 oz. dark chocolate for baking (I used Callebaut's Intense Dark )(150 grams)
• 3/4 C unsalted butter (180 grams,about 1.5 sticks)
• 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
• 2/3 C flour (about 75 grams)
• 1/2 C Dutch process cocoa powder (50 grams) (I like Valhrona, Penzey's, and Guittard)
• 2 large eggs
• dash of vanilla (1/16 tsp)

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Spray a 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray.

Pour a cup of the stout in a measuring glass and let sit until any foam is gone and you have a level cup's worth. (Note: the alcohol content after baking is about zip).

Cube the butter and place in a microwave safe dish. Top with chopped chocolate. Cook on medium for 1 and a half minutes. The butter should be pretty much melted and the chocolate melting and wet looking. If not, microwave on medium for another 30 second. Stir. Then microwave on high for 15 seconds increments, checking and stirring until remaining chips are melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Do not overcook. (you can also melt this using a double boiler).

Then beat in the sugar.

Let cool five minutes.

In another bowl sift together cocoa and flour until fine.

Whisk in eggs one at a time into chocolate mixture. Whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth and has a glossy finish.

Carefully stir in stout and vanilla then gently fold in dry mixture. Doing this carefully will ensure fudgy brownies.

Spread evenly in pan and back for 21-23 minutes turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking. Middle should just be set and edges dry. Test with a toothpick. Mixture should be sticky. If you cook took long they're turn cakey on you.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bacon Maple Whiskey Scones

8-12 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour (measure carefully)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon plus one extra dash of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp real maple syrup
1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 425*F(220*C. for my Canadian friends.)

3. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nuutmeg and salt; mix well. Using a pastry blender cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles tiny crumbs. Form a well in center of mixture.

4. Combine egg yolk, sour cream and maple syrup together and pour into the center of the well in flour mixture. Stir mixture just until combined, adding all but a couple of spoonsfulls of bacon to it halfway through stirring. Dough will be sticky.

5. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead 5-6 times. Don't overknead but it should no longer look wet or sticky. Form a ball and pat out to approximately 6 to 8-inch circle (it should be just about an inch thick) Cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet about an inch apart.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or to a light golden brown. When slightly cooled, drizzle with Maple Whiskey glaze and top with the remaining bacon pieces.

Maple Whiskey Glaze:

I'll be honest, I didn't measure. I put some powdered sugar in a small cereal bowl. probably a half a cup. I added real maple syrup until it was a thick but spoonable consistency (maybe 2-3 tablespoons). I then added half of a capful (that's CAP, not CUPful) of Jameson Irish Whiskey and stirred, which made it a nice consistency to drizzle.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Southern Style Mac and Cheese

Normally this is made with Velveeta, but my husband and I prefer it with American cheese, sliced fresh at the deli counter.  Topped with fresh cooked bacon and green onion, a family touch, it makes for a hearty super that's great left over. This is more of a casserole to be cut in squares, than super creamy traditional mac and cheese and quickly became a family favorite.

8 ounces macaroni
8 ounces American cheese
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablepoons plus 2 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Janes Krazy Mixed up Salt (or salt mixture which includes a little garlic or onion salt and herbs)
1/4 heaping teaspoon crushed garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup  sour cream (not the "lite" version)
3 cups half and half or a mixture of half and half and whipping cream
half of a small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups grated cheddar (grate your own, the pre shredded stuff has fillers and stabilizers that do change how good it turns out.
8 slices bacon.
4 sprigs of green onion chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix all of the spices and the garlic and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour, stirring to so it doesn't brown too much. Stir in half and half and cook, whisking briskly to incorporate the flour, making sure it doesn't come to a boil,  for 6-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in American cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.  

Let cool while you cook the  macaroni for 4-5 minutes ONLY (do not cook it all the way) and drain, fry the  bacon, and chop the sweet and green onion.

Into the cooled milk mixture, whisk in the eggs (that you've already whisked in a bowl) and the spices, sweet onion, and Worcestershire sauce.

Put the macaroni in a buttered 13 x 9 pan, pour the milk mixture over the top.  Give it a stir then top with 2 cups of the grated sharp cheddar, bacon and green onions.  Bake uncovered  for 30-35 minutes.  The edges should be firm and starting to brown, with the center still a big jiggly (it will finish cooking as you let it sit 10 minutes).

Cut into squares and serve. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks (you can add 3 extra yolks if you want it more like custard)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and let it sit to infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

Monday, November 13, 2006

King Ranch Chicken - HOTR Style

King Ranch Chicken - Home on the Range Style

Marinate 3 chicken breasts in lime juice and a tiny pinch of cumin for a few hours, dice and cook in a pan  with a tiny bit of olive oil on the stove until no longer pink in the center, adding more lime juice to keep moist.

In another small pan, saute 1/2 small sweet onion, diced in a bit of bacon fat until it's softened and just starting to turn golden.  Remove from heat. 

If using pre cooked or a deli chicken In a small bowl take 3 cups leftover cold shredded or cubed roast chicken, toss with a tablespoon or two of lime juice to moisten. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you do the rest.

Mix -

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) HOTR Cream of Cluck Soup (on my recipe sidebar or use the store bought kind)
3/4 cup medium heat salsa with jalapeno
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke Hot sauce (or your favorite medium heat/smokey hot sauce)
tiny pinch of red pepper (about 4 to 5 flakes)
2 and 3/4 teapoons Penzey's Chili 9000 chili powder (this stuff is the best) or two teaspoons chili powder and one teaspoon of cumin
a couple of pinches of oregano
2 cups Rotel tomatoes with green chili, with any liquid drained off

Add cooled chicken and onion to soup mixture.

Tear or cut into 1 inch pieces:
 12 corn tortillas (6-inch)

Measure out:
1 and 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar/Colby Jack cheese

Place half the tortillas in a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or VERY lightly greased. Stir chicken into soup mixture. Top the tortillas in the casserole with half of the soup/chicken mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat layers, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake covered at 350F. for 35-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Top with additional sour cream  and a sprinkling of fresh cheese if you like. Serve with veggies and cornbread. Serves six hungry people.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Gluten/Dairy Free Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

3 and a half Tablespoons of canola oil
3 tablespoons and two teaspoons Penzey's 9000 chili powder
1 teaspoon Penzey's Ancho Chili Powder
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 heaping tsp.Penzey's Italian seasoning ( or any type Italian seasoning)
1/2 Tablespoon honey (1/2 T is 1 and 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups chicken or turkey stock (broth)
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 CAP-ful of Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke hot sauce (or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smokey hot sauce of your choice, to taste)

Heat oil on low and stir in spices. Mix in flour and honey to make a paste, still on low. Whisk in two cups of broth and whisk, raising heat to medium until it comes to a low simmering boil. Add in the "Singing Smoke" as it starts to simmer.  Simmer 15 minutes, whisking constantly. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for a week.

Range Chicken Enchiladas
1 batch of homemade enchilada sauce
1 Tablespoon oil
1 large Vidalia (sweet) onion - chopped
1 four oz can chopped green chilies
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 and 1/4 cups chopped cooked leftover chicken
2 to 2 and 1/2 cups shredded cheese ( I used low fat)
8-10 flour tortillas, regular or whole wheat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until caramelized (adding another tablespoon of oil if it starts to stick) adding in drained chilies as it starts to soften and cook down. Stir in cooked diced chicken and turn off heat.

To assemble. Get 8-10 tortillas (not the huge burrito sized). Drizzle a tablespoon or so of the sauce down the center of the tortilla. Top with beans, chicken/chili mixture and some cheese (the amount you can grab with the end of all your fingers). Roll up and place seam side down in the pan. Drizzle remaining sauce over the top. Bake 20 minutes, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes, until melted.

Note:  Low fat cheese does NOT melt like regular cheese, if you keep it in the oven to where it looks really 100% melty like regular cheese you will overcook your dish.

 Serve with salad and condiments of your choice (I had mine with just salad and vinaigrette and a iced tea.  It's smoky and you'll feel the heat at the back of your throat but it's not overpowering.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove and sprinkle extra cheese on top, and bake for 5-10 minutes more until tortillas begin to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Homemade Ravioli with Ricotta Cheese Filling

Adapted from the Food Network


  • 4 eggs, plus 2 eggs, beaten, for egg wash
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Ricotta Cheese Filling, recipe follows


In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix. Continue mixing and add all the flour and water; continue mixing until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, and knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at its widest setting. Guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick.

Dust the counter and dough with flour, and lay out the long sheet of pasta. Brush the top surface of dough with egg wash. Drop 1 tablespoon of cooled filling about 2 inches apart on half the sheet of pasta. Fold the unfilled half over the filling. With an espresso cup or finger, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal. Use a crimper to cut each pillow into squares. Check to make sure the crimped edges are well sealed before cooking. If making ravioli in advance, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking.

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Ravioli will float to the top when cooked so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon. Plate the pasta, top with your favorite pasta sauce and grated cheese before serving.

Ricotta Cheese Filling:

1 cup ricotta cheese, well drained

1 egg

dash or two of garlic salt


In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator a few minutes to firm up the filling.

Note: Top with marinara or try the Home on the Range Venison Meat Sauce

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Family Favorite Dessert

First Layer -

Cream 1 cup of sifted flour with 1 stick of softened butter (REAL butter). Add in one cup of chopped nuts (cashews and walnuts were a family favorite but I'm sure peanuts are good too).

Put in 13 x 9 pan (which you've sprayed with a bit of PAM) and press down. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. COOL.

Second Layer -

8 ounces Cream Cheese
1 cup sugar

Cream those together with spoon or hand mixer and add one cup of whipped cream or favorite whipped topping, blending well.

put that on (cooled) first layer.

Third Layer
Get out two bowls -
1 large package instant french vanilla pudding
1 large package instant dark chocolate or fudge pudding
beat each package with 2 cups of cold milk. Let chill for a few minutes to thicken, (while you wash those bowls).

Spread on Cream Cheese layer, first the vanilla, then chocolate.

Final Layer -

2 cups of whipped cream of whipped topping. Sprinkle with more nuts and shaved dark or milk chocolate.

Chill until serving. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any).

Goblin Gorp

1 box raisins
3-4 cups mini oreos (I used 3 of the individual snack sized containers)
1 can cashews
1 regular bag cheddar goldfish (I used the flavor blasted ones, they're more orange)
1 bag candy corn

mix in a bowl and watch it disappear.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Prepare a batch of Home on the Range Venison Meat Sauce (recipe in sidebar) or your favorite pasta sauce recipe that would use about one 29 ounce can tomatoes and two six ounce cans of tomato paste plus meat (or veggies) and spices. Cook on low til done and the flavors have blended.

Boil a 10-oz package of lasagna noodles to which you've added a few dashes of salt to the water, as well as a teaspoon of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. Cook the noodles "al dente" (they still have a bit of "bite"(. When they are done but not too soft, drain, rinse with cool water, and lay them flat on a sheet of foil or a cookie sheet so they are easier to wrangle later.

Mix 3 cups low fat cottage cheese in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs. (people that hate cottage cheese won't even know this is cottage cheese when you are done). Add a 1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, a 1/2 teaspoon of Penzey's garlic powder, 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, 2 teaspoons of fresh (or dried) basil, a pinch of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to that and mix together well.

To assemble, spread a tiny bit of meat sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan (about 13 x 9 pan) which you have VERY lightly sprayed with PAM non stick spray first. The purpose of that little bit of sauce (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup spread around) is so keep the noodles from getting hard as it cooks. On that lay about 4 lasagna noodles.

Top with half the cottage cheese/egg mixture.

Top that with 1/2 pound of slices mozzarella cheese (not the shredded stuff, but thick slices from the deli)

Top with another 4 noodles and 1/2 of the remaining pasta sauce mixture.

Add another layer of four lasagna noodles and top with the remaining half of the cottage cheese mixture and another 1/2 pound of mozzarella.

Finish that with the rest of the meat mixture. Sprinkle it all generously with a little more grated Parmesan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, until bubbly around the edges.

Garlic Bread

This is not the "dripping with cheese" garlic bread, but the crispy garlicy kind that is wonderful for dipping in stew, soups or pasta sauce.


  • 3 bulbs garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Three Cheese and Smoked Chicken Enchiladas (and Biscuits)

This is the only recipe I've actually had published in a real cookbook. (no longer in print).

1 1/2 cup chopped smoked chicken or turkey, or any cooked poultry
1 cup salsa (plus 3 tablespoons)
4 ounces cream cheese cubed
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 heaping teaspoon oregano
1/2 cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
8 flour tortillas
hot sauce, sour cream and olives if you please, for toppings

Combine meat, 1/4 cup of the salsa, cream cheese, onion, cumin and oregano in a large skillet. Heat on low until it is creamy, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Spoon about 1/4 cup turkey mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in a 13 x 9 inch pan in which you've placed about 3 tablespoons of salsa and spread it around so the tortilla doesn't get crispy on the bottom. Top with remaining salsa and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. If you make ahead and chill, bake for about 20-25 minutes covered with foil. Garnish as desired. I'm usually requested to double this recipe. It's simple and a crowd favorite, especially as you can adjust the "heat" by the type of salsa you use.

Cheddar Biscuits


2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix

¾ cup cold whole milk

4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)

1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

Brush on Top:

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes

pinch salt


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.

3. Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop.

4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

5. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.

Recipe adapted from Todd Wilbur, "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2," Plume Books. (his version has garlic powder in it, but I left that out to go with Mexican style supper).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Basic Black Beans and Rice

This is a very mild version of beans and rice and that makes a perfect sidekick to other foods.

Black Beans and Rice
2/3 cup dried black beans (two cups cooked) or 1 16 ounce can black turtle beans
3 generous tablespoons olive oil
1 Vidalia onion sliced
small pepper (green, yellow or red, diced fine)
1 cloves of garlic
1 cup long grain rice
dash of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon of Penzey's Adobo Seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro

Cook black beans as per directions on package but cook just slightly under done. For me, after pre-boiling and letting them sit with the heat off for a while and then draining and adding fresh water (which greatly reduces any tummy issues with beans) that's about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.

Put the cooked beans in a heavy saucepan, keeping enough cooking liquid to make about 2 cups. (If you're using canned beans, use two cups chicken broth or hot water for your liquid). Heat the olive oil in the skillet, cook the onions and pepper until softened and the onion caramalized. ( I was using leftover veggies so I think there's a little corn in the photo batch as well). Add the crushed garlic or chopped fresh roasted garlic and cook for a couple more minutes, being careful not to burn. Stir in the cilantro, salt and and other spice at this time. Just a tiny bit as this dish is not the star but the base of another meal.

Mix the contents of the skillet to the beans in the heavy sauce pan. Add rinsed and drained rice to the beans, veggies and liquid. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat, a gentle simmer, for about 20-25 minutes. Top with additional chopped cilantro or parsley.

For breakfast, sprinkle with some cheese and let melt, then top with a fried egg or two that you haven't mangled too badly and some more cilantro. Smoked ham is also a good add in, chopped or added to the plate as a side.

Lunch it's great with some spicy grilled chicken or fish on a plate or wrapped in tortillas with your favorite salsa and crisp vegetables for a low fat sandwich wrap.

Serves 4-5 hearty appetites as a side.