Friday, December 23, 2011

Cranberry Nut Bars

1 1/4 C. flour

3/4 C sugar

1/2 C butter

1 C finely chopped nuts, I used pecans or macadamias

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbls milk

1 tsp finely shredded orange peel; I used lemon because I had it.

1 tsp vanilla

1 C finely chopped cranberries

1/2 C coconut

 Preheat oven to 350 deg., in medium mixing bowl, stir together flour

and 3/4 C sugar.  Using pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture

resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in 1/2 C of the nuts.  Press flour

mixture into bottom of ungreased 13x9x2 " baking pan.  Bake for 10 to

15 min. until crust is light brown around edges.

Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, beat eggs, 1 1/4 cups sugar, milk, orange

peel (lemon peel) and vanilla.  Pour over hot crust.  Sprinkle with

remaining nuts, cranberries and coconut.  Bake for 30 min. or until

golden.  Cool slightly in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars while warm. 

Cool completely in pan.  I baked the crust for 15 mins and it seemed

like a little too long so will try 10-12 mins. next time.  I also found

ground lemon peel in the spice dept.; it is easier than shredding the peel.

Remarks: My sister  Nancy made these for a family Christmas party.  The recipe came from our friend Wanda who often serves these in Forida during the holidays.  They are fantastic!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mom's Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy sausage
1 large onion
1 large stalk celery
1 green pepper (optional)
1 12 ounce shell macaroni
1 small can pimentos (optional)
2 cans tomato sauce (10 oz cans)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 TBLSP Chili Powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt ( or less)
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese ( sliced or shredded)

Saute celery, onion, pepper in olive oil or boil in a small amount of water and drain off water when tender.  Cook macaroni per box directions.  Do not overcook macaroni. 

Brown meat, add all ingredients except cheese together in a 9x13 casserole dish and cover with the cheese.  Bake 20-30 minutes.  Cheese should be melted and casserole bubbly.

Remarks:  This recipe originally was given to my mom by a dear friend, Nedra.  This recipe was also my cousin Rick's favorite food my mom cooked.  It was many years after his death before she was able to prepare this casserole again.  It still makes me think of him.  As with most of my recipes:  very easy to assemble and lots of flavor.  This recipe is forgiving,  I have pureed a can of diced tomatoes, I have used 2 cans of tomatoe soup and I have mixed ketchup and water to replace the tomatoe sauce in the past.  Whatever you have on hand.    Enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

3 lbs chicken, whole or cut up as you wish
1 large onions, sliced (or 2 if you like lots of onion)
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, chopped ( optional)
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp celery powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 TBLSP Olive Oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Place onions in bottom of crock pot.  I use extra onions because the husband does not like the green pepper.
2.  Add chicken:  whole boneless, skinless chicken breast is what I use but any combonation of chicken will work.  I have also added frozen chicken in the morning and cooked on the low setting for 7-9 hours and this worked well.
3.  Sir all of the other ingredients together.   I usually add an extra bit of water to get the liquid to cover the chicken and make it the consistency I like.  I have also used a dry red wine and this works great as well.  You could also use chicken broth if you do not like or have the wine.
4.  Pour over the chicken and onions.
5.  Cook on low heat 7-9 hours or high heat for about 3-4 hours.
6.  Serve over pasta or rice.

Remarks:  Easy and Delicious and Full of Flavor!  I think what makes this recipe stand out is the use of wine and the tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.  Try it , you won't be disappointed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bourbon Cider Sour

3/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar

Shake and serve over finely crushed ice.
Makes:  2 1/3 cups.

Recipe from

Comments:  Can make a pitcher of these early and serve a crowd.  Delicious!!!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fresh Tomato Tart

1 store bought or homemade dough for tart shell
8-10 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
4-6 tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
1/4 or less virgin olive oil
Basil , chopped for garnish

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Line bottom of pan with dough, rolled 1/8 inch thick.  Spread bottom of pastry with shredded cheese and sprinkle with basil.  Cover with tomato slices, cover as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake 20-30 minutes.  Watch carefully.  when cheese is bubbly and crust is golden it is ready.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Thoughts:  I put my garden tomatoes, sprinkled with salt on a rack to drain some of the juices before putting them on this tart as they were very juicy.  I also used 2 pie crust and covered a cookie sheet to make a large tart.  This is very fresh and delicious!

Shortcut Lasagna

8 ounces medium egg noodles
1 1/4 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp provolone cheese, divided
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pound ground round
2 cups tomato sauce,  I used spagetti sauce
Cooking Spary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook noodles in boinling water for 5 minutes.  Combine rest of ingredients minus the ground round in a small bowl, set aside.  Cook beef in a large nonstick skillet until browned.  Stir in tomato sauce.

Drain noodles.  Combine noodles and meat mixture in pan if large enough, otherwise in a large bowl.  Place 3 cups of noodle mixture in an 11x7 casserole dish coated in cooking spray.  Spread ricotta mixture over noodle mixture.  Top with remaining noodle mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.  6 servings.

Calories:  416  Fat:  14g  Fiber 2.3g   Protein:   37g  Carb.:  37.2g  Sodium:  912mg

Recipe from Cooking Light

Thoughts:  Very easy to put together and tasty!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beef Burgaundy Stroganoff

3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into bite size pieces
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Celery Soup
1 cup any Red Wine (or beef broth)
1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup
1 box of whole button mushrooms (optional)

Mix all of the above ingredients together and either cook at 325 degree oven for 4 hours or put in your crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.  Add 16 ounces of sour cream when you remove it from the oven or turn off the crock pot.  Serve over 1 pound wide egg noodles or rice.  Serves 8-10.

Review:  This is such a great crock pot meal!  Tons of flavor and so easy to assemble and prepare.  Try to use the lower sodium soups to keep the sodium content down.    Use beef broth if you do not have any red wine, it is just as good. 
Review 2:  I just made this again and added the whole button mushroomes.  They were fantastic!  I think you could make this vegitarian with only the mushrooms as they are so hardy and the flavor is so good.  Just check the ingredients in the Lipton Onion Soup mix to make sure there is no meat base in it.  YUM!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teriyaki Pork and Vegetables with Noodles


8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
4 green onions
1 TBSP dark sesame oil
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
3 (4 ounce) boneless center cut pork loin chops, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package of mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup low sodium teriyaki sauce
4 tsp chili garlic sauce ( such as Lee Kum Kee)

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid; keep warm.
Remove green tops from green onions; thinly slice, and set aside.  Mince white portions of onions; set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add minced white portions of onions, bell pepper, pork and mushrooms; saute until pork is cooked and brown.  Combine 1/4 cup cooking liquid, teriyaki sauce, and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add pasta and teriyaki sauce mixture to skillet; toss well to coat.  Stir in sliced green onion tops.

Recipe from

Comments:  This has tremendous flavor and is a great new way for me to serve pasta.  It would be equally good with chicken.  I used 1/2 canola oil and 1/2 dark sesame oil as sesame oil has such a strong flavor, but this is your choice.  Leftovers heated up well.  This was a huge hit and I will make it again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Southwest Chicken Soup

1 T olive oil
8 oz boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp red pepper
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican-style tomatoes (Rotel)
2 cups frozen whole corn
3 tortilas, halved, stacked, and cut into strips
2 T chopped cilantro (optional)
6 T plain nonfat yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Heat oil in Dutch oven.  Add chicken and cook until opaque.  I usually cook it all the way through.  Add onion, garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder and red pepper.   Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally , until garlic and spices are fragrant.  Stir in broth, corn, beans and tomatoes.  Reduce heat and simmer.  Meanwhile, spread tortila strips in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Spray with Pam and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Bake until crisp and lightly brown.  About 5 minutes.  Top with tortila strips.  Garnish with cilantro and yogurt if desired. 

Review:  This recipe was given to me by my dear friend Denise and has been my daughter's favorite soup ever since.  It is quick and easy to prepare and offers, once again a tremendous amount of flavor.  I am always looking for dishes with lots of flavor if you haven't picked up on that.  Note:  I usually double all of the ingredients except for the chicken and adjust the chicken broth to the consistency that makes me happy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuscan Baked Chicken and Beans


Chicken Breast (6 will fit comfortably in a 9x13 casserole dish)
salt and pepper
3 slices of bacon
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cups of packed torn spinach ( I use 3/4 bag of baby washed spinach)
fresh rosemary chopped  ( Dried rosemary will also work)
2 (16 oz) cans of white beans, rinsed and drained ( I use Bush's Northern White Bean, 3 small cans)
1 (14.5  oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes, undrained


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook bacon until crisp in a large non-stick skillet.  Remove from skillet.

 If you have an oven-proof skillet it will work through the whole process.  Otherwise, you will also need a 9x13 casserole dish as well.

3.  Add chicken to pan and brown.  Salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Add onion and saute until tender. 
5.  If using oven-proof skillet, remove chicken and add remaining ingredients.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir together and then place browned chicken back on top of mixture.
6.  Otherwise, transfer onions and bacon to a 9x13 casserole dish and add remaining ingredients.  Stir together.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Place browned chicken breast on top of mixture
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Recipe from

Review:  This meal is on the monthly rotation at our house.  It is a very healthy meal with the spinach, tomatoes, beans and chicken.  The small amount of bacon drippings used is minimal and adds a tremendous amount of flavor to the dish.  The rosemary is best fresh, but okay dried.  This too adds such a fresh addition to the dish.  The smell of this dish is wonderful!  You can also put this dish together early in the day  and put it in the oven when you are ready.  This is my new favorite go to meal.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baked Ziti

  Baked Ziti

1 16 ounce pkg of ziti pasta
1 lb of ground beef (optional)
1 chopped onion
2 28 ounce jars of spaghetti sauce
6oz sliced provolone cheese
6 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook ziti per box directions.
Brown beef  in large skillet, add onions: saute until tender.  Drain fat and add spaghetti sauce; simmer.
In 9x13 casserole, place 1/2 of ziti ; top with a layer of provolone and mozzarella cheese slices.  Spread half of the spaghetti sauce mixture and all of sour cream.
Cover with remaining pasta, cheese and sauce; sprinkle with layer of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until dish is bubbly.

Review:  Easy and tasty.  I did not use the ground beef but it would be good either way.  I did not have fresh basil but mixed dried Italian herbs into the spaghetti sauce and this added some extra flavor.  Still looking for the BEST, easy baked ziti recipe.  This was very good but nothing special.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turkey Sausage, Sauted Cabbage, Boiled Potatoes and Carrots

Turkey Sausage, Sauted Cabbage, Boiled Potatoes and Carrots

Hillshire Farm Turkey Sausage
head of cabbage, shredded

Pan fry sliced Hillshire Farm Turkey Sausage in a pan sprayed with oil

In a separate pan, fry 3 strips of bacon.
Remove the bacon and saute the onion in the bacon grease.
Put shredded cabbage in pan and cook to desired crispness.
Salt and pepper to taste.  Crushed red pepper is also a nice addition.
Crumble the bacon on top of cabbage.

In a pan of water, boil carrots and potatoes until fork tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Review:  This is such an easy and inexpensive meal to prepare and offers a lot of flavor.  It is great served with corn muffins.  The Turkey Sausage makes this a healthier recipe than if you use other sausages, but any would be delicious.  There is something about sauteing cabbage in a small amount of bacon grease that makes it fantastic!  Try this if you are not a huge fan of cabbage.  Traditionally this meal is cooked in one pot which is great for cleanup.  However, when you separate the ingredients the meat has a better texture, the cabbage is crisper and the potatoes don't get mushy because they take the least time to cook.  It is worth dirtying the extra pans.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mexican Chicken and Rice

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

2-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
2 TBS Oil
1 Cup Converted Rice
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Salsa
1 Package of Taco Seasoning
1 Cup of Frozen Corn

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet.  Add chicken and brown on both sides.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a 9x13 Casserole dish, mix remaining ingredients.  Place the browned chicken breast on top of the rice mixture and cover dish with aluminum foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for one hour or when rice has absorbed all of the liquid and the chicken is done.

Review:  This dish went together very quickly and offerd a tremendous amount of flavor for very little effort.  If you would like to extend the chicken to feed a crowd, shred or cut up the chicken after it is cooked and mix it in with the rice mixture.  Add some cheese to the top and melt in the oven.  Very easy to prepare and delicious!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lawry's Marinade

In case you are not aware of this product, it is delicious.  Every flavor of marinade has been great whether for chicken, beef or pork.  It is a 30 minute marinade that packs a lot of flavor.  It is often on sale so don't pay full price unless you are in a pinch.