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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

This spin off from Quaker is absolutely delicious! For an equally delicious and special treat, use dried cherries instead of cranberries.

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups oats

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 350º.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add oats, chocolate and cranberries; stir well.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to counter top to cool completely. Store tightly covered. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Frozen Lime Mint Dessert

This recipe brings back wonderful memories of my childhood. My Grandma made these every Christmas, and though the ingredients list doesn't do the recipe the justice it truly deserves, they really are fabulous. I'm going to make them this Christmas, will post a picture after I make them.

1 can (8-1/4 ounces) crushed pineapple

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple

1 box (3 ounces) lime jello

3-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup butter mints, crushed

1 carton (8ounces) whipped topping

1. In large bowl, combine both cans of pineapple, undrained, dry lime jello, marshmallows and mints. Cover and refrigerate several hours or until marshmallows begin to dissolve. Fold in whipped topping.

2. Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups. Cover and freeze 6 hours. Yield: about 2 dozen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lazy Blogger!

Well, I wouldn't say lazy, but definitely not attentive to my blog the past several weeks. Life runs away with me sometimes, and I don't devote the time I want to to my blog. But, with Christmas coming and so many wonderful recipes to share, I really do hope to get back to posting very soon! Promise! =)

Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes

These are heavenly! And such a pretty color. =)

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tbsp. dried rosemary, slightly crushed
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup warm milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a 3-quart saucepan, cover potatoes and squash with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp. of butter, rosemary and garlic in a small skillet over medium heat. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until butter foams and begins to brown; remove from heat and keep warm.

2. Thoroughly drain potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake about a minute over low heat. Mash with a hand masher leaving mixture slightly chunky. Over low heat, gently mix in browned butter, remaining 2 tbsp. of butter, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Apple Crisp Pizza

This Taste of Home recipe reminds me of the perfect fall dessert with its bounty of apples and beautiful fall-brown color. This is a terrific hand-held crisp, or good warmed with vanilla bean ice cream.


2 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled

1/4 cup shortening, cut into pieces and chilled

4 to 5 tbsp. cold water


2/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

4 medium baking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices


1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

1. For pastry, mix flour and salt in bowl. With pastry blender or fingertips, combine butter and shortening into flour mixture until texture of coarse meal. Gradually add water, tossing with fork, until mixture begins to mass together. Shape dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 45 minutes.

2. Roll pastry to fit a 12-inch pizza pan, between 1/8 and 1/2-inch thick; trim and flute edges.

3. Combine sugar, 3 tbsp. flour and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a bowl. Add apples and toss. Arrange apples in a single layer in a circular pattern to completely cover pastry.

4. Combine the first 5 topping ingredients with the leftover cinnamon-sugar mixture from the apples. Sprinkle over apples.

5. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Yield: 12 servings.

Crockpot Pot Roast

Good old fashioned pot roast with all of the trimmings really signifies down home cooking. Because this has meat and vegetables all in one, I usually serve this with a hearty salad and some warm crusty bread with butter. Perfect with a glass of red wine or apple cider.

1 3 to 4 pound beef roast

4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small onion, sliced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup beef broth

1/4 cup red wine (stout like Merlot)

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim most of fat off roast. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Place potatoes, carrots and onion in crockpot. Stir in garlic. Place roast on top.

3. Stir together broth, wine, parsley, thyme, paprika and salt and pepper. Pour over and around roast. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours until roast and veggies are tender. Remove meat and vegetables and thicken liquid with cornstarch if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pumpkin Maple Swirl Muffins

I start dreaming of pumpkin this and pumpkin that come September when fall is just around the corner. These muffins are definitely a delicious fall treat.


1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. maple syrup


2 cups flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. maple syrup


1 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. For filling: combine cream cheese, sugar and maple syrup in small bowl until blended.

2. For muffins: combine flour, sugar, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, oil and maple syrup in medium bowl; add to flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Fold filling in just until batter is swirled.

3. For topping: mix together sugar and nuts in small bowl.

4. Spoon batter into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle nut topping over muffins.

5. Bake in preheated 400º oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes; serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

Apple stuffed pork chops scream fall to me. This savory pork 'n stuffing main dish is perfect on a crisp fall evening with a side salad and mug of warm apple cider.

4 pork chops, 1 to 1-1/2-inches thick

1 box (6 ounces) cornbread stuffing mix

1-1/2 cups hot chicken broth

1 cup chopped apple

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 350º. Season each pork chop with salt and pepper to taste. Make a pocket in each chop by cutting between rib bones.

2. Combine stuffing mix, chicken broth, apple, onion and parsley; mix well.

3. Stuff each chop with 1/2 cup stuffing. Place in 11x7-inch baking dish. Spoon remaining stuffing around chops.

4. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once halfway through baking. Yield: 4 servings.

Hazelnut Mushroom Pilaf

I personally don't like mushrooms, but most people do so I pick 'em out. Sometimes I just leave 'em out all together. This is good either way. (This recipe is posted on one of my favorite websites allrecipes as well).

1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice

1/4 cup uncooked orzo

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

2 tbsp. butter

2 cups fat free chicken broth

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp. dried marjoram

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 tbsp. coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted

1. In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, saute the rice, orzo, mushrooms, onion and celery in butter, stirring constantly, until rice is lightly browned. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Cooking Conflict!

Work is seriously interfering with my cooking these days! I enjoy my job with the coffee giant, but I am not fond of the shift style work that has me working until 8:30 pm. I haven't been cooking a lot because I am working the later shift a few times a week. Gotta remedy this! So, I'm going to drag out the crockpot and start utilizing its convenience and ease. I really don't have many crockpot staple recipes, though, so if you have any you just love please send them my way!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dreaming of BBQ Sauce

It's been a quiet weekend in the cooking world around here as I have been working long hours and had a bbq to attend last night. Sadly, I didn't even cook for the bbq. I totally cheated and jazzed up Suddenly Salad's Chipotle Ranch pasta salad (but it was quite delicious). I used half sour cream and half mayonnaise for the dressing, and added some corn and cubed avocado. It was a big hit, so the easy route was a success this time. =) We're going to another bbq this afternoon, and we don't need to supply anything which means no cooking again today.

Tomorrow, however I am going to cook! Yay! My brother made an AMAZING bbq sauce yesterday, and my goal is to recreate it for tomorrow's chicken on the grill. I asked him for the recipe, and of course I got the "Oh, a bottle of ketchup, a bottle of barbecue sauce, a small jar of strawberry jelly, some sweet and sour, maple syrup, spices..." yada yada yada. Ok first, the jelly threw me off, wasn't expecting that. And I wouldn't have expected there to be jelly and maple syrup. But, in his words, "You need the syrup for its gooey sticking ability". Makes sense. And whatever he did it was honestly one of the best bbq sauces I've ever had. So, I will call him today and ask him to be a tad more specific with me then I'll go from there. Will definitely post the recipe once I nail it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hazelnut Espresso Shortbread

Also delicious without the espresso, and/or with mini chocolate chips added to the dough. Think of these in a pretty box or neatly wrapped in decorative cellophane for a delightful food gift, and not just for Christmas. =)

2 cups flour

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Blend flour, sugars, 1 tbsp. espresso powder and salt in food processor. Add butter, vanilla and 2/3 cup hazelnuts. Using pulse button, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Knead just until dough comes together. Divide dough in half.

3. Press each half into 9-inch tart (or cake) pans that have been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Prick dough with fork several times. Bake until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer shortbread to rack; cool 5 minutes. Remove shortbread from pan by inverting shortbread onto plates slightly smaller than pan and re-inverting onto cutting board. Cut into 24 wedges; cool completely.

4. Mix 2 tbsp. hot water and remaining 1 tsp. espresso powder in small saucepan. Add chocolate. Stir over low heat until chocolate is smooth. Remove from heat. Drizzle melted chocolate over shortbread wedges; sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Let stand until chocolate sets. Store in airtight container. Freezes well. Yield: 2 dozen.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grocery Outlet Wine

So guess what? I have what may sound like an odd suggestion to my fellow wine lovers. But I'm totally serious. If you have a Grocery Outlet store in your area, check it out for your next bottle of wine. Grocery Outlet is a discounted grocery and merchandise store, and the selection they carry is wide and unpredictable. But, they have an "upscale" wine and micro brew section with discount price tags attached. The bottle I'm currently drinking is a Washington Hills (hadn't heard of it before) 2007 Chardonnay and it's pretty good. It's a drier Chardonnay, yet ripe and mellow. Very well rounded. And it cost a whopping $3.99. Better than two buck chuck at Trader Joes.

At Grocery Outlet in Boise I ran across this line of wines (Marlargo). I admit I initially bought them because I fell in love with the bottles. But the wine was actually good! And if I remember right each bottle only cost $3.99 as well. The wine is long gone, but I saved the bottles and they are now displayed as decor on top of my kitchen cabinets.

Grocery Outlet gets my thumbs up for wine (and inexpensive grocery items as well)!

Hearty Split Pea Soup

In my quest for a hearty homemade split pea soup, I came up with this delicious recipe. This has excellent flavor and consistency, and is easily adaptable to personal tastes. When I have leftover ham or Canadian bacon I throw some of that in the pot, too. (Tonight I used chopped Canadian bacon and bacon bits).

1 package (16 ounces) dry, green split peas

4 cups water

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup real smoked bacon bits

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1 large celery stalk, sliced (leafy top included)

1 small onion, chopped

2 tsp. chicken bouillon

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. dry thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. dry marjoram

1. Rinse split peas in cold water. Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1-1/2 hours. Reseason to taste if necessary. Yield: 6 servings.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Creamy Three Cheese Macaroni

I never thought I would find a better Macaroni and Cheese than my original favorite, but this healthier version compares in taste and texture but not in calories and fat! It's simply fabulous!!

3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1/3 cup flour

2-2/3 cups lowfat 1% milk

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced fat Sharp Cheddar cheese

3 ounces process light American cheese (Velveeta)

2 tbsp. grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/8 tsp. pepper

1. Heat oven to 375º. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook macaroni according to package directions for 6 minutes.

2. Sprinkle flour into a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk; cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in cheeses and cook and stir for 2 more minutes, until cheeses are melted and sauce is creamy. Remove from heat and stir in salt, mustard and pepper. Stir in macaroni.

3. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Yield: 8 servings.

Macaroni and Cheese

I have two homemade macaroni and cheese recipes I use, this one and a healthier version (which is also phenomenal). This is my old faithful, though, and for good reason. One rich and creamy bite and you'll see why.

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

1-3/4 cups milk

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

3 cups (12 ounces) grated Sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Cook macaroni in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish.

3. In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour. Cook and stir for one minute. Gradually stir in milk. Add sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and mustard. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce bubbles and thickens. Stir in half of the Cheddar cheese until melted.

4. Toss macaroni with remaining Cheddar cheese. Pour sauce over macaroni and mix thoroughly.

5. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until bubbly and browning. Yield: 6 servings.

Bow Tie Pasta Puttanesca

This is one of my personal favorite dishes. The hot Italian turkey sausage makes this dish! A hearty salad and glass of red wine compliment this filling pasta entree nicely.

8 oz. hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (14 oz.) tomato puree

1 can (14 oz.) petite diced tomatoes

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Pinch each sugar, salt and pepper

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1/4 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese

12 oz. farfalle (bow tie pasta)

1. In a medium skillet, crumble and cook sausage with onion and garlic over medium-high heat until turkey is browned. Stir in tomato puree, tomatoes, seasonings and olives. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 40 minutes.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over pasta; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Grilled Italian Sandwich

This really is so simple and casual, but oh so tasty and filling. Pairs nicely with a light pasta salad and fresh fruit. (Often I use all turkey as it's my favorite).

2 loaves (8 ounces each) French or sourdough bread
4 tbsp. mustard
4 tbsp. mayonnaise
8 ounces pastrami, thinly sliced
8 ounces smoked turkey or ham, thinly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
Red onion rings
4 large slices Provolone cheese
4 tbsp. Italian salad dressing
Shredded lettuce

1. Slice bread in half lengthwise. Scoop out bread in bottom halves, leaving a 1/2 inch thick shell. Evenly layer ingredients in order listed in both bottom halves; replace bread tops. Wrap sandwiches in foil.

2. Grill over medium coals for 15 minutes, or until warmed and cheese is melted. Or, bake in oven at 350º. Unwrap sandwiches, fill lettuce and slice into serving size pieces. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Almond Cream Cheese French Toast

The toasted almonds and almond extract really make this French toast stand out!

8 ounce loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp. toasted chopped almonds

1 tsp. powdered sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Cut a pocket into each bread slice. Combine cream cheese, almonds and powdered sugar; evenly stuff into bread pockets.

2. Beat together eggs, milk, almond extract and cinnamon. Dip bread slices into egg mixture to coat. Brown both sides on greased hot griddle. Yield: 4 servings.

Honey Mustard Pork Scallopine

This recipe humbly earned me a 4th place win in a 1998 Taste of Home Quick Cooking magazine contest.

4 thin cut boneless pork chops

2 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. spicy mustard

1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup finely crushed buttery crackers

2 tbsp. butter

1. Pound pork chops to about 1/8-inch thickness between waxed paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine honey and mustard; mix well. In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs and cracker crumbs.

3. With a pastry brush, generously coat both sides of pork slices with the honey-mustard sauce. Coat in crumbs.

4. In a heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook pork 4 minutes per side until crisp and lightly browned. Yield: 4 servings.

The School Lunch Bag

It's back to school time, and to avoid brown bag boredom, here are some tasty sandwich combos to keep lunch exciting:

Avocado with Monterey Jack cheese, roasted red pepper slices, sliced tomatoes, cucumber slices, sprouts and mayonnaise

Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado with mayonnaise

Balogna with American cheese, green pepper rings, mayonnaise, mustard and lettuce

Chicken with Brie, apple chutney, deli mustard and sprouts

Chicken with smoked Gouda, deli mustard and tomato slices

Club sandwich with turkey, ham, bacon, mayonnaise, mustard, Cheddar cheese and lettuce

Corned beef with Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and cole slaw mix

Egg salad with sunflower seeds

Ham with Cheddar cheese, sliced apples or pears and Dijonnaise

Ham with Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, honey-mustard, sliced tomatoes and sprouts

Pastrami with mayonnaise, mustard, sliced sweet onion, sliced tomatoes and lettuce

Peanut butter with honey and sliced bananas

Peanut butter with marshmallow fluff

Roast beef with cream cheese, dill, sliced tomatoes and sprouts

Roast beef with Monterey Jack cheese, mayonnaise or horseradish, roasted red pepper strips and lettuce

Tuna fish salad with sweet pickles and cucumber slices

Tuna fish salad with crushed pineapple, cashews and lettuce

Turkey with sliced apples and finely chopped celery with raisins and mayonnaise

Turkey with Cheddar, mayonnaise, deli mustard, tomato slices, lettuce and sprout

Turkey with Havarti, Chipotle mayonnaise, pepperoncini and baby spinach

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BBQ Strip Steak

This marinade ROCKS, oh yeah! This would be great on any favorite tender cut of steak or pork. Earmark this as a must try!

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. steak seasoning
1 tbsp. sweet and smoky chipotle seasoning
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
4 strip steaks, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total

1. Whisk together olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, seasonings, vinegar and pepper in a gallon size Ziplock bag. Add steak and turn to coat. Refrigerate and marinate at least 6 hours, turning bag often to evenly distribute marinade.

2. Discard marinade and grill steaks over medium hot coals until desired doneness. Yield: 4 servings.

Grilling and Baking

Today is a fall like day yet I have some steaks marinating for the grill later. Normally I'd be itching to make a hearty stew or casserole on a cooler day like this. But, I'm one of those people who will grill year round, rain or shine, snow or hail. (Well, I might draw the line at dodging hail bullets just to sear the perfect grill marks, but you get the picture). Grilling is one of my favorite methods of cooking, and even better is that Casey is a master griller and often does the outdoor cooking. It's not unusual for me to do all of the prep work and make the sides, then chill with some wine by the grill as he cooks the main dish. It's our form of cooking together, and not only is it good bonding time, it really is a lot of fun. And I'm okay giving up the title Queen Griller to uphold the King Griller's delicious skills.

Since it is cooler and a bit overcast I'm going to do something more traditional of this weather and bake something. There are still some ripe blackberries ready to be picked out back that would make great Blackberry Shortcakes for dessert. Just like Strawberry Shortcakes, just substitute blackberries. Because I'm using blackberries instead of strawberries I'd adjust the spices just a tad and add a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to the shortcake dough. Not only do those spices accent blackberries well, they'll really make the house smell like fall around here! Fall is my favorite season and I'm ready to welcome it in.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grilled Potato Skins

I could make a meal out of these potato skins! Gimme an ice cold beer or glass of wine and I'm gooood. (In fact, I think I'll grill these up this weekend).

4 medium baking potatoes

1/4 cup picante sauce

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 tbsp. real bacon bits

1/2 cup chopped tomato

1/4 cup sliced green onions, green tops included


1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. sour cream

1-1/2 tbsp. Ranch salad dressing

1 tbsp. real bacon bits

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1. Scrub potatoes; prick with a fork. Place 2 of the potatoes in the microwave oven. Micro-cook on 100% power (high) for 11 to 14 minutes, or until just tender, rearranging once after 7 minutes. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Cool enough to handle.

2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell. Discard pulp, or save for another use. Spoon 1/2 tbsp. picante sauce into each potato shell. Sprinkle each with cheese and bacon.

3. Grill potato skins on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 10 to 12 minutes or till skins are crisp. Sprinkle with tomato and green onions. Top with sour cream mixture. Yield: 4 servings.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

These lemon twisted blueberry muffins are so light and refreshing. This quality recipe comes from a friend, Mary Beth, and has been a favorite for years. Mmmm!

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup lowfat lemon yogurt or sour cream

Juice from one large lemon

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 pint blueberries, fresh or frozen

Sugar for sprinkling

1. Heat oven to 375º. Grease or line muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until blended. Fold in blueberries. Pour into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar.

3. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: 1 dozen.

Salmon with Honey Lime Butter

This is an excellent, very flavorful salmon recipe. The citrus butter combo is fantastic. I serve this with rice pilaf and a fresh seasonal vegetable. A light white wine like Riesling or Gewurztraminer is a good compliment to this entree.

4 large salmon steaks or 2 salmon filets (about 1 pound each)

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup lime juice

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. crushed dried rosemary

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Honey-Lime Butter (recipe below)


1. Palce salmon in a shallow dish. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well; pour over salmon. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain; discarding marinade.

2. Grill salmon over medium coals, skin side down, for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with Honey-Lime Butter. Yield: 4 servings.



4 tbsp. butter, softened

1 tbsp. lime juice

1 tbsp. honey

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. finely grated lime peel

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


1. Beat all ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Shape butter into a roll about 1-inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Cut into slices and serve with salmon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chicken Pecan Pitas

These are great when you have leftover chicken to use up. Perfect in the summer when you don't want to fuss with a hot kitchen. This versatile recipe is adaptable to different fruits and nuts like mandarin oranges, berries, cashews and/or pistachios as well.

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded in chunks

1 can (8-1/4 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup red and green grapes, halved

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup minced onion

3 tbsp. chopped pecans

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/8 tsp. paprika

4 whole wheat pitas, cut in half

Large lettuce leaves

1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, pineapple, grapes, celery, onions and pecans.

2. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt, pepper and paprika until creamy. Pour over the chicken mixture and toss gently.

3. Line each pita pocket with a large lettuce leaf. Gently stuff 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each pita pocket half. Yield: 4 whole pitas.

Grilled Apricot Mustard Sausages

This is just soooo good! Perfect when you want a change of pace on the grill. The apricot mustard dip would be awesome with savory chicken sausages, too.

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

Pinch salt and pepper

1 pound sweet Italian sausages

1. Prepare grill for direct grilling. Combine preserves, mustard and salt and pepper in a small bowl; mix well.

2. Grill sausages over medium-hot coals for 20 minutes, turning once. Baste with preserve mixture and continue grilling 3 minutes more, turning once, or until sausage is lightly browned and cooked through. Serve with remaining preserve mixture for dipping. Makes 4 servings.

Strawberry Filled Crepes

For an extra special breakfast treat, forgo the Cool Whip for real fresh whipped cream. It's hard to resist the strawberry fresh whipped cream combo! (Makes a great dessert, too)!


3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. powdered sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup lowfat milk

1/3 cup water

1/4 tsp. vanilla


1/4 cup sugar

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1-1/2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water

Light Cool Whip

Powdered sugar

1. Make the strawberry sauce first. Place sugar and strawberries in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened and bubbly. Cool to room temperature.

2. For the crepes, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Beat eggs and stir in milk, water and vanilla. Make a well in the sifted ingredients. Pour in the liquid and stir quickly to combine. A few small lumps are fine.

3. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add a small quantity of batter. Tip the skillet and let the batter spread over the bottom. Cook the crepe over moderate heat. When it is brown underneath, reverse it and brown the other side. Repeat process, spraying pan with nonstick cooking spray as needed

4. Serve crepes with strawberry sauce and Cool Whip. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yield: 1 dozen crepes.

Honeydew Smoothie

Another big winner among the smoothie kick concoctions. Also good with vanilla protein powder added.

1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt

2 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 cups honeydew melon chunks

3/4 cup lowfat milk

2 tsp. sugar or Splenda

1/2 cup crushed ice

1. Add all ingredients to blender; whirl until smooth, stirring as needed. Yield: 2 small servings.

Peanut Butter Peach Smoothie

This may sound like an odd combo, but the flavor is really delicious. I was on a smoothie kick for awhile and this turned out to be one of my favorites!

1 cup lowfat milk

1 cup frozen unsweetened sliced peaches

2 tbsp. sugar or Splenda

1 tbsp. natural creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup crushed ice

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 small servings

Apple-Nut Slaw

I came up with this combo when I was craving something different from regular cole slaw. This is a combo of Waldorf Salad and Cole Slaw, and it's super yummy!

1 pkg. (1 lb.) three color deli cole slaw

1 small green apple, peeled and coarsely shredded

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries or cherries

2 tbsp. chopped walnuts

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. celery salt

1. Toss cole slaw, apples, cranberries and walnuts together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together remaining ingredients; toss with cole slaw mix to combine well. Chill. Yield: 8 servings.

Teriyaki Beef Kabobs

Because of the long marinating time, the teriyaki flavor is abundant through and through. Don't be skeptical of the ketchup in this teriayki recipe. It's definitely a key ingredient in the amazing flavor (and not "ketchupy" at all).

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1-1/2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into cubes

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks or one fresh pineapple, cubed

Assorted fresh vegetables prepared for kabobs (mushrooms, zucchini, sweet pepper, onion)

1. In shallow dish or large plastic bag, combine ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and garlic powder. Add beef and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight. (Go for the overnight marinating).

2. Alternately thread meat, pineapple and vegetables on skewers. Bring marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Grill kabobs above medium coals, turning often, until meat is done and vegetables are tender. Serve marinade over kabobs. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Summer before fall

So yeah, I stayed up waaaay too late blogging recipes last night. I think it was 2:00 am when my head hit the pillow. Oops! Believe it or not there is a slight method to my madness at this point. Summer is coming to an end soon, and I would like to get as many of my favorite warm weather recipes up now before I make the switch to my favorite seasonal cooking style, fall. I've tossed in a few other favorites thus far, but I will concentrate more on summer and "don't heat up the kitchen" stuff for now. Then, bring on cooler temps and fall which will include soups, stews, casseroles, roasts, baked goods, and so on...

At this particular moment, come to momma you much needed beautiful cuppa joe.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These have a little bit of everything in them making them one awesome cookie, slightly different than the average chocolate chip!

2-1/2 cups flour

1 cup uncooked oats

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter. Beat in sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Add flour mixture, chocolate chips and pecans and beat until well combined.

4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake in 350º oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet 1 minute before moving to wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

Asparagus with Mustard Bread Crumbs

Fresh asparagus is good on its own, but jazzing it up with such flavors as butter, mustard and spices only enhances its tasty goodness. This is a delicious 'jazzy' recipe!

1-1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed and snapped

3 tbsp. butter

1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. lemon juice

1. In a large nonstick skillet, add asparagus and 1/4 cup water. Cover and steam over medium-high heat until just tender (do not over cook).

2. While asparagus steams, melt light butter in a small nonstick skillet over low heat. Whisk in mustard; add bread crumbs, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Saute', stirring frequently, until the crumbs are a light golden color, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain asparagus and toss with lemon juice and mustard crumbs. Yield: 4 servings.

Green Beans with Shallot Butter

Take advantage of fresh garden green beans and serve this as your next side dish. The flavor profile is simple yet elegant and abundant.

2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed

3 tbsp. slivered almonds

1. Heat 1 tbsp. of the butter and the oil in a small nonstick skillet until butter melts. Add shallots and garlic and cook over low heat 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in remaining butter, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

2. Cook green beans uncovered in a large pot of boiling water 7 to 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Do not overcook. Drain well; transfer to a serving bowl.

3. Add shallot butter and almonds; toss to mix and coat. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

Sesame Chicken Strips

These super yummy chicken strips make a great appetizer, or serve them as a main dish with your favorite sides. The honey mustard dip is da bomb!

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. dried minced onion

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 cup crushed butter-flavor crackers

1/3 cup sesame seed

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast OR chicken tenderloins


1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, onion and 1 tsp. mustard. In another bowl, combine crackers, sesame seeds, paprika and pepper.

2. Cut chicken lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips if using breasts. Dip strips into mayonaise mixture, then into the cracker mixture. Place a single layer on a large greased baking sheet. Bake at 425º for 15 to 18 minutes or until juices run clear.

3. Combine sauce ingredients and serve with chicken strips. Yield: 4 servings.

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

This is by far my favorite bbq sandwich! They're perfect on a hot summer day when it's too hot to fuss with cooking. I highly recommend Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce above all others! And to really get crazy, try a small scoop of cole slaw on the beef...Mmmm! Corn on the cob, baked beans and watermelon round out this perfect summer meal.

1 3-pound beef brisket or pot roast

1/2 cup water

3 tbsp. vinegar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. chili powder

3 cups barbecue sauce

Kaiser rolls or large hamburger buns


1. Trim fat from brisket. Cut brisket, if necessary, to fit in a 3-1/2 to 4-quart crock pot.

2. Add water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder. Cover and cook on low setting 8 to 10 hours, or on high setting 4 to 5 hours.

3. About 1 hour before serving, remove the meat from the crock pot. Discard cooking liquid. Using two forks to pull, shred meat return to crock pot. Stir in barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on high setting 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve on rolls or hamburger buns. Yield: 12 to 16 sandwiches.

Black Bean Hummus

This awesome twist on hummus is great with fresh vegetables, wheat crackers and baked tortilla or pita chips. I don't actually measure the spices, but these amounts should be close. You can adjust the spices to suit your taste. This recipe is a big hit when I take it to gatherings.

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, mostly drained

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Yield: about 3 cups.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whoever came up with the banana and chocolate combo was a genius! YUM!

2 cups flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup lowfat milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 large)

3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 400º. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with paper liners.

2. Whisk together dry ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, combine milk, oil, egg, vanilla and bananas. Stir in dry ingredients just until moistened. Quickly stir in chocolate chips.

3. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until light golden and muffins test done. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 1 dozen.

Pasta Primavera

This tasty meatless treasure comes from Cooking Light. The abundance of veggies remind me of dining al fresca on a warm summer evening, but this is certainly delicious any time of year. Serve with a nice crusty Artisan bread and a bottle of Chardonnay to share to round out the meal.

1-1/2 cups baby carrots

8 oz. cavatappi or fusilli pasta

1 tsp. olive oil

2 cups baby broccoli florets (or asparagus tips)

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup frozen baby peas

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cracked pepper

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup fat free half and half

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil, sliced, to taste (optional)

1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil; add carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Remove carrots with a slotted spoon. Add pasta to water; cook according to package directions.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and onion; saute' for 3 minutes. Add carrots, peas, garlic, salt and pepper; saute' 2 minutes. Stir in wine, fat free half and half, cream and lemon juice; cook 1 minute. Add pasta and Parmesan cheese; stir to coat. Remove from heat; stir in basil if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cranberry Orange Scones

If you fancy Starbuck's Cranberry Orange Scones, you will surely fall in love with these. And since you get six out of the batch you can share with your family (or hide 'em in the freezer and keep 'em to yourself).

1-3/4 cups flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. fine orange zest

2 tbsp. cold butter

2 tbsp. cold light butter

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup lowfat milk

1 tbsp. orange juice concentrate

1 egg

1/4 cup lowfat sour cream

2 tsp. sugar

1. Heat oven to 425°. Lightly spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cranberries.

3. Lightly beat milk, orange juice concentrate and egg in a small bowl; reserve 1-1/2 tbsp. milk mixture. Whisk in sour cream until well blended. Stir into flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead 10 to 12 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Place dough onto prepared baking sheet. Cut into 6 wedges; do not separate. Brush remaining milk mixture over wedges; sprinkle with 2 tsp. sugar.

4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack. Yield: 6 scones.

Baja Fish Tacos

I'm a HUGE fish taco fan, so I devised this recipe to clone the "to die for" fish tacos I've eaten in restaurants. These are great served with a black bean and corn side (black beans, corn, cilantro, spices and fresh lime juice), and a cold Corona with fresh lime!

1/4 cup light sour cream

3 tbsp. mayonnaise

1/2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. each onion powder and garlic powder

Pinch each salt and pepper

1 pound cod or other firm white fish filets, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

8 corn tortillas, warmed

Toppings: shredded cabbage, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced scallions, fresh lime juice and salsa

1. In a small bowl combine first 7 ingredients; set aside. Toss fish, oil and lime juice together; pour into a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Saute', stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.

2. Evenly fill corn tortillas with fish. Top each taco with cabbage, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced scallions, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, salsa and 1 tbsp. sour cream mixture. Yield: 4 servings.

Grilled Szechuan Chicken Salad

This is a hearty main dish salad perfect on a hot night. Serve with fresh iced tea or a refreshing white wine spritzer.

1 pound boneless, skineless chicken breasts

Seasoned pepper

1 can (8 ounces) pineapple slices

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. reserved pineapple juice

1 tbsp. vinegar

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Mixed greens (lettuce, red onion, grated carrots, red pepper and broccoli)


1. Lightly sprinkle chicken breasts with seasoned pepper. Grill; slice into strips.

2. Reserve 2 tbsp. juice from pineapple. In a covered jar, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, honey and ginger. Shake well.

3. Brush pineapple slices with dressing; grill 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Arrange chicken and pineapple over lettuce and vegetables. Sprinkle with peanuts. Top with salad dressing. Yield: 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cajun Jambalaya Fettucine

Open up the windows and turn on the oven fan as this spicy dish cooks. The hot spices are intoxicating, but ohhh sooo delicious!! (Must like hot n spicy food to appreciate this one)! Goes well with a hearty red wine like Merlot or Shiraz.

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 pound)

1/2 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 box (12 ounces) spinach and plain fettucine blend

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 pound smoked kielbasa, cut into small chunks

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 small bell pepper, sliced

1 small white onion, sliced in small pieces

1-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

2 tbsp. white wine

1. Make a Cajun seasoning blend by combining the salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder in a small bowl.

2. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Use about one-third seasoning blend to coat the chicken pieces. In another bowl, sprinkle another one-third of the spice blend over the shrimp.

3. Start the pasta cooking according to package directions.

4. While the fettucine cooks, heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, saute' the chicken in the pan for about 2 minutes or until chicken starts to turn brown.

5. Add the shrimp to the pan with the chicken and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the chicken and shrimp have been seared, pour the contents of the pan onto a plate or into a bowl (separate the chicken and shrimp as they will be added back to the pan at different stages).

6. Put the pan back over the high heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp. of oil to the pan. Add the kielbasa, tomato, pepper, and onion. Sprinkle on the remaining spice blend and saute' for about 5 minutes or until veggies begin to soften and turn dark brown.

7. Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour 3/4 cup of the chicken broth in the pan. Cook over high heat until the broth has been reduced to just about nothing. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of broth and shrimp to the pan, stirring constantly and scraping the blackened bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the broth a bit more, then turn the heat down to low.

8. Stir the wine into the pan and simmer over low heat for 2 more minutes. Drain fettucine and spoon onto plates. Top with jambalaya. Yield: 4 servings.

White Chocolate Mousse Berry Parfaits

Summer is drawing to an end, so hurry up and make these melt in your mouth parfaits while fresh berries are still available!

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp. sugar

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

3 squares (1 ounce each) white baking chocolate, melted

3 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and/or blackberries)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.

2. In another mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add chocolate and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.

3. Alternate layers of mousse and berries in parfait glasses, ending with mousse. Garnish with additional berries if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours. Yield: 4 servings.

Grilled Pizza

This is no ordinary grilling recipe. Pizza cooked on the grill is so much better (and more fun) than pizza cooked in an oven. Serve it with a fresh salad and some ice cold microbrew on a hot summer night and prepare for rave reviews!


1 cup flat beer

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 package active dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp.)


Olive oil

Pizza sauce (recipe below)

Seasonings: finely chopped garlic and fresh or dried herbs

Toppings: any combination of ham, pepperoni, sausage, chicken, grilled veggies, olives, pineapple, pepperoncini, jalapeno and desired cheese

1. For dough, dissolve yeast in warm beer (105º to 115º). Add butter, sugar, salt, and flour. Mix until dough forms a ball and cleans sides of bowl. Turn onto floured surface and knead until elastic (several minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down dough.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls. Roll on lightly floured surface and pat out dough to 1/4-inch thickness to make small circles. Brush each circle lightly with olive oil.

3. Spray hot grill rack with nonstick cooking spray to help prevent sticking. Vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, yellow squash and zucchini need to be grilled before using them as toppings, so grill desired veggies until tender.

4. Place circles directly above medium coals (they will not fall through the grill rack). Grill circles, uncovered, until dough starts to bubble in spots on the top and the bottom is lightly browned. Turn over using tongs. Continue to grill until the other side is cooked but not browning (just a minute or two), then remove crusts from heat.

5. Brush each browned side of crust with sauce. Top with herbs, meats, vegetables, and cheese. Grill, covered, about 5 minutes until cheese melts, bottom of crust is crisp and pizza looks done. Yield: 4 individual pizzas.

*This delicious beer pizza dough comes from and old friend, Pam, on an old cooking board I used to frequent. Remains a favorite to this day.


1 can (15 ounces) tomato puree

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. ground thyme

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often.

3. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool. Store in refrigerator or use immediately. Yield: 1-1/2 cups.

New Style

Ok, I have a lot of figuring out to do here! Not sure how I'm going to get 600 recipes on a blog, or if I'm just going to let go of the whole "Steph's Kitchen" notion as I've known it and just totally revamp and start over. I'm leaning towards just refreshing my style as it has evolved over the past few years and going from there. That still doesn't help me with how to keep so many recipes organized and easily accessible on a blog, but...I'm gonna peck away at this and see what happens! I did add the search tool, as well as the label feature, which should help make recipe searching quicker and easier.

On an ironic note, my new blog is coming about on some of the warmest days we've had this summer, which in turn makes me not want to cook much. Tonight we're going out for dinner (delish local pizza joint), I'm working the next two nights and Saturday we're having dinner at my brother's. I won't actually cook a meal until Sunday. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


For those faithful followers from years ago, this is the totally revamped Steph's Kitchen (Steph's Country Kitchen Goodness) website in blog format. This promises to be a fun and sassy mix of tempting recipes, must try wines and beverages, food and cooking websites, kitchen tips, and everything in between. I would say everything but the kitchen sink, but no guarantee I won't discuss my kitchen sink at one point! (Like the time it stayed clogged for a week and I did dishes in the bath tub...mmhmm).

So for all future recipes I'll post, polls I'll ask, tips I'll share and wines I'll stress you run out and buy, I raise my glass of "Cab" and happily toast "Cheers" and Welcome!