Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Easy Skillet Jambalaya

I have rediscovered parboiled or "converted rice". It makes cooking an after work skillet dinner quick and easy.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

2 teaspoon canola or olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large stalk celery, sliced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 2 tablespoons dried
1 lb. peeled deveined shrimp
2 cups low salt canned or home made chicken broth
1 cup converted rice
1/2 lb. low fat smoked turkey sausage, cut into half inch slices
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
pinch of salt and dash of black pepper
1 large bay leaf
1, 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes with juice

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallions, celery, bell pepper and parsley. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until onions are tender.

Add shrimp, broth, rice, sausage, thyme, peppers, salt and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp are curled, pink and opaque.

Stir in tomatoes, with juice, and bring to a simmer again. Cover, turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. Stir well. Serves 6.

Serve with hot sauce of choice if desired.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rice,Lentil, Sweet Potato Stew

Rice, Lentil, Sweet Potato Stew

This can easily be made into a meatless dish by omitting the sausage. Pork or beef sausage could be substituted. The last time I made this I used a spicy chicken sausage.

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon each: ground cloves, ground coriander, ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to your taste
1 cup brown rice
1/2 lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
12 to 16 oz. smoked turkey sausage cut into 1 inch slices

In a 4 quart pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and spices and stir 1 minute. Add rice, lentils, tomatoes, salt and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Stir in sausage and sweet potatoes and simmer until sweet potatoes are softened, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pie Filling Cake

When I was writing my cook book in 2009 I could not find my 1976 church cook book. That was the year I was married and that was the first cook book I used. Many of the recipes I had written in other places so I was able to put them in my own book. This is one recipe I didn't have until I found it in a box in the garage last month. Can't wait to have an occasion to make this again.

Pie Filling Cake

1/2 lb. butter or stick margarine
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1, 21 oz. can pie filling, flavor of your choice

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, beating in one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder. Stir into creamed mixture a little at a time. Place 3/4 of the batter into a greased 7 1/2 inch baking pan. Spread fruit filling over batter. Spread remaining batter to cover fruit. Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes. Serves 10 to 12.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Door County sour cherries

Just discovered that has published my sour cherry sorbet recipe. Read the reviews and loved the feed back. My husband and I vacationed in Door County, Wisconsin this year. Got my 2 lb. bucket of pitted  and frozen sour cherries and will make this years batch soon. Also stocked up on wild rice while up there even though there's a new bulk food store in my town that has a good price for it. 

Picking up local food products is our plan for shopping on vacation trips. We bring along a good sized cooler to keep perishables safe for the ride home. We discovered two new artisan cheese shops in Door County this year. One had some "cave cured" cheese. We picked up one that was a cave cured Cardona. Have never heard of  Cardona cheese before. It is a sharp hard cheese. The cave curing imparts a mineral taste to the cheese that I liken to the mineral taste of Spanish wines. So I find pairing this particular cheese with a Tempranillo wine is perfect.

We picked up chopped cherry jam and cherry juice this year along with some locally made wines. Got some Wisconsin maple syrup. The local farm markets sell many varieties of canned local produce. This year we picked up a jar of spicy pickled cabbage. It's sort of like Wisconsin kimchee (sp?).

Saw one farm report while up there that Wisconsin will have a bumper crop of cranberries. Evidently Wisconsin provides 52 % of the cranberry crop in this country on average each year. I'm interested to see if the price is less per pound this year. I'll stock up in my freezer if it is.

My gas grill is no more so not able to grill on my Sunday off. I'm going back to a charcoal kettle type grill.

To all my readers: Have a great Labor Day holiday?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Barbecue Sauce for the Rest of the Summer

Make Ahead Barbecue Sauce

This sauce can be kept safely in the refrigerator for the next 6 weeks. If you taste it by itself with a spoon, it has a funny flavor. Trust me, once you brush it on hot grilled chicken, beef or pork and heat through, it is delicious.

1 1/2 cups catsup
1 cup strong black coffee
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In a medium nonreactive pan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring  until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. ( about 8 to 10  minutes).Let sauce cool to room temperature in a covered, nonreactive container. ( about 30 minutes). Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summertime Chicken Dinner

Orange Thyme Grilled Chicken

4 bone in chicken breasts
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 dry white wine
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme plus 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced orange zest, (usually enough from one medium orange)

Combine orange juice, wine, oil and minced thyme in a shallow, non reactive dish. Place chicken breasts in dish and turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 2  hours to overnight, turning occasionally. When ready to grill, remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Place thyme sprigs and orange peel under chicken skin. Prepare a hot grill to cook by indirect heat method. Place chicken breasts on grill skin side up. Grill, covered, 20  minutes. Turn chicken skin side down for 15 minutes. Turn chicken again grill skin side up until juices run clear and internal temperature is 165 degress F., about 15 additional minutes. Serves 4.

Colorful Rice Salad
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup salad olives drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted black olives
  • 2 cups cold cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 bottled or home prepared Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoons mince fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • Toss vegetables with cold rice in mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk Italian dressing into mayonnaise. Stir in parsley. Toss dressing mixture gently with vegetables and rice. Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving. Yield: serves 4


    This dish is especially good with cold cooked brown rice. I've only recently discovered that ingredient works well. Green bell pepper can be substituted for the red but the red adds to the colorful appearance of this salad. I frequently use reduced fat mayonnaise or whipped salad dressing. I just make sure I prepare the dish the morning of the day I'm going to serve it. I find the reduced fat product gets a little watery after 24 to 48 hours. To make this salad with even more eye appeal, line serving bowl with dark green kale leaves to set off the white of the rice.
Serve a favorite steamed vegetable for this meal. I like to accompany the above with garden or farm fresh tomato slices. Watermelon is a light and refreshing dessert for this meal.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cool Summer Salad

Fresh raspberries have been particularly delicious this year. This salad makes  a cool and refreshing first course and shows off the berries.
Cool Summer Salad

3 cups seedless watermelon cubes
1 cup cucumber slices*
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime peel

Combine watermelon, cucumber slices and raspberries in a bowl then divide evenly between 4 fruit cup type bowls or salad plates. Place honey in a small custard cup and microwave on high for 10 seconds. With a fork, whisk mint, lime juice and lime peel with the honey. Drizzle honey mixture even over the 4 servings. Serve immediately.

*Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Slice each half in 1/4 inch slices.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter or stick margarine

4 cups strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

For crust: blend ingredients in a mixing bowl with pastry blender or with two knives. Press into an 8 inch pie pan. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool at room temperature, about one hour.

For filling: Quarter 2 cups strawberries and cook with sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan over low heat until juice is thick and clear, about 15 minutes. Let cool in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cut remaining strawberries in half and place in cooled crust. Pour cooked strawberries over all and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Menu

This is the Mother's day menu my husband prepared for his mother and me last night.

Cold Cucumber Soup

2 lb. cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup low fat butter milk
1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt
pinch of coarse salt and dash of ground white pepper
1/3 cup finely diced radish
1/2 cup minced green onion

Finely dice enough cucumber to measure 1/3 cup; set aside. Chop remaining  cucumber and place in a blender or food processor with onion, buttermilk and yogurt. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill in refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes.

Sprinkle each serving with diced cucumber, radish and green onion. Serves 4.

Baked Mahi Mahi

2, 6 oz. fillets mahi mahi
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

Place fish in nonreactive dish. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over fish, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 F. Discard marinade. Place fish in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Serves 3.

Rice Pilaf: prepare your favorite, my husband's has no written recipe

Serve rice in a radicchio leaf, place fish fillet over edge of rice for an attractive presentation.

Mango Sorbet Dessert

For each serving:

Place 1/2 cup diced peeled mango in bottom of desert bowl
1/2 cup mango sorbet
1/2 cup blackberries

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cookie Jar Cookies


1/2 cup stick margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts

In a 3 quart pan, melt margarine. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Cool slightly; beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix baking powder and salt with flour, add to pan, mixing well. Fold in nuts. Pour into greased 9X13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool. Cut into squares.

Walnut Cookies

1, 18 1/4 oz. yellow cake mix
2 cups dry oatmeal
 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, oats and sugar. Beat in oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in nuts and cinnamon. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to rack or brown paper sacking to cool. Makes 6 dozen

Friday, March 25, 2011

White Chili

A warm and satisfying dish without tomatoes like most chili recipes.

White Chili

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each: chili powder and cumin
pinch of salt and dash of ground white pepper
1, 14 to 16 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup green salsa
2 cup chicken broth or stock
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 cup 1% milk
Optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, hot sauce, sliced green onion

In a large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking oil spray, cook turkey, onion and garlic until turkey is no longer pink. Combine cooked turkey with spices, beans, broth, and salsa in a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and simmer 1/2 hour to blend flavors. Meanwhile, combine sour cream and milk. Stir in 1/3 cup of hot liquid. Return all to the saucepan and heat through. Garnish as desired for serving. Serves 6.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Use of Leftovers

Roast Beef Hash

2 cups peeled potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup each: diced celery, carrot and onion
2 cups of 1/2 inch cubes of leftover roast beef
left over gravy and water to equal 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon ground savory
1 teaspoon dried bouquet garni herb mix
pinch of salt and dash of pepper

Place potatoes in a 3 quart pan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat butter in deep skillet over medium heat. Saute celery, carrot and onion until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in roast beef and potatoes. Add gravy with water. Stir in seasonings. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer until heated through about 10 minutes. Better when refrigerated overnight and reheated the next day. Serves 4.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken with Olives


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large onion sliced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sliced, pitted black olives
1/2 cup small pimento stuffed olives
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried

Hot cooked rice

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper to your taste. Heat oil in heavy deep skillet over medium high heat.  Brown chicken on both sides, about a minute each. Push chicken to the side and saute onion and garlic until soft about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and olives. Cover and simmer over low heat 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and chicken meat is no longer pink inside. Uncover and stir in basil. Simmer uncovered a minute or two to thicken slightly. Serve over hot cooked rice. Serves 4.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Meatloaf Comfort Meal

Gourmet Meatloaf

Combine in mixing bowl:
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup vegetable juice
2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. ground beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To finish meat loaf you need:
8 thin slices of ham and 6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Place meat mixture on foil or wax paper. Pat into a 12X10 inch rectangle. Arrange ham on top of meat leaving a small margin around edges. Sprinkle cheese over ham. Starting at short end of rectangle, carefully roll up meat, using foil to lift. Seal edges and ends. Place roll seam side down in a greased 9X13 inch baking pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until juices run clear. Garnish with additional cheese before serving if desired. Serves 8. (is great leftover as a sandwich filling or reheated for dinner another night)

Cinnamon Carrots

For four servings (easy to double):
1 lb. carrots peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place carrots in a large deep skillet and just cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook 10 minutes until carrots are just tender. Drain and place in serving bowl. Stir in butter and cinnamon and serve.

Cooked corn or peas make for an easy additional side dish.