Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Orange Chicken

We had about twelve oranges in the house the other day, so I decided to use some of them to make this Asian dish which I've had in restaurants, but had never made at home. I made the sauce early in the day, fried the chicken a little later, and put it all together when it was time to eat..It was yummy!!

For the sauce:
1 cup orange juice
the zest of one orange
2 cups water
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1  1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves crushed garlic
3 Tbl cornstarch mixed with 4-5 Tbl cold water
Combine all ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Add the cornstarch mixture and continue to boil until the sauce thickens.  Set aside.

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes
Your favorite tempura batter prepared according to directions
Enough vegetable oil to reach about 3/4 inch in a large frying pan
Batter the chicken pieces in the tempura and fry them until starting to brown, about 3 minutes per side. Do this in batches(you don't want to over crowd the pan).  Set the pieces on a baking sheet.

To put it together you'll also need:
1 lb of thawed broccoli florets( if using fresh, steam them for a couple of minutes)
1 can sliced water chestnuts

Place the sheet of chicken in a 400F oven for ten minutes.  In a large frying pan or wok, combine the sauce with the broccoli and water chestnuts and heat to simmering.  Add the chicken and gently combine.  Serve over rice.

Note: Use other vegetables if you like: peppers, pea pods, carrots, zucchini would work well

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seafood Cobb Salad

Instead of a regular Cobb Salad, substitute seafood for the chicken.  I used shrimp and lobster and added green beans, boiled eggs , bacon,avocado, and tomatoes over a bed of lettuce.  Blue cheese dressing finishes it off. A little decadent, but worth it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mashed Potato Casserole

For Christmas this year I wanted to do a lot of the cooking ahead of time so I could enjoy the day.  I also wanted to save some oven space.  I found this recipe on may have made variations of this .....and I only made slight changes.
I used 8 pounds of potatoes instead of 5, but didn't increase the amounts of the other ingredients.  I did stir in about 3/4 cup of half and half during the last 30 minutes of the crockpot time. My mashed potato loving grandkids loved it so much they asked to take some home...and did!

You can find the recipe here:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vegan Black Bean Soup

In Pam's family, tradition is to have soup for Christmas Eve dinner, and she usually makes 2 or 3 varieties.  This year her sister's daughter and son-in-law came in from California for the Holiday.  He's a vegan so she made this black bean soup.  It was a hit!

1 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl ground cumin
1 pinch black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
4  15ounce cans black beans
1 box frozen whole kernel corn
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic for 5 minutes.  Season with the chili powder, cumin and black pepper; cook for one minute.  Stir in the broth, 2 cans of the beans and the corn.  Bring to a boil.

2.  Meanwhile, in a food processor, process 2 cans of beans and the tomatoes until smooth.  Stir into the boiling soup mixture, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Caramelized Onion Dip

Try this onion dip for your New Year's get-together...A great change from the onion soup mix recipe...sweeter and milder.. serve it with a sturdy chip or flatbread crackers.

2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbl butter
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1  1/2 cups sour cream
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 Tbl finely chopped parsley

Saute the onions in the butter on medium heat until they caramelize ( about 15 to 20 minutes).  Cool and chop them and then thoroughly combine them with the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate for a few hours ( or overnight) to let the flavors blendServe with chips or crackers at room temperature.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Update...Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Pam's grandson, Alec, loved my Mom's oatmeal cookies ( see December 5, 2010 post), but asked if she'd make them with dried cranberries...So she added about a cup of dried cranberries to the dough and baked them.  Alec said: ".These are the best oatmeal cookies I've ever eaten."......Sounds like there must be something to it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Marinated Salmon

You've got to be a fan of sushi, lox and seviche to appreciate this appetizer from the New York Times.. The salmon "cooks" in a marinade that has some acid in it, in this case, rice wine vinegar and mirin. Matt and I really liked it, but I think it could be improved upon (maybe more vinegar or sugar). I'm going to play with it and let you know..The avocado was a great accompaniment. If you can't find mirin( a sweet rice wine usually available in Asian sections of the grocer), substitute dry sherry and a couple of teaspoons of sugar.

You can find the recipe here:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

I found this recipe in the Detroit Free Press at least 20 years ago and have held on to it until the right time to make them...the grandkids and kids love chocolate and peanut butter, and these are great because they're a no bake cookie tasting like Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1  12oz jar chunky peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1  12 oz bag milk chocolate chips, melted

Combine butter and graham crumbs.  Beat in the peanut butter and sugar.  Spread evenly in a 9 x13 inch pan. Frost completely with the melted chocolate. Let cool before cutting in squares. (After cutting the squares I put the pan in the refrigerator to firm up even more before taking them out)  Gooey, chocolately, and oh sooo good!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another all in one side

I'm all for making life a little easier and I often do side dishes that are combined into one.  This time I took the rest of that Trader Joe's couscous mix that I used for the Spinach soup and combined it with zucchini and roasted tomatoes. Great with grilled chicken, lamb, or beef.

For the roasted tomatoes:
3 medium tomatoes, round ends sliced off and then cut in half
olive oil for drizzling
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper

Place the sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet, sprinkle on the garlic, salt and pepper and then drizzle with a little olive oil.  Roast in a 300F oven for 2 hours.
 2 cups couscous or couscous mix
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth plus extra if need
3 small zucchini diced about 3/4 inch
2 Tbl olive oil 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 green onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, saute the zucchini in the olive oil until just starting to brown.  Cook the couscous according to package directions in the broth. Add the couscous to the zucchini and extra broth if mixture seems dry. Gently stir in the tomatoes, feta, and green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 generous servings.

Note: Make this ahead of time and reheat in the microwave, adding a little more broth , if needed.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Pam told me about these chocolate-caramel covered pretzels that are easy to make and taste so much like "turtles".  And Jamie stopped by and told me she's had them before and requested that I make some without pecans. Her favorite is cashews, so I decided to sprinkle some of them with chopped cashews.  These are soooo good!!

Mini pretzels ( I used Rold Gold Butter Checkers)
Rolo Candy
Pecan halves
Chopped cashews

On a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet place the pretzels, topping each one with a Rolo. Bake in a pre-heated 300F oven for 5 to 6 minutes until the candy just begins to soften.  Remove from the oven and set a pecan half on each, pressing down a bit so the candy covers the pretzel. If using cashews, press the candy with the back of a teaspoon and then sprinkle the cashews on top.
Cool and store in a cool place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reuben Dogs

Here's a twist on a Reuben Sandwich....grill hot dog buns a little on a grill or grill pan...boil your hot the dogs in the buns, cover with a slice of Swiss cheese and run under the broiler until the cheese melts.  Top with rinsed and drained sauerkraut which has been warmed a little in the microwave and cover with thousand island dressing.  A nice change from a regular hot dog or coney.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oyster Dressing

Remember the 3 turkeys we fried and froze the day after Thanksgiving?  Well, Matt came back in town yesterday and so it was a mini Thanksgiving dinner last night.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and dressing. Normally on Thanksgiving I make a small oyster dressing casserole for the few of us who love oysters, but they weren't available to me this year. Fortunately, the other day I found an 8 ounce container of East Coast oysters.  This recipe is simple, but the oyster flavor gives it something extra.

1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
8 ounces of your favorite mushrooms, sliced
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp each of thyme, salt, and black pepper
6 cups of unseasoned stuffing mix
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 beaten egg
1  8 oz container of fresh oysters with liquor, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Saute the onion, celery, and mushrooms in the butter until softened.  Add the thyme, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add the broth and stuffing mix and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the egg, oysters, and parsley and place the mixture into a medium size greased casserole or baking dish.  Bake, covered at 325F for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until a slight crust forms on top of the casserole.

Now we have leftovers and sandwiches for a couple of days....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Beef Burgundy

This is a great inexpensive company meal, and although it takes some time to prepare, the results are more than worth it.

3 - 4 lbs beef chuck, cubed about 1 1/2 inches (PLEASE use chuck)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 bottle dry red wine ( I used 2 individual bottles of Merlot)
Beef broth to cover
oil for browning
1 package frozen pearl onions (or 1 package fresh)
12 - 16 oz button mushrooms, halved if large
about 2 Tbl cornstarch mixed into 1/2 cup water to make a slurry for thickening
salt and pepper

Season the beef with salt and pepper and then brown the pieces in a little olive oil.( do this in batches -you want the meat well browned). Set the meat aside and add the diced onion and garlic in the pot and saute until the onion is softened and just beginning to brown. Add the wine and with a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits.  Return the meat and accumulated juices to the pot, add the bay leaf and enough beef broth to cover the meat.Bring the stew up to a boil and then simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is soft and tender. If necessary add more broth as needed.  After 2 hours, add the onions and mushrooms and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over , cooked noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Note: If using fresh pearl onions, cut the root end off and place in boiling water for a minute or two to make it easy to slip the peels off. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's cold.....Make some Chili!

I know...almost everyone makes chili and I'm not presuming to have any sort of a great recipe...mine is pretty simple and straightforward.  The only thing that I might do a little differently is substituting black soy beans for kidney beans or pinto. Black soys are super high in fiber and very low in carbs.  Actually, sometimes I've made mine without meat and just added extra soy beans. This makes a small pot.  Double or triple this if you need to feed more. Here's my simple recipe:

1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl olive oil
1 lb ground turkey(ground beef may be substituted)
1 can (14 - 15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can V-8 juice (12 oz)
1 Tbl ground cumin
2 -3 Tbl chili powder ( I used Ancho)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
1 can black soy beans
salt and pepper to taste

For Garnish(optional):
sliced green onions
sour cream
grated cheddar

In a soup pot saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the ground meat and cook until rawness is gone.  Add the cumin, chili powder, and red pepper. Mix thoroughly and add the tomatoes, juice and salt and pepper.  Bring up to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the beans with the liquid and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes.

Note:  If you want to add carbs, serve this over pasta along with the garnishments. Chili of my favorites!! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Potato and bacon frittata

Frittatas are fun and easy to make for a crowd for brunch because they can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold. You can make a few different varieties...with meat or vegetables or even cooked pasta! I made this one with bacon, onions and potatoes but feel free to use your imagination...endless possibilities!  I made this one in a 9 inch oven proof skillet:

2 slices bacon
1 medium onion, diced
4 baby redskin potatoes, skins on and sliced thinly
1 Tbl butter
6 eggs, beaten with 2 Tbl milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in the skillet and remove and crumble. Leave about a tablespoon of the drippings in the pan and add the onions and potatoes.  Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are cooked, about 10 minutes (I covered the pan during the last 5 minutes).  Add the beaten eggs, milk, bacon , salt and pepper and continue to cook using a spatula around the edges to let the mixture ooze from the center. Once the mixture is almost cooked place in a pre-heated 350F oven for about ten minutes until the center is set. Cut into wedges to serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chocolate and Apricots

Here's a great sweet treat to serve over the holidays...and so easy...simply melt chocolate (kids like milk chocolate) in a double boiler and dip dried apricots into it covering about half.  Lay on a waxed paper lined baking sheet to harden.
Store covered in a cool place.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookies and kids

Saturday I went to Jamie's house in Rochester to watch and help the kids decorate cut out cookies.  Jessa had made the cutouts earlier in the day and brought them. Three of the kids participated.....Brayden played with toys and Alex walked around eating unadorned cookies. Riley ate every cookie she decorated, as evidenced here:

 Jamie also made Peanut Blossom cookies from the Land O' Lakes website

 That recipe can be found here: 

Here's Jessa's recipe for the Rolled Sugar Cookies:

1  1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cover and chill for at least one hour (or overnight).  Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 inch thick.. Cut into shapes and bake 6 to 8 minutes.
Icing is powdered sugar and water.

The kids had a lot of fun...I guess you'd call it "controlled chaos"  (Ha Ha!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mom's Cheesecake

Now I know these photos don't do it justice, but this is the BEST cheesecake ever.  Mom used to make about a dozen at Christmas time and give them to close friends and family as gifts.  I'm posting the original recipe for one cheesecake, but if you double the recipe and use ready made graham cracker pie shells, you'll get three.

For the crust:
1  1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
dash of cinnamon
Blend all ingredients together and pat into a 9 inch springform pan.

Cream cheese layer:
With an electric mixer beat the following together
1 lb cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs ( add one at a time)
Pour filling over the graham crust and bake at 375F for 20 minutes (if you're using the pre made pie shells, check at about 15 minutes)
Remove from oven and cool on a rack for about 15 minutes

Sour cream layer:
Blend together
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pour over the cooled cake and return to a 475F oven for 10 minutes
Cool completely

For top layer when ready to serve:
Whip 1/2 pint whipping cream with 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin and 2 Tbl sugar
Spread over cake and chill

NOTE: Since I always make 3 in the ready shells, I put the whipped cream layer on before freezing.  They turn out great! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Almost Christmas

Christmas is two weeks away, and no matter how carefully I plan, I always seem to be behind schedule.  Today I'm making cheesecake and hopefully traveling up to Oxford where all five grandchildren will be decorating Christmas cookies. I also have this 20% off everything coupon at CVS that's good for today and tomorrow only....I'm going to try for today because we're expecting a lot of snow tomorrow. Matt will be back in town on the 17th , Alyssa's birthday is the 20th, and the kids are coming for our traditional pasta supper on the 23rd. So if the cheesecake turns out well you'll see it tomorrow.
And please feel free to comment on any of my posts or make suggestions...I love the feedback.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bacon and Water Chestnuts

I think this appetizer is one of Jessa's favorites and even though they're a bit time consuming to make, they can be made ahead and frozen.  I usually only make them at Christmas, but make sure I have enough for New Year's Eve or Day. One can of water chestnuts is almost enough for one pound of bacon but I double this and use three cans of water chestnuts for two pounds of bacon.

2 lbs. sliced bacon
3 cans whole water chestnuts cut into quarters or thirds

2 cups ketchup
2 cups brown sugar

Cut each bacon slice into 4 pieces, wrap the bacon around the quartered water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Line a dinner plate with about 4 layers of paper towels and place the pieces on the plate. Cover by laying a sheet of paper towel lightly over the plate. Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes.  I start out at 3 minutes, check them, and add more time as needed. (mine usually take 5 minutes)
For the sauce, heat the ketchup and brown sugar together until the sugar dissolves and sauce is warm.
If making ahead, freeze the sauce and water chestnuts separately.  To serve, place some sauce in a serving dish and then coat the water chestnuts with the sauce and microwave for a minute or two until warm.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Clam chowder

I love clams in any shape or form....linguine with clam sauce, clams casino, fried clams, and clam chowder. My recipe for chowder is pretty simple and straightforward. This one makes a rather small pot (maybe 2 quarts) but is very rich.

1 slice bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 stick ( 4 ounces ) butter, divided
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced in 3/4 inch cubes
5  6.5 ounce cans chopped clams
1 cup water
3/4 cup half and half
1 tsp black pepper
2 to 4 Tbl flour ( I use Wondra)

Fry the bacon and when it starts to crisp add 1/2 stick butter, the onions and celery and saute until the onions begin to soften. Sprinkle in 2 Tbl flour and stir for a minute or two, creating a light roux. Add the liquid from the 5 cans of clams, the cup of water and the diced potatoes.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft (10 to 15 minutes). Add the clams, pepper, and half and half. At this point add the other half stick of butter and heat until butter melts. If you like your chowder thicker than what you have, sprinkle and stir in more flour.  ( I think I added an extra tablespoon)

If you like, garnish with or stir in one sliced green onion when serving.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Toffee bars

I'm sure many of you make a version of these cookies. As a kid we always had that Giant Hershey Bar in the house (my Dad's favorite dessert!). But spreading that bar on the cookie was difficult.  I use chocolate chips wonder why my mom never though of that?

1 cup butter ( 2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 cups all purpose flour
1  12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add the egg and vanilla and continue to cream until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in the pecans and flour and spread mixture into a 9 x 13 sprayed baking pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350F.  Leaving the oven on, remove the pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.  Return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes until the chips begin to melt. With a knife or spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the cookie.  Cool and then refrigerate for about an hour before cutting into squares.
These freeze well. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turkey sausage meatballs

It's easy to make your own turkey sausage with an Italian flavor..this mixture can be shaped into patties and browned in a pan with a little olive oil for a good breakfast sausage or like I did...shaped them into meatballs and baked them for 20 -30 minutes at 350F and then simmered them in marinara sauce.  Great over pasta or on a sub roll with some provolone cheese melted on.

Here's the basic mixture:

1 lb ground turkey
1 Tbl crushed red pepper
2 tsp. ground garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbl sugar
2 tsp fennel seed
1 egg
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Thoroughly combine all the ingredients and cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours before shaping and cooking.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Squash pasta

On my November 13 post I had pictured some strange looking squash that I said I'd  turn it into something.  The squash is called turban squash and tastes much like most of the winter squashes. Anyway I decided to roast it, mash it and serve it with pasta. My recipe has some bacon, but you can omit it and just use olive oil to saute your onions.

4 slices bacon (optional - substitute 2 Tbl olive oil)
6-7 cups peeled and cubed winter squash ( butternut works well)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 diced onion
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2
1 cup grated parmesan plus a little more for garnish
sliced green onions for garnish
 8 ounces dry pasta, cooked (reserve some of the cooking liquid)

Cook the bacon, leaving the drippings in the pan, and crumble it. Saute the diced onion in the drippings, add the squash , bacon, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Add 1 cup of the broth and the crushed red pepper. Roast this in a 350F oven for 20 -30 minutes until the squash softens.
Remove from the oven and add 1 cup broth and the cream. Mash the mixture with a potato masher (can be smooth or a little lumpy). Stir in the cooked pasta and parmesan (adding some pasta water if mixture seems too thick).
Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with a little parmesan and green onion if desired. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oatmeal cookies

These are the BEST oatmeal cookies I've ever had!  Mom always made them for Christmas (along with about a dozen other kinds).  She would start baking and freezing in November. I like these because they're not dry like some and don't have any raisins in them.  I think the secret is the brown sugar and coconut.  Everyone in our family loves them( even the little ones!)

1 cup( 2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut( sweetened or unsweetened)
2 cups dry oatmeal
2 cups all purpose flour

Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the beaten eggs. Beat in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the oatmeal, flour, coconut and nuts until well incorporated. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes and then divide it into thirds and shape into logs about 9 inches long.  Wrap the rolls separately in waxed paper and chill them overnight.(at this point you can freeze them to bake later - just thaw first).
The next day, slice the logs into 1/2 inch rounds (you should get about 15 cookies per log).  Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes at 350F. ( I've been baking on those Silpats lately).

These do freeze well.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Broccoli salad

We love fish and chips occasionally ( I always do fresh Canadian or Michigan whitefish...and I always bake the fries) but we don't always want coleslaw as a side.  I had fresh broccoli florets so decided to make this little salad:

3 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 carrot, grated on the large holes of a box grater
1/4  large red onion, sliced very thinly
Your favorite Italian salad dressing
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together, dressing the salad just to moisten.  Refrigerate for about an hour before serving .

Friday, December 3, 2010

Spinach soup

During the winter we often have a soup and sandwich supper, and so a few days ago I made a spinach soup to go with tuna salad sandwiches.  Some time ago my cousin Anne had given me a package of  Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe's.  It was a mixture of couscous, orzo, baby chick peas, and quinoa. I thought I'd try using some of it in the was delicious! If you can't find this, try a combination of some of the ingredients ( I think couscous and quinoa would be great). 

2 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
8 -9 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup of the couscous blend
1  9oz. package fresh baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, carrot, and garlic in the olive oil until the onion begins to soften.  Add the broth, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the couscous blend and simmer 10 - 15 minutes partially covered. Slowly add the spinach leaves and simmer until the spinach wilts. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cocktail Meatballs

When friends Dave and Lynn lived here in Troy, we would get together every month or two for wonderful dinners at each others homes. At one of them, Lynn made these wonderful cocktail meatballs. Now, I'm not sure if this is her exact recipe, but it's close.  I make them every year at Christmas and they're a real hit with the family.  Make them ahead of time and freeze the sauce and meatballs separately.

For the meatballs:
3 lbs. bulk pork hot sausage

Shape the meat into 1 -1 1/2 inch meatballs and bake at 350F for 20 -25 minutes.

2 cups ketchup
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Combine and heat all ingredients together until boiling.

To serve: Gently heat (or reheat thawed sauce and meat) the meatballs combined with the sauce until hot.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cranberry Orange Marmalade Bread

Pam made this bread for Thanksgiving...I think she said it was based on her Grandmother's recipe for Cranberry Bread, but this time she added orange juice and orange-ginger marmalade.  She told me the first loaf made was gone in minutes, so you know it has to be great!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup orange marmalade or orange-ginger marmalade
5 Tbl melted butter
1 lg egg
1 cup chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375F
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder,baking soda,salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  Make a well in the center.
In a separate bow, whisk together orange juice, marmalade, melted(cooled) butter, and egg.  Pour into well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Mix with a fork until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in chopped cranberries ( Pam chops hers in the food processor) and walnuts.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake:
8 inch loaf pan - 50 to 60 minutes
9 inch loaf pan - 40 to 50 minutes

Note:  Pam tells me that in the original recipe, buttermilk replaced the orange juice.  Fell free to do this if you like.