December – Holiday Season – Recipe

Standard

Cranberry Cheese Spread

I experiemented with this earlier in the year, and decided to have it for breakfast, spread on a croissant last week, and it was delicious. I think it works well as a breakfast spread or as an appetizer/snack on crackers or as a dip for breadsticks, pretzels or vegetables.

Ingredients:

1 cup softened or whipped cream cheese

1/4 cup craisins

Directions:

Mix until incorporated.

Options: To make a dip or larger amount, use the entire container of 16oz. whipped cream cheese (or softened 8oz. block) and add in 1 cup (or your preference) of craisins. Incorporate thoroughly. Chives can also be added for a different, delicious flavor.

Cranberry Cheese Spread. Recipe above. (c)2018

November – Gratitude – Recipe

Standard

The original of this recipe was as a pie, directly from a colleague who was born and raised in New Orleans. Sweet Potato Pie is a traditional Southern dessert, very similar to pumpkin pie, although I think a little bit sweeter. I was on a trip to Virginia a couple of years ago, and was ecstatic to find a sweet potato pie in the local McDonald’s alongside their apple pies. It was amazing! Even years later, I miss it in my northeast home.

My mother could not grasp the idea that this pie was dessert or that it is typically eaten chilled. For her, it was a side dish and that’s what it became in our house for Thanksgiving.

Over the years I’ve changed it, and sometimes when I can’t find the extra large Keebler graham cracker crust I will make it as a casserole. That is the recipe that I’m going to share with you this November.

I know that this is a fall type food, but I will eat this all year round.

​Sweet Potato Casserole

This started out as a pie, but then I got a little lazy, and it became a casserole. It is still pretty awesome!

Ingredients:

1 lg can of yams or sweet potatoes

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 bag of mini marshmallows

Directions:

1. Cook the yams on the stovetop. When hot, drain and return the yams to the saucepan and mash.

2. Add the stick of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mix thoroughly either by hand or with a mixer.

3. Transfer the smooth yams to a casserole dish. Cover with the marshmallows.

4. Bake in an oven at 350° for thirty-five minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.

5. Serve as a side dish. Yummy.

October – Fall into Halloween – Recipe – Quiche

Standard

Apart from a hearty soup or stew, chicken or turkey pot pie, or creamy mac & cheese, I find quiche to be a really great, warm, easy to eat, easy to make comfort food. I think the common link of comfort foods is softness. Something you can savor and hold on your tongue without changing the consistency or the taste. Quiche is like that.

I’ve adapted this over the years, but the original recipe that I started with came from The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody. We bought this book when we first got married, and it was wonderful for teaching all the kitchen basics that neither of us knew anything about.

After putting either a non-stick spray or greasing the (8×8 or 9×9 square glass) pan with butter, there are different bases that can go on the bottom of the quiche. The original recipe called for bread. During Passover, I’ve used two layers of matzo, and just last week, I used two layers of Ritz crackers. So be creative, and use what you and your family enjoy.

I’ve also mixed all the ingredients and poured them over the base and I’ve layered each ingredient and then poured the egg mixture over. I think I prefer the layered version.

Put diced or chunked onions on the base. (1 onion)

Cover the onions with the cheese. I like cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, mozarella. Any of those individually or any of them mixed with each other. (Use about 8oz. of cheese or how much you like.)

Put spinach over the cheese. If you use the frozen box of spinach, drain it well. You can use the whole box.

Combine 8 eggs (the original recipe called for six), 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1 TB pepper. (You can add 2 tsp. garlic powder if you like that extra flavor and/or 1 TB dill weed).

Mix with a fork or whisk.

Pour over the layers.

Put the quiche in the refrigerator for one hour.

After one hour, put into an oven preheated to 325° and bake for 40 minutes. If you like the top a little more well done, you can leave it in for another five minutes or so.

Serve hot with salad or biscuits (or any bread/roll that you prefer.)

July: Sum Sum Summer: Recipe

Standard

Homemade Popsicles. (c)2018

One way to have fun and beat the heat is to make homemade popsicles. We tried this earlier in the week, and it was fun as well as refreshing.

I bought the popsicle makers for 99¢ at Wal-Mart. I’m going back for another one, maybe two. They’re an easy to use contraption. You could also use ice cube trays or silicone ice trays in different shapes. We found mini watermelon shapes in the dollar section at Target.

The flavors we used were Simply Lemonade with Raspberry, and Hawaiian Punch Fruit Punch. The latter is a favorite of mine from childhood. I almost never drink it because it’s just too sweet, but it has the perfect fruit punch taste, and it reminds me of being a kid in the summer heat.

What fruit juices or drinks do you recommend for freezing into popsicles?

June: School’s Out: Recipe

Standard

​For the past several summers, my kids have enjoyed taste testing. They’ve already asked about it this year, and school isn’t quite finished yet. I would go to the supermarket and pick out three to five new foods to try, usually exotic fruits that they didn’t typically get on a regular basis. I’d only get one of each and cut them into pieces for each of us to have a taste. If we really liked something, we’d go back to the store for more.

This is truly a great summer activity. Try new foods, offer healthy choices, add to our vocabulary, increase kitchen skills, and tick another day off the countdown back to school. At this age, the kids join me about halfway through wanting to return to their friends and schedules.

Not everything will go over well. My son desperately wanted anchovies. We ordered a pizza with two slices only with anchovies. The picture of his face is priceless and still makes me laugh. Just mentioning the word anchovy makes his whole face scrunch up. He did not like them at all.

Here is a list (below the cut) of some of the things we’ve tried, some we’re still thinking about fot this year, and suggestions for your own taste test day.

Continue reading

May: Flowers, Birds, Dances: Recipe

Standard

I found the most delicious curry chicken salad at The Fresh Market. Unfortunately, The Fresh Market isn’t convenient for me to get to as often as I’d like, so I deconstructed the salad, and devised my own recipe. I share it with you here:

Curry Chicken Salad
Ingredients:

1 cup Mayo

1 TB + 1 tsp. Sweet Curry Powder

Scallions, 1-2 stalks

1 small box Golden Raisins, about 1/4cup

2 TB Mango Chutney

2 1/2tsp. Chopped Pecans

Fresh ground pepper (I did five turns with a pepper mill)

Chicken, cooked, cut into cubes (in the picture that goes with this, the chicken is cut much smaller than I would have liked) – about 2 cups is what I used; with cubed it may come out to more if you’re actually measuring it.

Water chestnuts, drained – about 1/8-1/4cup (I just grabbed a handful and diced them)
Mix 1 cup of Mayonnaise and 1 TB + 1 tsp. Sweet Curry Powder and set aside.

Most of the rest is to taste.

Cut up chicken and put into a separate bowl.

Add diced scallions, chopped water chestnuts, a handful of golden raisins, 2 TB of mango chutney, about 1 tsp. of pepper (put in however much you like for your own tastes), 2 1/2tsp. pecans.

Mix with a fork.

Add in the mayo mixture and mix again, then add more until you have the desired consistency. If it’s too wet, add more chicken or solids like the scallions and water chestnuts, etc. If it’s too dry, add more of the mayo mixture (you should have a little left over.)

March: Blustery, Green, Wet: Recipe

Standard

One of my favorite comfort foods, and perfect for the cold, unpredictable days of March is Sherpherd’s Pie. I have always called it Shepherd’s Pie as has my mother-in-law who is actually from Ireland, but alas over the years I have been informed (many times) that what I make is not Shepherd’s Pie. The last time, in fact, was when I was in Northern Ireland and our cousin, Christine, made this for us one night for tea. Shepherd’s Pie is made from mutton, or sheep. What I make, and what she made for us is better known as Cottage Pie, which is basically the same thing except substituting beef in the place of mutton.

I used to make this with ground beef, but after seeing my mother-in-law in the kitchen, I began to use leftover roast beef, which is traditionally how it is made.

It is a great leftover dish, both made from leftovers and to eat as a leftover, but I’ve yet to have it last more than a meal and a half.

The ingredients I use are:

Leftover roast beef, cut into small chunks or diced. Uniformity is not necessary.

Leftover gravy, 2 TB Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup HP sauce (found in the international aisle of your supermarket) or you can use ketchup.

Leftover sliced carrots, peas, anything really. If you have no leftover vegetables, use half a bag of frozen peas and carrots.

Mashed potatoes.

Cover with cheddar cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs, although the bread crumbs are optional.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Scoop and eat. It goes well with dinner rolls, Yorkshire pudding, salad.

It is delicious and filling.