Monday, October 29, 2012

Braised Brussel Sprouts

Another one of Scott’s delicious side dishes!  He heard about this dish on an Italian cooking show on the Food Network … yummy way to prepare Brussel Sprouts!

Braised Brussel Sprouts

1 lb Fresh Brussel Sprouts, quartered
4 strips Bacon
4 Green Onions, chopped

Brown Bacon and remove from pan.  Chop and set aside.  Add Brussel Sprouts and Onions to Bacon drippings and cook until Brussel Sprouts are wilted.  Add back Bacon and cook for another couple minutes.  Serve warm.

German Potato Salad

Scott found the original of this recipe in a West Lawn, Pennsylvania (local) Dutch Cookbook.  He changed it up a bit … leaving out a couple of ingredients he felt weren't needed and our family and friends love his version.  Oftentimes, it is requested at family gatherings.

German Potato Salad

3 lbs Potatoes
1 lb Bacon, diced
1 level Tblsp Prepared Mustard
1 Tblsp Flour
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 med Onion, diced
2 Tbsps Sugar
2 tsps Sea Salt
¼ tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
½ cup Water

Place washed whole Potatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Boil for about 25 minutes or until tender.  Peel and dice into bite size pieces.  Place in serving bowl and set aside.  Brown Bacon, remove from drippings and set aside.  Saute Onion in Bacon drippings until soft but not brown.  Stir in Flour until smooth.  Add Vinegar, Water, Salt, Pepper and Sugar.  Stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and stir in Mustard.  Pour mixture over Potatoes and add diced Bacon.  Serve warm.

Fresh Apple Pound Cake

This was originally my Nanny’s recipe passed down to my Mama.  It’s probably not written like your used to but this is the way my family wrote down recipes … a lot of it assumes you know what you’re doing … believe me, there was a time I’d have to ask questions about this hand written recipe too.

 So here it is as I would have written it down for all of you:

Fresh Apple Pound Cake

1-1/2 cups Cooking Oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 cups of Sugar
3 Eggs
3 cups Sifted Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Vanilla Flavoring
3 lrg Apples (Peeled, Cored and Cubed)
1 cup Pecans, chopped

1 stick Butter
½ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 Tblsps Milk

Preheat oven to 325°.  Combine and beat Oil, Sugar and Eggs on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add Flour, Salt, Soda and Vanilla and beat until blended.  Fold in Apples and Pecans. 

Pour into a greased and floured Tube Pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

After cake has cooled, heat the Butter, Light Brown Sugar and Milk and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  Pour over completely cooled cake.  The glaze will be thin but will soak into the cake.
Fresh Apple Pound Cake before placing in oven

Look what happened as I went to place my cake in the oven ...
I was wearing a long necklace (not a good thing when cookin)
and off popped the 'keys' and into the back of the oven they flew
LOL ... I had to use plastic coated tongs to remove them!

Fresh Apple Pound Cake before adding Glaze.
I made this cake for the first time over the weekend and it was just as delicious as I remembered it.  Perfect for this time of year ... being apple season and fall and all … hope ya'll enjoy it too!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Taco Ring

Here's a recipe from my friend, Valerie Loosen Coleman, and it's delicious, as are all the recipes I post.  Anyway, I've made it quite a few times and once even made it while my Mama was visiting.  She loved it so much that the last time I visited her she had requested I make it while I was there but somehow we got busy (she loved to stay on the go) and I never had a chance.  I've thought of that often since losing her and so it had been a while since I made this so I finally made it again just recently.  Wish you were here Mama!

Now, as you can tell from my pictures, I added black beans to mine.    Being lazy ... instead of cooking them on the side.  Not so sure that was a good idea ... Oh it tasted just fine but the beans seemed to take up all the moisture in the meat so I wouldn't advise it.  This recipe is GREAT just the way it is.  Thanks Valerie!

Taco Ring

2 (8 oz) pkgs Crescent Rolls
1-1/2 lbs Lean Ground Beef
2 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
2 Tblsps Water
1 Egg White, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brown Ground Beef and drain.  Stir in Taco Seasoning, all but a small amount of the Cheese, and the Water.

Scoop meat mixture evenly over Crescent Roll ring.  (See photos)  Brush top of Taco Ring with Egg Whites and sprinkle with remaining Cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

Serve with Shredded Lettuce, Chopped Onion, Chopped Tomatoes and Sour Cream.

Lay out Crescent Rolls in star pattern.

Scoop meat mixture onto the rolls

Pull points of rolls over meat mixture
and tuck under ~ be creative!

Brush dough with Egg Whites

Sprinkle remaining Cheese on top


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I learned all or most of what I know about Cajun or Creole cookin’ from my years of watching Justin Wilson, a Cajun chef, on cable TV back in the 80’s and early 90’s.  I can still hear him saying “I guarantee” in his Cajun accent as plain as if he was right in front of me.  Funny he always wore red suspenders and so did my Daddy … I’m pretty sure my Daddy starting wearing them after he started watching the show  … LOL … my Daddy loooooooved and admired the man and because of him … Daddy wasn’t afraid to try many a recipe!!!  Though my Daddy was an awesome cook … WHEN he got the recipe just right … however, we tasted many an experiment that wasn’t quite so good LOL … but hey … sometimes that’s how you come up with new creations!

Creole is pretty easy to make … course I say that about many types of cookin’ … the hardest part to cookin’ … to me, as to probably most who are reading this, is the prep work!!!  Most Cajun cookin’ starts with ‘trinity’ or ‘holy trinity’ which is equal amounts of Onion, Celery and Bell Peppers plus having some Tony Chachere’s on hand makes it easy!  My sister in law, who is from Louisiana told me about this seasoning and its perfect for most Cajun cookin’.

This is a quick and easy dish and oh so yummy … you control the heat from the spices! 


1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
2-3 Stalks Celery, sliced
2 Tblsps Olive Oil
2 cans Diced Tomatoes
1 lb Cooked Shrimp or Chicken
Tony Chachere’s Seasoning (to taste)
Cooked White Rice

Heat Olive Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add Onions, Peppers and Celery, sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt to bring out the sweetness in the veggies, and sauté for about 10 minutes.  Add Tomatoes and sprinkle with Tony Chachere’s … a little goes a long way cause it’s pretty potent (HOT) … I used about 2 Tablespoons or so and that was PLENTY!  Remember you can add more after it cooks a little or at the table.  Let simmer about 10-15 minutes.  Add Cooked Shrimp or Chicken (I used Langostinos cause that’s what I had on hand) and cook another 10 minutes or so.  Serve over White Rice (we only use Basmati Rice). 

I DO NOT advise using canned shrimp or chicken!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thyme New Potatoes

I call them ‘new potatoes’ cause that’s what my Mama and my Nanny always called them.   Why?  Because sometimes potatoes (red or white) are dug up when they are still very young … hence the word ‘new’.  I tend to favor the small red potatoes.  Here’s one of my favorite whys to serve them.
Steam (don’t boil) the Potatoes until you can stick a fork in them.  While they are steaming, cut some fresh Thyme and de-stem the leaves.  It won’t harm you if you don’t get all of the stems off … the stems are just tougher than the leaves. It’s all edible!  Place the Thyme leaves in a small condiment bowl, add Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper and 3-4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Let sit while New Potatoes finish steaming.  After Potatoes are done, cut them into bite-size pieces (unless they are already that small) then pour in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil mixture and toss gently with a wooden spoon so as not to tear up the Potatoes.  Serve immediately!  
So easy and so flavorful!

Baked Blueberry & Banana Oatmeal (Vegan)

Another great recipe find from Pinterest!  The original recipe comes from the website  I changed it up a bit to suit ME as I don’t eat raspberries or walnuts.  There’s also a couple other changes between the original recipe and mine as I didn’t have any maple syrup so I substituted and used Mrs. Buttersworth lol … seriously … and it worked out just fine though maple syrup is much healthier (I now use Maple Syrup when making this because I'm trying to eat clean and healthy ... you could even substitute Agave, if desired).  This recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS!  Easy to make and you can just stick it in the frig and have some every morning for at least a week … if it lasts that long!

Baked Blueberry & Banana Oatmeal

1 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
¼ cup Chopped Pecans, divided
½ tsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
¼ cup Maple Syrup
1 cup Silk Very Vanilla (or 1 cup Milk and 1 tsp Vanilla)
1 Lrg Egg, lightly beaten
2 Tblsp Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly
2-3 Ripe Bananas, peeled and sliced
2 cups Blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  Place the Oats, half of the Pecans, Baking Powder, Cinnamon, and Salt in a mixing bowl.  Stir to combine.  Combine the Syrup, Milk (and Vanilla), Egg and Butter in a liquid measuring cup.

Spread the sliced Bananas in a single layer over bottom of baking dish.  Top with half of the Blueberries.  Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the oats.  Sprinkle remaining Pecans and Blueberries over top. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until top is browned and oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

VEGAN: Omit Egg entirely.  Substitute 2 Tablespoons of EVOO for the Butter and you've got a totally Vegan recipe.  My youngest son and his wife are Vegans and I actually made it this way for them and it was delicious ... the Egg is not really needed AT ALL so there isn't a need to substitute.  They both said it was like eating a dessert ... a healthy dessert!!!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Carboni Pasta è Fagioli Zuppa

If you love garlic … you’ll love this version of Pasta è Fagioli.  This is a recipe of Scott’s grandfather (who immigrated to the USA from Italia in 1913).  Scott’s Aunt Judy passed this recipe along to me since I never met his grandfather as he passed away before we ever met. 

From the research I’ve done on authentic Italiano Pasta è Fagioli recipes, this was apparently his version during the Depression Era (because Pork n Beans were cheap and a staple of the time) or possibly because the beans usually used in this dish were not available here in America at that time (authentic recipes call for Ham and Cannellini Beans).    Remember Italians were a minority back then and imported food was pretty much unheard of until much later. 

There’s an Italiano tradition … not sure if it’s with all Italiano soups containing garlic cloves or just this one ~ those who get a garlic clove in their bowl will have good luck.  LOL … I got three in my bowl tonight!!!

Carboni Pasta è Fagioli Zuppa
Authentic Italian American Depression Era Recipe

2 lrg or 4 reg cans Pork-n-Beans
1 lrg Onion, chopped
4-5 stalks Celery (leaves included), chopped
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 Whole Garlic, peeled (do not mince or chop)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 can Tomato Paste
1 can Cold Water
Pepper to Taste
½ box Elbow Macaroni

Add all ingredients (except the Pasta) to a soup pot; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours.  Cook pasta separately according to package directions, drain.  Add to soup 30 minutes before serving.  Add additional water as need to desired consistency.  As with most soups, an easy Crock Pot dish, just let it simmer all day.