Tuesday, February 23

Tangy Lime Enchiladas

6 TBS honey
5 TBS fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts - cooked and shredded
8-10 flour tortillas
1 lb of a Mexican blend cheese (monterey jack, colby and cheddar) shredded
1 large can of green enchilada sauce

Mix the honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder together with the shredded chicken. Allow to it set for at least 1/2 hour or you could do it hours before and just cover and refrigerate.

Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce into bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Place chicken and cheese into the middle of a tortilla and spoon about 1 TBS of enchilada sauce over it and roll it up. Place seam down in the pan. Reserve about 1-2 cups of the cheese to sprinkle on top of the enchiladas. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Kent wasn't wild about these - but I thought they were fantastic. Kent said he just wasn't expecting such a tangy tasty for enchiladas. TRY THEM!!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
  • Pam


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

I got this recipe from the Food Network - George Duran. They are so wonderful. I made them last fall and just am getting around to posting the recipe.

Chicken Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks or onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 pound ground turkey sausage
3 cups roughly chopped rotisserie chicken
2 (16-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
2/3 cup barley
2 teaspoons pickled jalapeno
6 cups homemade chicken broth or canned
reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 to 8 cups chopped kale (optional)
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Sour cream

Instructions 1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add cumin, cumin seed and turkey sausage. Cook until sausage is browned. Add chopped chicken, barley, beans, jalapeño, broth and kale, if desired.. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until barley is cooked. Serve topped with cheese and green onions. Serves 10.

These last two recipes are a good way to use a rotisserie chicken.

Thursday, February 18

White Chocolate Chunk-Macadamia Nut Cookies

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces white chocolate baking squares, cut in small cubes
1 1/2 cup white chocolate baking chips
3/4 cup unsalted, toasted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped


Heat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Using a mixer, beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and mix together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the flour mixture in 3 stages and stir in the white chocolate and nuts.

Scoop out walnut-sized mounds of the cookie dough and place on the cookie sheet, leaving 2" between the mounds. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are golden.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and transfer the cookies from the parchment to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Freeze for longer storage.

Wednesday, February 17

Basic Cream Pie

4 Cups milk
2 Cups half and half
2 TBS butter
1 1/4 Cups sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 baked 9 - inch pie shells
Whip cream for garnish

Reserve up to 1 cup milk to mix with the cornstarch later in the recipe. Place remaining milk in top pan of a double boiler: (I cooked the whole thing in a pan and just watched it.) add half and half, butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Heat over medium high heat until butter is melted and milk is scalded. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks well; add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and salt and whisk every well. Slowly add egg mixture to hot milk mixture, stirring constantly for about half a minute; allow mixture to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stir frequently. (This gives eggs time to cook and start thickening. Undercooking at this point can slow the finishing process by as much as half an hour.)

Mix reserved milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and slowly add to hot mixture, stirring constantly to avoid formation of lumps. Continue to stir for at least 2 minutes, then stir every 5 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes. When pudding is thick, stir in vanilla. Remove double boiler from stove. Pour half of the filling into each pie shell, rounding tops of pies. Cool on wire racks then chill in refrigerator 2 to 3 hours. Top with whipped cream when ready to serve.

I use this recipe mostly for banana cream pie and then I slice 2 bananas and put them in the bottom of the baked shell.

Lion House Pie Crust Recipe

1/4 Cup Butter
1/3 Cup lard
1/4 Cup margarine
1/3 Cup shortening
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBS nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 1/2 cups Bread flour
1/2 cups plus 1 TBS cold water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixer, cream together butter, lard, margarine and shortening. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, salt and dry milk powder; add to creamed butter mixture and mix briefly. Add pastry flour and beat until blended. Add bread flour and mix slightly. Pour in water and beat again just until water is blended.

Divide dough into two or three balls. Roll out each ball on a floured board. Line pie pan with dough and cut off excess dough. Flute edges. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Otherwise, fill unbaked pie shell and bake according to recipe. Makes 2 to 3 9 inch pie shells. You can substitute 3 cups all purpose flour for the pastry and bread flour called for in the recipe.

My mom bought me the Lion House Bakery cookbook for Christmas. It came with a DVD which Rachel and I watched and we got really excited about the pie crust - especially the fats used in it. This is the most flakey crust I have ever had. It is so easy to work with. I mix the whole thing with my hands and then refrigerate it a little before rolling out and I did use all-purpose flour. A+++++ Pie crust.

Thursday, February 11

Simple Spinach Lasagna


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups non-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large pot over medium heat saute spinach, onion, oregano, basil and garlic in the olive oil. Pour in spaghetti sauce and water; simmer 20 minutes. In a large bowl mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and egg.
  3. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan. Place 4 uncooked noodles on top of sauce and top with layer of sauce. Add 4 more noodles and layer with 1/2 sauce and 1/2 cheese mixture, noodles and repeat until all is layered, finishing with sauce.
  4. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for 55 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Lazy Gravy

I used this at Thanksgiving and I'll never make gravy another way.

A few TBS of pan drippings (or more if you have them)
4 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
2 to 4 cups of stock (Use if you don't have drippings)
1/3 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Remove grease from drippings using a separator. In a small bowl, cut together the butter and the flour. With your fingers mash them together into a smooth paste. Over medium heat, heat the drippings, add the butter-flour mixture, stirring until it melts, then whisk in a bit of stock. Cook, stirring for a few minutes. Gradually add more liquid and cook until thick. When all the liquid has been added and it is thickening - add the cream and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, February 10

Butters for tea sandwiches

Compound Herb Butter:

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, or mint
1 medium scallion, white part only, chopped fine
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 teas freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teas dry mustard
1/4 teas white pepper
1/4 teas salt

1) In a food processor, combine the herbs and scallion. Process in bursts until both are finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is fluffy, scraping often.
2) Scrape the butter onto a work surface and with dry, cool hands, fashion it into a roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week. It may also be wrapped in aluminum and frozen for a month or so.
3) Bring to room temperature before using, about 20 minutes on the counter.

Tarragon Mustard Butter:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 TBL chopped fresh tarragon or dried leaves
1/2 teas mustard seed or powder

1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients with a mixer or processor until they are light and fluffy.
2. Cover and let the butter stand at room temperature for 3-3 1/2 hours to give the flavors time to blend.
3. Refrigerate the butter well-covered for up to 3 days, if you have used fresh tarragon, and for 1 week or so if you have used dried.
4. You may also make into a brick or roll and wrap in plastic.
For the ham

Cucumber Sandwiches with Mint Butter:

1/4 cup butter, softened
2 TBL fresh mint leaves, chopped
8 very thin slices good brown bread (rye, squaw, pumpernickel, crusts removed)
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
Tarragon for sprinkling

1. In a small bowl, combine the butter and mint. Mix well.
2. Spread the mint butter on the bread slices. Cut into fourths, square.
3. Lay the cucumber on the slices and sprinkle with tarragon. Serve open-faced.

Cream Cheese Cranberry spread for Turkey Sandwiches

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup cranberries
2 TBL apricot jam or orange marmalade
1/2 lb quality deli smoked turkey, sliced thinly
Bread with crusts removed.

1) In a food processor, mix the cream cheese, cranberries, and jam until well blended and cranberries have been finely diced. You may need to add a little milk/cream to get a good spreading consistency.
2) Spread 1 TBL of mixture on one slice of bread.
3) Lay two slices of turkey over the top of the spread.
4) Spread the other piece of bread with 1 TBl of mixture and lay spread side down over the turkey.
5) Cut diagonally into fourths.

This was also one of the sandwiches for the Little Women Luncheon.

Chicken Curry Tea Sandwich


  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
  • 1 medium unpeeled red apple, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 12 slices bread
  • Lettuce Leaves


  1. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine mayonnaise, lime juice and curry powder; add to chicken mixture and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut each slice of bread with a 3-in. heart-shaped cookie cutter. Top with lettuce and chicken salad.
This is one of the tea sandwiches that we served at the Little Women Luncheon. IT WAS AMAZING - my new favorite chicken salad. We first buttered both side of a piece of bread with the crusts cut off - that was it - WOW!!

Tuesday, February 9

Coconut Cream Pie

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (9-inch) baked pie shell
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut


In a non-stick one quart saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup milk together. Bring the milk to boiling point and scald the milk. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the remaining milk, egg yolks, and cornstarch together. Whisk until smooth. Temper the egg yolk mixture into the scalded milk. Bring the mixture up to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is thick, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flaked coconut, vanilla and butter. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill the pie completely, about 2 hours. Using an electric mixture, whip the egg whites until stiff with the remaining sugar. Spread the meringue evenly over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut. Place the pie in a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Divine Breadsticks

1 1/2 Cups warm water
1 TBS yeast
2 TBS sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS butter - melted (for the baking sheet)
Mix all ingredients (except melted butter) in a large bowl or electric mixer and knead for three minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread melted butter onto an 11 x 17 inch baking sheet (I let the butter melt in the oven on the pan) Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twist slightly if desired and place about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, herbs of choice (rosemary, basil or thyme in some form and crushed finely) and parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.
For me these have become my favorite breadsticks - they are wonderful!!!

Saturday, February 6

Chocolate Cream Pie


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus 1 3/4 cups
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


In a small saucepan combine sugar, 3/4 cup heavy cream, buttermilk, cornstarch and pinch of salt, and whisk until smooth. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, whisking from time to time for the sugar and cornstarch to dissolve and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking at a low boil for an additional 5 minutes, whisking constantly.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly. Pour 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk over the heat until thoroughly combined and very thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and whisk in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Continue whisking until thoroughly combined (mixture will be very thick). Cover the mixture with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface and refrigerate until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Place 1 3/4 cups heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl and add the confectioners' sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cool chocolate pudding mixture, then spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate until firm and cool, at least 4 hours. Refrigerate the remaining whipped cream until you are ready to serve the pie.

When ready to serve, top the pie with the remaining sweetened whipped cream and serve immediately.

I use a regular pie crust - but here is a yummy oreo crust recipe.

Graham crackers to yield 2 cups crumbs

  • Chocolate sandwich cookies (white centers removed) to yield 1 1/2 cups crumbs (recommended: Oreo)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the graham crackers and chocolate cookies to make crumbs.

In a bowl mix together the cookie crumbs, sugar and butter with your hands. Press the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan. (It will seem like an excessive amount of crumbs, but will compress down quite a bit with pressure.) Cover the crust with plastic wrap and top with another 9-inch pan, pressing quite firmly to make a smooth surface. Remove the pan and the plastic wrap from the pressed crust prior to placing it into the preheated oven. Bake the crust for 15 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and let cool completely before filling.

Yield: 1 (9-inch) crust

Thursday, February 4

Baked Stuffed Shells


  • 5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 large or 2 small to medium onions, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano or marjoram, half a palmful
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/3 palmful
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed by pressing under flat of your knife
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 5 to 6 sprigs
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound medium or large shell pasta (not extra-large stuffing shells)
  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in clean towel
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass at table
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten


In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 3/4 of finely chopped onion and the carrot. Season with salt, pepper, oregano or marjoram, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds and thyme, and gently sauté 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in parsley, stir, then add wine and reduce a minute. Add stock and tomatoes, bring sauce up to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer sauce 45 minutes.

After sauce has been simmering for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375˚F.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water and cook pasta 5 minutes.

While pasta water comes to a boil, heat remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and onion and sauté to soften, 5 minutes. Add spinach, pulling it apart and separating it as you add it to pan. Stir to combine well and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn off heat.

Drain undercooked pasta and return it to the hot pot. Add spinach mixture to pot along with ricotta and grated Parm. Stir to combine, adjust salt and pepper then add eggs and stir.

Pour a thin layer of marinara sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Fill dish with pasta then top with another thin layer of red sauce. Save remaining sauce to pass at table. Bake 30 minutes until bubbly.

Serve casserole directly from casserole dish, passing extra sauce and cheese at the table.

Remember when we used to make stuffed shells - well this is as good but not as much work. It is fantastic - especially the sauce.

Wednesday, February 3

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 TBL olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce jar tomato paste
2 TBL sugar
3/4 teas salt
1/4 teas pepper
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup fresh basil, or dill

1) In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
2) Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cream and spices (basil or dill). Bring to a simmer for 1 minute, then serve.

This is the soup that I made for the "Little Women" luncheon. It was delicious and amazing easy to make for a big crowd. I made it for 120 people, but because the cups were on the smaller size - it served twice that much. We used the dill - but I'm sure the basil would have been fantastic.