Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes

This is another recipe I grew up eating. When my kids were growing up, I probably made it about once per week. 

3 tablespoons butter
1 ½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1 can (10.5 oz) chicken broth
6 pork chops
6 cups thinly sliced potatoes

1 dash paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. 
  2. In a sauce pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Add salt, pepper, and flour.  Pour in chicken broth.  Cook and stir until mixture boils.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a skillet, brown pork chops in 1 tablespoon butter.  Grease a cooking dish with remaining butter and layer potatoes.  Pour mixture over potatoes and place browned chops on top.  Sprinkle with paprika.
  4. Cover and bake for 1 hour.  Uncover and bake for an additional 30 min.
  • Serves 6.
  • You can half this recipe for 3 servings. 
  • Prep: 30 min.  Cook 1 hr 30 min. 
  • You can use thick-cut, regular, bone-in, or boneless pork chops. Cut does not make a difference.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tiny Pumpkin Cheesecakes

A variation on the family's long-held Tiny Cheesecake Recipe. I first had these at an extended family gathering, where some cousins had made them. 

12 oz cream cheese

8 oz pumpkin puree 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 eggs 
3/4 cup sugar 
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
24 vanilla wafers or ginger snaps
cupcake liners, preferably foil
whipped topping for garnish

  1. Combine cream cheese, vanilla, eggs, and sugar and beat until mixture is smooth. 
  2. Place vanilla wafers inside foil cupcake liners and fill with mixture about half-full. 
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min. 
  4. Let chill at least 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve and top.


  • I found these Keebler mini-pie graham cracker crusts. If using these, the recipe makes fewer than 24, about 15-18. They work great otherwise.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sesame Chicken and Noodles

Sesame chicken and noodles can be omnivore or vegan, depending on whether you choose to have animal or vegan chicken. I used Gardein Chick'n Teriaki and skipped the sauce from the package and used the marinade.

Sesame Noodles
1 lb spaghettini (get the thinnest spaghetti you can find)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup sugar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sesame seed (or more)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
sesame oil, for sauteing

  1. In a bowl mix the soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, garlic, brown sugar and the ginger.
  2.  Make sure the sugar has pretty much dissolved.
  3. Slice the chicken diagonally into thin strips.
  4. Add the chicken, making sure it's all coated with the sauce.
  5. Cover and stick in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  6. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
  7. Drain and rinse.
  8.  In a jar, add the soy sauce, sesame oil and the sugar.
  9. Shake until well blended and the sugar has dissolved.
  10.  Pour this over the pasta.
  11.  Toss with scallions and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  12. Set aside while you cook the chicken.
  13. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and toss out the marinade left at the bottom of the bowl.
  14. Heat the sesame oil in a large non-stick pan.
  15. Add the chicken in batches and saute until done internal temperature reaches at least 160 F, adding more sesame oil as needed.
  16. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool slightly.
  17. Serve the chicken over the sesame noodles.

  • Prep time: 3-3.5 hours
  • Total time 3.5-4 hours
  • Serves 4.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Starbuck's Banana Walnut Bread

Another very good banana bread recipe. This one has walnuts, which my family doesn't enjoy, so I skipped them for the insides.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe medium-large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (in addition to 1/2 cup)

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and dust with flour.
  2. Blend the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. Mix the egg, sugar, and vegetable oil until combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and when blended, add the buttermilk, vanilla, and mashed bananas; mix well.
  5. Fold 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Top the batter with remaining 1/3 cup of walnuts.
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Rolling a crepe with egg filling.
Need something for a holiday breakfast or brunch? Crêpes may fit your need. The spouse makes crêpes every so often. I have less experience with it. The last crêpes I made were on a special crepe kitchen appliance. These I made using a crêpe pan. You can make crepes in a regular 7 - 9" pan as well, but having a crêpe appliance or specialty pan makes it easier. This is a nice, all-purpose batter for both savory and sweet crêpes. We usually start off with some savory crêpe, stuffed with eggs, and other savory items, to fruit-filled, then to the dessert-style crêpes. The fillings you can use are endless. The pictures are a little haphazard. Since I haven't made crêpes in awhile, and this was my first time using our crêpe pan, they aren't as pretty as the spouse can get them.

Crêpes on wax paper.

Crêpes with scrambled egg filling.
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups whole milk
¾ tsp salt
¾ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Crêpe with strawberry pie filling and whipped topping filling. 

  1. Combine the eggs, milk, flour and salt in the blender and blend on high speed for 1 minute.
  2. If the batter is lumpy, strain it through a sieve. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for at least one hour. [At this point, it can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Bring it to room temperature before continuing with recipe.]
  3. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter. Skim the foam off the rest of the batter.
  4. Heat an 8" crêpe pan or skillet over med-high heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan; if they sizzle, the pan is ready to use. Brush with a little of the melted butter.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill it with batter and pour it into the skillet. Immediately pick up the pan and tilt and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl.
  6. Loosen the edges of the crêpe with a metal spatula. You can use a spatula to turn the crêpe, or using both hands, pick up the loosened edges with thumb and index finger and quickly flip it over.
  7. Cook on the other side until lightly golden (usually less than a minute) and slide it out onto a plate. Cover with waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  8. Add fillings and roll. Top with filling for a decorative crêpes.
Crêpe with chocolate chips and sugar filling. 

  • Prep 1 hour 5 minutes minimum.
  • Can store the batter up to one day in refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before using.
  • Makes about 10 crêpes.
  • Potential fillings: eggs, sausage pieces, chopped ham, bacon pieces, sugar, powdered sugar, fresh berries, fruit pie filling, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, whipped topping/cream, etc.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sugar Cookies with Sugar Cookie Frosting

To be exact - Kraft Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Frosting. I know that's where we got this recipe. We've had it for years. I recall Emilynn making this a number of years ago, so it is easy enough for kids to make, although I spent 3 hours making them last time, but I'm not a speedy cookie maker. It says prep is 20 minutes and the total is 1 hour 40 minutes, including refrigeration. Those must be speedy cookie makers who throw all the cookies into the oven at once.
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened 
1 cup powdered sugar 
3/4 cup butter, softened 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cups flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
extra flour

4 cups confectioner's sugar
½ cup shortening
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring (optional)



  1. Beat cream cheese, sugar, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add flour and baking soda; mix well.  
  2. Refrigerate 1 hour.  
  3. Preheat oven to 325
  4. To shape, generously flour a surface.
  5. Take about one fist of dough, roll into a ball, then squash flat onto the surface. Roll out the dough to a thin sheet.
  6. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make seasonal shapes, or geeky shapes, or just geometrical shapes.
  7. Bake for 8 - 12 minutes. 
  8. Let cool before frosting. Decorate your cookies to your pleasure.


  1. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the confectioner's sugar and shortening until smooth. 
  3. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Color with food coloring if desired.


  • Supposedly makes about 3 dozen, but that depends on the shapes you make and their sizes.
  • I also use as much of the dough as possible. I take the bits that don't make it into the shapes, and add it to the fresh dough to roll out. This helps stretch the number of cookies you can make.
  • In my opinion, sugar cookie making is boring. But add friends and family and it is a joy. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blueberry Salad

I'm pretty sure I have my sister to thank for this recipe, that I first had it at her house. 

16 oz baby spinach
1 cup pecans 
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg. Gorgonzola cheese
2 avocados, cubed
1 cup blueberries

¼ cup minced shallots
¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
¾ cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
¼ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. dry mustard
3 tbsp. Poppy seeds


  1. Brown the pecans in sugar.
  2. Combine dressing in a jar or bottle. Shake until well mixed and the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Dress the spinach.
  4. Add pecans, cheese, avocados, and blueberries.
  5. Toss and serve.


  • The vegan version has no cheese.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Memere's Stew

My mother's stew was one of my favorite growing up. When I moved out of the house, this was a recipe I took with me. This is also another recipe I'd put on the easy list, although until you are familiar with browning floured beef stew meat, that might be more difficult.

stew with beef

2 lbs stew meat (beef or beefless)
garlic salt
bay leaves
2  4-oz cans tomato sauce
½  lb carrots
1-3 stalks celery
3 potatoes
1 zuchini
½  lb brussel sprouts
1 onion
1 cup water
stew with vegan meat

  1. Cut vegetables to desired size.
  2. Flour and brown stew meat with 3 shakes of garlic salt, bay leaves, and a shake of pepper.
  3. Add water and 1 can of tomato sauce.  Add vegetables. Add second can of tomato sauce.
  4. Cover and cook at 150o in electric fry-pan or low on stove-top for an hour or so until fork tender.
  5. Stir occasionally.  Remove bay leaves before serving.


  • Serves 4-8.
  • I halved the recipe for the above images.
  • I used Gardein beefless tips for my vegan stew. I normally don't like those much, but by browning them and throwing them in about 30 minutes, they absorbed the flavor of the stew really well.
  • I was a little lazy and used baby carrots rather than cut large carrots up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Banana Bread

Banana bread has long been a favorite of mine - right up until I developed an allergy to bananas. However, the rest of the family loves it. Banana bread is usually pretty easy to make. This is one of the easiest recipes I have.

½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 large or 3 small ripe or overripe
bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour milk or sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 375o
  2. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl with mixer 3 min or until light and fluffy; stir in bananas.  
  3. Sift flour, soda and salt onto wax paper.  
  4. Add flour mixture gradually to butter mixture; stir until well mixed.  
  5. Add sour milk/cream and stir until smooth.  
  6. Pour batter into a well greased loaf pan.  
  7. Bake for 1 hour  or until center springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip.  
  8. Cool 10 min in pan on wire rack.  Remove from pan; cool.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Oat Crumbles

These never last long at my house. I need to double or triple the recipe. You are supposed to use them as a topping -- on anything. If nothing else, this is a super basic granola you could always add other things to, like craisins or ... something else granola-y.

1/4 cup butter
5 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan on the stovetop. Stir in the brown sugar, rolled oats and chopped walnuts and mix well.
  2. Transfer the oat mixture to a baking tray and spread it out evenly. Place in the oven to toast for 15 minutes, stirring occaisionally, until the mixture is dry and an even golden brown color. Store the crumbles in an airtight container and use as required. (Eat them as is.)


  • makes 1 1/2 cups
  • Use vegan butter. 
  • Use this as a sprinkly topping for fresh fruit compotes, yogurt or curd cheese dishes. You can layer the mixtures together in tall glasses for a parfait effect if desired. Leave the dessert to stand at room temperature for an hour before serving, to allow the flavours to meld.
  • Mix in other nuts such as almond, brazils or hazels according to your own taste. Some people like to stir in 1/2 tsp warm spice such as cinnamon or nutmeg as well. You could also add a few tbsp of small dried fruits such as sultanas, blueberries and cherries.
  • This mix is similar to granola and could be used as a granola base while adding your favorite other bits. You can make it a nice cereal served with milk and berries. Add as leftovers into your morning bowl of muesli for added crunch and flavor.
  • To make a solid crumble topping for a hot baked fruit puddings, omit the oven toasting process. Use 1 cup butter and stir in 2 cups plain or wholemeal wheat-type flour in addition to the oats to make a loose, crumbly dough. Pat it over the top of the prepared fruit that you have placed in an ovenproof dish and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350ºF.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Cheese and Bacon

These are a lot of work. They are really good, but a lot of work. For a small gathering, they are worth it. Pick your cheese of choice for the filling - we've done a couple different ones and haven't been disappointed yet.

4    russet potatoes (7 to 8 ounces each), scrubbed, dried, and rubbed lightly with vegetable oil
8   strips  bacon , cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch pieces
4    ounces  cheese of your choice (Pepperjack and cheddar both work well) , shredded  (about 1 cup)
1/2    cup  sour cream
1/2    cup  buttermilk
2    tablespoons  unsalted butter , room temperature
3    medium scallions , white and green parts sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)
1/2  teaspoon  table salt
Ground black pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes on foil-lined baking sheet until skin is crisp and deep brown and skewer easily pierces flesh, about 1 hour.
  2.  Setting baking sheet aside, transfer potatoes to wire rack and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  3. Fry bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside.
  4. Using an oven mitt or folded kitchen towel to handle hot potatoes, cut each potato in half so that blunt sides will rest on work surface. Using a small dinner spoon, scoop flesh from each half into medium bowl, leaving a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness of flesh in each shell. Arrange shells on lined sheet and return to oven until dry and slightly crisped, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with fork until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, including bacon and pepper to taste, until well combined.
  5. Remove shells from oven and increase oven setting to broil. Holding shells steady on pan with oven mitt or towel-protected hand, spoon mixture into crisped shells, mounding slightly at the center, and return to oven. Broil until spotty brown and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

  • Serves 6-8

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seasoned Thyme Pork Roast

I've made this a couple times now. The second time, I made a smaller roast than was called for, so it was a little dry. Lesson: don't cook a 2 pound roast the same length of time as a 3 pound roast. The prunes and apples are delicious, by the way, and make a great side for this.

1 pork loin roast (3 lb.)
2 onions, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
½  cup brown sugar barbecue sauce
¼  cup apple juice
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
6 apples, sliced
½ cup pitted prunes


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º.  Brown pork and onions in hot oil in large ovenproof pot on medium-high heat 3 min., turning occasionally.
  2. Combine barbecue sauce, apple juice and thyme.  Pour over ingredients in pot; cover with ovenproof lid.  Simmer an additional 10 min., then place in oven.
  3. Bake 2 hr.  Add apples and prunes; bake an additional 30 min. or until pork is cooked through and apples are tender.

  • Serves 10.   
  • Prep: 15 min  |  Total: 2 hr. 45 min.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

I love pumpkin and I love breads. Finding a good vegan pumpkin bread was high on my "must find" list after I became vegan. Other than some complaints about too many nuts from the family (any nuts are too many by their standards), this was a popular loaf. The original recipe is from Cate's World Kitchen.


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tbsp flax seeds
6 tbsp water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup almond milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Spray a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Grind the flax seeds in a coffee grinder or small food processor and combine with the water. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through brown sugar) in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together the remaining wet ingredients (oil through vanilla), add the flax-water mixture and mix well, then stir gently into the flour mixture.
  5. Stir just until all traces of flour disappear, then fold in the raisins and walnuts. Spread evenly in the pan and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Easy Herb Frittata

I think this came out of one of our quick and easy cooking magazines that we used to get. It's a good all-in-one, with a side of fruit salad, for a breakfast or meal. It's also good for if you are doing a large breakfast or brunch, to put out with all the other things that get made for such a meal.

8 eggs
2 Tbsp water or milk
4 oz chopped smoked ham
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro + 1 Tbsp sprigs

  1. Preheat oven to 350o.  
  2. Beat eggs and water with wire whisk in medium bowl.  Stir in ham, 1/2 cup of the cheese and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Mix in salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour into greased 9” pie plate or quiche plate; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  
  4. Bake 30 min. or until puffy and golden brown.  
  5. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.
  6. Slice into 8 pieces.

  • Serves 8, 1 slice each.            
  • Prep: 5 min., Total: 35 min.
  • 120 Calories/serving
  • If a little herb-y, decrease the amount of cilantro. 
  • Try other herbs to your taste.