Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Turkey Roulade with Bread Stuffing

If your are having Thanksgiving with four people or less and want your meal to include the traditional turkey BUT want it presented differently try Baked by Rachel’s Turkey Roulade with Bread Stuffing. Ive never had a roulade before and didn’t know you could make one that is savory. What we have learned. Serves 4


2 lb boneless turkey breast, skin removed and reserved
3-4 cups prepared stuffing, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste 
Butchers twine
3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


If necessary, remove any bones from the turkey. Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare your roasting pan with a roasting rack inside.

Butterfly turkey to an even thickness. Start from the center, using a sharp knife butterfly fatter portions to extend outwards. Cover with plastic wrap and pound down to an even thickness, being careful not to rip through the turkey. 

Spread moist prepared stuffing within an inch of the edge of the turkey breast. Tightly roll and wrap with skin. Tie tightly with twine every 1-2 inches and once lengthwise. Skin can be stretched further and reposition as needed during the tying process.

Heat a 12” skillet with olive oil over med/high heat. Sear turkey on all sides. Transfer to the prepared roasting rack and pan. Brush well with melted butter and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 60-75 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150F. Allow turkey to rest at least 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving. Remove twine with scissors before serving. Yum Yum!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Red Wine and Honey Poached Pears with Creme Anglaise

This dessert is pretty fancy. I would save this recipe for dinner parties, dinner dates or the holidays. Remember you have to make the creme anglaise first. Tip: be sure to used enameled cookware, especially enameled cast iron as the wine may be too acidic if used in an unglazed cast iron skillet. Serves 4


4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, stems stay attached
1 cup orange juice and a peel or two from an orange
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 quart creme anglaise


To prepare pears peel, then slice off the bottom end just enough so the pear will stand upright. Core the seeds out from the bottom using a small melon baller.

In your enameled pan that’s large enough to hold the 4 pears, add the wine, orange juice, orange peel, sugar, honey, cinnamon, peppercorns, crushed cardamom pods and vanilla bean paste. Once the sugar has dissolved add the pears and cook gently until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and drain. Strain the poaching liquid and return back to the pan. Simmer until reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Slice the pear half way up and spread out slices (see picture) To serve: pour some creme anglaise on a plate, then place the pear on top and drizzle with some of the wine syrup. Yum Yum!

Chef Ashley in our Sur la Table cooking class added crumbled gingersnaps.

Crème Anglaise

Have you ever combined the ingredients together to make ice cream but decided to warm it instead and use it as a cream with fruit? Well that's exactly what we did in my Sur La Table cooking class with our Red Wine and Honey Poached Pears. And it was WONDERFUL. This is a unique dessert fit for any holiday table it has a great presentation on top of how good it is. You need to make this Creme Anglaise first. Makes 1 quart


2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


In a saucepan on medium heat add in the cream, milk, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to simmer.  In a bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Temper the eggs by slowly adding a third of the the cream mixture, whisking continuously.  Pour back into the rest of the cream and add the vanilla bean paste, then raise the temperature to med/high. Stir until thickens, do not allow to boil.  Remove and pour into a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Refrigerate if not using right away and reheat when ready to serve.  Pour on the bottom of the plate then top with fruit (if the fruit was cooked in a wine sauce, drizzle over top). Yum Yum.

Note: if you want to make this into ice cream, pour into a bowl and chill over an ice bath or refrigerate until cold. Pour into a prepared ice cream maker and churn according to manufactures instructions. Enjoy right away or freeze in a  freezer-safe container. 

Cast Iron Ribeye with Thyme and Brown Butter

Picture this...your home on Thanksgiving night with your partner, it's snowing outside. You light a fire and open your favorite wine.  Your table is set for just you two...no guests, no kids and no turkey! That's right you are having a ribeye steak basted in brown butter, herbs and garlic. Cooked to a perfect medium rare and served along side a baked potato and salad....and did I mention wine, lots of wine.  Your not going anywhere. Enjoy!

My steaks have never turned out better and that's with the help of another cooking class at Sur La Table and Chef Ashley.  Only tip she gave us was to never put a cold steak in a hot skillet, always set out to room temperature first, about 30 minutes. Serves 2

2 1" boneless ribeye steaks
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Brown Butter:
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3-4 sprigs of thyme & 1-2 sprigs of rosemary, tied in a bundle
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Pat your steaks dry with a paper towel and season them generously with salt and pepper. In a heated cast iron skillet on med/high heat add the oil and butter. When the foaming subsides, add the steak season side down, then salt and pepper the other side. Sear steaks until they are deep brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes each for medium rare. Move steaks to one side and add the shallots, garlic, sherry vinegar, herb bundle, butter and salt and pepper. Stir continuously until butter has melted and turns a golden brown. Baste steaks with brown butter mixture over and over again for at least 3-5 minutes. Remove and carve steaks against the grain into 1/2" thick strips and arrange on a warmed serving platter. Serve immediately. Yum Yum!

Homemade Twice Fried French Fries with Truffle Sea Salt

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? What would you think about having homemade French fries with truffle sea salt as a side? I would have your guests decide if they want to add the truffle sea salt or smother them in turkey gravy. And if you’re having a kids table...boy they’d love to see a big basket of French fries.

I learned how to make these Twice Fried French Fries during my cooking class at Sur La Table from Chef Ashley. Here’s my new tip (for those that don’t know, like me)...soak your potatoes at least 30 minutes before frying. This gets rid of some of the starch and you’ll have crispier fries as a result. Also, tip #2 try to cut your fries evenly into 1/4”x1/4”x3” matchsticks so they will cook evenly.

Why fry twice? Well that’s the secret (🤫) to a crispy potato. The first time is to blanch and second time is longer to get their golden color and texture. Serves 4


4 large russet potatoes, cut into matchsticks
2 quarts vegetable oil
Truffle Sea salt or regular sea salt 
Turkey gravy, optional


Preheat oven to 200F, if serving right away. Preheat Dutch oven with the oil over med/high heat (325F on an induction plate). Place a baking sheet with a wire rack insert next to the stove top and a spider strainer. 

Drain and paper towel dry potatoes before putting them in the oil. Working in small batches, blanch the potatoes until they have softened, but not brown about 5-6 minutes. Remove with spider strainer to the rack. Adjust heat to maintain 325F. Repeat until all the potatoes are done. 

Increase heat to 375F or high. Rework in small batches (Warning: to many fries will make the oil boil over. Believe me I know from personal experience) fry until crispy and golden brown. Remove with spider strainer to drain excess oil into a bowl and truffle sea salt immediately. Repeat until all the fries are done. Right before serving place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to warm them. Yum Yum!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Italian Chicken Mushroom Au Gratin

This is a recipe is similar to a dish we made in our Sur La Table cooking class by Chef Ashley. Since we had time to make an additional recipe she wanted to try out her Mushroom Gratiner, which turned out very good. I added chicken and Italian seasoning while switching out Fontana cheese for mozzarella. Since she didn’t give us the recipe I’m kinda guessing (memory don’t fail me now) on the remaining ingredients and how long she baked it. If you try it let me know. Serves 2-3

A tip from Ashley: don’t rinse off your mushrooms! They absorb the water which makes them hard to caramelize while cooking. Just wipe them off with a damp cloth instead. Cook them in a little oil first before adding the salt, as the salt will release any moisture from the mushrooms. If you want more tips from Ashley here is her website: wildflourweb.com


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large chicken breast
1 lb mushrooms
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 egg yolks


Preheat oven to 350F. Add 1 tablespoon of oil in your oven-ready skillet on med/high heat cook your chicken 6-7 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove to cool, then cut into 1” pieces.

Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth then quarter. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet on med/high heat (270F) and cook them 3-5 minutes. Add the last tablespoon of oil, if needed, then salt and pepper, cook an additional 5-8 minutes. Add the onions and seasoning, stir to combine, then add pieces of chicken back in. Add the cheese and cream, mix well. Turn heat to low and let simmer while you make the topping.

In a small bowl add the two breadcrumbs and 3 egg yolks, mix well. Turn off heat and add topping. Bake for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm. Yum Yum! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Baileys French Toast

Oh my, if I knew I could of used Baileys to make French Toast I would have done it a long time ago. I’m going to have to look up more Baileys recipes. Don’t worry, I’ll share. Yields 10-15 slices Total Time:  about 30 minutes 


1 loaf sourdough bread 
3 large eggs, whisked
1/4 cup Baileys 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
4 oz dark chocolate 
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 
1 1/2 teaspoons Baileys
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar 


Slice bread to desired thickness. Crack eggs into a 9x9” pan and whisk. Add in the Baileys, vanilla and cinnamon, stir to combine. Place slices of bread into pan and soak each side. In a skillet on medium/high heat lightly spray with a cooking spray lightly brown on each side, about a minute or so each. Set aside on a plate and repeat until all slices are done. 

While cooking the French toast melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave with the 2 tablespoons of cream for 45-60 seconds. Then whisk in the 1 1/2  teaspoons of Baileys. Prepare the whipping cream by add the 1 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and the powdered sugar in a bowl, beat on high with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set in refrigerator until ready for use.

Serve the French Toast with the melted chocolate, whipped cream and like this picture from Allrecipes with fruit. Yum Yum!

Chocolate Macadamia Pie with Coffee Cream

Another dessert that is different from the typical pecan, pumpkin or apple pie that is served every Thanksgiving or Christmas over and over again. You need to make this Chocolate Macadamia Pie! Get out of the typical ordinary pie rut and give your family and friends something new and chocolate this year. Yeah! Serves 8


4 large eggs
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 jar (7oz) macadamia nuts, chopped
1 cup semisweet-chocolate pieces

9” unbaked pie crust

Coffee Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur

1/4 cup semisweet- chocolate pieces


Preheat oven to 425F. Make filling: in a bowl mix eggs, sugar, syrup, butter, liqueur and vanilla. Stir in nuts and 1 cup chocolate pieces. Pour into crust; bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 350F; bake 35 minutes longer or until filling is set. (If edges of crust brown quickly, cover loosely with foil). Cool, refrigerate until cold.

Make coffee cream: in a small bowl of a stand mixer at high speed beat the cream, sugar and liqueur until stiff peaks form. Spoon half of mixture over center of pie. Melt the 1/4 cup chocolate and drizzle over pie. Serve with other half of cream. Yum Yum!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Orange Cranberry and Mint Pavlova with Whipped Cream

This Pavlova Cake is definitely one for the holidays. So festive your guest will glad you took the 3+ hours to make it. Cooks Illustrated switched the typical French meringue for Swiss meringue which is made by dissolving sugar in the egg whites as they are heated over a simmering water bath and then whipped to stiff peaks.

Cornstarch and vinegar produce a meringue that is marshmallowy within, with a slight chewy edge: generous amount of sugar ensure a crisp exterior.

Remember to let the finished meringue cool and sit for a few minutes to an hour before serving to help soften the crust for neater slices. Serves 10


  1 1/2 cups sugar
  3/4 cup egg whites (5-7 large eggs)
  1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  6 oz frozen cranberries
  5 navel oranges, peeled into slices
  1/3 cup chopped fresh mint + 10 small leaves, divided

Whipped Cream
  2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  2 tablespoons sugar


Note: Because eggs can vary in size, measuring the egg whites by weight or volume is essential to ensure that you are working with the correct ratio of egg whites to sugar.

Open the oven door as infrequently as possible while the meringue is inside. Do not worry if it cracks. The inside will remain soft.

Meringue: adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250F. Using a pencil, draw 10” circle in center of 18”x13” piece of parchment paper.

Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer; place bowl over saucepan filled with 1” simmering water (make sure water does not touch bottom of bowl). Whisk gently but constantly, heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture measures 160 to 165 degrees, 5-8 minutes.

Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip mixture on high speed until meringue forms stiff peaks, is smooth and creamy and bright white with a sheen, about 4 minutes (bowl maybe slightly warm to touch). Stop mixer and scrap down bowl with spatula. Add vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and whip on high speed until combined, about 10 seconds.

Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon meringue into each corner of a rimmed baking sheet. Press parchment paper, marked side down, onto baking sheet to secure. Pile meringue in center of circle on the parchment paper, using the circle as a guide. Spread and smooth meringue with back of spoon or spatula from center outward building a 10” disk that is slightly higher around edges. Finished disk should measure 1” high with a 1/4” depression in the center.

Bake meringue until it’s dry and crisp and meringue releases cleanly from parchment paper when gently lifted at edge with a thin metal spatula, 1-1 1/2 hours. Meringue should end up quite pale. Turn off oven a prop door open with a wooden spoon and let the meringue cool in the oven 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool out of oven for 15 minutes before you put on toppings.

Topping: bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Off heat stir in cranberries then let cool for 30 minutes. Place remaining sugar in a shallow dish. Drain cranberries and discard syrup. Working in two batches roll 1/2 cup of cranberries in sugar and transfer to a plate or tray. Let stand at room temperature to dry, about an hour. Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Cut each orange into quarters from pole to pole, then cut crosswise into 1/4” pieces, ending up with 3 cups total.

Whipping Cream: before serving toss oranges with nonsugared cranberries and chopped mint in bowl until combined. Whip cream and sugar in a chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on low speed until smal bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and whip until whisk leaves a trail, 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to whip until cream becomes smooth, thick and doubles in size, about 20 seconds longer for soft peaks.

To Serve: carefully peel meringue away from parchment paper and place on a large platter. Spoon whipped cream into the center of meringue. Using a slotted spoon, spoon topping in an even layer over whipped cream. Garnish with sugared cranberries and mint leaves. Let stand for at least 5 minutes to 1 hour before slicing. Once sliced drizzle any juice from the orange, nonsugared cranberries and mint bowl. Yum Yum!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Toasted Pecan Torte with Butterscotch Topping

According to bon appetit, when your family and friends try this Toasted Pecan Torte with Butterscotch Topping they won’t know if it is a cross between a pecan pie, sticky toffee pudding and a butterscotch sundae.

Serves 8


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
5 cups pecan halves
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 tablespoons rum, divided
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream, divided


Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Butter and flour a 9” diameter springform pan. Toast pecans on a baking sheet, tossing once until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 12-15 minutes. Let cool.

In a food processor add in the baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups flour and 3 cups pecans, pulse until nuts are finely ground. Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat sugar, orange zest and 3/4 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk to bowl. Beat until combined and mixture is even fluffier, about a minute. Beat in 3 tablespoons rum, stop mixer and add in the dry ingredients. Mix on low until combined then fold a few times with a rubber spatula scrapping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, to ensure batter is evenly mixed. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake torte until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let torte cool in pan.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on med/high heat bring the brown sugar, 1/2 cup cream, remaining butter and remaining rum to a boil, stirring often and cook until it slightly thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove Butterscotch from heat and stir in remaining salt and remaining pecans and let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until it’s cool, but still pourable.

Spread topping over torte. Whisk remaining cream in a large bowl to medium peaks. Serve torte topped with dollops of whipped cream. Yum Yum!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Copycat Burrata and Peach Salad

I’m looking out my window on the first day that day light savings ends and see the sun setting at 5:30pm! And then it dawns on me that I won’t see the sun set any earlier than that until March. There are only a few things that make me happy that it is fall; the cooler weather, the colorful leaves and the fruits and vegetables that are in season.

I think this salad was originally called “The End of the Summer Salad” and for good reason. Now if you want to serve this salad for Thanksgiving you might have to use frozen or canned peaches. I know that peaches are in season in the Southern Hemisphere, what I don’t know is if we import any. Check with your local grocery store.  Serves 4 Total Time: 20 minutes


1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
3 cups arugula
1 small lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large peach, pitted and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 fresh balls of burrata cheese, broken apart into bite size pieces
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Balsamic glaze, for topping


In a medium size serving bowl add chopped lettuce and arugula, mix well. In another bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey and salt until creamy. Pour over greens and toss. Top with sliced peaches, halved cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese pieces. Pan fry pine nuts and sesame seeds to toast, 3-5 minutes. Let cool then sprinkle on top of the salad. Drizzle on the balsamic glaze. Yum Yum!

Cheesy Zucchini Sauté

This Cheesy Zucchini Sauté would be a different side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. If your a zucchini lover this would make a colorful addition to your holiday table. Serves 6 Total Time: 20 minutes


1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup butter, cubed
3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives


In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until crisp-tender. Stir in the zucchini, basil, salt and garlic powder. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, tomato and olives. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Yum Yum!

Thanks Taste of Home for this quick and easy recipe. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Chocolate Caramel Monkey Bread

For the month of November I’m going to write about food that I’ve never had, but would like to try for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens. I’ve never had Monkey Bread and after searching I found there are many different ways to make it. There’s cinnamon, pumpkin, pizza and I even found cheddar, bacon and garlic monkey bread. So it looks like once you’ve made it, you can put about anything in it or on it. Serves 16 Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes


1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecanstoasted
3/4 cup sugar
teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
16.3 ounce pkg. refrigerated biscuits (16 total)
32 chocolate-covered caramels (such as Rolo®)
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1/4 cup caramel-flavor ice cream topping
teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 10-inch nonstick fluted tube pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the almonds in bottom of pan. Combine sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon.

With kitchen scissors, cut each biscuit into 2 pieces. Using your hands, flatten each piece into a 3-inch round of dough. Place a chocolate covered caramel, in the center of each round. Bring the edge of the dough up and around the caramel to form a ball. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal firmly.

Dip each ball into the melted butter, then roll it in the sugar mixture. Layer coated balls in the prepared pan. Drizzle with any remaining butter; sprinkle with any remaining sugar mixture.

Stir together ice cream topping and vanilla; drizzle over rolls. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup almonds.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (If needed, cover bread with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.) Cool bread in pan for 5 minutes. Run a small rubber spatula around edge of the bread to loosen. Invert pan onto a platter; remove pan. Spoon any topping and nuts that remain in pan on bread. Cool slightly. Serve warm. Yum Yum!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Pecan Brownie Pie

Want a different pie for Thanksgiving this year? You need to try this Pecan Brownie Pie. Looks yummy, doesn’t it? Serves 8-10 Total Time: 50 minutes 


1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups (one 12 oz bag) semi-Sweet chocolate chips, divided 
3 large eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
3 cups toasted pecan halves, divided (to toast: preheat oven 350F and bake 10 minutes, let cool)
2 tablespoons milk 
1 refrigerated pie crust (you can make your own pie crust see The Only Dough for Pie Crusts)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips 
1 teaspoon milk 


Preheat oven to 350F. Make the filing by adding the condensed milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, whisk continuously until sugar dissolves about 5 minutes. Shut off the heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Gently whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, about a 1/2 cup at a time, until blended. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the toasted pecans. Spread the pie crust over a pie plate and crimp the edges. Fill the pie crust with the filling and place on the center rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the center is fairly firm. Let cool.

After the pie has cooled place the remaining chocolate chips and the 2 tablespoons of milk in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stir after 30 seconds until chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the pie. 

For the white chocolate glaze microwave the white chocolate chips and the 1 teaspoon of milk on high for 15 seconds, stir and repeat in
10 seconds increments until it has melted. Drizzle white chocolate over pie, then sprinkle on the remaining pecans. Yum Yum!

Food Network Favorites 😻

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Baked Cheesy Cauliflower

Boy, does this look good. I’m having this for dinner tonight along with a ham steak, a salad and my new favorite wine. Serves 6 Total Time: 50 minutes

1 1/2 large heads cauliflower
6 tbsp. butter, plus more for buttering dish
1/2 c. heavy cream
6 tbsp. butter
3  cloves garlic, minced
2 c. grated white cheddar
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400º. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook cauliflower until tender, 8 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Butter a large baking dish. Add half the cauliflower and pour over half the heavy cream. Dot with half the butter, sprinkle with half the garlic, cheddar, Parmesan, and thyme. Repeat with remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake until cheese is melty and deeply golden, 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool 5 minutes, then serve. Yum Yum! Thanks Delish for the recipe!

Spider Web Taco Dip

Do you have a Halloween party this weekend or getting together Sunday to watch the game and need to bring a dish? Well look no more. This Spider Web Taco Dip will be a sure winner with any party goer.


16 ounce can refried beans

2 tablespoons taco seasoning 
1/4 cup taco sauce 
Guacamole: 1 ripe avocado, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of garlic powder 
1/2 cup sliced black olives 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
1/2 cup chopped tomato 
1 green onion, thinly sliced 
1/2 cup sour cream, squeeze bottle
2-3 tablespoons milk, optional see directions 
Plastic spider rings
Warm tortilla chips


Stir together the retried beans, taco seasoning and taco sauce in a saucepan, then warm beans up on medium heat. Spread the warm beans in the bottom of a glass pie plate.

In a bowl mash the avocado then stir in the lime juice, salt and garlic powder. Spread the guacamole over the top of the warm beans. 

You can either purchase sour cream in a squeeze container or buy a squirt bottle and thin the sour cream with the 2-3 tablespoons of milk, so it easily comes out. Draw a spider web on top of the guacamole with the sour cream.

Sprinkle olives, cheese, tomato and green onions around the edges. Place the plastic spider rings in the center and various spots around the edge. Serve with warm tortilla chips. Yum Yum!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Spaghetti Sauce vs Marinara

Pasta (not only spaghetti) is generally served with some sauce, as for itself it is pretty unwelcoming, as a dish. When Italians do not feel well physically, pasta is served with some olive oil and Parmigiano only. They call this kind of “sauce” “in bianco” - that is, “in white”. Lots of sauces where there is no tomato present belong to the “white” typology.
The usual spaghetti sauce you find around in the world is what Italians call “Al Pomodoro” - that is, “Tomato sauce”. Tomato sauce is quite plain - that is, featuring tomato as the main ingredient.
“Marinara” sauce is instead different. The use of the Marinara term (which means more or less “Sailor’s style”) involves the presence of garlic in the tomato. As you can imagine, when the garlic is cooked together with the tomato (some discard it before serving, while others prefer to chop it in tiny pieces and let it dissolve in the sauce), the rest of the sauce assumes a different flavor than the more subtle and plain “Al Pomodoro” sauce.
The use of the term “Marinara” - which strangely, does not have any relation with fish - is also applied to pizza, which is usually served with just tomato and garlic (no mozzarella). Quite strangely, to indicate a sauce accompanied by fish, shrimps and scallops, they use other terms - not marinara - but generally “allo scoglio” - which is “searock’s style” or “alla certosina” (reserved to risotto, usually), which is related to the Carthusian monks! As you can see, Italian is a pretty strange language, especially regarding the names of pasta recipes.
So, in the end, you are talking about ALMOST the same sauce, if you assume that spaghetti sauce is the “al pomodoro” sauce, only with the presence of garlic or not.
Always remember - do cook the pasta on the side, NOT together with the sauce! The sauce must be added only afterwards, when the pasta has been boiled and the water removed from it by the use of a colander.
You can always doctor a jarred sauce with fresh herbs, a diced onion, or other ingredients, if it isn’t exactly to your taste, but I prefer starting with a can of crushed san marzano tomatoes and adding as little as possible. Onions, olive oil, some fresh oregano, rosemary or basil, garlic and salt to taste. Maybe some red chili flakes, for the pop.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Cream of Celery Soup

When you are preparing a recipe with a celery bunch do you find there is a lot of leftovers? Don’t throw it away, make cream of celery soup!


4 cups of celery, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon celery seed or celery salt, optional


In your Dutch Oven on med/high heat melt your butter, then sauté the onions and celery until softened, 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add in the flour, stir until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the cream and stir until smooth, then add the other half. Add in milk, seasonings and chicken stock. Bring to boil then reduce to med/low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste test to adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve. Yum Yum!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Gluten Free Cheese Quesadilla

To make cheese quesadillas is simple enough, place your favorite cheese between two flour tortillas, heat in a skillet until the cheese starts to melt, cut it with a pizza cutter and serve with guacamole, sour cream and/or pico de gallo. But what if you want it Gluten Free?

The directions would be the same as my recipe on how to make Homemade Corn Tortillas, but with the following ingredients:

Makes 8 tortillas Total Time: 1 hour

2 cups gluten free flour
4 tablespoons vegetable, palm or coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3-1 cup warm water

Directions would be the same as I described above, but you could also use a waffle iron. See my Waffle Maker Chicken Quesadilla recipe.  I’ve made these a few times for my granddaughters. The one at Walmart is perfect because you can remove the plates for easy clean up. I got a more expensive model at Costco and you can’t remove the plates. Pain in the you know what to clean afterwards.

Remember you can always add ingredients to your cheese quesadilla. In the picture below someone added spinach, halved cherry tomatoes and black beans. Topped with a slice of avocado and seasoned with salt and pepper. Doesn’t it look good?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Ambrosia

I don’t ever recall my grandmother making ambrosia salad. Nor was it made in my house growing up. My memory of an ambrosia salad is at a buffet restaurant as an optional side dish. Is this salad a salad, side dish or a dessert? 

I personally love to have a cold, sweet side dish next to the other hot, salty food on my plate. I think that’s why I always have applesauce to counter-balance all the salt. My parents also made a rice with milk, cinnamon, and sugar, a Waldorf salad and occasionally opened a can of fruit cocktail as a side dish. So I have no idea why an ambrosia salad wasn’t included every now and then, maybe because it was too sweet? This salad has heavy whipping cream, sugar and marshmallows and possibly could make us kids too hyper for my parents to handle after a long day at work. 

I wish I could ask my mom, but she’s been gone since 1992. One big thing I wish I would have asked my grandmother and my mother were family recipes. Recipes that I could of passed down to my daughter and my granddaughters. Maybe my grandmother did make an ambrosia salad and I just don’t remember. I think that’s another reason I’m doing this website so my granddaughters have something of mine they can use and pass down to their children. 


1 20 oz can of pineapple chunks
1 15 oz can of mandarin oranges
1 cup maraschino cherries, rinse and drained 
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup light sour cream 
3 cups of mini marshmallows 
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
3/4 cup pecans, chopped 
1 cup green grapes, halved 


Put the pineapple chunks and the mandarin oranges in a strainer and let drain for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse and drain the cherries, set aside. 

In a medium size bowl use a hand mixer to whip together the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract until it’s light and fluffy. Gently fold in 1/3rd of the sour cream until fully incorporated, then repeat 1/3rd at a time until all of the sour cream is in the mixture. Gently add in the pecans, coconut and marshmallows, then fold in the grapes, pineapple, oranges and cherries. Refrigerate up to an hour before serving. When serving top with some shredded coconut or chopped pecans, optional. Yum Yum!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Homemade Bavarian Pretzel Sticks with Cinnamon Butter

How many of us love large fresh warm pretzel sticks? 🙋‍♀️ At Bar Louie their Homemade Bavarian Pretzel Sticks are served with queso, honey mustard and cinnamon butter. Don’t you think the cinnamon butter is the best of the three? But, comparing their cinnamon butter with other restaurants, I do prefer Texas Roadhouse.

Making homemade pretzel sticks is definitely a weekend treat, because total time for prep and cooking is 2 hours and 10 minutes. Yield: 12

Bavarian Pretzel Sticks Ingredients:

2 cups light brown sugar
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
3/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten w/tablespoon of water
Flaky salt, like Maldon

In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into 2 cups of warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable oil and 3 cups of the flour. Knead in the remaining 2 3/4 cups of flour; the dough will be slightly sticky. 

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until silky, about 3 minutes; if the dough is very sticky, knead in up to 1/4 cup more flour. Transfer the dough to an large, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough lightly, flatten it out and cut it into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a 9-inch stick about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the sticks to the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Let stand uncovered until puffed, about 25 minutes.
In a large, deep skillet, stir the baking soda into 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate. Using 2 slotted spoons, carefully transfer 6 pretzel sticks at a time to the simmering water 30 seconds, turning once; add about 1 cup of hot water after before cooking the second batch of pretzels. Transfer the pretzel sticks to paper towels to drain, then return them to the cookie sheets, spacing them evenly. 
Brush the pretzel sticks with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until richly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with cinnamon butter. Yum Yum!