New recipe

Homemade Marinara

The Latest and Greatest!

I’m sorry to admit that I’ve had a bit of blogger’s block lately. OK, a major blogger’s block, but finally I’ve got a few new recipes I’m excited to share with you.

Michael and I both love Mexican inspired food. Somehow, pork is always in abundance in my freezer, and thus Porky Poblanos came to be.  Sort of a pork filled version of a chile rellenos,these are filled with seasoned ground pork and cheeses, including queso fresco.  While traditional rellenos are battered and fried, my Porky Poblanos are baked in a mild enchilada style sauce that’s made partly with V-8 vegetable juice, so they skip much of the fat and sneak in a bit of veggie nutrients. Nothing wrong with that!

My second new recipe is Cashew Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner. Now I know, sheet pan cooking is all the rage, but I haven’t really gotten into it. That is until now. This recipe lives up to all the hype. It’s fast, filling, full of fiber and, most importantly, full of flavor. I served it over hot brown rice to catch all the pan juices.

Strawberry season is almost over,but I think this new dessert recipe is a keeper.  Fresh Strawberry Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Icing  starts with a simple box cake mix but that’s just the beginning. The warm cake is poked all over with a fork or skewer to allow the strawberry topping to permeate the cake, thus the name “Poke Cake”. After the cake has cooled, a luscious layer of cream cheese and whipped cream is generously spread over the top. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting the minimum of an hour for the cake to set. This strawberry cake could also be made with frozen berries, but why would you while these little red jems are in season?

The last recipe I have to share with you is Broccoli Salad. This salad is a cool and crisp addition to any summer meal. Remember to shock the broccoli, then drain it well. Raw broccoli is just a bit too crunchy for most tastes, but briefly shocking it leaves just the right snap. Drain it well so you don’t dilute the sweet and sour creamy dressing. You can plan on this salad lasting a couple of days in the fridge. I enjoyed it for a light lunch the next day.

I hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend.  Folks call it the beginning of summer, but before you know it we’ll be celebrating the Forth of July, and the next time you turn around summer will be over!

Be thankful for what life gives you.

The Saga Continues!

I’m typing and printing as fast as I can! If you read my last post you’ll know that I nearly lost ten years’ worth of work when my hard drive suffered a catastrophic meltdown. Although all my recipes, (nearly 3,000 of them), were backed up on a memory stick the main organizational program, Living Cookbook, was lost and no longer available. I had no way of accessing those recipes. Luckily, with the help of a computer repair genius, I got them back. I had many recipes, but not all, in print. Well, I’m taking care of that! Soon all those recipes will be in print and filed in notebooks, as well as copied into a new organizational program. Live and Learn!

Anyway, here’s a new recipe for you, White Cheese Chicken Lasagna. This recipe, like most lasagnas, does take a bit of work but I think it’s worth the effort. One of my grocery stores recently started carrying fresh pasta sheets that substantially cut the assembly time. (YES!) I think I prefer those sheets over the traditional lasagna noodles for their texture as well.

I have close to another 500 recipes to rescue, and then I’ll be through.  Whew!  From now on, each new recipe will be printed and filed immediately.  Now, where to store all those darned  notebooks?

Be thankful for what life gives you.

I’m Back in Business!

And gosh, am I a happy camper. Now, “Back in Business” doesn’t mean I get paid for this blog, I don’t. What it does mean is that everything is working again. If you read my last post you would know that my whole system suffered a catastrophic blowup. Had it not been for a very savy computer wizard, all would have been lost. I’m still in a reconstructive phase, but everything is well under way…Yea!!!

To celebrate, here is a new recipe for Happy Shrimp. I hope it will make you happy, too.

Be happy for what life gives you.

Ten Years and 3000 Recipes Down the Tubes!

2731 recipes to be exact, GONE!!! For 10 years I had happily been using the “Living Cookbook” program to archive my recipes. Yes, I had backups, on this blog and on paper (many of them), and all of them on a memory stick. When my hard drive literally died I lost all my programs, including Cookbook. Without the program I couldn’t access my backup files. It was then that we found out that Living Cookbook, along with their parent company, was no longer in existence. I couldn’t replace the program. I couldn’t access my files!

Enter Pedro, the miracle working computer guy. Somehow, somewhere, Pedro located a trial version of the “Living Cookbook” software. It doesn’t have my recipes, and it’s only good for 30 days, but it will help restore my archives which are now in “Master Cook” (long story).

Unfortunately, in order to restore the function of my hard drive, Pedro had to reformat it. That did get rid of the virus which had caused all the problems, but I also lost all my other programs. Among those was my photo software, so as of right now my camera is useless to this blog. I’m off to see if I can find the software I need for that. See you soon! And as always,

Be thankful for what life gives you.

Lets Start the Year Off on the Right Foot

Or the left!
After all, this IS the Sticky Menu Plan and we get to change our minds whenever we want. Try Getting Started if you need a jump up. Otherwise, Here We Go will take you to the latest posts and recipes. You can always find links to both in the top menu.

I did a LOT of menu switching last week.  In fact, what we actually ate bore no resemblance to the plan, partly because our family celebrated the holidays with a brunch on the 29th.  As usual, my menu was excessive and we had plenty of leftovers that had to be used. When does a Baked Ham ever get completely consumed at the original occasion? Along with many of my tried and true recipes I wanted to try something new, a Spinach and Fontina Strata. I think that recipe could use a little tweaking. The biggest issue is the cheese. Young Fontina is expensive and hard to find. I don’t think it exerted its presence in this recipe strongly enough to justify the cost, nor the effort it took to track it down. I think Gouda or even Monterey Jack would work at least as well. The Challa bread could have used a little time to stale up, but I do think it was the best choice of bread.

The Clover Leaf Garlic Rolls couldn’t have been easier to make. No one would guess that they started out as frozen dough. I do think they are easiest to prepare if you start forming the rolls when the dough has just thawed but not yet begun to rise.

No holiday brunch is complete without a sweet ending.  Our new favorite indulgence in the Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake. This is the third time I’ve made it without a single change to the recipe, and it has been predictably scrumptious each and every time. I highly recommend this entry from the internet, but I can’t remember who originally posted it to give them credit.

Speaking of sweets, what’s Christmas with out cookies and candies? Do you think Santa would just quit coming to our house if we didn’t leave him out a plate of goodies? We left him a couple of new ones this year. Delicate Mint Thins are made with fresh mint and dipped in dark chocolate. They are reminiscent of the traditional Girl Scout cookies, but on a grown up level. As delicate and delicious as they are, these slice and bake cookies are very easy to make.

Santa’s sweet tooth was probably satisfied by my favorite new candy, Butter Pecan Fudge . I think this is by far the easiest fudge I have ever made. It is absolutely foolproof! No candy thermometer is required, but it has the texture of old fashioned fudge that is cooked to “soft ball stage” and then beaten until your arm falls off. Nope! You just bring a creamy sugar mixture to a hard boil for five minutes before stirring in a few more ingredients, then quickly spread it into a buttered pan. Done! I think I’ll try to turn this method into an old fashioned chocolate version like my Father used to make as a special treat when we were children.

It’s a good thing Santa gets around in a sleigh rather than a motor vehicle. We have our own special beverage that we leave him each year. It’s eggnog, but we spike it with Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey. It’s as dangerous as it is delicious! Thanks, Betsy and Wendell for that Christmas Eve indulgence.

Be thankful for what life gives you.

Tired of Turkey?

We are! But before we move on I traditionally prepare the same recipe to use up every last smidgen of the bird… Turkey Poblano Chowder. Oh my gosh, that stuff is good! Just a little spicy and just a little creamy, this simple soup packs 37 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber in each 520 calorie serving. That’s a fairly generous sized serving, too, almost 2 cups. I never do it, but you could “healthy it up” a bit by using milk in place of the heavy cream the recipe calls for.

Another traditional Thanksgiving recipe is my version of Cranberry-Orange Nut Muffins. I bake these up a day or two ahead of time to have ready on Thanksgiving morning. Add a smear of cream cheese for a satisfying mini-breakfast that won’t fill one up before the big meal. While cranberries are in season,  I pop a bag or two into the freezer to enjoy in all sorts of baked goods year round.

As I said, we’re “turkeyed out”, so a slightly spicy bowl of Shrimp and Sausage Creole was a welcomed change of pace. I guess I’ve gone pressure cooker crazy, because I cooked the shrimp and sausage in my 6 quart, and the brown rice in the 4 quart. Crazy as it sounds, that approach worked out well. Dinner was quick and easy with a predictable outcome. See Recipe Conversions for the Instant Pot for some tips.

This is hard squash season, a vegetable I don’t have much experience with, but I’m trying. Last week’s effort was Butternut and Kale Tortellini. Epic Failure! To start with, Michael likes spinach, but kale is a whole different story if you get my drift. The sauce was bland and boring, and to top it all off, the roasted squash sort of fell apart in the final dish. Three strikes and it’s out! Oh well, some times you win and sometimes……

Be Thankful for what life gives you.