Monday, June 30, 2008

Sailing Club Soy-Lime Salmon

We learned this recipe from Al at the Ann Arbor Sailing Club. It's a place you have to drive miles of dirt road to get to, and Al doesn't do much but teach people to sail and cook good food. We haven't been back there in at least a decade, but every time we make this salmon, we think of that place. It's one of the great tastes of summer.


4 fresh salmon steaks or fillets (with skin on)
2 limes, juiced
1 1/2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. soy sauce
3 tbs. butter, softened
2 tsp. snipped chives

In a gallon-size ziploc bag, combine lime juice, oil, and soy sauce. Shake to combine. Place salmon in bag and let marinade 1 hour on the counter or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.

In small bowl, blend butter and chives with a fork. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fire up the grill, and place non-stick foil on the grill surface. Grill salmon just until flaky, but still moist. Serve with a small pat of chive butter on top.


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Friday, June 27, 2008

Julia's Sausage and Egg Casserole

Almost everyone I know has a recipe for this casserole. NanaJane cooks it in a deep bowl or souffle, so the inside remains quite soft. Grandma cooks it in a 9x13 glass baking dish, serving it in squares, and the texture is quite firm. I like to think mine is a happy medium, cooked in a loaf pan, turned out onto a platter, and sliced. But any way you serve it up, the best thing about this dish is that it offers up a lot of flavor... (but, shhh! it doesn't take a lot of work!) You can even make it the night before, which makes it a winner for special occasions.


6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 lb. pork sausage (We use "Old Folks" brand, but choose your favorite.)

3-4 slices white bread, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, salt, and mustard, mix thoroughly and set aside. In large frying pan, brown sausage and drain. Set aside. In ungreased standard-size loaf pan, layer bread cubes. Top with sausage, and pour egg mixture over all. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake at 35o degrees for 40-50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and turn out onto platter. Slice to serve.


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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Julia's Italian Meatballs

This is an adaptation of my mother's meatballs and my grandmother's sauce. It gets tremendous flavor from the meat simmering in the sauce. I always make extra, because it is great using the leftovers for meatball sandwiches. This is a recipe for the slow cooker, so it can be assembled ahead of time, cook during the day, and have amazing flavor at suppertime.


For the sauce,

1 large can tomato puree (check that there are no extra seasonings, just tomatoes)
1 medium can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
20 leaves fresh oregano, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste (or red pepper flakes, if you like your sauce spicier)

For the meatballs,

1 lb. ground round
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded romano cheese

Assemble sauce ingredients in slow cooker. Simmer on low, 6-8 hours. (You can use the high setting if you need to, but be careful. The sugars in the tomatoes can scorch on the side of the pot. Low works best for this recipe.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the meatball ingredients. Using your hands (there really is no better way), knead until thoroughly mixed. Heat oven to 350 degrees and roll into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil. Bake 12 minutes. Turn over and bake again, 12 minutes. Drop baked meatballs into sauce in slow cooker. Allow to cook until sauce is ready to serve (at least 1 hour).

Serve with your favorite pasta, and enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cucumber Dill Salad

My friend Trish and I made this salad all the time when we lived overseas in Moscow. I used to buy fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and dill from a wonderful toothless old woman at a kiosk around the corner from my apartment. I make this every summer as the dill is ripening in my herb garden -- it brings back good memories.


1 large, fresh cucumber
2 roma tomatoes
2 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
3 tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sour cream

Peel the cucumber and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Seed and dice the tomatoes. Toss lightly with chopped dill. In separate bowl, mix together vinegar, salt, and sour cream. Whisk until smooth. Pour over vegetables and dill. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, to blend the flavors. Serve cold.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting goes well with any spice cake. Try it with pumpkin muffins or Grandma's Carrot Cake. What a treat!


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 lb. confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla
milk, to desired consistency

Cream butter and cream cheese. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, mix well. Gradually add milk, a teaspoon at a time, until frosting is at desired spreading consistency. Use frosting on completely cooled cake.


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Grandma's Carrot Cake

This is a family recipe for my husband's favorite cake. He asks for it as his birthday cake every year! It is moist and delicious.


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use Canola.)
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
2 cups carrots, grated
1 cup gerber carrot baby food
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Mix first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and applesauce, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add carrots and pecans, mix until distributed throughout batter. Pour into prepared baking pans (greased & floured). Bake at 350 degrees for 32-37 minutes. Cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.


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Monday, June 23, 2008

Joe's Black Bean Salad

In the summer, we like to have vegetarian dishes with lots of flavor. This one certainly fits the bill, with a combination of tart and sweet that really works. I like the crunch of the celery, onion, and peppers, too!


4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup corn
1 medium vidalia onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 medium bell pepper, diced

For the Dressing,
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbs. salad oil (I use olive oil or canola)
1 tbs. white wine vinegar
1 tbs. sugar
salt to taste

Place soft, rinsed beans in large mixing bowl. Add chopped vegetable ingredients. Toss. In separate mixing bowl, combine herbs, oil, vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix well until sugar has dissolved completely. Pour over bean/vegetable mixture. Toss again. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.


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Friday, June 20, 2008

Grandma's Deviled Eggs

I had such a hard time getting deviled eggs to turn out right until this recipe was shared with me. It's got a good kick and just a hint of dill. Be sure to refigerate the eggs right up until serving. If they are to be placed on a buffet, nest the egg plate in a shallow bowl filled with ice to keep them nice and cold.


12 eggs
3 tbs. mayonnaise (light is fine, for fewer calories)

1 1/2 tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt

up to 1/4 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt, to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped

Boil eggs in a saucepan of salted water. After 10 min. boiling, move pan to empty sink and run cold water into the pan to stop cooking and cool eggs. Once eggs are cool, peel them. Slice carefully in half, placing clean whites on a platter and yolks in a mixing bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mix in vinegar, mustard, salt, seasoned salt, pepper, and a pinch of dill. Blend until smooth. Fill eggs with one tablespoon of yolk mixture per white (for a special look, pipe yolk mixture into eggs with a large star tip). Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, sprinkle egg tops with remaining fresh dill for color and added flavor. You can even garnish the plate with a sprig of dill, if you like.


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NanaJane's Boursin Cheese Spread

When you are having a party, this recipe makes the most flavorful spread for crackers. I also use it as filling for celery sticks. It's more firm than dip, and stands up to warm temperatures without getting runny. Just be sure to make a large batch. Your guests will gobble it up!


8 oz. cream cheese, softened (for lower fat, use Neufchatel cheese)
2 tbs. butter or margarine, softened
1 tbs. fresh chives, snipped
1 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 tbs. garlic, minced and mashed with a pinch of salt
1 tbs. dill, chopped finely

With mixer or food processor, blend cream cheese and butter until smooth and uniform. Add herbs and garlic. Mix again until uniform throughout. Chill in airtight container until ready to serve.

I find it is best to make this an hour or two ahead of time to give the flavors a chance to blend.


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Grandma's Strawberry Pretzel Jello

This dessert is such a treat. You would never imagine that these ingredients would combine to make something so wonderful. One of us always makes this dish for our family get-togethers in summertime. It's a great alternative to cake or pie for a picnic or potluck.


For the crust,
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 tbs. sugar

For the cheese filling,
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint whipping cream, whipped

For the strawberry layer,
16 oz. strawberry jello
1 3/4 cups boiling water
10 oz. frozen strawberries
6 fresh strawberries, for garnish

Mix crushed pretzels, butter, and 4 tbs. sugar. Pat into 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Cream together cream cheese and remaining cup of sugar. Fold in whipped cream. Spread over pretzel crust. Chill.

Mix jello and hot water. Stir in frozen strawberries and continue stirring until gelatin is soft-set, about 8 minutes. Pour evenly over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until firm.

Just before serving, garnish with slices of fresh strawberries. Serves 12-15 people.


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Squash Salad

In the summer, the best dishes are the fresh ones. This salad is beautiful to look at and even better to taste. It works just as well with a steak from the grill or poached salmon. This salad is also great for outdoor parties, because it can be served at room temperature. In our family, it is a summer favorite!


2-3 medium yellow summer squash
2 medium zucchini
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tbs. snipped scallions
10-12 fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slice summer squash and zucchini in 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. In groups of 10-15, drop in water, boil for 45 seconds, remove, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Once all are blanched and cooled, drain well. (I use a salad spinner.) In a large bowl, combine squash/zucchini slices, tomatoes, scallions, and fresh basil. In separate bowl, prepare dressing by whisking vinegar, oil, salt, garlic, and pepper. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss.


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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rhubarb Pie

I have a well-worn cookbook from decades ago with an hilarious introduction to the chapter on pies. "If you care about pleasing a man," it reads, "learn to make pie." It is sad to say, but in my household, it rings true. This was one of my father's day gifts to my husband, and it is a recipe worth sharing. It makes a 9 or 10 inch pie.


For the Crust,

2 2/3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
8 tablespoons water

For the Filling,

5 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tbs. butter

To make the crust, mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles crumbs -- I leave pieces of shortening as large as a pencil eraser, to make the crust nice and flaky. Sprinkle the water over the mixture, 1-2 tbs. at a time, tossing with a fork to distribute the moisture. Once all 8 tbs. are in, divide it in two equal portions on pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap crust mixture and shape into disks. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, place diced rhubarb into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour and sugar. Sprinkle over the rhubarb as you mix, getting an even coating on all the pieces. There will be some dry ingredients that pool at the bottom of the bowl. Don't worry about that.

Remove crusts from fridge and roll out lower crust on floured board or pastry cloth. Rolled pastry should measure about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie plate on all sides. Use rolling pin to pick pastry up and carefully transfer to pie plate. Place 1/2 filling into crust. Gather dry ingredients that have pooled at the bottom of your rhubarb bowl and sprinkle over filling. Top with remaining rhubarb mixture. Dot filling with butter. Roll out top crust and place on top of filling. Pinch edges of two crusts together to seal. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Use a strip of foil to cover the edge of the crust and prevent it from burning. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Pie is done when crust is golden brown and filling bubbles up through slits.


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Monday, June 16, 2008

Turkey-Sage Penne Pasta

Good recipes using ground turkey can be difficult to find. I put this one together about three years ago, and it is now a staple at our house. We grow fresh sage in the garden, which I would highly recommend for this dish. Although it combines olive oil and butter, use as much or as little as suits your taste and dietary needs.


1 pound ground turkey or ground turkey breast
1/2 small white onion, minced
8 large leaves fresh sage
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tbs. salted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound penne pasta

Begin by browning the turkey, uncovered, in a large skillet with a lid. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Once turkey is browned, remove it from the pan and reduce heat. Add 1 tbs. olive oil and onion and cook gently until onion is softened. Slice sage leaves into fine slivers. Return the meat to the pan and add half the sage. Saute together for 1 minute. Add 2 tbs. more olive oil and butter to the pan. As butter melts, toss the mixture to coat and add remaining fresh sage. Add pasta to the pan and toss again. Serve warm in shallow pasta bowls.


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Perfect Fried Eggplant

When the weather gets hot, I like to use a vegetable as the main course for supper, especially when you can get perfect fresh eggplant. Fried Eggplant is delicious on its own, or it can be used as an ingredient for Eggplant Parmesan or Eggplant Lasagna --just don't skip the pressing step. As an Italian grandmother will tell you, "Eggplant is like a woman -- it has to weep to let go of its bitterness."


2 cups flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup water
2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)
1 medium eggplant
Canola oil
Lemon slices

At the grocery, choose an eggplant that is medium-sized and firm with a smooth, shiny skin. At home, peel off the skin and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Keep the slices as uniform as you can.

Place 6-8 slices in a single layer on a dinner plate, salt lightly, and cover with a paper towel. Layer again and repeat until all slices are stacked with paper towel between them. Cover with a dinner plate of the same size and weigh it down (I use a 2-3 cans of vegetables as a weight.) Let the eggplant "weep" for about 1 hour.

After the eggplant has released it's juice, prepare 3 bowls for breading. In the first, place seasoned flour. The second should have the egg and water beaten together. The third should have the breadcrumbs. Heat Canola oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip each slice of eggplant in flour, egg mixture, and crumbs. Allow to fry 2-3 minutes, turn. When browned on both sides, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm with slices of lemon.


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Friday, June 13, 2008

World's Best Dad Brats

When we have a get-together, my husband always wants brats. The trouble is, I don't want him to have to spend the entire party standing over a grill. So, this is my solution. At our last outdoor party, I had one of the grandmothers say, "I love these! I can't believe I ate two!" Another friend, famous for buying only 'specialty' sausage from New York, asked me for the recipe. I was supremely complimented.


6-20 Uncooked brats from the meat section of the grocery (I use Johnsonville)
1 Sam Adams Boston Lager
1 White onion

The morning of the party (or the night before), preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the brats and lay on cookie sheets in a single layer, making sure they are not touching each other. Bake 20 minutes, turn over and return to oven for another 15 minutes. Heat your slow cooker or crockpot on the low setting. Slice the onion into 1/4 inch rings. Scatter them on the bottom of insert. Pour in beer. I use half a bottle (the rest is good drinkin' for Dad!) Lay pre-cooked brats in slow cooker on top of onion layer. (For lots of brats, place them standing up-and-down -- I have fit as many as 36 in a standard crock pot.) Cover and cook on Low setting until the party. They are easy to transport and keep warm.

Enjoy! And Happy Father's Day!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quick Strawberry Preserves

This is the time of year to pick strawberries. And if you're like my family, no matter how many you eat, there are always tons left. This is a great way to preserve that flavor, so you can enjoy berries for weeks and months to come.


20 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. powdered fruit pectin
2 cups sugar

In a medium saucepan, cook fruit and lemon juice, covered, over high heat for 2 minutes. Stir in pectin and heat to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add sugar and boil again. Whatever you do, keep stirring! Let the mixture stay at a full boil for one minute. Take your saucepan off the heat and start skimming off the foam. (Tastes yummy on toast!) Pour into airtight containers. Preserves will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months, in the freezer for a year.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Minted Cucumber Yogurt

This side has an Indian flavor because of the cumin. If you prefer more of a Greek twist, skip the cumin and add some fresh lemon juice. I like the mint to be fresh from the garden. It cools you down instantly in hot weather.


2 cups plain yogurt
1 cucumber with skin
6 mint leaves, plus garnish
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Heat small frypan over medium heat. Place cumin seed in dry pan to toast, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. In medium mixing bowl, shred cucumber, being sure to catch the juice in the bowl. Roll the mint leaves together and cut into slivers. Place in bowl with cucumbers. Add toasted cumin, yogurt, cayenne and salt (I use about 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp each). Mix well and refrigerate. Garnish with fresh mint for serving, if desired.


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Nathaniel's Tasty Cilantro Chicken

The marinade for this chicken tenderizes the meat. It has a beautiful green color, so I usually reserve about 1/4 cup to pour over the meat when it is served. For a summer meal with lots of color, this is great to serve with a plate of fresh cherry tomatoes and yellow peppers.


3-5 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

For the marinade,

4 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. olive oil
2 med. cloves of garlic
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup plain yogurt

Place marinade ingredients in blender. Process until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup to use at service, if desired. Place diced chicken into gallon size ziploc bag and pour remaining marinade overtop. Remove excess air from bag and seal. Marinate on countertop 30 minutes or in refrigerator 1-2 hours. Thread onto skewers and grill or cook on the stovetop, 8-10 minutes over med-high heat.


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Grandma's Apple Crisp

My children's grandfather has a weakness for anything with apples in it. His account of a good restaurant meal always ends with, "and they had this great apple dessert..." This recipe is his wife's answer to her husband's apple craving. Served over a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, it is a sweet way to end a home-cooked meal.


4 cups apples, peeled and sliced (Granny Smith or Jonathan work best)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter

Butter a 10" x 13" glass baking dish. Combine apple slices, cinnamon, salt, and water and spread evenly along the bottom. In a mixing bowl, cut together flour, sugar, and butter with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles crumbs. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Michigan Cherry Pecan Salad

I first had a salad like this at Seva, a vegetarian restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is such a simple treat, named after the state that is the largest producer of cherries in the U.S. The Traverse City Cherry Festival every June is fun for the whole family! Whether you get your cherries there or at your local market, be sure to try this tasty salad.


1 cup Pecan halves
Red leaf lettuce
One scallion
Two Roma tomatoes
1 cup Dried cherries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecan halves on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Wash and dry the lettuce and spinach. Tear into salad-size pieces. Snip the green portion of one scallion into the lettuce. Toss. Dice the tomatoes and give one handful of parsley a rough chop. Sprinkle tomato and parsley on top of the tossed lettuce. Top with cherries and pecans. Serve with your favorite viniagrette.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Fresh Avocado Guacamole

I've developed this recipe over a period of years. My husband and I love guacamole that lets you really taste that beautiful avocado flavor. This is one of our absolute favorites.


3 ripe avocados
1/3 small red onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced and mashed with a bit of salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded (if desired) and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Halve and pit avocados. Scoop avocado flesh into a bowl and mash coarsely. Stir in onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro. Mix in lime juice and cover with plastic wrap, allowing the wrap to go down into the bowl, in complete contact with the guacamole. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving.

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Fresh Tomato-Basil bites

Every time I serve this appetizer at a get-together of family and friends, I get so many compliments. It is simple to prepare and serve. And as always, it is best with fresh ingredients!


Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil leaves

Thoroughly wash the tomatoes and dry completely. Cut the mozzarella into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Wash, dry, and trim basil leaves into squares slightly larger than your cheese cubes. Using toothpicks, skewer ingredients with tomato on top, basil in the middle, and cheese on the bottom. Using the cheese as a base keeps the appetizers from shifting on the platter. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Megan's Cheesy Cornbread Casserole

This recipe requires very few ingredients. It is substantial enough to fill you up, but can also be a wonderful side. It is great for potlucks, too.


1 can corn, undrained
1 can creamed corn
1 stick of butter (1/2 c.), melted
1 package corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In mixing bowl, stir together both cans of corn, melted butter, muffin mix and eggs. Gently fold in sour cream. Turn into glass 9"x13" baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.


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Super-Cooling Sherbet Slices

This dessert helps me remember steamy summer days as a girl in Virginia. The only thing better than eating it was when my mother let me make it myself! It is an instantly-cooling dessert that is perfect for parties or as a special treat to end a family barbecue.


1 gallon lime sherbet
Half-gallon lemon sherbet
Half-gallon raspberry sherbet
1 cup mini-chocolate chips, optional

You will also need:

3 mixing bowls (small, medium, large) that will nest easily and fit in your freezer

Place largest mixing bowl in your freezer for 1o minutes as you remove the lime sherbet from the freezer and allow to soften on the counter top. Scoop into your largest mixing bowl, pressing against the inner wall of the bowl until it is completely covered. Place medium bowl into lime sherbet layer, pressing down until there is an even layer or sherbet between the bowls. Freeze until firm.

Remove lemon sherbet from the freezer and soften. Remove nested bowls from freezer. Fill inner bowl with warm water to make it easy to lift out. Carefully remove -- there should be a shell of lime sherbet in the largest bowl. Scoop lemon sherbet into the lime shell to make a layer as before. This time, nest and press the smallest bowl of the three. Freeze again.

Finally, soften the raspberry sherbet. Remove the nested bowls from the freezer, loosen and remove the smallest one as before. Fill the remaining empty space with raspberry sherbet. The three layers should now all be in the largest bowl. Cover with saran wrap and freeze until firm.

When you are ready to serve, remove the large bowl from the freezer and place in warm water, being careful not to get the sherbet wet. Invert onto a serving plate and slice like a layer cake. The slices will be the color of watermelon. Sprinkle slice with mini chocolate chips to resemble seeds, if desired.

*Note -- you can other flavors of sherbet or sorbet, or use four layers to make a sherbet rainbow! Don't be afraid to get creative!


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Athenian Chicken

This recipe is one of my family's favorites. It is a very clean taste and very easy to prepare. It works well in the oven, or (if the weather is hot) on the grill. These days, you can get whole packages of any cut of chicken -- all drumsticks, all thighs, chicken quarters -- at the grocery store. Watch for them to go on sale, and prepare what your family likes best!


5-7 chicken pieces, bone-in, with skin
Juice of one lemon
1 1/2 tbs. dried oregano
1 tbs. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

In a gallon-sized ziploc bag, combine lemon juice, dried and fresh oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces. Seal bag, move chicken around to ensure marinade has good contact with the meat. Marinate on counter-top for one hour or in refrigerator for 3-6 hours. 30 minutes before cooking, remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Place marinated chicken on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.


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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

NanaJane's Garlic Chicken

What a wonderful recipe for a delicious supper. The key is to use fresh spinach if you can -- from the garden is wonderful, but bagged baby spinach is also delicious! If you're using frozen, be sure to thaw it and thoroughly drain it. You'll love the smell of this one cooking, that's for sure!

2-4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch
salt & pepper to taste

For filling,
1tbs. olive oil
1 clove minced garlic , 1 oz cream cheese , 1 cup spinach for each chicken breast

Cut chicken breasts into two servings each. Season with salt & pepper and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare filling by heating olive oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add garlic, sautee for 1 minute. Add cream cheese to soften. Cook 1-2 min. and stir thoroughly. Add spinach and cover. Let cook for 5 minutes, stir. Cook until spinach is fully wilted and mix until filling is uniform. Divide filling among prepared chicken breasts, roll. Place in a buttered loaf pan, seam side down. Bake 50 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

If you'd like to lighten up on this recipe, try using Neufchatel cheese and lining your loaf pan with non-stick foil instead of buttering it. Enjoy!

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Butterscotch Haystacks

This is such a simple cookie to do with the kids. It requires no baking (so you don't have to heat up the oven in hot weather) and it's a great activity for rainy days on summer vacation! Hint: make lots! These will disappear!


2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky as you prefer
1 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
4 cups crispy chow mein noodles

Combine the butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Stir again until smooth. Place peanuts and chow mein noodles in a large mixing bowl. Pour warm butterscotch mixture over noodles as you stir, coating them thoroughly. Place by spoonfuls on wax paper and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.


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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Joe's Rosemary Chops

These are the best grilled pork chops around. We usually buy a whole, boneless pork loin when you can get it on sale (sometimes as low as $1.79/lb.) and cut chops to the thickness we prefer. Also, I keep a small herb garden beside our house. If you want to cook with fresh herbs, it's the most cost-effective and flavorful way to go. (Plus, no running to the grocery store!)

Here's the recipe:

2-4 boneless pork chops, center cut
1 small handful fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stem
Balsamic vinegar
Peanut oil (or Canola, if you prefer)

Lightly chop the rosemary leaves or crush with a mortar and pestle to release the oils into your marinade. Mix 1 tsp. Balsamic vinegar per chop, 1 tbs. oil per chop, and the rosemary in a gallon-size zip-lock bag. Place chops in bag, squeeze out the air and seal. Move the chops around to ensure the marinade is in contact with all surfaces. Marinate in the refrigerator 3-6 hours or on your counter top for 1 hour. Remove refrigerated chops to counter 30 minutes before cooking so they can come to room temperature. Fire up your grill. Grill chops 4 inches from the heat, 7 minutes. Turn and complete cooking until interior temperature reaches 170C/77F. Rest the chops for at least 10 minutes before cutting to retain a juicy texture.


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Monday, June 2, 2008

Raspberry Summercake

This is one of the best (easiest) cakes. It is a crowd-pleaser and looks simply amazing!


1 store-bought (or homemade) Angel Food Cake
1 pkg. raspberry jello
1 small bag frozen raspberries
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip
1 1/2 cups water
fresh raspberries and mint leaves to garnish


Slice the angel food cake into 3 layers. Set aside. Mix jell-o with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Mix in 1/2 cup cold water and frozen raspberries. Chill in refridgerator for 15 minutes, until semi-soft. Fold jell-o/berry mixture into cool whip. Frost between the angel food layers. Mix frosting again until smooth. Chill frosting and cake 15 more minutes. Frost top and sides of cake. Fill center hole and top with fresh raspberries. Fresh mint gives some nice color to garnish.

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