Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cider Scalloped Potatoes

Cider Scalloped Potatoes

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 1 cup fresh apple cider
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon slat
  • 1/4 teasooon black pepper
  • 1/8 teapspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat baby Swiss cheese
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk until blended. Stir in the cider, chcken broth, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat. Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.

Arrange half of the potato slices in a shallow casserole dish or 11-by-7-inch dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture.

Arrange remaining potato slices on top. Pour the cider mixture over the potatoes and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and press the potatoes with a spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture and bake an additonal 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving.


Image provided by Bordecia, Creative Commons License

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Octoberfest Meatballs

Octoberfest Meatballs

  • 16 ounces extra-lean ground sirloin or turkey breast
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat tomato soup
  • 1 teapsoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter-flavored cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine meat, applesauce, graham cracker crumbs and apple pie spice. Form into 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Place meatballs in prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine tomato soup, onion flakes and parsely flakes. Spoon soup mixture evenly over meatballs. Cover and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

For each serving, place 2 meatballs on a plate and evenly spoon sauce mixture over top.

Serves six.

Source: Comfort Foods Made Fast and Healthy, by Healthy Exchanges, King Features Syndicated, Inc. Printed in Tidbits®

Image provided by digital cat, Creative Commons License,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Original Nestle® Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Original Nestle® Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is complete and utter theft of intellectual property, I know. But, for me, this is the ONLY chocolate chip cookie. This is The Standard of Chocolate Chip Cookies. My wife makes the best chocolate chip cookies, and this is the recipe, and the brand of chocolate chips, which she uses.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to coool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Source: The back of a package of Nestle® Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels


Image shamefully stolen from

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by one inch. Heat over high heat just to boiling. Remove from burner. Cover pan.

Let eggs stand in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs, 18 minutes for extra large).

Drain immediately and serve warm, or cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate.


Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel, so buy and refrigerate them 7 to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief "breather" allows the eggs time to take in air, whch helps separate the membranes from the shell.

Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling, which causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

To peel a hard-boiled egg, gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Start peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.


Image courtesy of Buster Benson,, Creative Commons license

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Texas-Style Chili

Texas-Style Chili

A pot of this chili simmering on the range will bring your family in from the cold mighty quickly. Little chunks of tender beef with onions and green peppers -- but no beans -- are simmered in a thick tomato sauce.

  • 3 1/2 pounds beef for stew
  • 1/4 cups salad oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium green peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cans (28-ounce) tomatoes
  • 1 cans (12-ounce) tomato paste
  • 1/3 cups chili powder
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoons cracked black pepper

Cut beef for stew into 1/2-inch cubes. In 8-quart Dutch oven over high heat, in hot salad oil, cook one-third of meat at a time, until browned. With slotted spoon, remove meat cubes to bowl as they brown; set aside.

Reserve 1/2 cup onions; cover and set aside. Add green peppers, garlic, and remaining onions to drippings in Dutch oven; over medium-high heat, cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return meat to Dutch oven; add tomatoes with their liquid, tomato paste, chili powder, sugar, salt, oregano leaves, cracked black pepper, and 2 cups water; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until meat is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.

Spoon chili into large bowl. Pass reserved onion to sprinkle over each serving. Serves 12.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Microwave Coffee Cup Scrambled Eggs

Microwave Coffee Cup Scrambled Eggs

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Coat microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. Add eggs and milk; beat until blended.

Microwave on high 45 seconds; stir. Microwave until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.

Top with cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Note: Microwave ovens vary. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.


Blend the eggs and pour them in a sprayed saucer for the start of a perfect egg sandwich.

Beat eggs, milk, and a little bit of extra shredded cheese in a separate bowl before pouring it in the cup. This adds a better cheese flavor throughout instead of just a cheese topping!

Try it with sauteed cubes of chicken or turkey in garlic and olive oil, and skip the milk.

Add chopped red onions and goat cheese.


Creative Commons License
Microwave Coffee Cup Scrambled Eggs by Milt Reynolds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Browned Butter

Browned Butter

Everyone knows butter can burn easily, but getting it one step before burned - to just browned - brings out a nutty flavor that's perfect for hearty fall foods.

Melt butter in a light-colored skillet so you can gauge the color. Swirl four minutes or until butter smells nutty and is golden brown.

Toss with pasta, winter squash or vegetables. Drizzle over fish or use for baking.


Image courtesy of Jessica Merz,, Creative Commons license

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Molasses Cream Pie

Molasses Cream Pie

Quick-and-easy dessert!

  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 pint of softened vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 1 cookie or graham-cracker pie crust
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce

Whisk molasses with pumpkin and ice cream or frozen yogurt. Spoon into a pie crust, refreeze and serve garnished with whipped cream and warm caramel sauce.


Image courtesy of notahipster,, Creative Commons license

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Browned Butter and Sour Cream Cornbread

Browned Butter and Sour Cream Cornbread

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling often until lightly browned and nutty, about 4 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl, and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with the oil; place in oven to heat.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add eggs and sour cream to cooled butter, whisking well. Pour into dry ingredients, and stir just to combine, taking care not to overmix.

Pour batter into skillet. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in skillet 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack.

— Recipe by Laraine Perri.


Image courtesy of Eunice,, Creative Commons license

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sweet and Sour Slow-Cooker Chicken

Sweet and Sour Slow-Cooker Chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into half-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 package (16 ounces) fresh or frozen and thawed stir-fry vegetables
  • 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice, drained, reserving juice
  • 1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspooon grated ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 large can or bag (16 ounces) cripsy chow mein or rice noodles
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces

In 4-quart slow cooker, combine chicken and soy sauce; mix to coat evenly. Add the stir-fry vegetables and reserved pineapple juice. Stir to combine. Cover; cook on low setting for four to five hours.

In small bowl, combine sweet and sour sauce, cornstarch and ginger; stir until well-blended. Stir into chicken mixture. Add pineapple chunks; stir gently to mix.

Increase heat setting to high; cover and cook an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve over chow mein noodles and sprinkle with the green onion. Makes six servings.

Optional: add sliced carrots, water chestnuts, or bell peppers and serve over steamed or fried rice!

Source: Hermiston Herald, October 8, 2011,

Image courtesy of Eli Hodapp,, Creative Commons license

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cider Punch

Cider Punch

Fills the house with a pleasant, holiday aroma.

  • 64 oz apple cider
  • 32 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 sticks cinnamon

Simmer in crock pot until hot.

Image courtesy of Ove Tøpfer,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chuletas Con Hongos (Pork Chops and Mushrooms)

Chuletas Con Hongos (Pork Chops and Mushrooms)

  • 6 thick pork chops
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup sour cream

Fry meat until well-cooked. Take meat out and fry mushrooms on high for 10 minutes. Add cream and meat, let simmer until well-cooked.

Image courtesy of Johnny Boi

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chow Mein Bake

Chow Mein Bake

  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup mushroom soup
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 can Chinese noodles
  • 1 cup crushed potato chips

Mix celery, onions, soup, water, tuna, and noodles in 2-quart casserole dish. Top with crushed potato chips. Bake 1/2 hour or more at 350°.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chili Relleno Casserole

Chili Relleno Casserole

  • 1/2 cup green chilis, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 3/4 cup dry milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 can salsa (7 oz. green chilis)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (8 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup jack cheese, shredded

Place diced green chilis in 12x7x2 baking dish. Layer cheeses. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Beat yolks, dry milk, water, and flour together. Fold in egg whites. Pour over chili-cheese layers. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Combine salsa and tomato sauce. Pour over casserole. Sprinkle jack cheese over top. Bake 20 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes. Serves 6.

Image courtesy of Steve Knight

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chili-Corn Scones

Chili-Corn Scones

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (8 ounces) creamed corn
  • 1/4 cup diced green chilis
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro or parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease baking sheet. Combine first three, cut in margarine. Stir in remaining indredients. Knead ten times. Pat dough into 8-inch circle and place on baking sheet. Lightly score into eight wedges and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Image courtesy of Wojtek Kutyla,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chicken & Woodsorrel Salad

Chicken & Woodsorrel Salad

This recipe is equally interesting as egg, turkey, or tuna salad.

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken, eggs, turkey or tuna
  • 1 cup chopped or minced celery
  • 1 small chopped or minced onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste. Any herbal seasoning may also be used, including those with cayenne pepper included.
  • 1/4 cup mayonaisse (more or less to suit your preferences for moisture and spreadability.
  • 1/2 cup minced wood sorrel leaves, stems, and flowers.

Place all this in a bowl, mix thoroughly, and mound on a bed of green lettuce leaves with several crackers around. Or serve as the filling on a sandwich, or as a spread on crackers. Lasts several days in the refrigerator, a great snack.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sheryl Crumpton, of Lindale, Texas says, "This soup is a very pretty dish that tastes as good as it looks. It is always a big hit when I bring it to brunch get-togethers, church potlucks, or family events. Be sure to bring the recipe, because you'll be asked for it."

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup mild picante sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can ranch-style beans, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teapsoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups chopped cooked skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Tortilla chips, optional
  • Sliced avocados, optional
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese, optional
  • Sour cream, optional

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 6 minutes.

Increase heat to high and add broth, tomatoes, picante sauce, beans, corn and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken and cilantro. Cook until thoroughly heated.

Ladle into soup bowls and top with tortilla chips, sliced avocados, cheese and sour cream, if desired. Serves 6.

Source: American Profile, February 20, 2008

Image of dutch oven by the author.

Image of chicken courtesy of Nick Holdstock, modified by GIMP

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 cup diced chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 cup broccoli, cooked
  • 2 cups rice, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups cream of chicken soup (or a healthier substitute)
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms or black olives (purely optional)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until hot. Top with cheese and serve.


Image courtesy of Web Design Worthing

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

This is a traditional dish of the Philippines. The main flavor comes from vinegar. It is a kind of vinegar stew and is usually served with rice. Cane and coconut vinegars are the common vinegars in the Philippines, but they are not necessarily the best . This dish can be improved by using better vinegars, but it is delicious what ever vinegar is used. Other meats may also be substituted, but the cooking times will vary depending on which meat is used and how small you cut the meat.

  • 1 chicken cut up into small pieces [with or without the head]
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (Filipinos call this toyo)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 2 mild red peppers

Put everything into a pot and cook slowly until the chicken starts to come off of the bones and a gravy forms. If it is too sour for you, add a little more water. American chickens are fatter than their Filipino cousins, so you may want to remove some of the oil for health reasons.

Don't be afraid to try other spices as well. Cinnamon and/or nutmeg for example can add something unique to this traditional dish.


Image courtesy of Michael Lorenzo

Friday, May 13, 2011

Battered Cauliflower

Battered Cauliflower

  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Parboil cauliflower till soft. Dissolve yeast in warm water, add remaining ingredients. Dip cauliflower in batter. Deep fry till brown and crisp. Melted cheese makes a good dip.

To parboil, fill a pot on the stove with boiling water and prepare the food you intend to parboil. When the water boils, toss the food in, and cook it until it starts to soften. Drain the food and run cold water over it so that the color will set and the food will not turn to mush. Set the food aside until you are ready to throw it into the primary dish you are cooking, or put it into a storage container if you do not intend to use it right away.


Image courtesy of Helmut Gevert

Friday, May 6, 2011

Blueberry Blintzes

Blueberry Blintzes

At the very heart of every good blintz recipe is the perfect egg. Eggs are an inexpensive protein-packed food that’s rich in vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate. But don’t worry -- if you’re allergic to eggs you can substitute ground flax seeds in this (or any) baking recipe.

Blueberry Blintzes

  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar or Stevia sweetener
  • 2 Tbsp Greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

In a large bowl, whisk egg, egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sweetener for 4-5 minutes until mixture becomes airy and fluffy.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray; add whipped mixture and cook over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip to the other side to ensure even cooking.

When eggs are fully cooked, transfer to serving dishes and top with a dollop of Greek plain yogurt and a sprinkle of ground flax seeds and blueberries in the center.

Fold the eggs over the yogurt and fruit.

Source: with permission. © 2010 Inc.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Ruchti, modified by GIMP

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plantain Tea

Plantain Tea

Great for minor colds and flu. It can be also be frozen and used to soothe bee stings.

  • One teaspoon dried, crushed plantain (or two to three teaspoons fresh)
  • One cup boiling water
  • Peppermint and honey to taste (optional)

Place plantain into a jar. Pour boiling water over the herb, adding peppermint if desired. Cover with a lid and let steep 5 to 15 minutes. Strain off the herbs, add honey to taste and sip.

Bee Sting Frozen Plantain Cubes

Fast relief for bites, stings, and rashes

Make a quick herbal first-aid treatment for bee stings and poison ivy by freezing plantain tea into cubes. Make plantain tea, omitting the honey, and pour into ice cube trays. Place into the freezer until frozen. Remove and store in zip-lock bags until needed. The coldness of the ice and the properties in the plantain give fast relief to the swelling, pain, and itch caused by insect bites, bee stings and poison ivy.

Source: Vicki West.

The picture at the top of this post is from a scraggly plant I found growing in my front yard. I dug it up and transplanted it to a spot in the backyard, but it died not soon after this photo. Made me cry. It's a lanceleaf, or narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

The following photo is from a closely related plant, the common plantain (Plantago major).

Both variations have the same medicinal properties and can be used as a tea or frozen sting soother. I often find both plants growing in the same area.

Image courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ant Poison

Ant Poison

This is NOT food!

But, it is simple and fast!

Borax (sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate) is a mineral, produced by repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. It is not acutely toxic, requiring significant doses to cause severe symptoms. Rats can die if they ingest 2.66 grams per kilogram of body weight. I weigh about 82 kilograms (180 pounds), so I'd need to ingest about 218 grams of borax. That's nearly one half of a pound!

Of course, I'm not a rat, contrary to what my brothers have said in the past.

Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be particularly toxic to infants, especially after repeated use, because of the slow elimination rate.


Ant Poison

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup borax powder

Dip wet sponge into mixture and leave in ant pathways.

The ABC's of Boat Camping, Gordon and Janet Groene, 1994, Sheridan House, Inc.

Image courtesy of Omar Franco