Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ham & Cheese Sliders

1 pkg. ready to bake rolls (12), split length-wise
ham slices (enough to cover rolls)
Swiss cheese slices (enough to cover rolls)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. honey mustard
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp. poppy seeds

Slice rolls without separating. Place bottom in 9x11 lightly greased pan. Gently remove top layer and separate bottom rolls. Melt butter and whisk in onion powder, mustard, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Brush bottom layer of rolls with small amount (~1/3) of butter mixture. Layer ham and cheese over rolls and place tops back on rolls. Add poppy seeds to remaining butter mixture and spread evenly over top of rolls.

Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes until lightly browned.

Inspired from: and

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Buttermilk Cornbread

½ cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 egg
1 cup buttermilk
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
Melt butter and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into greased 8 inch square pan. Bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes.

Same recipe posted here:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Almond Bacon Cheese Crostini

1 baguette, cut into 1/4" slices
8 ounces (~2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
6 slices crisp bacon crumbled
1 green onion, chopped (or one small onion finely chopped)

Place bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil until lightly toasted. Turn the slices over so toasted side is down.

In a large bowl, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, almonds, bacon and onion. Spread over the bread. Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To make in advance and freeze: place unbaked crostini's on a cookie sheet and freeze til firm. Store in the freezer bag til needed. Bake frozen crostini's as above.

From: Maxine

Korean Beef

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced
Rice, cooked

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions.


Mexican Salad with Roasted Peppers, Corn, Tomatoes & Avocado

2 large orange or red bell peppers
2 ears fresh corn
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1-3/4 cup)
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
2 large firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1-1/2 cups home-cooked black beans)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Roast peppers and corn: Heat the oven to 425ºF. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seed core, and ribs. Put the pepper halves on the baking sheet cut side down. Husk the corn and put the ears on the baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the peppers and corn and rub it around to coat the pepper skins and corn kernels evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the peppers are soft and slightly shriveled and browned and the corn kernels are lightly browned in a few spots, about 20 minutes (rotate the corn occasionally as it roasts). When the vegetables are done, let them rest until cool enough to handle. Scrape away the pepper skin and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice. Cut the corn kernels from the cob. You should have about 1-1/2 cups kernels.

Honey-Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette
1 small clove garlic
3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
3 Tbs. fresh orange juice
2 tsp. finely chopped shallot
1 Tbs. honey; more to taste
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Mince and mash the garlic to a paste with 1/4 tsp. salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the garlic paste with the lime and orange juices, shallot, honey, and toasted ground cumin. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with black pepper and more salt and honey, if you like.

Assemble the salad: Artfully arrange the corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, avocado, and black beans in stripes or piles on a small platter or other wide, shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve the vinaigrette in a pitcher. Encourage guests to spoon elements of the salad onto their plates and drizzle on some of the vinaigrette. Or drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad platter just before serving.

Make Ahead Tips
Chop all the salad ingredients up to four hours ahead and store them, covered, in the fridge.

Inspired from:

Chocolate Cake from Hershey's

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to your mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Give it a couple of whirls until all of the dry ingredients are mixed together. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be really thin). Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

German Coconut Frosting
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups pecans

Add the evaporated milk, sugar, butter and egg yolks to a saucepan. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. This will take about 10 - 12 minutes. When thick remove from heat and stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Frost cake while frosting is still warm.

German Meatballs with Jäger Sauce

1 pound ground pork (or use sausage meat)
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup Dijon mustard or grainy mustard
1 small finely chopped onion
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
½ tsp caraway seed, ground
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp celery powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg beaten
½ cup breadcrumbs
salt & pepper

Mix all together and form into small balls. Bake in 375F oven until cooked through. Serve with Jäger Sauce.

Jäger Sauce (Hunters Sauce)
1 tbsp bacon fat (optional)
4 tbsp Butter
2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp dried thyme
4 tbsp Flour
3 cups beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper
Bacon, cut in pieces cooked crisp (optional)

Add the bacon fat and butter to pan. When melted add mushrooms and thyme to pan and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. Add flour to the pan and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce will thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the meatballs, to the sauce. Cook for a minute or two to reheat all. Sprinkle with bacon if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Hot German Potato Salad

6-8 medium potatoes
1 teaspoon salt (for boiling potatoes)
10 slices cooked crisp bacon, crumbled
2 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 3 large cloves)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place potatoes and salt in a large covered pot. Boil potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when stabbed with a fork. Drain water and cool slightly. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet. Stir the minced garlic into the mixture and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until garlic starts to turn a light golden. Remove from heat and slowly and carefully add vinegar, sugar, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Place pot back on burner, bring mixture to a simmer, and stir for a couple of minutes. Remove pot from heat and toss in the sliced potatoes, gently mixing until potatoes have absorbed all of the liquid. Sprinkle with cooked bacon pieces and chopped parsley. Serve hot or warm.
Inspired from my own recipe and this one with Dijon mustard:

Cucumber Salad (Gurken Salat)

1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh dill weed, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large cucumbers, peeled, very thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
In a medium mixing bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, water, and dill. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Now you need to taste; if it’s too tart, add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time till you reach the point where it’s neither too sweet nor too sour, but a balance of the two. Same goes for the vinegar - if you want it more tart, add more vinegar. If it's too strong, add more water. Set aside. 

In a large serving bowl combine the cucumbers and onions. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit until water is released from cucumbers (about 1 hour), and dill. Drain. Pour the sugar-vinegar liquid over cucumbers and onions, letting them sit in the refrigerator for 4 or more hours. The longer it sits, the better it will taste! I would turn the salad once to make sure every bit of cucumbers gets coated. Serve at room temperature, or chilled.

Inspired from:

Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dip

1 tsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water plus 2 to 3 TBSP extra water if needed for dough
2 packages active dry yeast
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Soda Bath
½ cup baking soda
8 cups water

Add the 2 packages of yeast and 1 tsp sugar to the 1 cup warm water. Let sit 5 minutes. In the bowl of your mixer, add 4 cups of flour and the 2 tsp salt. Pour the yeast mixture and softened butter into the flour and attach dough hook. Mix on medium speed until the dough starts to hold together. You may need to add a few more tablespoons of water. Once the dough has taken shape, mix on medium speed 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the dough from the hook and leave dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and put somewhere warm for 45 to 60 minutes. It should be about double in size.

Cut the dough into approximately 10 pieces, give or take one or two, depending on how big you want them. Roll each dough ball into a 20 inch long rope (approximately). You will want to roll the strip of dough while moving your hands slowly apart from each other to stretch the rope out. Be careful you don’t break it. Form each dough rope into a pretzel shape and place on a cooking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for another 30-60 minutes.

To make your bath solution: Place water in a large pot, making sure not to fill more than ¾ of the way full. When the water is boiling, add the ½ cup baking soda slowly. It will bubble and fizz but will settle down. One by one, using a slotted spoon, drop your pretzel dough into the water bath. Let it boil for 10 seconds on each side. Remove with slotted spoon and place back onto parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt. When all pretzels are done, bake them in a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

Beer Cheese Dip
3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
¾ cup beer (the darker the beer, the stronger the beer flavor)
12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
½ tbsp steak sauce (or Worcestershire)
1 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add flour and mix until combined. Whisk in milk and beer and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened. Add the steak sauce and dry mustard, stirring to combine. Slowly add a bit of shredded cheese at a time, stirring well to melt. Continue until all the cheese is added and melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Inspired from:

Balsamic Cream Chicken with Mushrooms

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1½ cups sliced brown mushrooms
1½ cups sliced white mushrooms
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock (warmed in microwave)
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup 5% cream
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until cooked through-ie they are not pink!

Add olive oil and butter to a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until the translucent. Add garlic, thyme and mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and continue to cook for one more minute. Gradually add the stock, using a whisk. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cream. Cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Slice the chicken and place into the mushroom mixture. Cook another minute or two. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with parsley. Serve over garlic mashed potatoes, pasta or rice.

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

6-8 medium russet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup skim milk + 1 cup 5% cream (or use 2 cups homo milk)
pinch of cayenne
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp dry mustard
2 cups shredded old cheddar cheese
¾ pound ham sliced thin
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice potatoes to ⅛ inch thick. Hold in a bowl of cold water. In a medium pot, melt butter and add onions, salt, pepper,  parsley and thyme. Sauté for about three minutes or until onions are starting to become translucent. Lower heat to medium, add flour and stir. Cook for about three more minutes or until raw flour smell is gone.

Mix milk, cream, cayenne, Worcestershire, nutmeg and mustard powder. Warm in microwave (this helps reduce lumps). Slowly add to pan, whisking til slightly thickened. Add the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir over medium heat until cheese melts into sauce then remove from heat.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with pan spray. Start by ladling a small amount of sauce into the bottom of the pan. Layer one quarter of the potatoes over the sauce, covering the bottom. Cover that with one third of the ham. Next cover with one third of the remaining sauce and another quarter of potatoes. Repeat layers by next adding ham, sauce, and potato, ending with sauce. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for one hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until potatoes are tender. Let the casserole set for ten minutes, cut and serve.

Original Recipe slightly changed from:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Chinese Coleslaw

1 lb of coleslaw
1 cup of almonds (chop the roasted ones)
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 bunch of green onions (2-3 chopped)
1 pkg Ramen noodles

3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup of vinegar
1 package of seasoning from Ramen noodles (oriental or chicken flavour)

Combine coleslaw, almonds, sunflower seeds and green onions. Crush the noodles and add some right away and 1/2 about half hour before serving if you want a crunch. Pour dressing overtop and let sit for a few hours.

Baked Beans

1 lb dried white beans
1 tsp baking soda
1 med onion, chopped
½ tsp salt (to taste)
ground pepper
2 tsp dry mustard
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
½ cup molasses
1 bay leaf
2 cups hot water
6 slices crisp bacon (optional)

Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. (or bring beans and water to boil; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain beans. Cover beans with fresh water. Add baking soda and heat to boiling. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse. Combine all ingredients in bean pot (or slow cooker). Cover and bake at 250o for 6-7 hours or until beans are tender and sauce is rich red brown. Add liquid periodically if necessary. I usually add 1-2 cups over the cooking period.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Boeuf Bourguignon

3 lb boneless beef cross rib pot roast or stewing beef
1/2 cup flour + salt and pepper
1/2 pound sliced bacon, chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 bottle red wine, (or substitute 2 x 500ml can of Guinness)
1-2 cups beef broth (add as needed)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter
3 cups brown and white mushrooms
2 tbsp (30 mL) minced fresh parsley

Trim fat from beef; cut meat into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes and set aside. Dredge in flour/salt/pepper mixture in ziplock bag.

In Dutch oven, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from pan. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil to pan; brown beef, in batches and adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to bowl. Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper to pan; cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine (or beer) and broth. Bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits. Add beef, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and braise in 325°F (160°C) oven, 2-1/2 to 3 hours adding extra broth if needed.

Fry mushrooms and butter until browned and add to beef mixture 30 minutes before serving along with the bacon bits. Can easily be made in crockpot (reduce broth).

Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables (asparagus, peppers).

Substitute ground beef to make base for Shepherds Pie. Add some black beans for extra fiber and change of pace. Why not? And peas if you like them 😢

Original Recipe:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Spice Rub for Melt in Your Mouth Ribs

2 tbsp seasoned salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Cajun spice
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried mustard

Combine all. You may not need it all for the ribs. Rub into ribs and place in a heavy foil lined roasting pan. Bake ribs at 300F for 3-4 hours until meat flakes from bone. Cover in BBQ sauce and bake or BBQ for another 30 minutes. Store extra rub in a ziplock bag.

Reduce quantity of seasoned salt if you are watching you sodium intake.

Use pork back ribs. Also good on chicken thighs.

Monday, November 2, 2015


3 large limes
2 large lemons
1 large Valencia orange
2 cans 7-up
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle red wine
1/3 cup orange flavoured liqueur (Cointreau)
Slice limes, lemons and orange. Put half in large pitcher. Add wine, 7-up and orange juice. Use remaining slices for garnish.

Salmon Cakes with Wasabi Mayonnaise

2 6oz pieces of cooked salmon (or 2 cans)
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 cup panko
3 small green onions, chopped, including white part
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Spray oil for frying

In a large bowl, gently combine all ingredients until mixed well. Form into 6-8 small patties. Spray fry pan generously. Place patties into hot pan for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until second side is browned. Alternatively cook in oven as below.

Wasabi Mayo
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp honey mustard
1 tsp wasabi paste or siracha sauce

Alternate baking method.
Line a tray with waxed or parchment paper. Using 2 rounded tbsp mixture, shape into a patty. Press a few of the remaining bread crumbs onto both surfaces. Place on tray; cover and refrigerate to firm patties. When ready to serve, arrange oven rack 4 to 5-inches (10-12 cm) from broiler; preheat. Spread oil on baking sheet; gently add fish cakes, placing slightly apart. If any cakes separate, simply press together again. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until golden. Then turn and broil 3 to 4 minutes until second side is golden. Serve right away topped with a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise on a warmed platter.

Oatmeal Cookies

¾ cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
3 cups oatmeal

Combine and bake at 350o for 7-8 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Cheese Sauce (Microwave )

1 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
Pinch pepper
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp dry mustard
½ cup cheese
Mix first 5 ingredients. Cook and stire 1-1 ½ minutes in microwave until thick. Stir in mustard and cheese.

Peanut Butter Cookies

2-½ cups flour, sift or stir before measuring
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup hard margarine or butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. Cream margarine or butter, peanut butter, and sugars; beat in vanilla and egg. Stir in flour mixture, blending well. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls; place on greased baking sheets. Flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork; dip fork in flour periodically to keep it from sticking to the peanut butter cookie dough. Bake at 375° for about 8-10 minutes.

Uncooked Cookies - aka Chocolate Drop Cookies

2 cups white sugar
½ cup margarine (hard kind-like Parkay)
½ cup milk
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups oatmeal (quick-cooking)
1 cup coconut (shredded)

In bowl combine oatmeal and coconut. In large pan combine white sugar, margarine, milk and cocoa. Bring to a rolling boil and boil only 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over oatmeal mixture and stir to combine. Drop by teaspoons onto sheet of aluminum foil. Cool.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup hard margarine
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2-2 ½ cups oatmeal (Old Fashioned)
2 cups flour
1-½ cups chocolate chips

Cream sugars and margarine. Add eggs, vanilla and milk and beat well. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well. Drop by teaspoon onto parchment paper lined sheet. Bake at 375F for 7-9 minutes.

Blueberry Crumble Pie

5 cups blueberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 -1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of ground black pepper

1-½ cups flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter, cut into little pieces

1 frozen crust

To make the fruit filling, in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Crush about 20 percent of the blueberries so the juice mixes with the cornstarch and thickens the filling.

To make the crumble, mix the flour and brown sugar in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms a crumble (do not overwork the mixture). Refrigerate until you are ready to use it. 

Preheat oven to 375°. Spoon blueberry filling into crust, then sprinkle topping over. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and topping is golden, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cover with foil after 30 minutes if browning too fast. Cool on a rack.

If using frozen blueberries: Do not thaw blueberries. Mix all filling ingredients together and let sit for 15 minutes. Stir then add to pie shell and bake as above.