Cooking With Patricia

Cooking Archives


Chocolate-Almond Bombe

A surprisingly easy ice cream cake to make; and what a homemade flavor you get.  If you don't have a 9-inch springform pan, this summer dessert is worth having one.

This recipe comes from an interesting cookbook published in 1993.  Hundreds of community cookbooks were collected nationwide from all kinds of organizations; churches, hospital auxiliaries, clubs, etc.  Thousands of recipes were tested and rated till the cream of the crop were chosen.  This particular recipe comes from a Medical Center Auxiliary in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer or cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and crushed
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
  • 3 cups whipping cream, whipped
  • Optional - additional whipped cream for garnish

Combine chocolate wafer crumbs, almonds, and butter; firmly press 1 cup of crumb mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan.  Set prepared crust and remaining crumb mixture aside.

Combine chocolate and amaretto in a large bowl; stir well.  Add sweetened condensed milk and sour cream; stir well.  Fold in whipped cream.  Spoon half of chocolate mixture into prepared crust; sprinkle with half of reserved crumb mixture.  Repeat procedure with remaining chocolate mixture and crumbs.  Cover and freeze at least 8 hours.  Carefully remove sides of springform pan.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream if desired. 

This makes approximately 8 - 10 servings.


Strawberry Poppy Pie

This is a pretty dessert to make during strawberry season.  The flavor combination will surprise you, and using fresh strawberries is a bonus.

Ingredients:

9 inch pie pastry:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, cold
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

  • 2 pints strawberries, divided
  • 2 cups whipped topping or whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted (optional)

In a bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds and salt; cut in cold shortening until crumbly.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.  Roll out pastry to fit a 9 inch pie plate.  Line plate with pastry and flute edges.  Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil.  Bake at 450 degrees for eight minutes.  Remove foil; bake five minutes longer.  Cool thoroughly.

Slice one pint strawberries; fold into whipped cream or "cool whip".  Spoon into pie shell.  Cut remaining berries in half; arrange on top.  Drizzle with honey.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds, if desired.  Refrigerate for one hour before serving.


Grilled Beef Gyros

Something different for your summer grilling!  These spicy grilled beef slices are tucked inside pita bread or a bread wrap of your choice.  The cucumber sauce is just the right topping for the hot beef, tomatoes, and onion.  When you serve these sandwiches, expect them to go fast.

The marinade and cucumber sauce can be made ahead of time and kept tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless beef sirloin tip roast (2 - 3 pounds will make 8 - 10 sandwiches), cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 8 - 10 pita breads, warmed and halved
  • Sliced onions and chopped tomato

Marinade:

  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 2 teaspoons if you prefer to use fresh)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water

Put first seven ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Process till onion is finely chopped.  Add soy sauce and water; process until blended.  Place sliced beef in a resealable plastic bag, add marinade and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours.

Cucumber sauce:

  • 1 medium cucumber; peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream

Combine cucumber, garlic, and salt in blender; process till cucumber finely chopped.  Add vinegar and oil, process till blended.  Put into bowl; stir in sour cream.  Refrigerate till serving.

  Drain and discard marinade.  Grill beef, covered, over medium hot heat until meat done to your preference.  Place beef in warmed pita halves.  Top with slices of onion, chopped tomatoes, and cucumber sauce.


Broccoli Salad

Don't let your kids turn up their noses to this too quick. It may be broccoli, but this is one way they may really enjoy it. It's a quick and easy salad as an addition to any picnic or cookout. A friend of mine has served it at most all her barbecue's for a number of years, and I saw how popular it was with her guests. She shared the recipe with me a few years ago, and has since had it published in her church cookbook. Add it to your summer recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches broccoli (about 1 1/2 lbs. each)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 20 slices of crisp bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Dressing: 2 cups mayonnaise - 1/2 cup sugar - 4 tablespoons vinegar

Cut up broccoli into bite-size pieces; rinse and drain well (as dry as possible). Mix dressing ingredients ‘till sugar dissolved. Mix salad ingredients, pour dressing over all and toss. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.


Rhubarb-Custard Bars

Makes approx. 3 dozen   

Once I tried these delicious bars, the recipe went into my favorites, and became a winner with family and friends. I bake these at least once during rhubarb season.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • Filling:  2 cups sugar
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 5 cups finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb. If frozen, thaw and drain well.
  • Topping:  2 packages(3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped   

In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into a greased 13x9x2" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, for filling, combine sugar and flour in a bowl. Whisk in cream and eggs. Stir in the rhubarb. Pour over hot crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until custard is set. Cool. For topping, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla till smooth; fold in whipped cream. Spread over cooled bars, cover and chill. Cut into bars. Keep refrigerated till 1 hour before serving (at room temperature).


Grilled Pork Loin

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (3 pounds)

Marinade:

  • 3 tart apples (like granny smith), peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple cider or juice
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

In a saucepan, combine the six marinade ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Rub the roast with salt and pepper.  Place in a large resealable plastic bag with half of the marinade.  Put remaining marinade in a covered container and refrigerate. Refrigerate marinaded roast in bag overnight.  Turn a few times.  Remove roast from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling, let sit at room temperature.  Discard marinade and place roast on heated grill.  Grill roast covered, on low - medium heat, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees, turning occasionally.  Slow cooking is best to keep tender and juicy.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.  Heat remainder of the marinade and serve with pork.


Chicken Tortilla Bake

This recipe originates from a woman who lived her life in New Mexico.  She relied mostly on Southwestern style cooking, and this casserole is one of her best, combining chicken, cheese, and zippy green chilies.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cut-up cooked chicken
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

In a bowl, combine the chicken, chilies, broth, soups, onion; set aside.  Warm tortillas in the microwave or oven according to package directions.  Layer half of the tortillas on the bottom of a greased 13" x 9" baking pan, cutting to fit; okay to come up sides of pan.  Top with half of the chicken mixture and half of the cheese.  Repeat tortilla, chicken mixture, and cheese layers.  Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Makes approximately 6 - 8 servings.


Turtle Cake

Yes, a cake likened to turtle chocolates, right down to the gooey caramel center with cashews.

This recipe came from a small church up in Ossipee.  The wonderful ladies of that church made up a cookbook in 1990 to raise money for their local Habitat with Humanity organization.  My friend, Irene, was one of those ladies.  After raising her family of four children, she and her husband retired in Ossipee, very giving and involved in their church and community.  In her seventies, she was a foster mother to more than 70 children that had been abused, sent to her by the local courts.  She has since passed away, so I dedicate this recipe in her memory.  She is remembered by many with much admiration.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package caramels
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews

Mix cake mix according to package directions.  Grease and flour 13" x 9" pan.  Pour half the cake batter into the pan and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  In a saucepan over low heat, melt margarine, add evaporated milk and caramels.  Mix till caramels are melted and smooth.  Pour mixture over cooled cake.  Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over the caramel mixture.  Pour the remaining half of the cake batter over top.  Return to oven for 20 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.


Coconut Fried Shrimp

These crisp and crunchy shrimp are impossible to stop munching on, and the orange-honey sauce is one of the reasons.  It's a great treat for a fun, change-of-pace main dish.

Ingredients:

Beer batter:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 16 - 24 uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (depending on size)
  • 3 cups oil for deep-fat frying (canola or peanut oil best)

Pat shrimp dry.  In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup flour, egg, baking powder, cayenne, and beer.  Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.  Hold shrimp by tail, dredge in flour, shake off excess.  Dip in batter, allow excess to drip off.  Roll shrimp in coconut and place on a waxed-paper lined sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  In a deep skillet or deep-fryer, heat oil until moderately hot, about 325 - 350 degrees.  Fry shrimp a few at a time turning once, for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  

Dipping Sauce:

Heat in small saucepan 1 cup orange marmalade, 1 1/4 cup Gray Poupon® Country Mustard, and 1 1/4 cup honey.  Serve warm.


Rhubarb-Crisp Cake

If you have rhubarb in your garden it should be coming in about now.  Mine is late due to the late snow in March.  Most supermarkets carry it though, and it is always a sign of spring.

Prepare any cake mix; pour batter into a 9x13 pan.  Mix 4 cups rhubarb (cut-up small) with 1 large package dry Jello (I like strawberry Jello and white or yellow cake).  Spread rhubarb over the cake batter.  

Topping:

Mix 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Cut in 1 stick of cold butter or margarine, till crumbly.  Sprinkle over rhubarb.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 - 45 minutes.


Traditional Lasagna

8 - 10 Servings

A lot of people have their favorite lasagna recipe that they are well-known for.  This is a rich, classic lasagna, good enough for holidays that may become your family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 3 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 cups (24 oz.) small-curd cottage cheese
  • 1 carton (8 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (do not go over)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 9 - 11 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 3 cups (12 oz) mozzarella cheese, divided

In a skillet cook beef and sausage till no longer pink, drain.  Add next seven ingredients.  Simmer uncovered for about 1 hour.

In a bowl, beat eggs, add parsley, cottage cheese, ricotta, cinnamon, and parmesan; mix well.  Spread 1 cup of sauce in a 13x9x2 baking dish.  Layer with about 3 noodles to fit pan, all of the provolone, 2 cups ricotta mixture, and 1 cup mozzarella.  Repeat with more noodles to fit, 2 cups meat sauce, remaining ricotta mixture, and 1 cup mozzarella.  Top with as many remaining noodles to fit, meat sauce, and mozzarella (dish will be full).  Cover and bake 375 degrees for 50 minutes.  (If covering with aluminum foil, spray foil with PAM® spray to prevent cheese from sticking).  Uncover and bake 20 minutes longer.  Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.


Lemon Meltaways

Makes 4 dozen cookies

These frosted, lemony cookies are quite a treat.  They make me think of a sunny day in spring. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Frosting: 

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
       In a large mixing bowl combine all cookie ingredients.  Beat at low speed until well mixed, about 3 minutes (scrape bowl often).  Divide dough in half.  Shape each half into an 8” x 1” inch roll.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  With a sharp knife cut each half into 1/4 inch slices.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 - 12 minutes or until set.  Cookies will not brown.  Cool completely.  In small mixer bowl combine all frosting ingredients.  Beat at medium speed until fluffy.  Frost cooled cookies.

Asparagus Puff Ring

This is a tasty family-favorite entree to make to welcome in Spring.  It looks impressive too.  It stars ham and asparagus in a creamy sauce, which is piled high in a cheesy cream puff shell.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

Filling:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon each; salt & pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

In a saucepan over medium heat bring water and butter to a boil.  Add flour and salt all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each; beat until smooth.  Stir in 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese.  Using 1/4 cupfuls of dough, form a ring around the sides of a greased 10 inch quiche pan or deep pie plate (mounds should touch).

Top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook asparagus till tender, about 5 minutes; drain well.  In a saucepan, sauté onion in butter till soft.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Gradually add milk; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat; stir in cheeses until melted.  Stir in ham and asparagus; spoon into ring.  Serve immediately.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.


Coconut Cake

Every Easter I looked forward to my Mom's coconut cake.  On top of the fluffy white coconut she would put several "baskets", mounds of white coconut made green with a few drops of food coloring, each piled with colored gumdrops.  That became a tradition at our Easter Dinner.  She always made her own recipe for a yellow cake from scratch, but I thought this recipe that starts with a mix would be a good substitute for the busy cooks of today.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (18 1/4 ounce) yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream, kept cold
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut
  • 1 carton (8 oz) whipped topping, such as cool-whip brand, kept cold

    Prepare and bake cake according to package directions in two 9-inch round cake pans.  Cool completely. For filling, combine sour cream and sugar; mix well.  Stir in coconut (filling will be soft).  Set aside 1 cup of filling for frosting.

To assemble, split each cake into two horizontal layers.  Place one layer on serving plate; cover with 1/3 of the filling.  Repeat layers or simply use two layers with filling inside.

Fold reserved filling into whipped topping; frost cake.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Decorate as desired.

Optional - Decorate top with Easter “Baskets".  You will need extra coconut, green food coloring, gumdrops or jelly beans.

       Mix a few drops of food coloring into a small bowl of coconut.  Pile into 3 to 4 inch mounds on top of cake and fill with candy.

Crab-Topped Fish Fillets

Serves 4

This is the beginning of Holy Week, and for those observing, this would be a nice fish entrée.  Trust me, this may become a favorite, and is quick to make...ready in 30 minutes. 

Ingredients

  • 4 serving-size pieces of white fish; sole, orange roughy, cod, or haddock
  • 1 can (6 oz.) of crabmeat; drained, flaked, and cartilage removed or 1 cup imitation crabmeat, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • Paprika
  • Thin, fresh lemon wedges 

Using butter or margarine, grease an 8-inch square baking dish.  Put fish fillets in and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 18 - 22 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine crabmeat, parmesan cheese, mayo, and lemon juice. Drain cooking juices from pan, spoon crab mixture over fillets.  Broil 5 inches from heat for about 5 minutes till topping is lightly browned.  Sprinkle lightly with toasted almonds and paprika.  Serve with lemon wedge.


Watergate Salad - A Classic

This would be a nice dessert to make for St. Patrick's Day. It’s the color of lime sherbet and absolutely delicious...especially loved by kids. This recipe made its debut in the 70's, and became extremely popular nationwide. Pistachio pudding had just come out on the market, and this recipe used it as its main ingredient, and everywhere you went people were serving this.

Kraft Company just re-published it and also did some research on where it got its name. According to the website, it was named either for Watergate (of the Nixon era), or The Watergate Hotel, newly built at that time. I guess we will never know.

But the main thing is that this is really good, and takes just minutes to throw together. Makes four 1-cup servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (4-serving size) Pistachio instant pudding mix
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped topping, (such as Cool-Whip® brand)

Mix dry pudding mix, pineapple, marshmallows, and pecans in a large bowl until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate.

Note: This was very pretty served in a glass bowl with large dollops of whipped cream on top and a few sprinkled chopped pecans.


Tangy Pork Chops

These pork chops are slow cooked in your crock- pot for about 6 hours. This is truly a no-fuss supper; quick and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops (at least 1/2" thick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Hot cooked rice - optional

Place chops in a slow cooker; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the onions, celery, green pepper, and tomatoes. Combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and bouillon; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours. About 40 minutes before serving, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into liquid in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice if desired.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Recipe over 105 years old)

This recipe originally came from my great-grandmother Dagenais, born in 1858 and died in 1948. Before she died that year, she wrote out five of her cookie recipes for her newly-wed grandson and bride. That bride, my Aunt Jane, recently gave them to me to put in a family cookbook. They are all in Grandma Dagenais's handwriting. I recently baked this recipe, and we really liked them. I did some research to see how the recipe compared to the oatmeal raisin recipes of today, and found that the newer recipes use twice as much sugar and more fat, and have been for quite a number of years. I found that quite interesting.

The original recipe, as she wrote it, is pictured here. A few particulars; I didn't bother to chop the raisins, and the sour milk I made from 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (let sit for 5 minutes). To prepare; stir together all dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. (I used 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg) Put sugar and soft shortening in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, till very fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla and beat for about 2 more minutes. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients alternately with the milk, mixing till combined. Add raisins. I baked them on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, at 350 degrees, for about 12 minutes (till light golden brown).

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oats put through food chopper
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1/2 cup sour milk or more makes them moist
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • A little nutmeg

Taco Supper Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups biscuit/baking mix (i.e., JiffyÆ or BisquickÆ brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 – 3 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown meat; drain. Add taco seasoning and prepare according to the package directions. Spoon meat into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add biscuit mix and pepper; mix well. Pour over meat. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5- 10 minutes. Spread sour cream over the top; sprinkle with lettuce, tomato, green pepper, black olives, onions, and cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 6 – 8.

Note: This recipe can easily be converted to lower fat and more heart healthy by substituting ground turkey, skimmed evaporated milk, egg substitute for 2 of the eggs, low fat or fat-free sour cream and cheddar cheese, and omitting the black olives.


Strawberry Heart Cake

Valentine's Day! What a wonderful celebration someone tucked into the middle of winter, in February, a cold and sometimes very snowy month. And viola, we have this day of red hearts, candy, flowers, and so much more, depending upon your age. And this day is not just for Lovers out there, it is for anyone who has someone to love; a grandparent, grandchild, son, daughter, dad, mom, and on and on.

My memories start as a child, receiving the little paper Valentine hearts that you write out the night before and pass out to everyone in your third-grade class, always writing something special to that boy you have a crush on, and hoping he will write something special on the one he gives you. And than in later years, the memory of being a young woman in love, and receiving a lavender lace nightie set wrapped in pink tissue, from the man you will soon marry.

Then the memory of making heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine's morning for your small children, and having red balloons tied to their chairs for that day, making it more special. And more recently, sending my elderly Mom who lived alone, a big bouquet of red carnations. Always getting that phone call "You shouldn't spend your money... but they are really pretty". And now, I look forward to the future when I can sit and make a Valentine with red paper and lace cutouts with my grandchild, and answer my doorbell, and have a big bouquet of red carnations delivered to me, with a Valentine's card that reads "I love you Mom". Can it get any better than that?

So I say, pass around that love. Enjoy this day! In the middle of this cold winter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounce) white cake mix
  • 1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 package (10 ounce) frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 5 to 5-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Red-hot candies, optional

In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, gelatin and flour. Beat in oil and eggs. Drain strawberries, reserving 1/2 cup syrup for frosting. Add berries and water to batter, mix well. Divide batter between two waxed paper lined 8-inch cake pans, one square and one round. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes (square) and 35 - 40 minutes (round) or until cake tests done. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. In a small mixing bowl, combine soft butter and reserved syrup. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Place square cake diagonally on a 20"x15" board that has been covered with red paper. Cut round cake in half. Frost each cut side; place frosted sides against the top two sides of the square cake, forming a heart. Frost rest of the cake. Decorate with red-hots or any way that you would like.


Cheesy Sausage Dip

I had this dip for the first time this past summer, at a barbecue at a friend's house. My friend had already served it on several occasions, and every time it was a hit, with a lot of requests for the recipe. It is served warm; she used a crock-pot to keep it warm which worked great. It's a hearty dip, with a little bite to it, and men especially, really like it. So, in honor of Super Bowl Sunday, give it a try.

This recipe makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • One package Jimmy Dean brand of sausage, regular flavor
  • One 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • One can (10 ounce) RO-TEL diced tomatoes & green chilies. (I have seen this brand at Stop & Shop and Wal-Mart’s grocery store)

Brown sausage, crumbling into small pieces. Drain well. Add cream cheese, cutting up to quicken melting.

Drain the tomatoes and add to the meat and cream cheese. (Save some of the juice). Put all in a crock-pot to keep warm. Thin with saved juice if you desire a thinner consistency.

Serve with choice of chips or crackers.


Chili

Super Bowl Sunday is February 6, a week from this Sunday. Whether you stay home and have friends in, or go to a Super Bowl Party, chili is always a hit, especially in this cold weather. I searched to find a recipe that would be liked by all…I hope you will like it. This recipe was submitted to a Chili Cook-off contest, one of 3,000 submitted, and won third prize. The first prize chili had pepperoni in it and the second prize chili was a white chili made with chicken. I'm sure both are very good, but I thought the ground beef chili would be the most widely liked. This recipe makes 12 – 14 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (29 oz.) tomato puree
  • 1 jar, (16 oz.) salsa
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed beef broth
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Worstershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons steak sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon each; salt and coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons browning sauce, optional

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook beef, onion, green pepper, and celery until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Drain and add browning sauce, stir in remainder of ingredients except for the chili powder. Add water 1 cup at first, and more if too thick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for at least an hour, until it reaches desired thickness. Some of my family like their chili served over a little cooked white rice, so I add more water to increase the sauce. Add the chili powder gradually during the simmering stage, according to how much heat you like. You can always put a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those that like it really hot. Serving suggestion: hot cornbread and assorted toppings. Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onion, sour cream. Note: This is always great served the next day, if you want to prepare a day ahead. Also, it freezes well.


Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apricot Sauce

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me about 10 years ago. It's one of those meals that is perfect for Sunday dinner or when you want something a little special for company, but also is so simple to make it is a quick meal if you have worked all day, especially if you have the stuffing made ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
  • 1 small box Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, prepared according to box directions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup each... chopped dried apricots and almond slices
  • While making stuffing, simmer together in small pan:
  • 1 16 oz. bottle Ken's Russian dressing
  • 1 small jar apricot preserves
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix

Pound the chicken till about 1/2 " thin. Add the dried fruit and almonds to the prepared stuffing. Stuff the chicken any way you prefer. I put a good-size scoop of stuffing on the baking pan (use a fairly deep baking pan), place a chicken breast of top and tuck it under the stuffing a little. Salt & pepper as you like. Pour sauce over all and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Baste with the sauce a few times during baking.

I serve this with rice, brown or white, as this makes a lot of a sweet & sour kind of sauce which goes well with rice.


Sour Cream Pancakes with Hot Blueberry Topping

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Add the baking soda to the sour cream and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine all ingredients except egg whites. Beat egg whites till stiff and gently fold into the batter at the last minute. Cook on a medium-hot, non-stick griddle without any oil. Makes about 12 - 14 medium size pancakes.

Blueberry topping: To 1 can blueberry pie filling in heavy syrup, add 2 tablespoons honey to taste. Heat in saucepan until hot. Serve over cooked pancakes.


Healthy Meatloaf

Well, here we are with the holidays over and many of us wanting to lose the few pounds we may have gained, or just wanting to eat healthier. My Aunt Helen sent me this recipe with that in mind, eating healthier. She moved to Arizona in 1968 due to respiratory problems that developed when living in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Even back then, she felt there was a connection of what you eat and your general health. She purchased books and learned to live a healthier way of life. She is now in her 70's, and a very beautiful and vibrant "young" woman who looks like she is still 60. She exercised when it wasn't so fashionable; in the privacy of her home, her exercise buddy Jack Lalane, at that time the only fitness expert on television. So try her meatloaf, making it either way. Her son-in-law told her it was the best meatloaf he ever had and should be packaged to sell.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef (may substitute 1 pound soy meat, hamburger style)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage or veal (may substitute ground white-meat turkey)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten (may use egg substitute)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons original "Mrs. Dash" seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon each; salt & pepper
  • 1 can tomato soup (may substitute with "Healthy. Request” brand)

Mix all together except for the tomato soup. Shape into a loaf and bake at 360 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and drain some of accumulated fat out of pan. Pour can of soup on top of meatloaf and bake another 35 - 40 minutes.

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