Wednesday, March 25, 2015


On our drive to CO for spring break, we saw a lot of farm roads.  Travis asked “why do all of these roads have their own radio station?” (you know, FM Road #...)

The kids often come home from school and tell me about the really good food that they eat in the cafeteria and could I make that too.  I haven’t found a good recipe for sloppy joes but I did try this meatloaf (to great success and accolades).  Yea me!

  1. 1 T olive oil  
  2. 3 C chopped yellow onions (3 onions) – or 3 T onion powder
  3. 1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves – or ½ t dried thyme
  4. 2 t kosher salt
  5. 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  6. 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1/3 c canned chicken stock or broth
  8. 1 T tomato paste
  9. 2 1/2 lbs ground chuck (81 percent lean) – or, I used the Kuby’s meatloaf mix which is ¾ lb ground beef + ¾ lb ground lamb + ¾ lb ground pork
  10. 1/2 c plain dry bread crumbs
  11. 2 large eggs, beaten
  12. 1/2 c ketchup

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. (Or simply add 3 T onion powder to the following mixture of ingredients).  Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground meat(s), onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meat loaf will be dense. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper (or I put the meat mixture in a loaf pan). Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F and the meat loaf is cooked through.  Serve hot.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Re-post: Tres Leches Bread Pudding in a Crock Pot

#TBS - Throw Back Sunday (yes, I made that up) - the recipe is worthy of a repeat but more importantly, the memory of when, where and how I ate this for the first time:

Good times are worth remembering.
Good friends are worth cherishing.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend but they can't make you giggle like a first grader the way a girl friend can.  The impact of a good friend is immeasurable and indescribable.  Whether you are in first grade or forty...  sometimes you just have to giggle.

Bread Pudding
Tres Leches Bread Pudding
(diamond accessories optional)
1.      Nonstick spray like Pam 
2.      2 1/4 cups whole milk 
3.      1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
4.      1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk 
5.      1/2 cup sugar 
6.      1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
7.      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
8.      1 teaspoon kosher salt 
9.      9 large egg yolks 
10.  1 loaf challah bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (stale is best) 
Cinnamon Sugar Sauce
1.      3/4 cup sugar 
2.      8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 
3.      1/2 cup buttermilk 
4.      1 tablespoon light corn syrup 
5.      1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
6.      1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
7.      Pinch salt 
8.      1 teaspoon baking soda

Coat the insert of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Line the insert with aluminum foil for easy removal, letting some foil overhand for handles.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and egg yolks. Toss in the cubed bread and mix to coat all the bread.

Add the mixture to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low until the center of the bread pudding is set, about 4 hours. Remove the lid and cool. Use the foil handles to lift the bread pudding from the slow cooker. Drizzle individual servings with Cinnamon Sugar Sauce.

Cinnamon Sugar Sauce
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, buttermilk, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Remove from the heat and slowly add the baking soda.  At first the sauce will bubble up, just keep stirring.  Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicken Chili

Day 20 – how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?  As part of my annual “eat healthier” resolution, I decided to try chicken chili.  A version of this one was our preferred choice and we have made it twice now.  I have also been exercising (thanks to my workout buddy, Travis) and purchased 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies on opening day.  There’s always next year…

Chicken Chili

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 2 pounds ground chicken
  5. 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  6. 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  7. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  8. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  9. 3 tablespoons flour
  10. 2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  11. 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
  12. 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  13. 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  14. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  15. Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  16. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Raspberry French Toast Casserole

The Jews have survived.  Hanukkah, that is.  Now it is the Christians' turn to face the pressure.  Do you have the same number of gifts for each kid? (they are counting, you know).  And are they equitable? (they are mentally calculating that too).  

Equally as important, what are you eating on Christmas morning? (and what are you wearing, because cameras will be flashing).  A favorite Christmas morning treat is my mom’s coffee cake, of course.  Try Barefoot Contessa’s French toast casserole too – you can make it the day before and bake while you open gifts (from her Make It Ahead cookbook).  Delish (even David says so!)!!! 

Happiest of whatever holiday(s) you celebrate!  

Raspberry French Toast Casserole

  1. ½ T unsalted butter
  2. 5 extra-large eggs
  3. 1 ½ c half-and-half
  4. 1/6 c + 1 T sugar
  5. 1/6 c light brown sugar
  6. ½ T vanilla extract
  7. ¼ t kosher salt
  8. 5 c day-old challah bread (cut into 1 inch cubes) – (5 c is about half a challah)
  9. 6 oz raspberries
  10. Confectioners’ sugar
Grease an 8x8 Pyrex dish with the butter and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/6 c of sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt.

Spread half the challah cubes into the dish.  Sprinkle the raspberries on top of the first layer of bread.  Top with the rest of the bread and pour on the egg mixture, pressing down lightly to moisten the bread.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 T of sugar.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 60-70 minutes until the custard is set and the top if puffed and browned.  After 45 minutes, check if the top is getting too brown; if so, cover lightly with aluminum foil.  Cool for 10 minutes; sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.  Serve warm.

Note: this dish serves 5-6.  The original recipe is double and baked in a 9x13 baking dish.  Truth be told, we were disappointed that there were no leftovers so will double it next time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Chosen Desserts

Chocolate Sheath Cake
Nine years ago our world quickly moved to a zone defense.  As the doctors talked about what they were doing for Christmas, the rest of us were anxiously awaiting the surprise of two babies.  We guessed they were a boy and girl but not in the order that they arrived.  

Butterfinger Ice Cream Pie
As their birthdays approached this year, I asked what kind of cake they wanted for their party and for their birthday dinner.  To my surprise, they did not choose Baskin Robbins or Central Market, but a chocolate sheath cake and a Butterfinger icecream pie.  No complaints here because it will be soon enough that mom is not cool and neither is her cooking!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth and Andrew!!   May the next 9 years be as sweet as the first!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peppermint Meringue Cookies

‘Tis the season for… piano recitals.  Yes, the countless hours spent practicing and the 1 minute (if that) of glory and fame, not to mention the other 59 minutes of other people’s kids’ performances.  This year Elizabeth is playing a Sonatina and Travis is playing "Say Anything" by A Great Big World and is being accompanied by a voice student of the music school.  Andrew got out of it all together by having a basketball practice scheduled during lesson time.

I am a fan of the meringue cookie these days.  This peppermint meringue is light and refreshing and perfect for the holidays (and it makes a ton – I actually cut the recipe in half and it still made about 40 cookies).

Peppermint Meringues
Bonus humor for the day from an almost 9-year-old: “Mom, spell pig backwards and then say ‘a lot.’ ”  So I dutifully followed directions and potty humor emerged.  Then she said “think before you speak, Mom.”  See – there is a lesson in there somewhere. 

  1. 6 large egg whites
  2. 1 1/2 t white vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 c sugar
  4. 1 t peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 200°. Let egg whites stand 20 minutes. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer, using whisk attachment, until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to medium. Add vinegar; add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until blended. Beat 2 minutes. Beat in extract.

Gently spoon meringue into center of bag (decorating bag or a Ziploc), filling three-fourths full. Snip end of bag. Pipe about 2 T meringue onto 1 parchment paper-lined baking sheet (I outlined a quarter-size circle and then swirled in the middle, ending with my best Dairy Queen curl), leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Repeat with remaining meringue, using a clean bag for each batch.

Bake at 200° for 2 hours. Turn off oven, and let meringues stand in oven until completely cool (about 3 hours).

For details on decorating these cookies with red food coloring gel or dipping in chocolate, go to the original Southern Living recipe on My Recipes.