Monday, April 30, 2012


1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp olive or canola oil
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper, divided
6 strips of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Place the asparagus in a 15 x 10-inch baking dish or pan.  Drizzle with the oil; sprinkle with half the salt and half the pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

While asparagus bakes, in a small skillet cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towels; drain, reserve 2 teaspoons of the drippings.

Saute the chopped onion in the reserved drippings until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, bacon, and the rest of the salt and pepper.

Transfer the asparagus to a large shallow bowl and top with the warm bacon dressing.  Toss gently to coat; sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, April 26, 2012


3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 cups confectioners' sugar
buttermilk to made spreading consistency

In a large mixer bowl combine the butter, sour cream and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar.  Gradually add small amounts of buttermilk until frosting reaches the desired consistency.

Use to frost and/or fill your favorite cake recipe.

Yield: 4 1/2 cups

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup mayo
1 pkg (12-oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise

In a small mixing bowl beat the butter and mayo until blended together.  Stir in both cheeses, onions, Italian seasoning, and garlic.  Spread over the cut sides of the bread.

Place bread pieces side-by-side on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Broil 4 to 6-inches from the heat for 3 to 5 minutes until the topping is lightly browned and bubbly.  Cut into serving size pieces.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


4 (1 lb total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp butter
1 can (15-oz) sliced peaches with juice
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 envelope (1/2 of a box) dry onion soup mix
4 servings hot cooked brown rice for serving

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides.  Remove the chicken and keep warm.

To the same skillet add the peaches with the juice, sugar, orange juice, and dry soup mix to the skillet.  Stir well to blend.  Bring to a boil and cook for for a couple of minutes.

Reduce the heat and return the chicken to the skillet.  Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.

Serve the chicken and sauce over the rice.
Yield: 4 servings

Note: This is my adaptation of a recipe I saw in a Taste of Home years ago.

Monday, April 23, 2012


1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
4 large eggs
1 can chocolate syrup (I prefer Hershey's)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar, butter, and eggs together; add the syrup and mix well.  Add the flour, salt, and baking powder mixing well.

Spray 9 x 13-inch baking pan and pour the batter evenly into the pan.  (Or use a cookie sheet with sides for thin brownies, if desired.)  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 tbsp milk
6 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute.  Stir in the vanilla and chocolate chips.  Cool slightly and spread over the brownies.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup Panko crumbs
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cans (10.5-oz each) brown gravy
hot cooked rice for serving

In a medium bowl combine the ground beef, egg, and Panko crumbs mixing together well.  Form mixture into 16 meatballs.

In a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides.  Drain well.  Add the gravy and simmer on low for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Serve over the hot cooked rice.

Friday, April 20, 2012


1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp rum (or vanilla) extract
Apple wedges for dipping

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Cook the mixture over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the milk and continue to cook for about 6 minutes until bubbly and thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the three extracts, stirring well.

Serve warm with apple wedges for dipping.  If dip cools and crystals form, reheat.

Yield: 2 1/4 cups.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


1 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained
3/4 cup water
1 package (1.25-oz) taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1/3 cup nacho cheese sauce
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/3 cup enchilada sauce
Salsa, sour cream, sliced green onion for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After beef has been browned and drained with the skillet wiped clean with paper towels, return beef to skillet.  Add the water and the taco seasoning.  Cook, stirring, until thickened; remove from the heat.  Add half the shredded cheese and half the nacho cheese to the mixture and mix well.

Place 1 tortilla into a ungreased deep dish 9-inch pie plate.  Layer 1/3 of the meat mixture over the top.  Spread a fourth of the enchilada sauce over the meat mixture.  Repeat this process two more times.  You will have a 3 layer lasagna topped with the final tortilla.  Top with the remaining ingredients except garnishes.

Bake in the center of 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cut into wedges.  Serve with the garnishes for toppings, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings
This is an Ortega recipe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1 large orange bell pepper
4 cups boiling water
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp celery seeds

Remove the seeds from the peppers and dice peppers into 1/4-inch pieces; place into a large bowl that is heatproof.  Pour the boiling water over the peppers and allow to set for 5 minutes; drain.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat stir the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, salt, and celery seeds together until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the draine peppers to the pan and lower heat to simmer.  Simmer the mixture for approximately 12-14 minutes until almost dry.  Transfer to a glass jar, cover, and cool slightly.  Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Great on hot dogs to give them your own gourmet touch!


1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cans (14.5-oz each) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
2 cans (10.5-oz each) beef broth
1 can (16-oz) mixed veggies, drained
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup medium egg noodles

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onion stirring to break apart; drain well. 

In a large saucepan bring the tomatoes, broth, mixed veggies, oregano, salt, pepper, and drained beef to a boil.  Add the noodles and reduce the heat to medium.  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the noodles are tender.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, April 12, 2012


1 lb lean ground turkey
1 jar (16-oz) your favorite salsa
1 can (4-oz) diced green chiles
1 large egg
1 pkg (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
16 slider buns or Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, warmed
4 slices American, each cut into quarters

Preheat grill to a medium-high heat.  Light brush with vegetable oil.

In a large mixing bowl combine the following: turkey, 1/2 cup of the salsa, chiles, egg, and taco seasoning mix; mix gently but thoroughly.  Divide into 16 equal portions and make portions into patties about 2-inches wide.

Place sliders on the hot grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until cooked thoroughly.

Top each with a slice of the cheese and serve on the warmed buns or rolls.

Serve with additional salsa and with jalapenos, if desired.

This recipe is one I adapted from an Ortega recipe.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


6 medium tomatoes
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
2 green onions, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds.  Drain upside down on paper towels.

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the mushrooms and onions until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fill the tomato cups with the mushroom filling.  Place upright in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


3 cups lightly salted peanuts
3 cups corn chips
3 cups spoon-size shredded wheat
2 cups lightly salted twisted pretzels
1 pkg (1 1/4-oz) Taco seasoning mix
1/2 stick butter, melted

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat well.  Store in plastic zip-top food storage bags or airtight container.

Note: This makes great gifts for holidays, teachers, hostess gifts, etc.  Place in a cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon to match the occasion.  Always a hit!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


2 apples, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 lb raspberries, halved
1/2 lb strawberries, diced
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
3 tbsp 100% Fruit Apricot Fruit Spread
1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
Cinnamon chips (recipe below) for serving

In a large bowl combine the apples, berries, and kiwi with the fruit spread and brown sugar.  Gently, mix together well and cover.  Refrigerate for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
10 (8-inch size) soft flour tortillas
butter-flavored cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl; set aside.

Using the cooking spray, coat one side of each tortilla.  Cut into wedges, arrange sprayed side down in a single layer on a large baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with the sugar mixture.  Spray with the cooking spray.

Bake about 10 minutes or until crisp.  Turn after 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly then serve with the salsa.

Yield: 10 servings

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


2 large eggs
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1/3 cup chopped Roma tomatoes
dash of salt
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
twist of freshly ground black pepper

Using a blender or small food processor, process the eggs and water until blended.

Melt the butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet.  Over medium heat, add the spinach and tomatoes and saute for about a minute until the spinach is wilted.  Add the egg mixture and salt to the skillet.  As the mixture cooks, lift edges of the mixture with a spatula while gently tilting the pan to let uncooked portion run underneath.  Cook until almost set; about a minute.  Cover and cook for another minute.  Sprinkle with the cheese and the pepper; fold in half to melt cheese.  Using a large spatula, slide the omelet onto serving plate.
Serve with buttered toast and fresh berries for a yummy meal.
This recipe makes 1 serving.
Note: This is a recipe I got from Southern Living Magazine a few years ago.