Friday, August 31, 2012


1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 jar (12-oz) roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 block (8-oz) extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 block (8-oz) pepper Jack cheese, shredded
fresh cilantro leaves for garnish, optional
french bread cubes for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray or grease a 2-quart baking dish; set aside.

Stir the mayonnaise, bell peppers, onions, and jalapeno pepper together in a large bowl; stir in the cheeses.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake dip at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Garnish with the cilantro leaves, if desired.
Serve with the bread cubes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


5 medium red potatoes
1/2 lb fresh green beans, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 rib of celery, sliced thin
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 or 3 green onions, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups cubed mozzarella cheese

Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch slices and quarter each slice.  Place in a large saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook, covered, until potatoes are just tender; drain.

While potatoes cook, place the green beans in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Bring beans to a boil; reduce heat and cook, covered, just until crisp-tender, approximately 10 minutes; drain.

Combine the bell pepper, corn, celery, carrot, green onions and cheese in a large serving bowl.  Add the potatoes and beans.  Pour the vinaigrette over all and toss lightly to coat.  Delicious served either at room temperature or chilled.

Homemade Vinaigrette:
2/3 cup olive or canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Using a wire whisk, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour over the vegetables, toss to coat well.

Note: Also just a good homemade salad dressing for your green salads and pasta salads as well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


4 cups cubes potatoes cooked just until tender
1 cup mayo-type salad dressing
1 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet pickle

Drain potatoes well.

Combine the salad dressing, mustard, celery seed, salt, and pepper mixing well.  Add the eggs, onion, celery, and pickle; toss lightly to mix.  Cover dish and chill until serving time.

Garnish with celery leaves if desired.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Veggie Skillet

This is a quick healthy side dish that everyone should eat once a week.  This recipe fits easily into healthy diets and the bonus; quick and easy!  What a winning combo.

1 1/2 cups small zucchini, sliced (lenghtwise if zucchini are small enough)*
1 1/2 cups small yellow squash, sliced (slice based on type of squash you use)*
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup quartered mushrooms
1 to 2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, add the zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and mushrooms.  Cook 6 to 10 minutes until the veggies are tender.  (Time will depend on veggies and the size of your slices.)

Sprinkle the cheese over the veggies and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Note: This is a Kraft Cheese Recipe and Picture.
Yield: approximately 4 cups to serve 6 to 8.

*Measure after they are sliced.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


3/4 cup ground coffee
zest from half an orange (careful not to get the bitter white)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chopped candied ginger
6 cups cold water

Place the coffee in coffee filter in basket of coffee maker.  Add the orange zest, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour the water into the maker as directed by manufacturer and brew as always.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


2 cups pretzel nuggets
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup natural almonds
1/2 cup sesame sticks
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp Splenda Granulated*
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss to mix well.  Spread the mixture out on a 10 x 15 baking pan with sides.

Bake at 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Stir to mix well after the first 10 minutes.

Allow to cool and place in a bowl to serve or into a container with a tight-fitting lid for storage.
Yield: Approximately 4 cups of mix.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


1/2 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp instant beef-flavored bouillon
1 pkg (11-oz) pie crust mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the pie crust mix; mix well.

Prepare the pie crust mix as directed on package (or buy refrigerated ready-made pie crust).  Divide dough in half and roll out half on a floured surface to form a 10 x 13-inch rectangle approximately 1/8-inch thick.  Cut the rectangle into 20, 2 1/2-inch squares. 

Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture onto each square.  Fold as desired; I like triangles.  Repeat with the remaining dough and meat mixture.  Place pies 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve hot as appetizers.

Leftovers should be refrigerated.

Monday, August 20, 2012


1 quart apple cider
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
lemon slices for garnish
additional cinnamon sticks to place in cups as stirrers, if desired

Combine the cider, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger in a 2-quart saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Pour the cider into cups and garnish each with a lemon slice.  Place a standing cinnamon stick in cups, if desired.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Sunday, August 19, 2012


1 block (8-oz) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
4 oz Velveeta cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine (wash hands after handling!)
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 green onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat the Neufchatel cheese and the mayonnaise until well blended.  Stir in the Velveeta and the jalapeno peppers; spread into a 9-inch pie plate.  Mix the crushed crackers with the butter and sprinkle over the dip. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with the green onions.

Serve with a selection of whole-grain crackers.

Serves: 12 to 18

Note: This is my version of a Kraft Foods recipe.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


1 small red onion
1 small green bell pepper
1 cucumber
2 celery stalks
3 large ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove, crushed
18-oz tomato juice
18-oz vegetable juice cocktail
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
seasoned croutons for garnish, optional
sliced green onions for garnish, optional

Chop the onion, bell pepper, unpeeled cucumber, celery, and tomatoes; combine in a large bowl tossing gently to mix.

Stir the garlic into the vegetables. Add both juices and the vinegar; mix well.

Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl; stir to blend.  Cover and chill until serving time.

To serve, ladle gazpacho into soup bowls and garnish with the croutons and/or green onions, if desired. 

Yield: 6 servings

This is  an Easy Everyday Cooking Recipe From COOK'S.


1 ripe avocado, cut in half & remove pit
1/4 cup taco sauce, mild, medium, or hot = your choice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp milk (or water)
dash of salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Scoop out the avocado with a spoon and place in a small bowl; mash with a fork until chunky.  Add the taco sauce, lime juice, garlic and salt; mix well and set aside.

Combine the eggs, water, pepper and salt in a small bowl and beat together briskly.

Spray an omelet pan (or a nonstick skillet) with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat until hot. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Stir in a circular motion by shaking pan briskly until the eggs begin to set.  Let stand a couple minutes then shake the pan.  Omelet should loosen easily but remove carefully with a spatula if necessary.

Spoon the avocado mixture over half of the omelet; slip a broad spatula under the omelet and carefully fold in half.  Slide onto serving plate and serve while hot.

Yield: 1 omelet

Friday, August 17, 2012


1 lemon
1 tbsp canola oil
4 (approx 1 lb total) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can (10 3/4)-oz) cream of broccoli soup
1/4 cup milk
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Cut 4 thin slices from the lemon; set aside.  Squeeze 2 teaspoons of juice from the remaining lemon; set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil to hot.  Add chicken and cook 10 minutes or until browned on both sides.  Skim off any fat.

In a bowl, combine the broccoli soup and the milk; stir in the lemon juice and the black pepper.  Pour soup mixture over the chicken.  Top chicken with the lemon slices.

Reduce the heat to low and cover; cook 5 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through; stir occasionally.

Note: This is a Campbell's recipe.

To serve, garnish with some carrots curls, fresh herbs, etc as desired.


3/4 lb frozen cooked cleaned medium shrimp, thawed
2 tbsp zesty Italian salad dressing
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp blackened seasoning
8-oz (6 cups) tortilla chips
8-oz Shredded Triple Cheddar cheese
1 green onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thin

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat until it is hot enough to smoke.  Add 1 tablespoon of the Italian dressing, shrimp, bell pepper, and the blackened seasoning.  Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until the shrimp is heated through and evenly coated.  Stir in the remaining salad dressing.

Cover a large microwave-safe plate (be sure it will fit into your microwave!) with layers of half each of chips, shrimp mixture, and the cheese; repeat layers.

Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Rotate place after a minute if your microwave does not have a turntable. 

Before serving, top with the onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

This is my version of a recipe I saw of The Neely's.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


2 cups (8-oz) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all three ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring to blend well.

Place the cheese mixture in an ungreased 1-quart baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with an assortment of whole-grain crackers.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups dip.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


8-oz (1/2 box) graham crackers
2 boxes (3.4-oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 cups milk
1 tub (8-oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 squares (1-oz each) semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp corn syrup
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with whole graham crackers; set aside. 

Combine pudding mixes with the 3 1/2 cups of milk; fold into the whipped topping.  Spread the pudding mixture over the graham crackers and top with another layer of crackers.

In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter together; remove from the heat and add the corn syrup, 3 tablespoons milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.  Stir until combined and smooth; spread over the second layer of graham crackers.  Cover and refrigerate.

Yield: 12-15 servings

Note: This dessert is the perfect make-ahead dish.  It is actually better after being refrigerated for a day or two.

Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


4 medium-size tomatoes, quartered
1 medium-size onion, coarsely chopped
1 can (4-oz) chopped green chilies
2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Tortilla chips for serving

In a blender container, process 2 of the tomatoes on blend 15 to 20 seconds.  Add the remaining tomatoes, onion, green chilies, garlic salt, and pepper; process on chop for about 5 seconds until tomatoes are coarsely chopped.  Chill.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Monday, August 13, 2012


Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (15-oz each) red beans, drained
1/2 lb smoked sausage cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
3 cups hot cooked rice
Red pepper rings for garnish

Spray the interior of a Dutch oven or large saucepan with the nonstick cooking spray.  Place the pan over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften.  Add the beans, sausage, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, and hot pepper sauce; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve the beans/sausage with the hot cooked rice.

Add red onion rings for garnish.

Yield: 6 servings

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Note: This is a quick recipe to make.  It does need to chill thus making a great make-ahead dish.

5 lbs red potatoes
4 ribs celery
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 tbsp dill weed
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups mayonnaise
1 bottle (16-oz) cucumber ranch salad dressing

Scrub potatoes and place in a Dutch oven; cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.  Drain and cool enough to cut into cubes

In a large serving or salad bowl, combine the potatoes with the celery, onions, dill and salt.

Whisk the mayonnaise and salad dressing together in a small mixing bowl until blended.  Pour the blended dressings over the potato mixture.  Stir gently to coat all the potatoes.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Friday, August 10, 2012


8-oz uncooked whole-wheat spaghetti
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb raw deveined peeled large shrimp
1 cup frozen peas
1 container (10-oz) Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti as directed on the package leaving out the salt.

In the meantime, cook the bacon in large skillet until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet; drain on paper towels.  Save 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the skillet.

Add the shrimp to the saved drippings in the skillet and cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink.  Stir in the peas and cook for 1 minute.  Add the cooking creme and continue to cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Drain the spaghetti in a colander then return to the pan.  Add the shrimp and the bacon; toss to mix lightly.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese before serving.

Note: This is basically a recipe I got from Kraft Foods.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


My 7-year-old granddaughter Samantha is quite a little baker.  Baking is her passion.  When she read a library book about a cherry pie, she wanted to make one.  So we took the idea for a crumb top and came up with her own cherry pie.  You know if it is easy enough for a 7-year-old to make (grandma handled putting it in and taking it out of the oven!), you can make it, too.  It really is good.

1 pkg (15-oz) refrigerated pie crusts
1 can (20-oz) cherry pie filling
1 1/4 cup raw quick oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut up

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange one sheet of the refrigerated pie crusts in a 10-inch pie plate.  Refrigerate other crust for another use.

Spread the cherry pie filling evenly in the pie crust.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon until well combined.  Add the pieces of butter and using a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter.  Use fingers to blend if needed.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the pie filling.

Place pie in oven and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 to 35 minutes.  Use a pie shield to protect crust if it starts to get too brown.

Allow to cool before cutting.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup + butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup diced cooked potatoes
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 (1 lb) bag frozen corn
2 cans (15.5 oz) cans creamed corn
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
3 cups whole milk
3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh parsley for garnish

Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a stockpot; add onion and saute until tender, stirring and watching carefully to keep from browning.  Add the flour and stir until smooth.  Add the potatoes, ham, frozen corn, creamed corn, mushroom soup, milk, salt, and pepper to the pot, stirring until combined.  Heat the chower to a boil.

To serve, place a pat of butter, if desired, in the bottom of each bowl for serving.  Garnish with the parsley and serve hot.

Monday, August 6, 2012


3/4 cup + 2 tbsp warm milk (70 to 80 degrees)
1/4 cup warm water (70 to 80 degrees)
1 egg
6 tbsp butter, softened, divided
3 cups bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp active dry yeast

Place the milk, water, egg, 4 tablespoons of the butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bread machine according to the manufacturer's directions.  Select the dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed.).

When the cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12-inch circle.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter and brush over the dough's surface.  Cut the circle into 12 wedges.  Roll up the wedges starting at the wide ends and place pointed side down, 2-inches apart, on greased baking sheets.  Curve the dough to form crescent shapes.

Cover crescents loosely and set in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 20 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes.  Remove to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 1 dozen rolls.


4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
8 tsp mayonnaise
4 tsp Dijon mustard
16-20 shaved slices deli turkey breast
2 cups thinly sliced apple
1 cup baby spinach leaves

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, mixing together well.  Spread mixture of one side of each of the tortillas.  Top with the turkey, apple, and spinach.  Roll up to serve.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


1 butternut squash
4 slices bacon, cut up
1 small sweet onion, sliced thin
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds.  Peel and cut each half into thin slices.

Place the squash slices in a saucepan with enough water to just cover squash.  Bring to a boil over high heat; turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until tender.

While squash cooks, fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp.  Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings.  Set bacon aside and return the tablespoon of drippings to the skillet; add the onion and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour and pepper; cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add the broth, cook and stir about 3 minutes until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese.

Drain the squash.

Spray a square baking dish very lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Arrange half of the squash slices in the bottom of the dish; cover with half the sauce.  Repeat the layers and top with the bacon then the remaining half cup of cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


1 pkg (7-oz) elbow macaroni
2 cups diced cooked ham
1 cup diced cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup torn or shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
3/4 cup bottled Italian or Ranch salad dressing (depends on your preference)
1 tsp salt, optional
dash freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the macaroni according to the package directions, omitting any oil or butter; drain well.

Pour the macaroni into a large mixing bowl; add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat well.
Chill until serving time.

Friday, August 3, 2012


2 cups fresh (or unsweetened frozen) strawberries
2 bananas, sliced
1 carton (8-oz) low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup rice bran
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey

Place the strawberries and bananas in a large zip-top freezer bag and freeze until firm.  This will take at least 4 hours and can be done overnight.

Combine the firm fruit mixture with the remaining ingredients in a blender container.  Process mixture until smooth. 

Serve immediately in chilled glasses.

Yield: 4 servings of 1 cup each.

NOTE: This recipe and picture is from the Rice Council 20 years ago.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


1 1/2 lbs large sea scallops
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
dash of ground red pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp olive or canola oil, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
10-oz fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

In a small saucepan bring the sugar, paprika, red pepper, and lemon juice to a boil; cook 4 minutes until thickened.  Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat pan.  Sprinkle half the salt, and all the pepper over the scallops that have been patted dry.  Add to the pan and cook 2 minutes per side or until done.  Remove from pan; set aside but keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet along with the garlic.  Cook a few seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes until spinach is lightly wilted.  Stir in the remaining salt.

To serve, place the spinach on shallow serving plate, top with the scallops, and drizzle the boiled mixture over the top.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts.