You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘cooking’ tag.

Who are the Roulades, you ask? It isn’t a who . . . it’s a what! A dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, typically made from a flat piece of meat, fish, or sponge cake, spread with a soft filling and rolled up into a spiral. And, it comes packed with the flavors you love, because you combine your favorites to create your own “special dish.”


Spinach and Sausage Pork Loin RouladeSpinach and Sausage Pork Roulade
This eye pleaser delivers on flavor, with chopped spinach and slivered almonds combined with Italian sausage and a variety of herbs and spices all rolled up into a roll-cut or butterflied boneless pork loin roast. Lea usually serves this with Fennel-Potato Au Gratin. We also have a version with holiday-time seasoning. You can find the recipe here.


Cranberry-Lemon Pork Loin RouladeCranberry-Lemon Pork Loin Roulade
Here is a delicious pork dish that is elevated to formal dinner status and delivers the flavor that its presentation promises. This tasty treat combines the flavors of cranberries, lemon, mustard, and brown sugar to titillate the tastebuds and please the pallet. Finish your servings with a tablespoon of pan-drippings sauce or pork gravy, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or micro greens. An excellent side dish for this roulade is the Roasted Parmesan Baby Potatoes.


Parmesan Stuffed Chicken RouladeParmesan and Gloucester Chicken Roulade
Based on our delicious Parmesan Stuffed Chicken Breast Another pallet pleaser is this cheesy roulade which goes together quickly and delivers superb, rich, flavor while keeping sumptuous chicken breast the star of the show. Parmesan and gloucester cheeses are combined for this roulade, but, of course, any cheeses you prefer can be mixed and matched to take the flavor in the desired direction. An excellent side to accompany this dish is our savory New Potatoes and Mushrooms in Brown Gravy


Flank Steak Bacon and Spinach RouladeFlank Steak Bacon Spinach Roulade Medallions
Chopped spinach, crispy bacon and earthy mushrooms combine with your favorite steak seasoning to create a colorful and delightful roulade that dresses up the dinner plate and takes the meal to a new level of appeal. This is a dependable entree that pleases every time. An excellent side with this roulade is our Twice Baked Potatoes.


Parmesan Beef Braciole Beef Parmesan Braciole
The traditional braciole (the word is commonly pronounced /bra’zhul/) is the name given to a roulade (typically pork, chicken, beef, or fish) that are filled and rolled, browned and then braised in a sauce. This is an Italian flavored roulade with thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary, basil and black pepper, baked in a tomato sauce and served on a parmesan crisp.


Larry ties pork roulade with cook's twineRoulades are fun, very flexible, and can add an element of class to everyday meals. The fillings are the fun part, allowing you to be as creative as you like, taking the flavors in your favorite directions. Meat roulades give you all the flexibility you need to wow the family and your guests with striking presentations without may limitations. One rule of thumb, however: always roll the meat with the grain running end to end so when you slice it later, across the grain, the beef will be more tender. For those who are intimidated by the thought of creating a roulade, visit our How To Truss A Roulade page. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Pouring batter into baking panCooking should be fun, and there is little more rewarding and fulfilling than sharing the kitchen with a grandchild who likes to learn. We have a young grandson who loves to be in the kitchen when we are preparing anything from soups and salads to desserts. He is one of those children who snacks continuously, and enjoys trying most new food items to which we introduce him. He uses one of those 2-step ladders to reach the counter top, and even likes to prep and sanitize the work area, under close supervision, of course. In this photo he is pouring the cake batter to make a pineapple upside down cake.

Recently, during a visit, out of the blue, he stated that we should make a pie. A few months ago he and I made a raisin pie with a lattice top, and he enjoyed learning to cut and place the lattice on top. Checking what we had on hand to make a quick pie, I found a deep-dish graham cracker crust in the freezer, and in the pantry were a can of apple pie filling and another of lemon pie filling, along with a box of Crumble Crisp Topping. A perfect project for the little guy! Here’s how we put it together.

Steps in Sour Apple and Graham Cracker CrispIngredients:
1 Deep dish Graham Pie Crust (two layer)
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
1 can (15.5 oz) lemon pie filling
1 box (10 oz) Crumble Crisp Topping Mix
2 Tbsp butter, melted (or amount specified by the topping mix)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Place the room temperature graham pie crust on a cookie sheet
3. Place in preheated oven for 5 minutes, then cool before filling
4. Add the apple pie filling, spreading evenly over the crust
5. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the layer
6. Add the lemon pie filling, spreading evenly over the bottom layer
7. Prepare the Topping according to instructions on the box
8. Spread the crumb topping evenly over the pie, spreading to the edge
9. Place in oven, on the cookie sheet, and bake 25 minutes.
10. Spoon into bowls while still warm, and, if desired, top with a scoop of ice cream.

This quick and easy dessert was a hit with the family! The contrasting sweetness of the apple and lemon pie fillings, combined with the Crumb Topping made for a festival of flavors going on with every bite. It was fun to make, and fun to eat! And, if you have little ones that like to help, this goes together quickly, keeping their interest, and the short cooking time gives them almost instant rewards. Enjoy!

Do you struggle with guessing how well done your steak is? Do you make a calculated guess based on thickness of the steak, heat of the fire, and a length of time to the desired doneness? Sometimes that works, but often it fails dismally. So, is there a better way? How do steak houses seemly get it right every time? Have you noticed that they don’t poke them with meat thermometers? Any time you poke a hot steak you let all those delicious juices run out into the plate where they are wasted. Professional chefs can tell when a steak is done just by feeling it, and you can learn how to do the touch test too.

Chefs have developed four primary “touch” methods, including the “Face Test,” where the firmness of the steak is compared to various areas of the face. But, we don’t like the idea of our cooks touching their face while they’re cooking food, so we are going to discuss three other methods that use hands, which are more likely to be clean every time. Each of these methods takes a bit of practice, which is a great reason to cook (and eat) more steak.

Spring Back Touch Method

  1. Lightly press the center of the steak with your thumb. If it feels really soft, or jelly-like, it is still rare.
  2. When the center of a steak has a little more resistance and just springs right back, its perfectly medium rare. (It’s important that it springs back!).
  3. If it’s just firm and hard, and has no springiness, it’s well done (overcooked, in our humble opinion).

Fist Touch Method

  1. First, make a relaxed fist. The fleshy area of your hand between your thumb and forefinger is soft, which is how a rare steak feels.
  2. Now, slightly clench your fist. It will feel a little firmer, like medium doneness.
  3. The last step: Clench your fist tightly, and that area will feel like well-done meat.

Palm of the Hand Method
Palm tests for steak doneness
We like this one best: Here’s how to do the Palm method:

  1. Hold your hand out, palm up, and relaxed. Poke your hand by the base of the thumb with your other index finger. This is what raw meat feels like.
  2. Now, make an OK sign with your hand by touching your forefinger and thumb together. Feel the same part of your hand. It’s a little firmer. This is how meat feels when it’s rare.
  3. Move your other fingers to your thumb in the following order. As you do, you’ll notice the pad of your hand will get progressively firmer:
  4. Touch your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. That’s how a medium rare steak feels.
  5. Next, touch the tip of your ring finger to your thumb. This is what a medium-well will feel like.
  6. Lastly, touch your pinkie to your thumb. That’s the equivalent of a well-done steak.

Both these methods are fairly easy, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll cook perfect steaks every time.

Sound sound too complicated? It really isn’t, but we realize that the touch method can appear to be, until you get some practice in. In the meantime, if you would rather continue using an instant read thermometer, here are the temperatures for doneness:

  • Extra Rare – 115-120 degrees
  • Rare – 125-130 degrees
  • Medium Rare – 135-140 degrees
  • Medium 145-150 degrees
  • Medium-Well – 155-160 degrees
  • Well Done – 165 degrees

What happens if the steak has a gorgeous crust, but the temperature clocks in too low? It’s time for pan roasting! Fire up the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, put your steak on a roasting rack on a baking sheet with sides. Stick it in the oven. It’ll finish cooking without getting too dark.

For other insights into proper techniques for cooking that delicious piece of steak, see our notes on 7 Tips to Cooking Great Steaks.

Have you ever noticed the cooks in your circles that have a favorite dish that is always requested for pitch-in dinners? There’s always the dessert folks, and the brisket baker, and, of course, the popular deviled egg favorite. Deviled eggs are always a hit, and so is the person that makes them. And, preparation isn’t that hard to do, it’s mostly a matter of boiling eggs and mixing up the yolks to go back into the egg whites. The problem with boiled eggs is the boiling and peeling. And, it seems there are always one or two that crack and leak some egg whites during the boiling stage.

There is a much better, more reliable, method that delivers great hard cooked eggs; steaming! I learned to steam eggs, rather than boiling, a few years ago while watching one of Alton Brown’s Good Eats episodes. This method has a few real advantages over boiling eggs, not the least of which is the ease of peeling them without destroying the wonderful smooth surface of the skin, and there are no cracked eggs caused by jostling about in boiling water. This method is reliable and provides perfectly hard cooked eggs.

2 1/2 Qt saucepan with steamer basketAll you need is a saucepan with a steamer basket and a lid, or, for larger batches, a Dutch oven with steamer basket and lid.

The keys to getting this just right are:

  1. Decide whether you want your egg yolks, soft, medium or hard;
  2. Decide how many eggs you want to cook in a batch (minimum is 4, I’m told);
  3. Determine how long to steam the eggs
  4. Plan the process, and get tools and accessories ready

This all comes more easily after you try it a couple of times. I usually cook in batches of 12-24, so I will focus on the Dutch oven process. As mentioned, you can cook small batches of 4 or more eggs in a saucepan with a steam basket, although I have not experimented with the smaller amounts. I have found some info on the small batches, which indicate:

  • 6 minute active steaming in a single layer for soft yolks
  • 10 minute active steaming in a single layer for medium yolks
  • 12 minute active steaming in a single layer for hard yolk with bright color

The reason I use the term “active steaming” is because warm up time doesn’t count. If you put cold eggs straight from the refrigerator into the pan, you have to recover the heat you lost when you lifted the lid, and you have to heat the egg to room temperature before any real cooking begins. So, you put in the eggs, you replace the lid, and you watch for steam to begin to escape from your vessel, then start your timer. I also read in various comments that if you steam your eggs in a double layer, it adds about two minutes to active steaming time to get the same results as listed above.

Here’s my process for steaming 18 Extra Large eggs, which is the maximum I can get in my Dutch oven steamer basket in a single layer.
18 eggs in steamer basket

  1. Remove the (extra large) eggs from refrigeration 30 minutes before cooking begins, and place on the counter next to the steamer basket
  2. Add at least one inch of water to the Dutch oven up to 1/2 inch below where the bottom of the steamer basket will be
  3. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid, and bring to a boil over high heat, and when steam starts escaping, reduce the heat to medium high, to produce a steady simmer (indicated by steam escaping)
  4. Meanwhile, arrange the eggs in the steamer basket
  5. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven, drop in the steamer basket loaded with eggs, and replace the lid
  6. Watch the Dutch oven for signs that steaming has begun, and when it appears, start your timer for 12 minutes for soft yolks, 14 for medium, and 16 for hard
  7. While the timer is running, prepare an ice bath. I do this by emptying my ice maker tray into a clean sink and adding enough water to cover the eggs
  8. When the timer is finished, turn off the heat, remove the lid (lift the edge away from you) to release built-up steam
  9. Basket of Steamed Eggs in Ice Water Bath

  10. Move the Dutch oven to an area near the water bath, and lift the steamer basket out, and place into the ice bath
  11. If you are going to peel the eggs right away, let them sit in the bath about 3 minutes so they are cool enough to handle, and yet are slightly warm in the center

Larry with Pot of Hot BrothTo peel your eggs, roll them on a hard surface so that you crack the middle of the shell all the way around. I use the palm of my hand to roll them, but I’ve also seen chefs use the handle of a knife, too. If everything works well, you should be able to peel the cracked part off pretty easily, and then pull the ends off in whole pieces. I have had varying degrees of success with this, and believe that fresher eggs peel more easily. The longer they sit in the refrigerator, it seems, the more I have to pick away at tiny pieces to get them peeled. By the way, I use these large batches of eggs to make Pickled Eggs, an occasional, fun, treat for the family.

Google recently released their “Google’s Year in Search 2016.” One category included was a listing of the top-searched food recipes for the year. We took a look in our own collection to gather our recipes for these delicious, and sometimes, just fun, items to create our own list of favorites in 2016.

1. Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean CasseroleThis classic casserole might be the star of your holiday table, but it isn’t just for holidays and pitch-in dinners any more. In 2016 home cooks were bringing this side dish to their table throughout the year, and we commonly see at least a couple of versions of this dish on pitch-in dinner tables. We are always delighted to try other’s approach to this staple. Here is our recipe for a Green Bean Casserole, with Mushrooms, Bacon, Onions and two optional Cheeses.

2. Brussels Sprouts
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Cipollini OnionsThe Brussels sprout continues to be super popular this year; it’s the only green vegetable that got its own Google search spot in the top 10. Here is our recipe for Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts, and, you might also like our Browned Brussels Sprouts with Cipollini Onions.

3. Hashbrown Casserole
Hash Brown CasseroleCasseroles continue to dominate the top 10 list, and for good reason; they can be prepared ahead of time, chilled, warmed, and served later, making them very versatile and reliable. One of the most popular recipes searched is the ever-popular hashbrown casserole. This has been a Christmas Breakfast staple at our house for many years, and I prepared it a number of times for Men’s Breakfast at church. Get the recipe here.

4. Guacamole
GuacamoleAnother simple-to-make delicacy made it to the top of the charts this year. It’s guacamole made from wonderful Haas avocados. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E. It makes a great dip with tortilla or corn chips, excels when planted by the spoonful on top of entrees, sides, salads, and even when served sliced in soups and tacos. The process is quick and easy, and produces a luscious, silky smooth dip with a hint of lime. You’ll find our recipe here.

5. Chicken Marsala
Chicken Tenderloin MarsalaThis is a delicious, classic chicken dish that used to be taught in junior high school cooking classes. Our Italian-American version calls for breaded chicken breasts that are braised with Marsala wine, mushrooms and onion. Paprika provides a smokiness to offset the sweetness of the wine. Quick and easy to assemble, this dish is ideal for a simple weeknight dinner, and is elegant enough to gain status as a longtime favorite for entertaining company. You can find our recipe here.

6. Chicken Tetrazzini
Chicken TetrazziniIf you’re not familiar with Chicken Tetrazzini, this essentially is a bowl of luscious pasta loaded with lots of chicken and mushrooms. This is one of Lea’s favorite dishes, to make, and to eat. If you have time to make your own delicious egg noodles, you can take this dish to a whole new level. Get the recipe right here.

7. Snow Cream
Homemade Ice CreamSnow cream can be one of two distinct desserts; a cream-based dessert with one or more flavoring agents added, or, a dessert in which snow is mixed with a sweetened dairy-based liquid to make an ice cream substitute. We rarely see snow here in Central Texas, so we tend to go with the cream-based version. Get the recipe here. Our recipe is located here.

8. Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream frosting on mini-muffinsIt’s great that there are enough cooks out there that want to learn to make their own buttercream frosting, rather than giving in to the ease of buying it at the store. It’s completely simple to make, and totally essential for baking when you want that extra measure of flavor that comes only from homemade buttercream. Our recipe includes a tip to avoid getting the frosting too runny. The recipe is located here.

9. Pork Chops
seared-pork-tenderloin-medallions2_smlThe ever-popular pork chop topped this year’s Google search charts again, which is not so surprising considering how easy or elegant this homey dinner staple is to prepare. We have lots of pork chop recipes on our Entrees page, and one of our favorites, Apple-Ginger Thick Cut Pork Chops, is located here.

10. Turkey Gravy
Pan Gravy with Chicken Fried ChickenSearches for turkey gravy rose to new heights in the last few weeks prior to Thanksgiving, and, according to Google, it was very popular this year! Once you learn to master gravy making, you can pretty much turn pan drippings and fond from any dish into a silky smooth and extra flavorful pan sauce or gravy to serve with your meal. Here’s our recipe and some tips to help.

These delicious recipes are essential for every recipe starter collection, and all have countless versions that have been developed by seasoned cooks over the years. Historically, the most adventurous cooks had extensive libraries of cookbooks to use for inspiration and exploration. Trading recipes with others who had an interest in expanding their meal offerings was a very common practice. Today, there are many other ways to find a recipe, including that quick search on the web, including our own collection. We hope you enjoy our tried and true recipes, and look forward to hearing about your favorite variations, too.

Terminate that chill and warm up with comforting tomato soup!

Bowl of Tomato SoupServed steaming hot in an over-sized mug, with a toasty brown grilled-cheese sandwich, tomato soup takes us back to those childhood days when this cool weather treat seemed really special. Comforting and warming all the way to the tummy, most of us probably had the canned soup most often. But, I still fondly recall the aromas coming from my great-grandmother’s kitchen during canning season when she was “putting up” tomatoes while making tomato soup from scratch. And, there is no tastier way to terminate a chill than that bowl or mug of tomato soup! Today, making homemade tomato soup is simple. Open a couple cans or jars of tomatoes, sauté some aromatic vegetables, and blend it all together. That’s it!

Selecting Tomatoes

Chilies and TomatoesWhile ripe fall tomatoes can make a delicious end of season tomato soup, when it comes to the classic flavor we remember, canned tomatoes are best. They provide a consistent flavor because they are picked, processed, and canned at the peak of perfection. We have found that crushed tomatoes have the preferred balance of acidity and flavor for soup, and they don’t have to spend a lot of time in the blender or food processor to break down. They have a texture between firm diced tomatoes and smooth tomato sauce, and they provide a fresh, full, flavor that is great for pasta sauces and smoother soups.

Home Canned Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed Tomatoes

We also use a small amount of tomato paste in our soups. Tomato paste comes in small cans, usually six ounces each, and also in 4.5 ounce tubes, and they are the most cooked down of all the canned tomato products with eighty per cent (80%) of the water content removed. The paste has a very concentrated flavor and a much darker color.

While the amount of paste in most recipes is small, compared to the crushed tomatoes, you really can’t develop that deep, rich, flavor we all love in tomato soup without it. Keep both canned tomatoes and tomato paste on hand for tomato soup anytime, and you’ll also discover many other uses for them.

Blending and processing hot tomato soup can be messy and even dangerous. See our tips on how to be safe while completing this essential task.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato Bisque One of our favorite soups is a steaming mug of tomato “bisque,” by definition a creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin. It is classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans or shellfish, but it can also be made from roasted and puréed fruits, vegetables, or fungi. Our bisque uses fire roasted tomatoes, heavy cream and a sprinkle of Parmesan to develop an earthiness and silkiness. Get the recipe here.

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Cheese
Tomato Soup with ParmesanHere is another of our tomato soup recipes that has you do the puree while the product is still cool. I have found this to be much easier to handle than trying to pulse the hot soup in a blender or food processor. This recipe incorporates orange juice, a natural pairing with tomato, maple syrup for a touch of sweetness in the background, and cilantro for a fresh citrus note. This one, like the bisque, we finish with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. The recipe is on our soup page, here.

Tomato Vegetable Soup
Tomato Vegetable SoupOur tomato vegetable soup is a recipe we developed in the church kitchen while cooking large batches for fellowship dinners. This is a comforting and filling soup with just a hint of citrus from orange juice. We use homemade Emeril’s Essence in this version to take it just slightly to the cajun side where it blends so well with the mixed vegetables. Find the recipe here.

Rich and flavorful tomato soups are winter warmer-upper favorites that are chock full of vitamin C, and a great way to get the antibiotic effect of the onions and garlic. If you’re fighting a winter cold or flu, you can also whip up a delicious dairy-free version to keep the mucus factor down. It will still be delicious and give you a welcome boost. Tomato soup; the winter chill terminator!

Now that Christmas dinner is past, and the leftovers have been relegated to stews and casseroles, it’s the right time to be thinking about a change of pace with dinners that differ from seasonal classics while still delivering on flavor. Pork may be the ideal alternative, and we’ve collected a few of our favorite pork chop dishes to help you with mealtime planning.

Apple-Raisin Thick Cut Pork Chops
Apple Raisin Pork ChopThis is a delicious main dish that has been a favorite for generations and passed down in cookbook after cookbook. The apples and raisins combine to create a fruity and savory flavor, while apples and pork are just a natural pairing. Combined with touches of ginger, mustard and cinnamon, this hardy mealtime offering is well liked by diners of all ages. Get the recipe here.

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops
Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin ChopHere’s a dish that hits all of the taste buds with a sweet-sour sauce, umami flavor from a quick browning sear in a very hot pan, and salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Thick center-cut pork chops finish in a balsamic vinegar and brown sugar sauce. These chops are as attractive as they are tasty, and really turn up the satisfaction ratings. Get the recipe here.

Coriander Boneless Pork Chop Cubes
Coriander Pork CubesLooking for a savory pork chop recipe with a dash of pizzaz? These thick cut pork chops get cubed into bite-size portions, marinaded, seasoned, and pan seared for that great earthy umami flavor that comes from a quick, hot, sear. Served over chicken flavored couscous or rice, and finished with fresh chopped coriander or parsley, this flavorful combination will become a family favorite. Get the recipe here.

Grilled or Roasted Stuffed Loin Chops
Stuffed Thick Cut Loin MedallionThis can be a really fun adventure. Have your butcher cut some extra thick loin medallions. You’re going to marinade them, stuff them, grill or roast them, as you like, and prepare a dish that is not only attractive and tasty, but will dominate the table when you dress it with a drizzle of hot balsamic reduction, and garnish with a cilantro or parsley twig. Get the recipe here.

Vino Pork Loin
Pork Loin Bites over CouscousThis is a savory plate of comfort food that is certain to please the heartiest of appetites. Taking a Cajun cue from Emeril’s Essence, we use a homemade version of the spice to bring pork to a whole new level. Use as much, or as little, as you like, to make this dish your own. We like it served with a side of Island Rice Pilaf. Get the recipe for this delicious pork dish here.

From roasted to pan fried, and smothered to breaded, our selection of savory and sweet pork chop recipes will give you many tasty options for your mealtime. Bone-in or boneless, thick-cut or thin, budget-friendly pork chops are a favorite option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pork chops is what is “in”!

It seems like we keep really busy late in the year attending events and activities that involve food. Whether it’s a company party or a family get together, a welcome addition to any gathering is an appetizer. The term “appetizer” usually refers to a small plate or single bite of food served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. The same food item might be served as an hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties and receptions, where no dinner is served afterward. There are many recipes freely available, and here are a few of our own.

Texican Street Corn Scoops
Texican Street Corn ScoopsThis is a delicious treat that accents the freshness of corn on the cob with butter, cheese and homemade Emeril’s Essence! Texican Street Corn Scoops are a terrific way to deliver wonderful flavors in a bite size finger food. We cook the ears of corn in the microwave for our Texican Street Corn to retain all the flavor and sweetness which other methods often cook out, and we show you how to create this flavorful bite size version that will bring them back for more. Get the recipe here.

Twice Baked Potato Skins
Twice Baked Potato Skins Treat the family to an oven baked potato recipe dish that has the ideal texture and taste. Load these twice backed potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and top with crumbled bacon. They boast the ultimate level of silky creaminess, cheesiness, and buttery goodness . . . then top it with bacon! The perfect recipe for your memorable Christmas meal! Many folks also enjoy smaller versions as finger food, whether served hot or cold. Get the recipe here.

Shrimp Boats
Shrimp In A BoatThe original recipe for this appetizer was a shrimp salad that dates back to the early 1970s when our next door neighbor, Karen Flessner, introduced this. She served the salad in a large bowl with a dipping spoon and snack crackers on the side so we could fix our own. This deliciousness can also be elevated to bite-size morsels served in tortilla cups, as we show here, or on crackers, croutons, or any other vessel that is available. Get the recipe here.

Curried Carrot and Pear Bites
Curried Carrot and Pear Bites with RaisinsAdapted from our Carrot and Pear Salad, this tasty morsel on a stick is a party of flavors in an attractive burst of colors. Combining a zesty marinade with the pallet-pleasing tastes of fresh pears and raisins is counterbalanced by the earthy tones of the carrot ribbons. This eye catcher is a favorite, and they are easy to assemble, so be sure to make plenty. Get the recipe here.

Fingerling Hasselback Potato Bites
Roasted cheddar potato fanThe Hasselback potato is clearly the most eye-catching spud to ever call itself a side dish. Elevate the baked potato into an eye-catching side dish or appetizer with these potatoes roasted in a hot oven to produce a crispy skin and creamy interior. Adding seasoning and cheese, these appetizers will leap off the serving tray. These are called “Hasselback” potatoes, which refers to the luxurious Hasselbacken hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, which originated this technique. Get the recipe here.

Rye Bread with Dill Dip
Dill Dip in Rye Bread LoafLarry’s mother got this dill dip recipe from a St. Louis grocery store that made it fresh daily. We have served it many times over the years, and it eventually found its way into a hollowed out loaf of rye bread. Break the center of the loaf into pieces and place around the loaf. When the broken pieces are gone you break bread from the loaf itself. Enjoy! Get the recipe here.

Roasted Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno PopperStems sliced down the middle give these jalapeno poppers additional eye appeal. Poppers are fun to experiment with and we like making these a variety of ways. This recipe uses flavored thick cut bacon, and a little bread or cracker crumbs to add a tiny bit of texture to the filling, to complement the crunchiness of the exterior. Get the recipe here.

Easy to assemble appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are fun to make, and even more fun when they become the hit of the party. Try putting together one or more of these for your next get together, and let us know how it went. Have a favorite you’d like to tell us about? We always enjoy hearing from you!

With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, this is a good time to discover delicious recipes to help serve up the age-old cure to winter sniffles. We’re talking about soup. And, now with abundant winter vegetables that deliver or contribute to tasty soups, there are no excuses for winter doldrums. Squash is not only abundant in the fall, it is also cheap. Here are a few of our favorite soup recipes for chasing away those winter blues.

Chicken Lime Cilantro Soup
Chicken Lime Cilantro SoupThis is Lea’s version of a favorite chicken-lime-cilantro soup that she particularly enjoys at a Mexican restaurant we frequent. Combining lime and cilantro flavors with the hominy and chicken stock. It’s quick and easy to put together, and is an excellent dish to wisk you away from the everyday doldrums. Find the recipe here.

Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup, served hot or coldHere is an historic and flavorful recipe Lea acquired when we went to a hearthside dinner at Connor Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. You can just imagine yourself being in a simpler time when you sit down to bowl of this soup that can warm you up in winter, or cool you down in summer. It just doesn’t get any handier! The recipe is located here.

Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean Soup
Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean SoupThis is a perfect soup for those chilly days of fall and winter, with Hot Italian Sausage, Fire Roasted tomatoes, and fresh kale. This is a quick and easy recipe, but if you want to cook it longer to blend the flavors, leave the kale out until just before you are going to serve. The kale is best when it has just a little crunchy bite to it. The recipe is here.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato SoupLarry often made this soup for our church’s ill and shut-in members during our afternoon of cooking for weekly fellowship dinners and adult bible study. This soup looks quite tasty even when packaged in re-purposed plastic containers to be delivered to shut-ins’ homes. Celery, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, combine to make this perfect tonic for those chilly, gray sky, days. The recipe is located here.

Egg Drop Soup
Egg Drop SoupThis is an excellent recipe we developed for our youngest grandson, who really likes a good bowl of egg drop soup. Our version is heartier than you get in most restaurants. The recipe is real easy to scale for the number of servings you need. To make a single serving cut the above amounts in half. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Here’s the recipe.

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery SoupCelery is an excellent source of antioxidants, beneficial enzymes, and vitamins, and can be used to help with weight loss. And, it also makes a delicious soup! This recipe turns up the heat on a cream of celery soup that is SO much more flavorful than the canned variety! This soup will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days, and is an excellent base for other soups, stews and casseroles. Get the recipe here.

Spoon Dumplings for Soup
Spoon Dumplings in StewTake any soup or stew to a whole other level by adding simple spoon dumplings just like great-grandma used to make. This recipe was handed down by Lea’s grandmother to her mother, and then to her, and has long been a family favorite. These dumplings are moist and silky, adding another layer of flavor and texture to elevate your dish. Get the recipe here.

To browse our collection of recipes, simply click on the category links at the top of the page. “Entree” means “main item,” (often meat), while Side means something to accompany the “main item,” such as a vegetable. If you’re fairly new to cooking you might enjoy browsing our page on spices. Wonder about what spice goes with what? Just click here for some helpful detail.

Comfort food is what we like to call it, and we all love it. Food that warms the soul and creates a warm and comfortable feeling to combat the cold weather doldrums. Here are some of our dishes that fill the bill and are great additions to the wintertime dinner table.

Roasted Pumpkin with Maple Chipotle Glaze
Roasted Pumpkin with Maple Chipotle GlazeHere’s a spin on traditional pumpkin dishes for the fall and winter seasons. Using a small 2-pound pie pumpkin that is first boiled and then roasted, the wedges are colorful and full of flavor. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce combined with maple syrup create an exciting mix of flavors, and the roast delivers the beautiful fall color. Get the recipe here.

Barbecued Pork Spareribs
Smoked BBQ Pork RibsIf you haven’t tried to barbecue pork ribs, here is a detailed set of instructions to take you through the steps of creating a flavor much like an outdoor campfire style Kansas City sauce. The BBQ is wonderfully delightful with an additional pepper-caramel note after the flambe step. The sauce exchanges flavors with the dry rub during the tented process, and creates a flavor that is better than either one by itself. Get the recipe here.

Polish Sausage with Peppers and Onions
Polish Sausage with Pepper and OnionsThis is one of those surprise recipes that are tossed together with whatever ingredients you have on hand, and it instantly became a hit, being spread throughout cooking sites with their own little variations of it. There are many similar recipes available on line now, but this is the original that Lea put together for an impromptu lunch one chilly day. Get it here.

BBQ Pulled Pork SandwichBBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

You have a number of options with this recipe; If you want to serve the large, stadium size buns (5″), you will need to increase your pork accordingly because you will be going from a 1/3 lb serving to 1/2 pound per sandwich. You lose about 1/3 of the weight when you slow cook pork, so you can adjust your recipe as needed. The recipe is located here.

Baked Pasta Beef Tacos
Baked Pasta Beef TacosThis is a hardy comfort food that uses jumbo pasta shells stuffed with a rich, spicy blend of cooked ground beef, cream cheese, and chili powder with taco sauce topped with cheeses and sour cream. The combination creates a Mexican flavor delivered in a pasta shell! Garnish with diced tomatoes, lettuce, sliced avocados, ripe olives, or verde sauce, if desired. This is a very versatile dish that you can customize to make your own. The recipe is located here.

What recipes do you use to spice up your wintertime tables? Do you have favorites that will be passed on to your families? Drop us a note and share your thoughts. Happy cooking!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 275 other followers

Latest Recipes:

EZ Tortilla Soup
EZ Tortilla Soup


Poblano Creamed Corn
Poblano Creamed Corn



Spinach Artichoke Dip
Spinach Artichoke Dip





Wonder About Spices?
Which to Use When?
What Goes With What?
Click Here

Food Prep Terms

Need to know when to Chop, Dice or Chiffonade? How about Stir, Blend, Fold, or Mix? What are the differences? Click here

Surviving God’s Woodshed

Read about the terrible ordeal Lea and Larry underwent in 2005 when Lea spent 78 days in a coma during 180 days of emergency treatment in Hartford Hospital. Read about her miraculous healing and eventual return to an active lifestyle. Click here.

Recipes for Large Groups

Looking for recipes for a large group? Lea and Larry cooked for 50-100 at church functions. Find their recipes here

Blog Stats

  • 82,357 hits