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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!

If your family or friends are planning a holiday season pitch-in dinner where the meat is already planned, you need to be able to pull out a few ideas for side dishes that can go together easily, have great eye appeal, and deliver with flavors as good as the dish looks. Celebrate the casserole, hero of overly busy homemakers for centuries! Here are some carry-in ideas to help get you started.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Baked Macaroni and CheeseThis is a recipe by Alton Brown that we adapted to fit our family’s preferences. Alton’s recipe calls for Panko bread crumbs for the topping, which we don’t always have on hand. We usually make coarsely ground bread crumbs from any crusty bread we have around, such as French or Italian bread or baguettes. You can find our recipe here.

Cornbread Casserole
Cornbread CasseroleThis side is a bread accompaniment that fits right in with any meal, whether it is a holiday gathering, a family dinner, or a camp out. The cornbread casserole is likely as time tested as any dish we could name. This simple recipe uses a boxed mix, is quick to assemble and cook, and yet, it is one of the best comfort foods you can add to any meal. You can find our recipe here.

Orange & Gold Potatoes au Gratin
Orange and Gold Potato CasseroleThis is an eye-catching dish that always pleases, with color to provide the visual “pop,” and the lusciousness of the waxy Yukon Gold potato combined with the silkiness of the sweet potato. They are layered with ricotta or cottage cheese, and your preference of Romano cheese (creamy), Asiago cheese (saltier), or Parmesan cheese (salty and nutty). You can find our recipe here.

Sour Cream and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Horseradish and sour cream potatoesMashed potatoes are one of the most beloved dishes for pitch-ins, often with two or three versions making an appearance. This variation stands out because of its eye-catching silky finish derived from using red or gold potatoes, and pairs very well with brown gravies and sauces due to a hint of horseradish. You can find our recipe here.

Creamy Four Cheese Macaroni
Four Cheese MacaroniOne of America’s favorite dishes, this recipe is adapted from “The Best of Cooking Light,” and is one of Lea’s favorite recipes. In fact, she said this cheese combination of Fontina, Parmesan, extra-sharp Cheddar, and Velveeta, is one of the best tasting she has ever made. If you like mac ‘n cheese, we think you will really like this recipe! Find it here.

Classic Cranberry Salad
Lea Mixing Cranberry SaladLarry’s mother, Marjorie, always made this for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It is so delicious with turkey! We enjoy it mostly with the turkey sandwiches the day after the holiday! Give cranberries a ride in the food processor, add sugar and orange, marshmallows and nuts to create a chilled salad that is even better the day after. You can find our recipe here.

Casseroles fit the pitch-in bill because now there are portable carriers that can be heated or cooled, as appropriate, to keep your food in the food safety zone until service. At room temperature, bacteria in food can double every 20 minutes, according to foodsafety.gov. Check it out, to keep your food safer. And, share with us your comments, thoughts, and favorite recipes, to be shared with others. Best regards from our kitchen to yours for the holiday season!

Harvesting apples in the fall is such a rewarding undertaking! We, and our friends and extended families, always looked forward to the apple harvesting season. We would drive out to one or more of the local orchards where we could gather all we wanted of the various varieties of apples. Apple Cider PressWe like to press a blend of apples to make apple cider, applesauce, and apple butter, each of which requires a crafty blending of a variety of types of apples. We also would make up a couple dozen pie shells using Lea’s pie dough recipe. We then peeled and sliced apples, arranged some in pie shells, others in freezer bags, seasoned them up, and wrapped them tightly for storage in the freezer for later use.

Sliced Johnathan and Granny Smith ApplesApples are such a versatile fruit they can be used as stand alone snacks, of course, and also used to make sauces, glazes, side dishes and desserts. They are canned, pressed to produce apple juice, baked, fried, sauteed, braised, and all the other techniques. Raw or cooked, apples are glorious. We have a few favorite apple items that come to mind when the cooler weather arrives.

Cinnamon Apple Tortilla Roll Ups, Apple Stuffed Pork Chops, Apple-Ginger Thick Cut Pork Chops, Apple Dump Cake,Apple Pie with Rum Raisin Sauce and one last mention of the slice of hot apple pie with Rum Raisin Sauce. If you don’t care for the rum, here’s a version of Raisin Sauce you might like better.

For all of these reasons, we are real fans of the glorious apple. Oh, and if you’ve never tried it, one of the great variations on apple pie is melting a slice of cheddar cheese on top and then drizzling with a cinnamon sauce. I first ran across this delectable treat decades ago when I was an announcer at a local radio station, and the pharmacy across the street still had a lunch counter where they served their apple pie with this topping. Here’s a snapshot4 Year old lattices a pie from the scrapbook: our 4-year old grandson putting the lattice on a treat just before going into the oven. It’s as easy as apple pie!

Lea and Larry Vaughn

Lea and Larry Vaughn

Welcome to our family cookbook, including recipes we have developed, plus tried and true recipes we have used for years. We both enjoy cooking, and have shared a fun kitchen rivalry during our 50+ years together. We also have had the pleasure of preparing large group meals for our church family on fellowship nights.

Lea is a classic Midwestern cook with cooking experience starting with meals for her family of five brothers, a sister, while her mother worked outside the home. Her father was a former farm laborer before entering his career as an hourly worker on the railroad, and favored hearty meals of meat and potatoes. A part of the skills Lea learned as a young girl was how to get the maximum number of portions from what was available, and how to flavor it for everyone’s palate. She learned recipes and techniques at her mother’s side, and developed a free form cooking ability that requires no recipes, just a good memory for what ingredients go well together.

Larry, on the other hand, is a recipe cook, although he enjoys experimenting, and often stretches the boundaries of the culinary imagination and challenges the palate. No one will ever forget his green St. Patrick’s Day gravy, or blue mustard cream sauce for Independence Day! His cooking experience spans many years of special grill and roasting techniques, unusual (while tasty) flavor combinations, special basting and flavoring steps, and precise temperature control. His favorite perspective on cooking is pretty presentations . . . good food served with lots of eye appeal. Many of his sauces and rubs have been developed to deliver a complimentary flavor to a dish while adding  just the right splash of color.

To browse our collection of recipes, simply click on the category links at the top of this page. “Entree” means “main item,” (often meat), while Side means something to accompany the “main item,” such as a vegetable. Enjoy! And, please, let us hear from you! 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.

Large Stock PotCook’s Note: By the way, for home cooks, keep in mind that when we say a “large” pot, we may mean a LARGE stock pot, because we also provide a site with recipes for large groups. The photo at the right is our oldest grandson, who accompanied us on a visit to a restaurant supply house, and was taken with the size of the equipment. He couldn’t help but try to lift this stock pot, which as you can see here, even at age seven, he could do. He has always enjoyed helping with prep for making cookies and mixing batters, so he’s going to be a great help in the kitchen one of these days!

Surviving God’s Woodshed, a Blog

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

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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

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