Turkey and Dressing Casserole







1 package (14 ounces) seasoned dry seasoning mix

1 teaspoon ground sage

1 cup chopped celery

½ cup College Inn Chicken broth

1 – 10.5 ounce can condensed cream of celery soup

1 – 10.5 ounce can condensed cream of turkey soup

3 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey

¼ cup melted butter




Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Combine the first four ingredients and set aside.  Separate the 2 soups in separate bowls and add ½ of a soup can of water to each; stir well and set aside.


Place 1/3 of the dressing mixture into a lightly buttered 9x13x2 inch baking dish.  Layer ½ of the chicken or turkey over the dressing mixture and pour celery soup over it.  Layer another 1/3 of the dressing mixture, followed by the remaining chicken or turkey.  Pour the turkey soup over and top with the remaining dressing mixture.


Drizzle with melted butter and pat the casserole firmly into the dish.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. 




Recipe:  College Inn Broth









Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

I love this vinaigrette!  It’s so easy to make and is great with just about any type of salad. 


Yield:  1 cup




¼ cup good balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped

½ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped




In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and brown sugar.  Add the garlic, pepper and pinch of salt.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully incorporated.  Great basic dressing for mixed green salads.




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Creamy Dreamy White Cheddar Grits

Yield:  Serves 12




6 cups water

2 cups half-and-half

3 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 cups quick cooking grits

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed




In a saucepan, combine water, half-and-half, salt and white pepper and bring to a boil.  Slowly pour grits into the boiling water, whisking the entire time (watch out for spattering, the mixture is hot).  Reduce to low heat and continue to whisk often, until thick and completely smooth, about 10 minutes.


Add cheese and stir gently until the cheese melts.  Whisk again to combine.  Turn off heat and allow grits to rest 5 minutes.  Add butter and stir until completely smooth, silky and shiny.




Source:  Flying Biscuit’s Creamy Dreamy White Cheddar Grits – Atlanta Journal Constitution – Eveningedge.com


Aunt Martha’s Fresh Apple Cake




Another version of this great classic. 


Yield:  Serves 12





Baking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped apples

1 cup chopped pecans

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 ¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 cup sweetened coconut




1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon baking soda




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a Bundt pan or tube pan with baking spray.  Set aside.  Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.  Combine the apples and pecans in a small bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of the mixed dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Set aside.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and orange juice.  Add the reserved dry ingredients, apple-pecan mixture and coconut.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Pour batter into Bundt or tube pan.  Transfer to the oven and bake until the sides start to pull away from the pan, about 1 hour.  Remove to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Invert cake directly onto the rack.


Meanwhile, prepare the icing.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, buttermilk and baking soda.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns a pale golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes.

Drizzle the icing over the cake on the rack, letting the excess drip to the baking sheet below.  Set aside and let the icing set, 5-7 minutes, before cutting.


Source:  Aunt Martha’s Fresh Apple Cake – Atlanta Journal Constitution – Eveningedge.com

No-Bake Chocolate Raspberry Cream Pie

Yield:  8 servings




7 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (about 32) coarsely broken

½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

6 tablespoons butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup sour cream or crème fraiche

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

2 ½ cups fresh raspberries




Place broken cookies into food processor.  Using on/off turns, process until finely ground.  If you don’t have a food processor, place the cookies in a sealed plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until finely ground.  Place chocolate chips, butter and sugar in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high at 15 second intervals until melted, stirring occasionally.  Add chocolate mixture to processor and blend until well combined.  Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9 inch glass pie plate (do not pack firmly).  Chill crust while preparing the filling.


Whisk condensed milk, sour cream or crème fraiche, lemon juice and lemon peel in large bowl to blend.  Add half of the raspberries.  Stir, pressing gently on some of the raspberries until they break apart and the filling turns pink.  Transfer the filling to the chilled crust and chill for another 2 hours in the refrigerator.

To serve:  scatter the remaining raspberries over the pie.  Cut into wedges and serve



Source:  Bon Appetit – July 2009

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pieimg_44082-640x480.jpg


Yield:  6 slices


Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers

5 tablespoons melted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Key Lime Filling

3 egg yolks

Zest of 2 limes

1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (if you can get Key limes use them, otherwise regular limes are fine)


1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar


For the graham cracker crust:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate.  Place the crushed graham crackers and sugar in a bowl and stir a few times to incorporate the sugar into the graham crackers.  Add the melted butter and stir well.  Turn the graham cracker mixture into the pie plate and gently press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.  Bake in the oven until set and slightly browned, approximately 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

For the filling:  Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and lime zest together until fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes.  Gradually add the sweetened milk and beat until thick, about another 3-4 minutes.  Lower the mixer speed and slowly add in the lime juice, mixing until just combined.  Pour into the pie crust and bake in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until the filling is set.  Cool on wire rack and then refrigerate.  Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before serving. 

For the topping:  Place the chilled heavy cream into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk until the cream forms almost stiff peaks.  While whipping the cream add the confectioner’s sugar. 

To serve:  Pipe the whipping cream around the edges of the pie and garnish with a twist of lime.

Source:  Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurants

Crabmeat au Gratin

Serve this rich and delicious crabmeat dish with a crisp green salad, crusty bread and a glass of your favorite white wine.

Yield:  8 servings




1/3 cup unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1 medium stalk of celery, finely chopped

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 (12 ounce cans evaporated milk

2 egg yolks

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 lb fresh crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese




Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease an 11×17 inch baking dish.  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and celery and sauté until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently.


Add flour and stir until well-blended.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.  Add a ladle of milk to the beaten egg yolk mixture, stir well.  Pour egg mixture into the milk mixture in the pan.  Add salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper; cook stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes.


Place crabmeat in a medium bowl.  Add sauce and mix gently, but thoroughly to blend.  Spoon the mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake uncovered for approximately 25 minutes, until cheese melts and starts to begin to lightly brown.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.



Source:  Lillie Duhon – Port Neches, Texas


Chicken Apple Salad Wrappers

These are a great alternative to your typical turkey sandwich.  Nice crunch with the apples and pecans!


Yield:  4 sandwiches




1 ½ cup shredded rotisserie chicken

1 large Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped (approximately 1 ½ cups)

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup toasted pecans (optional)

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 green onion, finely chopped

½ cup good mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 multi-grain wraps or whole wheat pita bread rounds




Place the chicken in a large bowl.  Add the apples, cranberries, celery, pecans and green onions.  Toss and set aside.  In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Add to the chicken mixture and stir to coat.

Spoon chicken mixture onto the wraps or pita bread and roll or fold up.




Adapted:  Publix Family Style – Fall 2009 edition

Potato Cobb Salad

Yield:  8-10 Servings




3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 – 16 ounce bottle of olive oil and vinegar dressing – divided

8 cups mixed salad greens

2 large avocados

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 large tomatoes – seeded and diced

12 small green onions, medium chop

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

6-8 slices of bacon – cooked crisp and crumbled

Freshly ground pepper, to taste




Cook potatoes in salted boiling water for approximately 30 minutes until tender.  Drain and cool slightly.  Peel and cut into cubes.  Sprinkle potatoes evenly with ¾ teaspoon salt.  Pour 1 cup dressing over potatoes; gently toss.  Set aside the remaining dressing.  Cover the potato mixture; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

Arrange salad greens evely on a large serving platter.  Peel and chop avocados; toss with lemon juice.

Arrange potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, green onions, cheddar cheese, blue cheese and bacon.  Sprinkle with fresh pepper.  Serve with remaining dressing.








Source:  Southern Living – 2003


Fresh Corn Fritters ~ What’s Your Favorite Corn Fritter Recipe?

Every month one of the most popular recipes on this site is corn fritters.  Quite frankly, I have been mystified by that.  I know that corn fritters are just yummy, but I’m surprised that so many readers are out there searching for new corn fritter recipes.  Many recipes use frozen or canned corn in their fritters.  This recipe uses fresh corn and since we are coming into sweet corn season, it seems particularly appropriate.  It’s from The Cornbread Gospels cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon.  The fresh corn adds a bit more texture to the otherwise light fritter.  Of course, in my opinion, the best topping is a dusting of sweet confectioner’s sugar.  I think it’s a nice contrast to the otherwise savory fritter. Write and tell me about your favorite corn fritter recipe!


Yield:  4 appetizer servings




2 eggs

¼ cup milk

Kernels cut from 2 medium ears of fresh corn, including any collected corn liquid

2 tablespoons stone ground yellow or white corn meal

¼ cup unbleached flour

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

Mild vegetable oil, for frying




Whisk together eggs and milk together in a large bowl.  Stir in the corn kernels and any liquid.  In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Shift this mixture into the wet mixture; stir together to make a thick batter, but one that can be dropped from a spoon. 


Pour oil into a large cast iron skillet up to ½ inch.  Place the skillet over medium heat and heat to a temperature of 365 degrees F, using a thermometer to monitor the temperature.  Once the oil is heated to 365 degrees F, reduce the heat slightly and let the temperature of the oil drop just slightly below 365 degrees F.  Drop the batter by generous tablespoons into the oil, being careful not to splatter.  The oil should be hot enough to sizzle when you drop the fritter in the pan.  If not, wait until for the oil to get a little hotter, then add the batter.  Cook about 4 fritters at a time, don’t crowd the pan.


Let the fritters cook in the oil until they’re golden and crisp on the bottom, about 3 mintues.  When it’s time to flip the fritters, they will be slightly colored on the edges, firmer and the top of the fritter will not be moist.  Cook for another 3 minutes on the other side.  Remove from the skillet and drain on a plate lined with paper towels, blotting any excess oil from the fritters.  Sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately.






Creamy Cheese Grits

Yield:  Serves 6




2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup fine quick cooking grits (not instant)

1 ¼ cups half and half

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ cups aged sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

½ cup green onions (both green and white)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Grated Cheddar and chopped green onions, for garnish




Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan.  Add the salt, then slowly add the grits in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the grits thicken, about 5-7 minutes.


Add the half and half and butter to the grits and stir.  The mixture will seem thin but it will thicken as it cooks.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes, until very smooth and creamy.  Off the heat, stir in the Cheddar cheese, green onions and pepper.  Season to taste and serve hot with a sprinkle of grated cheese and green onions.





Source:  Ina Garten – Back to the Basics – 2008








Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies




The origins of Whoopie Pies is largely unknown, although there is some thought that they were first created in Pennsylvania out of leftover cake batter.  Whatever their origins, Whoopie Pies are a unique and delicious cookie.  There are legions of “die-hard” Whoopie Pie fans throughout the country, including myself!  Most Whoopie Pies are filled with a rather sweet, sticky cream filling.  I personally prefer a filling that’s a little less sweet.  For that reason, my absolute favorite are my Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies, filled with tangy cream cheese frosting. 


However, Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies created by Martha Stewart, combine that unbeatable combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  Tip:  I have found that the key to getting a uniform cookie is to use an ice cream scoop.  You’re better able to control the shape of the batter before baking and that results in a more uniform cookie.  Makes it much easier when you are putting the Whoopie Pies together and your cookies will look like they came from the kitchen of a professional baker.    


Yield:  3 dozen





3½ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract



1-1/3 cups natural, creamy peanut butter

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar




Cookies: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line two rimmed baking sheets with Silpats or with parchment paper.  Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat until well combined on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mix until combined.


Drop 1-½ tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets spacing 2” apart.  For uniform cookies, use a small ice cream scoop.  Bake until set, about 8 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. 


Filling:  With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter together on high speed until smooth.  Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioner’s sugar, mix well.  Raise the speed to high and mix until fluffy, about 5 minutes.


Assembly:  Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on the flat side of one cookie.  Sandwich together with another cookie.  Repeat with remaining cookies.  Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days.  Bring to room temperature before serving. 


Source:  Martha Stewart – Martha Stewart’s Cookies –  2008







Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Yield:  4 Servings




8 ounces baby spinach

2 large eggs, hard-boiled

8 pieces of thick cut bacon, chopped

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces red onion, very thinly sliced




Remove the stems from the spinach and wash and pat dry thoroughly.  Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Peel eggs and slice into 8 pieces.  Fry the bacon until crispy and remove and drain on paper towels.  Crumble and set aside.  Reserve 3 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat.  Transfer fat to a small saucepan on low heat and add wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard, whisk to combine thoroughly.  Season with a pinch of salt and fresh black pepper. 


Add the red onion to the spinach and toss.  Add the dressing and bacon and toss with spinach to combine.  Divide the spinach between 4 salad plates and garnish with the hard-boiled egg slices.  Season with additional freshly ground black pepper. 




Source:  Alton Brown – Food Network – 2007



Comforting Travels – Savannah, Georgia

In early March on our way to Orlando Florida to see an NBA game, we detoured around to Savannah, GA for an overnight stop.  Since we had very little time, we spent most of the day at the Savannah River riverfront, watching the boats, enjoying the nice warm weather and browsing in all the little shops.  It was an impromptu journey, so going to Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons restaurant was out of the question, as were the quaint carriage rides through the various squares.  However, my son insisted that we look up the Savannah Candy Kitchen over on the riverfront.  He had fond memories of grazing through this candy store while on a class trip to Savannah two years ago.  I honestly thought it would be a candy store, full of sugary, hard candies, the type that you see in many tourist destinations around the country.  We located the shop, just about where he thought it would be and reluctantly, I agreed to go in and look around.  What a surprise! 


The Savannah Candy Kitchen is an old fashioned candy shop that makes much of its delectable candies right on premise.  Display case after display case featured interesting candies, with a window where you could watch the signature pecan pralines being made and snack on warm samples.   


Yes, around the perimeter, there were the requisite hard candies that you can find most anywhere, but the focus of the shop was the wonderful homemade pecan pralines.  Now, as you have probably experienced, in many shops, pecan pralines can be an overly sweet candy with a somewhat “grainy” texture.  I could never understand why Southerners thought these were so great.  Well, after tasting (and of course buying) some of the pecan pralines from the Savannah Candy store, I can understand why Southerners love their pecan praline candy!  Warm, or not so warm, these beauties are light, smooth and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and of course, chock full of Georgia pecans.  They are delicious and utterly addictive.  Not a hint of the “grainy” sugar taste that I had experienced with all the other pralines I had sampled elsewhere. 


Another favorite are called “Gophers” and resemble what are also called “Turtles” in most parts of the country.  Again, they were chock full of pecans and creamy caramel and topped with milk chocolate.  They, too, were fresh and delicious.  However, for my money the pecan pralines are the star of the store.  Luckily, the Savannah Candy store has an online store where you can order the pecan pralines and many of their other candies and have them delivered to your doorstep or to a fellow praline lover as a gift.  


Although our trip to Savannah was short and certainly warrants another trip back to really explore the city fully, I left there with a new found respect for the Southern pecan praline and a “to go” box of them tucked in my suitcase.

Quick Mac and Cheese

Obviously, I haven’t really met a homemade mac and cheese that I didn’t like.  That said, stovetop varieties typically leave a bit to desire, however if you want to get it to the table in a jiffy, usually the stovetop is the preferred method.  If you’re in a hurry, baking in the oven for 30-40 minutes, just takes too long.  Recently, I found a recipe in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that recommended a great compromise – last minute broiling.  It only takes a few minutes, but still gives you that lightly browned top and a bit of a crunch.  I added the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese for that extra crunch.  Here’s the recipe:




¾ lb farfalle or elbow pasta

8 ounces extra-sharp or sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

½ cup plain bread crumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese



Position an oven rack in the top of the oven.  Preheat the broiler (make sure your oven is impeccably clean).  Lightly coat an 8×8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.  Prepare the pasta according to the package’s instructions.  Meanwhile, set aside ¾ cup of cheese.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour.  Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until well combined.  Slowly, whisk in the milk, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  Add the cheese and stir until melted. 


Add the drained pasta and stir to coat with sauce.  Season to taste with salt and freshly grated black pepper.  Transfer mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle with the reserved cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Broil until bubbly, approximately 2-3 minutes.  Make sure that you watch closely to make sure that the mac and cheese doesn’t overly brown.


Remove from oven and let cook for a few minutes and then serve. 

Martha Stewart’s Milk Chocolate Cookies

Yield:  3 dozen




1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

8 ounces good-quality milk chocolate (4 ounces coarsely chopped and 4 ounces cut into ¼-inch chunks)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract




Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Melt 4 ounces of coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a simmering pan of water; let cool slightly.


Put chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until combined.  In small amounts, add the flour mixture and blend until combined.  Stir in the milk chocolate chunks.


Using a 1 ½ inch ice cream scoop, drop cookies onto a baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or use a Silpat.  Bake for until the cookies are flat and start to break apart, approximately 15 minutes.  Let cool on parchment on a wire rack.  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 





Source:  Martha Stewart – Martha Stewart Cookies – 2008

Herbed Roasted Pork Tenderloin


Yield: 10 Servings




One 4-lb boneless pork tenderloin

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pork tenderloin on a rack in a roasting pan (that has a lid) and salt and pepper.  Combine olive oil, garlic and spices together and rub the spice mixture onto the pork tenderloin.  Cover and roast tenderloin for approximately 1 hour.  Remove lid and continue to roast until the pork loin is with nicely browned and registers an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.  Remove from oven and allow tenderloin to “rest” for about 20 minutes before carving. 

Hearty Hash Brown Casserole


Yield: 8-10 Servings




3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small sweet onion, finely chopped

4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes

8 cups French bread cubed, with crusts removed

1 lb bulk sausage, mild or hot (depending on your taste)

2 cups grated Swiss cheese 

2 cups grated Romano cheese

2 ¼ cups half and half

8 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly grated black pepper, to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard




Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish.  Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the hash browns and sauté until soft, for about 5 minutes (breaking apart, as they soften).  Place the bread cubes in the bottom of the baking pan and then spread the onion and potato mixture on top of the bread crumbs.  Using the same sauté pan, fry the sausage and break it into small pieces as it cooks.  When the sausage is cooked, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and distribute it evenly over the onion potato mixture.  Sprinkle the cheese over the sausage mixture. 


In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon mustard and whisk until well combined.  Pour egg mixture over the cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.


Remove the casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake the casserole uncovered for approximately 45-50 minutes until puffed and golden brown.





Adapted:  Paula Deen – Paula Deen Celebrates – 2006

Penne Pasta with Goat Cheese, Canadian Bacon and Basil

Creamy and Delicious

On the table in 30 minutes


Penne Pasta with Goat Cheese, Canadian Bacon and Basil with Toasted Walnuts

Yield:  4-6 Servings




4 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces mini penne pasta

3 ounces Canadian bacon, rind removed and cut into small pieces

2 gloves garlic, finely chopped

½ – ¾ cup heavy cream

4-6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped for garnish

Salt and fresh grated black pepper




Cook pasta as directed, drain and set aside in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, melt butter and then add garlic and chopped Canadian bacon.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften garlic and lightly brown the bacon.  Stir frequently and make sure that the garlic does not burn.  Lower the heat and add heavy cream to garlic and bacon mixture.  Gently bring it to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour sauce over the pasta.  Add goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil and toss gently.  Season with salt and black pepper.


To serve, plate and sprinkle with toasted walnuts and fresh chopped basil.



Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise

Yield: ½ cup




½ cup good mayonnaise

¾ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1 teaspoon lemon juice




In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, paprika and lemon juice.  Refrigerate and use on all kinds of fish, chicken, burgers and sandwiches. 

Manchego Cheese


Manchego Cheese


Manchego cheese is produced in the La Mancha region of Spain and is made from the whole milk of Manchega sheep.  The cheese is rich, semi-firm and aged in natural caves for 3-6 months.  It has a distinctive herringbone design embossed in the rind.  The taste is slightly salty, but not too strong.  The texture is creamy and a slight bit piquant – similar in taste to feta cheese, but less salty and a more chewy texture. 


As with wine, Serrano ham and olive oil, Manchego cheese is protected by the government.  It controls its production, ensures the exclusive use of milk from Monchega sheep and dictates an aging period (in natural caves) of a minimum of two months. 

Warm Almond Crusted Monchego Cheese with Hot Garlic Vinaigrette and Toasted Almonds


Yield:  2 Appetizer Servings




¼ cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons ground almonds

1 (8-ounce) slice Manchego cheese, about 1-inch thick

2 tablespoons olive oil

Hot Garlic Vinaigrette, recipe follows

¼ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley



Set up three bowls:  1 with flour, seasoned with salt and pepper; 1 with egg and 1 tablespoon of water and seasoned with salt and pepper and 1 with bread crumbs and ground almonds. 


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.


Cut cheese into 2 equal pieces.  Dredge the cheese first in the flour, then the egg wash and finally in the bread crumbs.  Place the cheese in a small cazuela, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is soft.  Immediately drizzle with the Hot Garlic Vinaigrette and sprinkle with slivered almonds and parsley.  Serve with warm crusty bread.


Hot Garlic Vinaigrette




¼ cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper




Heat oil over low heat in sauté pan.  Add garlic and cook until light golden brown.  Remove from heat and whisk in the vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.






Source:  Bobby Flay – Boy Meets Grill – Episode – Tapas


Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding with Fresh Berries


Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding with Fresh Berries

Yield:  6-8 Servings




1-½ cups buttermilk

1 cup granulated sugar – divided

4 large egg yolks

1/3 cup fresh Meyers lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

¼ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 large egg whites


Assorted fresh berries




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter 8x8x2 inch glass baking dish.  Blend buttermilk, ½ cup sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, butter and salt in blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer buttermilk to medium bowl.  Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar and beat until stiff, but not dry.  Gently fold buttermilk mixture into whites in 3 additions (batter will be runny).


Pour batter into prepared dish.  Place dish in roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of dish.  Bake until entire top is evenly browned and cakes moves slightly in center, but feels slightly springy to touch, about 45 minutes.  Remove dish from roasting pan.


Cool cake completely in baking dish on rack.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.  Spoon the pudding cake into shallow bowls.  Top with assorted berries. 




Adapted:  Bon Appetit – January 2005


Green Glossary

Confused about the terms that are cropping up in the produce section of your local supermarket or when you wander around a farmer’s market?  I sure have been – sustainable, local, and organic.  What is the difference?  I found this simple explanation in the April 2009 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.


Sustainable – The goal of sustainable agriculture is to be profitable and meet the needs of the human consumer while maintaining environmentally sound practices.  Sustainable agriculture also addresses quality of life issues of the farm worker and their communities.


Organic – The USDA has defined organic foods as those produced using sustainable agricultural practices with no synthetic fertilizers, conventional pesticides or bioengineering.   The USDA “Certified Organic” seal signifies that a product is made with at least 95% organic ingredients.


Natural – The FDA has not established formal guidelines for the use of the term “natural”.  Generally, to use the term natural on product labels the product must not contain any added color, artificial flavor or synthetic substances.  The use of “natural” does not speak to how the products ingredients are grown or produced.


Local – This is a unregulated term that generally indicates that the product was produced locally (within a 100 mile radius).  The advantage of buying locally is that it supports your local economy and given the close proximity, the foods should be fresher.


To learn more about sustainable agriculture visit these sites:


·        www.farmtotable.org

·        www.localharvest.org – (includes listing of organic restaurants throughout the country – my favorite is Farm255 in Athens, GA)

·        www.cityharvest.org

·        www.chefscollaborative.org





Croque Monsieur

Yield:  8 Sandwiches




2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups hot milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Pinch of nutmeg

5 ounces freshly grated Gruyere cheese

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

16 slices white bread, crusts removed

Dijon mustard

8 ounces baked ham, sliced but not paper thin




Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened.  Remove from heat and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese and the Parmesan cheese.  Stir until fully blended and set aside.


To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes.  Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.  Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each and sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere and bake sandwiches for 5 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned.  Serve hot.




Source:  Ina Garten – Barefoot in Paris – 2004



Oatmeal Raisin Cookies



3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup toasted wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-½ cups raisins




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Stir together oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add oat mixture; mix until just combined.  Mix in raisins.


Using a 1-½ inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or use a Silpat, spacing 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.

Bake until golden and just set, about 14 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.






Source:  Martha Stewart – Martha Stewart’s Cookie – 2008

Lemon Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Yield: 4-6 Servings




2 lbs fingerling potatoes

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves only

2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only

1-2 Meyer lemons, cut into quarters

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper




Wash potatoes and cut lengthwise.  Toss potatoes with oil and then toss with rosemary, thyme and lemon wedges in a roasting pan.  Season with salt and pepper and then roast the potatoes for approximately 25-30 minutes or until fork tender and golden brown.  Stir the potatoes occasionally while roasting.  Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.    Serve immediately with roasted chicken.




Source:  Tyler Florence – Dinner At My Place – 2008

30 Minute Chicken Cordon Bleu

Yield:  4 Servings




1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

¼ cup all-purpose flour, divided

2 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 ounces deli ham, chopped

2 ounces Swiss cheese, grated




Toss chicken pieces in about 2 tablespoons of flour, until well-coated, adding more if necessary.

In a well-oiled skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken for 6-8 minutes, turning once, or until just cooked through.  Remove and set aside tenting with foil to keep warm. 

Reduce heat and whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into remaining oil in the pan, adding a little more if the pan is particularly dry, until the flour is absorbed.  Add chicken broth, increase heat and bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits of flour stuck to the pan.  Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring frequently.  Add chicken and ham to pan and stir to coat.  Sprinkle Swiss cheese on top and cover.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts. 



Source:  Atlanta Journal Constitution – March 12, 2009



Recipe Index – A-Z


Apple Fritters

Apple Coffeecake

Apple Crisp

Apple Bars

Apple Crostata

Amish Apple Pie

Apple Tart

Applesauce Cake with Brown Sugar Sauce



Almond Hot Chocolate




Benedictine Spread

Buttermilk Biscuits with Goat Cheese and Chives

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Cream Muffins

Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk-Sour Cream Pancakes



Banana Pudding

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Beefy Shepherd’s Pie

Beef and Bean Chili

Baked Beans

Broccoli and Corn Calzones

Baked Ziti

Beef Chili

Beef Stew

Veggie and Black Bean Burrito

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Toasted Walnut Salad

Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Basil Tomato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

Houston’s Baked Potato Soup



Chili Cheese Dip

Cherry Tomatoes with Spanish Olive Tapenade

Crabmeat Casserole

Cream Cheese Dumplings with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

Cheddar Cheese Ball

Cranberry Bread

Cheese and Scallion Scones

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Crumb Coffeecake

Cheese Biscuits

Cinnamon Crumb Surprise

Cinnamon Bread Custard with Fresh Berries

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cheesy Burger Mac

Crockpot Beef Stew

Crockpot Pot Roast

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Coconut Custard Cake

Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chantilly Cream

Chocolate Pudding Tartlets

Crunchy Fudgy Sandwiches

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Classic Cheesecake

Coconut Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes – Kahlua – Vegan/Fat Free

Cupcakes – Be My Valentine

Carrot Cake – Vegan/Fat Free

Cupcakes – Vegan/Fat Free

Cake Brownies with Chocolate Sauce

Crème Brulee

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dressing Casserole

Crushed Heirloom Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Chicken

Crab Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

Stuffed Chicken with Garlic, Basil and Cheese

Pulled Chicken with Penne, Roasted Red Peppers, Basil and Garlic

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Homey Drizzle

Chicken Salad

Chicken with Linguine with Basil Cream Sauce

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cranberry Conserve

Crunchy Coleslaw

Roasted Carrots with Dill

Caramelized Onions

Corn Fritters

Corn Souffle

Cheese Biscuits

Chicken and Broccoli Salad Wraps

Cucumber-Tomato Salad

Cinnamon Butter

Crème Fraiche

Corn Chowder

Cream of Broccoli Soup



Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Pie with Mocha Fudge Sauce

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs with Bacon

Dilled Salmon Pasta Salad



Egg Salad Crostini with Chives

Eggs Benedict with Easy Hollandaise Sauce


Ecuadorian Potato Soup



Four Cheese Crostini

Fresh Herb Dip

French Toast Casserole

French Toast


Fried Corn

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fries – Oven

Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Vanilla Yogurt

French Onion Soup with Cheese Toast



Game Day Nachos with Chorizo Sausage

Garlic Croutons

German Apple Pancake

Gin Fizz

Gin and Tonic

Grand Marnier Souffles

German Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Basil

Glazed Popcorn



Holiday Cookie Bars

Hot Brown Casserole

Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad



Irish Coffee

Ice Cream Cake

Italian Sausage Casserole

Italian Pasta Bake





Kentucky Derby Pie

Key Lime Pie




Lemon Loaf Cake

Long Island Ice Tea

Lemon Ice Box Pie

Lemon Squares

Lemon Curd Layer Cake

Linguine with Gorgonzola



Mediterranean Brushetta


Mint Julep

Meyers Lemon Tart

Mocha Cheesecake

Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese

5 Star Mac and Cheese

Mini Meatloaves

“French Onion” Mac and Cheese

Over the Top Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese Carbonara

Baked Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Mashed Potato Casserole with Smoked Gouda and Bacon

Fried Mashed Potatoes

Mayonnaise – Homemade



Navy Bean and Ham Soup



Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets

Oatmeal Shortbread

Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

Orecchiette Carbonara with Green Onions

Orzo with Chicken and Basil



Pepperoni and Cheese Crescents

Pinecone Dip

Pan Fried Onion Dip

Pizza Dough

Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Pecan Tarts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pastry Cream

Pecan Crescent Cookies

Pecan Pie


Peanut Butter Temptations

Potato Salad

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Sweet Potato Souffle with Walnuts

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Pork Tenderloin

Primavera Orzo

Pot Roast

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Potato, Onion and Cheddar Gratin



Quiche Lorraine



Roasted Red Pepper Tartines

Ricotta Eggs on Toasted French Bread

Root Beer Float

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Rice Pudding

Raspberry Banana Yogurt Freezer Pops

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Balsamic Vinegar

Roast Pork with Gorgonzola Sauce

Rise e Bisi (Rice and Peas)



Stuffed Mushrooms with Spinach, Walnuts and Cheese

Savory Blue Cheese Tart

Sopa Paraguaya

Sour Dough Biscuits

Sourdough Starter

Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions, Ham and Cream Cheese

Sweet Southern Ice Tea

Shirley Temple

Sloppy Joe Squares

Sugar Cookies

Sweet Potato Pie with White Chocolate and Bourbon Sauce

Sour Cream Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Scalloped Potato Gratin

Spicy Tomato Soup

String Beans with Red Skinned Potatoes and Bacon

Steak Sandwiches with Herbed Balsamic Vinaigrette

Skillet Chili Mac

Salmon Burgers

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Squash Casserole

Seasoned Crackers



Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza

Thyme Biscuits

Toffee Bars

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Toasted Walnut Salad with Green Apples and Gorgonzola Sauce

Tuscan White Bean and Ham Soup





Vegetarian Pide

Virgin Bellini

Vermond Maple Bread Pudding with Walnut Praline

Vegetable Lasagne

Vegetable Beef Soup

Vermont Cheddar Cheese Soup






Zesty Blue Cheese Dip




Mashed Potato Casserole with Smoked Gouda and Bacon

I’m always on the lookout for different mashed potato recipes.  This one appeared in the March, 2009 edition of Bon Appetit.  It has layers of flavors with the smoked Gouda cheese, bacon and tang of sour cream.


Yield: 6-8 Servings




6 slices thick-cut bacon

3 large green onions (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-½ inch cubes

¾ cup sour cream

½ cup whole milk

½ stick butter

2 cups coarsely grated smoked Gouda cheese




Butter a 13x9x2 inch baking dish.  Cook bacon in heavy large skillet until golden brown and crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Chop bacon.  Place in medium bowl.  Add green onions, toss to distribute evenly.


Place potatoes in large pot and add enough cold water to cover.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cover and boil with lid slightly ajar until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.  Drain well. 


Return potatoes to pot.  Cook over low heat, stirring often, until potatoes are dry and light film forms on the bottom, about 2 minutes.  Add sour cream, milk and butter.  Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth.  Stir in 1-½ cups smoked Gouda and 1 cup of the bacon mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread the potato mixture in prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle remain ½ cup of Gouda over the top. 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake potatoes until the cheese melts and the edges of the potatoes are bubbling, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle reserved bacon mixture over the top and serve.






Buttermilk Waffles

The buttermilk in the batter really makes the waffles light and tender.




2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

9 tablespoons butter, melted and divided

Pure maple syrup or another favorite syrup




Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and blend.  Whisk in the buttermilk and then add in 6 tablespoons of the melted butter.  Heat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Brush the waffle iron grids lightly on both sides with some of the melted butter.  Pour ½ cup or more (depending on the size of the waffle iron grids) over each grid.  Close the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are crisp and golden brown on both sides.  Transfer the waffles to rack set over baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat cooking the remaining batter, brushing the grids with the melted butter between batches, as needed.


Place waffles on plates and serve with whipped butter and warm maple syrup or another favorite syrup.   

Stuffed French Toast Casserole

Yield:  6 Servings




8 (1 inch thick bread) – stale or fresh white loaf bread, crusts removed, cubed

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 large Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and finely diced

6 large eggs

1 cup half and half or whole milk

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Pure maple syrup, heated for drizzling




Cover the bottom of a large soufflé dish or deep cake pan with half of the bread crumbs.  Scatter cream cheese cubes evenly over bread.  Sprinkle the apples over the cream cheese.  Cover with remaining bread cubes.,


In bowl, beat the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract until well blended.  Pour this mixture over the bread and let refrigerate for several hours or overnight.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Bake the casserole until the eggs are set, the apples are tender and the top is lightly browned approximately 35-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly for the custard to set.  Serve with warm maple syrup and dust with confectioner’s sugar.



Chicken Stock

Yield:  2 quarts




2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large carrots, cut into chunks

2 celery stalks, cut into chunks

1 medium onion, halved

1 garlic bulb, halved

Reserved chicken bones

2 quarts cold water

4 sprigs of fresh parsley

2 bay leaves




Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to stockpot and heat for approximately 30 seconds.  Add the vegetables and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add reserved chicken bones, water and herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and allow stock to simmer for approximately 1 hour.  Remove from heat and strain stock to remove any solids.  Use immediately or place in an airtight freezer container for later use.

Seasoned Crackers

Super easy and delicious snack!




1 cup canola oil

2 packages of Hidden Valley Salad Dressing mix

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon lemon pepper

2 packages oyster crackers




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F


Mix oil with spices in a large bowl and then add the crackers.  Coat the crackers with the oil mixture.  Place the coated crackers on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Store crackers in an airtight container.

Valentine Sugar Cookies


Yield:  3 dozen cookies




3 cups flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

Confectioner’s sugar for rolling dough




Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and milk and beat to combine.  While mixer is on low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the mixture pulls away from the bowl.  Divide dough in half and wrap in waxed paper and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Sprinkle rolling surface with confectioner’s sugar.  Remove one package of wrapped dough from the refrigerator.  Keep other package of dough refrigerated until ready to use.  Sprinkle rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar and roll out dough approximately ¼ inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Bake for approximately 7-9 minutes or until the cookies begin to brown lightly around the edges and then remove from the oven.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Once the cookies are cooled, ice with your favorite frosting recipe or dip one edge in chocolate ganache. 


Source:  Alton Brown – FoodNetwork  

Wedding Reception Brunch


Wedding Reception Brunch


What type of wedding reception is right for you?  When you envision your wedding reception, do you dream of sunrise at a beautiful beach or the mist rising from the mountain tops?  If you are planning a sunrise wedding ceremony, you’ll need to develop a menu for your wedding reception brunch. 

Whether your wedding ceremony is on the beach or at the top of a mountain, you’ll want to serve your guests a wonderful breakfast or brunch after the ceremony.    Traditional wedding brunches include classics such as quiche, frittata and Eggs Benedict.  Setting up omelet and French toast stations are welcomed by your guests, along with a nice selection of fruits, muffins and breads.  If your budget allows, carving stations with ham, turkey or beef tenderloin will add a touch of luxury.  Drinks should include Mimosa’s, Bloody Mary’s, Bellinis and of course don’t forget great coffee, teas and juices.


Here’s a sample menu from my upcoming book Simple Wedding Reception Menus for Your DIY Wedding


Sunrise Brunch Menu


Brunch Basics

Omelet Station

Cinnamon Bread Custard with Fresh Berries

Ham, Leek and Three Cheese Quiche


Carving Stations

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Sauce

Roast Turkey Breast with Cranberry Conserve



Mini Blueberry Muffins

Homemade Cheese Danish

Lemon Ginger Scones

Buttermilk Biscuits with Goat Cheese and Chives



Wedding Cake or Cupcake Tower

Mini Cheesecakes with Fresh Raspberries



Peach Bellini’s


Bloody Mary’s

Coffee, Tea, Juices & Imported Water






Panda’s On Parade


Aren’t these cute?  Amazing what you can do with a couple of cupcakes.  My daughter and I made these last night using two types of cupcakes and the directions from a wonderful book entitled Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  It has step by step instructions on how to make some awesome cupcakes.  Most of the designs use cupcakes as the foundation, but much of the detail is created with candies, cookies, decorating sugars, cereal, and the like. 


Overall, the author gives very detailed and easy to understand instructions in completing each cupcake design.  The author states that most of these cupcake designs can be created with tools that you already have in the home and she particularly stresses that Ziploc bags work well as a pastry bag.  She is correct in that many of the tools that are needed to complete the custom cupcakes are things that you readily have at home, however I would disagree that the Ziploc bags are an adequate substitute for a pastry bag. 


My daughter and I attempted the Ziploc bag piping and found that it did not come out as nice as using a regular pastry bag and tips.  We abandoned the Ziploc technology about half way through the project, so our panda’s facial feature are not as clean as we would have liked for them to be, however we piped on the claws and I think you can see the difference. 


By all means, try the Ziploc bags, however if you are going to be making lots of custom cupcakes, I would recommend purchasing a regular pastry bag and tips and using those for the detailed piping work.  For convenience, you can purchase plastic disposable pastry bags that will work just fine with the coupler and tips that come with a standard pastry bag.      

Educational Benefits of Baking with Your Kids

When you allow your little ones to help you in the kitchen, along with having a great time, children receive lots of extra educational benefits in spending time baking with you.  Consider these:


1.   Math – baking offers children an opportunity to sharpen their math skills.  Whether your child is helping you measure out ½ cup of oil or determining how many sticks of butter equal ½ cup, the math skills that they are learning in school are being put to use in a very practical, real life manner.  What better way to solidify these skills, than by baking a chocolate cake!



2.   Culture – If you try different dessert recipes from around the world and discuss them as you work together, your kids will learn about the customs, holidays and language of the dessert’s country of origin.  Perhaps this would include some special recipes that you brought back from your travels in other countries.



3.   Organization – Getting ready to bake requires preparation – reviewing the recipe, determining the ingredients that are necessary, checking the pantry to make sure all ingredients are on hand and compiling a shopping list for those ingredients that need to be purchased.  All of these steps will develop your child’s organizational skills and patience.



4.   Following Directions – Baking is a process and certain steps must be followed in sequence to ensure the desired result.  You can help your kids read the recipe and follow the instructions step by step in baking a dessert.  You can also ask them questions during the process like “what would happen if we frost the cake before its cooled?” 


5.   Responsibility – Give kids age specific tasks and responsibilities when you bake together.  Young, preschool children can be taught to wash fruit or participate in kneading some dough.  Older children can break and beat eggs, measure out ingredients and frost cakes or cookies.  They all can take part in the clean-up process.  Giving your kids some responsibilities in the baking process can teach them about completing projects and the importance of cleaning up after project.  These lessons can be valuable in completing school projects and the ongoing tasks of getting them to clean up their room as they get older!

Buttermilk Biscuits with Goat Cheese and Chives