Saturday, July 17, 2010

No Bake Cookies!

Both of these recipes are from my childhood.  They are both yummy.  The first, Haystacks, is from a beloved neighbor, Carole.  It has coconut and no peanut butter.  The second is similar, except with peanut butter.  It cools and solidifies really quickly.  I remember once I made this growning up, and it cooled too much before I got it onto the waxed paper.  My mom encouraged me to scrape it out of the bowl and eat it as a decadent granola in a bowl with milk.  It did, and it was so good!


2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter

Melt butter in a saucepan and mix in other ingredients.  Bring to a full boil.

Sti in:
1 c. coconut
1/2 t. vanilla
3 1/2 c. oatmeal

Drop by spoon onto wax paper.

Cocoa and Oatmeal Cookies (no bake)
2 cups sugar (1 brown and 1 granulated)
1/2 cup milk
3 teaspooons cocoa
1 stick butter or margarine

Stir over heat until thoroughly mixed.  Bring to a boil- let boil for 1 1/2 minutes.  Take off heat and add 3/4 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 cups oatmeal. 

Drop by spoonfuls before they cool onto wax paper. 

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I also made some yummy sandiwches inspired by the basil in my garden.  These were also inspired by a Real Simple recipe.  I used the small Archer Farms ciabatta loaves from SuperTarget (99 cents each) and topped them with basil, proscuitto slices (I purchased this at the deli at SuperTarget also- a cheaper alternative to presliced proscuitto), and avocado slices.  It would be great on slices of a country bread also.

We also just enjoyed these Shrimp Summer Rolls from the Rachael Ray magazine.  It was refreshing and very healthy.  Instead of using the jarred peanut sauce called for in the recipe, I found a recipe on a food blog.  The day I made them, they were very hard to eat.  After they sat in the refrigerator overnight covered in plastic wrap, the rice paper wrapping had shrunk a little, making them much easier to eat.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stuffed Grape Leaves and a Delish Greek Salad

A week or so ago I started getting emails from the Rachael Ray Magazine with recipes in them.  I have printed off so many of them and have tried a couple.  They were both excellent.  One of the recipes, Greek Fit-for-the-Gods Salad with Spicy Cucumber Dressing and Pita Chips, calls for canned or freshly made stuffed grape leaves.  I lived in Turkey and instantly remembered the spiced and slightly sweet rice filling the cooks there make for their dolmas.  I opened my Turkish cookbook and found a recipe.  I searched at Kroger and found some jarred grape leaves (Mezzetta brand- located by the olives-  They were pricey, but the jar has a lot of grape leaves in it.).  I had some leftover rice, so I improvised and didn't follow the recipe exactly.  They turned out great!  The jarred grape leaves have some citric acid and salt in the brine, so they are already pretty flavorful before being stuffed.  It was actually pretty easy to fill and roll the grape leaves.  Here is a similar recipe from  I used much less cinnamon (just a pinch)than the recipe requires and added a little sugar.  I also used some chopped fresh tomato instead of the paste.  The flavors in the dolmas are different that those made in Greece.  Dolmas made in Lebanon are usually served hot with meat in them.  It was a fun kitchen adventure. 

The other recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine that I loved was for a healthified Tuna Melt.  I adapted it a little, using rye bread, and grilling it in a cast iron pan using some olive oil.  I didn't use the beans or scallions as I didn't have any, and I used a plain old american wrapped, sliced cheese.  It was very tasty even with the omissions!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Portobello Mushrooms

This is my adaptation of Portobello Mushrooms on Salad Greens (p. 190) from the Williams-Sonoma Complete Grilling Cookbook.  I marinated two mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with some dried basil and garlic powder (I'm lazy when it comes to garlic!).  I then grilled them for about 4 minutes on a side.  I served them sliced on a bed of baby spinach.  The mustard vinaigrette contained spicy mustard, white vinegar, and olive oil.  I would have used dijon mustard if I'd had it in the house.  Fancy and healthy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lemon Posset

I got this recipe from an email I received from  That is by far my favorite cooking site.  I get emails regularly with recipes.  I'll go to the website to read reviews and save interesting recipes to my online recipe box.  Sometimes, when I need inspiration for cooking, I'll browse through the recipes I have saved.  

I don't know what posset is, but it is probably French and certainly delicious!   I love creamy, back-to-basic custards and creme brulees like this one.  My mother-in-law loved it.

For the original recipe, click here. 

Lemon Posset

3 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 lemons, juiced
3 tablespoons additional heavy cream for topping

In a sauce pan, stir together 3 cups of cream and sugar.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Pour into 5-6 serving glasses; and refrigerate until set, about 5 hours.  Pour a little more cream over the tops just before serving.

These cups of lemony creaminess would be delicious served with berries or made in dark chocolate shells.  You'd have to cool the mixture to room temperature so that the chocolate wouldn't melt. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken and Pepper Stew with Olives

I adapted this recipe from the original that was published in this January's issue of Real Simple magazine.  The recipe calls for chicken thighs that are dusted with flour and then browned in a pan.  I used chicken breasts and omitted the flour.  If Ryan's diet allowed, I would have added some corn starch to thicken the sauce since I didn't use flour.  Even without a thickener, Ryan said that it was excellent and probably the best chicken I've ever made.  Here is my adaptation:

2 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
salt, pepper, and paprika

3/4 cup chicken broth
1 large green pepper, cut into 2 inch long slices
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup pitted olives (I used calamata)
1 T golden raisins
1 T corn starch

Heat oil in a deep skillet.  Sprinkle the chicken with paprika, salt and pepper.  Brown chicken in oil, cooking 3-4 minutes on each side.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add peppers, garlic, and 1/4 cup of broth to pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the peppers begin to soften, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add olives, raisins and remaining broth to the pan and bring to a boil.  Return chicken to pan and simmer covered over very low heat until chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Halfway through the cooking time, remove some of the liquid and dissolve the corn starch in the hot liquid.  Return to the pan. 

I like to continue simmering at a very low heat until chicken becomes very soft.  Sometimes I'll turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the pan and continue to soften for 10-15 minutes. 

Serve with rice or potatoes!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So, Mardi Gras is over, but I wanted to share this recipe that I got in an email from Swanson broth this week.  I actually just don't want to lose the recipe so I'm posting it here!  It is a slow-cooker Jambalaya that is full of tasty ingredients.  Click here to view!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Salsa and Black Bean Slow-Cooker Chicken

This is super-easy and one of our favorites. 

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups salsa
4 chicken breasts

Mix 1 cup salsa and black beans.  Pour mixture into the bottom of a slow-cooker.  Place chicken breasts on top of bean mixture.  Top with remaining salsa.

Cook on low setting for 4 hours.  It is ready when the chicken is fall-apart tender.  This is delicious topped with cheddar cheese or sour cream.  Alternatively, you can mix some cream cheese into the sauce just before serving.  Doing this makes it less spicy- I like to mix cream cheese into some of the sauce for my daughter.  My slow-cooker seems to cook things faster than the time indicated in most recipes.  You may need to cook this for additional time. 

Vegetable Bean Soup

The Relish magazine comes in our local paper occasionally.  This recipe was included in the recent issue. This is a hearty, flavorful soup that is perfect for Ryan's new diet.  He can't eat most grains in addition to dairy and processed meat.  So, I omitted the bacon and sauteed the vegetables in extra virgin olive oil.  I also omitted the spinach- just because I forgot to thaw some frozen spinach- and the parmesan cheese. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Aunt Ilene's Specialties

At a ladies' luncheon yesterday, my aunt made her famous chicken squares and a savory soup. Her friends asked repeatedly for the recipes. They make for a perfect winter lunch! We all enjoyed assorted hot teas, fruit salad, and scrumptious desserts as well.

Savory Crescent Chicken Squares

3 oz softened cream cheese
3 T melted butter
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
2 T milk
1 T chopped onions
1 T chopped celery
2 T slivered almonds
8 oz refrigerated crescent rolls
3/4 c seasoned stuffing (can be crushed into finer crumbs if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, blend cream cheese, 2 T butter (reserve 1 T) until smooth. Add chicken, salt, pepper, milk, onions, celery and almonds. Mix well.

Separate crescent rolls into four rectangles. Press perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 c. chicken mixture onto center of rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to top center and seal edges. Brush with 1 T melted butter. Dip in crumbs.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Vegetable Cheese Soup

1 1/2 c. cauliflower
1 c. carrots
1/4 c. celery
1 /4 c. onion
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk (2% or whole)
2 T. butter
1/4 c. flour
4 slices American cheese

Cut vegetables into small pieces. Boil in broth approximately 10 minutes. Blend (with broth) in a food processor until coarse pieces are achieved.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour. Stir in milk. When thickened, add cheese and vegetables. Stir until cheese is melted.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Homemade Cranberry Applesauce

I created this recipe to use up half a bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge as well as some old apples. Delish!

1/2 bag fresh cranberries
4 large apples peeled, cored and sliced (I used granny smith)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a medium or large saucepan. Cover and heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Stir often. Boil for 10-15 minutes until apples and cranberries are soft. Stir well to break up the apples and distribute the bright red cranberry color throughout the sauce. Cool and enjoy!