Monday, December 19, 2011

Naughty black peppercorn currant sauce

We serve this with our annual Christmas prime rib and the family loves it.
It's from Joelle's friend - Chef Doughty

1 can beef broth (low sodium, if possible)
1 can chicken broth (low sodium, if possible)
1 ½ cups dry white wine
 2 cups heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons very coarsely ground fresh pepper
¼ cup currants (or chopped raisins)
1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 tablespoon water

In medium saucepan combine both broths and wine. Simmer over medium heat until the amount of liquid is reduced by half. Add cream and pepper and continue to simmer until mixture begins to thicken slightly. In small cup combine water and cornstarch and whisk into existing sauce. Continue to simmer for a minute or two and then remove from heat and add currants.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Turkey Meatballs

Here is a recipe for one of our family favorites.  All of the kids love these meatballs.  I honestly have not followed the entire recipe.  I make the meatballs as per the recipe but I make my own sauce by sautéing onions and garlic and adding canned tomatoes and italian spices.  Then I puree it in the vitamix and pour it into a crock pot.  I make it stretch by adding 1 or 2 jars of my favorite store bought spaghetti sauce.  One other thing I change is I make the meatballs really big and bake them in the oven first for about 20 minutes then let them finish in the crock pot with the sauce.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • cloves garlic (4 smashed, 1 minced)
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small piece parmesan rind (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
  • 1 slice stale whole-wheat bread, crust trimmed, bread chopped
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juice, 2 cups water, 1/4cup basil, the parmesan rind, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes. Discard the parmesan rind, if used.

Chop the remaining 1/4cup basil, then mix with the turkey, parsley, bread, ricotta, parmesan, egg white, minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl using your hands. Form into 4 large or 12 small meatballs; add to the sauce and simmer, turning, until cooked through, 6 minutes for small meatballs and 12 minutes for large.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with some of the sauce, then divide among bowls. Top the spaghetti with the meatballs, the remaining sauce and more parsley and parmesan.

Per serving: Calories 547; Fat 9 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 46 mg; Sodium 938 mg; Carbohydrate 81 g; Fiber 15 g; Protein 41 g

Here's how Joelle modifies this recipe:

Bake the meatballs in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes until done and slightly browned. While the meatballs are baking, make and cook the sauce on the stovetop, adding one or two extra cans of pre-made spagetti sauce, if desired. When the meatballs are done, combine with sauce in a crockpot and cook on low or high (depending on timing) until time to serve.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

White bean spread

 This is my new favorite snack.
(from Canadian Living's Family Cookbook)

2 Tbs olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 can (19 oz) white kidney beans
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs tahini
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Mix all ingredients together until smooth in food processor or blender

Stir in and garnish with 3 Tbs chopped fresh coriander.

Now - here's how I made it last night:
  • left out the cumin
  • fresh lemon juice - so much better than bottled
  • didn't have fresh coriander

Yum! I love it with these crackers


La Panzanella - you can get them at Costco

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The best window cleaner

This is a different kind of recipe - and it works great.

Make a great all-purpose window cleaner by combining 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent, and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake to blend and spray on your windows!

From Care 2 make a difference

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate cherry bombs

This Jello recipe looks fun - I think I'll try it

 1/3 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped
14 maraschino cherries with stems, drained

1 ADD boiling water to gelatin mix in medium bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.
2 MICROWAVE evaporated milk and chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until chocolate is melted and mixture is blended, stirring each minute. Add to gelatin; whisk until blended.
3 POUR into 14 (3 oz.) paper cups sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate 15 min. 4TOP with cherries, pressing in slightly to stick. Refrigerate 20 min. or until firm. Unmold to serve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Perfect oatmeal

 I'm not an oatmeal fan - but I like this!

I just read today that it is highly alkaline - something heath experts are saying is very good. It also has omega-3 fatty acids as well as 109% of the daily value for manganese.

Perfect Oatmeal
(from WH Foods)

2-1/4 cups water
dash salt
1 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 TBS flaxseeds
1 TBS blackstrap molasses
1 cup milk or dairy-free milk alternative

 Combine the water and salt in a small saucepan and turn the heat to high. When the water boils, turn the heat to low, add oatmeal, and cook, stirring, until the water is just absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, cranberries, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Stir, cover the pan, and turn off heat. Let set for 5 minutes. Serve with milk and molasses. Serves 2

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More yummy tilapia - Balsamic baked

Balsamic baked tilapia
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 (8 ounce) fillets tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 cups mixed salad greens
1.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and red pepper in the oil until onion is tender and golden, and peppers are slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Stir balsamic vinegar into the vegetables; season with salt and pepper.
3.Rub tilapia filets with 2 teaspoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place fillets in a small baking dish, and top with the balsamic onion mixture. Sprinkle fish evenly with blue cheese.
4.Bake in preheated oven until fish flakes easily. Serve atop salad greens.

From Allrecipes

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cauliflower Soup

I made this last night and Reid loved it - so he posted the recipe. But I modified to make it lighter - I only used a few TBS of butter, just a drizzle of cream (didn't have half and half) and no sour cream at all. Also I only used 1 quart chicken broth because it seemed like too much liquid.  It still tasted great!

1 stick Butter, Divided
½ whole Onion, Finely Diced 
1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
1 whole (to 2 Whole) Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Half-and-half
2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
1 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature

Preparation Instructions: In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homemade Ranch

Store bought ranch is never as good as from scratch. Here is my made up recipe that always tastes super fresh, and it is much healthier too.

Ranch Dressing and Dip

3/4 Cups Sour Cream
3/4 Cups Mayo
1/4 Cup of purple onion (a chunk with the skin off)
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 Cup fresh herbs, such as cilantro, mint, dill, and/or parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Blend up in your blender until smooth. Do less lemon juice if you want to make it a dip.

Other things I have used to make up this recipe. Greek yogurt, or cream cheese in place of either the mayo or sour cream. A piece of a red bell pepper instead of the purple onion.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Yummy tilapia

recipe image

Reid and I are determined to eat healthier. We actually do quite well but we need to work even harder. We are getting kind of old and creaky :(

So I searched tilapia recipes on Allrecipes (my favorite food site). I picked this one and modified to match the ingredients I had on hand. It was delicious!

Here's the original link

Easy Tilapia

Submitted By: Elizabeth
Photo By: jocemalyn
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 2

"This is a delicious fish dish made with capers, tomatoes, butter, and white wine. This recipe uses tilapia fillets, but goes great with any type of fish you like."
2 (3 ounce) fillets tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, halved
1/2 cup white wine
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons capers
1 cup asparagus spears, trimmed and cut
in half
3 tablespoons butter (I left this out)
1.Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drizzle fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place fillets in skillet and sprinkle with half of the lemon over. Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer fillets to a plate, and keep warm.
2.Add wine, remaining 1/2 lemon, tomatoes, capers, and salt and pepper to the skillet. Increase heat to medium high and boil for 2 minutes to burn off alcohol. Reduce heat to low and return fillets to the pan along with the asparagus. Cover and simmer 2 minutes more, then transfer fish and asparagus to a serving dish and keep warm.
3.Again, increase heat to medium high and whisk in butter, and boil to desired consistency. Spoon sauce over fish, and serve.

My changes:


Also, I didn't have capers or asparagus so I left them out. I put in some chopped fresh basil for extra flavor and served the fish with a half of one of my garden's huge Hubbard squashes - cooked in the microwave with a little butter and brown sugar. Yum!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Cookies

I make these two cookie recipes every Halloween.

Kind of Scary - Finger Cookies
(original recipe from Canadian Living)

1 cup butter softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (I cut this to 1/4 tsp)
¾ cup whole blanched almonds (or ½ cup sliced almonds)
1 tube red decorator gel
  • In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in food coloring if desired. (For a flesh color add about 2 drops red, 1 drop yellow and just a trace of green. It’s also fun to make the fingers green).
  • Cover dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 325. Lightly grease baking sheets.
  • Working with 1 quarter of the dough at a time, roll a heaping teaspoon into a finger shape. Press almond firmly into 1 end for a nail. Press in center to create a knuckle shape. Make slashes to form knuckle (the tip of a peeler works well).
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until they just start to brown. Let cool for 3 minutes.
  • Lift up almond, squeeze red decorator gel unto nail bed and press almond back into place, so gel oozes out from underneath. Let cool on racks.
  • Makes about 60 cookies.

Peppery Ginger Spiderwebs (be brave - these taste fabulous)
(original recipe from Martha Stewart)

6 cups flour
1 tsp soda
½ tsp baking soda
½ lb butter
4 tsp ginger
4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cloves
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
2 lg eggs
1 ½ cups molasses

Whisk together flour, soda, and baking soda. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and salt. Beat in eggs and molasses. Add flour and mix to combine. Chill 1 hour. Roll ¼ inch think. Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Decorate as desired.

To make Halloween spiderwebs pipe white frosting in a spiral then pull a toothpick through the frosting from center out to edge 5 times like 5 spokes on a wheel. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate covered cherry cookies

recipe image

I made these Sunday and they were a huge hit.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

Submitted By: Barbara Hart
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 15

"My five brothers and I lost our mother when we were young, so we started cooking at an early age. Being successful in the kitchen is easy with tried-and-true recipes like this."
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1.In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
2.Drain cherries, reserving 1-1/2 teaspoons juice. Pat cherries dry. Shape 1 tablespoon of dough around each cherry. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on wire racks.
3.For frosting, in a saucepan, heat chocolate chips and milk until chips are melted; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add reserved cherry juice and remaining salt. Frost cookies.

A few modifications: 

I didn't have any sweetened condensed milk so I used half and half. The frosting was a little runny - so when I do it again I'll cut back the amount a little. Also added some almond extract to the dough.
And I didn't put cherries on the top.

 Here's a picture of mine: