Sunday, September 17, 2017

Barbara's Chili

I can't believe I haven't included this recipe. It's such great chili. And now I have instant pot directions too.

1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 11.5 oz V8 or tomato juice or just use broth or water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp cumin
oil for sauteeing

I like to add more vegetables. Last time I added a large package of cubed butternut squash. It was sooooo good. Carrots, squash, pumpkin, green beans are all good additions.

Saute ground been in oil until almost brown, add onion and saute a few minutes, then add spices and saute for another minute or two.

Add beans, tomatoes and juice or broth. Add water as desired.

Simmer for an hour or so until vegetables are tender. Or put in crock pot.

Or use instant pot:

Use saute function, then pressure cook 12 minutes with all ingredients. Allow it to vent naturally and it's great to leave it on 'keep warm' for a few hours - but I'm sure it's good immediately too.

I like it topped with grated pepper jack cheese and crumbled tortilla chips. It's also good with sour cream or cottage cheese.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

French multi-grain flour

A friend gave me two packages of Bio Village Preparation pour Pain Multi-Cereales.

I've used it to make pizza crust and muffins and LOVE the results.

Of course I can't find it here so I'm thinking about making the flour blend myself. I wanted to get the ingredients from the label down here:

whole wheat flour
cracked wheat
rye flour
malted barley flour

Sunday, September 10, 2017


My dad used to make gazpacho.

We had fresh tomato juice leftover from draining the tomatoes for chili sauce yesterday. I couldn't bring my self to throw it out - put some in soup and then decided to try it in gazpacho. So good and fresh!

I (loosely) used this recipe from Food Network

I chopped the garlic and added a bit of hot pepper from our garden, used the fresh tomato juice and added no oil.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Instant Pot Senate Bean Soup

Just made this. It reminds me of Campbell's bean with bacon soup - an elevated version.

From the Dads Cook Dinner blog


  • 1 pound dried navy beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks (or a hambone and some leftover ham) (I didn't have a ham hock so I used chopped ham. I think the smoked hock would taste better, but it worked)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Minced parsley for garnish
  • (I added chopped carrots and 2 tsp of chicken soup base)


  1. Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the navy beans, removing broken beans, stones, or dirt clods. Rinse the beans and set aside.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Heat the butter in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until it stops foaming. Add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute until the onions are softened and browning around the edges, about 8 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the beans: Stir the rinsed navy beans into the pressure cooker. Set the ham hocks on top of the beans, and then pour the 8 cups of water over everything. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes in an electric PC, or 26 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
  4. Shred the ham hock, season, and serve: Remove the ham hock from the pot with a slotted spoon or tongs, and set aside to cool. When the ham is cool enough to handle, shred it, then stir the ham back into the pot. Stir in the fresh ground black pepper. Now, taste the soup, and add salt until the soup tastes sweet and full of body, and you can just feel the taste of salt on the tip of your tongue. (I needed 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to get the taste I wanted.) Serve with a sprinkle of minced parsley on each bowl.


  • Want to speed up the recipe? Soak the beans overnight. Replace step 1 with: the night before cooking, sort the navy beans, removing broken beans, stones, or dirt clods. Rinse the beans and put them in a large container with the salt. Cover with 2 quarts water. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans, then continue with step 2.
  • Look for meaty ham hocks, if you can – the ones in the video I shot were from the end of the hock, and didn’t have much meat on them. Larger hocks are usually meatier, so if you have an option, get big hocks instead of small ones.
  • Please, do not forget to season to taste at the end! Soup tastes bland and flat without added salt. Don’t worry if it seems like a lot of salt – you’re still adding a lot less salt than you’d get in canned beans.

Spaghetti Marco Polo

I'm not exactly recommending this recipe. I think I found it watching Mr Roger's Neighborhood with the kids when they were tiny.  I made it for them sometimes and we liked it. It's a bit of an odd recipe, but one with family memories.

I actually found a link to the recipe online.

  • 1lb spaghetti
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 1(6 ounce) can tuna packed in oil, flaked, undrained
  • 2tablespoons pimiento, diced or 2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
  • 2tablespoons green onions with tops, sliced
  • 2tablespoons black olives, sliced
  • 2tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  •  1⁄3 cup swiss cheese, shredded
  • 2tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Drain pasta and return to pot, stirring in butter, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  3. Toss with remaining ingredients and serve, garnished with parsley or cilantro.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Grandma Schultz's Chili Sauce

My grandma Schultz didn't cook much - my grandfather did most if it. So I'm not quite sure why this is her chili sauce recipe. Maybe it came through her parents.

It's really good! We love it with pot roast and meat loaf, and on sandwiches.

1 peck ripe tomatoes
10 medium onions
2 cups celery or 2 Tbs celery seed
4 red peppers (seeds removed)
2 green peppers (seeds removed)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mustard seeds
1/2 cup salt (to taste)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
(I like to add a couple of shopped pears or peaches - to add flavor)

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cloves

  1. Scald, peel and chop tomatoes and put to drain. Do not use the juice.
  2. Chop or coarsely grind the other vegetables.
  3. Add spices.
  4. When tomatoes are drained, put all ingredients in large cooker (pot) and cook 2 hours until fairly thick. Stir often to prevent sticking.
  5. Put in hot sterilized jars. (I process the jars full of chili sauce for 20 mins - just to be sure).

Monday, September 4, 2017

Banana Bran Muffins

I've made these twice this weekend - a big hit!

from one of my favorite cookbooks: Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet (the other fave is Jane Brody's Good Food Book)

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium - I keep a bunch of frozen ones in the freezer for smoothies and used them)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used milk with a few spoonfuls of lemon juice)
2 cups shredded bran cereal (100% bran or All-Bran)
1 egg white and 1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup raisins (I used chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour (Instead of the two flours, I used a mix of whole wheat, rye, cracked wheat)
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar (forgot it the second time, muffins taste great)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves.

Preheat oven to 375

  1. In large bowl combine banana, buttermilk and bran cereal. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add beaten egg and oil and raisins (if desired).
  3. In small bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add to banana mixture, stirring until moist (I had to add extra milk because the mixture was too dry. It should be halfway between cookie dough and pancake batter).
  4. Distribute the dough into 24 muffin cups (I use liners).
  5. Bake until they feel firm, about 25 minutes (mine took 20).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Corn Salad

Summer Corn Salad - from lil luna

Summer Corn Salad is a light, flavorful salad filled with corn, tomatoes, feta, basil and cucumber. It's perfect for BBQs and will be a hit at any party!
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
·       3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
·       1 tablespoon lime juice
·       ¼ teaspoon salt
·       1½ cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
·       1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
·       ½ cup finely chopped cucumber
·       2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
·       ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
·       2 tablespoons Italian dressing (optional)
1.     Whisk together 2 tablespoons of oil, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
2.     Cooking corn in a skillet with remaining oil until tender. (I didn't cook it, just used some leftover ears of corn plus some frozen, that I cook briefly in the microwave)
3.     Pour corn into a large bowl, cool slightly and add tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4.     Right before serving, drizzle with dressing, feta cheese and Italian dressing (if desired).  I squeezed a lime over, a little olive oil, some S&P and a splash of Olive Garden Italian dressing.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lisa's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 (the book says, I say a heck of a lot more)
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (500 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (about 65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (235 ml) neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup (240 grams) sour cream
1 1/2 (355 ml) cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)
4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)
5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups
10 ounces (285 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (115 grams, 4 ounces or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups (600 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (170 grams) smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces (225 grams) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons (50 grams) smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons (40 grams) light corn syrup, honey or golden syrup
1/2 cup (120 ml) half-and-half
1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

This lentil soup recipe from Kitchen Treaty is delicious!


A thick and hearty lentil soup packed full of flavor. Made specifically for the it-appliance of the moment, The Instant Pot!
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste (I used a little less)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper+ more to taste
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed well in cold water
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces (about 6 cups) baby spinach (I used 2 cups of beet greens)

  1. Hit “Saute” button on Instant Pot. Add oil. When hot, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  2. Add the lentils and pour in the broth. Stir.
  3. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the release valve is in the “sealing” position. Press the “Manual” button and set the timer at 12 minutes (I might try 10 minutes next time).
  4. The Instant Pot will warm up for about 10 minutes and then start cooking. After the 12 minutes is up, quick-release by flipping the release valve to “venting” (a little bit at a time at first).
  5. Once venting is complete, remove the lid of the Instant Pot. Stir in the spinach. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve.
  6. Keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Freezes well too!