Monday, May 22, 2017

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

We always add a few extra steaks to the grill when beef tenderloin is on the menu so we can enjoy this quick meal during the week.

  • 2 large beef tenderloin steaks

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon steak spice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 8 large button mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste. 
  • 6 crusty buns 
  • 6 slices Provolone cheese
  • horseradish mayo spread (optional) or regular mayo
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a zipper plastic bag.  Add the steaks, squeeze out as much air as possible as you seal the bag and refrigerate a few hours.  
  2. Sear steaks on both sides on a hot grill.  Grill to medium rare.  Remove from heat, cover with foil and allow to sit 20 minutes. Steaks can be refrigerated overnight at this point.  I find it easier to slice the steak if it is chilled but it is optional.
  3. Slice steaks across the grain into bite-sized pieces, as thin as possible.  Set aside while you prepare vegetables.
  4. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, green pepper, and mushrooms and stir-fry until vegetables are tender and onions begin to caramelize.   Add steak to the frying pan and stir until the steak is heated through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Slice buns, add a slice of cheese to each half and toast under broiler.  Top half the buns with steak and vegetables.
  6. Add horseradish mayo or regular mayo and top with the other half of the bun. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bread for the Journey

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:39

This is one of those verses that can make us stop and wonder about its meaning, especially seeing it is quite contrary to our world view. We live in a time where so much of what we do is to be about ourselves; from thinking about how we can make life the most comfortable to putting the best of ourselves out there for everyone to see.  Our thinking is deeply rooted in what we think is best for us and what will give us the most present happiness.

Jesus taught us by example to serve and to put others first.  Our life in Christ is not about trying to find ourselves, nor is it about fitting in with other people's expectations. It's about spending our life for what is to come and laying up treasure in heaven. It's about being willing to humble ourselves and to take up our cross to follow Him. Loosing our life in service to honor our Lord is how we find fullness of life.

It's not who you are, but whose you are that counts.
Joel Osteen

Friday, May 19, 2017

Butter Lettuce Salad ~ Flashback Friday

There's nothing that tastes better than a fresh home-made salad on a hot summer day.  Our summer has finally arrived.
Here's a flashback recipe and this time I changed it up by cutting the butter head lettuce into quarters.
This recipe was introduced to us by a European chef, while he was a guest in our home and offered to cook for us.  I could not resist. Over the years I have planted my own fresh butter lettuce.
It's simple, and delicious.

  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 2 onion greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 egg *
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  1. Wash and clean your butter lettuce; drain the water off and pat it dry. 
  2. Quarter the head of lettuce and plate this for your guests.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms and I've added avocados, cucumbers, and celery.  
  4. Whip the cream till medium thickness; add egg and mustard, whipping some more. The texture should be smooth.
  5. Add salt, lemon juice and oil.
  6. Pour over chilled butter lettuce leaves.
young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid raw egg

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lemon Fluff Cheesecake

Light and fluffy and full of lemony goodness, this is the perfect spring dessert.  It is actually a new twist on a very old recipe.  I'll share the recipe with you as we have enjoyed it recently and then I'll tell you the story of its first-love with cheesecake.

  • 1 (3 ounce) package lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 can 12 oz / 354 ml evaporated milk, well chilled (Carnation)
  • 1 1/3 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Combine cracker crumbs and cutter.  Press into bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Cool until slightly thickened.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice with mixer until smooth and creamy. Add thickened Jello and beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the chilled evaporated milk until it is thick and forms soft peaks. Add cream cheese/Jell-O mixture and beat until combined.
  5. Spread filling over graham wafer crust.
  6. Chill overnight.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit of your choice.

Now let me tell you about my introduction to this delightful dessert. Cheesecake was not something that appealed to me when I was a teenager. But after going to our local Woolworth's store with friends and trying the famous lemon dessert in their restaurant, that all changed. It was not your typical cheesecake, but a light and fluffy ice-box dessert. Hubby remembers me dragging him there to sample this dessert as well, and he decided he could learn to like cheesecakes too. Woolworth's stores across North America closed several decades ago and their cheesecake is all but forgotten.  I have a friend who once worked at the Woolworth's restaurant, and gave me a copy of their cheesecake recipe many years ago.  I was recently reminded of that recipe, and thought I would try it...for old times' sake! Woolworth's served it without fruit and sprinkled with additional wafer crumbs. Their famous cheesecake got a 'thumbs up' review from all those around our table. Do any of you have memories of having this dessert at Woolworth's back in the day?  It's throw-back Thursday.  Feel free to share your memories.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our family enjoys the original Toll House Cookies with some extras added. This time I reduced the sugar content, too.

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, brown sugar, vanilla in large bowl of mixer until creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.
  6. Beat in the oats and coconut.
  7. Stir in the morsels and nuts.
  8. Use cookie scoop to drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets.
  9. Flatten each cookie scoop slightly with a fork.
  10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool on baking sheets and then transfer to wire racks to continue cooling.
Yield: 48 cookies using medium cookie scoop.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Variations from a Pancake Mix

The main reason I keep a pancake mix in the pantry is so that my husband can keep waking me up to pancakes on Saturday mornings. I realize this mix could be purchased or homemade, but if he is going to make them, I'll take however he makes them. He usually adds grated apple to the mix. While we were on vacation, I thought, why not add some oatmeal to the mix too? They turned out so good that I started trying other variations and they each turned out wonderful! Scroll down for more. 

Apple Oatmeal Pancakes

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1 cup rolled oats (quick cooking)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 grated apple 
  • 1 - 2 apples, thinly sliced, for topping (optional) 
  1. Preheat griddle between low and medium heat setting.
  2. In mixing bowl, add rolled oats to measured pancake mix. 
  3. Stir in buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Do not over mix.
  4. Add grated apple.
  5. Cook between low and medium heat until tiny bubbles form on top. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown. Keep pancakes warm on oven proof plate at 175 F. 
  6. Serve with steamed apples or berries. Yield: 8 pancakes
  7. To steam apples, thinly slice 1 - 2 apples and cook in saucepan with 1 - 2 tablespoons butter and 1 - 2 tablespoons brown sugar, until tender (5 - 10 minutes) while cooking pancakes.

Coconut Pancakes

These are truly for the coconut lover! Delicious with slices of mango or any canned or fresh fruit.

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  1. Pre-heat griddle between low and medium heat setting.
  2. In mixing bowl, add coconut to measured pancake mix.
  3. Stir in milk, egg and flavoring until combined.
  4. Cook between low and medium heat until tiny bubbles appear. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown. Serve with fruit and a drizzle of syrup. Yield: 8 pancakes
Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Deliciousness without a lot of sweetness! I've been trying to cut down on syrup and found this topping just what was needed on these.

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • zest from half an orange
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice from one orange
  • zest from half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. If you are using frozen blueberries, put them in a sieve and run cold water over them for a  minute or set in bowl of cold water and then drain.
  2. In a small bowl mix ricotta, milk and egg.
  3. Add to measured pancake mix in a mixing bowl. 
  4. Gently stir in blueberries and orange zest. Do not over-stir. Wait for griddle to heat.
  5. Cook with setting between low and medium, closer to low if your element tends to get very hot, until tiny bubble appear on top.
  6. Flip when golden brown and continue to cook until done, maybe another 5 minutes. You may hear a tiny sizzle from the blueberries. Yield: 8 thick pancakes
  7. While pancakes cook, mix sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to boil. Simmer for a few minutes.
Tips on cooking thick pancakes with added ingredients:
Be sure the heat setting is not too high, or the pancakes will cook too quickly on the outside and not be done inside. Once they are mixed, do not keep stirring. Keep the first batch of cooked pancakes warm in the oven at 175 F until you are done with the last ones. Leftover pancakes can be frozen to toast later.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cream Cheese Crumb Cake.

Today would have been my parent's 69th wedding anniversary. 
 Mom left us suddenly on the day after their 60th anniversary. 
 Dad is now 94 and in a care home but still brings us so much joy.
Here is a cake to celebrate their 60 year commitment to each other.
This cake's secret ingredient is cream cheese 
and the crunchy crumb topping eliminates the need for a frosting.

  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1  8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1 /4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
For the crumb topping:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  1. Prepare 9 x13 inch baking pan by lining with parchment paper or greasing the bottom of the pan. Set oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  3. Add sugar, beating well.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
  5. Add vanilla to milk and set aside.
  6. Add dry ingredients to butter/cream cheese mixture gradually adding milk/vanilla mixture as the flour is incorporated.
  7. Beat until batter is thick and smooth.
  8. Spread in prepared pan.
  9. Cut together crumb topping ingredients.
  10. Sprinkle topping over cake batter.
  11. Bake at 350º F for 30 - 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.
  12. Cool. Serve with ice cream and berries if desired.