Recipe Search

Quick and Easy Banana Cream Pie



This is the recipe I reach for when I want to make a quick dessert 
that will be guaranteed to please my guests. 
You can adapt this recipe by making your own custard filling but
 I find the Jello Cooked Pudding mix works just fine.

For the Graham Cracker crust:
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/ 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1- 2 tablespoons sugar.
For the Custard filling:
  • 1 package Jello Cooked pudding mix
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Additional ingredients:
  • 2-3 large bananas peeled
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Reserve about 1/2 cup crumbs and press remaining crumbs into 9 or 10 inch pie plate.
  3. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
  4. In a large bowl or glass 8 cup measure, stir pudding mix with milk, blending well with whisk. 
  5. Microwave a minute at a time, stirring well each time until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. 
  6. Add butter and vanilla, stirring well. Let it cool, stirring every few minutes while you prepare the bananas.
  7. Cut 2 or 3 large bananas into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on the bottom and around the sides of the graham crust. 
  8. Pour warm custard filling over bananas and refrigerate until filling is completely cold.
  9. Whip one pint of Whipping cream  icing sugar and vanilla. 
  10. Spread over custard and sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Refrigerate until serving.


Banana Cream pie 1

Date Loaf

I used to drop in on my Mom for coffee and there was always something good to eat in her kitchen or freezer. This recipe was one of her favorites and it is one of mine too. I make them in her two small old style bread pans. This loaf freezes well up to 3 months.
1/2 lb chopped dates
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups boiling water
Stir first 3 ingredients together in a glass bowl and pour boiling water over it. Stir well and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl beat together:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Add 3 cups white flour
Add the softened date mixture.
Stir together until all the flour is incorporated.
Divide mixture into 2 greased loaf pans.
Bake for 1 hour at 300 until tooth pick inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean. Leave in pans for 5 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack.

Knock-off Lovella's Genoa Cake - Gluten-free !


Lovella's Cake of Genoa looked so delicious I couldn't resist making a gluten-free copy-cat cake.
I made it for our bible study group this week... there was seven of us....and the cake disappeared quickly with complements and second helpings and requests for the recipe!
So here it is !
Cake Layers
  • five eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 heaping tbsp. sweet rice flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

(Alternative flour mix that I had good results with -- 1/4 cup white or brown rice, 1/4 cup white corn, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 tbsp potato starch)

Beat eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, add salt and vanilla.

Mix all dry ingredients together well....... and then add to egg mixture , beating until smooth.

Divide batter into two greased round cake pans, ( I put waxed paper on the bottom to facilitate easy removal )

Bake at 350' for about 40 minutes and cool in pan.

Butter Cream

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 eggs or 6 yolks (I've done it both ways, but the six yokes is definitely better!)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pkg Oeker's Vanilla Sugar (you can of course use Vanilla extract, but I LOVE the flavor of Oeker's Vanilla Sugar)
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter

Combine the sugar and cornstarch and Oeker's Vanilla sugar, add yokes (or eggs) and beat until fluffy .

Stir in the milk.

Cook until thickened.... remove from heat ..place plastic wrap directly on custard and let cool to room temperature.. Be patient !

Then mix in soft butter until perfectly smooth and place in fridge until firmed to spreading consistency .

Put Butter Cream filling between the layers and then cover top and sides as well.

Cover with toasted almond flakes ... and I drizzled chocolate over the top. (3 chocolate squares melted in the microwave with a little sugar and milk- ***note- let the milk boil and the squares just turn soft , then stir until they are melted, I find letting them melt completely takes the shine and smoothness out of the chocolate )

Vic liked his piece of cake served with homemade berry sauce.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

This recipe is from the Best of bridge cookbook. They serve it over rice, but I usually serve it over Chinese noodles. They also toss in 1 1/2 cups of cashews just before serving. The fresh ginger and sesame oil are a must in this recipe. Serves 6.
SAUCE
1/2 cup ketchup
4 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
STIR-FRY MIXTURE
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion chopped
2 red peppers, cut in strips
2 carrots thinly sliced on diagonal
2 cups snow peas
toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add chicken and toss. Heat frying pan or wok to high and add oil. When oil if hot (not smoking) add chicken, ginger, garlic and onion. stir until chicken is opaque (about 1 minute). Add peppers and carrots. Stir 2-3 minutes. Add snow peas and sauce. Cook until sauce comes to a boil.
Serve over hot rice or noodle. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. (if you want to add the cashews toss in just before serving.

Tilapia Brushetta/ Tilapia Parmesan



I try to incorporate a fish meal at least once a week in some way or the other. We really enjoyed both versions of the recipe. The first version of the recipe is-

Tilapia Brushetta:
  • 1-lb of any white fish, tilapia is nice and reasonable priced
  • 1/4 c. pesto
  • 3 plum tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1/2 finely diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmaessan cheese
  1. Thaw filets according to package instructions. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Lay fillets on a lightly greased baking sheet. 
  3. Brush tops with pesto. 
  4. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar, lemon peel, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl.
  5. Spoon tomatoe misture evenly over fillers and sprinkle with cheese. 
  6. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until fillets flake easily with a fork.
  7. Serves 4-6
Alternate lazy version and that is what the picture is.
  1. Top the fish fillet with pesto.
  2. Top with left over pasta sauce and a sprinkle of parmessan.
Either way it is tasty, low in fat and healthy.
Recipe source from the back of Highliner Frozen Tilapia fillets package.

Lemon Basil Carrots


My son isn't a big fan of carrots, but he LOVES these. I use the sauce on other veggies too and it is something that gives just plain veggies a bit of punch to them.
  • 1 lb. carrots or green beans
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt (or powder if you want to reduce sodium intake)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  1. Steam carrots or green beans until tender crisp.
  2. Strain.
  3. Melt butter, stir in other ingredients and toss with the carrots.
Enough for 4 servings, or 2 teenage boys.

Waffled Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

We're on somewhat of a waffle kick over here lately. I just discovered not so long ago that making french toast on the waffle iron is quite a simple thing and so delicious! So we've been trying it every which way, and today it was cinnamon raisin french toasted waffles.


Waffled Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices cinnamon raisin bread ~ thick sliced
  1. Preheat waffle maker and spray surface with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy, then add remaining ingredients and whisk until well mixed (lump free).
  3. Dip 1 slice of bread into mixture and turn to cover both sides. Place in waffle maker and cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining slices.
  4. Dust with icing sugar and serve with warm maple syrup. 

It's a quick and delicious brunch!  That's my recipe, but feel free to use your favorite french toast dipping batter and give it a try.

If you prefer plain french toast with srawberries and whipped cream, check out the instructions over at My Front Porch.

And here is another fun idea for your waffle iron...why not try your favorite loaf or muffin batter baked on your waffle iron? The possibilities are endless and I can't vouch for them all! But, I did try pumpkin spice muffin waffles yesterday and had them for an afternoon tea party with the grands. They were ready in minutes and we enjoyed them hot off the press, smothered in butter, and they were quite yummy. So dust off your waffle iron and get creative!


Barbecued Steak Supreme

I have been making this dish since I was 15 or 16. It was one of the first dinners I had at Terry's house when we started dating . I asked his mom for the recipe and brought it home and made it.
I still make this steak dish when comfort food is needed for ourselves or for others.
At some point I came across the cookbook that she used.
  • 2 pounds steak (round or flank)  
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned flour (a good dash of salt and pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  1. Pound the flour into the steak or if it is already very thinly sliced sprinkle it on either side.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and brown the steak on medium high heat.
  3. Remove the steak and set aside.
  4. Brown the vegetables and add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Stir well and add the steak.
  6. Cook in the oven at 325 for 3 hours. Slower and longer makes it more tender. You can also put it in the crock pot on low for 6 - 8 hours. 
  7. Serve over mashed potatoes.
Hint:  Double the sauce ingredients for plenty of sauce over mashed potatoes. 

Dutch Apple Pancakes

I got the idea for these pancakes from a local pancake restaurant, but after more than one serving of pancakes that were undercooked, I decided to try making them myself. I use the German Pancake (crepe) recipe from the Mennonite Cookbook.

Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 apples, slivered
  1. Quarter and slice apples, as thin as you can. 
  2. Beat eggs, then add milk salt and flour, beating until smooth. 
  3. Heat (med size) non stick pan and lightly grease with butter for first pancake and then every other, if needed. 
  4. Batter should not be too thick, but still coat pan nicely - add a little more milk, if needed. Pour a small ladle full of batter into pan while lifting the pan and tilting it in a circular motion, until the pan is covered with batter. Spread with thinly sliced apple slices and cover with another layer of the batter. tilting pan in a revolving motion. 
  5. Cook at med or just below med heat until batter looks dry on top and edges lift easily with plastic lifter. Flip carefully, but quickly. This recipe makes about ten 8-inch pancakes.
  6. Sprinkle pancakes with cinnamon sugar. (mix 1 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

I had some leftover Schmoo sauce from Charlotte’s Schmoo Torte I had made earlier and drizzled some of that on the pancakes. I won’t tell you haw many I had!

Cabbage Borscht

The Ukrainians made borsch, and the Mennonites of the Ukraine borrowed the soup but substituted cabbage as the main ingredient rather than beets, and called it Borscht.

 
My Borscht is much like the soup my mom cooked, for which there was no written recipe. But it goes something like this...

Borscht
  • 2 lbs. soup bones, with lots of meat
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 2-4 carrots, sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) onions, chopped
  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 whole red chili peppers (dried)
  • fresh dill (a handful or to taste)
  • 2 tins tomato soup
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (optional)
  1. Cover soup bones with water and simmer until meat is tender (several hours).
  2. Remove the bone and shred the beef. Add more water to make 8-10 cups of stock before adding the vegetables.
  3. Add vegetables and seasonings (put chili peppers and dill into a spice cup or cheesecloth), and cook until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and shredded beef...and bring to a boil.
  5. Serve with sour cream.
Add a wee bit more of this or less of that, and if you like it fiery hot, add more red chili peppers. I often cook up a large pot, leave the spice cup in the soup and refrigerate it for a week of quick lunches. As the week progresses, our bowl of soup gets zippier!

Fresh dill is the best but can also be harvested in season and frozen in ziplock bags to be used in soup.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese



Today was a comfort food kind of day and this dish tops my list of comfort foods. 
For many years my children preferred it to the boxed mac and cheese 
and it really doesn't take much longer to make from scratch.
  • 2 cups macaroni - cooked and drained
  • cheddar cheese (old/sharp is best) coarsely grated.
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
(I make my white sauce in the microwave but it can also be made on the stove.
The method is the same.)
  1. Melt butter in 8 cup microwavable bowl or medium saucepan. 
  2. Stir in flour with a wire whisk until smooth. 
  3. Very gradually add milk, stirring smooth with each addition. 
  4. Microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring well each time until sauce bubbles or cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In buttered casserole dish, place a layer of cooked macaroni.
  7. Pour 1/2 of white sauce over to cover.
  8. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  9. Repeat layers ending with cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it bubbles at the edges.

Caramel Chocolate Sheet Cake




I served this cake at my husband's 60th birthday party this weekend and had so many requests for the recipe that I said I'd post it here. I got the recipe from my good friend Betti. 
The secret to the incredible taste is the caramel sauce poured over the warm cake and the Skor bar garnish of course. Read the recipe over before preparing.

For the Cake:
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
For the Caramel sauce:
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons. corn syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
Top With:
  • 1 1/2 cups Whipping Cream
  • 2 or 3 Skor Chocolate Bars or another crunchy brittle style chocolate bar.
  1. Melt margarine, add cocoa and hot water and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Measure sugar,baking soda, salt, vanilla and flour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add hot mixture to dry ingredients and beat until smooth
  5. Add beaten eggs and sour cream and mix well.
  6. Spread in jelly roll pan. 
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. 
  8. Meanwhile prepare Caramel sauce.
  9. Melt margarine.
  10. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk.
  11. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Watch carefully as it scorches easily.
  12. Remove cake from oven, let sit for 5 minutes. 
  13. Poke holes in cake with meat fork about 1/2-1 inch apart.
  14.  Spoon some of the caramel sauce over the cake, filling all the holes.
  15.  Let remaining sauce cool to spreading consistency. Then spread remainder of sauce over cake.
  16. When cake is completely cool whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream,
  17. Spread over caramel layer.
  18. Crumble  Skor bars and sprinkle over cream layer.
  19. Store in refrigerator until serving. Don't plan on leftovers!
This cake works well to make ahead. Freeze the cake after spreading the caramel mixture.
Leave in Freezer until an hour or so before serving time.  Whip cream, spread over caramel and sprinkle the Skor bar crumbles just before serving.

Cake of Genoa with Buttercream Frosting


This cake can be served simply or made into a special cake with garnishes. 

  • 1 cup of eggs (about 5)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Prepare two 8 inch pans or one 5 inch springform pan by greasing and lining with parchment paper. 
  3. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the sugar, salt and vanilla.
  5. Beat until thick and lemon colored.
  6. Gently fold in the flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.
  7. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick. 
  8. Cool in pan.
  9. Split cake into layers.
  10. The recipe calls for Butter Cream between all the layers and then icing the outside the same. I whipped heavy cream, added a bit of sugar and used some Whip it to stabilize the cream and spread the whipped cream between the layers.
Butter Cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 eggs or 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter
  1. Combine the sugar and the cornstarch in a large microwave safe bowl.
  2. Add the eggs or egg yolks. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Stir in the milk.
  4. Put in the microwave and heat for one minute at a time, stirring well after each minute.
  5. Continue to heat until thick.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. Cover with plastic wrap right on the surface of the custard
  8. Allow to come to room temperature. Make sure it is completely cool. Stir well.
  9. Add the softened butter, until smooth and combined.
  10. Cool a little till perfect spreading consistency.
  11. Decorate your cake as you please. I spread melted chocolate onto parchment paper. . very thinly, put it in the fridge for a day or two, and then rolled it up and allowed the chocolate to fall into a zip loc bag to create chocolate shavings, big and small.
  12. Garnish with toasted almonds. 

Lasagna


This recipe was shared with me when I was just a newly wed. Over the years I've made minor changes, but all in all, it's a basic lasagna recipe that always goes over well.

Ingredients:
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/4 lb lean hamburger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 19 oz can tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried basil
  • 2 cups cottage or ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 - 8 cups grated mozzarella cheese (or 4 cheese Italian Mix)
  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions. 
  2.  Brown meat in large frying pan, drain, add seasoning, tomatoes (while cooking, chop tomatoes into smaller pieces with spatula)) and tomato paste according to taste.
  3. Mix cottage or ricotta cheese with egg, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with noodles (3). Layer with 1/3 of the meat, cottage cheese and mozzarella. Repeat to make three layers. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350° F - 45 min. (serves 8)
  5. For two people: Make 2 smaller casseroles, freeze one (before baking) and you’ll still have left overs to enjoy each time.

Schaubel Zup (Green Bean Soup)

My mom made a soup like this when I was growing up, but it wasn't one of my favorites. Recently I decided to revisit this green bean soup and found that it’s actually better than I remember. The broth, with a little sweet cream in it, reminds me of the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden. How much better can it get? Here is the recipe – a combination of ideas of how my Mom made it and a recipe in the Mennonite Treasury.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb smoked ham hock
  • ½ dried red hot pepper
  • 10 black pepper kernels
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 - 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 6 cups chopped (frozen or fresh) green beans
  • summer savory
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or beef) if needed, for extra flavor


  1. Cover ham bone with about 8 cups water in large pot. Tie spices into cheesecloth and add to pot. 
  2. Bring to boil, take off scum, and simmer about 1 hour. 
  3. Take out ham bone. Add vegetables and cook another hour. 
  4.  While vegetables are cooking and after ham has cooled somewhat, remove ham from bone, chop into bite size pieces and return to pot. 
  5. About ½ hour before it’s done, add a handful of summer savory, tied together for easy removal. If you can’t get summer savory, use a tiny sprinkle of thyme. Adjust flavors with bouillon if needed.
  6.  Add ½ cup sweet cream or sour cream, before serving. Enjoy a trip down memory lane.
To make this soup with farmer sausage, simply cook  peeled and chopped sausage along with vegetables for an hour. You can also pre-cook the onion, then add water, sausage and vegetables. Use bouillon cube and summer savory for flavor.

Fig and Apple Muffins



I got this recipe from a 2002 Robin Hood Baking Festival booklet. These are one of my favorite muffins and really it’s hard to believe that something so good is also healthy! If you’re extra health conscious, you can substitute half of the flour for whole wheat, use a little less sugar, and non-fat yogurt. If I don’t have figs, I use chopped dates.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt 
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups finely chopped apples
  • 1 ½ cups dried figs, chopped
topping:
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Combine egg, yogurt and butter in small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. 
  3. Stir in apples and figs. 
  4. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, quite full.
  5. Combine topping ingredients and spoon over muffins, pressing in a bit.
  6. Makes 12 large muffins (grease tops of muffin tin, if using regular size tins)
  7. Extra large muffin tins work well.
  8. Bake at 375 F for about 25 minutes, depending on size.


Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese Pizza

 We love smoked salmon pizza.
The dough has olive oil base and it sits in the fridge until you are ready to use it. 

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups of unbleached white flour
  1. Mix together the yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil with the water in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon and stir well.
  3. Cover but not airtight.
  4. Put in the fridge for a few days or leave on the counter for a few hours and use right away.
  5. Take half the dough and spread it on a large cookie sheet that had a smidge of olive oil on it and let it rest a few hours.
  6. Bake the dough at 400 on the parchment paper and cookie sheet until firm, about 10 minutes. 
  7. Spread, half a brick (4 ounces) of cream cheese.
  8. Top with very thinly sliced smoked salmon. (I buy mine at Costco).
  9. Sprinkle on very thin red onion and finely chopped fresh dill weed.
  10. Put back into the hot oven or on a grill without the cookie sheet. 

Just a crisp salad is all that is needed to make a nice dinner.

Lettuce Wraps

We have a wonderful Chinese food restaurant in our town where one of my favorite menu items is their lettuce wrap.  When I found a recipe that looked similar, I decided to give it a try. I will be making this dish again and again!



Lettuce Wraps
  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cups steam fried noodles
  • 1 bottle hoisin sauce
    1. Core head of lettuce. Hold upside down under cold, running water...gently pull the leaves away from the core, one at a time. Each leaf will from a natural cup. Remove excess water from leaves...and chill in refrigerator until needed.
    2. Brown ground beef in heavy skillet. Add ginger, garlic, peppers, carrot and onion. Fry until veggies are tender. Add the steam fried noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes longer (noodles should still be crunchy). Transfer mixture to serving platter.
    3. Place platter on table, alongside a plate of lettuce leaves and bowl of hoisin sauce. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf...top with hoisin sauce. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!
    Cooks notes: The hoisin sauce can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store. It's what gives the flavour, so it is not optional!


    Plushche or Plushke

    This sweet bun is pronounced ploosh-tche in Low German or ploosh-ke in High German, which is the German I grew up with. My mom-in-law speaks the Low German to me and I answer in the High German. That’s how we have communicated for over 30 years and although we hardly notice it, it would sound funny to someone listening. Since she was born in Russia, experienced the same hardships as my grandparents did and is 40 years older than I am, she has often been more of on Oma image to me. She loves calling and seeing what I’m doing. When she found out I was making Plushke, she was in heaven! She asked me if I was having “yast” (guests). Obviously she would have made these for guests. I didn’t even try to explain why I was really making them. So, here’s to all of our blogland “yast’, a recipe that, when I bit into them reminded me of being a child and dipping by bun in sugar. This is my Mom’s recipe.

    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups milk
    • ½ cup butter
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 8 cups flour
    • 2 tablespoons yeast
    filling:
    • ¼ cup melted butter
    • ¾ cup sugar
    Method:
    1. Scald milk and butter and salt. Cool slightly with a few ice cubes if using instant (fast acting) yeast, or to ‘warm’ if using traditional yeast. (If using traditional yeast, mix with a 2 Tbsp sugar, then ½ cup warm water to dissolve – let stand 10 min) I’ve found that instant yeast (which you just add to the flour) is more forgiving when it comes to hot liquids, whereas regular/traditional yeast can be killed if the liquids are too hot.
    2. Beat eggs and sugar well in large mixing bowl or dough machine bowl.
    3. Slowly stir in milk and butter, then regular yeast mixture or instant yeast mixed with 1 cup flour, continue adding flour, one cup at a time. Using a dough hook makes this easy. Knead until dough is smooth and holds together nicely.
    4. Transfer to larger bowl and cover loosely with tea towel and plastic.
    5. Let rise 1 hour.
    Shaping
    1. Now, my mom used to cut little squares and do a crossover thing with little cuts so that it looked like a flower, but you can do whatever you want. What I did: Divide the dough into 4 parts. 
    2. Pat each part into a circle on floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out a bit larger than a dinner plate. 
    3. Spread each circle with 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut into 12 wedges.
    4. Roll wedges up starting from the outside. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
    5. Cover and let rise 1 hour. Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes.
    Icing:
    • 2 cups icing sugar, 
    • 1 tablespoon soft margarine
    •  milk to make an easy spread
    Oma would have thinly covered the whole bun. I like to play with icing, so I did a drizzly spread.


    Addendum: I found out that plyushki is a Russian pastry, which makes sense when I consider that my mom-in-law lived in Siberia

    Salisbury Steak with Onions and Mushroom Gravy

    This is comfort food at it's best for me. This meal was one of my favorites that my Mom made. I've added afew more ingredients than she did, but the basic recipe is the one from my her kitchen.

    STEAK PATTIES

    1 lb lean ground beef

    1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

    1 egg

    1/4 can cream of mushroom soup

    1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

    1 tsp prepared mustard

    1/2 onion grated

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp pepper

    Mix above ingredients together and form into 4 patties.

    Make a flour coating of 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. I put this on a dinner size plate and dredge both sides of the meat patties in it before I begin to fry them.

    Place 3 tbsp cooking oil in a heavy fry pan or electric fry pan. Once it begins to get hot place the meat into the pan on medium heat.

    Slice 1 large onion into thin rings and add to pan around the meat. You may find that you need to add slightly more oil. Continue to brown the meat and saute the onions. Once the meat is well browned on one side flip and brown the other side. It is best to only turn the patties one time, so make sure they are cooked well. (medium temperature will insure that the meat is cooked and you get a nice brown crust) Once I have flipped the meat I stir the onions and begin to pile them onto the patties so they don't get to dark. Once meat is cooked through (about 7 minutes per side) remove to platter and keep warm in oven.

    GRAVY

    1 tbsp oil

    1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh mushrooms

    1 cup cream

    3/4 can of mushroom soup

    1 package beef bouillon

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp pepper

    In the same fry pan you fried the patties and onions in heat 1 tbsp oil and add the mushrooms. Stir over med-high heat until they begin to get a golden brown color. Add the remaining ingredients and stir scraping in all the bits left from the meat and onions. If it looks too thick add abit of milk. Simmer for afew minutes.
    Add the meat and onions to the gravy and simmer another 5 minutes. Spoon the gravy over the meat in the pan but don't flip the meat. It is very tender and you want the patties to remain whole.

    Serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable.

    NOTE: I was just given a new kitchen gadget called a Julian Peeler. It is a neat way to make a nest of carrots. Add cooked peas and your family will love the added touch you put to a simple meal.




    Ham and Cheese Pinwheels



    What school child could resist a couple of these in their lunch bag?
    Make up a batch and pop them into a freezer bag and - good bye lunch making blues.
    Right now I'm making them for a birthday open house.
    I know from experience that they will be the first to go on the buffet.


    The Refrigerator Rolls dough is also great for crescent or cloverleaf rolls. 
    Mix it before you go to bed and bake them fresh in the morning.
    Credit for this recipe goes to 2 places - a neighbour of ours when I was a child 
    and an old Pillsbury cookbook.

    For the Refrigerator Rolls:
    • 2 cups warm milk or water
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup margarine softened
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
    • 2 eggs beaten
    • about 6 cups flour - can include 1 or 2 cups whole wheat flour
    1. Place 4 cups flour into bowl of stand mixer. Add sugar, salt, yeast and margarine.
    2. Beat eggs and add to bowl.
    3. Add milk or water (I often use half milk and half water) and let mix until dough is sticky. 
    4. Add remaining flour until dough forms a medium soft ball and then and leave mixer run or knead for about 5 minutes.
    5. Place in greased bowl. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
    For the Ham Cheese Pinwheels:
    • about 12 ounces of sliced ham (not too thinly sliced)
    • Cheddar cheese 
    • milk to brush on pinwheels
    • poppy seed or sesame seed
    Before taking dough out of the refrigerator in the morning, prepare ham and cheese.
    I ask the deli for old fashioned ham sliced slightly thicker than usual. 
    I cut the ham into 1 1/2 - 2 inch squares .
    I also use old cheddar cheese sliced and cut into 1/2 - 1 inch squares.
    You will need one square of sliced ham and 2 squares of cheese for each pinwheel.
    1. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a square about 12-14 inches.
    2. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 12  3 inch squares. 
    3. From the corner of each square, make a 1 inch diagonal cut towards the centre. Do not cut right through the centre. See photos below.
    4. Place a square of cheddar cheese in the centre uncut portion of each square.
    5. Top each with a square of ham and then top the ham with another square of cheese.
    6. Pull the left point of each triangular cut section toward the middle forming a pinwheeel (like those the children carry in the wind). The trick is to use the same corner on each side of the square. 
    7. Secure the points in the centre with a toothpick.
    8. Place on parchment covered baking sheets and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
    9. Just before baking, brush each pinwheel with milk and sprinkle with either sesame seed or poppy seed.
    10. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until nicely browned.
    11. Remove to racks, take the toothpicks out and let cool. Some of the cheese will have oozed out and you can remove the cheese "puddles" before serving if you like.























    Nadia's Blintzes



    Nadia’s Blintzes, this recipe is from my extended families cookbook.
    Ingredients
    • 6 eggs
    • 4 cups whole milk
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 Tbsp. sugar
    • 1-1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 Tbsp. oil

    Method:
    1. Scald the milk. 
    2. Beat the eggs in large bowl of mixer.
    3. Slowly add the milk to the eggs while continuing beating. 
    4. Add salt, sugar and oil, beat until blended. 
    5. Slowly beat in the flour until combined.
    6. Using one or two 10″ heavy Teflon pans to cook the blintzes. 
    7. Coat the pan lightly with oil. (I use a piece of cheesecloth to coat the pan with oil and if needed I’ll coat again into the cooking process). 
    8. Heat the pan to medium high heat.
    9. Use a 1/3 cup measure to dip into the mixing bowl (you don’t have to fill to the top just use a uniform measure of the liquid for each blintz) and pour into frying pan and swirl the pan to coat the bottom evenly.
    10. Cook until the blintz turns a nice golden brown. 
    11. With a spatula loosen the edges and flip the blintz to brown the other side. 
    12. Remove from pan and let cool on a dish cloth.
    13. Repeat the process till all the egg mixture is used up.
     Sometimes the only hindrance to these flipping and cooking well is the temperature of the pan. You’ll have to experiment to get it at the right temperature. Start at medium. After the blintzes are cooled you can stack them. They can be frozen at this time if you would like. This recipe will make approximately 24 blintzes.

    Cheese filling for the blintzes:
    • 8 ounces of ricotta cheese. (You can also use cottage cheese, hoop cheese or farmers cheese)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
    • 8 ounces half and half
    • 1 stick of butter
    Method:
    1. Beat all the ingredients till smooth except the half and half and stick of butter.
    2. Spread about 1 Tablespoon of cheese onto one side of blintz.
    3. Roll up and place in a 9×13 baking dish. 
    4. You can fill the dish with two layers.
    5. Melt one cube of butter and pour over the blintzes.
    6. Bake in 350 degree oven until heated through.
    7. Heat up to 8 ounces of Half and Half until warm but not boiling.
    8. Pour half and half evenly over blintzes and continue baking until half and half boils.
    9. Remove from oven and serve with sour cream and preserves or syrup.

    For a savory filling:

    Ingredients:
    • 1 large onion chopped
    • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
    • 1 pound ground meat (15%)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups diced fresh broccoli 
    • 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
    • 1 stick of butter, melted
    Method:
    1. Saute onion in oil and season with salt and pepper.
    2. Add hamburger and brown.
    3. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.
    4. Steam broccoli until it just turns bright green.
    5. Combine meat, broccoli, cream of mushroom soup and heat through.
    6. Scoop about 2-3 T of mixture onto blintz and fold in the sides to form a square.
    7. Place in a greased baking dish. 
    8. Melt butter and poor over the filled blintzes, evenly.
    9. Bake in a 350 to 375 degree oven until heated through.
    10. Serve with sour cream.

    Meatloaf



    This is by far the best meatloaf I have ever had because it had this wonderful glaze on it that keeps it moist. Even if your family has not liked meatloaf in the past, I’d say you should try this one.
    I got this recipe at least 25 years ago from my friend Debbie, the mom of one of my son’s best friends growing up. When I asked her recently about posting it, she was quick to let me know that it’s her mom-in-law’s recipe. So, thank you, Mrs. Martens! I know I’ve tweaked the glaze somewhat for some reason a long time ago, but if you read this, Debbie, please feel free to add the original ingredient in a comment. I think it was Worcestershire sauce.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 pounds lean hamburger
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1/2 onion, chopped or 1 – 2 tsp onion flakes
    • 1 cup grated cheese
    • 1/3 cup milk
    topping:
    • ¼ cup ketchup
    • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    1. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan by lining it with foil or parchment paper. 
    2. Mix all ingredients well and shape into loaf. 
    3. Place on baking pan and make an indentation along the top of the loaf. 
    4. Cover meatloaf completely with topping. 
    5. Bake at 350 F about 60 – 75 min., depending on shape.
    6. For two people: mix whole recipe using fresh hamburger, shape and divide to make 2 mini loaves. Freeze one and cover with topping just before baking.

    Onion Potato Packages


    This really isn't a recipe - just a fast and easy way to make great tasting potatoes.
    This is a good way to do potatoes on the BBQ as well.
    • Potatoes
    • chopped onion
    • salt and pepper
    • butter
    1. Lay out one piece of foil for each potato.
    2. Cut each potato into 1/2 inch slices or 1 inch cubes.
    3. Sprinkle with diced onion and salt and pepper and dot with about 1teaspoon or so of butter.
    4. Wrap each package up tightly - use a double fold so the butter doesn't leak out while it's baking.
    5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until potato is done.
    6. Serve in foil or empty packages into serving bowl.
    7. You can pass the sour cream if desired.









    Savory Cheddar Scones

    The soup was simmering and there was still time to make a batch of fresh scones for dinner. What could be better on a cold winter's day than some light and flaky scones straight from the oven? Actually, it was more about trying out my new cast iron skillet, than about baking scones, but they made a great team (the skillet and the scones) and I'll be doing that again soon!


    Savory scones need herbs, and fresh is always best, but things weren't looking too good in my herb garden. I pulled back the blanket of snow far enough to find a few chives that I could use, but supplemented that with dill weed.

    Savory Cheddar Scones:
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 tablespoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
    • 1 teaspoon dill weed
    • 1 Tablespoon finely snipped chives
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (If using a cast iron skillet..pre-heat greased pan.)
    2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt...cut in butter to form pea-sized pieces.
    3. Add grated cheddar and herbs (of your choice).
    4. Mix eggs and buttermilk and quickly add them to the flour mixture.
    5. Combine just until blended.
    6. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead a few times.
    7. Pat into a circle about 1 inch thick...in my case, to fit my 12" cast iron skillet.
    8. Cut into 8 wedges and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet.
    9. Pop into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
    The key to light and fluffy scones is to handle the dough as little as possible. I used buttermilk, but you can substitute whole milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice.  These are quick and easy and so fun to serve from a cast iron skillet!  Pop the extra scones into the freezer and re-heat to serve 'fresh' scones tomorrow (or the tomorrow after that).

    Paraguayan Gellete or Kokitos

    I thought that after Judy's post about Yerba Mate, I would post a common snack that is served along with the Paraguay Tea. These are little hard crunchy balls of bread dough, either made into bread sticks or little balls. Paraguay is a very hot country and these were baked to preserve the bread longer when no way better way of storing the bread that was available, years ago. They are very time consuming and they get eaten up like popcorn, so I very rarely make them.


    • 3 cups of warm water
    • 1 pkg instant yeast
    • 2 t. salt
    • 2 t. anise seed
    • 1 cup oil
    • 8 cups of flour (approx)
    1. Combine all ingredients together and knead the dough together well...adding enough flour to make a firm dough.
    2. Let rise about 1/2 hour.
    3. Take little pieces of dough and roll into a pencil strip.
    4. Cut into pieces, according to desired length.
    5. Bake @ 300, for 40 minutes. 
    6. After all the pans have been baked. Put them all into a roaster and back into the oven and bake again for another 30 minutes shaking them in between to have an even bake. It may take a little longer if the balls are larger ones and soft. The end result should be very hard and crunchy balls.