Monday, December 28, 2015


Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:4 hours
Total Time:4 1/2 hours


3 to 3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 medium potatoes, 8 - 9 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (1 cup)
3 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (this comes to just a tiny bit under 5 1/2 cups)
1 cup evaporated milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
9 oz bacon, cooked and diced or crumbled
4 green onions, diced


1. To a 6 or 7-quart slow cooker, add potatoes, onion, chicken broth, evaporated milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH heat for 4 hours or LOW heat for 8 hours. To check for doneness, poke a piece of potato with a knife. It if easily slides through, it is cooked.
2. Ladle out 2 cups liquid from soup mixture in crock pot into a liquid measuring cup, set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour 2 cups liquid in measuring cup into butter mixture. Pour butter mixture into slow cooker and stir to blend.
3.If desired, mash potatoes with a potato masher to break down into smaller pieces or use an immersion blender to puree. (High recommended. Be careful when using an immersion blender. If it splatters on you it can be quite hot).
4.Cover and cook on HIGH heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Turn heat off (or to warm), stir in sour cream. Serve warm topped with cheddar, bacon and green onions.

This delicious recipe brought to you by Mom Spark – A Trendy Blog for Moms – Mom Blogger

Monday, December 21, 2015


Easy Spinach Dip Wreath

Easy Spinach Dip Wreath
  • Prep Time 10 min
  • Total Time 10 min
  • Servings 12


1 round uncut loaf (about 9 inches in diameter) Hawaiian or sourdough bread
1 1/2 cups spinach dip
Rosemary sprig, if desired
Miniature yellow cherry tomatoes, if desired
Cranberries, if desired
Red bell pepper pieces, if desired


  • Cut and hollow out 3-inch-wide ring on top of bread loaf to within 1/2 inch of bottom, leaving center of loaf intact. Reserve scooped-out bread.  
  • Spoon spinach dip into hollowed-out ring. Arrange rosemary sprigs around outer edge of wreath. Decorate with cherry tomatoes and cranberries. Cut bow shape from bell pepper; place on wreath. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
  • Tear remaining loaf of bread into bite-size pieces. Use torn bread and reserved scooped-out bread for dipping.


Christmas Tree Roll-Ups

Christmas Tree Roll-Ups
  • Prep Time 20 min
  • Total Time 2 hr 20 min
  • Servings 64


1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red bell peppers (from 7.25-oz jar)
1/4 cup chopped ripe olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 spinach-flavor flour tortillas (8 to 10 inches in diameter)
Ripe olive pieces


  • In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except tortillas and olive pieces. Divide mixture among tortillas, spreading to edges of tortillas. Roll up tightly. Press each tortilla roll into triangle shape, using fingers. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  • To serve, cut rolls into 1/2-inch slices. Place olive piece at bottom of each triangle to look like tree trunk; secure with toothpick.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball

Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball
  • Prep Time 20 min
  • Total Time 4 hr 20 min
  • Servings 7


3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (16 ounces)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
Red pepper sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
Piece of lemon peel, if desired
Assorted crackers, if desired


  • Stir together cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; divide in half. Stir pesto into 1 half; stir onion, mustard and 2 or 3 drops pepper sauce into other half. Cover each half; refrigerate about 4 hours or until firm enough to shape.
  • Place cheese mixtures on cookie sheet. Shape each half into cone shape to look like a pine tree.
  • If desired, wrap each tree, label and freeze up to 1 month. Twelve hours before serving, remove trees from freezer. Thaw in wrapper in refrigerator.
  • Just before serving, roll trees in parsley, pressing it evenly onto trees. Press pine nuts onto trees in string form for garland. Press bell pepper pieces onto trees for ornaments. Top each tree with star shape cut from lemon peel. Serve with crackers.

Saturday, December 19, 2015



1 egg
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
Mix the first four ingredients together. Then add the milk gradually until batter is smooth. Pour batter on greased hot griddle to size desired. Bake on hot griddle until tiny bubbles form around edges; flip and bake another 1-2 minutes until cooked through.
Batter thickens as it sits. If the batter becomes too thick, add a little extra milk. If too thin, add another teaspoon of flour until desired consistency. A thicker batter and a hotter griddle will make thicker pancakes; a thinner batter and a cooler griddle will allow batter to spread for thinner pancakes.
Makes about 12 small pancakes.
Servings: 12 (1 small pancake per serving)Nutrition (per serving): 54 calories, less than 1g total fat, 19.3mg cholesterol, 248.8mg sodium, 47.4mg potassium, 9g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 1.1g sugar, 2.3g protein, less than 1g saturated fat, less than 1mg iron, 22mcg folate, 46.7mg phosphorus, 58.9IU Vitamin A, less than 1mcg Vitamin B12, less than 1mg Vitamin C, 10.2IU Vitamin D.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Make-Ahead Snowman Cheese Ball

Make-Ahead Snowman Cheese Ball
  • Prep Time 10 min
  • Total Time 4 hr 10 min
  • Servings 7


3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (16 ounces)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 drops red pepper sauce
1 container (4 ounces) whipped cream cheese, softened
Decorations, if desired
Assorted crackers, if desired


  • Mix 3 packages cream cheese and the Cheddar cheese; divide into 3 equal parts. Combine 2 parts to equal two-thirds of mixture; mix in pesto. Mix onion, mustard and pepper sauce into remaining one-third mixture.
  • Cover each cheese mixture and refrigerate about 4 hours or until firm enough to shape. Shape each cheese mixture into ball. Wrap each ball, label and freeze.
  • About 12 hours before serving, remove balls from freezer. Thaw in wrappers in refrigerator.
  • Arrange balls on serving plate with smaller ball on top for head of snowman. Frost snowman with whipped cream cheese before serving. Decorate as desired. Serve with crackers. Store covered in refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015



Prep Time:20 min  
Cook Time:6 hr 
Total Time:6 hr 20 min
  • 1 lb Ground Hamburger
  • ½ an Onion, Chopped (you could us more we prefer just a little bit of onion)
  • 1 Bag of Baby Carrots
  • Peeled and cubed potatoes *We used about 7 since they are the kids favorite part
  • Minced Garlic to Taste
  • 6 oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cups of water (you could do less if you reduce the amount of potatoes)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 - Brown the ground beef
  • 2 - Prep all your veggies: Peel and chop potatoes, onions, and carrots.
  • 3 - I sprayed my crock pot with a non-stick spray, you can choose to skip this step if you’d like!
  • 4 - Combine the beef, carrots, potatoes, and garlic in the crock pot
  • 5 - In a separate bowl whisk together the water, tomato paste, and seasonings
  • 6 - Pour the water mixture over the beef mixture in the crock pot and cover with a lid
  • 7 - Cook on low for 6-8 hours until done. Be sure to watch the liquid level for the potatoes to cook all the way. If it gets low before the stew is done cooking be sure to add some more!
  • 8 - Serve with bread bowls or bread
penny pincher jenny

Monday, December 14, 2015


Cracker Barrel Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Cracker Barrel Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
Yields: 1 servings


2 cups Flour
½ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup Milk, A Bit Less Than A Full Cup
2 quarts Chicken Broth
3 cups Cooked Chicken


In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball.
To cook them, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting. Add the cooked chicken to the pot and you’re done!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Lazy Day Coconut Macaroons

SERVES 30  |  ACTIVE TIME 10 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 25 Min

1 (14 ounce) bag sweetened coconut flakes

7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 of a 14 ounce can)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat Mat.

In a medium bowl combine add coconut. Then pour condensed milk over top. Mix with a spoon until the coconut and milk are completely mixed and all of the milk combines with the coconut.

Use a 1 tablespoon scooper. Scoop and then press the mixture into the scooper to make sure you get a well packed scoop. Place them on the baking pan about a finger apart. They will not spread so you can place them pretty close together.

Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 14-16 minutes. If the tops are not perfectly browned but the bottoms are, you can turn the broiler on and broil until the tops are perfectly browned, about 1-3 minutes.

*Do not walk away when broiling, you can go from golden brown to crispy in a flash.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, if you can wait that long.

Serve and enjoy!


Baking Pan
Silpat Baking Mat or Parchment Paper
1 tablespoon scoop

This recipe can be doubled. Simply use double the ingredients and 2 sheet pans. I bake one while I scoop the other, so the cooking time remains the same for each pan.

If your macaroons will not stay together check to see if you used sweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk can NOT be used in this recipe.

Store in a resealable plastic bag or container, in the refrigerator.

Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
Copyright ©2015 The Slow Roasted Italian – All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I have never heard of this, but it sounds good and EASY.  I'm going to have to try it.


1 package white cake mix
1 package lemon jello, diluted in 2/3 cup hot water
4 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil


6 oz. frozen lemonade
2/3 c. sugar

Mix first four ingredients together and pour into greased and floured tube pan.Bake at 350°F for one hour. Boil lemonade and sugar together and pour over cake right out of the oven.Let the cake cool in pan before turning out.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Loaf Recipe: Sugared Cranberry Tea Cake

Cranberry Tea Cake

Yields 2 loaves
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, roughly chopped (fresh or dried)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar, garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy. 4-5 minutes.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Alternate between adding 1/3 cup of dry ingredients and 1-2 tablespoons buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture.
  6. Gently fold in chopped cranberries and pour batter into loaf pans.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool, then sift powdered sugar on top and enjoy!

Sunday, November 29, 2015


1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 3⁄4 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar.
Add egg and vanilla.
Mix all dry ingredients and add slowly to butter cream mixture until incorporated.
Roll out on lightly floured board to desired thickness.
Cutout 2-1/2" shapes and bake at 400 degrees for 7- 10 minutes.
Should be light in color with light browning on the edges.

Icing Recipe:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
food coloring

Stir the powdered sugar and the milk until smooth.
Beat in corn syrup and vanilla until icing is smooth and glossy.
If it's too thick, add more corn syrup.
Divide icing into separate bowls and stir in food coloring as desired.
You can dip the cookies, paint them with a paint brush or spread them using a knife or the back of a spoon.

food. com

Wednesday, November 25, 2015



1 1/2 cups apple butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
Whipped cream
9-inch unbaked pie crust

In a large bowl, stir together apple butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in eggs. Gradually add evaporated milk, mixing well.
Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Bake in a 350 degrees oven 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack. If you like, serve with whipped cream.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


This easy Thanksgiving side dish is not only delicious and bursting with Fall and... Holiday flavors (cinnamon, maple syrup), it’s also healthy, gluten free, vegetarian, and packed with fiber!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
3 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste

Roasted Butternut Squash:
1 and ½ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes (Yields about 4 cups of uncooked cubed butternut squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Other Ingredients:
 2 cups pecan halves
1 cup dried cranberries
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Roasted Brussels sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Make sure Brussels sprouts have trimmed ends and yellow leaves are removed. Then, slice all Brussels sprouts in half. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt (to taste), and toss to combine. Place onto a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning, the cut sides should be nicely and partially charred but not blackened.

 Roasted butternut squash:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded),1 tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and toss to mix.
Place butternut squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until softened.

 _Note:_You can roast both Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time, on the same rack in the oven – that’s what I did.

In a large bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cranberries, and mix to combine. (OPTIONAL): For more sweetness, add 2 or 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, if desired – do not add all maple syrup at once, start with 2 tablespoons, then add more, if desired, and toss with the salad ingredients to combine.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Loaded Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Prep time:  10 minutes
Total time:  60 minutes
Serves:  12

A great appetizer that combines the light sweetness of sweet potatoes and traditional loaded potato toppings!
Recipe by Nick Evans 


2 strips thick bacon
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into quarters 
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
Fresh chives


  • Cook bacon until crispy, either in a skillet or baked in the oven. Once the bacon is crispy, let cool and chop into bits for topping. Set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut off the ends of the sweet potatoes, then cut them into quarters. Pour olive oil on a baking sheet and rub potatoes on both sides to coat. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper.
  • Bake potato pieces for 25-30 minutes until they are fork tender. Then let cool briefly until you can handle them.
  • Use a small plate to smash each potato down a bit. Return smashed potatoes to baking sheet.
  • Bake smashed potatoes a second time for 10 minutes to crisp them up a bit.
  • Remove potatoes from oven and top with sour cream, shredded cheese, crispy bacon bits, and fresh chives.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Thanks to Betty Crocker for this recipe.

Bottom of the Cereal Box Cookies 

Prep time:  40 minutes
Servings:  30

1 pouch (1 lb, 1.5 oz.) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3 cups total of Trix, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs and/or Corn Chex cereal (including cereal crumbs)

1.  Heat oven to 350*F.  In large mixing bowl mix cookie mix, butter, and egg until soft dough forms.  Stir in cereal.

2.   Drop and shape dough by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Cool one minute before removing from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Food has a wonderful texture and finish to it when it's been cooked in a grill pan.  always make sure you cook the meat thoroughly.  You can eat this dish hot or cold.

Prep time:  45 minutes plus chilling
Cook time:  25 minutes
Serves:  4

2 tsp. paprika
5 tbsp. olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, each about 5 1/2 oz. (150g)
14 oz (400g) baby new potatoes, cut in half, if necessary
2 scallions, finely chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp. lemon juice

large shallow dish
plastic wrap
grill pan
small sharp knife
cutting board
medium saucepan
large glass bowl

1.  Mix the paprika and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dish.  Add the chicken and spoon over the marinade.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

2.  Heat a grill pan until it is very hot.  Reduce the heat to medium and place 2 chicken breasts in the pan.  Grill for 6 minutes on one side.

3.  Carefully turn the chicken over using tongs.  Spoon over a little of the marinade and then cook for 6 minutes, or until cooked through.  Grill the remaining chicken.

4.  Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes for 10 minutes, or until they are tender.

5.  Drain the pototes and let them cool in a bowl.  Add the mint.  When cool, add the tomaotes and scallions to the potatoes.

6.   Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together, using a fork.  Then pour the dressing over the salad and stir well to mix.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Serve these bite-sized fish cakes on toothpicks to make them easier to dip in the creamy lemon mayonnaise.


Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  9 minutes
Makes:  24

14 oz (400 g) fresh almon filets
14 oz (400 g) cooked potato 
2 oz (50 g) frozen peas, defrosted
5 1/2 oz (150 g) fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 eggs, beaten
sunflower oil for frying

For the lemon mayonnaise:
1 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

medium saucepan or frying pan with lid
4 mixing bowls
3 metal spoons
nonstick frying pan

1.  Place the fish in the pan.  Add a little water and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Let cool, then flake, removing any skin and bones.

2.  Place the potato, peas, and salmon in a bowl.  Mix gently until combined and season to taste.

3.  Mix the bread crumbs with the parsley and place on a plate.

4.  Place a heaping teaspoon of the salmon mixture in your hands, roll into a ball, then flatten.  Dip into the egg, then coat in the bread crumb mixture.

5.  Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the fish cakes for 203 minutes on each side until golden.

6.  Mix together the mayonnaise with the lemon zest and juice.  Transfer to a bowl.  Serve the fish cakes warm or cold on toothpicks with the dip.

Friday, October 16, 2015


It will be here before you know it.  Try these easy cookies ahead of time.  You know -- just to be sure.

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp. baking powder

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs; add vanilla and dry ingredients.

Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands. Pinch off dough, roll in your hands to form a log and then twirl into shape. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
6 tsp. water

Stir until creamy

Dip cookies into icing and sprinkle with trim. Place on wire rack with wax paper on counter to collect the dripping icing and sprinkles

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


These bite-sized skewers are a tasty option.  Make double quantities of the sauce and use half for dipping if you like.

Prep time:  40 minutes plus marinating
Cook time:  15 minutes
Serves:  4

12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 red and 1 yellow peppe seeded and cut into chunks

Barbecue sauce:
6 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp brown sugar

small saucepan
wooden spoon
cutting board
mixing bowl
small wooden skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
pastry brush

1.  Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Let cool.

2.  Cut each chicken thigh into 2 to 3 pieces.  Place the cooled sauce in a large bowl.  Turn the cutting board over.

3.  Add the chicken, stir to coat, then let marinate for about 30 minutes.

4.  Thread 2 to 3 pieces of chicken onto wooden skewers with pieces of red and yellow bell pepper.  Repeat until the chicken and peppers have been used up.

5.  Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil, then broil for 10-12 minutes, turning and brushing with the sauce, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Tip:  Remember to soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.

Monday, October 5, 2015


This is a fun and easy snack to make.  It also works well as an appetizer for a main meal.  The soft rice and melted mozzarella are yummy and have a great texture.

Prep time:  30 minutes
Cook time:  5 minutes
Serves:  4

1 1/4 cups cold, cooked Arborio or other risotto rice
Ground black pepper
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
2 slices toast, for bread crumbs
Olive oil, for deep frying
Salsa dip, to serve
Salad, to serve

mixing bowl
large plate
large dish
small bowl
paper towels

1.  Generously season the cold, cooked rice with black pepper.  Roll the rice into 12 evenly sized balls.

2.  Push a cube of cheese into the center of each ball, then cover so that the cheese is enclosed.

3.  Roll each ball in the egg and then roll in the bread crumbs (toast that's been turned into crumbs in a food processor).

4.  Deep fry the balls in olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Variation:  Buy a salsa dip to serve with the rice balls.  You can make this dish into a light meal by adding vegetables.  Try a fresh garden salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Take the time to actually read recipes through before you begin.
John Besh
Author of My New Orleans

Saturday, October 3, 2015


The soft and creamy filling contrasts with the light crispy layers of phyllo pastry in this mouthwatering reipe for cheese and spinach tarts.

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  25 minutes
Serves:  4

1 tbsp sunflower oil
3 1/2 oz (100 g) baby spinach leaves, washed
4 oz (125 g) cream cheese
1 oz (25 g) Cheddar or Parmesan cheese, grated
1 medium egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 x 5 in (12.5 cm) squares phyllo pastry

pastry brush
6 hole muffin pan
cutting board
sharp knife
large mixing bowl
wooden spoon
dinner spoon
oven mitts 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F (180*C).  Use a pastry brush to apply oil to 4 muffin-pan holes.  Place the spinach on a cutting board and chop coarsely, using a sharp knife. 

2.  Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Then beat in the grated cheese and egg until well combined.  Season well, then stir in the spinach.

3.  Brush one of the pastry squares with oil.  Place another square over the top at an angle to make a star shape.  Repeat with 2 more squares of pastry, brushing each with oil.

4.  Gently press the layers of phyllo pastry into one of the holes of the muffin pan, then shape it to fit the hole.  Repeat with the remaining pastry until you have 4 tarts. 

5.  Use a soup spoon to fill each crust with the spinach mixture.  Press it down with the spoon.  Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry has browned and the filling has set.

6.  Remove the tarts from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan.  Serve hot with salad or vegetables. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Bruschetta is a tasty Italian appetizer or snack.  It is traditionally made by piling ripe tomatoes onto toasted garlic bread.

Prep time:  40 minutes
Cook time:  5 minutes
Serves 2

4 x 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices Italian style bread, such as ciabatta
3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
6 basil leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled

cutting board
metal spoon
grill pan

1.  Halve and seed the tomatoes.  Press the seeds through a sieve over a bowl, then discard the seeds.  Dice the tomatoes and add to the bowl.

2.  Add the olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Roll up the basil leaves, hop finely, then add to the mixture.

3.  Toast the bread on both sides, preferably in a grill pan to create dark lines, or under a preheated broiler.

4.  Rub the warm bread with the clove of garlic.  Place each piece of bread on a plate and heap with the tomato mixture.

Tip:  Try adding some torn mozzarella, which can also be lightly toasted under a broiler.