Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wild Rice Pilaf

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery (optional)
1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts (optional)
1 cup wild rice (raw)
2 1/2 oz package sliced almonds
3 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a skillet than add mushroom, onion, rice, and almonds. Saute for a few minutes, then put in a 2 quart casserole dish and add chicken broth. Bake covered for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crazy Chocolate Cake

A childhood favorite passed on from my grandmother.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup oil
2 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13" pan.

In a bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Pour into 9x13" pan. Make three wells in the mixture. In the first well put the vinegar, in the second well, the vanilla, in the third well, the oil. Pour the warm water over this and mix together with a fork just until combined. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Frosting Option 1

2 sticks of softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3-3/4 cup milk

Cream the butter and vanilla (beat until fluffy) with a hand mixer. Adding one cup at a time, beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa. Stir in enough milk to make the frosting the right consistency, spread over cake.

Frosting Option 2

Sift together a couple cups of powdered sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa (or, to taste). Whisk in enough milk (tablespoon by tablespoon) to make a creamy frosting. Spread over cooled cake.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Turkey Gravy

From my dad, the Thanksgiving turkey, gravy and mashed potato master.

1-2 teaspoons kitchen bouquet
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Chicken broth
Turkey drippings (fat skimmed off) from bottom of roaster pan

Remove turkey from roaster pan. Empty contents of roaster pan into a large measuring cup or bowl. Skim out as much as much fat as you can. Reserve a couple tablespoons of it and discard the rest.

The roaster pan should have a sort of "crust" on it - this is yummy, scrape it up and keep aside!

In a sauce pan put in couple tablespoons of fat, to this add the cornstarch. Combine well, then slowly add the turkey drippings/juices from the measuring cup, whisking as you add. Add chicken broth (per your desired amount of gravy), salt, pepper, and kitchen bouquet. Bring to a boil, constantly whisking. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and gravy is ready.

Turkey Dressing (Stuffing)

Another Thanksgiving Classic! From my mother.


1 c. butter
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped celery
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sage
12-13 cups torn stale bread (2-3 loaves)*
2 beaten eggs
4-4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp chicken bouillion powder or 2 chicken bouillion cubes

Melt butter in a large skillet, then add onion and celery. Saute until onion is translucent, then add: poultry seasoning, salt, sage. Beat together in a separate bowl: eggs, chicken broth, chicken bouillion.

Pour the onion mixture over torn stale bread. Then, pour the egg and chicken broth mixture over the bread and mix until well combined.

Cooking methods: Stuff into raw turkey and bake until turkey is done (approximate internal temp of 180). Cook in a crockpot on high for 45 minutes, low for 5 hours. Put in 9x13 pan and bake in oven at 350 until done.

*To prepare stale bread, chop or tear a few days prior - allow it to sit out on the counter for a couple days so that it gets hard and dry.

Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving Classics! This one's from my maternal grandmother.

1 lb. cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. crushed pineapple, well drained
3 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. whipping cream, whipped (or Cool Whip)

Grind the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Mix with sugar and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then add pineapple, marshmallows and whipped cream. Mix and chill overnight for best results.

We usually double the recipe.


9 lasagna noodles - cook according to instructions and keep in cold water until ready to use
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
2 cans italian-style diced tomatoes
1 lb hot italian sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
salt to taste
14 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups or 10 oz mozzarella cheese - shredded/grated

Cook sausage until browned, drain fat. Saute onion then add to sausage. Add spices and tomato sauce and tomatoes. Simmer for about a 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix ricotta, parmesan and oregano together, set aside.

Put enough sauce to fill bottom of 9x13 pan then a layer of noodles. On top of that spread or drop lumps of cheese filling. On top of that sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers: sauce, noodles, cheeses. 3rd layer: noodles, sauce then mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. Take off foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
1 cup chopped rhubarb (or strawberries)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Stir until crumbly.

In a medium saucepan, combine white sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla and rhubarb. Cook, stirring, until thick and clear, 10 minutes.

Put apples in bottom of 9x13 pan. Pour the rhubarb-sugar mixture over it. Cover fruit with crumble mixture. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flax seed (opt)
1 cup chopped walnuts (opt)
2/3-3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring to a boil: oil, sugar, syrup, honey and spices. Meanwhile mix together in large bowl: oats, bran, seeds and nuts. Pour sugar mixture over the oat mixture and combine well. Put in two 9x13 pans and put in oven for 25 minutes. Stir. Put back in oven for about 20 more minutes, then remove. As the granola cools it will harden. If you don't like "clumps" in your granola, stir it as it cools.

Serve with yogurt and fruits for an excellent source of protein, calcium and fiber, and other vitamins and minerals.