Sunday, November 29, 2009

This has been a family staple for years at most all major dinners. Holidays, celebrations, potlucks, and office parties: everytime other people love this dish and ask to have the recipe... Enjoy!

(Aunt Marcia)

1 large can sweet potatoes
1 stick oleo/butter
2 eggs
dash of cinnamon
1 can of condensed milk
2 cups sugar

1 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2+ cups nuts (walnuts are best)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick oleo

Heat potatoes, drain juice - mash potatoes until smooth. Then add oleo, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, and milk. Mixture will fill a 9 x 13 greased pan. Cook 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees or until you can take a toothpick out clean. Mix topping. Sprinkle on top and cook an additional 15 minutes.

You can heat potatoes in microwave. You can also bake dish in microwave. Sometimes I cook the first part on one day, then freeze or refrigerate after adding topping and cook another day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

1 Rotisserie Chicken
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Stalks of Celery (Small Dice)
½ Cup Shredded Carrot (optional)
1 Large Bunch of Green Onion (chopped)
1 Cup Mayo or Miracle Whip (if preferred)
½ Bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Chicken Sauce
1/8 Cup Blue Cheese Dressing
1/8 Cup Sweet Relish (optional)

Boil Eggs and debone Chicken, discarding all bones and shredding chicken into bite sized pieces. Dice celery and chop green onion. Place into a large bowl and measure out mayo, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese dressing. Stir well and refrigerate at least one hour until serving, may hold up to 7 days. Serve on Croissants, Kaiser, or Whole Wheat Rolls, garnish with Lettuce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Family Recipes: Hot Chocolate


8 oz. Nestles Chocolate Mix
16 oz. Creamora
1 lb. 9 oz. Carnation Dry Milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix and keep in air-tight container.
Add 2 tsp. + to a cup of hot water.
Add marshmallows and serve.

2 cups dry milk 1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar 1/2 tsp. Salt

Mix and store in a covered container. Use 1/4 cup of mix or less for 1 cup of drink.

Family Recipes: Ice Creams

(Grandma Yarbrough)

4 eggs beaten
Add 2 cups sugar
Add 2 boxes of instant pudding and stir

Fold in 1 carton whipped topping (cool whip).
Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla.
Add ½ gallon of whole milk (or 2% + 1 can milnut or evaporated milk.)

Optional flavors: 1 cup pecans with pecan pudding
Chocolate with nuts such as almonds
Chocolate chip with vanilla pudding
1 quart of fresh fruit with vanilla pudding

(Aunt Jennifer’s)

Melt 5 Milky way candy bars and 10 oz. of miniature marshmallows in the microwave for 2+ minutes. Stir every 1 minute. Add ¾ cup sugar and 2 cups whole milk. Heat until candy and sugar are just about melted. Put in the ice cream container and fill to line with whole milk as directed.

(Grandma Graden)

Beat 5 eggs until thick and light yellow.
Gradually add 2 cups sugar and then add ½ tsp. salt,
1+ T. of vanilla.
Then add 1 can milnut while continuing to beat.
Add milk to bowl. When bowl is full and thoroughly mixed, put into ice cream container.
Fill milk to the line as directed. (Ice Milk)


4 eggs
2 ½ cups sugar
6+cups milk
4 cups light cream (milnut)
2 T. vanilla
½ tsp. salt

Beat eggs until light and thick. Add sugar gradually beating until mixture thickens. Add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Freeze in ice cream freezer. Makes 1 gallon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Creamy Herb Chicken Soup

Creamy Herb Chicken Soup

2 TB Olive Oil
4 TB Butter
1/8 cup Roux
3-4 prepared Chicken Breast - chopped (Boiled, Grilled, or Baked)
2-3 slices Bacon (crumbled)
1 medium sized Onion (chopped) - could use Green Onion
1 TB Fresh Garlic (chopped) - I used 2 cloves
1 qt Whipping Cream (Heavy Cream)
1 qt Milk -Less to make thicker
1 can low sodium Chicken Broth
1/8 tsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Pinch of Sea Salt
1/8 cup of Chives (reserve for garnish)
3 Sage Leaves
1/8 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese (reserve 1/2 for Garnish)
Fresh Parsley (for Garnish) can use vivid green freeze dried

Using a heavy bottomed Stock Pot, melt butter and add Olive Oil, heat til oil is hot. Saute' onion, stirring frequently about 3-4 minutes until almost translucent. Add chicken and continue saute' another 2-3 minutes to heat through then add garlic. Make a roux by adding about an 3 TB flour to pan, then slowly add Cream or Milk and can of Chicken Broth. Add seasonings, bring to a low boil, if you bring it to a full boil you risk the chance of curdling the milk & creeam, reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in 1/2 of Parmesan Cheese and continue simmering for 10 minutes until thickened.

Serve in large bowls and garnish with Parmesan Cheese, Chives, and Parsley and a side of Garlic Cheese Bread.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shallot-Garlic Chutney by J_in_OFallon (twitter)

Shallot-Garlic Chutney
by J_in_OFallon (twitter)

2 medium shallots, minced fine
2 medium cloves of garlic, crushed and minced fine
1c White wine, Chardonnay
2c Orange Juice
2TB fresh Lemon Juice
2TB Clover Honey
Sea Salt

Warm olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add shallot and sweat with a pinch of sea salt until clear and tender. Add garlic and sweat until soft and fragrant.
Deglaze with 1c of white wine. I used Chardonnay. Add 2c orange juice, 2TBS lemon juice and 2TBS clover honey. Stir well.
Reduce to 1/4 of original volume or until liquid is thick and syrupy. Salt and pepper to taste. Tart/sweet/savory.
Mmmm Gahhlic! Serve on fish or poultry either as a thick chunky sauce or use the syrup as a glaze and a large dot of the garlic/shallot "chutney" as a garnish.

J_In_OFallon Was awesome on grilled Mahi-Mahi. (2:54 PM Sep 3rd)

J_In_OFallon One reason I shared it. I am having fun taking risks in the kitchen... (11:18 PM Sep 3rd)

Pot Roast w/Carrots, Potatoes, & Onion

Pot Roast w/Carrots, Potatoes, & Onion

serves 4-6

3-4 Pound Chuck Roast

4 TB Olive Oil

1 1/2 Pounds Baby Carrots

2 1/2 Pound small Red Skin Potatoes

1 Small Onion

2 Stalks Celery

4 tsp Beef Bouillon Powder

Morton Nature's Seasonings: Seasoning Blend

Garlic Powder

Coarse Ground Black Pepper

1 # Amish Style Egg Noodles

Take out the roast, put it on a clean surface such as a cutting board rub in two TB of olive oil on the roast. Get a heavy bottomed stock pot put about 2 TB of olive oil in pan. Season roast with Seasoning Blend, Garlic Powder, and coarse ground Black Pepper to taste. Let seasoned roast rest. Turn heat on to stock pot and prep vegetables. Chop onions, quarter potatoes, chop the celery, and rinse carrots.

When oil is smoking slightly in stock pot, place seasoned roast in pan to sear it and seal in the flavors and juices. Turning ever 4-5 minutes with a pair of tongues being careful to not pierce the meat. Sear all sides including the edges. Spray the crock pot with PAM to assist in cleaning later and turn on high.

Once seared, remove from heat and finish preparing the vegetables. Put in one cup of hot water and 1 1/2 tsp of bouillon into crock pot, stir to dissolve. Place half the vegetables into the crock pot, reserving carrots.

Season vegetables with the seasonings used proir. Place seasoned meat onto the bed of vegetables you just made and then add all the carrots around the seasoned meat. Then add the remaining onion and potatoes. Once again season the vegetables and place 2 tsp of bouillon on top by sprinkling over. Then pour water over to rinse the vegetables, enough water to not quite cover the meat. Leave on high about 40-50 minutes, then place temp on low to finish.

Should take 6-8 hrs total.

You can check periodically or leave on while you are at work, attempt to not pierce the meat other than when using a meat thermometer.

Once you decide it is completed, with Beef it should be 130 degrees F for rare, 140/medium, and 150 for well, remove from crock pot, cover losely with aluminum foil and let rest.

(Meat will continue cooking and temp may rise an additional 10 degrees while resting. This also allows the juices to properly distribute)

Place vegetables into a bowl and keep warm, drizzling with some of the pan juices for flavor and moisture. reserving juices in the crockpot to make the fresh pan gravy, placing crock pot on high. Taste to see if you desire to add more bouillon for additional beef flavor. Season to taste, you want it to be strong, never salty. Bring to a boil. (if it will not boil, place stock into a sauce pan on the stovetop.)

Take a 1/2 cup of warm water and disolve 1 tsp of flour or corn stach. Slowly stir into the beef stock and stir frequently until a full boil is acheived. Reduce heat to a fast simmer, continue to stir frequently until desired consistance is achieved.

Serving suggestion: You may serve the vegetable as is or mash the potatoes.
Steamed Broccoli
Amish style Egg Noodles
To mash the potaotes:
Mashed Redskin Potatoes

Seperate potatoes from carots, onions, & celery.

Mash with a potato masher.

Add enough cream or 1/2 & 1/2 to thin out.

Add 2 TB butter.

Season to taste with Sea Salt & Pepper. (Garlic & Parsley if desired)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pan Roasted Cherry Tomato Marinara

This is a recipe, that I conceptualized with my buddy Jim while hanging out one evening. He made it the other evening for a date and both he and her were thoroughly impressed! He says, when he wrote down exactly what he did, to serve with favorite pasta and to invite Skip over for dinner to thank him... So if you try it and like it, just let me know and I like Hand Cut Dry Aged Rib eyes - Medium Rare... LOL!

Pan Roasted Cherry Tomato Marinara

2 pints of Cherry Tomatoes washed and drained.

Blanch and peel if a less rustic sauce is desired.

3 cloves Garlic, peeled, crushed and finely minced

2-3 medium shallots, finely minced

1 pinch Sea Salt (more if desired)

2 tbsp Rustic Tuscan Seasoning mix. (see recipe for Tuscan Seasoning Mix)

Large pinch of sugar.

Small tomato sauce (12 oz or less)

2c Semi sweet red wine. (I prefer Sangiovese or Chianti)

Red pepper flake to taste

1/2 tsp of fresh Black Pepper, coarse ground

Sweat the shallots with the sea salt in olive oil until clear and tender.

Add minced garlic and heat until fragrant.

Do not brown or burn or the garlic will be bitter.

Add tomatoes and gently heat until they burst.

Stir to break up the tomatoes.Add Tuscan Seasoning, pepper and sugar.

Add wine to De-glaze pan, let reduce by half.

Add Tomato Sauce and continue over medium heat about 20 minutes, reducing until thickened.

If to thick, thin with a little more wine.

This recipe is vegan as written, may add thinly sliced mushrooms if desired.

Serve over your favorite pasta and enjoy and garnish with a Fresh Basil and freshly shaved Parmesan Cheese. (optional or use a Vegan Alternative to Parmesan) 

May also add, Chicken, Shrimp, Bacon, or Italian Sausage for additional flavors. (this is for any meat eaters who read this)

I recently added this to my Master Cook program, here is the nutrition facts: (without meat)

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 180 Calories; 5g Fat (34.3% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 2746mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutrition Warnings:

shallots: MasterCook assumes an average 'whole' size of this ingredient.
Tuscan seasoning mix: MasterCook uses fluid weight to scale this item. Nutritional calculation will be off to the degree that it differs in density from water.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What do you like on your Baked Potato?

What do you want on your baked potato?
When we go out to eat at a nicer style place to eat, there is usually a choice of potato. Sometimes chips, fries, wedges, seasoned fries, waffle fries, and then there is the glorious baked potato. The server usually ask, would you like butter and sour cream with that?
Yes please, is my usual response. Sometimes you can even get bacon on it, chives, or parsley. But in the restuarant you are not going to get much more of an option. I think it was a fast food place that offered baked potatos with cheese, brocolli, chili, and anything else, I am not sure. I go to one restuarant here in town that has a loaded baked potato. They claim it is a one pound monstrosity and comes loaded with cheddar cheese and Applewood-smoked bacon for an extra fee. I usually eat it when I go there because it is still less expensive than most things and filling as well! It is pure comfort, add a cup of soup and it is a very fulfilling meal. (By itself it is a meal also) The cost of a potato makes it an economical choice for any household.

When I managed the steakhouse in IL, we had baked potatos and also a special option of a baked sweet potato. Loaded with butter and brown sugar and dusted with cinnamon, I have even seen them offered with a bit of whipped cream to top them off. (HEAVENLY) I am not sure which I prefer? Leftover potatos were the reincarnated in other dishes: Cow Chips, Fried Tators, Potato Soup, stew, etc.
But the simplicity of the baked potato wins out more days than not. I can microwave one in about 5 minutes: wash it, wrap it in wax paper, and then put it in the microwave for 5 minutes, turning halfway thru cooking. My daughter aptly pointed out the other night that her mother does not wrap her potatos. I told her it was not neccesary but I prefered to wrap mine to keep the skin moister. If you have to do several for a large group you can always place them in a 400 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or so depending on their size. Wash them and then I will rub them in oil to make them shine and dust them with sea salt for added flavor. You can wrap them in foil and even cook them on the Grill outside while grilling other foods.
Now they are ready to eat, so I return to the question, What do you want on your baked potato?
Keep in mind the potential is unlimited: Butter, sour cream, chives, cheese (shredded or sauce),alfredo sauce, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, feta, tomatoes, green peppers, pizza sauce, onions (fresh or saute'd), bacon, brocolli (any veggie you like), chili, pulled pork, steak, shrimp, chicken, sausage, chopped pepperoni, ham, philly cheese steak toppings??? If you like it, you can try it!
A baked potato is the ultimate in comfort food, it can be like life at the core, simple. Simple you say! Come on do not laugh, we all are born and we all must die, how can it get any simpler than that? Sure in between birth and death, there is life to be lived, when we are younger we attend school, as we age, we have to find jobs, pay taxes and other bills, but what we add to our lives adds flavor and makes it what we enjoy! So again I ask, "What do you like on your Baked Potato?"
Responses to question:

surfergirl from California: These 3 toppings make it ideally delish for me.. Butter, sour cream, & chives RT @skipsrecipebox

CookingAsshole from Portland OR: @skipsrecipebox sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives/garlic spears, and bacon....

LJ from IL: i like...bacon..real bacon..not bacos...cheese...sour cream...and butter...salt...pepper... I like chili n cheese sometimes too… and broccoli n cheese.

joykeepin from TX: @skipsrecipebox chives, and butter :)
Add your topping choices to the comments, thanks!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Think I Will Have Dessert!

How many times do you finish a good meal and the server or host/hostess would ask, "would you like some dessert?"
Whether it is a family dinner, date, church or community social there seems to always be plenty of desserts on hand. There is cake, pie, candy, brownies, and fresh fruit. We like the sweet things in life.
Fresh fruit seems to be one of those things that we can not wait til summer for. I can remember as a kid growing up on the farm in Illinois and my father and I would go out to the "40 acre" wood and he would show me all kinds of things to be found there.
There was asparagus, mushrooms, and the glorious beautiful ripe blackberries! Unlike the asparagus and mushrooms the blackberries could be picked and consumed right off the vine. But beware!!! Beware there were briars and stickers and they were not easy to claim but oh so sweet when you popped one into your mouth.
I think we would eat more than we claimed and placed into our buckets???
Once picked we would take them back to the house, gently rinse them, and we could do many different things with them: Freeze for later use, bake a blackberry cobbler, blackberry pie, blackberry wine, and blackberry jam.
But my favorite was once they were washed to place a lil' sugar on them let them rest on the kitchen counter and produce juice. Then after dinner get out the the ice cream freezer (if we were lucky) or go to the 'fridge and get the store bought ice cream out and serve heaping bowls of ice cream smothered in those beautiful sweet delicious berries....
Seems life is like that...
As a person we head out into the wild woods (world) and like '40 acres' to a young kid it seems pretty large. There are many things there to find: adventures, rabbits, pheasants, trees to climb, creeks to play in, hills to climb, turtles, and snakes!
There was treasure to be found, countries to conquer, food to be foraged, and there were the briars, thorns, & stickers and how they hurt while trying to achieve the act of capturing the sweet berries. They would get you every time but you had to suffer them to get the fruit of your labors!
As a young man I set out to conquer the world, explore my surroundings and find my sweet sweet berries. Of course there were the briars, thorns, & stickers....
I have encountered my far share of the rough briar patch in this life... But, I will continue on in this place, my '40 acre' wood, continue looking for the berries, fruit, the sweet sweet beautiful berries!
Cause, I want dessert!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Somethings to think about.....

1. Practice random acts of kindness and sensless acts of barbecue. -- Adair Lara

2. I really liked her alot... alot... She was very special, I was inspired by her! Check out her blog:

3. Food & Work are all that remain... No taste for food and have the day off from work!

4." 1693 Dom Perignon discovered the process for making champagne. "Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!"

5. "I am sure you will find better things, you have a bright future ahead..."

6. I hate having to work so hard at getting a gals interest. I like a relationship and intimacy. There are friendships but there is no intimacy.

7.What toppings do u love on your Baked Potato?

8. Do not really want to say this... but... NEXT!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

Prep:15m Cook:30m Servings:20


3 cups cooked, cubed chicken (Grilled Chicken or boil in Chicken Broth)
1 cup buffalo wing sauce (mild, medium or hot)
2 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup blue cheese dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Cabot (white cheese)


1. Heat chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through.
2. Stir in cream cheese and blue cheese dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm.
3. Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheese and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker.
4. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
5. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

I made this last December for a party at D'vine Wines, it was a hit loved by all!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mexican Gumbo w/Chicken

Mexican Gumbo w/ Chicken
By: Kelli Venezia & Skip Graden

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and diced (Grill Chicken for additional flavor, any other meats such as Steak, Chorizo, or season Ground Beef may be added or substituted)
3 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix (about 10 ounces) (1 pkg Southwest Blend of Fajita Veggies) or Grilled/Roast Fresh
1 tablespoon ground cumin (less if desired, 1 teaspoon for mild, 2 for medium)
2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably with green chiles
1 15-ounce can Black Beans drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice (prefer fresh Lime)
1 cup Instant Rice
1 cup V-8 Juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (add some just before boiling, reserve the rest for garnish)
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sour Cream & Chips for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. (Unless you have previously Grilled the chicken and veggies) Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
Add pepper-onion mix and cumin to the pot, still complete this step if previously grilled roasted the veggies. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, or if previously Grilled warmed through, about 4 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans, pepper and lime juice; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes more.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juice, add the rice & V-8 Juice, at this time to the pot and bring to a low boil then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in cilantro. Garnish with Chips, Cheese, Cilantro, & Sour Cream.

EDIT 9/20/15: As I read this over after completion of becoming Certified Culinarian (actual chef), I am seeing some changes that I would use that I think may elevate a great soup. I would add a small dice of carrots and celery to the peppers and onions. (snd if threre is time to fire roast them before sauteing that would be optimal.) I may also add some minced jalapeno, maybe 1/2 of one? Dependant of how much heat you desire??? Lastly instead of rice, Quinoa could be used.  It adds to the protien punch as Quinoa has 8 of the 9 essential amino acids needed to consider it a perfect protien!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

(serves 20)
From: Tony Dinon of Destino’s Pizza

2# Ground Beef
1# Italian Sausage
1Lg Onion
1Lg Green Pepper
32 oz Tomato Paste
16 oz Crushed or Stewed Tomatoes
1 TB Brown Sugar
1 TB Salt
1 TB Pepper
1 TB Oregano
1 TB Garlic (minced)
1 TB Basil
60 oz of Long Spaghetti (3oz each)
Fresh Ground Parm for Garnish

Brown and drain meat, chop veggies, add veggies to meat and sauté for 3 minutes. Add Tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 2-3 hours. May add Sliced Mushrooms while browning the meat.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

SUBMITTED BY: Stephanie Phillips PHOTO BY: Melissa
"A great alternative to pumpkin pie, especially for those cheesecake fans out there."

30 Min
40 Min
4 Hrs 10 Min


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

Nutritional Information
Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 427

· Total Fat: 29g
· Cholesterol: 115mg
· Sodium: 353mg
· Total Carbs: 35.6g
· Dietary Fiber: 0.8g
· Protein: 7.2g
I have made this recipe several times and have shared it with my friends.... Everyone has raved over it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mexican Brownies (Foodnetwork)

Mexican Brownies

Directions: Prepare your favorite boxed or homemade brownies, adding 3/4 teaspoon ground Chipotle Chile pepper and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter (for a batch that fits a 9-by-13-inch pan). Top each Mexican brownie with a scoop of Dulce de Leche ice cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

I made this with a friend and again using different brownie mixes each time. First time, with regular then the second time with pieces of Chocolate in the mix. The one with the chocolate pieces was by far better. We also served it with a Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

I am thinking, next time I may swirl Caramel Sauce into the brownie mix before baking? We also have considered swirling honey into the brownies before baking as well? Maybe even a Brownie Cheesecake mix? Play with it, enjoy!

(Personal Note: I found cutting the chipotle in half made a lot of people happy and the brownies more pleasant. I had mixed revues on adding the caramel, may try putting in half way thru baking?)

Ham Tettrazini

This is a family favorite, that we all used to beg my Grandma Graden to make for every family dinner! We could definantly count on having it almost every Easter. I think we all at one time or another went and made it with my Grandmother. Others tried to make this dish but it was never the same as when Grandmother made it! I enjoy making it and have shared it with others here in St Louis and it has always been well recieved!

I would suggest to use fresh fresh fresh! If you have any questions on how to prepare this feel free to ask!

Ham Tettrazini

From the Kitchen of Louise Graden

(I think she clipped it from a newspaper, when she first married my Grandpa)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 cups Half n Half

2 T. cooking sherry (optional)

1/4 tsp. salt (I use Sea Salt)

dash of garlic salt & pepper

3/4 shredded parmesan cheese

1 (7 oz.) pkg. spaghetti cooked (I use Whole Wheat)

2 cups small thinly sliced cooked ham pieces

Sauté onion in butter until transparent. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Blend in flour. Stir in milk and half n half slowly, so it doesn't lump. Continue stirring until mixture is smooth and thickened.

Add sherry, salts, and pepper. Mix together 1/2 cup shredded parmesans, spaghetti in bottom of 2 qt. greased shallow baking dish. Cover with alternative layers of sauce and ham ending with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese over top.

Cover and bake in moderate oven (325 degrees) until bubbly around edges for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 servings or more.(When doubling use a 2 lb. box.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To Know You More... (letter to my future lover)

This is a poem that I wrote one night several years ago, there was no one in particular in mind. I am not sure that I will ever meet the person I had in mind when I wrote this but I still have faith in my God, who is faithful!


I want to know you more,

To know you and to know your love,

To see if we are perfect,

as the fit of a pair of fine leather gloves....

I want to know, your touch,

I want to know, your gaze,

I want to know, your silent sweet love....

You are my love,

I seek you day and night,

I seek you in the stars,

I seek you in the crowds,

I seek you in the silence,

I seek you in the music,

I seek you in the solitude,

I seek you in the streets,

I seek for you in the far and wide...

When, oh when, shall you be found?

When will I know you...

Oh, how I long to feel your touch,

Just the brush of your wings,as if an angel has just past by...

For I know that you,

you of all things are a heavenly gift,

a gift from God,

An angel,

complete with silken,

pure white wings...

For only an angel sings as you...

Oh to be in the gaze of your crystal clear eyes,

To see and behold the beauty,

To see and behold the glory,

To see and behold the depth,

of God's great love!

When I am in your presence,

I can feel the love,

The love I have,

The love I want to share,

The love I have to give,

I can feel this love arise...

To hear your voice makes my heart weep and jump for joy,

I want to always keep this vision of the pure beauty that is within you and your heart close to me,

Close to me,

as it reveals the beauty,



and mercy of God...

May He be ever praised!!!

Fish Marinade

Simple little marinade I wrote and used last year (2008) when my brother and father returned from a Salmon Fishing trip to the Great Lakes.

Grilled over a medium heat and used wood chips in a packet.

Fish Marinade

1 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 1/2 Cup Chardonay

1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

4 tspn. Old Bay Seasoning

4 tspn. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 tspn. Liquid Smoke (Hickory or Mesquite)

1 Tbl. of Sea Salt

2 tspn. Parsley Flakes

2 tspn. Garlic Powder

1 tspn. Onion Powder

2 tspn. Crushed Red Pepper

Zest of 1 Lime or Lemon (Sqeeze Juice into marinade)

Blend all ingredients and pour over fish until it is covered, let marinade for 30-45 minutes. Preheat grill to 400 degrees F. Place heavy foil on grill surface and on foil that fish will be placed on, spray with or brush with Olive Oil. Using Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper season fish and place Lime or Lemon slices on fish while cooking.

Grill or smoke fish until done, fish will flake with a fork.(About 12-15 minutes)

Enough Marinade for 4-5 6oz. fresh fish portions.

Suggested sides: serve with Wild Rice medley, Steamed Vegetable Medley, Fresh Garden Salad, and Garlic Bread along with a lemon wedge as garnish.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Southwest Breakfast Bagel

Southwest Breakfast Bagel

4 Egg Bagels

4 Large Eggs

4 Slices of Bacon (thick cut)
8 Cheese Slices
Southwest Sandwich Spread (Recipe follows)
Cut 4 Bagels in half, toast lightly before assembling sandwich. One at a time, lightly beat eggs and cook like an omolet, season to taste with salt & pepper. Your bagel should be popping up about the time the egg is completed. Spread a heaping teaspoon of Southwest Sandwich Spread on each bagel half. Place a slice of cheese on the bottom. Fold a third of the egg over on itself and then fold once more in half.

Layer on top of the bagel and cheese then place second piece of cheese on top of egg. Rip one piece bacon in half and layer both halves on top.

Then top with Bagel top and enjoy!

Southwest Sandwich Spread

makes 4 to 6 servings

2T Hellmans Mayo

2T Koop's Arizona Heat Mustard

2T Cilantro (Chopped)

2T Green Onion (Minced)

Put all ingredients into a small bowl and fold together with a spoon. Hold any spread not used in an airtight container upto a week.

Life, Food, Love, & Flavor

From my earliest age, Food was always a part of my life. I cooked my first time by myself when I was around 7 years of age. I was not supposed to but being raised on a farm in Central IL, everyone one who could have prepared a meal was out farming. So I being a master culinaire of PBJ, Cheese Sandwiches (Velveeta), and the classic Mayo or Butter Sandwiches, decided that I wanted a hamburger!
I got my pan out, turned on my mother's ancient gas stove, pattied out a rather large raw meat hamburger and began to pan fry it. It browned quickly and I thought it was done...
Wrong... This was the most raw burger I have ever seen since!
But from there things have gotten better. I then was encouraged to take a project in 4-H of cooking, there I perfected the cooking of Peanut Butter Cookies, and got a blue ribbon at the county fair. My mother taught me alot about cooking, then there were my Grandmothers, one a farmers wife and the other suburban housewife, who grew up in Chicago. Both lived thru the depression, gardened, cooked real home cooked meals, both for large families or lots of farm hands. It was at their sides, I learned to cook immense amounts of food with lots of flavor, lots of love, and to live life.
Whether it was preparing a meal for the farm hands, a family dinner for a holiday, birthday, or some church dinner, there was always some reason to cook table fulls of food. I would be remiss in mentioning where I came from in Audobon Township, I think we had more than our far share of great country cooks. When there was not a family dinner, holiday, or birthday party, there was some gathering requiring lots of food; The Fox & Coyote Drive, Chilli Supper, Oyster Supper, Pancake & Sausage Breakfast, etc. There was not a lady in the county or township who would not share her recipes proudly!
Then there was the many funeral dinners, that I went to, this being a small town community, when someone died, there was food to be taken to the home of the deceased, the church where the funeral dinner was held. Then there was the various dinners, pot lucks, and such when there was a holiday, season change, or revival. So I had plenty of opportunity to sample great foods prepared with lots of love for others.
This has given me a great deal of love for food, people, life, and flavor. I discovered many years ago, that the best food was prepared with lots of love and if there is no love, I have found it is edible but that the unique flavor imbued in the food is not there! I have no scientific proof of this ingredient called love, but I have my experiences.
I have always cooked, for my family, friends, and dates. I love cooking and from my father, who by the way knows his way around a kitchen, campfire, and grill; I learned to be experimental and to throw things together to make tasty meals. This gave me a love of creating my own recipes. Recently, I have began to write down my creations and one day, I hope to publish a cookbook. Additionally, my father's Aunt Viginia and her husband Uncle Dale owned the Morrisonville Cafe for many years, I saw how people loved them and swore by their food, they in turn loved the people who they cooked for. My late Grandfather, (father's father) was a master on the grill, when he passed away in 1993, I recieved his grill and used it for many years until it was stolen from my patio. My family already has a simple cookbook put together of family & friends recipes.
Please enjoy this blog as I post my recipes in the future, along with pictures of the completed foods. Should you ever need any clarifications, have questions, please feel free to ask me. I can also search for recipes should you wish to cook something and do not have the recipe. Great cooking and enjoy a flavorful life full of love and great food!