Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Small Batch Au Gratin Potatoes

Small Batch Au Gratin Potatoes

1 1/2 T butter
1 1/12 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 C 2% milk
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/2 C thinly sliced peeled potatoes (about 3-4 medium)
1/4 C chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add potatoes and onion.
Transfer to a greased 1 quart baking dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Add more cheese at the end if desired.  Turn up the heat to 400* at the end if potatoes aren’t tender enough.  Also helps with browning.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh or dried parsley if desired.
Omit the cheese for scalloped potatoes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


It's that time of year again that fresh, scratch made gingerbread is in order.

This version is made gluten free by using your favorite gluten free flour mix.  If the mix already has xanthan gum in it, omit the xanthan from the recipe. The lemon juice or white vinegar helps the leavening rise to its best potential. 

Bar-cookie-ish in appearance and wonderful cut into squares and topped with whipped cream.  You can ice it with vanilla frosting or a simple vanilla or maple glaze before cutting if so desired and it makes a nice addition to Christmas cookie plates. 
This is a delightful dessert to eat while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas ; ) 


1 1/4 C gluten free flour mix
1 T ground Ginger
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 egg
dash lemon juice or white vinegar
1/3 C molasses (good old fashioned black-strap molasses is the best!)
3 T water

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil.  Spray foil with no stick cooking spray.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and grease it too, if desired.  Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg until well blended.  Add lemon juice or vinegar.  Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed.  Stir in molasses and water just until blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 minutes.  Lift out of pan using foil.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Invert and peel off foil.  Cut into bars.  Serve with whipped cream.  Store in refrigerator.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

A great dish from south of the border that won’t leave its mark north of the waistband.
Say hola to a Mexican favorite. The best part is, we cut the fat in half and still provide a good source of vitamin A, C and calcium. But don’t worry - it’s just as delicioso as ever.
Halve this recipe and make in a smaller casserole dish - for work lunch. It's delicious with a green salad topped with avocado, olives and tomatoes.
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
8 oz fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
8 yellow corn tortillas (6 or 7 inch), torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese (6 oz)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix chiles, sour cream and milk until blended. Stir in chicken, tortillas and bell pepper. Stir in tomato and 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon and spread mixture in baking dish.
Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 270 (Calories from Fat 100); Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 5g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 610mg; Total Carbohydrate 22g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 4g); Protein 22g % Daily Value Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 15%; Calcium 20%; Iron 8% Exchanges 1 1/2 Starch, 2 1/2 Very Lean Meat, 1 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices 1 1/2

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Red, White & Blue Trifle

Because sometimes, you need a red, white and blue dessert. 

1 loaf pound cake (either frozen or fresh)
2 C heavy cream, whipped
1 small package (3.4 oz) instant white chocolate or cheesecake flavor pudding
1 1/2 C cold milk – the package instructs to use 2 C milk.  You want to use less so that it is thicker than normal.
1 pound fresh strawberries (this is the typical size sold in most grocery stores)
2 C frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
Trifle bowl or tall round glass bowl

Cut pound cake into 1-inch cubes.  Measure the first cuts to be sure they are about an inch.  You don’t want them to be too big since this is a “scoopable” dessert.
In a large, very cold mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until firm peaks form.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the trifle.
Using a whisk or a hand mixer, prepare the pudding in a medium bowl, using 1 1/2 C milk, not the 2 C as instructed on the package.  You want to use less milk so that it is thicker than normal.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the trifle.
Rinse strawberries, remove stem and leaves and slice the berries.  You want to slice them “lengthwise” so that they look sort of like hearts. Reserve the best looking, most uniform-looking 24 or so slices for the ones that show on the side of the trifle.  Coarsely mash or chop the rest of the strawberries and set aside.
Place blueberries in a bowl in the refrigerator.  They will be ready when you are ready to assemble the trifle, but not too thawed out.  You may use fresh blueberries if desired, but I use frozen because when they thaw, they are softer than fresh and create lovely blue streaks that look pretty in the trifle bowl)
Now that the ingredients are ready and waiting for assembly, gently fold the prepared pudding into the whipped cream and set aside.

Trifle Assembly:
Begin first layer by placing half of cake cubes in the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon a third of the whipped cream / pudding mixture onto the cake layer.
Spoon half of the chopped or mashed strawberries and half of the frozen blueberries on top of the cream / pudding layer.
Place some strawberry slices flat against the bowl's side for appearance.
Place some blueberries against the bowl’s side for appearance as well.

Repeat the layers with the remaining cake, a third of the cream / pudding mixture and the remaining half of the berries, then the remaining third of the cream / pudding mixture.
The last layer will be just the berries and the cream / pudding mixture on top.
It should go like this:
Cake, cream, berries
Cake, cream, berries, cream

Carefully cover the trifle and refrigerate for several hours; let it chill for a minimum of one hour.
Trifle is best when made and consumed the same day because the pound cake gets soggy after a day.  Any leftovers may be refrigerated for up to three days, but the texture will not remain the same as the first day.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Homemade Pickle Juice

Homemade Pickle Juice
(without pickling cucumbers)
This recipe gives the brine a sour dill pickle taste.

Why on Earth would someone want to make the juice without the pickles?
#picklebacks for one thing! And for cramp relief for another.  Ever wake up in the middle of the night with a debilitating Charlie Horse?  Hobble to the kitchen and take a shot of this medicine!  

2 C purified / filtered water
1 C white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
2 T kosher salt
1 T pickling spice

Dash of sugar
Fresh dill sprigs (4) OR 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
Clove of garlic (partially crushed)

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan, on low to medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve all salt and sugar. Pickling spice can be added in the pan or in the container. It can be added loose or within a tea ball (for those who like clear pickle juice). Let cool, pour into container and store in the refrigerator.  Gently shake 1 time per day to redistribute herbs and spices if pickling spices are used.

If the resulting mixture is too vinegar-heavy, add more filtered water.
Take 1-4 ounces per day.  If you start to cramp, take a swig and swallow. 1 oz. = a single shot. In my experience, muscle cramping is gone within 30-90 seconds.

A basic pickle brine will include 1 or 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar (the stronger, the faster it will pickle), and about 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water.

To that you can add any spices you want.  The easiest solution would be to pick up a jar of pickling spices at the grocery store.  Add about 1 tablespoon pickling spice per cup of brine. 


You can make Pink Pickled Eggs by making the above concoction then adding the juice of one 14 ounce can of beets. Put 6-12 cooked and peeled eggs in an extra large jar or container and pour the mixture on them after it cools. Cap off and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.