Saturday, January 5, 2013

Black Eyed Peas N' Greens

My definite new fav dinner for these crazy cold evenings we've had here in So Cal! A compilation of my friend Nina's, my friend Troy's, Williams Sonomas, and my own recipes, this will surely become a favorite of yours too. Traditional black eyed peas and collard greens along with some kale - and all in one pot.

1 bag black eyed peas (soaked in water over night)
2 smoked ham hocks
2 cartons low sodium beef broth (think they are 4C ea?)
1 onion (chopped)
1 lg carrot (chopped)
2 celery stalks (chopped)
1/2 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley (washed, chopped)
Loads of garlic...either 3 scoops of my roasted garlic or many cloves (chopped, smashed)
6 sprigs fresh thyme (hold stem, pull leaves off by gently pinching and running fingers up length of stem)
1T dry basil
1 bay leaf                                                                                                                       
2 bunches collard greens (washed, chopped into aprox 2" pcs)
1 bunch kale (washed, chopped into aprox 2" pcs)
leftover Christmas ham or the like.....
kosher salt
black pepper

Throw first eleven ingredients into a heavy bottomed pot or crock pot. On stovetop, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 hrs depending on when your ham hocks are tender (should be falling off the bone) and your black eyed peas are al dente or softer, depending on your taste. If using a crock pot, throw same ingredients in, cover, turn onto low and cook for 6 to 8 hrs.

Remove hamhocks (either pull off usable meat or discard), add greens, kale, ham. Season with kosher salt and pepper (I like a little salt and a lot of pepper). Simmer for another 25 mins or so until green are tender. Serve with cornbread or sourdough rolls.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Something Out of Nothing....

Don't you just love scrounging up the ingredients for a great dinner when you think you have nothing in the house?? Especially on a lazy Sunday afternoon?? I found left over flank steak, jack cheese, green chiles and an enchilada sauce made from green enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Chop whatever cooked meat you have, shred your cheese (or use only cheese if you'd rather). Mix sauces and a can of green chiles in a separate bowl. Warm your tortillas in the bag in the microwave (so they are easier to roll and won't tear). Take a little meat and a little cheese, roll it up in each tortilla. Place in a baking dish. Repeat until pan bottom is covered. Pour enough sauce over the top of the enchiladas to cover, top with more grated cheese. Bake for about 30 mins in a 325 degree oven, until cheese is melty throughout. (Change it up and add other ingredients; garlic, chicken, jalapenos....whatever you have around!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken Piccata

2 Whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut in 1/2 and butterflied, you will have 8 thinner breast pieces)
Olive oil (extra virgin)
Salt & Pepper
1/3 C Lemon juice 
1/2 C Chicken stock (broth from a can is fine)
1/4 C Brined Capers (rinsed)

Season chicken with salt & pepper. 
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, pour enough olive oil in to coat the bottom. Cook a few pieces at a time about 3 mins each side, setting the done pieces aside on a platter.
When chicken is removed from pan, add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of a pan. Check seasoning and amount of sauce (amend to add more if you think necessary). Pour over chicken and serve.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos-
-Anaheim Chiles
-Pasilla Chiles
(I use both when I’m making rellenos. I like to use Pasillas, they are larger, thicker and not ever spicy. Anaheims are hit and miss as to whether you get a mild or a fire flavored chile! Pasillas are the bigger dark green peppers usually right next to the Anaheims.)
-Monterey Jack cheese
-Eggs (yolk and whites separated) ( usually 1 egg for every two chiles unless using huge Anaheims or the Pasillas then 1 for 1 give or take)
-Salt and Pepper
- Canola oil
-Sear the chile skins on an open flame…the bbq grill is perfect. When blistered (the better they blister, the easier they will peel) and blackened, place them as they come off the grill into a paper bag. Close it up, let them steam for a good hour (longer is fine). Under running water peel the skins off the chiles. It’s not the end of the world if not every bit of skin is off, but most should be. At the same time, make a slit in the chile lengthwise starting at the stem going as far down as needed to get the seeds out. Pull the stem off if you wish or leave on for presentation.
-Cut cheese into pieces about the size of individual string cheese snacks. Smaller if chiles won’t hold that size or bigger if using pasillas, etc.
-Insert cheese into chiles, wrapping chile around it if needed (don't worry if chile rips, wrap it around, it'll all come together when it is cooking).
- Beat egg whites until form soft peaks. Fold in yolks.
- Heat oil (2” deep? Enough so that the chiles will float)
- Roll the chiles in flour, dip in egg mixture, place in the hot oil.
-Fry until golden brown, flip and cook until 2nd side is golden, place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels in a single layer to drain, season with salt and pepper.
The first time is a pain, you’ll say you’re never doing it again. You will. They are too good not to. The eggs will separate a bit, just gently stir with a wooden spoon or your hand each time you’re going to dip a chile. Your hands will be a mess, have tons of paper towels near by!
I think that’s it…read it thru and let me know if you have questions. It would be so easy to SHOW you!!  J

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kati's Cinnamon Roll Cake

My daughter has really taken to cooking and baking. Here is one of my favorites she makes!
Cake -
3 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 T + 1 t baking powder
1 1/2 C milk
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 C melted butter
Topping -
1 C butter (softened)
1 C dark brown sugar (packed)
2 T flour
2 T cinnamon
Glaze -
2 C powdered sugar
1 T cinnamon
5 T milk
1 t vanilla
For the cake, in a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the butter. Add butter slowly, mixing into cake mixture. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.
For the topping, mix all together until combined. Drop evenly over cake batter and swirl with a knife. Bake @ 350 for 20 - 35 mins until toothpick comes out clean (check cakey part, not topping area). Drizzle glaze over cake while still warm.


This meat pie is traditionally served with yellow mustard (squeeze a line across pie with each bite) and a cold beer!
Filling -
2 lbs hamburger (or 1lb hamburger & 1 lb chicken - diced)
1 onion (chopped)
1 head green cabbage (chopped)
roasted garlic (1 T heaping spoonful, mashed)
salt & pepper to taste
Dough -
6 C all purpose flour
1/4 + 1/8 C sugar
1 1/2 t salt
3 1/4 t + 1/8 t active dry yeast
6 T shortening
2 eggs
1/4 + 1/8 C warm water
1 1/2 C milk
2 T honey

- Oven 350 deg, cookie sheet (very lightly greased).
- Cook meat and onion together. Drain. Add roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Mix.
- Steam cabbage until almost tender. Drain. Mix with meat mixture.
- Set bread machine to dough setting, add all wet ingredients. Add dry on top of the wet, making a dip in the center for the yeast, place yeast in dip. Process on dough setting. (if making dough manually, follow direction from a dough recipe....I haven't done it since I bought a bread machine YEARS ago...)
- Once dough is made and has risen, kneed gently on floured surface. Roll out in managable amounts, as thin as you can get it. Cut circles out with a cereal bowl (or something about 4" across.)
- Place a good amount of filling in center of dough circle, so that dough barely folds over to cover, fold over into a crescent and pinch the edges.
- Place on cookie sheet, bake for 20 - 25 mins until golden brown.
- Cool a bit, serve with yellow mustard.
- If not eating full batch, cool completely, place in heavy duty freezer zip locks and freeze.
- Re-heat directly from freezer in the microwave.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Chicken livers

Cut liver into pieces (size is your preference). Cut bacon strips into thirds or halves, depending on the size of your liver pieces. Wrap a piece of bacon around a piece of liver and secure with a toothpick. Sautee in a skillet until bacon is done to your liking. The liver will be done at this point too. Place on paper towels to absorb any excess grease or juice. Serve warm as an appetizer.

Cheese Logs

2 C Swiss Cheese (shredded)
2 C Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese (softened)
½ C sour cream
½ finely chopped red or green onion
2T sweet pickle relish
10 slices bacon (cooked crispy and crumbled)
½ C pecans (chopped)
Dash salt and pepper
¼ C parsley
1T poppy seeds
Assorted crackers

Let cheese come to room temp.
Lg bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream till fluffy.
Add cheese, onion, relish, ½ the bcon, ¼ C pecans, salt & pepper.
Refrigerate until firm.
Sm bowl, combine remaining bacon, pecans, parsley, poppy seeds. Spread out on wax paper.
Form balls or logs of cheese, roll thru the mixture to coat outsides.
Wrap in wax paper, chill.
Serve with assorted crackers.

Gram's Jello Cake

This one is lemon, you could use any flavor cake and jello and mix the icing with lime or orange juice too.
Oven 350 deg/9X13 pan sprayed
Icing -
Mix 1 box powdered sugar
1/2 C lemon juice (always fresh squeezed if available). Set aside.
Cake -
1 pkg yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 pkg lemon jello
3/4 C water
3/4 C canola oil
Mix above cake ingreds together, beat for 4 mins. Pour into cake pan, bake for about 35 mins or until cake is done. Upon removing from oven while cake is hot, poke holes throughout the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Pour prepared icing over top. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream topping or vanilla ice cream. The next day the it seems to be even better because the icing absorbs into the cake.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tarragon Chicken

One of my favorite dinners. Easy, relatively quick and delish.

Seasoned Salt
Black pepper
Chicken breasts (bone in)

Oven 350 deg.
Rinse chicken breasts in cold water. Set in roasting pan, season liberally with seasoned salt, tarragon and pepper. Roast uncovered for 35 to 55 mins, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Meat is done when cut deep into and juices run clear, not pink. Let rest 5 mins, serve with white rice (seasoned with black pepper or soy sauce) and a steamed green vegetable, like asparagus or broccoli.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Spinach Dip

1 envelope dry vegetable soup
1 pkg dry italian salad dressing
1 C mayonase
2 cans water chestnuts (chopped)
2 green onions (finely chopped)
1 tsp dill weed
16 oz sour cream or Fage greek yogurt
2 pkgs frozen chopped spinach (cooked, drained, cooled)
Wheatsworth Stone Ground Wheat Crackers and or Kings Hawaiian Bread Loaf

Mix all ingredients except crackers and bread. Chill at least 4hrs (over night if possible). If serving with the bread, hollow out the center, placing the pieces around the sides. Fill the center with the dip.

Asparagus & Chicken Salad

2 lbs asparagus
1 Tbl dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 C chicken broth
2 Tbls soy sauce
2 C cooked chicken (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 T balsamic vinegar
3 cloves roasted garlic*
Salt & pepper to taste

*See Roasted Garlic recipe.
Wash and remove tough ends from asparagus stalks. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add asparagus and garlic. Cook over med-high heat for 2-3 mins, stirring constantly. Add seasoned salt, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and soy sauce, cooking for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, add chicken and stir. Serve hot or chill and serve cold.

Kids - Applesauce

From Kati's kindergarten class -
4 apples (chopped)
3 Tbl honey

In a sauce pan, place 1/2 inch of water and chopped apples. Boil until soft and turns into apple sauce while stirring. Add honey while boiling and stirring. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cool and eat!
* Do not feed honey to children under 1 year old. Use sugar instead to taste.

Kids - Lincoln Logs

My daughter Kati's kindergarten class made these treats for Christmas one year -
Mix equal parts of each -
Peanut Butter
Powdered Sugar
Powdered Milk
Corn Syrup

Mix thouroughly. On a clean surface, roll into indivudual little logs. Roll each log up with wax paper. Twist ends of paper to hold closed. Chill and store in refrigerator.

Kids - Play Dough

We learned this recipe from my son Alan's kindergarten teacher -
Combine in 1 bowl -
1 C all purpose flour
1/4 C salt
2 T cream of tartar
Combine in 2nd bowl -
1 C water
2 tsp food coloring
1 Tbl vegetable oil
Combine ingredients from both bowls in a large sauce pan. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until a ball forms in the middle of the pan. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and pliable. Store in airtight container.

Kids - Sand Clay

Another one of Kevin's preschool creations -
2 C fine sand
1 C water
1 C cornstarch
Extra sand if needed

In a large sauce pan (that will not scratch) place all ingredients. Stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until it turns to a thick clay. Remove from heat and turn onto aother dish to cool. Form objects or  imprint leaves, bones, seashells, rocks, etc for fossils.

Kids - Snappy Stretch

This was one of the preschool activities my son Kevin had. It makes a pliable mass of 'stuff' the kids loved to play with.
Mix in 1 bowl -
1/2 C white glue
1/2 C hot water
Mix in 2nd bowl -
1 tsp borax
1 C hot water
Combine two mixtures, scoop out result and kneed on a clean surface. Discard remaining liquid. Makes enough for two kids.

Kids - English Muffin Pizzas

English Muffins
Marinara or meat sauce (jar or leftover homemade)
Garlic powder
Mozzarella cheese

Split muffins is half. Spoon sauce onto each half, using the back of the spoon to spread. Sprinkle a little oregano and garlic powder on top of sauce. Top with cheese. Broil for a few minutes until cheese melts.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Plett Pud (Mango Surprise) a la Jane

One of my dearest friends brought this recipe from South Africa and thankfully gave it to me! We can't get enough of it when mangos are in season, juicy and sweet.

6 mangos (peeled and cut off the seed into strips, cubes, etc)
1 32oz lg container vanilla yogurt
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/4 C raw sugar + more for topping

Whip whipping cream until firm, adding sugar as you go. Fold in yogurt and mangos. Pour into a 9X13 dish, sprinkle top with as much or as little raw sugar as you'd like. Chill for 2 hrs. Serve.

Rice Crispy Treats

I use a bit less cereal, this makes the treats a little chewier.

3 T margerine
1 pkg 10oz marshmallows (about 40)
5 C Rice Krispys

Melt margerine in a large bowl in microwave. Add marshmallows. Heat 30 seconds at a time stirring each time until mallows are melted and smooth. Add krispys, mix quickly and well. Press into a large sprayed cookie sheet, cool, cut and eat.
Another option would be to use cheerios.

Vegetable Soup

Anyone remember that crazy "Veg Soup Diet?" Well, this is a take off on it. Don't worry about living on this, celery sticks and ice cubes, just enjoy this tomatoey warm bowl of soup with a crusty piece of french baguette!

1 lg head cabbage (chopped)
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 lb mushrooms (sliced)
1T minced garlic
1 bell pepper (diced)
1 bunch celery (thinly sliced)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 46 oz bottle V-8 veg juice
1t oregano (adjust spices, add more if needed near end of cook time)
Black pepper

Throw everything into a large pot, bring to a boil and simmer with a lid for 2 1/2 hrs.
You could add zuchini, carrots, anything you'd like really.

Burritos a la Greg

Unbelievably good burritos!

2 lbs ground beef
1 sm onion (finely chopped)
3 chili peppers (finely chopped)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 6oz can tomatoe paste
1\4 C salsa
1 sm can olives (chopped)
1 t ea chili powder and garlic powder
1/2 C ea mozzarella and cheddar cheeses (shredded)
Flour tortillas

Cook beef and onion together. Drain.
Add rest of ingredients, simmer for 15 mins.
Place a scoop of the meat mixture in a tortilla, wrap up like a burrito.

Baked Beans

These are just the best baked beans. Keep in mind this recipe makes a large pot full, perfect for a gathering or party. They can be done in the oven or on the stove top.

2 53 oz cans pork 'n beans
1/2 box dark brown sugar
1 sm can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1/2 C ketchup or bbq sauce
1 good squirt mustard
1/2 lb bacon (cooked crispy and crumbled)

If baking in oven, drain beans. If using stove top, do not drain.
Mix all ingredients together in a large pot, cover with lid. Bake at 350 deg for 1 hr, or simmer low on stove top without lid for 1 hr.

Gram's Cube Steak

Cubed steaks (or if you can't find, round steak double tenderized by the butcher)
All purpose flour
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Cream of Mushroom Soup

Oven 300 deg.
Cut steaks into portion sized pieces. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with a little olive oil in it. Dredge meat through the flour, placing a few pieces at a time in the skillet. Cook over med to med-high heat until golden brown. Transfer pieces to a baking dish as they are done. Sautee the mushrooms, in a bit of olive oil until a little browned, pour over the meat. Cover all with cream of mushroom soup. Bake uncovered for 30-45 mins until meat is tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Chess Bars

Crust -
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (melted)
1 egg (well beaten)

Topping -
3 eggs (well beaten)
1 box powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese

Oven 350 deg.
Crust -
Mix cake mix, butter and 1 egg well, pat on bottom of 13X9 baking pan.
Topping -
Mix eggs, powdered sugar, cream cheese well. Pour on top of crust.
Bake 35-45 mins until top is nicely browned. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator. Cut into squares or bars.