Sunday, September 24, 2017

Russian Potato and Mushroom Leek Soup


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (see note)
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and small diced (about 1 cup)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and small diced (about 5-6 cups)
  • 1 cup milk (preferably not skim)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crumbled bacon, fresh dill, for serving (optional)


  1. In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and golden, 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate (keeping as much liquid/oil in the pot as possible).
  3. Add the leeks and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, dill, salt, pepper and bay leaf.
  5. Stir in potatoes; the liquid will just barely cover the potatoes, most likely. If it doesn’t, add enough extra broth to just cover the potatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes (depending on how large or small you chopped them).
  6. Optional step: for a slightly thicker soup, right now, take out the bay leaf, grab a potato masher, and lightly mash the potatoes right in the pot until desired consistency before proceeding.
  7. Stir the mushrooms back into the soup.
  8. Whisk or blend tog ether the milk, sour cream and flour (I prefer to use a blender for an ultra-lump free mixture).
  9. Quickly stir the milk mixture into the soup, and heat until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  10. Serve with crumbled bacon or fresh dill, if desired.

Mel's NOTES:

I prefer portabella or baby bella mushrooms for a richer flavor, but white button mushrooms can be used, too. Also, as noted in the post above, you could probably sub in another type of chopped onion for the leek, but I highly encourage the use of leeks if at all possible (because, yum). See the post for a quick tutorial on trimming, cutting and washing leeks.
Maria's notes:  I really like this soup.  I would use six cups of potatoes and mash them up a little into the soup.  I just used white button mushrooms and it was good.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Peachy Fresh Salsa

1 T red onion, minced
1 T jalapeno, minced
1 T cilantro, chopped
2 T red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C fresh peaches, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels sliced off cob
1 C tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 lime's worth of juice (approx. 2 T)
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix everything together.  Adjust spices to taste.  Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 48 hours.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Best Ground Beef Tacos

author mel's kitchen cafe

yield 4-6 servings

Note:  I made these tonight and loved them!  Maria


  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 to 3 garlic cloves, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 jalapeƱo, seeded and finely minced (optional)
  • Taco shells
  • Taco toppings of choice


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef or turkey, onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often and breaking the meat into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Off the heat, drain any excess grease, if needed.
  3. Return the skillet to the heat and stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds until the mixture smells fragrant.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and minced jalapeƱos, if using. Simmer the mixture for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Serve in taco shells with your choice of toppings (makes great taco salad, too!)  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Macaroni and Cheese

1 to 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni, rigatoni or spinach egg noodles (about 6 oz)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cups milk
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Cook macaroni as directed.  Cook and stir butter, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until onion is slightly tender.  Blend in flour.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

Place macaroni in ungreased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Stir cheese sauce into macaroni.  Cook uncovered in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  5 servings.

Note:  I got this recipe from Cherise :-).

Friday, December 2, 2016

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Blossom Cookies


1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 2/3 cups (8.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
24 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped (highly recommend the Candy Cane variety)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two, large baking sheets (11X18-inches or so) with parchment paper or lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Mix until the batter has lightened in color, 2-3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss in the mini chocolate chips.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Place the powdered sugar in a bowl or shallow dish.
Scoop the dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls (I use my #40 cookie scoop) and roll into a smooth ball shape (if the dough is too sticky, let it rest for 10-15 minutes or refrigerate for just a few minutes...I usually just scoop and roll right away because I'm too impatient).
Roll each ball in the powdered sugar, shaking off the excess, and place several inches apart on the baking sheets.
Bake for 9 minutes, until puffed and crackled. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Immediately press an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note:  I haven't actually made these yet, but I want to so I posted them on the blog so the recipe would be easy to find  :-).  This recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tri-Colored Pasta Salad

12-ounce package tri-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
2/3 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 (6-ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
1/4 cup finely diced red onion (or green onions)
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6-10 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips or torn into pieces
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 to 1 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain and coat with the Caesar dressing while still warm.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the extra basil. Toss well to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve (4-8 hours). If the pasta salad seems dry after refrigerating, add a little more Caesar dressing and stir to combine. 

Feta Dip

olive oil
1 block (1#) of feta cheese
tomatoes (any kind)
1 bunch of green onions
1 baguette
Cavender's Greek Seasoning about 1 T (I found this at Walmart)

This is a recipe where you eye ball amounts.  Whatever looks good to you.  I used about 1 tablespoon of the greek seasoning.  This is one tomato recipe that I think actually tastes better after it's been refrigerated.

Note:  Melanie J. made this at Devon's mission dinner and I took it to Collin's.
Melanie sent me the recipe.

Pesto Cream Tortellini

Simmer 1 cup heavy cream with 1/4 cup pesto in a skillet until slightly thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. 

Toss with 12 ounces cooked tortellini and 2 cups steamed broccoli.

Note:  I used steamed zucchini as that is what I had and we all really liked it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Chicken Noodle Stew

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2-3 peeled carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2-3 stalks)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 16 ounces frozen egg noodles (like Reames brand)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3-4 cups cooked, chopped chicken 
  1. In a 5- or 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are slightly tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and chicken broth and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add the frozen noodles and simmer for 18 minutes (or according to package directions), until they are mostly tender (they'll cook a few more minutes in the next step). 
  3. In a liquid measuring cup or blender, whisk or blend the milk and flour together until smooth (no lumps!). Whisk the mixture quickly into the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Stir in the frozen peas and cooked chicken and heat through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste before serving. The soup will thicken as it sits (and if there are leftovers, they'll definitely thicken up even more in the refrigerator).
From:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

  • 2 pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of large fat pockets
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the spices all over the roast. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and pour in the 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Near the end of the cooking time for the roast, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.
  2. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred and place on a platter or plate. Drizzle the glaze over the pork and serve.

From: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Carmel Apple Cheesecake Bites

This is the dessert I made at Thanksgiving that I thought was excellent from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog.


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

½ cup caramel topping for drizzling after baked (see note below_

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with ¾ cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
For the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. I like to really combine it by using my clean hands to thoroughly combine the butter into the mixture.
Sprinkle Streusel topping over apples. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy! Make 16 servings.


****NOTE: for the caramel sauce I used the following recipe from

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 - 3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add butter, brown sugar, water, and salt to medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until butter melts.
Bring to boil for 5 minutes (it will bubble a lot!), stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup evaporated milk and vanilla. Add additional evaporated milk to reach desired consistency.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5-7 days.

This caramel reheats beautifully in the microwave or stovetop.

You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. Just make sure to use an airtight container that's NOT glass because the milk expands when frozen and can rupture the glass. Defrost the sauce overnight in the fridge and warm gently before using.

Peanut Butter Pancakes w/Jelly

We love breakfast in this house, so I am always looking for new twists on the same old thing.  I tried this recipe this morning and it was a pretty good.  This is doubled, so it can be easily cut back in half.

First combined these dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour ( I used a combination of white and whole wheat)
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
In a separate bowl cream together:
  • 1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (but I think chunky could be good too)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. sugar or honey

Then add 2 1/2 c. milk and the dry ingredients and mix completely.   Cook on hot griddle and serve with a jam of your choice or maple syrup.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lasagna Soup

1 pound ground Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Italian style tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 tsp. leaf basil
2 T. sugar
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
7 lasagna noodes, broken up
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Brown the sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a soup pan until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, sugar, red pepper, chicken broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the lasagna noodle chunks to the soup pot. Let the noodles simmer in the soup until they are tender--about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve with parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top.

This recipe freezes really well, but the noodles absorb a lot of the liquid so it isn't much like soup anymore, but still tastes great.
From:  Cherise Dodson


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Southwest Chicken Wraps

From: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Note: This is one of the most adaptable recipes on here (reading through the comments will prove that – your variations sound amazing!). Feel free to up the cilantro, add in a different meat of your choice, eliminate the pepper, add green chilies – seriously, the options are endless.
Maria's note:  I did eliminate the pepper and added 1 can green chilies.
  • 1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other leftover meat, like shredded pork or beef)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I use a combination of Monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • 6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
  1. Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: I like to dollop little bits of sour cream over the cheese before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it makes the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand. Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don’t fall apart. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve warm.


From:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe
    Red Sauce:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Creamy Filling:
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup cottage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Noodles and Cheese:
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 9 no-boil lasagna noodles 
  1. For the sauce, in a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the ground meat and onion until the meat is cooked through. Drain any excess grease. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, dried basil, salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.
  2. For the filling, in a medium bowl mix the ricotta, egg, basil, parsley, salt, and Parmesan cheese. 
  3. To assemble the lasagna, lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan. Spread 1/2 cup or so of the sauce over the bottom into a thin layer. Layer as follows: 3 noodles, red sauce, creamy filling, mozzarella, 3 noodles, red sauce, creamy filling, mozzarella, 3 noodles, red sauce, remaining mozzarella. (Basically, all layers - the noodles, red sauce, mozzarella - are split into three layers and the creamy filling is divided among two layers.)
  4. Cover with greased foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake 20-30 minutes more until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
  5. *Freezable Meal: Prepare recipe right up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of lightly greased aluminum foil. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase baking time to about 40 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered. If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, uncover and bake 30-40 minutes longer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Easy Garlic Hummus

Yield: 8 servings
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained - reserve ¼ cup liquid from can
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup tahini (pure ground sesame seeds)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup liquid from can of chickpeas (or water)
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the sides if needed.
  3. Serve with carrots, pita chips, crackers, or other vegetables
From: Loriann


Monday, June 22, 2015

Pine Nut Hummus

Yields: 2 cups

*2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
*2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*2 Tablespoons olive oil
*1 garlic clove
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
*1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
*1/4 cup water
*dried parsley, olive oil, and pine nuts for garnish (if desired)

1. In a blender or food processor, add all ingredients and pulse or blend, scraping down the sides as needed. Process or blend until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Add more warm water a tiny bit at a time if the hummus is still too thick.
2. Pour it into a bowl and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top. Sprinkle with dried parsley and pine nuts if desired.
3. Serve with pita chips or raw veggies.
4. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

NOTES: We have made this a few times in the past couple of months. I think this is so much better the next day!

Tahini can usually be found in the Asian aisle at the grocery store. It is an expensive ingredient, but you usually only use a bit at a time - You need to use it to make the hummus taste right.
Click here if you want to make your own

recipe from: lovely little kitchen

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Simple Butter Rolls

This recipe came with my Oster bread maker, to be used with the dough making setting.  I use this recipe a lot when I want rolls fast and I don't want to refrigerate the dough overnight.   I usually triple it in the Bosch these days with the size of my family.

2 Tbsp. sugar
3 c. bread flour (This is approximate. I used some combination of white and wheat flour, and I leave my roll dough on the sticky side).
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. water
3/4 c. milk, warmed
1 egg
1/4 c. butter, melted

Knead in mixer or use dough making setting on bread maker.  Spay large bowl with cooking spray or coat with shortening. Place dough in bowl and turn dough to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled.  Decrease rising time in a warm oven.  Depending on how the dough is used,  it makes twelve rolls baked at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Molasses Bread


  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons oil 
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Old-fashioned oats for sprinkling (optional)
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon if powering through this by hand), combine the water, yeast, molasses, cocoa powder, oil, honey, salt, gluten (if using), and 2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Mix until combined. 
  2. With the mixer running, slowly add the rest of the whole wheat flour. Start adding the white flour gradually until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5-7 minutes (about 10-15 if kneading by hand). The dough should be soft and slightly tacky but shouldn't leave a lot of residue on your fingers if you grab a piece. 
  3. Turn the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap or a light towel, and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours. 
  4. Lightly punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Form into tight oval loaves and place on parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets (I fit two loaves on one large, rimmed 11X17-inch baking sheet and the third loaf on another baking sheet). Lightly cover with greased plastic wrap or a light towel and let rise until puffy and doubled in size. Optional: right before baking, using a very sharp knife, cut three deep slashes in the top of each loaf.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the loaves for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly brush with about a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with the oats and bake for another 5-7 minutes.  (Maria's note:  In my oven, 20 minutes total baking time was plenty. This is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chocolate Chip Bars

  • 2 1/8 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 (3 1/2 ounces) cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter…the options are endless!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
  3. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Craisin Spinach Salad

3/4 bag of spinach
1 bag of romaine lettuce
1 cup grated swiss cheese
2 cups craisins
1 cup cashews

3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 T poppy seeds

This has been served at Thanksgiving dinner.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sesame Green Beans

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.  Add sesame seeds.  When seeds start to darken, stir in green beans.  Cook, stirring, until the beans turn bright green.

2.  Pour in chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Cover and cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.  Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.


Curried Coconut Chicken

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6


2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed, diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons sugar

1.  Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
2.  Heat oil and curry powder in a large skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes.  Stir in onions and garlic, and cook 1 minute more.  Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.
3.  Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan, and stir to combine.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 30-40 minutes.


*Note:  I cooked the chicken in the crockpot while I was at work and then cooked everything in the skillet on the stove in the evening.  I think if I had cooked the chicken on the stove instead, the ingredients might have soaked into the chicken more.  I've eaten this leftover for lunch all week, and it tasted better and better each day.  I just prefer my chicken cooked in the crockpot; I don't think it would have been so yummy and tender for leftovers otherwise.  I wasn't sure how I'd like the curry with tomatoes, but it's really good.  I ate it with brown rice and the sesame green bean recipe I'll post next.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Festive Cranberry Salad

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C lemon juice
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 can (16 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 C miniature marshmallows
1/2 C chopped pecans
red food coloring, optional
1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice; mix well.  Stir in the pineapple, cranberry sauce, marshmallows, pecans and food coloring if desired.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spoon into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.  Freeze until firm, 4 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares.

This has been served at many Glenn family holiday dinners.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins

Yield: Makes 12 muffins
Mel's Kitchen Cafe: I always double this recipe because they freeze so well!
  • 1 cup rolled/old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or grease the muffin cups. Set aside..
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (and cranberries or raisins if using). Make a well in the center and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined (don't overmix or the muffins will be dense and dry).
  4. Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the muffins will be dry.
  5. Remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely. Once cool, I place 6-9 muffins in a large freezer ziploc bag, and seal the bag, then freeze, pulling them out one by one to stick in my kids lunches or warm slightly for a snack.
Note from Maria:  These are really good.  I made some applesauce with Mom so I was looking at some recipes that have applesauce as an ingredient.  My kids love them, too even without butter or other topping.