Archive | December, 2016

Caramel Bread Pudding

30 Dec


I thought I needed another desert and in a panic I threw this together.

It is a keeper.

8 hamburger rolls , cubed

1/2 loaf cubed wheat bread

5 cubed croissants

1/4 loaf cubed Italian bread

6 eggs

3 cups half and half or whole milk

1  cup light cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

One cup homemade caramel sauce

Beat the eggs

Add the sugar

Mix in the half and half, cream and vanilla

Toss in the bread and coat every piece.

Add a little more cream if it is too dry.

Let it sit for ten minutes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Butter a two inch high casserole pan or a lasagna pan

Add the soaked bread

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is brown and the pudding feels firm and not wet.

Pour the caramel sauce on top as soon as it comes out of the oven

I served this warm with a little whipped cream.

This is worth the calories and a great way to use up all the holiday bread.


Tammy’s Chicken

21 Dec


My friend Tammy gave me a recipe for an onion dip.

Of corse I made too much and had to figure out what to do with it so it wouldn’t be wasted

Taa Daa….

There is always chicken.

3 large bone in chicken breasts.

One cup mayonnaise

One cup pecorino romano cheese

One diced onion

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Mix the mayo, cheese and onion

Spread  liberally on the chicken

Bake for a 1/2 hour

Turn over and put another thick layer on top of the chicken and bake for another 1/2 hour

The topping will become nice and brown and keep the chicken moist.

I used very large chicken breasts so if you use smaller ones the baking time will decrease.

I served this with tortellini, salad and roasted turnips.



Frozen Mussells Mariniere

20 Dec


Forty years ago I took a French cooking class.

This was one of the recipes but of course I changed it a little.

First of all I used frozen mussels. They are clean, tender and have to be cooked frozen.

I was so surprised they are so good and I didnt have to clean them.

So when I come home starving I can have these cooked in ten minutes.

4 pounds of frozen mussels

8 tablespoons butter

One large chopped shallot

4 cloves diced garlic

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

one teaspoon black pepper

2 cups white wine

One heaping teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon

Melt the butter in a large stock pot

Add the shallots and garlic

Cook till they are just soft

Add the frozen mussels, salt, pepper, bouillon and wine

Stir everything together

Bring to a boil and cover for six  to ten minutes

The mussels should open and the shallots and garlic pieces will get into every mussel

Add the chopped fresh parsley

Thats it.

Serve with big pieces of fresh bread, a fork and spoon.

The broth is so delicious you have to drink it.

This is a great make ahead recipe.

Cook it at five and serve it at seven. Keep it warm on the stove.

Make sure to never eat any unopened mussels. Just throw them out.

This serves four happy people





Red Lentil Kofta

15 Dec


It’s so nice to have friends that are different nationalities.

My friend Shoo introduced this to me and I love it.

1 1/2 cups washed and rinsed red lentils

1 cup fine cracked bulgar wheat

4 cups of water or any kind of stock

8 tablespoons oil

3 chopped onions

1 bunch diced parsley

2 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon mint

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt but it really needs more. So taste it.

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 lemons juiced

3  diced scallions

Bring the water to a boil with the lentils

Add the salt and bulgar wheat

Cover and simmer on very low until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are cooked.

This only takes about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in another pan.

Add the onions and garlic and sauté till soft

Add the tomato paste and all the spices cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Turning frequently.

Add everything together including the lemon juice and scallions

Let this cool and then form into ovals the size of a heaping tablespoon

Place on lettuce or on a platter

I drizzle mine with extra lemon dressing

I also make some caramelized onions to put on top

These are addicting.

Melted Cheese to Die For

14 Dec

I went down my basement and found my old Raclette Machine.

This is a machine that melts cheese.

So, I decided to use this as one of my appetizers for Thanksgiving.

It was such a success that I am going to make it for Christmas and the next time the girls come for lunch.

Easy, Easy, Easy.

I found this small machine at TJMax but you can get it at any gourmet shop or on line.

The machines can get very big and expensive but since I don’t use it very often I got a small one.

Two pounds of small boiled baby potatoes

1/2 pound of Italian ham rolled to look pretty

Cut up red, green or yellow peppers


Slices of french bread

Sliced apples

Gherkin baby pickles

Cooked sausage

Grilled asparagus

Cooked  or raw broccoli

One pound of raclette cheese or any other good melting cheese.

The Jarlsberg cheese was on sale so I went with that.

All you have to do is slice the cheese so everyone can put it into their own little melting tray.

Assemble whatever meat, vegetables, fruits and breads that you like.

Arrange it pretty near the machine.

Thats it.

Everyone serves themselves.

The machine gets hot so keep it away from the small children.

Serve with good wine





Quinoa Salad

13 Dec


I made this for supper because I had a big lunch and wanted something light.

1/2 cup dry quinoa cooked according to the package directions

2 diced scallions

One handful of arugula

One small head of Romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/2 diced red pepper

One diced avocado

1/2 can rinsed black beans

1/2 cup feta cheese

10 Greek olives

10 green olives

6 pepperoncini peppers

Layer everything on a platter

Sprinkle with dry mint and garlic powder like salt and pepper

Serve with a lemon dressing

This is a perfect salad.

Cheesecake Cupcakes

12 Dec


I love big cakes but I am finding out that my dessert gang is decreasing.

I have started to do individual desserts when I can.

There are all these beautiful freestanding cup cake papers. I found a polka dot round paper and it was perfect.

One box of Vanilla wafers

4 (8 ounce) packages of softened cream cheese

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy cream

Strawberry or Caramel Sauce as toppings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Whisk the sugar and flour and add the cream cheese.

Blend till smooth and then add the eggs.

Blend in the vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream.

Everything should be smooth.

Place two vanilla wafer into the cup cake wrapper. If you have to crack one wafer to cover the bottom thats fine.

Fill the cups about 3/4 full

I placed all the cupcakes in my cupcake tin because it was easy

Shake the pan to even out the cheesecake filling

Bake for 18 to 23 minutes

If the tops start to crack they are baked enough.

Cool and then wrap or put in a large plastic container with a cover.

Spoon the topping over the cupcakes the day you serve them

I topped the caramel cupcake with a milk dud candy.

These are addicting, impressive and very fattening.