Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry bliss bars are delicious!  Serve these rich delightful treats with a good cup of coffee.


Cooking spray

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (5 ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
1 (12 ounce) bag white chocolate chips, divided

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in the microwave.

In a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, brown and white sugars and beat with an electric mixer.

Incorporate the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Add the salt, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and mix until just combined.  DO NOT OVER MIX OR THE BARS WILL BE TOUGH.

Fold in 3/4 cup cranberries and 3/4 cup white chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 - 27 minutes and place on a cooling rake

Using a saucepan or double boiler melt the remaining white chocolate; set aside

Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and the orange juice in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined.

Incorporate the melted white chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and beat until combined.

Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with remaining cranberries.


Slice bars and serve.

Slicing Instructions
8 servings

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes
Recipe by CHOW @


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for coating the frying pan and serving
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon packed finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 to 3 medium lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Powdered sugar, fruit, maple syrup or apple-cranberry pancake topping (see recipe below) for serving


Place butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium-heat, stirring occasionally until butter has melted; remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.

Place egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in a quarter of the milk-butter mixture (this will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling), then whisk in the remaining milk-butter mixture until smooth.

Add the reserved flout mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not over mix); set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks (they should bend like soft-serve ice cream; make sure the bowl and whisk are perfectly clean with no traces of grease, or the whites will not whip properly). Halfway through whisking them, sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Using the rubber spatula, fold the whites into the reserved batter until just combined.

Gently fold the ricotta into the batter, being careful not to break down the texture of the cheese (the batter will be lumpy and streaked with ricotta); set aside.

Heat a large nonstick frying pan, griddle, or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes.  Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it:  If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use.

Lightly coat the pan's surface with butter, then use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side until the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining batter.  Serve immediately with powdered sugar, fruit, butter, maple syrup or apple-cranberry pancake topping (see recipe below).

Apple-Cranberry Pancake Topping


3 Golden  Delicious apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch salt
Pinch ground nutmeg


Combine all ingredients in bowl and microwave, covered, until apples are softened but not mushy and juices are slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving.  Stir before serving.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stuffed Green Pepper Slow-Cooker Soup

Stuffed Green Pepper Slow-Cooker Soup


2 pounds ground beef
4 to 5 green bell peppers, diced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (32 oz) box beef broth
1 cup water
2 medium onions, diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups cooked white rice
Shredded mozzarella cheese


Brown the ground beef.  Drain the grease and place in slow-cooker.

Add all the ingredients except the cooked rice.  Mix well and cover.

Cook on low setting  for 6 to 8 hours.

After 6 to 8 hours, add the cooked rice and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Garnish with shredded mozzarella cheese.

6 to 8 servings

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spicy Slow-Cooker Chili

Spicy Slow-Cooker Chili


2 pounds ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped celery
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chipotle powder

Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Sliced green onions


In a large skillet, saute the chopped onions, minced garlic and chopped celery.  Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

While the ground beef is browning, add the remaining ingredients into the slow-cooker.

Add the ground beef, sauteed onions, celery and garlic to slow-cooker and stir well.

Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

If needed, add additional liquid.

Serve chili with shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro and sliced green onions.

6  to 8 servings.

Look for a dried Chile chipotle, if you have problems finding chipotle powder.  Chop the Chile.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup
Recipe by

This soup calls for mafalda pasta, which is a mini lasagna noodle.  If you cannot find the pasta, don't worry because you can use regular lasagna noodles broken into small pieces.  The original recipe calls for diced provolone or mozzarella cheese.  If you question the diced cheese, you can buy grated mozzarella cheese because that works perfectly too.  This soup is very popular and we would love to hear how you have tweaked the recipe.  Serve this Italian meal with a green salad and bread.


1 pound ground Italian sausage
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup carrot, diced
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced

4 cups chicken broth
1 can chopped Italian-style stewed tomatoes (14 1/2 oz )
1 cup mafalda pasta
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1 cup provolone or fresh mozzarella, diced
1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
4 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh basil


Brown sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onions and carrots; saute 3 minutes.

Stir in mushrooms and garlic, and saute another 3 minutes.

Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil.

Stir in the pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes (or according to package directions).

Add the spinach and cook about 1 minute, or until wilted.

Place cubed cheese in each serving bowl, then ladle soup over to melt.  Garish with Parmesan cheese and basil.

Total time: 45 minutes
Makes 8 cups

Friday, October 4, 2013

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

This recipe is easy, and inexpensive if you shop the discount stores.  My local discount grocery store sells a 1 pound package, ground coffee for $5.99.  So, I can make 24 servings of iced coffee for $5.99, excluding the cost of Half & Half and Stevia sweetener.

If you are afraid of calories, you can use Skim milk, 2% or whole milk.  I use Stevia sweetener, because it is a natural sweetener, and not artificial.   Zero calories.  I buy the Stevia sweetener at discount stores too.


1 pound ground coffee
8 quarts water

Half & Half
Stevia sweetener (natural zero calorie sweetener)

Directions for coffee concentrate:

Pour the ground coffee into a large (8 quart) stock pot or large clean container.

Pour in 8 quarts water.

Mix well and cover stock pot for 8 to 10 hours at room temperature.

Once the coffee has steeped for the amounted time, stir the coffee mixture one last time. The coffee grounds will sink to the bottom of the stock pot.  Use a French press and strain the steeped coffee.

Pour the pressed coffee into a air-tight container and refrigerate. The coffee concentrate will last three weeks in the refrigerator.

Directions for iced coffee:

Fill a glass half full, or a little more with coffee concentrate.

Sweeten concentrate with 1 packet of Stevia sweetener.  Stir well.

Add ice.

Last step, pour in the Half & Half.

24 servings

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sausage or Bacon Quiche

Sausage or Bacon Quiche
Recipe by Michael Frye


8 eggs
1 pound sausage or bacon
8 ounce sharp Cheddar cheese
8 ounce Swiss cheese
1 pint whipping cream
Garlic salt
Small onion, minced
2 - 8-inch deep dish pie crusts


Brown the sausage or bacon.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, whipping cream and spices together, set aside.

In each deep dish pie crust, layer meat, onion, and cheese in order.

Pour in egg mixture and garnish with chopped parsley.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bayou Brownies

Bayou Brownies

I suggest serving this ooey-gooey, decadent treat in small portions, because it's over the top delicioso!


1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs, divided
1 (18 1/4 oz) package yellow cake mix
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar


In a large bowl, combine the pecans, butter, one (x1) egg, cake mix and stir until well blended.

Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs, cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

Pour the cream cheese mixture over cake mix layer.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

Cool completely and refrigerate before serving.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Best-Ever Cucumber Salad

Best-Ever Cucumber Salad
Recipe by David Gaimari

This is the easiest salad to make, and it tastes great!


3 medium cucumbers
1 large red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped dill
3/4 cup rice vinegar


Slice the cucumber in 1/4-inch slices.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced cucumbers, sliced onion, salt, dill, and rice vinegar.

Refrigerate before serving.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Peach Gelato

Peach Gelato


7 large ripe peaches, divided
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Slice the peaches in half and remove the pits.  Coarsely chop the peaches.  Set aside 1 cup of chopped peaches for use later in the gelato mixture.

In a medium covered saucepan, place the chopped peaches, water and sugar.

Cook over medium-heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Puree the peaches and liquid from the saucepan in a food processor until smooth.

Strain the mixture through a colander.  I use a stock-pot underneath the colander to catch the strained mixture.

Stir in the heavy cream, lemon juice and extra chopped peaches.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The gelato will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Remember, gelato is a semi-frozen dessert, so remove your homemade gelato from the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before serving, and thaw.  Stir the gelato before serving, bringing it to the correct temperature and texture.

Serves 6

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe by Mauna Loa


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12 oz) package white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped macadamia baking pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Blend in flour, baking soda and salt.

Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia pieces.

Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking pans.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Approximately 6 dozen cookies

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Orleans French Toast

New Orleans French Toast

New Orleans French toast got its start as a way of using up left-over stale French bread. This weekend meal has three names.  It can be called Pain Perdu, Lost Bread, or New Orleans French toast.  It doesn't matter what you call it, just pick a name, because you'll be asking for this tasty French toast every morning of the week. It's that delicious!

I serve the French toast with real maple syrup, cut-up fresh fruit and whipped dessert topping.


Loaf French bread
1 cup half-and-half
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Cut the French bread diagonally, about 1 1/4-inch thick slices.

In a large bowl, whisk the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg together.

In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, soak the slices of French bread in egg mixture, flip once to thoroughly soak each side.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the vegetable oil.

Once the butter and oil mixture is hot, fry the soaked bread slices on both sides, until golden brown.

Place the French toast slices in the oven @ 200 degrees for at least 30 minutes, or longer.  The key to success is cooking the French toast in the oven.  The longer you leave it in the oven, the better!  I've left the French toast in the oven for 60 minutes before and it was fantastic!

Sprinkle French toast slices with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Serves 4

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Espresso Gelato

Espresso Gelato
Recipe by

Gelato is a semi-frozen dessert, so remove your homemade gelato from the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before serving, and thaw.  I stir the gelato right before serving, bringing it to the correct temperature and giving it a good texture.  


2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons , plus 1 teaspoon finely ground espresso beans
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder


Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

Combine 2 cups of the milk and the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally (so a skin doesn't form), until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until smooth.  Gradually whisk in the sugar until incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow, about two minutes.

Slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously so that the hot mixture doesn't scramble the eggs. Return the custard to the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the spoon.  (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should make a mark through the mixture, which should not run back in on itself.)  Do not bring to a boil.

Pour the mixture through the fine-mesh strainer and into the prepared bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so.  (To cool the base quickly, make an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing bowl the bowl of espresso base in it; stir the base until cool.)

Cover and refrigerate the base until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of the ground espresso beans in a small saucepan.  Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer.  Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 20 minutes.  Pour the milk mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid; discard the solids.  Add the instant espresso powder and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.

Gently whisk the milk-espresso mixture into the gelato base, then whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon ground espresso beans.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.  The gelato will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.