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April 23, 2012

Ham and 3 Cheese Macaroni

If you are in need of a little comfort food try this rich cheesy side. And if you want a meatless bowl of Mac and cheese simply omit the ham.

Serves 4


  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup fully cooked ham or turkey ham
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Fontina cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted


    Cook macaroni al dente, drain. In a baking dish combine macaroni and ham. To make the sauce melt butter in microwave and stir in flour until combined. Heat milk in saucepan and whip in flour mixture,add salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until thickened. Add cheddar and fontina cheeses and stir until melted. Pour sauce over macaroni. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and butter; sprinkle over macaroni. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook until crumbs are lightly browned.

    Cooking Wiser:
    Use 2% milk and add 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme to enhance flavor. Add the thyme with the salt and pepper to the sauce.

    Make it your own by changing cheeses. Use Pepper Jack, herbed cheese or even pimento cheese (if using only pimento cheese add 1 cup or use 1/2 cup with other cheeses)

    Posted by terri at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Amaretto Apricot Flan

    This is a delicious dessert that can be enjoyed anytime since it uses canned apricots. Try it over the holidays with a medium bodied dessert wine. You can easily convert this recipe into a Kahlua flan, see below.

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Total time: 2 hours (includes cooling down time) Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving unless you like it warm


  • ¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 17 ounces canned apricot, drained and halved
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 whole eggs
  • ½ cup apricot nectar
  • 1/3 cup amaretto
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 can apricot halves to garnish
  • toasted sliced almonds to garnish


    Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Place an 11-inch flan pan in oven to preheat. In a heavy medium skillet, combine 3/4 cup sugar and water. Over medium high heat, swirl skillet to dissolve sugar allowing mixture to come to a rolling boil, do not stir.
    Using a pastry brush dipped in hot water, wash down any sugar crystals on sides of the skillet. Continue to cook about 15 minutes or until syrup is a deep golden brown. Pour syrup into heated pan. Rotate pan to spread syrup evenly over bottom and halfway up sides, set aside
    Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine apricots, condensed milk, eggs, apricot nectar, amaretto, orange zest, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Pulse process until apricots are finely chopped. Pour apricot mixture into pan over syrup.
    Place pan in a larger baking pan and fill baking pan with hot water to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
    Bake 1:10 hours or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Watch this very carefully so you can still have about 10 minutes to cool down in the oven. Remove from oven, cool about 15 more minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Top with almonds. Slice apricot halves into 4 thin slices and arrange in pinwheel on top of almonds.

    Terri’s Tips:
    You can easily change this recipe into a Kahlua flan by omitting the apricot nectar and apricots; substitute the amaretto for Kailua and garnish with whipped cream

    Posted by terri at 01:20 AM | Comments (0)

    April 16, 2012

    My grandmother’s Banana Nut Bread

    This is one of those traditional recipes handed down through the generations that just keeps proving to be a favorite. I’ve had other banana bread recipes and many of the new more jazzy renditions are delicious but this recipe brings back special memories.

    Makes 1 loaf
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup ripe bananas, mashed


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of a loaf pan. Sift together flour soda and salt. Cream together butter, sugar and eggs until blended. Add bananas and pecans. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture. Spread batter in pan. Bake until center tests clean about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes, remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing

    Cooking wiser:

    See baking tips for quick breads
    The bananas should be very ripe
    You can use self rising flour and omit baking soda and powder

    Make it your own
    Add to bread your choice of either:
    1/3 cup fresh blueberries
    1/3 cup dried cranberries
    Use almonds and 1/3 cup dried apricots
    Glaze top of bread with lemon glaze
    Add 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips to the top of the bread prior to baking
    Decrease sugar to 1/4 cup and add 1/3 cup molasses

    Posted by terri at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Zesty Cheese Ball

    I’ve had this recipe for many years. It looks like Granny Kate wrote it so it’s been around for years. She was born in 1917 but naturally it wasn’t passed to me that long ago. There are several ingredients but the directions are simple- cream together, add, stir in and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons spicy mustard
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces prepared cheese spread
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 2 cups deviled ham
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup green bell pepper, finely diced, can use red or yellow bell pepper too
  • 2 radishes, diced
  • ½ cup peanuts, chopped


    In a large bowl, cream together first 4 ingredients. Add next 8 ingredients and stir to combine. Form cheese into a ball. Roll in peanuts until the outside of the ball is completely covered. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Serve with crackers or toast points.

    Cooking Wiser:
    Use low fat cream cheese and cheddar cheese
    Can omit ham for vegetarian option
    Place a piece of plastic wrap on counter and turn the cheese ball mixture onto the plastic. Use the plastic to roll the mixture into a ball, add the peanuts and roll the ball around to coat. Then you can wrap the plastic around the ball to refrigerate- easy cleanup.

    Make it your own
    Use any of your favorite nuts to roll the cheese ball in like pecans or sliced almonds
    If you are allergic to nuts roll the cheese ball in fresh minced herbs such as dill or cilantro

    Posted by terri at 03:09 AM | Comments (0)

    Easy Drop Rolls

    Take this simple 3 ingredient recipe and dress it up in many different ways just by adding a sprinkle of poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Or try adding a little cheese or bacon bits.

    Makes 20
    Prep time: 3 minutes
    Total time: 18 minutes


  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 package pancake mix


    Mix sour cream and water together. Add mix. Drop tablespoon size dough on cookie sheet spacing each one. Optional: sprinkle each roll with a few sesame or poppy seeds. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

    Make it your own by adding to the top or folding into each roll a sprinkle of shredded cheese, bacon bits, minced onions or butter with minced garlic.

    Posted by terri at 03:02 AM | Comments (0)

    April 12, 2012


    If you make the stock in advance this soup is very simple to make. Plan ahead and enjoy a unique flavor combination between the rich beef stock and the dill pickles.

    Serves 6
    With stock pre-prepared
    Prep time:15 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups beef stock made with short ribs, reserve rib meat
  • 4 large dill pickles, diced
  • 2/3 cup of pickle juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups diced potatoes.
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt


    Heat butter in large stockpot. Add onions and sauté until golden. Add flour and stir until coated. Add stock, pickles, pickle juice potatoes, cayenne, black pepper, and reserved rib meat to stockpot. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally.
    To serve mix in sour cream or spoon dollops of sour cream into each bowl before ladling in soup.

    Terri’s Tips:
    Add more pickle juice to your own taste
    Make stock day before to allow flavors to develop
    Make soup 1-2 days before serving for more flavor

    Posted by terri at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

    April 09, 2012

    Stuffed French Toast

    This is a dressed up version of the basic French toast recipe. Add a few extra ingredients and invite friends over for an impressive breakfast or brunch.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 8 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes


  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup half and half milk
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 slices thick bread, French or Texas toast
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons Raspberry jam or your favorite jam or jelly
  • Syrup, honey, or powdered sugar for serving
  • 2 cups fresh fruit, strawberries and blueberries
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    Mix together cream cheese and jam.

    Spread 4 slices of bread with cream cheese mixture.

    Top each slice with a remaining slice of bread to make a sandwich.

    Combine milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and eggs in a shallow dish.

    Melt butter in a non-stick skillet. Quickly dip sandwiches into egg mixture and turn until well coated, but not soaked.

    Place in skillet and brown well on both sides. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with fresh fruit.

    Optional: serve with syrup or honey.

    Cooking wiser:
    See tips for cooking with eggs
    Decrease fat and calories by using 1% milk, low fat cream cheese and olive to replace the butter.

    Make it your own
    Use apricot, strawberry, or blueberry jam or jelly to stuff the sandwich
    For serving use any fruit you like oranges, raspberries or peaches

    Posted by terri at 03:06 AM | Comments (0)

    April 06, 2012

    Orange and White Potato Bites

    Create a colorful and delicious side dish with white(red skin) potatoes and sweet potatoes with a few simple steps.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 30 minutes


  • 3-4 medium red potatoes
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes
  • Optional toppings:
    Sour cream and chives
    Bacon bits
    Caramelized onions
    Grated cheese
    For the sweet potato
    fruit chutney
    Cinnamon and raisins


    Wash potatoes and dry. Place in shallow dish in microwave and cook 5-6 minutes until just barely cooked through. Remove, cool and slice into ½ inch rounds. Top with your favorite topping and cook in 350 degree oven until potatoes are completely tender and toppings melt or cook to your liking.

    Serve as an appetizer or side dish

    Posted by terri at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)