Quiche Lorraine


This pan of quiche may not look as good as it tastes here due to my blurry picture, but trust me, it is delicious.  This dish is wonderful for brunch, lunch, or supper and pretty on the plate with some asparagus spears and fresh fruit.  It is just as good with bacon subbed for the ham. If you, manage to have any leftover slices can be reheated in the microwave but I prefer to reheat in the oven.  The crust stays crispier.

Quiche Lorraine

6 ounces grated Swiss cheese

2 Tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups half and half cream

4 eggs, slightly beaten

8 slices thinly sliced ham from the Deli, chopped  or  1 1/2 cups leftover baked ham, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (I use Pillsbury refrigerated crust or make my own)

nutmeg, for sprinkling on top of quiche

Toss grated cheese with flour.  Add cream, eggs, ham, and seasoning; mix well.  Pour into pie crust, dust lightly with nutmeg,   and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.  Serves 8. Substituting  crumbled bacon (8 cooked slices) for the ham works well.




Pat’s Tater Tot Casserole

011I have been sorting old recipes, those on 3X5 inch cards, various scraps of paper, and clippings from newspapers and magazines.  Some of these were clipped and saved, hastily jotted down when I asked someone for a recipe, or sent to me by my mother or sister.  Almost all of them have a stain or spatter on them, some used so often they are tattered. I have recently become more aware how much I treasure those that are handwritten.  Most of us pass on printed recipes these days.  As I handled them, I realized it has been a long while since I cooked many of them.  Our family has grown up and started families of their own.I seldom use canned soups and vegetables. I garden more and use more fresh herbs and vegetables than ever before and love the healthy benefit of doing this  But I think it will be fun to pick some of these older recipes to try again.  This week I made a casserole that a good friend from our early marriage used to make. Thank you, Pat Tarver!

As I assembled this, I did what I almost automatically do these days, a recipe “rehab” that is likely to produce a healthier version, but I cooked it by Pat’s recipe. There are versions of this online today and most advise browning the ground meat prior to assembly.  That reduces  baking time but baking all the ingredients in one pan means one pan to wash!

Pat’s Casserole

1 lb. ground meat

1 can green beans

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 bag frozen Tater Tots

1 Tablespoon onion flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Press the ground meat into a pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle with onion flakes.  Drain green beans and pour on top of meat layer.  Spread one can cream of chicken soup over beans.

Spread frozen Tater Tots for the next layer and cover with Cream of Celery Soup, smoothing over the tops of the Tater Tots.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.




Mexican Chicken Stew



I once received this recipe in an email from my friend of many years, Julie. She labeled it “heavenly!” Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you. The hearty stew is very easy to assemble, and goes together quickly, particularly considering the large quantity.  It is one of my favorite meals to prepare for sharing with a family who needs a meal brought in.  This week I took a crockpot full to our son and daughter-in-law who just brought their beautiful new baby Nora home. As stated in the recipe directions, it reheats beautifully and freezes well. It is a delicious one pot meal, good with a pan of cornbread or warmed corn tortillas.

Note:  When I make this, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and begin roasting the lightly seasoned chicken breasts, then put the rice on to cook (1 cup equals 3 cups cooked). While these two ingredients are cooking, I assemble the other ingredients and chop the fresh veggies. By the time all other ingredients are in the pot, the rice is done and the chicken is ready for shredding. If you wish, buy a rotisserie chicken to bone and shred.

Mexican Chicken Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion,  chopped

4 large cloves garlic,  chopped

l large green pepper, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried cumin

2 (28-ounce) cans petite chopped tomatoes

3 cans black beans, drained

3 lbs. chicken breasts, roasted and shredded (about 4 large chicken breast halves)

1 bag frozen sweet corn

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 (32 oz) boxes chicken stock, 2 quarts total

2 limes

3 cups cooked white rice

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Optional:Sour cream, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Extra lime quarters

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add green pepper, garlic and jalapeno and continue sauteing until soft. Add spices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add tomatoes, beans, chicken, corn,Worcestershire, and stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Cut the limes in half, squeeze juice into the pot, and then add the juiced halves as well.

Add rice and cook 5 minutes longer to warm rice through. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and serve with lime quarters for squeezing at table. Pass sour cream and cilantro for desired additional toppings.  This is wonderful reheated and freezes well.






Sauteed Mushrooms in Red Wine


Mushrooms are a delicious topping for any grilled meat or as a topping for buttered pasta.  I used lemon juice from our Meyer lemon harvest that I froze into mini muffin cups.  Each lemon “muffin” is exactly 2 tablespoons, and very convenient for adding to sauces. I picked a handful of fresh parsley from the garden to toss on top.   Note:  if you happen to have any leftovers, this is a wonderful addition to the next night’s spaghetti sauce!

Sautéed Mushrooms in Red Wine

1 lb mushroom, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup red wine

salt and pepper

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried French thyme

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Melt butter in  sauté  pan. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté over high heat until they are nicely browned. Add salt, pepper and red wine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately.

Red Velvet Peppermint Cake


My daughter-in-law Kristen baked this cake last week and brought it when she and our son came to dinner at our house. She is pregnant, and any day now they will be bringing their baby Nora to our house instead of cake!  Pregnancies are well known for food cravings, and she had been craving this cake, which she first ate when my friend Joyce brought it here for a Solstice gathering several years ago.  The cake was a huge hit that evening, as it was again.  It is a beautiful cake, billed in 1998 Southern Living magazine as their “most show-stopping dessert ever.”  It appears in several sites online and Kristen made it by the book!   It is a lovely thing to look at it, and delicious to sample. I rarely post recipes here that I have not made myself or helped to make, but this is a special cake, baked at a special time!  Kristen, thank you!


Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (9-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Peppermint Candy Canes for garnish

Beat first 4 ingredients according to cake mix package directions.

Beat yellow cake mix and next 6 ingredients according to package directions. Spoon red batter alternately with white batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round pans. Swirl batter gently with a knife.

Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

Spread Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.  Garnish with crushed candy canes.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter or margarine, softened\

1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add extract, beating until blended.


Beef Tenderloin with Pancetta and Rosemary Wrap


When I made this recently at family request, I could not get my camera out fast enough for a “before” picture.  The photo is after my hungry crew sliced into it. This is definitely a delicious entrée choice for a special occasion.  In fact, we first tried this recipe for a Christmas dinner about 3 years ago. A bacon-wrapped filet mignon  is  a more simple single portion version of this since pancetta is Italian bacon, salt cured with black pepper and sometimes other spices. Its round slices curl and ruffle as they crisp, very  pretty on top of the tenderloin. My version is adapted from one found in December 2010 Southern Living magazine, but it can be found many places on the internet.  

Beef Tenderloin with Pancetta and Rosemary Wrap

1 4 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed

1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil,

14-16 thin pancetta slices

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Kitchen string

Waxed Paper

Prepared horseradish cream, found near the deli section of your supermarket

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Sprinkle tenderloin with salt and pepper. Brown tenderloin in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet about 5 minutes on each side. Let stand while you prepare pancetta and chop garlic and rosemary.

2. Arrange pancetta slices in 2 rows on a  piece of wax paper, overlapping to form a rectangle the same length and width of tenderloin

.3. Sprinkle half of garlic and rosemary over pancetta . Place tenderloin on edge of 1 long side of pancetta and sprinkle with remaining garlic and rosemary. Tightly roll up tenderloin with pancetta, using wax paper as a guide.. Tie tenderloin with kitchen string, securing at 1-inch intervals. Discard wax paper wrapping and transfer to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

4. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until pancetta is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into center of tenderloin registers 120° (rare). Let stand 10 minutes. Discard kitchen string before slicing. Serve with Horseradish Cream.
Note: For medium-rare, cook tenderloin to 135°, or to 150° for medium.

Rosemary Corn Cakes

001These corn cakes are delicious with last week’s posted recipe for Cheese Broccoli Soup!  My sister sent me the recipe, originally found on Rachel Ray’s cooking show.  I made a few small changes and will certainly make these again soon. I cooked mine in my old iron skillet friend and they reminded me of the corn bread cakes my mother used to cook this way.  She never used fresh herbs and although bacon was a staple at our house, she never used Pancetta, but I think she would love these, and probably crumble them into a glass of buttermilk!

Rosemary Corn Cakes

1 box (8 1/2 ounces) corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/3 cup chopped prosciutto (substitute crumbled crisp bacon or ham if you like)

Tabasco sauce (optional)

Put muffin mix, egg, and  butter in mixing bowl ,add milk, rosemary, chopped prosciutto and a few dashes of Tabasco.  Heat iron skillet and coat lightly with butter.  Form small cakes, 2 to 3 inch circles and cook cakes until golden on each side, then repeat with remaining mixture. Don’t crowd the skillet, the batter expands as the cakes brown.

Delicious as is, or drizzled with maple syrup or honey.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/sweet-savory-menu-rosemary-corn-cakes-prosciutto-chicken-sausages-hot-and-sweet-peppers-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

Cheese Broccoli Soup


Cheese Broccoli Soup

2/3 cup finely chopped onion

2/3 cup thinly sliced carrot

2/3 cup thinly sliced celery

2/3 cup chopped fresh broccoli

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 quart chicken broth

1 quart milk

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sauté onion, carrot, broccoli and celery in butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine flour and cornstarch. Add to vegetables; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Combine broth and milk; gradually add to vegetable mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add cheese, soda, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Ladle soup into individual bowls, and serve immediately.

Sauteed Kale and Apples

009Kale is touted as a superfood and is featured in so many good recipes that it is hard to pick what I want try next. That is probably the reason I skipped the recipes, pulled out my faithful iron skillet, and made this simple, delicious, and very nutritious dish.  It can be used as a side for any grilled, baked, or roasted meat,  is good with a rotisserie chicken for a quick supper, and looks wonderful on the plate with baked fish.

Sauteed Kale and Apples

Kale, gathered from the garden or 1 bunch purchased

1 large apple (my favorite variety is Pink Lady)

a swirl of olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Balsamic vinegar

.Wash and slice apple.  I leave the peeling on. Wash the kale, pat it dry, and strip stems.  Lay the leaves down, stacking several to shred or julienne.  Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in an iron skillet, add the kale and sautee just until wilted.  Toss in apple slices and heat briefly.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wash and slice apple.  I leave the peeling on. Wash the kale, pat it dry, and strip stems.  Lay the leaves down, stacking several to shred or julienne.  Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in an iron skillet, add the kale and sautee just until wilted.  Toss in apple slices and heat briefly.  Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  For a variation of flavor, substitute balsamic vinegar with a Tablespoon of maple syrup.  Serve immediately.

Basic Broccoli


I learned a few years ago that broccoli is one of the winter garden vegetables that does not mind cold temperatures, snow, or ice in our area of South Texas.  When everything in the garden seems to be brown, gray, and soggy, it is fun to go out and cut as much as we need for a side dish or stir fry.  And the taste is so bright and fresh that only a sprinkle of salt and squeeze of fresh lemon is enough.  But there are so many ways to use broccoli and many ways to season or top it, that it really can be a go to choice to make a meal special.


The biggest thing to remember is to never overcook broccoli. It is very tasty raw, added to green salad, mixed with cauliflower and dressed with lemon vinaigrette, or served with other crunchy veggies along with hummus or dip. When you do cook it, it can be roasted, steamed, grilled, or sauteed – just aim at undercooking!

My favorite way to cook broccoli on the stove top is to add 1/2 to 1 inch of water to a skillet, sprinkle with salt and lay the broccoli stalks flat in the skillet.  Bring water to a boil and let simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then cover and steam to desired tenderness. This lets the broccoli turn bright green before steaming, and it will keep its color.

You can also steam broccoli by filling a pot with a few inches of water and inserting a steamer basket . Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and stems and cover. Steam for 4-5 minutes, until tender.

Broccoli can also be sautéed. Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible. Add only enough oil to coat a skillet, and set over medium-high heat. Add broccoli florets and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat with oil. Add the sliced stems 1 minute later. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.

Roasting broccoli is another great way to use the vegetable, and is very easy.  Heat the oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli florets and stems with a few teaspoons of oil and a half teaspoon of salt. Spread the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crunchy with caramelized brown spots. Serve immediately.

Any of these methods of preparing broccoli can be used to make a side dish, cold or warm salads,add to a frittata, Quiche, or pizza. And as if that weren’t enough options, you can always dress things up a little by adding cheese or cream sauces.