Monday, February 22, 2010


We are leaving for Mexico tomorrow, in case you miss me. After this winter, we need some warm weather and sunshine.

I wanted to post a recipe here and on Stone Cottage Kitchen before we left. The one on SCK is for Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie and it is to die for, please check it out.

The Pineapple Casserole came from a very dear friend from our years at the American Embassy in Bonn, Germany in the 1960s. Bettye and her husband Herb were killed in a car wreck in 2004, a terrible tragedy for so many people.

I was at a coffee recently and a similar dish was served as a brunch dish. Bettye used this as a side dish with ham or pork. Either way it is great.

Bettye's Pineapple Casserole

1 large can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound cheddar cheese
Fresh bread crumbs

Mix together first 5 ingredients and pour into buttered casserole. Cover with fresh bread crumbs and dot with butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This is another recipe that my sister-in-law, Barbara, and my good friend Sue will try to take credit for. It is just that as they grow older, their minds get weaker. I first found this simple little dish in a Chinese cookbook about 45 years ago. Undoubtedly, it was written for American tastes, not exotic at all. Simple and easy to make and to add new ingredients, to your liking.

Beef and Mushrooms
1 pound fresh mushrooms or 1/2 dried mushrooms
2 cans beef bouillon or chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds beef steak* sliced into pieces small enough to eat without a knife, or leftover steak or roast can be used, all fat trimmed off
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
*I have made this with beef tenderloin and it is the best ever.

If dried mushrooms are used, wash then, drain, cover with cold water, let soak 1 hour. Drain, remove stems, and cut mushrooms into halves. Simmer (fresh or dried) in stock with salt 10 minutes.
Saute the beef, onions, garlic and ground black pepper(to taste, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon), cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sherry and soy sauce, cook just to heat.*

Mix cornstarch with cold water, stir into mushroom and meat and cook until thickened.

Serve over cooked rice.

*Tenderloin or other tender steak is best cooked just until medium rare.

Additions: broccolli, water chestnuts, green peppers, carrots or whatever you prefer.
Serves 4

Monday, February 15, 2010


Brussels, Belgian is a beautiful city, a jewel among European cities. While my husband, Dale was at the American Embassy in Bonn, Germany in the late 1960s, we took several day and weekend trips to neighboring countries. Brussels was a weekend trip. Belgians speak Flemish, French, Dutch and German and in Brussels a lot of English, thank goodness.
One of my favorite places there is the Manniken Pis. As the story goes, the small son of a wealthy gentleman wondered off and became lost. The father was so relieved when the little boy was found peeing in a fountain, that he had The Manniken Pis erected at the site.
Belgians are very fond of their beer and use often it in their braising. This dish is what I call a good man's dish, very hardy.
Beer Braised Beef, Belgian Style
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inches by 4 inches by 1/2 thick inch pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons oil
6 cups of sliced onions
4 cloves garlic mashed
1 cup strong beef stock
2 to 3 cups light Pilsner beer
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 large herb bouquet: 6 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf and 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or (1/2 teaspoon dried) all tied together in cheesecloth
Dry meat with paper towels. Put oil in a heavy skillet and heat to smoking. Brown beef slices ,a few at a time until the beef is browned.
Reduce heat to moderate. Stir the onions into the oil in the skillet, adding more oil if necessary, brown the onions lightly for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, season with sugar and pepper, stir in the garlic. Arrange half of the browned beef in a 9 inch to 10 inch fireproof casserole and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread half the onions over the beef. Repeat with rest of the beef and onions.
Heat the stock in the browning skillet, scraping up coagulated cooking juices. Pour it over the meat. Add enough beer to barely cover. Stir in brown sugar. Bury the herb bouquet among the meat slices. Bring casserole to a simmer on top of the stove. Then cover and place in lower third of preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours, the meat should be fork tender. Remove herb bouquet. Drain the cooking liquid out of the casserole into a saucepan and skim off fat. Beat 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar mixture into cooking liquid and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Carefully correct seasoning. You should have 2 cups of sauce. Pour the sauce back over meat.
May be prepared in advance to this point. Simmer to reheat for 4 to 5 minutes.
Serve with peeled, boiled white potatoes, mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.
Serves 6

Friday, February 12, 2010


This is a picture of my mother's sister, Mildred. The picture was taken during World War II in Washington D.C. where she worked. She met her husband Harry (the Greek Lemon Chicken Soup is from Harry) there and moved to Kentucky where she lived this rest of her life.

Mildred gave me a Kentucky cookbook in the 1970s and that is where I found the angel biscuits recipe that follows. It has become a tradition in my family, always served at holidays such as Thanksgiving. It makes a great breakfast biscuit and it is great with country ham, butter and marmalade.

This recipe is a good substitute for dinner rolls and easier to make. The dough can be taken out of refrigerator in portions for a particular serving. It doesn't require a rising and seems to rise higher in the oven after a couple days in the refrigerator.

Angel Biscuits
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups flour (I prefer unbleached and the best unbleached is King Author)
3/4 cups shortening (I use 1/2 unsalted butter and 1/2 Crisco)
2 cups buttermilk
Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Combine sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, sprinkle over flour and mix well with a fork or sift together. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until shortening is well blended. Add yeast and buttermilk (start with 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk, add more as needed) mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. This will be a wet sticky dough, don't over handle. Place dough in greased bowl and turn to grease all sides, cover and refrigerate. If you plan to make a few days ahead, I suggest you put the dough in a 2 gallon Ziploc bag or divide into two 1 gallon Ziploc bags, this will keep the outside from drying out, you still should first put in a greased bowl to grease sides. (The dough could be baked after first making, but I always make ahead, because it is easier to handle after refrigerated.)
To make biscuits, take out the amount of dough required. Roll dough about 1/3 inch thick, cut with a biscuit cutter and place on lightly greased pan.* Bake for 12 minutes at 400 degrees. A convection oven will bake the biscuits far more evenly.
This recipe will make 2 to 3 dozen biscuits depending on size of biscuit cutter.

*There are two ways to bake these, set apart on baking sheet or place in a cake pan, close together. This depends on your preference, the sheet method will give you a crusty side biscuits, ideal for ham biscuit or in a cake pan for a higher, fluffy biscuits with soft sides.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Actually, the name of this chili is 'Dr. Ray's Famous Grand Prize Chile', winning the Texas state chili championship in 1980. My dear cousin Carolyn from Harrison, Arkansas, gave me this recipe years ago. My niece Barbie makes it every year for a New Year's eve party in Cleveland, Ohio and she says her friends love it. I made it this week for the little Supper Bowl party we had and it was a big hit.

There are lots of chili recipes out there, this one is worth the effort.

Grand Prize Chili

4 pounds chili meat (coarse chili ground or beef cut into small pieces, 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes, don't use hamburger meat)
2 medium yellow onions chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Seasoning spices*:
6 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika*
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon MSG, I leave this out, so I guess I have made it optional
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional, I left this out
1 teaspoon onion powder, optional, I added this
Beef stock or water

Brown chili meat in a little oil. Add onions and garlic, which has been chopped, continue cooking until the onions are beginning to soften. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Add beef stock or water to just cover meat. Stir everything together and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. Correct seasonings (salt, etc.).

After the chili was chilled I removed most of the congealed fat. This is optional.

*I prefer Hungarian paprika.

*The list of seasoning spices may be premixed for future use. The mixture may be scaled up, a times 10 increase will yield a mixing bowl full, which will fill 10 to 12 spice jars. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons per pound of meat.
This makes a great gift, the seasoning and recipe in a basket.

A good seasoning for taco meat. If you read the ingredients on a taco seasoning package, you will realize how much junk is added. It is much healthier to make you own.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Back in the 1950s in Harrison, Arkansas, a favorite hang out was the A&W Root Beer Stand. I'm not sure when it opened or when it closed, but in the early and mid 50s is was the place. Huge frosted mugs filled with either root beer or a root beer float. One of the best things about this place was their chili dogs with slaw. The owners were Spike and Katherine Cavender, the founders of Cavender's Seasoning*, a staple in my spice pantry today. I'm fortunate to have the simple recipes for the chili and slaw that made these hot dogs so special.
*In 1971 Cavender's All-Purpose Greek Seasoning was introduced to the seasoning market. Salt free was added in 1991. I prefer the original, but for those that watch their salt, the salt free is a good substitute. If you live in area where you cannot find the seasoning, it is easy to find on line, just google it. I think you will find it to be truly unique and a great addition to so many dishes.
Martha's son oils baking potatoes with olive oil and covers the skin with Cavender's, wraps in foil and bakes. The seasoning permeates the potato skin for a great flavor.

Spike's Chili

1 pound hamburger
1 onion chopped
1 teaspoon each: salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1 heaping teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder

Brown hamburger and onion, breaking up hamburger. Drain off fat.
Add salt,pepper, and garlic. Cover with water 1 to 2 inches above meat. Cook 1 1/2 hours.
Last 15 minutes add 1 heaping teaspoon cumin, 1 heaping teaspoon paprika, and 1 tablespoon chili powder.
This will be a slightly dry chili, perfect for hot dogs.


1 head of cabbage, shredded fine
1 small onion chopped fine

Toss and Mix with dressing

Prepared Mustard

Spike didn't give amounts, he says he just mixes till it tastes right. He also says use a lot of pepper, and he only used a couple of teaspoons of vinegar.*

* I added a small amount of sugar, probably about 1/2 teaspoon, seems to soften the flavor. This is optional.

Cook good hot dogs, I use Petite Jean in Arkansas, Ballpark franks are good, or use your favorite. Place in bun and pile with chili and slaw. Also, have an A&W Rootbeer in a frosted mug along with the hot dog.