Friday, April 17, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

I needed to make a cake for my youngest class. Every few months the parents are expected to bring in a baked sale for either Bingo night, an event or just to sell to the students. I decided on this Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake. I have never tasted a moister cake than this one. The yogurt really does make a difference in the texture. And the fresh strawberries really do make a difference. I would recommend any berry to this recipe. Making baked goods from scratch really does make a difference.
Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
 YIELD: 12 slices PREP TIME:15 minutes COOK TIME:1 hour

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1
/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 1/4 cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake. NOTE: I've had a few questions on the texture of the batter. The consistency of the yogurt and the juiciness of the berries, greatly determined the consistency of the batter. Thick, (dryer) yogurt will produce a thicker batter, in which the berries won't sink to the bottom (top) of the cake as seen in the photos. Either way, it is a great cake--don't worry about the thickness of the batter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ham and Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes

Still trying to use up the little bit of ham I have left. I found this great recipe for a ham, potato and mushroom bake. It is hearty, flavorful and a keeper of a recipe. I paired it with a green salad.

Ham and Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients (4 servings)

4 medium potatoes, finely sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 c. ham, chopped
4 ounces fresh white mushrooms, chopped
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1- 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 10.5 ounce can milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8x11 glass baking dish. Layer potatoes, then onion, ham, mushrooms and cheese in the baking dish. In a bowl, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, milk, parsley and pepper until combined. Pour over top and spread evenly. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ham 'n' Cheese Quiche

I still have a bit of ham left over from Easter so I started looking for recipes to use the ham in. Quiche just makes perfect sense as I had all the ingredients in the fridge except for the pie crust. But that is easily found in the freezer section of my local supermarket. It was a quick meal to put together and delicious paired with a salad. My husband was raving about it. It was creamy and flavorful.

Ham 'n' Cheese Quiche

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min.YIELD:12 servings

1 package (14.1 ounces) refrigerated pie pastry
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 eggs
2 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Unroll pastry sheets into two 9-in. pie plates; flute edges. Line unpricked pastry shells with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove foil and weights; bake 3-5 minutes longer or until bottom is golden brown. Cool on wire racks. 2. Divide ham, cheese and onion between shells. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper until blended. Pour into shells. Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 2 quiches (6 servings each).

Friday, April 10, 2015

Italian Easter Pie

I love an Italian savory pie for Easter. It is a tradition I have kept for my husband. It is a great way to use up cold cuts. Like ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone, mozzarella. Whatever you have on hand. Think of it as an antipasto bake. Or as we call it Italian Easter Pie. This recipe calls for peppers which I omitted. The Easter Pie is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pair great with asparagus or salad. Though I wouldn't think there would be much left or a good idea to eat it all day. You could if you wanted too.
Italian Breakfast Casserole


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced bell peppers and onions
1 (8 oz) tube Crescent Rolls
8 slices ham
15 slices salami
8 eggs salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, provolone or Italian blend)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add olive oil to a large skillet over high heat. When it just starts to smoke, carefully add bell peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and slightly blackened around the edges. Remove to a plate and set aside.  In the prepared dish, layer crescent rolls, ham, and salami. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper and pour on top. Top with peppers and onions and cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Oven Roasted Asparagus

I have grown to love asparagus. The same for Haas Avocados and ginger. I don't know why I didn't always. Asparagus is such an adaptable vegetable. I decided on the Pioneer Woman's recipe for oven roasted Asparagus. She has wonderful yet easy dishes to choose from. Next on my food list to like is Brussel Sprouts.
Oven Roasted Asparagus
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes

1 bunch Asparagus
4 Tablespoons (up To 5 Tablespoons)
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper,To Taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. After you wash the asparagus thoroughly, stack a bunch together and lop off the tough/thick bottom an inch or so. Spread out the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat it as dry as you can, as you don’t want any water to “steam” the asparagus in the oven. Begin by generously drizzling olive oil all over the asparagus and then sprinkle the asparagus generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the asparagus for about ten minutes. The secret here is for the oven to be very hot so the asparagus can begin to brown on the outside without overcooking and getting too flimsy. You want the finished asparagus to still have a bite to it.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze

Though I grew up eating Lamb for Easter. I quickly adapted to enjoying Ham for the holiday. Honestly I offer both meats at my Easter table. I always purchased a precooked ham as I like to make a lot of food for the holidays. I try to find recipes that don't take up a lot of time but are flavorful. For the ham I followed the guidelines for a precooked ham. I decided to use the following glaze
for this year's ham. The ham was perfect.
Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze 

1 (12-pound) shankless skinless smoked cured ham
Whole cloves for studding ham
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 to 2-inch Ham Steak
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Score top of ham into diamonds and stud center of each diamond with a clove. Place ham on a rack in a roasting pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours. In a bowl combine the sugar, mustard and vinegar and spread glaze evenly over ham. Bake for another 35 minutes Transfer ham to a platter and let stand 15 minutes before carving. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Combine cloves, sugar and mustard and brush over Ham Steak. Bake in baking dish in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes until heated through.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is my favorite cake besides chocolate. I think it is the perfect cake for Easter. And any spring holiday really. This Carrot Cake is so simple that you can whip it up the very last minute. It is also moist and flavorful.

Carrot Cake


For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pans. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set pans aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until combined. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed well combined, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the oil in a thin steady stream and continue to beat until fully incorporated.

4. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Don't overmix. Stir in the grated carrots and raisins.

5. Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.

6. While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

7. Using a serrated knife, carefully trim rounded top of cakes. Place one cake, cut side up, on a plate or cake stand. Spread half of the frosting over cake. Invert the remaining cake on top of the frosted bottom layer so that the flat side (the bottom) is on top. Spread remaining frosting over top.

Note: The cakes can be made in advanced. Wrap cooled cakes in a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Store the frosted cake in an airtight cake dome, at cool room temperature, or in the fridge, for 2 to 3 days. You can also make this recipe in a 9x13 cake pan. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Grilled Goat Cheese and Broccoli Sandwich

This grilled Goat Cheese and Broccoli sandwich recipe that the New York Times published was amazing.  It was easy to assemble and just flavorful. I even threw in Trader Joe’s Pesto for added flavor. 

Grilled Goat Cheese and Broccoli Sandwich

Total time: About 15 minutes

1/2 broccoli crown (about 2 ounces)
1 ounce goat cheese (about 1/4 cup crumbled)
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley and marjoram (optional)
1 garlic clove, halved (optional)
2 slices whole-grain country bread
1/2 teaspoon dukkah
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Steam broccoli for 4 minutes, until tender but bright. Rinse briefly with cold water and drain well on paper towels or kitchen towels. Chop fine and measure out 1/4 cup. Set aside remaining chopped broccoli for another sandwich or another dish.
Mash goat cheese in a bowl and add the 1/4 cup chopped broccoli and the fresh herbs if using. Mash together if desired, rub 1 slice of bread with a cut clove of garlic and then purée remaining garlic and stir into broccoli/goat cheese mixture. Spread goat cheese and broccoli over bread. Sprinkle with dukkah. Top with the other slice of bread (rub it with garlic if desired) and press down firmly. Drizzle remaining olive oil over top slice of bread. Toast in toaster oven 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese has melted. Remove from toaster oven, press down firmly, cut in half and serve.
Note: If you are worried about cheese oozing out onto your toaster oven’s heating element (the burnt cheese smells horrible), then place on a baking sheet. Toast for 3 minutes, then flip over and toast 1 minute more. You can also make this in a panini grill.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Smoked Sausage & Sauerkraut Casserole

Though it is March the weather is still quite chilly and I thought this adapted from Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut Casserole
was the perfect dish to fill me up. I liked that it was essentially a one pot meal and all the flavors really worked great together.

Smoked Sausage & Sauerkraut Casserole

2 pounds potatoes
2/3 cup warm milk
1 or 2 tbsp butter
pinch of pepper and nutmeg
1 pound sauerkraut (drained well)
1 smoked sausage (mine was Unox extra lean, 275gr)
1 large red bell pepper or 2 smaller ones
1 large onion
5 tbsp sour cream (heaping!)
1/2 tbsp sweet paprika powder (smoked works great!)
1/2 tbsp chill powder (less if you don’t like spiciness)
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cup melting cheese(used cheddar)
1 cup beef broth
salt and pepper

Our Unox smoked sausages only have to be heated and are a staple in many Dutch homes, even though I prefer the ones I buy at the butcher. You can also use a different sausage, just make sure it’s cooked properly.
Cut the sausage in bit-sized pieces. Peel, wash and bring the potatoes to a boil in plenty salted water. I don’t like seasoning my mashed potatoes afterwards—it makes them taste slightly off to me—so I always make sure I properly season the water. Heat a tbsp butter and sauté the onion and pepper for a couple of minutes, until translucent. Add the cubed sausage. In with the spices and thyme; I used smoked paprika. The chili powder gives a lovely kick, just enough. Cook everything for an extra minute. In with the still pristine (and well-drained!) sauerkraut.  Stir it in well. Pour in the beef broth and, depending on the saltness level of your broth, season with a pinch of pepper and salt to taste. Put the lid on and smother the sauerkraut for 10 to 15 minutes. That’s my new favorite word: smother. No idea why. Drain your potatoes and steam-dry them for a minute or two. Mash the potatoes. Add the butter, nutmeg (typical Dutch thing, feel free to omit), pepper and warm milk. Stir until you end up with fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes. Sauerkraut should be done as well. Transfer the sauerkraut and sausage to a 9 x 13″ casserole. Cooking liquid and all. Spread the sour cream on top. If you want to, you could also stir it into the mashed potatoes, I prefer a thin separate layer.  Grate 1 1/2 cup melting cheese. Sprinkle 2/3 on top of the sour cream. Top with the mashed potatoes. Pop the casserole into the oven and bake it at 200C° (400F°) for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly warm and the top is golden brown.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sriracha Noodles with Tofu

This recipe had me at Sriracha and tofu.  Despite it being spicy it is so flavorful.  I know most people don't appreciate tofu because it is bland. But I like that best about it as it adapts to any seasoning and sauce. Plus it is a great way to get protein without it being unhealthy. The recipe was also super easy to throw together.

Sriracha Noodles with Tofu


¼ cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

12 ounces extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into ¾-inch cubes


1 cup shredded carrots

½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces and white and green parts separated

3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

1 pound cooked Asian-style noodles

lime wedges and extra Sriracha sauce for serving


In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, water, Sriracha sauce, and garlic cloves. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Sprinkle tofu with salt and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add yellow onion, white parts of green onion, and shredded carrots. Cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Place in bowl with tofu.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan along with cabbage. Cook stirring frequently, until cabbage is wilted. Add green parts of green onion, the noodles, and the tofu/carrot mixture. Pour sauce on top. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve with lime wedges and extra Sriracha sauce.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hamburger and Macaroni Recipe

Hamburger and Macaroni Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni (use rice pasta or gluten-free pasta for gluten-free version) I used Halloween shapes. 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (or mixed chopped green onion greens and yellow onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegesal or other seasoned salt
  • Pinch chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt  and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Get a large pot of hot water heating and begin cooking the macaroni as per the directions on the macaroni package. While the water is heating and macaroni cooking, prepare the sauce. In a skillet, brown the ground beef in a tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Stir only infrequently so that the ground beef has an opportunity to brown. When the beef has mostly browned, add the onions to the pan and toss to combine. Cook until the onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes.  Add the celery seed, a dash of crushed red pepper and the Vegesal or other seasoned salt. Pour in canned tomatoes, add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the drained and cooked macaroni and the parsley. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add freshly ground black pepper and  salt to taste.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Indian-Style Yoghurt Chicken

Indian cuisine is my favorite. I love the flavors from hot to sweet. For me chicken and lamb are the best meats to use in Indian recipes. This yogurt chicken dish was so easy to put together and the yogurt made the chicken so moist.  Yum yum.

Indian-Style Yoghurt Chicken

chicken fillets (boneless breasts)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp tandoori spices
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp hot chili powder
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt

*This was  a recipe for two. 
Flatten the chicken before placing them in a shallow dish. Dump 1/2 cup yoghurt in a bowl. Feel free to use low-fat yogurt.  Grate 1 large garlic clove and add it to the yogurt. And curry powder. I must have curry powder in my marinade, this is 1/2 a tsp. Spike the marinade with 1/8 tsp hot chili powder and 1/4 tsp salt. In hindsight, I could have added a pinch of ground cumin as well. Pour the marinade all over the chicken, get some on both sides. Cover the tray with foil and let the chicken marinade for at least one hour. Preferably longer.  Fire up your grill. Get it really hot, lightly oil it and toss the chicken on top and grill it for about 5 minutes on each side. Of course this depends on the thickness of your chicken

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slow-Cooked Bombay Potatoes

Crockpots are a busy gal's best friend. Especially when they provide one of favorite Indian side dishes Bombay potatoes. Besides minimal work on the stove top, everything is thrown in the crockpot and six hours later this delicious recipe was done. For my crockpot I had to use the full six hours. And I added frozen peas at the end. It made the dish even better.

Slow-Cooked Bombay Potatoes
3 pounds potatoes
1 medium onion
4 tomatoes
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tsp kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
coriander (or flat-leaf parsley)

Ground the spices. These amounts will give a lovely kick, no extreme heat or anything. If you don’t like your potatoes a bit spicy, you can just leave out the chili flakes. Mince the onion. Peel, wash and cube the potatoes. Wash the tomatoes, squeeze out the seeds and give them a rough chop. I didn’t bother peeling them but you can. Heat the oil, add the mustard seeds (I only had black and brown mixed) and wait for them to start popping. As soon as they pop, you add the onion. Cook for a minute or 4 until it turns translucent.  Add the spice mix and cook for another 3 minutes to get the flavors going. Add the potatoes.  Make sure every potato gets some of the spice mix. Add the diced tomatoes. And the salt. Finish with a few cracks of black pepper. Cook the potatoes on low for 4 to 6 hours, depending on how fast/slow your slow cooker goes. I learned that slow cookers go faster these days than the older models. I even throw in several cups of frozen peas in the last ten minutes and it was even tastier. Sprinkle the finely minced coriander or parsley all over the potatoes before serving. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

My husband, bless his heart made our dinner. I had found this recipe for Corned Beef with vegetables. He said it was very easy to prepare. I would only change the water to 1 cup and the vegetables really need an hour to cook for them to be tender.  But the beef tasted amazing at 3 hours. Literally was falling apart.


1 package Corned Beef Brisket
6 potatoes quartered
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 green cabbage, cut up 2 Tablespoons
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
½ cup hot water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Unwrap the brisket and place it fat side up inside the baking dish.
3. If it came with a spice packet, sprinkle it over the top, then sprinkle on the black peppercorns and minced garlic and rub it in.
4. Cover the dish with a lid or heavy aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 2½ hours­3½ hours.
5. Check the brisket by inserting a fork in the meat.
6. If it goes in easily, it’s ready; if it meets with resistance, bake for another 30 minutes­­­or up to an hour in some cases!
7. If the brisket is tough, it hasn't cooked long enough!
8. Once the brisket is fork ­tender, remove it from the oven and let it rest, covered loosely in foil. Add cabbage and veggies during the last ½ hour­ 45 minutes plus water
9. Slice Corned beef into good sized slices, serve veggies along side.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pickle dip

If you are a fan of pickles then this is the dip for you. Creamy and tangy. I found it on flickr. Would go great in deviled eggs as well as with vegetables.

Pickle dip

8oz cream cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups chopped dill pickles
1/4c chopped onions 1 tsp dried dill, and salt

Add all the ingredients in the food processor, whirl it up and serve with veggies of your choice.