Friday, January 12, 2018

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Soup Season! My favorite season of the year. This is a very delicious version of Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 T. butter
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth or stock (or I like to do 1 quart stock and 2 cups chicken broth made with BTB)
1 3/4 cup chunky sala
1 cup frozen petite white corn
1 can black beans,drained
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded OR 1 whole rotisserie chicken deboned and shredded OR two or three cans chicken breast
Tortilla strips or chips
Garnishes for topping the soup: Cilantro, sour cream, avocado, lime juice 
Melt butter in large sauce pan. Add green pepper, onion, and cumin. Saute' until tender. Stir in broth, salsa, corn, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken. Heat through. Ladel into bowls and top with tortilla strips. Add garnishes of your choice. The lime juice is delicious.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello Dolly Bars

If I had to choose my very favorite dessert of all-time, it would be probably be a tie between chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (and ala mode doesn't hurt anything) and these bar cookies- Hello Dolly Bars.  I have been making them for years.  I can remember making them when I was expecting our first daughter.  That is 40 years ago!  They are delicious and very easy to make.

Hello Dolly Bars
1 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups pecans, chopped
2 cups coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips (or you can use more semi sweet)

Preheat oven to 350
In a medium bowl, mix together the crumbs and butter.  Press into the bottom of a 13x9 pan.  Layer the chocolate chips, pecans and coconut.  Drizzle the milk over all.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Take out of oven and sprinkle on the milk chocolate chips.  Let cool, then refrigerate until well set.  Cut into bars.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Fudge Pie

This pie is easy as pie and delicious!
I made this kind and peach for Kristen's birthday many years ago.  That little boy is now 10 and his sister is 12. Shown with Grandpa Pete- our long-time neighbor and friend.

Fudge Pie

2 squares (2 ounces) semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 unbaked pie crust

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan or in the microwave.  Stir until smooth.  Add the sugar and eggs and beat well.  Pour into the pie shell and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate for about an hour or longer until set.  Serve with whipped cream.

This pie is good and it is so easy.  But the best chocolate pie recipe I have is this one.  So if you want easy, try the recipe above.  If you want out of this world, click on the link.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Taco Rice

Mexican-flavored foods are gaining popularity in Japan.  You can find ingredients such as salsa, taco seasoning, and hot sauce on the grocery shelves.  A recipe they make there, that I haven't seen here is taco rice.  It puts Mexican flavors with their beloved rice.  It was really good.  It is difficult to find tortill chips there.  So they often just put regular potato chips on the taco rice(as shown).  They served this a few times at our weekly family home evenings.  It was always a big hit with everyone. (Eat it with chopsticks, of course!)
Taco Rice
1 lb. hamburger browned with
1 diced onion
Add taco seasoning and water to make a sauce
Serve over hot, cooked rice.  Top with chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, tortilla chips, and salsa. 
Easy and yummy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Michelle's Cheese Ball

Need a good cheese ball recipe for your New Year's festivities or Super Bowl celebration?  Michelle made this for an appetizer for our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was delicious!  She got the recipe from

Cheese Ball
2- 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Salt, just a pinch
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans.
Combine the cream cheese and cheddar cheese in a bowl- It is easiest to use your hands to mix them together.  Add the peppers, onion, Worcestershire, lemon juice and salt.  Mix well and shape into a round ball.  Spread the chopped pecans on a plate.  Roll the cheeseball in the pecans until the ball is well and evenly coated.  Refrigerate overnight.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Italian Beef Sandwiches
3-4 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 T. Italian seasoning
2 green peppers, diced
2 onions, diced
1 box mushrooms, sliced
1 jar sliced pepperoncini
2 small cans tomato sauce
Sliced provolone or Mozarella cheese
Sandwich rolls, toasted

Spray a crockpot.
Combine the salt, pepper, garlic salt and Italian seasoning to make a rub.  Rub into the roast.  Put the roast in the slow cooker.  Add the vegetables and some of the juice from the pepperoncini.  Add the tomato sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 or 6.  Using two forks, shred the meat.  Mix well.  Put some of the mixture on top of a split, toasted crusty sandwich roll.  Top with cheese.  Put under the broiler until the cheese is melted.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sesame Spinach Salad

This is a very common, nutritious and delicious salad served in Japan.  We had it often at our weekly family home evenings held at the church.  I was always excited to see it on the menu.  It didn't always have the beet greens- only when fresh from the garden. 

2 boxes frozen spinach or 1 1/2 lbs. fresh baby spinach, blanched and drained
Beet greens (optional- they add a pretty red color, but the spinach alone is fine, too)

3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon mirin (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar or maple syrup (to taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

  Blanche the spinach.  For some reason, the Japanese friend who taught me this recipe said she preferred to make it with frozen spinach. Her reason was lost in the translation, I guess.  Let the spinach drain while you make the sauce:   Toast the sesame seeds in a small pan until they start to pop.  (You can buy them toasted, but they are expensive)  Grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle to make a paste.  If you don't have a mortar and pestle- like I don't- put the seeds (saving out a few for garnish) in a quart-sized freezer zip lock bag.  Close the bag and roll over and over with a rolling pin.  You'll soon have a goma or sesame seed paste.    Add the soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, and sugar right in the bag to make the dressing.  Add the sesame or vegetale oil.  Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach and put in a bowl.  Pour the dressing over the top of the spinach.  Mix well. Garnish with reserved seeds.  Easy, nutritious and delicious!  And so Japanese!