• Ingredients
  • Spinach
  • Bleu cheese crumbles
  • Avocado, diced
  • Berries, chopped or whole, depending upon size
  • Sweet Spiced Pecans (recipe found here)
  • Dried cherries
  • Balsamic glaze

Use the amount of ingredients for the number of people you’ll be feeding. Layer the ingredients in individual bowls and let people add their own balsamic glaze as the dressing.

I would say the only “must-have” parts of this salad are the spinach, the bleu cheese crumbles, and the balsamic glaze. I always buy the premade glaze, but I supposed you could find a recipe for it, it’s very sweet. I have used mandarin orange segments instead of berries. I’ve used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I’ve made this without the avocados. I’ve used plain pecans when I’ve been too lazy to make Sweet Spiced Pecans. I’ve used dried strawberries and dried cranberries in lieu of the dried cherries, and I’ve also skipped the dried berries (as is pictured since I was out). Anything goes!

I try to always have these on hand to make Spinach-Bleu-Berry Salad. It’s hard to keep them in stock because of the person who lives with me and likes to nibble on little snacks. So, there’s that. The recipe I use is double the one from dimpleprints. You can adjust the kick by raising or lowering the amount of cayenne pepper. This is a gluten-free recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4-6 cups pecan halves

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a very large bowl, mix together brown sugar, cayenne, salt, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.

In a separate, smaller, bowl whisk together egg whites and vegetable oil until egg whites are foamy. Stir the egg mixture into the brown sugar mixture until it’s all incorporated. Fold in 4 cups of pecan halves. Keep folding as you want the pecans to be fully coated with the mixture and it takes time for the mixture to drip into the grooves of the pecans. Since I use extra-large eggs, I fold in another cup, or more, of pecan halves. Keep folding until it’s all soaked in.

Pour the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. I stir mine two or three times during the roasting process. Keep a close eye on the pecans as they can scorch easily. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment paper and breaking up any clumps. Store and/or share with friends.

A friend posted a picture of several loaves of Julekake that he had made and I remembered my mother making it at Christmas. I’ve been in Nevada over a month, visiting my parents for the holidays, and we have been unable to lay hands on candied red cherries, so Mom got maraschino cherries instead. I thought I would give Julekake a try with what we had on hand. It turned out delicious! I made it in a loaf pan so that it could be easily cut and toasted later.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 3-4 cups flour, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 cup mixed candied fruit and raisins

Heat butter, milk, and water together until it’s hot to the touch, but not scalding. Sprinkle yeast over and let it dissolve, stirring once in awhile. Stir orange zest into the sugar, mashing it around to get the sugar infused with the orange oil. Stir the sugar-zest mixture into the yeast mixture. Stir in about 2 cups flour, salt, and cardamom. Stir and stir and stir to build up the gluten. When it’s stretchy, start adding flour, one half-cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When it becomes too hard to stir, take it out of the bowl and start kneading on a lightly floured surface. At this point, use as little flour as possible. Knead for about five minutes. Once the dough ball is smooth and springs back when touched, press it flat. Sprinkle about a third of the mixed fruit over the surface. Roll up the dough and knead a little bit. Press flat again and sprinkle another third of the fruit over, then roll it up and knead it again. Do that one last time with the remaining fruit. The fruit should be well incorporated into the dough.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn the dough over so that the top of it is also greased. Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours should do it. You can leave it longer if you don’t have time to deal with it.

Punch the dough down and shape into a loaf and place into a greased loaf pan 8-1/2 x 4-1/2. Let rise until just over the top edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once the oven has heated, place the loaf into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Notes: I used about a third cup of chopped green candied cherries, a third cup of raisins, and a third up of chopped maraschino cherries. Maraschinos have too much liquid, so I let them drain onto a paper towel and chopped them on the paper towel. It wouldn’t hurt anything to let them sit out for quite awhile to lose more moisture and get tacky.

You should be able to make this into different shapes: rings or rolls and also you can drizzle icing over, an almond icing would be great. I knew we could not eat this all while it was fresh, so my goal was to be able to toast it in the toaster later, thus no icing. It’s been really delicious toasted and slathered with butter. Yum!

I worked at the King Ko Inn in King Salmon, Alaska during my teenage years in the mid-1970s. Most of that time I was a maid, but for a few months in my senior year of high school I was a waitress. The clientele were German sport fishermen and road laborers working on the upgrade of the road to Naknek. The inn’s manager was this mountainous rough woman named Bea. She was all seeing, all knowing. She cruised through the inn like a giant tanker, trailing a wake of fear behind her. She was fiercely protective, however, of her young employees. One thing you could count on when Bea was cooking on Fridays was her Manhattan Clam Chowder. Most places, in the western United States at least, serve clam chowder on Fridays, but it is New England style. Bea’s Manhattan Clam Chowder is so memorable that I have been trying to duplicate it ever since. I finally found it here at Food 52 a few years ago.

  • Ingredients
  • 16 oz. (2-8 oz. bottles) clam juice
  • 12 oz. (2- 6 oz. cans) chopped clams, drained, reserve juice
  • 4 oz. diced bacon
  • 1-1/2 cups small dice onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
  • 1 cup small dice celery
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/8 heaping tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups 1/2″ dice peeled potatoes
  • 28 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish sauce

In a large pan, fry bacon until nearly crisp. Stir in vegetables and saute until soft. Stir in spices. Stir in clam juice and reserved clam juice, salt, pepper, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Stir in tomatoes and clams. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in horseradish sauce. Serve. Oh, yum!!!

Notes: This will serve 4 easily. I like to serve with a crusty bread or oyster crackers. If you’ve never used leeks before, make sure you clean them appropriately. I slice mine in half lengthwise and then run under cold water while I flip the layers of leek, like pages of a book. Leeks hide sand and bugs and have to be cleaned well. Then I chop them up. This is a gluten-free dish.

This is my new favorite pizza dough recipe. I’m not a pizza crust connoisseur by any means, but this crust made me pause and ask, “Where have you been all my life?” The recipe originates at babysavers.com.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup warm beer
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzle
  • 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups flour (I have used both bread flour and all-purpose to great effect)
  • Favorite toppings

This recipe makes one 16″ pie or a couple smaller ones.

Mix beer, water, yeast and sugar together and let sit until foamy. Stir in salt and olive oil and 1 cup flour. Stir and stir and stir to build the gluten. Stir in more flour in half-cup increments until it’s a bit shaggy. If you’re using a stand mixer, keep mixing and adding smidges of flour until the the dough is smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your pan(s) by covering with parchment paper or lightly greasing or oiling or spraying with non-stick spray. Prepare your toppings.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ and set on your prepared pan(s). BAKE FOR 4-5 MINUTES (PARBAKE)!

Remove the parbaked crusts from the oven and sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Return to the oven and bake 8-12 minutes or until crust is golden and toppings melted.

Notes: What I liked about this was the flavor coming off of the beer. I heat my beer in the microwave until it’s warm to the touch, but not scalding hot. Don’t want to kill the yeast. The beer makes for a deeply flavored crust. My 89-year-old dad said it was the best pizza he ever had, so that’s saying something. The last time I made this I increased the ingredients a little bit because I didn’t think there would be enough pizza. I was wrong because we ended up with leftovers, but it turned out well, so now I know it works. I just eyeballed and added about a third more of everything and then made one pizza on a very large baking sheet and the other one on a smaller baking sheet. I think the key is the parbaking. It means the sauce doesn’t cause the crust to get soggy or worse, remain raw.

The topping ideas are endless: Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple (euw), bacon, peppers, tomatoes, onion. I remember eating a kabab pizza in Sweden, but I can’t remember what constituted the kabab. It was yummy, though. Some kind of meat with some kind of white sauce drizzled over. I really love a spicy Thai pizza with chicken and sweet chile sauce and peanuts and bean sprouts. This is making me hungry.

This dish is also known as a puff pancake. The recipe is based upon one by recipegirl. I was recently gifted a non-stick cast iron Dutch oven. The lid is multi-use and may be used as a skillet. If you do not have a cast-iron skillet, or one that is bake-proof, then a 9×13″ baking dish should work fine.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 eggs (I use extra large)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh berries
  • Syrup or powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put your skillet into oven as it’s heating.

In a blender or food processor, mix together eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt.

Remove the skillet from oven and place butter into it. Return to oven until butter has melted.

Pour batter over melted butter. Sprinkle berries over the top of the batter. Place the skillet back into the oven for 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar or with syrup, however you like it.

Serves 4

I’ve been making my own ricotta lately because it’s easy and has so few ingredients. I also like the taste very much better than store bought. Why is it different? I do not know. I’ve used it in lasagne, cake, and as a condiment for pancakes and crackers.

  • Ingredients: Yield apx. 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar

Stir the milk and cream together in a saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring almost to boiling. This is very important, it has to be hot enough. Remove from heat and pour in the vinegar. Give two swirls through the pan with a spoon and then let it sit until cooled to room temperature. The milk will curdle–that’s good.

Using cheesecloth or a jelly bag or some type of fine-mesh strainer, pour the mixture through. This will mostly be whey. I save the whey to feed my sourdough, but you can discard it or search Google to find more uses. Once the remaining cheese is a dryness that seems good (overnight), either use it or place it into a covered dish and pop into the refrigerator for later. I don’t know how long it will last. Seems like the longest I’ve kept it is around ten days.

Notes: You can read a lot about this not working with pasteurized milk, but I’ve had no problem. I didn’t let it get hot enough one time and I stirred it too much, so it didn’t separate into milk solids and whey properly. I re-heated the whey the next day and as soon as it got hot it separated before my eyes. So, that was a learning experience.

People joke about holiday fruit cakes and I get that. But there are people who genuinely enjoy them, my father, my husband, and myself being three of them. I inherited my mother-in-law’s recipe box when she passed away on Good Friday 1991. I think I had actually started making these fruit cakes prior to that, but I really didn’t get into the swing of it, realizing that the brandy was key, until just a few years ago. In 2019 I made two batches and sent my dad a couple different loaves, soaked in brandy. Soaked. My husband and I took a loaf out of the freezer last month, and oh my, it was the best ever! So, here we go, this is what you do . . .

  • Ingredients
  • 3 oz. candied diced lemon peel
  • 3 oz. candied diced orange peel
  • 1/4 # candied chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 # candied diced citron
  • 1/2 # chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 # candied cherries, halved
  • 1/2 # raisins
  • 1/4 # rough chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 # rough chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup flour, for dredging
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup orange or grape juice
  • Apx. 3 cups brandy

In a very large bowl (mine is 32 cups), dredge fruit and nuts in 1/4 cup flour and set aside.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Prepare three 3-1/2 x 7-1/2″ loaf pans by spraying with non-stick spray and lining with parchment paper, allowing at least a 1/2″ overhang on all sides of pans. Heat 2 cups water to boiling in another pan.

In a separate bowl (I use a stand mixer) cream sugar and shortening. Add honey, then eggs, and beat well. Sift remaining dry ingredients and stir in alternately with fruit juice — beat thoroughly. Pour batter over floured fruit in the very large bowl and mix well.

Dollop the batter evenly into the pans, but do not flatten the batter down. Place pan with boiling water in the oven and also place loaves into oven. If you have the shelf space, put the boiling water pan on a rack beneath the loaves. Mine gets all crowded in there together on the same rack. No problem. The loaves do NOT go into the water. Bake at 250 degrees F for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap each loaf in a cloth. Place the loaves into a shallow pan with sides (9 X 13″ Pyrex baking dish works great). Pour apx. 3 cups brandy (half of a 1.75 L bottle) evenly over the loaves in the baking pan, a bit at a time. Let sit, uncovered, for a couple days. Unwrap, slice and serve, or place into plastic freezer bags, cloth and all, and pop into the freezer. Thaw, unwrap, slice and serve. My, oh, my is that ever a rich dessert!

Yield: 3 Loaves

I ate this for the first time at a local German restaurant a few years ago. I’ve made it myself several times since then. The recipe I was using online ceased to exist, so I switched to this one from Kimberly Killebrew. I think I like it better anyway. Thinking about making this the first couple times seems a rather daunting prospect, but it’s much easier to do than you would think. I believe you could use wild game instead of beef steak, as long as the piece was sliced thin enough. You’re going to need toothpicks, lots of toothpicks. This is easily a gluten-free dinner if you use a corn-starch thickener instead of flour and serve it over something like polenta or potatoes.

When I last made this, I only made 4 beef rolls (instead of 8), but the full complement of gravy. That’s to say just make the number of rolls for the number of people you’re serving. After you’ve done this a time or two, you’ll understand what I’m getting at. And the rouladen are SO tender, you don’t even need a knife!

  • Rouladen Ingredients
  • 8 slices beef steak (like round steak), about 4×6″ size, pounded thin
  • Spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 8 slices dill pickle
  • Sliced onion
  • Gravy Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • Cornstarch or flour to make a slurry
  • Cream, optional

Spread each piece of meat with mustard and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. At the smallest end of the meat, lay a slice of bacon, pickle, and onion. Roll the meat up from that smallest end to the largest end. Secure with several toothpicks.

Heat the butter and oil in an oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven and sear the meat rolls on all sides. Remove to a plate. In that same skillet, saute the onions until they are translucent. You may need more butter or oil. Stir in the garlic and saute another thirty seconds or so. Add the carrots and celery and saute another five minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pour red wine into the skillet with the vegetables, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Nestle the meat rolls in the liquid, cover the skillet, and place into the preheated 325 degree F oven for about 90 minutes. Remove the rouladen from the sauce to a plate.

Thicken the gravy by making a slurry of cornstarch (see note below) and water (or broth) OR a slurry of flour and water (or broth). Either way works just fine. Many cooks will either strain out the vegetables or puree them to make a smooth sauce. I don’t care about that, so I don’t bother with it. Vegetable lumps it is! You can stir in cream if you want a creamier gravy.

Once your gravy is done to your liking, pluck the toothpicks from the rouladen. They should stay in place without the picks. Return the rouladen to the gravy, turning so that they’re coated on all sides and heat through.

You can serve with spaetzle, polenta, mashed potatoes, or just use your imagination. This is easily a gluten-free dish.

Note: A slurry is taking a cold liquid and stirring in either corn starch or flour until smooth, then slowly pouring the concoction into a thin gravy and stirring over heat until the gravy thickens. A two-to-one ratio of corn starch to cold water (or broth) is a good way to start. I never measure it anymore, just make sure the corn starch dissolves, then start pouring the mix into the gravy. If it gets too thick, then I add more broth to the gravy. If it doesn’t thicken enough, I add more slurry to the gravy. I do the same with flour.

You can make this dish without using an oven, all on the stovetop. I haven’t tried it, but it would work just fine.

I don’t own a meat mallet so I do the best I can with the edge of a saucer to pound the meat without putting holes in it. Again, once you’ve done this a few times you’ll see how it works any which way, it’s not at all fussy. The flavors here are really rich.

My daughter said she makes this when she’s craving junk food, but wants to eat healthy. It’s a salad after all. Hahaha. This recipe is like many other taco salads, except it uses Catalina Dressing. There is just enough piquant flavor in it to offset the salty-savory taco flavors. This salad is a meal unto itself. Enjoy!

  • Ingredients: (amounts depend upon number of people served)
  • Ground beef, bison, caribou or moose
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix (or 3 Tbsp. of recipe found here) per pound of ground meat
  • 1/2 cup water per pound of ground meat
  • Lettuce (romaine holds up best, but any kind will do)
  • Tortilla chips (I use Tostitos Scoops, but be creative!)
  • Grated cheese (your favorite taco type)
  • Sliced black olives
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped avocado (optional)
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced bell pepper or mini sweet peppers
  • Additional ideas include: sliced jalapenos, mild chiles, corn kernels, black beans
  • Catalina dressing (you may need a good amount of this)

In a frying pan over medium high heat, brown the ground meat. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the meat and stir well. Stir in water. Let the meat simmer until the water has evaporated. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.

In a VERY large bowl layer the vegetable ingredients in proportions that seem good to you. Add the ground meat. Toss the salad with the Catalina Dressing. Serve.

This does not save very well, so it’s best not to overdo it thinking you’ll just finish it off the next day. I mean, we do that, but by then the tortilla chips are soggy and the lettuce is wilted. Don’t be us, be you.

I buy pre-made Catalina Dressing, but you could Google how to make your own and it might be healthier to do so.