Thursday, November 25, 2021

Cranberry Sauce with Mandarin Oranges

Developed on T-Day 2021, using canned mandarins, when it was discovered that DrDaddy had no fresh oranges on hand. Half the sugar comes from the "light" syrup.

1 15-oz can mandarin oranges in light syrup
1 12-oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/8 t table salt
Empty the entire can of oranges into a three-quart saucepan. Break into small pieces with a potato masher. Add the berries, sugar, and salt. Place over high heat, bring to a boil. Mix constantly with the masher. When the berries start to pop, lower the heat to medium and cook about five minutes, mashing and stirring from time to time. When the cranberries are mostly broken up, cover tightly and set aside to cool. Do not disturb or the pectin network will be disrupted and the sauce won't properly gel and will be watery.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Easy Cheese Biscuits

Developed Fall, 2021. The package of biscuits keeps for months in the fridge and will bake in less than 20 minutes. Freshly-baked cheese biscuits and a warm bowl of split pea soup make a comforting cold-weather meal.
8 large refrigerator biscuits (Pillsbury™ are goodl)
1/2 c finely-shredded sharp cheddar
2 T melted butter
1 t coarse salt
Preheat a toaster oven to 375 F. Peel a biscuit from the stack and carefully split it in half. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cheese on one half, top with the other half, and press the edges together to seal in the cheese. Repeat with the other biscuits. Arrange on a 12-inch baking pan on a 3-2-3 layout. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle on a little salt (optional). Bake 17 to 18 minutes until tops are golden brown. Lift biscuits off pan while warm with a thin spatula. Let cool until safe to eat. To store extra, wrap tightly in plastic film and freeze.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Five-Minute Onion Jam

Onions Simmering in Oil

Developed Summer, 2021 as a topping for hamburger sandwiches. How the onions are cut and the addition of salt and baking soda are key to shrinking the cook time.
1 medium (about 5 oz or 150 g) yellow onion
1 T (15 ml) vegetable oil
1/8 t (0.5 ml) table salt
1/8 t (0.5 ml) sodium bicarbonate
Slice the onion in half through the poles, trim off ends and peel it. Cut across to yield 1/8th inch (3 mm) half-round slices. Heat the oil over medium to about 350 F in a non-stick skillet, add the onions, salt, and soda, and mix. The mixture should be bubbling actively as water and carbon dioxide is driven off. When brown, soft, and condensed, the onions are ready. Spoon them onto hamburgers or other sandwiches. Serves two. Variation: Scramble with eggs.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Beans and Greens Soup

Developed June, 2021. Makes a satisfying breakfast, brunch, or lunch dish.

4 c bok choy, Swiss chard, or escarole, leaves separated from stems
1 T olive oil
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t minced garlic
2 T dry onion
1 14.5 oz can southern-style pinto beans (Bush™ is good)
2 cans of water
1 t salt
1 t sugar
freshly-ground pepper to taste.
2 oz deli or home-cooked chicken meat, diced (optional)
Cut the rinsed stems into bite-size pieces and the leaves into 1-inch squares. Heat oil over medium-high in a three-quart saucepan until it's 325 F. Add the spices and garlic, and stir for 30 seconds. Immediately add the stems and stir well. Keep frying the stems with occasional stirring until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved leaves, cook for a minute and stir in the beans, water, dry onion, salt, and sugar. Cook gently with occasional stirring for another 10 minutes. Serves 3 or 4.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Pizza in a Pita

Dividing a loaf of pita bread into top and bottom, provides a space for filling. In this quick dish, perfect for a warm breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snack, the space is filled with a tomato sauce, pepperoni sausage, mozzarella cheese and quickly pan-grilled in olive oil. For vegetarian, substitute olive tapenade for the meat.

1 loaf pita bread
2 T prepared tomato salsa or pizza sauce
1 oz thinly-sliced pepperoni or olive tapenade
1/4 c grated mozzarella
1 T grated parmesan
1 t olive oil, divided
With a scissors, cut around the edge of the pita to free it into two halves. With the back of a spoon spread the sauce evenly on the bottow leaving the outer 1/2 inch uncovered. Cover the bottom half with pepperoni slices and sprinkle on the cheeses. Press the top half into place. Heat 1/2 teaspoon of oil in a small nonstick skilled over medium-high. Put in the stuffed pit. Grill for 2 minutes pressing with a spatula. Drizzle on the rest of the oil, flip, and cook for 2 minutes more. Cut into 4 pieces with a sharp knife. Serves one. Variation: Cut into 6 or 8 pieces as a warm appetizer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Potato Puff Tuneup

Coarse semolina and oil add extra crispness.

7 oz (200) g frozen potato puffs (Alexia™ is good)
1 T vegetable oil
1 t onion powder
1 T coarse semolina
Preheat toaster oven to 425 F. Place puffs in toaster-oven pan and thaw 30 minutes at room temperature. Drizzle on the oil and spread by causing the potato puffs to roll around. Next, dust with the onion powder and repeat the rolling motion. Finally, sprinkle on the semolina and roll the potatoes to coat evenly. Roast 15 minutes. Shake the puffs and roast another 5 minutes. Serves two. May be doubled but don't crowd pan.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Pan-Grilled Stuffed Pita

Grilled Pita 
Developed April, 2021. A quick, warm breakfast, crisp on the outside, soft and smooth on the inside. H/T Dan Sousa for scissors tip.

1 pita loaf
1/4 c hummus
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of granulated garlic

Trim off the rim of the pita with a scissors, leaving an inch intact to act as a hinge. Carefully open up the pita. Spread hummus on one side, leaving the outer half-inch bare. Press the other half firmly in place. Heat a small skillet over medium and add half the oil. When hot, place the stuffed pita in the skillet. Drizzle the remaining oil on the top and fry for about two minutes until the bottom is lightly browned and crisp. Flip the pita, season with the salt and garlic, and fry another two minutes. Cut into quarters with a sharp knife. Serves one. Variation: Cut into six or eight pieces as a hot appetizer.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Rajas Quesadillas

Developed May, 2020. Easy, fast, cheap, and filling. 


3 T vegetable oil: divided
1 large green pepper, sliced into strips
1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 cup white or yellow onion, thinly sliced through the poles
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 t ground cumin
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 t oregano
1 t salt
Assembly & Finish
2/3 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/3 c queso cotija or pecorino Romano
1/4 c chopped cilantro
2 large flour tortillas
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Add the peppers and cook until softened and colored. Add onions and tomatoes and cook until soft. Stir in seasonings and move into a bowl. Wipe out skillet and heat the remaining oil. Soften the tortillas by warming in the microwave. Moisten the edge with water. Place half the filling on half the tortilla, top with half of each cheese, the cilantro, and fold in half. Seal the edges and distribute the filling evenly. Heat the remaining oil over medium-high, and carefully position each quesadilla on one half. Cook about four minutes to brown and then turn to brown the other side. Top with tomato salsa.Variation: Add an ounce of shredded deli meat to the filling.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Creamed Spinach

Developed April, 2021. A simple side dish from pantry ingredients. Sour cream confers a subtle tang.

12 oz (350 g) frozen leaf spinach
1/2 c chopped onions
1 T olive oil
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 t ground nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
Thaw the spinach in a mesh strainer. With the back of a large spoon press out excess moisture until the spinach is dry. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium, add the onion and salt lightly. Fry until softened and clear. Mix in the spinach and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and the seasonings and warm through. Variation: Replace half the sour cream with cream cheese for a richer product. Serves two or three.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Quick Tomato Noodle Soup with Egg Yolk

Want a warming and filling breakfast on bleak Winter morning? This soup comes together in less than 15 minutes from pantry ingredients. Egg yolks poached in the hot stock adds a bright note of nutrition.

2 T tomato paste
1 rib celery + leaves, cubed and chopped
1 rib bok choy + greens, cubed and chopped
1 qt water
1 pkg Knorr's Tomato Noodle Soup Mix
2 or more large eggs 
2 oz cooked chicken or turkey, chopped (optional)

Combine the celery and bok choy in a bowl. Microwave covered on high for 60 seconds. Put the tomato paste and the water into a two-quart saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the vegetables and the soup mix, and cook uncovered at a fast simmer. While the soup is cooking, carefully crack two eggs into bowl, taking care not to damage the yolks. After 8 minutes, take the soup off heat, add the meat if desired and, with a spoon, lift each yolk into the hot stock. Whip the egg whites until frothy and spoon onto the soup. Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving. Divide into bowls, placing a yolk in each. Serves 2 to 4.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sauteéd Spinach with Garlic

First made decades ago. This is a classic Mediterranean dish. Recorded January, 2021. A Family Favorite. Simple, fast, and easy. Only four ingredients.

1 large bunch of fresh spinach
2 T olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
Rinse the spinach to remove any loose grit. Let drain in the sink. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet until very hot, add the garlic and salt, and almost immediately start adding the spinach. Use tongs to mix as you add in the spinach. When all has been added, keep moving with tongs. Cook until wilted and tender, about three minutes. Serves two. Makes a good side dish for rich meats, creamed dishes, fish.