Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 245

How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).































































By Jennifer Gallo, ucook.com Staff Writer

I don't frequent natural food stores (on account of sheer laziness, really), so ordinarily if it can't be bought at the supermarket it's not going to be served for dinner. However, motivated by superlatives - "super-grain of the future," for instance - I felt compelled to travel further to buy some bulk organic quinoa.

I called around before venturing out. One clerk's response to my question of whether or not I could buy quinoa at her natural food store was: "QuinWhat?

It's pronounced "keen-wa" and refers to tiny grains that cook fast and are a good source of plant protein. "Once the staple food of the Incan civilization, quinoa has twice been introduced to the United States, and it has finally caught on," writes Deborah Madison in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

It has increasingly caught on among vegetarians and fitness seekers who appreciate it for its nutritional value. As far as grains go, this one packs a protein punch with all eight essential amino acids and a wallop of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It is available in both grain and flour forms at many natural foods stores. The greens can also be used for cooking.

I finally found some at another store. I just boiled it like rice and seasoned it with a simple mixture of butter, salt, and black pepper. In doing so, I hoped to get a good sense of what the grain itself tastes like.

But rather than the subtle flavor of most grains, my palate detected an unexpected bitterness. This, it turns out, was my fault. Quinoa is naturally covered with saponin, a substance commonly used to make soaps and shampoos, making it necessary to wash the grains thoroughly through several changes of cold water before use. I apparently did not wash mine thoroughly enough, but ate it anyway - and thankfully lived to tell the story.

My second try yielded much better results. The flavor was bland yet pleasant, and the texture somehow expressed the unique spiral shape each grain takes on once cooked.

Now that I've finally become familiar with this food and introduced it in my diet, I plan to try it in a variety of dishes including casseroles, soups, stews and, of course, tabouli. And with all of these options, it's a good thing I still have a supply of raw grains left from yesterday's trip. Who knows when I might make it back to the health food store?



By A.M. Sheehan, ucook.com contributor

It was very late one night, about two weeks after we had moved into a new home in a new neighborhood in a new town. In other words, we knew no one. So who would be knocking at the door at 11 p.m.? I tiptoed cautiously and peeked through the screen.

A rather small, middle-aged woman was standing there with four huge cucumbers in her arms. As I asked her if I could help her, my mind was racing, trying to come up with a reasonable explanation that would bring her to my door laden with cucumbers.

"Here," she said, thrusting the cucumbers at me, "from my garden. I live down the street," she added as an afterthought. "You new?"

I agreed I was new and tried to politely decline the proffered gift as I had just purchased four of my own at the farmer's market.

"No," she insisted, "got too many, going around to the neighbors and giving them away. Bye!"

And with that she was gone into the night pulling a little red wagon overflowing with cucumbers behind her. I wondered what the rest of the neighborhood would think about the arrival of the cucumber fairy!

Gardens have a way of beginning slowly and then overwhelming you with produce. From the smallest container garden to the largest backyard garden, gardeners know that by the end of the summer they will eat it, save it, give or throw it away.

And now, with the end of harvest in sight, it is not too early to begin planning. Tomatoes will line every spare windowsill; zucchini will be piled high on the porch next to the corn; the beans and legumes will be in huge bowls. And since many of the neighbors have their own gardens, what will we do with it all?

Beans and green vegetables can be blanched and frozen very easily. This makes a great family project. The children can prepare the vegetables, an adult can do the blanching, and the children can keep adding ice to the water for instant cool-down, put them in freezer bags and label.

Nothing tastes quite like summer vegetables in February! And most vegetables that you would normally add to a dish can be blanched or sautéed and packaged in small amounts, ready to go from freezer to pot.


Tomatoes are great for soup base and sauce. For soup base, stick tomatoes in boiling water on the end of a fork until the skin cracks. Cool, peel off the skins, (children can help with peeling the cooled tomatoes), then chop and stew the tomatoes with a different herb for each batch - tomato and basil, tomato and dill, etc.. Add some sautéed onion and freeze in 2 to 3 cup quantities.


When ready, thaw the base, add chicken broth and cream and you will have the most heavenly soup - and fond memories of the family day of putting food by!


Zucchini can be made into breads and relishes quite easily. Both make a great Christmas gift for a neighbor or friend or, better yet, for a child's teacher. It's a gift children can proudly say they helped to make! Be careful though, some things are not cost-effective if you have a large and hungry family.


Jam is a good example, especially if you have to buy the fruit. Jam cooks down so much that it takes a lot to make a little.


Last year we were fortunate enough to have an expansive harvest of grapes so we made Concord grape jelly. Delicious. But it was a whole day of picking and cooking and the cost of pectin and jars can add up to rival the cost of store-bought jam.


However, since grape jelly is our least favorite, it lasted all winter. Not so with the strawberry jam for which we had to pick and buy ingredients and it lasted a scant two months.


Oh, those cucumbers? We ate them. And ate them. And ate them.




If you'd like to serve a sauce alongside, strain 1/4 cup of the cooled pickling liquid, and whisk it with 1 cup of mayonnaise. For ease, the shrimp are left unpeeled; if you peel them before cooking, leave the tails on.

2 1/4 cups water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass*

1 1/2 tablespoons pickling spice

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, unpeeled, rinsed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

4 small green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

3 tablespoons minced pickled ginger,* 2 tablespoons ginger brine reserved


Place first 6 ingredients in medium pot. Add shrimp. Cover; bring to boil. Uncover and boil until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, green onions, pickled ginger, and ginger brine. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.


Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Serves 8


*Available at Asian markets, specialty foods stores and some supermarkets.



6 thick slices bacon

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 stalk celery, chopped

4 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth

4 cups cubed potatoes

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cook bacon until crisp in 3-quart saucepan, remove and drain well on paper towels. Discard bacon grease and wipe pan thoroughly with paper towel.

meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Add olive oil to saucepan and add onion,

carrot, and celery as they are cut up. Sauté until onion is soft but not brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, potatoes, and pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in cheese, heating just until melted-do not boil. Chop bacon and add to soup. Adjust seasoning to taste by adding salt, if desired. Serve at once.




Bananas are the inspiration for no-holds-barred banana splits, chocolate-dipped bananas-on-a-stick and other dream desserts. For the best flavor in the treats that follow, make them with fully ripe bananas, identifiable by their yellow skins and distinctive aroma. The flesh should be mellow-sweet, moist and slightly sticky to the touch, and soft but not mushy. To retard browning, sprinkle freshly peeled or sliced bananas with lemon or lime juice.







serves 6 to 8

6 - 14 1/2 cans beef broth

1 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)

4 pounds baby back ribs, cut into 5 to 6 rib sections

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

2 - 18 ounce bottles of hickory smoke barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons steak sauce

2 tablespoons mild flavored (light) molasses

5 garlic cloves, minced

Mix broth, tomato paste, 3/4 cup vinegar, honey and hot sauce in large pot.

Bring to simmer. Add ribs, cover and simmer until tender, turning occasionally,

about 1 hour. Transfer ribs to baking sheet and cool. Rub ribs with cumin and chili powder mixture. Cut between bones into individual ribs. (can be made 1 day ahead. Cover chill.)

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix barbecue sauce, red wine vinegar, steak

sauce, molasses and garlic in medium bowl. Add ribs to sauce in batches. Grill just lightly charred, turning and basting often with more sauce, about 10 minutes. Can serve the extra sauce on the side.

Best ever and easy barbecue chicken! Marinate leg quarters in Italian dressing, sprinkle on a powdered chicken seasoning. Let marinate for about an hour. Barbecue for about an hour until done. Make sure you keep an eye on your barbeque, the Italian dressing does make it a little more flammable.



1 pound Lean Ground Beef

8 ounces Tomato Sauce

1/3 cup Onion -- chopped

2 tablespoons Green Bell Pepper -- chopped

4 cups Noodles -- partially cooked


1/2 pound Processed American Cheese -- cubed

In a large skillet, brown meat, then drain well. Add tomato sauce, onions

and green bell peppers, then mix well. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Layer noodles, cheese and meat mixture in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Cover &

bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Top with additional cheese, sliced,

if desired.

To freeze this recipe for later use, cover or wrap casserole after layering

noodles, cheese and meat mixture. Label, and freeze for up to six months

before serving. To serve, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, and

bake at 350 degrees F for 30 - 40 minutes.



1 pound Lean Ground Beef

8 ounces Tomato Sauce

1/3 cup Onion -- chopped

2 tablespoons Green Bell Pepper -- chopped

4 cups Noodles -- partially cooked


1/2 pound Processed American Cheese -- cubed

In a large skillet, brown meat, then drain well. Add tomato sauce, onions

and green bell peppers, then mix well. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Layer noodles, cheese and meat mixture in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Cover &

bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Top with additional cheese, sliced,

if desired.

To freeze this recipe for later use, cover or wrap casserole after layering

noodles, cheese and meat mixture. Label, and freeze for up to six months

before serving. To serve, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, and

bake at 350 degrees F for 30 - 40 minutes.




3 Lb Chuck Roast

1 Smoked Ham Hock -- (optional)

1/2 Cup Oil

2 1/2 Tsp. Salt

1 Lg. Onion -- thinly sliced

3 Tbs. Flour


1 Cup Beef Broth

1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper

2 Tsp. Sugar

2 Tbs. Parsley Flakes

1 Pinch Marjoram

1 Pinch Thyme

1 Clove Garlic -- chopped fine

4 Carrots -- cut into 1" pieces

3/4 Cup Walnuts -- (optional)

2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar -- or red wine

2 Tbs. Scotch Whiskey


Cut beef into 1 x 2 inch strips. (I cube them, 1 ") Remove ham from bone and cut into cubes. brown beef and ham in oil in large skillet. Lift meat out, sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and set aside. Brown onions in same oil. Lift and set aside. Drain and save all but 3 Tbs. oil. Sift flour into oil to make light brown roux. Gradually add 1 1/2 cup beef, stirring until mixture boils.


Add broth, rest of salt, pepper, sugar, herbs and garlic. Alternate layers of meat, onions and carrots in large casserole. Add sauce and enough beer to cover meat. cover and cook in 300 F oven for 2 1/2 hours (I cook on stove top) Check

occasionally and add beer if needed. Shortly before stew is ready, saute walnuts in reserved oil. It takes only a couple of minutes to get them crisp. do NOT scorch. Add them to stew. Just before serving, add vinegar and Scotch.



1 package (8 oz) cream cheese

1 cups sour cream

1 envelope (1 oz) ranch salad dressing mix

1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained

2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese

Beat cream cheese, sour cream and salad dressing mix with electric mixer on

medium speed until well blended. Stir in broccoli and 1 1/2 cups of the

cheddar cheese.

Spoon into 9 - inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with remaining 1/2 cups of Cheddar Cheese, bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Serve with Ritz crackers!!! Makes 3 1/2 cups of dip.



2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup buttermilk

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; cut in

shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk; knead

dough gently. Roll out to 1/2" thickness. Cut with your choice in cutter size

and place on a lightly greased baking sheet; bake at 450 for 10-15 min or

until golden brown. Yield: depending on cutter size, 5-10 biscuits.




By Rosa Rasiel, ucook.com contributor


The incomparable aroma of baking challah makes us feel that all's right with the world.


A few years ago, 16 women signed up for a lesson in challah baking from Chelly Goldberg, a social worker and family therapist who is also our rabbi's wife. Each participant received a small portion of dough that Chelly had made the night before and allowed to rise; each piece was enough to make into a small loaf. First, Chelly showed us how to braid and shape the loaves; then, while they were baking, she made another batch of dough, so that we could see just how she does it.


The process is fairly simple, which was fortunate, because the fragrance of the baking bread was so overwhelmingly delicious and distracting that we couldn't have concentrated on anything complex. Chelly distributed sandwich bags full of the fresh dough for us to bake at home.


When the challah emerged from the oven, they were golden and glorious - one bite and I knew my extra dough would not languish in the freezer.


There are many ancient customs surrounding challah. The word itself refers to the dough offering that the Israelites gave to the priests of the ancient temple, and which we remember by the ritual of "taking challah." Before shaping the loaves, we break off a small piece, "the size of an olive," and say a special blessing:


"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to separate challah." Then we burn the dough fragment on the oven floor.


Because of the association of bread baking and charitable obligation, some families keep a charity box in the kitchen, and put money in it whenever they "take challah."


Traditionally, there should be two loaves on every Sabbath table. These symbolize the double portion of manna that God provided to the Israelites every Friday during their 40 years in the desert. He did this so that they would not have to work gathering their food on the Sabbath. Sesame seeds or poppy seeds are often sprinkled over the loaves to represent the manna.


Challah appears on the table at every holiday except Passover and at every life cycle event. For some occasions it changes shape. The round loaves for Rosh Hashana represent the roundness of the year, or, perhaps, a crown, symbolizing the divine power of the Lord. Raisins in these loaves add sweetness, for a sweet year. The raisins should be golden, as some people believe that black foods bring bad luck during the year ahead.


In the Song of Songs, the Torah is compared to "milk and honey under the tongue," so, on Shavuoth, the Feast of Weeks, which celebrates the giving of the law, we add extra sugar or honey to the challah or its glaze to make the bread sweeter than usual. The loaves are longer than usual, too, perhaps representing the tablets of the law.


If you don't want to bake your own challah, I hope that you have a good bakery nearby. Place a standing order to avoid anxiety about whether you will be left without a challah on Fridays when you run late.


If you don't have a bakery, you may find acceptable challah at your supermarket. The convenience comes with a downside, however. Even if the bread is decent, the crust is likely to be much too soft. To improve it, you can warm it in a 300°F oven for 15 minutes; you'll not only have a crusty loaf, you'll have a warm one, too.


If you have challah left on Sunday morning, it makes great French toast (or bread pudding).



1 16 oz. can regular stewed tomatoes

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1/4 cup white cooking wine

4 minced garlic cloves

1 chopped sweet pepper (any color)

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tbls. parsley

2 - three boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced in strips


In large pan, cook chicken in Pam until browned. Add all other ingredients. Heat to boiling, turn down heat and simmer until chicken in tender, about 30 - 45 minutes. Serve over any kind of pasta.


4 - skinless/boneless chicken breasts..

1/4 cup melted margarine or butter

4 pieces (more or less depending how much cheese you want) Swiss cheese

1/4 lb chipped ham

Italian bread crumbs

garlic powder

** Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9x13 baking dish with PAM or

nonstick spray

Rinse chicken pieces and trim off any fat. Make sure they are all relatively

the same size (or pound to make them all the same thickness, but you don't

want them too thin). Butterfly each piece so that it is still attached on one

long end...like you'd cut a roll for a sandwich).

Inside each chicken piece...sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and place equal

amounts of cheese and ham. "Close" chicken so it looks like a sandwich and

place pieces in pan (I've done double this recipe in one pan with no problem).

Note: if you are preparing this ahead of time...hold off on the melted butter

and bread crumbs until you are ready to bake.

Drizzle melted butter over chicken pieces and sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Goes

great with Bernaise sauce... I usually accompany this with baked potato

or wild rice, fresh veggie and a salad.



The toasted hazelnut meringue is enhanced by a chocolate, hazelnut mousse that is lightly set and used to fill and coat the torte.

Hazelnut Meringue:

2 egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, ground (see Chefs tip)


Hazelnut Mousse:

1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon gelatin powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

5 oz. good-quality semisweet chocolate, melted

2 oz. chocolate hazelnut spread

1/4 cup unsalted butter, beaten until soft

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped (see Chefs tip)

cocoa powder, to dust

confectioners' sugar, to dust


1 Preheat the oven to 325° F. To make the hazelnut meringue, draw three 8-inch circles on waxed paper and place on a baking sheet. Beat the egg whites to firm peaks, sprinkle with the sugar and beat until stiff Fold in the hazelnuts. Divide the mixture among the three circles and spread with the back of a spoon. Bake for 7 minutes, or until golden brown and dry. Cool on a wire rack.

2 Put the sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes, or until the sugar syrup reaches 240° F on a sugar thermometer, or a little forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water. Put the eggs in a large bowl and begin to beat. Pour in the bubbling syrup, aiming between the beaters and the side of the bowl. Beat constantly until a firm trail is left when the beaters are lifted.

3 Soften the gelatin in a little water, then stir over hot water until dissolved. Pour the gelatin onto the warm egg mixture, add the cocoa, chocolate and chocolate hazelnut spread and beat well. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Lightly beat the cream, then fold into the mixture and chill until thickened.

4 Spread a thick layer of mousse over two of the meringue disks, layer one upon the other and put the remaining meringue on top. Cover the top and the side with the remaining mousse, making peaks with a knife. Chill. Press the hazelnuts around the side and sprinkle a few on the top. Dust with the cocoa, then with the confectioners' sugar.

Chefs tip: To toast the hazelnuts, place on a baking sheet and bake in an oven at 350° F for 3 - 5 minutes, taking care not to let the nuts burn. Serves 8




1/2 cup warm water

2 packages dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

3-1/2 ounce pkg. vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cup margarine, melted

2 eggs

1-teaspoon salt

6 cups flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup margarine

1-teaspoon vanilla

3 cups confectioner's sugar

1-tablespoon milk

In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set

aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package

directions. Add margarine, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture.

Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Place in a large greased

bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and let rise

again. Then roll out on floured board to 34 x 21-inch size. Take 1 cup soft

butter and spread over surface. In small bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4

teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over top. Roll up very tightly. With knife,

put a notch every 2-inches. Cut with thread or knife. Place on lightly

greased cookie sheet 2-inches apart. Take hand and lightly press down on

each roll. Cover and let rise until doubled again. Bake at 350 degrees for

15-20 minutes. Take out when they start to turn golden. DON'T OVER-BAKE.

Frost warm rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Makes 20 very large rolls.




2 medium potatoes, diced

1/2 cup grated carrot

3/4 finely chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 cups water


2 Tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 cup skim milk

1- 5 oz. can chopped clams, with juice


Cook potato, carrot, onions and celery in water about 10 minutes until veggies are tender. Using potato masher, mash about 1/2 of the vegetables in one side to the pot. Mix flour, salt and pepper in milk until smooth. Stir into boiling soup until it returns to a boil and thickens. Add clams and juice and heat through. Makes about 5 cups.




This is a no-cook, whip-together appetizer that started a pepper jelly stampede. Try varying the nuts and herbs - but not the jelly.


1/4 cup pine nuts

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup hot pepper jelly, preferably red

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 11/4 cups)

Sliced bread, crackers or Belgian endive cups as accompaniment


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the jelly, garlic, cilantro and Cheddar cheese in a food processor. Process until evenly blended. Line the bottom of a 7-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Spray the sides of the pan with nonstick spray. Add the cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Spread the remaining jelly evenly across the top surface and sprinkle on the pine nuts. The recipe can be completed to this point up to 24 hours before serving.


To serve, carefully remove the sides of the pan. Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Serve chilled with sliced bread, crackers or endive cups. Makes 6 to 8 servings.




1/4 cup mandarin oranges (in juice)

1 (8-ounce) container plain, low-fat yogurt

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


Drain and rinse oranges and pat dry with a paper towel. Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour into serving dish and eat with a spoon.


Another snack: add about 1/4 cup frozen raspberries and juice that have been thawed and brown sugar to taste to a cup of fat free plain yogurt. If you want to add more berries that's up to you. Brown sugar is better than white sugar and it is very sweet.




1 3-4 pound beef chuck or rump roast

1 c water

1 t. beef base (I use Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon), or 1 beef

bouillon cube

1 bay leaf

1 6-oz can tomato paste

Trim as much fat as possible off roast. Place it in crock pot. Bring 1 cup

of water to a boil; dissolve beef base completely. Add can of tomato paste

to liquids and also dissolve. Pour over meat and add bay leaf. Cover and

set on low for 6-8 hours depending on how done you want your roast to be.

To serve, remove meat to serving platter. Toss bay leaf. Line a strainer

or colander with cheesecloth. Strain crock pot juices. Either serve

strained juices over roast or save for later use. You could also make a rue

by melting 2 T of butter in a pan, adding 1/4 c flour; whisk until smooth;

add strained juices, whisk and reduce until thickness desired for gravy.



1/3 cup light corn syrup

10 ounces of chocolate chips

(May substitute with almond bark, or colored candy melts to create different colored flowers )

Melt the chocolate in a microwave for 1 minute. Stir. If chocolate is not completely melted, return to the microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir until smooth. If you don't have a microwave, place the chocolate in the top of a double broiler over hot water and stir until melted. When the chocolate is melted, add the corn syrup and blend. Pour the mixture onto a piece of waxed paper. Spread the chocolate with your fingers until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Cover loosely with waxed paper and let it stiffen for at least a couple of hours or overnight. The chocolate will become very pliable.

Making a Chocolate Rose

Roll 10 marble-sized balls out of the chocolate clay. Place the balls on a waxed paper, about 1 inch apart. Place another waxed paper sheet on top. Press each marble into a flat disk (about the size of a quarter). Use some pressure!

To form the rose:

Remove 1 disk and curl it into a "teepee" shape, narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. Wrap the next disk around the opening of the teepee and the third disk at the back of the teepee. This is the rose bud. Continue adding disks which will look like petals. Continue to layer them to create a rose in bloom. Roses can be used as edible decorations for a cake or to create a basketful of blooms. They will harden after a few days and can be saved by storing in a cool, dry place.


Note: Since this is an edible modeling clay your children can create any fun shapes they would like.




2 small eggplant, sliced

Oil for frying



1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg white



3 garlic cloves, crushed

2-inch thick slice white bread

1-1/4 cups ground almonds

1/2 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice


To make batter, sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Add butter and 3/4 cup tepid water, beating to form a smooth cream. Let stand 1 hour.


To make Skordalia, put garlic in a food processor or blender. Remove crusts from bread. Squeeze bread in a little cold water, then add to garlic with ground almonds and a little olive oil. With motor running, gradually add remaining oil. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Whisk egg white until stiff then fold into batter. Heat 1/2-inch oil in a skillet. Dip eggplant slices into batter. Fry, in batches, 4 minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and keep warm while frying remaining slices. Serve eggplant slices with Skordalia.




By Jennifer Gallo, ucook.com staff writer


Tofu has come a long way. At least for me.


I remember those cut up and raggedy-looking dingy-white cubes jiggling in their black plastic containers at the college dining hall salad bar. I was vaguely aware that what I was staring at was tofu - even more unpleasantly known as soybean curd.


But I, like so many other students afraid of new foods, opted instead to adorn my salad with fresh vegetables, crunchy croutons, shredded mild cheese, sliced hard-boiled egg, and sunflower seeds.


Even though I had given up eating meat back in high school and often prepared vegetarian meals for the whole family, tofu had never found it's way from the grocery store to our table. And given its unfortunate presentation in college and my subsequent squeamishness, I wasn't willing to give it an open-minded try until relatively recently.


Now, when prepared right, it's one of my favorite foods.


I think my first taste of tofu came when I ordered an entree at Antipasto's, a great little vegetarian restaurant and wine bar in Clifton Park, New York. The dish - named the Paul McCarthy for no reason that I could discern - consisted of grilled tofu and portobello mushrooms layered along with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.


It was so delicious that I've ordered the same meal on several other occasions and have developed a similar recipe to serve for dinner at home.


After draining according to the package directions, I simply cut a block of extra firm tofu width-wise into 1/4 inch slices then sprinkle them with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder and grill them on both sides (I use a stovetop grilling pan). I also slice whole portobellos - or buy packaged, presliced ones - and grill them with no added seasoning.


Next I coat the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking spray, then, starting with tofu first, layer my grilled ingredients along with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese - similar to the way a lasagna is made. I bake the dish at 350 degrees until the sauce is bubbling and the top layer of mozzarella is brown. As accompaniments, I serve crusty bread and a green salad.


In hindsight, I'm glad I gave tofu a second chance. It's versatile and has finally become a staple of my meatless diet. It is almost always represented in my weekly menu planning, whether it's in miso soup, a stir-fry, or marinated and baked or fried.


For help with incorporating tofu into your meals at home, I recommend checking out "The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine," by John Paino and Lisa Messinger. In it you'll find detailed information about tofu's history, its nutrition benefits, and how to make it at home, as well as hundreds of savory recipes ranging from salads to desserts.




By Marlene Parrish, ucook.com contributor

Lots of people (especially teenagers!) say they don't like to cook because handling and touching food is icky. Raw chicken is clammy. Smearing baking pans with oil is messy. Stuffing a turkey is gross. Right.


But if you want to learn to cook, and to be a good cook at that, you have be on intimate terms with food. Touch, feel, press, squeeze, sniff, pinch, rub, and massage. You have to handle it.


Many Asian and Arab cultures eat with either chopsticks or with the fingers. We Americans, saddled with our numerous metal eating utensils, are a distinct global minority. So your mother told you it's bad manners to eat with your fingers. Well, sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't.


The rule of thumb, in formal settings, is to use utensils for most everything. But in less formal settings, it's okay to eat some things with your fingers. Think about it. Most of our favorite foods are hand-held: burgers, fries, chicken wings, popcorn, bagels, doughnuts, pizza, fried chicken, cookies, tortillas, eggrolls, barbecued ribs and corn on the cob.


Anybody who can't or won't pick up a grilled lamb chop and gnaw the bone is standing a bit too high on ceremony and is immediately suspect as a person who avoids contact with food. If you are a little uptight on the subject, try a couple of simple "de-tox" exercises in the kitchen. Use your fingers instead of utensils.


If you're nervous about it, do this when no one is looking. Start with simple steps. Squeeze lemons and oranges by hand. Roast peppers and rub off the skins. Toss salad with your hands. Make bread and enjoy feeling the dough yield under the pressure of your palms.


Using the hands and fingers is not only convenient and informal - it's sensual. The point is: if you don't handle food, you won't understand it. There are lots of foods that we eat in public that are perfectly fine to eat with fingers. Here's a list and some of the etiquette rules that go along with them.


Asparagus - This is finger food. Pick up the spears unless the stalks are limp or really long, but avoid throwing your head back and looking like a trained seal. If you feel more comfortable using a knife and fork, do so. Either way is okay.


Artichokes - There's no other way. Pull off the leaves with the fingers, scraping the meaty end of the leaves upside down through your teeth. Discard the leaf onto your plate. Never attempt to eat the whole leaves unless you want to overdose on fiber. When you get to the artichoke heart, cut it with your knife and fork.


Bacon - If it's limp, use a fork. But if it's dry and crisp, use your fingers.


Pastries - At a breakfast meeting, use the tongs provided (maybe) to get the pastry onto your plate. If the boss is watching, cut the pastry in half or quarters and eat with a fork. If it's not too sticky, fingers are okay.


Shrimp - If it still has a tail, either pick it up with your fingers or use a knife and fork. If it has no tail, spear it with a fork. It's okay to eat shrimp cocktail with the fingers.


Raw Veggies or Chips 'n Dip - Fingers, of course, but no double dipping or you look like George on "Seinfeld" reruns.


Olives - When the late Henry Morgan was asked if olives should be eaten with the fingers, he replied: "No, the fingers should be eaten separately."


Finger-lickin' Asian Chicken Wing Sauce


Grill or broil chicken wings. To make four servings, buy 12 whole chicken wings (about 1/2 pounds) and hack into sections, discarding the wing tip. For classic Buffalo wings, dip the wings into a mixture of melted butter and hot sauce, as hot as you can stand it. For variety, try this Asian dipping sauce. Hoisin sauce is to Asia as ketchup is to the United States.


2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Mix hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and water in a small bowl; set aside. Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté ginger and garlic until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Stir in hoisin mixture and cook until flavors meld, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.




2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 flat fish, such as sole or flounder (about 1-1/2 pounds), ready to cook

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 fresh red chilies, seeded, finely chopped WEAR GLOVES

1 shallot, chopped

4-1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon crushed palm sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon grass

2 teaspoons fish sauce

Chile Flower, to garnish

In a wok, heat oil, add fish, skin-side down first, and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side until lightly browned and flesh is opaque when tested with a knife. Using a spatula, transfer to a warmed platter, cover- and keep warm. Add garlic to wok and fry, stirring occasionally, until browned.

Stir in chilies, shallot, lime juice, sugar, lemon grass and fish sauce. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the fish and garnish with Chile Flower.




1 9-inch pie crust, partially baked*

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 1/2 cups coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 350°F.


Beat eggs and sugar. Add flour, milk, butter, vanilla and vinegar; mix well. Stir in coconut and pour into partially baked pie crust. Bake until top is golden and filling is set in center, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in refrigerator.


* To partially bake crust: Lay a piece of foil over raw crust and fill part way with pie weights. Bake in preheated 375°F oven until crust is set and beginning to pale, with a touch of golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.




1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Assorted crackers


Whisk sour cream and lemon juice in medium bowl until mixture resembles heavy cream. Let mixture stand in bowl until thickened, about 20 minutes. Place goat cheese on serving platter. Pour lemon cream over cheese. Sprinkle with chives and serve with crackers. six appetizer servings




1/2 cucumber, peeled

A good handful cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup Kalamata olives

3 ounces Feta cheese

1 6-ounce can tuna in olive oil, not drained.

Salt and pepper to taste


Halve the cucumber lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Cut the tomatoes into halves, pit and quarter the olives and cut the cheese into 1/4-inch chunks. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta and tuna with oil from the can. Gently toss the salad to keep the tuna in big pieces and season to taste. Makes 2 generous servings.




4 cups cold, chopped cooked chicken

4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed cream of chicken or cream of celery soup

1 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

2 pimientos, chopped (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped onion

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

1-1/2 cups crushed potato chips (3 cups whole chips)

2/3 cup slivered almonds


1. Grease a 2-quart oval or rectangular baking dish; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the chopped chicken, eggs, undiluted cream of chicken or cream of celery soups, chopped celery, mayonnaise or salad dressing, pimientos, lemon juice and onion.

3. Spoon the chicken mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the crushed potato chips and slivered almonds. Sprinkle the mixture over the chicken salad. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Cover the top loosely with aluminum foil, if necessary, to prevent over-browning. Makes 8 Servings




2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 - 6 lamb steaks, each weighing about 150 g (6 oz)


freshly ground black pepper


for the sauce:

2 cups fresh apricots, kernels removed or 3/4 cup dried apricots

1 - 2 tablespoons honey (to taste)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (or 1 tablespoon dried)

a few drops of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest


freshly ground black pepper

a few sprigs of fresh mint for decoration


Heat the grill to maximum. Mix the honey with the oil and brush over the steaks. Season with salt and pepper. Grill at a high heat for 4 - 5 minutes each side. This will result in medium rare lamb steaks; if you like your lamb well done, grill for a few minutes more.

Put all the sauce ingredients into a food processor and process into a smooth puree. Decorate each steak with a sprig of mint and serve on a pool of sauce.





2-3 chicken breasts, cut in thin strips and cooked in skillet over medium heat

32 oz broccoli florets, thawed

2 cans fat free cream of chicken soup

2 cups milk

minced garlic

dried minced onion



Pour in greased 9x13 dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-40 min. Separate 1

8 oz tube reduced fat crescent rolls into 4 big rectangles. Cut each in half and then stretch so they are long strips. Weave strips over filling (4 lengthwise and 4 crosswise). Bake 15 minutes or until rolls are golden.




8 medium carrots, diagonally sliced

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon stick margarine

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/8 teaspoon salt

Dill sprigs (optional)

1. Steam carrot, covered, 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Set aside, and keep warm.

2. Combine corn starch and lemon juice in a small saucepan; stir until well blended. Stir in water. Place over medium heat, and cook until thick, stirring

constantly. Add margarine and next 3 ingredients; cook until margarine melts, stirring constantly. Pour sauce over carrots; toss gently. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)




1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 cup light cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

2 cups diced chicken -- cooked

4 ounces sliced mushrooms -- drained

1/2 cup slivered almonds -- toasted

1 pie crust (9 inch)


Melt butter and blend in flour. Gradually stir in cream, and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick. Add salt, pepper, chicken broth, dill weed, and parsley, and cook until once more smooth and thick. Stir in chicken, mushrooms, and almonds. Pour into deep 9" pie plate and cover with prepared pie crust. Slash top and bake on cookie sheet in oven preheated to 450 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake 15 minutes more. Yield: 6 servings.




1 pound Ground Beef, extra lean

1 medium Onion -- chopped

3 cups Rice -- cooked

1 cup Celery -- diced

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup, condensed

1 can Cream of Chicken soup, condensed

1 can Bean Sprouts -- drained

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 package Chinese Noodles -- dry


Brown ground beef & onion together in a large frying pan. Mix with other

ingredients in a large Dutch oven size pan and let simmer until celery is

cooked. Serve over dry Chinese noodles.


*Note: Instead of serving over noodles, you may mix the noodles into the

mixture just prior to serving, if desired.


*To Freeze for later use: Do not add the Chinese noodles. Freeze the

cooled casserole in a labeled container for up to 6 months. To serve, thaw

overnight in refrigerator, heat through in a saucepan or in the oven, and

serve over Chinese Noodles.




Unbaked pie crust, either your own recipe or a purchased crust.



1/4 cup olive oil;

4 large onions sliced;

2 pints cherry tomatoes;

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 cup gruyere cheese

salt, pepper (optional to taste)

olive oil for topping.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet and cook the onions in it over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until they are translucent. Preheat the oven to 425. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and leave the seeds in. Spread all the bread crumbs and half the cheese onto the bottom crust. Lift the onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and set them on top of the cheese. Arrange the tomatoes on top, rounded sides up; drizzle with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the remaining cheese onto the tomatoes and set the pie on a baking sheet. Bake on the bottom shelf for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are firm and the filling is bubbling. When pie is cooked sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and 2 tsp fresh basil. Serve either warm or at once depending on taste.



2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed (about 1-1/2 stacks)

10 Tbsp butter

3 cups onions (Vidalias are best; Walla Walla onions are great, also)

1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled cheddar cheese

2 eggs

1 cup milk

salt and pepper to taste

Mix 1-1/2 cups crushed Ritz with 5 Tbsp of butter. Press into 10" pie plate for crust. Cook onions in remaining butter until limp. Spoon into prepared crust. Beat eggs, mix in milk, salt and pepper. Pour over onions. Sprinkle with crumbled cheddar. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup crushed Ritz over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.




1 8-9 inch fat free flour tortilla

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons fat-free chicken broth (or home made)

1 cup basil leaves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup diced roasted pepper

1/2 cup coarsely shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese


Place tortilla directly on oven rack in pre-heated 400 degree oven. Bake 3

minutes or until tortilla becomes puffed and browned. Remove and place on

cookie sheet. In a small pot, simmer garlic with chicken broth for 2 minutes.


Place basil and Parmesan cheese in a bowl of food processor fitted with

steel blade. Process to mince. With machine running, pour garlic and broth

into mixture to form a pesto.


Spread pesto over tortilla, scatter pepper over pesto and sprinkle with

mozzarella cheese. Return to oven 5 minutes or until cheese is soft and

pizza is hot. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.



serves 8


2 cans (10 1/2 ounces each) jalapeno bean dip

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 medium tomato, chopped

8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated

3 to 4 green onions, chopped

1 small can of chopped black olives

8 ounces Jack cheese, grated

2 tomatoes chopped


Mix bean dip with sour cream and spread over a 10 inch serving platter. Top

with guacamole layer ( avocados mashed and mixed with next 4 ingredients).

Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese. Over the cheese, distribute the chopped

green onion. Top with smaller circle of chopped olives. Top with grated Jack

cheese, lastly, top with chopped tomatoes. Serve with a bowl of large chips.


For best looking dip, make each layer a little smaller in diameter than the

one below.




1 cup Pepperoni Slices

1 cup Tomato Sauce

8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, part skim milk -- shredded

1/2 teaspoon Oregano

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt

1/2 teaspoon Onion Salt

1/4 cup Black Olives -- sliced, optional

1/4 cup Mushrooms -- optional

6 large Hamburger Buns


Combine all ingredients except buns in a large bowl and mix well. Spread

mixture evenly on buns. Wrap each burger in a large paper towel, and place

them into an airtight container. Label container, and freeze up to 3



To serve: Place frozen burgers (one at a time) in microwave for 1 minute 30

seconds on high power. (you may need to adjust cooking time for your

microwave). Serve hot.




6 pork chops -- 1/2-inch thick

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Seasoned salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup long-grain rice -- uncooked

1 1/2 cups water

8 ounces tomato sauce

2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix

1 medium green bell pepper -- chopped

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil; sprinkle with seasoned salt and

pepper. Meanwhile, in a greased 13-inch x 9-inch x 2-inch baking dish,

combine rice, water, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning; mix well. Arrange

chops over rice; top with green bell pepper. Cover and bake at 350 degrees

F. for 1 1/2 hours or until chops are browned and juices run clear. Uncover

and sprinkle with cheese; bake until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.




1/2 pound penne pasta

1 clove garlic

1 lemon

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1 6-ounce can tuna in olive oil, not drained


Bring a 4-quart pasta pot three-fourths full with salted water to a boil for the pasta. Mince garlic. Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 tablespoon and squeeze 1 teaspoon juice. Cut basil into thin julienne strips. In a large bowl, toss together garlic, zest, juice, basil and tuna with oil from the can. Boil penne according package directions and drain. Add penne to bowl and toss with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.



4 catfish fillets

1 cup finely crushed baked tortilla chips

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup salsa

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Cut each catfish fillet in half. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper


Mix crushed tortilla chips and chili powder in a shallow dish or on a piece

of waxed paper. Mix lime juice and oil in another shallow dish. Dip catfish

in the lime mixture, then immediately dredge in seasoned tortilla crumbs to

coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle catfish with any remaining

tortilla crumbs. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp and fish flakes easily

when tested with a fork.

Warm salsa in a small saucepan over low heat. Arrange catfish on serving

plates and spoon salsa across the center. Yield: 4 servings.




Order an entree from America's largest seafood restaurant chain and you'll get a basket of some of the planet's tastiest cheese biscuits served up on the side. For many years this recipe has been the top requested clone recipe on the Internet; especially here on the Top Secret Recipes site. Several versions are floating around, including one that was printed right on the Bisquick box. If you've tried some of these other clones and found them to be a little "off" from the real thing, you should enjoy this easy-to-bake TSR version that'll fool even the biggest Red Lobster freaks.


From Top Secret Recipes:


2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix

1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Brush on Top

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

dash salt


Arrange the dough on a baking sheet then brush garlic butter on top before baking. Ooh, baby!


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine Bisquick with cheddar cheese, milk, 2 tablespoons of butter that has been melted in the microwave, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder in a medium bowl. Mix until well-combined.

3. Drop approximately 1/4-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Combine 1/4 cup butter with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, parsley flakes and salt. Brush this mixture over the tops of each unbaked biscuit.

5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown. Serve warm. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com) Makes a dozen biscuits.



A dazzling yellow bread with a distinctive flavor.

pinch of saffron threads

1/3 cup boiling water

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp fast-rising dried yeast

1 tbsp olive oil


For the topping:

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 red onion, cut into thin wedges

rosemary sprigs

12 black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil


1. Place the saffron in a heatproof cup and pour on the boiling water. Leave to stand and infuse the saffron until lukewarm.

2. Place the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Gradually add the saffron and its liquid until the dough forms a ball.

3. Turn out on to a floured board and knead for 10 - 15 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and leave to rise for about 30 - 40 minutes until doubled in size.

4. Punch down the risen dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into an oval shape, 1/2 in thick. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and leave to rise for 20 - 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use your fingers to press small indentations over the surface.

6. Cover with the topping ingredients, brush lightly with olive oil, and bake for about 25 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool.




1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. fat-free margarine

1 lb. shrimp

2 tsp. butter spray

2 tbsp. parsley

1 tbsp. garlic


Combine fat-free margarine, butter spray, garlic and pepper in a casserole.

Add shrimp and toss to coat. Broil shrimp in casserole 3-4 minutes. Turn

shrimp and broil and additional 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve.




24 ounces Spam luncheon meat -- (two 12-oz cans)

2 eggs -- slightly beaten

2/3 cup instant oatmeal

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon water

4 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes

Snipped fresh chives for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Grate Spam in a large bowl. Add eggs, oatmeal, and milk; mix well. Lightly spray a regular-size muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each muffin tin two-thirds full with Spam mixture. Using the back of a spoon, lightly press mixture into tins.


In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and

water. Lightly spoon glaze mixture over Spam mixture.


Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture is set.


Meanwhile, prepare the instant mashed potatoes. Remove cupcakes from oven.

Place oven rack 2-3 inches from heat source and heat broiler. Top each

cupcake with potatoes. Return muffin tin to oven. Broil 2-3 minutes or until

potatoes are lightly browned. Garnish with fresh chives. Let cupcakes stand

for five minutes before removing from pan. Yield: 12 servings.




1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach

1/4 cup Eggbeaters

4 - 5 large garlic cloves, sliced

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided

1 cup bread crumbs

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

salt/pepper to taste

no-stick spray

Sauté garlic pieces in some no-stickum spray until soft.


Cook Spinach according to package directions. Drain well, allow to cool.

Combine spinach, egg , sautéed garlic and 1 Tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

Set aside. (tip: To save time, this can be done a day ahead and refrigerated.)


Combine bread crumbs and remaining Parmesan in shallow dish. Set aside.


Salt and pepper chicken, brush with butter spray and roll each breast in the bread crumb mixture, covering completely. Place in greased baking dish.


Divide the spinach mixture between the breasts, spreading to cover the entire top. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumb mixture and spray with no-stickum.


Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.







2 teaspoons Olive Oil

1/4 cup Onions -- chopped

1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper -- chopped

1/2 pound Tomatoes, canned -- chopped

1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder

1/4 teaspoon Celery Seed

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 pound Steaks -- lean, boneless


In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and green

pepper and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the

tomatoes and the seasonings; cover and let simmer over low heat 20-25

minutes. This allows the flavors to blend. Trim all visible fat off the

steak. In a nonstick pan or a pan that has been sprayed with nonstick

cooking spray, lightly brown the steak on each side. Transfer the steak to a

13×9 inch baking dish; pour the sauce over the steak and cover. Bake at 350

degrees F for one hour or until steak is tender. Remove from oven; slice

steak and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon sauce over the steak and





Fruit of your choice (apple or a peach, or whatever you like)

1/2 can of diet cola

375ml of plain yogurt


Cut the fruit into bite-sized chunks and cook it in the cola in the

microwave for about 2 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Drain the cola

and add the plain yogurt to the fruit.





By Dianne Jacob, ucook.com contributor

The worst moment of hunger comes when you open kitchen doors (fridge, cabinets, pantry) and can't find anything to eat. Here's where the art of illusion comes in. My husband, for example, is always amazed when there's no food (in his mind), and I can scare up a meal.


You can too, by keeping certain ingredients on hand. Here's a list of staples to use for quick meals, by location:


Keep in the refrigerator: Eggs, salsa, a jar of roasted red peppers, mustard, relish, ketchup, Italian dressing, capers, garlic, shredded cheese, cooked meat (ham and turkey slices), lettuce, and any leftover cooked vegetables.


Keep in the pantry: canned black beans, artichoke hearts, pickled beets, tuna, canned chopped green chilies, large cans of chicken broth, olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil.


Keep in the freezer: hot dog buns, sausages, hot dogs, pot-stickers, and ready-to-eat shrimp.


Once those are on hand, you're ready to make these quick meals:


Eggs. Create a tasty frittata with leftover vegetables and sliced meat. Add canned mushrooms or canned roasted red peppers for flavoring and bulk.


Dry Pasta. Boil up a bag. Meanwhile, sauté garlic in olive oil over low heat, add a can of tuna, a few capers, and toss the whole thing with fresh chopped parsley, if on hand.


Tortillas: Make scrambled eggs with canned mild chilies and sliced ham, and top with shredded Jack cheese and salsa. Or, heat a can black beans, add salsa and cheese. Fold either into a burrito.


Leftover vegetables: Make an antipasto plate by taking leftovers such as steamed cauliflower, broccoli, carrots or green beans and tossing them with Italian dressing. Throw in a few olives and red pepper strips. Put on a plate with sliced cheeses and ham.


More pasta: Take the above dressed vegetables, and mix them with cold pasta for a pasta salad treat. Add thawed shrimp or sliced meat.


Canned vegetables: Open a jar of artichoke hearts, or pickled beets, to liven up a bag of greens for salad. Top with thawed shrimp.


Chinese soup: Heat the can of broth. Throw in a few frozen pot-stickers and cook over medium heat until they're heated through. At the end, add leftover vegetables, a little soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil to liven up the broth.


When all else fails, my husband makes himself a hot dog or a sausage: bun and wiener from the freezer, microwaved, with mustard, relish, ketchup, and chopped tomatoes and onions. (But I could have made him something better!)







Sturgeon can be fried, deep fried or baked. Since I mentioned that I had never

seen a recipe for cooking sturgeon, one of our readers explained her methods,

and after doing some research, I rewrote and embellished Wilma's suggestions.


Remove bones, filet, and cook it alternatively:


Dredge in flour, egg white, and herbed bread crumbs, and fry in oil over medium

high heat.


Dredge in flour, egg white, and cornflakes, add lemon pepper, drizzle lemon juice over it, dot with butter, and bake it at 350 degrees.


Dredge in pancake mix and deep fry it at 365 degrees.


Sturgeon, our reader says, is white fish. That means that it cooks fast, and will

dry out if over-cooked. White fish is usually quite fragile, and flakes easily when

it is done. A little parsley is nice over fish, after the cooking process. Serve with

lemon wedges and tartar sauce. Thank you, Wilma. We'll make that fishing trip

one day soon!



4 half chicken breasts

1 cup brown sugar

Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350. Using vegetable spray, spray 13" x 9" pan, and place chicken breasts in skin side up. Place brown sugar in small bowl. Add enough mustard to make a thick paste. Pour over chicken and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn pieces of chicken over and cover with sauce. Continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes. Serve over rice.




Light Olive Oil (sm. amt., just enough to coat the griddle)

1 to 2 Flour tortillas (small and thin ) for each person

1/3 Cup St. Dalfour's Golden Peach fruit spread per tortilla

(or any other pure fruit spread~

Salt, light sprinkling

Cinnamon, light sprinkling

Fresh fruit, such as peaches, for garnish if you wish


Heat olive oil on a medium griddle. When oil is hot, add the tortillas, giving them a minute to heat and just start to rise, then turn (the oil needs to be hot enough to make the tortilla crisp and golden when finished). Add fruit spread to the center of the cooking tortilla, spreading evenly to within 1 inch of the edges. Lightly sprinkle with salt, and then add a sprinkling of cinnamon.


Fold tortilla in half over the fruit spread, allowing it to cook for another minute. Slip onto your best china, garnish with fresh fruit and a light sprinkling of cinnamon, and serve with a silver fork. It doesn't get much better than this...




By Greg Patent, ucook.com contributor


Custards - baked mixtures of cream or milk, eggs, and sweet or savory flavorings - are not only for babies. Historically, they are ancient, reaching far back to medieval times, when everybody ate them. The word itself is related to the French crustarde, a custardy meat pie. Quiches are nothing more than custard pies with or without meat.


Through the centuries, custards have evolved into all sorts of marvelous creations, most of them sweet, although there are some savory forms such as the Japanese Chawan mushi, a stock-based custard as delicate as the look of cherry blossoms, baked atop a mixture of seafood and ginkgo nuts.


Many of the desserts we devour with gusto today are custards: Crème Caramel, Flan, Pôt de Crème, and Crème Brûlée, for example. But how do they differ?


Crème Caramel, a French dessert, is one of the lightest of all custards. Typically made with milk instead of cream, and whole eggs plus a few extra yolks, the custard is baked in a caramel-lined mold. Flavorings usually include sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. After baking, the dish is cooled and refrigerated. During chilling something wonderful happens to the caramel: it turns into a sauce. And when the dish is inverted onto a serving platter (with a rim, please!) a delectable pool of caramel collects around the set custard.


A wildly popular dessert known through much of Spain, Mexico, and Latin America is flan. It is very similar to Crème Caramel in that it, too, is baked in a dish lined with caramelized sugar. But the custard is a bit denser because it is made with sweetened condensed milk or by boiling milk and sugar until it has reduced in volume by half. Although vanilla is a classic flavoring for flan, the dessert is sometimes made with finely ground almonds and may also include small pieces of pineapple.


Crème Brûlée literally means "burnt cream." Of course, if that's what it really was, it wouldn't wind up on the table. The "burnt" refers to the thin glasslike layer of caramelized sugar that rests on top of the custard. The sugar crust is easily made by passing a blowtorch over granulated or brown sugar sprinkled over the cooked crème or heating it carefully under the broiler. The contrast of the crackly sugar with the cold, velvety custard is exquisite. If this is not the richest of all desserts, you could've fooled me.


Real Crème Brûlée is made with heavy cream and egg yolks. Vanilla is the classic and traditional flavoring. Although it has a French-sounding name, Crème Brûlée actually originated in 17th-Century England.


Pôt de Crème, however, is truly French, a heavenly rich mixture baked in small, lidded pots. Like Crème Brûlée, heavy cream and egg yolks are the usual basic pôt de crème ingredients, but you can go in just about any direction with flavorings. Chocolate, of course, is fabulous, its smoothness enhancing the butteriness of the cream. But vanilla, Gran Marnier, and even butterscotch, work well, too.


The lightest custard of all, simple vanilla custard, made with milk and whole eggs, has been a mainstay in American kitchens for more than 200 years. It is at its homey best when baked in individual cups. But this simple custard also makes a terrific pie. Pastry shells for custard pies should always be pre-baked first to prevent them from turning soggy once the custard goes in.


For the smoothest textures, all custards (except for the pie) must be cooked in a hot water bath. This is a foolproof way to transfer heat gently to the interior of the custard assuring that the results will be meltingly smooth on the tongue. A custard is done when the tip of a sharp knife, gently inserted halfway between the center of the custard and its edge, comes out clean. The center will probably be wobbly, but it will firm up as the custard cools.


Be sure not to over-bake, as this will give the custards a granular consistency. And that is something not even baby will tolerate.




1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil

3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cups chopped plum tomatoes

3/4 cup chicken broth

4 cups coarsely chopped escarole

1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil

1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary

1 9-ounce package refrigerated meat-filled ravioli

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

For sauce, in a large skillet cook onion and garlic in hot oil 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 7 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and sauce is slightly reduced (you should have about 3 cups sauce). Add escarole, basil, and rosemary, stirring just until the escarole is wilted.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to saucepan. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Transfer to a warm serving dish. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Makes 4 servings




6 oz. lasagna noodles, broken into thirds (about 3 and half cups)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 lb. fresh white mushrooms, sliced (about 5 cups)

1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (in spice aisle)

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce (like Prego or some other brand)

1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen large-cut mixed vegetables

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Prepare lasagna as label directs; drain. Place in a large serving bowl;

cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat,

heat oil until hot. Add mushrooms, Italian seasoning and garlic; cook,

stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir

in spaghetti sauce and frozen vegetables; cook uncovered, over medium heat

until mixture is hot, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place cooked

lasagna in large bowl. Add mushroom mixture and Parmesan cheese; toss

gently. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, serve immediately. Top each

portion with a spoonful of ricotta cheese, if desired.




One can use Mini-Lasagna noodles instead of breaking up the larger noodles.

If using the standard lasagna noodles, break into fourths for easier use.

Also, if using fresh garlic, 2 to 3 chopped cloves add to the flavor. It is

also a good idea to add the frozen vegetables to the mushroom mixture in

order to cook more thoroughly and to absorb some of the spices. We topped

with the mozzarella as it was being served.



By Marlene Parrish, ucook.com contributor

Much depends on canned tuna. While tuna salad in any form remains a lunch box mainstay and tuna noodle casserole has attained urban legend status, a can of tuna in the pantry is first-class rescue food when there's little else of interest to eat in the house. If you are looking for an easy meal in a hurry, you could nearly live on the stuff.


Still, canned tuna gets bad press. Too bad, because canned tuna can be delicious, and it has a lot going for it. Tuna is as nutritionally sound as the egg, is shelf stable, relatively inexpensive, has good flavor and is universally available.


But first, please stop calling it tuna fish. Do you say salmon fish? Or halibut fish? Perch fish? Or steak meat, turkey meat or pork meat? Point made. Some people think that tuna is tuna and it comes in a can, period. Wrong. Tuna is a generic name for a wide variety of fish.


One of them is the bluefin, a game fish that can weigh a half-ton or more. Smaller albacore are known for their white meat. Other common varieties are yellowfin and skipjack.


While the very best and freshest tuna turns up in sushi and sashimi bars, the majority of the tuna catch is canned in giant canneries around the world. But because it comes in such a wide variety of types and textures, canned tuna is misunderstood. There's canned tuna ... and then there's canned tuna.


You have to read the label to know what you're getting. The label will tell you, for one thing, what the color is, from creamy white to pinky-brown to brownish. Some people think the lighter the fish, the better the taste. That's a personal preference.


The label also will tell you the packing liquid. Tuna may be packed in olive oil, vegetable oil or innocently water-packed. FYI, the water pack includes salt and often vegetable broth, which means that technically, the tuna is packed in brine. Salt-watchers beware.


Tuna in olive oil has the best flavor and is less salty, but salt water- or brine packed-tuna is lower in calories. As far as most recipes are concerned, however, they are interchangeable in texture, but you'd better taste the finished dish before you salt.


The third thing to notice on the label is the texture of the meat. There are four choices:

solid pack, which is a single hunk of meat.


chunk, which is large pieces and ideal for salads and dishes in which good body is needed.


flake, which is smaller pieces and therefore less desirable, but okay for casseroles and baked dishes where flavor is more important than looks.


Then there is grated, which is mostly a mush and if the cat won't eat it, why should you fuss over saving pennies for yourself?


Either way, tuna is a great food to have on hand. It can be used in a quick dish, or in a more involved dish.




2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 green onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

2 fresh hot green chilies, seeded and sliced

1 (4-oz.) can water chestnuts, diced

2 (4-oz.) cakes spiced tofu

6 dried black winter mushrooms, soaked in hot water 25 minutes, drained

1 cup diced cucumber

2 tablespoons black bean paste

1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry

1 teaspoon red bean paste

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

4 ounces deep-fried gluten balls, if desired (see Note)

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sesame oil, to serve


In a wok, heat vegetable oil, add green onions and garlic, and stir fry 3 or 4 minutes until just beginning to color. Add bell pepper, chilies and water chestnuts; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients except sesame oil and cook 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with sesame oil. Makes 4 servings




1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, melted

3 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 eggs

1 cup Hershey's cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

24 small(1 1/2 inch)York peppermint patties, unwrapped


Heat oven to 350 degrees.(If using glass pan 325 degrees.)Grease 13x9x2 in.

pan. In large bowl with spoon or wire whisk, stir together butter, sugar and

vanilla. Add eggs: stir until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder

and salt: blend well. Reserve 2 cups of batter and set aside. Spread

remaining batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties in single layers

over batter, about 1/2 in. apart. Spread reserved 2 cup of batter over

patties. Bake 50 to 55 min. or until brownies begin to pull away from sides

of pan. Cool completely in pan .Cut into squares. About 36 brownies.



(Onion Pie)


2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

1 medium egg, beaten

1 tablespoon cream, optional

1 unbeaten egg white

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Chop in the butter and work with fingers until mealy. Add the egg and blend until consistency of pie dough. Add cream if dough is not moist enough. Working lightly, pat into bottom and sides of 9" layer-cake pan. Brush with egg white (this prevents crust from becoming soggy).


2 cups chopped onion (4 large)

2 slices bacon, diced

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

1/2 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 medium eggs, beaten

Cook onion and bacon in butter until very soft. Add salt and caraway seeds. Stir in flour and slowly add cream. Remove from heat. Add a little of mixture to eggs, then combine the two. Spoon into pastry-lined cake pan. Bake in 375 degree oven until pastry is crisp and golden and filling is firm. Sometimes a yeast dough is used. Sometimes bacon is omitted and a mixture of 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 beaten egg is poured over onions before baking.


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