Mara's Gallo Pinto

This is the staple food in Costa Rica. It’s name means “Speckled Chicken,” though the recipe doesn’t necessarily include chicken or any other meat. I often make mine meatless and eat it with a fried egg on top for breakfast, as well as use as a side dish for either lunch or dinner. The Salsa Lizano is what gives this dish its authentic sabor tico, but you can substitute for any vegetable-based mild sauce.

*Red Onions, finely chopped, about 3-4 tablespoons
*Celery, finely chopped, 2 stalks
*Green and/or red bell pepper, about 3 tablespoons
*Garlic, finely chopped, 1 or 2 cloves
*Black beans, small can
*2.5 cups cooked white rice
*Olive oil
*Lizano (or another vegetable salsa)
*Scrambled eggs or chopped-up, left over chicken or steak

1. Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan (cast iron works well for this), and put over medium-high heat.

2. When hot, add first four ingredients—sauté a few minutes, until soft.

3. Add white rice, cook about 4-5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.

4. Add can of beans and reduce heat to low.

5. Pour in Lizano or other vegetable salsa to taste.

6. Add handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves and salt and pepper.

7. Stir in meat, if desired.

Tuna and Rice
Also a rice dish I learned to make in Costa Rica, tuna and rice is quick, cheap and tasty. It’s best to use can tuna from the Hispanic section of your grocery store; try one or a combination of Goya or Sirenita’s atún con maíz (tuna with corn), atún con vegetales (tuna with vegetables) and atún con jalapeños (tuna with jalapeños).

Follow steps 1 and 2 from the “Gallo Pinto” recipe, then dump two cans of tuna (no need to drain if using recommended types) and heat a couple of minutes.

Reduce heat and follow steps 5 and 6 from the “Gallo Pinto” recipe.

Journeywoman's Whine and Cheese Pasta

Warning--all measurements are approximate
Spaghetti--enough for 2 boiled in salted water and drained.
1 zuchinni sliced thin
4 baby carrots sliced thin
3 cloves garlic sliced thin--2 more put in a press to finish this off if you like garlic (which we do!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
parsley (dried)
thyme (dried)
seasoned salt (dash)
1/4 cup Marsala wine
Parmasean cheese to taste

While the pasta cooks heat a large saucepan and add oil. Add sliced garlic and stir with a wooden spoon. Add sliced veggies and salt and stir, letting the veggies sweat a bit. Add pepper and other spices after about 3 minutes. Keep stirring. Add wine and stir. Let sauce simmer about 3 minutes. Let the wine reduce then clear a space in the pan and add pressed cloves. and stir them in.

By this point the pasta should have cooked and been drained. Pour the sauce over the pasta mix well, top with cheese.

find Journeywoman here

Fraulein N's Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I'd use up to a full teaspoon)
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound) (about 6 normal-size carrots; I grate mine in a food processor, although you could use a traditional grater if you have an hour to kill)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins

4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I'd add a teaspoon or two more, to cut the tartness of the cream cheese)

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F, unless you have the Oven From Hell, in which case you should wait until just before you put the cakes in to turn it on. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. (Pain in the ass step, but SO necessary.) Lightly grease waxed paper. Seriously, VERY lightly, unless you want your cakes to be all greasy. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. (This seriously took like 20 minutes in the Oven From Hell. WTF?) Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Watch out for rogue lumps of butter.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. On the other hand, if you can't figure out how to frost a cake, you probably don't belong in a kitchen.

(Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold (Um, EW) or at room temperature.

Special thanks to Fraulein N who writes at Below The Eight.

Jen's Manicotti

Thanks Jen!

Time involved: 30 minutes Serves: 4 Total Cost: Around $20.00

*Manicotti noodles (not oven ready)
*Low-fat skim Mozzarella cheese (2 bags)
*Low-fat Ricotta Cheese (small container)
*Low-fat Cottage Cheese (small container)
*Basil (I prefer fresh, but dried works good as well)
*Jar of your favorite pasta sauce
*Grated Parmesan Cheese

Spray cooking dish with non-stick cooking spray. (Crisco Olive Oil is good)
Cook pasta, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
While the pasta is cooling, mix your filling.
Stir together:
3 c Mozzarella cheese
1 c Ricotta cheese
1 c Cottage cheese
6 tbsp Basil

Preheat oven to 350.
Spoon 2 c sauce into baking dish.
Using a teaspoon, spoon filling into the pasta.
Place pasta into dish.
Pour remaining sauce over pasta.
Sprinkle remaining Mozzarella on top.
Bake 15 minutes.
Remove and add Parmesan cheese.
Bake another 10 minutes.

White Chili

*green pepper
*red pepper
*one can white beans, not drained (I tried white kidney beans and loved it)
*one pound cooked chicken (I used Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips)
*8oz tomato juice
*one can corn, drained
*one packet McCormack White Chicken Chili mix

fry up the peppers and onion in a bit of oil or butter
toss in everything else
bring to a boil

top with sour cream, guacamole, cheddar cheese, salsa, etc.

Beets with goat cheese and fresh chopped mint

Wash beets thoroughly and cut them into half-inch disks.

Place beets in a baking dish and drizzle with small amount of olive oil.

Roast beets, covered, for about 30 minutes, until fork-tender.

Put beets on a plate, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and spread goat cheese on each (I like using a strong-flavored goat cheese for this recipe)

Mara's Beef and Rutabaga Stew

*2 lbs beef chuck, cubed
*2 rutabagas, peeled and cubed
*4 parsnips, peeled and cut into one-inch disks
*1 small yellow onion, chopped

Create a rub for meat by combining salt, pepper, mustard powder, thyme and sage (I prefer to use fresh herbs)

Sprinkle mixture on cubed meat and brown in a very hot pan-just a minute on each side.

Toss meat in crock-pot with parsnips and rutabagas.

In the pan the meat was browned in, add a splash of oil and sauté onions until brown (about 5 min.)

Add sautéed onions, to crock-pot and toss in a bay leaf or two.

Cover mixture with beef stock or water.

Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.

Mara’s Shrimp Alfredo

*Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
*Olive oil
*Garlic, three cloves crushed
*Red onion, chopped (about half a small-sized onion)
*Orange (or lemon)
*Dry white wine (or Sherry)
*Heavy cream
*Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
*Fresh basil
*Salt & Pepper

Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

Once the pan is nice and hot, add garlic, onions and shrimp.

Cook, constantly stirring until onion and garlic browns slightly.

Throw in a splash of white wine to deglaze pan.

Cook until shrimp are almost cooked, and deglaze the pan again with a squeeze of juice from the orange.

Let get hot again and add cream to pan.

Stir in cheese until sauce is thick, but not gooey.

Top with fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Angelic Crab Pasta

*2 sticks of butter
*olive oil
*crab meat (fresh is best, but whatever is good)
*1 lb fresh angel hair pasta (you can find it in your grocer's fridge)
*grape tomatoes, halved
*1 block of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
*pine nuts (buy the cheap raw ones in the ethnic aisle and toast them yourself in a skillet with a little butter and olive oil)
*1 clove of elephant garlic (or 2 or 3 regular ones)

Melt a half a stick of butter and about a half cup of olive oil in a skillet

Add the garlic and saute until brown, on medium high heat

Add the spinach and a few dashes of nutmeg. Always add nutmeg to your spinach. Always.

Trust me

Throw in the other half a stick of butter and a few more tablespoons of olive oil.

After your pasta is cooked, toss it with a stick of butter and about a half cup of olive oil.

Toss this with your spinach

Top with crab, tomatoes, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.

Call 911.

You might kill someone with this.

Talk to your doctor before eating this.

Even if you don't end up with a cardio vascular problem, you might die from sheer bliss. Of course you can modify the amount of butter and olive oil, but this is the way that it tastes best.

Crab Chili

*1 can refried beans
*1 can kidney beans
*1 can black beans
*1 can corn
*1 can diced tomatoes
*1 can jumbo lump crab meat
*1 packet of chili seasoning

Stir all ingredients together (except crab) in a pot
Add crab
Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese

Excellent with corn bread!

Peanut Butter Cookies

*3/4 cup peanut butter (I like extra crunchy)
*1/2 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
*1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
*3 tablespoons milk
*1 tablespoon vanilla
*1 large egg
*1 3/4 cups flour
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine peanut butter, shortening, light brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown.
Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack; remove cookies to FOIL to cool completely.

The foil is my secret, it keeps them moist and delicious like the ones at the bakery that you love so much

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just make Toll House. Trust me.

Instead of light brown sugar use dark.

Instead of walnuts use pecans.

Spaghetti With Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Basil

* 1 pound spaghetti
* 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1 to 2 small fresh red chiles, such as Thai chiles, minced
* 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
* Kosher or sea salt
* 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
* 1 dozen kalamata olives, pitted and halved
* Approximately 1 dozen fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
* 3/4 pound fresh whole-milk mozzarella, at room temperature, in 1/2-inch cubes

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.

2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.

3. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and saute until lightly colored.

4. Add the chiles and saute briefly to release their heat, then add the cherry tomatoes and salt to taste. Raise the heat to moderately high and cook at a brisk simmer, stirring, until the cherry tomatoes begin to soften and release their juices; do not let them collapse completely. Stir in the capers, olives and basil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm over low heat.

5. Drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot over low heat. Add the sauce and toss to coat. Remove from the heat, add the mozzarella, and toss vigorously. Divide among warm bowls and serve immediately.

Per serving: 630 calories, 22 g protein, 68 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat (10 g saturated), 44 mg cholesterol, 452 mg sodium, 7 g fiber

Liz's Pumpkin Bread

*3 ½ cups flour
*½ tsp ground cloves
*2 tsps baking soda
*3 cups white sugar
*2 tsps. Salt
*1cup canola oil
*1 tsp baking powder
*4 eggs
*1 tsp ground nutmeg
*2 cups solid pumpkin puree
*1 tsp ground allspice
*2/3 c water
*1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans.
In medium bowl combine flour baking soda, baking powder, salt nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
In large bowl mix sugar, oil, and eggs together then add pumpkin. Slowly add flour mixture along with water. Mix well
Pour batter into greased loaf pans.
Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from the pans.


Liz's Beans and Rice

*1 can of Coconut milk
*1 Can of Kidney Beans (you can substitute pinto or black beans)
*1 med. onion
*2 scallions
*1-2 habanero peppers (very HOT) seeded or any hot pepper
*2 sprigs of Thyme or a TBS of Thyme
*2 slices of salted beef or pork (this is optional I usually don’t)
*2 cups of water
*Salt to taste
*2 cups of rice (I use basmati rice and a little less water)

Cook salted meat; remove from pan and chop finely and set aside (If you choose not to use meat I use a little olive oil to sauté onion, peppers and scallions)
Sauté onion, peppers and scallions in fat from meat
Add remainder of items except for rice and cook for 15-20 mins.
Add rice and let simmer until rice is cooked

**Peppers can be omitted but will not be considered authentic.

Pig Candy

* one pound of thick sliced bacon
* brown sugar
* cayenne pepper

Lay the slices of bacon on a foil lined baking pan, or just fashion one out of heavy duty aluminium foil. Please don't use a naked pan. This gets messy.

Cover the bacon with sugar and sprinkle the pepper on to taste.

Throw it on the grill or in the oven at 350. You can either flip it over and put the sugar and pepper on the other side to make it extra fantastic or just allow it to fry up and caramelize on the one side, however you like your bacon is just fine with me.

Allow to cool, cut into squares and enjoy.

I'm usually not one for the pig-eating, but I have to admit that I tried it out of curiosity and it. was. glorious.

Rinny's Mango Chutney Dip

*1 block cream cheese
*1 jar Major Grey's Hot Mango Chutney (usually found with condiments)
*5-6 chopped green onions

Mix the cream cheese and half the jar of chutney with a hand mixer until smoothish. There will be chunks in it from the fruit, but that is okay.

Fold in the chopped green onions

Refrigerate until ready to serve with triscuits.

Fish Tacos

* tomatoes, diced and de-seeded
* jalapeno peppers, diced
* onion, diced
* cilantro, chopped (coriander)
* black beans
* corn, out of the can or off the cob
* the juice from a lime
* whatever kind of fish you have lying around the house. Tuna is easy, fish sticks are convenient too, leftovers work as well.
* cole slaw
* refried beans
* avocado
* sour cream or plain yogurt
* cheese
* spanish rice (Goya is cheap and good)
* burritos

Mix your tomatoes, onions, peppers, black beans, cilantro, and corn in a bowl. Squeeze the lime over top.

Chop the avocado and mash it up. You can add the sour cream or serve the two separately.

I like to spread the refrieds on the burrito first, then pile everything else on. I also like to put the cheese on top of the rice if the rice is hot so it gets all melty and wonderful.

If you like sweet, and I think you do, drain a can of crushed pineapple really well and add it to the cole slaw. So good! Next time you have to go to a picnic, bring the pineapple cole slaw. Everyone will love you.

Rinny's Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

* 1 bunch broccoli, about 1 1/4 pounds, washed and trimmed
* 2 cups sliced onions
* 5 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 7 cups chicken broth, divided
* 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
* 1/4 cup flour
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1 cup milk (always cook with whole so it doesn't scald and sour!)
* 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Cut florets off broccoli and divide into small sections. Simmer in lightly salted water for 2 minutes; drain and immerse in cold water to stop cooking then set aside.

Cut stalks into small pieces; place in a large saucepan.

Add sliced onions and 3 tablespoons of butter to saucepan; sauté over medium low heat for 5 minutes.

Add 3 cups chicken broth and oregano to the saucepan; simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

Carefully process hot mixture in batches in a blender until smooth.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly.

Stir in mustard and pepper. Gradually stir in processed mixture and remaining 4 cups of chicken broth.

Continue to cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble.

Add milk and cheese; stir until smooth and cheese is melted. Add remaining broccoli florets and heat through.

Beth from Texas' lemonade

* 1/4 cup lemon juice (3-5 small lemons or 1-3 large lemons)
* 3 cups water
* 3/4 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients. Serve chilled or with ice. Makes 2-4 servings.

I'm going to try this both with seltzer water and with limes when they are in season. I'm dying to duplicate the limonada at Tequila's on 17th and Locust.

Maybe I'll throw some orange slices in there too just to impress my friends.

Samantha's Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches

* zucchini, sliced longways about 1/4" thick
* yellow squash, sliced the same way
* hummus
* olive oil
* your favorite seasonings
* a loaf of french bread or some rolls
* mozzarella cheese

Lay your zucchini and squash out on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and coat with seasonings. I like rosemary, salt, and pepper especially well, but basil and oregano and parsley are fantastic too. Lately I've been cheating with the spices and using the McCormick Italian Herb Seasonings grinder.

Stick it in the oven until the veggies are nice and soft, about 20 minutes or so at 375.

Cut that loaf of bread into sandwich sized chunks and spread each side with hummus then lay the zucchini and squash on there. Top with big fatty slices of mozzarella cheese.

Throw it back in the oven until the cheese is all melty and toasty.

Sam's boyfriend puts lettuce and tomato on his. I think I may try roasted peppers and sprouts when I make these. Whatever you want, throw it on there.

Hamburger Gravy

* a pound of ground meat
* one onion, chopped
* a jar or three of brown gravy
* some mashed potatoes, rice, bread, or egg noodles
* some peas, canned, frozen, or fresh
* salt and pepper to taste

Brown your meat with your onions

Stir in your gravy and peas

Pour it over your starchy goodness

Salt and pepper until you are happy

Wonder why you never thought of this.

You can get fancy and use cube steak (tube steak?!?!), beef tips, vegetarian "meat" stuff, or pour the gravy, peas, and onions over a nice steak that isn't fancy and expensive enough to eat without gravy.

Pasta with Aglio y Olio

Don't worry, when ordering just say A.E.O. We'll know what you mean, cuz.

*some garlic, chopped
*some fresh basil, cut into strips
*some fresh ground black pepper
*some olive oil
*some pasta from the back of the cupboard
*some grated cheese
*some of whatever else you want in there

Put some oil in the skillet and heat

Add some chopped garlic and brown

And then the basil

Toss cooked pasta with olive oil until covered, then throw in the garlic and basil mix.

If you have a can of stewed tomatoes, drain them and put those in there. Leftover seafood from last night? That goes. Squeeze some lemon in there if you like that. Tuna? Okay. Chicken? If that's what the kid likes. Bell peppers are always good. Sausage? Go ahead fatty. That is probably good in there too.

Vietnamese coffee

*sweetened condensed milk
*espresso or strong coffee

mix and enjoy, either hot or cold

Chicken Noodle Soup

*1 lb chicken. Anything works, just shred it or cut it the way you like it
*1 bag of celery, washed and chopped
*1 lb of carrots, washed and chopped. Keep the peels on, that's where the vitamins are
*1 chopped onion
*1 clove of chopped garlic, Elephant if you have it. Elephant garlic are those big cloves next to the regular ones at the store.
*2 or 3 giant cans of broth. I prefer the Low Sodium/Fat-Free College Inn Stuff
*1 cup frozen or fresh peas
*1 cup frozen or fresh green beans
*1 cut up potato if you'd like
*whatever else you need to use up or like in your soup
*seasonings you and your family like, to taste. I'd suggest you at least toss a bay leaf and black pepper in there. If you are sick, put a bunch of Tabasco in your bowl, it will clean you right out.
*cooked alphabet noodles, pastina, spiral macaroni, or egg noodles. Add these as you eat the soup or they will sop up all your broth. You can make a big pit of noodles and keep it in the fridge in some olive oil or Italian dressing to keep them moist

Saute the celery, carrots, garlic, and onion in a bit of olive oil at the bottom of your soup pot. When they soften, throw in everything else, boil it for a little while and serve with crackers or crusty bread.

Throw some dumplings in there and your soup gets super. Follow the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. They are quick and easy and awesome.

Cold beer goes great with hot soup. Hot beer does not go great with cold soup.

Oatmeal Cookies

*2 sticks soft butter
*1 cup brown sugar
*1/2 cup sugar
*2 eggs
*1 tsp vanilla
*1 tsp baking SODA
*1 tsp cinnamon
*3 cups Old Fashioned oats
*1 1/2 cups flour
*raisins are boring, Raisinettes are fabulous. Try a bag of butterscotch or peanut butter chips (or my new favorite, Heath brickle chips) mixed in with the dough

Mix butter and sugars until creamy, add eggs and vanilla

Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon

Slowly add oats

Toss in the good stuff and bake at 350 for 10 or 12 minutes


*really good ground beef, like sirloin, but make sure it has some fat in it
*chopped onion (dehydrated will work too)
*Worcestershire sauce
*A1 sauce
*McCormack Montreal Steak Seasoning

Mix all this stuff together and make the patties as big as baseballs, then press down just a little so it doesn't roll around on the grill

Put it on the grill and let it cook for awhile. DO NOT press down on this. EVER. Why would you press on a burger? Do you think it cooks faster? No, it just drains the juice, and you want that. All over your chin and shirt.

Flip it once or twice.

You can also stuff some Brie, Blue, or Roquefort cheese in the middle or mix shredded cheese in with the burger before you cook it.

If you buy lean ground beef, stick a little pat of butter in the middle. Hell, if you buy fatty ground beef stick a little pat of butter in the middle. It will only make it better.

I've made these with venison too, and substituted rosemary and thyme for the Steak Seasoning. Just be sure to add some salt in there, and top with Lorraine Swiss Cheese.

One last thing. Some people put egg in their ground meat to make meatballs, burger, meatloaf, whatever. Don't. That is why those people's burgers are dry and cakey and you have to chew them. I don't know why people put egg in there. Meat binds itself together. I promise these burgers will not fall apart, but they will melt in your mouth.

Banana Pudding

*1 large package instant pudding. I like either French Vanilla or plain vanilla, but I'd imagine that chocolate or banana would be good too.
*2 1/2 cups cold milk
*14oz can sweetened condensed milk
*Cool Whip (16 ounces)
*sliced bananas, just one day away from being kind of rotten
*Nilla wafer cookies

Mix pudding and milk; add condensed milk. Blend well; fold in half the whipped topping.

Alternate layers of pudding, bananas and vanilla wafers; top with remaining whipped topping and a few banana slices.

Refrigerate overnight before serving.

I like to put caramel sauce on this too, but I put caramel on just about anything. Someday I'm going to make this with ice cream, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Ziploc Omelets

*Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2)shake
to combine them.
*Throw in ingredients like cheese, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns (or pieces of tater tots, salsa, etc.

Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes.
You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot.

Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily.

Get these ready the night before, and put the bag in
boiling water when you wake up.

Hobo Pie

*some meat if you like meat
*some cut up carrots
*some butter
*some apples
*some corn
*some cut up potatoes
*other root veggies, it all works
*heavy duty aluminum foil
*lemons or lemon pepper
*seasonings to taste

wrap all the food up in a foil packet, put in a few pats of butter and throw it in a fire, oven, or on the Q for awhile. You can poke at it with a stick every once in awhile or put a marshmallow fork through the foil to see if it slides out of a potato cleanly. It is done when you are tired of waiting.

Grilled Bananas

*6 firm nanners
*2 tbsp brown sugar (I prefer my sugar to be dark brown, just like my men)
*1/8 tsp cinnamon
*1/8 tsp nutmeg

Fire up the grill

Cook bananas unpeeled about 5 inches from heat for about 10 minutes until the peels are brown and soft. Be sure to turn them once

Combine everything else.

Split the peels and sprinkle with the sugar. You can eat it right out of the peel with a fork

These are good with ice cream.

Baked Onion Dip

*8oz shredded cheddar
*2 cups mayo
*2 chopped sweet onions
*2 tbsp grated cheese (Parm, Locatelli, etc.)

Preheat oven to 325

Mix cheddar, mayo, and onion, transfer to a 1 quart baking dish, lightly greased

Sprinkle with grated cheese

Bake 40-45 minutes until onions are tender and the dip is bubbly and lightly browned.


*4 tsp baking POWDER
*1 tsp salt
*2 cups flour
*6 tbsp shortening
*2/3 cup milk (buttermilk is reallllly good for this)

Mix baking powder, salt, and flour

Cut in shortening until your dough looks like it is made of peas

Stir in milk until the batter comes off the sides of the bowl

Press dough with your fingers to 1/2 inch and cut

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes


Go to the case next to the cheese at the grocery store and buy yourself a roll of Pillsbury.

Bisquick works well too.

Teriyaki Wings

*2 lbs chicken wings, cut apart at the joint
*1/4 cup ketchup (catsup can be substituted)
*1/4 tsp garlic powder
*2 tbsp brown sugar
*1/4 cup oil
*1/4 cup soy sauce
*1/4 cup lemon juice
*2 dashes of cayenne pepper

Marinate the wings in all this stuff overnight

Bake 40-45 minutes at 375 on a rack in an aluminum foil lined shallow baking pan

Baste occasionally

Crab Dip

*1/4 cup softened cream cheese
*1 tbsp mayo
*1/3 cup finely chopped green peppers
*2 tbsp finely chopped yellow peppers
*2 scallions, finely chopped (onions will do, I guess. Or maybe chives. Are chives and scallions the same thing? Maybe.)
*1 garlic clove, finely chopped
*1 tbsp lemon juice
*1/2 cup crab meat
*1 tbsp chopped dill
*tobasco, salt, and pepper to taste

Combine cream cheese and mayo

Add peppers, scallions, and garlic. Stir

Add lemon and tobasco, salt and pepper

Throw in the crab and dill. I just accidently typed crap there, but thought it wise to fix that typo. I don't want you getting sick.

You can heat this if you'd like, but I boycott heating mayo. Again, I don't want you getting sick.

Sticky Rice

Call the Chinese place down the street when you get off the subway and pick it up on the way home.

There is no other way.

Katie Fisher's Zucchini Bread

second only to my Grandmother's, who forgets how

*2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
*3 eggs
*2 cups sugar
*1 cup oil
*3 tsp vanilla
*3 tsp cinnamon
*3 cups flour
*1 tsp baking POWDER
*1 tsp baking SODA
*1 tsp salt

Grate the zukes with skin and seeds, set aside

Beat together eggs and sugar

Add oil, beat well

Add zukes and vanilla

Blend in dry ingredients

Pour into two loaf pans

Bake 60-80 minutes at 325

Slice and slather with plenty of butter. It's bread, after all.

While the bread is still hot, go to Baskin Robbins and get some vanilla ice cream to make a zucchini shortcake. While you're there remember the good old days (the early 90's. Were they ever that good?) when Katie and I used to work there. One scoop for the customer, one for the ice cream girl. Katie likes German Chocolate Cake, and her sister likes Gold Medal Ribbon. I like Cookies and Cream with Caramel Sauce ever since they stopped carrying Caramel Chocolate Crunch.

Chicken Salad

*1 lb cooked and shredded chicken breast
*1 chopped celery stalk or some celery seed
*some chopped onion if I'm not coming over for lunch
*1 cup cooked pastina or other small pasta, drained and rinsed and chilled if you are making sandwiches. Big pasta like elbows or wagon wheels are fun if you want this without bread. Chop the chicken instead of shredding it if you are doing this or you get a bunch of different sizes and textures of food mixed together and that really grosses me out.
*salt and pepper to taste
*a big glob or two of mayo

Serve with Chicken Corn Chowder

You can cut the top off a tomato and clean out the snot and stuff this in there if you want to be fancy, and my Aunt serves this on croissants which is good for the tastebuds but bad for the waistline.

I think chicken salad must always be served with iceberg lettuce. It is a rule in my house.

Tuna Salad

*as much tuna as you need, drained
*1 chopped apple
*1 chopped celery stalk
*1 shredded carrot
*some onion if you like it
*1 handful of shredded cheddar
*fresh ground pepper to taste
*mayo to taste

Mix it together

Cut Out Cookies

These are the best you'll ever taste, I swear

*6 egg yolks
*4 whole eggs
*2 cups softened butter
*2 1/8 cups white sugar
*7 cups all purpose flour
*1 tbsp baking POWDER
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing:
*4 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*hot water as needed
*food coloring, be sure to split the icing into separate bowls if you want to make different colored cookies

Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each

Combine dry ingredients and stir slowly into sugar mixture

Cover and chill for at least one hour, over night in small batches is best

Preheat oven to 375

If you don't have fantastic cookie sheets, grease them.  Mine are naturally greasy because I use them a lot and they never really come totally clean after awhile.

Roll dough on floured surface to desired thickness (up to 1/2 inch) and cut

Bake for 8 to 10 to 12 minutes, watch them! As soon as the edges look golden, take them out.

Let cool 5 minutes on sheet, then put on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Or if you like sugar cookies, sugar them before you bake them.  This is important.

Becca Swick's Eclair Cake

*1 box graham crackers
*2 big boxes of French Vanilla pudding and enough milk to make it
*2 cans of Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Fudge Icing

Make the pudding

Alternate layers of grahams and pudding in a lasagna pan

Top the last layer of grahams with the icing.

Lick the knife

Stick it in the fridge for a day, and keep your fingers out of it. This will cut like a cake as long as you keep it cool.

Fake-out KFC

*1 1/2 cup flour
*1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing
*1 envelope Lipton Tomato Cup of Soup
*2 eggs, well beaten
*2/3 cup milk
frying oil

Combine eggs and milk

Combine flour, dressing, and soup mix

Dip the chicken in the egg mix, then the flour mix

Do it again

Fry those mother cluckers

You can do this with potato wedges too, or eggplant, or zucchini, or whatever it is that you like fried. Me? You can fry my shoe and I'll eat it. I'm not picky.

Serve with Idahoan brand Baby Reds Instant Mashed Potatoes and Kraft Mac and Cheese. Stop by KFC on your way home to pick up some of that cole slaw and gravy. I can't duplicate that for the life of me.

Chicken and Biscuits

*1 pound of chicken breast
*1 onion, chopped
*2 stalks celery
*3 or 4 potatoes, mashed. I like skins on, but you can do whatever you want
*1 can of corn, drained
*1 cup frozen carrots
*1 cup frozen peas
*1 can cream of xxx soup. Some people like mushroom or celery, some like chicken, I go for cream of potato. You can never have too much potato. Never.

Cook the chicken in a skillet and dice it into bite sized pieces

Defrost the frozen veggies in the microwave

Mix all ingredients except milk. You can either stir in the mashed potatoes or spoon the chicken gravy over them. Your choice. I like to do a little of each.

Add milk until you are happy with the consistency

Heat thouroughly, add salt and pepper to taste and spoon over biscuits. Go ahead and cheat and just get a can of Pillsbury or make them with Bisquick.

Serve with an iceberg wedge topped with Hidden Valley Ranch. Then sit on the couch with your pants unbuttoned for about three days.

Grilled Corn Salad

*1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
*4 ears corn
*1 cup diced, seeded tomato
*1 cup diced, seeded cucumber
*1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Lime Juice mixture
*2 tbsp lime juice- go ahead and use one of those plastic squeezy green things. I won't tell
*1 1/2 tsp olive oil
*2 tsp sugar
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/4 tsp pepper
*1/8 tsp garlic powder

Brush oil over corn

Broil corn 20 minutes, turning every 5 mins

Let the corn cool while you make the lime juice mixture and then remove the kernels with a sharp knife, blade pointing away from you, please. Or toward everyone having fun out in your back yard around the grill while you are inside stripping the damn corn off it's ears.

Add everything else and mix well

Vegetable Soup

*2 tbsp oil
*2 chopped onions
*3 carrots, halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices
*1 1/2 quarts broth
*15 oz can of diced tomato
*1 tbsp tomato paste
*1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and diced to 1/2 inches
*1/2 lb halved green beans
*3 oz fine egg noodles
*1/3 cup parsley
*salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium to low heat

Add onion, celery, and carrots and brown 10 minutes

Add potatoes, beans, broth, and salt and bring to a boil then simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes

Add noodles, boil, then simmer 5 minutes

Dago Dave's 'Talian Wedding Soup

*4 lbs chicken (thighs work best)
*1 lb ground beef, pork, and veal. You can usually get this all in one package at the grocery store. At least you can here where people eat ground beef, pork, and veal with their cornflakes for breakfast.
*enough breadcrumbs and grated cheese for your meatballs
*1 large onion
*6 celery stalks, chopped
*9 carrots, chopped
*2 heads of escarole (curly endive, radicchio, borage, mustard greens, arugula, or spinach will all do in a pinch)
*1 giant can of chicken broth, and another of beef broth
*16 oz of pastina or orzo

In a stock pot, place chicken, onion, and broth

Add enough water to cover chicken, bring to a boil, and cook until chicken falls off the bone

Separate the meat from the bone and chop or pull apart

Chop your onion and put the chicken and onion in the pot with your broth

Boil the escarole in a separate pot and strain. Once it has cooled, squeeze out the moisture. Get your hands right in there, it is the best way.

Make the meatballs with the ground meat, bread crumbs, and cheese. Make them little, no more than 1/2 inch diameter. Do this in front of the television because it is boring and disgusting. You need something to take your mind off the flesh under your fingers. Hopefully your nose won't start to itch. If it does, your screwed. Use your sleeve.

Bake the balls in your oven at 350 for ten minutes

Add the balls, carrots, and celery to the stock and cook for 50 minutes

Add escarole and cook for another 10 minutes while you cook the pasta

Add the pasta and serve

Put grated cheese on top and a napkin in your collar like a bib.


Chicken Corn Chowdah

*1 lb chicken, cut into chunks
*1 chopped onion
*1 diced red pepper
*1 diced potato
*2 ups frozen corn
*32 oz chicken broth
*1/2 cup flour
*2 cups milk
*4 oz shredded cheddar
*salt and pepper to taste

Brown onion, pepper, and chicken over medium heat

Add potato and broth, and bring to a boil

Simmer, covered for 20 minutes then add corn

Blend flour and milk and gradually stir it in

Increase heat to medium, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly (except when your baby puts a tack in his mouth and the doorbell rings and you get a text message and your husband needs a roll of t.p., pronto)

Add cheese and stir until blended

Add salt and pepper

Serve with chicken salad sandwiches and a diet coke with lime, just like we used to do it on Tuesdays at the Irish Pub

Vegetable Stew

*1 large minced onion
*1/2 cup minced celery
*3 cloves minced garlic
*2 tbsp olive oil
*2 cups cubed eggplant
*2 cups chopped tomatoes
*1 3/4 cups broth (canned will do, I like Low-Sodium/Fat-Free College Inn)
*1/8 tsp dried thyme
*1/8 tsp dried rosemary
*1 cup orzo, pastina, or other small, cooked pasta

Heat oil over medium heat, add onions, garlic, and celery and saute for 3 minutes

Add eggplant and tomatoes, cover, and simmer until tomatoes begin to weep, about 10 minutes

Add broth and herbs, simmer 20 minutes, then add pasta and heat through.

Serve with crusty bread, saltines, and a big cold glass of milk. You can add chocolate in it if you've been good and your homework is done.

Penne di Parma

*1 box of dried penne
*4 tbsps of butter
*4 cloves of garlic or 2-3 cloves of Elephant garlic if you can get it. That is the giant cloves of garlic next to the regular ones at the store
*3 cups of thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
*4 oz/ 1 1/2 cups of prosciutto, thinly sliced. If you can't get this where you live, any smoked ham will do
*2 cups milk
*1 cup light cream
*1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
*1/2 cup parsley

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and mushrooms

Cook 3 minutes or until the shrooms are tender, stirring frequently.

Add milk, ham, and cream, and boil

Reduce heat to medium, simmer uncovered until mixture is reduced by half, about 6 minutes

Remove the sauce from the heat and add some Parmesan cheese and parsley. Toss with the cooked pasta and sprinkle with the remaining ham

Penne Rosa

*16 oz dried Penne pasta
*2 tbsps butter
*2 tbsps minced garlic (if you can get Elephant garlic, please do. They are the really big garlic bulbs next to the little ones at the store)
*2 cans diced tomatoes, drained with the liquid reserved
*1 tsp dried basil
*1 1/3 cup heavy cream
*2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, fresh if you've got it, Kraft is good too
*Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta while you melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat

Add the garlic, and cook for a minute- don't brown the garlic!

Add tomatoes with 1/4 cup tomato liquid, basil, salt, and pepper then heat it to boiling

Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is reduced.

Add the cream and heat until thickened, about a minute

Toss the pasta and sauce, and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Feeling naughty? Throw three or four tablespoons of vodka in when you add the cream.

Serve with bruchetta, lots of wine, Peroni, and after dinner mints. Sleep with gum in your mouth and brush your teeth immediately upon waking up.


*1 can of refried beans
*1 can of pinto beans, drained
*1 can of black beans, drained
*1 can of kidney beans, drained (I like the light red kind best)
*1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
*1 can of creamed corn, or regular corn, whatever you have around
*1 onion, cut up and fried
*1 or 2 or even 3 peppers, cut up and fried with the onions
*1 pound of ground meat or 1 bag of MorningStar Farms ground veggie stuff- optional
*1 packet of chili seasoning. I like McCormack. Don't try to be fancy and invent your own, this is easier. You can get mild if you are a wimp or spicy if you take it like a man.

Stir everything together in a big pot and bring to a boil. Make sure you stir it while it is cooking so it doesn't stick.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheddar. And Dos Equis, Corona, or Margaritas.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

*8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
*2 cups powdered sugar
*15 oz PURE canned pumpkin- NOT the pumpkin pie mix
*1 tbsp cinnamon
*1/2 tbsp grated ginger

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar at medium speed until smooth

Add pumpkin, beat until well mixed

Add cinnamon and sugar and mix

Stick it in the fridge for at least 8 hours

Serve with fruit, ginger snaps, spiced wafers, and a good cup of tea. It is surprisingly good with carrots and Gerber Biter Biscuits too. A lady at work eats it with broccoli, but she is weird.

I like to layer a bit of the dip with graham crackers into a little tupperware container before I put it in the fridge. It makes a bready kind of goodness that can be eaten with a fork in front of the t.v. all alone with your cats and a glass of milk.

Cranberry Almond Cookies

*1 cup softened butter
*1 cup sugar
*1 egg
*1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond if you really like almond)
*2 cups all purpose flour
*1/4 tsp salt
*1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
*1/2 to 1 cup chopped toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 350

Cream butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Taste it.

Add egg and beat well, blend in remaining ingredients

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets

Bake until golden, about 12 mins