Monday, October 2, 2017

Savory Maple Breakfast Sausage Seasoning Mix

Amount of mix will season up to 6 pounds of sausage. Mix spices together and store in airtight container.

1 T ground sage
1 T marjoram
1 T crushed red pepper flakes*
1 T black pepper
2 T seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)

Real maple syrup
Plain pork sausage or ground pork**

To make 4-5 patties:

With ½ pound plain pork sausage, combine ½ tablespoon of mix with 1 T of real maple syrup and mix it into the sausage with your hands until just combined (don’t over handle or the sausage may turn out tough). Form into 4-5 patties and cook on nonstick pan over medium low to medium heat, turning occasionally, until well browned and they reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F.

 *Can reduce to half if you want to reduce the heat, and then use just under ½ tablespoon when making the sausage.

 **I use the pork sausage roll from Aldi (Appleton Farms brand) which doesn’t have much seasoning besides salt. You can also use plain ground pork but I found the texture to be different as it wasn’t ground as fine as the sausage. Also, If you use ground pork that isn’t salted you may need to add up to ¼ teaspoon of salt for each half pound.

Adapted from

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

⅓ cup canola oil
½ cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ¾ cup whole white wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup oats (quick or old fashioned) + more for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon coarse sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Preheat oven to 325. Combine wet and dry ingredients separately. Stir wet ingredients with dry ingredients and until just combined.  Divide into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle oats and coarse sugar on top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with butter.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Energy Bar Cookies

Perfect for healthy snacking. I keep mine in the freezer and take out a couple when I'm about to run errands, etc. Makes 24 cookies. Cook time: 20 minutes.

2 ripened bananas, mashed
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or sunflower butter)
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or raisins)

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix wet ingredients and salt. Stir in oats. Add a few tablespoons of milk or water if the batter is dry. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips until combined. Use small cookie scoop and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or your fingers. Arrange three chocolate chips on top of each cookie (optional). Bake for 20 minutes. Eat within 2 days or freeze.

I cook two cookie sheets at once (12 cookies on each sheet) and switch them after 10 minutes for even cooking.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu

  Quick and easy version of a fancy dish. Serves 3-5 people. Cook Time 10-15 minutes. 

4-5 small chicken breasts, tenderized
1-2 T olive oil

4 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
¼  cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ teaspoon garlic salt

½ cup panko
1 T Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 slices ham, diced (I like Hormel Natural Choice Ham)

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Prepare chicken breasts by placing in a zip top bag and pounding them on each side with a meat tenderizer.
  2. Combine cream cheese, shredded cheeses, and garlic salt in small bowl.
  3. Combine panko, seasonings, oil, and diced ham  in a small bowl.
  4. Heat olive oil in oven proof  non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breasts for 1 minute on each side. Remove skillet from heat.
  5. Move chicken breasts to center so they are touching each other. Spread cheese mixture over chicken breasts. Sprinkle panko/ham mixture over the cheese.
  6. Bake at 400 (in middle of oven)  until chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 F (about 6-8 minutes).

If you don’t have a meat tenderizer you can use the back of a cookie scoop or a rolling pin. You can use any type of shredded cheese to mix with the cream cheese, including swiss or parmesan. If your skillet is not oven proof, just transfer the chicken to an oven-proof casserole dish before topping and baking.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Layered Tres Leches Cake

Easy but fancy dessert. Perfect for summer dinner parties and potlucks.

5 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk (2% or whole)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk

 1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons sugar, to taste
fresh chopped strawberries (or other berries)

Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray 2 - 8 or 9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray (I use silicon pans). Beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form, set aside. Beat egg yolks and sugar on high until pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla.

Stir flour, baking soda, and salt together and add to the yolk mixture, stir to combine. Gently fold in egg whites to rest of batter until just combined. Gently spread into the two pans. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and inserted toothpick is clean. Remove from oven, let cool, and poke holes all over each cake with a fork.

Combine evaporated and sweetened condensed milk in a pourable measuring glass and stir. Pour half of it over each cake (about 1 1/4 cup for each cake). Let cakes sit for about 20 minutes or until all the milk is absorbed. At this point you can also cover the cakes with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to one day.

Meanwhile, beat heavy cream and sugar on high until stiff peaks form. Spread layer of whip cream between the two layers of cake and on top. Sprinkle chopped strawberries over the whip cream. Serve immediately (room temperature is preferred).

Adapted from

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pad Thai

This baby of mine has been a long time coming, but I finally have it perfected. This is one of my favorite Thai dishes and now I can make it at home! It requires a good amount of prep work but it only takes a short time to put it all together at the end. Most of the ingredients can be obtained from any grocery store. You may have to go to an Asian store to find the tamarind concentrate or order it online. I use a food scale to measure some of the ingredients in this recipe, but I put the approximate volume equivalents in here too for those that don't have one yet. Serves 2-4 people. Adapted from

Prepare Noodles

7 oz Thai Kitchen Brand Stir-Fry Rice Noodles (½ of box, can find at Walmart) or other Thai brand pad thai style rice noodles

Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat, add noodles, cover with lid and let soak for 2 minutes. Drain off hot water and cover noodles with room temp water. Cover with lid and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain off water, rinse noodles with cold water, and set colander of noodles aside. Cut noodles with kitchen scissors to shorten to make stir frying easier in the end. Noodles should be soft but not mushy.

Sauce - makes ⅔ cup (or use equivalent a jarred sauce that you like (Double Golden Fish Brand is Good!))

60 grams Kikkoman soy sauce (reduced sodium is best) (¼ cup)

80 grams white sugar (5 ½ T)

40 grams brown sugar (3 T packed)

50 grams tamarind concentrate (2 ½ T) (I use this brand)

Bring to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugars are dissolved. Cover and set aside. 

Prepare ahead or while noodles are soaking, and set aside:

4 tablespoons canola oil

1 large carrot, julienned

¼ small onion, minced or grated, or roughly chopped (big pieces for flavor but can easily be removed at end)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1-2 cups chopped broccoli florets

2 eggs, scrambled and chopped (optional, I usually leave out)

8 oz super firm tofu cubes prepared as below*) or 4-8 oz of cooked cubed or shredded chicken

How to Prepare Crispy Baked Tofu

Dry block of tofu with paper or kitchen towels. Cut into cubes. (Most blocks come in 16 oz, so you can freeze half of the cubes for a later time: just lay cubes on cookie sheet to freeze and store in a freezer safe ziptop bag.) Whisk together 1 T oil, 1 T cornstarch, 1 T soy sauce, and 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce or Go-Chu-Jang sauce. Stir 8oz of cubed super firm tofu into sauce. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake on nonstick baking mat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 375 for 15 minutes. Set aside until ready to add to recipe. 

Toppings to Garnish When Serving (optional)

large handful freshly chopped cilantro

large handful of chopped or crushed peanuts

lime wedges or lime juice

Final Steps

Add 4 tablespoons of canola oil to deep nonstick skillet (mine is 3.5 quarts) or wok . Heat over medium heat until piece of onion sizzles. Add onion, garlic, and carrot, and any other vegetables and reduce heat to medium low or low (if garlic starts to burn), stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Onions should be tender and carrots and broccoli should be at least half cooked (can spray with water to steam and speed up cooking).

Raise heat to medium and add noodles, sauce, eggs, and tofu/chicken. Stir frequently over medium heat for 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish individual servings with chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, and a squeeze of lime juice (optional). 

*Optional - increase amount of sauce to serve extra on the side.