Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kale Casserole

In Connecticut, I belonged to a farm co-op. We picked up fresh vegetables harvested daily from the farm. Our share was plentiful and sometimes more than we could use.

The farm produced a weekly paper with information about local farms, activities for children, and seasonal vegetables and fruits. Usually there was at least a recipe or two many shared by the other co-op members.

I remember once we had a big crop of kale and I was trying to find more recipes using this healthy green. I hid a few leaves in our smoothies and then went on to make a meatless casserole with eggs, cheese and kale. Everybody in the family liked the dish and I prepared it for my writers’ group as well. The recipe was printed in the co-op paper and also in Baking with Barb in CAPA’s Monthly magazine. Recently I found a good buy on kale and again made Kale Casserole. Try this recipe, feed it to the kids, and feel good about hiding healthy vegetables in your casserole.


1 bunch kale
4 cups cubed stale bread
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup olive oil or butter
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
¾ cup of milk


1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and spread bread cubes into the dish.
3.    Wash the kale and drain in a strainer. Cut stems from leaves and chop to bite sized pieces.
4.    Place 2-3 tablespoons from the olive oil or butter portion in a large skillet.
5.    Wilt half of greens in skillet and remove to large mixing bowl, wilt remaining greens in butter and add to mixing bowl.
6.     Saute mushrooms and onions in butter until light brown. Mix in bowl with greens.
7.     Add milk, eggs, and mushroom soup to vegetables and toss in two cups of cheese.
8.     Pour kale mixture over bread pieces in casserole dish. Sprinkle casserole with remaining cup of cheese. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and light brown.

This casserole will serve about 8 to 10 people or make two smaller dishes and freeze one for another time. Refrigerate leftovers. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Turkey and Sausage Gumbo

How many different dishes do you make with your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers? Of course you always have turkey sandwiches and sliced breast meat with mashed potatoes and leftover gravy, but have you tried making soup?

One of my favorite turkey recipes is turkey and sausage gumbo. My son Chris first introduced me to gumbo and I must say it is one of my favorite soup recipes. Try this before you decide to toss the turkey.


1 pound of Polish sausage or Andouille (spicy Cajun sausage) cut into bite size pieces
3-4 cups of skinned chopped turkey from leftovers or roasted chicken
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup flour
½ cup chopped sweet pepper
1 medium chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery with leaves
4 pints turkey or chicken broth
3-4 cloves minced garlic
2-3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch of thyme
6 drops of hot sauce or to taste
¼ cup chopped green onion (for garnish)

1 cup brown rice cooked according to package directions


When your turkey dinner is finished prepare the leftovers by removing skin and bones and separate meat into packages appropriate for your family meals. Freeze all that won’t be used within a couple of days.

1, Prepare turkey for soup by chopping it into bite size pieces and set it aside.

2. Place hot water in medium pot with turkey bones and scraps, some onion and celery.
This will make a flavorful broth. Cook until veggies are tender.

3. Sauté the sausage in a large skillet until brown. Remove most of fat using a paper towel then remove sausage from skillet and set aside.

4. Pour vegetable oil into skillet with remainder of fat. Add the flour and stir constantly on medium heat until roux is the color of chocolate (about 25-30 minutes).
5. Add chopped peppers, onion, and celery to skillet and cook until vegetables are tender (about ten minutes).

6. Pour broth from turkey bones and contents of skillet into soup kettle. Add more water and chicken bullion if needed to make about two quarts of liquid. Stir until soup is slightly thickened.

7. Add sausage, turkey or chicken, garlic and rest of ingredients through hot sauce. Simmer about an hour.

8. While soup simmers prepare brown rice according to package directions. This will take about 40 minutes.

9. Remove bay leaves and sprinkle soup with chopped green onions.

10. Serve this delectable gumbo over the rice. What a wonderful way to serve leftover turkey.

Send your recipes for leftovers to our blog. We’d love to share some of your favorites!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ruth's Danish Apple Cake

In my lifetime I have met many people from all over the world who have shared their food and recipes with me. One of those people was a friend named Ruth who was born and raised in Denmark. Through the years we became good friends, and she shared many great meals with our family. I in turn shared many recipes and meals with her and her family.

I attended the World’s Fair in New York City in the early 1960’s. What an unforgettable experience! At the Danish pavilion we ate a fabulous meal which included Danish apple cake.

Later I told Ruth about the cake. She then shared with me a different apple “cake”. She said it was very popular during apple harvest. Since this is apple harvest time I will share it with you. You won’t need an oven. So the next time the electricity goes off you can still have dessert and use up those apples you picked at the orchard.


Apple layers
4 to 5 large apples peeled and sliced (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or your favorites)
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Combine apples and water in a medium sized stew pot and cook until tender and most water has evaporated. Add sugar, cinnamon, and butter and stir until ingredients are combined. Set aside.

Crumb layers
4 slices of stale bread—grated
5-6 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients for crumb layers in medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Spread 1/3 of crumb mixture in large clear serving bowl. Cover with half of the apple filling then half of remaining crumbs. Finally spread remaining apple filling on top of crumbs, then sprinkle remaining crumbs. Chill in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled apple cake garnished with whipping cream.

This is a simple and delicious family friendly dessert. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Chocolate Berry Crumb Bars

This busy grandma finally made these cookies along with my daughter-in-law, Yulia, who shared them with her office staff at a pitch-in luncheon. She won first place with kudos for the cookies. Try this recipe yourself. There are lots of parties and holidays in your future.

Scroll through the blog and you will find several of our favorite family recipes. Try the pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing.  Check back later for more October recipes.

                                          Chocolate Berry Crumb Bars


1 cup butter softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cups packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (divided)
1 ¼ cups sweetened condensed milk
½ cup of your favorite berry jam- I prefer seedless raspberry.
½ cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking pan with baking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl beat softened butter until creamy. Add flour, sugar and salt and mix until crumbly. Spread all but about ¾ cup of crumbs into pan, sprinkle with flour, and press lightly with finger tips. Set rest of crumbs aside.
  3. Bake about 10 minutes or until crumbs start to brown around edges. Remove from oven, but leave oven on.
  4. In a small saucepan put the condensed milk and 1 cup chocolate chips. Warm at low temperature and stir until creamy. Spread it over the baked crust.
  5. Chop the nuts and add to the remaining crumbs. Sprinkle over chocolate sauce.
  6. Drop dollops of jam on top of crumbs until ½ cup of jam is used. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top and return to oven. Bake 25-30 minutes until center is set and crumbs are slightly brown. Remove pan to wire rack to cool. Cut into squares. Serve and delight your guests.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shrimp Pad Thai with Brown Rice

I love Pad Thai and took a craving for some the other day. I looked through the cupboard but couldn’t find any rice noodles. I assessed the ingredients on hand and came up with a new dish. After trying it the family all agreed we should definitely make it again. Try it yourself and see what you think.

Ingredients for brown rice:
1 cup brown rice
2 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
In medium pot combine rice, water, and salt then bring to a boil. Stir once, lower temperature to simmer and cover. Continue cooking for 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. If you prefer, use rice noodles instead of brown rice. Set aside.

Shrimp and vegetable ingredients:
3 cups precooked shrimp pealed with tails removed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
 ½ cup chopped red or yellow sweet peppers
1 can drained sliced water chestnuts
 ½ cup Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce or more to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup chopped cucumbers
½ cup peanut butter or chopped peanuts
3 cup chopped lettuce

While rice cooks, thaw shrimp in colander placed in large bowl. Allow shrimp to stand in cold water until thawed.

In a large skillet sauté celery and red peppers in the coconut oil for about five minutes.
Add (drained) water chestnuts and cook for five minutes more. Add drained shrimp, soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce, and peanut butter. Allow to simmer for a few minutes more then add frozen peas. When peas are thawed and warm add the lettuce and cover. Turn off skillet and let set for few minutes more. Serve over brown rice or rice noodles prepared according to package directions. This should serve six. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sweet Corn

When we were kids growing up on a farm in Ohio, sweet corn was our favorite garden crop. In the summer we picked ears of corn by the dozen. We shucked and boiled them on the stove until they were crisp. Then we slathered them with butter, sprinkled them with salt, and ate them nearly every day.

There were other ways we prepared corn. When the ears were mature, Mom used a paring knife to cut a line from end to end on each row. Then she used the dull side of the knife to scrape the cobs until the creamy contents were removed. She placed an iron skillet with butter on a hot stove, poured in the creamy corn, and added a little salt. Then she stirred it when it began to brown. It is unbelievably delicious when hot from the stove.

Mom even used this late corn in her cornbread. That was long ago, but corn is still one of our favorite dishes.

Now, we usually roast ears of corn on the grill or cook them in the microwave if we’re in a hurry. If we have any leftover ears we cut the corn off the cob and add it to salads or make corn dip. Corn dip is a family favorite. Try this at your next reunion, cookout, or party. It’s fast and easy to make and all your friends will want this recipe. Enjoy your corn before the season is over. Oh, don’t forget to freeze any leftovers.

                                                       Corn Dip

1 ear or 1 cup of whole sweet corn (leftover or fresh made, canned or frozen)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 or 3 chopped green onions with the stems
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 drops of hot pepper sauce
salsa to taste if desired

After preparing your corn, drain and place in medium sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and place in serving dish. Surround dip with your favorite corn chips, or tortilla chips.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Never Too Many Strawberries

June for me always meant strawberry time. When I was young strawberries were sweeter, smaller, and juicier than today.  I made jam in a large gray kettle, inhaled the aroma, scraped the foam from the luscious concoction, and shared it with the children. The finished product was canned in half pint jars and kept in the cellar for winter.

Recently my daughter Becky came to visit and made strawberry jam. It was delicious, took much less time to make and is now stored in the freezer. We don’t have wild berries, but it certainly brings back memories when poured over ice cream, or spread on toast.

A couple of weeks ago we went shopping at Costco and got a huge crate of strawberries. We got creative and made strawberry bread from Heaven’s recipes. (Recipe found on this blog). There were so many berries we didn’t have room to store them in the refrigerator. So I rinsed and froze most of them in two cup portions and thought of ways to use them: smoothies, muffins, jam, and a recipe for a strawberry fruit cake that I invented.

This is a variation of a Mexican fruit cake that I have been making for years. The recipe originally came from my daughter-in-law Stacey. The difference being I substituted a package of frozen strawberries for crushed pineapple. Try this extremely moist cake while strawberries are still available at a reasonable price.

                                                     Strawberry Fruit Cake


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Combine eggs, sugar, and chopped strawberries in medium mixing bowl.
  2. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and baking soda.
  3. Add contents of medium bowl to flour, sugar mixture and combine thoroughly. Then add nuts.
  4. Grease bottom of oblong cake pan and pour batter into pan.
  5. Place into preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake until golden brown about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Ice with this cream cheese frosting recipe while still hot.
  7. Cool on wire rack and refrigerate until ready to serve.
                                              Cream Cheese Frosting


8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 stick softened butter (no substitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

While the cake is baking, cream the softened cheese and butter (no substitute). Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat with mixer until ingredients are well combined. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven pour the icing over the cake. Cool on rack and then refrigerate until ready to serve. This iced cake with the frosting is very rich. Cut it into small pieces and it will serve a large crowd. Let the children help with this project. They love to mix and of course lick the bowl. Have fun cooking with the kids.