Saturday, May 31, 2008

Orange Tea Muffins Recipe

The Orange Juice added to this muffin recipe along with orange zest brings forth a bright flavor, yet these muffins are super fluffy, and light for breakfast and brunch, easy to freeze and keep well, take out a few when you need them. My Grandma Nelle would make these often enough. - a family fave.


  • Preheat oven 400 degrees - These will bake for 20-25 minutes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening (4 tablespoons butter)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange or lemon extract (vanilla ok if you don't have the others)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (prefer whole vs. skim)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (with pulp is best)(go for broke as make fresh for that extra oh my factor)
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange rind (avoid the pith, which is super bitter - the white stuff, only the skin of the orange)
  • Hand mixer, electric mixer.
  • You can do this by hand, as I have done with other muffins, but the extra fluffy factor is created in this case and recipe with using my mixmaster.

  1. Grease muffin pans, this recipe will make between 12-15 muffins (the normal size muffin pans)
  2. Preheat that oven at 400 degrees if you haven't done so already.
  3. Sift flour, measure, add baking powder, salt and sift again. Set aside.
  4. If you are using pre-sifted flour, then measure once, add other dry ingredients and sift once with dry ingredients all together.
  5. Cream shortening, adding sugar slowly, mix until light and fluffy.
  6. Add egg and beat, then add milk, orange juice and extract and beat one minute.
  7. Slowly add dry ingredients (flour, etc.) just until the ingredients come together - Do not over beat! Literally takes maybe 2 minutes on slow with an electric mixer - ok to have some lumps - they will bake out, I promise.
  8. Fill greased muffin pans two-thirds full, sprinkle tops with a little sugar if you wish.
  9. Place on middle rack in preheated oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Enjoy! - Image is from but recipe is my Grandma Nelle's.

Leahs Scalloped Peaches Dessert

Warm succulent baked peaches with a different twist, since it is made in layers. A crowd favorite and super easy to prepare - a fun different dessert to make now that peaches are coming into season. Serve up with a dollop of whipped cream - and you got that 'oh my - and oh yes some more please' factor going on at your dining room table.


  • Preheat oven 400 degrees
  • 1 greased casserole dish with lid.
  • 3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (frozen ok, but...)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ***2 cups of buttered crumbs:
  • 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs (plain, unseasoned, ok to use stale bread or italian bread)
  • 1 stick of melted butter - 1/4 cup shortening

  1. Great recipe to bring in the kids with since its that easy.
  2. Melt butter for bread crumbs, sprinkler over bread crumbs and stir, set aside.
  3. Add almond extract to your water and set aside.
  4. My mother always taught me to use some almond flavoring when doing anything with peaches, since the inside nut of the peach pit resembles the almond, and it truly brings out the peach flavor big time! - Same with cherries too people.
  5. Layer in your greased casserole dish, buttered crumbs, peaches.
  6. With each peach layer, sprinkle a little of the brown sugar, then repeat until finished with the ingredients, ending with a layer of your buttered bread crumbs.
  7. Pour the water and almond extract over all and put lid on your casserole.
  8. Place on middle rack in your oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes without the lid.
  10. Spoon out and serve up with fresh whipped cream, add a sprig of mint to be extra fancy. Enjoy!

Leah's Cozy Cottage Eggs Recipe

Crazy for comfort food? This quick dish my grandma used to make on cold winter mornings made me feel all cozy inside. The added dried chipped beef reminds people the days of "old" and is a nice change from your usual bacon or sausage.


  • 1 package of dried chipped beef (you can usually find it near the bacon isle at your grocery store)
  • 2 stalks scallions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese - plain - size curd - your preference
  • 6 eggs
  • ****Equipment needed:
  • skillet, bowl, whisk, hungry people wanting their breakfast fast!

  1. Taking dried chipped beef out of its package, quickly rinse it under water. Some of them can be salty, and this takes out some of the salt that may be strong for some.
  2. Chop chipped beef into large pieces and add to skillet with butter along with diced scallions.
  3. While that's cooking, break eggs into bowl and add cottage cheese. Mix with hand mixer or whisk till well combined.
  4. Cook the scallions and chipped beef until edges of dried chipped beef are curling and starting to get brown.
  5. Add egg mixture to skillet and over low heat, cook and stir till thick and soft.
  6. Serve it up with toast or english muffins and enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fennel Broccoli And Sausage Pasta Recipe

Fun loving pasta eaters, rejoice! The fennel, garlic and broccoli go very well with sliced sauteed sausage and freshly grated parmesan cheese along with the crumbled goat cheese - ciao bella! Quick and easy meal to help sneak in some veggies to unsuspecting teenagers and hubbys everywhere!


  • 2 or 3 each hot and sweet sausage links, semi-frozen
  • 2 small crowns of fresh broccoli
  • 3-6 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 or 2 bulbs fennel with their fawns
  • Olive Oil
  • Large pot of boiling water for pasta - try rotitini or penne
  • One large deep skillet, enough that when after cooking sausages and veggies, you can also throw pasta in.
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • A couple shakes of dried red pepper flakes
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Salt

  1. Put pot on to boil for pasta
  2. Take out sausage from freezer, and slice links into 1/3 inch slices
  3. Put skillet onto stove, add small drizzle of olive oil and put sliced sausages in.
  4. Add red chili flakes and fresh cracked pepper - the heat from the skillet opens up their flavors.
  5. While the sausage cooks, mince up garlic and set aside.
  6. Rinse and break apart broccoli into small bite size pieces and set aside.
  7. Cut off frawns from fennel, and with the remaining bulb, slice thin and break apart to resemble onion slices. Set aside frawns for now.
  8. Once water has started to boil, add good amount of salt to water and a bit of olive oil.
  9. To cooking sausage slices, add sliced fennel and broccoli to skillet.
  10. Continue cooking broccoli, sausages and fennel allowing the fennel to caramelize along with sliced sausages.
  11. Mince up two tablespoons fawns from the fennel and grate up your cheese.
  12. Drain pasta when just al dente, but try and reserve up to 1 cup of pasta water.
  13. Add drained cooked pasta to deep skillet and add freshly minced garlic to the mix.
  14. Add 1/2 of the cheese and up to 1/2 cup pasta water and stir till all are combined. Continue cooking for one to 4 minutes. Add crumbled goat cheese.
  15. Serve up on plates, sprinkle a little of the minced fennel frawns and extra grated cheese. Ciao Bella! Mangia Mangia pronto!

Leahs Easy Excellent Cookie Bars Recipe

Made these the other day, perfect recipe to have a young chef learn their first dessert since its almost 1 of everything. I had only one egg in the house, needed something in my tummy fast and this was the result: It's chewy, crispy and super delicious. I say it serves 9, but frankly I would say three people with having seconds and thirds it's that good!


  • 1 jumbo egg or 2 medium eggs
  • 1 stick butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 cup mixed semi sweet and milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 good teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 greased 8x8 pan
  • 1 oven on 350 degrees preheated

  1. In mixer, beat butter, then add sugar till well creamed.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and beat till fluffy.
  3. Add flour, salt, baking soda and beat on slow till mixed, then beat on high for one minute, scraping down sides of bowl if needed.
  4. Stop mixer, and add coconut and chocolate morsels. Start mixer slowly to incorporate remaining ingredients.
  5. Batter will be think, so pour and spread into greased 8x8 pan, and place on middle rack in oven for 25 minutes.
  6. Once pan is out of oven, take knife, and slice around edges so it cools away from edges of pan, slice while still slightly warm, then let cool.
  7. Perfect for freezing, these keep super well in sealed container and excellent for going into camp lunch boxes!
  8. Mine never made it to the freezer, let alone a sealed container!

Oh Sherri - Your Chickens Great Recipe

I was so tired of leftovers, so off I made this for dinner last night, super easy yet creates a nice complex taste thanks to the reduced red wine sauce with mushrooms and a sprinkling of fresh lavender in the herbs de province. Served with steamed broccoli with toasted spiced walnuts and almonds, garlic and olive oil and oven roasted fennel with parmesan cheese.


  • Sliced thin chicken breasts (I sliced mine when they were semi-frozen to make it super easy and its far cheaper to do it yourself then to buy them pre-sliced thin)
  • 1 box 8 oz. brown/baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion or 3-4 shallots - diced/chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup raisins (golden raisins or dried currents perfect too)
  • 3/4 cup or less of red wine (I used an Australian Cabernet)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon "better than bullion paste - chicken flavor"
  • (or substitute water and bullion paste with one cup of low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 good teaspoon herbs de province
  • 1 good teaspoon of lavender (crushed in hands prior to putting in skillet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • Olive oil & butter
  • **Chicken coating
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • salt & pepper
  • **Marinade for chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1 deep skillet

  1. In bowl for marinade, take egg and beat well, then add soy sauce and worcestershire sauce and mix till well blended.
  2. Add sliced thin chicken breasts to marinade, let sit for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes and set aside while setting up everything else.
  3. In second bowl, mix corn starch and flour with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Slice up mushrooms into good sized pieces - since they 'shrink' when cooking. I cut mine into four pieces each. Set aside.
  5. In skillet, Add a drizzle of olive oil and butter. Take ONE clove of garlic and smash it with edge of knife, and put into skillet with olive oil and butter.
  6. With remaining garlic cloves, mince and set aside.
  7. Take out chicken slices, allowing liquid to drip off and dredge in flour mixture and shake off any excess - you want a light coating, not heavy.
  8. Remove garlic from skillet once it starts to brown.
  9. Place chicken in and allow to cook for only 1-2 minutes on each side.
  10. You may have to do the chicken in batches as I did.
  11. As each chicken gets light brown on each side, remove chicken and set aside on a plate, continue till all chicken is slightly browned. It will finish cooking in sauce. You may have to add a little olive oil.
  12. Next, add chopped onions/shallots to hot skillet. Do not worry about browning on bottom of skillet. Allow onions to cook for 5 minutes, then add mushrooms. Add to cooking onions and mushrooms, pepper, lavender, herbs de province, garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  13. Add red wine carefully to hot skillet, scraping up all the bottom bits of 'flavor enhancers' and add raisins.
  14. After four minutes of cooking, add water and bullion paste. Stir to incorporate.
  15. Keep skillet on medium and allow sauce to cook for at least 15 -25 minutes to reduce liquid somewhat.
  16. Add chicken breasts back into skillet, scooping up mushrooms and sauce and pour over chicken breasts and allow chicken to heat through (say five minutes).
  17. Once liquid had reduced and chicken has heated through, then taste sauce for any needs for salt. Since the sauce reduces, you might be surprised there may be no need for salt as the reduced sauce really enhances the flavors and seasonings.
  18. Serve with your favorite side dishes.
  19. Sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley over chicken (or chopped scallions like I did and as photo shows)
  20. Enjoys the oohs and ahhs of delectable chicken!

Pork Chops With Apples in Port Wine Reduction Sauce Recipe

Easy quick dinner made up in a flash, serve this up with a veggie or salad. Healthy, tender and oh so good tasting, I was surprised how quickly it all came together. Double recipe for a family of four.


  • 1-2 pork chops per person 3/4 inch thick - at near room temperature
  • 1 large apple - use a granny smith or red delicious
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup port wine (I used Sandeman's)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon 'better than bullion paste' chicken flavor (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly dried thyme
  • olive oil and a little butter
  • 1 skillet
  • 1 bowl

  1. Sprinkle freshly cracked pepper on one side of pork chops and a little of the thyme and set aside on a plate.
  2. Slice onion thinly while skillet heats up on medium heat.
  3. Drizzle maybe 1 tablespoon olive oil into hot skillet and add onions.
  4. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. While onions cooking, mince up garlic and set aside.
  6. Once onions are cooked and slightly browned, take out of skillet and put in bowl and set aside.
  7. Put skillet back on heat, add a little olive oil and a teeny amount of butter and place your pork chops (spiced side down into hot skillet. Cook 3 minutes on each side.
  8. If you chops are thicker than 3/4 inches, you will have to cook them longer.
  9. Chops are done when they have just lost their pinkish color. They will continue to cook a bit once out of the skillet.
  10. Sprinkle salt, pepper and additional thyme on the other side of unseasoned chops.
  11. While chops are cooking, peel and slice thinly your apple.
  12. Turn chops and let brown on the other side.
  13. Remove chops onto a plate.
  14. Add apple to skillet and let brown, stirring frequently, let cook for 3-5 minutes, add a little butter if you have to. Add garlic and let cook ONE minute only, you do not wish to burn the garlic.
  15. Add port wine carefully to skillet, scrape bottom to remove brown bits. Add onions back to skillet. Let cook for two more minutes.
  16. Add bullion paste, and water and let reduce by a half. Add one small pat of butter to remaining sauce...taste for any need of salt or pepper.
  17. Pour mixture over your pork chops and dinner is ready.
  18. I was in such a hurry to eat this amazing dinner, I didn't take a photo which is unusual for me.... :-) - photo is from deliaonline, but looks very close to what my dinner looked like before I chowed down.

How to Make Fantatic Old Fashioned Coconut Brittle From Scratch

I love brittle, and this take on peanut brittle really does a nice job - super easy and quick. Looks gorgeous if you dip pieces in melted chocolate on one side and allow to cool. Perfect for a quick gift too. Add some nuts and you got a new naughty you need to avoid! hehe Enjoy!


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cookie sheet with sides
  • One pot with high sides to cook brittle in
  • candy thermometer (or wide glass of iced water to check for candy stages)

  1. Combine corn syrup, water and sugar in pot on top of stove on low heat.
  2. Stir till sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Once sugar has dissolved, cook without stirring to hard ball stage - 265 degrees.
  4. Add salt and butter and continue to brittle stage - 300 degrees (if you are using the iced water method to check for candy stage, brittle stage is when you pour a little of the mixture into the water, it creates threads that easily break when you pull it out of the water)
  5. While this mixture is cooking on stove, toast up shredded coconut in oven on cookie sheet. Take out and let cool.
  6. Remove brittle mixture from heat, carefully add coconut and vanilla extract and stir till combined.
  7. Next, grease up cookie sheet with butter, an pour brittle mixture into cookie sheet.
  8. When cool enough to handle brittle, take by the edges and stretch into a thin sheet.
  9. When brittle is completely cooled, break it up into irregular pieces.
  10. You can also add toasted or even roasted chopped mixed nuts or just one type of nut like cashews for an amazing extra flavor!
  11. Makes 1 pound.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bruschetta Ala Leah Recipe with Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Since basil and tomato season is upon us, I share with you my bright and zesty version of bruschetta - which includes balsamic vinegar - made it this way for years and has always been loved by all - This is also great as a marinade or fresh pasta sauce (cold or hot) I make this for parties as it is always a big hit with the fresh melted mozzarella and fresh basil and garlic. Ciao Bella!


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 or more leaves of fresh basil
  • 3 medium on the vine tomatoes or 4-5 plum tomatoes
  • 1 good teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 shakes of dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3-5 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 good loaf of Italian bread, sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound or more of fresh mozzarella cheese (please use the fresh stuff, ok?)
  • 1 large cookie sheet
  • 1 med bowl to mix 'dressing in'
  • 1 potato masher

  1. This 'dressing' is one of those that is great to throw over pasta, marinate steaks and chicken in for the grill, etc. as it keeps for 2 weeks in a sealed container in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before using.
  2. Also this 'dressing' gets stronger in its garlic flavor as the ingredients meld - so start with three garlic cloves or less if you want it less garlicky.
  3. Though I like to have my bruschetta bite me in my mozzarella if you know what I mean... ok here we go...enough of my yapping....
  4. Minced garlic and add to bowl, add salt, fresh cracked pepper, dried crushed red pepper and lemon juice.
  5. Pile rinsed fresh basil leaves upon each other and roll them up like a cigar. Slice (chiffonade) the basil then cut lengthwise once and throw into bowl.
  6. Take half of your tomatoes and slice up as small as possible. I do not mind the seeds or juices - in fact you want as much as the fresh tomato juices as you can.
  7. With potato masher, mash up your ingredients to 'pulverize' and mash your tomatoes and garlic with the basil. The added salt helps this process.
  8. Add vinegar and white sugar and stir.
  9. Add remaining tomatoes sliced as small as you can muster, add all seeds and juices to the mix.
  10. Slowly pour and add the olive oil, stirring all the while to create an emulsion as best as you can.
  11. Set aside - taste test if you like - yummers, yes?!
  12. I like to let my 'dressing' set out covered on the counter an hour at least before using so that the garlic really comes out. - If using as a marinade for later, simply seal and place into fridge until you are ready to use.
  13. ***Back to bruschetta - slice your Italian bread into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal.
  14. Put slices onto cookie sheet and place in oven to brown on one side - say at 350 for 5 minutes - then flip bread and toast the other side till light brown.
  15. Slice fresh mozzarella and place slices onto toast - place back into oven and let melt for another 5 minutes just before it starts to bubble.
  16. Put toast with melted mozzarella onto serving plates or platter.
  17. Spoon 'dressing' on top over melted cheese and Perfecta Bruschetta ala Leah is served, ready to be gobbled up!

Cinnamon Toast Milk Chocolate Morsel Cookies Recipe

Wanted something different for cookies today, and as we all have variations of chocolate chips cookies, here's yet a new one: the raisins and cinnamon create that cinnamon toast taste factor, the little coconut add the chew factor, while the almond flavoring is strictly for adults - and milk chocolate morsels for everyone...


  • 1 - 7oz bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup or less of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter - at room temp.
  • 2 eggs - at room temp.
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract
  • 1 cup toasted blanched almond (optional)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove

  1. Cream butter, then add sugar and beat till well combined.
  2. Add eggs and beat till light and fluffy.
  3. Add pure almond extract and mix once more.
  4. Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground clove and start mixer slowly at first, then at high speed to get everything mixed well.
  5. At slow speed, add coconut, chocolate morsels, optional almonds, and raisins.
  6. Put cookie batter in fridge for at least an hour to let chill.
  7. Place spoon fulls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake in well preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes.
  9. Let sit on cookie rack for one minute before transferring to cookie cooling sheets. Serve up with milk and enjoy!
  10. Keeps super well, perfect for the freezer to take out a few when you need them.

Leahs Ole Chicken Quesadillas Recipe

Make this for lunch, dinner or apps - super quick and always liked by all. Another great recipes for 'what to do with leftovers' easy dish - can be 'cooked' in skillet, oven, grilled - you name it. I particularly loved the caramelized onions with the goat cheese and mozzarella with the fresh homemade salsa on the inside of this crispy quesadilla all done on one skillet - less mess!


  • Cooking time includes time needed to caramelize onions.
  • 1 onion halved, then sliced thin.
  • 1 cup cooked chicken cut up into bite sizes.
  • 4 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup or more of crumbled goat cheese
  • You can easily substitute your favorite cheese here of course.
  • Little olive oil and butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup salsa - I used 'Leahs oh so sexy salsa' (posted) which is a very bright tasting salsa filled with fresh sweet bell peppers and lime juice and drained it of its juices slightly.
  • 1 skillet large enough to handle 8-9 inch quesadilla

  1. Halve and skin good size onion, then slice thin strips.
  2. Place sliced onions in skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and a little of butter, sprinkle with salt. This will be the most time consuming part of the entire dish.
  3. You will want to cook the onions slowly on a medium-low heat to allow the natural sugars to come out from the onions, moving them around in the pan every so often - you want to allow them to caramelize and get gently browned and 'soggy' so to speak. Once cooked, take out of skillet and set aside.
  4. While onions are cooking, start to assemble your quesadillas.
  5. ***Note You can either keep them in a round shape then fold over to have a half circle, or pile two together like a sandwich and cook them as a circle - either way - you can stuff more in them if they are compiled as a circle.
  6. Keep in mind to put cheeses on the outside layers, so that the cheeses melt easier.
  7. For example, I added the ingredients in this order: crumbled goat cheese, then some chicken, cooked onions, then some salsa, added a little salt and pepper, then some strips of the fresh mozzarella then folded the quesadilla over to create a half circle.
  8. **To Cook them in same skillet: heat back skillet, add a little butter, and place quesadilla in - let brown on one side, then with spatula, carefully flip over and allow to cook on the other side. This took maybe 7 minutes total time, if that.
  9. **To bake in oven: Placed on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, place quesadilla in preheated oven at 375 and let bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted.
  10. **To Grill: I would suggest using the 'circled' method of creating your quesadillas, then place them on the upper shelf of your grill. Turn over after 4 minutes - maybe less and allow to cook on the other side.
  11. Serve up at once with a dollop of sour cream if you wish or added salsa. If making them for apps, slice them up with a pizza cutter for that 'easy picker-upper with one hand way' of eating them!
  12. Enjoy Leah's Ole Chicken Quesadillas!

Homemade Coffee Chocolate Sodas Recipe

When you want an afternoon pick-me-up, I have been treating myself to this slight take off of a NY Egg Cream - I love my coffee, and heck love the chocolate as well, why not bring them together in a frothy concoction?


  • Left over coffee from the morning (I happen to make just grounded hazelnut coffee) - so choose your fave coffee - just let it get cold.
  • chocolate syrup - 2 second or more lasting 'squirts'
  • freshly opened seltzer
  • cold skim milk
  • super big glass
  • ice
  • tall spoon to stir

  1. In tall glass, add coffee, splash of milk, your squirts of chocolate and stir till well combined. Add any sugar or substitute if you like that.
  2. Add remaining 1/3 at least of plain seltzer and stir to help create the 'egg cream' froth.
  3. Add ice and drink up!
  4. SEE BELOW for alterations - ideas are endless - make up your own!
  5. (Now for a more adult and/or later in the night naughty)
  6. ***add vodka to the mix prior to adding the seltzer.
  7. ***Put in blender and create a frozen smoothie of your very own - who needs dunkin doughnuts? - Use cream for a similar version and taste to theirs.
  8. ***Add banana and a plain yogurt without the seltzer for a different wake up drink - and blend it up on your blender.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Leahs Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Now these happen to be a favorite of mine. If you have never tried them, they should be as thin as possible, but not as thin as crepes. Prep time includes mostly resting the dough. Serve them up will soy sauce that has a little chili oil and added minced scallions for the 'oh my' factor. Usually you cut the 'pancake' into 6 pie slices - enjoy - I am sure the resting time for the batter to rise is worth the added effort for those who just adore chinese cooking!

These really aren't pancakes as you would think of them, these are served as appetizers, great for parties too since they easily can be eaten with one hand while your other hand is holding a glass. Crispy and decadent. You can easily made the batter the day before if you have to, but it is best to cook them as close to when you are serving them as possible. Keep them warm in a slow (low) oven in between paper towels on a cookie sheet until ready to serve.


  • Prep time includes the resting the batter note...
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions (scallions, green onions), washed and thinly diced (or as you like)
  • a bit of oil to brush on pancakes
  • a bit of salt to sprinkle on pancakes during frying

  1. Combine the 2 flours in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil.
  2. Pour in half the boiling water into the flour and begin stirring immediately, then use your hands to combine into a dough.
  3. Add the remaining boiling water as needed. Cover the dough and let it rest for 2 hours.
  4. While the dough is resting, wash and dice the spring onions.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  6. Knead briefly, then cut into thirds and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  7. Roll each of the three sections of dough out into a flat piece approximately 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick. (If desired, you can make a thinner pancake, about 1/8 inch thick)
  8. Brush the pancake with a bit of oil, and sprinkle with spring onion pieces. Roll up the pancake and cut into 6 - 8 pieces.
  9. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each piece. Roll out again.
  10. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet.
  11. Shallow fry the pancakes until both sides are golden brown, being sure to sprinkle with a bit of salt during frying.
  12. While cooking, press down on the center with a spatula to make sure the pancake cooks.
  13. Serve whole or cut into wedges. Serve plain or with soy sauce or another dipping sauce if desired.

Leahs Old Fashioned Baked Beans Recipe

Now who doesn't like baked beans?!? This recipe is my version of the old fashioned classic - super easy to do in a crock pot or slow cooker - though I still do mine in a slow oven. My great tasting baked bean recipe combines the style and flavors from many states & cities: Boston, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and mine (New York) - heck it's an American Fave!

I would recommend baking these the day before your 'party' to make it easier. Do not be put off by prep time (the beans need to soak over night) nor the cooking time which takes about 8 hours...ok I know a can of beans might be just as good to some of you and a lot faster, but there are clearly not when you want to strut your 'Martha' try this recipe!


  • 1 bean pot with lid or slow cooker/crock pot
  • 1 large bowl or pot to allow raw beans to soak over night
  • 1 bag of navy beans
  • 1 large yellow onion - cut into chunks
  • 4 gloves garlic, mashed with the side of your knife
  • 1 cup ketchup or more
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 pound or less of salt pork OR 6 semi-cooked pieces of thick bacon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses (love the stuff - and you can use more)
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup spicy or dijon mustard
  • water

  1. I would suggest to start doing this 2 days before you need your baked beans for your picnic or party. Reheating is super easy, but the soaking takes at least 8 hours - as I do this normally over night to make it easier and the cooking takes another 8 hours.
  2. I assure you, you barely do anything as it cooks, you simply let it do its thing - except for when its done, you eat too many they are sooo good! lol
  3. Take strainer and rinse beans under water removing any stones or impurities.
  4. Take large pot or bowl and fill with water to completely cover the beans in pot/bowl - then add another 4 cups water and set aside loosely covered on your kitchen counter.
  5. During the eight hours of soaking, drain off water and add fresh water three times. Now you are ready to start baking your beans!
  6. In bowl, add all spices, garlic, onion and liquids except for water and mix till combined.
  7. Put beans in your bean pot or slow cooker. Add semi-cooked bacon or your salt pork which you have made slits in with a knife. Add onions and stir to mix it around.
  8. Next pour spice mixture into bean pot, slow cooker, etc. Stir till all contents are well mixed.
  9. Add enough water to cover the beans at least an inch above the beans.
  10. If baking in a bean pot, throw the baby in the oven and let it bake at 250-325 degrees - on your oven's lowest setting for 6 to 8 hours - eight is better I find. Stirring once or twice during the baking period.
  11. Take a peek now and then to make sure there is always enough 'water' to just cover the beans as the water may evaporate during the long cooking time. You may add extra ketchup if you like (as I did the other day)
  12. During last hour, remove lid and continue baking - to allow any extra water to evaporate leaving you with a thick sauce and amazing baked beans.
  13. If doing this in a slow cooker or crock pot, follow the directions above, but you may want to use just enough water to the crock pot to just cover the beans.
  14. For alterations - add additional cooked bacon cut up or cooked hot dogs for those who love a little extra to their baked beans!
  15. For veggie versions - omit salt pork and bacon - end results just as good!

How to Make Leah's Perfect Pork Pot Stickers Recipe

I made these last night, and ended up having to make more with the remaining filling, we went through them that quick - We were all so surprised at how close they tasted to our local great Chinese Restaurant's version.

My version is quick and easy -
get the kids involved in this one for assembly. After boiling your pot stickers, you can throw them into chicken broth for wonton soup or do a quick pan fry to brown or serve them up once boiled with the perfect dipping sauce (recipe included below) which is what we did.


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 scallions minced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry ( I used red cabernet wine with excellent results)
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons red chili sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • fresh wonton wrappers at room temperature
  • large pot with boiling water
  • small bowl with cold water
  • bowl to make and mix filling in
  • waxed paper sprayed with pam or wet with water to keep prepared wontons not sticking until ready to boil
  • ***For Perfect Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 scallions minced super fine
  • 2 tablespoons low -sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons red chili sesame oil

  1. Takes a little time in the assembly of your wontons, but it is so worth the little effort involved.
  2. In a large pot, put about 6 or more cups of water and put on stove to boil. Add a little of olive oil to pot to help pot stickers from sticking once boiling.
  3. In small bowl, add all sauce ingredients and set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, add very cold water and set aside.
  5. In making your pot stickers filling, add chopped pork meat and all remaining ingredients:3 minced scallions, 4 minced garlic cloves, sherry or red wine, vinegar, red chili sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, and soy sauce.
  6. Mix with hand or wooden spoon to all ingredients are well mixed.
  7. Take a wonton wrapper, dipping hands and fingers into cold water in small bowl, and 'wet' edges of wonton wrapper.
  8. Take a teaspoon or smaller amount and place into the center of the wonton wrapper.
  9. Fold one side of wonton to other side making a triangle, then press edges well. Then gather corners all together to make a package, squeezing edges slightly and place aside on waxed paper until all pot stickers have been prepared.
  10. Throw them into the boiling water and let boil for at least 12 minutes. Stir them after one minute to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir once or twice during boiling process turning them over so all sides are cooked.
  11. Drain slightly and serve with dipping sauce.
  12. You can also serve these up in chicken broth for your own wonton soup with some added sliced scallions OR pan fry them up to have your very own pan fried dumplings.

Grandma Nelles Creamed Chipped Beef Recipe

My Granny's version of an old favorite, served for breakfast with poached eggs like 'eggs benedict' gone chipped beef, or served alone on toast or biscuits...creamy, comforting and super easy and quick.


  • 1 package of dried chipped beef - usually found by the bacon in your grocery store. I prefer packaged versus in a jar
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour (start with one tablespoon)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 bowl with water
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • warm toast or biscuits for serving
  • poached eggs if you wish to serve it like 'eggs benedict'

  1. In bowl with water or under running water, rinse chipped beef to remove any excess salt during its curing process.
  2. Slice or pull apart with hands the chipped beef.
  3. Place chipped beef in skillet or pot, and add butter.
  4. Let chipped beef sautée and get a little crispy on its edges.
  5. Sprinkler flour over melted butter and chipped beef to make a roux
  6. Add milk slowly and with spoon stir and cook until thickened.
  7. If too thick for your liking, add a little more milk to thin it out.
  8. Serve it up over warm toast, biscuits or even a poached egg on a buttered english muffin for that eggs benedict look.
  9. Pour chipped beef with 'gravy' over eggs, biscuits, toast
  10. Sprinkle top with fresh cracked pepper and optional cayenne
  11. Serve at once, and watch the plates get licked up!
This is an affordable and quick dish to serve on those occasions you really want something comforting - albeit it's naughty with the salt content of the chipped beef, but oh oh so good. This is also great to serve for brunches and even a quick lunch when it's rainy and damp outside.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Leahs French Fried Onion Circles Recipe

Everyone loves onion rings, and since I was splurging and doing a coconut shrimp last week, I went ahead and made these – my take on an old favorite. This batter is great for veggies too, so if you have your fryer out, and are already making something naughty, you can also quickly make these as a nice side treat.

The onions come out sweet while the batter makes for a nice zest due to the jerk seasonings. This is the batter I used to make the shrimp, so I had left over batter that I used to make my onion circles.
..Soaking onions in milk first will help the onions be extra sweet.


  • One large yellow or vidalia onion for each 2 people
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 good shakes of red chili peppers
  • 2-3 tablespoons jerk seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked tri-colored pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water/milk

  1. Despite the amount of spices, these are not hot, yet they have some zest.
  2. Slice onions 1/4 inch thick, do not make into rings, but try to keep slices ‘whole’
  3. Place into batter and carefully flip them over to coat.
  4. Place bowl with batter and onions into refrigerator until ready to fry.
  5. These cook up quickly, and I did them last after frying up my shrimp I had made for dinner.
  6. Take onion slices out of batter, let excess batter drip off, and carefully place into hot oil.
  7. Flip over when one side has been browned and let cook on other side.
  8. Let cooked onion slices drain of fresh paper towels, and sprinkle with a little kosher salt once right out of the hot oil.
  9. Serve as a side dish and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives for added color if you so wish.

Onion Circles are shown at back of plate, served up on the delightful and extra naughty dish of coconut jerked shrimp and rosemary garlicked fries.

Butterscotch Pecan Soufflee - Best Recipe from Scratch

OK, Who would like another dessert? I do, I do!

So here is my version of a butterscotch pecan soufflé - yes it's soufflé day at my house...cheers! This is similar to the others I have posted, but has a few do take note.


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cups firmly packed BROWN sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 eggs separated (separate when cold, much easier to do when eggs are cold)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter to stabilize egg whites
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped and toasted pecans
  • Well pre-heated oven at 425 with oven rack placed low in oven (not on the lowest, but not in the middle either)
  • 1 UN-greased casserole dish 1-1/2 quarts size

  1. Note: you can bake this at two different oven temperatures...
  2. If you want a soufflé that is evenly moist, then bake it at 325 for 50-60 minutes.
  3. If you want a soufflé that has a thicker crust and a soft moist interior, then the quick baking method is for you: bake your soufflé at 425 for 25 minutes.
  4. The above baking techniques work for all fruit soufflés that I post.
  5. In a saucepan on top of stove on medium low heat, combine flour, sugar, salt and stir in milk a little at a time stirring with a whisk.
  6. Cook stirring constantly until the entire mixture is smooth and thick.
  7. Beat egg yolks under mixer until thick and yellow. Gently fold into cooked mixture and allow to cool on counter.
  8. While that is cooling, add extract and toasted finely chopped pecans and stir that in.
  9. Wash out your mixing bowl really well and beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add cream of tartar and mix in.
  10. Fold one half of the beaten egg whites into the cooled down cooked mixture to lighten up the 'batter', then add remaining egg whites and gently fold in.
  11. Pour into un-greased casserole dish and put into preheated oven at your chosen temperature.
  12. Try not to peak as this can upset the soufflé from rising. Let it do its thing. I know! - Patience is a virtue and a perfectly baked soufflé!
  13. Sprinkle a little sifted confectioner's sugar on the top of the baked soufflé.
  14. Once baked, bring to table at once and serve it up with a soft dollop of whipped cream - to go extra fancy, add a little drizzle of butterscotch or caramel sauce along with your homemade whipped cream and add a fresh spring of mint on the serving for that "Martha look".
  15. And as I mentioned above in the description, you can do all the preparing, and throw your soufflé into the oven when you are sitting down to eat your dinner. By the time you have finished dinner and you are making coffee, your dessert will be ready to eat!

Rice Surprise

Colorful wonderful tasting basmati rice is a great way to sneak in extra veggies. Now I love one pot cooking, since it makes for a quick and easy clean up. But speaking of cleaning up, you will be cleaning up this side rice dish rather quickly as you and your family gobbles it up. Heats up the next day perfectly as well...


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3-6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 2-4 good shakes of red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more of freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 and 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons or less of olive oil
  • Pot with tight lid
  • 1 clean dish towel or paper towels

  1. Put olive oil in pan and add onions.
  2. Let onions sweat not sautée in pan till translucent (cook on medium low – you do not wish to brown the onions) (heck, it’s ok if some browning occurs)
  3. Add chopped peppers and garlic, let sweat for five minutes
  4. Add rice and all spices. With wooden spatula or spoon, stir till well combined.
  5. Let rice get coated with the olive oil and spices.
  6. Then add water, stirring once and put up heat and allow to come to a boil.
  7. Once boiling, turn down heat to low and put on tight lid on pot.
  8. Set timer for 12-14 minutes. (Don’t peek! – you will let important cooking steam out)
  9. Once timer chimes, take off lid, and with spoon, pull away rice and see if any water still exists on bottom of pan. If so, allow to cook for another few minutes.
  10. Once water has evaporated, turn off heat under pot and place folded clean dish towel (or paper towels) just over pot and just under lid. Let rice’s extra steam be soaked up by towels and let sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  11. When ready to serve, fluff up rice with fork and add freshly chopped scallions to rice.
  12. Serve up your rice surprise along with your favorite main course. Photo provided shows my rice surprise side dish along with my version and take on Noir’s chicken with garlic and lime that I made with pork chops.
This is yet another little trick to sneak in some vegetables for your family to consume, the color of this rice dish is amazing and the taste can't be better.