BBQ Pork Sloppy Joe Sliders with Cilantro Coleslaw and Crispy Onions–Fast Super Bowl Food

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Next Thursday, 2/5- 5-7pm Make an Easy French Dinner at Home Class at Shouse.  Still have a few openings.  Message me or leave a comment.  Home class on 2/14, 10-12, is full, but I’m taking names for a wait list.  Now for the sliders….

I’ll just be waiting for the puppy commercials; you know me. I might look at the score a time or two…

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or I’ll be leafing through the NYT, digging into the book reviews with my feet up and a glass of zinfandel at the ready.  I’ve got a Louise Penny book I’ve been saving; that’ll be on the table, too.  But the game will be on, Dave and a couple of friends will be drinking a few beers and at the end I’ll know who won. I hope.

Just so I can enjoy it all like everyone else, I’ve got these quicker than the extra point (like I know what an extra point is) sloppy joe sliders that are ready and waiting.  I’m making the meat and barbecue sauce today–a double batch since I’ll take some to the Jenn-Air kitchen at Shouse tomorrow– freezing the meat, and will only have to heat it all and chop up the cabbage for coleslaw.  Try this: Continue reading

Lemon Salmon on Sautéed Vegetables and Barley + Leftover Salmon Frittata

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Still have openings in my EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–that class is full.) Ok, now on to that salmon. 

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Friday evenings I nearly always cook an end-of-the-week hooray dinner. Dave has many times traveled all week or just worked very hard squirreling away down in his home office.  I like to put the menu on the board… (below)

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..and I like the menu to be quick or easy or both even though we’re setting the table no matter what the meal. (Below)  I’m often cheffing the next morning and have been prepping for that during the day or at the very least doing the shopping, organizing, and recipe writing. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Lemony Bacon-Lentil Soup or I Love Lentils, I Do, I Do

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Yesterday the dogs and I were stuck in the kitchen (snow’s got us here again)…

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as our staircase was being overhauled.  Out with the ?-year old carpet, in with hardwood, in with new in-code metal railing.  All in all, it’s a two week project and worth every minute of it. Just to think I never have to try and clean carpet on stairs again. (Whose idea was carpet anyway?)

I had a bunch of reading and research to do for my upcoming “Cook and Easy 3-Course Meal for Valentine’s Day” Cooking Class (spaces available 2/5; 5-7pm) and settled on a slow cooker meal to make life simple.  I threw it together and had the rest of the day to do as I pleased.  I do not use the slow cooker for cooking very often, though when I do I have no idea why I don’t pull it out more often. (The words “pull it out” give you a clue.)  I use it regularly to keep things hot at holidays or to take meals to potlucks. If you’re a big slow cooker fan, you should visit Kalyn Denny’s Slow Cooker From Scratch blog for lots of wonderful recipes from around the web–or buy America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution- it’s just what it says and is worth the $21 investment; used copies are available, too. Continue reading

Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Sautéed Cabbage, Leeks+Fennel with Caraway and Bacon–Cooking in a Fear-Filled World

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I still have openings in the EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–1 opening left.) 

In the midst of worldwide violence and fearour daily lives somehow continue albeit with increased anxiety and perhaps prayer. Like many, I’m not sure whether or not to turn the television on and, if so, to which channel? I’m grateful for a daily subscription to the New York Times.  If we are able to discuss the state of our fellow people globally, what do we say? Are we even educated enough to talk about it?  

I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

I once had the honor of reading a good portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in church on MLK Sunday; I’ll never forget the privilege and the burden of just repeating those famous words within the framework of Sunday worship. Today I’m dreaming of world wide peace and reciprocal acceptance of oppositional beliefs.  And the table waits… Continue reading

Shrimp Fried Rice and Sesame-Ginger Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps–Game Food Worth Winning For

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EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–1 opening left.) Ok, now on to football food…

I have this sad, old, worn-out, and tired collection of game food recipes.  I nearly hate football; I take the Sunday New York Times to Super Bowl Parties and only look up when the food’s served or people are screaming at such a pitch that I’m frightened out of my reverie.  Anyway, because it’s just not my thing, I make whatever someone asks me to (once I made gorgeous gingerbread cupcakes-see below ), or if we’re home, I make Dave’s -GAG- hot sausage dip (recipe at bottom) followed by a very-healthy-indeed-chili with a six-pack of beer and call it done.  Last year, our son Sean was home and made a half-dozen gorgeous rah-rah dishes including some sort of really hunky stuffed potato skins; he loves football and he’s an ace in the kitchen.  Breathe out. This year he’s in his own home and I’m up to bat all alone. Ok, not up to bat; I’m up to the goal line all by myself. Yuck.

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So  I decided this week to figure out a couple of fun and healthy game day picks ahead of time. I tried out two of them today and I have to say they make me want Sunday to come.  No, not really. This  Sunday there are football games all afternoon and all evening.  (I’ve saved a new Louise Penny book for the long haul.) I’ll say the thought nearly makes me want Super Bowl Sunday to arrive (one game only), which, if you don’t know, is February 1.  I had to look it up. Honest.  But I absolutely cannot wait to cook and eat this meal again. Continue reading

Sour Cream-Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel-What to Do on a Snowy Day

%0A EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  Ok, now on to the pie…

I make this apple pie for special people. Special times. I make it when I have a little extra time to think and bake.  It’s not simple. I can never remember exactly how to make it. I have two recipes and I never use either one.  I use a combination of the two with my own little caveats including a crust I’ve come up with over the years. I think I might have actually documented it now.  Make it and let me know. Continue reading

Bacon and Egg Casserole with Sweet Peppers

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EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. To sign up:  Message me on fb if we’re friended, email me, or leave your email or phone in a comment at the end of the blog and I’ll get back to you.  (Menu:  Carrot Soup with Fresh Herbs, Chicken Fricassee, Chocolate Mousse.) Class limited to 6 students.  I’ll repeat this class at home if needed to accommodate more students.  Can’t wait to cook and eat with you!

Next week, I’ll be attending a DACOR training session (I work as a chef for them twice a month and demonstrate their products) and of course I’ll feed the team that morning so our brains will absorb the information a bit more quickly.  Who doesn’t learn better with eggs, bacon, and cinnamon rolls?  I’ll throw in a beautiful bowl of chopped fruit and we’ll have coffee from the built-in coffee system that makes on-demand espresso faster than you can say, “Just sugar, please.”  I do lust after that coffee machine, I’ll be honest.  Recently a customer bought their second one for the family room in their basement.  We do have an electric kettle in the basement.  Somehow it just isn’t the same. Hmph.  If you’re at home, add a spicy Bloody Mary or a sweet Mimosa along side the coffee. Continue reading

Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Yellow Pepper Salsa

DSC05479-2This black eyed pea soup appeared one noon when I just wanted something real to eat…something warm and filling, but not fattening.  Contrary to common opinions or the instructions on the package, black eyed peas do not have to soak, nor do they take two hours to cook.   Took about an hour cooking time plus prep.   Perfect for a lucky New Year’s Day when you’re too tired to cook much.  Or hungover and in need of healthy, filling food.  Want corn bread?  I include my favorite recipe at the bottom of the post. Don’t forget to dunk.

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Cranberry-Citrus Cheesecake with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Graham Crust

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By the time Christmas or New Year’s comes you might not have the energy for a dessert just for the holiday dinner.  This especially if you’ve entertained or baked throughout the season and simply feel all the cookies and goodies you’ve gotten through the kitchen must certainly be enough.  If that’s the case, and you’ve frozen a few of each of your favorites, pull them out and arrange them in loving fashion on your favorite platter and call it quits.  If, however, you haven’t worn your dear baking self out by now, make my gorgeous cranberry compote cheesecake. Even if you’re not a baker at heart, this is a fairly easy endeavor as long as you have a 9-inch springform pan and said ingredients.

There’s no special skill needed to make a cheesecake.  The filling can be made with a hand-held electric mixer, a standing mixer, or with my favorite machine, the food processor.  If you’ve strong arms or can borrow some, and have your cream cheese truly at close to warm room temperature, you can make this with no machines at all.  Imagine. (I went without an electric mixer for many years of my baking life, so I know wherein I speak.)  You can crush the graham crackers in a bag with a rolling pin or a hammer.  If you’ve any sauce pan at all, you can make the cranberry topping.  So go ahead.  Start now; it’s better really well-chilled and keeps for days and days.  Baking blessings, friend.

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Make-Ahead Christmas Eve Dinner with Activities for All

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I’ve worked on Christmas Eve for many years, so our Christmas Eve dinner was always something like a soup I left in the crock-pot while I directed the choir at church.  Or it might have been a made-ahead casserole like cassoulet that finished up in the oven while “Silent Night” was sung. One year I made a fish stew base early in the morning, heated it around 9pm, and threw in the seafood and fish for a few minutes until it had just cooked through.  On a rare occasion we’d go out for dinner before the first service or in between services if I had to direct an 11 o’clock.  (at left:  PPUMC Choir, Minneapolis)

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I’m home and don’t have a church job this year as I’m cheffing for Jenn-Air and DACOR, so have the opportunity to make a fancy dinner.  As I’ve had the chance to cook several lovely meals this season for friends and neighbors, instead I think I’ll still stick with something  easy-to-serve–which will give me the chance to spend the evening with my family.   In fact, I bought the ingredients for beef stew the other day and it sounds wonderful to me; we all love it.  I could move it up to beef burgundy and, since I have tiny onions frozen and a great couple of bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir, I just might do it. The dogs might even get a tiny bite…

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If you’re in the mood for a bit more than stew (or have a few more coming), try my make-ahead Christmas Eve menu, which is a collection of totally tried and true recipes tested this year in my favorite way–cooked by me and then eaten by Dave and good friends.  The best part is that you truly can make everything 1-2 days (or more) ahead and have it all ready to serve or heat and serve. Don’t feel like buying lasagna? Buy a tray from the Italian deli or local red sauce joint. Make sure to order ahead.  Just for fun I’ve added the wines/drinks we’ve tried with these dishes.  There’s easily enough food for 8, with extras for those big appetites who go for a second serving of lasagna.  Otherwise, you could squeeze 10 or maybe 12 servings if you’re very careful and throw a ham in the crock-pot four hours ahead of dinner, increase your salad and bread accordingly.

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A few days ahead, spend a few minutes locating your serving dishes and checking on your dishes, silverware, and glasses. There’s nothing worse than running around the house trying to locate the green Christmas tree platter at 7pm.  Wash anything that needs it, borrow what you don’t have (or run up to your local thrift store and buy it), and if you have no soft fabric napkins (many of the new ones are made of expensive, horrendously stiff or unabsorbant fabrics), buy some good and attractive large, thick paper napkins.  You can put a candy cane in the middle and tie up with green ribbon, or get kids to decorate a small corner of each–no more than that. 

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THINGS TO DO TOGETHER

At home Christmas Eve service:  Listen to King’s College Lessons and Carols on the radio if you’re home in the morning on December 24; they’ve been worshiping thus since 1918 and it’s one of the best parts of Christmas! On at 8am on KCME (88.7 FM) here in Colorado Springs, I’m guessing it should be on 9am CST and 10am EST in the U.S.  Download booklet and read about it here.  Listen to another year’s service here.

Have kids coming?  Print up some coloring sheets; click here.  Check out crafts, etc; click here.  

Christmas sing-a-long; click here.

Pinterest Christmas game page; click here.

Christmas stories to print and read; click here.

Cooking together; click here. Or make the chocolate crinkles together (recipe below) as they’re best fresh.

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