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Category Archives: Entrees

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in 2015 on a wonderful site called Natasha’s Palace.  It’s worth a visit there to see all of the great and unusual recipes she has.  The original recipe is here:

https://nataschaspalace.co/2015/05/28/pear-goat-cheese-and-cured-ham-pasta/

My daughters and I love this dish, especially if I can use some flavorful Honey Baked Ham leftovers.

Ham, Pear and Goat Cheese Pasta

¾ cup bowtie pasta
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 Tblsp. garlic, minced
2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced
One cup chopped cooked ham
1 tsp. oregano
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. butter
4 oz. goat cheese

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water to al dente, drain

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion slices, sprinkle with salt/pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent but not brown.

Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add pear slices and ham and cook until heated.  Stir in oregano and salt/pepper to taste.  Stir in butter and drained pasta.  Add goat cheese in small lumps and stir gently until cheese has melted.

Serve hot.

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I found this recipe, adapted slightly here, on a cherry orchard web site in 2013 (page no longer available).

I just got around to making the wraps and they are really good, quick to make and have some vegetables included along with the tangy dried cherries.  I’ll be making these again.

*Instead of tortillas, I used some great flatbread I found in the deli section of my grocery store.

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Dried Cherry Wraps

1/2 cup non-fat lemon yogurt
1 tablespoon honey Dijon-style mustard or honey-mustard dressing
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (8 ounces)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 (8- to 10-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas, tomato-flavored flour tortillas*

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Gently stir in chicken, cherries, carrot, cucumber and green onion. Mound about 3/4 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla or flatbread, leaving space all around for folding . Fold in top and bottom and fold over each side, placing wrap seam-side down on a plate.  Cut into 3 portions.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yield:  4 servings

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This is a tasty beef stew with vegetables, herbs, wine and a touch of brandy.  It’s easy to fix in a slow cooker and tastes so good when eaten in a warm, cozy kitchen or maybe in front of the fireplace.

BURGUNDY BEEF STEW - SLOW COOKER

½ lb. chuck steak, fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1-½ cups chopped onion
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
16 baby carrots, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp. quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup Burgundy wine
½ cup beef broth
¼ cup brandy
1 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 tsp. oil and brown chuck steak cubes on all sides – do not cook through.  Set aside

In a 3-½- or 4-quart slow cooker place chopped onion, potato cubes, carrot slices, garlic.  Sprinkle tapioca over the top.

Place beef on top of vegetables.  In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, broth, brandy, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Pour over ingredients in slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours.

Near the end of cooking time, in a small skillet, cook mushrooms in the remaining 1 tsp. of oil over medium-high heat until browned.  Stir mushrooms into beef mixture.

Makes 4-6 servings

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The use of canned tomatoes and whipping cream was intriguing in this recipe.  I made the preparation even easier by using dried minced onions and minced garlic in a jar.  This is a mild, creamy sauce that is a nice change from the more robust kinds.  My daughters and I enjoyed this over fresh tortellini.

QUICK AND CREAMY TOMATO PASTA SAUCE

14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (1-¾ cups), not drained
2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
½ tsp. minced garlic (from jar)
¼ tsp. each of dried basil, oregano and thyme
2 Tblsp. butter
2 tsp. light brown sugar
½ cup whipping cream

Salt/pepper to taste

4 servings of pasta, cooked

In a medium saucepan, place tomatoes, dried minced onions, minced garlic, and dried herbs.  Bring this mixture to a simmer and turn heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter and brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring.

Add cream, stirring until blended.  Add salt/pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and serve immediately over hot pasta.

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Happy birthday, Nancy

Happy birthday, Nancy

My older daughter who lives with me will be celebrating her 61st birthday today and I’m preparing her favorite birthday dinner – Mini Beef Wellingtons with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.  I thought it might be a good opportunity to re-post a blog from five years ago.  We’re having this exact family dinner today, including the cake.  Everybody enjoys it.

Mini Beef Wellingtons – April 26, 2010

My oldest daughter’s favorite birthday meal is Mini Beef Wellingtons with mashed potatoes, mushroom sauce and asparagus with Hollandaise.  It’s not a difficult meal to prepare, but time-consuming.  I make the pate and mushroom sauce the day before and cook the beef early in the day of the dinner to allow time for it to cool for easier handling.  I used to buy a beef tenderloin but found it easier to simply buy the filet mignons wrapped in bacon that my store handles.

MINI BEEF WELLINGTONS

  • Five 6 oz. portions of filet mignon
  • Sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed (Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 Tblsp. milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Allowing time for the meat to cool well enough to handle, place the filet mignons in a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and bake @ 300 degrees F for approximately one hour, depending on how  you like your meat (my family likes it well done, especially in this dish).  Allow to cool.  My filet mignon comes wrapped in a slice of bacon.  Remove the bacon.  Cut meat into 18 small portions.

Set oven to 350 degrees F

Cut the 2 sheets of puff pastry into 9 sections each.  Place one section on a floured board and roll thin (like pie crust).  Place one portion of meat in the center of the pastry.  Top with about a teaspoon of Chicken Liver Pate (recipe below), bring up edges of pastry to cover the meat and  seal.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining sections of pastry and beef/pate.  Brush the tops of the pastry with milk and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve hot with Beef Mushroom Sauce (recipe follows).

Makes 18 mini Beef Wellingtons

CHICKEN LIVER PATE

  • 1/4 lb. chicken livers
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 of a hard-boiled egg
  • 1/2 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry sherry

Rinse and drain chicken livers and cook in broth over moderately low heat for about 15 minutes until no pink shows in the livers.  Drain and set aside.

Cook bacon for 5-7 minutes until crisp and golden brown.  Remove bacon and in the remaining fat cook onions for about 7 minutes until soft but not brown.

Combine the cooked chicken livers, bacon, onions, egg, butter, salt, pepper and sherry in a mixer or food  processor and blend until fairly smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to use.  Makes about one-half cup of pate.

Adapted from Redbook Cookbook.  First made to use with Beef Wellington in 1989.

BEEF MUSHROOM SAUCE

  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (depending on saltiness of broth)
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

In a small skillet, saute the mushrooms in butter until they are just beginning to brown.  Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup of beef broth.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, place remaining one cup of beef broth, wine.  When mixture is hot, whisk in the flour/broth mixture.  Bring to a boil and let cook for 2 minutes, whisking.  Stir in mushrooms, salt and pepper.

Makes about 2 cups of sauce to pour over the Wellingtons and/or potatoes.

Asparagus is good with this meal and we like this Mock Hollandaise Sauce.

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For dessert, a big frosted cake from our favorite Cincinnati bakery,Servatii’s.


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I’m posting a repeat of three recipes from 2008 that my family thinks make the best Lenten meal.  I make this every Friday during Lent (7 Fridays in a row) and although I like more variety in my meals, my younger daughter loves this lunch so much that I go through the one-hour prep time so the two daughters and I can enjoy Our Favorite Lenten Meal:  Salmon Patties, Macaroni and Cheese, and Scalloped Tomatoes.  These three items just seem to go together so well.

Mom’s Salmon Patties

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I make these patties the way my mother used to make her “salmon” patties, which were actually mackerel.  Mother didn’t have the money for the expensive salmon and I think mackerel was about 10 cents per can back in the 1940s.  Although I loved her version and didn’t have a very big food budget when I married, I always made the patties with salmon and used her method of adding only crackers, onions and seasoning to the mix, no egg (my mother used as few eggs as possible in every dish).  My family prefers them this way and they are never as crispy on the outside and moist on the inside as when they are fried in Crisco.

MOM’S SALMON PATTIES

  • Servings: Makes 6 patties
  • Print

  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • One 14-15 oz. can Alaskan pink salmon
  • 12 saltine crackers, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crisco for frying

In a small skillet, heat oil and saute onions on low heat until they are soft but not brown.

Drain salmon and remove any bones.  Place salmon in a bowl and add the sauteed onions.  Add the crushed saltines and a grind or two of black pepper.  The saltines add enough salt for our taste.  Mix together and form into 6 patties.  The mixture should hold together but still be slightly moist.

Melt Crisco in a large skillet and add the patties, browning/cooking about 5 minutes on each side.

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I’ve used several good macaroni and cheese recipes through the years, but this one has become my favorite because, with the use of lower fat ingredients such as milk, cheese and cottage cheese, it is not too bad cholesterol-wise and is still delicious.

SHANNON’S MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 3/4 cup dry macaroni
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tblsp. dried onion
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 slices bread, processed into crumbs (about 2 cups)
  • 3 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9×9″ pan with non-stick spray

Cook macaroni in salted boiling water for approximately 8 minutes.  Drain.  Place in large bowl, add cheese and onion.

In a blender or food processor, blend cottage cheese, milk and mustard.  Pour over the macaroni mixture.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour macaroni into prepared pan.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of macaroni and add a sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees F.

Yield:  6 servings

Old Time Scalloped Tomatoes

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This dish has been a family favorite from over 25 years ago when I had a lot of tomatoes at all times.  My husband had every variety in large amounts in his garden and I spent a lot of time canning and freezing them for use all through the year.

Old-Time Scalloped Tomatoes


  • 1 Tblsp. oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • One 14-15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • One 14-15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Dash of salt and a few grinds of black pepper
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In small skillet, heat oil and saute onions on low heat until soft.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In 8×8″ baking pan place tomatoes.  Roughly cut up the whole tomatoes.  Add the sauteed onions.

In the same skillet used for the onions, melt the butter, stir in brown sugar until dissolved.  Add to tomato mixture and stir to blend.

Sprinkle crumbs on top of tomato mixture and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until tomatoes are heated through and topping is browned.

Yield:  6 servings 

Serve everything piping hot.

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The salmon can be made into patties ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.  The two side dishes can also be made earlier in the day and then baked at the same time, adding 10 minutes if the dishes are cold.

You may not want to eat this meal 7 weeks in a row but it would make a delicious Good Friday supper.

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After 3 major snowfalls in one week, we were more than ready for something hearty, warm and comforting for supper.  I used ingredients and techniques from a couple of my favorite recipes to make this dish which my two daughters and I loved.

BAKED HAM, BEANS AND DUMPLINGS

2-½ cups (home-cooked or two 10 oz cans) Great Northern beans, drained lightly
½ cup cooked ham, cubed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup milk
1 packet (small envelope) Goya ham seasoning (optional but adds really nice flavor)
Dash of pepper
10 oz can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Dumplings:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 Tblsp. Shortening (Crisco)
½ cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Greased 9 inch baking dish

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Place drained beans and ham in the bottom of a greased 9-inch baking dish.

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In a small bowl or food processor, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, ham seasoning and pepper.

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Whisk in undiluted cream of mushroom soup.

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Pour soup mixture over beans and ham in baking dish.

Prepare dumplings:
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening and stir in milk.  Drop mixture by measuring tablespoon in small dollops on top of mixture in baking dish.

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Bake in preheated 400 degree F oven for approximately 20-25 minutes until dumplings are done and very light brown on top.

4-6 servings

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Refrigerated leftovers are good warmed uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  The dumplings will be crispy on top but still delicious.