Kale-Artichoke Spread — Kale-Artichoke Chicken Pasta

12 lg. leaves of dark curly kale
1 14oz. can quartered artichokes
5oz. fresh grated parmesan cheese
4oz. chopped pimentos
3/4c mayonnaise
1 ex.lg. purple shallot - minced
1/2c chopped kalamata olives
3T fresh lime juice
2T minced garlic (from a jar)
1/2t sea salt
1/2t black pepper
*2T Taco Bell mild sauce
*or 1/4t of cayenne pepper

To cook the fresh kale, cut out the rib, slice the leaves lengthwise a time or two, then cross-cut them into small pieces.  Cook, covered , in a little water, simmering for about 20 minutes.  These need to be well cooked.  Drain, then dry the kale with some crumpled paper towel, or between sheets of paper towel.  Add to the bowl containing the finely chopped artichokes and remaining ingredients, down to the Taco Bell sauce.  *Once all this is mixed, if mixture seems to liouidous, omit the sauce and use the cayenne pepper.  Serve this with bagel chips as a spread or dip.  Makes about 5 cups.

Kale-Artichoke Chicken Pasta
6-8 oz. dry med. size pasta--cooked al dente'. 
12oz. frozen grilled chicken strips
2-3c Kale-Artichoke Spread

This can also be combined with pre-cooked grilled chicken and pasta, then baked @ 350° for 20 minutes (covered for the first 10 minutes) for an interesting Mediterranean main dish.  It's was really good! . . .Lin

Fruit, Nut, Corn & Oat Muffins—(Gluten Free)

1c chopped dried fruit
1c chopped pecans
1/2c chopped dates
2 eggs
2/3c brown sugar
2/3c solid coconut oil-liquified
1c half and half +
2T white vinegar

4t good cinnamon
2T ground orange peel
1t cardamom
1T baking powder
1t salt
2/3c ground flax seed
1/2c corn flour
1c oat flour
1c oat bran

In a medium size bowl, stir together the first group of ingredients with a wooden spoon.  Let this mixture stand to rehydrate the fruit a little.  Meanwhile, put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.  If the coconut oil solidifies these ingredients, microwave for 30 seconds.  Add the fruit mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl, stirring until just combined.  Spoon into a paper-lined muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with baker's sanding sugar.  Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.  Makes 30 muffins. . .Lin

Sausage-Potato-Bean Soup

1# Italian sausage hot or mild
2c chopped celery
1 med. purple onion
2-4c water
3 lg. carrots
1 red pepper
4c chopped baby red potatoes
1 lg. white sweet potato
*1c leftover chicken - optional
2T chicken soup base
2T dry parsley
1T ground rosemary
1T roasted powdered garlic
4-6c water
2# canned beans rinsed and drained

Remove sausage from its casings, stir and brown with part of the onion, finely minced and the celery.  Drain off the fat, then add water and continue to simmer.  Meanwhile, scrub and chop all the vegetables.  No need to peel, since the outer layer that was directly in contact with the soil adds nutrients, fiber and color to the soup.  After about 15 minutes, put everything else into the pot except the beans.  Cover and simmer another 45 minutes or until the vegetables are done the way you like them.  Add the beans and taste to see if any additional seasoning is needed.  Simmer again, just to heat everything through, then serve.  This soup is great after chilling and heating which develop the flavors.  It's a good one to have in the 'fridge for early fall days.  It also freezes well. . .Lin

Another Bacon-Egg and Vegetable Bake

1/2# bacon
6 jumbo eggs
1/2c Spicy Hot V-8
1T roasted garlic granules
1T dried parsley
1t each: black pepper & seasoned salt

2 med.-lg. carrots
1 med. purple onion
1 yellow pepper
1 med. tomato
2T bacon grease
1/2c Jiffy corn muffin mix
4oz. Velveeta cheese
3oz. sharp white cheddar

Cut bacon into small pieces then fry until well browned.  Tilt the pan to let the grease run off to one side, away from the cooked bacon.  Combine next 5 ingredients and whisk together.  Add all the chopped-sliced vegetables, bacon grease and the Jiffy mix.  Stir this together with a wooden spoon.  Pour into a greased 9"x13" glass pan.  Top with bacon crumbles, grated cheddar and little crumbles or cubes of Velveeta.  Bake at 325° for 30 minutes, turn oven off and leave in the oven another 10 minutes before removing to cool.

This freezes very well when cooled and cut into squares.  A little piece of waxed paper or cellophane between each will make them readily available on a busy morning.  Separate them that way, then put all of them into a heavy ziplock bag and freeze.  Or put them each in an individual sandwich or snack size zip-seal bag, then into a larger one to keep them together in the freezer.

In the morning, pop them into a lunch box or bag for later - or put on a little plate and microwave a minute or so for a quick breakfast. . .Lin

Zucchini-Yam Noodles with Vegetable Curry Sauce

2 med.-lg. zucchini
1 lg. yam or sweet potato
2 lg. carrots
1 med. onion
2 stalks celery
2 very lg. purple shallots
3 sm. Yukon gold potatoes

2T organic solid coconut oil
16oz. Taste Of India ~ Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce
(not the curry shown in the first photo)

Spiralize the scrubbed zucchini and yam then put into a medium size casserole or roasting pan.  Chop-dice the next 5 vegetables.  Combine in a heavy pot with the coconut oil.  Simmer and stir a while to coat and begin to cook the vegetables, for about 5 minutes.

Add the simmer sauce and 1/2 a jar of water.  Stir and simmer for about 15 minutes to soften the vegetables just a little.  Pour over the 'noodles' and combine just a little.  Cover and bake at 325° for 20-30 minutes, just until the vegetables are still a little crisp-tender.  You don't want this overcooked.  It turns to vegetable mush quick if you forget it.  This turned out so well, I think I could make a big pot of it every week! . . . Lin

Corn And Company

4 ears of corn - steamed
3/4# of skinny green beans
3/4# fresh Brussels sprouts
1/2 med. onion - chopped
2-3 lg. cloves of garlic - minced
1/4c butter
1/2c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 fresh tomatoes - chopped
fresh ground salt and black pepper
~ nuts or seeds - optional

Cut the corn off the cobs after steaming.  Keep the cobs around to chew on before throwing them away, the tiny parts and pieces left behind are so good!  Steam the fresh or frozen green beans with the quartered Brussels sprouts.  Once they're almost tender, drain* and combine with the corn in a 2-3qt. casserole dish.  Add the next 4 ingredients, combine and let stand so the heat from the vegetables will melt the butter.  Toss once more then cover and bake at 300° until the garlic and onion scent permeate the house.

After about 20 minutes.  Check the onions to be sure they're done enough for your taste.  Add tomatoes and seasonings.  You could also toss in a handful of cashews or smoked almonds if you're trying to cut down on or eliminate meat from your diet.  Combine again, cover and let stand a few minutes before serving. . .The picture was taken the day after this was prepared.  Leftovers are always wonderful, but aren't very photogenic :-) . . . Lin

*(save the liquid in a container - freeze - and add to it, until you have enough for soup base)

Vegetable-Bacon Breakfast (lunch-or-dinner) Bake

2# fresh or frozen vegetables
3 very large garlic cloves
1/2 lg. onion

1/3# bacon cut in small pieces
1/3c cornbread mix
3/4c-1c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2T dried parsley
2t chili powder or chili-lime seasoning
          1t Himalayan pink salt

6 eggs
1/2c half & half
1T white vinegar
3T bacon grease

Chop the vegetables and let them sit together in a large bowl to blend their flavors.  Fry the bacon, until nicely brown and crispy.  Move it to one side of the pan, prop the pan up on a thin piece of metal so fat runs the other way.  Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking to blend.  In another medium bowl, combine eggs, half & half, vinegar and slightly cooled bacon grease.  Stir this into the dry ingredients.  Pour this batter over the vegetables, combine and pour into a buttered 9"x13" glass baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, then turn oven off and let 'rest' in the oven an additional 10 minutes.  Ahhhh, your whole house will smell like early morning at a Bed and Breakfast!  Cool slightly, cut into squares and serve.  This keeps very well, covered-in-the-pan, refrigerated, for several days.  It's easy to pack for meals-on-the-go and heats up well in the microwave or toaster oven. . .Lin

Coffee Pound Cake

Many, MANY years ago, I was 21, newly married and a brand-new resident of north central Wisconsin with my husband, my daughter, who was a year old, and pregnant with my son.  We had just relocated from the Chicago suburbs.  This was about the time I started to really love cooking and baking.  It was a long slow process, but that's when and where it all began.  The little family-owned grocery store where I shopped, Reeve's Foodlane, often had big, free (very important when you're $truggling) recipe cards from Roundy's that were fascinating to me.  There was a ground beef, rice and green bean casserole that my little family particularly loved.  I might still have that somewhere!

After one shopping trip, I was making breakfast and noticed, inside the yellow styrofoam egg carton, a recipe for Golden Pound Cake.  My artistic daughter, later sort of carved-drew a smiley face in the corner of the recipe, which is still visible on the yellow styrofoam.  This has been my basic go-to for a recipe idea when I want a pound-cake-type dessert.  I've made both subtle and huge changes to it over the years, depending on the desired results.

Today I had Key Lime Pound Cake on my mind, so I put the old yellow styrofoam recipe 'card' on the counter.  Meanwhile, I had my Community Bible Study this morning, then ran some errands in town.  Once I got home, it was clean-the-kitchen-time before baking and cooking.  I put my French coffee press aside, but kept looking at it.  Then it occurred to me. . .not lime pound cake. . .Coffee Pound Cake!  So, my modification of the recipe for today changed 1c of milk to 1/2c VERY strong coffee and 1/2c half & half.  I had some really good vanilla, but the 2t of lemon juice was replaced by a little more coffee.  I also added the cinnamon and cardamom.  Instead of just white sugar, I used 1c light brown and the rest pure organic cane sugar.  I'm also trying a new technique. . .Instead of buttering and flouring the bundt pan, I buttered and sugared it!  I've been told that adds an interesting little crispy brownness to the edges.  Okay, enough talk, time to bake!!

2 sticks butter
1c light brown sugar
1-1/2c white sugar
4 eggs
2t pure vanilla

1/2c very strong coffee
1/2c half and half

3c unbleached-organic flour
1t baking powder
1/2t Himalayan pink salt
1T organic cinnamon
1/2t cardamom 

Preheat your oven to 300° and adjust the oven racks so the top one is in the middle of the oven.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the first 5 ingredients together.  In a medium size bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients to blend.  Alternating between the dry and the liquids, add these to the large bowl.  Beat until all is blended well.  The batter will be very thick.  Spoon into the buttered and sugared bundt pan.  This cake bakes long and slow.  The original recipe says 1-1/2 hours.  Check toward the end to see how it's doing.  Continue to bake until the cake is lightly browned on edges and the top is firm.  Check with a toothpick.  Place pan on cooling rack.  Let stand until pan can be touched and is barely warm.  Turn the cake out from the pan onto a cake plate.  Serve as is or drizzle with a cream cheese or coffee glaze. . .Lin  

Spicy Winter Squash Soup

1 lg. butternut squash
2T coconut oil
2 LG cloves of garlic - minced
2 LG purple shallots - sliced
1" cube of fresh ginger - grated
1/2t pumpkin pie spice
1/2t-1T curry powder - (to taste)
1/2t Himalayan pink salt
1/2t finely ground black & red pepper
1T brown sugar or honey
1-2T chicken soup base
1c sour cream

Peel, scoop out the seeds and cube the squash, putting it into a 5qt, heavy-bottomed cooking pot with coconut oil.  Heat over low, stirring to coat the squash.  Stir in the next 7 ingredients and slow-simmer, covered, adding a couple cups of water when it starts to sizzle.  Continue to simmer, covered, another hour ±.
When the squash is soft, mash everything with a potato masher (or puree' in a blender).  Stir in 4-6 cups of water, then taste to see if the seasonings need to be corrected.  (If you prefer a thicker soup, make a paste of 1T+ of flour or cornstarch with a little cold water.)  Stir into the soup.  Bring to a boil to thicken, while stirring, then cover and turn off the heat.  Let stand 5 minutes then stir in the sour cream.  Serve with garlic croutons, roasted sunflower seeds and/or dill. . .Lin

Broccoli-Sausage Cornbread Bake

12oz. breakfast sausages
1 med. yellow onion
1 box cornbread mix
1/2-1t finely ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/2-1c half and half
1-2T vinegar
1 4oz. jar chopped pimentos + liquid
1# frozen, chopped broccoli
4oz. sliced Velveeta cheese
2-4oz. fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cut each sausage into 6 pieces.  Combine with chopped onion in a non-stick pan, over medium heat until nicely browned.  While this is happening, whisk together the next 6 ingredients in a medium size bowl.  The vinegar and half-and-half make a rich buttermilk that amplifies all the flavors. 

Pour-spread 1/3 of this in the bottom of a buttered 9x13" glass pan.  Cover this with the sausage and onion.  Make the next layer with the chopped broccoli and cheese.  Add more water if needed, to make the cornbread mixture pourable then pour this over everything in the baking dish.  Bake at 375° for 15-25 minutes until the top is lightly brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Since the cornbread mixture is sweet, I drizzled some Spicy Cilantro-Garlic Mayo over this before serving.  Ohhh, it was good! . . . Lin

Spicy Cilantro-Garlic Mayo Sauce

2T Chili Garlic Sauce
2T Coriander (Cilantro) Chutney
2-3T Water
1c mayonnaise

In a small glass bowl, stir together the first 3 ingredients.  Add a little more water if needed to make it 'saucy'.  Strain this mixture into a 2c spouted, glass measuring 'cup' or bowl.  Add mayo a little at a time, stirring well.  Make any flavor adjustments, more of the red or green, whichever flavor you want to be more prominent.

Add more mayo if it's too spicy.  To thin it out, dribble in more water, a tablespoon at a time if needed, so it will be dispensable through the opening of your squeeze bottle.  This is good on so many things.  Hot roast beef with mashed potatoes, an omelet, a roast turkey and cheese sandwich, steamed cauliflower.  Shown here over a breakfast or lunch of chopped hardboiled egg, pastrami, a sprinkle of fresh ground parmesan and a side of chopped tomato. . .Lin


1 bunch of your favorite seedless grapes
. . .red, green or black. . .
1 big zip-type plastic freezer bag

Take grapes off the stems.  Wash and drain for 10 minutes or so then pour out onto a clean linen dish towel.  Roll them around and pat to absorb all the water.  When dry, put into the big zip-type bag and freeze, for at least 4 hours.

When anyone wants a popsicle-type snack, give them a little bowl of these.  Mmmmmm!  My mom used to do this and I really love them.  Especially on a hot-thirsty kinda day. . .Lin

Broccoli Tots

photo credit. . .ONCE UPON A chef

I saw Joy Bauer, on the Today, making these, but only caught the end of the segment.  I wanted to rewind, watch and get ideas, but, by mistake, I changed channels so couldn't rewind  :-(  I was still able to catch the last few seconds and picked up enough from their comments to have a rough idea.  I'll experiment and post my recipe, with ingredients, amounts, baking time and photos soon.

*Broccoli - steamed until bright green then chopped.

Add:  Beaten egg, finely chopped onion and garlic, salt, pepper, seasonings you like, shredded sharp cheddar, panco - enough to hold ingredients together.  Form into balls and bake on a cookie sheet.

*You could also substitute, or use a combination of:  chopped carrot, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, beets, kohlrabi...(butternut, or any winter squash, by itself, or with carrot could be good. . .maybe with a little cinnamon and chopped pumpkin seed for a sweeter version of this originally savory idea). . .Zucchini could be shredded and used raw, the rest should be steamed first to break down the fiber a bit and bring out the flavors.

Wow! - Can't wait to try this! . . . Lin

Quinoa-Rice Avocado Tabouli

1c of a quinoa-rice blend
2T Italian Herb olive oil
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 very large garlic clove - minced
2T dried parsley
2c water

2 very ripe avocados
1/2c Italian Herb olive oil
2 lg cloves of garlic - minced
2 limes - zest and juice
2T coriander (cilantro) chutney
2T basil pesto
a little water if needed

4 med. tomatoes cubed
2 mini English cucumbers
1/2 lg. Vidalia onion - chopped
2 cans black beans - drain and rinse
2 cans corn - drained
2-4T dried parsley
1/2c fresh snipped parsley

In a 2qt. pot, combine quinoa-rice, olive oil, onion and garlic over med-high heat, stirring often.  When this mixture is browning and aromatic, add water, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed.  Transfer to a large glass bowl.  Mash the avocados in a medium bowl or flat-bottomed pot.  Add all the remaining ingredients and let the flavors blend while chopping the vegetables.  Put all the vegetable ingredients in with the pilaf.  Mix carefully, with a wooden spoon, so as not to mash the rice.

When the rice and vegetables are combined, pour the dressing over all and again, mix carefully.  This makes a very big bowl.  This would be good for a picnic, barbecue, or just to make ahead for the next week of lunches.  To prevent it from becoming soggy, you could store the pilaf and vegetables separate from the dressing until just before serving.  The quinoa and beans elevate the protein content of this vegan dish. . .Lin

Colorful Coleslaw

1/2 head green, savoy and purple cabbage
1/2 lg. sweet Vidalia onion
1-2c carrot matchsticks
your favorite poppy seed dressing

Using a mandolin, or a very sharp knife and a good cutting board, thinly slice the cabbage and onions.  Wash and dry the cut cabbage in a salad spinner.  Combine cabbage, onion, carrots in a large glass bowl.  Mix a little water with the dressing to make it more pourable.  About a 4/1 dressing to water ratio is good.  Add some fresh ground pepper.

Toss and let stand an hour to blend the flavors and let the dressing marinate everything.

This goes great with picnic food, burgers and fries, steak and a baked potato or even sushi. . .Lin

Zucchini Noodles with Chicken Tomato and Spinach

1 med. zucchini
1/4 lg. Vidalia Onion
2/3# prepared chicken patties
5 cloves smashed-minced garlic
3c sliced-chopped fresh spinach
cherry or grape tomatoes - quartered 
1 10oz. can lime-cilantro tomatoes
4oz. Velveeta cheese

Spiralize the zucchini.  Put half the zucchini and sliced onion into a large casserole dish.  Break up the chicken patties and saute' with a little finely chopped onion and the garlic.  Add spinach, fresh, canned tomatoes, 1t each: sugar and salt.  Stir all together and pour half over the zucchini.  Add remaining zucchini and sauce.  Bake uncovered 25 minutes.

Slice cheese on top and return to the oven, under the broiler, until the cheese bubbly, browning and is melted.  Probably another 10 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve with crusty garlic bread. . .Lin  

Chicken and Vegetables with Tomato Cream Sauce

1#± chicken tenderloins
2 med. zucchini cut in cross-sections
6 sm. Yukon gold potatoes - quartered
1 med. onion - chopped
2/3c chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 4oz. jar diced pimentos
3oz sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2c sour cream
1c plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper

Arrange the chicken, zucchini and potatoes in a 9x13" glass pan.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan, sauté' the onion until translucent, add the remaining ingredients and let stand while chicken and vegetables bake.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.  Makes about 6 servings. . .Lin