Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sugo Bugiardo or "Fake" Sauce

This recipe comes from a restaurant in Italy called Fattoria il Colle via a Tuscan food blog by Emiko Davies.  The sauce name Sugo Bugiardo indicates that the sauce itself is a fake or liar.   It contains a cheaper cut of meat such as sausage rather than beef.  These “fake” sauces came about when times were hard.  These are traditional peasant meals that “stretch” the food dollar to make an excellent, tasty meal with little money.  The Tuscan peasants used mostly leftovers to make these meals.  Traditionally, this meal is served with Pappardelle but I used Campanelle pasta which is shaped like a flower or  bell because I could not find any Pappardelle.  I liked the way this sauce tasted with the Campanelle even though it wasn’t what was recommended.  A good substitute that is recommended on some blogs is fettuccine.    

Sugo Bugiardo
Serves 6-8
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
Italian parsley
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
½ pound pancetta
4 Tuscan style sausages, taken out of their skin casings
1 glass of red wine
2 lbs canned whole tomatoes (plum)
Salt and pepper , to taste

1.       Prepare the soffrito (sauce base) by chopping the onions, carrot and celery finely and sautéing them gently in some olive oil.  When they are golden, add the pancetta and sausage meat, crumbled. 
2.       Brown the meat slightly.
3.       Add the glass of wine, tomatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper. 
4.       Bring it all to a simmer on low heat to reduce slightly.  Cook for 1 hour.
5.       Meanwhile, put on a pot of water to cook the pasta (this goes well with ribbon pasta like  Pappardelle or any long pasta). Even a bag of "noodle" type pasta would work.
6.       Serve with your pasta of choice, a sprinkle of parsley and some Parmesano Reggiano.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Marbled Gingerbread

This recipe is an interesting spin on classic gingerbread.  This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens website.

Marbled Gingerbread
Prep Time:  25 Min's
Total Time: 1 hr. 30 Min's.
Servings:  9


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup full-flavor unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk*


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.  For filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium  heat until smooth.  Beat in granulated sugar and 1 egg until combined.  Set aside.

2.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar, beat until combined.  Beat in molasses and 1 egg.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

4.  Pour about 2 cups of the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Pour filling over batter in pan, spreading evenly.  Spoon the remaining batter in mounds on top of filling.  Using a table knife or narrow metal spatula, gently swirl the batter into the filling to marble.

5.  Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Cut into squares.  Serve warm.  Makes 9 servings.

Test Kitchen Tip:  To make 1/2 cup sour milk, place 1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice in a glass measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 1/2 cup total liquid; stir.  Let stand for 5 minutes before using.


Favorite Old Fashioned Gingerbread

This is a wonderful easy holiday favorite.  It can be served with whipped cream topping.  I got the recipe from

Favorite Old Fashioned Gingerbread


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.

2.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Beat in the egg and mix in the molasses.

3.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Blend into the creamed mixture.  Stir in the hot water.  Pour into the prepared pan.

4.  Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan before serving.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cranberry Meatballs

This is a wonderful recipe that I made for my cookie exchange.  I admit that I cheated and used premade meatballs but I will definitely make it again using the actual meatball recipe.  The recipe was sent to me by a FB friend.  Thank you, Miss C!

Cranberry Meatballs


½ cup cream (or beer)
1 1/2 cups fine breadcrumbs
1 lb. each lean ground beef and ground pork
1 medium onions finely chopped
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice

Mix all ingredients together and form into balls.  Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 mins., then turn pan (not the meatballs) and cook for 10 more.  When cool, meatballs can be frozen.


1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 large bottle chili sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard

In a crock pot mix all ingredients together, turn on low heat and add meatballs.  Cook all day on low.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lemon Butter Cookies

These cookies were a big hit at my house.  I am in favor of making "icebox" or "refrigerator" cookies for the simple reason that making them seems like less work.  You make the batter on one day and the next day or even several days later (if you freeze the dough) you bake them.  It is such a great plan.  I made three different kinds of cookies and it hardly seemed like any work at all.  The lemon butter flavor doesn't seem very Christmasy but they can add a unique dimension to your holiday cookie tray. I did not make any changes to this recipe.  It was perfect.  Just be careful about cutting them exactly 1/4 inches thick to get enough cookies, if you are making them for a cookie exchange.

Lemon Butter Cookies
These lemon cookies are icebox or refrigerator cookies.


* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* dash of salt
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup (6 ounces) butter, room temperature
* 1 large egg
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel


In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together 1 cup of the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, lemon juice and zest, then gradually blend in the flour mixture.

Form the dough into 2 rolls about 2 inches wide and 7 inches long. Wrap the rolls in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Unwrap the cookie dough and cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle slices lightly with remaining sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on a rack and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 5 to 6 dozen lemon icebox cookies.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Bisque

I got this recipe from my neighbor.  I don't think she would mind if I share it since she had put in in my son's middle school fundraiser cookbook.  It is very easy to make and super tasty.  It is a good way for me to use sweet potatoes that I can enjoy.  I don't particularly like sweet potatoes even though I know how much healthier they are than white potatoes.  That subject comes up a lot on this blog.

Sweet Potato Bisque

This soup is simple, rich and easy to make.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup celery (chopped)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a 4 quart saucepan.  Add the onions and celery.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add the diced sweet potato and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, cover and cook for 25 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.  Puree the potatoes in a blender (in small batches) or with a hand-held immersion blender.  Stir in the milk.  Season to taste with the salt and pepper.  Reheat and serve.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Baked Ziti

This is another traditional Italian dish that I rarely if ever make.  My sister used to make Baked Ziti all the time when her kids were little.  I decided that it was time for me to make some.  This gets the "thumbs up" from my husband and my son.

Servings:  12


1 pound dry ziti pasta
1-1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary  (1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork sausage
1-1/2 (26 ounces) jars spaghetti sauce
Salt to taste
1 (6 ounce) package of provolone cheese sliced
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 (6 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1.       Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2.       Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion in oil until tender.  Stir in rosemary and garlic.  Transfer to a small bowl.
3.       Place ground beef and sausage in the skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown.  Stir in the onion mixture and the spaghetti sauce.  Season with salt.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
4.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  In the prepared dish, layer half of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese, ricotta and a little less than half the meat mixture.  Then layer the rest of the pasta, mozzarella cheese, remaining meat mixture, and Parmesan cheese.
5.       Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through and cheeses are melted.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Easy Pork Chops

I found this recipe in an article which really should be called "Pork Chops for Dummies" in a Cook's Illustrated Magazine.  I haven't read many Cook's Illustrated issues so I have no idea how to identify which issue I found it in.  This magazine doesn't seem to use a date or a number.  Regardless, I have been searching for pork chop methods and recipes for a while now.  I was lucky to find this excellent method while flipping through the Cook's Illustrated.  It works great even if you are making the pork chops with a special sauce or glaze.  It really helps to make the chops juicy rather than dry like pork chops can often be.  Pork chops have so little fat that it is very hard to keep them from drying out.  Please give this method a try.  Cook's Illustrated does lots of research.  This method was a success for me.  The boys loved these chops.  Towards the end of cooking these, I used a prepared glaze rather than make the gravy suggested in the recipe.  

Easy Pork Chops
Serves 4

4 bone-in or center-cut chops, about 7 ounces each and ½ to ¾ inch thick
Patted dry with paper towels and prepared according to instructions below
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Salt and ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar

1.        If using electric stove, turn burner to medium heat, Rub both sides of each chop with 1/8 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle one side of each chop evenly with 1/8 teaspoon sugar, avoiding the bone.
2.       Place chops, sugared side down, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, positioning the chops as noted below.  Using hands, press meat of each chop into pan.  Set skillet with chops over medium heat; cook until lightly browned, 4 to 9 minutes (chops should be sizzling after 2 minutes, if not, raise the heat to medium-high).  Using tongs, flip chops, positioning them in same manner.  Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook until center of each chop registers 140 degrees on instant read thermometer, 3 to 6 minutes (begin checking temperature after 2 minutes); chops will barely brown on second side.  Transfer chops to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes; do not discard liquid in skillet.
3.       Add any juices accumulated on platter to skillet.  Set skillet over high heat and simmer vigorously until reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 30 seconds to 90 seconds, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.  Off heat, return pork chops to skillet, turning chops to coat with reduced juices.  Serve chops immediately, browned side up, pouring any remaining juices over.

Cooks Illustrated

Step-By-Step: Cooking the Chops

1.        Cut two slits about 2 inches apart through fat and connective tissue.
2.       Place pork chops in cold pan with bony ribs facing center.
3.       Rely on temperature, not timing, to judge when chops are done.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scalloped Russet and Sweet Potatoes

This was another one of my attempts at making something "different" with potatoes.  I liked it, my husband liked it, my son's friend liked it but my son did not like it at all.  It is a rare event when my son leaves the potatoes on his plate but he did that last night.  I couldn't get him to tell me what he didn't like about them.  I would still recommend giving them a try.  Your kids might like them.   They are not boring potatoes.  This casserole looks pretty with the white and orange potatoes mixed together.  It isn't a particularly difficult recipe.  I was able to make this dish along with the Brussels Sprouts from yesterday and pork chops in a little over an hour.  

Scalloped Russet and Sweet Potatoes
Makes: 8 Servings

1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 large onion, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
2 cups milk
½ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 medium russet potatoes
1 medium sweet potato
Whole nutmeg

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Aggressively rub the inside of a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with garlic clove.  Generously butter the dish; set aside.
2.       Using a mandolin or knife, slice the onion halves very thinly, approximately 1/16 inch thick.  Warm the olive oil in a large skillet.  Cook onions gently, until tender and translucent, seasoning well with salt and pepper.  Stir in thyme at the end.  Set aside.
3.       In a medium saucepan, heat milk and cream just until simmered.   In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Remove from heat and gradually whisk in hot milk and cream.  Return to heat and bring to boiling, whisking or stirring constantly.  Boil gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened and the consistency of buttermilk.
4.       Peel russet and sweet potatoes.  Very thinly slice potatoes on a mandolin to approximately 1/16-inch thick or slice thinly with a sharp knife.  Layer one-third the potatoes in baking dish.  Season generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.  Top with one-third the onions and some of the sauce.  Repeat layering in thirds, finishing with sauce (cream may not totally cover top).
5.       Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until bubbly, golden crusty brown, and potatoes are tender when pierced with a wooden pick.  Remove from oven.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon

These sprouts were surprisingly great.  I was amazed that my son asked for seconds and my husband (who does not like lemon) enjoyed them, too!  We had delicious Brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving but they were made with lots of bacon.  I think these are much healthier.  Even if I added one piece of bacon crumbled over them, this recipe would still be healthier.  

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon
Makes: 6 Servings
Prep: 15 Minutes


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 Tablespoons, water
Juice of half a lemon, about 1 Tablespoon


1.       In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Arrange the sprouts in a single layer, cut sides down.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and a grind or two of black pepper.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove lid and sprinkle sprouts with water.  Cover and cook for 2 minutes more.  Sprouts should just be beginning to caramelize and, when pierced with a fork, slightly tender.
2.       Remove cover and increase heat slightly.  When cut sides are well-caramelized, toss Brussels sprouts in pan, drizzle with lemon juice, and sprinkle with more salt and pepper to taste.

Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Buttermilk Bundt Cakes

These little cakes are delicious.  My guests loved them.  They did not last very long at all.  I used the larger 6 cup bundt pan.  

Total Time:  55 Minutes
Yield:  18 Mini Bundt Cakes
Or 10-12 6 cup Bundt Cakes


Baking Spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy)
13.5 oz. all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon grated lemon
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup powdered sugar


1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.       Coat 18 mini Bundt cups with baking spray.
3.       Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
4.       Place granulated sugar and 12 tablespoons butter in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla and rind.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5.       Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans.  Fill about ¾ full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out with moist crumbs clinging.  Cool 5 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans.
6.       Dust tops of cakes with powdered sugar.


Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cakes
1.       Prepare Buttermilk Bundt Cake Batter, reducing vanilla to 1 teaspoon, omitting lemon rind, and decreasing buttermilk to ¾ cup.
2.       Combine 1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries and ½ cup fresh orange juice in a microwave safe dish.  Microwave at HIGH for 1 minute, let stand for 10 minutes.
3.       Fold cranberry mixture into batter.
4.       Omit 1/3 cup powdered sugar.
5.       Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, ¼ cup fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 2 teaspoons grated orange rind, stirring until smooth.
6.       Dip tops of cooled cakes in glaze; let stand until set.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce

I am still trying to catch up with posting recipes of side dishes I made for Thanksgiving.  This one is a "keeper."  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It was a very easy recipe to put together.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce
Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Servings:  12


1 bag (about 12 to 16 oz.) fresh cranberries
16 ounces, fluid pomegranate juice
3/4 cup sugar, more or less to taste

Preparation Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Mixture will thicken as it cooks, and will thicken more as it cools.  Cool in a jar or bowl in the refrigerator.  Serve with Thanksgiving turkey.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Vermont Cheddar Soup

This is another recipe that I made to mimic a recipe from our local restaurant that changes its menu weekly.  This soup was not exactly right but it was still very delicious.  This recipe is from  If I make it again, I will leave out the apples.

Vermont Cheddar Soup


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 small leeks, light green and white parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half (or light cream)
1/2 lb. Vermont sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 Pippin or Machintosh apple, peeled, cored and finely diced


1.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the leeks, carrot and celery.  Saute until tender or about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for 3 minutes, making sure to cook the flour evenly.

2.  Add the chicken stock slowly, whisking to evenly combine.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3.  Puree the soup in a blender, food processor or with a handheld mixer.  Strain into a clean saucepan.  Bring to a simmer.

4.  Add the half-and-half, cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until the cheese is melted.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

5.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.  Saute the apple pieces until they start to turn brown, about 3 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops

In early November, we went to a local restaurant that changes its menu weekly to recipes that highlight a different state.  They cycle through all 50 states over the course of the year.  The week we went, the featured state was Vermont.  My husband and my son both got the Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops.   I thought that I would look for a recipe that was similar to the recipe the boys had tried at the restaurant.  I found this recipe on  It made some yummy pork chops.  I have to say that I enjoyed these very much.  In fact, my husband said he liked mine better than the ones served at the restaurant except that those chops were much thicker.

Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops

Cooking time will vary widely, depending on how thick your pork chops are.


4 pork chops (bone-in or center cut)
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced onion, plus 1 medium onion sliced (sliced onion optional)
1 tablespoon apple cider or white vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste
About 1 tablespoon flour to thicken the gravy


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Heat the butter or oil in a large saute pan on medium high heat  Pat dry the chops with paper towels.  Lightly salt the pork chops then brown each side in the saute pan.  Cook just enough to brown, then remove from pan and place into a high-sided baking dish or roasting pan.  (If your pork chops are very thin and have cooked through at this point, skip the oven step and tent them loosely with aluminum foil while making the sauce.)

2.  Add the minced onion to the saute pan in which you browned the pork, and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onion begins to brown.  Add the vinegar, chili powder, pepper, maple syrup, water, and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and bring to a boil.  Pour this sauce over the pork chops in the baking dish.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes for thick (1-inch thick) chops, 5-10 minutes for thin (1/2-inch thick) chops, or until the interior of the pork reaches 145 degrees F.

3.  Optional:  In the same saute pan that you used to make the sauce, add a little oil and heat to medium heat.  Cook the sliced onions in the pan, allowing the onions to pick up any sauce remaining in the pan.  Cook until lightly browned, while the pork chops are baking.

4.  Place the pork chops on a serving platter and loosely tent with foil.  Pour the sauce into the saucepan you seared the chops in and whisk in 1 tablespoon flour to thicken the gravy.  Salt to taste, and serve the gravy over the chops and (optional) onions.

Yield:  Serves 4.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

I made these mashed potatoes when we had friends over a few weeks ago.  They were easy to make and I made them in advance.  The advantage of that, of course, is being able to spend time with your guests and not cooking while they are visiting.  I wasn't overly impressed with these but my guests loved them.  I just prefer regular old mashed potatoes.  In the future, I am going to try the mashed cauliflower which is, at least supposed to be healthier than mashed potatoes.  Try them if you don't mind something different going on with your mashed potatoes.  

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
By Linda Larsen, Guide

Make these mashed potatoes ahead of time, refrigerate for up to 2 days, then reheat and keep hot in the crockpot.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes

5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened (Greek yogurt)
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 beaten egg
4 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)

Cook the potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until they are tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well and return to dry pot.  Shake over low heat for about 1 minute.

Then mash until there are no lumps. Beat in the cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper and egg.  Place potatoes in a greased 9x13" baking dish. Melt butter and drizzle over the potatoes. Cool for 20 minutes, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Take potatoes out of refrigerator about 3-1/2 hours before serving time.  Place in crockpot.  Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring once or twice.  They can be held an additional 30 minutes or more.
Makes 12-15 servings.


The Creative Cook

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brisket in Sweet and Sour Sauce

No, I am not Jewish but I sure do love some good Jewish food!  I really miss the knishes I used to get in NYC.  In fact, I ate one every Friday for lunch at my Catholic High School in Queens, New York.  I can't get them here in Maryland.  The ones I have eaten since I moved here twenty years ago have been poor examples of the knish.  For instance, they are round not square.  They aren't deep fried which is probably much better for you but they taste awful. Since I can't do anything about my knish problem short of taking a weekend trip to NYC, I decided to find the best brisket recipe I could.  This one rated number one on a local television station's search for the best brisket recipe.   I made this for a group of 10 people and everyone loved it except for one of my son's friends.  

Brisket in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Prep Time:  15 Mins.
Cook Time:  3 hrs. 30 Mins.
Total Time:  3 hrs. 45 Mins.

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 large cloves garlic
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup dry red wine
1-1/2 cups Coca-Cola or ginger ale
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup honey
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon coarsely ground pepper or to taste
1 six to seven pound first-cut brisket, rinsed and patted thoroughly dry


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place onion, ginger, garlic, Dijon mustard, red wine, cola or ginger ale, ketchup, cider vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, cloves, and pepper into a food processor or blender , and process with steel blade until smooth.

Place brisket, fat side up, into a heavy baking pan just large enough to hold it, and pour sauce over it.  Cover tightly and bake for 2 hours.  Turn brisket over and bake uncovered for one more hour or until fork-tender.  Cool, cover brisket and refrigerate overnight in cooking pan.

The next day, transfer brisket to a cutting board, cut off fat and cut with a sharp knife against grain, to desired thickness.  Remove any congealed fat from sauce and bring to a boil on top of stove.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Taste sauce to see if it needs reducing.  If so, boil down for a few minutes or as needed.  Return meat to sauce and warm in oven for 20 minutes.  Serve Warm.

Yield:  12 Servings

Recipe Source:  Levana’s Table: Kosher Cooking for Everyone by Levana Kirschenbaum


The Creative Cook