Meatless Friday Favorite

Meatless Friday Favorite!

1 cup chopped onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
Pepper and Paprika
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
5 cups thinly sliced potato

Saute onions in butter 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and seasoning. Gradually add milk, stirring until sauce thickens. Add cheese and parsley. Mix well. Spray casserole with vegetable spray or butter well. Layer ½ of the potatoes, cover with ½ cheese sauce, repeat. If you like, you can sprinkle buttered Panko crumbs over the top.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Uncover & bake for 15-30 minutes more or until potatoes are tender.

Catfish Creole From My Friend, Ellen!

Summer will eventually simmer down and, hopefully, there will be some cold, rainy days that require a warm meal. This recipe is easy, different, and tasty. Also, a good one to earmark for Lent which always shows up way too soon!

Catfish Creole

Ingredients for Sauce:
½ c. butter
1½ c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped bell pepper
¼ c. diced garlic
2-3 whole bay leaves
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 28-ounce can peeled & diced tomatoes
½ c. water
½ c. green onions
1 tbs. sugar
1-2 tbs. dry thyme
1-2 tbs. dry basil
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Other ingredients:
1 pound catfish (or red fish) fillets, any white fish will work wonderfully.
6 cups cooked white rice

In a 2 quart heavy sauce pan (a cured heavy black iron pot is traditionally used if you have one), melt butter over medium-low fire. Saute onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic until vegetables are wilted, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. Add bay leaves, tomatoes, sauce, water, and green onions. Bring mixture to a low boil, reduce to simmer, and cook an additional 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and fillets. (Salt may be reserved until the fish is cooked.) Cook until fish breaks apart easily, about 10-15 minutes. Serve over steaming white rice.

Gluten-Free, Believe It Or Not!

Sometimes, I look back on the ‘olden day’ and remember when a quick pasta dinner was . . . well, quick! Now, when the family gets a hankering for pasta and sauce for a Friday meatless meal, my current recipe begins with, “First, make the pasta.”! I usually end up making the sauce and preparing the vegetables for steaming before making the pasta.  That way, I can concentrate on the pasta without worrying about getting the rest of the meal ready. Although I have been known to whimper a bit, I really don’t mind doing it. Homemade pasta just tastes better. And, as I mentioned a few postings ago, companies have been kind to the ‘gluten-impaired’ and there are a lot of great gluten-free flour blends that make things almost back to normal.

This evening, my husband liked the idea of having a tomato/mushroom sauce over pasta. My daughter agreed only said to make it so she doesn’t bite into a mushroom. She likes the taste of mushrooms but isn’t crazy about the texture.

My favorite flour blend these days is Authentic Foods Steve’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend. BetterBatter Gluten-Free Flour Blend works well, too. All can be found on-line. Check the on-line Walmart store as they often have items you can find in their stores.

The recipe for homemade pasta? I’ve probably mentioned it before but just figure on about a half cup flour per person eating and then add one more cup to be sure! Add a good pinch of salt and the eggs. Now, eggs are definitely a variable in this so add them, one by one, and mix until it comes together and then knead. Roll out on a floured board (use either rice flour or the flour blend mix. Cut into strip about half an inch wide and as long as you want them to be! Spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and let sit for about 30 minutes until needed. Bring a big pot of water to an energetic simmer, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the pasta gently as you add it to keep them separated. It takes about four to six minutes depending on how thick you rolled them out. Drain and rinse with cool water. Serve with your sauce of choice.

Walnut Spice Cookies

Walnut Spice Cookies

2 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup wheat germ
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated zest of one orange, finely chopped
2/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Beat the eggs and then stir in the oil, milk and wheat germ. Stir in the sugar until it thickens and loses its graininess.

Stir together the flour, baking power, salt, and spices and blend into the wet mixture. Add the vanilla, zest, and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 8-10 minutes or until set and golden brown. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Icing glaze
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
Enough orange juice to make a thin glaze

Dip the top of each cooking into the glaze and let dry on a cooling rack. Before they dry, you can sprinkle them with colorful decorations, bits of grated chocolate, etc.

Carrot-Pineapple-Walnut Cupcakes

Sharing this recipe reminded me to put carrots on my own shopping list for today! Even if you don’t catch the Easter Bunny hiding eggs, you still have a batch of cupcakes waiting to be joined with a cup of coffee.

Carrot-Pineapple-Nut Cupcakes
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
1 box ‘pudding in the mix’ cake mix
1 cup mayonnaise
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly-grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Like your muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Beat the eggs until frothy. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well. You can do this by hand or on a low speed with the mixer using the paddle attachment not the whisk.

Fill the prepared pan(s) with batter, filling 2/3rds full to allow for raising. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Lemon/Orange Glaze
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon each freshly-grated lemon and orange zest
Enough fresh lemon juice to form a glaze.

*What to go fancier? Use a butter cream icing, your recipe or purchased, and go crazy with colorful Easter sprinkles.


Zucchini Made Palatable . . .

I like zucchini but that taste is not always shared by everyone in the family. Yesterday, the zucchini got eaten without a fuss and even seconds were served! My secret? Went super simple and it turned out super tasty, it’s zucchini elements not quite as obvious!


Three, medium to large zucchini
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Basil Pesto
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and diced
Two green onions, finely sliced
Grated Parmesan or Romano

First, wash the zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. With a vegetable peeler, peel off long, wide strips of zucchini starting from the ‘open’ side of the cut vegetable. Place your finished strips in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok. Slowly saute the prepared garlic until just tender not browned. Add the zucchini and toss to coat in the butter/garlic mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix carefully, toss once more with the grated cheese and serve.

Almond-Chocolate Roca Bars

This bar cookie smell like festivities approaching as it bakes! It is easy to make but looks like you fussed. Can you imagine it with a cup of hot coffee and good company? Easter is coming around the corner. Here is a grownup treat to celebrate the feast day!

Almond-Chocolate Roca Bars
1 cup butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Two cups dark chocolate pieces
½ cup finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup toffee bits

Mix butter, sugars, flour, and extracts, and press into 11×15 baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and set. Melt chocolate and spread over cookie dough. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and toffee bit. Cut into bars while still warm.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies depending on size you cut them.

Ideas . . .
Instead of almonds, you can sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the melted chocolate.

Bit of Chocolate Raised Yeast Cake

Bit of Chocolate Raised Yeast Cake
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

Topping Mixture:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup ground almonds
1/3 cup ground pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
½ cup chocolate chips, optional

Grease or vegetable oil spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the warm water and set aside until bubbles appear. In another bowl combine the remaining scant ½ cup sugar, and the salt, and butter. Stir the milk and extracts into the butter mixture. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and beat the dough until smooth.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap (vegetable oil the underside to prevent sticking) and set aside to rise, almost doubling in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F .

When the dough is nearly risen, prepare the topping. Cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the nuts, spices, vanilla, and orange zest. Drop spoonfuls of the topping evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the topping.

Bake the cake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden. Cool the cake completely in the pan.

1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Stir to combine thoroughly and drizzle over the cooled cake.

Use white chocolate chips and chopped dried cranberries