Monday, October 10, 2016


This recipe is SO easy that it would make a great weekend cooking project for that kid in the family that is a "wanna-be" chef. There are several steps, but they are all EASY.

You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup milk 
2 teaspoons KOSHER salt(kosher measures different than table salt)
1 envelope of yeast
yellow corn meal
6  large mason jar rings

In a large bowl, mix:

1 cup all purpose flour (you'll use other cup later)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (not regular salt)
1 envelope yeast (I buy it in bulk, so I use 1 tablespoon)

In a smaller, microwave safe bowl, mix:

1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Microwave the milk-oil for 1 minute. Take it out of the microwave and stir it, then test it with your finger. It should feel nice and warm, but  NOT hot (I call it baby bottle warm).

Stir the milk-oil into the dry  mixture, until everything is very well mixed, then add ONE MORE cup of flour and stir until WELL mixed. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm part of your kitchen for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, it will look puffy like this:

Stir the air out of the dough (it will be very sticky). 

Preheat your dry (no grease) electric fry pan to 250°. Now here is a hint: everyone's fry pans cook at different rates, so cook ONE "test muffin" to see if you need to turn your heat up a little or down  a little. You want the muffin to look nice and golden when you flip it over after 5 minutes, like this:

 My electric fry pan is perfect at 250°.

Now you are ready to make the rest of the muffins. Spray the inside of the jar rings with vegetable spray (these are going to be your English muffin molds). Set them on your PRE-HEATED dry electric fry pan and sprinkle a little corn meal in the circle before you put the dough in.

Spoon batter into ring molds (it's pretty thick and sticky at this stage). I used about 1 1/4 large ice cream scoops of dough for each muffin.

When all 6 rings have dough in in them, put a lid on the fry pan, but cock it sideways so that it doesn't cover the whole pan. If your fry pan doesn't have a lid, you can cover it with a cookie sheet, but make sure the cookie sheet doesn't touch the muffins.

Cook at 250° for five minutes, then (before you flip it over) sprinkle a little corn meal onto the top of the muffin and then GENTLY flip it over (ring and all).

NOTE: It isn't absolutely necessary, but a Teflon pan works great for these muffins.

Put the lid back on the pan (leaving it open a little) and cook for another five minutes.  Remove from rings (they slide right out) and put the muffin on a baking rack to cool.

Cool completely, then split them open with a fork. To do this, insert the fork into the side of the muffin, half way between top and bottom. Twist the fork JUST A LITTLE, then remove it. Repeat this all the way around the muffin. When you get back to the place where you started, the muffin should just come apart.  Just make sure you do this AFTER the muffin is completely cooled.

To serve, toast in toaster or under broiler until light golden.

If you don't have mason jar lids, you can use anything (that can withstand heat) that is about the same size.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016


This idea came to me years ago when I was trying to think up something "new" for dinner. It is one of those recipes that you can customize any way you like. Lots of fresh avocado? sour cream? fresh tomatoes? lettuce? Whatever "go withs" your heart desires.

Picky-picky husband hates spicy food, so this recipe (using 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper) is quite mild. If you like more "heat" you can add your "heat of choice" during the simmering stage.

1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tomato cans of water
6 ounce can tomato paste

3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp. good for younger kids)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounce can mild green chiles (I use Ortega brand)
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans
Brown the ground beef and drain off all but a tablespoon or so of fat. Sautee the onions (in the fat) for a few minutes or until they smell sweet. Add the garlic and sautee another minute or so.

Add everything else and stir well. Simmer slowly (without a cover)for about an hour. You can also put it in the Crockpot at this stage and cook on low all afternoon if that suits your schedule better.

NOTE: If you simmer it all afternoon in the Crockpot, make sure you crack the lid open just a little by inserting a spoon just under the edge of the lid. This helps the chili thicken as it simmers.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the bowels and stir till well blended.

Preheat your waffle iron and spray it with vegetable spray. Put between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of batter in waffle iron and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.

If you like crispy waffles under your chili, you can pop the baked waffles in the oven for a few minutes at about 250° and they will crisp up nicely.

To serve, top the warm waffle with hot chili and then go to town with whatever toppings you like. We like it simple with shredded cheddar and sour cream.


Friday, September 30, 2016


This rich, delicious, full flavored Rigatoni will be the first entrĂ©e that people will head for at ANY potluck or gathering. It will feed 5 or 6 people depending on their appetite, so if you are feeding a crowd, double (or triple) the recipe.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14 ounce can water
6 ounce can tomato paste
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don't leave out)
2 teaspoons dry basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (don't leave out)
1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the powdered kind)
1 pound of mozzarella cheese grated
rigatoni noodles (eyeball this amount - about 8 ounces)

Cook the chopped onion in a tablespoon of vegetable oil for about 5 minutes or until it starts to smell a little sweet. Add the garlic and cook/stir for another minute or so.

Stir the ground beef into the onion-garlic and cook until  the meat is no longer pink. After it is cooked, if there is a lot of oil in the pan, make sure you drain the meat well before you add the following.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, sugar and spices. Stir well and simmer SLOWLY for an hour and a half (stirring once in a while). After an hour and a half, most of the liquid should have cooked away and it will look like this (not too dry). If it looks overly dry, add a cup of water.

Stir in the Parmesan and Mozzarella (but save a little of the mozzarella to sprinkle over the top before you bake it).
Now a word about the noodles: You can use ANY noodle you want, but we really like the hardy (thick walled) rigatoni noodles. Boil them in salted water for 15 minutes. I use half a package of rigatoni noodles in this recipe. If you are using another kind of noodle, just eyeball the amount (and boil according to package directions).

Drain the noodles well and Stir them into the meat and cheese mixture. Top with a little extra mozzarella and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or till bubbly.