Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Restaurant secrets exposed

What does the restaurant industry have to hide? One of the true issues behind obesity is the fact that many chain restaurants — which provide one-third of all restaurant meals, according to the New York Department of Health — obfuscate the fat and calorie counts of their menu items, and fight any attempt to shed light on what, exactly, is going on between their buns and inside their taco shells.

Through scientific testing, consultations with nutrition experts, and good old-fashioned snooping, we uncovered some of the secrets these mega-restaurateurs have been keeping.

It's no wonder . . .

1) T.G.I. Friday’s

. . . doesn’t want you to know the nutritional impact of any of its dishes, which they have made a policy of not revealing to customers for years, despite the fact that major competitors such as Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday’s do just that. Thankfully, new legislation in New York City forces restaurants with 15 or more branches nationwide to provide calorie counts for all dishes and drinks on their menus.

We popped by T.G.I. Friday’s the day the law went into effect and saw some real shockers: 2,270 calories for Potato Skins, 1,670 calories for Double-Stack Quesadillas, and, most appalling of all, a Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad with 1,360 calories! Now we see why they worked so hard to keep these numbers hidden.

2) Burger King

. . . doesn't want you to know that its French Toast Sticks (which deliver more than 4 grams of fat per stick) share a deep fryer with the pork sausage, pork fritters, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Fries, Big Fish patties, hash browns, onion rings, and Cheesy Tots — and that all of those items contain harmful trans fats.

But there is hope: After the company was sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for moving too slowly to remove trans fats from its menu, Burger King promised to phase them out by the end of this year.

3) Red Robin

. . . doesn't want you to know the nutritional impact of its gourmet burgers. "A gourmet burger starts by being an honest burger," Red Robin's Web site declares — but not, apparently, a burger that will come clean about its nutrition facts.

When contacted, Red Robin's senior vice president responded that nutritional information for the menu would be available in October 2007. As of May 2008, however, nutrition facts were still not posted on the site.

4 ) Maggiano's Little Italy

. . . doesn't want you to know just how many calories and carbs you're consuming in those massive pasta portions. (As the menu puts it, "Family-style service or individual entrees are available . . . Whichever you choose, you'll have plenty to share or take home.")

In Italy, a standard pasta serving means 4 ounces of noodles with a few tablespoons of sauce. At Maggiano's, a large order of pasta translates into 2 pounds of noodles piled high on a hubcap-size dinner plate (15 1/2 inches in diameter). A Maggiano's PR rep responded to our request for nutritional information a week later: "Sorry for the delay. I had to wait for corporate's approval. Unfortunately, they have declined to participate."

5) Sit-down chains

. . . don't want you to know that their food is actually considerably worse for you than the often-maligned fast-food fare. In fact, our menu analysis of 24 national chains revealed that the average entree at a sit-down restaurant contains 867 calories, compared with 522 calories in the average fast-food entree. And that's before appetizers, sides, or desserts — selections that can easily double your total calorie intake.

For more reasons to insist on nutritional transparency from the food industry, check out these shocking secrets they don’t want you to know.

Have any secrets you’ve uncovered? We need your help in keeping the restaurant industry honest. If you have anything the rest of the country should know about, please let us know in a comment below.

Original article from yahoo

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spinach Casserole

1 pk Jiffy Cornbread Mix
10 oz pk of frozen chopped spinach
2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 can of cream soup (mushroom, celery, chicken, etc)
1 teaspoon herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Swiss Cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Cook & drain spinach. Saute onion in butter until clear. Combine cornbread mix, soup, seasonings, eggs, sour cream blend well. Pour in bake dish, bake 45 minutes. Sprinkle Swiss Cheese on top return to oven until cheese is melted.

Mexicalli Casserole with Grande Biscuits

8 ounce extra lean ground sirloin beef or turkey breast
1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can Healthy Request Tomato Soup
1 cup chunky salsa (mild, med. Or hot)
3/4 cup Bisquick Heart Smart Baking Mix
1 tsp. Dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. No Fat Sour Cream
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. In a large skillet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, brown meat and onion. Stir in cabbage. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add tomato soup and 1/2 cup salsa. Mix well to combine. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine baking mix and parsley flakes. Add water, sour cream, and remaining 1/2 cup salsa. Mix well to combine. Fold in Cheddar cheese. Drop by large spoon to form 4 biscuits over meat mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until biscuits are firm. Place baking dish on a wire rack and let set for 5 minutes. Divide into 4 servings.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Broccoli and Cheese Bake

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups crushed crackers
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix together. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers. Bake for 35 minutes.

Cold Sesame Noodles

This is incredible!

Combine in a saucepan:

3 Tbsp. soy sauce (I use low salt)
1/2 tsp. dried (hot) red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (plus about 2 extra Tbsps.)
1 Tbsp. Oriental Sesame oil
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
4 Tbsp. honey
3 cloves minced garlic (or 3 tsp. minced garlic from the jar)
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Simmer over low heat until thick, stirring often so it's as smooth as you can get it. Take it off the heat and let it cool off.

Cook 1 lb of Lo Mein Noodles or Thin Spaghetti.

Toss pasta with sauce and stick it in the fridge. It should totally coat the pasta. It's good served just cool or all the way COLD.

Just before serving, top with 4 chopped scallions and 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds.

It's DA BOMB served with an ice cold beer like Asahi or Sapporo, or my new favorite, Chimay ale.

I also serve it with a chicken breast that's been marinated in ginger/sesame teriyaki sauce.

Homemade Ring Dig

for the filling:
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup Crisco or soft shortening
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream margarine and Crisco until fluffy and light.
Add sugar, flour, then milk and vanilla.
Whip until sugar is all dissolved and mixture is thick and fluffy.
Put in pastry or icing tube.
Insert in cooled chocolate cupcakes

Homemade Ring Dings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda into a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork until well blended. Make three holes in the dry ingredients. Put oil in the first hole, vinegar in the second hole and vanilla extract in the third hole. Pour water over all ingredients and stir to blend.

Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper baking cups and fill 1/2 to 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.

Yields 12 small cupcakes.

I use dark chocolate frosting in a can spread on very thin for these.

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

1 pint of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 TBSP. Garlic Puree, which you must brown first
1/4 stick of butter (I use unsalted)
2 oz. milk
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
1 oz. Fontina Cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (I'd omit if you're using salted butter)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Set burner to medium heat, brown the garlic puree, then add butter until melted. Add all other ingredients. Stir until it thickens (I never stir the entire time). If it doesn't thicken up, I always add a bit of cornstarch, but that's not in the recipe (shhhh don't tell). I never combine it with water either. I simply add it right in there and have never encountered a problem (though I'm sure Emeril would shake is head).

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups biscuit mix or Bisquick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz.) Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir biscuit mix, milk, cheese and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder together. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine melted butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and salt. Brush biscuits with melted butter mixture and bake for an additional five minutes. Serve.

Tropical Chicken Packets

4 boneless & skinless chicken breast halves
4 green onions and tops-cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
Cooked rice

Place each chicken breast in its own piece of foil

Combine teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, onions, and ginger; spoon over chicken.

Fold foil on tops and ends, leaving room for circulation

Place packets on cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes

Serve over rice

Peanut Butter Pie

1 baked pie shell or graham cracker shell
1 pint whipped topping
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar ( I use Splenda)
1 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, soften cream cheese to room temperature. Stir and blend in peanut butter, sugar and vanilla. Fold in whipped topping until mixture is smooth. Spread into pie shell and refrigerate before serving.

Pepper Steak

round steak
bushel of green onions
green bell pepper
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of lite soy sauce
1 garlic button diced
2 tsp. corn starch

thinly slice round steak and brown in a little olive oil and butter. add to crock along with the rest of the ingredients. cook on high for about 4 hours. mix cornstarch with a little water and add to crock.

I serve this over rice.

Easy Veggie Pie

2 cups cooked chopped broccoli
1/3 cups chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice)
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs

Cook broccoli and drain. In sprayed pie plate mix broccoli, onion, bell pepper and cheese. Mix all other ingredients and poor over pie plate. Bake 400 degees for 30-35 minutes. Serves 6

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin (canned pumpkin is okay)
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool then make sandwiches from two cookies filled with Whoopie Pie Filling.

Whoopie Pie Filling:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup shortening

Beat egg white and mix with the milk, vanilla extract and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix well, then beat in the shortening and the remaining cup of confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Yields 3 dozen.

Mock Turtle Soup

2 ½ quarts of water

2 lbs. ground chuck or very lean ground beef

½ c. Worcestershire sauce

2 med. onions, diced fine

25 ginger snaps (crushed)

½ lemon, seeded and chopped fine

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1 bottle catsup (14 oz.)

2 tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs (chopped)

Put all ingredients in a pot except hard-boiled eggs. Cook to boiling, then simmer 2½ to 3 hours. Add chopped eggs shortly before soup is done.

Breakfast Quiche

1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage (or any kind you like)
1 large can evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 or 3 chopped green onions
2 tbs. flour
1 cup shredded cheese,(I use cheddar)
2 frozen deep dish pie shells

Brown sausage and drain.

Place pie shells in oven until they are light brown.
Fill bottoms with sausage.
Sprinkle flour over sausage
Mix eggs and milk together and pour over sausage and flour. Sprinkle cheese and green onions on top and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

Monkey Bread

2 cans refrigerated biscuits
1 stick melted butter

Mix together: 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon

Pull apart the biscuits and cut each one into fourths. Drop the portions of dough into a greased bundt pan. Making sure the dough is evenly distributed, sprinkle 1/3 of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the dough. Repeat layering the dough and the sugar-cinnamon mixture two more times. Pour the melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the bread to cool and then pull apart and eat.

Great with Hot Chocolate.

Sour Cream Butter Biscuits

2 cups self rising flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400
Mix flour and butter together, add sour cream, blend well
Place spoonfuls of batter in greased miniature muffin pan
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden

Little Cheese Bisquits

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup sour cream
2 sticks butter
1 cup grated cheese

Mix all ingredients together and bake in mini muffin tins at 350 degrees until slightly browned. These are the best with Chili or Homemade Soup. Makes 48

Stewed Pork Chops

4 or 5 bone-in pork chops
1 can of whole tomatoes
1 green pepper coursely chopped
1 yellow (sweet) onion
dash of oregeno and basil
1 clove garlic, diced

brown chops in frying pan with olive oil and a little butter. remove and place in crockpot. add 1/4 cup of water to deglaze pan then add to crock with remaining ingredients. Cook on high for about 5 or 6 hours. You can serve this over rice too.

*note: use very large spoon to remove chops as they really do fall off the bone.

Mediterranean Bake

3 lbs. fish fillets
1 medium onion,sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
3 small zucchini,sliced
1 16oz.can tomatoes,chopped
1 small green pepper,sliced
1 lb.fresh mushrooms sliced
1 medium red,yellow or orange pepper,sliced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a large baking dish that has been treated with vegetable spray,place the vegetable blend & save a couple tablespoons to place over fish.The fish now has a colorful bed of fresh vegetables to be placed upon.
Pour the olive oil over the fish & vegetables & sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Cover & bake for 40 minutes or untill the fish flakes & is done.

Tomato Pie

Brown pie crust (like Pillsbury in the refrig section)

Slice several large ripe tomatoes and drain the juice and pat dry.

Mix approx 1/2 mayo with approx 2 T grated parmesan cheese

Grate 1 cup mozarella cheese
Layer these ingredients in the browned crust, be generous with the mozzarella (ie: grate more if necessary). Salt and pepper between layers.

Make sure the top layer is the mozarella cheese. You should have only 2 or three layers of tomatos.
Place the oven preheated to 375 F and cook til top layer is lightly browned.

Sins of the South Cake

1 pound golden raisins
1 cup Southern Comfort
1 pound pecans -- 1 quart
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 1/2 cups flour, all-purpose
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Soak raisins in bourbon overnight.

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Grease and line bottom of 10-inch tube pan (or 2 small tube pans, or one small and one mini pan).

Cream butter and sugar. Gradually add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour sifted with baking powder and salt. Add raisins and pecans, mixing well. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours for tube pan, less time for smaller pans. Cool
cake on rack.

After cooling, wrap cake in cheesecloth soaked in Southern Comfort and place in airtight container. Will keep for several weeks.

Baked Corn Casserole

1 can regular corn
1 can cream style corn
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 stick butter

Drain regular corn. Blend in 3-quart casserole the two cans of corn, sour cream and butter (cut in small chunks). Add the corn bread mix and blend. Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour (uncovered for the last 15 minutes).

Peach Dessert

1 29 oz can peaches
5 slices of bread, cut off crust
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp of flour
1 egg
1 stick of butter

In 8x8 pan layer peaches...........cut bread into 4 pieces each (20 pieces).....cover peaches with bread...melt butter,add sugar flour,and egg.. pour over bread ...bake at 350 40 to 45 minutes.......... very easy very good.yummy

Lemon Chicken Legs

1 lemon
2 teaspoons oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4-6 chicken legs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In baking dish, grate the peel from 1/2 the lemon, squeeze out the juice (about 1/4 cup) and add to peel with the oregano, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed.
Remove skin from chicken pieces and discard. Coat chicken pieces with the lemon mixture and arrange, bone side up, in the baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Turn and baste chicken with juices.
Reduce heat to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and bake frequently basting , for about 30 more minutes. Plate chicken and pour pan drippings over top.

Broccoli Casserole

I love this one!

20 oz. frozen chopped broccoli
2 cups cooked rice
1 jar (2 oz) chopped pimentos, drained
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup sour cream
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom, broccoli or celery soup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

Cook broccoli according to package directions. Drain and mix with all ingredients except cheese.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes.

Crab Dip

1 cup crab flakes ( You can use the fake stuff)
1 cup cooked shrimp
1 block of cream cheese, slightly softened
1 green onion
3-4 tablespoons cocktail sauce ( I use more)
1/2 cup shredded mozza cheese.

Blend all ingrediants together and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. Serve with crackers.

Crock Pot Jambalaya

1 lb chicken breasts or tenders, boneless. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
8 to 12 oz. smoked sausage, sliced.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped.
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tsp. dried leaf oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. cajun seasoning.
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. shrimp, cooked
2 cups raw rice, cooked

Combine chicken, sausage, bell pepper and onion in crock pot. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, oregano, parsley, cajun seasoning and pepper and stir gently.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hrs. or HIGH for 3 to 4 hrs. About 30 to 45 minutes before serving, add shrimp and cooked rice and heat thoroughly.

Serves 8 and it is wonderful.

The Best Biscuits

"Sour Cream Butter Biscuits"

2 cups of self-rising flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1 cup of sour cream

Preheat oven 400 degrees
Mix flour and butter together add sour cream, blend well
Place spoonfuls of batter in greased miniature muffin pan.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.

Black Bean Dip

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, diced finely
1/2 cup prepared salsa
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, mixing until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillion
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ozs. grated sharp cheddar

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half and half Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree.
Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

The Best bean soup

1 lrg jar of northern white beans
14 oz can chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
3 carrots, sliced
2 potatoes peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1 lrg smoked ham shank (not ham hocks)

throw all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for about 5 hours. remove shank, shred meat and return to cooker.

Italian Deli-Style Cole Slaw

1 large head cabbage
3 to 4 sliced, large onions
1 cup sugar (Splenda can be substituted)
3/4 cup oil
1 teasp. dry mustard
1 cup vinegar
2 teasp. salt
1 teasp. celery seed.

In a large bowl, alternate layers of thinly shredded cabbage with thinly sliced onions. Pour 1 cup of sugar over mixture and set aside. Make a heated sauce by mixing and bringing vinegar, oil, salt, mustard, and celery seed to a boil. Pour over cabbage and onion mixture and let stand covered at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Mix well before serving.

Skillet Beef and Noodles

1 pound lean ground beef
2 T butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup DRY red wine
1 T lemon juice
2 beef bouillion cubes or equivalent base or granules
1 cup water
2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
salt and pepper
dairy sour cream (about 2 T)

Melt butter in skillet....add ground beef, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, breaking up meat until brown. Add wine, lemon juice, bouillon cubes and water. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add noodles, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Note: Check occasionally and add more water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, stir in sour cream and heat through. Serve in soup bowls...sprinkle with paprika.

I serve this with green beans and crusty french bread/butter.

Oriental Chicken Bake

2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup sliced celery
2 tbsp. chopped green onions
1 can (3 oz.) chow mein noodles, divided

Combine all ingredients except the chow mein noodles. Gently stir in 1 cup of the noodles.

Spoon into a greased 8 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining noodles. Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Coconut Cake

1 Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Mix the cake mix, oil, water, eggs and pudding mix in mixing bowl. Beat for two minutes on high speed.
Blend in pecans and coconut

Pour into 3 greased 8 inch cake pans.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean and cake springs back when touched in center.

Let cool completely, then frost.

2 pkgs cream cheese softened
1 cup powdered sugar, use more if needed.
1/2 cup coconut
1 tsp butter

Blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth, adding a teensy bit of milk if needed. Spread between layers and sides and top of cake.

Melt butter in saucepan, add remainining coconut and stir continueously until toasted and lightly brown. Sprinkle on top of cake and press onto the sides.

Southern Cornbread

This is the one I use. You can bake it as muffins or in a pone. For best results use a cast iron pan to bake it in. The lighter weight newer stuff just does not do it justice .

4 cup and 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons all-
purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease or line 12 muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil; beat well. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture; stir until blended. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

New England Baked Beans

16 ounces (2 cups) dry navy beans
2 quarts cold water
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mollassas
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
4 ounces salt pork / bacon
1 large onion, chopped (small chop)

Rinse beans; add to water in saucepan. Bring to boiling and simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover; let stand 1 hour. (Or add beans to cold water; soak overnight.) Add salt to beans and water; cover and simmer till beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid. Measure 2 cups liquid, adding water if needed; mix with molasses, brown sugar, and mustard. Cut salt pork in half; score one half. thinly slice remainder. In 2-quart bean pot or casserole (I prefer the bean pot), combine beans, onion and salt pork. Pour molasses mixture over. Top with scored pork. Cover; bake in 300 oven for 5 to 7 hours. Add more liquid if needed. Makes 8 servings.

Kahlua Pecan Brie Bake

1 pound shelled pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Kahlua
1 pound round of Brie cheese
assorted cocktail crackers

Place Brie on large oven safe serving platter
Simmer brown sugar and Kahlua in large frying pan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly.Add pecans, bring back to a boil. Pour mixture over Brie.

Bake for about 1 minute at 300 and serve with crackers...

Chili Casserole

1 PKG cream cheese
1 Can Chili
1 1/2 cups mozza/cheddar shredded.

Spread cream cheese over bottom of casserole dish. Top off with chili and cheddar/mozza cheese mixture. Bake at 350 until bubbly. Serve with Crackers, toritilla chips etc..

Salmon Wrapped in Phyllo

Fresh Boneless Salmon Filets
Phyllo Pastry
1/2 Lemon
1/2 onion

Preheat oven to 375. Season Salmon Filets with spices and juice of lemon and wrap in Phyllo Pastry ( 3-4 thin sheets) kind of like an envelope looks - but not pressed tight against salmon.

Bake for about 15 minutes ( depending on size of fillets).

While Salmon is baking, cut up onion and saute with a little bit of olive oil in medium frying pan ( I squeeze lemon over top of onions cuz I like it!). When Onion is almost carmelized add about 1/2 - 3/4s of a cup of cream to mixture and scrape up all yummy baked onion stuff off of bottom of pan. Add lots of dill, and other spices and stir constantly. When Salmon is ready, put on plates and pour dill cream sauce over top of pastries and YUMMMY!!!

Shrimp and Rice

2 lbs.shrimp
1 large red bell pepper(chopped)
1 Large green bell pepper(chopped)
1 large onion(chopped)
1 chopped jalepno
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup brown sugar(add at end)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 clove minced garlic
2 cups minute rice(add at end)

Saute veggies in butter...Then add liquids and shrimp....Cook till shrimp are done, and then add brown sugar and rice....Cook for a few minutes, then cover and let stand for about 10 minutes.....

Yellow and Green Split Pea Soup

1" thick slice of pancetta diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 large onions chopped
3 small carrots chopped 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium potato chopped 1/2 inch cubes
4 garlic cloves
64 oz chicken broth
1 3/4 cups split peas rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
pepper to taste

Saute' diced pancetta, onions, and garlic cloves in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until pancetta is crisp and brown. Remove excess fat. Add broth, peas, and bay leaf and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 hour then add potato and carrots. smash softened garlic cloves with spoon. Simmer additional hour until peas start to break down, about 1 more hr., stirring occasionally. Remove lid for last 1/2 hour while simmering. When soup has reached desired consistency, season to taste with pepper. Soup will probably not need salt as pancetta is quite salty.

Serve with a crusty bread.

Burrito Casserole

1 lb. Hamburger Meat
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning
1 lg can Refried Beans
1 family size can Cream of Chicken
Flour Tortillas
Chopped Green Chile
Shredded Cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Brown hamburger meat, drain fat, add taco seasoning (follow directions on pkg). Add refried beans to meat and cook til warm. In separate bowl, mix cream of chicken and same amount of milk with wisk (I usually fill the can about 3/4 with milk so it's not too soupy). Spoon meat and beans into flour tortillas (a good spoonful), fold over sides like a burrito and flip upside down into casserole dish. Fill casserole dish with layer of upside-down burritos. Pour the soup mix over the top of the burritos. Top with green chile and lots of cheese. Put in the oven for approx. 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

French Onion Soup

Serves 6

Cooking the onions for a very long time over low heat mellows their flavor. Don’t stir them too often or they won’t caramelize. This soup tastes best when made with Homemade Beef Stock.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds yellow onions, sliced 1/4-inch into half circles
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 cups Homemade Beef Stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried thymeor 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small French baguette, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 3 cups)

1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot on medium-low heat. Add onions. Spread them out in as thin a layer as possible. Sprinkle with sugar, and cook, stirring just as needed to keep onions from sticking, until they are melting and soft, golden brown, and beginning to caramelize, about 1 hour.

2. Sprinkle flour over onions, and stir to coat. Add sherry, stock, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Meanwhile, lightly toast bread under a broiler; set aside. Ladle hot soup into six ovenproof bowls. Arrange the bowls on a baking pan. Place 1 or 2 slices of toasted bread over each bowl of soup. Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated cheese over bread in each bowl, and place under the broiler until cheese is melted and crusty brown around the edges. Watch carefully that bread doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.

Hamurger Stew

Easy Weekday Hamburger

Stew1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large envelope hearty beef and vegetable soup mix (I use the "Homemade Gourmet" brand)
5 cups water
2 cups instant white rice
1 4.5 jar mushrooms, sliced and undrained
1 14.5 ounce can greenbeans, undrained

In a skillet saute ground beef, onion and celery until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain completely to remove all grease.While browning meat, pour soup mix and water into a large saucepan.

Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add rice, cover, let sit for 5 minutes or until rice is tender.Add meat mixture, mushroons, green beans and their liquid to saucepan. Heat an additional 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Chicken Tetrazzini

16 oz pkg. vermicelli

1/2 cup chicken broth

4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

1 (10 3/4 oz can) cream of mushroom soup

1 small cream of celery soup

1 small cream of chicken soup

1 8 oz container sour cream

1 (6oz) jar sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup (2oz) shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain and return to pot and toss with chicken broth. Stir together chicken and next 8 ingredients. Add vermicelli and mix well.Spoon mixture into two lightly greased 11x7 baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for at least 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This makes enough for a large group or freeze one of the dishes for leftovers.I serve mine with crusty French bread and salad. It's so easy and so good.

Tuscany Spread

1 block cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. mayo
6 salad olives, finely chopped
1/4 nuts finely chopped
sprinkle black pepper

Mix all ingredients and spread on crackers.

Tony Chachere's Seafood Bisque

1/2 cup Tony Chachere's White Gravy Mix

2 cups half and half

2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

1 15oz can cream style corn

1 can cream of potato soup

2 Tablespoons chopped green onions (optional)

1 Tblspn Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (add to taste)

1 lb crawfish (I added 1 pckg frozen crawfish-thawed and 1 package frozenshrimp-thawed)

Put half & half and milk in large saucepan. Turn on medium heat and whiskin White Gravy Mix slowly. When it comes to a slow boil and begins tothicken, add the rest of the ingredients. Turn heat on low and heatthoroughly, stirring often. Be sure to stir frequently so it doesn't stick.Also, don't boil it or it will curdle!!Serve bowls of bisque with French Bread, serve as soup alone- or servebisque on top of angel hair pasta or rice.

Texas Sour Cream Corn Muffins

2 large eggs

1 cup light sour cream

6 tbs butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/14 cup yellow or white cornmeal

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 to 2 tbsp sugar, optional

1 cup drained corn kernels, or frozen corn, thawed

Grease and flour 6 Texas Muffin cups or spray with Pam.Whisk eggs, sour cream, milk and melted butter.In mixing bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt soda and sugar if using sugar.Stir the first mixture into the dry ingredients just until blended, fold in the corn kernels. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups filling to about 2/3 or 3/4 full.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are lightly brownned.

Crab Burrito Roll Ups

1 8oz cream cheese, soften

1 cup grated aged cheddar (I used a Colby/Jack blend I keep on hand)

3 Tbs fresh finely chopped parsley

¾ cup finely chopped red pepper (I threw in some green too)

3 finely chopped green onions (use at least some of the tops too)

1 tsp cayenne (adjust for your taste)

1 cup artificial crab meat or 1 8 oz can crab meat

Work over cheese until blended, stir in other ingredients a bit at a time.

Spread evenly over 3 or so large flour burrito wraps. (I’ve found I don't have enough for 3 more like 2.5).

Roll and wrap in Saran Wrap for an hour (I let mine set overnight, doesn’t seem to hurt).
Cut into 3/4” slices,

bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Mint Crisps

1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. butter, cubed
2 Tbl. plus 1 1/2 tea. water
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tea. baking soda
1/2 tea. salt
2 packages Andes Mints

Cook brown sugar, butter and waterover low heat just until butter is melted..remove from heat and stir in choc. chips.

Transfer to mixing bowl and let cool for 10 minutes..Add eggs one at the time..mixing on high..beat well until all is smooth.

Add dry ingredients ..mix on low..cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Roll into 1" balls..place 2" apart and bake 9-11 minutes @350..Have mints unwrapped already and place one on each cookie the minute they are taken out of the oven. They will melt..spread the mints a bit to cover the cookie..(eat some while they are still hot..LOL)Cool until chocolate is completely set (maybe an hour or more) and then you may refrigerate.

Broccoli Casserole

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups crushed crackers
2 Tbs. butter, melted

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9" baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix well with a metal spoon. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butterevenly over the crackers.

Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.


6 slices Cheddar cheese

6 slices Monterey Jack cheese

6 lg. flour tortillas

1 med. onion, chopped

1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles


3 tbsp. butter

1 c. milk

1 c. sour cream

3 tbsp. flour

1 c. shredded process cheese

1 (8 oz.) can green chile enchilada sauce

Prepare quesadillas by stacking one slice of each kind of cheese near the edge of tortilla. Top with a rounded teaspoon each of onion and chiles. Roll tortillas up around cheese, folding ends under to form 6 little packages. Place quesadillas in greased casserole, overlapping to fit. To prepare sauce, melt butter, stir in flour. Add milk and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and add shredded cheese and sour cream. Stir until melted. Add can of green chile enchilada sauce.

Pour sauce over quesadilla packages in casserole. Bake at 325 degrees about 30 minutes or until piping hot. Serves 6 if served with other Mexican dishes.
When I made this I added a lb of browned ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder.