Friday, April 20, 2012

Lemon and Lime...Not Just for Soda

Mmmm. Lemons and limes. I have a confession to make (that will be no secret to my immediate family). I love lemons and limes. I love them as a flavoring in things. But I also love them just as they are. Squeezed or sliced to flavor water...or cut in half with salt sprinkled on top.

Yup. I know it sounds weird to anyone who hasn't acquired that taste, but I love it. I loved it since I was a kid. I got it from my Dad. Half of my siblings love it too and the other half have no interest whatsoever. You sprinkle salt on top of a halved lemon or lime, spread it around with your finger, and then squeeze the lemon or lime and lick it. Repeat until all the juice is gone...and then eat the remaining pulp! My mouth is watering and I'm smacking my lips right now. In fact, I have a lemon in my fridge downstairs right now... And this sounds even crazier, but that was the only craving I had in common with my two pregnancies. I craved lemons and limes with salt on it and I craved salted lemon and lime juice.

However, I'm aware that this particular food craving isn't mainstream and that most people hate it. The recipes I am going to share with you today are ones that I know you will like. I promise!

Oh, and the bonus with a lot of these recipes is that they are great pantry recipes...not a lot of ingredients and mostly stuff that you can always keep on hand!

Some of these recipes are sweet and some are savory. That's the beauty of the lemon and the lime. They can be used both ways. So, pucker those lips and get ready for some tart citrus flavors!

Lemon and Lime Ice Cream


4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
3 tablespoons lime juice
Several drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Lemon and/or lime slices and curls (optional)


In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine milk, sugar, whipping cream, lemon peel, lemon juice, lime peel, lime juice, and, if desired, food coloring. (Mixture may appear curdled.)

Freeze in a 3-4 quart ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Ripen 4 hours in freezer. If desired, garnish with lemon and lime slices and curls.

Makes 2 quarts (16 servings)

Source: recipe found on

Chicken Breasts Diane


4 large boneless chicken breast halves (or 8 small)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive or salad oil
2 tbsp butter or margarine
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onions
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/ cup chicken broth


Place chicken breast halves between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Pound slightly with mallet. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter in large skillet (see notes below).

Cook chicken over high heat for 4 minutes on each side. Do not cook longer or they will be overcooked and dry. Transfer to warm serving platter.

Add chives or green onion, lime juice, parsley, and mustard to pan. Cook 15 seconds, whisking constantly (see notes below).

Whisk in broth. Stir until sauce is smooth. Whisk in remaining butter and oil (see notes below).

Pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

Recipe Tips: You can pound chicken breasts flat and leave flattened between sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap them airtight in one package and freeze for later use.

This recipe is good served with noodles with tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, and or a fresh salad.

Nutrition information: 409 calories, 44.2 g protein, 24.2 g fat, 0.9 g carobhydrates, 580 mg sodium.

Source: This is from a recipe card dated 1988 for Great American Recipes (in the Poultry at Its Best section, card 47, group 5).

Notes: My Mom made this a long, long time ago and she and I, apparently, were the only ones in my family who loved it (everyone else was too picky about green onions at the time). Because no one else liked it, my Mom was going to throw the recipe card out, but I held onto it for myself. Yum! I'm glad I did because this recipe is fantastic. If you don't like green onions, use the chives instead. But I love the mix of Dijon mustard and lemon or lime juice. I usually use lime juice, but it works either way.

My chicken breasts are a little small because when I was thawing them, they seemed huge and I decided to cut the breasts in half rather than use the whole breasts and pound them. But I should have stuck with the recipes. Once the chicken breasts thawed, they weren't as big as I thought. It would have been better if I had pounded them and cooked them according to the recipe.

As for the sauce, I often tend to have problems with pan sauces (sometimes, they get a little too overdone or browned for my liking). So, I used the following method:

I cooked the chicken as stated in the recipe--except I used cooking spray in place of the butter and oil. I omitted the oil completely from the recipe. While the chicken was cooking, I made the sauce by combining all of the ingredients (2 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp green onions, lime juice, parsley, Dijon mustard, and chicken broth) in a microwave-safe bowl. When the chicken was nearing completion, I microwaved the sauce in the microwave for about a minute (to melt the butter). I removed the sauce and whisked it until smooth. When the chicken was finished, I kept it in the pan and poured the sauce directly on top of it. I then removed it from the heat and served it. You could also keep the green onions and parsley out of the sauce until after you had microwaved it and then stirred it in after whisking the mixture until smooth.

By using smaller chicken breasts and omitting the oil, you will cut down on the calories and fat listed in the original nutrition information facts.

Southwestern Chicken Scaloppine


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
1/4 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup Progresso chicken broth (from 32 oz carton)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce, if desired
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place chicken breast half with smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken. Cut chicken into smaller pieces, if desired.

In shallow dish, mix flour, cumin, and salt. Coat chicken with flour mixture. Reserve 1 teaspoon flour mixture.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and no longer pink in center. remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm (see notes below).

In small bowl, stir reserved 1 teaspoon flour mixture into broth. Gradually stir broth mixture and red pepper sauce into skillet. Heat to boiling; stir in lime juice and cilantro. Serve sauce over chicken (see notes below).

Makes 4 servings

Recipe notes: Serve with cornbread or corn muffins, steamed green beans or broccoli, and fresh fruit.

Variation: Instead of chicken, use 1 pound pork tenderloin. Cut into 4 pieces, and flatten as directed for the chicken.

Nutrition information: 250 calories, 10 g fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 7 g carbohyrdate, 0 g fiber, 33 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: I followed the recipe, except I used non-stick cooking spray in place of the oil to brown the chicken. Also, rather than removing the chicken and making the sauce in the pan, I combined the sauce ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwaved it until thickened. Then, when the chicken was done, I poured the sauce directly over the chicken in the pan. This was sooo yummy! It would work great with any of your favorite southwestern or Mexican sides (like rice or cornbread).

Pork Milanese


1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pound pork cutlets (1/4 inch thick)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed
3 cups baby arugula
1 head radicchio, or endive, or a combination, thinly sliced
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion


In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper; set dressing aside. Place flour in a small bowl. Season pork with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. When oil is hot, add cutlets, working in batches and adding more oil if necessary (do not overcrowd pan). Cook until cutlets are golden on bottom, 3 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, 3 minutes. Transfer cutlets to a large platter.

In a large bowl, toss arugula, radicchio, and onion with dressing, then top cutlets with salad.

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe. Found originally in the magazine (but can now be found on the website).

Notes: I originally only made the salad...which I fell in love with. Arugula can be so bitter on its own, but when paired with lemon juice, it is out of this world. I happened to have some pork chops on hand and thought, what the heck, I'll try the whole recipe. As usual, I omitted the oil and used non-stick cooking spray to brown the pork.

I debated slicing the pork chops down the middle to make them thinner because they were thick-cut pork chops, but I opted not to. But in hindsight, I should have. It would have worked a little better. But even so, this meal was delicious. The arugula salad pairs so nicely with the pork. Easy and delicious!

Refreshing Lemon Trifle


1 angel food cake (either prepared or your favorite recipe)
1 package lemon jell-o pie filling
1 large tub whipped topping


Cut angel food cake into cubes. Alternately layer angel food cake, lemon pie filling, and whipped topping until your bowl or trifle dish is full.

Source: My piano teacher when I was a child used to make this in cake form.

Notes: My piano teacher would make it as follows: She would slice the angel food cake to make three layers. She would use the lemon pie filling in between each layer and then frost with the whipped topping.

I think it works a little better as a trifle because it's a little easier to serve. But either way works great. I just love this combination! It's such a light and refreshing dessert.

If you needed a little something else in the trifle, I would suggest roughly crushed Golden Oreos (do the layers as follows: angel food cake, Golden Oreos, lemon pie filling, and whipped topping).

You can also use lite whipped topping to cut down on calories. It tastes exactly the same.

Lemon Yogurt Bread


3 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. lemon yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
Optional: 1 tbsp grated lemon peel


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift all dry ingredients and set aside.

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl.

Add sugar and oil, cream well.

Mix in exact amount of yogurt.

Add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into two well-greased loaf pans (or one bundt pan).

Glaze for Lemon Bread


3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond flavoring
1/2 tsp butter flavoring


Mix all ingredients together. Pour over semi-cooled lemon bread.

Source: This recipe came from my good friend, April Farmer. It is a recipe that they use at the bed and breakfast that she works at. She brought it as part of a dinner she brought to me after I had my second son. It was so good we had to restrain ourselves from eating the whole loaf that very night!

Notes: It seems that I very rarely have orange juice on hand, so the glaze I make is a little different. I use 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 tsp vanilla flavoring (since my son is allergic to tree nuts). It is a little more tart than the other glaze is, but I like tart! I think it works well. After seeing how pretty the lime zest looks on the glaze for the lime bread, I would definitely add lemon zest to this glaze as well.

Sweet Lime Bread



1/2 pound butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons grated lime peel
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk


1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
Finely shredded lime peel


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans; set aside.

To make the bread, cream the butter, sugar, and grated lime peel in a large bowl. In another large bowl, place flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a wire whisk until thoroughly blended. In medium bowl, mix eggs and milk. Add dry ingredients and egg mixture alternately to butter mixture in three installments. Mix well after each addition. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans and bake in the oven for 55 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Adjust the baking time if making smaller loaves.)

To make the glaze, mix the sugar, lime juice, and peel in a small pan. Cook, stirring, over low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. As soon as the bread is removed from the oven, perforate the top of the loaves with a toothpick and drizzle the glaze over the hot bread. Allow the loaves to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on racks. The bread may be served immediately or wrapped tightly and frozen.

Lighter Sweet Lime Bread



1/4 cup corn-oil margarine, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons grated lime peel
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup liquid egg substitute
1 cup nonfat milk


1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime peel


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 standard-size loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches) with a nonstick vegetable spray; set aside. (You can also use Pam for Baking which contains flour. It works wonderfully on baked goods without adding fat).

In a large mixing bowl, blend together margarine, applesauce, corn syrup, sugar, and lime peel. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a 2 cup measure or small bowl, combine egg substitute and milk. Add dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately to margarine mixture in three installments. Beat well after each addition.

Divide batter evenly between the two loaf pans. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When the breads are almost finished baking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

As soon as the breads are removed from the oven, poke holes in the top of the loaves with a toothpick. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the top of each loaf. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool completely on racks. May be served immediately or wrapped and frozen. Makes two loaves, up to 16 slices per loaf.

Source: This is a recipe that my Mom made years ago as Christmas gifts for our neighbors years ago (among many other different kinds of quick bread). I'm not exactly sure, but I think she found this recipe in the Deseret News recipe section. She'll have to provide to correct source.

Notes: Mmmmm. This is so good. I love sweet quick breads!

Lemon Chicken


2 lbs chicken (bone-in or boneless skinless may be used)
salt, to taste
1 cup lemon juice
2 tsp marjoram leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp onion salt


Rub the chicken with salt. Place chicken in baking dish. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn chicken over. Bake for another 20 minutes. Baste every 10 minutes until browned.

Source: This is one that my Mom used to make for us years ago, she will need to provide the source.

Notes: I believe this recipe was originally written for bone-in chicken breasts (which take longer too cook and retain their moisture better). If you are using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you will most likely have to reduce the cooking time. Just watch your chicken and check it after 30 minutes by slicing into the center with a knife. Once it is no longer pink and the juices run clear, it is done. You don't want to overcook the chicken otherwise it will be dry and tough.

This recipe might definitely for lemon lovers only! It is still very tart, but since we are all lemon lovers, we all adored this recipe while we were growing up. It's a wonder we didn't get more cavities than we did!

However, cavities or not, I suggest that you use a little of the sauce to dip the chicken in.  It is too thin of a sauce to pour on top, but the combination of the lemon juice, marjoram, thyme, and onion salt are so yummy to dip each bite of chicken in.

It's not the prettiest chicken presentation-wise (the chicken is almost being poached in the lemon juice mixture, so it's pretty pale in color), but it's a great pantry recipe to have on hand and it is really easy to throw together!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just a Little Something On the Side

Ahhhh. My great dilemma. Side dishes. For most dinners, it is an after-thought. A last-minute scramble to come up with something to fill the rest of the plate. Unless it's a Sunday dinner, I'm asked to bring a side dish to a pot-luck or dinner, or I'm having guests, I very rarely think of side dishes these days. That didn't used to be the case. Back before I had kids, I planned ahead much more often and had a plethora of side dishes.

However I am experimenting more with bread-making. More on that later! I'm sure I'll come up with quite a few blog posts with that topic. It's actually a lot of fun. I just haven't had 1) the time, or 2) the oven access before now to do it.

My lack of time to plan and prepare side dishes these days doesn't mean that my family doesn't have a good stash of favorite side dish recipes to choose from. And, of course, that doesn't stop us from discovering more great side dishes...every Sunday! :) During the week, it's a can of green beans, rice-a-roni, or frozen corn for me! But Sunday? That's when we discover new delectable things to eat on the side.

Oh, and I noticed that this time around, a lot of these recipes are potato-based. I promise that potatoes aren't the only side dish we eat! If you don't believe me (or if you do believe me, but want to check out our favorite side dishes), click here. That link takes you to a list of all of our recipes listed alphabetically by category. So, just scroll down to the side dish category and you'll see all of our favorite side dishes such as baked polenta fries, basil corn on the cobb, herbed basmati rice, lime rice, Mexican corn salad, mixed berry salad with mint, orange glazed carrots, etc. Just to name a few.

So, sit back, loosen your belt, relax, and enjoy the side-dishes!

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower


8 cups cauliflower florets
1 red onion, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
Juice from 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup Breakstone's or Knudsen sour cream
1 1/2 cups Kraft finely shredded triple cheddar cheese


Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine first 5 ingredients; spread onto foil-covered rimmed baking sheet.

Bake 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Top with cheese; bake 5 minutes or until melted.

Makes 6 servings (1 cup per serving)

Recipe Notes: For a special addition, you can cook and crumble 4 slices of bacon; sprinkle over roasted vegetable mixture just before serving.

Nutrition information: 210 calories, 16 g fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 9 g protein.


Notes: Oooh, I loved this. It was so good. Whether you like cauliflower or not, you're going to like this. My sister hates onions, but they were big enough that she was able to pick around harm done!

True-Blue Potato Salad


2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, cooked and cubed
3/4 cup chopped green onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese


In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, onions, and celery. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Pour over potato mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size is 1 cup).

Nutrition Information: 175 calories, g fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 622 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home recipe found in one of their cookbooks (I'll have to find out which one, specifically, from my Mom).

Notes: For awhile there, my Mom wasn't sure that she could find this recipe again. I was very worried. I knew that if she didn't find it, that I would crave it the remainder of my days. :) This is a very good, and unique, potato salad recipe.

Sweet and White Potato Salad


3/4 lb. new potatoes (about 9), quartered
3/4 lb. sweet potatoes (about 1 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup Kraft mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground Mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
6 slices Oscar Mayer Bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 green onions, sliced


Bring 1 1/2 qt. water to boil in large saucepan. Add new potatoes; cook 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes; cook 10 minutes or until all potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes; place in large bowl. Cool.

Mix mayo, mustard, honey, and pepper. Add to potatoes with remaining ingredients; mix lightly.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

Recipe Notes: If you like your potato salad extra spicy, increase ground red pepper to 1/2 tsp. You can also substitute 1/2 cup chopped Oscar Mayer ham for the bacon. In addition to that, you can substitute Miracle Whip Dressing for the mayo, if you prefer (which I don't!).

Nutrition information: 110 calories, 5 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.


Twice Baked Potatoes


Large baking potatoes
Cheddar Cheese
Garlic Salt or Garlic Powder
Sour Cream
Salt and pepper, to taste


Wash potatoes and pat dry, then pierce with a fork (after the potatoes are dried and pierced, you can also rub the potatoes lightly with oil and sprinkle with sea salt, if you like).

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your potatoes).

Remove the potatoes from the oven. Allow to cool slightly. Scoop potatoes out of the skins (taking care to keep the skins intact) and place in a large bowl. Place the potato skins (skin side down) on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Set the potato skins aside.

In the bowl with the potatoes, add cheese, garlic salt/garlic powder, to taste. Add butter and sour cream (2 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup sour cream for every 6 potatoes). Stir to mix. You want the mixture to be well incorporated, but you also want it to still be a little chunky--not mashed until it's smooth.

Once the potato mixture is complete, scoop it back into the reserved potato skins. Sprinkle additional cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes.  Return the potatoes to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted, the potatoes are hot, and the tops are slightly browned.

Source: We've had these twice-baked potatoes as long as I can remember. I don't know the source. My Mom will have to help out with that one.

Notes: I've never actually seen a written copy of this recipe, so I am estimating the ingredient amounts from memory. I usually just add the ingredients according to taste. If there is an actual recipe out there, I would be much obliged if my Mom would share it with me (and all of us!).

Three Bean Salad


1 can cut green beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can cut yellow wax beans
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped


3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup salad oil
2/3 cup vinegar


Drain beans. Add beans, onion, and green pepper to bowl and toss gently.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Pour dressing over bean mixture, stirring gently to coat well. Let salad marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Source: This is one of my favorite side dishes. But the recipe always seemed to elude me. Until Pinterest came along! I found this recipe on Pinterest. It is from a lovely blog which you can find here.

Notes: You could also use red onion in place of the regular onion, if you like. This also makes a lot of dressing, you could reduce it by half and still have enough to coat the beans.

Raising the Bar

Desserts come in so many forms. Ahhh, sweet dessert. Today, I am going to focus on a super easy form that dessert comes in: the dessert bar.

These were all absolutely delicious and work great if you are asked to bring a dessert to a dinner or potluck. They travel well. A long ride to a friend's house with some dainty and fragile desserts can be hair-raising, but you can rest assured on the drive with these desserts. They will arrive at their destination safely and will still make for a beautiful presentation. Besides that, they are yummy and will just hit the spot!

And as luck would have it, each of these recipes comes from Betty Crocker. That Betty sure knows how to make a good bar! (And yes, I know that Betty Crocker isn't a real person, only a fictional character created to personify a fantastic housewife and cook). :)

Lemon Creme Bars


1/2 cup cold butter
1 pouch (1 lb. 5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1 egg
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom of 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix, using form or pastry blender. Stir in egg until mixture is crumbly. Press half of cookie mixture into bottom of pan; bake 15 minutes.

In small bowl, stir condensed milk, lemon peel and lemon juice until thick. Spread over baked crust. Crumble remaining cookie mixture over top. Bake about 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 5 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes 25 bars.

Recipe Notes: You'll need 2 medium lemons to get 1/4 cup juice. Fresh lemon juice will give the best lemon flavor. You can also cut bars into bite-size squares and serve in mini paper cups.

Nutrition information: 170 calories, 6 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website

Snickerdoodle Bars


2 1/3 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon Filling:

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon


1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease bottom only of a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Beat in sugars. Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture until combined. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon half the batter into pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over batter.

Dollop teaspoon size amounts of remaining batter evenly over cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

Makes 24 bars.

Recipe notes: For traveling, you can cut the bars and pack them between sheets of waxed paper in sealed plastic food containers. You can also wrap each individual bar in plastic wrap.

If desired, you can sprinkle 1/3 cup cinnamon chips or chopped toasted pecans over cinnamon-sugar filling in center of bars.

Nutrition information: 190 calories, 7 g fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website

Fabulous Fruit Bars



2 pouches (1 lb 1.5 oz each) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (vanilla extract may also be used)
2 eggs


1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling (peach pie filling or any other favorite pie filling may also be used)


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press half of dough in bottom of pan.

Spread pie filling over dough. Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls over filling.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.

In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over warm bars. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered at room temperature.

Makes 24 bars.

Recipe Notes: You can also serve this bar warm topped with a scoop of ice cream and as noted above, you can substitute your favorite pie filling for the cherry pie filling.

Nutrition Information: 300 calories, 12 g fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 45 g carbohyrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Source: This was an honorable mention recipe in the 2007 Mix it Up with Betty! Cookie Mix Recipe Contest found on the Betty Crocker website.

Notes: we used peach pie filling and vanilla flavoring.

Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars


1 pouch (1 lb. 5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 box (4 serving size) French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toffee bits, finely crushed


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 whole egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan.

In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread over crust in pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until set in center. Immediately sprinkle top with crushed toffee bits. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes 36 bars.

Nutrition information: 200 calories, 11 g fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Strawberries and Cream Dessert Squares


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg


1 cup white vanilla baking chips (6 oz)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened


4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
10-12 drops red food color, if desired


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom only of 15x10x1 or 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, and egg until soft dough forms. Press evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips uncovered on high for 45-60 seconds or until chips are melted and can be stirred smooth. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in melted chips until blended. Spread mixture over crust. Refrigerate while making topping.

In small bowl, crush 1 cup of the strawberries. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in crushed strawberries and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in food color. Cool 10 minutes. Gently stir in remaining 3 cups strawberries. Spoon topping over filling. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set; serve within 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes 20 servings.

Recipe Notes: You can make this using 4 cups of your favorite fresh fruit.

Nutrition information: 270 calories, 13 g fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: We've made this a few times (it is soooo good! Very fresh and summery). But we've never taken a picture of it. Maybe next time! But you can trust me, this makes a very pretty and colorful dessert.

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup firm butter or margarine
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

Place cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.

Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes 24 bars.

Nutrition Information: 240 calories, 13 g fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Source: This recipe was one of fifteen winners in the 2007 Mix It Up with Betty? Cookie Mix Recipe Contest and was found on the Betty Crocker website.

Notes: We omitted the nuts due to my son's tree-nut allergy. Also, this is another recipe that we have made a number of times but just keep forgetting to take pictures of. It gets gobbled up before we think about it! Again, maybe next time we'll get a picture! They kind of look similar to the Lemon Creme Bars though. Just so you can visualize it!

Baklava Bars


Cookie Base:

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 egg


1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 frozen mini phyllo shells (from 2.1 oz package)



1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla


5 tablespoons honey


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl,s tir walnuts, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and the salt with fork until mixture is well mixed and crumbly.

Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over partially baked base. With hands, crumble frozen phyllo shells evenly over nut mixture. Bake 18-20 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon uncovered on high for 1 minute or until bubbly. Stir in vanilla.

Drizzle honey mixture evenly over phyllo. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Before servings, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each bar. Store covered at room temperature.

Makes 24 bars.

Source: This was one of fifteen winners in the 2007 Mix It Up with Betty! Cookie Mix Recipe Contest.

Recipe Notes: Baklava is a sweet dessert made with layers of butter-drenched pastry, spices, and nuts. A honey-lemon syrup is poured over the baked warm pastry and left to soak. The dessert is traditionally cut into triangles. You can find mini phyllo (also called "fillo" shells) in the freezer section of your supermarket.

Nutrition information: 250 calories, 14 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: This was one of our fantastic finds before we found out about my son's tree nut allergy. For those of you who aren't allergic to tree nuts, you HAVE to try this. It is so delicious. It tastes just like traditional baklava...but it is a lot less work to make! Again, no picture. Sorry!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Dinner to Remember

Ever since I was a kid, I have had a huge fascination with the Titanic. I was six years old when Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. My brother had a book of pictures from his explorations and when he was done with it, I quickly claimed that book as my own.

It's hard to believe that it's been 27 years since the wreckage was discovered...and 100 years since the Titanic sank.

Here is one very poignant quote
I found by Robert Ballard:

"The discovery was a celebratory moment at first, until the realization set in that the site was actually a mass graveyard. What really brought that message home, Ballard explained, were the pairs of shoes they found lying on the ocean floor. After the passengers either froze to death or drowned, their bodies sank...over the years, their bones dissolved into the seawater. All that remained was their shoes, which remained in pairs where they landed.

'When we saw those shoes, we saw the tombstones,' he said."

There is so much that I find fascinating about the story of the Titanic. The false confidence that was so overwhelming during the Guilded Age. The stark contrast between the opulence of the first class and the poverty of the third class. The changes--that now seem everyday and commonplace--that were made as a result of that disaster (for instance, the use of SOS for a distress signal and lifeboats for more than the capacity that a ship can carry). The amazing survival instincts that are just innate in some people. The heightening of human character--these kinds of tragedies bring out the best and the worst in people. Some people became heroes and others showed their cowardice.

Recently, during one of my mother's frequent trips to the library, she discovered a book called Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley. We were fascinated by this book. Not only did it contain actual recipes that were served on the last night of the Titanic's voyage, but it contained more historical anecdotes in regards to the Titanic, her passengers, and the times in which she was created.

You really should check out this wonderful book (ISBN-13: 978-0-7868-6303-7). My mom checked it out from the library...and renewed it two times (the limit). Then, I checked it out from the library and renewed it two times. And then we just bought the book because we knew it was a keeper!

So, we decided to try some of these recipes on the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking.

This book is fascinating because it includes the menus for first, second, and third class meals.

The book states "...none of the surviving passengers who ate at the A La Carte restaurant on that last evening tucked a copy of the menu into the pockets of a dinner jacket, so we can only surmise what the bill of fare included...The menu we present here is one we have invented based on the fragments of evidence describing what was actually eaten that night--caviar, lobster, and "plover eggs" (We've substituted quail eggs). This menu comprises a series of courses, following the classic pattern, that a knowledgeable diner might have chosen from a similar a la carte menu of the time. In all there are eight courses. A dessert of cheese and fruit makes an optional, but virtually obligatory, ninth course."

Below is the menu they have mapped out in their book (I'm sharing the English names for the dishes rather than the French ones).

First Class a la Carte Menu:

First Course--Hors D'Oeuvre: Quail Eggs in Aspic with Caviar served with White Bordeaux or White Burgundy (aspic is a fancy word for gelatin)

Second Course--Potage: Spring Pea Soup served with Madeira or Sherry

Third Course--Poisson: Lobster Thermidor with Duchess Potatoes served with Dry Rhine or Moselle

Fourth Course--Entree: Tournedos with Morels on a Bed of Braised Cabbage (tender beef and wild mushrooms) served with Red Bordeaux

Fifth Course--Punch or Sorbet: Rose Water and Mint Sorbet (palate cleanser)

Sixth Course--Roti: Quails with Cherries served with Red Burgundy

Seventh Course--Legume: Spring Asparagus Hollaindaise

Eight Course--Entremets: Fresh Fruit Salad and Orange Surprise served with Sweet Dessert Wines such as Muscatel, Tokay, Medeira.

Ninth Course--Les Desserts: Assorted fresh fruits and cheeses served with Sweet Dessert Wines, Champagne, or Sparkling Wine

After Dinner: Coffee, Cigars, Port, or Cordials


And THAT was for the a la carte restaurant.

The First-Class Dining Saloon had a menu of its own. The book states "Of the two menus that survive from the night of April 14, 1912, one comes from the first-class dining saloon. It is therefore possible to re-create in its entirety the sumptuous meal enjoyed by some of the ship's most renowned passengers--John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, Isidor and Ida Straus, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, et al."

That First-Class Dining Saloon Menu is as follows:

First Course--Hors D'Oeuvre: Canapes a l'amiral and Oysters a la Russe

Second Course--Soups: Consomme Olga and Cream of Barley Soup

Third Course--Fish: Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce

Fourth Course--Entrees: Chicken Lyonnaise; Filets Mignons Lili; and Vegetable Marrow Farci

Fifth Course--Removes: Lamb with Mint Sauce; Calvados-Glazed Roast Duckling with Applesauce; Roast Sirloin of Beef Forestiere; Chateau Potatoes; Minted Green Pea Timbales; and Creamed Carrots

Sixth Course--Punch or Sorbet: Punch Romaine

Seventh Course--Roast: Roasted Squab on Wilted Cress

Eighth Course--Salad: Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette

Ninth Course--Cold Dish: Foie gras marinated in Madeira with truffles

Tenth Course--Sweets: Waldorf Pudding; Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly; Chocolate Painted Eclairs with French Vanilla Cream; and French Vanilla Ice Cream

Eleventh Course--Dessert: cheese and fruit

After Dinner: coffee, cigars, port, and cordials.

Wow, I don't know about you, but after a dinner like that, it would be time to loosen those belts or corsets, ladies and gentlemen! I like this quote from the book "Stomachs have shrunk, for no one today could eat the meals that were swallowed as a matter of course fifty years ago." Noel Streatfeild, 1956.

The second class menu wasn't nearly as sumptuous as the first class menu, but it was still a fantastic meal. This second class menu was the second of only two menus from April 14, 1912 that survived the sinking of the Titanic. So, we know that it is accurate.

Here is the second class menu:

First Course--Soup: Consomme with Tapioca

Second Course--Main Dishes: Baked Haddock with Sharp Sauce; Curried Chicken and Rice; Lamb with Mint Sauce; Roast Turkey with Savory Cranberry Sauce; Turnip Puree; Green Peas; Boiled Rice; Boiled and Roast Potatoes

Third Course--Desserts: Plum Pudding with Sweet Sauce; Wine Jelly; Coconut Sandwich; American Ice Cream; Assorted Nuts; Fresh Fruit; Cheese; Biscuits

After Dinner: Coffee.

As for third class dining, no menus survive from April 14, 1912. But a menu from April 12, 1912 survived. The third class menus were printed for the day. It is difficult to read because it is water-stained, but it describes a breakfast consisting of oatmeal porridge and milk, smoked herrings, jacket potatoes, fresh rolls with butter, tea, and coffee.

Following the third class customs of the time, below you will find a menu that the authors created to approximate what they might have eaten on that last night.

3rd Class Menu:

Dinner: Vegetable Soup; Roasted Pork with Sage and Pearl Onions; Green Peas; Boiled Potatoes; Plum Pudding with Sweet Sauce; Cabin Biscuits; and Oranges.

Tea: Ragout of Beef with Potatoes and Pickles; Currant Buns; Fresh Bread and Butter; Apricots; and Tea.

Above: a picture of an actual biscuit from 1912 that was saved from one of the Titanic's lifeboats. We made some of our own following the book's recipe. You can find the recipe for Cabin Biscuits below with the other recipes.

In closing, the book talks about some of the kitchen staff and chefs continuing to make bread even after the ship collided with the iceberg. Up until a little after midnight, they went about their business preparing food for the following day.

Here is a fascinating story shared by this book regarding the Titanic's chief baker:

"When all the lifeboats had departed, more than half of the Titanic's passenger's and crew remained on the ship. One of these was the chief baker, Charles Joughin, who had passed a most eventful night. When first wakened by the impact, he had immediately organized a party of bakers to provision the lifeboats with any bread they could find. Then he had helped load the boats and even bullied reluctant passengers into leaving the sinking ship. For a long time, many refused to believe the 'unsinkable' Titanic was doomed. When all the boats were away, Joughin began throwing wooden chairs overboard for use as life rafts. Whenever he needed a break, he nipped back to his cabin on E-deck for a snort of whiskey. By the time the ship was about to sink, he seems hardly to have minded.

Passengers crowded to the stern as the bow sank, but few, if any, had baker Joughin's presence of mind or his ability to keep his balance as the stern lurched and twisted and stood up almost on end. Calmly, almost nonchalantly, he stepped over the starboard rail and began climbing the side of the ship until he stood on the upended stern. He cinched his lifebelt as the ship began its plunge, stepped calmly into the water, and swam gently away.

Thanks, presumably, to the alcohol in his blood acting as an anti-freeze, Joughin survived several hours in the icy water and emerged none the worse for the experience."

Wow. It's amazing how people can find so many different ways to perform acts of heroism. He did everything he could for others for as long as he could. And I am amazed at his presence of mind. For him to think of people needing food in the lifeboats in case help didn't come quickly and organizing his staff to put bread into the lifeboats was amazing. Then, to think of throwing chairs into the water to provide flotation devices for those in need? So smart. He may have been warmed up by whiskey, but his thought-processes were as clear and sharp as ever. It is stories like this that make these kinds of events stay in the minds and hearts of generations to come. Acts of incredible heroism in the face of tragedy like this are what buoy up our hope and faith in mankind.

So many stories...

And as you can tell from the menus above, just one evening's worth of food on this ship included a multitude of recipes. We were only able to try a handful. But I will share with you the ones we did try. And might I add that each and every recipe was fantastic. The cooks on the Titanic definitely knew what they were doing.

So, without further ado, let me share with you the wonderful recipes we tried. Oh, and as a nod to first class vs. third class social politics, we served our first class feast on paper plates!

Chicken Lyonnaise

First Class

This is one of the most delicious items on the first-class dinner menu. The sauce is from Lyons, considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France, and employs two foods for which the area is renowned--onions from the Rhone Valley and poultry from Bresse.


1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tbsp dried)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine (or additional chicken stock)
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp tomato paste
Pinch granulated sugar


In sturdy plastic bag, shake together flour, 1 tbsp of the thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp if using dried), salt, and pepper. One at a time, dip chicken breasts into egg, and then shake in flour mixture.

In large deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Place chicken in pan, skin side down. Cook, turning once, for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and place in 225 degree F oven.

Reduce heat to medium; add remaining oil to skillet. Stir in onions, garlic, and remaining thyme; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook onions, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Add wine (or chicken stock) to pan; cook, stirring to scrape up any brown bits, for about 1 minute or until reduced by half. Stir in stock, tomato paste, and sugar. Boil for 2 minutes or until beginning to thicken. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat, and cook for 5 minutes or until juices from chicken run clear. Makes 6 servings.

Notes: This was so good. The caramelized onions were delicious and the sauce was fantastic.

Creamed Carrots

First Class

The standard in Edwardian times was to cook vegetables until soft. Here, as a concession to modern tastes, we recommend cooking the carrots until easily pierced by a fork.


8 or 9 medium carrots, julienned
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives


Place carrots in medium saucepan with enough water to cover; add cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until carrots are fork-tender. Drain, remove cinnamon stick, and return carrots to pan. Add butter, salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper; mix well. Add lemon juice and cream; boil for 1 minute or until cream is slightly thickened.

Adjust seasoning if necessary. Turn into shallow serving bowl; sprinkle with chives and serve. makes 6 servings.

Notes: The flavor of this was so addicting. It was unique and so delicious. The spices complemented the carrots so well.

Chauteau Potatoes

First Class

Called "chateau" because they were a country favorite of French nobility, these would go well with any of the removes. Chefs of the day used turning knives (crescent-moon-bladed paring knives) to cut the potatoes into eight-sided jewel shapes.


6 medium potatoes
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper


Peel potatoes; using a turning knife, cut into eight-sided jewel shapes (alternatively, cut into thick, evenly shaped wedges). Meanwhile, place butter, oil, and rosemary in large, rimmed baking sheet. Set pan in 425 degree F oven for 2-3 minutes or until butter is sizzling.

Pat potatoes dry; place in heated pan and stir to coat with butter mixture. Bake in 425 degree F oven, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Notes: What in the world does this recipe mean by cutting the potatoes into "eight-sided jewel shapes" Is it a 3D octagon? At any rate, we simply peeled and sliced them.

Punch Rose (Rose Water and Mint Sorbet)

First Class

Although you can make your own rose water with organically grown rose petals, it can be found ready-made in a Middle Eastern market because it is still widely used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking. Rose water became popular in the seventeenth century as a flavoring for desserts and would have been familiar to Edwardian palates.


1 1/2 cups rose water (see notes)
1 cup water
1/2 cup Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice


In blender or food processor, mix together rose water, water, simple syrup, mint leaves, and lemon juice. Blend until mint is finely chopped.

Pour into ice-cream maker and freeze following manufacturer's instructions. Or, pour mixture into chilled, shallow metal pan; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Break up into pieces and transfer to food processor; puree until smooth. Pour into chilled, airtight container; freeze for 20 minutes or until almost firm. Soften in refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving. Serve in chilled open champagne glasses or make ice bowls. Makes 2 1/2 cups and serves 4-6.

Simple Syrup


2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water


In large pot, combine sugar and water; cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute or until syrup is clear. Let cool. (Syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to one month.) Makes 2 cups.

Notes: Now, I like rose water. I really do. But this was really, really strong. Too strong for my tastes. It was almost like sorbet made from perfume. However, we decided that if it had less rose water in it, it would be fantastic. Just a hint of rose flavoring would have been lovely. This was just too much.

Here's how we would have broken down the ingredient list instead:

Revised Punch Rose Ingredient List:

1/2 cup rose water
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup Simple Syrup
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Macedoine de fruits (Fresh Fruit Salad)

This light, sweet dish is named for the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, birthplace of Alexander the Great. It can be made from whatever combination of fresh fruit is on hand.


2 pears
2 peaches
2 plums
1/2 cup red currants or raspberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup Simple Syrup (recipe found above with the Rose Punch recipe)
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
2 tbsp kirsch or rum, optional
1/4 cup slivered almonds, optional


Peel pears, peaches, and plums; dice into small, uniform pieces. Stir together diced fruit, currants or raspberries, and lemon juice. In blender, puree syrup and mint until liquefied; pour over fruit. Add kirsch or rum (optional); stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, spread almonds on rimmed baking sheet. Place in 350 degree F oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Sprinkle toasted almonds over fruit mixture just before serving. Makes servings.

Notes: We excluded the almonds because of my son's tree nut allergy. We also used raspberries instead of currants. But this was such a wonderful fruit salad. The mint and simple syrup gives it such a light and yet unique taste. I couldn't get enough of this!

Cabin Biscuits

Third Class

More like crackers than biscuits, these simple breads were a shipboard remedy for unsettled stomachs. In their original form, they were fairly unpalatable. here we offer some suggestions for making them more of a snack and less of a medicine.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp shortening
3/4 cup water


In bowl, mix together flour and salt. using fingertips, work shortening into flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Make well in dry ingredients and pour in water. Blend until mixture forms a stiff dough, adding up to 2 tsp extra water if necessary.

Place on lightly floured surface and roll into cylinder. Cut into 25 evenly sized pieces; loosely cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 15 minutes. Roll each piece of dough into 2 1/2 inch circle. Prick all over with fork. Place on ungreased baking sheet; bake in 375 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 25 biscuits.


Spray unbaked biscuits lightly with water and sprinkle with rock salt. Bake as above.

After 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle biscuits with Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley; bake for 5 minutes longer.

Before baking, brush unbaked biscuits lightly with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Notes: I doubled this recipe. For the first batch, I brushed it with butter and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar. For the second batch, I brushed it with butter and sprinkled it with small rock salt crystals. Personally, I preferred the rock salt version...they were similar to saltine crackers. But my sons liked the cinnamon and sugar batch better.

But to be honest, these aren't really that great tasting. Their purpose was to calm a queasy stomach or to provide basic sustenance if necessity called for it. However, for the sake of history, they are still interesting to make and try.

Friday, April 13, 2012

...Perhaps Some Ham?

When I was a kid, I LOVED Faerie Tale Theatre (produced by Shelley Duvall). One of my favorites was Cinderella (starring Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Beals). As a kid, I loved that episode because I loved the story of Cinderella. But when I got older, I loved that episode even more because the writing is just so silly!

At one point, the step-sisters answer the door to discover a royal page who is delivering the invitation to the ball. The step-sisters become more than welcoming and at one point, one of the step-sisters offers him something to drink as follows: "Would you like something to drink? Perhaps some ham?" Even as a kid, I could appreciate the absolute wackiness of that line. We would quote that line all the time. Perhaps one of the reasons I liked that line was because of my Mom's penchant for screwing up orders at any and all fast food drive through windows. For instance, one time my mother ordered from Arby's as follows: "I would like a roaf beast sandwich with fries to drink." The employee's response was classic "Sure, but I don't think you'll be able to drink your fries." Ha ha!

Anyway, back to ham. I really like ham. It just screams Easter and springtime to me. I usually only have it (and the inevitable leftovers) once a year. It's pretty rich and it makes a ton, so I don't make it more often than that. But I make good use of the leftovers in my other dinners over the next week or so. It also freezes well, so if you get burned out, just freeze what you can't eat now and save it for later.

I'm going to share some great glaze recipes and ideas, as well as a recipe for pasta salad that is one of my favorite ways to utilize leftover ham.

In addition to what I am sharing below, here are some of my favorite uses for leftover ham:
  • Ham and cheese calzones/hot pockets: using frozen dough (such as Rhodes Dough), thaw the dough and let rise. Divide into individual portions and roll out. Fill with desired amount of ham and shredded cheddar cheese. Fold over and pinch edges. Bake at 350 degrees until bread is nicely browned (about 20 minutes). You can also use refrigerated pizza dough, refrigerated biscuits, refrigerated crescents, phyllo dough, puff pastry, etc. to achieve the same thing. Eat plain, or dip in your favorite mustard.
  • Ham and cheese sandwiches: ham, favorite cheese (cheddar or Swiss are great), favorite mustard (honey mustard, Dijon, spicy brown, horseradish, are tasty choices), and bread (white or wheat). Serve deli style or toasted so that the ham is warmed and the cheese is melted.
  • Monte Cristo Sandwiches: I have some recipes planned for posting in the near future. But basically, these sandwiches have a sweet and salty twist: ham, turkey, cheese, strawberry jam, and powdered sugar!
  • Hawaiian pizza: use the ham as a topping for a Hawaiian pizza (just pizza dough, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pineapple tidbits, and ham).
  • Breakfast burritos: tortillas, scrambled eggs, shredded cheddar cheese, ham, and salsa.
  • Breakfast bakes: use your ham in breakfast bakes, such as this Do-Ahead Breakfast Bake or Canadian Bacon Strata (use ham in place of the Canadian Bacon).
  • Soup: You can reserve the ham bone as a base to make split-pea soup or any other favorite soup with ham. You can also dice leftover ham to put into the soup.

Apricot-Brown Sugar Ham


1 jar (8 oz) apricot jam
1-2 cups brown sugar


Place ham in baking dish, flat side down. Cover ham with aluminum foil. Bake ham according to package directions (usually 12-15 minutes at 275 degrees for every pound of ham--so a 12 pound ham would cook for about 3 hours at 275 degrees).

Once the ham is done baking, pour jam over the ham and sprinkle with brown sugar. Increase heat to 425 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.

Source: I got this simple recipe from a co-worker's wife. Thanks to the Feld family!

Notes: You can spoon additional glaze on top of your ham slices, if you like. I find that salad, rolls, veggies, potato salad, or roasted new potatoes make good sides when you are serving ham.

Orange Baked Ham (the original version that inspired me)


1 (14-16 pound) fully cooked spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone
6 garlic cloves
8 1/2 ounces orange marmalade
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.

Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the marmalade, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Source: Food Network recipe by Ina Garten, 2008.

Notes: I was inspired by this recipe since I had some of the ingredients on hand...but in the end, I decided to improvise, so I can't say that I followed this recipe exactly, but it was my main influence.

Orange Baked Ham (my version)


1 fully cooked spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone (mine was almost 12 pounds)
8 1/2 ounces orange marmalade
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Ham Glaze Packet included with the ham (or, 1 cup light brown sugar, packed, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, and 2 tbsp honey)


Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan, flat side down. Cover with aluminum foil to keep the ham from drying out.

Bake the ham for 12-15 minutes per pound at 275 degrees.

Prepare glaze by stirring orange marmalade, Dijon mustard, and glaze packet (or brown sugar, ground cloves, and honey) together until well blended.

Once the ham is finished baking, pour the glaze over the top and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake for another 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Source: Me...inspired by the Food Network recipe by Ina Garten, 2008.

Notes: I just can't ever throw away a glaze packet. I don't know why. I always end up incorporating it into my own glaze. This time, I had marmalade and Dijon mustard and really wanted to try that combination. I looked at the ingredients list on my glaze packet. The ingredients are as follows: sugar, brown sugar, spices, and honey powder.

So, I decided that I would use the glaze mix packet in lieu of the brown sugar called for in Ina Garten's recipe. I meant to add the garlic...but I forgot. :)

At any rate, the combination I used worked great and tasted fantastic.

Balsamic-Maple Glazed Ham


1/4 cup Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup maple-flavored or pancake syrup
1 tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 bone-in skinless smoked ham, shank or butt end portion (7 lbs.)
2 lbs. parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch wide spears
1-1/2 lb. baby carrots
3 tbsp olive oil


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix dressing, syrup, and mustard. Place ham, fat-side up (flat side down), in roasting pan. Diagonally score ham; cover with foil. Bake 1 hour.

Remove foil. Brush ham with 1/3 of the glaze. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until heated through (140 degrees F), brushing with remaining glaze every 20 min. Meanwhile, toss parsnips and carrots with oil in large shallow pan. Add to oven with ham the last 45 minutes of the ham baking time, turning vegetables every time ham is brushed with glaze.

Remove ham from oven; transfer to cutting board. Tend with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Continue to roast vegetables 15 min., turning every 5 minutes. Serve with ham.

How to score a ham: Using a sharp knife, make 1/4 inch deep parallel cuts, about 1 inch apart, in top surface of ham. make additional scores at right angles to form diamond shapes.

Makes 20 servings (270 calories each).

Source: recipe found at

Notes: We skipped the vegetables portion of this recipe. While the scoring made the ham really pretty, I thought it also made it a little harder to carve at times. The more shallow the scoring, the easier it will be to carve. But the scoring allows the glaze to flavor the ham, so don't score it too shallow! Ahhh, such a fine line.

Above: We made the Balsamic-Maple Glazed Ham for Easter again in 2013. We used a spiral cut ham instead. It was fantastic!

And as a bonus, here are some glaze recipes that were included with my ham. They look like great ideas/suggestions and I'll have to try them in the future!

Ham Glaze

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp water (for other flavors, you can substitute orange juice, cranberry juice, or apple cider for the water)


Blend all ingredients together in a small saucepan.

Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.

To prepare in microwave oven, combine all ingredients in a 1 1/2 quart bowl. Microwave on high (100%) power about 1 minute or until glaze comes to a boil, stirring every 30 seconds.

When ham is ready, pour glaze over ham and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Source: This recipe is from the instructions that came with my Kirkland Signature Spiral Sliced Ham.

Apricot Glaze


1 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Mix all ingredients until smooth and use as a glaze for ham (prepared according to package directions).

Source: Another recipe from the instruction booklet that came with my ham.

Sweet Curry-Orange Glaze


2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon grated orange peel


Mix all ingredients until smooth and use as a glaze for ham (prepared according to package directions).
Source: Another recipe from the instruction booklet that came with my ham.

December 2013 Update:

You can make pretty much anything in a slow cooker these days. "Baked" potatoes? Yup. Bread? Check. Ham? You bet! Slow cooker ham couldn't be easier. Check out the recipe below. My apologies though, it appears that I forgot to take a picture! However, everyone knows what sliced ham looks, just imagine that.

Slow Cooker Ham


2 cups packed brown sugar
1 (8 pound) cured, bone-in picnic ham


Spread about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar on the bottom of the slow cooker crock. Place the ham flat side down into the slow cooker--you might have to trim it a little to make it fit. Use your hands to rub the remaining brown sugar onto the ham. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.

Source:, submitted by LITTLEMSTXTHANG. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really tender. A great, and easy way to make ham!

Spaghetti Pasta Salad


1 lb. package spaghetti
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 medium cucumbers, diced
Cubed ham (amount is according to taste)
1 sweet red onion, finely diced
1 bottle favorite Italian salad dressing
1/2 bottle Salad Supreme


Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. Rinse. Add other ingredients and let set 6-8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Source: from an old ward cookbook. Recipe submitted by Naomi Telford.

Notes: the size of the chopped vegetables and ham is according to your taste. You can cut them into large cubes for a chunkier pasta salad or you can finely dice them. You can also get creative with what type of ham you put into the salad. You can use prosciutto in place of the ham, for instance. The original recipe even states that you can use spam instead of ham, if desired.

To my knowledge, we have never made it with the Salad Supreme. So, it can be omitted, if you like.

Update: For Easter in 2014, we made the following ham recipe.

Citrus Jalepeno Glazed Ham


One 8- to 10-pound bone-in, smoked, fully-cooked ham, butt or shank portion
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/3 cup fresh lilme juice (about 4 lines)
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 jalapeno, halved, seeded, and sliced


Let the ham sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Trim off any skin from the ham, if needed. Score the ham through the fat in a diagonal crosshatch pattern with cutting into the meat. Place the ham, flat-side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour 1/4 inch of water into the bottom of the pan. Roast the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F, about 2 1/2 hours or 15 minutes per pound.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon and lime juices, pepper jelly, Worcestershire sauce, and jalapeno in a small saucepan. Bring toa  simmer and reduce until thickened to about 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes.

Remove the ham from the oven when it has reached 130 degrees F internally. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Spoon or brush half of the glaze all over the ham. Add water as needed to the bottom of the pan. Return the ham to the oven and roast, basting every 10 minutes with the remaining glaze until glossy, glazed, and well browned, about 45 minutes more.

Source: Food Network. You can find the recipe here.

Update 4/5/15: Here's what we did for our Easter ham this year.


Honey Glazed Ham


1 (5 pound) ready-to-eat ham
1/4 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 cups honey
2/3 cup butter


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Score ham, and stud with the whole cloves. Place ham in foil lined pan.

In the top half of a double boiler, heat the corn syrup, honey, and butter. Keep glaze warm while baking ham.

Brush glaze over ham, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Baste ham every 10 to 15 minutes with the honey glaze. During the last 4 to 5 minutes of baking, turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving.

Source:, submitted by Colleen. You can find it here.

Notes: We bought a spiral sliced ham and used that instead of scoring our ham. Then we served it with three different ham glazes for everyone to use as dipping sauces instead.


Easy Peach-Jalapeno Ham Glaze


1/2 cup peach jam
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno chiles


In small bowl, stir together jam and jalapeno chiles. Brush over ham the last 45 minutes of baking.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: As mentioned above in the notes for the ham recipe, we didn't use this as a glaze. Rather, we used it as a dipping sauce for the ham. It was very tasty!


Easy Blueberry-Chipotle Glaze


1/3 cup blueberry preserves
2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (from 7-oz can)
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar


In small bowl, mix all ingredients with whisk until well blended.

Brush glaze over ham during last 45 minutes of baking.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: Ditto in the notes above. We didn't use this as a glaze. We used it as a dipping sauce and it was fantastic!


Easy Cherry-Lime-Ginger Ham Glaze


1/2 cup cherry jam
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


In small bowl, beat all ingredients with whisk. Brush over ham the last 45 minutes of baking.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: Again, we didn't use this as a glaze this time around, we used it as a dipping sauce for our ham. Super delicious!

Update 3/27/16: Here's what we did for our Easter ham this year.

Slow-Cooker Maple-Brown Sugar Ham


1 fully cooked boneless ham (5 to 6 pounds)
1/2 cup honey Dijon mustard
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar


Spray 6- to 7-quart oval slow cooker with cooking spray. Make cuts about 1-inch apart and 1/4 inch deep in diamond pattern in top of ham (we opted for a spiral sliced ham instead). Place ham in slow cooker.

In small bowl,s tir together mustard, syrup, and brown sugar with whisk until well blended. Pour mixture over ham.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 3 to 4 hours or until meat thermometer inserted in ham reads 140 degrees F.

Remove ham from slow cooker. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Strain cooking juices. Slice ham; pour strained juices over ham.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really good and so tender. Delicious stuff! As mentioned above, we didn't score our ham because we got a spiral sliced ham instead.