Friday, January 31, 2014

Creamy Cheesy Mexican Chicken Lasagna

First of all let me say I love almost all one-dish meals, such as lasagna, baked Ziti, pot pies, Shepard's pie, goulash and more!  They come together quickly and  make fantastic weeknight meals. This recipe is a result of some leftover cooked lasagna noodles I didn't want to go to waste. Add a few other ingredients and there you have it.  All done, ready to bake and eat!

1 box lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
6 chicken tenders, cooked and cut into small pieces (about 3 cups cooked chicken)
1 - 10 oz. can Enchilada sauce (mild, medium or hot)
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2-3 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 - 1 lb. bag shredded 4-Cheese Mexican Blend Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small mixing bowl, blend the softened cream cheese and sour cream until well blended.  Add garlic powder, course-ground black pepper, cumin and chili powder and continue mixing until combined; stir in cooked chicken.
In a rectangular baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray, spread 1/2 of the Enchilada sauce over bottom to cover.  Layer on cooked lasagna noodles, topped by half the cream cheese/sour cream/cooked chicken mixture.  Top the layer with 1/4 cup green onions, then add a handful or 2 of the shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, sprinkling over top to cover.  Repeat layers once, topping chicken mixture with remaining Enchilada sauce and ending with the shredded cheese.
Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving.  Add a side salad for a complete meal.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Note - could also be made with flour tortilla's cut into strips, or for a low-carb version, make "noodles" with  blanched cabbage leaves cut into noodles. Add sliced black olives and chopped tomatoes if desired.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bacon, Cheeseburger and Potato Pie

Easy, peasy, one-dish meal!  Have dinner on the table in under 45 minutes!  Perfect for a quick weeknight meal, or anytime.  Kid-friendly, and adults love it too.

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup diced potatoes, fresh or frozen
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 large onion chopped
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate or baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside.
In the same skillet, cook beef, pepper, garlic powder and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and potatoes. Spread in pie plate; sprinkle with cheese and bacon.
In a medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with additional ketchup, pickles, and tomato slices, if desired. Add a side salad or fresh fruit for a complete meal.

Yield:  4-6 servings


Alfredo Lasagna Roll-Ups


Lovely Lasagna Roll-Ups stuffed with meat and cheese and smothered in a Creamy Alfredo Sauce! While they do take a little bit of time to do, the end result is very filling and delicious; makes a great family dinner, or make it to impress your friends. Believe me they will go away smiling!

3/4 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, minced
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese*
1 1/2 cups shredded 6-Cheese Italian Blend*
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 box lasagna noodles
*Plus more for dusting over top of roll-ups

Creamy Alfredo Sauce (recipe here)

Brown ground beef and onions; drain and set aside.  

Boil lasagna noodles according to package instructions, but just until al dente' and pliable. Drain and rinse with cold water; lay noodles flat on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper.  

In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of the ground beef/onion mixture with ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 6-cheese Italian blend, beaten egg, salt, pepper and chopped basil. Mix thoroughly to combine. 

Place several spoonfuls of meat/cheese mixture along the length of each lasagna noodle and roll up (you should have 12-15).  

In a large 13 x 9" baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, ladle 1/2 of the Creamy Alfredo Sauce over bottom of pan.  

Place lasagna roll-ups, seam side down, on top of sauce. Cover roll-ups with remaining sauce. Dust tops with more 6-cheese Italian blend and mozzarella cheese.  

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake 40-45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Serve with some Crusty Hearth Bread and a side salad.

Note - Lasagna Roll-Ups can be made ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and  frozen.  Simply thaw when ready to use and assemble as directed.  Leave out the beef for a vegetarian version.

Option - make it with meat sauce, recipe here


© Cooking with Mary and Friends Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Alfredo Sauce


Yummy, lip smackin' good, creamy Alfredo Sauce!  You may never buy it again after you make it yourself.

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
In a saucepan, combine the butter and heavy cream or half and half. Simmer until butter is melted and mixed well. 

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. 

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes on low. You may wish to add a little salt and pepper.  I also like a pinch of nutmeg in mine, but that is completely optional.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops

We love pork chops here, but only when they are either cooked on the grill and are tender and juicy, deep fried, or slow cooked and smothered.  Many times we have had pork chops that are dry, tough and tasteless.  Why is that?  They definitely shouldn't be, but they are.  Then we tried some pasture-raised pork from our local farm, Sunny Cedars Farm, and what a difference!  Tender, moist, juicy ... just as we remembered pork should be. Delicious!  Recipe adapted from Sweet Tea and Cornbread.

2-4 thick center-cut pork chops
1 pkg. Italian dressing mix
2 1/2 cups water or milk

In a bowl, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup mix and water or milk.  Place pork chops in a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray, or a large baking dish (if using the oven). Sprinkle chops with Italian dressing mix and cover all with cream of mushroom soup mix (following directions above). Cover and cook in a slow cooker on low 6-8 hours, or in a baking dish covered tightly with foil in a 250 oven 4 hours. Falling off the bone tender!  Very yummy with mashed potatoes.

Servings:  2-4


Apple-Cherry Jam/Jelly


Lovely jam made with apples and cherries!  Delicious served on biscuits or scones, or use as a basting glaze on pork or ham.  Yummmm!!!

2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped/diced small (I used Honey Crisp)
1/2-3/4 lb. bag cherries, pitted, stemmed and chopped/diced small
*fruit should equal 4-5 cups
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup apple juice or water (either works)
7 cups sugar
1 pkg. Sure-Jell powdered pectin

Mix fruit and lemon juice in large stock pot.  Add water or apple juice and one box Sure-Jell, stir to mix well.

Bring to a rolling boil over high to med-high heat; add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil (one that doesn't stop when stirring).

Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat and ladle jam into 8-oz. jelly jars, cover with lids and rings.  Process in boiling water bath 10  minutes.

Remove pot from heat; remove jars and allow to cool on a towel on your kitchen counter-top 24 hours or until set.

*Note - some jams/jellies take several days to set-up.

Yield:  8 half-pint or 4 pint jars


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Grilled Steak Medallions

Occasionally my husband loves to cook, but when he does it's almost always something grilled, either outdoors or indoors using our Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler.  We use it a lot in the winter especially, when grilling outdoors is simply too cold.  Tonight he made these awesome Grilled Steak Medallions, and they were off the charts delicious!

1 lb. thick cut sirloin steak pieces
2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. sage
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. dill
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil, poured over steak pieces and tossed to coat

Cut steak pieces into 2" medallions.  Mix all seasonings and garlic together.  In a large bowl, coat steak pieces with oil and toss to coat, then roll steak pieces in seasoning mix.  Turn the indoor grill onto sear heat; place steak medallion pieces on grill, close lid over all and grill 5 minutes for medium, 7 minutes for well-done.

1/2 cup half and half
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. whole fresh rosemary leaves
Splash white wine
Cook all ingredients over low heat, whisking until thickened and well blended.  Serve over steak medallions.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Apple-Garlic-Rosemary Jelly


Part way through making applesauce, I decided to make some Apple Jelly ... then I thought I'd add some garlic, fresh rosemary and course-ground black pepper to a few jars to use as a basting sauce on grilled/roasted chicken or pork. It tastes amazing!  Lots of apple and garlic flavor with just a hint of the rosemary and pepper.  Perfect.


Apple Jelly
5 lbs. *apples, quartered (do not peel or core)
3-4 cups water
7 cups sugar
1 pkg. Sure-Jell (powdered pectin)
* How much water to use is not an exact science, since some varieties of apples are much more juicy, and even the same variety varies depending upon the weather. Honey Crisp, Delicious and Gala, for example, tend to be juicy/ watery; while most baking apples, like Rome, tend to be drier and require more water.

Add water to a large stock pot.  Put quartered apples in stock pot; cover and bring to a boil over a high/med-high heat. Once it's really boiling, turn heat down to medium and cook until apples are very soft and begin to break up and become applesauce. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Once apples are cooked, remove stock pot from heat and strain apples through a tight mesh colander over a large non-reactive bowl (stainless steel or glass).  Allow to drain until you have about 6 cups apple juice (I strained mine for about 30 minutes, pushing the apple pulp with the back of a spoon once in awhile to yield more juice). 

Add apple juice to stock pot and stir in one package Sure-Jell. Bring to a hard boil over high heat, stirring to prevent sticking. Once a rolling boil is reached, add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil.  Jelly will splatter as it's boiling so use a long handled spoon.  Boil hard for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and ladle into canning jars.  At this point you have plain apple jelly.
To make Apple-Garlic-Rosemary Jelly (8 oz. jelly jar size) add 1 heaping tsp. minced garlic (I used garlic in a jar), fresh rosemary leaves and 1/4-1/2 tsp. course-ground black pepper; ladle apple jelly over top of mixture, cover jars with seals and rings.

Process jars (8 oz. or pints) in a boiling water bath 5 minutes.  Remove jars from canner and allow to cool 24 hours. Store in pantry.

After the jars have cooled for a bit, and the lids are sealed (button in center of lid is fully depressed and can't be moved), gently shake the jelly with the garlic, rosemary and pepper to evenly distribute in the jelly. Do this from time to time as the jelly is setting up.

Yield - 8-9 (8 oz. jelly jars) or 4 pint jars


Friday, January 17, 2014

Cherry Pie Filling


Cherries! Beautiful, wonderful, delicious cherries, and one of the fruits I had never canned up until today. We got some gorgeous cherries at Camden City Market this week, and I just knew I wanted to make Cherry Pie Filling.

I did not have any Clear-Jel, (required for canned pie filling), so I ordered some online and it arrived just in time for today's cooking adventure.

Following guidance from the National Center for Home Preservation, here are the amazing results! Why buy it, when you can make it so easily at home? This loveliness is going to be used in parfaits, topped on cheesecake, and more!  Yummm!


6 cups cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 cups sugar (your choice)
1/2 cup + 2 tbls. Clear-Jel
2 2/3 cup cold water
2 tbls. + 2 tsp. lemon juice
dash ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)

Place fresh cherries (stemmed and pitted), in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil for 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain, place cherries in a colander on top of a bowl, and set aside.

Combine sugar and Clear-Jel in a large saucepan and add water. If desired, add cinnamon and almond extract. Stir mixture and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. 

Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained cherries and any juice from the cherries immediately, and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch head-space. Adjust lids and process immediately according to the recommendations below (from National Center for Home Preservation).

Table 2. Recommended process time for Cherry Pie Filling in a boiling-water bath canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size0 - 1,000 ft1,001 -3,000 ft3,001 - 6,000 ftAbove 6,000 ft
HotPints or Quarts30 min354045

Yield:  4 pints or 2 quarts

Cooks Note - This recipe can safely and easily be doubled.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

No-Bake Chocolate Pudding Cheesecake Parfaits


I think I am in love with these little parfaits in a jar!  So easy, and convenient, each jar is only 8 oz. so they are the perfect size for a single serving, and they travel well!  They work well for packing in lunch boxes, or taking along in a cooler for a picnic or camping trip.  And they're versatile!  Make them with your favorite jam, pie filling, fresh fruit, or other pudding flavors.  They're light, delicious and a huge hit here in our home!

1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tbls. vanilla
2 tbls. lemon juice
1/2 - 8 oz. container cool whip or 1 cup heavy cream
1 graham cracker crumb crust, evenly divided (see directions below)
1 - package chocolate pudding (made according to package directions)

No-Bake Cheesecake Filling Directions
In a large mixing bowl, blend softened cream cheese and sugar until well blended.  Add sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice; blend well. Fold in cool whip or whipped heavy cream until blended.  Cover and chill 1-2 hours.

Mix pudding according to package directions.  Cover and chill 1-2 hours.

Graham Cracker Crumb Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbls. sugar
5 tbls. butter, melted
In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix together with a fork until well combined.  Set aside until ready to assemble parfaits.

In 8 - 8 oz. mason jars, add 2 tbls. of the graham cracker crumbs, then top the crumbs with 2 large spoonfuls of the cheesecake filling, then top the cheesecake filling with 1 large spoonful chocolate pudding, another 1 tbls. graham cracker crumbs and lastly top with the remaining cheesecake filling, until each jar is full and all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Cover jars with lids and store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 8 - 8 oz. mason jars

Variations: Caramel-Apple, Blueberry Pie


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicken with Mushrooms and White Wine

This is one of those quick and easy recipes I just love! It comes together very quickly, so would work well for a week night meal.  I have also served this for a small dinner party/gathering of a few friends, and it's always a hit.  Add a side salad, or fresh veggies, and some dinner rolls and you have a meal!

4-6 boneless chicken tenders, cut into small 1" pieces
All purpose flour
2 tablespoons oil (your choice)
1 1/4 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (make your own)
1 cup dry white wine (I use cooking wine)
Grated Parmesan cheese (to dust over top - optional)

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; dust with flour. Heat oil in heavy large skillet, or electric fry pan, over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté until brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add mushrooms, onions and herbs to skillet. Sauté until mushrooms are cooked through and juices are reduced to glaze, about 12 minutes. Add broth and wine to skillet. Boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Return chicken to skillet. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and liquid thickens to sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken over your choice of pasta or rice; dust with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Yield:  2-4 servings

Cook's note - recipe is easily doubled.  


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Savory Pecan Rice Casserole


Have you ever had a moment when you couldn't find one of your favorite recipes?  Oh my goodness, that just happened to me a bit ago, and I was convinced I had lost it forever.

Weeks went by, then just the other day I found it while cleaning out and moving some cookbooks from one area to another (thanks to my husband painting our kitchen) ... there it was, written down on a piece of note paper tucked inside another cookbook.  Whew!  So glad I found this one!  It's a great rice dish and makes a wonderful accompaniment for pork, poultry, beef or fish.


1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
4 green onions, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or use minced garlic in a jar)
2 cups brown or long-grained white rice
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp course-ground black pepper (or more to taste)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I use Schermer's)
5 cups chicken stock (make your own)

Preheat oven to 400.  Melt butter in large frying pan and saute onions and mushrooms until golden. Add garlic and then rice, stirring frequently until rice is golden.  Mix in seasonings and pecans.

Turn into a 3 quart casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled.  Pour stock over rice; cover and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Fluff rice with a fork and a bit of butter; let sit 10 minutes covered before serving.

Yield:  8 servings

Cook's note - recipe is easily divided in half, but also remember to reduce cooking time to approximately 35-45 minutes.

Quick Method
Don't have time to make it the long way?  Here's a quick way to make it and still achieve great taste and flavor.

Combine 2 cups rice, 4 tbls. butter (cut into pieces), 4 cups chicken stock, thyme, turmeric, and pepper in a rice steamer. Cook according to recommended time on your model.  

Meanwhile, melt 4 tbls. butter in a fry pan. Add onions and saute several minutes; add mushrooms and continue to saute until onions and mushrooms have browned slightly.  

Toss in garlic and cook a few more minutes until well incorporated. Lastly stir in chopped pecans and cook just until slightly roasted. Remove fry pan from heat and stir mixture into steamed cooked rice; fluff with fork.  

Serve immediately.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ranch-Style Pinto Beans


Making beans of almost any kind from dried beans is so frugal and economical, not to mention good for you!  Beans are loaded with nutrients that our bodies crave:
  1. B Vitamins: are necessary for healthy brain and nerve cells, for normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.
  2. Calcium:  for strong bones and teeth and to help keep the body more alkaline, rather than acidic.
  3. Potassium: helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
  4. Folate: a B vitamin that our bodies don't produce yet dry beans are our single best source of this important vitamin which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.
These Ranch-Style Pinto Beans are full of flavor and delicious. The addition of the ham makes them a meal in themselves simply served with cornbread, or they are a great side dish with all grilled meats.

1 - 24 oz. bag Hurst Pinto Beans
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup cubed or diced ham
2-3 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1-2 tsp. salt (I use sea salt or Himalayan pink salt)
1/2 -3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
6-8 cups water
Preheat oven to 350.

Rinse beans well and drain (no need to soak). Add beans and all other ingredients to a large stock pot. Cover and bake 3-4 hours; stirring occasionally.

Taste beans after the first 2 hours of baking and adjust all seasonings to taste. Beans will be soupy, and thicken some while baking.

Serve while hot.
Canning Directions:
If canning, ladle beans and liquid into quart or pint canning jars (you want them to be soupy). Process pints 75 minutes and quarts 90 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure in a pressure canner.

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pizza Pasta Bake


Oh my goodness!  It seems everyone has a recipe for "Pizzaghetti" or other Pizza Spaghetti Bakes. I decided to make this with Ziti or Rigantoni pasta, leftover pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, 5 cheese Italian blend and pepperoni slices.

It is amazingly good!  Full off ooey-gooey cheesy goodness and lots of flavor! Easy to put together and even easier to eat! Yummmm!!!

Grapefruit Salad with Whitefish in a Mustard Sauce

This recipe was developed by Beth Shuler, a young friend of mine and  former office mate, she was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.  Shortly after she and her husband, Rob, had their bouncing baby boy, Beth left active-duty and is a busy mom these days! Even with a baby under the age of 1 year old, she was able to serve this wonderful dish to her family last night.  I can't tell you enough how utterly fresh and yummy this is. When she posted it I just knew I had to share it, so she and I messaged each other and this is the result.  There are no exact measurements ... you'll just have to play with it to make it how you like it.

Salad: lettuce mix if your choice quarter grapefruit (skins removed) yellow raisins (craisins would work well too) macadamia nuts (cut in halves) dressing: red vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, garlic powder
Toss lettuce, grapefuit, raisins, macadamia nuts together. Mix dressing ingredients together and toss salad mixture with dressing.
White Fish: Ingredients white fish heavy cream or creme fraiche (I used heavy cream) mustard (I used brown spicy mustard) fresh chopped cilantro salt/pepper/garlic powder directly in fish
Method: Preheat oven to 425. Mix all ingredients, except white fish together in a baking pan; add white fish and marinade 30 minutes or more if you have time. Bake white fish in marinade 10 minutes or until cooked through and flaky. 

Beth's note - I think the dressing and salad would have also benefited from a mustard component as well since the mustard in the fish was so yummy with the salad.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cheddar Cheese Soda Bread


A lovely, cheesy quick bread!  Bakes in a round or square baking dish, and is awesome served with soups,  grilled/baked fish or meats.  We had ours with some fried chicken and Boston baked beans and loved it!  Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pats
8 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar, grated; about 2 cups, lightly packed
1 1/4 cups buttermilk*
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray an 8"or 9" square or round pan with baking spray (or lightly grease).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter, working it into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Toss in the grated cheese. Mix the buttermilk and egg, and add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is moistened. 

Scoop the sticky dough into the pan; spread it to the edges of the pan. 

Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Remove the bread from the oven, and loosen the edges with a table knife. Wait 5 minutes, then gently turn it out onto a rack to cool (if desired - I left mine in the pan and cut it from there).

Allow to cool 20 minutes before cutting.

* Make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tbls. lemon juice to milk.


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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mano 'O Steak


My husband loves his STEAK!  Almost any kind of steak, he's such a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  Oh yes, he'll eat other things (because he has to/I make him), but give him a good steak and he's happy.  This is his "Mano 'O Steak!"

1 - 8" dried sprig fresh rosemary, leaves crushed
4 shakes oregano leaves
4 shakes thyme leaves
2 shakes dried minced onion flakes
3 shakes garlic powder
Multi-blend fresh ground peppercorns, 10-12 grinds
Ground sea salt, 4 grinds
Other ingredients
1 - NY Strip Steak 1 1/2-2" thick
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red cooking wine

Mix all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Massage steak with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil; massage in red wine (your choice).  Pat rub on each side of steak and let sit 15 minutes.

Grill over direct sear heat 4 minutes per side until internal temperature is 135 (for medium-rare).

 Let rest 5 minutes before serving to redistribute the juices.


Applesauce-Pecan Spice Cake


I love making this cake and I've been making it as long as I can remember.  The original recipe was in my mother's Betty Crocker Cookbook, and has changed very little since the early 1950's.  It's an oldie, but a goodie, and one we enjoy here when I have some of my homemade applesauce to use in it. Makes a great snack cake for after school, or with a nice cup of coffee in the afternoon.


2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 cups applesauce (make it)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used Schermer's)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Measure all ingredient into a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed 1-2 minutes; turn up to medium and beat 1-2 more minutes.

Pour into prepared 13 x 9-inch baking dish sprayed with baking spray.  Bake 45-60 minutes or until toothpick insert in middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting:
4-oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 box confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
May need to add 1 Tbls milk for desired consistency
Cream cheese and butter; gradually beat in sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy and of spreading consistency. Frost cake. (This makes enough for one sheet cake)

Also seen on Meal Plan Monday


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fried Pork Chops with Smothered Onion Gravy


I really love pork chops and all pork products. It's a versatile meat to cook with and delicious when prepared correctly. Unfortunately, a lot of pork, especially pork chops, are tough and tasteless.  

I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a tender, juicy pork chop until we purchased some from my friend, Russell, at Sunny Cedars Farm.  His pigs are all raised on pasture, antibiotic and hormone-free, and I'm telling you it was the BEST pork we'd had in forever. Tender, not tough, flavorful and juicy.  Just as pork should be. 

It wasn't until we bought some of his pork that we really enjoyed pork again. So, do yourself a favor, find your local pig farm and become friends! You won't regret it!

2-4 center cut pork chops
1 cup buttermilk (make your own: 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbls. lemon juice)
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups water heated with 2 beef bouillon cubes (I use my microwave)
or 2 cups Bone Beef Broth
1/2 cup oil for frying
1/4 cup flour (for gravy)
2-3 tbls butter

Soak pork chops in buttermilk several hours.

Mix self-rising flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a large zip-top bag. Remove pork chops from buttermilk, place in zip-top bag with flour mixture, seal bag and shake until well coated. Place pork chops on a cooling rack and let sit 30 minutes.

While pork chops are resting, heat 2 cups water with 2 beef bouillon cubes; once heated remove and allow to cool (skip this step if using prepare Bone Beef Broth).

In a large electric fry pan (or other large frying pan) heat oil and butter on 350 until butter is melted and oil is hot; add sliced onion and saute' until well caramelized. Remove onion with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add pork chops to fry pan and cook 10-15 minutes, turning once to evenly brown and insure pork is cooked through. Remove pork chops; place in an oven safe pan and place in your oven to stay warm on 250.

Meanwhile add 1/4 cup flour to drippings in pan and stir until smooth; add water with beef bouillon you made previously and whisk well; bring to a low boil to thicken. Return cooked onions to pan and simmer 5 minutes. Serve over pork chops.

Yield: 2-4 servings


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup


Leftover turkey?  Save the carcass to make some yummy Turkey Stock (same method as chicken stock), then make this great soup with it using the stock and meat from the carcass!  It's frugal, economical, and a great way to use it up. This soup has a nice bite to it, but it's not too hot! Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl.



2 tbls. oil (your choice)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or use minced garlic in a jar)
6 cups chicken or turkey stock or broth
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp course-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 -3 cups cooked turkey, chopped (or chicken)
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1 tbls. oregano (or cilantro)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and garlic and sauté for 5-10 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, flour, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin.

Increase heat to high and whisk milk mixture into soup. Stir until thick and bubbly, about five minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Add turkey, corn, oregano and cheese; stir until cheese is melted and soup is hot, 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve while hot; garnish with additional shredded cheddar cheese and parsley leaves if desired.


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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Spinach Frittata with Spinach, Bacon and Cheese


A Frittata is an Italian-style omelette baked in a skillet. Fritatta's are quick and easy to make and a wonderful option for Sunday brunch, or light lunch/dinner anytime.  Because they are so versatile, you can make them with anything you like; ham, sausage, your choice of cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli and more.


8 eggs (I use fresh farm eggs)
½ cup whole milk
½ lb fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into roughly 1-inch pieces
8 slices bacon
½ large onion, peeled and diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Himalayan or sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cook the bacon in a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat. When bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan, drain on paper towels and set aside. When it's cool, roughly chop it into ¼ inch pieces - or just crumble it up.

Reserve about 2 Tbsp. of bacon fat, then add diced onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until it's slightly translucent. Turn off the heat under the pan, then add the spinach pieces and stir with a wooden spoon for a minute until the leaves are fully wilted.

In a glass mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the eggs until nice and frothy. Add the milk and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and sprinkle the bacon pieces in as well. Give everything a stir to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Turn the heat under the skillet back on to about medium and cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg begins to set; do not stir.

Add the grated cheese, sprinkling it evenly across the top, and then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked.

Cook's note: If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, you can pour the egg mixture into a baking dish and add the cooked onions, spinach and bacon as well as the grated cheese, and just bake the frittata in that dish. If you do it this way, add 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time and check to make sure the egg is fully cooked before serving.

Yield: 4 wedge-shaped portions of frittata.