Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chicken-Fried Steak

chicken fried steak with beef gravy

Oh, I know almost everyone has a recipe for this Southern favorite! Again, being a "Northern" gal, I never even had any until I was an adult.

After many years, and many tries to get this right, I have finally succeeded in making it tender and crispy at the same time. I also learned self-rising flour is the key ... all-purpose flour does not work as well, and won't stick to the meat as easily, so the coating falls off, rather than staying on the meat as you want it to.

chicken fried steak with milk gravy

4 cube steaks (100% grass-fed beef preferred)
1-1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1-2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1-2 tsp. garlic powder or salt
1-2 tsp. onion powder
1-2 tsp. paprika
1 large egg, beaten with about 1 tbls. water
1/2 cup oil of your choice

Mix self-rising flour and next 3 ingredients together in a large zip top bag; set aside.  Beat egg with water and dredge each cube steak in mixture, shaking off extra.  Immediately place (one at a time) into flour mixture, seal bag and toss to coat.  Place each on a cooling rack (with paper towel underneath) and allow to sit for 30 minutes-1 hour, allowing the flour mixture to adhere well to the cube steaks.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet to 350 degrees ( I use an electric fry pan so I can regulate the heat). Carefully place each cube steak into pan and fry on each side approx. 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through.  Drain on paper towels.

I like to serve this with a beef gravy (although milk gravy is traditional), mashed potatoes, veggie of choice and homemade biscuits, garlic-cheese biscuits or some Big, Fat, Easy yeast rolls!  Delicious!



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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese/Pecan Frosting

Updated and republished February 2020

I love, love, love Carrot Cake!  I'm originally a "Northern" gal, so I wasn't introduced to Carrot Cake until I was married, and we were stationed in Duluth, Minnesota (my husband was in the US Air Force). It was there I met a transplanted "Southern" gal, Becky Rhine, who introduced me to Carrot Cake! 

Since then I have had all kinds, with pineapple and coconut, without pineapple and coconut, with raisins, without raisins, but I must say this simpler version is my favorite.

I add pecans and sometimes Golden Raisins if I have them, but they are optional. The cake is very soft and moist and the frosting delicious. Naturally, I think this cake is best when using fresh carrots from your local Farmers Market or family farm, but of course you absolutely can use carrots from your local grocer.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 cup Golden raisins (optional)

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1-2 tsp cream 
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
*Double frosting recipe if making this as a layer cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan.


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Carrot Jam

Oh my word! I had never even heard of Carrot Jam until my husband harvested 5 lbs. of carrots from our Kitchen Garden and I was looking for a way to use them all up! Spicy Pickled Carrots, Carrot-Pepper Jelly and now this wonderful Carrot Jam! So amazing! A little sweet, slightly spicy jam with a hint of citrus flavor from the lemon juice ... delicious with pork and poultry, or spread some on your biscuit/muffin! See a little history here about Carrot Jam  

4 cups grated raw carrots
1 packet Sure Jell
Juice of 2 lemons (or 6 Tbls. Real Lemon juice)
1 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
3 cups sugar

Combine carrots, Sure Jell, lemon juice, butter and spices in a large sauce pan. Bring to a hard boil over high heat.  

Stir in sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil (one that doesn't stop when stirring). Boil hard for one (1) minute.

Pour into hot sterilized jar. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath or steam canner. Once done, place jars on a towel on your countertop and let sit 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button on lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down. Store in pantry up to one year; open jars must be refrigerated.

Yield: 3 to 4 - eight ounce jars


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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Asian Fried Rice with Chicken

I  just love all kinds of Asian foods, from Fried Rice to Chicken and Broccoli to Sweet and Sour Pork and everything in between.  Recently my daughter introduced me to Korean Soy Sauce and I must say I like it very much.  I think it's less salty and a bit lighter than regular Soy Sauce, and I enjoyed cooking with it very much!

2 cups cooked white rice (preferably made in advance and refrigerated)
3 chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbls butter (real butter, not margarine)
2-3 Tbls Korean Soy Sauce

In a large non-stick pan, melt butter and add celery, onion and carrot; stir and cook 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are getting crisp-tender.  Add Korean soy sauce and chicken, stirring to combine; cover and heat approx. 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked though.  Add beaten egg and stir until cooked and combined.  Add rice last and stir to thoroughly blend. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes, or until hot.  Serve immediately.

Recipe is easily doubled.

Yield:  2 or more dinner servings


Carrot-Pepper Jelly

Very similar to any of the pepper jellies, this one uses grated carrot in the recipe in addition to the jalapeno peppers.  Goes hand in hand with my Garlic-Onion Jelly or Apple Pepper Jelly, both of which are served over cream cheese on crackers.  I developed this recipe at the suggestion of my daughter, Anne, after she and I talked about the fresh carrots I had from our Kitchen Garden.  This jelly would also be great as a glaze basted on grilled chicken or pork.

1 - 1 /2 cups grated fresh carrot
1 3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sliced jalapeno peppers
1 package Sure-Jell (powdered pectin)
3 1/2 cups sugar

Add grated carrots, white wine, white wine vinegar, slice jalapeno peppers and Sure-Jell to a large sauce pan; bring to a rolling boil over med-high to high heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. 

Add sugar all at once and bring back to a rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop while stirring), stirring constantly. Once a rolling boil is reached, continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 (one) minute.

Remove from heat and ladle hot jelly into hot canning jars, sealing jars with lids. Place jars in a boiling water bath or steam canner.

Process jars 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and place on a kitchen towel on your countertop. Jars are sealed when the button on the top of the lid is fully depressed and won't flex up or down. 

As the jelly cools, and once jars are sealed, lightly twist jars back and forth to evenly distribute the sliced peppers in the jelly. 

Allow jars to cool and sit undisturbed 24 hours.

Yield:  5 half-pint jars


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Friday, April 26, 2013

How To Support Your Favorite Food Bloggers

If you see a facebook group or website that posts my photos and writing onto his or her page instead of linking to All Things Food - Cooking With Mary and Friends directly, they are in violation of both the Federal DMCA Act and Copyright Law.
The reason why this is bad is because it costs a great deal of money to operate All Things Food - Cooking With Mary and Friends and other websites where content is illegally taken from, my server bill alone is more than most people’s mortgage payment each month. When people take content that others have written and developed and put it on their sites, it makes it harder for those offering the content to pay the light bill, for services that they provide free of charge to you.
Hours, sometimes days, are put into creating one post, that all the offender’s do is copy and paste in order to drive traffic to and promote their site and/or facebook page. Once our content is stolen, we are also penalized for having duplicate content on the internet, and our recipes receive lower priority in search engines as well.
Often when this happens, it isn’t meant as a violation of a federal law and is just someone who wants to share a recipe that they really liked. But sometimes, this is done by people and even companies who repeatedly copy and paste content from those who have worked hard to develop it, willingly and knowingly.
Often, these people say “You can’t copyright recipes."  While you can’t copyright a random list of ingredients, our writing (descriptions, introductions, instructions, etc) and photographs are copyrighted – and each post represents hours of work that these folks steal in under a minute and use as a platform to build their sites on.
However, just about everyone reading this who shares recipes do so with no malicious intent, and bloggers realize that. This is intended for those who willingly violate federal law despite having received complaints, and having been reported, by knowingly and repeatedly stealing content from sites to place on their own.
If you see a site or facebook page with repeated complaints, a blogger who has to build new sites because their old ones are taken down, these are clues that such sites and pages are being run by repeat offenders who fully understand that what they are doing is illegal. A lot of people don’t realize that the websites we enjoy free of charge cost a great deal of money to operate. These sites and pages that run primarily off of stealing content from other sites take all food bloggers one step closer to not being able to afford to continue.
It’s easy for us to share a recipe. While photos are copyrighted, all of the bloggers I know welcome sharing photos as long as a link to the recipe is given to the recipe rather than the entire recipe reposted.

An example of the right way to post and share a recipe:

Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake ... as she says "brace yourself for this cake!" And I can see why!!! From Po man meals

Many Thanks,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Simple Marinara Sauce

Updated October 2020

Why buy marinara sauce in a jar, when you can make your own quite simply at home? In just a few minutes, and allowing some time for the sauce to simmer, you'll have a simple Marinara Sauce that's wonderful in all kinds of dishes: 
  • spaghetti
  • lasagna
  • baked ziti
  • rigatoni
  • eggplant Parmesan
  • zucchini Parmesan
  • chicken Parmesan

2 - 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce (make your own)
1 - 1.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (make your own)
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1-2 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)
2-3 tsp. Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup red wine (optional, but it adds a lot of flavor)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef, browned (optional for Bolognese sauce)

Cook and simmer over low heat an hour of so, until sauce has thickened some and seasonings have blended in.

Taste sauce and adjust all seasonings as necessary, to taste.

Serve immediately over your favorite pasta, or use in pasta/veggie dishes you need to bake.



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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Double-Chocolate Ecstasy Ice Cream

Over many years of making ice-cream, this is my hubs "perfected" recipe for Double Chocolate Ecstasy Ice-Cream.  Once you make this, I doubt you'll ever buy chocolate ice-cream again ... I know we never will!
Scraping Vanilla Bean
Making the batter

Mixing the chocolate mixture into the batter

All set to freeze up

 Oh ya, that's good!

1 qt heavy cream
2 cups half and half
3 eggs
2 tbls vanilla
1 vanilla bean, scrapped
2 cups sugar
1 box unsweetened chocolate (8 squares)
1/3 cup cocoa

Melt chocolate over low heat, mix in cocoa; slowly pour in 2 cups half and half; stir over low heat and continue stirring until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and cool.

In separate bowl, whisk thoroughly *3 eggs. Whisk in 1/2 cup sugar at a time until all sugar is added. Add 1 quart heavy cream; blend thoroughly. Add vanilla and the meat of the vanilla bean.  Blend chocolate mixture into vanilla base, stirring by hand. Do not use a mixture.

Chill mixture several hours in a refrigerator.  Once chilled, pour into ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Store in ice-cream containers and freeze until firm.

* Cooks note - if you want to cook the eggs slightly you can "temper" them in the melted chocolate/half and half mixture by whisking the eggs and adding in a small amount of the hot chocolate/half and half blend. Once mixed well, add them slowly back into the chocolate/half and half mixture and chill as directed above.


Costa Ventosa Winery in Whaleyville, Maryland with owners Kathryn and Jack Lord

Tucked away in a rural region on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and situated on only 3 1/2 acres, lies the Costa Ventosa Winery in Whaleyville, Maryland.  Planted in 2006 and opened in 2010, Kathryn and Jack Lord have taken what was just some land, and turned it into this lovely little winery.  Recently, on a trip to see our daughters, we were treated to a Wine and Cheese Afternoon at the winery,where they volunteer for, and help with, the bottling season.  We were presented a lovely tasting of their delightful wines, and they even have suggestions of what foods and wines are paired best.  If you're ever in Whaleyville, or the Ocean City area, I highly suggest you stop by and enjoy it for yourself!

Check them out online at:
or on Facebook at:!/CostaVentosa?fref=ts

Welcome to Costa Ventosa!

Love this!

The grapes

Let the tasting begin
Kathryn pours the first round
The wines: 
Diana’s Delight (Vidal Blanc) $13
Named after Kathryn’s beloved mother, the Vidal reminds us of her, with its honey and orange blossom aroma and hints of pineapple. Flavors of lemon and quince combined with a smidge of apple leads to a long, spicy finish with hints of grapefruit and orange zest. Ready anytime to enjoy and serve chilled.
Food suggestions: Light, grilled meats/veggies, or Thanksgiving accompaniment 

Puckum Pinot Grigio $15
Oh the nose on this wine! Pineapple, grapefruit and banana ... followed by yummy tropcial fruit flavors and a roasted almond finish.  Drink your Puckum Wine ... our 2001 won Best in Class (dry white) in the state of Maryland
Food suggestions:  Spicy, Mexican or Curry dishes
Assawoman Bay Chardonnay $15
This clear, pale straw colored Chardonnay is reminiscent of the smells of country life: apple, spiced apple, with hints of dried herb, toast and linden. Think of plucking a big green apple and savoring the taste; you’ll find this crispness in the wine, along with citrus and apricot. Grapefruit and lemon are on the finish. Ready anytime to consume. Serve chilled.
Food suggestions: Crab cakes, grilled tuna or swordfish, mild cheddar cheese
Tuckahoe Merlot $17
A light bodied wine, Tuckahoe Merlot combines the aromas of spiced cherry, butter and toast with a whisper of cinnamon and black pepper. Tuckahoe Creek is a quiet, unassuming stream that meanders on the Eastern Shore. Our Merlot is equally humble; don’t save it for a big event but serve it on an ordinary day. Find simple pleasure in the sour cherry and spice flavors and butter and spice finish.
Food suggestions: Grilled salmon, grilled meats, hambugers, blue cheese
Rockawalkin Rosso $21
A blend of Merlot (85%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), the Rosso reminds us of summer berries ... blueberies, blackberries and black currant with a hint of thyme on the nose.  Named after an area near Salisbury, the wine tastes of bing cherries with a trace of dark chocolate.
Food suggestions:  Roasted pork, steak or other game, heavy Italian dishes such as lasagna
Riddle Farm Riesling $15
Our Riesling pays tribute to Riddle Farm, home of Man O’War, one of the greatest race horses of all time. It has aromas of apricots and yummy ripe peaches with hints of pear and hazelnut. Taste gala apples, honey and pear in this semi-sweet Riesling.
Food suggestions:  Everything!  Tex Mex, bleu cheese, tropical fruits or summer picnic
Pursuit of Happiness (Gewurztraminer) $19
As you pour the wine, you will notice a beautiful straw glow and its glass-coating viscosity promising a richly rewarding tasting experience. The aromas are concentrated and complex with scents of golden raisin, honey, apricot and rosewater. The flavors fill the mouth in a hedonistic explosion of spicy cinnamon, raisin and apricot along with notes of grapefruit, muscat and orange blossom. Pursuit of Happiness finishes smooth with hints of citrus and clove and white pepper. Excellent now, this will continue to develop, peaking in two to three years. Serve chilled.
Food suggestions:  Fresh fruits, tarts, stong cheeses, assorted dried fruits 
Whaleyville Red $12
Can you say grape juice with a kick? Many of our customers grew up drinking Boones Farm, Manischewitz, and Mogen David. This wine, with its grapey aroma and taste, should be chilled to bring out the sweet simplicity of concord grapes.
Food suggestions:  Barbecue, feta or gorgonzola, carrot cake
Seeing the back side of the operation
All the wines are stored here
And this is where it's bottled
Everyone having fun!
Great time!
More fun with family and friends
Just outside the front door!
The wines!
All of us
Thanks again Kathryn and Jack!  We had a GREAT time and we'll be back!









Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Grilled Pork Chops with Feiny's Rubs and a Mustard/ Sour Cream Sauce

I love pork chops and I especially love them grilled ... pasture-raised pork is the BEST ever and well worth the money spent!  This recipe is to-die-for yummy and is our "go to" for pork chops!  I served ours over a bed of fresh Beet Greens, wilted on the grill!  Yummm!

Pork Chops

2 center-cut pork chops (preferrably pasture-raised - I used ones I purchased recently from Sunny Cedars Farm)
Rub liberally with Feiny's Rubs (I used Original Barbecue)
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours

Sear chops over high heat on grill, 1-2 minutes; lower heat to medium, turn chops and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, with lid closed or internal temp is 145 degrees.  Allow chops to rest 5-10 minutes before serving (loosely covered with foil).

 Mustard/Sour Cream Sauce

1/8 cup chicken stock (make your own)
1/8 cup sour cream
2 tsps. stone-ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, sour cream, and stone-ground mustard until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk the sauce until combined and thickened, about 3 minutes.

Serve pork chops with mustard & sour cream sauce lightly ladled over top. 

Note - Potatoes roasted on the grill and grilled asparagus are excellent served with this dish.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Canned Beets, Spicy Pickled Beets and Beet Relish

I love beets! When they are in-season and fresh at the Farmer's Market, I always pick up a bunch or two. Love them sliced and steamed with butter, salt and pepper, canned or pickled. Any way you want works for me.

Regular Canned Beets
4 lbs beets

Wash beets. Trim greens; set aside for steamed beet greens or beet green salad. Leave 2 inches of stem and tap root. Boil until skins slip off; trim. Slice, dice or leave small beets whole.

Pack beets into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Add 1/2 tsp salt to each pint and 1 tsp salt to each quart (optional).

Ladle boiling water over beets, leaving 1-inch head space. Remove air bubbles by running a knife around the inside of the jars.

Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 30 minutes, quarts 35 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure in a pressure canner.

Spicy Pickled Beets
4 lbs. beets
3 cups thinly sliced onion (optional)
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 tbls mustard seed
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon, broken

Wash and drain beets. Leave 2 inches of stems and tap roots. Cover with boiling water and cook until tender.

Remove peel; trim ends, and cut into slices, then quarter.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add beets and cook until hot throughout. Remove cinnamon sticks.

Pack hot beets into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space; ladle hot pickling liquid over beets. Remove air bubbles by running a knife around the inside of the jars.

Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Yield:  about 4 pints

Beet Relish
1 quart chopped, cooked beets (about 12 medium)
1 quart chopped cabbage (about 1 small head)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet red peppers (about 2 small)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
1 tbsp salt
3 cups vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Simmer 10 minutes, bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. 

Yield:  about 5 pints or 10 half-pints

Health Benefits of Beets:


© 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, April 3, 2013

Loaded Veggie & Ham Fried Rice

I love fried rice, any kind of fried rice, and the list of possibilities for fried rice is endless ... that said, here is another recipe for leftover ham, or any fully-cooked cubed ham (of course you could use ground pork, diced chicken or shrimp instead, or leave out the meat entirely).  Delicious and so easy!


1 cup white rice, cooked according to package instructions
1 cup cooked ham, cubed (any ham will work; use leftover, cubed, sliced, whatever you have)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 tbls. soy sauce (more or less depending on taste)
2 eggs, beaten (preferably farm fresh)
5-6 stalks fresh asparagus, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped/diced
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup cabbage, chopped/diced
1-2 tbls butter

*Note - add any fresh veggies you like

Melt butter in large frying pan, or electric skillet; add onion, celery, cabbage, peas and carrots; cover and cook over medium heat until al dente (or firm/tender); stir in ham and continue to cook until hot.  Add eggs and stir until cooked through; stir in cooked rice and soy sauce. Continue cooking until heated through. Add fresh asparagus last, cover and cook until just done. Serve immediately.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mini Meatloaves with Barbecue Sauce, Potatoes and Cheese

Love making individual servings from time to time! Really works well for us, especially over the Spring and Summer, when we spend many weekends in our 5th Wheel Camper, since the hubs is the manager of a military rec area/campground.  If I have some of these pre-made and frozen, it makes for a very easy, quick dinner when on the go!  Doesn't sacrifice goodness, but is so convenient!

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1-2 tbls garlic powder
1-2 tbls minced, dried onion
1-2 tsp course ground black pepper
1 egg
1/2-3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (preferably homemade); plus more for spooning over top
1-2 cups frozen, cubed potatoes (make your own)
1-2 cups shredded Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese (could also use shredded sharp cheddar cheese)


Spray 4-6 individual 4" aluminum foil round pans with cooking spray.  Evenly add potatoes to each pan and top with shredded cheese.  Mix ground beef and next 6 ingredients together until well blended; shape into rounded patties.  Add one pattie on top of each pan; press down to cover potato and cheese.  Top each with a Tbls or 2 of the barbecue sauce.  Bake in 450 oven 30 minutes or until done and meat is cooked through; top with more shredded cheese if desired.

* Note - serve with a tossed salad or veggie.  Freezes well.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus & Ham

This is such a simple, quick dish to prepare!  Perfect for lunch or makes a light, lovely dinner for a busy weeknight.  This is the perfect Spring meal when Asparagus is in season and fresh!

Angel Hair Pasta
2-3 slices of ham, diced
2-3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-3 Tbls butter
4-5 stalks fresh Asparagus, cut in 1/2
Parmesan cheese
course-ground black pepper

*Note - all amounts very depending on how many people you are serving.  Add more or less, as needed.

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  During the last few minutes of the pasta boiling, add the diced ham and asparagus; finish cooking.  Remove from heat, drain pasta, ham and asparagus; put back in pan and toss with butter. Spoon mixture into large a pasta bowl; dust with course-ground black pepper, Parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serve immediately.