Monday, March 31, 2014

Tuna Salad

There's really nothing special about this recipe, other than I love it every once in awhile! It's quick, satisfying, easy, and versatile.

Tuna, for its part, is a source of high-quality protein with almost no fat. It contains all essential amino acids required by the body for growth and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. Canned tuna can be a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, with 150 milligrams or more per four-ounce serving.

Canned tuna has less mercury than fresh or frozen tuna steaks. This is because, generally speaking, smaller fish—which accumulate less mercury—are canned, while larger fish—which accumulate more mercury—are used for tuna steaks. Also, light canned tuna has less mercury than white canned tuna (also known as Albacore tuna).

Although tuna contains mercury, which accumulates in larger fish that are higher on the food chain, for most people, the fish doesn't contain enough mercury to be a concern, however.

The bottom line is, tuna (like most things) is good in moderation and not good in excess. If you enjoy tuna, you can include it as a healthy food in your diet

1-12 oz. can light tuna or albacore in water, drained
1 slice onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
5-6 large black olives, sliced (optional)
1 tbls. sweet pickle relish (make your own)
1 tbls. mayonnaise, or more to taste
dash of sea salt or real salt and pepper, to taste

Drain tuna fish well.  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well until combined.  Cover and chill about 1 hour before serving to give all the flavors a chance to blend.
  • Serve over baby spinach or mixed salad greens 
  • Top on slightly toasted bread 
  • Make it a "tuna melt" by topping tuna salad on toasted bread with cheese slices; slightly melt cheese by putting sandwich in your microwave for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Add it to macaroni salad for a light summer dish


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Friday, March 28, 2014

Chili Cheese Fries

This might take a little planning, but they are the BEST ever!  You need to cut some fresh potatoes into fries, make some chili (you can do in advance and and either "put it up" in a pressure canner, freeze it, or use leftover chili from a previous meal), get some shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream ... and you're ready!

2 cup homemade French fries
1 cup homemade chili
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dollop of sour cream
Salt to sprinkle on potatoes

Heat 2" oil to 325 degrees in a large fry pan or deep fryer. Add potatoes carefully (they will splatter) to the hot oil and cook 6-8 minutes; drain fries from oil and place on paper towels. Let sit 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.

When ready to cook, increase heat to 375 and fry 5 minutes or until crispy. Sprinkle with salt. Meanwhile, put chili in a pan and cook over medium heat until heated through.  Remove from heat and top hot French fries with heated chili.  Add shredded cheddar cheese and top all with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

Options - add sliced jalapeno peppers if desired.


Farm Fresh in the Kitchen - Sunny Cedars Farm

So what exactly is this "farm to table" or farm to fork" thing? 

By definition it means:  The farm-to-fork or table movement has arisen more or less concurrently with recent changes in attitude about food safety, food freshness, food seasonality, and small-farm economics. Advocates and practitioners of the farm-to-table model frequently cite as their motivations the scarcity of fresh, local ingredients; the poor flavor of ingredients shipped from afar; the poor nutritional integrity of shipped ingredients; the encroachment of genetically modified foods into the food economy; the disappearance of small family farms; the disappearance of heirloom and open-pollinated fruits and vegetables; and the dangers of a highly-centralized food-growing and -distribution system. 1.

As a result of this movement: A growing number of consumers have started to seek healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives to the processed foods that dominate grocery store shelves. 2. 

So what it comes down to is this: Making a conscious decision to eat better and more healthy by purchasing fresh ingredients from local farms or farmer's markets, or growing your own fresh produce, and incorporating it into your daily diet. Real food the way it was meant to be!

But Where do you start, or how do you begin? You start in your own community and that's where this blog comes in.  In this "Farm Fresh in the Kitchen" Blog I will feature a variety of local, small family farms, farmer's markets, and more throughout Sumter, S.C. and the surrounding communities. The "Farm Fresh in the Kitchen" Blog will also feature information on weekly food boxes or co-op produce shares, how to "put up" and preserve summer's bounty, gardening tips, yummy recipes and more to inspire you. Don't live in Sumter, S.C. or the surrounding area? You may still find something of interest here!

So let's get started on our first "Farm Fresh in the Kitchen" outing!

first FEATURED FARM is Sunny Cedars Farm located at 701 Singleton Lane (click address for map) just off Lewis Road, in Sumter, S.C. There you'll meet Russell Singleton, his wife, Lesa, and their family.  This is a great local pig farm, raising heritage breed pigs, all antibiotic and hormone-free. 

"We use old, heritage pig breeds such as Berkshire, Tamworths, Spotted Poland China, and others that have fallen out of favor with commercial growers because they take longer to mature than the Yorkshire/Landrace cross preferred by the industry. Our pigs have free access to woods and pasture. They spend their days rooting for hickory nuts and acorns, cooling off in the mud, and sleeping in the sun. To supplement their grazing, we grind and mix our own hog feed here on the farm using local grain and other ingredients. Because our hogs have a healthy environment and lots of space to roam, they are hardly ever sick, so antibiotics aren’t necessary."

Their pigs at Sunny Cedars Farm are raised on pasture and never caged. They are humanely put to sleep before being processed at the Williamsburg Packing Company, 
a federally certified humane animaprocessing plant by FSIS
(Food Safety & Inspection Service) of the USDA. 

Sunny Cedars Farm currently has nitrite-free Bacon prepared with brown sugar and sea salt (that's it, no other ingredients or fancy names you can't pronounce), Boston butt roasts, St. Louis Ribs15 kinds of Sausages including spinach-garlic brats, Italian sausage, chorizo, andouille, and breakfast sausage links & patties, all containing no preservatives or food coloring, no MSG, no fillers and are gluten-free. 

Are you going to pay more for it? Yes! Why?  "Commercial pork producers use indoor, intensive confinement operations to raise hogs who may never see the light of the sun. They’re crowded close together in hog parlors where the risk of contagious disease is high, requiring daily doses of antibiotics to prevent outbreaks of illness. These factory farms use pigs who have been bred to tolerate confinement, grow faster, and grow longer and leaner (to produce more pork chops) over the years. They are fed growth hormones such as Paylean (ractopamine) to speed their growth. As a result, commercial breeders can produce large quantities of pork at a low cost - but what has been sacrificed is flavor. Pork is now marketed as “the other white meat,” because that’s what you get in the grocery store ... a nondescript, flavorless white meat that has to be brined or marinated to give it any flavor. At Sunny Cedars, we
know how pork is supposed to be; dark rosy pink, perfectly marbled, rich and juicy, and bursting with flavor!"

What's the benefit? You know where your food is coming from! You feed yourself and your family a better product. You eat healthier. You support your local farms with your dollars, and they in turn can continue to do what they do to provide you and I with the best possible products. Seems like a "win win" to me!

Is there a difference? YES! So much so you won't believe you are eating pork. I've personally tried the pork chops, maple breakfast sausage links, bratwurst and bacon. The pork chops are tender and juicy, not dry and tough. So darn good and the bacon, brats and sausage are equally delicious. Plus with the new Safe Cooking Temperatures, you can now safely cook pork to 145 which will make it a nice medium and not over-done.

To buy at Sunny Cedars Farm, please call 803-934-6072 (or text) to make sure someone is home at the farm and they'll arrange a time for you to come out for a shopping visit to the farm. (Price List)

Find Sunny Cedars Farm on Facebook

Today's recipe: Grilled Pork Chops (click for "print friendly" version )

2 center-cut pork chops (from 

Sunny Cedars Farm)
Rub liberally with Feiny's Rubs 

(I used Original Barbecue or use the 
rub of your choice)
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).

Until next time!


Note - Any of the livestock farms shared on this blog practice humane husbandry and use no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen is a feature of

Monday, March 24, 2014

Slow Cooked Baked Barbecue Pork Chops

These pork chops are falling off the bone tender! The beauty is there's no need to wait for grilling season to cook up some of these. Sometimes you just want barbecue, no matter what the weather, and today was one of those days.

Flavorful and delicious, this pork becomes infused throughout the meat with the tangy sweetness of the barbecue sauce. Looks like it was grilled, doesn't it?


1" thick center cut pork chops
Homemade barbecue sauce  (or sauce of your choice)


To bake: turn oven on to 275 degrees. Place pork chops in a large baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Smother chops with several spoonfuls of barbecue sauce.

Cover tightly and bake 2 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove chops from oven; top with additional barbecue sauce and serve with your favorite side dishes

For a slow cooker:  place chops in slow cooker, smother in sauce and cook on low heat 6 hours or until fork tender.


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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Asparagus & Tomato Pasta Salad

I told y'all I love Asparagus! Adding a variety of Asparagus dishes to the ones I already enjoy just seemed like a win-win to me. More ways to eat and enjoy it is always a good thing.

This Asparagus and Tomato Pasta Salad uses a dressing mix of Balsamic Vinegar and Dijon Mustard to give it a nice little kick. Use the freshest Asparagus you can buy when preparing this dish.

What will you need to make Asparagus and Tomato Pasta Salad?

  • 3 cups uncooked rotini or penne pasta
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus
  • 1/4 cup oil of your choice
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1-14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes drained or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • garlic powder, salt and pepper

3 cups uncooked rotini or penne pasta
1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2-1-inch pieces, discarding woody ends (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup oil (your choice)
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1 tbls. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1 -14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained (or 2 fresh tomatoes cut into small pieces, approx. 2 cups)


Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Rinse with cold water and drain well.

In a small bowl add oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper; whisk well until blended. In a large bowl toss pasta, asparagus and tomatoes with dressing mixing well.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to blend flavors. This is a great fresh pasta salad, good by itself, or served as a side dish to grilled meats.

Find more cholesterol lowering recipes in this wonderful collection from Sumptuous Spoonfuls


© 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.ix all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir to combine and bring to a low boil over medium heat. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Asparagus, Bacon & Potato Bake

Did I say I love Asparagus?  They are my favorite Spring vegetable and one of my "non guility" pleasures.  I eat them steamed, roasted, baked, in salads and more.  They are delicious and chock-full of good for you vitamins and minerals.  

Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, ranking among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This, according to preliminary research, may help slow the aging process. Read more here

This Asparagus, Potato and Bacon Bake is easy to do and great for a Sunday Brunch!

2 small/medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tbls. butter
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. course-ground black pepper
8 strips of bacon, cooked crisp
20 spears fresh Asparagus, ends cut and discarded
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs
4 oz. cream cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Melt butter in large fry pan over medium heat; add potatoes, sliced onion, seasoned salt and pepper. Cook/fry until potatoes are mostly done and onion is caramelized.  

Remove from heat and place in a 9 x 9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray (or oiled with olive oil).  Cut up potatoes and onions into bite-sized pieces with fork and knife.  

Layer fresh Asparagus over top of potatoes and onions, alternating every 3 or 4 spears in the opposite direction (some with the tips facing left, others with them facing right).  

Top Asparagus with cooked bacon and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over top. Mix eggs and cream cheese in a blender until well combined; pour evenly over potatoes, bacon, asparagus and cheese.  Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes or until eggs are set.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Cook's note - Asparagus will be crisp tender when finished baking. If you would like it cooked more, blanch it in boiling salted water for a few minutes, drain and proceed with recipe.


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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Strawberry Syrup

Using the leftover strawberry juice from straining the berries for Strawberry Pie Filling, I added some sugar and turned  it into Strawberry Syrup.  So easy to do and full of strawberry flavor.

4 cups strained strawberry juice from fresh strawberries
2 cups sugar

Pour strawberry juice into large stock pot; add sugar and stir well.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Allow mixture to boil until it thickens, approx. 30 minutes.

Test syrup by putting some on a cold spoon that has been sitting in some ice water. Syrup will cool quickly on the cold spoon so you'll see if it's as thick as you'd like.

Pour syrup into 8 oz. canning jars and process in boiling water bath 5 minutes.

Remove jars from stock pot and let cool 24 hours on a towel on your counter-top.

Yield:  2 - 8 oz. jars


No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Love the easy convenience of these little dessert parfaits in jars. I make many different varieties, but today I made some using my Homemade Strawberry Pie Filling. So easy and super-delicious! And yes, you absolutely can use any pie filling flavor you like.

1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 - 8 oz. container cool whip or 1 cup heavy 
1 graham cracker crumb crust, evenly divided 
1 - 16 oz. jar Strawberry Pie Filling (or any flavor you choose)

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

Set out cream cheese to soften. Once softened, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and combined. Add vanilla, lemon juice and sour cream and beat until well blended. Mix in heavy cream or cool whip until fluffy. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool 1-2 hours.

In 8 - 8 oz. mason jars, add 2 tbsp. of the graham cracker crumb crust then top the crust with 2 large spoonfuls of the cheesecake filling, and lastly top cheesecake filling with 2 spoonfuls of the strawberry pie filling, repeating one more time in order given, 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



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Homemade Strawberry Pie Filling

I love making my own pie filling for several reasons; I get to preserve fresh fruit when it's in season, we get to enjoy it many months after the season has past, it's convenient, and oh so easy!

While I do make jams and jellies as well, sometimes you just want to open a jar and make a yummy dessert ... this is where making your own fruit pie fillings comes in!  The possibilities are endless and only limited to your imagination!

7 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, sliced
1 1/2 cups + 4 tbls. sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbls. Clear Jel*
2 cups cold water
2 tbls. lemon juice

Measure 7 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, and sliced; drain in a mesh colander placed over a large bowl. In a large stock pot, add sugar and Clear Jel and mix until blended.

Add water and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and bubble (mixture will be very thick quickly).

Add lemon juice and whisk while cooking one (1) minute; stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; fold in drained strawberries immediately and ladle mixture into canning jars, leaving 1" head-space.

Process jars in boiling water bath bath 30 minutes.  Remove jars from water bath and allow to cool on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours.

Yield:  4 pint or 2 quart jars

*Cooks note - Clear Jel is necessary if you are going to process pie filling in a boiling water bath. If you are just making pie filling to eat and enjoy immediately, you can use cornstarch.


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Easy Chicken and Rice

Don't you just love easy?  I especially love easy on busy weeknights when you need to get something ready in a hurry.  This Easy Chicken and Rice is just that, easy and simple.

6 chicken breast tenders (or more depending on family size)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 - 3/4 cup cream of chicken soup mix (depending on desired thickness)
1 cup rice, cooked according to package instructions
Parsley to sprinkle over top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a covered baking dish with cooking spray and place chicken tenders in dish.

Whisk 2 cups chicken stock with 1/2-3/4 cup cream of chicken soup mix and pour over chicken tenders.  Cover and bake 30 minutes.

Remove cover and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until chicken is bubbly.  Serve chicken over cooked rice with gravy mixture.  Sprinkle parsley over top.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pickled Asparagus

Since the Asparagus season is so short, I love to buy some and put it up, either by freezing or pickling some.

This is a small batch recipe only making 2-16 oz. jars, but can easily be doubled if desired.

How to use:  
  • Serve on an assorted pickle tray
  • Spread cream cheese on thinly sliced ham, place one or two spears on top and roll up for easy appetizer
  • Heat slightly with a little olive oil and serve on top of toasted French bread slices with tomatoes and onions as bruschetta
  • Use on a Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil

2-16-ounce jars (with new lids and seals)
3 pounds of asparagus, washed and trimmed to fit your jars (use the freshest asparagus you can)
1 ½ cup white vinegar
1 ½ cup water
2 tbsp. pickling salt
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. peppercorns
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 large cloves garlic, peeled, or 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  

Add the dill weed, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and red pepper flakes to the jars. 

Pack the asparagus into the jars over the spices, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. 

Pour the liquid over the asparagus, and tap the jars to remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims with a damp cloth, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes. 

Remove from jars from water onto a towel, and allow to cool completely. Once cool, remove the rings and check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Note - Use the freshest asparagus you can find. I purchase my asparagus at a local to me asparagus farm, or a farmers market I frequent, where the asparagus was picked the day before. Stalks should be firm, almost crispy, and snap when removing the woody bottoms. If adding time to adjust for altitude, bring boiling water bath to a low boil PRIOR to putting jars inside, then process for no more than 15 minutes. Immediately remove jars after processing and proceed with directions above.

Save all the cut ends to make an Asparagus Soup Base to be used for Creamy Asparagus Soup! 


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Asparagus Soup Base

Just call me frugal, but I totally hated it when I discarded all those cut ends from my Asparagus. Certainly there had to be something I could make with them.  Well, the first thing I did was save all the cut ends from a variety of fresh produce and then turned them all into a Vegetable Stock.  That was great, and I love using it, but now I say save those cut ends from fresh Asparagus for this delicious Asparagus Soup Base. This is a lovely soup base to keep on hand and best made with fresh, young Asparagus ends.  Simply amazing!

2 lbs. cut ends from fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2"-1" pieces (discard any woody ends)
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup onion, 
1 tbls. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt/real salt
1/4 tsp. course-ground pepper

In a small saucepan with a little olive oil, saute' shallots and garlic until translucent (do not brown). Remove from heat and set aside.  

In a medium sauce pan cook chicken stock until just boiling; remove from heat.

Pack jars 3/4 full with cut asparagus ends, add equal amounts of onions, garlic, salt and pepper to each jar. 

Pour hot stock over contents to fill leaving 1" head-space. Process pint jars 75 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure using a pressure canner.

Note - When ready to make soup you will need 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 tbls. Parmesan
cheese for each pint. In a sauce pan add the contents of a pint jar reserving a few pieces for the top of the soup.  Stir over medium heat till the soup is heated. With blender or food processor puree until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Return to pot over medium heat and add the cream. Continue to cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and add back the reserved pieces. Serve hot topped with more cheese and cooked, crumbled bacon if desired. Don't want to blend it, there's no need to. Simply stir over medium heat until the soup is heated, add cream, cooking for 3 minutes as stated above; serve as suggested. No need to can if you don't want to.  Cook as posted above, or until cut ends are very tender, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beef Sirloin Roast

There is something so special about a good beef roast.  The smells when it's roasting, the sweet juices that come from it, and the glorious taste of beef cooked right.  We enjoy a good beef roast many times throughout the year, don't you? It's simply delicious. After enjoying your beef roast for dinner, shave some of the beef for French Dip sandwiches!  Yummy!

1 - 5 lb. beef sirloin roast
Olive oil to rub over meat
Freshly ground sea salt/real salt and cracked pepper
2 tsp. minced garlic
Several leaves of fresh Rosemary

Remove roast from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature one hour prior to roasting. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Rub olive oil all over roast, cover with freshly ground sea salt or real salt and cracked pepper.  Place in roasting pan and top with minced garlic and rosemary leaves.  Roast 15 minutes at 450; reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast 20 minutes per pound or until internal temperature with a digital thermometer reaches 120 for rare, 125 for medium rare and 135 for medium (remember the internal temperature will rise while the meat is resting, so always remove it 5 degrees before optimal temperature is reached).  Remove from oven and let rest 15-20 minutes before carving.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cherry Cheese Challah Danish

I recently received some Tribes-A-Dozen bread mixes to test, taste, and experiment with.  I was very attracted to their bread mixes and couldn't wait to try them ... they did not disappoint.  Easy to make, with simple to follow directions, they were everything I thought they would be.

Tribes-A-Dozen’s VoilĂ ! Hallah is an all-natural, Kosher line of traditional bread mixes created especially for busy home bakers. Gathering your family together in the kitchen to recreate long lost traditions is now even easier thanks to modern convenience.  

My favorite quote from their web site is:  Our recipes are all natural, relying on tried and true ingredients in their purest forms. We use only premium ingredients in our bread mixes. Our whole grain — wheat and spelt–flours are certified organic, as is our flavoring. Our products are certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU).

1 - Tribes-A-Dozen Voila Hallah Traditional Egg Bread Mix
12-oz. cream cheese 
1/2 cup sugar for filling
1/4 cup sugar for top
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 stick butter, melted 
Slivered almonds

Prepare bread mix according to package directions. Separate into 2 dough balls and let sit 10 minutes. Press one dough ball into a 9 x 9-inch square and place on the bottom of a 9 x 9-inch square baking dish, sprayed with baking spray. In a large stand mixer, blend cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and continue mixing until combined. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of dough in baking dish. Top cream cheese mixture with cherry pie filling; press remaining dough ball into a square and place on top of filling.  

Pour melted butter over top, sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar and slivered almonds. 

Allow to rise in warm place 45 minutes.  
Preheat oven to 350.  Bake 40-45 minutes, or until bread is cooked though and top is golden.  Edges of bread will be slightly more browned. Remove from oven and let cool.  

Disclaimer: The samples in this post were provided by Tribes-A-Dozen. All opinions are my own.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Easy Homemade Potato Chips

I've always wanted to try and make my own potato chips.  I mean, I know I could have years ago, but at the time it just seemed too complicated and too much work for a bunch of chips!  Boy, was I ever wrong. With and a little time, and the right equipment, these really were so darn easy to do!  Better yet, they taste better than any store-bought potato chip I ever bought.

Yes, they are fried, but hey, fried isn't bad for you every once in awhile.  I was also fortunate to receive some of my friend, Chef Adam Feinberg's, Fein Tasting Foods Rubs a bit ago, which I used for seasoning some of the chips. Who knows, maybe he'll start his own line of snacks!  For now, I'm putting them in small brown paper lunch bags, and taking them to the lake this weekend for my grandsons to gobble up.


4 medium-sized organic red potatoes, peeled (any type potato will work)
Water to soak potatoes
2 tsp. salt, divided
Mandoline slicer, rotor slicer/shredder attachment on your Kitchen Aid stand mixer, or slicing attachment on your food processor
Oil for frying (healthy beef tallow, or pork leaf lard are great "good for you" options)

Peel potatoes and slice thin (1/8-inch) using options mentioned above. Rinse sliced potatoes several times with cold water, until water runs clear. Soak potatoes in a large bowl filled with water and 1 tsp. sea salt for 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and repeat soaking for another 30 minutes adding the remaining salt to the water. (See here for an option of par boiling first in a vinegar/water solution).

Set Fry Daddy up and turn on to 350 (or put 2-3" oil in a large, deep fry pan). Drain potatoes and lay out on top of a clean kitchen towel on your counter-top. Blot potatoes dry with another clean kitchen towel laid over top of the potatoes (the longer they dry the better).

Fry dried potatoes in small batches until potatoes are just past golden brown. Remove from fryer and drain on paper towels (I used a large baking sheet lined with paper towels and it worked out well).

Shake your favorite spices or salt over potatoes. I used Fein Tasting Foods Veggie Rub, Chesapeake Bay Rub and Original Barbecue Rub to season mine! Dig in!


© 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.