Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

INGREDIENTS
Filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
4 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 lg egg
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla

Cake:
1 pkg red velvet cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil

Frosting:
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2  cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS
In stand mixer, make cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy (+/- 2 minutes).  Mix in egg, flour and vanilla; beat until smooth and set aside.  Mix all cake ingredients.  Pour half of the cake batter into greased bundt cake pan.  Top with cream cheese filling, leaving about a 1″ cake border around the edge.  Pour remaining cake batter into bundt pan.  Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).  Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.  Combine frosting ingredients.  Drizzle over cake.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
Zest of 1 lime
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt to taste


Place rinsed rice to a hot sauté pan and sauté in olive oil until it begins to brown.  Place rice in rice cooker and combine with chicken broth.  Cook rice; unplug cooker when complete.  Leave rice undisturbed for 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Grandma’s Lasagna

Grandma’s Lasagna

In the 1960s and 70s, most of our family parties included the Berg family.  Tom, Evie, and their daughter Donna were always there.  Their son Tommy was serving in the military, so we didn’t see him and his wife Linda as often, but all of the Bergs have always felt like a part of our family.  Grandma’s Lasagna recipe actually came from Donna Berg sometime in the 1970s.  Donna served this at a birthday party and it was such a hit that our family has since used this lasagna recipe exclusively.


INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup water
1/2 tsp oregano
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1 whole clove, crushed
8 oz lasagna noodles, prepared
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese (or 1 cup of each)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced


DIRECTIONS
Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender; add meat and brown.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasonings and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Place 1/2 of the cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a buttered 9×13 pan.  Spread 1/2 of the ricotta (and/or cottage cheese), Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese over lasagna,  Cover with 1/2 of the sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Tamales

Tamales

INGREDIENTS
1 lb cornhusks, soaked

Meat
3 lb chicken or pork shoulder, cooked and shredded
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 cans (8-oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (28-oz) Los Palmos red enchilada sauce

Masa
2 1/2 lbs yellow corn masa
chili powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Crisco shortening


DIRECTIONS
Soak cornhusks in water.

Place meat in a large pot; add water to cover meat plus about 3 inches.  Add garlic, salt and pepper; boil until meat is tender and fully cooked (olives can also be added).  Remove meat from pot, reserving liquid.

In a large pan, lightly brown flour in oil; add tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, and cooked meat.  Bring to a boil.

Mix masa, salt, baking powder, and enough chili powder to change the color of the masa mixture light pink (2 tbsp).  Melt shortening  and add to masa mixture along with enough of the reserved liquid (approximately 7 to 8 cups) to moisten the mixture.  Masa should be moist enough to stick together when rolled into balls and/or patted out.

Lay out cornhusks.  Place an egg-sized scoop of masa on each cornhusk and pat flat.  Masa should be about 1/4″ thick.  Place approximately two large tablespoons of meat mixture in the center of the masa; roll cornhusk from the sides until ends of masa touch.  Flatten corn husk and fold up from bottom and in from sides; place in steaming pan.  Steam for approximately 1 hour; check for doneness.

Remove cornhusks and serve with remaining red sauce.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 lg jalapeños, seeded and deveined

1 serrano chili, seeded and deveined
1/2 lg white onion, sliced
1 can (28 oz) tomatillos, drained
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 can (7 oz) diced jalapeños
Avocado (optional and to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
Salt


Over very high heat, brown chilies on both sides in vegetable oil; remove to bowl.  Brown onion; remove to bowl of chilies.  Heat tomatillos thoroughly then add garlic.  Return chili mixture to pan; blend with emersion blender.  Blend in diced jalapeño, (optional avocado) and cilantro .  Season with salt to taste.

Aunt Laurie’s Salsa

Aunt Laurie’s Salsa

Aunt Laurie’s mom, Janet, and her step-dad, Monty, have always been two of our favorite people!  Family holidays and get togethers are even more fun because of the time we spend talking with Laurie’s parents.  I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for Laurie’s mom! 

This recipe came to us from Monty’s good friend, George.  Laurie begged for the recipe after enjoying it for years . George came up with the recipe and entered it in many Salsa contests . The salsa won just about every time it was entered. In 1981, Laurie and family were at a chili cook off in Arizona where George entered the salsa plus his chili. He won in both categories yet again. George gave Aunt Laurie his secret recipe at that chili cook off.  She grabbed a piece of paper and jotted it down, and still has the original paper to this day!


INGREDIENTS
1 lg can peeled petite diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 to 1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 brown onion, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/4 bunch cilantro (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper pepper


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients.

Southern Sweet Potatoes

Southern Sweet Potatoes

SweetPotatoesThis recipe comes from Grandma Lena. Grandma was a proper southern lady.  Born 11 August 1901 in Missouri, at three years old her family moved by covered wagon to Dover, Arkansas.  The slow journey took over a week.  At 17, she married Wilmer.  Grandpa was the youngest of their four children.  In 1936, the family moved to Southern California.  They made the trek in a car with a rumble seat. 

Grandma Lena’s recipe for Southern Sweet Potatoes is a Thanksgiving tradition.  The celebration just wouldn’t be the same without them!


INGREDIENTS

4 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs beaten
1 1/5 cube butter melted
2 cups half-and-half
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves (optional)
2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Topping
3 cups corn flakes (not crushed, or slightly crushed)
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups light brown sugar packed
3 cups melted butter


DIRECTIONS
Combine sweet potato ingredients; pour into 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 375° to 400°. Remove from oven. Combine topping ingredients and spread over sweet potatoes. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.

(Revised Dec 2015)

 

Wheat Waffles

Wheat Waffles

This, our favorite wheat waffle recipe, comes from Grandma Honey. When our kids wake to the sound of the wheat whirling in the blender they know that Grandma Honey’s wheat waffles will soon be on the table.


INGREDIENTS
3⁄4 cup whole wheat
1 1⁄2 cups milk
2 tbsp corn meal
2 tbsp oat meal
2 tbsp oat bran
2 eggs
1 tbsp raw sugar
1⁄4 cup butter
1 tbsp baking powder


DIRECTIONS
Blend whole wheat and milk in blender for 3 to 4 minutes. While still blending, add corn meal, oat meal, oat bran, eggs, raw sugar and butter. Turn off blender and add baking powder. Blend for 3 to 4 seconds. Cook in waffle iron. If batter rises too much, stir with spoon.

Stuffing

Stuffing

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp sage
1/2 cup dried minced onion
2/3 cup dried minced celery
5 cups water
1-1/2 cubes butter
1/3 cup chicken Better than Bouillon
16 cups bread, cubed and dried
2 lbs sage sausage, prepared
2 cans (4-oz each) water chestnuts, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
pine nuts, roasted


DIRECTIONS
Combine Italian Seasoning (or substitute Herbes de Provence), black pepper, marjoram, and sage in a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder; pour into a small mixing bowl.  Stir onion and celery into the herb mixture.  In a large stock pot, bring water, butter, and better than bouillon to a boil; stir in herb mixture.  Remove from heat; add bread crumbs and stir to moisten.  Cover with lid and allow the stuffing to sit for five to ten minutes.  Stir in all remaining ingredients, reserving some of the pine nuts and dried cranberries.  Place mixture in two 9×13 pans and heat under broiler until the top is slightly browned.  Top with reserved pine nuts and dried cranberries.

(Updated 12/23/2018)

Grandma’s Popcorn Balls

Grandma’s Popcorn Balls

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and our neighborhood on Tudor Street knew how to do Halloween right.  Each year the parents got together to organize a haunted celebration for the kids.  The annual party included a spook alley, games, and traditional neighbor treats–we all have great memories.  Grandma’s homemade popcorn balls were a big hit every year! 


INGREDIENTS
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup white corn syrup
⅓ cup water
¼ lb butter
¾ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp salt
3 to 4 quarts popcorn, popped


DIRECTIONS
Boil until soft ball stage (in cold water); add vanilla and pour over pepped corn and make into balls. Wrap balls in wax paper and put in brown paper bag to store.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Fresh Cranberry Relish

INGREDIENTS
1 pkg (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled
1 cup sugar


DIRECTIONS
Wash cranberries and place in food processor. Pulse until cranberries are in small, approximately equal pieces. Place in cranberries in a mixing bowl; cover with sugar. Place orange in food processor and process until liquefied. Pour orange juice and pulp into cranberries and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

This Sweet Potato Pie is a modified version of Grandma Lena’s Southern Sweet Potatoes.


INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup butter melted
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 uncooked pie crust


DIRECTIONS
Place pie crust in pie tin.  Combine remaining ingredients; pour into pie crust.  Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Chicken Gyro

Chicken Gyro

On vacation in Corfu, Greece, we visited a small waterside restaurant where we ate the most amazing gyro.   Moist and tender, this true Greek gyro was nothing like the meatloaf-like gyro we find in the US.  This chicken version is a delicious reminder of our experiences on this family vacation.


INGREDIENTS
4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Marinade
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
pepper

Sauce
2 English cucumbers, diced with water squeezed out
2 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
pepper

Salad
1 English cucumber, diced
4-5 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 large red onion
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Flat bread or pita


DIRECTIONS
Combine marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag; add chicken and marinate in the refrigerator (3 to 24 hours[overnight is best]).  In a medium mixing bowl, stir together sauce ingredients a minimum of 30 minutes prior to serving.  Next, combine all salad ingredients in a separate bowl.   Refrigerate sauce and salad until ready to serve.

Grill marinated chicken.

To serve, place some of the salad mixture in the center of flat bread; top with chicken and sauce.

Peanut Sauce

Peanut Sauce

I learned to love peanut sauce (pindasaus) while living in The Netherlands.  An Indonesian meal just isn’t right without it!  This delicious sauce is a favorite of every member of our family.  We use it most often to smother skewers of chicken (Satay Ajam) or pork (Satay Babi), over vegetables (Gado Gado), or with mayonnaise and diced onions to top frites (Patatje Oorlog).  There are two kinds of people in the world; those who love peanut sauce, and those who haven’t eaten it often enough to crave it… yet!   


INGREDIENTS
1⁄2 cup peanut butter
1⁄2 tsp garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
3 tbsp brown sugar
1⁄8 tsp hot curry powder
1⁄4 tsp sambal oelek (or to taste)


DIRECTIONS
In saucepan, melt peanut butter; add garlic. Heat until texture is creamy. Add lemon juice and ketjap manis. Sauce will become quite thick. Stir in coconut milk, brown sugar, curry powder and sambal.

For a slight variation, I will often add a couple of teaspoons of fresh ginger, or even a little lemon grass.

Belgian Frites

Belgian Frites


Patat MetOk, my friends, don’t get me started!  Just believe me when I say, Fries are NOT French!  Whether it be because of the style of the cut (frenched) or the native language of many of their early purveyors, french and fries have been erroneously linked as the name of a true Belgian creation, Frites!  Calling these spears of deliciousness French is, well, just wrong. 

Real frites are double fried, delivering a soft and fluffy interior and crisp exterior.   They are traditionally salted and served with mayonnaise.  But, if you are feeling a bit more  adventurous, try some of the typical toppings for Frites from the Netherlands and Belgium found under Serving Suggestions at the end of the recipe.  My personal favorite…  Patat Speciaal!


INGREDIENTS
Large potatoes
Water
Oil
Salt
Pepper (optional)


DIRECTIONS
Wash and slice potatoes (either peeled or unpeeled) into thick strips; place in a large bowl of fresh cold water and soak for 20 minutes or more.  Heat oil to 275° to 300°.  Line a large paper bag with paper towels.  Fry sliced potato fries in batches for +/-5 minutes per batch being careful to keep oil temperature in range.  Place fried potatoes in prepared paper bag and allow to cool.  Increase oil temperature to 375° to 400°; fry in batches a second time for +/-5 minutes per batch.  Place fries on a baking dish lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt (and pepper, if desired) immediately.  Devour.

Real Belgian frites (french fries) are always pre-soaked in water and then fried twice.  This results in a crisp outside and fluffy interior.


SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Patat Met – Fries with mayonnaise
Patat Speciaal – Fries with mayonnaise, curry ketchup, and topped with onions
Patatje Oorlog – Fries with mayonnaise, peanut sauce, sambal oelek, and topped with onions
Patatje Joppie – Fries with mayonnaise mixed with  yellow curry spices, and topped with onions
Frieten met Stoofvlees – Fries with Belgian stew

Taco Sauce

Taco Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1 can (7.75 oz) El Pato jalapeño sauce
1 can (7.75 oz) El Pato salsa de chile fresco
1 can (7.75 oz) El Pato salsa de tomate con jalapeño
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
black pepper


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients

Carne Asada Tacos

Carne Asada Tacos

INGREDIENTS
Sauce:
1/2 cup lime juice
2 cans (220g each) El Pato jalapeño sauce
1 tbsp chicken Better than Bouillon
2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cumin

Meat:
5 lbs carne picada (diced beef)
1 cube butter

Finishings:
1 white onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
corn tortillas
limes, cut into wedges


In a saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients; bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; melt butter, add carne picada and brown. Once beef is sufficiently browned, turn off burner and stir sauce ingredients into meat. Allow the heat from the pan to evaporate most of the moisture from the sauce.  In a separate bowl, stir together onion and cilantro.

Serve carne asada on corn tortillas topped with onion mixture and a wedge of lime.

Good Chocolate Bundt Box Cake

Good Chocolate Bundt Box Cake

INGREDIENTS
Cake:
1 pkg chocolate cake
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Frosting:
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2  cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS
Mix all cake ingredients except chocolate chips.  Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a greased bundt cake pan.   Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes.  Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing.

Apple Barbecue Sauce

Apple Barbecue Sauce

This is a work in progress…

img14748-768x512INGREDIENTS
2 cans (6-oz ea) tomato paste
3 cups apple juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chili sauce (1 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder)
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp Tahitian vanilla
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp galangal (or more ginger powder)
(1 tbsp honey)


DIRECTIONS
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients and simmer until reduced to desired consistency.

Super Apple Barbecue Sauce

Super Apple Barbecue Sauce

2 cups ketchup
1 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp galanga powder (or additional ginger powder)
1 can apple juice concentrate
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup burbon
1 tbsp liquid smoke