Recipes from meals Cherie has kitchen and table tested.

Click on a link below to jump to the recipe.

Skinny Cacciatore New
Parmesan Breadsticks New
Sourdough Bread New
Grilled Birds with Jalapeño Jelly Glaze
Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms
Pork Chops with Fennel and Rosemary
Eggs in a Cup
Jerk Shrimp
Brown and Wild Rice Medley
Payton's Pawsitively Yummy Treats
Mac and Cheese
Duo Tater Bake
Red-Wine London Broil
Apple Chutney Chops
Walnut Apple Rice
Basil-Parmesan Angel Hair
Grilled Flank Steak Salad, or Balsamic Vinegar Marinade
Rib Eye Steaks with Chipolte-Chive Butter
Smoky Stuffed Potatoes
Baked Potato Soup
Cajun Bean Soup
Summer Veggie Salad
Pork Tenderloin with Honey Roasted Carrots and Apples
Banana-Walnut Bread
Dilly Chicken Sandwiches
Vermicelli with Lemon
Praline Chocolate Dessert
Cherie the Cook
Syracuse Cookbook Our treat to you, the cookbook that Cherie and the other students and spouses put together in our year at Syracuse University, 1990. Guten appetit!

Click on cookbook cover, left, to open a file containing the book.
(A 492KB PDF file).

Skinny Cacciatore
1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large green or red pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1¾ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium carrot, shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used only 1 clove)
1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14½ oz) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
¼ teaspoon pepper
9 ounces uncooked spaghetti
Additional shredded carrot, optional
1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown chicken in 2 teaspoons oil; drain. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the green or red pepper, celery and onion in remaining oil for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, carrot and garlic; saute 2-4 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
2. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes and seasons. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until thickened. Meanwhile, cook spahetti according to package directions.
3. Stir chicken into tomato mixture; cook for 8-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Discard bay leaf. Drain spaghetti; serve with chicken mixture. Garnish with additional carrot if desired.

Yield: 6 servings. Prep time: 20 min. Cook time: 25 min.
Nutrition facts: 1-1/3 cups chicken mixture with 2/3 cup spaghetti equals 393 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 63 mg cholesterol, 968 mg sodium, 52 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 33 g protein.

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Parmesan Breadsticks
2 packages (¼ ounce each) active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water (110° to 115°)
½ cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus ¼ cup butter, softened, divided
1 teaspoon salt
4½ to 5½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic salt
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
   Punch the dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into 36 pieces. Shape each piece into a 6-in. rope. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
   Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

Yield: 3 dozen.
Prep time: 40 min. plus rising time.
Bake: 10 min.

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Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Starter
3 (1/4 ounce) packets dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Dissolve yeast in water in a large plastic container (gallon-size works well). Add sugar. When yeast bubbles (about 10 minutes), stir in flour until you have a smooth paste.
2. Cover loosely to allow gases to escape and place in a warm spot in your kitchen 2 to 3 days. The mixture should bubble and give off a sour odor. Stir starter once a day, making sure to stir in any crust that's formed. After this point, you can store starter in the refrigerator or leave it out in a cool, dark area of your kitchen.
3. Feed starter by stirring in 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water every day if you leave it out, or every few days if it's refrigerated; otherwise, it will become too acidic and eventually die.
4. Once starter has grown a few weeks and has reached full strength, you can decrease feedings to once a week.
5. If you don't use your starter regularly, it's going to get unruly and burst the bounds of its container. Give some away to friends along with feeding and baking instructions.

Classic Sourdough Bread
1 cup sourdough starter
2-1/4 cups warm water, divided
5 to 7 cups white bread flour, divided
2 (1/4-ounce) packets dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1. Mix sourdough starter, 2 cups water and 5 cups flour in a large bowl. Mix well; cover with a dish towel and let rise 8 hours or overnight.
2. Combine yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, until mixture bubbles.
3. Place flour mixture in the bowl of a stand mixture. Add yeast mixture, salt and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar. Mix well. With your hands or a dough hook, knead while gradually adding up to 2 additional cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead until a smooth, soft dough forms. Dough should be shiny and supple, not sticky and wet. If you plan to add additional ingredients (see note), add them at this point so they are evenly distributed.
4. Place dough in an oiled bowl; cover with a dishtowel and let rise about 2 hours.
5. Punch down and divide in half for 2 large loaves or fourths for 4 smaller loaves. Knead each portion by hand on a lightly floured surface until smooth; shape into rounds. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly cover with a dishtowel. Let rise 1 hour, until double in size.
7. Preheat oven to 375F. Just before placing bread in the oven, place an ovenproof bowl filled with 2 cups of water or ice cubes in the bottom of oven to create steam to help bread form a crisp crust.
8. Slash tops of loaves with a sharp knife. For a rustic look, sprinkle with flour. Bake about 45 minutes, until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Makes 2 loaves, 12 servings each.

Per serving: 120 calories, O.5g fat, 0mg chol., 5g prot., 24g carbs., 1g fiber, 190mg sodium.

Note: To make Sourdough Olive Bread, saute 1 cup chopped kalamata olives, 1 chopped small yellow onion and 4 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil until onions are tender. Cool. Add to dough during first kneading and proceed with recipe.

By Gesine Prado, a food writer in Worceser, Vt.

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Grilled Birds with Jalapeño Jelly Glaze
6 to 8 Rock Cornish game hens (1¼ to 1½ lbs. each),
    thawed if frozen
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup jalapeño jelly
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper
1. Remove poultry necks and giblets; reserve for other uses, if desired. Cut game hens in half. Rinse and pat dry.
2. In a pan, combine butter and jelly. Stir over medium heat until melted. Stir in lime juice; set aside. Place birds, skin side up, on a lightly greased grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of medium coals.
3. Cook game hens until meat near thighbone is no longer pink; cut to test (30 to 40 minutes). Turn several times during cooking; during last 15 minutes, baste often with jelly mixture.
4. Sprinkle birds lightly with salt and pepper before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From The Ultimate Grill Book, JG Press, 2000, edited by Deborah Kramer

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Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms
2 pounds fettuccine
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coarsely grond black pepper
3/4 to 1 pound shrimp, cooked and peeled
1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions, adding asparagus during the last 2 minutes. Drain well.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Combine cream, half-and-half and lemon juice in a large deep skillet; cook over medium heat about 3 minutes. Add pasta mixture to cream mixture; stir well. Add cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook, tossing fettuccine, until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and mushrooms.
Serve warm.

Serves 12

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Pork Chops with Fennel and Rosemary
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 14 to 16 minutes
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon medium grind black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 bone-in pork loin chops, cut 1-inch thick
Combine fennel seed, garlic powder, rosemary, onion powder, pepper and salt in a food processor or blender. Process until fine. Stir in oil. Spread the mixture on both sides of pork chops.
Broil or grill 4 to 6 inches from heat for 14 to 16 minutes or until done. Turn meat once during cooking. Serve immediately.

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Eggs in a Cup
An Emeril Lagasse breakfast treat Cherie saw on Good Morning America and has served on special breakfast occasions.
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 thin slices Virginia ham, about ½ ounce each
8 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons heavy cream
8 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1. Butter four 6-ounce crème brulee ramekins with the butter and lay one slice of ham in each ramekin so that it sits flat on the bottom (it's OK if it comes up the sides.)
2. Crack two eggs into two separate small cups and pour simultaneously into one of the ramekins so that the eggs sit side-by-side on top of the ham slice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining eggs.
3. Place the 4 filled ramekins onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until eggs are just beginning to set up and become opaque, 9 to 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and drizzle each ramekin with 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese over the top of each.
5. Sprinkle the parsley and chives over the ramekins and then return to the oven. Cook until eggs are just set up but yolks are still runny, 10 to 12 minutes, or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

From Good Morning America Recipes. Also at the GMA site are Emeril's companion courses to this Mother's Day meal: Mascarpone and Marmalade-Stuffed French Toast, Oven-Crispy Bacon, and Minted Fruit Salad. All are good served together, but makes for a very heavy meal. We recommend just adding the oven-crispy bacon with the Eggs in a Cup.

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Jerk Shrimp
Cherie made this on a summer Friday evening. Perfect with a white wine. Served with the Brown and Wild Rice Medley, below. Yummm.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 30 to 45 minutes
Grilling time 2 to 4 minutes (6 minutes also worked fine for me)

1/2 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
1 jalapeño chile, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco® sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

40 large shrimp, about 2 pounds, peeled and deveined
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. To make the marinade: In a food processor, combine the marinade ingredients. Process until smooth.
2. Put the shrimp in a large, plastic resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Press out the air and seal the bag tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes.
3. Remove the shrimp from the bag and discard the marinade. Thread shrimp onto skewers through both the heads and tails. Grill over direct high heat until the shrimp are firm to the touch and just turning opaque in the center, 2 to 4 minutes, turning once. Place on a serving platter, squeeze a little lime juice over the shrimp, and serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.
From "Weber's Real Grilling" cookbook by Jamie Purviance

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Brown and Wild Rice Medley
Cherie served this with the Jerk Shrimp, above. They went extremely well together. So easy, even I helped make it.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 package (6.7 oz) mushroom-flavored brown and wild rice mix
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup cut fresh green beans (1/2-inch pieces) 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1. In a large saucepan, cook rice mix according to package directions, omitting butter.

2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, saute onion and green beans in oil for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, carrots and pepper, saute 3-5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Add vegetables and almonds to cooked rice; stir until blended.

Yield: 8 servings

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Payton's Pawsitively Yummy Treats
Christmas 2007 I found this recipe in the Tucson Arizona Daily Star—a recipe for dog treats. Since some of our friends and relatives are dog lovers and owners, I made a batch as Christmas presents. They were well received.
2¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup powdered milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
One egg
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
8-10 tablespoons water
Two jars baby food, small (beef, chicken, lamb or liver)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
2) Knead the dough for about three minutes.
3) Using rolling pin, roll to about a half-inch thick.
4) Cut with cookie cutter(s) and place on an un-greased baking sheet.
5) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 24 biscuits.

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Mac and Cheese
Cherie made this for Matt and Mel on one of their trips to Sierra Vista and has made it her go-to mac and cheese recipe. This one packs a real cheesy wallop.

Stuff You Need:
3-1/2 cups large elbow macaroni
10 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut into 1" squares
10 oz. white Vermont chedddar cheese, cut into 1" squares
15 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded
1-2 cups of jack and cheddar cheese (conbined), shredded
4 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
2/3 cup sour cream
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
1-1/3 cups half-and-half
1 egg
2-2/3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (fresh if you have it)
1 tsp. kosher salt
A pinch of paprika
1 Tbsp. fresh chives (for garnish)
Hit it:
Smile. Know that you're about to prepare the best mac and cheese ever!

1. Grease a 13" x 9" nonstick metal baking pan with 1 Tbsp butter. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare macaroni according to the package directions, but make sure it's al dente. (Huh? It should still be a little firm.) Be sure to add a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil to the boiling water while cooking. Drain pasta well and pour into the baking pan.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the heavy cream, half-and-half, and sour cream; break the cream cheese into little bits with your (clean!) fingers as you add it to the bowl. Add the egg, flour, Worestershire sauce, garlic and onion powders, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg; combine very well with a wire whisk to break up that cream cheese. It will look lumpy, but that's okay.

3. Starting at the corners of the pasta dish, place and push down the Velveeta and white Vermont cheddar cubes. Work your way around and toward the middle (they won't push down completely, but just smoosh them down a bit). Now sprinkle the fabulous Gruyère cheese evenly over the top — gently and evenly pour that artery-clogging mixture on it, covering all areas. Gently shake the pan afterwards for a sec to make sure the liquid is even. I know it sounds gross, but push down and make little holes into areas of the mixture with your fingers. (You're just getting some of the Gruyère down deeper below the surface.) Wash your hands!

4. Sprinkle the jack-and-cheddar combo over the mixture and sprinkle the paprika on top. Put this baby in the oven (make sure your oven rack is right in the middle) and bake until brown and bubbly—about 1 hour.

Serves 10.

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Duo Tater Bake
4 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cartons (8 ounces each) spreadable chive and onion cream cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese 1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Place russet potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain, mash with half of the cream cheese and sour cream and all of the Colby cheese.
Drain russet potatoes; mash with the remaining cream cheese and sour cream. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; mix well.
Spread 2-2/3 cups russet potato mixture into each of two greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes. Layer with 4 cups sweet potato mixture. Repeat layers. Spread with remaining russet potato mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over casseroles. Bake 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Yield: 2 casseroles (10 servings each).

From Taste of Home, Aug/Sep 2007

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Red-Wine London Broil
1 London broil (about 2 lbs.)
3/4 cup red wine
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 tsp. each black pepper and honey
1 tbs. chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salk
In resealable plastic bag, combine first 5 ingredients and 1-1/2 tsp. thyme. Seal bag; marinate in refrigerator for two days. Remove meat 1/2 hour before grilling; reserve marinade.
Grill beef on high heat for 6 minutes a side, turning once. Bring marinade to a boil; cook 5 min. Remove; add remaining thyme, butter and salt. Reduce heat; simmer 3 min. more.

Makes 6 servings.
Work time: 5 min.; total time: 25 min., plus marinating time.

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Apple Chutney Chops
Note: The chutney can be served over other meats as well, such as poultry or beef
4 cups chopped peeled apples
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
4 bone-in pork loin chops (1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For chutney, in a large saucepan, combine the apples, raisins, honey, vinegar, salt, ginger, mustard and curry. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until apples are tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear. (Alternatively, the chops can be cooked over a bbq grill.) Serve with chutney. Yield: 4 servings.

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Walnut Apple Rice
Note: This goes good with the Apple Chutney Chops, above
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups uncooked instant rice
1 small red apple, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a large saucepan, saute onion and celery in butter for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add the water, cider, salt and cinnamon; bring to a boil.
Stir in the rice, apple and walnuts. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Makes 6 servings.

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Basil-Parmesan Angel Hair
1 package (16 oz) angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (12 oz) fat-free evaporated milk
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Additional fresh basil
12 lemon slices
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan. Add oil; toss to coat. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, onions, basil, lemon peel, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Sprinkle with additional basil. Serve with lemon. Makes 2 servings.

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Grilled Flank Steak Salad (or Balsamic Vinegar Marinade)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 beef flank steak (3/4 pound)
1 pkg (5 oz) spring mix salad greens
1 plum tomato, cut into wedges
1/4 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch strips
In a bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Pour 1/3 cup into a large resealable plastic bag; add steak. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 3 to 12 hours. Cover and refrigerate the remaining marinade for dressing.
Drain and discard marinade from steak. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 11-12 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for rare, a meat thermometer should read 140°; medium, 160°; well-done, 170°). Cut across the grain into thin slices.
In a large serving bowl, combine the greens, tomato, radishes, celery, onions and beef. Drizzle with reserved marinade and toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.

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This, and the following recipe, are courtesy of a Tabasco® ad in a coupon section of the newspaper. Cherie tried them both and was impressed with both the hot sauce and the flavor it gave the food.
4 (12 oz.) boneless rib eye steaks cut 1" thick
5 tbsp. Tabasco brand Chipolte Pepper Sauce, divided
Salt to taste
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Rub each steak on both sides with 1 tbsp. Tabasco Chipolte Sauce and salt; cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Combine butter, chives and remaining 1 tbsp. Chipolte Sauce; mix well and chill. Place steaks on a broiler pan 3" to 4" from heat and broil 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. (Note: we grilled outdoors over a medium fire for seven minutes per side.) Serve immediately and top with Chipolte-Chive Butter (you might want to skip adding the butter sauce if you're watching cholesterol) and, if desired, additional Chipolte Sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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2 (1 lb.) baking potatoes
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. Tabasco Chipolte Pepper Sauce
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
1 small clove garic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Scrub potatoes and prick several times with a fork. Bake in a 425° oven 1 hour or until tender; remove potatoes and reduce oven temperature to 350°. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise ad scoop pulp into a mixing bowl, leaving 1/4" thick shells. Add butter, sour cream, Tabasco Chipolte Sauce, green onion, garlic and salt to potato pulp; stir well and mash with a fork to break up potato chunks. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese. Spoon mixture into potato shells and top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Place on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4 servings.

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If you like baked potatoes, you'll like this soup. Cherie cooked it with all the optional ingredients and it was delicious. Estimated kitchen time: 15 minutes preparation plus 10 minutes cooking.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14.5 fl. oz.) chicken broth
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes, baked or microwaved
Cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth and evaporated milk. Scoop potato pulp from 1 potato (reserve potato skin); mash. Add pulp to broth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes just to a boil. Dice remaining potato skin and potato(es); add to soup. Heat through. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Top each serving with bacon, cheese and green onions, if desired.

Variation: For a different twist to this recipe, omit the bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions. Cook 2 tablespoons shredded carrot with the onion and add 1/4 teaspoon dried dill to the soup when adding the broth. Proceed as above.

Yields four servings.
This recipe is also available at

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When Cherie and I visited the artist colony town of Tubac, Arizona, on Luminaria Night a few weeks before Christmas, the gallery and shop owners offered snacks and drinks for their visitors, from Christmas cookies to chestnuts roasted over an open fire, and from eggnog to spiked punch. By far the best food was offered by Clee's of Tubac, who served piping hot Cajun Bean Soup on a cool wintry evening. They were gracious enough to share the recipe with us. NOTE: This is some of the best soup we've ever tasted, but be aware that it took Cherie 3 hours to prepare.
1 pkg. 15-bean soup mix
¾ pound mild Italian sausage
1 medium ham bone
6 cups water
1 large carrot, diced
3 large ribs of celery, chopped
3 springs parsley, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons each: paprika, cumin, chili powder
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
Soak beans according to package directions. Rinse and drain. Add water to beans along with ham bone and simmer for about one hour. Skim as necessary.
   Saute carrots, celery, garlic and onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Remove ham bone from soup, set aside and allow to cool enough to handle. Add vegetables and seasonings to soup and simmer for about 1½ hours. Add tomatoes and broth and simmer for another ½ hour, skimming as necessary.
   Meanwhile, saute sausage for about 15 minutes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Remove any lean meat from ham bone. Add sausage, ham and vinegar to soup. Simmer about 15 minutes longer.
   Makes about 2 quarts. Serves 8.
   NOTE: Cherie substituted 3 ham hocks for the ham bone with equal success.

   Recipe from Clee's of Tubac

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1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 cup thinly sliced yellow summer squash
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
½ cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 can (2¼ ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
6 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4½ teaspoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
In a large sucepan, bring 4 inches of water to a boil. Add carrots, beans and peas; cook for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place in a bowl; add zucchinni, summer squash, onions, red pepper and olives.
    In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, parsley, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper; shake well. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Just before serving, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
    Yield: 12 servings (from Taste of Home, June/July 2001 )

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¼ cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse grain Dijon-Style mustard
5 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large red onion, cut in thick wedges
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
½ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 Fuji or Granny Smith medium apples, peeled,
      cored and cut in 1-inch chunks or slices
Heat oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, whish together vinegar, honey, oil and mustard. In large roasting pan, mix carrots and onion with half of the honey mixture. Place tenderloin in center of pan and turn to coat with honey mixture. Rub rosemary and sage on surface of meat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over pork and vegetables. Roast 15 minutes.
   Remove pan from oven. Stir in apples and remaining honey mixture. Roast, stirring once, 15 to 20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160°F. Let pork rest, slice and arrange on serving platter; surround with roasted vegetables and apples.

    Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Serves 4.
    Nutrition information per serving—protein: 34g; total fat: 10 g; saturated fat: 2 g; carbohydrate: 46g; fiber: 7g; sodium: 462 mg; cholesterol: 89 mg; calories: 402.

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1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp baking soda
4 egg whites
1 cup mashed bananas
½ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients; set aside. In another large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add bananas, buttermilk, applesauce and vinilla. Stir into dry ingredients until just blended. Add nuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden.

    Nutrient Analysis: 215 calories per slice (12 slices per load), 3.6 grams fat (15% fat), and a trace of choleserol.

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A creamy lemon-dill spread adds summery flavor to tender chicken served between slices of grilled French bread. Yields 4 servings
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon dill weed, divided
8 slices French bread (½ inch thick)
4 tablespoons ceam cheese, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 lettuce leaves
8 slices tomato
Pound chicken to flatten evenly; set aside. In a skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter; add garlic and 1/2 teaspoon dill. Add chicken; cook until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm. Spread both sides of bread with remaining butter. In a skillet or griddle, grill bread on both sides until golden brown.
   In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon juice and remaining dill; spread on one side of grilled bread. Place lettuce, chicken and tomato on four slices of bread; top with remaining bread.

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A yummy lemon-saucy pasta that serves 4. Cherie served it with fresh bread and a Caesar's salad; pumpkin pie and coffee for dessert.
12 ounces vermicelli
Juice of 2 large lemons
Scant 1 cup panna da cucine or heavy cream
¼ cup butter
1-1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the instructions on the package.
2. Meanwhile, pour the lemon juice into a medium saucepan. Add the butter and cream, then salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream reduces slightly.
4. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the grated Parmesan, then taste the sauce for seasoning and pour it over the pasta. Toss quicly over medium heat until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce, then divide among four warmed bowls and serve immediately.

    From The Cook's Encyclopedia of Pasta, by Jeni Wright, Barnes & Noble Books, 2001, New York.

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Cherie made this in January 2007 and I think it compares favorably with Sal's chocolate cake (especially since his recipe mistakenly had WAY to much salt, but that's another story). In fact, this may be one of the best chocolate desserts you'll ever try.
2 cups cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans

1-1/2 cups butter, cubed
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pecan halves
2 packages (8 oz ea) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
   In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring butter and brown sugar to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Pour over chopped pecans. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set.
   In a large mixing bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth. Spread over praline layer. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set.
   For ganache, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips with cream; stir until smooth. Cool slightly; spread over filling. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate leftovers.
   Yield: 14-16 servings.
   Calories and fat grams: Don't ask

    From The Taste of Home magazine, December/January 2007 issue.

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