Friday, September 28, 2012

CLINTON CRUTCH Kale with Bacon & Beets

CLINTON CRUTCH Kale with Bacon & Beets
Makes 6 servings


6 slices bacon, diced
1 large bunch kale (about 1 1/2 pounds), washed, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 Tbsp sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
2 beets, cooked, cut into cubes (see tip)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat or blue cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until medium-crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 2 Tbsp. drippings. Increase heat to high and add kale, stirring to coat with rendered fat. Cover and cook for a few minutes, and then add the chicken stock, sugar and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until just wilted.

Add beets, remaining vinegar and bacon. Stir to combine with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with crumbled cheese; serve immediately.

How to cook beets:  Trim greens and ends.  Place in pot with water to cover by 1 inch.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.  Cook until tender (30 minutes or longer, depending on size).  Cool until you are able to handle them, then rinse under cold water and rub gently to remove skins.

For a more colorful dish, use 1 red beet and 1 golden beet.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

EARLY VOTING Vidalia Onion Spread

Instead of election day, now we have election MONTH.

EARLY VOTING Vidalia Onion Spread
Makes 32 servings, 2 Tbsp. each
This is so easy, you don't have to make it ahead of time.  Just mix it up and bake it. 

2 cups chopped Vidalia onions
1-1/2 cups reduced fat mayonnaise

8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Swiss cheese

2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

Plain water crackers, mini toasts or French bread for serving

Heat oven to 325°F.

Mix onions, mayonnaise and Swiss cheese in 9-inch glass pie plate; spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 min. before serving with crackers, toasts or bread.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rural Romney-Love Lemon Bars

According to this article, rural swing state voters favor Romney.

I guess this group (84% white) doesn't consider farm subsidies government assistance.  

Rural Romney-Love Lemon Bars
Makes 24 bars

As sweet as a subsidy!

1 cup softened butter

2-1/4 cups flour, divided
2 cups sugar, divided
3 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix butter, 2 cups flour and ½ cup sugar in medium bowl.  Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13x9-inch pan.  Bake 20 min. or until edges are lightly browned.

Mix remaining flour and sugar.  Whisk in eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice until well blended.  Pour over crust.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Quickly lift out of pan to flat cutting surface by grasping ends of foil.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.  Cut into bars to serve.

If you refrigerate the bars for an hour they are easier to cut.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I have studied the Electoral College system and it comes down to this:  

  • if you live in Illinois and vote for Romney, your vote will not matter.  
  • If you live in Texas and vote for Obama, your vote will not matter.  
  • If you were living in Florida in 2000 and were one of the 50% who voted for Al Gore, your vote did not matter. 
  • If you live in Maine or Nebraska, electoral votes are awarded proportionally to the number of votes within the state for each candidate, so your vote counts. 
Why is is that every time the Maine-Nebraska method comes up for a vote in Congress, it is shot down?  I'll tell you why.  Because the system as it is serves those who care about it the most, that is, the do-nothing senate and congress.

I believe that the country needs to adopt a new method for counting votes.  I also believe that this is what causes voter apathy and low numbers at the polls. I believe that this is one of the reasons that people are so angry.

Makes 8 servings

When you apply yourself to the task of making a pie, make this one and your effort will count.

2-1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. butter, cut up
8 Tbsp. butter-flavored shortening
4 to 5 Tbsp. ice water

1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
8 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 8 cups, 3/16" slices)
3 Tbsp. butter, cut up
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
Coarse sanding sugar

Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl.  Add butter and shortening; blend into flour mixture with pastry blender or gloved hands until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle water over mixture and press with spatula or hands until mixture comes together in a ball.  Knead 1 or 2 times, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large bowl until combined.  Add apples; toss gently to completely coat apple slices with sugar mixture.  Let stand 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 ºF .

Divide dough in 2 pieces, one a little more than half and the other slightly less than half.  Roll larger dough into 10-inch circle between 2 sheets of waxed paper that are lightly dusted with flour. Peel back top sheet. Place 9-in. pie plate on top of crust and flip over.  Peel back 2nd sheet of waxed paper, pressing crust gently into dish and allowing extra crust to hang over edges.  Fill crust with softened fruit. Dot with butter. Roll smaller dough portion in same manner, peeling back top layer of waxed paper and flipping over fruit-filled pie before peeling back second layer of waxed paper.  Turn edges under and crimp as desired.  Cut 4 small slits in top of pie for steam to escape. 

Use a soft-bristled pastry brush to brush pie crust gently with egg and water mixture.  Sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar and lightly grate nutmeg over top, if desired.

Place pie on foil-lined baking sheet on bottom rack of oven.  Bake 30 min.  Reduce temperature to 350ºF and continue baking 30 min, covering edges of crust with foil if necessary.

Let cool 2 hours before slicing.  

I usually weigh the pie crust before I divide it, using 60% for the bottom crust and 40% for the top crust.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


In the end, only 1 percent of non-working households making more than $20,000 paid NO federal taxes.


There will be no loud complaints when THIS arrives at the dinner table!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups  elbow macaroni (8 oz.), cooked as directed, drained 
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 can (10-3/4 oz) cheddar cheese condensed soup
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook beef and onion in large skillet on medium high heat until no longer pink, adding garlic during last minute cooking time; drain.  Return to skillet and stir in macaroni, tomatoes, cheese soup, pepper and 1 cup of the shredded cheese.  

Cook on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Remove from heat.  Top with remaining cheese; cover. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BRAINY Bird Thighs

It is high time that conservatives stop trying to appeal to smart people. Letting Rick Santorum in front of a microphone is a great place to start. 

BRAINY Bird Thighs
Makes 8 servings

A very smart way to make chicken.

3 cups (6 oz.) French fried onions*
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 bone-in chicken thighs (3 lb.)
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400°F.

Place onions, flour, cayenne and onion powder in plastic bag. Lightly crush with rolling pin. Transfer to shallow dish.

Dip chicken into egg.  Coat with onion crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place chicken on baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake 50 min. or until no longer pink in center, turning chicken halfway during baking time.

If your family prefers milder chicken, substitute 1/4 tsp. paprika for cayenne.

*French fried onions are what you use to top a classic green bean casserole.

Monday, September 17, 2012

CLUELESS Club Chicken Casserole

Once again, an ill-advised response to a simple question.

CLUELESS Club Chicken Casserole
Makes 6 servings

Even the most inexperienced cooks will have success preparing this deliciously simple casserole.

2 cups rotini pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup (do not dilute)
4 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 green pepper, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375°F.

Mix rotini, chicken, soup, bacon, milk, mayonnaise, tomatoes, peppers and onions in greased 2-qt. casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sinking Ship Cinnamon Rolls

If Romney doesn't have the edge on the economy, he's doomed.

Sinking Ship Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 servings

So yummy, you'll be doomed to eat more than one.

1 cup milk, scalded
3/4 cup butter, divided
1 egg
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Stir milk and butter in medium bowl until butter is melted.  Cool to lukewarm.  Whisk in egg.

Combine 2-1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl.  Beat in milk mixture with wooden spoon.  Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead 5 minutes or until smooth.  Cover with damp cloth and let rest 10 minutes.  While dough is resting, mix brown sugar, cinnamon and remaining butter in medium bowl.

Heat oven to 375°F.  Roll dough to 12x9-inch rectangle.  Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over dough.  Roll up tightly from 12-inch end; pinch together ends to seal.  Cut into 12 pieces and place, cut side up, in 9x13-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise until double, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Impulsive Pasta Fagioli

Could this be the beginning of the end?

Impulsive Pasta Fagioli
Makes 2 servings

No need to plan ahead; this is a quick meal that you can make without much thought using food that's on hand in your pantry.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 oz. ham, chopped
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup macaroni, uncooked
1 can (15 oz.) white beans, rinsed and drained
5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in medium sauce pot on medium heat.  Add onion; cook and stir 4 minutes or until tender, adding garlic and ham during last minute.

Stir in broth; bring to a boil.  Add macaroni, reduce heat to medium and simmer 7 minutes or until macaroni is tender. 

Stir in beans, basil and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Piece of the DEEP DISH, CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA Pie,0,1868281.story

Three articles, three angles:
  1. Chicago Tribune - Opinion writer thinks that Mayor Emmanuel and CPS need to hold the line.  Teachers were offered a 16% raise guaranteed over the next 4 years.
  2. NPR - Says that what teachers are really fighting for is smaller class sizes, student safety and air conditioning.
  3. NY Times - A straightforward article highlighting the political implications of the strike and the issues being brought forth by both sides.
This is such an unfortunate situation.  Clearly, both sides have made concessions.  I hope this doesn't become a pissing match.  

Makes 8 servings

Get your slice before it's all gone!

2-1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. honey
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. oregano and black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. shredded cheese (pizza blend)
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Combine flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine.  Mix water, 1 Tbsp. olive oil and honey.  Add to flour mixture and process 1 to 1-1/2 min. (dough will form a ball).  Remove dough from processor, knead one or two times on counter, flatten into a disk and place in 14-inch deep-dish pizza pan greased with 1 Tbsp. remaining oil.  Cover with plastic or a towel and let rise 1 hour or until doubled. 

Meanwhile, heat oven to 450°F, and stir together tomatoes, garlic, oregano, black pepper and salt in medium bowl.

Push dough to edges of pan.  Brush surface of dough with remaining oil.  Top with cheese; dollop with tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake 20 to 25 min. or until crust is golden brown.  Cut into 8 slices and serve.

Serve with cold METROPOLITAN BREWING COMPANY Krankshaft Beer. 
This Kolsch-style craft beer is perfect with pizza. 

If your pan is well oiled, the pizza will slip right out using a spatula to guide it.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

FERTILE FORAGING Roasted Fall Vegetables

Nobody is questioning Romney's judgement for urging as many angry white people as possible to vote for him.

FERTILE FORAGING Roasted Fall Vegetables
Makes 8 servings

Take advantage of the bounty available right now.

1 (2 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, washed, cut in 1-inch pieces (1 lb. or 2 cups)
8 small red potatoes (about 1 lb.), cleaned and quartered
1 large leek (3/4 lb.), cleaned and sliced
1 pound carrots (6 to 8 medium), halved lengthwise and crosswise
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup olive oil
4 sprigs rosemary, coarsely chopped (optional)
Kosher salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss vegetables with garlic, oil, rosemary (if desired), and Kosher salt and pepper to taste in large bowl.

Divide vegetables evenly between two rimmed baking sheets. Bake until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Line pans with foil for easy cleanup.

Monday, September 10, 2012

OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMEBODY Old-Fashioned Chicken and Biscuits

Obama is ahead, but the door may be open for Romney.  I have a feeling that much money will be spent during this election.

OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMEBODY Old-Fashioned Chicken and Biscuits
Makes 6 servings

Leftover chicken means an opportunity to make a down-home dinner that delights everybody.

4 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-1/4 cups flour, divided
2-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. each salt, cream of tartar and sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup milk

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms; cook 2 minutes without stirring, then cook and stir 2 minutes, adding garlic during last minute.  Add shallots and pepper; cook and stir 2 minutes or until shallots and mushrooms are tender.

Add 1/4 cup flour; cook and stir 1 minute.  Whisk in broth, wine and cream.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in meat. Pour into greased 11x7-inch baking dish (or 1-1/2 qt casserole dish).

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Sift remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and sugar in medium bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add milk; stir with fork or spatula until soft dough forms.

Place dough on lightly floured surface; knead 8 to 10 times or until smooth.   Pat dough into 6-inch square.  Cut evenly into 6 pieces.  Place on top of chicken mixture.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned and casserole is bubbly.

I used a rotisserie chicken, purchased at the supermarket, to make this.  Just remove the skin and pull the meat off of the bones.  Most rotisserie chickens have between 3 and 4 cups of meat, and it's OK if there's a little more meat.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"ON STRIKE" Strawberry Daiquiris

It's never good for Obama when Chicago looks bad.  And Chicago HAS looked bad recently.  First the unprecedented number of murders this past summer, now the public school teachers are on strike for the first time in 25 years.  Maybe Mayor Emmanuel should focus on his job in Chicago and NOT take on extra fundraising responsibilities for the President.

"ON STRIKE" Strawberry Daiquiris
Makes 6 servings, 8 oz. each

Learn how to make something fabulous.

1-1/2 cups light rum
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 of a 6 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
1 lb. frozen unsweetened strawberries

Add rum, lime juice and limeade concentrate to blender container.  Add strawberries; blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve with wide straws.

Would you rather use the entire bottle (750 ml) of rum?  Just double the other ingredients and make 2 batches.  

The secret to this cocktail is the frozen strawberries--they take the place of ice cubes, resulting in a more flavorful drink that doesn’t get diluted.  The fresh lime juice is also a must.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Makes 6 to 8 servings

Good's almost over.  Have some soup!  It's easier than it looks at first glance.

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 lb. round or sirloin steak, cut into 1/2” cubes
2 Tbsp. flour
6 cloves garlic
2 potatoes, peeled, cubed
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 qt. reduced sodium beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
2 cups egg noodles, cooked as directed.

Cook bacon in soup pot or Dutch oven 5 minutes or until most of fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon.  Add onion, leek and beef.  Cook and stir 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and beef is browned, adding flour and garlic during last minute. 

Add remaining ingredients except noodles; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 1 hour or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Ladle soup over noodles in large serving bowls.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

BA-ROCK THE HOUSE Hawaiian Cookies

BA-ROCK THE HOUSE Hawaiian Cookies
Makes 6 dozen cookies

Brings down the house every time!

2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup each sugar and brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chunks

Heat oven to 375°F.

Mix flour, soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs; beat until well combined.  Beat in dry ingredients until well blended.  Stir in nuts and chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012


  • Slick Willy Dilly Dip
  • Makes 16 servings, 2 Tbsp. each

  • Delivers on flavor, the way that the former Democratic president delivered at the convention.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (1 or 2)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Beat cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until well combined. 

Stir in remaining ingredients; chill 1 hour to blend flavors.

Serve with assorted fresh crudites.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FORWARD Four Bean Pasta Salad

Today, our economy is growing again, al-Qaeda is weaker than at any point since 9/11, and our manufacturing sector is growing for the first time in more than a decade. But there is more we need to do, and so we come together again to continue what we started. We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us. 

Often, the Republican line takes the opposite tack -- Obama has done too much, approving too many policies that are too progressive. Ryan is now saying, in effect, "Never mind all of those accomplishments we condemned, the new line is the accomplishments don't exist."
People can and should argue about whether Obama's successes have been worthwhile, whether they were ambitious enough, and whether they were effective, but whether one approves of the president or not, the fact remains the successes are real.

FORWARD Four Bean Pasta Salad
18 servings, 1/2 cup each 

Look forward to a long life, beginning with the next four years, eating delicious, healthy foods.

2 cups whole wheat macaroni, uncooked
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed, cut in half
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup light Italian dressing
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) light kidney beans, rinsed and drianed
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped

Cook pasta as directed, adding green beans to the water during last 2 minutes.  Drian; rinse with cold water and drain again.

Whisk mayonnaise, dressing and dill in large bowl.  Add macaroni mixture and remaining ingredients.  Gently toss to combine.

Refrigerate 2 hours to blend flavors.  Stir gently before serving.

You can always use white macaroni, regular mayo and regular dressing in this recipe, but why would you with all of those other healthy ingredients?  This is one of those salads that tastes good prepared the usual way or the healthy way.