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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today's Garden Bouquets

Garlic scapes are one of the best things about early summer and they come when last years garlic harvest is long gone, so they are very welcome!



Here's a lettuce posy which I think is as pretty as one made of flowers. Notice the tiny head forming. It's only about 1 inch across.

Saucy Strawberries and Rhubarb


Saucy Strawberries and Rhubarb

Source: some Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I no longer have
serves approximately 4

1/4 c sugar
1/4 c orange juice
2 c rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch slices or frozen sliced rhubarb (8 ounces)
2 teas cornstarch
1 T water
1 c sliced strawberries

In a small saucepan combine sugar and orange juice. Bring to a boil; add fresh or frozen rhubarb. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until rhubarb is nearly tender. Drain rhubarb, reserving syrup.

If necessary, add water to reserved syrup to make 2/3 cup. Pour syrup into saucepan. Stir together cornstarch and the water; stir into syrup. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove saucepan from the heat. Cool to room temperature.

Gently stir in rhubarb and strawberries. Cover and chill thoroughly (about 1 1/2 hours). Serve with cream poured over the top, with ice cream, or stir it into plain yogurt for your breakfast.

Nutrition information per serving: 61 calories, 1 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat,
0 mg cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 200 mg potassium.

Notes from Colette:

 I rarely follow this recipe without doubling or tripling it since it stores well and I love it. I like to add strawberries just before serving so they don't get soggy. 

Green Beans with Bacon and Onion


Green Beans with Bacon and Onion                  

Adapted from Vegetables Everyday by Jack Bishop (This book taught me that vegetables are delicious.)
serves 4

1 pound green beans, ends snapped off
4 strips bacon, sliced
1 medium onion, minced or sliced
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the green beans and 1 teas salt. Cook until the beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside for up to several hours. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Spoon off all but 1 T of the fat. Add the onion to the remaining fat in the skillet and sauté until the pieces start to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and parsley and bacon to the pan. Toss to heat through for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Note from Colette:

The book suggests you use pancetta instead of bacon if you want to dress this up for a holiday meal.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Picadillo (Cuban-style Beef Hash)

I was happy to see this recipe in a recent Cook's Illustrated Magazine. While Ty lived in Richmond, Virginia, he introduced us to "Kuba, Kuba" a Cuban restaurant and we often ate there when we visited him. Picadillo is on the menu but it since it is an awfully long drive from New Mexico I'm glad I can make it myself.


Picadillo (Cuban-style Beef Hash)

serves 6-8

CI prefers this dish prepared with raisins (me, too), but they can be replaced with 2 T of brown sugar added with the broth. Picadillo is traditionally served with rice and black beans. It can also be topped with chopped parsley, toasted almonds, and/or chopped hard-cooked egg.

1 pound 85 % lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 T water
1/2 teas baking soda
Salt and pepper
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 onion, halved and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 T vegetable oil
1 T dried oregano
1 T ground cumin
1/2 teas ground cinnamon
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped coarse
3/4 c dry white wine, if you don't cook with wine, substitute water or more broth
1/2 c beef broth
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped coarse
2 T capers, rinsed
1 T red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning particularly if you skip the wine

Toss beef and pork with water, baking soda, 1/2 teas salt, and 1/4 teas pepper in bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse bell pepper and onion in food processor until chopped into 1/4-inch pieces, about 12 pulses. If you prefer, you can chop them finely with a chef's knife.

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped vegetables, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/4 teas salt; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until pot is almost dry, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in broth, raisins, and bay leaves and bring to simmer.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add meat mixture in 2-inch chunks to pot, and bring to gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally with 2 forks to break meat chunks into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces, until meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Stir in olives and capers. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and coats meat, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt, pepper, and extra vinegar to taste. Serve.

Note from Colette:

I believe that Kuba, Kuba serves with fried eggs on top. Ty, correct me if my memory is bad.

Tijuana Trainwreck

Our family first ate this at the home of Rick and Sue Stewart in Grafton, VA over twenty years ago. It became a staple in our dinner line-up during the years we were dealing with teen age appetites. 

Tijuana Trainwreck

4 pound pork shoulder roast
1 pound pinto beans, sorted, soaked and cooked separately till soft
1 teas oregano
3 cloves garlic
1 teas cumin
1 T salt
2 T chili powder
3 cans chopped green chiles

tortilla chips
grated cheese
chopped scallions
sliced olives
any other taco salad ingredients you prefer

In a large dutch oven cover roast with water and cook with spices several hours until very well done and easy to shred. (You can cook the roast whole or you can cut it into large chunks before cooking. If it has a bone in it, it may be easier to cook whole.) After cooking you may want to skim the fat or you can refrigerate it until chilled and skim the fat.  Remove any bones; shred the pork with 2 forks. Then return to heat and add cooked beans. Taste and adjust seasonings; if needed, add more of the spices. Add the green chilies. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated taking care that the meat doesn't scorch.

For each diner, top a plate with tortilla chips. Top the chips with a generous spoonful of Trainwreck mixture. At the table, pass additional taco salad ingredients, allowing each diner to customize his or her "wreck". 

This can be frozen, which is good because it makes a ton!

Notes from Colette:

This is the original recipe. I advise browning the roast either whole or cut into pieces. This will enhance the flavor. Depending on availability, you might substitute 1/2 to 3/4 cup roasted and chopped New Mexico chiles or poblanos for the canned chile. Purists may want to use powdered dried chiles, but if you do, remember to add some garlic. Trainwreck would make a good filling for a torta, too.


I've been eating this granola often for about 10 years now. It has become a staple in my kitchen and I take it with me when I travel (at least in the U.S.; I hate those motel "free" breakfasts). My favorite way to eat granola is in a yogurt parfait with plenty of fresh fruit. Frozen berries work well in the winter.



Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown

3 c rolled oats
1 c slivered or sliced almonds
1 c walnuts, pecans, cashews, broken or chopped
3/4 c shredded sweet coconut
1/4 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c plus 2 T (3/8 c) maple syrup
1/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 teas salt
1 c raisins or other dried fruit, optional

Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts coconut and brown sugar. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures, mixing well. When you begin, you may feel it won't really incorporate, but keep stirring. Place mixture on a 12 by 18 inch rimmed sheet pan. Cook for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, depending on how crisp you like granola, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and cool. Stir in raisins or other fruit if desired. Store in an airtight container or zipper bag.


This is a basic recipe and it can be modified in numerous ways to suit your tastes. You can use a combination of rolled flakes. As long as you keep it at 2 cups, the nut combination can be varied (Aunt Diane used to make this with peanuts in her nut mix). You can add spices or vanilla (1/2 teas cinnamon is a good way to start). I don't generally use the raisins (personal taste issue) but like to add any dried fruit to my cereal bowl according to my mood. If you don't have any dark brown sugar, you can make a substitute by adding 1 teas molasses to the liquid ingredients.

I usually quadruple this recipe, mixing two very large bowls at a time (I mix two double batches). Since the granola freezes well, it is easier to do this once every couple of months. I cook the granola on two sheet pans, which are very full but by being careful, I can manage to stir it without mishap.

Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls

I have daffodils blooming along a south facing wall, so the hot chocolate season is over for me. But some locations are still cold enough a mug of steaming chocolate might be comforting.

After a few years of enjoying Rich Hot Chocolate, I found this recipe. Opinion in the family is divided as to which is the better beverage. I like the convenience offered by this recipe and the fact individual servings can be heated in the microwave. I think is a bit less sweet (a plus); of course sweetness can be altered in either application. Some folks like to snitch a spoonful of the ganache, another benefit with this recipe.


Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls

Adapted from
Makes about 9-10 hot chocolate balls

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring often, until the mixture is combined and very smooth and silky. When you first start stirring, it will look grainy and messy but after it heats thoroughly and is whisked to combine, it will become beautifully smooth. Be careful not to overheat. Stop microwaving while there are still a few chunks of chocolate visible. Continue stirring until they have melted entirely.

Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator until the mixture is firm and scoopable, about 2-3 hours. Scoop out approximate 1/4-cup spoonfuls of the mixture and place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. An ice scoop of the right size works well, too. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the mounds harden slightly, about 15-20 minutes. Roll the chilled mounds into balls and place on squares of plastic wrap (about 4 inches by 4 inches). Pull the sides of the plastic wrap over to cover the ball and place the balls in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

To make the hot chocolate: pour 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (depending on how rich you like your hot chocolate) milk into a microwave-safe mug. Drop one unwrapped truffle hot chocolate ball in the milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir until the chocolate is mostly melted. Microwave again for 45-60 seconds. Stir well until the chocolate is combined with the milk. At this point you may add flavorings such as vanilla, almond, orange, mint, cinnamon extracts or oils. Some folks like a pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder. Of course, topping hot chocolate with whipped cream can make you happy, at least in the short term.

Notes from Colette:

I tried this with semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips. I added 2 T sugar to the bittersweet. You may add more at this point or in the mug if you please. I advise using good quality chocolate chips. You may also use block chocolate chopped into small pieces. (At Trader Joe's you can find chocolate blocks called Pound Plus chocolate made in Belgium; it works well, if you don't mind chopping the chocolate.)

After making this a few times and spending more time than I like rolling ganache and wrapping the balls in plastic, I decided to keep the ganache it in a bowl in the fridge. I measure out what I like in each cup just before I heat the milk. I usually start out with about 3 tablespoons of ganache. After you've made it for yourself a few times, you'll know about how much will suite your tastes. Some folks like more chocolate so sometimes tasting is needed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chewy Granola Bars with Pecans, Chocolate, and Cherries

Here's another favorite from Molly Wizenburg, this one from her blog Orangette. I can't make these too often. When they're in the house, I eat them for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dessert. Although they are a bit crumbly I like to take them with me when I travel, because they are solid enough to fill in for a meal. The kids like them, too, although one doesn't love the dried cherries.


Chewy Granola Bars with Pecans, Chocolate, and Cherries

Very slightly modified from Orangette

4 c quick cooking oats, divided
2/3 c sugar
2 c raw pecan halves
1 c unsweetened coconut chips
1 c bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 c dried cherries
1 teas salt
1/2 teas cinnamon
2/3 c creamy peanut butter
2 teas vanilla
12 T unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c honey
2 T water

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying it lightly with cooking spray. Line it with a rectangle of parchment paper that overlaps on two sides--enough for you to use to pull the bars out of the pan when they're done. Lightly grease the parchment paper.

Process 2/3 c of the quick-cooking oats in a food processor until finely ground. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 3 1/3 c oats, ground oats, sugar, pecans, coconut chips, chocolate chips, dried cherries, salt, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vanilla, melted butter, honey, and water. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir well, until the mixture is evenly moistened. Transfer to the pan, pressing the mixture firmly to ensure that it molds to the shape of the pan. For less mess, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top before you push the bars in.

Bake for 30 minutes, until they're brown around the edges and just beginning to color on top. Transfer the pan to a rack, and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Then pull up on the parchment paper to lift the sheet of bars out of the pan. Cut the bars into squares and enjoy.

Note on ingredients: To make quick cooking oats, I pulse regular rolled oats in the food processor several times, until most oats are cut once or twice. Also, I had a hard time finding the coconut chips in my local stores, so I ordered those from Amazon. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chocolate Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal

Tired of banana bread from your old bananas? Try this recipe for naturally sweetened oatmeal. There are lots of add-in options, but this chocolate one is my favorite. I'm usually too hungry in the morning to wait for 30 minutes for my breakfast, so I keep this oatmeal in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave in the morning, with a little milk.


Chocolate Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal

Adapted slightly from Oh She Glows
Yields approximately four servings

2 c water
2 c almond milk
1 c uncooked steel-cut oats
pinch of salt
2 large bananas, mashed
2 T ground flax seeds (optional) 
2 teas ground cinnamon
2 teas vanilla
chocolate chips
cacao nibs

In a medium-sized pot, bring the water and almond milk to a boil. Add in steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt and reduce heat to low. Stir in the mashed banana and ground flax. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. When the oats are creamy and tender, remove from heat and stir in cinnamon and vanilla. To serve, sprinkle with chocolate chips and cacao nibs to taste.

Roasted Broccoli

My family loves broccoli, but I don't like it steamed. This recipe was a revelation--the broccoli turns out sweet and crispy. We probably eat this once a week in the winter, when we don't have zucchini coming out our ears, and as a result I just toss the broccoli in olive oil and equal parts salt and sugar before roasting. But here's the original, official recipe. 


Roasted Broccoli with Optional Garlic

Source: Cook's Illustrated

Serves 4

Trim away the outer peel from the broccoli stalk, otherwise it will turn tough when cooked. For Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, stir 1 tablespoon minced garlic into the olive oil before drizzling it over the broccoli.

1 large head broccoli (about 1 3/4 pounds)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teas table salt
1/2 teas sugar
Ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for serving (optional)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Cut broccoli at juncture of florets and stems; remove outer peel from stalk. Cut stalk into 2- to 3-inch lengths and each length into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Cut crowns into 4 wedges if 3-4 inches in diameter or 6 wedges if 4-5 inches in diameter. Place broccoli in large bowl; drizzle with oil and toss well until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper to taste and toss to combine.

Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer broccoli to baking sheet and spread into even layer, placing flat sides down. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until stalks are well browned and tender and florets are lightly browned, 9 to 11 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Custard-filled Cornbread

This is a relatively new recipe in our collection but as soon as we tasted it we knew it would be permanent. The book is a lovely read and full of great recipes. Both of us trust Molly Wizenburg's work.

As you can tell, this is not a low-fat recipe and will probably suffer if you use low-fat substitutes. Cook it for a special occasion, if the thought of that much cream is a worry. Just don't skip it all together.



Custard-filled Cornbread   


Source:  A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenburg
Serves 6-8

3 T unsalted butter
1 c unbleached flour
3/4 c cornmeal, preferably medium ground
1 teas baking powder (for my altitude I used 3/4 teas)
1/2 teas baking soda (for my altitude I used a scant 1/2 teas)
2 large eggs
3 T sugar
1/2 teas salt
2 cups whole milk (not low fat or nonfat)
1 1/2 T distilled vinegar
1 c heavy cream

Syrup for serving: maple, raspberry or blueberry (which is particularly pretty and tasty).

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch square pan or 9-inch round pan. Place the buttered dish in the oven to warm while you make the batter. 

In a large microwavable bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. (Butter can be melted in the oven as it preheats, if preferred.) Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda.

When the butter has cooled a bit, add the eggs and whisk to blend well. Then add the sugar, salt, milk and vinegar and whisk well again. Whisking constantly, add the flour mixture. Mix until the batter is smooth and no lumps are visible. Measure the cream and have it near the oven.

Open the oven and extend the oven rack out. Place a rimmed cookie sheet under the hot pan. Pour the batter into the pan; it will be quite full. Then slowly pour the cream into the center of the batter. Do not stir.  Carefully slide the rack and the pan back into the oven, taking care not to knock it, and bake until golden brown on top, 50-60 minutes. Serve warm, with maple syrup.

This can be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for a day and in the fridge for 3 days. Leftovers are fine at room temperature or warmed. A slice can be toasted in a toaster oven.


I halved this recipe and cooked it in a bread loaf pan (8 by 4 inches) and it worked great for only 2 people.

If you find yourself in a country that doesn't generally stock cornmeal in grocery stores you can substitute fine to medium ground semolina for the cornmeal. It will not taste as corny but it is still a good breakfast.

Johnny Cakes

My mother was a hard worker and a night owl. The combination meant she had a hard time waking up many mornings. When she had a house full of teenagers and preteens, I remember her stumbling out of bed, coming into the kitchen and opening the cupboard to find 3 by 5 inch card taped on the door. On the card was listed the days of the week and a different breakfast for each day. She was too tired in the mornings to think of something to feed us so she used her reminder card. Johnny Cakes was on the list.


 Johnny Cakes                           

Source: Grandma Betty
Serves 4

1 1/2 c cornmeal
1 teas salt
1 T flour
2 T vegetable oil
1 teas soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c milk (slightly less if you use skim milk)

Mix all together with a few swift strokes.  This batter will seem extra thin—don’t worry it cooks up all right.  Stir the batter each time you get a spoonful to drop on hot oiled grill.

This can be easily halved or left over cakes can be frozen.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tortas (Black Bean and Chorizo Subs)

This quickly became a frequent meal when we first discovered the recipe. To me it is messy enough to be considered a Mexican Sloppy Joe, but I think it tastes much better. 


Tortas (Black Bean and Chorizo Subs)

Source: Rick Bayless in Mexican Everyday
Serves 5-6

8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (casings removed, if in links)
3-4 T olive oil, divided
2 15-oz cans black beans (you can substitute other beans, such as pinto)
4-6 bolillo rolls or submarine rolls (6-7 inches long, 3 inches wide)
About 6 ounces Mexican queso fresco cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced 1/4 inch thick
salsa or hot sauce, to taste
cilantro, optional

Break the chorizo into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, breaking up the clumps, until browned and thoroughly cooked. Add 1-2 T oil, depending on how much fat the chorizo has rendered. Add the beans and the liquid. Bring to a simmer and mash the beans with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Cook, stirring often, until it is the consistency of very soft mashed potatoes, leaving a few beans whole, 10 or more minutes. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Keep warm over the lowest heat, covered to keep the beans moist.

Heat a griddle over medium flame. Slice the rolls open and scrape out some of the soft bread in the center of each half, making a small hollow. Pour the remainder of the olive oil on to the griddle and when hot, place the rolls cut side down on the griddle, dipping each piece in some olive oil. (You may also brush the rolls with olive oil before placing on the griddle.) Cook until crisp and golden brown. You will probably have to do this in batches unless your griddle is large.

Smear about 1/3-1/2 c of the chorizo-bean mixture over the bottom half of a roll. Top with slices of the cheese and the avocado. Spoon on the salsa or sprinkle with a dash of hot sauce. Top the cilantro, if you have it, and then the rolls and serve.

Notes from Colette:

Chorizo has fortunately become easier to find in the last few years. Some American companies (such as Johnsonville) now make Chorizo sausage but my favorite is the kind you can buy in a Mexican market. Sometimes it comes in links and sometimes it is ground. There are some small "chubs" you can find sometimes but they are quite greasy and not only will you not have to add oil, you'll probably have to get rid of some.

If the bolillos are very soft, there is no need to scrape out the center since the bread will smash down. 

Bayless suggests substituting (if necessary) feta or goat cheese for the queso fresco. They are not my favorite but Bayless, apparently, really likes goat cheese on a torta. I think you can use Monterrey Jack or even Manchego if you can't find queso fresco. You should be able to find it, though, since most supermarkets carry it nowadays.

Bayless points out that this recipe can be altered in numerous tasty ways such as adding rotisserie chicken or roast pork or beef. He also suggests toppings such as grilled onion or pickled jalapenos or chipotle en adobo.

The bean mixture stores well in the fridge and even better in the freezer. It may need a little additional water when warming it up.

Stuffed Shells

This was a favorite in our family when the kids were teenagers. The recipe was given to me by a neighbor who lived through the woods from us in Grafton, Virginia. She'd been there only a few months by the time we moved but she was kind enough to make this for us while we were packing out.


Stuffed Shells

1 jar of spaghetti sauce or a quart of homemade sauce
1 box jumbo shells, cooked according to directions—see note

Mix the following together:

1 (16-oz) container low-fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 teas salt
1/4 teas pepper
1 T finely chopped parsley
1/4 c frozen chopped spinach, let it thaw and squeeze excess liquid squeezed out
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (or parmegiano reggiano)
3 c shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve 1 c cheese to sprinkle on top)

Spread enough sauce in baking dish to generously cover bottom (about 1/2 inch deep).  Fill shells; place in sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes. Remove foil, spread reserved cheese on top and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Note from Colette: Usually a box of shells is too much for the filling.  Using a tablespoon to fill the shells, I use approximately 28 shells. If I cook a whole box, I increase the filling ingredients by about half and use 1 1/2 quarts of sauce.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Congo Bars

Many recipes for congo bars these days have coconut and/or white chocolate chips. This one is more like a blond brownie, and it's been in the family for at least 50 years. These are a favorite of my dad's; he made them frequently while my brothers and I were growing up. Pure comfort food.


Congo Bars

Source: Grandma Betty

Beat the following ingredients together:

3 eggs
2 1/4 c firmly packed cups brown sugar (or a 1-pd box)
2/3 c vegetable oil

1 teas salt
2 teas baking powder
1 teas vanilla
1 c walnuts or pecans, chopped
3 c flour
1 c chocolate chips (or a 6-oz pkg)

This will be a stiff dough. Press into an oiled 18x12 pan or two 9x13 pans. Bake at 350F for 12-20 minutes. When they are cooked they still look a little undercooked in the middle. If you leave it until it looks done, they will be dry and crunchy. You can use a toothpick stuck in the middle to check to see if they are done--if the toothpick comes out dry, it’s finished cooking. Cut while slightly warm.


These fajitas are a staple of my fast dinner collection.



Marinate 1 lb thinly sliced pork, chicken, or turkey several hours or overnight with the following:

1/4 c lime juice
1 T balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teas honey
1/2 teas each ground coriander and ground cumin

Sauté and add 1 green pepper and 1 onion, sliced. I often add an extra pepper or onion, or both. When meat and vegetables are cooked, place in warmed flour tortillas. Serve with sour cream and guacamole, if desired.

If you don't have time to marinate or if you're using precooked meat, just cook the meat and vegetables right in the marinating ingredients.