Ham and Cheese Casserole


  • 16 oz bow tie pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • 2 cups cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 cup peas, cooked and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente, drain.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  5. Saute onion until clear then add garlic and continue cooking for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  6. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper.
  7. Cook and stir until smooth and the flour starts turning a golden brown.
  8. Pour in milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  9. Bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  10. Stir in mustard and cheese.
  11. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
  12. Remove from heat and stir in ham, peas and pasta.
  13. Pour into a greased baking dish.
  14. In a small bowl combine Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  15. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top.
  16. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Adapted from: http://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/2011/05/ham-cheese-bowties/

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms


  • 6 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup semi-dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


  1. Place chicken pieces between sheets of plastic wax; gently pound with a meat mallet to flatten evenly.
  2. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil and butter; sauté onion slices, mushrooms, and celery until tender.
  3. Add egg, parsley, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Stir to blend well.
  5. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper; fill with even portions of the filling mixture.
  6. Roll up and secure with toothpicks.
  7. Arrange chicken breasts in a shallow 3-quart baking dish, spooning any extra filling around the chicken rolls.
  8. To prepare the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil.
  9. Add onion, mushrooms, and cayenne pepper.
  10. Sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes.
  11. Add wine and reduce until almost evaporated.
  12. Add chicken stock and simmer until reduced by 1/3.
  13. Pour sauce over chicken.
  14. Bake at 350, basting occasionally with sauce in the baking dish, for 55 minutes to 1 hour.

Sources:  http://southernfood.about.com/od/chickenbreastrecipes/r/bl30627w.htm and http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/sunny-anderson-grilled-chicken-mushroom-sauce-recipe

Asian Roasted Zucchini


  • 1 pound zucchini and/or yellow squash, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut up the vegetables and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting as needed for taste.
  4. Pour the liquid over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  5. Pour into a large, flat baking dish and loosely cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize.

Source: My home kitchen

Magic Custard Cake


  • 4 eggs, separated, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk, lukewarm
  • powdered sugar for dusting cake


  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease and line 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish with parchment.
  3. Separate eggs.
  4. Add the egg whites to a mixer and to stiff peaks and set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light.
  6. Add butter and vanilla and beat for two mins.
  7. Add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.
  8. Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed.
  9. Add the egg whites, a third at a time, gently folding them in using a spatula.
  10. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for approx 60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  11. Cool and dust heavily with powdered sugar.

Source:  http://hugsandcookiesxoxo.com/2014/04/magic-custard-cake.html



  • 2 pounds apples (I use whatever kind I have on hand)
  • 1 1/3 cups apple juice (you can use water as well)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional, to taste)


  1. Peel and core your apples then chop them into pieces.
  2. Combine the juice, vanilla, sugar, honey and spices in a bowl and mix until disolved (as best you can).
  3. Combine the apples and liquid mixture in a large pot.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until the apples get mushy and the liquid is reduced.
  5. Use a blender to puree the applesauce to the desired consistency being careful not to overfill the blender carafe. A stick blender would work well, too.

Source: My kitchen as inspired by my grandmother

Easter Cheese


  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Prepare a strainer with a large layer of cheese cloth or clean dish towel.
  2. Add eggs to a large pot.
  3. Whisk to break up yolks.
  4. Add the milk, salt and vanilla.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  6. When curds and whey have separated, pour them through the strainer.
  7. Let drain well.
  8. Transfer to clean cheese cloth or towel.
  9. Twist into a ball and let hang for about a day.

Source: Elek family recipe (Traditional Slovenian Easter cheese)

*Most recipes I’ve seen on the web call for only a quart of milk.  We’ve always had better luck with a half gallon.  You can definitely start with a quart and if it seems like there aren’t enough curds, you can add in additional milk.

Brine for Pork


  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pepper


  1. Combine all ingreients in a bowl and mix until everything disolves.
  2. Pour over your meat.
  3. Let marinate a few hours to overnight.
  4. Cook meat as desired.

Source: Our home kitchen

Pickled Beets


  • 6 roasted beets, thinly sliced*
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon black peppercorns


  1. I sterilized my jars and lids. I used a large stock pot and filled it with water. I boiled the jars while the beets were roasting. I let the jars cool in the water while I prepared the beets and pickling liquid.
  2. Remove the skin from the beets. The easiest way to do this is by using an old, but clean, nubby towel. Rub the beets in the towel. You will ruin the towel (though bleach might bring it back).
  3. In a small pot boil the rest of the ingredients (Boiling vinegar fumes can be nasty for those with respiratory problems, use your range hood).
  4. Arrange beets in the sterilized 1-quart jars alternating layers with the onion.
  5. After the liquid has boiled a few minutes, strain.
  6. Pour over the beets.
  7. Tightly lid the jars and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 7 days before serving.

*Roasted Beets:
6 medium beets, cleaned but not peeled
A small onion
A garlic clove, chopped
Sprinkling of Italian seasoning
2-3 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl toss all of the ingredients. Place into a foil pouch and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/pickled-beets-recipe.html

Strawberry Pie


  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked and cooled
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries,sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons brandy (or your favorite liquor), optional
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Macerate berries in sugar (amount depends on how sweet the berries are) and brandy for a couple hours to overnight.
  2. Drain the berries, reserving the liquid.
  3. Blend the remaining berries (I use a stick blender, but a regular one should work) and combine them with the sugar and the reserved juice in a medium saucepan.
  4. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  5. Allow the liquid to reduce slightly.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.
  7. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. It will turn out like a glaze.
  9. Let the resulting glaze (it will be similar to the stuff you can buy in the produce department, though not clear) chill.
  10. Spread a small amount of your strawberry glaze in the baked pie shell.
  11. Combine the rest of the strawberries with the rest of the glaze and pour into the pie shell.
  12. Chill for several hours before serving.
  13. Serve with whipped cream.

Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-pie-ii/

Dinner Menu – Week of April 13, 2014

Sunday:  Grilled beef roast, Whipped potatoes, Corn, French bread, Strawberry pie

Monday:  BBQ short ribs, Italian potato salad, Green salad

Tuesday:  Bourbon chicken, Fried rice, Egg rolls

Wednesday:  Reuben sandwiches, Macaroni salad, Pickled beets

Thursday:  Pepper steak, Rice, Egg rolls

Friday:   Eat at local fish fry

Saturday:  Leftovers