Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sausage, Chard & Lemon Lasagna

I tried this lasagna with Swiss chard that we got in one of our CSA boxes.  I was very pleased with the results. It is quite different than your typical lasagna but very tasty.  It is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.


3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan (about 4 ounces)
Course salt and pepper
5 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (1 bunch)
1# bulk Italian sausage
1 lemon, very thinly sliced
6 no-boil lasagna noodles

  1. Melt butter and stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and simmer until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Whisk in 3/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in chard.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage in a skillet breaking up pieces, until no longer pink.
  3. Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup sauce in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 2 noodles, half the sausage, and 1 cup sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of lemons, 2 noodles, then remaining sauce and lemons. Bake, covered with foil sprayed with baking spray, for 27 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven. Heat broiler. Uncover lasagna; top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Summer Corn Chowder

I found this recipe on Chowhound and think it is the best recipe for corn chowder I've ever made.  Its thick, rich and creamy with lots of fresh corn.  I'm sure you could also make it in the winter with frozen corn.


2 oz. thick cut bacon diced small
1 medium onion yellow onion, chopped
3 cups fresh corn kernels (this took 5 ears of our corn)
3 cups whole milk (or mix 1% milk with some 1/2 and 1/2)
1 pound potatoes, diced (I didn't bother to peel mine)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chopped chives


Brown the chopped bacon; then remove and set aside.  Add the onion to the bacon grease, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened--about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile place 1 cup of the corn and 1 cup of the milk in a blender and blend until smooth.

Add the corn milk puree, remaining 2 cups of corn and 2 cups of milk, potatoes, and additional salt and pepper.  Stir to combine; bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer the soup, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are just cooked through.  This may take quite a while because you have to be careful not to scorch the soup because you are cooking with milk.

Add the cream and simmer until the potatoes are completely cooked.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve with the chopped chives and reserved bacon.

Note:  I have considered when making it again to possibly precook the potatoes in some chicken broth so they would cook more quickly and then combining everything.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Chicken with Barberries, Yogurt and Orange Peel

This is an Iranian recipe from the cookbook, World on a Plate by Mina Holland.  We used the book for one of our Books for Cooks meetings.  For the most part we didn't particularly like the book.  I made this dish and made a number of adaptations.  We all thought it was very good.  It was supposed to be served with chelow rice which seemed too complicated and I substituted some naan that I bought at Whole Foods.

Holland said the barbarries can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocers, however Madison doesn't have any Middle Eastern grocery stores.  I ordered mine from Amazon.

1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
sea salt
2# boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Penzey's pepper
2 large oranges
1-2 large pinches of saffron
1/4 - 1/3 cup of dried barberries, rehydrated
1/4 cup of sliced toasted almond to garnish (optional)  actually I forgot to add the nuts

Strain the yogurt through a strainer lined with a paper towel for several hours so that it is very thick.
Peel the oranges with a potato peeler, taking care not include any of the white pith.  Cut the peel into matchstick strips.  In a small pan of boiling water, simmer the strips for 3 minutes.  Drain the strips and set aside.  Retain the water.  I used some of this water to rehydrate the barbarries for 10 minutes; longer is OK too.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions with a pinch of salt until golden 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.  Next brown the chicken.  Combine the onions and chicken; use some of the orange flavored water, cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender.  It will take about 20 minutes.
Crumble the saffron and soak it in 1/4 cup of the orange water or plain water for 10 minutes.
Next add the saffron water, orange peel, and barberries to the chicken and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Test for seasoning.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.  Keep the sauce on a low heat and add the thickened yogurt.  Whisk into the sauce.  Return the chicken to the pan; warm through.  Place on a platter; pour the sauce over the chicken; garnish with the almonds.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is a recipe that I found on the New York Times cooking website and have adapted somewhat.  In this case it is not a healthier dish than the original but it is delicious and easy!

2 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 cup full fat ricotta cheese
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 pound cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pinch cayenne (these are both optional--I actually forgot them)
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used Hook's white cheddar)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I used 2 different whole wheat pastas and it came out fine)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 inch square baking pan.  In a blender, puree ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, and pepper.  In a large bowl, combine all but 1/4 cup of the grated cheese, the liquid mixture and uncooked pasta.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for a few hours.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake covered pasta for 30 minutes.  Uncover and top with a mixture of reserved cheese, bread crumbs and butter.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes.  At this point it should be brown and bubbly.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

I'm sure you could use other cheeses in this dish.  A few of the reviewers of the original recipe suggested Velveeta which I would not use, but I think any flavorful natural cheese would be fine.

Adapted from NY, recipe by Julia Moskin

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cranberry and Apple Baked Oatmeal

This is a recipe I adapted from a PBS food blog Fresh Tastes by Adrianna Adarme.  My husband loved it and thought it made a great breakfast.

  • Apple Mixture: 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Note:  I substituted 1-1/4 tsp. Oatmeal Spice from Just Spices (
  • Oatmeal: 
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds + a handful more for the top 
  • 1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk or almond milk (I used a combination of both)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (frozen is fine too)


  1. To make the apple mixture: In a small skillet, set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until apples have softened. Set aside. 
  2. To make the oatmeal: Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, add the oats, slivered almonds, syrup, salt and baking powder. Whisk together the liquid ingredients.
  4. To the prepared baking dish, add the apples and the cranberries. Pour the oat mixture on top and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir slightly and then top with the extra almonds. Transfer to the oven to bake for 40 minutes--it may take longer, until the edges are set and lightly golden brown. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chilled Cucumber and Summer Vegetable Soup

In the summer we seem to get inundated with cucumbers.  This is another good way to use some of them.  It makes a good first course for a meal or a light lunch.

1 medium cucumber peeled and seeded (about 11 ounces)
2 cups plain Greek style yogurt
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Puree the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Garnish or Salad Topping
16 grape tomatoes cut in quarters or about 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup either fresh or frozen (defrosted) corn kernels
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sunflower or olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil leaves

Combine.  Top each bowl of soup with some of the salad topping.

Adapted from The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet by Barbara Rolls

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

These are delicious light blueberry pancakes with lots of berries that are easy to make.  If the batter seems too thick, add a bit more buttermilk.

We got 10# of delicious blueberries from a Michigan blueberry cooperative organized by a generous neighbor in Madison who ordered 2000#!  We kept 5# and shared the other 5# with my daughter.  It didn't take us long to go through our 5#.

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk.  Crack the eggs into the buttermilk.  Pour the slightly cooled melted butter into the other liquid ingredients and whisk everything together.  Do not over beat.  Some lumps are fine.  Coat the blueberries with a teaspoon or two of flour so they don't sink and add them to the batter.  The batter can be refrigerated up to one hour if necessary.

Heat a non-stick griddle sprayed or coated with oil.  Ladle batter unto griddle using 1/4 cup measure of batter for each pancake.  Flip the pancakes when bubbles rise to the surface and the bottom are lightly brown.  Keep warm in the oven while cooking the rest of the pancakes.  Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Adapted from the NY Times

Friday, July 22, 2016

Zucchini Corn Cakes

This is the time of the year that many of us find ourselves with lots of zucchini and yellow summer squash.  I'm never unhappy to find lots of it in my CSA box because you can do so many different things with it.  I know that the latest thing is zucchini noodles.  I don't have a vegetable spiralizer yet.  Maybe something I'll need to get?  These squash cakes are good for breakfast as well as other meals.  The recipe came from Madison Magazine.

1-2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or oil of your choice for frying the cakes
2 cups shredded zucchini or yellow summer squash
3/4 to 1 cup corn (I used frozen corn) you could use 1-2 ears of fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup finely diced red onion (I used a white onion from our farm)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced)  It is only available for a short time of the year.  It is milder than the cured garlic and must be refrigerated or it will get moldy.
1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
a pinch of pepper
a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large egg
juice from 1/2 lime
Sour cream and extra cilantro, optional

Preheat and grease heat a frying pan or griddle.

Combine the zucchini, corn, onion, garlic, cornmeal, flour, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, egg and lime juice.  Stir until everything is combined and the mixture resembles a thick pancake batter.

Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of the batter onto the skillet or griddle.  Even out the batter into circles and let cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown.  Flip the cakes and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Keep the cakes warm in a low oven until they are all cooked.  Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro if desired.

Adapted from Madison Magazine.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Rhubarb Mango Crisp

This is a delicious dessert utilizing rhubarb.  If you don't happen to have enough mangoes, peaches or nectarines work well in this recipe as well.  I happened to have a little homemade peach ice cream that my son-in-law had made to serve with it.  It would also be good with store bought ice cream, whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.

Rhubarb & Mango Filling

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2-3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces (I only had 2 cups)
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, cored and cubed (I also added I ripe nectarine, peeled, pitted and cubed)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Combine sugar and cornstarch.  Add fruit, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Toss to combine and set aside.

Butter or pan spray for baking dish.  I used a 9" x 9" square pan.


1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut (you could probably substitute sweetened coconut and cut down on the sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine the oats, flour, cold butter, salt and sugars.  Pulse several times until mixture resembles coarse meal (not too fine).  Stir in grated coconut.  Pour fruit into greased pan.  Sprinkle the topping over the filling, making sure it is completely covered.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Adapted from 2 recipes from Fork vs Spoon and Canadian Food Network-Christine Cushing.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Fish Chowder

The combination of fish and potatoes in a creamy broth makes a very comforting meal for a winter night.  I found this recipe in a copy from a page of a cookbook: Blue Plate Specials.  Apparently it was a special on Friday at a cafe in Portland.  I have adapted it somewhat for our tastes.

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups diced potatoes (1/2") no need to peel if the potatoes are organic
1# cod fillets or haddock if available
chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk or 1/2 & 1/2
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Melt butter and cook onion until transparent.  Add pepper, garlic powder, salt and potatoes, plus enough chicken broth to barely cover the potatoes.  Boil until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Check to make sure there is enough broth and add more if needed.  Lay the fish on top of the cooked potatoes and onions.  No need to cut the fish up.  Cover the pan and cook until the fish flakes apart with a fork--about 8 minutes.  Add the evaporated milk and whole milk or 1/2 & 1/2.  Heat but do not boil.  Add the bacon and additional salt if needed.

The original recipe called for 2 cans of evaporated milk which I thought would be too much liquid.  If you like your soups soupier you could add the extra can.