WOOOOWEEEE! –this will clear the ol sinus’!

beetsI’ve been blessed to have my parents from NY stay with me during their transition period into an assisted living facility near my home.  As we wait for an apartment to open up, they have spent every major holiday with my family and I starting w/ Thanksgiving 2014.  How lucky am I as they are from NY and I haven’t spent many holidays with them over the years as I live here in MN.

In prep for the upcoming Easter holiday, my Mom taught me how to make the traditional Polish side relish of horseradish and beets.  We had a wonderful warm day yesterday and luckily so…as you want to have really good ventilation when making this.  We make it a few weeks before Easter so it pickles and the flavors intensify over the course of time in the refrigerator.

This recipe made about 10 half-pint jars.  Exact measurements aren’t used.  It’s more about taste.

4 bunches of beets (tops removed, keep tails and skin on)


Separate by size (large in one pot, small in the other).  Cover with cold water, bring to boil, and when skins start to remove easily with the side of a fork, remove from heat and drain in colander.  Let cool, then peel skins and grate with hand grater into large bowl.  Add one 8 oz. jar of grated natural horseradish.  The brand I use is made by Silver Spring Foods out of Wisconsin.  See picture.  This, by far, is the hottest, tastiest jarred horseradish I have ever found.  Add white vinegar – ¼ cup or so and salt.  Mix everything together.  Taste – and if you need more of anything, then add it.  Pack in glass jars and refrigerate.  About a week after it’s been refrigerated, taste and see if you need to add more vinegar or not.  It will last about a month or so refrigerated.

I have seen a lot of recipes that add sugar, you can if you want.  But using fresh beets vs. canned beets makes this sweet enough.

Enjoy – and Happy Easter – Wesołych Świąt!

Pompushky-Ukrainian Doughnuts

IMG_2371 IMG_2373Hi – I’m back!  I’ve been out helping my Mom recover from a hip replacement since this summer and continuing to do so this winter.  In fact, she and my father are living with us this winter.  This is giving me a great opportunity to learn more recipes from her and to try new and exciting dishes.  My father is Ukrainian and tonight we celebrate the Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve.  The favorite treat of the holiday is Pompushky – a simple fried doughnut, but oh so yummy!  Here’s the recipe – enjoy and  Veseloho Rizdva!


2 cups milk, scalded

5 tbsp. margarine or butter flavored Crisco

2 pkg. of yeast

1 cup hot water

1 tsp. sugar

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

5 + cups flour

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Melt margarine/Crisco in scalded milk.  Let cool.  Add yeast and sugar to hot water, set aside to activate.  In large mixing bowl, mix eggs and sugar together, add milk mixture and yeast mixture.  Slowly add flour in one cup at a time.  Knead until stiff and dough comes off hands.  Let the dough raise for one hour.  Punch down and rise again.  Turn out softball size pieces of dough on floured surface. Roll out to ¼ – ½ inch thick.  Cut out in 3 inch diameter circles (I use a drinking glass or canning jar lid).  Place on cookie sheets and cover to rise.  Heat oil to 350-365 degrees in a Dutch oven or large pot.  Drop 3-6 at a time depending on how big pot is.  Once brown, flip and brown other side. It doesn’t take long.  Drain on paper towels.  Shake with sugar and serve.  These freeze well and you can also microwave for 15-20 seconds, shake in sugar and they are just like fresh.

Cinco De MY-O-MY-O-MY These Were Tasty!

chicken roll upsI’m one of those who doesn’t care if I’m not Irish, Hispanic, Italian, I’m still going to celebrate the holidays anyway – at least in a culinary fashion.  This past Cinco De Mayo I tried a recipe for Crispy Mexican Chicken Roll-ups – they are like a flauta, but more substantial.  It was delicious!  I rounded out the meal with Bush’s “seasoned” black beans and quick Mexican rice.  This meal has been voted as a do-over in my home.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Crispy Mexican Chicken Rollups

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Fajita seasoning/rub

½ cup jack cheese

½ cup cheddar cheese

2 sliced green onions

1/3 cup salsa

1/3-1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Juice from ½ a lime

1/8 tsp. cumin

1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup canola oil

2 grated or minced garlic cloves

8-10 fajita size flour tortillas

The night before I oiled and rubbed the fajita seasoning on the chicken.  Covered them and baked in a 325° oven for 40-45 min.  I let them cool and refrigerated overnight.

The next day I shredded/chopped the chicken placed in large bowl and mixed in all the ingredients from jack cheese thru salt.  I let this sit for 10-20 min.

Place oil and grated garlic in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Once oil starts to get hot, remove from heat and let the garlic infuse the oil.

Preheat oven to 400°

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with PAM.

Assemble the tortillas by adding about 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken filling along the lower edge of the tortilla.  Roll up and place on sheet seam side down.

Brush the tortilla rollups with the garlic oil.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping over halfway through cooking and oiling the other side.  Cook until heated through and golden brown.

Serve topped with sour cream, guacamole and cilantro.


Sides to serve with…

Heated Bush’s seasoned black beans with Monterrey jack cheese melted on top.


Quick Mexican Rice

2 cups Minute rice

2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup of your favorite salsa


Heat broth to boiling.  Remove from heat.  Mix in minute rice.  Stir in salsa and let set for 5 minutes.


#TBT No Bake Cookies

nobake cookies1I literally have not made these cookies since Home Ec class in high school. And believe me, that was a very long time ago. Now my daughter is in high school and I’m passing the torch of culinary knowledge on to her. She was pleased to learn how easy these are to make and oh! how tasty they are – a guilty pleasure for sure. Enjoy!


No Bake Cookies

1 ¾ cups white sugar

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2014 Allrecipes.com

Printed from Allrecipes.com 4/10/2014

Deconstructed Lasagna

lasagnaWhat is it? It’s all the ingredients you use in lasagna without taking the time to layer and bake. Why do this? It’s easy – period. I think I like it better, too. Not as dry – and oh, so much better the next day.


The Sauce

1 lb. Johnsonville Hot Italian sausage – I love this sausage – it’s got kick w/o extreme heat

1-2 tbs. olive oil

1 medium onion diced

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 6 oz can of tomato paste

2 28 oz cans of Dei Fratelli Italian Sauce

Dry Oregano

Dry basil

Salt & Pepper to taste



Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage and crumble w/ potato masher (I find this works the best to crumble ground meat while browning it). Brown sausage and then add in onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring, crumble in dry seasonings (just eyeball 1-2 tsp. of the oregano and basil) mix and then clear an area in the middle of the pan pushing meat to the sides. Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes – this sweetens it. Then mix in with meat. Deglaze pan w/ vodka (I usually go around the pot 2x), let that cook off and then add the Italian sauce.


Put in crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours, mixing once in awhile.


Putting it all together…

1 lb. box of malfalda pasta (they look like mini lasagna noodles broken up). Creamette makes them.

1 16 oz container ricotta cheese

8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

4 oz of fresh grated parmesan cheese



Boil enough salted water to cook 1 lb. box of malfalda pasta

While pasta is cooking, add 2 -2 ½ cups of sauce to large sauté pan and heat thru.

Drain pasta, add to pan and toss with the sauce. Then dot with ricotta cheese (soup spoonfuls), sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. Cover and let cheeses melt. Dish it up and enjoy.

Tastiest Meatloaf I Ever Made

Nothing comforts you more than a meatloaf dinner on a freezing Minnesota day.  And believe you me, this year we’ve have plenty of below zero days here – 53 times this winter according to the MN DNR.  Always served with mashed taters, gravy and corn – it’s the ultimate home-style “TV Dinner”.  Even better the next day.


1 ½ lb. lean ground beef

1 egg

1 small onion finely chopped

1/8 cup ketchup

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup of Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing, finely ground into crumbs


Dash of salt

½ tsp pepper

Glaze for Meatloaf

½ cup ketchup

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

Preheat oven to 375°.   Mix enough milk into stuffing crumbs to moisten.  Mix all meatloaf ingredients together.  Form into loaf on baking pan.  Mix glaze ingredients together and spread on top of meatloaf.  Cover with foil, bake for 45 min.  Remove foil and bake again for 15 minutes or until glaze sets.  Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it to redistribute juices.


Shrimp Salsa

I posted thshrimpsalsa2is recipe awhile back, but making it again, it deserves its own spotlight. The recipe came from a friend’s wife over 20 years ago. She was one mean chica and this is the best thing that came outta that woman (but ya didn’t hear that from me)… This is so easy – chop a little, open a few cans, refrigerate overnight or a few hours. Voila! Wishing you all a blessed, happy and healthy New Year! Enjoy!

Shrimp Salsa
1 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes drained
4 green onions/scallions sliced, white and green parts
½ 4 oz. can of diced jalapeños with some of the liquid – this can be adjusted more or less
Chopped fresh cilantro – again, base this on you taste
2 8 oz. bags of frozen salad shrimp, thawed
Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.