Frozen Cranberry Salad

Another holiday favorite in our house, this a gem from my childhood.

A frozen tart and sweet “salad” that pairs great with ham or turkey dinner.

An unusual combo of canned cranberry sauce, sour cream, crushed pineapple and powdered sugar.

Frozen Cranberry Salad Ingredients

Frozen Cranberry Salad Ingredients

Frozen Cranberry Salad

In a bowl combine:

1 can of whole cranberry sauce

1 small can (16oz) crushed pineapple

2 cups of sour cream

1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

Frozen Cranberry Salad Mixing

Line a glass bread pan or other similar volume pan with foil

iPhone Dec 2013 043

Pour Sauce in prepared pan and freeze until solid

Frozen Craberry Salad

Frozen Craberry Salad

Invert on serving dish, remove foil, slice and enjoy.

Frozen Cranberry Salad Sliced

Red Currant & Rapsberry Pie

On a trip to our local Farmer’s Market early in the summer I found these lovely little jewels at one of my favorite stands.

Red Currants

Apparently there are not alot of uses for Red Currants, a Google search yielded way more results for Black Currants. However I continued to search and found a recommendations for combining raspberries with red currants for a pie. So why not give it a try.

First we need some ripe raspberries.

Red Raspberries

I combined one carton of red currants (about 1 cup when removed from stems) with about 2 cups of red raspberries with one cup of sugar and 2 Tbs of corn starch.

Berries and Sugar

I bought a store made pie crust, and used the top and bottom crust. Sprinkled some sugar on top and baked at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then lowered the temp to 375 and baked for another 25 minutes.

Pie Making July 2013 605

It was light and sweet with just enough tartness to make it nicely balanced. I think my husband ate the whole pie in less than one day.

Red Currant & Raspberry Pie

1 cup red currants
2 cups red raspberries
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 double pie crust
Demarra or other big grained sugar for topping.

Combine currants, rapsberries, sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Place bottom pie crust in pan, add fruit. Add top crust and mke slits. Can cover with an egg wash to make the crust more shiny. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Lower temp to 375 and bake for 25 more minutes. Let cool before serving.

Curried Carrot Soup

This is one of my go to options when I have a vegan, vegetarian or gluten free guest. Lovely looking and great tasting.

Curried Carrot Soup


Curried Carrot Soup

3 Tbs Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Curry Powder
8 medium carrots sliced
4 medium rib of celery sliced
1 medium onion chopped
5 cups of vegetable stock
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper

In a stock pot heat oil and add curry powder to oil and cook for about 2 minutes, stiring often. Add carrots, celery and onion and toss to coat and then cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Allow to sit for a few minutes and remove grease from top of soup. Then blend with an immersion blender or in your blender until smooth. Add lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon slices or if not vegan, a drizzle of cream. If not gluten free serve with some crunchy crutons.

Bean Dip

Awesome for Super Bowl, Nascar Sunday, Final Four, Stanley Cup, Preakness, etc. You get the idea.

You can really modify this in so many ways so feel free to experiment

Bean Dip

Bean Dip

2 cans of refried beans
1 can of roasted diced green chilis
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of salsa
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all the ingredients holding back 1/2 cup of cheese. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 35o degrees for about 30 minutes. Let set for about 20 minutes before serving.

Cheaters Chili

From way back in the archives and the one recipe that inspired this blog. I call this cheater chili because this is so easy. From when I worked at Tony’s Coffeehouse in Bellingham Washington back in the 80s.


Cheater's Chili


Cheaters Chili

1 Tbs oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 glove of garlic minced (I use the prepared kind from the grocery store)
1/2 Tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbs dill weed
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp italan seasoning
1 tsp ground coriander
1 large can of chili
shreded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add all spices and saute another 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato, stir and add chili. Heat till warm and serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream or any other toppings you like.

Kentucky Butter Cake

From my friend Sara, this cake made it’s first appearance in our church cookbook in 1994.

Kentucky Butter Cake

Cream together:
1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
add in
4 eggs one at a time

Sift together:
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla

Add the buttermilk mixture and dry ingredients alternately to the creamed mixture. Blend well with electric mixer on low speed. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes in a greased and floured bundt pan. Remove from oven and prick all over with a fork. Run spatula around edges and pour butter sauce over cake in pan. Cool before removing from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Butter Sauce:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbs vanilla extract

Heat first three ingredients until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Matt’s Famous Eggnog

Another holiday favorite and famous in our house is Matt’s Eggnog. We have our first batch when we decorate our Christmas tree and our last one on New Year’s Eve.

Matt’s Eggnog

2 cups of milk
2 eggs
2 large scoops of vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup sugar (or if you are Matt 2 1/4 cups sugar, that keeps everything in 2s)
2 handfuls of ice cubes
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the adults you replace the vanilla with two large shots of dark rum.
Combine in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into serving glasses and top with fresh grated nutmeg.

Watson Cranberry Pudding

This recipe is the most requested in my extended family. Handed down on my husband’s father’s side of the family I am sure it has morphed over the years. This is a traditional steamed pudding, think of Figgy Pudding of old England. I am sure at one point in time it was covered with what the British refer to as a hard sauce as the way many puddings are still served today.

My mother in law made a fantastic version in some amazing contraption that looks this. Made from aluminum, you put water in the bottom. It comes with two steamer dividers, one covers the entireĀ bottom of the pan and the other has an opening the cake pan sits in. The large lid sits on top and the whole contraption steams away.


If you cannot find or do not have a similar item, a traditional pudding mold in a large stock pot will work too.

Watson Cranberry Pudding

2 cups of cranberries cut in half
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 pinches of salt
2 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water

Combine all the ingredients and cook in a steamer for about an hour. Make sure you do not boil out all the water in the bottom of you steamer pan. Should be cooked through when a toothpick fully inserted comes out clean. Remove from steamer and cool on countertop for about 15 minutes. Invert pan to remove pudding before it is completely cooled. You can wrap the pudding in plastic wrap and freeze at this point if you like.

Cranberry Pudding

Butter Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and cook in a double boiler until all the sugar is dissolved and sauce thickens slightly. You can replace the vanilla with a Tbs of brandy if you want to try a variation on the traditional hard sauce. Divide the steamed pudding between bowls (should serve about 10 to 12) and top with the butter sauce.

Pudding with Butter Sauce<

The lovely combination of the tart pudding with the sweet and creamy butter sauce is divine. This dish is must at every event between Thanksgiving and Christmas year upon year. It is NOT the holidays without this dish.

This year I experimented with individual servings in ramekins and it worked reasonably well. The batter divided pretty evenly between 8 to 10 heavily butter ramekins and covered in buttered foil. Do fill more than 2/3 full, as they will rise. I baked them for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven in a water bath (a 13 x 9 pan with an inch of hot water). They stored nicely in the frigde for over a week and made fun little gifts too. Hope you get a chance to enjoy our family tradition at your next holiday season.

Nothern Italian Lasagne

Nothern Italian Lasagne

I discovered this lovely Northern Italian version of lasagne where ricotta cheese is replaced with a bechamel sauce seasoned with the northern traditional spice of nutmeg. Lightened up with sheets of fresh spinach pasta and paired with a bolognese sauce. Make extra sauce as you will be sure to eat it by the spoonful and use it to top other pasta dishes such as penne or even spaghetti.

Bolognese Sauce

6 strips of bacon
1lb of ground beef
1/2lb of ground pork or pork sausage
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans or 1 large can diced roasted tomatoes (or roast your own for even more yummines)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1 tsp italian seasonings
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream
Canola Oil

Fry the bacon in a large heavy stock pot or dutch oven. Remove when crispy and drain on paper towels, chop when cool enough to handle. Add the ground beef and pork and cook until browned, remove from pot and reserve. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook in meat fats until softened, about 8 minutes, add more oil if not enough fat to coat the veggies. Add the tomato paste, sauce, roasted tomatoes, water, wine, nutmeg and italian seasonings. Add meats back to pan and turn heat down to simmer and cover and cook for about 45 minutes or 1 hour, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add heavy cream and fresh parsley and reserve sauce until ready to use or freeze for future dishes.

Bechamel Sauce

4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
2 cups of milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour to make a roux and cook about a minute to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk to whisk until smooth. Add the spices and cook until thickened. Turn off heat and reserve until ready to use.

To assemble the lasagne:

1 pkg fresh spinach sheets (I found great ones at Whole Foods)
or you can use a package of standard lasagne noodles cooked and cooled.
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated parmesan cheese

Grease a 13 x 9 or other large casserole pan and lay down a layer of pasta, top with 1/3 the bechemel sauce, 1/3 the bolognese pasta sauce and 1/3 the cheese. Repeat two more times and top with a greased piece of foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, removing foil for the final 10 minutes. Let set for at least 20 minutes before serving. This is even better the next day and freezes very well.

Lasagne Side View<

Apple Fritters and Cheese Grits

Apple Fritters and Cheese Grits

One of my favorite fall or winter brunch menus. Inspired by a recipe for Apple Fritters from Martha Stewart Living and coupled with the classic pairing of cheese with apples. Rounded out with a side of link sausage lends the perfect compliment.

Apple Fritters originally from Martha Steward Living:

3 to 4 Apples (Fuji or Roma)
2 eggs seperated
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs Brandy
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar

Combine eggs yolks, milk and brandy. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into the egg mixture. Chill for 1 hour (I don’t always wait the whole hour, even 15 minutes seems sufficient). Beat the egg whites until stiff and add to the chilled batter. Core the apples and slice into rings (do no peel). Fry in hot oil heated to 350 degrees. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with warmed maple syrup.

Cheese Grits:

3 cups water
3/4 cup quick cook grits
1 tsp salt
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat the water and salt until boiling. Slowly stream in grits stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Turn down heat and simmer until done about 5 minutes. Stir in grated cheese until melted and well combined. Keep warm and serve with apple fritters.