Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Recipe (Punch)

Summer's here! It's time to paaaarrrrrttttaaayyyy! What screams party, better than a great tasting punch? Nothing. That's right. Nothing better than punch, to, well........... Punch up your party!

This recipe comes to me, from my dear friend, Erica. This is her father-in-law's recipe. I asked her what the name of the punch is. She said, he just calls it, The Recipe. I'm thinking, when It comes to punches, this is THE RECIPE to have.

I'm not going to post photos of me dumping juices into a bowl, and adding fruit slices. Instead, lets just drink up this pretty bowl of fruit punch.


1 (12 Ounce) Can frozen fruit punch mix
1 (64 Ounce) Jug unsweetened grapefruit juice
1 (64 Ounce) Jug unsweetened orange juice
1 (64 Ounce) Jug cranberry juice
2 Liters Ginger Ale
1 Orange, sliced
1 Lemon, sliced
1 Lime, sliced

Pour juices into a large punch bowl. Add fruit slices. Just prior to serving, pour in ginger ale. Stir to combine.

*This recipe makes two large punch bowls. I suggest you divide the liquids in half. Once halved, the second batch is just a matter of pouring the remaining liquids into the punch bowl.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff. The mention of it brings up memories of a different time. I was a young, 17 year old newlywed, living in the Amish Country of Ohio. My husband and I were living with his brother. The men worked the oil fields. I only had one job, and that was making dinner. Fresh out of high school, I'm the first to admit, I didn't know much about anything. My brother-in-law's pantry consisted of convenience items. Among them were Stroganoff Hamburger Helper and instant mashed potatoes.

Recently, I thought I would make an attempt at replicating Hamburger Helper's Stroganoff recipe. I mean, I can cook. How hard can it be? I am happy to report, that this recipe is so tasty. After having the boxed stuff, last night, I was kind of surprised to find it on the bland side. Sorry Hamburger Helper, it's been a good ride, but I am going to make my own from now on.

You'll need a Dutch oven, or large skillet, with a tight fitting lid. Start by heating up some olive oil, on medium high heat. Saute button mushrooms, then set aside.


Using the same pan, crumble ground beef, and cook until browned. Drain grease. Return mushrooms to the pan.

*If you know me by now, I don't eat beef. This is ground turkey breast that has been fortified with Kitchen Bouquet.

I didn't want to name the recipe Turkey Stroganoff, because that doesn't sound appetizing.

Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Add flour, Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix, pepper, and salt; blending well. Stir in water and milk. Bring to a boil.

* While making this recipe, It was going the route of Beef and Noodles, with sour cream mixed it. It was good, but needed a little 'zing'. I poked around, in my spice cabinet; reaching for my home made Italian Dressing Mix. Wouldn't you know I was out. Then, this caught my eye. I started with, 1 tablespoon at a time, making my way up to 4 tablespoons in this recipe. The Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix is key to this recipe.

Stir in noodles.

Reduce heat to medium low. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Stir noodles every 2-3 minutes, until noodles have softened; about 10 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Heat thoroughly, over medium low heat.

Creamy Beef Stroganoff. The optimum in comfort food.

Nothing fancy going on here. I just serve the Stroganoff over mashed potatoes.


1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Pound ground beef - or - 1 Pound ground turkey (fortified with 1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce)
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
1 Teaspoon pepper
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Cups water
1 Cup milk
8 Ounces egg noodles
1 Cup sour cream

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, over medium high heat, in a large skillet, or Dutch Oven. Sauté mushrooms, until browned. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl. Using the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, over medium high heat. Cook meat until is browned, and crumbled. Drain liquids. Add mushrooms to meat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Stir in flour, Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix, salt, and pepper. Add water and milk. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in egg noodles. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover skillet with a tight fitting lid. Cook until noodles are softened; stirring occasionally. It should take approximately 10 minutes for noodles to soften. Once noodles are softened, stir in sour cream. Heat thoroughly, over medium low heat.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Linda's Spaghetti Sauce

The recipe I am about to share, is the Spaghetti Sauce my mom perfected. I remember mom at the stove, carefully tending to her pot of sauce. Back then, mom was tweaking her recipe. A little of this, a pinch of that. She also took notes, on what other relatives were putting in their sauce. I recall a phone conversation she had with Aunt Violet. It was during that conversation, I learned Aunt Violet put orange juice in her meat sauce. Mom tried that. She also tried wine. As she experimented, I was always willing to be her taste tester; and my friends were, too. I recall one of them being taken back, at the first taste of the sauce. Stopped in her tracks, and blown away, she proclaimed, "This is good!" I think she would have happily eaten dinner, at the stove, dipping bread into the sauce. It was hard to pull her away. I am thankful to have this recipe in my repertoire.

This looks like a lot of ingredients, but I am going to break it down, to manageable tasks.

Now, back in the day, mom served her meat sauce with spaghetti noodles. That is fine, but I prefer Roasted Spaghetti Squash. To me, the taste is better than pasta. Also, using squash replaces bad carbohydrates, for healthy, nutritious carbohydrates. With this swap, I don't feel guilty eating the garlic bread. The recipe can be found here: Roasted Spaghetti Squash

* Since I am taking the time to roast, I always throw in a whole bulb of garlic, or two. It's nice to have roasted garlic on hand. It also stores well, shrink wrapped, in the freezer.

Today I am using a 50/50 mix of ground turkey breast, and Italian sausage. Since ground turkey is involved, I always fortify the ground turkey with Kitchen Bouquet.

Let me just put this out there, because I know my mom will call me and say, "I don't use ground turkey!"

Mom uses ground beef, in her recipe. However, you can use any combination, of meats: beef, pork, Italian sausage, ground turkey etc.

The squash is in the oven, and all the ingredients are prepped. This will move along nicely.

To begin: choose a large frying pan that has a lid. Start by sauteing the button mushrooms, in a little olive oil. Remove from pan, and set aside. 

Using the same pan, saute onion, and garlic, with olive oil.

Add meat mixture to the onion and garlic. Cook over medium high heat, until the meat has browned.

Drain liquids.

*The easiest way to remove the liquids, is to tilt the pan, and absorb with a paper towel.

Stir in Contadina Tomato Paste, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Per my mom, you must use Contadina tomato paste! The water ratio is:  2 cans of water, for each can of tomato paste. Stir to combine.

Add mushrooms to the sauce.

Bring spaghetti sauce to a boil.

If you've ever brought spaghetti sauce to a boil, you know that it splatters all over the place. This is why you need to use a pan with a lid. As it is coming to a boil, you will want to cover the pan. If you notice the picture, you see the spatula is keeping the lid propped open.

Once the sauce has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Continue simmering for 30 minutes.

Just prior to serving, stir in fresh herbs. 

As I mentioned before, I like to serve the sauce with Roasted Spaghetti Squash. Just fluff up the strands of squash, to resemble spaghetti. Use a fork, and follow the direction of the strands. Make a well in the center, of the squash, for the sauce.

* For plating presentation, I am using the squash as a bowl. If you choose a small squash, it makes the perfect sized serving.

Healthy eating never looked so good!


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil,
1 Large red onion, diced
5 Large garlic cloves, minced
1 Pound ground round (or combination of: Italian sausage, pork, turkey, etc.)
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1/4 Teaspoon oregano
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 (6 ounce) Cans Contadina Tomato Paste + 4 (6 ounce) Cans water
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup fresh basil, chopped

Heat olive oil, in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Saute mushrooms, until browned. Remove from pan, and set aside. Using the same skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onion and garlic, until softened. Add meat to onions and garlic. Continue cooking over medium high heat. Crumble meat, and cook until browned. Drain liquids. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Stir in Contadina Tomato Paste, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring sauce to a boil, using the lid, mostly covered, to prevent splattering. Once sauce has come to a boil, reduce heat, to medium low. Let sauce simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in parsley and basil. Serve with spaghetti noodles, or Spaghetti Squash. 

*To use spaghetti squash halves, as serving bowl, look for smaller sized squash.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I want to take a moment, to apologize for neglecting my blog. Life happened, and I had to take time to focus on a new aspect of my career. Now that things have settled, I can get back to sharing recipes!

A few posts back, I walked you through prepping Spaghetti Squash, safely; without risk of cutting your fingers. You can find that post here: How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

Now that the squash is prepped, we can roast it. This is the same process I use for roasting all vegetables. It's pretty straightforward. 

To make clean up a breeze, I've lined a baking tray with parchment paper. With the squash placed, right side up; drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Righteous Seasoning

Invert squash. Using a knife, make a slit, into the squash; to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 400 degrees, until fork tender. The cooking time will vary upon the size of the squash. Generally around 45 minutes.

Use a fork, to separate the strands of squash. You'll soon discover why it is named Spaghetti Squash.

The squash halves make perfect serving bowls.

Fill with your favorite meat sauce.

And you've got a perfectly satisfying meal.

This is a tasty, healthy, alternative to pasta. I think you will enjoy it.


Spaghetti squash, halved, seeds removed
Olive oil, to drizzle
Righteous Seasoning, to sprinkle

Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds. Place spaghetti squash, right side up, on a parchment lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Righteous Seasoning. Invert spaghetti squash. Cut a slit into squash, using a knife; to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400, for approximately 40 minutes, until fork tender. Use a fork to separate strands of squash. 

*serving suggestion
The halves, of spaghetti squash, can be used as bowls. Fill with your favorite pasta sauce.