A Giant Crouton

Here is something easy to do with a loaf of bread that is too hard to eat. There is one stipulation however. You have to be able to slice it with a knife.

Cheesy CroutonAdapted from Chef John
Old bread, sliced or fresh bread sliced and toasted

Lightly butter bread slice on one side. Top with cheese. Place in oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly. Use a cookie sheet to catch any melting cheese if desired. Watch carefully as not to burn the cheese or bread.
Place in the middle of a bowl of soup.
I used my cheesy crouton with cream of broccoli soup, made without the cheese.

Pumpkin Granola Muffins

The following conversation may or may not have been between me and myself.

Oh, look! Libby's pumpkin pie mix is on sale for a dollar and it was $2.50!

You don't use the Libby's pumpkin pie recipe. 

But it's only a dollar!

Who want's to eat pumpkin pie now?

I can save it until next year.

Again, you don't use the Libby's recipe.

It says here on the can there are other recipes on their website like pumpkin muffins! Maybe there will be a chocolate pumpkin muffin recipe.


 Oh sure, mention chocolate and you cave.

You are only getting four.


Pumpkin Granola Muffins
From Libby's


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granola with raisins
  • 1 can (30 oz.) LIBBY'S® Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute or 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup crushed granola (use the stuff at the bottom of the bag) or 2 tablespoons sesame seeds or flax seeds


PREHEAT oven to 400° F. Paper-line 24 muffin cups and spray with non-stick cooking spray or spray 24 muffin cups.

COMBINE all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Stir in granola. Add pumpkin pie mix, egg substitute and oil in another large bowl. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each with crushed granola.

BAKE for 15 to 17 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. (Mine took 20-22 minutes to bake.) Remove from pans to wire rack; cool slightly. Serve warm or cool to room temperature and place in airtight container.

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Spoon batter into two greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle with crushed granola. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutritional Information (using egg substitute)

  • Serving Size
    1/24 muffins (2 dozen) of recipe
  • Calories 220
  • Calories from Fat 60
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

% Daily Value *

  • Total Fat 7g 11%
  • Saturated Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 180mg 7%
  • Carbohydrates 36g 12%
  • Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
  • Sugars 13g
  • Protein 4g
  • Vitamin A 35%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron 6%

What's Under Your Bed?

You probably have boring stuff like socks and clothes you never wear under your bed. If you were lucky enough to live here you would have food items such as velvety smooth peppermint truffles. They would be a couple of years old but it sure beats smelly socks. I think.

Peppermint Truffle Steamer
Adapted from Hersheys.com


  • 2 to 3 peppermint truffles, or any flavor
  • 1 cup skim or 2% milk
  • Cocoa for garnish (optional)


  1. Cut or break truffles into pieces. Place truffles and 2 to 3 teaspoons milk in 8-oz. mug. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until truffles are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.
  2. Slowly stir in remaining milk. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds at a time until the desired temperature is reached. Garnish with cocoa,if desired. Serve immediately. One 8-oz. serving.

Dry Cookies, Brownies and Cake

In the space of one month, there are 5 birthdays in this family. All in the month of December. That's a lot of cake. Throw in Christmas cookies and other treats and you've got the makings of putting on enough fat to produce enough energy to make 1.21 gigawatts. 1.21 gigawatts!? Name that movie. But I digress. Of course I wouldn't want to throw any of those calories out. Not even the dry leftovers that have been hanging around for weeks.

Chocolate Trifle

Dry chocolate cookies, brownies and/or cake cut into 1-inch chunks
Chocolate pudding, prepared according to directions
Heavy cream, whipped and sweetened with powdered sugar

The amount of ingredients that you will need will depend on the amount of cookies/brownies/cake you have. You can make this in a large bowl (clear glass trifle bowl is prettiest) or a flat baking dish such as a 9x13. Clear parfait glasses or any glass works great for smaller amounts. I used a very large bowl and used 5 boxes of pudding, prepared, and 1 1/2 quarts of whipping cream. Add anything you like to the layers, such as caramel, toffee bits, strawberries or raspberries.

In a clear trifle bowl, layer half of the chocolate cookies, brownies or cake. Top with a layer of half the pudding. Layer next with half the whipped cream. Repeat layers. Garnish with shaved chocolate on top if desired. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving

For a Limited Time Only

It's Honeybell season and it only lasts a few weeks. Find them here or try your favorite grocery store. They might be labeled as Florida tangelos. Look for the "bell" shape. I even saw them at Walmart. Be sure to peel or slice them over a bowl. They are that juicy.


If you have a great meat sauce and a cheese filling using fresh high quality cheeses, you can't go wrong. I used my favorite meat sauce that I had made and froze some for later use. I thinned it out a little with some marinara sauce.

Adapted from foodwishes.com
Serves 9-12

Ingredients (for a deep 15" x 10" lasagna pan):

For the meat sauce:
1 pound Italian sausage
1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup water
Note: depending on the seasoning of your sausage, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of an Italian dried herb blend.

For the cheese filling:
2 egg, beaten
2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese
8 oz soft fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
2/3 cup freshly grated Reggiano-Parmigiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
big pinch of cayenne

The rest:
1 lb lasagna noodles
8 oz soft fresh mozzarella cheese, torn in small pieces
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese to top

In a large skillet and over medium heat, brown hamburger and sausage together, breaking up into as small of pieces as possible. Stir in chopped mushrooms. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium high until meat is brown and all the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates. Add marinara sauce and water. If using jars of marinara, rinse the jars with water and use that for the water. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Add water as needed if sauce gets too thick. Skim fat off the top if desired. After 2 hours, turn off the sauce and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Add ricotta cheese, cubed mozzarella, and grated Reggiano-Parmigiano . Add parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Mix well.

Boil lasagna noodles according to package in salted water. Drain and rinse noodles. Keep in cold water.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 375.

Spread 1/4 of meat sauce in bottom of lasagna pan, about 3 cups. ( I used 3 cups of my favorite meat sauce.) Top with 1/3 of the lasagna noodles ( probably 6). Carefully spread 1/2 of the cheese filling. Top with 1/4 of meat sauce. (Again, I used 3 cups of my favorite meat sauce.) Layer 1/3 of the noodles. Spread the rest of the cheese filling on top of the noodles. Top with 1/4 of the meat sauce (about 3 cups).

At this point, shake the pan a little to settle it. Layer the remaining 1/3 of the noodles. Broken noodles are fine. Piece them in It all cooks up right. Top with the remaining meat sauce. Make sure all the noodles are covered. Dot with fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan.

Cover loosely with foil. Do not let the foil touch the cheese. Place on cookie sheet in case of spillover. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes more until golden brown and bubbling. Let sit for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

Choose Your Weapon

You can either use fermenting apple juice jelly or peach peel jam for this. Or do something normal like buy apple jelly. Serve with caramelized wrinkly old apples.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apple Jelly Glaze

4 lb pork tenderloin roast

1 T. salt

1 garlic clove, minced 
1/2 t paprika
Pepper to taste, optional

Preheat oven to 425.
Mix salt, garlic, paprika and pepper well.
Rub over entire roast. Roast in 425 oven for 1 hour.

1 small onion chopped

1 c. apple jelly

1 T. dry mustard

After pork has roasted for 1 hour, pour apple jelly mixture over roast. Reduce oven to
375 and continue roasting until meat reaches 170 degrees about 1-1.5 hours. Cover with foil let stand 30 min before slicing.

Slimy, Yet Dry

I found a 5 pound bag of baby carrots in the back of a refrigerator drawer. Under the moldy lemons. And a few other things which I will not mention. Until later.

Back to the carrots. How is it possible that they can be dried out and slimy at the same time? As always, rinsing stinky things helps.

"How are the carrots?"

"Good, despite the fact that they are ancient and exhumed from burial."
"The correct description is they were slimy yet dry."

"How is that different than being exhumed from burial?"

Glazed Carrots
From Betty Crocker
Serves 6

1 1/2 lb ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

  1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 inch water to boiling. Add carrots. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 6 to 9 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
  2. In 12-inch skillet, cook remaining ingredients over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly.
  3. Stir in carrots. Reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Instead of the baby-cut carrots, you can use 1 1/2 bags (1-lb size) frozen sliced carrots, cooked as directed on the bag, or 1 1/2 pounds regular carrots, cut into julienne strips, cooked as directed in step 1.
Success Tip
If some of the baby-cut carrots are large, cut them in half lengthwise so all of the carrots cook in the same amount of time.

Nutrition Information:

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1 Serving)
  • Calories 130
    • (Calories from Fat 35),
  • Total Fat 4g
    • (Saturated Fat 2 1/2g,
    • Trans Fat 0g),
  • Cholesterol 10mg;
  • Sodium 310mg;
  • Total Carbohydrate 23g
    • (Dietary Fiber 3g,
    • Sugars 17g),
  • Protein 1g

A Winter Breakfast

Oeufs en Cocotte
aka shirred eggs
aka baked eggs

From whatscookingamerica.net

Preheat oven to 325° F.

For each serving, lightly butter an individual oven-proof baking dish or ramekin.

Break one or two eggs into each dish. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 tablespoon milk or cream over eggs (skim milk, low-fat milk, half and half, or light cream may be substituted). Spooning a liquid over the eggs can help prevent drying out.

Bake in preheated oven approximately 12 to 14 minutes, depending on number of servings being baked. Check the eggs after about 10 minutes baking time. When done, the whites should be completely set and the yolks beginning to thicken but not hard.

Serve immediately.

Top before baking with:
Shredded cheese
Chopped ham
Minced chives or herbs

You can bake eggs nestled in other foods such as rice, vegetables or sauces. These foods should be heated before the eggs are added for faster and more even cooking. Make indentations in the heated with the back of a spoon, about a 2-inch diameter. Place the egg in the indentation.


2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 T baking powder
6 T chilled butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts, toasted (optional)
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup half and half or light cream
1 T half and half or light cream
2 tsp sugar
Serve with butter and jam, creme, clotted creme or creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine flour, the 3 T sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cut in butter. If desired, stir in nuts. Combine egg and 1/2 cup half and half; add to dry mixture. Stir just till moistened.

Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead 12 to 15 strokes or till nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 and 1/2 to 3 inch cutter.

Place scones 1 inch part on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with 1 T half and half or put an indent in the middle of the scone and pour a splash of cream into the indent. Sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or till golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 10 to 12 scones.

Nutrition Facts per scone: 187 cal, 9 g total fat (5 g sat fat), 45 mg chol, 244 mg sodium, 23 g carbo, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein

This was going to need to be marinated. A long time.

I opened the refrigerator door and a blast of stench hit me. I knew right away what it was; the salmon that had expired 10 days ago. First I rinsed it well with cold water. Much better. It still could be salvaged but I knew it needed to be infused with a flavor besides that of rot. The wonder of marination.

Grilled Salmon
From allrecipes.com
Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds of salmon fillets
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  4. Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving (4 oz fillet) Calories: 318 | Total Fat: 20.1g | Cholesterol: 56mg