Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, October 21, 2012

easy egg rolls and cranberry dipping sauce

here is a wonderful recipe for the Asian favorite served in many restaurants.  this is an easy recipe, and the egg rolls are extremely tasty.  as with any home prepared food, the cook controls the ingredients and can alter the recipe according to dietary preferences.  i have used this recipe for years,  and have adapted it to my liking.  it was taken from southern living magazine, the November 2009 issue.

to prepare the egg rolls:  stir together 16 ounces of shredded coleslaw mix, 1 cup of chopped cooked chicken or shrimp, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced ginger.  i use ginger from a tube found in the produce aisle of the market.
add minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. using egg roll wrappers, brush water around the edges and spoon the filling into the center of each wrapper.  fold and tuck the wrapper as shown on the package.  press to seal. 

using an electric skillet, brown the wrappers in a small amount of canola oil heated to 375 degrees.  drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 225 degree oven until ready to serve. 

egg rolls can be served with cranberry dipping sauce or any other favorite dipping sauce.  shrimp, chicken or vegetable fried rice is an nice accompaniment.

to make the cranberry dipping sauce:  bring one 16 ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce, 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, and 1/ 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger to a boil in a small saucepan.  cool and serve with egg rolls or mozzarella sticks.

crustless pizza quiche

over the years i have tried many gooseberry patch recipes.  every one seems to be a great reliable recipe. this one is from the 101 cozy casseroles spiral cookbook, and was offered as an online sample for my e-reader.  it was easy and quite tasty.  i changed a few ingredients and the quiche baked as suggested.

to make the recipe:  use 1/2 cup of turkey pepperoni and one 8 ounce can of sliced mushrooms, drained, and place in a 9 inch ceramic pie plate that has been sprayed with Pam.  next, in a bowl, whisk together 3 eggs and 2 egg whites egg beaters, 3/4 cup of skim milk, and 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, and some fresh basil to taste.  pour over the pepperoni and mushrooms in the baking dish.  sliced green pepper and onion could be also added for additional flavor.

top with 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese.  i topped with some fresh basil from my garden as a garnish.  bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for at least 30 minutes until golden and heated through. 

i usually insert a knife into the quiche to make certain the center is not runny prior to serving.  if still soft, bake another 5 to7 minutes until done.

served with a side salad or soup, this is a wonderful entree for lunch or dinner.

baking tip: baked bacon

bacon is a cured meat made from pork. bacon should only be consumed occasionally, as suggested in current research from the Harvard school of public health that there is a link between nitrates and COPD, heart disease and diabetes.

turkey bacon and other products without nitrates can be used to substitute for bacon requirements in recipes.  one of the techniques that i have found quite beneficial is baking bacon in the oven.

this is an easy way to prepare this product.  there is no turning, no twisting and no spatters on the stove.  simply preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake on a sheet pan for 20 minutes.  the bacon is arranged on the pan, side by side, and not overlapping.  the longer the bacon is baked, the more crispy the product.  remove the bacon from the pan, drain and blot dry in paper towels.

if an easy clean up is desired, line the pan with in foil.  the result is flat bacon with limited fat and great taste.

KIND bars

i usually don't promote prepackaged foods, however; i have found this wonderful product that is all natural made from fruit and nuts.  these bars have been on the market since 2003, but i recently found them in my gourmet food store.

if you have not tried them, i suggest you look for them soon.  some have antioxidants added, others have nuts and spices, and all are made with healthy grains.  i haven't tried any with chocolate, and have centered on using these for a healthy snack on the go, when i don't have a piece of fresh fruit available.

they are gluten free, low glycemic, a good source of fiber, have very low sodium, dairy free, no trans fats, and don't have any sulfer dioxide.

some of the best flavors are almond and coconut, pomegranate blueberry pistachio with antioxidants, cashew and ginger spice, and cranberry almond with antioxidants.  look for them in the health food section of your market as well, although not all of the flavors might be available.  check out the website for more information.

these bars are delicious and have under 200 calories.

rice krispie classics

after many years of making these rice krispie treats for a fall snack, i considered changing the recipe into one of the hundreds found online on various websites. i was interested to see if the newer versions were tastier or even just easier to make.

it is amazing to see how many alterations have been made to this classic cookie bar.  however, after reading through them, i decided that my old standard recipe that has been made for years is actually the best one around.  many of the new recipes have changed the amount of krispies in ratio to the amount of marshmallow.  also, i have noticed that the amount of butter changes in relation to the other ingredients.  after spending over an hour reading the reviews on the websites, i determined that these changes were not better based on others' opinions.  not one of the opinions was favorable with any of the dozens of changes.

the one secret to my rice krispie treats is the addition of a flavor.  i sometimes use vanilla and other times use almond extract.  this slight addition makes the difference in the rice kripsie treat.

my classic recipe:  melt 1/4 cup of butter, not margarine, as the oil is needed for the success of the treat, along with 3 cups of mini marshmallows in a microwave glass bowl for two minutes.  stir the mixture, which will puff up in the microwave.  then, microwave again for another minutes.  add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a couple of dashes of salt.  this makes the flavor of the treat.  add 5 cups of krispies. stir.

place in a ceramic dish that has been coated with Pam.  press down the treats firmly with a Pam coated piece of waxed paper.  i add sprinkles on the top for Halloween treats.  press the sprinkles down into the treats as well. pressing the treats firmly is an important step, or the treats crumble when cutting into bars.

allow the treats to cool down before slicing into bars, about two hours.  serve and enjoy for the fall season.