Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mrs. LeMaire's Spaghetti Sauce

When Michelle was in high school, she took a cooking class from one of our favorite teachers, Mrs. LeMaire. Mrs. LeMaire was an amazing cook, and I know this based off the amazing things that she taught Michelle to make. This is her spaghetti sauce recipe. This can be altered to your liking - omit the mushrooms, add green pepper, shake in a bit of marjoram, etc. But the basic recipe is simple and delicious.

1 lb. lean hamburger
1 med. onion - chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms - washed and diced
28 oz. can cut tomatoes
28 oz. can tomato sauce
12 oz. can tomato paste
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 - 1 cup water

Brown meat with onions and mushrooms. Add rest and carefully bring to boil. Then simmer at least 2 1/2 hours (5 or 6 hours is best).

Yield: 7 cups or 12-14 servings

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zucchini Sticks

Wait right there, you say. It's not zucchini season yet! True. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy these delicious, addictive zucchini sticks. This would be a fantastic appetizer or snack or side dish. These were SO yummy. I think I ate a dozen as soon as they were cooled off - no joke! The original recipe, King Arthur Flour, also includes a sweet onion dip that I bet is mighty tasty, too. Check it out.


3 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into 3"-long sticks
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs
olive oil spray
2 large eggs


  1. To make the zucchini sticks: Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Let the zucchini drain for 1 hour or longer; rinse and pat dry.
  2. Combine the Panko, Parmesan, and pizza seasoning; set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.
  4. Dredge sticks a few at a time in the egg, then roll in the crumb mixture. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake sticks for 12 minutes, turn over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  6.  Serve immediately, with sweet onion dip.
Yield: about 3 dozen zucchini sticks

Friday, March 23, 2012

Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for breakfast? I'm in! These are a tasty, healthy way to start your day. I combined recipes from Food Network, King Arthur Flour and Eat Better America to make my own concoction. 

1 large banana (the riper the better)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. baby food carrots (1 small container)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
1/4 c. nonfat dry milk powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup "mix ins" (craisins, raisins, coconut, chopped nuts, m&m's, choc chips, etc.)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Using a hand mixer, beat banana, peanut butter, brown sugar, carrots and vanilla until smooth.
  • In separate bowl, mix oats, flour, milk powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Stire into wet mixture until combined.
  • Stir in mix-ins.
  • Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper or cooking spray or, my favorite, Silpats.
  • Drop 1/4 cup mounds of dough 3 inches apart on sheets. With a metal spoon dipped in water, flatten mounds into cookie shapes (will not spread much during baking).
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. 
  • Cool completely and store in airtight container or freeze.

Yield: 10 cookies

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Cowboy Cookies

I was looking for a new cookie recipe and turned to one of my favorite blogs - Let's Dish. Her Cowboy Cookies looked good - and they turned out to be a hit! The cornflakes add a nice, subtle crunch.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 
1 cup packed brown sugar 
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
2 eggs
1 cup crushed corn flakes
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla and eggs and beat well. Stir in cornflake crumbs and oatmeal. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix. Stir in the coconut, nuts, if using, and chocolate chips.  Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on a lightly greased or lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden around the edges.

Yield: 4 dozen

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Gadget Corner - Scoops

My Pampered Chef scoops get a LOT of use in my kitchen. I've found them to be very durable and wash up easily in the dishwasher.

The large scoop does a great job at filling muffins or cupcakes. If you've ever struggled to do this with a spoon, you will really appreciate how nice it is to scoop the batter into each muffin cup. No messy drips and each muffin is the same size! I've also used it to scoop out fillings for calzones and burritos.

The medium scoop is the perfect size for cookies. It is about 2 tbsp and works well for scooping up cookie dough and releasing it onto the baking sheet. I've also found this size to work well for mini-muffins.

That's it for this month! Anybody else have a scoop they love?