Spinach Salad

By: Lisa

1 head red or fancy green lettuce
1 bunch spinach
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 cup fresh mushroom slices
1 cup Swiss Cheese or Mozzarella, shredded
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled


2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 1/4  cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
green onion bottom half, cut fine, (optional)


Combine lettuce, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, cheese and bacon in salad bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in blender and mix well. Just before serving, break up small pretzels and mix with the greens. Add dressing to taste, toss and serve. Or you can serve the salad and let people pour dressing over the top to their personal taste.
Note:You may add apple cubes, pomegranates, or Craisins for winter salads. This is a great mix around salad, I've even served it with apples, cheese, mushrooms and candied pecans - whatever sounded good together.

Raspberry Avocado Salad

By: Lisa
1 Head romaine lettuce chopped
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 medium-large avocado diced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup honey sesame sticks (can be found online at www.nuttyguys.com/Sesame-Sticks-Honey-P82.aspx These really make the salad.)
1/3 -1/2 cup dressing


3/4 cup salad oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/3 c sugar
2 Tablespoons onion powder or fresh onions pureed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice.
Blend or shake on bottle.

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

By: Lisa 
Yields: 9 cups or 8 first-course servings (or 4-5 hungry adults :)

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)

1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese

In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Buca de Ricardo Ensalada (Rich's Salad)

By: Rich

1 head romaine lettuce
1 head read leaf lettuce (can use any variety you like)
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes diced
1/2 red pepper diced
1/2 can black olives-sliced
2 oz fetta cheese
3 oz provolone cheese (he just broke the slices into pieces)
3 oz grated mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese
25 pepperoni's cut into 4th's
10 Mezzetta Garlic & Dill peperoncini (about 1/2 a bottle)--these do provide a little kick, but really add to the salad
6 oz Girards Romano Cheese Italian Dressing

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

By: Lisa  (This is sooo good!)

Yield: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1 14 ounces can of chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoons extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheeses i optional
1 pound potato gnocchi you can buy this in the gourmet section of many supermarkets
Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half.
Cook gnocchi according to package directions.
Into the roux, add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasoning;, simmer until soup is heated through.
Comments about this recipe: You can add more chicken if you like. While you could use leftover cooked chicken breasts, I really think using the rotisserie chicken that are found in many grocery stores is the best way to get the optimal flavor of this soup. If you want to make the soup lower in calories, you can use milk instead of half and half. Half and Half does taste better though, and it also reheats better than milk does.

Quick Breadsticks--Yummy

By Lisa

1 1/2 c warm water
2 T honey
1 tsp salt
2 T yeast
4 cups flour (with high humidity or rainy days I have to increase this by 1/2 a cup)

Mix the first four ingredients and let sit five minutes until yeast is growing. Then mix in the flour in a mixer with a dough hook for 7-10 minutes. If the dough is too dry and not mixing add water and flour alternately a tsp at a time until the dough is mixing well. Roll out onto a cookie sheet and brush with butter. Sprinkle garlic salt and Parmesan cheese. Use a pizza cutter to slice into sticks. Let raise 15 minutes. Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Quick and Easy Dinner Rolls

By Lisa 

Makes 48
1 cup sugar
1 cup real margarine or butter
3 cups milk
1 cup hot water
4 eggs
11 cups flour
4 Tablespoons Saf Instant Yeast
4 teaspoons salt

Combine milk, sugar, margarine, and water. Heat in microwave until warm, about 3-4 minutes. Using a mixer with bread hooks, start mixing. Add eggs and half of flour. Mix well. Add yeast and salt, continue mixing. Add remaining flour. When mixed in, turn to high speed and let kneed for 11 minutes. When finished mixing, turn out on floured cloth and divide into 4 balls (for recipe for 48) Using rolling pin, roll first ball into a circle the size of a pizza. Using pizza cutter, cut circle into twelve wedges. To form a roll, take wedge of dough, fold in corners so they meet. Then roll up like a croissant. Place in greased pan (2 cookie sheets for 48 recipe. 9x13 size for 12). Let raise about 15 minutes, until puffy. Bake at 375 10-12 minutes or until dark golden brown. Optional: rub tops of rolls with a square of margarine.

This recipe is also great for sweet rolls. After mixing, roll dough into a rectangle. Spread two cubes (for 48 recipe) of softened butter on dough. And sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon or brown sugar and coconut. Roll and cut with string or dental floss about 1” thick. Place on greased pan close to each other so they will raise tall and not spread out too flat. Bake until dark golden brown. Frost when cool with cream cheese frosting—8 oz cream cheese softened,½ cup butter softened, and about 2 lbs powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and enough milk to make a fluffy consistency.

Gingerbread Waffles

By Lisa 
4 eggs—Beat 2 min until light and fluffy.
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk

--Mix until smooth

Sift together the following:

3 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Mix until smooth—stir in:

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Con cover and refrigerate overnight or cook immediately. Cook 2-4 minutes until golden brown. Serve with fruit and whipped cream.

Coconut Rice

By Lisa
from Our Best Bites
2 c. white or Jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk (13.6 oz)
2 c. water
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Splash of white vinegar (optional, but it helps with the texture)
2-3 tsp. white sugar
Handful of chopped green onions, plus chopped green onion tops for garnish (we're using the whole animal here...)
Black pepper to taste
Combine rice, coconut milk, water, salt, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil  Turn heat to low and cover for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Allow to stand 5 minutes.  Add green onions, black pepper (if desired), and additional salt if necessary.  Serve with any Asian or tropical-inspired food.
****My Notes--how to make coconut milk.  You drain the coconut water from the coconut and set aside. Break open the coconut. Score the raw coconut from the shells and scoop it out. You can leave the brown part on or use a peeler to remove it. It doesn't matter. Put 1/2 of the coconut in the blender with 2 cups of coconut water or plain water (if you're turning the entire coconut into milk the coconut water won't be enough). Blend until smooth. Pour into a cheese cloth lined bowl. Ring out the coconut in the cheese cloth to strain out the milk. (You can repeat this process up to two times) When finished you can dry out the remains of coconut in the cheese cloth and add them to recipes in place of flour or as an accent. You can also make smoothies with coconut milk--Enjoy!

Indian Spiced Pork Skewers

By Lisa
by Our Best Bites
1 1/2-2lbs pork tenderloin or sirloin pork roast
2 red bell peppers
1 large onion
1 lbs mushrooms (optional)
1 T pressed garlic (or minced)
1 T curry powder
1 t kosher salt (much less if you’re using table salt, but you shouldn’t be using table salt!)
1/2 T cumin
1/2 T coriander
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T water
Cut your pork into 1 1/2″ chunks and place in a zip-lock bag. Prepare peppers and onions by chopping into squares as well and then store in the fridge.

Mix the garlic and salt in a small bowl with the cumin, curry, and coriander and cayenne.

Add fresh lemon juice and olive oil and stir it all up.

Pour spice mixture in the zip-lock bag with the pork. Seal bag, give it a good smoosh, and then let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours (longer is just fine)
Before skewering make sure to soak bamboo skewers in water for 20-30 minutes. Thread on pork chunks and alternate with red pepper and onion.

Grill on a preheated med heat grill for about 10 minutes total. Rotate them often to avoid burning. If you’ve cut your pork chunks an inch or smaller, they’ll be done pretty fast. Don’t overcook!

I get about 12 skewers each time.

My notes--I cooked these on the good old George Foreman for 8 minutes and they were perfect. We also made fruit kabobs to go with these and I served this with the Coconut Rice and it was very yummy.

French Bread (2 loaves)

by Sue F.

1 TBS Salt
2 TBS Sugar
2 TBS Yeast (2 pkgs)
3 Cups Unbleached Flour
Stir together in a large mixing bowl.

2 1/2 Cups Hot Water
2 TBS Oil
Mix with wooden spoon until well blended.

3 Cups Unbleached Flour
Stir until mixed.
Let rise 10 minutes, covered
Stir down
Repeat process 3 times (total rise time of 30 min)

Turn onto lightly floured board. Knead about 1 min or until manageable.

Divide dough into half. Roll each half into a 9X12 rectangle. Starting with the longer edge, roll
into "French" loaf shape. Place loaves onto oiled baking sheet which has been lightly sprinkled with corn meal.
Let rise till double. With sharp knife cut 3 shallow diagonal slashes in top of each loaf.
Bake 400 oven for 20 minutes (10 min bottom rack-10 min top rack)

Divide dough into half. Make 2 ball and add garlic pieces and rosemary, or dried tomatoes in
olive oil. Allow bread balls to double. Bake 400 oven for 20 min (10 min top rack and
10 min bottom rack)

Divide dough into half. Roll out the size of pizza pan and place on sprinkled corn meal.
Leave dough 1 inch over edge of pan. Place cheese stick on edge and fold dough over
the cheese. Add sauce and topings.
Bake 400 oven for 20 min (10 min on top rack and 10 min on bottom rack)

Favorite Sparkling Punch

By Lisa

In large punch bowl combine:
1 (2 - liter) bottle Shasta Diet Grapefruit soda (Fresca will do, but Shasta is better)
1 (12 oz) can white grape juice, undiluted
1/2 bag of ice

Mix with no water, just lots of ice!

Sushi and Crab Wontons

I should publish these separate, but it was such an effort for a first time birthday dinner for Giegh that who knows when I'll do it again :) I have learned a few tips on the sushi since so I'll post it first

California Rolls

2 Cups White Rice (+ 2 tsp Rice Vinegar)

1/2 Sheet Seaweed Paper (Nori)

1 Cucumber sliced thinly

2 T Cream Cheese, also cut thin

2-4 T Krab (artificial Crab)

I did invest in a "Bamboo" mat from the Asian market where I got the seaweed wrap and the Rice Vinegar, but you could pull this off with Saran wrap if you'd like, its just a little messier. You begin by putting your Seaweed Paper, officially named Nori) on the bamboo mat and literally scooping by hand about 1/2 to 3/4 cup rice into a near baseball size ball. It should be plenty sticky, so wet your hands slightly to help the rice to stick together not to you. Then set the rice on top of the Seaweed paper and spread it out evenly with about 1/2 inch excess on one edge. Now carefully lift the seaweed paper up and flip the whole thing over so the rice is down on the mat and the seaweed paper is up. Here's where you line the center with the cucumber, sliced cream cheese, and Krab. If you get too much you'll know as you won't be able to roll it up. Using the bamboo mat, now roll the entire roll up and pull back tightly to compress the rice together, slice and serve.

Crab Ragu Wontons(these I make regularly)

Square Wonton Wraps (Sold in Produce section.. even Walmart)

1/2 Cube Cream Cheese

1/2 cup imitation Crab

1/4 cup green onions

Mix the cream cheese, crab, and green onions together. Spoon approx 1/2 Tsp to the center of the square won-ton wrap. Fold wrap diagonally to form a triangle, carefully pull the two opposite corners back around to the front and with a wet fingertip touch the wrap and it will stick together. These can be fried in a shallow amount of hot oil, or a fry daddy. Serve with sweet n' sour sauce.

Cranberry Salsa

by Lisa

12 oz bag of raw cranberries
1/2 of 4 oz can of jalapenos
5 green onions
2 Tbsp. cilantro chopped
1/4 tsp. cumin
dash of garlic salt

Put in food processor and blend then add:
3/4 c. sugar

Let sit for several hours. Put an 8 oz block of cream cheese on a plate and pour cranberry mixture over the top. Serve with chips.

Yummy Cheeseball

by Lisa

Mix together:
     8 oz cream cheese
     1/2 cup pineapple, drained
     2 tsp onion soup mix
     1/4 green pepper chopped finely
Make a ball with the above and roll in below:
     1/2-1cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans.

Serve with crackers.

Note: I double this and got 6-7 cheese balls out of this recipe.

Spanish Tortilla Potato Omlet

by Sue F.

1 large potato
1 tbsp. onion
3-4 eggs
salt & pepper
Peet potato and cut into thin slices. Fry in olive oil and add onions. Cook about 8-10 min. Add beaten eggs, salt and pepper to totatoes.
Continue frying over med. heat 2-3 minutes. Turn over and cook 1-2 min more.
Serve hot or cold.
Good for after school snack.

7 Layer Dip

by Sue F.

1 can refried beans
1 pint sour cream
1 pkg. Taco mix
2 avocados
1 tomato, chopped
cheese, shredded

Spread beans on plate, spread 1/2 of the sour cream on beans, Mix remaining sour cream with Taco mix, layer next with mashed avocados. Spread flavored sour cream on avocados, sprinkle with tomatoes, top with shredded cheese. Use tortilla chips to eat spread from plate

Cream Puffs/3 fillings

by Sue F.
1/2 cube water
1 cup water
Bring to a boil: add:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Stir over heat until mixture leaves sides of pan. Remove from stove. Add:
4 eggs individually, beating with electric beater after each egg.
Drop by teaspoon full on greased cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 for 1/2 hour. Makes 80 small puffs.

Shrimp filling Beef & Olive filling or spread
1 can broken shrimp 2 Tbsp. minced onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 can chicken broth
2 tsp. lemon juice 5 oz chipped beef, cut up
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese 5 8 0z. pkg cream cheese
1 tsp. onion juice 1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup green olives, chopped

Cherry Cream Filling or spread
6 8 0z pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sugar
Chopped maraschino cherries
Cherry juice...adjust thickness of spread
Whip well. Add chopped nuts if desired

Ham & Cheese Roll-ups

by Sue F.

1 8 0z cream cheese
1 Tbsp. horseradish
Cream together and add a little milk.

Spread cream cheese on sliced packaged ham; cover with plastic wrapped cheese slice. Spread more cream cheese(can also then put in a sliver of dill pickle and roll very tightly, ). Wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate and slice in small rounds for a cracker or toothpick.

Fruit Dip

by Sue F.

1/8 tsp. ginger
7 oz marshmallow creme
8 oz cream cheese...room temperature
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest

Mix together and serve with fresh fruit