Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Second Cooking Club Meeting

Thank you so very much to everyone who came yesterday to our second cooking club meeting! It was a wonderful success. Thanks to those who brought food for us to eat and a special thanks to Grant Call for his delicious soups and hot fudge sauce and Katie Brazelton for her fruit tart that was not only scrumptious, but also a work of art.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 10, at 10:30 at Lisa Nelson's house. You will once again need your passports for this one!! We are going on a Mediterranean Cruise! We will have food from Greece, Italy, Israel, and Turkey--such a homemade pizza, fresh Greek salad, warm pita bread with tzatziki sauce, Israeli salad, Turkey bean salad, a decadent Italian dessert and Viki's famous Baklava!

Also Denise Bosworth is going to teach us how she makes her very yummy lasagna.

If anyone else has a recipe they would like to share, let me know.

Now--scroll down for all of our wonderful recipes from yesterday. Be sure to click on "older posts" at the bottom of the page so you can get all of them. I have also included several other recipes from club members that were not cooked yesterday but are ones you will definitely want to try!

Delicious Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce
by Grant Call

1 stick butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup cornstarch (depending on desired thickness)
2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt

Boil the above until smooth and bubbly
Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of sugar

Add back to heat and then add 2 cups half and half

Stir until it boils well to thicken, but be careful as it will foam and boil over.

Remove from heat and add 1-2 tsp vanilla.
Let cool a little before serving over ice cream, or use as a dip for bananas.
Stores well in fridge for one month.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup
By Grant Call

1 quart stewed tomatoes. (Home canned is best, or fresh from the garden, but store bought is okay.

1-2 tsp chicken bouillon
Worcester Sauce--few dashes
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh dill (may also use basil if preferred)
crushed red peppers to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil. Add water--about half the volume of the tomatoes.
Use cornstarch to thicken to desired consistency. Bring to boil again and stir until thickened.

Add 1/8 cup sugar if you used fresh tomatoes.
Blend everything together with a submersible blender.
Serve hot, topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Grant's Italian Butternut Squash Soup

Italian Butternut Squash Soup
By Grant Call

1 large butternut squash--cut into pieces, place on microwave safe dish, cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave on high for ten minutes. Set aside

Boil the following together in enough water to cover the vegetables
1/2 onion, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (around 20 leaves) May substitute dry basil if needed
1-2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bell pepper, any color is fine
2 stalks celery (diced)
3 carrots (diced)
4 tomatoes (diced

Meat variations: You may use all or any of the below
Chicken breast (two breasts seared first and set aside)
Chopped pre-cooked sausage (turkey kielbasa is good)
Pepperoni (10-20 slices, chopped into quarters)

Cook the vegetables until al dente
Mash the squash and stir into the soup mixture until blended
Add 1 cup chopped broccoli and the meat.
Cook until broccoli is soft.

Serve with warm bread.
May also add some half and half or Alfredo sauce to make heavier, but of course this isn't as healthy.
Can be made in the crock pot too. Just don't add the broccoli until about 30 minutes before serving.

Luscious Layers Pudding Dessert

Luscious Layers

By Alicia Peterson

1/2 c. margarine or butter

1 c. flour

1 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Mix together until it is like small balls. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and bake at 325 for 25 mins. or until golden brown.

1 c. powdered sugar

1 8oz pkg cream cheese

1 c. cool whip (I use off brand)

Mix together the cream cheese and pwd. sugar. Then fold in cool whip. After "crust" is cool put this layer ontop carefully. If you're not careful the crust will come up as you try to spread this layer on. I usually drop small portions all over the crust and then layer out carefully.

1 8 oz. pkg (or similar size) chocolate pudding

Put this layer ontop of cream cheese layer. (Some recipes call for a small layer of vanilla pudding and a small layer of chocolate pudding, but I just put one bigger layer of chocolate)

Top it off with Cool Whip (or off brand).

Katie's Short Bread Fruit Tart

Mix together:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened and sliced
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Soften butter first and then add the flour and sugar. Mix until it forms a ball. Press into tart pan or two pie tins. (May also be used for cookies.)

Bake for ten minutes at 350 degrees. Do not over bake. It will continue cooking after it is removed from the oven.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Spread filling onto cooked crust.
Add fresh fruit to decorate. Be sure to cover the entire top. Do not leave any filling visible.

This glaze will give your fruit tart/pizza a professional look.

Put one jar apricot preserves in a small sauce pan. Bring to boil. Strain to remove fruit lumps. While still hot, apply the glaze over the fruit with a pastry brush.

Keep tart refrigerated until ready to serve.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quinoa Mango and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa Mango and Black Bean Salad
Contributed by Lori Wagner

Our Best Bites Mango Quinoa Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa at room temperature*
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium to large ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
½ c chopped fresh cilantro
Mix together and then add the dressing below.
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
*Quinoa is cooked the same as rice. Add one cup quinoa to two cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. For better taste, use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. Yield, two cups cooked quinoa.

Chocolate Lover's Bundt Cake

Chocolate Lover's Bundt Cake
Contributed by Jenny Farley

1 pkg chocolate cake mix
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 c. sour cream
4 eggs
½ c. water
½ c. oil
1 12 oz pkg chocolate chips
Beat together cake mix, pudding, sour cream, eggs, water and oil for 10 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Place in greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with raspberries.

Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate Fondue
Contributed by Allyson Andersen

Melt in double boiler over low heat:
2 Toblerone bars (3 oz. each) Trader Joe's has these for the cheapest everyday price
1/2 cup chocolate chips (dark or milk -- your choice)
5 large marshmallows (cut into smaller pieces) (I often use 1/4 cup small marshmallows or a large spoonful of marshmallow creme)

Once above ingredients are melted add 1/2 cup whipping cream (liquid) and stir until smooth.

Pour into a warmed bowl and serve with 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1/2 package chopped graham crackers, banana slices, apple slices, strawberries, cubed pound cake or angel food cake, pretzels, and anything else that you would love dipped in chocolate!

A lot of fun -- enjoy!

Dip the marshmallows in the sauce and then roll in the chopped graham crackers to make "mini smores" -- yummy!

Tortilla Soup

Southwest Chicken Soup

(This is my favorite Tortilla Soup)

by Connie Brown

2 T Olive Oil

8 oz Skinned, boneless Chicken

16 oz Chicken Broth

1 can (15 oz) Black Beans

1 can (14 oz) Diced Tomatoes

3-6 inch corn tortillas, halved, stacked & cut into 1/2 inch strips

2 T chopped Cilantro

Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

1/4 C finely diced Onion

1 t Ground Cumin

1/2 t Salt

1/2 T Jalapenos, diced, canned

2 Garlic cloves, minced, or 2 t bottled Minced Garlic

1/2 t Chili Powder

1/8 t Ground Red Pepper

8 oz Frozen Corn

In large soup pan, add olive oil and chicken, stirring frequently for about 4 min until no longer opaque. Stir in onion, garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder, and red pepper and jalapenos.

Cook 1 to 2 minutes until spices are fragrant. Stir in broth, drained and rinsed beans, and diced tomatoes and corn. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 min.

Meanwhile, spread tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 5 min., stirring once, until crisp and lightly browned. Or use corn chips from the store.

Stir cilantro into soup and ladle soup into bowls.

Top with tortilla strips, avocado and cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Corn Bread

Golden Sweet Cornbread

by Connie Brown

1 C Whole Wheat Flour

1 C Yellow Cornmeal

2/3 C Evaporated Cane Sugar

1 t Sea Salt

3 1⁄2 t Baking Powder

1 Egg, beaten

1 C Soy Milk

1/3 C Safflower Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare or grease a 9 inch round or square pan. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and oil until well combined . Pour into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 min. or until tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean... Serves 8-9.

Note: The original recipe came from All Recipes. This is so good, but I made some changes to make it even better by adding in whole wheat flour and cane sugar and soy milk.

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf

Spicy Good Turkey Meatloaf

by Connie Brown

1 Lb Lean Ground Turkey

1 small Onion, chopped

1⁄2 C uncooked Oats

1⁄2 C low-carb BBQ Sauce ( I like the Trader Joe’s Brand)

1 medium Tomato, pureed

1⁄2 tsp Cumin

1 tsp fresh Garlic, minced

1 tsp Black Pepper

2 Egg Whites

1 small can Green Chilies

1 tsp Mexican Seasoning

Non stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into a loaf and place in loaf pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Spread top with BBQ Sauce. Bake for 1 hour. Great for meatballs and turkey burgers too!

Serves 6

1 Serving = 276 Calories , 40 gr Protein, 20 gr carbs, 3.9 grams of fat.

I like to serve this with Mashed Potatoes:

2 C Potatoes, cubed 1⁄4 C plain non-fat Yogurt Pinch of Salt Serves 3-4, 164 Calories per serving.

3 T Smart Balance Buttery Spread 1⁄4 C Skim Milk Pinch of Black Pepper

This makes great leftovers the next day or so.

Chicken Tacos

Spicy Soft Tacos

(This is quick and easy dinner or lunch)

by Connie Brown

2 pre-cooked Chicken Breasts, Cut into 1” cubes Or use 1 pint of home bottled chicken

3/4 C No Sodium added Chicken Broth

2 t Grape Seed Oil, or Olive Oil

1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced into strips

1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced into strips

1/2 Large Onion, thinly sliced

1 Clove Garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground Cumin

1/4 tsp Chili Powder

8 (6”) Low Carb Tortillas Salsa

Place chicken chunks in a small bowl, cover with chicken broth and then set aside in the fridge. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute bell peppers and onions until the onions are clear. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, the chicken, stir for 3-4 minutes until the broth evaporates. Add the cumin and chili powder and stir well. Cover and simmer while you warm the tortillas. You can heat them in the oven or the microwave. Fill each taco with the chicken mixture, top with salsa, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes and serve.

Makes 8 tacos. 270 Calories (30 gr of protein, 30 gr Carbs, 4 gr fat)

Spicy Black Beans

My Favorite Spicy Black Beans

by Connie Brown

1-16 oz Can Black Beans, rinsed, drained or 2 C Dry Black Beans, soaked overnight 1 1/3 C V-8 Juice 3-5 C Water

2 t Garlic, minced

1 t Cumin

2T Olive Oil

1 t Salt

2 T Chopped Cilantro

Cook garlic in oil, add cumin, saute 1-2 min. Add beans, juice and salt . Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. If using dry beans that have been soaked overnight, rinse well, add the 3-5 c water, juice, salt and cook in pressure cooker 12 min at the 2nd red ring. These beans can be added to soups, salads, burros or just eaten plain as a side with a meal.

Eclair Cake

Éclair Cake

Contributed by Pawranee Shipley


1 c. water

¼ tsp salt

1 stick butter

4 eggs

1 c. flour

Cream Filling:

2 pkgs. Pudding, any flavor

2 c. cold milk

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese

12 oz Cool Whip

Bring water to a boil. Add butter. When melted, add salt and flour. Stir until dough leaves sides of pan. Cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir. Spread in jellyroll pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Cool and break bubbles with fork. Combine pudding and milk, slowly add cream cheese. Beat till smooth. Spread on dough and cover with Cool Whip. Drizzle with icing.


3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1 c powdered sugar

1 T. butter

milk to consistency

Amaranth Chocolate Chip Cookies

Amaranth Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe from Chef

contributed by Connie Brown

1 C Butter, softened or use 1/2 C Butter and 1/2 C Coconut Oil 1 C Brown Sugar 1 C Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar 1 t Salt 2 1/2 C Flour 2CChocolateChips

2 eggs 1 T Vanilla

1 t Baking Soda 1 C Popped Amaranth 1C Toffeepieces(opt)

Cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and mix until smooth . Then add the dry ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips last and fold into batter. Drop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten out each cookie with the bottom of a glass.. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 11 min.

Do not over bake! They should be just barely golden brown on the bottom.

Popped Amaranth: Amaranth is a super grain or complete protein. Using a deep pot, heat to medium hot with no oil. Using 1 –2 T of Amaranth at a time, drop onto hot pan and it will “pop” like popcorn. Pour into big bowl and continue until you have about 1 C..

You can do this ahead of time and store in an airtight container. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor to your recipes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thank You Everyone!!

We had our first cooking club meeting today and it was so much fun!! We had such wonderfully delicious food! Thanks to everyone who came and everyone who brought dishes to share!!

Connie demonstrated how to make sticky rice in a steamer. Who would have thought you could cook rice in a "hat"!! She also had mango, coconut sauce and sweet chili sauce for dipping. Yum!!

Allyson shared her gyosas (pot stickers) and sweet sticky rice with mango that made a delicious dessert.

Lisa's lettuce wraps were so yummy, and looked so beautiful on the plate.

Karen's Indian dish was an adventure in both flavor and fire. (It really wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be but Allyson --who made a dash for water--might not agree).

Jen Carlini's fried rice was wonderful and a perfect accompaniment.

And then of course we all enjoyed the several dishes made by Pawranee. Pawranee is half Thai and lived there for several of her teenaged years. We appreciate her taking time today to share her talents with us.

Hopefully we will have all of her recipes soon. Here are pictures of the two main dishes.

This is ginger chicken. I loved it! (recipes are below)

And this dish is Chicken with Red Curry. This was also delicious.
In addition, Pawranee made a cabbage dish and a green papaya salad that I will be craving for a long time.

Pictured below is the curry paste she recommends. The yellow one is the most mild. The red curry in the green can on the bottom is the one used today.

And here is the recommended fish sauce
Along with the best oyster sauce. All of these can be purchased at Lee Lee's market on 75th Avenue and Cactus.
And . . . below are some of the recipes. More to come soon!!

Hopefully everyone learned something new and overcame some fear of Asian cooking. Personally, I never thought I would crave something with fish sauce in it. (Papaya salad). And I am glad to finally know how to cook with and use curry since I always enjoy eating it.

And here are the recipes:

Ginger Chicken

Gai Pad Keing

4 Servings

This is one of the most popular dishes in Thai restaurants.

2 T oil 1/8 c. slivered ginger root

½ lb (225g) broken chicken 1/8 c. sliced green pepper

breast, sliced 1/8 c. sliced red pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced 1/8 c. sliced mushrooms

Cilantro for garnish 1/8 c. sliced onions


2 T fish sauce

1 T oyster sauce

1 T white sugar

pinch white pepper

1. Heat pan, add oil, chicken and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir-fry for 3 minutes.

3. Enjoy!

* For the amount we made the other day, I used an entire bag of chicken tenderloins.

Thai Papaya Salad

Som Tum (4 servings)

1 medium Thai green papaya ½ c. lime juice

1 carrot, shredded 1/3 c. fish sauce

1 tomato, cut into wedges 3T sugar

¼ c ground roasted peanuts 1 large clove garlic, minced

¼ c dried shrimp, soaked for 5 min in warm water

Garnishes: lime slices, chili pepper

1. Peel and seed papaya (Lee Lee’s Market has bags of already shredded papaya!)

2. Add all remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix before serving.

3. Yummy!

* When papaya is not available, ¼ head cabbage shredded thinly can be used as a substitute, but hardly compares in flavor.

* I didn’t use the shrimp for our class the other day

Lime-Fish Sauce Dressing

3 T fish sauce

3 T lime juice

1 T sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Thai chili peppers (any other peppers like jalapeños can be substituted. Chunky ground Thai chilies are also an option. Not fine like cayenne, but chunky clusters. This can also be found at Lee Lee’s).

Prik Khing Chicken Curry

Serves 5-6

1. Stir-fry one can (4oz) of Prik Khing curry paste with ½ cup of oil with low heat for about 4 minutes.

2. Add 300 grams of chicken or other meat (I used an entire bag of chicken tenderloins). Slowly add 1 cup of water and stir fry until cooked.

3. Add 300 grams of long green beans (I used 2 cans of cut green beans). Stir until cooked. Sprinkle with minced kaffir lime leaves, fresh chilies, and roasted peanuts. (I didn’t use any of the garnishments).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stir Fry Tips

1. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need ahead of time.

2. Make sure all the food is cut according to directions before you start. Never try to prepare food while stir-frying.

3. For even cooking, cut all the ingredients the same size.

4. If not following a recipe, cut all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces.

5. Pre-heat the wok on medium-high to high heat for at least a minute before adding oil. (You may want to skip this step if you have a nonstick pan - it can damage the coating.)

6. Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish; peanut, canola or other vegetable oils are good) drizzling it so that it coats both the sides and the bottom of the wok. The oil heats faster this way.

7. Before adding other ingredients, season the oil by cooking a few pieces of garlic and ginger. (Note: you may want to reduce the heat at this point to keep them from burning).

8. If the recipe calls for meat and vegetables, cook the meat first and then set it aside. Add the meat back when the vegetables are almost cooked. This ensures that the meat is not overcooked, and that the meat and vegetables retain their individual flavors.

9. Meat is normally stir-fried on high heat to seal in the juices (individual recipes can differ).

10. Never add more than a cup of meat at a time to the wok. Lay the meat out flat to cook.

11. Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color - for example the redness in the beef is gone. At this point the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.

12. Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest vegetables being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and eggplant require more cooking time than green leafy vegetables such as bok choy.

13. If you're uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them separately, one at a time.

14. If possible, wash the vegetables ahead of time to ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.

15. Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.

16. When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before tossing so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables, begin moving them immediately.

17. When adding sauce to vegetables and/or meat, form a "well" in the middle by pushing the ingredients up the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle and stir to thicken before combining with the other ingredients.

18. Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

19. Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.

20. Finally, a few words about cooking temperatures. Some recipes give instructions on whether to cook a dish at high, medium-high, or medium heat, but others don't. In Chinese Home Cooking, Helen Chen suggests starting to cook at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down as needed on your model of stove. Another option is to have a second burner set on medium heat that you can quickly move the wok to if you feel the food is cooking too fast.

Written by Rhonda Parkinson, copyright 2001, All Rights Reserved

Shrimp Tikka Masala

Contributed by Karen Brimley


Part A:
2 lbs. shrimp
1/4 cup yogurt
3 tsp minced ginger
3 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp mace
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Melted margarine (for basting)

Part B:
5 oz. tomato paste
10 oz. tomato puree
2 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp green chilies
1 tbsp red chili powder
2 tsp cloves
8 green cardamoms
Salt To Taste
3 tbsp butter
2/3 cup cream
1 tsp fenugreek
2 tsp ginger, julienned
honey to taste


  • Whisk all of the ingredients in Part A together in a large bowl. Add the shrimp.
  • Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350º F. Bake the shrimp for 8 minutes, basting with margarine twice. Drain excess marinade and bake for another 2 minutes.
  • While doing this, make the sauce in Part B. Deseed and chop green chilies. Put tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato puree in a pot and add approximately 4-1/4 cups of water.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste, green chilies, red chili powder, cloves, cardamoms, and salt. Cook over low heat until reduced to a thick sauce. Strain through a strainer and bring to a boil. Add butter and cream. Stir.
  • If the sauce tastes sour, add honey to taste. Add fenugreek and ginger juliennes, stir, and serve with the shrimp tikka masala

Links to Asian Recipes

All of these are links to Asian recipes from the ladies at Our Best Bites. If you click on the name, it will take you to their website where they have the recipes with pictures.