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Cuppylicious!, Sauces and Dips

Not Your Alfredo Sauce

Chicken alfredo with penne pasta, topped with asiago cheese.

Chicken alfredo with penne pasta, topped with asiago cheese.

Total time:  15 minutes, plus pasta cook time.

This is one of those that I normally guess and approximate, depending on my mood. These measurements are purely guesses, as I never measure, just dump. We only eat sharp cheddar in our house, too. You can substitute it for whatever cheese you want.

1 tablespoon of minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese
4 ounces of cream cheese (about half the box)
black pepper to taste

Serves two.

In a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, melt butter completely.  Add garlic, milk, and cream, stirring constantly until incorporated.  Add cheeses and stir constantly until melted completely.

Above with penne pasta, chicken, and asiago cheese.
Below with gnocchi and no sharp cheddar.

Gnocchi with alfredo sauce.

Gnocchi with alfredo sauce.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Sauces and Dips

Taste of India Rub or Marinade

Chicken with asparagus, couscous and homemade raita.

Chicken with asparagus, couscous and homemade raita.

Total time:  2 minutes for the rub, plus cooking time.

I like to use this one on chicken, but it can be used on tofu or pork, as well.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Chicken with saffron rice, spicy peas, and naan.

Chicken with saffron rice, spicy peas, and naan.

Use the top five ingredients to make a rub, pan fry in oil of your choice.
Or add the remaining ingredients for a marinade, and let set in the refrigerator 20 minutes to 24 hours.

Above served with asparagus, couscous, and homemade raita.
Below served with homemade saffron rice, spicy peas, and naan.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Sauces and Dips, Thai

Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

Total time:  15 minutes.

Thicker than sauce, thinner than salsa, sambal oelek is a fresh-ground paste made of chili peppers, salt, and sometimes vinegar, lime juice, lemongrass, or brown sugar. The heat of the sambal depends entirely on the variety of peppers.

Most of the time, you just buy it in the grocery store (it’s that easy), and it lasts for up to 6 months in the refrigerator. You could probably keep it longer, but mine’s normally gone by the 3rd month.

4 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup of Thai chili peppers, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic (optional)


Store securely for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Or buy it at the store for $1.19 a cup.

Beef, Crock-pot Cookin', Cuppylicious!, Meat, Soup and Salad

Corned Beef Cabbage



Total time:  7.5 to 9.5 hours.

It’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day! Cabbage is really good for you!

1-2 pounds of corned beef
1/2 head of cabbage
3 large potatoes
1-2 carrots
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
black pepper
2 cups of water

The corned beef seasons everything on its own, really. DO NOT ADD SALT.

Cut the corned beef into halves. Chop all vegetables down to size (somewhere between a large gumball and your fist, it’s your preference, really).

Place into crock-pot in this order:

Corned Beef and Cabbage (Cooked)

Finished product. Cabbage color shows it's done, and you can see where the water/juice level has risen.

Cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low for 6-8 hours more. I normally start my crock-pot at 10am, and then turn it down at noon for dinner by 5pm. If I want to eat at 6pm, I turn it down at 11am. Check on it around 2pm and make sure the water level is almost the same height or the exact same height as your vegetables; add more water if necessary.

After! (Although we'd already eaten some.. *cough*.. just couldn't wait..)

After! (Although we'd already eaten some.. *cough*.. just couldn't wait..)

Breads and Desserts, Cookies, Cuppylicious!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and both types of sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and egg, mix until smooth. Add peanut butter, mix until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine salt, baking soda and one cup of flour. Gradually mix into peanut butter mixture.

Continue to add remaining flour until the cookie dough is no longer sticky. If your dough starts to become “dry” before that, stop with the flour and move on. If your dough still feels sticky, you may need to refrigerate the dough before trying to shape into balls. Do not add extra flour until after you’ve baked one round and only then if your cookies come out super flat. Whenever I add too much, I get crumbly cookies!!

Roll the dough into small balls and dip them in sugar. With sugar side up, place on cookie sheet and gently create a criss-cross pattern with a fork or prongs on top.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Since my step-dad has missed the visits this year, I went ahead and made these without him. I messed up on something, I really don’t know what. I think it’s time for a new peanut butter cookie recipe. They had a great flavor, the perfect height, softness, chewiness and feel I wanted, but they fell apart!! I think my butter was too warm (melty), but I’m not sure.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pork

Apple Porkchops I

Apple pork chops with caramelized onions and wild rice.

Apple pork chops with caramelized onions and wild rice.

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.

Also known as “Braised Pork Chops With Fruit” from the Joy of Cooking. I use apples instead of pineapple, apricots or prunes. You can really substitute your fruit of choice, easy. I also tend to use onions, more curry powder and more brown sugar. I never add cream.

Trimmed pork chops, 3/4 inch thick or more
1 apple per pork chop
1/8 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
approximately 3/4 c brown sugar
1 can of chicken broth

optional: 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
optional: 3/4 to 1 cup sweet cream or cultured sour cream

Preheat oven to 325.
Season your pork chops with salt, pepper, and curry powder. Sear lightly in a greased hot skillet. Saute the onions at the same time or after you’ve seared all your chops.

Pour chicken broth into a 9×13 pan. Place seared pork chops and onions into chicken broth.

Core and slice your apples. Place slices across pork chops in pan. Fill the center of each apple slice with brown sugar.

Cover the pan closely. Bake about 1 hour. Remove the chops from the pan carefully, so as not to disturb the fruit. Keep warm. Partially degrease the pan and add cream to the pan juices. Serve this sauce with the chops and fruit.

Seen here without creamy sauce, just yummy pan juices. I used some remaining juice to liven up my wild rice.

Breads and Desserts, Cookies, Cuppylicious!

Gingerbread Cookies II

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Total time:  2-3 hours.

Molasses cookies! Crazy, I know! But they make the best ginger cookies.

Straight from the back of the jar.


* 8 tbls. (1 stick) butter, or shortening
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup Grandmas Original or Robust Molasses
* 1 egg
* 2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ginger
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


Beat butter with sugar and molasses. Mix in egg. Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Mix well. Chill in freezer 1 hour or in refrigerator 2 hours. Heat oven to 350ºF. Roll out a portion of the dough 1/4-in. thick on lightly floured board. Chill remaining dough. Cut with cookie cutter, place on greased baking sheets. If decorating with raisins, add them at this time. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool. Pipe on royal icing and add candy pieces, if desired.

Breads and Desserts, Cookies, Cuppylicious!

Gingerbread Cookies I

Gingerbread cookies from

Gingerbread cookies from

Total time:  Approximately 2 hours.

* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup margarine, softened
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
3. Refrigerate dough for at least 40 minutes.
4. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten generously.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Cuppylicious!, Pasta & Rice


Army of Gnocchi

Army of Gnocchi

Total time:  Plan for 4 hours your first time.   Once you’ve figured it out, it should only take you an hour next time.

Perhaps one of the most complex and frustrating things I’ve ever made. It doesn’t look that way, but it felt that way, for the three hours I stood there slicing gnocchi. We ate it in 10 minutes.

* 2 large potatoes or 3 medium potatoes
* approximately 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon of garlic or other seasonings (optional)

Boil the potatoes WHOLE until you can slide a fork into the middle of one without too much force (takes me about 30 minutes for 3 medium potatoes). Drain and cool (about an hour).

Peel off potato skins, discard. Mash and mash and mash the potatoes in a large bowl. If potatoes seem wet, try microwaving them for 3-5 minutes and let them cool for the same amount of time.

In a medium bowl, mix ONE CUP of mashed potatoes with an egg and 1 cup of flour. Knead dough and continue to add up to one more cup of flour until dough feels dry to the touch (but not so dry it crumbles). Do not add more than 2 cups of flour per 1 cup of potato!

Shape small portions of the dough into long “snakes”. On a floured surface, cut snakes into half-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve.

Some people like to roll the gnocchi pieces down their fork to create cute little ridges. Others just slice them right into the pot. I like to do the ridge test to see if I have enough flour (if the ridges stay up, perfect, if they flatten out, not so perfect). Honestly, at that point, it really depends on how tired or frustrated you are. 😉

I made half the first night with marinara sauce. I placed the remaining gnocchi on a waxed paper cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, I slid them into a ziplock baggy and saved them for another night. The frozen ones took 5-7 minutes to cook and rise to the top.

Gnocchi with spaghetti sauce.

Gnocchi with spaghetti sauce.

Gnocchi with alfredo sauce.

Gnocchi with alfredo sauce.

Crock-pot Cookin', Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Mexican, Soup and Salad

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Garnishes add a unique flavor to every bowl.

Garnishes add a unique flavor to every bowl.

Total time:  1.5 hours on the stove or 4-8 hours in the crockpot.

2-3 chicken breasts
2 cans of chicken broth
2-3 tomatoes
2 poblanos
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 shallot
juice from one lime or half a lemon
handful of chopped cilantro
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp oregano
2 or more tsp NM or CA red chili
1 or more tsp chipotle (for smoky flavor)

garnish with
lime wedges
sliced avocado
green onions
sour cream

8 or more small corn tortillas
1/2 c vegetable oil
alternatively, you can use corn tortilla chips out of the bag

Boil chicken breasts in just enough water to cover them until just cooked. Let cool, but do not drain.

Puree tomato, poblanos, garlic, onion, shallot and juice.

Chop or shred chicken breasts. Combine chicken, leftover water, tomato mix, chicken broth and seasonings in a pot or crock-pot. Bring just to a boil and simmer for one hour.

To prepare your own tortilla strips, slice tortillas in vertical strips 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide. Brown lightly in hot oil, drain on paper towels or in a metal colander.

I used my crock-pot, and I cooked it on high from 2pm to 6pm… but I think I could have had the same results in a pot on the stove for an hour. I didn’t puree my vegetables, either. It was more like stew, so next time, I’m definitely pureeing. New Mexico or California chili powder doesn’t add a lot of heat, but it does add a lot of flavor. You can leave them out or substitute cayenne to make it hotter or normal chili powder to change the flavor. Or leave them all out… I’m sure it’ll still taste good. I squeezed in a lime wedge into my own bowl to get the exact taste I was looking for.

Some people add corn or black beans. I’m not a fan, as I like my soup to be just chicken and tortillas.