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Breads and Desserts, Breakfast

Stuffed French Toast

Total time:  20 minutes.

This recipe works best if you have a sandwich maker.

~ 4 bread slices
~ 2 eggs
~ 1 tsp vanilla extract
~ 1/4 c milk
diced ham (I like to cook ham slices first, and then dice it)
cheddar or a mix cheese (shredded is my preference, but sliced works as well)
powdered sugar

Fix your mixture of eggs, vanilla and milk to your preference for French Toast. Coat one side of the bread and place wet side down on the sandwich maker. Pile on the cheese and the ham. Dip another slice of bread on one side only. Place the undipped side on top of the meat and cheese, and close your sandwich maker. Let it ‘cook’ to your desired doneness.

Repeat with remaining bread slices.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve with scrambled eggs.

This recipe is completely off the top of my head. I had it once at a nice diner that no longer exists, and while craving it like a pregnant woman, I just created the recipe.

Crock-pot Cookin', Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pork

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slow cooked pulled pork sandwich

Slow cooked pulled pork sandwich

Total time:  6.5-8 hours.

1 lb pork
1-2 cups water (may or may not be necessary)*
3 cups barbecue sauce

Makes 4 really big sandwiches (assuming the sandwiches are on hamburger buns).

I didn’t actually measure any of this. I made the barbecue sauce while boiling some pork on the stove in 1 quart of water. I poured out about half the remaining water and put the rest in the crockpot with my barbecue sauce and the pork.

Cook on high for 6-8 hours, periodically “mashing” the pork pieces with a potato masher.

Shown here on an onion topped potato bread roll.

I had this on high for 5 hours before I realized I had just way too much liquid. Ended up boiling it in a frying pan for 10 minutes to burn off some excess water.

* Whatever the case, you want just enough total liquid to cover your pork while it’s cooking in the crockpot.

Cuppylicious!, Sauces and Dips

Barbecue Sauce I

Total time:  15 minutes.

1 onion
1 tomato
4 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c mustard
1/4 c dark molasses
1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
2 T lime juice
2 T brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract
2 tsp ground chipotle
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 T vegetable oil

On medium-high heat, cook onions and garlic until golden brown (about 8 minutes).  Add tomato and jalapeno and cook for 2 more minutes.  Puree vegetables and remaining ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth.

Breads and Desserts, Cakes & Pies, Cuppylicious!

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

Total time:  1 hour.

Adapted from the Devil’s Food Cake Cockaigne recipe found in the Joy of Cooking. Makes two 9-inch round pans.

5 ounces semisweet chocolate (about a cup!)
2 cups cake flour
1 cup milk, divided in half, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs, separated (means separate the yolks and the egg whites), room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup water, room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla, room temperature
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a double boiler, cook and stir chocolate, 1/2 cup milk, brown sugar and 1 egg yolk until smooth and thick. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift or mix together baking soda, salt, and flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter until soft. Add sugar and mix until smooth. Beat in the other two egg yolks one at a time until smooth.

Add about 1/3 of the flour mix to the butter mixture. Mix until smooth. Add the vanilla and water, mix until smooth. Add another 1/3 of the flour mix, mix until smooth (see a pattern here?). Add 1/4 c of milk, mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour mix, mix until smooth. Add the remaining milk, mix until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate mix (until smooth!!).

In a separate bowl, whip two egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold them lightly into the cake batter.

Bake in greased pans about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Shown here with cream cheese frosting (3/4 c powdered sugar, 4 T cream cheese, 1 T heavy cream).

I always use semisweet chocolate morsels when I bake cookies, so that’s what I had on hand. The original recipe calls for 2-4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and an additional 1/4 cup white sugar.

I realized *after* I mixed everything together that I don’t own 9 inch round cake pans… so I used my brownie pans instead.

Beef, Crock-pot Cookin', Meat, Pork

Beef Rouladen, Modern Crock Pot Style

Total time:  7-12 hours.

4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 lbs Round Steak, Chopped/Cubed
8 Slices of Bacon (Thick cut)
1 Large Onion, Chopped Finely
Mushrooms (as much as you want!)
Peas & Carrots (optional)
1 Dill Pickle, sliced & diced
3 Tablespoons Cooking Oil (We like EVOO)
3 Cups Beef Broth
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup water

Cook steak, mushrooms, onions, peas & carrots in oil till cooked and sauteed.  Cook bacon in separate pan till crispy; crumble the bacon and add to meat mixture.  Simmer for about 5 minutes; drain if applicable.  Add mustard till dissolved.  Place mixture in crock pot, add broth and cook on high for 6 hours (or 10-12 on low).  Once done, mix flour and water until smooth, then slowly add to thicken mixture.

Best served over Egg noodles… mmmmm

Ethnic Foods, Formal Occasions, Meat, Pasta & Rice, Seafood, Side Dishes, Spanish, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Spanish Rice with Mushrooms & Artichokes

Creamy Rice with Artichokes, Mushrooms & Pasta Spools

Creamy Rice with Artichokes, Mushrooms & Pasta Spools

Total time:  1 hour, plus sofrito and aioli time.

Adapted from Creamy rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, this recipe contains no fish or meat. Daring Cooks’ August challenge.

* 1 cuttlefish or substitute
* 2 Artichokes
* 6 Mushrooms
* 1 Bay leaf
* 1/4 c of white wine
* “Sofregit
* 1 cup short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain)
* Water or Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
* 3-4 saffron threads (or ground turmeric)
* Allioli (optional)

If using vegan pasta, skip steps 1 & 2. Prepare your pasta according to directions, and add to the dish near the end.

1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean and cut into eighths.
4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into fourths.
5. Add a bay leaf, the artichokes and the mushrooms to the cuttlefish.
6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the pan get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8. Add a couple spoonfuls/scoops of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit (I’ve used anywhere from 1/4 c to 2 c).
9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Creamy rice with mushrooms, artichokes & pasta spools; this time, with more sofregit!

Creamy rice with mushrooms, artichokes & pasta spools; this time, with more sofregit!

The first picture:
1. Vegan pasta loops shaped to look just like cuttlefish.
2. I cooked and ate my artichoke leaves and used the stock in place of fish stock.
3. I blended up my mushrooms in my food processor before adding them to the skillet (hence the excessive brown hue).
4. I’ve never owned white wine, and I found a “substitute” recipe that included lemon, vinegar and water.
5. I followed the instructions as best I could, and I used 1/3 cup of my sofrito because it tasted so awesome.

The second picture:
Steps 1-4 same.
5. I used 2 cups sofrito, and then I stirred in 1/4 cup of aioli.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Sauces and Dips, Spanish, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Sofregit (Sofrito)



Total time:  1 hour.

* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
* 2 small onions, chopped
* 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
* 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
* 1 Bay leaf
* Salt
* Touch of ground cumin
* Touch of dried oregano


1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

I used 1/2 cup mushrooms, no green peppers, and added 2 habaneros. This took about 30 minutes to prepare and another 30 to cook.

Ethnic Foods, Sauces and Dips, Spanish, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Allioli (Aioli)

Epic Aioli Fail

Epic Aioli Fail

Total time:  Approximately 20 minutes.


* 4 garlic cloves, peeled
* Pinch of salt
* Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
* ~1 cup Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)


1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

Tried this a couple of times the traditional way, and I’m still unable to get it to come out looking like mayonnaise. The flavor’s still great, but the consistency never comes out. There’s a “modern” version with eggs I might try later.

Breads and Desserts, Candy, Cuppylicious!

Haystacks (and Canadian Beaver Dams, eh)

Crunchy and chewy goodness

Crunchy and chewy goodness

Total time:  20 minutes or 30 minutes.

Traditional Haystacks

1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup salted peanuts
2 cups dry chow mein noodles

1. Melt butterscotch chips and peanut butter on low on top of a double boiler (takes longer), or in a microwave. Blend together.
2. Stir peanuts and noodles gently into the melted peanut butter mixture.
3. Drop dough by forkfuls onto waxed paper. Cool until set.

Make it a beaver dam:
Replace 1/2 cup of peanut butter with 2 T peanut butter and 2 cups of marshmallows.

For “softer” beaver dams, use the traditional haystack recipe and add 1 cup of marshmallows (shown).

I didn’t have peanuts one day, and so I thought I’d throw in marshmallows – I melted them with some chocolate peanut butter chips. It turns out, when you chill marshmallows with any kind of chip (especially chocolate!), they get REALLY solid. My Canadian friend almost lost some teeth in his enthusiasm. Once they “warmed up” a little bit, no problem. That’s why we called them beaver dams instead of haystacks

Breads and Desserts, Breakfast, Cuppylicious!, Side Dishes

Chris’ Crater Toast

Dog & Bone crater toast

Dog & Bone crater toast

Total time:  8 minutes.

1 Slice of Bread
1 Egg
1 tsp Butter

Butter one side of the bread.
Use a small cup or cookie cutter to cut a hole in the center of the bread.
Place bread and cutout piece in frying pan buttered side down. Crack egg into the hole in the bread. Cook on medium heat until egg is done sunny side up or over easy (it’s important to have the yolk). Serve on plate with cutout piece for dipping.

Works best if, when breaking the yolk open, you make erupting sounds 😀 -Chris

I used my doggy and bone cookie cutters, and they worked like a champ. Even the boy wanted one (even though he eats his eggs scrambled). Fast, convenient, and amusing!