"providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood"

 Cella's News

May 2006



A Friendly Kitchen

I like a friendly kitchen

With colors bright and gay,

A checkered cloth, a lovely dish

Will brighten my whole day.

A flower on the windowsill

Makes me think of spring,

And happy children trouping in

Make my heart begin to sing.

The homey smell of cooking

Can chase the blues away,

Before you know it, you will say

It's such a lovely day.

(Ester Betts)

I look forward to each monthly cooking column as much as the rest of you, perhaps more so.  When I finish one, I have a blank sheet as it were to start afresh for the next month.  I have a wealth of recipes in my cookbook that I could draw from, but my excitement comes from testing new recipes and finding the best to share with you.  This past month I have made Oriental Ham Tidbits (Yuck!), Super Burger Topping (Nothing Great!), Red-Hot Stir Fry (Nothing Great!), Guacamole Potatoes (Nothing Great!), Garden Fresh Salad (Did not Care for), Mexican Macaroni Salad (Nothing great! Not very appetizing looking), Cauliflower Soup (Not just right), Asparagus Soup (Not just right), Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich (Yuck!), Egg Salad Filling (Yuck!), Balboa Party Burgers (Nothing Great!), Hamburgers Rancheros (Nothing Great!), Rhubarb Rumble (Horrible!), and Chocolate Philly Fudge (Good Flavor but too soft).  Last but not least in my culinary rejections was cold asparagus with a vinaigrette dressing, an asparagus salad with crab and cucumber (Yuck!), a Mardi Gras Slaw, and a Sugar Free Rhubarb Pie sweetened with apples (a friend reminded me that even apple pies are sweetened with sugar).  Fortunately for you all, I'm not including any of these recipes.  

I've found that I like fresh asparagus cooked in boiling water to cover for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp tender and served with butter.  I bit into a raw tender asparagus stalk and it was absolutely delicious.  I have asparagus coming up in my garden - the 25 degree temperature the other night froze the ones that were poking their heads up and I was salivating waiting for them to get big enough to cook.  I bought asparagus for over $4/pound when I first started testing asparagus recipes.  The price is coming down so I hope you'll treat yourself and your family to some this month.  The season doesn't last long.

I'm sharing some of my favorite finds with you.  I found the Meatballs with Spaghetti to be excellent.  I have my own homemade spaghetti sauce, but I've made this sauce three times in the past month. It's easy - if you have a 12-oz. can of tomato paste and a little dry basil and oregano.  Why pay over $2 a jar for spaghetti sauce when you can make it much cheaper with tomato paste.  The tomato paste gives this recipe a rich tomato flavor.  It's so good you almost forget the spaghetti.  I've taken just the sauce and meatballs to work for lunch.  Very filling.  I've made Bonnie Spencer's Peach or Apricot Preserve Chicken twice.  I will probably take the Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Bake to my next church dinner.  I goofed when I was making the Strawberry Rhubarb Cake (now a Crisp).  Mary Ann Bartz said to put prepared cake mix on top, and I only used butter and dry cake mix.  I like the flavor, and smell of the Crisp - it has a strong fruit flavor like you would expect in a fruit leather.  I wasn't as crazy for the Rhubarb Custard Bars, but so many people asked for the recipe at work that I had to include it, same goes for the Mexican Fiesta Salad Pizza.

Meatballs with Spaghetti

1 pound ground chuck (80/20)
2 large eggs
12-oz. can tomato paste (1 tablespoon for meatballs, rest in sauce)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt

Rest of 12-oz. can tomato paste
2 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked and drained according to package directions

Meatballs: Place ground chuck in a large bowl and using clean hands, mix in the eggs, ONLY 1 tablespoon tomato paste, onion, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, and salt.  Form into 1-inch balls.  Fry in skillet over medium heat until no pink remains.  Sauce: In a medium-size saucepan, combine rest of tomato paste, hot water, sugar, basil, oregano, and black pepper.  Cook over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Pour over cooked meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Bake
(similar to a German potato salad)

6 slices bacon, reserve grease
10 3/4-oz. can chicken broth
4 tablespoons white flour
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-oz. jar diced pimientos
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
6 cups cooked sliced potatoes

Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon, pat off grease with a paper towel and set aside.  Crumble when cool.  Save 1/4 cup of bacon grease in skillet.  Whisk together the chicken broth and flour until smooth.  Add to bacon grease.  Cook and stir over low heat until smooth.  Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, pimientos, green onions, celery salt, and hot pepper sauce.  Add potatoes and gently stir to coat, mixing in reserved bacon.  Turn mixture into a 10x6x2-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Serves 6.

Mexican Fiesta Salad Pizza
(Annette Musser)

2 (8-oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup sour cream
16-oz. jar medium Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1-oz. envelope taco seasoning mix
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 1/4 pounds lean white ground turkey, cooked, drained, and crumbled

2 cups thinly sliced lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 green onions with tops, thinly chopped
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pitted ripe olives, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Unroll crescent rolls and separate into 16 triangles.  Arrange 14 of the triangles in a circle on a lightly greased pizza pan with wide ends even with edge of pizza pan.  Place remaining triangles in the center.  Pinch seams to seal.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.

Spread sour cream on crust.  In a small bowl, combine salsa, taco seasoning mix, and garlic.  Heat in microwave or a pan until hot.  Stir in cooked turkey.  Spoon salsa mixture over sour cream.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and olives.  Serve immediately.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
(Variation of recipe from Mary Ann Bartz)

5 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup white granulated sugar
3-oz. box of strawberry Jello® (dry)
1 yellow cake mix (dry)
1/2 cup melted butter

Place rhubarb on bottom of a greased 9x13-inch cake pan.  Sprinkle on sugar, followed by Jello®.  Melt butter and combine with yellow cake mix.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until bubbly.

Rhubarb Custard Bars (Amish recipe)

2 cups flour
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup butter

2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup white flour, sifted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs, beaten
5 cups finely chopped rhubarb

2 (3-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy whipped cream, whipped

Base:  In a bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Press into a 9x13-inch greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Mix filling:  Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl, whisk in cream and eggs.  Stir in rhubarb.  Pour over crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until custard is set (insert a knife to see if custard is set - mixture should not be runny).  Cool.  For topping:  beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.  Fold in whipped cream.  Spread over top.  Refrigerate.  

Colorful and Healthy Vegetable Stir Fry

4 tablespoons olive oil or Canola oil
1 cup sliced yellow summer squash
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup asparagus, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 cup snow peas
1 cup carrots, julienne cut in 1-inch strips
1/2 cup red peppers, diced
1/2 cup yellow peppers, diced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
8-oz.can sliced water chestnuts, drained

Prepare all of the ingredients before cooking.  Heat oil in a large skillet, add all vegetables and stir fry for 7 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.  Serve immediately.

Peach or Apricot Preserves Chicken
(Bonnie Spencer)

Note:  Diabetics can make this recipes using sugar-free preserves and sugar-free Jello® to help control their blood sugar, and limit their rice serving to 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 medium chopped green pepper
1/2 cup salted cashews
hot cooked rice (4 servings)

In a large bowl, combine the preserves, soy sauce, water, vegetable oil, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and chicken strips.  Fry chicken mix in hot skillet over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally (5 to 7 minutes).  Stir in green peppers, and cashews and continue cooking an additional 3 minutes or until peppers are crisp tender.  Serve over hot cooked rice.   

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
(Bonnie Spencer)

2 cups Bisquick®
3.4-oz. box instant lemon pudding mix
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup grated lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (olive oil or Canola)

3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
few drops of hot water as necessary

In a large mixing bowl, combine Bisquick®, dry lemon pudding mix, poppy seeds, and grated lemon peel.  Stir into dry mixture until moistened:  eggs,  milk, and vegetable oil.  Fill 12 cupcake liners with butter.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Make glaze and put on top of hot muffins.  In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar and lemon juice.  Add hot water a little at a time if necessary to get proper consistency.  Drizzle glaze on hot muffins.  Makes 1 dozen.

For those of you who have read to the end, I need your help.  As a diabetic controlling my sugar without medicine, I have finally decided to go off white sugar and white flour to test a diet "How to Halt Diabetes in 25 Days."  I would like to know if any readers have weeded these ingredients out of your diet.  If so, please contact me.  I am looking for healthier recipes to make for myself and to share with others.  I recently purchased a loaf of organic Ezekiel 4:9 bread made with organic sprouted wheat, barley, sprouted millet, malted barley, lentils, soybean, spelt, filtered water, fresh yeast, and sea salt.  It is a flourless sprouted 100 percent whole grain bread.  It tastes pretty good.  On my diet, I am only allowed to use stevia (already use), agave syrup, or xylitol (already use) for sweeteners.  Visit www.TruthPublishing.com if you are interested in this diet.  I'll let you know how I did next time.

Mail your family's favorite recipes to Marcella Stockin, 5200 Riceville Road, West Valley, New York 14171 or to marcellastockin@yahoo.com.  "Providing you with recipes to help make you the best cook in the neighborhood."  Visit http://www.cellascookbook.com for more great recipes and archived newsletters.