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For the last ten years I have been working on an original recipes cookbook. I am currently doing the final format on it and have started up a second cookbook for the new recipes. I have around 255 recipes. There are certain recipes though that I get asked for a lot. Especially since I moved down here to North Carolina where my niece, her husband, and three teenagers live. Some recipes I make a lot for myself. Some recipes I get asked to make for various events. Here is a potpourri of recipes that I am frequently asked to make along with some comments on them.

Can you make a big batch of your salsa for the Democratic potluck at a friend’s house this weekend? Well I did what my niece asked and made a quadruple batch. It was gone in 5 minutes.

I Promised Salsa
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------              --------------------------------
4                medium               Roma tomatoes -- seeded and diced
½               small                    red onion -- diced
2                whole                   jalapeno chili peppers -- seeded and diced
2                tablespoons         lime juice -- from a fresh lime
¼               cup                       cilantro -- chopped
1                clove                    garlic -- finely minced
¼               teaspoon              salt
⅛               teaspoon              cumin

Mix everything together in a glass or non-reactive bowl. Cover and let set for at least an hour or longer to let the flavors meld.

Per Serving: 22 Calories; trace Fat (10.1% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 75mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat.

Would you make your famous bean dip for the pool party?

Salsa Bean Dip
Serving Size: 16

Amount     Measure              Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------             --------------------------------
1                teaspoon            dried oregano
3                tablespoons        chili powder
1                teaspoon             ground cumin
½               teaspoon             Tabasco sauce
1                medium               onion -- diced fine
2                cloves                 garlic -- minced fine
14½           ounces                tomatoes, Tex-Mex style -- drained
14½           ounces                tomatoes with green chilies -- drained
4                ounces                green chilies -- drained
32              ounces                fat-free refried beans
8                ounces                no salt added tomato sauce
2                cups                    cheddar cheese, low fat -- shredded
2                tablespoons        vegetable oil
1                teaspoon             paprika

Heat oil in large frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chilies, oregano, cumin, chili powder and Tabasco sauce. Cook on medium about five minutes or until liquid evaporates.

Add beans and tomato sauce. Heat through stirring to break up beans.

Transfer to serving dish. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve with chips.

Per Serving: 112 Calories; 3g Fat (23.9% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 580mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); ½ Lean Meat; ½ Vegetable; ½ Fat.

What do you mean it is late on a Saturday night and the stores are closed and I have to have a salad for the picnic tomorrow? Every time I make this salad the bowl is practically licked clean.

I'm Making This up as I Go Along Pasta Salad
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure             Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------            --------------------------------
8               ounces               macaroni -- cooked and drained
4               whole                 hard-boiled eggs -- chopped
4               whole                 sweet pickles -- chopped
2               ounces               pimiento -- diced
4               ounces               black olives -- sliced
1               medium              sweet onion -- diced fine
3               tablespoons       balsamic vinegar
1               cup                     low-fat mayonnaise
½              teaspoon            seasoned salt
½              teaspoon            seasoned pepper
1               tablespoon         salad herbs
1               tablespoon         Dijon mustard
¼              teaspoon            paprika

Cook macaroni according to package instructions; drain. Place in large bowl along with eggs, pickles, olives, pimentos, and onion.  

In a small bowl mix the vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, salad herbs, paprika, and mustard. Pour over macaroni mixture and mix thoroughly.  Chill for at least an hour.

Per Serving: 265 Calories; 13g Fat (43.4% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 116mg Cholesterol; 526mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); ½ Lean Meat; ½ Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

I got a panicked long distance phone call from an old friend. He and his wife wanted beef stew and couldn’t find my recipe so I gave it to him over the phone.

Spicy Beef Stew in a Crockpot
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------               --------------------------------
2               pounds                  beef stew meat, cut in 1" pieces
4               medium                 potatoes -- cubed
4               medium                 carrots -- sliced
1               medium                 onion -- chopped
2               cloves                   garlic -- minced
21½          ounces                  low sodium tomato soup, canned
2               cans                      water -- soup cans
1               cup                        Burgundy
2               tablespoons          all-purpose flour
1               teaspoon               salt
1               teaspoon               paprika
¼              teaspoon               pepper
½              teaspoon              dried oregano
½              teaspoon              dried basil
½              teaspoon              dried thyme
½              teaspoon              dried sage
½              teaspoon              dried marjoram
1               tablespoon            low sodium Worcestershire sauce
2                                             bay leaves

Coat stew meat with flour, salt, paprika and pepper.  Place in crockpot.

Place rest of the ingredients in the crockpot.

Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

Per Serving: 341 Calories; 10g Fat (27.5% calories from fat); 32g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 74mg Cholesterol; 350mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; ½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

I was on a recipe exchange board a few years ago and we decided to exchange chili recipes. I submitted mine. We had one guy on the board who was always obnoxious to everyone. He came back at my recipe saying “I’m from Texas and we don’t put beans in our chili.” So I answered him, “I’m from the North. We won the war and we do.” ;-) He never bothered us again.

Out of This World Chili
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure              Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------             --------------------------------
2               pounds                 beef stew meat, -- cubed
29             ounces                 no salt added stewed tomatoes -- drained and diced
31             ounces                 low sodium kidney beans, canned -- drained
4               ounces                 green chilies -- drained and diced
8               ounces                 no salt added tomato sauce
1               cup                       red wine
1               large                     onion -- finely chopped
6               large                     garlic cloves -- minced
1               large                     green bell pepper -- seeded and diced
1               teaspoon               salt
1               teaspoon               paprika
¼              teaspoon               freshly ground black pepper
2               teaspoons             ground cumin
4               tablespoons          chili powder
¼              teaspoon               crushed red pepper
½              teaspoon               Tabasco sauce
2               tablespoons           cocoa powder
2               teaspoons              dried oregano
2               tablespoons            low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1               tablespoon              olive oil
2               ounces                    four-cheese Mexican-style shredded cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add meat, onion, garlic and green pepper. Cook until meat is browned on all sides and vegetables are softened. Drain.

Add rest of ingredients except kidney beans and cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for two hours stirring every fifteen minutes.

Add kidney beans. Uncover and simmer for two more hours, again stirring every 15 minutes.

Serve with cheese sprinkled over top.

Per Serving: 431 Calories; 14g Fat (29.0% calories from fat); 39g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 78mg Cholesterol; 470mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1½ Grain (Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 2½ Vegetable; ½ Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

About a year after I posted the original recipe we got a frantic request for a repost of my Tex-Mex style Shepherd’s Pie.

Tex-Mex Shepherd's Pie
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure                 Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------                --------------------------------
1               pound                     ground beef, extra lean
1               medium                  onion -- diced
1               medium                  green pepper -- diced
11             ounces                   Mexican style corn, serving -- drained
14½          ounces                   no-salt-added whole tomatoes -- drained and diced
4               ounces                   diced green chilies -- drained
4               ounces                   mushrooms -- sliced
4               ounces                   black olives -- sliced
8               ounces                   no salt added tomato sauce
2               ounces                   pimientos -- diced
15½          ounces                   low sodium kidney beans, canned
½              cup                         red wine
8               ounces                   low-sodium cheddar cheese
2               cloves                    garlic -- minced
½              teaspoon                seasoned salt
¼              teaspoon                seasoned pepper
1½            teaspoons              chili powder
½              teaspoon                cumin
½              teaspoon                oregano
1½            pounds                   potatoes -- peeled and cubed
½              cup                         fat-free sour cream -- melted
1               tablespoon             butter -- melted
½              teaspoon                salt
¼              teaspoon                white pepper
½              cup                         four-cheese Mexican-style shredded cheese

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain. Mash with sour cream, salt, white pepper and Mexican four cheese. Set aside

Cook beef in frying pan until it is browned.  Drain.  

Add onion, green pepper, corn, tomatoes, garlic, pimentos, beans, black olives, green chilies and mushrooms.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, wine, seasoned salt, seasoned pepper, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.  Bring to a boil.  

Pour mixture into a 2 quart baking dish.  Spread cheddar cheese over mixture.  Spread mashed potatoes over dish, smoothing evenly.  Brush surface with butter.  

Bake in a 325°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Per Serving: 505 Calories; 25g Fat (44.9% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 79mg Cholesterol; 606mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 2 Grain (Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1½ Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 3 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

My niece asked if I could make a vegetarian version of Irish Shepherd’s Pie for St. Patrick’s Day since her husband is vegetarian. He liked it so much that when we went to their favorite Irish restaurant in town he ordered something different because he liked my pie better then theirs.

Irish American Shepherd's Pie - Vegetarian
Serving Size: 8    

Amount     Measure                 Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------         ------------                 --------------------------------
1¼            pounds                    vegetarian burger mix -- Morning Star Crumbles
1               tablespoon              olive oil
3               ounces                    baby carrots -- diced
8               ounces                    mushrooms -- sliced
1               cup                          celery -- diced
1               cup                          frozen green peas
1               cup                          frozen corn
1               small                       onion -- diced
2               cloves                     garlic -- minced
1               tablespoon              dijon mustard
1               tablespoon              A-1® Steak Sauce
¼              cup                          red wine
½              teaspoon                 seasoned salt
¼              teaspoon                 seasoned pepper
½              teaspoon                 allspice
1               tablespoon              cornstarch
1½            pounds                    potatoes -- peeled and cubed
½              cup                          low-fat sour cream
1               cup                          low sodium cheddar cheese -- shredded
½               teaspoon                salt
¼               teaspoon                white pepper

Add potatoes to boiling water. Cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.  In a separate pan cook carrots in boiling water. Drain.

Mash potatoes with sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt and white pepper.

Add olive oil to large frying pan and heat. Cook crumbles, onions, mushrooms and garlic until no pink remains in beef and vegetables are softened.

Add carrots, peas, celery and corn. Cook until vegetables are softened.

Mix cornstarch and wine. Add to crumbles and vegetables. Add dijon mustard, A-1 Sauce, seasoned salt, seasoned pepper and allspice. Mix well and cooked until gravy has thickened.

Put crumble and vegetable mixture in a 2 quart casserole. Cover with mashed potatoes.

Bake uncovered at 325°F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Per Serving: 477 Calories; 12g Fat (22.1% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 75g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 17mg Cholesterol; 825mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 4 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Could you make your grilled mushrooms for me because no one else in the family likes mushrooms but me?

Grilled Teriyaki-Ginger Portobello Mushrooms
Serving Size: 6    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        -----------                --------------------------------
½              cup                        low-sodium teriyaki sauce
2               teaspoons             ginger root -- minced fine
4               tablespoons          balsamic vinegar
2               ounces                  Portobello mushrooms -- sliced ¼ inch thick

Mix teriyaki sauce, ginger and balsamic vinegar together in a large ziplock plastic bag. Add mushroom slices. Let marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove mushrooms from marinade and grill 3 to 5 minutes.

Per Serving:36 Calories; trace Fat (5.1% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 296mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit.

We have the big wigs coming from New York can you please make your carrot cake?

Carrot Cake
Serving Size: 16    

Amount     Measure                  Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------                 --------------------------------
1¾             cups                        sugar
1½             cups                        vegetable oil
3                                                eggs
2                cups                        all-purpose flour
2½             teaspoons               cinnamon
2                teaspoons               baking soda
1½             teaspoons               vanilla extract
1                teaspoon                 salt
¼               teaspoon                 ground nutmeg
2                cups                        carrots -- shredded
1                cup                          walnuts -- chopped fine
½               cup                          coconut flakes
½               cup                          golden raisins
¼               cup                          sherry
8                ounces                    crushed pineapple in juice -- drained
16              ounces                    low fat cream cheese -- softened
1                teaspoon                 vanilla extract
1¼             cups                        powdered sugar
                                                  Baker's Joy Spray -- *see Note

Heat oven to 350°F.

Soak raisins in sherry.

Mix sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Sift in cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and flour into egg mixture. Beat unto well incorporated.

Add vanilla extract and mix in thoroughly.

Drain raisins add to cake mixture along with carrots, walnuts and shredded coconut. Mix well.

Spray a 19-inch Bundt pan with oil. Spread cake mixture evenly in pan. Bake in 350°F oven for one hour or until tester inserted near middle comes out clean.

Cool on a cake rack. Spread icing on cooled cake.

To make icing beat cream cheese and vanilla in bowl until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar until smooth and spreading consistency.

Per Serving: 536 Calories; 32g Fat (52.7% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 56mg Cholesterol; 515mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 6 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES: It is a combination of vegetable spray with flour in it.

The most requested, the most exclaimed over, and the fastest disappearing cookie in history. It doesn’t matter how many batches I make they are gone in a flash.

The Ultimate Ginger Cookie
Cookies: 60    

Amount     Measure                   Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------                   --------------------------------
¾               cup                           butter -- softened
½               cup                           sugar
½               cup                           dark brown sugar -- packed
¼               cup                           molasses
2½             cups                         all-purpose flour
1                whole                       egg
1½             teaspoons                baking soda
2                teaspoons                ground ginger
1                teaspoon                  ground cinnamon
½               teaspoon                  ground cloves
½               teaspoon                  ground nutmeg
½               teaspoon                  ground allspice
1                tablespoon               ginger root -- finely minced
¼               teaspoon                  salt
1½             ounces                     crystallized ginger -- ground fine
4                tablespoons             sugar

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Stir in the molasses and egg.

Add flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, crystallized ginger, and ginger root.

Shape dough into walnut size balls and roll in sugar. Put on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool on rack.

Per Serving: 64 Calories; 2g Fat (34.2% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 67mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; ½ Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

My Carrot Cake

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