Glorified Rice Salad

This is a festive dish to serve for family or church gatherings--excellent for Easter! Very good.

3 cups cooked rice (cooled)
1 1/2 cups marshmallows
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
1 carton whipped topping

In medium bowl, combine rice, marshmallows, pineapple and cherries. Fold in whipped topping. Cover and chill overnight.
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Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberries


Here's a delicious recipe for cheesecake made out of ricotta. It's so easy to put together and quite delicious. I love how the semolina flour makes a light self-forming crust. Try some today! (This recipe is based on one from Milk Street that I saw recently on PBS, with a slight change of switching out cream cheese for the Mascarpone, which is hard for me to find in our area.)

3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
16 oz. whole-milk Ricotta
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup semolina flour, plus some for pan
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons Marsala wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Blueberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan with cooking spray, then dust pan with about 2 tablespoons semolina flour, tapping out the excess.

In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon zest. Process until moist about 15 seconds. Add the ricotta and cream cheese and process until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the semolina flour, egg yolks, Marsala, lemon juice, and salt. Process again until combined about 15 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium high until light and foamy. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to whip until they form firm peaks about 2-3 minutes. Add a third of the egg whites to the cheese mixture, stirring until combined. Lightly fold in the remaining egg whites until just incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Tap on the counter to release any large air bubbles.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the cake is just set, but still jiggles when shaken. (It is okay for an Italian cheesecake to crack on top, as this is part of its settling process.) Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for another 2 hours before removing from pan. Top with blueberry sauce. Serves 8-10.

To prepare Blueberry Sauce: In small saucepan, bring 1 cup blueberries, sugar, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in remaining blueberries. Cool completely, cover and chill until ready to serve over cheesecake.
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Cinnamon Raisin Scones

Here's another scone recipe you might enjoy!

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 cup English walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter with knife or fork. Add raisins and walnuts. In glass measuring cup, mix together sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture. Work mixture until it sticks together and forms a ball. Using hands, knead 4-7 times. Divide into 8 portions and place in lightly greased scone pan. Pat to form in pan. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. Sprinkle over scones. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and turn out of pan. Enjoy!
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Amanda Cabot's Mini Cheesecakes

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroads trilogy, A Stolen Heart, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. Learn more about Amanda and her books at

Amanda's Latest Book Release: A Borrowed Dream  

There is no such thing as an impossible dream . . .

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the local doctor’s treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality. Purchase Amanda's book HERE.

Amanda's Recipe for Mini Cheesecakes

A friend introduced me to these cheesecakes literally decades ago, and they quickly became a family favorite. A few years ago when I started serving only heart-healthy foods, I was afraid that I’d have to put this recipe away permanently. Fortunately, I discovered that the changes I made to reduce the fat and cholesterol in other recipes worked well for this. So, here it is – my healthier take on a delicious dessert.

24 vanilla wafers
3-8 oz packages fat-free cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 can pie filling (cherry, blueberry or strawberry)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake cups. I recommend the foil ones, since they hold up better and look more festive than the plain paper ones. Place one vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each of the cupcake cups.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg whites, one-at-a-time, and beat in until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the cupcake cups.Bake 20 to 25 minutes until light golden brown. Let cool completely. They’ll sink in the middle, creating the perfect place for the topping. Top the cheesecakes with 1 can pie filling. Keep refrigerated until it’s time to serve them. Then enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie Deluxe


Here's a wonderful dish that is rich and savory...and easy to make as a one-pot meal. I especially like to make this when I have leftover mashed potatoes in my fridge. Enjoy! 

2-3 cups of prepared mashed potatoes
1.5 pounds ground beef
salt and pepper
2 large carrots, diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup beef broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven-proof skillet, brown the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the carrots, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Add the tomato paste to the center and cook in the center until slightly darkened, then stir into the rest of the dish. Pour in the stout and cook for 2-3 minutes until reduced. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are almost tender. Stir in the peas and continue simmering for another 5-7 minutes. 

Add spoonfuls of the mashed potatoes to the top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake until the mixture bubbles around the edges about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Steamed Potatoes with Parsley

Here's an easy recipe I like to serve with chicken or pork. Our girls love them.

5 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced onions
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In medium casserole dish, combine ingredients. Cover. Microwave on high for 12-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender, stirring 2-3 times. Serves 4.
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Sauerkraut and Fried Potatoes with Kielbasa


Here's an easy one-dish recipe to make for your family for a weeknight dinner. Enjoy!

1/4 cup olive oil
4 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
16 oz. sauerkraut, drained
16 oz. kielbasa, 1/2 slices
salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, fry potatoes in hot oil until lightly golden brown, 7-10 minutes. Add onions, garlic, thyme, and sage. Stir together and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add sauerkraut and kielbasa and cook for another 10 minutes until kielbasa is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serves 4-6.
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Reuben Sandwich


Here's a yummy sandwich to make when you have corned beef leftovers.

8 slices Harvest Grain Bread, buttered on one side
1/3 pound Corned Beef, sliced
15 oz. Sauerkraut, drained
4 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing
4 slices Swiss Cheese

Heat large cast iron skillet or griddle. When hot, place 4 slices of bread, buttered side down. Arrange each with corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island Dressing, and cheese, in that order. Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side up. Turn when first side is deep golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Repeat for second side. Serve with chips and dill pickle. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

A Few of My Favorite Things . . . in the Pantry

Last month I shared a few of my favorite things in the kitchen, so this month, I thought it would be good to share some of my favorite products that I keep in my pantry.

Saf-Instant Yeast - I like that this comes in a large package. Just open it up, pour it into a sealed container and store it in the fridge.

Antimo Caputo 00 Pizzaria Flour (Blue) - This is a flour I have been using for several years now, and makes the best pizza crust and pasta. I have tried other 00 flours, but so far, like this one the best. I buy it in a large quantity, which lasts me a year in our freezer.

Spicy World Peppercorn Whole Black Tellicherry - I really like the spicy kick and flavor of this peppercorn.

  Amish Country Popcorn (Baby White, Purple, and Lady Finger) - I bought this popcorn one Christmas as a gift and also one for our family. It was so delicious, it has become a staple in our home. Makes such light, fluffy, and delicious popcorn. I cook the popcorn in my Whirley-Pop with yellow coconut oil and season it with Flavacol Seasoning Popcorn Salt. It's more delicious than what you get at the movies--and so much better than microwave popcorn. 

Peets Coffee - Major Dickason's Blend - Dark Roast K-Cups - My husband insists on drinking the darkest coffee possible, and this is a brand that he really likes. I like it too, but I use I'm not sure that counts. 

Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion from King Arthur - This has a delightful nutty, vanilla, citrus flavor I like to add to cookies, cakes, and desserts.

Harvest Grains Blend - Another item I get from King Arthur Flour that I use in my Multi-grain Sourdough Bread, that I make on a weekly basis. Wonderful stuff!

Deutsche Kuche German Sauerkraut - This is a jarred sauerkraut we found at Aldi's and I just cannot say enough good things about it! We eat a lot of sauerkraut and cabbage at our house, and this is some of the finest we've tasted. Have I mentioned that I LOVE shopping at Aldi's!

Red Gold Whole Tomatoes - I like using these when making any of my Italian tomato dishes, and especially enjoy crushing them with my fingers. A nice balance of sweetness and acidity.

Famous Dave's Signature Spicy Pickles- We love these pickles. They have just the right amount of sweetness and spice.

Sweet Harvest Mixed Fruit in Light Syrup - This is so delicious with halves of fruit in the jar. I don't serve jarred fruit very often, but every now and then it's a nice little treat. Again, another Aldi product. We also enjoy Dole's Tropical Fruit in a jar.

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil - While I prefer to buy olive oil in glass containers, I also want the most bang for my buck. This is an olive oil that gives me that. I will also purchase affordable glass-bottled "Specially Selected" olive oil at Aldi's for special occasions.

So, there you have a few of my favorite things in my pantry. I'm sure if I gave this much thought at all, I could come up with dozens of more items to share, but this will do for now! I hope you have enjoyed this little series of "My Favorite Things." Happy Cooking!

Steak Fingers and Cabbage


Our family loves cooked cabbage. Add steak to it and it's doubly good. Try this.

12 oz. extra stout beer
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon coarse whole mustard
1 teaspoon caraway seed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound beef sirloin steaks, cut into 1/2" slices
1 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 cups cabbage

In a small bowl, combine beer, honey, tomato paste, mustard, and caraway seed. Mix together and set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add steak and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently until browned. Remove from skillet and keep warm. 

Add onion and pepper to skillet and cook for 4-6 minutes until tender. Pour in beer mixture and continue to cook until mixture bubbles and thickens. Meanwhile, place cabbage a large microwave-safe bowl, and sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons water. Cook on high for 8-10 minutes until cabbage is crisp tender, stirring twice. 

To serve, place cabbage on plates, then top with sauce and steak fingers. Serves 4. 
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Slow-Cooked Corned Beef

Here's an easy way to cook your corned beef. Serve with Steamed Potatoes with Parsley or Spaetzle. Enjoy!

4-6 pound lean corned beef, with seasoning packet
2 cups beef bouillon
12 oz dark beer

Remove corned beef from package and set in slow cooker. Sprinkle with enclosed seasoning packet. Pour bouillon and beer over meat. Cook on high for 6 hours. Cook another 2-3 hours on low until meat is tender and falls apart. Serves 4-6.
Wine Recommendation: Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013
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