Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mary’s Memo #2285


Start with an authentic chili recipe from this week’s From
the Cookbook Shelf selection: Chili Madness, A Passionate Cookbook by Jane
Butel (Workman Publishing, 2nd Edition, 2008, $12.95). First
published in 1980, the 2008 edition contains more than 130 new recipes. All you
want to know about chili and appropriate side dishes and breads are included!  Butel is author of more than 15
cookbooks, manages an internet membership club, “Cooking with Jane,” and an
online school, “All About Chiles.” She also founded the Pecos Valley Spice
Company and owns Jane Butel’s Southwestern Cooking School, located in
Albuquerque and Corrales, New Mexico, and beyond.

Blue cheese is an unlikely ingredient in conventional
chili, although other types of cheese have long been chili “tamer downers.”
Butel found that blue cheese gave a great-tasting edge to chili as in her Blue
Heaven Chili.


2 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large whole boneless, skinless chicken breast,
into ½-inch
dice (2 to 2-1/2 cups)

3 cups rich chicken broth (see note below)

1 cup canned chopped green chiles

1 medium russet potato, unpeeled, diced

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Melt bacon drippings in a large pot over medium heat. Add the
onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chicken and
cook, stirring, until chicken begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add broth,
green chiles and adjust seasonings as needed, adding salt to taste. Spoon chili
into individual bowls, and scatter the blue cheese over top. Recipe serves 2 to

Note: To make a “rich” chicken broth, simply simmer
regular chicken broth (canned or homemade) over medium heat until it is reduced
by half. In this case you would begin with 6 cups broth and cook it down to 3.

Source: Chili Madness, a Passionate Cookbook by Jane Butel
(Workman Publishing, 2008, $12.95/softback).


Everything today has a shelf life including popular
condiments.  The August Consumer
Reports on Health addresses the subject. Read on ….

Suggested refrigerator storage times include mustard, 1
year; Worcestershire sauce, 1 year; ketchup, cocktail sauce and chili sauce. 6
months; barbecue sauce. 4 months; horseradish, 3 to 4 months; and mayonnaise
and salad dressing, up to 2 months. You can find storage times for other
condiments at


T art cherries have strong anti-inflammatory properties and
may help people with osteoarthritis (OA) manage their disease, according to a
study involving 20 women, aged 40 to 70, with inflammatory OA, the researchers
found that drinking tart cherry juice two times a day for three weeks resulted in
considerable reductions in inflammation markers, especially for participants
who had the highest inflammation levels at the start of the study. A previous
study indicated that a daily dose of tart cherry extract reduced osteoarthritis
pain by more than 20 percent in most people. The study was presented May 30, 2012,
at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference.  Source: Weill Cornell Medical College
Women’s Nutrition Connection, September 2012.

Note: The good news is that Chief and Rays carry a sour
cherry juice concentrate in the produce department. Discuss its use with your
rheumatologist or primary care doctor.


If you do vegetables on the grill, don’t forget potatoes.  From Potatoes Goodness Unearthed try
Grilled Potato Planks.


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves

½ teaspoon salt

1-1/2 pounds (about 3 large) scrubbed,
unpeeled baking potatoes, cut into ½-inch slices Preheat grill. Combine
oil, rosemary and salt in a dish. Add potato slices and turn until well coated.
Grill potatoes for 8 minutes or until soft. Turn and continue grilling 10
minutes longer or until cooked through. Remove from grill. Recipe makes 4


Finally, you don’t need a recipe to make a Thaman grill favorite
that’s been used by us since backyard grills became popular. Thinly slice
scrubbed unpeeled russet potatoes and sweet onion, adjusting the amount to the
number of servings needed. Arrange on a large piece of heavy duty foil sprayed with
Pam. Dot with butter and salt and pepper to taste. Wrap securely and bake on
medium high heat until the package feels soft, turning once or twice. Open one
end and slip mixture into serving dish.

Download PDF of Memo #2285

Butternut Squash & Bacon Pizza

With the first day of fall behind us, that means I can officially roll out my favorite fall flavors - including (but not limited to) pumpkin, apple, maple, and cinnamon-spice. Last year, I was introduced to another delicious food that screams fall, butternut squash. It reminds me a lot of pumpkin or sweet potato. Because I can't leave any food alone, I decided to put it on a pizza. (Basically, if I like a food by itself, I always try to put it on a pizza somehow... because pizza rocks.)     A one-topping pizza in my house is unheard of, so I also added thick-cut pepper bacon, caramelized onions (cooked in the bacon fat, yum), and goat cheese. Talk about an amazing combination of flavor! Absolutely perfect for this time of year.  

  My husband & I try to be really intentional about eating dinner together (at the table), so that we can spend time catching up and talking about each other's days. We both grew up eating family dinners almost every night, and it is one of my favorite childhood memories. Research has even shown that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs. [source] Today, Monday, September 24, is Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. I encourage you to take the time to eat with your family, whether it be this delicious pizza, take-out, or even just a quick sandwich. It's not about the food, it's about the quality time! We don't have any family in the Lima area, but we enjoyed this pizza with some friends, catching up on each other's lives over past several weeks. Now let's get to the pizza! Roasting the squash is the most difficult part. Actually, roasting it is easy, it's getting to the inside of the squash that's difficult. First, chop off the two ends using a large, sharp knife. This helps it stay stable on your cutting board.  

  Then, peel it. It will be hard to peel. Your hands will probably hurt. But it is so worth it.     Once you have it peeled, cut it in half and scoop out all the seeds. This reminded me a lot of carving jack-o-lanterns. Also, be careful, because it will be really slippery. You don't want the squash flying onto the floor. (But don't worry, if it does, you can always wash it off. ;))       Then, just dice it into little chunks! Easy peasy.  

  Toss it with some olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and roast at 450*F for about 45 minutes.  

  While the squash is roasting, dice up some bacon and pan-fry it until crisp. (Usually, I prefer to make bacon in the oven, but for this recipe you have to do it on the stovetop. You need the extra bacon fat later.) Dump out all the pan dripping except for about 2 tablespoons, and use that to caramelize some onions. Low & slow is the way to go with caramelized onions, so turn the heat down and let them cook for about 20-30 minutes.  

  Once the squash and onions are done, it's time to assemble the pizza. Drizzle your crust with a bit of olive oil, and then top with some mozzarella cheese.  

  Then comes the roasted squash, caramelized onions, and bacon pieces.     And finally, add a bit more mozzarella and some chunks of soft goat cheese. If you've never had goat cheese on a pizza, you haven't quite lived! (Dramatic much? Hehe.)     Pop the pizza into the oven until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.  

  This pizza is hearty & satisfying, and one of my favorite fall recipes. We will probably make it at least 3-4 times before Thanksgiving. (It's that good. Either that, or I'm obsessed with the squash + bacon combo.) We enjoyed the pizza with a seasonal pumpkin beer, which I found at my local Rays. They had a great selection, with several varieties to choose from. The beer paired wonderfully with the pizza, so give it a try!  


Butternut Squash & Bacon Pizza

Servings/Yield: 1 pizza
  • 1 batch pizza dough or refrigerated pizza dough, your choice
  • 2 cups peeled & cubed butternut squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup goat cheese
Method Preheat oven to 450*F. Place squash in baking pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Top with minced garlic, salt, and pepper; stir until evenly coated. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Meanwhile, saute bacon pieces in skillet until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to cool. Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Over low heat, saute sliced red onion until caramelized, stirring every few minutes. When squash is ready, prep pizza dough. (Whichever type you are using.) Drizzle pizza dough with olive oil, and top with about 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Top with squash, bacon, and caramelized onion. Top with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and goat cheese. Bake according to pizza dough directions until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Source: Inspired by How Sweet It Is  

Mary’s Memo #2284


The spotlight is on quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) this week
via 500 Best Quinoa Recipes 100% Gluten-Free by Camilla V. Salsbury (Robert
Rose, October, 2012, $27.95/softback). 
Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain and the protein it
supplies is complete, which means it includes all the essential amino acids.
Quinoa is also an excellent source of magnesium, folate, phosphorus, iron and
fiber and it’s an extremely valuable ingredient for anyone affected by gluten intolerance.
It has a wonderful texture and a delicious nutty flavor, is quick and easy to
work with, and is now readily available in supermarkets. Salsbury has worked
her culinary magic to create mouth watering quinoa recipes suitable for every
meal and occasion, making this collection a must-have addition to any home

Camilla V. Salsbury is a food writer, recipe developer,
cooking instructor, fitness trainer and member of the International Association
of Culinary Professionals. She’s been featured on the Food Network, in the New
York Times and on Today and her work has appeared in such magazines as Southern
Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, Woman’s Day, Cosmo Girls and
Sunset. Salsbury holds a PhD in sociology from Indiana University with a
specialization in food studies.  Broccoli,
Chicken and Quinoa Stir-Fry is a variation of fried rice tied together by the
hoisin sauce, which adds savory sweetness and hints of five-spice seasoning.
Make sure the quinoa is well chilled before adding to the stir-fry, insuring that
grains do not clump together.


2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 cups small broccoli florets

¾ cup ready-to-use reduced sodium chicken broth,

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut
into thin strips

Fine sea salt and freshly ground           pepper

½ cup chopped green onion

2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled

1/3 cup hoisin sauce (gluten                    free if needed)·     
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice In
a large skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook, stirring,
for 30 seconds. Add red pepper, broccoli and ¼ cup of the broth; cover and cook
for about 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Transfer vegetable
mixture to a bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  In the same skillet, heat remaining oil
over medium-high heat. Add chicken and green onions; cook, stirring for
3 to 4 minutes
or until chicken is browned on all sides and no longer pink inside. Return
vegetable mixture to pan, along with quinoa, hoisin sauce, lime juice
and remaining broth. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Recipe makes 4 servings.  Source: Recipe used with permission of
Robert Rose.


Q: How do I keep cream puffs crispy?

A: After they are baked, cut a small slit in the side to
release steam. Store in an air-tight container for up to two days.  Freeze for longer storage. Food Channel
says to crisp, bake uncovered, in 300ºF oven for 5
to 8 minutes. Also, add whatever filling is being used just before serving.  Q: If baking powder isn’t
available what can be substituted? 
A: Rick Rogers in Sur la Table Tips Cooks Love says to replace 1
tablespoon of baking powder, mix together 2 teaspoons cream of tartar and 1
teaspoon baking soda. Land O’Lakes replaces 1 teaspoon baking powder
with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon cornstarch.  When using in a recipe work fast to
prevent escape of carbon dioxide.


I love fall and the availability of a variety of freshly
harvested area grown apples. There are several all-purpose ones but the go-to
apple in my refrigerator is likely to be a Golden Delicious. When Pillsbury® Bake-Off recipes were made with conventional
ingredients Sour Cream Apple Squares won the grand prize in 1975.


2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup chopped nuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup regular sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples 
In large
bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and butter; blend at low speed until crumbly.
Stir in nuts. Press 2-3/4 cups into ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan. To
remaining mixture, add cinnamon, soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla and egg; blend
well.  Stir in apples. Spoon
evenly over crumb mixture in pan. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 25 to
35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut in
squares; serve with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired. Recipe serves 12 to
15.  Source: Grand prize winner in
1975 Pillsbury® Bake-Off.

Download PDF of Memo #2284

DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on the blog before, but I'm a big distance runner. I love training for marathons, half-marathons, or any distance race. There's just something so exhilarating about running for hours on end. (I know, I'm nuts.) This school year has been especially busy for me, so I've made the commitment to always get my run in before school. Which requires a 5:30am wake-up call. I typically get back to the house without about 30 minutes total to get ready and out the door to school. Which doesn't leave a lot of room for breakfast.  

I've been on the Clif bar bandwagon these first few weeks, and while I'm a big fan of the Blueberry Crisp & Peanut Butter flavors, a girl can only eat so many Clif bars before she turns into one. So when I stumbled across these DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos, I knew I was in for a treat. The idea - make a bunch of breakfast burritos in advance, store them in the freezer, and then you have a hot, fresh breakfast in 90 seconds any morning of the week. And since it's a burrito, it can be eaten on the go! I made a pretty traditional burrito, bacon, egg, & cheese, but you could definitely switch it up! Substitute sausage or ham for the bacon, or create a vegetarian burrito with loads of veggies. The options are endless. To start - scramble the eggs.  

  Add the eggs to a large bowl, and add salt & pepper to taste. If you're adventurous, add a bit of hot sauce for some extra flavor. Whisk it up really well, then pour it into a well-sprayed pan over medium heat.     Scramble the eggs until they are just set, then remove them to a plate.     Now it's time for burrito assembly. Line up your tortillas on a dry, clean surface. Add a bit of egg to each tortilla, then top with some shredded cheese. Then a bacon slice (or two) and a dollop of salsa if desired.     Once you've got all your ingredients in, just roll them up! Tuck in the sides, and roll until tight.     At this point, just wrap them in saran wrap, and store in the freezer. To reheat in the morning, remove the saran wrap, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave 1.5-2 minutes until heated through.     That's it! You've got a piping hot, protein-packed breakfast in less than 2 minutes. DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos are so satisfying, too. Eggs, bacon, & cheese, you can't go wrong there.  

DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos

Servings/Yield: 8 burritos
  • 12-oz. bacon
  • 12 large eggs
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup salsa, (optional)
Method Prepare bacon using your favorite method. (I always do the oven - Line a baking sheet with foil, and lay out the bacon slices flat onto the foil. Bake at 400*F 20-22 minutes until crisp.) Set aside to cool, and break in half. Crack eggs into a large bowl; add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Whisk until well-beaten. Heat a large skillet over medium heat on the stove, and spray generously with cooking spray. Pour in eggs, and scramble until set, but still a little glossy. Remove to a plate and set aside. To assemble burritos, lay tortillas on a dry clean surface. Divide eggs between the tortillas; top with a bit of shredded cheese. Add bacon slices and salsa, if desired. Fold over the top of each tortilla, then fold in the sides, and continue rolling to form a burrito. If saving for later, wrap individually in plastic wrap. Place wrapped burritos into a larger freezer bag and freeze until firm. To reheat: unwrap and discard plastic wrap. Wrap burrito in a paper towel and microwave for 11/2-2 minutes until heated through.   Source: Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Mary’s Memo #2283


In case you haven’t noticed, cake mixes have been downsized.
Duncan Hines® was the first to do it,
followed by Betty Crocker® and now
Pillsbury.® This is not a problem if you’re
making a plain cake mix cake but if you use cake mixes as a base for another
cake or dessert, made famous by Anne Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor,® results will be affected.  In her August Newsletter she advises
bakers to add 5 to 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the downsized mixes.  Anne has her own vanilla and chocolate
cake mixes made with all natural ingredients that haven’t been downsized.  To order and also get more information
about her cake mixes go to KUDOS TO CONAGRA FOODS
FOUNDATION The label on an 8-ounce can of Hunt’s®
Tomato Sauce purchased recently alerted me to ConAgra Foods Foundation’s
effort to raise awareness and fight child hunger in America. By going to their
internet site and typing in the code on the label, ConAgra donated the cost of
a meal to feed a hungry child. According to ConAgra statistics, there are
693,110 hungry children in Ohio.


Pregnancy can be a
thrilling and terrifying time for parents-to-be. While it’s exciting to think
about baby’s accessories, it’s important to think about the baby and mom’s health
during and after pregnancy. offers a number of resources to help plan
for a healthy pregnancy.  Once you
find out you’re pregnant, it’s important to begin prenatal care. The Centers
for Disease Control (CDC) gives tips on what to do if you get the flu while you’re
pregnant, how other pre-existing conditions can affect pregnancy, and how
genetics can play a role in your baby’s growth. features checklists and guides to help you
get ready for every stage of pregnancy and parenthood.  Although the phrase “eating for two” is
often thrown around when someone is pregnant, eating enough of the right kind
of food is important for both mom and baby. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (USDA) offers a Safe Eats guide for eating out and bringing food
into the home.  If you’re worried
about not being able to afford the proper care and nutrition for yourself and
your baby, you might qualify for the USDA WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program
that you apply to through your state. If you qualify, you can receive health
referrals, nutrition education vouchers or an electronic benefits card to buy
nutritious food for yourself and your children.


A couple years ago I thought I couldn’t live without a $19.95
Yoshiblade™ knife that could cut about
anything into paper-thin slices. And why not; the TV ads were so convincing!  It’s a sharp knife but doesn’t live up
to its hype. Now there’s the YoshshiBlue Skillet, made of “diamond infused ceramic.”
You can fry anything without oil, fat or grease and it wipes clean with ease
(their words).  Consumer Reports
conducted its usual cookware tests of the YoshiBlue skillet, cooking eggs to
see whether they slid or stuck, checked whether pancakes got evenly tan, tested
for durability by rubbing the pan with steel wool, and used a lab instrument to
measure the handle for sturdiness. 
Despite the website claim, the package instructions say “Always apply a
small amount of cooking oil before you start cooking.” Eggs did slide off
easily. And after 2,000 strikes with steel wool, the pan’s coating survived in
good shape, though by then, the eggs needed a little coaxing to slide off.
Heating evenness was just so-so in their pancake test and the handle wasn’t
very sturdy.

Source: Consumer Reports, September 2012.


It isn’t unusual for wives of elected officials to share
recipes, especially at campaign time, but this one from Marcia Latta, wife of
Ohio 5th District Congressman Bob Latta, is one that I have had for
a few years. It also seems appropriate for Oreo’s centennial celebration.


16 Oreo® cookies, crushed
 ½ gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
(1)16-ounce bottle of chocolate sauce
(1) 8-ounce container Cool Whip
Crushed Oreos® and peanuts

Place crushed Oreos® in
9x13-inch pan. Spread softened ice cream over cookie crumbs. Pour chocolate
sauce over ice cream, then frost with Cool Whip.®
Sprinkle with crushed Oreos® and
peanuts on top and freeze.

Note: I found it helpful to freeze after adding the
chocolate sauce, then spread Cool Whip® over
top and sprinkle with crushed cookies and peanuts before returning to the freezer.

Source: Marcia Latta, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Download PDF of Memo #2283

Apple Cheddar Biscuits

Although fall doesn't officially begin until September 22, it seems to have made its way to Ohio this past weekend. My husband and I took advantage of the cooler temperatures and kicked off the fall season like we do every year - with a big pot of chili. Usually when we have chili, I make a batch of cornbread to go along side, but wanted to do something a bit different this time.  

  Introducing... Apple Cheddar Biscuits! Biscuits are one of life's greatest comfort foods, and I knew these would be fabulous on their own or with the chili. Buttery and tender, these biscuits are filled with pockets of sharp cheddar cheese and chewy apple bits. I know, you might be thinking cheddar + apples together?! It works! Sweet + savory to the max. Some people even go so far as to layer the bottom of their apple pies with sliced cheddar cheese! If you've never made biscuits from scratch, don't worry... they're a cinch. Start with the dry ingredients - flour, a bit of sugar, baking powder, and salt.     Then add the diced butter. It's really important that your butter is cold. It's what makes a flaky biscuit. I use my fingers to rub the butter into the dry mixture, but you can most certainly use a pastry cutter or two knives. You want the largest pieces to be about the size of small peas.     Then fold in the grated cheddar and dried apples. You can find dried apple rings in the produce section near the bulk nuts and raisins. They make great snacks, too.  

  Pour in the milk, and toss it all together with a fork. Once it's mostly combined, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead a few times until it all comes together.   It's important that you don't work the dough too much... that's how you might end up with hockey pucks instead of light, delicate, flaky biscuits.     Roll out the dough to about 3/4-inch thick, and cut with a round biscuit cutter. I didn't have a round biscuit cutter, so I improvised a bit. Christmas ornament shaped biscuits? Why not! (I actually ended up pinching off the ornament hook part, to make the biscuits more circular.)     Place the biscuit rounds on a baking sheet, and brush with a bit of melted butter. This will guarantee a crispy, buttery biscuit top.     Just a few minutes in the oven, and you have fresh, warm biscuits to accompany your meal!  

  These were excellent with the chili, and I think they would make an excellent breakfast treat as well. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with the leftover dried apples! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Apple Cheddar Biscuits

Servings/Yield: 10-12 biscuits
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup dried apple slices, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Method Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter pieces; toss to coat. Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, incorporate the butter until the mixture is coarse and the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in the grated cheddar and dried apples. Add the milk and stir gently with a fork until it has mostly come together into a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly to combine. (Don't overwork the dough.) Roll out to 3/4-inch thick and cut out biscuit rounds using a 3-inch circle cutter. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet, and re-roll any scraps. Brush each biscuit with melted butter. Bake at 400*F for 16-18 minutes until golden brown and biscuits are baked through. Serve warm. Source: Annie's Eats  

Mary’s Memo #2282

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The Big Book of Babycakes Cupcake Maker Recipes by Kathy

Moore and Roxanne Wyss (Robert Rose, September 2012, $24.95) tempts me to buy

the appliance! This isn’t the first babycake cookbook but it’s more in-depth

with slightly more sophisticated flavors that reflect both current cupcake trends

and old fashioned delicacies. Packed with fun, flavor and delectable cake

morsels of every imaginable taste, color and decoration, the incredibly

creative chapters offer unique ideas for countless occasions. They’ll take you

from breakfast and after-school snacks to bridal showers to elegant parties.  There are dozens of large step-by-step

photos depicting decorating ideas and skills for both novice and experienced bakers.

Authors Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss are leading experts on

small appliances. They are founders of The Electrified Cooks (  To make each cupcake look like a root

beer float, mound fluffy puffs of butter cream frosting on top. Cut a bendy straw

in half (discarding bottom half) and insert it into the cupcake.

ROOT BEER FLOAT CUPCAKES (a gluten-free recipe)


1 cup gluten-free chocolate cake mix


2 large eggs, at room temperature


½ cup root beer, at room temperature


½ cup butter, softened


Paper liners (optional)

In medium bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat

cake mix, eggs, root beer and butter for 30 seconds or until moistened. Beat on

medium speed for 2 minutes. If desired, place paper liners in

wells. Fill each well with about 1-1/2 tablespoons batter. Bake for 6 to

8 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center of a cup cake comes out

clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.  Recipe makes 17 to 19 cupcakes.

Source: Recipe used with permission of Robert Rose



Barley has been around since biblical times but we

certainly know more about its health benefits today. Barley’s claim to

nutritional fame is well documented. Barley gives your intestinal health a

boost. It lowers cholesterol and provides food for friendly bacteria in the

large intestine, thus decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Barley’s water soluble fiber can prevent or help with a number of different conditions

including cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries and lowers the risk

of type 2 diabetes. Barley may be a better breakfast choice than oats. In a

study conducted by the Agricultural Research Service at the Diet and Human

Performance Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, barley was much more effective in

reducing both glucose and insulin responses than oats. Barley can help prevent

gallstones, reduce the risk of childhood asthma, provides protection against breast

cancer in post menopausal women and its copper benefits arthritis sufferers.

Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods (  In an effort to eat healthier, I’ve

made a point of adding more barley to my diet. I’m really excited about Beef

Barley Soup and Nutty Barley Bake. In fact I had a bowl of the soup for

breakfast this morning instead of my usual Cheerios.



1 pound beef stew meat, cut into ¾-inch cubes


2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base


5 cups water


1 medium onion, chopped

(1) 8-ounce can tomato sauce

(1) 8-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained (I

prefer Pennsylvania Dutchman brand)


¾ cup uncooked pearl barley


Pepper to taste (I didn’t think it needed

additional salt)

In a 5 to 6-quart slow cooker, blend Better Than Bouillon

with water. Add all other ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 5 to 6 hours. Recipe makes 6


Source: Adapted from recipe.  Nutty Barley Bake was a recipe I made

in microwave classes during the 70s and early 80s. Since I no longer use any

products with MSG, I eliminated the dry onion soup mix in the original recipe,

replacing it with Better Than Bouillon Beef Base. It’s an excellent side dish

with poultry, beef or pork.



1 cup quick-cooking barley (be sure it’s

quick-cooking kind)


½ stick butter


1 medium onion, chopped


½ cup sliced almonds


1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Beef Base


2 cups MSG-free Swanson

Beef Stock
(1) 8-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained In a

2-quart glass casserole, melt butter. Add chopped onion and quick-cooking

barley; cover and cook on high for 5 minutes, stirring half-way through. Add

remaining ingredients and cook 5 minutes more. Stir, cover and cook at low

setting (50 percent power) for an additional 20 minutes. Recipe makes 6

servings. PS: Mixture freezes well.

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Buffalo Chicken Bites

This weekend was the official start of college football season. While I'm not the biggest college football fan, I do love some football tailgating foods. I'll use anything as an excuse to eat appetizers for dinner!     Although my husband and I did not watch the Buckeyes win this weekend (I know, that's practically sacrilege), we enjoyed eating Buffalo Chicken Bites, which I'm sure would have made a great football-watchin' snack. Ever had Buffalo Chicken Dip? The spicy cheese dip filled with chicken, ranch, and wing sauce that you just can't stop eating? These Buffalo Chicken Bites are like the dip - but 1000 times better. Chicken, cheese, wing sauce, and green onions are tucked inside a crunchy corn flake coating and baked until crispy. It's almost like the dip enclosed in the chip.     I'm embarrassed to share how many of these my husband and I devoured last night... let's just say there were no leftovers today. They are a bit time consuming to make (about 20 minutes of prep time), but the best thing is - they can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to bake! I am thinking of making a double batch and storing them in the freezer for those nights when you just want to pop something easy in the oven for dinner.     Start by combining the chicken, shredded cheddar, cream cheese, hot sauce, and green onions and mixing until smooth.   Roll the mixture into balls, and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.     Next is the coating. This gets messy, so recruit some help if you don't want to get your fingers dirty! Each ball takes a bath in flour, then egg, then the crushed corn flakes.     After coating the balls, place them on the baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes. They will come out crispy & oozing with cheese. Just perfect!     Make these for the next football game... they will definitely be the hit of the party!  


Buffalo Chicken Bites

Servings/Yield: 40-45 bites
  • 3 cups cooked & shredded chicken
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3-4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed
Method Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment, or spray with coking spray. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, cheddar cheese, and green onion. Mix until smooth. Roll about a tablespoon of mixture into 11/2-inch balls; set on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Place flour, eggs, and crushed Corn Flakes in three shallow dishes. Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then into the egg, and then into the Corn Flakes, coating thoroughly. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing. Source: Sweet Pea's Kitchen