Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup
1 package (16 ounces = 1 pound) dried split peas
1 cup diced fully cooked lean ham
1 cup diced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock + 1 cup water heated (10 minutes in microwave)
(Ingredient 10) 1 cup hot milk

Layer the first 9 ingredients in a 5-6 quart slow cooker in the order listed. Do not stir. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard the bay laves. Whisk in the milk and let it cook a few minutes more before serving. Season with more salt and pepper.

Fried Rice

This one is easy to personalize, but the bacon is mandatory.

12 ounces uncooked bacon
4 ounces leftover (cooked) chicken, pork, etc. – optional
2 eggs
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot
1 can sliced water chestnuts – optional
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cups cooked (2 cups uncooked) white rice
6 green onions


Start cooking the rice. I use a rice cooker because I love rice.

Chop the onion. Shred the carrot with a large grater. Rinse the bean sprouts. Slice the green onions. Keep all these ingredients separate.

Rinse and drain the water chestnuts. Chop the larger pieces in half. Save the empty can for the bacon renderings

Cut the bacon into one inch strips and fry in a big frying pan. I recommend a 20 inch pan with 3 inch sides. Remove the bacon and drain the grease from the pan, reserving it for cooking the next ingredients. HINT: Use the can from the water chestnuts to hold your bacon grease.

Fry the vegetables in a couple tablespoons of bacon grease. Start with the hardest vegetables. The bean sprouts are last on my list. Do not add the green onions in this step. TRY: add different vegetables or (yuck) mushrooms.

Gently mix, not scramble, the egg and fry it in a tablespoon of the bacon grease. I perform this step in a smaller pan. Cook the eggs over hard, then use the spatula to cut it into small pieces. The goal is NOT to scramble the eggs.

Add the cooked rice to the frying pan with the vegetables. Add soy sauce and mix. Add bacon and eggs and mix gently. Garnish with green onions. HINT: If there is any left, it tastes even better the next day. It microwaves well.


Heart Attack Fried Rice – Omit the other ‘meats’ and get a whole pound of bacon. How about three eggs?

New Jersey Fried Rice – Substitute all the meats for 8 ounces (1/2 package) Taylor Ham, cubed. It did not produce any leftover grease, which sounds good, but there wasn’t anything to cook the onions and other ingredients in. In this culinary emergency, I used sesame oil to fry the vegetables.

Arbitrated Fried Rice – Use 12 ounces (uncooked) think-slice smoked bacon from the butcher for this alternative. Thick cut bacon cuts more easily into 1 inch pieces, and tasted much better than the pre-packaged kind. They were even prettier when fried. Add 1/2 cup of semi-cooked green peas from frozen; canned peas are gross. “Use what you have,” is a good motto for this recipe

Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese

Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese

How can you go wrong with five cheeses, four if you don’t consider Velveeta cheese. This dish does not turn out the same without it. The other four cheeses

Mix together in a casserole dish:
4 cups cooked Elbow Macaroni (1 lb dry)
1/2 Stick Butter, cubed
6 oz Muenster cheese, cubed
6 oz Mild Cheddar cheese, cubed
6 oz Sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed
6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
12 oz Velveeta, cubed
2 cups Half and Half
2 eggs, beaten or 1/2 cup yolk-free egg product
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in an oven safe dish. I have a beautiful Spanish cazuela that enhances this recipe. Bake at 350° until hot and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Recipe can be cut in half. The whole batch makes a lot. Crush some packaged crackers on top for an interesting twist. Try grating some cheddar cheese on the top.

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice

2 tbs. Vegetable oil
1 lb. Lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup uncooked rice
2 tsp. chili powder
1 ½ cups water
1 tsp. seasoned salt
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (14 ¼ ounces) whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the beef, onion., and green pepper, cooking until the meat is browned; drain liquid.  Stir in remaining ingredients; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Dutch Babies (aka Pouf Pancakes)

Dutch Babies
from the kitchen of Brian

2 Tablespoons Butter, cubed
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1 lemon, for juicing

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Heat an 8 inch cast iron pan on the stove and melt the butter in the pan.  In a blender, blend the eggs until fluffy.  Add the flour, milk, and vanilla and blend again.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Top with lots of butter and powdered sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Overnight Layered Salad

Overnight Layered Salad
From the kitchen of Mom

Place in order as layers in a high rimmed bowl:
1 head Iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 bunch green Onions, sliced with tops
1 can sliced Water Chestnuts, drained
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, sliced round
3 stalks Celery, sliced
other vegetables as desired
10 ounce package Peas, frozen

Top and seal with:
2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar, sprinkled over mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt, sprinkled
1/4 tsp. garlic powder sprinkled

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, then add:
3/4 pounds of chopped crispy fried bacon
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
a few cherry whole tomatoes

I use a high rimmed glass bowl.  I had to search for a while to find one that was tall enough.  I eventually found mine at Goodwill.  It has a silver rim that adds to the presentation.

It’s important that the frozen peas be the top layer, before the mayonnaise.

Balsamic Avocado Dressing

Avocado Balsamic DressingI adapted this recipe from the citrus version in Vitamix’s cookbook that was included in my box. This only takes a few minutes to make and holds well in the refrigerator.

Balsamic Avocado Dressing

2 ounces balsamic vinegar
1 ounce fresh lime juice
3-4 green onions
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoonfuls sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 olive oil
1 avocado
Add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Vitamix from 1 to 10, then on high for 30 seconds or until smooth. Reduce speed to 3 and remove the kid plug. Pour olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified.
Refrigerate in airtight container. Bring to room temp and shake before serving.

Key Lime Ice Cream Pie

This 5 ingredient ice cream requires no cooking. I pour the soft serve into a ready-made graham cracker crust, crumbled crackers could be gently folded in instead.

1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup bottled key lime juice. Look for Nellie and Joe’s.
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk. Look for Eagle brand.
6 graham crackers, coarsely crushed or use ready-made crust for pie.

In a large bowl mix milk, lime juice, cream, salt and condensed milk. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your ice cream freezer.

Gently pour onto the pie crust or fold in graham cracker crumbs. Put container in the freezer for a few hours to harden.


German Potato Salad

This is my new favorite GPS. This is traditionally served warm.

2-3 pounds Yukon gold or yellow potatoes
1/2 -1 pound bacon
1 yellow onion, diced
1 box chicken stock
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mined chives, dehydrated okay

Gently scrub the potatoes and add in one layer into a pot, add chicken stock. Add water so that the potatoes are covered with about 2 inches liquid. Bring the potatoes to a boil and continue to boil for 15 – 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked but not mushy. I poke at them with a bamboo skewer to test for doneness. Drain liquid. Add cold water and ice and cool the potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain the cold water and pat the potatoes dry.

Slice the uncooked bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and add to a large skillet and cook on medium-high until golden brown. Remove the skillet from the heat. Take out the cooked bacon pieces and dry them in a few paper towels. Remove all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease.

Reheat the large skillet and add the diced onion. Cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and mustard and continue to cook until a sauce begins to form, about 5 minutes.

Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. Add potatoes to the onion mixture and gently mix. Add most of the chives. Add the remaining potatoes and gently toss. You may want to move the mixture to a larger bowl to mix thoroughly.

After transferring to the serving bowl, sprinkle with the rest of the chives.


No Sugar Added Cole Slaw

No Sugar Added Cole Slaw. I swapped-out the added sugar for Truvia to make this recipe a little healthier.

2 bags of prepared cole slaw or 2 pounds shredded cabbage and other vegetables like carrots
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons or 16 packets Truvia
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white vinegar
5 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients and then toss with the cabbage. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. Season with more slat and pepper to taste.