Thursday, April 16, 2015

Smorrebrod in the States

I I have never been to Denmark, but if I ever get there the first thing I will taste are the classic Danish sandwiches known as smorrebrod. They are open faced sandwiches eaten with a knife and fork, and can be made using a multitude of creative ingredients. I decided to try my hand at making them after I spotted a very appropriate bread at a local supermarket. The bread was very similar to this: 
This bread is very thin sliced, and very hearty and firm. I decided not to use a recipe, but to play with some ingredients that sounded good to me. Here are those ingredients:

Hearty thin sliced rye or pumpernickel bread
Smoked salmon or lox
Radishes, sliced very thin
Cucumber, sliced thin
Red onion, sliced very thin
Crispy cooked bacon slices
Fresh dill
Sour cream
Fresh lemon juice
Good butter

I started by cutting the long slices of bread in half. I then carefully buttered them right up to the edges. Next I piled on some of the smoked salmon, then topped it with some radish, cucumber, and red onion. I then laid a piece of crispy bacon on top. Next I took a little sour cream and added a good amount of chopped fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon juice. I put a dollop of the sour cream mixture on top of the smorrebrod and topped the whole thing with a sprig of fresh dill to fancy it up. I dug in......I was not disappointed! I look forward to making an assortment of different smorrebrod in the future. What ingredients would you use if you were making smorrebrod? Here's a pic of my final product: 
Ps...I showed a pic to a relative in Denmark and he approved!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Chicken Cacciatore

Ever since I had some delicious chicken cacciatore in a restaurant several weeks ago I've been wanting to try my hand at this classic dish. Rather than use a specific recipe, I decided to invent my own version. It is cooking away on the stove right now......

If the smell is any indication, I think it will be delicious! Here is what I did:


1 pkg chicken thighs with skin and bones (4 or 5 thighs)
1 pkg chicken drumsticks also with skin (4 or 5 drumsticks)
1 large onion cut in half and sliced
1 large green pepper thinly sliced
1 large red pepper thinly sliced
4 or 5 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
5 or 6 large mushrooms, sliced
5 or 6 black olives, roughly chopped (I used oil cured black olives for a richer flavor)
3 anchovies from tin
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
Oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, thyme
1 cup red wine
Large can crushed tomatoes


Wash chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried oregano

Heat olive oil (a good amount) in large saucepan. When hot, add chicken pieces and brown until a nice golden color.

Take browned chicken pieces from pan and set aside. Add all veggies and brown in drippings until wilted.

Push veggies to the side and put anchovies in the middle of the pan. Splash a little olive oil on top and stir until dissolved. Stir mixture into veggies.

Stir in black olives and red wine.....cook a few more minutes.

Add spices, tomatoes and put chicken back in pan....pushing down to immerse in sauce.

Partially cover pan and simmer low for several hours. Your house will smell wonderful!

Bon Appetit!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Use It All Up Shepard's Pie

Feeling too lazy to go food shopping today, I decided to challenge myself to make dinner out of ingredients I had on hand. Primarily, I had a pound of grass fed ground beef and a sweet potato and a butternut I immediately thought.....Shepard's pie!  I started by assembling all my ingredients:

Next, I put the sweet potato and the butternut squash in the microwave to cook for about 15 minutes. I pierced both several times to allow the steam to escape while they cook. Then I chopped up all the veggies to bite sized pieces. I heated a cast iron frying pan with olive oil and put the ground beef in, then I added all the chopped veggies and cooked until carrots were tender.

While the veggies and meat cooked I took the sweet potato and squash out of the microwave and allowed them to cool enough to handle. When veggies and meat were almost done I added a splash of red wine and a couple of tablespoons of to cut that back if you don't like spicy. Allow to cook till slightly thickened. Stir until mixed well.

Peel the sweet potato and the butternut squash and put in a bowl. Add a pat or two of butter and a splash of half and half ( you could also use milk, almond milk, etc.) Mash well and spread evenly over the meat and veggies in the pan. Bake at about 375 for 25 minutes. Take out and allow to cool a bit before serving. Enjoy!


1 medium butternut squash
1 sweet potato
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Several stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
Handful of baby spinach
1 large mushroom, chopped
Half cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn
1 pound grass fed ground beef ( or any ground meat of your choosing)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 pats organic butter
Splash of half and half
Splash of red wine
2 Tbsp Harissa, or any seasoning of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste


Microwave pierced sweet potato and pierced butternut squash for about 15 minutes or until tender enough to mash.

Brown beef and veggies in pan until carrots are tender. Add a splash of red wine, salt, pepper and Harissa and heat through until slightly thickened.

Put peeled sweet potato and butternut squash in bowl and mash with butter and half and half. 

Spread squash mixture over veggies and beef and sprinkle with paprika. 

Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes, and allow to cool a bit before serving. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Potato Salad With a Kick

Now that we're well into summer, you may be tired of your old, well-loved potato salad recipe. If so, give this new twist a try.

This recipe came into being out of a need to NOT go food shopping, but to create a potato salad from what I had available at the time......


10 red skinned potatoes
One quarter of a huge red onion, chopped small
1 or 2 jalapeños, diced fine
Half of a large bunch of cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


I started by boiling the red potatoes for 20 minutes. I boiled them whole.
While they were boiling, I chopped up the onion, jalapeño, and lots of good aromatic cilantro.
After the potatoes cooked, I let them cool completely. If you skip this step they will likely fall apart when you try to cut them!
After the potatoes cooled I cut them into about 8 chunks a piece. ( You could also slice them if you prefer your potato salad sliced.)
In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients together, add mayonnaise to your desired liking, salt and pepper well, and enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Stuffed Eggplant

Now that the summer is in full swing, and gardens are growing, so is the yearning for wonderful veggie dishes. One of my favorites is stuffed is so versatile that you can use it for vegetarian, paleo, or just about any eating plan that you follow. Tonight I decided to use whatever veggies I had on hand and make a vegetarian version. I'll do the best I can to remember each ingredient and the amounts, but I'm such a fly by the seat of my pants cook that I'm doubtful I could even recreate my own recipe exactly! Here goes......


1large eggplant
1 scallion, sliced thin
1/2 large shallot, diced
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 large jalapeño pepper, diced
1/4 large green pepper, chopped small
1/4 large red pepper, chopped small
1/4 large yellow pepper, chopped small
1 large mushroom, chopped small
Handful baby spinach, sliced small
1 large tomato, chopped small
Fresh thyme, parsley and rosemary to taste, chopped finely
Olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped small
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Panko bread crumbs to sprinkle on top


Cut eggplant in half and score each side without cutting through to outer skin. Scoop insides out and chop medium small.

Sauté onion, garlic, shallot, scallion and jalapeño for a minute or so in olive oil to soften.

Add peppers and mushrooms and sauté for another minute or so.

Add spinach and tomato and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add chopped walnuts, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Fill eggplant halves with mixture, dividing evenly between the two halves.

Sprinkle top with panko and some more grated Parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375.  Let cool for about 10 minutes and enjoy! 

Note:  Have fun with this recipe.....add what you like, and eliminate what you don't's all good!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Morning Hash

If you follow a low fat diet, this is your chance to run away from this post! In trying to follow a gluten free diet, I have increased my fat intake quite a bit. Fortunately for me, my body does much better on fats than grainy carbs. This morning I wanted something hearty and satisfying, but also gluten free...this is what I came up with. I love hash, and have been experimenting with creating hash other than the standard corned beef hash. This is my latest creation!



2 med red potatoes, diced in medium dice
3 scallions, chopped
1slice red onion, diced fine
2 large mushrooms, sliced
3 slices thick cut bacon, sliced in small pieces
Small piece of red pepper, diced small
salt and pepper


Cook bacon pieces in large frying pan until starting to brown.
Add red pepper, scallion and red onion and stir until all are starting to brown.
Add mushrooms and cook till all ingredients are well cooked.
Take veggie/bacon mixture out of pan and keep aside.
Put diced potatoes in pan, salt and pepper liberally, and cook on med high heat, turning occasionally, until potatoes are brown on the outside, but soft and tender all the way through.
Add bacon mixture back in and heat through.
Eat alone, or with eggs on the side....(I enjoy my hash straight

Bacon and veggie mixture

Potatoes simmering in bacon grease...yum

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Ham Makes the Best Soup!

The best part of that Easter ham might well be the fabulous soups you can create from the leftovers. This year I made a trio of soups....all different...all delicious. I started out by cooking a split pea soup in my crockpot overnight.

Ingredients:  SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 pound rinsed split peas
1 large onion, chopped
1tsp chopped garlic
2 stalks chopped celery
2 chopped carrots
1 cup mashed potatoes (I usually put 1 chopped potato, but I had mashed them all, so I had to get creative!)
1 box chicken broth 
About 2 cups chopped up ham
3 a 4 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste


Put all ingredients in crockpot and cook overnight. Cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat.

The next morning I got up, ready to start the rest of my soup marathon. I had soaked all the beans overnight in cold water.

Ingredients:  NAVY BEAN SOUP

1 pound pre rinsed and soaked great northern beans
1 ham bone with a generous amount of ham still attached
1 large onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
A little chopped carrot and celery
1 tsp dried sage leaves
1 large bay leaf 
1 box chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1tbsp butter
2tbsp olive oil


Cook onion in butter and olive oil until transparent
Add garlic and stir around
Add carrots and celery and stir to coat with oil and butter
Add pre soaked beans and ham bone
Add chicken broth and water
Season with sage leaves, bay leaf salt and pepper
Cook for several hours.....until beans are tender
Add milk and heat through 
Serve and enjoy....would be great with crusty bread, but then what wouldn't?

I was then ready to start my Cajun ham and bean soup. 


1 pound pre rinsed and soaked 16 bean mix.....Throw away the ham flavored seasoning won't need it!
1 large onion
2 tsp chopped garlic
Chopped carrot and celery...a couple stalks of each
1 jalapeño, chopped very fine
Corn.....I used about half a cup of leftover corn from Easter
2 cups chopped ham
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 quart chicken broth....veggie broth would work well too
Chili powder
2 bay leaves
Dried red pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
(I didn't measure any of these spices, as I was simply "feeling")


Put all ingredients in soup pot and cook for several hours, until largest beans are cooked tender.
Serve and enjoy!  This would be fantastic with corn bread....

I freeze all of these soups, and they are fine for several weeks. Here is a pic of my "Trio of Ham Soups."