Archive for the ‘Sauces’ Category


Mandarin Orange Cranberry Sauce

November 25, 2015

This is a really easy recipe. I make a version of it every year. For some reason this year it came out  very well. The directions on the bag have a ridiculous amount of sugar. So can the can of that wiggly stuff and take less than thirty minutes to make it yourself.


1 bag fresh cranberries – 12 oz.

Juice and zest from 1/2 orange

1 can mandarin oranges, not in syrup

1/4 C. sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 inch knob fresh ginger

Pour cranberries in a sauce pan. Add mandarin oranges and the juice.

Zest the orange first, then juice it and add to the cranberries.

Grate the ginger knob and add it and the cinnamon. Stir to mix.

  • CranberrySauce2

Bring to a boil. Let simmer about twenty minutes .When all the cranberries have popped, turn off the heat and let cool.


Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!


Tart Cranberry Sauce

November 19, 2012

Pucker up and enjoy the  real taste of cranberries! In a quest to cut the sugar, I’ve made some substitutions and came up  with a tangy version that will brighten  your table and tackle your tastebuds. If you must add  a bit of raw sugar,but please nothing artificial, and definitely not a cup of refined white sugar. I recommend using an organic orange as well since you are using the zest. Citrus fruit is porous and absorbs chemicals,even more than other fruits.How do you know what you are buying? Click here!

1 bag fresh cranberries

1/2 C natural applesauce (no sugar added)

juice from one orange – about a 1/2 C.

1/2 C.water -or enough to make 1 C of liquid with juice from orange

1 t. zest

1 T.cinnamon


Juice and zest your orange. Add everything into a 3 quart sauce pan and stir. This bubbles up,and the berries pop so if you are doubling the recipe make sure you use an ample sized pot.Bring to a boil for  about 2 minutes,and them turn on low. You will hear the cranberries open as they make a  little pop!  I let this go a little longer than the sugared version to bring out the natural pectins,which will thicken the sauce,approximately 30 minutes.

In the first picture you may have noticed a squash in the backround. We are going to turn this into your serving bowl. Decorative, and one less bowl to clean! While your cranberries are bubbling we are going to carve the squash. If you have ever carved a pumpkin, it’s about the same. I used a Buttercup squash, because it had the most flat bottom for stability. Once you have the top off,scrape out the seeds. Using a spoon, get all the seeds and fibrous part,making  it bowl shaped.This can be done up to 2 days ahead.

Allow your cranberry sauce to cool completely. This is especially important if you are making it ahead.You do not want to “cook” the inside of the squash! Fill your squash,and put the hat back on  at a  jaunty angle.Make sure to roast the squash  with  some cinnamon and olive oil when it’s done it’s job! Cut it in half, drizzle woth  olive oil and shake a bit of cinnamon on top. Roast at 350 for about 45 minutes,until a knife goes in easily. You can eat it straight out of the halved portion!

Ready to serve! Enjoy!


Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Butter

December 1, 2011

What a delicious and different way to use pumpkin! This recipe was shared by a co- worker on a facebook cooking  page. Since I am always in search of not only great recipes,but  ways to kick up my vegetarian repertoire this looked like a go.I’m glad I did!  What a fabulous,filling fall recipe! (which can be made year round of course! ) We devoured it. You can “unvegetarian” it by adding  slices of cooked apple sausage,or tiny turkey meatballs.I think it would also go well tossed with my Heart Happy Alfredo. However you choose to make it, it is a keeper.Enjoy!


  • 1 (15 oz.)can pumpkin puree’ (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 2 & 3/4 C. flour (I used white,I’m sure whole wheat would work as well)
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg.,1/4 t.white pepper,1/4 t. salt

Sage Butter

  • 1/3 C. melted butter
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic,finely minced
  • 2 T. butter
  • 8 sage leaves,finely minced


  • 1 whole onion, sliced thin and carmelized(optional)
  • 10 mushrooms sliced thin, sauted with onions(optional)

Begin carmelizing your onions and mushrooms for your topping if you are doing this.That way they will be done when the gnocchi are.

Stir flour,salt and pepper together. This assures even distribution of your seasonings in your dough. Combine with can of pumpkin.The original instructions said to drain the pumpkin of excess water.  I found there was such a small amount I would skip this next time, as I almost lost the pumpkin down the drain! Your dough will be soft. Don’t overwork the flour or the gnocchi will be tough. If the dough is too sticky, add small amount of flour a little at a time. (I didn’t need any extra).Allow the dough to rest  10 minutes in the fridge.

Don’t forget to check on your onions and mushrooms!

In a small sauce pan add the melted butter, sage and garlic. Heat on low until ready to pour over cooked gnocchi.

Lightly flour the area you  are going to roll your dough.Remove dough from fridge.Divide into 6 equal parts on floured surface.

Roll into long ropes, about 12-14 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into 1″  pieces, and roll lightly on the floured surface.Continue making the gnocchi with the rest of the dough. Place on lightly floured baking sheet.These can be made ahead and refigerated until you are ready to use them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.Add the gnocchi and cook about 7-10 minutes. The gnocchi will rise to the top when they are done.

Drain well. Immediately pour hot sage butter over the hot gnocchi and toss well. The smell is amazing! Top with carmelized onions and mushrooms.

Grate cheese over all, and serve extra cheese tableside. I served this with creamed spinach as a side. A tossed or Caesar salad would go nicely as well, or as Libby said some broccoli rabe. Enjoy!


Salmon Cakes with Lemon Caper Mayonaise

July 15, 2011

Superb! This turns a $3 can of salmon into a gourmet meal,I would not use fresh salmon this way. These satisfied an overdue craving for crab cakes,  and works well for those that have shellfish allergies in their family . This is a compilation of at least ten recipes and I wouldn’t change it again. The perfect salmon cake with a divine sauce,that I have kicked up the lemon amounts to thin it a bit and make it less “mayo”y. Perfect alone as an appetizer, or served tonight with an accidental new keeper,orecchiette with  mushrooms and marsala.

  • 1 large can Alaskan Salmon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C. panko ( I used whole wheat )
  • 1/2 sm. purple onion, finely diced
  • 2 t. capers
  • dash hot sauce (Moore’s!!)
  • 1/2  T. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t. Old Bay
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard

Combine mustard with pepper, Old Bay,hot sauce and worcestershire sauce. Beat egg well. Look over the salmon and remove any small bones. To the salmon add the egg, mustard /spice mixture,onion and capers. Mix the panko in last.Refrigerate while you make the sauce.

Lemon Caper Mayonaise

  • 3/4 C. Hellman’s mayonaise
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1 T. dried dill/3 T. fresh dill
  • 1 t. pepper
  • 1 t. paprika
  • scallion for garnish

Combine all ingredients except scallion. Put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Form salmon into small patties,using about 3 tablespoons for each one.I prefer them small for several reasons:they cook more quickly without drying out, they don’t fall apart which can happen when you don’t use a ton of filler and they can be served as an appetizer or main course with a side this way.

Heat a large saute pan and add a few squirts of olive oil.Brown cakes about 4 minutes on each side.


Serve as an appetizer,garnished with Lemon Caper Mayonaise and scallions….

or as an entree’ surrounded by a delicious pasta.


Coconut and Panko Crusted Chicken Breasts with Pineapple

February 14, 2011

A lightly coated and very slightly sweet combination. Yum!!! That is all!

  • 2 – 3 large boneless chicken breasts,butterflied
  • 3/4 C. Japanese panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 C. coconut
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1 small can Dole pineapple tidbits
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying,approx. 1/3 C.

Combine panko,coconut and cornstarch. I like cornstarch when making a breading as it is lighter,more “airy” than flour.

Coat breasts on both sides,pressing down to help crumbs stick. You can use an egg wash to dip breasts in first,but I think it is an unecessay and messy step.But if you like a heavier thicker crust,the dip in egg wash first, then panko mixture.

Heat large frying pan and add about 1/3  C. of oil or enough to coat bottom of pan about 1/4 inch.Always heat pan before adding oil so foood does not stick. Cook until lightly browned and crunchy,about 4 minutes on each side.

While they are cooking add juice from pinapple  and brown sugar in another pan, and reduce by one third. Add pineapple pieces and cook for about 5 -7 minutes on low. Sauce should thicken.There won’t be “a lot”. This is just to accent and not overpower chicken,or detract from the nice crunch of the panko and coconut crust.

Remove chicken and drizzle a small amount of pinapple reduction on chicken and top with a few pieces of pinapple.Serve with a savory jasmine rice that’s been seasoned with garlic pepper,onion salt,parsley and a bit of unsalted butter.


Spaghetti Squash with Red Cherry Pepper Sauce

December 11, 2010

You have to try this! Spaghetti squash has to be one of the coolest vegetables.  It starts out looking like a butternut squash and the end result are slightly sweet strands of flesh, that hold their shape and stand up to rich tomato sauces. As filling as a dish of pasta, without the carb count!  This is a Rachael Ray-ish recipe with my adaptations.

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. Parmesean of Asiago,grated
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil to rub on squash before putting in oven
  • 1/2 onion, large chop
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1 cherry pepper,diced finely seeds and veins removed for mild, left for hot
  • 1 28 oz. can whole or crushed tomatoes (as always I use what is in the pantry- this time it was crushed)
  • 1 C. vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C. red wine
  • 1 T. Italian seasoning

Split squash evenly in half. Scoop seeds out carefully. Lightly oil with a few drops of  olive oil. Roast skin side up in 400 degree oven, 45 minutes.

Heat  2 T. olive oil. Add onions,carrots,garlic, and chili pepper. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.Cook for 8- 10 minutes on low- medium heat.

Add wine first to deglaze. Add tomatoes. Pour broth into tomato can to “rinse” and pour into sauce.Crush or cut the tomatoes if you’ve used whole into chunks. Add seasoning, and simmer 30 minutes on low heat. Stir once or twice. Easy!

Gently shred squash into strands with a long tined fork.Leave skin intact as you are going to use it as your serving vessel! At this time you can add 1 T of butter per squash half, and a tablespoon or two of grated cheese (reserve some cheese to top). I think a bit of butter is enough, and just use all the cheese on top as this made the strands too sticky.

A heaping ladle of sauce over the strands, some grated cheese and you have a satisfying and different take on pasta. Feel free to have that bread since you are being carb conscious with your meal! A smaller squash would make an equally yummy side to chicken,or perhaps add cubes of cooked chicken over squash, and then topping with sauce and cheese!


Kale Pesto with Pumpkin Seeds

November 11, 2010

Kale is the wonder veggie of the dark green family. It satisfies a multitude of vitamin requirements.Cooking them the way most recipes  require, depletes them of all these vitamin bennies. Married with  pumpkin seeds made a rich and earthy tasting pesto. Kale though rich in vitamins, has a bad reputation when it comes to taste,as it can be bitter. Eating it raw so as to not kill the goodness presented a challenge. Treating it as you would eggplant by salting  and allowing the kale to sit,then rinsing well works. What works even better is to massage the salt into the kale,breaking down the tough leaves.By definition “pesto” comes from the Italian verb “pistare” which means to pound. This is what you want to do – use those muscles! The results were a  creamy pesto that we ate in a multitude of ways. I would love to tell you how long it lasts, but it was gone in three days and tasted better each day. Of course as with most of my recipes things like salt are “to taste”.

  •  8 oz. of fresh kale (which I couldn’t find and had to buy bagged- so roughly half a bunch of what you get if your store has it).the nice thing about getting it bagged is that it was chopped and most of the very tough stems were not included.
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 3/4 C. toasted pumpkin seeds ( I bought them raw,and toasted them myself )
  • 1/3 C.  olive oil (do yourself a favor and buy the “good” kind)
  • 1/2 C. grated Parmesean cheese (Asiago works well too)
  • 1/2 C. water or vegetable broth.
  • 2 cloves garlic,diced
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt

Rinse your kale well and dry it as best you can. Sprinkle 1 T. kosher salt on the kale.Roll up your sleeves and rip and massage that kale.Get out all your frustrations.Breaking it down gives it a better taste. Let it sit for about an hour.Rinse well and let dry.

All relaxed and ready to be made into a beautiful pesto!

Toast your pumpkins seeds in a saute pan.I added a bit of garlic pepper to mine.Toast on low- they burn EASILY! When you hear them starting to pop take them off of the heat,and leav them in the pan to cool.

Put the kale and broth in your blender or processor.Truthfully this is best made in a processor because it is so dense. If you don’t have one make sure you put the liquid in with your kale or… you will ruin your blender which is what happened to me! SO I apologize for not having detailed pics of the blending process – but since this is so tasty and to show that you can still salvage things when something goes awry- I am posting it today anyway!

Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese and oil. Slowlllly add your oil in a thin stream until it is nice and creamy.I add the cheese and blend it a bit,some prefer to just stir in the shredded cheese. I like to blend it as it makes a less lumpy pesto and allows you to add less salt.

Served this night over thin slices of pork tenderloin,garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds.Accompanied by roasted acorn squash stuffed with wild rice and cranberries,making a beautiful fall presentation.