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It's Not Just Popcorn!

Aunt Laura’s German Apple Cake

Today’s family recipe is yet another from Aunt Laura (John’s aunt). It was also given to me by her daughter Ginny. I have not made this myself yet but I plan to! It sounds delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups finely chopped apples

1 cup sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil (Ginny recommends light olive oil)

1 egg beaten

1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips or raisins, optional

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place apples in a bowl, add sugar and stir to mix. Let stand one hour.

2. Add oil and egg to the mix and stir in.

3. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into mixture (DO NOT BEAT IN) and then stir in the vanilla.

4. Place mixture into a greased and floured 8″ square pan. Bake at 350º for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.

5. Serve frosted if you like or with ice cream or whipped cream!

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Crustless Dinner Quiche

This is a very filling dish which is great for leftovers as breakfast the next day! I use most of the same ingredients each time though I will switch sometimes depending on what I have on hand. I always add spinach but I will vary if I put in chicken, shrimp, scallops, sausage. And you will not even miss the crust! It comes out almost like a Quiche casserole. It’s always a good “go to” dinner if you can’t figure out what to make. It’s easy and actually good for you! I usually use egg beaters (plain or flavored) and fat-free half-and-half. Feel free to use real eggs and milk if you want the full fat version. Make sure also with any of the high water content foods like the spinach and shrimp to get as much water out of them as possible.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup EggBeaters (or any egg substitute)

1 cup fat-free half-and-half (or 2% milk)

1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon basil

2 teaspoons parsley

1 cup salad shrimp, thawed and drained well (or enough cooked chopped shrimp to make a cup)

2 pre-cooked chicken sausages, roughly chopped (any flavor you like)

few dashes hot sauce

1 ½ cups shredded 2% cheese of your choice (I usually use cheddar)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients except for ½ cup of the shredded cheese, in a large bowl. Mix well.

2. Pour into a round deep dish baking pan. I use a 10″ round which is about 2″ deep. It has to be deep enough to hold all of the mixture. Sprinkle the ½ cup of shredded cheese over the top.

3. Bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. The top will puff up and then settle when you take it out of the oven. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Cut it up and serve!

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Susan’s Potato Salad

Well another week has begun and it is rainy and chilly and dreary here in south Florida. But thinking of sunnier days and barbecues makes me think of my favorite salad. Potato salad. This recipe is from my sister’s mother-in-law, Susan Olson-Ledogar. This is one of the best potato salad recipes I’ve ever had. It’s pretty close to New York deli potato salad. I think my sister had gotten this recipe at her bridal shower many moons ago. Everyone attending was to bring a favorite recipe and this was Susan’s. It’s simple and just plain delicious! It makes a lot but then again that’s ok!

INGREDIENTS:

5 lbs potatoes

1 cup milk

1 cup mayonnaise

1 onion, minced

3 teaspoons sugar

3 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons white vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Boil potatoes with skins on till fork tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle peel and slice.

2. Mix other ingredients together in a bowl and pour over potatoes. Mix gently until potatoes are covered. Chill.

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Dippity Do – Fun With Easter Eggs (Bonus Easter Article)

Easter is just about here and one of the fun activities to partake in this and every Easter season is to color Easter eggs. Easter eggs are easy and enjoyable to color; you just need to abide by the following hints.

Easter eggs generally start with hard-boiled eggs, so purchase one dozen or two for coloring. Gently lower them in boiling water for about 10 minutes. The eggs will cook and become hard-boiled. Now just let them dry.

The most convenient way to color your Easter eggs is to acquire an Easter egg decorating kit. These kits generally include dyes to paint your Easter eggs several colors, templates or stickers to adorn and design them, and an Easter egg holder to easily allow them to dry. Most kits only cost a few dollars and are extremely practical.

You can also prepare your own colored dye. You can mix about 1 tbsp. of food coloring with a half tsp. of vinegar, then add about 1/2 cup to a third cup of water. Now just soak your Easter egg into the colored cup of water. The longer your egg sits in the water, usually the deeper and darker the color.

Moreover you can hand paint your Easter eggs. You can find many water-color paints or other types of paints to design and decorate your eggs. Even undiluted food coloring usually works. It is important to note that you shouldn’t eat any eggs that you have used paint on.

Designing or decorating your egg is fun and easy as well. Once the eggs are hard-boiled, you can secure stickers to the egg, use a brush to carefully coat a creative design, or glue construction paper cut outs to your egg. Some people even dress their Easter eggs up with doll or handmade clothing made from wool or other kinds of fabrics.

Christine Steendahl Is The Founder Of Dine Without Whine – The Number One Online Source For Affordable And Family Friendly Weekly Meal Planning.  Eliminate Your Dinner Hour Stress And Re-Discover The Pleasure Of The Dinner Hour!  For A Free Sample Menu And Grocery List Visit

Dine Without Whine Menu Planning Service

This article is available for reprint – Please read our terms and guidelines for more information.

**I obviously didn’t write this article but it’s a good one. I will be posting similar articles to help us out in the kitchen or with cooking. Thanks!

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9 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Groceries

It never fails, we budget for our groceries, but the bill always ends up being more. We underestimate, run out of things faster than expected and overall, everything is becoming just too darned expensive! To make things a little bit easier, here are 9 simple ways you can start saving money on your groceries.

1. Go with a List: Yes, I know…it’s a pretty obvious suggestion, but it’s amazing how effective it can be. You can purchase only what you need and avoid all the other yummy distractions of the grocery store.

2. Meal Planning: Planning your meals in advance makes it easier to get your list together and ensure you buy only exactly what you need. You can get help with your meal planning at Dine Without Whine AND they actually put your grocery list together for you too.

3. Eat Before You Go: Another classic tip. If you’re hungry, you’ll want to buy (and instantly eat) everything! Have a meal or good snack before you go to avoid impulse purchases.

4. Stock Up on Staple Items When They’re On Sale: If you see ketchup or your family’s favorite sauce on sale, stock up. Or if it’s a certain type of soup or frozen vegetable your family eats all the time, buy a bunch of it. As long as it doesn’t spoil and you have space to store it, you will save money in the long run. The nice thing about this is if you continue to stock up on a variety of items, you’ll have a nice pantry full of food at any given time.

5. Cook from Scratch More Often: Yeah, yeah…it sounds easier said than done, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. It’s no secret that pre-packaged items and convenience foods come at a premium price. They save you time in preparation, but they eat up your budget and let’s face it, time IS money. Plus, if you’re using Tip #2 and planning your meals, cooking from scratch more often is a whole lot easier.

6. Comparison Shop Before You Leave Home: No, I’m definitely not suggesting you go from store-to-store looking for the best deal. That takes too much time. Check the flyers that come to your door and see who is offering the best deals on what you actually need. If you don’t have any flyers at your door, visit the store website as they generally post flyers online.

7. Use Coupons Sparingly: Sure, coupons offer a great deal, but most coupons you’ll find are for items you don’t really need or use. Resist the urge to think, “Wow, that’s a good deal” and search for coupons based on items you need to purchase instead.

8. Keep the Little Ones At Home: If you have young children that want everything that they see, it’s easy to get into the trap of buying items you don’t need, treats that aren’t healthy and become victim to other grocery store distractions. Keep the kids at home with Daddy (it’s a good bonding opportunity) or a relative. You can even swap grocery store shopping times with your neighbor. Not only will you save money, but you’ll save your sanity too!

9. Make Quick Stops for Fresh Ingredients: This may not be easy if you’re on a tight schedule, but if you can work it in, it can save you a bundle. One of the biggest culprits in grocery budgets gone bad is spoiled food. If your fruits, veggies and other perishable items are always going bad, consider shopping for them more frequently, but in smaller quantities and restrain yourself from buying items you don’t need. If you have any teenaged kids, this would be a great chore for them too. There you go – 9 ways to save on groceries. But in order to make these tips work, you really need to have a plan in place. You need to know what your family needs and what you’ll be eating. To make your meal planning a whole lot easier, sign up for you 1 ¢ no-risk trial at Dine Without Whine You and your grocery budget will be glad you did.


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Party Snacks: Cucumber Crab Caps, Dilled Shrimp, Tortilla Roll-Ups, Pickle & Ham Roll-Ups

Finally getting around to doing my blog. Cleaned the house with the hubby which is always a fun thing to do! NOT! One day I will be able to hire Molly Maids again. But until then it’s just us.

Ok down to business. I am going to add 4 party snacks/appetizers today! I first made all of these appetizers for my sister Michele’s baby shower, for her 1st child! This would make it the shower for my god-daughter Heather, who is now 11! So yes, these have been around awhile. I was up till 3am the day before the shower preparing all the food with my friend Kerry! (Remember going to supermarket at 11am for mayonnaise Kerry?) If it wasn’t for Kerry I never would have gotten it all done, or slept for that matter!  All worked out and these snacks were a hit. There is one that I know most of you will wrinkle your nose at. But make it and tell me what you think. After the first time I’ve made it for people they say, ewww… But then at the next party if I don’t have it they ask for it.

CUCUMBER CRAB CAPS

INGREDIENTS:

4 ½ TBS mayonnaise

2 ½ TBS fresh lemon juice

5 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

salt to taste

1 cup shredded cooked crabmeat

¼ cup finely chopped celery

1 TBS chopped fresh chives

2 cucumbers (about 6 inches long)(You can use either regular or english style cucumbers)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a medium bowl, using a fork to blend, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and Tabasco sauce. Season to taste with salt. Stir in crabmeat, celery and chives. Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Under running water, thoroughly scrub the cucumbers. Using the tines of a fork, scratch lines on the cucumbers. Chill.

3. Using a sharp knife, slice the cucumbers into  1/3″ slices. You should get about 36 slices. Arrange the slices on a platter or serving tray and using a teaspoon, top each with the crabmeat mixture.

Makes 36 caps

DILLED SHRIMP

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cups mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

1/3 cup lemon juice

¼ cup sugar

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

2 TBS crushed dried dill

2 pounds medium-sized cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, onion and dill and mix well.

2. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours. Serve with toothpicks on the side.

Makes 8-10 servings.

TORTILLA ROLL-UPS

INGREDIENTS:

8 large flour tortillas

2 cups (16oz) hummus or boursin cheese (or any type herb soft cheese)

1 cup watercress leaves or radish sprouts

2 cups grated carrot

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup thinly sliced yellow pepper

salt and pepper to taste

decorative toothpicks

DIRECTIONS:

1. Lay out tortillas. Spread hummus or cheese thinly over entire tortilla, right up to the edge.

2. Sprinkle other ingredients evenly over the tortillas. Roll up as tightly as possible, using a bit of hummus/cheese to seal edges, if necessary. Press gently to ‘glue’ it all together.

3. Use a serrated knife to cut off and discard uneven ends. Cut the rest into 1¾” pieces. Pierce each piece with a toothpick and arrange on tray and serve.

**You can also wrap the rolls in wax paper and chill about an hour before slicing. It should make slicing a little easier.

PICKLE & HAM ROLL-UPS

INGREDIENTS:

1 package (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 package (8oz) sliced deli ham (the pre-packaged kind is best, like Dak, Plumrose etc. since they are all the same size)

8 medium to large Claussen whole kosher dill pickles (trim edges)

Ham & Pickle Roll-ups

DIRECTIONS:

1. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese on each slice of ham. Place one pickle on the edge of each slice and roll up tight, pressing edges to seal.

2. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

3. Cut each roll-up into ½” slices. You should get at least 6 slices per roll-up. Arrange on a slant with toothpicks.

Watch them disappear!!


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Lemonade Stand Martini

Lemonade isn’t just for summertime anymore! And there is nothing more refreshing than this delicious lemony treat to sip and pretend you are on a tropical isle somewhere. Close your eyes while sipping and you will be transported to the coast of Italy. This is our new favorite martini and I think you will all love it as well. So simple to make and after that first sip you will be hooked. Just be careful because these may go down very smooth but they pack a hidden kick. The key ingredient is limoncello. Limoncello can have an alcohol content of anywhere between 25%-35%! Not too shabby huh! So whip up a batch this weekend and forget the cold weather, forget work, forget the kids…Relax and enjoy! The recipe is for one drink so if you have four people just multiply the ingredients by four and so on.

INGREDIENTS:

1 ounce limoncello (your choice, we like Pallini)

1 ounce vodka (your choice)

1 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce fresh lemon juice (fresh makes it soooo much better)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill a cocktail shaker about ¼-1/3 full with ice.

2. Add ingredients to shaker and shake!

3. Pour into chilled martini glass. You can rim the glass with colored sugar if you like. Add a slice of lemon to glass.

4. Sit back and enjoy!

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Grandmother’s Pound Cake

As I’ve said before I don’t usually bake. But this recipe was my very first baking attempt way back when I was a Girl Scout! Every year they had a baking contest and this was my recipe. I can’t remember where I found the recipe originally but the book was very old. This was probably in the late 60’s or early 70’s! And one of the funniest things I remember about this recipe and that time period was when my brother Billy asked if he could have some of the finished product. We told him he couldn’t because it was for Girl Scouts! And anytime we baked from then on we kept telling him he couldn’t have any because “It’s for Girl Scouts!” I think I actually won 3rd prize for the recipe also. Hard to remember that far back. It’s just a basic pound cake recipe but was very good! It’s a very dense cake too. Enjoy it with ice cream, fruit, whipped cream or any topping you want. And no, it’s not a low-calorie recipe so beware!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

5 eggs

2 cups flour

1 2/3 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time into mixture.

2. When creamy, fold in the flour.

3. Spread mix into a buttered and floured loaf pan.

4. Bake at 300º for 1 ½ hours.

Yields 1 pound cake

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Aunt Laura’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Today’s “family” recipe is from my husband’s cousin Ginny. This was her mother’s (Aunt Laura) recipe. I think most people like peanut butter cookies  so give it a try! It makes 8 dozen cookies so share with your friends!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter or shortening

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cream the shortening/butter, peanut butter and sugar together.

2. Add the beaten eggs.

3. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the butter, peanut butter and sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and mix.

4. Roll the dough into little balls and place on cookie sheet. Press with a fork dipped in flour.

5. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes.


** The recipe I got from Ginny did not specify if the cookie sheets should be greased or not. I am thinking that with a cup of butter it is safe not to. But, feel free to grease if you want or place on parchment paper on the cookie sheets.  I am also unsure how large the dough balls should be but I guess if you want big cookies make them big, etc.

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Roast Beef Plain & Simple

I recently came up with an easy roast beef recipe. I was scouring my cookbooks and the internet for a way to cook a roast I had gotten at one of those buy one get one free sales. I was looking for anything that wasn’t too complicated for my bottom round roast as I had never made  a roast beef before. One thing you need is a good meat thermometer that you can keep in the roast while it’s in the oven. I found recipes for sirloin, bottom round and so on. The recipe below is what I came up with. It cooks for a while nice and slow which is one of the reasons it comes out so good. The salt tenderizes it as well. You can serve this with a nice horseradish sauce** or a mustard sauce**.

Roast Beef w/Italian-Greek Salad

INGREDIENTS:

1 bottom round roast (2 ½ lbs or more)

3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly

1 TBS black pepper (approximately)

½ cup kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pre-heat oven to 210°.

2. Make slits all over the roast and insert the pieces of garlic into them.

3. Spread black pepper all over roast. Cover entire roast with the kosher salt making a sort of jacket all around the roast.

4. Place roast in a shallow roasting pan with the fat side of the roast up. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of the roast.

5. Place roast into oven and cook about 3 hours or until meat thermometer reads what you want. If you like your meat rare 140º to 145º. For medium rare it should read 145º, medium should be 160º and for well done it should read 170º. It’s always better to be a little undercooked as you can’t fix it if its overdone.

After 3+ hours

6. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove the salt cap before slicing.

Medium-Rare

Serves 4

**Mustard Sauce: Mix ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup Dijon mustard and ¼ teaspoon lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

**Horseradish Cream Sauce: Mix ½ cup sour cream,  ½ mayonnaise, 2-3 tablespoon prepared horseradish (you can use more or less to taste) and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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