Mongolian Beef

Vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. minced ginger

1 T. minced garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 (1-pound) flank steak

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 scallions (green parts only), sliced into 1-inch pieces




1.  Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and water, stirring to combine.

2.  Stir in the brown sugar and increase the heat to medium. Bring the sauce to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.

3.  Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4-inch pieces, then toss it with the cornstarch. Place the coated pieces of steak in a sieve and shake off any excess cornstarch. Allow the steak to sit 10 for minutes.

4.  Place a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the beef to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes until it is seared on all sides but barely cooked in the center. Remove the steak from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it onto a paper towel-lined plate. Pour any excess oil out of the wok.

5.  Place the sauté pan back over medium heat. Add the prepared sauce to the hot pan (it should come to a boil almost immediately), then add the reserved steak and cook at a boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add the sliced scallions, stirring to combine.

6.  Transfer steak and scallions with a slotted spoon to a plate and serve.


Cheeseburger Pasta

2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta

1 pound ground beef

2 T. finely chopped onion

1 can (14-1/2 ounces)  diced tomatoes

2 T. dill pickle relish

2 T. prepared mustard

2 T. ketchup

1 T. steak seasoning

1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar Cheese


1.  Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Drain pasta; add to meat mixture.

2.  Stir in the tomatoes, relish, mustard, ketchup, steak seasoning and seasoned salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

3.  Sprinkle with cheese. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand until cheese is melted. Garnish with green onions if desired.

Low Fat Tex-Mex Casserole

1/2 c. chopped onion (1 medium)
1 T. olive oil
1 package (6.9 ounce) chicken-flavored rice and vermicelli mix
14-ounce can chicken broth
2 c. water
2 c. chopped, cooked chicken
1 c. chopped, seeded tomato (2 medium)
1 can diced green chile peppers, drained
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground basil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp.  black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
***Preheat oven to 400 degrees***
1.  In a saucepan cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until tender.  Stir in rice and vermicelli mix (including seasoning package); cook and stir for 2 minutes.
2.  Stir in broth and water.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).
3.  Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in chicken, tomato, chile peppers, and seasonings.  Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish.
4.  Bake, covered,  for 25 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Royal Icing

4 T.  meringue powder (available at many supermarkets and in most craft stores)
1/2 cup water
7-8 cups confectioner’s sugar (may need more or less, see the consistency advice above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T. Crisco
2 T. light corn syrup

1.  Whip the meringue powder and water on high speed for a long time, several minutes, until it’s fluffy and peaks form (use an electric hand beater or the wire whisk of your standing mixer).

2.  Gradually add the rest of the ingredients to desired consistency. Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a month.


Cookie Cutter Sugar Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
(can add 1 1/2 tsp almond extract here. Yummy. I do that.)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and blend well. Add extracts and blend.

2.  Mix flour and salt and gradually add. Cover dough with plastic wrap (I usually put mine in a gallon size Ziploc bag) and chill dough for about 2 hours. Don’t skip this. You must chill the dough.

3.  Working with about 1/3 of the batch at a time, briefly knead the chilled dough and roll about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Cookies on a stick may need to be rolled out 3/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes. Insert a lollipop stick about half way into the cookie, if using.

4.  Bake cookies on parchment paper-lined baking trays at 375 for 12-14 minutes. Thicker cookies may need up to 20 minutes. Just watch for edges that are nicely golden.

Note: You can also freeze dough. After mixing, put dough in a gallon size Freezer ziploc bag (or wrap well) and freeze. Thaw overnight or for at least a few hours in the refrigerator in the ziploc bag. If too chilled to handle, let sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour until it’s workable. Chilled is good, though, don’t let it get too mushy.

Blueberry Pound Cake Muffins or Loaf

2 sticks (1 C) butter, softened

1 ½ C sugar

4 tsp grated lemon zest

4 large eggs

10 TB ( ½ C plus 2 TB) heavy cream

2 C flour and ½ tsp salt – mix together

1 C blueberries * can use frozen (see below in directions)


***Preheat oven to 350 degrees***


1.  Line muffin tins w/cupcake liners or spray loaf pan.

2.  Beat together:  butter, sugar, zest.  Once blended well, add eggs, one at a time.  Beat in cream.  Add flour ONLY UNTIL COMBINED.

3.  Gently stir in blueberries, OR use frozen and drop into muffins – it works well because you can sprinkle them into muffins individually and not make the batter turn all blue!



Pina Colada Cake

For Pineapple Cake:
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup sour cream (any fat content)
    • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)
For Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. (1 block) cream cheese (directly from fridge)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1- 1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1 T. heavy cream, or dark rum

For Cake
    1. Prepare your cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper, and greasing and lightly flouring the sides.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Stir (with a whisk) flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2 minutes).
    4. Continue mixing on low speed, and add the oil and vanilla.
    5. Add in the sour cream and pineapple and mix until fully incorporated.
    6. Add the flour mixture and blend just until combined and smooth.
    7. Pour batter into the prepared pans, dividing the batter between the pans as evenly as possible.
    8. Bake until the cakes have a slight dome, are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.  Approximate bake times are 22 minutes for cupcakes,  35-40 minutes for 6″ cakes (divided into three pans).
    9. Allow cakes to cool in pans 15-30 minutes, then remove from pans, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze cakes about 30 minutes.  This will help the cakes be firm enough to cut and level, and be easier to stack.
For Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
    1. In the bowl of an eclectic mixer, beat butter until fully smooth.
    2. Add cream cheese, and beat until smooth and fully combined.
    3. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Add vanilla extract and coconut extract after adding 1 or 2 cups of sugar.
    4. While mixing, slowly add heavy cream or dark rum
    5. Continue to beat and additional 30 seconds or so until nice and fluffy.
    6. Use frosting at once, or keep refrigerated.  In warm weather, or if your butter and cream cheese were warm, you may need to put the frosting in the refrigerator up to 30 minutes to help it firm up, especially if you plan to pipe it on cupcakes.
To Assemble
  1. Once the cakes have chilled in the freezer (as directed above), use a large serrated knife to level the cakes as needed.  Layer the cakes with a layer of the Coconut Cream Cheese frosting between each layer.  Spread a thin layer of icing around the sides and top of the cake.
  2. Place entire (thinly frosted cake) in the freezer for 15-30 minutes, or until the cake and icing are firm.  Remove cake from freezer and spread a final layer of frosting all over the cake.
  3. If desired, coat the sides of the cake with toasted coconut.  To toast coconut, spread about 2 cups of coconut onto a baking sheet and bake at 350*F. for 5-7 minutes, checking every minute or so after the first 3 minutes.
  4. Decorate cake with fresh pineapple or maraschino cherries.