Lemon Meringue Pie

Sunday, December 26, 2010 2 comments
This is my family's absolute favorite dessert. This year I made it in South Africa. We don't have graham cracker crust, so I used biscuit crumbs (like cookies), butter, and sugar, blended and put in pie dish, and refrigerated for 10 minutes.

Magic Lemon Meringue
1 pie crust
 ½ cup Reconstituted Lemon Juice
(I used graham cracker crust) 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 eggs separated* ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 can sweetened condensed milk ¼ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, beat egg yolks; stir in sweetened condensed milk,
lemon juice, and rind. Turn into shell. In small bowl, beat egg whites with cream of
tartar until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Spread meringue on top
of pie, sealing carefully to edge of shell. Bake 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.
Cool. Chill before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers

Cumin Chili

Saturday, October 23, 2010 0 comments
Another recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

2-3 t minced garlic
1-1/2 lb ground beef
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juices, broken up
2 T tomato paste
1 T cumin
1 t basil
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
15 oz can rinsed/drained kidney beans


Heat garlic and meat in large saucepan (can add a little oil if needed) until meat is no longer pink, about 5 min. Stir in remaining ingredients except beans, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Add beans and simmer until chili is thickened.

Variations: initially add 1 onion and 1 green bell pepper, chopped. Increase cooking time to soften vegetables. Also can add 1 bag frozen corn along with the beans.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese and toasted ciabatta.

Chicken Biryani

Thursday, October 14, 2010 0 comments
From cooking light.
This is another dish we had for the first time in South Africa. It's originally an Indian dish that the Cape Malay people here recreate. Delicious, good with chutney.


  • 2  teaspoons  canola oil
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1  cup  chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1  jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1  teaspoon  minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  garam masala
  • 3/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  chopped plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
  • 1  cup  uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/3  cup  golden raisins
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4  cup  sliced almonds
  • 4  lime wedges


1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add onion and jalapeño; sauté 3 minutes. Add ginger, garam masala, cumin, salt, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add tomato, rice, raisins, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in cilantro. Sprinkle with almonds; serve with lime wedges.

Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic Nestle recipe. When we first arrived in South Africa, our new friend, an American missionary as well, Marysol, made us these. She knew they would make us feel like we were back at home. My sister and I made them many times afterwards. It's hard to find chocolate chips here so we cut up a chocolate bar or two. Also, we've found that substituting margarine does NOT result in the right texture. Gotta be butter. :) Enjoy...

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

White Bean Stew with Sausage and Spinach

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 0 comments
Cooking Light. I had dried white butter beans so we used those, and also substituted spinach (just putting it in later) for the kale. Also good with cheese, and delicious with the cheesey toast.


  • 2  teaspoons  vegetable oil
  • 1  teaspoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 4  (2-ounce) smoked turkey and duck sausages with fennel, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (such as Gerhard's)
  • 1  cup  water
  • 1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4  cups  bagged chopped kale
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 6  tablespoons  (1 1/2 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
  • 6  (1-ounce) slices French bread baguette


Preheat broiler.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sausage; sauté 1 minute. Add water, broth, and beans; bring to a boil. Stir in kale, black pepper, red pepper, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.
While soup simmers, sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each bread slice; broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Serve toasts with soup.

Chicken-Noodle-Vegetable Soup


Also from Cooking Light. They call it Roasted Vegetable-Rosemary Chicken Soup, but we found it to be just like a really good chicken noodle. Norah loves it, especially heated mixed with rice. 


  • 1  cup  (1-inch) cubed carrot
  • 1  cup  (1-inch) cubed onion
  • 1  cup  coarsely chopped mushrooms
  • 1  cup  (1-inch) pieces celery
  • 1  cup  (1-inch) pieces red bell pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  extravirgin olive oil
  • 1  cup  water
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2  cups  uncooked whole wheat rotini pasta


Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; drizzle with oil, and toss well to coat. Arrange vegetable mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
Combine water and next 5 ingredients (through chicken) in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add roasted vegetables; simmer 30 minutes. Bring soup to a boil. Add pasta; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Butternut Bread Pudding

Monday, October 4, 2010 0 comments
This is taken from I think it is a bit dry and I would like to try it with some other vegetables, but the concept is great. I tried it here in South Africa where butternut is very popular and abundant.

  • Ingredients:
  • 3  cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 2  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 3  large eggs
  • 2  large egg whites
  • 8  ounces  (1-inch) cubed day-old French bread (about 9 cups)


Preheat oven to 400°.
Arrange squash in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, pepper, nutmeg, eggs, and egg whites in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in squash and onion mixture. Add bread, and stir gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until pudding is set and lightly browned.


Sunday, April 4, 2010 0 comments
Falafel is another treat we've come to love from Lazeza restaurant. Andy is usually the one to prepare it. It can be served on pita as a sandwich or alone as an appetizer.


prepared chickpeas
bread crumbs
1 egg
chili powder
oil for frying
pita to serve
pickles, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, etc for serving

plain yogurt

plain yogurt


Combine first 9 ingredients (and other spices as desired) in food processor. Form into balls. Deep fry in oil till golden brown.

Serve on pita with toppings. Combine the plain yogurt with cucumber or with tahini for sauce.

(Added February 3, 2012)
Here is a SECOND recipe I've used lately for falafel. Especially good when you have no eggs or cilantro! (Found here).


1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T dried parsley (or 3 T fresh)
1 t coriander
1 t cumin
*(I also added a little turmeric and a dash of chili powder)
2 T flour
salt/pepper to taste


Mix ingredients in food processor. Form into balls, slightly flatten, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Fry in 2 inches oil (at 350 F) until golden brown.
Serve hot.

Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme

From SimplyRecipes. Excellent and our new favorite way to serve green beans.

  • 2 lbs of (fresh or frozen) green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 2 t dried)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • Steam the beans for 5 minutes and proceed directly to the skillet. Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in half of the fresh thyme (1 Tbsp), the Dijon mustard and garlic salt into the butter. Add the beans to the skillet and toss until heated through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and the remaining 1 Tbsp of thyme.
  • Serves 8.


Kofte is type of Middle Eastern meatball. We fell in love with it at Lazeza (our local Mediterranean restaurant where I used to waitress). It is commonly served on pita as a sandwich or as a kabob. Lazeza also makes it on a panini, it is wonderful. Here is a recipe from Cooking Light.


1/2 cup prechopped white onion
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound lean ground round
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
4 (6-inch) pitas, split
1/4 cup plain yogurt

Preheat broiler.
Combine first 12 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until just combined. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each portion into a (2-inch) patty. Place patties on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 tomato slice and 1 patty in each pita half; top each half with 1 1/2 teaspoons yogurt.

No-Recipe Meal Ideas

Saturday, April 3, 2010 0 comments
Andy and I have added several dishes to our repertoire over the past couple years that really don't require a recipe, but are worth noting here since we make them so much. They are great ideas when planning the week's menu!

  • Grilling: Andy is the grill-master, and I am always in charge of sides. Now that the weather is warmer again, we love to grill several times a week if we can. Rub steak or chicken (or the preferred meat) with a spice mix; we use a South African spice rub but you can use your favorite mix or make up your own. We love a variety of veggies on the side - corn on the cob, asparagus (sauteed in olive oil with Emeril's essence, oregano, salt and pepper), or green beans with thyme and almonds, maple-dill carrots, or brussel sprouts. We usually always have either steamed rice, cous cous, or risotto as well.
  • Pita Pizzas: We got this idea from the restaurant, Lazeza, where I used to waitress and which we frequent for its incredible Middle Eastern fare and our good friends who own it. Their version is fancier, but at home we just take a piece of pita, top with pizza or tomato sauce, mozzarella and feta cheese, oregano and basil, and bake at about 350 for around 7-10 minutes.
  • Tostadas: Lately we've been making tostadas, and they are yummy! Just brush corn tortillas (enough for each tostada to have 2 tortillas) with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake (turning once) at 450 for a few minutes, until crispy. Then layer with beans, your choice of meat, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, etc.

(I don't know if this is the Tostada's most flattering angle, but the baby in the back sure is cute!)

Indian Cauliflower Chickpea Curry Stew

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 0 comments
We love chickpeas and curry. Andy would like this with meat, but I really enjoyed it as is, topped with coconut. Found at


1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup(s) brown rice
1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon(s) curry powder
2 1/2 cup(s) vegetable broth
1 medium (2-pound) head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 can(s) (15 to 19 ounces each) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup(s) loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup(s) plain low-fat yogurt plus additional for serving


In 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add carrots and onion, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, prepare rice as label directs; keep warm.
Stir ginger, curry, and 3/4 teaspoon salt into carrot mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth; cover and heat to boiling on high. Stir in cauliflower and garbanzo beans; cover and cook on medium 15 to 20 minutes longer, gently stirring every 5 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
To serve, stir chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup yogurt into cauliflower stew. Spoon rice into serving bowls; top with stew. Serve cauliflower stew with additional yogurt to dollop on top if you like. Makes about 8 cups.


Here is a traditional South African dish (from Kind of like South African meatloaf...Good with my maple-dill carrots on the side.


3 slices day old bread
1 1/2 c. milk
2 med. onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. raisins
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs

Makes 6 servings.


Soak bread in milk. Squeeze milk from bread, reserving milk.
Combine all ingredients, except milk and 1 egg. Press mixture into
an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Add enough milk to reserve milk to make
3/4 cup. Beat together milk and remaining egg. Pour over meat
mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden
brown and firm to the touch.

French Boule - Simple Artisan Bread

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 0 comments

I finally found a bread recipe (NOT using a bread machine) that actually worked for me! I found this lovely book called, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, (check it out here) that makes baking so simple. Here is the master recipe they present in the beginning of the book. They suggest to make the dough and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks. You can make four 1-pound loaves from that dough. I tried it today and it was great, and so easy to make. I made the dough yesterday as they suggested, and baked one loaf today. However, the loaf is small and yummy, so I may bake 2 at a time next so that I have more bread.

Ingredients (for four 1-pound loaves):

3 c lukewarm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T salt
6 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose white flour
Cornmeal or whole wheat flour for pizza peel


Warm the water slightly. Add yeast and salt to the water in a large bowl. Mix in the flour (no kneading required). Mix with wooden spoon or using dough hook on mixer. Cover bowl with a lid (not airtight) that fits well to the container you are using. Allow mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse, approximately 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

You can use a portion of the dough after this period and refrigerate the rest. Fully refrigerated dough is best to work with (overnight or at least 3 hours).

To bake:
Sprinkle surface of dough with flour. Pull up and cut off 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece. Hold mass of dough in hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Rest the loaf and let it rise on a pizza peel (I didn't have one so I used a plate), dusted with cornmeal or whole wheat flour. Let dough rest for 40 minutes, uncovered.
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 F, with a baking stone placed on middle rack and empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread (I put mine below the shelf the bread would be on).
Dust top of loaf liberally with flour and slash a tic tac toe pattern (or other pattern as desired) on top of loaf with bread knife.
Slide loaf onto preheated baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about 1 c of hot tap water into broiler tray and close oven door to trap steam. Bake about 30 minutes, or till crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.

Store baked loaf cut side down on a plate or clean counter, not in a bag.

Vegetable Pasta Saute

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 0 comments

This is a dish my mom invented a few years ago. We went through a phase where we ate it almost every day. Now Andy and I make it from time to time as well. I craved this dish specifically when I came home from a month in Russia a few years ago. When I came home I requested this meal - probably because I went to Russia at a time when very few fresh vegetables were available. You can customize this dish with any kind of pasta or vegetables or spices you want.


Butter/olive oil to saute
Pasta (spaghetti or fettucine)
Vegetables such as yellow squash, red peppers, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and spinach
Spices such as oregano, basil, and chicken spices (we have a Mediterranean spice mix with a hint of cloves)
White cheddar cheese, shredded (Vermont)


Prepare pasta as directed. Meanwhile saute garlic and vegetables in olive oil/butter and with spices, except spinach in saucepan. Add spinach when other vegetables are fully cooked, stir in spinach till wilted. Mix vegetables with pasta, and serve topped with cheddar cheese.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread (Bread Machine)


This is one of my new favorite breads! This recipe is for a medium (1 1/2 lb) loaf.


1 c warm water
1/4 c butter
1 egg
2 T sugar
2 t salt
2 c bread flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c oats
(1/4 c wheat germ - I didn't have so I left it out)
1/4 c nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 t yeast


Combine ingredients in bread machine pan, set on whole wheat setting.

Roast Chicken with Herbed Mushrooms

Thursday, February 11, 2010 0 comments
We just tried this recipe from Tyler Florence.  It was excellent. Next time we plan to try some variations. One thought is to add the bacon halfway through the cook time as it seemed a bit overdone by the end. The main point of the bacon however is to add flavor to the chicken, and it does!


  • 1 (3 pound) organic free-range chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, quartered
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 head garlic, about 6 cloves, smashed
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme (or dried)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut in 1/2
  • 3 pounds whole cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp towel

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl combine the onion, lemon, garlic, half the thyme, and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper and mix it well. Stuff the bird with the mixture. Using 2 (3-foot) pieces of kitchen twine, tie up the chicken: Tuck the wing tips between the wings and the body. Put the midpoint of the twine under the chicken, bring the ends up and around the wings, and pull them tight against the body. Bring the ends of the twine up underneath the legs, wrap the string around them, pull the legs together, and tie them tightly. Place the chicken, breast side up in a roasting pan, and layer the strips of bacon up breast until covered. Scatter over the remaining thyme, drizzle over some more olive oil and season everything with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours; arrange the mushrooms around the chicken 45 minutes after roasting. Baste with the pan juices every 20 minutes. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs should wiggle easily in their sockets.)
Remove the chicken from the pan, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes to rest. Serve the chicken with the roasted mushrooms and pan juices.

Chocolate Pudding

This is a great dessert to whip up if you only have a few ingredients in your pantry. It is another recipe that we received with the ingredients for our wedding shower. We serve it either with vanilla ice cream or mixed with cool whip. Delicious!


2/3 c sugar
3 T cocoa
1/4 c corn starch
1/8 t salt
2 3/4 c milk
2 T butter
1 t vanilla


Mix sugar, cocoa, corn starch, and salt in saucepan. Gradually add milk, bring to boil over medium heat. Stir constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.
Chill in refrigerator.

Bacon and Potato Soup (Base)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 0 comments
Found this Bacon and Potato Soup from Allrecipes
We tried it and found it to be a great soup base. We plan to try it again and experiment with adding different vegetables and seasonings. How I got around Andy's dislike of onions was to chop them into large pieces and then strain them out after I had sauteed the vegetables. I then caramelized them further and added them onto of my soup when serving. It was actually better this way! I think I will try this in future as well. 

Ingredients: (Serves 4, or Andy and I once)

4 thick slices bacon
1 t olive oil
1/3 c chopped onion
1/3 c chopped carrots
2/3 stalk celery, chopped
2 2/3 c chicken broth
2 2/3 c cubed potatoes
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/3 c shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 t salt


Cook bacon until crisp in Dutch oven; remove and drain well on paper towels. Discard bacon grease and wipe pan well with paper towel.  (*Note, this step was included, I presume, to make it lower fat. But you could keep the bacon fat and cook the veggies in that instead of the olive oil).
Meanwhile prepare vegetables. Add oil to pan and add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until onion is soft, but not brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth, potatoes, and cayenne. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes or till potatoes are tender.
Stir in cheese, heat till just melted - do not boil. Chop bacon and add to soup. Add salt (to taste). Serve at once. 

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 0 comments
This is just the recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag. But they turned out better than ones I've made in the past, so I'll take it!


2/3 c butter, melted
2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 T hot water
1 1/2 c milk chocolate chips
2 2/3 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt


Preheat oven to 375. Combine melted butter, sugar, eggs, water and mix well. Stir in remaining dry ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or till lightly browned.