All of Liza's recipes in one handy place!

All of Liza's recipes in one handy place!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into even small chunks

6 cups chicken broth (48 oz)

1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground ginger

pinch of nutmeg
Salt and white ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, chicken broth, dried thyme and nutmeg.

Bring to a simmer and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the squash is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.Remove from the heat. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, or in the stockpot with an immersion blender until smooth.

Return the pureed soup the heat. Stir in the heavy cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. If the soup is too thick, thin it out with additional broth or water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Serves 4 to 6 as a main meal.

**If you like a dash of spice you can add a small amount of Tabasco or a pinch of chili powder when you add the ginger & nutmeg.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Portuguese Soup

This is a yummy and hearty traditional kale and sausage soup!

1 lb. Chourico or Lingica (I use a half pound each)
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium Yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
3-4 peeled and cubed medium potatoes
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 (46 oz.) can chicken stock
3 cups water1 (28 oz.) can chopped, peeled tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 large bunch fresh kale - stemmed and chopped

Slice sausage into bite size pieces and set aside. Sauté onion, sausage and garlic in oil until tender but not browned - I do this right in my soup pot but a pan works fine too. In a large soup pot - combine sausage/onion mixture with chicken stock, water, sausage, carrots and potatoes.

Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender.

Add to the stock the tomatoes, beans, celery and kale. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Great served with warm crusty bread.

You can make this ahead, you can also freeze it and thaw servings as needed. Great way to thaw out after shoveling snow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don's Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 cups (crushed about 1 pkg) graham crackers
Chocolate Dip (see below)

Crush graham crackers with a rolling pin. Mix crumbs with peanut butter, vanilla and butter and mix well. Form into1-inch balls, dip into Chocolate Dip and store in the refrigerator.

8 ounces semi sweet chocolate
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cake paraffin wax

Melt all together in a double boiler.

Vegetarian Minestrone

1 medium onion – diced small
3 cloves garlic - crushed
2 Tbs olive oil
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black pepper (fresh ground if possible)
2 boxes of vegetable broth
2 cans of beans (cannelloni work well as do red kidney beans)
2 medium zucchini - chopped
3-4 carrots – chopped
Box of pasta – your choice

** Please note you can also add other fresh veggies such as brocolli, peas, mushrooms whatever you have on hand - be creative!!

Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned.

Add the can of tomatoes with its juice and simmer briefly. Add vegetable broth and beans (drained) and simmer for a while.

Add veggies closer to serving so they don’t get mushy. In a small separate pot cook the pasta to you liking (el dente works best to avoid the mush factor).

Before serving add in pasta and garnish individual bowls with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spicy Grilled Pork Chops

You will need four to six center cut thick boneless pork chops for this recipe. Both the rub and the glaze can be made ahead.


1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp black pepper (I use fresh ground)
2 tsp brown sugar

Mix well.


½ cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple juice (or apple cider if available)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1Tbs soy sauce (I use the less sodium variety)
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together and simmer over medium heat until reduced (coats a spoon).

Prep pork chops buy dredging in the rub mixture. (I use a plastic bag and shake them individually to coat.)

Place chops on either gas or charcoal grill and slather on the glaze periodically throughout the cooking process.

These are great served with baked apples, rice or potatoes. Nice grilled meal for the fall!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yummy Eggplant Parm

To start you will want to sweat the eggplant. Use kosher salt when salting the eggplant. The coarse grains don't dissolve as readily as the fine grains of regular table salt, so any excess can be easily wiped away. To be time-efficient, use the 30 to 45 minutes during which the salted eggplant sits to prepare the breading, cheeses, and sauce.


2 medium eggplants cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 1/4 Tbs kosher salt

2 cups seasoned bread

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup flour

2 tsp salt and ground pepper

4 large eggs

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 jars tomato sauce

2 cups whole milk mozzerella shredded or 8 ounces sliced

Fresh basil leaves torn, for garnish

1. FOR THE EGGPLANT: Toss eggplant slices and kosher salt in large bowl until combined; transfer salted eggplant to large colander set over bowl. Let stand until eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons liquid, 30 to 45 minutes. Arrange eggplant slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.

2. While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions, place rimmed baking sheet on each rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the bread crumbs with 1 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

3. Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in large zipper-lock bag; shake to combine. Beat eggs in second pie plate. Place 8 to 10 eggplant slices in bag with flour; seal bag and shake to coat eggplant. Remove eggplant slices, shaking off excess flour, dip in eggs, let excess egg run off, then coat evenly with bread crumb mixture; set breaded slices on wire rack set over baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant.

4. Remove preheated baking sheets from oven; add 3 tablespoons oil to each sheet, tilting to coat evenly with oil. Place half of breaded eggplant on each sheet in single layer; bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with wide spatula after 20 minutes. Do not turn off oven.

TO ASSEMBLE: Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Layer in half of eggplant slices, overlapping slices to fit; distribute 1 cup sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Layer in remaining eggplant and dot with 1 cup sauce, leaving majority of eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.

Bake until bubbling and cheese is browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; scatter basil over top, and serve, passing remaining tomato sauce separately.

Mom's Apple Crisp

8 tart apples
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together thoroughly. Core, peel and slice the apples then toss with 1/2 of the brown sugar mixture. Put into 9 inch greased baking pan and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, granulated sugar and egg. Mix as if pastry dough and clings together. Spread over apples covering completely. Top with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture and pour melted butter over the whole thing. Bake at 350 degrees a=for approximately 40 minutes unitl nicely browned and bubbly.

Is it time to go apple picking yet??

French Toast Strata

1 loaf french bread (cubed into 1 inch pieces)
8 large eggs
8 oz cream cheese
2 1/2 cups half & half
8 Tbs butter (melted)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Grease a 13 inch by 9 inch pan. Arrange 1/2 the cubed bread in bottom of the pan. Cut up cream cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and layer over the bread. Top with remaining bread.

In a large blender or mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over bread and cover casserole with plastic wrap. Refridgerate 2-24 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until top and edges are browned. Serve warm with maple syrup. great with breakfast sausage links!

Molasses Crinkles

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup white sugar (to roll dough in)

Mix shortening, sugar, egg and molasses - mix thouroughly. Sift flour and dry ingredients together. Mix dry mixture into molasses mix a little at a time and combine completely.

Roll in 1 inch balls and cook on parchment lined cookie sheets at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!! These are great fall cookies .

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

1 Haas avocado, ripe, pitted & skin removed
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 TBS fresh lime juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1TBS minced red onion
1 TBS minced fresh cilantro
1 medium garlic clove - crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

In a food processor puree the avocado, Tabasco and lime juice until fully broken down - about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth.

The dressing can be refrigerated for up to one week. Easily doubled for a large group - this makes a great dip for veggies too.

For a low fat variation use low fat buttermilk and substitute 1/4 cup of low fat or no fat sour cream for the mayonnaise.

** If you like you can also try adding 2 tsp minced fresh dill or fresh chive. Another great taste is adding a 1/4 tsp of cumin.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Best Ever Congo Bars

1 cup pecans (or walnuts) toasted and chopped coarse
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs - beaten
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (you can do semi-sweet or a mix of semi-sweet and white or even butterscotch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on large rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside. Toast coconut on same rimmed baking sheet, stirring 2 to 3 times, until light golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Line a 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan with foil. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in chocolate, coconut, and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.

Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not over bake. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

For a variation I hold aside a 1/4 cup of coconut and a few Tbs of the chocolate chips and sprinkle them on top before baking. Also if you like you can use toffee chips in place of nuts or in addition to chocolate chips.