Thursday, August 06, 2015

Easy Shrimp Quesadillas

Serves 2-4 people

1 jar good quality red salsa
1-1/3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 package (8 ounces) frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
4 flour tortillas (10 inches)
1 tablespoon butter
1.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter and tortilla.  Sprinkle the cheese, chilies, tomato, onions and shrimp over each tortilla.  Cook and fold before removing from the pan.  Cut into triangles and serve with salsa.

Easy (Mayonnaise) Rolls


Butter, for greasing muffing tins

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
4 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter.

In a large bowl, combine flour and milk, blending with a rubber spatula. Add the sugar and mayonnaise, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cowboy Caviar

Makes enough for 10-12 people

1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can rotel
1/2 red onion, small dice
1 red or green bell pepper, small dice
1-2 jalapenos, small dice (optional; omit if you prefer a less spicy dip)
1 small bottle zesty Kraft Italian Dressing
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, small dice
1 bag (regular or thick cut) tortilla chips

Open and drain all canned ingredients into a colander and discard juice.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except avocado and chips.  Marinate overnight.  Just before serving, drain off excess liquid using a colander.  Add freshly diced avocado.  Stir gently to combine.  Serve with tortilla chips!

Kelley's Favorite Crab Cakes with Imperial Sauce

Serves 4

If you can find it, buy fresh lump crabmeat for the crab cakes—it's more expensive but worth every penny. You'll need 1 sleeve of saltines here; crush them until most have turned to dust, leaving a few pieces no bigger than a pebble.

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 pounds crabmeat, picked over for shells
1 1/4 cups Saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
4 scallions, minced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and Old Bay in large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce for serving.

2. Fold crabmeat, saltines, and scallions into remaining sauce until combined. Form crabmeat mixture into eight 1-inch-thick patties.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add 4 crab cakes and cook until golden brown, 21/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and tent with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and crab cakes. Serve with reserved sauce.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Kelley's Russian Dressing for Reuben Sandwiches, etc.

My husband flipped for this Russian dressing, which is incredibly easy to make (we will never buy Thousand Island/Russian dressing at the store again).


1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (I like Wickles Pickles brand relish; alternatively, you can finely chop sweet pickles and add 1 teaspoon sweet pickle juice)

2 tablespoons cocktail sauce


Whisk mayonnaise, relish, and cocktail sauce in small bowl.  Use within 3 days.

Ideas for Uses:
  • Reuben Sandwiches
  • Reuben Dogs
  • Reuben Sliders
  • Meat Loaf Sandwiches
  • All Purpose Sandwich Spread
  • Tuna Salad (use Russian Dressing instead of straight mayonnaise and add lemon juice and capers)
  • Macaroni Salad (use Russian Dressing and celery; add a little extra relish and mayo to thicken if needed; hard boiled eggs and tuna can be added for a more substantial salad)
  • Russian Deviled Eggs with Bacon Crumbles! (6 hard boiled eggs plus 1/3 cup dressing and 2 slices cooked bacon)
  • Iceberg Wedge Salad
  • Cobb Salad
  • Vegetable Dip
  • Accompaniment for Ham
  • Pairing for Beer (especially craft ales and lagers)
  • Pretzel/Chip Dip
PS Thousand Island dressing is completely different than Russian dressing - the two are not the same thing. Hands down, I prefer Russian dressing over Thousand Island any day as it is bolder and can be made spicier with the addition of a little extra horseradish and/or paprika.

Exactly why we called it “Russian” is not certain; some say it is because early recipes called for the addition of caviar, while others say it’s because the dressing was designed to top a Russian-inspired salad known as Salad Olivier.  I personally think it's because of the pickles - Russian's love pickles!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Loretta Kelley's Pound Cake Recipe

My second cousin in Charlotte, North Carolina, says this pound cake is one of her signature desserts; she got the recipe from a nursing student in the 1960s who became a long-time friend.

Also, she uses a special bundt cake pan that was given to her as a wedding present in 1965.  When I was visiting her recently, I looked at the markings on the bottom of the pan, as she told me she had bought a dozen pans over the years trying to find another one like it, but was disappointed with all but her original pan; over the last 40 plus years her original pan has lost a lot of it's teflon coating.  The pan was clearly marked as a "Bundt Pan" made by Northland Aluminum Products in Minneapolis.  I was able to get on eBay and Etsy and find vintage "new" pans to replace her original 12-cup pan, and she was thrilled.  Needless to say, I bought one too (and so did my mom).  Northland Aluminum is now popularly known as Nordic Ware, but she swears the original pan is the best pan - and nothing new compares.

Now, for the recipe!

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) Land O'Lakes Margarine (plus another 3/4 stick for the buttering the pan).
1 bar Philadelphia brand cream cheese (Loretta says Philadelphia has the best flavor in the cake).
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur is Loretta's preferred brand), plus extra to flour the pan
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
1 generous pinch salt

A couple hours before making the cake, remove the eggs, margarine, and cream cheese from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter at room temperature; all ingredients must be room temperature for this cake to turn out perfectly.

When you're ready to assemble the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Heavily butter (using 2/3 to 3/4 stick of margarine) your bundt cake pan, then generously flour.  Loretta says the "heavy butter" serves two purposes; first, it gives the cake a nice crust.  Second, it keeps the cake from sticking to the pan, so be sure to get the margarine in all the crevices (if you feel a bit like you're caulking a shower, you're doing it right.).

Using a stand mixer, cream margarine and cream cheese with sugar.  Add eggs and whip until fluffy (the eggs are the leavening agent).  Add flour and mxi until just incorporated.  Finally, add vanilla.

Spoon immediately into pan; Loretta does this gently with a large spoon to avoid disturbing the heavily buttered floured interior of the pan.  Smooth out top once filled and tap once on the counter to remove any large air pockets.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, then turn down oven to 300 and bake an additional 50-60 minutes.  (In my oven, the pound cake is done at 52 minutes).

Let hot cake rest 10 minutes, then turn it over while still hot onto a cake platter (it is best to place the cake platter upside down on the top of the pan and then flip).

My niece, Courtney, loves strawberry; I have successfully made a strawberry variation of this cake by omitting the vanilla extract and instead adding 1 1/2 TBS imitation strawberry extract to the cake batter.

Another variation found online: if you really want to make this cake extra special, add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in saucepan, bring to rolling boil, remove from heat, add 1 teas. each...vanilla, almond, lemon extract. When you remove cake from oven, poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer, and immediately pour the hot sugar water over the cake.  If cake residue remains on the wooded skewer, that is don't want to overcook this cake! Cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.

Note: Land O'Lakes is the margarine brand Loretta uses; it has 80% vegetable oil - check your margarine to be sure it has the higher oil content.  Loretta has made this cake with butter over the years but says the cake made with margarine is the best (she doesn't use much margarine in her cooking/baking otherwise).

Kelley's Note: I made this cake over the weekend using Land O'Lakes butter (unsalted) instead of margarine, with the addition of 3/4 tsp kosher salt and also 2 cups cake flour plus 1 cup all-purpose flour instead of all 3 cups all purpose flour (the cake was more tender with the addition of the cake flour); it came out great!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

paula deen's cream cheese pound cake

paula deen's cream cheese pound cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 12 min 
Cook Time: 1 hr, 30 min 
This is one moist and decadent pound cake- turns out lovely and perfect and ready for a simple topping of whipped cream and fruit.


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups granulated white sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups cake flour, sifted twice after measuring
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan (I like to use the nonstick spray that is especially for baking... with the flour mixed into it).
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until well combined. Add in sugar and continue to mix for about 6 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until well blended. Gradually add the flour, beating and scraping down the sides until it is all incorporated. Mix in salt and extracts.
3. Pour into prepared pan. Hit the pan gently on the counter about 5 times to help settle the batter and remove any air pockets. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. The cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.


*To make a simple berry topping, mix two or three kinds of berries with just a spoonful of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Whip some heavy whipping cream, and serve a slice of this cake with freshly whipped cream and berries. So good!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar 
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract, room temperature

Combine butter and cream cheese. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture stirring until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into well greased 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Loretta's Pound Cake

3 sticks margarine
8 oz. cream cheese
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, large (about 1 cup)
3 cups flour
1 T vanilla
No salt

Preheat oven to 350° for 30 minutes. Prepare bundt pan by greasing liberally with 1/2 cup margarine, then flour the pan. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

Cream margarine and cream cheese together then add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time until all are incorporated at medium low speed, then turn mixer on high until mixture is whipped looking. Add flour, a little at a time until all is incorporated. Do not over nix or the cake will be tough. Lastly add vanilla and mix on low for a few minutes.

Pour into prepared bundt pan, put into oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn oven down to 300° and continue baking for 1 hour or until done. Remove immediately and cool.

(Use a very heavy bundt pan.)

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