Sunday, June 29, 2014

Got Donuts? You've Got Bread Pudding.

That's right, this post is about creating bread pudding out of donuts; not just any donut, but yeasty glazed donuts. Donuts made with yeast are light, airy and absorb liquid without becoming too heavy, mushy and falling apart.  Glazed donuts are packed with sugar, so this is not diabetic friendly; however the brown and white sugars normally used for bread pudding are not needed.  Will it be overly sweet, surprisingly not; if you want "hurt your teeth sweet", than add sugar to the recipe.  My hubby doesn't care for bread pudding, but he tried this and went wild for it; especially when I served him a scoop of Tillamook's "White Chocolate Raspberry Yum" ice cream along side.

I've teased you enough, lets get to the recipe.

Glazed Donut Bread Pudding


12 (yeast made, not cake) glazed donuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pecan pieces
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
2 and 1/2 cups milk (2%)  - creates a lighter "custard" which is best for the donuts
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F; spray a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick baking spray.


Cut donuts in half; cut halves into thirds; place in large bowl with raisins and pecan pieces and mix.  The glaze on the donuts will help hold raisins and pecans to the donut.  Spread out into the baking dish and top with any remaining raisins and pecan pieces that did not adhere to donuts.


In a medium saucepan, melt butter into the milk on medium-high; do not let boil and remove from heat when butter is melted.  In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. 

Slowly pour egg mixture into the butter/milk mixture and begin whisking immediately to avoid scrambling the egg mixture.  Pour mixture over the donut pieces; use a spoon to work liquid between the pieces.
Bake for 40-45 minutes; top is a golden brown and sides are bubbling.  Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

Enjoy the treat! 

Mary Cokenour

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Delicious Dumplings from Poland.

Dumplings; usually a circular layer of unleavened dough which has a filling put into its center, folded over and sealed with a dap of water along the edges. If you have had Italian ravioli, then you've eaten dumplings. In Poland, the dumpling is referred to as a pierogi; the usual filling is a mixture of potato and onion; first boiled, then baked or fried.  Almost every culture in the world has some sort of dumpling, the fillings are infinite, and they are a comfort food.

Being pasta making challenged, no, I don't make my own dumplings; instead I rely on Mrs. T's Pierogies found in most supermarket freezers.  Just like frozen ravioli, they are a convenience, especially when the mood for them suddenly strikes.  Just pop them in boiling water until they float, strain, fry them up in butter and/or oil, and eat as is, or sauce them up.   Like ravioli, they come in a variety of fillings, but my favorite is potato with cheese.  By the way, the recommended serving size is 3, but who am I kidding; 4 or 5 is my usual serving.



1 (16 oz) box Mrs. T's potato and cheese pierogies (or whichever potato variety desired)
1/2 cup each diced red and yellow bell peppers
1/2 cup diced onion
water to boil pierogies
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper




Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Add in the pierogies and cook for 5 to 7 minutes; until they float to the top and are puffed up; turn off heat.


While pierogies are cooking, melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add in the bell peppers, onions, salt, garlic powder and black pepper; sauté for one minute.   Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pierogies to the skillet; brown one side for 4 minutes; turn over and brown the other side for an additional 4 minutes.


Makes 4 servings (3 pierogies per serving).

Mary Cokenour

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Casserole with a Long Name and Lots of Flavor.

There I was, chicken breasts defrosted so I could make a favorite of mine, Seared Chicken and Risi E Bisi for lunch. I'd also defrosted small shrimp to make Skillet Shrimp and Pasta for dinner. Now here comes the problem, coming home after a three hour adventure which included two hours of hiking and climbing up to an arch doesn't put you in the mood for cooking...anything.

I half heartedly pulled out the ingredients for the first recipe, but then I spied a packet of broccoli which I had chopped up, steamed and frozen; then it came to me!  What if I take the chicken, shrimp, broccoli and mixed it all up with the rice into a casserole dish and cooked it all at once?  Yeppers, I was feeling inspired and it wouldn't be that hurtful to my already aching muscles.  For the Risi E Bisi I would use Arborio rice, since this is actually a risotto dish; instead I used packets of chicken flavored rice to make life just a little bit easier.

Now if you can't or don't like shrimp, simply leave it out, but add another half pound of the chicken in its stead; only a half pound because it is denser than the shrimp.  I did let a friend sample this creation out of my tired mind, and she enjoyed it.  Oh, the long name?  Each main ingredient is almost equal to the next and couldn't decide who to give the most credit to; I gave it to all of them!  Even the Cheddar cheese which was screaming at me from the cheese drawer, "pick me...pick meeeee!!!"

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole with Chicken and Shrimp


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into one inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 (5.5 oz) packets chicken rice mix
1 and 1/2 cups small chopped broccoli pieces
1 lb. small shrimp, cleaned and deveined
4 cups hot water
1 (12 oz) bag shredded mild Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400F; spray a 3 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the salt, paprika and black pepper.  In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat; sauté chicken for five minutes.

Into a large bowl, mix together partially cooked chicken and remaining ingredients, except the Cheddar cheese.  Pour mixture into baking dish and cover with aluminum foil; bake for 15 minutes (shrimp will turn slightly opaque).


Remove foil; spread cheese evenly over top of mixture; bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sweet Salmon and Squash..

As much as Roy and I enjoy eating out and trying new restaurants, eating at home is more cozy and convenient.  So, when I told him I had salmon and asked how he wanted it cooked, he suggested I try and copycat the recipe from the Line Camp Steak House.  There are a lot of elements to their "Salmon in Maple Glaze and Crushed Pecans"; one being orange zest and I was too lazy to rehydrate my dried zest, or run to the store for a fresh orange.  Therefore, my recipe does not include that element and something tells me that the brown sugar I used is my own inclusion. 

The side dish I served with the salmon was very easy to make; spaghetti squash using the same flavoring ingredients as used with the salmon.  I put the spaghetti squash in the oven and timed the baking of the salmon to coincide with the final preparation of the side dish.

By the way, this is what you'll really love about both dishes; besides the main items, you only need three other ingredients to use in both for a total of four.  How simpler could it be!?!

Sweet Maple Salmon with Pecans

6 (6 oz) boneless, skinless Salmon fillets
3 tsp brown sugar
1 cup maple  syrup
1/2 cup small pecan pieces


Preheat oven to 375F; line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.


Place the fillets, skin side down, on the aluminum foil; spread a half teaspoon of brown sugar over each.  Bake for 10 minutes.


Remove tray from oven; pour maple syrup over each fillet; sprinkle pecan pieces over each.  Bake for additional 10 minutes.


Makes 6 servings.

I used a large spaghetti squash to get enough to serve with each fillet.  Once the squash finished baking, I used an oven mitt to hold each side (they're hot!) and scraped the "spaghetti strands" into a large bowl.  I used the exact same amounts of brown sugar, maple syrup and pecan pieces as specified in the salmon recipe.

There you go, a home cooked meal that looks gourmet restaurant style, just not as pricey.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recipe Remake for Nutella Swirl Bundt Cake.

I like cake, but being a diabetic means I have to sometimes...sometimes forego the dessert. However, life should be enjoyed and making compromises means you can sometimes have your cake and eat it too. This is what I did with a recipe I found online for Nutella Swirl Cake. Making a few simple changes created a cake that was more diabetic friendly than the original recipe. Less sugar, fat and cholesterol; yet a cake that was full of flavor and moist. Of course I also cut down the portion size from 12 slices to 16 slices, but with my recipe remake...less is more!!!

First the original recipe:


Serves: 12
Difficulty: average
Preparation time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Classificaton: Dessert, cake


3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 oz heavy whipping cream
6 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp Nutella
powdered sugar, to dust


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.  Grease a 12 cup bundt cake pan with flour and butter or baking spray.

In a large bowl sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at the time, until well incorporated. Add vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed then add whipping cream and flour mixture alternately. Pour the cake batter into the pan.

Add 3 tablespoons of Nutella on top of the batter, then swirl with a fork for a marble effect.

Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool into the pan.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Recipe on Il Cucchiaio d'Argento (http://
by Breadloveanddreams

Now for my recipe remake:

Nutella Swirl Bundt Cake


3 cups Bob's Red Mill 10-grain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cups Splenda Baking Blend
2 (16 Tbsp)sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup vanilla flavored almond milk, unsweetened
1 and 1/2 cups egg substitute
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp Nutella (also known as hazelnut spread)
powdered sugar, to dust


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.  Grease a 12 cup bundt cake pan with flour and butter or baking spray.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, beat butter and Splenda at medium speed until creamy and fluffy.  Continue beating and slowly add in the egg substitute; add the vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed, add almond milk and flour mixture alternately; pour the cake batter into the pan.  Add four tablespoons of Nutella on top of the batter; swirl with a fork for a marble effect.


Bake for 50 - 60 minutes; until a wooden toothpick comes out clean; allow the cake to cool in the pan.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Makes 16 servings.

When I swirled in the Nutella, I pushed the fork in deeper than I should have.  Guess what?  It still tasted awesomely delicious!

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Crock Pot Ribs and the Blue Potato.

My hubby loves when I make baby back ribs; that's right, when it comes to smoking and grilling, I'm the doer of the family. Unfortunately, these techniques of cooking require that you be available to keep an eye on the smoker or the grill; no setting and forgetting here. Even when I make ribs in the oven, I still have to be home to make sure there is no mishap. There came a day recently when hubby wanted ribs, but I had to work; yes, I do work outside of the home as well as inside. I could have made them the day before, but I spoil him, so wanted the ribs freshly made. I've made boneless pork ribs in the crock pot, but those aren't real ribs; just thick cuts of pork loin.  Would making baby back ribs work in the crock pot as well?

Experiment time!  Wow, it worked really well and at the same time I was able to make a side dish within the same crock pot.  I had a three pound bag of blue potatoes that I had received in my Bountiful Basket; here was a chance to experiment with them as well.  Blue potatoes have the same amount of carbs as the simple white potato, but are healthier for you.  The blue signifies a high level of flavonoids which are antioxidants:  help protect blood vessels from rupture or leakage;  enhance the power of vitamin C; protect cells from oxygen damage; prevent excessive inflammation throughout the body.

Usually when using cut potatoes in the crock pot, you have to parboil them to ensure they cook evenly and thoroughly.  As I cut the potatoes into pieces, I noticed they were very moist inside; would they cook faster in the crock pot than the regularly parboiled white potato?  Remember, this was an experiment, so why not go all the way!?!  The potatoes cooked perfectly; tender, full of flavor from the seasonings, and you could taste the salt, but not be overpowered by it.  The onions were soft and oh so sweet; it was hard not to pick them all out to eat.

Crock Pot Ribs and Side Dish


4 - 6 baby back ribs
Seasoning Rub (see below for recipe)
3 lbs potatoes
1 lb. onions
2 cups barbecue sauce (bottled or homemade - see below for bbq sauce recipe)



Prepare seasoning rub according to recipe; rub onto both sides of ribs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


Next day, unwrap ribs and cut into portions; spray a 6 quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray; place rib portions inside with meaty side against wall of crock pot.


Wash potatoes, cut open lengthwise, in half lengthwise, then into one inch pieces.  Place into center of crock pot and keep ribs against wall, do not let them slide under potatoes. 

Remove paper skin and root from onions; chop into one inch pieces and place over potatoes. 



Pour barbecue sauce over all, cover and cook on low for 5 - 7 hours; until ribs and potatoes are tender.  Remove from crock pot onto serving dish; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and let rest for 15 minutes.  Serve with sauce from pot over all, or in cup for dipping.


Makes 4 to 6 servings, based on one pound of ribs per person.

Mary Cokenour

Additional Recipes for Seasoning Rub and Homemade Barbecue Sauce

All Purpose Rub for Smoking and Grilling


2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp each sea salt, ground black pepper, ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp each paprika, onion powder, garlic powder


In medium bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Rub onto all sides of meat or poultry; refrigerate overnight.


All Purpose Barbecue Sauce


2 Tbsp peanut oil (if not available, use canola oil)
1 small onion, diced
1Tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground horseradish
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp each salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup dark molasses


In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat; sauté onion and garlic till softened; be careful not to burn garlic. Add in remaining ingredients, stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes; sauce will thicken. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking or burning. If sauce thickens too much, stir in a tablespoon of water until desired consistency is achieved.  Use warm or cold; store in refrigerator in airtight container; will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 2 cups.