Marie's Olive Salad

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When gathering recipes for a family cook book in the 1990s, my Aunt Marie sent this one.  I've it taken to potlucks, picnics, and kept on hand at home for a nice side with sandwiches for lunch or supper. 

It's attractive looking, bursts with many flavors, and so easy.  With summer approaching, it's a perfect salad for outdoor eating as there's no mayonnaise to worry about keeping chilled. 

It can easily be doubled or tripled for a large gathering.  At home I serve on a small bed of lettuce.

Marie's Olive Salad
  • In a bowl, add equal amounts of stuffed green olives and black pitted olives, 1 cup each.
  • Add an equal amount of halved cherry tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes, 1 cup.
  • Add thin halved slices of white or red onion, about a half cup, or chopped green onions.
  • Add 3 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Add parsley and oregano leaves, I used fresh, about 2 Tablespoons each, but dried works, just use less
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour in a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing, bottled or homemade, mixing well to coat ingredients.
  • Refrigerated at least 4 hours to marinate and let flavors blend.
  • Optional: chopped green peppers can be added.
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Served with a BLT
         Serve 4-6
         Estimated cost:  $2.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.

Broccoli Blue Cheese Soup

Broccoli and cheese compliment each other. Over the years I've made steamed broccoli with a mustard-Cheddar cheese sauce (also good on steamed cauliflower).  I've often made Broccoli soup with Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

But several years ago at a new local eatery, the soup of the day was Broccoli Gorgonzola Soup.  Naive me, I had to ask what that was!  It's now my favorite way to enjoy broccoli soup.

It can be made with fresh or frozen broccoli. Try it for a nice first course or appetizer, or a meal by itself with a salad or sandwich.

I buy broccoli when in season or on sale then blanch and freeze, or look for sales on frozen bags of chopped broccoli. It's handy to have on hand for a side veggie, a quiche, or a stir fry.

Broccoli Blue Cheese Soup
3 Tabs. butter
2 pounds broccoli florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsps. minced garlic
1-1/2 tsps. dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 - 4 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
4 - 5 ounces of crumbled blue cheese, or more to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup of heavy cream
pepper to taste
Garnish with croutons and/or grated Parmesan or blue cheese crumbles
Heat butter in large soup pan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and salt. Cook about 10 minutes. Add 3 cups water and 2 cups of broth, stir then cover and simmer until broccoli is soft, about 30 minutes. 

In batches process soup in a blender or use an immersion wand to process until smooth. Return to pot and simmer adding cream and cheese stirring until melted and smooth.  Adjust desired thickness of soup with up to 1 more cup of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with garnish of croutons and more cheese. Makes 2 quarts,  6 - 8 servings.

Estimated cost $5 or less; $2.40 or less a quart; .40 cents a serving or less.

Twice Baked Potatoes

These are a real treat for family or guests and worth the effort especially, if making a big batch to have on hand in the freezer.  It's just as easy to make many at one time, and enjoy more often without all the clean up.  When sacks of potatoes go on sale this recipe really delivers bangs for the bucks.

Steak Dinner and Twice Bake Potato
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 or more medium to large baking potatoes
Recipe is for 4 potatoes, 8 halves prepared, but can be doubled or tripled if making a larger quantity to freeze for future meals or make for a large gathering.

Tablespoon or 2 of oil to rub 4 washed potatoes
1 stick of butter cut into pats
1/2 cup cooked diced bacon (or bacon bits)
1/2 cup sour cream, or ranch dressing
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, or cheese of choice
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt  (can be seasoned salt of choice)
pepper to taste
(optional chives or chopped green onions)

400 degree oven.
Rub washed potatoes with oil and bake until done, approximately an hour.  Meanwhile, in large bowl add butter, bacon, sour cream.

Ready to Freeze
Cut each baked potato in half scooping insides into the bowl. Don't scrape too thin; leave enough in shell so it's firm for refilling. Lay empty shell halves on baking sheet for refilling.

Smash and mix potatoes in bowl with butter, bacon and sour cream, adding cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Mix well until blended.

Fill shells abundantly with mixture and if serving immediately, top with more cheese, then garnish with chives or chopped green onions.  Place in oven again until heated through and cheese melts and top crisps up, about 10 minutes.

* If preparing for freezer don't add garnishes until ready to re-bake in the future. I let filled potatoes cool down, then freeze on baking sheets.  Once frozen half-wrap in foil and place in freezer bags.

To use from freezer, defrost with foil on, put on extra cheese and chives, and re-bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes; or take off foil and microwave;  if using frozen, keep foil on and bake at 375 for 30 minutes until heated through, adding garnish near the end.

* Times may vary depending on size of potatoes.
Makes 8 servings
Estimated cost: $2.80 or less; .35 cents a serving or less.

Zucchini Fritters

 photo null_zpsa695f003.jpgMy small garden ( five, 3 ft. x 5 ft. raised beds) provide plenty of  vegetables for our summer time needs. I only planted two zucchini plants, but they produce so many zucchinis I'm always looking for recipes to use them.

My tried and true cookbook, "The Lilly Wallace New American Cook Book," with over 3,000 recipes was wedding present in 1965. 

First published in 1941, it was reprinted through the 1940s to 60s. Recipes come from the days before boxed or processed foods -- all basic from scratch, good old-fashioned recipes. 

So I looked up "fritters," and tweaked this one to make zucchini fritters. I serve these as a side dish with fish or chicken.

Click link to my other zucchini recipes. Bread, fries, relish or a ribbon salad.

Zucchini Fritters:
1 1/2 pounds grated zucchini (about 3 medium)
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
3 Tabs. finely chopped chives or green onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tab, diced green chili pepper or more to taste
1 Tab. cornstarch
ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
dipping sauce/s of choice: chili, soy, salsa
Cook Book, 1963 photo null_zps53116990.jpg
Grate zucchini and toss with salt in a colander or strainer.  Let stand 10 minutes, then press zucchini dry to drain as much liquid as you can.  Place zucchini in a bowl and mix in egg, flour, chives, peppers, garlic and cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper. 

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil and drop 1/4 cupfuls of mixture into the skillet, frying in batches, slightly flattening and cooking until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with dipping sauces. Makes 8 patties. Serves 4 - 6.

Estimated cost if buying zucchini: $2.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.  If you grow your own zucchini or a gardener gives you some, the cost is next to nothing for this nice side dish.

Fried Pickle Chips

Fried Pickles, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI had to try fried pickle chips after seeing them featured so many times on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.  It seemed like such a novelty!

I keep of list of "things" I want to try and make and this one is now crossed off.  A reader suggested the Come Back Sauce posted earlier  in this blog, would be good for fried pickles, so that spurred me to make them.  Oh my goodness, what a treat!

My husband is up to trying anything and he was delighted with them.  I'd already made an egg mixture and coating mixture to make pork chops, so thought I'd do fried pickles for a side dish and use up the rest of the batter.

My coating mixture is Panko crumbs,  flour and sesame seeds, but regular bread crumbs would work, too.

It couldn't be easier.  I don't have a deep fryer, so use a deep 3 quart pot putting in 2-3 inches of oil and heat to 350 for frying.  A cast iron skillet with an inch of oil would work, too.  I save my oil, refrigerate and reuse.  After using, I strain it and put in ajar and reuse about 3 or 4 times. 

Tip: oil is ready when small bubbles rise around a wooden spoon handle inserted into oil. 

Fried Pickle Chips
1 to 2 cups of oil or more as needed for frying
drained dill pickle slices, about 2 cups
flour for dusting
1 beaten egg, with a shell of water
1- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
dipping sauces: Come Back Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Blue Cheese

Heat oil over medium heat to 350.  Test by dropping a crumb into oil to see if it "sizzles."; or test with a wooden spoon handle.
Pat pickles slices dry on a paper towel, dust both sides with flour.
Dip slices into egg, then into crumb mixture.
Fry several at a time, until golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes, turning once.
Drain on a paper towel, then serve with sauce/sauces.
Serves 4 - 6.

Estimated cost: $1.50 or less