People who know me know I think of the day after Thanksgiving not as Black Friday but rather as Turkey Loonie Day.
Turkey loonies seem to be a new concept to the Wisconsinites I’ve talked with. It’s a kind of creamed turkey or hot turkey salad. And, it’s delish.
Step one is to gather all the scrappy bits of turkey off the bird and into a pot. A mixture of white and dark meat makes for good flavor.
Turn the heat to medium and start stirring in ingredients. You can adjust the recipe to any amount of turkey just by tasting as you cook. I provide the proportions I used for about 4 cups of turkey, but of course I didn’t measure anything.
·         About a half cup of milk
·         6 oz of Velveeta, chunked up
·         Two hard boiled eggs, chopped
·         Three stems of celery
·         A solid helping of black pepper
·         Five green olives
Do not add salt. The Velveeta will add plenty itself. In my house growing up, we separated out a couple helpings of turkey and omitted the olives for picky eaters.
Just heat and stir. When it’s done, it’s best served on hard rolls that will soak up the juicy flavor.
Cheers!

People who know me know I think of the day after Thanksgiving not as Black Friday but rather as Turkey Loonie Day.

Turkey loonies seem to be a new concept to the Wisconsinites I’ve talked with. It’s a kind of creamed turkey or hot turkey salad. And, it’s delish.

Step one is to gather all the scrappy bits of turkey off the bird and into a pot. A mixture of white and dark meat makes for good flavor.

Turn the heat to medium and start stirring in ingredients. You can adjust the recipe to any amount of turkey just by tasting as you cook. I provide the proportions I used for about 4 cups of turkey, but of course I didn’t measure anything.

  • ·         About a half cup of milk
  • ·         6 oz of Velveeta, chunked up
  • ·         Two hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • ·         Three stems of celery
  • ·         A solid helping of black pepper
  • ·         Five green olives

Do not add salt. The Velveeta will add plenty itself. In my house growing up, we separated out a couple helpings of turkey and omitted the olives for picky eaters.

Just heat and stir. When it’s done, it’s best served on hard rolls that will soak up the juicy flavor.

Cheers!


So, I made a huge sacrifice for you guys and made my cranberry relish before Thanksgiving. It’s a much-clamored-for non-recipe.
This is a great alternative to can-shaped jelly, and it’s ultra simple.
Here’s what you do:
After washing and rinsing a bag of fresh cranberries, halve them.
Add a can of whole jellied cranberries.
Add a cup of chopped walnuts.
If you wish, you may add some mandarin oranges or (my favorite) a chopped fresh apple.
Put it all in a bowl and stir. Quite yum.

So, I made a huge sacrifice for you guys and made my cranberry relish before Thanksgiving. It’s a much-clamored-for non-recipe.

This is a great alternative to can-shaped jelly, and it’s ultra simple.

Here’s what you do:

  • After washing and rinsing a bag of fresh cranberries, halve them.
  • Add a can of whole jellied cranberries.
  • Add a cup of chopped walnuts.
  • If you wish, you may add some mandarin oranges or (my favorite) a chopped fresh apple.

Put it all in a bowl and stir. Quite yum.


This is my first post to “Without A Recipe” from Wisconsin, and it’s a good one.
Because I had an extra half of a butternut squash from my soup, I decided to make squash pancakes a la potato pancakes. It was a good decision.
While I had half a red onion cooking in a pan, I peeled and grated half of squash. This recipe will be even easier for those of you who own a food processor. To the squash I added generous sprinkles of curry powder, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. I used an egg for binding. For thickening, I used GF flour. Any flour/starch would do, though. Finally, I dumped the now-cooked onion in the bowl and stirred.
I plopped a few tablespoons of the squash mixture into the onion pan with a little butter and cooked for about 3 minutes on each side with the burner on medium. Green onions and sour cream for garnish and I was a happy girl.
LOVE fall.

This is my first post to “Without A Recipe” from Wisconsin, and it’s a good one.

Because I had an extra half of a butternut squash from my soup, I decided to make squash pancakes a la potato pancakes. It was a good decision.

While I had half a red onion cooking in a pan, I peeled and grated half of squash. This recipe will be even easier for those of you who own a food processor. To the squash I added generous sprinkles of curry powder, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. I used an egg for binding. For thickening, I used GF flour. Any flour/starch would do, though. Finally, I dumped the now-cooked onion in the bowl and stirred.

I plopped a few tablespoons of the squash mixture into the onion pan with a little butter and cooked for about 3 minutes on each side with the burner on medium. Green onions and sour cream for garnish and I was a happy girl.

LOVE fall.


I love this chocolate banana dessert. It’s easy, relatively healthful, and yummy.
When I have banana that ripen before I can eat them, I throw them in the freezer. Then on evenings when I crave ice cream, but I KNOW I should not eat ice cream I make a banana smoothie.
I chop the frozen bananas into inch-long chucks and peel the banana. The chunks go into my blender with the tiniest of pours of milk. Then, I blend until the bananas are smooth. Then, I add a few drops of vanilla extract and a shake of cocoa powder. With another 10 seconds with the blending, it’s a delicious mix.
You can see here I’ve topped it off with some left over pecan halves I found in my frezzer.
So good. So cold. So full of potassium.

I love this chocolate banana dessert. It’s easy, relatively healthful, and yummy.

When I have banana that ripen before I can eat them, I throw them in the freezer. Then on evenings when I crave ice cream, but I KNOW I should not eat ice cream I make a banana smoothie.

I chop the frozen bananas into inch-long chucks and peel the banana. The chunks go into my blender with the tiniest of pours of milk. Then, I blend until the bananas are smooth. Then, I add a few drops of vanilla extract and a shake of cocoa powder. With another 10 seconds with the blending, it’s a delicious mix.

You can see here I’ve topped it off with some left over pecan halves I found in my frezzer.

So good. So cold. So full of potassium.


Six more weeks of winter! This is great news when you live in Florida. There’s only one way to celebrate: With groundhog molasses cookies.
I started with this recipe from Taste of Home, but I my recipe needed more flour to prevent them from sticking to the counter where I rolled out the dough. Also, I didn’t have any ginger, so I substituted nutmeg. When they were fresh, they were yummy. But, I thought they dried out much too quickly and turned into cardboard.
Also, if you are interested, you can find the true recipe for groundhog cutouts at The Groundhog Club. You can also order the groundhog cookie cutters there.

Six more weeks of winter! This is great news when you live in Florida. There’s only one way to celebrate: With groundhog molasses cookies.

I started with this recipe from Taste of Home, but I my recipe needed more flour to prevent them from sticking to the counter where I rolled out the dough. Also, I didn’t have any ginger, so I substituted nutmeg. When they were fresh, they were yummy. But, I thought they dried out much too quickly and turned into cardboard.

Also, if you are interested, you can find the true recipe for groundhog cutouts at The Groundhog Club. You can also order the groundhog cookie cutters there.


During the past few months, my most requested dinner party contribution has been bread. Beer bread is a favorite creation when I’m under time pressure. But, when I’ve got all day to let yeast work magic, I make fiesta bread.

When I first made this bread, I followed the Confetti Fiesta Braided Bread Recipe from Taste of Home.

"But, this site is called ‘Without A Recipe!’" you’re currently screaming at your laptop, leaving little spittle marks. Calm down! I’ve modified it enough it deserves it’s spot on this blog.

Here’s how I do it:

First I heat regular milk, a stick of butter, and container of pre-chopped red onions in a saucepan on the stove. Then, I let it cool. I’m afraid of killing the yeast, and until recently sticking my finger in it was the only method I used to measure the temperature of liquids. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, I’ve mixed what appears to be about 4 Cups of flour and a good pour of corn meal. I’ve added several a fist of sugar and five solid shakes of salt. I’ve dumped two packets of active dry yeast across the top.

When I can hold my finger in the melted butter/milk pan for 10 seconds without screaming, I add it to my dry ingredients and get my hands dirty. When the dough is somewhat mixed, I pour in a can of creamed corn, a container of pre-chopped green peppers, and two whole eggs. I add  flour by the cup-ful until the dough no longer feels like corn muffin mix and starts feeling more like bread dough. Then, I turn the dough out on a corn-mealed counter and work it. The dough will never feel as smooth as white-flour dough because the corn meal is gritty. Nevertheless, you will be able to see the dough stop sticking to your fingers.

Put the lump of dough back in the bowl and spray it down with Pam. Wet a paper towel and drape it over the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the yeast build a sandcastle. After a few hours, when you’re wondering if the dough could actually eat you, turn it out on the counter again. First divide the dough in half. Divide one half into thirds. Make each third into a long worm. Braid the worms. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let rise again, this time on cookie sheets.

Toward the end of letting the dough rise the second time, turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Put only one of the braids in the oven at a time. Bake until golden. While the dough is still hot, spread it with butter.

Enjoy!


I love holiday gifts that are just as much fun to make as to give. This past holiday season, I played the part of confectioner. Here are two examples of me playing with candy.

Turtles: The first recipe is adapted from the secrets of Sarah Beth’s kitchen. The most difficult part of this recipe is taking the foil off the chocolates. Seriously. You can do this. There are only three ingredients: square pretzels, Rolos, pecans.

On a cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper), lay flat half a bag of pretzels. On top of the pretzel set an unwrapped Rolo. Place them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. While the chocolates are still warm, press a pecan into the Rolo. Let cool.

Peppermint snowflakes: I love these treats because when your friends finish the chocolate, they have a cookie cutter to keep. I purchased two sets of snowflake cookie cutters from Ross for about $5.

I made my snowflakes two-layered: chocolate with a peppermint top. In my double boiler, I melted Baker’s squares with a little Crisco (chocolate always needs a little fat, but butter works well, too). I had the snowflakes spread across a wax-paper lined cookie sheet. When the chocolate was melted and smooth, I poured it into the cookie cutter. I filled them about halfway. Next, I melted white chocolate Baker’s squares with a pour of peppermint oil. Here, you need to take care that the oil is well mixed and that the chocolate is smooth. When it was melted, I filled the rest of the snowflakes. Need to relieve holiday stress? Smash some peppermint candy candies with a rolling pin and sprinkle the crumbs on top.

When you put these treats inside cellophane bags from the dollar store, you have a gift ready to spread holiday cheer.


My mom liked to shout for joy the last day of summer. The next day she would get to ship my brother, me, and most importantly my father off to school the next day. She used the words of Nat King Cole as her anthem:
The party’s overIt’s time to call it a dayThey’ve burst your pretty balloonAnd taken the moon away.
But, more importantly for the purposes of this blog, my mother also used this occasion to make breakfast as dinner. I wanted to do the same today because as a more modern songwriter might say
The dog days are overThe dog days are goneCan you hear the horses?Cuz here they come.
I decided on pancakes and sausage. I made this basic recipe for pancakes (of course, without measuring anything), but then I played the game of seeing what was in my pantry I could add. I decided on a good handful of chopped walnuts, a pour of vanilla, and tipping of the cinnamon can.  I added a little extra water to thin them out and put the flapjacks on my buttered grill. They were delicious with some pumpkin butter.

My mom liked to shout for joy the last day of summer. The next day she would get to ship my brother, me, and most importantly my father off to school the next day. She used the words of Nat King Cole as her anthem:

The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
They’ve burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away.

But, more importantly for the purposes of this blog, my mother also used this occasion to make breakfast as dinner. I wanted to do the same today because as a more modern songwriter might say

The dog days are over
The dog days are gone
Can you hear the horses?
Cuz here they come.

I decided on pancakes and sausage. I made this basic recipe for pancakes (of course, without measuring anything), but then I played the game of seeing what was in my pantry I could add. I decided on a good handful of chopped walnuts, a pour of vanilla, and tipping of the cinnamon can.  I added a little extra water to thin them out and put the flapjacks on my buttered grill. They were delicious with some pumpkin butter.


Road trip cookies.
Tomorrow is a road trip, and what goes better with eight hours in the car than cookies? (Don’t worry, I also will pack apple slices and water to balance the healthful food equilibrium.)
These cookies take their inspiration from a friend…and a Betty Crocker mix. My friend used a pouch of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, added butterscotch chips, and bragged on how yummy they were. It was rather mean behavior when I live 1,100 miles away and was unable to put my hand in her cookie jar. Her one complaint was that they were a bit on the crumbly side.
So, I purchased Betty’s pouch of cookie mix and followed the recipe on the back about adding butter and an egg. Gasp! But, it’s what happens next that makes this entry worthy of “Without A Recipe.”
I added the butterscotch chips - I measured the specific amount as “what was left in the bag.” Then, to combat crumblyness, I added several handfuls of quick cooking oats until the dough was less sticky.
This did the trick. The cookies didn’t spread across the sheet as they baked. And, after I let them cool for two minutes, I was easily able to pick them up with my fingers - no breaking or crumbling.
Can you tell the difference between homemade cookies and the ones from the mix?

Road trip cookies.

Tomorrow is a road trip, and what goes better with eight hours in the car than cookies? (Don’t worry, I also will pack apple slices and water to balance the healthful food equilibrium.)

These cookies take their inspiration from a friend…and a Betty Crocker mix. My friend used a pouch of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, added butterscotch chips, and bragged on how yummy they were. It was rather mean behavior when I live 1,100 miles away and was unable to put my hand in her cookie jar. Her one complaint was that they were a bit on the crumbly side.

So, I purchased Betty’s pouch of cookie mix and followed the recipe on the back about adding butter and an egg. Gasp! But, it’s what happens next that makes this entry worthy of “Without A Recipe.”

I added the butterscotch chips - I measured the specific amount as “what was left in the bag.” Then, to combat crumblyness, I added several handfuls of quick cooking oats until the dough was less sticky.

This did the trick. The cookies didn’t spread across the sheet as they baked. And, after I let them cool for two minutes, I was easily able to pick them up with my fingers - no breaking or crumbling.

Can you tell the difference between homemade cookies and the ones from the mix?


It’s been a summer full of picnics and cook-outs. I’ve pulled off fruit pizza, tapas, and Whoopie pies.

Today is another barbeque, despite yucky rain. (Hey, Florida, I thought I moved to the Sunshine State.) I charged myself with The Great Cake Pop Experiment.

Cake pops are supposed to be the new cupcake, which is nice to know considering so many cupcake places are going out of business. (Dozen in Pittsburgh was particularly sad.) So, I decided to give it a whirl in melted chocolate.

I used The Kitchn’s post as a guide, but of course, I made my version Without A Recipe. I used a white box cake, though I used whole eggs, resulting in a not-white cake. I ripped it to crumbs once it was cool and mixed in cream cheese and milk until the crumbs stuck together like a stiff cookie. I rolled them into balls and fridgerated them overnight.

To coat them in goodness, I melted Baker’s squares with butter and powder sugar over a double boiler until the chocolate was runny enough to properly coat. I skewered each cake pop with a lollipop stick and covered it. The look reminds me a bit of Buckeyes, but some might be disappointed to learn there’s no peanut butter. With the leftover chocolate, I coated a half dozen strawberries. No one will be disappointed by those.


I love the fresh fruit of Florida. This non-recipe started with a big bag of Georgia peaches that I just couldn’t resist. I love peaches in cobblers and other cooked desserts, but I couldn’t do that to these fresh babies.
So, I converted a classic into a modern and thus was born peach shortcake.
I peeled and sliced the peaches. Then, I added to the bowl brown sugar, vanilla extract, clove, cinnamon, and a touch of liquor. I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge for a few hours. Meanwhile, I made whipping cream and cooked up some Texas-style biscuits.
When dinnertime came, viola! A great meal.

I love the fresh fruit of Florida. This non-recipe started with a big bag of Georgia peaches that I just couldn’t resist. I love peaches in cobblers and other cooked desserts, but I couldn’t do that to these fresh babies.

So, I converted a classic into a modern and thus was born peach shortcake.

I peeled and sliced the peaches. Then, I added to the bowl brown sugar, vanilla extract, clove, cinnamon, and a touch of liquor. I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge for a few hours. Meanwhile, I made whipping cream and cooked up some Texas-style biscuits.

When dinnertime came, viola! A great meal.


Today’s challenge: Create a Kentucky Derby dessert that is also GF.
Because Easter was so recent, I immediately thought of dying coconut green like Kentucky Blue Grass. But, I didn’t know how to incorporate it into a dessert.
I searched out cookie ideas on the Internet and then thought of meringue after seeing a photo of meringue ghosts. I spent a little time researching meringue recipes when I happened along this recipe for Chocolate Pavlova. I thought I could make the chocolate look like dirt and the coconut look like the grass at Churchill Downs.
For the most part, I followed the recipe for the pavlova. I did make it much thinner, though and shaped it into an oval track. When I had finished letting it cool, I picked off the crust to expose the dark marshmellowy underneath. I flavored and dyed the coconut in a plastic bag and added it to the infield. I wasn’t 100 percent confident that everyone would know what the track was, so I piped Kentucky Derby in the center.
I don’t know this is the tastiest treat. My guess is it will be way too sweet to eat a whole slice. But, I conquered the challenge.

Today’s challenge: Create a Kentucky Derby dessert that is also GF.

Because Easter was so recent, I immediately thought of dying coconut green like Kentucky Blue Grass. But, I didn’t know how to incorporate it into a dessert.

I searched out cookie ideas on the Internet and then thought of meringue after seeing a photo of meringue ghosts. I spent a little time researching meringue recipes when I happened along this recipe for Chocolate Pavlova. I thought I could make the chocolate look like dirt and the coconut look like the grass at Churchill Downs.

For the most part, I followed the recipe for the pavlova. I did make it much thinner, though and shaped it into an oval track. When I had finished letting it cool, I picked off the crust to expose the dark marshmellowy underneath. I flavored and dyed the coconut in a plastic bag and added it to the infield. I wasn’t 100 percent confident that everyone would know what the track was, so I piped Kentucky Derby in the center.

I don’t know this is the tastiest treat. My guess is it will be way too sweet to eat a whole slice. But, I conquered the challenge.


Photos by Paula Cunniffe, one of the dinner guests. She got better photos of the night than I did.


Crab! A successful dinner party.

To break up the stress of the final stretch of the semester, I threw a dinner party. Six guests plus me meant every chair in the house was taken. But, it made me happy.

The main course was crab legs. I bought them frozen at a local stop. I boiled them for just about 10 minutes with a spice bag. There really can’t be an easier main course. I also used a fondue pot with a tea light to keep the garlic butter warm and melted.

Sides included: Risotto with baby portabellas, green salad, roasted aspargus wrapped in prosciutto and topped with melted Swiss, and my own version of Cheddar Bay biscuits.

To make the biscuits, I used two little packages of Bisquick, a good sprinkle of parmesan garlic, a cup of milk, and what was left of a container of French onion dip. Then, I added what was left of my shredded cheddar. Mmmm… Taylor brought a GF version, too.

Snacks included three semi-soft cheeses, Taylor’s GF cupcakes, and black rasperry lemonade.

But, my masterpiece was the bird nests. I got the idea from Taste of Home, but modified with rice Chex cereal so it would be GF. I melted chocolate chips with a bit of butter and covered the Chex. Then, I put clumps of cereal on wax paper and added speckled jelly bean eggs. I topped it off with a Peep. I went with blue because my plastic table cloths for the snack table and the egg dying table were blue.

Really, there would be more photos if I hadn’t run out of camera battery.