Chinese Pepper Steak


Preparing Asian food can be time consuming, with all that chopping and marinating, but I promise you and your family will be happy with the results.  Most of the ingredients I use for Asian cooking are constant in every dish.  If you like Asian food, Continue reading

Beef Barley Soup

Right after I joined Facebook I reconnected with some childhood friends – sisters Patti Elliott and Erin Anderson.  Erin would make her famous Beef Barley Soup and invite her sister over for dinner via a Facebook post.  I’m guessing this is one of Patti’s favorite Continue reading

Pepperoni Twists

I received a call for a donation into the school bake sale.  I thought why not make something different then the usual “sweet”.  So I came up with this and it was a hit with the kids.  I made my own dough, but you can certainly buy pizza dough from Trader Joe’s or ask your favorite pizza place to sell you some.  I also used a canned sauce, but of course homemade is always a better option.  Wrap them up and they’re ready for sale.  These make a great snack for anyone.


Pepperoni Twists


1 package active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour

1 package pepperoni

1 jar of your favorite sauce

2 cups mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. melted butter


Start by making the dough.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water.  Stir gently to dissolve.  Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, this takes 5-10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Add the flour a little at a time mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated.  When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium; stop the machine and get a feel for the dough by squeezing a small amount together.  If it’s crumbly add more water, if it’s sticky, add more flour, just 1 tablespoon at a time.  Mix until the dough forms a ball, this will take about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times, kneading until it’s smooth and elastic.  Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it in the bowl to coat it with the oil.  Cover it with plastic wrap and/or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot.  I like to put mine on the unlit stove where it will get some warmth from the pilot light.  Let it rest until doubled in size, this takes about an hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once the dough has doubled (it will look spongy), turn it onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead it a few times and roll it into a log.  Cut the log into 6 equal pieces.  Roll one of the pieces into an oblong shape about 1/8″ thick (try for a rectangle the size of a piece of paper).  Spread some sauce on the rolled dough and place some pepperoni about (as much as you like), sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.


Roll another piece of dough to the same dimensions.  Place it on top of the prepared pizza.  Roll the sandwich slightly to press the ingredients together.


Cut the dough using a pizza cutter to make 8 pieces.

IMG_4003Twist the ends of each strip in the opposite direction and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle the with parmesan cheese.


Bake for about 9-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove to a cooling rack and enjoy!  Repeat the rolling, assembly and twisting process 2 more times to use all the dough.  Yield is 24 twists.


Spicy Sesame Peapods

This is a quick side dish that we love in our family.  Here I have used snap peas, but have made this many times with snow peas.  It comes together quickly and I bet your family will love it too.


Spicy Sesame Peapods


1 lbs. snap peas or snow peas

2 tsp. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (or more to taste)

2 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. honey

Salt and Pepper to taste


Prepare the peas by removing the strings.  This can be done by pulling down on the tip of the pod.  This is the case more for the snap peas than the snow peas.  For the snow peas, just remove the tip.  In this picture I didn’t remove the tips and strings and won’t make that mistake again.

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and the peas, saute for 2 minutes.  Drizzle the sesame oil over the peas and stir to coat.  Saute for an additional 2 minutes.  Add the Sriracha, soy sauce and honey, toss to coat and heat through – about 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It’s been such a typical Spring here in Chicagoland, I thought I’d create a new soup using some of my favorite ingredients.  The soup reminds me of Fall, just like our crazy weather, perfect for a cold and rainy day like today.   If you belong to Costco, they sell butternut squash already peeled and cubed in the produce section.  That is the amount I used in this recipe.  It measured out at 8 cups.   Continue reading

Orange Scones (Panera CopyCat recipe)

I’m just wild about the Orange Scones at Panera.  Every once in a while I will give into temptation and treat myself to the glazed goodness of the Panera Orange Scone.  One lazy Saturday morning I thought, why not just make your own?  So I did.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Continue reading

Garlic Beef and Snow Peas on Golden Noodles

Asian food is a favorite in our home.  I’ve often heard that many people don’t want to start cooking Asian food because they have to buy all these ingredients.  The ingredients used in this recipe are commonly used in many different Asian recipes, they have a long shelf life and are usually fairly inexpensive.   Continue reading