Sunday, November 14, 2010

Judy's Cheese Ball

Just in time for the holiday season, I thought I would add this wonderful recipe. I got this recipe from a member from my misson, Judy Lubinski. This cheese ball is very easy to prepare and it is by far the best cheese ball I have ever tasted. I will post pictures the next time I prepare one of these babies.

Cheese Ball

2 Packages Cream Cheese (softened)
8oz can of Crushed Pineapple (well drained)
¼ cup Onion (extra fine chop)
¼ cup Green Pepper (extra fine chop)
1/2 t seasoned salt
2 cups Walnuts (1 cup fine chop, 1 cup rough chop)
1 Maraschino Cherry

Combine Cream Cheese, Peppers, Onions, Pineapple, seasoned salt and the cup of fine chopped Walnuts. Make sure the pineapple is very well drained, and get as much moisture out of the onions and peppers as possible by letting them sit out or pressing them. Form into a ball and roll in the rough chopped Walnuts. Garnish the very top of the cheeseball with the Maraschino Cherry. You can substitute Walnuts for Pecans or sliced Almonds. Low Fat Cream cheese also works very well for a lo-cal Cheese Ball.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tools of the Trade

Having the proper cooking utinsils is vital to taking you cooking and baking to the next level. Specifically using non-reactive cookware. I want to taste the food, not the pan or a chemical reaction. This is one of my favorite pots. It's an All-Clad combination pasta pot. It has an inset for cooking pasta and an additional insert for steaming veggies. It is made of stainless steel so cleanup is easy and it is dishwasher safe. It's a great pot.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars have always been an Evans family favorite. Last year for Grandma Evans 90th birthday celebration 4 people brought lemon bars and we had another brought lime bars. Somewhere we must have a genetic predisposition for lemon bars and all things sour. I tried all of the different variations at the party and they were all very distinct and good in there own way. For instance, Tyler likes his lemon bars with a very thick crust. Personally, I like my lemon bars to be flaky and lemony to the extreme.

A couple of points need to be brought up before cooking a lemon bars. Because lemon bars contain lemon, special precautions need to be taken. While it may not seem like a big deal, it is imperative that you use a non-reactive pan to bake the lemon bars, preferably glass. It is also imparative you use a non-reactive bowl when preparing the filling. This will prevent you lemon bars from tasting like a battery.

2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 cup Butter Flavored Crisco
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, Crisco and sugar. Gently combine until the mixture is crumbly and then gently press into a 9x13 glass pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F.

4 Eggs well beaten
1 1/4 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Lemon Juice
1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 t Baking Powder
Lemon zest of 1 whole lemon

In non-reactive mixing bowl combine all the ingredients and mix for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the prebaked crust and bake for an additional 20 minutes at 350F.

Allow the lemon bars to cool for several hours and dust with powdered sugar.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My aunt Judy posed the question, "do you have a recipe for a breakfast casserole that includes eggs?"

Sure can do on the breakfast casserole. I have ductch oven casserole recipe I have been using for years. While the recipe does use eggs, it uses them is a sunny side up form instead of the traditional scramble form you see in most breakfast casseroles. I will include this recipe and pictures the next ime I prepare it.

Just for fun I think I will create a totally original breakfast casserole recipe. I think I have some tricks up my sleeve and flavor combinations that would make an amazing breakfast dish.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Cornbread

Corn Bread is one of Amberly's favorite foods so I have become quite the corn bread expert. The secret to making a great corn bread is creamed corn and buttermilk. I like my corn bread moist and with little bits of corn. I know this recipe calls for baking it the traditional way, in a pan, but I ussually make muffins and I spray the muffin tin really well with Pam and just reduce the cooking time. I also like to smother them in my special honey butter but I will share that recipe later.
Corn Bread

2 cups cornmeal, yellow or white
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 can ( 15 ounces) cream-style corn
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Heat oven to 425°.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs; stir in the cream-style corn and melted butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until blended. Spoon into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and the cornbread springs back when lightly touched with a finger

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nikki's Secret Ragu Recipe

I hope Nichole doesn't disown me for giving away her secret recipe, but here is my version of it.

A Ragu is a meat based pata sauce as opposed to a Marinara which is a vegitaian sauce.

So I have been making Ragu today. It takes alot of effort to get all the flavors balanced so you get that special zing. It is really hard to put too much galic in a ragu but I sure tried.

3 lbs hamburger 90/10
2 lbs ground pork
1 lbs ground turkey
1/2 c olive oil
1 c fresh galic puree

Combine all the above ingredients into a stock pot and cook until the meat cooks down into little balls.

1.5 Gallons crushed tomatoes
3 lbs Carrots puree
2 lbs Onion puree
2 lbs Celery puree
1 T Cayenne Pepper
4 T Butter
Salt to taste
Sugar to tast

Combine the above ingredients to the meat stock and cook for an additional 5-6 hours

This sauce stores great in the freezer for over a year in the cheap Ziploc plastic containers. Thus the reason for such a huge serving.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

As part of my blog I will also be doing food reviews of restaurants and other types of food joints.

On Sept 20th, Clara, Boston and I went out for a bite to eat at the Mandarin Garden on Main St in Logan, UT. It had been several years since I have been to the Mandarin, but it is common knowledge that the Mandarin makes some great food. The Mandarin is a sit down casual dining experience.

While at the Mandarin we received excellent service. We ordered a Bo-Bo Platter as an appetizer because Bo likes the name. The Bo-Bo platter came with two fried shrimp, two egg rolls, two teriyaki chicken skewers, four beef skewers, and two crab rangoons. I also ordered the orange chicken, and shrimp low mien for the kids. Overall ever thing was very well cooked. The chicken skewers were my least favorite, but they were still way above average. My favorite was the crab rangoons but I am a sucker for an excellent rangoon. The rangoons were much larger than average and you could tell they were made from scratch. Other food items worth noting was the orange chicken. The breading was a little heavier than I like but the sauce was light tasting, yet flavorful. In the future I will try to avoid fried foods from the Mandarin

The coolest part of the whole meal had nothing to do with the food but it was the cool food art on every platter. We recieved a beautiful and very detailed carrot flower with about 20 petals, a lovely butterfly and cucumber dragon.

Pro's- Food art was great, service was adequate, food was way above average for Chinese
Con's- Breading way too thickon the fried foods

Food ***
Service ***
Decor **
Price $15 Per person

Five stars possible

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mojo Marinade and salad dressing

I love to use this recipe to marinate flank steak for fajita's. I also use it as a salad dressing. When prepping a jalepeno cut it in half, and use a spoon to remove the white vein and the seeds. The veins and the seeds are the spicy part of the jalepeno. You don;t have to use fresh OJ and Lime Juice but I prefer to because limes are usually so cheap.

Mojo Marinade and Dressing:

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

In a blender mix together the garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, and oil. Blend well to combine. Use as a marinade for chicken, beef or beef or as a table condiment. Marinate meat for 4 hours. Do not marinate meat for more than 8 hours because the citric acid will break down the meat to much.
Yield: approximately 1 1/4 cups

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sourdough Bread

This bread is super easy, there is no kneading and it tastes wonderful. Being able to prepare this bread propperly completely depends on the ingredients. You must use a bread flour with a high gluten or protien content. I use a flour that is 14.7% protien. It is this high protien that makes the bread have a wonderful chewy texture. This high protien flour is also used in pizza dough. It allows the dough to be stretchy when you through it into the air. Use the correct flour, water, and yeast are also critical. When cooking you should always used kosher salt or sea salt as opposed to table salt. Kosher salt is ideal for cooking becase the larger grains give you all the benifits of salt with out the overly salty taste. When ever you use yeast, I recommend using SAF instant yeast, Not only is it easier to work with because it does not need to be proofed, but it also is more consistent and will produce a more consistent product. When ever you use yeast you should always use chlorine free water because chlorine kills yeast. I use spring water but filtered water should work too, as long as your filter is working properly.

Sour Dough Bread

16 oz Pizza Flour (I use 14.7% gluten flour, bread flour will also work just add an additional 2oz of flour)
¼ t Active Dry Yeast (I recommend using SAF yeast)
2 ½ t Kosher salt (table salt will not work, it must be Kosher Salt)
12 oz Chlorine Free Water (I use bottled spring water, tap water and bottled drinking water will not work)

Gently mix flour, yeast, salt, and water by hand for 1 minute. Let rest in a covered bowl for 18-20 hours. Flour the top of the dough and fold it over on itself and form a ball, let rise for 20-30 Minutes. Form a round ball and cover liberally with corn meal and let rise for 2 hours in a tea towel. Preheat your 12” Dutch Oven at 450F for 30 minutes prior to baking. Carefully move the dough ball from the tea towel to the Dutch Oven and bake for about 40-60 minutes. The bread should be a nice golden color. Let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Chicken Wings

You will need to buy some frozen chicken wings and then defrost them in cold running water. I prefer the wings from Sams Club. This recipe will be for 24 wings/sections. You will want to prepare the wings to day because they always taste better if they have marinated for a day in the fridge. I use homemade Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch for dipping. Other Ranch dressings just don't taste right. You can buy Franks RedHot by the gallon for $7 and it lasts for years in the pantry even after its opened.


24 defrosted chicken wing pieces
1 3/4 cups Cornstarch
1 1/2 cups Franks RedHot hot sauce

Defrost and drain the wings, In a large bowl mix the Franks Red Hot and the cornstarch until smooth. It should be the consistancy of thin pancake batter. Add the wings to the batter and mix well. Next you want to put the wings into sandwich bags. I put 6 wings to a bag because thats a good number to fry at a time. After I put them in bag I place them in a bread pan so they don't leak all ove the fridge. I like to let them marinate in the fridge for a few hours before cooking. You can let them marinate up to a week ahead of time too and they taste great still.

To cook them, I heat the oil to 350F and fry 6 wings at a time. I just gently dump the whole bag into the fryar. After a minute or two, I use some large tongs to break up the wings. I typically cook them for 5-6 minutes but it depends on how well your fryer retains its tempurature. Sauce the wings in a large bowl.


2 cups Franks Red Hot
2 cup brown sugar

Just warm up the Franks Red hot on the stove until the brown disolves, absolutely do not boil the sauce or you will choke up the house with hot sauce, it kinda like having pepper spray in the house.


Welcome to my blog. I am Spence, I am a 30 year old stay at home father of 2 kids. My loving wife Amberly is my guinea pig when it comes to new reciepes. Because I have so many requests for recipes, I figured I would just add them to a blog.
Many of you are familiar with the food I bring to parties and special occasions but I also have hundreds of recipes you have never seen before. I hope to share the classics your familiar with as well as the recipes I use on a daily basis which you have never seen before .
For those who are unfamiliar with my cooking, I hope you can come to appreciate the high quality of these recipes. I work very hard on perfecting recipes, but for the most part I can make an amazing dish from scratch on my first try without using a recipe. I believe a recipe must be perfectly balanced. I rarely use recipes, but I will create some recipes for others to enjoy the foods I cook.
Also, feel free to request a recipe at any time and I will do my best to help out. If I don't have a recipe for what your looking for, I will do my best to create a reicipe that will fit your need.