Chef Mom

I've collected these recipes from family members, out-of-print cookbooks, magazines, and the backs of food cartons. I've modified quite a few of them and, I think, made them even better. I only put my family's favorites on this site, because I'd like for my friends to have as many good food memories as we do. Enjoy...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Turkey (or Ham or Chicken) Tetrazzini

Bye bye leftover turkey (or chicken or ham). Hello yum. I usually don't like tetrazzini much, but this one rocks. And it's even better the second day. Leftover leftovers. It just doesn't get any better than that.


1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 jar alfredo sauce
2/3 cup milk
3 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey, chicken or ham
12 0z. thin spaghetti, cooked
1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups shredded baby (or regular) swiss
1 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
1/2 cup crushed garlic and onion croutons
1/4 teaspoon Paprika


-Whisk together soup and milk in large bowl. Whisk in Alfredo sauce. Stir in turkey and next three ingredients. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour into lightly greased baking dish.
-Stir together remaining Parmesan, crushed croutons and Paprika. Sprinkle over casserole.
-Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Easy Yeast Rolls

I made these for Thanksgiving and I swear I'm only doing homemade bread from now on. They are fabulous, cheap and just as easy as frozen rolls, really.


1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees- I just ran it to feel like bathwater and it was fine)
2 packages active dry yeast
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4-4 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour


-Combine warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about five minutes.
-Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (more or less flour may be needed). Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to four days.
-Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Turn the chilled dough onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place balls in even rows in the prepared pan. Cover and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about one hour. (I didn't do this last step- instead, I just made the rolls only slightly smaller than normal size and they expanded a bit in the oven and were wonderful).
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until rolls are lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Cranberry Apple Casserole

My mom brought this for Thanksgiving several years ago and I've been making it ever since. It's one of her friend's family recipes and you won't believe how good it is- and how simple it is to make. Tastes like a dessert, really. I LOVE it- and normally, I can't stand cranberries!


3-4 sliced, unpeeled apples
1 (12 oz) bag cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal (the real kind, not instant!)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick melted butter


-Layer 1/2 cranberries, then 1/2 apples, then 1/2 sugars, then 1/2 oatmeal. Repeat layers. Drizzle butter over the top.
-Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
-Five minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle nuts on top and finish baking.

Party Potatoes

This ain't your ordinary mashed potaters. Save this recipe for special occasions. It's one of my Thanksgiving staples.


1 (5 lb) bag white potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (8 0z) carton sour cream
1 small onion, grated
1/4 cup chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pint unsweetened whipping cream, whipped
6 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb bacon, fried, drained and crumbled (use turkey bacon if you want to make this slightly more healthy)


-Drain potatoes, cream.
-Mix with cream cheese, butter, sour cream, onion, chives, salt and pepper.
-Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch casserole dish.
-Ice with whipped cream. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. If not browned on top, place under broiler.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Thanksgiving Dish Everyone Raves About- Sausage and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

I have honed my Thanksgiving dishes down to only the very best. I still try a new one each year, but I'm only including the tried and true favorites on this blog. This stuffing is pretty much guaranteed to be the very best thing on the table. It ROCKS. And it's easy. And everyone will talk about it and beg you for the recipe.


1/2 pound ground pork sausage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (shiitake, portobello, enoki, crimini) sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (8oz) package herb-seasoned stuffing mix (I use Pepperidge Farm)
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. sage
1 t. rosemary
1 t. thyme


-Brown sausage in large skillet or saucepan. Drain and set aside.
-Melt butter in skillet. Add mushrooms and onions, saute until tender. Stir in sausage, broth and remaining ingredients.
-Spoon 4 cups of stuffing into turkey if desired.
-Place remaining stuffing into 13x9 greased baking dish.
-Bake at 375 30-45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Garlic Shrimp on Couscous

I just tried this recipe two nights ago and it is fabulous. It's definitely special enough to serve to company, but easy and fast enough for your family. It also reheats well. Some of the ingredients sound slightly exotic, but I was able to find all of them in my oh-so-standard supermarket.


1 1/2 lbs. (31/40) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or celery salt
1 (5.6 oz) package toasted pine-nut-flavored couscous
1 soup can chicken broth
1 (8 oz) jar oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2/3 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (6 oz) package fresh baby spinach
12 pitted olives, halved (optional)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)
Shredded Parmesan cheese


-Place shrimp in large self-sealing plastic bag or large bowl. Add oil, garlic, tarragon, thyme and Old Bay. Toss shrimp in mixture to coat evenly. Marinate in refrigerator for one hour.
-Prepare couscous according to package directions, using 1 1/4 cups chicken broth in place of water. Stir tomatoes and onions into couscous. Set aside.
-In bowl, combine lemon juice and melted butter. Set aside.
-In a large skillet, cook and stir shrimp with marinade over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque.
-Pour half of butter mixture over shrimp.
-Line bottoms of individual bowls with baby spinach. Spoon couscous mixture over spinach. -To serve, arrange shrimp on couscous, spoon remaning butter mixture over all. Sprinkle with olives, parsley and Parmesan if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Taco Casserole

Here's a great, easy dinner that my whole family loves. Trust me, it's even better than it looks. You won't be disappointed...


1 lb lean ground beef
8 oz. macaroni
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 package taco seasoning
2 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green onions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain.
In a large skillet, cook and stir ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat until brown. Mix in tomato soup, diced tomatoes and taco seasoning mix. Stir in pasta.
Spoon beef mixture into a 9x13" baking dish.
Bake 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over individual portions (or over entire casserole if it's for a party and won't be reheated- I learned the hard way that the chips become soggy if you have leftovers). Serve with chopped green onions and sour cream, if desired.