Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Traditional Cranberry Sauce

With the holiday season coming up there's no need to buy canned cranberry sauce with its high fructose corn syrup and other additives that you may not want when it's so easy to make it yourself. You can also make it the day before and allow it to chill overnight.

Happy Holidays.



3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Place cranberries in a colander or strainer and wash thoroughly, removing any damaged cranberries. Set aside.

Pour water into a 2 quart saucepan and place over medium high heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, and add cranberries. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally until cranberry skins begin to pop. Keep stirring for several minutes. If a smoother sauce is desired, keep stirring until most of the skins have popped. Remove from heat and set aside. Sauce will thicken as it cools.  Refrigerate sauce once it reaches room temperature.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Next Cookbook Project

I know, it's been ages since I've posted anything here, but lately most of my time seems to be spent writing novels and publishing books. That said, I've finally made some decisions regarding my next cookbook project.

My original plan was to do an updated version of Anna's Kitchen, with a new title, additional historic recipes, updates on how to prepare those dishes containing ingredients that are now hard to find, and updated measurements, since food manufacturers no longer produce items in "Number Two" sized cans. However, the more I thought about it, the less appealing the project was. I've already done a historic cookbook, and I really wasn't that enthusiastic about reinventing the wheel. I want to do something different. Finally, it hit me.

My next cookbook will be something to the effect of, Novel Cuisine: Classic Recipes for Busy Writers. I'll admit it. There are times when I get so darn busy working on a manuscript that I lose all track of time until I start feeling hunger pangs. Then I'll look at the clock, and discover it's late. Much later than I thought, and it's well past dinnertime. At that point it's all too easy throw a frozen meal in the microwave, or have pizza delivered, or jump into the car and go through the nearest fast-food drive-thru. None of those choices, however, make for healthy eating. What I have in mind is a collection of easy recipes, that would take about 30 minutes to prepare, and taste delicious. I also want to include some crock-pot recipes, as I've come to realize that a crock-pot can be a busy writer's best friend.

I'll probably include many of the recipes I've posted here, including many of my mother's recipes, along with many of the updated recipes from Anna's Kitchen. I'll also include more so-called "modern" recipes, including all of the ones included in the back of my Marina Martindale novels. 

Stay tuned. Something is definitely happening in my kitchen.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Southwestern Chicken Soup

One thing I'm learning as a writer is that my crock pot is my best friend. Just put something in first thing in the morning, and by the end of the day dinner's done. I don't have to stop whatever I'm doing to cook.

I picked up a little recipe card book from A Taste of Home the other day at the supermarket. Of course, I'm adapting the recipes for my own taste. Here's one that I've added a little extra zing to.


2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 32 oz package MSG free chicken broth
1 package frozen corn, thawed OR 1 can corn
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 medium red pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

Chopped chicken into bite-sized cubes and saute in oil over medium heat. While chicken is cooking chop onion and peppers, (if desired), and drop into crock pot. Add corn, chiles and tomatoes and stir. Drop in chicken, stir again. Pour entire package of broth over top and add seasonings. Stir again, cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Serve with hot cornbread.

Sugar Free Banana Muffins

I got this recipe from a friend who has a family member with food allergies. The muffins are tasty, and the recipe uses all natural ingredients. It's an easy recipe to prepare, and something you may want to try if you are trying to avoid sugar, or corn syrup.




5 - 6 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil muffin pan, or use baking cups. Stir together bananas, oil, honey and vanilla in a medium sized bowl. Combine flour, nutmeg and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in the wet ingredients and blend with a spoon. Drop mixture into muffin cups, filling to the rim. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. If desired, chopped nuts may be added.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Alex's Macaroni and Cheese

I seem to have gotten myself into and interesting habit--at least where my romance novels are concerned.  I'll have some character somewhere mention something about a dish made from an old family recipe, which means I'll have to include that recipe at the back of the book.  Oh well. 

In my latest novel, The Deception, (which I've written as Marina Martindale), Alex, the leading man, is reunited with Carrie, his long-lost childhood best friend.  He comes to her apartment to prepare dinner, and makes his mother's famous macaroni and cheese; a dish that had been their favorite as children.

They say art imitates life, and macaroni and cheese has been one of my favorite dishes since childhood too.  Problem was, I had no family recipe, and, ding, ding, ding, I'd been buying the prepacked mac and cheese dinners for years.  So, it was time to Google macaroni and cheese and do some research.  I compiled several different recipes, did some test runs, and some tweaking, and came up with a recipe that was absolutely delicious.  No wonder my two characters loved it.  You will too.

For more information about The Deception, please visit my website at, or my other blog at




2 cups macaroni, cooked and drained
2 ½  cups milk
1 cup sour cream
2 ½ cups grated Mexican cheese blend
(or 2 ½ cups cheddar)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 350° and cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. While pasta is cooking whisk milk and sour cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add seasonings. Set aside. Chop two tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Chill in refrigerator until needed. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, blend thoroughly and set aside.
Layer half of the cooked and drained macaroni, chopped butter, and cheese into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Top with remaining macaroni, butter and cheese. Pour milk mixture over the top and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is crispy and brown.
If desired, ham or sausage may be added. Low-fat milk, sour cream and cheeses may also be used.
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