Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Buttermilk Ranch… from scratch

July 14, 2010

Skip to Ranch Dressing Recipe

Now anyone from the midwest will know what I mean when I say that I’m a “ranch connoisseur.”  It has taken 3 1/2 years in New York to break me of the habit of dipping my pizza, fries, sandwiches – you get the idea – in creamy ranch dressing.

“What finally broke me of the habit?” you might ask… Ranch Dressing in NYC is abysmal. There’s no other word to describe it.  A phrase that MIGHT describe this substance is “gelatinous cafeteria ranch.”  I’m not dipping my pizza into something that jiggles as one cohesive solid. Period.

I have to admit, Grandma Millie is responsible for my spoiled “ranch pallet.”  When you go to Millie’s two things are a given:

  1. You will leave with foil-wrapped leftovers that will NOT survive the 30 minute drive home.
  2. Dinner will be accompanied with a salad and homemade ranch.

It wasn’t until my Grandma emailed me the recipe to feature on the blog that I realized the recipe is for a DRY MIX that you combine with buttermilk and mayo.  In case you haven’t done the math as quickly as I did this is a recipe for a homemade Hidden Valley Ranch Packet.  Amazing.

(hopefully) AMUSING RANCH STORY: When I was studying in London for a month during college (thanks mom and dad), I met a really fun girl from Philadelphia named Danielle who was doing her graduate work in the UK.  Among other amusing personality traits, what made me bond with her was that she had her mother ship Hidden Valley Ranch Packets to her every month.  CLEARLY my initial reaction was similar to what I’m sure your thinking: “how trashy, REALLY?, typical American.”

After a month, I was ready to club Danielle over the head for a Ranch packet.  Seriously.  Now, I can make my own 🙂


  • 15 saltine crackers (crushed)
  • 1/2 cup dry minced onion
  • 1/2 cup dried parlsey flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill weed
  • 1/4 cu onion salt
  • 1/4 cup garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1/4 cup garlic powderWhen Ready to Serve:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk

What you’ll need to clean up after:

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Blender (optional)

Step One: Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl, or in a blender. Store in an airtight container.

Step Two: When ready to serve, to make 2 cups of dressing: combine 1 tablespoon of dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk and mix thoroughly.

-Eat Hearty!


No Rise Cinnamon Rolls

July 13, 2010

Skip to Cinnamon Roll Recipe

No matter what drama or problems you’re going through in life, one thing is certain.  Carbs are comforting.

More specifically -for me at least – a cinnamon roll is akin to the yellow “comfort blankey” of my early childhood.  There’s just something about the smell of cinnamon, sugar and YES butter, that warms the heart, calms the mind… and admittedly grows the love handles :-).

The only problem is that for some reason I HATE working with bread dough, roll dough… or any other kind of dough that involves yeast (don’t ask b/c I honestly don’t know).  For obvious reasons, this has somewhat limited my cinnamon roll baking frequency.  Until now.

I actually stumbled upon this recipe in a cookbook a friend loaned me recently: The Ladies Aide Society Cookbook from the Central Schwenkfelder Church (Pennsylvania).

What fascinated me about this recipe was that there was no egg and no yeast.  I was, admittedly, skeptical about how good this type of recipe would actually taste… but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.


  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup crushed pecans

What you’ll need to clean up afterward:

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Baking Sheet

Step One: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step Two: In mixing bowl cream butter and cottage cheese (helps if butter is room temperature before attempting to cream).

Step Three: Stir in flour and mix together with hands.

Step Four: Refrigerate for 2-3 hours (I leave it in overnight).

Step Five: Sprinkle dough and rolling surface with flour (on both sides of dough).  Roll dough into a rectangle… should be about 1/8 inch thick (as thin as you can make it without it falling apart).

Step Six: Sprinkle, cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar and pecans evenly across rectangle.

Step Seven: Beginning at one of the shorter ends of the rectangle, roll the dough into one log (as you would for pinwheels).

Step Eight: Cut 1/2 inch medallions and place on well buttered cookie sheet.

Step Nine: Bake for 28-30 minutes.  Remove when a light golden color.  Cool on rack before serving.

-Eat Hearty!

Gma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

June 25, 2010

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe

You know how there are those images that cause an instant involuntary reaction – puffy clouds, a bunny, a crazy woman wearing fur on 8th avenue in the middle of July – and leave a lasting impression.  Well the sight of a plain cookie sheet messily covered with several sheets of aluminum foil puts a big smile on my face and starts my mouth “awaterin’ ” (pardon the country slang… sometimes you just need a “feel good” word).

Why does a messy foil wrap job make me happy? Good question.  The answer is my Grandma Millie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Early on, Millie discovered that the best way to transport a sheet cake in your car* is to simply leave it in the pan in which you baked it and cover it with foil.  Fortunately, the cake is so good, you rarely have to leave the pan b/c it’s usually eaten in one sitting.  To this day, I see a wrapped cookie sheet and hope for chocolate cake — I seem to find myself hoping for cake a lot 🙂

*I should mention, this method of transport only works if you actually get the cake into the car (klutzy baking disasters run in the family).


For Cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick oleo
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1/4 cup oleo
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon milk (guess at this)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Step Two: Sift flour and white sugar into large mixing bowl.

Step Three: In a sauce pan bring 1 stick oleo, cocoa powder, and water to a boil.

Step Four: Add hot ingredients (from step 3) to dry ingredients (from step 2) and mix in oil, buttermilk, egg, baking soda and vanilla.  Mix well.

Step Five: Pour into a greased cookie sheet.

Step Six: Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Step Seven: While cake is baking make frosting.  In a saucepan bring 1/4 cup oleo, cocoa powder, vanilla and milk to a boil.  Remove from stove and combine with powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well.

Step Eight: Spread frosting over hot cake and let cool.

-Eat Hearty!

A taste of the Caribbean…vacay in St. Thomas

May 27, 2010

Let me just say… There’s nothing more relaxing than an island vacation. I’ve been knocking the “typical beach vacation” for YEARS.  Examples of things I might have said:

“Beach vacations just SOUND boring, who wants to lay around all day?”

“What’s there to SEE on an island?  Sand, water… maybe a snake?”

“I don’t like rum… “

I was so mistaken.

I’ll spare you all the rubbing it in about laying in the sun, snorkeling, sailboats, jet skiis, etc. (I guess I just did it… ).  But what I have to share with you over the next week (I just got back so it’ll take some time with the one billion work emails waiting for me) are a couple of the recipes I picked up on the island… watch out there’s some dangerous one’s in there 🙂

Bushwacker (the perfect beach drink)

Coral Reef Cooler

Jerk Chicken

Caribbean Stewed Chicken

-Eat Hearty!

Ginger’s (healthyish) Glass Noodles with Chicken

May 27, 2010

Skip to Glass Noodle Recipe

My dear friend Ginger recently pointed out that Grandma Millie has yet to feature an Asian inspired dish and insisted I come over and learn how to make a simple (but delicious) Thai recipe she learned from her mother.  I’m so glad I did.

Given that there really isn’t anything bad for you in this dish, it’s AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS.  Even better, it’s quick and there’s only one pan to clean up…. the best of every world.

Admittedly, I’m a little intimidated by Thai cuisine.  I LOVE it, mind you (Keith and I probably order at least once or twice a week), but have this irrational fear of cooking noodles that aren’t paired with a “classic” French or Italian sauce.  Well that has changed. Now that I know how easy it is, look for a lot more Thai dishes coming your way.

Neither Ginger or I claim this is a 100% “authentic recipe” but it’s delicious nonetheless and I (we) think you’ll enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 Chicken breasts (chopped into bite sized pieces) – you can also use pork or shrimp
  • 4 oz glass noodles (we used Vermicelli, but whatever brand works)
  • 3-4 large cabbage leaves (rinsed and chopped)
  • 1/2 medium yellow/white onion (diced)
  • 1/2 regular jalapeno (diced, no seeds)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced or pushed through garlic press)
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

What you’ll need to clean up afterward:

  • One medium sautee pan
  • One mixing bowl

Step One: Marinate chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste for 10 minutes.

Step Two: Place glass noodles in mixing bowl of lukewarm tap water and let sit while cooking chicken and vegetables.

Step Three: Sautee chicken in pan with remaining olive oil until almost cooked.

Step Four: Add cabbage, peppers, onion, garlic and the bouillon cube (you can break in half to add in) in with the chicken and continue cooking for 1 minute.

Step Five: Remove noodles from bowl of water and shake excess water out (there can still be come water dripping of the noodles when you add) and stir in with the chicken and veggies.

Step Six: Add egg and stir for another minute until incorporated.  Add soy sauce to taste. *you can also add Louisiana hot sauce if you want to give it a little kick.

ANOTHER OPTION: if you want a delicious soup, just heat some chicken stock/broth in soup pot while preparing the above and add the noodle mixture to the broth… DELICIOUS.

-Eat Hearty!

What’s your Guacamole?

May 12, 2010

Guacamole Recipe

As we are (or were before the cold weather) heading into the summer months, it seems appropriate to talk about guacamole.

“I love guacamole.”  That’s really all I need to talk about it.

BBQ’s, drinks on the roof, or just an impromptu gathering: Guac is the perfect nosh.

It’s got everything I like: salt, a creamy texture, and you eat it with chips.  And there is NOTHING better to get a party and the conversation started than to prepare your guacamole with people standing around.  What’ s so interesting about the “guacamole prep” conversation is that it almost always hinges around what other people put into theirs.

So, I’d like to have a digital guac’ conversation: below is my “recipe” (it’s really all to taste, so my measurements are very conservative so as not to over spice)… please leave your guacamole recipe as a comment…unless you’re one of those super-secretive-recipe-people.  In that case, I’ll understand if you don’t participate.

Ingredients (makes around 6 cups)

  • 5 avocados (cut in half and pitted)
  • 1/2 medium red onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 diced tomatoes (around 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (start with 1/2 and add to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Juice of 2 limes

Step One: Scoop out avocado halves with spoon into a medium mixing bowl.  It helps to make 4 or 5 horizontal AND vertical cuts (making a criss-cross pattern) in the avocado before scooping it out — minimizes mashing later.

Step Two: Mash up the avocado with a fork or potato masher to desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy).

Step Three: Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Add additional amounts of spices to taste.

-Eat Hearty!

Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Pizza

April 22, 2010

MMMMmmmmm.  Thanks to Simple Bites for this delicious recipe, and a really compelling sell for CSA’s and picking your own produce.

I’d never heard of a “Meat CSA” until recently.  Highpoint Farms actually sells meat, cheese and egg shares.  Check it out.

Click on the image for the Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Pizza recipe.

-Eat Hearty!

Late Night with Julia Child

April 9, 2010

Usually on nights I have work events I…walk in the door STARVING and — if we’re honest — slightly tipsy.  Last night was no exception.  After an eventful evening at Cirque du Soliel Ovo (which was delightful, highly recommend) I was ready to eat a horse… or at least leftover tenderloin.  Wouldn’t you know, Keith had already eaten it and was quietly slumbering — imagine my outrage.

Once I ascertained all I had in the apartment were a couple of eggs, some butter (always) and Swiss cheese… clearly, I made an omelette.

Cliche as it is, I’m a fanatic fan of the classic French omelette a la Julia Child; once I got over the initial fear/hopeless mess of my first try, I fell in love with this simple (and delicious) meal/snack/late night binge.  This video is how I learned on a lunch break at work… you can do the same.


Eat Hearty!

Who is Grandma Millie?

March 22, 2010

Just to clarify things.  I am not Grandma Millie.  My name is Kyle and I’m 26 living in NYC.

The obvious question:

“Kyle, why did you name your blog ‘Grandma Millie’ if, in fact, you are neither a Grandma nor named Millie?”

I’m glad you asked.

Millie on the Slopes

Example of Millie Coolness: Skiing at 70--

Who is Grandma Millie? My grandmother.  I grew up cooking with my Gma from the age of .5 (I have pictures playing with cookie dough as a toddler).  I would be thrilled if — at age 70something — I am as inquisitive, adventurous, and generally cool as my Grandma Millie.

Why the blog? As I said above, I grew up cooking with Grandma — some of my best memories happened in a kitchen (I’ll probably share more than one in this blog), but once I started college I became a big fan of the over-priced foodie restaurant… you can imagine what happened when I moved to NYC from Kansas.  Let’s just say the credit card got a lot of use, and the wardrobe went up a size.

Now that I’ve been in New York for a couple of years, and found a career I enjoy, I’ve taking up cooking (and more importantly BAKING) again.  I enjoy it in-and-of-itself, but more importantly I enjoy the challenge of making a tasty baked treat or home-cooked meal in my tiny apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.  Successfully baking a cake, cookies, etc. in an over that looks like a Fisher Price toy brings a feeling of triumph I can’t even begin to describe.

So I want to share the experience.  I find myself teaching my friends how to make simple, quick and [somewhat] healthy meals all the time, and so I thought “why not put the recipes online and provide some easy to understand instructions.”

So that’s what this is… me sharing my recipes and maybe a story or two in an effort to get more young professionals out of the bistros and into the kitchen… at least a couple times a week.  If your grandmas are HALF as thrilled about you cooking for yourself as mine is, it’ll be well worth it.

I’m not a chef. Nor am I a nutritionist. With those things in mind, I hope you enjoy.  Eat Hearty! 🙂