Category Archives: Recipes

Happy New Year

I would like to wish all of my followers a Happy New Year.  Thank you for following my posts.  I hope you found them entertaining and thoughtful.  Stay safe this New Year’s Eve and let us make 2015 a prosperous new year and as always let me know if there is something you would like to see on this blog.



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Cranberry nut bars

Cranberry Nut Bars:

These might not be the healthiest thing you can eat, but boy are they good.  As a matter of fact, they are so good you kind of feel like you are doing something illegal or wrong eating them.  Here is how to make them.

lightly grease a 9 x13 baking dish

preheat the oven to 325


1 1/2 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup melted butter

2 eggs

1 cup of chopped walnuts

2 cups of whole cranberries (Crazins)

in a mixer bowl combine flour, sugar, eggs, butter and mix well

add nuts and cranberries and mix well

pour into the baking dish

bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until they start to brown on top

cool and cut into the most delicious squares you will ever tease your taste buds with.


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Make Pizza Shop Pizza at Home Better Than a Pizza Shop.

Crilley’s Pizza:

Make the dough a day before you use it.  Let me repeat that, Make the dough a day early and freeze it or put it in the refrigerator. If you aren’t going to do this then you would be better off going to a pizza shop.

How to make pizza dough:

Put a dough hook on the mixer (I use a Kitchen Aid)

Put a two cups of bread flour and a teaspoon of salt in the mixer bowl, stir it up with a fork ( you can add about a Tablespoon of olive oil, but it isn’t needed, why add Calories)

Put a cup of hot tap water in a bowl along with two teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon and a half of yeast (I get the jars of powdered yeast)

Let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes, you will see the surface yeast bloom, if it doesn’t throw it out and start over with new yeast.

Pour the yeast mixer in the with the flour and turn on the mixer  on a low speed for 15 minutes, after 5 minutes there should be a ball of dough on the hook and it will knead for ten minutes.

Turn the oven on about 350 or 400 for one and a half minutes, no longer, set the timer so you don’t forget.

Put about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl, smear the ball of dough with the oil, cover with plastic wrap then a dish cloth and put it in the over for about an hour.  The over should be turned off at this time.

after an hour punch it down.

Put a handful of flour on the counter top and turn the dough onto the flour.  flip it over so both sides have a light coating of flour.

Cut it in half with a pastry cutter and wrap each piece with plastic wrap (you should already have one from the bowl)

Toss them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Believe me this is easy.  You don’t have to do any hand kneading. Don’t do it, let me repeat, don’t do it, let the mixer do it.

How to make the sauce”

1 29 oz can of Red pack puree

3/4 cup of water

Two Tablespoons of sugar

one Tablespoon of olive oil

juice of 1/4 of a lemon (if you are a cook, you should always have lemons and garlic around)

One teaspoon of salt, not a heaping teaspoon, flat on top

One teaspoon of oregano

One half teaspoon of basil

one half teaspoon of thyme

one clove of minced garlic

simmer this for about a half hour, until it reduces to about half.

Store the sauce in glass jars in the refrigerator.


How to make the pizza:

Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least two hours before you prepare it.

Throw a handful of flour on the counter

Unwrap the dough and drop it onto the flour, turn it over to lightly coat both sides

Don’t roll the dough, throw it between your hands, this forms a natural lip around the edge, you can spin it if you posses that skill.  Don’t worry, make enough pizza and someday you will.

Put the pizza on a jelly roll pan.  It is not necessary to flour it or spread corn meal or anything.  Put it directly on the pan.  Don’t use a pizza stone, that is not necessary. If you do use one, you have to let it heat up for a very long time, or they are worthless.  Don’t use it, let me repeat, don’t use a pizza stone.

Put the oven tray one level above the middle, this is one of the key tips, make sure you do it.

Turn on the oven again to about 350 or 400 for a minute and a half. Then turn it off.

Put the pan in the over and let the dough rise for a half an hour.  Don’t cover it.

Take the raised dough out of the oven

Make sure the oven tray is one level above the middle and turn the oven up to 500 degrees. It isn’t necessary to preheat it too long.  People will tell you too but they are full of …

Smear the surface of the dough with a light coating of olive oil.

Sprinkle pepper and a very small amount of oregano around the edges for decoration.

Smear about a 1/4 cup of the homemade sauce in the middle and out to about an inch from the edges.  Don’t spread sauce all the way out to the edges and it is better to have it thin in the center.

Chop up about six button mushrooms and spread them onto the sauce

Sprinkle a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese over the entire surface, this should go to the edge, because it looks good on the crust.

Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella. Not too much.

You can also add pepperoni slices, green pepper, sausage, etc, whatever you like

Add the secret ingredient, a small pad of butter in the very center.  Do not leave this step out.

Bake the pizza for eight minutes

take the pan out and cut the pizza into serving sizes with a pizza cutter.


Remember these tips, they are key.

Use bread flour

Make sure the yeast blooms

Make sure the dough sets for a day at least

Let the dough rise in a pre-warmed oven

Make sure the try is set one level above the middle

The oven has to be hot, turn it up to 500 degrees.

Don’t put anything on the pan you make the pizza on, just the dough with a light coating of flour on the bottom.

Don’t spread sauce out to the edges, leave about an inch

Don’t roll the dough, throw it between your hands, it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle

Be sure to let the dough rise again after you throw it.

Don’t use too much sauce and cheese, you want to taste the delicious dough.

Don’t use store-bought sauce, use the recipe I gave above.

Don’t use store-bought crusts. Ha ha, why would you do that?  Use the recipe I gave you.

Use fresh and quality ingredients, fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice, Red pack puree. etc.






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Recipes, Crock Pot Navy Beans

Navy Beans Crock Pot

1 Lb navy beans

1 onion chopped

½ cup Heinz ketchup

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup dark corn syrup

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp basil

1 Lb smoked ham, bacon or salt pork, diced

Remember dried beans such as navy beans, should be boiled before adding to a crock pot recipe

Cover beans with three times their volume with water, unsalted, bring to a boil

Boil for 10 minutes and reduce heat, simmer 1 ½ hours

If you are going to soak the beans in water, do it before the boiling process

Discard the water after boiling.  That means throw it away.

Put all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours.

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Alphabet Soup

How about a good recipe for the kids!  Little children really love alphabet soup especially if they are just learning to read and spell.  They will sit there eating the soup and picking out the letters to spell their names.  If you have teenagers and even adults, I think it is a good bet they will do the same.  Here is my recipe for making alphabet soup.


1/2 cup alphabet pasta

1/4 cup of pearl barley

1 15 oz can of low sodium chicken broth

1 15 oz can of low sodium beef broth (if you are a vegetarian you can use two cans of vegetable broth instead)

1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1/2 cup of diced potato (you can also substitute rutabaga or turnips but don’t add more, substitute)

1/2 cup of frozen green beans

1/2 cup of frozen peas

1/4 cup of cornstarch mixed in 1/2 cup of water


Bring the soup stocks to a boil

Add the carrots, onions, celery and potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes

Add the tomatoes, peas and beans and continue simmering for five minutes

Bring it back to a boil and add the cornstarch mixture

When it thickens add the cooked pasta and barley.

It is ready to serve and spell your name.



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Becoming a fruitcake master

Fruit Cake

Here is how to become a fruitcake master:  The Ingredients:

3 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground nutmeg

1 ¾ cup of brown sugar dark or light, dark is better

4 eggs

1 ¾ cup of melted butter

1 cup of orange juice, I like high pulp Florida orange juice

16 oz of chopped mixed candies

8 oz of chopped dates

15 oz of raisins (I like to use 8 oz of dark raisins and 8 oz of golden raisins)

4 oz of red cherries

4 oz of green cherries

¼ cup of candied pineapple

2 cups of chopped nuts, I use ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup of slivered almonds, ½ cup pecans, ½ cup macadamias (this is where you become a fruitcake master, vary the nuts to your liking but always use 2 cups)


Strips of brown paper, cheesecloth and Lots of alcohol


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Pick out enough good, unbroken nuts to use for making identifying designs, save these for later (this is another step that makes you a fruitcake master)

If the candies and nuts are not chopped, use a food processor to chop them (not the ones you will be using for designs) (this is another step that will make you a fruitcake master and set your cakes apart from the rest)

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and spices with a whisk until thoroughly combined

With a mixer and whisk, whisk the eggs until frothy, then start adding the sugar, a little at a time, then add the butter and orange juice

Pour the candies and nuts into a large bowl, a very large bowl, if you don’t have one, get one. (all fruitcake masters have very large bowls for mixing ingredients)

Pour the flour mixture over the nuts and stir until evenly coated

Pour the egg mixture over this and stir until evenly coated

Line your pans with Crisco coated brown paper

Fill to about ¾ full

Make designs on top with the extra nuts and cherries, this will allow you to identify the cakes for basting

Bake at 300 for about an hour and a half, use the toothpick test.

If you don’t know what the toothpick test is you shouldn’t be baking

Just kidding, stick a clean toothpick into the cake and if it comes out with cake stuck to it, the cakes aren’t done yet

After the cakes are done, take them out of the pans, cool them

When cool, wrap in cheesecloth and baste with alcohol or your choice (another choice that makes you a fruitcake master), I like to use rum, brandy, Jack Daniels, wine, amaretto, even orange juice for the teetotalers.  Put a different alcohol on each cake.  It is not a bad idea to leave some plain without the basting.

This is why you make different designs on the cakes, they identify which liquor you will be using to baste the cakes, just be sure to write it down so you don’t forget.  For instance I use pecan halves to make a leaf pattern then use three half green cherries for the flower, I will baste this one with brandy, then I make a pattern and use red cherries, I will baste this one with Jack Daniels,  make a different pattern using slivered almonds for leaves and baste this one with orange juice, get the idea.

Don’t give anyone a fruitcake who says they don’t like fruitcake.  Charge them an outrageous sum of money if they ask for a cake.

I got this recipe from an old Betty Crocker Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and it is one of the best, it is however the technique and choices that will make you a fruitcake master.  Don’t expect to arrive at this master level on your first attempt. After a few years of making these and hearing cliche people with their pat “I don’t like fruitcake” comment you will know that you have arrived.  I put these under Recipes, Dieting and Exercise because they are so good for you.  Just don’t eat a lot of it!

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Middle Eastern recipes, Baklava, Ballourie, Bassma, Bird Nest, Burma, Fingers

The following are my recipes for Baklava and other similar deserts.  If anyone has any comments on these please comment or reply.  I have been working on these and trying to get them authentic.  I might be making some of them wrong, but they are all good.  I take criticism well as long as you tell me where I am wrong.  

basic method:

Spread 18 phylo sheets with butter, then spread a sheet with nuts, then 18 more sheets with butter, after you bake them, cut into into appropriate shapes and pour on syrup.

Note:  Never let the phylo sheets dry out, have the melted butter ready or cover with a damp cloth.

The following is the nut mixture for all of the recipes:

You  can use walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds or any combination, but pistachios are the most authentic.

3 cups walnuts

1 cup blanched almonds

1/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 lb phylo

1 lb butter

Note:  Never, ever use margarine

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour


2 cups water

2 cups sugar

½ cup honey

Cut a lemon in to four wedges and use the juice from one of them

1 cinnamon stick

Basically this is 2 cups of simple syrup with a half cup of honey, lemon juice and cinnamon.

Simple syrup is a one to one ration of sugar and water.

Cut the Baklava into diamond shapes



To make Burma, do the same with the phylo but, instead of putting a top layer of 18 sheets, roll it up like a jelly roll, then cut them into slices and bake them.  The nuts should be pistachios, and don’t chop them real fine.

To make Bird nest, after you make the stack of 18 sheets, cut the sheet into squares and put a tablespoon of pistachio mixture on then fold up the corners.  The square should be about 3 inches.

For Bassma make the stack of sheets, then put a thick layer of pistachio mix on top then another 18 sheets on top of that and cut them into squares after baking.

For the Ballourie, make them like baklava then sprinkle powdered sugar over the syrup, then put a small glob of finely crushed pistachios in the center

For fingers stack the phylo, then put a nut mixture on top and roll them up like a finger and bake them. Pour syrup over top

These recipes are almost all the same ingredients just a different presentation.  You can vary the nuts but stick close to the pistachios for authenticity and goodness.

You can get shredded phylo, which you can also use to make birds nests.  Use some syrup to stick it together and put the nut mixture in the center.

 Please comment on these if you have any better recipes or suggestions.


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