Posts Tagged With: Family Recipes

Mom’s Lasagna

Top reasons why you should make this as soon as possible:

lasagna pan - GB

1. Mom’s lasagna is amazing. No bias here. You can ask Mr. Ginge

2. It is the most requested birthday meal in our family. Mom had to implement  a rule that people couldn’t ask for the same thing because everyone was requesting lasagna.

3. Because leftovers ( if there are any) are way better the next day.

lasagna 2- GB

4. It has magical properties. It turned my pasta-hating father into a lasagna-eating fool.30 years ago. True story.

5. It is the perfect vehicle for cheese. And it’s even better with cheesy garlic bread.

6.It freezes incredibly well, so you can have surprise / spur of the moment lasagna-that-is-already-next-day-better, without having any of the work. (just don’t tell anyone it’s in the freezer….shhhhh…..)

7. Because it is the ultimate comfort food. Nuff said.

lasagna 1 - GB

Mom’s Lasagna

makes 1 9×13 pan (about 12 servings)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef ( or any lean ground meat. We’ve used turkey, chicken, moose, venison. Basically, any ground meat you have on hand)
  • 1 can ( around 2 cups) tomato sauce
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 lb / 500gr shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring for a few minutes until fragrant and the onions are translucent.  Add the ground beef, stirring to break up and continue cooking until no longer pink. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer to heat.
  2. In an ungreased 9×13 pan ( we almost always use glass), lay some cooked noodles length wise in the bottom of the pan. Spread some of the sauce over the noodles, then spread some cottage cheese over top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and  parmesan cheese.  For the next layer, lay the noodles width-wise, top with sauce, cottage cheese and shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining layers. ( I usually get about 5)
  3. For the top layer, top noodles with sauce cottage cheese, then sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, and sprinkle with parmesan.
  4. Bake uncovered in an oven preheated to 350°F for 1 hour, broiling for the last 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Make this. Make this now.



I linked this recipe to The Weekend Potluck , Recipe Sharing Monday, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday!

Click the links for more great recipes!

Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Peanut Butter Balls

How did it become December 21st?

pb balls - GB

Everything has been such a whirlwind this week and it just seems like I’ve blinked and I am already facing the start of the last weekend before Christmas! Geesh.

Fortunately I do have all my shopping done ( and I’m pretty sure that if I don’t it’s not going to get done, because I am not facing those crowds!), however this week I have been helping some of my other family members get their shopping done.  I don’t mind lending a helping hand, however, now that I am done my shopping, I keep seeing amazing things in the store for the people on my list or (worse) myself.

peanut butter ball - GB

I think it’s a secret ploy by stores. Let’s put out all of the “ok” stuff or ” they’d appreciate that” stuff for all the early bird shoppers. Then in the last couple of weeks before the holidays, let’s put out all of the “OMG” or ” THIS IS TOTALLY PERFECT” stuff. That way when the shoppers are out with family members, or just doing their normal “I-just-ran-out-of-toilet-paper” shopping, they see all of this amazing stuff and are absolutely forced to buy it.

Like honestly, my shopping budget is not blown by my normal gift shopping. It’s blown by all these little amazing things that I find in the last days before Christmas.  Oh well. The only one that suffers really is my bank account.

Anyways, my shopping is beyond done, but I’m still trying to get some of my holiday baking done. These I whipped up a bit earlier in the  week when I had a spare bit of time. They come together quickly and are super delicious.  I’ve adapted them from my Grandma’s recipe (her original recipe had dates in them. Barf), and they are one of both my brothers and my dad’s favourites. If you are a big peanut butter fan, then you may want to double the recipe, because they will go quickly!

pb bite - GB

Peanut Butter Balls 

makes about 20 balls

  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar, divided
  • 3-6 tbsp of milk (or water)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  1. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter and 3/4 cup of the icing sugar. You should end up with a soft ‘dough’. 
  2. With damp hands, roll the dough into 1 inch/ 2.5 cm ball, setting them on a tray lined with wax paper. If you are finding that the dough is too soft or is sticking to your fingers, set them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once it is all rolled out, chill them for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make a thin icing with the remaining icing sugar and 3 Tbsp of milk.  If your icing is still thick, add the remaining milk, one tablespoon at a time.
  4. Lightly coat each of the chilled balls in the thin icing, then immediately roll in the shredded coconut. Set back on the wax paper lined tray and chill to set. Once they have set, you can move them too a container. Store in the fridge.

My last minute shopping trip bought our cat a festive new sweater!

christmas keels - GB

– Mel


I linked this recipe up to:

Categories: Candies | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tomato Soup Cake

Wait, wait, wait!

I swear I’m not crazy. Just bear with me  a little bit. It’s good I swear.

Honestly, if I didn’t just tell you I made a cake out of a can of tomato soup, you never would have guessed it. But you see, I’m all about honesty here. And it’s way to good not to share.

I have been  making this cake forever. I do believe it was the first cake I ever made from scratch, out of a cookbook I had been given for Christmas one year. And me, being the rotten child that I was, developed a certain smugness ( that only an 11 year old can) when it came to this cake:

Here try a piece of this delicious cake. What’s in it you say? Oh, you’ll never guess in a million years! You give up you say? Welllll….. TOMATO SOUP!

You know? Like it was boogers or slime or something equally as gross going into this cake. (Which by the way, didn’t)

And honestly, that’s how you got people to eat it. I brought it to  a church potluck one time, and my sister ( in her excitement and unfortunate attempt at shock and awe) went around telling the entire congregation that I had made tomato soup cake. That poor cake did not get touched

Many months later, I made it again, swore my siblings to secrecy in a way that only an older sibling can, and brought it to the pot luck. When people asked what kind of cake it was , I simply said a spice cake, and boy did it fly. 😉

Although I don’t remember this, Mom had to go through the same thing with us, trying to convince her very picky family to try it out, ensuring us that no, it did not taste like tomato soup, that yes it was actually good, and no, she was not lying to us. And she really was right ( although she had prior information because it used to be a cake that her mom would make all the time).

So, what I’m saying is that tomato soup in cake is good and tasty thing. Especially when you want a comforting and spicy cake, that’s slathered in cream cheese icing.

Tomato Soup Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: 

makes one 9×9 cake. Adapted from Company’s Coming: Kids Cooking  circa 1996

For the Cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can ( 10 oz) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 pkg ( 8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour a 9×9 square cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices and  salt and set aside.
  3. In large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, beat together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Dump in the can of tomato soup and mix until it’s combined with the butter mixture.
  4. Pour in the flour mixture, stirring slowly, until it is smooth and all combined, being sure to scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl.
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack completely.
  6. Meanwhile, in another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth and combined.
  7. Gradually add the icing sugar to the butter mixture, beating until smooth and creamy. Stir in the grated lemon zest, then spread onto your completely cooled cake. If you find the icing a bit thin, then just stick it in the refrigerator for a bit until it firms up a bit.

– Mel


I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck, Strut Your Stuff Saturdays, and On the Menu Mondays! Click the links to check out more great recipes!

Love Bakes Good Cakes
Categories: Cake and Cupcakes | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Gran’s Cabbage Rolls

In our family, birthdays=food.

Every year for my Mom’s birthday, Gran would make cabbage rolls. Every year, it was a birthday treat she looked forward to. When Gran passed away, Mom decided that they were far too much work for a meal that the rest of her family would complain about and refuse to eat. So that was then end of them for a little while. Dad would try and bring her home ones from the store every now and then, but they never compared to her moms.

About 6 years ago, when I was looking for a birthday gift to get Mom, she asked me to make her cabbage rolls, then told me how to make them. That first year was a disaster. I didn’t bake them quite long enough, made them too thick and left the rinds in the leaves. Undeterred, she asked for them the following year, and gave me a few more pointers. The following year she asked me to make a few more so she could freeze some to enjoy throughout the year. Then Mr. Ginge caught on, and started dropping not-so-subtle hints that he wanted in on the cabbage rolls too. So it’s stuck. Every year, the week of my Mom’s birthday, I pick a day and it becomes Cabbage Roll Day.

I will warn you, this truly does require a whole day, or if you aren’t up for that, then a day for rolling and a day for baking. Try and pick a cooler day because it’s hot work, and believe me, since the last week of August isn’t always cool, it’s no fun to make these when it is hotter than hell in the kitchen . As I mentioned, these freeze and reheat beautifully, and the recipe doubles, triples, or ( if you are crazy like me) quadruples wonderfully.

If you’re wondering, that makes approximately 215 cabbage rolls.

Gran’s Cabbage Rolls

makes enough to feed an army.

  • 1 – 2 large green cabbages.
  • 2 lbs ( about 1 kg) of ground meat. Half beef and half chicken is our favourite.
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 tsp each  salt and pepper
  • 1 1.36 L (46 oz)  can of tomato juice
  1. Find the biggest pot you own, and fill it with water ( I use my canning pot). Peel the outer, rubbery leaves off your cabbage. Remove the core. I do this by carefully slicing diagonally around the core, three times. This makes a triangle around the hard core, which you then should just be able to yank out. Set the pot on the stove, dunk your cabbage into it, cover and let boil. Yes, boiled cabbage will stink up your house, and every member of your family will complain about it,  but it is a necessary step.  You will want to boil the cabbage until the leaves are tender and the leaves have become translucent.
  2. While your cabbage boils and smellifies your house, combine the meat, rice, salt and pepper. Smoosh it all together with your hands or a wooden spoon, then set it aside. This will help soften the rice a little bit before it gets baked.
  3. The outer leaves of the cabbage so cook first, and should peel away from the cabbage easily with some tongs ( if they haven’t already floated off) If they won’t peel away, then carefully lift the cabbage out of the water with a couple of big serving spoons into a big bowl, then carefully peel away the leaves, cutting away some of the core if necessary. When they are still hot, but cool enough to handle, cut away the tough rib. For the larger, outer ribs, cut the leaves in half.
  4. Scoop out 2-3 tablespoons (or larger if desired) of the meat mixture and roll into a thin sausage  shape. Place in on the boiled cabbage leaf, fold both sides over to cover then roll. Place seam side down and pack tightly in a roasting pan (see below), then continue with the remaining leaves, peeling from the cabbage as necessary. If you are finding that the leaves are getting too small or hard to roll, discard the remaining cabbage, and boil a second as above.
  5. When all of the meat mixture has been used up, heat the oven to 300° F. Pour the tomato juice over the cabbage rolls, just enough to barely cover the top, otherwise it tends to boil over and is murder to clean out of your oven. The juice will thicken up and create a lovely rich sauce.
  6. Cover them with the lid, then pop them in your oven for 6 hours, making sure to check them every 2 to top up the tomato juice.  In the last half an hour remove the lid to brown the tops a bit.

Slow Cooker Alternative

  1. Prepare the rolls as above. Pour a little of the tomato juice into the bowl of your slow cooker, then pack in the prepare rolls.
  2. Pour the remaining tomato juice over top, then cook on high for 8 hours. These cabbage rolls will be a lot lighter and will have a much runnier sauce.

Serve with some crusty bread and butter


P.S. Please excuse the  terrible photos.


I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck , On the Menu Monday,and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays ! Click the link for more great recipes!

Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

When it comes to Gran’s recipes, often what I have to go on is a memory of what she used to make. Often they come up in the strangest times.

I was talking to Mom about some meat pies that I had made for Mr. Ginge, when she recalled these sticks that her mom used to make.

Gran was well known for her pies. Come the holidays she would always make a huge assortment; lemon meringue, raisin, blueberry, apple, peach, cherry, you name it it was probably there. One of my fondest memories was that as long as you ate your supper, you basically could go back indefinitely for pieces of pie. I’d wolf down my supper then rush back into the kitchen and then into the laundry  room ( she had acres of counter space in there. She made LOTS of pies) and choose my slice of pie. Usually blueberry or lemon, sometimes chocolate or raisin ( I was a weird kid).

Mom remembers her cheese sticks more than the pie. It was a treat that her whole family would look forward to. Since Gran would make so many pies at once, she was often left with some pastry.  She would gather it all up and roll it up with some cheddar cheese then bake it for a bit.  When the kitchen smelled of baking cheese, they would be pulled out. Grandpa would take his share, and Mom and her brothers would be allowed two sticks each.  Mom also remembers fighting over them, particularly if someone ended up with an end piece versus a middle piece.

Since I had some left over crust from making meat pies, I decided to make them for her. Her reaction?

“It feels weird to be able to eat more than just two!”

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

  • 1 9″ unbaked pie crust
  • 1 c sharp cheddar cheese ( like old or extra old)
  • pinch of salt.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly dust a sheet pan with flour. 
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8″/3mm thick.
  3. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese, then fold the dough in half, then half again.
  4. Roll the dough out again to an 1/8″/ 3mm, then transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with salt then cut into strips. 
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough will only be very lightly brown and slightly puffy.
  6. Let cool a little bit on the pan, then enjoy!
Sashi cats think they look tasty too!
Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Baking for My Man….

Between the two of us, Mr. Ginge is the most adventurous when it comes to food. He will try anything once (seriously…. we have alligator in our freezer right now), knows all sorts of great little specialty shops and markets, and, more often than not, is the one telling me that I am picky and am missing out on a good thing.

Put simply, Mr Ginge is the bigger foodie.

Don’t let this fool you though. There are some very distinct rules I have learned when it comes to baking for him.

1)No matter how hard you try, absolutely nothing beats his Grandma’s apple pie.

2) Do not muck up his treats by adding nuts, raisins, fruit, or other such nonsense. In his very own words ” If I wanted a nut, I will eat a nut.” End of story.

3) Do not mess with his desserts. He likes them for a reason, and he likes them that way. No exceptions.

4) You can never have enough of a good thing. Honestly, apple pies made for him are dark, dark brown from the amount of cinnamon in them.

These cookies are no exception to this rule. They have chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, which in his books, is always a good thing.

I used dark chocolate, white chocolate, and mint chocolate, which are among his favorites, but they would be great with whatever chocolate you prefer.

Minty Chocolate and White Chocolate Cookies.

makes about 30 cookies

  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate ( I used 70%), melted and cooled.
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4  tsp salt
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mint chocolate squares, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, blend your sugars. Cream in the butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add your eggs, on at a time, blending well after each.
  5. Add the vanilla and the cooled chocolate, mixing well.
  6. Slowly add the flour mix until just combined. Stir in the chips and the chopped chocolate.
  7. Scoop out onto a cookie sheet, a couple tablespoons each, and bake for about 15 minutes.
  8. Let them cool a couple minutes on the pan, and either enjoy warm, or let them cool completely on a wire rack



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An Unusual Nugget….

When we were little, we used to camp often during the summer. Sometimes we would camp in tents at a site, other times at my grandparents farm. We had a tent trailer which my parents parked out in the front pasture. Every few weekends during the summer, we would go out and visit then camp out in the trailer.

One story that comes up often, happened to me when I was about 5 years old. Mom and Dad had put us to bed, and the last thing I remember is curling up and going to sleep. The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground, outside of the trailer. So I ran around front and knocked on the trailer door to be let back in. Now this scared the bejeebers out of my parents, since by then it was late at night, and as far as they knew, we were all long asleep. Much to their surprise, they found me on the other side of the door. 😀

Another favorite is the time we ate snake. One evening, my parents thought it would be funny to play a joke on us.  When we asked what was for dinner, mom showed us the piece of meat she was preparing, and told us very seriously “Snake”  hoping to shock us. Dinner came, and she served us up these round slices of ‘snake’. Surprisingly, we gobbled it up (we were picky eaters), and later that night when we went inside to brush our teeth, we ran up to my Gran and told her all about the snake we ate for dinner.

Since then, pork tenderloin has been known as snake ( or at least has brought up this story).

Be sure to make lots, it flies (slithers?) off the plate!

Snake (a.k.a Cracker Fried Pork Nuggets)

serves 2-4

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 sleeve soda crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • oil for frying
  1. Preheat about 1/2 cm/ 1/4 in of oil in a large pan
  2. Trim your tenderloin of fat and the silverskin, then cut into medallions, about a centimeter/ 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Mix together the four, salt, pepper and paprika, then set up your breading station.
  4. Dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in egg, then in the crackers.
  5. Fry them for a couple minutes on each side until the crackers are golden and the meat is no longer pink.
  6. Drain them on a paper towel to remove excess grease.

Don’t they look sssssssssssscrumptioussssssss?

(OK…. that was awful…. 😛 )



It has been brought to my attention that it was, in fact, not this recipe but another one for grilled pork tenderloin that my parents told us was snake ( makes sense you know because it would have been whole….). I have just come to associate these nuggets with that story. Still really tasty and the only thing that ever gets made when we have pork tenderloin in the house 🙂


Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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