Tag Archive | Food

Tzatziki sauce

Okay….I screwed up. This was totally supposed to post over a week ago. But save draft is not the same as schedule draft. Le sigh.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for killer homemade tzatziki sauce. We use Ultra Gel in this Tzatziki sauce as it will keep the water in suspension from the cucumber, and it means you don’t have to drain your greek yogurt, so it speeds up making the recipe as well.

With the Super Bowl around the corner Greek Meatballs with this sauce would make a killer appetizer. Serve them up with some naan bread and you’re in business!


Tzatziki sauce

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (Fresh is best)

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

3 cups plain greek yogurt

1-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

salt and pepper

Combine cucumber pieces and salt in a colander and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse gently and shake dry. Combine cucumber, lemon, garlic and dill in a food processor and pulse until well combined and cucumber pieces are well chopped. Add mixture to greek yogurt and mix well. Allow to sit for five minutes, then whisk in Ultra Gel until just thinner than desired consistency is reached. Let sit for three minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. Yum!

Baked Stroganoff

Recently I found some really nice London Broil on sale and wanted one of those meals I could get going and not worry about for a while. I love a good stroganoff, particularly one with nice pieces of meat and mushrooms and this baked stroganoff is flavorful, easy and appeals to adults and kids.

We serve it up over rice or noodles with veggies on the side, and no one goes away hungry!


Baked Stroganoff

1-2 pounds london broil cut into 1 inch strips

3/4 cups flour+1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups beef broth

1/2 thinly sliced white onion

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic in a large zip top bag. Add beef pieces and toss to coat. In a large cast iron skillet (Any heavy skillet, will do, but cast iron works particularly well), bring oil to medium high heat. Add beef pieces a few at a time, browning on all edges. Remove beef to a bowl. Deglaze the skillet with the beef broth. Add onion and mushrooms to broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and Ultra Gel and bring to heat. Fold in beef pieces and salt and pepper to taste. Remove entire mixture into a 9×13 inch dripper pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are completely tender. Serve over rice or noodles.

This recipe freezes well. Move to air tight containers and freeze for upto 3 months.

Greek Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Since the first of the year the hubs and I have been trying really hard to eat a little better….where better mostly refers to a lot less sugar and processed foods and a lot more vegetables and lean proteins. By and large this has been working really well for us and even if the scale doesn’t always reflect it we sure feel better.

Now, admittedly, cooking under increased restrictions is always a bit of a challenge, but I’ve found by and large it’s a good one and we’ve found some lovely recipes. Today’s recipe is for a greek meatball lettuce wrap. The meatball is made from ground turkey and onions mixed with greek seasonings all wrapped up in lettuce with baby tomatoes and tzatziki sauce which is a greek sauce based on garlic, cucumbers and greek yogurt. This sauce is used on all kinds of foods such as falafel, gyros, kabobs and other fun treats, so totally worth knowing how to do. Ultra Gel is important in each of these recipes. In the Greek Meatballs the Ultra Gel holds everything together, making for a meatball which is moist and doesn’t fall to pieces. In the case of the sauce the cucumber can weep a lot of moisture into the sauce and make it watery. The Ultra Gel helps here by providing a stabilizing force. All in all it’s awesome. And just to keep you coming back you get the recipe for homemade Tzatziki sauce tomorrow! Hah. I know…I’m mean.

We totally could have frozen these greek meatballs, but between the husband and I we ate the entire batch of about 20 in three days. :)


Greek Meatball Lettuce Wraps

1 pound ground turkey (or a combination of ground beef and ground turkey is good too)

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lemon peel (opt)

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Combine all ingredients until mixed well. Scoop into 1 Tablespoon sized meatballs and place on a cookie sheet which has been lined with aluminum foil and a metal cooling rack. Cook meatballs at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.  Serve in lettuce wraps with Tzatziki sauce (purchased or homemade) and chopped tomatoes.

Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

This caramel stuffed chocolate cookies recipe is one that I made during Christmas time but it kinda got lost in the shuffle. However, as it’s an easy and yummy recipe (Starts with a cake mix!) I think it deserves to come back to light. And it’s chocolate and caramel and if that isn’t a great option for Valentines I don’t know what is.


Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

12 ounces rolos chocolate covered caramels

1 box devil’s food cake mix

1 eggs

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cake mix, eggs, Ultra Gel, water, and vegetable oil. Wrap dough around individual rolos and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes before moving to a rack to complete cooling. This is a very important step as moving the cookies too early can lead to caramel leaking out the bottom!

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Last Minute Cheese Ball

So holiday season is drawing to a close, but if, like me, you are already planning for the SuperBowl, or you just have a last minute gig on the books give this cheese ball recipe a try.

This is one of those recipes which is very common around here. Almost everyone I know has a version which is similar with little family differences. This makes me suspect it showed up in a popular magazine or such at one point or another, though I’ve never found an original source. One person adds paprika and another a little pineapple, but it still all starts with cream cheese and bottled spread cheese and goes from there.

I use Ultra Gel in this recipe to keep the cheese ball soft longer and because it means you can roll and serve the spread immediately without having to chill it. At least as far as texture is concerned, I still like letting the mix sit for a few hours for the flavors to come together, but in a last minute crunch pour and roll!

Last Minute Cheese Ball

16 ounces softened, low fat cream cheese

2 bottles Old English Cheese Spread

1 bottle Blue Roka Cheese Spread

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 Tablespoons dry parsley

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon water

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a mixer (I like my big stand mixer) and mix until well combined. Chill for upto 6 hours to let flavors combine, or if you’re in a hurry just skip to scooping out the mix into 2-3 cheese ball sized lumps and rolling in pecans or walnuts, if desired.

Serve with a variety of chips and/or vegetables.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Easy Chocolate Fudge

Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean there’s no more candy making! This chocolate fudge is a rich treat for New Years, or the perfect sweet treat for Valentines. This is a simple recipe which doesn’t require a candy thermometer, just a timer.*

A few notes for this chocolate fudge.

1: Use a good quality pan with a thick bottom. A thin bottomed pan will scorch and you’ll end up with floaty bits in your fudge.

2: You can change the flavor by changing the kind of chips you use or add a few drops of flavored oils.

3: The Ultra Gel in this recipe will help stop the fudge from sugaring and give you a smooth texture. This doesn’t mean the chocolate fudge CANNOT sugar, if you contaminate your batch you can still have problems, so be sure to use clean tools.

Chocolate Fudge


Easy Chocolate Fudge

4 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1 can evaporated milk

8 ounce marshmallow creme

2 cups semi sweet morsels

Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by lining with waxed paper and lightly buttering or spraying with non-stick spray.

In a heavy pan combine sugar, Ultra Gel and salt and mix until well combined. Add butter and evaporated milk and bring to a boil. As soon as mixture starts to boil set a timer for 6 minutes. Wash down any sugar crystals from the side of the pan and cook until the timer goes off (soft ball stage). Candy will form a film on the back of a spoon.

In a large plastic bowl combine marshmallow creme and morsels. Pour hot mixture over chocolate and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Then stir briskly to mix and melt chocolate and marshmallow. Once everything is melted together pour into prepared 9×13 inch pan and let cool. (I put it in the refrigerator or in the winter out in my garage tented with another piece of waxed paper to keep anything form drifting into it.)

Cut into small pieces and serve. Try not to eat it all at once. :)

*Note: If you live closer to sea level you may need to increase the time by 30 seconds due to the differences in the temperature that water boils at.

Apple Syrup

Fall and winter are wonderful times to find apple juice and ciders on great sale and a great time to make a batch of apple syrup. Apple syrup is wonderful on Dutch babies, pancakes and waffles, but it’s also a great glaze for ham and pork chops! Sweet and spicy with just a little kick and adding Ultra Gel keeps it thick and rich for weeks (if it lasts that long!).

apple syrup

Apple Syrup

4 cups apple cider

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon brown sugar mixed with 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel (or 1 Tablespoon Thick Gel)

2 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix together brown sugar and Ultra Gel until well combined.

In a heavy sauce pan combine all ingredients, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until cider reduces and desired thickness is reached. Serve warm or pour into a container and refrigerate.