Coleen’s Haricot Verts

Coleen and her husband Bob created this recipe after dining at Campanile in LA and she generously shared it. Haricot Verts (thin French green beans) can be purchased at Trader Joe’s most of the year and at some Farmer’s markets during the summer and autumn.

1 pound haricots verts or small green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled and cut into rings
Olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
~ ¼ teaspoon salt
Vinaigrette (see below)
1/3 cup roasted and halved hazelnuts

Cook the beans in boiling water until crisp tender, shock them with cold water, and then cut them into whatever size you want for serving. Peel and cut shallots into thin rings and sauté them slowly in just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. When shallots are lightly browned, add 1-2 tablespoons of sherry wine vinegar and a little salt. Cook shallots another couple of minutes until the edges start looking crispy. Reserve.

Make a vinaigrette with 1 part sherry wine vinegar to 3 parts olive oil, salt and pepper: Vinaigrette: Whisk 1 Tablespoon sherry and 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil. Add a pinch salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Toasted hazelnuts: Hazelnuts with husks removed can be found at some grocery stores. All you need to do then is place the 1/3 cup of halved hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 325 degree Fahrenheit for about 7 – 10 minutes. Watch them carefully as to not over bake.

When ready to serve, toss the beans with half of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette if needed. Warm gently in microwave for a minute and toss again with the shallots. Sprinkle the roasted, halved hazelnuts on top and serve. The hazelnuts are optional but make the dish even more special.

Serves ~ 6

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Family Bread Stuffing

This is our favorite bread stuffing. The recipe can be easily varied. Friends make cornmeal or rice stuffing but bread stuffing still remains our favorite.

The ingredients make enough stuffing for a 10 to 15 lb. turkey with the remaining stuffing going into a casserole dish in the oven. Be sure to rinse your turkey and salt the inside. Place some of the stuffing into the cavity and also the neck just before you start baking or BBQing the turkey.

1 cup of butter
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons poultry season or ground sage
4 celery stalks, chopped OR a small bulb of fennel, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons salt
3 ½ quarts stale bread cubes
~1 cup chicken stock (or turkey stock made from the giblets)


~ ½ – ¾ lb. sausage (sweet Italian or breakfast), crumbled and sautéed
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
Fresh herbs to taste: approximately ½ teaspoon of rosemary, thyme, and basil (use less if use dried herbs)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the onions, celery, and mushrooms until soft and translucent. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bread cubes. Sauté the sausage (optional) until cooked but not browned. Add the cooked sausage to the bread cubes. Add the seasonings and mix well. Add enough stock to slightly moisten the bread cubes. Add the pecans, dried cranberries, salt and pepper to the bread cube mixture and mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Place some of the stuffing into the cavity and also the neck of the turkey just before you start baking or Barbequing the turkey. Place the remaining stuffing in the casserole dish. Bake the stuffing uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes.

Serves 8 – 10

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Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

Regular snickerdoodle cookies are delicious. However, I get more requests for this recipe than the original recipe. The chocolate adds a nice twist and the cookies work well for a Christmas cookie assortment.

1 cup butter
2 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Beat together butter in a mixer on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar and beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir together the flour and cocoa powder. Beat the flour mixture gradually into the butter mixture until combined.

Stir the cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl. Scoop a teaspoon of the dough and form a ball. Drop the ball into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 9 – 11 minutes until the edges are firm. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes ~ 60 cookies

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Mushrooms and Onion Sauté

We make variations of this easy side dish which can also be used for stuffing a chicken or turkey by adding some bread cubes.

2 cups of sliced mushrooms, (button or cremini)
1 large onion chopped coarsely
1 TBSP light olive oil
½ – 1 teaspoon salt
¼ – ½ teaspoon pepper

Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for about 5 – 7minutes until onions are translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté about 5 more minutes until most of liquid is evaporated. Add salt and pepper to the vegetables to your taste.

Serves ~ 2-3

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Mother-in-Law’s Chicken with Cranberry Topping

This is a quick recipe for everyday but especially the holidays. You can use all chicken drumsticks (leg with thigh), thighs, or chicken breasts if you prefer.

6 chicken legs with thighs (or 6 chicken breasts or 8-10 chicken thighs)
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup shortening or olive oil
Cranberry Topping

Measure the flour and add the salt and pepper. Dredge the drumsticks with the seasoned flour. In a skillet, melt the shortening/oil and brown the drumsticks turning occasionally. Place drumsticks in a dish (or use the skillet if it is oven proof) and spoon half of the sauce of the chicken.  Bake at 350 degree Fahrenheit for about ~ 45 minutes.  Bake less for chicken breasts.

Spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken and bake another ~ 15 – 20 minutes until chicken is tender.

Serves 6

Cranberry Topping:

1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup prepared horseradish

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and mix together. Heat the sauce until warm.

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Five Spice Chicken

This recipe uses chicken thighs which we especially like because of the nice serving size and the moistness. You can make the chicken only or add the suggested vegetables to make a complete meal. This is a new favorite over the last year. You can find Chinese five-spice at Penzey’s or a good local grocery.

1 small fennel bulb (or substitute vegetable of choice, i.e. celery, turnip etc.)
1 lb. sweet potatoes cut into ~ ¼ in slices
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 medium red onion cut into wide slices
2 large firm apples (Granny Smith), sliced into ¼ inch wedges
6 bone-in chicken thighs
2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 teaspoon honey
1 ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the fennel stalks off and reserve the feathery tops. Trim the base of the bulb and cut in half. Remove the core and cut the bulb into slim lengthwise wedges.

Oil a large baking sheet and arrange the sweet potatoes and fennel in a single layer. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Arrange onion and apples over the potatoes and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place chicken thighs on top. In a bowl, combine butter, honey, five-spice and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Brush this mixture onto the chicken.

Roast for 15 minutes, and baste the vegetables and chicken with the juices using a large spoon. Continue to roast for approximately 15 to 20 minutes longer until chicken is browned and no longer pink at the bone. Baste again and scatter the reserved fennel leaves on top.

~ 4 servings

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Richard’s Favorite Apple Pie and Pie Crust

This is the pie recipe that my husband requests the most. My mother-in-law enjoyed making pies and she had two pie crust recipes. The pie crust recipe makes enough for 2 ½ pies and is very rich. The pie is a basic style and the most important step is to slice the apple thinly. The best apple for this style is the Granny Smith.


4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups shortening
1 egg, slightly beaten and water added to make ¾ cup liquid
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the egg and water and the vinegar and mix gently. Add the shortening and, using a pastry cutter, cut shortening into flour until the size of peas. Form together and cut into 5 even pieces. Form each piece into a disc shape and cover with plastic wrap.

Chill dough for a minimum of 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be frozen for later use. If frozen, set out for ~ ½ hour before rolling the dough.

Apple Pie:

6 medium-sized apples (cored and sliced thinly, about 1/8 inch) preferably Granny Smith
½ to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Roll out the bottom crust. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch to the apples and mix gently. Place the apples in the bottom crust. Put the small pieces of butter on top of the apples. Roll out the top crust and gently place the crust over the apples. Crimp the edges of the pie and place a couple of slits in the top crust.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake pie approximately 45 – 60 minutes in all until crust is golden.

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