Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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Panera’s Mac and Cheese

I don’t know a bout you, but I love Panera!  I love their sandwiches, soups, and sides.  Their macaroni and cheese is quite outstanding and creamy.  After ordering the side recently I went home wanting to find a copycat recipe for the dish.. but I didn’t have to… as it turns out, Panera is quite willing to share the recipe with everyone.  I made it too – I did not have the exact cheeses – I used yellow American cheese instead of white American cheese, and it still turned out quite close to the one they sell.  They use shells in the recipe, but you could use any pasta you like. The surprising ingredient in the Panera recipe is a dash of Frank’s Hot Sauce.  It is very subtle though.

Here is a link to Panera’s Recipe.


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Cevapcici- what?

Cevapcici (prounounced Chee-vap-chi-chi) is a dish that I had growing up in Austria.  It was ground meat that was heavily flavored with garlic and paprika and that was formed into finger thick sausage shapes and browned.  It is actually a dish that is from Eastern Europe.  It is traditionally served with raw onions, red radishes, often with potatoes on the side.  I made it with some hesitation, not knowing how my family would like them.  I got a thumbs up from 3 of the 4 family members. My husband asked why I was holding out on making it for so long and my 13 year old daughter proclaimed that I should make them again.  My son will eat anything.  My eldest daughter said it was okay.  I will take okay!  This recipe is actually a little milder than I remember eating in Austria and think I would kick up the spice factor a little next time by adding a dash of cayenne pepper (added in the recipe, but optional if you don’t like spice).

This is translated from a cookbook that I own that is in German (link)

Cevapcici (or Chevabchichi)

translated and adapted from: Die Besten Thea-Rezepte Kochbuch #14 page 36

Serves 5


  • 1 Tbsp butter or canola oil
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground lamb (if you can find it, or use beef)
  • 1 lb ground lean beef
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (for extra kick, optional)
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Serve with: sliced radishes, dill pickles, sliced onion rings, and potatoes on the side


Heat the butter or canola oil over medium high heat and cook the finely minced onion until golden brown.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.  Remove from heat.  Add the cooked onions to the ground meat, egg white, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly to combine.  Form the meat into 1 1/2 inch long finger thick “sausages”.  Place them on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set.   Grill on the barbecue for about 8 minutes each side if you desire. Alternatively, you could also fry the meat in canola oil over medium high heat turning them occasionally to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes on each side.

I hope you enjoy another dish that is from Europe, that was a childhood favorite of mine.

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It is my blogging Anniversary!

Becky at Peohe’s in San Diego, which inspired the Avocado-Mango Salsa Stack

In October 2008 I posted my very first blog entry on – which means that this is my 4 year Anniversary blogging — and my 200th post since moving my blog to wordpress in February of 2010!  Wow, time sure does fly.  I asked some of my friends what they wanted to see in my anniversary post and they made some suggestions.  Where was I when I started blogging?  Where to I intend to go from here on out? What are some of my favorite recipes?

What first led you to blogging?

I first created my blog to share my favorite recipes with friends.  I never really desired to be the top food blog, or to have it act as a source of income.  I wanted to keep my blog clean from ads, so I never added any advertisers.  I do however refer others to blogs that I also enjoy.  I used twitter briefly to try to attract more foot traffic, but in the end it did not matter to me how many people came to my page.  I have seen my readership grow though, and it has been interesting to me what subjects or searches draw people to my blog.  Mostly though, I was just wanting to share my cooking with friends. It has been fun to see the amount of visitors grow from a few hundred hits in the first year to now having had 28,000+ hits! 🙂

The movie, Julie and Julia inspired me to be more consistent in blogging.  I had already blogged some by the time the movie came out, but it inspired me to do more of it. And it inspired me to tackle a recipe that had been on my bucket list of cooking: Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon!  I made it several times since… as a matter of fact, my son who is now 9 years old asked for it for his 6th Birthday!  And he pronounced it like Julia Child would have, which further cracked us up!

Food that I have had at restaurants have made me seek to try various things – for instance the Avocado Mango Salsa Stack was a result of such – it was inspired by a Chart House Restaurant in San Diego, CA.

What are some of your favorite recipes that you have posted?

Well, this is a longer response.


Amuse-Gueule Au Roquefort (Julia Child recipe for a blue cheese ball appetizer- one of the best I have ever had)

Tomato-Parmesan Appetizer

Cheesy Sausage Dip (great with a sliced fresh French Baguette- no picture but a great dip)

Avocado Mango Salsa Stack (served with Tortilla chips)

Southwest Egg Rolls (like those served at popular restaurants- for that super bowl party)

Hot Buttered Pretzels


Turkey Cranberry Wreath

Chicken A La King (or use Turkey)


Whiskey Chicken

Boston Market Meatloaf

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Asian Onion Soup


Paula Deen’s Jacket Potatoes with Bacon and Mushroom Sauce

Ina’s Chicken Piccata

Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

Ina Garten’s Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake

Wolfgang Puck’s Beef Goulash

Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese

Cat Cora’s Avgolemono Soup


Slow Cooked Swiss Steak

Hawaiian Chicken


Pepperoni Calzones

American Chop Suey

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Baked Ziti


Blueberry Coffee Cake

Apple Muffins

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast (or Strawberry French Toast)

Pumpkin Waffles


Aunt Nancy’s Chicken Bites

Angels on Horseback



Cajun Chicken Club Sandwiches


Italian-Style Pasta Salad

Frieda’s Coleslaw

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato


Basil Cream Chicken

Chicken Piccata


Avgolemono Soup

Asian Onion Soup


Hazelnut Chewies (made with Nutella)

Black Dog Restaurant Ginger Cookies

Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Cookies

Lemon Bars


Hawaiian Chicken

Salmon Cakes

Slow Cooked Baby-back Ribs (in oven)

BEST GERMAN FAVORITES: (see my German Food Tab)





German Beef Rouladen

German Red Cabbage


Buttered Potatoes

Wolfgang’s Beef Goulash and Spaetzle (Wolfgang Puck)

MOST INVOLVED: but it is worth the effort

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Apple Strudel

Where do you see yourself going in the next 200 posts?

I would like to incorporate more Germanic foods into my blog.  These would be recipes that I have translated into English from various cookbooks that I own.

I hope to lose some weight- it has become a curse to be a good cook.  My husband and I both face some serious health issues that we need to address with more healthy eating.  And eating like the recipes on this blog will not aid in that too much!

My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary next March – we will take our family to Maui for a week to celebrate this event.  Later in the summer we will be traveling to NJ to visit my parents, who will celebrate their 50th Year of marriage.  Good stuff!

Thank you readers for reading my blog and cheering me on.  Okay, that is a lot of recipes… what are my absolute top favorites?

Chicken Piccata, Hazelnut Chewies, Basil Cream Chicken, Cajun Chicken Club Sandwiches and Italian Style Pasta Toss.  For the kids, even the pickiest guest I have had likes Aunt Nancy’s Chicken Bites.  It is a much healthier option to chicken nuggets.  I hope you learn to love some of these recipes as much as my family and I have and hope I have inspired you to cook for your loved ones.

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Swedish Meatballs

My husband LOVES Swedish Meatballs almost as much as he loves me!  I saw an appetizing looking recipe for them in Cook’s Country Best Potluck Recipes – I have used it in the past to make the Baked Ziti that was also quite delicious.  This recipe was made for the crock pot, but I did not have the 5 hours it required so I adapted it for the stove top cooking.  It will appear on our menu rotation again, I am sure!  The recipe is found on page 165 of Cook’s Country Best Potluck Recipes.  It is for appetizer meatballs, but I made them slightly larger, and served them with pasta and green beans.  I would have added Lingonberry Jam, but neither I or my husband could wrestle the lid from the container, and we were hungry!

Swedish Cocktail Meatballs

adapted from Cook’s Country Best Potluck Recipes p 165

Serves 6-8


  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided use
  • 1 onion, finely minced (originally 2)
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth, divided use
  • 1 cup sour cream, divided use
  • 4 slices caraway-rye bread, crusts removed, torn into bits
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (or 1 lb beef, 1 lb pork)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, minced


Place the oven rack to the middle position in your oven and preheat the oven to 425F.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in it and saute the minced onions until softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the onions to a large bowl.  To the onions, add 1/4  cup of the beef broth, 1/4 cup of the sour cream, bread, egg yolks, allspice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Mash the mixture with a fork until it is paste like in consistency.  Add in the meat, breaking it up into smaller pieces and combine the mixture until well mixed.  Use a medium sized ice cream scoop to form the meatballs.

Spray a baking rack with cooking spray and place over a cookie sheet of the same size.  Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until lightly browned, rotating the baking sheet half way through baking.  Set the meatballs aside until ready to use.

Wipe out the large skillet with a paper towel, and add the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter, heating over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes, when the flour mixture begins to brown.  Slowly add the 3 1/4 cups beef broth, whisking as you add it and bring it to a boil.  Add the meatballs into the gravy, cover, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer the meatballs,  stirring occasionally for 45 minutes to an hour.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup sour cream, soy sauce, and dill.  Add in a few ladles of the gravy and stir to combine and then add the sour cream mixture to the large skillet.  Stir to combine and heat through.  Serve with cooked egg noodles, and a vegetable to round out the meal (or serve them as cocktail meatballs at a party).

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins

My daughter asked for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins one morning.  I of course knew where to turn: Pinterest and my many pins!  The pin led to this link. I followed the directions exactly – but was disappointed in the baking time they recommended – they  muffins were seriously over-baked and dry. The next time I made them, I reduced the cooking time to 15-18 minutes and was much happier with the results.  It is not as chocolatey as the ones you can get at Costco – or the like, but they are still quite good.  Here is my adaptation:

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins

adapted from Ingredients, Inc (see link above) Makes 1 dozen regular sized muffins


1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tsp canola oil
1 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
additional mini chocolate chips to sprinkle the tops of the muffins before baking.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar and chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the milk, sour cream, canola oil, egg, and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.
Add about 1/2 of the flour mixture into the liquids and stir to combine, using a spatula.  Add the remaining flour and incorporate it into the batter.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups (lined ones- or spray the muffin tin with a non stick spray like Pam)
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional mini chips if you have them on hand (about a teaspoon per muffin).
Bake for 15-18 minutes. (originally 20 minutes, but I found that to be too long for this preparation)

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Chorizo and Chicken Stew with Avocado Crema

I downloaded the Williams Sonoma e-book of soups – it features a soup for every day of the year. The soup featured on September 23 sounded interesting to me and here is my adaptation. I used different peppers (Anaheim peppers instead of red bell pepper, but in hindsight I should have roasted the peppers and skinned them rather than chopping them and adding them to the soup). Instead of cooking my own chicken I used a already cooked rotisserie chicken from the local market.

Chorizo and Chicken Stew with Avocado Crema

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup Of the Day Cookbook Sept 23

Serves 6

  • 2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo, cooked and drained
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Anaheim chilies, roasted and peeled, and chopped
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Avocado Crema

  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and mashed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, saute for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant for about one minute longer.  Add the Anaheim chili and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the shredded chicken, chorizo, broth and seasonings and simmer them for 15 minutes.

To make the Avocado Cream: Combine the avocado, sour cream and lime.

To serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a tablespoon of the avocado cream.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Okay, Pinterest has  become an obsession, but I have not made very many recipes that I have found at that site.  This one is though- Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips called to me- it is a winner.  I used a banana more than it called for because I had that many! It worked out really well. I think these would be great as muffins too, just reduce the cooking time – for those breakfast on the go mornings. I would even increase the peanut butter amount to bring out the flavor even more – it was subtle, and increased the vanilla as well, because I love the flavor of vanilla. My recipe is adapted from the recipe found here.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

adapted from For Goodness Sake Catering

Serves 12


  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
  • 6 Tbsp white sugar
  • 6 Tbps brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I used natural)
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt (Greek works too)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips (tossed in 1 Tbsp flour)


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper (this will help remove the loaf from the pan).

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, or the bowl of your mixer add: bananas, peanut butter, egg, vanilla, and oil.  Mix to combine.  Add about half of the flour mixture and mix to incorporate.  Add remaining flour mixture and mix until you do not see any more dry flour.  Fold in the chocolate chips (the flour helps them not sink to the bottom for the loaf pan as it bakes.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread with the spatula to even the batter.  Bake 40-50 minutes (mine took almost an hour, but every oven is different, so test if it is done with a toothpick or skewer.

Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing the pan.  Cool completely before slicing (this is totally optional– we tore into the loaf as soon as we removed it from the pan.  Delicious!

I imagine the baking time in regular size muffins would be around 20 minutes.  I will have to try that next,because I have bananas to use up!

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