Oh Christ our God, bless the food and drink of your servants, for you are holy always, now and ever, and forever.  Amen (Byzantine Catholic prayer before meals)





Pascha (Easter Egg-rich Bread)

Cheesy Biscuits



Oatmeal Mounds

Buttery Pecan Filo Cake


Main Dishes

Stuffed Cabbage

Spaghetti with Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

Anytime Pie




Egg Cheese  (Hrutka)


Side Dishes and Potatoes

Baba's Cracker StuffingPotato Pan-Cake



Christmas Eve Portabella Mushroom Soup 










Oatmeal Mounds 

(the versatile cookie that's tasty and good for you!)

2 c flour
3 c quick oats
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c orange juice
1 egg
1 c softened butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
12 oz.  semi-sweet mint chocolate mini chips
1/2 - 3/4 c salted sunflower seeds (or as you like)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients.  Add softened butter and mix together.  Add egg, orange juice, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Stir in sunflower seeds and chocolate chips.   Drop by heaping teaspoon mounds onto greased cookie sheets.  Place in pre-heated oven on upper-middle rack for about 10 minutes, or until bottoms are nicely browned.   Remove from pans and serve warm or cooled, with steaming cup of coffee or chilled glass of milk. Enjoy!

(To make this an entirely sugar-free cookie, omit chocolate chips and add carob drops instead; also, you may substitute and type of nut for the sunflower sees, and any type of fruit juice for the orange juice.  The variations are endless, and only limited by your imagination!)







Buttery Pecan Phyllo Cake


1 16-oz box filo dough

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 sticks butter (I like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or Smart Balance) 

dash of salt 

1 tsp cinnamon (or more, to your taste)  

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark; more or less to your taste; I used light brown sugar, about 1/2 cup)

1 1/2 cups pecan pieces (could be made with other nuts; I used pecans)

juice of one orange (optional)


Remove filo from box. Keeping wrapped in inner paper, microwave on high for approximately one minute, just long enough to unfold. Unfold stack of filo and place flat on counter. Cut two equal lengthwise and 2 equal crosswise slices, making nine separate stacks of dough.

Melt butter and drop in stacks of filo, mixing to equally distribute butter. Add remaining ingredients and using hands, mix and distribute, breaking up and separating some of the filo stacks.

Pour into buttered, shallow baking pan, approximately 9 X 10 (this was the size of my baking pan; however, any similar-sized shallow pan will work. The important thing is to shape the mixture into a square/rectangle of about 1/2" thickness) 

Bake in center of oven on 350 degrees, for approximately 20 - 25 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown and the top begins to brown.

Remove from oven and, while cooling, sprinkle the juice of one orange over the top. Serve by cutting into squares/pieces with vanilla ice cream or frozen cool whip.  

Keeps well overnight; no need to refrigerate; just cover and set on counter. I know this because I am eating a big slab as I write this, and IT IS HEAVENLY!










Easter (Egg Bread) (Pascha)    





             Baked Pascha / Filled Baskets Ready to Bless

7 c flour
3 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
2 dry quick yeast packages
1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine, melted
8 egg YOLKS
1 1/2 to 2 c warm milk

Combine all dry ingredients. Mix together with butter, egg yolks and 1 1/2 c milk (start with 1 1/2 c and add more if necessary).  You want a moist dough, but not "wet".  

Knead about 10 minutes, or until dough is elastic.  If dough is very moist, you'll have to "punch" it in the pan rather than knead it on a board. It is ready when the dough starts to come easily off your hands.

Place in bowl and cover and let rise until doubled (about 1/2 hour with quick yeast).  Punch dough down and divide in half.   Divide each half of the dough into thirds and roll each piece into a strip.  Braid the 3 pieces together and pinch at each end.  Place into greased bread pans and cover, allowing to rise till over top of pan.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  

While oven is warming, beat one egg white with a little water.  Brush tops of each loaf of bread.  Place in middle/center of oven for 10 minutes on 400 degrees.  Immediately turn down temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until bread is brown and sounds hollow when thumped (about 20 minutes).    

Remove from pans and cover with towel until cooled.  Bread is easily frozen and keeps at least 1/2 year.  Best served cut thickly, with cup of fresh coffee and sweet (unsalted) butter.  

Pascha is traditionally eaten at Easter, signifying the risen Christ. It is placed in a basket with other foods from which one has fasted during Lent (various meats, dairy, etc.) and taken to chruch (in the Byzantine Catholic Faith) to be blessed during a Resurrection service (usually around midnight). The food is then shared at church with other parishioners, or taken home to be shared with family members for an Easter feast/breakfast.






Cheesy Biscuits


2 c flour

1 tsp sugar

1 TBS baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 c butter or margarine, chilled and cubed

3/4 c milk

1 heaping c shredded cheddar and fontina cheese (I like about 1/2 c each.  Or use your favorite cheeses--sharper cheeses add the most flavor)


Set oven to 400 degrees and place a cast iron skillet in the oven to heat.  Combine the dry ingredients and cut the butter into the mix until it looks like cornmeal.  Add the cheese and mix; add the milk, stir and then knead gently until all is combined. If the dough is too dry, add small amount of additional milk, but do not get the dough too wet.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/2" thickness and cut biscuits using a buscuit butter or glass.  Remove hot skillet from oven and swirl around about 1 tsp butter till coated.  Lay the biscuits close together so that they are touching, all around the pan.  Place in oven and bake about 15 - 17 minutes, until golden brown.


Remove from oven.  Melt about 4 TBS butter with garlic powder to taste (about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp), roughtly 2 - 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley (a couple tsps dry parsley may be substituted) and a dash of salt.  Brush over tops of biscuits.









Stuffed Cabbage

2 heads cabbage


3 pounds ground chuck 
1/2 to 1 cup uncooked rice 
handful of quick oats     
garlic powder to taste 
onion powder to taste 
salt and pepper to taste


1, 46-oz can tomato juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
pinch of baking soda
(cuts acid)

In large soup pot, pre-boil/steam cabbage until leaves begin turning soft (about 1/2 hour).  Core heads and carefully remove leaves.  

While cabbage is steaming, put tomatoe juice, broth and baking soda to warm in large saucepan.  

Mix together all ingredients for meat filling.  Put approximately 1 TBS filling into cabbage leaves and fold to enclose meat.  Place cabbage rolls in 2 large baking dishes, spoon broth over and put into 350-degree oven for 1-2 hours, or until cabbage is soft and rice is cooked.   May be frozen and re-heated.















Spaghetti with Yellow Squash and Tomatoes


1 pound ground sirloin

1 large onion, sliced (any variety)

3 TBS Extra Virgin olive oil

Seasoned Salt to taste

garlic powder to taste

1 large red tomato, chopped into 1" pieces

1 1/2 cups yellow squash, peeled and chopped in 1" pieces

iodized salt to taste

fresh ground pepper to taste

mixed dried Italian spices to taste

Mrs. Dash (or other non-salt combined seasoning) to taste

1 cup white wine (any variety)

approx. 1 -2 cups water, as needed

1 small can tomato paste

8 oz. thin whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half

1/2 cup shredded co-jack cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 

Season (with seasoned salt and garlic powder) and brown ground meat and onion in large skillet with Olive Oil, being careful to leave the meat in about 1" hunks as it browns.  When meat is brown and onion appear clear and not too soft, add chopped tomato and yellow squash, and season with iodized salt,  pepper, Italian spices and Mrs. Dash.  Continue to saute about 5 - 10 minutes, until tomato and squash are soft and warm, but still fairly firm.  Add wine, 1 cup water and tomato paste.  Stir together and add spaghetti.  If mixture appears too thick, add remaining cup (or more) water a little at a time.  Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until spaghetti is al dente.  Sprinkle cheeses on top and turn off heat.  Cover until cheeses are melted.

Serve with crusty bread and butter, glass of wine (preferably the wine you used in the dish) and salad (preferably oil & vinegar/Italian dressing)






Anytime Pie

The Perfect Breakfast, Brunch or Supper

1 (6-8 ounce) ribeye steak

3 medium potatoes (I prefer yellow/yukon gold)

5 eggs, beaten with (up to) 1/4 cup heavy cream

2-3 green onions, chopped

3/4 - 1 cup shredded cheese (I mix cheddar, fontina and fresh shredded parmesan)

salt, fresh-cracked pepper, onion powder, garlic powder

chopped parsley (fresh or dried)


Season the steak to your preference and broil rare to medium rare (pink). Set aside to cool for 10 minutes and then slice into thin strips.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and chop the potatoes into shoestrings (or any way you prefer). Dry them with paper towels after rinsing in cool water and then season with salt, pepper and onion powder, to your taste. Brown on medium to medium-high heat in cast iron skillet in a little olive oil mixed with 1 TBS unsalted butter, turning until all sides are nicely browned. Flatten the potatoes with a spatula and remove from heat.

Add chopped green onions to beaten eggs, and season the mix with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to your taste. Pour the eggs over the potatoes in the iron skillet. Add steak slices evenly and top all with the shredded cheese and a few pats of butter. Bake in a 400-degree oven about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes. Cut in wedges and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  and serve with rye toast, mixed fruuit and coffee. Serves four (leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in a microwave.

This meal is ideal to make with a variety of substitutions: Any meat will do, such as sausage, ground beef (pre-cooked), ham, bacon, etc. Use any cheese of your choice and any seasonings you prefer. Make it YOUR OWN!











(traditional eastern European Easter dish)

6 cans whole beets (10 - 14 oz size)
2 jars horseradish, hot or mild (8 oz size)
lemon juice to taste

(amounts of horseradish and lemon juice may be changed as desired)  

Shred beets on fine setting of shredder.  Mix well with horseradish and lemon juice as desired. Chill. 

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.   Serve as condiment/dip.  Best with bland food or boiled meets and vegetables, especially beef, chicken or ham.
















Egg Cheese

(traditional eastern European Easter dish)


1 dozen eggs
1 quart milk
1 tsp. salt
Sugar to tast (optional)
Strainer and Cheesecloth


Break all eggs into large bowl.  Add milk, sugar and salt and beat well with whisk.  Place into microwave on high power for 15-20 minutes, until mixture begins to congeal. 

Pour into large pot or dutch oven on medium heat, and stir CONSTANTLY with whisk until mixture curdles (this will take about 10-15 minutes):  It will look like cottage cheese in water.  

Have ready a large pice of cheesecloth inside of strainer (in the sink).  Pour the curdled egg mixture into chesecloth. Bring up the sides of cheesecloth, forming the mixture into a ball while twisting ends of cheesecloth around the ball until tight, squeezing out the water.  Tie off cheesecloth close to the ball and hang over sink over night, or at least 8-10 hours.   Cheese ball will be firm when taken down. 

Remove cheesecloth, wrap the ball in foil and refrigerate.   Excellent served with sliced ham on Pascha with sweet butter and beetradish (either on top or on the side), and cup of hot coffee!  Will keep in refrigerator about 1 week.














Baba's Cracker Stuffing 


1 package of saltines (16 oz)
2 cups hot milk (approx)
1 stick butter or margarine
2 tsp. powdered chicken soup base or bouillion
powdered herbs to taste; I prefer:
   poultry seasoning
   garlic powder
   onion powder

Crush the saltines in a large microwaveable bowl. Add the butter (broken in small pieces), soup base and herbs to your liking. Mix. Pour hot milk, a little at a time, over cracker mixture and mix, making sure all crackers are saturated and mixture is moist, but not soupy. If you need more moisture, you can add milk or chicken broth. Cook in microwave oven for 10 minutes, mix and partially break up clumps, cook for another 10 minutes, mix and partially break up clumps. If you have put too much liquid in your mixture and it is still very wet, simply microwave a few more minutes until desired result. Stuffing should be moist, but somewhat "jelled" together.

**If you are roasting a chicken or turkey with your stuffing, you may add some of the drippings to the stuffing for that extra special flavor after the bird is finished cooking. Simply mix it into the stuffing and then cook as indicated above.











Potato Pan-Cake


2 medium to large (Yukon Gold) potatoes

1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets (thawed)

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh spinach, coarsly chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheese (any kind, or mixed types)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (I like Grey Poupon)

1/4 tsp dried dill (you could substitue fresh)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup cream


Microwave the potatoes until just done--not too soft. Cut them into chunks and add all remaining ingredients. Mash together like mashed potatoes. Spread mixture into a greased (I like olive oil) shallow pan, approximately 9 x 10 size. Sprinkle a little olive oil over top. Bake on 400 degrees 20 - 30 minutes, until bottom is browned and top is beginning to brown. Cut into squares and serve. Especially good with broiled meats or chicken.











Christmas Eve Portabella Mushroom Soup

 In the Byzantine Cathoic Tradition,
fasting always precedes a feast.  Fasting also leads us to repentance and the realization that all is from God, and it is God we thank for all blessings. The foods of Christmas Eve, and any fast,  are primarily the nourishment of the poor: grains, vegetables, no meat, etc.  And in so fasting, we are in solidarity with the poor. I have always loved to think of the Christmas Eve fast as making room in the inn for the coming Christ child--emptying our souls of sin, and our bodies of excess, that there might be room for Him to rest.


In my family, mushroom soup has always been a tradition of the Christmas Eve fast, usually served with a broiled fish, baked potatoes cut in half with oil and browned onions, and a green vegetable, usually green beans, along with other traditional foods. Eating always begins after we read the Christmas story from Luke as our meal prayer. It is a time of rest and preparation, awe, love and spending some wonderful moments with the family and friends who have graced our Christmas Eve table through the years. It is a tradition I looked upon with awe as a child, and continue to cherish as the years go by.   


The original recipe for this mushroom soup came from my grandmother, and ancesters before. It was made with dried mushrooms, and I also made it that way for many years. But I found I could never get enough grit out of the dried mushrooms and so experimented, finally loving the texture and flavor of the creminis. This recipe is my "tweaked" creation of a family tradition. I hope you enjoy this nourishing, healthy and delicious soup. This pot of soup will easily serve 6 people, with some to spare. It can be frozen for weeks and simply thawed and heated in the microwave.


5 pints baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, thickly sliced

(large portabellas can easily be substituted, but chop in bite-size hunks)

10 - 12 cups water (*I would go easy, starting with less; if your broth is too strong later, simply add more water)

about 3 large carrots

about 4 celery stalks

(more of the carrots/celery will simply add to the flavor; so if you're a fan of these, don't hesitate to add more)

2 medium to large onions, chopped

1 full, large bunch of parsley, chopped (a key ingredient)

1 15-oz can whole tomatoes, NO juice (simply take each tomato separately and squeeze lightly into the soup so that it tears a bit. the leftover juice in which the tomatoes were packed can be frozen and used for other recipes)

salt, celery salt, garlic powder and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil (begin with about 1/4 cup; add more if you like your soup richer)


Clean and chop/slice the mushrooms. Add them and all other ingredients to a soup pot, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. You may adjust the seasonings as the soup cooks. On Christmas Eve, I serve it with tiny star-shaped noodles.


If you wish to know more about The Byzantine Catholic Church and various traditions, click  HERE

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