Archive for the ‘Carolina Shortcut Chef’ Category

Easy Cheese Danish

March 3, 2010 Comments off

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It’s true – nothing is better than something freshly baked in the morning.  But who has time for that?

I really enjoy a good, gooey Cheese Danish with a cup of steamin’ hot coffee, and so I thought you might enjoy it, too!  This is a recipe I have adapted from several different recipes over the years.  It is easy for a Saturday morning– makes a nice addition to a brunch when guests are in the house.

Some folks may like a little glazed icing on top.  I prefer mine with a bit of sugar on top.  But if you want to make a simple confectioner’s sugar icing to drizzle on top, then leave off the egg white glaze and sugar, and add your icing concoction once the Danish cools.

If you are inclined, this is also a great recipe for kids to help make!

Easy Cream Cheese Danish


2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sour cream
1 egg, separated


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 jelly roll pan.

Press one (1) can of crescent rolls into a 9×13 pan.  Pinch seams together to seal them. Beat  cream cheese until fluffy; add 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, sour cream, lemon juice and egg yolk; beat until creamy.  Spread over crescent rolls.  Place the second can of crescent rolls on top of the cream cheese spread, pinching together seams.

Brush with frothed egg white. Evenly sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees, for 20-25 minutes.  Time may vary depending on oven.

Serves 8

Carolina Shortcut Chef©2010

Check here for photo credits and another simple Danish recipe:


Pesto & Dried Tomato Chicken Sandwiches

February 22, 2010 Comments off

Love those scrumptious Deli sandwiches, but find all the prep time daunting? We have come up with a simple method for creating these delicious sandwiches–making this a wonderful option for hectic evenings after work–and especially enjoyable while watching DVDs on the weekend!

The key to cutting prep time for this recipe is to buy a rotisserie chicken and prepared pesto.  However, if you have leftover chicken or don’t mind cooking four chicken breast filets, you can certainly substitute those for the pulled rotisserie chicken.  You can also substitute any type of cheese for the Provolone, if you prefer.

I also think this would be a terrific sandwich to grill.  Haven’t tried that yet, but if you do, please let us know what you think!

Easy Pesto & Dried Tomato Chicken Sandwiches


1-rotisserie chicken, purchased from Deli, pulled apart
3-ounces dried tomatoes, not packed in oil (approx. 3/4 cup)
1-loaf French bread
1/2 cup pesto (prepared)
1/4-cup chopped ripe olives
4-slices provolone cheese
1-cup (approx) spinach, washed and patted dry


Boil water; put dried tomatoes into crockery bowl; pour boiling water over tomatoes, to cover.  Leave for about 20 minutes, or til soft.  Drain tomatoes; pat dry.

Set oven to Broil.

Chop the olives into chunky pieces.  Add to pesto.

Cut french bread loaf diagonally into 4 pieces; then, cut each piece in half, horizontally (to use for each sandwich).  Spread pesto on inside of bread; placed pulled apart chicken and provolone cheese on one side of sandwich; place spinach,  and tomatoes on other side. Put the four sides of bread with chicken on separate cooking sheet and broil, to melt cheese. Then, assemble sandwiches.

Serve and enjoy!

©2010 Carolina Shortcut Chef

Photo and another pesto chicken recipe here:

Peach Salsa with a Twist

January 10, 2010 Comments off

I don’t think I would have tried this recipe had it not been for sampling it at a friend’s house.  The combination of peaches and tomatoes just seemed odd to me.

However, it is that atypical pairing that gives this salsa its delightful qualities!

I also like being able to use canned peaches and tomatoes, which makes this a salsa that is easy to prepare, no matter what season of  the year.  I am giving the directions for canned fruit, but if you want to use fresh fruit, substitute 2 cups of tomatoes and 2 cups of peaches for the canned items.

Peach Salsa


1–15 oz can peaches, drained
1–15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
3  small jalapeños, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, dice peaches into half inch or small pieces. Add tomatoes. Add the finely chopped onion, jalapeños, garlic and cilantro. Add fresh lime juice, cider vinegar and salt; toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.  The salsa is actually better if left in the fridge for a day before serving.

Use as a dip with chips or as a relish with bean dishes.  It is really tasty served as a complement to fish, pork or chicken entrees.

©Carolina Shortcut Chef

For photo and another peach salsa recipe, see:

Macaroni and Cheese: the Ultimate Comfort Food

January 3, 2010 Comments off

It’s Sunday evening. The Monday doldrums have started to set in. As the winter sun sets, you contemplate the age-old question: what’s for dinner?

Nothing is more satisfying than that most American of culinary favorites: macaroni and cheese.  Beloved by folks from two to 92, mac ‘n cheese can put a smile on anyone’s face.

Sad that a huge part of the population has only eaten the powdered stuff from the famous blue box!

Here is my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.  It was one of the first dishes I prepared in my mother’s kitchen and no matter what I change or add when experimenting with this timeless favorite, I find that this recipe is both reliable and delicious.

So put on some music!  Pour yourself a nice glass of whatever makes you happy, and prepare some good old-fashioned macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight. Add mixed fruit as a side dish (mango, melon, strawberries, peaches) and an entree–and dinner’s ready!

Ani’s Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese


8 oz  elbow macaroni; cooked
4 cups  shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3/4 ts Salt
3  Eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk


Rinse cooked macaroni in cool water in a colander; set aside to drain.

Shred 4 cups of  cheddar cheese;  place in large mixing bowl.  Add 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 3/4 tsp salt. In separate bowl, crack eggs and whisk well.  Add to cheese mixture.  Fold together.

Add drained elbow macaroni, carefully blending together with a large wooden spoon or spatula.  Pour into a greased (with butter) 2-quart casserole. Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven.

After 30 minutes, cover the casserole with aluminum foil and return to the oven for about 15-20 more minutes (time will vary from oven to oven).  Remove casserole from oven and let sit for up to ten minutes before serving.

While the casserole is cooling, set the table and finish any meal prep. Get ready for the compliments. You’re gonna be a star!

©Carolina Shortcut Chef

For a recipe made with cheddar and mozarella, check here:

Wake up winter meals with Freezer Slaw

January 2, 2010 Comments off

This is a recipe that pays off! You mix up the slaw, stick it in the freezer, and whenever you want to add a little zing to a side dish, it’s at your fingertips. No grating, no mixing . . . instant gratification!

I was given a version of this recipe back in the 70s.  I have adjusted it many times, adding red cabbage, a little onion, or maybe some carrot.  As long as you have enough vinegar (and sugar)  to allow for added volume from the veggies, you will be fine. You could add 1/4 cup of finely grated onion and half a carrot to this recipe as it is, because the vinegar and sugar ratio won’t be seriously affected.

The wonderful aspect of having slaw in the freezer is the convenience.  Depending on how you package it, you can either use a whole package at one time, or you can slightly thaw it, take out the amount you need, and pop the container back in the freezer.

I like using a vacuum sealer for freezing slaw.  Since we enjoy having the slaw in the winter as an accompaniment to beans and peas, we use it more like a relish, and so portions are small.  I have found it convenient to package 1 1/2 cups in each bag.

I have also used left over mayonnaise jars as containers, but it is getting harder to find glass jars these days–so many are plastic.  One reason for freezing in a jar is that after you thaw the slaw, you can keep the remainder tightly capped in the fridge for a week to 10 days.

Tip: You can use your food processor to do the grating.   When you finish, clean your machine by putting water in the bowl and hitting the mix button a few times.  Makes clean up easier.

Ani’s Freezer Slaw


1 large head cabbage, grated
1/4 cup salt


Place grated cabbage in a large bowl.  Add salt and mix.  Pour enough water over cabbage to completely immerse.  Let the cabbage sit in the water for one (1) hour, then pour entire mixture into colander and rinse under cool water.  Let cabbage sit in colander and drain, while patting with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove moisture.  Once excess moisture is removed, add the marinade.

Marinade Ingredients

1 c. vinegar
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 c. water
2 c. sugar


Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and boil for one (1) minute. Take off burner and let mixture cool to a lukewarm temperature.  Pour marinade into drained cabbage and mix well.  Pack into the container(s) of your choice,  and freeze.

Note: You may prefer using cayenne pepper instead of the black pepper, or a combination of both black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Experiment!

©Carolina Shortcut Chef, 2010

The beautiful illustration is by artist Susannah Blaxill, whose work can be viewed and ordered here:

Crockpot Wassail with a Punch!

December 23, 2009 Comments off

Wassail is one of my favorite holiday drinks.  This particular recipe includes rum and makes a nice alternative to cocktails if folks want something a bit more seasonal.  Since this is a fragrant mixture, the aroma adds a festive touch.

By using a crock pot, you can mix up the concoction ahead of time, put out your Irish Coffee cups and a ladle, and let your guests serve themselves.  If you are having a more formal buffet, you can simply put the wassail in a carafe to keep it warm.

Christmas Wassail


2 quarts apple cider
1 quart cranberry juice
3/4 c. sugar
4 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 large orange
15 whole cloves
1 cup Rum


Stud the orange with the whole cloves.

Place all ingredients into crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low setting and leave for 4 or more hours.

Makes 16 servings, depending on portion size.

Editor’s Note: We have been known to add another cup of rum before serving.

Easy Holiday Truffles

December 21, 2009 Comments off

We are not Martha Stewart.  After hearing her condescending comments about Rachel Ray, we don’t feel we want to be Martha Stewart, either. We enjoy decorating, entertaining and creating a gracious lifestyle . . . but we divurge from Martha’s philosphy that “the more complicated and difficult it is, the better it is.”

We like shortcuts.

To that end, Carolina Shortcut Chef strives to find the best in favorite recipes, especially those that won’t keep us tied to the kitchen for hours, since most of us really do have more we must accomplish  than perfectly gilding that lily–as fantastic as that feat may be.

We thought we would share an easy recipe that has been making the rounds throughout America.  It can be found in many different versions, and has been shared in offices and online forums, from Buffalo to San Diego.  We are giving you the basic recipe and some suggestions for alternatives, but the sky is the limit as to what you want to create with this quick and easy concoction.

Don’t worry if Martha might cringe . . . this recipe is not only quick and easy, it tastes terrific.  And that is a good thing.

Easy Holiday Truffles


1 package Oreo cookies
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1 package Almond Bark white chocolate

Put Oreo cookies in food processor; process til the crumbs are fine. Place crumbs into a bowl; add softened cream cheese, and mix by hand.

Roll mixture into walnut-sized balls, place on cookie sheet.  Insert a wooden toothpick in each ball. Put in fridge to chill for about 30-45 minutes.

Once cookie balls are chilled, melt chocolate in the microwave, according to instructions.  Using toothpicks to hold the balls, dip in chocolate.  Place the balls on wax paper to dry.

If desired, sprinkle with crushed nuts or chocolate sprinkles while chocolate is still wet.

More variations here: