Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Preparation Time:  30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
1 Tablespoon butter
4 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup water
1 cup half & half
2/3 cup Monterey Jack, freshly shredded fine & room temperature
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, freshly shredded fine & room temperature
salt and white pepper to taste
optional: 1/2 tsp dijon or yellow mustard


cutting board
measuring cups
measuring spoons
steamer pot
medium metal sauce pan


1.  Fill steamer pot with 1-2 inches of water, and bring to boil over medium-high heat.

2.  Add broccoli to steamer pot and steam until vibrant green and fork tender.  Set aside, uncovered.

3.  Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.

4.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.

5.  Slowly whisk in water, and simmer  until it begins to thicken.

6.  Whisk in half & half, and return to simmer.

6.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, for approximately 1 minute.

7.  Off heat, whisk in Monterey Jack and cheddar, until smooth.  If the cheese doesn’t seem to be melting, return the pan to very low heat, but watch it carefully and remove as soon as the cheese is melted.

8.  Season to taste with salt, white pepper.  Optional: Add mustard to taste.

9.  Serve broccoli with bowl of cheese sauce.  Check to make sure they are warm, but not burning hot.

Kabocha Jack-o’-lantern Custards

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Baking Time: 1.5 hours

Cooling Time: 1-2 hours

Yield: 6-8 servings


1 3/4 cups of one roasted kabocha squash
oil for brushing on squash before roasting
2 eggs
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: whipped cream (whipping cream, fine sugar, and vanilla extract), roasted kabocha seeds, nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and/or icing for decoration.


Cutting board
Baking sheet
2 Bowls
Ramekins, small Pyrex dishes, or 9″ pie tin
Optional: Pastry bag (or non-pleated plastic bag with small hole cut in lower corner) for whipped cream


1.  Cut kabocha squash in half.

2.  Scoop out seeds with spoon.

3.  Brush oil on surfaces of kabocha that will contact baking sheet surface to prevent sticking.

4.  Place kabocha skin-side up on baking sheet, and roast at 350F for ~1 hour until soft.  Let cool.  Scoop kabocha flesh from skin into bowl, and set aside.

5.  Beat eggs in large bowl with whisk. Stir in roasted kabocha, sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. Gradually stir in milk.

6.  Pour into ramekins, small Pyrex dishes, or 9″ pie tin.  Place on baking sheet.

7.  Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F. For ramekins and small Pyrex dishes, bake for ~30 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. For a 9″ pie tin, bake 40 to 50 minutes.

8.  Cool on wire rack for 1-2 hours.

9.  Optional: Whip cream with fine sugar and vanilla, and spoon into pastry bag.

10.  Decorate custards to make jack-o’-lantern faces/designs with whipped cream, roasted kabocha seeds, nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and/or icing.

Maitake Chicken Soup

Preparation Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  2 hours

Yield:  4-6 servings


1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 pound chicken
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup maitake mushrooms, chopped
1 head garlic, minced
4 cups box chicken broth
2 large leaves kale, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, minced
Optional: 1/2 Tablespoon ginger, sliced & 1 teaspoon curry powder


measuring cups & spoons
cutting board
large pan & crockpot or stockpot


1.  Brown chicken in olive oil in pan/pot on medium heat.

2.  Add onions to pan and saute until begin to brown.

3.  Add carrots and celery and saute.

4.  Clear section of pan/pot.  Melt butter in clearing and add mushrooms, garlic, and optional ginger and curry powder.  Saute until soft.

5.  Add broth.  Bring soup to boil.

6.  Place kale and parsley in slow cooker, (or if using a stock pot, simply add kale and parsley to soup).

7.  Slow cook soup covered on high, (or simmer in stock pot) until chicken is cooked through, and vegetables tender, about 2 hours.

8.  Serve hot with crackers, or bread and butter.

Can be stored in individual servings in freezer for up to 3 months.


Watermelon Ice Pops

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6-12 pops


1 small seedless watermelon
optional: juice of 1-3 limes


Cutting board
Blender, preferably with wand
6-12 Ice pop molds


1.  Remove watermelon rind, and cut watermelon flesh into cubes.

2.  Spoon watermelon cubes into blender.

3.  Blend watermelon until pureed.

4.  Optional: Squeeze lime juice into pureed watermelon to taste.

5.  Pour puree into ice pop molds.

6.  Freeze overnight.

7.  Enjoy!