Our Foodie

Ann McElfresh has had the opportunity to travel and live overseas during the course of her husband’s career in the military and they didn’t stop after he retired! An enthusiastic cook, she has an extensive “bucket list” of places to see, foods to eat and dishes to cook. Read more about Ann.



Pasta with Garlic, Tomatoes and Broccoli

How to Relax on a Cruise Ship

Pasta with Garlic, Tomatoes and Broccoli

Christmas in Rome

Panettone Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

OK City steak dinner
Oklahoma City . . . from a Foodie’s Perspective

Seared Filet Mignon
Parmesan Potato Gratin
Steakhouse Salad with Cattlemen’s    Steakhouse (re-make) Dressing


Pasta with Garlic, Tomatoes and Broccoli

Recipe for Ann’s story How to Relax on a Cruise Ship

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
• 8 ounces bow-tie pasta
• 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
• 2 bunches broccoli, cut into florettes
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 Tablespoon butter
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
• 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Pasta with Garlic, Tomatoes and Broccoli

Start with fresh, colorful ingredients


1.In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. However, cook for 1-2 minutes LESS than recommended time.

2.While pasta is cooking, in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and cook the chicken until done, but still tender. Set aside to rest, then cut into 1” chunks.

3. In a large bowl, add the broccoli florets and about a tablespoon of water – cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes or until crisp tender.

4. When the chicken is done add the tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.

5. Immediately add the broccoli and the tomato and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Sauté the broccoli and tomato for 2-3 minutes

6. Add the chicken and stir.

7. By this time, your pasta should be done. Remove the pasta from the water reserving some of the water. Add to the broccoli mixture and stir.

8. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, stir.

9. If the pasta is a bit dry, add some of the pasta water and stir.

10. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

See Ann’s story: How to Relax on a Cruise Ship

Pasta with Garlic, Tomatoes and Broccoli

Serve with lashings of freshly grated Parmesan


Panettone Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Recipe for Ann’s story Christmas in Rome

(Adapted from Time Life Good Cooks – Classic Desserts)

• 6 cups panettone bread, cut in 1” cubes
• 2 cups milk
• 4 Tablespoons butter
• ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes then drained
• 2 eggs lightly beaten
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
• 1 (14 oz) bag of caramels
• ¼ cup half-n-half
• 3 Tablespoons bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
• Ice cream of your choice


Start with traditional panettone

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Place panettone cubes on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown (3-5 minutes). They burn easily, so don’t leave unattended! Remove and cool. Turn oven temperature down to 350F.

Cubed panettone

1. Cube the panettone 2. Bake to golden perfection

2. Scald the milk. Melt the butter in the milk.

3. Put the cooled panettone cubes and soaked and drained raisins in a large bowl.

4. Pour milk mixture over contents of the bowl, stir gently and let stand for 15 minutes.

5. In a separate bowl, stir together beaten egg, salt, nutmeg and vanilla bean paste. Add to panettone.

Add the egg mixture to the panettone and stir gently

6. Bake in a well-greased 1-½ quart dish for 35-45 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Panettone - ready to serve

Almost ready to serve. Don't forget the caramel sauce!

7. Before serving, unwrap all the caramels and put them in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the half-n-half and heat on VERY low heat, stirring frequently until the caramels have melted and it is smooth. Add the bourbon and stir.

8. Serve the panettone warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Panettone Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Panettone Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

See Ann’s story: Christmas in Rome


Seared Filet Mignon
Parmesan Potato Gratin
Steakhouse Salad with Cattlemen’s Steakhouse (re-make) Dressing

Recipes for Ann’s story Oklahoma City . . . from a Foodie’s Perspective


Making potato gratin

For the Potato Gratin

* 2 Baking potatoes, sliced thin
* 1 tsp salt, divided (in fourths)
* 1 tsp pepper, divided (in fourths)
* 2 tsp all-purpose flour, divided (in fourths)
* 4 tsp Parmesan, divided (in fourths)
* 2 cups low-fat milk

For the salad dressing

* 1 clove garlic
* 8 oz. low-fat sour cream
* 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
* 1 Tbsp low-fat milk
* ½ tsp horseradish
* ¼ tsp salt
* ¼ tsp pepper
* 2 ounces EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
* 1 Tbsp olive oil

Disclaimer: This is our food writer’s attempt to recreate the Cattlemen’s Restaurant salad dressing because she loves it so much. Milliver’s Travels does not have access to the original recipe.

For the steak

* Two 6-8 ounce filet mignons
* salt & pepper
* 2 tsp olive oil


The cooking order of the meal will be potatoes, salad dressing, salad and steak.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. For the Potato Gratin: Heat the 2 cups of milk in microwave until hot.
3. Peel and slice the potatoes thin. Spray a NON-stick pan with spray and put a single layer of potatoes down.
4. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, ½ tsp flour and 1 tsp Parmesan cheese.
5. Continue until you have four layers of potatoes with salt, pepper, flour and Parmesan on top of each.
6. Pour hot milk on top of potato mixture. Press potatoes down if necessary
7. Bake in oven for 55 minutes.

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse (re-make) Dressing

8. For the salad dressing – in a food processor, process clove of garlic until well minced.
9. Add all remaining dressing ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil.
10. Process until fairly smooth, scraping down as needed.
11. Add olive oil and process until smooth. Set aside.
12. When the potatoes are almost done make the salad (I used a mixture of Romaine and iceberg lettuce and coarsely chopped tomatoes).

13. For the Steak: After the salad is made, heat either a non-stick or a cast-iron pan until very hot—to the smoking point.
14. By now, your potatoes should be ready to come out; let them sit for 10 minutes to thicken.
15. Salt and pepper one side of the steaks.
16. Add the 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and put the steaks in the pan, salt side down.
17. Add salt and pepper to the other side.
18. (a) For a medium-rare steak I cook them in a very hot pan for 3:30 on the first side and 2:00 on the second side.
(b) If you want a medium steak add 1 minute to the first side.
(c) For medium-well, add a minute to each side.
(d) For a well-done steak, add 2 minutes to each side.
19. When steak is cooked to desired degree of doneness, remove from pan and place on a plate. Cover with foil and let sit for five minutes (this makes a big difference to the taste and tenderness of the steak).
20. Everything is ready to enjoy!

Dinner is served!

See Ann’s story: Oklahoma City . . . from a Foodie’s Perspective