Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Finish 2014 with Big Flavor!

It's the next to last day of 2014 and I've decided to go out with a big taste! I thawed some shrimp and thought why not do a roasted Greek style shrimp? I knew it would need a "bed" so I thought why not give barley a chance to shine?

Roasted Greek Shrimp

Preheat oven to 400
1/2 pound shelled shrimp
1/4 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup white wine
salt and pepper, some Italian seasoning
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
feta cheese
3/4 cup Panko crumbs tossed with 2 T olive oil
1/2 lemon juiced

In ovenproof skillet, sauté onion in some olive oil. Add the garlic and stir around then stir in wine and deglaze. Add the the chopped tomatoes, the spices and the tomato sauce and simmer the sauce for around 15 minutes or so. Turn off the heat, lay the shrimp on the sauce, sprinkle with olives, feta cheese, and the Panko crumbs. Pop into the oven for about 15 minutes. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over before serving. Would be nice with some parsley on top but I didn't have any!

Barley and Mushrooms

1 cup quick cooking barley
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pkg sliced mushrooms, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 onion chopped
salt and pepper

Brown the mushroom and onion in some olive oil. Add the garlic and stir around. Add the barley and let it brown up a bit. Add the broth, salt and pepper--bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Chicken with Shallots and Tarragon

I am here to tell you that if you like chicken then you really do need to make this. My DH sends me ideas for meals all the time and truth be told I often ignore what he sends. However, the other day he sent me something that piqued my interest: what chefs cook at home. This recipe has been tweaked by moi because basically I always have to change a recipe due to what I have on hand or what I like. This recipe is a keeper. I strayed quite a bit from the one that appeared in the NYT but hey,  that's why I have a food blog :-)

You will need:

2 bone in chicken thighs
2 wings
2 chicken legs
some flour
salt and pepper
2 cups white wine
2 T butter
5 large shallots, sliced
2 t dried tarragon
2 cups cherry tomatoes

Flour the chicken, salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides well in large skillet. Remove chicken and brown shallots, add the wine, tarragon, some more salt and pepper and stir well. Add the chicken back in and bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Take lid off and add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 20 minutes as sauce thickens.

Serve over some sort of grain and with bread cause this sauce is GOOD.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Easy Frittata and Easier Potato Pancakes

It felt like a "Breakfast for Dinner" kind of night. I usually always have eggs and some veggies around and that means a frittata is a possibility. A frittata is basically just a lazy omelette---no flipping or rolling--just bake it up! And, a really easy side dish was potato pancakes from Trader Joe. They are not as good as luscious homemade latkes, but in 20 minutes from freezer to table they're quite passable--especially with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce.

preheat oven 400

6 eggs, whisked
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
salt and pepper
some Italian seasoning
some goat cheese

In 10 inch oven proof skillet, sauté the onion and red pepper in some olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and Italian spices. Pour in the eggs and let that cook for several minutes, lifting the edges and letting the egg mixture run under--cook until the edges start to be firm. Sprinkle on the goat cheese and pop into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Steak and Potatoes a Dud and a Flub

Things don't always work out when you cook. Or maybe you're different and every recipe always works out great for you, but not for me all the time. Take this dinner for instance. I had purchased a couple of really pricey steaks and they were cooked perfectly and the meat turned out to be sort of tough. Now, we like our steaks medium rare so it wasn't due to overcooking--we just got a couple of duds for steaks and that happens sometimes. So, that's a  product problem. Now sometimes you get user error and that's what happened to the potato dish. I made this wonderful version of Potatoes Anna and it turned out great but guess who salted the layers WAY too much?? Yep, that would be me but I'm blaming my son because he called while I was in the middle of making this and I was distracted. This potato dish calls for very thin slices that you layer with butter, salt and pepper. I was using Kosher salt (which was also a no no as it's not subtle) and I was gabbing away. Word to the wise, use the salt sparingly in the dish and you will have a beautiful version of Potatoes Anna. Ah, but I have to say, it looked gorgeous and you do eat with our eyes first so it was a success visually! ha

Steaks with Peppercorn Cream Sauce

1/4 cup coarsely crushed black peppercorns
2 rib eye steaks
1 T butter
1 t olive oil
1/3 cup beef broth
1 cup heavy cream

Coat both sides of steaks with salt and crushed peppercorns.
Melt butter and olive oil in heavy skillet, when smoking add the steaks and cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, then turn and do another 3 minutes (for medium rare). Remove steaks and cover with foil to keep warm.

Pour beef broth into skillet and whisk up brown bits--whisk in the cream and simmer sauce until it's reduced and thickened-6 to 7 minutes. Place steaks back in the skillet and turn to coat. Serve with the remaining sauce.

Potatoes Anna


    • 6 medium russet potatoes (2 3/4 pounds total), peeled
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a mandoline slice the potatoes as thinly as possible, 1/4 inch thick or thinner. (Do not place sliced potatoes in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.).
  2. Brush bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Starting in center of pan, arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, in circular pattern, covering surface. Brush with another 1 1/2 tablespoons butter; season LIGHTLY with salt and pepper. Repeat for two more layers.
  3. Place over high heat until butter in pan sizzles, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer to oven; bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Run a small spatula around edges of potatoes; slide large spatula underneath potatoes to loosen. Carefully invert onto a plate, and cut into wedges.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Cioppino!

So, here's the story on Cioppino. Years, I mean years ago, I wanted to start a fun Christmas Eve tradition whereby we would have this wonderful fish stew, Cioppinio on Christmas Eve. Well, I made it and at dinner that night my four year old son said, I hope this doesn't really have to be a tradition! I kid you not he was less than thrilled. So, we went back to the requisite turkey or ham to please him but hey he's friggin' 35 now so I'm having what I want! :-) All kidding aside, our dear son has a very cultivated palate now and would welcome a dish such as this. Back in the day, it was just a very funny moment in time and he was so earnest it was truly enough to break your heart. This dish is so good and wonderful served with some nice crusty bread--you need nothing else except a nice glass of wine :-)

Many thanks to Giada for this recipe: it's a keeper! I made a few tweaks but basically kept to the recipe pretty much.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock- I used Better Than Bouillon Fish base
1 bay leaf
3/4 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound halibut cut into 2-inch chunks


Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

Add the mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the mussels are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread for dipping.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cuban Sammie!

Ok you all, these cuban sandwiches are the real deal. If you want to replicate this you need to make the roast pork first.  See yesterday's post about pork shoulder. I made these in my panini press.

2 long sub buns
8 slices of roast pork
2 big slices of ham
yellow mustard
swiss cheese
dill pickle

Pile it on and brush bun with butter and grill and YUM!

Tasted great with Alexia Waffle Fries!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pork Shoulder a la Chef!

The other night we saw the cutest little movie, "Chef" and it made us so hungry for Cuban sandwiches! As I was watching them marinate and then bake the pork to get just the right meat for the sandwich, I thought to myself--we need to make this! I bought a pork shoulder and marinated it for 24 hours. Tonight, I baked it and served it for dinner with spicy black beans and yellow rice. Tomorrow, I make the cubanos--stay tuned!!

1 pork shoulder (about 5 lbs)
7 or cloves of garlic, minced
a couple T olive oil
1/2 lemon,  juiced
salt and pepper
1 T oregano

Stir up that mixture and make deep slits all over the roast and rub that mixture in. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 24 hours.

Take out of fridge an hour before baking.

Remove plastic and place in deep pan. Preheat oven to 400. Bake at 400 for one hour, then turn heat down to 300 and bake for three more hours. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Good served with rice and beans. I did black beans and yellow rice.

1 can black beans,  rinsed
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tomato chopped
salt and pepper
some garlic powder
some chopped pickled jalapeno
2 T olive oil
Stir together and cook over low heat for 45minutes or so.

Yellow rice: Heat 1 t turmeric, 1/2 t cumin and a  pinch of cinnamon in medium saucepan then pour into 3 cups of water and 1 T butter, bring to a boil. Add 12 oz white basmati rice and some salt, bring back to a boil, cover and cook on low for 25 minutes or so. Fluff with a fork.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stove Top Flank Steak

We like flank steak and often grill it during the summer months. Now that December is upon us here in Michigan I decided to try a a method I found on Chowhound called Stove Top Flank Steak. I am posting the link because it's a great explanation along with pictures:  http://www.chow.com/assets/2008/12/FlankSteak.pdf

To accompany the steak I found a pretty good side which allowed me to use up some leftover quinoa as well as a large bottomless bag of kale I recently purchased.

Creamed Kale
2 bunches curly kale, torn
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 T  olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat and cook garlic until fragrant-1 to 2 minutes. Add kale in batches and some salt and pepper until kale is wilted, but still bright green. Add the cream and 1/4 water. Cook another 7 to 8 minutes, add the beans and stir to warm through. I served this over the leftover quinoa with the steak sliced on top.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chicken with Chive Mustard Cream and Roasted Carrot Farro

Wow, that title was a mouthful, wasn't it? So, both of these dishes are really good and they're really good together. I am gonna write this down before I forget how it all went down but to suffice it to say, it was darn tasty.

Chicken with Chive Mustard Cream

1 pkg of two boneless breasts cut into cutlets (slice the breasts if they're really think and huge) Salt and pepper the cutlets.
2 T butter
1 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t brown mustard
chopped chives

Brown the cutlets in the butter quickly in a large skillet-maybe two minutes per side. Set aside. Add the garlic and stir around, add the wine and cook down a bit. Add the mustards and the cream, stir around. Add the chicken back and cook for a few minutes--add the chopped chives.

Roasted Carrot Farro

Mark my words, farro is the new quinoa. Farro is a nice cross between rice and barley. This is a yummy side dish and works well with another dish that has a flavorful sauce such as the above mentioned mustard cream sauce.

1 pkg quick cooking farro, cooked
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks.
some olive oil
salt and pepper
some Parmesan

Roast the carrots which have been tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper for 40 minutes at 425. In the meantime, cook the farro. When the farro is cooked and drained, add 2 T butter to melt. When the carrots are done throw into the pot with the farro and add a touch of olive oil and some Parmesan. Very tasty indeed.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa

Sometimes I see something like a huge bag of beautiful kale at the market and can't resist. Then, later at home I think about how I'm only cooking for two and this means we'll be eating a lot of kale! We do like it so that's a good thing.

Spicy  Garlic  Shrimp  with  Kale  and  Quinoa

For the quinoa:*
*1 cup red quinoa
*2 cups water
*pinch of sea salt

For the garlic shrimp with kale:
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon organic butter
*2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (use more if you really like garlic) 

*1/2 pound wild caught shrimp, preferably sustainably harvested
*1-‐‑2 cups kale, chopped fine
*1/2 cup tomato sauce
*juice from 1/2 lemon
*pinch or two of red pepper flakes
*course sea salt
*cooked quinoa (or pasta), for serving
*fresh parmesan cheese for serving-‐‑optional

For the quinoa:
Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer (this is important or it will be bitter). Place in an uncovered 1 quart pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until all water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to sit in covered pot for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
For the garlic shrimp with kale:
1. In a large skillet with lid, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, being careful so it doesn't burn.
2. Add the kale and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the kale is cooked through.
3. Add tomato sauce, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat some butter in a medium skillet and quickly saute the shrimp.
4. Serve over quinoa (or pasta), and sprinkle with fresh parmesan, if desired. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu-2014

I am very tardy getting this post out since it's all about Thanksgiving! However, we were away for the holiday visiting family and I was too busy having fun to work on my blog. I think that's a reasonable excuse. I cooked this meal in the beach house we rented out in San Diego and I have to say it was somewhat heavenly taking occasional breaks from the meal preparation to gaze out over the Pacific. I wanted to try a lot of make ahead dishes this year since I was cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen and also because I wanted to enjoy Thanksgiving day! I neglected to take a picture of the Kale Salad but it was a winner. The majority of the recipes have been adapted from the New York Times Essential Thanksgiving site. I also loved Mark Bittman's Make Ahead Gravy and will never go nuts making gravy at the last minute again. So, here's our Thanksgiving menu just in time for Hanukkah or Christmas :-)

Herb Roasted Turkey
Make Ahead Gravy
Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives
Two-Way Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad

Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream

Prosecco and Pinot Noir

Ready for the oven

Carved by my son ;-)

Two Way Stuffing

Potatoes with Sour Cream and chives

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

  1. Simple Roast Turkey
  2. TIME
    3 1/2 hours, plus 1 to 3 days’ standing
    10 to 12 servings
    1 turkey
    (10 to 12 pounds) 

    Coarse kosher salt
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 lemon, zested and quartered
    1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary
    1 bunch fresh sage
    12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled  apple cider (12 ounces) Dry white wine, as needed
    2 onions, peeled and quartered
    3 bay leaves
    Olive oil or melted butter, as needed

    Remove any giblets from the cavity and reserve for stock or gravy. Pat turkey and turkey neck dry with paper towel; rub turkey all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt per pound of turkey, the pepper and the lemon zest, including the neck. Transfer to a 2-­gallon (or larger) resealable plastic bag. Tuck herbs and 6 garlic cloves inside bag. Seal and refrigerate on a small rimmed baking sheet (or wrapped in another bag) for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning the bird over every day (or after 12 hours if brining for only 1 day).
    Remove turkey from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, uncovered, back on the baking sheet. Return to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours to dry out the skin (this helps crisp it).
    When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for one hour.
    Heat oven to 450 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add the cider and enough wine to fill the pan to a 1/4-­inch depth. Add half the onions, the remaining 6 garlic cloves and the bay leaves. Stuff remaining onions and the lemon quarters into the turkey cavity. Brush turkey skin generously with oil or melted butter.
    Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set inside the roasting pan. Transfer pan to oven and roast 30 minutes. Cover breast with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting until an instant-­read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.  I kept adding apple cider to the the roasting pan so it didn't get all dark and burned like. Transfer turkey to a cutting board to rest for 30 minutes before carving. 
  3. Mashed Potato
    Casserole With Sour
    Cream and Chives
    This makes a A LOT so if you want lots of  leftovers or are serving a crowd it's great. Otherwise, cut the recipe in half.
    12 to 14 servings
    14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, and more for the pan
    6 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    6 tablespoons finely chopped chives

    2/3 cup bread crumbs
    2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-­Reggiano cheese

    Lightly grease a 9-­inch-­by-­13-­inch baking pan.
    In a large pot, bring the potatoes, 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
    Mash potatoes with 10 tablespoons butter, sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. (If you have a food mill or ricer, now is the time to use it; push the potatoes through and then gently combine them with the butter, sour cream, salt and pepper.) Mash in the chives. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Spread potatoes into the prepared pan. At this point you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
    In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, bread crumbs and cheese. Mix together until it forms coarse crumbs. Crumbs can be refrigerated for three days.
    Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the potato casserole and bake until golden and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Two-­Way Stuffing With Mushrooms and Bacon
    2 to 2 1/2 hours
    8 to 10 servings
    3 tablespoons melted butter, more as needed for greasing pan
    1 1/2 pounds sliced white bread
    1/2 pound thick-­cut bacon
    2 large leeks, trimmed and sliced (3 cups)
    1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cut into bite-­size pieces 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

    3/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons chopped sage
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 1/4 cups chicken stock, more as needed 1/4 cup apple cider, if using white bread
    3 tablespoons chopped parsley

    Heat oven to 250 degrees. Butter a 9-­by-­13-­inch baking pan. Trim the crusts from the white bread and cut into 1-­inch cubes. Spread the bread pieces out on one or two large baking sheets. Toast in the oven, tossing occasionally, until very dry, about 30 minutes for white bread. Transfer to a large bowl to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
    In a large skillet over medium-­high heat, cook the bacon strips until crisp. Transfer to a paper-­towel-­lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the leeks to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until mushrooms are tender and most of their juices have evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 2 minutes.
    Spoon the mushroom mixture over the dried bread. Stir in stock. Stir in the cider. Add parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. The mixture should be moist and very soft. If you like your stuffing extremely moist, add enough stock to make it seem slightly soggy but not wet. (Think pudding.) Crumble bacon and stir it in.
    Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared baking pan. You can refrigerate at this point and finish and bake later. Drizzle 3 tablespoons melted butter over the stuffing. Bake until golden, 35 to 45 minutes. 

Mark Bittman's Make Ahead Gravy
This is a keeper!

1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 to 5 cups rich stock, warmed Turkey drippings and giblets, optional
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on the onions, stirring constantly, and cook until flour is golden to brown. Adjust heat so mixture does not burn.
Gradually whisk in 4 cups stock until mixture thickens and is smooth. If it is too thick, add liquid. Cool, cover and chill.
When ready to serve, reheat mixture over low heat, stirring. Scrape bottom of turkey pan and add drippings or giblets to gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

2 cups sliced almonds
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 to 4 lemons)
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups extra-­virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed (if using prewashed trimmed kale, buy 3 clamshell containers)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
In a toaster oven or skillet, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4-­inch-­ thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle surface with almonds and then with cheese, if using. Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressing and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour. 

Sweet Potato Casserole
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • juice of half an orange
Pecan topping
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While water comes to a boil, peel and dice sweet potatoes into large chunks.
2. Add sweet potato chunks to water. Boil until fork tender--about 10 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes, then dump them back in the large pot with all the other ingredients. Using a hand mixer, blend until potatoes reach desired consistency and flavor. (You may like to add a little more coconut milk, spices, or syrup based on your taste.)
4. In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients until pecans are well coated.
5. Dump sweet potatoes into an oven safe dish and top with pecans.
6. Bake in preheated oven until topping is browned--about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Green Bean Casserole


    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 (9 ounce) packages French style green beans, thawed
    • 1 1/3 cups French-fried onions, divided


  1. Combine soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -quart baking dish; stir until blended.
  2. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup onions.
  5. Bake 5 minutes or until onions are golden.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chicken Mushroom Alfredo

I am not really a huge fan of Alfredo sauce but I know many others who love it. I happened to see a jarred variety at Trader Joe's and thought, why not? Decided to make a sauté of chicken thigh chunks and mushrooms and then add zucchini spirals to keep the carb count low. It turned out yummy.

1 pkg of boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 pkg of sliced mushrooms
1 jar Trader Joe's Alfredo Sauce
2 zucchini-cut into ribbons or spiralized (if you have one of those handy gadgets like I do).
Parmesan cheese, grated

In large skillet with lid, sauté the onion and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and stir well letting that whole mixture brown a bit. Lightly salt and pepper. Add the Alfredo sauce, bring to a boil; then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and mix well. Put lid back on and let that mixture cook for maybe 5-10 minutes? Serve with grated Parmesan.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chicken Sausage Stew

What sounds good on a cold, windy, snowy day? How about a hearty stew? This one is super easy. I threw it together from leftovers and pantry items.

1 pkg smoked chicken sausage, cut in small bites
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
1/2 bag shredded cole slaw mix
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 t red pepper flakes
1 T Italian seasoning

In large skillet with lid, brown the chicken sausage. Remove and set aside. Brown the onions and carrots, throw in the garlic and the cole slaw mix, add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper. Stir around well. Add the tomatoes and put the sausage back in. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or so.

This also tastes great the next day :-)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chocolate Chili?

I saw this recipe in Prevention Magazine and made a few changes. I used less meat and fewer beans than the original recipe called for and simmered it a bit longer. I cooked it a bit longer since I needed to have my glass of wine before dinner. Priorities!

I served this over some rice and shredded cabbage and garnished with a little shredded cheese, chopped fresh onion, chopped cherry tomato and avocado.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lg red bell pepper, chopped
1 lg yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt and pepper
4 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (15.5 oz each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Shredded Cheddar, chopped onion, avocado, and tomato for toppings
1.  Add beef and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl with slotted spoon and set aside. Remove excess fat in pan but leave a little for browning Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to pot. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in cocoa, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and 1 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper. Stir until combined and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. RETURN beef to pot. Stir in broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, 45 minutes. Add vinegar and stir to combine. Serve with toppings.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blackened Cod with Creole Rice

Oh wow, this dish is a keeper. It has great flavor and is not too spicy so it would please a lot of palates. You can also use any mild white fish like catfish, or tilapia. The cod looked really nice at Plum Market so that's what I used. The dish is a nice bowl dinner with the rice topped with the fish and then a flavorful red pepper sauce over all. I also served with sautéed spinach cause we needed something green in that bowl!

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups water
creole seasoning (see below for homemade but you can just use any ready made creole spice that you might have)
1 generous T of butter

1 lb of cod
blackening seasoning (see below for homemade or use any other blackening spice that you may have)
some vegetable oil

1 jar roasted red peppers
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 to 2 t Tabasco Sauce

Cook the brown rice.

While the rice cooks make the seasonings and the red pepper sauce

1 T kosher salt
1 T herbes de Provence
1 T ground cumin
2 t cayenne pepper
2 t ground black pepper
2 t sweet paprika
Mix together. Save the leftover for other dishes.

Blackening Spice:
1 t kosher salt
1 t sweet paprika
1 t onion powder
3/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme

Mix together in small bowl.

Put roasted red peppers and their juice, the garlic and Tabasco sauce in small processor and blend. Set aside.

When rice is done, add generous T of butter and 1 T creole seasoning and mix well. Put lid back on and set aside.

Rub the fish all over with blackening spice.

In cast iron skillet or other heavy one, heat some vegetable oil. Add the fish and cook for 3 minutes, turn and cook another 3 minutes. Fish should flake easily.

Serve fish over the rice and spoon on red pepper sauce. Yum-delish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mushroom, Spinach and Goat Cheese Fritatta

Sometimes you get home late and think how can I get dinner on the table fast? I often think of eggs as they are quick and nutritious. 

6 eggs beaten
1 pkg of sliced mushrooms
1/2 bag of spinach, chopped
1/2 small onion chopped
some red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
a little olive oil
some crumbled goat cheese

preheat oven 400

In medium oven proof skillet, heat a little olive oil. Cook the onions and mushrooms. Add the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Add the spinach and stir to wilt. Pour in the eggs and let that mixture cook until eggs are beginning to set around edges. Sprinkle on goat cheese and pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spiced Thighs and Cumin Cabbage

I have to say that this dish is so, so good and incredibly easy. I don't often use my ground coriander, but I did tonight. I had some napa cabbage that wanted to be cooked up and I obliged.

4 boneless chicken thighs, rubbed with ground coriander, turmeric and kosher salt. Be generous with the spices.

1/2 napa cabbage, sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 small yellow pepper, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
some vegetable oil

Brown thighs in some vegetable oil in large lidded skillet. After browning well, remove to plate and add the onion and the peppers. Brown these and add a big tablespoon of cumin and some black pepper--stir around and add the garlic, and then the cabbage--stir well and then nestle the thighs back into the skillet. Pour on maybe a 1/2 cup of water, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Simmer about 20 minutes or so. Serve over some sort of rice. I served this over a really tasty rice and lentil dish that can be found on the grocery shelf--Lund Rice and Lentils with Mild Curry. I like the Lund products which I find at Arbor Farms Market.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pumpkin Chili

This is a good dish to make when you're going to be out of the house until dinner time as it goes in the crock pot and simmers all day. It doesn't really have much of a pumpkin taste to it, if any really. I think the pumpkin just functions as a way to thicken the chili. This is a nice vegetarian option and tastes quite nice served over some brown rice, garnished with avocado. If I had had some chopped fresh cilantro and green onions that would have been good as well on top. I added a little shredded cheddar-what could that hurt? We liked the flavor but ended up adding just a bit of hot sauce cause we really do favor spicy food. It has a very nice flavor without adding anything. I happened on this recipe in the most unlikely of spots: the ANN Magazine that accompanies the Sunday paper now and then. They don't usually publish recipes but just happened to recently and it sounded good, so there you have it.

1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 26 oz box or can of diced tomatoes
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large carrots, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T brown sugar
2 T chili powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 T cumin
1/2 t nutmeg
2 t oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 5 hours. Can cook longer, but stir after 7 hours.

Good served over rice, spaghetti squash, or baked potatoes. This makes a lot so you'll have leftovers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pasta with Clams and Kale

If you like spaghetti with clam sauce then I'm pretty sure you'll like this dish. It's pretty much the same idea, but I have added a bunch of torn kale in place of the parsley cause kale gives you way more bang for the buck (nutritionally).

For two big servings:

6 oz spaghetti or linguini
1 can 6 oz chopped clams, drain clam juice into measuring cup of wine
3 cups torn kale
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 t dried oregano
1 t red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
olive oil

Cook pasta according to package and throw in the kale when you have three minutes before it's done.

In large skillet, heat some olive oil and sauté the onion and the garlic, stirring often so garlic doesn't burn. Add the oregano and red pepper, salt and pepper, stir around and then add the white wine/clam juice and stir around. Drain pasta and kale. Dump clams into the sauce and then add the pasta. Stir well and let that all warm together well. Ladle into bowls, add parmesan and enjoy! Goes well with garlic bread. I will be making this a again-it's easy and good. Next time will use whole wheat pasta.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Shrimp and Tortellini

Here's a nice quick and flavorful dinner. You need shrimp and cheese tortellini and just a few other things that are probably already in your pantry.

12 frozen large shrimp, thawed and shelled
12 oz cheese tortellini ( I like Trader Joe's)
some parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
some olive oil
red pepper flakes
1/2 bag frozen peas
1 T butter

Cook tortellini according to package directions--throw in the peas during the last ten minutes. Drain pasta and peas and put back in the pot and add some olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and a bit of parmesan cheese.

In medium skillet, heat some olive oil and quickly sauté the shrimp, add the garlic and juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 T of butter. To serve, spoon shrimp and sauce over pasta and peas. Easy and yummy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rainy Day Lunch

Nothing tastes as good as tomato soup and grilled cheese on a damp and dismal day. Today I tried a low sodium version of creamy tomato that Trader Joe's sells and it was pretty good. I zipped up the standard grilled cheese with a couple slices of bavarian ham and some thinly sliced red onion and grilled it up in my panini press. Yum!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Meatless Monday

This is a really easy and good vegetarian dish. I used a short cut: Trader Joe's Red Curry Sauce. This is a made up dish using what's in the fridge but it was mighty tasty if I do say so myself.

1 head of cauliflower, broken into medium pieces
1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn in small pieces
a bit of olive oil
a large onion diced
1 bottle Trade Joe's Red Curry Sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock

Steam cauliflower about ten minutes.
Sauté onion in large skillet in some olive oil.
Add the cauliflower and and kale. Stir well.
Add the sauce and the chicken broth. Stir well and cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes.

I served this over Trader Joe's Red Quinoa which cooks in about 20 minutes.

Serve over quinoa, garnished with fresh tomato, cilantro and chopped almonds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Green Chili Beef

I made up another recipe and it was quite tasty. I had gotten a box of tomatillos at the Farmers Market and wanted to use them in something other than salsa. I combined them with beef and other goodies and served over rice and beans. I used a box of Lund Rice and Black Beans--very good-just add water and cook.

1 lb ground beef
6 large tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
1/2 large red onion in chunks
2 large mariachi peppers or jalapenos, in chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 box of Lund rice and black beans

Preheat oven 400

Combine tomatillos, red onion and peppers with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread on cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, brown ground beef and add garlic. When veggies are done, add them to beef mixture, stir in and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Make rice and beans.  Add cilantro to beef mixture, stir. Serve beef mixture over rice and beans.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shrimp, Napa Cabbage and Red Pepper Stir fry

Oh, my goodness, this is good. I have to qualify my enthusiasm though because it is spicy and might not be for everyone. In my opinion this isn't "spicy too hot" like some dishes--more just deliciously spicy. You also can control the amount of heat depending on the sauce you choose. I will tell where you can deviate to make a milder version.

10 oz chinese noodles
1/2 cup garlic chili sauce (you can use sweet chili sauce here and it won't be that hot-if you choose to do that then maybe add some red pepper flakes for some heat) Look for these sauces in Asian food section.
3 T soy sauce
3 T sesame oil

14 good size shrimp, cleaned and ready to cook--sprinkle with some soy sauce

4 cups chopped napa cabbage
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 medium onion in chunks

Cook chinese noodles, drain. Mix the sauce: 1/2 cup garlic chili sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir into pasta.

In wok, add a bit of oil and then sauté onions, red pepper, and cabbage 2 -4 minutes. Add carrots, stir for a couple of minutes. Dump the veggies on to the pasta. Quickly sauté the shrimp and add them--serve! This is so good, if I do say so myself :-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Beef and Greens Stir Fry

It isn't often that I truly totally make up a recipe but tonight I did. I am writing it down fairly quickly so I can remember what I did! Here's what you'll need:

1/2 lb beef stir fry meat cut in strips
1 bunch swiss chard, washed-stems chopped and leaves shredded
1 carton brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in halves (or quarters if large)
4 green onions, washed and cut on bias
2 large mariachi peppers, cut in rings (little less spicy than jalapenos)
3 garlic cloves, sliced

1/4 cup Mandarin orange juice (sub a lot of different juices here)
1/2 soy sauce
1 T brown sugar
1 T siracha sauce
Mix all togther

In wok or skillet, add some vegetable oil and sauté beef for a few minutes. Remove to large bowl. Next throw in the pepper rings, the chard stems,  the onions and brussels sprouts--stirring and cooking maybe 8 minutes or so. toward the end of the cooking time throw in the garlic. Spoon all that mixture out into the bowl with the beef. Add a bit more oil and sauté the shredded chard leaves in two batches until it wilts. Then add back in all the other stuff and heat through and add the sauce and  heat for a few minutes.

Good served over rice.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grilled Chicken

Early in the day I took a package of chicken thighs and a package of legs and put them in a big ziplock bag with Italian salad dressing (1/2 cup) and 1/4 cup of hot sauce (whatever you like). When ready to cook, I heated all the burners on the gas grill so the chicken would get a good sear. I  have a grill that has 3 sections that I can control. I put all the chicken in the middle and seared one side for 5 minutes  then flipped for five more. Then I turned the middle section off and turned the other two sections down to medium and cooked the chicken for 30 minutes. It was quite good.

Fresh Beets

We love beets and we especially like them roasted. I picked up a box at the Farmer's Market the other day and decided to roast them all and then keep the leftovers in the fridge. They are super easy to do. Just trim ends, scrub,  and wrap each one in foil to catch the juice. Put wrapped beets on cookie sheet or pie plate in case they leak and stick in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let them cool and then rub the skins off with a paper towel and slice and dice or do whatever you want with them. I added them to chopped romaine, sliced sweet onion and drizzled with Ranch dressing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pork Chops with Apple and Onion

I had two loin pork chops and wanted to jazz them up a bit.  I had one large apple and one large onion as well as some chicken broth in the fridge. If you don't have chicken stock you could always substitute white wine or even beer.

2 thick boneless pork loin chops
1 large apple, cored and sliced
1 large onion sliced
2 T butter
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock, wine, or beer

In medium large skillet, sear the pork chops about 5 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper them and set them aside. Melt the butter in the same skillet and add the onion and apple stirring for five minutes or so. Add the chops back in and continue to cook about 15 more minutes to be sure the chops are cooked through.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chicken Cacciatore

I can't believe I  don't have a recipe for chicken cacciatore on this blog. Seriously, what kind of pseudo Italian am I?

There are a million recipes for this dish, but it's really pretty simple: chicken, mushrooms, red sauce and simmer :-)

1 pkg boneless chicken thighs
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves. minced
some olive oil
salt and pepper
dried rosemary
28 oz crushed or diced tomatoes ( I used unsalted)
3/4 cup white wine

In large skillet with lid, brown chicken thighs in a little olive oil. When brown, remove to plate. Add onions and mushrooms and brown. Add salt and pepper and 2 T rosemary stir around, add garlic-stir. Add the tomatoes and wine, and then add the thighs--stir well. Cover skillet and cook over low heat 50 minutes. Serve over pasta or rice.