Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shrimp with Secret Sauce

My daughter-in-law is a fantastic cook, as is her mom,  and her mother taught her this recipe which they often used with fish. The first time we had the dish it was with tilapia. I had some nice shrimp to use so I decided to try the sauce and I have to tell you this was totally delish. I don't really have exact measurements because my DIL doesn't really measure, she tastes and then adjusts. Like I said she is a kick ass cook. I sort of winged this and the outcome was great and I'm sure she would be proud of me :-) I served the shrimp with brown basmati rice and sautéed spinach.

1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 or 2 jalapenos, chopped

white wine vinegar
oyster sauce
sesame oil

In wok, drizzle some sesame oil, heat and quickly sauté the shrimp. Remove to bowl. Next stir fry the tomatoes, onions, scallions, garlic and peppers. After they have cooked down a bit, pour in some vinegar and oyster sauce (maybe 1/4 cup each??) or less and stir around. Add the shrimp back in and stir.

Serve over rice--yum

Sunday, March 29, 2015


You can really elevate a sauteéd chicken breast or pork chop with a great pan sauce of mushrooms and onions. It's quick, easy and so yummy.

1/2 sliced onion
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
some olive oil
dried thyme
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar

Sauté your meat, chicken or whatever and remove to a plate and keep warm. Add a tad more olive oil to the pan and add the onion and mushrooms, and salt and pepper, some dried thyme. Stir around as the mushrooms and onion brown. Add about a 1/4 cup balsamic and turn off the heat-stir. Serve over whatever!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chicken Thighs and Caulifower

I happened to see this recipe on blog called "The Amateur Gourmet" and I switched it up a bit to work with ingredients that I had on hand. It was really very good.

Recipe: Braised Chicken Thighs and Cauliflower with Olives and Capers

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A package of chicken thighs (with bones and skin), I had 8
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 can or pkg of diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Plain couscous, cooked according to package directions


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat the chicken thighs dry and season them all over with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the chicken (skin-side down; it should sizzle) and walk away. You want these to get good and brown, so don’t play with them. Leave them alone and then check after 3 to 4 minutes with a pair of tongs. If you can’t lift it and the skin is sticking, keep cooking. It’ll detach when it’s done. Then flip over and sear on the other side.
  2. Remove the chicken to the plate and add the cauliflower florets to the hot oil. Sprinkle with salt and sear on all sides until golden brown (do this quickly; you don’t want the cauliflower to get too cooked at this stage). Remove to the same plate as the chicken.
  3. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and move it all around to collect the brown bits on the bottom. Do this on medium-high heat and as the onion starts to color, you can lower the heat. I
  4. Add the garlic. Cook until fragrant (like 30 seconds) then carefully add the white wine vinegar–careful, it’ll sizzle. Use that to work up all the brown bits then add the tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt. Stir around for 30 seconds, then add the chicken and cauliflower back. Cover with water and another splash of white wine vinegar–a big splash–and add in the olives and capers. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover and cook for 30 minutes. (Check every so often to make sure the mixture is lightly bubbling.)
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and taste the sauce. If it’s watery and not flavorful enough, add more white wine vinegar. Also: adjust for salt. Cook another 15 minutes, allowing the sauce to concentrate and taste one last time.
  6. Sprinkle everything with parsley and serve it up over couscous. There won’t be any leftovers, promise.
I used a boxed Near East mix for the couscous.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here's a good idea if you happen to have a cooked chicken breast hanging around.

  • 1/2 cup wild black rice, cooked
  • 1 large chicken breast cooked and shredded
  • 1 pkg sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2  onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 clove garlics, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 quart chicken stock--I used homemade stock so I needed to add extra salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, garnish
Cook the rice separately. In a large pot sauté the mushrooms in olive oil, then add all the other veggies, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper. Pour in the stock and the shredded chicken and cook for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Curried Chicken Salad

Here's a very tasty take on chicken salad if you happen to have these ingredients on hand. The only unusual ingredient for many might be the hot pepper jelly, but we always have that for making spicy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon hot pepper jelly
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 green onions, chopped

Mix all those ingredients together and combine with one shredded cooked chicken breast, a handful of raisins and a handful of chopped walnuts. Yummy!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spicy, Garlicky Meatloaf

I just love Melissa Clark, food writer for the NYT. She's a fabulous cook and I really like her no nonsense style in the kitchen. Recently I saw this recipe when meandering online and I found an article that she had written, "When Meatloaf Needs a Jolt."  I happen to love meatloaf but have always found it a bit bland, too. I usually add some zest to the ones I have created. This recipe of hers really kicks up the garlic and adds sage. The outcome was splendid if you like spicy, garlicky stuff!


  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock, heavy cream or milk
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, sage, salt and black pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together bread crumbs and stock, cream or milk. Let stand five minutes.
  3. Add pork, beef and soaked bread crumbs to egg mixture. Knead ingredients together until just combined. Press mixture evenly into an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the tomato paste and olive oil. After meatloaf has finished baking, brush top with glaze; sprinkle with pine nuts, if using. Bake 15 minutes more (glaze will be thick and a meat thermometer should read 160 degrees). Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Greek Lasagna?

Did that pique your interest? I know that it did mine. I saw this recipe on line and of course I had to revise a bit since I didn't have all the ingredients used. Of course, as you know, that never stops me from trying a recipe. As long as I have enough of the crucial ingredients, I can punt the others. In fact that's what makes cooking fun and a bit of a challenge, eh?

I happened to have a log of polenta and that's how this whole search began and here we are with Greek Lasagna-a funny idea sort of but it was quite yummy. Disclosure:  you really need to let this dish cool a bit so it sets up or otherwise it's pretty runny when you dish it up. Although I have to say, that doesn't keep it from being delicious!

pre heat oven 400

Need a 8 by 8 deep baking dish

1 log polenta sliced into 18 slices
1 jar Trader Joe Puttanesca Pasta Sauce ( key ingredient olives!)
1 tub ricotta
1 tub crumbled feta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 egg
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
salt and pepper

Mix in a medium bowl: ricotta, 3/4 cup feta, egg, salt and pepper, some oregano, and spinach.

To assemble:  Put a thin layer of sauce on bottom of baking dish, then layer 9 pieces of polenta, 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 Puttanesca sauce, half mozzarella, then repeat. Top with feta and bake 50 minutes. Let it sit at least 20 before cutting.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shrimp Scampi with Vermouth

We love shrimp scampi. I have another recipe on the blog as well as this one. I didn't have any white wine but I did have vermouth so this is a bit different. Really yummy, I might add :-) I served this over whole wheat spaghetti with some shaved Parmesan cheese.

  • One pound large shrimp, peeled, split down the back, and veins removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 medium cloves)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 3 teaspoons fresh juice and 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley


  1. 1
    In a large bowl, toss together shrimp with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and baking soda until evenly coated. Let stand for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. 2
    In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Add half the shrimp in an even layer and cook, stirring and turning shrimp occasionally, until pink and barely cooked through and just starting to turn lightly golden in spots, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, flexible slotted offset spatula, or tongs, transfer shrimp to a plate. Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil to skillet and reheat until shimmering, and repeat with remaining shrimp.
  3. 3
    Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet along with garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute.
  4. 4
    Add vermouth and boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until raw alcohol smell is mostly gone and vermouth has reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.
  5. 5
    Add butter and cook, stirring and swirling the pan rapidly as butter melts to create a silky, emulsified sauce. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and season with salt. Return to medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. (If sauce breaks, whisk in a teaspoon or two of water until the sauce emulsifies again.)
  6. 6
    Return shrimp to skillet, add herbs and lemon zest and toss until shrimp are coated in sauce and warmed through. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

How cute are these?

These are a take on Shepard's Pie, but with sweet potato tater tots! How cute is that? Saw this on Pinterest and thought ok I'm making these cutie pies. I had frozen some leftover ground turkey filling from the stuffed peppers I made not too long ago. It was easy as can be to thaw that and add some tomato sauce. I heated that mixture up and then spooned it into these darling red ramekins, topped with sweet potato tater tots (Alexia brand) and popped into a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. Fun!


Friday, March 6, 2015

Glazed Sausage with Sautéed Cabbage

If you have some chicken sausage and 1/2 head of cabbage, you've got dinner!. I made these in two separate pans since I wanted to make a sauce for the sausage.

1 lb. chicken sausage, sliced in chunks
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T brown sugar
olive oil

for cabbage:

1/2 cabbage sliced
1/2 onion sliced
2 garlic cloves sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil

Brown sausage in some olive oil, add broth, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat--watch to be sure you don't lose all the sauce--you are just boiling it down a bit.

At same time, cook the onion and garlic in some live oil, add the cabbage, salt and pepper and stir around cooking that for about 15 minutes or so.

Serve with spicy brown mustard and some buttered rye bread.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chili/Rum Chicken

I don't often make main dishes with fruit in them.  Not exactly sure why because I like fruit but maybe not so much as part of my dinner? But, it just so happens that I bought a whole cored fresh pineapple the other day and then thought, what the hell am I doing with this thing? Enter the NYT. Found a recipe that sounded pretty good and I had some of the ingredients so I went for it and the outcome was quite nice.


  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 sweet onion, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  •       1 tablespoon dried red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs
  • ¾ pound pineapple pieces, diced into 1/2-inch chunks or very roughly chopped


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine lemon juice and salt, and blend for 5 seconds to dissolve salt. Add onion, garlic, oil, rum, thyme, brown sugar, chili pepper and spices, and blend until mixture forms a marinade.
  2. In plastic zip lock bag, marinate chicken pieces. If you have time, let marinate for up to 45 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put chicken in a large baking pan and scatter pineapple around it in one layer. Roast until chicken is cooked through (juices will run clear when pricked with a fork), about 30 minutes.
  4. Broil chicken and pineapple until chicken skin is crisp and dark brown all over and pineapple is singed in places.
  5. Serve chicken and pineapple coated with pan drippings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pickled Onions

Recently I have seen pickled onions turning up on a lot of menus, blogs, etc. I thought, what's the big deal? Well, I made some tonight and they are mighty tasty and can elevate your typical good old Tuesday night hamburger or black bean burger to "lovely" status.

An hour or so before dinner, marinate a half red onion sliced thinly in 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup water and 1 T sugar. Drain and use however you see fit.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Breakfast for Dinner!

As you all know, I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner. Recently, I was intrigued by a fig jam and brie omelette recipe I saw.  I liked the sweet/savory aspect. However, I had neither brie nor fig jam but of course that didn't stop me. I did happen to have hot pepper jelly and some feta so I figured, why not? It was so good!

6 eggs (for two 3 egg omelettes)
hot pepper jelly
feta cheese

3 shallots, sliced
1 box spinach

Heat a knob of butte in a 6 inch pan. Add the egg and let it cook, lifting the edges to let the uncooked egg run under. When it seems pretty well cooked, add a heaping T of hot pepper jelly and feta cheese and fold over. Slide out into dish and keep warm while you make another.

In a wok, sauté the shallots in some olive oil, add the spinach to wilt.

Serve omelettes over spinach. I also added some roast potatoes, sliced tomatoes and a piece of toast to round out the plate.