Friday, December 31, 2010

Crockpot Rosemary Chicken with White Beans and the New Year

Okay, so it's been a while. I have been very busy with my boys medical chaos and the holidays. But now that it's over and tomorrow start a new year, 2011, I hope to get back on sharing some great recipes for you. For the holidays I bought myself a couple of cook books. And perfect books for the winter. Taste of Home Slow Cooker. The books says it includes 403 slow cooker recipes and I have tried one so far that I will share with you in a bit. The other is 300 of the best casseroles. These books are great for me because like many of us with crazy lives and kids we just don't have the time to make a great meal for the family. This way you can make the meal ahead of time and then throw it in the oven or make the meal in the morning and let it cook all day long.

So like I said this is the start of the new year starting tomorrow. I could say my new years resolution is to lose weight but like every year I make it and break it. How about be more frugal? That's a good one of course with my other new found hobby, scrapbooking, I love to expand my supplies and with that comes more storage. I think I would like to add to my new years resolutions of blogging more. The blogger's annual resolution I'm sure. I have this blog that I love but find it hard to make those meals to share with you all (hopefully change with a couple new cookbooks) and my boys blog (which will get a new entry after this one). Oh yeah and another new years resolution for my is to keep up on that ever growing pile of laundry!

So this recipe that I am going to share I made one day when I had to bring the boys up to the hospital which is about 1 hour 30 minutes away from home. I knew I was going to be back late and didn't want to start cooking. So I perused the new cook book and found this recipe.

Rosemary Chicken with White Beans

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cans (15-1/2 oz each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
2/3 cup Italian salad dressing
2 teaspoon of dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil in batched on both sides. Place the beans, carrots, and celery in a 5 qt slow cooker, top with chicken. In a small bowl, combine the salad dressing, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until chicken is tender.
I of course altered the recipe to my need. I did not need 6 chicken breast so I cut some other ingredients in half. I also cooked it longer then 3-4 hours so yes it can be made in the morning and cook all day. You can always turn off the slow cooker and things will stay nice an warm.This is Husband approved and will be made again!!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peppermint Bark

Talk about a quick treat to make. I had seen some recipes online of of one of my favorite Christmas time flavor combo, chocolate and mint but while easy to make it wasn't easy enough for me. So here is my take on Peppermint Bark.

2 11.5oz bags of chocolate chips.
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Teaspoon of peppermint extract
about 12 candy canes crushed (this was appox)

I put the candy canes in a large plastic bag and crushed! In a double boiler I put the 2 Tablespoons of oil and the two bags of chocolate chips to melt. Once melted I added the 1 teaspoon of extract. On a parchment lined cookie sheet I poured and spread the melted chocolate. Sprinkled on candy canes and put in freezer till hard. Once hard I took the cookie sheet out and broke the bark in to pieces. Be sure to leave the bark in the fridge so it won't melt on you.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

There is something just so wonderful when it starts to get cold outside and the oven starts to turn on for baking and roasting. When I went to the store the other day the Betty Crocker Quick Breads were on sale. Yes, I don't make my breads from scratch. Except when I have left over bananas. I grabbed a couple of boxes and a bag of nuts to mix in the batter .It's my favorite time when the feel in the store is all set for Christmas and you grab all the nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, and cookie batter. The house starts to be filled with every smell from cookies to breads and baked chicken to meat roasting. I can just smell it all as I type.

Turkey roasting time is just around the corner and this recipe would be good with either chicken or some of those left overs from Thanksgiving. Casserole is another thing I think of when this time of the season rolls around. I hate turning on the oven for more then 20 minutes during the summer. Now you can warm up the house with just a loaf or two of bread cooking in the oven and keep the furnace turned off for just a couple more weeks.. Yes, that means you can preheat the oven and make bread at 6 in the morning to take the chill off.

Again, you could consider me a cheater when it comes to this recipe. Just like with my quick breads I take the easy way out. I use a can of cream of chicken and a can of cream of mushroom soup. I found a recipe online at one of my favorite sites and it is very similar to my own recipe with some slight changes. And good changes I might add. Any time you add cheese to a recipe is makes it better. Cheese in my mind is just as good as bacon! I did leave out the mushrooms because we didn't have any on had and of course along with my cheating I used store bought pie crust and didn't make my own.

I found with this recipe it calls for one pie but we had enough filling that we froze the remains. I don't think it is enough for another pie but would good on toast or biscuits.

Chicken Pot Pie
Serves 6

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts havles
1/2 cup chopped onion
1teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 2 quart casserole dish. Place chicken breasts, onions, and poultry seasoning in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover. Simmer over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked though. Drain and dice chicken. In a large bowl, combine chicken, onions, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, mixed vegetables, mushrooms, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.Lay one sheet of pastry in bottom of greased and floured pan. Pour chicken mixture over pastry. Cover with second sheet of pastry. Seal edges of top and bottom pastries. Cut steam vents in top. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, until pastry is golden. 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Moroccan Night

OK I know it has been a while since my last post. Sorry about that. I am going to try to not have that again.

As usual I am trying new things to my chicken. Always looking for new chicken ideas so send them my way if you have any! This night was a Moroccan night. We had Moroccan Chicken and Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan spices. Best of both worlds in my book. Looking for new chicken recipes and we have an abundance of spaghetti squash.

Moroccan Chicken
(ok I am going to put the recipe I received off the internet but I did lower the ingredients and used only 2 chicken boneless chicken breasts) 

2 Chickens quartered
2 lbs of chopped onion (yes you read that right)
9 oz rasins
3 oz pine nuts
1/2 c honey
cloves ( I used ground)

Salt and paprika chickens. Brown in oil. In another skillet, saute onions until clear. Add raisins, cloves, and pine nuts. Saute a few more minutes. Remove from hear and add honey. Adjust seasoning to taste. Place chicken in a baking dish, cover with mixture and bake at 325F for 1 hour or until nicely browned and tender. This recipe came from a Moroccan restaurant in the old quarter of Jerusalem. 

Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP butter
1 TSP ground cumin
3/4 TSP salt
1/2 TSP ground cinnimon
1/8 TSP hot pepper sauce (I did not measure and it was kinda hot and I like hot, I would make this optional)
2 TBSP minced fresh cilantro ( I used dried)

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 15-18 minutes or until tender. In a small skillet saute garlic in butter for 1 minute. Stir in the cumin, salt, Cinnamon, and pepper sauce. When squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate strands. Toss with butter mixture and cilantro.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicken Bacon Roulades

Here we go again, but is there really something wrong with MORE chicken and bacon recipes? I didn't thinking so. As you can see, there is a very nice roll roulade here on the plate. What you did not see is me stuffing 5 slices of bacon into each one and trying to roll the chicken up and then making the roulade into a pin cushion with tooth picks trying to hold it together. I should have taken a picture for you. I am always over filling my chicken and then having to use 10 tooth picks each to hold them together. I always remember where they are but my husband usually eats one or two that he left in.

The one thing I did not do, besides only putting 2 or 3 slices of bacon in, was strain the sauce. I like all the little nibblets in my sauce. Plus, I don't have a fine mesh sieve.Christmas is coming, I'll send you my address ;)

My favorite part of this recipe and all others that need chicken or what ever meat flattened is pounding. I don't go your conventional route using a meat mallet. Again I do not own one. So I use a cast iron frying pan. This way it also flattens all over instead of with a mallet you need to pound all around so one side isn't fatter then the other. Just give that meat of choice a few good even whacks and there you go, flat meat and a frustration relaxer.

OK, so now I have lied to you all. I also used regular onion and not shallots. Quick call the food police. I rarely buy shallots for recipes. I figure what is the real difference I can just use onions I have them on hand. I know that shallots have a slightly different taste but that doesn't stop me.

Here is the recipe and don't be shy. If you LOVE bacon, fill it up. I got 5 piece in each you can too.

Chicken Bacon Roulades

4 shallots, thinly sliced
10 bacon slices
4 skinless boneless chicken breast
Lemon pepper seasoning or ground black pepper and lemon zest
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic mashed 
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 heavy cream

Cook the bacon in an over proof skillet until lightly brown and still flexible. Drain on paper towel. Cook shallots in the remaining bacon grease until softened. Transfer shallots using a slotted spoon and leave any remaining fat in skillet. Preheat over to 300 degrees. Place each chicken breast between to pieces of plastic wrap and pound til the breast is about 1/8 inch thick. Discard top sheet of plastic wrap. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper seasoning and salt. Place 2-3 pieces of bacon length wise along the middle of each breast. Top with shallots and Parmesan. Using the plastic wrap to help you, tightly roll up each breast lengthwise, tucking the ends to enclose the filling. Secure seams with wooden toothpicks. Add olive oil to reserved fat in skillet add heat over medium high heat. Brown the roulades on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cooked though, about 20-25 minuets. Transfer chicken to place with tongs and keep warm, cover with aluminum foil. Pour fat off from skillet. Add wine to the skillet and deglaze over medium high heat. Boil wine until reduced about 1 tablespoon. Add garlic and butter. Cook mixture over medium low, stirring for about 1 minute. Add flour and cook roux. Add broth and cream and bring to boil, whisking. Simmer, while whisking, for about 2 minutes. Pour though a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan and keep warm. Remove wooden toothpick slice crosswise. Spoon some sauce in the center of 4 plates and arrange roulades slices in sauce.

OK, again I didn't follow directions. I swear I wasn't like this in school. I sliced my chicken and poured the sauce on top. Like it really matters, you do as you wish. I like it better on top.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Blueberry Muffins with Love

As always we have quarts and quarts of blueberries. What gets picked in July and August will make it till the next harvest. The twins love the blueberries frozen as a snack. They let the berries sit in their mouths till they start to thaw and then chew them. The rest of us (me) like to make things with them. I have the recipe for blueberry raspberry crumble and now just your basic blueberry muffin. Yeah, whats so special about a blueberry muffin. Beside that the blueberries are the biggest you have even seen is that they were made with love. Mixed and poured with help from my four year old daughter. She is my little baker helper. You bake she wants to help. Of course she also wants to lick the beaters when your done and of course what young shouldn't lick the beaters.
So these muffins were made for the boys. Best intention of getting them some a little different to eat other then the same thing over and over and them being tired of it. Because of the boys recent diagnosis we are trying to get the most calories in them as we can.Which in turn is not the best for our ( my husband and I) calorie intake. So as it be the boys maybe had one or two each and my husband and I ate the rest of them.

I used your basic muffin mix, 2 eggs, I did add only 1 cup of blueberries (instead of 2 cups) because they were ginormous blueberries, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Preheat oven to 350 beat butter, eggs, salt and sugar. Let child like beaters. Mix (by the 4 year old) the dry with the wet. Add vanilla and blueberries and blend (again by the 4 year old). 
Bake for 30 minutes and let cool. Then you can enjoy the warm juicy blueberries as they burst in your mouth when you take a bite. Be careful it could be hot in the berries. 


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taco Pasta Toss

As some of you already know I am a lover of Mexican food and love me some tacos when I can get them. When I came across this recipe in the Everyday with Rachel Ray (no that is not where I got the idea for my blog title. I am just not very creative) I thought I should give it a try. I mean what can be wrong, taco meat, pasta, lettuce, and tomato. It was met with a little bit of discussion and after all was said and done aka I said this is what we are having and that's it, I made it. 

I loved it being this is was what I was looking for. My husband liked the flavor but thought that texture of the pasta was strange to him. Which I can understand. When you are so used to eating tacos with your hard shell and then we introduce pasta to the dish it can be a bit disturbing. But as all know I like to add a little change and flavor to my meals. Love my Ole El Paso taco dinner kits but this was a great way to change up a favorite and make the meal a bit more sophisticated. 

This meal also ended up feeding my picky daughter some meat too. I skipped the lettuce and tomato topping but she ate devoured this meal 2 days in a row. I love it when I can get her to eat what we are eating. Something other then PB&J or processed food from a can or box. I mean what kid doesn't like tacos? Well my daughter would never try a taco with a shell but, HA HA, she liked this.

Pasta Taco Toss

Salt and Pepper
1 pound penne rigate (or your choice of pasta)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of ground beef
1 large chopped onion
1 large jalapeno chili - halved, seeded if desired and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves of garlic, finally chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 12 ounce bottle of beer or 1/ 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar, monterey jack, or any Mexican semi-soft cheese
2 small plum tomatoes , seeded and chopped
1/4 head iceberg lettuce or 1/2 small heart romaine lettuce, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat olive oil, over medium - high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 of the onion, the jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, coriander, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is softened, 6 - 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in beer. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Spoon into a serving dish, top with cheese and tent with foil to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. Top with remaining onion, the tomatoes and lettuce - just like tacos!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alice Springs Chicken

My husband and I don't have much time to go out to dinner and enjoy ourselves. As a result we don't get to enjoy some of our favorite meals at restaurants that we go to. One night I wanted to make something special for my husband who wasn't having a great day. I had chicken out of the freezer and did a search online to gather some ideas of what to make.

I then came across the Alice Springs Chicken from the Outback restaurant. This is one of his favorite meals from this restaurant and I had most of the ingredients. What could be better then chicken smothered in mushrooms, bacon, and melted cheese after a hard day at work? The recipe that I found online called for the chicken to be marinated in a honey mustard marinade. I didn't have much time to get the chicken marinaded so I skipped the marinade, pan sheared the chicken in the pan, and just proceeded with the rest of the process. Oh and did I mention that I seared the chicken in the same pan that I cooked the bacon in? I added a little clog artery to the menu too :-).

I will give you the entire recipe so if you want the night before you can whip up the marinade and let it hang over night getting the full effect with your dinner.

Alice Springs Chicken

1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup honey
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp lemon juice
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
12 slices cooked bacon
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Combine the mustard, honey, and 1 Tbsp of the oil along with the lemon juice and mix. Place the chicken in a 1 gallon ziplock bag and pour half the mixture on top. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Save and chill the remaining marinade to serve later with the chicken. After chicken has marinaded: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the remaining oil in a frying pan, heat and sear chicken on both sides. Place chicken in an oven safe pan and brush liberally with the marinade. In the same pan add butter and saute the mushrooms. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place bacon strips across each breast, spoon mushrooms on top and then add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of cheese on each breast. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 7 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubble. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with honey mustard marinade.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Veggie Pizza

No this isn't your normal pizza shop pizza. All warm with melted cheese and sauteed vegetables.This pizza has a cream cheese spread on a buttery crescent crust and fresh crunch veggies. This is usually my go to for pot lucks at my Capital Region Mother's of Multiples annual pot luck. I first had this at my baby shower for my daughter, who is now 4. My, at that time future, sister-in-law brought this over for the shower. It was so yummy that I had to have the recipe. Simple and easy, it is perfect for any party or just a quick little snack. I have also found that my daughter loves this and it is great at getting her to eat some of those veggies. I heard that Pampered Chef also has this in one of their recipe books. This is how I make it and of course you can make it your own by changing it up.
Veggie Pizza

2 Pillsbury crescent roll tubes
1 packet of powdered ranch dressing mix
2 bricks of cream cheese
1 cup of mayonasie
any veggies your choice, chopped fine
fine shredded cheese

Bake the crescent rolls as directed on package. Mix mayonnaise, ranch packet, and softened cream cheese in bowl. (Mush easier if you use a electric hand mixer but you can do it by hand). Spread cream cheese mix evenly over crescent rolls. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and chopped veggies. Keep cool until time to serve. Makes 2 pizza.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Frugal Gourmet Returns

I may be only 29 but I sure do remember the Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith. I remember seeing him on TV occasionally but mostly I remember his cook books. The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors: Recipes You Should Have Gotten from Your Grandmother and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome. My parents owned both of these and made several recipes from them. The one I can remember the most is stuffed cabbage. I always remember it being this time consuming meal that my mother would have to start early. Now that I have made it a couple of times for my family it really is not so bad to make. Yeah boiling the cabbage and waiting for it to cool so you can gently pull the leaves off and stuffing about 24 rolls then letting them simmer for 50 minuets seems time consuming but it isn't a labor consuming.

With cabbage growing the garden it's either cole slaw or stuffed cabbage. I really need to build on my cabbage recipe knowledge. When I made the recipe last I was try to decide if I wanted to use the crock pot or channel my inner Jeff Smith and make it "like my Grandmother" did. I did end up making it the Frugal Gourmet recipe version. 

Polish Stuffed Cabbage

For the Filling:
1 1/4 cups converted rice
2 cups water
3/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 3/4 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
salt and pepper to taste
For the Cabbage
3 medium heads winter cabbage
For the Sauce
3 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

To Prepare the Filling
Place the rice in a small pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then drain the excess water. Heat a frying pan and add the oil, garlic, and onion. Saute until the onion is transparent. Stir in the parsley and allow the mixture to cool. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat with the cooled rice and onion mixture. Ass salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare and Fill the Cabbage Leaves
Cut out the cores of the cabbage with a paring knife. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a bit of salt. Add the cored cabbages, one head at a time and blanch for 5 minutes. Place in a colander and carefully pull off 24 of the largest, best looking leaves, 1 at a time. Rinse with cold water, just as soon as you pull each one from the head. Place 1/3 cup of the filling in the center of each leaf and roll it up, foling the ends so that have a nice bundle. Place the stuffed leaves in a 10 to 12 quart stove top cover casserole. Be sure that they are packed rather tightly together. Place some of the leftover leaves on the top.  
To Prepare the Sauce and Cook
Mix the tomato sauce and vinegar together and pour over the contents of the pot. Add boiling water to just barely cover the rolled leaves.
 Bring to a boil slowly over medium-low heat. Simmer, covered, for about 50 minutes, or until all is tender. Do not over cook.
I think my mother still has these cook books and I may have to borrow them to perhaps make another recipe from the Frugal Gourmet Past. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Build a Better Burger

I am always looking for new ways to make my hamburgers. I usually like to add a little more flavor then just salt and pepper. My husband would just prefer to have it that way. Sometimes I can't even get Montreal Steak Seasoning on the burger. And always cheese or no cheese topper. I usually want to try to make something different like a taco burger or topped with something different like avocado. The answer I receive usually ends with well make mine just salt and pepper. I should just cave a do so but I want him to try it too.  Try it you might like it. I always make it just plain salt and pepper, but I will admit when he isn't looking some times I top it with Steak Seasoning. ;-) sshh don't tell him.

This time around I was craving a steak sub but didn't have any steak thawed and wasn't driving 30 minutes to get sub and pay $25. Yes we live that far from a sub shop. At least a good sub shop. So the idea popped into my head, steak and cheese hamburgers. I sauteed up some onions and peppers and added some salt and pepper to the meat. Yes, I know I just said I didn't like just salt and pepper but we were adding a new topper. Burgers grilled up with some cheese on top and topped with a peppers and onions. A little mayo on the bun and it was great!  I served it with some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with Italian dressing. Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes and Thyme

Again as usual I was looking for another recipe to use all these silly tomatoes in. I wanted something nice and fresh because really you need to take advantage of the summer months up here in New England and eat all the fresh garden food while you can. I also did not want to bake in the oven so I was subjected to finding recipes that used the stove top or grill. When I can across this recipe I was so excited. The picture that was posted with the recipe looked fantastic. Although, I did not use all the ingredients that the recipe called for it was still delish. It was even husband approved. Usually when I suggest chicken with really no marinade he will add some BBQ sauce for dipping. This dish was welcomed warmly and requested to be made again. This time I used 4th of July tomatoes. 4th of Julys are about half the size of a beef steak and  was perfect for just cutting the tomatoes in quarters and being in bite size pieces. The tomatoes warmed up with the thyme and the white wine vinegar just make the flavors burst in your mouth Next time I try this I think I will use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes depending on if I make it before the garden ones have passed. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes and Thyme
 makes 2 servings

2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes (I did not add this)
2 teaspoons capers (optional - I also did not add)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vineger
thyme for garnish

Heat grill to medium high heat. Grill chicken breasts, turning once (about 7 minutes per side). Meanwhile, in a large skillet add tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, thyme, oil, vineger, salt, and pepper. Heat only until warm. Spoon over chicken breast; garnish with thyme sprigs and serve. 

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in the June/July issue of Fine Cooking magazine.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comfort Food Please

There is nothing better then a rainy, dreary day and eating some comfort food. You know what I am talking about. That ouie goie macaroni and cheese, a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs, anything casserole. This time the comfort food calling was American chop suey. This version of course was oh so simple. With a little help from the garden and I was cooking.

We have so many tomatoes. I wasn't kidding when I asked if you could turn in to a tomato if you eat too many of them. They are coming out of our ears. There has been tomato canning in this house for the last week and now the cherry tomatoes are falling off the vines.So the garden helped out in this recipe by adding a little extra tomato and a little green pepper. The oh so eary part came from the can of spaghetti sauce that I used ;) A little boiled past and voila, American chopped suey. A little bread and butter and some parmigiana reggiano and life is good. Enjoy!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Squash Casserole

You must be getting tired of me posting recipes of garden veggies. But I know there are some of you out there who are in the same spot as me. What do we do with all these vegetables?! Oh Yeah, and being that it's 90 degrees out I have ruled out the oven. Crock pot isn't a bad idea but I can't figure out that we are going to eat that night before noon, like I'm gonna have that figured out the day before so I can take it our of the freezer. And on a "side" note We eat cucumbers for a side dish. Or more tomatoes. I hope you don't turn into a tomato it you eat to many of them. You know like you eat too much carrots and you start to turn orange. Or what's her name from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who ate that pill with blueberry pie in it and turned into a blueberry.Well this side dish, or you can add and make it a one dish meal, is summer squash. Seem pretty basic till you read the ingredients and you see saltine crackers. I know its strange but try it. The first time I had this I was like really this is awesome. And trust me the more cheese the better. You can never go wrong with more cheese. When I make this we just can't stop eating it. Last time I made this there was 3 of us I think we ate a whole 9 x 13 pan. Yes I am a pig but I would like to see you control yourself once you have indulged..Ok enough is enough here is the recipe.

Summer Squash Casserole

2 lbs yellow squash, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 tbsp butter
1 cup saline crackers, cumbled
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped, or buttered bread crumbs

Place the squash, onion, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add a small amount of water. Cover and cook the squash until tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary. Drain the squash and onion; return to the pan and stir in the butter. taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to your taste. Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish well. Stir the crumbled crackers into the squash mixture, and turn into the buttered casserole. Pour the milk over the squash and sprinkle with the cheese and chopped pecans or crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees, for 20 minutes, until the milk is absorbed and the squash casserole is bubbly. Serve hot. Serves 4-6. 


On the side. If anyone lives in NH ( or any other state too) please read my other blog about my twin boys. We are having a fundraiser and silent auction for them in September and would love for you to join us.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cool Cucumber Soup

Along with the abundance of other veggies that are growing in our garden this year there is also cucumbers. You can only have cucumber sticks with dip and cucumber sandwiches so much. Though I do love cucumber sandwiches on plain bagels. And I have never made pickles and I am sure it is not hard to make but where do I have the time to make pickles with three kids, trying to buy a house, and running a fundraiser/silent auctions for my boys. I don't really know how long my family has had this recipe but I remember having it when I was little. You can say that need to have the taste for this "soup". My husband doesn't really care for it unless its warm. But really it suppose to be enjoyed chilled. It's like just because it is called soup it should be warm. I do not mind it at room temperature but really I love it cold. If you try this please keep and open mind. Think of it as something that you have to have an acquired taste for.

Cool Cucumber Soup

1 cup chicken broth (of course substitute veggie broth if you are a vegetarian)
2 cups chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped chive
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
2 tbs flour
3 tbs soft butter
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
chopped chive for garnish

Place 2 cups cucumber, 1/4 cup chive, parsley, and salt in blender. Blend on high speed for 20 seconds. Mix flour and butter over simmering water. Add cucumber mix. Heat though stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cream and 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber. Chill covered in refrigerator till cold. Serve with chopped chive.  


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blueberry Raspberry Crumble

Ok so it has been awhile....again. I have blogs to write and no ambition to write them. So here is my first in some time. My father was picking blueberries and raspberries the other day out in some field in a new by town. Now when I say he was picking I mean he was picking. He picks and we freeze. Usually we have enough blueberries to eat, cook with, and freeze for the winter months. This time he also brought me some raspberries. So I thought we needed a little dessert. I used a basic recipe for a berry crumble that I found on line sugar in the berry mixture and then your oat, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter crumble.I thought it was good nice and warm. My only complaint is after the first day it was watery. Not sure if they is because of the berries or not. Would have fine if it was like a syrup texture but it wasn't. In the picture I used Chocolate Chip ice cream because that is what we had. But really is anything better then fruit and chocolate.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden Ratatouille

When I went out to the garden I knew I should have brought a basket. When you look at this picture this is just a fraction of what I picked.This basket was full along with another basket the same size. What am I going to do with this veggie? There is no way I can eat them all in a couple of days. Then it came to mind that I could make the poor mans stew, ratatouille. This picture is the veggies that I used in my stew. The yellow squash and zucchini over powered the eggplant as I only had one and I had so much green pepper I added it to the stew. If the tomatoes were ripe I would have used them too put was forced to used canned. I even  had enough to freeze some for a later date. The aroma that filled the house when I was letting the veggies simmer to tenderness was so good when I would walk in from outside. My husband is a person who is a meat man and has a hard time eating something with out meat in it loved this. It is one of the only meatless meals I can feed him and he is completely satisfied. My favorite part was taking the crusty bread and dipping it in the juice and using it as a utensil to scoop up the veggies. I can't think of any other better way to use up a ton of veggies from the garden.

My Garden Ratatouille

3 garlic cloves chopped
1 large onion diced
2 green peppers chopped
2 medium yellow squash chopped
2 medium zucchini chopped
2 medium eggplant chopped
2 - 15oz cans diced tomato with juices
2 table spoons veggie oil
1 Tablespoon dried parcely
1 Tablespoon dried basil
2 Tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
parmigiana cheese for topping 
crust bread for dipping

In a large pot or dutch oven heat oil. Add garlic and onion and saute till tender. Add chopped green pepper and saute for a couple more minutes. Add cans of diced tomato with juices. Add yellow squash and zucchini. Mix and cook till squash starts to be tender. Add eggplant, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook till all veggies are tender to liking. Top with cheese and chunk of crusty for dipping and scooping.  

Friday, July 9, 2010

Easy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

I wanted to make stuffed peppers because we had some fresh green peppers from the garden and I just couldn't wait to use something from the garden. My problem was I didn't want to make the same old stuffed peppers. I opened the pantry and there sat a jar of salsa. Yes Mexican stuffed peppers. Instead of rice I would use a can of black beans. Oh so yummy. If you have read some of my other posts you may have found out the I love mexican. The only thing I hated about the idea was that it was 90 degrees out and I was about to use the oven. Turn on the AC! I cut the tops off and seeded the peppers. I then cooked the peppers in the microwave for about 4 minutes to cut back on the oven time. I used the tops of the pepper to cut up in put in the mixture. My husband tasted them and asked me if I got the recipe off the internet. Nope. You made it by yourself just ideas in to action? Yup. Made me feel pretty good. I love it when I surprise him when I actually cook with out a recipe! So here is what I did.

Easy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

4 medium size peppers (any color) reserve tops diced
1 lb of ground beef
1- 15oz can of black beans
16-20oz of salsa 
2 cups of shredded cheese (I used pepper jack and chedder but you can use whatever kind)

In a large a skillet brown beef and cook diced peppers. In meantime cook pepper shells in microwave for about 4 minutes. When beef is brown and diced peppers soft turn off heat. Add black beans and salsa to meat. Blend. Add enough salsa till mixture is moist. Put pepper shells in a baking dish and fill with meat mixture. If any left over meat mixture I usually put it around the peppers. Sprinkle cheese over peppers and on top of extra meat mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Your not so average bean salad

I told you that I would bring you the bean salad recipe and here it is.

Mexican Bean Salad

1 (15oz) can black beans drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can kidney beans drained
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 (10oz) package frozen corn
1 red onion chopped
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinager
2 Tablespoons fresh line juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

In a large bowl combine bell pepper, frozen corn , and red onion. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and black pepper. Season to taste with the hot sauce and chili powder. Pour olive oil dressing over vegetables. Mix well. Chill thoroughly, and serve cold.

 Thank you Heather for telling me where to find it. Thank you submitted buy Karen Castle.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Food from the Heart

I have been in hiatus for a few weeks but I am back. My twin boys were diagnosed with a rare syndrome and were spent two weeks in the hospital going though many tests and eventually they both had a major surgery to release pressure from their spinal cord. When we finally were home it was so busy we didn't have time to think about anything least of all food. That is where all the wonderful supporters come in. There is nothing better then when you are sick, have had a surgery, even had a baby and people bring you home cooked meals. I think the food tastes even better when it come from the heart. It doesn't matter what the food it. Could be lasagna, a casserole, or salad. All that matters is that person or people love you and want to do what they can for you. So with that said I have not made a meal in a couple of days. But I do have to get a recipe to share with you. My sister in law brought us dinner last night and included was a bean salad of her aunts recipe. I will get that recipe and share it with you. It was great. Not your usual vinegar dressing three bean salad. I will leave it at that and keep you taste buds guessing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Simple Sloppy Joes

There is something that just brings you back to your childhood when you eat a messy sloppy joe. Once I started cooking for my family and researching recipes I never thought of the idea of making my own sloppy joe. I always thought of the original Manwich in a can. Once I found the idea I refused to buy the mix in the can if I could just make it home and make it better for you. Well, my first attempt did not go over well and was low on the husband likes scale, the main person my food needs to please at this point of time. He then wanted me to buy the dreadful can. So I did and he liked it, but it was way too salty. How could I ever liked this as a kid. Ok, I will just try again and this time I will make it better so I will not have a can request again. I usually don't measure my ingredients when it come to things like chilies and spaghetti sauces so to get a recipe down on paper I had to measure all my ingredients out and make alterations as needed. I didn't even know where to start. I guessed on how much I used before when I made sloppy joes and also did some research online for others recipes to get measurement ideas. Come to think of it, I have never really created my own recipe before. So this is my first personal recipe to share with all of you. 

Simple Sloppy Joes

2 lbs of ground beef or ground turkey
1 medium onion, choppped
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup Ketchup
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp paparika
salt and pepper to season
Brown beef or turkey  in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Add rest of ingredients and let simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Spoon on sandwich rolls. 

Although, our natural instinct tells us to eat sloppy joes like a sandwich, I also enjoy eatting them open face. Take your rolls and turn them upright on your place and just pile the filling on top and eat with fork. Yum Yum Yum. Also good if not better as left overs for then next day lunch. I have not tried this myself yet, but I bet this recipe would freeze well too for those quick weeknight meals. 


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ah-So Pork Ribs With Fried Rice

I had never had Ah-So sauce before I had met my husband. If you have never tried it I suggest you do. It's sweet and sticky and awesome on pork. We applied the sauce to the ribs before putting them on the grill. Yes, we have a gas grill! If you read some of my previous posts we did not have a gas grill for a bit and I was not a happy camper about it, but all is well now. Anyway, grill those babies up and apply more sauce as needed. You would think that the star of the show was the pork but that is where you are wrong. The fried rice is amazing! I could make a whole recipe and eat it all in one sitting. It is one of my husbands favorites and is welcome when I suggest making it. 
I found this recipe in a Rachael Ray cook book and I really do not drift far from the recipe. I normally do not put in peppers but I actually had a half of a orange pepper so I did this time.

Special Fried Rice

Makes 4 serving (or if you are me 1 serving)

2-3 cups cold, leftover rice or 
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or wok oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 inches fresh gingerroot, minced or grated
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 - 1/3 cup Tamari, dark soy sauce

Bring water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and coo over medium-low hear until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Spread rice on a cookie sheet to quick cool it. Heat wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add eggs and scramble, then move them off to the side of the pan and ass a little more oil to center. Add garlic and ginger, then carrots, pepper, and scallions for a quick-fry veggies, 2 minutes. Add rice and combine with veggies. Incorporate the scrambled eggs and continue to cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Add peas and soy sauce and stir-fry 1 minute more, then serve.

Courtesy of Rachael Ray, 30 minute meals 2


Friday, June 4, 2010

Sauteed Zucchini with Parmesan Romano Cheese

It has been a few summers now that we haven't been over taken by zucchini and yellow squash. The summer we had to much to handle we would come up with all different ideas on how to cook it up. We even went as far as to pickle slices of them. This recipe is so basic that you can change it up anyway you like.

Sauteed Zucchini with Parmesan and Romano Cheese

2 medium zucchini
4 Tablespoons of butter
graded Parmesan and Romano cheese to cover
salt and pepper to taste

Slice up the zucchini in about 1/2-3/4 inch rounds. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini until tender. Add salt and pepper to season. Turn off heat. Add cheese to top to cover zucchini.

See how difficult was that. The zucchini soaks up all the butter. I was told that this was the only way I was ever going to make zucchini. I have also had it with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, grilled, and breaded. I have never tried making chips out it. Maybe a culinary adventure for this summer. Enjoy!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

When I can home last June and we had 6 baby chickens I knew that we would never have to buy eggs again. What I didn't know is that it would take so long for them to start laying. I would come home from grocery shopping see them running around (they are free range) and yell, "I had to buy another dozen eggs today girls.". Then one day my daughter found an the base of the trees. Well I guess they are laying but not in the their laying box, Finally, after keeping them in their coop for a week or so they started laying in their laying box. We were getting an egg a girl everyday. After a few months and a missing chicken we would have three dozen eggs in a refrigerator on a constant basis. What do we do with all these eggs? Egg salad, hard boiled eggs,....mmmm deviled eggs. The best way, in my opinion to have eggs. But its a lot of work peeling all those eggs. And there is something with these eggs that they just don't peel well. Put it this way you better be a great egg peeler if you were to uses these for company. Even after all this time I haven't figured out the best way to peel these eggs. But I can tell you the best boiling method that I have come across that works awesome. Not too undercooked and not too over boiled. But them in a pot with cold water. But them on the stove on high to boil. Once boiling rapidly, turn off heat and cover for ten minutes. Perfect every time.

I don't do anything special to my deviled eggs. Mayonnaise, either prepared mustard or powdered mustard, onion powder, celery salt, salt and pepper to taste. I put some dill and paprika on top for garnish. Some times a little slice of a green olive for garnish is nice too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eww! Tuna noodle casserole.

I think lots of us have a love hate relationship with good ole canned tuna. I use to hate it. My mother used to make the classic tuna noodle casserole and it was the most disgusting thing ever. For a long time after I wouldn't touch canned tuna. Tuna sandwich, no thank you. Once married I was introduced again to canned tuna. My husband would eat tuna salad sandwiches and not think twice. Nah, I'm all set, thanks. Well, I tried it again and ok, I could eat tuna salad snadwiches every now and again.

A couple of summers ago my family and I got together with another family for a BBQ. I brought our favorite potato salad. (Remember the most versatile veggie). They supplied the rest and the salad they had was pasta salad with....tuna. OK, so here was the dilemma. All I could think about was that awful tuna noodle casserole but you are at their home and the respectful thing is to try the salad. Noodles, canned tuna, peas, mayonnaise, and spices. I took some and tried it. Hey...I like it. I would eat it with a fox, I would eat it in a box, I would eat with a mouse, I would eat it in a house, I would eat it here or there, I would eat it anywhere (I have been reading Green Eggs and Ham to my daughter EVERY NIGHT). So, being so hot the other day I decided that it was time. I had some pasta, peas, and tuna. I added a can of chick peas too. YUM YUM YUM! 

Tuna Pasta Salad

This is what I used but please make it your own. 

2 cans of solid white tuna, drained
1/2 lb of rotini pasta
1/2 lb of frozen peas
1 15oz can of chick peas, drained
about 1/4 C of mayonnaise
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp celery salt
salt and pepper to taste

drain tuna and chick peas and add to bowl. Bring water to boil and cook pasta as directed. Add peas to pasta at the last minute. Drain pasta and peas and add to bowl. Add mayonnaise, onion powder, celery salt, and salt and pepper and combine. Cover and refrigerate for a at least 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Mash Potato

Dear Mr. Mash Potato,

Why are you so so good. And not so so good for my waist line. I just can't stop eating when you have been made with lots of butter. Please, if you could, cut out your calories and fat so I can enjoy even more of you.

Thank you from one of you greatest fans,

Okay, so we all know your basic mash potato ingredients: butter, milk, salt and pepper. Right, have you ever changed it up? After we had our twins one of my family member's mother brought us a compete meal. Not like a lasagna but a MEAL. Turkey breast and all the fixings. Hello you rock Mama C. Anyway, the mash potatoes, to die for. What did she do different? They were awesome. Sour cream and onion mash potatoes. It was like eating a whole bag of potato chips. I don't think it was we have made it any way since. Some butter, sour cream instead of milk, and onion powder. I mean come on how difficult can that be. Mash potatoes are so versatile. If only they could be like a green veggie and you don't feel so bad eating them ALL THE TIME! I would love to hear some of your favorite ways of making mash potatoes the best you ever had!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Parmesan Pork Chops With a Crunch

Well ladies and gents it was delish. If you like cheese this recipe is for you. My husband liked the recipe but not the choice of pork that I used. Too much dark meat for him. Didn't bother me one bit. We had sauteed summer squash to go with.

Serves 6  I made it for 2 but didn't change the any of the measurements.

1 1/4 hours / 15 minutes prep

1/4 C butter plus 2 tablespoons
3 C onions, thinly sliced
1/2 C sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
6 pork loin chops
1 C chicken stock
3/4 C fresh bread crumbs I used regular bread crumbs
1/2 C mozzarella Cheese grated
1/2 C Parmesan cheese grated

Melt the butter, cook onions until soft. Stir in red pepper , thyme, salt and pepper and set aside. Melt remaining butter and brown the chops on both sides until nicely browned. In an oven dish spread half the onion mixture. Top with pork (overlap if necessary). Cover with the remaining onion mixture. Drizzle the chicken stock over casserole.  I used a cast iron pan for my stove top cooking and then put everything back into the same pan to save on dishes. Bake covered in 400 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until shops are tender, basting one or two times. Meanwhile mix together bread crumbs, Parmesan, mozzarella and 2 Tbsp butter. Sprinkle over casserole when the chops are done. Bake for 10 minutes to form a crisp topping then broil for a minutes or two to finish browning (if necessary). Serve.

Thank you Bergy from

This meal was very easy to do even with the kids running around because most of the work was just baking and some stirring and flipping. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I will be having it again. Maybe not on an 80 degree day. Was a little warm for a hot oven. What's for dinner tonight? Not sure yet but it will have to good to top this one.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Well, I had high hopes and it fell short. Although, I may give it another chance at some time. Here was the problems. First, I should have made more onion. The burger wasn't covered in onion like it should have been. My second problem is that we have been grilling on a little hibachi. We have a gas grill but it is currently dismantled because it was starting to go to grill heaven. We need to either fix the gas grill or buy a new one. The Burgers tasted too much like charcoal and lighter fluid. My wonderful grilling husband told me that that can be fixed with just a little less charcoal and letting the coals burn longer. Cool, but I want a gas grill. When I want to taste the flavor of BBQ sauce and sauteed onions and all I can taste is charcoal then it should have been done on a gas grill. Nuff said on last night. Tonight's dinner has not exactly been figured out. I am thinking about pork chops and a recipe that I found on the web that uses cheese to give it a yummy crust. I will let you know how it works out for me. Just thinking about it make it excited. Love trying new recipes!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Hello everyone, I look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas about food with you. I am a stay at home mom just looking for a little variety in my meals and even if that means making a regular hamburger into a BBQ burger then that is a good change. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with your basic salt and pepper burger. It's just after only having just a salt and pepper burg you looks for something a little different and with summer around the corner a great grilled burger will be on the menu frequently. So tonight I am going to have a salt and pepper burger but I am going to brown up some onions and add a little BBQ sauce instead of Ketchup. By the way, did you hear they are changing the Ketchup recipe? Are those people crazy?
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