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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Italian Grilled Tomatoes

I learned this a few years ago while working at a grill down in Seabrook, Tx. The lady who taught me Gidget, is my inspiration for a lot of things in life. She is a strong survivor of brain cancer and still had the umpft to get up and make a big batch of stuffed grape leaves (she grew the grape leaves herself). Of course I had to change a few things... she grilled them and just sprinkled them with white vinegar. After I was done with them, we were selling a plate of them for 6.95.

You want to make about 1 tomato per person as an appetizer.

1 Tomato for each person
2 tbsp Olive or Sesame Oil
Mozzarella, shredded
Balsamic Vinegar

1) Heat large skillet on high with oil.

2) Slice tomatoes about 1/2" thick. They need to be thick so they do not get too mushy in the cooking process.

3) Lay slices in hot oil in skillet and cook for about 1-2 minutes. You want to get a good sear on one side. Flip over and quickly sprinkle with basil then cheese. Cover for about a minute, just long enough for the cheese to melt and quickly remove to a serving plate. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Braid

A while back I was scrolling through the TV Guide and came across a show called "From the Kitchens of:" and figured why not? This particular show was filmed at the Pillsbury Bake Off competition and held some great ideas for me. This Chicken Braid is one of them. It feeds about 4 depending on appetite and can be improvised to fit all sorts of cravings. I think next time it will be a Pizza Braid!

1 cup BBQ Sauce, divided
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, divided
1 cup Chicken, precooked and shredded
Garlic Powder
1 roll Crescents

1) Preheat oven to 400. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with oil.

2) Roll out crescents in one rectangle. Press edges of individual rolls together to form one sheet about 12x8" (use rolling pin if needed).

3) Spread 3-4 tbs BBQ sauce down the middle. Sprinkle evenly 1/2 the cheese, then all the chicken. Top with cheese and rest of BBQ sauce. Use as much or as little of the sauce as you prefer. I used only 3/4 cup and found even that was too much for my family.

4) Using sisscors, cut strips along the long sides of the dough at 1" intervals. Starting from one end, lay over one strip, then the other on the opposit side. Once you get the first two stips finished, pull up the end to close. Continue "braiding" the dough to the bottom and once again, pull the bottom to close.

5) Optional: Lightly sprinkle garlic powder (I do not reccomend garlic salt) and dried parsley over the top.

6) Bake for 11-14 minutes until the top begins to brown. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spiraled Meatloaf Step By Step

I honestly do not remember where I came up with this idea at, but this is something I've made for many years. I can remember doing it out in Tucson, Connecticut (many moons ago), Houston, and now here. It has followed me all over the place. I've had several people try and wrestle the recipe away from me over the years, but have never parted with it. Until today. This feeds about 4 people.

1lb Ground Beef (not lean!)
1 Egg
2 tsp Chinese Hot Mustard
1 tsp Worechestershire Sauce
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs (plain)
1 tbsp Oregano, dried
2 tbsp Parsley, dried
1/2 tsp Marjoram, ground
1/2 tsp Thyme, ground
1 Celery Stalk, diced small
1 Carrot, peeled and diced small
2 Mushrooms with stems, cleaned and diced small
1/2 cup Baby Spinach

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan with pam.

2) Insmall bowl, beat together egg, mustard and worechestershire. In a large bowl, gently mix together the meat, bread crumbs, garlic and egg mixture. Set in refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

3) In another small bowl, mix together the oregano, parsley, marjoram and thyme. Set aside.

4) Dice up the remaining ingredients except the spinach. Set aside.

5) On a flat surface, lay out a piece of plastic wrap flat, about a foot wide. Flatten out meat to no more than 1/4" thickness, in a rectangle.

Evenly sprinkle the herb mixture

then the celery

and top it with the spinach.

Next, top it with the carrot and mushrooms and gently press down across it to mush everything together.

6) Using one end of the plastic wrap, gently begin to roll up the meat, in a jelly roll fashion.

Once it is finished, place the prepared loaf pan over the top of the roll so that the seam will be on the bottom on the pan.

Flip it upright, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes at 350.

7) Remove foil, and using wide spatula, gently tip the pan to drain out the grease. Return foil and increase the heat to 375 for another 30 minutes. Remove the foil in the last 10 minutes to brown up. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Berry Berry Muffins

Are there are days when you just don't want to make something from scratch, but you want it to taste like it? I have those days too. So I add to boxed meals and baking products (which we already know I'm not much of a baker). The recipe that follows uses a simple Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin mix, easily found in ANY grocery store.

I made three types of muffins using the ingredients listed below by adding certain thing to the individual muffin tins instead of in the mix. I'm allergic to nuts so they went on some just for my hunny to eat. I ended up making 18 mini muffins.

1 pkg Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin Mix
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Strawberries, diced small
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Hershey's Dark Chocolate Chips
Nuts (optional- I used walnuts chopped in small bits)

1) Preheat oven to package directions. Prepare muffin tin.

2) Mix all ingredients in large bowl and fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake according to package directions.

3) Due to the chocolate, let cool completely before trying to remove from tins.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Herb Grilled Shrimp

So, my hunny was hankering for some shrimp. Well, most of you already know I'm very allergic to all fish. As a matter of fact, the only thing from the water I can eat is seaweed. Good thing I like it in my Won Ton Soup! So I went on a search for a good marinade I could use since I was already grilling up my Pomegranate and Red Wine Steak. Why not make it a surf and turf weekend?!?

This one sounded yummy and was found over on the She Knows website. The recipe is made for 2 pounds of shrimp, but I found cutting it down was easy and still had lots of flavor.

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 medium yellow onion, diced small
    1/4 cups minced fresh parsley (2 tbsp dried)
    1/4 cups minced fresh basil (2 tbsp dried)
    1 tsp dry mustard
    2 tsp Chinese Hot Mustard
    2 teaspoons sea salt
    1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
    1/4 cup Sesame Oil
    1-2 tsp Lemon Juice
    2 pounds shrimp, deveined

    1) Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the shrimp to the bowl, toss to coat with the mixture and marinate for up to 2 hours covered and at room temperature.

    2) Brush the grill rack with oil and prepare the grill on medium heat. Place on shrimp and grill for 2 minutes on each side. If you do not have a rack like the one in the picture, soak wooded skewers in water for 30 minutes then slide on the shrimp and grill.

Red Wine and Pomegranate Top Sirloin

Oh yes... so decadent... so rich and oh so yummy! I first came across this last year when I was waiting on my surgery date to get here. I didn't have a lot to do but sit in front of the TV watching the Food Network and Cooking Channels. As I was flipping through, Sunny Anderson appeared making this wonderful dish that had me drooling even though food was the furthest thing from my mind.

About two months after surgery, I finally made it. WOW... it was so good I forgot to take a picture of it before it was devoured. I had a few grumblings over on my Facebook page about that "lack of good manners" so I made sure I had a camera ready THIS time. The marinade/sauce makes just enough for 2 servings, so double up if your looking to feed more.

(If your gonna drool, at least wear a bib!)

2 tbs Mollassas
2 tbs Honey
1 tbs Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice
1 cup Red Wine
1 tsp Pepper
2 Top Sirloins, at least 1 to 1 1/2" thick, trimmed of excess fat
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 clove Garlic, minced
2 large Portebella, sliced (or any mushroom. I used plain old white)

1) In large bowl, whisk together molasses, honey, sugar, salt and pepper, juice and wine, adding extra juice/wine to make 3 cups. Pour half into medium saucepan and place on stove over medium-low heat.
With remaining liquid, whisk in oil, and pour into large plastic zip lock bag with steaks. Seal and set aside to marinate 1 hour to overnight.

2) Meanwhile, to the saucepan add garlic and whisk well. Keep whisking frequently for 45 minutes to an hour. After about 30 minutes, add the mushrooms. Let the liquid reduce down until its a good thick gravy.
When steak has marinated, place on HOT grill. 4-5 minutes on first side, flip, marinate and grill til done. Let steak stand for 10 minutes before slicing to let the juices flow back throughout it. Slice steak and cover in reduced sauce. 

2 Way Cauliflower

I know I know... this isn't a favorite of my hunnies either. He prefers straight up green beans out of the can or potatoes. When I throw something new at him, all he does is grump the whole time its being made. Ahhh... but when its finished and he takes his first taste... now THAT'S a whole nuther ball of wax!

I was nice this time around by making cauliflower the way he will eat it, smothered in cheese. But I was in the mood for mashed potatoes, minus the potatoes. I saw a very interesting dish being made on Simply Delicioso  called Spicy, Smoky Cauliflower Mash that looked like something I might eat. I just wasn't too thrilled with the idea of blending it until it became liquid. About the same time I saw Rachael Ray preparing her Cauliflower Pasta Sauce and thought I could integrate the two for a dish of my own.

Since I started the dish out the same (in a big pot with chicken broth) it was easy to make it in two different styles, each of which will make about 2 servings for a total of 4.

1 head Cauliflower, cored and chopped
Chicken Broth
1 tsp Nutmeg, fresh grated
Salt to taste
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 cup Colby Jack Cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded

1) Place cauliflower bits in medium saucepan. Fill to just cover with the chicken broth and add in the nutmeg. Let cook about 15 minutes until tender. Taste before adding salt. The broth usually has enough sodium.

2) Using a pasta ladle (large flat ladle with holes) scoop out half the cauliflower and place in blender. Add 1/2 cup of the Colby and Mozzarella and hit the pulse to desired mushness. If needed, add some of the broth to thin it out. I like a lot of lumps so it doesn't remind me of baby food. Scoop into a serving bowl and cover with plastic until ready to serve.

3) Once the first is completed, strain remaining cauliflower and return to pan or serving bowl. Sprinkle with and red pepper as well as the remaining cheese and cover until ready to serve.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Olive Dip

This past Christmas I was introduced to this dish that is simply... YUMMY! I spent my 4 day holiday in Austin, Texas munching away on this incredible dip. I just had to pass the recipe on to my readers. Its easy to make and easy to double for larger parties.

8oz Cream Cheese, softened
2-4oz Green Olives with Pimentos, diced fine
2oz Black Olives, diced fine
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp Dill, dried
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Parsley, dried

1) Place cream cheese in bowl, making sure it is easily stirred with spoon. Add in all ingredients and stir to combine well.

2) Cover with plastic and place in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight.

Serve with crackers, veggies, cheese, meats... great all round dip.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Italian Crescent Rolls

Since I cook for mainly just my hunny and me, most of the time I cut down the recipes I post here. I simply run out of room in my freezer when I don't. So my latest creation, "Italian Chicken Stuffed Crescent Casserole" was no different. But I had 2 extra crescent rolls to use up. I decided to deck them out a bit so they would marry well with dinner. Simple and easy, its something anyone can do to give dinner rolls just a little more umph.

1 pkg Crescent Rolls
Parmesan Cheese, grated
Garlic Powder

1) Heat oven to package directions. Spray cookie sheet with olive oil spray (such as Pam).

2) Unroll crescents. In order as above, sprinkle each roll with the ingredients using as much or as little as you prefer. Remember a little dried herb goes along way, especially the garlic! Roll up starting with thickest end.

3) Place seam side down on prepared cookie sheet and sprinkle again with just a bit of the parmesan. Bake according to package directions.

Italian Chicken Crescent Casserole

We've all done it. Go to the store after viewing a recipe online thinking you only need just a couple of ingredients to make this dreamy new recipe. So sure of your self you just KNOW you don't need to check your cupboards to verify the list. Nope, you just trot on down (in my case its an eighty mile round trip trot) to the grocery store and run back home... only to learn how wrong you are!

That's just what happened when I tried making this dish I found over on Taste Book's site. I stood in my kitchen realizing I didn't have two of the three cheeses it called for as well as the main liquid ingredient, the Cream of Chicken soup. Never fear my brave followers! I simply improvised! The dish below serves about 6... about 1 roll per person.

PS... if you cut back this recipe to feed less folks, click here to see what I did with my leftover rolls!

1 (8 ounce) can refrigerated Crescent Rolls
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of Tomato soup, undiluted
3/4 cup grated Mozzerella cheese 
1/2 cup Half & Half Cream
1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper


4oz Cream Cheese, soft
4 tbsp Butter, soft
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 cups Chicken, cooked and diced
1 cup Spinach, fresh and chopped
3/4 cup Colby Cheese, shredded
2-4 tbsp Mayonaise
1 cup Colby Cheese, shredded
1/2-1 cup Mozzerella, shredded
Paprika (Optional)
Basil (Optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Butter casserole dish large enough to hold 6 rolls.

2) In a saucepan, mix half & half with the 3/4 cup of mozzerella and heat over medium low until the cheese begins to melt. DO NOT boil. Add soup and cayenne, stir to incorporate.


3) In a medium bowl and using hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the garlic and stir. Add chicken, spinach and 3/4 cup Colby cheese and stir together to combine. Depending on how "dry" your mix is, add a tbsp at a time of the mayo. At this point you can season with salt and pepper to taste.

4) Drizzle enough of your soup mixture to cover the bottom of your casserole dish.

5) Unroll the crescents. Place 1 heaping tbsp of chicken mixture on the thick end of each roll. Starting from same end, roll up. Place seam side down in casserole dish and continue with remaining rolls.

6) Evenly our the remaining of the soup mixture over the rolls bring soup level about 3/4 of the way up the rolls. Top with remaining cheeses. Dust top with paprika and basil.

7) Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting into it.

Tomato Basil Spaghetti

After another hurried Wednesday shopping in two towns, I came home feeling like I was dead to the world. I actually walked blisters onto my feet! But, dinner MUST go on! So I pulled up my big girl panties and continued on into the kitchen.

I was hankering for spaghetti but since it was a bit late in the day, I opted for something not quite so heavy and came up with this little number that was silky smooth and brought to mind grilled cheese sandwiches and my days growing up. The sauce was basically a soup I cooked my pasta in! Oh yum... I should have tried this a long time ago!

Now, I used my leftover meatballs from my "Almost Ina's Wedding Soup" recipe which is a mix of ground chicken and pork sausage. I had tucked them away in the freezer for a day like this, when I just didn't have too much energy. But you could always use the premade frozen kind you can find in your grocers freezer or opt out of the meat all together. This serves about 4.

1 can Tomato Soup
2 tsp Basil, dried (or 2 tbsp fresh chopped)
1/4 cup Cream Cheese, softened
Meat Balls (2-3 per person)
1 lb Spaghetti

1) In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1-2 ladels of pasta water.

2) In blender, add your soup, basil and cheese and puree until the cheese is fully incorporated into the soup mix.

3) In large skillet, heat the meatballs according to package directions. If you are using leftover homemade meatballs, add 1 tbsp oil to skillet, place meatballs in it and cover. Cook on medium low until heated through. Add the tomato sauce from the blender and gentle heat the sauce and the meatballs.

4) Add in the pasta and toss to mix it with the sauce. The pasta will continue to cook and absorb the sauce. Remove to plate when pasta is cooked (only about another 3-5 minutes).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review of Van Horn Cattle Company

I know, you normally find great recipes and funny antidotes here but I felt I should warn those of you in my area about this place. A few weeks ago my friends heard me raving about this great steak house in Van Horn, Texas. Unfortunately, I was led astray. So read on if you live here, are planning a trip here (or in the area) or if you are in the food industry in any way. Maybe this will help to keep other places from making these mistakes.

A few weeks ago my hunny and I stopped in Van Horn for dinner after a day hiking Carlsbad Caverns and surrounding parks. Needless to say we were famished by the time we rolled into town. What was surprising though was the meal. A friend had told us to either stop at Chuy's or the Van Horn Cattle Company, those two being the best in town.

When we drove past Chuy's and saw the food being cooked outdoors, I had second thoughts. Go ahead, you can say it, I'm a food snob. Yes, I admit it. And being one has made it extremely difficult in finding a good place to eat at since moving to West Texas.  But on this day I had found heaven in the Cattle Company.

Upon entering I spied a gorgeous dark wood bar, a TV dinning room to our left and a more intimate dinning room to the right. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable as dressed well. I had high hopes for the food. I wasn't wrong.
I ordered the 8oz Top Sirloin with Grilled Asparagus and Bourbon Honey Carrots. The steak I was able to cut with my butter knife.  The asparagus (which is something I am just starting to eat) was grilled to perfection, not too crisp and not too tender. The carrots just melted in my mouth. I was in a state of shock! I hadn't had service/food THAT good since leaving Houston, Texas and steak hasn't been that good since my wedding night back in 96!
So it just seemed natural for us to make the hour long drive to Van Horn again to enjoy an early Valentines Diner.

We were seated with me facing the cook's window. Which really ISN'T a good thing when your cook is more interested in playing than he is in cooking. The first thing I noticed was the new menus. Now, I had just looked at the menu on their Facebook page before leaving, not the same menu. Everything had gone up and the took out stuff like the Asparagus and the tantalizing Chipolte Mashed Potatoes. Replacing them with Jasmine Rice (yes, Jasmine rice in a Texas STEAK HOUSE!) and Whipped Potatoes.  Even the carrots were missing!
The next thing I noticed was the rolls they bring out after you order. They used to have cute mounds of creamy butter in a plastic cup. Now they served rock hard butter packets you would find in any cheap dinner along the highway. So hard in fact, it tore through the rolls. 

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the cook is apparently training someone. He is showing her around the kitchen, chatting, laughing, showing her things on his phone... doing everything else besides his job... cooking my food! More and more people are showing up. There was only 3 tables to start with, all of which already had their food. 
We waited about 45 minutes to be served. Never saw the waitress unless she was taking another table's order. Once the food was finally brought to the table, disappointment reigned. We found out why the food took so long coming out of the kitchen. If the young man in the kitchen had really been doing his job (or so I thought at the time) we might have avoided this.

My hunny doesn't get seafood very often since I am highly allergic to it. So he had ordered the Salmon with Green Bean Almandine and the Jasmine Rice (the plate was set up this way on the menu, he had no choice in the sides). The salmon patty was very dry and over cooked. Even I could see that from across the table. The Jasmine Rice, was mushy and clumped together and the green beans weren't cooked at all, raw without the almonds!
Now on to my plate. I had ordered the same 8oz Top Sirloin, Medium Rare, with the Whipped Potatoes and Roasted Carrots. First thing I noticed before the plate even left the waitresses hand was, roasted does NOT mean burnt. Both ends of the carrots were black, with the middles mushy. The Whipped Potatoes were dry with lots of chives and a bigger portion than anything else on the plate. Then the steak. Major disappointment. The size of my first, he had cooked it so long it was curled into itself. Not a bit of pink to be found.

After about 10 minutes I was able to flag our waitress down and told her to bring me a plate to put the steak on since it wasn't cooked to order. I couldn't eat something the man had just murdered! After another 20 minute wait, where I had eaten my sides and my hunny had already finished his plate, my steak returned. Only it wasn't my steak. We are still not sure what kind of cut it was. Burnt on the outside and literally raw on the inside, it had a little bit of meat and nothing but fat. But it was large enough to cover my plate. I managed two bites before pushing it away. 

The entire time the cook glared at me through his window, ignoring other peoples food. I know this because every other plate that came out of the window was returned to the window to be recooked. 

We asked to speak with the manager and was told they didn't have one. 

At least the waitress took my steak off the ticket. But it will be the last time we drive out to Van Horn for dinner. 

Van Horn Cattle Company on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 13, 2012

Egg Drop Soup

Something so delicious shouldn't be this easy to make! I was surprised when it came out in just a few minutes. This is definitely my new "go to" soup that is quick, easy and something I will always have the ingredients for!

Basically you use 1 cup of broth and 1/2 an egg and 1/2 an egg yolk per person. The recipe below is what I came up with for just me and my hunny and had no leftovers. Check out the original recipe over at

(I was almost finished with my bowl before I realized I forgot to take a picture!)

2 cup Chicken Broth (low sodium), divided
1/8 tsp ground Ginger
2 tbsp frozen Peas & Carrots (or 1 tbsp chives)
2 1/4-3 tsp Corn Starch
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
Soy Sauce to taste

1) Pour into pot your chicken broth, reserving 3/4 cup. Into the pot add the ginger and veggies and give it a good stir. Turn heat to medium high to bring to boil.

2) In small bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolk. Using fork, drizzle egg mixture into soup while it is boiling. This should cook the egg immediately. Continue until all the egg is added. then lower heat to medium low.

3) In small bowl, whisk together the reserved chicken broth and corn starch until smooth. Add to soup and stir to incorporate. Simmer on low until you get the proper consistency.

4) Serve with soy sauce so each person can season it to their own taste.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Grilled Chicken 3 Ways

A few of you know that I spent yesterday over the grill. You might think I'm nuts to do this in the winter, but here in West Texas, the weather changes quicker than a woman changes her mind. The local lore is "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes!" And their not joking! A couple weeks ago it went from a full blown blizzard (that's about an inch in 4 hours here) that lasted 5 hours to not a speck of snow 15 minutes after the snow stopped. Yep, that's my home. And yesterday was a nice, spring day, sun shinning, not a cloud in the sky and about 66 degrees! You bet I was out grilling!

In my family, we like to grill up as much meat as possible at once. In the long run it saves time and gas. I've mentioned before how expensive things are out here, propane isn't any better. So we hit a sale on chicken and sausage and went to town on several different types of flavors. Below you will find three different marinades that have a party in your mouth with every bite!

(The sun wasn't working with the camera, so sorry)

This first one I found on a web search and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful it was. The ladies who posted this one on did a wonderful job. Click the recipe name to see how it was originally.

2 pounds boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs (pargiot in Hebrew)
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Mustard
1 tbsp Parsley, fresh and chopped
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

1) In a bowl, mix all marinade ingredients.

2) Rinse under cold water and pat dry the chicken. Place the chicken on a zip lock bag and pour in marinade. Place in refrigerator over night.

3) Preheat grill (medium) to 325°F (170°C).

4) Remove chicken thighs from marinade, but don't discard marinade. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over, brush them with marinade, and grill until they test done (about another 3-6 minutes).

The next one I found again on (they have some really good cooks on this site!) and fell in love. Well, if you know me, you know how much I LOVE Asian foods! Give the name a click to check them out!

1 1/2 pounds Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless
4 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
4 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Garlic, minced
2 Scallions (green onions, spring onions), finely chopped
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper, or to taste

1) Rinse the chicken thighs under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk in the ginger, garlic, scallions, brown sugar and crushed red pepper.

3) Place the chicken thighs in 1 large resealable plastic bag and place in a bowl. Add the marinade, reseal the bag and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator over night, turning occasionally. (If needed, use 2 small resealable bags and divide the chicken and marinade between them).

4) Preheat grill (medium) to 325°F (170°C). Remove the chicken thighs from the bag, reserving the marinade. Lay flat on the cooking surface and grill for 5-8 minutes then flip over and baste. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the thighs are cooked through and the juices run clear.

If you remember my Dilly of a Lemon Chicken dish a while back (and loved it) then you might recognize this marinade. I used the main flavors from it to create this following marinade. A light, dilled flavor to tickle the taste buds!

6 Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tsp Dill, dried 
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1) In large bowl whisk together marinade.

2) Rinse chicken in cold water and pat dry. Place in a zip lock bag and pour in marinade. Let sit over night.

3) Preheat grill (medium) to 325°F (170°C). Remove the chicken thighs from the bag, reserving the marinade. Lay flat on the cooking surface and grill for 5-8 minutes then flip over and baste. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the thighs are cooked through and the juices run clear.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unfried Chicken Chimmies!

Campbell's has many interesting recipes that one can normally whip up with whatever you have on hand. Granted, we sometimes have to improvise here and there when it comes to certain ingredients we have on hand. When I came across this dish, it practically screamed my name. It was something I could work around my allergies as well as something my hunny would like.

This recipe serves between 4 and 6 and can easily be stretched by adding more rice to feed a larger family.

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 pkt Taco Seasoning
1 cup Chicken Broth (Low-Sodium)
1 Cup Water
1 cup uncooked Instant White Rice
10 Green Olives, diced
2 cups cubed cooked Chicken
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4-6 Flour Tortillas (10-inch)
1 cup Spinach, fresh and chopped
1/2 cup Tomato, diced (Optional Garnish)
Sour Cream (Optional Garnish)

1) In pot with lid, cook the rice in the water and chicken broth.

2) In a large saucepan, heat the soup and taco seasoning over medium heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the rice, olives and chicken and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, spray large skillet with olive oil spray and bring to a medium heat.

4) Sprinkle cheese on tortilla then layer with spinach and chicken mixture. Roll the tortillas around the chicken mixture. Place in skillet, edge side down first, and grill about 3 minutes on each side, making sure not to let it burn.

5) Move to platter and let sit 3-4 minutes before slicing them in half. Serve garnished with diced tomato and sour cream.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Not Quite Shepherd's Pie

This is a dish everyone likes... right? Wrong. My hunny doesn't like corn or peas in his dishes. Alone is one thing, but when they are mixed into something, forget it. I swear the man wasn't raised right when it comes down to food! But Shepherd's Pie is something that I love... but not something I am willing to do for just one person. So what do we do boys and girls? We improvise.

Now, for those who are trying to add more vitamins to their diet (or who just plain likes it), this is a good way to sneak in some spinach. I added a layer of whole spinach leaves between the meat and veggies. The recipe serves 6-8.

3-4 Potatoes, peels and diced
5 tbsp Butter
1 White Onion, chopped
4 tsp Garlic, minced
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
4 Celery Stalks, diced
4-6 Mushrooms, diced
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 pkt Brown Gravy
1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp Parsley, dried
1/2 tsp Marjorham
2 tbp Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Cheddar, shredded

1) In large pot, cook potatoes in salted water.

2) Preheat oven to 350. Grease ceramic/glass baking dish.

3) Meanwhile, in large skillet melt 2 tbs of the butter and saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms about 8 minutes, until crisp tender. Spoon vegetables into bottom of prepared baking dish and level out. Add 1 tbsp of the butter to the skillet and cook up meat, using spatula to break up. Sprinkle meat with gravy, cayenne, parsley and the marjoram, stirring frequently until no longer pink. Spoon out smooth on top of the vegetables.

4) Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and mash with remaining 2 tbsp of the butter and parmesan cheese. If still dry, add 1 tbsp of the reserved water at a time, mashing in between each until desired consistency. Spoon on top of meat and smooth out flat. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes unitl potatoes turn golden brown on top. In the last 5 minutes, add the cheddar and allow to melt.

5) Once baking is over, let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Almost Ina's Wedding Soup

A couple of weeks ago one of the only good places to eat at in my area closed it's doors. Not for lack of customers, the owners were just tired and had no buyers (it had been up for sale a couple of years). Now, I do not often eat out but when I do, I always loved going there just for their Wedding Soup. It was simply delish!

You know what I had to do then... hit the internet for a recipe to make this soup at home. I finally found something that came close when I was watching Food Networks Barefoot Contessa last week. Of course, I was unable to purchase the chicken sausage in my neck of the woods, as well as decent fresh herbs. But I think it still came out really well. It must be nice to have a butcher near by. Since I was unable to buy my meats in the amount she called for, I had to improvise just a bit. Same with the cheese. Although I was able to find the cheese, I was not about to pay their asking price. Remember, things out here cost 2-3 times as much as in a big city. But it came out great with all the extras after all!

The recipe below serves about 8 but with the extra meatballs, you will have your next Italian meal half way finished!

12 oz Pork Sausage
12 oz Ground Chicken
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Parsley, dried
4 tbsp Parmesan, freshly grated
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4-1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 tbsp Oil
1/2 cup White Onion, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
5 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 cup White Wine
1/2 cup small Pasta (stars, orzo or any other type of small/tiny pastas)
3 tsp Dill, dried
2 cup Spinach, fresh

1) Preheat oven to 350. Line  two cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2) In large bowl using a fork, mix together the pork and chicken. Add bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and parmesan; mix well. Next, add the egg, salt and pepper and mix to incorporate all.

3) Using melon baller or teaspoon measuring spoon, make small, rounded meatballs and place on prepared cookie sheets.

(Make 1 sheet small and the second sheet half small and half use a tablespoon measure to make larger meatballs to freeze for later speghetti dishes.) Bake for 30 minutes. Check larger meatballs at 30 minutes to make sure they are cooked in the middle.

4) Meanwhile, In soup pot add oil and heat over medium. Add onion, celery and carrots and saute for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp tender. Add broth, wine and pasta and stir to combine. Let cook until meatballs come out of oven, then add about 30-40 meatballs to soup. Let simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add dill and simmer another 5 minutes. Add spinach, stir and serve.