Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicken Piccata

Whomever said if you have lemons make lemonade obviously never had a Piccata dish.

Yeah, I know the classic used to be Veal Piccata, but where in the heck do you honestly find Veal in the 21st century. You would probably be clubbed to death by animal rights activists for even inquiring about it.....

So we move on to Chicken Piccata. Much more acceptable, even though I don't even want to go into how they are processed...yecch, don't even get me started.

Anyhoo, this happens to not only be my favorite dish, it is supremely elegant, sufficiently cheap, ridiculously easy and it's DAMN DELICIOUS!!

So take the Lemons and make 

  Chicken Piccata
  • 4 chicken cutlets, pounded thinly
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 cup dry, white wine
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon slices
  • chopped fresh parsley, optional garnish
Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust them with flour. In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of oil and butter, and heat over medium-high. Saute cutlets 2 to 3 minutes on one side. Flip cutlets over and saute the other side for 1 to 2 minutes with the pan covered. (Use a plate to cover and this will warm your plate.) Transfer cutlets to a warm plate.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add broth, lemon juice, and capers. Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer cutlets to a warm plate.
Finish sauce with butter and lemon slices. Once the butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Roasted Mushrooms

I know, I know, some people just aren't fans of mushrooms. You either love 'em or your hate 'em.

I LOVE them, any way I can get them. But one of my favorite ways of eating them is roasted, with lots of butter and garlic and then dusted with fresh minced parsley.

OMG!!! Little morsels of earthly goodness!!!
Roasted Mushrooms

Recipe Courtesy of: Cheryl @ picture-perfect meals

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the mushrooms, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a shallow baking pan. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Scatter the butter evenly over the top and roast until the mushrooms are golden, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle over the parsley. Serve warm.
…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:
Planning: Many people fall into the “don’t ever wash your mushrooms” camp. I usually just wipe or brush mine off but have been known to give them a quick little rinse if they’re really dirty. Up to you. You can put this dish together several hours before and refrigerate. Just pop them into a hot oven about 20 minutes before you’re ready to devour them.
Product Purity: Use whatever variety of mushrooms you like or a combination of your favorites. I used white button mushrooms.
Presentation: Serve with a nice white wine and a loaf of good, crusty bread to sop up all those lovely, buttery juices.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chili Cheese Baked Potatoes



How easy is this! And sooo good. 

Start off with 4 large Russet potatoes. Scrubbed really well (you'll WANT  to eat the skins and all), rubbed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and srinkled liberally with coarse Sea salt or Kosher Salt. Place directly on the rack in a pre-heated 400F oven, with a pan underneath, for about an hour. 

Meanwhile, make or heat up your favorite Chili recipe, and grate some sharp cheddar cheese, thinly slice some scallions, and get the Sour cream ready. 

When your taters are done, plate them and poke holes across the top in a line with a fork. Crack them open and ladle in some chili, top with cheese, sour cream, scallions and whatever else your heart desires. 

Bon appetit!!


For those of you who have never heard of this Canadian food phenom, you are in for a treat!!!

Just take a look at this.......

French Fries, covered in fresh cheese curds, drenched in gravy!!!
Yeah BABY!!! 

Now I know this is something that shouldn't be enjoyed on a frequent basis, but come on....

We have to indulge once in a while right, I promise I'll do a little extra cardio!! (Psst..what's cardio? LOL)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Easy, Creamy Potato Soup-slow cooker

Okay, so I am throwing my hat in the ring as well for a slow cooker version of Potato Soup. Everyone in my fam-damily loves it and it's just so warm and comforting to come home to big bowls of this creamy goodness, so here goes...........


8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 lbs Russet potatoes (about 6  medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
sliced scallions, sliced

  1. Cook the bacon in a large over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate until serving.  Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper, cook for an additional minute or so.  Add the flour, and allow to cook for a minute or so, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the mixture is starting to thicken, then transfer to the slow cooker.
  3. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of  broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 6-8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high).
  4. Pour in the the cream and mash until partially smooth using a potato masher.  Add the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Stir to combine and let the soup sit until heated through, about 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, microwave the bacon on the plate until hot and crispy, about 30 seconds.  Season the soup with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and top with bacon, shredded cheese, and scallions.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Peanut Ramen

This probably resonates with anyone who attended college and has lived in dorms or off campus. Ramen is one of the main food groups that allowed most of them to survive, and it was really cheap.

But I actually love ramen and have found ways to make all kinds of creative dishes with it. If you're lucky enough to live in a larger city that has an Asian market, you'll be astounded if you check it out,  by how many varieites of dry packaged noodles exist-thousands I'm sure.

And.......they're CHEAP!!!StickRice

Here is a favorite and super simple Ramen dish, everyone will like. It can be eaten warm or cold, add meat or veggies, double the sauce to drizzle on top, easy peasy!!!

  • 1 package microwave type ramen (MINUS flavor packet)
  • 2 Tbs smooth (creamy) peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of your favorite bottled Oriental Dressing
  • 1 tsp Siracha sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1 tsp Fresh grated ginger, 1-2 tbsp cilantro and 1 tbsp peanuts) (for garnish)
(1) Cook the ramen but do NOT use the flavor packet. Just cook the ramen in water.

(2) Meanwhile prepare the sauce:

2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Oriental Dressing
1 tsp Siracha sauce
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 of the seasoning packet if you so choose
1-2 tsp water if needed to thin
(3) Mix sauce ingredients until smooth.

(4) Toss noodles with sauce, and then sprinkle with
cilantro and peanuts (or thinly sliced scallion/green onion)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Turkey Smoked Sausage and Peppers

This dish is super easy to make and very delicious. The long cooking time allows the flavors to blend perfectly and creates a pot full of sausage and peppers that can be put on small buns, dished out over pasta, or simply served as an appetizer at parties.
(Makes 4-6 servings)
1 ½ lbs hot or mild Italian sausage links
4 large bell peppers (green, red, or yellow), cut into medium chunks or thin clices
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups pasta sauce
¼ cup red wine
1/2 tsp dried basil and oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Coat Slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray then pour the pasta sauce into the bottom. Place peppers, onion, and garlic on top of pasta sauce. Layer the Italian sausage over the vegetable mix. Pour wine over Italian sausage. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours until the sauce appears to have doubled and the meat and vegetables are covered by it.
Remove Italian sausage and carefully skim off any fat. Take the Italian sausage and cut each link into 1-inch pieces and place them back into the crock pot. Gently push the meat down so it is covered by the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, continue cooking for an additional ½ to 1 hour until the meat is saturated by the sauce.
Remove the entire dish from the slow cooker and serve.

*We like to serve this over cooked pasta (think rigatoni, penne rigate or rotini) or even better on toasted sourdough loaf that has been liberally slathered with a garlic butter and then covered with mozzarella cheese and heated or broiled to melt the cheese-YUM!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

OMG!!! I think I found the recipe to make any person, animal or alien absolutely
All the other recipes like this called for Devils' Food or Dark Chocolate cake mix, but I think this is perfect with with a Yellow or Butter Recipe cake mix. 
Now your talking.
Let me present, wait for it.......wait for it......
Butterfinger Cake
You're really gonna love this.....

Butterfinger Cake

1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to make the cake
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Smucker's caramel ice cream topping
1 (8oz) tub Cool-Whip
4 regular sized Butterfinger candy bars, frozen then crushed

Bake cake in a 9x13-inch pan according to direction on the package.

While cake is baking, mix milk and caramel topping until well blended. When the cake is done and while it's still hot, poke holes in it with a fork or handle of a wood spoon (I actually use a chopstick!). Pour milk mixture over the cake. Allow cake to cool completely.

Sprinkle two candy bars over cake. Spread Cool Whip over the top, then sprinkle the remaining candy bars on top. Chill.

Prepare for speechless abandon of anyone eating it, sounds of joy and requests for 4ths!

Monday, October 8, 2012

It seems Hot Cocoa season is upon us. *Sigh*

I no longer buy Hot Cocoa mixes at the store. Too many ingredients in them that I can't even pronounce, let alone know what effect they have on a body.

Plus it's so easy to make, it makes a little or a lot, you decide.

3 easy ingredients and it makes kids as well as adult with the kid still inside us happy, and oh so warm..........


Hot Cocoa Mix
1 box Carnation: Instant Nonfat Dry Milk, 25.6 oz
3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, depends on your sweet tooth
2 cups good quality cocoa, I used 1/2 Penzeys Dutch Cocoa and 1/2 Nestle’s

In a large bucket or bowl, mix all the ingredients together using a whisk. Store in lidded container for up to 6 months. To make Hot Cocoa, mix 3 T. Hot Cocoa Mix with 1 cup (8 ounces) hot milk (I prefer milk) or water. Stir. Add marshmallows, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, or a peppermint stick. Top with whipped cream too. Go crazy! Makes about 60 servings.
Note- You may want to make a cup of this cocoa to taste then you can adjust sweetness or add more cocoa to your liking.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Today after doing a quick pickle of beets I started processing about 5 -6 lbs of tomatoes. I decided to make a basic marinara. This can then be either canned and processed or cooled and then placed into freezer bags and frozen. 
I take the quick route and bag and freeze. I love having a freezer full of my own fresh made marinara to use in stews, casseroles, soups, on pizza or what ever you would use a jarred sauce for. 

BASIC TOMATO SAUCE-for when your garden explodes!!!

  •  1 large onion-diced
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic-pressed or minced
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 5-6 lbs of ripe tomatoes, cored, quartered and pulsed to mince in a food processor in batches. 
  • 1 cup of red wine (opt., I forgot to picture it too, I used a Shiraz)
  • 1 tbsp each of dry Basil and Oregano. 

Heat a very large steel or cast iron pot over medium heat, add olive oil  and onions, saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. De-glaze with wine if using, otherwise start adding in the processed tomatoes.
Bring to a busy simmer, and cover slightly and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Taste and add salt, about 2-4 tsp. Should be fairly sweet if your tomatoes are ripe, I found I had to add a tbsp of red wine vinegar. Add herbs and simmer 1-2 hrs more.
Use at this point, or allow to cool and freeze or ladle hot into hot jars and process according to your canners directions.

Today, I decided to prepare some of the bounty from our garden. We had a hard frost 2 weeks ago and DH picked everything he could just prior to that. So, I had about 1.5 lbs of beets and 3 grocery store bags filled with green tomatoes. 

First in order was doing a quick pickle on the beets.  I washed and trimmed them and put them in foil, drizzled with olive oil and roasted them at 350F for 35 mins. I let them cool and using a paper towel wiped all their skins off and them put them in a resealable bag in order to pickle them. 


Easy Pickled Beets  
  • 1cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt 
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • peppercorns
  • 2-3 cups of cooked beets
Put all ingredients except beets into a  sauce pan and bring to a boil and then simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile slice or chop the beets into desired size and place into a clean, sterile quart jar.
Pour hot liquid over to cover by 1/2". Allow to cool, and then refrigerate for 24 hrs.
Enjoy, will keep refrigerated for 2-3 months. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yay, my slow cooker is definintely going to get a workout this year. 

The pork chops I cooked last night (Ranch House Slow Cooker Pork Chops), were absolutely delicious-the whole famdamily gobbled them up. of course the Pamesan Mashed Potatoes were killer as well. 

Tonight, the entree du jour is Slow Cooker Beef Tips with a Burgundy Mushroom Sauce. 

Soooooo goooooood!!! Who doesn't like winey, beefy, saucey goodness??

I would be tempted to serve them over mashed potatoes again, the youngest offspring would love that, but because I really should watch that my rear doesn't get any larger, I will serve them over hot egg noodles coated in a buttered parsley sauce. Yeah, I know, not really saving on the calories there either....heehee!

Slow Cooker Beef Tips with Burgundy Mushroom Sauce

2-3 lbs. beef sirloin tips, cut in to 1" pieces
8oz Cremini mushrooms, sliced (or any of your favorite varieties)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 envelope Onion Soup mix
1/8 tsp pepper

Stir together beef tips and remaining ingredients in a lightly greased 5qt crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until done, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked egg noodles that have been coated with butter and minced parsley. 

Adapted from:LovefromTexas

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Slow Cooker Ranch House Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes's here. Yesterday was the last day of 70+ weather. Today it's forecasted high's in the 50's. 

Hello Fall!!!

Breaking out the slow cooker and am making one of my family's favs....

Ranch House Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

  1. 6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
  2. 1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
  3. 10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
  4. 4 lbs peeled, cubed potatoes
  5. 5 Tablespoons real butter
  6. 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  7. 1- 1 1/2 Cups warm skim milk (any milk will do, I used skim)
  8. 1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
  9. 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste 

  • Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours.
  • Place potatoes into a large pot of cold water. Place onto stove top over high heat and bring to a boil. 
  • Once water is boiling, cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to the work bowl of a stand or electric mixer. Mix on low until potatoes are mashed then add butter, Parmesan, milk, salt and pepper. Season to taste if needed. For thinner mashed potatoes add more milk, slowly until your desired consistency.
  • Scoop mashed potatoes onto serving plates and top with pork chops and soup gravy from crock pot. I put a little parsley on top to serve.

Adapted From:The Real Mom Kitchen

Monday, October 1, 2012

Today, another Indian summer day is expected and while I am fighting the little black bugs that come out when the farmers are harvesting, I am determined to get my "grill on". 

While I may recruit my DH to do the actual grilling, I am looking forward to making a delicious and refreshing grilled Rosemay, Lemon and Dijon Chicken. 

It is simple, uses ingredients that we always have on hand, and grills quick!

Served with a simply dressed salad-I use lemon and olive oil dressed arugula, and a grilled or steamed vegetable side. Yummy!!!

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for grill grates and drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 pounds chicken cutlets (8 thin cutlets)
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half, optional 

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a measuring cup. Add chicken to a gallon-size zip top bag or casserole dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn to coat and let the chicken marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or 1-4 hours in the refrigerator).
Heat a grill to medium-high. Brush the grill grates with olive oil using a clean tea towel or paper towel.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until golden and slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side. Place the lemon halves cut-side down on the grill grate and grill until charred, about 4 minutes. 

Serve on a bed of simply dressed greens, with grilled or steamed vegetables. 

Adapted from: Jaime Deen on