Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Amazing Easy Turkey Breast (for any time of year)

At Christmas Eve dinner, while discussing the next day and meal plans, we all realize that we are serving ham, and several of our guest are Jewish and possibly Kosher as well. !!! So I volunteered to make a couple of turkey breasts (not a full turkey as it would take too long to cook.) I bought the breast that night, and in the morning found this recipe and whipped it up. All I can say is AMAZING!

This turkey was so good and easy. I left it to marinate on the kitchen counter for an hour and that was enough to get all the flavors into the middle of the turkey breast. (For those who like to marinate in the fridge, I'd say let it marinate longer, and definitely let your breast come to room temp before cooking. This should be law with all roasting, but especially one wants a dry bird.)

Also, I made the sauce, but found the bird so flavorful that it didn't really need it. Maybe a touch on the side, but if you slather in sauce, you lose all the wonderful turkey flavor. :) Enjoy!

Vera's Roast Turkey Breast With Garlic and Thyme

Recipe #258098 (from
I received this recipe from my co-worker and we really enjoyed it this Thanksgiving. Her copy looks like it may have come from Quick Cuisine - Winter 2001.
servings click to change U.S./Metric measurement system or number of servings
time to make 1¼ hours 15 min prep

2 lbs boneless turkey breast
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
  1. Trim turkey breast of any fat.
  2. In a small bowl combine olive oil with garlic, thyme, mustard, lemon peel, salt and pepper. Rub into turkey breast.
  3. Marinate in the refrigerator from 1 hour to 12 hours.
  4. Arrange turkey breast, skin side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tinfoil.
  5. Roast at 350F for 50 to 60 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the breast reaches 165F and the juices run clear.
  6. Remove turkey from oven to a carving board and tent with tinfoil. Place juices in a medium skillet (could drain off some of the fat) add lemon juice (perhaps use less if some of the fat drained off) and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  7. Carve turkey into thin slices across the breast. Drizzle with sauce and garnish with fresh thyme.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Overdue Recipes 2

Camille asked that I post the bread pudding recipe that I made before. I made it with a mix of stale french bread and stale sourdough bread that I had (I love a bit of sourdough in bread sets off the sweetness really nicely). What a perfect way to use stale bread!

If you are using stale bread rather than fresh bread (which is the point of this pudding), make sure to have extra milk around, and let the bread sit long enough in the milk to get really moist and at least a few of the bread pieces should be a little soggy. The stale bread is going to soak up more liquid than fresh bread, and it needs more liquid and more time to do it in. I started with the recipe, but when the bread had soaked up everything and still wasn't very soft, I added more milk. (If the bread doesn't get soft and a little soggy, then the cubes will stay cubes throughout baking, and I like a pudding that's pudding-y, not cubed)

Also, I added a lot more cinnamon than the recipe called for. It might be that my cinnamon is dead and I need to get some fresh stuff, but I just go by taste anyway, rather than recipe, so, eh.
Oh, and I didn't make the sauce, cause I was out of Bourbon, but it really does make this pudding.

Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce

From Diana Rattray,
Your Guide to Southern Food.
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Recipe Feedback:
Bread pudding with bourbon sauce and raisins. Add cinnamon to this bread pudding recipe if you want, and serve with tasty bourbon sauce.


  • 12 ounces French bread, cut in 1/2-inch chunks, about 6 cups
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups raisins
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • .
  • Sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bourbon


Place bread chunks in a large bowl; pour milk over. Stir a little to break the pieces up a little; let stand until all milk is absorbed. In another bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.

Stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture. Pour into a buttered baking pan or casserole. Drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake at 350° for about 60 minutes, or until set. Cool and cut into squares.

To make sauce: In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Whisk in bourbon. Remove from heat and chill thoroughly. Whisk before serving.
Makes 1 cup.

Overdue Recipes

I know I haven't posted in a while. In fact, I keep collecting recipes that I say I'm going to post and the list gets longer and longer....and now I can't even remember a bunch of the ones I was going to post. So here's two of them, and if there are any more recipes you want posted, let me know, and I'll get them up.

This first recipe is from Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello. I tried it with Chicken instead of fish, and though it was good, I would recommend either marinating the chicken before hand in the sauce, or, at the very least, make sure its well seasoned before assembling the bags. Honestly, I think this goes best with fish, maybe scallops would be good. :) Also, very quick recipe. The longest prep time you'll have is making the sauce.

"Lunchbag" Swordfish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce and Linguini
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
See this recipe on air Tuesday Dec. 18 at 11:30 AM ET/PT.
Show: Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello
Episode: My First Dinner Party

The recipe makes more tomato sauce than you will need for the fish. It is delicious as a pasta sauce, a topping for bruschetta, or a sauce or side dish for grilled poultry or meat. For the best flavor, use garden fresh tomatoes.
3 cups vine-ripened plum (Roma) tomatoes, cored and cut into thin wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup (1 small) minced red onion
2 tablespoons rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped capers
1/2 cup roasted red or yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped
12 pitted and sliced Greek olives (such as kalamata or Gaeta olives)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons pepper olive oil or 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound dried linguini
4 brown paper lunch bags or 4 large sheets parchment paper or waxed paper (see note)
4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks
Put tomatoes in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add oregano, parsley, garlic, onion, capers, peppers, olives, lemon juice, pepper oil, and 4 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil. Stir gently just to mix and set aside at least 1 hour. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Mixture will become more liquid and sauce-like over time.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook linguini until al dente. Drain and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Reserve.

To cook the fish: (See Chef's Note below if using waxed paper.) Place a small square of parchment or waxed paper at the bottom of each paper bag. Place small pile of linguini in each of the bags. Top with a spoonful of tomato sauce, making sure to moisten the linguini with the juices. Lay a piece of fish on top and arrange with another spoonful of sauce. Moisten again with juices from the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Fold over the tops of the bags, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.

To serve, transfer the bags to 4 dinner plates and let each diner cut open the package to enjoy the aromas.

*Chef's Note: To make waxed or parchment paper "bags": Fold 4 large sheets of paper in half. With the fold as the spine, cut a large semicircle (about an 8-inch radius) with one end more pointed than the other (opened out, the shape resembles a heart). Open the circles. Layers the ingredients in the center of the paper as instructed above. Leave a 1-inch border of paper clear.

Close the parchment over the fish. Starting at the flatter end of the semicircle, firmly fold the edge inwards. Fold entire edge into a series of tight, flat, overlapping pleats to enclose the fish. Fold the last pleat several times and tuck it under the bag. Put the bags on a baking sheet and bake in the oven 12 to 15 minutes. The bags will puff up and brown. Waxed paper is a nice touch to make the cooking bags because you can see the colors of the sauce through it.


So I was reading this WSJ article about the fifth taste "Umami" Its described as savory, so now we have sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory, which makes much more sense to me. Anyway, I had to put these recipes on here, cause they sound SO good. I'm going to try the olive roasted chicken as soon as I can, cause I love chicken and olives anyway. Maybe for a game night?

Gary Danko's Tomato Soup

Roasting tomatoes increases their umami taste. In this recipe from Gary Danko, chef at San Francisco's Restaurant Gary Danko, the addition of tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce (based partially on umami-rich anchovies), soy sauce and grated Parmesan pumps up the rich, savory taste. When using canned tomatoes, Mr. Danko prefers to use whole tomatoes in purée, imported from Italy. However, canned whole tomatoes in juice will work as well.

[Tomato soup photo]

Yield: Serves 6 (about 8 cups)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes total

2 pounds plum Roma tomatoes or 3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
6 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
3 small yellow onions (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery or ½ fennel bulb (about 4 ounces), cut into ¼-inch dice
¼ cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2-3 cups chicken broth, vegetable stock or water
4-6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 fresh mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

[john and dottie]
Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher suggest wine pairings for this meal.
With the tomato soup, Chef Danko suggests dry rosé Champagne and we're so pleased to hear someone recommending bubbly with meals. Too often, people think of sparkling wine simply as a celebratory beverage to drink on its own, but bubblies are often great with food. Chef Danko particularly likes Dom Ruinart rosé Champagne (about $68). We'd also suggest rosé Champagne from Louis Roederer, Moët & Chandon, Camille Savès, Gosset, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Henriot. Those will all cost around $40 to $70. Fortunately, the world is awash in good rosé sparklers at thriftier prices. Cristalino, which is a Cava from Spain, makes a delightful rosé sparkler for around $8 and, in Alsace, Lucien Albrecht makes a rosé bubbly for about $19 that's the best non-Champagne pink sparkler we've had in some time. You can contact us at
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

If using fresh tomatoes, wash, dry and core them. If using canned tomatoes, drain tomatoes, reserving the purée or juice. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise.

Divide tomatoes between 2 shallow baking pans, arranging them cut-side down in a single layer without crowding. Sprinkle the garlic, onions, salt and thyme over the tomatoes and drizzle with oil.

Roast until tomatoes are slightly browned and tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Put the celery or fennel, tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire, Tabasco and soy sauce in a blender. Add some of the roasted tomato mixture and stock and blend until smooth. Strain through a medium strainer into a pot, pressing the solids with the bottom of a ladle or a rubber spatula to remove the seeds and small skin particles. Working in small batches, continue to purée and strain the remaining tomato mixture, the reserved purée or juices from the can and the remaining stock into the pot, using 2 cups of liquid total.

Bring soup to a slow simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to combine, about 10 minutes. Thin with additional stock if necessary. Correct salt as needed.

Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of basil, mint and cheese.

Jody Adams's Balsamic-Marinated Chicken Stuffed With Green Olives (a.k.a. Roxanne's Roast Chicken)

Chef Jody Adams has served a duck dish using the same marinade and technique at Rialto in Boston for about 20 years, she says. Five years ago, while attending a culinary lecture about umami, she realized why this dish is a customer favorite: The soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olives and poultry are all rich in umami compounds. A long marinade and slow roasting magnifies those flavors.

[roast chicken]

Yield: Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus the time to bring chicken to room temp.)
Cooking time: about 1 ½ hours (mostly inactive aside from turning the chicken)
Resting time: 10 minutes

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ small white onion, chopped into ¼ inch dice
1 (4-pound) roasting chicken
12 large pitted Sicilian green olives

Mix the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, mustard seeds, rosemary, pepper and onion together in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, and set aside.

Remove the package from the cavity of the chicken; reserve for another use or discard it. Taking care to work directly over a sink, and not spray chicken juices around the kitchen, rinse the chicken inside and out and then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Roll the chicken all around in the marinade, making sure plenty of marinade flows inside the cavity. Cover and marinate 8 hours to overnight in the fridge. Alternatively, put the chicken into a large resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over the chicken and into the cavity, seal, and refrigerate.

Prior to cooking, bring the chicken to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any that clings to the chicken to remain. Save the marinade in the bowl. Put the olives in the cavity of the chicken. Set the chicken, breast side down, on a non-stick rack, or a rack sprayed with cooking oil, in a roasting pan. Add ½ inch water to the roasting pan to prevent the juices from burning. Roast for 50 minutes. Flip the bird, taking care not to lose the olives; pour the reserved marinade over the bird; tuck the wingtips underneath and continue roasting for 40 minutes or until the chicken is done. If the skin begins to get too brown, tent the breast with a piece of foil and continue roasting until the bird is done. The chicken is done when the leg bones have a little play in the socket when you try to wiggle them. A thermometer inserted into the thicket part of the thigh should read 170 degrees.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or serving platter and let the chicken rest 10 minutes before carving.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Easy (and amazing, so says Matt) Enchiladas

I have been missing my mom's enchiladas but unfortunately do not have her recipe and the one on the back of the can just doesn't look...good. So in going through my family cookbook, I found one that Aunt Sharon had given me earlier in the year. The only thing I never like about enchiladas was that they always seemed too spicey, and thus I was not a fan of green chiles. Mom would make separate ones for me that didn't have green chilies so that I would still eat my dinner. They were soooooooooo good.

Aunt Sharon's recipe is pretty different but still quite tasty. I am tempted to make my own enchilada sauce next time though, because the red stuff in a can didn't taste quite right. Serve with melon on the side.1

Layered Chicken Enchiladas
from Aunt Sharon

1/2 cup sunflower or canola oil
8 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1 can - 4.5 ounces - chopped green chilies
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can - 10 ounces - grreen chili enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In small skillet heat oil to 350. Dip each tortilla in hot oil for 2-3 seconds to soften; drain on paper towels.

Place tortilla on lightly greased baking sheet. Top with 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup chicken, 1 1/2 green chilies, and 1 T onion. Top with second tortilla; pour 1/3 cup enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. cheese.

Repeat with remaining tortillas to make 4 stacks. Bake 15 minutes.

Serves 4.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Our social network is expanding. We have another friend from the Seattle area who moved to town a couple of weeks ago and is living in Glendale now - Don's friend Dom - yes, with an "m". We wanted to invite him over but tonight is Don's company Christmas party so instead of dinner, we decided to invite him over for brunch.

This morning, I tried my first time at making a Strata. Now, for those of you that don't know the difference between a strata and a frittata, here is your basic run down on egg dishes:

1. An omlette is an egg dish made with with meat, veggies, and/or cheese on your stove top. Toppings are folded into the outer egg lining sort of like a burrito or a calzone.
2. A frittata is much like an omlette but the egg and other ingredients are all mixed together and then baked in the oven to set.
3. A Quiche is basically a frittata but is baked in a pie crust.
4. A Strata is an Italian breakfast casserole that takes chunks of cubed French or Italian bread, mixes the ingredients together in a casserole dish and then you pour the egg mixture over the whole thing so that the bread soaks it up and binds all of it together.

Now, I will admit that the Strata making process is a little labor intensive, but oh man was it worth it and fun to prepare. Unfortunately, I loaned my camera to a friend or I would have taken a picture of the gorgeous finished product. As the strata bakes it rises up into this beautiful golden display - lightly crisp and chewy on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside. And it smells incredible while it is baking. Did I mention it was beautiful and delicious?

This particular strata recipe calls for a mixture of spinach, onions, gruyere and Parmigiano-reggiano cheeses. For the meat I used chicken breakfast sausage from Trader Joes which was perfect. Additionally, the recipe includes instructions for preparing this recipe such that it reserves a portion for meat eaters and vegetarians alike - thus earning it's title: Double-Sided Strata.

This is one that you can't quite whip together in a hurry. Prepping all of the ingredients only takes about 15-20 minutes, but then you have to let it rest for 30 while the bread soaks up the egg mixture, then bake it for another 45 to 50 minutes, and don't forget to let it rest another 5 minutes at least after you take it out of the oven. But it was all so worth it for the cheesy gooey goodness it produced. I now have an open standing offer for anyone else that wants to move to California, I will be happy to make this awesome strata for you as well. Now isn't that an offer that's hard to turn down? Any takers?

Double-Sided Strata

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 pound)
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (about 6 ounces)
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
1 cup cooked breakfast sausage, ham, or shredded meat (optional)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.
Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

In a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes, spinach mixture, 1 3/4 cups of the Gruyere, and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Transfer 1/2 of the bread mixture to another bowl and toss with sausage.

Line a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with several pieces of foil, to form 2 enclosed sides, building a "dam" of foil down the center crosswise. Butter the foil. Put the "vegetarian" mixture in 1 side, and the "meat-eaters" mixture in the other.

Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over each side. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Gruyere, and 1/4 cup Parmigiano. Let the strata sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oh My Omaha

Some people like to give out baked treats around the holidays. Don's grandparents give out steaks. Now that's what I'm talking about! So last week we received a shipment from Omaha Steak company labeled "Extremely Perishable Goods." Inside was an assortment of neatly packaged various frozen meats and goods including steaks, chicken, pork chops, stuffed potatoes and even some dog treats all being cooled by a block of dry ice (which I didn't realize was dry ice until I tried to pick it up and burnt my fingers.)

So now I have an exciting freezer full of treats and a new source of inspiration to come up with exciting recipes on how to prepare them. Yesterday I set the sirloin steaks in the fridge to thaw and decided this time that I would search the Food Network Website for ideas. It was getting late in the afternoon and I was feeling a bit lazy so I didn't want anything too involved or that was going to take too long to prepare. Enter Rachael Ray to the rescue! I printed out the following recipe for Pepper Crusted Tenderloin with Mushroom Cream and Roast Asparagus and was off to the grocery store. This is another recipe where all of the ingredients can be purchased at your local Trader Joes - unless you are not from California, then you may have to go to the liquor store to pick up your cognac or Brandy.

Even though we just used sirloin steaks instead of tenderloin the recipe was still fabulous. The mushrooms soaked the concentrated flavor of the brandy and the subtle cream sauce was not so overpowering that it didn't allow you to still taste the great natural flavors of the meat. And considering that this meal took only 15 minutes to prepare start to finish, this one is definitely a keeper! I can't wait to try this again with some filet mignon.

Pepper Crusted Tenderloin with Mushroom Cream and Roast Asparagus

3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed at stem (fat stems should be peeled down a bit as well)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
4 (1-inch thick, 3 to 4-inch round) beef tenderloin steaks, about 1 pound total
4 teaspoons coarse black pepper, a rounded palm full
2 tablespoons butter
6 white mushroom caps, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup cognac or brandy, eyeball it
3/4 cup cream, eyeball it
Chopped parsley leaves or chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spread asparagus on small baking sheet and dress with a liberal drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt. Roast the spears in a hot oven until tender and ends are crisp and slightly brown at edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Asparagus should remain bright green.

Take the chill off the meat then pour the black pepper onto a small plate. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high to high heat. When oil smokes, press each steak into pepper to coat then place peppered side down in the skillet. Sear and caramelize the meat 3 to 4 minutes, turn and cook 2 minutes more for rare, 3 minutes for pink.

While the meat cooks, heat a small skillet over medium flame and melt then butter. Add mushrooms and lightly saute them for 4 to 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and add cognac or brandy to the pan. Be careful of flare ups. You may want to add the liquor off the stove top then return the skillet to the heat. Reduce the liquid by half, cooking off the alcohol and concentrating the flavor, then stir in the cream and warm it through. Reduce heat a bit and let sauce thicken 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon sauce over meat and serve with asparagus alongside.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Merry Crockpot

Santa came Early this year and apparently is using UPS now as my beautiful shiny new six quart crockpot arrived last week. (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Bunch.) After doing a quick search on the internet I found this interesting recipe that I thought would be fun to try - Curried Zucchini and Apple Crock Pot Soup. I chopped everything up and set it to work this morning at 8:30 a.m. and by early afternoon my house was filled with wonderful aromas. The dogs were sniffing around the kitchen all day and putting on their best "I'm dying of starvation" acts. Luckily, Santa also sent us a package from the Omaha Steak Company which included a box of Canine Cookies. (Thanks again Grandma and Grandpa.)

I think this soup could really be hit or miss depending on your taste buds. It can make a great vegetarian meal if that is your persuasion but for me it worked better as a side dish served along side some turkey ham steaks and corn bread muffins (contributed by Katy). The curry flavor was good but but a little underwhelming. I think a dash or two of some fresh grated nutmeg would have done a lot to liven up the soup and bring it to the next level. I enjoyed this recipe and will be happy to eat the leftovers but not sure that I will make it again. It does make for a nice winter warm up though. Unfortunately, it happened to be in the 70s here today.

Regardless, I love my new crockpot and you can expect to see more of these slow cooker recipes popping up on this blog in the near future. Ho ho ho. Merry Crockpot Christmas.

I give this recipe an overall grade of a C+.

Zucchini Soup Recipe

This delicious Zucchini Soup Recipe (or Courgette Soup recipe) combines zucchinis (courgettes), apples and curry - to produce a fantastic meal on a cold winters day.

And it is so simple to create in your crock pot.

Yes, we still have heaps of zucchinis. So Neil and I searched around for a delicious soup. We found a recipe cooked at "The Darby Field Inn and Restaurant" and after a few modifications we settled on this recipe and now have heaps in the freezer, ready for winter :-)

This recipe makes about 8 to 10 servings.

Add the milk just prior to serving. Don't add milk if freezing - add it once thawed and ready to serve.

Curried Zucchini and Apple Crock Pot Soup

1½lb (700g) Zucchini – sliced
2 large apples - peeled, cored, chopped
2 large onions - diced
½ cup rice (we used white, but any should work)
4 cups Chicken Stock OR Vegetable Stock for a Vegetarian alternative
2 tspn Curry Powder
3 tbls per serve milk
1. Mix curry powder and stock together.
2. Place all of the other ingredients into the crock pot.
3. Pour the stock over top.
4. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on Low.
5. When ready to serve, puree soup in a blender or use a hand held device in the crock pot (saves washing another item).
6. Add 60ml (3 tbls) milk per serve and enjoy.
Serves 8-10
Freeze the excess, for an extra quick meal later.
Add the milk just as serving. Don't add milk if freezing.

Christmas cookies

My daughter who is currently interested in all things pink and princesses wanted to borrow a 'pink Christmas book' last time we went to the library. Lucky for me, a librarian overheard the request and handed my daughter the following book: "Christmas Fairy Cooking by Leonie Pratt and Catherine Atkinson."

So far, I've only managed to indulge my daughter with one of the recipes, with some motherly adjustment ... I bought a box of organic sugarcookie mix, followed the recipe on the box so my cookies have eggs in them and just added the red food coloring (but still quite tasty, and oh so girly, my daughter loves her pink cookies).

But the recipe that follows looks a lot like another one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes so I will give it a spin as soon things slow down around here ...

Anyhow, the Tiny Christmas Cookies recipe

4 tbs butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 drops of red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1, Put the butter into a bowl and stir it until it is creamy. Then sift in the powdered sugar and stir everything well.

2, Add the food coloring to the mixture and stir it in well, until the mixture is pink. Add milk and vanilla.

3, Sift the flour into the flour, stir together and use hands to make into dough.

4, Dust rolling pin and clean work surface with flour, roll out the dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick.

5, Use assorted cutters to cut out lots of shapes (we used crowns, princesses, stars etc.) and place on a greased cookie sheet (or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper). Use the leftover dough to make another ball of dough and repeat step 4 and 5 until all dough is gone.

6, Make patterns on some of the cookies with a toothpick, sprinkle some decorative white sugar on others, leave some plain.

7, Bake for 6-8 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Let cookies cool either on cookie sheet or on a cooling rack.

8, Dust some of the cookies with powdered sugar, because it looks great.

Have a great time baking my fellow princesses!

New Twist on Chicken and Rice

Like Camille's Frittata Recipe posted recently, this is another great clean out your fridge recipe to have on hand. A new twist on your ordinary chicken and rice, this recipe adds chicken stock, fresh squeezed lemon juice and canned artichokes as the key flavor ingredients. It also calls for onions, red bell pepper, and graded Romano Cheese, but I like to dump in whatever veggies I have in the fridge at the time. All varieties of peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow summer squash and celery work particularly well in this recipe.

I have also enjoyed experimenting with different sharp cheeses in place of the Romano. Last night I used up the rest of the Gruyere I had leftover from the Swiss Baked Potatoes I made a few weeks ago. Irish Dubliner Cheese is also one of my favorites in this recipe. Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano obviously are good candidates as well. I would even be willing to try this with a sharp cheddar if it was all I had on hand but it wouldn't be my first choice. Additionally, I usually add way more cheese than the recipe actually calls for (about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on the cheese) making this a not-so-light Cooking Light Recipe. Rather than sprinkling the cheese on top as suggested, I like to add it to the pot at the end of the cooking while it is still warm and stir it all together so that the flavor mixes and melts throughout the entire dish and binds everything together. Of course, you could always do this and still add extra sprinkles on top as you can never have too much cheese!

This meal preps in about five minutes, cooks in fifteen and only dirties one pot. It's not going to win any awards based on visual appearance so I maybe wouldn't serve it for guests, but it's a great weeknight go to and keeps well as easy lunch-time leftovers. I give it a total of four out of five stars (or four out of five wooden spoons if you are going by Camille's rating system.)

Lemon Chicken and Rice with Artichokes


Cooking spray
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups instant rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese


Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken, chopped onion, and red bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rice, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in artichokes, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese.


4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 324(8% from fat); FAT 2.8g (sat 1g,mono 0.7g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 35g; CHOLESTEROL 69mg; CALCIUM 120mg; SODIUM 773mg; FIBER 8.3g; IRON 3.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 40.7g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2004

Sunday, December 2, 2007


What the heck is a "stoup"? I had never heard of that term before. Apparently it's a hearty soup with lots of goodies mixed together.

I subscribe online to Everyday with Rachael Ray and the latest email intrigued me. There were lots of recipes for hearty soups and one in particular caught my eye. I couldn't wait to try it the following week.

Well yesterday Don, Cindy, Matt and I had an improptu get together at their place in Sherman Oaks. I told Cindy about this recipe and she sounded as excited about it as I was. So we headed over there and us girls immediately set off for Trader Joe's and her local veggie store while the boys stayed home and talked about who knows what. We came home and unloaded groceries, set to start cooking in a few hours as we had all been munching on Cindy's fabulous home-made cookies.

All of the sudden it was 8:45pm and we hadn't eaten dinner. Don, Cindy and Matt were busy creating epic level characters, something that I couldn't get my heart into. So I set about making this stoup and in someone else's kitchen! I give kudos to Cindy for chopping the onion and showing me her neat trick that avoids tears. :)

This stoup was the perfect ending to a great day with friends. Very hearty and filling, and the flavors mixed really well. I think next time I'll add a little more salt and pepper, but other than that I highly reccomend it for these cold evenings that come with the season.

From Everyday with Rachael Ray, February 2007

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, shredded (1 1/2 cups) - I chopped them instead to save time.
1 fresh bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups chicken broth - We used 4 cups which worked out fine.
1 pound ground chicken - We used ground turkey.
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (a couple of generous handfuls)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (a couple of generous handfuls)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
One 1-pound package gnocchi
1 cup frozen peas
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a couple of generous handfuls)
Crusty bread, for dunking


1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onions, carrots and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, cover the pot and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic and nutmeg. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized meatballs (you'll have about 40) and add to the stoup. Simmer for about 10 minutes while you wash up. Add the gnocchi to the stoup and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the stoup from the heat, discard the bay leaf and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with the bread.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mmm, it smells like cookies

I'd figured a little visual tease was in order.

I baked gingerbread cookies (old recipe and in Swedish, so I won't even attempt to translate it) with my son today and my daughter and I have a couple of new cookie recipes to try out this week.

But until then, happy holiday baking!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A "new" recipe

Basic recipes always have surprises for me because they are new each time. Take one of the classics - a fritatta. Every time you make it, it's new because you can add new ingredients each time. It's also easy, quick, healthy, and on the cheap side because all you have to do is scrounge your fridge for veggies and left-over cooked meat.

Tonight Matt and I came home utterly exhausted after a long and fun gaming session last night and counseling tonight. I really wanted to order in but since we had gone out Tuesday night, I had to be good. What to do? No pasta sauce for spaghetti, too tired to cook tuna, I have these eggs...ah ha! Fritatta!

Ok, I'm slightly cheating because I have made this before but each time I make it it's always new because I use different ingredients. Perfect for a quick dinner (served with salad and rolls) or hearty breakfast. Enjoy making your own original creations!

from Six Ingredients or Less

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (you can also use swiss or colby)

With wire whisk, beat first 5 ingredients until blended. Pour into a greased 1o-inch pie plate. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

TIP: For variety, sprinkle top with parsley, ham, bacon, or sausage and cheese. Sliced vegetables and mushrooms can also be added.

(Tonight I used parsley, spicy sausage, and mushrooms.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oops I made it again - by Broccoli Spears

I have definitely had my fill of broccoli this week. Last week I bought two bags of broccoli salad mix for Thanksgiving dinner and we ended up only using one. And since it was Thanksgiving, nobody wanted to waste their stomach space on boring green vegetables so Don and I ended up taking most of it home with us and have been munching away at it for the last week. We definitely are not up for polishing off another bag of broccoli salad by ourselves so I will serve the other one tonight for our gaming group and beg someone to take the leftovers home.

Also, I had forgotten about all the broccoli we already had in the fridge, so I didn't think to swap out this new recipe for Broccoli Spears that was queued up in my meal plan for something else when I did my grocery shopping over the weekend. But it worked out well anyway. The cooking method was so desperately easy, even easier than steaming broccoli as it uses up less dishes and is easier to clean up afterwards. Also, it has you peel the broccoli stems with a vegetable peeler so that the spears are not too tough and they soak up the flavor better. Despite the recent overdose on these little green bouquets, I still found this recipe quite enjoyable. In fact, it might be my favorite broccoli recipe to date. I'm guessing Don would disagree with me as he bit off all the broccoli heads and left all the spears behind on his plate like pitiful little decapitated corpses. Looks like my man is not a fan of Spears - neither of the Brittany or the Broccoli variety.

I give this recipe five out of five stars based on taste, ease of preparation, and economical ingredients.

Garlicky Lemon Broccoli


1 1/2 pounds broccoli spears
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Peel broccoli stems using a vegetable peeler. Combine broccoli and water in a large nonstick skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; wipe pan with a paper towel.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broccoli, and toss to coat. Sprinkle broccoli mixture with rind; drizzle with lemon juice.


4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 67(34% from fat); FAT 2.5g (sat 1.3g,mono 0.6g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 5.2g; CHOLESTEROL 5mg; CALCIUM 85mg; SODIUM 212mg; FIBER 5.1g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 9.6g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2003

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Joy of Squash

I'm finally jumping on the bandwagon, inspired by previous posts, and ready to strut my stuff in the kitchen alongside the rest of the Cooking Kama Sutras.

After making the most of all of my Thanksgiving leftovers, I made a quick run to Costco this past weekend to pick up a couple of things. Much to my delight I discovered a new item in stock: Fresh Butternut Squash Ravioli. The package describes it as "Ravioli stuffed with a rich blend of Butternut Squash, Sage and Fesh Cheeses." I definitely wanted to give this a try! Our Costco also carries a fresh Spinach and Cheese Ravioli that is delicious, and I was hoping this flavor would turn out to be an equal hit. Indeed it was!

My dilemna, however, was this: What kind of sauce should I pair it with? Truth be told, I am not much of a tomato sauce enthusiast. So, this did not sound like a match that would help accentuate the flavor of the squash. A cream sauce of some sort would probably have been good--the package itself provides a recipe for mushroom alfredo; however, I didn't have the ingredients for such an option. Instead, I scavenged around and came up with a homemade sauce of sundried tomatoes, garlic, basil and spinach, cooked in olive oil. It turned out to be quite tasty, as these are all some of my favorite ingredients!

Here is a picture of the sauce in its final stages of cooking:

The entire meal was relatively quick and easy to make. The pasta itself cooks in 4-5 minutes, and the sauce took about 10 minutes. All of the ingredients I used in the sauce were in "ready to use" form, so this minimized any preparation time. I used Julienne Sundried Tomatoes (the kind that come in an oil-packed jar), and fresh cubes of Crushed Garlic Cloves and Fresh Chopped Basil (available from Trader Joes in the frozen section--see photos at the bottom of this post), and fresh chopped spinach that I had stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer--and I simply mixed them all together in an Olive Oil base.

The butternut squash was deliciously sweet smooth, and I loved the particular combination of pairing it with the taste and texture of the sundried tomatoes. The leftovers today were equally tasty! Here is the finished product:

Sundried Tomato and Garlic Sauce with Spinach and Basil

(Measurements are approximate.)

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a skillet on Medium heat

Add the following ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic (I used 2 frozen cubes of crushed garlic from Trader Joes)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped basil (I used 2 cubes of frozen chopped basil from Trader Joes)
  • 1/4 cup of julienne sundried tomatoes (oil packed)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped spinach

Keep the heat turned down to a simmer in order to avoid oil splatter. Warm on stove until pasta is ready.

Basil and Garlic cubes (each packaged separately; cilantro is also available):

The Heat is On!

When our friends Jeremy and Katy dropped off their dog Max at our house on Thursday morning, they were going pretty much nonstop until they picked him up again at our house last night. Given their hectic schedules and the fact that we missed them while they were away, I decided to invite them to stay for dinner with us rather than just grabbing the dog and heading home. I figured a hot prepared meal would be a nice way to finish a long weekend since they were probably tired and wouldn't have much time or energy for grocery shopping and cooking. I warned them that the meal I was preparing was not going to be anything fancy but would hit the spot nonetheless.

I ended up serving Spicy Chicken Soup with Monterey Jack and Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas which is the perfect accompaniment for this meal. Now, the best thing about this meal is that the entire thing can be prepared start to finish in about 15 minutes. Now that's what I call quick and easy. You can adjust the spice by adding more or less adobo chiles. Truthfully, I wish I had added a couple more chiles last night because it was not as spicy as usual. I admit that I have made this before, but since they seemed to be such big fans, I told Jeremy and Katy I would post it on the blog nonetheless.

Spicy Chicken Soup

Serve with quesadillas - suggested fillings are monterey jack cheese and slices of roasted red peppers.


1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast strips (such as Louis Rich; about 12 ounces)
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (such as Del Monte)
1 (11-ounce) can whole-kernel corn with sweet peppers, drained


Remove 1 chile from can; reserve the remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Mince chile.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onions, garlic, and cumin; saute 4 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in minced chile, chicken, broth, tomatoes, and corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.


4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 358(30% from fat); FAT 11.8g (sat 2.8g,mono 4.4g,poly 2g); PROTEIN 40.6g; CHOLESTEROL 95mg; CALCIUM 65mg; SODIUM 1536mg; FIBER 4.9g; IRON 2.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.3g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2001

Monday, November 26, 2007

From my heart straight to my thighs

But totally worth it and a big hit at potlucks! The title says it all. These are heaven. Easily made up to a day ahead, best with freshly made whipped cream. An excellent subsitute for pumpkin pie (but doesn't replace it).

CKS note: If making the banana version, I reccomend cutting the sugar in half as the natural sugar from the bananas makes it quite sweet already.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes
from Paula Deen at The Food Network


1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg 8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.


For a Pineapple Gooey Cake: Instead of the pumpkin, add a drained 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

For a Banana Gooey Cake: Prepare cream cheese filling as directed, beating in 2 ripe bananas instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

For a Peanut Butter Gooey Cake: Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to the cream cheese filling instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

Sunday Stew

By Sunday afternoon the Thanksgiving leftovers were gone and it was time to start thinking about what to make for dinner. As always, I spent a good portion of my "vacation" doing household chores and errands in my lifelong quest to getting organized. Part of that included some fun time spent hunting for new and interesting recipes and making a meal plan for the week. Actually I got a little ambitious and sketched out a rough plan for the rest of the month! But we'll see how closely I stick to it.

The recipe I decided to try last night was this Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew from Cooking Light. The recipe was really tasty but I think the title is a little misleading. I don't know if maybe I simmered it too high but all the broth cooked out of mine and in the end it was more like a shredded beef served over noodles than a stew. But that's o.k. since as the broth evaporated it left behind all of it's intense flavoring which the meat soaked right up. It made for a nice hearty Sunday evening meal and will be nice leftovers for lunch the next couple of days. Though it is super easy to make, it does have a long cooking time so this is best made on a weekend. I give the recipe four out of five stars and it's going in my make again cookbook. This recipe stands well on it's own but if you want to round it out a little, it would be really good served with steamed broccoli on the side.

Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew


1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 (12-ounce) Guinness Stout
1 (10-ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
8 cups cooked egg noodles (about 1 pound)
Chopped fresh thyme (optional)


Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle over beef. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add chopped onion, broth, bay leaves, and stout; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in pearl onions and mushrooms; cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine 1/4 cup water and flour in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and cranberry sauce to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with noodles. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.


10 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup stew and 3/4 cup noodles)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 479(27% from fat); FAT 14.6g (sat 4.8g,mono 6.3g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 39.5g; CHOLESTEROL 138mg; CALCIUM 35mg; SODIUM 239mg; FIBER 2.6g; IRON 6.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.7g

Christina Wilson, Lansdowne, Pennsylvania , Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cranberry Jello Salad

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving Feasts. We were invited to spend the day with friends and the hostess covered the gammet of traditional Turkey Day treats from the 20 pound organic free range turkey to loaded mashed potatoes and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, relish tray, green bean casserole, steamed broccoli, fresh rolls and a lovely selection of appetizers including a made from scratch homemade cheese ball. Delicious! I will have to get the recipe from her and see if she minds me posting it on the blog.

My contribution to the meal was embarassingly simple but a favorite nonetheless - my mother's Cranberry Jello Salad. It is the ultimate potluck dish as it does not have to be kept warm, can be made ahead of time, and preserves and travels well.

Cranberry Jello Salad
From my mother's Recipe Box

6 ounce package Raspberry Jello
2 Cups Hot Water
1 Cup Cold Water
1 small can mandarin oranges drained
1 small can crushed pineapple drained
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup chopped walnuts

Dissolve Jello in 2 cups hot water. Once dissolved, add Cold water and stir. Add remaining four ingredients and stir thoroughly. It's easier if you stir the cranberry sauce before adding it so that it doesn't clump together. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate until set.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You Had Me at Margarita

Since we were not going to be able to get together for gaming this week with everyone leaving town for the holidays, we decided to just have an informal get-together-and-hang-out night at our house on Tuesday. It was my turn for the main dish, and since I am trying to trim a few pounds I decided to see if I could find a new salmon recipe. The first one that caught my eye for obvious reasons was this recipe from Cooking Light for Margarita Salmon. It was fantastic! It is a nice easy recipe to feed a crowd and quite reasonable too if you get your salmon from Costco (2 1/2 pounds for 13 bucks!). The citrusy marinade infused the entire fish and was a nice alternative to some of the other balsamic or soy sauce based marinades I tend to use with salmon. The recipe recommends serving it over cooked pasta but I served it over spring salad greens and I thought that was much better. It also stands well on it's own with just the fillet. I will definitely make this again. I give it 4 out of 5 stars all together. The only negative was that my hands hurt from squeezing all the limes. This would make a very nice summertime meal.

Margarita Salmon


1 teaspoon grated lime rind
3 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon tequila
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
Cooking spray
Lime slices (optional)


Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add fish to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes.

While fish is marinating, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm. Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade.

Preheat broiler.

Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Serve over pasta. Garnish with lime slices, if desired.


4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 1 cup pasta)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 520(30% from fat); FAT 17.3g (sat 2.9g,mono 7.5g,poly 4.5g); PROTEIN 42.2g; CHOLESTEROL 111mg; CALCIUM 23mg; SODIUM 381mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 0.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.9g

Cooking Light, JUNE 1999

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not-so Yummy

It's unfortunate that when I think of the finishing product, the only word that goes through my head is "Blech!" Matt and I were not impressed with this dish at all and I was miffed because I was really excited about it. It was not a matter of fact, it was just the opposite. EW. The flavors just didn't meld with the fish at all, and after a few bites we tossed out any leftovers. I will not be trying this recipe again, but thought I would post it anyway.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving where I will not have to think about cooking for a few days. :)

Crispy Oven Fried Fish


1 pound fresh or frozen skinless fish fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four serving-size pieces, if necessary. Measure thickness of fish; set aside. Place milk in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish combine bread crumbs, cheese, dillweed, and pepper. Add melted butter; stir until combined.

2. Dip fish in milk; coat with flour. Dip again in milk, then in crumb mixture to coat all sides. Place fish on a greased baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, in a 450 degree F oven for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Words cannot describe how much I love desert. I think it's why I ganied so much weight after we got married and I was baking a few times a week. I especially loved baking in the winter months. There was something about making something sweet when it was cold and dark outside...I'm not sure that I can explain it!

Well after moving to CA and experiencing the 80 degree winters, I only bake maybe once or twice a month as it's not really that cold, and when I do feel that it's cold, I just make a warm dinner dish instead of cookies, cakes, etc. A little healthier and my sweet tooth is staisfied by a satsuma or glass of juice.

Tonight, however, my sweet tooth is in for a treat! Tonight is gaming night, and as we are continuing our new tradition of a potluck, I volunteered to bring dessert. I mentioned how much I missed making cheesecake to which Cindy and Katy said "ooooooooo, yummmmmmmmmm" and Jeremy (Katy's hubby) said "You guys are just trying to fatten me up, huh?" I had a great cheesecake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens but wanted to find something new. Thanks to, I found a wonderful, seasonal cheesecake that is sure to please our group.

I did not make the crust as I have no idea where to find wheatmeal biscuit crumbs and I thought my food processor was broken (thankfully it's not). I used a store-bought crust instead and had enough of the mix left over that I can probably make a few mini-cheesecakes next week. If you do make the crust, please let me know how it turns out. I also left out the topping as I also don't know where to find Sugared Rose Petals.

I can't emphasize this enough: softened cream cheese really does make all the difference! It makes the start of making a cheesecake much easier.

Tipsy Eggnog Cheesecake

You can store Sugared Rose Petals in an airtight container several months.


2 cups wheatmeal biscuit crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
5 large eggs
3/4 cup canned or homemade eggnog
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup brandy
Sugared Rose Petals (optional)


Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well. Firmly press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 1/2" up sides of a lightly greased 9" springform pan. Bake at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack; let cool.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1 cup sugar and cornstarch, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in eggnog, rum, and brandy. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour. (Center will be soft.) Remove from oven and gently run a knife around edge of pan to release cheesecake from sides; return to oven. Turn oven off; leave cheesecake in oven, with oven door partially opened, 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Remove sides of pan and top cheesecake with Sugared Rose Petals, if desired.

Yield: one 9" cheesecake

Oxmoor House, JANUARY 1995

Fancy Feast... and I'm not talking cat food

O.K. Last night I admit that even I bit off a little more than I could chew. I saw this incredible spread in my Cooking Light October magazine and I really wanted to give it a try: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chunky Spiced Applesauce and Swiss Baked Potatoes. Everything was delicious and really fun to make, but waaaaaaaay too much work for a week night. I slaved in the kitchen for a few hours and finally was ready to plate the meal at 8:30 p.m. By that time Don and I were both exhausted from the day and barely had the stamina to shovel it down and box up the leftovers before our heads hit the pillows. I was happy that I had already done most of the dishes as I went along but this was one of those nights where the rest will just have to sit in the sink until I have time to get to them. Luckily though, this meal makes the best kind of leftovers and it makes a lot of food so Don and I are set on our lunches for the next few days.

I would definitely make this spread again, just next time it will be on a night of the weekend variety. All three of these dishes work really well together. Incidentally, I have never been a huge fan of applesauce but this is hands down the best I have ever tasted. I am sure it has to do with the bag of whole fresh cranberries included in the ingredients. The recipe also says to mix up your apples for a more developed flavor. I used a combination of MacIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Pink Lady. We both ate the applesauce on top of the pork rather than on the side. I also prepared the brine for the pork in the morning before I left for work so that it had all day to marinade and it stayed nice and moist during the baking. This is also the first time I have ever made my own scalloped potatoes but it surely will not be my last! This is a meal that would be really fun to make for guests as it prepares ample proportions, amazing aromas, and highlights the best of home cooking. For a special treat, serve with Kelsey Vineyards Apple Merlot Wine or Apple Chardoney. Camille can tell you how to order their wines since she is a wine club member there.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

When the weather is mild, Hunt grills the pork outdoors. If it's too cold to grill, you can roast the tenderloins at 425° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°; let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


1 cup olive oil
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
Cooking spray


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add 1 teaspoon salt and pork to bag; seal and shake well. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat grill.

Remove pork from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle pork evenly with remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand 10 minutes before slicing thinly.


14 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 176(35% from fat); FAT 6.9g (sat 1.9g,mono 3.7g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 25.7g; CHOLESTEROL 72mg; CALCIUM 8mg; SODIUM 234mg; FIBER 0.1g; IRON 1.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.1g

Barbara Lauterbach , Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Chunky Spiced Applesauce

Cranberries lend this applesauce an appealing rosiness. For best flavor, use a variety of apples, such as Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Cortland, and Rome. Prepare it up to one day ahead. Serve with Grilled Pork Tenderloin.


10 cup cubed peeled apple (about 3 pounds)
1/2 lemon
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg


Place apple in a large bowl; cover with cold water. Squeeze juice from lemon half into bowl; place lemon half in bowl. Set aside.

Combine cranberries and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 3 minutes or until cranberries pop.

Drain apple; discard lemon. Add apple to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until apple is soft. Uncover, bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes. Mash apple mixture with a potato masher. Pour into serving dish; cover and chill at least 2 hours.


7 cups (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 124(0.0% from fat); FAT 0.2g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 0.3g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 14mg; SODIUM 2mg; FIBER 2.6g; IRON 0.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 32.5g

Barbara Lauterbach , Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Swiss Baked Potatoes

This homey gratin partners nicely with pork or other grilled meats. Dotting the top with butter adds richness.


6 baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth


Preheat oven to 375°.

Arrange one-third of potato slices in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with one-third of onion slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with one-third of cheese. Repeat layers twice, ending with cheese. Dot with butter. Pour broth over potato mixture. Coat top layer with cooking spray. Cover with foil, and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until tender.


12 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 106(30% from fat); FAT 3.5g (sat 2.1g,mono 1g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 3.2g; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 58mg; SODIUM 208mg; FIBER 1.6g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.9g

Barbara Lauterbach , Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007