Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tatum!

Fun with the pinata...

Enough fun kids...Daddy's turn. 
Of course he knocks it down on the first hit!
Thankfully they continue to attack it on the ground instead. :)

Thanks so much to all who came out to celebrate with us!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Salmon Cakes

1 1/2 pounds store-bought cooked salmon fillet, skinned and chilled
3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
6 scallions, green and white parts chopped separately
2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 large eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Flake the salmon into a large bowl. Using a fork, mix in 1/2 cup panko, the scallion whites, the celery, the parsley, 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a pinch black pepper and the cayenne. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Form the mixture into 8 patties about 1 inch thick. In a bowl, mix the remaining 2 1/2 cups panko with 1 teaspoon salt. Coat the patties with the panko, then the eggs, then the panko again.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat half of the olive oil over medium heat. Add 4 salmon patties and cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining oil and patties.
  4. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup mayonnaise, the vinegar and 1/3 cup scallion greens; season with salt and pepper. Serve 2 cakes per person with the sauce alongside.
Source: Rachael Ray Magazine 

Make Ahead Sunday Roasted Chicken - 2 Ways

I figure if you're going to go to all the trouble to roast a chicken, you might as well make 2 or in my case, 4.  The meat is great to have in the freezer for a last minute casserole or soup.


Chicken #1 - Roasted Chicken Dinner with Potatoes and Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Gravy
  • 2 (4 to 5 pound) chickens, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 12 small potatoes, quartered
  • 3 small onions, peeled and quartered, attached at root end
  • 6 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds or fennel pollen
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, well drained and halved
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Liberally season the chickens, inside and out with thyme, and salt and pepper, to taste. Rub each bird with 1/2 stick of softened butter.

Cut the ends off 2 bulbs of garlic to expose all of the cloves for roasting. Put the potatoes and onions in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dress the whole cut bulbs of garlic with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Press the bulbs into the rosemary leaves so that some adheres to the garlic, then sprinkle the remainder over the potatoes and onions. Put 1 chicken into this pan. Sprinkle with fennel seed or pollen. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the chicken and put the lemon in cavity of bird along with 2 large cloves of crushed garlic. Tie the legs together with string. Add the dressed garlic heads to the pan and roast this bird for 15 minutes at 475 degrees F. Baste the bird with pan juices, then lower the temperature 375 degrees F and roast until the juices run clear, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Add the artichokes to the pan the last 20 to 30 minutes of roast time, mixing them in with the potatoes and the fennel. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes and then carve. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter along with the potato mixture. Pour the pan juices into a sauce pan, separate and discard fat that rises to the top, cook over high heat ~5 minutes to concentrate.  Puree using hand blender (if desired) and serve over the chicken/veggies. When ready to serve, divide the roasted garlic among the plates and serve with crusty warm bread for dipping.

Chicken #2 - Cilantro Lime
  • 2 (4 to 5 pound) chickens, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 limes
For the second bird, put it in a roasting pan and douse it with the juice of 2 limes, then stuff the limes into the bird along with 2 large cloves of smashed garlic. Tie the legs and roast for 15 minutes at 475 degrees F, baste, then roast 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from oven to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from bone and pull the meat into small pieces. Reserve for a enchiladas, quesadillas, soup, etc.  I reserve the pan juice to make black or pinto beans.  Separate and discard fat then combine with 1 lb presoaked dry beans, 1 can of crushed tomatoes and additional water if needed.  Cook until beans are done.

Adapted based on recipe by Rachel Ray

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach


1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Penne with Browned Butter, Tomatoes and Arugula

1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
In a high-sided skillet, whisk the butter over medium heat until melted. Simmer until foamy. Continue to cook until the butter has a nutty aroma and turns a caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and stock.  Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, Parmesan and pine nuts. Toss until coated.  Transfer to a large bowl and serve.

Adapted based on recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Pulled Pork 3 Ways

Pulled Pork
  • boneless pork shoulder roast (7-10 lbs), trimmed with excess fat discarded then cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks,
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white wine (may sub water or stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
Preheat oven to 325.  Season pork with salt and pepper. I like to use a baking sheet to work pork in batches while searing. Drizzle dutch oven with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium/high heat.  Sear meat in batches (~2 minutes per size until lightly browned and meat lifts without sticking).  Don't worry about cooking it through.  Once you've seared all the meat.  Deglaze the pan with wine or water, removing all browned bits from the bottom.  Stir in garlic, shallot and lemon then return meat to the pan.  Cover and bake in dutch oven for 2 hours.  Remove pork from pot using slotted spoon and allow to cool 15-20 minutes on a baking sheet. Once cooled, shred using 2 forks.  Return meat the juices and divide into portions for other dishes.

Here are a few options:

Pork Tacos

Pulled Pork (~2 lbs)
1 or 2 chipotle in adobo, chopped (seeds removed if desired)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 bottle beer
Add all.  Simmer over low/medium heat until sauce is reduced.  Serve on corn tortillas with chopped cabbage, cilantro and sliced avocado.  Garnish with cheese if desired.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Combine pulled pork with your favorite BBQ sauce and ~1/2 of a beer. Simmer over low/medium heat until sauce is reduced. Serve with Coleslaw

Pork Fried Rice
  •  2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine ~1 lb pulled pork with 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger.  Simmer ~5 minutes to combine.  Set aside.
In extra large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. peanut oil until very hot. Add scallion whites and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add eggs and scramble until set, 45 seconds; transfer to bowl.  Stir in rice, peas and 2 tbsp soy sauce and stir fry 2 minutes. Stir in pork. Top with scallion greens.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Double Stuffed Shells

  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup (4 oz) baby pasta shells
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 lb italian sausage, castings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound thawed frozen spinach, squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the jumbo shells until al dente. In a smaller saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the baby shells until al dente. Drain separately, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Spread the jumbo shells out on a work surface.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, brown and crumble sausage.  When fully cooked, deglaze pan with wine.  All wine to reduce by half then add garlic, spices and tomatoes. Allow to simmer over medium heat for ~15-20 minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper. 
  3. In a bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, 1/4 cup pasta water and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stuff the jumbo shells with the spinach mixture.  Arrange in a greased 9x12 baking dish.  Fill in between shells with small shells and top with sauce then mozzarella cheese.  Store to make ahead.  On the night you want to serve, preheat oven to 350.  Bake 30 minutes covered, 20-25 minutes uncovered.  
Adapted based on original recipe by Rachel Ray Mag 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hummus Sesame Noodles with Glazed Asian Chicken

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 3/4 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 lb snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the hummus, chicken broth and soy sauce. Toss the hot pasta with the hummus mixture and let cool about 15 minutes.
  3. Add enough of the reserved pasta water to loosen the noodles. Mix in peanuts, sesame seeds, snow peas, scallions, and chicken.
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
Combine all ingredients into a heavy duty zip lock bag and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.  Heat wok or large skillet to med/high heat.  Add chicken and sear (~3 minutes on each side).  Add remaining marinate and allow to reduce/thicken while chicken cooks though (another ~3 minutes).
Serve over pasta.

Adapted based on an original recipe by Rachel Ray

Chunky Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I forgot to take a picture, but this was heavenly!



  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 
  • Chopped walnuts, toasted (optional) 

  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened $
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Banana Muffin with Mascarpone and Walnuts

Didn't change a thing on this one - YUM!

  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells (16 pieces)
  • 1 cup (4 oz) baby pasta shells
  • 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound thawed frozen spinach, squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta (about 12 oz)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the jumbo shells until al dente. In a smaller saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the baby shells until al dente. Drain separately, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Spread the jumbo shells out on a work surface.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, ovenproof skillet, toss the tomatoes with 3 tbsp. EVOO. Broil for 15 minutes. Remove, then stir in the garlic, herbs and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper. Lower the oven to 350 degrees .
  3. In a bowl, toss the baby shells with the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO. Stir in the spinach, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup pasta water; season. Stuff the jumbo shells with the spinach mixture; arrange in the skillet atop the sauce. Top with the remaining parmesan, cover and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
Recipe by Giada Di Laurentis 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Asparagus and Zucchini with Toasted Walnuts

This is a quick, easy and fresh side!

1 zucchini, shredded using a grater
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
Cavendar's all purpose greek seasoning

Melt butter over low-medium heat.  Allow to brown slightly then add walnuts.  Toast ~2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add asparagus and cover to simmer ~2-3 minutes.  Add zucchini and seasoning.  Simmer another ~2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve immediately

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Greek Salad

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp cavendar's all purpose greek seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
Mix all and let stand. I also used the dressing to marinate some chicken, which we grilled and served with flat bread, hummus and the salad.  It's also great on sandwiches.

1 seedless cucumber, halved and sliced
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/8 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1/3 cup feta cheese
Toss all of the above with a small amount of dressing

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Make Ahead Sunday: Penne with Sausage, Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes


3/4 cup drained EVOO packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
 1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed
2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

Based on recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi


2 zucchini, trimmed
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce shaved Pecorino Romano, for garnish

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini into long thin strips. Thinly slice the asparagus on a diagonal. Toss the slices together and place the salad in a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and drizzle over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Garnish with the pecorino shavings. Serve.

Source: Giada DeLaurentiis

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rigatoni with Butternut Squash & Shrimp


3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.

In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.

Source: Giada DeLaurentiis

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Chicken Risotto with Spring Veggies


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears 
  • 3/4 pound skinned and boned chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips 
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice (short-grain)
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese
1. Bring chicken broth and 4 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan over low heat. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Cut into 2-inch pieces.
2. Sprinkle chicken with herbes de Provence and 3/4 tsp. salt.
3. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add chicken, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until done. Remove chicken; cover and keep warm.
4. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in Dutch oven; add zucchini, onion, and asparagus, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Remove vegetables; cover and keep warm.
5. Sauté rice in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add wine and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup hot broth mixture; cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time. (Total cooking time is about 30 minutes.)
6. Stir in grated cheeses, chicken, and vegetables until creamy. Stir in parsley and pepper. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Veal & Avocado


1 ripe Hass avocado
1 wedge fresh lemon
2/3 pound veal scallops
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
3 to 4 tablespoons cream, 3 turns of the pan
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, to garnish
2 tablespoons chopped or snipped chives, to garnish

Cut avocado in half all around and down to the pit. Twist the avocado to separate the halves. Hit the pit with your knife to pop it out. Scoop the avocado out of each half of skin with a large spoon. Slice the avocado and squeeze a little lemon juice on it to retard the browning. Reserve the avocado.

Season the scallops of veal with salt and pepper. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add the veal and cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove the veal to a platter or individual plates. Add vermouth or wine to the pan and deglaze it, lifting up any color or veal bits. Add cream and stir it in. Turn off the heat and let cream bubble 1 minute. Arrange the avocado on the scallops of veal. Strap the meat and avocado with sauce and garnish with a generous sprinkle of chopped thyme or chives.

Source: Rachel Ray

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cornflake Cordon Bleu with Creamed Spinach Mashed Potatoes

Cornflake Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
8 slices deli ham
8 slices swiss cheese
6 cups cornflakes, coasely crushed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
 Tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to tase

Preheat oven to 425.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Arrange breading station - bowl with eggs then another with the cornflakes.  Dip chicken in eggs then cornflakes.  Place on greased baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes.  Mix together sour cream and mustard. Remove chicken from oven.  Top with a dollop of sauce, cheese then ham.  Return to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly.

Creamed Spinach Mashed Potatoes
4 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
2 boxes chopped spinach, defrosted
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup cream
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Salt water and boil potatoes until tender 12 to 15 minutes.

Squeeze the water from spinach in a clean dish towel.

Drain potatoes and melt butter in the hot pot, then add the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cream, add the spinach, separating the greens as you do. Season greens with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add potatoes to the pot and mash to desired consistency.

Source: Rachael Ray

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Risotto with Spicy Sausage & Peas


1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup marsala or madeira wine
4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed 
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Sauté sausage in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until browned.  Add onion and garlic until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until absorbed.  Meanwhile, heat 4 cups broth in separate saucepan.  Add broth half a cup, simmer until almost absorbed, stirring frequently.  Continue to cook and add broth until rice is tender and mixture is creamy.  The entire process should take about 25 minutes.  Stir in peas.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finish with butter, half the cheese and parsley (reserve remainder for serving). 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Posole Mexican Lasagna

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground pork or beef
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can hominy
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, chopped
12 large tomatillos (14 to 16 if small), peeled and coarsely chopped
A handful cilantro or parsley leaves
3 avocados
2 limes
2 tablespoons honey
1 package large flour tortillas
1 pound pepper Jack cheese, shredded
Sour cream, to pass at table

Place rack in oven in middle of oven and heat broiler or place oven on 400 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and crumble up as it browns. While pork browns, season the meat with cumin, coriander and salt and pepper. Once browned evenly, stir in hominy and reduce heat to simmer.

While meat cooks heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauce pot, add onions, garlic and peppers, season with salt and pepper and saute until softened 5 to 6 minutes. Place tomatillos and cilantro or parsley in food processor and process until almost smooth. Pour into onion and garlic mixture and simmer to mellow, 5 to 6 minutes more. Replace the processor bowl. Pit and scoop the avocado flesh into the processor, add the lime zest and juice. Add the honey, puree until smooth and season with a little salt. Stir the avocado mixture into the green sauce and remove from heat.

Char all of the tortillas over an open flame or in dry hot skillet.

In a baking dish layer sauce, tortilla, meat, cheese, tortilla, sauce, meat, cheese, etc. End with a layer of tortilla, sauce and finally cheese. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 4 to 5 minutes until bubbly and cheese is brown. Pass sour cream at the table.

Source: Rachael Ray

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Crawfish Pasta

Our cajun fest continues!  This is one of my mom's recipes and was always a favorite.

1 lb egg noodles (cooked according to package directions) - reserve 1 cup cooking liquid
1 stick butter
1 lb shelled crawfish tails (use Louisiana please!) - shrimp can be subbed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chipped
1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf italian parsley
1 cup half and half
Melt butter.  Saute onion, pepper and celery until softened ~7 minutes.  Add crawfish and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add half and half and simmer until slightly thickened ~ 5 minutes.  Add parsley, green onion and pasta.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add additional pasta water to loosen if necessary.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Red Beans & Rice

We're having a whole week of cajun food in celebration of Mardi Gras!  First up is Red Beans and Rice!
 1 pound dried red beans
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3 bay leaves
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken stock
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish

Place beans in saucepan.  Cover with 2 inches water and bring to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour.  In a different large pot, brown bacon and ham until crispy (5-7 minutes).  Add chopped veggies and saute over medium heat until softened.  Deglaze pot with broth.  Add in all broth plus beans and spices.  Cook 1 1/2 hours until beans are done.  Serve over rice with sausage and chives on top. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nutty Asian Noodles with Carrots & Edamame


  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted cashews or peanuts
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 inch piece  fresh ginger
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 2/3 pound dried linguine or 1 lb. fresh lo mein noodles
  • 1 cup thawed frozen shelled edamame


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Spread the nuts on a baking sheet. Roast until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool. Measure out 1/4 cup nuts; chop and set aside for garnish.
  2. Peel the carrots; shred them on a box grater. Set aside. Using the edge of a spoon, scrape the brown skin off the ginger. Before moving on, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Measure the broth in a liquid measuring cup, then pour in the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil; stir to combine.
  4. Whiz the whole nuts, brown sugar, ginger and 1/4 tsp. salt in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine on, slowly pour in the broth mixture and process until smooth.
  5. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions, stirring occasionally.
  6. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Rinse the pasta pot with cold water, too, to cool it off. Put the noodles back in the pot.
  7. Pour the sauce over the noodles; stir. Add the edamame and carrots; stir again.
  8. Transfer the noodles to bowls using tongs. Sprinkle the reserved chopped nuts on top.
Source: Rachel Ray Magazine

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Braised Chicken and Artichokes with Pistachio Lemon Rice

Braised Chicken and Artichokes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 cups frozen artichokes, thawed
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or parsley
Heat oil dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add half to pan and sauté chicken until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set aside and repeat process with second half of the chicken.  Deglaze pot with wine, stirring to removed browned bits.  Add shallots and garlic.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add artichokes, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow artichoke hearts to brown (about 5 minutes).  Deglaze pot with chicken broth.  Return chicken to pan.  Add lemon and remaining broth.  Allow to simmer 5-7 minutes.  Add herbs and serve over rice. 

Pistachio Lemon Rice
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (toasted)
  • 1 1/2 cup white rice
  • 2 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Melt butter over low heat.  Saute shallots until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add half the pistachios and remaining ingredients.  Mix to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, add remaining nuts and fluff.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baked Fennel with Goat Cheese and Sausage

6 links sweet italian sausage, uncooked, castings removed
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped coarsely
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf italian parsley
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Saute sausage in large saucepan until golden brown.  Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.  Melt 1 Tbsp butter in same pan.  Drizzle lemon juice over fennel then add to saucepan.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes uncovered, stirring frequently.  Add fennel seeds and water.  Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until tender.  Season with salt and pepper and add to sausage.  In same pan, make white sauce.  Melt remaining butter and whisk in flour.  Slowly whisk in milk until smooth.  Cook over low-medium heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes).  Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.  Combine with sausage and fennel.  Please in greased baking dish and top with cheeses.  Bake at 375 until bubbly - about 25 minutes. 
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Butternut Squash and Orzo with Fresh Sage

2 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups cubed fresh butternut squash - you can find this at Costco
4 c. chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup white wine
1 c. orzo
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 6 minutes (or until soft).
2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add squash and stir to coat.
4. Add 1/2 c. chicken broth and wine. Cover and simmer until squash is just tender (taste a piece) and liquid is absorbed- about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, bring the rest of the chicken broth (3 1/2 c.) to boil in a saucepan. Add orzo. Boil uncovered until orzo is tender but still slightly al dente.
6. Combine with the squash mixture.
7. Stir in the parmesan and sage.
8. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topped with more parmesan if desired.
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Make Ahead Sunday: Roast Pork Calypso Style with Black Bean Corn Salsa

Roast Pork
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced crosswise
  • Minced fresh parsley

Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed, drained
  • 1 7 1/2-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
For Roast Pork:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine shallots, bay leaves, salt, allspice and ginger in small bowl. Add generous amount of pepper. Rub mixture into pork. Set on rack in roasting pan, Roast pork until thermometer inserted into centers registers 150°F., about 25 minutes. Cool slightly. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Bring pork to room temperature before serving.)
For Sauce:
Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Season with pepper. Simmer until slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
For Salad: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Salad can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Line platter with spinach. Mound black bean salad in center. Slice pork. Alternate pork and avocado slices around salad. Discard bay leaves from sauce and drizzle sauce over pork and avocado. Sprinkle with parsley.
For Salad: Mix all incredients together.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Potato & Leek Soup

2 Tbsp butter
2 leeks (trimmed and diced)
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 large idaho potatoes, skinned and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup flat leaf italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in sauce pan over low heat.  Saute leeks, onion and garlic until softened (7-8 minutes).  Add garlic, potatoes and broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Boil 30 minutes.  Gently mash potatoes to thicken, but still leave some chunks.  Add sour cream and parsley and mix to combine.  Check seasoning.