Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Chips

I hope you all had a nice holiday!   We sure did have fun going home and meeting my new niece and nephew.   Be both babies are so cute and fun to be around.

Now that we are back at home I had a little time to clean up some of those recipes that I cut out of magazines hoping to make but never getting to them.

These Sweet Potato Chips  have been on my "want to try list" for the longest time but I don't have a madolin slicer.   I decided I had the time and went ahead and made the chips anyway because I was curious about how they would turn out.

I took  washed sweet potatoes and parsnips and sliced them as thin as possible.  I put them on a baking sheet and sprinkled them with oil.  I added kosher salt and thyme.  They baked in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 -30 minutes.   Since my chips were a little thicker they took a little longer to bake.

They tasted very good but they weren't as crispy as I expected. I think that was due to their thickness.
I would make them again and serve them warm as a side dish. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Easy Paella

It has been a busy but nice weekend. The weather on Saturday was beautiful!  I am thankful to have a few minutes right now to blog.

I usually order Paella when we go out because I have never considered it an easy dish to make. 
It seems difficult to me because paella usually has a lot of ingredients and takes a long time to make.
This recipe which I adapted from a recipe by Barefoot Contessa is very reasonable as far as time and difficulty level.  I really enjoyed the flavors in this dish and will definately make it again. 

Easy Paella


1/4 cup good olive oil

1  cup chopped yellow onion

2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips

2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)

2 cups white basmati rice

5 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

1 teaspoon tumeric *

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 - 2 lbs of shrimp*

1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

2 lemons, cut into wedges


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, saffron,tumeric, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot. After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the heat to cook for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.

While the rice is cooking, slice the kielbasa and brown it in a frying pan in a little oil or butter.

Turn the heat to low for the large pan of paella and add the shrimp, kielbasa, and peas and stir gently. Cover the paella, and allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roasted Pears with Honey and Nuts

Saturday was all about food for us.  We took off for the Dekalb Farmers Market
to go grocery shopping.  The traffic on the highway was terrible but we were determined.
After arriving home and unpacking we sat down to a delicious pulled pork and carmelized onions sandwich - YUM!  The fresh market rolls made it even better. 

A little reading, errands and chores and then on to more cooking.
We made homemade fettucine and pesto for dinner which I will write about soon.
For dessert I made roasted pears with honey and nuts.  I had a few recipes for roasted
pears marked and after looking through them I decided to combine them together to come
up with this recipe.

Roasted Pears with Honey and Nuts
4 pears, peeled, sliced in half and cored
1-2 Tbs. butter
1 cup sweet white wine
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup cranraisins

Start by peeling the pears, slicing them in half and coring them.  Take a medium glass
baking dish and rub the sides and bottom of the dish with butter.  Place the pears
in the baking dish face cored side down. Drizzle honey over the pears (about 1/4 cup).  Pour a cup of sweet white wine over the pears.   Bake the pears in the oven for about 40 -45 minutes on 375 turning the pears over half way through the baking ( cook until tender). For the last five minutes I turned up the heat to 450 to carmelized the edges of the pears a little.   While the pears bake I toasted my sliced almonds and cashews in pan with a small amount of butter.  I sprinkled a little sugar over the nuts and then took them out of the pan and set them aside for later.   Once the pears were tender I placed them in serving dishes, reserving the juices in the baking dish.  I place the juices in small sauce pan on the stove.  I added just a little more honey and a pinch of nutmeg and sugar to the juices.  I cooked this on high until it thickened a little.  I poured this over the pears and then topped them with the nuts and cranraisins.

This dessert is delicious and beautiful.  The flavors are amazing !

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Roasted Shimp and Orzo

I am feeling extremely grateful right now because my husband cooked dinner several times this week.  I left out the recipes, went to work and came home to a prepared meal.  It was so great!

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
adapted from Food Network

Kosher salt

Good olive oil

3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)

Freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts

1 cup chopped fresh dill

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced

1/2 cup small-diced red onion

3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Be very careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

* We did not have Orzo so we used a very small pasta which worked just as well in my opinion.
I really enjoyed this dish.  Love, love the lemon, dill and shrimp combination.    

Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Chive Cream

I hope you are not judging me because you noticed that it has been weeks since my last post.  :(
We have been very busy but with good things.  You never need to worry though because cooking and eating is always happening here at our house.

This recipe for Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon came from
Cooking Light.
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
 1 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels, divided (about 3 ears)
 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
12 thin slices cold-smoked salmon (about 6 ounces)


1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; chill.

2. Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Combine 1 cup corn kernels, buttermilk, butter, and egg in a blender; process until coarsely pureed. Add pureed corn mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in remaining 1/4 cup corn.

3. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons batter per pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet; spread gently with a spatula. Cook 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Arrange 2 pancakes on each of 6 plates; top each pancake with 1 slice salmon and 1 teaspoon lemon-chive cream.    
I have to admit that I liked this dish more than I thought I would. I did not have fresh corn when I started to make this recipe.  I used frozen white, sweet corn.  This is a savory with a wonderful blend of flavors.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Broiled Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Labor Day.
We have spent the weekend catching up with old
friends which was so nice!

We did our market shop this weekend and so
I have so many good choices to make for dinner.
This one is a new recipe that came out of
an Italian Step by Step cookbook.  I changed a few
of the ingredients and added the roasted tomatoes to
top of the dish.   

Broiled Polenta wtih Fennel Seeds
4 cups water
1 2/3 cup instant cornmeal ( I used half cornmeal , half polenta)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp fennel seeds ( I decided to put them in my nut grinder instead of leaving them whole)
1/2 cup toasted almonds ( I added this ingredient and also put it in the nut grinder)
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper

*Cheese is optional

Heat the water, add salt and bring to a boil.  Sprinkle in the cornmeal, stirring .
Stir the cornmeal for about 10-15 minutes over a medium heat.  The cornmeal will
begin to thicken and come away from the sides of the pan.  Take the pan off the heat
and add the butter, fennel, nuts and parsley.  Season with a little salt and pepper.
Brush or spray a rectangular dish with oil (medium - small dish).
Spoon the polenta in the dish and smooth out the surface.

 Let sit a few minutes until the polenta sets.
Flip the polenta over onto a cutting board (carefully).  Turn your broiler on high. 
Cut the polenta into slices.  Place the slices on a baking dish and brush with oil.
Put them in the oven on broil until the tops become lightly brown and crispy.

I also made roasted cherry tomatoes to put over the top.
I take cleaned cherry tomatoes and put them in dish with 
olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic.
I put them in the oven on 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. 
At the end, when they are done cooking I add fresh basil.   

My polenta was served with a little Asiago cheese and
roasted tomatoes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tomato Tart

I found this fabulous recipe for a Tomato Tart in Cooking Light.
I had to hurry up and try it before tomato season is over.
We still have good tomatoes at some of the local farmer's markets
so I made this tart for dinner last week with a nice garden salad.

Tomato Tart
from Cooking Light
(with a few small changes)
 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough or a pre-made pie crust
Cooking spray
2 1/2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup sliced shallots
3 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 tbs.  grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Roll dough to a 12-inch circle; press into a 9-inch deep-dish tart or springform pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with fontina, olives, and shallots. Arrange half of tomato slices over shallots Combine flour, cornmeal, and thyme; sprinkle over tomatoes. Top with remaining tomato slices; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

3. Combine milk, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and eggs; pour into pan. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until set; let stand 10 minutes. Top with basil.

4. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt and cherry tomatoes. Slice tart; serve with cherry tomatoes.

* I made a few minor changes.  First, I used a pre-made crust . If you are going to do this you have to be careful how high you fill the tart.  For our tart, I cut up three different types of tomatoes: roma, heirloom and cherry tomatoes.  I also increased the amount of fresh parmesan to 1/3 cup. I had some pancetta so I added it into the tart as well.  My tart took a little longer than 40 minutes to bake but I would suggest checking on it as it cooks to determine when it is done. 

It was very, very good!

Watermelon, Feta , Olive Salad

I know , I know , I can hardly believe it has been a month since my last post!
So many good things are going on and so blogging had to be put on the back
burner.   As many of you know we started the 2012-2013 school year last week
and I am happy to say that it was a GREAT first week at my new school!

I sat down with the camera just a few minutes ago to see what food
photos I have saved that I haven't posted about yet. There are several recipes to
update all of you on.

Over the summer, my husband had some of his colleagues over for dinner.
They were all very nice.  Meka, who is from Finland, also enjoys cooking
so he put together this beautiful and delicious salad.

The salad was slices of watermelon, red onions that marinated in lime juice,
black olives, feta cheese chopped parsley and mint and then at the very
end a drizzle of olive oil over the top. This dish was both
stunning to the eye and delicious tasting.  

                                                                   Here is a photo!
                                      I will have to try to make this one on my own very soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Crepes - Gluten Free

I have been listening to so many people talk about Gluten Free recipes lately
that I thought I would give one a try. No one in my family has any gluten
allergies but I have several friends who do so learning a how to make a
gluten free meal will prove to be good resource. 

I liked this recipe for Spinach and Ricotta crepes because it reminded me of
Manicotti, which my family makes from scratch for Christmas Eve Dinner. 
I adapted this recipe from Simply Gluten Free.

Spinach and Ricotta Crepes


5 large organic, cage free eggs

7 tablespoons water – use divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Kosher or fine sea salt and pepper

Gluten free, non-stick cooking spray

2 tablespoon olive oil – use divided

4 cloves garlic, minced – use divided

1/2 cup chopped onion

6 ounces baby spinach leaves

2 cups ricotta cheese (part skim or full fat) at room temperature

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1tbs. lemon zest

½ cup grated parmesan cheese – use divided

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 tbs. dried oregano

Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar for tomatoes


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add the chopped onion and cook for 2 -3 minutes, add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for about 1 more minute. Add the spinach, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Let cool then place the spinach in a paper towel and squeeze out all the water. Place the spinach in a mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese and ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg and mix well. Set aside for now.

In a small casserole dish put your cherry tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup  or so of olive oil and 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of dried oregano. Roast these tomatoes on 375 for about 20 - 25 minutes. Until the liquid gets a little thicker and the cherry tomatoes get real soft.   This can cook while you make and fill the crepes.  Add the fresh basil to the tomatoes when you take them out of the oven.    

With a fork, beat the eggs with 5 tablespoons water and a pinch of salt until the whites and yolks of the eggs are fully incorporated. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Heat a 6 inch non-stick crepe pan or small skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by dropping a tiny bit of water on it and listening for a "sizzle sound".  If you hear the sizzle - you are ready to start cooking.
Spray the pan lightly with some cooking spray. 
Pour or ladle about 3-4 tablespoons of the egg mixture into the pan (or enough to create a thin coating on the pan) .
Move the pan back and forth to evenly distribute the egg mixture.
Cook about 2 minutes or until the edges come away from the pan slightly and the bottom is browned. Carefully flip the crepe over and cook about one more minute then slide crepe out of pan onto a plate. Continue until you have 10-12 crepes.

Spray a 9 inch by 12 inch baking dish with some cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place about 2 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on each crepe, roll into a log and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat until all crepes have been filled and rolled. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until the filling is warm.

Top the crepes with the roasted tomatoes and serve.

 This is a very savory dish. Nice and light. The roasted tomatoes add a nice sweetness
 to the creamy ricotta filling.  Ok my gluten free friends I found a dish I can make for you. 

Making Baby Cakes at the Viking School of Cooking

This week I took the "Baby Cakes" class at the Viking School of Cooking with my friend Linda.
We had a great time learning how to make four different types of mini cakes.  

The Menu was:
Pound Cake Petit Fours
Chocolate Bouchons
Mini Mason Jar Strawberry Cakes
Little Lemon Pudding Cakes

As you will see from the photos below ~ I think all the cakes turned out great!
My favorite was Lemon Pudding Cakes and the Chocolate Bouchons.

If you like interactive cooking classes you should check out the
Viking School of Cooking.
The chefs that taught our class, Sandra & Leslie,
were super friendly and gave a lot of great tips to us as they showed us
how to make each cake.    You also get to keep all the recipes! 

                                                           Pound Cake Petit Fours

                                                 Mini Mason Jar Strawberry Cakes

                                                               Chocolate Bouchons

                                   One of each on a plate for eating of course - YUM!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Peachtree Road Farmers Market

Thank you Robin for introducing me to the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
What a delightful market, super organized and filled with so many great vendors.
We enjoyed a wonderful Saturday morning at the market listening to music and strolling
along as we checked out each vendor. 

Jim had a very yummy blueberry and peach tart from
the Red Queen of Tarts.

I had a excellent apple and cheddar tart from
the Little Tart Bakeshop.

and of course we had to stop by the
King of Pops cart and try
some of their homemade pops.

              There were so many other great vendors but we couldn't get treats from all of them.
                                                                 H&F Bread Company

Greendale Farm - selling Artisanal Raw Milk Cheeses


Souper Jenny

Peachtree Road Farmers Market, we will be back!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

There are not a lot of recipes on my blog that involve the crock pot and
that's not because I don't like it ~ it's just a different type of cooking.
Most of the time I enjoy the chopping, sautéing, multi-tasking that preparing
a meal usually requires but there area lso times where I wish making
dinner took less of my time.

I find that crock pot cooking is great for those times when you don't have
the time to be in the kitchen for hours but you still want a good meal. 
The beauty of crock pot cooking is you can put all the ingredients in the
 pot and walk away or even go to work and come back to a good meal.

This is a very easy recipe for Pulled Pork that is made in a crock pot.
The pork turns out so tender and has a wonderful flavor.

Pulled Pork Recipe

4-5 lb. Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt
1  ( 18 ounce) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 (12 ounce ) can of Root Beer
1/2 cup of Chipotle Enchilada Sauce
1 tbsp of spicy mustard
1 tsp. of chipotle seasoning

Pour all the ingredients in the crock pot
except the pork shoulder.  Mix the sauces
and seasonings around until they are
combined. Place the pork shoulder in the
crock pot.  It is ok if it is not completely
covered with the sauce.  Use a spoon
to pour a little sauce over the top.

Cook the pork on low for 7 -8 hours
turning it once or twice. 

You will know when it is done because
the pork will be so tender it will break
apart easily with a fork. 

I only had a 3.5 lb pork shoulder and it cooked for about
6 hours. It fell apart so easily.   I sauted onions and apples
 in a little butter and added a little spicy mustard and a
splash of apple cider vinegar. 

                                 I place the pulled pork on nice rolls and topped it with
                                                           the onion, apple mixture.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Carrot Soup with Curry and Ginger

Somehow, even though I am not at work, the day goes by so fast. 
There are so many things I want to try an accomplish over these next
few weeks.  Everywhere I turn I get distracted by a project and before
I know it is 5:00 and time to think about making dinner.

I made Carrot Soup because it just seemed like an appropriate summer recipe.
Don't worry it wasn't just Carrot Soup ~ It was Carrot Soup with Curry & Ginger
and then topped with roasted red peppers and pepitas.

I don't have exact measurements so you will have to be a little adventurous when
making this dish.  You can do it!

Carrot Soup with Curry and Ginger

1 bag of whole carrots (about 10 -12)
1/2 white onion , sliced
pinch of thyme
pinch of salt
1 tsp. of curry powder
1/2 tsp of ginger powder
1 cup of almond milk
1 cup of chicken broth

Wash and peel the carrots.  Cut them in half. Slice the onion, leaving large pieces.
Place the carrots and onion on a baking dish and pour a little oil over them.
Sprinkle a little dry thyme and salt over the carrots and onions.  Mix them well and
then put them in the oven.  Cook them at 400 degrees for about 25 -30 minutes,
until the carrots turn a little brown.

Take the carrots and onions out of the oven and let them cool.  Once cooled,
place them in a food processor.  Add the almond milk, chicken broth, curry, ginger,
and honey in the processor and blend until smooth.   Taste and add ingredients as

Pour the soup into a pan to cook.  I cooked the soup on low for about 40 minutes
so the flavors could come together. 

While the soup cooked I toasted pepitas in a pan with a little salt.  I also sliced a red
pepper up and roasted it in the oven with a little oil.

Pour the soup into a bowl. Place the red peppers and toasted pepitas on top.

Very Yummy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tilapia with a White Wine, Lemon, Butter Sauce

We had a wonderful dinner tonight! 
I made Tilapia with a White Wine Sauce,
Balsamic Green Bean and Tomato Salad
and Spiced Sweet Potatoes.  
It all turned out delicious!

We just returned from a week in Florida
where we ate some amazing food but
it is nice to be back at home in my own kitchen
cooking dinner for two. 

Tilapia with a White Wine, Lemon, Butter Sauce

Rinse and dry your Tilapia Fillets
Make a simple flour and seasoning mixture to
bread the fish in .   I used flour, salt , thyme and
oregano.   I lightly floured the fish in the flour mixture
and set it aside while I prepared the wine sauce. 
When you cook the Tilapia, cook it in a pan with a little oil.
Only cook the fish a few minutes on each side ( about 2-3)
unless your fish is really thick.  I like to turn up my heat really
high for about a minute or so to get a light, crispy coating on
the outside of the fish.

White Wine Sauce:
1 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, peeled, quartered and chopped
1 tablespoon shallots, chopped finely
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 TBS of butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
pinch of pepper
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1-2 tablespoons of capers
touch of lemon zest

Heat a little oil in a pan and add the chopped shallots and let them cook on low for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the wine and lemons to the shallots and bring this mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium/low and let this simmer and reduce by half, about 15 - 20 minutes.  Stir the mixture frequently.

Add the cream and continue cooking until the liquid reduces again, about 5 minutes.

*Begin to cook the fish now**

Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and cook for about 3-4 minutes and allow the sauce to thicken . Continue stiring the sauce.  Add the salt, pepper, parsley  and whisk to blend. Add the capers and a touch of lemon zest. Stir one last time.  Give the sauce a taste and see if you need to add anything before serving.

This is a wonderful White Wine Sauce for fish that I am sure it can be used on many different types of fish.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Firebird Chicken Pasta

I have seen this recipe posted online by a few different people. 
Each time I looked at the ingredients I thought it sounded interesting
but I hesitated making it a week night recipe because of the number
of steps involved in the recipe. 

Since the weekend allows for a little more time to cook dinner I finally
gave this recipe a try.  I have to admit that this pasta dish is" packed full of flavor. 
It is not a hot dish but it is a little spicy.

Firebird Chicken Pasta

* I did not have a Chili Rub so I just mixed the ingredients the recipe has listed  to make
my own adding more of the chili powder, paprika and cajun spices and just a pinch of
the cayenne pepper, salt and sugar.

* This recipe is for 2lbs of pasta so if you are making less you may want to make less of the cream sauce.

Cream Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup chile rub (ancho chile powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, sugar and salt)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Roux (Whisk 2 Tbsp flour with 1/2 cup of chicken stock to make a paste)

1 1/2 cups asiago cheese, grated

3 tbsp basil, roughly chopped

Firebird’s Chicken Pasta

2 lbs penne pasta

4 chicken breasts, grilled

4 slices apple wood-smoked bacon, cooked

3 cups chile asiago cream sauce (see recipe)

3 tbsp green onions, chopped

1 large fresh tomato, diced


Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook
about 5-7 minutes.  Add the chili rub.  Mix well. 
Add the wine and cook on medium / high until reduced by half.  Add the chicken stock
(the half cup that is left after you made the roux) and bring to a simmer. 
Add the heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the roux ,  asiago cheese and basil. 
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. ( I seasoned my chicken with a little bit of the chili rub).
Cook on medium high. Set aside .  Cook the bacon, set aside.
Cook the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking dice the green onion and tomato, chop the cooked bacon, and slice the chicken.
Drain the pasta.  Place it back in a big pot.  Add the cream sauce over the pasta and stir well.  Add in the green onions, bacon, tomato and stir.   Serve with a little parsley or basil on top.
                                            Yummy pasta dish ~ packed full of flavor.   

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Burritos with Chorizo and Potato

Recently I found two interesting recipes in my Cooking Light Magazine.
When I plan out my menu for the week I usually try to include 2 or 3 new recipes
just for fun. This can be time consuming but in the end I think it adds great variety
to what we are eating.

This recipe caught my eye because I have not ever included potatoes in my
burritos before. I also really liked the combination of Chorizo and potatoes.

Since this is my first time making this recipe I followed it pretty closely. The only
change I made was I added about a teaspoon or so of cumin to the potatoes while
I was cooking them. 

Potato, Chorizo and Green Chile Burritos

from Cooking Light

10 ounce red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup chopped tomato
2 tablespoons diced white onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
6 ounces Mexican raw chorizo
1 cup chopped white onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced poblano chile
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt 4 (7- to 8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
* I used a little more lime and cilantro in my tomato salsa b/c I love those flavors.
*I added a tsp of cumin to the potatoes when I cooked them.
* I used spinach tortillas instead of flour tortillas


1. Place the red potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain; pat potatoes dry with paper towels.

2. Combine 1 cup tomato, 2 tablespoons onion, cilantro, and lime juice.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo; cook for 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add 1 cup onion and poblano to pan; cook 2 minutes or until onion is tender and chorizo is done, stirring frequently. Remove the chorizo mixture from pan. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add potatoes; cook for 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Stir in chorizo mixture and salt.

4. Heat the tortillas according to package directions. Divide the potato mixture evenly among tortillas, and top evenly with salsa and cheese. Roll up each burrito, jelly-roll fashion.

5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 burritos to pan, seam side down; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned.

* Instead of step 5 I placed my burritos in a greased baking dish.  I brushed a little oil on the top and baked them on 400 for about 10 minutes.  After they came out of the oven, I added a little more cheese and some of the tomato salsa to the top.

This is a very good recipe.  The ingredients create a very fresh, light tasting burrito.

                                                              Fancy Chorizo and Potato Burrito!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sausage, Arugula and Lemon Risotto

It is really much easier to make Risotto than you think.
I was scared of Risotto for a long time but not any more.
Risotto is not difficult to make. It is just a little time
The reason I like to make it is because it is so versatile.
Basically you just need Aborio rice and good broth,
after that it is all up to your creativity.

This Risotto dish has sausage, arugula and lemon.
I sauted the sausage in pan until it was just a little
brown.  The I removed it from the pan and set it
aside for later.
I cooked some shallots in a pan with a little oil and butter.
While cooking the shallots, I put my organic vegetable
broth in a pan to heat. Once the shallots were cooked
I added the Aborio rice the pan making sure it was
coated lightly with the oil/ butter. I did not cook the rice
to long, just for a few minutes. Then comes the work -
you slowly add the broth to the rice allowing the rice
to absorb the liquid slowly. 
Toward the end of this process, which took about
25 minutes, I added in lemon zest, a squeeze of
lemon juice and the sausage that I had cut into
small pieces.  At the very end, when the Risotto
had a creamy consistency, I turned off the heat
and added the arugula and a nice helping of
parmesan cheese.

YUM!  You really need to give Risotto a try.
Just add in two or three of your favorite
ingredients and it will be great.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scallops over Spinach Salad with Bacon and a Cider Vinaigrette

This is a great recipe from Cooking Light for scallops over a spinach salad. 
I have to confess that I usually don't mess around with "fancy" salads that
take several steps. Typically I like my salad to be the quick part of the meal.
Since this salad is the meal and because I like scallops I was willing to
let go of my usual rules and try this recipe. 

Seared Scallops over Bacon and Spinach Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
 from Cooking Light

1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons sugar (I used honey instead of the sugar)
4 slices center-cut bacon

1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
10-12 sea scallops (about 1lb) (adapted for us - 2 people)
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Combine cider and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 9 minutes). Remove from heat.

2. Cook bacon in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add chopped shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; stir in cider mixture, cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

3. Crumble reserved bacon. Combine bacon, Granny Smith apple, onion, and spinach in a large bowl.

4. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, curry powder, and red pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle salt mixture evenly over both sides of scallops. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

5. Drizzle cider mixture over spinach mixture; toss gently to coat. Place about 2 1/2 cups salad mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 5 scallops.

This is a wonderful dish. I definately see myself making this again as a light summer meal.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dutch Baby Pancake

Hi Everyone,

I know it has been some time since my last post and
I am sorry. It has been very busy around here and
at work which leaves me with little to no
time to blog. Don't worry though, I am always trying
out new recipes, taking photos and eating.

My husband is the Sunday Morning Chef and today he made
a wonderful breakfast. I found this recipe for
a Dutch Baby Pancake in Everyday Food. I have held on to
the recipe for some time but now, after having it,
I think it will become a favorite in our house.

Dutch Baby Pancake

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*Toppings : fresh strawberries and mango.

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium cast-iron or ovenproof nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat; set aside.
2.In a blender, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend until foamy, about 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet; bake until pancake is puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
3.Working quickly, dot pancake with 1 tablespoon butter, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar and lemon juice. Slice into wedges, and serve immediately. We added fresh,cut strawberries and mango to the top of our pancake.

*This is an excellent dish. It does not taste anything like a pancake. It is more like custard with a crispy outside. You really should give this recipe a try!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pasta with Peas, Arugula and Prosciutto

This recipe for Pasta with Peas, Arugula
and Prosciutto is from Fine Cooking.
I cut out the recipe from the magazine
several years ago and set it aside.
It caught my eye because of the arugula and peas
but I hesitated to make it because it
really has no sauce, causing me to fear
that it would be bland.
I finally took a chance on this recipe and
am so glad that I did because it was
very good.

The Peas, Arugula and Proscuitto
add so much flavor to this dish
that it works out perfectly.

I made two very small changes /
substitutions to the reicpe while
making it. Instead of using orecchiette
I went with a small, shell, noodle.
You will notice that the recipe only calls for
lemon juice but I am a huge fan of lemon
so I also added a tsp. or so of grated
lemon zest.

Pasta with Peas, Arugula and Prosciutto
Recipe from Fine Cooking

1 lb. dried pasta, such as orecchiette or penne
1 lb. arugula (I used baby arugula)
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fresh English peas, shelled, or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
10 thin slices prosciutto, diced (6 to 7 oz.)
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
( I added 1 tsp. grated lemon zest)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano; plus 3/4 cup shavings for garnish
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put a pot of water on to boil. Salt it well and boil the pasta following the package directions.

Wash and thoroughly dry the arugula. If it large leaf arugula give it a little chop. If you have small leaf arugula there is no need to chop it up.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbs. of the butter. Add the garlic and sauté until barely golden, about 2 minutes. Add the peas and sauté until tender-crisp, another 3 to 4 minutes if using fresh or 1 minute if using thawed frozen. Season lightly with salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, remove the peas and garlic from the pan and set aside. Leave as much liquid in the pan as possible and add the olive oil to the pan. Add the prosciutto and cook until very lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the arugula in batches, stirring and adding handfuls as it wilts. Add the lemon juice ( and zest). Cook briefly, unitl the greens have wilted.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. In a large bowl or pot, toss the pasta with the peas, prosciutto, arugula, and grated Parmigiano, along with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss all the ingredients. If the pasta seems dry, toss with more of the reserved cooking water. When serving the pasta, garnish each serving with a little bit of the parsley and the Parmigiano shavings.

I am so glad I finally made this dish
because it turned out very good.
I will definately make this again.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Turkey Meatballs

It is very important to have a good meatball recipe
being Italian. I remember watching my grandma
make home-made pasta and meatballs when I was younger.
I was always surprised how tender the meatballs turned out.
I wish I knew her secret.
Was it the bread soaked in milk? Was it the mixture
of ground beef and ground lamb? I really don't
know but the meatballs were delicious!

I have been trying to find a really good recipe for
turkey meatballs because I don't eat red meat.
I just tried this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis and
the meatballs were very good.

Turkey Meatballs
by Giada De Laurentiis
1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
3 tablespoons olive oil

Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil.

Add about three cups of your favorite pasta sauce. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Check out these beautiful meatballs:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I am a pretty big fan of lemon desserts.
There are times when I prefer the tart lemon
flavor over chocolate. That probably sounds
crazy to some of you but it is true for me.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. Pinterest has become
another favorite place of mine to find recipes and other
good ideas.
It was posted by Mel from

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
*Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (** I added more - 1 TBSP or so)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheets with silpat liners, parchment or lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the dry ingredients (except the powdered sugar) and mix until just combined. Place the powdered sugar on a large plate or shallow pie dish. Roll tablespoon-size balls of dough in the powdered sugar to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes. The cookies will not be browned on the edges but they will have lost a bit of their shininess on top. Don’t overbake! Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container or eat immediately.

** A couple of things : I added way more lemon zest b/c I love the taste of lemon.
I also had to cook the cookies a little longer than she said. I made the fork pattern that you typically make on top of peanut butter cookies. After taking the cookies out of the oven, I gave them another small dusting of powdered sugar. I would have to say that these cookies were pretty good.

Salmon and Vegetables with a Horseradish Sauce

We just got back from a quick trip to the
Dekalb Farmer's Market. I say quick because
now that I know the store I can write out
my grocery list in order. This helps because
the market is crazy on Saturday and if you
don't know where to find things it takes
forever because of all the people. Everyone
is in a hurry and acting crazy. Today
we managed to get in and out in about 45
minutes, which is awesome, considering we
shop for two weeks worth of groceries.

Now we are back at home with plenty of time
to enjoy the afternoon.

I love it when I find a recipe that is low in
calories but still full of flavor.
This particular recipe is a keeper because it
is also easy to make.

Salmon & Vegetables with Horseradish Sauce
adapted from Cuisine at Home

Fish:Salmon Fillets with skin removed
3/4 cup of julienned carrots
3/4 cup of washed and chopped leeks
3/4 cup of peeled and julienned celery
2 TBSP. of dry vermouth
1 TBSP. of dried oregano
1 TBSP of lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Fold two pieces of parchment paper.
Cut paper so it forms a heart shape when opened. Brush inside
of paper with olive oil. ( I did not have parchment paper so I
cooked my fish in glass baking dish).

Combine the carrot, leeks, celery, oregano and vermouth in a bowl.
Toss to coat the vegetables. In the center of the parment paper,
inside the heart, place the salmon at 90 degree angle over the vegetables.
Sprinkle the lemon zest, salt and pepper on top of the fish.
Fold the paper over and crimp the sides making a tight seal.
Transfer onto a baking sheet. Bake the fish for about 15 minutes.
*(you will have to determine how long to cook your fish based on
the size of your fish ~ my salmon did take a little longer than 15 minutes).

For the Horseradish Sauce:
Whisk together 3 TBSP of sour cream or plain yogurt,
2 - 3 tsp. of horseradish
2 tsp. of minced scallions
salt and pepper

This is a really nice dish. It is light but full of flavor,
especially when you add the Horseradish Sauce.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Polenta Cakes with Spicy Sausage and Mozzarella Cheese

Opps, I should have read this recipe more carefully
~ almost two hours of prep time is not what you
want on a week night.

We tried a out this new recipe I had for Polenta Cakes
topped with tomatoes, sausage and mozzarella
cheese ~ kind of like Polenta Pizza.

I must not have read the directions carefully because
each step took a long time. The first set of
directions explained how to make the polenta cakes.
I followed the recipe carefully because I wanted to be sure
the cakes turned out right since they were going to hold
all the other ingredients.

After making the polenta, you move into making a tomato,
onion and white wine sauce that cooks for about 40 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking and the polenta cakes are cooling,
you cook and slice the sausage, slice the cheese and cut up
some fresh basil.

From there you take the polenta cakes out of round tins
and put them on a baking dish. You pour some of the sauce
over the cakes, top it with fresh mozarella, sausage and
basil. Then you bake it for about 5-7 minutes in the oven
at 400.

We were excited to eat dinner after such a long preparation.
The dish was good but the polenta cakes were lacking in flavor.
Looking back at the recipe, I noticed
that it called for the polenta to be cooked in water.
I think next time I will change this to be a broth mixture
of some kind to add a little more flavor. I might even
add some basil and oregano to the broth while the polenta cooks.

Here are some photos of the Polenta Cakes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pork Roast Recipe

I found this recipe for Pork Shoulder online.
It sounded fairly easy so I decided to apply
this recipe to the Pork Roast I had in my freezer.
I did have to make a few minor adjustments because
the piece of meat I had was little smaller than
what this recipe called for.
No worries, the roast turned out very good!

Shredded Pork Shoulder
by the

4 to 5 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
*(I used a pork roast that was about 4lbs.)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into wedges
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
* (I used fire roasted tomatoes )
1 12-ounce beer (a basic lager works well)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Trim the pork shoulder of any thick layers of fat. Combine the brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork with the spice mixture, getting into crevices and on the sides. Allow the pork to sit for about 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pot. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and beer. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to bring up any browned bits.

Return the pork to the pot. Cover and put in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, checking once or twice, until the meat is extremely tender and pulls away from the bone easily. Shred the pork in the pot, using tongs to separate the meat from the fat (see photos above). Discard the bone or set aside for another use.

*Since I had a Pork Roast instead of a Pork Shoulder, I just sliced the meat and
served it in a bowl with the vegetables. I had to adjust the cooking time to
be a little shorter because my piece of meat was smaller.

The meat was very tender and the vegetables were great!

White Chicken Chili With A Little Kick

Ok ~ I think I am back in the swing of things and ready
to start posting yummy recipes again.

This recipe is for White Chicken Chili that does have a
little kick. A few weeks ago I realized that it has been
a really long time since I made a batch of chili.
This is probably because the weather here in
Georgia just hasn't been that cold.
Well, I guess I can't wait on the weather anymore, I just
have to go for it. So here is a new Chicken Chili Recipe.

White Chicken Chili
(with a little kick)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 pounds ground chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons chili powder and
1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
2 cans of cannellini beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 bunch of Kale, washed and chopped
( added at the very end)
1 cup frozen corn
4 - 6 cups chicken stock
1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes
1/2 cup cream

In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, salt, pepper, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, chili powder and chipotle chili powder. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked, about 8 minutes. If you are going to use a crockpot go ahead and pour this mixture into the crockpot now. Add the beans,tomato, corn, and chicken stock to either your crockpot or pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow the chili to cook for an hour or so depending on when you plan to serve it. The longer it cooks the better because the flavors will become more balanced. About 5-10 minutes before serving add the Kale and cream. Make sure the Kale has time to cook for about 5-7 minutes. Serve in bowls. You can top this chili with a little sour cream and some Parmesan Cheese or even Monterey Jack Cheese.

When making chili you should always taste it along the way to test the flavor
and make any adjustments.
This chili has a little kick that is hidden deep within the flavors. The chipotle
chili powder gives the chili a slight smokey flavor.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve

Please don't think that just because
there has been no blogging for the past few
weeks means that there has been no eating.
I feel like all we have done for the
past two months is eat!

We had a great Thanksgiving in Miami
with my parents and brother. There were many
nights out to great restaurants and
a very delicious Thanksgiving Dinner.

We enjoyed a fabulous Christmas in
Chicago. It was was full of laughs and
fun times with family. The meals were fantastic
~homemade ravioli and meatballs~ as Jim's
mom is a great cook.

We left for St. Lucia on New Year's Eve.
We enjoyed the beautiful weather and listening
to the waves crash as we relaxed on the beach.
I did not take many pictures of food on the trip
but we did enjoy some outstanding meals.

One of our meals was at La Toc, which is a
Parisian - inspired restaurant. I enjoyed
amazing Scallops for dinner and Jim had
a delicious Duck Stew.

We also enjoyed a nice dinner at
Kimonos Oriental Restaurant with four
other couples. Our waiter did an
outstanding job entertaining everyone
while he cooked right in front of us.

It is good to be home and back into the
regular routine. I have several
"new" recipes to try out this week.
I hope to be blogging again very soon
and letting you know how the meals turned out.