Sunday, October 31, 2010


Getting ready!

The yard a few hours before the trick or treaters arrive.

Halloween Night! Had to make something holiday-appropriate so we had MUMMY DOGS!!!! Kinda fun for us and, needless to say, the girls loved them! Talk about a processed meal! I don't even want to know the amount of sodium, etc. in this meal! But it was fun and pretty easy. Pop open a can (yikes!) of refrigerated breadsticks. Roll each piece between your hands as long as you can, worm-style. Cut off an inch or two to use as the top of the mummy, and wrap the rest around your dog. Top it off with the "hat." Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes until browned. I served with baked beans and potato salad.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Milk Cartons for Trick or Treaters!

Our neighborhood is observing Halloween tonight so I've been working on my treat packages. I had so much fun making 80 of these babies! I was able to get one fun-sized candy bar, one Hershey nugget, and one Hershey miniature inside. I really love they way they turned out!

Cookie Packages

These are a couple of the cookie packages I made up for the neighbors....I delivered these along with milk carton treats for everyone.

Creepy Witches' Fingers

I LOVE Halloween! I found this recipe last year but never made it. I've seen the recipe in a few places this year, so somebody figured out this cookie was just too cute not to make. I think they came out great!
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup almonds, whole, blanched
2 tubes red decorator gel
In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extracts. Beat in flour, baking soda, and salt. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll heaping teaspoon (I weighed it at 10 grams) of dough into finger shape for each cookie.
COOKIES WILL SPREAD, so for more realistic-looking fingers, roll thinly (mine measured about 2 1/2" x 3/8"). Press almond firmly into 1 end for the nail. Squeeze in center to create knuckle shape (squeeze almost until finger and thumb meet). Using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle.
Place on lightly greased baking sheets (I used parchment paper); bake 20-25 minutes in a 325 oven until pale golden. When out, lift off almond as soon as you can touch it, squeeze red gel onto nail bed and press almond back in place, so gel oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with "blood." Remove from baking sheets and let cool on racks.
Yield: approximately 5 dozen

Friday, October 29, 2010

Black Pepper Chops with Molasses Butter

As you know, we're not big beef or pork eaters here. But just every once in a while a recipe just catches my eye. I read about this recipe for a grilled pork chop with molasses butter which I thought I'd give a shot. It was quite good. It's just the pork part we weren't crazy about. Texture? I don't know.....we're fish and chicken folks here. It is an interesting glaze I would never had thought about. If you like pork and molasses, give this a try. It's quite interesting!
I served this with potato pancakes (leftover mashed potatoes formed into patties first dipped into flour, then egg, then Panko breadcrumbs, fried in canola oil) and steamed broccoli/cauliflower. This recipe serves 2.
Black Pepper Chops with Molasses Butter
2 pork chops, about 1 to 1 1/2" thick
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp coursely-ground pepper
In a small bowl, blend butter, molasses, and lemon juice. Set aside. Rub chops on both sides with pepper. Grill turning once until done. Top each chop with a tablespoon of molasses butter.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lindie in the Toy Box

Lindie had been having a bit of trouble getting into the toy box because of her short stature, so Papa turned it over on its side so she could rummage through its entire contents. And she did. Toys are everywhere, but she had such a good time. Thank you, Papa!!!!

Tikki Masala

A few weeks ago I was browsing the spice aisle at Wal-Mart and ran across some pre-packaged seasonings for some very easy meals. I picked up three of them. One was Chicken Tikki Masala. I hadn't made it in quite a while and it just sounded good. Talk about a quick, easy meal. This doesn't quite measure up to a full-blown put-it-together-yourself Tikki Masala, but it weren't bad!!!! Plus, this recipe (which serves 6) only uses 1/3 cup of cream, much less than the recipes I've used before.
I served this over Jasmine rice, with some whole-grain Naan bread I found in the grocery store (quite good) and some steamed asparagus. This is the recipe that came on the card, although the spices were included and already pre-measured:
Package included:
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
You will need:
2 Tbsp butter
1 to 1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 can (14-15 oz) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 c heavy cream
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, onion, and lemon juice and stir 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add all of the spices except crushed red pepper, cook and stir one minute.
Stir in tomatoes until well mixed. Stir cream into cornstarch and salt until smooth. Gradually stir into skillet. Stir in crushed red pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently, simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Serves: 6

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Go-To Salmon Recipe

I try to serve salmon at least once a week, usually twice. Oftentimes, it's an Asian-inspired dish. I happened to run across this recipe on Lynn Rosetta Kasper's "Splendid Table" program on NPR. I used to listen to her program every week, but once we moved to Chattanooga, it's not available on the NPR station here (check to see if it's available in your area, or check what was on her latest program). Anyway....this recipe combines just about everything I love.....salmon, ONIONS! whole-grain mustard, fresh dill. It's another recipe you can pretty much make ahead and have on the table in minutes. I served it tonight with steamed broccoli and a baked red potato.
(and I cut this recipe down to just serve two....this supposedly serves four, but I think some things might be excessive)
The Onions:
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
Ice water
Dill Mustard Sauce:
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 Tablespoons minced onion
1/4 white or cider vinegar, or to taste
2 Tablespoons sugar, or to taste
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup coarse-grain dark mustard
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
S&P to taste
The Salmon:
4 salmon steaks, about 1" thick (I cannot find steaks here....I have to use fillets)
Olive Oil
Place onion slices in a bowl. Cover with ice cubes, then cold water. Refrigerate for about an hour (little less or much more okay).
Make Dill Mustard Sauce. Mix all ingredients together.
Rub salmon with oil & S&P. We have an outdoor George Foreman grill. I preheat it at Number 4 for about 15 minutes. I grill it for a total of 15 minutes if it is at least 1" thick. Tonight, the fillet was about 3/4" thick, so I started it with skin-side down for about 8 minutes, turned it, then cooked for about 4 more minutes. PERFECTION.
Drain and dab dry the onions. Place on a platter. Spread about half of the sauce on the onions, top wtih grilled salmon. Spread the remainder of the dill sauce on top of the salmon.
I bought just over 1/2 pound of Coho Salmon and it was just right for the two of us (about 4 ounce serving, each). Again, I served this with steamed broccoli and a baked red potato.
Just right. My, it was so good!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Everyone has their favorite chili recipe. I have to admit, I haven't found the perfect recipe yet, although I've enjoyed every different one I've tried. This recipe came from the USA Cookbook by Sheila Lukins which I tweaked just a bit.
Cook 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped green pepper, and 1/2 chopped red pepper in olive oil or cooking spray until soft, about 10 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves minced garlic.
Crumble 1/2 pound Italian sausage (I used turkey) and 1 pound ground turkey (I used turkey breast) and cook until brown. Drain any fat.
Add 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 2 teaspoon cocoa powder, 2 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 Tablespoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed red peppers to taste and coursely-ground black pepper to taste. Stir to blend, cook a couple of minutes.
Add a 28-ounce car whole Italian plum tomatoes (crushed with your hands) and the juice. Add 1/4 dry red wind. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. I add a bunch of chopped cilantro (1/4 to 1/2 cup). Cook about 5 more minutes. Stir in some chopped parsley and salt to taste.
I served the chili on jasmine rice, topped with chopped green onions, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. I'll use the leftovers to make Frito chili pies (put Fritos on the bottom, then add some chopped sweet onions and cheddar cheese, top with hot chili....yummmmm!!!)

Bar-B-Q Shrimp over Rice

I need a quick, easy meal the other night and thought I'd try the recipe on this bottle of Cajun Power Garlic Sauce (we always had this in the house when we lived in Texas, I picked up some more when I was at the New Orleans School of Cooking). I had everything on hand, just had to thaw some shrimp. This would be really good with chicken also:
Bar-B-Q Shrimp or Crawfish
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 oz slice mushrooms
3 oz Cajun Power Garlic Sauce
couple dashes Worchestershire sauce
1/2 pound shrimp, 1/2 pound crawfish, or 1/2 pound chicken
chopped green onions
chopped fresh parsley
Melt butter. Add pepper and onions, cook until tender, add mushrooms. Cook 3 minutes, add garlic sauce and worchestershire. Reduce heat. Add green onions, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve over rice.
I served this with broccoli/cauliflower salad. Just chop broccoli and cauliflower, slice some carrots, and add some thinly sliced green onions. The full dressing amount (I substantially cut this down) is 1 cup mayo, 1/3 cup tarragon vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sugar. Mix and add amount you like on raw vegetables.

Pasta Salad

I guess everyone has their favorite add-ins for pasta salad. For a quick, easy, satisfying dinner, I added this to some tri-colored pasta:

Garbanzo beans
Grape tomatoes
Red Onions
Fresh Basil
Dried Italian Seasoning
Black Olives

I used Fat-Free Italian Salad Dressing

Serve with a crusty baquette with olive oil and either balsamic vinegar or coursely-cracked black pepper (or both!)

The Girls Help in the Kitchen

I can always count on help from Spot, Muffin, and Lindie when I'm working in the kitchen!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Needed a jolt back to Asian cooking. Still had some leftover rotisserie chicken and have been wanting to try a Thai Chicken Pizza for a while. We were both very happy with the outcome. I combined a couple of different recipes and came up with this:

1 thin Boboli pizza shell

1/2 cup prepared Peanut Sauce (I found HOUSE OF TSANG brand Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce in the Asian had a bit too much heat for Jim, so I thinned it by using about 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Peanut Sauce, and 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter)

2 cups (about 1/2 pound) shredded chicken
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 large carrot, shredded
2 green onions, thinly slice (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 very thinly sliced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Mix chicken, cheese, and cilantro in a bowl. Add about 1/3 of the peanut sauce and stir. Spread the remaining peanut sauce on the pizza shell. Top with chicken mixture and spread over shell. Bake at 400 for about 8-12 minutes.

Spread shredded carrots first over the cooked pizza, then sprinkle green onions and red peppers. Garnish with chopped peanuts.

I served this with a fresh spring roll and sweet chili sauce (wrapped in rice paper, not a fried egg roll) from Publix (since I didn't have time to make my own).

Chicken Shepherd's Pie

I had picked up a rotisserie chicken on sale the other day and so needed to think of something different I could use some shredded chicken in. I was really craving some old-fashioned creamy mashed potatoes and I ran across a new recipe for Chicken Shepherd's Pie on
This recipe serves 6.
8 potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 medium head roasted garlic
1 pound cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Peel, chop, and boil potatoes until tender. Drain, then mash potatoes. Add butter, milk, and roasted garlic and mix in. Set aside.
Arrange chicken evenly in the bottom of a casserole dish, then sprinkle with spices, then layer peppers, corn, and all but 1/4 cup cheese. Spread mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until brown around edges.
OK, NOW......let me tell you what I did! First, since it was just the two of us and this was a new recipe, I might not want tons of leftovers. So I figured I'd half the recipe and use a small casserole dish (7 x 5 1/2 x 2"). For the mashed potatoes, I used butter, cream cheese, and skim milk.
The outcome was just ok. Tasty, hit the spot, but needed some tweaking, I thought. That was the first day. The leftovers the second day were much better. So this is what I'll do next time.
Since the recipe calls for chicken breast meat, I'd add just a tad of chicken stock to the bottom of the dish, and maybe add a bit of dark meat just to add some moisture. DO NOT cut back on the fresh herbs.....this absolutely makes the dish! I think I might add some chopped, slightly cooked (crisp-tender) broccoli and probably bump up the amount of red pepper and corn. And DO NOT used reduced-fat cheese. This needs that fat to really flavor the dish.
I also did an on-line search for microwave roasted garlic since I really didn't want to heat up my kitchen to roast one head of garlic at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Generally if I'm going to cook something at a high head for a certain amount of time, I'll roast some garlic at the same time, but I didn't have any extra on hand. The microwave version worked just fine. And it only took a few minutes.
I think I would make this ahead of time, either the day before or that morning. I think I would bake it for 20-25 minutes (covered, a bit longer if making the full recipe) without the top layer of cheese. A few hours before serving, I'd put it out to come to room temperature, then bake again at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until hot throughout. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and then broil (watch closely!) until the cheese is melted.
I basically cut in half all the ingredients for the pie and it made 3 nice servings. I scooped the mashed potatoes into a ziploc bag, cut a tip off of the corner, and "squirted" little bumps of potatoes on top of the casserole (sorry, you can't tell from the photo). It really looked nice. I had some steamed asparagus and carrots as side dishes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nunu's Cajun Tilapia

The other day, Jim and I went to Outback and he got the most wonderful tilapia entree. I brought a bit of the sauce home to try to recreate it. This dish is SO easy, quick, and delicious. This is about a 15 minutes meal. I had some leftover brown rice from the Crock Pot Hoisin Chicken dinner and a bag of steamable vegetables which I served with the fish.
First, the sauce. I sauteed a couple of shrimp (chopped), mushrooms and green onions, then added some jarred alfredo sauce. I put in a bit of ketchup for color and a couple of shakes of my new go-to condiment: Nunu's Cajun Seasoning. I pretty much put this in EVERYTHING I cook (soups, mashed potatoes, vegetables, just about anything). For the tilapia, I simply dusted it in flour (seasoned with Nunu's, of course) and sauteed it in a butter/olive oil combination. So good, so easy.
P.S. You can order your own jar of Nunu's Seasoning at

It's Autumn in Chattanooga!!!!

Oh my! Is there anything more wonderful than autumn in Chattanooga? I really didn't think we were going to have the gorgeous fall colors since it was such a long, hot, rainless summer, but boy! was I ever wrong!!!! I need to get out early one morning this week to show you pictures of the beautiful drive we take everyday, down East Brainerd Road. It is stunning! And cool! I actually had to put an extra blanket on the bed. Oh, how I LOVE this time of year!!!!!

Papa and Lindie

Lindie is one Great Big Papa's girl.

Spot's Pantry

Papa went to the frig. No other explanation needed.

Crock Pot Orange Hoisin Chicken

Most times, I really love spending most of the day in the kitchen. But every once in a while, it's fun to throw something in the crock pot and Voila! Dinner with no effort.
This is such an easy one, tasty, too. This original recipe serves 4-6 (I cut it in half when I made it). I bought a bag of steamable broccoli crowns and made up a batch of brown rice. Recipe says to cook 5-7 hours on low, I cooked it for 5 hours and it was a bit dry. I'll shoot for 4 next time.
2 Tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 slices peeled, fresh ginger, about 1/4" thick
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon sesame oil (My Favorite!!!)
4 (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon cold water
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Chopped green onions
In a small bowl, combine the OJ, honey, soy, hoisin, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Pour the mixture into a ziploc bag. Add chicken breasts and coast with the sauce. Transfer the coated chicvken to the slow cooker, then pour the remaining sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and cooked through (4-5 hours?)
Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat, add the cornstarch slurry and cook, stirring a few times, until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken and pass the rest at the table. Serve the chicken over rice garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Fall is in the air and I just had to make some autumn cookies yesterday. My friend, Pat, made these for me one Christmas and they are quintessential autumn cookies! Oh my, did the house smell good!
SWEDISH PEPPARKAKOR (if you rap the cookie with your knuckle and it breaks into three pieces, you'll have good luck!)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Raw sugar and or almonds, halved, optional
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, molasses, water, and orange peel. Beat well.
Add flour mixture and beat until well mixed. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8" thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with raw sugar and/or top each with an almond half.
Bake in 350 oven for 8 minutes or until just brown around the edges. Cook on wire rack.
1 cup butter
6 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream butter, sugar, vanilla. Add flour and salt. Fold in nuts.
Take approximately 1 Tablespoon dough between palms and roll into a small log. Curve into crescent shape.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Roll in confectioner's sugar while warm. Cool completely on rack.
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup flour
Beat butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl until combined. Stir in flour.
Using 24-36 ungreased 1 3/4" mini muffin tins, press a rounded teaspoon of pastry evenly into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Fill each pastry cup with the pecan filling:
Pecan Filling:
Beat together 1 egg, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 Tablespoon melted butter. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans.
Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is puffed. Cool slightly in the muffin cups, then remove and cook completely on a wire rack.
(Jim and The Girls appproved of each of these cookies!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potato Leek Soup & Wheatberry Salad

Well, we finally broke 80 degrees here. I got a little antsy and had the urge to make soup. I ran across a new Potato Leek Soup recipe that I thought I'd give a shot. Now, initially I was a bit disappointed. But, as it sat, and as I continued to taste it, it kinda grew on me. I'm really anxious to try it tomorrow. I generally do a cream-based PLS, but this is a broth-based soup, with a bit of evaporated milk added at the very end.

What I was REALLY anxious to try was a new Wheatberry Salad recipe. I love whole grains. And wheatberry has got to be at the top of my list. I don't know if it's my age, or just advancing to new food dimensions, but texture is becoming as important to me as taste. I just LOVE the chewiness of wheatberries (try adding them to a batch of split pea soup....oh, yummmm!!!). I found this recipe in the last edition of "RELISH," a foodie magazine which comes each month in our local newspaper. It has an Asian-based dressing (sold!) and includes zucchini, spinach, apples, and red peppers. I was not disappointed!

POTATO LEEK SOUP (Crock Pot Recipe):

6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, washed, sliced, including white and green parts
1 cup chopped onion
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
chopped fresh parsley
minced fresh garlic (I like alot, I added 3-4 cloves)
2 Tablespoons butter
12 oz can evaporated milk
bacon (either cooked and crumbled, or I used Bacon Pieces in a jar, much less fat)
shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used reduced-fat)
chopped chives (out of my herb garden, but you can use dried)

**** OOPS! Almost forgot.......add a dash of NUNU'S Cajun Seasoning or Joe's Hot Stuff to bump up the flavor abit, without too much heat!!!!!

Combine everything except last 4 ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low 7-9 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Stir in a an of evaporated milk the last 45 minutes. Serve hot topped with bacon, cheddar, and chives.

Probably makes about 6 full servings.


12 ounces dried wheat berries
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
5-6 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cut into small bits
1-2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup minced red onion


2 minced garlic cloves
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Place wheatberries in a large bowl. Cover with water by about 2" and soak 2 hours. Drain well. Place wheatberries in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about an hour, until somewhat chewy and tender. Drain and rinse.

Whisk dressing ingredients. Add other ingredients to wheatberries and toss with dressing. (I made the full recipe because I knew I would want to eat on it for days. You could easily half the recipe and have a couple of large side salads, and still have a bit of leftovers).

I served the soup and salad with my new favorite: Pepperidge Farms Artisan Whole Grain rolls, found in the freezer section next to bread dough.

***Gotta try a dash of NUNU's or JOE's on this one, too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

Well, it's still in the upper 80's here in Chattanooga. I am so antsy to start making soup and spending more time in the kitchen, but I need cool weather to do that!

So, salad again tonight and probably tomorrow night. By Wednesday or Thursday, we should into more seasonal weather (70's!). YEAH!

Needed something tonight that wouldn't heat up and kitchen and try to keep us cool. We love salads, so I tried a new one tonight. It was from Top Secret Recipes for APPLEBEE'S Oriental Chicken Salad. This recipe made two main salads.


Oriental Dressing:
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mayo (I used reduced-fat)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/18 to 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Let Chill (I only used about half of this amount.....but we don't like lots of dressing on salads)

I prepared the salad portion of it before preparing the chicken and kept it chilling in the frig. I slightly changed the recipe to use what I had on hand, but basically it's almost the same at the Top Secret recipe. I mixed this in a large bowl:

1 head chopped romaine
1/2 bag prepared cole slaw mix
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 red pepper, very thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small green onions, sliced thinly
1/4 cup crispy chow mein noodles
1 Tablespoon sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

Put in frig while preparing chicken:

8 oz uncooked chicken

Now, generally I just grill the chicken. But I thought I try to follow the recipe of frying the chicken, but lightening it considerably. This is how I prepared the chicken:

In one bowl, whisk one egg (I used 1/4 cup egg substitute) and about 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
In another bowl, mix 1/2 cup crushed cornflakes and 1/2 cup flour, with a bit of S&P

Cut the chicken into either strips or chunks, however you like them served. Dip the chicken first in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture.

Instead of pouring a gob of oil in the pan, I first sprayed it heavily with cooking spray. As it was heating, I poured in just enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan to give the chicken some crispiness (2 Tablespoons oil at the most). Cook the chicken until brown on both sides. Remove and set on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Dress the salad mixture with the Oriental dressing. Divide onto two dinner plates. Sprinkle a few more chow mein noodles and almonds on top. Top with grilled or fried chicken.

I served this with a Pepperidge Farm Artisan Whole Grain Roll (new product I just found in the freezer section, very good, and so handy to have in the freezer) and black, seedless grapes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Night-THAI

I am so ready for the heat to STOP!!! We're going to be in the upper 80's this weekend. Please Please Please....I need cool, cloudy weather!
I'm so ready to get back in the kitchen. You just can't cook like I want when it's hot outside.
OK, finished with that tirade. What I've really been crazing lately is just about anything Asian. I used to do a lot of Asian cooking and I just got away from it the last few years. I did a Thai Curry Shrimp a month or so ago but this recipe is a bit different (I combined a couple of curry recipes, most of this is from Emeril Lagasse)....this one has a bit more depth of flavor and it will definitely be back on the table again soon. You can prepare almost everything ahead of time and it will be ready to serve in less than 10 minutes. Oh, My! Is is so good, quick, and easy!
this recipe serves 2
In saute pan, heat oil or spray with cooking spray. Add:
1/4 c sliced green onions
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
1 medium carrot, trimmed and shredded
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoon chopped cilantry
1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh basil
Saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add:
1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoon Thai red curry paste
Saute 30-60 seconds. Add:
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar.
Stir. Add:
1/2 can coconut milk (lightened works great).
Bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
1/2 pound uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp (any size will do)
Stir until the shrimp are done, about 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.
Remove from heat and stir in:
1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh basil
Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish with a sprig of basil or cilantro.
I also serve black, seedless grapes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Even the Cat Got Treats!

Pauline (Lindie's best buddie) even got in on the anniversary cupcakes! THANKS AGAIN, LINDIE!!!!


It was one year ago today that little Lindie Lou left the animal shelter, was transported to our veterinarian where she was spayed, and then later that afternoon I was able to pick her up and bring her to her new home. Oh, that was one frightened little girl. And was for a long time. But no longer! She really loves her new home and is especially sweet on her Papa. In fact, for her anniversary, he stopped by Gigi's Cupcakes and brought home a slew of treats for her to share with her sisters (even the cat). WE ARE SO GLAD YOU'RE HERE, LINDIE!!!!! We all love you so much!


Now you know, we don't go much for beef around here. The closest we'll get is a hamburger, and if we have a choice of turkey or buffalo, we'll always opt for that choice. But the other day, I just got to thinkin' (a bit of my Texan husband does tend to rub off of me every now and agin'......sometimes I lose my "G"s). Anywho.......I got to thinkin' about last St. Pat's Day when I did a corned beef. Golly, that's good!!!!! Why do I only do corned beef once a year? Well, I guess that brief spat of cool weather got the better of me and I could think of nothing else, so when I was at the grocery store yesterday and the package caught me eye I had to pick it up. So this morning, PLUNK, into the crock pot it (and the vegetables) went. I did forget the cabbage {{sigh}}, but the onions, carrots, and red potatoes filled the hole a bit. Plus, after my binge in the mustard aisle at Central Market (Texas), well, I could have just sat there all night! Oh, the girls enjoyed it, too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Tribute to Elvis

OK, I cannot believe what I did today. The stars must be aligned in one wacky manner today!

So, while we were at the gift shop at Graceland, I picked up this postcard with the recipe for Elvis' favorite sandwich, Peanut Butter and Banana. Now I don't care for bananas or peanut butter straight up, but I've heard the stories about this sandwich for about as long as I can remember. And it just so happened I had three things in the house that generally aren't here: white bread (it was this week's freebie at Publix), creamy peanut butter, and a really ripe banana. It was the making for The Perfect Storm.

But I have to tell you, it wasn't that bad. Jim and I each had a quarter of it and the girls finished the rest, but even with eating just that small amount, I will say I did feel a bit better before I ate it! Holy smokes, I couldn't tell you the last time I ate white bread, and between the peanut butter and butter, I don't even want to know the fat grams in those few bites! I threw a few grapes on the plate just for color because, believe me, there is no way to "health-up" this sandwich!

Hmmmm.......maybe I'll pick up some bologna while the white bread is still around and see if fried bologna sandwiches taste like I remember. Or not!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nunu's Shopping Trip

Had to add one more vacation photo. This is Jim in front of Nunu's Market in Youngsville, LA. We stocked up on Nunu's Seasoning and a bunch of other Cajun stuff for us and our friend Donna, a fellow foodie who lives in Minnesota. I was able to get a load of BOUDIN into the freezer, so we're looking forward to savoring it all winter long. Hope you can ship more to us come spring, Riley!

This is Jim at the front of the Buford Pusser Home. I wish I had taken a photo of the house itself. But anyway.....this was the home of Buford Pusser of Adamsville, TN. Did any of you ever watch Walking Talll? It is really an incredible story. This former Marine (Paul had to love him) went back home and wanted to clean up his town to be good and safe. But the Dixie Mafia reigned in the area.....Buford wanted to clean up the town of the moonshining and prostitution without carrying a gun. He did a great job. But his wife was murdered in an attempt on his life, and years later, Buford died in a questionable car "accident" when he was killed. The people who man the museum actually knew him and his family. I was thinking this would be another "Roadside America" stop, but it was really quite moving. You have the opportunity to move through the home that his remarkable man inhabited. You can stand in his living room, his kitchen, the garage where his car that he was killed in stands. The shoes (size 13 1/2) that he wore when he was murdered are on display. It is all so touching. This was a big man who really lived such a humble life. This is quintessential Americana. Thank you, Buford. And thank you Adamsville, for preserving this great piece of America.

Vacation Photos

Jim at the entrance to Elvis' Graceland, Memphis, TN. You gotta go just to be able to say "What the heck was he thinking?!!!!!" (ok, he was just 22 years-old when the bought the place). And I remember in 1968 or '69 driving down Elvis Presley Boulevard with my parents on the way to visit my uncle in Aiken, SC, and seeing this gaudy "mansion" with with wrought-iron gates with musical notes. As a family, we just pointed and laughed. There was a line of people lined up outside the gates. By the time we got to Nashville, we saw on the news that Elvis was coming home that day and fans were lined up to see him. Although our family wasn't a fan of Elvis, we now have to concede that Elvis had a major impact on the music and culture of this country.
The interesting thing about the tour (for me) was to watch the tourists who were visiting. Even though we were there on a weekday (Friday), I didn't see one single American under the age of 40. It was primarily older Americans, and a BUNCH of Europeans. Jim and I pondered on how long the Graceland attraction would last once us old cootsters catch the Big Bus!


THANK YOU.......THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!! Jim at Graceland

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lindie's Adoption Anniversary

It was an extra-special day here on Stepping Rock. One year ago, Jim and I went downtown to the Humane Education Society of Chattanooga to help just one little dog and give her a home. It was such a difficult decision, but we settled on the most frightened little girl at the shelter. There were hundreds of dogs begging for a home and I would have given anything to have helped them all. Lindie (shelter name "Stephanie") was just about the only one who wouldn't come near us. She tucked herself as far away from us as she could get, stuffed into the corner of a small, smelly, concrete wired kennel, trembling.
Talk about a 180! This little girl is a real pistol! She spent her anniversary getting lots of extra treats (cheese, treats, cookies) and doing a stellar job making sure HER yard was completely free of all unwanted critters. Good job, Lindie! We're so glad you're a part of our family!

A House Divided

In the past, we've switched the flags after each quarter, but this year Jim figured he'd could mount both the OU and TEXAS on one pole! So this way the neighborhood could see fans of the two greatest college rivals CAN exist in harmony!

Muffin & Poopers

Poopers always makes an appearance for the game.....Paul would have insisted on that! Here he keeps vigil over the dreaming Muffin.

During the Game

This is my sweetest girl can see what a big interest she had in the game!

OU-TEXAS Weekend!

WOW! This one stuck up on us! OU-Texas weekend! Hmmmm....wonder who's gonna win????