Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Tetrazzini

I made this really easy, tasty entree using some of the wonderful leftover, brined turkey. I served it with a simple Italian salad of spring greens, onions, tomatoes, olive-cured olives, and an Italian vinaigrette, along with those wonderful Rosemary Salt rolls from Fresh Market.
Serves 4
6 oz spaghetti, cooked
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup turkey/chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup +2 Tbsp cream
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp fresh thyme
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Coarsely-ground pepper
1 1/2 cups diced turked (about 1/2" dice)
5 oz frozen, thawed green peas
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375. Spray 8x8 glass dish with cooking spray. In saucepan or skillet, melt butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, until faintly colored, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in stock until sauce is smooth and thickened, just a couple of minutes. Whisk in cream. Add 1/4 tsp salt, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Stir in turkey and peas, and heat through. Adjust seasonings.
Put the pasta in the dish and spoon the turkey mixture over it. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Sprinkle evenly over the sauce. Bake, uncovered, until heated through and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Turn on broiled and quickly brown the top. Serve immediately.
Can easily double recipe and make in 13x9 pan.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey/Rice Soup and Black Bean/Corn Salad

Tonight's dinner was all winged...no recipes. Turkey/Rice Soup with a Black Bean and Corn Salad. No real recipes. This is what I did.
First, put the turkey carcass in with some onions, carrots, celery, fresh parsley and thyme, peppercorns and almost covered with water. Brought to a boil and then immediately brought to a simmer for about 4 hours. About half way through I kinda stirred the carcass around to get it mixed up. About this time I tasted the broth and added a bit of kosher salt and some Knorr's chicken broth to bring up the flavor. After about the 4 hours, I lined a sieve with cheesecloth, poured everything through it into another stock pot. I let cool, then cleaned the carcass for meat for The Girls.
I let the broth cool in the frig to form a layer of fat and skimmed it off. Then I put a couple of cups of broth in a pan with about a quarter cup of wild rice and brown Texmati rice, brought to a boil, then let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the rice was cooked.
In the meantime, I chopped up a stalk of celery (with leaves) , half of a sweet onion, a couple of carrots, and a couple of cloves of garlic. I threw all this in with several cups of turkey broth and cooked until almost done. I added about a cup of diced turkey and then the cooked rice (along with remaining broth) to the original broth. That's it. Taste it and serve with done.
I served this with another off-the-cuff salad: Corn and Black Bean. I had a package of frozen corn and thawed out about half of it. I drained a can of black beans and rinsed them. Chopped up some red onions, red pepper, and cilantro. I whisked together 3 Tbsp canola oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar, some S&P, some Durkee Ethnic Seasoning (southwest....cumin, chili powder, etc) and poured it and stirred the salad.
I served this with my new favorite Pepperidge Farm Artisan Whole Grain Rolls. It was a really nice dinner.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tomato and Olive Tapenades (with blurry photo!)

These are two tapenades we used to make at a restaurant I worked at in Minnesota. I love tapenades and would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. They are so easy to put together and will keep for weeks (or longer). I make my crostini using a good baguette (I usually buy at Panera, sometimes using a whole-grain baguette), cut into about 1/4" slices, brush with olive-oil, and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes. I usually turn them over and bake maybe another 5 minutes or so until crisp.
OLIVE TAPENADE (this is the full recipe, I usually half it and gives me plenty to snack on for a few weeks.....Jim doesn't eat much of it)
8 oz green olives, chopped
16 oz black olives, chopped
4 oz sun dried tomatoes, chopped (I use smoked SDTs)
16 oz marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup olive oil
That's it. Just mix it up and mmmmmm........enjoy!
TOMATO TAPENADE (again, I usually 1/2 this recipe)
10 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp salt
1/4 coarsely-ground black pepper
Mix, then just pour a bunch of balsamic vinegar until it's soupy. Serve on crostini.

Delicious Turkey Gravy (no photo)

I have never made turkey gravy! Jim doesn't care for it and when brining a turkey, you simply don't need it. But we were having company and since it is usually a basic on the Thanksgiving table for most people, I thought I better give it a shot.

This recipe is so easy and it really has a wonderful flavor. I was shocked that I turned out such a great turkey gravy!


1 Tbsp canola oil
Neck and giblets from turkey
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
Pan drippings from roasted turkey
2 cups chicken/turkey/vege stock or broth
S&P to taste

In medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Brown the turkey neck and giblets in the oil, turning until well-browned and there are bits stuck to the pan. Remove giblets and neck and discard (I cut up the kidneys and added to the dressing and saved the neck to cook down with the carcass).

Reduce heat to medium-low and add butter until it melts, stirring and scraping up the browned bit on the bottom on the pan. Add the flour and pan drippings (I just kind of scooped them out of the roasting pan, trying to avoid the grease) and stir to combine. Cook over medium-low or medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until butter/flour mixture is golden. Slowly whisk in the broth and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking often, for about 10-15 minutes until the gravy has thickened and is bubbly and hot. Season with S&P.

Scalloped Potatoes with Three Cheeses (no photo)

This is a dish that was demo-ed at Central Market when we lived in San Antonio (www.CentralMarket.com) and Jim and I both went nuts over it. It is a staple anytime we make a big dinner. The blue cheese just puts this one over the top. It is delicious!!!

Since it's usually just the two of us, I generally half this recipe and use an 8x8 glass dish to bake it. When I made it yesterday, I went ahead and baked it and the dressing at the same time, took out and covered while turkey roasted, then reheated as directed. I don't know if it was the size I made, or the reheating, but it was, sadly, a bit dry. Hopefully you can make this and serve it right away. If you are going to reheat, I would initially bake it less, maybe 1/2 hour each time instead of 45 minutes.


Yield: 12 servings (using a 9 x 13 dish) or half recipe using 8x8 dish

3/4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar (4 oz)
3/4 cup blue cheese (4 oz) (I add a bit more!)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (1 1/4 oz)

4 lbs Russets, peeled, cut into 1/4" thick rounds (I used a mandolin)
1 1/2 Tsps salt
1/2 tsp coarsely-ground black pepper
1/4 very finely minced onion
3 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp butter
3 cups milk (recipe calls for whole, but I've used skim with fine results)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly butter 13x9 glass baking dish (I used cooking spray). Mix cheeses in a small bowl.

Arrange half of the potatoes in prepared dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Sprinkle onion over, then flour. Dot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture over. Top with remaining potatoes, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp butter. Reserve remaining cheeses.

Bring milk to simmer in medium saucepan (I microwave on half power) until warm. Pour milk over potatoes (milk will not completely cover). Cover tightly with foil, bake 45 minutes. Remove foil (liquids will probably look somewhat curdled); sprinkle potatoes with reserved cheeses. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and cheese is a deep golden brown, about 45 minutes longer. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cover and rewarm in 375 degree oven about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Waldorf Salad (no photo)


1 cup coarsely chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved or quartered
2 sweet apples, cored and chopped (I used Honeycrisp....great choice!)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Butter lettuce for garnish

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the mayo and lemon juice. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4+ tsp coarsely-ground black pepper. Mix in the apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

(I made this the day before and even those I used full-fat mayo, it did get a bit watery. I would make this the day of serving.)

Makes 4 very generous servings, or 8 side servings.

Wild Rice Salad (no photo)


1/2 cup brown Texmati rice
1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 + 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Put chicken broth in a medium-sized saucepan. Add rice and wild rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover. Let cook about 40-45 minutes until rices are cooked. Cool completely.

Heat a small skillet on medium-high heat. Add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove pine nuts from pan and let cool.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.

In a large bowl, gently mix together the cooled, cooked rice, celery, green onions, peas, cranberries, pine nuts and dressing. Add S&P to taste.

Chill completely before serving.

(I mixed everything except the pine nuts and dressing and chilled overnight. I added the pine nuts and dressing. I love anything that has sesame oil in it and this salad is a great combination of tastes and textures. Leftovers are just as good as when first served. The recipe...from www.simplyrecipes.com says it would serve 4-5. Maybe if this were all you were eating. This recipe made a bunch! Enough for 3 of us at dinner, and plenty of leftovers. Yippee!!!)

Grandma Barton's Pecan Pie (no photo)

Grandma Barton's Pecan Pie

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup light syrup
1 to 1 1/2 cup pecan halves
1 9" pastry crust

Mix sugar and flour; add butter and work until creamy. Add eggs and beat with mixer until smooth and combined.

Add vanilla and syrup, mix well; Stir in pecans.

Pour into a pastry shell that has been in a 450 oven for 3 minutes. After filling is added, reduce temperature to 350; return pie to oven and continue cooking until center is firm to the touch (30-35 minutes).

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie (no photo)

Again, I apologize for no photos on the upcoming recipe. Poor photography skills yesterday.


1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs/separated
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 (9") graham cracker crust
whipped cream for garnish

In saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients (gelatin through nutmeg). Stir in milk, beaten egg yolks, and pumpkin. Cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat. Put mixture in shallow glass bowl and refrigerate until partially set, about an hour. Stir mixture and set aside.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold into pumpkin mixture along with whipped cream. Pour into crust and chill, at least one hour....mine was overnight.

Top with whipped cream.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


YIKES!!!!! I am so upset.....all of my photos came out smudged!!!! And had it not been for that, I would have had some great shots for you. So please just use your imagination! I'll post the recipes in the next day or two (maybe you could use one for Christmas), but the pictures are just too depressing! I must have gotten a sticky finger or maybe a dog's nose smack dab in the middle of the lens.
But this was my menu. We were graced with the presence of one of Jim's co-workers (hi Lisa!) and had a nice dinner followed by a nap and some football (really, would it have been a Thanksgiving without that?)
Turkey (brined with the World Market brine mix) and stuffed with rosemary and sage
Easy Turkey Gravy (recipe to follow)
Cranberry Sauce (plop, out of a can, Ocean Spray)
Cornbread Sage Dressing (stale white bread, cornbread, sauteed onion and celery, cooked turkey kidneys from the Easy Turkey Gravy, S&P, ground sage, chicken broth......cooked about 350....make it thick or thin depending if you like it moister or crispier)
Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes.....THE BEST!!!! (Recipe to follow)
Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and cut with an "X" at the stem, boiled in salted water 6-8 minutes)
Seasoned Italian Green Beans (in the vegetable aisle....either brand "Allen's" or "Margaret Holmes" are wonderful)
Waldord Salad (recipe to follow)
Wild Rice Salad (recipe to follow)
Deviled Eggs (I've never made them the same way twice. Usually mayo, mustard (yellow or Dijon), S&P, I like very finely minced onion, then an array of choices: horseradish, curry, wasabi, whatever might appeal to you
Bread: I used those wonderful Rosemary/Salt rolls I found at Fresh Market and also some of the frozen white "ball doughs" you find in the freezer section. A basic white bread dinner roll.
Appetizer: Tomato and Olive Tapenades with Crostini (recipes to follow)
Desserts: Grandma Barton's Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Whipped Cream (recipes to follow)
So again, I apologize for the crappy photo. I'll do better at Christmas! We'll be doing a Honeybaked Ham as the entree so I have a few weeks to get creative with my appetizers, sides, and desserts.
Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Espresso Mint Cookies

Holy Smokes! I really ran across a great recipe. I had found a few recipes over the last month calling for differently-flavored/colored Hershey's Kisses (Pumpkin Spice, one which had the colors of a candy corn), but I could never find those Kisses. Well, the other day I ran across these "Candy Cane" flavored Kisses at Walgreen's so I picked them up. I went to the Hershey website listed on the bag and found this recipe.

These cookies are SO GOOD!!!!! Crispy on the outside, very chewy on the inside the the mint is so delicious! You don't really taste the espresso, but I think it really adds a depth of flavor I hadn't expected. If you run across these Kisses, I urge you to pick them up and try a batch. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll send a bag to you, but only if you promise to bake up a batch. I'm gonna pick up some extra bags before these are gone. (UPDATE: I just went and picked up TEN bags of Kisses, so let me know if you need any!)

I started on my Thanksgiving menu today. Made my Grandma Barton's Pecan Pie, a Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, some Tomato Tapenade and Olive Tapenade with Crostini. I'll get photos when they're ready for presentation. I've got a full day planned in the kitchen tomorrow and GLORY BE!!!!! It's suppose to rain for the next few days! A full day in the kitchen, rain, and a couple of Lifetime Movies saved on the DVR. You know where to find me!


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp instant espresso (find in the coffee aisle next to instant coffee)
1 package (8 oz) Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Coarsely chop the kisses.

Cream the butter and sugars.

Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the chopped Kisses (this is a pretty dry dough.....I used my (CLEAN) hands to mix up the dough and Kisses.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes until golden around the edges, but still a bit soft in the middle.

This recipe made 2 1/2 dozen cookies for me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why can't I get these photos aligned? If anyone knows blogspot and can give me some tips.....send 'em on!
Anyway.....with autumn here and cooler weather, I am craving soup. Now I would generally never buy a soup mix, but when I was in World Market cornering the market on Turkey Brine, this "Spicy Pumpkin Soup" mix caught my eye. And so glad it did! This had so much flavor....I almost made myself sick. I could have easily eaten the entire pot (8 cups worth!) Jim wasn't as crazy about it as I was, so I guess that just leaves more for me.
I served this with an Italian-styled salad of romaine, red/yellow/orange pepper strips (from that cutie box of minis I got the other day), sliced fennel, and some chopped oil-cured olives, dressing in an Italian dressing and served with those lucious Rosemary/Salt Rolls I discovered at Earth Fare Market here in Chattanooga.
Ok, the soup is starting to settle. Time for Round 3?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I Love Beans! I live for the cool, rainy days when I have a great excuse to cook up a pot of pintos. Years ago I discovered my favorite flavor combo of my own, but this came years after having to endure the horror of "Bean Day" on those cold, rainy nights back in the 60's when I was just a kid. Coming from parents who were born and raised in SW Oklahoma (Dad, Fletcher, Mom, Apache) beans were a depression-era dinner. Ugghhhh.. the idea of walking home from grade school (yes, we walked!) and entering the house on a gray, rainy day and smelling those awful beans.....OH, it just set the mood. I don't know when, but at some point I began to love those beans. And of course you had to have cornbread with it. A few years ago I ran across a recipe in "Joy of Cooking" which SO much reminded me of my Grandmother Barton's cornbread. Oh, I do love this stuff. I have another cornbread recipe which Jim prefers and I'll post that the next time I make it, but this is such traditional southern cornbread. If Thanksgiving weren't next week and I need the leftovers for Sage Cornbread dressing, I could probably sit down tonight and eat the entire pan.
Saute some diced onions and garlic. Add dried pinto beans. Cover with water. Let come to a boil and then turn heat down. After an hour or so, throw in some dill weed, celery seed, and some bay leaves. After a bit, throw in some salt. Cook until beans are almost mushy. I serve with white rice. This time I served it with Allen's Italian Seasoned Green Beans.
SOUTHERN CORN BREAD (from Joy of Cooking)
Whisk together:
1 3/4 cups white cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Whisk 2 eggs together. Whisk in 2 cups buttermilk. Add this to dry ingredients.
Preheat over to 450. When at temp, put in a Tbsp of bacon fat. When melted, add cornbread mixture. Cook 20-25 minutes (test with toothpick or knife). Let cool or rack or trivet for about 5 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Greek Chicken Pasta

One more recipe my neighbor, Claudia, shared with me is Greek Chicken Pasta. I have since run across another almost identical recipe, but with just a few changes. I kinda merged the two, but I don't think I've made it the same way twice. Any variation is easy and delicious! I almost always have enough of the ingredients to throw together at the last minute. I just serve this with a good, crusty baguette. This recipe would serve 2-3 (2 of us and some for The Girls!)


6 oz cooked pasta (I usually use penne, but this time I used bow-tie)

Saute in olive oil:
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup diced red onion

then add:

8 oz diced chicken, cook about 5 minutes


7 oz marinated artichoke hearts (this time I used a 14 oz can, tough outer leaves peeled off and then halved)
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 small chopped tomato, or 12 grape tomatoes, halved, or 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I used smoked SDTs)
chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped Greek olives (I prefer olive-cured vs. Kalamata)

Mix together until heated through.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pat's Plant

When my friend and neighbor, Pat, left Chattanooga to move back up north to Wisconsin, she left some of her non-transferables (?) with me. One was this plant. I gotta tell you, I am not good with plants, but thank goodness Jim is in the house! This thing has just flourished! Isn't it gorgeous?!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


My neighbor, Claudia (thanks, Claudia!) made a copycat recipe of the Rattlesnake Pasta served at J. Alexander's restaurant. I have had theirs and believe you me, this recipe is even better and another Oh So Fast and Easy recipe.
For me, the secret that takes this pasta over the top is the cilantro. For the longest time I wouldn't go near cilantro. I discovered I wasn't the only one who thought it tasted like soap. In a cooking class at Central Market in San Antonio (check out their website, and if you are ever anywhere near DFW/Austin/San Antonio/Houston and if you're a true foodie, make a point to make a trip to this most incredible grocery store. It's even been featured on The Travel Channel. www.centralmarket.com ) Anywho..... I had a class with food scientist Shirley Corriher and she mentioned the Cilantro-Soap gene. Apparently, some people carrying a gene which makes cilantro taste like soap to them. I was so glad I wasn't alone! But I kept trying and trying hoping I would develop a taste for it. And then I discovered if the cilantro is in any way processed (cooked), even just a bit, I can not only eat it, but love it. So, just a little FYI.
Something new in my local Publix market are these containers of small sweet peppers. When I've made this recipe before, I'd usually buy one red, one yellow, and one orange sweet pepper. With just the two of us, I'd rarely use all of them, so the leftovers would just go in the freezer for soups and chili. But this little package was just $3, about half the price of buying 3 peppers, and I'll have much less leftover. Win/win.
Also, you can certainly make your own alfredo sauce, but I just find a jar at the store, always the one with the lowest fat content.
I hope you'll make this....it is one of my go-to meals and there is never any left over. This recipe would serve 2-3. I usually make an Italian salad (Romaine/Spring mix with pepperocini, fennel, kalamata olives, peppers, Italian vinaigrette) and a good baquette.
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cubed about 1/2", I cut them when they are still partially frozen, so much easier), then seasoned with a bit of cayenne and seasoned salt
3 oz (3/4 cup) sweet peppers, finely julienned (I usually use red, yellow, and orange)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tsp minced garlic
16 ounce jar (or 2 cups homemade) alfredo sauce
6 oz bow-tie pasta, or shape of your choice, cooked
Cook cubed chicken and garlic until almost done. Add peppers, onions, and cilantro. Cook until crisp-tender. Add alfredo sauce until heated. Add pasta. Heat throughout. Voila! A wonderful dinner!

Friday, November 12, 2010


This is a recipe I've been using for years. It is so easy and oh so good! It takes just a few minutes to prep everything and just 20 minutes of cooking time. It's a complete meal, just add a crusty baquette and some cold beverages and you're set!
2 pounds shell-on shrimp, about 26/30 count
2 packages (3 oz each) crab and shrimp boil
2 Tbsp salt
10-12 whole new potatoes, unpared and quartered
2-3 onions, quartered
1 link pork or Italian sausage, cut into 1 1/2" pieces (I used turkey kielbasa)
3 ears corn, cut in thirds
In large boiling pot, bring a gallon of water, crab and shrimp boil, and salt to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Add onions and sausage and boil for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and corn. Boil for 5 minutes more. Drain and serve with crusty bread. Makes 6 servings.
From "Hooked on Seafood: A Compilation of Texas' Best" by Annette Reddell Hegen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Southern Living Apple Cake

My neighbor, Claudia, brought over a few pieces of this cake several weeks ago and Jim just loved it (he loves all kinds of fruit-filled desserts). The recipe came out of the October 2010 edition of Southern Living. I had made a Red Velvet Cake last week and had tons of cream cheese frosting leftover, so I just used it on this.
The dough is relatively dry, so when I mixed in the apples and pecans I found it much easier to just use my hands instead of using a spoon. You will have about the same about of dough as you will of chopped apples.
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I used 2 cups)
1/2 cup botter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 lb. Granny Smith apples (about 4 large/5 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4" chunks
Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients, add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apples and 1 cup (I used 1 1/2 cup) pecans. (Batter will be very thick, similar to a cookie dough). Spread batter into a lightly greased (I used PAM) 13x9 pan.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cook completely in pan on a wire rack (about 45 minutes). Spread cream cheese frosting over top, sprinkling with remaining 1/2 cup pecans.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Asian Sesame Salmon and Broccoli Rabe

This is my 3rd use of the McCormick Spice Blend packages. This stuff is so handy and, even though the entire recipe is enclosed and I while I will use the recipe again, I probably won't buy the pre-packaged spices. But it's a great concept and if you work outside the home and have children, this is a wonderful way to serve a terrific dinner for you family.
I always try to serve salmon at least once or sometimes twice a week. This is such a great recipe. The broccoli rabe was a great side dish and we're still getting sweet, crisp corn-on-the-cob. Plus, I've discovered the BEST rosemary/salt rolls at Fresh Market here in Chattanooga. This was really a great meal. I also made a wonderful Apple Cake, which I'll get a photo of and post next.
ASIAN SESAME SALMON (8 servings....I obviously cut this down to feed just us two)
PACKAGE INCLUDES (or you can assemble on your own)
2 tsp toasted sesame seed
1 tsp minced garlic (dried)
1 tsp minced onion (dried)
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, or to taste)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 lbs salmon fillets
Mix honey, green onions, soy sauce, and all of the spices except crushed red pepper in a small bowl until well blended. Stir in crushed red pepper to taste. Place salmon in a 13x9 (I used a much smaller dish since I was using a 3/4# salmon fillet) baking dish. Spoon honey mixture evenly over salmon.
Roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Baste occasionally with honey mixture.

1# broccoli rabe (rappini)
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth
Saute garlic slices in olive oil until just clear, not brown. Add broccolini and saute for a few minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover and cook until broccolini is tender. Squeeze lemon over broccolini.

Frito Chili Pie

I was out all day on Tuesday running errands and needed something quick and satifying for dinner that night. I had some chili in the freezer (see about a week ago), so I just thawed that out, chopped some onions, had some shredded Mexican blend cheese on hand, and poured a bowl of Frito's chips. It just hit the spot.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I was looking through my library of cookbooks (200+) thinking I need to use these guys every once in a while! I pulled out a Sara Moulton ("Cooks at Home") book and picked up this chicken recipe.

When it comes to herbs, it's so hard to pick a favorite. It just depends on what I'm cooking. Each one has such a special place in my palate. Oh, but tarragon just tugs at my heart! So when I saw a recipe for "Tarragon Chicken" I knew I had to give it a try. And it was just wonderful. Now, Sara's recipe called for dried tarragon but given that I have a flower-bed full of fresh tarragon, that's what I used.

One thing I really like about this cookbook is that she suggests side dishes for her entrees (sometimes I run across a really great entree recipe, but I have no idea what I might serve with it). So, one side dish for the chicken was "Roasted Lemon Potatoes." I will share the recipe with you, but I gotta tell you, a staple in our house is Roasted Red Potatoes using my very own made-up recipe. Jim even said he preferred my potatoes, although Sara's were just fine. So here are the recipes. I served steamed cauliflower/broccoli with the chicken and potatoes.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 shallots, minced
2 tsp dried tarragon (2 Tbsp fresh tarragon)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half
1 cup chicken broth

Sprinkle a small amount of water on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Place 2 of the breast halves on top of the plastic and sprinkle again with wter. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or mallet until about 1/4" thick. Repeat with remaining 2 breast halves.

Mix the flour with S&P in a shallow pie plate. Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Working in 2 batches, place half the chicken in the flour mixture and turn to coat on all sides. Shake off the excess flour and add to the skillet.. Cook until browned and cooked through 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate or platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with oil and chicken.

Add the shallots, tarragon, and wine to the skillet. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring to pick up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Boil until the liquid has reduced to 1 Tbsp. Pour in the cream, bring back to a boil, and boil until reduced by half. Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with S&P, reduce the heat to medium, and return the chicken to the skillet. Simmer, turning the chicken often, until warmed through and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Spoon some of the sauce over each piece of chicken and serve at once.


2 pounds white boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes, or small red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parlsey
1/4 cup EVOO
S&P to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot. Pour in enough salted cold water to cover by 2". Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat over to 450. Add the oregano, parsley, olive oil, S&P to potatoes and toss. Transfer to shallow baking sheet (I use a jelly-roll pan, covered with foil, and sprayed with cooking spray for VERY easy clean-up) and roast, stirring occassionally, until golden, about 1/2 an hour or so.


I ALWAYS use Red Potatoes. Depending on their size, I cut them into cubes, about 3/4". Then I drizzle olive oil over them and then sprinkle "Durkee Ethnic Creations...Ancho Chile" seasoning over them. I used to use something called "Sante Fe" seasoning (I think it might have been a McCormick blend, but haven't run across it in years) plus I use Montreal Seasoning. Basically these seasonings use chilies, cumin, garlic, onions. I can't get the Durkee seasoning here, but I always have to buy it on-line. I usually buy about ten 2.25 ounce jars at a time. I use it in so much, 3-bean salad, chili, anything that needs some of that cumin-kick.

Papa is Lindie's Best Bud

You never would have known it a year ago given that Lindie wouldn't even be in the same room with her Papa. No longer. Ice cream turned her around. She loves her Papa. Ice cream, or not.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Asparagus Bacon (or Ham) Quiche

I had a single store-bought refrigerated pie crust I needed to get out of the freezer, so thought I'd do this quiche. It's a recipe from an April 1997 Taste of Home magazine intially calling for bacon, but I used ham and added sauteed mushrooms. Either way, this is a great recipe. Jim really liked it. I think we could have easily eaten the entire pie, but we were able to save half of it for tomorrow. I served this with a cucumber salad and fresh fruit.


1 unbaked pastry shell
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (or about 3 ounces diced ham)
4-8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced, and sauteed (optional)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup Parmesan, divided
1 green onion, sliced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg


Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes; remove foil. Bake 5 minutes more; remove from oven.

Cook asparagus in a small amount of water until crisp-tender, just a few minutes. (I steamed mine in the microwave) Drain well.

Arrange bacon or ham and asparagus (and mushrooms if adding) in the crust. In a bowl, beat eggs, add cream, 1/2 cup cheese, onions, sugar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour over asparagus. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350; bake 23-25 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes about clean.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shrimp and Pasta Primavera

This is another McCormick Spice packet I found at the store. It has premeasured spices and the recipe. This really came out nicely....the dill is a nice touch. It is quick, easy, and delicious. This recipe serves 6. I served it with a Caesar Salad and whole grain rolls.

Package includes:
1 1/2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp minced garlic (dried)
1 tsp minced onions (dried)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme leaves
8 oz linguine
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 1/2 cups assorted cut-up vegetables, such as broccoli florets, sliced carrots, red bell pepper slices, peas
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1. Cook pasta inlarge saucepan, adding shrimp and vegetables during the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Drain well.
2. Mix remaining ingredients in same saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly with whik. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Add pasta, shrimp, and vegetables; toss gently to coast well. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Turkey Brine

Just a head's up on one of the best products I've found in a long time. Several years ago I discovered the secret to the perfect turkey: brining. What a difference! I never cared for turkey growing up because it was always so DRY. But I caught Alton Brown's show on brining, I tried it, and voila! Moist turkey. For years I've made my own brining solution, but last year I happened across a packet at The Cost Plus World Market. It was so easy, and oh so good!!! I went back to stock up but they were already sold out. I checked stores all the way to Atlanta and, of course, on-line. All gone. So when I found out it was coming back this year I was the first one at the store. And I bought six packages. And I'm going back for more.
If you've never brined and if you had a World Market near you (or look on-line at www.worldmarket.com) .....you have to try this!!!!! But get there soon.....the word is out and this stuff goes fast!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rosemary Honey Cookies

Years ago I ran across this recipe and I don't know why, but I have never made them until today. I wish I knew where I found the recipe because I would love to see what else these folks can offer. These are just wonderful and a really great autumn cookie. I think I will increase the rosemary by 1/2 to 1 teaspoon next time. The rosemary flavor is a bit faint to me, but you can still taste it and what a wonderful twist on a cookie!
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter (I used 3/4 cup butter)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups flour
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, butter, and sugar. Beat in egg, honey, and lemon juice.
Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture.
Drop by teaspoonfuls 2" apart onto greased baking sheets (I use parchment paper). Bake at 325 for 12-14 minutes (I liked my a bit browner, so I went 13-14 minutes).
Yield: 8 dozen small cookies

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seafood Marinade

When Jim and I first got married, we lived in Beaumont, Texas, just off the Gulf Coast. While living there, I found the BEST seafood shop ever called "Seafood Lovers." I can't remember if they had their own boats or not, but each day they went down to the Gulf and brought the fresh catch of the day back to the store. They sold a few other things including a marinade I bought just about every time I went in. And I went in alot! Several times a week. Our favorite catch was always the red snapper and this marinade just made it sing! When we found out we were going to be moving to San Antonio, I went in and talked with the owner and asked about the marinade. He knew I had bought gallons of it from them and when I promised I would never give anyone the recipe, he graciously chose to share it with me.
And I never have revealed his recipe. But, several years later I ran across a recipe in a Taste of Home magazine that is so close I don't you could ever tell the difference. So while this recipe is not the original, I don't think even the "Seafood Lovers" guys would ever know.
As I said, we almost always picked the snapper. But I'll be darned if I can find any in Chattanooga since we've been here. So I thought I'd give some frozen Orange Roughy I picked up at Publix yesterday. Oh, we'll be doing this again! This fish came out perfectly. It was so moist it just flaked.
You don't need to marinade a mild fish like this for long, maybe half an hour. And I cooked it on the George Foreman grill on #4 for 3 minutes on each side (the fish was 1/2" thick in the center). I'm telling you, this just melts in your mouth. It was absolutely delicious. I served it with steamed broccoli and a baked potato.
This marinade recipe makes about 2 cups and will keep for months in the frig. I probably only used about 1/4, maybe a 1/3 cup of marinade for two 6 ounce filets. We've only used it on seafood because that's our favorite, but could work on chicken quite well, and beef, too.
3/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbs vinegar (I used white distilled)
2 Tbs Worcestershire
1 Tbs dry mustard
1 tsp minced, fresh parsley
2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
2 garlic cloves, minced, about 1 tsp
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
Whisk together and store in airtight container (I use Lock&Lock products.....SO worth the investment.....these are the best containers!!!!).