Sunday, January 29, 2012

Smoked Turkey Cobb Wraps

Here's a wonderful, easy take on the traditional Cobb Salad.  A wonderful combination of flavors for a great lunch or dinner: smoked turkey, bacon, avocado, bleu cheese.  I served this simply with a cup of soup and some fruit.  And it's plenty filling, I still have half leftover for lunch today.  Lucky me!


1 12" flour tortilla, your choice of flavor
1-2 Tbsp softened cream cheese (I use light)
bleu cheese sprinkles
2 leaves green or romaine lettuce
4-5 slices thinly sliced smoked turkey
4 thin slices tomato
1 large hard-boiled egg, sliced
4 thin slices red onion
1/4 to 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
3 strips cooked bacon, regular or turkey bacon

Mix the bleu cheese into the cream cheese.  Spread on the tortilla.  Place the lettuce down the center of the tortilla.  Arrange the turkey cover the lettuce.  Layer the tomato, egg, onion, and avocado over the turkey and top with the bacon.  Roll up tightly and slice in half diagonally.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Soft Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies are just about Jim's favorites.  I've had one standard recipe I have used for years.  Years.  When I saw this in the Chattanooga paper last month, I decided to try a new recipe.  It did not disappoint.  Soft and chewy.  As an added touch, I decided to roll each dough ball in raw sugar to give it a bit of "crunch."  I prefer them this way, but it's definitely an individual choice.  But the basic recipe is outstanding.  Deep molasses flavor, moist but not cakey.  I wish I had kept more on hand instead of sending them all to the office!


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
raw sugar, optional (about 1/4 cup or so)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and egg until well blended.  Stir in the molasses.  Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger, stir into the molasses mixture.  Cover the dough and chill for at least one hour.

Heat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with a Silpat, parchment paper, or grease the sheet.  Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls (I weighed mine: 20 grams each).  Roll inthe raw sugar, if you'd like.  Place the cookies 2" apart onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes in preheated oven.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is one of the best enchilada soups I have ever made.  It is so rich and creamy, but not because of a bunch of high-fat, high-calorie ingredients.  This is full of wonderful vegetables, cooked and pureed to a blissful creaminess.  I used the taco seasoning I made (see a few posts ago) a few days ago and served this with a green salad and baked tortilla chips with guacamole.

A note:  You have to serve this with homemade pico de makes all the difference!   Just mix some chopped tomato, freshly-squeezed lime juice, chopped cilantro, and small-dice sweet or red onion.  Also, I halved the recipe below and we'll be eating on this for days.  If you're cooking for a crowd, keep it as it is!


2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (3-4 breasts)...I used some leftover smoked chicken
1 (3.5 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
3-4 cups butternut squash cubes (halving the recipe, I used one small squash)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
1 (8 oz) can, or more, tomato sauce (you could also use red enchilada sauce)
2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp taco seasoning

In a large pot, add the chicken broth, chicken breasts, green chiles, onion, potatoes, pepper, butternut squash, garlic, salt, and cumin.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  If there doesn't seem to be enough liquid for the vegetables/chicken to boil in, try adding in 1-2 cups water but don't add too much extra liquid or the soup won't be as thick as it should.

Remove the chicken from the pot to a cutting board.  Let it cool slightly before shredding or dicing.  Ladle the remaining vegetables and broth into a blender (in several batches) and puree the broth and vegetables until smooth.  Take care not to overfill the blender.  Pour the pureed soup mixture back into the large pot.  Whisk in the sour cream and tomato sauce.  Stir in the taco seasoning, beans, and cooked chicken.  Cook until heated through.

Serve the soup with additional toppings: tortilla soup, sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, salsa, or pico de gallo!!!!   

Thursday, January 26, 2012

General Tso's Chicken

What a surprise this was for me!  I was looking for a simple dish to make last night, had everything on hand for this recipe, and gave it a shot.  I don't think I've ever ordered this in a Chinese restaurant, but I can't imagine it better than this one.  It was just wonderful.  The skinless, boneless chicken thighs might such a big difference.  This is classic, authentic Chinese-restaurant flavor.  A big plus is that you can control what goes into it.  I halved the recipe last night but will definitely make the full recipe next time.  The leftovers are wonderful!!!!


 For the Chicken:
1 to 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 whole large egg white (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
canola oil for frying
For the Sauce: 
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp Chinese garlic chile sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger root
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch

For serving:
green onions, thinly sliced
steamed rice
steamed broccoli
toasted sesame seeds, optional

In a mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of cornstarch until a thick slurry forms.  It will look gummy but smooth.  Add the chicken pieces and stir until they are evenly coated.  At first it may appear that it will not come together but does!

Set chicken aside, covered tightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Begin the sauce:

Add the tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium to medium-high heat.  Stir the garlic and ginger into the oil and cook (don't let the garlic burn or you'll have to start over!!!), stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth.  Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until the sauce becomes thick and shiny.  Once the sauce thickens, lower heat and keep the saucepan over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.

To fry the chicken:

Heat 1/2" of oil (I used much less) in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is simmering, add one piece of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan.  Cook chicken (about 3-4 minutes) on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides.  Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel and blot off all excess oil.  Keep tented with aluminum foil while preparing the second batch.

Slide all of the fried chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat.  Add the steamed broccoli to coat with the sauce (I halved the recipe and used a 12 oz bag of broccoli florets....perfect).  Have the burner set to low-medium to medium, stir and heat until warm throughout.

Sprinkle with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taco Seasoning

I don't use alot of taco seasoning, but periodically I do enjoy making tacos, salads, soups, and other things with this blend.  And I would sometimes find myself running up to the grocery store to pick up a package when ***WHAM*****!!!  Why not find a recipe and just keep a jar on hand?

I found this recipe on Allrecipes with almost 2400 5* ratings.  I doubled the recipe below and will probably quadruple it next time, just for convenience sake.  I keep this in an empty spice bottle labeled "Taco Seasoning."  Much cheaper and convenient, and if you run out, likely you'll have everything on hand to mix up a new batch without another trip to the store!


1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
pinch (I used less) cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika (I used half paprika and half smoked paprika)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 

Mix all spices together until well combined.  Use immediately or store in an airtight container in your spice cabinet and use as needed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Asian Succotash

I tend to do a lot of Asian dishes and often times need a side dish to complete the meal.  As I've mentioned before, if a recipe calls for sesame oil, it's a pretty good bet that I'm gonna love it.  This is no exception.  And given my diverse pantry/freezer, these are generally things I always have on hand.  Taste, texture, color, all wonderful.  Need I say more?


1 cup edamame
2 cups corn
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp soy
1/8 tsp each S&P
Dash Louisiana Hot Sauce (or your choice, to taste)

Mix it all together!!!  Easy, peasy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Southwestern Smoked Chicken Orzo Salad

I'm still playing with our new smoker.  I had smoked a whole chicken and needed a home for this new, delicious piece of poultry.  I had some leftover black beans and corn so decided to toss it all together with some orzo pasta.  This is not a specific recipe.  Use what you have/like.  

Here's what was in mine:

Cooked orzo
black beans
frozen corn, thawed
grape tomatoes, halved
red onions, diced
green onions, sliced
diced smoked chicken (or any cooked chicken)
cilantro, minced

Toss all this together.  Squeeze the juice of one lime (depends on how juicy it is and how you like it) and maybe a bit of canola oil (about 1 Tbsp).  Sprinkle with kosher salt and some coarsely ground pepper.  Gently toss.  Enjoy with a nice, crusty baguette or maybe some fresh flour tortillas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

S'mores Cookie Bars

Here's a nice winter treat to make in your home.  All the goodness of a summer campfire treat inside your own oven!  The graham crackers add a wonderful texture sensation to the gooey chocolate and chewy marshmellows.  I ran out of Hershey's squares and had to top the remaining bars with milk chocolate chocolate chips (the original recipe called for 3 bars, you'll need four).  I used almost two packages (there are 3 in most boxes) of graham crackers.  I found the recipe at

S'MORES COOKIE BARS (makes about 48 cookies)

11 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmellows
4 regular sized Hershey's chocolate bars, broken into pieces
2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Line two baking pans with parchment paper (I used an 11x17 and 9x13).  Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching).

Cream together the butter and both sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon.  Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Chill dough in refrigerator at least one hour (overnight is best).

Preheat oven to 375.  Place rounded tablespoons of dough on graham crackers.  Use your fingerprints to press down.  Bake for 5 mintues then remove from oven to press Hershey's bar pieces on to the top.  Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes (I tend to go a few minutes more on each process) or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges.  Make sure cookies are completely cool before cutting, otherwise you'll end up with a doughy mess!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Best Ever Three Bean Salad

Three bean salad has long been a staple in our home.  It's a great, healthy snack to have around, delicious, too.  I don't I've ever made it the same way twice, varying the ingredients, although the dressing has always pretty much been the same: oil and vinegar, some Southwestern and Montreal seasonings.  

I had picked up a new cookbook recently (Eat What You Love, Lower in sugar, fat, and calories by Marlene Koch).  Everything I've made out of it has been absolutely delicious.  Flipping through the book, I saw this recipe.  I will tell you, there are two ingredients that I can always count on to make my taste buds smile: sesame oil and liquid smoke.  If any recipe calls for either of these, I can pretty much guarantee I'm going to try to.  And, oh my!  Did it ever prove true in this case!

When I first saw the ingredients for the dressing, I couldn't imagine it working, even with the liquid smoke.  But Marlene Koch has not steered me wrong yet, so I had to try it.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go get a snack!


1 small red onion
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener (or sugar)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
freshly ground black pepper

1 (15 oz) can cut green beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can yellow wax beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used dark beans)
(not called for in original recipe, but I also added one 15 oz can garbanzo beans)
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced

To make the dressing, peel and grate the red onion with a cheese or box grater into a small bowl.  Add the oil, ketchup, sweetener, vinegar, 2 Tbsp water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and pepper and whisk to combine.

For the salad, in a large bowl gently mix together the beans, peppers, and red onion.

Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate one hour or more to meld flavors (overnight is great). 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cheesy Ham and Potato Bake

Still looking for a home for some of our leftover ham.  And this is a good one!  I actually took 3 or 4 different on-line recipes to come up with this one and it were good!!!  Really, really good.  I wish I had doubled the recipe so I would have had more leftovers.  I need to get one more dish prepared while I still have some ham.

The original recipe called to bake the uncooked potatoes along with the ham and sauce for 90 minutes.  But I was short on I microwaved the sliced potatoes (covered in water) for about 10 minutes until they were just tender.  And then I baked them for less than half and hour, just to heat throughout.  I might also try adding some smoked paprika.  I will list the recipe (compiled) as I found it, but that's a shortcut if you want/need one.  I served this with leftover bean soup and some steamed broccoli.

CHEESY HAM AND POTATO BAKE (approximately 4 servings)

1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt (or to taste....depends on your ham)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%, and microwaved for a few minutes to warm)
2 cups chopped ham
about 2 1/2 cups potatoes, thinly sliced (I used two large Yukon golds, sliced on the mandolin)
1 1/2 cups cheddar (I used 4 oz Velveeta, then just sprinkled some cheddar into and on top)
1/2 onion, chopped
Smoked paprika, optional, to taste

Mix flour, pepper, and salt.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour mixture.  Cook over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Cook until thick.

In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients with sauce.  Baked in covered casserole dish (mine was an 8x8) at 350 for 90 minutes (less if you've microwaved the potatoes).  Remove cover after first 30 minutes.  

Let cool 15 minutes before serving.  This is even better as leftovers!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Polenta Fries

Sorry, but no recipe to this one.  Talk about easy!  And Good!  I had eaten Polenta Fries years ago and had been wanting to try them for the longest time.  I don't know why I was afraid to dip my toes in the water because this came out to be just about the easiest side dish you could ever hope for.  

I had a tube of prepared polenta, already cooked and seasoned.  I simply cut in the tube in half crosswise, and then cut the polenta into sized-fries that I like.  This time I drizzled a bit of olive oil over the fries and then gently tossed them with S& time I think I'll just spray them with olive-oil flavored cooking spray.  Pop them into a hot (400 degree or so) oven for about half an hour, turning them (gently) once or twice.  I turned the broiler on for a few minutes to crisp them up.  And that's it!  I still have the other half tube and the can't wait to try it again.  I think this is going to become a staple around here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brown Sugar Ham and Bean Soup (CROCK POT)

Here's a SERIOUS once-a-year-use-that-ham-bone bean soup recipe.  I say once a year because, it is a bit decadent.  At least if you go by the recipe.  In all good conscience, I could not follow the recipe to the "T."  I had to substitute half-and-half for the cream, and I "only" use 3/4 cup of the brown sugar.   One day (well, one year) I swear I am going to make this recipe as it is called for because it must be Nirvana.  I mean, even by "healthing-it-up" I feel guilty.  But hey, a guilty pleasure once a year.  It ain't gonna kill me!

BROWN SUGAR HAM and BEANS (approximately 6 entree servings, maybe about 10 small dish servings)

1 lb navy beans, soaked overnight
1 meaty ham bone (I used the leftover from our Christmas spiral-cut ham)
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 cup cream
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp ginger powder
1-2 cups brown sugar

Place navy beans and ham bone in crock pot and fill with enough water to cover beans and most of ham bone.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Add remaining ingredients and cook an additional 2-4 hours.  Take bone out and shred remaining meat off bone and add to soup.  Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad (I usually serve with cornbread, but this time I tried polenta fries {recipe to follow}) and a green salad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate/Caramel Covered Pretzel Rods

My very sweet friend, Marialena, sent a wonderful package to my Mom, Jim, and me while we were in Oklahoma visiting Mom.  In the package was this incredible gift of chocolate covered pretzel rods, along with some chocolate covered graham crackers.  Everything was so delicious, and what a wonderful Christmas gift this is!  The beauty of these, is that you can coat the chocolate with just about anything: nuts, sprinkles, jimmies, crushed peppermints....well, the options are pretty much limitless....guess it just depends upon your personal tastes.

So here are the two recipes I started with.  I ended up just using milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips, but you could still certainly use the candy coating/bark stuff that is always available, especially during the holidays.  Just remember: use your own personal tastes to create treats that are special to you.


1 12-oz pkg milk chocolate chips
1 12-oz pkg white chocolate chips
24 large pretzel rods (about a 10-11 oz package)
Assorted holiday sprinkles/nuts

Place the milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and the white chocolate chips in another.  Microwave one bowl on high for 1 minute.  Remove and stir with a rubber spatula (the chips will melt while you are stirring, but if they don't, you can continue to microwave for 15 more seconds, then stir again.)  Wash and dry the spatulas.  Microwave the other bowl on high for one minute, and stir until chocolate is melted.

Dip one pretzel rod into the milk chocolate; use a spoon or butter knife to spread the chocolate about halfway up the rod.  Twist the rod to let the excess chocolate drip off.  Hold the rod over a piece of waxed paper and shake sprinkles (nuts, etc.) on all sides.  Place the pretzel on another piece of waxed paper to dry.  Coat another pretzel with white chocolate and sprinkles.  Repeat until you've coated all the pretzels, half with milk chocolate, half with white chocolate, and let dry completely, about 24 hours.  (Cover any remaining chocolate with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.)

CARAMEL PRETZEL STICKS (I halved this recipe, using 12 pretzel rods....but I had a bunch of caramel leftover, more than half of what I used with just 12 pretzels).  

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup butter, cubed
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg (10 oz) pretzel rods
6-12 oz white candy coating
6-12 oz milk chocolate candy coating
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts, optional (I used nuts, crushed peppermints, sprinkles, jimmies, just about anything is game....use something that will stick to the still-slightly wet chocolate.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and butter.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling, without stirring, at a moderate-steady rate for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat; stir in milk.  Return to the heat.  Reduce to medium-low; cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 245 degrees (firm-ball stage).  Keep warm.

Pour 2 cups caramel mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring cup.  Quickly dip each pretzel halfway into caramel.  Allow excess to drip off.  Place on well-buttered (I used Pat Butter  flavor)   baking sheets; let stand until hardened.

In a microwave, melt white candy coating; stir until smooth.  Dip half of the caramel-coated pretzels into coating.  Melt milk chocolate coating; dip remaining pretzels.  Drizzle white-chocolate pretzels with milk chocolate coating; drizzle milk chocolate pretzels
white  coating.  Sprinkle with walnuts, or whatever topping appeal to you or your gift recipients. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

OK, back to baking!  Seems like I've kinda been out of the loop with the holidays and with Jim not going into the office (I tend just to bake just or them).  I've been collecting cookies recipes, but with all the rain here lately I didn't feel like going to the grocery store.  So I found a recipe whose ingredients I happened to have on shopping required for me!  This is a cakey-type cookie.  Due to the pumpkin puree, there is very little spread to these, so you can place them pretty closely to each other on your baking sheet.

I found this recipe on  She in turn found the recipe from, who in turn found it from someone else.  I will tell you, I checked all three recipes and they all said to form dough balls of 2 Tbsp of dough (about 40 grams) and then bake 10-12 minutes.  These were way too big and way too doughy for us, so I cut the amount in half, using just about 1 Tbsp. of dough (20 grams) and still baking for 12 minutes.  Guess it just depends on how you like your cookies to come out.  They will not, however, be thin, crispy cookies.  This recipe will make about 4 dozen cookies, give or take,  if you go with the smaller cookies.


For the cookies:
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
dash (1/8 tsp) allspice

Approximately 48 pecan (one for each cookie)

Cream butter and sugars together.  Blend in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) to the wet mixture.  Mix until just incorporated.

Cover and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the coating ingredients together and set aside.

Scoop the dough into 1 Tbsp-sized balls (20 grams) and roll in the coating mixture.  Place a pecan on top of the ball dough.  Use the bottom of a flat, heavy glass to gently flatten the dough.  Repeat for all the cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.   

Friday, January 6, 2012

Roasted Salmon and Vegetables

I love roasted winter vegetables.  And what a great combination.  Roasted salmon served over the vegetable with a wonderfully-herbed, buttered orzo.  I steamed some asparagus (have you noticed it's our go-to green vegetable?) for a wonderful Friday evening dinner. Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food Magazine.  I did half the recipe below for just the two of us.


1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium red onions, cut into 1" wedges
1 Tbsp EVOO
coarse S&P
8 skinless fillets (2 lbs total... when halving this recipe, I used a 3/4# whole fillet)
1/2 pound orzo
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450, with racks in middle and lower thirds.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots and onions with oil and seaonn with S&P.  Roast on middle rack until tender and onions are golden, about 20 minute, stirring halfway through.  Line another rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  Season salmon with S&P and roast on bottom rack until opaque throughout, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo according to package instructions.  Drain, return to pot, and toss with butter, dill, parsley, and lemon juice.  Season with S&P.  Transfer 4 salmon fillets and 1 cup vegetables to an airtight container; refrigerate up to 3 days.  Serve remaining salmon fillets and vegetables with her orzo.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

OK, here's a wonderfully tasty, easy, quick dinner to make on a weekday night.  BOY! Is this good!  A one-pot wonder, although I did steam some broccoli to serve on the side.  And that was it.  Fast, simple, delicious.  Could you ask for anything more on a busy evening?


1 pound red potatoes, cubed
3 Tbsp water
3/4 pound (I used a 14 oz package of Turkey Kielbasa sausage) smoked Kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon vinegar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups fresh baby spinach (I used a 9 oz pkg spinach, or use the 6 (?) oz pkg baby spinach)
4-5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.
In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender.  Add potatoes, saute 3-5 minutes longer or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme, and pepper;  stir into skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Add spinach and bacon; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.  

 1-6-12 UPDATE:  This stuff is even better as leftovers!  I'll double the recipe next time to have another dinner for a few nights later.  Or a couple of lunches.  The mustard sauce really mellows and becomes even sweeter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Easy Ham and Tomato Quiche

Ahhh...the new year.  Celebratory holidays and new year's are over.  And so are a bunch of leftover food stuffs.  What the heck am I going to do with all this leftover ham?  Ham can freeze, but the texture just isn't the same.  So I feel like we're left with a bunch of leftover ham, and since there's only two of us, you can get tired of it pretty quickly.  Here's a nice quiche (granted, I love tomatoes and think they grace any dish), so this one works for me.  I served it with some rolls and a green garden salad.  The leftovers will make a pretty good breakfast.  Recipe courtesy of


1 9" pie crust, unbaked
6 large eggs (or 1 1/2 Egg Beaters)
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4+ cup chopped ham

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pierce unbaked pie crust several times with fork; set aside.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and seasonings.  Sprinkle cheese, vegetables, and ham over unfilled pie crust.  Pour in egg mixture.  Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes, or until nicely browned (use toothpick or sharp knife test).

Serves 6-8

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Perfect Iced Coffee

Happy New Year's everyone!!!  2012....hard for me to believe.  I remember the big change for the 19xx's to the 20xx's and kind of felt like a time traveler.  Surreal.   And here we are 12 years later.  Who'd a thunk it?'s a great, easy beginning to this new year.  I ran across this recipe on the Pioneer Woman blog.  I rarely drink hot coffee, and when I do, I like the espresso-based drinks.  But here's an inexpensive, easy drink to make that I'm gonna guess will last quite a while in your frig.  I halved her recipe since Jim wouldn't touch the stuff, and I figure I could have cut it down even further and still have plenty to last me a while.  And the beauty of this recipe is that after making the coffee base, you can add just about anything to it: any milk (skim, 2%, whole), half-and-half or fat-free half-and-half, or even the flavored coffee creamers or flavored syrups.  Maybe some sugar or Splenda if you like.  For a Vietnamese-style iced coffee, use 2-3 Tbsp of sweetened condensed milk with a splash of half-and-half.  Yummy, and an inth of the cost at your local barrister's shoppe.


1 pound ground coffee (good, rich roast) (11.3 oz)
8 quarts cold water (180.8 oz/5.65 qt)

Sweetened condensed milk
Flavored syrups
Flavored coffee creamers
Sugar or sugar-substitute

In a large container, mix ground coffee with water.  Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container.  Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through.  Discard grounds.  Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool.  Use as needed.

To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes.  Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid.  Add healthy splash of half-and-half or dairy of choice.  Perhaps add 2-3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (or plain sugar) and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.