Sunday, June 30, 2013

Brazilian Potato Salad

This is one of the very first recipes my dear friend, Donna, shared with me.  Donna grew up in Brazil.  She tells me that the addition of beets to potato salad is in the western part of Brazil (where all kinds of vegetables are added to their salads), not in the Rio/Sao Paulo regions.  I had never heard of such a potato salad, but loving beets, I knew I had to try it.

The recipe has everything I love in a dish....texture, color, and flavor.  You get the crunchiness of the cucumber, squashes, onion, and celery and the creaminess of the potatoes, peas, and carrots.  The sweetness of the beets and carrots versus the saltiness of the olives.  The the gorgeous colors: red, yellow, green, orange!  It's a party in your mouth!

BRAZILIAN POTATO SALAD (makes approximately 6 cups....adjust ingredients to your liking)

2 large red potatoes, cooked and diced
2 medium beets, cooked and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1-2 pickling cucumbers, partially peeled and diced
1/2 large zucchini, diced
1/2 large yellow crookneck (summer) squash, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced small
1/4 cup celery, diced small

Greek Seasoning
lemon pepper

Mix all vegetables together for the salad.  Season the mayo with the seasonings to your taste (I like to go a little heavy on the seasonings).  

I like to add the mayo to the salad just before serving.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blue Moon Orange Chicken

What started out as a little touch-up paint project has turned into a full-blown paint-the-stairwell-and-hallway project.  Last night I was just beat, but in need of something other than veggies and dip for dinner.  I needed some protein!

This is the simplest dish and since I had a chicken breast thawed, it took all of ten minutes for this weary cook to get something delish in me.  This original recipe calls for Blue Moon brand beer which I didn't have and didn't care.  It still turned out great.  A full-bodied beer which definitely bulk this up a bit (I used a light beer) and give it a deeper flavor.  But the star to me was the shallots.  I will definitely double-up next time.  But then, I'm an onion girl.


1 pound chicken breasts, pounded thin
EVOO, for brushing
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
2 large shallots, sliced thin
1 cup Blue Moon beer
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (do not use regular)
juice of 2 oranges

Brush both sides of chicken breasts with EVOO and season with S&P.  Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked through, then remove to a plate and set aside.

Turn heat down to medium, add EVOO to skillet, and then add shallots.  Cook shallots until translucent, about 1 minute, then add beer, soy sauce, and orange juice.  Turn heat up and bring mixture to a boil then cook, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, until sauce has reduced and thickened, 4-5 minutes.  Add chicken back to skillet then coat with sauce and serve.

Recipe Source:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cowboy Chicken

Last night I had a piece of thawed chicken that I needed to use.  I didn't want to have to go out for any ingredients so I adjusted a recipe I had on hand.  This is so good and easy!  And it took just to minutes to prepare and cook.  I have a feeling this is going to be one of those "go-to" meals which will be making quite a few appearances around here.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup real bacon bits
1 cup cheese (cheddar, cojack, Mexican blend)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes or Rotel (I used diced with Italian herbs)
sliced green onions

Optional Marinade
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce (or lemon juice or red wine vinegar)
2 tsp McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning

Although not necessary, you can marinade the chicken in the marinade for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.  If chicken breasts are very plump, cut in half (like a hamburger bun).  My piece was rather thin so I didn't need to flatten it.  You can either grill the chicken until just done, or bake it in the oven (the breast I cooked was a small 4 ouncer and it only took less than 10 minutes).

Place cooked breast on a baking sheet covered with foil.  Top each breast with one tablespoon of BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup of cheese, 1/4 cup of tomatoes, and one tablespoon of bacon bits.  Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).  Garnish with sliced green onions.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wing Zzzingers

This is a recipe I found about 15 years ago.  I love wings, any wings.  Jim is not a fan, so I only make them when I'm alone.  I generally do traditional Buffalo wings or these Wing Zzzingers.  I love them both, but this is a nice diversion from a deep-fried wing instead leaning towards a nice herb grilled wing.

This recipe calls for making about two pounds of wings.  The seasonings will keep refrigerated for, well, a long, long time, so I will generally make a big batch and keep it in the frig and just use it for 5-6 wings.  It comes with a recipe for a traditional Buffalo sauce, but you can certainly use a Ranch or Bleu Cheese dressing if you prefer.

WING ZZZINGERS (for approximately 2 pounds of wings)

1/3 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vinegar with peppers
1/4 stick butter

Melt all ingredients.  Set aside.

Wings Seasonings:
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
dash cayenne

Pour some of the hot sauce over the wings and toss.  Add all of the seasonings and toss again.

Place on top level of grill (I have a George Foreman grill and simply heat grill on "5" and cook on "4" for 30 minutes/15 minutes per side).  On traditional grill, cook on low/medium for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the wings.  Brush remaining sauce on top of wings and turn.  Grill for another 15 minutes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ham and Corn Chowder

On a never-ending quest to clean out freezers and pantries, I found a ham bone leftover from Christmas.  And with the summer corn finding its way into the local markets, I decided to make a ham and corn chowder.  I looked at several recipes I had and then found this "base" recipe on-line.

And what a wonderful base it is!  This recipe makes a lot, which gave me the chance to individualize every cup I heated up.  Here are some I tried and also more possibilities:

* smoked paprika
* fresh tarragon
* green chilies and Mexican-blend cheese
* lightly steamed julienned carrots
* cooked broccoli florets
* cooked shrimp and/or crabmeat

I do prefer that the chowder have a touch of heat to it, so I always used either a hot sauce (Louisiana Hot Sauce) or a spicy seasoning like Nunu's ( or Joe's Hot Stuff ( (General Store) or

I don't know if I had just the perfect ham bone or if I happened to get a particularly perfect couple of ears of corn or if the planets were in the perfect alignment, but simply put, this was the perfect chowder.  So if you don't happen to have a ham bone on hand, tuck this recipe away for a time when you do.  Make a little "Chowder Bar" and let everyone customize their own chowder.  This makes me yearn for football season!

HAM and CORN CHOWDER (makes approximately 10 cups)

1 ham bone, with visible meat
1 medium onion, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 small red pepper, finely diced
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp  black pepper
5 medium red potatoes (do not peel), cut in 1" cubes
3 ears fresh corn (I used one white, one yellow, one bi-color), kernels cut off of the ear
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half or milk, warmed
Hot sauce or seasoning, to taste

Add first 7 ingredients (ham bone through black pepper) to a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.  Shred meat off of bone and add to liquid.  Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Stir in corn kernels.

In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add flour, whisk.  Gradually add milk.  Whisk into the potato mixture.

Season with salt and any additional pepper, to taste.  Add herbs or any other additions you  or your guests would like.

Recipe Source: base adapted from

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Blueberry Bread Pudding

Although I don't have much of a sweet tooth, if bread pudding is anywhere near me, I'm going to have at least a couple of bites.  I heard a little snippet about Blueberry Bread Pudding the other day and given that I had some bread in the freezer that needed to be used and that it is cheap blueberry season, I thought I'd give this a try.

I don't know if it's the bread I used (month-old Publix-brand slider rolls), but this little treat ranks very near the top of my favorites list.  This stuff is good!!!  Unlike traditional bread pudding with the cinnamon influence, this is a combination of almond extract, vanilla, and lemon zest.  And you can certainly cut some calories by using egg substitute and reduced-fat or fat-free milk.

This will keep very well and is another great choice for a snack, dessert, or picnic.


3 cups milk
3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup egg substitute)
5-6 cup day-old torn bread (French, Italian, rolls, croissants)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 Tbsp powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350F.  Butter an 11x7 or 13x9 baking dish.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, flavorings, and zest.  Add the bread and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Toss blueberries with powdered sugar then stir into the bread mixture.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Set the baking dish in a larger pan and set in the oven.  Add about 4 cups of very hot water to the outer pan.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until the bread pudding is set and lightly browned on the top.

Recipe Source:

Thursday, June 20, 2013


It's hard for me not to over-sell this salad because it is absolutely one of my favorite summer salads.  While working at a restaurant in Minnesota, the owner, Char, made this as a special one day.  When I first saw the ingredients I thought that there was no way anyone would try this.  What a mistake!!!  This recipe for bread salad comes from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.

While I like sweet peppers enough, I never would have thought I would crave a salad made predominantly with them.  Over the years of making this I have slightly adapted it to suit my tastes.  Grape tomatoes are a must (better flavor and they hold their shape), one each of the sweet peppers (or a bag of mini peppers), and the small pickling cucumbers (never a regular-sized cucumber), although an English cucumber, small in diameter, works in a crunch.  And I only use a Panera regular baguette....cheaper ones just don't give me the texture I like.

Since we'll get several meals out of this, I keep the vegetables, croutons, and dressing separate until ready to serve to keep the croutons from getting soggy.  But if that's how you like them, by all means mix it all together.

This makes a beautiful presentation and is perfect for lunch, dinner, potlucks, or picnics.  And if you do Meatless Mondays, this would be perfect.  Enjoy!

PANZANELLA (approximately 4 large servings)

Cube one baguette.  In Dutch oven, add olive oil to coat the bottom and add kosher salt.  Add bread cubes (you may need to do several batches) and continue to stir until croutons are browned.

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
5-6 pickling cucumbers (I strip 3-4 strips of the peel off, then cut the cuke into 4 lengthwise cuts, then dice) or 1 diced English cucumber
1 red, orange, and yellow sweet pepper, diced
2 semi-thick slices of red onion, diced
about 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp capers

1 tso minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup EVOO

When ready to serve, mix all of the vegetables with the croutons and vinaigrette. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yellow Squash Casserole

I'm a big fan of squash, winter or summer.  I grew up with a very simple crookneck squash dish my mom made frequently during the summer.  Just squash, onion, butter, milk (or half & half), S&P simmered gently over a low heat.  And that's how I've always made don't mess with perfection.

But just for the heck of it, I decided to venture out and try something a bit different.  This is a basic squash recipe that has been around for a long, long time.  Just some added cheddar and crushed butter crackers to bump this simple dish up just a bit.  And bump it did.  I cut the recipe in half and used an 8x8 dish.  I couldn't stop eating it and just about finished the entire dish.  Be careful!


4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 sleeve (about 35) buttery round crackers, crushed (like Ritz)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Place squash and onion in a large skillet over medium heat.  Pour in a small amount of water.  Cover, and cook, until squash is tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain well, and place in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese.  Stir half of the cheddar mixture into the cooked squash and onions.  In a small bowl, mix together eggs and milk, then add to squash mixture.  Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, and season with S&P.  Spread into a 9x13" baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 Tbsp butter.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Recipe Source:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Herb Skillet

This chicken dish was so good, I'm really thinking about making it again tonight!  And talk about easy.  I grilled some zucchini to go with it and it was all so good I didn't bother to add any potatoes or rice.

As usual, I cut the recipe in half.  I had an 8 ounce chicken breast and instead of pounding it thin as the recipe calls for, I simply cut it in half (like a hamburger bun).  Now generally this would make two entree meals (we generally eat a 4 ounce portion of meat or fish), but it was so good I ended up eating both portions!

The recipe calls for chopped fresh herbs....I used tarragon.  For the zucchini, I simply sliced it lengthwise and added some EVOO, S&P, and some of the leftover chopped tarragon.  Perfect!

CREAMY CHICKEN and HERB SKILLET (serves 4...or 2!)

1 lb chicken breasts, pounded thin
EVOO, for brushing
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 large shallot, minced
5 oz spreadable herb cheese (like Boursin or Rondele)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, basil, or parsley

Brush both sides of chicken breasts with EVOO then season both sides with S&P.  Cook in olive oil or nonstick sprayed skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink in the center.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Turn heat down to medium then add EVOO and shallots.  Saute until shallots are slightly softened, about 1 minute, then add herb cheese, chicken broth, and lemon juice.  Stir until creamy then add in fresh herbs.  Spoon sauce over cooked chicken and serve.

Recipe source:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Orange Cashew Rice with Baked Tilapia

Still babying my tender tooth, I rifled through my stack of printed recipes looking for another fish recipe.  Not only did this wonderfully easy recipe taste great, it came with a fanastic side dish, to boot.

A citrus-based rice and fish dish are great accompaniments to each other.  The rice: orange.  The fish: lime.  I was surprised just how delicious this very simple fish recipe came out.  And the rice is a great mixture of tastes, textures, and color.  I was going to steam some asparagus as a side dish, but these two make a complete meal all by themselves.


For the rice:
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1-2 tsp freshly grated orange zest, to taste
1 Tbsp EVOO
Salt to taste
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup roasted cashew pieces
1/4 cup chopped yellow peppers
1/4 cup chopped red peppers
3 green onions, minced
1 (8 oz) can mandarin orange segments, drained well

For the fish:
4 (6 oz) tilapia fillets (I used Swai)
1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces

For the rice, in a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water, orange juice, orange zest, EVOO, and salt to a boil.  Stir in the rice.  Cover the saucepan and lower the heat to a gentle simmer, simmering the rice for 25-30 minutes, until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has totally evaporated.  Let stand, covered, off the heat for 5-10 minutes.  Scrape the rice into a large bowl. Add the cashew pieces, peppers, and green onions.  Season with S&P and add the drained orange segments to the rice, folding them in gently to prevent the oranges from breaking.

For the fish, while the rice simmers, preheat the oven to 375F degrees and coat a 9-10" cast iron pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Rinse the fish and pat dry.  Place the fish in the pan in a single layer.  Season each fillet on both sides with S&P.  Sprinkle lime zest over the fish and drizzle with lime jice.  Place a pat of butter on each fillet.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until cooked through.  Serve rice and fish immediately, spooning pan juices over fish, if desired.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula


After two days of mashed potatoes and matzo balls in chicken broth, I really needed something a bit more stubstantial after my root canal!  But something that was still easy on the old tooth.  Given my love of arugula and goat cheese, this was perfect.  Not to mention really, really good!  While the pasta and beans make this an entree salad, you could certainly make this a side salad for a grilled chicken dinner.

A few tips, at least for me.  I originally cut the recipe listed below in half.  But next time instead of using 4 oz of arugula, I'll go wtih 2-3 oz.  I will use the entire can of cannellini beans, and increase the 1 1/2 oz of goat cheese to 2-3 oz.  The original recipe is simply a guideline....adjust it to your liking.  Half of this recipe made 3-4 servings for me.


Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 pound germelli or other short pasta (I used mini penne)
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (3 oz)
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 bunch arugula (8 oz), torn
1/2 small red onin, thinly sliced

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente.  Drain pasta and rinse under cold water.  In  a large bowl, toss pasta with beans and goat cheese.

Make dressing: In a bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard and season with S&P (to store, refrigerate pasta mixture and dressing separately, up to 1 day).  To serve, toss pasta mixture with dresssing, arugula, and onion.

Recipe Source:  Everyday Food, June 2009

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken w/Coconut Rice

I am always looking for a new grilled chicken recipe (especially in the summer) and when I ran across this one, I knew it wouldn't take long to try it.  The marinade takes just minutes to prepare and the coconut rice is an incredibly delicious compliment to the chicken.  And when it's hitting 90 degrees outside, it keeps your kitchen and dining room from becoming  an indoor sauna!


Chicken and Marinade/Sauce:
3 Tbsp oil (your choice, EVOO, vegetable, grapeseed, etc.)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground corinader
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
pinch cayenne pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (if thick, cut the breasts in half {like a hamburger bun} to form two thinner cutlets)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
fresh limes, cut into wedges

Coconut Rice:
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

In a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the first 10 ingredients (oil through cayenne pepper).  Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken.  Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

For the coconut rice, bring the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-16 minutes until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.  Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (depending on thickness of the chicken).  While the chicken is cooking, pour the marinade into a small or medium saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the grilled chicken on a serving platter or plate.  Drizzle with sauce (reserve the remaining sauce to serve separately) and sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top.  Serve with lime wedges (this makes the dish to me!) and additional sauce.

A personal note:  I'm on my way to the dentist for a root canal (YIPPEE!!!)  so I don't plan on cooking for a day or two.  Hope to be back by the end of the week with something new and delicious.  Have a good week!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mushroom Soup with No Cream

I love mushrooms and anything that is mushroom-ish.  Sauteed mushrooms, mushrooms in sauce, and especially mushroom soup.  Now granted, most of the mushroom soups that I love, love, love aren't exactly at the top of the good-for-you low-fat/calorie categories.  So if you are like me and just need a good mushroom soup for a diet, here's as about as basic mushroom vegetable soup you will find and can enjoy to your heart's content!

MUSHROOM SOUP with NO CREAM (4 servings)

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp fresh thyme
3 cups chopped or sliced baby portabella mushrooms
2 cups vegetable stock/broth
3 cups beef broth/stock
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (too much for me....I used 1 Tbsp Worcestershire, 1 Tbsp dry sherry.....I will omit the Worcestershire next time and use 2 Tbsp dry sherry)
Dash of red pepper flakes
S&P to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
Sliced green onions (green parts only) for garnish, optional

Melt butter in stock pot.  Add onion, carrot, and celery cooking until translucent over medium heat.  Add minced garlic, mushrooms, and thyme.

Cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat.  Add stocks, Worcestershire (or sherry), and red pepper flakes.  Season with S&P. Reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Taste and check for seasonings.

Recipe Source: 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Garden Quinoa Salad

This started out to be a simple side salad, but I decided to roast some shrimp to make it an entree salad.  When I make quinoa I generally make a big batch so I have extra to use as a side dish or to have some on hand to quick salad.  I generally always have grape tomatoes on hand, pumpkin seeds in the freezer, and with my new asparagus bed producing asparagus every day (lucky me!), all I needed to pick up at the market were some green beans and sugar snap peas.  Having left over quinoa, boiling the asparagus and sugar snaps, then the green beans, while roasting the shrimp at the same time (peeled and deveined, coated with olive oil and black pepper in a 425F oven for 4-7 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp), this was ready in only ten minutes!


1 2/ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cups water
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2" pieces
1/2 lb fresh sugar snap peas, string removed
1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut into 2" pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon rind, zested
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
roasted shrimp, optional (size and amount to taste)

In a large saucepan, cook and stir quinoa over medium-high heat 3-5 minutes or until toasted.  Add water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil.  Add asparagus and snap peas; cook, uncovered 2-4 minutes or just until crisp-tender.  Remove vegetables and immediately drop into ice water.

Return water to a boil.  Add green beans; cook 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Remove; drop into ice water.  Drain vegetables; pat dry.

In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, parsley, lemon peel and salt.  Add tomatoes and blanched vegetables to quinoa; drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.  Top with pumpkin seeds.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home, June/July 2013, p. 27

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan

Let me say first that Chicken Parmesan is not in my Top Ten favorite chicken dishes.  I don't mind it, you understand, it's just kind of blah to me.  But when I saw this twist using quinoa instead of breadcrumbs, I thought it was a good excuse to give it another try.

I couldn't believe the difference the quinoa made.  Instead of that bland and often soggy bread coating, the quinoa actually gave it a bit of a crunch. And it adds of bit of extra nutrition to the previously deficient breading.  Plus you're not frying the chicken, but crisping it up in the oven.

Use your own freshly-made marinara or your favorite jarred sauce.  Use mozzarella if you like, or try some smoked provolone.  But please, don't forget the fresh basil!


4 (4-6 oz each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
S&P to taste
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry cooked with 1 cup liquid...bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 cups marinara sauce, hot
2 Tbsp basil, torn

Season the chicken with S&P, dredge in flour, dip in egg, and coat in the mixture of quinoa and Italian seasoning.

Place the chicken on a rack on a baking pan and bake in a preheated 400F oven until cooked and lightly golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, top with the cheese and broil until it has melted, about 2-4 minutes.

Plate the chicken and top with hot marinara and freshly torn basil.

Recipe Source:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries

We have an asparagus bed and for the first year we are getting asparagus!  And it is good! I love it anyway it is prepared in any dish, but the majority of time I simply steam it.  So I'm always keeping an eye out for new ways to use it.  This is a keeper.  A delicious crispy coating keeps the inside tender.  I don't even mind the fact that I have to turn the oven on because they only take about 10 minutes to bake.  Enjoy!


1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Panko (plain) breadcrumbs
1/4 Parmesan cheese, grated
S&P to taste

Dredge the asparagus in the flour, dip them in the egg, and then into a mixture of the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, S&P.

Place the asparagus on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 7-13 minutes (depending on size of asparagus).

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Here's a recipe that tastes exactly like you would expect it to taste!  A chicken breast filled with a creamy, cheesy, spicy blend with a crispy outside, thanks to those wonderful Panko breadcrumbs!

I have found the longer I saute the jalapenos, the less heat they carry.  So if you want your filling a bit spicier, just give them a quick saute.  Cook longer for a milder version.


4 chicken breasts (4-6 oz each)
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced-fat cheddar or colby cheese
1 tsp olive oil
4 jalapenos, chopped (seeds and ribs removed)
1 1/4  cup Panko (plain) breadcrumbs
2 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp dry parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg beaters)
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a cooking sheet with a light spray of non-stick cooking spray or lined wtih aluminum foil.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the jalapenos and cook until softened.  Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cream cheese and shredded cheese, stir to combine.  Cut a pocket into each chicken breast.  Stuff each pocket with the cream cheese mixture.  Secure with a toothpick if necessary.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg.  In another bowl, mix the Panko, taco seasoning, parsley, oregano, and salt.  Dip each chicken breast in the egg then the Panko.  Place the breaded chicken breast on the prepared cooking sheet.  To help give the breading a deeper color, you can give each breast a little spray of cooking spray.

Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Deep Fried Black-Eyed Peas

Let me preface this posting by telling you how I came across this never-heard-of-before (by me) recipe.  Last week I was watching an episode of Destination America's "Best Food Ever."  The episode was about cheese.  I love these shows and always try to watch to see if there is ever anything interesting within a couple of driving hours from Chattanooga.  One of the foods profiled was Pimiento Cheese Fritters from a restaurant in Atlanta.  I've not had much pimiento cheese in my life, but hey, if it's featured on a program like this, I figured I'd give it a shot.

So first I tried to find the restaurant and a recipe.  Turns out the restaurant (Relish) closed, but one step turned to another and I ran across this recipe that was also on Relish's menu.  I found this youtube posting featuring Alton Brown ( which gives you an idea of what this little treat is all about.

They were everything they were hyped to be!  What a fun little treat.  This would be a great change for us Southerners who have to have their black-eyed peas on New Year's Day (what a great football-watching snack!).  They definitely need to be eaten soon after frying, certainly on the same day.  After watching the youtube video and reading several recipes, I kind of combined them to come up with what I've written below.  I did go a bit heavier with the Old Bay Seasoning....season it as you go along until you get to the right combination for you. 

You'll need to start these the day before (for the soaking) and you can even cook them several days ahead and then save them for the last step: frying.


1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 large onion, cut into large diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded if you like for less heat, and diced large
1-2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced large
2 tsp minced garlic
canola oil for frying
2+ tsp seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
kosher salt to taste

Place the black-eyed peas into a large container and cover with several inches of cold water; let stand 8 hours or overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the peas.  Pour in enough water to cover the peas by 3", then stir in the onion and peppers.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the peas are firm and tender (not mushy).  Start checking them at about 30 minutes, they could take up to 50 minutes (depending on how high your heat is).  Add more water if needed to keep the peas covered while cooking.

Drain the peas in a colander set in the sink, then spread them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.  Refrigerate until ready to fry.

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375F.  Carefully pour about 1 1/2 cups of peas into the hot oil per batch and fry until crisp, 4-7 minutes.  Remove the peas, drain on paper towels, and toss the hot peas in a bowl with the seasoning and salt.  Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grilled Yellow Squash w/Lemon and Chive Vinaigrette

With summer breathing down my neck, I'm always looking for entrees and side dishes I can prepare on the grill to keep the kitchen cooler.  I ran across this the other day and it is a perfect side dish and oh so easy.  And pretty darn tasty.


8-10 small or 3-4 large yellow crookneck squash
canola oil

3 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp chopped chives

Preheat grill to high.

Slice squash in half lengthwise.  Place in a shallow dish with canola oil and sprinkle with S&P.  Let marinade for 10 minutes.

Make vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together or placing in a Mason jar and shaking well.

Turn grill down to medium-high.  Grill squash for 4-5 minutes per side (6-7 minutes if using large squash).

Remove from heat and drizzle with dressing.

Recipe Source: