Friday, July 31, 2015

Shrimp Stock

OK....this may not be something you were expecting, but let me tell you..... following a real stock recipe made all the difference!

We eat a lot of shrimp here.  I mean A LOT!!!  I learned several years ago that the second best thing to shrimp are the shrimp shells and starting making my own stock (when peeling uncooked shrimp, wrap the shells in plastic wrap and put into a ziplock back until you have about a filled gallon-sized bag.)  Generally with stock, chicken or shrimp, I generally throw in celery, carrots, onions, and maybe a few herbs, always with good results.  But for some reason, I actually searched for a published stock recipe and found this one from Emeril Lagasse of Food Network.

I followed the recipe almost to the "t" making adjustments only with the amount of shells and water.  This stock is perfection.  It is now in my freezer waiting for a good gumbo and seafood chowder day.  Tick tock, tick tock.  I can hardly wait!

SHRIMP STOCK (makes about 9 cups)

about 1 1/2 pounds shrimp stock
10 cups water
1/2 large onion, quartered
1 lg celery rib, quartered
1 lg carrot, quartered
stems from an 8 oz package of mushrooms
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
Sachet consisting of the following:
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp crushed black peppercorns
4 parsley stems

Put the shells with the remaining ingredients into a stockpot.  Bring to a boil.  Let simmer for about an hour.

Strain through a colander.  I put 2 cups of stock in each freezer bag (1 bag had one cup), label, and wait for some cool weather!

Recipe Source: adapted from

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quinoa Kale Salad

This is one of the most delicious, simple side dishes you could make that would complement just about entree.  And although the recipe calls for kale, I had some leftover raw spinach that needed a home and I used it instead.  Just as good as the demo at Publix.

Easy, healthy, full of nutrition, this side dish would work well with so many things.  But that fabulous Herbed Pesto Salmon (see previous post) ranks right at the top.

QUINOA KALE SALAD (4 servings)

5 cups finely chopped kale or spinach
1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup creamy Caesar dresssing, divided
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Place quinoa and stock in a large stock pot.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes.   Meanwhile, remove stems from kale or spinach, then chop leaves.

Stir kale or spinach into quinoa and cover; cook 8 more minutes.  Transfer mixture to large serving bowl; fluff with a fork and let stand to cool slightly.

Stir in a 1/4 cup dressing & S&P.  Drizzle 1/4 cup dressing over top.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Recipe Source:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Herb Pesto Salmon

Meet my new favorite salmon recipe!  Now maybe because it's so, so simple (just pesto, Dijon, and lemon).  It probably helped that sockeye salmon (usually $15/lb) is on sale for just $7/lb.  And they are so fresh and delicious.  Of course you can use fresh salmon found at your market, but if you run across a sale like I did, definitely take advantage.

And while I have more basil this year than I would ever use in a lifetime, I buy jarred, prepared pesto.  It's inexpensive, delicious, and will keep in a jar in the fridge for a long, long time.  So all you do is season the fish with S&P, top with the pesto mixture and pop in the oven.

They also had a wonderful quinoa kale salad they served with it which was equally de-lish and simple.  Stay tuned.

HERB PESTO SALMON (4 servings)

Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp basil pesto sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 sockeye (or cojo) salmon fillets (4-6 oz each)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine pesto, mustard, and lemon juice.  Season fish with S&P; place on baking sheet.

Top each fillet evenly with pesto mixture; bake 14-16 minutes or until 145F (or opaque and separates easily).  Serve.

Recipe Source:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Saffron Orzo with Scallops (or Shrimp or Chicken) and Sugar Snap Peas

I adore orzo.  I love the silky texture and the versatility.  When I think pasta I naturally think Italian: tomato-y or rich alfredo and cheese.  Orzo just opens a whole new path of thinking for me: salads to entrees, summer vegetables or traditional tomato-bases.

This is a great base recipe from which to start.  The original recipe calls for shrimp, but I had some bay scallops in the freezer.  And while sugar snaps and asparagus are standouts in the meal, use what is fresh or what you like.

A word on saffron.  This is the most expensive spice in the world costing between $1600 and $5000/pound.  Not that us home cooks would ever buy a pound, but you can find it in bottles in the spice department (looking on-line I see it in .05 oz or 1-2 gram jars for around $20.....I think I've found it for less for a local market).  A friend had sent me a jar some time ago and I had tried to a few times but frankly, it really didn't rock my boat.  I'm sure there are different levels of quality, but I've also ordered entrees in restaurants and it pretty much tasted the same of what I have on hand.

All that being said, if you have some on hand by all means use it!  This is a great home for it.  However, if you're not willing to dip your toe in the water but still want yellow rice, I'd try turmeric.

The original recipe didn't call for the red peppers, but I really felt it need a pop of color for presentation.


1/2 yellow or sweet onion, chopped
2-3 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp EVOO
1 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cups (9 1/2 oz/295 g) orzo
2 1/4 cups (18 fl oz/560 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb (250 g) sugar snap peas, trimmed (I used thawed, frozen sugar snaps)
1/2 lb (250 g) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut crosswise into thirds (can substitute bay scallops or chicken cut into bite-sized pieces)
S&P to taste
diced red pepper (cooked or uncooked), optional

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, olive oil, and saffron threads and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Mix in the orzo, then pour in the broth.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is just tender, about 8 minutes.

Add the asparagus and peas and simmer until partially cooked, about 3 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes (adjust cooking time for chicken).  Season with S&P.  Transfer to warmed serving bowls and serve hot.

Recipe Source: Williams-Sonoma "Fresh & Light" 1998, p. 46

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pollo Santa Fe

Hello, again.  Thanks so much for returning.  It's been a difficult week here in Chattanooga triggering so many memories.  But this city is as resolute as OKC and the slogan showing up on just about every marquee is "Chattanooga Strong."  I haven't been back to the gym as the memorial has grown so large you couldn't place a piece of paper in there and it's just too hard for me to see right now.  I need to get back to pass this hurdle and hope to do so soon.

But during this time, I have run across with some really nice, new recipes.  This one is my favorite and I can tell you I will be making it over and over again.  Did I just say I was about to throw every skinless, boneless chicken breast out the window?  Well, color me wrong.  If you use SBCBs for nothing else, use them for this recipe.  Really.

Please don't let the long list of ingredients and instructions turn you away.  Almost everything can be done ahead (make the sauce and salsa a day or two'll keep).  Having all that ready and on hand, poof!  Everything is ready to assemble.

I believe the multi-colored tortilla strips are essential to a lovely presentation, but you could certainly use regular tortilla chips for the flavor and crunch.  This recipe comes from the cookbook "Southern Living: Off the Eaten Path."  The author (Morgan Murphy) combed southern states and asked locals where the hidden gems were.  We're not talking about 5***** restaurants in Atlanta, Nashville, or Dallas, but those places, mainly Mom-and-Pop joints, that serve the best dishes in their regions.  This recipe comes from Rosie's Cantina in Huntsville, Alabama ( So, if you're ever Space City, Alabama, put it on your "to-do" list.

POLLO SANTA FE (6 servings)

Southwestern Sauce:
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne), or to taste (we are very sensitive to cayenne but I do like a tad bit of heat, so I usually use about an 1/8 of what a recipe calls for)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili powder (could use chipotle powder if you want more heat)

6 (8 oz.....I use 4 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Provolone cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Multicolored tortilla strips (I find mine in the produce department)

Black Bean-Corn Salsa:
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (less for me)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp finely chopped seeded, deveined jalapeno peppers
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Prepare Southwestern Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover sauce and chill for 2 hours.

Prepare Black Bean-Corn Salsa:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Prepare Chicken:
Preheat grill to 350F to 400F (medium-high) heat.  Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Prepare entree:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine cheeses in a medium bowl.  Place chicken breasts on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Top each breast with 1/4 cup Southwestern Sauce, 1/4 cup Black Bean-Corn Salsa, and about 1/3 cup cheese mixture.  Bake at 350F for 7 minutes or until cheese melts.  Place 1 chicken breast on each of 6 serving plates.  Top with tortilla chips.

Recipe Source: "Southern Living: Off the Eaten Path," by Morgan Murphy, 2014, p. 27

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Chattanooga Tragedy

A woman places a balloon and flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the military recruiting center on Friday, July 17.

It has been a long, terrible few days here in this lovely city.  Once again, terror has found good and honorable people to take from all of us.

This is so difficult.  But just as in Oklahoma City, the wonderful people of this gracious city are showing what a true American is.  Within an hour of the second shooting, lines had formed at blood banks.  Makeshift memorials went up at the sites.  The city was so quiet that first day.  It's just all so sad and pointless.

My love and unconditional gratefulness go out, as always, to our all of our law enforcement and armed forces men and women.

And my sincere sympathy and complete understanding to family and friends of our five murdered Marines.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Fire-Roasted Tomato and Feta Pasta with Shrimp

If you have a basil plant that is as prolific as ours, you must always be looking for a way to use it.  But even if you don't have a plant but have a chance to pick up some fresh basil (maybe from a neighbor?), here is a great place to use it.

There is almost no prep time to this recipe.  All I had to do was to peel some uncooked shrimp (freeze those shells for stock!), mince some garlic and chop some basil.  And while the pasta is cooking, this can all be made in the 10 or so minutes that it takes to bring the pasta to al dente.


1/2 pound linguine
1 Tbsp EVOO
3 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 pound (41-50) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (14.5 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
S&P to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until ad dente, 8-11 minutes.  Drain.

While the pasta cooks, heat oil in a 12" heavy skillet over medium heat until hot.  Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute (don't let it burn.....if you do, start over!)  Add shrimp and cook, stirring until opaque and heated through, 2-3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 1/2-2 minutes.  Stir in basil and S&P.

Add pasta to skillet and cook, tossing pasta and sauce, 1 minute.  Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with feta.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Apison Thuderstorm


We are in the midst of the most incredible thunderstorms I think I have ever encountered!  Poor dogs were scared to tremors but we snuggled 'em real good! 

It was very short-lived but mighty intense.  Thank goodness Jim had the insight to get everyone outside before the worse hit.  This is awesome nappin' weather!

I do loves me thunderstorms.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fish Chowder

This is so good!!!!

Maybe so because I'm biased.....I loved fish/seafood and soup.  But this chowder is different in that it includes mushrooms which really ramps up the flavor.  In fact, I would double the amount of mushrooms the recipe calls for making this a Cream of Mushroom/Fish Chowder!

I actually had everything on hand and didn't need a run to the grocery store.  Although this recipe called for cod, I had a single leftover Swai and tilapia fillet in the freezer so I used those.  Really, just about any mild, white fish would work wonderfully.  I used russet potatoes because the one I have are aging, but personally, I would prefer reds (the russets were actually quite good in this recipe).

I'm so glad I made the entire recipe (I usually half it since there are just the two of us) so now I have leftovers for a midnight snack or lunch tomorrow.

FISH CHOWDER (4 servings)

1 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 fresh mushrooms (yes, just two mushrooms), sliced (I'd more than double this, at least 4-8, but I LOVE mushrooms)
1/2 thick stalk or 1 slim stalk celery, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups diced potatoes
1 pound cod, diced into 1/2" cubes
1/8 tsp Old Bay seasoning
S&P to taste
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 AP flour
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium heat.  Saute onions, mushrooms, and celery in butter until tender.

Add chicken stock and potatoes, simmer 10 minutes.

Add fish, simmer 10 minutes.  Add Old Bay seasoning and S&P.  Mix together clam juice and flour until smooth.  Stir into soup.  Remove from heat and stir in evaporated milk.

Recipe Source:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rosemary Orange Chicken

Holy Smokes!!!  This is so good!!!  

I gotta be honest.  I have really become so tired of skinless, boneless chicken breasts.  I've amped up my fish/seafood dishes and even added a few pork/beef dishes because I was beginning to feel that if I saw another SBCB, I'd pull my hair out.  

So if you're in the same boat (and even if you're not), you have to try this.  The dichotomy of sweet (maple syrup) and savory (fresh rosemary) elevates this dish to a whole new level.

Serve this simply (I put it on top of jasmine rice) so the chicken itself will shine.  Since we're still getting fabulous, sweet (and cheap) corn-on-the-cob and our cucumber vines must think they're steroids, I served this with simple corn-on-the-cob and my two favorite cucumber salads,  but generally I would simply serve it with a green vegetable/salad.   Also, I'm listing the recipe as published (thank you, again, Publix) but I used 2 four-ounce chicken cutlets and then halved the sauce recipe.  Perfection.

 Regardless, just try the chicken!!!!


1 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup pure  maple syrup (not pancake syrup)

Preheat large saute pan on medium 2-3 minutes.  Season chicken with S&P (wash hands).  Place oil then butter in pan, then add chicken, cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

Add chicken broth to chicken and cover; cook 5 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed.  Add orange juice and wine (or chicken broth); bring to a boil.

Reduce heat on chicken to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes stirring often.  Meanwhile, chop rosemary

Add syrup and rosemary to chicken; cook 3-4 minutes, turning chicken to coat with sauce, or until chicken is 165F.  Slice chicken (optional) and serve.

Recipe Source:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pasta with Scallops, Zucchini, and Tomatoes

What a lovely simple, summer meal!  (again) on my mission to clean out my freezer, I had some bay scallops that I needed to use.  And with the plethora of summer vegetables, this is an absolutely delicious meal.  Use those summer zucchinis and tomatoes and make it an entire seafood entree by adding some scallops and fettucine.

I served mine with a Caesar salad and a crusty baguette for a relatively light summer, very delicious dinner.


8 oz dry fettucine pasta
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 zucchini, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
8 oz bay scallops
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot with boiling salted water; cook pasta until al dente.  Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil, add garlic and cook until tender.  Add the zucchini, salt, red pepper flakes, basil, and saute for about 10 minutes (lower heat).  Add chopped tomatoes, bay scallops, and any additional basil you'd like and simmer for 5 minutes, or until scallops are opaque.

Pour sauce over cooked pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Paul

Image result for paul douglas ice photo

I just can't believe that my brother would have been 63-years-old today.  What I wouldn't do to see an aged-progressed photo of what he might look like!  At 43, he still could have passed for a fella in high school.

I miss you, sweet brother.  You are remembered each and every day.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Honor the 4th

I hope everyone remembers this day is not about fireworks and hot dogs (but if you don't watch Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest I don't think you can consider yourself a real American.....SPOILER ALERT!  Men and women's contestants were upset this year).

But today is to remember that 239 years ago the United States of America became what it is today......or at least what we hope it can be.  A world leader.  What hard work and dedication and commitment can evolve into.

Hats off to those who have worked hard and dedicated their lives and their families lives to making all of our lives better.  Shame to those who settle for the "entitlement" that our current government (and commander-in-chief who never served a day in the armed forces) hands out.  

My heart goes out not to just the "Greatest Generation," (bless them), but to all of our dedicated soldiers, citizens, and others who have made this country great.

In this awful age of global terrorism, everyday I am grateful for those protecting us, from soldiers to law enforcement officers.  Be safe.  And thank you.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pork and Mango Stir Fry

What a surprise this turned out to be!  I'm not a big pork tenderloin fan because so often it comes out dry (my fault).  But I usually keep one in the freezer (surprise! surprise!) when I catch them on sale.

And I really thought I would make rice instead of pasta because doesn't stir fry usually mean rice?  But what a nice difference!  The entire dish came together wonderfully...filling, tasty, and easy.  A nice rainbow of colors and texture.  We'll be seeing you again, friend.

PORK and MANGO STIR FRY (4 servings)

1 pound pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp canola oil, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 oz uncooked (regular or multi-grain) angel hair pasta
1 pkg (8-9 oz) frozen sugar snap peas, thawed
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup (reduced-sugar or regular) orange marmalade
1/4 cup (regular or reduced-sodium) teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 cup chopped peeled mango
1/4 cup lightly-salted cashews, halves or coarsely chopped

Cut tenderloin lengthwise in half; cut each half crosswise into thin slices.  Toss pork with 1 Tbsp oil, salt and pepper flakes.  Cook pasta according to package directions.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of the pork mixture, stir fry 2-3 minutes or just until browned.  Remove from pan; repeat with remaining pork mixture.

Stir-fry snap peas and red pepper in remaining oil 2-3 minutes or just until crisp-tender.  Stir in marmalade, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and garlic; cook 1-2 minutes longer.  Return pork to pan and add mango and cashews; heat through, stirring to combine.  Serve with pasta.

Recipe Source:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sweet, Sticky, and Spicy Chicken

As I continue to plow my way through my freezer and vegetable bin, I had seen this recipe posted in the latest "Allrecipes" magazine and just happened to have everything on hand....WooHoo!  Allrecipes magazine and website have become my go-to resource for two reasons: 1) on the website, you can plug in what ingredients you would like to use and it will offer recipe selections (example: chicken breast, broccoli, fresh ginger) and 2) because on both the website and in the magazine, readers can submit changes they made to the recipe.  

This time, by reading reviewers suggestions, I first dusted the chicken with flour, and I added sliced carrots, water chestnuts, and sesame seeds.  However, the recipe below is the original, so make changes you'd like or go directly to the site and see how other cooks revised the recipe.  For those of us creativity-handicapped, it's a great help!


1/2 pound broccoli (about 1 large stalk)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp hot sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp finely-chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp finely-chopped fresh garlic
1 1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into 1/2" thick slices, or bite-sized
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Separate broccoli into florets and stalks.  Cut off and discard very tough bottom of stalk, then peel remaining stalk with a paring knife and thinly slice crosswise.  Slice florets in half lengthwise. 

Mix together soy sauce, hot sauce, honey, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic in a bowl.  Whisk in cornstarch until well-combined.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook 2 minutes.  Turn chicken over, add broccoli and 3 Tbsp water, and cook until broccoli is bright green and chicken is almost cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Stir soy sauce mixture once more, pour into skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, chicken is cooked through, and broccoli is crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Recipe Source: NOTE: This recipe is a tad bit different (doesn't includes the broccoli and brown sugar).  See the original in the June/July/August 2015 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Crispy Mustard Roasted Chicken

I've been cooking.  Honestly.  Just too lazy to post anything new.  But I've got a bunch of new recipes I've tried over the last week and look forward to sharing them with you.

This is another easy-peasy.  I adjusted the original recipe (see it at as it called for cutting up a whole chicken.  I simply used two 4 oz tenderloins and cut the coating down.

Any starch and green vegetable is a perfect paring for this entree.


2 (4 oz) chicken tenderloins/cutlets
1 tsp minced garlic (1 medium-sized clove)
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place garlic, thyme, S&P in a food processor.  Process.  Add Panko, zest, olive oil, and butter and pulse a few times to moisten the breadcrumbs.  Pour the mixture onto a plate.  In a shallow bowl, whisk together the wine and mustard.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle with S&P.  Dip the chicken in the mustard mixture to coat on all sides, and then place down into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere.  Place the chicken on a sheet pan crumb-side down.  Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until chicken reaches 165F.  Turn oven to broil until crumbs are browned.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temp.

Recipe Source:  Food Network/Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)