Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!


We are in a heavily-populated Trick-or-Trick route.  Every year we get over 100 trick-or-treaters.  I love it!  We've been married for 18 years and this is the first neighborhood we've lived in that we get such a fabulous traffic of little ghosts and goblins.

And not only that, they're cool and sweet trick-or-treaters.  No teens not in costume with a outreached plastic grocery bag and an attitude.  Almost every one we get are cute kids with enthusiasm and "Trick or Treat!" and "Thank You!"

Plus, this is about the first TorT Jim's been home for Halloween and got into the pumpkin-carving mode.  Didn't he do a fabulous job?!!!!  Never in a million years would I have even attempted this feat.

So, again, another successful Halloween here in beautiful Chattanooga, TN.  Perfect weather (in the 60's) and still some colors left from the fall foliage.  Can life get any better?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Brazilian Chicken Curry

We love curry.  Often.  This, along with any Publix/aprons recipes, are not only quick and easy, but generally are things I have on hand.

Whenever I cook rice, I always cook extra and freeze it so when I need a quick dinner, I can thaw out the rice and make a stir-fry or curry and have dinner on the table in half an hour.

Served over rice, all I did to complete the meal was to dice up a fresh, ripened mango.  Perfect accompaniment.


1 1/2 cups onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 cup baking potato, coarsely chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)
Cooking spray
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp curry powder
1 (10z) bag frozen pre-cooked brown (or white) rice (or about 1-2 cups cooked rice)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp minced fresh garlic

Preheat large nonstick saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes.  Cook vegetables with cooking spray; place peppers, onions, and potatoes in pan; cook 3-4 minutes or until browned.

Coat chicken with cooking spray, then season with S&P and curry powder.  Add chicken to vegetables; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until chicken has browned on all sides. 

Prepare rice following package instructions (or warm thawed, frozen rice).

Whisk coconut milk, tomato paste, ginger, and garlic until smooth.  Reduce heat to low, add sauce to chicken and cover; simmer and stir 3-4 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is 165F.  Stir in cilantro.  Serve over rice.

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/Tomatoes and Thyme

I'm am so loving that we are firmly into the autumn season.  Cooler temps, changing colors, and soup!!!

This is a soup we used to make every autumn at a restaurant I worked at while living in Minnesota and our customers looked forward to it every year.  But you have to love spending time in the kitchen because it is a wee bit labor-intensive.  However, it isn't as daunting as it might initially seem.  You can roast the squash and tomatoes a day or two ahead and then it's just a matter of putting everything together.  I do use fresh herbs because I have them and cleaning the thyme is time-consuming (I do clean them very stems) taking me about half an hour to get 1/4 cup.  But if you're using dried herbs, you'll be done lickety-split.

This is really an elegant soup.  Make it several days ahead if you're going to be busy with other dishes.  But if you're a fan of butternut squash, I hope you'll try this one.  It's at the top of my squash soup recipes.


1 to 1 1/2 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
1/4 cup EVOO, divided
6 roma or small vine-ripened tomatoes, halved (I leave the seeds in because I like the crunch....seed them if you want a smoother texture)
4 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-4 Tbsp butter (I use 2)
1 red onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I like a thicker consistency, so I use 4 cups)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves or 4 tsp dried
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbsp fresh sage or 1 tsp dried
Juice of 2 oranges

Please the squash cut side down in a large baking dish.  Add 1 cup water and 1 Tbsp olive oil to the dish.

Toss the tomatoes and garlic with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a baking dish.  
Roast the squash and tomatoes in a 450F oven for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is soft and tender and the tomatoes are soft and the skin is slightly shriveled.  Let stand until cool enough to handle and then slightly crush the tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher into small pieces, reserving the liquid.  Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot.  Add the onion and cook and stir about 10 minutes until onion is soft and translucent.  Add the carrot and celery and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft.

Add the broth and S&P and reduce heat to low.  Simmer uncovered 20-25 minutes.

Remove the squash from its skin by scooping out the flesh with a spoon.  Discard the skin and add the flesh to the soup.  Simmer about 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and add the thyme, chives, and sage.  Cool slightly then, working in batches, pour the soup into a food processor or blender until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot and add the tomatoes and their liquid and the orange juice.  Season with S&P.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Autumn in SE Tennessee

We are just about at peak foliage here in the Chattanooga area.  We're going to have rain over the next few days so I took a few minutes to drive around our neighborhood today and take a few photos.  I absolutely love this time of year.  It's so peaceful.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cornbread Salad

This was a demo at Publix a few weeks ago.  When I heard "Cornbread Salad," I really wasn't sure about this one.  But it is absolutely delicious!

I will say my photo, as often is the case, isn't green onions were at their end so there's not much green in the photo.  Regardless, if you make cornbread and have leftovers, either make this right away or freeze the cornbread to make it later.

FYI....they used Marie's Asiago Peppercorn salad dressing.  A creamy Caesar salad dressing is an acceptable substitute(see  Also, they used their own bakery's corn muffins which are on the sweet side reminding me of Jiffy's brand corn muffins.

CORNBREAD SALAD (4 servings)

6 slices cooked bacon
2 ears fresh yellow corn
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup Asiago Peppercorn salad dressing
4 regular or 3 jumbo corn muffins

Cook bacon, chop and place in medium bowl.  Remove corn from cob.

Add remaining ingredients (except corn muffins) to bacon, stir until blended.

Break corn muffins into large chunks (be careful not to crumble into small pieces); fold into bacon mixture.  Serve.

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


A few weeks ago, our latest puppy-dog addition started having seizures.  We took her to our veterinarian and he prescribed phenobarbitol.  Her seizures stopped for a bit, but she seemed overly-medicated.  We reduced her dosage, but she just was never the same.  She seemed to be recovering, and then she just got worse.

I took her to the vet yesterday thinking "this was it."  But he assured me that we just needed to keep her on the pheno and get her to start eating again.  She was really doing well this morning.....she spent 5-10 minutes in the backyard walking very well and ate some chicken I cooked for the dogs.  Then I gave her another pill and she went to sleep for a couple of hours.  She never really came out of her fog and at about 8:40 this evening, she died while in my arms.

She had the sweetest, loudest bark which I hadn't heard in about a week.  She was just the sweetest little thing.  She came to us about 3 years ago.  A couple that Jim worked with at Sequoia Nuclear Plant (TVA) had found her living in a haystack.  They were going to take her in but their dog didn't get along with Scooter, so they asked Jim if we would take her.  REALLY?????  The day they brought her to us, she immediately fit into our family.  What a joy she was for the last three years.  We have no idea how old she was or what her background was, but she was just about the sweetest little girl you could have ever know.

My sweet Scooter, I miss you already and have cried for hours.  I can only hope that you are with your Dog-Momma and former Human-Momma in heaven. 

I love(d) you so deeply.

Your Momma Kay

Arugula Pear Salad

OK, the last of my "Arugula Installment" recipes!  An absolutely simple, delicious side salad that would nicely grace any of your entrees.

Again, I'll just list what's in the decide on the quantities.  You can see the original recipe at the link below.


Bartlett pear(s), thinly sliced
crumbled blue cheese
chopped, toasted walnuts
arugula (I add romaine)
apple vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing

Recipe adapted from:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Arugula Mushroom Salad

I had made this salad several times and as much as I like arugula, it was a bit too much for me.  So I've starting cutting the amount of arugula in half and adding romaine to lighten it up a bit, in addition to adding a bit of crunch.

Now I find this salad dressing essential to the salad.  It's based on the Green Goddess dressing of old, but has tahini (sesame seed oil) to give it a unique flavor.  They stock it in the natural food section at Publix, but if you're interested, you can see if it's available in your area or you can buy it on-line by going here:

I don't give amounts here....use as much or as little of each ingredient to your liking.  See the link below for the precise recipe.


1/2 arugula 
1/2 chopped romaine
red pepper slices
quartered mushrooms (Portobella recommended, but button will do)
macadamia nuts
Goddess salad dressing

Recipe adapted from:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Along with extra arugula, I also happened to have some leeks I needed to use.  And Voila!  A search for leeks and arugula led me to this Barefoot Contessa recipe.

I cut this recipe in half and served it with an arugula salad (to follow).  Also, she made crispy shallots (see original link below for that recipe), but I was too lazy so I just used some french-fried onions (the kind generally linked to Thanksgiving's "Green Bean Casserole."


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4" chunks
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (about 4 leeks)
1/4 EVOO
3 cups arugula, lightly packed
1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
6-7 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz creme fraiche or sour cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
Crispy Shallots (see link below for recipe) or prepared french-fried onions for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer.  Add the olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly.  Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender.  Add the arugula and toss to combine.  Roast for 4-5 more minutes, until arugula is wilted.  Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners.  Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock to make a puree.  Pour the puree into a large pot or Dutch oven.  Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they're all done and combined in the large pot.  Add enough of the remaining 1-2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.  Add the cream, creme fraiche or sour cream, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and check the seasonings.

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 Tbsp white wine and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan and crispy shallots or onions, if using.

Recipe Source:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Goat Cheese Arugula Pizza

I love arugula.  Love, love, love it.  But since there are just two of us, it's hard to not let some of it go to waste.   And what a shame.  

So, last week I decided to make a week full of recipes using one of those 5 oz plastic boxes of arugula found in the produce aisle.  Trying to find, in a way, that we didn't become over-arugula-ed.  Some of the salads I have recipes call for using all-arugula but even though I love this particular green, to have an  all arugula salad is just too much for me....I have to cut a salad with half-romaine.

But, my first recipe is probably just about the quickest, easiest, most delish pizza you could make.  Have some arugula, pizza crust, goat cheese, and romas on hand but only have a few minutes.  I gotcha covered.  This pizza is wonderful.  Nice crispy crust with the lusciousness of goat cheese and the peppery-ness of the can't go wrong.  Need a side dish?  A simple Caesar salad rounds this meal out perfectly.


1 unbaked pizza crust (I used Boboli thin crust)
6 Tbsp (or so) prepared pesto sauce
3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
4-8 oz packaged regular or seasoned goat cheese (4 oz was plenty for me_)
2 tsp freshly minced garlic
1 cup fresh arugula
1 tsp EVOO

Preheat oven according to pizza package instructions.

Dab pesto onto the center of the pizza base and spread toward the outer edges.  Cut the goat cheese into thin coins (I simply spread it over the pesto), and spread or crumble across the pizza.  Arrange tomato slices over goat cheese/pesto.  Sprinkle with garlic.  Brush the crust edges lightly with olive oil.

Place pizza directly on preheated oven rack.  Bake 5-10 minutes or until the crust edges are golden.

After taking pizza out of the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes so that the cheese has time to set.  After a couple of minutes, cover the pizza with a handful of arugula.

Cut, serve, ENJOY!!!

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Creepy Witches' Fingers

Oh, we are so into my favorite time of the year!!!  Halloween may be just about my favorite holiday for no other reason that it's sweater-weather.

These witches' fingers made their debut years ago but I still get a hoot out of looking at them.  It's a simple shortbread-like cookie recipe that you make indentations and cuts to resemble fingers.  The whole almonds really give the look of a fingernail and the red icing/gel underneath definitely give that creepy-blood look.  Oh, and they're good!

Lots of recipes on these.  Some call for granulated sugar, some for confectioner's sugar.  This time I used 1/2 and 1/2 to give it a more "shortbread" consistency.  For a tutorial on how to roll them out, see this:  Believe me, their results are "prettier" than mine.

CREEPY WITCHES' FINGERS (makes about 5 dozen)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (granulated, confectioner's, or a combo)
1 large egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
about 3/4 cup whole almonds
red decorating gel/icing

In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extracts.  Beat in flour, baking soda, and salt.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (I chilled it several hours and only took out what I need to roll one baking sheet at a time, otherwise it is too soft to work with).  Roll a heaping teaspoonful (I weighed mine at 10 grams each) of dough into a finger shape for each cookie.

Cookies will spread slightly, so roll thinly (mine measured about 2 1/2" x 3/8").  Squeeze in the center to create a knuckle shape (squeeze almost until finger and thumb meet, or watch above tutorial for another method).  Using a very sharp paring knife, make slashed in between the knuckles for the wrinkled-look.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment or a Silpat; bake 20-25 minutes in a 325F oven until pale golden.  Remove from oven.  Wait a few minutes and when warm enough (but not hot), remove the almond and squeeze the gel or icing onto nail bed and press almond back in place so the gel/icing oozes out from underneath.  

Remove from baking sheets and let cool on racks.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

I've had this recipe in my file for a couple of years (don't those files just grow and grow?)  I finally put my foot down and decided it was time to make it.

Fabulous choice.  This was so good and absolutely easy, and adaptable.  Add your favorite pizza toppings.  I cut this recipe in half (and baked in an 8x8 baking dish) and the two of us had finished it by evening's end.


12 oz pasta (I used mini penne)
1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
3 cups (24 oz) pizza or marinara sauce
1/2 cup sliced black olives
4 oz regular or turkey pepperoni
8 oz regular or reduced-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella (regular or reduced-fat)
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Cook the pasta as directed on package but stop 3 minutes early, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a large saucepan over medium heat, about 10 minutes.

Mix in the sauce with the sausage and 3/4's of the olives and pepperoni and set aside.

Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan and set aside.

Place half of the pasta in the bottom of a large (13x9) baking dish, top with half of the sauce, followed by half of the cheese mixture and repeat with another layer of each, finally topping with the remaining olives, pepperoni, and oregano.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven covered in foil until bubbling at the sides, about 20-30 minutes, remove foil and bake until cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Recipe Source (and read for more topping tips):

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup

I rarely duplicate recipes, but when something is as utterly delicious as this soup, I have to make sure everyone gets to try it.

We are almost completely into fall weather.  Leaves are starting to turn and temperatures are dropping.  In other words soup weather!!!  As I've said before, I won't name a favorite soup.  I love so many: any kind of chicken (noodle, wild rice, creamy/brothy), clam chowder, green pea, on and on and on.   And, of course, mushroom.

While I can't name my favorite kind of soup, I generally have a favorite recipe in each category.  And let me tell you, this is by-and-far my absolute favorite mushroom soup.  And while I would eat this every single day if it were put in front of me, I really to limit it to just a few times a year because it is a wee bit decadent.

So if you, too, are a mushroom soup aficionado you really must try this luscious, delicious variation.


1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 lb button mushrooms, quartered (save one or two mushrooms to slice and saute, for garnish)
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme (save an extra sprig for garnish)
2 Tbsp AP flour
1/2 cup white wine or broth
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 oz brie, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup milk, half-and-half, or cream (for best results, use cream or at the very least half-and-half)
S&P to taste

Toss the mushrooms in the olive, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes, mixing them up once or twice during the roasting time.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the flour and cook for two minutes.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the broth and mushrooms, bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Add the milk and brie, let the brie melt, fish out the rinds (I cut the rinds off before adding) and season with S&P to taste before pureeing to the desired consistency.

Recipe Source:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pickle Juice Marinated Chicken

OK, I gotta be honest.  When I heard about this idea I was perplexed.  But there are few things I won't try at least once.

On my last trip to OK, I heard about marinated chicken in pickle juice.....any kind: dill, sweet, I used bread and butter.  Just marinade the chicken a good part of the day.  No recipe.

When I got home, I did a search to see if this was a legitimate idea and was shocked to find uses for leftover pickle juice.  I do loves me pickles and always have several on hand.

One tip:  I served mine over rice and ended up drizzle a bit more juice to "flavor-it-up" and served it with more pickles.  Another idea: Take a jar (or so) of pickle juice and reduced it down about half-way to deepen the flavor.  Of course your house will smell like a vinegar factory, but the results will be worth it.

See the other neat ideas for using leftover pickle juice at:;postID=6244903463525859335

or just put in a search "uses for leftover pickle juice."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I used to bake and send cookies, etc. to Jim's office.  But now that he's home, I'm finding that I have a backlog of sweet things that aren't being used.  So once again, I'm on a mission to declutter my pantry.

When I first ran across this recipe, I knew I would try it regardless.  But when it had butterscotch chips and chocolate chips (of which I had extras looking for a home), I knew it was next on my "To Make" list.

I have to say, I'm generally a nut-cookie girl.  While I'm not a big sweet fan, if I'm going to have a cookie, it must have nuts (usually double what a recipe calls for).  So you can imagine my surprise when this nut-less cookie came out so well for me.  The oats give it a wonderful chewiness and the combo of butterscotch and chocolate is a match made in heaven.

Check the link below for more info on quick vs old-fashioned oats.  Also, Mel used a #40 scoop for her cookies, I used a heaping Tablespoon.  While her recipe said it made 3 dozen cookies, mine made about 5-6 dozen so I'm assuming the #40 scoop is much larger (that's what a college degree from an engineering school will do for you!)


1 cup (16 Tbsp, 8 oz) butter, softened to room temp
3/4 cup (5.5 oz) lightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (5.5 oz) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (8.75 oz) AP flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups (12 oz) oats
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet, milk or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease with cooking spray (I use silicone baking pans).

In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, a minute or so.  Add the flour, salt, baking soda and oats.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Scoot out the cookie dough into heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing a couple inches apart.  Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes until set but not overbaked.

Recipe Source: