Monday, November 30, 2015

Coconut Shrimp Curry

After several days of leftover turkey, we needed a change.  Shrimp....curry....rice.  Poifect!!!  

I had picked up a pineapple on sale ($1!!!) and added a simple Asian-dressed salad (recipe below).  Easy, quick, delicious.


For the shrimp marinade:
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/5 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1-2 pounds shrimp

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion (any color) finely chopped
1/2-1 red pepper, sliced, optional
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (about 1" peeled piece of ginger)
S&P to taste
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can coconut milk, light or regular
chopped cilantro, to taste

Hot cooked rice, for serving

For the simple shrimp marinade, toss the shrimp with the S&P, cayenne, and lemon juice in a resealable large bag or in a bowl.  Refrigerate 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until rippling and hot.  Add the onion and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the S&P, ginger, garlic, coriander, turmeric and curry powder.  Continue cooking over medium heat, until the mixture is very fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, for about 1 minute.  Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, lightly pink and cooked through, 2-4 minutes.  Stir in cilantro.  

Serve over hot, cooked rice.

Recipe Source:

ASIAN TOSSED SALAD (mix as much/little as you like)

Chopped romaine
small broccoli florets
crumbled (uncooked) ramen noodles
green onions
Asian salad dressing (homemade {Google for your favorite recipe} or store-bought)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

French Onion Soup

Getting ready for Thanksgiving?  I started today by making my fresh make-ahead green bean casserole (see;postID=4499351947215440526;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=3;src=link ) and Best Broccoli Salad (see;postID=5156296508549413823;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=2;src=linkSo the next few days I'll be making easy dinners....tonight: Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken.

But back today's recipe.  I've run the gamut on making French Onion Soup.  From roasting beef bones and making homemade beef stock to the simplest of recipes.  This is absolutely on the easy end and ends in great results.  I have a Ninja 3-in-1 cooker (which I absolutely combines a stovetop cooker and a slow cooker), but I've adjusted it so you can do the first step on the stove and then slow cook it on the stovetop or in a crock pot.

FRENCH ONION SOUP (4 servings)

1/4 cup butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced (I always use sweet onions)
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup AP flour
1 container (32 oz) beef stock
12 oven-baked Italian toasts
1/2 pound shredded Gruyere cheese

Place butter in stock pot.  Heat until butter is melted.  Add onions, thyme, rosemary, and S&P.  Cook uncovered 15 minutes or until onions are very tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in brandy and flour.  Cook uncovered one minute or until mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Place stock into pot.  Season with S&P.  Simmer on low for about an hour or in the crock pot on HIGH for 1-2 hours.  Cover and cook.

Please three toasts into four soup bowls.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Scoop soup over cheese-topped toasts


Ladle soup into broil-proof bowls.  Top with toasts and then cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Recipe Source:  Ninja: Cooking Easier, Healthier, and Better, 2014, p. 95

Monday, November 23, 2015

Herb and Caper Crusted Salmon

I had a full package of fresh dill I wanted to use before it went bad and it just so happened that I had this salmon recipe I'd been waiting to try.  I found this at the Iowa Girl Eats website where she just happened to have a dill and sour cream potato recipe.  So I decided to make an entire dinner using the fresh dill.

I won't list the mashed potato recipe (although you can find it here if you need a recipe).  And then I just cooked from sliced carrots and added some butter and fresh dill.  All-in-all, it came together pretty quickly and was a really nice dinner.


1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp drained capers
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
pinch red chili pepper flakes
4 (4-6 oz) salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 400F then line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

Add parsley leaves, dill, capers, lemon zest, garlic, S&P, and red chili pepper flakes to the center of a large cutting board.  Chop until the ingredients are finely minced then slice the lemon into wedges and squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the mixture to moisten.

Rub salmon fillets with olive oil then season generously with S&P.  Press the top and sides of each fillet into the herb mixture to create an even crust then place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake (about 10 minutes per inch of salmon at the thickest point) then transfer salmon fillets to plates and squeeze a bit more lemon juice on top right before serving.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Muffin: Before and After



We've been putting off having Muffin groomed because her condition is failing rapidly.  But it had been over a year since she'd been groomed and she was so full of mats, even after frequent brushing.

Always before (although she hated to be bathed, groomed, and God Forbid!!!! nails cut), she seemed to get a new gitty-up in her go afterwards.  Not this time.  Bless her heart....16 1/2 years old (at her size/weight, her life-span is estimated to be about 11-12 years...her litter mate and sister, Spot, died on November 26, 2012....see post;postID=7820046978261866782;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=26;src=link ).  She has been a trooper, but I fear she is not long for this world.    She is always by my side and follows me everywhere. She is my bestest friend and I just can't imagine home without her.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Asparagus Tossed Salad

Here's a basic, simple side salad that will go with just about anything.  Three ingredients in the salad.  Make it when you can find a sale on asparagus (I got some for $1.50/lb last week!)

But it's the salad dressing that makes it.  Make extra and keep it on'll keep for months and then you can toss this simple salad after simply steaming the asparagus and carrots (it's similar to the Summer Orange Salad I make all summer long, see 6/17/15 post here.

This original recipe called for butter lettuce, which I used, but I do like my lettuce crunchy, so next time I'll use romaine.  Go with what you like.  Just go with this recipe.


2 medium carrot, sliced
1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
8 cups torn butter or romaine lettuce

Orange Ginger Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
4 1/2 tsp EVOO or canola oil
1 Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp grated orange peel
1/8 tsp salt

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender (microwave or oven top).  Same with carrots.

In a salad bowl, combine lettuce, carrots, and asparagus.

For the dressing:

Combine ingredients and whisk or shake until combined.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Artichoke Prosciutto Gratin

OK....there is really no way for me to oversell this appetizer.  It is out-of-this-world.  Utterly delicious.  It is an upscale version of the old artichoke (and usually spinach) dip.  It's super-simple to make and doesn't take long to cook.

A few things to say about the ingredients.  First and foremost important ingredient to me is the artichoke.  Every recipe I have ever used calls for artichoke hearts.  Personally, I just don't like them.....they always have a few prickly leaves on them that you end up spitting out.  I have discovered artichoke bottoms which are all lucious meat.  I can't always find them so I asked the manager at our local Publix market to see if he could order thing.  Bingo! (I just love Publix!)  The brand they found for me is Reese's.  If you can get them, try the much better and less wasted/discarded parts.

The next is mayo.  I am a committed Hellman's (Best Foods west of the Rockies) mayo person.  As is most of the mayo-consuming chefs (I've only heard one who preferred Duke's...I tried it....not even the the ballpark, in my humble opinion).

Lastly, fresh sage.  If you're going to indulge in the dip, you must use fresh sage (if you're making cornbread sage dressing for Thanksgiving, save a few leaves for this recipe).  It makes all the difference.  I wouldn't bother to make it if I only had dried sage to use.

Oh, one more thing....the crostini.  I usually use a good quality baguette (Panera is easily found).  I cut the baguette into about 1/4" to 1/2" thick slices.  Place on a baking dish and brush with extra-virgin olive oil.  Bake at 325F.....check at about 15 minutes.  I usually turn them over and turn the heat off until they are at the crunchiness I like.  I'll make the entire baguette and keep leftovers in a freezer bag in the freezer.  They keep for months for all the other dips, tapenades, and spreads you need over this wonderful autumn/winter holiday/football season.

ARTICHOKE PROSCIUTTO GRATIN (I made an entire batch and then ended up splitting the batch in two {it will keep for at least a week in the fridge} making two appetizer dishes each which served the two of us)

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts or bottoms (preferably bottoms), about 1 cup chopped
4-6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, diced
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 cup Hellman's mayo
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
Toasted slivered almonds

Mix all ingredients.  Spoon into a baking dish and bake in a 350F degree oven until bubbly (I stirred mine about halfway through to make sure it was warmed all the way through) until bubbly.  Top with toasted almonds.  Serve with crostini.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Remember the Broccoli and Cheese Casserole of yesteryear?  White rice, cream-of-something soup, processed American cheese, probably frozen broccoli?

Welcome to the 21st century!  This is an updated "healthified" version of that family staple and church-ladies cookbooks.  Bring it back to the table!  Wonderful quinoa, fresh vegetables, and an easy sauce to bind it together.  Es muy delicioso!!!


3 3/4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
2 cups small broccoli florets
4 Tbsp butter, divided
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 shallot or 1/4 small onion, chopped
3 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp AP flour
1 cup milk (regular or 2%)
3 oz shredded Jack cheese
3 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray then place on top of a baking sheet and set aside.

Bring 2 3/4 cups chicken broth to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan then add quinoa, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium, and then simmer until nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.  Add broccoli then place lid back on top, remove from heat, and let steam for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and shallots, season with S&P, then saute until mushrooms are golden brown.  Add garlic then saute for one more minute.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp butter then sprinkle flour when melted and saute for one minute.  Slowly stream in remaining 1 cup chicken broth and milk while whisking to avoid lumps.  Season generously with S&P then bring mixture to a bubble while stirring constantly.  Turn heat down to medium then simmer until thick and bubbly, 5 minutes.

Remove from heat then stir in the broccoli and quinoa, and half of the cheese then scoop mixture into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top then bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.  Let sit for 10 minutes before scooping and serving.

Recipe Source:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cellophane Noodle Salad

In most of the Asian noodle dishes I make, I use rice noodles.  But I was recently thinking about an old friend of mine who would make egg rolls using cellophane noodles.  They were so good!  So why not make a noodle dish using these instead of traditional rice noodles?

Stellar idea!  I loved the lightness and texture of these noodles.  I did a couple of searches for Asian salads using these noodles and found a Jamie Oliver recipe which I used as a start (see link below for his version).  He used pork and shrimp, I omitted the pork.  He used red chiles with seeds, I used chopped red peppers.  I added edamames.  He also used an entire bunch of cilantro (coriander) and mint.....I used a fraction of that.  My recipe below is simply a guideline, most of the ingredient amounts are guestimates.  Add more or less according to your tastes.


4 oz (100 gm) package of cellophane (glass) noodles
Chinese five-spice powder, to taste
3 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp sugar
8-12 oz raw shrimp, shelled and deveined, any size
handful roasted peanuts (skinned), coarsely chopped
green onions, thinly sliced
cilantro, chopped
fresh mint, chopped
fresh grated ginger, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 chopped red pepper
shelled edamames
1-2 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Soak noodles in boiling water and drain.

Heat olive oil in pan.  Add shrimp, five-spice powder, ginger, sugar, and peanuts.  Cook until shrimp are pink.

Mix the remaining ingredients (green onions through soy sauce) to make the dressing.

Add the drained noodles to the shrimp mixture.  Toss with the dressing.  Add extra soy sauce and olive oil if necessary.

Recipe adapted from:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cauliflower Broccoli Salad

This is a salad my mother started making decades ago.  It became a staple in our house.  I continued to the tradition and make it for years and then it kind of got lost in the dust of some many new recipes.

Thumbing through one of my original recipe files, I ran across it after many years.  It was the first time I had ever used tarragon vinegar and I felt so adventurous (remember, Oklahoma, 1960's/1970's).  Now this is one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants.....not really a recipe (except for the dressing).

When I made it the other day, I used about a quarter head of cauliflower but into bite-size florets, an equal amount of bite-sized broccoli florets, a handful of baby carrots (I like them quartered lengthwise), and sliced green onions to taste.

I'm giving the full dressing recipe, but for the amount of vegetables I used the other day, I only made a quarter of the dressing, and used even less.

One more thing......Mom always used raw vegetables.  But the last few times I made it, I just barely steamed them (about 90 seconds in the microwave steamer), so they were still very crisp-tender....taking the edge out of that raw flavor.


Cauliflower, but into bite-sized florets
Broccoli, an equal amount of the cauliflower, also cut/torn into bite-sized florets
Carrots slices or baby carrots quartered, lengthwise
Sliced green onions

Salad Dressing:
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1/3 cup sugar

Whisk dressing ingredients together.  Pour desired amount over vegetables.  Chill before serving.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Oven Chicken Cordon Bleu

It's been years since I've made Chicken Cordon Bleu.  Seems to me I remember it being a lot of work and a bit messy.  But I did love it and when I ran across this recipe, I thought I'd try it again.

I actually had to re-read the recipe because this seemed to simple.  I felt like I must have missed a step, but I hadn't.  I was able to put the entree together in minutes.  But don't think quick equals ok or so-so.  This is a wonderful dish.

One note: to get that crunchy topping, but be careful when spraying the Panko with cooking spray.  If you spray it with a heavy finger, the crumbs will blow away.  Cup your hand around the chicken and lightly spray to keep them on the chicken.  Also, you may need to turn the broiler on for a minute or so to get that browned topping.


6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 oz each)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
6 slices deli ham
3 slices Swiss cheese, halved
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
cooking spray

2 Tbsp AP flour
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.  Sprinkle chicken with S&P; arrange in a greased 13x9" baking dish.

Top each with 1 slice ham and 1/2 slice cheese, folding ham in half and covering chicken as much as possible.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Carefully spritz crumbs with cooking spray, keeping crumbs in place.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 165F (turn broil on for a minute or so if crumbs need more browning.)

For sauce, in a small saucepan, whisk flour and milk until smooth.  Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Reduce to medium heat.  Stir in wine and shredded cheese, cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in S&P.  Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.  Serve sauce with chicken.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home magazine, April/May 2015, p. 32

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tangy Apple Chicken Loaf

First of all, I have to admit: this is not a photo I took!  This comes from the AllRecipes website.  My photo was just awful, but this is a recipe you must try!  It is so, so, so good!

This is such a wonderfully refreshing alternative to traditional meatloaf.  Very light and the apple adds such freshness.  I used a Honeycrisp....they must be at their peak right now.  The one I used was crunchy and juicy.  This is going to be making many appearances on my table.


1/2 stick butter
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1-2 carrots, grated (1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp salt
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (1 1/2 cups) (they recommend Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, or Cortland)
1 3/4 pounds ground chicken
1 egg
2/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsps honey

Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; then cook celery, onion, carrot, and 1/2 tsp salt; stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender and starting to brown, about 12 minutes.  Add apple and cook 2 minutes more to soften.  Remove from heat; and cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Mix together ground chicken, egg, 1/3 cup applesauce, milk, bread crumbs, poultry seasoning, pepper and remaining 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl.  Add onion mixture and stir gently until just combined.  Transfer to prepared baking dish and shape into a 9x 5 1/2x 1 1/2" loaf.

Stir together mustard, honey, and remaining 1/3 cup applesauce and spread over top and sides of loaf.

Bake 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 375F and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 165F, about 25 minutes more.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Recipe Source:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Beer Mac 'n' Cheese Soup

I hadn't made beer cheese soups in a long, long time when I ran across this interesting recipe.  And if you are a beer cheese soup/mac 'n' cheese fan, you must try this.  It is so full of flavor and texture.  The creaminess of the cheese, the slight crunch of crisp-tender onions, celery, and carrots, and the comfort of pasta is a perfect combination.

See more photos at the link below.

BEER MAC 'N' CHEESE SOUP (4 servings)

6 strips bacon, cut into 1" slices
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bottle beer (or another cup broth)
1 pinch nutmeg
1 to 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, about 6 oz
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
cayenne to taste
S&P to taste

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving 2 Tbsp of the grease in the pan.

Add the onion, celery, carrot, and jalapeno and cook until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

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

Mix in the flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth, beer, nutmeg, bacon (reserve some to fry for garnish, if desired) and macaroni and let cook until the pasta is al-dente, about 7-8 minutes.

Add the cream, mustard, and cheese and cook until the cheese has melted but do not bring to a boil.

Season with cayenne and S&P.  Garnish with fried bacon, if using.

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dijon-Onion Crusted Pork

Publix, once again, has come through with an easy and delicious entree.  Damn they're good at what they do!

I made this just as they demo-ed it and while I like the sauce (and will make it again), I added dijon (we're mustard people here).  FYI, I had no idea what "mushroom steak sauce" is, but it's in a little 6 oz can, probably found in the aisle where you'd find package dried-gravy mixes.  Not a big deal if you can't find it, just add some dijon!


1 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup french-fried onions, coarsely crushed
1/2 cup plain Panko bread crumbs
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 oz deli sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup roasted garlic alfredo sauce
1 (6 oz) can mushroom steak sauce

Preheat oven to 400F.  Coat baking sheet with oil.  Place fried onions in ziplock bag and crush, add Panko.  Cut pork into 1" thick slices; coat pork evenly with mustard and S&P; shake to coat and then press with fingertips to coat pork evenly.  Arrange pork on baking sheet; bake 10 minutes.

Turn pork pieces over; cook 6-7 more minutes or until pork is 145F.  Meanwhile, shred cheese (1/3 cup).

Combine alfredo sauce, mushroom sauce, and cheese in microwave-safe bowl and cover; microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes stirring occasionally or until cheese melts and sauce is hot.  Serve sauce with pork.

Recipe Source:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia (or Swai)

Looking for quick?  Easy?  Delicious????  This is it.  Five ingredients.  About 10 minutes baking time.  Piece of cake.

The original recipe calls for tilapia but I always prefer Swai.  I also substituted Asiago for the Parmesan (creamier).  It also calls for paprika, but I prefer smoked it a much headier flavor.  Serve it with rice or a baked potato and any green vegetable or salad.  

Perfection.  Quick. Easy.  Delicious.


3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, or Asiago 
2 tsp (regular or smoked) paprika
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tilapia (or Swai) fillets, about 4 oz each
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with S&P.  Drizzle the fish with olive oil and dredge in the cheese mixture.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part (10 minutes per inch).  Serve the fish with lemon wedges.

Recipe Source: