Sunday, May 4, 2014

Balsamic Rosemary Glazed Salmon

I LOVE seafood! I'll eat any kind of seafood as long as it doesn't have eyes looking back at me! We had paella in San Juan, Puerto Rico and it included baby octopus. The eyes were looking at me! Ugh!
When the weather starts getting warm, I dream of sea breezes and fresh seafood. The choice in the market this week was salmon. It actually looked fresh, smelled good and was reasonably priced.

The search was on for something different to do with the salmon. This recipe sounded just different enough to be interesting. It was delicious! I even saved some of the glaze ( Since I made the entire glaze recipe for only 2 pieces of fish, I had leftovers.)  I'm thinking it might also be good over pork??

Balsamic Rosemary Glazed Salmon

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1 cloves garlic, finely minced

4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp canola oil, divided

Allow salmon to rest 10 minutes at room temperature.
In a medium saucepan combine balsamic vinegar, white wine, honey, dijon mustard, 1/2 Tbsp chopped rosemary and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 13 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, pour into a heat proof dish and allow to cool.

Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp of canola oil.  Add 2 salmon fillets to heated pan and cook, without moving, until salmon is browned on bottom, about 3 - 5 minutes. Carefully flip salmon and continue to cook 3 - 5 minutes longer until bottom is browned and salmon has cooked through. Wipe skillet clean, add remaining 1 tsp oil. Repeat process with remaining 2 fillets. Drizzle with Balsamic Rosemary Glaze and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 Tbsp chopped rosemary.

Adapted from : Cooking Classy

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Could Easter really have been a week ago? Time is flying like the wind!
We had a wonderful long visit from my daughter, son-in-law, 3 yr old Emmie and 2 month old Hudson. It was a whirlwind weekend but such fun to have little ones in the house. Just yesterday we finished off all of the leftovers ( and I sent some home with them! ). My husband announced last night that the 2 refrigerators are officially empty! I think that was a signal for baking to commence.

I'm not a huge coconut fan, but he certainly loves it ( along with anything else containing sugar). And since I am going to the gym 4 days a week, I am perfectly happy to have sweets in the house that do not tempt me. This recipe makes a 9x13-inch pan of coconut pie bars. There are several advantages... Portion control, more servings than a traditional pie and no pie crust to make! Winner! Winner!

Disclaimer: I "borrowed" the recipe from another blogger, Willow Bird Baking. Here is the link: on Coconut Cream Pie Bars
 Enjoy! They look delicious!

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking with filling adapted from All Recipes
Yield: 12-16 bars, depending on size


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Coconut Cream Filling
3 cups half-and-half
3 cups coconut milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cold water (for stabilizing)
1 teaspoon gelatin (for stabilizing)
3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup toasted coconut

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 13 in. baking dish with a foil sling (I use one long sheet across the length of my dish, and two overlapping short sheets across the width of my dish — just arrange it so that it has some overlap and overhang to help you pull the bars out after they’re finished). Cut the butter into the flour and powdered sugar and press into the baking dish (I used a food processor to cut the fat into the flour — about 6-10 pulses — and then the bottom of a glass to press the mixture into the pan). Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown. Set on a wire rack.

Toast coconut for the topping: Spread about 1 cup of the coconut flakes out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven along with your shortbread crust for 3-6 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the coconut is golden brown. Spread it out on a plate to cool completely. ( Or you can toast the coconut in a skillet, stirring constantly until lightly browned.)

Make coconut cream filling: Combine half-and-half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking constantly (this can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Just do it. It’s worth it.) Add coconut and vanilla extracts and 1 1/2 cups coconut and stir. Pour this filling over your cooled crust, letting it cool for a bit on the counter before sticking the whole thing in the fridge to chill until firm, about 2 to 4 hours.

Make whipped cream topping: Put 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let it soften for 2 minutes before microwaving it for 30 seconds and whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Using a chilled bowl and beater, whisk the 2 cups of heavy cream and powdered sugar together until the cream forms stiff peaks, stopping to add gelatin mixture about halfway through. Dollop the cream over your bars and gently spread it around. Sprinkle on toasted coconut. Chill until ready to serve to let the whipped cream set up. Use the sling to pull the bars out of the dish, slice with a sharp knife, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter Dessert

Easter Dessert
Just out of college and newly married, we were ( job) transferred from Birmingham, Al to Jacksonville, FL. This young Alabama gal was completely lost in the big city! Thankfully, I was hired by the Florida Extension Service and went to work with an amazing staff of 4 other Home Economists ( well... 2 amazing, 1 nice and 1 just plain strange). One of these ladies, Tamer Britton, literally " raised me"!  We bought our first home in a nice subdivision and were thrilled to have kind, loving neighbors across the street. They were a little older than us, had a house FULL of kids and when we had our kids, they "adopted" them immediately. Bob Bob and Aunt Bebe ( as my kids dubbed them) were/are very special friends. Bob brought a huge bunny head ( no idea where he got it!) and placed it in our shrubs early one Easter morning! They also called our kids every Christmas Eve and pretended to be Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Talk about kids going to bed without a moment's hesitation! I was thrilled beyond words when my daughter and her husband bought their first home and we found out that one of Aunt Bebe and Bob Bob's "children" lives 10 minutes away!

In return for their kindness, my meager offering usually consisted of baked goods left on their doorstep on Sunday mornings. When Bob came out for his newspaper, he frequently stumbled over a basket of freshly baked blueberry muffins. Aunt Bebe fueled the fire when she gave me her Garden Club's Cookbook. Those are some of the BEST recipes! Community cookbooks are usually compiled of family favorites which are trusted and true.

One of my favorites from this book is the Pea Pickin' Cake. I have no idea where the name came from and the book does not say, but 4 ladies submitted the same or similar recipes. Rarely will you find me using a cake mix, but this is a worthy exception. Besides, it gives me more time at Easter for baking homemade crescent rolls, making Sour Cream Potato Salad, baking a ham, etc. etc......

Warning! This cake must be refrigerated, so if your refrigerator space is limited, pass on this one for now or you can make it in a 9x13 pan.

Pea Pickin' Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 can Mandarin oranges
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3-9-inch cake pans.
Combine all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. Beat at medium speed until ingredients are combined. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans and cool completely.

1 large container Cool Whip, thawed
1 large can crushed pineapple with juice
1 small box instant vanilla pudding

Combine pineapple and pudding. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread between layers and on top of cake. Cover and refrigerate. It's best when made a day or 2 ahead.

Keep leftovers refrigerated.

As Ina Garten would say, " How easy is THAT?" Wonder if I should send her this recipe?? ............

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rustic Mushroom Tart/Pizza

Once again.... Here's a recipe from Pinterest. I look at Pinterest while watching mindless TV like I would thumb through a magazine but instead of turning down page corners, I "pin" the recipes. I'm a sucker for a pretty face/picture. This one looked amazing and sounded scrumptious. But, you know me. I couldn't leave well enough alone. The recipe calls for a buttery flaky pie crust. ( You KNOW I HATE to make pie crust! ) so,  I substituted pizza crust. It was ok. Not scrumptious, but after all, I married "Mikey" who will eat absolutely anything! It is very rich ( and would be great as an appetizer) and very filling. I would make it again, but I would use my tart pan instead of shaping free form. Anyway, give it a try if you LOVE mushrooms, goat cheese and creamy ricotta. I see an extra 1/2 mile on the elliptical at the gym tomorrow! Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Rustic Mushroom Tart /Pizza
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3/4 pound mixed mushrooms (such as cremini and shiitake), sliced (4 cups)
1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), trimmed, cut in half lengthwise then into thin half-moons, and thoroughly rinsed or 1 small sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 recipe Flaky Butter Crust or pizza crust
1/2 lemon, zest only

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

 In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, goat cheese, parmesan, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well mixed.

 In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the mushrooms, leek, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom juices release and evaporate and the mushrooms start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until it evaporates. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll the dough into a 12-inch round. Slide the parchment paper with the dough on it onto a half sheet pan.

Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Spoon the mushrooms in an even layer over the cheese. Fold the border of the dough over the mushrooms, pleating the dough every 2 inches. Immediately transfer to the oven.

 Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Grate the lemon zest directly over the mushroom filling and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Strawberry Banana Muffins

What a difference a few days has made in our weather! Glorious sunshine, warm temps, flowers blooming and fresh strawberries in the market. These muffins are moist with chopped strawberries and mashed bananas. Using brown sugar adds to the moist texture and the freshness over several days. They were a hit at our house for breakfast or a quick snack.Remember to release muffins from the pan when you take them out of the oven to allow the steam to escape. No one wants soggy muffins!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Position rack in center of oven.  Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small saucepan melt the butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
In another large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Fold in the berries, making sure they are coated with flour.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.
Yields: 12 muffins

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pasta with Chicken and Spinach

This is great comfort food! I don't think winter is ever leaving, so we might as well enjoy another cold weather dish! When I made this, I realized that the 2 of us would be eating it for a month, so I shared with my daughter's family. They are the ones with the new baby, so it was definitely appreciated ( along with the fact that I delivered it and stayed for a few days to help out! )

Pasta with Spinach and Chicken

10 ounces pasta ( ziti, rotini, bow tie, etc) cooked and drained
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
4 ounces cream cheese
1 (8-oz) carton ricotta
1 cup milk, heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 cups cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
 Heat butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes to slightly soften veggies. Do not brown. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft.
Stir in cream cheese until melted.  Reduce heat to low. Stir in ricotta, milk, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until everything is well-combined and melted. Turn off heat.
Combine the pasta, chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a large bowl.
Add in the sauce and gently stir to coat.
Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake uncovered for about 20 -25 minutes ... or until casserole is bubbly and beginning to brown. Top with basil or parsley for garnish.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Throw Back Thursday Salad/Dessert Recipes

Those of you who are on Facebook know that Thursdays are TBT -throw back Thursdays -where folks post pictures from the past. Today I was looking through a church cookbook and came across a couple of recipes that are also in the "throw back" category! They were quite popular "in their day" and still taste good! You might enjoy a recipe throw back! ( And, yes, I am aware that some of my readers are young enough that they've never heard of these recipes! )

The first one could be served as a dessert or a salad. Many years ago, salads were loaded with fruit and mayonnaise, cream cheese and/or Cool Whip.  They were heavy and sweet and by today's standards are better suited as dessert. I remember eating pineapple salads that consisted of a piece of lettuce on a plate topped with a slice of canned pineapple topped with a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. One local restaurant where we occasionally ate Sunday dinner served the same salad but tinted the mayonnaise so that it was a gosh awful color between pink and purple! Those were the days!!

Dump Salad or Dessert
1 (20-oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (10-oz.) carton Cool Whip
1 cup chopped pecans

Dump everything in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and chill for 4 or 5 hours.

Confession: I could eat this stuff with a spoon!

Here is the famous pretzel crust strawberry salad/dessert. If you ever went to Rock Eagle 4-H Camp in Georgia, you've eaten this salad! I used to call it the lunchroom ladies' special because they were the only ones who could make it. Someone gave me a cookbook compiled by lunchroom ladies and it contains some great recipes. Here is the recipe, see if you can make it as good as theirs!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
2 cups crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-oz) container Cool Whip
1 small pkg strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
2 (10-oz) pkgs frozen strawberries, thawed

Combine pretzels, sugar and butter. Press into a 9x13-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and Cool Whip. Pour over crust and refrigerate.
Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Add thawed strawberries. Refrigerate mixture until consistency of egg whites, slightly congealed. Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill until set ( several hours or overnight).

Tip: You can make this without the strawberries.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


The tiny couscous that comes in a box is just too hard to eat! I hate hemming it up on a fork and I feel like a kid eating it with a spoon. A couple of years ago I was introduced to pearl or Israeli couscous
( probably by Ina Garten ) and have been converted every since. Tonight I just wanted something different.  We've eaten our fill of potatoes, rice and beans. A quick inventory of the refrigerator sent me scurrying for the big saucepan and this side dish emerged. It was a hit at our dinner table along with oven roasted fresh asparagus ( from Costco ) and chicken tenders dipped in egg then rolled in Panko and baked. Yuuuuuum! Full tummies here tonight!

Veggie Pearl Couscous
1tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1cup pearl ( Israeli ) couscous
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 1/4 cup chicken broth ( or water )
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion, sautéing until soft, but not brown.  Add couscous and stir until lightly browned. Add zucchini, red pepper and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Honey Brushed Chicken and the Cutest Chickies Around

Have I really missed an entire month? Wow! You must be starving! Ha! Ha! As most of you know, we have a new grandson, Hudson Riley Statham, who was born Feb. 4 in Atlanta. My daughter had a scheduled c-section and I stayed with them for 2 1/2 weeks. Everyone is doing great although a bit sleep deprived at the moment. Of course, he is THE most adorable baby EVER born! Just in case you've missed pictures of him, here's a cutie. He has a 3 1/2 yr old sister, Emmie who simply adores him (except when he cries!). They belong to my daughter and son-in-law. My son and daughter-in-law have 3 children. So, this makes number 5 Grand for us! For someone who grew up as an only child, this is a crowd! I love every one of them and every minute I get to spend with them!

Ok, now that you're up to date with my family, let's get back to the kitchen! Since I'm always on the lookout for QUICK recipes, this one was an instant winner with me. I like the combination of spices and since it has been too cold, snowy, rainy, yucky to grill out, this comes close to the same taste! The recipe calls for chicken thighs. I used boneless, skinless thighs. I think chicken legs or wings or even (my favorite) tenders would be equally as good.  

Honey Brushed Chicken 
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika ( if you have smoked paprika, use half regular and half smoked)
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper ( I backed off of this a little as we are not fans of HOT)
8 skinless chicken thighs
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan WELL with Pam. Line bottom of pan with foil.
Combine garlic powder, chili powder, salt, cumin and paprika in a large bowl (or zip loc bag). Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat. Place chicken on broiler rack. Broil 5 minutes on each side. 
Combine honey and vinegar. Remove chicken from oven. Brush half of the honey mixture over chicken and return to the oven. Broil for 2 minutes. Turn chicken and brush with remaining mixture. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until chicken is done. (Total cooking time: 14 - 18 minutes). 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Easy No-bake Nutella Cheesecake

Quick and easy. Two of my favorite words! And boy will I ever need those kind of recipes for the next few weeks. Early next week my daughter will deliver our 5th grandchild (2 for her, 3 for my son) and I will be on "grandma duty" while she recuperates. Her 3 yr old, Emmie, and I will be in charge of the kitchen and I think we will need a good dessert recipe to make together. This pie looks like it will be just right!

You could press this into a 9-inch baking pan or into a tart pan or into individual muffin tins. If you do any of these variations, you'll need to make your own crust. Place about 1/2 pkg of Oreos in a food processor along with 3 tablespoons melted butter and process until mixture looks like wet sand. Press into pan and fill with Nutella mixture.

Enjoy the pie and say a prayer for all of us next week as we welcome Hudson Riley Statham into the world!

Easy No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

2/3 cup Nutella
1 (8 oz) pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) container non-dairy whipped topping, defrosted
1 Oreo Cookie Pie Crust
1 bar chocolate (optional)

Combine Nutella and cream cheese in mixer bowl. Beat until well blended and smooth. Add vanilla extract. Fold in whipped topping until no white streaks are left. Pour into Oreo Pie crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Optional: Shave chocolate with veggie peeler on top of pie for garnish.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter vegetable Soup

Snowy, blustery, cold winter day. Can you guess what's cooking at my house? Right! SOUP! My friend/teacher/mentor, artist extraordinaire AND excellent cook, Elly Hobgood ( check out her amazing watercolor paintings here shared this recipe after she witnessed our bumper crop of butternut squash. It is yuuuuuummmy good! Also, unlike lots of soups, it is quick and easy to make! AND it's low calorie! Win! Win! Win!

Elly's Winter Vegetable Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 2 to 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced 1/2-inch
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
 pinch of cayenne pepper
4 generous sprigs fresh thyme (remove stems before serving) or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14 ounce)  can diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups packed chopped kale
1can chick peas (or cannellini beans) rinsed and drained
Parmesan cheese, optional

Sauté onion, carrot and garlic in oil in large Dutch oven. Add squash, allspice, salt, pepper thyme, broth and tomatoes. Simmer until squash starts to soften. About 20 minutes. Add kale and beans. Cook another 10 minutes until kale has wilted.  Adjust seasonings.

Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan when serving, but even without that it's quite hearty.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Two New Recipes- Chicken and Salmon

It's been a busy and positive start to 2014! I've been on a huge learning curve with my changeover from PC to MAC. I've completed a painting for my daughter's baby's room. (Hudson is scheduled to arrive by c-section on Feb. 4) My friend, Helen, drug me to the gym and held a gun to my head until I signed on the dotted line. I've started "teaching" small cooking "classes" in my kitchen by request. We've scheduled 2 trips with the longest to come in Oct when we take another river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland. AND I celebrated another birthday! WHEW!

In addition, I have 2 new recipes to share with you. I am easily bored with food in winter and was looking for something different to cook. The chicken recipe came from Pinterest. ( Yes, I know how badly I talked about the recipes on Pinterest earlier. However, now I research the recipe back to the source before trying it. Only reliable websites with positive reviews yield positive results! ) The chicken recipe is cooked in the crockpot and was very good, but very sweet. The salmon recipe was very good, quick and easy and very spicy ( If you don't like spicy, use mild Rotel tomatoes.) We liked both recipes.  I hope you will, too!

Orange Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( I used 6 skinless thighs)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce

Place chicken in crockpot. ( no liquid! )Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 2 hours. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Note: I think it would actually work to add all ingredients at the beginning, go to work and forget about it. If I did that, I would cook it on LOW.
Next time, I'm going to reduce the marmalade by half.

Santa Fe Salmon
1 (10-oz) can Rotel tomatoes with chilis,lime and cilantro, well drained
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
2 salmon fillets

Spray with pam and heat a large skillet over medium heat. Combine drained Rotel tomatoes with mayonnaise. Spread over one side of salmon. Place salmon in hot skillet. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Turn fish, spoon on remaining sauce, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes with a fork. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Serve with rice.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

When it's really cold and/or snowy, I head to the kitchen. There's usually a big pot of soup simmering and/or a batch of cookies baking. Since I've done both of those already this week, today I made chicken pot pie from scratch. Totally. Made the ( ugh) pie crust, baked the chicken, made the sauce from scratch ( no cream of anything in this recipe! ) and baked individual pies! Ok, I was bored and it was too cold in my studio to paint!

I found the recipe on the blog, Simply Scratch. She even gives her recipe for pie crust made with cold butter in the food processor. Next time, I would use the refrigerated crust. I would also bake one 9x13 pan of Chicken Pie! Mama rolled out her crust and baked half of it on a cookie sheet, then layered it with the filling, topping it with unbaked crust. Then she baked the Chicken Pie just long enough for the filling to bubble and the crust to brown.

Here's the recipe as I made it today. It was absolutely DELICIOUS! We have plenty of leftovers which we will look forward to!

1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped

1 stick butter, divided

2 carrots, peeled and diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

1 cup diced cooked potatoes

1 medium onion, peeled and diced small

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn ( I omitted this)

3 cups chicken broth, warmed

1-1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salg, more or less to taste

1/2 teaspoons black pepper, more or less to taste

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 recipe for Homemade Pie Crust

6 (10-ounce) Ramekins or 1( 9x13-inch baking pan)

Preheat  oven to 375 degrees and grease six 10-ounce ramekins with butter or olive oil.

Roll the pie crust out and use a bowl {slightly larger than the ramekin}, trace and cut out 6 circles, using the scraps to make more if needed. Keep the dough circles in the fridge so they stay cold.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven.

Add in the diced carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the diced onion and celery and season with a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent and the carrots are soft {but not too soft}. Add in the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and let that melt. Once melted add in the half cup of flour and stir often while it cooks for 2 minutes.

Pour in 3 cups of hot chicken broth and 1-1/2 cups of whole milk. Let that simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened 5-8 minutes.

Next add in frozen peas, corn, cooked chicken, dried parsley and chopped fresh thyme. Stir. Taste add season further with up to a teaspoon more of salt and a little more black pepper if desired.

Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Evenly divide the diced cooked potatoes into each prepared ramekin.

Spoon the pot pie filling evenly over the potatoes, filling the ramekins to the brim. Let them cool down a bit before placing the pie dough over top and crimping the edges. With a sharp knife make slits for ventilation.

Slide the tray of pot pies into a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Remove and let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.


This delicious recipe brought to you by Simply Scratch

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ham and Bean Soup

Winter weather has arrived and it is COLD on the mountain! Since I had a nice ham bone leftover from Christmas, this was the perfect day to make Ham and Bean Soup. The bag of mixed beans came with a slow cooker recipe and I followed the directions but altered the ingredients slightly. It turned out to be a yummy supper with cornbread muffins! I only tended it 3 times today and that made it quick and easy in my book. I was free to do other things without standing over the pot and stirring to prevent sticking!

Ham and Bean Soup
1 pkg mixed dried beans ( or 15 bean soup mix)
2 quarts water
1 ham bone or 2 cups chopped ham
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Fines Herbs or a Bouquet Garni or 2 bay leaves

Place beans and 2 qts water in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Next day, drain and rinse beans.

Place beans and ham bone in slow cooker. Cook on High for 3 hours. Add remaining ingredients and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours or until beans are soft. Remove the ham bone, cool, then remove and chop meat. Discard bone. Return meat to mixture. Cover and continue to cook until desired thickness. Remove and discard bay leaves, if used.

  * This soup is thinner than typical bean soup. I used a stick blender to puree part of the mixture. You could also put part of it in a blender, then return it to the pot. Or eat it as it is!

* If you use chopped ham, add it at the last of cooking time.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vanilla Biscotti

When the weather is cold and dreary, a steaming cup of hot tea (preferably Lady Gray from Twinning) with something to dip into it is a real treat. While baking for Christmas gifts, I found this wonderful biscotti recipe. It's from my favorite company, King Arthur Flour. And it's easy, reasonably quick for biscotti, not extremely crunchy and has lots of possibilities for variations. Be sure to store it in an airtight container. I plan to keep it on hand this winter!

I added almond extract to the recipe then divided it in half after mixing. I added toasted sliced almonds to half of the batter and dried cherries to the other. When it was out of the oven for the final time, I drizzled the cherry half with melted dark chocolate chips. You could dip the bottom of each biscotti in melted chocolate, if you wish.  Use your imagination for the add-ins...up to 1 cup of nuts or dried fruit. Try various spices, etc. This is a versatile recipe that just might become a favorite!

Vanilla Biscotti
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease biscotti pan or baking sheet.

Beat butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder with electric mixer until mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. Add flour using low speed of mixer, stirring until smooth; dough will be sticky.

Scoop dough into prepared pan, shaping it into a rough log, mounding in the center.  (I used a wet spatula and my wet hands to smooth the surface of the log.)  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan to a cutting board, spray with room temperature water (I used a small spray bottle for this.) Lightly, but thoroughly spritz the log,  making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Wait 5 minutes before slicing (with a serrated knife). Softening the crust with water will make slicing easier.
Cut slices about 1/2 to 3/4-inches thick.

Reduce oven temp to 325. Stand the biscotti up on an ungreased baking pan. Return to oven and bake for 25 or 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden brown. They'll still feel a tiny bit moist in the center, if you break one in half; but they'll continue to dry out as they cool. Remove the biscotti from the oven and cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. Yield: approx 18.