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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Easy Microwave Risotto

I love Risotto, yet rarely make it and only on special occasions, mostly due to the time and effort involved.  I had never heard about making Risotto in the microwave until a friend mentioned it to me.  I immediately made it that night and I was very impressed.  I don't think I could tell the difference in a blind taste test between preparations.

I tweaked the recipe a bit, by sautéing the Shallot and Garlic in some Olive Oil before adding to the bowl.  I further tweaked it by adding some Onion.  There are so many options you could use, peas, mushrooms, tomato, etc.  You could add a protein or change up the Sherry and use White Wine.

4 Servings


1 tablespoon fruity olive oil
2 Mushrooms Chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 cup minced onion
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry sherry
Pinch of Saffron
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Stir together the oil, garlic, mushroom and onion in a medium non stick saucepan.  Sautee for 5 minutes or so until fragrant and translucent.  Transfer to the bowl you will be cooking the Risotto in.  Add the cup of rice to the bowl.

Heat the 2 cups of broth and place the Saffron into it to bloom for a few minutes.

Mix in the broth and the sherry, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 18 minutes.

Stir to see if broth is absorbed and risotto is creamy. If not, microwave for another 2 to 5 minutes, then stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Homemade Foccocia Bread

My husband worked in a local Pizzeria while in Jr. High and still knows how to spin a pizza.  I make the dough and he makes it into a delicious Foccocia.  We like to eat it as an Appetizer or add some proteins and more cheese and make a pizza.

When we were in College we used to buy pre-baked Foccocia from a local bakery and our own toppings, we have fond memories of those days.

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
 2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:  We used grape tomatoes and sprinkled on Oregano, Salt and a little Italian Seasoning


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F . In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. (to make it resemble a Foccocia use your fingers and dimple the top) Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal.

Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thai Coconut Chicken

I found a pack of chicken thighs in the freezer and Hubby remembered a Thai Pork dish he made after taking a Thai Cooking Class, we decided to do the same basic marinade but use Chicken instead.  It turned out beautifully, both sweet and spicy, it is a new favorite at our house!  I served the thighs with Coconut Lime Rice.


Chicken Thighs, skin removed (we used a Costco pack of Thighs)


Cream Of Coconut (purchased at the liquor store, but I am sure you could find at a grocery store)
1/4 cup siracha
Juice of 1/2 lime and the zest of a full lime
1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Mix marinade well in a Ziplock bag or bowl, place chicken in making sure to massage the chicken around in the marinade.  Let sit for one to two days, moving the chicken around in the marinade once or twice.

Grill, the thighs until cooked thru (the chicken may need salt)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cold Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken

I was watching an Episode of The Kitchen and Chef Jeff Mauro made a Miso-Glazed Salmon Cold Noodle Salad which intrigued me.  I don't care for Salmon so I decided to make it with Grilled Chicken instead.  It was very tasty and good for a change!


2 packages instant ramen noodles
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup Asian Style Salad Dressing
1 cup Asian Style Salad Dressing (for marinating the chicken)
One 8-ounce bag shredded cabbage mix (red and green cabbage plus carrots)
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Thinly sliced scallion greens, for garnish
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless


Place boneless breasts in a Ziploc along with 1 cup of the Asian Dressing and let sit for at least 30 minutes to a day.

Cook the ramen noodles (minus the seasoning packs) to very al dente according to the package instructions. Let cool.

Mix together the peanut butter, lime juice and 1/3 cup Asian dressing. Toss with the cabbage mix and cold noodles. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the Refrigerator, tossing a couple times in between.

In the meantime, pat your chicken dry and cook your chicken breasts in a Sautee Pan, Barbequeue or Broil.  Let rest until cooled and slice thinly.  Place on top of the pasta mix and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Carrot, Walnut and Banana Muffins

I love baking and on a Sunday (football day) there is nothing better than making up a bunch of muffins, or homemade bread.  I am trying to eat clean and relatively healthy these days, so I decided to come up with a new muffin recipe. I used Coconut Sugar and Coconut Oil, so there is a hint of Coconut and they are not overly sweet.

These turned out so flavorful and moist, they were gone in a flash.  If I make these again I would mix some sugar with the cream cheese before adding to the batter.  They were almost not sweet enough.

2 cups flour (preferable whole wheat)
1 cup of Coconut Sugar
1/3 cup of melted Coconut Oil
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 bananas smashed, approx 1 cup
1 cup of grated carrot
1 tsp cinnamon
few shakes Ginger
3 tablespoons of Flax Seed
1/2 of a Cream Cheese bar cut into squares
Sugar in the raw or Turbinado sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, flax seeds and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in carrots and walnuts.

Grease your muffin tins well

Evenly fill up the muffin tins, it gave me 14 muffins

Place a square of cream cheese in the middle of each muffin and push down.  Sprinkle a little Turbinado sugar on each muffin before baking.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the muffin pan

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easy Garlic Chicken

I am always cruising Pinterest looking for new recipes, I found this recipe,  and was excited to try it. My husband and I love garlic, so it was right up our alley.  It is very easy and very delicious.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
additional herbs and spices, as desired

(the above is for 4 breasts, I cut the ingredients in half to make just 2 breasts, although I left the amount of garlic the same)

Preheat oven to 450°F Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil.

In small saute pan, saute garlic with the oil until tender.

Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Add additional herbs and spices as desired.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. .Place breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture.

Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Beef and Broccoli

One of our favorite dishes at Chinese Restaurants is Beef and Broccoli.  We love it, especially when it is well made, I admit we are picky.  I don't like my beef breaded and I don't like too much sauce.

We made this recipe and it was SOOO good, better than any I have ever eaten at a Restaurant.  To me the key is tons of Ginger, it really makes the difference.  I also added sliced sweet onion and some chopped carrots.

1/3 cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1/3 cup sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

3/4 pound beef round steak, cut into 1/8-inch thick strips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed
1 thin slice of fresh ginger root (I chopped an entire finger of Ginger after I peeled it)
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed (I did 4 Garlic cloves)
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 onion sliced thinly


Whisk together the oyster sauce, sesame oil, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the steak pieces into a shallow bowl, pour the oyster sauce mixture over the meat, stir to coat well, and marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, and stir in the ginger and garlic.

Stir in the broccoli, carrot and onion and toss and stir in the hot oil until bright green and almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the wok, and set aside.

Pour a little more oil into the wok, if needed, and stir and toss the beef with the marinade until the sauce forms a glaze on the beef, and the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Return the cooked vegetables to the wok, and stir until the meat and broccoli are heated through, about 3 minutes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chicken Piccatta

I was perusing a complimentary issue of Cuisine At Home Magazine and there was a photo of Chicken Piccatta on the cover. It has been many years since I have made this dish and I decided on this beautiful Winter's day to give it another shot.

My husband was kind enough to split and pound the breasts for me yesterday, so getting it to the table was a snap. I served with Fresh Sauteed Green Beans and Cheddar Rice.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded into cutlets
salt and pepper to taste
AP flour
Nonstick Vegetable Spray
2 tbl Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp drained capers
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Fresh lemon slices

Cut your chicken breasts in half like an opened book, and pound thinly

Season cutlets with salt and pepper then dredge them in flour, tapping off extra flour
Coat a saute pan with nonstick spray and add oil, heat over medium heat (if you have extra large breasts, double the oil amount)

Saute cutlets 2-3 minutes on the first side, flip them over and saute the other side (covered) 1-2 minutes

Deglaze the pan with the wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes

Add broth, lemon juice and capers, return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute, transfer cutlets to a warm plate

Finish sauce with butter and lemons, once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blueberry Buttermilk Corn Cake

My husband is the weekend Chef at our house and is always trying to make something new and different for me.  
We had purchased some fresh organic blueberries and he worked his magic and made this delicious breakfast for me. It was SOOO good, the crunchy top is amazing and it is so tender due to the Buttermilk, and not too sweet.  YUM!


1 package Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
2 eggs
1 cup blueberries
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar

Streusel Topping

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3 tbl brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix well, add blueberries, pour into 9X9 greased pan

Mix walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top before baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

I had a Ham Steak in the Freezer and some Yukon Gold Potatoes in the pantry and thought why not make a Scalloped Potato and Ham Casserole.  I have never made one before and it sounded really good on what had been a snowy and cold day!  My friend Janet sent me her Mother's recipe and I looked at a few others and came up with the below recipe!


4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly I used a mandolin)
6 Yukon Gold Potatoes thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
1 cup cubed ham
3 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used a mix of Monterrey Jack and Sharp Cheddar)
1/2 tsp Cayenne or more


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish.

In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in milk.

Return pan to heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. When sauce has thickened remove from heat, season with salt, pepper and cayenne and set aside.

Spread 1/3 of the white sauce in bottom of baking dish and top with half of the potatoes. Spread out half of the onions, ham, cheese and another third of the sauce.

Season with salt and pepper. Continue layering ingredients, ending with the remaining cheese on top.

Bake for an hour or until golden and bubbly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Garlic Parmesan Cheese Bombs!

I have been seeing this quite a bit on Pinterest, we decided to have soup for dinner and I wanted a little something to go along with the soup.  These are easy and super delicious.  I highly recommend giving them a try!

1 can refrigerated biscuits (like the ones by Pillsbury)
3 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into 4 pieces each (so you have 12 total)
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 and grease a baking sheet. Separate each biscuit.

Place one piece of cheese in the center of each biscuit, pinch the sides around the cheese so it is completely encased by the biscuit dough. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Melt butter. Stir in garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. When biscuits are done baking, brush butter mixture over each biscuit. Serve warm.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Chunky Apple Snack Cake

Since it is Apple Season in Oregon I want to take advantage of it as much as possible.  I realized today I had three kinds of apples in my fridge, a small Red Delicious, a medium Granny Smith and a huge Honeycrisp. I figured what the heck, lets see what we can make.

I saw this recipe on the Noble Pig's website, she has been Food Blogging as long as I have.  I tweaked the recipe to make it a bit healthier and it was so good, no frosting required.

2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 1/4 cup Vanilla Sugar and 4 Equal Packets)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup of Coconut Oil and 1/2 cup of Apple Sauce
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups (6-8 apples) Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and diced coarsely
1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by spraying it with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

In a small bowl combine eggs, oil and vanilla; add this to the sugar-flour mixture in the large bowl.

Mix thoroughly. Batter will be stiff (do not use mixer). SHE IS NOT KIDDING

Add the apples and walnuts. Pour into baking pan and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the middle springs back when touched.

Serve with whipped cream. Feel free to make this cake a day ahead, the flavor only improves.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mozzarella Stuffed Wagu Meatballs

For reasons unknown my husband purchased a pound of Wagu Beef along with our Grass Fed Beef from our local butcher.  I have never tried Wagu Beef before and had no real idea what to do with it. It seems like a fattier version of ground beef. I decided to make Meatballs and added pound of grass fed beef to the Wagu.  I made both small poached meatballs and also roasted meatballs.  I did a somewhat generic recipe so I could use them in multiple recipes.

1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs (I used some leftover french bread)
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1 pound ground hamburger and 1 pound ground Wagu or 2 pounds regular hamburger (you can add pork or whatever you like)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (or grated on a coarse grater) from 1 small yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
(I put the onion and garlic in the food processor which turned into a mush like consistency)
Fresh Mozzarella

Combine the milk and breadcrumbs: Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mix. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.

Whisk the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and other spices.

Add the meat to the egg mixture, add the onions and soaked breadcrumbs

Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently flatten, add your cheese and form the meat around the cheese, sealing well. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.

To roast the meatballs in the oven: Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet. bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. (Watch closely if cooking meatballs made with lean meat.) The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer. 

Freezing cooked meatballs: Let the cooked meatballs cool completely, then transfer to a freezer container or bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Frozen meatballs can be thawed overnight or reheated directly from the freezer. Reheat meatballs in a simmering sauce for 10 to 15 minutes or in a warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blueberry Cream Cheese Turnover

After a final trip to our local Farm Store before they close for the season, we stocked up on Blueberries and Raspberries. I have been thinking about making a berry and cream cheese turnover and today I decided to give it a try.

It is a simple recipe and so delicious, and satisfying, even for those who do not have a sweet tooth such as my husband.  I think next time I am going to use Maple Syrup for the sweetener.

1 pint blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1 brick cream cheese
2 tablespoons sugar (I have Vanilla Sugar which I used)
1/2 box of Puff Pastry (a box holds 2)
1 beaten egg

Place your puff pastry on the counter and let thaw, (takes about 30 minutes)

Place your cream cheese on the counter and let is soften while you are waiting for your puff pastry to thaw.

Mix the cream cheese, blueberries and sugar together well, I used my hands.

Smooth the puff pastry on the counter and flatten with your hand, cut into 4 pieces.

Place a large dollop of the cream cheese mixture on each square, you will have leftover cream cheese blueberry mixture.

Fold over into a triangle and using a the tines of  a fork, seal the edges (you may need to move the filling around to get it to close, don't overfill)

Using a pastry brush, paint the turnovers with the beaten egg mixture, be sure and cover the entire turnover.  Using a knife make one or two small slits in the top of the turnover.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool and serve alone or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fried Potatoes and Onions

I faithfully follow the blog of Welcome Home and she shares some very tasty recipes. I noticed she posted one for Fried Potato and Onions a few weeks ago which hit home for me, it reminded me of the potatoes my dad used to fry up in his cast iron skillet on the weekends.

I requested my husband make them for me the following weekend and they were so delicious, thank you for the memories!

6 medium white potatoes (the right potato really makes the difference)
1 sweet onion
2 tbl butter
salt and pepper
2 tbl bacon fat (very important)

Slice the potatoes and onions, I used a mandolin to make it easier

Add the butter and the bacon grease to the pan, a cast iron works best

Fry the onion till just tender then add the potatoes, spreading them in a layer on the bottom of the skillet

Allow potatoes and onions to cook till golden brown and then flip to the other side and allow to continue to cook, as the onions start to caramelize you can scrape up those bits as you continue to cook the potatoes.

Cook until golden brown and a knife easily pierces the potato