Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chicken Loaf Francaise with Sun Dried Tomato

I used the Gia Russa Francaise Simmer Sauce on a recipe which I made on Cafe' Cheapo last week.  I am not endorsing the product but I do like it. 

This recipe packs all the flavors of Italian chicken meatloaf with this nice sauce surprise.  You will love the flavor of the sun dried tomato in the loaf paired with the lemon and the rosemary. 

Serves 4 -6.


1 pound ground chicken
1 tbs. grill seasoning for chicken (I used Weber Canadian)
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 extra large egg, beaten
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup Julienne sliced sun dried tomato
1 tbs. grated Parmesan and Romano cheese
1 tbs. dried rosemary, divided
2 cups Gia Russa Francaise Simmer Sauce

Other:  Cooking Spray


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Add the ground chicken, the grill seasoning, and the bread crumbs to a bowl.   Beat egg and Worcestershire sauce together and add to bowl with the other ingredients.  Add in the tomato paste, the sun dried tomatoes, grated cheese and half of the rosemary.  Mix together well.    Form into a loaf and add to a loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Top meatloaf with remaining rosemary.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Pour one cup of the Francaise sauce evenly over the meatloaf and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. 

Let the loaf rest for about five minutes before plating and slicing.

Serve with the remaining warm sauce.

Enjoy and I'll see you next week unless Hurricane Issac comes calling.  If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lighter Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

The last time I had stuffed mushrooms they were delicious, but they were swimming in butter.  This recipe is all about delicate lump crab meat, mixed with a little bread crumb, lemon, canola oil mayo, and a few savory herbs and spices.  It's steamed and broiled, not baked in butter.  

The mushrooms are prepared a little al dente so that you can pick them up and eat them with your fingers or with toothpicks.  Perfect for a cocktail party!


18 medium white mushroom caps, stemmed and gills removed
Butter flavored cooking spray
8 ounces lump crab meat (from a container), picked through for shells
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Canola oil mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning
3 or 4 dashes hot sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano plus a little more for topping
Pinch or two of paprika
Freshly chopped chives (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)


Preheat broiler to high.

Arrange the mushroom caps into two pie plates sprayed with cooking spray, open side up.  Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan.  Broil under high heat for about four minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly.

Lightly mix together the crab meat, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, seafood seasoning, hot sauce and the teaspoon of dried oregano.  Be careful not to break up the crab too much.

Fill each opening of the mushrooms with equal amounts of the crab mixture.  Sprinkle with extra oregano.  Return to broiler and cook for about four more minutes. 

Sprinkle with the paprika.  Return to broiler for about two more minutes until tops slightly brown.

Remove from broiler and cool only slightly.  Top with fresh chives and serve with lemon slices.

Enjoy and see you soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tribute to the 13 Colonies Part XII and XIII: Atlantic Coast Crab and Corn Pasta

It's been a great summer.  The kids are going back to school next week here in Lake County, Florida.

In this series, I blended a little bit of American History in with the food. I also tried to focus on regional recipes or something which tasted of a region.  For the last post of my summer series, I prepared a dish that I had been wanting to make for a while. 

Tonight, the tribute goes to Delaware and Maryland.   Maryland history dates back as far as 1498. Delaware's history is more recent,

I've been to Baltimore but never to Delaware.  But I understand from a culinary perspective, both are big crab states.  Crab and corn pasta is traditional in the summertime. 

Here is my version:

Ingredients -

1/2 pound of your favorite cooked pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 ear corn, kernels removed from cob
1 large tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
14 grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoon butter
Dash or two of hot sauce, optional
1/2 tablespoon seafood seasoning (I used Old Bay)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 ounces lump meat fresh crab (from a container if fine), picked clean of shells

Note:  Hubby Dan made a wonderful fresh short cut pasta for this dish.  But use any pasta that you like.  I recommend a denser variety such as cavatelli.

Fresh chives are optional.

Directions -

Cook pasta per package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

In a medium skillet, add olive oil, green pepper and corn kernels.  Saute' for four or five minutes.

Add garlic.  Continue to cook for one more minute.

Add the grape tomatoes to the pan and cook for one minute until they just begin to soften.

Add the butter and the hot sauce to the pan.  While the butter is melting, add the seafood season and lemon to the crab and carefully toss. 

Add the crab to the pan and gently toss with the other vegetables so that the crab doesn't break up too much.

Toss with pasta and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoyed this summer series.  Next up, I'll be sharing another crab dish. 

See you soon!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cilantro Potato Crisps

I will be posting the final post of my summer series this coming week.  Since the focus is going to be on Delaware/Maryland, you can bet that it's going to be all about crab. 

It's getting to be that "back to school" time.  I know we are all looking for quick and easy recipes as well as side dishes.  This side dish is fantastically delicious and so easy to make.

Here we have baked potato crisps, seasoned simply, and then tossed with olive oil and cilantro.  Yum!

With no further adieu, here we go:

Serves 4


Two large russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into rounds
Olive oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons chicken seasoning for the grill (I used Weber Canadian)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Coat potatoes liberally with cooking spray and toss with the grill seasoning. 

Spray a cookie sheet with more of the cooking spray.  Place potatoes on the baking pan in a single layer. 

Bake for about twenty minutes, turning once.  Potatoes should be crispy on the outside, but still moist on the inside.  You might need to adjust the baking time for your oven.

Remove potatoes from oven.  Toss with olive oil and the cilantro.  Plate and serve immediately.

You're going to want to put these into your regular weekly meal rotation.

I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tribute to the 13 Colonies Part XI - Skinny New England Clam Chowder

My summer series is winding down.  I appreciate those of you who have written me who have enjoyed the regional variations on these recipes.  I'll be doing one more post, combining Delaware and Maryland either this weekend or early next week.  Then it's back to the old format where I post a variety of recipes.

Tonight we are traveling to New Hampshire.  New Hampshire has a long and interesting history in the founding of the US.  If you have the opportunity, read this Wiki.

I am told from friends who lived up there that New England clam chowder is a favorite in the state.  I have to admit, I am more of a fan of the red Manhattan chowder.  This version is lighter.  I recommend using the fat free half and half to create a thicker soup.  I've made the soup with 2% milk and it's perfectly fine, but it doesn't have as much body as it does when you use the half and half.

Makes two servings.


1 small russet potato, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
1 can chopped clams, 6.5 ounces, drained but juice reserved
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups fat free half and half
2 tablespoons cream cheese with chives, 1/3 less fat variety
Black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of Gumbo File
Fresh chopped chives


Add diced potato, clam juice and cold water and one tablespoon of the butter into a sauce or stock pot.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about ten minutes until potatoes are just under fork tender. 

Mash a couple of the potatoes with the back of a fork to add thickness to the soup base. 

Add the half and half, cream cheese, pepper, salt, and remaining tablespoon of the butter.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, whisking to make sure that the mixture doesn't boil over or scold.  You should start to see the soup thicken.

Add the clams.  Pull the soup from the heat.  Cover and let stand for about three minutes. It will continue to thicken.

Pour the soup into crocks and top with paprika and Gumbo File.  Fresh chives are optional.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tribute to the 13 Colonies Part X - Chow Mein Sandwich

Tonight we are traveling to Rhode Island.  I visited Rhode Island in the late 90's both on business and pleasure.  I do not have any pictures to share.  

The state has an interesting history as well as a distinct beauty, from the wealthy estates of Newport to the quaintness of the other cities and towns.

When Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his beliefs in freedom of religion and separation of church and state, he helped to form Providence, along with the native Americans, in 1636.

Yes, I know; when I first heard of this dish, I said "Chow Mein what?"   This sandwich is popular in the Fall River, Massachusetts area, and in parts of Rhode Island.  I have to admit, while my recipe might not be "traditional," it was surprisingly good.

It's a brown gravy version of chow mein on a hamburger bun.   Often Chinese egg noodles are freshly fried.   I used store-bought noodles to save time. 

My dish is vegetarian. 

Here you go:

Serves 2.


1 tbs. olive oil
1 can Chop Suey vegetables, drained
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tbs. gravy enhancer or browning sauce
1 tbs. butter
2 onion rolls, sliced
1/2 cup crispy chow mein noodles


Add olive oil to skillet.  Add vegetables and garlic powder.  Stir fry the vegetables for about two minutes.  

Add the honey, soy sauce, vegetable stock and browning sauce.  Bring to boil and reduce to summer until the sauce thickens, about two minutes.  Add the butter and cook until it melts.  Stir well.

Toast the buns lightly.  Serve equal amounts of the chow mein on the onion rolls.  Top with the chow mein noodles.