Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fish Francaise with Roasted Broccoli and Beets and So Long, for Now...

Two years ago I started Just for Cooking as a way for me to create enough recipes to write a cookbook.  To date, I am proud to say I have 275 online plus a handful on Cafe Cheapo.  You can check those recipes out by clicking on the tab above.

It is with mixed feelings that I tell you that this is going to be my last post -- at least for now. I am not saying goodbye.  I have other endeavors which I would like to pursue (including writing that cookbook).  Anyone who has a blog knows that you spend too many late nights cleaning up issues and formatting and fixing photos.  At the same time, it can be very rewarding as I've met so many nice people.

You can still reference these recipes online.   I am no longer going to be accepting comments.  If I feel that there is something that I want to share with you, I'll be back... maybe sooner than later... who know?

Here we go!

When I think of Florida, I think of shellfish, grouper and Mahi Mahi.  The fish that lend themselves to Key West flavors.  In the fall, I think of cold water fish, such as cod or haddock.  I used haddock in this recipe, and I just know if you are a fish lover, you're going to love this as it's super easy!

I took a little help from the store here.  I just love these Gia Russa Simmer Sauces.  I did have a coupon but not because they asked me to promote it... full disclosure here on JFC! 
So, let's get down to business here tonight:

Serves 2:


For the Beets and Broccoli -

1 large beet, peeled and sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Fish -

2 fresh haddock fillets - skin on (about 6-8 ounces each)
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup All Purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp, seafood seasoning, divided
3 springs fresh tarragon, plus more for finishing
1 tsp. capers, drained and rinsed


2 tbs. Canola Oil
1 tbs. Butter
Gia Russa Simmer Sauce, Francaise flavor (one cup)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Add the beet, broccoli, salt and pepper to a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with one tablespoon of the canola oil (see other ingredients).  Toss with hands.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the beets are tender.

Dredge the fish in the egg and flour seasoned with the black pepper and the seafood seasoning.  

Add one tablespoon of Canola oil to a pan.  Heat to high and cook the fish for approximately three minutes each side until lightly browned.  Add the butter along with the tarragon and the capers.   Carefully remove the fish to a plate and keep warm.  Add the Francaise sauce to the pan and warm through on low heat.

Serve sauce over fish.

I do appreciate all of you who read my blog over the last two years. I hope you will wish me the best as I wish you the best in your life's journey.

I hope you will look for my cookbook out there!   As I often say, I'll see you soon!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Muddy Martini

I don't post too many cocktails.  I am not a big cocktail drinker.  I like my wine on occasion and Dan (hubby) and I have gotten into beer tasting a few times a month.

Dan and me making the "Club" at World of Beer (WOB) in Clermont, FL
Photo used with permission.

In fact, I have only posted one other cocktail since I started this blog.  http://welcometojustforcooking.blogspot.com/2011/12/holiday-entertaining-tip-3-create.html

My "Muddy Martini" is a delicious take on a traditional "dirty martini."  Served over crushed ice, it's great for sipping before a dinner party.  I think the color of the drink also looks great on a fall table.  And the combination of the lime and the hot sauce makes you want to go, what's in there?  It's tangy but smooth; spicy but only a little.

Here is what you need (per drink)

2 shots good quality vodka
3 or four shakes of your favorite hot sauce (more to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbs. black olive juice
4 black olives

Add ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.   Add all ingredients.  Shake well.  Pour over crushed ice and top with four black olives.


Next up;  Linguine with hot sausage and clams!  Yum!

I'll see you soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little Help from My Friend (the store): Stuffed Chicken Francaise

No, I haven't gone back to the 60's with this post.  Nothing psychedelic here.  I was only six in 1969 for gosh sakes! 

But this post is going to be pretty "groovy."


Sometimes I dine alone.  My husband travels on business at times and he is also a Mason.  I was going to say not the kind like Paul Revere, but actually, he is.  Check out American history if you are not sure what I mean here.  I know I have several readers from overseas. 

I also hurt my knee a few weeks ago while exercising to a Jillian Michaels DVD.  My bad.  I was swearing at her and I turned the wrong way. Of course, I pushed it.  After all, I am 50 and I can "Kick, stretch, and kick" as per the Molly Shannon character, Sally O'Malley on SNL.  If you've never seen those skits, Goggle those as they are drop over funny!

I have to really watch my diet.  Yet sometimes you just don't feel like cooking.  I found ways to use a little of a store-bought product so you get the flavor, but not a lot of calories or fat.

Here is a recipe that uses a variety of store-bought and fresh ingredients.  This recipe is for one serving but just double or triple it as needed.

Here you go:


2 tbs. light olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
1 tbs. whipped cream cheese with chives
1 tbs. grated Romano cheese
2 thin slices of chicken breast
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. grill seasoning for chicken
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tbs. butter
1 tsp. capers
1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes; rehydrate in water (microwave for two minutes)
1/4 cup bottled Francaise sauce (I used Gia Russa)

Note:  The cauliflower is for a side dish


Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet. Add spinach and nutmeg. Wilt the spinach.

Once the spinach is wilted, add the cream cheese and grated cheese. Toss well and remove from heat.

Dredge chicken in flour mixed with grill seasoning and egg.  Top one piece of the chicken the the creamed spinach mixture.  Top with another slice of chicken and secure with toothpicks. Only use as much spinach as will fit inside the "sandwich."*

Heat remaining tbs. of the oil and the butter in a sauté pan.

Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about four minutes total.

Add the capers, the sun dried tomatoes and the Francaise sauce to the chicken.  Simmer for two minutes.

*Serve with mashed cauliflower and the remaining creamed spinach on the side.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sizzlin' Sangria Skewers

It's fall and it's time to pick the oranges fresh off the trees here in Florida.  This time of year, I like to look for ways to use these beautiful sun-kissed delights in cooking.

This marinade is great with beef, chicken or tuna.  I  used beef. 

I served this dish over a store-bought beef rice mix with a squirt of orange added while cooking.   That is a great tip for spicing up store-bought rice mixes; add fresh fruit or fruit juice.

I topped the rice with a big mound of stir fry veggies prepared with soy sauce, orange juice, and garlic.   Just a little freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt was all I needed to finish.

BTW - Add on any veggies that you like to the skewers.  This marinade is great with those pre-packaged skewers that you find in the meat section of your local supermarket.

Ingredients for Marinade:

(For each skewers you will need)

Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup dry red wine or non alcoholic wine
6 whole cloves


Combine all ingredients for marinade.  Toss in the citrus fruit rinds. Marinate chicken or beef skewers for thirty minutes, turning occasionally. 

For chicken, you will want to keep the food in the refrigerator.  Beef can be marinated to room temperature as long as it's covered.

Marinate tuna in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Remove from marinade.

Note:  Season the skewers as much as you like. I like to use a liberal amount of Adobo seasoning with pepper before I toss these on the grill pan. 

If you have a favorite seasoning, you can use that. Go ahead and mix it up!

Grill on grill pan over high heat, turning skewers once on each side; about five minutes for medium rare.


I will see you soon.  I've got some great low calorie comfort food recipes coming up over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

If you like this recipe, check out one of my originals (and one of my personal favorites): http://welcometojustforcooking.blogspot.com/2011/02/corsican-style-beef-served-with-winter.html

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jalapeño Spanish Rice with Corn

We can all use easy side dishes.   I have been asked to post more of them on this blog.   This one takes a little help from the store.  All I did was add in a few things and it's delicious.  Sometimes we are so fried from work that don't think of the obvious.  That is why I am sharing this recipe with you. 


1 box Rice-A -Roni Spanish Rice ® mix (6.8 oz)
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 medium Jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
2 cups cold water
1 can corn, drained (15 oz)


In a large non-stick skillet, add the rice and vermicelli mix to the pan along with the butter and the oil.  Add in the Jalapeño pepper,  Heat until golden brown.

Stir in the tomato sauce, the water (slowly) and the corn.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

Cover and simmer over a low heat for about 15 - 20 minutes.  Let rice rest about five minutes before serving.


I have been very busy lately with other things but I promise I'll be stepping these blog posts up again very soon.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Garden Chicken Soup with Dumplings

I roasted a small chicken last night and had leftovers.  I also had leftover chicken in the freezer.  Being it's been cool down here lately, I thought chicken soup might be good.  I didn't have any noodles so I decided big dumplings might to the trick.  

Check out this dish.


Leftover chicken on the bone
Seven cups of water, divided
2 medium onions
1 bay leaf
6 or 7 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1/2 large head cabbage, chopped
1/2 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons chicken soup base, more to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Dumplings: 

2 cups baking mix
2/3 cup 2% milk


Boil chicken in four cups of the water for about an hour, covered, until the chicken falls off the bones. 


Remove the chicken from the pot and once cooled, remove the bones.  Be sure to get any bones out of the pot that might have fallen in during the cooking process.   Skim the soup for fat.  Keep the chicken warm.

Add one peeled onion, whole to the pot along with the bay leaf.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, covered, about two hours.

Add in all other ingredients for the soup.  Cover and continue to cook for at least an hour.  

About fifteen minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, mix the baking mix and the milk.  Drop big spoonfuls of the dough onto the top of the soup.   Cover and let the soup simmer lightly until the dumplings are done.