Monday, December 21, 2015

Clams and Mussels in a Savory Broth over Baby Kale Blend

Clams and Mussels in a Savory Broth over Baby Kale Blend

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I know I haven't been posting as many recipes.  Truth is, I got my creative writing "Muse" back;  I'd been suffering from a terrible case of writers block the last couple of years.  In my spare time (after my full time job) I've been writing a screenplay again.  So, I honestly haven't been cooking as much.  I bring no recipe to you unless it's been fully tested.

Here is one of my favorites.  It's perfect for holiday entertaining.  Particularly on those nights when your holiday company is arriving and you need something fast so you can finish the shopping, or attend a holiday event. It's also great in small portions served as an appetizer for a holiday meal.

Clams and Mussels in a Savory Broth over Baby Kale Blend -

Sounds fancy, huh?   This time of year, I like a few of these “go to” appetizers for entertaining.  But this also makes a nice treat if you’re cooking for two.  Here is the recipe for 2, but you can double or triple this if you are having a party.

Try to find the Meyer lemon if you can.  It really makes a difference in this dish!


1 dozen cherrystone clams
1/2 lb. mussels
1/4 cup corn meal
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil and canola blend
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup extra dry vermouth or non alcoholic dry white wine
1/4 cup Meyer Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Tamari
1 teaspoon mashed garlic (about one large clove)
2 cups baby kale blend salad


Soak the clams and the mussels in water with the corn meal under refrigeration for about 1/2 hour.   Strain and rinse. 

Add the butter and oil to the pan along with the crushed red pepper.   Once the butter melts, let the pepper infuse for about a minute, but be careful not to brown the butter.

Add the clams and the mussels to the pan along with the vermouth, lemon juice, Tamari and garlic.

Cover and simmer over medium heat until all clams and mussels open, about 10 minutes.  Discard any unopened shell fish. 

I hoped you've enjoyed the recipes that you posted this year.  And from my family to yours, wishing you a joyous Christmas and a happy 2016!

See you next year.



Friday, October 2, 2015

Shrimp with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Shrimp with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
Served over Yellow Rice with Garlic and Parmesan Asparagus
I'd like to thank my friend Sherry Miller, again, for submitting a recipe to me last week.  I got a lot of great feedback on it.
Keeping with the mushroom theme, I made this delicious shrimp with mushrooms and tomatoes this week.  It's super easy for a busy weeknight. 

I like to serve this with packaged yellow rice and roasted Parmesan-garlic asparagus.  Yum!
What I love about this dish is that it’s a nice summer-to-fall transition meal.  If the weather is still a bit on the warm side, it’s not too heavy.  But the mushrooms and the butter gives this dish a nice “comfort food” quality.   And it’s easy to prepare.  It’s perfect for one those busy nights when you’re running to this practice and that practice.  This just might be one of your new “go to” meals if you enjoy shrimp.

I use Campari tomatoes in this recipe.  If you are not familiar with them, they are bigger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than a vine tomato.   You can easily find them in the produce section.  If you can't find them I would use the smallest vine ripened tomato you can find but you may need to seed them.  Campari tomatoes have seeds but they are not as prevalent as they are in a tomato that you would use on a sandwich or in a salad.
And using butter in moderation is just fine.  That's why I often use butter to finish or thicken sauces. 
Don't want to use wine or non alcoholic wine?  Don't use cooking wine or broth.  It will change the flavor of this recipe.  I'd rather you add just a little bit of water mixed with a little extra lemon juice.  
So here we go:


Serves 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, sliced thin (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
2/3 cup sliced Baby Bella mushrooms
5 sprigs thyme, stripped
14 extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/4 cup dry white wine or non alcoholic wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, divided
8 Campari tomatoes, quartered
Parsley for garnish


Add olive oil to sauté pan along with the shallots.  Cook for about three minutes until shallots soften.  Do not brown. 
Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden; about four or five minutes.   While mushrooms are sautéing, add the thyme.

Toss shrimp in seafood seasoning.  Add to skillet and cook until shrimp begin to turn pink; about three minutes.
Add the wine, the lemon juice and half of the butter.  Lower the heat to a low simmer and let sauce reduce to about half – about three more minutes. 

Remove from heat.  Add the rest of the butter and the tomatoes.  Let the tomatoes sit in the hot sauce for about two minutes. 
Top with parsley and serve immediately over yellow rice. 
Enjoy and I’ll see you soon!



Monday, September 14, 2015

Sherry's Mediterranean Mushroom Melt

Cheesy Deliciousness: 
Sherry's Mediterranean Mushroom Melt  

Hello.  I know I haven't been blogging much lately but I seem to have spread myself too thin.  But I'd rather bring you the occasional great recipe. 

I cannot take credit for this one.  My friend and work colleague, Sherry Miller, came up with the fantastic way to use mushrooms caps.  I first saw it out on Facebook a couple of weeks ago when friends made her recipe and were more than highly complimentary.  So I asked Sherry to contribute her recipe to my blog. 

Take it away, Sherry.


Hi, I'm Sherry Miller.   I'm a technical software specialist by day and a home cook at night.

Our local grocery store makes amazing subs and features a new one each month.  A few weeks ago, I tried one of the featured subs and that started a craving for those ingredients.  I am mindful of what I eat and do not like to give up satisfaction and flavor for less calories. This mindset leads me to try to create low calorie versions of my favorite foods.
This dish turned out to be one of the best so far.   Enjoy!

Sherry’s Mediterranean Mushroom Melt

6 Portobello Mushrooms (large)
4 tablespoons  Olive Oil
2 bags Spinach
6 slices of prosciutto
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup Sundried Tomatoes (Julienne Cut with Herbs)
6 Tablespoons Boar’s Head Pepperhouse Gourmaise*
12 Slices Asiago Cheese
Pre-heat oven to 425 F.

In a medium size casserole dish, spread 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil on the bottom.

Place the Portobello Mushrooms (after removing the stems) cap side down (should form a slight cup)
Spread Gourmaise evenly (thinly – or to taste).

Divide and spread sundried tomatoes over the mushrooms.
Add remaining olive oil to a sauté pan.

Shred the prosciutto and sauté with the minced garlic over medium heat.
Add spinach to sauté mixture stirring frequently until wilted.

Divide the mixture between the mushrooms and layer the cheese over the top to cover each mushroom.

Bake uncovered until cheese is golden brown, about five minutes.  Adjust cooking time accordingly for your oven.  Variations:  You an substitute your favorite peppery spread for the brand that I used. You can also add a little white wine to the sauce, lemon juice, or the sky is the limit!

Interestingly, I tried the same sub that Sherry did and I agree, this is a great alternative.  It's always better to make things at home.  I can see all of the possibilities with the variations. 
 Thank you, Sherry for submitting this deliciously easy weeknight recipe.  
Until later: I’ll see you all soon.

*Not an endorsement.  No product was supplied to either blogger or guest blogger.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Chicken Casablanca

Moroccan Lemon Chicken

(Chicken Casablanca)

We are headed to exotic Morocco this week, with a dish that will take you to Casablanca.  It's Moroccan style lemon chicken, slow cooked in a delicious sauce and finished with baby artichoke hearts and green olives.  

Double yum!  I have to say, I think this is my new signature dish.  We had a friend over for dinner who works in recipe development and she asked for the recipe.  And she finished her plate.  Both good signs that you've got a winner, winner, chicken dinner!

This recipe is perfect for a busy summer supper.  The slow cooker isn't only for the fall and winter months. It's a great way not to heat up your house in the summer.  If you're busy, you can set it and - well - ALMOST forget it.    You'll see where I am going with the "almost" when you read the actual recipe. 

I like to serve this dish up with a cold curried green cauliflower salad.   I'll bring that recipe to you another time.  This chicken recipe can be served over Couscous or rice.  Or make a simple salad.  Even garlic smashers would be great if you aren't interested in keeping with an authentic theme. 

Nothing wrong with a little "fusion" meal. 

I didn't have time to preserve lemons in the traditional way.  That would take about three weeks and I'm not that forward thinking lately. 

So, I cheated.  I made quickly preserved lemons; if that doesn't sound like a contradiction, I've got your attention now.  I'm including the process that I used here to give the dish that rich flavor that only preserved lemons can impart. 

If you have them on hand you can use them.  Otherwise, follow my recipe. 

I know you're going to love this dish.   Your family will say, "Make it again, Sam," or George, or Sandy, or whatever your name is.  Yeah.

I suggest using Saigon Cinnamon if you can find it as it has a deeper flavor.  If you don't have access to the wine I used, you can substitute any sweet white wine that you like. 

Here we go:

Serves 4


For the Quick Preserved Lemons:

8 slices seeded lemon
1/4 teaspoon light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the chicken:

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
2 large split chicken breast halves (one split breast for every two persons)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 cup sweet white wine (such as Lakeridge Southern White)
1/8 cup reduced sodium chicken broth, plus two tablespoons for deglazing pie pan
1 tablespoon frozen salted butter
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
1 tablespoon bottled ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground Turmeric, divided 
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika or regular paprika
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water
7 baby canned artichoke hearts (packed in water), halved
12 green Greek marinated olives, pitted

Other: coconut oil cooking spray (optional but recommended)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Seed lemon slices and place in a skillet brushed with light olive oil.

Whoa!  A little head game there!

Cook over medium high heat until lightly charred, turning once. 

Transfer lemon slices to a ceramic pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with the salt. 

Place in hot oven. TURN OVEN OFF.  Let the lemons sit in the hot oven for about ten minutes.  Remove lemons from pan and reserve.

Add oil to same pan.  Return to heat.  Add chicken breasts one a time, skin side down, to pan and brown.  Do not flip the chicken until the skin naturally releases  (about four minutes).  Brown about one minute on the bone side.

Transfer chicken breasts to the a slow cooker warmed to low (cooking spray optional). 

Deglaze the skillet with the lemon juice, sweet wine and chicken broth.  Scrape brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add in the ice cold butter and the minced garlic.  Reduce about one minute over medium high heat.  Pour the sauce into the slow cooker over the chicken.

Create a paste out of the bottled ginger, sea salt, Saigon cinnamon and white balsamic vinegar by mashing it together with a form.  Brush equal parts on top of each chicken breast half. 

Top the chicken with the mock preserved lemons. 

Deglaze the pie pan with the rest of the chicken broth and add to slow cooker.  This will pull all of that good, lemony flavor from the pan.

Sprinkle with half of the ground turmeric and  all of the Hungarian Paprika.

Cook on low for five hours.

Add the slurry of cornstarch and water to slow cooker along with the artichoke hearts and the olives.

Cover and turn heat to high until the sauce begins to simmer, about 15-20 minutes. IMMEDIATELY turn the slow cooker to warm and let rest on warm for 1 - 2 hours.  This will allow the sauce to thicken up.

And as always, enjoy and I'll see you soon!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Easy Pulled Pork (and a couple of ideas on how to use it)

Little Max enjoys a whiff of my delicious slow cooker pulled pork.

I'm back.  I know I've been away a bit this summer.  Sorry to report our oldest dog, Eddie, has gone over the Golden Rainbow Bridge.  His little brother, Max, has been a true love during our time of loss.

Summertime means BBQ.  Often, you don't have a smoker.  Or time to smoke the pork.  Here's a super easy slow cooker recipe.  I'm including a recipe for a great slow if you want to turn this into pulled pork sandwiches.   You can also take the leftovers along with ham, salami, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and some fresh Cuban bread and make a delicious Tampa-style Cubano.

Here is the pork and slaw recipe:  

Three ingredients go into the slow cooker;

1 bone in Boston Butt (about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs)
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
1/2 – 3/4 tablespoon BBQ seasoning (your favorite brand)

Place the onions on the bottom, then the roast, then season.  That’s it. 

Now turn that baby on low for about  8 1/2 hours and resist the temptation to open the slow cooker as that actually slows the cooking process. 

If you want that crispy fat cap on it (I always do), here’s what you do.  Remove the roast before pulling from the slow cooker and place it onto a cookie sheet. 

Drizzle a little light olive oil on top.  Heat your broiler to high and broil it for about 10 – 15 minutes until the top is crispy. 

If you include this step, you’ll want to transfer the pork back to the juices in the slow cooker to pull the meet from the bone.  Discard bone.

But what about the smoky flavor?  What about salt?

You’ll need  -
two teaspoons of liquid smoke,
       and –
 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

It’s really delicious.   Adding the smoke in the end imparts a great flavor without being overpowering,   This isn’t a huge piece of meat.
Once  cooled, you can separate this into batches for the week and refrigerate or freeze portions. 

Chill or freeze those portions with just the pan juices.  

Now you can drizzle your pulled pork with your favorite BBQ sauce.  But I think that a mustard base sauce works best with this slaw recipe:
For the slaw you will need:

1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup Napa cabbage, chopped
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 scallion, chopped (white and light green part only)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon bottled ginger
1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar1 packet Stevia1/2 teaspoon garlic saltA pinch of celery salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Mix everything together and chill until ready to serve.Got it?

See you soon!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fiesta Spaghetti


I know, I’ve been missing in action.  I’ve been leading a blessed and busy life.

You know I’ve said it before; I love one dish pasta dishes in the spring and summer as everything is in there.  You don’t even need to make a salad.  This one is no different.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, and my friend, Judy, who has a birthday today who I know would love this dish, comes my Fiesta Spaghetti. 

Ground chicken in a taco-style sauce with fresh corn, Poblano and black beans.  It’s topped with cheese (I like Muenster for the melting quality), avocado, a little fat free sour cream and a few crumbled blue corn chips for good measure. 

You are going to love this and you’re going to want to make this instead of tacos for your next gathering.
So here we go!
Serves 4

7 ounces whole grain or fiber fortified spaghetti, cooked per package directions

1 large Poblano pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon

1 ear corn

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 tablespoon Saigon Cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2  tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Toppings:  Chopped avocado, muenster cheese, shredded, blue corn chip crumbles and fat free sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Cook pasta per package directions and reserve a little of the starchy cooking water.

Place pepper on rack on cookie sheet and drizzle with oil.  Bake for about 20 minutes until skin bubbles.  Let cool.

Microwave corn in husk (remove some of the silk before cooking); about three minutes.   Let cook, husk and remove from cob.  Reserve the corn.

Add the rest of the olive oil to a medium skillet.

Brown the ground chicken. 

Mix together the cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, oregano and garlic salt. 

Add to chicken along with a couple of ladles of the starchy cooking water.  Reduce heat.  Cook for about five minutes until the flavors combine, stirring occasionally and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Toss with pasta and serve with toppings.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Broasted" Beef with Roasted Mashed Potatoes and Veggie Gravy - And Introducing...

I'm back.  It's not without a good reason that I've been absent from posting and here's the reason.  The new addition to our family.   His name is Max.   Like his brother, Eddie, he is a Golden.

His older brother, Eddie, just loves him, although he's established some rules like "Do NOT touch my Milkbone." 
Raising a puppy at 52 is a little more challenging then when Eddie was a puppy when I was 38.  But it's worth every minute of lost sleep.

I promised you I'd be back by next week and I actually under-promised and over-delivered.  

I was talking with Dan's cousin, Betsy, about "broasted"  chicken.  I have heard of it but could never  figure out what it actually was.  I know this dish isn't anything like that dish but I thought it was a cute play on words hence the title.  You can call it whatever you want, but I know you're going to call it delicious.

It's chuck steak, slow braised in the crockpot with a combination of tomato soup, broth, herbs and  veggies.   Then roasted in the oven to get this great crust.  Potatoes are added around the roast as it... ummm... roasts, and then  are mashed with Greek yogurt. 

Now one of the ingredients in this might surprise you.  Sour wine,  MK?  Yes, if it was good enough for Julia Child, it's good enough for me.  Yes, I know that when wine reduces it doubles in flavor.  But so does wine vinegar... EHHH... Now you see where I am going with this. 

When I was younger, no wine would go without being consumed in my house.   Now that I am older, we often have an end of a bottle left over in the fridge.  If red wine sits over a week it often sours a bit.  But you can still use it to cook in recipes where you want something a little more acidic than wine but something less acidic than vinegar.  Got it?  I knew that you would.

While it looks like a lot of ingredients, you'll be surprised how super simple this is.

Okay, enough chit chat.

Why don't I just show you the recipe?


3.5 lb. chuck roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can concentrated tomato soup, lower sodium
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 medium onion cut into thirds
four large carrots, chunked
2 stalks thick cut celery
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire flavored grill seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning
1/4 cup sour dry red wine
1 dried bay leaf
1 bunch fresh thyme (at least 15 sprigs)
8 red potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon roasted garlic and herb grill seasoning
1/4 teaspoon browning sauce
2 teaspoons  ground Saigon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup 2%  milk
Sea salt and pepper, to taste


Place roast, tomato soup, broth, onion, carrot, celery grill seasoning, garlic and herb seasoning, sour wine, bay leaf into slow cooker.  Place the thyme bunch on top of the meat so that the stems do not fall into the cooker while it's cooking (you are going to remove these later).

Cook on low for five hours.

Preheat oven  to 375 degrees F.

Discard thyme springs and bay leaf.

Place roast in roasting dish with potatoes halved and placed around.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle  with the roasted garlic seasoning.  Brush the browning sauce over the top of the roast and bake for 45 minutes. 

While the roast and potatoes are in the oven, pour the sauce and veggies from the slow cooker into a blender. Add Saigon Cinnamon.   Pulse until smooth.  Pour into a sauce pan and heat over low. 

Remove roast and let rest 10 minutes.

Place the potatoes in a pan and mash along with Greek yogurt, cheese and milk.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve Veggie Gravy over beef and potatoes.   I love this with steamed and sautéed green beans and tomatoes to round out the meal.

See you soon!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chicken Jambalaya Soup

Chicken Jambalaya Soup

Tonight's post is Jambalaya that eats like a soup; perfect for a chilly winter day.  
My husband loves Jambalaya, and I had the mix on hand and I thought, why not in a soup?  This is a perfect lunch as you can make it ahead and keep it warm until ready to serve.  And it really is a chicken soup that will  "warm your soul." 

This is a quick and simple recipe that you can spice up or tone down.  It takes a little help from the grocery store, so it’s perfect when you don’t have a lot of time.

You can use lower sodium products in any combination if you want to keep this on the healthier side.   Fresh chives at the end are optional.
What a great way to use leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken!

Here you go:


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced green bell or frying pepper

1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced

7 ounces pre-cooked Andouille sausage, sliced into bite sized rounds

8 ounce Jambalaya mix, regular or lower sodium
1 tsp. Creole seasoning (optional – omit for a milder dish)

48 ounces chicken broth or low sodium chicken broth (suggest Tuscan style)
1 1/2 cups pulled cooked chicken (white or dark meat or both) - skin removed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, lightly chopped
Fresh chopped chives for garnish, optional


Add oil to soup pan or Dutch oven.   
Sauté the onion, pepper, and celery for about three minutes until softened. 

Add the garlic and continue to cook for one minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
Add the Andouille.   Cook over medium heat for about five minutes until the fat begins to render out.

Add the Jambalaya mix along with 32 ounces of the chicken broth.   Reserve the rest of the broth. Stir in Creole if seasoning using and the thyme.
Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, covered, but about 25 minutes until rice is tender. 

Once the rice is ready, add remaining broth, and reduce heat, uncovered, until warmed through.
Top with fresh chopped chives and enjoy!

Notes:  Jambalaya mixes can vary in heat depending on brand.  Suggest adding the extra Creole seasoning after you taste the coup if you are not sure about the heat level.  If using a brown rice Jambalaya mix, adjust cooking time per recommendations on the box.   
I’ll see you soon.