Friday, December 14, 2012

Mini Breakfast "Soufflé"


8 wonton wraps
1/3 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons pesto
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 425° F.  Use olive oil spray and spray 4 cups of muffin tin or 4 Poach Pods.  Place one wonton wrap in muffin tin or Poach Pods and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Place a second wonton on top of the first at an angle so that all of the points show. In small bowl beat eggs and mix in cottage cheese, and feta cheese.  Put 1 teaspoon of pesto in the bottom of each wonton cup.  Top with egg mixture evenly in each of 4 cups.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until "Soufflé" is set.  Top each "Soufflé" with another teaspoon of pesto.  Makes 4 mini "Soufflés".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


If you like spanakopita, but don't like messing with all the phyllo or regret Paula Deen butter with every bite, or just want a quick and easy version with great flavor, this recipe may be worth your while.


olive oil spray
1 tsp. minced garlic
9 oz. bag fresh spinach
1 egg beaten
4 oz. crumbled feta
wonton wrappers
black pepper

Spray LARGE (spinach starts big) skillet with olive oil spray and heat to medium. Saute garlic and spinach until spinach is wilted. Take skillet off heat and let spinach mixture cool. Preheat oven to 425 F and spray 12 cup muffin tin with olive oil spray. Place one wonton wrap in muffin tin and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Place a second wonton on top of the first at an angle so that all of the points show. Once you've filled muffin tin with wonton wraps, mix beaten egg and crumbled feta into the spinach mixture and add pepper to taste. Fill wonton wraps in muffin tin equally with spinach/feta mixture and place in preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes until spinach mixture is set, and points on wonton wraps are browned and crisp.

Makes 12 cups.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stuffed and Grilled Chicken Marsala

This recipe was inspired by my sisters recipe for grilled chicken thighs in prosciutto.  The Marsala with some pasta on the side make it a meal.  

1/4 cup olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T Balsamic vinegar
1 T Marsala
1 t course ground sea salt
1 t dried oregano
1 T chopped fresh rosemary or 1 t dried

6 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
6 slices prosciutto
1/4 thick smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch wide sticks

Marinade chicken over night or for a few hours.  Place mozzarella piece in middle of thigh, wrap it in prosciutto  and secure with a toothpick or kebab skewer.

Grill chicken for 15-20 minutes, turning as needed to brown evenly, until cooked and prosciutto is crisped.  While chicken is on the grill, make the Marsala Sauce.  Serve chicken and some cheese stuffed tortellini with the sauce.


Marsala Sauce 
  • 2 tbsps olive oil  
  • 1/4 cup onion (diced) 
  •  1 tbsp garlic (chopped) 
  •  1/2 lb baby portabella mushrooms (sliced) 
  •  3 tbsps flour
  •  1/2 cup marsala wine
  •  1 1/2 cups beef stock
  •  salt and pepper to taste
Add olive oil to heavy saucepan. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, saute until mushrooms are tender. Add flour and cook about 1 minute then deglaze pan with Marsala wine. Add beef stock and cook until thick and flavors are blended.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Balsamic-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1.5 T brown sugar
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into wedges
salt and pepper to taste

Chopped toasted walnuts or almonds
Crumbled Gorgonzola

Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with foil.

Combine oil, vinegar and brown sugar in a small measuring cup.  Arrange wedges in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Pour balsamic mixture over wedges and gently toss to coat; season with salt and pepper.
Roast wedges, turning halfway through, about 20 minutes, and then roast another 20 minutes until fork tender.  Garnish wedges with nuts and Gorgonzola.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cucumber Roll Sushi

Sushi Rice
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup plus 3 tsp cold water
1/4 cup sushi vinegar
cold water for washing rice

To Wash Rice: soak rice in a bowl of cold water. Stir the rice around in the bowl with your hands. After the water becomes cloudy, strain the rice by pouring the water and rice mixture into a strainer. Put the rice back into the bowl and add fresh cold water, repeating process until the water is no longer cloudy. Finally, leave the "washed" rice in the strainer for 30 to 60 minutes.

To Cook Rice: place rice in a heavy small-sized pot. Add water and cover tightly. do not lift the lid at any point until the rice is finished cooking, or steam will escape and it will not cook properly. Place over medium-high heat until the rice steams (7-10 minutes). Turn heat to high and cook 2 minutes. You may notice a white foam around the lid and the lid jiggling up and down. (I had no foam, or jiggling, but rice was perfect) Next, reduce heat to medium and cook another 5 minutes, until the foam stops and you hear a crackling sound. (no foam, no crackling, just a timer for me) Turn off heat, and let stand, covered, another 15 minutes, as rice steams. After rice is finished steaming, remove the cover and, using the bamboo paddle, fluff the rice. (this rice was already sticky at this point) Wrap the cover in a cloth towel and return cover to pot. Let stand another 15 minutes.

To Season Rice: With rice paddle, gently spread the hot rice in a shallow, large-bottomed nonmetallic bowl or platter. As the steam is escaping, sprinkle the sushi vinegar over the rice and with quick horizontal motions, scooping back and forth along the bottom, toss the rice with the sushi vinegar. Immediately start to fan the rice to cool it. A piece of cardboard or a paper fan, if one is available, are fine to use. The cooling process should last about 2 minutes. Cover the rice loosely with a clean wet towel and let it stand for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is at room temperature. Keep the rice covered with a damp towel. Rice can be prepared earlier in the day, and covered in damp cloth until ready for use. Do not refrigerate rice prior to making roll. After rolls are made, it can be refrigerated.

Cucumber Roll
1/2 cucumber sliced into thin strips
1 avocado peeled, pitted and sliced
prepared sushi rice
4 Nori sheets
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

bowl of water/vinegar solution (6 Tb water plus 2 tsp water)

Toast Nori sheets in skillet, shiny side down over high flame. Place Nori on bamboo mat. Dip your hands in the water/vinegar bowl and scoop up some sushi rice. Spread it evenly over the nori, but leave a margin of 1/2 inch at the far end free of rice. Moisten your hands when needed, but don't make the rice soggy. Create a narrow groove in the center of the rice and place cucumber strips, avocado slices and toasted sesame seeds.

Grasp the mat in both hands, thumbs underneath, and pressing lightly on the cucumber with index finger of both hands, lift the mat so the edge of the nori closest to you meets the near edge of the rice-free margin of nori at the far end. Press straight down on the sides of the mat, not on the op of the roll. Lift mat slightly and finish rolling the roll, so that the rice-free edge of nori adheres to the roll. Carefully remove the mat. Place roll on cutting board, seam side down. Dip the knife in water/vinegar; then slice roll in half. Clean knife with a towel, dip again and cut each half in thirds. Serve with wasabi paste and soy sauce.
sticky rice, very sticky.
cucumber, avocado, and black sesame seeds.
that's the way we roll!
with some wasabi and soy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Potato Skins Potato Salad

The inspiration for this salad came after seeing a Loaded Baked Potato Salad on Pinterest. Thing was, it wasn't a baked potato, they were boiled, and when you are adding sour cream, cheese, bacon and green onions, that says POTATO SKINS to me.  So, I wanted to roast these taters to give them that crispy skin texture that makes potato skins such a treat.  Start by preheating your oven to 425, and then let's get started.
8 red potatoes (not baby new potatoes, and not big honkers, but medium or size of a small fist)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1/2 cup sour cream (light or fat free is fine)
1/4 cup mayo (again light or olive oil is great)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon
1 bunch green onions (chop greens and discard or save white part of onion for another use.)
salt and pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes and leave skins on.  Cut potatoes in half, and then those halves in half, and cut into bite size chunks (two or three more cuts).

Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with lemon pepper or salt and pepper or seasoned salt, whichever strikes your fancy.  Put foil in roasting pan and top with seasoned potatoes. Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast another 15 minutes.  Switch to broil and give them 3-5 minutes stir and another 3-5 to crisp the outside and leave a tender inside. Watch closely while broiling as they could burn easily at this point.  Remove from oven and lift foil holding potatoes, onto a cooling rack and let them cool off.  

While potatoes are cooling, mix sour cream, mayo, shredded cheddar and half the green onions in small bowl.   Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside and heat skillet for the bacon.  Using kitchen shears, cut bacon into small pieces into the heated skillet and brown.  Place bacon on paper towels once browned and set aside.  Once potatoes are cooled, place in large bowl and gently mix with sour cream mixture.  When ready to serve top with crumbled bacon and the rest of the green onion.  You can serve now while warm or cover and chill.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Muffuletta Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad:  

1 lb rotini
1/4 lb smoked gouda, cubed
6 oz. reduced fat, reduced sodium salami, diced
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
1/3 cup pepperoncinis, chopped
grilled vegetables (directions below)
salt and pepper
8 leaves basil, chiffonade


1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons pesto
1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
Whisk and set aside until salad is assembled.

Grilled vegetables: 

1/4 cup reduced fat Italian dressing
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 small vidalia onion, 1/2 inch slices
1 medium yellow squash, 1/2 inch slices
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes

Grill over medium heat in grill basket sprayed with olive oil for about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on how charred you want them, watch carefully.  Great way to serve vegetables any day, not just with pasta salad.  Can be oven roasted is well, if it's not good grilling weather.  Oven roast on baking sheet at 425 for about 10-15 minutes. 

While grilling vegetables, cook 1 lb. rotini noodles, drain and rinse with cold water.  Once vegetables are grilled and cool enough to handle cut into bite size pieces.  Toss grilled vegetables with pasta, cheese, salami, olives, pepperoncinis and tomatoes.  Pour dressing over pasta mixture and stir mixing everything together.  Add basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Caprese Salad

Nothing says summer like a Caprese Salad, and it couldn't be easier to put together with just a few ingredients.  So celebrate summer and whip one up today.  :)

2 medium sized, fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 8oz. ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons pesto (jarred or use the following recipe if you've got
some basil to use up)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
fresh basil chiffonade
salt and pepper

Mix balsamic vinegar with pesto.  Fan tomato and mozzarella slices on a plate as illustrated above.   Drizzle pesto vinegar mix over the tomatoes and mozzarella, and top with fresh basil.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil
¾ cups olive oil
½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
½ cup pine nuts
1-2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry basil leaves, and toss all ingredients into food processor, and let her rip. There you have it. I like to have some pieces of pine nuts that are big enough to be recognizable, and add some more texture, so I leave some out of the food processor, and just lightly crush them, and add them to the processed ingredients.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lamb Chop Lollipops

My sister gave me this recipe for Lamb Chop Lollipops with her fabulous rub.  I added the Balsamic Reduction.  It adds a little wow factor in taste and presentation.   It's my husband's favorite!

1 rack of lamb, frenched (you can do this at home or have your butcher do it for you)

1/4 cup fresh, or 1 tablespoon dry Oregano
2 tablespoons fresh, or 2 teaspoons dry Rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil

Let rack of lamb sit at room temperature while you preheat the grill.  Mix the rub ingredients together, and cut your rack of lamb into individual chops, and slather each chop with the rub.  Grill over high heat for just a few minutes on each side. These chops will be small, so they don't need much time.   Drizzle the chops with Balsamic reduction and serve.

Balsamic reduction:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 cup Port wine
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter

Sauté shallots in olive oil.  Add balsamic and Port.  Reduce to ½ cup.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wasabi Soy Cedar Planked Salmon

1 cedar plank soaked in water for at least 1 hour
1/2 pound wild sockeye salmon
1 tablespoon sesame oil or olive oil (sesame oil has a strong sesame flavor)
1 tablespoon prepared wasabi
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 heaping tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (put in small skillet on stove at medium high heat for 1-2 minutes until starting to lightly brown and becoming fragrant)

Mix oil, wasabi, soy sauce, sherry, honey, garlic and ginger, and put aside until ready to grill.  
After cedar plank has soaked long enough, heat up charcoal or gas grill.  Allow salmon to sit at room temp for 15 minutes, and wipe cedar plank with olive or sesame oil.  Place salmon skin side down on the oiled side of the plank, and brush liberally over the top of salmon with the wasabi mixture.  (Do not be afraid, wasabi mix smells strong, and salmon smells strong, but it comes off the cedar very delicate and mild)
Place plank over direct heat on grill and depending on temperature cook 8-15 minutes.  Salmon should flake easily.  Use a spatula and slide under salmon leaving skin on plank.  Cut into two serving pieces. Top with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Depending on how charred plank is, can be washed and used again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Egg in a basket

Below is a delicious breakfast for one, that's satisfying but not fat and calorie laden as in a breakfast casserole that would be too big.   If you want to make more than one, use a muffin tin and only 2 won ton wraps for each basket.  Bake for 15-20 minutes with the muffin tin in the regular oven at 375.  Then, you have enough to share, or cool and freeze for a quick warm up in the microwave on work mornings. 

4 wonton wraps
1 large egg
1 slice deli ham, halved
1/2 slice deli brick cheese, halved
2 teaspoons basil pesto

Preheat toaster oven to 375.  Spray a small pie tin with no stick spray and lay out the 4 won ton wraps to cover the bottom and sides of pan.  Place half the ham, half the cheese, 1 tsp of pesto on bottom on top of wonton wraps.  Break egg over ham, cheese, and pesto and top with remaining ham, cheese and pesto and bake for 15 minutes or until egg is cooked through.  Remove from tin and enjoy.

Calories:  224
Carbs:  17
Fat:  10
Protein:  14

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sweet and Sour Cashew Chicken

  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry 
  • 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice from the can of pineapples
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup 
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped 
Cut chicken into 3/4 inch cubes and toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon sherry.  Set aside.

Combine remaining cornstarch, soy sauce,vinegar, pineapple juice, ketchup and sriracha.  Whisk togehter and set aside.

Heat a wok with the Sesame oil.  Add chicken and stir for 3 minutes.    Add ginger and garlic and stir for 1 minute, then add pineapple and bell pepper stirring for 3 minutes.  Finally add juice mixture, bring to boil and stir for 1 minute while it thickens.  Turn off heat and garnish with cashew pieces and green onion, serve over rice.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Low and Slow Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Karly Q Sauce

1 large rack of baby back ribs (mine was almost 4 lbs.  adjust according to what you need and what you can find)
Pork dry rub (it's easy to make your own, but if you are rushed and don't want to mess with it, store bought is fine, such as McCormick)
Apple juice in a spray bottle
Karly Q Sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
Wood chips for smoking (chip of choice whether it's mesquite, hickory, apple or cherry)

Slather the rack of ribs with the dry rub, then cut rack in half down the middle for cooking.  Let the ribs sit and groove with the rub while you get the coals hot.  Get enough charcoal hot to heat one side of your grill and you will slowly cook ribs indirectly on the other side.  Start soaking wood chips at this time too.  Once coals are hot, add them to one side of grill, top with a handful of soaked wood chips and place the two slabs of ribs on the other side.  Every 20 minutes, spray ribs with apple juice, flip and spray again.  Add more wood chips at this time to, and check heat.  Add a few briquettes at these 20 minute check points if temp drops below 250 degrees.   Try to keep temperature between 250-300, checking every 20 minutes and smoke these babies for 5-6 hours.  I realize checking them every 20 minutes, spraying them etc. seems like a lot of work, but it's really not labor intensive at all, just requires your presence and attention every so often.  Once they are good and smoked after 5-6 hours, they will look like this...

Look at that bark baby! The apple juice caramelizes the pork, and the inside is so moist and tender it just falls of the bone.  Cut off servings with 3 to 4 ribs, and let the consumers experience the tenderness as it falls off the bone on their plates.  Serve with BBQ sauce on the table.  Karly Q sauce recipes is below, or use your favorite sauce.

Karly Q Sauce (Memphis Style)
1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce
1 cup Ketchup

1 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar

½ cup honey mustard

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Paprika

1 tablespoon Seasoned Salt

1½ tablespoon Hot Sauce

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

1½ teaspoon Garlic Powder

¼ teaspoon Chili Powder

⅛ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

⅛ teaspoon Black Pepper

1 heaping tablespoon Chipotle in Adobo sauce for some smoky heat. 
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 cups.

Once those ribs are slathered in your favorite sauce, they look like this:  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fettuccine with Baby Artichokes in a Lemon Basil Cream Sauce

6 baby artichokes
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tbls chardonnay or dry white wine
2 Tbls butter chilled and cut into small cubes
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbls fresh basil chiffonade
9 oz. fresh fettuccine
grated mizithra cheese

Bring a pot of water to boil while prepping artichokes.  Rinse to wash each artichoke and peel of some of the outer leaves.  Cut off about 1/2 inch from top.  Once water is boiling, add artichokes for 15 minutes then drain. Cut off stems and any tough outer leaves and quarter to toss with pasta.

While Artichokes are boiling, start a pot of water boiling for fettuccine and cook according to package directions then drain.  Start sauce by squeezing juice of one lemon into a small pot, and add 1 Tbls chardonnay, and reduce down to about half.  Once reduced, add butter a few cubes at a time whisking in to thicken.  Add garlic as you are adding butter and continue whisking.  Once butter is incorporated, add basil, cream, salt and pepper.    Keep on very low heat to keep warm. 

Once pasta is cooked and drained, toss with sauce and quartered baby artichokes.  Grate mizithra cheese over pasta and artichokes. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Salad

Who needs a recipe for this?  Nobody I suppose, simple and few ingredients, yet, get the chicken just right, and it's a salad you'll crave.

Grilled Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Italian dressing

Marinade the chicken, and grill at medium high heat for 8 minutes each side and then brush both sides with buffalo sauce, cook another minute, baste both sides again and cook for 1 more minute.  Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into slices for salad.

Buffalo Sauce 

1 Tbls butter
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and microplaned into melting butter
1/4 cup Frank's cayenne sauce

Melt butter in small sauce pan and add garlic. Let butter melt and garlic simmer until fragrant.  Add sauce, and stir until sauce is warm.


1 large head of romaine, washed and torn into bit size pieces
1/4 cup shredded colby cheese
1/4 small vidalia onion,  thinly sliced
8 grape tomatoes, halved
Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing

While chicken is grilling and sauce is warming, wash and tear up lettuce.  Place in two large bowls, and top with cheese, onion, tomatoes, chicken and dressing of your choice. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Peppercorn Crusted Roast Beef

For the beef-
Season and Grill:
1 trimmed Tip Roast, 1.5 lbs
Salt and coarsely ground black peppercorns
gorgonzola crumbles (optional)

Preheat one side of the grill to high; leave the other side unlit. 
Season roast with salt, then press top and bottom into cracked black pepper.  

Grill over direct heat for 5 minutes, then turn roast over and grill 5 minutes more.  Transfer beef to the unlit side of grill and roast to an internal temperature of 140°, 30 to 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.  Remove roast from grill; let rest 5-10 minutes before carving very thin slices.

Port Reduction Sauce
Saute in olive oil or butter spray, or in 1 tsp olive oil:
2 T chopped shallots

1 T softened butter
1 ½ t Dijon Mustard
1 t all-purpose flour

Add and Reduce; Finish with:
1 ½ cups tawny port
½ cup chicken broth
¼ t red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute shallots in a saucepan over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes.

Combine 1 T butter, Dijon and flour in a small bowl, and set aside.

Add port and broth to shallots.  Bring to boil and reduce to ½ cup.  Whisk butter-flour mixture into sauce and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.  Finish with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Drizzle port sauce over thinly sliced roast beef, and top with crumbled gorgonzola cheese.  Big wow factor. 

If you prefer to oven roast, sear the meat in a skillet on the stove, then roast at 400°.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Italian Beef Braid

1 Pillsbury original Pizza Crust
1 tbls light sour cream
1 tbls light mayo
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 lb deli shaved Italian Beef
4 slices provolne
1/4 cup pepperoncini slices, drained

Mix sour cream, mayo, garlic and horseradish, and set aside.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On sprayed baking sheet press out pizza crust to make a large rectangle.  Spread horseradish cream down center third of rectangle.  Top that with Italian beef, pepperoncinis and provolone.  Cut 1/2 inch wide strips down each side of the beef and cheese center, and weave over the top folding in one strip on each side alternately.
Once loaf is completed place in oven for 12-15 minutes, until crust is browned, and cheese is melted.

To make reuben loaf replace horseradish cream with Thousand Island, Italian Beef with Corned Beef, Pepperoncinis with saur kraut, and provolone with swiss cheese. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bacon Chicken Poppers

1/4 cup Italian Dressing
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tbls cream cheese (1/3 less fat is what I use)
12 slices pickled jalapeno peppers
4 slices bacon

Marinade chicken breasts in Italian dressing over night, or for at least an hour.  Slit a pocket down the side of chicken breasts, or butterfly them.  Pat and shape each tablespoon of cream cheese to fit into pocket of chicken and top with 4 slices of jalapeno for each.  Fold back to close, and wrap each chicken breast in a slice of bacon and secure with toothpicks.

Grill on medium high heat for 15-20 minutes until bacon is brown, chicken is cooked, and cheese is oozing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pork Loin French Dips

2 lb pork loin
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Au Jus
1 cup barbeque sauce  (I used my homemade)
1 cup low sodium beef broth
Crusty French bread for sandwiches
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix mustard and dry seasonings and slather the pork loin.  Roast for 1 hour or until pork reaches 150.  Cover with a foil to keep warm for at least 10 minutes and start warming jus, or cool, cover and chill overnight.  Once cooled, slice very thinly, and mix/warm with the Au Jus.  If using a take and bake loaf, bake at this time.   Cut your bread into sandwich size chunks and cut in half.  Toast or grill bread to make it crispy.   Brush crispy bread with jus, and top with slices of pork.  Serve with cup of jus for dipping.  

Recipe is easily halved.   For busy evening, roast pork the night before, easy prep next day with slicing and warming. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chipotle Chorizo Chili

So as Spring kicks in and warm weather is the norm, I had a craving for some chili one cool morning.   My husband wanted Chorizo Chili, and I wanted Chipotle Chili. This is what I came up with to appease each of us.  The result has some heat, just like the afternoon ended up having as well, but the chili tasted great, and the heat from Mother Nature and the chili were well received. 

1/2 small onion diced
1 tbls minced garlic
1 lb bulk chorizo, or links removed from casing
2 14oz. can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
1/2 can, or approximately 3.5 oz. chipotle in adobo (less if you don't want it spicy)
1 can brooks medium chili beans
1/4 cup dry red wine
chicken broth (as needed)
2.5 tbls bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tbls cumin
1 tbls chili powder

Spray stock pot with olive oil spray, and brown onion, garlic and chorizo.  Once browned, deglaze pan with red wine.  Add tomatoes, chipotle, beans, broth, chocolate chips, cumin and chili powder and let simmer on low for about an hour.   Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top, and a dollop of sour cream.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gnocchi Primavera with Boursin, Asparagus and Ham

  • 1 (1 pound) package vacuum sealed gnocchi
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbls good olive oil
  • 16 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 16 kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 2 tbls prepared pesto
  • 3 oz. (1/2 container) boursin light cheese
  • 2 tbls dry white wine or sherry
  • 2 tbls chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1 tbls minced garlic
  • fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • grated pecorino romano
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and add garlic, asparagus and ham.  In a large pot with lid, fill with water and bring to boil.  While water is heating up stir garlic, ham and asparagus in skillet.  After 1-2 minutes add tomatoes and olives to skillet with asparagus.  Continue to stir at medium high heat until juices are starting to evaporate (2-3 minutes), then deglaze with white wine or sherry.  Add broth to pan and then add boursin and pesto stirring until boursin is melted.  Water should be boiling by now, and add gnocchi for 2-3 minutes, until they float to the top.  Drain and add gnocchi  to asparagus and boursin mixture.  Garnish each serving with chopped parsley and romano. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Pockets

These little pockets of zippy goodness are so easy to make and always a huge hit.  They can be made, baked, cooled and refrigerated over night, then warmed up the next day, or served hot and fresh out of the oven. 
1 package wonton wraps
1 package cream cheese
1 jar sliced jalapenos
1 saucer of water

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Place a piece of wax paper, or parchment paper on the counter.  Lay out wonton wraps.  Put 1 teaspoon of cream cheese in center of each wrap, then place a slice of jalapeno on top of cream cheese.  If jalapeno slice is too big, cut in half.  Using your finger, dip into the water, and go around edges of 1 wonton wrap.  Fold into a triangle by joining diagonal corners, then fold in the other two corners to make a little pocket.  Place it on a greased baking sheet.   Follow the same procedure for all wraps.  Spray the pockets with Olive Oil spray.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, should be browned and crisp.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tagliolini in Marinara with Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Making homemade pasta takes some time, but  is well worth the efforts in both taste and texture once you try it.  It really is incredibly good, and it's not difficult, just takes some time.  I have a partner in crime.  My husband loves fresh pasta, and says he's never going back to boxed, so he realizes if that's the case he needs to help me.  I make the dough, then he helps me roll it out.  

Dough Recipe
3 cups all purpose flour
4 eggs 
2 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook add the flour and salt and mix on low speed. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to mix on low. Add the oil and mix until dough comes together. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place on a floured surface and continue to knead for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth elastic ball of dough. If too dry a little water, if to sticky add a little flour until you get that smooth elastic ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. Don't skip the rest period, the dough needs it.

While it is resting, get your sauce started so it can simmer,


1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
½-1 cup red wine (I eyeball it, so not sure on exact measurement, I just pour until desired consistency)
¼ sweet onion, small dice
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tb. fresh, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tb. fresh, or 1 tsp. dried basil
Use a little olive oil or olive oil spray, and saute the onions and garlic until tender. Add all tomatoes, wine and herbs, and let come to a simmer. Keep simmering on low while you make the pasta and meatballs.

Now that sauce is simmering,  time to roll out that dough.  Pasta can be made without a pasta maker, but I don't know if I'd have the patience and skill of an Italian grandma to do all that.  I use my pasta maker.  They are not that expensive, and what a fun toy that makes incredible pasta.

Flatten the dough ball with your hand and cut it in 2 or 3 pieces and pass through pasta maker set at 0.  Do that 3-4 times until you have a flat looking piece of dough.  You can sprinkle with flour each time if it seems sticky at all.  Now set pasta maker at 1 and roll it through, then 2 and roll it through, then 3 and roll it through, and finally 4 and roll it through.  Now, using the pasta attachement, you will roll the flattened, thin dough through the tagliolini or spaghetti looking rollers and hang your pasta up to dry. Do that with each of the dough pieces you have.  Let pasta dry for at least one hour.

While your pasta is drying and your sauce is simmering, time to make some meatballs.


small (6-ounce) onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsely
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 Tbls ketchup
3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb lean ground beef
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes  

In a large bowl, combine the onion,  parsley, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes,  salt, and pepper. Add the beef.  Using your hands, combine all ingredients.  Shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs and place on the a broiler pan. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Preheat oven to 400° and bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.  Meatballs can be made in advance and put in refrigerator until you are ready to bake them.  

Once your pasta has dried for an hour or more, bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil.  While waiting for water to boil get that oven ready for your meatballs.  Once water is at a full boil, cook the pasta for 4 minutes and drain.  Plate your pasta, some meatballs and slather that with some sauce.  Grate some romano, parmesan, asiagio, whatsomever you want over the top, and enjoy!