Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How to Make Easy Homemade Gravy

Make this easy homemade gravy and you can keep it in the refrigerator up to a week or the freezer up to a month. You know how to get out lumps? With a special flat whisk. I learned this trick at my cooking class. You’ll also need a fine mesh strainer for this recipe.


6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
4 large garlic cloves, halved
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
4 fresh sage leaves
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


In a large saucepan on medium heat add the butter, when it melts add the minced shallot and the garlic and sauté, stirring often until the shallots soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the shallots and cook about 1 1/2 minute to combine. Whisk in the chicken broth, wine, sage, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to boil then lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add in the dark soy sauce and pepper. Since the soy has a lot of sodium taste test the gravy and add the salt to taste if needed. Strain the gravy through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Serve over your Herbed Brined Roasted Chicken or any other chicken dish:) Yum Yum!

Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate

In my last cooking class at Sur La Table we made this arugula salad with roasted butternut squash and pomegranate. I had never tried butternut squash before and unfortunately I did not care for it. Others in the class loved the salad. I guess you can buy butternut squash all ready cubed at the supermarket. If you can find it this way it will save you a step. I see Kroger has it.


2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1” cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups baby arugula
2/3 cup Pomegranate
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 oz parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shaved


To roast squash:  to a rimmed baking sheet, add the squash drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes, season with the salt and pepper.  Toss to coat then transfer to the oven and roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender, 20-25 minutes. Stir half way through roasting. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

To serve:  in a large serving bowl, add the roasted butternut squash, arugula, pomegranate seeds and just enough of your homemade vinaigrette to coat. Toss gently then top with pecans and cheese. Serve immediately. Yum Yum!

Homemade Vinaigrette

Remember for any homemade vinaigrette there is a 2 to 1 ratio. With this recipe we are using 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Don’t be shy when it comes to vinaigrettes as long as the ratio is right you can alternate any acid, like apple cider vinegar or grapefruit with any oil, such as grapeseed or walnut oil.

I made this one in my cooking class at Sur La Table. It was mixed with a Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranates, which I’ll be posting that winter squash recipe later.


1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, preferably Garlic Dijon Whole Grain Mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
A large pinch of chopped shallots
Sea Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


In a small bowl add the shallots, vinegar, maple syrup and mustard, whisk together. While whisking gradually add in the oil to form an emulsion. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Yum Yum

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Vanilla Layer Cake with Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve had it. If the kids on the Kids Baking Championship can do it, so can I! I’ve never baked a cake from scratch before, in fact, I haven’t baked very many box cakes, that I remember. Not a baker, am I. Those kids are amazing. They just throw ingredients together and POOF there’s a drip cake or a doughnut or a lemon bar. They level out their flour and weigh the butter...who does that?

Ingredients :

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 of unsalted butter = 1 stick, softened and cut into 4 chunks 2 tablespoons each
1 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs


1. Let your eggs, milk and butter come to room temperature

2. Preheat oven to 350F
3. Butter and flour 2 9” cake pans. Cut a round piece of parchment paper for the bottom of the pans.
4. Put the paddle attachment on your mixer. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
5. On speed 1 add the butter 1 chunk at a time until the mixture forms a grainy consistency about 30 seconds to a minute. Scrape down any mixture on the sides with a rubber spatula.
6. Add vanilla the the milk at a slow stream. Stop to scrape then mix again, keep on a low speed
7. Add the 1st egg and mix on a medium speed until combined, then add in the other one.
8. Pour batter into the pans. Bang pans on the counter a couple of times to get the air bubbles out. Transfer pans to oven
9. Bake 30-35 minutes. Check to see if they are done at 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. The tops will be golden brown, the edges will pull away from the sides of the pan and the cake will spring back when you touch them.
10. Let cool in the pans on a rack for 30 minutes. Then remove them from the pans by running a knife around the edge. Let cool out of the pan on the rack for 1 hour before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups of powdered  sugar, or more if needed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a mixer on medium speed combine the cream cheese and butter. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar if needed to get  a thick spreadable consistency. Spread on a cool cake. Yum Yum!

Cooking under Pressure: Chocolate-Espresso Pudding Cake

This chocolate-espresso pudding cake is the dessert we made in our cooking class. And even though the chicken fell off the bone and the lasagna was oooey goooey cheesy good, this was the best part of the meal.

The teacher had melted the chocolate for us and premeasured out the ingredients which was great, because it takes longer to prepare this recipe then actually cook it. Serves 8


2 cups of water
Cooking spray
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 ozs bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules
2 cups coffee or vanilla bean low-fat ice cream
Chocolate shavings, optional


Pour 2 cups of water into your inner pot of the multicooker. Place a steam rack in the pot or and upside down bowl. Coat your 6” round cake pan with cooking spray then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, shake gently to coat the bottom and sides of the pan.

Combine the 4 ozs of chocolate and the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high 30-45 seconds or until melted.

Measure your flour and level with a knife. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt in a small bowl. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form then add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. (So you can turn the bowl over and nothing falls out)

In class I combined the egg yolks and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and hand whisked them until it was thick (custard like) and a pale color. This did take awhile and I’m sure you could get the same results using a hand mixer. Gradually beat in the liqueur, espresso granules and melted chocolate. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks. Gradually sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture and fold in gently. (I did learn how to fold correctly, from the center then around the bowl. This provides air pockets in the batter) Spoon batter into the pan and spread gently, not to deflate the batter. Cover with foil, make sure foil fits tightly around sides and under the bottom of the pan,  I don’t have a rack with handles. So I use an upside down bowl and for handles I made a sling with a 20”x 3” piece of foil. Put the pan on the sling and lower it on the bottom of the bowl.

Close and lock the lid. Pressure cook on high for 11 minutes. When the time is up use the “quick release” method. Remove pan from cooker and take off the foil; cool 10 minutes. Spoon the cake in a bowl top and serve with ice cream and chocolate shavings (optional). Don’t forget your cup of coffee. Yum Yum!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Simple Caprese Salad

This simple caprese salad makes a great side or a midnight snack. And did I say simple. Serves 1


1 tomato, sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil
2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


 On a plate arrange the tomatoes and top with the shredded mozzarella and chopped fresh basil. I picked two of my favorites for the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle both on top and serve. Yum Yum!

Chicken Rice Casserole

Do you have leftover chicken? I have a few thighs leftover from my Cooking with Pressure: Lemon Chicken with Green Olives meal and wondered what to do with them. I thought I’d make a casserole with rice, broccoli and cheese. The girls love that combination. So I can’t go wrong.🤞


2 cups of cooked chicken meat, diced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cooked rice
3/4 cup broccoli or peas, frozen thawed
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan on medium heat, whisk in the flour and thyme. Cook for a minute then pour in the broth and milk. Stir until thick and smooth. Stir in the chicken, salt and pepper and set aside. In another bowl combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Grease a 9x9 baking dish. 1st put a layer of rice, then the broccoli or peas and finally the chicken mixture. Dab on the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Yum Yum!

PS: after making this I felt it needed more cheese, but hey I love cheese. What did you think?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Cooking under Pressure: Spinach and Herb Lasagna

This spinach and herb lasagna was the second recipe we made in cooking class. Lots of cheese and fresh herbs made this dish Buonissimo!

You're going to need a steam rack and an 8 oz round soufflé or casserole dish.  I know steam racks come with the Instant Pot, but the rest of us will have to improvise. 

Our teacher told us to make a foil sling under the dish to put it in and take it out. I must have been sleeping at this point, because I honestly don’t remember how we got it out. I just remember how good it was. 


1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
8 oz aged mozzarella cheese
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 1/2 cups favorite marinara sauce
8 no-boil lasagna noodles


Insert the steam rack into the pot (I placed a small bowl upside down) and add 1 1/2 cups of water. In a medium size bowl beat the egg with the salt and pepper. Add in the ricotta, pecorino and 1/2 the mozzarella, mix to combine. Fold in the spinach, parsley and basil.

In the bottom of your 8 oz dish spread 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Top with 2 of the noodles (break to fit). Dollop with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with 1/r of the remaining cheese. Top with 2 noodles, 1/3 of the marinara, 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat. End with the last 2 noodles, the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Tent some aluminum foil over the dish and make your aluminum foil sling 3”x 20” to lower the dish on the rack (or on top of the bottom of the bowl).

Lock your lid. Cook on high for 10 minutes. Use the natural release method for 15 minutes, then vent the rest of the steam. Open the lid carefully. Lift the lasagna out and discard the foil. If desired, put lasagna under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Yum Yum! And I really mean it this time.😀

Just wanted to let you know I did make this lasagna. I just got carried away and before I knew it the lasagna was in the Pressure Cooker and I forgot to take my pictures ☹️. Very easy and very good👍🏼.

Cooking under Pressure: BBQ Chicken Wings

The big game is approaching and your going to host a few friends and family members. A big fan favorite is BBQ chicken wings. Using your pressure cooker it will only take 6 minutes to cook them. This is especially useful if you need to make more. Or you need to make a spicier batch. You know those people that put hot sauce on everything. 

I also prefer to have my sauce cooked into my meat instead of dipping the wings in sauce after they’ve been cooked. This way I don’t end up with sauce all over my hands and face. But if you do load up on hand wipes on game day. 

This recipe is a homemade BBQ sauce, but I’m sure your favorite BBQ sauce would work just as well. Just remember if there is not enough liquid your not going to build up enough pressure. There is a way you can cook these differently. I’ll give you directions for both. 


4 lbs of chicken wings, cleaned, trimmed and patted dry

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 onion, finely chopped 
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
1/2 teaspoon paprika 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1 cup ketchup 
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
Salt and pepper to taste 


Turn on pressure cooker high temperature for 6 minutes. Add oil and cook the onions and garlic until the onions become tender. Add the dry spices and cook an additional minute or two. Add the ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot for any brown bits. Toss in the wings and lock the lid in place. Pressure cook for the 6 minutes. When done use the “quick release” method and carefully remove the lid. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks. Yum Yum!

 PS: if you prefer crispy skins place them on a baking sheet. Set them in your oven on the highest rack, under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until your desired results are achieved.

When I was making the Cooking under Pressure: Lemon Chicken and Green Olives I found that my silicone tipped tongs were too short and I needed longer ones so I wouldn’t be splattered on by the hot I need these.

Alternative Directions:

Turn on pressure cooker on high for 15 minutes. Since we are steaming these it takes a bit longer. Put the wings in a steamer basket and lower them into the pot. Make sure the handles of the steamer basket do not interfere with the pressure cooker lid. If you don’t have a steamer basket with handles, put it in first and then with tongs place the wings in the basket. Do not over fill the cooker. Lock lid and cook for 15 minutes. Use the quick release method and remove the lid carefully. I’d use my tongs to remove the steamer basket or the wings. I’d also broil the wings 3-5 minutes to get the skins crispy. Using a medium size bowl add your favorite sauce or just add some butter and hot sauce😜. Dip your wings in the sauce and serve. 
I want one of these!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Cooking under Pressure: Mirepoix Chicken Stock

If you cook from scratch you’ll find a lot of recipes that use a chicken stock, especially soups and stews. If you use a pressure cooker it only takes 40 minutes.


3 lbs of leftover chicken pieces
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
Handful of chopped parsley
Few springs of thyme


1 onion, quartered
3 carrots, cleaned and cut into 2” pieces
3 stalks of celery, cleaned and cut into 2” pieces


Place all the ingredients into the pressure cooker’s pot and cover with 6-8 cups of water. Do not exceed the 2/3rds full mark. Close and lock the lid. Pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Remove lid after it unlocks, carefully. Strain the stock in a large bowl and discard all the mirepoix , seasonings and chicken pieces. Let stock cool, transfer to jars with lids and freeze or refrigerate until needed. FYI, if you want to remove the fat before putting it in jars, place it in the refrigerator over night and skim off the fat in the morning.

Buddy enjoying the sun today. 58 degrees on January 26th!

Cooking under Pressure: Lemon Chicken with Green Olives

I went to my first cooking class tonight and we made 3 fabulous dishes with an Instant Pot, which I’m hoping to recreate with my Power Pressure Cooker XL. First was this lemon chicken with green olives. I’m not a big chicken thigh person, but the meat just fell off the bone.  Serves 4


1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 chicken thighs 
Salt and pepper to taste 
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced 
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 
1 lemon, sliced in rounds
1 cup Castelvetrano green olives, sliced
1/4 cup wine
2 cups chicken broth 
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped & divided


In the Instant Pot turn on to sauté and high heat. The pressure cooker XL push the chicken/meat button and set the timer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Add the oils and sauté 4 chicken thighs skin side down cook until the skin is golden brown and no longer sticks to the bottom of the pot. Turn over and cook a minute or two more. Remove and repeat with the remaining thighs. Set aside.

Add the onions to the pot then the garlic, green olives, 1/2 the parsley and thyme. Add in the wine and scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add in the chicken broth and stir. Taste test to see if you need more salt. Return the chicken to the pot and place the lemon slices on top. Lock the lid. Instant Pot you need to change it from sauté to pressure for 10 minutes. The XL once you lock the lid it will automatically start to build up pressure and cook for the 10 minutes you programmed in at the beginning. When either pot is done use the “quick release” method to vent the steam, then open the lid. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Yum Yum!

PS: Since I’m cooking this for just me for the video I’ll just use 4 chicken thighs and don’t forget the chopped parsley. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waffle Maker Chicken Quesadilla

I was watching Ree Drummond’s show called “Waste Not Want Not” and got to thinking what I could do with leftover chicken. This waffle maker quesadilla is a great way to use leftover chicken along with other vegetables that are getting past their prime. I’m leaving out the heat as my gang thinks a mild salsa is spicy. But you can add about anything to these. I’m hungry just thinking about it. Serves 1


2 corn or flour tortillas
Shredded or cut up chicken enough to layer on tortilla
1/2 green pepper, cleaned, seeded and chopped
Onion, chopped (amount depends on taste)
1/2 tomato, diced, divided
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, or any cheese that you like
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
Sour cream
Non stick cooking spray


Heat the waffle iron. Spray with the nonstick spray. Place a tortilla on waffle maker. Add chicken, green pepper, onion, tomatoes and cheese. Put the other tortilla on top. Close the waffle maker. Cook 2-3 minutes or until tortilla is lightly brown and cheese has melted. Remove and cut in quarters. Serve along with sour cream, salsa, shredded lettuce and the remaining diced tomatoes. Yum Yum!

 PS: if you feel your vegetables are to crunchy and prefer them softer. Precook them in a skillet with a little olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until desired tenderness. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Red Potato Latkes with Sour Cream and Chives

You make these red potato latkes about the same way as the sweet potato latkes. I’m going to change up the oil from a walnut oil to a garlic olive oil from California. These savory versions would be a great side with about any meat. Serves 8


4-6 medium red potatoes, cleaned and grated

1 medium yellow onion, grated
1/4 cup chives, chopped 
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon flour 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 tablespoon garlic olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon creamy horseradish 


After you grate your potatoes and onions you need to remove the excess moisture. You can do this a couple ways. One way is to add them to a strainer and push out any moisture. Another way is to place them between some paper towels and press down. In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the flour. Add in the potatoes and onions, season with salt and pepper and mix well. 

In a heavy-bottom nonstick 12” skillet on medium/high heat add the oil and butter until hot but not smoking. Drop a 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten it with a spatula. Fry on each side 4-5 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat until all the batter is done. Add additional oil and butter, if necessary. 

In a small bowl add the chives, sour cream and creamy horseradish. Serve as a side or dollop on top of the latke. Yum Yum!

PS: I only used 2 medium size red potatoes, 1/2 onion and 1 egg. Then I used a 1/2 cup instead of a 1/4 cup of the mixture. I thought the latkes would be too small. This made 4 large and 1 small latke.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sweet Potato Latkes with a Honey Mustard Yogurt Sauce

What is a Latke? Is it Cheese? Is it a potato? Was it cheese and now it’s a potato? If I’m reading correctly the story involves around the oil or schmaltz and what was readily available at the time to fry in it. Now it’s grated potatoes and flour fried in olive oil a traditional food made for Hanukkah. It’s almost exactly like the Kartoffelpuffer the Germans serve at Christmas.

You might want to call it a potato pancake, but my potato pancakes are made from leftover mashed potatoes, not grated and pan fried, not deep fried. Mashed potatoes weren’t even known back in the days when latkes were said to be made. And I think the Brits were the first to mash their potatoes.

Anyway, I’m going to make two versions of latkes these sweet potato latkes with a honey mustard yogurt sauce and fried in a walnut oil. Then a more traditional latke with red potatoes fried in a garlic olive oil and served with sour cream and chives. Which do you prefer Sweet or Savory? Serves 4


1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, grated
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
Enough Walnut oil for 1/4 depth in skillet
2 green onions chopped for garnish, optional

1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey mustard dressing, or more to taste


In a medium size bowl combine the first 6 ingredients mix well. On a plate or baking sheet line with paper towels prepare the latkes. Form a ball then press down to make a patty. In a skillet pour enough oil for 1/4 depth. Heat oil on medium/high heat, but do not let smoke. Place latke in oil and cook on both sides until brown. Place on paper towel. Serve with honey mustard yogurt sauce and garnish with chopped green onions (optional). Yum Yum 😋 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Skillet Chicken with Spinach Cream Sauce

Do you find when you are looking at recipes there is always one ingredient that you need and then when you have it you don’t know what to do with it. Spinach is that ingredient for me. I bought a large package of spinach from Sams Club to make my red pepper pesto and I haven’t made it yet. Then I was thinking of making some creamed spinach while remembering how good grandma made it especially for me when I was a young girl. Well instead of giving the whole 16 oz package to the rabbit (I know he’d love it) I decided to make this skillet chicken with spinach cream sauce.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of ground ginger
2 tablespoons Old Bay or Cajun spice
1 1/4 chicken broth or 1 bouillon cube and water
1 cup heavy cream
2 cup fresh baby spinach, rinsed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet on med/high heat add the oil. When the oil is hot add the chicken cubes and cook them 5 minutes on each side or until they are no longer pink on the inside. Add in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then add in the spices and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Pour in the broth and cream stir until smooth. Reduce heat to allow sauce to thicken, about 10 minutes. This is when I made the Orzo. Add in spinach cook 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately on rice or pasta or Orzo a pasta that looks like rice. Yum Yum! PS. Granddaughters gave it two thumbs up. Only suggestion was to leave the Old Bay or Cajun spice out the next time. Too spicy for them.

Hercules loves his spinach

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bacon Egg Cheese Bread Boat

This is another Tasty recipe I tried one Christmas morning. Even though I’m going to use the same simple ingredients, I’m going to change up the method a bit. So, if you might have guessed it didn’t turn out so well. I’m hoping to give you the new and approved directions so your bacon, egg and cheese bread boat comes out perfecto💋😁 4 servings


1 baguette
5 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz cooked bacon, crumbled
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven 350F. Cook your bacon well enough to crumble. In a bowl mix your eggs and cream. Add in the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour into a nonstick skillet on med/high heat and cook until cream and eggs are combined and liquid is gone but eggs are not completely cooked. Take off of the heat and add in the bacon crumbles, half of the cheese and onions, stir to combine. Cut a long rectangle out of the baguette and un-stuff so you can add the egg mixture. On top of the egg mixture sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes. Cut and serve will warm. Yum Yum!

PS: When I cooked mine the bread was done before the eggs. We scraped out the egg mixture and cooked it on the stove and then put it back in the bread for 5 minutes. This is why I want you to precook your eggs to a point that it will be done at the same time as the bread.  Let me know if it works.

Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

I made these Tasty garlic Parmesan stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer one Christmas. I wanted to add this to my website, because I had successfully made it and they were delicious. Did you know this is like my personal recipe book without the 5x7 cards or torn out pages from magazines? Only difference is I’m sharing it with all of you instead of keeping it in the cupboard above the stove. Do people still use the word cupboard?


15 large enough mushrooms for stuffing 
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon ground pepper
8 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped parsley + some for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Cut the stems out of the mushrooms and finely chop them. Set the mushroom caps aside. In a skillet on high heat add the oil and cook the chopped stems, garlic, salt and pepper for 6-8 minutes. Sir continuously not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl mix to combine the cooked ingredients with half of the Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of parsley. The mixture should be extremely thick. Space out the mushroom caps evenly on a baking sheet, upside down. Spoon a generous amount of the mixture on top of each mushroom cap. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley, then serve. Yum Yum!

Stovetop Au Gratin Potatoes

Guess what? I found a recipe other than a dessert where I can use my new culinary torch! These au gratin potatoes are not only oooey goooey goodness, they are super easy made on the stovetop instead of the oven. Now I can give them that finished brown baked look by torching them.  If you don’t have a culinary torch set them under the broiler for a few minutes. Serves 8


2 1/4 lbs of Yukon yellow potatoes, cleaned and peeled or I’m using red potatoes and leaving a little of the skins on 👍🏼
3 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup softened butter + 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 medium onion, sliced in rings


Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, but not falling apart. Drain and set aside. In a skillet add the 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the onions until they are tender. Set aside. In a saucepan on med/high heat make your white roux. Add the butter until melted, then add the flour and stir to combine. Add in the heavy cream gradually until it’s smooth with no lumps. Add in the salt, garlic powder and 2 cups of cheese. Stir until smooth and creamy. In a baking dish layer the potatoes and onions then pour in the cream. Top with the remaining cup of cheese and torch to brown (or broil).  Cover with foil until ready to serve. Yum Yum!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Culinary Torch

I watched the Pioneer Woman the other day and she was making a Baked Alaska. After she put together the ice cream layers and used a sponge cake for the crust she made the meringue. Then she pulled out her culinary torch and browned the meringue. There has to be more uses for a culinary torch than just meringues and creme brûlées.

Sprinkle a cake with sugar and heat the sugar until it becomes crisp and golden.

Torch a stainless steel measuring cup full of a liqueur and pour the warm liquid over a fruit compote.

Too cold to make s’mores outside. No problem. Just put a marshmallow on a fondue fork and toast it with the torch, then assemble your s’more with graham crackers and chocolate.

Set a tomato on a heatproof surface or hold it with tongs. Heat with the torch until the skin starts to crack, let cool and then peel.

Hold a bell pepper with tongs and char the skins with the torch. Place the pepper in a paper bag, let cool and then peel.

Cut a grapefruit in half and dry the surface with a paper towel. Spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Heat the sugar until it bubbles.

Top soup or chili with grated cheese and melt it with the torch.

Try a stuffed tomato or avocado half with chicken salad topped with bread crumbs and grated cheese. Torch the cheese until it melts and toasts the bread crumbs.

Spoon oatmeal into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Heat with the torch until crispy.

Lay fruit on a ham and sprinkle with sugar. Heat with the torch until the sugar caramelizes.

Add breadcrumbs to Mac and cheese and torch until the cheese bubbles and the breadcrumbs are browned.

You can also get a crispy brown crust topping on gratin potatoes by adding a light coating of shaved Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil. Heat until the cheese bubbles and potatoes are light brown.

French onion soup is not complete without a gooey layer of cheese covered crouton. The torch can melt and crisp the cheese easier then trying to do it in the broiler. Just ladle the soup in bowls, float a piece of bread on top and add a slice of Gruyere cheese. Torch the cheese until it melts, just before serving...yum yum!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lemon Bars with Cherry Coulis

Lemon bars with cherry coulis would be a fantastic dessert for Valentine’s Day.


Cherry Coulis
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon lemon just + zest
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup pitted cherries

Lemon Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
Dash of salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice


Cherry Coulis
In a small saucepan heat cherries in water with the lemon juice, zest and sugar for 10 minutes. After cools some mix in blender until smooth. Stain and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lemon Bars
In a bowl combine the flour and powdered sugar, cut in butter. Press into a 13x9 baking dish. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

In a bowl with a hand mixer beat eggs on high until they turn a pale yellow. Add in the sugar, salt and lemon juice, continue beating on high until combined. Pour over the hot crust. Bake another 20-25 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars. Serve on a plate, cover with cherry coulis and top with cherries. Yum Yum!

Blueberry Lime Bars

I was watching Kids Baking Championship and saw these 11 year olds make Lemon Bars BFF which is adding a fruit that compliments the lemon. A few of them made a fruit coulis to top the lemon bar. Coulis is a thick sauce made from puréed fruit or vegetables. I’m like 50+ years behind their baking knowledge. So, I’m going to attempt this Blueberry Lime Bar. I’m not going to make a blueberry coulis, but incorporate the berries into the filling. I’ll also make a post on a lemon bar with a coulis topping. Wish me luck.


2/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

2 cups frozen blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup lime juice + 2 teaspoons lime zest
3 egg whites
2/3 cup flour
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper. With a hand mixer whisk the butter and the sugar. Then add in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour while you are whisking. Pour the dough in the baking dish and press it out evenly. Bake for 25 minutes.

Thaw blueberries in the microwave then pour them in a blender to liguidfy. Transfer liquid to a bowl. Zest and juice your limes. Add to the bowl along with the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine. Pour over crust and bake another 25 minutes. Let cool in the refrigerator for 4 hours or if you are in a hurry put it in the freezer. Yum Yum

Monday, January 15, 2018

Loaded Tomato Soup

This is the loaded tomato soup recipe I was talking about that would go great with the Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread I posted a few days ago. This soup is loaded with cream, diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese and my red pepper pesto. I’ve also included the recipe for the pesto. If you make too much pesto and don’t want to throw it away. Freeze it! You can either freeze it in jars or plastic containers for 9-12 months or make pesto cubes using ice cube trays. Once the pesto freezes take the cubes out and put them in a freezer bag. They will keep up to 6 months. Now what did I do with those ice cube trays? Serves 6-8


3 cans of condensed tomato soup

1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons red pepper pesto
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 diced tomatoes, can or fresh
Drizzle of olive oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley


In a saucepan on med/high heat make the tomato soup according to the cans instructions. Then add in the diced tomatoes, cream and parsley stir to combine. Top with pesto, grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Heat until cheese starts to melt.

Red Pepper Pesto Ingredients:

1/2 cup spinach
Juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons diced almonds
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
3 whole red peppers from a jar (see my Frittata recipe)
Drizzle of olive oil


Place the nuts and the garlic cloves in your food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the spinach, lime juice, cheese and red peppers process until smooth. Drizzle in the oil until blended.

I never thought I would have to buy ice cube trays again, but if you want to unthaw a little for soups etc. it’s probably a good idea.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Creamed Spinach

When I was growing up every Sunday we would have dinner at my grandparent’s house. Grandma would always have creamed spinach on the stove, because she knew it was my favorite. I don’t think she added onions or garlic or nutmeg that are in a lot of online recipes today. It was a simple white roux or cornstarch added to the spinach. I don’t even think she used fresh spinach. I think it was frozen spinach. These are the times when I wish I could pick up the phone and call her. And now I’m the grandma ...time sure flies. DON’T BLINK!


1 10 oz bag of fresh spinach
3 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


I’m going to use 2 saucepans. One to cook the spinach in boiling water until it just wilts, but doesn’t get mushy. About 3-5 minutes. Drain and set aside until white roux is done. In the other saucepan add the butter when it melts stir in the flour until combined. Then slowly add in the heavy cream stir until smooth. Add in the cheese stir until melts and smooth. The roux should be a thick consistency, not runny.  Add in the spinach. Stir to combine. Cook a minute or two to heat up the spinach. Yum Yum!

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

I made some cheesy pull-apart bread last year and I was thinking that some oooey goooey bread would  be great with some loaded tomato soup on a cold winter’s day.  See my Loaded Tomato Soup recipe. I made my own red pepper pesto and added a tablespoon to the soup along with cream, cheese and diced tomatoes. See it’s only taken me 4 months to experiment on my own. I’m sure I’ll have some dum dum moments, but that’s how you learn. I now know I don’t care to use cinnamon. I find that it’s overwhelms the other spices. What do you think? I’d never use cinnamon on this recipe, but you never know someone might try cinnamon and sugar with lots of melted butter. Other alternatives are bacon, green onions, pepper jack cheese. What do you use?


8 cloves of garlic, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup fontina, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Romano, grated
2 teaspoons chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 round artisan or sourdough loaf
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 375F. Put garlic cloves on a square cut piece of foil and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Wrap it up and bake for about an hour. Let cool.

Lower oven to 350F. Mix cheeses, chives, roasted garlic and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (and red pepper flakes, if using) in a bowl. Place bread on a foil lined baking sheet. Cut strips in bread, but do not cut all the way through. Rotate the bread and cut again. Stuff cut strips with the cheese mixture  and drizzle with melted butter. Wrap bread in the foil and bake for 25 minutes. Open foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Yum Yum!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Leftover Chicken Casserole

OMG... this Leftover Chicken Casserole is really good! I had a chicken breast leftover from the Quinoa Burrito Bowl recipe and wondered what to do with it.  I found this recipe on The Spruce and did nothing to change it.


5 tablespoons butter, divided
6 cooked red potatoes, cubed
1 cooked chicken breast, cubed
6 oz package of mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Enough cheddar cheese to cover the top of the casserole
Salt pepper to taste


The first thing I did was wash, peel, cube and cook my potatoes until they were tender. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter a baking dish. In a large skillet on medium heat add 3 tablespoons of the butter. When it melts add in the mushrooms and onions and sauté for 8 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Gradually add in the milk and stir until thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.  In the baking dish add in the chicken, potatoes and mushroom mixture. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the breadcrumbs. Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes. Yum Yum!