Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with a Vanilla Sauce

Did you know that raisins ger their own National Day? Do you really care? Nobody cares about raisins. I mean when you want a snack do you eat  I remember my mother putting them in my school packed lunch...I wouldn’t eat them unless I was really hungry. I mean, I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t love them either. Mom, what are you trying to do force me to eat something healthy!

I hate to say this but I was a big girlfriend, Diana Harple and I would dip my Fritos in her Ding Dong’s marshmallow center. Now that was unhealthy heaven.

Ok, back to raisins...are they actually good for you? I would say they are better as a snack than chips or cookies. They are packed full of fiber, minerals and nutrients, BUT they are also naturally sweet and high in sugar and calories. So..there Mom! A small box of raisins has 129 calories.

With all that being said this Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with a Vanilla Sauce has 362 calories per serving. 8 servings total and 1 hour and 30 minutes to prepare and cook.


1 tablespoon butter
1 apple, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon rum
Pinch of cinnamon
8 slices of cinnamon raisin bread, take crust off and cut into 3/4” pieces
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Sauce Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of nonfat milk
5 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9” cake pan. In a medium size skillet on med/high heat melt the butter. Add in the apple slices, raisins, rum and pinch of cinnamon cook until apples are soft. In a bowl combine the apple mixture with the cubed bread pieces then transfer to the prepared cake pan.

In a small saucepan add the sugar, brown sugar, both milks, ground cinnamon and the butter, stir until the butter melts. In a bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract.  Whisking constantly pour the milk mixture into the eggs. Pour mixture over the bread. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Take foil off and bake until bread is puffy and golden brown, approximately another 10 minutes.

While the bread is cooking make the vanilla sauce. In a bowl whisk together until smooth the 3 tablespoons of milk with the 5 teaspoons of cornstarch. In a saucepan add the rum, butter, milk and sugar, bring to boil. Gradually add in the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the vanilla sauce over the warm bread pudding and let sit for 5 minutes. As it cools it will form a nice glaze. Yum Yum!

Cowboy Caviar

One look at this and my mouth starts watering. Cowboy Caviar aka Texas Caviar was first served in Dallas, Texas as an appetizer on New Years Eve for good luck in the new year. Personally I think you could throw it on some lettuce and call it a salad. You could even add some BBQ Chicken or a juicy steak and call it dinner.

However you serve it, it is packed full of goodness and if you get a little luck along the way...hey what could be better.


3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 avocados, diced
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, add frozen they thaw quickly
1/3 cup red onions, diced
1 bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


In a medium size bowl combine all the vegetables together. In another bowl combine the dressing ingredients, mix well. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Yum Yum!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Devil Dog

With a raise of hands, how many of you have heard of a Devil Dog? Let alone know there was a National Devil Dog Day. Me either.

I always thought a Devil Dog was actually a mean dog, not a chocolate hotdog bun shaped cake with a cream filling.  Why the name? It’s made like a devil’s food cake. Chocolate cake which is the opposite of a white angel’s food cake. Ohhh.. I get it. I don’t know they sound like ding dongs to me.

Sometimes these Devil Digs are dipped in chocolate and sometimes they are not. This recipe does not. Makes 15-18 a Thank you for the recipe. Yum Yum!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Marshmallow Cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • One 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream (1½ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. For the Cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk for 30 seconds on low speed. Add the melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla and mix on low speed for 1 minute to combine, then raise the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes to make a smooth batter.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe 30 to 36 boneshaped fingers, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide (kind of like the shape of a Milano cookie but a bit wider at the ends), in rows 11/2 inches apart on each baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until the cakes are puffy and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheets.
  5. For the Marshmallow Cream: Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and cream until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, marshmallow cream, and vanilla and continue mixing on low speed until combined, smooth, and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag with the same large plain tip that you used for the cake batter (clean it before piping the filling) and pipe it onto the cakes as directed.
  6. Peel the cooled cakes off the parchment paper and lay them flat side up on a baking sheet. Pipe marshmallow cream over the surface to cover, chill for 10 minutes to allow the cream to stiffen, then place a second cake on top to make a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cakes and filling. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. The devil dogs keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can freeze the assembled cakes in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Here’s my little Devil Dog, Cody

How to Make Blackberry Bourbon BBQ Sauce

With outdoor grilling season right around the corner, I thought I’d make a Blackberry Bourbon BBQ sauce for this summer’s grilled chicken and pork chops (pictured).

You can make this sauce ahead of time as it will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks or freezer for two to three months.

Like a lot of heat? Add more jalapeño peppers to your taste. This recipe has one to add flavor, but not a lot of heat. Serves 4 Total Time: approximately 40 minutes


1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon molasses
2 cups blackberries
1 teaspoon allspice


In a medium size saucepan heat the oil on med/high heat. When the oil is hot add the onions and cook 1 minute. Add in the peppers and garlic, stir. When the peppers have softened and the garlic fragrant pour in the bourbon and cook until it has reduced in half. Add in the blueberries and the remaining ingredients, stir to combine then let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, or until you get the consistency you like. It will thicken a little bit more as it cools. Once cooled pour it in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Store it in the refrigerator until ready for use. Or freeze it in a tightly sealed freezer safe container up to 3 months. Yum Yum!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hoosier Sugar Daddy Vanilla Syrup Pie

Hoosier Sugar Daddy Vanilla Syrup Pie 

I found Hoosier Daddy Vanilla Syrup in Brown County, Indiana and thought it would be a great substitute for maple syrup in a pie.

The consistency isn’t as thick as maple syrup. If you feel you need to thicken the filling see my * directions. There is also a way to make vanilla maple syrup. Just pour the 1/3 cup of maple syrup in a saucepan. Split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the syrup. Add the vanilla bean. Cook for 5 minutes over med/low heat. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla bean.


Pastry dough
1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Hoosier Sugar Daddy Vanilla Syrup or pure amber maple syrup
2 teaspoons butter, melted
Whipped Cream for topping


Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin and fit into an 8-inch (3-cup) glass pie plate. Trim excess dough and crimp edges decoratively.

Whisk together brown sugar and eggs until creamy. Add cream, syrup, and butter, then whisk until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell. *If you want it thicker; combine 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch starch, whisk until cornstarch is completely dissolved.

Bake pie in lower third of oven until pastry is golden and filling is puffed and looks dry but still trembles, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a rack to room temperature (filling will set as pie cools). Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Yum Yum!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Food Network Garlic Shrimp and Potatoes

If your looking for a low calorie dinner, look no further. This Garlic Shrimp and Potatoes from Food Network has only 440 calories per serving.  Serves 4  Total Time: 40 minutes.


1 1/4 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes, halved
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Zest from 1 lemon


Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl toss together the shrimp, snap peas, garlic, thyme and oil, set aside.  In a medium size saucepan add 1” water and bring to boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid and drain the rest and return the potatoes to the pot. Add buttermilk, 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash, adding the reserved cooking water as needed. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chives.

While the potatoes are cooking, spread the shrimp and snap peas on a baking sheet. Broil until cooked through and charred in spots, 6-8 minutes. Dab the remaining butter on the shrimp and snap peas and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Toss until butter melts and  mixture is well coated. Taste test and add salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle on the remaining chives. Serve. Yum Yum!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Chicken a la Kat with Popovers

Chicken a la Kat with Popovers

In the traditional Chicken a la “King” they have peas and carrots, but there will be no such thing in Chicken a la Kat unless you put them in. How would you change the traditional recipe to make it your own? Serves 4-6 Total Time: 30 minutes 

Chicken a la Kat:
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers 
1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion 
4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/4 cup butter 
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth 
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2” pieces 

1 cup all purpose flour, spooned not packed
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon salt
2 room temperature eggs
1/4 cup melted butter

Chicken a la Kat Directions:

In a medium size skillet add 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the chicken on both sides until it’s golden, about 4-6 minutes each. Remove from heat and set aside on a paper towel until cooled down. Once cooled cut into cubes. 

In a large saucepan sauté the mushrooms, onions and green peppers in the butter until the vegetables are crisp-tender. In a bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper, milk and broth, stir until smooth. Gradually add it to the vegetables. Bring to boil, stir until thickens about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and roasted red peppers. Cook on med/low heat an additional 4-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated throughout. Serve over popovers. Yum Yum!

Popovers Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F.  In a medium bowl combine the flour and salt the stir in the room temperature eggs and milk until blended. Do not over blend.  Melt the 1/4th cup butter.  Heat your muffin pan in the oven for two minutes prior to adding anything in them. When muffin pan is hot add 1 tablespoon of butter before you add the flour mixture. Fill 1/2 way. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375F for 20 minutes. Don’t open the oven door as it might prevent the popovers from rising.

Creamy Polenta with Spinach and an Egg

This Creamy Polenta with Spinach and an Egg is the third recipe I talked about in my How Do You Like Your Polenta? post. Instead of having polenta as a side dish this recipe is a meal for breakfast. You can always  add a meat like pork sausage, ground turkey or even a finely chopped up anchovy.  Serves 2


1/2 cup polenta
2 cups Water
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped or 1 cup frozen
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 cloves garlic, minced
Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste


Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-sized pot, then turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the polenta while stirring briskly with a wooden spoon. Stirring while pouring is crucial to keep the polenta creamy and smooth—no lumps! Once the cornmeal becomes smooth and thick, place a lid on the pot with the spoon still in it so that steam can escape.

Let the polenta cook while you prepare the rest of the meal, checking in occasionally to give it a stir. The total cooking time should be about 25 to 30 minutes, but if you're in a rush, you can eat it after 15, it just won't be as delicious.

Meanwhile, chop the spinach and mince the garlic. Set them aside. Add a bit of olive oil or butter to a pan on medium heat. Let the pan heat up until it sizzles when you flick it with water. Add the garlic and chile flakes, if using. *If you decide to use an anchovy, chop it up and add it here with the garlic. Let them cook until you can smell them, about 1 minute. (As far as ground turkey or pork sausage, I’d cook it in a separate skillet and add it at the end between the spinach and the fried egg)

Add the spinach and toss it around with a spoon or tongs, or just swirl the pan to coat the spinach with the garlic mixture. Let everything cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and move its contents to a bowl to wait for the polenta and eggs.

When the polenta is about 2 minutes from done, start with the eggs. Wipe the pan quickly with a cloth, then put it back on medium heat. Splash a bit more olive oil in the pan and wait for it to get hot. Crack the two eggs into the pan and cover with a lid. This will steam them, making sunny-side-up eggs with fully cooked whites.

Scoop the polenta into a pair of bowls. Add some grated Parmesan and lots of salt and pepper. Layer about half the vegetables over the polenta. Once the whites of the eggs are cooked, remove the eggs from the pan with a spatula and lay them over the polenta and vegetables. Top with the rest of the vegetables and further sprinklings of cheese. Yum Yum!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Instant Pot Creamy Polenta

Instant Pot Creamy Polenta 
This is the second Polenta recipe and of course I have to make it in my Instant Pot. If you missed my first recipe Baked Polenta with Ricotta Cheese and Tomato Sauce you can see it here at: How Do You Like Your Polenta?

You can make the polenta three ways; basic creamy, cheesy and with feta and sun-dried tomatoes Serves 4 Total Time: 12 minutes 


For Basic Polenta 
4 1/4 cups water or chicken broth 
4 tablespoons butter 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 cup Polenta

For Creamy, Cheesy Polenta add the following ingredients when the basic polenta is done cooking.
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 
3/4 cup whole milk or half and half
1/2 teaspoon pepper 

For Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta add the following ingredients when the basic polenta is done cooking.
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled 
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 
8 lrg basil leaves
Salt, to taste


To Cook the Basic Polenta
  1. Press the Sauté (Normal) button on the Instant Pot.
  2. Add the water, butter, and salt. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Whisk in the polenta, and put the lid on the pot. Set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
  4. Cancel the Sauté function (usually by pressing the Keep Warm/Cancel button).
  5. Press the Manual (or Pressure Cook) button, and then the + or - button to select 7 minutes (4 minutes for the quick cooking variety). When cook cycle ends, turn off the pressure cooker and let the pot naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes. Then manually release the remaining pressure.
  6. When the pin in the lid drops, open the lid and stir the polenta well, scraping up any that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot 
  7. Serve with your favorite sauce or toppings. Yum Yum! Or

For Creamy, Cheesy Polenta
  1. After you have opened up the pot when polenta is done cooking, stir it well and add the parmesan cheese. Stir to incorporate.
  2. Stir in the milk.
  3. Taste and adjust salt to if needed.
  4. Serve warm. Or

For Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Polenta
  1. After you have opened up the pot when polenta is done cooking, stir it well and add the feta cheese. Stir to incorporate.
  2. Stir in the milk, sun dried tomatoes, and the basil.
  3. Taste, and adjust salt if needed.
  4. Serve warm.

The 3rd Polenta recipe Creamy Polenta with Spinach and an Egg see next post.

How Do You Like Your Polenta?

What is polenta? It’s ground course cornmeal or what some call corn grits. Originated in Northern Italy, but a big fan of southern American cooking. There are many ways to prepare and cook it. It’s enjoyable as a porridge or allowed to cool and solidify then baked, fried or grilled.

I’m going to give you three recipes; Baked Polenta with Ricotta Cheese and a Tomato Sauce, Instant Pot Cheesy Polenta and Creamy Polenta with Spinach and an Egg. You can purchase Bob’s Red Mill at your local grocer or here on Amazon.

Serves 4

Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons garlic juice

1 14 oz can of chunky tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt, to taste

1 cup polenta
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, divided
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste


Tomato Sauce:
In a small skillet add 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Sauté your onions until translucent. In a blender pour in a the onions with any oil left in skillet add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, garlic juice and the chunky tomato sauce and blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and keep warm on low heat.

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a medium size saucepan add 3 cups of water heat to simmer then steam the polenta. Whisk until there are no lumps. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the oil, 4tablespoons of fresh basil and the ricotta cheese, mix well.

In an 8x8 baking dish pour in the polenta and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and let sit room temperature for 1 hour so the polenta can set and firm up. (This is probably a good time to preheat the oven) Bake in the oven 15 minutes or until heated through. Cut the polenta into 8 pieces. In a shallow bowl pour some of the tomato sauce, then top with the polenta and sprinkle on some of the remaining basil pieces.

Or cut it and serve the polenta like this...Yum Yum!

See next post for #2. INSTANT POT CREAMY POLENTA

Sunday, April 22, 2018

What is Orzo?

What is Orzo?
What is Orzo? It’s a pasta that looks like rice. I never knew about Orzo until I started this website. It’s one of the reasons I want to share what I discover with you.

I was and still am completely in the dark (ergo the Dum Dum) about a lot of foods, but discovering Orzo was a pleasant surprise and now I want to incorporate it into other recipes.

My favorite Orzo recipe is Steak with Creamy Orzo . Orzo cooked to perfection then added to a cream sauce loaded with bell peppers and onions, topped with a steak. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Today I’m going to stay away from a cream sauce. I know some of you are going “yeah”.  The first recipe is Greek and called Prasorizo  a rice and leek dish that I’m going to substitute the long grain rice with Orzo. Serves 2-3 Total Time: 30 minutes.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
2/3 cup Orzo
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a medium size skillet heat the oil when hot add the onion, garlic and leek. Cook over med/low heat for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the Orzo and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and oregano. Mix well and let simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. The Orzo will cook in the stock and the stock will be absorbed and disappear. Orzo usually takes a good 10 minutes to cook. Check for doneness, add water if needed. When done And all moisture has been absorbed add the fresh parsley, pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Yum Yum!

Another recipe using a leek, my newly found vegetable is: Instant Pot Orzo with Mushrooms and Leek. Serves 8 Total Time: 25 minutes 


1 16 oz box of Orzo 

3 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, cut lengthwise then sliced
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon thyme 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
3 cups water 
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped 
2 tablespoons butter, melted 
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated 


Set your Instant Pot on sauté and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add in the mushrooms, leek, garlic and thyme. Salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes. Turn off Instant Pot. Add in the water and orzo, close lid and make sure the release valve is secured/closed. Turn on Pressure Cook low for 7 minutes, then use the quick release method. Open lid carefully. Add in the parsley, butter and cheese. Serve. Yum Yum!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Yum Yum Breakfast Burrito

A Yum Yum Breakfast Burrito could be stuffed with any combination of meat, potatoes and eggs. From steak to turkey sausage and hash browns to sweet potatoes as long as there’s an egg in there. Add any other vegetable like; mushrooms, onions, avocados or tomatoes. Wrap your ingredients in a flour, spinach (shown) or tomato basil tortilla. It’s all good, right?

I’m going to give you a traditional breakfast burrito so you can pretty much figure out how much of each ingredient you’ll need to make 6 serving. It will take approximately 20 to prepare and cook the meat and or vegetables (depending on what your using).


I eggs
1/3 cup of milk
2 oz of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup fresh baby spinach, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
6 tortilla; flour, spinach or tomato basil


Cook and crumble the bacon. I would personally slice it into bite size pieces and cook them in a skillet until they are crispy, then I don’t have to crumble it. If you normally cook your bacon on the stove or microwave then crumble it, that works too.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and milk until blended. Add in the cream cheese, mix well. Melt the butter in a medium size skillet on med/low heat. Pour the egg mixture and cook until the eggs start to set, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon crumbles, spinach and Parmesan cheese, cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until the eggs are throughly cooked. Spoon 1/2 cup of egg mixture onto each tortilla, fold sides in and then roll up burrito-style. Yum Yum!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mini Instant Pot Turkey Spinach Lasagna

Mini Instant Pot Turkey Spinach Lasagna
This recipe is similar to my Cooking under Pressure: Spinach and Herb Lasagna, (which was so good) I’m just going to switch a few ingredients. With the 8 quart Instant Pot just use more spinach, sauce and noodles. Serves 3-4. Takes about 45 minutes to prepare and cook. 


1 lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
10-12 oz ricotta cheese
4 oz aged mozzarella cheese, divided 
2 cups baby spinach, wilted or 2 cups of frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
2 1/2 cups favorite marinara sauce
3-4 no-boil lasagna noodles


In a skillet heat the oil on med/high heat then add the ground turkey. Season with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to remove excess liquid/grease. If you used lean ground turkey there should be little to none excess liquid. 

If you have fresh baby spinach I’m going to put it in the same skillet and let it cook until it starts to wilt. Remove it with a slotted spoon and put it in a bowl with the ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Otherwise, just add in the 2 cups of thawed spinach. Mix well to combine.

In a metal or glass bowl that will fit into your Mini Instant Pot we are going to start layering. First a layer of sauce, then meat, followed by noodles (break to fit) and topped with the cheese spinach mixture. Repeat for second layer. Third layer should be noodles, the remaining sauce and shredded mozzarella. I did not have enough room in my dish for a third layer of noodles. 

Make a 3”x20” sling out of foil so you can get the dish out when done. Loosely cover the lasagna with foil. You should have a rack when you bought your Mini. Place that on the bottom off the inner pot. (If you don’t use a bowl bottom side up) Add 1-1 1/2” of water. Lower your dish on top of the rack (bowl) and fold in your sling, if you made it too long. Lock the lid and make sure your release valve is secured/closed.

Cook under pressure for 15 minutes, then use the natural release for 15 minutes. Release any steam left. Carefully open the lid and use the sling to remove your dish. Serve hot. Yum Yum!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Crockpot Turkey Chili

Here is a spicy, vegetable packed crockpot turkey chili that you can prepare in the morning and it will be ready by game time. Serves 8


1 lb. (16 oz.) ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans red kidney beans, drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
Topping: cilantro, shredded cheese, diced green onions, sour cream, etc.


In a medium skillet on medium/high heat add two swirls of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the ground turkey and cook until still slightly pink, 4-5 minutes.  Drain excess liquid. Add the turkey along with the remaining ingredients. Stir until combined.  Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours, stir occasionally. Taste test once in awhile to adjust seasonings. Ladle into a bowl and add your favorite toppings. Serve with some corn bread and a cold beer. Yum Yum!

Nacho Cheese Beef Rotini Skillet

This is a two part post. First I’m going to share with you this Nacho Cheese Beef Rotini Skillet recipe filled with Mexican flavors. A little spicy for those that like your food with some heat. I’ll also give you an alternate to the spicy foods or seasoning for those of us (like me) that prefer a milder dish.

The second part of this post will give you a video from Tasty on how to cook and clean your cast iron skillet. I recently bought an 8” cast iron skillet for the Skillet Brownie I made and never having a cast iron skillet that liked me, because I didn’t know how to take care of them, I thought I needed to learn. Or for those of us that have let their skillet get rusty, it’s a good refresher video on how to remove the rust and reseason the skillet.

This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Serves 8


  • 2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 (14) oz can light red kidney bean, rinsed
  • 2 (10) oz Rotel chili fixins' or Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies or diced tomatoes 
  • 1 (10¾) oz can Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup
  • 1 (10) oz can Mexican corn, drained (if you can’t find Mexican corn, all it is is corn and some red and green peppers. 
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp quality taco seasoning
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 oz Chive & Onion cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • Assorted toppings for garnishing: sliced black olives, salsa, sour cream, jalapeno slices (optional)

  • Directions:

  • Cook the pasta in salted water per the package directions until al dente. Drain well. In a large skillet or pot brown the onion and poblano in a couple of drizzles of olive oil for 2-3 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add the ground beef. Cook over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Season with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Drain any excess fat from the pan. Lower the heat to medium. To the skillet add the beans, tomatoes, soup, corn, milk, taco seasoning, and cumin. Mix well. Simmer over medium for about 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes add the cream cheese. Stir until it melts. Add the pasta and 2 cups cheese stirring until the ingredients are evenly coated.  Top with the remaining cheese and let the skillet sit with the heat turned off until it melts. Serve immediately with your favorite taco toppings. Yum Yum!

  • How to clean and cook in your cast iron skillet: