Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ginger Pear Turkey Sausage

These are incredible!  The combination of pear, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro and ginger root is so fresh and amazing!  This will make 4 servings (8 patties total) for only about 190 calories per serving.  Not only are they a great healthy alternative to regular breakfast sausage – they are DELICIOUS!  You might even consider making these as burger patties.  I think they would be remarkable!

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground turkey breast
1/2 cup diced ripe pear
4 scallions, bulbs removed, white and green parts finely chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tsp safflower oil, divided

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine turkey, pear, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro, ginger, salt, pepper flakes and 1 1/2 tsp oil. Shape mixture into 8 patties (each about 2 1/2 inches in diameter).
Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add patties and cook for 4 minutes per side or until lightly golden and no longer pink in center.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lemon Mousse

Another great Pinterest find.  I was looking for a dessert to bring to a dinner party.  This one fit the bill perfectly.  The delicious sweet lemon flavor couples perfectly with the whipped cream.  I followed the recipe exactly from ChampagneFrosting.  Bridget has some wonderful recipes on her site.  You should check her out!  The only change I made was to garnish each dessert with three blueberries, in addition to the whipped cream and lemon zest. It added to the interest in presentation.  If you love delicious, lemony, creamy desserts - then you'll want to make and enjoy this one!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter (unsalted), softened
1 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg Yolks
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest, plus a little extra
3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberries for garnish

Directions:

In stand mixer beat the butter and sugar. With the mixer on low begin adding the eggs and yolks one at a time (make sure you separate the egg yolks in a separate bowl first so you don’t end up with extra whites!).  With mixer still on low, pour in lemon juice and zest.  It will make the mixture look curdled. (Spread you extra zest on a paper towel to dry and you can then use it to sprinkle on top the whipped cream at the end.)

Pour the curd into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat whisking occasionally until it no longer looks curdled. Turn the heat up to medium high, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and reaches 170 degrees.

Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool on the stove for a 5 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove clumps into a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, press wrap down so touching the surface to prevent a hard top layer from forming.  Chill the curd for 2 hours or more.


In mixer whip cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold about 2/3 of the whipped cream into the lemon curd.  Scoop into serving cups.  Top each serving with the remaining whipped cream, lemon zest and blueberries.  Serve or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita

I am not quite sure exactly WHEN I started thinking about making watermelon cocktails?  Originally I thought it would be a great mixer for vodka – but then I started looking online and found that mixing watermelon with tequila seems to be a popular “thing”.  So, off to market I went to purchase a seedless melon.  This turned out DELICIOUS!  Mixing the melon with jalapenos gives the drink a little kick.  It’s so refreshing and tastes so fresh.  Love this drink A LOT!  I think you will too! 

Ingredients:

1 Seedless Watermelon
2 – 3 Tablespoons of sugar (depending upon the sweetness of the melon you may need more or less.  I ended up not needing to add any sugar at all)
2 jalapenos
6 – 8 Tablespoons lime juice
Salt & Chili Powder (for rimming the glasses)
Tequila & Triple Sec

Directions:

In a blender puree the watermelon, sugar if you’re using any, and 1 jalapeno.  Puree until smooth; pour through a fine sieve to remove the solids.  Place in a pitcher along with the lime juice.

Slice the remaining jalapeno into small circles.  Add to the watermelon juice.  Stir well to combine. Put into the fridge for at least 2 hours.  The longer it is allowed to sit, the more “kick” the jalapeno gives to the mix.

When ready to serve combine the salt and chili powder on a plate.  Rim the classes with some lime juice and dip in salt/chili powder combination.  Fill the glasses with ice.  Add desired amount of tequila and half that amount of triple sec.  Fill with the watermelon juice; stir to combine.

Relax and Enjoy! 

Lime Cilantro Chicken

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  I have made a few adjustments and added Red Pepper flakes.  I like to prepare the chicken and marinade in the morning before I go to work.  When I come home the chicken is perfectly marinated and ready for cooking.  Makes for a very quick dinner at the end of a long day.  I like to serve this with my Mexicali Cauliflower Rice or Quinoa.  Very delightful!  The chicken has such a fresh flavor after sitting with the lime juice, garlic and cilantro all day. And, I like to make a gravy out of the marinade which adds to the full and delicious flavor!

Ingredients:

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half to make thinner pieces
2 Tablespoons lime juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped 
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 teaspoons chili powder
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a gallon size bag or large container/bowl. Mix well, rubbing the spices into the chicken. Store in refrigerator for several hours to marinate.  I like to prepare in the morning before I go to work.

Drizzle Olive Oil in a skillet – or spray a non-stick pan.  Heat over medium-high heat.

Remove chicken from marinade; shake excess off chicken.  Do not discard the marinade. Fry in pan for about five minutes; turn and cook an additional five minutes.

Place chicken on a plate; keep warm.  Add the marinade to the pan; cook until boiling.  Reduce heat and continue to cook until liquid reduces.  Basically, you’re making a gravy out of the marinade. 


Plate the chicken and drizzle a bit of the “gravy” over each breast.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mexicali Riced Cauliflower

I’ve been eating a lot of riced cauliflower lately. I use it as a substitute for rice and pasta.  So, I’ve been looking for ideas on how to make it differently.  I found a recipe on Pinterest which inspired this version.    I’ve made it two times now and I’m really in love with it.   You can eat it right out of the oven – or make it ahead for lunches.  It heats up very nicely in the microwave.  It’s spicy, full of flavor and really delicious.  The best part is I don’t feel deprived because I’m not having rice.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1lb. bag of riced cauliflower
10 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (I use the roasted diced tomatoes from Trader Joes, which is also where I get my riced cauliflower from.)
1/3 jalapeno, diced (if you remove the seeds you’ll get the flavor of the jalapeno without the intense heat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Olive Oil
Chili Powder
Salt

Directions:

Place the cauliflower, jalapeno, garlic and tomatoes into a bowl.  Toss well to combine the ingredients.

Spread the cauliflower mixture onto a baking sheet that has edges.

Lightly drizzle the cauliflower with Olive Oil.  Sprinkle salt and chili powder over the cauliflower.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Turn the mixture with a spatula.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.


Remove from oven; allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the cauliflower and toss to combine.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cheesy Polenta with Italian Sausage & Eggs



I absolutely LOVE Polenta.  I’ve made it a few different ways, but this is my favorite: as a delicious and hearty breakfast.  It could also be served like this, but without the eggs, as a side dish for lunch or dinner.  This recipe will serve two.  The rule of thumb for polenta – use four times as much liquid as the dry polenta.  This is a very versatile grain.  See the “notes” at the end of the recipe for other ways I’ve prepared this.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup water
2 garlic cloves grated into the water
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 chicken bouillon cube

1/3 cup dry polenta

Approximately 3 ounces of grated cheddar cheese
Drizzle of milk

4 oz. Italian Mild (or Sweet) Sausage, crumbled and fried
2 eggs, fried over easy or medium – depending upon your preference

Directions:

Add the water, grated garlic, pepper flakes and bouillon cube in a small pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the polenta to the boiling water and whisk until fully incorporated and the polenta begins to thicken.  Make sure the water is evaporated and the polenta is fully cooked, whisking occasionally.  This only takes a few minutes.  Drizzle a little milk into the polenta to give a creamier texture.  Whisk well.

Add the cheese to the polenta and stir for a minute to allow cheese to melt.   Turn off the heat and let it set while you fry the eggs.

Add the cooked Italian sausage to the polenta.  Stir to incorporate.

Divide the cheesy polenta with sausage into two bowls.  Top each with a fried egg.


Notes:  You can pretty much add whatever you’d like to the polenta.  Sometimes I add bacon instead of the sausage – sometimes I add both.  I’ve used pepper jack cheese and green chilies and a touch of chili powder for a “Tex Mex” flair.  I sautéed onions and tomatoes and added those with bacon.   

As a dinner/lunch side dish – I’ve used gorgonzola cheese and sage with a little butter.  I’ve also made the polenta a bit more calorie friendly using a recipe from Cooking Light.  You can find that recipe HERE.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Caramel Drizzled Pumpkin Mousse Puffs

I found the inspiration for this on the Pepperidge Farms website.  This is a “mash-up” of two different recipes on their site.  I made them for dessert at a dinner party.  They’re so pretty and equally as delicious.  They were a huge hit!

Ingredients:

Package of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Cups – cooked according to package instructions

1/2 cup reduced fat (2%) milk
1 pkg. (about 3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling mix
3/4 cup pumpkin
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup caramel topping (I used Mrs. Richardson’s)
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Directions:

Cook the puff pastry cups according to package instructions.  Allow to cool.

Beat the milk, pudding mix, pumpkin and cinnamon in a medium bowl with a whisk until the mixture is thickened.

Beat the heavy cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until medium peaks form.

Fold approximately two-thirds of the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.  Reserve remaining whipped cream as topping for the cups.  Refrigerate the mousse and whipped cream until ready to assemble.

When ready to serve - pipe the pumpkin mousse mixture into the pastry cups.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream.


Place a small amount of the caramel topping onto each individual dessert plate.  Put the filled puff pastry cup onto the caramel topping.  Drizzle the mousse cup with more caramel topping and scatter some of the toasted pecans around the plate and onto the cup.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mediterranean Quinoa with Artichoke Hearts

I saw a recipe for Quinoa with artichoke hearts and made it a few weeks ago.  It was good – but it didn’t knock my socks off.  So, tonight I experimented with some added ingredients and came up with this TASTE TREATSlightly spicy – with the combination of salty bites, because of the Kalamata Olives, and freshness of lemon juice and flat leaf parsley.  This is going to be a regular on our table.

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
2 cups chicken broth/stock
2 garlic cloves
Pinch of red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on how much spice you like)

1 white onion, chopped
8 Cremini Mushrooms, stems removed – rough chopped
3 – 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 oz package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
1 tablespoon dried oregano
12 Kalamata Olives, sliced
1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Olive oil

Directions:

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly; let drain.  Place chicken stock/broth in a sauce pan that has a tightly fitting lid.  Grate the garlic cloves into the chicken broth; add the red pepper flakes.  Add the quinoa to the broth and stir to mix well.  Place over medium heat.  Cook until all of the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is completely cooked.

In a large non-stick skillet, drizzle the olive oil and heat.  Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms; sauté until the onion is translucent and mushrooms have browned.  Add the artichoke hearts, white wine and oregano; sauté until the artichoke hearts have cooked through and the wine has evaporated.

Add the cooked quinoa to the artichoke heart mixture; stir to combine. Remove from heat.


Add the olives, parsley and lemon juice; stir to combine.  Salt & Pepper to taste; serve warm. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mediterranean Watermelon Salad

I had this incredible salad for Happy Hour one evening at one of my favorite restaurants, DaVinci.  When the server described it to my friend and me – it sounded intriguing – but like a very unusual combination of ingredients.  We decided to order it, and we weren’t disappointed.  While the combination is unusual, the taste is heavenly.  The sweet watermelon coupled with the salty bites of Kalamata olives and sheep’s milk feta cheese is unexpectedly delicious.  I didn’t really measure anything when I made this tonight… you could make this for one person – four – or more.  It’s super easy and quick to make and it’s sure to impress your guests.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Seedless Watermelon, cut into 1” chunks
Crumbled Sheep’s Milk Feta Cheese (or you could use regular Feta if you can’t find sheep’s milk)
Kalamata Olives, halved
Fresh Basil, cut in chiffonade style
Toasted chopped hazelnuts
Balsamic Vinegar – heated and reduced to a syrup; allow to cool

Directions:

Cut watermelon and arrange on serving plate/platter.

Crumble the feta cheese over the watermelon; scatter the Kalamata olive halves over that.

Sprinkle the basil and hazelnuts over the salad.

Drizzle the reduced balsamic vinegar over the salad.

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Creamy Chicken Tomatillo Chili

I found this recipe in the Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook.  I’ve altered it slightly, but kept the low calorie intention of the original recipe.  The combination of salsa, chicken, cilantro and sour cream make for a tasty treat that can be served over rice, quinoa or by itself. 

Ingredients:

Olive Oil
3 or 4 bone in skinless chicken breasts (should amount to approximately 2 lbs)
1 large white onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
½ cup chicken broth
2 – 7oz cans of Herdez Salsa Verde (or your favorite brand)
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons sour cream (fat free is what the recipe called for.  I used regular sour cream)

Optional: Limes for garnish

Directions:

Drizzle Olive oil in a large pot or skillet that has a lid.  Heat over medium flame.  Add chicken and cook, turning frequently until golden brown; about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Drizzle a little more Olive Oil in the pan, if necessary.  Add onion and sauté until browned, about 8 minutes.  Stir in garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne; cook stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broth to the pot.  Cook stirring constantly, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot, about 3 minutes.  Add the salsa and stir to mix.  Nestle the chicken into the onion/salsa mixture.  Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 25 minutes.  Make sure the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, shred chicken with two forks.  Discard the bones.  Add the shredded chicken back into the salsa mixture.  Return to the stove to heat the chicken through.

Chop the cilantro and stir into the chicken mixture – along with the sour cream.  Thoroughly combine.  Serve as is or over rice or quinoa.

Note:  I’ve discovered “Riced Cauliflower” at Trader Joes.  I’ve been sautéing it with a little olive oil and granulated garlic – then using it in place of rice.  It’s really good, if you like the flavor of cauliflower.  I think I will try serving this dish over the riced cauliflower next time. 

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