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!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Asparagus Bacon Spears


I don't remember where I saw these first - but I can tell you with certainty they are FABULOUS!  These delightful little treats are quick and easy to make and are sure to wow your guests!  The smokiness of the bacon combines perfectly with the freshness of the asparagus and flavors the puff pastry too.  It truly does illustrate that EVERYTHING is better with BACON.  Cheers!

Ingredients:

Asparagus Spears (depending upon how many you’re going to make.  One spear per wrap)
Slices of bacon – half as many slices as asparagus spears, i.e., 20 spears of asparagus – you’ll need 10 slices of bacon
1 sheet puff pastry – thawed and rolled out onto a floured surface
Salt & Pepper
Egg wash

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash, dry and trim the ends of the asparagus.

Using a pizza slicer, slice the puff pastry into long 1/2” strips – cutting on the longest side of the rectangle.  Should be able to get approximately 18 – 20 strips.

Cut the bacon in half lengthwise.  Twist/wrap one slice of bacon around the asparagus spear in a corkscrew spiral manner.  Next, wrap one slice of puff pastry around the spear of asparagus and bacon.

Place on baking sheet.  After all spears are completed, brush with egg wash.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over all.  Bake for approximately 18 minutes until they’re puffed and golden brown.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Spinach Pinwheels


Full disclosure, I found this recipe here:  ThatSkinnyChickCanBake.  I love working with Puff Pastry because it takes an everyday recipe and makes it look super special and fancy. These little pinwheels are no exception.  They’re easy to make, look elegant and taste delicious. 

Ingredients:

1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
1/2 cup crumbled feta (you can either buy the feta already crumbled, or get a small block and crumble it yourself)
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
A few grates of fresh nutmeg
1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted

Instructions:

Whisk together the egg and water, set aside.

Mix together the cheeses, onion and seasonings. Set aside.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to flatten the seams. Brush the surface with your egg wash.
Top the surface with the cheese mixture, then break apart the spinach and spread evenly over the surface.  Note: Leave about an inch free of toppings on one of the short sides. Starting on the short side that’s covered with filling, roll up the pastry like a jellyroll.

Line two baking sheets with parchment, or if you have a Silpat you can use that instead. Slice the roll into 1/2” - 3/4" slices and place them on the prepared sheets. Pop into the refrigerator or freezer to let them cool as the oven preheats to 400 degrees.

Bake for 15 minutes or until they’re golden.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Greek Mezze Platter

For our most recent dinner and a movie with friends, we celebrated Greece and watched the movie Mamma Mia.  I was responsible for the appetizers, so I put together a Greek Meeze platter.  I got some Roasted Garlic Hummus, Persian Cucumbers, Greek Feta Cheese and Middle Eastern Flat Bread from Trader Joe's. I also purchased some Almond Stuffed Green Olives,  Marinated Mushrooms, Pepadew Peppers and Dried Apricots and Figs.  Place it all on a platter, drizzle some Greek Olive Oil over the hummus and Feta - and you have an easy appetizer spread.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Crockpot Pork Roast and Apples


We all know that pork pairs really well with fruit - especially apples.  The inspiration for this recipe came from Pinterest.  I took two recipes and melded them together – and added a few twists of my own.  This was super easy to make and the flavor of the warm spice with the apples and pork was delectable.

Ingredients:

2 small Pork Picnic Roasts
2 Granny Smith Apples, sliced into thin wedges (See pictures below the recipe)
1 White Onion, sliced lengthwise (See pictures below the recipe) Separate the two halves of onion because you’ll need half the onion for under the pork and half the onion for the top.
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Black Pepper
3 Tbls. Dry white wine

Directions:

Combine the salt, cinnamon & pepper in a small dish.  Score the Pork Roasts.  Sprinkle some of the spice mixture over the pork and rub into it – including into the scored pieces.  Slice one Granny Smith Apple.  Place one slice of apple into each of the cuts in the pork. 

Place the left-over apple slices and half the onion in the bottom of the crock pot.  Add the garlic and the remaining spice mixture.  Toss together.  Add the dry white wine.  Place the two pork roasts on top of the apple/onion mixture.

Slice the remaining Granny Smith Apple.  Arrange over the pork.  Arrange the remaining half onion over the apples.  Sprinkle a little additional salt, pepper and cinnamon over the apples and onions.  Put the lid on the crockpot.

Cook on high for 1 hour.  Reduce cooking temperature to low and continue cooking for an additional 5 – 6 hours until the pork is falling apart.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crustless Bacon Quiche


I found the basis for this recipe on www.showmetheyummy.com.  I’ve kept the basic recipe but changed up some of the ingredients.  Decided to make it for breakfast this morning.  One word – YUMCreamy, cheesy, perfect deliciousness.  It was easy to make.  The most difficult part was waiting for it to cool after it came out of the oven.  I’m fairly certain this will be making an appearance on our table several times throughout the holidays – and beyond!

Ingredients

6 slices bacon
1/2 a white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic minced
6 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
8 oz. Swiss & Gruyere cheese mixture, grated (I bought a pre-grated package of this from Trader Joes)
8 black olives, sliced
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay bacon in an 8" oven safe cast iron skillet. (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use a regular saute pan to cook the bacon and onions and then use a baking dish to cook the quiche in.)

Cook over medium heat until crispy (cook 2 pieces at a time). Remove bacon, but keep the grease. Crumble bacon and set aside.

Add in diced onion to the bacon grease. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add in garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.  Drain some of the bacon grease from the onions onto a paper towel.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Stir in the cheese, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, green onions, olives, bacon, and onions.

Wipe out the skillet; spray the sides with cooking spray.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the egg mixture has set. You can check this with a toothpick. Or you can see once the egg mixture isn’t jiggly. Baking time may vary depending on pan you use. I used the hot skillet.


Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Texas Chili

A few weekends ago, on The Barefoot Contessa, Ina was joined by a friend who made some mighty fine-looking chili.   She referred to it as Texas Chili and she’s won awards for it.  My mouth watered as I watched her put it together and I was definitely wishing for “taste o’vison” so I could try it too.  So, off to market I went.  (Well, truth be told – off to market I sent my husband.)  I’ve made some adjustments to her recipe – but kept true to most of her ingredients.   The chili has the perfect bite with just enough spice to make it interesting – but not so hot that your tongue is on fire. 

Ingredients:

3 lbs. stew meat, cubed
Olive or Vegetable oil
2 white onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers
1 ½ - 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, rough chopped (alternatively, you could use 1 large can - 28oz - of diced tomatoes.)
2 tlbs. groound cumin
2 tbls. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
¾ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbls. Salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup brewed coffee
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish: Sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, green onions

Directions:

Add enough oil to a heavy pot (that has a lid) to fry the stew meat in – approximately ¼ cup – and heat. 

Dry the meat by patting with paper towels. Dry meat will brown better.  Fry in batches until browned.  Remove from pot to a plate or bowl.  Fry in small batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Overcrowding will keep the meat from browning.

After all the meat has been browned and removed from the pot, add the chopped onions and garlic.  Fry for about 8 minutes until translucent.  Add the cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt and pepper to the onions.  Continue cooking for a minute or two to cook the spices. 

Add the tomatoes and bell peppers to the onions.  Continue cooking and stirring for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the meat and juices back to the pot, along with the bay leaves.  Stir to combine.

Add the wine to chili and bring to a boil.  Cover with the lid and turn heat down.  Simmer for 2 hours. 

Remove lid after two hours.  Add the coffee and beans.  Stir to combine, replace lid and continue cooking for an additional hour.


Serve with crusty bread and garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese and sliced green onions – or whatever your little heart desires.  Delish!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Chicken Bacon Ranch Poppers

I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  I found this recipe on Pinterest, which led me to this wonderful blog by Michelle Hoover.  You can find it here:  http://unboundwellness.com.  She believes in clean eating using whole fresh foods and warm spices to make the foods exciting and interesting.  I made these poppers for our monthly “dinner and a movie” night with friends.  These were a huge hit with all of us.  They are really full of flavor because of all the wonderful spices.  The Ranch Dressing or Dip provides a delicious cool bite.  Made as the recipe outlines, they are gluten free.  I confess I didn’t use coconut flour, rather I used regular all-purpose.  So, if gluten isn’t an issue for you – you can absolutely substitute the regular flour for the coconut.

Ingredients:

1 lb raw ground chicken (or turkey)
2 cups raw shredded carrots (shredded in a food processor or bought pre-shredded)
3 slices raw sugar free bacon
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried chives
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Add the shredded carrots to a food processor along with the bacon and blend on high. You want both the carrots and the bacon to be very finely shredded

Remove the carrots and bacon from the food processor and add to a mixing bowl

Stir in the raw ground chicken (or turkey), seasoning, coconut oil and flour and thoroughly combine

Line 2 baking sheets (or one large baking sheet) with parchment paper

Roll the mixture into small poppers and slightly flatten them (you'll have 25-30 poppers)

Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping them half way through.  OPTIONAL- Place them under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp before serving.


Serve warm with ranch dressing or dip.  (I used Hidden Valley Ranch Party Dip.)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mint Pesto Pasta

I’ve recently discovered that I have a sensitivity to pine nuts.  Darn!  That means no pesto for me.  However, I never knew that pesto can be made with other types of nuts – and sometimes, not even with basil.  This pesto pasta is made with mint and pistachios!  Who knew!?  Another recipe from David Burtka.  He made it as a side to go with the Tangerine Chicken Under a Brick, which is amazing.  Click HERE for that recipe.  This pasta is delicious.  My son, who does not like cheese, couldn’t get enough of it.  The combination of cheese, lemon and mint is fabulous and unexpected.  Give this one a try – I think you’ll love it.

Ingredients:

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound bowtie pasta (farfalle)
4 cups packed fresh mint leaves (about 4 1/2 ounces), plus several whole leaves for garnish
3 tablespoons (about 1 1/2 ounces) unsalted toasted pistachios
1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
One 2 1/2-ounce wedge pecorino, plus 1 handful grated, for garnish
Juice of 1/2 a large lemon

A dollop of unsalted butter, optional
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions for al dente pasta.

Meanwhile, put the mint leaves, pistachios and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. While still pulsing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Remove the lid and use your hands to break up the wedge of pecorino into small chunks and add them to the food processor along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined but there are still small pieces of pecorino throughout the mixture. (You do not want to blend too much because it will cause the mint to brown.) Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Transfer the pesto to a large high-sided skillet. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, use a large slotted spoon to lift the pasta out of the pot and directly into the skillet. Stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the excess water from the pasta has evaporated and some of the pecorino has started to melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and butter if using. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Transfer to a large platter and garnish with the grated pecorino and whole mint leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Note

To toast pistachios, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees F until fragrant and beginning to color, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool before adding to the food processor.



Friday, July 7, 2017

Tangerine Chicken Under a Brick

I saw David Burtka make this on Food Network.  It looked so fresh and delightful – I just had to try it.  If you’ve followed my page you know that I almost always change the original recipe in one way or another.   However, this time I decided to stay true to the original and I didn’t change a thing!  Shocking!  This chicken is absolutely lovely.  Succulent and flavored perfectly with the citrus and spices.  It does take a bit of work to cut the backbone out of the chicken.  But, it really wasn’t very difficult.  Alternatively, you could ask your butcher to do it for you.

Ingredients:

3 cups good-quality store-bought tangerine juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 large lemons)
1 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed
2 whole chickens (3 to 4 pounds each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tangerines, halved crosswise, any visible seeds removed and discarded
6 small sprigs fresh mint

Directions:

Special equipment: 4 large bricks wrapped in aluminum foil and a pair of sharp kitchen shears

Combine the tangerine juice, lemon juice, canola oil, honey, coriander seeds, thyme and garlic in a large storage container. Whisk to combine.

Place 1 chicken, breast-side down, on a plastic cutting board and cut out the backbone with a pair of sharp kitchen shears. Reserve the backbone in a plastic storage bag and save for a later use (such as homemade chicken stock). Turn the chicken over and use your hands to gently press down on the breast to crack the breast bone so that it lays flat. Add the butterflied chicken to the container with the marinade. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken and nestle the birds side by side in the marinade, making sure that they are completely submerged. Cover with a lid and marinate in the refrigerator, flipping once halfway through, at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-low to medium heat. While the grill heats up, remove the chickens from the marinade and pat fairly dry with paper towels. There should be a light coating of marinade on the chickens but not too much because excess oil will cause flare-ups on the grill. Discard the marinade. Season the chickens liberally on all sides with salt and pepper and tuck the wings under the breasts.

Place the chickens, breast-side down, on the hot grill and set 2 bricks on top of each chicken. Cook until the skin is light golden brown and crispy, about 25 minutes. Use tongs to carefully remove the bricks. Flip the chickens, return the bricks to the chickens and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted in to the thickest part of each chicken registers 165 degrees F, about 25 minutes more.

While the chicken is cooking, add the tangerines to the grill, cut-side down. Grill until the flesh is deeply charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and cool slightly.

To serve, cut each chicken into 10 pieces and transfer them to a large platter. Nestle the grilled tangerines around the chicken pieces and top with the sprigs of mint. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Maple Dill Carrots

I made these as a side dish one night for my Maple Sage Pork Tenderloins.  (recipe for the Pork HERE.) They went together very well!  The sweet buttery carrots are complimented so well by the salt, pepper and dill.  I think they would be a perfect accompaniment to just about any meat main course.

Ingredients:

2 lb. bag baby carrots
4 Tbls. butter
3 Tbls. brown Sugar
1 tsp. dried dill (although you could use fresh.  In which case you’d increase the amount to about 1 ½ Tbls. Of fresh)
½ - ¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Place carrots in a pot with a lid.  Pour in water about half to two-thirds the height of the carrots. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat; lower heat and simmer until the carrots are tender. About 40 minutes.  Be sure you don’t run out of water in the pot.

Drain the carrots. Stir in butter, brown sugar, dill, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

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