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, 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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Brazilian Paprika Chicken Stew with White Beans


I don’t remember where I found this recipe.  Probably Pinterest!  The flavors of this fantastic chicken stew were amazing.  So much deliciousness in one bowl – who knew?  The combination of the chicken and sausage with white beans is really superb.  My mouth is watering as I remember this silky and delightful stew.  Mmm…. Guess I know what I’m going to be making for dinner tonight!

Ingredients:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ pound chicken sausage, sliced
Juice of one lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon paprika, or to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1½ cups cooked white beans (I used canned and rinsed them thoroughly)
1 tablespoon flour
¼ cup parsley

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss the chicken and sausage with the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven, over medium high heat, and brown the chicken and sausage, about 2 minutes per side. Depending on the size of your pot, you will have to work in 3-4 batches, adding more oil when necessary. Remove the chicken/sausage to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining oil and sauté the onions and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Then, add the paprika and the tomato paste and stir to combine.  Return the chicken and sausage to the pot.

Add the chicken broth and the bay leaves and thyme. Once the liquid starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and almost falling apart.

With a ladle, remove a bit of the broth into a cup and stir in the flour to make a roux. Return the roux to the pot and add the beans. Cook for 10 more minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and sprinkle the parsley.


Serve immediately, over rice or with bread.


Click here for printable recipe.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Wonton Bites

These spicy little cups are super easy to make and very delicious!  A muffin tin plus 24 wonton wrappers filled with a delicious buffalo chicken dip.  Viola!  A fabulous appetizer that will please your guests – and you!

Ingredients:

24 Wonton wrappers
2 Chicken Breasts (approximately 12 oz.)
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
½ c Frank's RedHot sauce
1 c Cheddar Cheese, shredded, divided
3 Tbsp Bleu Cheese Dressing
Seasoning for Chicken (Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder, Onion powder)
3 Tbls crumbled Bleu Cheese, if desired
Scallions for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Put some water into a covered pot or pan.  Season with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder & Onion Powder.  Bring to a boil.  Place chicken breasts in boiling water for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove chicken breasts and put them directly into your stand mixer's mixing bowl. (If you don't have a stand mixer you can use a fork to shred the chicken by hand.)  Using the dough hook attachment turn the mixer on medium for 1-2 minutes, or until chicken is completely shredded. Stir once or twice to make sure all of the chicken has been shredded.

Add softened cream cheese to chicken and blend it together thoroughly.

Add hot sauce and blend thoroughly.

Add ¾ cup of the shredded cheese and the Bleu Cheese dressing, blend thoroughly.  Fold in crumbled Bleu Cheese.

Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray and place one wonton wrapper in each cup.  Fill wonton cups with buffalo chicken dip and top with the remaining ¼c of shredded cheese.


Bake for 10-12 minutes or until wonton is golden brown and cheese is melted.  Garnish with chopped scallions.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Back in the 1960’s Rumaki was a popular cocktail party appetizer.  They were made with a piece of chicken liver and a half of a water chestnut wrapped in bacon.  I believe soy sauce, or perhaps teriyaki, was used too.  Now, I do enjoy chicken livers, but I know they’re not everyone’s “cup of tea”.  I found this recipe to make this tasty treat, sans the chicken liver.  It’s delicious.  The soy sauce, brown sugar and ketchup makes a salty sweet sauce that candy’s the bacon.  The crunch of the water chestnut wrapped in the syrupy smoky bacon is shear perfection.  Crunchy, salty and sweet – all in one bite on a toothpick.  Sounds like heaven to me – and tasted like it too!

Ingredients:

2 (8 oz.) cans whole water chestnuts, drained and patted dry
1 lb. lean bacon, cut in half
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 heaping teaspoon of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of Chinese Hot mustard
Toothpicks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soak water chestnuts in Kikkoman soy sauce for 15 minutes, stirring a few times to make sure they are fully coated.
Remove water chestnuts from soy sauce.

Wrap 1/2 strip of bacon around each; secure with toothpicks.

Reserve soy sauce.

Place chestnuts toothpick side up in a 7” x 11” glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes or until desired crispness.

Remove chestnuts from dish and drain grease. Replace chestnuts in the same dish.

Meanwhile, add ketchup and brown sugar to reserved soy sauce, stir well to combine.  Pour sauce evenly over the chestnuts to coat.

Bake chestnuts an additional 25 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bailey's Chocolate Mousse

What did we do before Pinterest?  This is my “go to” resource when looking for new recipes.  This dessert was heavenly!!  The perfect combination of sweet and creamy.  The chocolate and Bailey’s are a delight on the tongue.  The mousse is so silky and decadent.  What a great dessert that is satisfying – yet light enough that you don’t feel over full after dinner.  It really was like eating a sweet, creamy, chocolate cloud!
This will serve six.  There were only four of us at dinner, so I dished into four healthy servings.  Now I wish I had made six so we would have had leftovers today!

Ingredients:

2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
¼ c. boiling water
½ c. sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ c. heavy cream, very cold
½ c. Baileys Irish Cream, very cold
1 tsp. vanilla

Whipped Cream and Chocolate Shavings for Garnish

Instructions:

Note: Before beginning, prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill.

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; stir and let stand 1 minute to soften.

Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let stand to cool.

Stir together sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl; add heavy cream.

Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form; gradually pour in Baileys, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well-blended and soft peaks form.

Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.  Spoon into serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill.

Chill 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Garnish with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Shavings


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is the best of several worlds!  Scrumptious cake that is a little bit gooey and has the perfect crunch. Add that to the combination of pumpkin, brown sugar, and warm spices and you have a dessert that will leave everyone asking for more.  We loved it!  It was super easy to make - and just as easy to eat!  Trust me - you’re going to love this one.

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped roasted pecans
1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugars, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt and well combined and smooth.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture and use your hands to gently press it into the batter.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped pecans and evenly drizzle the melted butter over the entire cake.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. At this point, check your cake. If the top is becoming to brown, cover the cake with a piece of foil for the remaining baking time. Continue baking an additional 10-20 minutes or until set.

Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Chill for a few hours before serving.

If desired, top with whipped cream and chopped pecans before serving.

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