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, 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. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mushroom, Beef & Barley Soup

It’s raining today, so soup sounded good.  Beef & Barley is one of my favorites.  It was one of my Dad’s too.  Always comforting and delicious.  I adapted this recipe from several I found on the internet.  It was fairly quick to make and very tasty!

Ingredients:

1 white onion, chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
1 parsnip, cut into bite sized pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 – 16 ounces stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup pearl barley
6 cups beef broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Put the barley into a saucepan.  Add approximately 6 cups of water and 3 beef bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer until the barley is cooked through.  Drain.

Drizzle olive oil into a hot skillet and heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms.  Sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms begin to brown.  Remove from heat and place into a soup pot.

Return the skillet to the burner.  Drizzle a little bit more olive oil and add the carrots, parsnips, celery and garlic.  Saute until the carrots and parsnips begin to brown; approximately 7 minutes.  Add the carrot mixture to the onion/mushroom mixture in the soup pot.

Return the skillet to the burner.  Drizzle more olive oil.  Add the stew meat and cook until browned.  Should do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the skillet.  If the skillet is too crowded, the meat will not brown.  Place the cooked meat into the soup pot. 

Put about 1 cup of the beef broth in the skillet to deglaze the pan and scrape up the browned bits.  Add that liquid to the soup pot along with the rest of the beef broth. Place the sprigs of thyme into the soup.

Cook the soup for about 1 hour.  Add the cooked drained barley and continue cooking for an additional 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove the sprigs of thyme.  The leaves will have fallen off and incorporated into the soup.  Serve and Enjoy!


Salt and Pepper the individual servings to taste.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Egg Roll In A Bowl

I saw a recipe for this on Pinterest.  It was the inspiration for this version – which turned out super amazing.  I’m following a special eating plan right now that is limiting what I can and cannot eat… and it can be a little challenging sometimes.  But, I’m seeing such great results that it’s keeping me motivated.  So, in this recipe I used Bragg’s Aminos as an alternative for soy sauce.  You can use regular soy sauce, if you prefer.  However, by using the Bragg’s Aminos – this a gluten free taste treat!  This was so full of flavor and tastes delightful and healthy.  Not to mention, it was pretty quick and easy to make!   Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Head of Napa Cabbage, chopped into chunks
2 carrots, cut into julienne slices
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (Reserve a bit for fresh garnish)
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
12 oz. package bean sprouts

I did not measure the following:
Dark Sesame Oil
Olive Oil
Ground Coriander
Asian Seasoning
Salt
Granulated Garlic
Coconut Oil
Bragg’s Aminos

Directions:

Drizzle and heat some sesame oil and olive oil into a large skillet.

Cut the chicken thighs into slices.  Season with salt, granulated garlic, coriander powder and Asian seasoning.  Mix to coat all the pieces.

When the skillet is hot, add the chicken.  Stir fry until cooked through.  Because the pieces are small, it doesn’t take too long.  Remove the chicken to a plate or bowl.  Drizzle Bragg’s Aminos over the chicken.

Add some coconut oil to the same skillet.  Heat until melted.  Add the cabbage and carrots and stir fry until they begin to soften.  Add the green onions and bean sprouts and continue stir frying until they just begin to become soft. 

Add the chicken and juices back to the pan.  Drizzle a tiny bit of sesame oil over all.  Toss to completely coat everything and remove from the heat.

Serve in bowls with Bragg’s Aminos (or soy sauce) to taste.  This should provide four good sized portions.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Benedict

Last year I saw Giada DeLaurentis make something very close to this… it looked AMAZING and so I recreated it.  And guess what!?  It WAS AMAZING!  I think I would even go through the trouble of making stuffing – just to make this again.  This is a wonderful twist on your regular Eggs Benedict.  I’m having fun coming up with other interesting variations.  Adding the sage to the hollandaise sauce is super yummy and savory.  This recipe will make four benedicts; serving two people.

Ingredients:

2 cups leftover stuffing/dressing  (my stuffing is savory – using cornbread and containing lots of celery, onions and sage.  I’m not sure how this would turn out if your stuffing incorporates fruit.)
2 eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
Olive Oil, for frying

4 eggs, poached
2 small ham steaks

Knorr Hollandaise sauce, made according to the package instructions
Fresh Sage

Directions:

Combine stuffing, eggs and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly and form four patties.

Heat olive oil in a skillet; fry the patties until golden brown on each side.  Set aside, but keep warm.

Warm the ham steaks in the same skillet.  Cut them in half to fit on each patty.

While frying the patties, make the hollandaise according to the package instructions.  Knorr makes a wonderful product and truly tastes homemade.  I also love their Béarnaise sauce; excellent!  After the hollandaise is prepared, tear some fresh sage and add to the sauce.  Set aside.

Poach the eggs.  (I got an egg poaching pan a couple of years ago.  The little cups are non-stick and make poaching eggs A BREEZE!)


Assemble the benedicts; patty, a touch of hollandaise, ham steak, a touch of hollandaise, egg, and more hollandaise.  It’s a taste treat for your mouth!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Shrimp Cocktail Cups

This is another recipe from my new cookbook, “Tiny Party Food” by Teri Lynn Fisher and Jenny Park.  I changed this one up slightly.  The original recipe called for shrimp and scallops.  But, my husband can’t eat scallops – so I increased the amount of shrimp.  Very delicious!  The salad is spicy – but serving on the cucumber cups is refreshing and perfect cool compliment for the heat.  If you like shrimp cocktail – or ceviche – I think you’re going to love this.  I have made the salad and taken it took work by itself.  I’m in love with the flavors and deliciousness!

Ingredients:

½ cup cocktail sauce
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (can be found canned in the Latin foods section of most markets)
Juice of 1 lime
1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled and rough chopped (I bought frozen cooked shrimp, tail off.  Let it defrost and then pat dry.)
½ cup frozen sweet corn, defrosted
2 Tbls. Chopped chives
2 Tbls. Minced cilantro

3 hothouse cucumbers cut into 1” thick pieces

Crumbled Queso Fresco

Directions:

Whisk together the cocktail sauce, peppers and lime juice.  Fold in the shrimp and corn.  Mix well.  Add the chives and cilantro and mix thoroughly.  (Can be made ahead and placed in fridge until ready to assemble the cups.)

Using a small melon-baller, scoop half of the flesh out of the center of each cucumber, creating a little cup.  Scoop a spoon of the salad into each cucumber; arrange on serving tray. (Can be assembled and kept in the fridge a hour or two before serving.)


Crumble the queso fresco over the top of the cups just before serving.

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