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, 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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Caprese Skewers

I got a new cookbook for my birthday. (Like I really needed another one, but this one is really awesome!)  It’s called “Tiny Party Food” by Teri Lynn Fisher and Jenny Park.  There are some fun and very creative ideas in this book for party food – and appetizers for any occasion.  I’ve made quite a few of the recipes so far – and have loved every one of them!  So, here for your viewing (and hopefully eating) pleasure, is the recipe for miniature caprese skewers.  Delicious!

Ingredients:

24 small cherry tomatoes
8 small fresh mozzarella balls (I used Ciliegine from Trader Joe’s)
24 basil leaves
24 cocktail picks

2/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

Directions:

Place the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat for about 45 minutes until the mixture has reduced by about half and has thickened.  It will continue to thicken as it cools. 

Cut the tomatoes in half and the mozzarella balls in thirds.  Sandwich a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf in between two halves of tomato.  Secure with a cocktail pick.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.

Note:  You can make the glaze ahead of time and keep in the fridge.  However, the skewers should be assembled right before serving to preserve freshness and ensure the basil doesn’t wilt or turn brown.



Sunday, September 13, 2015

California Benedict

We went to New Orleans last year and one day ate brunch at Café Atchafalaya where they served all sorts of variations on the classic Eggs Benedict.  This made me start thinking about possibilities and different ways to serve it on special weekend breakfasts.  We really like sausage and avocado – thus my first foray into an alternate preparation for one of our favorite breakfast classics.  (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

½ pound of Turkey Italian Sausage, cooked and crumbled (or you could use regular Italian Sausage)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
4 poached eggs
2 English Muffins, split and toasted
Hollandaise Sauce (I cheat and use Knorr Hollandaise.  It’s amazing and no one ever guesses it’s not homemade.  Just follow the directions on the packet.)

Directions:

Prepare the Hollandaise sauce while cooking the sausage.
Peel and slice the avocado
Toast the English Muffins while poaching the eggs.  (I have an Egg Poaching pan which makes poaching eggs super easy.  I’ve never been able to master poaching eggs in boiling water.)
Place two halves of English Muffin on a dinner plate; repeat on the second plate.
Drizzle a little Hollandaise Sauce on each half of English Muffin.
Evenly distribute the avocado slices on each half of English Muffin.
Place the poached eggs on top on avocado.
Scatter cooked sausage around the plate and on top of eggs.
Pour Hollandaise over all.

Get your knife and fork and enjoy.  This was super yummy!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Nutella Breakfast Rolls

These were super easy to make and beyond delicious!  A perfect treat for a weekend morning.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry
Jar of Nutella
Crushed hazelnuts (optional)

1 egg
Water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.  Thaw the puff pastry according to the package instructions.

Flour a board and roll out the first sheet of pastry.  Spread a layer of Nutella over the top to within one-half inch of border.  Sprinkle crushed hazelnuts over the Nutella, if using.

Roll-up the pastry from the long edge.  Cut into pinwheels about 1 – 1 ½” thick.  My roll made nine pieces.

Place pinwheel side up (i.e., like a cinnamon roll) onto cooking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray – or use a Silpat mat.  Brush with egg wash using the egg and a little bit of water whisked together.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the rolls.  Test for doneness after 15 minutes.



Saturday, August 1, 2015

Classic Wedge Salad

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy a classic steakhouse Wedge Salad with a delicious barbequed steak.  Actually, this salad is perfect any time of year!  And truthfully, this is the EASIEST salad you’ll ever assemble.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 head iceberg lettuce
4 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
1 tomato de-seeded and diced
Handful of chopped candied walnuts (or pecans)
Bleu Cheese dressing (or Ranch)
 
Directions:
 
Peel off the outer layers of lettuce and cut the head into four wedges.  Arrange on a serving plate or individual plates.
 
Drizzle salad dressing over the wedges.  Scatter the tomatoes, walnuts and bacon over the top.
 
Serve and enjoy!
 
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