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!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Here’s another yummy recipe I found in a magazine several years ago. The description says “A mild buttermilk tang offsets the sweetness of this caramel-colored custard pie”. I finally decided to try it this weekend. It was quite good; not as sweet as I would have expected. I would recommend having some whipped cream or ice cream to accompany it.


9” deep dish pie crust (The recipe actually calls for a store bought crust. This sounds right up my alley!)
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
3 Tbls. all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups buttermilk
3 Tbls. unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Thaw pie crust 10 minutes. Bake crust until pale golden; about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350.

Blend brown sugar and flour with mixer. Add eggs, yolk and vanilla. Beat until blended. Add buttermilk and melted butter and process just to blend. Pour mixture into cooled crust.

Bake pie until filling puffs and is almost set but center still moves slightly when pan is shaken; about 45 minutes.

Cool pie on rack to room temperature. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chili Rellenos Casserole

This recipe is sure to please. It is made in a 9 x 13 pan to serve 12 – or can be halved to serve 6. Turns out great both ways and you will be popular with your guests. I got this recipe from my brother-in-laws mother. She had it for years from a fund raiser cookbook. Trust me – it’s fabulous!


½ c butter (one stick)
10 eggs
½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
8 oz. can diced green chilies
1 pt. cottage cheese
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Dash of salt


Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 pan in the heated oven.

Beat the eggs in large bowl; add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Pour the melted butter into the egg mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Mix well and turn back into the pan.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
(Can be halved and baked in an 8 x 8 pan.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seafood Chowder

This is not an overly thick chowder as some, although you could thicken it with more flour or potatoes if you desire. I like it because it’s fairly easy and quick to make and you can use pretty much any seafood that you prefer. The one thing you will need though is shrimp, because the shells and tails will be used to make the seafood broth.


1 – 2 lbs of shrimp, shells and tails on
1 onion, cut in half
1 celery heart, or more if desired
A bit of fresh flat leaf parsley – several sprigs
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
4 – 5 cups of water
2 or more pounds of other seafood – I like to purchase a frozen seafood blend that contains scallops, calamari and more shrimp. Using the frozen seafood helps to flavor the soup. I’ve also added white fish to the chowder
2 to 3 red potatoes cleaned and cut into small chunks (I’ve made the chowder with and without potatoes. It’s great both ways)
1 ½ cups of cream
2 Tbls butter
4 Tlbs flour
Olive Oil
Tony Chachere’s seasoning to taste
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Fresh Chives


Clean the shrimp reserving the tails and shells. Place the tails and shells in a pot; add the water, Old Bay seasoning, 3 stalks from the celery heart (cut in half), the parsley and half of the onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 30 minutes. Drain through a colander into a bowl or other pot.

Drizzle olive oil into the pot that you will make the soup in. Finely chop the other half of the onion and the rest of the celery. Add to the olive and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the butter. When melted add the flour and mix into the vegetables.

Slowly add the shrimp broth back into the pot, mixing well in between additions so that you don’t end up with lumps. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil.

When the soup comes to a boil add the shrimp and whatever other seafood you are using. Return to a simmer and add the cream. If the soup needs to be thickened you can use a little cornstarch to accomplish this. (Make sure to add cold water to the cornstarch and then add the mixture to the hot soup. If you add cornstarch directly to something hot – it will create lumps.) Season with the Tony’s, salt and pepper.

Serve with a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives over the soup.

Click here for printable recipe.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Artichokes on Toast with Ricotta & Garlic

I love to roam the web in search of delicious dishes and fun stories. I enjoy many blogs - but my favorite is The Yummy Mummy, Kim. She shares humorous true life stories of being a wife and mother and her fabulous recipes for so many tasty treats. Tonight I served the Artichoke Hearts on Toast with Ricotta and Garlic - and of course they were OUT OF THIS WORLD! Click here for her site and recipe. It was easy to make and quite mouth watering. Give it a try - or at least check out her site. It's fabulous - and so is she!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

I found this recipe in the Taste of Home magazine a few years back. Coincidentally it was created by a lady just a few miles south of me in Albany Oregon. She won Grand Champion of their county fair with this pie - deservedly so! Mmm Mmm good!

Crust Ingredients: (or you could do like I did and use a premade Keebler chocolate crust)

1 ¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs (20 cookies)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine melted

Filling Ingredients

1 pkg. creamed cheese (softened – 8 oz. I used fat free cream cheese and the pie turned out perfectly)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbls. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Optional: Grated chocolate or chocolate cookie crumbs for garnish


Combine the crust ingredients; press into a 9” pie plate. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Cool. (Or buy the premade crust while you’re at the store getting the other ingredients!)

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream; gently spoon into the crust.

Garnish with shaved chocolate or cookie crumbs, if desired. Refrigerate.

This photo was taken after the pie had only been in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I just couldn't wait to taste it. After a couple of hours the pie firmed up beautifully!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nana's Molasses Cookies

This recipe belonged to my hubby’s Nana. I love Molasses cookies and these are EXCELLENT! And, I might add, very easy to make!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

¾ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp ginger


Cream together the butter, sugar, molasses and egg. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet; mix well. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients. Place in fridge for about 10 minutes.

Form into 1” balls and roll in granulated sugar.

Bake at 375 for 12 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Don’t overcook. They are best when they are a little chewy!

Remove to a wire rack and cool.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Auntie Doris' Oklahoma Pea Salad

Well, she’s not really my Aunt – but she’s been a lifelong friend. Doris gave me this recipe many years ago. I don’t know if it is her creation or if she got it from someone else - but it’s fabulous. It is a great side dish for a barbeque or for those holiday meals where you would like to serve peas – but there are just too many things on the stove. This dish can be made ahead of time and brought from the fridge just before serving. It’s lip “smackingly” delicious! And, I would guess that even people who say they don’t like peas will LOVE this salad!


10 – 12 oz bag of frozen petite peas
Dash of baking soda
Small jar of diced pimientos
4 green onions, chopped to the ends
3 – 4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
½ - ¾ cup of cubed cheddar cheese
Mayonnaise, to taste
Seasoning Salt & Pepper to taste


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the frozen peas and dash of baking soda. (The baking soda keeps the peas bright green.) Cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and run under cool water immediately.

Add the peas, pimientos, celery and green onions to a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to make a nice dressing; mix well. Add the cheese, seasoning salt and pepper. Mix again, taste and adjust seasoning and mayo as needed.

Can be served immediately, or placed in the fridge to serve later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Very Excited...

......to share the news that I was quoted in an article for our local "Salem Monthly" magazine. Click here to read the article "Eating with the Eyes First" on Williamette Live.com. The photo featured in the article is from this blog. It is my Grandma Julia's Pumpkin Pie. I think she would be pretty darned proud of her granddaughter today!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rosemary Garlic Pork Tenderloin

I wish I had taken a photo of this. The tenderloins turned out better than I imagined. The tenderloins were succulent and the rosemary and garlic complemented the pork perfectly.


2 pork tenderloins
2 stalks fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp kosher salt

Remove the rosemary from the branch, combine with salt and garlic in a mini-chopper. I used the small sized cup on my Bullet chopper. Process until everything is well combined.

Line a lipped cookie sheet with aluminium. Place tenderloins on it. Rub the rosemary/garlic mixture all over the tenderloins.

Place in the oven on broil for six minutes. Turn the tenderloins over to the other side and broil for another six minutes.

Lower heat to 425 and bake for 10 minutes. Let the tenderloins rest for at least 10 minutes. Thinly slice across on the diagonal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Treats for Thanksgiving

Ah, Turkey Day! I've said it before - I'll say it again - the BEST meal of the year! I've got a few good recipes for Thanksgiving yummy's! Here are the links to my previous posts:

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mom's Pecan Pie

Here's another of those family recipes that my holiday's can't be without. Pecan pie is so rich and delicious. It brings me such happy memories with every bite!

Ingredients for one pie:

3 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. light Karo Syrup

1 c. pecan pieces


Beat the eggs and sugar until thick. Add Karo and vanilla. Pour into a 9" pie shell that has been filled with the pecan pieces.

Bake at 300° for 1 hour. Test with toothpicks for doneness.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grandma Julia's Pumpkin Pie

My Grandma Julia could bake pies like no one else. She shared her recipes with my Mom who passed them on to me. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without her Pumpkin Pie, nor Christmas without the Pecan. She had a unique way of cutting a pie too; two cuts! One pie for four people! Mmm... Great memories!

Directions for two pies:

In a large bowl, mix 2/3 of large can of pumpkin and 6 eggs. Beat well.

Add to that 1 1/2 c. sugar. Beat again.

Mix into that 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 level tsp. cloves, 1/2 heaping tsp. allspice. Add 3 cups of milk and mix again. Put this mixture into 2 - 9" pie shells.

Bake at 400°for 15 min. Then turn down to 325° for 45 min. Test with a knife.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spicy Beef Stew

Here's a twist on your average "run of the mill" beef stew. I like to spice it up with chili powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. I like to make garlic mashed red potatoes and serve the stew over them. Or, you could serve over rice. This is a great meal to make on the weekend and then just have to reheat on a busy week night.


2 ½ lbs stew meat
4 heaping spoons of flour, I used a soup spoon for measuring
1 soup spoon of dried oregano, crumbled between your palms
4 level soup spoons of chili powder
2 level soup spoons of smoked paprika
1 ½ onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive Oil
¾ cup wine
3 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
½ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper, depending upon how spicy you like it
6 – 7 stalks celery, chopped
1 lb baby carrots
½ lbs mushroom caps cut into quarters
3 – 4 zucchini’s cut into 1”rounds


Start by cutting the stew meat into smaller pieces. Some of the pieces come rather large. I like them all to be approximately 1” pieces.

In a large bowl combine the flour, oregano, chili powder and paprika. Use your hands to mix really well. Add the meat to the bowl and toss well to completely cover the pieces of meat with the flour mixture. (reserve left over flour mixture)

Drizzle olive oil into a pot with a heavy bottom. Shake excess flour off the meat and place into pot, a few pieces at a time, to brown. Don’t over crowd the pan, otherwise the meat will steam rather than brown. Remove meat from the pan to a plate; repeat until all the meat has been browned using olive oil as needed.

If needed, drizzle a bit more olive oil in pan. Add onions and garlic; sauté until translucent. Add wine to pan to deglaze; scrap up brown bits from pan. Add reserved flour mixture, cook for just a few seconds. Slowly add water to pan, mixing as you go. Add meat, bouillon cubes, celery, carrots and cayenne pepper to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 1 hour.

Add mushrooms and zucchini to pot; recover and cook for approx 30 -45 minutes.

Serve stew over garlic roasted mashed potatoes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chicken Mole - My 100th Post!

I found this recipe on the internet a couple of years ago, and have adjusted it slightly. I understand that normally making a mole sauce takes a very long time. This recipe is surprisingly easy and doesn't really take too terribly long to make.


1 (14 oz.) can tomatos
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
8 - 15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs - depending upon how many you are serving
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 - 2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (these can be purchased in a small can at the grocery store. Find them on the Mexican food aisle. There are more in the can than you will need. I individually wrap each remaining chili in saran wrap, place in a baggie and freeze.)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 jalapeno, chopped - remove seeds if you like less spicy
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon sugar


Place all ingredients except cocoa and sugar in large pot. Cover and simmer until chicken is very tender (about an hour). Remove chicken from pot.

Let the sauce mixture cool for a bit and then place into a blender; add cocoa and sugar. Blend until sauce is smooth. Return to pan; add chicken and bring to a simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes to blend flavors.

Serve chicken over rice with plenty of the yummy spicy sauce.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Baked Salmon

My son and I both love salmon. For years I never really fixed it, because I wasn't sure how - and when I cooked it in a saute pan I always managed to burn it on the outside, but it was still raw on the inside. One day we salmon at my brother-in-laws house. It was perfectly prepared. He had wrapped it in foil and baked it on the barbecue. I liked THAT idea. Seemed totally easy and it sure was delicious. So, I came home and began experimenting. This is what I came up with! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Salmon fillet
Small amount of butter
Lemon juice
Seasoning Salt
Dill Seasoning (I love the Pampered Chef Dill Seasoning, but if you don't have that - you could use dill weed)
Lemon slices - for garnish


Wash and pat dry the salmon fillet. Place on a large sheet of aluminum foil - large enough to make an "envelope" of sorts around the fillet.

Sprinkle the salmon with a very small amount of lemon juice, followed by the seasoning salt. Place 4 - 5 small pats of butter on the salmon. Sprinkle with the dill seasoning.

Wrap the salmon in the aluminum foil, closing tightly and leaving space around the salmon so that it can steam. Place the foil package on a cookie sheet with edges - just in case there is any leakage.

Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes. Remove from oven and test salmon for doneness. If it is not done enough, reclose the package and replace in oven for a few minutes longer. A few times with larger pieces of salmon I have had to cook for longer than the 35 minutes. When I replace the package in the oven I do so for only 5 minutes at a time. You definitely don't want over done salmon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pan Fried Potatoes with a Cajun Flair

I really love potatoes. I like them baked, mashed, fried, hashed - you name it! These are super easy to whip up as a side dish to most any meal. And, if you don't really like spicy - you could replace the Tony's Chachere's seasoning with some seasoning salt, garlic salt and pepper. I bet you could even throw in some bell pepper for some "added flair" if you'd like!


Red Potatoes – 4 to 6
1/3 of a white onion, finely chopped
1 – 2 Tbls olive oil
Water or chicken broth
Tony Chachere’s seasoning


Wash and cut the potatoes in quarters lengthwise. Cut quarters across into several smaller bite sized pieces. Depending upon the size of your potato – 4 or 5 pieces out of each quarter.

Heat a skillet that can be fitted with a lid. Add olive oil, cook onions for a few minutes until they are soft and translucent.
Add the potatoes to the skillet, sprinkle with the Tony’s. This seasoning is spicy and salty... so be careful not to add too much. Toss well to combine the onions with the potatoes and to coat the potatoes with the oil. Place lid on, skillet and cook over medium heat for several minutes. Remove lid every so often and toss the potatoes so that they brown – but don’t burn.

When the pan becomes dry add a little water or chicken broth. Replace lid and continue to cook until potatoes are completely done. Brown, golden and delicious!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dirty Martini

This may not be a good thing - but I've discovered Martini's. I love them "dirty" - which means adding olive juice to them. Make sure to use a "top shelf" gin - or vodka if you prefer. Drinking the alcohol like this requires that you use the best.

Ingredients: (Makes 2)

3 oz Gin - I use Bombay or Bombay Sapphire (if you prefer, you can use vodka)
Splash of Dry Vermouth
2 Tbls olive juice
2 oz water
6 pimento stuffed green olives


Freeze the martini glasses

Place a splash of vermouth in each frozen glass. Swirl the vermouth around the glass and pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Add the olive juice, water and gin to the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.

Strain into the chilled martini glasses. Garnish with three olives on a cocktail pick.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creamy Curried Mushroom Soup

No picture today. It’s really difficult to take an appealing photo of mushroom soup. … and we can’t possibly post an unappealing photo – now can we? On the mushrooms you can use whatever type of mushrooms you like – fresh or dried.


½ white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
8 oz white mushrooms, I buy pre-cut
8 oz crimini mushrooms, rough chopped
2 cups dried shitaki mushrooms, soaked in hot water to reconstitute
2 Tbls curry powder
4 Tbls flour
4 cups nonfat milk
1 – 1 ½ cups chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to taste


Warm the oil in a soup pot; add onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes; add the 8 oz of white mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms become cooked.

Add the curry powder and the flour to the pan. Cook for a moment and then begin to add the milk. Add a little at a time to completely combine the flour and curry powder. Once the milk has been added, add the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.

Remove soup from pot and place in blender. Blend until smooth; return to pot. Add the crimini and shitaki mushrooms. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes.

Salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Root Beer Float

photo from foodchannel.com

Delicious, refreshing, and sweet... Root Beer Floats! I love them! Haven't had one in ages and then the craving hit me. I looked in the freezer and found some vanilla ice cream, and there was a can of diet A & W Root Beer in the fridge. While certainly not "low-cal", I don't feel quite as guilty as if I was using regular root beer. Of course, that was a week ago. I've since gone through an entire half gallon of vanilla ice cream and countless ounces of diet root beer. Feeling guilty now???? A little. But, oh so satisfied!

No recipe here to speak of.... You know how to make one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fenugreek Masala

This is FABULOUS. I have adapted this recipe from the book, “From Bengal to Punjab – The Cuisines of India”. The title of the recipe is Masala Jhinga Methiwala – or Shrimp with Fenugreek. We really really love this sauce. I’ve always made it with the Shrimp – but recently made the sauce and then added cooked chicken to it. It was just a wonderful; so full of flavor. For this recipe you will need to find Fenugreek Leaves. They are dried – and if you have an Indian Grocer close to you, you can find them there. Or, I’m fairly sure you could order them online. The Indian name is Methi or for a specific leaf from Pakistan they are kasoori methi. If you enjoy Indian food – the search for these leaves is worth it. This sauce is really fab! We’ve had it the last two weekends in a row and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s on the menu for one night this week too!


1 can of diced tomatoes (approx. 15 oz)
1 can of tomato sauce (approx. 15 oz)
½ piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander
¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp turmeric
2 hand fulls of dried fenugreek leaves
3 Tbls. Olive oil
¼ c whipping cream
Salt to taste
Meat of your choice – Shrimp or Chicken. See note at the end of the recipe.


Heat large skillet; add olive and swirl to cover pan. Add cumin seeds; swirl in pan for a few seconds. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and just barely beginning to brown.

Add coriander, turmeric, cayenne and some salt. Saute for a couple more minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and fenugreek leaves. When you add the leaves hold them in your hand and crush them; rub them in between your hands. This releases the oils and flavor from dried herbs. Continue cooking for about five minutes. Remove from heat.

Place mixture into a blender. Add the whipping cream (I’ve even used milk when I didn’t have cream on hand). Blend until smooth. You want the mixture to be thick – so be careful not to add too much cream/milk.

Return the sauce to your pan, add the meat of your choice.

Note:  If using chicken I cook the meat first and then add to the sauce; cook for just a couple of minutes to let the flavors meld. When I use shrimp, I use frozen shrimp – cooked/tail off. Defrost it in the microwave; pat dry and add to the sauce. When I use chicken, I use boneless skinless thighs because the dark meat is moister and there is less chance of overcooking it. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, sauté in olive oil. Add a sprinkling of salt and cumin powder while cooking.

Note #2: Sometimes, like in this photo, I don't blend after the fact with cream.  Occasionally I will just serve "as is".  It's all about what you like and how you like it. 

Enjoy!  We sure do!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick and Easy Chili

This is tasty and can be made relatively quickly on a weeknight. Of course, the longer it cooks – the more the flavors will meld. I like to make it ahead of time and then just have to warm it up for dinner on one of those nights where time ( or my energy ) is short.


Olive oil
1 white onion chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ lbs ground beef, chicken or turkey
3 Tbls chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
2 – 15oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 15oz cans diced tomatoes
1 – 15oz can tomato sauce
Small can of diced green chilies
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste – if you like it spicy

Garnishes if desired: Grated Cheese, Sour Cream, Green onions


Drizzle olive oil in large heated pan. (I have a very large, deep wide mouthed covered skillet that I like to use for this dish) Add onions and garlic; sauté until translucent.

Crumble ground meat into pan with onions. Add the red pepper flakes, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until the meat is cooked through.

Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chilies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. When I have time, I like to cook this a little longer as it allows all of the flavors to really meld.

Salt and Pepper to taste and cayenne pepper if you desire a spicier chili. Serve in bowls with garnishes of your choice.

Click here for printable recipe.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Baked Cucumbers

This is another of the recipes that I’ve tried from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I would have never thought to take a cucumber and bake it. This is an interestingly delicious side dish.


6 cucumbers (about 8” long)
2 Tbls wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar

3 Tbls melted butter
½ tsp dill or basil
3 to 4 Tbls minced green onions
1/8 tsp pepper


Peel the cucumbers; cut in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into lengthwise strips about 1/8” wide. Cut the strips into 2” pieces.

Toss the cucumbers in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand at least 30 minutes or for several hours. Drain; pat dry in paper towel.

Preheat oven to 375.

Toss cucumbers in a baking dish with the butter, herbs, onions and pepper. Set uncovered in middle level of preheated oven for about 1 hour. Toss 2 or 3 times until cucumbers are tender but still have a suggestion of crispness and texture. They will barely color during the cooking.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Been Taking A Break...

Hi All: Sorry for the sporadic posting. It's been a busy few months with our trip to Hawaii and then my husband's surgery, time in the hospital, and slow recovery. But, things are beginning to get back to normal - so I hope to "get back into the swing of things" and be blogging more consistently and frequently now. Thanks for the visits!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Caprese Salad

This is SO incredibly easy to make, and your friends will be delightfully impressed with the flavor and presentation. I've not included measurments, as it depends upon how many you are serving. This can as easily be prepared for one person as it can for ten.


Room temperature fresh tomatoes (I like the Campari tomatoes at Costco. They're on the smaller side and they have a fresh vine ripened flavor)

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh Basil

Salt & Pepper to taste


Cut the Campari tomatoes into fourths

Cut the Mozzarella cheese into bite size chunks

Toss the cheese and tomatoes together.

Slice the basil into long shreds. (I do this by rolling the basil leaves together and then cutting across the width of them.)

Sprinkle the basil over each individual serving.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lemon Cinnamon Chicken Breasts

I found this recipe on my health program site from my insurance company, Regence. Made it for dinner tonight - it was delicious! Give it a try! Very unique flavor; using the cinnamon gave it a very exotic feel. Enjoy!


1 lemon
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tsp. olive oil
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
3 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth


In a shallow dish, blend lemon juice, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat.
Spray a heavy skillet quickly with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Brown chicken breasts, about 3 minutes per side, in the hot skillet. Remove chicken and set aside.

In the same skillet, add shallots and remaining 1 tsp. oil. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes until sauce is syrupy. Place chicken and juices back in the skillet; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vodka-Thyme Lemonade

Well, I must confess that I haven't made this drink yet. I just found it on MarthaStewart.com. But, it sounded so fabulous - I just had to share. I am definitely going to give it a try. Sounds so yummy and refreshing. I can't hardly wait!

Serves 8
2 cups sugar
12 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 24 lemons
2 cups vodka

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water with the sugar and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.

Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup; discard thyme. You should have 2 cups syrup. Cover with plastic; chill.

In a large serving pitcher, stir together lemon juice, vodka, and chilled syrup; garnish with thyme. Divide evenly among eight tumblers filled with ice; serve immediately.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

One of the recipes that we watched Julie Powell prepare in the movie, Julie & Julia, was Chicken Supremes in Mushroom Cream Sauce. Butter, and mushrooms and heavy cream – oh my! It looked wonderful in the movie; I could almost smell the aroma wafting off of the screen. This recipe was definitely one that I wanted to make from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, by Julia Child. I served it for dinner Thursday night – and let’s just say I was quite tempted to lick the remaining sauce directly from the pan!

I have adjusted the original recipe, omitting the cream and 1 tablespoon of the butter. This is definitely a “keeper”!


4 Tbls. Butter
2 Tbls. White onion, finely chopped
¼ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used 3 large caps and didn’t bother measuring)

4 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless (Julia refers to these as “Supremes”)
Lemon juice
Salt & White Pepper
Butter for one side of wax paper circle

¼ cup chicken broth
¼ dry white vermouth (you could also use white wine)
½ cup milk
2 Tbls. Flour
2 Tbls. Fresh parsley, chopped
Dash lemon juice


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut a wax paper circle that will fit inside the casserole you choose; butter one side of it.

On top of stove; melt butter in a covered casserole/pot that has a lid and can be placed in the oven. Add onions; cook for about 1 minute. Add sliced mushroom; cook for about 1 or 2 minutes, but don’t brown.

Rub the chicken breasts with lemon juice and season both sides with salt and white pepper. Place chicken breasts in the casserole and turn in the butter, coating both sides. Place wax paper circle (butter side down) on top of chicken. Cover the pan and place in oven.

Julia Child says to cook the chicken for 6 – 8 minutes. I removed the pan from the oven after 6 ½ minutes. The breasts were not quite done. I did end up placing them back in for another 1 ½ minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the wax paper circle and place the chicken on a serving plate.

Place pan on stove and turn heat on medium. Bring the mushrooms and butter to a “sizzle”. Add the flour and stir for a minute to “cook” the flour.

Add the chicken broth and vermouth; whisking until well combined. Add the milk and whisk. ½ cup was plenty for my sauce… you can always add a little more if necessary.

Finish off with a few drops of lemon juice and the fresh chopped parsley.

Serve the chicken with a serving of the mushroom cream sauce on top. Sit back and wait for the accolades. This one is out of this world!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Curry Sauce

My plan was to make a wonderful chicken recipe of Julia Child’s last night for dinner. Well, the best laid plans and all… someone forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer to defrost – so when I got home and realized we didn’t have the chicken ready I sent “someone” to the store to buy a rotisserie chicken. Now, what to do with it? As I mentioned in Tuesday’s blog – I am inspired to make some of the recipes from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. So, I decided upon her Curry Sauce.

Now, I’m sure Julia would disapprove, but I’ve adapted this recipe. As much as I love lots of butter and cream… my thighs and hips don’t enjoy them quite as much. And, Richard and I have been really trying to watch our weight and get a lot of extra exercise… so while still not “low calorie” – this is definitely a lighter version of Mrs. Child’s wonderful recipe.

I served this curry sauce on chicken. Julia suggests it on chicken, fish or veal. It was delicious! Thanks for a great inspiration Julia Child!


1/3 cup white onion, finely chopped
2 Tbls butter
1 Tbls curry powder
2 Tbls flour
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup milk (possibly a little more depending upon your desired consistency)
Salt to taste


Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes. They should be nice and soft.

Add the curry powder and mix well. Add the flour and cook for about one minute. Slowly add the chicken broth; whisking well to combine the liquid with the flour/onion mixture. Slowly add the milk, whisking in between additions. I like to add a little liquid, whisk and then evaluate if more liquid is needed. Adding the liquid in small amounts like this allows you to control the thickness of the sauce, and will ensure that you do not add too much; thus making your sauce too runny.

After all the liquid has been added; cook for about one more minute allowing the sauce to continue to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place sauce in a small blender (I use my Bullet blender) and blend until the onions are incorporated into the sauce.

Return sauce to pan and reheat.

Click here for printable recipe.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roasted Beets

Do you like beets? Have you ever tried roasting fresh beets? They are DE-LI-CIOUS. Beets are good for you; sweet and tasty and fantastic. Last week I bought some fresh beets from our weekly farmers market. On Sunday I prepared them; roasting their garnet goodness in the oven for about 1 hour. I devoured them. My poor husband only got a few of the quartered tasty morsels. Thankfully my son wouldn't even try them. I was happy with that, although I tried to entice him to taste them, because it meant more beets for ME !! Gotta run, must go back to the farmers market today!!
Fresh beets, peeled and quartered
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a paring knife, peel the beets. Quarter them and place on a large piece of foil on a baking sheet. (Larger beets may need to be cut smaller. You want the pieces to be of similar sizes so they all bake the same length of time.)

Drizzle olive oil over the beets; season with salt and pepper. Toss the beets to combine the oil and seasoning over all.

Loosely wrap the beets up in the foil, creating a pouch; make sure to leave space around so the beets so they have room to steam.

Place in oven for 45 minutes. Open foil pouch so the beets are exposed to the heat, return to the oven for 15 minutes more.

The most difficult part of this recipe…. Waiting for them to sufficiently cool before taking a bite of their deliciousness!

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Roasted Beets

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ode to Julia Child

I just returned home from seeing the movie "Julie & Julia". Delightful film. Of course, being the "foodie" and fan of Julia Child that I am, I sat in the film salivating over the recipes, the food, the wine. I am inspired - although not to the extent that Julie Powell was. She set out (on a blog) to cook her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 365 days. She was successful in meeting her deadline. I am not thinking about trying this, however it did prompt me to lift my copy of Julia's book off the shelf and begin to page through.

I haven't made anything out of this book in quite a few years. I think I may just have to dog ear a few pages and share some of the recipes with you. Although, being the foodies that I know many of you are... I'm sure you probably have a copy of this masterpiece on your own bookshelves. Perhaps it is well worn, or perhaps is it sitting neglected - as was mine. We should all honor Julia Child and prepare one or two of her recipes soon! I hope to have some posted within the next week.

Happy cooking - and Bon Appetit!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spinach Pie

Well, in the words of Popeye... "I yam what I yam." I have no idea what I really mean by that - but any time I eat spinach, Popeye cartoons come to mind.

In any case, this is a very tasty and low in fat recipe from the "Diabetics for Dummies" cookbook. I feel incredibly healthy with every bite. Enjoy!

(Serves 4)

Nonstick cooking spray
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 cup chicken broth
¼ tsp dried marjoram, crumbled
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
¼ tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9” pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Squeeze all the water out of the thawed spinach; set aside.

In a small saucepan, cook onion and carrot with chicken broth and marjoram, uncovered, at low boil, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has evaporated and vegetables are nearly glazed. This will take about 20 minutes. Spread vegetables out on a sheet pan to quickly cool.

In a bowl, whisk egg whites and whole egg. Add milk, spinach, cheese, pepper and the cooled vegetable mixture. Mix well.

Pour mixture into pie pan; bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, until filling is set. Remove and cool.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shrimp Ceviche

This one is a winner. I found the recipe online and have adjusted it slightly. I love ceviche - especially in the warm summer months, but the ceviche I have had in the past usually uses white fish and scallops; and I'm not particularly fond of scallops. When I saw this idea for Shrimp Ceviche - I pounced on it. We brought it to some friends home and had it as an appetizer to dinner. Enjoyed it whole heartedly with tortilla chips. You're going to love this one!


1 ½ lbs fresh raw shrimp; shelled, cleaned and deveined
2 large tomatoes; seeded and chopped
3 limes
2 lemons
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
½ medium cucumber; peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup red onion, chopped
3 Tbls tomato sauce


Juice the lemons and limes. Place the cleaned shrimp into a glass dish. Pour juice over the shrimp. Cover and place in fridge for 3 hours. I turned the shrimp over about half way through so they would “cook” on both sides.

After 3 hours, prepare remaining ingredients and place into a bowl. I cut the shrimp in half length wise so they would be thinner and tossed them (along with citrus juice) with the vegetables and tomato sauce. Place back in fridge for at least one hour.

To serve; I poured about two-thirds of the liquid out and placed into a serving dish. You could serve this on lettuce (as it is shown in the picture) or leave in the dish and let everyone scoop some out and eat with tortilla chips. It’s delish!

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Shrimp Ceviche

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

White Chili

I've adapted this from the Cooking Light 2009 cookbook. I made it last weekend and put it in the fridge so we could have it for dinner one night this week. Given the high temperatures in Salem this week - I'm so glad I had a meal ready to go and not have to worry about "what's for dinner!"


2 tsp olive oil
1 White onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
5 tsp green Tabasco sauce ( or to taste)
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ lb boneless skinless chicken breast
3 Tbls cornmeal
2 cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz size)

Heat oil in soup pot, add onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the broth and next 3 ingredients to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove chicken and cool.

Add cornmeal to broth mixture; stirring with a whisk. Add beans to broth mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Mash some of the beans into the mixture to help it thicken.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces; add back into bean mixture; simmer for 5 more minutes.

Serve in bowls with desired toppings – Suggestions: green onions, cheese, sour cream or yogurt.

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White Chili

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Basic Risotto

We love rice. I think I could live on rice. But, plain white rice with butter – or a bit of soy sauce – can get a little boring. So, here’s a recipe for Risotto to which you can add assorted vegetables, or even a little bacon or pancetta.


1 Tbls. butter
1 Tbls. Olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbls. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 cups chicken stock – heated (I used Wolfgang Puck)
4 Tbls fresh parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Suggested optional items to add –mushrooms, zucchini, dash of cayenne pepper, peas. I would sauté whatever vegetables you want to add, and add them to rice with the last bit of chicken stock. You could sauté some pancetta or regular bacon first and use some of the grease in place of the butter and olive oil. For a lemon risotto, you could grate some lemon zest, and replace some of the chicken stock with fresh lemon juice. In this case I might replace the parsley with some fresh basil.


Melt butter and olive oil in large skillet; add garlic and shallots. Sauté for a moment; add rice. Stir to combine.

Add heated chicken stock, ¼ - ½ cup at a time. Stir after each addition, and cook until liquid is completely evaporated before adding more liquid.

When adding the last of the chicken stock, add the parsley and the cheese. Cook until liquid is completely evaporated.

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Basic Risotto

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chickpea Salad with Cilantro Dressing

This recipe is from the Cooking Light 2009 Annual Recipes cookbook. We’ve been trying to eat healthier, get a little more exercise in, and my husband has been working on controlling his blood sugar levels. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are very good for you. So, this salad is not only tasty – it’s good for you too.


2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp. grated lime rind
2 Tbls. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves
2 pickled jalapeno pepper slices
¼ c chicken broth
½ c chopped seeded peeled cucumber
½ c thinly sliced radishes
¼ c chopped celery
2 – 15oz cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
12 boston lettuce leaves


Combine the first seven ingredients in a food processor or blender; process until well blended. Add broth; pulse until combined.

Combine cucumber and next three ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with cilantro mixture; toss to coat. Allow salad to stand for about an hour to let flavors combine.

The recipe calls for the salad to be arranged on the lettuce leaves. I did not do this. I served as a side dish to soft tacos, instead of refried beans. And the next day I took a serving as a side for my lunch.

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Chickpea Salad with Cilantro Dressing

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spinach Roll-Ups

Here is an easy to make and delicious to eat appetizer. It's great for larger gatherings.


12 - 16 large flour tortillas
3 - 10oz pkgs. frozen cooked chopped spinach (defrosted and all of the liquid squeezed out)
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. mayonnaise
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Party Dip
3 green onions, finely chopped


Mix sour cream, mayonnaise and dip mix in a large bowl.

Add defrosted and drained spinach. Get as much of the liquid out of the spinach as possible before adding to the sour cream mixture. Stir thoroughly.

Add green onions; mix well.

Thinly spread the spinach mixture onto a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up, cut the ends, and put on a plate. Continue doing this until there is no more of the spinach mixture.

Cover the plate and place the rolled up tortillas into the fridge for about 1 hour. Remove from the fridge and slice into individual pieces.

Arrange on a plate and take to your favorite potluck!
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Spinach Roll-Ups

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