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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicken with Green Olives

According to the Cooking Light recipe, this is a North African dish that is also served in Spain & Italy. Wherever it is from, I call it delicious. I like to serve it over couscous that I’ve cooked with chicken broth.


1 Tbls olive oil
8 chicken thighs, skinned
¾ tsp black pepper, divided
¼ tsp salt
2 cups chopped onions
1 Tbls fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground turmeric
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 cinnamon stick (about 3”)
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken broth, preferably fat-free low sodium
2/3 cup pitted green olives
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped cilantro
3 cups hot cooked couscous


Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ tsp of black pepper and ¼ tsp salt. Add chicken to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan, reduce heat to medium.

Add ½ tsp black pepper, onion and next 8 ingredients, cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until chicken is done. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.

While chicken cooks, place olives in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, drain. Repeat procedure. This brings out the full flavor of the fruit of the olive rather than the flavor of the salty brine. Drain olives well and add to chicken mixture along with the lemon juice; sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over couscous.

Yield 4 servings – 2 chicken thighs, ¾ cup couscous and ½ cup of sauce. 397 calories.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

I just “threw” this salad together. There are so many variations, but I kept it pretty simple so that “the boy” would eat it. I didn’t measure this one, so just use the suggested ingredients and have a blast.


2 Chicken Breasts, boneless skinless
½ box of Bow Tie Pasta
2 – 3 Hearts of Romaine, washed and chopped
Sesame Oil, for cooking the chicken breasts and for the dressing
Soy Sauce
Garlic Chili Sauce, the hot spicy kind
Powdered Ginger
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper


Cook pasta according to package directions.

Cut in chicken breasts in half, “butterfly style”, so they won’t be so thick. Drizzle some sesame oil in a non-stick skillet and heat. Sprinkle some powdered ginger and garlic powder on both sides of the chicken breasts. Place in the heated skillet. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook several minutes on each side to brown, and cook through.

For the dressing, mix together sesame oil, soy sauce and some of the garlic chili sauce. That sauce is VERY spicy. So, be careful. You can always add more – but you can’t take it out once it has been added. I think I used about 1/4 cup of the sesame oil and 3 – 4 tablespoons of soy sauce. Perhaps about ¾ tsp of the garlic chili sauce. But, I like it spicy! I used my little “Bullet Mixer” to make the dressing. It does a great job of combining and emulsifying.

Cut the chicken into small bitesized pieces. In a big bowl layer the lettuce, then chicken, then cooked drained pasta. (I like to combine everything when the chicken and pasta are still hot. I think the flavors meld better and the pasta seems to really soak up the dressing.) Pour the dressing over the top and toss.

Serve immediately.

Suggested additions – chow mein noodles, fried wonton, some of those almond salad toppers – just to name a few. Maybe you might like to add some green onions, pineapple, tangerines, shredded carrot or bell peppers.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ajillo Mushrooms

Here is another recipe that I found on the Spain-Recipes.com site. These were a huge hit at the party I went to last week. Everyone loved the meatballs (recipe in the post below), but one of the party goers said, "these mushrooms are heavenly". I agree!


1/4 cup (2 fl. oz) olive oil
4 cups (8 oz) mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons dry sherry (I didn’t have “Spanish sherry”, so I used regular very dry sherry.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried red chile, seeded and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika (I just used regular paprika)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, sherry, lemon juice, dried chile, paprika, and salt and pepper.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic and mushrooms have softened.

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve on small earthenware platters.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Meatballs - Spanish Tapas Style

I attended a potluck last night where everyone was supposed to bring “appetizer type” food. I’ve been fascinated with Spanish Tapas lately. So I found this recipe on the Spain-Recipes.com site. These were easy to make and extremely delightful. Everyone commented how tasty they were. These are best served hot, straight from the pan. And the recipe suggests providing plenty of fresh bread to “mop up” the juicy tomato sauce.


2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 oz ground beef
1 cup (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese (I used Parmesan)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 scallions, chopped fine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups (16 oz) canned plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary


In a bowl, thoroughly mix together the beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, tomato paste, garlic, scallions, egg, thyme, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 to 15 firm balls.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through. (I didn’t cook the meatballs all the way, thinking they would firm up while cooking in the tomato sauce. I did brown them, but some tended to readily fall apart. So, I think cooking them a bit more would be best.)

Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, and rosemary. Simmer gently for around 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Roasted Chicken & Bow Tie Pasta Salad

This recipe came from the 2005 Cooking Light cookbook. It sounded wonderfully fresh and delicious with the citrus juices, red onion, red grapes and parsley. I wasn't too sure my son would like it - but surprisingly he ate every bite! Hubby and I really liked it too. This is definitely going to be on our regular list of meals this summer.


3 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta), about 8 ounces
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls. stone-ground mustard
2 tsp. sugar
1 ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp. rice vinegar (I didn’t have any rice vinegar, so I substituted cider vinegar)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 2 breasts)
1 ½ cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup thin diagonally cut celery (I didn’t use celery this time)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
3 Tbls. chopped fresh chives


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat, drain and cool completely. (I opted to toss everything together while the pasta and chicken were still warm. I think the flavors melded perfectly while the salad was warm, and I that is the way I served it.)

Combine orange juice and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pasta, chicken and remaining ingredients; toss gently to combine.

Yeild: 6 servings, 1 2/3 cups each. 363 calories with all of the ingredients added.

Click here for printable recipe.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lemony Chicken Soup with Orzo

I really love soup. I like to make it on the weekend, and then take it for lunch during the week. It’s filling and satisfying - and most of the time calorie friendly. I’ve seen a couple of recipes for Lemon Chicken Orzo soup and created this version as a combination of all of them. It’s easy and the extra work of roasting the chicken pays off with the extra rich flavor of the homemade chicken stock.


1 roasting chicken, cut into pieces
Seasoning salt
4 celery ribs cut in half or thirds
2 carrots cut into half or thirds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
7 cups water
1 onion cut in half
1 cup water
1 cup orzo
1 celery heart, chopped
½ onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cup of baby carrots, cut into thirds
1 lemon, zested
1 lemon, juiced


Cut the chicken into pieces – 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and back. Remove the skin from the thighs and drumsticks; season with seasoning salt. Place on a baking sheet with sides or in a baking dish. Cook in 400 degree oven for 1 ½ hours – turning every 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven. After removing the chicken pieces from the roasting pan add the one cup of warm water to the roasting pan. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. I allowed the warm water to sit in the pan while I worked on the next step. I came back every few minutes and scraped the bottom of the pan with a spatula. You want to get all of that brown goodness to add to your soup.

Place chicken back, and wings into a soup pot. Remove the chicken meat from the breasts, thighs and drumsticks. Place bones in soup pot as well. Add water, 4 celery ribs, 2 carrots, onion cut in half and garlic cloves. Add water from roasting pan as well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Strain the chicken stock into a clean soup pot. Add the chopped celery heart, onion and carrots to the soup pot, along with a bit more water – if needed. Cook for about 45 minutes.

Cut the chicken meat into bite sized pieces; add to the soup pot along with the orzo. Continue cooking until the orzo is done.

Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the soup. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

When you serve you could sprinkle with some fresh parsley, or basil, or dill. Delish!
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