Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jinxed! And Chicken Parmesan and Penne- 10 with 5 recipe #3

I told you all the other day that I was going to jinx my good stretch of days by saying something! Thursday morning my husband got into a car accident (see photo below)on his way to work. It had snowed over night and although clear the roads were still a little wet. Traffic ahead of him on the highway had stopped, so he stopped, but the car behind him (a Jeep Cherokee) didn't and hit him going about 70mph. My husband is thankfully o.k., but the car is totaled. Needless to say, we are now down to one car for the time being and it's been a mad race to try to get our schedules straight. I apologize to all my Foodbuzz buddies and fellow 10 with 5 blogers for being lax in my comments, but please know that I have been buzzing you!

What was my husband's 1998 Volvo v70 Cross Country.

On to my pasta dish! I made this last Wednesday night with every intention to share it with you all Thursday, but things got crazy here and no post happened. I am sharing it with you now though and hope you'll give it a try!

Chicken Parmesan and Penne

1 to 1.5 lbs chicken breasts or tenders, cut up
29 oz of your favorite marinara sauce (I make my own)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 Tbs (divided) grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb penne pasta, cooked and drained

Combine sauce and 6Tbs Parmesan in a 13x9 inch baking dish

Cut up the chicken. Season with salt & pepper

Fold in uncooked chicken. Cover and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Uncover, and top with the mozzarella cheese and remaining 2 Tbs Parmesan. Return to the oven, uncovered to melt the cheese

Serve over cooked penne pasta with Caesar salad and garlic bread on the side.

Hoping for a better week!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Ever have one of those really great stretch of days where you're almost afraid to say something about it or you may jinx it? I'm having one of those weeks. My husband came home from work Monday with a really great, and totally unexpected year end bonus. I'm finally getting somewhere with my health care issues. Various car issues are being resolved. I even won a fabulous blog giveaway from Fun and Fearless in Bean Town to Aquitaine ! I'm going to have to find a way to pay it forward, so look for some blog swag from me soon!

I had the pleasure of doing lunch this afternoon with my friend Jeanne who is a fellow volunteer for the Pug Rescue of New England . We share outreach duty at one of the local Petco stores and could easily discuss future outreach dates over the phone, via email or even Facebook, but it's so much more fun to do it over lunch!

We choose Chipotle for our lunch spot today and although I had never eaten there (I told you all in a previous post that I don't go out to eat much!) I had heard good things about it. I was not disappointed! The carnitas burrito that I had them build for me was huge! The ingredients were very fresh and well seasoned.

I have been cooking this week, but just haven't photographed anything (I know! BAD food blogger!) so I will have to remedy that soon and come up with something spectacular to go along with a pay it forward giveaway!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Skillet Spaghetti- 10 with 5 recipe #2

Things have still been crazy around here this week, so easy is the name of the game to get dinner on the table! At least I'm getting some recipes done for the 10 with 5 challenge!

This tasty one pot dish with a salad and some garlic bread made a perfect mid week meal!

Skillet Spaghetti
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 28oz your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 cups water (I would hope this doesn't count as an ingredient!)
  • 8oz spaghetti, broken into small pieces
  • 1 bell pepper chopped (I used red, but you use whatever you like or have)
  • 1 cup Romano cheese (you can use Parm if you preffer)
  • salt & pepper to taste (I know this doesn't count as an ingredient!)

In a nonstick skillet, brown ground beef. Drain off fat. Season with salt & pepper

Stir in pasta sauce and water; mix well & bring to a boil.

Stir in spaghetti and bell pepper. Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta in tender.

Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover for another 2 minutes to melt cheese.

This tasted so good, and it was nice to not have to clean up a bunch of pots and pans that usually accumulate from making a pasta dish!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Nutter Butter Truffles- The 10 with 5 Challenge

So...I'm finally getting around to posting my first 10 with 5 challenge recipe! I'm really pretty stoked about this because it's my first ever food blog challenge! Thank you to Rosy+Tart for hostessing! To see the other challengers posts please be sure to click the challenge button in my sidebar!

Everyone in my house is addicted to the Oreo Truffles that I make over the holidays, but I'm a sweet & salty together addict, so I thought I'd try making them out of Nutter Butter cookies and they came out pretty awesome!

You're just 3 little ingredients away from this tasty treat!

Yup! Just Nutter Butter cookies (crushed), 8oz of cream cheese, (softened), and 24 oz of semi sweet chocolate (I use chips & melt them in the microwave)

Whip the cream cheese in and mix in the crushed cookies. I like to use my Kitchen Aid for this because it makes the smoothest centers for the truffles.

Roll tsp. of mixture at a time into balls and place them onto waxed paper lined trays. I made about 60 one inch centers from this recipe. Place into the fridge for about an hour to firm up.

Melt chocolate using your favorite method (I like the microwave) and dip the centers into the chocolate.

Place the dipped truffles back onto waxed paper trays and return them to the fridge (about another hour) so they set up.

Delish! I hope you'll try these!

I'll be stalking the cookie isle soon to see what I can come up with next!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hot Buttered Rum

It has been SOOOOO cold the past few nights. As soon as the sun goes down, the temperature drop is so abrupt that it puts a chill into even the best insulated homes. I decided that a nice hot cuppa would go a long way to helping to warm our bones, so I dug out this old recipe for Hot Buttered Rum. I can't remember where I got it from, but it's easy and tasty! It makes 7 or 8 servings, depending on what size mugs you use.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups (1 pt) vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
For each serving you will also need:
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 to 3 Tbsp rum

Cream together the butter and sugars

Beat together until light and fluffy

Mix in the ice cream, cinnamon and nutmeg

Pour mixture into a covered container and store in the freezer

For each serving, place about 1/2 cup of the butter mixture into a mug

Add boiling water and stir to dissolve

Stir in rum

This was so good and really hit the spot! I'm thinking about keeping some of this on hand in the freezer for the rest of the winter! I hope you'll try some!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Ranch Chicken Tenders

Woa! TGIF! Has this ever been a crazy week! Lots of car drama. 2 feet of snow. There is more, but I'm not gonna go into that now. I'd rather talk about something good! Real good! Busy weeks call for easy meals. It's a good thing I have a plethora of easy dish ideas at the ready for times such as these. Here's one of my favorites!

Ranch Chicken Tenders

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts (cut into strips) or tenders
  • 8oz ranch salad dressing
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt (I use Adobo)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese (grated)

Mix seasonings with breadcrumbs and Romano cheese

Coat each piece of chicken with ranch dressing...

Then coat with the breadcrumb mixture

Place chicken on sprayed baking sheet (I hate doing dishes, so I line my sheet with foil also!)

Drizzle with melted butter and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

I know you're all uber jealous about my orange kitchen and I'd love to say it's retro, but I don't think it's been changed (except for the updated appliances) since the '70s. It was like this when we bought the house in 2008. It does match very well with my Pfaltzgraff dishes though! I'll be sure to share photos of it (and the rest of the sleeve that goes with the Koi fishy tattoo) in another post sometime!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Ham & Broccoli Pastry

My husband's car was undriveable for the past two weeks, so he was using my car since my art studio that I work out of is attached to the house and didn't need it during the day. Mind you, I live in the 4th largest city in the state and there are plenty of places I can walk too...but I still felt quite housebound. I finally got my car back today & spent the bulk of the day doing all the errands I was putting off. Since I didn't leave much time to prepare an elaborate supper, I whipped up something quick and easy. It turned out quite tasty if I do say so myself.

Ham & Broccoli Pastry

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 8 to 12oz thick sliced ham, chopped
  • 8oz shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 to 3 Tbs ranch dressing
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375

Unroll dough and place on a sprayed cookie sheet with short ends together & points away from the center. It will look like a series of elongated diamonds stacked one on top of the other.

Combine all the other ingredients together and spread the mixture down the center of the dough.

Fold the points of the dough over the mixture. You can seal the top and bottom ends of the pastry to hold the filling inside if you want to.

Bake for 25 minutes or until browned.

Slice to serve.

I hope you'll try this easy recipe!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Black Beans and Rice Soup

Black Beans & Rice Soup

Down south there is a tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck. When I was growing up, my Italian family believed that eating lentils on New Year's Day would bring good luck in the new year. Personally, I believe that eating any beans or legumes is a good thing anytime, and if eating them New Year's Day bring you good luck, then that's just a bonus. Living in a city in which the majority of the residents are Latino, we eat a LOT of rice and beans. Life is good here, so I'd say we're pretty darn lucky! That being said, I made a huge batch of black beans & rice as part of my New Year's Day feast and we had a mess of them leftover, so I turned the leftovers into a soup by just adding 4 cups of beef stock.

Black Beans & Rice

Here's my recipe:

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Heat some olive oil (not the fancy kind, just a good kind) in a heavy pot (medium heat and saute the onions until soft.
Add peppers and saute for 2-5 minutes until they too are soft.
Stir in black beans, rice, and seasonings.
Add water and bring mixture to a boil.
Turn mixture down to a simmer for about 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
You now have black beans & rice.
*To make the soup add 4 cups of beef stock and simmer until heated through.

*Since I was using leftover rice & beans, I put the leftovers in a crock pot with the beef stock and let it simmer on low all day

Note: Those gorgeous tortilla chips pictured with the soup are Tostitos new Artisan Garlic and Black Bean tortilla chips. They are ridiculously good! GO GET YOURSELF SOME!


Black Bean on FoodistaBlack Bean

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Maple Glazed Fresh Ham

All is quiet on New Year's Day,
A world in white gets underway,
And I want to be with you,
Be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.

I invited all our friends over for a quiet casual dinner on New Year's Day. All those not too hung over to look at food came by and feasted on several yummy dishes that I spent the day preparing. It was a great way to start the new year!
There were of course plenty of little snacky bits to ease them into the more serious food to come.

And plenty "hair of the dog" and coffee.

And some slightly tamer beverage choices.

So...On to my Maple Glazed Ham. I was going to take the lazy way out and get a spiral sliced ham from the shop, but that was (thankfully) not to be. The grocery stores were packed, it being New Years Eve day and all, and there was only one left in the meat case and it was WAY too big for my small gathering and they wanted nearly $100 for it! I settled on a just over 10 1/2lb fresh ham instead. I am so happy that I did! I woke up New Year's day at around 8am and after a nice cuppa (I like to mix 1/2 coffee and 1/2 hot chocolate) I began scrounging through my kitchen to see what I could do to this ham. I removed the skin and scored the remaining fat and set to finding some ingredients for a dry rub.
I made the rub using:
  • 4tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • black pepper to taste
I rubbed this all over the ham and set it into my roasting pan.

Now for a glaze...I looked to see what kind of soda we had around (I personally don't drink soda any more, but my husband and sons do) and found caffeine free cola? Nah! Not for a ham...
Root Beer? Yea! That'll do pig, that'll do!
For the glaze, I mixed:
  • 1 cup REAL maple syrup (NOT the fake sugar syrup stuff)
  • 1/2 cup root beer
and poured this over the ham

I placed this already gorgeous piece of meat into a 325 degree oven for about 5 1/2 hours and out came the most amazing ham I've eaten an a long time!

For tonight's dinner, we're reliving it in a whole new way!
I've chopped up some of the ham that I had leftover and mixed it in the crock pot with my favorite baked beans.. We'll enjoy this with some fresh baked cornbread!

I hope you'll give this ham glaze a try! I bet it's be great on a pork roast or even pork chops too!


Baked Ham on FoodistaBaked Ham

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

Just when you thought I was all about baking, eh?

I actually cook 99% of the meals here at home and we rarely eat dinner out or get take out, so I have lots of recipes to share! A lot of them are formulated on the fly and don't always involve the ingredients I intended when I start cooking them. This stuffed peppers recipe is one of them. They were predicting a blizzard the day after Christmas and of course this landed on my grocery shopping day. We got there early enough, but in true New England pre-storm fashion, the store was picked clean and I had to grab what was available and make due.

I was planning on making this with ground beef and rice like a stuffed pepper should be, but this wasn't meant to be. Not a scrap of ground beef left on the shelves I had to settle for ground turkey, which I am not adverse to using in lots of recipes as a substitute, so that was okay, but I forgot to buy rice! Of all things to forget! I'm usually so good about picking up staple pantry items when I know I'm out of them. Oh well, let's see what I do have on hand as a filler substitute.....Hmmm...I have half a package of herb stuffing bread cubes.......Turkey and stuffing? Hey! I think that could work! It did work, deliciously as a matter of fact!

Here's the recipe:

4-6 bell peppers (tops cut off and seeds removed)
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 chopped sweet onion
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups herb stuffing bread cubes
6 Tbs ketchup, divided
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine turkey, onion, stuffing bread cubes, 4Tbs ketchup, salt, pepper and 3/4 tsp of the oregano.
Stuff this mixture into the bell peppers and set in a baking dish.

Mix the diced tomatoes with the remaining ketchup and oregano.
Pour tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours or the meat is cooked through.

I am usually disappointed in turkey meat loaf type dishes because they can turn out dry, but baking them in the peppers covered in the tomato sauce kept the meat nice and moist. I really enjoyed it and hope you will too!


Ground Turkey- لحم الديك الرومي المفروم