Fortunately or unfortunately some good things have come from this very bad thing…the covid virus; newly found hobbies, online classes, home cooking and learning a new kind of entertaining…social distance outdoor cocktail hours.
So, on a search for easy appetizer recipes, I have found this one on Delish.com. Let’s take that old deviled egg recipe, fry it up and serve it…..a new winner!!
FRIED DEVILED EGGS!
8 large eggs, divided
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Freshly grond black pepper
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp.garlic powder
vegetable oil, for frying
Finely chopped chives, for garnish
Smoked paprika, for garnish
Place 6 eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring water to a boil. Turn off heat, cover pan with a lid, and let sit for 11 minutes. Drain, rinse eggs under cold water, and peel.
Halve eggs lengthwise and scoop out yolks into a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, hot sauce, and Dijon mustard to bowl, then mash yolks with the back of a fork and stir until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while frying eggs.
Place flour, remaining eggs, and panko into 3 separate shallow bowls. Add 1 teaspoon water to eggs and whisk with a fork to combine. Add garlic powder to bowl with flour and stir to combine. Dredge each egg white first in flour, then egg, then panko, and place on a plate.
Add about 3” oil to a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Heat oil to 350°, then gently drop breaded egg whites into oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove, drain on a paper-towel lined plate and season with salt.
Fill fried egg whites with yolk mixture and garnish with chives and paprika.
Thanks for swinging by! We’re all working hard to stay safe and keep each other safe. Face masks, social distancing, and hand washing will hopefully keep this virus at bay until they come up with a vaccine.
Until then, turn on some music and dance like no one is watching…because unless people are peeping in your windows…no one is!
Yep…the quarantine 15 is a thing… I think I’ve been on that ‘SEE FOOD DIET’…you know the one where you see food and eat it….all of it…
So here’s a little poem for fun as I deal with my newly gained weight…
This pandemic has taken a toll!
I’m beginning to feel like a big old tootsie roll.
We been so long stuck inside,
I’m shocked that my leggings stretch so wide!
With so much comfort food around,
I can’t believe I am so round!
So here’s a way to make us thinner,
Try this delicious salad for dinner!
So, once again, Steve and I decided to start eating more salads…I sense this has been a recurring theme for my blog as I revisit some past posts!
This one from Cuisine at Home is a keeper! The dressing is amazing! Remember to toss the cooked shrimp with the vinaigrette for at least an hour for great flavor! This would be a great addition to your Memorial Day cookout (with under 10 people staying 6 feet apart of course)!
SHRIMP COCKTAIL SALAD
with Lemon Horseradish Vinaigrette
Makes 6 servings
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK:
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. no-salt-added ketchup
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
FOR THE SALAD, HEAT:
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 dried bay leaf
1 lemon, halved and juiced
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
In a large pot of water over high; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.
Add 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30) and cook until pink and opaque, 2–3 minutes.
Transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water; drain.
Toss shrimp in vinaigrette, cover, and chill at least 1 hour or overnight, stirring occasionally.
I know that the upcoming months will be the ultimate test of my willpower! But, the harsh reality of this is knowing that so many are without food and the ability to remain socially distant from one another to avoid the spread of this monster. I try to make light of our trivial ‘problems’ as we tread down this path. In a small way, we are donating non perishables and clothing to try to help.
So, until next time….
Cheers, stay safe and help others when you can….
PS…Here are some fun finds if you feel like shopping!
Hey fellow quarantiners! I wonder if you are being as resourceful as I am trying to be….and surprising myself! Doing my own nails, highlighting my own hair, and yes……cutting my own hair….are my most recent activities.
This cutting my own hair thing is a daily event. Watching you tube videos of people cutting their own hair and other people’s hair has been entertaining but hasn’t helped, and I definitely don’t recommend it. My hair dresser, Devin, is going to shit herself when she see’s what I’ve done to my hair. I’m not quite sure what I’ve done either…
I did cut Steve’s hair the other evening after cocktails and every morning check to see which side needs evening up. He’s been super patient. Yesterday he told me that he thought his hairline was receding….I told him that it was probably his new haircut and maybe we should let it grow a little….What I really meant to say is that maybe we should do haircuts before cocktails?
My son and new daughter-in-law, who just got married in their home last weekend, have been our personal shoppers. I worry about them… As nursing home administrators, Jeffrey & Mackenzie are both on the front lines so I’d like to keep my grocery list short giving me a new challenge….which is also keeping me away from haircutting for a bit…..
MEALS CAN YOU MAKE WITH ONE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN
There is nothing more delicious than a fresh, hot, store bought grocery store rotisserie chicken…Even smelling it in the car on your way home makes my mouth water…
Meal 1. I pull the thigh/leg off and serve it with any side. No magic, but delicious. Cut up the leftover chicken and tuck it in the fridge for the next creation..
Super easy and delicious…add fresh or frozen spinach & corn if you like…
1 can diced tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz.)
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz.)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
8 flour tortillas (8-inch)
Preheat oven to 350°.
For the sauce, purée tomatoesin juice, chopped onion, and garlic in a food processor.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Stir in flour, chili powder, and cumin; cook 1 minute.
Whisk in puréed tomato mixture and broth; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer sauce until thickened, 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season sauce with salt and pepper and let cool.
For the filling, combine chicken, drained tomatoes, diced onion, and 1 cup Cheddar with 1/2 cup sauce to coat.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottomof a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place 1 tortilla into dish, spread on1 Tbsp. sauce, and flip.
Scoop 2 Tbsp. filling onto tortilla, and roll to enclose.
Place tortilla, seam side down, in the dish.
Repeat saucing, filling, and rolling with remaining tortillas.
Top enchiladas with remaining sauce and 1 cup Cheddar.
Bake enchiladas until Cheddar melts and sauce is bubbly, 30 minutes; let cool slightly before serving.
CHICKEN POT PIE WITH PHYLO CRUST
So easy and delicious! Substitute the phyla with refrigerated pie crust for an easy alternative.
8 oz.cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flouR
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt, black pepper, and dry
sherry to taste
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
4 Tbsp. each unsalted butter and olive oil
16 sheets phyllo dough, thawed to room temperatureMAKE IT!
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Cook mushrooms and thyme in 6 Tbsp. butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until browned and liquid nearly evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.
Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup sherry; cook until nearly evaporated. Whisk in broth and milk; cook until thickened to desired consistency, 10–12 minutes.
Add lemon juice; season with salt, pepper, and sherry.
Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, mixed vegetables, and onions.
Divide mixture among four baking dishes arranged on prepared baking sheet.
Heat 4 Tbsp. butter with oil in microwave until butter melts. Place a phyllo sheet on a flat surface; cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
Lightly brush phyllo sheet with butter-oil mixture; roll into a loose tube. Repeat brushing and rolling with 3 more phyllo sheets, then starting at outer edge, place 4 phyllo tubes end to end in a spiral pattern on top of filling. Repeat phyllo steps for each pot pie. Drizzle any remaining butter- oil mixture over phyllo or coat with nonstick spray.
Bake pies until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let pies cool 5–10 minutes before serving.
Depending upon the width of your dishes, the number of phyllo sheets needed may vary by one or two.
Creamy Pesto Lasagna with rotisserie chicken
Use no-boil lasagna sheets or regular sheets (cook them 5 minutes before assembling) Also, add spinach for added nutrition.
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup purchased refrigerated basil pesto
Salt and black pepper to taste
FOR THE LASAGNA
1 pkg. whole-milk ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup purchased refrigerated basil pesto
12 dry, flat, no-boil lasagna sheets
3 cups diced rotisserie chicken, divided
4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
Preheat oven to 350°. For the béchamel, melt butterin a large saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in flour and cook2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in milk and nutmeg, bring to a simmer, and cook2 minutes more.
Off heat, stir in1/2 cup pesto; season with saltand pepper.
For the lasagna, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.
Spread 2/3 cup béchamel in bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Lay 3 lasagna sheets side by side, top with 1/2 cup ricotta mixture, 3/4 cup chicken, 2/3 cup béchamel, and 3/4 cup mozzarella.
Repeat layering three more times, topping the final layer with 11/2 cups mozzarella.
Cover lasagna with foil. Bake lasagna until bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Remove foil andbake lasagna 15 minutes more, then broil on high until golden, 2–3 minutes.
Let lasagna rest15 minutes before serving.
Staying home and staying safe have become part of our new normal.
Making a list of things to accomplish each day has helped relieve boredom and frustration and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Organizing those boxes of pictures into labeled baggies or photo albums, making boxes of clothing and other items to be donated (there will be a huge need), and finding delicious recipes with items shoved into the back of the pantry are this week’s list.
Cheers to hoping that this will get better. If we all do our part in keeping our distance and staying home, we hope this will pass.
If you have any easy and delicious recipes to share, I’d love to hear from you!
I spent most of last week scrambling from store to store engaging in my own version of “Say Yes to the Dress” hoping to find the perfect dress for my son’s upcoming wedding. Little did I know that I was successfully exposing myself (and my family) to God knows what and hoping this invisible enemy would just disappear. The good news….I found the dress…The bad news….The wedding is off, or postponed for now.
My husband, Steve is happy because all of the ‘say no to the dresses’ have been successfully returned and the credit card is tucked away….for now.
What is the take away? Stay positive, worry about what we can control, and turn off the tv after the Today Show.
For me, self quarantining is a great time to search out recipes to share! Technically, I should be offering immune boosting recipes, but today, since our restaurant choices are limited, I found some great ‘restaurant quality’ recipes to share. Check this twist on chicken Parm from Cuisine Magazine!
Chicken Parmesan Roulades
with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Caesar Salad
For the roulades—
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves pounded thin (6 oz. each)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh Mozzarella sticks cut into eight, 2″ long pieces
For the coating—
1 C. panic bread crumbs (I use Italian blend)
1 C. Parmesan cheese shredded
1 T. minced fresh parsley
1/4 C. all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C. olive oil
For the sauce—
1 C. chopped onions
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3 C. cherry tomatoes
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
Salt to taste
Caesar Salad, 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
Preheat oven to 400* & coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Halve the chicken for the roulades.
Season & roll each with a piece of mozzarella.
Combine panko, Parmesan cheese & parsley
Dredge roulades in flour, dip in egg and coat in panko mixture.
Roast in the oven 10 min.
Sautés in skillet with 2T olive oil
FOR THE SAUCE:
Saute onions and pepper flakes in a sauce pan 2-3 min.
Stir in tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened 8-10 min.
Season with basal and salt.
Place roulade on top of Caesar salad, spoon tomato sauce on top, and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Makes 10 cups; Total time: 15 minutes
11/2 t. garlic, minced 1/4 t. kosher salt
Whisk in: 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated 2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. mayonnaise 1 t. anchovy paste 1 t. Dijon mustard 1 t. Worcestershire sauce 1/2 t. black pepper 1/4 cup olive oil Toss WiTh: 10 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
Mash garlic and salt together with the flat side of a knife blade until it forms a paste, Whisk remaining ingredients together with the garlic paste until combined. Toss the romaine with the dressing just before serving.
I hope you enjoy today’s recipe. Shortcuts work….use jar sauce and store bought dressing…it’s all good.
Every day my daughter FaceTimes me with our 18 month old grandson doing everything from dying spaghetti noodles to finger-painting cards and mailing them to family members. Working full time from home and being so resourceful, I marvel at her positive outlook and commitment.
It’s a lesson. Without being preachy and trite….cheers to health and watching out for each other while doing the right thing…..Stay home….Stay healthy.
My search to spice up everyday meals have two requirements….they have to be super quick and super flavorful. This great recipe for a juicy and delicious turkey burger tickled my fancy.
I loved the combo with the pineapple, but it turned the bun into huge mess. My Steve wasn’t a huge fan of the pineapple, so he ate it on the side wrapped in a lettuce bun. I also went a little crazy with the Soy Vey Very Teriyaki, actually a lot crazy….the whole bottle at the end. LOVED IT!
TERIYAKI TURKEY BURGERS with GRILLED PINEAPPLE
Makes 4 burgers
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
4 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce, divided
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 lb. ground turkey
8 oz. sliced fresh pineapple or 1 can (8 oz.), drained
4 hamburger buns, split, buttered, and toasted (I recommend wrapping in lettuce)
Green leaf lettuce
Teriyaki sauce, (Soy Vey Very Teriyaki)
Preheat grill to medium.
Combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce, and onion powder in a bowl. Add turkey and mix until combined; shape
Baste patties with remaining 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (or the rest of the bottle) during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Grill pineapple slices until grill marks appear, 3–4 minutes per side. Assemble burgers on buns with lettuce, or wrap in lettuce, pineapple, and additional teriyaki sauce.
As summer draws toooo quickly to a close, I hope to keep my grill running as long as I can, filling my days with family, friends and yummy cocktails!
I saw a cute saying for this time of year….”Keep your pumpkin spice away from my margarita!” I like it and am happy to wait for cool fall nights….so until then….
Salad…..my favorite comfort food of summer, but anything fresh from the garden and smothered in cheese….now we’re talking! Summer’s bounty of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes give rise to delicious and healthy twists on most loved recipes….like one of my faves, eggplant Parmesan!
This sheet pan eggplant parm is a super easy and flavorful without all the fuss and fat of the original version. Give it a try…..
SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 Tbsp water
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsps olive oil or spray olive oil
3 C. marinara sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or fresh
julienned fresh basil, optional
Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Lightly salt the eggplant and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant, salt the other side, and let sit for another 15 minutes. Rince the eggplant with water and pat dry with clean paper towels. (This step is optional)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. In a separate dish, lightly beat the eggs with the water.
Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcumbs onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
Spray a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil.
Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the slices, then bake for an additional 10 minutes on the other side. Spoon sauce onto each slice and top with shredded or fresh mozzorella cheese.
Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil right before serving.
Thanks for swinging by! I know it’s been awhile, but I hope to share more regularly!
When the kids come to visit, we always have leftover bananas. Try this delicious twist on the usual banana bread or cupcakes…..Banana Cookies! Soft, chewy and delicious. You may make them before the kids arrive!
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ripe smashed banana
3.4 oz package banana cream instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350*F
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.
Combine butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer. Add banana, dry pudding mix and the eggs, then mix together until smooth.
Combine dry ingredients into the mixing bowl with banana mixture.
Add the white chocolate chips.
Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking pan.
Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
Cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
The next time you find yourself standing in a grocery store, and some guy with a camera loudly asks if there are any home cooks around, and you are the only person there, I say, GO FOR IT!
This happened, and my dream of becoming a Food Network Star was at my fingertips…well, sort of.
What started as a plan to cook a quiet dinner, soon blossomed into an incredible cocktail party with our amazing friends pitching in, all the while our PR guy, Larry from TellYourVision.Net, filmed us from start to finish!
Happy New Year, everyone!! I have a new dilemma to share!
I know it’s really great that there are things so special to you that you want to pass them along to your children and grandchildren….but seriously…..you have to think, “Will they want this shit?”
Take, for example, the Lenox bird collection, that I know was an expensive bite out of the budget that my husband provided for his mom….I just spent an entire afternoon, matching each bird to the corresponding certificate of authenticity, photographing, and listing them on Ebay. I sold one, but by the time I packed it and shipped it, I lost money.
Kathy, a very close friend of mine offered me $25.00 for all of them so that her husband can use them as target practice for a gun he purchased recently. Tempting. I can’t help but thinking that someone out there appreciates these dust collecting birdies.
Moving Steve’s mom into an assisted living facility was quite the undertaking, especially as her daughter-in-law….I was given the dubious job of sorting through countless pairs of stockings, some still in the original package, hair ties and bows, denture boxes, and an assortment of long forgotten treasures packed away for safe keeping. Year after year, I would go to the dollar store for holiday bags and have Salina pack up these treasures as gifts, but she didn’t want to part with anything. You really have no idea….So for now, I’m stuck with these birds…lots of them.
My parents, at 89 and 91, have kept those special to them in a super organized way. When I visit, I love how my mom is always trying to give me her things. Although they take great pleasure in sharing, I want my mom and dad to keep and enjoy the memories they bring, rather than taking them away. I also know that the beautiful and valuable belongings of my parents are far from junk and someday will value and cherish the sentiment and memories.
On a return flight from Cancun, I vividly recall the pilot saying, “I hope you enjoyed your vacation and have carefully packed all of your souvenirs that will be at your garage sale someday.” So….note to self….Only buy and keep what gives you pleasure and let it go when it no longer has meaning.
Speaking of giving pleasure, I found this twist on an old favorite. Get ready for this delicious and EASY twist on your favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe!
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
1 ½ lbs raw ground chicken breast or turkey.processor and run until ground)
2 large egg
6 tablespoons panko or breadcrumbs
¾ teaspoon dried basil
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ a small finely chopped onion
¾ teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
¾ cup pasta sauce
¾ cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.
Thanks for swinging by! Whether you are stuck indoors watching the snow, or reading this poolside, I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and these great finds!
Until next time…
Cheers to cherished memories, both old and new!
CELEBRATION + SUNSETS SHOPPING
Those of you who know me know that I am OBSESSED with anything NINJA! Check out the latest!…
I have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..
So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.
My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are 😘 and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.
ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS
Makes 4 servings
4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
1/2 C. shredded onion
1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large tomato
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe’s…cheap + fresh)
Shred zucchini and onion
Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes.
Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.
Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco.
Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.
Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella.
Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Assemble Napoleons by layering
fresh mozzarella slice
a tomato slice
2 T. pesto
Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig; serve immediately
Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.
Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.
Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…
For some reason, we are convinced that with the onset of fall and winter, we should be eating comfort food…delicious, stick to the ribs (and everywhere else)…filling, satisfying, fattening food. Then comes spring and we wonder why our shorts don’t fit and our feet have gone up a half size.
Try a bowl of shepherds pie laced with buttery mashed potatoes or how about a nice slice of mac and cheese stuffed meatloaf? These are truly amazing.
So, my question is this: Is it comfort food season, or are we stress eating because it will soon be snowy and cloudy for the next six months??
If I sound like a bah humbug about fall and winter, it’s no accident. That being the case, I have made a diligent attempt to find seasonal recipes that limit the fat but keep the comfort.
And by the way, shortcuts of all kinds in my recipes are more than acceptable. Trader Joe’s is stocked with affordable and organic choices for meal prep goodies. Costco is another great place if you are feeding a large crowd.
PS…I will absolutely post those amazing comfort food recipes as well. No reason not to…
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH PORT VINAIGRETTE
FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1 Butternut Squash, cut in small pieces
8 shallots, peeled, halved
2 T. olive oil
Sprinkle of onion salt (I like the Trader Joe’s)
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup port wine
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE SALADS
BUILD EACH SALAD WITH
1 cup spring mix salad greens
Roasted butternut squash and shallots
2 T. Port Vinaigrette
2 T. crumbled blue cheese
2 T. toasted walnut pieces
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Toss the butternut squash and shallots in olive oil in a large roasting pan. Lightly sprinkle with onion salt (or sea salt).
Roast in the lower oven for 15 minutes.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
Combine vinegar, honey, port, ginger, and rosemary. Pour this syrup over the roasting squash and return the pan to the oven; roast for 10 more minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer squash and shallots to a bowl.
Pour syrup into a measuring cup and whisk in enough oil to make 11/4 cups vinaigrette, season, and set aside.
Build each salad starting with greens.
Top with squash and shallots, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts.
*If you aren’t a fan of butternut squash, try using pears for a delicious twist. Roast them or use them sliced raw.
Sorry it has been so long. Summer has taken me away from my computer but I am back to share.
Always on a search for delicious EASY winners and I am happy to search for ones you are looking for. Email or send a txt.
Cheers to celebrating simple things every day and cherishing friends and loved ones.
PS…Check out my latest Trader Joe’s obsessions! Just one click away!
If you are looking for a great salad to add to your picnic for Mom’s Day, graduation, or just a get-together, try this BLT Salad…..all the flavors of that favorite bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a bowl! Simple and delicious!
BLT PASTA SALAD
Creamy Bacon Dressing
To keep the dressing from curdling, be sure to cool the bacon drippings to room temperature before adding to the mayonnaise.
Makes 20 servings
1 lb. dry campanelle pasta 1 lb. thick-sliced bacon, diced
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Transfer pasta to a bowl of ice water; drain well.
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper- towel-lined plate. Reserve 3 Tbsp. drippings; set aside to cool.Whisk together mayonnaise, reserved drippings, shallots, basil, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Stir in pasta, romaine, tomatoes, and bacon; toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.
Dear Friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious salad! This year, I used medium sized ball jars for individual servings….they looked super cute on the table, and made serving easy (the best!).
This year will be my daughter, Jodi’s, first “Almost A Mom’s Day!” They are deciding what to name the baby, and I’m trying to decide what the baby will call Steve and I.
Check out some of my fun finds! As always, thanks for swinging by and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Well, as they say, “When in Rome…,” but in Naples…….Florida, it’s great fun to do as the Naples’ Floridians do….enjoy dining out on Fifth Avenue South! The epicurean choices are so incredible that dining in doesn’t always cut it. I try to justify it to myself, and Steve, by convincingly insisting that amazing meal ideas can be born from amazing restaurants.
Actually, it’s devastating…..(slightly dramatic, I know) to eat a mediocre meal in a restaurant and know that you can have a much better dinner at home. Dining out is a treat and I’m committed to duplicating and sharing some of my faves from my recent travels to Naples, Florida.
Sea Salt is one of our favorites and the chef nailed it on creativity and taste with his Caesar Salad Sushi Bites.
CAESAR SALAD SUSHI BITES
The first time I made these, I over filled them. Less is more, so that they are able to roll up and sit on the plate for a delicious presentation.
Caesar Dressing (store bought or home made)
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Small jar of red lumpfish caviar
Wash, dry and lay each romaine leaf flat.
Spread 1 T on each leaf.
Sprinkle 2 T Parmesan cheese on each leaf.
Carefully and tightly roll each romaine leaf up lengthwise.
Cut off loose ends and and slice evenly down the middle. (Each leaf makes 2 rolls)
Repeat with remaining leaves.
Turn each ‘sushi roll’ flat and top with 1/2 t. dressing and a sprinkle of caviar.
Serve with chopsticks!
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
Combine + Serve
6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
1 tablespoon vinegar.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
1/2 cup olive oil.
Lemon juice, for seasoning.
Minced anchovy fillets, optional.
One of the new kids on the block in downtown Naples is The Bevy; a delightful, open air restaurant featuring a living wall, beautiful bar and a retractable skylight ceiling. The food and drinks here insight the senses with every sip and bite.
Steve was more than delighted with his appetizer of Deviled Oysters which include yellow conrmeal oysters, deviled eggs and candied bacon.
Our friend, Bob, loved his craft cocktail, The Cedar Fire Old Fashioned which features bastille 1789 whiskey, orange bitters, maples syrup, smoked glass and candied bacon.
1 dozen eggs
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp minced shallot or onion
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
Boil the eggs in water 10-12 min.
Peal the eggs, cut the in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.
Mash yolks with mustard, mayonnaise, onion, Tabasco, salt, pepper. (For finer consistency, place in a food processor.
4 Pipe or spoon mixture into egg white halves: Pipe through a piping bag (star tip) or simply use a spoon to put the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves.
Serve as is, or top with your favorite toppings: candied bacon, smoked salmon, caviar, jalapeño
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Mix brown sugar, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and black pepper in a small bowl.
Place bacon slices on cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, turn slices, and bake another 5 minutes.
CORNMEAL FRIED OYSTERS
Heat deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Combine cornmeal, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, black pepper and seasoned salt in a large plastic bag.
Place oysters in bag and shake until well coated.
Cook oysters 3 or 4 at a time in hot oil.
Recently I read a great article on happiness……stating simply that: if your happiness depends on just one thing, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. So, for example, if your happiness depends on sunshine and warm weather, and you live in Northeast Ohio, many of your days will be unhappy. In sunny Naples, Florida, even when it’s chilly, the sunshines which is a blessing.
Walking in sunshine and sharing delicious recipes are two of my favorite things, so thank you for swinging by and I hope you enjoy these nuggets of yum! Be sure to check out some of my fun finds in The Sunshine Shop!
WOW!! What a game!! The game, the halftime show, the commercials….all so great! I think my favorite part was Justin Timberlake’s tribute to Prince and HARMONIZED!!!!
We did end up with some last-minute company (family) and fortunately, they aren’t staying for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday 😳? Chile is always a great crowd go to for me, but if chile doesn’t seem to rock your taste buds, and you are serving a crowd, check out this 8 layer lasagna! The Secret is the Borsin Cheese in the bechamel sauce! Holy cheese balls, Batman! Put this recipe in your lineup for a winning event!
Both the meat and béchamel sauces can be made the day before assembly and chilled. The assembled lasagna may also be frozen—thaw before baking.
MAKES ONE 9X13X3″
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
11/2 lb. ground chuck
11/2 lb. ground mild Italian sausage ADD:
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. tomato paste
2 t. each dried basil, thyme, and oregano
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
CALORIE CUTTER….Use ground chicken or turkey and chicken or turkey sausage!
STIR IN; SIMMER:
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup chicken broth or water + 2 T. balsamic vinegar
SHORTCUT……..Skip the tomatoes & broth….Add a jar of your favorite ready-made pasta sauce…AHHHHH!!
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL—
1/4 Cup unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
10 oz. Boursin cheese,
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach 1 egg, beaten
1 lb. oven-ready lasagna sheets, parboiled. *Careful….these guys stick together, so keep them separated.
Preheat oven to 400° with rack in the center. Brown the meats in a large saute pan over medium-high heat; spoon off as much of the fat as possible. Add onions, garlic, tomato paste, and seasonings. Saute until onion softens, about 8 minutes.
Stir in both types of tomatoes, broth, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes; set aside. Saute onion for the béchamel in melted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cayenne, and nutmeg; cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.
Stir in flour to coat; cook 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add Boursin in small pieces and whisk until smooth; season with salt. Set aside 1 cup béchamel for the top of the lasagna. Cool remaining sauce for 10 minutes. Whisk in frozen spinach and egg. Prepare lasagna sheets + have both cheeses ready. Assemble lasagna alternating layers ending with bechamel and parmesan cheeses.
Bake uncovered for 40–45 minutes, or until bubbly and top is golden. Allow lasagna to rest 20–30 minutes before cutting and serving.
LEFTOVERS? Easy….make Lasagna Soup. My Steve used to make ‘Refridgerator Management Soup on Sundays. We were never sure what was in it and I have to admit…a little scary sometimes. Well…..the snowstorm came and you have a TON of leftover lasagna……OH….. So, when life gives you too much lasagna…make lasagna soup!
Here is a delicious recipe for lasagna soup, and if you do have leftover lasagna….Check out the verson of “Leftover Lasagna Soup!”
(Leftover lasagna soup to follow!
Makes 6 servings (8 cups) Total time: 45 minutes
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can chopped Italian-style stewed tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz.)
1 cup dry mafalda pasta
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup diced provolone or part-skim mozzarella
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil
Brown sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic and sauté 3 minutes more.
Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until it wilts, about 1 minute. To serve, place diced cheese in each serving bowl, then ladle soup over to melt. Garnish servings with Parmesan and basil.
LEFTOVER LASAGNA SOUP
4 C. Low sodium chicken brother
1 can chopped Italian style stewed tomatoes in juice
Leftover lasagna (refrigerated or at room temperature)
Place broth in a pot. I prefer to use ready made chicken stock which is more flavorful than broth.
Separate the layers of the lasagna keeping the cheese in a separate pile.
Cut the noodle layers into bite size pieces and add everything to the broth except the cheese.
Cut the cheese up into bite size pieces and place in individual serving bowls.
1 t. each kosher salt, black pepper + garlic powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Trim 3 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, coat with rub and place in a 4-6 qt. slow cooker.
Add 1/2 C. minced onion and sauce to the slow cooker.
Cook on high for 3 hours until chicken is fork tender.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred.
Return shredded chicken to the slow cooker, toss with sauce & serve on kaiser rolls with slaw.
Two great versions of this delicious twist on coleslaw from my favorite Cuisine Magazine…..No need to purchase slaw dressing! One, made with yogurt, super creamy and the other made with a spicy and refreshing vinaigrette. Try them both!
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeño, sliced
Wow!! What a game and I have to admit….I’m usually pretty big on the underdogs! (Maybe because I’m a dog lover!). My Steve is an avid football follower and is glued to any game…Me? I’m all about the food and fun. One of the most wonderful things about these huge events is the cities that are featured. Visiting Philadelphia has to be a highlight of last summer. I’m a tourist all the way! Check out this game memorabilia….
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad….I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!” Oscar Hammerstein’s song resonates holiday for me. “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “In My Own Little Corner” are amongst his other iconic pieces which conjure emotion. Click to listen ….My Favorite Things – Julie Andrews
With the constant stream of men charged with sexual harassment these days, it’s a breath of fresh air to revisit the lives of beautiful people and read quotes which helped make them famous. My favorite Oscar Hammerstein quote is: “A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, A song’s not a song ’til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!” Reading it closely, I now wonder if, in today’s world, someone would misconstrue that as sexual harassment……
In a recent edition of “O The Oprah Magazine, staff and readers were asked to respond to the question of the month; “WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE HOLIDAY SONG?” The responses were varied and personal as you might imagine. They ran the gamut of predictability to absurd, but all a fun quick read. My personal favorite with the response from the Senior Web Editor, Ruth Baron, whose ultimate holiday song was, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” She stated that she grew up Jewish and that song convinced her that all of her “Santa-believing” friends could have anything they wanted.
One of my favorite things at any time of year is cookies. Around the holidays, however, from early November through late December, I’m partial to the gingerbread cookie. The aroma of these delicious little morsels screams, “Welcome home!” to all who enter your kitchen, that is if they aren’t burning :).
Here it is….the Ultimate Gingerbread Cookie. Remember….under-bake, serve warm (reheat in the microwave if you need to before serving) AND they go well with hot spiced apple cider with a splash of rum.
THE ULTIMATE GINGERBREAD COOKIE
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 4 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.
Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
Shape the dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar.
Place the cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. You don’t need to flatten them.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes approximately 30 cookies. Store in an airtight container.
Unbaked cookies can be stored in the freezer and popped in the oven!
Wishing you the happiest of Holidays and health in the New year.
P.S. If you feel like shopping, check out these finds….
LAURA’S FAVORITE THINGS SHOP
ALSO AVAILABLE IN LETTERS TO MYSELF, MY GRAND CHILD, MY MOM, MY DAD, AND MY FUTURE SELF.