Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

I have no idea of the origin of this recipe or who to credit for it. If any readers know, please leave a comment! It has been a favorite at our house for many years, ever since my husband and I were first served it by some fellow college students when they invited us over for dinner one evening. The ingredients are simple, but the combination tastes great.

Hawaiian Haystacks


2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken (boneless/skinless)
4 cups cooked white rice
1 can chow mein noodles (9 1/2 oz.)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red peppers

1/2 chopped green onions
1 can pineapple chunks, drained (20 oz.)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup silvered almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1 jar pimentos (2 oz.), drained and diced, (optional)


Boil chicken in salted water until done; shred into bite-size pieces. Combine soup and chicken broth in a medium saucepan to make gravy. Stir to blend. Add chicken to gravy mixture; simmer 10 minutes or until heated through.

To assemble:
On individual serving plates, layer all ingredients.
First stack rice, then chow mein noodles, then chicken/gravy. Top with tomatoes, celery, peppers, and green onions. Then add pineapple chunks, grated cheddar cheese, almonds, coconut, and pimento.

Serves 8.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Instant Chicken - A Delicious Dinner!

I was shopping last week and ran across a product I hadn't seen in my grocery store before. It might have been there and I just missed it, or maybe it's relatively new. Either way, it looked good:

Perfect for a quick dinner, was my thought. Just add some baked potatoes and a salad, and I'd be ready to go.

The chicken comes pre-seasoned and packed in a nifty oven bag. All you have to do is place the bagged chicken in an open roasting pan, and cut a 1" slit on the top. Done, ready to cook! Here is how the oven bag looks:

The chicken smelled wonderful while it was baking, and tasted absolutely delicious! My 3 at-home sons declared it a success and all of them commented on how moist and well seasoned the chicken was. We ate about half of it the first night and then boned what was left and had plenty to make chicken quesadillas for dinner the second night.

Here is the chicken hot out of the oven:

The chicken wasn't cheap; I think I paid $11.95 for it at my local store. But we fed five people dinner for two nights, so in the end, that's only $6 per dinner for the meat entree, and that is a good price indeed. And you can't beat the easy prep and clean up!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My biggest weakness...

My biggest food weakness is ice cream. I just love ice cream. So as I get older I realized that ice cream doesn't love me back. It's not good for a slower metabolism and it's not good for cholesterol. But my motto with all foods is "everything in moderation". So here's my remedy for loving ice cream. Portion control.

I happened to be in a gelato shop one day and realized they had these cute little cups that they put the gelato in. So I got online looking for them.

I ended up finding a great gelato site that sold them. They sell in large quantity and small quantity. So I purchased what's probably a lifetime supply for me because I wash them and reuse them :-) Besides there are 520 in the box. That's a lot. But I won't be buying any more any time soon. I purchased these:

160cc Gelato Cups

They also carry smaller quantities.

I use the spoons too. I actually use them for everything. I eat yogurt with them too. I think the main reason this works for me is the little spoons. It slows everything down so you enjoy the small amount of ice cream as long as you would a large bowl of it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My new favorite sweet craving snack...

I have two weaknesses when it comes to sweets, one is chocolate. The other is lemon meringue anything.

So when given a choice of the two I will usually go for the lemon meringue if it's available because so often it's not. I always get lemon filled doughnuts because that's about the only place I can get my lemon fix.

I found these in the grocery store the other day and had to try them. They were so good I went back and bought 3 more 4 packs. :-)

These Lemon Meringue Pie Pudding Snack Packs from Hunt's are just the best little 120 calorie sweet. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

What can you do with a Waffle Iron...

Part 1 of a series...

The other day for some reason I woke up thinking. I wonder what else you can make in a waffle iron. I have this one

I purchased it from Chef's Catalog.

We like this waffle mix

Also purchased from Chef's Catalog.
But I got to thinking, what else can you make with a waffle iron. So this is the beginning of my series of experiments to see just what else can be made.

My first experiment was a selfish one. On the weekends my husband and I sometimes like to make biscuits and sausage gravy. But because we are usually also making eggs, hashbrowns and some sort of meat product we will not always do the biscuits and gravy. I did come across a product in my grocery store that I keep several on hand though. It's the Tennessee Pride Sausage Gravy.

You can find it in the freezer section where you find sausage patties and the box costs under $1.50. A bargain and usually will feed both of us. So if you have a larger family you would need to make more than one box. They microwave in about 3 and a half minutes. So super quick too.

My issue however was the biscuits. Even if I make the ones in the can, there's still the preheating of the oven and the 20 or so minutes to cook. By then everything else has been long done and eaten. :-(

So I decided that I was going to see if I could make biscuits in the waffle iron. It would have the nooks and cranny's to hold the sausage gravy and be quick too. So I pulled out my trusty box of Bisquick and started playing.

I know everyone has one on their shelf.

They were fabulous. They came out light and fluffy and golden brown and only took 2 and a half minutes to cook. The waffle iron heats up in just a couple of minutes and doesn't heat up my whole kitchen. So that's a big plus too. And it's more eco-friendly with using power. So it's a win win situation all the way around.

Here's the recipe I came up with. Try it and enjoy. You could put honey or jelly on them too and they would be just as good if you don't like sausage gravy.

1-1/4 cup Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk (in a pinch you could even use water instead)

Stir the batter just until combined. This will be a batter and will be thinner than normal biscuit dough.

I heated my waffle iron to the #4 setting but if yours has a temperature guage it was 400 degrees by my trusty heat sensor.

Before each addition of batter spray with cooking spray like Pam.

Pour in the typical amount required by your waffle iron.

Cook 2 minutes and 30 seconds or until golden brown.

Top with sausage gravy, butter and jelly, honey or anything else you would normally put on a biscuit.

Leave comments on how you've used your biscuit waffles, I'd love to hear the great ideas.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My favorite Risotto Recipe

This recipe I use and sometimes alter the meat that I use in it. Sometimes I use sausage, sometimes hamburger, chicken and sometimes chorizo (Portuguese Sausage) and sometimes just veggies.

2 TBSP butter
2 ounces Pancetta or Bacon
6 ounces meat of your choice
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1-1/2 cups Arborio Rice
3/4 cup white wine
5 cups (3 cans) Chicken broth (low sodium)
1/2 cup baby carrots
2 stalks celery (rough chopped)
3/8 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large heavy saucepan heat the Chicken Broth, with the baby carrots and celery. Bring to a simmer and keep on the heat.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the Pancetta and meat of your choice and saute until browned. Approx. 5 minutes.

To the skillet add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until tender. Make sure you scrape the bottom for any browned bits. Approx 3 minutes.

Add the Arborio Rice and stir to coat the rice.

Add the white wine and simmer until the wine is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. In this recipe wine is necessary and cannot be substituted as the alcohol helps to create the starch for thickening this recipe.

Remove the celery and carrots from the chicken stock.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock to the rice in the skillet and simmer until almost absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Continue adding 1/2 cup at a time and simmering 2 minutes until all stock is used.

Remove from heat, stir in Parmesean cheese and Serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chocolate Pecan Pralines

I really like sweets, I mean really like them. :-)

This one I've done many times. It's all done in the microwave, so no dirty pots and pans.

You need:
2-1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk (*NOT sweetened condensed milk*)
2 TBSP butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 cup chopped pecans
18 whole pecans
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium microwave safe bowl combine sugar and evaporated milk. Stir until blended.

Drop butter pieces into sugar and butter mix. Microwave on high power (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until butter melts. Stir until smooth.

Stir in pecans. Microwave on high power (100%) 6 minutes. Stir. Candy should be soft ball stage. Test by dropping 1/2 tsp into ice water. It should easily form a soft ball in the water but flatten when held in your hand.

Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract (be careful when adding the vanilla it will bubble when added because of the alcohol content) and stir until smooth. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper (I use a very small ice cream disher). Place one whole pecan on the top of each candy. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 18 Yummy Pralines.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Asian Teriyaki Chicken

1/2 cup Teryaki Glaze
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 package chicken tenders (approx. 8)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced gingerroot
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp seaded, minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup bias-sliced scallions

Place 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
Sear Chicken 3-4 minutes each side.
Remove from pan.

Place remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil in skillet
Saute gingerroot, shallots, garlic and jalapeno about 1 minute
Add Teryaki glaze and chicken stock
Replace chicken in pan and simmer 3-5 minutes

Serve over jasmine rice (cooked as per package directions), and sprinkle with scallions

Sunday, June 28, 2009


To make an easy and complete dinner meal, just add this delicious side dish to your favorite meat entree. It combines rice and carrots with tasty chicken flavoring that will please kids or adults.

1 1/2 cups rice (I like Uncle Ben's converted rice)
2 cups grated or chopped carrots (use baby carrots or peeled regular carrots)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sea salt
4 cups water
1 cube Wyler's chicken bouillon or 1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
(note - can substitute 2 cans chicken broth or stock for part of the water, instead of using the bouillon cube/granules)
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In medium sauce pot, bring water, bouillon cube and salt to boiling. Stir in rice, butter and carrot. Bring to boil again. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for approx. 25 min. Stir; sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 5 minutes longer (cheese should be hot and bubbly).

This recipe is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies!

If you like to shop at Costco or other food warehouses, check out their frozen meat entrees that come in larger packages. Simply cook as many meat entree portions as needed for your family, and package the rest in a smaller container for a future meal.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the Meatballs -
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup panko (asian bread crumbs)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large egg - beaten
vegetable oil and olive oil - for frying

For the Sauce -
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 green pepper (chopped)
4 ounces portobello muchrooms (diced or sliced)
1-1/2 tsp garlic - minced
3/4 cup Chianti wine (or beef stock)
1 - 28 ounce can San Marzano Italian Tomatoes (chopped or crushed)
3 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs (optional - for thickening the sauce)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

To serve, 1 pound of thin spaghetti noodles cooked as per directions on package.
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for topping.

Place all of the meatball ingredients except oils in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup warm water. Combine lightly with a fork or your hands and form mixture into 1-1/2" round meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of olive oil and vegetable oil into a large skillet until 1/4" deep. Heat oil to medium low. Very carefully in batches that don't crowd the pan brown the meatballs on all sides carefully turning with a spatula or fork. Should take 8 - 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate to drain while you cook the rest of them.

Discard the oil from the pan but do not clean the pan.

In that same pan you will make the sauce.

For the sauce heat the 1 tbsp of good olive oil, add the onion, peppers and mushrooms and saute over medium heat until the onions are translucent. From 5 - 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Chianti or beef stock and cook on high until all liquid has evaporated. Scraping up the bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients.

Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce, simmer on lowest setting for 25-30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tartar Sauce with a Kick

This one is really easy and pretty tasty.

You can adjust the heat to your liking by adding more or less of the hot sauce and cayenne pepper.

Never had tartar sauce with a kick? Try it you'll like it.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp jar horseradish (called prepared horseradish)
1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1/4 tsp lemon juice
5-10 drops of hot sauce like Tabasco
a pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all together and let sit in the fridge overnight for best results. But can be used immediately. It just won't be as spicy until it's rested.

This is great with fish sticks for a super quick and easy meal. Or with any broiled or baked fish fillets.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today was one of those days when I was too tired to cook. But at the grocery store this week, my son had found a can of Batter Blaster like the one reviewed earlier on this blog.
Tonight's dinner? Pancakes. The kids had a ball playing with the Batter Blaster, and even my hubby ate the pancakes.
But I also wanted to post that I found a cool Squidoo Lens with recipes for nights like tonight, when you need something quick but economical to avoid hitting the fast food restaurant down the street.
Here's the link:

I hope you find a recipe or two to add to your quick-cooking arsenal.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Super Cilantro-Lime Chicken Tacos

When my kids were home from college a couple of weeks ago for a visit, we decided to try out a yummy looking fish taco recipe I'd found in a magazine. The only problem? I don't really like fish very much. So we decided to adapt the recipe for chicken tacos instead, and came up with something so scrumptious that we made it twice in one week! After my son returned home, he experimented some more and found a way to use ground turkey to make another version that he said was equally as delicious and faster to prepare. Here are both versions of our Cilantro-Lime Tacos.


Serves Four People.

Marinade Ingredients:

2 limes - juice and zest
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl.

To Make Chicken Tacos:

Wash and pat dry:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slices.
Put chicken in a ziplock bag and pour marinade into bag.
Put in refrigerator to marinate for approx. 1 hour.

While chicken is marinating, get your outdoor grill ready (or chicken can be prepared in the oven if you prefer.)
Use large sheet of non-stick foil; remove chicken from marinade and discard all but 1 Tbsp. Put chicken pieces in the center of foil sheet; pour 1 Tbsp. reserved marinade over it. Add 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced, on top of the chicken. Take a second sheet of foil, cover the chicken and onion, and fold all the edges together to form a packet. Put chicken filled packet on the grill, and cook for approx. 20 minutes, or until chicken slices are done. Be careful when opening the packet - let the steam escape out one end first.
Oven version - Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 20 min., or until chicken slices are done.


Heat four taco size flour tortillas on the grill, or on stove top.
Fill with 1/4 of the cooked chicken, plus the following toppings:

Thinly sliced red cabbage
Homemade or fresh store bought salsa (not the jarred kind)
Thinly sliced green onion, whites and tops
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sour Cream (if desired)

The combination of topping ingredients with the cilantro-lime marinade is divine!


Cilantro-lime marinade (above)
1 lb. ground turkey

Put turkey and marinade together in ziplock bag; marinate in refrigerator for approx. 1 hour.

Heat skillet to med-high heat; add marinated turkey and cook until done.
Add cooked turkey to heated tortillas; top with the same ingredients above.

The turkey version is quicker to make because you do not need to slice the chicken or grill it. My son said he had enough turkey for more than one meal.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quick Pasta Salad

It's all about quick and easy when you have nine people to feed for dinner! This Quick Pasta Salad recipe has always been a favorite at our house and my kids invariably ask for it when home for a visit. With a minimum of ingredients, no muss or fuss, it's a great Go To recipe for every day and can be made ahead.
1 16 oz. box pasta (we like tri color spirals)
1 bottle good Italian dressing (Newman's own is great)
1 8 oz block cheddar cheese
1 can small black olives
1 box grape tomatoes
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 lb. sliced Lebanon bologna, cut into small pieces
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced

Cook pasta as directed on box; drain and rinse in cold water. Put in large bowl, and add remaining ingredients except Italian dressing. Toss together.
Add enough Italian dressing to suit your family's taste. I usually add part of the bottle to begin with, and sometimes a little more at serving time, if I have made the salad in the morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


photo courtesy Creative Commons - taken by ann-dabney
In Pennsylvania, a corn roast is a big event! The first roasted corn I ever had was at a local fair 20 years ago. The silk is removed, then the corn is soaked in water and put on the grill to roast in the husks. The fire was hot and the corn got yummy grill marks on it in places where the husks had separated a little. It was then dipped in melted butter from a big vat and handed over to me for some serious chowing down. I can't tell you how delicious that corn tasted, straight from the field to the grill in a few hours time. Our little town is surrounded by fields of tall growing corn in the summertime and corn roasts are usually held at the end of summer. But thanks to modern transportation, we can enjoy a Memorial Day corn roast with delicious Florida corn too. In my opinion, at a corn roast, CORN should be the main event and not a side dish. Who needs anything else? Just put on a bib and get ready to sink your teeth into some corny goodness.
What could be an easier Go-To dinner recipe than a simple meal of summer corn for the whole family. Add a refreshing fruit drink or green salad and you're all set.



12 ears farm fresh white, bi-color or yellow sweet corn

Tub of ice water

Melted butter for dipping (or serve butter or margarine table side)

Sea Salt

Carefully pull back husks from corn; remove silk. Pull husks up around corn cobs and secure with rubber band. Put in tub of ice water to soak.

Get BBQ nice and hot; remove corn from ice water, shake off and remove rubber band. Place corn (in husks) on BBQ grill and grill for 12-15 minutes, turned to grill on all sides. The husks get brown and crispy - that's okay!

Pull back husks and discard; either dip corn in butter or serve 'naked' for those who want less fat. Sprinkle with sea salt to bring out that roasted goodness. Bet you can't eat just one! And at a corn roast, you don't have to.

Variation: You can also wrap each husk-covered ear in a piece of aluminum foil if desired for grilling. But that takes half the fun out of it!


My 13 year old son loves pasta, but he hates red sauce! I've had to find other ways to serve pasta that he will eat. One way is with my quick and easy Parmesan Orzo recipe.


1 - 1 lb. box Orzo, Acine Di Pepe, or mini Wagon Wheels pasta

1 bunch Spring Onions (scallions)

1 Ham Steak (we like Hatfield's honey ham or traditional ham steak)

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to Al Dente stage and drain. Finely dice ham steak and chop onions; mix butter, Parmesan, ham, onions and seasonings in with pasta.

This makes a maindish at our house; it's great served with a big green salad on the side. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Quesadillas are a regular menu item at our house, due to the fact that we have a 13 year old boy who thinks the world of them. The nicest thing is, they are so versatile! Quesadillas have appeared on the breakfast, lunch and supper table and rightly deserve the title of Go-To meals in a hurry.


Medium or large size tortillas (we like the thicker and chewier soft taco tortillas)
Shredded Cheese (we like sharp cheddar or a mixture of jack and cheddar; see variations below)

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat; assembly quesadilla and place in skillet. Cook approximately 2 minutes on each side, until cheese is melted.

TOPPINGS: Top your quesadillas with sour cream, chopped green onion, guacamole or whatever your heart desires.


Chicken Quesadillas - Add leftover chicken breast that has been shredded with a fork, along with finely diced purple onion and jack cheese.

Pepper Jack Quesadillas - Add sliced jalapeno or Hungarian peppers with cheddar cheese or shredded Mexican blend cheeses.

Sun-Dried Tomato Quesadillas - Use sundried tomato wraps (tortillas); add shredded Gouda cheese topped with sundried tomatoes (oil packed).

Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas - Use a light colored cheese like mozarella, Muenster or white cheddar; add strips of well-drained roasted red peppers and some finely diced purple onion.

The variations for Quesadillas is endless! Whatever ingredients you have on hand can be added. Try ham and cheese, shredded beef and cheddar, turkey and jack with cilantro - the sky's the limit!

If you have a Quesadilla variation, feel free to post it in the comments section.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I was at the Farmer's Market on Monday and bought three bunches of beautiful spring onions. The ones with big white shiny bulbs and crisp green stems, just begging to be put into a recipe of some kind.
Today I looked in the fridge and realized I had a large container of homemade mashed potatoes left from dinner, so it hit me - make potato pancakes! I used to make them all the time when my kids were little. It's a great way to use up those leftovers.
Here is my version:


6 c. mashed potatoes (the leftover kind from the fridge)
3 large spring onions (scallions)
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Stir all ingredients together well in large mixing bowl.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet until hot.

3. Use 1/2 c. measure to drop pancake sized portions of batter onto hot oil.

4. Cook till golden brown and flip; cook on other side until pancakes are firm.

5. Serve with a side of chunky applesauce.

This makes a meal! Quick, easy, and 5 Yums from my peanut gallery of kids. :-)

Tip - The ingredient portions are adjustable; add more milk if you like a thinner batter, add a little more flour if you want it firmer. Either way, the main ingredient is still potatoes, with lots of fresh onion flavor.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Make Pancakes Fun and Easy

While shopping for groceries at my neighborhood Costco this weekend I came across this interesting product. We thought it looked like fun so we decided to give it a try.

Batter Blaster is a spray can sort of like whipped cream that has pancake batter inside. You can make waffles, pancakes or even Belgian waffles with it.

So Sunday morning we decided to try it out. I have a Belgian Waffle Iron that I love and after heating it like I normally do I put some non-stick spray on both sides, shook the can of Batter Blaster , pointed the nozzle at the waffle iron and sprayed an amount similar to what I would normally add to the waffle iron. I let it cook the normal time and it was nice and brown. Initially I thought that they were a little soft for a waffle but just a few seconds on the plate and they crisped up very nicely.

The taste was very good, like any pancake or waffle batter you might make and there was no mess to clean up. No bowls or measuring cups. Just rinse off the nozzle, put the top back on and put it back in the refrigerator.

Batter Blaster (tm) is an organic pancake and waffle batter. The can that dispenses it is a patent pending process which makes for the fun factor. One can makes approximatley 28 - 4" pancakes. A single serving is 3 pancakes and they are about 112 calories per serving.

We liked them very much. So give them a try if you find them in your grocer's refrigerated case. If you don't find them in your store ask your store manager to get them for you. They may not even know they are available yet.

Check out the Batter Blaster (tm) web site for recipes, and more info including an awesome retro video on how to make your pancakes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Breakfast For Dinner - Great Waffles or Pancakes

I always have buttermilk on hand at my house. I make homemade waffles and pancakes often for breakfast or dinner, and it takes a quart of buttermilk to make them for our big family. Breakfast for dinner, you say? Well, why not? Most people don't have time for a traditional breakfast in the morning anymore. So serve it up at suppertime to get that homey comfort you remember from childhood.
I love this recipe because it's quick, the leftovers can be bagged and used on other busy days, and it's cheap!


Mix together in bowl:
4 cups Flour
4 TBSP. Baking Powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 eggs
1 quart buttermilk
2/3 c. vegetable oil
Stir with wire whisk until mostly smooth; a few small lumps are fine.

Heat your waffle iron and cook as directed until golden brown. Mine takes 2/3 cup of batter, but yours may vary. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup, homemade blueberry topping (see recipe below), or sliced fresh fruit like strawberries or bananas.

- Cool extra waffles on a wire rack; freeze two together in ziplock bags for popping in the toaster instead of toast.

- For smaller families, half the recipe! Nina's version makes a ton.

- Add one of the following to your batter, or sprinkly on waffle when you put in the iron to bake:
Chopped pecans or walnuts
Chocolate chips
Frozen blueberries


Decrease eggs to 4
Use 1/2 c. oil instead of 2/3
Add 1/2 c. sugar to batter with the dry ingredients

Homemade Blueberry Topping

I buy and freeze fresh blueberries in season every summer by tucking each individual blueberry carton in its own ziplock bag for the freezer. They last all year that way, and are quick and easy for incorporating in recipes when you need them.

1 cartoon frozen blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, then lower heat and simmer until berries are 'smushy'. Stir as it cooks; don't let it burn! Add a little more water if needed. Serve warm over waffles or pancakes.

Tidbit's Facts on Nuts...

Since we posted a recipe that we said you could include nuts like walnuts and pecans into I thought I'd add this little tidbit fact.

I keep all of my nuts in my refrigerator.

Why? Well because nuts contain oils and oils can go rancid. So to extend the shelf life of my nuts I keep them in the fridge. They keep much longer that way and seem to have a crisper texture when eating them right from the fridge.

I keep all nuts on hand all the time, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts. So that I can either put them in salads and recipes or just eat a hand full if I need a snack.

If you buy them in bulk at the wholesale places like Costco, Sam's and BJ's they can be really a great buy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quick & Tasty Chicken for 2

This is a great go to recipe for any night. Most people have chicken in their fridge or freezer. A quick and safe thawing method is to place the frozen item in a sink of cold water for 30 minutes. Then check it. If it's not thawed change the water and do another 30 minutes. By then most normal cuts of meat will be thawed.

Plan for 1 hour of marinate time for this recipe, it's worth it though.

You need:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (pounded to 1/3" thickness)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp Lowry's Season Salt
2 cups vegetable oil

To pound the chicken there are many ways, a meat mallet, a meat pounding weight, or even a skillet will do the trick. I put the meat in a zip top bag and put that on a stable surface. Sometimes that surface is the tile floor. Then I pound it to the thickness I need.

If you don't have buttermilk on hand, and most people don't, then don't worry. Most recipes only call for small amounts and the smallest amount you can buy typically is 1 quart. I don't know about you but I don't need 1 quart of buttermilk. An easy remedy is to make your own. I use either milk, half and half or cream and to 1 cup you add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Let it sit on the counter or 5 minutes and viola, buttermilk.

Marinate the chicken after pounding in the buttermilk in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Drain the chicken of all excess buttermilk and dredge in the breadcrumbs and season salt mixture.

In a skillet on high heat bring 1/2" vegetable oil to 350 degrees and fry for 4 minutes each side.

If you prefer to bake this recipe you can do that at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until 180 degrees internal temperature.

Variation on this recipe sent to me by Nina after posting:

You can use chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts, about 3 per person. These would bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or more depending on the size of your chicken tenders.

And you can substitute crushed corn flakes for the seasoned bread crumbs.

I bet you can think of other substitutions too :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pesto Chicken Manicotti

This recipe tastes like it came from a restaurant. I give it 5 YUMS!
Pillsbury cookbook: Casseroles & Slow Cooker


1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce

1-1/2 cups Water

1 tsp Garlic powder

1 package (1-1/4 lb) uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded) (14 tenders)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

14 Uncooked manicotti pasta shells (8 oz)

2 cups Shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

1 Large tomato, chopped (1 cup)

1/3 cup Basil pesto


1. Heat oven to 375. In medium bowl, mix pasta sauce, water and garlic powder. In ungreased 13x9 inch (3 quart) glass baking dish, spread about one-third (1 cup) of the pasta sauce mixture.

2. On a clean cutting board, sprinkle chicken tenders with Italian seasoning. Stuff chicken into uncooked manicotti shells. Place shells on pasta sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce mixture evently over shells, covering completely.

3. Cover with foil. Bake 45-50 minutes or until shells are tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 2-4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with tomato. Top with pesto.

Cook's Notes

If you don't have chicken tenders, you can cut 4 boneless chicken breasts into long strips to make 14 pieces. Also, I used a little more pesto than called for and I put about 3 Tablespoons in the Alfredo sauce mixture.

Cheesy Potatoes

This is my best go to recipe for cheesy potatoes.

They can be cooked two ways.

You can make them through the assembly stage and either bake them, or microwave them to finish them off.

Sometimes I make a batch and put it in individual containers in the fridge and then microwave them as needed for the next few days. I eat them for lunch quite often when I can't find anything else to eat.

They are quick and easy and oh so cheesy.

Here goes the recipe.

2-3 pounds of small red skinned potatoes (about 1-1/2" to 2" in diameter, skins on)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (or any cheese you like really)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover completely with water to about 1/2" over the top of them. Bring to a boil and boil for 15-20 minutes until fork tender.

Once done drain and place in a large bowl. Rough mash them, I use a potato masher and just basically break up the potatoes by mashing each one once.

Add the other ingredients and stir, some of the potato will mix with the cheese and cream to make a thick cheesy sauce.

At this point you can either refrigerate in small containers, freeze or continue to eat at this time.

You can also choose how to finish the cooking.

If you want to bake them you can put them into small ramekins and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or you can put them in small ramekins and microwave for 2 minutes.

Either way it's about the same but in the oven it browns the cheese more.

I love these potatoes and hope you will too.

Our Humble Beginning

This is our beginning of what we hope to be a large database of go to recipes.

Three of us plan to add recipes that are quick and easy, tried and true that can be made with a minimum of effort and ingredients.

You'll find them helpful for anyone on the go.