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.