Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cinnamon Raisin Crisps

Dear Santa:

Please don't forget to stop by our house tonight. I have made your favorite cookies and promise that I won't let The Fly Rod Gawd eat all of them before you arrive. They turned out really good this year. They are crispy and have lots of cinnamon, just the way you like them.

I'll even have some "Jolly" Java waiting for you, and since Rudolph is your designated driver I know you can indulge without reservation.

Drive carefull and I hope you have a lot of good boys and girls to deliver to this year, and I hope you will bring lots of toys.


The Saucy Bird

Cinnamon Raisin Crisps

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup natural raisins
1/3 cup crispy rice cereal

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in yolk and salt. Mix in flour and cinnamon just to blend thoroughly. Mix in raisins and cereal to distribute evenly. On lightly floured surface, roll into a 12" long. Wrap securely and refrigerate at least 1 hour

With sharp knife, cut 1/3" thick slices, and place 1" apart on baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are set and bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool completely.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Express Lane 3 Bean with Bacon Soup

Nothing seems to satisfy like a steaming hot bowl of homemade bean with bacon soup. The problem is that it takes so long to make. I mean, you have to soak the beans overnight and then simmer them for 2 hours to get those tasty little beans soft. The result for me is pure heaven but I rarely have enough time to get a pot together.

Well, not anymore! I am taking a lot of help from the store but the result is a delicious, mouth watering pot of the most soul satisfying soup you have ever had. And the great part is that it only takes as long as the cornbread takes to bake. Really----- I'm not kidding.

I know that there are plenty of good quality condensed soups on the market today, but nothing beats homemade soup. And, with the help of your local market and a quick trip through the express lane you can have this soup quicker than you can say: "Bob's your Uncle!" Not only is it a great stick to your ribs kind of meal, it's really economical, nutitious, it feeds a crowd and I haven't met anyone who doesn't enjoy a nice hot cup of soup, and frankly if I do I'm not sure I would want to know them.

Express Lane 3 Bean with Bacon Soup

1 box Corn Bread mix
12 ounces peppered bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 ham steak, diced
2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
1 (15 ounce) can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can Red Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can Diced flavored Tomatoes

Prepare the Corn Bread according to package directions.

Meanwhile, Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until light brown. With a slotted spoon remove the bacon to paper towels. Leave about 2 tablespoons of fat in the bottom of the pan and discard the rest. Add the onions, carrots and diced ham. Saute until onions are translucent. Add the chicken stock and reduce heat to medium low. Add the all of the beans and the tomatoes to a large bowl, stir to combine. Reserve one cup of the mixture and add the rest to the pot. With a fork or potato masher, mash the reserved bean mixture until mashed but still chunky. Add to the pot, stir well and simmer until ready to serve.

Serve hot over fresh cornbread and enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crispy Crumb Coated Broccoli

I know that this is the time of year that everyone is making those deliciously gooey, sweet decadent treats that we only get once a year, so I thought I would share something that is a little bit on the healthy side.

A few years ago, the Fly Rod Gawd's doctor put him on a diet and it was up to me to figure out ways to get him to eat healthier foods. We all now that if I'd let him he would have chocolate cake for breakfast, pound cake for lunch and cookies for dinner, so my challenge was to get him to "like" green things. Thankfully he was a willing participant and would cheerfully try anything, so my job was a bit easier. But still, getting someone to actually like fruits and vegetables that weren't soaked in sugar or fat wasn't easy.

One day I was watching Lydia's Italian Kitchen and she was making crumb coated vegetables as a side dish and they looked really quick and easy. (I'm all about quick and easy!) I don't remember her exact recipe but this is my interpretation of the recipe I saw her making.

Well, it was a big hit! Not long after I began making his broccoli this way we had to go out of town on business. To my surprise, after eating every meal in a restaurant for a week, The Fly Rod Gawd actually said: "I can't wait to get home, I'm craving broccoli!" I almost fell off my chair.

Since then, I've tried this technique on every vegetable I could think of and it has worked on every thing I have tried. My favorites are broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms and now I make them to put out as snacks or appetizers with a honey mustard dipping sauce.

Crispy Crumb Coated Broccoli

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it hot)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 (10 ounce) box frozen broccoli florets, thawed and patted dry
1/3 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs

Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan over medium high heat. Add the red pepper and garlic. Swirl the pepper and garlic in the oil until you begin to smell the garlic, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli florets and saute until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the Italian bread crumbs. Toss to evenly coat all of the florets and continue cooking until the crumbs are golden brown.

Remove from the pan and serve as a side dish or arrange on a platter with honey mustard dipping sauce for a hot appetizer.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good Thanksgiving dinner. For our family it's Dad's stuffing, Aunt Robin's broccoli casserole, Grand mom's candied sweet potatoes and Carrie's cranberry sauce. There just isn't any room for experimenting when you are competing with the memories of generations.

Now don't get me wrong, I look forward to those same dishes every year and enjoy the memories that those familiar flavors conjure. It's after Thanksgiving that I really begin to have fun. We always get a bird that is absolutely too big for our family, just so I am sure to have plenty of leftovers for experimenting.

When I heard about the blogger recipe contest sponsored by POM Wonderful, I knew I was going to enter. Not only are fresh pomegranates a delicious treat, the health benefits are amazing. Although fresh pomegranates are only available for a few months, POM Wonderful has a wide variety of juices available year round. If you aren't familiar with all of the benefits of fresh pomegranates, visit their website and you'll understand why you can't live without this amazing fruit.

I've had a hard time waiting to enter this tempting sandwich. It has become a favorite in our house and we look forward to it as much as we do Thanksgiving dinner itself. We call it the Nut-N-Fancy, because the day after Thanksgiving when my family asks: "What's for dinner?", I say Nut-N-Fancy!

The recipe is written using leftover turkey, but we have grown to love this sandwich so much that I roast turkey thighs year round just to make this sandwich. If you want to use it as an appetizer, substitute English muffins for the Italian bread and you'll have a unique addition to your holiday table.

Pomegranate Pepper Turkey Sandwiches on Grilled Italian Bread with Walnut Butter and Pomegranate Apple Walnut Slaw

Turkey in Pomegranate Pepper Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
4 to 5 whole pomegranates
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons (Asian) red chili garlic sauce (more if you like things hot)
2 cups cooked and shredded dark turkey meat

Walnut Butter:
1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup cashews
3 tablespoons honey
3 or 4 tablespoons softened butter

Pomegranate Apple Walnut Slaw:
1 medium red apple
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped roasted walnuts
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons softened butter
8 thick slices bakery Italian bread
(optional) Pomegranate arils and parsley for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Juice the pomegranates, reserving about 1/4 cup of the arils. Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice to the onion and peppers. Stir in sugar, a little at a time, until the sauce is slightly sweet. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the chili garlic sauce, stir in the turkey and heat through.

Meanwhile, in a large non stick pan over medium high heat, roast the walnuts and cashews 6-8 minutes until they become fragrant. Add the roasted nuts and honey to the bowl of a food processor. Puree on high until very fine. Add the softened butter a little at a time and purée until a "peanut-buttery" consistency. If the mixture seems too thick add a tablespoon or two of warm water.

Peel, core and slice the apple into thin matchsticks. Place in a medium bowl, add the reserved pomegranate arils, walnuts, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well.

Lighlty spread the softened butter on both sides of each slice of bread. On a stovetop grill pan over medium high heat, grill the bread on each side until toasted but not too dark. Spread some of the walnut butter onto four slices of bread. Top with some of the turkey mixture and some of the pomegranate apple, walnut slaw. Top with the remaining slice of grilled bread. Garnish with pomegranate arils and parsley. Serve warm and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amaretto Peach Cobbler

Thanksgiving is here and that means that Christmas and New Years are not far behind. I love this time of year! When we were kids it seemed that Thanksgiving and Christmas would never get here, and when the time did finally come it never seemed to last long enough.

I don't think it is any accident that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's come so close together. I think the holiday's give us the opportunity to remember the things that are truly important in life.

Thanksgiving is the time for gratitude. It is the time for us to remember everything that we have to be grateful for. It's when we remember and give thanks for those things that we realize how wonderful life can be.

At Christmas, we honor family. Christmas is the time that families get together, some for the only time in the year. It is a time to catch up with each other and remember that no matter what, family is the most important things in our life.

Then comes the New Year. For me it is a time of renewal, and second chances. If we remember all that we have to be grateful for, honor our family and resolve to do better, the new year holds hope and promise.

This holiday season take them time to remember what you have to be grateful for, celebrate and honor your family and resolve to do better

From now until the beginning of the New Year, we will all have too little time and too much to do. People stop by, often unannouced, and being from the south I always have the makings for a fruit cobbler on hand. Most any kind of fruit will work and this easy basic recipe can be dressed up any way you like.

The next time you have unexpected company, try this delicious fruit cobbler. It is a really quick treat that is best served right out of the oven and can be ready before you finish catching up with your friends.

Amaretto Peach Cobbler

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 ounces amaretto
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 can peaches in syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 8x8 pan. Mix in amaretto.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, sugar, milk and baking powder. Pour over butter mixture. Pour peaches ( including syrup), over flour mixture. Bake in preheated over 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with icecream if desired.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Apple Cider Tea Cup Triffle

My sister and I recieved an easy bake oven one year for Christmas and I think that was the beginning of my cooking obsession. We used the oven all the time and did a lot of experimenting.

We tried everything we could think of in that little oven and much to our surprise alot of what we tried came out pretty good. Well at least in the minds of 2 little girls.

The best of our creations made it to the family dinner table and some, like this triffle, I still serve today. I don't know if it is the cake itself, or the unique way that we came up to serve it, but this cake has remained one of my favorites. Of course back then the tea cups weren't as fancy, but the possiblities are endless. The Fly Rod Gawd remembers an apple cake that his Grandmother used to make him and he thinks that this one comes really close.

Try these tea cup triffles at one of your family gatherings this holiday season and see if they don't become a staple in your house.


1 spice Cake Mix
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 large apple, peeled cored and diced
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup prepared vanilla pudding
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350, spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-fat vegetable spray and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.

Place the cake mix, cider, applesauce, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on low, beat until ingredients are just combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and set the pan aside.

Place the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the apple mixture on top of the batter in the pan. Stir a few times to swirl the apple mixuture into the batter. Place the pan in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertips. Remove to a wire rack and cool.

When the cake is cool, cut into small squares. Add 2 tablespoons of prepared pudding to the bottom of teacups. Top with equal amounts of cake squares. Mix the marmalade and the rasins in a microwve proof dish and microwave on high until thinned. Spoon the mixture evenly on top of each tea cup.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

15 minute Ham Steak Dinner

When things get really hectic and you think that you don't have time to have a sit down family dinner, take a little help from your local market and try this tasty 15 minute Ham Steak Dinner.

We have all seen those Ham steaks and if you are like me you pass them up as a dinner item because you always think of them as a breakfast dish. I think they are perfect for a quick weeknight meal. They are fully cooked so all you really have to do is heat them up. Saute them with some frozen broccoli and fresh carrots, add a tasty sauce and some rice or Orzo and you have a quick and delicious dinner.

The next time you are ready to order take out or get some fast food, try this Korean style ham steak recipe and treat yourself to some tasty family time.

Cola-rean Ham Steak Dinner

1 12 ounce can cola
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 Ham steak, cut into bite sized chunks
2 (10 ounce) boxes broccoli florets
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins

In a small saucepan over medium heat add the first 7 ingriedints. Stir to combine and simmer to combine, reduce sauce (about 10 minutes).

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the Ham, broccoli and carrots, continue cooking until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes). Pour the sauce over the ham mixture, toss to combine and serve over orzo or rice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rigatoni Divan

Thank goodness the election is finally over! I am always filled with pride when I cast my vote. I think about all the people who came before me, about all the people who had to fight for the right to vote. There are times when we take our right to vote for granted, and I think that we should all take a little time to remember the people who have struggled and died for our right to vote.

We made history this year and it is one of those days in our collective lives that we will always remember as a nation. We are fortunate to live in such interesting times.

It has been almost 2 years since this campaign season started and now that it is over it is time for us all to come together. What better place to start than at our own dinner tables?

When I was a kid, the dinner table was the place where the whole family got together and talked and laughed and even sometimes argued, but it was a place that we came together as a family.

This dinner is sure to please every member of the family. It comes together quick, you can even make it ahead of time and pop it in to the oven and have a comforting family friendly dinner ready in no time. I used canned chicken, but I have also made it with leftover chicken. And, hey, with Thanksgiving coming Turkey would be great in it too!

Rigatoni Divan

1 1lb. box Rigatoni
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (13 ounce) can chunk chicken breast, drained
2 Tablespoon flour
2 cups milk
2 eggs, lighly beaten
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 (10 ounce) box Broccoli Florets, thawed and drained
1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded parmesean cheese
2 cups plain bread crumbs

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish, set aside

Cook the Rigatoni to al dente according to package directions

heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and chicken, saute about 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Sprinkle the flour evenly into the pan and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk, eggs and mayonnaise. Add the broccoli, nutmeg and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked Rigatoni and pour mixure into the prepared dish.

Mix the remaining cheese with the bread crumbs and spread evenly over the rigatoni mixture. Place in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or unitl the topping has browned. Serve with a green salad and some good conversation!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teriyaki Tenderloin Salad

This week I found some delicious Pork Tenderloins on sale so I bought a bunch. The next thing I had to do was to come up with a lot of different ways to fix them.

Sometimes it is hard to come up with dishes that the whole family will like but this was one that everyone seemed to love. Not just the first time, but The Fly Rod Gawd loved this salad made from the leftovers.

The first night I seasoned the pork loins, then I coated them with a quick and easy teriyaki sauce, roasted them in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes and served them with some steamed rice and some sauted green beans.

There are always 2 pork loins in every package so I always make them both so I can have another dinner partially made for the middle of the week. This week I decided to get a little creative and use up some of the fresh veggies that were hanging around. What I came up with is this great salad with a toasted sesame sweet and sour dressing that went pefectly with the leftover pork loins. Even though we are getting some colder days here in Florida this salad is still quite tasty!

Teriyaki Roasted Pork Loins
Toasted Sesame Sweet and Sour Salad

1 package pork loins
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon 5 pice powder
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Season the pork loins with salt, pepper and 5 spice powder. Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof skillet. When the oil is hot sear the pork loins on all sides, place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the cornstarch, cold water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and ground black pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.

Remove the pork loins from the oven and pour the sauce over the pork loins. Return to medium heat to reduce the sauce. Serve with steamed rice.

Toasted Sesame Sweet and Sour Salad

1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 minced garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1 yellow squash slice thin
1 small yellow onion sliced thin
1 zucchini sliced thin
1/2 cup snow peas coasly chopped
1 red bell pepper julienned
1 10 ounce bag baby spinach

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar, shaking to combine. Add the vegetables to a large bowl cover with the dressing and toss to combine. Arrange the salad on a serving platter, slice the leftover teriyaki tenderloin and arrange on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Potato Crisp Chicken Tenders

When our local Grocery Store has boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for 1.79 lb. I always stock up. Sometimes I think I buy to much but the price is so cheap that I just can't resist. I package them up into smaller portions, freeze them and always have chicken in the freezer.

This week I had a major craving for fried chicken. I've tried making oven fried chicken as a healthier alternative but every one knows fried chicken just isn't fried chicken if it doesn't have that great crispy skin.

Thanks to my friends Tony and Maria for this great recipe that will satisfy any fried chicken craving. The potato buds that they use in the crust is really crispy and I used olive oil to fry it in so it is a least fried in a good for you fat.

It's not as healthy as oven fried chicken, but really do we have to be healthy all the time?

Potato Crisp Chicken Tenders
TFC (Tony's Fried Chicken)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups flour
2 cups Betty Crocker Potato Buds
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons hot paprika
Olive oil for frying
Kosher Salt

Slice chicken breasts into strips, set aside

In a large bowl mix together all dry ingriedients. Remove half of the mixture to a large plastic bag.

Stir water into the bowl, a little at a time, until it has the consistency of thin oatmeal.

Dip the chicken strips into the wet mixture one at a time, add to the bag of dry mix and shake to coat. Place in a single layer onto a clean plate and repeat the process until all chicken pieces are coated. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pour olive oil into a large heavy frying pan to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat to 365 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain and season with kosher salt.

Serve hot with a honey mustard dipping sauce if desired.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I had what I thought was a great idea for a tasty football snack, so I whipped up some quesadilla's for Saturday's college football games. We don't watch Pro ball that much but The Fly Rod Gawd is glued to the t.v. on Saturday's during college football season.

I always try to make snack food so that we can eat in front of the t.v. and watch every game we can find.

Quesadilla's always seem to make it on to the scene on Saturday's, but I was getting tired of making the same old thing so I decided to jazz them up a little.
Well--------they were really good, and I do mean really good, but not the sort of thing that you could eat while cheering on Penn State!

I'm not sure how I could change them to make them suitable for a football snack, but I would definetly make them for a knife and fork dinner sometime.


Messy Dilla's

1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (small can) green chilles
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernals
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 or 2 chipotle peppers, chopped
6 10 inch flour tortilla's
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 rotiserre chicken, skined, boned and shredded
1 cup prepared smokey bbq sauce
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup prepared buttermilk ranch dressing
Heat a the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the chilles, beans, corn, red bell pepper and chipotle peppers. Cook over medium heat until corn begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium low, add a tortilla then layer with some of the cheese, corn mixture, chicken, bbq sauce, spinach, ranch dressing and a little more cheese. Top with another tortilla. Cook about 3 minutes until bottom tortilla is browned then flip and cook until browned.

Slide from the pan, let cool 2 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Red Beans and Rice Soup

Fall in the mountains is such a beautiful time, especially if your from Florida. I love the fall and look forward to our September trip to Blue Ridge. It's an early taste of the fall colors and the cool crisp air of the blue ridge mountains. The Fly Rod Gawd loves the fall fishing, it reminds him of his childhood in Pennsylvania.
This year we took one of our best friends and her really cute dog. Her puppy is only 12 weeks old and she is soooo cute.

Here she is with The Fly Rod Gawd ready to go fishing.

We loved her so much that we are going to get one of her puppies. So meet Splash the mother of my dog!

Another thing that I love about fall is the great soups that seem to just hit the spot. We always make a big pot of soup when we go to the mountains. It's always ready to heat up for a quick lunch and what is better on a cool crisp day than a bowl of hot soup and a piece of crusty bread?

This trip we made Emerils Creole Red Beans and Rice Soup. It's delicious and hit the spot!

Emerils Creole Red Beans and Rice Soup

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 whole chicken, (about 4 pounds) cut into 8 pieces and skin removed
Emeril's Essence
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
Pinch cayenne
1 pound dried red beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained
1 gallon chicken stock
1/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (green tops only)

In a large heavy stockpot, heat the oil. Season the chicken with Emeril's Essence. When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pot and sear on each side until light brown, about 3 minutes per side. Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot and season to taste with Emeril's Essence. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft, about for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, cayenne and red beans and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully remove the chicken pieces from the pot and separate the meat from the bones with two forks, or a knife and fork. Discard the bones and return the meat to the pot, stirring to incorporate the meat into the soup.

Add the rice to the pot and cook until tender, about 15 - 20 minutes. Re-season the soup as needed and ladle into soup bowls, garnishing each serving with green onions. Serve with hot French bread.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Smokey Orange Pork Chops

Well, the storm danger seems to have passed and we are long overdue for a trip to the mountains. My husband (The Fly Rod Gawd) and I have a great little cabin in Blue Ridge, GA.

October is the best time at the cabin. The air is getting crisp and cool and the leaves are just beginning to change color. Fall is my favorite time of year and I am so grateful to be able to spend a little time in the woods.

These pork chops are one of my favorite things to cook when fall is just around the corner. The smell of the burnt orange and the spicy sweetness of the sauce on these chops is the perfect transition from summer to fall.

You can adjust the amount of horseradish in the sauce to suite your family, but don't be surprised if you eventually use the whole amount. Them smokey sweetness of the sauce seems to temper the heat of the horseradish. Serve them over a bed of jasmine rice and dig in!

Smokey Orange Pork Chops

1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup hickory smoked bbq sauce
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
4 bonless pork loin chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped shallot
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest

In a small saucepan on medium heat combine the marmalade, bbq sauce and horseradish. Cook over medium heat until thickened slightly. Reduce heat to low.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Season the chops with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot add the pork chops. Cook the chops about 4 minutes, or until browned, turn and cook an additional 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and the zest and deglaze the pan. Return the chops to the deglazed pan. Spoon some of the smokey orange sauce over the chops cook until sauce has reduced about 3 minutes. Serve over jasmine rice and Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yikes!! Ike!!

If you've lived in Florida all of your life you know that the worst time for hurricanes is September. Even though the season starts earlier, it seems like the worst storms come in September. You learn to watch the weather closely, knowing that the tropical updates on the weather channel are at 5 and 11. Even if the storms don't look like they are coming your way, you still make some preparations and keep a close eye, you just never know.

We have been getting gusty winds and rain, first from Gustav and now from Ike, for more than a week. Even though we weren't in any danger the wind gusts knock down tree branches. Good for the trees, bad for my back!

With all the tension from hurricane watching and the sore muscles from yard clean up, I never feel much like cooking. This is the time of year I always keep a few pre-made dishes in the frig. Sometimes they are heat and serve and sometimes they can be served cold.

This ditallini pasta salad is one of those "served cold" dishes. I always make a big batch of the basic recipe and when dinner time comes I can add some canned tuna or chicken (hurricane supplies) add a tossed salad and I have a really tasty cold dinner. Perfect for the hot summer and hurricane watching.

Ditallini Pasta Salad with Ginger Garlic Mayo

1 1b box Ditallini Pasta
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cloves peeled garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow squash
1/2 cup diced zuccini
1/2 cup coarsely chopped snow peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the eggs to cook with the pasta. Drain, rinse and cool.

Meanwhile, add the mayo, ginger, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To a large bowl add the onion, bell pepper, squash, zuccini, snow peas, and cooled pasta. Peel the eggs, coarsely chop and add to the bowl. Add the ginger mayo and toss to coat.

Refrigerate for at least one hour. To make this a main course salad add in a drained can of tuna, salmon or chicken. Garnish with copped chive if desired

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kraft Eat Happy Recipe Contest

So, this is the exciting news that I told you about last week. I won my first major contest with these "Cheddar Broccoli Corn Dog Muffin Bites! The prize is $5200 dollars in groceries and $5000 in cash for college scolarships. WooooooHoooooo!!!!!

The contest was sponsored by Kraft Foods and Publix Supermarkets and the challenge was to create a kid friendly recipe using at least one of Krafts Sensible Solutions products. They described "kid friendly" as being a recipe that you enjoyed making with your kids or one that your kids enjoyed eating.

When I looked over the list of Krafts Sensible Solutions products, I saw the Oscar Meyer Hot dogs and thought what kid doesn't like corn dogs? For that matter I don't know too many adults that wouldn't go for a good corn dog now and then. The broccoli in the cornbread is a good way to get a few extra veggies into the kids and it gives the cornbread a really nice creamy texture.

By using the mini muffin pan the result is a great little 2 bite snack that is a perfect after school snack. With the new football season starting, they are also really good to serve at your next football party. These little cuties are really fun to make with your kids and they are so easy that the older kids could make them by themselves!

For obvious reasons these have become my favorite snack!!

Cheddar Broccoli Corn Dog Muffin Bites

Non Stick Cooking Spray
1 (8.5 ounce) package corn bread muffin mix
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese
4 OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dogs
Ketchup and mustard if desired
Sensible Solutions:
KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese, OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dogs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray, set aside.

In large bowl, combine muffin mix, broccoli, eggs and milk. With a tablespoon divide the batter evenly into the 24 mini muffin. Cut each OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dog into 18 pieces and divide evenly on top of the muffin batter. Sprinkle the KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese evenly on top of the wiener pieces and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
Serve warm with ketchup and mustard if desired.

Makes 24 mini muffin bites.

If you would like smaller muffin bites divide the batter among 48 mini muffin cups, increase the KRAFT 2% Milk Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese to 2 cups and use 8 OSCAR MAYER 98% Fat Free Hot Dogs.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Featured Blogger Recipe

Carrot Cranberry Oatmeal Stout Breakfast Cookies

This is a hearty cookie that I keep on hand ...

See Carrot Cranberry Oatmeal Stout Breakfast Cookies on Key Ingredient.

This is a recipe that I posted some time ago, but I thought that it deserved to be re posted. I recieved an e-mail from Haley at the Key Ingriedient, asking permission to feature my recipe on their web site. Well, of course I said yes and I couldn't be more proud.

These make ahead breakfast cookies are really easy and they are one of my favorite things to keep on hand. They are chock full of good for you things and they are so easy to grab as you are running out the door to start your day. They are great for an after school snack and you can feel good that the kids are eating cookies that may actually have some nutritional value.

Thanks again to the Key Ingriedient, I'll display my featured food blogger badge with pride!