Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Why Didn't I Make This Sooner?


Every now and then I finally try a recipe that has been in my pile of recipes to try for years, and then I think, "Why in the world did I wait so long to try this recipe? It is awesome!" This is one of those recipes. It has been sitting in a pile of recipes, just waiting to be made. Not only is this recipe easy, but it is also absolutely delicious, and it is a great pantry recipe. I'll bet you already have all (or most) of the ingredients already on hand.

Be sure to read my notes because I made a few small changes (the biggest change being that I added lemon juice).

Chicken Breasts with Herb Basting Sauce


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove crushed garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a bowl, prepare the basting sauce by combining olive oil, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.

Turn chicken breasts in sauce to coat thoroughly. Place skin side up in a shallow baking dish. Cover.

Roast at 425 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan drippings, for about 35 to 56 minutes. Remove to warm platter, spoon pan juices over, and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Source:, submitted by CHRISTYJ. You can find it here.

Notes: I doubled the sauce ingredients (because my family likes a lot of sauce) and added lemon juice as well. So, since I doubled the olive oil from 3 tablespoons to 6 tablespoons, I also used 6 tablespoons of lemon juice (to have equal parts olive oil and lemon juice). I thought the lemon juice added a lot to this recipe. You can skip it and stick with the recipe as originally written, but I really liked the addition of the lemon juice. I also used boneless skinless chicken breasts rather than skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts. This was fantastic. Heads up though, this will stick with you and give you some dragon breath, but it's totally worth it!

Above: Some of us put the sauce in little bowls to dip the chicken in and some of us drizzled extra sauce on top of the chicken. So delicious!

So Good, You Will Have It Again, and Again, and Again...


I already posted this recipe way back in 2010 (have I really been doing this blog for that long?). You can find that original post here. It is a delicious family favorite recipe. We just had it again tonight and it is so good that I thought I should post it again.


Meaty Calzones


1/2 pound ground round
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (10 oz) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella or reduced fat Cheddar cheese
Cooking spray
1 1/3 cups pasta sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain. Return to pan and add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Unroll pizza crust onto an ungreased baking sheet. Cut dough into 4 squares. Press each square into a 6 x 5 inch rectangle. Spoon beef mixture evenly into the center of each rectangle; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bring opposite corners of rectangles together, pinching seams together to seal. Coat tops of calzones with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Place pasta sauce in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at high 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve calzones with warm pasta sauce on top.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 calzone and 1/3 cup pasta sauce).

Nutrition Information: Calories 374; Fat 9.5 g; Protein 26 g; Carb 43.8 g; Fiber 2.9 g; Chol 45 mg; Iron 3.9 mg; Sodium 994 mg; Calc. 176 mg.

Source: Cooking Light Superfast cookbook. You can find the recipe on the MyRecipes website here.

Notes: These are great. Delicious, filling, and satisfying.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Giving a Shout Out!


I need to give a shout out to my brothers. They are quickly becoming seasoned cooks as well (so now, it's not just the gals in our family who like to cook). They all own smokers and have become pros on how to smoke meat. We have all benefited from their fantastic and delicious smoked meats at a number of family dinners. My brother brought a smoked turkey to our Thanksgiving feast that was to die for! It had such an amazing flavor and it was so moist. They now have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel. I definitely suggest you check them out!

Here is the link to their Pig & Beef Smoked Meat Facebook page.

Here is the link to their Pig & Beef Smoked Meat YouTube channel.

Here is the link to their first YouTube video.

Here is the link to their second YouTube video.

Here is the link to their third YouTube video.

Here is the link to their fourth YouTube video.

Those are the videos they have so far, but there will be many more videos and recipes to follow. I highly suggest you check them out...especially if you love meat as much as they do!

Below are some pictures of some of the amazing smoked meats they have made for us:




Here are the links for some recipes that my brothers have made that we have already put on our blog:

Glazed Cajun Meatloaf 

You won't regret checking these out. This is seriously good eatin'!

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Simple Change


Sometimes a simple change can have big results. This recipe is a good example of that. Corn on the cob is one of the best things ever, but this recipe can make it even better.

Kittencal's Milk Boiled Corn on the Cob


6-8 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
1 cup milk
1/4 cup whipping cream (or use 1 1/4 cups milk)
1/3 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/4 cup butter (optional, add to water)


Fill a large stock pot half full with water (use a large enough pot to hold all the corn).

Add in the milk, cream, sugar, and butter.

Bring to a boil, then add in the corn cobs.

Reduce heat to a simmer and allow corn to cook for 7-8 minutes or until just tender, depending on size of corn. Be careful not to overcook the corn, or it will become tough.

Using long tongs, remove and place corn cobs on a plate or in a bowl, then cover with foil under ready to serve.

Serve with salt and butter to taste.

Source: You can find it here.

Notes: This was really good. It just tasted richer and more buttery this way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Time for Breakfast!


Awhile back, I had signed up to bring a breakfast casserole to a church function. It was a crazy week and I didn't have time to go shopping, so I searched through my fridge and cupboards to see what I had on hand and what I could make with it. I found these two recipes and since I had enough in my pantry, I made both of them. They are both similar, yet different. The first baked oatmeal recipe is almost like a streusel or a granola. The second one is creamy, soft oatmeal comfort food. They are both fantastic and I highly suggest that you serve them topped with milk, brown sugar, and even some fresh fruit or berries if you have any on hand.

Baked Oatmeal


3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
Additional milk, for serving


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and butter. Stir into oat mixture until blended.

Spoon into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until set. Serve warm with milk.

Yield: 9 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 serving equals 318 calories, 14 g fat, 78 mg cholesterol, 492 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 78 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, submitted by Arlene Riehl of Dundee, New York. You can find it here.

Notes: This was so delicious. I got a picture of this one because there was some left over after the church function. The only reason it was left over though was because I got there late. If I had gotten there on time, the whole thing would have been gobbled up. This is so yummy.


Above: Still absolutely delicious, even without the berries!

Above: Baked Oatmeal from Quaker straight out of the oven.

Above: You can serve a slice as is...

Above: You can serve it with a little milk or even cream (please, don't skip this! It's soooo good!)


Above: Or, better yet, top it with milk and fresh fruit!

Baked Oatmeal from Quaker


2 cups Quick Quaker Oats, uncooked
1/3 cup white sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
3 1/3 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup egg substitute with yolk (I used 2 eggs)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8-inch square oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine oats and granulated sugar.

In medium bowl, combine milk, egg substitute and vanilla; mix well. Add to oat mixture; mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until center jiggles slightly. Remove from oven to cooling rack.

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top of oatmeal. Using back of spoon, gently spread sugar into a thin layer across entire surface of oatmeal.

Return to oven; bake just until sugar melts, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Set oven to broil. Broil 3 inches from heat until sugar bubbles and browns slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. (Watch carefully to prevent burning. It may be necessary to turn baking dish.) Spoon into bowls to serve.

Recipe Notes:

You can use 2 1/4 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats instead of 2 cups Quick Quaker Oats.

You can use 2 lightly beaten eggs instead of 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute.

Source:, submitted by Quaker Oats. You can find it here.

Notes: As mentioned above, I increased the sugar to 1/2 cup. As recommended in the recipe notes, I also used 2 1/4 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and 2 lightly beaten eggs as substitutes for what was called for in the original recipe. Finally, I didn't melt the brown sugar by broiling it. I just sprinkled the brown sugar on top and called it good. It tasted delicious that way. I also poured a little milk on top as well. This was a delicious recipe and I had someone ask me for the recipe after the church function...because it's that good!


Friday, February 10, 2017

The Ultimate Salad Bar


Last summer (yes, I am behind in my posts), we had a lovely salad bar for one of our Sunday dinners. We made some wonderful homemade salad dressing discoveries. Plus, it's always handy to have a great list of salad bar ideas on hand. So, check out these salad dressing recipes and the massive list of options to have at your next salad bar!

Chef John's Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing


1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces frozen blue cheese, grated


Place mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk in a bowl. Add garlic, black pepper, dry mustard, salt, sugar, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk together thoroughly.

Mix grated blue cheese into the cream base a little at a time to ensure it is evenly incorporated and doesn't clump.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight) to consolidate the flavors.

Source:, recipe by Chef John. You can find it here.


Creamy Italian Dressing I


1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 small onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


In a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, onion, vinegar, and sugar. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Source:, submitted by Cathy. You can find it here.

Famous Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing


1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons ketchup
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


In a blender, combine the minced onion, peanut oil, rice vinegar, water, ginger, celery, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are well-pureed.

Source:, submitted by MARBALET. You can find it here.


Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette


1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper, to taste


Whisk balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Source:, submitted by GumboGirl. You can find it here.


Honey-Lime Vinaigrette


1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil


Blend lime juice, honey, sugar, mustard, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cumin in a blender, stream olive oil and canola oil into the juice mixture while blending to emulsify the oil into the juice.

Source:, submitted by Lisa Weston. You can find it here.

Spaghetti Factory's Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing

Makes about 2 1/2 cups


1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly, finely grated Parmesan cheese


Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk until smooth and creamy.  Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate 1 hour (this will help the flavors develop).  Serve over salad or use as a dip.

Source: Again, I found this on Pinterest and it is from a blog called "Cooking Classy" which you can find here.

Recipe Notes: The author of the recipe noted that if you are in a hurry and don't have time to refrigerate the dressing for an hour prior to serving, you can serve it right away, if necessary.

Notes: This dressing was great.  I ate it on salad...and then I dipped some baby carrots in it...and then we dipped some pizza and bread sticks in it.  Seriously, this stuff was awesome.

Just Like Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch Dressing/Creamy Tomatillo Dressing


1 packet traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not buttermilk)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos, husks removed, cut into quarters
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, roughly cohpped
Juice of 1 lime (1-2 tbsp bottled, if fresh is not available)
1 jalapeno (remove seeds for less heat, keep seeds if you like things spicy)


Place all ingredients together in a blender. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: I found this online a few years ago on a blog very much like my own. I don't remember the particular site, however.

Notes: This dressing is so spot on. It tastes almost exactly like what you get in the restaurant. Be careful though. This makes a lot, and as you can see, it's not low fat!

Ideas for the Ultimate Salad Bar:



Diced or shredded chicken (poached or from a roast chicken)
Diced turkey
Diced ham
Crumbled bacon
Cubed salami
Mini or small shrimp (or a shrimp tray)
Sliced or quartered hard-boiled eggs

A Little Crunch:

Toasted Sliced almonds
Toasted macadamia nuts
Candied pecans or walnuts (if you don't have tree nut allergies to deal with like we do)
French fried onions
Tortilla strips
Toasted pita strips
Crispy chow mein noodles



Shredded or diced Cheddar cheese
Shredded or diced Monterey Jack cheese
Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
Cubed Swiss cheese
Mozzarella (shredded, cubed, or bocconcine fresh mozzarella balls)
Crumbled Feta

Vegetable Toppings:

Baby corn (canned)
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Sliced beets (canned or roasted)
Black, green, or Kalamata olives
Pepperoncini peppers, whole or sliced
Tomato wedges
Grape or cherry tomatoes
Cucumber slices
Diced or sliced zucchini
Diced or sliced avocado
Thinly sliced red onion
Green onions, sliced
Thinsly sliced red, yellow, and/or green peppers
Shredded carrots
Sliced radishes
Chickpeas aka Garbanzo beans
Kidney beans
Cannellini, white, or navy beans
Black beans
Hearts of palm
Artichoke hearts
Bean sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts


Vegetable sides (for dipping):

Sweet peas
Small sweet peppers
Bell pepper slices
Sliced jicama


Fruit salad toppings or sides:

Orange segments, mandarin oranges, or cuties
Quartered strawberries
Sliced kiwi
Diced apples
Diced pears
Dried cranberries
Dried cherries

Lettuce Ideas:

Baby Romaine
Green leaf lettuce
Butter lettuce
Boston lettuce
Sprink mix
Iceberg mix
Coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage (green or purple)

Dressing Ideas:

Ranch dressing (homemade, bottled, or prepared using Hidden Valley Ranch packets)
Italian dressing (prepared using Good Seasons packets)
Blue Cheese dressing
Green Goddess dressing
Thousand Island dressing
Poppy Seed dressing
Balsamic dressing
Asian Sesame dressing
Creamy Tomatillo Ranch dressing
Other favorite homemade or bottled salad dressings

Mexican Themed:

Shredded sweet pork
Crispy tortilla strips
Caramelized onions
Sour cream
Black or pinto beans
Crumbled cotija cheese or Parmesan cheese
Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

Asian Themed:

Chow mein noodles
Mandarin oranges
Shredded poached chicken
Asian Sesame dressing

Fruit Themed:

Romaine lettuce
Favorite nuts
Chicken (or not if you want to keep it more simple)
Poppy Seed dressing 

Did I miss anything? If so, let me know in the comments and I will add it in! What other ideas do you have? However, that right there is a list for a pretty amazing, satisfying, and filling salad bar!

Standing the Test of Time


Some recipes can fade in and out. Sometimes you're in the mood for them, and other times you're not. Some recipes, while fantastic, can somehow be forgotten. Other recipes, you just keep going back to because they become tried and true favorites. They stand the test of time. This is one of those recipes for me. It is so flavorful and versatile, and the leftovers are fantastic.

I have already posted it before on our blog here, here, and here, but it always gets lost in the shuffle of the other recipes that I have posted with it. This time, I'm posting it all by itself so that it can shine and get the recognition it deserves.

Mexican-Style Shredded Beef


1 boneless beef chuck shoulder roast (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup salsa or picante sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch


Place roast in slow cooker. Combine cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and red pepper in a small bowl. Place beef in slow cooker. Pour spices over beef and top with salsa.

Cover; cook on low 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove beef from slow cooker. Trim and discard excess fat from beef. Shred meat with two forks.

Let cooking liquid stand 5 minutes to allow fat to rise. Skim off fat. Blend water and cornstarch until smooth. Wish into liquid in slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes on High until thickened. Return beef to slow cooker. Cover; cook 15-30 minutes or until hot. Adjust seasonings.

Serve as a meat filling for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, or burritos. Leftover beef may be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.

Source: This recipe came from a cookbook called "Simple 1-2-3 One Dish" ISBN-13: 978-1-4127-2323-7. You can find the cookbook on Amazon here.