Week Number 40

Cooking is my passion and baking is a distant hobby. But, I can be tempted to bake if I find a quick, low sugar, easy step method using ingredients of which I’m fond.

Recipes which include pumpkin, chocolate and nuts do grab my attention. This pumpkin, gluten-free, single serving, delightful cake is a win. It is smooth and creamy, the lightly, spice filled taste of pumpkin mixed with melted chocolate and the crunch of pecans was a perfect combination.

It was whipped up easily, popped into the oven and I was enjoying the taste about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Single Serving Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cakes, Primal Palate (Gluten-free)

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cake

¼ C. pumpkin puree

1/8 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 pinch salt

½ tbl. coconut oil (melted)

1 tsp. almond milk

1 tbls. coconut flour

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. dark choc. chips

1 tbsp. pecans (roughly chopped)

1. Wisk together in a small bowl: pumpkin puree, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt

2. Add the almond milk, coconut oil, honey and mix to combine.

3. Wisk in the coconut flour rapidly so no lumps remain. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts or pour the

batter into a greased ramekin and sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts on top.

Place in 350 degree oven or toaster oven for about 8 minutes.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

Rachel Ray

1 ½ to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or red skinned baby potatoes

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced

4 large cloves of garlic, cracked away from skin

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, not the kind which is grated and in a can.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 plum tomatoes

15-20 fresh basil leaves

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the fingerling potatoes in half or quarters depending on the size.

Coat a large rectangular pan (with sides) with coconut oil. Place the potatoes, peppers, onions and garlic in the pan. Sprinkle the crushed red pepper flakes over the vegetables.

Coat the vegetables with melted coconut oil or olive oil 2 to 3 tablespoons. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Place the potatoes in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender. Toss the mixture 15 minutes into cooking.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the chicken. Roll out a two foot piece of wax paper or plastic wrap near your stove top. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. The pan needs to be hot.

Pour the shredded cheese on top of the plastic wrap. Season your chicken breasts with pepper but not salt. There is enough salt in the shredded cheese.

Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat liberally, both sides of chicken with the cheese.

Coating the Chicken With Parmesan Cheese

Add 1 tbsp. coconut oil to skillet. Swirl pan to cover with oil.

Set the chicken breasts in the pan and cook for 8 minutes on each side until the breasts form an even golden casing.

While the chicken is cooking, mix together the chopped tomatoes and basil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove chicken from skillet and top with spoonful of tomato/basil mixture. Serve with the roasted potatoes.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken With Fingerling Potatoes

Mixed Beans with Many Spices, Plenty, pg. 192

3 tbsp. coconut oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tsp. tomato paste

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. coriander

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cardamom

Pinch of ground cloves

Salt and black pepper

One 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes with their juices

1 tsp. sugar

1 ½ cups sugar snap peas

1 cup string beans

1 ¾ cup fava beans

Heat coconut oil in pan. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat, stir and add garlic. Cook for 1 more minute. Add spices, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Keep stirring and cooking for another minute.

Add tomatoes, peas, beans and sugar. Stir to mix. Bring this mixture to a boil, cover and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper as you like.

Mixed Beans with Spice

My family basically fell in love with this next recipe and for good reason, the taste is incredibly good. The other benefit is cooking it in the crock-pot. The mix of salt with a touch of sweet, plus the spice of cloves, the hardiness of protein the comfort of lentils matched with slow cooking goodness.

Beef and Lentils, Fix it and Forget it, pg. 113

1 medium onion

10 whole cloves

5 cups water

1 lb. lentils

1 tsp. salt

1 bay leaf

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup molasses

2 tbsp.

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 onion, finely chopped

1. Stick cloves into the whole onion. Set aside

2. Cook the lentils, studded onion, salt, and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes

3. In a crock pot, combine all the remaining ingredients. Stir in the simmered ingredients from the


4. If mixture looks dry add additional water.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Top with sour cream, (or whole milk yogurt) and salsa.

Slow Cooker Beef and Lentils

Weeks 37, 38, and 39

Our family just enjoyed time away in Oxford, England this summer.The main purpose of the trip was the fact my husband Dan was enrolled in a five week Business Apologetics course. He departed without us in the beginning of June and we joined him two weeks later to explore and immerse ourselves in the city. We met a few neighbors in our flat, had a guest stay with us for a week and cooked many meals in our sun-filled kitchen. The kids and I signed up for a vegetarian barbecue cooking class with Sophie’s Cookery School (in Oxford) where we learned eggplants are called ‘aubergines’ It was our previous trip to Europe in 2013 which inspired this New Eats-No Repeats blog. Reminiscing is very sweet.

Sophie’s Cookery School

Sharing a meal together in the kitchen of our flat with our friend Lars

That being said….here are more no-repeat meals.

Jerk Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Cooking Light, August 2014

1 1/3 cups sliced green onions divided

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice divided

2 ½ tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. peeled, minced fresh ginger

1 ¼ tsp. ground allspice

½ tsp. black pepper

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 bay leaves, finely crumbled

1 small habanero pepper, chopped

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts havles

2 (1 inch) slices fresh pineapple

½ cup diced red pepper

¾ tsp. salt

1 .In a food processor or blender, place 2 tbsp. lime juice, 2 tbsp. olive oil, brown sugar and onions and the next 8 ingredients. Blend till smooth.

2. Pour this mixture into a large ziplock bag. Place the chicken in the bag, seal the top and lay the bag in the refrigerator to marinate for one hour. Flip the bag occasionally to coat evenly.

3. Preheat the grill to a medium-high temperature.

4. Coat the grill with olive oil, place pineapple on the grill and cook for 6-7 minutes. Turn the pineapple

Once during the process of cooking. Remove pineapple from heat, cool for 5 minutes and chop and

place in medium bowl.

5. to the chopped pineapple add the remaining 1/1/2 tsps. oil, bell pepper, 1 tbsp. lime juice and ¼ tsp.

salt. Mix together these ingredients.

6. Shake the remaining ½ tsp. salt on the chicken. Place chicken on grill and cook 5-7 minutes on each

Side until chicken is cooked though. Serve chicken with the pineapple salsa.

Pineapple Jerk Chicken served with Wild Rice and chopped Brussels Sprouts

Cilantro Burgers with Sriracha Mayo, Cooking Light, August 2014

1 lb. grass fed ground sirloin

3 tbsp. chopped, fresh cilantro

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Hamburg rolls

3 tbsp. mayo

1 tbsp. Sriracha

1/3 cup cilantro sprigs

Place ground sirloin in bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix until just combined.

Divide the mixture into four equal size portions and shape into 1/2 –inch-thick patties.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Coat grill with olive oil. Place patties on grill and cook until desired doneness. Add sliced and separated rolls to grill to toast.

Combine mayonnaise and Sriracha, stir to mix. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayo on the bottom of each roll, top with beef patty, cilantro and top bun.

Sriracha Hot Sauce, Recipe source: WHITE ON RICE COUPLE.COM

This sauce was a snap to make. It is a combination of hot, sweet and is full of garlicky flavor. Double the batch and keep some on hand to add flavor to eggs, rice, shrimp or anything you wish to liven up and give interesting flavor and heat.

¼ cup red, minced habanero chili peppers (about 4 peppers in total)

5-6 medium garlic cloves, minced or crushed

2 medium shallots, minced

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1-15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 tbsp. fish sauce or Soy Sauce

3 tbsp. rice vinegar

1-2 tbsp. sugar

1. Mince the chili peppers until very fine.

2. Heat the coconut oil in a sauce pan and add the minced shallots and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes on

medium-high heat. Be careful not to brown/burn the garlic and shallots.

3. Add tomato sauce and minced peppers. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the soy sauce,

Vinegar, and sugar. Mix and continue to let simmer for another 5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

5. Transfer to food processor or blender and blend until smooth and liquid.

6. Taste the sauce and customize to your specific taste adding salt, more sugar, vinegar or water.

7. The sauce can be stored in an air tight jar in the refrigerator for 1-2weeks.

The next few recipes include fennel as the main ingredient. I have to admit, I love this interesting, sweet vegetable made of overlapping layers. If you serve it raw it has a slight liquorice taste which adds interest to salads. Cook it, and it tames down to a taste akin to celery. I discovered this vegetable is packed with vitamin C, fiber and potassium. It can be used in many different ways in a great variety of recipes

Baked Fennel with Sage, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking, pg. 105

1 tsp. Salt

3 bulbs fennel, trimmed (about 2 pounds)

8 oz. grated Italian Fontina

½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tbsp. Unsalted butter

6 large fresh sage leaves chopped

Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the fennel in half and remove the core. Slice it ½ inch thick.

Add the fennel slices to the boiling water and cook until tender about 20 minutes. Rinse and drain.

Toss together the two grated cheeses. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Place the cooked fennel in the baking dish and sprinkle with salt.

Scatter the sage on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until bubbly and browned.

Completed Baked Fennel and Sage Dish

Fennel and Onion Chicken, Rachel Ray Magazine, Pg. 88 February 2010

¼ cup coconut oil

2 pieces skinless, boneless breasts of chicken

4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

1 tsp. poultry seasoning,1 tsp. fennel seeds

2 tbsp. flour, plus more for coating

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup white wine

3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. pine nuts

1 ½ cups chicken stock

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1.Add two tablespoons coconut oil to a medium-high heat skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning and fennel seeds. Coat the chicken lightly with flour and place in skillet. Cook, turning once, until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.

2. Add the two other tablespoons coconut oil, the fennel, fennel fronds, onion and garlic to pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 9-10 minutes. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken on top, cover and cook through for about 5 minutes.

3. Place butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Melt, add the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the 2 tbsp. flour, whisk in chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Top with parsley.

Completed Chicken and Fennel

Zucchini Ribbons with Almond Pesto, Smitten Kitchen, pg. 57 Family Award Winner

This salad is crunchy, delicate and coated with a perfect mix of garlic, olive oil and chopped almonds. The fact, no cooking is involved is an added plus.

This dish served double duty, as the next day I topped my chicken salad with a spoonful of this zucchini mix before rolling up my wrap sandwich. So long lettuce! This replacement gives the perfect amount of crunch and flavor.

½ cup almonds, toasted and cooled

¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 small garlic clove peeled and crushed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp. salt

1/3 c. olive oil

2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced thin

Make the Pesto

Grind up, almonds, garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan in food processor until finely chopped.

Add the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pulse a few times. Pour the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl. Tilt the bowl a few times to let the mix roll up and around the sides.

Cut and Prepare the Zucchini

Use a vegetable peeler to work from the top to the bottom of each zucchini to slice into ribbons. (about 1/16 inch thick) Place the ribbons in the bowl coated with dressing.

Toss together the Salad

Using freshly washed hands, toss the zucchini to coat them evenly as possibly with the dressing. Serve at room temperature.

Zucchini Ribbons Served with Mustard Milanese Chicken

Mustard Milanese with Arugula Fennel Salad, Smitten Kitchen, pg.169

The Chicken

2 boneless, skinless breasts



½ c. flour

1 large egg white

2 tbsp. smooth Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. oregano

½ tsp. lemon zest

1 ½ cups coarse, lightweight bread crumbs, such as panko

Coconut oil for frying

The Salad

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp. whole seed or course Dijon mustard

¼ c. olive oil

5 oz. baby arugula leaves

Small fennel bulb

Start with Chicken

1. Cut all the way through the chicken breasts making four thin cutlets.

2. Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with meat pounder.

( I personally use the back of a heavy spoon to do the trick.)

3. Sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper.

4. Use three plates to hold the ingredients you will need to dreg your chicken through.

a. Pour the flour into one plate.

b. Whisk together the egg white, smooth Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic and lemon zest. Pour this

mixture into the second plate.

c. In the third plate spread out the breadcrumbs.

5. Dreg the chicken lightly through the flour, then heavily into the egg-white-mustard mixture and

generously in the breadcrumbs.

Place the breaded cutlets on a tray and chill for one hour. They can be kept in the refrigerator covered, up to one day.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

6. Cook the chicken in coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until golden-brown on all sides.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drain on paper towels. Transfer to oven to keep warm.

Prepare Salad

Whisk, lemon juice, and mustards together and then whisk in olive oil in a thin, steady stream. Pour three quarters of the dressing in a large bowl. (save remaining dressing to drizzle on top of chicken breast) Add the arugula to the bowl. Shave fennel bulb or thinly slice the fennel with a sharp knife, add this to the arugula.


Toss the salad, arrange one piece of chicken from the warm oven onto a plate. Drizzle a few drops of the reserved salad dressing onto the chicken. Pile the salad on top and serve immediately.

Chicken Mustard Milanese

Slow-cooker Black Bean Ragout, Smitten Kitchen, pg. 137

Bean Ragout

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and soaked

(soak for at least a few hours and use your soaking liquid as your cooking water)

1 dried chili

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tsp. salt

10 cups water

1 tbsp. lime juice or sherry vinegar

Cumin Crema

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 cup sour cream

Lime- Pickled Red Onions

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ medium red onion, finely diced


In a crock pot put:

All the bean rag-out ingredients except the lime juice or vinegar. (it does not make any difference how you layer the ingredients)

Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender ( about 3 to 6 hours)

To make the crema:

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin and sour cream.

To make the lime pickled onions:

Mix the lime juice, onion, and a dash of salt. Let this mixture sit for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the beans are cooked through, stir in the lime vinegar. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Ladle over cooked brown rice and spoon on the lime- pickled onions and cumin crema.

Black Bean Ragout

Tomato Glazed Meatballs with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes, Smitten Kitchen. Pg.187

The Glaze

4 tsp. coconut oil

¼ c. tomato paste

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

2 tsp. Honey

2 tsp. Worcester sauce

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. Salt

Combine the ingredients into a small saucepan. Simmer and whisk for about 2-3 minutes. Set mixture aside.

The Meatballs

2 slices sandwich bread

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 medium stalk celery, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

Coconut oil for cooking

1 tsp. salt, plus more for vegetables


2 pounds grass fed ground beef

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

For the Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the bread into the food processor and blend into crumbs and pour crumbs into a large bowl.

Add the onion, garlic and carrot into the processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, coat the bottom with coconut oil.

Add the finely chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to brown, 10-15 minutes.

Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl containing the breadcrumbs. Add the remaining ingredients.

Stir to mix. With wet hands form the mixture into twelve, 3-inch meatballs.

Bake the Meatballs

Place the meatballs in a baking dish so they do not touch each other. Drizzle or brush each meatball with a tsp. or so of the tomato glaze. Bake meatballs so they are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

8 tbsp. melted and browned butter

1 c. buttermilk

1-2 tsp. salt


Place potatoes into a pot of boiling water. Bring to boil and then turn down heat to simmer. Cook potatoes for about 20-30 minutes. Drain potatoes, wipe the pot dry.

Mash potatoes well in the pot, add brown butter, buttermilk, and salt, pepper to taste.

Serve the meatballs onto top of the browned butter mashed potatoes. Add a little extra of the glaze on top of each meatball.

Tomato Glazed Meatballs, Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes with Red Lentils with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Mushroom Mystery Casserole Broccoli Forest, pg.201

I realize casseroles (or hot dishes, if you are from the Midwest) are not in vogue in the foodie world right now but I like to have one every-once-in-a-while. Casseroles are comforting, nostalgic, and have interesting titles which include words like mystery and surprise. This dish was creamy, cheesy with a perfect crunch of home made croutons on the top. The oven has a magical way of melting, melding and transforming simple ingredients into a perfectly tasty dish.

1 Tbsp. butter

1 cup chopped onion

¾ tsp. salt

2 stalks celery, minced

¼ tsp. dry mustard, thyme

2 lbs. mushroom, coarsely chopped

Lots of pepper

2 Tbs. dry sherry

4 healthy slices crisp buttered whole grain toast, cut into cubes

½ cup packed grated sharp cheddar cheese

4 eggs

1 cup milk

Paprika for the top

1. Sauté’ the onions and celery in a large heavy skillet using the butter, herbs and salt. Cook until the onions are clear and the celery just tender.

2. Add the mushrooms and pepper. Sauté’ over medium –high heat, stirring frequently for a bout 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the flour gradually over the mushroom mixture, mixing constantly. Keep mixing and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add sherry and stir, cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

4.Spread the sauté in a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the toast cubes and cheese on top.

5. Beat together the eggs and milk to make a froth. Pour this custard over the top. Dust generously with paprika and bake uncovered for 45 minutes until firm and browned.

Mushroom Mystery Casserole

Upside Down Vegetable Cake, Broccoli Forest, pg. 202


4 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. wheat germ

1 c. chopped onion

2 cups chopped broccoli- small pieces

1/1/2 cups chopped cauliflower-small pieces

1 large chopped carrot-small pieces

1 minced green pepper

1 cup raw corn

¼ tsp. salt

1 packed cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese

a. Melt 3 tbsp. butter. Pour it into a 9×13 dish pan and distribute it evenly and sprinkle in the wheat germ.

b. Sauté the onion in the remaining butter in a large skillet for 5 minutes. Add the chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and green pepper sauté until tender.

c. Add corn and green pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes.

d.Spread the vegetables into the prepared 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the cheese over them to let it nicely melt.

My neighbor Gaye came over to give me a hand in the kitchen. Gaye never says “no” to help and she has taught me to do the same.

Many hands make light work and, in the process, we build relationships.


1 cup unbleached white flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. each- basil-thyme-oregano-dill

¼ c. grated parmesan cheese

½ c. wheat germ

2 large eggs, beaten

¾ c. buttermilk

¼ c. melted butter

a. Sift together flours, salt herbs and soda. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and wheat germ. Mix this together and make a well in the center.

b. Beat together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter.

c. Pour the liquid mixture into the well in the center of the dry ingredients. Mix well. Be aware the batter will be stiff.

d. Carefully, spread the batter over the cheese coated vegetables. Use a blunt large knife to distribute evenly as possible.

e. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Have a large serving tray on the ready. Invert the hot cake firmly onto the tray and serve.

Completed Upside Down Vegetable Cake

Week 36 No Repeat Meals

During the year of cooking no repeat meals I dared to have our family partake in a cleanse which demanded a very healthful eating style while in the midst of continuing cooking and serving interesting fare for this blog.

That being said, I do have to put in a plug for a wonderful online cookbook put out by the Standard Process Company. This resource greatly helped to ensure fantastic, easy meals that were not time consuming, delicious and a bit different. Even now, I still go to this web site for ideas for healthful meals. It contains lots of good information on a variety of food choice topics. It is just another “tool in the toolbox” to help clean-up our eating habits.

Baked Chicken with Blueberry Vinaigrette, Standard Process 21 Day Purification Cookbook (online pg. 120)

4 tbsp. coconut oil, divided

4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

¼ C. shallots, sliced thin

2 C. blueberries

½ C. balsamic vinegar

1/8 C. water

1 tbsp. rosemary chopped

Sea salt and ground pepper

Turn oven on to 350 degrees.

In a large cooking pan place 2 tbsp. coconut oil. Turn pan onto medium-high. Sear chicken breasts on both sides until golden-brown, about 1- 2 minutes.

Place chicken breasts into a baking dish and set aside. Put the two remaining tbsp. coconut oil along with the sliced shallots into the cooking pan. Stir over medium heat until shallots are caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Add Blueberries, cook 1 minute. Next, add the water, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Simmer this mixture until the blueberries wilt a bit, about 10 minutes. Pour the blueberry mixture over the chicken, place in oven for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Cinnamon Mango Red Onion Rice, Margie Clancy

My sister-in-law Margie came up with this tasty rice dish and instructed me in how to put it together. Great combination of interesting ingredients.

1 cup white or brown rice

2 cups water

Cook rice in water according to package directions or until water is absorbed, rice tender.

1 small red onion chopped

1-2 tsp. cinnamon

1 mango peeled and sliced into pieces.

Crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Sea salt to taste

Cook the rice then add the chopped onion, cinnamon and salt and mix. Right before serving add the fresh mango pieces.

Completed Mango Rice and Blueberry Chicken Meal

Coconut Vegetable Curry, Standard Process 21 Day Purification Cookbook, online pg. 121

2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tbsp. fresh ginger chopped

1/1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 medium carrots chopped

½ tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. coriander

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. tomato paste

1 cup coconut milk

¼-1/2 C. water

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 medium yellow squash, diced

½ C. cilantro

Sea salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, place the coconut oil and stir till it melts over medium heat.

Add the cumin, ginger and mustard. Stir for 1 minute.

Add the carrots, turmeric, curry powder and coriander. Let this mixture cook for about 1 minute.

Stir well and add coconut milk, tomato paste, and water. Stir well. Add the carrots and let them simmer for about 8-10 minutes until they are tender. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and let them simmer in the mixture for 5-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper and serve.

Coconut Vegetable Curry

Chicken Mango and Black Beans with Lime-Almond Dressing, Giada’s Feel Good Food, pg. 124

Love this salad! A unique mix of ingredients and no mayo. Our whole family loved it.

Family Award Winner

The Salad

2 cups diced cooked chicken breast

1 large mango, peeled seeded and cut into cubes

2 cucumbers peeled and sliced

1 can black beans rinsed and drained

2/3 C. sliced almonds toasted

½ C. lightly packed mint leaves

The Dressing

Grated zest of one large lime

1/3 C. fresh lime juice

¼ C. honey

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/3 C. creamy almond butter

Place the chicken, mango, black beans, almonds, cucumbers and mint leaves in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, mustard, honey, mint, salt and pepper. Add the almond butter and stir until the dressing has a smooth and thick consistency.

Mix the dressing into the salad ingredients and toss to coat.

Indian Tomato Soup with Coconut, Still Life with Menu Cookbook, pg. 138

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 cups boiling water

1/3 C. sesame seeds

½ tsp. ground cumin

¾ tsp. each cinnamon and ground coriander

1 tbsp. butter

½ tsp. salt

3 C. pureed cooked tomatoes

Optional Garnishes:


A little cayenne pepper

Minced mint leaves

1. Lightly toast coconut in cast-iron skillet.

2. Place the coconut in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let it soak for about 15 minutes. Pour the coconut water through a strainer, reserve the liquid and discard the coconut.

3. Place the sesame seeds, cumin, cinnamon and coriander in butter over medium high heat. Stir and let saute for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt.

4. Combine the sauteed spices and coconut liquid in a soup pot. Add the tomatoes.

Bring soup to a boil and simmer very gently 15 minutes. Add seasoning to taste.

5. Serve with yogurt, cayenne pepper, and fresh mint.

Weeks 34 and 35

A flattened chicken cooks more quickly and evenly then separate bone-in pieces.

Our girls and I remember attending a “bring your own meat to grill and share a salad” picnic gathering.

Most people had chosen hamburgers to toss on the grill. Not me, I selected marinated bone-in chicken breasts. I had not par boiled them and was late by about fifteen minutes.

When we arrived, my salad was set down and happily passed. Walking over to the grill I observed the last cooked hamburger being removed to the plate of a picnicker. Plenty of room to spread out the chicken over the heat. I sat at a table and visited while everyone was eating. I checked the grill after a fashion, flipped the chicken over and waited. Checked again, not done. Turning up the heat and putting the lid down should do the trick. Everyone was still eating and visiting. The girls and I are hungry, visiting and not eating. This scene plays out for quite a while. Meanwhile, the husband of one of my friends (who had been witnessing my dealing with the chicken) became suspicious of what might be going on under the lid of the grill. He lifted the lid and called out “Lois, your chicken is on fire!” Of course, the chicken is surely finished and ready to eat. I plate the charred chicken, dish up some salad and cut into the bird…raw. Glad I was later introduced to this method of cooking chicken.

A grilled, flattened chicken is flavorful and cooks more evenly.

Flattened Grilled Chicken with Apricot-Mint Chimichurri

Apricot-Mint Chimichurri, Good Housekeeping Magazine

½ cup dried apricot

1 tsp. honey

1 ¼ cups fresh mint leaves

¾ cup fresh parsley

½ cup fresh cilantro, packed

2/3 cup red wine vinegar

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the dried apricots along with the honey into a bowl. Cover them with hot water. Let them soak for 10 minutes.

Place the herbs in salted boiling water, blanch herbs for 20 seconds. Remove immediately and shock herbs in ice water; spread on paper towels to dry.

Remove the apricots from hot water and give them a rough chop. In a food processor, combine the ingredients except the olive oil. Process the ingredients until finely chopped. With the processor running, slowly incorporate oil and pulse until it has the consistency of a thick sauce. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Flattened Grilled Chicken

1. Rinse the entire bird and Remove giblets from inside chicken. Next, trim away extra fat from neck.

2. Cut all the way down one side of the backbone from tail to neck.

3. Flip the chicken over, breast side up and press firmly to fully open up the

carcass. Break the back bone and flatten out the chicken.

4. Preheat the grill on high and pull the hood down to allow the heat to increase

For about 10-15 minutes.

5. Brush chicken with melted butter and season generously with seasoned salt or

just salt and pepper.

6. Place chicken on grill and turn heat down to medium. Place a heavy cast iron

Pan on top of chicken and cook for about 10-15 minutes.

7. Remove pan, flip over chicken and replace pan on top of bird.

8. Continue to grill chicken until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of bird

registers at 160 degrees.

9. Remove chicken from grill and place on cutting board. Let it rest for about 10

minutes. Carve, removing wings, legs, thighs and breast.

Flattened grilled chicken with apricot-mint chimichurri sauce

Whole wheat Orzo with Artichoke Pesto, Giada’s Feel Good Food, pg. 98

1 pound whole-wheat orzo pasta

2 cups cherry tomatoes halved

1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1 package frozen artichokes hearts, thawed

¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted

½ cup fresh flat parsley leaves

½ cup fresh oregano leaves

Grated zest of one lemon

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

1 garlic clove mashed

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp pepper

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to direction on package. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water. Place pasta in bowl.

The Pesto

Place half the package of artichokes in a food processor along with the walnuts, oregano, parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper and oil. Blend till smooth scraping down the sides. Mix until the pesto is smooth and thick.

Roughly chop the remaining artichoke hearts and add to the bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes and pesto cheese and reserved pasta water.

Beef and Mushroom Tacos with Avocado Salad Rachel Ray Magazine, May 2014

3 tbsp. coconut oil

1 lb. grass fed ground beef

1 onion thinly sliced

1 jalapeno chile-stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

Salt and pepper

2 avocados, cut into cubes

Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)

¼ cup lime juice (1 ½ limes)

8 oz. sliced white mushrooms

3 cloves garlic thinly sliced

8 tortillas

Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the beef, half the onion and jalapeno. Add the salt and pepper.

Cook until the onion is soft and the meat browned and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Remove the meat and onion and reserve the skillet.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp. of coconut oil to the skillet. Heat skillet to medium –high heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic, more salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 7-9 minutes; stir in the rest of the beef mixture. Transfer to bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

In a large bowl, combine remaining onion, avocado and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Wipe out the skillet and return to medium heat. Place tortillas one at a time into the skillet and lightly toast both sides.

Stuff the tortilla with the beef mixture and avocado salad.

Stewed White Beans with Spinach and Bacon, Rachel Ray Magazine, May 2014

8 Slices bacon

1 lb. baby red skinned potato, cut into 1/3-inch cubes

½ onion chopped

Two-15 oz. cans cannelloni beans rinsed

1 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

2 cups packed baby spinach

2 scallions thinly sliced

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the bacon in a skillet until just crisp, 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

2. Reserve two tbsp. of bacon grease.

3. Heat skillet to medium high, add potatoes and cook until golden brown, stir occasionally.

4. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the beans, chicken broth and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

5. Simmer until most the liquid is gone.

6. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.

7 Crumble the bacon on top and sprinkle with scallions and Parmesan cheese.

Completed bowl of Stewed White Beans with Spinach and Bacon

Spicy Applesauce Cake, Taste of Home Magazine

Just the right amount of spice with a perfect mix of chocolate and walnuts.


2 cups applesauce

1 ½ cups sugar (I used ¾ cup and the cake tasted wonderful)

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs lightly beaten

2 cups flour

1 tbsp. baking cocoa

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves

1 cup raisins

½ cup semi- sweet chocolate chips

½ cup walnuts


½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup chopped walnuts

1. In a mixer combine applesauce, sugar, softened butter and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves; gradually beat into applesauce mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts.

2. Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Combine the topping of chocolate chips and walnuts and sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Week 33 of No Repeat Meals

Decadent Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten Free, Source: Google search anonymous Family Award Winner

These bon bon like cookies are melt in your mouth perfection. They have a luscious blend of almond and chocolate with a hint of coconut. Simply scrumptious and light enough to eat too many.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes ONLY!

1 ½ c. Blanched Almond Flour

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. sea salt

2 tbsp. coconut oil, softened

½ tsp. vanilla

¼ c. maple syrup

1 egg

½ c. chocolate chips

Set the oven for 350 degrees.

Mix together, the almond flour, baking soda and salt and salt in a medium bowl and mix well. In a separate small bowl, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and egg and mix well.

Add the wet contents of the small bowl to the dry mixture and mix well until a uniform batter appears. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon pad.

Settling in with cookies and a cup of Lavender tea

Garlic-Lemon Chicken Kabobs, Standard Process , pg. 51

3 tbsp. olive oil

Zest of one lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 tbsp. minced chives

1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 –inch pieces

Mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, chives salt and pepper. Place the cut-up chicken pieces into the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and place the marinating chicken into the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Soak wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes.

Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and discard remaining marinade.

Lightly oil the grill gates.

Cook the kabobs on the grill on medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 8-12 minutes. Turn once or twice while cooking.

Beet Salad, Standard Process, pg. 46

1 lb. beets, peeled and grated

4 sticks celery, finely chopped

2 tbsp. apple juice

1 tbsp. apple-cider vinegar

4 scallions, finely chopped

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

Mix beets and celery together and add the apple juice. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the liquid over the salad, chill for two hours and serve.

Completed Garlic-Lemon Chicken Kabobs with Beet and Celery Salad

Weeknight Bolognese, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? Ina Garten, pg. 154

This dish reminds me of our days in Italy two summers ago. The meaty sauce with cream makes the dish extra vibrant with texture plus smoothness. The nutmeg and red wine have an interesting way of tying all the flavors together. The red pepper flakes, oregano and fresh basil leaves build the Italian taste to perfection. YUM!

2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil, plus extra to cook the pasta

1 lb. grass fed ground beef

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp. dried oregano

¼ to ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 ¼ cups dry red wine, divided

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

2 tbsp. tomato paste

Sea salt and fresh pepper

¾ lb. dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Putting Together the Sauce

In a large skillet over medium-high heat place 2 tbsp. of oil. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef no longer shows any pink. (5-7 minutes)

Stir in the oregano, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour 1 cup of wine into the skillet loosen and scrape up any browned bits of meat.

Add tomato paste, tomatoes, 1 tbsp. salt and 1 ½ tsp. pepper. Stir all of this to combine. Let this mixture come to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp. salt, some oil and pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, complete the meat sauce.

Add the cream; nutmeg, basil and remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the sauce is thickened.

Drain the pasta, pour into a large serving bowl Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan cheese and toss and serve.

Herbal Ice Tea, Barefoot Family Style, pg. 85

My friend Lila, served this tangy, just the right amount of sweetness ice tea to me one day at her house. I knew I wanted to make it for this blog. It is quick, easy and not full of sugar. The apple juice gives it the right amount of sweetness. It is truly wonderful!

4 Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger tea bags

4 Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea bags

4 cups pure apple juice (Martinellis 100% pure Apple Juice is a wonderful choice)

Boil 4 cups of water and steep the 8 tea bags in the hot water for about 8-10 minutes. Toss out the tea bags. Combine the Apple juice with the tea and refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice.

Scrumptious Bolognese, a Simple Salad with Julia Child’s Vinaigrette and Herbal Ice Tea

Julia Child’s Vinaigrette, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook, pg. 468

Making homemade dressing is a snap and so much healthier and tastier than the grocery store variety.

I measure all the ingredients into a mason jar, tighten the lid and shake.

Julia’s recipe is simple with ingredients you probably have on hand.

1 to 2 tbsp. excellent wine vinegar or lemon juice

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. dry mustard

6 to 8 tbsp. best quality olive oil

Pepper to taste

Optional: 1 tsp. finely minced scallions or scallions and or fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, tarragon or basil.

Week 32 of No Repeat Meals

I love having guests to our home and the chance to cook and serve a wonderful meal to them. Quite frequently we have overnight guests and it gives great pleasure to greet these weary worn travelers at the doorstep knowing I have a delectable dinner prepared just for them.

This spring and summer have brought a variety of wonderful people to our home from places like N. Carolina, PA, Ethiopia and Tibet. These families and individuals have brought a wealth of stories, experiences and knowledge to our dinner table and home. We feel blessed and enriched to have these encounters albeit brief, but oh, so wonderful. Life is a richer and fuller experience when you open your heart and home to others.

Now on to

The Very Best Sloppy Joes, Lois Frasier Family Award Winner

I actually found this entree in a Slow Cooker recipe book. Each time I made this dish I would tweak or add something different. It has changed quite a bit its original form. Therefore, I have happily claimed it as my own.

I usually triple this for a family of five.

1 lb. grass fed, ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

¾ cup ketchup

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

½ cup red wine

1 tsp. sugar

1 can (12 oz.) Pastene ground peeled tomatoes

Whole wheat buns

1. Brown the ground beef and onion in pan and drain off grease.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot and stir to mix together.

3. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours

Last summer, our daughter’s Paige and Laura hosted their bi-annual “Girl’s Day” event. It was the perfect opportunity to serve this sloppy Joe Meal.

We came up with the idea of a neighborhood scavenger hunt for the main event. We broke this group of eight girls into two teams, dropped them in two different neighborhoods with a list, bags and instruction to knock on doors and politely request the possible seventy-five items on their pieces of paper. They had two hours to accomplish the task, gather as many items as possible and meet back at the designated spot. The team with the most objects wins! No boring summers here

Waldorf Cobb Salad, Chef Marianne Hunnel

2 Red Delicious apples

2 Granny Smith apples

2 celery stalks

¼ cup walnut pieces

¼ cup raisins

1 cup orange juice

¾ cup citrus walnut dressing*

Chop up apples and place in bowl with orange juice until ready to serve. Slice up celery, set aside.

When ready to serve, drain the orange juice from apples. Arrange the apples, celery, raisins and walnuts in lines in a bowl. Pour the citrus walnut dressing over the salad and serve.

Completed Waldorf Salad


1 tbsp. ground walnuts

3 tbsp. orange juice

½ cup grape seed oil

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. orange zest

2 tbsp. honey

½ tsp. Grey Poupon Mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all these dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine and pour over salad or store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Maple Chicken and Ribs, Nigella Express, pg. 110

12 pork spareribs

12 chicken thighs

1 cup apple juice, as sharp as possible

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tbsp. coconut oil

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 cinnamon stick

6 unpeeled garlic cloves

1. Place the ribs and chicken pieces in either a large bowl or a couple of freezer bags.

2. Mix together all the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken and ribs before covering the bowl

or sealing the bags.

3. Put the chicken and rib mixture in the refrigerator overnight or up to two days.

4. Take the dish out of fridge and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5. Pour the contents of the bowl/bag into 1 or 2 roasting pans. Place the oven and cook for about 1 ¼

hours. The chicken and ribs should be sticky and a glossy dark brown color.

Warm Potato Salad, Nigella Express, pg. 122

4 ½ lbs. baby new potatoes

4 scallions, finely sliced

1 tbsp. garlic- infused oil

8 slices bacon

1-2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. whole grain mustard

1. Bring a salted pan of water to a boil and place in the baby new potatoes. Cook for about 20 minutes. Do not let the potatoes become too tender.

2. Drain the potatoes, place in a bowl and add the scallions.

3. Cook the bacon in a pan with a little oil. I prefer to precook the bacon in the oven. I place the bacon on

Sided cookie sheets and cook in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

4. Toss the cooked, chopped up bacon with the oil, vinegar and mustard. Add the potatoes and scallions,

delicately mix and transfer to a serving bowl.

Maple Chicken and Ribs, Warm Potato Salad and Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad. Nigella Express, 122

2 Medium cucumbers

2 tsp. sugar

2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 tsp. salt

¼ cup finely chopped dill

1. Peel the cucumber and slice them very thin. Place them in a deep, large bowl.

2. In a small bowl place the sugar, vinegar, and salt and whisk them together. Pour this mix over the

Cucumbers and mix it in well.

3. Add the chopped dill, mix well and place cucumber dill mixture into a shallow bowl to serve. Or, cover

with plastic wrap and shill up to four hours.

Grilled Cheese and Slaw, Nigella Express, pg. 180

I love grilled cheese sandwich, it is a wonderful “go-to” when cupboards are bare. My husband is from Wisconsin, so that means we usually have some type of cheese in the refrigerator. I can tell we were obviously in a hurry and headed out when this meal was prepared. The paper plate is a clue.

Completed Grilled Cheese and Slaw

4 slices bread

2 tsp. mayo

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 oz. Cheddar cheese, sliced thin

1 tomato sliced thinly


2 tsp. melted butter

1. Heat pan or griddle

2. Mix the mayo and Worcestershire sauce and spread on the four slices of bread.

3. Divide the tomato and cheese between the two slices of bread, sprinkle on pepper.

Place the remaining pieces of bread on top.

4. Brush and back and front of each sandwich with the melted butter. Do this with a pastry brush.

5. Place the sandwiches on the griddle and weight them down with a heavy cast iron pan.

6. Cook for two to four minutes each side.

Sandwich Slaw, Nigella Express, pg. 180

The Slaw

1 Royal Gala or Fuji apple, cored and chopped into pieces

1 carrot, cut into match sticks

2 cups finely shredded green cabbage

2 tbsp. mayo

1/2 mango peeled and cut into squares

1 tbsp. lemon juice

½ tsp. caraway seeds

¼ tsp. salt

Mix together the chopped apple, cut carrots, 2 cups shredded cabbage into a big bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the mango, mayo, lemon juice, caraway seeds and salt. Pour this over the

salad in the big bowl. Mix well to combine and coat all pieces.

Place salad alongside the grill cheese sandwiches.

New Eats, Week 31

I love Giada De Laurentis’s Blueberry Banana Muffins. They are light, moist and incredibly packed with flavor. The combination of smooth bananas, plump blueberries and the cinnamon/nutmeg spice mixture is delectable. If you spread butter on one of these muffins while still a bit warm you will most likely eat more than one.

Blueberry Banana Muffins, Feel Good Food, Giada De Laurentis, pg. 239

1 cup whole wheat flour ( or brown rice flour)

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. fine sea salt

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

½ cup safflower oil or grapeseed oil

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 large eggs room temperature, beaten

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup mashed bananas ( about 3 small bananas)

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Either grease well a 12 muffin cup pan or line the cups with paper liners. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium size bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and bananas. Gently stir in the blueberries. Add the flour mixture and stir until just blended.

Spoon 1/3 cup of the batter into each muffin cup. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick to check for doneness. Let the muffins cool and serve.

Ready to share

I remember with fondness going to my Irish great grandparent’s home near Boston after church for our formal, traditional Sunday dinner. Many times my “Bapa Dawson” would serve lamb with a plop of green colored mint jelly on the side. Being a child and associating jelly with butter and toast I could not bring myself to add the blob of greenness as an accompaniment to a piece of meat. In those days I was just warming up to the idea of eating lamb in and of itself never mind green jelly.

Anyway, these days I’m still not a “fan” of the jelly but do love fresh mint in a creamy yogurt sauce to accompany a beautiful lamb chop. Here is a delightfully, tasty recipe.

Greek Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce, Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That, pg.131

4 large garlic cloves

3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 ½ tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)

½ cup good olive oil

½ cup dry red wine

2 racks of lamb, frenched and cut into 8 chops each

(By the way, “frenching” means “removing the meat, fat and membranes that connect the individual rib bones”)

Yogurt mint sauce (recipe follows)

Mince together in a food processor, the rosemary, oregano, garlic, 1 ½ tsp. salt and ¾ tsp. pepper. Pulse together until the herbs are finely minced.

Add the olive oil, red wine and lemon and pulse again in the food processor until mixed.

Place the lamb chops in a plastic zip lock bag. Pour the marinade over the lamb and zip up the bag. Shake the bag to coat the meat and place bag in refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, turn the grill on to medium-high heat. Remove lamb from bag and place on grill; sprinkle salt and pepper on each lamb chop. Grill the meat for 5 minutes on each side. Remove to platter. Cover the platter with foil and set aside for 5 minutes.

Grilling the Lamb

Serve hot with the Mint Yogurt Sauce.

Fresh Mint from My Garden

Yogurt Mint Sauce

Makes 1 Cup

6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

2 tbsp. fresh dill

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. good olive oil

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

7 ounces Greek-style yogurt, such as Fage Total

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Pulse the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes in a food processor. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and puree until it is a course paste. Add the yogurt, salt and pepper and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors reach their peak.

Place Yogurt Sauce on the plate and place the lamb chop on top.

Kale and Quinoa Salad, Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and the Smith Restaurant


1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa (or 1 ½ cups cooked)

8 oz. kale

½ c. slivered almonds

1/3 c. dried cherries chopped up a bit

2-3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tsp. chopped fresh dill

2 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese crumbled

Few gratings of fresh lemon zest


3 tbls. olive oil

1 ½ tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 tsp. smooth Dijon mustard

1 tsp. coarse Dijon mustard

½-1 tsp. honey

Salt and pepper

Soak quinoa in a small bowl for about 5 minutes then rinse well in a colander. This will remove the bitterness. In a saucepan put 1 ½ cups water and the quinoa and bring to a simmer. Simmer at low for 15-20 minutes. Drain any extra liquid and spread the quinoa on flat surface to cool quickly.

Remove the hard rib from the center of the kale using a knife. Leave the long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in bunches, roll them the long way and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Place the kale ribbons in a large salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients to kale and toss to mix.

Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper.

Completed Quinoa and Kale Salad

I enjoy lentils very much and am always looking for new ways to prepare them. This Ina Garten recipe is hearty, unique and one to file away.

Warm French Lentils, Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That, Ina Garten, pg.191

2 tbls. coconut oil for cooking the vegetables, plus ¼ cup good olive oil

1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced ¼ inch thick

2 carrots, scrubbed and cut 1/2 –inch-diced

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 c. French green Le puy lentils

1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves

1 white turnip, cut in half

1 tsp. unsalted butter

4 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

Place coconut oil in pan, add the carrots and leeks and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Pour 4 cups of water into a saucepan. Add the lentils, onion with the cloves and turnip. Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and add the carrots, leeks and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure lentils are soft. Discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils. Place them in a medium bowl and add butter.

In another large bowl, whisk together the ¼ cup olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the lentils, stir very well and allow the lentils to cool down just a bit. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Completed Lentil Dish served with Cod.

I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes and this was a wonderfully different way to make and serve them.

Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet Potato Hash, Food Network Recipes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-inch cubes

6 tbls. coconut oil divided

½ red onion, chopped

¼ cup green onions

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp. paprika

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and simmer until tender. Drain and dry them.

Heat 2 tbsp. coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the red onions, bell peppers, green onions and garlic. Cook these vegetables until tender about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and place in a bowl.

Add the remaining coconut oil to the skillet, then add the sweet potato. Cook in a single layer stirring every-once-in-a-while, on medium heat for about 6 minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook without stirring until the potatoes are golden and a little crisp. About 2 minutes. Be careful to make sure they do not burn. Remove from skillet sprinkle with paprika and gently stir in the vegetable mixture.

Chicken is very much a staple in our home. When I find a chicken recipe which adds interesting ingredients and comes with a sauce I quickly add it to the growing collection of “let’s keep this one” in my personal recipes spiral bound binder. These chicken roulades oozing with a kalamata and tomato mixture were hit and one I would gladly serve to company in the future.

Greek Chicken Roulades , Cuisine lite

12 kalamata olives, divided

3 tbsp. fresh bread crumbs

3 tbsp. minced oil packed sun dried tomatoes

1 tbsp. minced lemon zest

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 tsp. coconut oil

¼ cup diced onion

¼ cup dry white wine

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. arrow root (thickening agent for sauces) Or corn starch

1. Slice 6 olives and set aside. Place the remaining 6 olives, bread crumbs, tomatoes, lemon zest, garlic, and oregano in a food processor and mix until all is minced.

2. Place chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound chicken to ¼ thickness. Spread the olive-tomato filling on chicken. Roll chicken and secure with toothpicks.

3. Over medium-high heat sauté the roulades in coconut oil until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove them to a plate. Add onion to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced by half. (about 2 minutes) Add broth. Bring mixture to a boil and toss in the olives and roulades.

4. Cover the pan; reduce the heat. Simmer roulades for 10 minutes; remove them to a plate.

5. Whisk together the lemon juice and arrow root; stir into sauce in pan. Simmer for 1 minute. Slice the roulades and serve with sauce.

Completed Chicken Roulade Dinner served with Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Orzo and Fresh Asparagus.

Week 30 of No Repeat Meals

Week 30, a perfect opportunity to pass along a favorite cookie which has been a huge hit in our home. Oatmeal Raisin

The Very Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I absolutely love oatmeal raisin cookies and have at least 6 different recipes for them in my personal cookbook. I have liked each recipe for various reasons and over the years my family has been very willing participants in taste testing each batch that comes out of the oven.

From time to time I go on a hunt in search of an even better oatmeal cookie recipe and to my shear delight I feel my search is indeed over.

I came across this recipe from the blog: Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah. She was named by Forbes as One of the best eight food bloggers and her oatmeal raisin cookies are award winning. Whenever I make these cookies people love them and ask for the recipe. They usually want to know what is in them and comment on their divine texture. These cookies call for 1 cup of sugar but I have cut it down to ½. No need to add that much but of course to each his own. The cinnamon and allspice give them an incredible punch of flavor.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ever, Savory Sweet Life, Alice Currah

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar

1 egg

2 tsp.vanilla extract

1-1/4 cup old fashion oats (not quick or instant)

2/3 cup flour

1 cup raisins

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼tsp. allspice

Oven 350 degrees

Cream the butter and sugar together for 30 seconds on medium speed. Increase the speed to high and let the butter and sugar mix for 2 full minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the egg and vanilla until well combined.

Add the oats, flour, raisins, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

Mix together on medium speed until the batter is completely mixed.

Use a medium size cookie scoop (which is slightly bigger than a table spoon) and scoop out dough onto a greased cookie sheet leaving two inches between each cookie.

Bake for 10-11 minutes turning the sheet around halfway through the baking time until the cookies are slightly golden brown.

Early morning walks have been a habit of mine since the mid nineteen-eighties. For all these many years I have trudged thousands of miles in all kinds of weather just as soon as the sun appears in the sky.

Being out early and alone makes me feel like I “own the town” at least for a little while. My husband Dan, being the good sport that he is, agreed to join me in these early morning adventures knowing rain, snow or zero degree temperatures do not prohibit us from heading out at the break of dawn. We use this quiet time together to pray, plan and connect. It has become the glue of our marriage over the years.

Dan does travel quite frequently for work and therefore I’m often alone taking in the freshness of another new day. It was one of those particular alone mornings I had the pleasure of meeting Lila. We were both out early, had never crossed paths before and to our delight discovered we had a passion to build relationships with people through the pleasure of preparing and serving incredibly delicious meals.

We became fast friends and shortly thereafter I found myself sitting at her kitchen table enjoying a scrumptious lunch she had prepared for us.

Lila shares her talent in the kitchen through her Heaven on Earth cooking classes. I’m pleased to share her with you and introduce you to Lila’s story.

Lila and me getting ready to peruse through her cookbooks.

About me… I grew up in a food-centric family. As a child I had no idea that my father’s obsession with perfecting things like Paella and Szechuan stir fry (we actually had to evacuate the house on a cold winter’s night due to dangerous chili pepper fumes) would lay such an important foundation. I inherited my father’s insatiable quest for learning new techniques, ferreting out new recipes, new ingredients and crafting fine foods. This quest prompted the devouring of thousands of cookbooks, traveling to far flung lands to take cooking classes and shopping at the markets with the locals. I am a self-taught cook who believes you can never stop learning about the culinary arts. I began my career in elementary education but realized that the summer I spent working in a cooking school as a young newlywed was what I loved even more. I was a food buyer for a specialty kitchenware store and was a part-time caterer.

About the Studio: Our philosophy at the Heaven on Earth Cooking Studio is to provide an inspirational environment where friends, new and old, gather to learn something new, share their experiences in the kitchen, and eat good food. We aspire to send these friends home with some inspiration and perhaps a bit more confidence to try a new recipe in their own kitchen. Our recipes at Heaven on Earth are technique driven, seasonal and fresh. We strive to use organic and local produce when possible. We teach to all skill levels– from the novice to seasoned home cook.

This new venture allows me to be creative in the kitchen and share what I have learned over the years with a group who may share similar interests. Many of my students have grown up with the Food Network, are knowledgeable of food and food trends but may not have been taught by their parents or grandparents. Not to generalize, but today’s cooks may know what kale is and know that it is good for them but they may not know how to prep and cook it. That’s why “kale chips” are sold. I can teach them how to make them. There are so many reasons why spending more time in the kitchen is good for us but because time is valuable we have to learn how to cook so we can spend our time efficiently and get good food we are proud to set down on the table for our family and our friends. Learning a few key techniques will teach them how to get better results in taste and appearance. Let’s face it, food is expensive. To spend so much on food and have a dish that is not satisfactory is just wasteful. Properly seasoning foods, highlighting foods with spices and fresh herbs, makes being in the kitchen fun and not a chore–at least it is for me. Bold foods and flavors can take the hum drum out of our kitchen routines and often times make a dish more healthful because we can get away with using less butter or fat. Not that butter or a little extra virgin olive oil is bad…

More of Week 30

Many years ago a friend brought these burgers to our home. We enjoyed the spicy taste which made them unique and not so run-of-the-mill.

Cantina Burgers, Kristy E.

1 lb. ground beef

2/3 cup crushed taco chips

½ cup milk

1/3 cup sliced scallions

1 lrg. Egg

1 tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. salt

Hamburger mix



Sliced tomato


Sliced avocado

Mix together beef, crushed taco chips, milk, scallions, egg, and cumin. Shape meat mixture into patties and grill until desired doneness. Serve on roll with lettuce,

Completed Cantina Burger

Our family tested salsa sauces and discovered this one to be a favorite.

It pairs perfectly with the Cantina Burgers.

Black Bean Salad with Avocado Sour Cream Dressing, Nigella Lawson

The Salad

1 cup cooked and shredded chicken or turkey

2 scallions finely chopped

2 cups of shredded lettuce

The Dressing

1 ripe avocado

½ sour cream

3 tbls. lime juice

1 clove garlic

1 tsp. salt

Black pepper

Whip up the dressing ingredients in the blender.

The Salsa

1 can black beans

2 tomatoes (deseeded and finely chopped)

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. lime juice


1.Remove the flesh from the avocado, and place it in a blender with sour cream, lime juice, garlic cloves, salt.

2. Blend until smooth

3. For the Salad; Place the salad ingredients into a bowl, spoon the dressing over them and mix to coat well.

4. For the Salsa: Drain and rinse the beans, place in a bowl, add tomatoes, lime juice, and salt.

5. Serve with the chicken or turkey in a bowl.

Completed Black Bean with Chicken Salad

Fish in Parchment Paper, Tyler Florence

2 cups fresh corn kernels

½ sun-dried tomatoes, chopped ( I had red peppers)

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 3-oz. cod fillets

1 small leek, white parts only, well rinsed and cut into matchsticks ( I had some scallions)

4 sprigs fresh thyme

8 tsp. dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the tomatoes, corn and lemon peel, salt and pepper

Lay out a 12×15 sheet of parchment paper. Place one quarter of the vegetables on 1 side of parchment paper. Place the cod on top of veggies. Top with one-quarter of the leeks, 1 spring of thyme, 2 tsp. of the wine and pinch of salt.

Fold the other side of the parchment paper over the fish. Starting at one corner, fold the edges of paper over by ½ inch all the way around. Bake for 12-15 minutes

Completed fish in parchment paper with a baked sweet potato covered with butter, broccoli and bean sprouts.

The mention of Spaghetti Pie brings back fond memories of childhood. My mother would whip together this combination of basic ingredients to make and interesting and incredibly delicious meal. For many years I used this recipe as my “go to” dish to make when I discovered someone was in need of a helping hand by providing a meal for them. It is true comfort food. To my astonishment, I realized I had not made this delightful meal in years. Happily, I discovered it again as I was flipping through the pages of my personal cookbook. The blog would not be complete without spaghetti pie.

Spaghetti Pie, Elaine C.

6 oz. spaghetti

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 well-beaten eggs

1 cup cottage cheese (8 oz.)

1 lb. ground beef.

½ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green pepper

1 8 oz. can (1 cup) diced tomatoes

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. garlic salt or fresh minced garlic

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)

The Method

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain. You should have about three cups of spaghetti.

2. Stir butter into hot spaghetti. Stir in parmesan cheese and eggs.

3. Form spaghetti mixture into a “crust” in a buttered 10 inch pie plate.

4. Spread cottage cheese over the bottom of the spaghetti crust.

5. In a skillet, cook ground beef, onion, green pepper until vegetables are tender and meat is browned.

Drain off excess fat.

6. Stir in undrained tomatoes and tomato paste, sugar, oregano, garlic salt and heat through.

7. Turn meat mixture onto spaghetti crust.

8. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top and bake in the oven 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Spaghetti Pie

New Eats Week 29

I have been away from this blog for quite awhile now. This has not been intentional, as we all know our days come with lists of demands and people for whom we need to give attention. That being said, my desire is to complete the rest of my postings in a more timely fashion.

Our family enjoyed a blessed Christmas season filled with the joy of having guests to our home and some extended get away time in Quebec City. We spent six days in this quaint, “European feel” City one week before Christmas. It was a very festive place to be with cold temps, snow covered grounds, lights and decorations around every corner. Skating on an outdoor rink in the middle of the city was a memorable highlight for all of us.

I’m beginning this blog with two recipes which have been Christmas traditions in our home for many years. Both of these were made this past December helping to celebrate Christmas 2014.

Dan has the tradition of making Christmas dessert each year. Last December I dedicated an entire blog to the decadent desserts he has “whipped up” over the many years we have been married. You can search for his collection of special cakes and trifles by going onto Christmas Special Edition 2 within this blog.

Dan usually makes whatever is on the front cover of the December issue of the Bon Appetite magazine. In the past he has run into the problem of cookies being on the front cover. Dan cannot justify cookies as a special Christmas dessert. He is all about chocolate and cake and frosting and layers of luscious ingredients. To his dismay, there were cookies again on the front cover of the Bon Appetite magazine. This just would not do, so thus he began the search. First he perused through many of my holiday cookbooks, nothing to his liking. I then gave him The Barefoot Contessa and Nigella Lawson cookbooks. I thought for sure he would find whatever was on his mind. Coming up empty once again, he began “dessert research” on his computer. He typed in various phrases like, “best cake ever” and “special Christmas desserts” pouring over the suggestions and lists of ingredients of various delicacies he finally discovered a cake which suited his fancy. The choice: Almond Praline Cake with Mascarpone Frosting and Chocolate Bark from Epicurious. Yes indeed, this sounded like a “Dan cake.” It had lot of steps, ingredients, chocolate, nuts, cream, frosting and four layers. The search was over! Interestingly enough it was actually a recipe from a past Bon Appetit Magazine.

Dan with his finished masterpiece.

Almond Praline Cake, Epicurious- Bon Appetit, March 2007

Almond Cake:

1 ½ cups cake flour

2 ¼ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. tsp. salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup ( 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 7-oz. packages almond paste crumbled into 1 inch pieces (I found this at my local grocery store)

7 large eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 ¾ tsps. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour two 9 inch diameter cake pans. Then line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, butter and flour as well. In a small bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder. In a mixer, blend butter and brown sugar. Beat in almond paste 1 piece at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time beating well after each addition. Add the extracts to this mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients. Divide batter among pans. Bake the cakes until the tester comes out clean. This will take about 25- 30 minutes. Let cakes rest and cool on racks.

NOTE: You will need to purchase one jar seedless raspberry jam to spread on one layer of the cake.

Ganache filling:

1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp. dark brown sugar

10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Place cream and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir this mixture to dissolve sugar. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Chill so it is spreadable.

Almond Praline:

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

2 cups roughly chopped almonds

Line baking sheet with foil. In a heavy medium saucepan place the sugar and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil without stirring for about 15 minutes. The mixture needs to turn dark amber in color. Swirl the pan and brush down the sides with a pastry brush occasionally. When the mixture is thickened and dark amber mix in the nuts. Pour onto foil. Peel foil off the nuts when cooled. Chop the praline coarsely. MAKE THE PRALINE AHEAD. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Bark:

6 Oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Place the chocolate in the bowl and melt, stir until smooth. Remove from the saucepan of water. Drizzle all but two table spoons chocolate over foil in pretty thick zig zag lines. Let the chocolate pool. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. praline over chocolate; chill bark until firm.

Mascarpone frosting:

1 ½ 8 oz. container mascarpone cheese –I found this Italian cream cheese in my local grocery store.

1 ½ cups chilled, heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla

Bring Mascarpone to room temperature for work ability. Beat all ingredients in a large bowl just to form soft peaks. Make sure you do not overbeat or the mixture will curdle.

Run a knife around the pan sides to loosen the cakes. Turn out the cakes; peel off paper. Carefully, slice all the way through the side of each cake making the two cakes into four. Place the first cake onto the cake plate. Spread half the ganache over the cake. Place the second cake over the first. Spread this cake with the seedless raspberry jam. Place third cake onto top of second layer. Spread this layer with the rest of the chocolate ganache, sprinkle with ¼ cup praline. Top with fourth layer of cake. Spread frosting on top and sides of cake. Do AHEAD. You can place a dome over the top of cake and store in the refrigerator.

Before serving, press praline around the bottom 2 inches of cake. Sprinkle more on top. Peel foil off of chocolate bark. Press edges into frosting on top of the cake. Remelt the two remaining tablespoons chocolate over simmering water. Using a spoon drizzle chocolate over cake. DO AHEAD chill up to four hours.

This Cake was a huge hit. I’m saving the recipe for another occasion.

Brundt Eggs, A recipe my mother acquired from her friend Lois L. back in the 1980s.

My mother served this once every year on Christmas morning. It does not look like much but is very savory and true comfort food. My family begged me to make it this year, so I obliged.

When you look at the list of ingredients you realize it is not a dish you would desire to make on a weekly basis. It is a recipe which creates family memories and becomes a tradition. Christmas is the perfect excuse for serving it.

Completed Brundt Eggs

1 dozen eggs

1 lb. bacon

2 lbs. grated sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup butter

1 ½ cup flour

½ tsp. basil, ½ tsp. thyme, ½ tsp. marjoram,

½ cup parsley

2 cups light cream

2 cups milk

Bread crumbs (5 slices bread buttered) after buttering tear them into broken, random pieces.

Hard boil the eggs, cool and slice them.

Sauté the bacon until crisp, and crumble.

Make a white sauce; Melt butter, add flour, blend well over low heat. Stir, and slowly add the cream, milk and add the herbs. Stir constantly and add the cheese. Bring slowly to the boiling point and stir until thickened.

In a 9×13 pan put in the sauce, then layer of eggs, poke them down into the sauce. Add the bacon then top with broken pieces of bread.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until it bubbles and bread browns.

Now the recipes for

You just can’t go wrong with a Julia Child recipe. This dish was quiet easy to make; the leftovers being more flavorful the next day. Great to serve to guests as it makes a good amount.

An American Paella, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook, pg. 64 Family Award Winner

1 pound fresh chorizos or Italian sausages. ( I used spicy Italian chicken sausages)

2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 cup each sliced onions and green peppers

8 or more chicken thighs or drumsticks

½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 ½ cups chicken broth

½ tsp. saffron threads

1 tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. ground coriander

1 bay leaf

2 cups Italian Arborio rice or short-grain rice

16-24 raw shrimp in the shell ( I could not use shrimp as my husband, Dan is allergic to shellfish.)

3 medium-size ripe red firm tomatoes peeled, seeded, juiced, and roughly chopped

2 cups fresh or frozen shelled green peas

1 cup chick peas (garbanzo), fresh cooked or canned

½ cup black olives

Parsley sprigs


A large fry pan or very large Wok , of course a Paella Pan if you own one.

Beginning Steps:

If you are using regular Italian sausages, prick them with the tines of a fork and place them in the large fry pan with ¼ inch water. Cover and simmer slowly for 5 minutes. Drain, discard the liquid.

If you are using the spicy Italian chicken sausage: Place them into water in a large frying pan, cover and simmer slowly for 5 minutes. Removed them from the pan and removed the casings. Then slice into 1 inch or ½ inch rounds and sauté in fry pan with 2 tbsp. coconut oil. When just about cooked add the onions and peppers. Cover the pan and cook on medium to low heat until they are tender.

Remove sausage, onions and peppers with slotted spoon and set aside. If you have run out of coconut oil in the pan add a little more and cook the chicken pieces until they are browned on all sides.

Drain any fat out of the pan; add the sausages, onions, peppers, wine, garlic, chicken broth, saffron, coriander, bay leaf and paprika. The chicken will be halfway cooked and will finish cooking when the rice is added.

Finishing Steps:

About 30 minutes before serving, bring the sausage-chicken mixture to a rapid boil. Sprinkle in the Arborio rice. Press it down into the liquid with the back of a large spoon. Let the rice boil for a bout 5 minutes, uncovered-Do Not Stir the Rice.

When the rice begins to swell and rise to the surface, rapidly push the shrimp tail-end down into the rice, strew on the peas, tomatoes chick peas, and olives. Do not stir this mixture; just push the ingredients down into the rice with the back of a spoon. Take a taste and adjust any seasonings.

Reduce the heat and let Paella simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Always keep the pan uncovered, until the rice is just tender. If the rice seems to not be cooking properly add a few tbsp. more of chicken broth. Cover for a few minutes then uncover to finish cooking.

At the end of cooking the rice will have absorbed all the liquid. Serve the dish right from the pan. Decorate with lemon slices and parsley. (optional)

Paella and side dish of Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumbers

Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumbers, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook, pg. 64

2 or 3 bunches watercress

2 cucumbers

3 or 4 heads Belgian endive

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 to 5 tbsp. best quality olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh minced dill weed or parsley

Trim off the tough ends of watercress. Wash, dry off in a salad spinner and wrap loosely in towel or paper towels.

Separate the leaves from the central stem of endive. Wash and gently spin to remove water.

Fresh Watercress purchased from Whole Foods

Peel the cucumbers and thinly slice them.

Place the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper in a screw top jar. Give a few shakes and set aside.

When ready to serve the salad, toss each ingredient separately in a little of the dressing (which has been well shaken). Arrange the salad according to your liking.

Plated Paella served with Watercress Salad

Obviously, I love a huge wide variety of foods. But there are some simple foods I love and from which I never tire. Some good tuna, including mayo, dried dill, Swiss or cheddar cheese, placed between two grilled, buttered laden pieces of whole wheat bread is a constant I have eaten since childhood.

When I saw Rachel Ray’s take on a Tuna Melt I just had to try it.

Fon-Tuna Melts, Every Day with Rachel Ray, pg.85

Juice of one lemon

¼- 1/3 cup olive oil

Two 6 oz. cans tuna, drained I use tuna packed in oil, the tuna packed in water seems too watery.

4 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/3 cup chopped Sicilian green olives

2 tbsp. capers


4 slices of your favorite bread

1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved

½ lb. fontina cheese,shredded

Preheat the broiler and make sure a rack is positioned in the center of the oven.

In a bowl, mix together the lemon juice, tuna, celery, onion, basil, olives, and capers; season with salt and pepper.

Lightly toast both sides of the bread in your toaster or in the oven under the broiler. Rub one side of each slice of bread with the garlic. Cover the bread with a scope of the tuna salad. Top with the cheese and melt under the broiler.

Fon-Tuna Melt

I saved the recipe. It was quite delicious!

Sliced Chicken with Chunky Mushroom Gravy, Rachel Ray Magazine, pg. 88

4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar

¼ cup plain tasting coconut oil

Salt and pepper

24 cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped ( I used white mushrooms along with Cremini)

Fresh rosemary

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. flour

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups wild grain rice (cook according to package directions)

1 large bunch arugula, torn( sadly, I only had spinach)

½ lemon

Mushrooms used for this dish

Place the chicken in a small pan. Coat with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp. of coconut oil over medium- high heat. Tip the pan back and forth to coat.

Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 5 minutes then lower the heat to medium. Cook the chicken for another 2 minutes then flip it over and cook for another 7-8 minutes more.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and set aside.

In another large skillet add the remaining coconut oil and turn tip the pan a few times back and forth to coat.

Add the mushrooms and cook until they turn dark brown. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Add salt pepper and 1 tbsp. rosemary.

Push the cooked mushrooms to the side of the pan and add the butter to melt.

Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and chicken broth and whisk vigorously for 1 minute.

Push the mushrooms back to the center of the pan and let simmer until the gravy is thickened. This will take about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining tbsp. of rosemary and a little more salt and pepper.

Drizzle the arugula with a mix of lemon juice and a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place a scoop of rice on top of the plate.

Cut the chicken on an angle. Place the chicken on top of the rice.

Top with the gravy and the arugula. (or spinach)

Completed Sliced Chicken with Mushroom Gravy.

Served with a side of Okra

New Eats Weeks 27 and 28

I had the privilege of being asked by a professional photographer if I would like to have a photo shoot taken for one of my blog posts. My friend Kathy Joyce is a wonderful photographer and had taken pictures of our extended family for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. While taking the anniversary pictures she discovered I was doing a blog of no repeat meals and taking all the pictures myself. She was interested in how I accomplished cooking and taking pictures at the same time. I joked to her that at first it was difficult for me to get acclimated. Many times I found myself serving luke warm meals to my family because of the time spent capturing the steps to the recipe and arranging the finished plate. Kathy graciously offered to give me some pointers and I readily accepted her offer. By the way, I did get the hang of multitasking and freed my family from on-going cold plates of food. My husband and kids are “good sports” for which I’m thankful.

A Completed Meal of Indian-Spiced Shrimp and Zucchini

Indian-Spiced Grilled Shrimp and Zucchini, Cooking Light, June 2014

3 tbsp. coconut oil (melted) for this recipe you may want to use canola oil. My coconut oil became very drippy and caused flames to jump out while cooking. (warning!)

1 tsp. curry powder

½ tsp. coriander

1 Serrano chile, minced

24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 medium-size zucchini cut into rounds

½ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1. Place first three ingredients in a small bowl. To this mixture add half the minced chile. Stir to mix. In a large bowl place the rest of minced chile and all the shrimp. Mix together.

2. Place the zucchini into the bowl of coconut oil and spices; toss to coat.

3. Thread the shrimp onto 4 (8 inch. ) skewers. Thread the zucchini onto 4 (8 inch.) skewers. Place the skewers on the grill which has been coated with cooking spray. Cook the zucchini for about 4 minutes each side. Cook the shrimp for about 3 minutes each side. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Preparing the shrimp for the grill, little did I know they would catch on fire.

My dripping coconut oil caused an extraordinary amount of flames to leap from the grill. This definitely caused some excitement during the cooking process. Kathy was unphased as she continued the photo shoot. I was able to keep the shrimp from being completely devoured by the inferno by darting in between each burst of fire with my tongs. The shrimp survived and the meal was actually successful.

The grilling back in order and safely under control. The shrimp, no worse for the wear.

Tomato and Cucumber Couscous, Cooking Light, June 2014

½ cup halved grape tomatoes

½ cup seeded diced cucumber

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 tbsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp. salt

1 ½ oz. crumbled feta cheese

Bring 1 ¼ cups water to a boil. Add ¾ cup Israeli couscous. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

When couscous is finished cooking, add vegetables, salt, lemon juice, crumbled feta and toss.

Cucumber and Herb Salad with Pine Nuts, Cooking Light, June 2014

1 tbsp. grated lemon rind

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

¼ cup coarsely chopped celery leaves

4 green onions, thinly sliced

3 cups sliced cucumbers

2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

Combine the lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir with a


Thank you, Kathy!

Now to put into practice the pointers Kathy gave to me. On to the rest of my meals and my own pictures.

Almost Hands-Free Risotto, America’s Test Kitchen, pg. 150

5 cups chicken broth

1 ½ cups water

1 large onion minced


1 medium garlic clove, minced in garlic press

2 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

2 oz. Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. lemon juice from 1 lemon

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp. fresh chives


1. In a large saucepan add the water and broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-high and let it simmer.

2. In a large Dutch oven melt the butter and cook the onions until they are translucent. Add ¾ tsp. salt and garlic, stir until fragrant. Add the rice and cook for about 3 minutes.

3. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until the wine is fully absorbed. Stir in the 5 cups of the warm broth mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. This should take about 18-20 minutes. Stir the rice mixture twice during the cooking process.

Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce, America’s Test Kitchen, pg. 233

Chimichurri Sauce, I like to say the word-Chimichurri. I must have said it 50 times while preparing this particular sauce. It sounds like a word you hear on Food Network but never before in my kitchen. Now I’m hooked on this most wonderful sauce. It is herbalicious, a delightful shade of green and makes a freshly grilled piece of beef pop with intense flavor.

Chimichurri Sauce Before Going Into the Food Processor

Some of the Ingredients for Chimichurri Sauce

Eden red Wine Vinegar is an Excellent Brand.

Chimichurri Sauce

¼ cup hot water

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

1 1/3 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

2/3 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

6 medium garlic cloves minced

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Sauce:

Put the oregano in a small bowl and pour the hot water over it. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Place the cilantro, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes and garlic in a food processor. Process until coarsely chopped. About 12 pulses. Add the vinegar and oregano-water mixture and pulse briefly to combine. Pour out this mixture in to a medium bowl and slowly mix in the olive oil. Whisk together until it is emulsified. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour. If making ahead refrigerate this mixture and then bring it out and let stand 1 hour before serving.

For the Steak:

1 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. salt

4 (1-lb) boneless strip steak, 1 ½ inches thick

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. Rub the entire surface of the steaks with the flour mixture. Cook the steaks until desired doneness. Transfer steaks to a cutting board, slice, ladle chimichurri sauce over each steak and serve.

Beef with Chimichurri Sauce

Butternut Squash Salad with Arugula and Bacon, Every Day with Rachel Ray, pg. 141

I absolutely LOVED this dish. The recipe called for baby spinach, but frankly I find baby spinach to be somewhat boring and not as interesting and flavorful as arugula. I actually crave arugula and sometimes just eat it as a snack with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dried currants-YUM!

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups)

¼ cup olive oil

1 tbsp. coconut oil

Salt and pepper

16 slices bacon cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. lemon juice

Cayenne pepper

Two 6 oz. pkgs. Arugula

Freshly Roasted Butternut Squash, Still Steaming.

1. Preheat oven to 450. Toss the squash with 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil. Spread onto a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Cook the bacon in the oven on baking pans with sides for about 30 minutes in a 350 oven. Or you could cook the bacon in a large fry pan. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towels to drain; let cool.

3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and maple syrup. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and whisk again. Drizzle the dressing over the arugula.

4. Place the arugula in a serving bowl. Top the arugula on one side of the bowl with bacon and the other side with the squash.

Elbow Pasta with Mixed Salad and Goat Cheese, Everyday Pasta, pg. 137

Pasta loaded with many interesting bits and pieces of cheeses and vegetables is a “no brainer” for a quick evening meal. I put this in front of my teens when they were instead asking for macaroni and cheese. My mother never made macaroni and cheese and subsequently neither do I.

1 lb. Elbow pasta

8 oz. mixed salad greens

½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¾ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. In a large serving bowl place the salad greens and top with the pasta and ½ cup of the warm pasta water. Toss to combine and add the sun dried tomatoes, cheeses salt and pepper. Toss again and add the ½ cup pasta water if necessary.

Completed Pasta with Sun dried Tomatoes Good Cheese and Greens