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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Chicken and Rice Soup

This is the foundation for post-Thanksgiving Turkey and rice soup but works just as well with rotisserie chicken remnants.   Recently my local grocery was ransacked in anticipation of snow and the rotisserie chickens were no where to be found so I started with a couple of chicken breasts on the bone in the crock pot. It turned out great too.  The concept is the same and the secret ingredient is cracked black pepper. Lots of it. The rest is pretty simple but delicious.

Boil carcass to make your stock. Add celery and onion (big pieces) for flavor. This is where I use the leafy celery since it’s just for flavor. Boil until it’s coming apart and pour into a new pot through a colander. Pick through the solids and chop up the good white meat you find. Throw the rest of yuckky stuff and big pieces of celery and onion away.  Note: my aversion to “gick” limits me to white meat only in the soup. If you feel differently, it’s your soup. Include it!

If you have time and want to save on calories, cover and chill overnight. Skim the fat from the top before proceeding.

Basic ingredients:
Celery- chopped. About a cup
Carrots (a cup or so- I like to use baby carrots to make round bits but any kind will do)
Finely diced onion- about 1/4 C
1 1/2  C Rice or so (any kid- white is my go to but wild or brown also works)
Garlic powder
Cracked black pepper- never have measured... 1 Tbs?
1 Bay Leaf  (maybe 2)
Chicken buillion- a cube or two depending on how flavorful the stock was. (I prefer Knorrs)

Start with the rice and bring the broth to a boil. Add water as needed. I would say at least two cups. Maybe 6 by the time It’s all said and done depending on how much gets soaked up by the rice. Boil for about 10 minutes and add the chopped vegetables and spices.

Continue cooking over low heat until rice and vegetables are  tender and you’re ready to serve. I like to add crackers.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Snack Basket Chicken

I have kids so we have lots of small bags of snacks- especially Goldfish.  If your kids are anything like mine, I also have lots of half-eaten bags of snacks that end up in the "snack basket".  One day I thought I would use my repurposing skills and make breadcrumbs for chicken, and voila!  Snack Basket Chicken was born.  I've used Cheetos, Potato Chips, Pretzels, Cheez-its, etc in the mix and it all seems to turn out well.  Heck- my 5 year old sous chef actually requests Snack Basket Chicken regularly.

4 (or whatever works for your family) boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Various snacks as listed above
Garlic powder
Italian Seasoning
Parmesan Cheese

Place random snack assortment in a food processor and crush to breadcrumb consistency.  Add spices- listed above and/or add your favorites.  I don't measure, so if I had to guess, I'd say 2 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp seasonings, 2 TBS Parmesan cheese, dashes of salt and pepper.

I don't dip the chicken in eggs or anything to save some calories, but you certainly could.  I just take the rinsed chicken and dredge it in a bowl with the crumb/seasoning mix.  I flip it over and make sure it's well coated and place it on a greased (sprayed) cookie sheet, allowing space for each chicken breast.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the thermometer says "Safe!!" (160 degrees)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


For some reason I had it in my head that making fudge was some big ordeal that was majorly complicated.  I had memories of my Gramma with her candy thermometer and a kitchen full of pots and pans.  So imagine my surprise when I used my Google powers and found out that fudge is actually easy to make!  I changed the white chocolate one enough to truly call it mine, but the chocolate one is courtesy of where you can find several yummy variations.

I wanted to make a little "Christmas Happy" for my work friends, and thought a little bag of home made sweets would be nice.  It seems to have been a hit!  My 5 year old sous chef suggested we make another batch of the white fudge with pretzels, hence the recipe below, although we originally did the cookies and creme version from and it was yummy.  I keep thinking of other variations-- Craisins, crushed candy canes, dark chocolate covered blueberries…the possibilities are endless!

White Chocolate Pretzel Fudge
2 packages of white chocolate chips
2 cans of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups of crushed pretzels

Chocolate Fudge (found on
2 packages of semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 cans of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 stick of butter

Place chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a pan on low heat. Add the stick of butter. Occasionally stir as the mixture melts.  Line a 9x13 inch pan with waxed paper or foil and put the mixture in and smooth out.  Cover and refrigerate over night.  Turn upside down on a large cutting board and cut into little squares.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Retail Beef Cuts

Here is some valuable information from Rick Bakas, who I recently started following on Twitter. Rick has a wonderful website: which is a "cornucopia of wine and food geekery." Rick is a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. His passion is finding the perfect wine and food pairing. His blog is a place where he shares success stories and not-so-successful stories while on this quest.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the choices of beef cuts avaiable, so I found this very helpful. I hope you do too! Just click on the image to see the full size graphic.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup- Crockpot Style

Yesterday was a snowy, stay in the house kind of day and I had chicken. I looked at cookbooks several cookbooks, and finally found inspiration on the Tastefully Simple website. Did you know you can enter in a product you have and an ingredient and it will list all of the recipes using those ingredients? It's pretty helpful- you should check it out.

Anyway, I found a recipe there that was an inspiration for this creation. I loved the fact that I threw everything in the pot and let it go all day. If you don't have the Tastefully Simple ingredients, you can improvise, of course. OR- you can always call me or visit my website to order ;-)

3 Chicken Breasts
1 Jar of Corn & Black Bean Salsa
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Can of Corn
1 Can of diced Jalapenos (mine were hot, and well...quite frankly this soup was even spicy to me!! I would suggest medium or mild)
1 Can of diced tomatoes
4 Cups of Water
4 Chicken Bullion Cubes
2 TBS of Fiesta Party Dip (TS)
Salt, Pepper, hot sauce to taste
Some crushed tortilla chips if desired

Combine all ingredients in your crock pot. Cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, stirring occasionally. Before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with forks and place back in pot.

Serve with shredded cheddar and sour cream, if desired.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crock Pot Potatoes Au Gratin

I'm not really sure why, but I think you need to eat beef on Christmas Eve. When I woke up the morning of the 24th, I found my fridge at a whopping 87 degrees. It was a disgusting mess with the melted butter running down the back and all the containers fogging up from their decomposition. Needless to say, the pot roast I was planning to cook was lost, so I had to completely recreate my Christmas Eve Menu.

I decided on steaks (which were OK- I have to remember that making the extra trip to Fresh Market or Whole Foods is worth it for good steaks- Publix...mediocre at best.) Since the idea of pot roast potatoes I had planned had perished in the fridge fiasco, I had to come up with a plan B.

I sliced my potatoes thinly with the mandolin and threw them in the crock pot on high. I added a little olive oil, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese and yes- Velveeta because nothing that contains melted cheese can be denied this white trash delicacy in my opinion. I spiced it up with Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic, salt and pepper. I set the sucker on high and went to church. About two and a half hours later, I had this amazing Potato Au Gratin waiting for the steaks. I threw a bit of bread crumbs on top to finish it off and there you have it. Super easy and a happy, yummy creation courtesy of someone not getting the fridge closed all the way the night before. I'm not pointing fingers, wasn't me for the record. ;-)

Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles

I'm not sure about you, but sometimes fixing dinner is the last thing I want to do after a busy day. I love good crock pot recipes because you come home to a wondrous smell and dinner is done. Kind of like that Ronco thingie: set it and forget it (ha!)

So I threw this together the other night, cooked up some egg noodles and served it with a salad and I was done. I have to admit, it was pretty tasty!

Boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
1 can of Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 Chicken bullion cubes
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. seasons to your taste
Egg noodles

Ok, this is pretty simple: put the chicken in the crock pot, cover with soup, add seasonings and bullion cubes and cook on low all day (at least 6 hrs). Prepare egg noodles when you come home and serve chicken and gravy over noodles. Add a side salad to get your "green" points for the day.