Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

I saw this on pinterest (thanks Tara!) and tried it for dinner last night.  We made french peasant bread (From Favorites) to accompany.  1 of 3 kids ate it up and I'd bet you wouldn't guess which one loved it.  The other 2 did not receive ice cream for dessert, actually I think we forgot to even give it to her.  There's your hint.  It is truly "silky" (description stolen from a review), and I would highly recommend serving immediately (as suggested) as we had to wait for the bread and it was a bit casserole-y.  Yum, yum!  And the leftovers were perfect for Javi.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kitchen Fun

 Country Living
Not my favorite island, but I love the hanging pots and the stove (with pot filler!)
 Country Living
 Country Living
 Country Living
Country Living - love the floors, the stove, & the farmhouse sink!
Veranda - A great modern family kitchen.  Big enough to gather, but great enough to really cook!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Zero Point Soup & Parmesan Chicken

From two favorite cookbooks, 'Keeping Up', & Ina Garten's 'Barefoot Contessa Family Style'. 

zero point soup
as a few dear friend may recall, my first attempt at this soup I used red cabbage, the result was a creamy purple soup, very unappetizing and just not cool.
2 carrots, diced
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (I  put mine through the garlic press)
3 cans chicken broth (or 4-6 cups)
1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
1 can fancy green beans (my food pantry happened to stock the "fancy"), 1/2 cup fresh would be ideal
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 zucchini, diced
zero point soup simmering sans zucchini
Lightly coat a soup pot with cooking spray and add carrots, onions, & garlic.  Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, add a Tbsp or so of broth to keep vegetables moist.  Add remaining ingredients, except the zucchini, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, & simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until the zucchini is tender. 

Parmesan Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
1 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Olive Oil

Pound out chicken until 1/4 inch thick (I loved this part!).  Combine the flour, salt, & pepper in one dish or large pasta style bowl.  On a second plate combine the eggs.  On a third dish, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally the Bread crumb mixture. 

Heat approx. 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2-3 chicken breasts at a time for 3-4 minutes on each side, adding olive oil if needed (I need it!).

We are serving with light salad, and a veggie lentil mix Andy cooked up last night.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


My favorite treat to make and eat during the Holidays.  And thank goodness I "dieted" for a few weeks after Thanksgiving, not that you would notice since I took off the 10 pounds gained at Thanksgiving to allow my self the indulgence of Holiday parties since Friday.  Usually at this time of year I call Katie, who calls her mother in law Joan, who I get this recipe from and lose within the year (I am sure it's on a cute recipe card in my cupboard somewhere).  This year I found it in my new "Favorite" cookbook, the sequel to "Favorites", called "Keeping Up Cookbook", fantastic and highly recommended.  I whipped up a batch for a fun cookie party CL held for the neighborhood ladies last night.  All I could find was yellow, blue, or green frosting...I picked blue.  I was lucky enough to break a few, so quickly had to sample their truly melt in your mouth goodness.  We are having the leftovers for breakfast.  Enjoy!


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour

Cream together ingredients until smooth and uniform (a few minutes in the Kitchen Aid).  Drop by round, teaspoon sized balls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. 

Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces (how funny I used 8 oz.! oh well!)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 drops food coloring

Beat together until fluffy.  Generously frost cooled cookies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Simple Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches & Right Brain Slicing Onions

3 to 4 pounds pork roast
2 onions, chopped
18 oz. Stubb's Honey & Pecan BBQ Sauce
1/3 cup honey

12 Sandwich Buns

Place pork in crock pot and cover with onions, barbeque sauce and honey.  Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.  Shred meat and mix into sauce.  Serve warm.

This was H's choice of dinner this week.  We purchased the pork roast at Costco on Monday, froze half and started cooking today.  O2 took at day off school, and we purchased the rolls today.  I would love to do a onion chopping blog post, but I need the camera, which at the moment is ?  I will say, wearing contacts totally helps with the onion weeping, or else I have odd eyeballs that simply do not tear.  For the right brain people I will explain a fantastic way to dice onions.

First, using your best chef's knife (8-10") and a cutting board, slice off stem end (the flowering side) to peel (leaving root end in tact, something to hold onto).  Second, slice onion in half, halving the root bulb bit.  Third, lying the half onion flat on cutting surface, slice from blunt stem end to root end horizontally.  Fourth, make slices from root end to blunt stem end on the top vertically.  Finally, cutting parallel to the blunt end and the root chop the onion into beautiful little squares.  Repeat for second half.

This work for garlic too.

How's that for a 4th grad type "How to" assignment?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

White Bean & Sausage Soup

The last few months I have really been trying to utilize other recipes, but be more creative with recipes to really make them mine.  I tried this last night with white bean and sausage soup and it turned out really filling, not too spicy, but most importantly, it was yummy.

1 bag of small white beans (soak according to directions, drain)
4 small cans of chicken stock (about 8 cups)
Bay leaf
1 cup of dry barley
1 lb. ground pork sausage
onion, chopped
olive oil
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leafed parsley (always flat-leafed parsley)
Spice salt-free fine herbes blend - or your favorite spice, rosemary would be divine.
Parmigiano reggiano - best bought at Costco, lasts for months, goes great with so many dishes!  Only buy when imprinted as show to the right, otherwise it's a fakey.

Add 3 cans (or 6 cups) of chicken stock and the bay leaf to soaked and drained white beans.  Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding dry barley half way through (to cook barley for 45 minutes).  In saucepan, heat a Tablespoon of olive oil, saute onion to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add to white beans.  In same pan, add sausage, salt and pepper to your taste, stir frequently, until cooked thoroughly, about 10 minutes.  Add to soup mixture.  Add herbs (of your choice), about a teaspoon.  Simmer or maintain heat on low until ready to serve.  Remove the bay leaf and add parsley the last few minutes.  Serve at the table with micro-plane grater and wedge of parmigiano reggiano per diner taste.

Add homemade cornbread (Andy made ours from scratch, what a man!), some butter and honey, et voila, dinner is ready.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mi Madre

Every year for Christmas my darling Mother asks for one thing, every year. It costs less than $10 but obtainable for less than $2. Wooden Spoons. Every year. I have learned that her need to replace wooden spoons so often is not from whacking our backsides (honestly never happened), but from repeated use and most specifically, dishwasher washing of the spoons. In my kitchen, I have two large ceramic cylinders that dutifully sit next to my stove an above our spice cabinet, full of wooden spoons & other utensils, but mostly wooden spoons. Like my mother, I have never used them or actually until now even thought of using them on a child's backside, just to make it clear, that if you are scarred from childhood on account of wooden spoons, I am sorry, but that is not even slightly my intent of the address and subtitle 'Wooden Spoon'. I am certainly more scarred each and every time I try to cook at my sister Kate's house and she has no wooden spoons. To be fair I think she has two beechwoods and a burned plastic spoon from 1990. And she cooks and bakes way more than me. Bottom line, whether you get beautiful olive wood, bamboo, or beechwood, full, flat, or slotted; wooden spoons are essential. The more the merrier. And don't be too frugal because you will certainly use, abuse by way of dishwasher, and eventually wear out all of them. Most memorably, I have this affinity for wooden spoons inherited from Mi Madre, also her Thanksgiving rolls, lasagna, chicken noodle soup, more recipes and tips, and lots of evenings at restaurants, since every cook deserves a night off. As I journey through this "all things kitchen and cooking" blog, wooden spoons are my impetus and the first thing I thought of that got me going on this silly blog.