Monday, February 25, 2013

Fly Me to the Moon....

Every once in a while we pull out the binder of saved recipes to mix up an old favorite.  Moonbeam Salad is one of them.  This is a recipe from 1996 that my hubby originally made one summer.  Light, refreshing and quite tasty.  Well this weekend we were looking to make a couple of sides to go along with a new recipe we found.  (Chicken Pot Pie to be posted later)  Our daughter recommended that we make the Moonbeam Salad.  So, out came the binder and the recipe from the cupboard and the pantry was checked against the ingredients list.  The only things we need was the plum tomatoes and the Vidalia onion.  And while you are reading this don't you hear Frank Sinatra Singing...

Fly me to the moon
   Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a, Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss me

Fill my heart with song
And let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you

Fill my heart with song
Let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, in other words
I love you.


Moonbeam Salad


2 teaspoons Olive Oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 (16 oz.) cans cannellini beans or other white beasn, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups diced plum tomato
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/2 cup (2 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teasoppn of pepper

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in non stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oregano and garlic, saute 30 seconds.  Add vinegar, and remove from heat.  Combine Vinegar mixzture and beans in bowl.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon oil, diced tomato ad the next 5 ingredients (tomato through pepper) to bean mixture, and toss well.  Serve as side salad or with crostini.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Sunday Afternoon....  Craving some Molasses cookies, but not craving the calories.  I remembered that I had a recipe from Cooking Light in October 1996 that was a Molasses Spice cookies, low in calories and easy to make.

 I checked the cupboard to make sure all of the ingredients were to be found.  Lucky for me the 16 year old does not like to put Molasses in everything.  While gathering my supplies I noted that the granola I bought for my cranberry crumble bars is about gone and my husband noted that all of the walnuts and pecans are now missing...  Hmm, could we have a rodent in the house? No, just a 16 year old mixing in assorted goodies to her bowl of cereal.  Well, hopefully she will like these cookies and leave the baking supplies alone.

Molasses Spice Crinkle Cookies 


  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup stick butter, softened 
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • large egg white 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, and stir well. Set aside. Place brown sugar, butter, molasses, and egg white in a food processor, and process until blended. Add dry ingredients to food processor, and process until blended, scraping sides of processor bowl once. Gently press mixture into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Shape dough into 40 (3/4-inch) balls. Place granulated sugar in a bowl. Dip balls in cold water; shake to remove excess moisture. Roll wet balls in sugar. Place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool on a wire rack.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hubby in the Kitchen!

Today  is a federal holiday, the start of school break and a day off for my husband, but not for me.  So after a day of running errands and taking the kids around town, he wanted to get back in the kitchen and have dinner ready when I got home tonight.

Hubby was so excited to prepare tonight's dinner because he had found a 3 year old Bon Appetit' magazine in a doctors office last week that had quite a few good recipes in it.  He decided since it was so old that the office wouldn't miss it.  Tonight we got to try Beef, Shiitake and Snowpea Stirfry. This was a very tasty and quick recipe to make.

My hubby was so excited to be cooking for us that he said we should blog this and was even prepping the photo shoots.  Boy, when I started this blog I was a bit afraid to let my family know I was doing this, now everyone wants to contribute to it!  As I stated on my profile, we are a family that likes to cook together.

Beef, Shiitake and Snowpea Stirfry



  • 1 1-pound top sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced, divided
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce or sirachi
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder


  • Add snow peas, half of green onions, and half of cilantro; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in hoisin, chili-garlic sauce, and five-spice powder; sauté until peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and cilantro.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crockpot to the rescue!

One of our most used wedding presents has to be our Rival Crockpot.  It is now 22 years old and still going strong.  And let's not forget the greatest invention for the Crockpot....Crockpot Liners!  They make cleanup so easy and fast.  And they come with great recipes too.

Crockpot meals are those great "go to meals" when you are crunched for time.  There is nothing like walking into the house after a long day of work and picking up the kids from their obligations and smelling the delicious meal ready and waiting for you.   This recipe is an easy one and one of the kids favorite.  OK,  anything with a noodle involved is my son's favorite.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti



1 Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liner
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 jars (about 25 oz. each) pasta sauce
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (16 oz.) box ziti pasta, uncooked


Open  slow cooker liner and place it inside a 5- to 6 1/2-quart slow cooker bowl. Fit liner snugly against the bottom and sides of bowl; pull top of liner over rim of bowl.
Next brown the  ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink. Stir in seasoning to evenly coat meat and onions. Stir in pasta sauce. Set aside.

Mix  1 cup mozzarella cheese, the ricotta and Parmesan in a medium bowl.

Spoon 2 cups of the meat sauce into the lined-slow cooker; top with 2 cups uncooked ziti pasta. Drop half of the cheese mixture, by rounded tablespoons, over pasta; carefully spread over pasta using back of spoon. Layer with 2 cups meat sauce, the remaining pasta and the remaining cheese mixture. Top with the remaining meat sauce, completely covering all the pasta and cheese mixture. Place lid on slow cooker and
cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle food with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese; let stand 10 minutes until melted. Serve food directly from lined-slow cooker. Do not lift or transport liner with food inside. Cool slow cooker completely; remove liner and toss.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


We were just hanging out this past Sunday after an early morning basketball game, followed by a big breakfast at an area diner, catching up on some Barefoot Contessa shows we had dvr'd.  Her show from the last few weeks has been from Napa Valley, one of our favorite places to visit.  During Barefoot in Napa she had stopped by some stores we have visited, cooked with chefs we admire and savored the wine we love.  (Can you tell I really want to get back there?)  On this particular show we were watching she prepared a Spanish Pea Soup for her husband Jeffrey to heat up while she was off in San Francisco visiting a fish market and some food trucks.  (Ah, San Francisco is one of my favorite cities!)

The soup looked so good and relatively easy, and since it was just a day for hanging out and recouping from a wonderful dinner the night before, my hubby set out to prepare this for our dinner.  And it was easy!  Very few ingredients, no ham bone needed and done in a snap. 

Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham


Good olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large shallots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 pounds frozen peas, such as Bird's Eye Sweet Garden
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thin slices Spanish Serrano ham or Italian prosciutto


In a deep (8 x 5-inch) heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender until coarsely pureed and season to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the stock,  it is suggested that you may add up to another teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to give the soup a very bright flavor.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the ham in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until crisp.

Reheat the soup and serve in shallow bowls with a slice of crispy ham on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve hot.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Midwinter Night's Dinner



I remember mentioning in my very first blog post that because of our love of cooking, we have been in a gourmet dinner club for probably 12 years now.  Our Dinner Club started when hubby and I, along with our foodie friends invited 2 other couples to join us.  One couple, who have been with us from the start, is "Giada" from across the street and her "no green veggies or no seafood main course" husband Mike (had to put that in there, "Love ya Mike!").  Then we asked friends of ours that we know through my husbands job at the time to join us. 

Our dinner club was to get together every other month and we would rotate the host couple.  The host  selects the menu, assigns a course to the other couples and makes sure the menu and recipes reaches them 2 weeks before the dinner. The host supplies the main course and some sides, wine or cocktails, coffee and a welcoming table.  
Well 12 years later and an exchange of one couple for another, we are still going strong.  We now have a wonderful southern cooking influence with our beautiful artist friend and her always happy and smiling husband that she refers to as "farm boy" in her blog in the group, along with our foodie friends and neighbors.  We have had menus ranging from prime rib (1st dinner) to an Italian Feast, a Chinese smorgasbord, a Thai dinner, some wonderful southern delights, Mexican entrees, tailgaters delights', crock pot entrees and more.  So many menus and recipes from all these dinners that they fill up two binders I have in my kitchen. 

Well this weekend is our time to host.  Our menu was inspired by two things, a need for an easy preparation because of a planned afternoon basketball game and some recently viewed recipes that we wanted to try.  The first recipe I saw is from the Traditional Home magazine I saw while at the hair salon.  I love Michael Chiarello and his restaurant Bottega in Yountville, Ca.  His whole menu loved wonderful, probably not for dinner club, but the appetizer could work.  The salad is from Fine Cooking Magazine.  I wanted something a bit different and the shaved asparagus made this interesting.  And Ina's Turkey meatloaf and Green Beans Gremolata, how could you go wrong.  The potatoes have been assigned to our neighbors.  First because we thought we had a basketball game in the afternoon and second, they live right across the street and so their oven is really close.  They were so delicious.

Now the dessert.... It looked very tasty, light  and because the difficulty level was hard.  Ha ha, we assigned that to our "Foodie Friends" because we know that they are up to the challenge.  When we sent the menu and recipes out, we put in fine print that if that thought it was too difficult they could contact us for a substitute.  But they didn't and it was very good. What a wonderful evening with great friends, good food and delightful conversations. Who could ask for anything more!

Bon Appetite!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lemon Love!

An early Valentine surprise!  My wonderful husband found a receipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake from Ina Garten.  He even went to the grocery store yesterday morning, bought the ingredieints and dropped them off at home  thinking that our daughter would of made it since she had a snow day.  No such luck!  So this morning while prepping for our dinner tonight, I decided to make it for him.   He had to run some errands this morning with the kids - the Hallmark store, the grocery store, stock up on some wine...  And I stayed home and made the Lemon Love! 

And when he came home and tried some he said!

Lemon Yogurt Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Look what's cooking

As I write this I am thinking of the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone...".  That is kind of what I did last week when we needed something for dinner before rushing off to a basketball game. 

I opened up the freezer and thought what can I make from what hiding in here?  Staring right back at me was a bag of cooked chicken.  Hmm, that gave me an idea.  I have an app on my phone from Betty Crocker and I put chicken in the search field and found a quick and easy Chicken and Dumplings.  About 30 minutes later...Viola! Dinner.

OK, I had to make a few substitutions because I didn't have peas and carrots, but I did have frozen broccoli florets and pearl onions.  And I didn't have creamy chicken mushroom soup, but I did have cream of chicken soup.  I don't think it change the taste any and my husband and son liked it.  

So I threw it all together in my saute pan and watched the dumplings come to life and 30 minutes later, dinner was on the table.

Quick Chicken and Dumplings

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen green peas and carrots (see substitution above)
1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed creamy chicken mushroom soup (see substitution above)
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/3 cup milk
Paprika, if desired

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk, the peas and carrots, chicken and soup to boiling in 3-quart saucepan, stirring frequently.

Stir Bisquick mix and 1/3 cup milk until soft dough forms. Drop dough by 8 spoonfuls onto chicken mixture (do not drop directly into liquid). Sprinkle with paprika.

Cook uncovered over low heat 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

SuperBowl-Super Stew! Made by Super Hubby!

OK, it's Super Bowl Sunday and that means Chili in our house, right?  Well, not tonight.  Hubby found a Beef Stew recipe on the Food Network site yesterday.  He has been craving a good stew for a couple of weeks now and so, why not.  We can make Chili some other night.  And what is even better - he made dinner for us.

Today was filled with a morning basketball game for our little man, basketball practice for darling daughter, a little bit of shopping a visit to Grandma T., and then hubby dropped off our daughter at the Boys Varsity Basketball game at a rival school while the little man and I went to visit Grandma G.  And when I finally made it back home, dinner was being prepared.  When it was already, I hear" Do you want to get a picture of this for your blog?"  Well, sure I do!  My wonderful husband can make dinner anytime for me and I will blog away...  Wouldn't you?

So, the Super Beef Stew was very tasty!  The basic recipe was Paula Deen's, but hubby added a beef bouillon cube to the mix and about 3 russet potatoes (diced). 

Old Fashion Beef Stew


2 pounds stew beef
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 beef bouillon cube
Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large russet potatoes, diced  (our addition)
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch


Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, Bullion and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots, potatoes and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

Almost done!

Oh, by the way... I left my heart in San Francisco -  and maybe the team is still there too and not at the Super Dome.  Come on Redskins!  Let's get back in the game.