Thursday, March 31, 2011


This is perfect for this time of the year. The time when Meyer Lemons and chard are abundant. Meyer Lemons are my new BF. The skin is so thin and delicious to eat. In this recipe you blanch the lemon slices for 7 minutes to remove any bitterness and then bake them on top of the lasagne. The bubbly, golden brown lasagna comes out of the oven with beautiful slices of lemons peeking out.

                                SAUSAGE, CHARD AND LEMON LASAGNA

Serves 4

3 TBSP. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese ( about 4oz.)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cups coarsely chopped Swiss Chard ( about 1 large bunch)
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (I used spicy sausage)
1 large Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced
6 no-boil lasagna noodles (preferably Barilla)

Melt butter in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour, cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in 3/4 cup cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir in chard.

Preheat oven to 350~. Cook sausage in a skillet over high heat, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined-plate using a slotted spoon.

Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce in a 8 inch square non-reactive baking dish. Top with 2 noodles, half the sausage, and 1 cup sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of lemons, 2 noodles, then the remaining sauce and lemons. Bake, covered with foil for 27 minutes.

Remove from oven. Heat broiler. Uncover lasagne, top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Saturday, March 26, 2011


This is a really beautiful Roast Chicken that Claudia and Erik cooked. They served it with steamed asparagus and couscous.

Chicken browned and getting getting ready for the oven.

In the pan and ready to roast.

Out of the oven and ready to serve.

Thanks Claudia and Erik for sharing your meal with me.

I love to see what friends are cooking. Send me your pictures and the recipe if you have one.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Reuben Paninis....uh huh...isn't that why we cook Corned Beef? That's why I cook it. Once or twice a year I indulge in these scrumptious sandwiches. But, OH NO...I forgot to buy sauerkraut! These were super tasty anyway.

I melted butter and spread it on the outside of the Rye bread. Spread Thousand Island Dressing on the inside, added some thinly sliced Corned Beef, topped it with some sauerkraut (not) and some shredded Swiss Cheese. Seven minutes in a pre-heated Panini Press and I have my Irish-ish delight. If you don't have a Panini Press just put it in a grill pan or cast iron skillet and top it with another pan that is fairly heavy and grill for 3-4 minutes per side.

I made these again and used Gruyere Cheese instead of Swiss and it was just as good if not better. I like the consistency of the melted Gruyere a little better.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


 French onion soup with an Irish twist? You bet, and this is really good.

I don't know about you, but what I do know about me is that I cook a Corned Beef once or twice a year because:

1. It's St. Patrick's Day and Corned Beef and Cabbage is traditional ( at least in the U.S.)

2. It goes on sale in March for 99 cents a pound. I usually buy two, one goes in the freezer.

3. My REAL reason...Reuben sandwiches.

Not any more..... Check out my Corned Beef in the crock pot recipe. The broth that was left over was awesome. It made the best onion soup. All I did to the broth was to remove any leftover carrots and add some fresh thyme leaves.

Warmed the soup, toasted some French bread, topped the soup with the bread and put some grated Gruyere cheese on top. Broil until brown.  The broth had Guinness Extra Stout Beer in it and the Corned Beef spices along with Creole mustard gave it just the right tang and crunch.

Thanks O'Ronald for the idea :)

We had 3 great meals from one Corned Beef.

Tomorrow night....THE REUBEN!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I made a crock pot Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day. I liked the fact that I could throw it in the pot in the morning and leave for the day.The Guinness really gave it a great flavor. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and some cabbage that I sauteed in some bacon fat.

O'Ronald really liked this dinner. He suggested that I use the left over broth for French Onion Soup. I'm going to make that tonight and THEN....Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese on Rye Paninis for dinner tomorrow night. Woo Hoo!

Oh, O'Ronald's dish looks a little messy. Here is mine.

                                                    CROCK POT CORNED BEEF

6 carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions, chopped
2-3 pound Corned Beef Brisket with seasoning packet
12 oz. can beer (I used Guinness Stout)
2 TBSP. yellow mustard (I used Creole Mustard)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

In a 4-6 quart crock pot, combine carrots and onions. Rinse corned beef under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in crock pot and sprinkle with contents of seasoning mix. Pour beer over brisket and spread mustard on brisket. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar with water and pour over brisket. Cover crock pot and cook on low setting for 10-12 hours.

To serve, cut corned beef across grain into thin slices. Remove the carrots and serve, spooning cooking juices over the food. Offer additional mustard on the side.

Save the liquid. It makes the best French Onion Soup.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I love Carne Asada. This is  my go to taco when I just want something good on the table and FAST. I have made Carne Asada from scratch but lately I have been buying the packaged meat, already marinated and seasoned from Ralphs. It usually has about a three week sell by date so I like to keep one in the fridge for those nights when I just don't feel very creative. Trader Joes has a Carne Asada but I like Ralphs brand better.

I just quickly sear the meat in a hot cast iron skillet, and then cut it into small pieces. Warm some flour tortillas over the gas flame...

I LOVE this gas range :)

Top the tortilla with some meat, avocado, cilantro, cheese, and some sour cream that I added some chopped chipolte peppers to. And then a squeeze of lime.

Open and heat a can of black beans and you have dinner in 30 minutes!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Out of time but you have some thyme? Try this appetizer. It takes less than 5 minutes to put together and tastes like it took hours.

I like it served with Trader Joes par-baked baguette but you can serve it with crostini or crackers.

                                             MARINATED GOAT CHEESE SPREAD

1 (8oz.) log fresh Goat Cheese
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use your best stuff)
A few sprigs thyme and some thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Place the goat cheese on a cute serving platter or in a small, shallow serving bowl. Pour the olive oil over the goat cheese log and sprinkle with thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Serve with crackers or a thinly sliced and toasted baguette.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


A great looking Pizza from Claudia and Erik. They used a Boboli crust. I had forgotten about those. I alway used to have them on hand for a yummy quick dinner. Claudia said they carmelized some onions and then baked it. Looks like some pineapple on there too. I'll post the detail when she sends them to me.

Thanks Claudia and Erik!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I had some leftovers in the fridge from last weeks meals so I decided to combine some of them for a scrumptious sandwich.

I toasted some bread, spread some of the dressing leftover from my Mardi Gras meal (CREOLE ANCHOVY DRESSING) added some lettuce, avocado, salt and pepper and nice slices of leftover grilled flat iron steak. Great combination. The dressing is more like a mayonnaise with a tang. The dressing put this sandwich over the top.

Monday, March 14, 2011


We have a lot of kale growing in our garden right now. I usually saute it but I decided to try something different this time.

These are healthy, yummy, and very addictive.

Nothing to it...just wash and dry some kale. Remove the tough ribs. Tear into chip size pieces, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Pre-heat oven to 350~  Spread chips on a baking pan and cook until crisp, about 15 minutes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This dinner was prepared by Claudia and Erik. It sounds so good. I can't wait to try it.

                                PORK TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOT MADEIRA SAUCE

Pre-heat oven to 400~

Season a pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet sear the tenderloin in some olive oil until brown on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Place the skillet in the oven and roast pork for 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145~. Remove from oven and put pork on a cutting board . Tent pork with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

 De-glaze the pan over medium-high heat with 1/2 cup Madeira wine. Add 1/2 jar of Bonne Maman apricot preserves. Reduce until the sauce is thick and bubbly.

Slice pork tenderloin and pour sauce on top.

Serve with grilled polenta and steamed asparagus and red bell peppers.

                                                   Grilled Polenta

Use ready made polenta and grill in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil. When lightly browned, top with grated Parmesan and finish in oven on low broil.

Thanks Claudia and Erik for sharing!


Friday, March 11, 2011


This is a very good and easy soup. You can use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian or add crumbled sausage to make it hearty. I made it with chicken broth and vegetables.


32 ounces reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans white (cannellini or navy) beans
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 TBSP. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. dried sage
2 bay leaves
salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked pasta (I used whole wheat rotelle) but use whatever small pasta you like
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
4 TBSP. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Basil springs for garnish, optional
Parmesan rinds for soup, optional

In a slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 tsp. each, salt and pepper. Add Parmesan rinds if using.

 Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

One hour before the soup is done cooking, add the zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 1 hour.

Cook the pasta and set aside.

Remove bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put some pasta in a bowl and ladle the soup on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with chopped basil if desired.

Recipe adapted from Robin Miller

P.S. Save your Parmesan rinds! Put them in a bag and toss them in the freezer. Add them to your soups and stews for an incredible flavor.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Fat Tuesday....Mardi's all about a party. After trying to decided which recipe I wanted to make I settled on this one. I now have a float-load of Cajun/Creole recipes I can't wait to try.

This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, I changed it a little. It was really good but the interesting thing is that both Ron and I thought it was better the day after. The flavors really developed overnight.

I served it with a Cajun Caesar salad and some brown rice.

                                                     CHICKEN-ANDOUILLE CASSEROLE

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 TBSP. Emeril's Essence
2-21/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP. melted butter and 1 tsp. olive oil
3 TBSP. vegetable oil
6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped (I found a chicken sausage that worked but pork would be the real deal)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 TBSP. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 ounces mushrooms, stems trimmed, wiped clean, and sliced
6 boiled artichokes hearts, sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used one can artichoke hearts)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 TBSP. chopped green onions
1 TBSP. minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon leaves

Pre-heat the oven to 350~

In a heavy plastic bag, combine the flour and 1 1/2 tsp. of the Essence. Add the chicken and toss until well coated. Shake to remove any excess breading and reserve the remaining flour.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, remaining Essence, cheese, and butter and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches as necessary and cook until browned on each side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Add the sausage and cook, stirring, over medium high heat until almost browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and give off their liquid, 3-4 minutes. Add the reserved flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken, artichokes, stock, cream, green onions, parsley, and tarragon. Stir and bring to a boil. Transfer to a casserole dish and spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the top and bake until bubbly and the top has a golden crust, about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It's FAT TUESDAY! I made this Creole Anchovy Dressing to accompany my New Orleans themed meal. It's a creamy Caesar dressing with a kick. The Creole mustard gives it a nice spice and you get a little crunch from the mustard seeds. Use the Cajun Seasoning to taste, make it as spicy as you like.

                                                          CREOLE ANCHOVY DRESSING

1 anchovy fillet
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 large egg
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Creole mustard
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. water
1/8 tsp. Cajun Seasoning (I used Tony Cachres)
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1 pound romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Grated Parmesan cheese

Place the anchovy and garlic into a food processor, cover and pulse on and off several times. Add the egg, and with the motor running, slowly add the vegetable and olive oil. Add the cheese, mustard, lemon and lime juices, water, Cajun seasoning, pepper and salt. Process briefly until all ingredients are incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, toss romaine with the dressing, allowing approximately 3 TBSP. of the dressing per serving.

Serve on chilled salad plates. Top with croutons and additional Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

To make the croutons, heat 2 TBSP. oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add bread cubes and toss in the pan to evenly coat the bread with the oil. Sprinkle in the Cajun season while stirring continuously. Toast for 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Recipe from The Heaven on Seven cookbook.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


These potatoes are really good. I loved the way they soaked up the chicken broth for a soft tasty center and a crispy outside. The day after, I microwaved them and served them with the vinaigrette. They were awesome.....maybe even better than the first time around. You could probably cut down on the oil as it made a lot of vinaigrette, but it was so good. I think I will sprinkle some feta on them next time.


1 1/2 cups olive oil (use less if you want, this makes a lot)
5 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP. chopped shallots
2 TBSP. chopped fresh oregano or 1 TBSP. dried
1 TBSP. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced

3 pounds large russet potatoes, peeled, each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

Pre-heat oven to 425~. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, oregano, parsley and garlic in medium bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss potatoes with 1/2 cup vinaigrette on a heavy large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve remaining vinaigrette for serving. Pour chicken stock around potatoes. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. Roast potatoes until tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 45 minutes. Cool completely. Using metal spatula, loosen potatoes from baking sheet to prevent sticking. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheet at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 425~. Rewarm potatoes until crisp, about 15 minutes. Divide potatoes equally among plates. Drizzle some reserved lemon vinaigrette over potatoes.

Recipe from Bon Appetit


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


These cabbage rolls stuffed with halibut were quite tasty. The halibut is spread with a mixture of butter, capers, and parsley. Roll them up, brown on the stove, and bake in the oven. The cabbage keeps the halibut moist and delightful. 

Use savoy cabbage and place a piece of halibut inside and roll up.

I served them with some Greek Potatoes.

Savoy Cabbage Rolls with Halibut, Browned
Butter, and Capers    

  • Ice cubes
  • 6 large savoy cabbage leaves
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup drained capers, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 6 4-ounce halibut fillets

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Fill large bowl with ice cubes and water; set aside. Add cabbage leaves to boiling water; cook 2 minutes. Using slotted skimmer or large slotted spoon, transfer leaves to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Gently pat dry.

Place 4 tablespoons butter in small bowl. Chop 2 tablespoons capers and mix into bowl with butter, then stir in parsley. Season caper butter to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1 cabbage leaf, vein side up, on work surface. Using small sharp knife, trim off some of thickest part of large center vein so that leaf will lie flat. Turn leaf over, vein side down. Place 1 fish fillet on bottom third of cabbage leaf. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon caper butter over fish. Fold bottom, then sides of leaf over fish. Fold tip of leaf over, enclosing fish completely. Place fish packet, seam side down, on rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves, fish, coarse salt, pepper, and caper butter. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle fish packets with coarse salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish packets to skillet and cook until cabbage is light golden, about 2 minutes per side. Return fish packets, seam side down, to same baking sheet. Bake until fish is just opaque in center and firm to touch, about 7 minutes.

Transfer fish packets to platter; cover with foil to keep warm.

Melt remaining 3 TBSP. butter and 2 TBSP. capers in skillet. Cook until butter is golden brown, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes. Add 2 tsp. water to butter mixture and swirl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon sauce over fish bundles and serve.

Recipe adapted from March 2011 Bon Appetit