Monday, August 18, 2014

Four Legged Vistors

Around the homestead we are seeing a lot more deer which I am surprised bow season opened this past weekend and usually the deer disappear.  I would prefer the hunters went into the backcountry instead of around homes to hunt after all 3 year here we consider the deer pets and I get very protective of them.

A week ago I bought two bales of hay and put them on the side of our house. There are enough trees there to hide them from prying eyes. Every chance I got I looked out at the pile of hay and not one deer I did have a jack rabbit nibbling the hay.  Then sat when I got up I walked into the bathroom looked outside and saw something move.  I went and got my glasses and to my surprise there were over 9 deer and mostly bucks eating the hay.  The sun hadn't come over the mountain yet so the photos I did get were not great.

We don't usually start getting this number of deer until fall and winter, summer we have 3 or 4 hanging around, during the winter we have had 20 plus eating the hay we put out. Although our summer has been mild we still had temperatures in the low 90's this weekend.

During the hot weather I like to fix meals that are not heavy this Lemon Chicken Orzo Pasta hit the spot. It was light, refreshing and I didn't feel stuffed after dinner.

Lemon Chicken and Orzo Pasta

3 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
3 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 large lemons, juiced
1 cup yellow squash, diced
1 1/2 cup brussel sprouts, cut into 3rds
olive oil
1 pound box orzo pasta
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
juice from 1 lemon and zest
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 leaves fresh basil, rough chopped
parmesan shavings

Cut chicken into uniform bite size cubes, sprinkle with salt, lemon pepper and oregano and place in a large ziploc bag.  Add to the bag capers, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and the whole lemon. Seal bag and squish around so everything coats the chicken; refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

At this time take the chicken out of the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature while you do this next step. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, place diced squash and sliced brussel sprouts on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper; toss and have the veggies spread out evenly on foil. Roast for 20 minutes; stirring vegetables half way through. Remove from oven and set aside. (you can use any vegetable you like, this is what I had on hand)

Cook the orzo pasta according to the boxes direction.  Discard lemon peels from the chicken. Heat a skillet and cook the chicken a little at a time, no need to add any extra oil.  Add to the vegetable mixture.  Once the pasta is done cooking and is drained add to the skillet.  Squeeze lemon juice and zest  to pasta, add grated parmesan cheese and stir.  Add chicken, vegetables and basil to the pasta; stir. Top with parmesan shavings.

Pasta is also good cold as a salad

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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Best Veggie and Cheese Sandwich

As far as I am concerned Football Season starts in pre-season and I'm over the moon. Saturday my beloved New Orleans Saints played the St. Louis Rams winning 26-24, unfortunately I did not get to see it.  

What goes with Football?  Football party/Tailgating food, this year that's good and bad.  As of June 11th, 2014 I started exercising my butt off and eating see where I'm going with this... Football fare is fattening.  

I have lost 28.3 pounds and I'm not going to put it back on.  I am sticking around the 1,200 calories a day. However with my exercising I get to add an average of 300 to 400 extra calories to my 1,200 and I still lose the weight.  

I am walking - jogging an average of 16,800 steps a day which comes out to around 7 to 8 miles per day. I want something hearty and believe it or not this Veggie Sandwich is hearty, filling and packed with flavor.  It meets all my needs.  As you can see it's a messy sandwich too.  If you serve this at your football party you can still add some meat to it and your carnivores will be happy.

The Best Veggie and Cheese Sandwich

2 large onions, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 1/2 tablespoons plus more if needed extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, rough chop
2 6 oz cans artichoke hearts, drained
2 cups crimini mushrooms sliced
1/2 can of beef consommé
splash dry marsala wine (optional)
gruyere cheese, shredded
Inglehoffer Cream Style Horseradish (optional)
4 favorite rolls (I used onion rolls)

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium low heat add sliced onions, salt and pepper; cook low and slow until caramelized, approx 45 minutes or longer; stirring occasionally.  30 minutes into cooking the onions add bell peppers, artichoke hearts and garlic.  Remove onion mixture from heat leaving as much of the juices in pan.  Add sliced mushrooms, more olive oil if needed sauté mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until tender; stirring occasionally, add thyme and garlic cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add the onion mixture to the mushrooms and add the beef consommé and allow to cook down for 15 minutes.  Note: the vegetables can all be cooked earlier in the day and heated when you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Assembly: Cut rolls in half, spread cream style horseradish to both sides of the buns, add shredded cheese, veggie mixture, more cheese and top with bun.  Wrap in aluminum foil place on a cookie sheet and place in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Makes 4 large sandwiches.

Other uses for the vegetables mixture after they are done cooking toss with fettuccine pasta. If you use for pasta put in the whole can of beef consommé incredible!

Love Bakes Good Cakes

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blog Tour - All Aboard

Blog Tour

Six years ago I started a food blog House of Pamcakes, then we had the bright idea to put our house on the market and move.  Instead of putting my blog on hold I deleted it.  We packed up 30 years worth of stuff and moved to Utah, after signing the papers our realtor warned us that we might not be making friends that the people were friends and did stuff within their wards.........hold the phone, no friends, that's crazy talk!   We are living on a mountain with no neighbors within 2 plus miles, she was right - no friends, so I decided to dust off House of Pamcakes, reinstate my blog and get busy with the outside world.....except during the time of the move someone swept in and grabbed House of Pamcakes.

While I was feeling sorry for myself and kicking myself in the butt for deleting my blog my husband came up with a new name for me Rancho Delux (that's what he was calling our 42 acres on the mountain) I added the Living in Rancho Delux.   Since there is not a whole lot to do in our small town and I had no girlfriends, I started cooking......lots of cooking.  Then 2 years of living in the not so friendly Utah our daughter got tired of the "no friends" and moved back to California, what else is a mom to do when her baby bird leaves the nest, you got it,  more cooking.

Baking is my biggest challenge, high altitude changes everything,  even though you might have a recipe for 7,200 feet doesn't mean it's going to work every time you make that recipe.  The time of day, outdoor temperature and humidity changes the way your baking comes out day to day, it is a hit or miss.

Being up here in my own little world I have improved my cooking skills, developed my own recipes, learn to write down recipes that I have made so many times without blinking an eye.  I have entered more cooking contests and was a finalist in the Johnsonville Pizza Contest with my Zesty Lemon Sausage Pizza.

Blog Tour Questions:

What am I working on:

Organizing and being consistent comes to mind first. If I have a hiccup in life I need to kick it to the curb and move on instead of it halting my life.  Writing more reviews on cookbooks and products that I use.

How does my work differ than others of its genre?

I don't take fancy good photographs of the food I make.  What you see is going to be devoured minutes after the photograph is taken.  It's not that I wouldn't love to take fantastic photos but I can't see making a meal during the day just to get a perfect photo and reheating it in the evening.

I make home cooking recipes, nothing fancy, nothing complicated, just please pass the peas food.

Why do I write what I do?

First and foremost it's recipes.  I want to share my love of cooking with others along with reviews of cookbooks and my thoughts on food products and kitchen tools I use. Blogging is also my link to the outside world.

How does my writing process work?

I'm working on my writing skills.  I will make a recipe, type it on my blog and then just sit there staring at my computer screen, trying to figure out how to start my blog post, I totally go blank.  In person I am never a loss for words, go figure.

I am working on writing down notes when a thought pops in my head.  This is when organization skills would help me a ton.

My Favorite Bloggers:

I know above I'm sounding a bit negative, but this is now my life and I feel that needs to be explained to get where I'm at now.  Through the blogging world I have made the most amazing friends.  They share the same love of food and cooking as me.  Without my experience here in Utah I wouldn't have met Jenny from Mad Ranting of Andrew's Mom and owner and host of The Cookbook Junkies a group of 7,000 plus cookbook fanatics like myself. Jenny has done a huge service to the Cookbook Industry and authors with the Cookbook Junkies and cooking your way through cookbooks you can check them out here: Cooking from The New Midwestern Table by Amy ThielenCooking Through Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from our Tuscan KitchenBaking ... through Lick the Bowl Good and Baking Through Wintersweet.

Jenny and I met on my blog I was having a giveaway for the Beekman Boys Heirloom cookbook, I had two people enter and Jenny was one of them.  With just two people entering I felt it was only right to give both of them cookbooks.  Jenny and I continued talking online and fast became friends.
I am happy to say we have met in person 2 times and have plans to do more things together in the future, she is my Soul Sister.

Jenny is an amazing caring person, that has a heart bigger than Texas.  Jenny is always cooking and not just for her family but for friends and neighbors.  With her incredible wit and writings along with recipes like Chicken Cordon Bleu Macaroni and Cheese and by the way Jenny is the Mac n' Cheese Queen or how about some Toasted Coconut Scones.

Thank you Jenny for inviting me on this Blog Tour and a huge shout out for my favorite guy Andrew Jenny's son. Andrew brings so much joy into my heart. Life would be pretty dull if I didn't hear all of the Andrew-isams and getting hugs and love from him. I love you Jenny, Jim and Andrew.

Next stop on this blog tour is Shelby from The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch, Shelby is a very dear friend that I found through Jenny (Jenny gets around). I love visiting Shelby's blog I get to see beautiful photographs of her home, her family and her kitties. Visiting Shelby is like visiting an old friend relaxing and enjoying some fantastic food in a country setting.  With dishes like Grilled Peaches with Agave Lime CreamHoney Sesame Chicken and Chicken Tenders in Garlic Tomato Sauce with Buccatini you can't go wrong.  Shelby is also involved with the Secret Recipe Club, has been featured on Yummly and a featured partner with ZipList just to name a few places Shelby has been featured.  You can also find Shelby on FacebookPinterest and Twitter stop by and tell Pam sent you.

Next stop on our Blog Tour is Renee at Kudos Kitchen by Renee.  Again I met Renee through Jenny.  Jenny had Renee make me a hand painted tile of my Blog. Since then I have had Renee paint wine glasses for me.  You really need to check out her blog shop page to see all the wonderful items Renee paints they make incredible gifts.  Besides being a gifted artist Renee works her magic in the kitchen too.  You will be drooling over these dishes like Alsatian Cheese and Bacon TartWasabi Pea and Beer Nut Brittle and Savory Pumpkin and Sage Pinwheel Appetizers. You can find Renee featured on ZipList, Foodgawker and Tastespotting.  Renee also shares her talent at The Secret Recipe Club and Sunday Supper along with a long list of features.  You can also visit Renee at FacebookPinterest and Twitter.

If you would like to join the Blog Tour just answer the blogging questions above and feature 3 bloggers what a fantastic way to get to know one another and pay it forward.

I wish I could have featured more bloggers but I'm running out of time....So instead I will be sending some shout-outs to:  Katrina at Baking and BoysSwathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen,  and Miss at Miss in the Kitchen just to name a few.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Banana Toasted Coconut Bread

I am suppose to be making meatballs and dog cookies today but my eye keeps looking over at the ripe bananas I have sitting on the counter.  Dog cookies can wait until tomorrow, sorry Olive and the meatballs I will make later.

Now I don't want to make the usual banana bread I want to do something different.  I go to my baking pantry to see what I have. Perfect! I see 3 bags of coconut I might as well grab one of those and the bottle of Malibu Coconut Rum. Oh, this is sounding good already.

If you don't already have Malibu Coconut Rum on hand I suggest you pick up a (big) bottle.  Besides using it in my cooking and baking a splash of Malibu and Amaretto in Raspberry Lemonade will turn that frown upside down.

Banana Toasted Coconut Bread

1 cup toasted coconut
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Malibu Coconut Rum
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup coconut (not toasted)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.  On a baking sheet spread out coconut flakes (I used Baker's sweetened) bake 7 to 10 minutes until golden brown; stirring often.  Remove from oven and set aside. Prepare batter while coconut is cooling.

In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda and salt and give it a whisk; set aside.  In a large bowl add eggs, sugar, oil and rum and whisk together; add mashed bananas and stir together.  Add dry ingredients and stir together incorporating all the flour be sure to scape the sides.  Fold in toasted coconut.  Pour into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with coconut.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Drizzle with honey as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan and continue to allow bread to cool.

Giveaway reminder:  There are two giveaways on my blog right now - Click on the links here to enter Cookbook Giveaway: Down South and Italian Giveaway.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Gazpacho Soup

I have a recipe on my blog for Gazpacho Soup and I felt I could improve it.  Both soups are good but I think this one is a tad bit better.  Sometimes you get an idea in your head on revamping a recipe and you need to go for it.  We can all use a little improvement, right?

Gazpacho Soup 

3/4 cup red onion, diced small
3/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced small
3/4 cup english cucumber, diced small
3/4 cup celery, diced small
1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
1 jalapeño, diced small (optional)
zest from one lime
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
32 oz bottle Clamato (or V8 juice)
1 10oz can Rotel Original
1 cup cocktail sauce (shrimp)

Sauce Cream
Sliced Green Onions
Diced Avocado

Cut up all the veggies and place in a large bowl with salt, pepper, lime zest and worcestershire sauce; stir and set aside.  If you are serving with shrimp this is the time to make it (recipe below).

Add to veggies, Clamato, Rotel and shrimp cocktail sauce; stir. Taste to see if seasonings need to be adjusted.  If you made the shrimp all the little goodies in the shrimp pan need to be added to the Gazpacho.  Serve chilled and add toppings of your choosing and some good rustic bread.

Cajun Shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb of shrimp, shelled and deveined
salt and pepper, 1/8 teaspoon each
1 1/2 tablespoons cajun seasonings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine

Heat olive in skillet over medium heat, sprinkle cajun seasonings, salt and pepper over shrimp.  Saute shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes, lower heat to medium low and add garlic.  Stirring for 30 seconds; do not let the garlic brown.  Add marsala wine; cook for another 1 1/2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked. Remove shrimp and add drippings to soup.  Serve shrimp on the side; but does taste great in the soup.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Italian Giveaway

Benvenuti e grazie per aver visitato il Living Rancho Delux 

Are you ready for a Italian Feast and a Italian Giveaway?  Last year I shared my Italian Meat Sauce recipe.  This meat sauce would be perfect with lasagna, ravioli or any other pasta dish.  It is simple to make and delicious.

To help you in your pasta making I have an Italian Giveaway for one (1) lucky person.

Included in this giveaway is a Pasta Machine, Ravioli Maker, Ravioli Wheel, Wine Aerator, Extra Virgin Cookbook, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook and of course you need the movie too Under The Tuscan Sun.

Giveaway is open to US only.  Starts August 01, 2014 and ends on August 8th, 2014, 10:00pm MT.
There will be one winner and the winner will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address, otherwise another winner will be chosen.  Good luck!

This giveaway is being self-sponsered by Me, Myself and I.

Enter via Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cookbook Giveaway

The wonderful people at Blogging for Books is offering a copy of Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp, & Second Helpings of Everything by Donald Link to one (1) lucky winner.

Complete the entry form below for your chance to win. The contest starts on July 31, 2014 at 6:00am EST and ends on August 20th, 2014 at 11:59pm. One winner will be chosen at random on August 21st, 2014 and will be alerted by email. For a complete listing of the rules, please see below.

Cookbook Review - Down South by Donald Link

Yesterday my husband was driving me to bowling,  I've been bowling every Wednesday staying in practice for the winter league I'm on.  On the way he asked me if their was anyplace I needed to stop, I told him just the post office and UPS, I had a package to pick up.

We got to the bowling alley a little early so I opened the box I picked up at UPS.  Cookbook!!! Down South by Donald Link.  I opened the book at page 40,  I gasped and told my husband we will be stopping by the market.  There it was a beautiful photograph of cheese in a skillet, Uruguayan, Spicey Baked Cheese.

You know it's going to be a good cookbook when the first page you flip to you want to make that recipe and make it NOW!  It just got better after that with recipes like Parmesan Bacon Gougeres, Grilled Ham Steak with Charred Blood Oranges, Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Kumquats and Chiles, Watermelon Gazpacho with Crabmeat, Gingered Apple Slaw and Banana Pudding with Moonshine Whipped Cream.  With 110 recipes and 100 photographs in this cookbook my culinary trip to the South is going to have me busy in the kitchen and on the grill.

Donald Link is the chef-owner of Herbsaint and Cochon in New Orleans. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef South in 2007.

No joke, on the way home I stopped at the market and made the baked cheese for dinner.  My husband wasn't to sure about baked cheese but one taste and he said I could make that anytime I wanted.

If you love Southern cooking as much as I do you will not regret adding this cookbook to your collection.

I received Down South from Blogging for Books

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blueberry Ginger Coffee Cake

I've been doing the 10,000 steps plus per day, I've got my trusty FitBit Zip on my hip (I know you enjoyed the little rhyme) and I've been pounding the driveway to our house everyday for the last 47 days.  I've also been eating healthier and logging my food into My Fitness Pal for the same amount of days.  I am not on a diet, I'm just making better choices.  I'm also not going to deprive myself of the good things in life that is one way to blow all my hard work.

I've been staring at the blueberries in the fridge that I have been snacking on and thought I bought way too many of these I better bake something before they go bad.  I decided to make a Blueberry Ginger Coffee Cake it will be a nice little treat tonight to go with my cup of joe.

This is my husband's piece of the coffee cake, that is my small piece in the background.

Blueberry Ginger Coffee Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, slightly melted
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen can be substituted)
4 tablespoons crystallized ginger pieces, cut small if needed


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg; stir to incorporate dry ingredients.  In a small bowl mix together egg, cream, butter stir into dry ingredients.  Fold in blueberries and ginger pieces.  Spread into a greased 8x8 baking dish.

In a small bowl add brown sugar and flour, cut in butter working until crumbly.  Place topping on batter and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake.  Cook on a wire rack.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cookbook Review - The Banh Mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen

I received a copy of The Banh Mi Handbook - Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches by Andrea Nguyen.  I thumbed through this cookbook while sitting in the truck waiting for my husband to get finished with his torture I mean physical therapy.  I was so intrigued by this cookbook I went back to page one and started reading through it page by page, I have never had an hour go by so fast.

Starting with the Banh Mi Pantry and going on to the bread, mayonnaise, sauces and pickles, to the cold cuts and the list goes on.  Who knew that the bread makes the sandwich and to have recipes and photos to make the bread in this book is fantastic.

Recipes that caught my eye: Sriracha Aioli, Citrusy Red Cabbage Pickle, Daikon and Carrot Pickle, Sri Lankan Black Curry Chicken, Shrimp in Caramel Sauce, Star Anise and Lemongrass Sloppy Joe and Crispy Drunken Chicken just to name a few.

Pros:  Beautifully written, informative, great photographs, variety, recipes that are easy to follow

Cons: None

I am a sandwich fan, check my Pinterest Sandwich Board out, no joke this cookbook was written for me.  I hope there will be a book 2 with more sandwich recipes.

I received The Banh Mi Handbook from Blogging for Books

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review - Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water

I had the opportunity to taste and review Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water.  I have always been curious about coconut water and I am delighted to be able to do this review.

I was first impressed with packaging 12 nice 11.1 oz size boxes with their own straw.  I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor, especially since I am not a fan of sugary drinks.  It is a refreshing drink without being overpowering.  I can see drinking Cocozia Coconut Water after my workout.  My favorite way to use them is in my protein shakes and I am going to see what other recipes I can use Cocozia in.

When purchasing a product such as Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water what I am looking for is a healthy product for myself and my family.  I was impressed that Cocozia is 100% organic, contains a natural abundance of potassium and magnesium, as well as other electrolytes, NON GMO verified (which is very important to me) and for those special diets Gluten Free, Vegan and Kosher.

Cocozia 100% Oragnic Coconut Water can be purchased at Amazon by clicking this link also check out Cocozia at their website.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Maple Mustard Salmon

I have come to love salmon.  As a kid I despised it the only salmon I knew was in a can ground up with the bones, gross! It took years before I would even try a bite of salmon.  Baked, grilled or on a bagel I am down for salmon, it is so versatile with the marinades and how you can prepare it.

The Maple Mustard Salmon I prepared was the perfect amount of sweetness to go with the mustards and it came out moist and flakey.  The next time I make this it will be in a eggs benedict I think it will taste fantastic that way.

Maple Mustard Salmon

1 to 1 1/2 pounds salmon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary, minced
salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place foil onto a baking sheet (for easy clean-up) drizzle with olive oil. Place salmon skin down and season with salt and pepper.  Whisk together maple syrup, mustards and rosemary, pour over salmon making sure it covers the whole salmon.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

If you want to cook on a cedar plank; rub down the plank with olive oil; follow directions above and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Corn Chowder with Smoked Pork Chops

I have been so busy.....I have my other blog My Blog - My Journey, I am working on 4 reviews that I need to get done this week, plus work on recipes for this blog.  Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it. 

I have been wanting to make a Corn Chowder and my Nueske's order for their Smoked Boneless Pork Chops arrived, so it was time to make that soup.  This is my first time making a corn chowder and I am very pleased with the way it came out.  I already got the first thumbs up when my husband was taking his bowl into the kitchen and he turned to me and said that was the best soup you have made yet. work is done.

Corn Chowder with Smoked Pork Chops

4 slices bacon, diced
2 smoked boneless pork chops, diced (I used Nueskes Smoked Boneless Pork Chops)
1 onion, diced
3 stocks celery, diced
1 large russet potato, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 roasted poblano chili, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1 32oz box chicken stock low sodium
fresh corn from 4 or 5 ears
1 cup heavy cream

Heat a large dutch oven and add bacon, cook until crispy, remove and set aside.  Add diced pork chops, cook until lightly browned, remove and set aside.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper, potato and pepper, season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, sauté for 15 minutes; stirring often.  Sprinkle with flour and cook for 3 minutes.  Now add chicken stock; give it a good whisk to incorporate the floured veggies, add corn; cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Add heavy cream and pork chops to dutch oven; cover and cook for 15 minutes; taste and season if needed.

Garnish:  Shredded white cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, greens onions or chives and tabasco.

Sharing the Love Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday #100 -- Fond Farewell Final Party and

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cookbook Review: Haute Dogs - Russell Van Kraayenburg

I have the perfect cookbook to review for the upcoming Independence Day celebration.  Who doesn't love hot dogs?  I love them and they are the perfect summer food for both the kiddo's and adults.

Book:  Haute Dogs - Recipes for delicious Hot Dogs, Buns and Condiments

Author: Russell Van Kraayenburg

Haute Dogs starts out giving you a history of the hot dog along with some educational history tidbits.  It then goes into "The Basics" from the ingredients, cooking methods and assembly.

You will find classic American hot dogs along with International favorites.  I love that there is a section just for the vessel "Buns" and a section for condiments.

Some of the Dogs you will find in this cookbook:

The New York Style Hot Dog

Texas BBQ Dog

Maxwell Street Polish

Loaded Guatemalan Meat Dog

German Three-In-A-Bun

There are over 40 different hot dogs, something for everyone.

Pros:  Very nicely written - Informative - Great photos (and hot dogs are not the easiest to photograph) - Variety

Cons:  Chili Base Recipe, I did make the chili recipe and it was too tomatoey, it tasted more like a pasta sauce than chili for a hot dog.  I'm not sure if the 8 oz of tomato paste was a typo or not.  Also the recipe said it was enough for 4 hot dogs I felt it was enough for at least 10 to 12 hot dogs.  I will using the leftover chili with pasta tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chambord Blackberry Sage Frozen Treats

We have all seen those gorgeous photos on Blogs and Pinterest of frozen treats, well this isn't one of those photos, how do they do it?  It is however a post that has a delicious recipe for adult frozen treats, yep save the popsicles for the kiddies and enjoy these Chambord Blackberry Sage Frozen Treats.

Chambord Blackberry Sage Frozen Treats

1 1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
15 good size sage leaves torn up
2 6oz containers fresh blackberries
1/2 cup Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

In a sauce pan add water and sugar, bring to a boil while stirring, add sage leaves and remove from heat.  Remove sage leaves after 15 to 20 minutes, it's okay to leave some of the smaller pieces, intact I chop up some of the sage leaves real fine, I like the flavor.  Bring sage simple syrup to room temperature. Add Blackberries and smash leaving some whole, add Chambord Liqueur and pour into frozen treat molds, place in freezer for at least 8 hours or over night.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Italian Breakfast Sandwich

I am late this week on my breakfast recipe.  I needed to make some changes in my life regarding exercising and what I am eating.  I am not saying I'm dieting to me diets fail, I am making life style changes.  I will be posting more healthy recipes along with my regular recipes, after all my skinny husband could use some meat on his bones.  What I will try to do (not sure if I can do it for every recipe but I will try) is give ingredients both ways as I have done with the recipe below.

I have started a second blog with my journey if you would like to check it out and these recipes will show up there too now and then.  My Blog - My Journey This blog is being brutally honest and is not always viewer friendly, just a warning.

Italian Breakfast Sandwich

8 slices prosciutto, thin sliced (I used Boar's Head Deli Slices)
5 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few cranks of fresh cracked pepper
4 tablespoons water (you can substitute milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion chopped small
4 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes with basil julienne cut, rough chop (I used Bella Sun Luci)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 oz slices (more if you are not watching calories)
Fresh basil leaves
Good Italian Bread, sliced and lightly toasted (I used La Brea Bakery, roasted garlic)
English Muffins (if you are watching calories)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover cookie sheet with foil and lay prosciutto slices flat. (If you are using an english muffin I put the prosciutto in round bundles.  Bake prosciutto for about 10 to 15 minutes, just until barely crisp. Since it is very thin keep an eye on it.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, sauté onions while you are preparing the other ingredients. Add sun dried tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes, stir with onions for about 2 to 3 minutes.  In a bowl whisk together eggs, salt, pepper and water.  Add to onions and gently fold eggs into the onions, cook until your doneness liking.  Remove from heat to assemble sandwiches.

Lightly toast bread/english muffins.  If you are not watching calories drizzle bread with some olive oil.  Take on half of the bread and add mozzarella cheese and place under broiler until melted. On the other bread add prosciutto, eggs, basil and top with the melted cheese bread. (note: if you are counting calories I scooped out approx 4 rounded tablespoons of egg, which is about 1 1/2 eggs.  Makes 4 sandwiches

Calories if using english muffin - 396

Sharing the Love at Best Blog Recipes - The Weekend re-Treat Link Party #80

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

You know you are in a rut when you start changing things, it might be the furniture in your bedroom, the pictures on your wall.  Well in my case it's my blog, first it was changing my blog's design and now I'm changing how I post.  Somethings might not work and some might be a perfect fit you never know until you try. 

My first change is themed months, doesn't that sound fun!  Once a week through the month of June I will be posting a Breakfast recipe.  To kick off the first week I made Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can sub all milk if you don't have buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
9 pineapple rings
9 maraschino cherries

In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients.  Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry stirring at the same time until it's all incorporated.  Allow batter to rest 8 to 10 minutes while you are heating your griddle.

Butter griddle, add a pineapple ring and place a cherry inside the ring, top with batter so the pineapple is covered.  Cook on a medium low heat until the edges of the pancake are dry, flip and continue to cook on the other side until done. Serve with butter and syrup.  Makes 9 pancakes

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Loaded Chicken Sandwiches

Since getting back from New York my daughter Anna has been working non-stop.  She decided to take some days off before starting a new adventure at her job.  She called me Friday telling me what she was planning and seeing if she could work it out.  Saturday afternoon I got a text message saying she was leaving....after a 7 hour drive she arrive in Utah around 11pm, we sat up talking until 2am.

While she was here she got to unwind and relax.  We did a little shopping in town, had lunch at our favorite pizza joint Centro Pizzeria, coffees at Starbucks.  Anna does not have a TV in her apartment she watches Hulu on her computer.  She loves Chopped so we watched a few episodes and we watched the new show Penny Dreadful.

Thursday came too fast, we got up early, made sure we filled her gas tank up.  We drove down to St George she wanted Cracker Barrel for breakfast and of course we did a little shopping in their General Store.  We then parted ways her heading back to Los Angeles and us heading home.

It had been almost a year since we saw her last and that visit and listening to her goals for her career got me inspired to kickstart my blog.  I have been feeling insecure about my blog, not sure what direction I wanted to go in and uninspired.  Now I'm excited to develop some new recipes and try some new ideas that I have been kicking around.

I hope you will follow me on my new adventure and see where this takes me.

Loaded Chicken Sandwiches
makes 6 sandwiches

3 chicken breasts, sliced in half
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper, optional


3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jelly
1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/4 cup whiskey
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 green onion, sliced

Other Ingredients Needed:

Sliced Swiss Cheese (2 per sandwich)

In a small saucepan heat olive oil medium low heat add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.  Add raspberry jelly and horseradish, stir until melted, cook on low for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat add whiskey and butter.  Allow to cool, add cilantro and green onion.

Salt and pepper sliced chicken breasts, lightly sprinkle with cayenne pepper, rub into breasts and place in a ziploc bag.  Poor marinade over chicken, seal bag and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered by the marinade, refrigerate for two hours.

Place chicken on a hot grill cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done, no pink, assemble. (see below)

Toppings:  onion slices that have been grilled, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, raspberry mayonnaise* and swiss cheese.

Assemble: Slice your favorite rolls in half, I used onion rolls.  Spread some of the raspberry mayonnaise on the top and bottom of your rolls, add chicken,  grilled onion, bacon, top with a slice of swiss cheese,  mushrooms, a slice of swiss cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese has melted.  Top with the other bun and serve.

*Raspberry Mayonnaise: 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 1/2 tablespoons raspberry jelly, 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish, mix together and refrigerate 2 hours before using.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grilled Chili and Lime Chicken

Our daughter just spent a week in New York City, her first trip to the Big Apple.  Even though it was a business trip she felt like it was a vacation.  I loved the text messages I got showing photos of Central Park, NYC Library, Bryant Park, Mood (we watch Project Runway), her cab, Lord & Taylor and where she was eating, yes I raised a foodie.  It is so refreshing to hear how much she loves her job and that she got to experience this adventure.

Schools are getting out, people are planning vacations, grills are being fired up.  I love this time of the year.  What better way to kick it throw some chicken breasts on the grill.

Grilled Chili and Lime Chicken

3 chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh lime

Cut chicken breasts in half making 6  breasts.  Cover with extra virgin olive oil.  Mix together chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper, sprinkle on both sides of chicken and place on grill.  Cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Before serving squeeze lime juice on top of chicken.

Note:  These chicken breasts are also great on a salad, tacos, chicken sandwich, pasta with a cream sauce, it is very versatile. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Corn and Black Bean Salad

After a winter storm blew in on Mother's Day dropping a foot and a half of snow on us and dropped our temps down to a hard freeze warning we are finally starting to warm up.  My goal for this summer is to eat light meals using only fresh ingredients.  That doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy grilling a steak or burgers.  The dishes I serve with that meal will be more vegetables, salads and cold soups.

I had some corn on the cob and decided to make a salad out of the leftovers.   To brighten and lighten up this salad I used fresh vegetables, citrus and extra virgin olive oil.  I served it with grilled chicken breasts (recipe for the chicken will be posted next week).  I couldn't be any happier with this spring dinner.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 15oz can black beans, rinsed well
corn from two cobs, I used a white and yellow corn
1 1/2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, sliced whites and greens
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 serrano chili, minced
zest and juice from a lime
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I use California Ranch Olive Oil)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Note: I cooked the corn the day before and then refrigerated overnight.  I put on the grill to get some char marks on 4 sides before cutting the corn off the cob (you can also use 1 1/4 cup of frozen corn)

Food for Thought:

Did you know that when you buy extra virgin olive oil that is produced outside of the United States you are not guaranteed that you are getting what you paid for?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lemon Bars

I had to take a short break from blogging.  I have been taking my husband to the doctor, lab work and to and from the hospital.  My husband had a total knee replacement on his right knee.  Last summer he had the left knee replaced which the doctor botched.  The new doctor suggested he get the right knee done and in a month or two he would go in and fix the left knee.

When I saw that our Baking Partners Group was doing Lemon Bars I was excited what a nice surprise for my husband when he got home from the hospital.  The filling is very tart which is the way we both like it and a simple recipe to follow.  I had just gotten a tart pan so I decided to bake the bars in it.  They came out perfect.  If you like lemon this is a must try recipe.

Lemon Bars

Basic Short Crust Recipe

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Filling Recipe

3/4 sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 eggs
1 cup lemon juice (about 3 good size lemons)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
confectioner's sugar for dusting

To make crust

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and position rack in the center of the oven.  Butter a 9 inch square baking pan (or tart pan) and set aside.  Using a food processor mix flour, sugar and salt.  Add pieces of the butter and pulse 8 - 10 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Process until the mixture forms large clumps and holds together when pinched between fingers.  Press dough into the prepared pan and pat it into an even layer.  Using a fork prick the dough at one inch intervals. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until the edges become a golden brown.  Cool crust in the pan on a wire rack.

To make filling 

Using a food processor add sugar and lemon zest, pulse until sugar is fragrant. Beat eggs, whisk the sugar into the eggs until a pale yellow color. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, flour and salt. Pour over cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes or until just set and firm to touch. Cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting into squares. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Note for high altitude baking:  No change in recipe; however I did have to cook it about 15 minutes longer than the recipe calls for.  I would check it every 5 minutes after the first 18 minutes until the bars were set.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Taco Chili and Beans

We eat a lot of chili and beans and I always make it the same way.  After trying the Ortega Skillet Sauces I decided that I wanted to try a Mexican Chili and Beans and thought the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce would be a nice base for my Taco Chili and Beans.

I started reminiscing of when I was in Girl Scouts and on our over-night camping trips we would fix chili and take the individual Fritos Corn Chips bags, pour chili in the bag for a hand held chili in a bag.  I really like the flavor and crunchy-ness of the Chili and Fritos together but instead I think I would rather use a bowl.   So here is my version of an old Girl Scout Classic.

Taco Chili and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 jalapeños, minced (can substitute green bell pepper for the jalapeño)
1 pound extra lean ground beef (I used bison)
4 tablespoons Fiesta Quick Chili Mix (found in the Spice or Mexican section of the market)
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 package of Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce
1/2 cup water
1 32oz can crush tomatoes
1 27oz can red kidney beans
1 27oz can chili beans
2 3.8 oz cans of sliced black olives
Fritos Corn Chips

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, add onions and jalapeños (or green bell pepper), sauté for 5 minutes on a low heat.  Add ground beef, use a wooden spoon to break up, cook until browned. (If you use a lean ground beef you will not have to drain the fat, there will be just enough fat for flavor)

Add the Fiesta Quick Chili Mix and the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce.  Put the water inside the Ortega pouch to get all that yummy sauce out of the bag and put in with the meat mixture.  Stir to mix everything together, cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, both beans and black olives.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Fritos Corn Chips in a bowl top with the Taco Chili and Beans.  Serve with extra Fritos Corn Chips and your favorite chili toppings.

Chili Toppings:  Cheddar cheese, Mexico Fresco cheese, sour cream, fresh diced onions, salsa and guacamole.

For a thicker chili take 4 tablespoons of masa and almost a 1/4 cup of water mix together to make a slurry, add to chili after everything has been mixed together.

Note:  This is my own recipe I did not receive a "free" sample of the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce from Ortega,  I purchased it myself from my local market. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Italian Red Sauce

I thought it was about time I posted my Italian Red Sauce I have already posted my Meat Sauce which can be found here.  I made sure I measured everything out for this recipe.  When I cook Italian I don't measure, I add and I taste.

When I make red sauce I don't use it for at least 3 days I like the flavors to marry in the fridge.  Use this sauce in your favorite Italian dish, over spaghetti or as a dipping sauce.  This sauce also freezes very well.

Italian Red Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I like my sauce spicy I added 3+ teaspoons)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 to 3 teaspoons sugar (see Note)
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 - 32oz cans Italian whole tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade chopped

In a dutch oven heat olive oil on medium high heat, add onions, salt and pepper, stir.  Put flame on low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and simmer for 3 minutes. (watch the garlic so it doesn't brown)  Add tomato paste, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and oregano, stir for 1 minutes then add red wine and sugar, simmer for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes using your hands to gently break them up.  Cover and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir the chiffonade basil leaves into the sauce, turn off heat and sit covered for 20 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to your taste.  Pour into mason jars and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 3 days).  If you are going to freeze, do not freeze in mason jars but in freezer containers.

Note: I like my sauce more on the non sweet side, I start with 1 teaspoon sugar and taste and adjust until I find my liking.

Something tells me Grandma Concetta would approve

Sharing the love at The Country Cook: Weekend Potluck #115,  Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday #92 and Treasure Box Tuesday 17

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Cooking For Two

I'm trying something new Tuesday Cooking for Two.  I have always been the type of cook that cooks for an army.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas if I have 12 people over there was enough food for 30.  No one was going home hungry that was my motto.

Now that we have an empty nest I am trying to scale down some recipes and it is not easy.  Even though this is Tuesday Cooking for Two this recipe for Scalloped Potatoes is enough for 4 people or two nights of scalloped potatoes.  Don't get me wrong I love leftovers.  When I make chili, enchiladas, soup just to name a few dishes that I make in large quantities,  I make enough to freeze or have for the next 4 days.

This will be a learning experience for me and that is why I am only doing this once a week.

Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Pork Chops and Peas

2 thick cut smoked pork chops, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
1 1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup white wine or pale beer (I used beer)

2 russet potatoes, sliced thin (1/8 inch)


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
few splashes tabasco (optional)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (white or orange)
3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese

shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter single serve dishes and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a skillet add diced pork chops, diced onions and sage, cook on medium heat until meat is slightly browned.  Add 1/4 cup of white wine or pale beer to deglaze pan, turn off heat and add peas.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter and add flour, cook stirring for 3 minutes.  Add cream, milk, salt, pepper and tabasco, whisking until it has started to thicken.  Add cheese a small amount at a time until it is incorporated.  Line baking dishes with first layer of thin cut potatoes, add some of the pork chop mixture, top with a layer of the sauce and repeat with potatoes, meat and sauce and another layers of potatoes and sauce.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese or asiago or a combination of the two.  Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with a side salad.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwich

If you have been following my blog you know we have water issues.  This is our no water weekend.  Friday's I make dishes for Saturday and Sunday so there is very little cooking and dirty dishes going on.

This weekend I made Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwiches, everything cooked up on Friday so all I had to do was heat it up, assemble and put until the broiler for the finishing touches.  This is a very hearty sandwich, which can be served with a side salad.

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwich

2 yellow bell peppers, sliced thin
2 orange bell peppers, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced thin (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried italian herbs
5 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 package of Johnsonville Sausages (I used hot sausage and I butterflied the sausages)
1 15oz can artichoke hearts, drained
6 medium crimini mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
additional olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine
dijon mustard
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

In a large skillet heat olive oil, add onions, over a medium low heat sauté for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally.  Add sausages, bell peppers, jalapeños, salt, pepper, italian herbs and half the garlic.  Sauté for 20 to 30 minutes until tender; stirring occasionally and cooking sausages on both sides.

Turn broiler on high; place bell pepper mixture into a baking dish, stir in the drained artichoke hearts, putting the sausages on the top of the mixture and place 6 to 8 inches under broiler.

In the same skillet add mushrooms and additional olive oil if needed, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, add salt, pepper, garlic and wine; sauté for 10 minutes.  Remove peppers and sausage from oven.

Split rolls (not all the way through) brush both sides of the bread with dijon mustard, add sausage, pepper mixture and mushrooms, top with mozzarella cheese. (I sprinkled the cheese with dried italian herbs and red pepper flakes) Put sandwiches under broiler until cheese melts.

Note:  Sandwiches are also good omitting the sausages and adding salami slices or omitting the meat all together for a fantastic veggie sandwich.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

One night I was going to roast some vegetables and decided to add bacon to the bottom of the pan and then add the vegetables on top of the bacon.  I drizzled balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and went on to roast the concoction.

Bill asked me what I did different to the bacon he said it was the best bacon he has ever had.  Who knew adding a little balsamic vinegar with take that bacon to the next level.  Since then I always add the balsamic vinegar.

Here is my spin on a BLT the Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

12 slices bacon
balsamic vinegar
8 slices Italian bread
hearty tomato, sliced (I used a red and yellow heirloom tomatoes)
fresh mozzarella cheese, cut thick
spring lettuce or basil leaves
pesto sauce

Cover a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, add bacon and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Using your fingers cover the balsamic vinegar over the bacon.  Place in a cold oven and turn oven on to 350 degrees.  (I think the bacon cooks more evenly when the bacon is cooking slow as the oven comes up to temperature)  After 20 minutes start checking the bacon cook until desired doneness.  Note: Bacon will get very dark from the caramelization of the vinegar.

Spread both slices of bread with the pesto, add cheese, tomato and bacon.  Place in a Panini Press or cook on the stove top like a grilled cheese, until the cheese melts.  Add lettuce or basil leaves and serve.

Linking up the Love at: The Country Cook - Weekend Pot-Luck #112

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Asian Pork Meatballs

I have been on a meatball and asian flavor kick so what would be the next step?  You got it, combining the two together.  This recipe is so versatile you can also use the pork mixture in dumplings and use the sauce for dipping.

You can make these meatballs as an appetizer or serve them in your favorite noodle dish.  I love that this is a quick fix and you can make 2 or 3 batches and freeze them for when you need them.

Asian Pork Meatballs


1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1/3 cup panko crumbs
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, minced


2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste or to taste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
salt to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  For meatballs mix all ingredients together and form into golf ball size meatballs.  Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through.  While the meatballs are baking in a small sauce pan heat olive oil on a medium low heat, add shallots, garlic and ginger, sauté for 5 minutes.  In a bowl whisk together soy sauce, dijon mustard, chili paste, rice vinegar and brown sugar.  Add to the saucepan and stir; cover and let reduce by half on a low heat.  Drizzle sauce over meatballs and sprinkle with some sliced green onions.  Makes approx 12 meatballs.

Sharing the Love with: The Wednesday Roundup Week 18 :: A Link Party and Weekend-Potluck #111 and Jam Hands - Recipe Sharing Monday #88

Monday, March 24, 2014

Salmon - Asian Inspired Flavors

We have a couple of steak houses here and when you go out to dinner Bill always gets salmon. I have been promising Bill for some time now to make salmon for dinner.  When I saw these beautiful piece of sock-eye salmon I knew it would be the perfect dinner for him.  I decided to go with Asian flavors and it was a big hit.  Here is the salmon right after taking it out of the oven.  It came out moist and flaky.

Asian Salmon

1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili sauce/paste
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 lbs salmon filet
4 green onions, sliced

Line a 8 x 12 baking dish with foil and then a second piece of foil to make a boat around the salmon. Place salmon skin side down.  Make sure you feel for any bones and remove them.  In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.  Pour marinade over the salmon and allow to sit for 15 minutes while oven is pre-heating to 475 degrees.  Before placing the salmon in the oven pull out the foil, you don't have to remove the foil just flatten it out so it's no longer a boat of marinade.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until down. After removing from the oven cover with foil for 10 to 15 minutes. Before serving sprinkle with fresh green onion slices.

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