Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vintage Ice Skate Door Decoration

  I  saw this idea posted on a web site called The Cottage House so I decided to give it a try. My dog Sophie and I took a trip into the woods to gather the greens and berries.  While in the woods, we came across three beautiful deer so I let Sophie chase after them for a bit until I realized..... this might not be such a good idea..... hunters!  Anyhow, down to the basement to find my old skates, a red bow and there you have it!  Check out that site, they have some clever decorating ideas using things you most likely have around the house.

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Pan Only... Lemon Orzo Chicken

   I absolutely love any recipe that requires only one pot,pan or skillet.  Who doesn't??   This recipe is quick, easy, delicious, and you guessed it....  only requires one pot. If you don't own a dutch oven you're really missing out.  I use mine for so many things. They're great for slow cooking sauces, stews, soups and just about anything else.  It goes from stove top to oven, has a super tight lid and because it's made of cast iron it holds the heat longer. If you do get one, make sure that its coated in enamel, it will never rust and you won't ever have to season it. They make them in almost every color and if you purchase one at Marshall's or T.J Maxx's you'll save a bundle. 
 Now, about that the Lemon Orzo Chicken......
This dish is loaded with lemon flavor, tender orzo and the chicken falls right off the bone, but the best part.... just one pot to clean!



  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs , Drum Sticks or a Combination of both
  • 1 1/2 Cups Orzo
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or enough to coat bottom of skillet/dutch oven
  • 1 Whole Lemon Sliced
  • 1 Clove Garlic Chopped
  • 3 TBS Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, Diced
  • 1/2  tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp salt


1.  Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously salt and pepper all sides of chicken.

2.  In a oven proof skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat.  Brown all sides of chicken , about five minutes per side.  Once browned, remove chicken from and set aside.

3.  To the dutch oven, add the orzo and garlic, saute for 2 minutes scraping the bits from bottom of the pan.  Turn off heat and add the chicken broth,  lemon slices, lemon juice, diced olives,  dried oregano and tsp of salt. Stir well.  Add the chicken back to the pan.  Cover the pan and place in your pre- heated oven.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Print Recipe

Brown chicken on all sides.

Once browned, remove chicken and set aside.

To the same pan, add the garlic and orzo.  Saute for 2 minutes scraping bits from bottom of pan.

Turn off heat, add the lemon juice, sliced lemons, chopped olives, oregano, chicken and salt.

Cover pot and place in the 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sausage, Ricotta Cavatelle and Broccoli Rabe Soup

You could have never gotten me to eat something like Broccoli Rabe (also known as Rapini) when I was a kid.  I wouldn't have even considered it; come to think of it... my mother wouldn't have even considered trying to make me eat it.  I sure do love it now though.  It starts out somewhat bitter, but after it cooks down it gives off a nice nutty flavor, plus is super healthy -packed with vitamins A, C, K, Potassium, Calcium and Iron. With winter heading our way, we can all use a good dose of that!



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or enough to coat bottom of pan
  • 1 pound pre-cooked chicken sausage sliced-  I used Alfresco
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups ricotta cavatelle frozen
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground pepper ( couple of grinds)
  • 4-5 cups chopped broccoli rabe and greens
  • 2 quarts chicken stock ( 8 cups)  I used Trader Joe's which is amazing.
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano for garnish
  • Directions:

    • In your dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil, sausage, onion and garlic until soft,about 5 minutes. 
    • Add the chopped broccoli rabe and greens. 
    •  Cook until they begin to wilt. 
    • Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
    • Add the frozen ricotta cavatelle, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
    • Continue to boil for 6 minutes.  Turn off heat and serve with Cheese.

    Chop Broccoli Rabe, onion, garlic and slice sausage.
    Saute for about 5 minutes.

    Add chopped Broccoli Rabe

    Cook until wilted

    Add chicken stock, bring to a boil.
    Add two cups of Ricotta Cavatell and boil for 6 minutes.




    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Mini Pineapple Coconut Angel Food Cakes

    I Came across this Mini Angel Food pan in a thrift shop the other day and had to have it!
    This pan is made of a heavy cast aluminum and is perfect for individual size angel food cakes, sponge cakes, muffins and desserts.  
    Angel Food cake is a light, low calorie, low fat cake that can be frosted and decorated in so many different ways.
    Today I'm making a simple recipe that I got from my mother in law.  You won't believe how easy it is.  All you need is a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapples and a box of  Angel Food Cake mix.

    For the Cake...
    1 box ( 16 Oz. Size) Angel Food Cake Mix
    1 can ( 20 Oz. size) Crushed Pineapples, Undrained
    1 Cup Shredded Coconut
    For the Glaze.....
    2 Cups Powdered Sugar
    4 Tablespoons Pineapple Juice


    Preparation Instructions

    For the cake:
    In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix and can of pineapple. Beat on medium speed until the cake mix is completely moistened, about 1 minute. Do not grease or flour the pan.
    Pour batter into a mini angel food pan, filling about 2/3 full.

    Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around edges to release.

    For the glaze:
    In a large mixing bowl, add powdered sugar and pineapple juice. Stir until smooth.
    To assemble the cake:
    Top each cake with approximately 2 tablespoons of glaze. Let it run down the edges of the cake. Sprinkle a handful of coconut on top.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Caramel Apple Dipping Party 2012

    Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The cool crisp change in the air, crunchy leaves on the ground and the anticipation of the holidays.  This year I hosted a fall apple dipping extravaganza party.  Each guest got to create their own scrumptious apple at the apple dipping station. Everyone had their own technique,  some not as good as others,  but each apple brought on laughter and smiles by all!

     You'll need:
    Apples, craft sticks, 1 lb blocks of caramel or 14 ounce bags of unwrapped caramels and lots of fun toppings!!
    Toppings that we used:
    Coconut, walnuts, chopped peanut butter cups, jimmies, chopped toffee bars and tiny nonpareils.

    1.  Fill the bottom pan of a double boiler halfway with water.  Sit the top pan over water. Make sure it's not touching the water.
    2.  Heat water over medium-high heat.  When water starts to boil, lower heat and simmer.  Add caramels and two tablespoons of water to pan.  
    3.  Stir the caramels as they begin to melt, stirring until smooth.
    4.  Transfer melted caramel into a deep bowl for dipping and let the fun begin!
    5.  Cover each apple completely in caramel, letting the extra caramel drip back into bowl.
    6.  Roll in your toppings.
    7.  Set on parchment paper until dry.

    Southwestern Panko Chicken Salad

    My husband and I eat steak tip salads all summer long but today I was thinking about a wonderful Cobb salad I had at Not Your Average Joe's this year.  I decided to try and replicate it but have added a few different ingredients that I enjoy in a salad.  It's topped with a creamy chipotle ranch dressing that I created years ago.   Here is my version.....

    Boneless Breast of chicken coated and cooked in Panko Breadcrumbs, homemade creamy chipotle salad dressing and crunchy croutons top this delicious Southwestern Chicken salad. 


    Salad Ingredients:  4 Servings

    • 3 Boneless Breasts of chicken
    • One cup Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
    • One Cup Sweet yellow corn, cooked and drained
    • 2 Whole Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
    • 1 Whole Red Pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 1/2 Cup Black olives, sliced
    • 1/2 Cup Black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 3 Hard Boiled eggs peeled and chopped
    • 1/3 Cup Red onions, diced
    • 4 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
    • 3 Boneless cooked boneless breasts of chicken
    • 2 Cups Croutons for topping
    • 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese shredded, for sprinkling on top 

    For Chicken: 

    Flatten 3 boneless breasts of chicken with mallet to 1/2 " thick.

    1. Coat in  flour.
    2. Dip in lightly beaten eggs.
    3. Cover both sides in panko crumbs. 
    4.  Fry chicken on both sides until golden brown.
    5.  Drain on paper towels.  
    6.  Cut into bite sized pieces.

    Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing:

    • 1/2 Cup Mayo
    • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
    • 2 tsp taco seasoning or chili spice mix   ( store bought or my recipe)
    • 1 tsp brown sugar
    • 2 tsp chicken broth
    • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
    • 3 whole chipotle chile peppers, canned in adobo sauce ( small can found in the stores Mexican food section )

    For dressing, in a medium sized bowl, combine the all ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

    Directions For Salad Assembly:

    Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad, toss lightly.  Top with Chicken, Croutons, Monterey Jack Cheese and Creamy Salad Dressing.

    Print Recipe

    Every time I cook chicken I have to deal with my little buddy standing under my feet waiting  for a sample to come her way. Sometimes I just really need my space so I have to put her in another room.   Today I put her in the mud room. This is how she spent her time out....standing on a table watching me through the window.  I guess she wanted to make sure I saved her a piece of chicken, ( which of course I did).