Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chipotle Potato Skins

Top each skin with a dollop of sour cream and serve right way
Next weekend is the Superbowl.  If you are inviting friends over to watch, these potato skins are easy to make and very tasty.  I am not a football fan, but any reason for a party!

Creating a new recipe every week is becoming difficult. So I have decided to change up old recipes.  Chipotle Potato Skins are familiar, but still new.  Let me know what you think.

Servings: 12 appetizers
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 20 Minutes
Hardware: A microwave safe plate, cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a melon baller (optional) or a large spoon, a mixing bowl, baking sheet, and foil
  • Steam in the bag new potatoes (can be found in the produce aisle-NOT the freezer)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of adobe sauce from the chipotle pepper
  • ¼ cup + ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons+ 2 tablespoons real bacon pieces
  • S&P to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • Sour cream for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Microwave the potatoes for 7 minutes.
  3. Chop the adobe pepper and put it in the mixing bowl.
  4. Line the baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Carefully cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.  Using the melon baller or a spoon, scoop the flesh out of the potato halves, carefully preserving the skins.  You are creating little boats. Put the potato flesh into the mixing bowl and each potato skin onto the baking sheet.
  6. Mix the potato, milk, butter, seasoning, pepper, sauce, ¼ cup cheese, 2 tablespoons bacon, and S&P until completely combined.
  7. Carefully fill each potato skin with the potato mixture.  Sprinkle each potato skin with the remaining cheese and bacon.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
You might also serve hot garlic wings, sweet and spicy teriyaki wings, and sausage and cream cheese wontons along with your chips and beer.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad

I am learning to enjoy curry, or at least the Americanized version of curry.  This salad was inspired by a salad at my favorite deli. The sweet apples and plump raisins compliment the funky bite of the curry.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes; Cooking:  7 minutes; Refrigerate: 2 hours
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a small sauce pan, a mixing spoon, a storage container

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder (I use Sharwood)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cups cream
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1-lb cooked cubed chicken
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  1. Chop the onion and garlic, the smaller the better.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions, garlic, raisins, salt, and ginger.  Adjust the heat until the onions are bubbling, but not browning.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. 
  3. Add the sugar, curry powder, and cream.  Turn the heat up and bring the curry to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool. The curry should thicken as it cools.
  4. While the curry is cooling wash the apple and roughly chop.
  5. Stir the apple, curry, chicken, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

This salad is good served with crackers.  It also makes great sandwiches served on a soft bread or in a pita pocket.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Creamy Cajun Pasta

This pasta dish is so yummy, that I re-heated it for breakfast.  No lie. 

Servings: 6-8
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a can opener, a large pot, a wooden spoon, a large non-stick skillet, a colander
Time:  Prep time: 10 minutes, cook time: 15 minutes

  • 8 ounces of penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • 1-8 oz package tomato trinity mix (find in the produce section)
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1-16 oz can red beans
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • ½ cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • S&P to taste
  1. Put the pasta water on to boil.
  2. Cut the smoked sausage into 1 inch pieces.  Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices, discarding the ends. Open the beans and rinse them twice, drain thoroughly.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions. If the pasta finishes before the sauce, keep warm.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in the skillet, over medium high. Add the sausage and allow it to brown.  Flip the sausage as needed.  This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  5. When the sausage is browned, add the tomatoes, trinity mix, and Cajun seasoning.  Cook until the tomatoes soften, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Add the cream and beans and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 1minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
  8. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

Orzo Pilaf

Orzo is a good alternative to rice.

Serves: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 2 minute,  Cook: 12 minutes
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a sauce pot, a wooden spoon, a strainer, and a serving bowl

  • 2 quarts of low sodium chicken stock
  • 8 ounces of orzo
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • S&P to taste
Orzo Pilaf

  1. Bring the stock to a full boil
  2. Stir in everything but the butter.
  3. Allow the pasta to return to a boil.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Drain completely. Toss immediately with the butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Braised Pork Loin with Thyme-Lemon Sauce

This is fast, easy, low in calories and fat, and tasty. I served the pork over orzo pilaf with wilted spinach on the side.  Eating healthier is easy when it tastes this good.

Servings: 4-6
Time:    Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 20 Minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a zester, a small bowl, a gallon Ziploc bag, a heavy bottom skillet (I prefer a cast iron skillet), a wooden spoon, tongs, a whisk (I use a flat whisk)

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless pork loin chops
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (maybe more)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ of a large onion
  • 1 large lemon
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  1. Wash the lemon.  Juice and zest ½ of it.  Slice the other half against its natural segmentation.  You want lemon wheels.  Remove any seeds or fibers. Cut the onion into rings.  Wash the thyme and set aside.
  2. Cut the pork into bite sized pieces.  Try to make the pieces the same size.  Place the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in the plastic bag.  Put the pork in the bag and shake it like crazy to coat.  Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the pan on medium high. 
  4. Add the onion, lemon sections, zest, and thyme to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent, for one or two minutes. Push the onions and lemons to the side.
  5. Shake as much flour from the pork as possible and add it to the pan a few pieces at a time.  Don’t crowd the pork.  You may need to cook the pork in batches.
  6. Cook the pork chunks for 2-3 minutes or until browned and then turn with the tongs.  Cook for another minute or so on the other side. You may need to add a little more olive oil if the pan becomes dry.
  7. Push the pork to the side and turn the pan down to medium.  Add the lemon juice and stock to the pan. Use the whisk to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  8. Stir, making sure the pork is coated.  Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Using the whisk, stir often, scrapping the bottom and sides of the pan as you do.
  9. Whisk in the butter and simmer for another minute.
  10. Serve warm.