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.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Cheeseburger Pasta

Someone once said, after reading over this blog, “These recipes are certainly unassuming.” I don’t think she meant it as a compliment. At times, I do enjoy preparing complicated dishes with ingredients that I don’t normally keep in the pantry. (See Filet Mignon with Lobster Thermidor) But most of the time, I am just making dinner. I think most of you are, too.

This is one of those times. My plan was to make something reminiscent of a grilled burger in a casserole. Cheeseburger Pasta is pretty tasty. You could change this depending upon your family’s tastes. Add bacon and a little BBQ sauce to make a Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta. If you like Mushroom Swiss Burgers then stir a tablespoon of Worcestershire into the cheese sauce, add chopped mushroom and switch the cheddar for Swiss. Also, this tastes great as leftovers and freezes well.

Also, I’ve made a change in the way I time my meals. ‘Cooking time’ is just what it says. ‘Active time’ includes cooking and prepping and tells you the amount you will spend in the kitchen. ‘Dinner in’ lets you know how long it will take for you to get dinner on the table.

Servings: 8 -10
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a can opener, a skillet, a large pot, a colander, a rubber spatula, a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish
Time:  Cook time: 40 minutes, active time: 20 minutes, Dinner in about an hour

Cheeseburger Pasta

  • 16 ounces ziti
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 ½ ground chuck
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups cheese sauce (buy it where you purchase pasta sauces or make your own)
  • 1 can of Original Ro-Tel-drained
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Optional: 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped,  3 green onions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚. Chop the onion. Chop and seed the tomato and green onions if you are using them. Open and drain the Ro-Tel.
  2. Cook the pasta following package directions. Drain.
  3. While the pasta is boiling, cook and crumble the ground chuck over medium heat. Sprinkle in the mustard, paprika, salt, cumin and garlic powder. Add the onion and cook until the meat is no longer pink. This should take about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir the beef, pasta, Ro-Tel, cheese sauce and broth together. I just use the pot I cooked the pasta in.
  5. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray. Put the pasta mixture into it. Top with the shredded cheese. If you want, you can sprinkle on the green onions and tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Baked Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes

A cold front moved through the south this weekend. It snowed in Atlanta and dropped to 29˚ here. Blankets, hot chocolate and comfort food are called for when it drops below freezing in Florida. My recipe for Baked Chicken with Sausage and Potatoes will comfort everyone-guests because it is so delicious and the cook because it is so easy to make.

I used thighs because they add a richer flavor and were on sale. You could use breast if you wish, but make sure to adjust the cooking time. You could also throw in carrots, fresh green beans or mushrooms (or all three) with the potatoes. The vinegar can be omitted or replaced with wine or lemon juice. It just adds a little tang that I find pleasant. I also like to amp the flavor up and use more oregano and spicy sausage!
Chicken and Sausage with Potatoes
Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes   Cooking:  40-45 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons and cups, an oven mitt, a skillet that can be used on top of the stove and in the oven, a large wooden spoon, a slotted spoon, a serving dish, a whisk and a thermometer


  • 1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • Salt& pepper
  • Oil for the bottom of the pan
  • 1 pound baby potatoes
  • 1 small onion (4-6 ounces)
  • ½ pound ground breakfast sausage (I used spicy)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups liquid (1 used chicken broth)
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of something green for garnish (I used parsley, but you could use chives, green onions or even finely minced celery)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚. Pour enough oil into the bottom of the skillet to completely cover it.
  2. Mince the herbs and garlic. Scrub and half the potatoes. Quarter the onion. Separate the onion layers. Toss everything into the skillet, lightly salt and place it into the oven for 15 minutes. This is necessary because the potatoes take longer to cook than the meat does.
  3. Cut the thighs into large pieces (the size of golf balls) and salt & pepper liberally. Separate the sausage so that it isn’t one big clump.
  4. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Stir carefully. Toss in the chicken and sausage. Sprinkle on the herbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a piece of chicken reads 165˚.
  5. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Using the slotted spoon, remove everything from the skillet and into the large serving bowl. Break up the sausage. Don’t worry if little bits stick to the skillet. You want that.
  6. Place the skillet on the stove over medium high to melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, scraping all the stuck on brown bits. Slowly add the liquid, whisking the whole time. Make sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the skillet. Stir in the splash of vinegar. This should create a gravy. Taste and adjust the salt. Pour the gravy over the meat and potatoes in the serving bowl.
  7. Serve warm. Sprinkle on the green garnish just before serving.

 Because this only requires one skillet, there is little clean up.