Monday, August 25, 2014

Miso Risotto. It's New!!

Well, hello there. Despite the late-summer heat, I really felt like a bowl-full of something warm and comforting yesterday. I had the idea of making risotto using miso broth rather than vegetable or chicken broth, to which I added some fresh veggies. Well, I was right: this dish really hit the spot! Not sure whether the "miso risotto" idea is an original one or not, but it was new to me and quite tasty if I do say so myself... :-) We usually go for brown rice miso or garbanzo miso rather than soy-based miso (we're not big soy fans in our house due to my hubby's thyroid issues), but of course, please feel free to use the miso of your choice! It is a free miso country, after all... :-) Here's my recipe. Enjoy!


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 cup finely-diced yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups miso broth
1 cup fresh or frozen petite green peas
1 roma tomato, diced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts

Heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-high flame. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, place rice into a strainer and rinse under cold running water. Add rice to pan; continue cooking and stirring for about five more minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low. Place miso broth into a saucepan and heat over medium-low flame. Add warm broth to rice mixture one ladle-full at a time, stirring well after each addition. After all broth has been added, cover pot, reduce heat to low, and let simmer until rice is just tender. Add peas, tomatoes, Parmesan and pine nuts, stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Serve warm.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Coconut-Cornflake Fried Chicken

Greetings! I put this chicken recipe together yesterday — I was wanting something sweet/spicy and substantial to go with our fresh veggies (cucumber/ onion/dill salad and sliced tomatoes from our friends' garden). It turned out quite tasty, and really hit the spot on a warm summer afternoon. Enjoy. :-)


4 to 6 boneless & skinless chicken breast tenderloin strips
2/3 cup cornflake cereal
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Rinse chicken, pat dry, and cut each tenderloin strip into two or three pieces. Set aside. Place cornflakes into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to create coarse crumbs. Add coconut, chili powder and black pepper. Pulse again two or three times to combine. Place this mixture into a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, whisk the egg until smooth. Add mayonnaise and water and continue whisking until well combined.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip half of the chicken pieces into egg mixture, then into crumb mixture (turning to coat both sides), then place into hot skillet. Cook three to six minutes per side until cooked through and golden. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining chicken. Serve warm.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy 4th & Tex-Mex Lasagna

Just popping in to say Happy Birthday to America! It's been a lovely, quiet holiday weekend here at my house—just the hubby and I running errands, working on various projects, and doing plenty of relaxing. I made this Tex-Mex Lasagna for our dinner last night and a friend asked for the recipe, so here it is! The photo shows the lasagna before it was baked. I forgot to take an "after" photo - so sorry. This is one of those dishes that's actually better on day two, after the flavors have blended a bit. Enjoy, and God Bless America!


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 ounces) whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can (4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained
18 small (3-inch) corn tortillas
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar-jack cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, then add ground beef and onions. Cook and stir for two to three minutes, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon. Add Roma tomatoes and spices; continue cooking until beef is no longer pink. Add black beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies, tomato sauce, and corn. Stir and bring to a simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking pan with nonstick spray. Spoon a small amount of meat/sauce mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange six tortillas in a single layer over the sauce. Add more sauce over the tortillas, followed by a dollop of yogurt on each tortilla. Sprinkle on a small amount of cheese, followed by a few olive slices. Repeat these layers until pan is filled, ending with cheese and olives on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Serve warm with guacamole and a large green salad if desired.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mushroom Risotto with Peas

Well, hello friends! Nothing like neglecting this blog for the past three months. Busy much? Life is speeding by, that's for sure! But, we are good and feeling blessed.

This was our dinner last night. Rich worked until late, we were both tired after a long week, and I thought this would be a light yet soothing meal. It hit the spot! Grab a fork — yummmm.


1 cup Arborio Rice
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini or white mushrooms, halved & sliced
1 to 2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Salt & black pepper to taste

Rinse rice, cover with clean water and let soak for thirty minutes. Rinse rice again. Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add rice, onions and garlic. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for five minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for five more minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer. Place broth into a small saucepan over low heat. Add broth to rice mixture one ladle-full at a time, stirring well after each addition, until rice is tender (should take approximately 20 minutes). Stir in remaining ingredients, adjust seasonings, and serve warm. (preferably in a bowl, with a big spoon, on the sofa with the lights dimmed — maybe with an additional pat of butter on top?)... you get the picture. :-)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Farewell to 2013

Hello world - what a year it has been! In recent months I have truly neglected both this blog and my other blog, so sorry. Let's just say that life has taken over and I just have not been able to keep up. But I wanted to pop in and publish one last post for 2013, which has been quite a notable year for me culinary-wise. Last month, I traveled to Las Vegas with my sweetie and had the exciting opportunity of participating as a finalist in the one and only Pillsbury Bake-Off! I was one of one-hundred lucky and talented home cooks chosen for this honor, and let me tell you, an honor it was! Alas, I did not win, but I truly had an amazing time and met lots of great people. And losing did not dissuade me - in fact, I am more encouraged than ever to pursue cooking and baking with a passion! I love it and always will. What better way to show love to my family and friend than by offering them something delicious to eat? None that I know of...

So, the above photo is of all 100 "46th Pillsbury Bake-Off" Finalists. I'm on the right side of the photo, quite near the back 'cuz I'm a tall girl, a few people in from the end... squint and you'll see me (see the lady three from the end in the back row, wearing a bright mint-green sweater? I'm just to the left and slightly in front of her. I'm wearing black under my apron). The whole Bake-Off Experience was just so incredibly exciting, and even if I never get the chance to do something like that again (but I'm gonna sure try, yes I am!), I will never forget it.

2013 was memorable for many other reasons, but I will leave this blog post at that. Welcome 2014 - let's see what you got! I'm ready!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Vegetarian Potato-Corn Chowder

Here's a simple vegetarian chowder that's an original of mine, and it's always a hit whenever I serve it. This goes great with home-made rolls (or any bread, really). Add a side salad if desired, but this comforting soup is a meal in itself. You can also add bacon, chicken or ground beef if that's your thing, but I enjoy the purity of the vegetables. Here's the recipe... dig in!


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 large stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
6 medium red-skinned potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper6 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained (or use fresh corn if in season)
¼ to ½ cup dehydrated potato flakes
½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt 

Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, garlic, salt & pepper. Cook and stir for three to five minutes. Add broth; stir, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (approximately 15 to 20 minutes). Add corn. Stir in potato flakes to thicken soup as desired. Finish with sour cream or yogurt; adjust seasoning and serve warm.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gluten-Free Oatmeal-Fruit Casserole

Hello, neighbors! So, I got THIS recipe from a friend recently, and decided to tweak it just a little. It's intended to be a breakfast dish but with the chocolate and fruit I thought we'd try it for dessert. It's surprisingly and pleasantly cake-like in the center, and the blend of nutty oats & pecans, brown sugar, chocolate, sweet bananas and tart berries make for just the right flavor balance. I recommend eating it warm out of the oven. This one's a keeper for sure, and I can't wait to try in on a cool Sunday morning sometime in the coming months! And remember, this recipe is gluten-free and also quite yummy! Enjoy. Until next time...


2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans, divided
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
3/4 cup raspberries, blackberries or blueberries
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
2 cups almond milk or coconut milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 9-inch square baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half of the pecans, and half of the chocolate chips. Spread this mixture into the prepared pan. 

In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the oat mixture. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats. Top with berries and banana slices, then sprinkle with remaining pecans and chocolate chips.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden, Serve warm. Cover and refrigerate any left-overs.