Tag Archives: easy

I’m a TV Star!

I’m a TV Star!
two women cooking

Bridgett (left) and me (right) just cooking on TV, like we do…

Ok – maybe not a star, but I was asked to demonstrate my Mac & Cheese with Pears recipe on our local PBS station as a part of their KCTSCooks program. Twice a year our station asks for recipe submissions for a category of recipe – this show was about Pasta, Rice & Grains. They generally get 300+ submissions from all over and ask a small portion of folks to share their recipe on the air – I was one of 12. I had practiced at home a few weeks prior, showing my pal Jacquie how I prepared the dish and having her help me. I had to bring a finished dish, my demo pasta precooked, the rest of the ingredients,and a pre-made pot of the cheese sauce so it would all fit into the 10 minute segment. The day before heading to Seattle, I did all my prep and practiced in my head as I made two full recipes of the pasta and cheese sauce, packaged up my other ingredients and finished the full recipe so that, by the magic of television, a finished casserole could be removed from the oven for the unveiling. (Please note that the measurements aren’t exact on the video and that you are welcome to purchase the book from KCTS to get all the other recipes.) As I was preparing to go on – and it was shown LIVE, people! – I decided to pre-chop my onions to avoid crying and getting snotty on camera. (it was a good call). I was scheduled about halfway through, so I had plenty of time to be nervous and watch some of the people ahead of me. I was right after a low-fat, Vegan, gluten-free recipe – pretty much the opposite of my recipe which was fatty, gluten-filled and had meat, milk and cheese!Variety is the spice of life -am I right, people?

I’ve posted my Mac & Cheese recipe before, but I’ve jazzed it up some since – a recipe isn’t any good unless you can deviate from the printed text to make it your own! This version uses extra sharp cheddar (white) cheese as well as bleu cheese for the sauce.

It was a very fun day of being nervous, cooking, and eating! Recipe HERE. Watch video of segment HERE.

macaroni, cheese, sausage, pears

“Beauty shot” of my prepared dish.

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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Entertaining, Information, Recipe


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Low-Fat Fruity Cake

Low-Fat Fruity Cake
Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

This is a recipe I adapted from, “The New American Diet,” a book I bought back in the eighties. In the book, it was called, Apple Loaf Cake, but it wasn’t baked in a loaf pan and I often use different fruit, so I re-named it!

In the cake pictured, I used rhubarb and apple. My rhubarb has been growing like crazy – probably because it’s in a container and we’ve been blessed with a fairly mild late winter/early spring, but I didn’t have quite enough larger stalks to cover the 3 cups of chopped fruit needed, so I used 1/2 of a Pacific Rose apple (unpeeled).

This is an easy recipe that goes together quickly, but it takes at least an hour to bake. Use the tooth pick test and add 5 minutes if it comes out gooey.

Low-Fat Fruity Cake

½ c apple juice

½ c canola oil

Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

2 c sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 c chopped fruit (apple, rhubarb, berries, peaches – any combo, one or all!)

3 c flour

¾ tsp cinnamon

¾ tsp nutmeg

1 ½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a Bundt (or tube) pan with non-stick spray. Mix ingredients in order given (wet ingredients & sugar first, add fruit, etc.). Mix thoroughly. Spoon into pan and distribute evenly. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Cool completely before removing from pan. Use a spatula to loosen the edges before inverting onto a plate. This is a very moist cake and doesn’t need any frosting. It can be served as a dessert or breakfast-type cake.

Don't you want a taste?

Don’t you want a taste?

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Posted by on March 24, 2014 in Recipe


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Moroccan Chicken Stew – Exotic and Delish!

Moroccan Chicken Stew – Exotic and Delish!
cinnamon, cumin, black and red pepper, and turmeric.

This little jar holds cinnamon, cumin, black and red pepper, and turmeric.

When I find a ready-made food that I really enjoy, I like to try and re-create it in my own kitchen. Campbell’s Soup is trying to reach out to the younger set with new and interesting soups in pouches under the name “Campbell’s Go.”  I’m from the tail-end of the Baby Boomers – not a Millennial, but my taste buds aren’t dead yet! I tried and loved their Moroccan Style Chicken soup, so I made a note of the ingredients and gave it a try. What really helped was finding a jar of a Moroccan spice blend – saved me from trying to figure out how much turmeric –vs- cinnamon or cumin! The first time, I used diced tomatoes for the base, and added some water; I also used leftover rotisserie chicken instead of starting from scratch. It was flavorful, but too soupy – not the consistency I was looking for. This time, I used crushed tomatoes and a tub of concentrated chicken stock (look for it near the broths in the soup aisle) as the base which gave me the consistency I was looking for – more like a spaghetti sauce than a soup. I also used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 for this recipe), that I cut up into chunks before cooking, so the prep was longer, but ultimately worth it. Overall, I’d say it took about ½ hour of prep and I simmered it for under an hour. I served it with couscous and flat bread in a soup plate.

  • 2 c. cubed raw chicken
  • ½ c coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 c coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1 tbl olive oil

    Chicken,carrots and onions, sauteed in olive oil.

    Chicken,carrots and onions, sauteed in olive oil.

  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1-2 tbl Moroccan spice mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 serving concentrated chicken stock

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and cook for a couple of minutes; add chicken and pepper to taste. Stir and cook chicken/onion mixture for 5 minutes and then add the carrots and continue to cook and stir until carrots begin to soften. Dump in the tomatoes and garbanzo beans; add stock and spices, stir. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in a shallow bowl with couscous and naan bread.

Moroccan Chicken Stew, couscous, flat bread

Dinner is served!

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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Recipe


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Cooking for Two: Caprese Sauce on Basil Gnocchi

Cooking for Two: Caprese Sauce on Basil Gnocchi

Don’t you just love those caprese appetizers? Those little fresh mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes skewered on picks and drizzled with balsamic vinegar? So yummy! I decided to make a sauce based on those delightful, summery, picks-o-goodness! Only no toothpicks. Because that would be dangerous.

I picked up a package of basil gnocchi at our local World Market for this dish, but regular gnocchi should work also. I used “pearl” tomatoes – which are more golf-ball sized, so I’m not sure where the name came from! A couple of diced, seeded Roma tomatoes would work just dandy. Speaking of pearls, I wish I could have found those cute little pearl-sized fresh mozzarella balls, but oh well!

1 – 16 oz. pkg. Basil Gnocchi

3-4 cloves Roasted Garlic

mozzarella balls, tomatoes, basil, caprese sauce

The sauce just needs to simmer a little longer to warm through!

¾ c white wine

1 tbl. Balsamic vinegar

1 tbl olive oil

3 small Tomatoes, cut in wedges and seeded

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/3 c chopped fresh basil (I use scissors)

12 fresh mozzarella balls (1 inch size –although I would have loved to have found the pearl-sized mozzarella)

SAUCE: Measure the wine and Balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan – add the roasted garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt & pepper and simmer 2 minutes longer. Put in the mozzarella balls and basil and warm through.

gnocchi, caprese sauce, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella balls

We ate every single bite!

GNOCCHI: Using only mountain spring water, hauled by hand in a copper bucket…kidding! Cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Note: I should have added a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar…next time!!

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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Recipe


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Pork Chops in Roasted Garlic Jelly Sauce

Pork Chops in Roasted Garlic Jelly Sauce

As an empty-nester, it’s difficult to cook just for two people when you’ve spent decades cooking for a family. Here’s a recipe that makes plenty for two, plus maybe a bit leftover for a lunch to take to work! My daughter gave me a small jar of roasted garlic jelly that she had made and canned herself. I found a similar recipe HERE, if you’d like to try it yourself.

I confess right here and now that this was an experiment. I had the roasted garlic jelly and decided to try it with the pork chops. I had no clue how to use it, so I did a search and could only find pork recipes using pepper jelly. I read a few of them and decided to use them as a guide to develop my own recipe. This is the result and it was delicious!

wine, chicken stock reduction

Reducing the wine-chicken stock mixture.

The sauce:

  • 1/4 c. Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 c. White Wine
  • 1/2 c. Roasted Garlic Jelly
  • 1 pinch each: Thyme and Crushed Rosemary

Bring chicken stock, wine and herbs to a boil. Simmer and stir to reduce a bit – about 5 minutes. Reduce heat. Add jelly. Break it up and stir until it is fully melted. The sauce will be thin. Remove from heat and set aside.

roasted garlic jelly, reduction sauce

Chunks of quivering deliciousness, melting in the sauce.

The chops:

  • Two Sirloin Boneless Pork Chops (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 Tbl. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over fairly high heat. Add the pork chops and with sprinkle salt and pepper; brown on both sides. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until done (10-15 minutes), turning occasionally.

Add the sauce, turning the chops to coat. Cover and let simmer a few minutes to meld the flavors. Serve hot, spooning some sauce over the chops.

pork chops

Two browned chops – can you smell them yet?

pork chops

Yummy chops with cheesey macaroni shells and steamed baby broccoli!

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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Recipe


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Bleu Cheese Bacon Burgers: Best Ever!

Summer feels like it is winding down and I haven’t grilled nearly enough burgers! We can grill year-round in the PNW, of course, but it’s nice to be able to do it without wearing a headlamp during our long summer days.

We love bleu cheese burgers, so I have been working on the right combination of ingredients with the thought of posting it to this blog – mission accomplished! I even remembered to take pictures! I like to use the lowest fat content ground beef available because I am adding more fat to the mixture in the guise of cheese and bacon. I also get the thickest cut of bacon and dig through all the packages looking for the best fat<meat ratio. I love baking the bacon on a rack because the mess is so much less than frying and the fat drips away to the pan underneath. For this recipe, you only need two slices of cooked bacon, so it might be easier to immediately hide two slices after cooking up a package to save them for your future burgers. I use food scissors to cut the bacon up into “bits” and, no, “Bac-os Bits®” are NOT an acceptable substitute! Because the cheese tends to be salty (not to mention the bacon), I do not add salt.

This recipe makes 4 quarter-pound burgers.


  • 1 lb. 4% fat ground beef
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, cut into “bits”
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3-1/2 cup bleu cheese crumbles
  • pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a largish mixing bowl – I use my hands encased in plastic gloves to mix everything up. Two reasons: 1) Ew! Raw hamburger under my fingernails? No thanks! and 2) Squishing everything together by hand mixes it much more thoroughly than with a rubber spatula or spoon.

After the ingredients are thoroughly combined, form 4 patties. Grill as desired until done. Every grill is different, so I won’t attempt to instruct you in how to work your own grill!

BurgerDoesn’t this look delish? Maybe I should take up a second career as a food photographer….

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Recipe


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Cutest Cookies Ever!

I made these cookies for Halloween last year and thought they were super-adorable! I found the idea on the PBS “Fresh Tastes” webpage, but used my own tried-and-true recipe for sugar cookie dough. I use this recipe annually for my “Christmas Cookie Sweatshop” party (to be blogged later….) and it has never failed me! I think this recipe will work with whatever sugar cookie recipe you prefer as long as it is refrigerated before slicing and you use real butter. Seriously. There is no worthy substitute for real butter in a sugar cookie.

My recipe: Cream 1 c. (two sticks) room temperature butter with 2 c. sugar. Add 4 eggs and continue mixing until well blended. In a smaller bowl, stir together 5 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. nutmeg (optional). Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients, mixing well after each addition until you have a smooth dough.

For Candy Corn Cookies:

Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Line a regular-sized loaf pan (or two small ones if you like tiny cookies…which I do…) with plastic wrap. Press one portion of the dough into the loaf pan(s) so that it is an even, flat layer (harder than you think!). Transfer another portion of the dough onto a lightly floured roul-pat mat (if you don’t have one, you should.) Add several drops of orange food coloring and mix in by hand – wear plastic or latex gloves unless you want to look jaundiced! – until the color is uniform. I use gel food dye for a more intense color. Press into pan(s) as before. (using glass pans helps a lot!). Transfer the last portion onto your floured surface and add yellow food coloring and mix/press as before. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

After dough is properly chilled, remove the block to a floured surface and slice in 1/4″ slices. Cut each slice diagonally as shown to create three triangle shapes. Bake on lined cookie sheets (silicone baking mats or parchment) at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes (watch carefully!) until lightly browned on the bottom and the top is puffy. Try not to eat them all at once…I dare you!

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Recipe, Uncategorized


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