March 31, 2012

Simple Sauteed Mushrooms

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Simple, delicious and if you are a mushroom lover, crave-able.   Not much else to say except you really need to make them this way.  It can't get much easier!

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Simple Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed Mushrooms glazed with a Mushroom Soy Sauce
  • 16 oz. package mushrooms - button or baby portabello
  • 1-2 tbsp Mushroom Soy Sauce
Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  Quarter and sautee in a non-stick skillet until browned and most of the water has evaporated from pan.  Add soy sauce and give a good stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Serve as a side dish to any beefy meal - its delish!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

March 27, 2012

The Monte Cristo with Strawberry Habarnero Jam

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Sunday was a quiet day for Grumpy and me and happened to be the day I decided to make these Monte Cristo Sandwiches with Straberry Habarnero Jam!
The Monte Christo with Strawberry-Habernaro Jam - a combnination of heat, sweet and savory that just explodes with flavor in your mouth
Saturday we left the house to do some furniture and truck "window shopping".  We have been doing a lot of furniture window shopping, talking about what we want to get when we finally can buy our own home again.  We are hoping that now its not that far off in the distant future anymore!

I hung out in the house with Grumpy doing housework and working on my blog some throughout the morning.  Then early afternoon I went to our bedroom and watched The Sandwich King on Food Network.  (yes, I have to leave the living room to watch certain channels and the Food Network IS one of them.  Sigh.)  I record this show every week.  When Jeff was competing on The Next Food Network Star, I never really thought I would like his show.  Then, one day I happened to turn on the TV and his show was on.
I watched him make his sandwiches and thought that they looked way too good and that his show was actually something I was interested in continuing to watch.  This last weekend one of the sandwiches he made was the Monte Cristo.  Oh yeah.  Accompanying the sandwich was a Strawberry Habanero Jam.  Oh bigger yeah!  Tempt me with sweet heat and I'm ALL yours!
After I watched the show I finished getting around then headed out the door to the grocery store.  I planned to feed this to Grumpy so I didn't dare use Guyere cheese and I didn't dare use a whole pepper.  I already knew I was going to get a response that I didn't want when he asked me what I was going to make.  As far as I knew, he had no idea what a Monte Cristo was (and he didn't) and when he asked me to explain what it was and I tell him its a ham and cheese sandwich toasted between french toast with a spicy jam dip, well, I knew he wasn't going to be really happy that was what his dinner was going to be.  Fortunately, he didn't gripe too much and he tried it - and he did eat it all.  When I asked him how it was, his response was that it was good.  Of course, Grumpy isn't very adventurous as we all know so the fact he tried it and didn't say it was terrible was a good thing.  I am here to tell you however that it was very good, delicious in fact, but I would have probably have loved it even more with the Guyere cheese and a spicier jam.  The jam is really awesome and I already have other ideas about how I'm going to use what I have left over.  I just wish Grumpy could handle spicier foods!

The Monte Cristo with Strawberry Habernaro Jam
adapted from The Sandwich King
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices French Toast Bread (thick cut)
Deli Ham (I used Boars Head Honey Ham - it was on sale!)
Thinly sliced muenster cheese
1 large egg
4 tbsp half and half
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

*Note:  Use your judgement on how much ham/cheese you want to use for your sandwich - but be generous!  :)

Strawberry Habanero Jam

1-16 oz package fresh strawberries, stemmed, washed and cut into chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 small habanero pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp lemon (or orange) zest

Place strawberries, sugar, pepper, orange juice and lemon zest in heavy sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until temperature reaches 200 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Whisk together egg, half and half, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.  Dip french toast bread in egg mixture on each side and place on hot griddle.  When bottom side is browned, flip over and place cheese, meat and then another layer of cheese on top.  Place toasted side of other slice of french toast bread on top of meat cheese mixture.  Cook low and slow to allow the heat to get through the sandwich and melt the cheese.  When the cheese on the bottom looks melty and bottom of sandwich is browned, carefully flip over to toast top of sandwich and cook until toasty.  Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and jam if desired.

March 25, 2012

Individual Bacon Wrapped Baked Eggs with Jalapeno Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onion

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I am not sure why and it confuses me, but I have been wanting to eat eggs in the morning more often.  Quiche is really appealing to me a lot lately too and I'll probably be making one of those soon!  I went for so many years not wanting to ever touch an egg because the thought of doing so made my stomach turn.  The nutrition label that I was reading for an egg has me convinced that they really aren't all that bad and I should probably eat more since my body is in need of the nutrients it provides.

March 22, 2012

Deep Dish Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe Pizza

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I'm feeling good...good enough to make homemade pizza on a weeknight!  

The other night we had bbq hamburgers for dinner.  Then yesterday morning I was thinking, what can I make for dinner tonight?  I left the house thinking I was going to make Shrimp Po' Boys.  I left my office 8 hours later and it hit me that I could make pizza and use the leftover hamburger.  The outcome was Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe Pizza!  I wanted to use up that last hamburger instead of letting it sit in the fridge for a few days and then end up tossing it because nobody wanted it.
I've made a bacon cheeseburger pizza before way back in the beginning of my blogging days.  I thought about the sauce and what could I do that would go well with what I wanted to make.  The pizza I made before had a ketchup-y sauce.  I decided it couldn't be a cheeseburger pizza without that kind of sauce.  So, I decided that I would make a sauce the way Grumpy would eat his burgers and then, after mixing the ingredients, decided to toss a little of the flavor I used when making the burgers themselves.  The result was yummy!  Grumpy, he ate his pizza naked.  Me, I had to make it deluxe!
Other pizza recipes you may enjoy!
Chicken, Fennel, Smoked Gouda Pizza Chopped - KC the Kitchen Chopper
Cashew Sausage Basil Pizza - Dizzy, Busy, and Hungry
Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza - Anyonita Nibbles

Deep Dish Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe Pizza

printable recipe

For the crust:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1-3//4 cups white flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 packet rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
Cornmeal to coat the bottom of pan

For the sauce:
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Tastefully Simple Merlot Sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)

For the toppings:
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 large left over hamburger, cooked
4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and broken into pieces
Lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion to garnish, if desired

To make the crust, combine the whole wheat pastry flour and 3/4 cup of white flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast.  Pour the warm water and tablespoon of olive oil over flour mixture and stir to combine.  Mix in remaining 1 cup flour.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour as needed.  Spray a mixing bowl (I usually use the one I mixed the dough in - I just wash it out first) with cooking spray.  Place dough in bowl and then turn over. Cover with a towel and let rise approximately 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.  While dough is resting, make sauce.  Mix together in a small bowl the ketchup, mustard, Merlot sauce and mayonnaise.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  I use a glass pan, I like how the crust turns out crispy in this dish.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place dough in pan and press the dough out, making sure to have the dough go up the sides of the pan to create the dish effect.

Spread sauce over top of dough.  Layer toppings as follows:  Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, spread broken up hamburger over top of cheese, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and then lastly top with cheddar cheese.

Bake in oven approximately 20 minutes or until crust is browned and topping begins to brown lightly.  Remove from oven and top with bacon pieces.  Garnish with lettuce, tomato, onion and more bacon if desired.

March 20, 2012

Peppery Beef with Cabbage over Noodles

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Short and sweet today!  Grumpy wasn't too happy with the peppers in the recipe - he's not a big fan of them. However, this to me was yummy!  I love peppers!  He said if I had left the peppers out it would have been better to him and I guess I was heavier on the Black Bean with Garlic Chili sauce than normal as he told me it was spicy.  I thought it was perfect.   This was my take on beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day.  I guess next year I will go traditional for Grumpy!

 I'm submitting this post to Presto Pasta Night's which is being hosted by Juli over at Pictures of all my Princesses.  There is still time to join in - just send your submission to Juli by end of the day on Thursday.  Rules and Guidelines are on the Presto Pasta Night's page.

Peppery Beef with Cabbage over Noodles
Inspired by Black Pepper Beef and Cabbage at

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips 
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tablespoons Maggi sauce (or soy)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (unflavored)
1 teaspoon Black Bean Chili Garlic Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
your favorite pasta shape, cooked according to package - I used linguine since that was what I had on hand and cooked about 1/2 of the package (4 oz. dry)
In a small bowl mix Maggi sauce, rice wine vinegar, black bean sauce and brown sugar together, set aside.  In a separate small bowl combine cornstarch and water.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and garlic until beef is no longer pink.  Season with black pepper.  

Add cabbage and cook &stir until cabbage begins to wilt.  Add bell peppers.  Cook and stir for about 3-5 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender.  Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Stir in cornstarch mixture.  Sauce will begin to thicken.  Remove from heat and serve over pasta.

March 19, 2012

Carrot Cupcakes - Diabetic Friendly

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Did you realize you could make absolutely delicious, diabetic friendly desserts that do not have sugar substitute in them? I didn't, not until I started to read Diabetic Living Magazine.  The key to keeping your sugar count at the desired level is in the carbohydrate consumption.  Sugar is carbohydrate so it makes sense that you need to watch the amount of sugar you eat, but you also need to pay attention to all the other foods we consume that contain carbohydrates!  I am still learning and by no means am I an expert in this lifestyle.  I'm learning as I go, and doing what I can to feed Grumpy well and make him happy with the food I do make that is also good for him! While you don't have to use the sugar substitute in this recipe, to make it even more diabetic friendly, you can use Splenda Brown Sugar substitute equivalent to the amount in this recipe and lower the carbs from 30 to 24.  I went with regular brown sugar for two reasons.  It is less expensive than the substitute and it was what I had on hand.  I'm hoping that someday soon I can have Grumpy sitting pretty right where he belongs to the best of my ability.  The rest of it is up to him.

Easter is coming, and while I have no idea if we will be alone or with family, I decided I was going to try some different carrot dessert recipes that I found in the most recent issue of Diabetic Living.   I can definitely say, that it won't be the last time I make them!  When these were baking our home filled with such a lovely smell of home baked spiciness that is carrot cake.  The frosting, surprisingly consists of two ingredients:  1/3 less fat cream cheese and Agave Nectar (which the magazine does state you can use honey instead of agave)!  The recipe states you will get 15 cupcakes and that is exactly what I got.  I stored these in the refrigerator and I seriously think that two days later they are better than the day they were made.  So, whether you need to watch your carbohydrates or not, these are definitely a cupcake worth making and keeping around!
Carrot Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Diabetic Living Spring 2012

printable recipe

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup cinnamon flavored applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup canola oil
6 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degress.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or coat cups with cooking spray (use the spray without the flour).

In a large bowl combine flour through cloves and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs, applesauce and oil together until combined.  Stir in shredded carrots.  Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir to combine.  Scoop batter into muffin cups using ice cream scoop (I use my large pampered chef cookie scoop and it portions it out perfectly!).  Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes then transfer to cookie rack to continue cooling.

When cookies are cool, make frosting by blending the softened cream cheese and agave nectar until smooth. Spread on cupcake and garnish with desired toppings.

This cupcake has 207 calories, 8 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of sugar.

March 17, 2012

Weekend Hash Browns

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Weekends are for Hash Browns, aren't they?  Weekends are about the only time I have time to make "special" dishes.  Most of the time we eat pancakes with pure Northern New York made Maple Syrup (made by one of the best syrup making families, my cousin's!).  My dad just informed me that I have 2 gallons of syrup coming to me in the near future.  I can't wait to get my syrup and I love syrup making season!

March 14, 2012

Powdered Sugar Doughnut Muffins - Gluten Free

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A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Elizabeth Barbone,  author of "Easy Gluten-Free Baking" and owner of  Elizabeth had invited me to be a part of a "cook along" for her new cookbook, How to Cook Gluten Free.  I became acquainted with Elizabeth through Price Chopper when they invited me to one of their cooking classes.  Elizabeth was one of the presenters at the class and she made a few of her recipes, including the one for Gluten Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that I blogged about after the class.

March 12, 2012

Shrimp Pad Thai

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This may not be an "authentic" Shrimp Pad Thai Recipe, but its good enough for us at home :-)

I didn't want this week to go by on me without getting a post in for Presto Pasta Nights.  I missed out last week with so much going on.  I did a quick look at Cooking Light's website for some quick shrimp meals I could fix.  Naturally, I gravitate towards an Asian style with noodles of some kind.  I'd never made Pad Thai and when I saw the recipe I knew I would be trying it out tonight!  

If your interested in participating in Presto Pasta Night, visit their link to view the guidelines!  
Hope to see you there!

This recipe didn't call for anything that gave the dish any more color than green and I felt it needed something to contrast with that, so I added some red peppers to the mix.  I also didn't have any teriyaki sauce so I made my own!  Normally the recipe calls for creamy peanut butter but I had nothing but crunchy so that's what I went with.  All in all it turned out pretty good and leftovers are in the fridge waiting for me to take to work for my lunch tomorrow!

Shrimp Pad Thai
adapted from Cooking Light

Printable Recipe

4 ounces uncooked pad thai noodles
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (recipe at end of post)
4 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 cups snow peas
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
lime wedges

Cook pad thai noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Combine teriyaki sauce, hot water, peanut butter, and red pepper flakes, stirring with a whisk.

Heat the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, and saute 1 minute. Add shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes or until shrimp are almost done. Add teriyaki sauce mixture, and cook for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, sauce will thicken quickly. Add pasta, red pepper slices, and snow peas; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Stir well, sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts and serve with lime wedges.
Teriyaki Sauce
recipe from

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 inch chunk fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix soy sauce, 1 cup water, ginger, garlic and brown sugar in small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Mix 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth and stir into bubbling soy sauce mixture.  Stir constantly to prevent lumping.  This will thicken quickly.  Remove from stove and store in airtight container in refrigerator.

March 05, 2012

English Muffin Bread - Secret Recipe Club Post

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Its time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal!  I really love belonging to the Secret Recipe Club and am so happy that Amanda, the founder of this club and author of Amanda's Cookin' came up with this fun idea!  Amanda deserves a lot of recognition and thanks for the hard work she has put into this club!

I love being assigned a blog to go through and find something that appeals to me to make.  Sometimes I'm lucky and I find something I've thought about making but never had gotten to it before and SRC gives me the little shove that I need to actually do it!  If you enjoy following along with us, make sure you visit and like our Secret Recipe Club Facebook page also!

March 03, 2012

Chicken and Biscuits

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When I think of Chicken and Biscuits I always remember the time my first husband, Dana and I went to his Great Aunt Aroulia's home for dinner.  His Aunt Aroulia was also my 4th grade teacher, and one of my favorite teachers too.  She was a really great woman with a kind heart, not to mention and awesome cook!  I never will forget the chicken and biscuit dinner she made us that day and I always will regret not finding out how she made it.  It was the best I have ever had.

When watching Food Network TV last weekend I saw Melissa D'Arabian's show Ten Dollar Dinners.  She was making a Chicken and Biscuit dinner that I decided I must try.  I'm very glad I did!  While it wasn't at all like Aunt Aroulia's recipe, it was still very good.  I even felt I did an awesome job on the biscuits and I will definitely be using her recipe again in the future and just use some different flavorings (if any at all).

I'm quite certain that the little bit of bacon she uses in this recipe is part of what gives it so much flavor.  I'll definitely be making this recipe again only per Grumpy's request I will have to go with bone in chicken breast instead of drumsticks.  He's not a fan of dark meat, but he did say that the recipe was really good and he would eat it again if I would use breast meat instead.
Chicken and Biscuits
recipe slightly adapted from Melissa D'Arabian's Chicken and Biscuits

1 slice thick cut hickory smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb chicken legs, skin removed
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth (I make my own using better than boullion chicken flavored broth paste)
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1/2 cup water
Sour Cream Garlic Biscuits (follow link to Food Network recipe - I made these as written)

In large nonstick skillet, cook bacon pieces until browned and crispy.  Remove from heat, leaving fat in pan.

Remove the skin from chicken legs.  I will use a strong paper towel (I buy Brawny Towels) to get hold of the skin at the top of the drumstick.  I then use the paper towel to pull down on the skin and slip it right off the drumstick.  This works to keep the skin and hand dry when removing the skin and stop it from slipping off the skin while pulling it off.  Sprinkle the chicken legs with salt and pepper.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in skillet with bacon fat.  Add chicken legs and brown on each side over medium heat.  Remove legs from skillet and add remaining oil.  Saute carrots, onions, and celery until fragrant and just start to soften.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour.  De-glaze pan with chicken stock, stirring to prevent flour veggie mixture from clumping.  Add remaining chicken stock and bacon pieces to pan.  Return chicken legs to skillet and add enough water to almost cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.   Remove cover and simmer another 15 minutes.  Remove legs from pan and let cool slightly.  Using two forks, pull the meat off the chicken legs and return to skillet with broth.

Mix 1/4 cup water and 2 heaping tablespoons flour to make a slurry.  Stir into simmering broth mixture, stirring constantly to prevent clumps.  Serve warm with biscuits.

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