Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thanks to all who attended "Come Cook With Me"

We had fun today exchanging ideas in the kitchen at Katy's Come Cook With Me party.  We prepared three recipes and had a really nice lunch together.  We made Easy Tortellini Toss, Berry Pine Nut Chicken Salad, and Garlic Bites.  The food and conversation were great.

Check back in the next few days for the party recipes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aunt Irene's Coleslaw Dressing

Spring is not far away, so it's time to start thinking about those BBQ favorites.  One of my most recent trips to Canada I was able to get a few favorite recipes from my Aunt Irene.  They have an awesome garden on their farm and she has lots of fantastic recipes that make use of the produce they grow.  The following is her Coleslaw Dressing.  Honestly, this is the best dressing I've ever had.  It really beats the creamy coleslaw you usually find.

1 cup sugar                                       2 Tbsp mustard
1 cup vinegar                                    1 Tbsp salt
2/3 cup salad oil                                1 Tbsp celery seed

Place all ingredients in a Mason jar.  Shake well.  Pour desired amount of dressing over shredded cabbage.  Stir to coat and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

This recipe will dress about 4 lbs of shredded cabbage, which is probably two large salads.  Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fool Proof Chicken Breasts

It seems like everywhere I go the last couple of weeks people are sneezing, coughing and sniffling.  This week everyone in our house is suffering with the side effects of a cold.  NO FUN!!!  I'm actually feeling better, but I still sound terrible.  Unfortunately, I spend a fair amount of each day on the phone.  I'm not sure if it's harder for me to talk or for those poor unsuspecting customers to call and have to listen to me.  

When I don't have much of an appetite, nothing sounds good and I can't get motivated to cook.  That's when I go to my good ole stand-by - Chicken Breasts.  There is a quick and easy way to fix them - any flavor you like - and they turn out perfectly every time.

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a bowl.  Add 2 tsp of your favorite Seasoning Blend.  I like the Italian Seasoning Mix, Southwestern Seasoning Mix, Asian Seasoning Mix, Smoky Barbecue Rub, or Lemon Pepper Rub.  All are very tasty.  Pick whichever suits your taste on any given day.

Place your chicken breasts into the olive oil and seasoning.  Add a little bit of salt and stir well to coat chicken.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Heat  a ribbed grill pan on your stove top over medium heat.  Spray with Pam for Grill spray.  When the grill is hot, place the chicken breasts on the grill and top with grill press.  Cook undisturbed for six minutes.  Turn your chicken breasts and top with the grill press again.  Cook another six minutes.  Turn breasts again.  Leave grill on stove top, but turn heat off.  Top with grill press and allow to sit for six more minutes.

These turn out perfectly every time.  Use a timer - do not cheat on the time.  They are perfect to slice and eat alone as an entree, added to a salad, or added to a pasta dish.  Just add a veggie and a side dish and you'll have a quick and really good dinner.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Come Cook With Me - Saturday February 27th at Noon

Come prepare two recipes with us.  Learn to make Easy Tortellini Toss and Berry Pine-Nut Chicken Salad.  Take the recipes home with you and make them for your family.  

Looking forward to seeing you at Katy's house.  If you need directions, please send an e-mail to  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recipe Inspirations - Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

This is another one of the McCormick recipes, and it's just as good as the other two we tried.  All three are keepers.  There are three we haven't tried yet.  Give this one a go!

2 tsp Paprika
1 1/2 tsp crushed Rosemary leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
6 bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed - about 2 lbs)
1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes (cut into 1" chunks)

I almost followed this recipe.  I'm a white meat fan when it comes to chicken, so I substituted boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the chicken thighs.

Mix oil and all of the spices (including salt) in a bowl.  Add chicken and potatoes; toss to coat well.  Arrange chicken and potatoes in a single layer on foil-lined 15 x 10" baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray.  

Roast in preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, turning potatoes occasionally.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lovin' Watching The Olympics!

The Olympics are keeping me in front of the TV far more than usual.  It's hard to be productive when there's so much TV to watch!  Oh well, it's only for a couple of weeks - and I just have to root for the home team.  Way to go US - we have 8 medals so far.

I just love the figure skating.  They are so graceful and so talented.  The pairs skating has been just beautiful so far.  The snowboarding is great fun to watch, and the men's and women's moguls were fantastic.  And how about Apolo Anton Ohno?  He's a machine!

I'm wishing some of our Missouri snow would relocate to Vancouver.  I'd prefer to leave the slipping and sliding to the athletes at the Olympics.  How about it Mother Nature?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Apple & Sage Pork Chops

This is a terrific recipe!  The sauce is absolutely amazing!  OK, enough with the exclamation points, you get the picture.  This is really good - I made it for dinner tonight.  Remember my post from the other night when I introduced you to the McCormick Recipe Inspirations?  This is part of that series of recipes.  Dierbergs carries these as a pre-packaged spice item near the McCormick spices.  All of the spices in the recipe have been pre-measured and packaged for your convenience, and the recipe is on a perforated removable recipe card on the back of the package.

1 1/2 tsp Rubbed Sage
1 tsp Minced Garlic
1 tsp Thyme Leaves
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
4 boneless pork chops (1" thick - about 1 1/4 lb)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
2 apples (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup apple juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Combine the flour, salt and spices.  Sprinkle the spice mix lightly to cover one side of the pork chops.

Peel and slice apples and onions into thin slices.  Set aside for later.

Heat the olive oil in a 10" frying pan over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, place the chops spice side down in the pan.  Sprinkle the spice mix over the top of the chops in the pan.  Turn chops after about 3 minutes.  Allow to brown on the second side for about 3 minutes.  Remove chops from pan.

Add onions to pan and cook for two minutes.  Stir brown sugar into remaining spice mix.  Add apples to pan and cook for three more minutes. Add apple juice and remaining spice mix to pan.  Stir over medium heat until sauce is thickened.  Add pork chops to sauce, cover and cook until chops reach desired doneness.

Hint:  I like to make sure the chops are done before removing from pan.  If you return them to the pan to cook in the sauce, the crust becomes soft.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Come Cook With Me" Details

Plans have been finalized.  Katy will be hosting the February "Come Cook With Me".  Thank you Katy!  If you're free on Saturday, February 27th at noon, please plan to join us.  Come hungry.  We'll prepare two recipes - one for lunch and one for dessert.  Try out the cooking tools yourself and learn how to prepare both recipes.  Take copies home with you so you can make them for family and friends.

We'll be previewing the new Spring products, and you'll have a chance to pre-order if you'd like.

Send an e-mail to to RSVP and for directions.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recipe Inspirations - A Fantastic New Find

This has been a week of interesting finds at the grocery store.  I love it when I find new products that make cooking easier and my recipes taste better.  This one definitely falls into the category of  "Easy". 

McCormick has put out a product called "Recipe Inspirations".  They have packaged pre-measured spices in six small blister packs attached to one package to be used in a recipe that is printed on a removable recipe card attached to the back of the package.  This is a great idea for cooks who don't have a large variety of spices in their kitchen.  I bought two packages - Apple & Sage Pork Chops and Shrimp & Pasta Primavera.  There were packages for Quesadillas and Fajitas and a couple of others I can't remember. 

I made the Shrimp & Pasta Primavera a couple of nights ago.  It was really good!  It included 1 1/2 tsp Dill Weed, 1 tsp Minced Garlic, 1 tsp Minced Onions, 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper, and 1/4 tsp Thyme Leaves.  I have all of theses spices in my kitchen, but now I have the recipe card to keep with my recipe collection AND . . . it sure was easy to open five little blister packs and just pour the pre-measured spices into my saucepan. 

Give these a try and let me know what you think of them.  They cost $1.99 per package.  I found them at Dierbergs in the spice aisle. 

A New Discovery - Garden Spinach Herb Wraps

We had a quick, but really good dinner Friday night.  I found these green wraps in the grocery store.  Yes, they really are green.  They are Garden Spinach Herb Wraps (made by Mission) -- They smell a little pungent coming out of the package, but they're very tasty.  We made Turkey Picnic Wraps.  The recipe was on the back of the package - I only made a couple of changes.  Following is our recipe:

6 Mission Garden Spinach Herb Wraps
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
2 tsp  Southwest Seasoning
2 oz shredded Colby Jack (or a cheese of your choice)
1/2 lb deli turkey (thinly sliced)
1 tomato (thinly sliced)
Fresh baby spinach leaves

Mix Miracle Whip and Southwest Seasoning.   Allow to sit while you prep other ingredients.  Wash and spin dry your spinach leaves.  Slice your tomato as thinly as you possible can.

Heat your wraps on an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat for 10 - 15 seconds.  Flip and heat for another 5 - 10 seconds.

Evenly spread the mayo mixture on the tortillas.  Sprinkle cheese over the mayo.  Layer each tortilla with turkey, tomato and spinach leaves, leaving about 2" at one side covered with mayo mixture only.  Fold in the sides until they meet in the middle.  Beginning at the side layered with turkey, roll up each tortilla.  Cut in half and serve.

I don't usually like wraps, but these were very good.  The whole family liked them.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Creative Snack Bowl

I recently found this recipe on Food Network.  It's a snack bowl formed out of snack mix.  They call it Super Bowl.  I think it's clever and a really neat idea.  And . . . it's edible.

2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp water
6 cups snack mix (such as Chex Mix or Asian rice cracker mix)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Beat the egg whites and 2 Tbsp water in a large bowl with a mixer until slightly stiff peaks form.  Add the snack mix and toss until evenly coated.  

Generously coat a 3-quart ovenproof bowl with cooking spray and place the snack mix in it.  Crumple a large sheet of foil and mold it into a bowl shape about 1/3 the size of the 3-quart bowl.  Coat the outside of the foil bowl with cooking spray and press into the snack mix to make a well in the middle, forming the snack mix into a bowl shape.  

Place the bowl with the foil in the oven and bake until the snack mix sets - 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly (about 5 minutes).  Carefully remove the foil.  Cool 30 more minutes, invert the edible bowl onto a plate and cool completely.  Fill with your choice of snack mix. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is a GREAT Grocery Shopping Week

Take advantage of all of the grocery store Super Bowl specials this week.  It's the perfect week to stock up on chicken wings, ribs, chili ingredients, crackers, cream cheese, and anything else "Super Bowl Party".  If the budget allows, buy extra and freeze or store for future use.

For the first time in more years than I can remember we won't be hosting guests for Super Bowl.  Paul, Katy & Christian have the better TV, so this year we're moving the party to their house.  Our three Chihuahuas (Beethoven, Belle & Jazzy) will be so disappointed.  They love party food.  We'll have to bring home a "doggie bag".  (Okay, pun intended - I don't claim to be the next stand-up comedian.)

Dierbergs has some good pricing this week.  There are special Thursday specials - take advantage of those if you have time.  Be sure to check out their ad.  As always, Dierbergs is my first choice for produce and meat. Nobody else comes close to their quality.

Enjoy your Super Bowl festivities and be safe.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Honey and Spice - Glazed Pork Chops

I ran across this recipe on  It sounded so good I decided to try it for dinner tonight.  It was a quick and easy recipe and very good!  Give it a try.

1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 boneless butterfly pork chops (about 1/2" thick)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Heat a large frying pay over medium-high heat.  Spray the pan with cooking spray.  Place pork chops in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Reduce the heat to medium and pour the honey mixture over the chops.  Cover the frying pan and allow to cook for 10 minutes or until pork chops are done.

I served this with Stove Top Stuffing and sweet corn.  We had a good meal ready in less than 30 minutes.  That's a winner in my book.