Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cocktails for Thanksgiving

There are so many different concoctions you can serve on this faithful day.  I love an Appletini goes with the season, but I have to admit when it comes to an easy signature cocktail for a crowd with great taste and easy on the wallet I go to my signature sangria.

How easy can it be, wine, brandy, seltzer fruit, juice, and sugar.  The best part this time of year Beaujolais is in season and very cheap.  So get your pitcher and mix away.


2 bottles Beaujolais chilled ( or dry red wine)
1 cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup superfine sugar
2 apples cut into chunks
2 oranges cut in thin rounds
1 lemon, cut into thin rounds
1small bag mixed frozen berries
2 cups cold lemon-lime flavored seltzer or club soda 

1) In a large pitcher ( or bowl) combine wine, brandy, orange juice & sugar until sugar is dissolved.

2) Add orange, apples, and lemons, stir and refrigerate until well chilled at least 1 hour.

3) Remove from refrigerator add soda frozen berries, serve in glasses over ice.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Snacks to serve to your toughest critics.

Lets talk food, oh wait one of my favorite subjects.  And in doing that kind of one of our favorite things which is munches.  I a tally got to thinking, and though of taking it up a couple of levels, this way maybe, you could invite some friends over for some wine, and signature cocktails.  You could hang out and chat, or plan an evening around the premiere of your favorite TV shows.  Whatever the case might be, I hope that these tasty morsels and cocktails can stand up to your toughest critics.

Apricot-and-Cheddar Chicken Melt

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
4 -8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, split horizontally
1  baguette, split horizontally, cut in half
1/4 cup apricot preserves
4 oz thinly sliced ham
1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated 

  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, combine vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes (or cover and refrigerate in marinade up to 24 hours).
  2. Lift chicken from marinade, and place on prepared baking sheet; broil (without turning) until opaque throughout. Transfer chicken to a work surface; discard pan juices from baking sheet.
  3. Place baguette pieces on baking sheet, cut side up; dividing evenly, spread with apricot preserves, and layer with chicken, ham, and then cheese. Broil until cheese is melted, 4 to 6 minutes.

Mini Spinach-and-Cheese Pizzas

4-3-inch whole wheat pitas , split
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
 salt and pepper
1 -10oz pkg  frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
1/2 pint bocconcini , halved

  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; arrange pita halves on sheet, cut side up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, oregano, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, spread ricotta mixture on pitas, and top with spinach and bocconcini. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Broil until cheese is melted and starts to brown, 4 to 6 minutes, rotating sheet from front to back halfway through baking. Serve immediately.

Open-Face Roast Beef Sandwich

1-1 1/2-lb top round beef roast
1 tsp olive oil, for roast
1 Tbsp olive oil, for watercress
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp bottled white horseradish
2 bunches watercress, washed and thick stems removed
1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
4 slices of thick country bread

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place beef on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 1 teaspoon of the oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of meat registers 135 degrees (for medium-rare), 30 to 35 minutes; let cool.
  2. In a small container, combine sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. If preparing this recipe in advance, see storage instructions, below.
  3. Serve: If stored in refrigerator, bring beef and horseradish cream to room temperature. To make salad, toss watercress with vinegar and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice beef, and place on each of four bread slices; top with horseradish cream. Serve with watercress salad.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Pineapple

2 -slices sandwich bread
2- slices Swiss cheese
2 oz thinly sliced ham
2 thin rounds pineapple
3 fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp butter

  1. Layer 1 slice sandwich bread with 1 slice Swiss cheese, ham, pineapple, fresh basil, and another slice of cheese; top with bread.
  2. In a skillet over medium-low, melt butter. Add sandwich. Cover; cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Flip; cook, covered, until cheese is melted.

Sesame Shrimp and Noodles

2 oz thin spaghetti
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp red-wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 oz medium shrimp
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
  1. In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together marmalade, soy sauce, oil, vinegar, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp, bell pepper, and scallions; toss to combine. Transfer to a rimmed (or toaster-oven) baking sheet, and spread in a single layer.
  3. Heat broiler (or toaster oven). Broil, 4 inches from heat source, until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Transfer contents of baking sheet to pot; toss with pasta to combine.


1½ oz brown rum

¾ oz dark Jamaican rum

¾ oz light rum
1 oz lime juice
¾ oz pineapple juice
¾ oz papaya juice
¼ oz simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
¼ oz 151 rum

  1. Shake all but 151 over ice and strain into a chilled tumbler or hurricane glass filled with ice. 
  2. Float 151 on top and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a pineapple wedge.


1 oz cognac

1 oz crème de menthe

  1. Put all ingredients in mixing glass. Shake briskly. 
  2. Select brandy snifter. Pour into glass.


1 oz gin

1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari

  1. Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with orange wheel.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How about a Luau from Florida

Ok leaving on a jet plane, except I'll know when I'll be back again.  But in the meantime as the stress of the daily grind leaves my body, the thoughts, or should I say the creative juices have begun to to creep back in. 

So I may not have flown to the farthest western region of the US (aka Hawaii).  I thought on the plane ride to the most southern point of New York (aka Florida).  I night come up with a treat, a backyard luau, that no matter where you are you can treat your family and friends to some of that aloha spirit.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Tropical Fruit Salsa

3/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp sherry,  rice wine or pineapple juice

2 garlic cloves
8- 6 oz  Mahi Mahi fillets

1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped seeded peeled papaya
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the teriyaki sauce, sherry or pineapple juice and garlic; add mahi mahi. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the salsa ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Drain and discard marinade. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.
  4. Grill mahi mahi, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with salsa. 

Grilled Shrimp on Rosemary Skewers

8 fresh rosemary sprigs, approximately 6 inches long

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup flaked coconut, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced 
1-1/2 lbs large shrimp (raw), peeled and deveined

  1. Soak rosemary sprigs in water for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the marmalade, coconut, pepper flakes and minced rosemary; then set aside 1/4 cup for sauce.
  2. Thread shrimp onto rosemary sprigs. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.
  3. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, turning once and basting occasionally with remaining marmalade mixture. Serve with sauce.

Kona Coffee Rubbed Ribeyes with 
Hawaiian Salt

4- 1 lb  Ribeye steaks 

2 Tbsp finely ground Kona Coffee (or what coffee you have on hand)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Hawaiian Pink or Kosher Salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Combine the coffee, brown sugar, salt, paprika, cayenne and black peppers in a small bowl.
  2. Dry steaks and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the coffee rub onto each side of the steaks. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 4 hours.
  3. Remove steaks and bring to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Heat a BBQ grill to high for 10 minutes. Clean grill and with oil. Lower heat to medium high. 
  4. Lightly drizzle the steaks on both sides with the oil, place the steaks on the grill and bring the temperature down to medium high. Cook 5 minutes per side, turning the beef 90 degrees every 2 1/2 minutes for grill marks and to caramelize the rub crust. 
  5. Keep the lid closed until last 2-3 minutes after you have turned the steaks. When the steaks are cooked remove them from from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes. Slice in 1/2 inch thick strips and serve.

Macadamia Nut Couscous 

1/4 cup onion(sweet like Maui or Vidalia), chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup passion fruit juice 
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
1-10oz package couscous 
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
3 Tbsp parsley, minced
3 scallions, sliced

1. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in oil for  two minutes or until tender.  Add the broth, juice, marmalade, Worcestershire sauce, ginger and cayenne.  Bring to a boil; stir in couscous and orange peel.  

2. Cover and remover from heat; let stand for 10 minutes.  Stir in the macadamia nuts, cranberries, parsley and shallots.

Friday, August 2, 2013

What are you cooking this weekend?

Since summer is here everyone wants to be outside, so why not take the cooking there as well.  Lets face it the best part of grilling is there are so many different recipes to be tried. So whether you cook with charcoal, or gas grill, or even both, once it's hot you are ready to go.  of course then you sit and ponder the thought of what to try, meat poultry or fish, better yet what veggie like corn, eggplant and tomatoes. 

I find the simplest way to grill the freshest ingredients is really with some olive oil fresh ground pepper, and a sprinkling of kosher salt, that will turn yellow squash, zucchini and eggplant into something special, drizzle with some balsamic vinegar ( or if you can find balsamic glaze) and you are good to go.

A very simple grilled side dish/salad. Just brush thick slices or wedges of fennel bulbs with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, the grill over not-too-high heat. Place cut wedges on grill each cut-side. Place fennel on a bed of arugula, squeeze grilled oranges over top, reserve a wedge or 2 for garnish with fennel fronds.

Grilled spice rubbed carrots. This is very simple if you can find true baby carrots, or just use small or mini ones.  Peel the carrots if you need to, then roll them in a mixture of cumin, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Char, then move them away from direct heat and cover the grill until carrots are tender.

Grilled tomatoes. You simply need any size of a nice ripe tomato. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, grill until charred then serve with fresh mozzarella,some torn fresh basil and grilled bread.

How is this one? Grilled guacamole, another very simple recipe.  Simply halve and pit avocados,  brush with olive oil lightly, give them a   light char them, scoop out the flesh. Brush some thick red onion slices with olive oil,give another light char and then chop.  In a bowl combine, add tomatoes, lime, garlic and spices if you like. Yum!

Grilled Swordfish with Heirloom Tomatoes

4- 4-oz swordfish steaks
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups halved cherry or grape heirloom tomatoes(if you can’t find heirloom, any mix of cherry or grape tomato can be substituted)
1/4 cup fresh whole oregano leaves
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  1. Preheat grill pan to medium-high heat; brush olive oil on grates. Using paper towels pat each swordfish steak dry; drizzle each side with olive oil, set aside. In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil, garlic and tomatoes; toss to coat.
  2. Season each side of swordfish with salt and pepper. Place swordfish steaks on grill pan; cook 4 minutes each side, turning 1/4 turn half way through cooking to create cross hatch grill marks.
  3. Meanwhile, place tomato mixture on another section of the grill pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly charred. Transfer cooked tomatoes to a clean bowl. Fold in oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Spoon tomato mixture over swordfish steaks and drizzle with olive oil; serve warm.

Simple Lemon Grilled Chicken

4 bone-in split chicken breasts

Juice of 5 medium lemons

1 cup olive oil, or more as needed

zest of 2 lemons

Kosher salt

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 pinch cayenne pepper

  1. In a large bowl combine the lemon juice, zest, salt, garlic and cayenne. Pour the olive oil in while whisking to emulsify the marinade. Whisk it very thoroughly until it becomes almost liquid. Pour the liquid into a large zip close bag. Add the chicken breasts, seal the bag well and swish the marinade all around the meat. 
  2. Store the chicken in the fridge until it you are ready to grill. It tastes best if allowed to marinate for at least 4 hours, but they can marinate for up to 24 hours in the fridge if you need to make it ahead of time.
  3. Light the grill to medium flame, discard the marinade and grill the chicken until cooked through. Enjoy!

Flank Steak with Cilantro-Almond Pesto

3/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1 Tbsp chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 Tbsp plain fat-free yogurt
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 lb flank steak, trimmed 
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender; process until finely chopped (about 15 seconds). Add yogurt and juice; process until smooth.
  2. Grill steak 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve steak with pesto. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 

2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh or 1/8 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 (5-inch) portobello mushroom caps
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
Cooking spray
2 tsp minced fresh parsley

  1. Combine the tomato, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon oil, rosemary, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon, and discard gills. Remove stems; discard. 
  3. Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, stem sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until soft.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Cover and grill 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley.

Note: Grill the mushrooms stem sides down first, so that when they're turned they'll be in the right position to be filled. If you want to plan ahead, remove the gills and stems from the mushrooms and combine the filling, then cover and chill until ready to grill.

Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

1/4 cup low-sodium teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
48 large peeled and deveined shrimp (approx 1-1/2 lbs)
32- 1-inch cubed pieces fresh pineapple 
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
Cooking spray

  1. Prepare sauce, combine teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds in a small bowl. 
  2. Prepare kebabs, thread 6 shrimp, 4 pineapple chunks, and 1 onion wedge alternately onto each of 8 (10-inch) skewers. 
  3. Brush kebabs with teriyaki mixture. Place kebabs on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes or until shrimp are done, turning once.

I hope you find some inspiration here and get out there and start grilling.  Try something a little different change it up from the ordinary and see what happens.  Well until next time, have a great day enjoy life's little pleasures.

Looking for other food Ideas check out my other blog

Monday, July 22, 2013

What's For Dinner Tonight?

What is for dinner?  It is one such question that I know that has haunted so many of us.  I know it can scare some to their core, others can raise their hands in defeat before starting.  I think it is like that test you had when you went to school, you knew it was coming, but you just were never prepared for it.  You look at the clock each day, and think oh  no what am I going to cook for dinner tonight?  

Cause no one would have guessed dinner was coming again in 24 hours after the last one. 

I totally get it, just because I love to cook I know what it's like, everyday it is the same thing, as usual it is a hard to decide what to cook, who to please, and who is on what diet this week.

If I were to subscribe to my mother's way of thinking I would perpetually make reservations, or learn take out is my best friend.  Let me make this clear, I enjoy take out and love to eat out, but is cooking really that scary?  Has the daunting question of what to make really have got the best of us?   

So the fix, now don't hate me, just a little menu planning.  It is not as bad as it may seem, it can be a good thing, really.  Because if you know what’s for dinner, don't you think that your stress level might just be oh so much better.

If you think about it, shopping last minute, trying to gather everything together, then realizing, DAMN I don't have this or that what you needed for a meal.  Try a baby step, try a I only plan five dinners for one week's worth of meals.   The other two nights are whatever you chose either leftovers, dining out, or a meal from the freezer what makes you happy. Then see if the what is for dinner question is as bad as all that?

Savory Pork Chops in Creamy
 Dijon Sauce 

4-6 boneless pork chops
2 Tbsp butter - divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp flour
1-14.5 oz can chicken broth
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dried chives
1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup half-and-half

  1. Lightly salt & pepper both sides of pork chops.  In a large skillet, sauté pork chops in 1 Tbsp of butter about 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove pork chops to a serving platter.  
  2. Melt the additional 1 Tbsp. of butter and gently sauté onions and garlic until soft.  Sprinkle flour over onions and stir through.  Turn the heat to medium-high and slowly add the chicken broth; stirring continuously.  
  3. Add the Dijon mustard, chives, parsley, and salt.  Bring to a light boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add half-and-half; stir through and cook and additional 1 minute or until sauce is thick.

Sautéed Green Beans

1-16 oz bag whole green beans (thawed)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
3  Tbsp  almond slivers
salt & pepper

  1. In a large skillet, sauté green beans in butter and olive oil for 4-5 minutes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.
  2.  Add almonds and continue to sauté for an additional 2 minutes.  Can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

  Honey Mustard Chicken

1-3/4  lbs  boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp stone ground mustard 
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Panko Crispy Bread    crumbs 
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, stir together  honey, mustard, vinegar and sour cream.  In a second large shallow bowl, add Panko bread crumbs and dried herbs. 
  2. Swirl your chicken breasts on both sides in the honey mustard mixture.  Leave sit in the mixture for a couple of seconds.  Dip in the breading mixture coating both sides well. 
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and lay chicken pieces evenly on the sheet.  Bake for  30 - 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Garlic Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes 

2 lbs medium baby red potatoes, washed, unpeeled, and quartered
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp chicken flavored soup base
2 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 Tbsp dried chives

  1. Place potatoes and garlic in large pan and cover with water. Add 1 tsp. chicken flavored soup base and 1/4 tsp. salt to the water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. 
  2. Drain well . Mash potatoes with butter, milk, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Stir in parmesan cheese and chives. Add additional milk if necessary.

  Country Inn Swiss Steak 

1-1/2 lbs thick-cut round steak
1/2 cup  flour
1 Tbsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp canola oil
1- 14-1/2 oz.  can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup diced celery
3 carrots, diced
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir together mustard and flour in a small bowl or cup. Sprinkle flour mixture over steak and pound it in with a meat mallet. Cut pounded steak into serving-size pieces. 
  2. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides. 
  3. Transfer to a baking pan. In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, celery, carrots, Worcestershire, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Pour over beef.  Cover and bake until meat is tender when pierced, about 1-1/2 hours.

Lightly Buttered Egg Noodles 

8 ounces medium egg noodles
2 tsp. chicken flavored soup base
3 tablespoons butter
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and stir in chicken bouillon. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions. 
  2. Drain noodles reserving 1/4 cup of liquid. Leave noodles in colander.  Pour the 1/4 cup of the noodle cooking water back into the pan. 
  3. Over low heat, stirring constantly, add the butter and bring to a light simmer. Stir in parsley,  salt and pepper. Place noodles back in the pan and mix through.

Simple Roasted Broccoli

1 head broccoli, using florets only
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, diced

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Place olive oil and garlic in a large resealable bag.  Add broccoli florets and shake well to coat.  
  3. Lay broccoli in a single layer on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.

  Easy Skillet Lasagna

1-1/2 lbs. ground meat

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-29 oz can tomato sauce
1-1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 tsp oregano
dash of pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 bag medium egg noodles (about 16 oz uncooked)

  1. Brown the ground beef, onions, and garlic over medium high heat about 4-5 minutes.  
  2. Season meat with onion salt, oregano, and pepper.  Then drain off any excess grease. Stir in can of tomato sauce and 1 1/4 cup water and bring to a slight boil. 
  3. Add the egg noodles and stir until all egg noodles are covered with sauce.  Cover and simmer for about 6-7 minutes. 
  4. Blend the Ricotta cheese with the parmesan cheese and drop 4 spoonfuls on top of the noodles. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over all and cover for about 3-4 minutes until the cheese melts and is heated through.

 Scrumptious Lemon Chicken

1-3/4 lb. boneless chicken breast
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3-1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 lemons
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp.  dried parsley

  1. With a sharp knife, carefully slice each chicken breast on the diagonal to make two thin breast slices. Do this to all breast pieces. 
  2. Mix flour, salt, pepper together in a bag. Add chicken pieces to bag and shake until well coated.
  3. Add the oil and butter to a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high.  Let the butter melt and swirl the oil & butter with a spoon or fork on the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Place the chicken into the  skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side. Turn chicken over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth into a glass measuring cup.  Squeeze into the broth the juice of 2 lemons.  Add garlic and parsley, stirring to blend.
  6. Turn the heat to medium and add lemon broth mixture to the pan with chicken.  Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.  All of the broth should be cooked away leaving a tender, moist delicious lemon chicken.

Easy Rice Pilaf

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 cup vermicelli or thin spaghetti, broken into small pieces
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
  1. In a medium saucepan with lid, sauté onions in butter and olive oil until onions are soft.  
  2. Add rice and vermicelli  sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  
  3. Remove from heat and stir through the Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Roasted Honey Carrots

10- 12 carrots (or a bag of baby carrots)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. honey
Salt & Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cut carrots on the diagonal into 2" lengths and halved lengthwise if carrots are thick.  
  2. Place carrots in a baking dish and drizzle with oil and honey.  Lightly salt and pepper carrots and place in the oven.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  
  3. Remove carrots and stir.  Place carrots back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Remove from oven and lightly salt carrots again.

Bonus anytime dessert

 Pineapple Upside-Down Cake 

1/2 cup Butter

1 cup Brown sugar; firmly packed
1- 20 oz can Sliced unsweetened pineapple rings; drained and dried, reserving juice
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
1/2 cup milk

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. For the topping, melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet placed in hot oven. When melted, remove skillet from oven, swirl to coat evenly with butter, then spread brown sugar evenly over the butter. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Pat pineapple slices very dry between several thicknesses of paper towel. Cut pineapple slices in half, reserving one whole slice. Place whole pineapple slice in center of skillet, then arrange half-slices in spoke fashion around whole slice in center.
    3. To make batter, in a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. 
    4. Add the flour mixture alternately in batches with the milk and pineapple juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beating well after each addition.
    5. Spoon, or carefully pour batter over brown-sugar-pineapple topping in bottom of skillet, and spread evenly. Bake until top is golden and toothpick inserted into cake center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. 
    6. Let cake cool in skillet on a rack for 5 minutes, run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen from skillet. Place serving platter over skillet, carefully invert cake onto platter. Let stand for 1 minute before carefully lifting skillet off. 
    7. Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet, scrape any remaining glaze from skillet onto cake. Cool on platter on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.