Thursday, April 16, 2015

Please sign up for more recipes-this blog is moving

I am sorry I have not been posting on here lately. I have had two issues: a sick child; and I have been trying to create a second, more user friendly blog on
I have no control over this blog. I  have little ability to change design or organization etc.

SO I have been creating and working on another site, that has the exact same principle and recipes.
The second site is more expanded and I include travel, mostly regional, but some international.

So, if you have been getting emails alerts with recipes from here, PLEASE, PLEASE, go to my other site and sign up for alerts. It's
You will receive an email every time I post a recipe, which averages three days a week.

It's MUCH easier to find recipe there. At the top, I have a Recipe Index, and if you click that, you can see posts that are broken down into Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, etc That way if you forget a recipe, it's easier to find.

I am also starting something call Hump Day Hacks, and every Wednesday, I will post tips and useful kitchen tools in that index.

In terms of travel, I will be in Rolla in May; Memphis, Natchez and all over Louisiana in June; and maybe wine country in July. So I will be posting some cool stuff. As time allows, I will try to beef that section up with past travel and travel tips, too.

Right now you can find travel under categories, but it may become it's own heading on the website, too.

While rotisserie chicken is the main goal of this site, I added some desserts because I make some mighty fine desserts, I love a good sweet!
The others site, makes it easier to share via social media, like a post, ask questions, etc.

Thank you for reading and please sign up at the other site. I've been trying to move everything over there to consolidate.
Thank you and have a great day!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Asian Quinoa Salad

This dish is packed with protein from three sources: quinoa, chicken and edamame. It’s a light dish and has vitamin C, antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber and more.
.This makes a large batch, so you can enjoy it for several days. It’s so easy to pack for lunch and leftovers are great cold. I actually prefer it cold.
You can use any combination of stir-fried vegetables, like broccoli. I sometimes toss that in if I have takeout leftovers. I personally love ginger, so I’d prefer twice as much ginger, but to tame it for everyone else, I use this amount. If you love ginger, you can add more, too

Asian Chicken Quinoa Salad
This serves 6
2 cups white quinoa
4 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon ginger paste
1 bunch green onions
2 cups shelled edamame (microwave is most convenient)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (7.75-ounce) bag of tri-colored cole slaw mix
1 red bell pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
Meat from one rotisserie chicken
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon ginger paste
For the dressing: whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
For the quinoa, in a medium to large pot with a tight fitting lid, bring broth, ginger paste and quinoa to a boil for 3 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. You will know quinoa is done when the grain releases what looks like a little hook. If it’s not done after 15 minutes, cover and cook another 5.
While that cooks, slice roots off green onions and thinly slice the rest of the onions and set aside. Chop red bell pepper and set aside.
Cook edamame according to package directions.
Grab your bundle of cilantro and chop the leaves.
Next, in a large frying pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and cole slaw mix and cook 7 minutes. Add red bell pepper and stir fry 3 minutes. Then add soy sauce and pepper to taste.
Debone and de-skin your chicken and chop it into small cubes.
By now, quinoa should be done.
Transfer it to a large bowl. Add edamame, cabbage mixture, cilantro and chopped chicken. Toss with the dressing and serve.
Leftovers are fantastic cold. This makes a large batch, so you can enjoy it for several days. It’s so easy to pack for lunch.
This dish is packed with protein from three sources: quinoa, chicken and edamame. It’s a light dish and has vitamin C, antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber and more. It’s one downfall is it’s high in sodium.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter recipes

I wrote this story for the Joplin Globe today and wanted to share my Easter ideas and recipes with you.

For as far back as I can remember, Easter was special in my family.
I grew up overseas in nine different countries, so our traditions had to be flexible and adapt to what was available locally. For example, one year, we lived in Sudan and we dyed Ostrich eggs and then my mom tied bows around the eggs and used them as centerpiece decorations for the Easter table. That’s one of my favorite Easter memories.
My mother would go all out each year and set a beautiful table; she’d carve grapefruits into baskets and fill them with fruit to start each Easter meal. It was a lot of work, but so beautiful to behold.
A pretty Easter table is a must, in my opinion. It’s spring and flowers are blooming and colors are vibrant, so it doesn’t take much to add some pizazz to your tables. If you need some ideas, here are a few:
Dye Easter eggs and once the eggs are dry, use a glitter pen to write the name of each guest or family member on the egg. Then go to a dollar store and buy candle holders to display the egg and use those as place settings. You can buy candle holders of varying heights for a more dramatic look.
A dollar store is a great place to buy festive ribbon and tie it around a napkin with cutlery. If you’re fortunate enough to have daffodils (or another flower) in your yard, tuck a flower under the ribbon.
Try mason jars filled with candy eggs or jelly beans and chocolate bunnies on top; or mason jars filled with jelly beans and daffodils.

If you have a big Easter celebration and use plastic cutlery, I saw an adorable idea on Pinterest: buy green plastic cutlery, use orange napkins to wrap around the cutlery, and tie it all together with green ribbon, so it looked like a carrot. This is an easy idea and a fun job for kids.
Now, on to the food.  In our house, the ham is the centerpiece, but here’s a wonderful side dish, appetizer and drink to accompany the ham.
I love a light cocktail to sip on while I visit with family and friends and Easter calls for some bubbly. My Strawberry Kissed Catawba is pink with peach hues, bubbly, and delicious. It’s perfect for a party because it’s not too sweet, not too dry.  It needs to me made 12 hours in advance for the strawberries to infuse the wine, so keep that in mind.  My recipe calls for a brut sparkling wine, which is dry, but if you like very sweet drinks, you could use a bubbly Moscato or another sweet sparkling wine. I used St. James Pink Catawba, which is a Missouri winery. I used an inexpensive brut, so this drink will not cost you too much.
My potatoes au gratin are divine and a perfect accompaniment for ham. Au gratin is French dish, this is my simplified, Americanized version. If you like cream, cheddar cheese and potatoes, I think you will enjoy these. This dish would go well with beef or lamb, too.
And finally, Easter would not feel like Easter without deviled eggs. My Wasabi and Cucumber Deviled Eggs are delicious and refreshing. There’s enough wasabi to taste it, but not enough to make your nostrils flare. Whenever I cook for company, I try to find the middle of the road in terms of flavors. You can add more if you love wasabi or know your guests won’t mind extra heat. I am actually pretty traditional when it comes to deviled eggs, but I love these. It’s a slight twist on a classic.
I hope you enjoy these dishes and I wish you and your family a wonderful Easter.
Wasabi and Cucumber Deviled Eggs
Serves 4-
6 large eggs                                                                                                                                   

2 tablespoons finely minced cucumber (be sure it’s minced fine
3 tablespoons Miracle Whip
1 tablespoon Woeber’s Sandwich Pal Wasabi Sauce, plus ½ teaspoon
Salt and pepper to taste
*Note: Whenever I make hard boiled eggs, I always boil two or three extra because there’s always one or two eggs that is deformed or rips when you’re peeling it, so extras are essential. My recipe calls for six, so boil eight or nine. If you’re fortunate enough that they all work out, you can fill extra egg whites with deviled egg mix because there is always leftover yolk mix once everything has been mixed in.
If you have a favorite boiling method, use it. If not, follow mine.
To boil the eggs: Place eggs in a large pot so they are in a single layer and fill with water that rises 2 inches above eggs. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, boil for 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. Let rest 15 minutes. Drain water off and then scoop ice over eggs to cool.
When cool, peel eggs and slice in half horizontally. Remove yolks and place in a bowl.
Mash yolks with a fork and then add cucumber, Miracle Whip, wasabi sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined and mostly smooth. Refill egg whites with this mixture and cover and refrigerate until time to serve.

Strawberry Kissed Catawba
Serves 5
1 bottle St. James Pink Catawba (or your favorite Catawba)
1 pound strawberries
1 bottle chilled Brut sparkling wine
Rinse and hull strawberries. Then slice strawberries and place in a pitcher. Pour the bottle of  Pink Catawba on top. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. Before serving, open the sparkling wine and pour it into pitcher. Serve.

Simple Potatoes Au Gratin with Sharp Cheddar
Serves 6-8
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
4 large Russet potatoes
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a heavy bottom pot, add butter, heavy cream, bay leaves and thyme leaves. Heat over medium-low heat. Do not use high heat or your cream will curdle. Bring to a light simmer and stir. Reduce to low.
Wash potatoes and thinly slice them. You want potatoes to be as uniform as possible, so if you have a tool, like a mandolin or cheese grater that has a slicer on it, use those.
Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or baking dish with butter.
 Place the first layer of potatoes down and add salt and pepper to the tops. Then sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the cheese over potatoes.
Add the next layer or potatoes being sure to add salt and pepper directly on the potatoes. Add about 1/3 cup of cheese on that layer. Repeat this process until you have four layers. Then pour the cream mixture into the baking dish.
Top with remaining cheddar cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50-60 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes more (test potatoes to be sure they are done. You can insert a toothpick to determine if they are cooked).
Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Chicken Alfredo

Pasta is one dish I never order in a restaurant because it's so easy and inexpensive to make at home. Like this Chicken Alfredo. The most time consuming part of this dish is cooking the pasta. I make mine with angel hair because the sauce sticks to the noodles more. 

 Chicken Alfredo

Serves 4

Both breasts from rotisserie chicken

8 ounces angel hair pasta

¼ cup butter

1 garlic clove

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cusp fresh Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chives (optional)

I use chives because we have them in our garden. It’s not worth buying chives for this dish, so the chives are optional. Also, I love basil in alfredo but you can skip it if you’re not crazy about basil.

Do not salt your sauce until the end because there is a lot of salt in cheese.
This dish comes together quickly at the end, so have everything prepped.
First, put water on to boil for pasta.
Then remove the chicken breasts and the skin and chop chicken into chunks and set aside.
Slice basil and chop parsley.
When water is ready, add the pasta
Cook pasta according to aldente directions on the box, strain and set aside.

In a large skillet , heat butter and garlic for 1 minute. Add heavy cream and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add Parmesan, chicken, pasta and basil. Cook 2 minutes until sauce sticks to pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
This photo does not do this dish justice. Just know it's delicious!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day two of Easter desserts: My Pavlova

I am not sure what I will make for Easter, but I have been whipping up these desserts for my columns in the Joplin Globe, MO and Claremore Daily Progress in Claremore, Ok. This will likely be on the menu.
 I made a Pavlova, which hails from New Zealand. 
I made a Pavlova, which hails from New Zealand (there
Pavlova is a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (a New Zealand chef created this in her honor). It has a crusty exterior but the center is soft and tastes like a marshmallow. I used vanilla and coconut extract to flavor my meringue, but you can be playful and use anything from almond to raspberry extract (just plan your filling accordingly).
You can fill a Pavlova with anything, too, but I filled mine with store-bought lemon curd, whipped topping and Grand Marnier marinated blackberries. If you don’t have Grand Marnier, it may not be worth buying a bottle because it’s expensive. You could substitute sherry, another orange liqueur, or omit the alcohol and just soak berries in 2 tablespoons orange juice, if desired. This also excellent with blueberries or raspberries or a combination.

Pavlova’s are light and so even if you’re stuffed after the meal, you can still squeeze in a little dessert.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Grand Marnier Soaked Blackberries
For the Pavlova:
5 large egg whites
1 ¼ cups of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon coconut extract
2 teaspoons corn starch
Parchment paper
For the filling
1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd
2 cups whipped topping
1 ½ cups fresh blackberries or raspberries
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

For the Pavlova:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Place a large piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Beat egg whites on high speed (or meringue setting if your mixer has one) for 1 minute. Then gradually start adding the sugar, only 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Then fold in both types of extract and corn starch.
Spread mixture onto parchment paper, making it an 11-inch circle of oval. Shape with spatula; you want the sides slightly higher than the center because you’re going to fill the center.
Bake for 60-70 minutes. Then turn off the oven, but leave the door ajar and leave the Pavlova in the oven another hour.
The center will be collapsed, which is fine because you want to fill it.
While it cools, place blackberries in a bowl and add Grand Marnier. Set aside.
When it’s time to fill Pavlova, fill with whipped topping and spread that in the center. Then take teaspoons at a time of the lemon curd and drop dollops around the center. Cover with blackberries and serve. Note: for the sake of the photo, I left space to see the lemon curd to show contrasting colors, but I would cover the top in berries when serving.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easy Easter Macaroon Nests

It's not chicken, but it's delicious. For the next few days, I am taking a break from my rotisserie chicken and sharing some great Easter desserts with you.
These macaroon nests are the BEST macaroons I've ever tried.
Instead of just egg whites, I use sweetened condensed milk. My husband came home the other night and I handed him a cookie and he said "I only want half." I said "Trust me, you will want the whole thing. I used sweetened condensed milk." That's his weakness. He took a bite and said "You're right. Can I have another?"

If children are going to be part of the celebration, you have to try my macaroon nests. These are absolutely delicious, and so easy for children to make. There’s only five ingredients and you mix it by hand, so you don’t have to mess with a beater and there’s no flour to spill all over the floor.
If the cookies don’t bake up into perfect rounds, when you take them out of the oven, you can shave off any edges and reshape them slightly while still warm. My recipe only makes about 10 cookies, but they are good size and the recipe can easily be doubled if that’s not enough.

Once you’ve filled the macaroon nests with jellybeans or a candy egg of your choice, them place them on a long platter and use it to decorate the center of the table. 

If you don't like the idea of food dye, leave them white.
These are gluten-free!

Macaroon Nests
Makes 10
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
2 1/3 cups shredded sweet coconut
4 drops green food coloring (optional)
Jelly beans or candy eggs of some sort
Parchment paper
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large bowl, whisk egg white for 20 seconds, until frothy. Whisk in vanilla and condensed milk and food coloring until combined. Stir in coconut until combined.
Spread a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spoon about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons onto parchment paper and form a nest. Use your thumb to press gently down on the center to make an indentation so you can fill it later, but be sure not to press all the way through. You just need a little spot in the center. If you press through, the cookie may not hold its shape.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool before placing candy eggs in the nest.