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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Latest Cooking Show: Soup's On!!

My summer cooking involves a lot of grilling!  I'll do anything to avoid spending time in the kitchen when it's hot outside.

However, now that the temperature is dropping, I've been making up for lost time by cooking all of the things I've been avoiding during the warmer weather.

Here's a dinner photo from earlier this month.  I was so excited when the temperature dipped and I was finally able to spend time in the kitchen without worrying about how hot and steamy it would get.  Three soups at once, I may have gone a little overboard...

But all that soup-making was the inspiration for our recent cooking show!

My friend, Lisa, cooked alongside me.  We started with a cocktail.  Why settle for an apple martini when you can add caramel vodka and turn it into a Caramel Apple-Tini?

This soup would be right at the top of my list of comfort foods.

Loaded with shredded veggies & chicken, a touch of cream and an assortment of herbs, I suggest making a double batch so that you have lots of leftovers.  This is one of those soups that is even better the next day!  Sitting in your fridge overnight gives the herbs (and fennel seed!) time to infuse even more flavor.

Roasting the tomatoes really deepens their flavor.  There's really not a lot of work involved with this recipe! After halving and roasting the tomatoes along with onions & garlic, you throw everything into your blender and then simmer it with herbs.

These Ham and Cheese Puff Pinwheels were a big hit.

The contrast between the flaky puff pastry, the crispy ham and melting cheese make them a perfect accompaniment for tomato soup!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Cooking Show

I can't say that I enjoy the pumpkin spice EVERYTHING assault that occurs as September rolls around. I grudgingly have to admit, however, that I do look forward to cooking pumpkin recipes--and to the yummy smell of pumpkin/cinnamon wafting through my house!

We filmed a cooking show last week which featured pumpkin spice recipes. 

My friend, Lisa, cooked with me.  We both agreed that this pumpkin craziness is a 21st century creation.  

My only childhood memory of pumpkin food is pumpkin pie...displayed on the dessert table at Thanksgiving, 40-50 family members digging into blueberry or apple or pecan or lemon meringue or chocolate pie.  Tradition called for pumpkin pie, however. Year after year, my aunt would dutifully bake pumpkin pie (and mincemeat.  What the heck is mincemeat?  I digress...) and there it would sit, forlorn and unloved while all of the tastier pies were snarfed down.  The memory of untouched pumpkin pies remains seared in my memory!

Lisa and I cooked up a bunch of pumpkin recipes...NONE of which remained untouched!

We started with Pumpkin Waffles.  Topped with warm maple syrup, whipped cream, raisins...I may have served these for dinner on a recent chilly night...they're not only for breakfast!

These are so good.  

Make extra and freeze them.  So easy to pop into your microwave to defrost and heat!  Trust me on this.  Cold, dark, dreary mornings are fast approaching and you'll be grateful to have a stash of these muffins in your freezer to quickly warm up and nibble on while you sip your morning brew.

Click here for the printable recipe.

We've featured this drink on a previous cooking show, but it bears repeating!  Garnish with a cinnamon stick and marshmallows.  Don't forget the marshmallows!  They get all soft and squishy and yummy in the bottom of the glass.  

Click here for the printable recipe.

Lisa and I had fun layering bits of cookies, brownies, graham crackers...but when all is said and done, it is the mousse that is the star of this recipe.

You may just want to serve 'em up straight!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cooking with Kids! Taco Boats, Muffin Tin Pizzas, Apple Faux-nuts, and Mason Jar Lid Blueberry Pies

Our most recent cooking show featured kid-friendly recipes.  Recipes that were fun to prepare, and fun to eat!

I was joined by Emily and Lily, two 10-year-olds who happily assembled our recipes with very little assistance.

We started with Taco Boats.  We layered cooked rice and seasoned chicken into tortilla "boats," then popped them into the oven for a few minutes to heat them up.   After removing them from the oven we topped them with chopped avocado, tomatoes and a sprinkling of cilantro.

Hmm...I wrote "we" but it would have been more truthful to say "Emily and Lily."  I stood and watched while they did all of the assembling! 

The only prep that I did was to cook the rice in advance and prep the chicken (which means I removed and chopped up the meat from a cooked rotisserie chicken).  So easy!

Next up were Muffin Tin Mini Pizzas.  

I used a cookie cutter to cut mini "crusts" from flour tortillas, then placed them into a muffin tin.  

I then took a step back and watched as Lily and Emily took over and filled them up with their favorite toppings!

Football season is finally here, and these mini-pizzas are a great appetizer to serve when you're watching the game.  Go Patriots!

Yes, we baked these pies inside mason jar lids!  Emily and Lily cut the mini-crusts from ready-made pie crusts. 

I'm glad I remembered to snap a few photos because after they cooled down they were the first thing to disappear!

I sliced a few apples into rings, and then Lily and Emily took over and frosted and decorated the "donuts." This was my favorite recipe of the night...I managed to snag one that had berry cream cheese topped with blueberries and coconut chips.  A winning combo!

It also gave us the chance to use marshmallows, which are always a hit when cooking with kids!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cooking Show: Recipes with Lots of Fruits and Veggies!

My friend, Kerry, joined me for the latest episode of the cooking show.  The recipes we prepared were loaded with fruits & veggies.

Recipes that are perfect for this hot summer weather, when you're looking for something refreshing and not heavy!

We started with Tropical Mimosas.  

Okay, they're nothing like mimosas, there is neither orange juice nor champagne in these drinks.  I just thought it was a nice name for a light, fruity drink.

They're sort of a riff on Pina Coladas, but I swapped out the coconut creme (which has lots of calories) for coconut seltzer (no-calorie seltzer for the win)!

Next up was Brussels Sprouts Salad with Buttermilk Dressing.

Why bother with store-bought dressing when you can whip up buttermilk dressing of your own? If you don't have buttermilk on hand you can make your own substitute--for the 1/3 cup that is called for in this recipe, simply put 1 teaspoon of white vinegar into your measuring cup and then add milk to the 1/3-cup mark.  Stir and let it sit for five minutes.  Voilá, buttermilk substitute!

Arrange the salad ingredients in rows so that your family can easily spoon out their favorite combination...or avoid the ingredient that they don't want, as the case may be.  There are a few members of this household who avoid the gorgonzola!

We also used brussels sprouts in our Ginger/Honey/Soy Chicken Stir Fry.

If I had to to come up with a nickname for this recipe, I would call it Egg Roll Stir Fry.  With the shaved brussels sprouts and shredded carrots, the flavor is reminiscent of an egg roll, but without the calories of the deep-fried egg roll wrap.  Score!

Finally, we ended with Nectarine Crisp.

Similar to apple crisp, but it takes less time to prepare because unlike apples you don't need to peel the nectarines!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cooking Show: Lemons!!

My friend, Gayle, recently told me that she lived in California when she was a child and there was a lemon tree in her yard.  My reaction was like, GET OUT!!!

It was fitting that Gayle should join me for our recent cooking show!  Lemons were the featured ingredient in each recipe that we prepared.

Gayle also told me that they had an avocado tree as well.  Mental note: future show.

Okay, back to lemons.  We started with Limoncello & Raspberry Fizz.  So refreshing!

Next, we prepared salad with grilled lemon chicken and lemon vinaigrette.

Click here for the printable recipe for the vinaigrette.  It's loaded with fresh herbs and a little goes a long way!

Toss together a salad using your favorite fresh salad ingredients.  We used 4 cups of romaine, 1/2 English cuke (chopped), 1 cup of grape tomatoes, 1 avocado (sliced) and 1/4 cup of kalamata olives.

We also used my favorite Grilled Lemon Chicken in this salad. It's one of my summer staples!  I like to prepare a large batch of this chicken at the beginning of the week and use it in weeknight dinners.

It's a great addition to salads, sandwiches, pasta and as you're about to see--pizza!!

Yes, PIZZA. Specifically, Chicken & Broccoli Pizza with Lemon Cream Sauce.   All the recipes you need--pizza dough, grilled chicken, cream sauce--are included in the link!

If you like Bertucci's Silano pizza, this is my attempt to replicate it.  It disappeared quickly when we finished filming the show...I think it was a hit!

Finally, we finished up with a Lemon/Almond Tart.  Sooo good, and also gluten-free.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cooking Show: Strawberries!

Strawberry season is here!

When I was a kid, I never knew how lucky I was to grow up in the vicinity of so many strawberry farms.  

My mom always picked more than we knew what to do with.  I'll be honest, my favorite strawberry recipe isn't a recipe at all.  It goes like this: pick them, wash them, eat them!  Supermarket strawberries just can't compare to sweet, juicy, fresh-picked strawberries!

If you find yourself with an abundance of strawberries and are searching for a few good recipes, look no further.  Here are a few recipes from our recent, strawberry-themed cooking show!

Strawberry Lemonade!

For the adult version, top it off with a shot of limoncello.  Click here for the printable recipe.

This makes a great breakfast!  Or dessert, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This salad is my go-to summer salad.  It's so quick and easy to prepare!  You can also throw it into a wrap.  Click here for the printable recipe.

And finally, Strawberry Galette with Chocolate Crust.  Serve this warm, topped with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cooking Show: Quick Meals Before Rushing Out The Door!

The theme of our recent cooking show was a timely subject for me.

I thought that my days of rushing out the door to get to a ball field were over, but now that I'm coaching softball again I find myself trying to throw together a last-minute dinner almost every night.

I made a list of dishes that I had made over the previous few days, figuring that anything I had made while in the throes of softball season would be a good fit for this show!

(Click on the titles to be taken to the recipes.)

We started with Mango Margaritas.

Toss some frozen mango chunks, tequila, triple sec and simple syrup into a blender, mix it up and add a lime wedge.  Done.

Next, we prepared Marinated Grilled Chicken and Pasta Salad.

To be taken to a blogpost with step-by-step instructions for the pasta salad, click here.

Each of these recipes can be prepared in advance and pulled out of the fridge when it's dinner time.  I like to prepare a large batch of the chicken and use it throughout the week in salads, sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas.  Which brings us to ...

Rice Tortilla Quesadillas.  Which aren't really traditional quesadillas, because I don't follow any quesadilla recipe that I've ever seen.  I use leftovers!  It's a great way to pull together a quick meal while emptying out your fridge at the same time.

Since I didn't want to feature my fridge full of leftovers on the cooking show, I made these quesadillas with ingredients that I might typically have on hand.  The only sure thing that I use every time I make them is

1. Olive Oil spray, so they don't stick to the pan.

2. Rice Tortillas.  You can find them in the frozen food department at your supermarket.  They're
    really crispy, which is a huge hit with my family.  No soggy quesadillas in this house!

3.  Cheese.  It holds everything together.

We made a variety of quesadillas.  Roast Beef and Cheese. Ham, Avocado, Tomato and Cheese (my
favorite). And Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas with Spinach.

And finally, Caramel Coconut Chocolate Bark.  No baking involved!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cooking Show: Copycat Recipes!

We whipped up a few copycat recipes on our most recent episode of the cooking show.

We started with an attempt at The Cheesecake Factory's Georgia Peach

What's not to love about a frozen, slushy peach concoction swirled with raspberry puree?

We then moved onto Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana.

I've been making this soup for 20+ years.  It's soooo good.  It's so good that it makes me forget my aversion to sausage!  To be taken directly to the printable recipe, click here.

If you're not in the mood for soup, we've got a another recipe for you!  Do you like the Sonoma Chicken Salad at Whole Foods?   Stuff it into a half pita like we did, or serve it over a bed of fresh greens.

Click here for the printable recipe!

And finally...

We whipped up a batch of our own version of MacDonald's Shamrock Shake.

Okay, we whipped up more than one batch.  The blender was going non-stop until we ran out of ice cream.  They were a big hit!