Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Chicken Paprikash with Pepper & Onion "Noodles"

So - we are halfway through January which means for some people, they are halfway through the Whole 30. (Not for me though - I had to start over on the 10th!) Allison set up a Facebook message group called "Whole 30 Yates Clan Support Group" which even includes cousins.  From this sharing communication I feel that the anxiety of actual cooking is now being replaced by the big question of what to do with all the vegetables that everyone seems to now have around. Also, time is still huge a issue. As I've said before, if it isn't quick and easy, I'm not going to make it - but it has to taste yummy. I suspect that the secret to staying on this program for the 30 days is that food has to have a lot of flavor and be delicious. In chilly January, it also needs to be warm and satisfying. I've replaced traditional noodles in the post here with onion and colorful bell pepper ribbons. When I see bell peppers on sale, I like to buy a bunch, seed, slice and freeze them in zip lock bags - it's a time safer. This dish is packs a spicy punch that combats the chilly temperatures outside  - enjoy!

Chicken Paprikash - serves 4

1 pound chicken pieces
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the paprika, oregano, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper together. Rub into the chicken. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and brown chicken - about 7 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Bell Pepper & Onion Noodles for Chicken Paprikash

1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 large onion
2 tablespoons oil
1 (15 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
parsley to garnish

Core and seed peppers. Slice peppers and onions into strips. Heat oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Saute vegetables until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste and Hungarian paprika, salt, oregano, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add to pan.

Gently combine the tomato mixture and the peppers together.

Place the browned chicken on top of the vegetables, cover with foil, and simmer over medium low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into a chicken piece to check to make sure it is completely cooked. Ladle into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Pulled Pork on Braised Red Cabbage

Cooking at home is a healthy habit; there is total control over what ingredients are in the dish! But I've realized that for some, it really stresses them out! They come home from work tired, hungry and don't want to mess with an hour of kitchen toil. I know - I've been there!  The secret is recipes that are quick, easy, and are made with some protein that's already been cooked.  When the girls were growing up, I'd roast a chicken or a cut of beef on Sunday, then I could use the left overs in other things during the week. Today, my Instant Pot makes it even easier. This post involves placing some pulled pork on top of braised red cabbage. If time and patience are short, ditch the carrots and/or the apples in the recipe - it will still taste great - but if five more minutes could be spared, it's worth it! 

Spice Mix Rub for Pulled Pork

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together.

Directions for Cooking Pulled Pork

3 - 4 pound pork shoulder/Boston butt
Spice mix rub for pulled pork above
2 cups beef broth
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit, or get out crock pot or pressure cooker such as Instant Pot.
First pour the beef broth and apple cider vinegar vinegar into a roasting pan, crock pot, or pressure cooker.

Then rub the spice mix into the meat.

Put the meat into the cooking vehicle.

Cook until pork can be pulled about and shredded with two forks. For oven, roast for 4 to 5 hours. For crock pot, cook on high for 4 to 5 hours. For pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for 60 minutes.

Braised Red Cabbage

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium red cabbage, cored and shredded
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and sliced
Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup red vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch ground cloves

Place the 2 tablespoons olive oil, onions, and carrot in a pan and saute over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds more. Then add the cabbage, apple cubes, orange juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and ground cloves. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes over medium low heat until the apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Place some braised cabbage on each serving plate or on one large platter. Place pulled pork on cabbage. Place a handful of greens on top and finish off with a sprinkle of red wine vinegar, drizzle of olive oil, and a shake of sea salt.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Old Classic: Louie Salad and Its Scrumptious Dressing

When we visited San Francisco this past September, one of the places several people recommended as a "must see" was the Cliff House. It's been a part of local history since 1858 and is located on Point Lobos Avenue near the Ocean Beach neighborhood. The building has been rebuilt at least five times due to fires and renovations. It was once a destination for movie stars and the rich but is now owned by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The two restaurants inside are managed by a private contractor and the menus are old school traditional.
I ordered the Louie Salad and was blown away by how delicious the accompanying dressing was - and I usually don't even like thousand island! Of course I had to try to duplicate it and what I came up is not only good on this salad, but also as a different take on shrimp cocktail or even mixed into to chopped seafood as a sandwich filling. 

Ingredients and Directions

Yields four servings:

1 pound medium cooked shrimp or 1 pound cooked lump crab meat
 1 head of lettuce, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 cucumber, washed and cut into slices
1 bunch asparagus
2 or 3 tomatoes, cut into slices
4 eggs

Hard boil the eggs. (Here's the way I do it: place the eggs in a pan filled with enough cold water to cover them. Place the pan on the stove and turn the heat to high. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the pan off the heat, drain the water, and run cold water over the eggs until they are cool enough to handle.) Peel and slice in half.

Wash asparagus and cut the woody ends off. Cook by placing the asparagus spears in a skillet with enough water to barely cover them. Turn heat to high and allow to come up to a boil. Then, turn heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until spears are tender and easily pierced with a fork.

If using shrimp, rinse and remove the tails.

Place lettuce on four serving plates or one large platter. Arrange the cucumber slices, asparagus spears, tomato slices, and halved hard boiled eggs on each plate or platter. Top with the shrimp or crab meat.

Serve with the dressing below:

Yields about one cup of salad dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, put through a press or finely minced
2 tablespoons Heinz chili sauce
1 tablespoon chopped bread & butter pickles
1 teaspoon country style Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Franks hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl until well blended. Serve along side salad.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Incredibly Delicious Maple and Bacon Pancakes

Roy and I are spending our first weekend home after being gone for three and a half months meandering around the western United States. Being in that part of the country, we couldn't help feeling the cowboy influence. Lots of western genre movies have been filmed out that way and we enjoyed visiting Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills in California as well as the Old Tucson movie set in Arizona. Several John Wayne films were made in both places and local people still are in awe of the Duke. Somewhere along the way, Roy bought me The Official John Wayne Family Cookbook (published by Topix Media Lab, 2016). Turns out Wayne must have really liked pancakes - there are three recipes for them in the breakfast section. The one in this post is adapted from the Maple Pancake recipe in the cookbook. I have to confess that we ate these two times this week; they really are that good. There is just something irresistible about the salty sweetness of maple and bacon!

Ingredients and Directions:

Makes about Six Maple and Bacon Pancakes

6 slices thick-cut bacon
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons uncooked old fashioned oatmeal
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup plus more to serve
2 tablespoons bacon grease

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut bacon in half lengthwise, and then into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Stir frequently. When done, remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

Reserve the bacon grease.

Put oats in blender or food processor and grind to a powder.

Add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, eggs, maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease.

Blend well, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container once or twice. Then let sit for 10 minutes. Stir all but a handful of the bacon bits into the batter; save the reserved bits to garnish each serving.

Heat the skillet over medium-low and brush some of the reserved bacon grease on the pan. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet for each pancake. Cook until the pancake has bubble holes showing in the middle and the edges look dry. Then carefully flip over and let it cook for another minute.

Put cooked pancakes on a plate and keep warm in the oven until all the batter is used.

Put some of the bacon bits on top of each serving and pass the maple syrup!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cherry Chicken Chipotle Quesadillas with Cherry Salsa

The picture above is Lake Chelan in Washington State. Our RV travels took us all the way west to this beautiful part of the country. Unfortunately, smoke from Canadian forest fires blew down to us and it gave a hazy quality to all the views.  It was still pretty though and we enjoyed seeing the Grand Coulee Dam, the German town of Leavenworth  and the bustle of Seattle. The Lake Chelan area is known for orchards that produce peaches, cherries, apples, and apricots. Roadside fruit stands sold all that luscious stuff and more; tomatoes and veggies were offered as well. Of course we stopped and had to buy our share! We loved munching on the dark sweet cherries right out of hand, but I also remembered a savory recipe, Cherry Chicken Chipotle Quesadillas, I had forgotten about. In fact it's buried deep in this blog's archives but is so delicious I'm giving it new life by posting it again. It's easy enough to cook on a motor home stove and Roy and I thoroughly enjoyed it as a hot lunch vs. our usually sandwiches. We loved the Cherry Salsa as a condiment to the quesadillas but it's great as a dip with taco chips.

Chicken Cherry Chipotle Quesadillas: Serves Four


2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breasts

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup cherries, red or yellow or both - pitted and roughly chopped OR 1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large or 8 medium flour tortillas

2 to 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Brush the bottom side of half of the tortillas with oil and place them down on foil covered work surface.

Divide the chicken mixture between the tortillas and spread out evenly.

Cover each quesadilla with a second tortilla and brush with oil.

Carefully transfer to either foiled covered baking sheet or large frying pan:

These can be baked at 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese melts out.

Or, cook in medium low heat in a frying pan for 7 minutes a side.

If  I am making a large quesadilla, I actually invert a plate over the top of the skillet. Then I flip the pan over so the tortilla lands on the plate. I carefully slide the uncooked side back in the pan.

Cherry Salsa

1 1/2 cups pitted and chopped fresh cherries - red, yellow or mixture of both

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped red onions

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice - to taste according to sweetness of cherries using

Put all ingredients in a pan, bring them to a boil, turn down the heat to low, simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and serve as a condiment to quesadilla or as a dip with taco chips.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Orzo Salad

Our meandering summer RV travels took us to beautiful Montana this week. Besides the trill of seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world (honestly), we got to visit with our friends Jim and Carol. They are the type of people that never slow down; countless friends, activities, and family keep them extremely busy. When Carol invited us for dinner, I wanted to bring something that would make cooking the meal just a bit easier for her. But - I had another motive too. I had been craving the orzo salad I served at the brunch the day after Caroline's wedding. It was one of the things I had ordered from Market District, a grocery store chain that makes really yummy carry-out food. In my attempt to duplicate their Mediterranean Orzo Salad, I searched the internet and found one recipe that called for five pounds of uncooked orzo which would have resulted in 60 servings! Carol was only hosting six people, so I reduced the portions and substituted some ingredients. Roy really liked it - especially the next day - and gave me the nod to put it on the blog. Since it avoids a mayonnaise dressing, I think it would be great to take to a summertime pitch - in.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad - Serves Twelve 


1 pound uncooked orzo
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup feta cheese, divided
1 cup cucumbers, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced and pitted
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup canned quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
Heaping 1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Cook the orzo according to package directions.

Set the spinach aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo, olives, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup feta cheese, cucumber, garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, and red onion.

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes together. Pour over the orzo mixture and gently toss.

Just before serving:

Gently toss in the fresh spinach leaves.

Then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of feta cheese over the top of the salad.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Taste of Honey Fruit Salad

Mint, ginger and lime combine with honey to add a bit of refreshing but tangy sweetness.

Mist rose up from the lake in the cool early morning; later this Ozark camp setting turned wicked hot.

Last week Roy and I had the privilege of working at a church camp in Lebanon, Missouri to help pay the tuition for one of our Sunday School kids back home. As we have always found, when we volunteer, we are the ones who seem to reap benefits. We loved the beautiful setting, the wonderful people we worked with, and the experience that an angel would whisper a solution in our ears when we didn't quite know how to fix something! 

One of the families we worked with was from Florida. Besides working and raising a busy family of three daughters, they also raise bees, harvest and package the honey, and then sell it. Thaddeus, the dad, held a little tasting and explained some things to us about honey.

Not all honeys were created equal! Notice the difference in color?

I was surprised to learn that most of the honey we buy in stores comes from China but it can also contain honey from the Ukraine, Argentina, and Brazil. But what really shocked me was that the Chinese honey is so filtered that every bit of pollen is gone from it and up to 12% of it is allowed to be corn syrup. That means that all the health benefits that it is supposed to have are gone from the honey bought from a regular store like Walmart.

Thaddeus said that honey really does vary in taste according to what kind of flowers the bees are located around. He had some amazing tasting honey he called "Fire Tower Palmetto". He moved some of his hives to an area that had a recent wild fire and the only plants that had blooms were palmettos.

Now I understand why buying local honey from small batch producers is so important. However, Thaddeus told us that labeling honey as organic is really a falsehood. No one can tell where exactly a bee will fly off to before returning to a hive and bees often travel several miles more than bee keepers realize. 

After tasting five different kinds of honey we bought a couple of jars and I had to post this yummy fruit salad which uses honey in its zesty dressing.

For more information on  Penfield Honey Company and how to order their honey  Click Here. 

A Taste of Honey Fruit Salad


6-8 cups fresh fruit, cubed (mango, cantaloupe, red or green grapes, blueberries, watermelon, pineapple) 
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced 
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated 
¼ cup honey 
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
A sprig or two of mint leaves 


     Whisk ginger, lime zest, lime juice, and honey in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Mix assorted fruits and chopped mint in a large bowl.  Add dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with mint sprigs.