Home     About Us     Chew on This     Who Knew?     Pied Piper     Thoughts

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chew on This | Chicken and Mushroom Rigatoni

My kids only had two days of school last week. Monday they had off for President's Day. Thursday and Friday they were off because of the subzero temperatures and wind chills. So, a three day weekend, two days of school, and then a four day weekend. I can tell you, they have been in heaven! However, the stir-craziness started full force on Thursday afternoon. And their brains started leaking out of their ears on Saturday.

Monday's forecast is calling for another blast of frigid air. I have no doubt that school will be in session. My kids predict another day off, are hoping for another day off. I'm preparing for it, just in case. Searching high and low for something to plug their ears and stop the leaking.


Here's our recipe:

Treat yourself to this 'no-red sauce' pasta goodness. We are not big fans of the red sauce in this house, and this recipe quenches our pasta desires with a sauce that makes us want to lick the plate. Using leftover chicken, or rotisserie chicken, and making the caramelized onions ahead of time, makes this dish speedy quick to put together.

Chicken and Mushroom Rigatoni

10-12 ounces rigatoni, cooked to al dente 
2 T butter
1 T oil
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced, caramelized
2 baked chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 T basil, chopped
1/4 C white wine
3/4 C heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
Italian parsley, for garnish

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add your butter and oil. Once butter is melted, add in your mushrooms. Toss to coat and cook, about 1-2 minutes. Next, add to the pan your caramelized onions, chicken, and basil. Stir to incorporate and warm through. Once sizzling and warm, slowly pour in your white wine. Cook for 1 minute, allowing the liquid to release any flavorful bits that have formed on the pan. Now, add in your heavy cream, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Boil and let the sauce reduce a bit (about 2-3 minutes) before adding in your cooked pasta. Continue to cook until pasta is warmed through. Plate, garnish with Italian parsley, serve and Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chew on This | PB & J Pancakes (gluten-free)

What goes perfectly with a frigid cold morning, a day off of school, and two hungry kids? Pancakes, of course. 

I tried out this gluten-free version the other day and am happy to report favorable reviews. Though not as fluffy as regular pancakes, these PB&J cakes are flavorful, healthy, and simple to make.



Here's our recipe:

PB & J Pancakes (gluten-free)

1/4 C peanut butter, slightly warmed
2 bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1/2 t baking powder

your favorite fruit compote or jam, slightly warmed
maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your peanut butter, bananas, eggs, and baking powder. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Pour an eighth of a cup of batter onto the warmed skillet. Flip pancake when ready and cook the other side for about a minute. Serve pancakes immediately - spoon fruit compote, or jam, that has been warmed, over the pancakes. Maple syrup is a delicious choice as well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chew on This | Chimichuri Sauce

Well, hello there. I've not been here in some weeks, even though I've made new recipes to share. It feels like it's been forever. I have no other explanation except to say...February. February is slowwwwww. It's intentional. It's scattered. It's cold. And my cooking and baking vibe has been happening much later in the day, thus any picture taking results in awful, awful photos. What are you going do? I'm just going with the flow here.

Even though this month has been pretty blah weather-wise, that doesn't mean we've eaten blah and boring food. I've made short ribs with a scrumptious ginger, soy, honey sauce. A silky chocolate pie with a touch of whiskey. Coconut ice cream. Fig jam. And this flank steak with chimichuri sauce.

The chimichuri sauce has already been made twice this month. It's fantastic. It's zippy. It's so, so, so good. It makes February tangy delicious.


Here's our recipe:

Chimichuri Sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 C packed Italian parsley, rough chopped
1 C packed cilantro, rough chopped
1/4 C fresh oregano leaves, rough chopped
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 T red wine vinegar
1 t kosher salt
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lime

In a small mixing bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Stir to incorporate. Next, stream in your olive oil while stirring. Taste to adjust. Serve over steak, chicken, pork, or sea food. Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chew on This | Morning Ritual Juice

Monday I wrote about my wavering tastebuds. Their need for savory or sweet, comfort food one day, and the next, only bright, fresh flavors. It has been somewhat maddening. However, one thing that hasn't been in flux these last few months is my overwhelming love, and need, for my Morning Ritual Juice.

I have become addicted to juicing and the above combination of fruits and vegetables is my absolute favorite (so far). Look at all of the beautifully vibrant color! All of that color equals a serious punch of health.

Brimming with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and energy boosting goodness - your body will be begging for more. And, it tastes great! It has become such a wonderful way to start my day. Try it, I'm quite sure you'll love it!


Here's our recipe:

Morning Ritual Juice*
(makes 2-4 servings)

1 whole organic lemon, cleaned (with peel)
2 organic apples, cleaned and cored (with peel)
3 stalks organic celery, cleaned
1 1/2 C organic carrots, cleaned
1/2 large organic cucumber, cleaned (with peel)
1 organic red beet, cleaned (my beet was the size of a medium lemon)
1 inch ginger root, cleaned

Run all of your ingredients through your juicer. Pour over ice and enjoy immediately. 

*I don't usually designate my ingredient lists as organic or nonorganic. For this particular recipe, however, using organic produce (especially when juicing certain items unpeeled) will ensure your juice is pure and free of pesticides. If you use nonorganic produce, make sure to peel.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chew on This | Sticky Toffee Pudding

I have found around this time of the year, during these cold, short, bleary days, that I have very conflicted food cravings. Maybe you do, as well? One day I'll want a light, fresh, citrus based meal. The next day, all I can fathom eating is something stick-to-your-ribs, warm and cozy. This new year is no different. In fact, my food cravings may be even more at odds.

You see, The Husband and I started off the new year taking a fabulous vacation to a tropical wonderland. So, when on a balmy island, all I wanted to partake in was balmy island food. Local fruits, vegetables, fish, and libations. Nothing heavy and everything crisp, fresh, and amazing. Now we're back home, back to the wintery cold and snow. So, when in frigid lands, I find I want to consume more comforting and toasty meals - for about five minutes - and then I'm off on a totally different eating tangent. Thus, my food yearnings are even more batty then usual.

Today, right now, the need for warmth and luxurious indulgence won out. Sticky Toffee Pudding it is. Brilliant! 


Here's our recipe:

Sticky Toffee Pudding
6 ounces Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 C water
1 t orange zest
1 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 T butter, room temperature
3/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T honey
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350℉. Prepare an 8x11" cake pan by spraying with baking spray.

For the cake, in a small sauce pan combine the dates, water, and orange zest. Bring ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit while preparing the rest of the cake batter. In a medium bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour. Stir to combine thoroughly. Now, in a mixing bowl, beat together your butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add in your eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Finally, add in your vanilla, stirring to incorporate.

Before adding in your warm date mixture to the egg mixture, first mash your dates with a fork to smooth them out a bit. Now, add half of your flour mixture and half of your date mixture to the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Add the remaining date and flour mixtures to the batter and again, stir to combine. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached.

While the cake is baking, prepare your toffee sauce. In a sauce pan, combine the heavy cream, brown sugar, honey, and salt. Bring ingredients to a boil, while constantly stirring. Reduce to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken for the next 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. 

When the cake is done, remove from the oven and poke holes all over the cake using a cake dowel/sucker stick...whatever you can find to make small holes in the cake. Pour about half of your toffee sauce over the cake and allow it to soak in. When you're ready to serve, pour a bit of the sauce onto the plate and again over the cake. Serve with whipped cream, custard, or ice cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chew on This | Baklava

Happy New Year! 

I'm here to do some tempting. I know, ruthless of me, but I don't think you'll be too angry. 

I made baklava for the first time. It was a complete success. I'm here to boast, to persuade, and to entice you to try it for yourself. I've had the misconception, for many years, that baklava was too time consuming and difficult to attempt. It really isn't. It just takes a few steps of organization and then you too can make a huge tray of indulgence.

Honestly, when I started the baklava making over the holiday, I went into it with nothing to lose. I had already wrecked two batches of peanut brittle, had four fruitless pursuits at my whiskey salted caramel sauce, and made a pound of crispy black bacon. Multitasking was doing its best to torture me. So when I tempted fate and forged on with my grand baklava making self, I was kind of shocked when I was handsomely rewarded with perfect baklava. 

Look at me, all full of myself and braggy because of baklava. Don't think you won't be shouting your baklava success from the roof tops, too. You will. And I applaud you. 


Here's our recipe:

1 T butter, softened
4 C finely chopped toasted pistachios
1 C finely chopped toasted walnuts
2-3 t cinnamon

1 package phyllo dough
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
pastry brush

2 C honey
1/2 C water
1/2 C sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t clove
1/2 t cardamom
orange peel from one large orange (make sure any white pith from the peel is removed)

To begin the baklava process, allow the frozen phyllo dough to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350℉. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13" baking pan with 1 tablespoon of softened butter. 

*If you haven't toasted your nuts yet, line a cookie sheet with foil and spread out nuts in a single layer. Toast nuts in your preheated oven for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss warm nuts with 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon. When cool, finely chop the nuts and set aside. Reserve 1 T of chopped nuts to sprinkle on the top of the baklava before baking.

Unroll your package of phyllo dough, cover the dough with a slightly damp cloth (to keep the dough from drying out).

With a pastry brush, butter one sheet of phyllo dough, place it butter side down into the pan.  Repeat this process until you've stacked 8 sheets of dough. Now, sprinkle a single layer of your chopped nuts on top of the dough. Top the nuts with 3 sheet of dough - butter each sheet and place the buttered side down. Again, sprinkle with a single layer of nuts, 3 sheets of dough...continue this until you have a final layer of nuts. Top this final layer of nuts with 8 sheets of buttered dough, making sure to butter both sides of the very top layer.

Before baking, use a very, very sharp knife to cut the baklava. I cut mine on the diagonal to make diamond shapes. Place the pan into the oven and bake the baklava for 45-50 minutes, or until the dough is golden and crisp.

While the baklava bakes, make your syrup. In a sauce pan, combine your honey, water, sugar, spices, and orange peel. Stir to incorporate. Heat mixture over medium-low heat, bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Take the syrup off of the heat, remove all the orange peels from the syrup and allow to cool down a bit.

When the baklava is finished baking, immediately pour the syrup over the warm baklava. Let the baklava cool, uncovered, for at least two hours. Serve and enjoy! If you have any leftovers (!), freeze them for later!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chew on This | Homemade Irish Cream

Happy (almost) New Year!!

Want to ensure that your New Year is toasted and celebrated to perfection? Well, I've found the perfect drink to help you ring in 2015 with style, and fantastic flavor. Homemade Irish Cream - holy moly! Mimi and I made several batches of this tasty concoction to deliver to family and friends over Christmas. It has been gushed about ever since.

Irish Cream is so easy to make, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be toasting the start of 2015 without it! Make it today and share the goodness!


Here's the recipe:

Homemade Irish Cream
(recipe via, and very slightly adapted, from design*sponge)

1 C strong coffee
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 T cocoa powder
1 T granulated sugar
1 T honey
1 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 C Irish whiskey

In a medium sauce pan, bring your coffee to a simmer. Add in your heavy cream, cocoa powder, sugar, honey, vanilla and almond extracts to the coffee and whisk to combine thoroughly. Simmer these ingredients over low heat for approximately 20 minutes, whisk often. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in your sweetened condensed milk. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl (heat-safe: metal, glass, or ceramic bowl) and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Finally, add in your whiskey!!  Stir, stir, stir. You're done! 

Serve Irish Cream over ice - my favorite way to enjoy this amazing concoction. Or, enjoy in your coffee, tea, over ice cream...the possibilities are yours to create. Transfer any unused Irish Cream into a lidded container and store in the refrigerator. Irish Cream should be used within two weeks, or so. After being stored in the refrigerator, you may have to give your Irish Cream a shake before serving, to distribute and break up some of the cream. Enjoy!!