Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta

Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta
Original recipe from


Chicken Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar.  Let stand for 5 minutes. 

Pound chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness. 

Place chicken in the gallon size ziplock bag, and stir to coat with the marinade.  CLOSE ZIPLOCK BAG AND REFRIGERATE FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS (THE LONGER THE BETTER). 

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.  Grill chicken for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.  Slice and serve over pasta.


16 ounce penne pasta
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, whipping cream, Cajun seasoning, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.  Whisk together on low heat for 5 to 6 minutes.

In a large bowl, pour over cooked, drained pasta.

Top with sliced Cajun ranch chicken and sprinkle a little bit more shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta
Original recipe by,


2 1/2 cups milk, divided
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup of sugar


1 package frozen blueberries, thawed
Sugar (desired sweetness)


Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes, and mix well. 

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk,  sugar, and cream.  Bring to just a boil.

Once the milk mixture comes to just a boil, remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla and the softened gelatin.

Pour into four 5-ounce ramekin cups.

Cover and chill for at least six hours, or up to 1 day.


Blend the blueberries and sugar together in a food processor.  (SAVE SOME BLUEBERRIES FOR GARNISH)

Place the mixture over medium heat and bring to a boil.   Lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain for seeds.


To serve, gently run a knife around the edge of each ramekin cup and invert onto a chilled plate. 

Drizzle the topping over each panna cotta.

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Chocolate Panna Cotta
Original recipe by Williams-Sonoma

What is Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. It is generally from the Northern Italian region of Piedmont, although it is eaten all over Italy, where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert came to be, but some theories suggest that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts. (Definition from Wikipedia)


1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Chocolate Ganache Topping

2 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream


Coat four 5-ounce ramekins lightly with flavorless oil.

Pour 1/4 cup of the cream into a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin over it and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.  Place the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining heavy cream, sugar, and salt just to a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat, and add the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Add the gelatin mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until well blended.  Pour, dividing mixture evenly among the ramekins and let cool at room temperature.

Cover the panna cotta loosely and refrigerate until set and thoroughly chilled, at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.

To serve, dip the ramekins one at a time into a bowl of hot water for about 5 seconds, then run a table knife around the edges of the ramekins and invert onto a chilled serving plate.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

In a saucepan, melt the chocolate pieces and heavy cream together.  Before drizzling chocolate ganache over panna cotta, cut strawberries lengthwise and place around panna cotta.  Once chocolate ganache is melted, drizzle over chocolate panna cotta.

Serves 4

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Penne Pasta with Bacon and Cream Sauce

Penne Pasta with Bacon and Cream Sauce

This pasta dish is sinfully rich and delicious!


15 bacon slices
2 packages (8 oz) fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 package (16 oz) penne pasta, cooked
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
4 green onions, sliced


Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-heat until crisp. 

Remove the bacon, reserving 4 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

Coarsely chop bacon, set aside.

Saute sliced mushrooms and garlic in reserved drippings 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. 

Stir in the cooked pasta and the remaining ingredients; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the bacon.  Stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Serve hot

Serves 6

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Butterscotch Brownies

Butterscotch Brownies
Submitted by Gail Kelley

Gail Kelley has been making these butterscotch brownies since 1958, when she was given a Betty Crocker cookbook for a wedding present.  That is 54 years!  Gail alters the recipe, by using butter instead of shortening, and walnuts instead of pecans.  I had the pleasure of tasting one of her scrumptious butterscotch brownies.  IT WAS DELICIOUS!


1/4 cup shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and flour an 8 x 8 x 2 inch square baking pan.

In a large saucepan, melt the shortening over low heat.  Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the light brown sugar.  Cool mixture. 

Add 1 egg, and stir until combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add the flour mixture to the saucepan, and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended.  Stir in vanilla and chopped pecans.

Spread in prepared pan. 

Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool brownies, before cutting into bars.

Recipe submitted by Gail Kelley

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lemon Risotto

Lemon Risotto
Recipe submitted by Cindy Chandler

Cindy Chandler writes, . . . I found this recipe on the Internet.  I was planning on making Chicken Piccata (recipe post 5/16/12) and I thought this would go great with the dish.  The Lemon Risotto can be eaten hot, warm, or cold.  I also served asparagus, which I blanched for one minute and then cooled down in an ice bath.  I salted, squeezed lemon juice, and poured olive oil over the asparagus.  The asparagus can be reheated for a minute before serving, or eaten cold.  It is good either way.

Cindy Chandler, 9/14/12

Is Risotto rice or pasta?

Risotto is a form of rice, although not the familiar grain rices found in Asian cooking. True risotto is created from one of three forms of rice found in Europe: arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano. Of the three, arborio rice is the most commonly used variety for risotto.

To confuse matters a little, there is also a form of pasta called orzo which looks like grains of rice. Orzo is also used as a flavorful side dish in Mediterranean cuisine and prepared with many of the same spices and vegetables as risotto. The difference is that properly cooked risotto becomes a creamy blend, while orzo tends to maintain individual grains similar to cooked Asian rice.


6 cups (less sodium) chicken broth, divided 
sprig of mint, chopped
sprig of rosemary, chopped
sprig of sage, chopped (about 4 or 5 leaves)
zest of one lemon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 cup Arbario or Canoroli rice
3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large sauce pan, warm the chicken stock over low heat.

Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in the chopped shallots.  Cook until shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. 

Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed.  Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in the chopped herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.  Cover and let stand for 2 to 5 minutes. 

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe submitted by Cindy Chandler

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Best-Ever Barbecue Sauce

Best-Ever Barbecue Sauce

Yield 4 cup


1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 dashes hot pepper sauce


In a blender, combine brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water and Worcestershire sauce.  Season with mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.  Blend until smooth.

Texas Pulled Pork Sandwich, Slow Cooker

Texas Pulled Pork Sandwich, Slow Cooker


1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup barbecue sauce  (See Best-Ever Barbecue Sauce Recipe Post, 9/12)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 extra large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

8 hamburger buns


Rinse the pork shoulder roast, set aside.

Add and mix all the ingredients into the slow cooker.

Place the pork shoulder roast in the center of the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks.  Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices.

Butter and toast the hamburger buns. 

Spoon shredded pork into the toasted buns.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Linguine Con Vongole

Linguine Con Vongole
Original recipe by "Cooking with the Seafood Steward" cookbook

Vongole means, small clams or venus mussels.


3 or 4 (6.5 oz) cans clams, drained and juice reserved
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups Bechamel sauce  (Simple sauce of milk and roux, see recipe below)
1 (8 oz) clam juice, and clam juice reserved (3 cups total)
1/2 cup vermouth
1 tablespoon sugar
freshly ground pepper

1 pound linguine, cooked al dente
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish


Step 1

Make the Bechamel sauce (see recipe below)

Step 2

Place the olive oil, onion, garlic, dried herbs and red pepper flakes in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Slowly saute until the onion is slightly tender.

Step 3

Start the pasta.

Step 4

Combine the clams, bechamel sauce, clam juice, vermouth and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the onion mixture and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 5

Spoon the clam sauce over hot pasta, and garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese. 

Bechamel Sauce (basic white sauce)

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart light cream (half and half)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat and add the flour.  Using a whisk, stir continuously for 5 minutes.

While the roux cooks, heat the light cream in the microwave.  Add the hot cream to the flour-butter mixture while continuing to whisk.  Bring to a light boil for 8 minutes.  Take care to avoid scorching.  Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and nutmeg.  Cover and reserve.

Serves 6

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Ultimate, Super-Sized Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Ultimate, Super-Sized Chocolate Chip Cookie

Have you ever bought a super-sized cookie at a coffee shop, and wish you could make the same cookie at home?  Well, it's possible, . . . this is the Ultimate, Super-Sized Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  These cookies are gooey, chewy and so delicious! 


2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 3/4 up all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1.  Cream together unsalted butter and sugars with an electric mixer, until well blended and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.

2.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

3.  Roll dough into 2-ounce portions.  Yes, 2-ounce portions, . . . think golf balls!

4.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.