Family · Family Favorites

Chicken Divine…a family fav!

Chicken Divine is a recipe I discovered in the ’90s.  I wish I could recall where the recipe originated but it had the elements that my young children liked: chicken, rice, broccoli and, of course, CHEESE!  I made, they liked, repeat.

To this day, it is still a favorite and the aroma of the baking chicken with rosemary is wonderful. I sincerely hope your family enjoys as much as ours does!

CHICKEN DIVINE

3 whole chicken breasts
rosemary to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 sliced onion
1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli
3/4 cup raw rice, cooked

CHEESE SAUCE:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated, sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sprinkle chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool. Skin, bone and slice.
  • Prepare the rice.
  • Cook broccoli in water with salt and onion. Drain.
  • Layer chicken, then broccoli, then rice in buttered casserole.
  • Prepare the cheese sauce:   Melt butter, add flour and stir until smooth. Cook 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheeses and seasonings. (I have often made 1 1/2 recipes of the sauce to put on top to make it even more moist.)
  • Pour cheese sauce over entire dish. Add more grated Parmesan on top if desired.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

 

 

 

Family · Family Favorites · Home · My Roots

Good Old Fashioned Apple Pie and a Great Book

Recently our book club read and reviewed ‘Tallgrass’ by Sandra Dallas, a historical novel that addresses the life and times of the small Colorado town and the controversial internment camp that divided the townspeople.  It was an great book and spurred an excellent discussion.  We all agreed that Sandra Dallas, who lives in Colorado and has family ties to Iowa, has an excellent voice for her characters.

Our book club always begins our gathering with a wonderful potluck typically with a theme associated with book. This evening we enjoyed sushi, edemame salad, fried rice, salads, fruit and much more. After brainstorming with my book club buddies, I decided to make an Old Fashioned Apple Pie in honor of Mary Stroud, a key character in the book.

My favorite Apple Pie is, again, from one my all-time favorite cookbooks. I must confess that I don’t make my own pie crust.  I think the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts are excellent and I’d rather spend time on the good part…the filling!

As I was making this pie and cutting the vents for the top crust, I couldn’t help but think of my Mother and the hundreds, if not thousands, of pies that she baked over the years. I carry on her vent design, simple but effective.

The pie is excellent on its own but always wonderful topped with vanilla bean ice cream, too!

OLD FASHIONED APPLE PIE

Pastry for 2 crust pie
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons flour
dash salt
6 cups thinly sliced, pared tart cooking apples
2 tablespoons butter

  • On lightly floured surface, roll out half of pastry into an 11 inch circle. Use to line 9 inch pie plate, trim. Refrigerate, with rest of pastry until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt, mixing well. Add to apples in large bowl, tossing lightly to combine.
  • Turn into pastry-lined pie plate, mounding high in center; dot with butter.

 

  • Roll out remaining pastry into an 11 inch circle. Make several slits near center for steam vents; adjust over filling; trim.

  • Fold edge of top crust under bottom crust; press together with fingertips. Crimp edge decoratively.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes, or until apples are tender and crust is golden-brown.
  • Cool partially on wire rack; serve warm.
  • Optional:  Top with vanilla bean ice cream.

Recipe from:  McCall’s Cook Book, 1963

Family · Family Favorites

Easy Peasy Oven Fried Chicken

One of the great cookbooks I received when I was newly married was Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cookbook (love the $2.95 price tag).Dinner for two cookbook

A favorite recipe that I still refer to is the Oven-Fried Chicken.  I love fried chicken but I don’t enjoy standing over the stove cooking it.  This recipe has the flavor of a true fried chicken but with the simplicity of baking in the oven.

OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN

1/4 cup shortening or salad oil
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees. In oven melt shortening in baking pan.
  • Mix flour, salt, paprika, pepper in plastic or paper bag; shake chicken, 2 or 3 pieces at a time in bag until coated.
  • Place chicken skin side down in pan.
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Turn chicken, bake until tender, 15 to 30 minutes longer.

2 Servings

Family · Family Favorites

Banana Bread with Banana Jam…double the flavor!

Banana Bread is an old time favorite that my Mother and the women before her made for their families. I like it plain, with a little butter, but always shared with family and friends.

This time I decided to try it with the Banana Jam we drooled over in Nicaragua and I wasn’t disappointed.  This combination is great for breakfast, coffee, or dessert. Just say BANANA!

BANANA BREAD

2 cups sifted all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon flour

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together 2 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
  • Cream together shortening and sugar.
  • Blend in eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  • Add dry ingredients alternately with bananas, mixing just until blended.
  • Combine pecans and 1 tsp. flour; stir into batter. Pour into greased 9″ tube pan.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

Humor

Cold Induced Senility…microwaved phone?

I’m convinced that every time I get sick, I lose a few more brain cells.  This past week I was sick with a cold…not a big deal, right?  Wrong! This cold packed a wallop and put my mental capacity on the level of a 3-year-old.  I honestly thought, I’m ready for the home…

I couldn’t remember what I did 2 minutes ago and wandered aimlessly around the house trying to remember why I got up in the first place.  I would sit or lie down and would instantly be in a deep sleep.  Thank goodness that never happened in the bathroom!

The most idiotic thing I did during this adventure was to microwave my iPhone. I know you are asking yourself, how in the world…well let me tell you…

I have a wonderful aromatic blanket that can be heated in the microwave.  When you are cold or down with a bug, it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  After a long, but cold, afternoon nap, I warmed the blanket and put it on my lap. Evidently, I also put my iPhone on my lap and when the blanket had cooled, I wrapped it up and put it back in the microwave to heat again.

Funny thing, my iPhone was nowhere to be found.  I looked everywhere, even resorting to going through the garbage.  After a long period of hunting, I was worn out and decided to sit down with the warmed blanket.  Guess what was stuck to the blanket…the micowaved iPhone.

microwave iPhone

My humbling trip to the AT&T store was greeted with comments by the staff of ‘that’s one for the books’.  Now I’m known by my very friendly and kind AT&T store staff as ‘the microwave lady’.

Today, I feel like the majority of my strength and some of my brain cells have returned.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself…now where is my iPhone?

Post Update 1/18/14:

I would like to thank my neighbor and good buddy Maribeth for making me a special microwaved appetizer last night. So glad I have friends and family to laugh with!

Ha!
Ha!
Gluten Free · Health · Vegan · Vegetarian

Spinach Tomato Lentil Soup

In the New Year, many of us have vowed to lost weight (5% for me) and eat healthier. This recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen grabbed my attention with the healthy vegetables and protein of the lentils. It’s an easy soup to make and full of nutrients. It makes a large batch and I found I added more and more water since the soup gets quite thick. I’ve shared some with a vegan friend and frozen some for a later treat.

SPINACH TOMATO LENTIL SOUP

1 lb. dried lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large cans diced Italian tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (or replace some of water with vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
12 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag fresh spinach

  • In a large pot, heat olive oil and add vegetables, garlic, bouillon, spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables in oil for about 7-10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and lentils to vegetable mixture.
  • Bring soup to a slow boil for a few minutes, then back down to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
  • Taste for seasoning as its cooking, add more water if it gets too thick.
  • In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add fresh spinach leaves to soup and gently stir to combine.

Recipe Adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen

Family Favorites · New Favorite · New Traditions

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip for your Football Championship Party!

This Friday I’m feeling under the weather so am reposting my Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip as an idea for the coming AFC and NFC championship games.  So good and would also be great baked on potato skins.

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

As I retreat for another nap, let me just say,  GO Denver Broncos!

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip is a holiday/party regular.  This is an easy, tasty appetizer to serve for a holiday party or family gathering.

SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP (BAKED) WITH PITA CHIPS

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke heart quarters, drained and coarsely chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeeze to drain
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
Toasted baguette slices, assorted crackers or Pita Chips (recipe below)

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach and bell pepper.
Spinach Artichoke Dip ready for cheese topping and baking
Spinach Artichoke Dip ready for cheese topping and baking
  • Spoon mixture into greased 1-quart casserole.
  • Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Cover and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm with pita chips, crackers or baguette slices.
Pita Chip and Dip
Pita Chip and Dip

PITA CHIPS:

Package pita bread
olive oil
garlic salt
Fresh shredded parmesan cheese

IMG_1450

  • Brush pita bread with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese.
  • Bake pita in oven until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Remove from oven and cut into 6 or 8 wedges per pita bread.
Family Favorites

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

My earliest recollection of Chicken Tortilla Soup was at Tijuana Tilly’s in the ’80s.  The soup was flavorful and came with a bevy of accoutrements.  During weekend trips from Scottsdale to San Diego, we always tried to fit in a trip to Tijuana Tilly’s and take in a game of Jai Alai.  Sadly, the days of Jai Alai at the Fronton Palace are gone, but Tijuana Tilly’s survives.  We visited again, with our girls, in the 90s and it was equally as yummy.

On cold winter days, I long for a yummy soup and Chicken Tortilla Soup was on my mind.  I adapted a few recipes to come up with this version and it hit the spot!

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

1 can black beans
1 can chili beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes
4 ounces diced green chiles
16 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup salsa
4 cups water
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 pound boneless chicken breasts (halved)

  • Place all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • About an hour before serving, remove chicken and chop or shred into smaller pieces and return to crockpot.  Stir.
  • If soup is too thick, add additional water and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Serve in bowls with sides of shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. You can also try sides of chopped green onions, radishes, avocado, fresh cilantro, and sour cream.

Health · Holidays

2014 Health Goals that make sense

The new year is a time for fresh starts, new goals, and hope for the future. This week I heard an interview on ABC with Dr. Richard Besser that outlined 5 ways that can improve your health without being overwhelming.

5 Ways to Improve Your Health in 2014

1)  Lose 5% of your weight:  We all have the desire to lose weight and, in reality, more than 5%; however, 5% is a great step toward improving our health. I can do that!

Day 2/365 - New Years Resolution

2) Take 5 Minutes and Move:  Our society is a ‘sitting society’ at work, at home, driving, etc. Take 5 minutes several times a day to get up and walk around, take a few flight of stairs…move!  When I was working at home one of my doctors suggested I set a timer that went off every 20-30 minutes to remind me to get up, stretch and move around.  We know that we are supposed to exercise 30 minutes a minimum of 5 days a week, but if that isn’t doable, chunk it down into smaller increments several times a day.  Beats nothing!  In 2014 my goal will be to increase my yoga practice and walk more (now that the darned boot is off!).

3)  Take 5 minutes every morning:  As Mom always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’ve always been good about breakfast, grabbing a Greek yogurt or a boiled egg. Take 5 minutes to make/eat breakfast and improve your mental state for the day and curbing binges later in the day.

English: American healthy breakfast in Chicago...

4) 5 Things You are Grateful for TODAY:  Each day focus on the positives in your life, taking mental note of the little things that make a difference. Did someone say hello to you today, open a door, call you to chat, etc.?  At the end of the day, before bed, think of those 5 things and perhaps jot them in a Gratitude Journal.  A few years ago, I pledged to review a daily reading in two different books and keep a gratitude journal.  I made it through the year and found it very inspiring.

Gratitude Journal

5)  Take 5 Minutes for You:  Time is such a precious commodity and most likely time for you is at the bottom of the list.  It was for me for many years.  There were too many family and work commitments and just not enough time for me.  I’ve learned the hard way that unless you take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else.  The suggestion made by Dr. Besser was to meditate twice a day for 5 minutes.  Meditation, in my definition, is to clear your mind of all thoughts.  Clear the clutter and stress from your day and start anew.  While I do not practice meditation regularly, I find that when I do, it is wonderfully refreshing and I feel at peace.

For me, Prayer is also a critical piece of the formula for peace and comfort each and every day.

2014 is full of surprises and we will do the best we can do. My advise to those that are killing themselves with stress from work and family…slow down…enjoy and appreciate the little moments with joy and laughter…take care of yourself…and have a healthy, joyous New Year!