Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Filled with family and friends. Now its time to bring the New Year. I've been listening to many New Years Day food traditions, such as pork and kraut, lots of fish , etc. What's your tradition?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas School Snack

I am Caitlyn's homeroom Mom, which means I am in charge of the Christmas party. We need to provide a game, craft, book , and a snack. Woohoo I got snack covered....right?..... Not so fast chefy chef, you have dietary restrictions, and you can not make ANYTHING from your own kitchen. WHAT!!!! On to Pinterest I go, in search for some guidance to help the anti-crafter.

My assembly line
I can't believe how good I'm getting with a glue gun.
1 down 31 to go
My Minions
All in all it took me about an hour and a half to complete this project, and I'm sure the kids will love it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


OK, so someone out there is listening to me, "Sick Hubby" got 17 page views, more then any other post. Alas, still no comments. I'm still very new to the whole blog world, and I have to be honest I'm not sure I get it. I mean 374 people have viewed my blog, according to the stats some are from The Philippines, Cambodia, China, and Germany. My question is WHO ARE YOU? OK I'm done now. he he
So along with starting a blog I was told to hop onto Pinterest to explore all the recipes and stuff they have to offer. I fought and fought tooth and nail not to give in and try it, but failed, and I'm so happy I did. Now I may be able to cook to my hearts delight, but when it comes to crafts, I'm a fish out of water. Simple things like school projects for the girls, doing their hair is as foreign to me a mise en place is to most. I have really enjoyed some of the crafts that I have done, I even made one of my husbands anniversary gifts. The other day I was looking at recipes and came across one for hard cooked eggs done in the oven "WHAT". WE go through a lot of hard boiled eggs in my house, so I had to try this one. The directions stated to place a half dozen eggs in a muffin pan, and place the pan in a preheated 325 degree oven cook for 25-30 minutes, and tada hard cooked eggs that are easier to peel.

This is how you have to do it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put eggs in muffin pan. Cook for 30 minutes. Let eggs cool completely. Enjoy easy to peal eggs with no green halo.
So it work almost just a little tweaking, but I will definitely do them this way again.
So if you are one of the 374 people to read this let me know who you are and what your interested in reading about, otherwise I may start rambling about crafts.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sick Hubby

It looks like the flu is coming to our house. YUCK! Andrew has been away on business, and it looks like he may have the flu. So today the flu will be coming to me. YEA...not. I have done all of the preliminary disinfecting, wiped down all knobs and hard surfaces, but I have to say its like the calm before the storm. So what does every cook do when they know there house is going to be infected by the mnemonic plague..... Make Chicken Soup. One of my fondest childhood memory is my Mom making me homemade chicken soup when I was sick. She said you had to put everything in, the liver, gizzards, heart, the whole chicken otherwise it wouldn't work.  Maybe it is all in my head, but I swear it works.

Mom’s Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken
2 large onions, chopped
5 or 6 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
2 cups baby carrots, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

 Cut up chicken and cover with water in large stockpot. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes skimming off waste periodically.

Add rest of ingredients, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Add chopped fresh parsley during remaining ten minutes

Hope everyone stays heathy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baked Brie

Having a nice wedge of brie is great for entertaining, but you can jazz it up in a flash, and really Wow your guests. If yor party is more of an open house you can eaven place the brie in a small crock pot.

Baked Brie with Walnuts and Raspberries

1 Sheet frozen puffed pastry, rolled out
1 Tb butter
¼ cup chopped walnuts,
1 8 oz wheel Brie
½ cup raspberry jam
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 375°
Defrost 1 sheet of puffed pastry for about 10 minutes at room temperature. Melt butter in saucepan and sauté nuts in butter until golden brown. Place nuts on top of Brie and spread jam over top of the nuts. Roll out puffed pastry using a rolling pin, and brush with egg on both sides. Place wheel of Brie in center of sheets and bring all four corners of puffed pastry together and twist into a bundle. Place bundle on a pizza stone or baking dish, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with fresh baguette.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blue Cheese Dip

This is not just a dip. We use this concoction in baked potatoes, with vegetables, and with our favorite kettle chip. If you cube up a few tablespoons of butter and add it to the mix It make for a decadent addition to your grilled steak.
Blue Cheese Dip

 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
2 T. fresh chives
ground pepper

 In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 2 minutes
Reduce speed to low and add sour cream. Beat until combined. Add Blue cheese and beat 30 to 45 seconds.
Fold chives and pepper in with a rubber spatula.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 week.

 Serve with kettle chips or crudités.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quick Appetizers

I will be posting a appetizer everyday to help with your holiday party planning. These are great recipes to have on hand, and can be made ahead and stored.

Mediterranean Hummus

½ cup fresh flat leave Italian parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves
2 (15 1/2oz) cans garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, drained
1/8 cup Tahini
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
2 to 4 Tbs water
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

 Insert chopping blade into your food processor. Pulse the parsley, lemon zest, salt, and garlic together , about 8 times. Scrape down bowl, add remaining ingredients, and process for about one minute. Scrape down sides of bowl, and continue processing until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Serve with pita chips, or vegetables.

Makes 2 cups


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brussel Sprout Kick

OK I'm on a Brussels sprout kick. Partly because Nora keeps asking for them. I also just renewed my subscription to Everyday food, which is one of my top 3 favorite food magazines. In the December issue there is a Brussels sport with tortellini recipe that peeked my interest. The only draw back was no protein which my growing girls crave. (Where's the meat Mom?) So I also made mini turkey meatballs to go with it. The whole recipe including the meatball still only took me a little over half and hour, and can easily be split up (make meatballs ahead). I was also able to make enough meatballs, that I only used half, and can freeze the rest for another day.

Turkey Meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup egg beaters, or 2 eggs beaten
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

 Preheat oven to 350°

 In a large bowl mix together all ingredients. Do not over mix. To make mini meatballs, I used a 2 tsp. scoop, and gently rolled each into a ball. Place the meatballs on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 15 minute, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°.
I usually make a double batch and freeze one.
 Makes approx. 35 mini meatballs

Cheese Tortellini with lemon and Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Lb. frozen cheese tortellini
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large pot of salted water blanch the Brussels sprouts for 4 minutes.  Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Transfer the blanched Brussels sprouts to the ice bath, and allow them to cool completely. Drain well and spread them out on a few paper towels to dry.
Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter, add oil, and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add Brussels sprouts and continue to sauté until they start to brown.

Cook tortellini according to package direction, usually 2 minutes in boiling water. Using a slotted spoon transfer the tortellini to the skillet.  (A little water will transfer as well, that’s ok, it helps make the sauce.) Add lemon juice toss all ingredients together.
Top each serving with lemon zest, and parmesan.

Serves 6
And, please tell me what you think. I would love some feedback from my now 298 pageviewers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Change in the routine

I have already told you now much my family loves salmon, so tonight I divided to chance it up alittle. The reason I am including a photo is I can not take credit for the recipe. One of my favorite magazines is Everyday food. I love there recipes, but swear they dumb down their photos. The problem with this is, if you are a novice cook you look at your dish as think, I have done something wrong. NO cook and prep your little heart out. I am quite pleased with th dish I prepared, and what I love about it is its so versatial. Let me know how you would change it up.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your food, enjoy your drink, but most of all enjoy your family.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Anthony Bourdain

We went to see Anthony Bourdain last night. He was awsome. So proud that Dayton has enough foodies to draw talent like him in. We also went to Roost for dinner. Andrew had the mushroom crusted scallops which were quite tasty. I had the duck crepes which left a lot to be dissired. They were cold, mushy, and altogether underwhelming. The atmosphere was lovely, and the martinis were to die for.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving without the monotony

Happy to say it is here. The Dayton Daily News article has arrived. So proud to share this article with the very sweet Karen Harmon. The picture was taken in our very own home, set up by my very own husband Andrew, and my neighbors mom Elaine took the picture. Hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think.
Thanksgiving without the monotony

Monday, November 12, 2012

Deweys Pizza

So excited that I get to work with one of my favorite people tonight, Chuck Lipp. I'm am lucky that Chuck chooses to share his pizza expertise with the students of Cooks'Wares. Being from Jersey my taste for pizza is particular to say the least, buy I have found one place that I keep going back to, and that's Deweys.I have been assisting Chuck for about 4 years now when he comes to the Settlers walk location, and to say we have fun is an understatement. My favorite will always be the Billy Goat, with Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Light Mozzarella Cheese, Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes. OK my mouth is watering.

Friday, November 9, 2012

No Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in the kitchen. The question is, are they really mistakes? We are having guests over for dinner, and I had aspirations of making beef bourguignonne. I know, look at me, all fancy. Well after going to childrens mass with the girls, going shopping for Thanksgiving outfits (for the girls), picking up Josie, and finally coming home, I realized I forgot to marinate the beef yesterday. Now, just a few years ago I would have thrown my hands up in the air, and said forget it, and tried to figure out something else to make. Today I pushed through, and though my beef bourguignonne would most likely make Julia Childs cry, my house smells wonderful, the dish tastes great, and not a single tear shed. My point, there are no mistakes in cooking, just opportunities to discover different dishes. If your in the middle of a recipe and you realize you have forgot to shop for an ingredient, or you forgot a step in the recipe. Don't throw the towel in, push through, you may create something better than the original. If that doesn't work, that's why they invented pizza delivery.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Simple Salmon

Its always good to have a quick weekday menu in your tool box. Tonight for instance the request from the peanut gallery ( Caitlyn) was salmon. Salmon to me is a super food. A 3 oz serving has only 175 calories, 10 grams of total fat, and packs a whopping 19 grams of protein. There are loads of ways to prepare this dish, but this is a family favorite.

Simply Salmon

 Filet of salmon, skin on

Olive oil


Mixed dried herbs of your choice, I prefer Nantucket Off-Shore Rub

 Position oven rack to top level. Preheat your broiler on high.

Drizzle olive oil on both sides of salmon. Place salmon on a cookie sheet, skin side down, and sprinkle with seasoning, and herbs. Broil for about 8 to 10 minutes.

We serve this with couscous, and a roasted vegetable of some sort.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

The weather is turning cold fast. This is a great time to cook up some warm chicken soup. This very easy soup can be a base for almost everything. Chicken and dumping, stock, or just like it is, a good home remedy for all that ails you. My Mom taught me to always have some of the soup in the freezer, for the unexpected sniffles.

Mom’s Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken

2 large onions, chopped

5 or 6 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

2 cups baby carrots, chopped

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped


salt and pepper

Cut up chicken and cover with water in large stockpot. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes skimming off waste periodically.

Add rest of ingredients, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Add chopped fresh parsley during remaining ten minutes

Stay Warm, and God bless New Jersey!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dayton Daily News

Very exciting news. I was interviewed yesterday for a Life article for the Dayton Daily news. There will be a few recipes and tips on how to make your Thanksgiving less stressful. Look for it to come out some time in the second week of November.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat Warm my Feet

Trick or Treat night is always a good night to whip out a good slow cooker recipe. Tonight I put together a quick and easy chicken tortilla soup. Add some yummy condiments, and tada you have a dinner to warm you, and whom ever shows up on this cold and windy night.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 bell peppers, chopped ( I like using different colors)
1 jalapeno, minced
1 cup corn kernels
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 10 1/2 oz fire roasted tomatoes, with their juice
1 whole cooked rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
Tortilla chips or strips

Saute onions and peppers in olive oil until soft. Add jalapeno, corn, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder and tomatoes and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Add chicken and broth , cook on high 4 to 5 hours or low 7 to 8 hours. Top each bowl with tortilla chips, and condiments of choice.
Serves 6 to 8

Serve with:
Sour Cream
tortilla chips
avocado sliced
Mexican cheese blend
fresh lime wedges

Enjoy with all your little monsters!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

My one peice of advice. Get good tools to carve you pumpkin. If you design has intricate areas, shave the inside down, A LOT.  It will make cutting the narrow areas much easier to cut out.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Diane Phillips

I am so excited and honored to be able to work alongside Diane Phillips tonight. She has been such a mentor to me over the last few years, and I am in awe how much I learn from her every time we meet. Not only is she the author of several top selling cookbooks, she is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. I so blessed I can also call her my friend. Go check out her cookbooks, and get cooking.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping can be a chore, everyone knows that. I especially need to stay organized when doing my grocery shopping because a lot of the times I am shopping for other events such as cooking classes, or catering events as well. I get such a kick out of shopping for a meal, adding it all up, and realizing how much money I saved verses going out to eat. A steak dinner for 4 at home with baked potatoes and roasted asparagus approximately $30. If 4 of us went out to dinner it would be $30 per person + +. Eating at home can and should be a joy, and you can make everything just the way you want it.
Something we like to do to make our steak nights a little more special is to make a quick hollandaise. This quick and easy accompaniment can be very versatile and can be used on your steak or your vegetables.
Blender Hollandaise
3 large egg yolks
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 dash of Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
1 stick of butter, melted
In a blender combine egg yolks, lemon juice, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Pulse blender several times to combine. With the blender on slowly drizzle in melted butter. Tada you have hollandise.

If you would like to turn this into a bearnaise:
2 Tbs white wine
2 Tbs tarragon vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 tsp fresh or dried tarragon
1 clove of garlic smashed
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, and reduce by half. Make hollandaise the same just substituting 2 Tbs water for the lemon juice. Strain wine reduction, pour into blender, and pulse several times to combine.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Freezer beef and cheese manicotti

Just helped a friend make manicotti to freeze and serve later. Instead of individualy wrapping each one to freeze, we used the sleeves that they were packaged in, covered them with plastic wrap, and in the freezer they go.

First Entry

Over the years I have been so blessed to work with a great company like Cookswares. Through them I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing chefs such as, Diane Phillips, Elizabeth Wiley, Dave and Liz Cook, Virginia Willis, and the list goes on and on. I have always had a passion for cooking, and having the opportunity to be an instructor has allowed me to share my passion with others. The encouragement and support from my family, friends, and students is so rewarding that I decided to finally start a blog. Through this blog I will share some tips and experiences as I continue my path. I do hope to put the recipes that I have tweaked over the years in a book someday, and will evidently need recipe testers. Hopefully no one will judge my horrible grammar and spelling, and simply enjoy my experiences in the kitchen.