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This recipe comes from apinchofhealthy.com and I’ve made it many times over the years. It’s a one-pot meal with delicious flavors.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into apx. 1″ cubes
  • Cajun or Creole seasoning, about 2 tsp.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. cured sausage links, sliced (I use andouille)
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Hot sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1-1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Season the chicken with Cajun or Creole seasoning and salt and pepper. Heat a little bit of oil in a large pot. Add the seasoned chicken and stir fry until the chicken is no longer pink. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Continue frying until the onion is translucent and the celery is no longer crisp.

Stir in the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Keep the pan over heat and stir in the thyme, bay leaf, sausage, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in hot sauce to taste and chicken broth. Lastly, stir in the rice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and let simmer 15 minutes without taking off the lid. Remove lid and stir. Take a little bite. If the rice is not nearly done enough, cover and return to very low heat for another 5-8 minutes. If the rice is done, let the pot sit, covered yet unheated, for about 5 minutes. Stir. Sprinkle with green onion. Serve warm now. Serves 4-6 people.

This has become a favorite of mine. It’s flavor is sublime. Not too spicy, but a robust flavor. The recipe comes from NatashasKitchen.com and she uses it on a lot of things. I’ve only ever tried it on salad, but think about dressing fish tacos or dipping potato wedges. Oh, yum! I’ve made this many, many times now and have tried it in my Ninja bullet blender and my Cuisinart mini-prep food processor. Either one takes quite a bit of processing to reach the slurry consistency that you want. I’d say the blender was easier in the long run.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice

Blend ingredients until smooth dressing consistency. Voila! That’s it. Serve or refrigerate until serving time. Tastes better if you wait a half hour or so. But it’s really good, so just go for it.

This is gluten-free and really yummy, a great idea for fancy brunch. I found the recipe at meaningfuleats.com and adjusted it somewhat.

  • Crust Ingredients
  • 1.5# sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup red onion, small dice
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 4 oz. crumbled Chevre (goat cheese)

Working in batches, put the grated sweet potato into a dish towel and squeeze as much liquid out as you can. This looks like too much sweet potato, but it’s going to be okay. Trust me. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Yes, very hot. Prepare a 9 or 10″ pie plate with cooking spray or grease.

In a large bowl mix together the grated, wrung sweet potatoes, egg, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pie plate, bottom and sides. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

While that is baking, saute the red onion in butter until translucent. I have made this recipe using leeks instead and it’s also super yummy. Remove from heat and let cool.

Mix together filling ingredients: eggs, cream, salt, pepper, half of the Chevre, and the sauteed onions.

Remove sweet potato pie plate from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Pour filling mixture into crust. Sprinkle remaining Chevre over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for ten minutes or so. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This turned out to be super simple and a quick preparation. The recipe comes from Taste of Home and they have a nice video of the preparation. It was SO good that I made it again the next day using gluten-free flour (Namaste Perfect Flour Blend) and it turned out great, too. I used fresh raspberries, but I’m going out on a limb to say frozen would work, too. The most delicious part of this dish is the lemon goodness inside the pinwheels. Genius!

  • RASPBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  • 3-4 cups raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • PINWHEELS INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. shortening
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. half-and-half cream
  • Flour (regular or gluten-free) for the rolling surface
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the raspberries in an ungreased 8×8″ or 11×7″ baking dish.

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the cold water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Pour this syrup over the raspberries. Bake at 400 degrees F for ten minutes. Remove from heat.

While the raspberries are baking, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or knives until the mixture is crumbly. Combine the egg with the half-and-half cream and stir it into the crumb mixture to form a stiff dough.

Shape the dough into a log and then, on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 12×6″ rectangle. Combine the butter, zest, and sugar. Spread it on top of the dough to within a half inch of the edges. Roll the dough starting on the long side, jelly-roll style. Cut the roll into ten slices. Pat each slice slightly to flatten, then place them atop the raspberry sauce.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until pinwheels are golden. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold. Tastes great with ice cream or cream.

GLUTEN-FREE NOTES . . . the three pictures above are of my gluten-free product. My dough was far too stiff, so I should have added more half-and-half cream, but I didn’t add enough. The dough was on the verge of crumbling apart, but I was able to get it to roll. Whew! When I patted the slices to flatten them a bit, they didn’t hold their shape very well because the dough was too dry. Ah, well. IT WAS DELICIOUS! The third picture in this series is so you can see what it looked like from the side after it was baked. The raspberries were so beautiful through the glass baking dish. A good photographer could have a great time with this recipe.

This is a small portion of my raspberry patch. I ran out to pick enough raspberries for this dessert each day that I made it. That was in addition to the 12 pounds in my freezer for this winter. I LOVE raspberries!

More notes about this recipe . . . it was super, super simple to prepare, but it did make a lot of dirty dishes. This is always a concern for me. Anyway, you will need a baking dish, saucepan, mixing bowl, and vessel to melt butter and make the pinwheel filling. That is in addition to the measuring cups and pastry cutter. Just be prepared. I had never treated raspberries this way and that’s why I thought it was genius to pour the syrup over the berries. So often a raspberry recipe ends up mushing the raspberries because they are an incredibly fragile fruit. But this recipe does not require one to stir the raspberries . . . ever. It’s so beautiful!

I really love asparagus. My favorite way to cook it, so far, is roasted in olive oil with sliced shallots. This salad is another favorite of mine. I’ve made it many times. I like to serve it with Eggplant Parmesan. It’s based upon a recipe I found at cookingclassy.com.

  • Salad Ingredients (all measurements approximate — just eyeball things)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/3 lb. grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Dressing Ingredients (all measures approximate — again, just eyeball it)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Small clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Toast the walnuts. I spread mine out on a pie tin and place it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget about it! Shake it around every few minutes until the walnuts are brown and smell toasted. Set aside. Let cool.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the asparagus pieces and set the timer for 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the asparagus. Let the asparagus run under cold water while you’re filling a small bowl with ice. Set your strainer in the ice bowl and add water until the asparagus is covered. Let it cool down quickly. Strain again.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and whisk or shake until it is all incorporated.

To an appropriate-sized serving dish, add the walnuts, asparagus, and sliced tomatoes. Stir in the dressing. Just prior to serving, sprinkle on the feta cheese crumbles. Serves 4.

It’s Cobb Salad y’all! I do love it. I make this with any variety of things. Pictured is a 32-cup Tupperware bowl, so you can mentally figure my quantities. Can you see what’s in the bowl?

Today I used one whole chicken breast, boned and skinless, sliced into thin strips. I marinated it for a short while in about 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. dried rosemary, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I added salt and fresh-ground pepper as it was put into the saute pan. I stir-fried the chicken slices over very high heat in olive oil until it browned quite nicely. Then I let it cool down so as not to wilt the salad. I have also used lemon-pepper and another time I used a southwest seasoning and another time just salt and pepper to season the chicken. I do this differently every time I make it. Whatever you feel like doing at the time will be fine.

Also in this particular salad is a base of two small heads of torn romaine lettuce, a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves, three hard-boiled eggs, five slices of crispy oven-fried thick bacon, sliced green onion, grated sharp cheddar cheese, pitted and sliced black Kalamata olives, three sliced mini sweet peppers, sliced grape tomatoes, sliced green onion, one and a half chopped avocado, and chopped cucumber. Just before I serving, I sprinkle on croutons. Where is the bleu cheese, you ask?

My dad gives me an entire round of Stilton every Christmas. I slice it into wedges, vacuum-seal the wedges, and freeze them for use throughout the year. I usually run out around early November. Bleu cheese dressing goes well on salads and sandwiches, so I make a lot of it. My Cobb Salad is always served with Bleu Cheese Dressing. Always.

  • Bleu Cheese Dressing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Buttermilk
  • Garlic powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Bleu cheese, crumbled

Stir the mayonnaise to get out any lumps, thin it to a dressing-like consistency with buttermilk. Stir in a dash of garlic powder and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Stir in crumbled bleu cheese. Let it sit awhile, if you can wait.

This is a recipe that I make often. It’s not fussy and is low-carb. My house smells great while it is simmering all afternoon. It is gluten-free. It is based upon the recipe found at foodnetwork.com. On the day I took these photos, I served the Chile Verde with Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Corn Pudding.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds pork roast (butt or shoulder is best, but I used a lean loin), trimmed of fat and cut into 2″ pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Anaheim or poblano chiles, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3 jalepeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock

In prepping the tomatillos, this is what I do, but I’m sure there is a better, more flavorful way. I’m just going for the easy way. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil. I do not oil or grease the foil. Peel off and discard the tomatillo husks. Rinse the tomatillos. Slice in half and place each half, skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until brown spots appear on the skins. Remove from oven and let cool. Turn off your oven, you’re done with it. Once the tomatillos are cool, chop them. This is sort of messy. Set the tomatillos aside.

Heat a very large cooking pot. Swazz a bit of vegetable oil into the bottom. Liberally salt and pepper the pork pieces. In batches (mine was 3 batches), over high heat, brown the pork cubes and then set aside. Add more oil as necessary.

In the same pot, add the onions and bell peppers. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the chiles and the jalepenos. Saute awhile longer. Add the garlic and saute a little longer. Stir in the prepared tomatillos, oregano, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, and cilantro. Add the pork back into the pot. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally until the meat is fork tender. Add chicken stock as needed. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Yields 6-8 servings.


Legs tired, we chose an outside table at a restaurant in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and collapsed into chairs, ordering dos cervezas. It was a pleasant afternoon on the plaza, watching the world go by. We asked the waitress what was good to eat and she recommended Plantain Cups. They really hit the spot that day. Once home, I tried to recreate the dish because of how delicious they are. Plantains are readily available here, but I’ve never cooked with them before. I found a recipe at SimpleByClara on her Dominican Cooking website and used her basics of how to make the cups. They are really yummy and quite easy to make. I’m still not sure how to select a plantain at the grocery store and I suspect what I’m choosing are not as good as they could be, but it’s a work in progress.

  • Ingredients for Cups
  • 3 large (or 4 medium) ripe plantains, peeled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Oil for basting

Cut the plantains in half and place into a large saucepan. Try to disabuse yourself of the notion that these are bananas. They’re not. They’re more like potatoes. Add water to cover and add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until plantains are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove plantains from water and let cool a little. Mash the plantains. I always end up using a food processor, which works well. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not cooking them long enough or if they’re old plantains. In any event, mine are always too hard to mash by hand, but the food processor works great.

Prepare a muffin tin by spraying or greasing. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Mashed plantains are sticky, and so it’s easy to form the cups. Grab a handful of mashed plantain and press it into a muffin cup. Make them very compacted. I got 10 plantain cups last time. Brush oil lightly over each cup. I used olive oil, but any type of oil should work.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and fill with your favorite topping.

The ones we had in Puerto Rico were filled with little tidbits of spiced beef and a tasty sauce. Here is what and how I did what’s pictured (they were delicious), but I’ll probably never make these the same way twice.

I cut beef Tri-Tip Steak strips into 1″ cubes. I sprinkled taco seasoning over the meat. I preheated a skillet on high heat and added a bit of olive oil. I added the meat to the pan and seared it on all sides as well as possible. I removed the meat from the pan and set it aside. To the skillet I added diced onion, diced sweet mini peppers, and diced garlic. I let it saute until the onion was translucent, then I added some chopped jalepeno peppers. I stirred the beef back into the pan and cooked a bit longer. I scooped a little bit of the filling into each plantain cup, then sprinkled with Monterey Jack cheese. I baked at 425 degrees F for about 10 minutes. I served these topped with mashed avocado, fresh jalepeno slices, and salsa. Umm, umm, good!

Alternative fillings would be spiced chicken, cheddar cheese, beans and/or corn. Whatever you want to do will be great.

Another reason I like these is that it takes the place of wheat or gluten foods at dinner time. It’s something I can feed my relative with the wheat allergy.

This is my new favorite way to make polenta. It is so simple and versatile. I found the basic recipe at dinnerthendessert.com. I’ve only ever made half Sabrina’s recipe because it makes too much for us. Even so, I’d say half her recipe still serves six people. I think we could get away with halving it again, but I’ve been pretty happy using up the leftovers (think eggs over polenta-yummy!). I think any kind of cheese would do, it just depends upon what you’re going to serve with it. I’ve used Parmesan. I’d like to see a slightly firmer product, but I’m working on it. I buy polenta, but Sabrina says you can use corn meal. Lastly, she also says you can stir in a lot of different things, like shallots or garlic or lemon. I haven’t yet tried that.

Since there are no wheat products in this, I think we can safely say it is gluten-free. I use polenta in the same way I use mashed potatoes.

Mushroom Steak Tips over Creamy Cheesy Baked Polenta
  • Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together water, polenta, salt, pepper, and butter in a 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and cheese. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes, uncovered. Serves 6.

BeanSalad

This is extremely simple, but really yummy. The lemon juice and tomatoes are a nice tart contrast to the earthy bean flavor. You will need small white beans, grape tomatoes, green onions (scallions), lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. There are no set measurements, just use your eyes and your taste buds.

I start with one can of small white beans, drained. Rinse and drain again. While it’s draining, cut grape tomatoes in half. Slice green onions. Stir the beans, tomatoes, and green onion together gently. Sprinkle with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, then stir gently again. Boom! Done. If not serving right away, keep it refrigerated and then give it a stir when you’re ready to serve.