Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cooking Tip #13

"Always make stock in a large quantity and freeze it in plastic bags. That way, when you want to make a nice soup or boil veggies, you can simply pull the bag out of the freezer. "
Charlie Trotter, Chicago

from the 100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Orange Rice with Chicken

I found this recipe in a small cookbook called The Art of Budget Cooking that I picked up for a $1.00 at a used bookstore last year - (I'd suggest if you want to explore cooking more, and don't have any cookbooks laying around, go to your local used bookstore and snag yourself a cookbook there. Very inexpensive!) This is a wonderful way to use left-over chicken - and could be made without any meat too for a filling vegetarian meal as well... the rice is delicious by itself! I've used canned carrots in this recipe instead of fresh - which was good, it does the trick and saves a little time, but I always prefer fresh produce... if available.

Note: I added 1 or 2 teaspoons of soy sauce to this recipe. It gives the rice a nice sweet & salty flavor which taps the taste buds!

Orange Rice with Chicken


1 2/3 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup fresh orange juice or reconstituted frozen orange juice
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 1/2 - 2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups Minute rice

* or use 1 can (12 oz.) boned white chicken meat.


1. Saute carrots in butter in a large skillet over medium heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes, turning frequently.

2. Add onion and saute until lightly browned.

3. Add orange juice, water, sugar, salt, orange rind, poultry seasoning, and pepper and bring to a boil.

4. Stir in chicken and rice.

5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until rice and carrots are tender.

Makes about 5 cups or 4 servings.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cooking Tip #12

Just the Facts About Garlic

Availability: Year-round

Buying tips: A garlic head should be firm, heavy for its size, and enclosed in dry, papery layers. Do not buy heads that have soft spots or are sprouting.

To store: Store at cool room temperature in a well-ventilated area; it will keep for several months. Do not refrigerate.

To prepare: Separate garlic cloves from the head as needed. To peel, place a clove on the work surface and place the flat side of a large knife on top. Press down on the knife to lightly crush the garlic; remove the peel.

Read more about how to store Garlic at

Friday, January 20, 2012

Balsamic Acorn Squash with Fresh Rosemary

I don't know about you, but I didn't how to prepare acorn squash a few years ago. You almost have to have a ninja sword just to chop one in half... but they're totally worth it. Today, I look forward to every Fall and Winter when they come around and enjoy preparing them for snacks or side dishes with dinner. I enjoy the combination of fresh rosemary and balsamic vinegar... and they're very tasty on roasted acorn squash. Give it a try!

Balsamic Acorn Squash with Fresh Rosemary


1 acorn squash, gutted, seeded and chopped in small triangles.
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Place squash and onion in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary.

3. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Add salt & pepper.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Geno's Skyline Chili Recipe

My partner's step-father, Geno, knows his way around the kitchen. Living in Loveland, Ohio he's also very aware of how Cincinnati chili should taste - especially that of Skyline Chili. Here's his recipe for the famous chili...and it's pretty darn close to the real thing!

Geno's Skyline Chili


2 pounds ground chuck beef
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 - 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
5 cups water
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced *
2 red peppers, chopped **
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon allspice
1 pound box of spaghetti noodles (cook as directed on the box)
1 can kidney beans
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

* substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic chips
** substitute 1-1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper


1. Put all ingredients to a stock pot, except for the beef, spaghetti, kidney beans, cheddar cheese and 1 cup of chopped onions.

2. In a skillet, cook beef and 1 cup of onions and sprinkle with chili powder. Cook until beef is brown.

3. Drain off any fat and add to the stock pot. Let simmer for three hours.

4. Once the chili is ready, heat kidney beans in a separate pot, then add to the chili.

5. In a serving bowl, place cooked spaghetti, covered it with chili, cheddar cheese and onions.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cooking Tip #11

Here's a great cooking tip from Laura Dolson in an article she wrote on on September 5th, 2011 called - Ten Tips for Easy Vegetable Preparation - Vegetables Made Quick and Easy. For more information, and to read all ten tips, go to -

Have The Right Tools and Know How to Use Them

Get a good chef's knife, learn how to use it, and keep it sharp. When you know you can cut up a big mound of vegetables in just a few minutes, you are much more likely to do it. This one tip has given our family a greater variety and quantity of vegetables.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good knife. The TV show "America's Test Kitchen" reviewed chef's knives and recommended one that was about $25--and it will last the rest of your life. Learn how to use the one you choose by taking classes at a kitchen equipment store, or watching TV shows that give technique guidance.

Tip: Don't try to cut too fast at first. Build up your speed gradually. Soon you will be chopping like a pro.

For some jobs, a food processor is also very helpful. It can shred a zucchini or turn cauliflower into “cauli-rice” in a few seconds.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grandma Letha's Veggie Casserole

Over Christmas my Grandma Letha was having a hard time getting around in the kitchen and I offered to help her make supper. She gave me a little index card with this casserole recipe on it and asked me to make it, which I did. It was fantastic! It's one of those dishes you can make the whole year through and take to pot-lucks and dinner parties without much hassle. Thanks again, Grandma!

Grandma Letha's Veggie Casserole


1 16-ounce bag of frozen vegetables
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon ranch dressing
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 package of saltine crackers
6 tablespoons of butter
salt & pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using a non-stick cooking spray, coat a casserole dish.

3. Add frozen vegetables, chopped celery, chopped red onion, 1 cup cheddar cheese, salt & pepper, mayo, and ranch dressing to the dish. Stir until mixed well.

4. In a plastic zip-lock bag, crush the saltine crackers.

5. In a small bowl, melt 1 stick-6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Pour the melted butter into the zip-lock bag and coat the crushed crackers. This should form a buttery, breadcrumb paste that you'll top the casserole with.

6. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese on top of the casserole and place into oven for 30-35 minutes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Potato Pancakes

I received a little cookbook for Christmas titled Little Old Lady Recipes by Meg Reali. It's a perfect gift for someone like me who enjoys good, simple recipes - mixed in with a little humor as well. It's a combination of quotes, recipes, cooking wisdom and funny sayings by little old senior citizen women.

Potato Pancakes are a treat. They can either be used as a side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner... or you can enjoy them as a main course too. They're simple to make, doesn't require a great deal of time to prepare and friendly on your wallet when you're working on a tight budget - like me! I found this recipe in the Little Old Lady Recipes cookbook and gave it a shot the other night. They're called Latkes in the book - but they're the same thing. It's just easier to say Potato Pancake I think.

Potato Pancakes


2 large russet potatoes, peeled and grated (like you would if you were preparing hash browns)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Oil, for frying

* think about it this way - for every potato you grate, add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.


1. Squeeze water out of the grated potatoes as much as you can. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk two eggs and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Pour over your grated potatoes and mix all together with your hands.

3. In a skillet, heat oil on medium-high (if you're using an electric skillet, heat to 375).

4. Form small pancakes with the potato mixture - about the width of your hand - and drop into the oil. Fry until lightly brown and crispy on 1 side (about 6 minutes) then flip over and fry the other side.

5. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate so they can absorb excess oil.

6. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onion to garnish.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cooking Tip #10

Boiling Eggs

If you like your eggs hard-boiled, it's not a bad idea to keep lemons around. Before you drop the eggs into the boiling water, try brushing some lemon juice over the shells to prevent them from cracking while they cook. While you're at it, if you drop a teaspoon of lemon juice into the water, the eggs will be much easier to peel once you're ready to eat them. And don't worry about the juice affecting the eggs' taste -- as long as you don't go overboard, you shouldn't notice it at all.

Did You Know? Mixing a spoonful of lemon juice into boiling water will prevent rice from clumping up and sticking to the pot. A teaspoon of it will also keep boiling potatoes and cauliflower from turning brown.

Tip brought to you by

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

William-Sonoma Ultimate Roast Chicken Rub

I don't know about you, but I love William-Sonoma. I could easily do some major "damage" in that store. Aside from their cookware, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, and other cool toys... they also have a great selection of spices and sauces that aren't too ridiculously expensive. If you haven't already, check it out the next time you're in one of their stores. Heck... you might even see me there.

I recently tried their Ultimate Roast Chicken Rub. It's easy as pie - actually, I struggle with making pies, so skip that analogy... but, as I was saying... it's perfect for a quick-fix, roasted chicken dinner that has the perfect balance of poultry spices. I've used this on a whole chicken and also on individually cut chicken parts with great results.

Lightly bathe your whole chicken or chicken parts in vegetable oil, then rub the spices all over the chicken until every part and/or piece are coated well - and really rub the spices into the chicken, top, bottom, between the skin, ect. I let the chicken absorb the spices while I wait for the oven to preheat to 350 degrees. After the it's reached that temperature, I let it cook for 55-60 minutes. (if you're using boneless chicken breast, I would cook it no longer than 35-40 minutes.)
BAM! You're finished! Serve with some streamed vegetables and dinner is served!