all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Monday, May 2, 2016

One-Pan Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Bake

This is about simplifying your day!

There’s very little prep work here ~ it’s a no fuss dish:  dry pasta, uncooked chicken, your favorite sauce, all blanketed with mozzarella cheese. 

To begin, break raw uncooked spaghetti in half, or thirds, over a layer of your favorite sauce; homemade or jarred, in a casserole baking dish. 

Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and spread over the top, along with mushrooms and spinach.  Do this in two layers, finishing with mozzarella sprinkled over the top, then bake for an hour or so. 

That’s it!  One-pan, no fuss, little clean-up and a delicious comforting dinner for you and your family on a chilly day like it is here today!

It doesn’t get much easier!

One-Pan Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Bake


8 ounces (1 box) dried spaghetti, broken in half or smaller
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed of excess liquid)
8 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
14 ounces chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
42 ounces (one 26 ounce jar plus one 16 ounce jar) spaghetti sauce, or homemade
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350°.
Pour 1 cup of sauce in bottom of 13” x 9” baking dish.
Layer half of spaghetti over the sauce.
Layer half the mushrooms, half the chicken and half the spinach.
Arrange more dried spaghetti over all.
Continue with layers of remaining chicken, mushrooms and spinach.
Place remainder of spaghetti on top.
Spread remaining sauce over the top, covering the entire casserole.
Be sure all of the noodles are covered with sauce.
Scatter mozzarella over top.
Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Printable recipe



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mustard Slaw

Mustard is my favorite condiment.  Bill and I had lunch at Red Robin yesterday, where he watched me smear my burger with mustard.  He told me that’s as bad as putting ketchup on a hot dog, which I would never do.  

Grandpa always spread his bread with mustard, so I learned about mustard at an early age.  But then, I always loved Miracle Whip spread on white bread for an after school snack too…

Speaking of Red Robin ~ have you been there lately and noticed a $1.99 charge on your bill for Entertainment Tax?  Seriously now!

Anyway, if you like mustard, here’s your slaw ~ that’s the secret ingredient with this fantastic slaw.
Mellow yellow mustard gives the slaw just enough bite; without overpowering the slaw, like a pungent spicy hot mustard.  

Adding the combination of mayo, a little sugar, half-and-half, celery seed, and a splash of vinegar makes the dressing creamy, sweet and tangy, having a very balanced flavor.

Purchase a bag of shredded cabbage mixture to eliminate your doing the doing the shredding and/or to save time.

This slaw is perfect with burgers, fish sandwiches or on pulled pork sandwiches.  

You will be hooked from the first bite, and hopefully your mustard naysayers will too!

This is pretty tasty slaw!

Mustard Slaw


5 cups white cabbage, shredded
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon kosher salt


Mix vegetables in a large bowl.
Blend everything else in the blender or whisk well.
Pour over cabbage and toss.
Makes 6 cups
Printable recipe


Friday, April 22, 2016

Shrimp Pasta w/Tomato and Basil

This is a great quick little pasta dish that’s ridiculously delicious!

It’s a delicate dish in a light slightly spicy sauce that’s not loaded in calories.  

I can’t say much more about it ~ it’s simple and flavorful, doesn’t require much effort, nor time and best of all, your family will love you for it when you cook it!

Shrimp Pasta w/Tomato and Basil


8 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste1 (16-ounce) can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup basil leaves, chiffonade
Shredded Parmesan for garnish, optional


Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions.
Place oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add shrimp and garlic to skillet.
Cook shrimp about 1 minute on each side until they just begin to turn translucent.
Transfer to plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add canned tomatoes, cook for 1 minute.
Add red pepper, sugar and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in cherry tomatoes and basil, cook for 1 minute.
Return shrimp to pan and combine well.
Add cooked spaghetti, tossing well.
Cook for another 2 minutes.
Serve, garnished with Parmesan.

Printable recipe


Friday, April 15, 2016

49 and Counting...

This is truly hard for me to fathom:
it has already been 
17,898 days,
roughly 429,567 hours
since Bill and I married
way back
 49 years ago, 
on April 15, 1967.  

Seems like it was yesterday, doesn't it, dear?

April 15, 1967 ~ Louisville, KY

We were both young things 
in our early 20’s 
when we married 
and life has been 
good to us ever since.

Hawaii 2001 At the luau
Hawaii - 2001

It makes me happy that 
I found and married 
such an 
optimistic ~ loving ~ kind 
with a witty sense of humo
that cracks me up daily.

He's a caring father 
for our 2 magnificent sons, 
caring grandfather for our 
adorable groovy 
5-year-old grandson.

Bill, Jr.


2004 ~ Tucson

2006 Riviera Maya Mexico Hotel bar
2005 ~ Riviera Maya, Mexico

 2007 ~ 40th anniversary renewal vows in Las Vegas, with Elvis "officiating." 
The sun was very bright in this pic, but had to include it because of Elvis' pose!

Las Vegas 2008
2008 ~ Las Vegas

2010 Springfield KY
2010 ~ Springfield, KY

2013 ~ near home

We will be celebrating it low-key this year, with a delicious dinner at a favorite restaurant here in the Chicago area:  filet mignon for me, strip steak for him, with all the trimmings…

Toasting to our 49 years 
of wedded bliss
and Income Tax Day!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Pecan-Crusted Catfish Cajun Style

I hear you questioning it:  
pecans, cornmeal and catfish?  
They go together like you wouldn’t believe!

This catfish has a delicious thick crust ~ you’ll swear it’s batter-fried catfish.  The fillets are sweet, meaty, flaky and spicy.  It’s a simple great way to eat catfish!

Swipe the fish through the spicy flavors of cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano and garlic powder, stirred into buttermilk. 

Dredge the catfish into a combo of cornmeal and chopped pecans, for great texture and nutty taste. 

Baking this catfish is a no-mess alternative, delivering a crispy crust without deep-frying.

Give this a try ~ I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Pecan-Crusted Catfish Cajun Style


½ cup buttermilk
½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne 
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon, each salt and seasoned pepper
2 cups cornmeal
½ cup pecans, chopped
4 catfish fillets
Lemon slices


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a shallow dish, blend buttermilk and next 6 ingredients (through pepper.)
Combine cornmeal and pecans on a large plate.
Dip each fillet into buttermilk mixture.
Dredge in cornmeal mixture, coating both sides.
Transfer to a baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick spray.
Bake catfish for 25 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork.
Serve with lemon slices

Printable recipe


Monday, March 28, 2016

I'm Happy to be Back!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Many thanks to all of you for your kind comments regarding Bill and his knee replacement surgery!  He's
doing great and is starting to swing his golf clubs now.

And, regardless of what he says, I was no Nurse Ratched!  

Many thanks also, to our older son, Bubba, for all the good assistance he gave his dad.  

Now, to the soup!  With some leftover ham from Easter, a bag of navy beans and chilly weather, it's a soup kind of day today:  Bean soup with ham!

This is an easy recipe that will take a little time, but not a lot of effort.  It's hot, comforting and loaded with good flavors! 

Navy Bean and Ham Soup 


1 pound dried navy beans, sorted and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 cups ham, cut into bite-size pieces


Add beans, broth and water to large pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook until beans are tender, 90 minutes to 2 hours.
To thicken, mash a few beans at a time to the side of the pan.
Stir well and serve.


Friday, February 12, 2016

My Cincinnati Chili and a little time off...

I’m taking a little break.  Instead of chief cook and bottle washer, my temporary new role will be a combo of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton.

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, reducing the death count by two-thirds. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.  Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform.

Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912) was a pioneering nurse who founded the American Red Cross. She worked as a hospital nurse in the American Civil War (1861-1865), and as a teacher and patent clerk Barton is noteworthy for doing humanitarian work at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home. She had a relationship with John J. Elwell, but never married.

Last week, Bill had knee replacement surgery and I am in charge of bossing him around, woo hoo!   (∗ᵕ̴᷄◡ᵕ̴᷅∗)  making sure he follows doctors’ orders.  And, many thanks to our great son, Bubba,  for helping us out ~ would've been tough without you, and we appreciate all you've done!

In the meantime here's a recipe for the chili we enjoyed before his surgery:
I’m a Buckeye by birth so it doesn’t get much better than Cincinnati Chili!

This was new to Bill:  As in, “Who eats chili with cinnamon and cocoa, over pasta, with cheese sprinkled on top?”  I converted him and made a Cincinnati Chili Believer out of him!

I almost always serve the chili over spaghetti, but naturally, this time when I looked in the cabinet, there was only shell pasta.  It doesn’t make any difference what type pasta is used ~ if you’ve never eaten chili served over hot cooked pasta, you’ve got to try it to see how delicious it is! 

Most chili recipes include tomato sauce and water ~ I swapped V8 juice for them.  I go a little heavy on the chili and garlic powders and add chili beans instead of the traditional kidney beans. 

This is very different from the Southwestern version, and maybe you chili aficionados are doubting, just give it a go to believe it!  

It’s delicious and should there be leftovers, lucky you!

It's perfect for the bitter cold weather we're having now!

Cincinnati Chili, my way


2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
1 (46 ounce) can of V8 juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa* 
2 (15-ounce) cans chili beans
8 ounces spaghetti, or your favorite pasta
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, and meat and chop into bite-size pieces.
Add onions and cook until tender and meat is browned.
Tilt skillet and use a baster to remove any accumulated fat. 
In a large pot, add tomato juice and seasonings, stirring well, bringing to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add meat and beans; cook for 30 minutes, until somewhat thick. 
Meanwhile, cook pasta, according to package directions; drain well.
Divide pasta into 4 bowls, top with chili.
Garnish with cheddar cheese. 
Serve hot with garlic bread or oyster crackers on the side.

*I use Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Printable recipe

This is good eating, ENJOY!