all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Monday, April 30, 2012

Honey-Mustard Pork Chops

Pork chops never had it so good ~ and it’s because of the relatively dulcet-zingy flavor of the honey-mustard marinade!

This may qualify as the worst food pic ever---we were hungry!

This recipe is from our local newspaper, The Northwest Herald, and is one I plan on repeating many times.  The chops marinated in the refrigerator for 5 hours before being baked.  The recipe actually calls for broiling them, but I placed them on a baking sheet and baked them for about 20 minutes.   They turned out juicy and tender.  The next time, they will be cooked on the grill.  Bet that would be even better!

 I was afraid the recipe was not making enough marinade, but it was plenty.  The sauce was really delicious and the pork chops turned out tender and succulent.  The only problem is that I didn’t take a “pretty picture” of them, as you can see.  We could hardly wait to sink our teeth into them…

Not much better...

Honey-Mustard Pork Chops


¼ cup Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon cider or white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon black pepper (I used ½ teaspoon seasoned pepper)
4 (5-ounce) loin pork chops


For marinade:

Stir together all ingredients except pork in a small bowl.
Transfer marinade to a large zip-close plastic bag and add pork.
Squeeze out air and seal bag; turn to coat meat.
Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
Remove chops from bag and discard marinade.
Place chops on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until pork is cooked to your desired doneness.

It’s hard to beat the tangy-sweet flavor of honey-mustard, especially with pork! 

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Creamy Grape Salad Dessert

I just love desserts that masquerade as "salads” or, is it salads that pretend to be “desserts” ~ and Aunt Phyl too!

I’m sure most of you have an “Aunt Phyl.”  Back in Ohio, my parents and many others have passed on ~ Aunt Phyl is the one who keeps the remainder of us connected; us cousins, in particular.  

This isn’t her only good quality; she’s also fun-loving, has a really keen sense of humor, always wears a smile on her face and, she knows a great recipe when she meets one!  Everyone needs an Aunt Phyl just like mine!

Aunt Phyl & Uncle Jake 

Aunt Phyl sent me an email a few days ago, telling me about this dessert which was served at her euchre club recently.  I read the recipe, rushed to the grocery store, and hurried home to get this salad made.  It is sinful!

Those crunchy pecans and the rich brown sugar are the special finishing touches, hiding the grapes below, in a creamy smooth sauce.   Who ever thought of combining grapes with cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and pecans?  This has a plethora of textures and the colors are good too, especially if you use red grapes.  It can be made a day ahead of time as well.

This can be a salad served on greens or it can be a yummy treat for dessert.  Even though, it has grapes in it, and no apples, the flavors remind me of a caramel apple at the county fair or at Halloween time.  This will be a great ambrosial dish for our cook-outs this summer, or a potluck, and yours too! 

Just beware ~ no matter whether it’s a salad or a dessert ~ it’s HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!!!

Creamy Dessert Grape Salad


3-4 pounds of seedless grapes, red or green
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar (or Splenda)

2/3 cup brown sugar (or 1/3 cup Splenda brown sugar)
1 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Add grapes to the sauce and combine well.
Top grapes with brown sugar.
Sprinkle pecans over all.
Refrigerate a few hours or make the day before.
Mix together before serving.
Makes about 8-10 servings

It’s heavenly luscious!!!

Thank you, Aunt Phyl!

Is there an “Aunt Phyl” in your family, or are you “Aunt Phyl?”

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and delicious easy recipes!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, Lightened Up

This is kind of like the old diner dishes, remember them?  Nothing fancy --- just good plain food, served on those white plates with the black ring around the rim. 

I had a pound of ground sirloin, and wanted to make something besides regular ground beef patties, that wasn’t calorie laden.   I saw this recipe for Salisbury steak in my Cooking Light cookbook ~ it made me feel good about making the meat as it comes in at less than 200 calories per serving.  That’s great and it tasted great too!  

The recipe called for cremini mushrooms ~ I had button mushrooms on hand and used them.  Sometimes, I like the high gloss of Kitchen Bouquet (“tsk, tsk!”) added to a dish such as this.  Besides the gloss, it also gives the gravy a deep color and steps-up the flavor a tad.  An added teaspoon of dry mustard provides a little zing. And, for a little additional color, there’s chopped parsley.  Pick and choose what you want in it. 

This is a great comfort food dish for these chilly days that I hope you will cook and enjoy!

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy


1/3 cup grated onion, divided
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces button, mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup dry red wine
1¼ cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet, optional
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Chopped parsley for garnish, if desired


Combine ¼ cup onion, salt, pepper, garlic and beef.
Shape into 4 oval patties.
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.
Add patties.
Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
Melt butter in pan.
Add mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes.
Stir in wine, Kitchen Bouquet, dry mustard and remaining onion; cook for 2 minutes.
Combine broth and flour, add to pan and bring to a boil.
Cook 5 minutes or until thick.
Add patties and vinegar to pan, cook for 2 minutes.
Serve with your favorite potatoes, or egg noodles, and a vegetable on the side.

Bon Appetite!

Tell me ~ did you "tsk, tsk" at the Kitchen Bouquet?

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind of Cooking, for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mushroom Casserole and Rocco’s Penne with White Pesto

I’ve liked mustard from the very beginning, when I watched my grandfather slather a hunk of bread with mustard at most meals.  I’m a full-fledged mustard addict now and understand perfectly his love for it.  

My refrigerator has one whole shelf devoted to various mustards, and proudly taking up space there are the 3 bottles I won recently from Debbi, @DebbiDoes Dinner… Healthy and Low Calorie.  If you haven’t visited Debbi’s blog, you’re in for some great recipes!  The majority of them are low calorie, packed with good flavors, and easy to make. 

Debbi participated in the “Skinny Mama Mustard Contest” with her Spaghetti Squash Vegetable Gratin with Tarragon Lemon Mustard Sauce.  The kind folks at Saucy Mama gave Debbi 3 bottles of mustard for her own giveaway and I was the lucky recipient!  

I knew Saucy Mama’s Garlic Mustard would be perfect in a mushroom casserole I make and have posted.   This is a delicious mushroom recipe for anyone who is wild about mushrooms.  It is a saucy baked dish that combines mushrooms with sour cream and mustard.  It’s a simple side dish that will have your family and guests taking a second helping. It’s just as good (better?) left over!

This is way at the top, on my list of favorite side dishes!!!

Blurry but GOOD!

You can see the 3 varieties of mustard in this photo:

Here’s the recipe:

Tangy Mushroom Casserole


2 pounds fresh button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup butter, softened
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Saucy Mama’s Garlic Mustard
¼ teaspoon McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper
1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped onion


Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice.   Cream butter, flour, salt, pepper, and mustard.  Add sour cream, parsley and onion. Stir well.

Place half the mushrooms in greased 2 qt. dish.  Top with half of the sour cream mixture, spread evenly.  Repeat layers.

Bake 325 degrees for 1 hour or till well heated and golden.
Allow it to set for 5-10 minutes before serving.
6-8 servings


Not only did I win the mustard; Debbi also gave away a copy of Rocco’s Italian American cookbook.  I’ve always like Rocco Dipirito’s recipes.  He is an American chef in New York City, a cookbook author, celebrity chef and owns a couple of restaurants there.  His mother, Nicolina, is with him along the way, cooking and advising.  I follow Rocco’s recipes weekly in the Chicago Tribune.

Rocco & Mama

Rocco’s Italian American cookbook is packed with recipes there were passed on through the generations in his family, in versions specially adapted for today’s home kitchen.  All the recipes in the cookbook have fewer than 10 ingredients and the first one I made was Penne with White Pesto.  I love penne pasta and the white pesto intrigued me because it is packed with walnuts.  It’s delicious and easy too!

Penne with White Pesto


½ cup walnuts
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound penne pasta
¼ cup ricotta cheese


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Put a big pot of water over high flame.
Add a handful of salt when it begins to simmer.
Toss the walnuts in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 10 minutes.
Remove pan and set walnuts aside to cool.
Cook the penne till al dente.
Drain well, retaining ½ cup or so of the cooking water.
Chop the nuts and mix them with the ricotta, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Toss the pasta with the pesto, adding a splash of water if it seems too thick.
It should be thick and creamy.

It is thick and creamy and delicious!

Thanks so much Debbi ~ I’ll enjoy it all!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and delicious easy recipes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chicken with Grape Chutney

Why not make some chutney?  It is the perfect accompaniment to chicken ~ there’s something about the delicious way sweet and sour chutney balances out the flavor of savory chicken. 

This recipe is from my Cooking Light cookbook.  It calls for both green and red grapes.  I knew from making Roasted Italian Sausage with Grapes, that it makes no difference in taste or color, which grape is used, so I used only green grapes.  I then added crushed red peppers to the mix for a little heat.  

I really like this recipe, and am looking forward to the next time I make it with chicken straight from the grill.  It will be delicious!

Chicken with Grape Chutney


½ cup chopped onion
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups seedless green grapes
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper


In skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.
When hot, add chicken breasts.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Sauté until golden brown and juices run clear, turning once.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in grapes; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick.
Serve chicken with chutney on the side.

It is delicious!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and delicious easy recipes!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Green Onion Crab Cakes

Ask 50 cooks and you’ll get 50 recipes for crab cakes…

Sometimes, they end up tasting like all of the ingredients, except the crab meat.  This crab cake recipe actually brings out the great crab flavor, which is just what it should do, even if it is canned crabmeat.  It’s not exactly a penny pinching meal, so I want it to have the flavor that is intended!

Living here in a small town, just Northwest of Chicago, we don’t have access to the great fresh crab that you all enjoy on the coast lines.  So I am curious ~~~ what type of crab do you think is best, and why?  Is it Maryland Blue Crab or Dungenous Crab in San Francisco?  I just know I’m jealous of all of you that enjoy it fresh!

Maryland blue crab
San Francisco dungeness crab
Our "fresh" crabmeat

These green onion crab cakes are nice and crispy on the outside and tender, moist and chock full of crab meat on the inside.  A good simple meal!

Green Onion Crab Cakes


1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons green onion tops
3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon brown mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked over for shells
4 teaspoons milk
6 saltine crackers, finely crushed
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter, for frying
Tartar sauce or lemon wedges


In a small bowl, combine egg, onions, chili garlic sauce, brown mustard and mayonnaise well.  Set aside.
Lightly break up crabmeat in a medium bowl.
Add milk and toss to coat crabmeat.
Add egg mixture to crabmeat and toss gently.
Add cracker crumbs and combine.
Gather mixture and form into 6 patties.
Coat crab cakes with Panko bread crumbs.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before frying to prevent the crab cakes from falling apart as they cook.
Fry until golden.
Serve with tartar sauce or lemon wedges.


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind of Cooking, for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chicken Pizzaiola with Capers ~~~ Lightened Up

I’ve never made, nor even eaten, Chicken Pizzaiola before, but I positively plan on cooking it again!

Chicken Pizzaiola is a traditional Italian food, as far as I know.  A lot of you, my foodie friends, out there are Italian, so please let me know if that is true---what is the origin of this dish?  I believe the original recipe combines the taste of herbs with tomato sauce, poured over cooked chicken and topped with slices of mozzarella cheese.  

I clipped this light variation of Chicken Pizzaiola from our local newspaper, The Northwest Herald.  It has the delicious tomato sauce with plenty of oregano, red pepper flakes and piquant capers.  Instead of layers of mozzarella, this is topped with grated Parmesan cheese. 

It was delicious!  I served it with a green salad and cooked spinach.  It would be great served with spaghetti!

Chicken Pizzaiola with Capers


3 chicken breasts; boneless, skinless
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 green onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce can) tomatoes, no-salt-added
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon capers, drained
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional


Place chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.
With meat pounder or rolling pin, pound evenly to about ¼” thickness.
Sprinkle chicken with oregano, salt and seasoned pepper.
Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.
Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer to plate.
Add oil to skillet and reduce heat to medium.
Add onion and bell pepper; cook stirring frequently, until tender.
Add garlic and cook about 1 minute.
Return chicken to skillet along and add tomatoes, pepper flakes and capers.

Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes longer; depending upon thickness.
Serve sprinkled with Parmesan, if desired.

Tender, Moist & DELICIOUS! 

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

May the spirit of hope that Easter brings,
Help you find contentment in little things,
And restore your faith in the Lord above,
Who gave His life for the ones He loves.

I wish you all a very Happy Easter!