Friday, December 17, 2010

Crock-Pot Pot Roast Burgundy

The winter season calls for hearty recipes... this is my version of my favorite pot roast recipe that is good enough to serve to guests! I double the sauce and freeze it so I can easily make it again!

  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard/mustard-seed/mustard
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. burgundy wine
  • Optional: flour to thicken
  • 3-4 lb. pot roast
  • 2+ large white onions, sliced

  • Mix the sauce in a food processor or large bowl. Set aside a cup or two of the sauce to be added at end to freshen up the flavor.
  • Salt & Pepper the roast & onions, place in crock pot.
  • Pour sauce over the roast.
  • Cook on low 8 hours. 
  • Warm the left-over sauce in the microwave, thicken with flour if desired. (I make mine really thick because it will dissipate once added to the other liquid. The warmth of the liquid will activate the flour; mixing it outside the crock-pot will eliminate clumps.)
  • Pour in crock-pot, stir. Optional simmering.
  • Enjoy! 
  • For last 6 hours of cooking time, add other veggies such as 1 pound of fresh mushrooms, 2 cubed potatoes, carrots or whatever sounds yummy.
  • Cube the meat prior to cooking.
Serving Ideas:
  • Your favorite mashed potatoes will be enhanced by the yummy gravy of this dish.
  • Egg noodles will bring out the sweetness of the sauce.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Breaded Dijon Pork Chops

This simple recipe from will have everyone raving! (My modifications in parenthesis)


  • 3/4 cup crushed saltine crackers (or bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage (or Italian seasoning)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 pork rib chops, approximately 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Warm oil at medium heat in a large skillet. 
  2. On a small plate, combine the cracker crumbs, thyme, pepper and sage. 
  3. Spread mustard on both sides of pork chops.
  4. Coat with crumb mixture. 
  5. In a large skillet, cook pork chops in oil over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and juices run clear. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

This is my version of my go-to fish recipe for guests, from The marinade is so good that the mango salsa is optional. (Serves 4 adults.)


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 frozen tilapia fillets


  1. Mix together marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. 
  2. Add the tilapia fillets and coat with the marinade.  Squeeze out excess air, seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Cook Fish:
    • Grill: Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate. Remove the tilapia from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the fillets until the fish is no longer translucent in the center, and flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve the tilapia topped with mango salsa.
    • Bake: Place filets on foil-lined glass or metal baking sheets. Cover with marinade and bake at 400° F for 20 minutes.

    Optional Mango Salsa
    • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Prepare the mango salsa by combining the mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl. Add the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Couscous & Fruit Salad

    I make this fruity couscous to serve at room temperature with blackberry chicken. I use the same vinegar and berries so the dishes match. This recipe is from Eating Well, (my notes are in parenthesis).


    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons orange juice
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (or whatever you have)
    • 2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots (optional)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 2 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous
    • 1 cup chopped nectarine (I use frozen peaches)
    • 1 cup mixed fresh berries, such as blackberries and strawberries
    • 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, (optional)


    • Whisk oil, orange juice, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cooked couscous, nectarines, berries and almonds; gently toss to combine.

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Ham with Mango Glaze

    This easy mango glaze will dress any holiday ham up for the spring season! I poured the sauce over already cooked ham and served with wild grain rice... yum!

    • 2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and cubed
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 3 pounds boneless ham
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Place mangos, honey, lemon juice and spices in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth. Score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife and place in a shallow baking dish. Brush with some of the mango glaze. Bake for 1 hour, basting with glaze frequently. Slice ham and serve with any remaining glaze.

    Blackberry Chicken

    This is my adaptation to a Taste of Home Recipe, using more berries and dried thyme because who has time for fresh thyme?

    • 3 tablespoons plus 1 cup fresh blackberries, divided
    • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or whatever you have)
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3/4 teaspoon paprika, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 teaspoons flour
    • In a small bowl, mash 2 tablespoons berries. Add 1/4 cup broth, brown sugar, vinegar, oil, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and cumin.
    • Place chicken in an 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray; pour broth mixture over the top. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, pepper and remaining paprika.
    • Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°, basting occasionally with pan juices. Remove chicken and keep warm.
    • Skim fat from pan drippings. In a small saucepan, combine flour and remaining broth until smooth. Gradually stir in drippings. Bring to a boil, season to taste; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken; sprinkle with remaining blackberries. Yield: 6 servings.

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Crab-Veggie-Mornay Pasta

    Cook 1/4 box of spaghetti noodles. 

    Melt 1.5 T butter in saucepan, add salt/pepper
    Add 1.5 T flour, stir until combined, cook
    Voila- you have a roux. 

    Warm 1 c. milk in microwave on 50% power
    SLOWLY add to butter/flour, stirring frequently, cook until almost simmering
    Voila- you have a b├ęchamel sauce.

    Add 1 or 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese and some garlic
    Voila- you have a (pseudo) mornay sauce.

    Add the noodles, combine and set aside.

    In large skillet:

    • Warm few T. of olive oil
    • Saute 1/2 c. chopped onion, add salt- cook
    • Add bite-sized pieces of broccoli- cook
    • Add one package of imitation crab meat, cut into bite-sized pieces- cook
    • Add matchstick carrots & mushrooms, add salt- cook
    Add the noodles and sauce to the large skillet, combine. 
    Voila- a cheesy, seafood pasta.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010


    • 1 cup taco meat
    • 5 eggs
    • 3 slices of American cheese
    • good sprinkle of Tex-Mex seasoning
    • salt/pepper
    • salsa
    • Optional: onion, green bell peppers, mushroom

    • Warm meat in skillet
    • Add eggs, pre-scrambled in bowl
    • Sprinkle with seasoning, salt & pepper
    • When almost done, mix in cheese and salsa
    • When complete, top with salsa and optional dash of hot sauce

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Playdate Pizzas

    I had some ladies over for playgroup today and made these yummy little pizzas that were perfect for snacking and so easy.

    2 packages of english muffins or little biscuits, pre-made and pre-sliced.
    • Mini-Pizzas

      • Vegetarian marinara sauce
      • Shredded mozzerella cheese
      • Pepperoni (optional)
      • Mushroom (optional)
    • BBQ Chicken Pizzas
      • BBQ sauce
      • Chicken- baked, cut into small pieces
      • Shredded cheddar cheese 
    • Hummus Veggie Pizzas

      • Hummus, (any variety- I like the red pepper hummus)
      • Cucumber, peeled and chopped
      • Tomato, chopped
      • Red onion, chopped
    Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees F.
    Open the muffins/biscuits and place them on 2 foil lined cookie sheets.
    Spread some of the sauce on the bread, cover with toppings and insert in oven for approx. 10 minutes.
    Remove from oven.
    Using a cutting board, cut each into quarters using a sharp, non-serated knife.

    Arrange on serving dish and viola!

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Veggie Pizza Minis

    I la-la-love Paula Deen and her show, Paula's Home Cooking. This is her recipe that can be easily adapted for any day-party!

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
    • 3 English muffins, sliced in 1/2
    • 3 cups diced eggplant
    • 1/4 Vidalia onion, sliced
    • 1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
    • 1 small zucchini, grated
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
    • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 3/4 teaspoon Greek seasoning
    • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are softened. Add salt, to taste.
    Spoon cooked tomatoes evenly over English muffin halves. In a skillet, saute eggplant and onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add squash and zucchini and cook until tender. Do not over cook, since they will cook some more in the oven. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauteed vegetables evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle each mini pizza with balsamic vinegar. Top with mozzarella and feta cheese. Sprinkle pizza with Greek seasoning and basil.
    Bake 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.

    Sweet Couscous with Nuts & Dried Fruit

    Giada De Laurentiis sure knows how to do things right... this is a great recipe from her show, Everyday Italian.

    • 2 1/3 cups water
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
    • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
    • 2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) couscous
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted slivered almonds
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted & skinned hazelnuts
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, if desired


    In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cranberries, apricots, and cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the couscous and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid until the couscous has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes.
    Using a fork, fluff the couscous to break up any lumps. Add the almonds and hazelnuts and toss. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet until completely cooled, about 10 minutes.
    Transfer the couscous to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
    Serving Suggestion: Drizzle the couscous with 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil for a moister texture.

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Cumin Chicken w/Apples

    This is a slightly modified version of a great dish from The Taste of Home Cookbook (see link, left).

    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 medium apples, chopped
    • 2 small onions, halved and sliced
    • 4-8 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed & sliced
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder


    • In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter. Transfer to a greased 13x9" baking dish. In the drippings, saute apples, onions and mushrooms until apples are crisp-tender. Stir in the flour, soup, water, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken.
    • Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer reads 180° 
    • Sprinkle with chili powder. 
    • Serve with whole-grain, brown rice.

    Italian Sausage Alfredo

    This is a cheap & easy recipe that is sure to please.

    • 1 tube Bob Evans Italian Sausage (this is ground breakfast meat found by the bacon)
    • 1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
    • 1-2 jars Bertolli Alfredo sauce

    1. Start cooking salted water to boil the noodles.
    2. Brown the meat in a large skillet, on medium heat.
    3. When meat is 3/4 way done, add the sauce to skillet and mix well.
    4. Simmer at medium-low heat until noodles are done.
    5. Combine & enjoy!

    Caitlin's Rocky Road

    My favorite easy treat... you can even keep all of the ingredients in the cupboard for when you need it. People will be happy to take this home in plastic baggies!

    • 1 package of semi sweet chocolate chips, (12 oz./2 cups)
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
    • 10 oz. of mini marshmallows
    • 3/4 of a jar of lightly salted dry roasted peanuts (12 oz./2 cups)

    1. In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. 
    2. In a separate big bowl, mix marshmallows and peanuts.
    3. When chocolate mixture is melted and smooth, combine with the peanuts and marshmallows until they are thoroughly covered with the chocolate mixture. 
    4. Pour the mixture into the pan into a 9x13 inch pan, lined with wax paper.
    5. Put in the refrigerator for a couple hours, pull out and cut into squares!

    Caitlin's Easy Cheese Dip

    Great dip that is not too spicy, yet yummy!

    • 1 cup of mayo
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1- 4oz can chopped black olives
    • 1-4oz can chopped green chilies
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 10 dashes Tabasco sauce

    1. Mix all ingredients together and put in a oven safe dish.
    2. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
    3. Serve with tortilla chips.

    Hashbrown Casserole

    This recipe makes an easy breakfast casserole using things you probably already have around the kitchen... you can prepare in advance and either just wake & bake or freeze it for future! Works as tasty side dish for meal; it pairs especially well with ham!

    • One bag frozen shredded hashbrowns, defrosted
    • One can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
    • A handful of shredded cheddar cheese
    • 3 Tablespoons of sour cream
    • Splash of milk
    • a regular cereal bowl full of diced veggies, (I like to use assorted bell peppers, mushrooms and a white onion)
    • 1 Tablespoon of butter
    • 2 cups of dry cereal or crackers
    Set oven to 350-degrees.

    Dice the veggies and set them in a bowl.

    Then, take  is a good size to aim for, but again - whatever you have should work, although if you use a big one you might have to double the recipe).

    Start mixing the ingredients in an 8x8 oven-safe dish.
    1. Add the hashbrowns first.
    2. Add the concentrated Soup, but don't add water.
    3. Add the sour cream.
    4. Stir using a spoon or spatula.
    5. Add the Veggies.
    6. Stir.
    7. It should be a creamy mixture that isn't too runny. If the mixture looks too firm, add a splash of milk. If you aren't sure, don't bother.
    8. Spread the mixture evenly around the dish.
    Prepare the Topping.
    1. Put the butter in the cereal bowl you used for the veggies.
    2. Microwave at half-power for 10-seconds, then check. Swirl it around to kinda stir it up. If needed, continue cooking on half-power in 10-second increments until melted. Be careful, butter cooks quickly and will splatter all over your microwave.
    3. When melted, remove from microwave.
    4. Add the cereal directly to the bowl.
    5. Stir with a clean metal spoon until the butter is absorbed into the cereal.
    Sprinkle the Topping over the casserole.

    Bake for 40 minutes.
    Bon appetit!

    Italian Layered Zucchini

    A delicate layering of sauteed zucchini, onions, mushrooms, local roma tomatoes, fresh Sweet basil from my garden and mozzarella cheese, garnished with Japanese basil.


    • Zucchini - approx. 4 medium
    • Butter/Oil - 2 Tablespoons, to saute the veggies
    • Onion - one small white onion
    • Mushrooms - about 6-8 oz.
    • Basil - handful of fresh Sweet basil leaves
    • Tomato - 3 medium roma tomatoes
    • Cheese: two handfuls of shredded mozzarella
    • Salt & Pepper
    Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

    Layer 1 - Zucchini & Onions:
    1. Wash the zucchini.
    2. Use a vegtable peeler to remove the peels from the zucchini. You can be sloppy with this, as the skin is tasty and healthy but generally removed for softer texture.
    3. Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces.
    4. Cut the onion.
    5. Add the butter/oil to a large frying pan on medium heat.
    6. When it is melted, add the zucchini and onions - careful not to splatter the butter/oil.
    7. Sprinkle with salt.
    8. Saute the veggies.
    9. When they become soft, remove from heat and pour into an ungreased 8x12 cooking pan.
    10. Spread this layer out evenly.
    Layer 2 - Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Basil
    1. Very gently wash the mushrooms, tomatoes and basil.
    2. Slice the mushrooms, add to pan, spread out evenly.
    3. Cut the tomato into bite-sized pieces, add to pan, spread out evenly.
    4. Mince the basil and spread it over the veggies.
    Layer 3 - Topping
    1. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
    2. Add one handful of mozzarella cheese.
    Put in 350-degree oven.
    Cook for about 30-minutes.
    Remove from oven.
    Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
    Allow to stand for 10-minutes as it will be very warm.


    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Sweet Basil Rub

    This works as a great rub for poultry or smear for a pork loin.

    • 1 T. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
    • 1/4 tsp. granulated onion
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

    Mix together then add these:

    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1 T. whole basil
    • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil

    Rub on poultry.