Monthly Archives: February 2011

(37) Spicy Mango Chicken

Well, I’m almost through blogging my January meals which is great since it’s almost March.  At one point in the not-too-distant past, I was a highly organized, efficient human being.

Then someone came along and sucked my brain out of my skull.

Not really.

I adapted this recipe from the “Spicy Mango Shrimp” recipe in February 2011 Southern Living.  It’s easy, tasty, and colorful.  SL says it’s an “innovative take on the sweet-hot flavor of [takeout] fried coconut shrimp with honey mustard sauce.”  So, you know, if you like takeout Asian food… this is fo’ you (minus the coconut if you’re making my adaptation… and minus the shrimp).


Spicy Mango Chicken

1-1/2 pounds chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup fresh mango, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups rice
1 teaspoon lime zest
1-1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Sauté chicken in a light drizzle of olive oil.


Meanwhile, chop up the veggies.


Set aside cooked chicken.


Sauté onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper.


Add mango, cilantro, soy sauce and lime juice.  Cook 1 minute, then stir in chicken.


Bring coconut milk, salt and 2 cups water to boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in rice; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  (Depending on the type of rice you use, the cooking time may vary significantly so consult the package directions.)  Stir in lime zest and juice.


Serve chicken over rice!


(36) Mediterranean Chicken Salad

I turned 29 (the real 29) a couple of weeks ago.  Sunday, I went to the Clinique counter to purchase some eye wrinkle cream.  I couldn’t decide between “All About Eyes” and “All About Eyes Rich,” so I asked one of the sales associates.

She said, “The original is lighter weight and the Rich is heavier, more moisturizing.  So do you feel like you need more moisture?”

I said, “I think I do,” then sort of trailed off, indicating I’d like her input (i.e. look at the wrinkles under my eyes and tell me if you think they’re bad enough to require the “Rich” formula).

So she said, “Then I’d go with the Rich.”

Because the two creams were the same price, I have to assume that she wasn’t trying to up-sell me but was instead saying, “You look like an old hag and need all the help you can get.”

But then, when buying wine last night, the cashier carded me.

The eye cream must be working!

Or maybe it’s all the salad I’ve been eating.  I love fresh, crisp vegetables, so I definitely prefer Summer produce to Winter produce.  Thankfully Winter does yield some salad greens, so I can still have some seasonal, raw vegetables.  Add some bulgar wheat and chicken, and you have a hearty enough meal to fill you up on a cool night.

*recipe from Southern Living

2 cups boiling water
1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Caesar dressing
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
4 ounces feta cheese
1 medium cucumber, chopped
4 cups lettuce

Combine boiling water, bulgur wheat, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cover and let stand 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine bulgar wheat, chicken, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, red onion, feta, cucumber and lettuce.  Drizzle with Caesar dressing.

(35) Caesar Dressing

When A-Man tasted this dressing he said, “This is the best Caesar dressing I’ve ever had.  I could eat this on everything.”

Yup.  It’s good.

I did used store-bought mayonnaise.  The good news is that we are almost out of mayo, so I will (finally) be able to make a batch!


6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
lemon juice


Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and mayonnaise.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

(34) Roasted Broccoli with Raisin Vinaigrette

We were invited to dinner one Friday night at two of our friends’ house, and the hostess asked me to bring a green veggie.  I’m counting this as a meal.  My blog, my rules :).

Apparently I was so busy making the dish, I forgot to photograph the broccoli at all.  To be fair (to myself), I was also making a gigantic pot of “Baby Bolognese” to freeze for Bronson’s meals.  Oh, and, you know, I evacuated my house because I thought someone had broken in.  No biggie.  I’m sure had I not been standing in our front yard for 20 minutes, dressed in shorts and a tank top (in the middle of winter), holding my 9 month old son (who was sans pants), waiting for my husband to come home and investigate, I probably would have remembered to snap a shot of the broccol

Better luck next time, yo.

*Recipe adapted from


1-1/2 pounds broccoli, tops cut into large florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes or until slightly tender.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, vinegar, raisins, 1 tablespoon water, and cumin in blender.  Blend until raisins are finely chopped, about 30 seconds.  Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer broccoli to large bowl.  Add vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

(32-33) Balsamic Root Vegetables & Apple Stack Cake

No, A-Man and I did not just eat root vegetables and cake for dinner one night.  We had another potluck at Church, and these were my contributions.

Both dishes are very rustic.  Both are probably better suited for Autumn, but root vegetables and apples store well, so… eh.  Break the recipes out for Winter.

The vegetables would really be nothing without the cranberries.  Don’t skip them.  You’ll thank me.  They add just the perfect burst of tart-sweetness that finishes off the dish.

And the cake is far more moist than you’d expect.  That comes from letting the cake sit a couple of days before digging in.  The liquid from the apples seeps down into the cake layers and juices them up.  A-Man doesn’t particularly like molasses cakes or cookies, but he said this cake was “pretty good.”  At least try it is all I’m sayin’.  If nothing else, it’s pretty enough for company, right?

And since Ruthie prefers the step-by-step guide, and was the only person to respond, I’ll keep with that format for now.  I’m still figuring out my style, so we’ll see how things evolve over the next ten months.


Balsamic Root Vegetables
from Southern Living Magazine

1 1/2  pounds  sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1  pound  parsnips, peeled and cubed
1  pound  carrots, peeled and cubed
2  large red onions, coarsely chopped
3/4  cup  sweetened dried cranberries
1  tablespoon  light brown sugar
3  tablespoons  olive oil
2  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
1  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
1/3  cup  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine parsnips, carrots, onions, and cranberries in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker.


Layer sweet potatoes over top.


Whisk together sugar, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.


Pour over vegetable mixture, but do not stir.  Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Toss with parsley just before serving.



Apple Stack Cake
from Classic Southern Desserts

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 cups flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup molasses
2-1/2 teaspoons sugar

18 ounces dried apples
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy.  Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes.  Add egg, beating until yellow disappears.


Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.


Stir together buttermilk and molasses in a large measuring cup.


Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.


Divide dough into 5 equal portions; place each portion in a 9-inch round greased and floured cake pan (clearly I had to use a pie plate because I somehow don’t own any cake pans).  Firmly press with floured fingers into pan.


Prick dough several times with a fork.


Sprinkle each layer evenly with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  (Only bake layers on 1 rack at a time.)  Repeat procedure as needed to bake in pans.  Remove layers from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.


Meanwhile, stir together apples and 6 cups of water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender.  Stir in sugar and spices.  Return mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Let cool completely.


Spread 1-1/2 cups apple filling between each layer to within 1/2 inch of edge, beginning and ending with a cake layer.  (Save your prettiest cake layer for the top.)  Loosely cover cake, and let stand 2 days at room temperature.





(30-31) Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo & Garlic Breadsticks

I really wanted some chocolate tonight.

Real bad.

During my pregnancy, I started craving chocolate like mad.  I’d never really even liked chocolate before.  Now I want it all the time.  I guess becoming a mother really does make a female a woman.

But today is Valentine’s, and I was not about to go to the grocery store at night, alone, on Valentine’s, to buy chocolate.  I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but still.  Strangers don’t know that.  All they know is the petite brunette drove all the way to the grocery store on their proclaimed day of love so she could make a single purchase of chocolate.

So I just went ahead and bought groceries for the week.  A bar of dark chocolate may have found its way into my cart.  And said bar may have made its way into my mouth about, ohh… ten minutes ago.


I made Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo a couple of weeks ago.  And breadsticks.  They were pretty close to Olive Garden’s breadsticks, only, you know, with whole wheat flour.  I followed the recipe for the Alfredo without really thinking and thus failed to ad lib onions.  So, if you make this, might I suggest a nice diced red onion in the sauce?

And I’m trying something new… pictures, then a link to a printable recipe.  Let me know if you like the change.



Breadsticks: Print Recipe!

Chicken Fettucccine Alfredo: Print Recipe!

(28-29) Chili-Stuffed Potatoes & Jalapeno-Cheese Scones

Oh wow.

For two reasons:

1. Aaron made a LOT of chili.  My husband loves him some chili and always makes enough to feed four or five families.

2. Jalapeno-Cheese scones?  Rawr.

So, after shoving spoonfuls of chili down the red peppers’ throats, I still had a container full of the stuff sitting in my fridge.  So, what could I do but stuff it in another unsuspecting vegetable?

Enter Mr. Potato.

Also, I’ve been perusing Joy the Baker’s site and these scones looked ridiculous, so I made them.  I don’t actually love corn bread so much, so these seemed like a pretty decent compromise.  This is the first time, by the way, I have ever made scones I liked (or that even turned out halfway attractive).  It really is all in the recipe sometimes.  The previous scone attempt (a decade ago, by the way) followed a recipe that instructed me to form each scone individually.  Dumb.  And they were dry, dry, dry. So I have had an unspoken hatred of scones ever since.  This recipe changed me.  And my scone prejudice. Now I’m a little obsessed with scones.

And yes, I can say scones one more time.



Chili-Stuffed Potatoes

Toppings (might I suggest something super healthy like cheese, sour cream and avocado?)


Bake potatoes in oven for 1 hour at 350°.  Meanwhile, heat chili in a saucepan.  Cut open the potato, smother it with chili, and finish off with desired toppings.


Jalapeno-Cheese Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound Monterrey jack cheese
2 medium jalapenos, diced


Sauté jalapenos in olive oil.  Cook until softened.


Let peppers cool, then add to diced cheese.


In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.


Cut in butter until mixture is coarse and crumbly.


Whisk together eggs and cream.


Incorporate wet ingredients into dry.


Toss in the cheese and jalapenos.


Turn dough out onto floured surface and form into a wheel.


Slice into six triangles.


Place on parchment-lined baking pan (or silicon baking mat) and brush with cream.


Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.  Then devour.

(27) Fish Chowder

I’d never had fish chowder before I married the A-Man.

And frankly, it took him two years to make it for me.  Four if you count dating.

But it was worth the wait.

Chowder always sounded amazing (because I love a good, creamy soup), but the typical chowder is clam, so… you know… I never ate it.  And I guess I just never considered fish chowder.  I dunno…

I really want to write a few more paragraphs using “chowder,” because every time I type it, I think “chowda.”  Now I’m going to go around thinking in a Boston accent all day:  “Aaron, we need to get gas for the cah.  Let’s play cahds, but don’t be a cheetah.”  Cheater.  Get it?


After I made the chowder, Aaron added a couple jalapenos to the simmering concoction.  We had quite a bit left over, so I froze most of the leftovers as baby food for B-Boy.  Brilliant, right?  You followin’ me?  Can you tell what’s about to happen?

Yeah, I reheated the chowder, fed Bronson a bite, and he shivered and looked totally confused.  I fed him another bite.  Same reaction.  A third.  I thought I was a quick learner… Finally I thought, “Maybe it spoiled,” so I tasted it.  Ohh yeah.  Jalapeno.

So I heated up some veggies for him.  Poor kid.  He didn’t cry, though, so I suspect he didn’t hate it.


Fish Chowder

2 cups firm fish, chopped (I used grouper from A-Man’s deep sea fishing trip)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Old Bay seasoning, a good hearty shake (or two)
3-4 stalks celery, sliced
3-4 carrots, sliced
2-3 potatoes, cubed
4 cups stock
2 cups half-and-half


In a splash of olive oil, brown fish.


Add onion, garlic and seasoning.  Sauté until onions are browning and soft.


Add celery, carrots and potatoes.  Continue to cook.


Add stock.  Simmer until potatoes are tender.


Add cream.  Simmer until heated through or until you’re ready to eat it!

(25-26) Chili Stuffed Red Peppers & Creamed Spinach

The Saturday during my sister’s family’s visit, I planned to make chili.  A-Man really loves making chili, so he asked if he could make it.  I’m a terrific wife, so I said yes.

Then he started going through the cupboards.  “Where is the tomato paste?  The diced tomatoes?  The chili seasoning?”

Well I didn’t buy any of that.  I bought fresh tomatoes.  Made tomato paste.  And we have seasonings, so why would I buy a special little packet?

The conclusion of the matter: A-Man made a late evening run to the grocery store and my tomatoes were left, abandoned, on the counter.  So I won’t blog about chili (yet).

I will, however, blog the dishes I made with the leftover chili.  I suppose technically this meal isn’t “totally from scratch,” but… eh.  Get over it.


Chili Stuffed Peppers

Red bell peppers
**Measurements are totally dependent upon the number of servings.  Use your best judgment.  Or if you do not possess good judgment, just guess.


Combine chili and rice.


Cut a small sliver off the bottom of each red bell pepper (so they won’t topple over in the baking dish).  Cut the tops off the peppers and pull out the guts.  Fill each pepper to the brim with rice-chili mix.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.



Creamed Spinach

4 cups spinach
4oz cream cheese
garlic, garlic, garlic– minced


Garlic! Glorious garlic! Mince.


Sauté spinach until wilted.  Add garlic and cream cheese, combine, heat.  Salt & pepper to taste.

(24) Pinto Bean Enchilada Stack

I don’t really have a heartwarming story to accompany this recipe.  Sorry.

The ground beef came from my husband’s grandfather’s slaughtered cow.  Yep.

And the beans were dried.  Then rehydrated.  Then cooked.  Then squished.  Then cooked again.

And, once again, the corn tortillas are not homemade.  I know.  Fail.  But this recipe finished off that pack of tortillas, so now, if I can ever remember to, I can order a tortilla press and get my taco on…

Pinto Bean Enchilada Stack
adapted from recipe in December 2010 Southern Living

1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
4 cups black beans, mashed
10 (or so) small tortillas
2-1/2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1-1/4 cup enchilada sauce

chopped tomatoes
chopped onions
sour cream
chopped cilantro

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with the spices.

Cover bottom of baking dish with tortillas.  Top with half of meat mixture and 1/2 cup cheese.

Top with another layer of tortillas, half the beans, half the enchilada sauce, and 1/2 cup cheese.  Top with a last layer of tortillas, and repeat layers once.

Bake at 425° for 16-18 minutes or until thoroughly heated and browned.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and bake 2-3 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with fresh toppings.