Monday, March 9, 2009

A different twist on a Tuna Casserole

You can't go wrong with crispy-fried bacon and butter. Oh come on, you could use Smart Balance and Turkey bacon if you wanted to...this has tuna (good for you)...clams (also good for you)...garlic (good for your heart)...etc. Once you fry the bacon and boil the pasta you're minutes from dinner!

Mediterranean Pasta

1 lb. lean bacon
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 (7.5 oz.) cans chopped clams with liquid
1½ cups canned pitted and sliced black olives
½ cup butter
1 (12 oz.) pkg. noodles, cooked and drained
1 (7 oz.) can solid pack tuna, drained and chunked
¼ cup chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and sauté over low heat until crisp. Pour off all but ¼ cup drippings. Add garlic, clams, and olives, simmer for 5 minutes. Melt butter and pour into clam mixture. In a large bowl, place cooked noodles, clam mixture, tuna and parsley. Toss and serve with lemon wedges. (use linguini, vermicelli, etc.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Here's another delicious recipe!

Hi my fellow foodies!

Today on Good Things Utah I made a delicious Sausage Bread and since it's easy to make and afford, it qualifies for my:


1 frozen bread dough
¾-1 lb. of Italian sausage
½ medium onion, diced
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, cooked as directed & squeezed dry
2 eggs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Roll out thawed bread dough into a large rectangle; cover and set aside. Brown sausage with onion, drain well. Add squeezed spinach and transfer entire mixture to large bowl. Mix in eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Spread sausage mixture onto rolled out dough and roll up like a jelly roll. Place in greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
This is really fabulous...and it's a meal in itself. Serve with marinara sauce or with a side salad. You could also add in some toasted pine nuts, chopped and sauteed mushrooms or spice it up a bit more with some cayenne or added Italian Seasoning.
Plus....once you've browned the Italian sausage and's only 30 minutes to the table!
Love you guys and let me know how you like it,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Are you kidding me?

I can't believe it's been since before Valentines Day that I've posted something fun for you! I've been Facebooking, cleaning the garage, finishing up my dessert cookbook and playing with my puppy (when it's not snowing!)
This morning on Good Things Utah, I made Dark Chocolate Cake Bon-Bons - you can get the recipe by going to and click on Good Things Utah. Right now it's at the top of the "Most Favorite" category on the main page. All it is is a dark chocolate cake mix and some whatever you'd like to roll your bon-bons in, i.e. chocolate sprinkles, cocoa, cinnamon, etc. No matter who makes them, they love them so please put this recipe on your "gotta do" list.
I promised cooking tips each month so, here are my February submissions. I hope they help you be more comfortable in your own kitchen - in the meantime just remember we're officially less than a month away from Spring!!!!

1. Place a rubber mat or a wet dish towel underneath your cutting board to help keep it from

2. Tired of lumps in your hot cocoa? Once your powdered cocoa is in a bowl put just enough
water or milk in and mix to make a paste. Now you can gradually add the remaining liquid
and live lump-free!

3. Does your recipe call for cake flour? Remove 2 tablespoons from 1 cup of all-purpose flour
and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch; sift it to make sure it's well blended.

4. Use dental floss to cut any pastry roll type dish, i.e. cinnamon rolls, pizza rolls, etc. A knife
tends to crush the roll while dental floss easily cuts through the dough.

5. Grilling season will be here before you know it - when I'm making ka-bobs I always use metal
skewers to avoid the pre-soak that wooden skewers require. Make sure to lightly oil them
before sliding on the meat or veggies - it will help stop foods from sticking to the skewers.

6. Stop the bottom of ice cream cones from getting soggy by dropping in a mini marshmallow or
an upside down chocolate kiss. Not only will it stop the drips, it's an extra treat when the ice
cream's all gone!

7. If you're working with a recipe that's not in a cookbook...maybe you printed it off a website or
cut it out of a it inside a large resealable plastic bag to protect it from

8. People ask me how I keep track of all the recipes that I have...what works works best for me
is to purchase an accordian file and rename the tabs to reflect what kind of recipe you're
storing. I now have one for desserts, one for main dishes and one for side an
extra misc. accordian file. It's made a big difference when I'm tracking down a specific recipe.

Coming to in March...a series of Basic Cooking Tip Webisodes like how to seed avocadoes or segment citrus or how to seed tomatoes and green peppers. I taped them at Western Gardens, Ben Cook shot and edited them, and I hope you'll let me know what you think. I plan on creating an entire library of "did you know" type webisodes to help new cooks learn and remind "seasoned" cooks what they may have forgotten!

Have a wonderful week and, as always, I look forward to hearing from you,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentines Day Eve

This year, Valentines Day is on Saturday. Most husbands, if they know what's good for them, take their wives out to make those reservations and start the entire "Weekend of Love" Friday night with a Super Supper for your Sweetheart!

You can make both the soup and the strawberry mousse in advance and save yourself some time. He'll feel so special after this meal, you may get a new pair of earrings along with your Saturday night out! Enjoy!

Start with Renee's Shrimp Cocktail Soup:

2 bottles of Clamato Juice
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup Valentina Picante Sauce
1 Tablespoon celery salt
Juice of 4-6 limes (about 1/3 cup)
3-5 Serrano peppers, cut into rings (be careful!)
One medium onion, diced
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 medium bunches cilantro, finely chopped
6 avocados cut into small pieces
2 lbs. cooked, deveined, peeled shrimp

In a large bowl, pour all of the Clamato Juice, ketchup and picante sauce; stir well. Add celery salt, lime juice, sliced peppers, onions, tomatoes and cilantro; stir well. Gently stir in avocados and shrimp. Cover and keep in fridge.

Next up? My Crispy Pancetta Chicken with Rice

2 lbs. chicken breasts
1 t. thyme
2 t. rosemary
½ t. salt
1 T. Lemon Pepper
2 cups broth
6 oz. pancetta
1 cup diced onions
1 cup chopped and seeded tomatoes
3 T. cornstarch
Shredded Mozzarella

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss chicken breasts in herb mixture of thyme, rosemary, salt and lemon pepper. Pour chicken broth into bottom of pan and insert steamer rack. Place prepared chicken on rack; cover and steam for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
While chicken is steaming, chop up pancetta and small dice onions. Sauté pancetta in large skillet until slightly crispy, add onions and continue to sauté until onions are softened and pancetta is very crispy. Remove from heat. Toss in chopped tomato last. Remove chicken from steaming rack and keep warm. Thicken remaining pan broth/juices with cornstarch; strain.
Serving Suggestions:
· Drizzle thickened pan juices over white rice
· Place steamed chicken on prepared rice
· Top with crispy pancetta mixture
· Drizzle again with thickened pan juices
· Sprinkle with shredded Mozzarella

...and for dessert? Strawberry Mousse!

1 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 enveloped unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup heavy cream
Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water. Dissolve unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water. Puree frozen strawberries in blender. Add gelatin mixtures and sugar to the frozen strawberries and blend again. Add ice cream and cream, blending well. Pour into a wet 6 cup ring mold and freeze. To serve, unmold and let defrost for 15 minutes. Fill center with whipped cream if desired.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peace and Budgeteria

I just got back from leading a 90 minute Tranquility Retreat for Associated Retail Stores' Annual Conference. It's so rewarding to be able to help provide anti-stress tools to everyone in attendance. Today we talked about teenagers, old life wounds and Soul Soup! If you're interested in having a Tranquility Retreat for you and your friends...please let me know and we'll go from there.

Let's not stress about dinner! Here's another special from my
Garlic Lime Chicken
This is a quick 40 minute supper with hardly any "watch over" time!
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
Mix soy sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and mustard together. Marinate chicken in mixture for 30 minutes; remove and sprinkle with pepper.
Heat frying pan to medium, drizzle with olive oil or spray with oil and saute chicken for about 6 minutes per side or until juices run clear.
Serve with:
Rice pilaf (or other Rice-A-Roni boxed mix)
Steamer Vegetables
....or as a sandwich with a little hot mustard mixed in with mayo, cole slaw (instead of lettuce), and a quick rice salad
....also delicious chopped or shredded and served mixed with a little pasta and drizzled with Soy Sauce. Makes kind of an Asian Spaghetti...chop up some green onion and sprinkle on top

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Announcing Budgeteria

Since we're all trying to be so conscious of our grocery spending...I thought I'd open the doors on my own place. Welcome to The

I'll be posting smart recipes that will be very budget-friendly and here's the first one!

Crock Pot Pork Chops

1 (6 oz.) package stuffing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon curry powder
6 pork chops

Mix stuffing as directed on package. Put half the stuffing in a lightly greased crockpot. Spoon 1/2 can of mushroom soup over stuffing; sprinkle with curry powder and place pork chops on top. Spoon remaining stuffing over chops; add remaining soup. Cook 8-10 hours on low in crockpot.

Complete the meal options:
Pork gravy
canned green beans or yams
mashed potatoes
green salad

It's super-easy and chances are you've had something like this before, however having the crockpot do all the work for you is fabulous and the house smells so good when you walk in the door after a long day.

I hope you like my Budgeteria...and look for more penny-pinching recipes coming your way in the future.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Cooking Tips #1

Welcome to the first in a series of monthly cooking tips here on my blog. You'd be surprised how many questions I get asked on a regular basis. How do I chop an onion quickly, when should I use sweet cream vs unsalted butter, how do I section out an orange..etc. Within the next 4-6 weeks I'll be doing a series of basic cooking tip webisodes. You'll be able to watch those at
In the are some fun "Did You Know" fast facts about food:

* If you have leftover whipped cream, dollop it onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen put the dollops into a big resealable plastic bag and you'll have a quick topper for Hot Cocoa or maybe an Apple Crisp

* You can mellow out the flavor of fresh garlic cloves by peeling and simmering in a small saucepan...just for about 3-5 minutes. I store any garlic I've prepared like this in a small container drizzled with a little bit of olive oil. Don't leave it on the counter...just pop it in the refrigerator. It holds this way for about 2 weeks.

* Glass containers conduct more heat so if you can remember to reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees it'll offset that especially when your making baked goods like cookies or cakes. Most recipes don't account for the difference between glass and metal pans

* Half the peanuts grown in the United States are used to make peanut butter

* Word has it that storing plastic wrap in the freezer will stop it from sticking to itself...however I never have enough room in my freezer to test this out!

* You'll get more volume out of egg whites if you beat them at room temperature...however heavy cream should always be as cold as possible before beating

Okay...there's half a dozen for you. Have a great weekend and on Monday, I'll be making a recipe for Shrimp Cocktail Soup on ABC4's Good Things Utah. It's from of my Facebook Friends!