I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Food For The Fussy and Not so Fussy

When dealing with a fussy eater it is always a pleasure when you hit on something that they truly enjoy. It only ceases to be a pleasure when that is all they request to eat every day for a week. Luckily the rest of us liked this recipe as well because I ended up making it three days in a row. Even though this makes a good size batch and reheats well for leftovers, we are hard pressed to ever have any leftovers since everyone seems to go for seconds and sometimes thirds. So I can say with some certainty that this is a dish that your family will truly enjoy.

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

8 boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 small can of chicken broth
1 can of chicken gravy
1 cup of canned or frozen peas
Carrots, optional
Dumplings (recipe below)

Cut chicken into small pieces and combine with rest of ingredients in a saucepan. Heat to boiling point; turn down heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add dumplings and cook as recipe directs.


2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk (fresh or canned)
2 Tablespoons of melted butter

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls on boiling chicken mixture. Cook 10 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes covered.

Makes 10 to 12 dumplings.

I like to serve mine over mashed potatoes, talk about the ultimate comfort food!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Panko Shrimp Is A Sure Bet!

Family and friends threw me a surprise birthday bash yesterday at a nearby gaming and casino establishment for a day of fun. Before the actual gambling commenced we enjoyed a leisurely early dinner at their vineyard buffet. As with all buffets the selection was overwhelming. While all of us enjoyed most everything that we tried one dish stuck out as the agreeable favorite, their panko crumb fried shrimp. It was delicious, my grandmother could not stop talking about them and actually had seconds. The Japanese panko crumbs make all the difference in this recipe. The crumbs create the perfect crispness which gives a great textural contrast to the tenderness of the shrimp.

Panko Fried Shrimp

Fresh large or jumbo shrimp
2 eggs, beaten
Panko Crumbs
Cooking oil

Peel, de-head, de-vein and wash the shrimp in cold water. Lightly salt them. Put well stirred eggs into a bowl. Dip the shrimp in the eggs. Drain the excess egg off for a few seconds and place them in Panko crumbs. Make sure they are well covered with the meal.
For best results refrigerate the battered shrimp for about an hour.
Deep fry at 350 degrees until they rise to the top, 1-1/2 - 3 minutes or until golden brown.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Fondon't When You Can Fondue!

Good Living is an act of intelligence,by which we choose things which have an agreeable taste rather than those which do not.


Everything I eat should contain either garlic or chocolate, but rarely both...... although the thought of garlic dipped in dark chocolate is beginning to peak my creative taste buds as I write this. I may just have to give it a try, in all honesty just how bad could it be.

There is a funny quote that says;" Forget love-- I'd rather fall in chocolate"!!! But I say;" Remember love....and fall in the chocolate together"! Whether you skinny dip, chunky dunk or slowly wade in the chocolate pool just enjoy your time together, happy valentine's day.

Dark Chocolate Plunge
8 ounces of really good unsweetened dark chocolate (if you choose to use an already sweetened variety of chocolate just omit the sugar in this recipe).
1 c. light cream
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine chocolate and cream in medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Add sugar and continue cooking until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into fondue pot or chafing dish. Serve warm with fondue dippers.

In advance, prepare: angel food cake, strawberries, pineapple chunks, banana slices, marshmallows, biscotti, pretzels, potato chips.....the list is endless.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This Salad Is Just Right!

We are now two thirds of the way into our winter, longing ever more impatiently for the arrival of spring and its promise of warmer days ahead. We are all so desperate to warm and sooth our now freezing souls that we crave all of our foods to be warm.....even our salads! Well if you think about it, isn't it counter productive to have a nice hot bowl of soup accompanied by an ice cold salad? Well it sure is if it is 6 degrees outside and your bones feel like icicles.
This is a very traditional version of a wilted spinach salad, use this as your foundation to add your own personal touches such as;" hard boiled eggs, mushrooms, artichokes" whatever warms your heart.

Wilted Spinach Salad

1 lb. raw spinach
1 med. red onion, thinly sliced
8 slices bacon
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. (dry) prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. pepper

To 1 lb. well washed and dried raw spinach, (broken up and larger stems removed) add 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings, cover and chill in refrigerator.
For dressing: cut up 8 slices bacon into bite size pieces and sauté until crisp. Add remaining ingredients and heat the dressing until it is bubbling. Just before serving, pour hot dressing over salad tossing gently to wilt greens.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Little Pasta, Big Meal

As with many Italian American children I often enjoyed pasta for breakfast. The breakfast consisted of Pastina (little Pasta), butter, sugar and an egg stirred in. It had to be one of my favorite breakfast treats growing up. Over the years I still use Pastina mainly in soups but here is a recipe that can be used as a comforting dinner or altered a little to become a delicious breakfast that any child or adult would greatly enjoy.

Pastina with Egg and Cheese

1/2 cup Pastina (any brand of tiny soup pasta)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Boil water and cook pastina according to directions. Drain and add butter. Beat eggs and pour in. Slowly cook over low heat to cook egg add cheese, stir and serve warm (Can also use egg substitute) makes a great dinner dish.
For breakfast, omit cheese and add milk, may use sugar if you would like to add a little sweetness to your day.