Happy Fall, y’all!


A perfect cake for Fall here in New England. I made a chocolate chocolate-chip cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, covered in fondant and decorated with handmade gum paste leaves and “peeling” birch bark. I had so much fun painting and petal dusting the leaves!

Beef Stroganoff


Well, I’m finished with Baking and Pastry school, and decided I wanted to get back to this blog. I’ve missed it, but going to school, then doing my externship, and entering the working world has been a challenge for me. I’m 49, am married and have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 23 years. It’s hard, but I’m grateful for each day I get the privilege of waking up. I have more aches and pains, and move slower than my younger classmates, but they keep me young, and I love the friendships that I’ve made with them and many of the chef instructors, too. So, what to say about this recipe? Wow! What a great and easy dinner! If you cut your onions ahead of time and buy pre-sliced mushrooms it’ll be even faster.


12-oz package of Extra Broad Noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 TBLS butter

2 (8-oz) packages fresh sliced mushrooms. I prefer baby Bellas!

1 small sweet onion, diced

2 clove garlic, minced

1.75 pound flank steak cut into thin strips across the grain.

4 TBLS flour, divided

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2-1/2 cups beef broth

3/4 cup sour cream (regular or low-fat)

2 TBLS tomato paste

1 tsp paprika

2 TBLS chopped Italian parsley


1. Prepare noodles according to package directions.

2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet. You don’t have to use butter, but I think it gives it great flavor.

3. Season beef with S&P. I also used onion powder. Sauté the strips. Do them in batches if you need to prevent overcrowding. Brown quickly on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side over medium-high heat. Remove and Set aside.

4. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are almost tender. Add 2TBLS of the flour and cook for a couple minutes. Remove and add to beef.

5. Combine sour cream, tomato paste, paprika and remaining 2 TBLS flour in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot broth into the sour cream mixture, and stir well. Pour the sour cream mixture back into the skillet, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in reserved beef/mushroom mixture and heat through, Just a couple minutes. Serve over noodles, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

enjoy!  🙂

Tomato, Mozzarella, Pesto and Asparagus Sandwiches



I’ve been on Spring Break this week from culinary school, and have been trying to not cook. At all. I did make soup earlier in the week, but I’m not counting that since it wasn’t a “big meal.” Hey, anything to justify it! I had some juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto, asparagus and balsamic vinegar. Thankfully, those are among my daughter’s favorites. Yay, it’s a win-win! Just slice and slather, and you’ve got a quick and yummy dinner. Not the best picture either, but the iPhone was accessible, the good camera was not. It’s nothing newsworthy or probably even blogworthy, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment.. LOL. Have a BEAUTIFUL week 🙂

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

Chicken Marsala

One of my husband’s favorite dinners is Chicken Marsala. He loves to get it at our favorite restaurant, and says they make it better than anybody.  I haven’t ever made it for him since he always raves about that one. Now that I’m going to school, in addition to taking care of the kids, I am just so tired by the time the weekend rolls around that sometimes I just want to stay home and veg. I knew he was looking forward to getting Marsala at our favorite restaurant, but I said I’d try to make it if we could please stay home. I had visions of me dancing around the kitchen, to Boston or Journey, in my jammies, slippers, and no bra… yeah, I said it. Every woman absolutely understands THAT! Especially after a long day… LOL. I didn’t actually dance. Hey, I was really tired, and my feet were killing me. But, I did sing, and that counts for something, right? The Marsala came out fantastic! He said it was just as good as the one he gets when we eat out. Yea! Here’s what I did:

  • Pounded 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts pretty thin and then cut into smaller bite-sized pieces
  • Tossed the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with flour and a pack of Good Seasonings Italian dressing mix and shook it up. Shake off excess flour
  • Browned chicken in some olive oil and a few tablespoons of butter. Don’t completely cook chicken through. We’re talking minutes
  • Removed chicken and added 4 cups of sliced mushrooms. I used baby bellas (they’re my favorite) and browned them
  • Added 1.5 cups of Marsala and reduced to about half. Then added 3 cups of chicken stock and allowed to cook a few minutes
  • Seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Returned the chicken the pan and lit it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Served over spaghetti and garnished with parsley

You can also add sautéd onions if you want. I added more liquid than most recipes call for, but I like extra sauce to toss with the spaghetti. Have a BEAUTIFUL weekend 🙂

Baked Eggs Marinara-style


I was in the mood for eggs AND something that was easy to do, especially after a long day today. So, I found a recipe of Chef John’s on Allrecipes that fit the bill. I didn’t use the pepper flakes or the cream, but I used everything else. Most of the white you can see in the picture is the whites of the eggs, not all cheese. I only used about 2 TBl. of freshly grated cheese, and you can see where it browned. All I can say is yummy! The kids loved it, too. All I needed was

  • Marinara sauce
  • Eggs
  • Parmesan-Reggiano
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper

Here is the original recipe I used http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chef-Johns-Baked-Eggs/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=chef%20john%20baked%20eggs&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page&soid=sr_results_p1i1

Wild Mushroom Risotto


We learned how to make risotto the “real” way this week in culinary school. Risotto sort of gets a bad rap for being pretty labor intensive, but really it only adds about an extra 10 minutes or so of standing there monitoring it and adding liquid 1/2 cup at a time. Some add 1 cup, but I add less and also cook on a lower temperature. The reason is that it enables the starches in the rice to come out slowly, creating a creamy texture, and not simply mush, which is pretty much what you’ll get if you add all the liquid at once or too quickly. I use Arborio rice. It is an Italian short-grain rice. This is a perfect rice for risotto due to its high amylopectin starch content. Rices with a high starch content taste “starchy.” However, they blend really well with other flavors which covers it. That is why wine, and broth work beautifully with risotto, and not water. If you can’t find arborio you can substitute another short or medium grain rice with a high starch content. I’ve heard that white sushi rice works well, but I haven’t tried it.

  • 7 cups broth (added 1/2 cup at a time)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1-2 lbs. variety of mushrooms (I used Portobello, white and shitake)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 TBL garlic or to taste
  • 3 TBLS. oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 TBL. minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté mushrooms until soft, set aside
  2. Sauté onions
  3. Add rice and stir, then cook for a few minutes. You are trying to toast the rice.  Basically, doing this keeps the starches from coming out too quickly and ruining the texture of your risotto.
  4. Now, add your wine and wait a minute or two until it’s absorbed. Yes, stir it.
  5. Keep adding and stirring your liquid 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding the next. By the time you’ve added all the broth your rice is done. This takes about 20 minutes. No need to set a timer really. My stove is electric <groan> and I kept it set on 5 once I added the rice, after sautéing.
  6. Once your rice is done, add mushrooms, parsley and cheese. Save a little parsley and cheese to garnish your yummy risotto.

My kids were begging for third helpings, but I told them I needed to pack some for my daughter’s lunch tomorrow. My son was NOT pleased… LOL.

I’m not very good at writing recipes, ingredients in order and instructions, but I am learning, so bear with me, please 🙂

Chicken Teriyaki


This is a family favorite and we make it at least once a month if not more. It’s soooo good. This makes a lot of sauce, but my kids like it that way. You can use less sugar, but I really think it needs it. Adjust to your taste though.

  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBL water
  • 2 rounded TBL cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger (can use ground)
  • pepper to taste
  • 12 boneless/skinless chicken thighs


  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Add everything, except chicken, to a small pot and bring to simmer while whisking
  3. Pour 1/2 mixture over chicken and bake, covered w/foil for 25 minutes
  4. Remove from oven. I pour off excess liquid/fat
  5. Pour remaining sauce on chicken and continue baking for 15 minutes UNCOVERED

Cleanup is a breeze if you line your baking pan with foil. Seriously, do it. Serve with some homemade fried rice; it’s super-easy. When making fried rice it is important to use cold rice, leftover white rice is ideal. I’ll post my fried rice recipe in another post soon.

This makes a lot of sauce, but that’s how my kids like it. You could add 4 more thighs and still have enough sauce. You can also use boneless/skinless breasts, but we are a thigh family 🙂

Apple Cider Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

I found this yummy recipe on AllRecipes. I’d recommend substituting 1/2 cup brown sugar for 1/2 cup of the white sugar though. The 1.5 cups of just white sugar just isn’t enough in my opinion. I’m going to do that the next time. I changed the glaze a bit, too. I’m sure the glaze listed is fine and it is a typical glaze, but I wanted something with a bit more, zing to it. So, I used a good apple cider from a local cider mill instead of milk, and instead of adding vanilla I just added a bit more cider. I also sprinkled in some pumpkin pie spice. Just keep tasting until you like what you have 🙂 I highly recommend these cookies. You can find the recipe HERE


Shrimp Po’Boy Sandwiches


Tonight’s dinner goes back to my Southern girl roots. Being brought up in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico we always had lots of shrimp. I started out with a 2 lb. bag of jumbo, frozen, raw, deveined and easy-peel shrimp. They were even on sale so I stocked up a few more bags in the garage freezer.

The recipe I used is HERE.

I skipped the part about using egg and panko because I didn’t have any. I added a package of Italian seasoning mix to the flour in addition to the cajun seasoning. You can use Old Bay if you don’t have anything else. So, pretty much just the flour mixture and then fried.

I didn’t use the homemade remoulade sauce listed with the recipe.  I sort of took bits and pieces from various recipes and reviewers and came up with this:

  • 1/2 cup Marie’s Thousand Island dressing
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • squirt from lime juice container.

It came pretty darn close to tasting like the real from-scratch recipes.

  1. First I combined 4 TBL of butter with 1 tsp of minced garlic and melted in microwave.
  2. Next I buttered a roll and toasted it.
  3. Meanwhile, I coated the shrimp and fried them up.
  4. Next, I put shredded lettuce and tomato slices on the toasted roll and then put on the cooked shrimp.
  5. Finally, I drizzled with the remoulade sauce.

YUMMY… so good. My kids said it was fantastic.