Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops (With Baked Sweet Potatoes)

Here I am with another somewhat original dinner item...Smothered Pork Cops with Baked Sweet Potato... Check it out-


3 tablespoon(s) white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon(s) white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

Salt (Minimum)


4 (each 5 ounces, 3/4 inch thick)) boneless and center-cut pork chops

1 tablespoon(s) canola oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

3 clove(s) garlic, chopped

2 container(s) (8 ounces each) cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 teaspoon(s) dried rosemary

1 cup(s) lower-sodium chicken broth

1 bag(s) (12-ounce) microwave-in-the-bag green beans


Sprinkle 1 teaspoon flour and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper all over pork chops. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium-high.

Add pork and cook 7 minutes or until browned, turning over once.

Transfer to plate.

To same skillet, add onions and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes or until browned and softened, stirring frequently.

Add mushrooms and rosemary; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 3 tablespoons flour; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add broth in slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Heat to simmering and return pork to pan in single layer; spoon vegetable mixture on top.

 Cover; reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes or until pork is barely pink in center (145 degrees F).

Stir in 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While pork simmers, cook beans as label directs. Arrange beans on plates with pork and sauce.

Take a Sweet Potato...Split it slightly in half and bake it for about an hour...Until soft enough to cut into without a struggle...Add Butter!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese

Someone asked me once if Macaroni & Cheese was a "Black Thing."   Well...Macaroni itself is an Italian delicacy...But the baked part and the cheese may indeed be a "Black thing".  It has long been a staple of  so called Southern Cuisine (Soul Food)  We might debate this issue for quite some time...But what is universally agreed is that it is good food...and here is a recipe for it!


box elbow macaroni (about 16 ounces)

1-1/2 pounds shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup whole milk

1 stick butter, unsalted and softened

a pinch of salt

pepper to taste

Cookware and Utensils:

1 large boiling pot

1 baking casserole

1 measuring cup


Soften your butter using your microwave. Microwave the butter on low for about 60 to 90 seconds. You only want to soften the butter, therefore check the butter every 10 to 15 seconds to ensure it doesn't melt.

Boil your elbow macaroni according to package instructions.

Place cooked and drained macaroni in your casserole dish. Add softened butter, milk, pinch of salt, pepper to taste and one pound of shredded cheddar cheese. Gently mix to blend the ingredients. Layer the top of your macaroni with the remaining cheese, about 1/2 pound.

Bake macaroni with cheese at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. The top layer will turn golden brown when the macaroni is ready. Do not allow your mac and cheese to dry out.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Honey ,Honey!

Winnie The Pooh may have been on to something after all...Did you know that Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot?

What it will do is what some call 'turning to sugar'. In reality, honey is always honey. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will "crystallize". When this happens loosen the lid, boil some water and sit the honey container in the hot water, but turn off the heat and let it liquefy naturally. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. This will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Cinnamon and Honey
Bet the drug companies won't like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:

It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects for any kind of diseases. Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon, as researched by western scientists:

Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply it on bread instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, when they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

Arthritis patients may take daily (morning and night) one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder..

Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses.

Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from its root.

According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old..

When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.

Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month .

Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

You might want to share this information with a friend, kinfolks and loved ones. Everyone needs healthy help information ~ what they do with it is up to them ~ share with your email buddies... They deserve to be healthy too!!!

A Public service announcement from the Maverick of All Bloggers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Aspirin- Who Knew?

I started to write this for my other blog...Keith's Space.(Another shameless plug)but I decided that this was best suited for this blog...This is not food related for a change, but health related..

Since Aspirin is ingested , as is most food....(just shameless) I felt this blog best suited this.

Did you know that taking aspirin once a day may help prevent cancer?,yes...Aspirin!! Who Knew right? Not only that but perhaps even in some cases treat it, a growing body of research suggests.

A new study finds that people who took a low-dose aspirin daily for at least three years were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer than people who didn't take it.Yes..It's flooring the hell out of me too!

Aspirin also reduced the risk of death from cancer by nearly 40 percent after five years, the researchers said.

The reduced risk of death may be due in part to a decrease in cancer's ability to spread to other organs. In a second study, researchers found a daily dose of aspirin led to a 36 percent reduction in the risk of being diagnosed with cancer that spread to other organs.

This suggests aspirin is likely "to be an effective additional treatment after the diagnosis of cancer," Dr. Peter Rothwell, one of the study's researchers and a neurologist at the University of Oxford in England, told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Taking a daily aspirin has been found to have a variety of health benefits, said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in N.Y., including a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. Again, I ask..Who the hell knew?

Of course ,more research will be needed before aspirin can be recommended to absolutely reduce the risk of cancer. This is because the new study analyzed data from previous studies that were not designed to test the effect of aspirin on cancer prevention. "A study has to be specifically designed to prove a point," said Bernik, who was not involved in either new study.

"People should speak with their doctors before deciding to take a daily aspirin". Bernik said.

Previous studies have found that aspirin reduces the risk of death from cancer over the long term. However, the effect of aspirin on cancer in the short term, as well as its effect on developing cancer in the first place, was less than clear.

Dr.Rothwell and colleagues analyzed data from 51 studies involving more than 77,000 people, in which about half of participants were randomly assigned to take a daily dose of aspirin.

There were fewer deaths among the people assigned to take a daily aspirin, compared with people who did not take aspirin (562 deaths versus 664 deaths).

In an analysis of six of the studies in which people took low doses of aspirin, there were three fewer cases of cancer yearly per 1,000 people in the aspirin group, compared with the group that did not take aspirin, but this effect did not show up until participants had taken aspirin for three years.

Aspirin has side effects, including an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. However, the researchers found that after about three years, the increased risk of major bleeding went away, as did aspirin's heart benefits. What was left was the reduced risk of cancer.

"For most individuals, the risk-benefit calculus of aspirin seems to favor aspirin’s long-term anti-cancer benefit," Drs. Andrew Chan and Nancy Cook, both of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study.

Because the findings are new, it will take time for researchers to decide whether guidelines should be changed to include a recommendation of aspirin for cancer prevention, said Eric Jacobs, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society. Such guidelines would have to take into account who is most likely to benefit from the recommendation, Jacobs said.

The study and editorial will be published tomorrow (March 21) in the journal the Lancet. The study had no funding and no input from drug companies, but the lead researcher has has been paid by several pharmaceutical companies for his work with them.

Regardless...I'm headed to my nearest CVS right now to buy me a bottle of Aspirin..
(Was that another shameless plug?   I could go to Rite Aid.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bow Tie Pasta

MMM, bet you'll never guess what I'm fixing for dinner tonight? Well, If you're looking at the illustration above, I guess you have guessed it...Bow Tie Pasta with Chicken...

I figured I'd go Italian after a weekend of eating know , the cabbage and corn beef and the beer and all...It's Pasta and wine time again.


1 quart water

4 skinned and boned chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

8 ounces uncooked bow tie pasta

1 cup chicken broth

1 celery rib, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1 (8-ounce) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed

Garnish: chopped fresh parsley


  1. Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken, and cook 12 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from water with a slotted spoon. Add pasta to water in Dutch oven, and cook 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Keep warm.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup broth over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven; add celery and onion, and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, soup, cheese, and remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, stirring until cheese is melted. Toss with pasta; garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

Have a nice red wine with this-


    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Corned Beef & Cabbage

    I should have posted this yesterday since it was St.Pattys Day and all...but better late than never!


    (4-pound) cured corned beef brisket, trimmed $

    16 cups water

    2 cups chopped onion

    1 cup chopped celery

    1 cup chopped carrot

    1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice
    3 garlic cloves, peeled

    Cooking spray

    1 tablespoon caraway seeds

    1 (2 1/2-pound) head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch strips

    4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    2 teaspoons butter

    2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

    1 (5-ounce) jar prepared horseradish, drained and squeezed dry

    3 tablespoons Dijon mustard


    Place brisket in a large stockpot; add water and next 5 ingredients (water through garlic). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours. Remove brisket from pot.

    Place brisket on the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Strain cooking liquid through a colander into 2 large bowls; discard solids. Return liquid to pot. Add caraway seeds and cabbage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Drain.

    While cabbage is cooking, place potatoes in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to pan. Stir in parsley, butter, rind, juice, and pepper; toss to coat.
    Preheat broiler.

    Combine breadcrumbs and horseradish. Spread mustard over one side of brisket. Press breadcrumb mixture onto mustard. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve brisket with cabbage and potatoes.

    Have this with a nice Irish Stout!


    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Country Fried Chicken.

    You have to remember that I was in the United States Air Force  for 22 years and I was stationed ,for a time anyway in the great state of Texas.... It was here that I learned to love Country Fried steak and today's recipe..Country Fried Chicken...


    •oil or shortening
    •1 chicken, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, cut up
    •2 cups flour
    •1 teaspoon salt
    •1/4 teaspoon pepper
    •Cream Gravy
    •2 tablespoons butter
    •4 tablespoons flour
    •salt and pepper, to taste
    •1 cup milk
    •1 cup water


    Have a deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven with oil or hot fat about two inches deep.
    Combine flour, salt and pepper; sift into a pie plate or wide bowl. Roll each piece of chicken in flour and place in the hot fat (about 370° F). Put the largest pieces in firs, in the hottest part of the skillet. When all pieces are in the skillet and heat is regulated, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove top and turn chicken pieces when the underside is well browned. Replace top for another 5 minutes, remove and cook in open pan until the bottom side is browned. About 30 to 35 minutes in all will be required for cooking chicken if it is not too large. Try to turn the chicken only the one time.

    The fat should be deep enough to cover the pieces when it boils up, but make sure you use a deep skillet, preferably one made for frying chicken, and watch carefully.

    Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 4 tablespoons flour; blend and cook until golden brown, scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet. Gradually stir in 1 cup milk and 1 cup hot water. Stir until smooth and thickened; add salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with hot biscuits, potatoes, or rice.

    Yes...and you can serve this with some French Fries and a tall glass of Sweet Tea...


    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Chicken Scaloppine with Broccoli Rabe

    Hey folks...It's Friday and rather than fix seafood....(You can fix seafood next week) How about a chicken recipe? An Italian and a chicken recipe??

    Try this one on for's different-


    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs

    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets

    1/2 cup dry white wine

    1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1 teaspoon butter

    1 pound broccoli rabe (rapini), cut into 3-inch pieces

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

    4 lemon slices

    4 parsley sprigs


    Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

    Combine breadcrumbs and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture.

     Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

    Add wine, broth, juice, and butter to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

    Stir in broccoli rabe; cover and cook 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in chopped parsley and capers. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley sprigs, if desired.


    Hey,If you can't find cutlets,Then  pound chicken breast halves between heavy-duty plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness. Broccoli florets can be substituted for the broccoli rabe; the cooking time may be a little longer, though. Add a side of roasted potato wedges and carrots, if desired.
    • Prep Time:
    • Cook Time:
    • Ready In:
    • 15 Minutes
    • 10 Minutes
    • 25 Minutes
    Servings: 4 People

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Today is Oreo's 100th Birthday!!

    Bet you don't know what today is do ya?  I didn't either until my wife told me!

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012, marks a momentous occasion in history — Oreo cookie's birthday. And it's not just any birthday; Oreo is turning the big 100. That's right, Oreo fans around the globe have been twisting, licking, and dunking America's favorite cookie for an entire century.

    According to The New York Times, it all started on March 6, 1912, when The National Biscuit Company sold its first Oreo sandwich cookies to S.C. Thuesen, a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey — and the rest was history.

    The New York Post reports that the Oreo cookie was born at what is now a New York tourist hotspot and home to Food Network Studios, Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market was once the headquarters for the National Biscuit Company, which would later go by Nabisco. While the headquarters, the owning company, and the cookie itself have undergone many changes throughout the years, the world's love for Oreos has continued to grow. The design on the outside of the classic cookie alone has changed three times, from a simple wreath around the Oreo name to today's complicated design complete with a serrated edge.

    While it was always a sandwich cookie, the Oreo started out as the "Oreo Biscuit" sold alongside two other cookies: The Mother Goose and the Veronese. By 1921, the Oreo had surpassed its cookie counterparts and was sold on its own as the "Oreo Sandwich," and later as the "Oreo Crème Sandwich." The cookie the world knows and loves today is dubbed the "Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie," although it comes in many forms. Oreo Cookie variations have included a lemon-cream flavor, Double and Triple Stuf Oreos, and even an "inside-out" version that featured vanilla cookies with chocolate filling.

    Over the years, various countries have released their own special Oreo flavor profiles. For example, the best selling Oreo in Argentina is the "Duo," a package that includes some cookies with banana filling and others with dulce de leche filling. In China, consumers can purchase green tea ice cream-flavored Oreos and a variety called "Double Fruit" that has different fruit-flavored fillings.

    Since they were first baked in 1912, more than 362 billion Oreos have been consumed worldwide. Now, 100 years later, Kraft Foods is planning a centennial birthday bash for all the Oreo lovers out there. While the celebration is mostly made up of a new marketing campaign featuring the slogan, "Celebrate the kid inside," there is also an edible way to participate in the Oreo celebration. Kraft Foods created a limited-edition cookie called the Birthday Cake Oreo. From the outside these special cookies look like the classic Oreo, but when consumers twists open the cookie, they will find frosting speckled with colored sprinkles.

    Now here is a simple recipe-

    Chocolate Dipped Oreo Pops:


    U.S. Metric Conversion chart

    10 lollipop sticks

    10 double-stuff Oreo cookies

    1 1/2 cup(s) (9 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

    1 1/2 tablespoon(s) solid vegetable shortening

    Decoration: green sprinkles (jimmies), candy-covered chocolate drops (ice cream topping)


    1.Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Insert a lollipop stick into cream filling of each cookie.

    2.Melt chocolate and shortening in a small bowl in microwave; stir until smooth.

    3.Dip 1 cookie pop into melted chocolate, letting top of cookie rest on bottom of bowl for support. Spoon melted chocolate over cookie to coat. Transfer to lined baking sheet, using a fork to support pop from underneath if needed.

    4.Sprinkle around edge with sprinkles, making a "wreath." Add chocolate drops. Let stand until set. Repeat with remaining cookie pops, remelting chocolate as needed. Wrap in food-safe cellophane or plastic wrap; tie with bow for gift-giving.


    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Baked Breakfast Apples with French Toast Crust

    Aw Oh..My sweet tooth is throbbing again...Here is a real sweet treat for a morning ,when say, you are off from work...Like I am today! (Tee Hee!)

    INGREDIENTS: French Toast

    3 large eggs

    1 cup whole milk

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 pinch kosher salt

    12- to 14-ounce loaf challah, cut into 1-inch-thick slices


    1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

    2 tablespoons dried cranberries

    2 tablespoons roughly chopped pecans

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, and cored


    1. To prepare the French toast, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a shallow bowl; whisk until well combined. Lay challah slices in egg mixture to coat, turning slices occasionally to allow bread to absorb all of the liquid.

    2. For the filling, place a 10-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add butter and brown sugar and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly golden and caramelized. Remove from heat. Sprinkle in the cranberries, pecans, and cinnamon. Gently press apple halves into the caramel so they are "standing" and line up one behind another so there is a flat surface on top (you may need to cut some of the halves to fill in the gaps).

    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the soaked slices of challah over apples so they are completely covered. Bake in the middle of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden and puffy and the apples are knife-tender. Cool slightly. Place a large platter over the top of the skillet. Being very careful, turn the skillet and the platter together, so the skillet is on top and the whole French toast dish comes out on the platter. Remove the skillet. Serve warm.

    Have a nice glass of Milk with this-

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

    I don't know if this is a genuine Italian recipe or something bastardized by us Americans...but when I fell upon this recipe, I must say that it intrigued me to no end.


    9 ozUncooked Spaghetti

    Cooking Spray
    1 cupFrozen Chopped Onion
    1 Tbsp bottledMinced Garlic
    2(14.5-ounce) Cans Stewed Tomatoes, undrained and chopped
    1 TbspLow-sodium Worcestershire Sauce
    2 tspDried Italian Seasoning
    ¼ tspSalt
    2 cups(8 Ounces) Shredded Reduced-fat Cheddar Cheese, divided
    3 cupsFrozen Chopped Cooked Chicken, thawed


    Preheat oven to 350F.

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

    Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese, cooked spaghetti, and chicken. Spoon into a 3-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

    Helpful Tips:

    You can cover and refrigerate the casserole overnight, and sprinkle with cheese before baking. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes until bubbly.

    Serve with a white wine-


    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Taco Soup

    I'm starting the month of March off with something light....How about a nice soup?  Taco soup....


    2 pounds ground beef

    2 cups diced onions

    2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans

    1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans

    1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles

    2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles

    1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional

    1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional

    1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix

    1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix

    Corn chips, for serving

    Sour cream, for garnish
    Grated cheese, for garnish

    Chopped green onions, for garnish

    Pickled jalapenos, for garnish


    Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.

    To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

    Have for lunch with a cold glass of Lemonade!  Enjoy!

    Food Safety Tips
    Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.

    1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

    Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as

    2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

    Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

    3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

    Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

    4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

    One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

    * Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

    * Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

    * Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

    Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

    5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

    Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

    6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

    Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

    7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

    You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

    8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

    The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

    9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

    10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

    You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website

    Cavier & Vodka
    Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household