Thursday, February 23, 2017

Garlic Ranch Chicken

Hey Folks...I'm back....This is a good week for me, as far as finding new recipes goes...

Garlic Ranch Chicken and Veggies....A one pot recipe for nights when you just don't feel like a lot of dishes.

This one pan dish has everything you need...Including your vegetable side...

The chicken is lightly coated with brown sugar – just a single teaspoon per chicken thigh – giving you that hint of sweetness with the savory seasonings of Ranch. And when coupled with the tender roasted veggies, it is absolute perfection.

Check it out-


8 teaspoons brown sugar,
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
16 ounces baby red potatoes, halved..
16 ounces baby peeled carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1-ounce) package Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing mix
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black
pepper,to taste.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Using your fingers, work the brown sugar, about 1 teaspoon per thigh, onto both sides of the chicken.
  3. Place chicken, potatoes and carrots in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Ranch Seasoning and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.* Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired..
There....As easy as that!  Enjoy!  Eat well my friends!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lentil Sausage Stew

I needed some inspiration, something totally new...That's why I hadn't been writing this blog for awhile...Well I found something new, something different...Lentil Sausage Stew....


2 cups green or brown lentils
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, divided
  • 4 sausages
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • cheese, grated (optional)

    1. Bring the lentils to a boil on medium heat in 6 cups of water (you'll let these cook while you proceed with the rest of the recipe for maximum efficiency). Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the water with the lentils. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft all the way through. Once they are soft, turn off the heat and drain any excess water. Taste and add more salt if needed. Try not to leave the lentils cooking for too long because they can easily end up getting overcooked and mushy. They are still totally edible and even delicious when they get overcooked and fall apart—they just don’t have quite as nice a texture.
    2. If you want to do the extra step of melting cheese on the top of your stew, then use an ovenproof pot or Dutch oven for this next step. Also set your oven to 375° F. Otherwise, use any large pot.
    3. While the lentils cook, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in another large pot on medium heat. Cook the sausages, flipping to brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. The chorizo I used was already pre-cooked so the browning just took a few minutes. If you are using fresh sausage, cook for as long as you need for the sausage to be cooked through—sometimes with larger fresh sausages, they can take 15 minutes or more so be patient.
    4. Once the sausages are cooked, remove them from the pot onto a side plate. My chorizo let off a lot of oil, so I didn’t need to use the second tablespoon of butter to cook my vegetables, but add more butter to the pan now if there isn’t much left.
    5. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle a bit of salt over everything, about 1/2 teaspoon or so to start. Once the vegetables are softened and the onion is translucent, add the garlic and stir, cooking for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over everything and stir until it disappears into the vegetables and oil.
    6. Add the chopped tomatoes and the cooked lentils to the pot and stir to combine. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, until some of the water from the tomatoes has cooked off and it's a little thicker.
    7. Slice the sausage into bite-sized pieces and add them back into the pot. Stir. Taste and add salt if needed. If it tastes delicious, you’re done and can serve it now, or go onto the optional last step.
    8. Set the oven to 375° F. Grate or blob your favorite melty cheese overtop of the stew. Bake for 20 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.

    Ummmmmmm now doesn't that sound good? Enjoy! Eat and drink well my good friends!

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

    I love Peanut Butter and Jelly on White Bread.. Who doesn't?  Well maybe my wife...She doesn't like Peanut Butter....I've told her she doesn't know what she's missing.

    For those of us who do like Peanut Butter and Jelly...Here is something you can do differently with it..

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins..


    for the muffins:
    6 tbsp unsalted butter
    3/4 cup peanut butter
    1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
    9 oz berry (or Grape if you must) preserves

    for the crumb topping:
    1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    1-1/2 cup all purpose flour


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffins tins with cupcake liners and spray the inside of the liners with nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well until completely melted and mixed together.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.

    Add the butter and peanut butter mixture and continue beating until well incorporated. Add the milk and yogurt and mix again. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be very thick.

    Divide the batter among the liners so that each one is about 3/4 of the way full. Use your fingers to create a little well in the top of the muffin batter and place a dollop (about 1 tbsp) of jelly onto each one.

    For the crumb topping, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt and melted butter until smooth. Then add the flour and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to fold in the flour until a paste-like dough results.

    Crumble the mixture with your fingers and add a generous amount of crumbs to each muffin top, covering the jelly and pressing the crumbs down well so they stick to the batter.

    Add a few more dollops or drizzles of jelly to each muffin and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Ummmmm enjoy!  That's all I'm gonna say!

    Thursday, February 9, 2017

    Ground Meat Ragu

    Here is a meal for one of those nights like tonight when you just don't feel like cooking.

    Ground Meat Ragu..

    Sara Jenkins, who posted this recipe on another site said-"Traditionally, a butcher’s family would take the little bits and scraps left over from the shop and cook them all out together to make a rich, deeply layered ragu fit for a king. The gentle sweating of the aromatics, which are softened even further by cooking them out in water, and the gentle poaching of the ground meat among the vegetable base are, to me, hallmarks of a central Italian ragu. San Marzano tomatoes, which I use here, are a relatively modern ingredient; some would even suggest that its addition is more southern than northern, but I think they add a nice layer of flavor, especially when cooked long and slow so that they meld with the meat and the aromatics."


    2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, sage, thyme, or a combination
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 4 1/2 pounds mixed ground meat, such as 2 pounds beef, 1 pound pork, and 1 pound veal
  • 1 tablespoon Italian double concentrate tomato paste
  • One 35-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper

    1. Chop the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, herbs, and parsley finely in a food processor.
    2. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven-type pan, sweat the vegetables out over low heat in the olive oil with a pinch of salt.
    3. Let them sweat about 7 to 8 minutes, until the onions become translucent but are not taking on color. Add about 3/4 cup water and the tablespoon of tomato concentrate and let cook down briskly until the liquid is almost completely evaporated.
    4. Now add the ground meat, breaking it up continuously and moving it about so that no lumps or balls form and all the meat gets broken down into its individual strands. Once the meat is all broken down and just cooked, add the can of San Marzano tomatoes and cook, simmering gently, stirring occasionally on the lowest heat you can go. The longer and slower this cooks, the better the ragu. We're talking 3 or 4 hours. You will know it's done when all the fat has cooked out of the meat and floats lazily on top of the sauce, colored orange from the tomato. At this point, the ragu can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months.
    Mmmmmmm, now that's good eating! Enjoy! Eat and Drink Well My Friends!

    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