all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Friday, February 12, 2016

My Cincinnati Chili and a little time off...

I’m taking a little break.  Instead of chief cook and bottle washer, my temporary new role will be a combo of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton.

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, reducing the death count by two-thirds. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.  Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform.

Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912) was a pioneering nurse who founded the American Red Cross. She worked as a hospital nurse in the American Civil War (1861-1865), and as a teacher and patent clerk Barton is noteworthy for doing humanitarian work at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home. She had a relationship with John J. Elwell, but never married.

Last week, Bill had knee replacement surgery and I am in charge of bossing him around, woo hoo!   (∗ᵕ̴᷄◡ᵕ̴᷅∗)  making sure he follows doctors’ orders.  And, many thanks to our great son, Bubba,  for helping us out ~ would've been tough without you, and we appreciate all you've done!

In the meantime here's a recipe for the chili we enjoyed before his surgery:
I’m a Buckeye by birth so it doesn’t get much better than Cincinnati Chili!

This was new to Bill:  As in, “Who eats chili with cinnamon and cocoa, over pasta, with cheese sprinkled on top?”  I converted him and made a Cincinnati Chili Believer out of him!

I almost always serve the chili over spaghetti, but naturally, this time when I looked in the cabinet, there was only shell pasta.  It doesn’t make any difference what type pasta is used ~ if you’ve never eaten chili served over hot cooked pasta, you’ve got to try it to see how delicious it is! 

Most chili recipes include tomato sauce and water ~ I swapped V8 juice for them.  I go a little heavy on the chili and garlic powders and add chili beans instead of the traditional kidney beans. 

This is very different from the Southwestern version, and maybe you chili aficionados are doubting, just give it a go to believe it!  

It’s delicious and should there be leftovers, lucky you!

It's perfect for the bitter cold weather we're having now!

Cincinnati Chili, my way


2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
1 (46 ounce) can of V8 juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa* 
2 (15-ounce) cans chili beans
8 ounces spaghetti, or your favorite pasta
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, and meat and chop into bite-size pieces.
Add onions and cook until tender and meat is browned.
Tilt skillet and use a baster to remove any accumulated fat. 
In a large pot, add tomato juice and seasonings, stirring well, bringing to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add meat and beans; cook for 30 minutes, until somewhat thick. 
Meanwhile, cook pasta, according to package directions; drain well.
Divide pasta into 4 bowls, top with chili.
Garnish with cheddar cheese. 
Serve hot with garlic bread or oyster crackers on the side.

*I use Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Printable recipe

This is good eating, ENJOY!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sherry Wine Cake

Drinking wine is great ~ 
eating dessert is great ~ 
combining the two is ecstasy!

We hosted a neighborhood get-together at our house recently, and Valery brought this luscious cake.

Evidently, the cake has been around awhile, but it was new to Bill and I, and I was very happy to meet it. 

It’s a buttery, dense cake with a unique taste.  It’s easy to make, and sophisticated, without tasting boozy ~ it’s delicious!

Cream sherry is a fortified wine made by fermenting white grapes and then adding brandy, which is a distilled wine with a high alcohol content.  

The wine is deliberately exposed to air, which makes it darker and sweeter than other fortified wines. 

Sherry is nutty in taste with hints of vanilla, fruit and caramel --- a perfect ingredient for this cake.

It’s a great cake to whip up for any occasion!

Sherry Wine Cake


1 (18.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) vanilla instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cream sherry or sweet golden sherry
Powdered sugar


Beat cake mix and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 10” tube pan.
Bake at 350˚ for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve with ice cream or berries, if desired.

Printable recipe



Monday, January 18, 2016

Herb-Roasted Pork Loin for Bitter Cold Weather

It’s -6° right now = Winter time = bitter cold with snow on the ground ~ perfect weather for delicious roasted pork loin ~ it warmed our bellies and our kitchen too!

Amen, Maxine!!!

Search no further for an affordable delicious roast that’s almost impossible to ruin.  

Blend caraway and celery seeds, onion powder, paprika and salt and pepper.  Rub the mixture into the roast and pop it in the oven for a scrumptious entree.

I served it with mashed potatoes and broccoli ~ and to round it out, I even made a little gravy out of the pork drippings. Ummm! Mmm!

A perfect little meal for anyone on a cold winter day!

Herb-Roasted Pork Loin 


One 4 pound boneless loin pork roast, trimmed
½ teaspoon each salt and seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon caraway seed
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon paprika


Preheat oven to 350°.
In a small bowl, combine seasonings and massage into meat with your fingers, covering the whole roast.
Place pork in a roasting pan, cover with a lid.
Roast meat for about 3 hours until instant read thermometer registers 150°.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
Slice and transfer to platter, serve.

Printable recipe


RIP, Glenn Frey...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chicken Cutlets the Blue Bloods Way

I’m a huge fan of “Blue Bloods!”  I’ve watched it faithfully from the get-go back in 2010, and adore the Reagan family!

Owing that I'm a cookbook junkie, and a fan of the show, The Blue Bloods Cookbook is right up my alley.  It includes great recipes, with stories about the show and cast sprinkled around…

The family dinner scene is a part of every episode:

Bridget Moynahan - who plays Assistant DA Erin Reagan relates in the cookbook, how to make eating look natural take after take, and hopefully not talk or chew with a mouthful of food:  she smashes her food around on the plate.  

Amy Carlson - who plays Linda Regan - is always cutting her food, while Tom Selleck - the Police Commissioner - has the best strategy, he forever butters his roll. He knows a good thing; it’s easy, natural, and he has made sure he’s the only one on the set using that tactic!  

As for the cookbook, there are so many great recipes to try ~ Four Cheese Mac-and-Cheese,  Yankee Bean Soup, Rumaki, and Drugstore Chocolate Cake. 

Chicken Cutlets was my first one to try ~ Bill and I thought it was an ideal delicious way to dress chicken up! 


Chicken Cutlets


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
3 large eggs
1½ cups bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup olive oil


Sandwich each chicken breast between two sheets of heavy-duty wax paper.
Using a kitchen mallet or the bottom of a cast-iron pan, pound the breasts until they are each about ¼ inch thick.
Season each cutlet with salt and pepper.
Set up a breading station:  
Put the flour in one shallow dish. 
Beat eggs with a teaspoon of water and put them into a second shallow dish.
Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan and oregano in a third shallow dish.
Dredge a cutlet in flour and shake off excess.
Dunk it in the egg until it is well coated and let excess drip off.
Press it into bread crumbs all around, so that it’s coated on both sides.
Shake off excess and transfer the cutlet to a clean plate.
Repeat with remaining cutlets.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Cook cutlets until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
Work in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the skillet, and add more oil if needed.
Transfer to platter and serve.

Printable recipe


Monday, January 4, 2016

Roasted Parmesan-herb Cauliflower

Perhaps you’ve never considered cooking cauliflower this way ~ roasting the vegetable renders delicious results!

Cauliflower is Bill’s favorite veggie ~ I like it also, so I’m always scouting for new recipes involving it.

I came across this one in Food Network Magazine.  Roasting cauliflower develops its sweetness, with the florets turning out fork-tender, not mushy.  Herbs add great seasoning and crushed red pepper provides snap.

It’s a flavorful side dish that goes with about any meat, for your dinner table tonight, that’s healthy too!

Roasted Parmesan-herb Cauliflower


1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1½ teaspoons chopped mixed thyme and rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
¼- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


Preheat oven to 425°.
Slice cauliflower into florets and halve.
Spread mixture over cauliflower.
Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until desired degree of tenderness, flipping once.
Garnish with Parmesan, optional.

Printable recipe 


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Time to Ring in the New Year!

New Year's Eve is here people and this little cocktail will not let you be nodding off as the New Year approaches!

Champagne may be the drink of choice for many on New Year's Eve, but save the bubbly for another time and try this unique drink...

A Midnight Martini is a dark, easy to make martini with strong coffee flavor ~ chilling the espresso before making ~ is an important element to the drink.

Although, the martini is sweet enough on its own, the simple syrup adds a nice little froth to it. 

It's the perfect cocktail to keep you going into the wee hours!

Midnight Martini Cocktail


2 ounces Grey Goose vodka
1 ounce espresso or strong coffee (cold)
1 ounce Kahlúa
Healthy splash of simple syrup
Orange twist for garnish


Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake it hard for 10-15 seconds.
Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with orange twist.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Wishes for You

If I could make a Christmas wish for you,
it would be for
peace and happiness,
and good health too.
Not only now,
but for the
whole year through.

Merry Christmas,