Herb Garden Inspired Dinner

Today I was totally feeling my Martha after I finished my herb garden….I absolutely HAD to cook with the herbs….So I created:

Crispy Twice Baked Rosemary Potatoes & Herbed Chicken Saute

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients for Potatoes:
6 medium red potatoes
1 sprig rosemary
Sea salt
Olive oil
Grated Parmesan

Ingredients for Chicken:
2 chicken breasts cut into 2 inch squares
Olive oil
Sea salt
Herb Blend: chopped up: basil, oregano, thyme, dried fennel,thyme, anise….enough to make about 2 tbsp.

Throw the spuds in the oven at 350 for 25 mins. Pull them out and get the chicken tossed in the herbs and into the olive oil prepped skillet. Slice the taters fan style and put in a heavy bottom skillet (cast iron works) drizzle with olive oil, chop up rosemary and sprinkle over spuds, a dash of sea salt and sprinkle with dry grated Parmesan and put back in the oven (10-15 more minutes – not too long!) while you saute the chicken. After you have flipped the chicken pieces over hit them with a sash of sea salt as well….it brings out the herb flavor. Dish it up and ENJOY! My husband loved this recipe….hope you will too. Took about 25 minutes to make, serves 2 BIG eaters.

Herb Garden Is Underway….

I hope I can make this work!!!

This corner of my kitchen has 2 corner windows to the 12 foot ceilings….perfect for my beautiful herb garden…..and so inspiring! Some are from seed, and the others are starts….a nice combination for a newbie like me! I look forward to showing you the basil…..if it ever pops its little head up!

"Bachelorette Lasagna"

I know you all have lasagna recipes that have been handed down for centuries, from Italian Nanas who spent years perfecting their sauces…..I totally appreciate that. But, I am a Swede. I have maybe 3 recipes from my mother and I doubt they were heirlooms. I did not have a family who labored over beautiful meals to celebrate any of life’s accomplishments. I also know that this is pretty common.

One thing that I perfected a long time ago was lasagna. An easy, crowd pleasing, and filling pan of lasagna! I will admit my version is a tad “trashy”, but I like to live on both sides of the road…I am an enigma, wrapped in a quesadilla, dipped in caramel sauce!!!

I cooked this Lasagna for one of my Bestie’s bachelorette party dinner, as you know, you are required to eat mass quantities of carbohydrates before you drown yourself in Apple-tinis. I just received a request for this recipe, so I thought – what a great time to share it. I do not have a photo of the lasagna, I DO, however, have a photo of us that night……enjoy!

No-Cook Lasagna Noodles (these things are gold)
Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Sliced olives – the medium can
Ricotta cheese (one container)
Italian blend cheese ( 2 cups)
Medium onion
1 egg
1 lb ground turkey, chicken or beef

Preheat oven to 350. Brown the meat. Sauté the onions then add to meat. Add spaghetti sauce and olives – let simmer. In a different bowl, whip the egg slightly, add the cheese & ricotta until well blended. Spray a 9×13 Glass or metal pan. Put a layer of tomato sauce, layer of cheese, then noodles. Sauce, cheese, noodles, and repeat until you finish with a final layer of cheese. You can add extra cheese on the top if you like(I Like). Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 40 minutes, then take the foil off and pop back in for about 10 minutes or until it starts to brown up a bit – not too brown!! Take out and let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Have fun with spices and different types of spaghetti sauces – there are some amazing gourmet sauces out there. I always get awesome reviews on this lasagna! It is even better the next day re-warmed. Happy cooking!

Meatballs in Peanut Sauce

It is so funny what comfort food is to different people. Everyone has their own favorite. For some it is good ole mac n cheese, for others it is stew or a pot roast. A food that brings back floods of memories are meatballs. I simply love them. My brother and I were mostly on our own as kids from after school often through the dinner hour and we cooked our own dinners in grade school. Don’t drop your jaw, it was the 70’s and early 80’s, babysitters were for rich people, which we were not. The internet had not yet told parents that they suck if they don’t put their kids in helmets and wait at the bus stop until they are 15. Yes, we even drank from the hose….call the cops!

I digress….one of the things mom taught me to cook was meatballs. I would be so excited that I was cooking dinner! My recipe was ground beef, salt and pepper, minced onions (dried), garlic powder, a piece of bread pinched apart into little pieces, mush it together, put oil in the pie tin, make meat balls and cook at 350 until Mom gets home. I always put too much salt in it. I loved salt then, and am passionate about it to this day.

Well, obviously we cannot eat that anymore…it is horribly bad for you!! So here is my new and improved meatball recipe…this one’s for you Momma!!

Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Sauce over Brown Rice
A Miss-ipe

1 package ground turkey breast
2 tbsp minced garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix all of this together, spray an 9×9 inch ceramic or glass dish. make about 16 meatballs – preheat oven to 350

Peanut Sauce:

1 1/4 cups fat free half and half (I LOVE this stuff)
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup salsa or sweet chile sauce

Mix in saucepan over medium high heat until all mixed and starts to lightly boil. Pour over the meatballs, cover with foil and pop into oven for 30 -40 minutes (keep checking in the last 10 minutes, I like to make sure the meat is done!

Make long grain brown rice while this cooks. Serve a fluffy pile of rice with meatballs on top and drizzled with sauce from pan. De-freaking-LISHUS!!!

Coconut Cake with Butter Cream Frosting…..and some notes!

Hi! Here is the recipe for the cake we made yesterday. For the LIFE of us we could not get the butter cream frosting to work. Two tries and 16 egg whites later we had to throw in the towel. We are NOT giving up on Butter cream Frosting….Do YOU have a good recipe?

The cake on this recipe is DIVINE! Truly one of the most delicious cakes I have tasted. For the frosting we ended up using a pre-made frosting that was in the pantry. We added some coconut extract. Also between the layers we added some shredded coconut on top of the frosting before putting another layer on. We toasted the coconut in the toaster oven – do NOT Broil…just put it at the toaster setting til lightly browned. It is divine.


Coconut Cake with Butter Cream Frosting
Cooking Light Magazine
as found on myrecipes.com


Cooking spray
1 tablespoon cake flour
2 1/2 cups cake flour (about 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
3 tablespoons toasted flaked sweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Lightly coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust pans with 1 tablespoon flour.
Lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place 2 cups sugar and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended. Add egg substitute and eggs to sugar mixture; beat well. Add flour mixture and coconut milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon extract.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. Sharply tap the pans once on countertop to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Remove wax paper; discard. Cool cakes on wire racks.
To prepare frosting, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, without stirring, or until a candy thermometer registers 250°. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; using clean, dry beaters, beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; continue beating until egg white mixture cools (about 12 minutes).
Beat 1/4 cup butter until light and fluffy; stir in 1/4 teaspoon extract, if desired. Fold in 1 cup egg white mixture. Fold butter mixture into remaining egg white mixture, stirring until smooth.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Repeat twice with cake layers and 1 cup frosting, ending with cake layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill until set.