June 14, 2016

Spicy, Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

I love cucumbers. I love them in just about any way you can imagine. I love them in this Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream Dill Dressing. I love using them as a vehicle for dips like hummus or guacamole. I love them in salads and tucked into sandwiches. I love them made into these Creamy Cucumber Cups. The fact that the are so light and crunchy and refreshing and have so little calories... how could one not love them? Yum!

I had a bunch of baby cucumbers that needed to be used and I wanted to do something new with them. I love spicy/sweet/tangy together and so this recipe was born. Totally off the top of my head, using things I had in the pantry already. They were devoured within a day by the kids and I. I keep a container in the fridge all the time now. They make a great side dish or a delicious little snack anytime. They are wonderful on a burger or added to a salad, too. They taste amazing in as little as an hour in the fridge after being put together, but they really shine after a day marinating. I hope you'll give them a try and let me know what you think.

Spicy, Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

10 mini or 2 large English cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch planks
1 small red onion minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 cup minced roasted red peppers (I cheated and used jarred peppers)
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
Sesame seeds (for a little sumthin-sumthin when serving)

1: In a small saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, and jalapenos.
2: Simmer vinegar, sugar and jalapenos over medium flame for 15 minutes.
3: Cool liquid for 30 minutes.
4: Place cucumber planks, red onion, red pepper into a large container that has a tight sealing lid.
5: Pour vinegar/sugar/jalapeno liquid mixture over cucumber/onion/red peppers and mix well.
6: Seal container and refrigerate at least 1 hour but even better if overnight.
7: Sprinkle with sesame seed to serve, if desired.


June 5, 2016

Simple Shoyu Chicken

Simple Shoyu Chicken Thighs.

My kids found this recipe watching one of their favorite YouTube channels called "TabiEats" when they did a collaboration episode with another of their favorite YouTube channels "Ericsurf6." TabiEats has a Facebook as well as a TabiEats blog that you should totally check out if you love food and travel... these guys are amazing and so much fun to watch.

My kids became so intrigued by this recipe that we had to try making it for ourselves. I think I have made this 4 times since then. We love it... its simple to make, delicious and has just the right balance of salty, sweet, and spicy. We love it with a nice steaming bowl of short grain rice as is, but its also delicious in a sandwich.

This is the recipe as made by TabiEats and Ericsurf6 on YouTube: Easy Shoyu Chicken Recipe. Of course I had to change things a tiny bit to suit our personal tastes... but the basic method is the same. Thank you to TabiEats (and his adorable Mother) for this incredible recipe!

Chicken thighs about to become delicious.

Simple Shoyu Chicken

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (chicken breast pieces work well too)
2 cups lower sodium soy sauce
2 cups mirin
1 thumb sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin coins
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (I used Huy Fong available in most markets)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1: In a large heavy bottom pot placed soy sauce, mirin, ginger, chili garlic sauce and pepper and simmer on medium heat for 5 mins.

2: Place chicken thighs into the cooking liquid in the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer the chicken covered for 10 minutes.

3: After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the chicken to sit in the cooking liquid in the covered pot for 20 minutes.

4: After 20 minutes, remove chicken from cooking liquid and serve over rice.

5: Enjoy!
Makes 8-10 portions

Kitchen notes:
~ I actually have cooked 2 batches of this chicken with the cooking liquid and found no taste difference when using the cooking liquid immediately. I wouldn't suggest storing it and reusing, but if you wanted to cook a double batch, you can using the liquid immediately.

~ Chicken breast works equally as well using this method, if you want to use it instead.

~ This dish reheats beautifully and I even think its better when made, refrigerated and reheated the next day.

~ I did not use the cooking liquid as a sauce, since it's more sodium than I like to consume, but the liquid is very delicious and I am sure it could be slightly thickened into a glaze, if you wished.

Chicken breast cooked Shoyu Style.

May 16, 2016

Kung Pao Style Turkey Meatballs

Just a quick one today, since a couple people asked for the recipe for this one. These meatballs are sweet, spicy, moist and delicious... everything you could want in a Asian style meatball. I like to serve them with rice and a garnish of scallion (I was out of them when I made this last night... boo!) I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Kung Pao Style Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients for meatballs:

1# Lean ground turkey

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 cup finely minced onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 Tablespoon Chili Garlic Sauce (I used this: http://www.amazon.com/Huy-Fong-Chili-Garlic-18/dp/B000LO25RG)

1 whole egg, beaten

4 Tablespoons flour

1/3 cup old fashioned oats


3 Tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoons Sriracha

1 Table spoon garlic chili sauce (same as above)

3 Tablespoons honey

1/2-1 Tablespoon sesame seeds


1: Preheat oven to 400F

2: Line a large cookie sheet with foil (I used the non stick foil and needed no oil spray)

3: Mix turkey, garlic, ginger, onion, salt, pepper, garlic chili sauce, egg, flour and oats until well combined.

4: Form meatballs. Use a tablespoon measure to size. I got 18-20 meatballs from this mixture.

5: Place on cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, turning once half way to brown evenly.

6: Mix sauce ingredients in a large enough bowl to hold cooked meat balls for coating.

7: When meatballs are cooked, add to the sauce bowl and toss gently to coat... serve with remaining sauce drizzled over them.

Makes 4 servings.

May 3, 2016

Italian Crack Slaw

I know, its been well over a year since I last updated this blog. Honestly, life gets busy and things tend to fall by the wayside. This blog was one of them. I can't say for sure how often I will update, but I do plan to blog the recipes I have been making recently now and then. I've made a few new things that my family loves and have become staples, so why not share them? You might find you love them as much as we do.

This Italian Crack Slaw is my take on a recipe I have been seeing float around in the weight loss and low carb boards and communities I follow. I can't say I am following a true low carb diet these days, but I am trying hard to eat healthy foods and keep my carbs on the lower side. I find I feel better when I don't go overboard with carbs, My blood sugar stays more level and I don't get the sluggish after meal feelings I do when I eat a meal with pasta or potatoes. I hope you will try this delicious, veggie packed one skillet meal and let me know what you think!

Italian Crack Slaw


1 pound hot Italian sausage, crumbled
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large bell pepper (whatever color you like) diced
1 14oz package of raw cole slaw mix (cabbages and carrot, usually)
1 bag (5 cups) frozen cauliflower, steamed until just tender
1 10oz block frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well.
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (if desired)


Start by steaming the frozen cauliflower first. Steam it until thawed and tender, but not mushy. In fact, I tend to under cook it a bit since it will be added to the finished product and heated through and I don't want it to break up completely.

Thaw and drain the frozen spinach by hand squeezing or wringing it in a clean kitchen towel. I usually thaw it in the microwave slowly, let it cool and then squeeze.

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Once cooked, remove from the skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet saute the onions, garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms until tender. I used the drippings from cooking the Italian sausage, since my sausage was fairly lean but feel free to use butter or olive oil, whatever you like.

Add the cole slaw mix to the sauteed veggies and cook until the cabbage is tender.

Add the drained spinach to the skillet.

Add the steamed cauliflower to the skillet.

Add the cooked Italian sausage to the skillet (I sound like a broken record!)

Stir gentle to combine over low heat until everything is hot.

Gently fold in pesto and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 10-12 cups or 4-6 generous servings.

March 1, 2015

Amish Style Ham Salad

Since moving to Pennsylvania, I have been introduced to many foods that's I'd never heard of before. Some of them... aren't exactly my thing, but now and then I come across something that hits this Wisconsin girl's taste buds in just the right way. This ham salad is that for me. Simple, delicious, down to earth kind of food. I first had ham salad that was purchased at an Amish farm market in my town and I immediately fell in love. It was amazing, but expensive... so I set out trying to make my own version and found it's really easy and much more economical than buying it ready made.

February 21, 2015

Spinach Potato Cakes

By now most of you probably know I am a huge fan of re-purposing my leftovers. I believe in trying to be thrifty but everyone gets tired of eating the same thing for 2 and 3 days in a row. Try as hard as I do, it seems I am forever making too much of something or other. I think that comes from learning to cook from my Grandmother who was raised in a farming community with very hungry, hard working folks. She always made huge quantities of everything she cooked and nothing ever went to waste. Luckily, I learned that last bit from her too and I never throw food away. I will freeze it, find something new to do with it or even just eat it until it's gone.

February 14, 2015

Easy 4 Ingredient Brownies

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are spending time with your loved ones today and doing something special together. Here in the east, we're preparing for a little bit of snow (New England will get hammered again from what I hear) and some super cold temperatures and wicked winds later today. To me it sounds like the perfect weather to stay in, cuddle up with your honey and bake something delicious. I plan to spend the day with my favorite people, watch some movies and for dessert,  I made these simple brownies to top off our day.