Friday, February 24, 2017

Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I used only 4 chicken thighs and kept the amount of the sauce ingredients the same. 

So, if I were to make 8 chicken thighs, I would double the sauce.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Garlic-Herb Crusted Boneless Pork Sirloin Roast

We love to make pork roast for a company meal because it adapts beautifully to a wide variety of seasonings and sauces, and it always yields great results. This recipe features a simple, flavorful rub made with an ample quantity of garlic and an assortment of fresh herbs. It's fabulous on this boneless cut of pork.

2-1/2 to 3-pound boneless pork roast (pork sirloin)
For the rub:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

Boneless Pork Roast Preparation:
Bring the roast to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
Make the rub by combining the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme and orange zest in a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Using your hands, coat the roast completely with the prepared rub. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and pour 1/2-inch of water into the bottom of the pan.
Roast the pork until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers 145°F, 50 to 60 minutes.
Remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil and allow the roast to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Slice and serve on a platter garnished with sprigs of fresh herbs.
Makes 6 servings

Boneless pork sirloin roasts generally weigh between 2-1/2 and 3 pounds, enough for about 6 servings. If you're having a larger group, simply cook two roasts side by side. This cut cooks fairly quickly, is easy to carve, and, when done to the proper internal temperature, turns out tender, juicy and full of flavor.
It's a great choice for smaller gatherings, or if you're short on time or oven space and you won't be sacrificing quality or flavor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins

"These Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins are so good people won’t even notice they’re healthier, my kids had no idea! Instead of being made with plain white flour they are made with healthier white whole wheat flour, then instead of being made with granulated sugar they are made with honey and about half the amount in comparison to the typical amount of sugar that’s normally added. Then another healthier swap is the coconut oil in place of the butter. I’m not normally someone that’s into healthier baked goods but when they’re this good then I’m all in!"

2 cups white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting*
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup  honey
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups well mashed overripe bananas
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the holes of 16 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray and dust lightly with wheat flour. Shake out excess flour, set aside. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds. Set aside.

Add coconut oil to a large microwave save mixing bowl. Heat in microwave until it's just melted. Stir in honey then whisk in eggs. Whisk in bananas and buttermilk. Add wheat flour mixture and whisk just until combined (batter will be lumpy). Divide batter among prepared muffin cups filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few crumbs, about 16 - 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around muffins to loosen. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store muffins in an airtight container.

*Whisk flour in container before measuring, then scoop using a measuring cup and level top using a butter knife.

Yield: 16 muffins
Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Parmesan Ranch Baked Chicken

I LOVE simple.  This is pretty simple.  ~Shelly

Tender, juicy chicken is topped with Ranch dressing, buttery crackers, and savory Parmesan cheese. This is a baked chicken dish your entire family will be begging for!
A subtle Ranch flavor takes a backseat, letting the Parmesan be the star.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 24 crackers)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

  1. In a seal-able plastic bag, gently pound chicken until it's uniform in thickness. Slice breasts in half, if desired.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together crackers, shredded Parmesan and dried parsley. (alternatively, you could crush the crackers by hand and stir together with the cheese and parsley.
  3. Spray a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Place chicken in the pan and sprinkle with garlic salt.
  4. Brush chicken evenly with Ranch dressing, then sprinkle cracker mixture on top. Press the cracker mixture into the chicken lightly with your hands.
  5. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Tops should be golden brown. If additional browning time is needed, place chicken under the broiler for a couple minutes.
  6. Serve hot.

Serves 6

This recipe found on Yellow Bliss Road

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

100 Ways to Show Your Love

Enjoy this very special day with your sweetheart, have a wonderful romantic dinner and listen to romantic love songs.

These wonderful ideas brought to you by your favorite neighborhood market - Harter House Supermarket!

Ladies, Just a few of these ideas will make your man feel loved. To show him how truly special he is, pick a bunch of ideas and surprise him with your loving bouquet of sweet sentiments on February 14. From 100 to one, here are lots of romantic Valentine's Day inspiration for you!
Men, These will work for you too!

Of course, my favorite is #1
1. Grab him spontaneously and kiss him like you mean it.


100. Send your sweetie a sweet, short and sexy text or email. (Not to his work email!)

99. Leave a little note in his briefcase or laptop bag so he will find it when he gets to work.

98. When your significant other gets home, be waiting in the bedroom dressed in your favorite sexy lingerie (or nothing at all!) … you know what happens next.

97. Plan a surprise outing! Start with dinner at his favorite restaurant, then reveal tickets to a show or sports game.

96. Take a hot air balloon ride together.

95. Surprise him with that special something he has been coveting (no matter how big or small).

94. Send flowers or cookies for no reason at all.

93. Take his dog for a walk.

92. Stock his fridge with his favorite beer and his shelves with his favorite snacks. (from Harter House Supermarket)

91. Stop by your sweetie's office around lunchtime with his favorite noontime food.

90. Take a drive together -- car trips provide some of the best time for talking one-on-one.

89. Snuggle after sex -- even if you are tired.

88. Give a back massage.

87. Offer a foot rub -- without asking for one in return!

86. Fill up his gas tank.

85. If he comes home after a boy's night WAY past the time he said he would, let it go.

84. Make breakfast in bed.

83. Stay in bed all day -- pajamas optional.

82. Take a late-night, hand-in-hand stroll.

81. Sign up for a class you know he has been wanting to take together.

80. Make up silly nicknames for each other that you ONLY call each other in private!

79. Make a mousepad (or a mug or a calendar) with your picture on it for his desk.

78. Start a hobby together.

77. Do something nice for his mother, brother, sister, etc.

76. Let him pick the movie this time.

75. Make a special dinner for him.

74. When he gets home, hand him a glass of wine, sit down together and let him talk about his day.

73. Do chores or errands without being asked and without complaining.

72. Put the toilet seat down.

71. Leave a note on the bathroom mirror so he will see it first thing in the morning.

70. Send a sexy picture message to his phone.

69. Leave a note for him to meet at his favorite bar or club. When he arrives, do some fun role-play and pretend you are meeting for the first time.

68. Wash his car for him.

67. Do his laundry.

66. Recreate your first date -- then recall all the feelings you had for each other that very first night.

65. Make a creative coupon book (free massage, free night out with the guys, etc.) without an expiration date!

64. Book a couple's massage.

63. Plan a romantic getaway to a bed and breakfast.

62. Dedicate a day to the one you love -- plan a day filled with his favorite things.

61. Plan a surprise party for him.

60. Send him a nice (or naughty!) card. Even if you live together, mail it!

59. Take out the trash.

58. Buy him a calendar and fill it with important dates (our first dinner together, our three-year anniversary, etc.).

57. Have a romantic/sexy photo session done together or have sexy pictures taken of yourself and make a private album for him.

56. Make a big deal out of the holidays.

55. Scatter rose petals on the bed

54. If he has to work late, have his favorite take-out delivered to the office, and pre-pay, of course!

53. Have a talk about the future and let him know that he is a part of it.

52. Buy his favorite perfume, and simply put it in the medicine cabinet for him to discover on his own.

51. Declare a day of the week "your" day -- always spend that day together, even if you just snuggle on the couch together.

50. Take him home to meet the family.

49. Propose.

48. Go on a picnic.

47. Explore your adventurous sides together -- do something daring that neither of you have tried before, such as bungee jumping or sky diving. The experience will bring you closer.

46. Designate a place as "yours" -- your favorite restaurant or bar -- and frequent it together often.

45. Volunteer together. Work side-by-side at your local animal shelter, nursing home or as you gather donations for your local food bank.

44. Take him to an art gallery or art walk.

43. Arrange to have a house cleaner come to his place and spruce things up!

42. Introduce him to your best friends.

41. Walk him out when he leaves for work.

40. Make him a special bag lunch with a note written on a napkin inside.

39. Get him a subscription to his favorite magazine.

38. If he has a business trip, offer to drive to the airport, so he doesn't have to take a cab.

37. Leave a sweet note on a post-it on his car windshield or steering wheel.

36. Flirt with him unabashedly.

35. If he has been working out extra hard or dieting, compliment him on his weight loss or how big his muscles are getting.

34. Rent some silly comedies and spend the night laughing together.

33. Take a shower together.

32. Offer to shave his face or ask him to shave your legs.

31. Guys, offer to paint your ladies toes.

30. Go stargazing. Bring a bottle of champagne.

29. Try an activity that he loves, such as golf, or that she loves, like shopping! (No complaining!)

28. Get up early on the weekend and do some of the chores he has on his list.

27. Laugh at his jokes.

26. Compliment her on her new hairstyle, shoes, outfit, etc.

25. Frame a picture of the two of you during a special trip.

24. Ask his mother for the recipe to his favorite dish that she made him growing up.

23. Ask her father for her hand and his blessing.

22. Buy a little teddy bear to sleep with when you are not there.

21. Get her oil changed and her brakes checked.

20. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride. (Bonus points if this is at Christmastime or Valentine's Day.)

19. Buy her favorite chocolates and sneak some into her purse.

18. Buy him a new tie.

17. Iron his shirts.

16. Feed each other dinner. Or better yet, dessert.

15. Sneak a sexy note into the pocket of his slacks or into her purse.

14. Kiss him when he leaves in the morning and when he gets home at night.

13. Brag about him to his friends for something really macho that he does.

12. Tell her mother how smart you think she is.

11. Go on a bike ride -- extra credit for using a tandem bike.

10. Baby him when he is sick.

9. Leave lipstick kisses on the bathroom mirror.

8. Go to the park together (even if you don't have kids). Go down the slide, play on the teeter-totter and go on the swings.

7. Let him teach you a new skill.

6. Buy a little gift and surprise him at the end of a long week.

5. Go hiking together.

4. Take a trip to the beach.

3. Watch the sun set or rise together.

2. Share the morning paper and some mimosas over the weekend.

1. Grab him spontaneously and kiss him like you mean it.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Italy is For Lovers - Italian LOVE Cake

What girl hasn't dreamed of a holiday in Rome, and of being swept off her feet by some strong Italian gentleman on his scooter through the byways and streets of Italy. Well, maybe the fantasy is gone, but that doesn't mean that feeling can't be relived in the flavors of the Italian Love Cake. A decadent treat for the Italian in all of us. Stop by Harter House and Harter House World Flavors to pick up the ingredients for this amazing dessert.

What you will need:

Yellow Cake Mix
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Frangelico
1 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

8 Large Eggs
3 Pounds Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, drained
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch squares, chilled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the cake ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Now, take the filling ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Important: DO NOT MIX THESE TOGETHER. In a greased 10X15 glass pan, pour the cake mix into the bottom, and then, pour the ricotta filling ON TOP. DO NOT MIX.

Bake the cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

As the cake cools, make the topping. In a food processor blend 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl and with a pastry cutter, cut in 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter until the mixture looks like wet sand. Now sprinkle over the cooling cake.

Now, invite your girlfriend's over, pop open the champagne, close your eyes and imagine Fernando feeding you this mouth-watering dessert on a deserted Italian beach. Delizioso!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Michele's Baked Lasagna

Many years ago, I purchased R&F Brand Lasagna noodles.  I decided to save the recipe knowing someday I would not be able to find it. Sure enough, the parent company sold and today this brand no longer exists.   But I still have the recipe.  This recipe is my base. It is great as is, but I will enhance it, making it a little different each time.  I ALWAYS double the meat that is called for.

These are my ingredients.  I start with opening my wine, because I love to enjoy a glass as I cook.
1 lb. Lasagna noodles
3/4 lb. Ricotta
2 eggs
4 Cups Meat Sauce - See below
1 lb. Mozzarella Cheese
4 Tbls Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
Meat Sauce
1 lb. Ground meat ( 1/2 beef - 1/2 Pork)   - (I double this.)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Large Onion
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
1 Clove Garlic, chopped or pressed
1 Carrot, grated
1 Can Tomatoes, chopped or mixed in blender for a few seconds
1 (6 oz) can Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
12 oz. water
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Basil

Sauté onion, parsley, garlic and carrot in oil. Add meat and brown.
Add tomatoes paste wine and water, salt, pepper and basil.  Simmer 1 hour.
Boil Lasagna 10 minutes in 6 Qts. salted water.  Add cold water until noodles can be handles.  Do NOT drain.
In a separate bowl mix eggs and ricotta.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
 Grease Baking dish and arrange the bottom with parallel layers of lasagna.  Add 1/3 of Meat Sauce, 1/3 Ricotta mixture, 1/3 thin slices Mozzarella.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.  Cover with another layer of each, and a third layer of each.  Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes. 
Serves 8

I chopped my onion, added grated carrots, and pressed garlic.
Saute in 1/4 cup Olive Oil

I added 1 lb. each of
  Harter House Ground Round (95%  lean)
and Harter House homemade Italian Sausage.

At Harter House, all of our ground meats are ground fresh daily from our own trimmings, to ensure the freshest product for your family.

Brown the meat and drain the fat and oil from the pot.
I like to use Bounty paper towels to soak up the liquid.

I added basil rather than parsley.  I love the flavor of basil and I find that fresh spices add an extra kick that always wins the prize.

Next I added chopped Roasted Red Peppers, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
I added 1 cup Cabernet Wine and 1 cup water.
(a little different from the original recipe)


Now, we let it simmer for an hour.

Next, I've set up my work station to layer each ingredient.
A little oil on the Pampered Chef Stone Bakeware. 
Layer noodles, meat sauce, Ricotta and egg mixture, Mozzarella slices, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat for three layers.  Then bake in a 350 degree oven 30-45 minutes. (since I made a larger amount, I cooked it a little longer)  Then I broiled the lasagna just long enough to make the cheese bubbly on top.

Finally, I made a Cheesy Garlic Bread with English Muffins.  Melted butter and garlic powder sprinkled on muffins and topped with shredded mozzarella.  Broil for about 8 minutes, till the cheese is browned a bit.

My hard work paid off.
I received a third place Judges Choice at our August Springfield's Best Mixer, that had a Italian themed Bring a Dish contest.