Friday, September 23, 2016

Hearty Rice Skillet with Veggies's FRIDAY!!!  It's been a long week and I for one am happy to see the end of it.

Today I want to share a satisfying meal that is very fast to put together.  It's a meal with convenience items and that works for me on occasion.  Most likely all the ingredients will be in your pantry.....


If you have brown rice, some frozen veggies, cans of beans and tomatoes you are in business.  This rice skillet can be served in under 20 minutes - very fast!  Toss some cheese on it and you have a great meal.


Ah, a blurry shot due to the steam of the mixture simmering,  One pan. Bowls for serving and you won't have many dishes to clean up afterwards.  How can I not like this meal?


There was enough for two main meals and one lunch.  For our lunch we used whole wheat pitas stuffing them with fresh spinach, chopped tomato and the remainder of the rice skillet.  Paired up with a yogurt and that was a satisfying lunch.


Hearty Rice Skillet with Veggies


1 15-oz. can of kidney, small red, garbanzo or black beans (I used small red beans) rinsed and drained
1 14 ½ -oz can chopped tomatoes
2 Cups frozen loose-pack vegetables
2/3 cups water
¾ cups instant brown rice
Seasonings per your taste (1/2 teaspoon thyme, oregano)
1 small can condensed tomato soup
½ cup of mozzarella or cheddar (I used more like ¾ cup of mozzarella)


In a large skillet stir together beans, undrained tomatoes, vegetable, water, uncooked rice and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the soup and heat through. When you serve be sure there is a bowl of Mozzarella cheese on the table.

We also added sliced avocado. This was a nice creamy texture and went very well.

Leftovers for Pita Pockets!

Slice a whole wheat pita and stuff with the rice mixture, tomatoes and fresh spinach.  This makes a great lunch, we took it for work the next day.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

Have you ever heard of Jackfruit?  Until a week ago I had never heard of it.  Someone posted a week's worth of vegetarian meals and when the photo of a Jackfruit sandwich came up, I immediately thought - that's pork!

It's a giant fruit grown in Asia and some can get as large as 100 pounds.

Behold my sandwich made with Jackfruit.  Don't you think it looks like pork?  It has a very similar texture to meat, and well....pork in particular.


If you are a vegetarian (or a vegan ) and abhor the texture of meat, even TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) then you won't like this.  But if you routinely add a TVP, or like that texture, you may like this.


It comes refrigerated and suggests you use within 5 days of opening the package.  Did we like it?  Well, we don't like very spicy food and I neglected to check the full list of ingredients, too much red pepper spice for us.  I was expecting a plain BBQ type sauce.

I am willing to try other sauces on Jackfruit but overall, I think we satisfied our curiosity.  If you'd like to read more check out the company HERE.

I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. This week's linkup may be found HERE.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vegetarian Moussaka

This is really funny, what I am about to share, as my last post mentioned my husband wasn't a huge eggplant fan. As I said, we would have it now and then past week we have actually had it as a main ingredient 4 times!

Ok, that includes leftovers but I made two meals where the eggplant was prominent. Take a look at this serving of moussaka. Finely cut vegetables made layers upon layers of tasty bites.


This dish has everything - eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes and lentils.
Here it is with the ingredients all merged together. I sprinkled feta cheese over the top. Now it bakes for 25 minutes before I pour bechamael sauce over it.


This came out so so much better than I thought it might. I was expecting to serve it with a big spoon because I didn't think it would firm up as lasagna does. But it did, and it was fabulous.


In trying to get into better shape we have been cutting back on meat in our weekly meal rotations. This is one dish we will certainly have again.

 Don't be put off by the lengthy list of ingredients but I will warn you - this meal takes about an hour and a half to get on the table. It's the 50 minute bake time and the prep that makes this a weekend meal.
 But totally worth it! 

Heat up some naan, prepare a spinach salad and open a bottle of Dreaming Tree Crush.  Perfection.

Vegetarian Moussaka


1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil, or more as needed
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1/2 (14.5 ounce) can lentils, drained with liquid reserved
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten

Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rinse and pat eggplant dry. Cook eggplant and zucchini in hot oil until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side; remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving as much oil as possible in the skillet

Adding more oil to skillet as needed and let it get hot. Cook potato slices in hot oil until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side; remove with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, again reserving oil in the skillet.

Saute onion and garlic in reserved oil until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in vinegar, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until liquid is reduced in volume and thick. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, 1/2 the juice from lentils, oregano and parsley. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.

Layer about 1/3 of the eggplant, 1/3 of the zucchini, 1/2 the potatoes, 1/2 the onions, and 1/2 the feta into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Pour tomato mixture over vegetables; repeat layering, finishing with a layer of eggplant and zucchini.
Cover and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Stir butter, flour, and milk together in a small saucepan; bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Season with pepper and nutmeg; stir. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and stir in beaten egg.

Pour sauce over vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes.

Next week I will share a baked ratatouille. It was a snap to put together.

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Eggplant Tomato Gratin

I ♥ Cooking Club is putting Jacques Pepin in the spotlight this week. As one of our more popular featured chefs in the series, I was delighted to pull out some of his recipes and select one for linking up.

Used to be when my husband was out of town I would eat eggplant. (That's right, I live on the wild side!)
It wasn't one of his favorites. I grew up with eggplant heavily featured in the form of gratins, eggplant and cheese hoagies, fried eggplant and eggplant in I would crave it now and then. Doug has changed his mind about eggplant and we do, on occasion, have it as a Parmesan dish or in ratatouille.

Anyway, I wanted eggplant again and it just so happened to coincide with one of his out-of-town trips is the Pepin recipe I made.


It doesn't look like the photo in his cookbook at all. It's still recognizable as an eggplant dish, I think, don't you think so? It was good and I had it for my main meal. This wasn't all that recently but when I prepared it and was surfing around at I ♥ Cooking Club I saw Pepin was featured this week.

The recipe is from his book Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, details HERE.

I am very fortunate to have a good library available to me. I can check out the latest books and browse before I decide to buy a book. This one looks good, lots of nice stories in it and of course, lots of wonderful recipes.


Check out I ♥ Cooking Club this week and see what everyone else brought to the party.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

How much do I love my slow cooker? Quite a bit but I haven't been making great use of it until recently. It does all the work while I am absent from the kitchen. This was made last week prior to Hurricane Hermine's visit.
I posted about that HERE.


This is a rich soup and one that we enjoyed prior to dinner. Next time I make it I will be changing out the broth (vegetable instead of chicken) and leaving the chicken out completely. More veggies instead.


The only bummer is cleaning out the crock once you are done. But, I have found a way to make it easy. Did you know a dryer sheet soaked in the hot soapy water will scrub this out as if it's Teflon? It's true. Once you have that crock in hot water let a dryer sheet sit in there for a few minutes. It's wipes the baked on food out fairly well.


Chicken Gnocchi Soup made in a slow cooker

1 pound of skinless chicken breasts (I used leftover roasted chicken)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
A few sticks of celery, chopped
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
Basil, thyme, oregano and whatever you like, per your taste
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch (mix in with a small amount of water so it doesn’t clump)
1 16-ounce package of potato gnocchi
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A handful of fresh spinach
salt and pepper

Place the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, stock and herbs in the crockpot and cook on low for six hours (or high for four).

Shred the chicken in the pot, then stir in the milk, cornstarch mixed with water and gnocchi.

While that is stewing again, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and saute the garlic. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted (a couple of minutes). Add the spinach and garlic to the crock-pot. Salt and pepper liberally.

I will be joining Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series. the link up for this week may be found HERE. I'm also sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Thursday, September 08, 2016


This will be old news now as it all transpired last week. As many of you know, Hurricane Hermine swept up into the Gulf of Mexico and aimed right for our little part of the state. We work in Tallahassee but live about 15 miles to the west in a rural area.


Our governor sent all the State Drones home at noon on Thursday so we wouldn't clog the roads when the severe weather struck. Even in the best weather conditions we have a dangerous surplus of drivers around these parts. There are many college students (although they aren't solely to blame) - but we seriously must have the largest population of boneheads with driver licences in the Tallahassee area.

I wasn't able to get too many photos of the storm damage as we stayed home, keeping the roads clear for repair crews and linemen.


This was actually taken the day after when we attempted to take a back road to the grocery store. A huge tree had blocked the road and pulled down a power line.


About 2:30 in the morning the winds were wicked, howling around us and we could hear branches and limbs hitting the roof. It was a bit nerve wracking so we decided to just get up and put on coffee, especially as we still had electricity. After two cups and us staring at our tablets for news we decided to try and sleep again after 5:30.

This is a screen shot of our Highway Patrol site on Friday September 2nd. Normally I check this before heading to work to see if there are accidents to avoid. There may be one of two incidents on a regular day.
This was Friday afternoon.


We had a large tree fall, fortunately not toward our house or carport. It took down the phone line and has now become part of the landscape in the field. We don't have a chainsaw and I expect as this decays, it will become part of the perimeter, making homes for birds. If you look at the center of the tree you can see my husband on the other side.


A causality of the storm.


In spite of the plans for a few rides over the Labor Day weekend we were only able to get out on Monday for a short ride. We headed north into Georgia as the roads weren't impacted near Bainbridge and Cairo. It was still cloudy but cooler temperatures in the morning.


Unfortunately there are still a few thousand people without power....even after a week. Can't imagine how we'd have fared if this had been anything higher than a category 1 storm.

Once we had gotten home on Thursday I started preparing food that could be easily heated on a propane camp stove if we lost electricity for any length of time. I made a meat sauce for pasta and then tossed it in the slow cooker to mince down. I also made a Chicken Gnocchi soup in the slow cooker.

That's the update for us and I thank you all for the kind wishes and checking on us during the storm. We managed to read quite a bit during this past weekend! Updates later.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Cucumber, Tomato & Onion Salad for Souper Sunday

How excited are you all in the northern hemisphere that summer is winding down? I am very excited to think about pulling out flannel shirts, boots, scarves and best of all – jackets!

Hello, my name is Tina and am a hoarder of jackets. Stupid thing to have a weakness for when I live in steamy ol’ Florida. But there it is, that’s what I love and so, I will tell you…. I currently have 6 motorcycle jackets and I could easily get by with 3. One ventilated for the hot weather, one medium weight for chilly weather and one for very cold temps and dealing with wind chill in the months of December through February.

But yeah, I have six jackets and love them all. And this has what to do with summer salads? Nothing. I just got on a roll typing about my winter clothing.


My purpose is to share a cool Cucumber and Tomato Salad I tossed together for a dinner recently. My preference for cucumbers is to have them diced instead of sliced in salads. I chopped a half a cuke and about ¾ pint of cherry tomatoes and a bit of a small onion, maybe a ¼ cup of onion in total.
Stir this up gently and drizzle your favorite dressing over the salad. I think an olive oil based dressing works best. It’s that simple.

This wouldn’t make a great main meal salad, not enough bulk, but it’s a great little side for a variety of meals.


Note: I was preparing this post pre-Hurricane Hermine so it's not indicative of what we ate during the storm. But for next week's offering I have a few things to share we prepared in preparation of losing electricity. Got it all ready and cooked in case we needed to heat food using the camp stove.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday and with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Curtis Stone Pizza - I need advice on the dough, please

Pizza night is usually takeaway so everyone gets a break. Pizza and a movie. And some wine. OK, an entire bottle of wine. Then if the movie isn't great it's not so painful. But I like to make a pizza now and then because, they are always better.


Ok folks, here is where I need help. Look at this pizza. I tried rolling it and stretching the dough and each time, it would creep back and shrink up. Almost impossible to get a flatter crust no matter what I did.

Any suggestions? I can make bread and shape it the way I need it but pizza dough.... Forgetaboutit........


I'm not saying this pizza wasn't good. It was very tasty and I would love to make it again but I sure would like to get the dough flatter.

Recipe may be found on Curtis Stone's site HERE. I left the salami off so it's a vegetarian pizza.

Check out I ♥ Cooking Club and see what others served up. If anyone has a suggestion I am interested :-)

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