Tip # 4 Best Oils All Around

This is probably the most frequently asked question I receive.  I have always made a point to stay clear of vegetable oil due to its many health problems it can cause.  Here is a list of oils that I use regularly in my kitchen and why I use them.  I make a point to keep all of these oils in my cupboard.

1 - Grapseed Oil:  This is a great oil for lowering cholesterol.  It has a very light taste and I use it a lot in place of Olive Oil.  Smoke Point 420 degrees.

2 - Peanut Oil: This oil has been shown to reduce heart disease.  It contains resveratrol, which is found in grapes and red wine and helps reduce cardiovascular disease and reduce cancer risk.  Peanut Oil can be used in MANY ways such as pop corn, frying foods, to saute or grill foods.  Smoke Point 460 degrees.

3 - Walnut Oil:  This oil has also been shown to reduce heart disease but in a different way.  This oil lowers triglycerides.  This is a great oil to sprinkle on salads.  You can also finish off your chicken or fish plates with this oil.  Smoke Point 400 degrees.

4 - Sesame Oil:  This is a great oil for providing Vitamin E.  Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant which means it helps lower cholesterol. Sesame oil also contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and vitamin B6.  It is also a VERY popular oil in Asian foods.  My family loves to eat Stir Fry's and we use this quite often in them.

5 - Flaxseed Oil:  This oil if full of Omega-3's Fatty Acids.  As a matter of fact, flaxseed oil provides the highest concentration of these fats of any non-fish food.  The fatty acids make arteries more flexible, reduce inflammation in the arteries, reduce blood clots and even lessen the chance of fatal heart attacks.  This is a great oil to add to salads.  This is an oil that needs to stay refrigerated as heat destroys the omega-3's.  Smoke Point 225 degrees.

6 - Rice Bran Oil:  This is an excellent healthy alternative all around.  This oil has a really high flash point which prevents the nutrients to break down when cooking at high temperatures. This is probably the most versatile oil on the market and closest to AHA recommendations overall.  Smoke Point 490 degrees.

7 - Olive Oil:  I could never leave out olive oil.  It is one of my favorites.  Although it may not be known to prevent any major illnesses it is a superior oil to saute with or use in salads.  Smoke Point 325 degrees.

8 - Almond Oil:  This is one of my favorite to bake with.  This can be very tasty on proteins while frying as well.  Smoke point comes in at 495 degrees.

9 - Safflower Oil:  This is a great oil for rice dishes as well as your proteins such as fish or chicken.  It has a light taste and the Smoke Point is 450 degrees.

10 - Sunflower Oil - This is one of my favorites to use on vegetables.  This oil has a low saturated fat level and can withstand high heat.  I love this oil with Zucchini. Smoke Point is 460 Degrees.


Tip # 3 How to avoid Tearing with Onions

I have noticed that many stores now sell goggles for cooks to use when cutting an onion.  Why waste your money when there is a simpler way to avoid the tears. Here is a simple trick for avoiding the tears all together when cutting an onion.  Store your onions in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours prior to cutting into them and you will have little to no tears at all when cutting into it.  It is just that easy.



     I think everyone loves a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter day.  I live in Florida now and those cold days are far and few between.  It is mid October and we are still in the high 80's and holding strong.  I made the chili more or less to remind me of home, Virginia!  I miss the changing leaves, the cool windy days, hot tea, hot chocolate, and bundling up.  So, here is my reminder of home.



1 lb Ground Beef (Cooked and Drained)
1 - 15 oz can of Diced Tomatoes (With Liquid)
1 - 15 oz can Light Red Kidney Beans (Liquid Drained - Beans Rinsed)
1 - 15 oz can Pinto Beans (Liquid Drained - Beans Rinsed)
1 - 8 oz can of Hunts Tomato Sauce
1 Medium Onion, Diced
1 Medium Green Pepper, Diced
1 - 4 oz can Green Chilies (With Liquid)
2 Tbsp Chopped Celery
2 Tbsp Chili Powder (Add as Desired)
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp Basil
1 Cup Water (Optional)


     Cook meat and drain the fat in a spaghetti strainer.  I usually rinse with hot water as well to remove ALL excess fat.  This makes the meet a bit healthier and does NOT remove any flavor.  Add meat to all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for several hours.  You may need to adjust your chili powder and cumin to your desired taste.  I usually add a bit more than I put down.  Serve with bread or crackers.


Make your own Sour Cream

       I love to make things from scratch, even as far as my condiments.  It brings my kids into the kitchen and allows us to spend time together making food that we all love.  Sour cream is no exception.  It is really easy to make and if you have the ingredients it is cheaper to make it yourself than buy it regularly at the store.


2 Cups Light Cream
2 Tbsp Buttermilk

      Combine cream with buttermilk in a canning jar that is hot and sterile.  Cover tightly with lid and shake gently to mix thoroughly.  Let stand in a warm place such as where you allow bread to rise for 24 - 48 hours and allow it to thicken.  Store your finished sour cream in the refrigerator and be sure to use it within 3 weeks time.  Recipe makes 2 cups.


Tip # 2 Removing Corn from the Cob

     Not all of us enjoy eating corn on the cob.  Although it is one of my favorite sides to prepare for my family, there was a time that I lived with my parents and I had to accommodate my father since he refused to eat corn on the cob.  Whether it was from pain with his gums or being cautious with his teeth, I would have to remove the kernels from the cob.  I have noticed many kids requesting this as well in restaurants and at friends houses.  It is a fairly simple task and when you find a set up that works like a charm it makes things go a bit more smoother.  This is a fairly easy and straight to the point tip on stripping your corn on the cob.

Tip # 2  Removing Corn from the Cob

     Using a bundt pan place a dish towel around the center hole of the pan to protect it.  Place your corn upright with the tip of the cob in the center hole of the bundt pan.  Be sure to hold the cob steady and using a sharp knife make long downward strokes in order to separate the kernels from the cob.  Using the dish towel to protect the stick free interior from any damage in case you slip while removing the kernels.

     Now that the old fashioned method is out of the way, here is another way to  remove the kernels from the cob with one easy tool and no risk to any bundt pans.  Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper makes things easy and it is very similar to our already used vegetable and fruit peeler you may already have in your kitchen.  This is a very inexpensive addition and makes perfect sense to have if you and your family love fresh corn.


Roasted Potatoes

These are probably the easiest potatoes to make.  I will also be the first to admit that I have a terrible habit of not measuring things when I cook.  Thus making it hard to determine how much to tell others to use.  I have started measuring things and writing them down as I add more to my dishes so hopefully I can stay in the habit of this.  However, last night I was dealing with two sick kids with Croup so this was not a night that I measured things after realizing one of my kiddos was having a hard time breathing and needed to go to the ER.  Here is what I came up with. 


6-8 Red Potatoes, chopped with skin on
1 can French Onion Soup (Made with Beef Stock)
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder or Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp Parsley
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to Taste


Combine all ingredients into a bowl with a lid or a large gallon size and mix together generously.  Lay out your mixed ingredients into a pan that has been sprayed with Pam or anything else to prevent sticking (I used a shallow glass dish).  Cook on 450F for 50 Minutes or until tender.


Tip #1 Cooking Pasta

I have decided to include random tips about cooking.  Some, possibly even most may already know these tips but many new chefs are unaware of them and I can't help but remember when I first started cooking.  I called my mom regularly to ask how to do some of the easiest things.  I like to think that I have expanded my cooking knowledge ten fold since then and I can only hope that it gets better over time.  Enjoy the tips and I hope they help.

Cooking Pasta:

Many people are unaware how to measure pasta and tend to have a large amount of left overs when they make it.  Here is a starter tip.  If you are serving pasta as a main course you should use 4 oz per person.  A one pound box of pasta is enough to serve 4.  You would cut that number in half if you are serving the pasta as a side dish.  In other words, it would be 2 oz per person.

You want to bring your pot of water to a rolling boil before adding any pasta.  Once you have your water boiling you will want to add salt.  Add enough salt so that your water tastes like sea water.  Be sure not to add your salt before the water boils.

Add your pasta all at once bending the long pasta into the water as it softens.  Do not break your pasta to fit the pot.  Once the water has come back to a boil turn down the heat a bit to prevent the water from boiling over.  Boil the pasta al dente.  This means that you want to cook it till it is slightly firm in the middle.

Do not add any oil to your water.  Once you e pasta is added to the water your water level should be about 2 inches from the top.  This will prevent it from boiling over.  Adding oil will coat your pasta and prevent the sauce from sticking to them.

I have never followed the cooking times on the boxes since I have found them to be inaccurate.  Best thing to do is to remove one strand of pasta and allow it to cool.  Taste the cooled pasta and determine if it is to your liking.  I personally like my pasta softer than al dente.  It is all a matter of taste.  Once it is finished drain the pasta in a colander.  Some people like to preserve anywhere between 1/4 - 1/2 a cup of the cooking water to mix with their sauce.

Return the pasta to your pot (DO NOT RINSE PASTA WITH WATER) and add your sauce.  You can then add your reserved cooking water to the sauce.  Stir well and at this time you can add a splash of either heavy cream or olive oil to your sauce.  The reason for adding reserved water and heavy cream or olive oil together is that it allows the sauce to thicken and coats the pasta better.  I also reserve some sauce on the side.  Once you serve your pasta onto the plates you can add a bit more sauce for those who like their sauce heavier.

If you are cooking fresh pasta, you will want to cook a few minutes less as it will cook faster than dried pasta.  Another tip is to be very careful when stirring in your sauce with fresh pasta as it is very fragile.


Hazelnut Extract

Here is a recipe that has been collecting dust in my recipe box for some time.  I posted my vanilla extract earlier and remembered that I had another one somewhere.  I thought it was Almond extract but to my surprise it was Hazelnut.  I use this in cakes and breads to add a bit more flavor than the basic baking recipes.  I completely forgot about this recipe and believe it or not it is one of my favorites.  This goes to show you how often I bake.  I am getting back into it but I fear I have lost my touch.  Baking is most definitely a challenging skill.

Hazelnut Extract

4 oz. hazelnuts
3/4 cup vodka
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water


First toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. While they are still hot, transfer them into a jar with vodka.  Add the innards of the vanilla bean along with the vanilla bean to the jar.  Let the flavors infuse for 3-4 weeks in a cool, dry place.  The color of the extract will darken with time.  At the end of 3-4 weeks, drain the hazelnuts from the extract and reserve the extract. Crush the hazelnuts up and push it through a sieve to remove every last bit of flavor.  In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water together. At this point, adding the crushed hazelnuts is optional, but I went ahead and did it, just so I extract every ounce of flavor from it.  Bring the sugar syrup to a boil (and strain it, if you’ve added the crushed hazelnuts to it in the step above) and add it to the hazelnut extract mixture. You can now discard the crushed hazelnuts.  Shake it up and store in a sterilized bottle.  Enjoy a dash of hazelnut flavor with whatever you like!  I now store mine in the refrigerator when I make it.  I also recommend these bottles for your extracts.  I love them and they come in handy with extracts, dressings, and marinades.

Vanilla Extract

        I have been making my own vanilla extract for years.  It has a better flavor than the store bought and has a longer shelf life as well.  Vanilla is a very common extract used in baking.  Most brands use a syrup which is primarily sugar water to give the vanilla a sweet aftertaste.  However, this is really unnecessary when used in baking.  My kids love helping make this and it is a great way to spend time with them.


3 Vanilla Beans
1 Cup Vodka
Glass Jar with tight fitting Lid


Step 1: Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise using a paring knife or kitchen scissors. Be sure to leave the ends connected for now.

Step 2: Place the vanilla beans in the glass jar and cover completely with the vodka.

Step 3:  Place lid on the jar and shake it every once in a while.  Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.  You can continue to add vodka to it once in a while as you use it and just remember to shake it up to allow the vanilla to spread within the vodka.  This vanilla will last for years.

TIP: You can also add vanilla beans to your white sugar and allow the vanilla to infuse with the sugar giving it a vanilla flavor for baking.  Another nice little treat is to add some vanilla bean to your olive oil.  It is very good and can be used for just about anything.  Just remember to shake it well and allow to set for a week.


Thought for the Day

I like to think of myself as a master chef, however, I have never had any training other than that of my mother.  She taught me well with her recipes from my Grandmother who in my personal opinion was truly a Master Chef.  She was Southern and stayed true to her cooking style.  Everything had butter in it and quite possibly an oil of some kind.  Whether it was EVOO, Vegetable, Peanut or Canola (to name a few) Oil she added something for flavor.  I think a piece of her went into every dish she created.  I share this story because I am interested in where everyone else learned to cook.  Do you think that learning to cook at a school makes you better at cooking that someone that is self taught?  I think that is a tough question to answer since many of the famous chefs on the food network never went to culinary school.  Is it possible that being self taught brings a little something extra to your food? Regardless of a chefs start or their roots, a chef is a chef for one reason.....they love food!  That doesn't mean they necessarily love to eat but for me, it is about sharing my creations and seeing people smile when they eat it.  That first bite into a dish says it all.  It is true magic when a dish speaks volumes in the first bite.  My next venture will be canning/preserving.  Thanks to my friends over at Scissors & Drumsticks for peaking my interest in this process.  I am excited to get this started and learn not only to save money and food but make memories with my family.


Homemade French Fries

It is in my opinion that these are the worlds best french fries.  We used 10 baking potatoes and everyone kept going back for more.  I absolutely loved them.  I didn't measure anything but here is what I used and how I made them.  These are not healthy in any way but oh so delicious.  Enjoy!


10 Baking Potatoes
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Onion Powder
Italian Seasoning


Peel the potatoes and cut into strips at desired thickness.  I made these thin because I like mine semi-crunchy.  Put all the fries into a tupperware container with a lid and add your desired amount of spices listed above.  Shake container to coat all the fries.  You can add more seasonings once cooked to your desired taste.  Heat your vegetable oil on the stove top on med high heat.  I put mine on number 8.  Once heated, about 10 minutes to heat completely, add some fries to cook.  Once golden brown remove and place on paper towel to allow the oil to drip off fries.


Baked Onion Rings


2 Large Sweet Onions
2 Eggs
1 - 1/2 Cups Crushed Cornflakes
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Paprika
1/4 Tsp Garlic Salt
1/4 Tsp Seasoned Salt


Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.  Cut onions into 1/2 inch slices; separate into rings.  In a shallow dish, whisk eggs.  In another shallow dish, combine the cornflake crumbs, sugar, paprika, garlic salt, and seasoned salt.  Dip onion rings into eggs, then coat with cornflakes mixture. Arrange rings in a single layer on greased baking sheets.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until tender.

Basil-Parmesan Angel Hair Pasta


1 Pkg (16 oz) Angel Hair Pasta
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Can (12 oz) Fat Free Evaporated Milk
2/3 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Basil
1 Tsp Grated Lemon Peel
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Pepper
Additional Fresh Basil
12 Lemon Slices


Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to pan.  Add oil; toss to coat.  Add milk, cheese, onions, basil, lemon peel, salt, garlic powder and pepper.  Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.  Sprinkle with additional basil.  Serve with lemon.

Mini Apple Strudels


1 - 1/2 Cups Chopped peeled tart Apples
2 Tbsp plus 2 Tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts (Optional)
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
6 Sheets Phyllo Dough
Butter Flavored Cooking Spray
Confectioners' Sugar (Optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the apples, sugar, walnuts, flour, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface (keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out).  Spray with butter-flavored spray.

Fold in half width wise; spray  again with butter-flavored spray.  Spoon a scant  1/3 cup filling onto phyllo about 2 inches from a short side.  Fold side edges over filling and roll up.  Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Repeat.

With a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits in tops of strudels.  Spray strudels with butter-flavored spray.  Bake for 20 - 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar if desired.

Garlic Chicken 'n' Gravy


4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Chicken Broth, divided
1/2 Cup White Wine or additional Chicken Broth
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1/4 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour


Sprinkle chicken with Salt and Pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken and garlic in butter over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until browned.  Add 1/2 cup broth, wine (or additional broth), basil and oregano.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 7 - 9 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and keep warm.  In a small bowl, combine flour and remaining broth until smooth; stir into pan juices.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 - 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve over chicken.

* You can make this dish healthier by using wheat flour and light smart balance butter and a salt substitute.


Chicken in Creamy Gravy


4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
          (4 oz. Each)

1 Tbsp Canola Oil

1 Can (10-3/4 oz) Reduced Fat, Reduced Sodium Condensed Cream of Chicken and Broccoli Soup, undiluted

1/4 Cup Fat Free Milk

1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Parsley

2 Tsp Lemon Juice

1/4 Tsp Pepper

1/4 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce

4 Lemon Slices

Hot Spaghetti, Optional

Additional Minced Fresh Parsley, Optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place Chicken in cast Iron skillet that is lightly coated with oil.  About 20-25 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the soup, milk, parsley, lemon juice, pepper and worcestershire sauce.  Once chicken is out of the oven place on range top on medium setting.  Pour contents over chicken.  Top each chicken breast with a lemon slice.  Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or heated through.  Serve over a small serving of spaghetti and sprinkle with additional parsley if desired.


Pulled Pork BBQ

 I have never really cared much for BBQ anything!  When I tried this after much hesitation I fell in love!  It is a combination of several BBQ sauces giving it a truly amazing taste and heavenly flavor.  Enjoy it because I do!


1/2  Large Pork Loin

2/3 Cup Water

1 Large Onion  (cut in quarters...to be removed later)

Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 Bottle of Sauers BBQ Sauce

1/4 Cup of Scotts (yellow label) Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce

Sweet Baby Ray's (Regular) BBQ Sauce (To Taste...usually more than the spicy sauce)

1/2 - 1 Cup of Sweet Baby Ray's Hot and Spicy BBQ Sauce (depending on your taste)


In a crock pot, place the whole pork loin in to 1/2 inches of water (roughly 2/3 cups).  Just enough to cover the bottom of pot.  Add onion, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste and a lot of garlic powder (3 - 4 good shakes).  Cook 8 - 10 hours on low.  Drain juices reserving 1 cup.  Carefully remove the pork loin and place into a large pan to shred with 2 forks.  Place back into crock pot for 1 more hour with the reserved juices and add the BBQ sauces.  Serve on Hamburger buns of choice.


Roasted Parslied Potatoes


5 small to Medium Baking Potatoes, Diced
5 Tbsp Smart Balance Butter, Melted
1/4 cup Parsley (More is desired)
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
3-5 Tbsp Garlic Powder (To Taste)
Salt and Pepper to Taste


Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.  Use a napkin and spread olive oil on the bottom of your baking pan to prevent sticking.  Clean potatoes and dice to desired size.  Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and set aside.  Put your diced potatoes into a mixing bowl and add your garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper and mix well to coat the potatoes.  Drizzle your melted butter over the potatoes and stir to make sure they are all covered.  Place on your baking pan and cook for 30 - 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Chicken Vermicelli Soup with Egg Shreds

The Everyday Chicken Cookbook: Over 365 Step-By-Step Recipes for Delicious Cooking All Year Round

I made this the other night and it was amazing.  I highly recommend this one.  I added a little bit more noodles and found that I probably shouldn't have based on the noodle to chicken stock ratio in the leftovers. The only thing I would do differently would be to use the exact amount of noodles they call for or a bit less and cut the chicken into thin small pieces.  I think this will help give it more balance.  Enjoy!


(Serves 4 - 6)

3 Large Eggs
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Coriander (Cilantro) or Parsley
6 1/4 Cups Good Chicken Stock or Consomme
1 Cup Dried Vermicelli or Angel Hair Pasta
4 oz Cooked Chicken Breasts, Slicked
Salt and Pepper to Taste


First make the egg shreds.  Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and stir in the chopped coriander or parsley.  Heat a small, non-stick frying pan and pour in  2 - 3 Tbsp egg, swirling to cover the base evenly.  Cook until set.  Transfer to a chopping board.  Repeat until all the mixture is used up.  Roll up each egg pancake and slice thinly into shreds.  Set aside.

Bring the stock or consomme to a boil and add the pasta, breaking it into short lengths.  Cook for 3 - 5 minutes or until the pasta is almost tender, then add the chicken, salt and pepper.  Heat through for 2 - 3 minutes, then stir in the egg shreds.  Serve immediately.


Roasted Pork with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

I made this for our Easter dinner and it was a huge hit with the entire family. I would have to say that this is one of my favorites so far.


Roasted Garlic:

2 heads Garlic
2 tbs Olive Oil

Pork Loin:

1 (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs) Boneless Pork Loin
Black Pepper


1/4 cup Fresh chopped Parsley
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tbsp Water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the Roasted Garlic:

Cut the bulbs of garlic in half crosswise into a top and bottom. Place the garlic halves on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Fold the foil up around the garlic halves making sure they stay flat. Seal the foil into an air tight package. Roast until golden and soft, about 60 minutes. Keep the garlic in the foil and let it cool slightly.

For the Pork:

Place the pork loin in a medium, heavy roasting pan. Season all sides with salt and pepper. Place the pork in the oven 30 minutes after the garlic has started roasting. Roast until an instant read thermometer registers 140 - 145 degrees, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pork loin from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest about 15 minutes.

For the Vinaigrette:

Remove the garlic from the foil. Remove the cloves by squeezing the base of the garlic. Place the garlic, parsley, and balsamic vinegar in a blender. Pulse the machine until blended. Drizzle the oil into the blender while the machine is running. Add the sugar, salt, pepper, and water and blend until incorporated.

To Serve:

Slice the pork into 3/4 inch thick slices and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the pork and pass the remaining vinaigrette alongside the pork in a small dish.


Today I decided to make a large batch of Russian Tea. I know that many may already know this recipe but it is a family favorite so I was compelled to share it with those who may not be familiar with it.

Russian Tea

1 Cup Instant Tea Powder (unflavored)
2 Cups Orange Flavored Instant Breakfast Drink (Tang)
1 3oz. Pkg Imitation Lemonade Mix
1/2 tsp Cloves (Ground)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (Ground)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar

Mix all the ingredients together. Spoon into jars. To serve, spoon 2 slightly rounded teaspoons of mix into cup and add boiling water. Stir & Serve. Enjoy!


Chicken Parsels with an Herb Butter Sauce


4-5 Chicken Breast Fillets, skinned
10 Tbsp Butter, softened
6 Tbsp Chopped mixed fresh herbs
(Thyme, Parsley, Oregano, and Rosemary)
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
5-6 Large sheets Filo Pastry, thawed if frozen
1 egg beaten
2 Tbsp Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Step 1:

Season the chicken fillets and fry in 2 Tbsp Butter to seal and brown lightly. Allow to cool. I actually used pre-seasoned chicken which was marinated in white wine and garlic. This prevented me from having to marinate them ahead of time.

Step 2:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Put remaining butter, the herbs, lemon juice and seasoning in a food processor and process until smooth. Melt half the herb butter.

Step 3:

Take one sheet of filo pastry and brush with melted herb butter. Cover the rest of the pastry with a damp dishtowel. Fold the pastry sheet in half and brush again with butter. Place a chicken fillet about 1 inch from the top end.

Step 4:

Dot the chicken with a quarter of the remaining herb butter. Fold in the sides of the pastry, then roll up to enclose it completely. Place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat with other chicken fillets.

Step 5:

Brush the filo parcel with beaten egg. Cut the last sheet of the filo sheet into strips, then scrunch and arrange on top. Brush the parcels once again with the egg glaze, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot.


Chicken Flautas


(Makes 12)

2 Chicken Breasts Fillets, skinned
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
3 1/2 Oz. Feta Cheese, Crumbled
12 Corn Tortillas
Oil, for frying the rolled tortillas
Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for the Salsa:

3 Tomatoes
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Small Bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 fresh chillies or canned green chillies

Step 1:

To make the salsa, plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh in cold water. Peel away the skins, remove the seeds and chop the flesh. Mix the tomatoes, lime juice, coriander, onion and chillies in a bowl. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Step 2:

Put the chicken breasts in a large pan, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it cool a little. Using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces. Set is aside. Start heating up your other pan of oil to cook the tortillas in.

Step 3:

Heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry over a low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened but not colored. Add the shredded chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, remove from heat and stir in the feta cheese.

Step 4:

Okay, here is the pain in the but part. Before the tortillas can be rolled you will have to cook them 3-4 at a time in the microwave for 30 seconds. As soon as they come out they will need to be rolled. Use a spoonful of the chicken mix in each tortilla. Stick a toothpick in them to hold them together. I used two toothpicks per tortillas. Once rolled they will need to be immediately cooked in the oil that you have heated up for them. Do this till all are rolled and cooked. Let the tortillas cool for 5 minutes before removing the toothpicks to avoid any burns. Serve with the salsa and sour cream. Enjoy.


Chicken, Cheese and Leek Jalousie


1 Chicken, Roasted (About 3 1/2 lbs.)
2 Large Leeks, thinly sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
3 Tbsp Butter
1 2/3 Cups Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup Low-Fat Cream Cheese
Grated Rind of 1 small Lemon
3 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 (9 oz.) Blocks Puff Pastry, Thawed if Frozen
1 Egg, Beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Herbs to Garnish

Step 1:

Strip the meat from the chicken, discarding all bones and skin. Chop or shred the meat and set aside.

Step 2:

Saute the leeks and garlic in the butter for 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Leave until cold, then stir in the cream cheese, lemon rind, parsley, chicken, and salt and pepper.

Step 3:

Stack the blocks of pastry on top of each other and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a large rectangle, about 14 x 10 in. Drape the pastry over a rolling pin and lift it on to a non-stick baking sheet.

Step 4:

Spoon the filling on to the pastry, leaving a generous margin at the top and bottom, and 4 inches on each side. Cut the pastry diagonally upwards at 3/4 inch intervals at the sides of the filling.

Step 5:

Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Draw the pastry strips over each other in alternate crosses to "braid" the pastry. Seal the top and bottom edges with the egg brushed on lightly.

Step 6:

Glaze the Jalousise with the beaten egg. Allow to rest while you preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Step 7:

Allow the Jalousie to stand for about 10 minutes before sliding it on to a board or platter to serve. Garnish with fresh herbs.


Baked Ziti


2 lbs. Ziti (uncooked)
2 lbs. Ricotta Cheese
3 Oz. Grated Romano Cheese
3 Cups Tomato Sauce
1/2 Teas. Black Pepper
1 1/2 lbs. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Step 1:

Cook Ziti according to package directions − 12 to 14 minutes
until Al Dente stirring often. After cooking, drain Ziti well, but

Step 2:

While Ziti is cooking preheat oven to 350F. Combine
ricotta, Romano, tomato sauce (reserve 1/4 cup) and pepper in
large mixing bowl.

Step 3:

Gently combine cooked Ziti with cheese/sauce mixture.
In a 13"x9"x2" pan, spread the 1/4 cup reserved sauce.
Add Ziti and top with mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with
aluminum foil and bake until mozzarella is thoroughly melted
(about 12−15 minutes). Serve with garlic bread and additional
sauce if desired.


Chicken Kiev


4 Large Chicken Breasts fillets, skinned
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/4 Tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
2 Tbsp Plain (All Purpose) Flour
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Cups Fresh White Breadcrumbs
2 Egg Whites, Lightly Beaten

Step 1:

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of clear film (plastic wrap) and gently beat with a rolling pin until flattened. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Step 2:

Mix the ricotta cheese with the garlic, 1 Tbsp of the chopped parsley and the nutmeg. Shape into four 2 inch long rolls.

Step 3:

Put one portion of the cheese and herb mixture in the center of each chicken breast and fold the meat over, tucking in the edges to enclose the filling completely.

Step 4:

Secure the chicken with a toothpick pushed through the center of each. Mix together the flour, cayenne pepper and salt, and use to dust the chicken.

Step 5:

Mix together the breadcrumbs and remaining parsley. Dip the chicken into the egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Preheat the oven to 400F. Chill for 30 minutes, then dip into the egg and breadcrumbs for a second time.

Step 6:

Put the chicken on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the coating is golden brown and the chicken completely cooked. Remove the toothpicks and serve.