Italian Sausage and Orzo soup

January 6th, 2023
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 1 medium Onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Orzo Pasta (uncooked), or 1 cup larger pasta type
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 (15-ounce can) Diced Tomatoes, don’t drain
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce can) Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  1. Heat OLIVE OIL in a 4-quart soup pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Saute SAUSAGE until cooked through. Transfer out of pot and drain excess grease, leaving a small amount for the vegetables.
  3. Continuing in the same pot, add ONION, CELERY, and GARLIC, and saute until tender.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until orzo is cooked through.

Christmas Crack

November 25th, 2022

A friend of mine sent me this recipe ages ago, and I just managed to dig it back up. So I thought I’d post it while I had it handy.

Christmas Crack

  • Box of Rice Chex
  • Box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • 5 sticks of butter
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 C corn syrup
  1. Mix cereal and almonds in a large bowl.
  2. Melt butter, sugar, and corn syrup over heat until it hits soft ball stage.
  3. Pour liquid mixture over dry and mix.
  4. Spread on non-stick foil, mixture will be very sticky, you’ll need lots of room (I use two sheet pans for one batch) and top with sprinkles. Let dry.

Raspberry cheesecake – no bake!

November 22nd, 2022
  • 1 (6 oz) ready-to-use Graham Cracker or Shortbread Crust

    Cheesecake Layer

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

    Raspberry Topping

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen raspberries
  • additional whipped cream & fresh raspberries for garnish
  1. In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat together with a hand mixer until combined and creamy.
  2. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream for several minutes until stiff peaks form. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat together until well combined.
  3. Evenly spread the whipped cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the prepared cracker crust. Cover with the lid and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
  4. Start preparing the raspberry topping.
  5. Stir the water and cornstarch together with a fork in a small bowl.
  6. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and frozen raspberries. Stir together and cook for several minutes until it’s boiling. Once boiling, add the water/cornstarch mixture and stir. Let this mixture boil for 2 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the raspberry mixture cool for about 30 minutes in the pan. Transfer it to a Tupperware dish and let refrigerate alongside the cream cheese pie.
  8. To serve – top slice of pie with raspberry topping.
  9. If wanted, serve with additional whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Cheesy potatoes!

September 16th, 2022

Last weekend, I watched Kardea Brown make iron skillet recipes and this one called to me. I thought about it all week and knew I’d have to make it soon. So tonight, I threw it together and made seared steaks to go with. This was a very nice change to our usual steaks and baked potatoes.

I don’t trust Food Network not to delete the recipe on me. So, I’ll post it, or my version of it.

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Vermont white Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Butter a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Arrange half of the potatoes in the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, half the chives and half of each of the Gruyère, Cheddar and fontina cheeses. Repeat the layers once.
  3. Heat the cream, garlic, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes in the skillet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.
  4. Uncover and bake until the cheese is browned and the edges are bubbly, about 15 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes, if desired. Remove the skillet from the oven and sprinkle with more chives before serving.

I probably used less potatoes than called for. My skillet was only 10″. And I used Russets, since that’s what I had on hand. Since I didn’t use quite as many potatoes as called for, it was ALMOST too cheesy, but only almost. I said this to the husband and he said it’s not possible to have too much cheese.

Cheerwine Barbecue Sauce

August 12th, 2022
  • 1-1/2 C Cheerwine
  • 3/4 C Ketchup
  • 1-1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 t worchestershire
  • 1/4 t ground mustard
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1 T yellow mustard
  • 1-1/2 t apple cider vinegar
  • garlic (as much as you like)
  • 1/4 C brown sugar

Combine everything in a pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Keep in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

When I make this again, I will probably decrease the crushed red pepper. It’s a bit spicier than I like. BUT, it’s good on smoked meat. It’s just a bit hot if you taste it alone.

Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil!

June 12th, 2022

I recently threw out some dinner ideas to the husband and he dismissed some of them as being too heavy. I stay inside all the time, I forget that we should change up dinners based on the weather. It’s pretty much always 70F in my world, I forget about the people who spend time outdoors. So, to Pinterest! I searched for some summer meals and came across this one. The husband loves a shrimp boil, but I hate how the corn sucks up the peppery boil packet flavors. This recipe calls for preboiling the potatoes and corn, so it doesn’t cook as long in the boil flavors. Plus, no boil packet. And the house doesn’t get all hot and humid.

I halved everything except the butter mixture. That I left as is. It made just enough for two that way. Now, I’m thinking I’ll repeat the meal since I have half of everything but shrimp and corn left over. That’s a short trip to the store.

  • 1 pound baby red potatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 pound yellow dutch baby potatoes
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • Water for boiling
  • 4 ears corn each cut into 4-6 pieces
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 Tbs garlic minced
  • 1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 Lb medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 Lb smoked andouille sausage sliced into chunks
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbs fresh parsley chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray, and set aside.
  3. Fill a large pot with water, and salt and potatoes. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cook potatoes until just tender and parboiled, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add corn to the boiling water during the last 3 minutes of cooking time
  6. Drain water, set potatoes and put on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, half the parsley and Old Bay Seasoning.
  8. Add shrimp and sausage and onions to the corn and potatoes and baking sheet
  9. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine, then spread out to make sure everything is in a single layer.
  10. Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, sausage is hot, and corn is tender.
  11. Serve immediately garnished with remaining parsley and lemon wedges.

A followup

June 10th, 2022

We really liked the Hawaiian banana bread. So much so that I decided I wanted to make some more to take along on our vacation to share with our friends. Only, I was too impatient to wait for the bananas to ripen.

I found tips online telling me that I could speed ripen my bananas in the oven. I baked them on parchment (because they leak sticky fluid) at 300F for 20 minutes. They were dark brown and sweet and mushy, perfection! The banana bread was just as good with the speed ripened bananas as the traditional method of waiting with them on the counter for over a week.

Hawaiian Banana Bread

April 30th, 2022
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil or oil of your choice
  • 2 cups mashed very ripe banana 4 medium bananas
  • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flaked coconut preferably unsweetened
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries drained and diced


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Add the walnuts, eggs, oil, banana, pineapple, vanilla, coconut and cherries; stir just until blended. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. *If you’re making muffins, preheat oven to 350F degrees and bake for 22-25 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out almost clean.

I had to bake it a lot longer than 50 minutes, but I’m not sure exactly how long. I’d recommend checking it at 50 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter.

Are you sure this is diet?

February 3rd, 2021

My blood sugar is way high. Like bordering on taking insulin high. I decided it was time to do something about that. Plus, my knee has been bugging me since I gained this last 20 pounds. So, it’s time to cut some sugar and lose some weight. I started taking a diet pill and following the diet that came along with it. Well, I was following the diet. For the first couple of days, I followed it closely and was miserable. Today, I’ve been trying to stick to the spirit of the diet, but also listening to what my body wants.

I decided that I was making shrimp for dinner, so I dug around the diet’s website and found a recipe for shrimp etoufee. It wasn’t terribly hard to make, we had almost all the ingredients, and the husband liked it. I did too!

Shrimp Etouffee

Makes: 4 Servings

Each serving contains: 1 protein, 0 carbs, 1 veg, 1 fat


• 4 Tbsp olive oil
• 4 Tbsp flour (or rice flour)
• 1 cup onion, diced
• 1/2 cups celery, diced
• 1/2 cups bell pepper, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tsp thyme, chopped
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup tomato, diced
• 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere’s)
• 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
• Hot Sauce, sea salt & pepper to taste


1) Add the Olive Oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat. When Oil is hot, sprinkle in
the flour while mixing and simmer, stirring frequently, about 10-20 minutes.
2) Add the onion, celery and peppers, garlic, thyme, broth & tomatoes to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
3) Add Cajun seasoning and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
4) Add the shrimp and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
5) Add lemon juice and season with hot sauce, sea salt and pepper to taste.

I served it over a half cup of brown rice, adding 1 carb serving to the mix. It was so good that I really want to do it again.

I wanted to share this here, as I may want to make it again. It’s “diet approved” but doesn’t taste like diet food.

plague life

June 10th, 2020

We eat damn well for end times. All this working from home has left me more energy for cooking, plus we’ve not been able to go out, so I cook more. When the whole lockdown started, we stocked up on ramen and tuna and soup. Things we could make easily. We’ve barely touched any of it. Instead, I’ve been going to the grocery about once a week and getting as much meat as I can get my hands on. I’ll admit, it’s been a lot of burger and chicken, and sometimes I’ve gotten into a rut. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made hamburger steaks with onion gravy. It’s been a lot.

This week, I found a nice pork tenderloin. Actually, two in a package. At lunchtime today I mixed up a quick balsamic marinade and left one to mingle until after work. The other I slid into the freezer for next week. This was such a yummy marinade, I found it via Pinterest. Pinterest is good for dinner ideas.

The recipe called to grill the tenderloin, but it was raining cats and dogs at dinner time. So, I slipped it in the oven. And thank goodness, I actually had the forethought to line the pan with foil. Otherwise I’d have been scrubbing all evening.

Balsamic Grilled Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small pork tenderloin
  1. In a ziplock bag combine honey, Dijon, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add the pork tenderloins.
  2. Seal the bag and shake a little to coat the pork with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Remove the pork tenderloin from the marinade and place onto the grill. Or in my case, I put them into a 400F oven on a pan lined with foil.
  4. You can brush the pork tenderloin with the marinade in the bag while grilling. Turn every 5 minutes or until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F., about 18 minutes. Or a little over 20 in the oven.

I served it with baked potatoes and caprese salad. It was scrumptious!