Monday, July 21, 2014

Crock Pot Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin - doesn't that sound wonderful rolling off your tongue.  I remember pestering my mother to make me some "Coq Au Vin" when I was young.  She would ask me what it was and I told her she needed to watch an episode of "Bewitched" and she would find out all she needed to know.

Well, I never got my Coq Au Vin.  However, as I had to cook for myself and my family later on, I found numerous recipes for this delicious chicken braised in wine dish.  My latest  recipe is the crock pot method.    This is great for busy days and days when it is too hot to cook.

Start by cooking some diced bacon and green onions in a skillet.  Be warned - the aroma is intoxicating. Remove the bacon and onions from the skillet and add chicken pieces.  I used 3 chicken breasts.  Brown the chicken well on all side.  Set the chicken aside.

In your crock pot - I used my oval one - add some small white onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and garlic.  Next place the browned chicken over the veggies.  Top the chicken with the bacon and green onions, salt, pepper, dried thyme, and some chicken broth.  Cook on low for  7 hours. For the last  hour of cooking, I add some Burgundy wine and cook on high for the last hour.  Total cooking time is 8 hours.

Dinner is ready.  Your family will sit down to a very flavorful chicken meal.  The chicken is tender and juicy and the veggies are just delicious.    This recipe serves  6.

Coq Au Vin
From A Slow Cooker Recipe Book

5 bacon slices, diced
2/3 cup sliced green onions
2 1/2 pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up or 3 chicken breasts, halved
4 to 6 small white onions, peeled
1/4 pound whole mushrooms
6 to 8  small new potatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Burgundy wine


1. In a large skillet, saute diced bacon and green onions until bacon is crisp.  Remove and drain.
2.  Add chicken pieces to the skillet and brown well on all sides.  Remove the chicken when it has browned and set aside.
3. Put peeled onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and garlic in Crock Pot.  Add browned chicken pieces, bacon and green onions, seasonings, and chicken broth.
4. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.  Add Burgundy and cook on High for one hour.
5.  Serve.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Strawberries And Fresh Mozzarella With Mint Pesto Drizzle

Strawberries and Mozzarella- a delicious combination.  Add to this some mint pesto and balsamic vinegar and you have yourself a delicious light lunch or an appetizer.

I found this recipe years ago in Family Circle magazine.  I clipped in and put it in my "To Make In The Future" file.  Well, today was the day.  I sent Tim out to pick some mint from the garden while I cleaned and sliced some strawberries.  Once the strawberries are sliced, they are sweetened with some sugar.

Now to the Mint pesto.  It is really very easy.  All of the ingredients are swirled together in a food processor.  You'll need some mint leaves, olive oil, almonds, Parmesan cheese and some garlic.  That's it.

You are ready to assemble the dish.  You start by layering some fresh mozzarella that has been sliced on a plate or small platter.  Spoon some strawberries over the cheese.    Next, drizzle some of the mint pesto over the strawberries and cheese followed by some balsamic vinegar.  Oh - I love the flavor of balsamic vinegar and strawberries.  Garnish with some mint leaves and you are ready to serve.

The kids and I had this for lunch and it was delicious.  The strawberries with the cheese were great but the mint pesto and the balsamic vinegar kicked it up to the next level of deliciousness:)     Great recipe - I am glad I finally go around to making it.

Strawberries And Fresh Mozzarella With Mint Pesto Drizzle
From Family Circle Magazine


1 pound strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup almonds, sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/2-inch slices
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


1. Combine strawberries and sugar in a large bowl.  Cover and set aside.
2. In a food processor, combine olive oil, mint leaves, almonds, Parmesan and garlic.
3. Layer mozzarella on plate.  Spoon strawberries, mint pesto and balsamic vinegar over top.  Garnish with mint leaves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Escarole and Orzo Soup With Turkey Parmesan Meatballs

Yesterday the day was overcast and cool.  A nice respite from the heat we have been having.  I thought I would take advantage of the cool weather and make some soup I have been wanting to try.

I had most of the ingredients  - except the escarole.  So off to the store I went.  Wouldn't you know it - I could not find any escarole.  So I substituted some spinach.

In the kitchen, I began my soup preparation.  The meatballs are assembled first and then put in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Next the broth is brought to a boil and the carrots and orzo are added.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes.  Add the meatballs, simmer, add the chopped escarole (spinach in my case) simmer, taste and serve.

Easy preparation for a very delicious and satisfying soup.  Everyone enjoyed it - there wasn't a drop leftover.  This soup is a winner.  To be made again and again.

Escarole and Orzo Soup With Turkey Parmesan Meatballs
From Bon Appetit

1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
12 ounces lean ground turkey
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
4 cups coarsely chopped escarole (about 1/2 medium head)


1. Whisk egg and 2 tablespoons water in medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs; let stand 5 minutes. Add turkey, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper; gently stir to blend. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on baking sheet; cover and chill 30 minutes.

2. Bring 8 cups chicken broth to boil in large pot. Add carrots and orzo; reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered 8 minutes. Add turkey meatballs and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in chopped escarole and simmer until turkey meatballs, orzo, and escarole are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Rewarm over medium heat, thinning with more broth if desired.)

3. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Potato Salad

What a classic.  Nothing goes better with a cook out, pot luck, BBQ, or picnic than potato salad.  I love the basic recipes - mayonnaise, potatoes, eggs, celery, and some seasoning.  They are fast, easy and delicious.

Today, I made a recipe I got from Hellman's.  Simply boil some potatoes - I boiled mine in a little salted water, tossed in some celery, hard boiled eggs, and coated them with a dressing made of mayonnaise, some vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.  I put my salad in the fridge until I was ready to serve it but you can serve at room temperature if you wish.  For a little color, I sprinkled some paprika on top.

From Hellman's

2 lbs. potatoes (5 to 6 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (optional)

Cover potatoes with water in 4-quart sauce pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
Combine Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper in large bowl. Add potatoes, celery, onion and eggs and toss gently. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

The kids were craving mac and cheese.  With it being soo hot, I did not feel like turning on the oven and heating up the house.  They are not too fond of stove top mac and cheese so I decided to make some in my crock pot.

The crock pot method makes delicious mac and cheese with very little clean up.  All of the ingredients are mixed together in your slow cooker.  Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours.  Before serving the mac and cheese stir the mixture and serve.  That's it.

Your family will enjoy this tasty cheesy dish.  Using a crock pot for summer cooking allows you to make family favorites without giving up taste.

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
From Food Network


Cooking spray
8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
Dash of paprika
Ground pepper for garnish (optional)

In a large 4-quart slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray, mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture and then sprinkle with paprika. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker, stir the mixture and serve hot.

Yield 12 servings

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Caprese Bites

What is red, green, white, and delicious? Answer - Caprese bites.   These little snacks/appetizers are loaded with flavor and so very easy to make.   You need just a few ingredients - cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella balls, basil leaves, some avocado oil (olive oil will do), balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  That is it.

My kids love help making these and eating them too.  While they are placing a tomato, basil leaf, and the marinated mozzarella balls on toothpicks, I am whipping up the dressing.  Once the  "bites" have been made, I drizzle the balsamic dressing over them.  I then sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper and they are ready to enjoy.

These  are perfect appetizers or snacks when you need something quick to make. They will be enjoyed by everyone.  Be sure to set aside a few for yourself:)

Caprese Bites


24 cherry tomatoes - washed and dried
24 fresh basil leaves
24 marinated mozzarella balls
1 tablespoon avocado oil (olive oil if you do not have avocado oil)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
24 toothpicks


1. Place a tomato, a folded basil leaf, and a marinated mozzarella ball on a toothpick.  Place the Caprese Bite on a serving platter and repeat until you have finished making the bites.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil and vinegar.  Drizzle over the bites.  Sprinkle the Caprese bites with salt and pepper.  Serve.

Makes 24 bites