Thursday, January 29, 2009

Juicy & Sticky Rotisserie Chicken

You will never again buy another rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or Boston Market after you make this. This is THE juiciest and most delicious chicken you'll ever have.
What is better than this on a cold winter day? Not a whole lot.. oh, okay..i've got a bunch of things that are just as good but this really rocks on a day like today.
Don't freak out when you see how long it takes to make - believe me, it's sooo worth it! The temp is low on the oven, so you can leave the house for a little bit if you need to.
1 roaster chicken - any size..i like a larger size for left overs!
1 larger size onion - chopped into chunks
In a small bowl mix together:
4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Remove giblets from chicken and clean inside the cavity then pat entire chicken dry with a paper towel. Rub the entire chicken with spice mix. Place onion chunks inside the cavity.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place chicken in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours. (yes, *5* hours)
let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.
You will not regret this one! ENJOY!!!
Mine is ready to eat now...!

It is Sweet, It is Sour - and it's one delicious Meatloaf! ... With Twice Baked Potatoes!

Even non-fans of meatloaf will like this one.. i can pretty much guarantee it. I"m not sure about the photo - but this was the best i could do this time. Trust me, it's much better looking *and smelling* in real life.

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

For the Loaf:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup of dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of onion granules (you can use 1/4 cup of diced onion if you choose)
7 1/2 ounces Tomato Sauce (buy a 15 ounce'll use the whole thing for this recipe)

For the sauce:
7 1/2 ounces Tomato Sauce
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons of mustard (yellow or dijon is fine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixing bowl combine ground beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, eggs, onion and half of the can of tomato sauce (7 1/2 ounces).
Push the meatloaf into a loaf pan and make a 'well' around the edges for the sauce to drip into.
Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
While this is cooking - in a saucepan combine remaining tomato sauce, brown sugar, white sugar, vinegar and mustard. Bring this to a boil over medium heat and then remove from heat.
After the meatloaf has cooked for 40 minutes, remove it from the oven and pour the sauce ove the top of the meatloaf. Put the loaf back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

Twice Baked Potatoes
(This is a recipe for 4 larger size):
Any large size potato of your choice..i like a nice large Russett Or Idaho (You choose how many you want)
1/4 cup butter
3-4 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
Paprika - for sprinkling on top
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Bake potatoes in the oven (or microwave as I do) until firm.
Split potatoes 3/4 of the way through and with a spoon, dig out the potato and place in a mixer bowl. Try your best to leave the skins in tact. (Even if they rip or tear apart, that's fine - the mashed potato can put it back together.) Put skins on a baking dish and place aside.
Once all the potato is in the mixer add all the ingredients above. If you want more of one ingredient and less than another, that's fine! You really cannot screw up this recipe.
Once all is mixed well, Spoon potato into the skins and sort of 'reform' the potato (see photo). Once all is done, sprinkle with paprika and place potatoes in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
They are sooo good!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Favorite Things

Because I like to believe in my little world that I'm the next big thing that will happen to Food TV (Just Kidding!).. I present my "Favorite Things". Unfortunately I cannot be like Oprah or Ellen and give away each of these to everyone who visits this page.. sorry. Just thought I'd share.. I believe every 'wanna be chef' and kitchen needs at least one of these:

Kitchen Aid Mixer - This one item has changed my life for the better. When we built our home, this was one of the first gifts that my hubby Chris gave to me. I love it, love it. I basically use it each and every day. Great for batters, mashed potatoes, making pasta (yes, I make my own pasta - my girls are spoiled rotten.), whipping cream.. all sorts of versatile. It's my savior for my cookie business too! They come in all sorts of fun colors...

Keurig Coffee Machine - His coffee needs to be ready for him for work at 5:30 AM, I dont need a cup until 7:15. He wants hazelnut coffee, I want regular, He needs full caffeine, maybe I'll have a cup of decaf, my daughters want hot cocoa, I want a tea. This is THE best coffee machine - dare I say - Ever? You choose what flavor coffee (tea, cocoa) YOU want (just buy the pods you want), what size cup and brew it within 30 seconds! No waiting for a full pot to brew just for a single cup. I bought this for hubby for his birthday one year.. turns was a gift for the entire family. Yes, you need one of these. Oh! You can also go to and sign up for automatic delivery (or simply place single orders) for your favorite Green Mountain coffee pods - they have So many flavors! Best of all - you get discounts on each box you order... and... if you sign up for their home delivery and give them my name, you get a free box of coffee (as do I for referring you!).

Silicone Spatulas - You cannot have enough of these! I have got probably 4 or 5 of these in my kitchen tools drawer. I have thrown out the ones with old style wooden handles, metal handles.. I have had my fair share of melting plastic handles/heads on a hot skillet, heads of spatulas coming unglued from a wooden handle.. the silicone spatula is what it's all about! A silicone spatula costs a little more, but it will last a long time. Most you find can withstand heat up to 500 degrees and won't crack, lose its shape, or chip.You can buy a bunch of these really, really inexpensively at a Homegoods, TJ Maxx... I have to say though that i do love and favor those from Williams Sonoma!

A Good Set of Knives! - You do NOT need to spend $1,000 on a set of knives for them to slice, dice, chop, beautifully! Hubby got me a beautiful, large cutlery set for Christmas - they are Kitchen Aid brand - they are beautiful and SHARP! ( i did have a Chicago Cutlery set and i love the ones i have now even more). Everything cuts like butter.. Kitchen Aid (although i'm a true fan) has impressed me again. I've sliced myself a few times already - most recently I needed stitches/glue but decided not to take that trip to the ER and instead finish making my Pork Tenderloin dinner.. (priorities, priorities)..

Two Types of Cutting Boards! - I have 2 types of boards that I use. A regular thick plastic board for meats and chicken and a Wooden or (my favorite) Bamboo board for veggies and fruits! You don't want to cut meats on any kind of wooden board! I have small boards for quick chops, large boards for slicing a recipe full of ingredients - I use them all!

I could get used to this "favorite things" list... maybe sometime soon i'll put together my "favorite Pantry items"!

Speaking of Favorites - - my FAVORITE place to order cookies/baked goods from to send as gifts for friends/family, business promotion gifts .... The Goodie Box! Email me for info! is under construction!

Rigatoni, Broccoli and Chicken!

This one recipe is one of Hubby's favorites. (one of mine too). I make it often but not so much that we tire of it. It is a little time consuming but not bad - there are plenty of other recipes that take up much more time.

Rigatoni, Broccoli and Chicken with Cream Sauce

(serves 4-6)

1 lb box of Italian Rigatoni

4 - 5 TBSP Olive Oil

3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breast (medium in size) cut into chunks

2-3 cups Broccoli florets (I use fresh, you can use frozen if you like)

1 clove minced garlic

2 Lemon slices

1.5 cups light cream

1/2 cup Chicken stock (you can use broth if that's all you have - stock has more flavor)

Salt (Kosher) and pepper to taste

Bring pot of water to boil. Cook rigatoni to directions. As pasta cooks....

Heat Olive Oil in large Skillet. Dust chicken chunks with flur and cook until golden on both sides (add more oil if/as you need it). After chicken is browned, add broccoli florets, garlic and lemon slices. Stir and cook for 1 minute or so. Add Chicken stock and light cream - cook until liquid is reduced to about half and thickened - a couple of minutes or so. If you want the liquid not as thick, you can add a bit of milk to loosen it up.

Add cooked rigatoni to sauce mix and toss well. Lemon slices can stay on platter as garnish. Serve it with a nice loaf of crusty bread.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sausage, Potatoes, Onions and Peppers..oh my!

If you're like me, sometimes a quick and easy meal is just what you need. Perhaps you're looking for a nice comfort meal ?

This is one of the tried and true in my home - the old stand-by. It's quick, it's easy and really, really good. I got this recipe from my mom and my aunt. They do it a little differently - I personally like the way I do mine a little better (shhhh!!!).

1 - 1 1/2 lbs Italian Sausage (sweet or hot, your choice) OR 1 lb. chourico if you like a spicy sausage - Yum!!

1 small onion - chopped

1 green bell pepper - or red if you choose!

2-3 large potatoes cut into chunks (peel them or not, up to you..i like to keep the skins on mine..more vitamins!).






Fill large pot with cold water - put potato chunks in and bring to a boil - until potatoes are tender or soft, that's up to you. I like my potatoes to be on the softer side.

In a large pan, sautee onions and peppers together in butter and some oil until soft. Place into side bowl.
Next cut up sausage into chunks and sautee in more butter/oil until browned and cooked through. Remove and place into side bowl with onions & peppers.

Once potatoes are cooked..drain and place potatoes into the large sautee pan with the left over oil & butter -sprinkle with salt & pepper and some paprika. You may need to add more oil and/or butter .. get the potatoes covered with the good greasy stuff and then add in the side bowl with all ingredients.

Enjoy it! I hope it's one of the recipes you turn to during a day of "oh no..what do i make for dinner..?" like I do!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

THE Cookie.

This is the cookie that I owe my new career to! Thanks, Cookie!

Here's the Brownie as well...

Starting Up

I am beginning this blog because ... well, it just sounds fun. I've been cooking (and baking) for years - I love trying new things, experimenting with recipes and continuing to use the tried and true ones that have been in my recipe box forever. Cooking is in my blood - my mother loves to cook, my grandmother loved to cook and now my daughters are enjoying cooking as well.

For years I had tried all i could to recreate a friend's chocolate chip cookies - at that time, my favorite - they were fluffy and cakey. Tried as i may - and I honestly would bake dozens a week to try to get them to be 'fluffy' just wouldn't work. Believe me, i tried everything. Nothing worked. My cookies were always good but they weren't impressing me. That was all about to change.
Less than a year ago, I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. I was strongly urged that I should accept a job baking baskets full of cookies/brownies for a large accounting firm in Massachusetts - 10 to 20 a week to send to clients - and get paid a pretty penny for it. I jumped at such an offering! Afterall, I am a stay at home Mom who had been out of the 'workforce' for 6.5 years - how great would it be to earn an additional income to help out my hard-working husband?! "The Goodie Box" was born.

Just like that, I knew I had to come up with THE perfect cookie and a unique brownie recipe. A little bit of this, some more of that.. testing with neighbors, friends, batch, next batch, next batch. Guess what won? The Flat Chewy cookie that for years I was trying to run from. This single cookie that was my foe for so many years (well, with a few additional changes) was now earning me a paycheck.

Lesson Learned: Grab the opportunities laid in front of you -and run with it! I now am baking for a number of other businesses as promotional gifts for clients ... and am still trying to get my name out there even more.

Although I cannot give out the recipe for my cookies... I am happy to share recipes for many of the recipes that make my family and friends say "This is SO good! I need the recipe!"