Rainy Day Lasagna

February, Rain, Birdbath, Arizona, Connie Cockrell

Rain in the Birdbath by Connie Cockrell

We had a long stretch of cold, rainy days at the end of February and early March here in central Arizona. Very unusual weather for us but the rain was very welcome. What better for a cold rainy day than to substitute my usual spaghetti Saturday night supper with lasagna?

Mozzarella, Parmesan, Ricotta, Sauce, Parsley, GF Lasagna Noodles

Lasagna Misen Plas by Connie Cockrell

Notice the pan of sauce? You can make your own spaghetti sauce, see the September 2014 pasta sauce recipe on this blog at http://chickletsinthekitchen.com/category/pasta-sauce/ or you can cheat a little. This time I used 1/2 jar of left over marinara and 2 full jars of marinara and about a cup of leftover sauce from last week’s spaghetti night. I poured all of that over cut up, browned, hot Italian sausage and added 2 bay leaves, dried basil and oregano and fresh chopped parsley, onion and garlic powder, and cooked that until thick.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit by Connie Cockrell

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit by Connie Cockrell

About an hour and a half before dinner time I began my assembly. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lasagna, Cheese, Connie Cockrell

Lasagna Cheese Mixture by Connie Cockrell

First, the cheese mixture.

Cheese Mixture

3/4 lb shredded mozzarella

8 oz ricotta

8 oz shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 c chopped parsley

Mix it all together in a medium mixing bowl

 

Ready to Assemble the lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Ready to Assemble the lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Then we’re ready to assemble the lasagna. Note here that I’m using gluten-free no-cook lasagna noodles. If you’re making a regular lasagna or using GF noodles that need to be cooked, only cook them for half the time given on the package. That way they’ll finish cooking in the lasagna while it bakes and make the lasagna less sloppy.

 

Sauce the pan by Connie Cockrell

Sauce the pan by Connie Cockrell

Notice I don’t spray the pan. I use a layer of sauce across the bottom of the 9X13 inch baking pan to prevent the noodles from sticking.

 

Gluten-Free, No-Cook Lasagna Noodles by Connie Cockrell

Gluten-Free, No-Cook Lasagna Noodles by Connie Cockrell

Then put in a layer of noodles. I’ll have to admit, using these no-cook noodles makes handling them much easier than half-cooked noodles.

Add a layer of Cheese Mixture by Connie Cockrell

Add a layer of Cheese Mixture by Connie Cockrell

Then add a layer of the cheese mixture. This layer doesn’t have to cover every square inch.

 

Next layer of sauce by Connie Cockrell

Next layer of sauce by Connie Cockrell

Add another layer of sauce, noodles, cheese mixture and keep doing that until you run out of ingredients or space in the pan.

 

Spray your foil by Connie Cockrell

Spray your foil by Connie Cockrell

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick spray and cover the lasagna.

 

Covered Lasagna on Cookie Sheet Placed in Oven by Connie Cockrell

Covered Lasagna on Cookie Sheet Placed in Oven by Connie Cockrell

Put the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any boil overs. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

Uncover pan by Connie Cockrell

Uncover pan by Connie Cockrell

Uncover the pan and cook another 15 minutes.

 

Cook 15 more minutes by Connie Cockrell

Cook 15 more minutes by Connie Cockrell

Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Cut into squares to serve.

 

Finished Lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Finished Lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Feeds 4 with leftovers for later meals.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite lasagna recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Gluten and Dairy Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies, Milk

Finished Oatmeal Cookies with Milk by Randy Cockrell

February, for a lot of you, has been a cold, snowy misery. What better than warm from the oven cookies to make everything feel better. At my house we love oatmeal cookies. My mom sometimes eats them as breakfast. I mean, they’re oatmeal, right? Anyway, this recipe comes from the back of the oatmeal box so super easy to find. I made it both gluten and dairy free by making some substitutions. I also replaced the chocolate chips with raisins so that makes them even more like a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, am I right? Here we go.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

From

The back of the box of Great Value 100% Old Fashioned Oats

Mise-en-place for oatmeal cookies

Mise-en-place for oatmeal cookies by Randy Cockrell

1 Cup All Vegetable Shortening (I use lard but if you can find a gluten free veg shortening, go ahead and use it.

1 Cup Sugar

1cup light brown sugar firmly packed

2 eggs

2 T Milk (I used cashew milk with makes this recipe dairy free for my hubby)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (I used a 4 bean flour blend to make the cookies gluten free for me! See the recipe for it below.)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp backing soda

1 tsp cinnamon

4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 1 cup of raisins instead)

 

Four Flour Bean Mix

From

Living Well Without Wheat The Gluten-Free Gourmet by Bette Hagaman

This exchanges cup for cup with wheat flour and has enough protein so that in many cases you can take your regular cake or cookie recipe and not have to make any additions except for some xanthan gum.

Formula                                                           For 9 cups flour

2/3 part Garfava bean flour                             2 cups Gafava bean flour

1/3 part Sorghum flour                                    1 cup Sorghum flour

1 part Cornstarch                                            3 cups Cornstarch

1 part Tapioca flour                                         3 cups Tapioca flour

In a very large bowl mix all ingredients together with a whisk. Store in a dry location.

Using Xanthan gum:

For breads: 3/4 teaspoon per cup of flour

For cakes: 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour

For cookies: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour

In a very large bowl mix all ingredients together with a whisk. Store in a dry location.

Using Xanthan gum:

For breads: 3/4 teaspoon per cup of flour

For cakes: 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour

For cookies: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour

 

Oatmeal Cookie Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Blend shortening with sugars.

Creamed sugar, shortening, eggs, milk and vanilla

Creamed sugar and shortening, eggs, milk and vanilla by Randy Cockrell

Add eggs, milk and vanilla and beat well.

Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, Xanthan gum, and baking soda, beat well again.

Flour, salt, cinnamon, Xantham Gum, and baking soda

Flour, salt, cinnamon, Xantham Gum, and baking soda, by Randy Cockrell

Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

Oats, raisins

Oats and raisins added by Randy Cockrell

Drop by rounded tablespoonsfuls, about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Dropping 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets

Dropping 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets by Randy Cockrell

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Place cookies on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Putting cookies on wire rack to cool

Putting cookies on wire rack to cool by Randy Cockrell

Makes about 42 cookies.

 

Drop cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets by Randy Cockrell

Drop cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets by Randy Cockrell

I made two sheets (about a dozen cookies per sheet) per the directions and those cookies stuck to the cookie sheet. I ended up with crushed cookie all over the floor. After that I used parchment paper and the cookies slid right off. This makes a crispy cookie. Oh, and that glass of milk in the first picture, it’s Cashew Milk. Enjoy.

Gluten Free Meatloaf

Gluten Free Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. It’s a perfect winter dinner. The oven heats up the house, the smell of baking meatloaf permeates the air, what could be better? I usually serve mine with mashed potatoes and green beans but we had green beans a couple of nights ago so I plated up broccoli instead. It’s all good.

I made my own tomato sauce for the top, used veggies I had on hand to put in the meatloaf, and used gluten free bread and cereal crumbs for the mix. You can make this a paleo meatloaf by using paleo bread or by leaving out the bread all together.

You can see from the pictures that I was thinking I’d make two of these meatloaves, one to eat and one to freeze but that didn’t happen. I decided to make a big loaf instead of two skinny ones. Definitely use a cookie sheet. The meatloaf can boil over and better to clean a cookie sheet than the oven. My only mistake? I forgot to take a picture of the meatloaf as it came out of the oven. Ack! I’ve got a lot to learn about food photography.

Tomato Sauce Topping

Ingredients, seasonings, frozen peach

Ingredients for tomato sauce meatloaf topping by Connie Cockrell

1 cup pureed tomato (You can use regular tomato sauce if you’re not trying to be gluten free)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup finely chopped peach

Stir all together and let sit while you chop and assemble the meatloaf

 

Meatloaf

1 C chopped onion

1 sweet pepper, chopped

2 lbs ground turkey

1lb ground beef

1/2 – 1 cup bread crumbs

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

ground meat, chopped onion and pepper, eggs, bread crumbs

Meatloaf Ingredients, ground meat, chopped onion and pepper, eggs, bread crumbs by Connie Cockrell

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

 

In a large bowl mix the meat, chopped vegetables, bread crumbs, eggs and a 1/4 cup of the tomato topping.

 

Mix it all together with your hands. Shape it to fit your baking dish. I used a bread pan, sprayed with olive oil. Put that in the bread pan and tuck the edges of the loaf down.

Mixing the meatloaf ingredients

Mixing Meatloaf by Connie Cockrell

Spread the tomato-peach sauce on the top.

Spreading the meatloaf topping

Spreading the meatloaf topping by Connie Cockrell

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Cut into slices.

Meatloaf ready to bake

Meatloaf ready to bake by Connie Cockrell

Feeds 4 with leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite winter meal in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Christmas Cookies: Mexican Wedding Cakes – Gluten Free

Merry Christmas to everyone. May you have a relaxing day with family and friends.

These cookies are also called Russian Tea Cakes or even snowballs and they’re my daughter’s favorite cookie. It wouldn’t be Christmas in our house without them. I have started just making these. Back when the girl was little I’d go all out. I made sugar cookies, jam thumbprints, these Mexican Wedding cakes, all sorts of things. Now, I’ve gotten lazy and I just call this my signature cookie and make a double batch to give away and enjoy at home.
I’m in the habit of sending out a cookie tin of homemade candy and these cookies to my sister, brothers and daughter as a Christmas gift. So I have to get them made early in December to meet mailing requirements and deadlines. So I took the opportunity to take a few pictures while I was making them. The recipe comes from my Betty Crocker cookbook with adjustments for making them gluten free. My cookbook is so old it’s being held together with duct tape. A sign that it’s provided many a happy meal, I guess. The recipe below is doubled and makes about 5 dozen, one inch cookies.

Russian Teacakes
Also called Mexican Wedding Cakes

2 C softened butter
1 C confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (Optional: 1 t vanilla, 1 t almond flavoring)
4 1/2 C all purpose flour (Optional for gluten free: 4 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free baking flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill but whatever you use is probably fine.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I generally use walnuts but almonds would be good too.)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F

In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and vanilla.

Creamed butter,sugar, flour,nuts.

Creamed butter and sugar with added flour and nuts.

Work in the flour, salt and nuts until the dough holds together. Note: This is a dry dough, you’ll be tempted to add water. Don’t. It will hold together. It’s supposed to be a little “sandy”.

Creamed butter,sugar, flour,nuts

The Dough ready but still ‘sandy’ looking.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Cookie Dough, ready to bake

Dough Ready to bake

Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Let cool until you can handle them then while warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Roll in sugar again.

Dipping baked cookies in sugar.

Dipping baked cookies in sugar.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite cookie recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.
My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

It’s soup weather

Few things are better on a cold winter evening than a steaming bowl of soup … so when I saw this recipe for creamy potato soup on Facebook, I knew I had to make a batch.

Crock Pot Cream of Potato Soup | Chicklets in the KitchenI did just that earlier in the week, and I was right: This recipe is a winner. The use of semi-homemade ingredients and the crock pot makes it the perfect quick and easy meal for those “I don’t want to/have time to cook dinner” nights.

And it tastes delicious!

I already shared the recipe on the Chicklets Facebook Page. But in case you didn’t see it there, here it is again.

Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup

  • 1 30-oz. bag of frozen diced hash browns
  • 1 32-oz box of chicken broth
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (10 oz)
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz, not fat free)
  • 3 oz bacon bits 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Put the potatoes in the crockpot. Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8 hours or until potatoes are tender. 

An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Place the cubes in the crock pot. Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving. Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in, it’s ready to serve. Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.

The comments on the FB recipe were … interesting, to say the least. Some commenters loved the recipe as it was (which is how I made it). Others suggested substituting O’Brien potatoes (with onions and peppers mixed in) or using cream of celery soup instead of cream of chicken (I bet that would be fine—as would cream of mushroom).

Then there were the commenters who trashed the recipe because it used processed foods. “OMG. You’re eating a chemical stew!” “Why not dice your own potatoes and use real cream? It doesn’t take that long.” “All that cheese will KILL you.”

Umm…I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time it takes to dice eight cups of potatoes. And pulling the lid off a can of cream-0f-anything soup is a heck of a lot faster than making it yourself. Although if you’re so inclined, you can use this idea from Facebook.

If you ask me, anything homemade has to be better than takeout—even if it does take advantage of prepared ingredients.

What do you think? Is semi-homemade good enough, or would you dice your own potatoes and make a “clean” version?

Lemon Sage Chicken Scallopini with Apple Cider Glaze

Butternut Squash, Connie Cockrell

My Butternut Squash Harvest by Connie Cockrell

It’s NaNo! National Novel Writing Month to be exact. If I’m not done with my cozy mystery by now (I’m writing this early in November) I’m darned close. I’ve titled it Mystery at the Fair, and the series is called the Jean Hays Series after my title character. I’ve done the cover too, though I may be tweaking the back cover blurb for awhile yet.

The thyme I talked about last month? I finally got it down, the tiny leaves picked from the stems, an hour and a half of work while I talked to my mom on the phone, and put into a jar. Yay! I picked and washed sage and rosemary and they’re on the rack now. I also picked all of my butternut squash. That’s them up there at the top of the post. I keep them in the garage just like that.

But I held one out to use for supper that night. You can prepare squash by baking, boiling, roasting or grilling. I chose boiling for that meal. Here’s how I prepped the squash. Wash the outside of it with soap and water. On a large cutting board cut the stem and blossom ends off. Then cut the squash in half at the point where the neck meets the round bulb base. That makes the squash easier to handle. Cut the round part in half vertically, not around the wide part of the bulb and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off. It’s too tough to eat. Then cut the neck in half, long-wise and peel that. Cut all of it up into 1 inch dice and put in a saucepan covered with water. A pinch of salt in there will season the squash. Cook for about 1/2 an hour on medium heat and test for doneness with a fork, just like potatoes. Drain, add a little butter, a tablespoon of real maple syrup, and mash. Yummy. There’s our side dish.

Lemon Sage Chicken Scallopini with Apple Cider Glaze

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1T fresh Sage chopped very fine

1 lemon, fine zest and juice

1/2 cup fresh apple cider

1/4 cup gluten free flour

Salt and pepper to taste.

Oil for pan frying

I first heard of Scallopini way back when I was a young wife. I got the recipe out of Women’s Day or Family Circle. Traditionally scallopini is veal but they used chicken breast or pork chops. I now use the basics quite often, mostly with chicken breast. It’s affordable, healthy and very tasty.

Cut the chicken breast in half, horizontally, as though you were butterflying them open, just cut all the way through. You can just butterfly them open but then you have a piece of chicken large enough to cover a dinner plate. I find that to be too much.  Put a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap on your counter. Tear off another to use in a second. Put a breast half on the wax paper. Lay the second sheet on top of the chicken. Pound it out with a meat mallet or a frying pan or a rolling pin until it’s an even thickness all the way around. Do that for all four halves.

Sprinkle the zest, sage, salt and pepper over all four pieces, be sure to sprinkle both sides. Sprinkle the pieces, both sides, with the flour. Preheat the frying pan with a little oil and put the pieces in the hot pan. Fry each side about 5 minutes, over medium heat, sprinkling each piece with lemon juice when you turn them. When both sides are golden brown and you’re pretty sure they’re just about done, pour the apple cider over all the pieces. The cider will deglaze the pan. Cook that until it’s boiled down to a thick glaze, about 5 minutes but be careful, it goes from thick to burnt in a heartbeat.

It’s done. I served this with the squash and quinoa. Hubby declared it delicious.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite chicken recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Firey Angel Hair Pasta

Rosemary by Connie Cockrell

Rosemary by Connie Cockrell

October has been a wild ride for sure. I’m busy with all sorts of volunteer organizations and I’m trying to get ready for the National Novel Writing Month challenge in November. What’s that, you ask? It’s a challenge to all writers, new or not, to write 50,000 words in a month. Yep, that’s novel length. You don’t have to finish a novel but if you don’t you’re well on your way. I outline my story so I’m not spending a lot of time wondering what comes next. That’s what I’m prepping this month. I’ve decided to try and write a cozy mystery. Since my usual genre’s are SciFi and Women’s fiction, this outline has been a struggle. Mysteries require a lot of planning.

The thyme I talked about last month? Still on the drying rack. I need to get it down and the sage cut and hung before we get a frost and it’s spoiled for drying. I want to dry some rosemary, too. Not just for the kitchen but for soap. I like to make my own soap. It’s easy, I know it doesn’t have aircraft cleaner in it and I can make it unscented or add any scent I want. I’m planning on adding rosemary to my next batch so I want to have some dried and ready to go.

Back to October. Yes, even here in Arizona the days are getting cooler and we’re all thinking of heartier fare. And as I’m still running crazy with volunteer work and NaNo is coming, I like to have quick and easy dinners. I know I gave you my spaghetti sauce recipe last week. Here’s another one, but easier. It comes with some prep though. You need to make up chili oil in advance. I make mine and store it in the fridge. It has to be warmed to room temp before using but a bottle of it will last through four or five dinners.

Chili Oil

2 cups Olive Oil         4 teaspoonsful dried crushed Red Pepper Flakes

To make exactly enough to fit in your storage bottle or container, fill the container with chili oil less about 1/2 inch from the top. I use an old olive oil bottle.

Combine the oil and the red pepper flakes in a heavy small saucepan.  Cook over low heat until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temp and using a funnel, pour the oil and flakes into the bottle. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

 

Fiery Angel Hair Pasta

From Giada De Laurentis

1 pound angel hair pasta   ½ cup Chili Oil   ½ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley, 1 lemon, Juiced and zested,  Salt, Dried crushed red pepper flakes, ½ tsp grated lemon peel (optional), 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta by the package directions.  Drain, and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.  Stir the shaken oil (you want to get some of those red pepper flakes), parsley, lemon juice and zest together in a large serving bowl. Add the pasta and toss with enough of the reserved water to moisten. Season the pasta with the extra salt and red pepper flakes to taste.  Sprinkle on the extra zest and cheese.  Serve.  To keep it gluten free, use gluten free pasta.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite pasta recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Spaghetti Sauce

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Meat Sauce by Connie Cockrell

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Meat Sauce by Connie Cockrell

Last month I talked about my Paleo diet. That worked well until mid-August when my work on the Payson Northern Gila County Fair ramped up. Any diet at all went straight out the window. I still had to be gluten free, of course, but mainly I was just trying to stay fed. The week-end of the fair I was lucky. We had four food vendors and three of them had gluten-free options. Yay! Don’t you just love fair food?

My garden here in central Arizona is beginning to look a little tired. The tomato plants have sprawled all over. The butternut squash has filled all of the space between the raised beds. The mint has grown wild and is in full charge of the one raised bed it’s in. I have to cut the mint back. I let it flower because the bees love it but now the whole mess is producing seed. Can’t have that. The oregano I hung to dry was nice and crisp so I took it down, stripped it off of the stems and put it in big steel cans I have for storing herbs. The whole kitchen smelled like oregano. I cut thyme, washed it and hung it from the drying rack I made. It’ll be dry in about 2 weeks. Then I’ll dry sage.

Want to dry herbs but don’t have a rack? I made mine from an old plastic picture frame I got for a quarter at one of the local thrift shops. I stapled garden netting to the back of it. I can lean it against the wall on top of my cupboards where it’s nice and hot and it fits just right and hang bunches of herbs from the frame or the netting. I’ll never have to buy oregano, thyme, sage or rosemary again.

So on to a recipe. I love spaghetti or pasta in any form, to be honest. I make my own sauce as I find the jarred stuff too sweet.

Basic Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground meat
1 c chopped onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp capers
2 – 3 anchovy filets
Dried basil, oregano to taste
1/2 cup of red wine
2-3 T tomato paste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 T Olive Oil
1 32oz can crushed or diced tomatoes

Heat a large, deep frying pan. Add the olive oil. Salt and pepper the ground meat and put in the hot pan. Brown the meat till nearly done. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the onion, garlic, capers and anchovies. Cook 3-4 minutes then add the herbs, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add the canned tomatoes. Stir to combine. Fill the tomato can with water to get all of that tomato goodness and add to the pan, stirring to combine. Cover and let simmer for 2 – 4 hours until the sauce has cooked down to a thick consistency. Pour over the cooked pasta of your choice.

My mom likes to add sweet peppers to her sauce. I add a couple of bay leaves. Both are optional.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite pasta recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Introducing Myself With One More Chicken Recipe

Butternut Squash and Roses by Randy Cockrell

Butternut Squash and Roses by Randy Cockrell

Hi, my name is Connie Cockrell and I’ve been invited by the wonderful ladies of Chicklets in the Kitchen to participate on their blog. I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.
I suffer from Celiac disease and my husband is lactose intolerant. That means I cook most of our food at home. I’ve also begun modeling my diet after the Paleo Diet to help both of us lose weight and feel healthier. And like any author, sometimes the freezer gets a little bare. The other night I had chicken breast thawed. Pre-Paleo, I might have butterflied those open, pounded them thin and turned them into a scaloppini, this particular night, I was sticking to the Paleo plan.
What is that, you might ask. It’s a diet that’s free from grains and dairy, as it is believed hunter/gatherers may have eaten. I don’t stick to it strictly, moderation in everything, but I stayed pretty close with the chicken breast.
I rubbed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped rosemary (from my garden!). Then pan fried them until done. I deglazed the pan with a little white wine and let that reduce. I removed the cooked breasts and added plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to the reduced pan juices. Over low heat I stirred it to combine and put the chicken back in the pan. Yes, yogurt is a dairy but you only use two or three tablespoons. Like I said, I’m not crazy strict about it. The side dishes were green beans and cherry tomatoes from the garden. It was delicious. Sorry, I didn’t think to take a picture but you can see my garden where I have a nice crop of trellised butternut squash.
Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite chicken go to meal in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

Mint-Watermelon Pops

You might have seen me post this recipe on The Chicklets Facebook page late last week.Mint-Watermelon Pops

I promised to put my new popsicle mold to good use by testing it out and reporting back. Well, here’s my report.

Turns out, watermelon-mint is not my favorite flavor combination.

I’m a little surprised. You see so many folks online raving about the watermelon-mint-feta cheese combo that I figured it’d be a natural winner.

Not for me.

The recipe itself couldn’t have been much easier. I halved it right from the start, because it seemed to me that 4 cups of watermelon would make way too much puree for my mold. (I won’t keep y’all in suspense: I was vindicated when it came time to fill the molds.)

I diced the watermelon and mint leaves. Figuring the blender would chop the mint into even smaller pieces, I didn’t chop it too finely. (That may have been a mistake. There were some too-large chunks of mint in my finished popsicles.)

I subbed Splenda for the sugar the recipe calls for. I think should have left it out altogether — the end result was way too sweet for me.

After several hours in the freezer, they were ready to enjoy.

I’ve already eaten two of the four popsicles. They’re OK, but not OMG delicious.

The semi-failure of watermelon-mint pops hasn’t stopped me from dreaming up other fruit-pop combinations, though. I picked up bags of frozen blueberries and cherries during my biweekly shopping trip — and I still have peaches, pineapple and mango in the freezer.

I bet flat-out pureed mangoes would be excellent in popsicle form. Oooh — how about Banana Ice Cream, flavored with cocoa powder and maybe peanut butter?

And in the non-fruit arena, how about root beer mixed with a little milk or cream? Black Cow, anyone? (Those used to be my favorite milkshake at Arby’s.)

I also have my eye on these Red, White and Blueberry Popsicles (using strawberries, not raspberries, because I don’t like raspberry seeds). They’re beautiful to look at … although with my rocket pop mold, they’d look more like an AstroPop than the American flag.

2014-07-06 22.12.47

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 439 other followers