Posts Tagged With: food

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Pomegranates

FFF PomegranateHere are 13 facts you may not have known about Pomegranates:

  1. Pomegranates are one of the oldest fruits.
  2. In the Ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was also known as the “fruit of the dead”
  3. It was cultivated in Egypt around the time of Moses and existed very early in India.
  4. The pomegranate was brought to China around 100 BC.
  5. The pomegranate is a native fruit of the Middle East. Its name in Latin means “apple with many seeds,” but it actually looks somewhat like a petrified tomato.
  6. The Romans called the pomegranate a Punic apple because it arrived in Italy by way of Carthage (Punic). Its Latin name is Punica granatum (Carthage seeds).
  7. Spanish settlers brought the pomegranate to the U.S. in 1769 according to some sources.
  8. Pomegranates grown in the US are available from September to December. (So, this explains why the plethora I have seen in the stores lately.)
  9. The edible fruit is a berry and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size, 5–12 cm in diameter with rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin.
  10. A mature pomegranate is about the size of a large orange.
  11. Pomegranates will make a metallic sound when tapped when ripe.
  12. Pomegranates can be stored for two months in the refrigerator.
  13. Pomegranate juice has antioxidants, nutrients, and dietary fibers necessary for overall health and for preventing potential diseases. The entire fruit can be utilized for your health, including the pomegranate peels and pomegranate extract! Practically nothing is wasted when a pomegranate is used to its full potential. (Click HERE to learn about the health benefits. There are just too many to mention!)

I had never even heard of a pomegranate, until I met David Spivey. He always talks about how he would eat them off a neighbors bush, long before they started talking about how healthy they are. I’ll never forget the time he tried to juice one in our kitchen in Virginia Beach. The white cabinets and ceiling had juice spots all over them. He’s so messy! 😉

Do you eat pomegranates? Do you like them?

Get to know your food!


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments


FFF The ChiliHere are 18 facts you may have not known about Chili Peppers:

  1. The chili pepper was first cultivated by the people of Central and South America around 3000 BC.
  2. The first European to “discover” Chili Peppers was Christopher Columbus in America in 1493. Within a century, chili peppers’ popularity had spread worldwide.
  3. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, two of the founding fathers of America, are both known to have grown chilies.
  4. There are more than 140 varieties of chilies peppers are grown in Mexico alone.
  5. Chilies are fruits not vegetables.
  6. Chili and chile are both the pungent fruit of the capsicum. Chili is short for chili con carne, a ground beef dish that incorporates chili powder or chili peppers. Chile, capitalized, is a country.
  7. The heat from a chili pepper is concentrated in the interior veins or ribs near the seed heart. The seeds taste extra hot because they are in close contact with the hot veins.
  8. Chilies are known to reduce harmful bacteria on foods.
  9. People who eat chilies are generally healthier.
  10. Chilies curb your appetite – especially for fatty foods and sweets.
  11. Capsaicin has been associated with many cures that include lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and warding off strokes and heart attacks, speeding up metabolism, treating colds and fevers, preventing cancer and pain control.
  12. The most common reaction to the heat of a chili is for the body is to sweat, particularly on the forehead. The technical term for this is gustatory perspiration.
  13. Low in calories, chili peppers contain more vitamin A than carrots, especially red chilies.
  14. Chilies help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism.
  15. Green chilies has more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
  16. The Mayans rubbed hot peppers on their gums to stop toothaches.
  17. The smaller the pepper, the hotter it will be. All the world’s most potent peppers are under three inches long.
  18. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the hottest chilli is Smokin Ed’s ‘Carolina Reaper’, grown by The PuckerButt Pepper Company (USA), which rates at an average of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

Wow, if these things increase metabolism and help with weight loss, I may need to eat them every meal! 😉


Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments


FFF TOMATOESHere are 10 facts you may not have known about tomatoes:

  1. According to researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle, England, eating cooked tomatoes may act as a kind of internal sunscreen, by helping block UV rays, but not recommended that you discontinue sunscreen.
  2. If you save the seeds from hybrid tomatoes, you will not grow tomatoes that are exactly like the ones you started with. To get identical tomatoes, you have to grow seeds from heirlooms.
  3. Tomatoes are actually fruit. The government classified it as a vegetable in the late 1800s so it could be taxed under custom regulations.
  4. Americans eat 22-24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year. About half of that comes in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce, according to the USDA.
  5. 93% of American gardeners grow tomatoes in their yards.
  6. China is the number one producer of tomatoes around the world, followed by the U.S.
  7. Florida grows more tomatoes than any other state, but are recognized for their oranges.
  8. It’s thought that tomatoes originated in Peru, where their Aztec name meant, “plump thing with a navel.”
  9. New Jersey calls the tomato its state vegetable. Arkansas uses tomatoes as both the state fruit and the state vegetable.
  10. The largest ever tomato on record was grown in Oklahoma in 1986, weighed 7lbs 12oz and made enough sandwiches for 21 people!!

Get to know your food!


Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Spaghetti Squash Casserole (REVISTED)

TMK-Spaghetti-Squash-CasI am revisiting a recipe called Spaghetti Squash Casserole I shared for my second blog posting ever. Not only was it the second blog posting ever, but it was also the first official Meatless Monday dish David and I ate when we decided to commit to going Meatless one day a week.

The blog posting I made in the beginning were pretty hideous. In fact it was so bad, I’m surprised anyone followed my blog after that… sheeew! Thanks if you are still following along!!

I have revisited and revamped it. Here’s how I made Spaghetti Squash Casserole:

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more to grease sheet pan for squash and baking dish
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 8-ounces grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (Click HERE to make your own ricotta cheese)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil



  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and a baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil*.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scoop out seeds and discard. Rub the inside of the squash with oil and place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
  3. With a fork, scrape the squash strands into a large bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and basil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is dry.
  5. To the bowl with the squash, add the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, parsley, and the onion mixture. Stir to mix and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese.TMK-MM-SSC
  6. In a separate small bowl mix together parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, oregano and basil. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.TMK-MM-SSC-Ready-to-Bake
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

TMK-MM-SSC-platedDavid was not excited about me revisiting this recipe. I think he just forgot how good it was, because he didn’t complain about eating it and he took the leftovers to work the next day. Regardless of how David feels about spaghetti squash, it is a great low calorie alternative to those who are watching their weight or have issues with gluten in pasta.


*Click HERE to find out about a healthy cooking spray.

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meatless Monday ~ Potato Cheddar Soup: So good even His Royal Highness liked it

IMG_20131021_190737_714This homemade Potato Cheddar Soup is a hearty, rich and creamy soup with richly seasoned flavors that will keep you coming back for more. A definite Do-Againer! Here’s how you make it: IMG_20131021_174446_593


  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (approximately 3 cups)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 7 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar)
  • salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • optional garnishes: fresh parsley, croutons, extra cheese


In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, melt the olive oil over low heat and then add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Allow the vegetables to sweat for several minutes until soft. IMG_20131021_181221_908 Add the potatoes and stir well. Allow the vegetables to cook for 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. IMG_20131021_182600_862 Add the stock, stir, and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, cover (venting slightly), and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. IMG_20131021_184638_538 Add the half and half or whole milk and then carefully ladle the soup into a blender or food processor. Puree the soup, in batches if necessary, and return the soup to the pot. Do not turn the heat back on. Stir in the cheese in batches until the soup is evenly combined. Add salt, pepper and cayenne.

IMG_20131021_190757_593Top with croutons, parsley and more shredded cheese.

IMG_20131021_191714_030 This soup was so good that even His Royal Highness liked Meatless Monday. THAT’S A FIRST!! IMG_20131021_192256_213 We had it again on Tuesday for lunch and I added bacon bits!! 🙂 DMS

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chicken and Rice With Biscuits On Top

IMG_20131015_195924_466From time to time, when I was growing up, my mama used to ask me what was something she could fix for lunch or supper that we hadn’t had in a while. My response was usually always the same, Chicken and Rice With Biscuits On Top. Though I am not 100% sure how she did her version, I have come up with my own. David and I made this the other night. It is so simple, but it is one of those comfort food dishes you just love. Here’s how we did it:

Chicken & Rice With Biscuits On Top



  1. Remove giblets from the inside of the chicken and discard. Clean and add it to a deep pot.
  2. Fill a pot with water (enough to cover the chicken). Place the pot of chicken on the stove top over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. Cook until the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F. Chicken will typically finish cooking in 10 to 14 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it is has a bone.
  4. Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and place it on a cutting board.
  5. Pull or cut away the bones from the meat and discard. Shred the chicken into bite sized pieces. Return the meat to the pot with the poaching liquid.IMG_20131015_190827_100
  6. Add rice to the mixture and simmer until the rice has simmered as long as the package recommendation. Make sure you stir frequently and do not leave the rice too long. It may stick if you are not careful. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Once rice is done, preheat oven to 350º.
  8. Carefully poor the chicken and rice mixture into a baking dish (you will have to use your best judgment on the dish size. It will depend on how much mixture your particular chicken renders).IMG_20131015_192121_140
  9. Open the can of biscuits. If there are not enough biscuits to cover the entire dish, you can slice the biscuits in half horizontally like the above picture or buy two cans in advance.IMG_20131015_192420_471
  10. Cover the entire mixture with biscuits.
  11. Bake the biscuits on top of the chicken and rice mixture per the instructions on the can. When the biscuits are done and lightly browned. Take out of the oven. Allow to cool and enjoy the yumminess!!

IMG_20131015_195835_300If you never make a single recipe I post, you should at least try this one. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂


Categories: Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Ratatouille Spirals


Last Monday, I decided to do a rather extraordinary dish for Meatless Monday. It was a recipe that I adapted from Food & Wine Magazine. With the list of ingredients needed, there was no way this dish wasn’t going to be good. Here’s what I did:

Ratatouille Spirals


  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, scored with an “X” on the bottoms
  • 1 28-ounce can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cubed country bread
  • 2 1/2 pounds firm medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
  • 2 1/2 pounds small eggplant, preferably Japanese, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
  • 3 fire roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 18 oil-packed anchovies, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 2-by- 1/2-inch sticks



In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds; drain. Slip off the skins and halve the tomatoes crosswise. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, keeping the juices and seeds. (You can find out more information HERE by reading The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday: How to Peel and Core Tomatoes)


Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and crushed pepper and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute.


Add the tomatoes and juices and season lightly with salt. Add in the whole can of San Marzano Tomtoes, crushing each in your hand before adding it to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes.


Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.


Toast for about 15 minutes, stirring once, until golden.



In 2 separate colanders or pan lined with paper towels, toss the zucchini and eggplant with 1 tablespoon of salt each and let drain for 15 minutes. Shake out the excess liquid and pat the slices dry.


Spoon the tomato sauce into a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish.


Scatter the bread cubes on top.




On a work surface, top each zucchini slice with a slice of eggplant; blot dry if necessary.


Place a strip of roasted pepper and anchovy and a stick of mozzarella at one end of each stack and roll up.


Stand the rolls in the baking dish and brush with oil.

Cover with parchment paper. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender and the ratatouille is bubbling; remove the parchment halfway through baking. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.


The only problem with the whole dish, was the inconsistency with the eggplant and zucchini slices. I highly recommend using a slicing mandoline. Unfortunately, I do not have one. I have put in on my list of kitchen gadget needs.

This was a really good dish and I highly recommend treating yourself to it. It is worth the time 🙂


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Apple Crumb Pie

This past Saturday, we visited our local apple orchard. They have lots of fun activities for families to participate in.




Pumpkin picking, pig races, corn maze and of course, apple picking! I always look forward to fall mountain apples. Do you know what mountain apples bring????…. APPLE CRUMB PIE!! 🙂



Here’s the best Apple Pie recipe known to mankind:


1 (15-ounce) prepared refrigerated piecrust


3/4 Cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon salt
pinch of ground cloves
fresh grated nutmeg to taste
1 1/2 Sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and shilled


6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8″ slices
3/4 Cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
freshly grated nutmeg to taste


    1. Arrange a rack in the lowest slot of the oven. Heat oven to 375º. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate and decoratively crimp edge. Refrigerate until you are ready to add filling.
    2. CRUMB: Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a bowl. Use a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. When the mixture becomes the consistency of lightly moist beach sand, then you are done.
    3. FILLING: In a large bowl, toss together apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
    4. Spoon filling into pie shell, mounding slightly in the center. Top filling with crumb topping. Place on small foil-lined baking sheet.
    5. Bake at 375º for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350º; bake 30 more minutes, until fruit is tender. Loosely tent pie with aluminum foil during the last 20 minutes.
    6. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Store pie at room temperature.

wpid-IMG_20131009_205850_960.jpgSo what are you waiting for? Go get some apples and try this recipe. You will not be sorry!





Categories: Sweet Tooth Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday: How to Peel and Core Tomatoes

IMG_20131006_161750_130You can process 3-4 tomatoes at a time using the boiling water method. It is useful for large batch of tomatoes to peel. Here’s how to do it:

Place a pot of water on the stove and let it come to a rolling boil. Place your bowl of ice water next to the stove so it is easily accessible. Rinse your tomatoes clean. (NOTE: If you are going to cook the tomatoes immediately, you can omit the ice water step.)

Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of the tomato (opposite the stem side).

IMG_20131006_162844_076 Gently place the tomatoes into the boiling water. If you have several tomatoes, boil them in batches of 3-4 at a time.
Boil the tomatoes till you see the X begin to split open wider, or for 25 seconds, whichever comes first. Do not boil them for longer than 25-30 seconds or they will begin to soften and cook.

Remove the tomatoes immediately from the boiling water using a slotted spoon.
Place the tomatoes directly into the bowl of ice water and let them cool off. This will help to stop any “cooking” that has started.

Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. Begin peeling the skin at the X, pulling the skin back gently.

Not much tomato flesh should come off with the skin– if the flesh comes off or the tomato seems soft/mushy, you’ve cooked it a bit too long. Try cooking it for a shorter time on the next round.

Discard the skin. Cut out the core like you would if you were carving a pumpkin and making the lid. Go into the flesh at an angle and cut around the core until it is loose.


Now you can proceed with your recipe. Stay tuned for my next Meatless Monday recipe to see what I used my peeled and cored tomatoes for…


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Pesto Lasagna



  • Pesto, recipe follows
  • Besciamella, recipe follows
  • Butter, for baking dish, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 (9-ounce) boxes no boil lasagna noodles I made fresh pasta for a better result.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese



  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, about 4 ounces
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano / Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine  the  basil  leaves,  pine  nuts,  garlic in  a food processor and pulse several times. Drizzle in olive oil while the processor is running until  paste  forms.  Add  the  Parmesan  cheese,  Romano cheese,  salt  and  pepper  and  stir  until  smooth. 

Note: This  is  a  crucial  moment  for  your  pesto,  as  you  need  to  season  with  salt  and  pepper.  Keep  in  mind  that  Parmesan and  Romano are  both  dry  and  salty  cheeses.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Melt  the  1/2  cup  butter  in  a  pan  over  medium  heat.  Stir  in  the  flour  with  a  wooden  spoon.  Cook’s  Note:  This  is  an  important  moment,  as  you  have  to  slowly  toast  the  flour  without  burning  it.  This  will  help  you  lose  the  floury  taste.

Warm  up  the  milk  and  gradually  ladle  into  the  pot  with  the  butter-flour  mixture,  whisking  constantly  while  bringing  the  mixture  to  a  boil.


Reduce  the  heat,  and  simmer  for  about  15  minutes.


Season  the  sauce  with  freshly  grated  nutmeg,  salt,  and  pepper.

Note:  Taste your  sauce  a  few  times  in  order  not  to  go  overboard  when  you  are  seasoning  it. If  the  sauce  is  too  thick,  add  a  little  more  milk,  if  too  runny,  return  to  the  heat  and  add  a  pat  of  butter  mixed  with  an  equal  amount  of  all-purpose  flour.  The  most  important  thing  though  is:  besciamella  should  not  taste  floury.  If  you  think  your  sauce  is  ready,  but  you  can  spot  a  hint  of  “flouriness”  when  you  taste  it,  think  again,  and  keep  on  cooking  it  for  a  few  minutes  more.

As mentioned above I made my own fresh pasta. Why? Because I could 🙂



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 


Butter a 13 by 9 by 4 baking dish and add a thin layer of besciamella (bechamel sauce).


Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles, and then another thin layer of besciamella.


Gently spread about 4 tablespoons pesto across the surface, and then top with about 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Repeat until you finish layering the lasagne.


Top with a final layer of noodles and spread a final very thin layer besciamella, pesto, Parmesan cheese and a little butter to help the cheese crisp-up when cooked in the oven.


IMG_20130930_181208_048A Do-Againer? Why yes, it was! 🙂


Cook the lasagna for about 30 minutes. Serve dressed with some Parmesan and a drop of extra-virgin olive oil.

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Balsamic Honey Glazed Carrots


As promised, here is the recipe I discovered last Sunday when scrounging around for side dishes to go with the fried chicken I cooked.

Balsamic Honey Glazed Carrots


  • Salt
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and Balsamic Vinegar. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

What a great discovery.  A for sure Do-Againer!


Categories: Side Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

IMG_20130925_191539_220David and I decided to have Grilled Teriyaki Chicken sandwiches last week. It was a nice break from the kitchen stove and a good way to break up the monotony of the work week. Besides, David never turns down the opportunity to light the grill.

Here’s how we made them:

Teriyaki Marinade:

  • 4 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/8 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • Grated Ginger (about ½ -1 teaspoon)

Combine ingredients pour over 3 bone-in chicken breasts into a zip top bag and marinate for at least 6 hours or over night.



Grill chicken until it is done (165°F).


Place buns on the grill and toast until golden. Remove the bones from the breast meat. Add lettuce, red onion, mayonnaise and tomato. Throw a pickle on the side and chow down!


Categories: Asian Inspired Dishes, Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Is Risotto Worth the Hype?


Last week for Meatless Monday, I made risotto because everyone always raves about risotto on just about every cooking show I have ever watched. I was inspired by Michael Symon‘s recipe for Risotto he cooked on The Chew a couple of weeks ago. I decided to use an exotic mushroom blend instead of zucchini.


Here’s how I made it:


  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 1 Yellow Onion, grated
  • 1 Garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 2 quarts Vegetable Stock, heated
  • 4-ounce Exotic Mushroom blend
  • 1/4 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup Parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Basil leaves, chiffonade
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper



Heat olive oil in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir until thoroughly coated and opaque, about 3 minutes.

David had to help finish grating the onion. My eyes were about to pop out and roll on the floor from all the fumes. Even a candle did not help.

David had to help finish grating the onion. My eyes were about to pop out and roll on the floor from all the fumes. Even a candle did not help.

Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.


Add a 4 to 6 ounce ladle full of the stock and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding the hot stock a ladle full at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time before adding more.

IMG_20130923_192347_516Fold in the mushrooms with the last third of the stock and continue to cook until the rice is tender and creamy but still al dente, about 18 minutes.

Season the risotto with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Remove from heat and immediately fold in the tomatoes, parsley, basil, and parmigiano, and finish with extra virgin olive oil. Serve, garnished with additional parmigiano.
Yes, this recipe was good, but it really wasn’t worth the trouble. David and I were rather disappointed and deem risotto NOT a Do-Againer. Will you try this recipe and love it? Let me know. Maybe I did something wrong…
Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hummus Dip

HummusThe fall weather promotes good picnicking weather. Try making this hummus dip to put into your next picnic basket:


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Paprika, for garnish
  • Toufayan Bakeries Wheat Breadsticks (or any Toufayan pita products)

Chick Peas


  1. In a blender combine all the ingredients except the parsley and paprika to be used for garnish.  Blend on low speed until smooth.  You’ll have to stop the blender often to push down the ingredients.  If the mixture is too dry and you’re having trouble blending it, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to help things along.
  2. Scrape the hummus onto a plate.  Sprinkle the paprika over the top, drizzle lightly with olive oil, scatter some parsley on top, and serve.  You can make the hummus up to a couple of hours before you serve it.  Cover the top with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. Perfect for the picnic basket!



Categories: Homemade Sauces, Spices and Seasonings, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


IMG_20130924_182950_988David made the suggestion that when we heated up our left over spaghetti from Sunday to put cheese on top and bake it in the oven. So Tuesday night, that is exactly what I did. I placed 5 slices of Provolone Cheese on top and then grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. It was like a mini lasagna and David called it: “SPAGHANSA”.

IMG_20130924_183306_795I turned the broiler on for the last 10 minutes or so to make the cheese golden brown. Paired with the left over Faccacio Bread from Sunday, it was almost like eating it for the first time.

IMG_20130924_183529_359Call it Spaghetti or Spaghansa, but after eating it again for lunch on Wednesday, I have had all the spaghetti or Spaghansa, as it were, I want for a while.


Categories: Italian Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh My Foccacia

IMG_20130922_183531_846I spent most of Sunday afternoon in the kitchen trying new recipes and making homemade spaghetti. I finally took on the challenge of bread making. I tried a recipe for homemade Focaccia bread and it turned out really good for a first try. I may need to do it again… and again…. and again…

Here’s how I made it:

Foccacia Bread


  • 1/14 cups warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • t tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  1. Combine water, sugar and yeast in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt. Pulse several times to combine. With processor running, slowly add yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon oil. Continue running processor until mixture is combined and forms a ball.IMG_20130922_161814_712
  3. On a lightly floured surface, turn dough out and knead for 5 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with olive oil, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85˚ is ideal. I ran a warm shallow water bath in the sink and placed the bowl into the water), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.IMG_20130922_161840_067
  4. Preheat oven to 400˚. Grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.IMG_20130922_171733_188
  5. Punch dough down; knead lightly 4 or 5 times. Press dough into an 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle. Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Press handle of a wooden spoon into dough to make indentations at 1-inch internals. Brush with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley and salt; press toppings lightly into dough. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.IMG_20130922_173006_952

I have put off making my own bread for a long time. I think part of the reason why I haven’t made any before now is the fact that I love bread so much. I try to shy away from it as much as possible.

IMG_20130922_183452_137Good grief, was this good Foccacia!!

IMG_20130922_190330_975If you have never tried Foccacia Bread with a splash of balsamic vinegar, you really are missing out.

Oh boy, I think I’m in trouble…


Categories: Bread, Italian Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Crispy Oven Baked Ravioli


Who says baked ravioli has to be an appetizer? Not me! I made these last week for Meatless Monday and I have to say that it’s a Do-Againer. Here’s how I made them:


  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 48 small refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli (Buitoni is my favorite store bought ravioli)
  • 3/4 cup pasta sauce, warmed (I used Mario Batali’s Marinara for time savings. I suggest you make your own using this recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Combine sour cream and milk in small bowl. Dip ravioli in sour cream mixture, then in bread crumb mixture to coat evenly.IMG_20130916_194400_094
  3. Place ravioli on nonstick baking sheet. Bake 10-14 minutes or until ravioli are crisp and lightly browned. Serve immediately with your favorite tomato sauce.

IMG_20130916_194912_891Serve the ravioli with a salad and enjoy the yumminess!


Categories: Italian Inspired Dishes, Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

His Royal Highness Cooked Again

1264100_205435876297422_475144967_oWhile laying comfy cozy on the bed or in his box, His Royal Highness cooked a big crock pot full of soup. It’s hard manning a crock pot all day, but someone had to do it. Here’s what he cooked:

Beef Soup


  • (2) Beef Chuck Eye Steaks, seared and chopped
  • (2) 28-ounce Cans Whole Stewed Tomatoes
  • (1) 16-ounce Frozen Corn
  • (1) 16-ounce Frozen Baby Lima Beans
  • 28-ounce Water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Cracked Pepper


  1. Brown Chuck Eye Steaks to sear and brown the outside of the steaks (about 2 minutes each side on high heat)
  2. Chop up steak into bite size pieces
  3. Add ingredients to the crock pot
  4. Cook, Low for 8 hours


There’s nothing gourmet about this soup. Simple goodness!


Categories: Slow Cooker / Crock Pot, Soups, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meatless Monday ~ Spinach and Tomato Tart


Last Monday, I gave this recipe for a spinach and tomato tart a try. I have officially gotten my husband to eat cooked spinach. He ate this left over tart two days after we had it and said that it was good all three days, but he was tarted out. 🙂

Here’s how I made it:


  • 1 (14.1-ounce) box refrigerated pie crust (I used Pillsbury)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 9-ounce bag of baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 11/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages of Swiss cheese (I used Sargento)
  • 2 sliced tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick


Preheat oven to 450°


Unroll and stack pie crusts on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 14″ circle. Fit crust into an 11″ Pie pan. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Reduced oven temperature to 375°


In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until onion is tender. Add spinach, in batches, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted and all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat. In n a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and mustard.


Assemble Tart: Using one package, plus about three slices out of the second package, Lay a single layer of Swiss cheese on the bottom of the crust. You made need to tear to ensure the pie crust is covered as much as possible. Layer spinach mixture on top of cheese. Pour egg mixture over spinach. Place tomatoes in the mixture. Sprinkle tomatoes with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and top with remaining cheese slices.


Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until middle is set. Let cool for 10 -15 minutes before serving.


I hope you enjoy this like we did!


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chicken À L’Orange


In 1961, Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published and inspired a love of French food in the U.S. During this time period, Duck à l’Orange became a dinner party staple. This updated version uses chicken and marmalade for a faster and less expensive result. I made it this week and will classify it as a Do-Againer / More Often! Here’s how I made it:


  • 8 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise (quartered if large)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 whole(s) (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken (I used 3 leg quarters just the two of us)
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary



  1. 1.Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss the shallots with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts — each halved). In a large bowl, whisk together the marmalade, vinegar, rosemary, remaining tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the chicken; toss to coat.
  4. Place the chicken mixture in the roasting pan, nestling the pieces among the shallots. Bake until chicken is cooked through and browned and shallots are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.



I served the chicken with some sautéed zucchini and corn. (David preferred Brussels Sprouts) I hope you will try this recipe and let me know what you think.


Categories: Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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