Crispy Goodness!

Ok – anyone who knows me knows I never liked baking. To me it’s monotonous and boring.  However, over the last year, I find myself ok with it.  It’ not a “chore”, per say, anymore.  I’ve cookie1 been trying to scratch cook and bake more, knowing preservatives and processed foods are not good for you.  So if the family wants cookies, I have chosen to make them.

I have to say that these are bakery quality and quite delicious.  I did not put the sea salt on top not having any.  However, I did use a couple handfuls of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips which were a perfect addition.  This is definitely and do-over and it was very quick to make.



Thin and Crisp Oatmeal Cookies with Sea Salt (adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon saltcookie2
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, but still cool
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • Flaked Sea Salt to sprinkle on top before baking (optional)
  • A couple handfuls of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, or raisins, or nuts (optional)


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or use Silpat baking pads. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl.  Beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated and then add in your chocolate, nuts, raisins, etc. Give dough final stir with spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain.  Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 tablespoons, then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart, 8 dough balls per sheet. Using fingertips, gently press ball to 3/4-inch thickness.  Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, edges are crisp, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely on sheet.


Cinco De MY-O-MY-O-MY These Were Tasty!

chicken roll upsI’m one of those who doesn’t care if I’m not Irish, Hispanic, Italian, I’m still going to celebrate the holidays anyway – at least in a culinary fashion.  This past Cinco De Mayo I tried a recipe for Crispy Mexican Chicken Roll-ups – they are like a flauta, but more substantial.  It was delicious!  I rounded out the meal with Bush’s “seasoned” black beans and quick Mexican rice.  This meal has been voted as a do-over in my home.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Crispy Mexican Chicken Rollups

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Fajita seasoning/rub

½ cup jack cheese

½ cup cheddar cheese

2 sliced green onions

1/3 cup salsa

1/3-1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Juice from ½ a lime

1/8 tsp. cumin

1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup canola oil

2 grated or minced garlic cloves

8-10 fajita size flour tortillas

The night before I oiled and rubbed the fajita seasoning on the chicken.  Covered them and baked in a 325° oven for 40-45 min.  I let them cool and refrigerated overnight.

The next day I shredded/chopped the chicken placed in large bowl and mixed in all the ingredients from jack cheese thru salt.  I let this sit for 10-20 min.

Place oil and grated garlic in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Once oil starts to get hot, remove from heat and let the garlic infuse the oil.

Preheat oven to 400°

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with PAM.

Assemble the tortillas by adding about 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken filling along the lower edge of the tortilla.  Roll up and place on sheet seam side down.

Brush the tortilla rollups with the garlic oil.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping over halfway through cooking and oiling the other side.  Cook until heated through and golden brown.

Serve topped with sour cream, guacamole and cilantro.


Sides to serve with…

Heated Bush’s seasoned black beans with Monterrey jack cheese melted on top.


Quick Mexican Rice

2 cups Minute rice

2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup of your favorite salsa


Heat broth to boiling.  Remove from heat.  Mix in minute rice.  Stir in salsa and let set for 5 minutes.


Peter Piper Would Pick These Pickles!

This summer I grew one – yes one – cucumber plant.  The first picking I haulepickle1d in 30 cukes off of it.  It was not a Kirby or pickling cuke plant, but a salad cuke that produces very few seeds in the cucumber and a nice thin outer skin.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t keep the plastic thingy that came with it saying exactly what type of plant it was.  I’m thinking it was somehow related to the English cucumber family.  They all average around 12 inches and are somewhat slender.  Knowing that I had to do something with them quick, I poked around on the internet and found this wonderful refrigerator pickle recipe from Cooking Light.  They turned out absolutely tasty and get better and the days go on.  I followed the recipe verbatim except I doubled the brine because it didn’t produce enough liquid to cover the cucumbers.  I also added sliced red bell pepper – because I really like them pickled, too and made it taste like my Mom’s bread and butter recipe.  It is a really easy recipe – I did three batches in one evening.  After three days of them sit in the fridge, I transferred to pint jars.  Enjoy!


  • 6      cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
  • 2      cups thinly sliced onion
  • 2      cups thinly sliced red, yellow or orange sweet bell pepper*

Brine* (doubled from original recipe)

  • 3      cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½  cup sugar
  • 1 ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1      teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1      teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1      teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1      teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8      garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion and 1 cup of bell pepper. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion and 1 cup of bell pepper.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days. At this point, you can keep in the bowl you have them in or transfer to pint jars.pickle2

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Kathleen Kanen, Cooking Light

*My addition/change

My New Favorite-Sliders!

My new favorite way to make burgers is in slider form.  Out of all the things I slider2can cook, I can’t grill a decent full size hamburger.  I’m paranoid about them not being fully cooked and getting e coli.  One thing I learned when I worked in the food industry is unless you ground your own beef; don’t even chance eating a medium/rare burger.  Not worth it.  On a more up-beat note – sliders are delish and very quick to make.  And I’m all about instant satisfaction – especially when I’m hungry.

Hamburger Sliders

1 – 1 ½ lbs 80-20 ground beef

2-3 tablespoons of Worchester sauce

1 tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic salt (I like Lowry’s California Garlic Salt)

Hawaiian Bread dinner rolls

Topping of your choice i.e. chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, finely sliced sweet onion, sliced mini dills, etc.

Mix ground beef with Worchester sauce, onion powder and garlic salt.  Form into patties that are thin and bigger than the Hawaiian rolls (80-20 beef will shrink).  I used one of those cheap plastic patty forms and made the patty just shy (1/2”) from the edge.

Heat grill on high.  Place patties on grill to sear first side and turn heat down to medium.  Cook 2-3 minutes, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until juices run clear.  Top with cheese of your liking to melt.

Serve with rolls and toppings.  Enjoy!

Rib Rub Update


In a previous post of mine ( I gave the recipe of a rub I use on my ribs.  Since then, I have gotten hooked on a rub seasoning by a local BBQ joint here in MN (that is now a nationwide chain) called Fribrubamous Dave’s.  I use this seasoning along with brown sugar and garlic powder.  Rub on ribs, cover in foil and let them sit over night.   I then proceed with my original way of slow cooking them, then tossing on the grill right before dinner with some BBQ sauce as described in my original post.  Hope you can find this product in your local grocery store – it’s a goodin!  If not, you can order online on this site along with other products they carry –  Enjoy!

Giddy Up! Cowboy Caviar

What is it? A mixture of marinated beans and veggies. What do you do with it? Eat it with tortilla chips. Is it good? Heck ya! And the beauty of it is you can change it up as you please – no rules to follow experimenting with this delectable delight!

I have a locally owned market in my town that makes cowboy caviar with a bare basic recipe. I like that. I’m not one for overpowering things with 50 spices and additional flavors. I’m a purist when it comes to food. I want to be able to identify what I’m eating so if I like it – I can recreate it at home. And, yeppers, I was able to recreate the market’s recipe and whipped up a batch this past weekend.

This is a very mellow, but flavorful recipe. I think if I wanted to add a kick, it would be a finely minced Serrano chili. It would blend nicely with the sweetness of the marinade. But go and add what you like – I’ve seen tomatoes, avocado, black beans and red onion used in it. Chili powder, red chili flakes and cumin can be added if you want a more southwest flare. This is best if marinated several hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Cowboy Caviar – My Style


½ cup light extra virgin olive oil

½ cup rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Caviar Mix

1 15 oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 4 oz. can of fire roasted green chilis drained

3-4 inner stalks of celery, finely chopped

1 bunch of green onions white and some of the green parts, thinly sliced

1 ½ cups of frozen shoepeg corn, thawed (if you can’t find shoepeg corn, use niblets or white corn)

½ sweet orange or red bell pepper, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

OPTIONAL – 1 small Serrano chili, finely minced

OPTIONAL – Chopped cilantro


Add all marinade ingredients to a pot and bring to a low simmer on your stove, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.

Mix all other ingredients together except for cilantro. Pour cooled marinade over the mixture. Store in Tupperware-esque container and refrigerate overnight; periodically mixing throughout the day.

To serve, first taste and add salt if needed. Then use slotted spoon to put into serving dish, top with cilantro and serve with Tostitos Scoops® or regular tortilla chips. Warning: This can be addicting. Consume responsibly.

You Can Never Have Too Many Chicken Recipes…

Looking for a quick and elegant entrée to serve your guests over the holidays?  This one is a winner.  I found it on and have made it several times.  A little work is involved; however, it is worth it.  Serve along with a nice tossed salad with apples slices, spiced pecans, blue or feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette and a side of asparagus – you can’t go wrong.  Enjoy!  Merry Christmas and Happy New year!


Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts (8 Servings)

  • 4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (not chicken breast halves)
  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 (1 oz.) slices Swiss Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten


  1. PLACE each whole chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Freeze 15 to 20 minutes for easier handling.
  2. HEAT oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  3. COMBINE green onion, parsley flakes, salt, pepper and garlic powder in small bowl. Set aside.
  4. PLACE one piece of cheese in center of each chicken breast. Top with 1/4 onion mixture. Starting at narrow edge, roll each breast tightly, tucking in sides to enclose cheese and onion mixture. Dredge with flour.
  5. COMBINE bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in small bowl. Dip each rolled breast in beaten egg, then in crumb mixture to coat.
  6. SPRAY each of coated breasts generously with no-stick cooking spray; arrange in prepared pan.
  7. BAKE 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.