Sunday, February 28, 2016


This is a really good cheese ball!  How good you ask?  Well between Olivia and I we have probably made it four times in the last two months.  Each time we have made it people have commented on how good it is and asked for the recipe.  It is easy and it is GOOD.    Here are a couple of things you might want to know.  First use REAL grated parmesan cheese if possible  The powder stuff will probably work okay but I think the flavor is more intense and the texture is improved by real grated parmesan.  Second, use freshly ground black pepper for a more defined flavor.  Last, I didn't have ancho chili powder so one time I used "regular" chili powder and the other time I used tajin.  Both were excellent.  Satisfy your own personal taste when it comes to "presentation" of this cheese ball.  You can sprinkle parsley on top, roll the cheese ball in parsley, or even do a crumbled bacon and parsley combo.  You decide.  The end result will be fabulous!

Bacon Parmesan Cheese Ball

Yield: one 4 1/2-inch ball


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
garlic powder to taste
pinch of kosher salt
ancho chili powder to taste
dried parsley for garnish


Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the bacon and green onions. Add the black pepper, salt and ancho chili pepper if using. Using a rubber spatula, gather the cheese mixture into a rough ball. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and scatter the parsley all over. Transfer the ball to the plastic wrap. Tightly wrap the cheese ball in the plastic wrap making sure the parsley adheres, twisting at one end to form a tight ball. Chill the ball for at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, remove the plastic and place the ball on a serving plate. Serve with assorted crackers and vegetables. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Let's face it, we long for Spring.  We long for warm weather, fresh food, and firing up the least that is the case where we live.  It is this long stretch between Christmas and Easter that sometimes presents the greatest challenge in creating interesting and slightly different culinary creations.  Olivia made this luscious creation that combines the flavors of thyme and garlic in a light creamy balsamic sauce. 

If you haven't experimented with balsamic vinegar, you really should.  It offers a beautiful combination of acidity and sweetness.  No other vinegar offers quite as much body and richness.  It is great in sauces, salad dressings, and even can be used to macerate fruit.  It is simply wonderful.  Try this delicious chicken dish that will no doubt make the winter more bearable and make the wait for Spring much more enjoyable.

Chicken with Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 5mn
Cook Time: 25mn
Total Time: 30mn


  • 1/2 pound egg noodles (I use no yolks), cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into half lengthwise so that you end up with 4 pieces of chicken
  • Salt, black pepper, garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned, and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (do not substitute any other vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • Fresh, chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches a temp of about 165 degrees.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan, and set aside.
  5. To the pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and reduce the heat to medium.
  6. Add in onions and mushrooms and sauté until the onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Add in garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more.
  7. Season onions and mushrooms with a bit more salt, pepper, and add in 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
  8. Sprinkle the vegetables with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and allow it to cook for a minute.
  9. Slowly whisk in chicken stock, then balsamic vinegar. Whisk well.
  10. Add in half and half, and raise the heat to medium-high. Simmer the sauce until it stars to thicken, then reduce the heat to low and add the chicken to the pan, and simmer for about 3 minutes longer.
  11. To serve, arrange noodles in a bowl. Top with a piece of chicken and mushrooms balsamic cream sauce.
  12. Serves 4, enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2016


These tacos offer a delightful blend of flavors that are guaranteed to make you happy.  They are tangy and at the same time sweet.  Olivia substituted green onions for the cucumbers.  The colorful, crispy vegetables included in this tantalizing taco make it a winner.  If you have never tried peanut sauce or made it yourself, you really should try this.  If you or your family enjoy tacos, and you are ready to think outside the box, give this a whirl. You won't be sorry.

(recipe from:

Serves: 8 tacos (4 servings)
  • For the chicken:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 and ½ cups coconut milk (light is fine)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of minced fresh ginger

  • 1 cup of shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots
  • ½ cup of thinly sliced cucumber
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 8 small flour tortillas (soft taco size)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime wedges for garnish if desired

  • For the peanut sauce:
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (light is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of water
  1. For the chicken:
  2. Combine the coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, garlic and ginger in a large resealable bag. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, up to 8 hours.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill, indoor grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, place on grill/skillet and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until done. Cut the cooked chicken into cubes (approximately ½ inch in size)
  4. For the peanut sauce:
  5. Combine all of the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To assemble:
  7. Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Place the tortillas in a row assembly line style. To each tortilla add 2 tablespoons of shredded cabbage, 1 tablespoon of shredded carrots, 1 tablespoon of cucumber and approximately ¼ cup of chicken. Top with a generous drizzle of peanut sauce and a few cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with lime wedges if desired.
Make Ahead: The carrots and cabbage can be shredded a day in advance. The peanut sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 530 Fat: 20 Carbohydrates: 62 Fiber: 7 Protein: 23