Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Cass in the Kitchen: Chicken Parmigiana

:kitchen: Today’s recipe is sooooooo simple. But my family just loves it! You can get a lot fancier than this, but you really won’t get much tastier, unless you make it like I used to. I used to dip the chicken in seasoned flour and fry it, back in the day. You know, that long ago day when I smoked away all the fat and calories I ate. Now I count those calories instead, so I have made some adaptations. And, oh by the way, I am almost back down to the weight on my driver’s license, ya’ll.

Chicken Parmigiana a la Cass

Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Sliced Provolone Cheese
Spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti noodles
Italian seasoning

Instead of frying the chicken, we are going to sort of saute it. Just put a little bit of oil in the pan, enough to keep it from sticking. I make mine in a huge electric frypan, because I am feeding an army. That’s also why I didn’t list quantities. Just make enough for however many you are feeding. Here is what the chicken looks like browning.

IMG 0239 1 2

IMG 0241After the chicken is browned, or actually seared real well is a better term, considering we aren’t using enough oil to actually brown anything, we will simmer it in spaghetti sauce for a bit to finish cooking. Pour off the oil, and pour in the sauce. I use Ragu, but you can use whatever you’d like. I suppose you can also make it yourself, but I don’t have a recipe for that. It should look something like the photo at right.

When the chicken is done, it is time for my favorite part: CHEESE! Lay a slice on each piece of chicken, and it won’t hurt a thing if you over lap it a little.
IMG 0242

Doesn’t that look so good??? While the cheese is melting, cook your spaghetti noodles. Serve the chicken over the noodles, like so:
IMG 0243

Cass in the Kitchen: Tacos

:kitchen: We had tacos not long ago, and my they were good. I love tacos, and my children do, too. I’ve never had them anywhere else that taste like mine, so I thought i would share how I make them. I brown the hamburger, and add a generous amount of garlic, 2 packets of taco seasoning mix, and a large can of tomatoes (for 2 pounds of meat). When I get ready to heat my shells, I put the cheese in them before I put them in the oven. (This helps the shells hold together!!) After they are heated and the cheese is melted, I put some refried beans in and a scoop of taco meat. I have the shells side by side, holding each other up, so this is a pretty quick process. I throw some salad over the top of it, and we add sour cream at the table for those who like it, and occasionally guacamole.

Cass in the Kitchen: Shrimp Scampi and Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking

:kitchen: So sorry this is late, and I actually even thought about skipping it, but I did that last week when I got slammed, and I’d hate to let that become a habit. I enjoy this segment, and I have a bunch of recipes waiting in draft mode, and yet more pictures of recipes on the camera card, so I really do want to keep up with it. In addition to the cooking, I am still reading mags and cookbooks, so I certainly am not out of kitchenly things to say, and probably won’t be for some time to come!! So, let’s get on with our little cooking show!

Shrimp Scampi

2 sticks of butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup minced garlic
lemon pepper
2 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 pounds frozen mixed veggies (I used Normandy Blend)
12 ounces angel hair pasta

scampi shrimp onlyMelt the butter in a large skillet, add the garlic and spices and saute until it smells so good you begin to drool. It’s very aromatic an a totally pleasant way. In the meantime, partially thaw those veggies in the microwave about 7 minutes, and set the water to boil for the pasta. Add the shrimp to the butter/garlic/spice mixture, and stir them in. Just as they begin to turn orange, add the veggies, and stir them in real well, too. I know scampi is usually served with veggies on the side, but, man, I had to take advantage of that butter-y, garlic-ky prefection!

scampi with vegetablesStart the pasta when you add the veggies. It will only take 3-4 minutes to cook, and your veggies should be done in about that time. You want them to still be a little crispy. Drain the pasta. I put mine in a big bowl, and then poured the shrimp/veggie/sauce over it, and mixed it up.

Here’s what it looks like on the plate. Divine, right?
scampi on plate

Alas, Drama is allergic to dairy, so she got this instead:
dairy free scampi

Dori Sander’s Country Cooking

I also had a fun and profitable trip to the library, as I think I mentioned. I checked out a couple of cooking books, and one of them was the delightful Country Cooking by Dori Sanders. This was a delightful read, and I do mean “read”. The book is full of stories about her life past and present. I found out she lives just a few hours fro here, so how neat is that.

There were several recipes I want to try in here, and I found the first one on the the fly leaf, a reference to fried green tomato parmigiana, which I have never had or heard of, but which sounds like food perfection. I’ll be having to test that one out when green tomatoes are cheap.

I also thought the recipe for boiled noodles looked pretty interesting. You make the dough and then push it through a colander or sieve into a pot of boiling water. The book has lots of simple techniques that like, so don’t think you’ll need a lot of fancy equipment to make the food.

I thought the baked eggs and grits looked good, too. I have several breakfast casserole recipes, but this is the first one I’ve seen that includes grits. I love me some grits, ya’ll!

Finally, I want to make this cobbler that practically makes itself, you just pour the ingredients one over the other, and the crust bubbles up through the fruit as it cooks. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

I’ll be checking this book out again when I am ready to some more experimenting, and I may get a copy if we like what we taste. Which basically boils down to: might as well order it right now.

Cass in the Kitchen: Boiled Peanuts and Broccotatoes

:kitchen: This week we have another old southern favorite, and then a new thing. You will love them both, I promise!

Have you ever had [tag]boiled peanuts[/tag]? I ate them all the time growing up. A few years ago, I got desperate for some, and bought them in a can. They were a horrible substitute for the real thing, and all my kids hated them. But this weekend, I was cleaning the freezer, and took some out. I shared them with the children, and this time I had to beat them off with a stick just so I could get a few for myself. They really are that good, and not hard at all to make.

Boiled Peanuts

Here’s how to cook them: Rinse the dirt off, and boil them long and hot with a lot of salt. You want to boil them until the nuts are tender. You’ll have to test them the first time you make them, but there is a definite smell of “just right” that you will recognize when you cook them again. It’s not a smell that I can describe, except to say that it is pleasant and “smells like boiled peanuts”. That’s not very helpful, is it? Cook some, and you will know exactly what I mean, though.


First off, I can’t take credit for this idea. I got it from Rachel Ray’s magazine. As you may know, I am watching my calories in an attempt to lose the weight I gained when I quit smoking. Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite foods, but they come in at an astounding 200 calories per cup because I use whole milk and real butter when I make them. I’m not budging on the milk and butter, so when Rachel wrote about making them with broccoli, I thought that sounded like win/win deal. I actually made mine with broccoli and cauliflower, and they were totally yummy. They actually taste like mashed potatoes, if you can get past the little green flecks, and since broccoli and cauliflower only have about 25 calories per cup, it saves quite a few calories. Almost enough to have a little cheesy gravy. Just sayin’

Here’s how I did it:

Peel and boil 2-3 pounds of potatoes. After they have cooked 10 or 15 minutes, add a 2 pound bag of broccoli ot broccoli and cauliflower and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain. Add a stick of butter, and a half cup of milk. Beat/mash/mix, however you usually do it. Add salt and pepper to taste and a bit more milk of you need it, and mix again. Serve plain or with gravy.

Cass in the Kitchen How to Make Fried Okra and Cooking By Numbers


Fried Okra

This here is quintessential southern food, ya’ll! You gotta try it. Wash your okra, and cut off the tops of the pods as they tend to be tough. You can see the place to cut, as there is an actual line on the pod at that spot. Cut it in rounds about 1/2 inch wide. Dredge it in cornmeal mixed with a bit of salt. Heat your oil in a heavy skillet, about 1/2 in deep to 375 or so. Fry the okra for just a few minutes until it is golden brown. It will not take long if you have the oil hot enough. If you don’t have the oil hot enough, your okra will come out too greasy.

I am blessed to be able to buy mine pre-breaded and frozen, so I skip straight to “Heat your oil…” This is the best stuff! Seriously.


Cooking by Numbers

Click the ingredients you have on hand in the frig and in the pantry, and this site comes up with recipes for you. They claim to be handy tools for busy moms. That’s my game, because I am all about the easy. Cooking By Numbers fits the bill nicely. I clicked off bacon and chocolate just to amuse myself, and it came up with Bacon Surprise:


method: 1. Decide whether you want to fry or grill your bacon. Then either put your bacon in a pan over a medium to high heat or under a grill at the same heat.

2. Cook until the bacon crisps up, turning as needed.

3. Consider the sorry state of your food supplies and decide that you do really need to do some shopping if all you have left is some bacon.

4. Devour the bacon with lashings of tomato sauce and serve with a bit of bread or toast if you have some.

and Chocolate Dream


method: 1. Indulge in eating your chocolate- do not share it with anybody! 2. Now you are fully relaxed and happy, go and buy some food- you obviously have NOTHING in the house.

Not only are the recipes good, they are also funny. And yes, I have more than bacon and chocolate in the house.

Cass in the Kitchen: Home Made Granola and Rice Stuffed Chicken

:kitchen: Welcome back ya’ll. I have been looking forward to this post all week. I have two recipes to share with you, and about a bazillion pictures. If you are on dial-up you might need to go get coffee, but I can promise the pictures are so worth it. I always like pictures with my recipes, not because I need to know what something should look like but because … hmm, why do I like pictures? Maybe because a good picture lets me know if I will like the dish without slowing down to read the recipe? Who knows, but I like some foodie pictures, don’t you? One more warning: there are both nuts and naked chicken ahead. How’s that for food porn?


We really like the homemade granola around here. A lot. As in, we’ve gone through 14 and a half cups of it in less than a week. That’s how much this recipe makes, and I also figured out the calorie count because I am on a diet changing my eating habits and needed to know. Please don’t panic when you read the number, because this is not “bad food”. There are two servings of grain, a protein and a fruit in each half cup. And also 227 calories. You’ll need about an hour to make this, and here are the ingredients, more or less:

8 cups of oats
1/2 cup oil (canola preferred)
1 cup maple syrup (you can use brown sugar instead)
2 cups of nuts (I used the mixed, already roasted kind)
2 cups of dried fruit (I used mixed berries and raisins)

You can make this in an oven, and it’s not that difficult, but I used my huge electric skillet this time, and it was much easier without all that oven door opening, and also, it didn’t heat up the whole house. So, turn you heat to about 250 and pour in the oats. Let these cook just until they are hot, and then drizzle the oil over them while you stir. Keep stirring until the oil is mixed in and absorbed. Then cook it for another 30 minutes or so (in the pan, longer in the oven). The oats should look dry and smell vaguely like oatmeal.

nuts in the measuring cupThen you know its time to add the syrup. Drizzle it in just like you did the oil, but be aware that it can get a little clumpy if you go too fast. Aim for a thin ribbon, and stir, stir, stir. Then you can add the nuts. I admit that I got a little camera happy when it came time for the nuts, and so I present two pictures. One of plain ol’ nuts in a measuring cup, necessary, but pretty boring.

And then there is the macro shot, which I think is awesome. You can see the salt dust! I kinda aimed across the cup to get this shot. Umm, ok, I’m hushing. I know you are here for the recipe, not the photography. But I am still showing you the picture.

nuts macro

Okay, moving on. Stir in the nuts. Once the nuts begin to smell roast-y, and that depends entirely on the heat and how dry your mixture is, and whether you are using a skillet or the oven, but you will know it when you smell it, then you are almost done!

Add the fruit:
adding the fruit

Stir in in real well, and turn off the heat. Viola! Granola!

finished granola

You can vary the ingredients and the amounts to customize the granola to your personal taste. It’s different every time you make it!

Here’s how I like to eat mine:

serving the granola

I spoon it over yogurt. That adds a milk to my 2 grains/fruit/protein and gives me a perfectly balanced meal. And it is so stinking good!

Rice Stuffed Chicken

So, I was reading the Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine I mentioned and there was a little blurb in there about stuffing chicken with leftover friend rice. “Hmm”, I thought to myself, “That could get pretty interesting!” I’d never in my life made stuffed chicken before, but I knew that was going to change. When I went grocery shopping, I looked for fried rice, but I ended up with this instead:
yellow rice

We cooked it and spooned it in (thanks Country, for wielding the camera):
spooning in rice

Here it is, ready to go in the oven. Here’s a tip I learned a long time ago. Most folks roast a chicken breast side up. This leads to a nice crispy skin, but also frequently leads to dried up breast meat. I like my boobs juicy and tender, so here’s what I do: I roast my chickens like they walk. That means the breasts are in the pan, and the juices flow over them, basting them the whole time they cook, and you don’t have to do anything extra.

chicken raw

A little salt and garlic powder, and an hour and half later, we had this:

chicken cooked

Oh, doesn’t that look good? The meat had picked up a subtle flavoring from the rice, and it was just so. good! The family reports it was very tasty, but being a calorie nazi, I had mine a little differently. I knew there was no way I could afford that rice, since it had all that chicken juiciness in it, so I had mine like this:

chicken salad

380 calories with a generous 1/2 cup of chicken, 1/3 cup of cheese and 2 tablespoons of salad topping.

Cass in the Kitchen: Macaroni and Cheese and Garbage Bowls

Guess what I am having tonight? Not this delectable Macaroni and Cheese, unfortunately for me! We are having “old favorites” night here. Re-runs. Previous Prandials. But I totally WISH I was having this!

Macaroni and Cheese

1 part uncooked macaroni
1 part grated cheese
2 parts milk
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all that together and bake, covered, at 350 for an hour or so.
Here’s what it looks like:

macaroni and cheese

We used Co-Jack for the cheese and for my family I ended up using 3 cups mac, 3 cups cheese and 6 cups milk, but I wanted plenty of leftovers. It’s good with anything or by itself. I particularly enjoy it as a side with pork. Enjoy!

Garbage Bowls

grp edr garbage bowlsHave ya’ll seen these “garbage bowls” by Rachel Ray? I picked up one of her mags the other day and saw these in it. Grandmother had bowls like this and she used them for actual cooking and mixing. I totally can’t think of these as useful for garbage, when I’ve seen them full of biscuits and beans and cake batter, and, and, and. Besides, at 18 bucks a pop….no. These bowls could lead to needing credit card debt relief. I like my way better–I just move the trash can to wherever I am prepping the food.

I did enjoy the mag, and I plan to try and then discuss several ideas from it. Also, I subscribed for the third time. I have yet to see an issue, but this last time, I went right through the website instead of a school fundraising sale, so hopefully my mailbox will soon overflow with cooking goodness.

[tags]mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese recipe[/tags]

Well, Bloomin’ Onions!! Salsa Chicken Salad and Eye-Tye Chicken Salad

Did you guys know that Outback Restaurants are 20 years old? They were born the same year as TheClone. (Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.) It’s hard to believe that something so relatively young can be such a part of the American scene, isn’t it? But enough history, let’s get to the food! To celebrate their birthday, Outback has developed some new menu items, which you can see here. They’ve kept my favorites, the Bloomin’ Onion and the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. I totally wish I knew how to make those, because I would totally tell you. And did you know that Outback has sent teams to cook their specialties for the troops in the Middle East? Bonus points, right there!

Salsa [tag]Chicken salad recipe[/tag]

small can of chicken (drained)
tablespoon of mayo
1/4 cup of peach pineapple salsa.

Mix well and serve over 3 or 4 cups of salad greens, or with crackers. Or with salad greens and crackers. This one has 235 calories for the whole portion and makes a nice quick lunch.

IMG 0250

Eye-Tye Chicken Salad

4 large cans chicken
1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
1 small can sliced black olives

Mix all the ingredients together. The spices and mayo are just to taste, sorry. Now, here’s the important part. After you mix it, don’t eat it. Put it in the frig for several hours. This is the best stuff ever with Triscuit. Sorry, I don’t have the calorie count on this one.

Also, about the picture? They kinda fell on it and devoured it before I could get a picture. I have now explained that you cannot do that to a food blogger. Which is pretty funny, because now the kids say, “Can we eat yet, or do you have to take a picture of it?”

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