While relaxing on my front porch after repotting some plants today, Teresa pulled up with some cod for tonights dinner. Cod is one of those fish that takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with making a Mediterranean style dinner absolutely delicious. We were wondering what we had on hand to make with it and I found a half-full jar of pearl couscous! We had some grape tomatoes, plenty of garlic, onions, & feta cheese, along with a garden full of fresh herbs. We set about making dinner. We've said this before and it's very true...some of the best dinners we make are thrown together with what we have on hand. This dinner turned out fabulous...we were counting on leftovers but NONE were to be had!😋❤️
2 cups pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous)
3 cup chicken broth
1 large sweet onion, diced
6 large cloves garlic peeled & minced
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups Feta cheese (we use President’s Chunk)
In a large skillet add 2 cups of pearl couscous to a dry, hot skillet. Gently stir to prevent burning. After a few minutes, the couscous will start to brown. Add a drizzle of EVOO and continue to brown for about 2 minutes. Do not burn. Not all the couscous will brown & that’s ok.
Add 3 cups chicken stock, cover, and cook about 10-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove cover and set aside.
In a small skillet, saute the diced onions and garlic. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook until they start to carmelize.
Add the onions & garlic to the couscous. Stir well. Cover and set aside until fish is done.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Turn oven to broil. Once hot, reduce the oven temperature to 425º.
Coat the grape tomatoes & whole cloves of garlic with 1 Tablespoon of EVOO. Sprinkle with salt. Combine well.
Place on top oven rack and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes blister & garlic is soft & caramelized.
Remove from the oven when done. Using a fork or a wooden spoon, smash the caramelized garlic. Take half the tomatoes & garlic and add to couscous, mixing well.
Just before serving, crumble & add the Feta cheese to the couscous and combine.
Using the same rimmed baking sheet, drizzle EVOO and arrange the pieces of cod on sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt & pepper, chopped fresh greek oregano. Drizzle lightly with EVOO and place on center rack of 425º oven.
Cook 10-16 minutes, depending on the thickness of cod until it’s opaque & flakes.
To serve, place cooked couscous mixture on a serving platter and top with fish fillets. Sprinkle with remaining blistered tomatoes & garlic. Garnish with sprigs of fresh oregano & thyme.
Cutting the fresh Greek oregano
Cooking the couscous
Blistered tomatoes & whole garlic caramelized
Cod placed in oven after seasonings added
Feta cheese & tomatoes added to couscous
Platter of Cod over Couscous Mediterranean Style
Notes: To make this Gluten-free for Jack, we served him brown rice with quinoa as a substitute for couscous. He loved it.
Two years ago Barbara bought a small chocolate mint potted plant because she loved the smell of it. She left it in the original 3-inch pot so it never grew much. There were enough leaves for maybe a few cups of tea every now and then. This year she decided to transplant it in the early spring into a much larger pot. She now has so much chocolate mint that we decided to try a new cocktail. Our Chocolate Mint Mojito was born! If your a fan of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, this delicious cocktail is for you and it can be enjoyed all summer long. ❤️ ❤️
16 fresh chocolate mint leaves (regular mint may be substituted)
2 ounces Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice
2 ounces Torani Dark Chocolate syrup
4 ounces Bacardi Coconut Rum (substitute with plain light rum if you’re not a fan of coconut)
6-12 ice cubes
4 ounces club soda
sprig of mint for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice.
Stir in the chocolate syrup and rum. Add the ice.
Shake at least 30 seconds. Stir in the club soda (don’t shake once you add the club soda).
Pour into a highball glass or your favorite martini glass.
Garnish with a lime slice and a sprig of mint. Enjoy!
Lately all my friends and neighbors are wondering what to cook since we are all observing the Stay at Home restrictions going on across the country. They are bored and tired of cooking 3 times a day. While checking my text messages I saw one from 'Nextdoor' with the title 'What's for Dinner'. This recipe caught my eye so I decided to give it a try. Wow! I'm so happy I did. Not only is it full of flavor but it's so easy to make. Both Gary & I loved it. I hope Teresa makes this for my niece while she's helping her recuperate. I know they will love it too! 😋❤️
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated) (please don’t use the fake stuff in the green container…)
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)
In a large skillet add 2-4 Tablespoons EVOO. When oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side. Don’t crowd the skillet or you’ll get steam instead of browning. Cook until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Whisk over medium-high heat until it starts to thicken.
Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes. Let simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
Add the chicken back to the skillet and serve over your favorite pasta.
1. Use genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that you freshly grate. The pre-grated cheese has additives and makes it ball up instead of melting into the sauce. You may also substitute with Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese, also freshly grated.
2. Large chicken bone-in chicken thighs can also be used in place of chicken breasts. Just make sure you cook a little longer so they are fully cooked.
Recipe adapted from Alyssa Rivers (The Recipe Critic).
Brown the chicken thighs or chicken breasts on medium-high 3-5 minutes on both sides then set aside on a plate
Add the heavy cream, chicken broth and the dry spices with the grated cheese
This isn’t just another meatloaf recipe! I have made many meatloaf variations throughout the years, but none have ever come close to this super easy, flavorful, moist, and absolutely delicious meatloaf that my daughter Tracy makes. I’ve been staying with my daughter while she is recovering from surgery and wanted to cook meals for her and, as she refers to him, her roommate John🤣. The only change I had to make was adapting it to be gluten-free for Jack so he could enjoy it too. I have to say it was the biggest hit. The glaze was just the right amount of sweet and tangy that made this meatloaf extra special. Enjoy !!😋 😋
In a large bowl, add the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, milk, beaten eggs, 4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, dried onion flakes, celery seed, paprika, bouillon granules, and pepper. Using disposable gloves on your hands mix these ingredients together until well combined. Do not under-mix.
Add the meat mixture to a 9×13 inch roasting pan. Pat and form the meat into a loaf shape approximately 3-4 inches high.
In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup ketchup, the brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir well to combine. Pour the glaze on top of the meatloaf and place it on the center rack in the preheated oven.
Bake uncovered for 55 -65 minutes.
Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before serving.
1. Homemade Gluten-free onion soup mix. Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. This will yield the equivalent of 2 envelopes of gluten-free dry onion soup mix.
2. If gluten isn’t an issue you may use any Lipton Onion Soup mix in place of the homemade version and regular plain breadcrumbs.
2. For a tasty meal, serve with creamy mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh spinach with garlic and EVOO
What I love about stuffed peppers, beside the terrific vitamin C health benefit, is the amazing possibilities of stuffing combinations. Our mother always made them with a mixture of ground beef, Minute Rice, and Locatelli cheese then cooked them in marinara sauce for a simple, no-fuss, one-pot meal. Barbara made them sweet & sour. We used to make them for our families, but our children weren’t fans. I tried serving them over linguini, which is absolutely delicious; however, their battle cry became “not again”. It’s funny how their recollection is so different from mine! Putting all that aside I like to mix things up by combining new flavors and using pantry items already on hand. Some of our best recipes come from whatever we find in the pantry and throw them together! 😋 😋
2 (8.8 oz) pouches ‘TastyBite Organic Brown Rice with Quinoa & Lentils Seasoned with Herbs & Spices’
1lb ground beef
4 oz Uncured Pancetta, diced
1 x-large sweet onion (or 2 medium), diced
2 Tablespoons EVOO
6 Bell peppers, assorted colors, cut in half lengthwise, seeded & ribs removed
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1½ -2 Tablespoons Za’atar spice (may substitute with Oregano)
12 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste
1/2-1 cup chicken broth (enough to fill the bottom of the pan by 1 inch)
In a large skillet saute onions until soft, then add pancetta and saute for 2 minutes.
Add garlic, salt & pepper and saute for 1 minute.
Add ground beef and cook over medium heat stirring often to break up meat until thoroughly cooked (no pink). Remove from heat & set Bake 25-35 minutes, d aside.
Tear pouches of brown rice, quinoa & lentils 2 inches to vent. Place each pouch separately in the microwave on high for 90 seconds each.
Empty contents of the cooked pouches into the skillet filled with the meat mixture & let cool.
Once the meat mixture is cooled add half the shredded cheese. Combine well.
In a large 9 x 13 x 2-inch roasting pan drizzle a small amount of EVOO.
Pour chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan to about 1-inch depth.
Place each pepper half in the pan, then spoon meat mixture into each pepper making a nice mound. Do not pack down.
Top each pepper with the remaining shredded cheese and place in a pre-heated 375º oven.
Bake 25-35 minutes until cheese is melted. ( Every oven is different so timing may vary)
Serve hot with a side salad and enjoy!
Notes: Any soft, melting cheese can be used in place of Gruyere. For strictly vegetarian stuffed peppers use drained black beans in place of ground meat.
After having a bumper crop of wild fennel, my friend Jane & I turned that crop into the most delicious homemade fennel liqueur. As Teresa and I have been experimenting with martini flavors, I turned to my gallons of homemade fennel liqueur and hence the birth of the Wild Fenneltini! It's delicious with either vodka (me) or gin (Teresa). Originally we made it like our Limoncello Drop Martini but it was a tad too strong so we took out the Triple Sec reducing the alcohol content. By all means, add it back in if you're brave!! If you like the taste of anise or black licorice you will love this martini. Enjoy!❤️ 🍸 🤣
1 ½ oz vodka or gin
1/2 oz Fennel Liqueur (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 oz Triple Sec (only if you’re brave)
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/8 cup lemon/lime seltzer
1/2 tsp caster sugar (granulated sugar is fine to use also)
5-7 ice cubes
lemon or lime twist
slice of lemon or lime for garnish (optional)
a sprig of fennel (optional)
Rub lemon or lime slice around the rim of a martini glass.
Place caster sugar on a flat plate. Take lemon or lime rimmed martini glass and dip into sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to pour into glasses.
Place ice in a shaker & add the vodka or gin, fennel liqueur, triple sec, lime seltzer, and sugar.
Shake at least 30 seconds then pour into a martini glass.
Garnish with lemon or lime slice, lemon or lime twist, or a sprig of fennel then enjoy!
Like many children, and some adults too, we didn't like eating carrots growing up. We don't remember who came up with the idea, mom or dad, but they creatively added them to the mashed potatoes then proceeded to tell us they were orange mashed potatoes. We loved them! Weren't they smart getting us to eat a healthy vegetable? Teresa carried that tradition on with her family who also loved them. 😋 😋
2lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut in half then cut in quarters
4-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt for water
3/4 – 1 cup heavy cream
1 stick salted butter
salt & pepper to taste
Place carrots in a large saucepan filled with water to hold the carrots and the potatoes. Bring carrots to a boil and add 1 Tablespoon kosher salt. Boil the carrots for 6-8 minutes. Add the cut potatoes.
Bring to a full boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat & drain well. Place potatoes and carrots back into saucepan & return to low heat. Stir constantly for about 1 minute to remove any excess liquid.
Remove from the heat. Add the butter. Using a handheld masher, mash the butter into the potatoes and carrots. Add enough cream & salt & pepper to taste. Continue mashing until the desired texture is achieved.
Serve hot and enjoy.
Notes: In place of hand mashing you can use a hand mixer.
This Easter Holiday finds many of us having to celebrate without our normal family gatherings due to the unprecedented stay at home mandates across the country. We decided to keep things simple as the grocery stores aren’t well-stocked anyway. This was a very simple menu to prepare since we had everything in our pantries. We lucked out getting the spiral ham a month ago which is fully cooked and just needed glazing and heating up. The Breakfast Baskets and Easter Grain Pie were made a few days in advance. Although the meal was simple for us, we kept the spirit of the holiday FaceTiming with our families. Stay safe everyone!