Saturday, July 30, 2022

Cheddar and Sour Cream Chicken Pasta

 Looking for a way to spruce up your pasta bakes and solve the issue of having lots of crushed chips, especially after the kids help with carrying the groceries? Voila, enter the dish featured above with an unlikely suspect, Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips.  This was a last minute addition to this dish after wanting another element of texture and surprise to liven up an unfancy, but delicious meal on the fly of a weekday in summer.  Oftentimes, a surplus of crushed chips can be a hassle and tossing out too many can truly be a substantial waste, depending on how 'crummy' the bag is. 
 All my tasters gave their approval and after tasting, had to wipe their smug little smiles off their faces, because they thought I was just grasping at straws, hoping for a hit.  The flavors brought on by the Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips are complimentary to the cream cheese and sharp cheddar base of the homemade cheese sauce, that comes together in a flash. 
 You don't have to spend a ton of money to elevate a dish, even if it's just a little and with chips.   Other than maybe consuing too many on occasion, chips or some sort of crumb topping are a perfect way to jazz up a baked dish and handy to have around; For  one, toppings add a nice dimension of texture variance there's so many varieties and two, many homes have some on tap, if your household is anything like mine, especially with this seemingly ravenous behavior brought on by Summer Break, the 'crumbs' will last much longer than the chips themselves!  
Paired with other staples like different types of pasta, chicken stock, chicken, block cheese, cream cheese, evaporated milk and of course some boneless/skinless chicken breasts, this meal is quick, easy and CRAZY delicious.  Perhaps one of the best parts of this recipe is it's a less meat version, using only about 1 pound of chicken, You never miss a beat because the other ingredients hold their own.  Budget friendly, time savvy and delicious make this one pot meal a chicken dinner winner!             

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into medium cubes
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked according to box, until al dente, about 9 minutes, in salted water, drain and run under cold water until cooking stops
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk, regular or fat free
1 1/2 pkg. cream cheese, full fat or reduced
1 8 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups less sodium chicken stock
2 tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 tsp. onion powder
                                                            Fresh or Dried Parsley, rough chopped if fresh                                                            1/2 to 1 c. crushed Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips
Olive oil for drizzling
SPST ( Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)

Preheat oven to 375*F.
In a large oven safe saucepan over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil 2 turns of the pan and add butter. 
Once butter is melted and making small bubbles, add cubed chicken.
Cook, moving often after signs of browning evident , then SPST.  Turn pieces often until no longer pink, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic towards end of browning process.  
Remove chicken from pan as not to overcook, until sauce is made.  Set aside and tint with foil, if desired.
Add chicken stock to pan and bring up to a boil. 
Reduce heat to medium and add evaporated milk and bring back up to a rolling simmer.
Add cream cheese.
Stir often and melt cheese,  then stir in grated sharp cheddar, onion powder and parsley.
Stir in pasta and chicken, coating everything well and let simmer for  a couple of minutes to heat through again.    
Once heated through, sprinkle with crushed potato chips and place in oven until top shows signs of browning, about 10 minutes. * .      
Makes 8 to 10 servings.                                                             
*If contents of pan are hot enough, you may just turn on the broiler to high. 
It will brown rather quickly, so  be sure to keep a close eye on it.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Easiest Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna


This post is inspired by a photo posted on one of my longtime friend's feed, one that he had stumbled upon himself.  I happened to be scrolling, the dish caught my eye and I knew preparing it for my family, was in our near future.  It looked delicious.  There was a recipe posted, but I found it to be lacking and vague in some areas.  I decided to write my own.  The dish came out wonderfully and the teens approved, which helped it make the cut of recipes I can enjoy sharing with you. 
Dishes like this one are good for saving money, without compromising on quality and flavors.  With inflation at a 40 year high, making the most of simple ingredients can really save the day.  I hope your crew enjoys this take on Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna as much as my brood and I did!

12 oz. Oven ready Lasagna Noodles
4 c. fresh, (trimmed and cut in half) or frozen broccoli florets, thawed, rinsed (if fresh, steamed over boiling salted water for 5 minutes, covered, then shocked in cold water and drained)
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chilled and cut into small cubes or pieces and brined*
4 Tbs. Parmesan, Garlic and Basil Seasoned butter, plus 4 tbs. Butter, Salted or Unsalted ( I used Great Value brand from Walmart)
2/3 c. green onion, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1/3 c. Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 pinch nutmeg, optional
2 sprigs dried thyme or 1 tsp. of ground version
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, rough chopped
1 c. low sodium chicken stock
1 c. 2 % milk
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 Tbs. AP flour
2/3 c. Ricotta Cheese
4 c. Italian blend shredded cheese or to taste
Olive Oil for drizzling
SPST ( Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)

Preheat oven to 375*. 
In a large medium to large pan over medium high heat, melt butters and add a turn of the pan of olive oil.
Add onions cook, stirring often, until fragrant and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add chicken, garlic, thyme sprigs and SPST.
Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium.
Sprinkle in flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove stalks of thyme.
Add chicken stock and bring up to a boil to thicken the stock and begin the base for the sauce, all in one pan.  
Over medium heat, stir in milk, blend well, then add cream and nutmeg.
Simmer for several minutes to marry the flavors, about 5 minutes.
Add parsley, pepper flakes and onion powder, stir.
Stir in Ricotta and fold in broccoli and 1 c. Italian cheese blend.
Turn off heat source.
In a large casserole or baking dish 11x13 or close to it, drizzle with olive oil and coat bottom and sides or cooking spray.
Start with about 1 1/2 cup of filling, spread across bottom of dish to anchor the first set of lasagna noodles.
Sprinkle with a scant amount of cheese and overlap noodles across filling, using 5 to 6.
Add more scant cheese and add about 1/3 of remaining filling.
Spread accordingly and sprinkle light cheese.
Add 5 to 6 more lasagna noodles, overlapping as needed.
Repeat layering again, then ending with filling on top with no noodle covering.
Add remaining cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
Cover tightly with foil and bake until lasagna noodles are tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove covering and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until golden. 
Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving, now is a good time to throw the store bought garlic bread in the oven!
Makes 10 to 12 servings+
Serve Shaved or grated Parmesan Cheese on the side, (truffle oil is good too)

*I like to brine my chicken before using in recipes, but that is at your personal discretion, it certainly enhances the moisture levels and flavor, plus tenderizes in a wonderful way.
To brine, simply add the cubed chicken to a bowl, fill with enough salt water 3 Tbs. to cover by 2x and let stand for about 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, drain and rinse several times under cold running water, drain, pat dry and it's ready to go.  Don't worry, the chicken won't soak up a lot of saltiness, most is washed and drained away. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Mizumi: Japanese Bistro, Mm Mm Mmm

Tonkatsu Ramen  Bowl, Mizumi

Address:1125 Main St,
Lynchburg, VA 24504

This place is AHmazing.  We can't wait to go back.  Words cannot truly describe the experience, you really have to see for yourself.  We attended the premiere
 of Jurassic Park: Dominion at Regal Cinemas in River Ridge Mall, which was most delightful,  followed by our 'Cherry on Top' dinner at this fabulous bistro, with a wealth of unique and sapid dishes.

Hibachi Steak and Vegetables, Mizumi

Chicken Karaage Curry, Mizumi Japanese Bistro

Gyoza Dumplings, Mizumi Japanese Bistro

Pork Belly Buns, Mizumi Japanese Bistro

Amber Mango Milk Teas, Mizumi Japanese Bistro

Chicken Karaage Curry, Mizumi Japanese Bistro

 Gyoza Dumplings, Mizumi Japanese Bistro

 The staff is cordial and inviting. Shoutout to some great service and proficient kitchen staff.

Experience the bright, rich, fresh and charmingly complex flavor profiles of Mizumi Japanese Bistro, you will certainly be blown away and endrenched with WOW! 

Casserole Cassanova: Easy Cheesy Turkey and Stuffing Bake

Cheesy Turkey and Stuffing Bake

I appreciate finding ways to save a buck or two and this recipe is one that can deliver.  I came up with this on a basic night, where I didn't have a plan and let the available ingredients lead.  I ran across some ground turkey in the supemarket's frozen section for only $2 per l lb. roll.  With some other on hand ingredients, this dish became a quick hit and scored two thumbs up from my crew. 
Prep is easy and the reward of satisfied tummies puts my mind at ease and leaves more money for all the other skyrocketing prices.  Everyone, no matter what walk of life, likes to save money and this recipe fits the bill.  Check out your local grocers' frozen meats department sometime, you may be surprised what deals lie in wait.  
I recently gifted myself with another induction tool, equipped with a steamer and even a partial pressure cooker mode, serving the purposes including Wok, steamer, deep fry, light pressure, boil, decoction, hotpot, stir fry, the whole nine yards, it's put out by a company called Tiborang and comes in some pretty cool colors!  It has become a star in my kitchen already.  In case you were wondering, Decoction is the process of extracting essence, flavor and nutrients from herbs and such, usually by means of boiling and has been around for thousands of years in Chinese Culture.  You can check out the official website by scanning the QR code below, Love is definitely in the air with this welcome addition to your kitchen accessories lineup!

The following recipe is along the Southern Comforts line and I actually used this awesome pan for baking as well.  I would highly recommend covering the handle with foil to prevent any overt heat damage to its gorgeous paint job, by way of blistering or discoloration.  Additionally, the handle can be easily removed to eliminate that issue completely, especially if you use dual methods of cooking in one meal.


2 lb. ground turkey breakfast sausage
1 medium onion, small diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
3 oz. sliced pepperoni, julienned
3 c. herb stuffing
1 14 oz. can sliced carrots, drained
1 tsp. Mushroom Soy Sauce or to taste
1 pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 c. fresh parsley, rough chopped
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
2 c. shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
Olive Oil for drizzling
SPST ( Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)

Preheat oven to 375*F.
Starting with the pepperoni, render and brown over medium high heat, about 5 minutes.
Add the onion and garlic and cook until onions are transluecent and softened, about 7 minutes.
Add the turkey sausage and brown, about 8 minutes.
Once the turkey is browned and cooked through, drain of excess oil.
Once back in the pan, add chicken broth and bring up to a boil for several minutes.
Add mushroom soy and red pepper flakes and stir.
Add half of the herb stuffing and bring back up to a boil. 
Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
Fold in carrots and parsley and stir until evenly distributed.
The mixture will appear almost soupy, but this is fine, the stuffing will absorb the remaining moisture during baking.
Remove from heat and sprinkle the top of turkey mixture with the remaining stuffing cubes and then the cheese blend.
Bake in oven covered for about 20 to 25 minutes, give or take, until cheese is melted.
Remove top or covering from cooking vessel.
Turn on broiler to high and brown top for a fabulous finish.  
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes about 10 servings.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Humble Pies

 Ever wonder how Mickey D's get their apple pies so crispity and bumpy on the outside? I think I can help you with that.  The extra texture on the outside is created by dipping the turnover or pie in water before frying.  Of course, make sure there is no excess and maybe even use a spray bottle, so you won't super saturate the crust and/or cause a dangerous interaction between the oil and water.  Make no mistake, Oil and Water do not mix, especially when it comes to flash/deep frying. 
NEVER try to put out a grease fire with water, EVER.  Use a dry substance like baking soda or salt for flare ups involving oils , to starve the flame of a necessary element, Oxygen.  Under these circumstances, the minimal amount of moisture on the outside of the pie will have an immediate reaction with oil, but will dissipate as quickly as it ensues.  Safety first and you too can get the textured crunch to your turnovers and hand pies, your tasters will want to know your secret, but It's okay if you save it for yourself.  You're Welcome! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sandwich Purses

Sandwich Purse with Italian Meats made with  a Tomato Basil Wrap

Making a "Sandwich Purse" can be as easy as one, two, three using giant sized tortilla wraps,especially the  Tomato Basil version, your favorite sandwich fillings, cheeses and an 8 inch, nonstick pan.  I came up with these delectable and satisfying gems, feeling the need to make sure I utilized my wraps while they were still super fresh.  I found these at our new Chef's Store, which recently opened in Lynchburg, a good 25 minute drive from our home.  I'd been super excited about its opening and this was my first visit.
  I was like a kid in a candy store, with all the variety, the massive vegetable cooler and the equally massive meats cooler, tremendous array of fresh frozen food items, plus thousands of square footage of just about any and everything a chef, restaurant, homecook, snack shop, foodie or gourmand could appreciate.  I loved it!! I walked away with two new sheet pans, Champagne vinegar, a  5 pound bag of Cavatappi Pasta, 5 pounds of Pepper Jack Cheese cubes,  English cucumbers, plus, flour tortillas for burritos, grapes and Pita Bread! Mind you, this was just in the 15 minutes before closing time, which is 6 p.m.  The prices were within my very reasonable range and the ingredients are interchangable, so it was quite a deal at around 40 bucks.  
Sandwich Purses can be made with breakfast, lunch and dinner items and the technique is the same for whichever theme you desire, cooking necessary ingredients before adding is the main key.  
The top featured photo contains deli sliced Italian meats and two cheeses, with a sprinkle of Candied Cranberries and Pecans, the ones used in salads, for added tartness and tanginess with a subtle, sweet, nutty crunch and fresh chunks of tomato.  
Large Tomato Basil Wraps
Your favorite ingredients, if raw, cooked
Your favorite cheeses, 2 kinds is ideal, one type shredded
Butter, Margarine, EVOO or Nonstick Spray
Fresh Veggies, cut small, placed on paper towels if too juicy
8 inch Nonstick Skillet
Place the skillet on heat source at medium.  Add a small portion about 1/2 tsp or Butter, Olive etc. Melt.
Fit Wrap into the pan and press into the shape of pan.
After about 1 minute or two, start with a slice of cheese, halved and placed on opposite sides.
Layer, starting with the proteins, loosely positioned.
Add desired veggies.
 Add remaining cheese slice, halved and place opposite first slices
With a rubber spatula, start pressing wrap down and towards the center of the pan.
Hold down folded down portion and with another tool, flip the Purse over, so that the folded seams are now on the bottom. 
Press down for several seconds, then allow Purse to brown for about 1 1/2 2 minutes.
Carefully remove from pan and onto cutting surface to halve or leave whole.  
Let stand for about 2 minutes before handling.
Purse will be hot.  
Make as many as needed and enjoy.

Sandwich Purse with Italian Meats, halved

Truff® Hot Sauce is a great addition for dipping your Sandwich Purses!

Bottom view of Sandwich Purse


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Boujee Blondies

I'm always on the prowl for culinary vices filled with wonderment and intrigue.  I love delicious things, especially when I am not up for the work of creating it myself.  I appreciate and shamelessly promote nutriment made and/or hand crafted by others, every chance I get.  I relish in sharing intel, when I am forturnate enough to experience flavors worth talking about.  With that being said, I was doing some reading of emails one day and saw a reference to a place called the Blondery.  I was immediately enthralled and followed the links to a real treasure,  a "limited release virtual bakery" with the most toothsome and scrumptious blondies, which if you are uncertain, are a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie!  Yum and Yum.  
The creator of this Boujee Bliss is a woman by  the name of Auzerais Bellamy, an African American woman with the Midas Touch when it comes to flavor profiles.  She uses only the finest ingredients in her baking, with no additives or preservatives, a mensch when it comes to Pastries, professionally trained and acclaimed by the Bouchon Bakery, too many accolades to mention.  She has been perfecting her signature flavors for over ten years and just shines with her inception of Pecan and Salted Caramel Blondies, which are absolutely AHMAZING!! 
The Blondery website is always bustling, there's a waiting list and even has a timer displayed to mark the countdown to the magic making, which is on Sundays. Certain items are usually always sold out, but she does have a certain combination that is always available.   I ordered the 'always available' sample package, featuring four of the many seasonal flavors.  There are a total of 8 flavors offered, as well as individual "cake in a jar" and whole cakes!  
The Blondies are sent to your desired destination, protected by a bevy of protective items, including bubble wrap, an ice pack, shrink wrap and some packing paper.  Snug as a bug in a rug, your items arrive fresh and gorgeous.  I was so enthralled with the delivery, which I happened to catch the UPS guy, right as I was leaving my driveway.  I had engagements, but as I drove away and towards my destination, I could not stop thinking about what I would find in the much anticipated package, riding shotgun with me, beckoning me to see if what I ordered was worth the wait.  
Surprise! The Blondery box is elegant.
Looks like a present, oh wait, it is!

My curiosity got the best of me after maybe 8 miles and luckily I was afforded the opportunity to unwrap my present to self, a luxurious and decadent Pandora's Box of Sexiness, beautifully packaged, sleek, elegant and dignified.  I felt special.  I felt "Bad and Boujee". I felt empowered and honored as well.  I would be tasting a creation of an acclaimed Pastry Chef, from Brooklyn, down here in my little ole' town in Virginia.  I felt the Pride in knowing that she is brown, like me, following her dream, as I am pursuing my own, reassured that I too can potentially rise to such heights in my profession, the world is my 'Blondie.'  I'd love to meet her, alas I digress.  I sneaked a peek and quickly put the pristine little gift box back in its packaging.  I would wait until my girls finished with school and practice, so we could experience them together, for the first time.  They met and exceeded my expectations, so much so, that I am sharing this with you. 
You can check out Auzerais Bellamy's captivating and motivating story on the Blondery website ( and also on the Blondery Meta page, or simply scan the QR code below to visit the website!  While you're at it, grab a piece of the future, something you can taste and become a part of this unforgettable culinary revolution! 

The Blondery "Birthday Cake Box"

Blondery offers 8 seasonal flavors!

Beautiful and ample packaging for aestetic and shipping


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Oregon Berry, Right in your Own Backyard: Berry Useful

I did some research on some of the plants and bushes around our property out of curiosity and also for awareness of surrounding and indigenous plants.  This particular bush caught my attention for several reasons. 

I have identified a Mahonia aquifolium (Holly Leaved Barberry), aka Oregon Grape shrub in the yard, prized by the Natives for hundreds of years for its Medicinal properties. 

Pacific Northwestern Natives used the roots of the Berberis Mahonia for treatment of various ailments including but not limited to hemorrhages, tuberculosis, stomach issues and arthritis! It's quite a wonder to realize something so versatile and useful can literally be found right outside your door.

Its been a 'decorative bush' bordering the sidewalk for decades it seems.   When my sister called it a Holly Bush, I needed to educate myself on the subject, to support my opinion that it was NOT a Holly. Before reading into it, the best I had was the fact that the berries were not red, nor would they turn red at any point, but I did agree that the leaves were like that of  a Holly. She has the same name only spelled differently, so I really needed to have my facts straight, because all this time, she thought she and the shrub were one in the same.   

When I was satisfied with my identification steps, I tried one of those berries and even got her to try one.  It wasn't as bad as I'd read, though we both had to visit the bathroom very shortly after consumption.  Otherwise, all went well.  The gastro episode falls in line with its properties, as far as being a detox and a bevy of other attributes.  I plan to harvest some of the bark and also make a tincture! The birds have had a splendid time, so the pickings for the berries are slim.  I'm glad I am now equipped with more knowledge for the next time around. 

One of the most striking properties involves the color of the interior wood of the branches. It is a brilliant yellow color.

Just under the bark of a Mahonia Aquifolium, a brilliant yellow is present

Yellow interior of the branches of Mahonia Aquifolium or Oregon Berry Bush


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Smoky Southern Style Kimchi w/ Turnip Greens and Turnips

 Homemade 🥬 Kimchi, just finished, ready for fermentation

 Get ready for a fantastic take on a Korean staple, Kimchi, or Baechu (🥬) Kimchi, with a Southern American 'swang' that's hard to deny.  Kimchi, a.k.a. kimchee or gimchi, which loosely translates as "soaked" or "brined" vegetables is a condiment/ side dish made ubiquitously in Korea and traditionally with Napa cabbage, though it can be made with multitudes of other vegetables.  After preparation, it can technically be consumed immediately, but the unique and amazing flavor profile is achieved over the next few days. Traditional Baechu(🥬)  is stored in clay pots called Onggi, beneath the ground, in Korea.  There is even communal events where the people come together and make mass amounts of this savory commodity for the whole village, to last for subsequent months thereafter, to be served daily and potentially with every meal! 

The vegetables undergo a process of fermentation, of which there are 3 types: acetic acid, alcohol and lactic acid or lacto-fermentation (this applies to Kimchi) transforming them into a tender crunchy funky delicious accoutrement, full of Umami flavor and  probiotics or 'Good Bacteria', plus a wave of Vitamins, including A , C and B12.  Part of the beauty of prepared Kimchi is that it can potentially last for months, under refrigeration, gaining more flavor and depth as the days progress. Kimchi is full of micronutrients or polyphenols, perfect for body positive results and balance for the G.I. tract.  Earliest  records of Kimchi date back 4000 years, possibly earlier.  

Korean Chili pepper flakes are integral in the preparation of Kimchi.  They facilitate preservation and the environment needed to decimate growth of the bad bacteria and foster the growth of lactobacillus, which in turn is where the fermentation is made possible.  The peppers were a part of the 'New World' spices, making its way to Southeast Asia, by way of the Portuguese, with origins in Mexico, more than 6500 years ago.  This was a part of the booming Spice Trade that spread brilliant color, flavors and a wealth of melding of cultures along with it.  

The Southern American representation is from fresh Turnip Greens, Turnip, liquid Hickory smoke and Gourmet Collard Greens Seasoning, put out by "Spice King".  Save for a few staples in making Kimchi, you are at liberty to design this magnificent dish to suit your personal palate, especially in regard to its heat index.  For this recipe, I use 1 1/2 cups of Gochugaro or chili pepper flakes for a very hot result.  You may dial it down of course.
My kids are split on how they feel about Kimchi.  I discovered its glorious wonder about 3 years ago, though I'd read about it many times over and have been purchasing it since then. My youngest, 14, is definitely an adventurous one, like myself, and she enjoys it alongside me, sometimes as is, other times with our noodle bowls or rice dishes.  My oldest Genesis, 16, is too taken by the smell to even attempt trying it.  Anytime I open the packaging or jars, she is well aware, even when not in the kitchen with me, I'll hear a voice from out of nowhere say "Mom, did you open that Kimchi!?" It does no good to tell her No, because its unmistakable sweet funk cannot be easily forgotten.  I place this gem in the same culinary category as per smell, with my beloved Buckwheat Honey.  


Finished Kimchi in tradtional whole leaf form, served with Forbidden /Jasmine Rice Blend, Cinnamon Apples and Fried Chicken Wings.

4 lbs. Napa cabbage and 2 1/2 lb. Turnip Greens with Stems.

Napa Cabbage and Turnip Greens after salt treatment, 1/2 c. Kosher, stay away from iodized salt, as it is designed to inhibit bacteria growth. It is important to apply salt bt each and every leaf per segment and brined anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.

I used this as the base of my Porridge bc it contains all the ingredients to feed my bacteria and Umami presence.

Fermented shrimp is Common, I chose this...

I minced and gently heated 1/2 c. seasoned squid, cooled before adding to Porridge.

The finished porridge contains 2 tbsp. rice flour, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 1/2 c. sweet onion and 1/2 c. garlic cloves and a quarter sized knob of ginger, the last 3 ingredients are pureed together.

Smoky Southern Style Kimchi w/ Turnip Greens and Turnips

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Fruity Pebbles and Bacon Grilled Cheese (Melt)

 This recipe is the truth.  It's wacky, but believe me when I say, this flavor profile works beautifully.  All the components of what make something 'taste good' are there.   This unconventional approach contains crunchy, crispy, creamy, ooey gooey, stretchy, smoky, salty,  sweet, savory, sour and heat, all in one.  I challenge you to try this mashup and see for yourself.  The Grilled Cheese/Melts Game is now armed and equipped with one of the most  memorable versions, something new for 2022. 


Honey Wheat or desired bread

Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Mayonnaise for an extra golden and crispity crunchy) 

Fruity Pebbles

Crumbled Bacon, precooked or home cooked

Dried Cranberries, optional, but Optimal for tart factor

Korean Hot Pepper Flakes

Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Mild Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Muenster slices

American Cheese, (it's the Rule)

Now, Get your ass in the kitchen and create Magnificence!!!

Tag your photos to @tennellio with hashtag #fruitypebblesgrillcheese,  so I can see your reactions and/ creations!! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Duck Off!

 I've fallen hard for duck eggs.  One of my work associates mentioned that their family does organic chicken eggs and they also have duck eggs on occasion.  I jumped at the opportunity to experience them in my repertoire. I am in love already.  They are so versatile and provide the same nutrients, actually more, than  the eggs of a chicken.  They are  humongous, providing enough for substituting at least 2 mediums easy, providing  a wonderfully richer and creamier presentation, full of egg forward flavor. 

Duck eggs make for great baking and are EGGcellent for custards, quiches and souffles, possessing a higher yolk to whites ratio.  These eggs have a lower water content, so keep in mind that they are easier by comparison to overcook.  Duck eggs are high in valuable nutrients like Selenium, B1, B2,  B12, B6, B7,B9, virtually all of the B vitamins, Iron and protein.  The yolk presents darker, which indicates a higher antioxidant value.  Also, there is more Omega 3's and twice as much vitamin A as chicken eggs.  Duck eggs have a much tougher shell than its counterpart, so you have to give it more of an UMPH to crack it  and you won't be 'walking on egg shells' to avoid breaking one! Please don't mistake me, I still love my hauls of organic deliciousness brought courtesy of my brother Ken, of Dominique eggs he and my sister in law bring in droves.  

The nutrients duck eggs possess are fantastic for your bones, hair, skin, muscles and overall health.  Being eggs, they do however contain cholesterol, so try not to overshadow its goodness, by consuming too many in a week's time.  Moderation is the key to keeping them in your diet.  

For my first experiences with these mega eggs or MEGGS, I went with a simple country style fried on my Blackstone Griddle and also Sunny Side up.  I love the way they turned out.  I'm especially digging the way they cover the whole toast or biscuit, egg in every bite!  

Don't be intimidated by the size of these beauties, you can always use a kitchen scale to weigh out the exact amount needed, a large chicken egg is about 2 oz., so you can gauge the amount needed for use.  

Next on my list is an array of Pound Cakes, featuring the lovable goodness of the egg that is Duck.  I'm excited for you to get your hands on some (if you haven't already) and let the creating begin.  If someone tries to talk you out of this culinary gem, simply tell them to Duck Off! and get some anyway. Until next time, Happy Eating!

Zesty Pesto Ranch Chicken Tenders

Looking for a boost in your boring chicken game with little effort and a big return? Well, look no further.  With a couple of store bought items and few minutes of marination time, you can turn ordinary chicken into an extraordinary and versatile meal option and wake up your sleeping taste buds.  The leftovers from this recipe can be used the next day for a fabulous centerpiece on a delicious salad, for work lunch or healthy dinner for the tweens and teens.  
The tenders may additionally be served alongside a starch like veggie filled rice or potatoes, or even cauliflower rice and  sweet potato fries.  Why not toss them in a nice warm flour tortilla and go Greek with some greens, Kalamata olives, fresh oregano, red onion and tzatziki sauce for a burst of flavors and satisfying crunch.  With food costs rising in unprecedented proportions, we as consumers could use ingredients that are interchangeable and able to be diversified, saving where we can.  
The two ingredients are a packet of Ranch seasoning (1 oz.) and a jar of Pesto (6.5 oz.).  I used 1/2 packet of the seasoning and 2/3 of the Pesto for about 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders.  The flavor profile of the items combined is enough to cover many taste bases at once. I blended these items using mayonnaise (1/4 cup) as the binder, but feel free to use full fat or fat free sour cream or even Greek yogurt for the healthiest version possible, the choice is yours.  Fold the protein into mixture and let sit covered in the fridge for 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.  
Using tongs, lift the protein out of the marinade and onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
Execution is  worry free and able to be prepped ahead time for maximum marination time, then baked off in a 375* F oven or zapped in your air fryer, saving even more precious time and energy.  Chicken tenders can be quite expensive at times, so substituting boneless cuts of pork or boneless skinless chicken thighs will fit the bill just fine. 
Next time you need a quick and delicious meal fix, give these a try and let your taste buds have a little fun for a change.