Thursday, April 25, 2013


Hey, readers, listen up because I have a great giveaway to tell you about. 

To celebrate their upcoming food truck tour*, Friendship Dairies is giving away to one lucky reader the following:
Tote Branded Friendship cloth grocery bag ($15 value)

$15 iTunes gift card (to create a mix for your workouts)
BritaBottleImage Brita Filtered water bottle ($10 value)

Rocco Now Eat This
Rocco DiSpirito’s new cookbook: “Now Eat This! Italian: Favorite Dishes from the Real Mamas of Italy--All Under 350 Calories” ($26.99 retail)

There will also be two Coupons for FREE Friendship Dairies products ($8 value)

This contest is limited to US entries only, including Alaska and Hawaii residents. 

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  Leave me a comment telling me which item of the giveaway is your favorite.

1.  Tell your friends on Facebook about this giveaway, and link back to this post.
2.  Leave me a comment that you told your friends on Facebook about this giveaway and that you linked back to this post.

1.  Tweet about this giveaway, linking to this post.
2.  Leave me a comment that you tweeted about this giveaway and that you linked to this post.

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES IS TUESDAY, APRIL 30, MIDNIGHT, DST.  Winner will be announced no later than Saturday, May 4.  Good luck!

*Friendship Dairies will be having a food truck tour with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito that will be passing through the New York Metro area this May.  The mobile mixer truck will be serving free 5-ounce Friendship Fit to Go™ 1% Low Fat, 1% Low Fat Pineapple, and 4% Regular cottage cheese samples with innovative mix-in options.  Check out the Friendship Dairies website to find where you can purchase their products in your area, to follow the food truck and to get recipes.  (Friendship Dairies products are predominantly distributed along the East Coast of the US with limited distribution in other states.)

Monday, April 22, 2013


GF brownies

I won a basket of goodies from Bob’s Red Mill when I entered a giveaway on Muy Bueno Cookbook’s website.  It was a really good prize:  an apron, a Chicago Metallic baking pan, spatula, French whisk, 4 boxes of gluten-free brownie mix and a $50 gift certificate.  I loved everything, but was conflicted about the brownie mix because I’m not a fan of mixes.  However, I am a fan of Bob’s Red Mill and regularly purchase their products, so I decided to give the mix a try. 
GF brownies (3)
I used fresh-brewed coffee in place of the water to amp up the chocolate flavor, and also added chocolate flavoring that I bought from Spices, etc.  Just for fun, I threw in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Then I topped the cooled brownies with a divine chocolate-peanut butter frosting and sprinkled the frosting with honey-roasted peanuts. 
GF brownies (2)
I could hardly believe these brownies were gluten free.  Though the package says the brownies are cake-like, I did not find them overly so, maybe because I didn’t overbake them.  Moist, chocolatey and fudgy, these were just too good – I had to get them out of the house quickly.  The lucky recipients thanked me profusely, as I tried not to think about how good those brownies tasted. 

I’m not done experimenting.  Next time, I might try using some peanut butter in place of some of the butter.  I might even use coconut milk in place of the water and coconut oil instead of butter.  Who knows what I might do with the other three packages.  My thanks to Bob’s Red Mill and Muy Bueno Cookbook for a great giveaway.

Gluten-Free Brownies with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting
Rating:  10 out of 10


1 package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Brownie Mix
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
scant 3/4 cup warm coffee
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. chocolate flavoring (optional, but nice)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9x12" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, stirring with spatula till barely combined.  Spoon mixture into pan.  Bake 19-22 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool completely before frosting.

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, soft
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup smooth Peanut Butter (I used Jif Natural)
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. chocolate flavoring (optional but nice)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
3-4 Tbsp. heavy cream, half and half or milk
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts

In medium bowl, on low speed of mixer, combine butter, cocoa powder and peanut butter till smooth.  Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, flavorings and cream, mixing on low speed until again smooth.  Add melted chocolate chips and beat on low then increase speed gradually to medium-high and beat till frosting is smooth.  Do not overbeat.  Spread frosting over cooled brownies and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Fussy hubby is not a big fan of chicken, but he’ll gobble this dish up whenever I make it.  Sauteeing the chicken with mushrooms, onion, wine and chicken broth develops complex flavors that we both appreciate, and serving it with parslied noodles or spaghetti makes this dish a real winner.  Hubby’s my sous chef – he chops all the veggies and herbs which cuts my kitchen time and gets us to the table faster.  This is a dish for four people, and we are only two.  The leftovers are reheated a few nights later and taste even better.

Chicken and Wine over Parslied Pasta
Rating:  9.5 out of 10


1/2 tsp. Diamond kosher salt + 1/4 tsp. + 1/4 tsp.
1/4 tsp. white pepper + 1/8 tsp.
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika 
3 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour + 1-1/2 Tbsp.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb. pasta of choice*
1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter + 1 Tbsp. + 1-1/2 Tbsp.
1 medium onion (about 1 cup), finely chopped
1-2 tsp. minced garlic, according to taste
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine, drinking quality
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth + additional broth if needed for gravy consistency
1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

*If you are big pasta eaters, you may want to increase the amount.

Combine 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and 3 Tbsp. flour on a sheet of wax paper or a paper plate.  Dredge chicken in flour mixture.  Set aside.   Start a large pot of  lightly salted water on high heat.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, saute chicken in 1-1/2 Tbsp. butter, 2-3 minutes each side.  Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.   Add 1 Tbsp. butter, 1/4 tsp. salt, onions and mushrooms to pan and cook, stirring, 5 minutes, till beginning to brown.  Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.   Stir in 1-1/2 Tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Add wine, let it bubble up, then stir up any brown bits at bottom of pan.  Add chicken broth and lemon juice.  Cook 3-4 minutes, or till gravy consistency is reached, adding additional broth if needed.  Put chicken back in pan, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low. 

In the meantime, add pasta to water when it boils, and stir often to keep it from sticking together.  When pasta is cooked according to your taste, drain in a colander, then return to pot and toss with 1-1/2 Tbsp. butter and 1/4 cup chopped parsley.   Serve chicken with pasta, and a green salad if desired.  Yield:  4 servings

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


pecan crusted flounder (2)

Preparing flounder or other mild white fish by encrusting with nuts solves the perennial problem of imparting flavor.  Mild white fish is, well, mild and rather bland unless something is added.  Pecans, in particular, are incredibly complementary to mild-flavored fish.  While my hubby prefers his flounder prepared with salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley and some onion, pecan-crusted flounder is my favorite way of enjoying this fish.
pecan crusted flounder

If you cook the fish in a heavy skillet, even on low heat, it is very easy to burn the crust.  So I brown one side in my cast-iron skillet, then transfer the skillet to a pre-heated oven to finish.  The only accompaniment that is needed for this very flavorable flounder is a wedge of lemon.  While fresh flounder is in abundance here in Eastern North Carolina, I see no reason why you can’t use good-quality frozen flounder if you live away from the Coast.  And remember that snapper, sole, white trout and other mild white fish are also delightful with a nut crust.

Pecan-Crusted Flounder Fillets
Rating:  10 out of 10


1/2 lemon
6 Tbsp. chopped raw pecans
2 Tbsp. Panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour + 2 Tbsp., divided
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch Diamond kosher salt + 1/4 tsp., divided
Pinch white pepper + 1/8 tsp., divided
1 lb. (skinned both sides) flounder fillets (or other mild white fish)
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350F.  Set out a cast-iron frying pan (or other heavy pan).  Cut lemon into 4 wedges.
In mini food processor, combine pecans, Panko, 3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour, garlic powder, pinch of salt and pinch of pepper.  Pulse a few times, till ingredients are finely ground and well mixed.  Pour onto a sheet of wax paper.
Pat fish dry with paper towels.  (Fish should weigh at least 1 lb. after skinning.)  Cut into 3-4 serving pieces.  Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Spread 2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour onto another sheet of wax paper.   Pour milk into shallow bowl and stir in hot sauce.     Dredge fish pieces in whole wheat flour, shaking off excess, then dip both sides in milk mixture, then into nut coating.  Lay coated pieces on wax paper.
Heat skillet on medium heat.  Add oil and butter.  When oil and butter start to foam, add fish pieces.  Cook about 2-3 minutes, or till underside is golden brown; turn fish over and place skillet in oven for 3-4 minutes, or till fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork.  Serve hot with lemon wedges.  Yield:  2-4 servings