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Quatrième de Juillet au Québec

“Fourth of July in Quebec”

happy 4

Yesterday was our first ever 4th of July spent out of the USA. We are near Ripon, Quebec – which is about 50 miles northeast of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

Dave and I, along with Terry and Barbara Fenzl, are visiting our friends, Paul and Kim Howard, at their picturesque family vacation home.

RWB table

We may be in another country, but we celebrated in traditional Red, White, and  True-Blue American style.

lazy susan table

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July 5, 2013   2 Comments

“garbage” pasta

As I mentioned a few days ago, I make it my mission to clean out the fresh food in my refrigerator before we go out of town. The easiest way to do that in the winter is to make a soup and the easiest way the rest of the year is to make pasta. I call this “garbage” pasta, because I’ll put any and everything in it.

garbage pasta

This particular time, I had a partial box of cherry tomatoes plus fresh heirloom tomatoes from my garden. In addition there were partial bags of green beans and sugar snap peas. I always have garlic and onion on hand, so those always start the dish.

The first step is to get a big pot of water boiling. Add salt and blanch vegetables such as the green beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus, snow peas, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower for a couple minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove them and have a big bowl of ice water ready to drop them into – to stop the cooking.

Once they’ve cooled down, drain and set aside.


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May 27, 2013   1 Comment

Spinach, Chicken and Feta Spaghetti

Spinach, Chicken and Feta Spaghetti  recipe

On the last day of Les Gourmettes classes last week, Barb sent me home with a big box of spinach and a package of feta. Both would have gone bad in her refrigerator – since she would be eating out all weekend.

The following pasta recipe is what I created with it.

Waste not, want not.

cooking fresh spinach

It’s magical to watch a huge pile of fresh spinach wilt down …

cooked spinach

and down … to a little handful of cooked spinach …

add balsamic

… in only a couple minutes.

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April 29, 2013   No Comments

skinny puttanesca

Traditional Puttanesca sauce is made with chopped garlic and anchovies that are sautéed in olive oil. Chopped chili peppers, olives, capers, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano are added along with salt and black pepper to taste. It is simmered for at least 30 to 40 minutes.


My lighter fresher version is anchovy and olive oil free and uses fresh chopped tomatoes that are cooked briefly and tofu Shirataki noodles with zero calories and only 3 carbs per serving. The dish comes together in 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your chopping skills and speed.

I began making it at 5:45 and had it on the dinner plates by 6:00… taking the photos took another couple minutes… as always!

One last note, I forgot to add the olives. And, darn it, they were missed! I’ve added them to the recipe, so don’t forget them.

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April 9, 2013   2 Comments

Shirataki noodles


My dear friend Karen recently turned me on to a gluten-free noodle product. The noodles are made from either tofu or white yams. The brand is Shiratki and they can be found locally at Sprouts and Fry’s. At Sprouts the everyday price is $1.69 each, at Fry’s a bag is regularly $2.29. They are found in the refrigerated section, near the tofu.

(Thanks to a kind comment from LCDC, I learned that the brand of the noodles I found is House Foods and that Shirataki is the type of noodle. I happily stand corrected. Thank you, LCDC!)

yam noodle

I was skeptical at first, considering they come packaged in water and look a bit slimy … but they were delicious! Shirataki noodles are quite a bit more expensive than dry noddles, but considering they are precooked, quick to use, and the yam variety has zero calories, the tofu style – only 20 calories… it may be worth the extra dough.

They have a long (about 3 month) expiration date, so if you find them on sale, stock up!

tofu noodle

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March 9, 2013   3 Comments

meyer lemon pasta

This was my horoscope on Tuesday.


How perfect is that? Oh, here are the last few words you can’t see, “… nourishment and warm feelings.”

It’s perfect because I already had on my calendar two dinner parties this week.

Peggy and Anne were over last night and my dear friend, Karen, who was a bridesmaid in my wedding 27 years ago, and her husband Bob, are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. Got to Love It!

Are you ready for the onslaught of Meyer lemon recipes? I hope so, that is what I’ll be making for quite a while now!

Don’t have Meyer lemons? Not to worry. You can use regular lemons in any of my recipes that call for Meyer lemons.

meyer lemon pasta in trifle bowl

I saw a photo of a version of this salad on Pinterest and was inspired by the use of a trifle bowl to serve it in. I created the recipe from scratch but stole the visuals and serving idea. If you don’t have, but have always wanted, a trifle bowl – Crate & Barrel always has them in stock.

It’s so pretty and springtime fresh and it turned out to be a delicious main course salad. I’m sure Peggy and Anne will attest to that. It would be lovely as a side salad on a buffet too.

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January 17, 2013   2 Comments

eat your kale

Saying, “Eat Your Kale”  is so 2012, but that doesn’t mean Kale is not still King in 2013.

strip the stems


  • One cup of kale still has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of fat.
  • Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
  • Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers.
  • It is high in antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which also help protect against various cancers.
  • Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the recommend daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune disorders.
  • Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • It is high in Vitamin A, which is great for your vision, your skin, as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Kale is high in Vitamin C, high in calcium, and kale is still a great detox food.

To summarize – Eat Your Kale!

This quick and easy pasta recipe should help get it on your table on any busy weeknight, especially if you use the meat from a rotisserie chicken, as I did.

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January 9, 2013   4 Comments

recipe #3 – the soup

I’m sorry it took so long for me to get this soup posted. It makes great use of the delicious broth that was produced by making John Ash’s fantastic Ginger Chicken.

As much as I love soup, and you know I do, the real payoff from making that chicken was John’s outstanding sandwiches.

Hopefully you’ll find time to make all three recipes.  The white meat I have leftover (after making the sandwiches and this soup) will be used to make THESE enchiladas.

Three great meals from 2 chickens, now that’s a good deal!

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October 29, 2012   2 Comments

odds and ends

When I have little bits of various cheeses hanging about in the fridge – this is the sort of thing I make.

Chicken Alfredo Fusilli

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 cups quartered small tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup fat free half-and-half
1  1/2 cups blend of grated cheeses; such as Asiago, Parmesan, and Fontina
1 pound cooked fusilli pasta

One at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound each chicken breast evenly with a flat meat pounder.

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October 2, 2012   1 Comment

sophisticated mac & cheese

There is so much to love about this mac & cheese:

  1. It’s mac & cheese for goodness sake – gotta love that!
  2. It has three fantastic cheeses – provolone, Fontina, and mozzarella … no cheddar in sight
  3. No need to do a stove-top roux first – super easy
  4. It’s topped with rich beef short rib meat
  5. The meat is already cooked and prepared, ready to shred and use – EASY!
  6. Individual servings – awesome!
  7. It was a huge hit with my guys (husband, son, and Dad) last Sunday night – Manly Man Mac & Cheese!
  8. Lastly, if you made or plan to make the 3-cheese grilled cheese sandwich from yesterday’s post… this uses the same 3 cheeses. Coincidence? I think not.

Yeah, this is good stuff, perfect for a family meal and special enough for guests. I purchased the prepared boneless short ribs at Costco, but I’ve noticed that most grocery stores sell precooked and packaged short ribs as well. For some strange reason, the Costco package is 17 ounces, but we’ll just round it down to a pound – to make it easy. The meat also comes in a sauce, drain it off and discard, you won’t need it. You will be making an easy and much better ragù.

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September 21, 2012   3 Comments