Thursday, April 15, 2021

Jacques Pépin's Penne, Ham and Vegetable casserole

It's April 15 and a cool rainy day here. This month we have had quite a bit going on but only in the planning stages - I'll be glad when some of it is done with.  

Next week we have a tree service coming by to take out nine trees.  I don't think they want us here getting underfoot as most of these trees are close to the house. Frankly it will be so noisy that we will go off with Loki and find something else to occupy us all day.

We are also in the midst of planning a kitchen and bath remodel, who knew that would be so much work!  I'll be sure to take before and after photos.

Getting on to foodie stuff - here is a casserole I won't be able to make when the kitchen  is demolished and I don't have access to an oven!  The theme at I Heart Cooking Club is Put It On Repeat so here is a casserole from Jacques Pépin.

Comfort food, a nice thing when it's gloomy and rainy.

A one dish meal is perfect as it's easy to store in the fridge and you don't have a load of different dishes and pots. Basically this is a mac and cheese with ham and veggies.  I do remember our son liking it first time he tried it seven years ago. That was memorable as our granddaughter was under a year old then....she just celebrated her 7th birthday 😯

I have made this before but can't find the link on my blog so, check out this link for the recipe HERE

Sharing with

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Giada’s roasted veggies

This week has been busy. We both had our second Pfizer vaccine and we met with a construction company about remodeling the kitchen and bath! The organization for a remodel is impressive and the project manager went over soooo many options. I hope to share before and after photos but it won't be for a while.

In the meantime, let me share a roasted veggie and chicken meal we had last night.

Mea Culpa!  I read the theme incorrectly for I Heart Cooking Club. For whatever reason I got it in my head we were making comfort food.  I am on board with trying a new chef, or dish that I have never prepared (which is this week's theme), so perhaps I'll give that a try for upcoming Potluck.

Since I did prepare my side inspired by IHCC chef Giada I will link up anyway. A "twist" on this was adding the chicken to the veggies as they roasted instead of following directions. Nothing revolutionary there but still....

The recipe without my adaptions may be found HERE. Couldn't abide the bitter Brussels Sprouts so I added more sweet potato and carrots.  A breeze to prepare and using a high rimmed baking sheet accomodated everything easily.

Sharing with
Marg at The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking  & I Heart Cooking Club

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Sunday Salon - Welcome April!

Here we are in the first week of April and I can't believe how fast it seemed to arrive. As usual I probably waited too late to plant tomatoes but I will most likely give it a try as soon as I can get to the nursery.  Weird weather patterns have us sitting outside to enjoy dinner one night and driven inside by freezing temps later in the week.  That certainly hampers gardening plans.

Life stuff / Doug had his eye surgery this week. A vitrectomy which was succesful.  He can’t drive now as he's recovering. He came out with an eye patch - very roguish as a pirate. This eye surgery is the result of the torn retina back in November so hopefully all is repaired now.  Amazing what advances we have in medicine these days.  Fifty years ago he would have gone blind so I am thankful to Dr. Steinmetz and his expertise!

The Loki Chronicles / Loki is getting better as time goes on.  He has a girlfriend at the park but I don't think he knows it.  She flirts with him, rolls over and "talks" but he isn't fully engaged yet.  They do get along splendidly. 

He was dropped off for a bath at the vet's office and they sufficiently babies him so he won't have fear of that group of people.  He's still on Xanax but making improvements. All he needed was love and patience.

Reading / March was a good month for me as far as reading and NetGalley has been kind in supplying me several ARCs.  The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman; Mr. Nobody Catherine Steadman; Reluctantly Home by Imogen Clark and I have just started Madam by Phoebe Wynn. Madam is creepy and I can't put it down. I also finished Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman and it's my favorite of her books so far.

That's my Sunday Salon for the first week of April.  I hope everyone is well and staying safe. 

Linking up with Deb at Reader Buzz for Sunday Salon.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

In My Kitchen and Weekend Cooking

I have not prepared many new recipes this week but revisited some old favorites.  Hoping to get a Jacques Pepin meal on the table in a few days so I can hook up with I Heart Cooking Club.
The temperatures have been up and down and this week we will prapare some hearty dishes for warmth.  Last week we were dining outdoors.  Now we are running the heater. 

In the kitchen / Doug made a good batch of  Arroz con Pollo in the instant pot last Sunday. I had to sample the olives to sure they were good but I did manage to stop myself before I ate them all.

We also had lasagna and it was so hearty we had it for a few dinners and a lunch.  Not everyday but spread out over several.

 A new addition in our kitchen is this Ultra Kettle by Mueller.  

It heats the tea water very rapidly and has these blue lights which highlight what's happening in the glass kettle.  We love it. I did a test run of filling this kettle and our stovetop kettle with the same amount of water.  The Ultra kettle brings it to a boil much faster so...I get my evening tea fix a little sooner.

Not too many plans in the works...just awaiting an estimate for the kitchen remodel, going to a few doctor appointments and we get our second covid vaccine next week. Yea! 

Sharing with Marg at The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking and Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Chicken stroganoff & peach cobbler

It's been a lazy week here and I only prepared one new recipe. 

 Chicken Stroganoff was mentioned on Marg's site and then Carole made a beef stroganoff last week so...I was wanting to have that for dinner. Tyler Florence had a pretty good recipe so I adjusted it to suit our taste.  I really wanted to use chicken instead of beef so that's the first edit.

The answer is yes to sour cream. I know some of you mushrooms haters will cringe but I added double...cause we love them. If you'd like to view Tyler's recipe click HERE and then make your own adaptions as I did.

Peach cobbler was next to try and it didn't come out as planned so I had to add more of the reserved peach syrup to moisten it. Vanilla ice cream helped it along. This was a Paula Deen recipe from one of her books about cutting back on sugars.  I had a copy of it and had been meaning to try it. Meh...


That is the short and sweet post from me this week.  I hope everyone is well and didn't have damage from those horrific storms that sliced across the U.S. this week.

Sharing with 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sunday Salon updates

It's been an interesting two weeks here. Let's start with the food roundup then I'll get to life updates.

Food / We enjoyed Papa Rellenas which I made from leftovers as well as the usual grilled meals and veggies.  For a new item in the kitchen I pulled from my folder of recipes-to-try. This is a Giada De Laurentiis pasta recipe called Baked Orzo with Peas and Fontina Cheese. 

The pasta dish could be a vegetarian main dish but we served as a side with grilled chicken marinated with olive oil, rosemary and garlic.  I know this will not appeal to those who do not like mushrooms but we are big fans so, I always add extra. The Marsala in this dish gives it a unique taste which I think blends well.

Reading / We went camping about 10 days ago and I forgot so many things. Despite my list, I forgot our tablet chargers and books. I did manage to read quite a few books prior to the trip and after we returned.  Netgalley sent me A Place Like Home by Rosamunde Pilcher which is a collection of fifteen short stories and The Vines by Shelley Nolden. In hardcover I had In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, a loan from the library.

Here is a nice shot of the sunset at Lake Seminole. The skies in the evening were clear and brilliant with stars.  Sunsets were consistantly beautiful and colorful.

Every time we camp there I think I want a home on the lake. 

Watching / Justified is a series we saw years ago and it remains one of our favorites.  We are up through season two now. A six season set for $30 was a good deal. 

Life events / Last week I had to have a tooth pulled, an upper molar. Did you now the top teeth have three roots and the bottom only two?  Well that tooth hung on for dear life,  broke and caused all sorts of trouble. After I got home we left for camping so I will blame my "trauma" for the reason I forgot so many items.  Despite always using a list.  Yeah...

Vaccine shots! Yes, we both received the Pfizer vaccine on Friday and will have a followup in three weeks.  This is the beginning of a normal life again.  Where shall we go first...I think it will be for Fat Cuban sandwich.  But that is weeks away.

Kitchen and bathroom remodel - not yet, but we did have a contractor come in and measure.  We are waiting on an estimate. If we have it all done we may need to live in the RV temporarily.

That's it and I hope you all are healthy and happy where ever you are.

Sharing with
I Heart Cooking Club (there were loads of peas for the green theme!)

Friday, March 12, 2021

Papas Rellenas

 Last week I promised I'd make Papa Rellenas from leftover Piccadillo.  The recipe in my cookbook Clarita's Kitchen calls for a sautéed mixture of peppers, onions & garlic for the filling but I opted for a recreation of the version I had in Ybor City two years ago.

Here it is plated.  I made these a bit too large and still had some Piccadillo to serve on the side.  This is very filling. I have my wonderful sister-in-law Barb to thank for her advice on the preparation. 

I used a potato ricer to prepare the cooked potatoes instead of my mixer. Less cleanup and the texture was fine.

Once you have the potatoes mashed/ riced you add your fillings, seal the edges and dip in an egg wash. Then you  fry the potato cake. Turn them over gently to brown all edges.

This isn't a great snap to see the filling but I was hungry so....I just tucked in :-)

I've been meaning to try this for ages and am very happy I finally made this yummy lunch. It could be a dinner as well. Also, using only veggies as the filling will accommodate vegetarians.

Sharing with Marg at The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking


Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Stephen Foster Cultural Park

Last week of February we took the RV to Stephen Foster Cultural park in White Springs Florida. If you are in that area I would recommend this as a great park with much to do... IF the buildings are check on that first. 

It's located off the Suwannee River so you can rent canoes or bring your own.  This time the river launches were closed due to the high level of water and flooding.  Safety issues.  We walked to the river a few times, noticed how fast it was flowing and how high.  One of the benches was underwater.

The Suwannee river

This bat house was quite active.  When we walked up we heard them squeaking.

This house was magnifcent.  The grounds are lovely to walk about and I wish the buildings had been opened.  Maybe soon that will change and we can go back and see the house and craft village.

I was peeking in the windows of the front entrance and snapped this shot of the door opposite.  I'm a sucker for the old door or window shots.

Gardens surround the house and immediate area. Azaleas and camelias were in bloom, lots of small flower gardens were being tended and I thought it was so pretty.

Love this lamp.

The Carillon bells were silenced by an electrical storm some back and they are working on restoring it.   It gave bell concerts four times a day.

You'll feel you've stepped back in time when you wander about the old buildings. 

More door photos. 

Chandeliers n the live oak trees 

We are looking forward to going back and made reservations for October.  As I said, if you have a canoe or kayak you can float down the river but they rent them if you'd like to do that. We had a few campfires but ran out of wood so, next time we will prepare better.

You can see Doug in the upper right and Loki hanging out by the firepit.  Loki looks good in his new red harness, in my opinion :-)

Next trip will be River Junction in Georgia, an Army Corp of Engineer park with good ratings. It's near a river but not on it as the one we like at Lake Seminole.  

That's all I have for now. Camping update and still waiting on the vaccine.....

Sunday, March 07, 2021

The first Sunday Salon in March

 Happy Sunday! I have been negligent posting on either of my blogs as we had been out of town and the new pup has been taking up quite a bit of time.  Hoping to get the photos up for Stephen Foster Cultural Park soon.  Anyway, let's get to Sunday Salon :-)

Books /  While camping I finished A Bit About Britain's History. Excellent book and I can recommend it to a history buff or Anglophile.  I tried Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish but it didn't appeal.  Amusing at first then too much buffonery, 

The Heirloom Garden was good and if you are looking for a G-rated book rich in detail about gardens and flowers, this is your book.  I would read more by this author.

I have decided to stop requesting books from the library, letting my holds come in that I have currently. I have so many books in the house already and feel I need to turn my attention to those.  They were purchased for a reason so....I'm looking to thin the shelves here.

Food / We had some great grilled food when we were camping and since we've been home I made a good batch of Picadillo.  See the photos and recipe HERE.

The Loki Chronicles / He was making improvement and then had a relapse of manners. Long story short - this dog had it rough and while he is over the moon to be in a home where he isn't abused, he will still need time to adjust. He Loves us.  No question there. He had a bath day and another examination on Tuesday.  When we went to pick him and he  was brought into the examining room, he went ballistic with joy.  Jumping and wiggling and getting on us and giving kisses. So....we are going to sort him out.  He's on Xanax for his anxiety. Yeah....Xanax. I will never understand how anyone can abuse an animal - I wish them bad karma for their  evil ways.

He did well camping. Liked sitting outside with us and walked all over. Ah...camping was so very nice.  We had good weather and spend loads of time outside.  I plan to post photos of the park soon.

Music / We listen to music outdoors or in the den, weather dependent on sitting utside.  I heard a great version of the Four Seasons on Sirius XM one morning and bought the CD.  The nice thing about purchasing through Amazon is we now have the CD and a MP3 version so we can bluetooth it to the outside speaker.

That's about it for now.  I finally made Papas Rellenos with leftovers and will share that new experience this coming week.  I hope life is good for you and yours!

Thursday, March 04, 2021

The Home and Camp Kitchen

Hello and thanks for the comments/emails I have received recently. I have been offline, more like not making time, with our recent camping trip and our hellhound Loki.  I will update in the upcoming  Sunday Salon linkup.

For now, lets visit with In My Kitchen and share with the weekend cooking series.

 First, the outdoor kitchen.  This is our setup at Stephen Foster Cultural Park where we recently spent 5 days.  It was so nice we could have spent more time but our campsite was booked and we'd probably run out of food. 

The camp kitchen has a Coleman stove where the veggies and potatoes were cooked.  Doug has a Weber Q 1200 gas grill, handy and just large enough, easy to pack for travel.

Notice Loki in his chair, hanging out and enjoying the nice weather.

Grilled ribeye with French green beans and scalloped potatoes was one meal we enjoyed. All of the cooking was done outdoors.

Home kitchen - this week's feature is Picadillo.  It's my SIL Barb's recipe and a damn fine one at that.  The aroma of garlic, peppers and onions always gets my stomach rumbling.

Simmering....I always add loads of olives.

Here it is plated.  Served with white rice, El Ebro black beans (the best!), Dole Maduras and homemade bread. For Barb's recipe click HERE.

A dessert indulgence this week was Tiramisu.  We hardly ever get something this rich so it was quite a treat. 

The plan today is to answer emails, visit a bit and go through all the photos I took camping. Planning on  trying Patatas Rellenas with the leftover Picadillo in the next day or so.  I hope all is well in your world and you and yours are happy and healthy.

Sharing with Sherry at Sherry's Pickings for her In My Kitchen event.
Marg at The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking



Jacques Pépin's Penne, Ham and Vegetable casserole

It's April 15 and a cool rainy day here. This month we have had quite a bit going on but only in the planning stages - I'll be glad ...

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