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The Saucy Bird

Sharing budget friendly dishes for family, friends and fun!

Updated: 2015-10-24T10:14:34.279-04:00


Summer Squash Skillet Casserole


(image) One way to strectch your family's grocery budget is to make good use of your local farmer's market. Most every town has one and the fruits and vegetables are fresh from the farm. This time of year the market's are full of fresh summer squash and tomatoes.

One of my family's favorite meals is Summer Squash Casserole. I started making this skillet casserole when I was short on time. A few simple ingredients come together easily to make this beautiful and really quite filling dish. Serve it for dinner with a loaf of crusty bread, and the leftovers make a tasty breakfast or lunch. You really can't go wrong with this southern style Summer Squash Skillet Casserole.


Summer Squash Skillet Casserole

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
3 cups diced yellow summer squash
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup premade alfredo sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large ripe tomato
8 spears asparagus
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a 12 in. non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper; saute 3 to 4 minutes until translucent. Add the yellow squash and continue cooking 3 to 4 minutes longer until squash begin to soften.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the copped parsley, alfredo sauce, mayonnaise, eggs and milk. Pour over squash; arrange tomatoes and asparagus over top. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in hot oven and cook, 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid begins to set. Remove from oven and serve hot or at room temperature.

Cool Summer Suppers


Everything is a balancing act; it's a constant search for just the right amount of this and that. In the summer, when things seem to be the most hectic, finding the right amounts of this and that is challenging. Chipotle grilled chicken, black beans, sweet summer corn, pineapple and pasta all come together in this cold summer supper with just the right amounts of this and that.

Rushing your kids to sporting events, finding time for family and friends and still finding time to make healthy meals can push our lives a little out of balance. Make a double batch of this salad to keep on hand all summer long. Toss in the greens and tangy honey lime dressing at the last minute and you've got yourself a healthy balanced meal with just the right amounts of this and that!

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
3-4 ears fresh sweet summer corn, cleaned
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1b box Rotelle pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained1
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 bag salad greens
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon key lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with chipotle powder and salt. Place seasoned chicken and corn on hot grill and grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until corn is charred and chicken juices run clear. Remove from grill and let cool.

Add the cooked pasta, black beans, pineapple and salad greens to a large bowl. Slice the cooled chicken into thin strips, cut the corn off the cob and toss in with the pasta. Using the back of a large knife, squeeze the corn milk from the cobs into the bowl.

In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and key lime juice and honey. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the salad, toss to coat and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spanish Chicken with Garlic and Bell Peppers


Making dishes that can take you through every season is a great way to take advantage of money saving supermarket sales. This is one of those dishes that can be made on top of the stove in the fall or winter, but can just as easily be made on a grill in the spring or summer.

It's a twist on the classic Spanish Peppered Steak but made healthier by using boneless chicken thighs that were on sale at the local market. This time of year the Farmer's Market is full of inexpensive, locally grown red and green bell peppers. This dish is a great way to take advantage of both sales at one time.

Serve this over some steamed rice and you've got a complete meal in less than 30 minutes. Great for week nights, but even better as an unexpected dish to serve at your next backyard BBQ.

Spanish Chicken with Garlic and Bell Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
8 skinless chicken thighs
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to the pan and brown both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

To the hot pan, add the garlic, onion and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Return the chicken thighs to the pan. Add the thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar and chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook stirring occasionally about 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Arrange chicken thighs on a serving platter and spoon sauce over.

Chocolate Cake for Valentines Day


Making a holiday special these days can sometimes feel like a daunting task. It's sometimes hard to afford the fancy candy that is associated with most holidays, especially Valentines Day.

But if you think about it, the old addage "It's the thought that counts" is really true. Don't fret about being able to afford fancy stuff, make something special for your special someone.

There are lots of simple but good ideas out there. Try the Duncan Hines website and try these Conversation Heart Brownies — Duncan Hines®

I used a Duncan Hines Cake Mix and made this simple and delicious Mocha Seville Cake for The Fly Rod Gawd. He loves coffee and chocolate and we have plenty of fresh oranges. It is an affordable, easy and delicious way to make this Valentines day special.

Just follow the directions of the Duncan Hines box for a 13X9 inch cake. Substitute half of the required liquid with strong coffee and the other half with fresh orange juice then bake as directed.


Pomegranate Hot Spiced Apple Salsa


I’m not sure if anything says "Holiday" more than the smell of warm cinnamon and fresh apples. Especially when it is cold outside, the warm smell of cinnamon is one of the most comforting things I know. It magically brings memories of family to mind and somehow makes you feel like everything is right with the world.

There is always an abundance of apples this time of year and one of my favorite things is the spiced apple rings. I love those vivid red cinnamon spiced rings. They can turn any meal into a work of art.

We eat them on almost everything this time of year. We cut them up and stir them into warm oatmeal, or pour them over pancakes and waffles in the morning. Sometimes we eat them cold with cottage cheese for lunch. My favorite is this Pomegranate hot spiced apple salsa with a crispy pork chop. Just delicious!!!!

You are probably used to seeing applesauce served along side pork, but have you ever thought of trying some spiced apple salsa?

Not only are apples plentiful but so are POM Wonderful pomegranates. If you have never had fresh pomegranates, don’t be intimidated. There is a lot of good information on the POM Wonderful sight. It really takes no time to make, and brings a bit of the unexpected to a familiar dish.

Pomegranate Hot Spiced Apple Salsa

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 oz. fresh POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup Fresh Pomegranate arils

In a small saucepan over medium heat add stir together the all ingredients. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and apples are tender. Stir in pomegranate arils and serve hot with chicken, lamb or pork. 

POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice


This week the people from POM wonderful contacted me and sent me a case of delicious 100% POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. When I was a child we had a pomegranate tree in our neighborhood and would spend a lot of time opening and eating the ruby red averils hidden inside the fruit. We called them Chinese Apples. If any of you know why we called them Chinese Apples I’d love to know.

What we didn’t know then was we were eating one of the earliest cultivated fruits and that some believed that it was the pomegranate, not the apple, that Eve tempted Adam with in the Garden of Eden.
(image) I am so happy that we have pomegranate juice now, saves a lot of red stained fingers. And, did you know, arterial plaque is decreased by up to 30% if you drink just 8 oz. of the tangy juice a day?

I’ve been experimenting with the juice and the whole fruit last week and I will be posting some of those dishes in the weeks to come.

For now, go out and get yourself some POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice………it’s good for you!

Cuban Holiday Ham


Summer is hanging on here in Florida. Feels like temperature today is going to be something like 90 degrees. There is a small cold front moving in this weekend and I'm really looking forward to cooling off, even if it is just for a day or two.
I often make a ham when the weather is hot just so I can use the leftovers during the week. No heating up the kitchen for me, especially when I am patiently waiting for Fall to arrive.
Before we know it the Holiday's will be here and I thought I would share with you my recipe for this Cuban Holiday Ham. It combines some of my favorite Florida flavors oranges, limes and cola. Not only does it taste good, it looks great too!



1 6-8 Low Sodium Ham
2 Florida Oranges
2-3 Limes
Several Cinnamon sticks
Salt and Fresh ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 12 ounce can cola
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Remove ham from package, rinse and pat dry. Slice oranges and limes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Stack a lime slice on top of each orange slice. Place the fruit stacks onto the ham and secure each with a cinnamon stick.

In a small bowl mix together the cumin, apple pie spice, cola and rum. Pour half of the mixture over the ham, season with salt and pepper.

Place the ham in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, basting every 2o minutes. Remove from the oven and let set 15 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, add the remaining marinade and raisins to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently until thick and bubbly. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and serve with the ham for passing.

Summer Squash Casserole


When people talk about comfort foods I usually think about cold weather food like mac and cheese or chicken soup. Who says we have to wait for fall to have some good old fashioned comforting food?


This squash casserole is one of my favorite summer time dishes and it makes good use of the yellow crook neck squash that is so abundant. I like to add zucchini when I have it, just to add a little color but it is equally as good with out it.

There is nothing particularly creative or new about this casserole recipe, it's just plain delicious. It is a great side dish that goes with any main course. It' s a crowd pleaser and I have yet to find a kid that doesn't ask for seconds.


Summer Squash Casserole

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick 1/2 moons
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 (10 ounce) can creamy chicken mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 eggs
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups fresh bread crumbs

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and onions. Cook 5 to 6 miutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, combine the soup, mayonnaise, mustard, eggs and 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked squash and gently mix until well combined.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake 15 minutes.

While casserole is baking, combine the remaining cheese and bread crumbs. After casserole has baked 15 minutes, spread the bread crumb mixture evenly on top and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and casserole is hot and bubbly. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Smokey Spanish Turkey and White Bean Flatbread Melt


When I was grocery shopping this week I stumbled upon this great managers sale on fresh Turkey Breast, only $1.79 per pound. What a deal!!!

A lot of times you can get a great deal on whole breasts in the summer because most people think of turkey only around the holidays. I love to get a whole turkey breast in the summer and roast it off. Then I can keep the leftovers in the fridge and have some quick week night meals ready to go.

And the best part is that you only have to heat the kitchen up once. Quick, easy and cool just my kind of summer meal.

(image) Look for a manager's sale in your own local market. There are always some great sales going on and with this recipe in your back pocket you'll have no problem using up a whole breast!

Smokey Spanish Turkey and White Bean Flatbread Melt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced roasted turkey breast
6 10 inch flat bread wraps
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded manchego cheese

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, corn, chili powder, and paprika. Saute 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in the white beans and turkey breast, heat through. Remove from pan, wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

Return skillet to medium heat. Place on flat bread in skillet and top with some cheddar cheese, spinach, turkey mixture, manchego cheese and top with a flat bread wrap. Cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn and toast the other side. Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Serve warm and enjoy!

Wild Salmon and Broccoli Mini Frittata


(image) You might think that a Heart Healthy lifestyle means giving up some of the things that you really love, like eggs and cheese for example. Well, I am here to tell you that there are so many great tasty products on the market today, that with a little creativity you can still have your eggs and eat them too!

These Wild Salmon and Broccoli Mini Frittatas are a perfect example. They are made with packaged salmon, frozen broccoli and egg beaters. And the Creamy Scallion Sauce is something that you can use for a lot of different things.

Make some of these this weekend, keep them in the fridge and you'll have a quick healthy grab and go breakfast all week. Try chopping them up and stuffing them in a whole wheat pita spread with the scallion sauce.

Wild Salmon and Broccoli Mini Frittatas with a Creamy Scallion Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups egg beaters
2 tablespoons 1 % milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (5 oz.) pouch wild salmon, cut into thin strips
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt
3 oz. neufachatel cheese (low fat cream cheese) softened

Pre-heat oven to 400. Heat the oil 10-inch non-stick skillet over a medium heat. Add 1/2 of the onions and saute until tender.

Combine egg beaters, milk, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk well, stir in the salmon, broccoli and sauted onion. Spray a jumbo muffin pan with cooking spray and divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups. Place in pre heated oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until eggs are firm.
Whisk together the yogurt, cream cheese. Stir in the remaining green onions.
Serve the frittatas with a dolop of the creamy scallion sauce. Or, spread the sauce inside a whole wheat pita, chop the frittatas and serve as a breakfast sandwich.

Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Black Bean Hash


(image) So, I was out Blog Jogging the other day and found a blog somewhere that had this delicious looking dish displayed. I'm sorry to say that I can't remember where I saw this but the image stuck in my head and was driving me crazy so I just had to attempt it.

(image) I'm not sure how the original recipe was made or if this is even a close reproduction, all I know is that I really liked it. The Fly Rod Gawd however, well lets just say he ate it.

(image) I did this in a single skillet on top of the stove so it was a snap to make. I really like the way the chili seasoning that I used on the sweet potato, flavored the entire dish. It was also a great looking dish. Very colorful and very healthy!


Chili Spiced Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Black Bean Hash

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespooons chili powder
1 (10 oz) box frozen broccoli florets
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Peel and cut the sweet potato into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each slice into 4 wedges. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chili powder and cook 1 minute, swirling the pan to incorporate the chili powder in the oil. Add the sweet potato and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until. Add the broccoli florets and beans. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until vegetables are tender.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Orzo Salad


The summer is always a challenge to keep my family eating healthy, it's just too easy to stop by the nearest fast food place. As much as we enjoy the occasional burger, I try to keep things like this Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Orzo Salad on hand to stop temptation in her tracks!

It's easy to make up a big batch and keep in the fridge. It just seems to get better the longer it sits. I love the way the tangy dressing soaks into the black beans and orzo. And the crunch from the fresh sweet corn........woooweee! that's some good eatin'

I baked up a batch of boneless skinless chicken thighs for this dish, but you could easily make it with a rotissere chicken from your local deli, or you could use Tyson's Southwestern Chicken Strips. Any way you choose the result is a crispy, tangy refreshing dish perfect for a quick dinner. It is a great dish to take to a cookout, or pack up the leftovers for a refreshing lunch box treat.


Cuban Chicken and Balck Bean Orzo Salad

1 box orzo
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups fresh sweet corn (use frozen if you must)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 cups fresh spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken thighs with chili powder, place on a baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cut into bite sized cubes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions, drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion, cook 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add oregano, corn and black beans. Heat through, stir in cooked orzo and chicken. Add key lime juice and orange juice, contiue cooking until all liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving fold in spinach leaves.

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries


Just how many ways can you make sweet potatoes? For most people, sweet potatoes are one of those holiday only items. You know what I mean, like green bean casserole, we only have them on special occasions. It's a shame we don't have them more often given their amazing health benefits.

I won't bore you with in depth research on the power of sweet potatoes, some things you'll just have to trust me with. Lets just say that The Fly Rod Gawd and I are going to be eating alot more of these delicious taters!

These oven baked fries are really easy. I think the hardest part of them is cutting them. Sweet potatoes tend to be very hard so be sure to use a really sharp knife and be careful! If your diet can include salt, try using the chili salt recipe in my earlier sweet potato chip post. But, if you are watching your salt try them with my smokey seasoning. Equally delicious and I promise you won't miss the me!

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 fresh lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Carefully slice the sweet potatoes into sticks or wedges and add to a large bowl. Add the oil, cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper. Toss to coat.

Spread in a single layer onto the foil lined pan. Place in the oven and bake 25 to 30minutes or unitl done. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lime juice over the hot fries.

Heart Healthy Smoothie


(image) So here I am again, finally finding the time to write about one of my favorite things----FOOD!

I had to take some time away from all things bloggy, The Fly Rod Gawd's mom had open heart surgery and taking care of them took up more time than I had. But, here I am again happily blogging away and with a new found spirit. Through all of the doctors,tests, hospitals and nurses, I realized just what an important part food really plays in our lives.

(image) When I first realized that we were going to have to have some more heart friendly meals I thought we were going to be doomed to unsalted tasteless cardboard with a side of steamed stryfoam. But, what I have realized is that creating heart friendly meals is really not as hard as I thought.

Here is a quick cardio friendly smoothie that is perfect for an on the go breakfast, lunch or snack. Try it and let me know what you think!

(image) Banana Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 very ripe banana
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup 1 % milk
2 teaspoons honey

Place all ingriedients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if you like it thinner and more honey if you like it sweeter!

Sweet Potato Chips with Chili Salt


Can you think of anything more tasty than a thin, crispy french fried potato? How about thin, crispy french fried sweet potato chips?

A few years ago, The Fly Rod Gawd and I were visiting St. Michaels in Maryland and we stopped at this great restaurant whose name I can't remember. It was one of those great evenings that no matter how hard you try, you just can't recreate.

As we were sitting in the dinning room, looking out over the Chesapeake, our waiter brought us a plate of fresh sweet potato chips. We had never had crispy sweet potato chips before, but as soon as we tried them we wondered where they had been all our lives!

Not only were we lovn' the chips, but just as our dessert was being served a Barbershop quartet that was having dinner at the same time broke out in song!

It was such a wonderful night and one that we will never forget.

You will be surprised at how easy these chips are to make and everyone seems to love them. They can take on a lot of different flavors, but we like them with a spicy chili salt and a lime sour creme.

Sweet Potato Chips with Chile Salt

6 cups Canola oil
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper powder
1 lime
8 ounces sour creme
2 large sweet potato

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees.

Mix the salt and chipotle pepper in a small bowl, set aside. Add the sour creme to a small bowl and mix in the juice and zest of the lime, set aside.

Peel and slice the sweet potato very thin. Fry the sweet potato's in batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Immediately season with the chili salt. Serve with the lime sour creme for dipping.

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough


This week, I have been trying to decide what to do for Superbowl Sunday. I need something to serve that is easy and basically self serve, but I didn't want to just do buffet food. Of course I'll have the usually line up of snacks and finger foods but for the main event, I wanted to do something fun. What I came up with is a pizza bar. Everyone loves pizza right?

My challenge is to find a way to make it a little bit healthier but still have a great tasting pizza. This week I have been playing around with whole wheat bread dough and I think I have finally come up with a winner. By adding a little more honey and some garlic to the dough, the result was a hearty dough with a lot of flavor. The best part, is that it also made a really good sandwich roll as well.

I'm not sure who will be playing in the big game, but I do know that the pizza bar at The Saucy Bird will be open for business!

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110°F
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil and set aside. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Combine flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, honey, oil and garlic, stir until dough begins to form -- it will be slightly sticky. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth but still tacky -- about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the prepared bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles in volume.

Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl, and let dough rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and turn one piece out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into desired shape and size.

Buttermilk Onion Crisps


Whew!!! The holidays are finally over and this year I can't say that I am sorry. The Fly Rod Gawds Mother has had some pretty serious health issues and adding hospital tests and doctor visits to the already hectic season really wore me out.I have been trying to get these french fried onions posted since New Year's day but haven't been able to get to it. Well, I probably could have but we had to watch the bowl games. And then, I had to get the Christmas lights down, at least from the front porch. (I was beginning to feel a little Gretchen Wilsonish).So everything, is finally down and boxed, just waiting for The Fly Rod Gawd to stow the boxes in the shed. I am always surprised at how blah the house looks when the decorations come down.Anywhoo, these crispy onions are the result of my first experiment with the mandolin Santa brought me for Christmas. I have been wanting one for a long time now and it is one of those things that I just wouldn't buy for myself. Well all I have to say is: THANK YOU SANTA! I LOVE IT.It made these crispy fried onions sooooo easy. Just zip zip zip and they were sliced perfectly. Now I just have to figure out how to keep from eating them so I have enough for everyone else. They made the perfect football snack and I think they would make the perfect topper for mac and cheese.Buttermilk Onion Crisps 3 large onions1 cup self rising flour1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper1 tablespoon ground sage1 large egg1/2 cup buttermilk3 cups canola oilKosher salt or Celery SaltPeel the onions and slice thin on a mandolin. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Mix together the flour, pepper and sage. Spoon some of the flour mixture over the onions and stir to lightly coat. Beat together the egg and butter milk. Pour some of the egg mixture over the onions. Stir to evenly coat. Spoon the remaining flour mixture over the onions and stir to coat.Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees. Place the onions a little at a time in the hot oil, sitr with a fork to break apart and fry 3 to 4 minutes turning occasilnally until golden brown. Season with kosher salt or celery salt and serve warm. Try not to eat too many![...]

Cinnamon Raisin Crisps


Dear Santa:

Please don't forget to stop by our house tonight. I have made your favorite cookies and promise that I won't let The Fly Rod Gawd eat all of them before you arrive. They turned out really good this year. They are crispy and have lots of cinnamon, just the way you like them.

I'll even have some "Jolly" Java waiting for you, and since Rudolph is your designated driver I know you can indulge without reservation.

Drive carefull and I hope you have a lot of good boys and girls to deliver to this year, and I hope you will bring lots of toys.


The Saucy Bird


Cinnamon Raisin Crisps

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup natural raisins
1/3 cup crispy rice cereal

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in yolk and salt. Mix in flour and cinnamon just to blend thoroughly. Mix in raisins and cereal to distribute evenly. On lightly floured surface, roll into a 12" long. Wrap securely and refrigerate at least 1 hour

With sharp knife, cut 1/3" thick slices, and place 1" apart on baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are set and bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool completely.

Express Lane 3 Bean with Bacon Soup


Nothing seems to satisfy like a steaming hot bowl of homemade bean with bacon soup. The problem is that it takes so long to make. I mean, you have to soak the beans overnight and then simmer them for 2 hours to get those tasty little beans soft. The result for me is pure heaven but I rarely have enough time to get a pot together.Well, not anymore! I am taking a lot of help from the store but the result is a delicious, mouth watering pot of the most soul satisfying soup you have ever had. And the great part is that it only takes as long as the cornbread takes to bake. Really----- I'm not kidding.I know that there are plenty of good quality condensed soups on the market today, but nothing beats homemade soup. And, with the help of your local market and a quick trip through the express lane you can have this soup quicker than you can say: "Bob's your Uncle!" Not only is it a great stick to your ribs kind of meal, it's really economical, nutitious, it feeds a crowd and I haven't met anyone who doesn't enjoy a nice hot cup of soup, and frankly if I do I'm not sure I would want to know them.Express Lane 3 Bean with Bacon Soup 1 box Corn Bread mix12 ounces peppered bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces1 large white onion, peeled and diced3 carrots, peeled and diced1 ham steak, diced2 quarts low sodium chicken stock1 (15 ounce) can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained1 (15 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained1 (15 ounce) can Red Beans, rinsed and drained1 (15 ounce) can Diced flavored TomatoesPrepare the Corn Bread according to package directions.Meanwhile, Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until light brown. With a slotted spoon remove the bacon to paper towels. Leave about 2 tablespoons of fat in the bottom of the pan and discard the rest. Add the onions, carrots and diced ham. Saute until onions are translucent. Add the chicken stock and reduce heat to medium low. Add the all of the beans and the tomatoes to a large bowl, stir to combine. Reserve one cup of the mixture and add the rest to the pot. With a fork or potato masher, mash the reserved bean mixture until mashed but still chunky. Add to the pot, stir well and simmer until ready to serve.Serve hot over fresh cornbread and enjoy![...]

Crispy Crumb Coated Broccoli


I know that this is the time of year that everyone is making those deliciously gooey, sweet decadent treats that we only get once a year, so I thought I would share something that is a little bit on the healthy side. A few years ago, the Fly Rod Gawd's doctor put him on a diet and it was up to me to figure out ways to get him to eat healthier foods. We all now that if I'd let him he would have chocolate cake for breakfast, pound cake for lunch and cookies for dinner, so my challenge was to get him to "like" green things. Thankfully he was a willing participant and would cheerfully try anything, so my job was a bit easier. But still, getting someone to actually like fruits and vegetables that weren't soaked in sugar or fat wasn't easy. One day I was watching Lydia's Italian Kitchen and she was making crumb coated vegetables as a side dish and they looked really quick and easy. (I'm all about quick and easy!) I don't remember her exact recipe but this is my interpretation of the recipe I saw her making. Well, it was a big hit! Not long after I began making his broccoli this way we had to go out of town on business. To my surprise, after eating every meal in a restaurant for a week, The Fly Rod Gawd actually said: "I can't wait to get home, I'm craving broccoli!" I almost fell off my chair.Since then, I've tried this technique on every vegetable I could think of and it has worked on every thing I have tried. My favorites are broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms and now I make them to put out as snacks or appetizers with a honey mustard dipping sauce. Crispy Crumb Coated Broccoli 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it hot)2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced1 (10 ounce) box frozen broccoli florets, thawed and patted dry1/3 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbsHeat the olive oil in a large non stick pan over medium high heat. Add the red pepper and garlic. Swirl the pepper and garlic in the oil until you begin to smell the garlic, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli florets and saute until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the Italian bread crumbs. Toss to evenly coat all of the florets and continue cooking until the crumbs are golden brown.Remove from the pan and serve as a side dish or arrange on a platter with honey mustard dipping sauce for a hot appetizer.[...]



Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good Thanksgiving dinner. For our family it's Dad's stuffing, Aunt Robin's broccoli casserole, Grand mom's candied sweet potatoes and Carrie's cranberry sauce. There just isn't any room for experimenting when you are competing with the memories of generations. Now don't get me wrong, I look forward to those same dishes every year and enjoy the memories that those familiar flavors conjure. It's after Thanksgiving that I really begin to have fun. We always get a bird that is absolutely too big for our family, just so I am sure to have plenty of leftovers for experimenting.When I heard about the blogger recipe contest sponsored by POM Wonderful, I knew I was going to enter. Not only are fresh pomegranates a delicious treat, the health benefits are amazing. Although fresh pomegranates are only available for a few months, POM Wonderful has a wide variety of juices available year round. If you aren't familiar with all of the benefits of fresh pomegranates, visit their website and you'll understand why you can't live without this amazing fruit. I've had a hard time waiting to enter this tempting sandwich. It has become a favorite in our house and we look forward to it as much as we do Thanksgiving dinner itself. We call it the Nut-N-Fancy, because the day after Thanksgiving when my family asks: "What's for dinner?", I say Nut-N-Fancy!The recipe is written using leftover turkey, but we have grown to love this sandwich so much that I roast turkey thighs year round just to make this sandwich. If you want to use it as an appetizer, substitute English muffins for the Italian bread and you'll have a unique addition to your holiday table. Nut-N-FanciesOrPomegranate Pepper Turkey Sandwiches on Grilled Italian Bread with Walnut Butter and Pomegranate Apple Walnut SlawTurkey in Pomegranate Pepper Sauce:2 tablespoons olive oil1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced thin1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin4 to 5 whole pomegranates2 to 4 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons (Asian) red chili garlic sauce (more if you like things hot)2 cups cooked and shredded dark turkey meatWalnut Butter:1 1/2 cup walnut pieces1/2 cup cashews3 tablespoons honey3 or 4 tablespoons softened butterPomegranate Apple Walnut Slaw:1 medium red apple1/4 cup pomegranate arils1/4 cup chopped roasted walnuts1/3 cup Mayonnaise3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice2-3 tablespoons softened butter8 thick slices bakery Italian bread (optional) Pomegranate arils and parsley for garnishHeat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Juice the pomegranates, reserving about 1/4 cup of the arils. Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice to the onion and peppers. Stir in sugar, a little at a time, until the sauce is slightly sweet. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the chili garlic sauce, stir in the turkey and heat through.Meanwhile, in a large non stick pan over medium high heat, roast the walnuts and cashews 6-8 minutes until they become fragrant. Add the roasted nuts and honey to the bowl of a food processor. Puree on high until very fine. Add the softened butter a little at a time and purée until a "peanut-buttery" consistency. If the mixture seems too thick add a tablespoon or two of warm water.Peel, core and slice the apple into thin matchsticks. Place in a medium bowl, add the reserved pomegranate arils, walnuts, mayonnaise[...]

Amaretto Peach Cobbler


Thanksgiving is here and that means that Christmas and New Years are not far behind. I love this time of year! When we were kids it seemed that Thanksgiving and Christmas would never get here, and when the time did finally come it never seemed to last long enough. I don't think it is any accident that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's come so close together. I think the holiday's give us the opportunity to remember the things that are truly important in life.Thanksgiving is the time for gratitude. It is the time for us to remember everything that we have to be grateful for. It's when we remember and give thanks for those things that we realize how wonderful life can be.At Christmas, we honor family. Christmas is the time that families get together, some for the only time in the year. It is a time to catch up with each other and remember that no matter what, family is the most important things in our life.Then comes the New Year. For me it is a time of renewal, and second chances. If we remember all that we have to be grateful for, honor our family and resolve to do better, the new year holds hope and promise. This holiday season take them time to remember what you have to be grateful for, celebrate and honor your family and resolve to do betterFrom now until the beginning of the New Year, we will all have too little time and too much to do. People stop by, often unannouced, and being from the south I always have the makings for a fruit cobbler on hand. Most any kind of fruit will work and this easy basic recipe can be dressed up any way you like.The next time you have unexpected company, try this delicious fruit cobbler. It is a really quick treat that is best served right out of the oven and can be ready before you finish catching up with your friends.Amaretto Peach Cobbler4 Tablespoons Butter2 ounces amaretto1 cup flour1/2 cup sugar2/3 cup milk2 tsp baking powder1 can peaches in syrupPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 8x8 pan. Mix in amaretto.In a medium bowl mix together flour, sugar, milk and baking powder. Pour over butter mixture. Pour peaches ( including syrup), over flour mixture. Bake in preheated over 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with icecream if desired.[...]

Apple Cider Tea Cup Triffle


My sister and I recieved an easy bake oven one year for Christmas and I think that was the beginning of my cooking obsession. We used the oven all the time and did a lot of experimenting. We tried everything we could think of in that little oven and much to our surprise alot of what we tried came out pretty good. Well at least in the minds of 2 little girls. The best of our creations made it to the family dinner table and some, like this triffle, I still serve today. I don't know if it is the cake itself, or the unique way that we came up to serve it, but this cake has remained one of my favorites. Of course back then the tea cups weren't as fancy, but the possiblities are endless. The Fly Rod Gawd remembers an apple cake that his Grandmother used to make him and he thinks that this one comes really close. Try these tea cup triffles at one of your family gatherings this holiday season and see if they don't become a staple in your house.APPLE CIDER TEA CUP TRIFFLE 1 spice Cake Mix1 cup apple cider1/2 cup applesauce3 eggs1 large apple, peeled cored and diced1/4 cup light brown sugar1 tablespoon ground cinnamon2 tablespoons melted butter1 cup prepared vanilla pudding1/2 cup orange marmalade1/4 cup raisinsPreheat the oven to 350, spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-fat vegetable spray and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.Place the cake mix, cider, applesauce, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on low, beat until ingredients are just combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and set the pan aside.Place the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the apple mixture on top of the batter in the pan. Stir a few times to swirl the apple mixuture into the batter. Place the pan in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertips. Remove to a wire rack and cool.When the cake is cool, cut into small squares. Add 2 tablespoons of prepared pudding to the bottom of teacups. Top with equal amounts of cake squares. Mix the marmalade and the rasins in a microwve proof dish and microwave on high until thinned. Spoon the mixture evenly on top of each tea cup.[...]

15 minute Ham Steak Dinner


When things get really hectic and you think that you don't have time to have a sit down family dinner, take a little help from your local market and try this tasty 15 minute Ham Steak Dinner.

We have all seen those Ham steaks and if you are like me you pass them up as a dinner item because you always think of them as a breakfast dish. I think they are perfect for a quick weeknight meal. They are fully cooked so all you really have to do is heat them up. Saute them with some frozen broccoli and fresh carrots, add a tasty sauce and some rice or Orzo and you have a quick and delicious dinner.

The next time you are ready to order take out or get some fast food, try this Korean style ham steak recipe and treat yourself to some tasty family time.


Cola-rean Ham Steak Dinner

1 12 ounce can cola
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 Ham steak, cut into bite sized chunks
2 (10 ounce) boxes broccoli florets
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins

In a small saucepan over medium heat add the first 7 ingriedints. Stir to combine and simmer to combine, reduce sauce (about 10 minutes).

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the Ham, broccoli and carrots, continue cooking until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes). Pour the sauce over the ham mixture, toss to combine and serve over orzo or rice.

Rigatoni Divan


Thank goodness the election is finally over! I am always filled with pride when I cast my vote. I think about all the people who came before me, about all the people who had to fight for the right to vote. There are times when we take our right to vote for granted, and I think that we should all take a little time to remember the people who have struggled and died for our right to vote.We made history this year and it is one of those days in our collective lives that we will always remember as a nation. We are fortunate to live in such interesting times.It has been almost 2 years since this campaign season started and now that it is over it is time for us all to come together. What better place to start than at our own dinner tables?When I was a kid, the dinner table was the place where the whole family got together and talked and laughed and even sometimes argued, but it was a place that we came together as a family.This dinner is sure to please every member of the family. It comes together quick, you can even make it ahead of time and pop it in to the oven and have a comforting family friendly dinner ready in no time. I used canned chicken, but I have also made it with leftover chicken. And, hey, with Thanksgiving coming Turkey would be great in it too! Rigatoni Divan1 1lb. box Rigatoni2 Tablespoons olive oil1/2 cup chopped onion 1 (13 ounce) can chunk chicken breast, drained2 Tablespoon flour2 cups milk2 eggs, lighly beaten1 cup low fat mayonnaise1 (10 ounce) box Broccoli Florets, thawed and drained1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg2 cups shredded parmesean cheese2 cups plain bread crumbsPre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish, set asideCook the Rigatoni to al dente according to package directionsheat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and chicken, saute about 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Sprinkle the flour evenly into the pan and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk, eggs and mayonnaise. Add the broccoli, nutmeg and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked Rigatoni and pour mixure into the prepared dish.Mix the remaining cheese with the bread crumbs and spread evenly over the rigatoni mixture. Place in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or unitl the topping has browned. Serve with a green salad and some good conversation![...]