Friday, January 31, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Lasagna

Hearty Vegetable Lasagna


  • 1  16-oz. package lasagna noodles
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
In a large saucepan, cook and stir mushrooms, green peppers, onion, and garlic in oil. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When Daddy Goes to the Store

East Tennessee has been hit with a blast of snow and cold. Since my husband was already out when the snow was falling, I sent him to the store. Here is my list: 1) hair conditioner 2) milk 3) sugar 4) chocolate chip cookie dough Now, you must understand, my husband is a big kid at heart. When he grocery shops, the cart is a collection of favorites from his childhood, and stuff I do not buy very often. My kids absolutely LOVE when Daddy goes to the store! So, here is what he bought: 1) everything on my list 2) quart of ice cream 3) ice cream sandwiches 4) fudgecicles 5) pork rinds 6) 3 boxes of cereal 7) 2 boxes of donuts 8) 2 jars of nuts in syrup (for ice cream) 9) small can of biscuit dough (because he like raw dough) 10) pudding 11) Little Debbie cakes 12) Fritos 13) chips 14) pretzels 15) sandwich bread 16) Sundrop My kids are in heaven!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Naked In The Kitchen

No, dear god, not me. Dreadful thought.

I'm talking about Naked Juice, my new bes' frien'.

My mother has a g-tube and only "eats" liquid nutrition through it. She was on commercial formula, but it didn't agree with her. So her doctor suggested we try Naked Juice and protein shakes and see if she improved. If she did, the doctor would put us together with a nutritionist.

Well, Mom has improved! She still doesn't feel very lively, but she's much better than she was on the commercial blend.

I get a selection of Naked Juice juices and protein blends, then mix them. They would probably taste pretty nasty by mouth, but she can't taste them, so she gets the benefits without having to worry about the taste.

I've also found the Real Food For Real People site, with nutritional advice and recipes for "tubies".

Mom would just as soon have commercial nutrition, because it's easy, but I'm planning on blending her some nice stuff and leaving it in her refrigerator, so it'll be easier than opening a can of commercial stuff.

I've tasted her protein shake, and that sucka's GOOD.

So here I go, on another food adventure! Do you do balanced blended foods? Have a favorite recipe?

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, January 27, 2014

what to eat when you're sick

What do you eat when you're sick?

I'm working on that post for next week while I try to figure out what I'm going to eat while I'm sick.

Next week, friends.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Southern New Year’s Day Soup

Okay, so it’s past New Year’s Day. You can still enjoy this yummy soup throughout the winter.

Southern New Year’s Day Soup


·         Tbs. olive oil

·         1 large leek, quartered, white and light green parts chopped (2 cups)

·         2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

·         1 Tbs. poultry seasoning

·         8 oz. kale, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 2-inch pieces (4 cups)

·         1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

·         1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies

·         ¾ cup dried black-eyed peas

·         1 qt. low-sodium vegetable broth

·         ¾ cup farfalle pasta

·         Shaved Parmesan curls, for garnish



First heat oil in a large pot or vessel. Add the leek and sauté till it becomes soft.

Next add garlic and the poultry seasoning and sauté for a minute. Add the kale and stir till the leaves are wilted.

Now add the diced tomatoes, chilies, black eyed peas and vegetable broth.

Add seven cups of water and let it cook covered for about 45 minutes.

Now you can stir in the pasta and cook for 7 minutes or till the pasta is done.

Garnish and serve with parmesan curls.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dang... I Missed It!

I hate when a holiday slips by! How could I have missed National Popcorn Day? It was on January 19. Since I did not celebrate the day that pays homage to my favorite snack, I might just have to have a bowl today. Since I am trying to cut a few Christmas pounds, I have been indulging in a low-fat version. I simply put a scoop (about 1/3 cup) of popcorn kernels in a glass bowl with a vented lid. Next, I sprinkle on some popcorn salt. It goes in the microwave till popped.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ruling Food

In A HISTORY OF COOKS AND COOKING, Michael Symons draws parallels between governance and cooking. 

On one hand, he quotes metaphorical similarities seen by Chinese writers: Lao Tze, in his TAO TE CHING, said that "Governing a large state is like cooking a small fish." By this, he seems to have meant that you shouldn't mess with it much. 

Other ancient writers compared good government to a good stew, with all the elements carefully prepared and perfectly blended, all the flavors and textures balanced and evenly distributed. 

On the other hand, he points out that no one is closer to a king than his cook, who prepares the substance of the monarch's strength and life. 

The ruler demands the best food his land and traders can provide, and so encourages energy in agriculture and food. 

In many cultures, banquets of the royal were vast, and leftovers were redistributed to underlings who took them home, ate, and redistributed leftovers to their underlings who took them home.... Sort of a trickle-down effect. 

Especially the gravy.

Marian Allen

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Pepper Factor and the Carolina Reaper by J.J. Cook

Win a copy of this book by leaving a comment!
The Pepper Factor
By J.J. Cook
from Playing with Fire

I call it: The Pepper Factor. It's the love of everything with hot peppers in, or on it. I have seen people eat oatmeal with chili peppers, and ice cream with sliced Habaneros. People eat gallons of hot sauce every year, and yearn for the new hottest pepper. 

Well, the new newest hot pepper - the one signified as being the hottest pepper in the world, grows right in our area. Ed Curry from Fort Mill, South Carolina now raises the hottest pepper in the world. He has worked for years, cross breeding different peppers until he came up with this one.

Guinness Book of world Records officially named his pepper - the Carolina Reaper - the hottest pepper in the world last November. It is three-hundred times hotter than a normal jalapeno.
Smokin' Ed has done all this work for his business, the Puckerbutt Pepper Company, and it has raised him to super status in the pepper community. Ed has been on countless talk shows and has had his name splashed across the world in newspapers and TV reports.

It has been a four year search for the next hottest pepper in the world after the Ghost Pepper gave up the spot. But as you can see from this video, it was well worth the wait if you love hot peppers!


"The second book in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade series, Playing With Fire. This series is about a small town fire house that needed a helping hand. But when Stella Griffin comes to help out she didn't figure on having a ghostly roommate, the former fire chiefs murder to solve, or the unusual town of Sweet Pepper to entice her to stay. Cook does a fantastic job of drawing the ready in and holding on to them. Playing With Fire is as much about a 40 year old murder as it is about a new one that has just occurred. With two mysteries, a ghost and a HERO, this one is hard to put down!" ~ Debbies' Bookbag Reviews

Get it while it's hot at Amazon:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cheese and Herb Log

With football parties in full swing, you need to have plenty of food on hand.  I came across this super cheese log to share with you. It’s simple to prepare and tastes great.

Cheese and Herb Log


250g block cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
Crackers, to serve


Mix cream cheese, dill, chives and lemon rind together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon half the mixture onto 1 piece of baking paper. Using paper as a guide, shape into a log. Roll up firmly. Twist ends to secure. Repeat with remaining mixture and baking paper. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Serve with crackers.










Wednesday, January 15, 2014

These will be POP-ular in my House!

Yesterday, I came across the coolest food item I have seen in a while. To those of you who are familiar with bubble tea, these may not be anything new. I discovered them at the toppings bar of a frozen yogurt shop. They go by a few names, but "juice poppers" is the term I like best. They are caviar-sized, spheres. The outside is a giggly, jello/tapioca-like casing. The inside is full of fruity, juicy liquid. These are on Amazon; and I hear a local restaurant supply carries them. I am so getting some!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Curried Broccs - VEGAN

I had some leftover rice, so I melted some vegan margarine and sauteed some chopped onion, minced garlic, curry powder, and broccoli florets. When those were soft, I put in the rice and got it all not and buttery.

The meat-looking stuff is seitan, dredged in flour and fried in just a bit of vegan margarine.

I'm sorry to say the onions didn't agree with my DH, but he found it delicious while it lasted.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, January 10, 2014

Snowy Berry Dessert

Winter and desserts go hand in hand. In my search for sumptuous dessert recipes, I came across this dessert filled with berries. This berry pavlova has everything that is super tasty to tease your taste buds. It takes about an hour and a half to prepare, but it is worth the effort.
The measurements below would serve at least eight people comfortably. So you can alter the measurements according to your need.

Berry Pavlova


·         About 6 egg whites

·         About 315 grams of caster sugar

·         2 teaspoons of white vinegar

·         1 tablespoon corn flour

·         300 ml thickened cream

·         Icing sugar to dust

·         Berries (while serving)


First make sure to preheat your oven to 120 degrees. Then trace a 20 cm circle on your baking paper and line it on the oven tray.  With an electric mixer whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well until it looks thick and glossy, and the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the vinegar and corn flour and fold with a large metal spoon until just combined. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tray. Using the traced circle as a guide, use a spatula or pallet knife to shape into a 20cm disc. Bake for one and half hour or until it is dry to the touch. Turn off oven and leave, with the door ajar, to cool completely.

With an electric mixer whisk the cream in a bowl until there is a soft peak which is formed. Now transfer the ready Pavlova to a serving plate and decorate it with a lot of frozen berries, cream and icing sugar.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And the Winner Is...

I drew a winner for my GOODBYE CUTIE PIES giveaway this morning. The winner is, entry #3! Petite, I will be in touch. Congratulations! If you did not win, but want to purchase a copy; Fatal Foodies may place an order from now through midnight next Tuesday (1/14/14). Your special discount will be the book for $9.50+$2.00 shipping (for first book, $1.00 for each additional book). If you want to order, you can comment or email:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Russian Dressing

Not pictures of Ludmilla or any of the other beautiful Russian ladies who send me emails begging to meet me to start families and be friends. This is a blog about food, right?

Russian Dressing is the kind of recipe I like: mayonnaise with chili sauce mixed in.

"Russian" dressing seems to have originated in the USA in the early 1900s. It's speculated that it was called "Russian" because it used mayonnaise (the dressing for Russian Salad) and pickles, which was considered very Russian, and spicy red stuff, which was also considered very Russian.

You can blop in a little pickle relish, if you like, but you don't have to. If you want to get fancy, you can add chopped green peppers, parsley and onion. If you want to get really fancy, you can begin by making your own mayonnaise.

But, really, why? Just open a bottle of mayonnaise and a bottle of chili sauce and a jar of pickle relish and tell people, "You start with a good mayonnaise, thin it with chili sauce until it's of a pourable consistency, then add pickle relish a scant teaspoon at a time until it's just the way you like it. I never eat Russian Dressing out--they never mix it to suit me. It takes a very delicate touch."


Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monday, January 6, 2014

What to feed hungry firefighters by J.J. Cook

What to feed hungry firefighters
By J.J. Cook
From Playing with Fire
Book #2 in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries

Firefighters have as many problems deciding what to make for dinner as anyone else. The only difference is that they have to feed a large group of hungry men and women who might have to leave at any moment, and not come back for several hours..

One dish that is popular in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is pepper/tomato stew. We have an abundance of tomatoes and peppers that people like to can after the summer, and donate to the firehouse. 

That's great because we can use them at any time.

Soups and stews are popular  - so is pizza. The best foods are ones that can be warmed up easily after coming back from a call - if necessary. This tomato/pepper stew fits the bill.

Making tomato/pepper stew

Use a large skillet to saute one medium onion, thinly sliced, in two tablespoons of vegetable oil. add one pound of your favorite peppers - around here, we like the spicy ones! But you can also use bell peppers. Cook for fifteen minutes. Onion and peppers should be soft.

Add three ripe tomatoes (medium size or larger) that are peeled and chopped. Add one teaspoon salt (or salt substitute) and one teaspoon of sugar (or sugar substitute). Then add one teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika. Let cook another twenty minutes. It will look like chunky salsa when it is finished.

This is good as a side dish, or with chicken or beef added to it. It heats up easily in the microwave, if you have to leave in a hurry, and like many tomato-based dishes, tastes even better later!

Read about the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade, and get some of their recipes! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Yummy Leftovers?

December brings the elaborate fun-filled parties. Everybody is busy holidaying or preparing for the Christmas/New Year festivities and, of course, partying amid all the hustle and bustle. Get-togethers and parties come with mouthwatering menus and drinks. We often get so obsessed with the party that we end up ordering or preparing more than required.

I’m ashamed to think of the amount of food wasted after the parties (although with the number of critters we have, it isn’t often). So rather than throwing out perfectly good food, you can do something innovative with your leftovers and give it a new look and taste! I came across this ‘COMFY Casserole’ elaborated as ‘Cleaned Out My Fridge’ Casserole. Try it!

Cleaned Out My Fridge Casserole

What you need

1cup chopped cooked broccoli
1/2 cup diced cooked carrot
6 ounces chopped cooked smoked sausage
2 1/2 cups prepared macaroni and cheese
1 cup shredded colby-monterey jack cheese, divided
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
3) In a large bowl mix together broccoli, carrots and smoked sausage.
4) Then add macaroni and cheese and 4 ounces of Colby Monterey jack cheese blend, and enough milk to blend all ingredients well.
5) Then add the garlic powder and black pepper, mixing well.
6) At this point, taste and adjust your seasonings if desired.
7) Pour mixture into sprayed dish, and sprinkle remaining co/jack cheese over the top.
8) Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year...New Book...New Giveaway!

My newest book, GOODBYE CUTIE PIES, made its debut the week of Christmas. I will draw one winner for a free copy! Comment on my post to be entered. The winner will be announced next Wednesday.