Friday, April 27, 2018

Chicken Fricassee with Spring Vegetables

Southern cooking has never tasted so good. This dish from Southern Living is perfect for outdoor parties. Pan-grilled seasoned chicken meets crisp vegetables and noodles with a creamy white wine sauce will make compliments fly at parties.

Chicken Fricassee with Spring Vegetables


8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 4 lb.)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black peper, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (8-oz.) package cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)
1 cup coarsely chopped leek (from 1 medium leek)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
Hot cooked egg noodles
chopped fresh chives


Pat chicken dry, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the pepper. Place flour in a large ziplock plastic freezer bag; add chicken to bag. Seal bag, and toss to coat with flour. Heat oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Remove chicken from bag, reserving flour in bag. Shake excess flour mixture from chicken, and place, bone side up, in skillet. Cook chicken until deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate, and keep warm.

Add mushrooms to hot drippings in skillet; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and leek; cook about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved flour; cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and wine; cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens slightly, about 6 minutes. Stir in cream and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, bone side down, nestling chicken into sauce mixture.

Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until sauce has thickened slightly and chicken is almost cooked through, about 15 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle withasparagus. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.

Serve chicken, vegetables, and sauce over hot cooked noodles, and garnish with chives, if desired.

Chef's Notes

Browning the chicken well makes the pan sauce rich and flavorful, so don’t rush through this step.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Seekrit Recipe -- Chocolate Pie

My mother always said this was a "secret family recipe." She was a funny lady.

Secret or not, #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, loves it, and I nearly always make it for her birthday, and often in between times.


  • 1 pre-made chocolate pie shell
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding
  • chocolate milk or vanilla almond milk as per box directions
  • pre-made whipped topping

Mix the pudding and pour it into the shell. Top with whipped topping. The end.

Some years ago, the whipped topping people made a chocolate version, and I used that, but I haven't seen it for a while. This time, I tried mixing chocolate into the white version, and ended up with s sloppy goop.

But Sara, quoting her late grandfather, said, "That don't hurt the eatin' of it," and dug in as usual.
The birds have not been indiscreet: those are chocolate sprinkles.

There are birds on it because long ago, Sara had a birthday cake with birds on it, and wanted to keep them for the next year. So every birthday cake for everybody had and still has the birds on it. When Middle Grandson was wee and went to his first non-family birthday party, they brought out the cake and he asked his mother, "But where are the birds?"

Who cut that cockeyed pie? I did. Why did I cut it cockeyed? I couldn't say. It just happened. I had only had one Guinness.

I'm posting today at my blog about the drink I made for Sara, which she loved. (She's a grownup now.)

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, April 20, 2018

Avocado Chicken Salad

Nothing is better for spring parties than fresh chicken salad sandwiches. Shredded chicken mixed with ripe avocado, Greek yogurt and fresh seasonings, easy to make and piled high on a flaky croissant as fresh as spring! Click on the link to get pictorials and nutritional information from Family Fresh Meals.

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad


2 cups shredded chicken
1 avocado
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp fresh cilantro
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20-30 minutes to let all those yummy flavors blend together. Serve on your favorite bread, crackers, pita pocket or on a bed of lettuce.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Drink to Yer Health #vegan

Did you know that Guinness is vegan? Did you know it ever wasn't? I didn't know it ever wasn't. I mean, how is beer not vegan?

Well, it's because isenglass is made from fish bladders, and isenglass was used to filter out yeast particles as part of the brewing process. Who knew? Did you know? I didn't know.

But Guinness has changed that, and now it's vegan.

PLUS, "Guinness is Good for You". According to the Guinness wiki,

Studies claim that Guinness can be beneficial to the heart. Researchers found that "'antioxidant compounds' in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls." 

Now, how about that?

Thanks. Don't mind if I do.
I'm posting today at my blog about Haitian chicken.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, April 13, 2018

Springtime Spaghetti

This spaghetti recipe from Clean Eating uses whole grain noodles, asparagus and zucchini to create a healthy and delicious appetizer. Light seasonal herbs, fresh lemon juice and Parmesan cheese bring the entire dish together.

Springtime Spaghetti with Pesto, Asparagus & Zucchini


2 cups packed fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted unsalted walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
1 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz thin asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into matchsticks 
or shredded
1 cup frozen petite or baby peas, thawed
8 oz whole-grain spaghetti (TRY: Jovial Whole Grain Einkorn Spaghetti)
1/2 cup grated or sliced Parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon


In a food processor, pulse basil, walnuts, garlic, ½ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp salt, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl, until finely chopped. With processor running, slowly drizzle in oil, then ¼ cup water and blend until a chunky sauce forms.

Mist a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Add asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is tender-crisp and no liquid remains, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, peas and remaining ½ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is tender, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Return pasta to pot.

Add asparagus mixture and basil mixture to pasta and heat on low, stirring gently to coat. Gradually stir in reserved cooking water, 1 tbsp at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Divide among plates and top with Parmesan and lemon zest, dividing evenly.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Make-Do Macs #Vegetarian

I had a taste for macaroni and cheese, but I didn't have any milk. Although we eat cheese and eggs (and meat, sometimes), we don't drink milk. Go figure.

Now that I think of it, we have a carton of shelf-stable unflavored, unsweetened almond milk, but I haven't had much luck cooking with almond milk, if he had to thicken, so it's just as well I forgot.

Nevertheless, I persisted. I boiled the macs and buttered a casserole dish. I put a layer of macs in the dish, a layer of shredded cheese, more macs, more cheese.

Now what?

Hmmmm.... I beat an egg, then mixed in a glop of mayonnaise. Poured that over the macs and kinda ooged the macs around so the egg/mayo could get all through. Baked it at 350F for about half an hour(ish).

Here's what it looked like:

Yeah, that side dish isn't vegetarian. That's kale cooked with bacon, just like Charlie's mother used to make.

On my blog today, I'm posting about the "potato salad casserole" we actually bought the bacon for.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring Asparagus

A wonderful side dish for any picnic table. Crunchy asparagus is complimented with toasted almonds, apple cider vinegar and smokey paprika to bring the best of spring. Get nutritional information and printable recipe at Taste of Home.

Spring Asparagus


1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese, optional


1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add asparagus; cook, covered, until crisp-tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain; place in a large bowl. Add tomatoes; cover and keep warm.
2. Place vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, onion, salt and paprika in a blender; cover and process until smooth. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Toss with asparagus mixture. Top with almonds and, if desired, cheese.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Cinnamon Soup

Charlie decided to make some split pea soup this week. He asked me what to put in it, besides split peas and water. I suggested chopped carrots, onion powder, and marjoram. He put those in.

He also decided to make stewed apples.

I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Yes, he tossed a shot of cinnamon into the wrong pot. He caught himself right away, and put the bulk of the intended cinnamon into the pot he meant it for, but the split peas had a definite cinnamon kick.

I sometimes deliberately put grated nutmeg into peas, so this wasn't too different. Cinnamon isn't sweet, you know; we just associate it with sweet because we usually combine it with sugar, but it's actually a little spicy.

So the soup was far from a failure. I doubt he'll put cinnamon in the soup on purpose next time, but it wasn't bad. Not bad at all.
One thing I forgot to tell him was to not salt the split peas until they had cooked a while; salting them at the beginning keeps them from softening up, for some reason. Probably science.

I'm posting today at my blog about a different kind of soup, this one being one that I made.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes