Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Penne and Broccoli #vegetarian

This would have been vegan, if I had left off the cheese or used vegan cheese. But I didn't, so it's vegetarian.
This is tomato penne pasta, Simple Truth's Meatless Griller Strips, broccoli that had been boiled that I then roasted, olive oil drizzled over all and shredded cheese on top.

SO tough, eating vegetarian.... NOT.

Listen, those Griller Strips are SO GOOD! They're made with wheat and soy, so allergy alert, but they're really really yummy. We use them often for this and that.

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Bake

This recipe is from Suburban Epicurean, and it looks delicious. Check out the site for more quick and easy weeknight recipes.

What You Will Need:

3 or  4 medium sized fully-cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1 jar (28 ounces) of marinara sauce (I used Prego)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8x8 size glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
Spread the chopped chicken in the bottom of the dish. Next, pour the marinara sauce over the chicken and stir well. Top this mixture with the shredded cheese until completely covered.  
In a side bowl – combine breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt/pepper (if desired) and olive oil.
Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of the chicken mixture.  
Bake for about 30 minutes (until top is well browned).
Serve over whole wheat angel hair pasta or any pasta of your choice and a nice side salad!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

No Hunger at this Game!

My daughter Calli's HUNGER GAMES themed birthday celebration was fabulous! Calli and I worked together on this one. She searched ideas on Pinterest, chose colors, told me what food she wanted and made the labels to identify buffet selections. She wanted the atmosphere to be more like the opulent Capitol described in the books than the desolate districts. Therefore, food was plentiful and delicious! The treat bags were brown lunch sacks with character's names written on them. Inside the bags were things HUGER GAMES contestants would need for survival: bottled water energy mix (peanuts, M&Ms, dried cranberries). green hand sanitizer (labeled "tracker jacket venom) orange Tic Tacs (labeled "burn ointment")

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Of Those Days

I had one of those days a few weeks ago, and I came home and invented this cocktail. I drank that bad boy, too.

I call it the One Of Those Days, and it goes like this:

That's halved mandarin oranges in the glass. A shot of bourbon, a little hazelnut syrup (meant for coffee, actually), a couple dashes of bitters, and top it up with cold ginger ale.

It was delicious, and it was good for what ailed me. No homicide was committed, which was the idea behind the invention. And the drinking.

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

I was pinning along on Pinterest when I found this recipe and said, "That's what I'm sharing with Fatal Foodies this week!" The recipe comes from Cookies and Cups, and I recommend you go check out all the mouth-watering photos from the tutorial.

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

makes 24 cookies
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1⅓ cup flour
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and sugar together until light, scraping sides frequently.
  4. Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Mix in baking powder and salt.
  5. Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour. Dough will be thick.
  6. In a microwave safe bowl heat chocolate chips on high in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.
  7. Mix melted chocolate directly into cookie dough until evenly mixed.
  8. Drop dough by a measured tablespoon sized mounds onto baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookies just appear set. They will still be very soft on the inside. DO NOT overbake!!
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  1. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder and milk over medium heat, whisking until melted together. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar.
  2. Pour icing over cookies and allow icing to set before serving.
store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*Make sure not to overbake these cookies. The insides will remain soft and dense if baked correctly.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Onto Party #2

Both of my girls have March birthdays. I posted about Skylar's retro diner party. Coming up is Calli's HUNGER GAMES party. We will have activities and food that tie in with the theme. I'll post pics next week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pi Day, the Main Course #vegetarian

March 14 is Pi Day, you know (3.1415 this year!), so of course I made pie. I made two pies, in fact: a main course pie and a dessert pie.

I'll post about the dessert pie tomorrow on my own blog, since Wednesday is food day at Marian Allen, Author Lady.

Today, here, Imma show you my main course pie, which was vegetable pot pie with sage biscuit topping.

Here it is in the pan.
And here it is tumped out.
If you don't know what "tumped" means, y'all not from around here. "Tumped" is a combination of turned over and dumped.

ANYWAY, I cut up a potato, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and broccoli and cooked them in veg broth and margarine for about 20 minutes. I mixed flour with milk and stirred it in, cooking and stirring until the broth thickened. I TUMPED it into a pie pan. I made the biscuits with Heart Smart Bisquick, adding some rubbed sage, and put the biscuits on top of the veg. I baked it at 400 for about half an hour.

My only complaint was that there wasn't enough pie to biscuit. I do love my veg.

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Slow Cooker Peaches 'N Cream Oatmeal

1 1/4 cup rolled oats
4 cups water
3 tbs heavy whipping cream
2 peaches, diced (skins removed)
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp agave nectar (or other sweetener)

Place all ingredients in crock pot, stir together and cook on low for 4-6 hours (depending on crock pot).  
After about three hours of cooking, check to see if it needs more water, more oats and add accordingly.  Depending on your crock pot you may notice after three hours it’s pretty much done and you can turn your crock pot to warm for the remainder of the night/time.  
You can stir in additional sweetener if needed or even pour a drizzle of cream over the top.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Retro Diner Party

Saturday, I had a retro diner themed party for my daughter's sixth birthday. This nostalgic theme would be fun for any age. The inspiration for this theme was a black and whiter checkerboard floor my husband put in our garage. I thought the floor looked just like a kitschy diner. Most of the food was fairly standard, except for the ice cream float table. I offered a variety of sodas in an icy steel tub. Another tub had individual cups of vanilla ice cream. There were also striped straws, cherries, whipped cream and sprinkles on the float table. I added hot pink and turquoise to the black and white backdrop. Balloons, plastic tablecloths, paper plates and napkins brought in the color. Table centerpieces were old soda fountain glasses filled with various candies (cotton candy, jelly beans, bubble gum, etc.). Each glass had a Pixie Stick to look like a straw. On the walls, I taped "records" made from black dessert plates and a couple of bright posters. I embellished some of the decor with rhinestone strips from a dollar store. Treat bags were cellophane sacks of gum balls tied up with ribbon. Since we store one of our Christmas trees in the garage, I hung the treat bags from the tree. My next party will be completely different. My older daughter has chosen a HUNGER GAMES theme for her party later this month.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How To Make Leftovers Happy

How do you make leftovers happy? There are a couple of ways: Make soup, or make stir fry.

Last night, I made stir fry.

That's bok choy, red bell pepper, mushrooms, a bit of rice, boullion thickened with cornstarch, and soy sauce.

So the leftovers were happy, and so were we.

I love happy endings!

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I'm Gonna Chicken Out!

I used to pretty much refuse any store-bought help when it came to feeding birthday party guests. About the only things I did not make were the potato chips and ice cream. Before long, I realized my kids wanted certain already-made items. It started with them asking for cookie cakes. This year, both girls want Nibblerz trays from Zaxby's. Actually, easing up on the pressure to make everything myself has made it so much easier! In the end, I do not feel like I spend much more money buying pre-made items. Best yet, I save tons of time. Skylar's party is this weekend. I will be posting about it next week!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Yellow Snow, No. Yellow Rice, Yes.

Have you ever had saffron rice?

I was trying to think what to have one day, and I spotted a tiny container of saffron threads I'd picked up on closeout somewhere. Saffron, as you may or may not know, is the stigma of a particular kind of crocus. Yeah. Now tell me who figured that one out.

ANYWAY, I added the saffron, some butter, and some corn to a pot of jasmine rice, and we had this pretty and delicious dish.
The tiny red container is my saffron stash.

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