Friday, December 28, 2018

Braised Chicken Thighs

Bring in the meat with this delectable recipe with squash and greens.


4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 12), patted dry
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 scallions, white and pale green parts sliced into 1-inch pieces, dark green parts thinly sliced
4 dried chiles de árbol
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced ½ inch thick
1 bunch mustard greens, tough stems removed, leaves torn
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Cooked white rice (for serving)


Lightly season chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Working in 2 batches and pouring off all but 2 Tbsp. fat between batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is browned and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, placing skin side up (chicken will not be cooked through at this point).

Cook white and pale green parts of scallions, chiles, and ginger in same pot, stirring often, until scallions and ginger are golden, about 3 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to about 3 Tbsp., 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and 1 cup broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Return chicken to pot, placing skin side up and overlapping if needed. Partially cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 25–30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add squash and remaining 1 cup broth to pot and push in squash so it’s mostly submerged. Arrange greens on top. Bring to a simmer, partially cover pot, and cook until squash is barely fork-tender and greens are wilted, 10–12 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium, and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by about two-thirds and has the consistency of thin gravy, 10–15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and drizzle vinegar over vegetables. Taste sauce; it should be plenty salty, but season with more salt if needed. Add chicken back to pot, turning to coat in sauce, then scatter dark green parts of scallions and sesame seeds over top. Serve with rice.

Chicken can be braised 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat covered over low.

* Get full details at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Damn! Stir-Fry AGAIN? YES!

Stir-fry is one of those clean-out-the-fridge dishes, which makes it an ever-new experience, dunnit?

So we had this.
Mushrooms, celery, onions, leftover rice, cashews, and water chestnuts. Fried in sesame oil, sprinkled with Five-Spice Powder, soy sauce and Sriracha Sauce added to taste at the table.

And guess what? Our dinner guest doesn't like water chestnuts, so I got mine AND HERS.

Total win.

I'm posting at my blog today about another clean-out-the-fridge meal, this one Italianate.

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Cheesy Corn Casserole

Casseroles are King, and you can delight your guests with this creamy concoction.

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit's "Cooking Without Recipes" segment:

Welcome to Cooking Without Recipes, in which we teach you how to make a dish we love, but don’t worry too much about the nitty-gritty details of the recipe, so you can create your own spin. This is copywriter Sarah McLellan's "creamy, cheesy corn thing" that's had guests asking for the recipe for over a decade.

Click on the link to get all the details on how to make the dish!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Waste Not Want Not - Citrus Spread #Vegetarian

Although my husband and I usually eat vegetarian shading into vegan, we don't identify with those food restrictions. We like carnitas at Mexican restaurants, so I decided to make carnitas in my Instant Pot.

One of the things the instructions say to do is squeeze the juice from two oranges and two limes. I didn't squeeze them; I reamed them out on a juicer which caught the pulp.

Naturally, I saved the pulp, which is where the title of this post comes in.

I took the pulp, mixed in some softened cream cheese, and added sugar to taste.

We spread the result on crackers and went Mmmmmmm!
I'm posting the recipe for the carnitas on my blog today.

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

A perfect salty side for any dish is this recipe for mouth-watering potatoes.


2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved, quartered if large
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)


Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt in a medium saucepan; add water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes; drain and pat dry.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Serve topped with chives and sea salt.

*Recipe by Dawn Perry/See nutritional information and mouth-watering photos at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Stuffed, Squash

We love acorn squash and we love Stovetop Stuffing (cornbread style), so we had them together.

Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Keep 'em and roast 'em like pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Put the squash halves cut side up into a cooking dish that'll hold them (obvs) and put about an inch or two of water in with them. Butter the edges and insides.

Microwave them for 10 minutes or bake them for about 30, until the flesh is soft.

Meanwhile, make the stuffing (we actually use off-brand) according to package directions. When it's done and the squash is done, stuff the squash with the stuffing and put it back in for 5-10 minutes so the top of the stuffing gets crispy.

Good heated for leftovers, too!
I'm posting today at my blog about what we did with leftover crepes.

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pumpkin Pie

No doubt there's going to be a lot of dessert at the celebrations you attend this year. You can be the life of the party by bringing your very own pumpkin pie.



1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons chilled lard or vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Filling and Assembly

⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temperature, beaten to blend
2 cups unsweetened pumpkin purée
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
⅓ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream (for serving)



Pulse sugar, salt, and 2 cups flour in a food processor until combined. Add butter and lard and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pieces of butter and lard visible, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With motor running, drizzle in vinegar and 5½ Tbsp. ice water and pulse until dough is still crumbly but just holds together when squeezed (add 1 tsp. water at a time if necessary, but be careful not to overwork dough).

Turn out dough onto a work surface. Knead 1–2 times, pressing to incorporate any shaggy pieces. Flatten into a 6"-wide disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 14" round. Transfer to a 9" pie dish. Pick up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish, letting excess dough hang over dish. Trim, leaving about a 1" overhang. Fold overhang under; pinch and crimp. Chill 30 minutes.

Line dough with parchment paper or foil, leaving some overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edges and just beginning to brown, 25–35 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights and reduce oven temperature to 350°. Brush inside of crust (not the crimped edges) with egg wash and continue to bake until crust is set and beginning to lightly brown in the center, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 3 days ahead; keep chilled, or freeze up to 2 months. Crust can be baked 1 day ahead; tightly wrap and store at room temperature.

Filling and Assembly

Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl until no clumps remain. Add eggs, pumpkin, condensed milk, cream, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Bake pie until edges are set and slightly puffed but center is recessed and wobbles like Jell-O, 60–75 minutes (it will continue to set after baking). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 3 hours before slicing. Serve with whipped cream.

Do Ahead: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead; tightly wrap and chill. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Recipe by Rick Martinez/See more at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Almost Instant Miso Soup #Vegan

I love miso soup. I love it so much, I bought a packet of miso paste so I can make it at home.

And I made it at home.

What took longest was dry-frying the mushroom slices. I fry them with salt and no margarine or anything because that seems to concentrate the mushroom flavor.

Then four cups of water, veggie bouillon to make stock, oregano, corn, and broken rice threads. Take it off the heat and stir in two tablespoons miso paste.


I'm posting at my own blog today about a vegan veggie bake hot salad I made. ALSO GOOD.

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

Best Mac and Cheese

There's nothing like Southern Cooking when it comes to Mac and Cheese. Enjoy the rich flavor offered by this recipe of a childhood favorite.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about ¼ cup)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
8 ounces cavatappi or other short curly pasta
2 ½ cups whole milk
½ small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Gruyère, grated (about 1 cup)
4 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
½ teaspoon English mustard powder (such as Colman’s)
Pinch of cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden brown, 6–8 minutes (make sure to get them toasty brown; they won’t darken much during baking). Transfer to a small bowl and toss with Parmesan, thyme leaves, and ¼ tsp. salt.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (the noodles will continue to cook in the cheese sauce, so take them out a minute or two before you think they’re actually done). Drain pasta; let cool while you make the sauce.

Bring milk to a bare simmer in a small saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to stick to bottom of saucepan, about 1 minute. Add warm milk in a few additions, whisking to combine after each addition.

Bring béchamel sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and doesn’t feel grainy when a little bit is rubbed between your fingers, 6–8 minutes (cooking the flour thoroughly at this stage ensures a creamy sauce). Add Fontina, Gruyère, cheddar, mustard powder, cayenne, and ¾ tsp. salt and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and mix in pasta; transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish.

Bake 10 minutes. Top with Parmesan breadcrumbs and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges, 8–10 minutes longer. Let cool in pan 15 minutes before serving.

* See mouth-watering photos and get all the details at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Quick and Easy Supper, Naturally #Vegetarian Could Be #Vegan

Sometimes, you just want something quick and easy. Like, always, unless somebody else makes it.

So the other night we had this:

While the water comes to a boil and the spaghetti cooks, mix up some garlic cheese biscuits (don't know if there's a vegan version) from a packet, roll them into breadstick shape, and bake. ALSO, in a little olive oil, fry some mushrooms and onions. Add tomato sauce and Italian seasonings. When it's all drained and assembled, top with shredded or grated cheese or cheese substitute. Or, you know, don't.

I'm posting another Italian-y dish today on my blog.

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

Apple Cider Doughnuts

No Fall is complete without apple cider doughnuts. You can bring in the holiday right to your own home with this easy recipe.


2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
3 cups apple cider
½ cup apple butter
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 cups)

Special Equipment

A 3¼-inch-diameter cutter, 1¼-inch-diameter cutter, deep-fry thermometer


Bring cinnamon sticks and apple cider to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until liquid is thick, syrupy, and reduced to about ⅓ cup, 20–30 minutes. Scrape into a medium bowl and whisk in apple butter, buttermilk, and vanilla until incorporated; set aside.

Whisk baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, 3½ cups flour, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and ¼ cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 2 additions, alternating with cider mixture in 2 additions, starting with dry ingredients and ending with cider mixture (dough will be very soft and sticky).

Scrape dough onto a parchment lined-rimmed baking sheet thoroughly dusted with flour (about ⅓ cup). Dust hands and top of dough with more flour, then gently pat dough to ¾" thick. Dust with more flour and tightly cover with plastic wrap; chill dough at least 3 hours.

Whisk remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon in a small bowl until no lumps remain.

Working on baking sheet, punch out as many rounds as you can with 3¼" cutter, then use 1¼" cutter to punch out center of each round. Gather doughnut scraps, reserving holes, and gently re-roll without overworking dough; repeat until all dough has been used (you should have 18 doughnuts).

Set a wire rack inside a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Fit a large pot with deep-fry thermometer and pour in oil to a depth of 3". Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in batches, fry doughnuts until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared rack and let cool slightly. Fry doughnut holes until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared rack and let cool slightly. Toss warm doughnuts and doughnut holes in cinnamon sugar.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.

*See full details and mouth-watering photos at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Don't Throw Away Those Seeds! #Snacks #Vegan

Oh, you already threw away the seeds you scooped out of your Halloween pumpkin. Probably a good idea, at this late date.

HOWEVER, maybe you're planning to make a punkin ... I mean pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. If so, DON'T THROW AWAY THOSE SEEDS.


This is a favorite treat around here.  We were delighted to find that it works equally well with seeds from acorn or butternut squash.  The procedure is the same. 
  • Gunk dug out of the middle of a pumpkin or an acorn squash
  • Butter or margarine (melted) or oil
  • Seasoning (salt and pepper, seasoned salt, herbs)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Work all the seeds free of strings and pulpy bits, but DO NOT WASH OFF THE JUICES.  Mix seeds with just enough butter, margarine or oil to coat.  Add seasonings and stir to coat.  We use vegan margarine and JANE'S CRAZY MIXED-UP SALT, but Mrs. Dash or garlic olive oil and Italian seasoning would also be good.  I guess you could use butter and cinnamon sugar, if you wanted them sweet, or corn oil and chili powder if you wanted them spicy.  Spread in a single layer on a baking pan and bake at 350 F for half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally, until they're as toasty brown as you like.

I'm posting today at my blog about a different kind of pumpin "pie".

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Shrimp and Noodle Soup

If you feel a little run down, bolster yourself with this warming shrimp and noodle soup recipe.



6 whole cloves
6 green cardamom pods
4 star anise pods
3 dried chiles de árbol
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 bunch cilantro
3 medium shallots, halved through root ends
5 garlic cloves, smashed
2 6-inch pieces lemongrass, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed
1 4-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced ½-inch thick
12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


½ cup cashews
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 Fresno chile, chopped
1 3-inch piece lemongrass, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon shrimp paste with bean oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


4 12-ounce packages ramen noodles
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces mung bean sprouts
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Fresh tender herbs (such as Thai basil, cilantro, and/or mint)
Freshly ground black pepper
Chili oil and lime wedges (for serving)

*Get more details and reviews at Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Writers Retreat Chicken Stew #InstantPot

Our #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, came to the writers retreat the Southern Indiana Writers Group is having. She brought ingredients and I brought the Instant Pot, and she made this.
This is chicken thighs, bite-size potatoes, and carrot sticks. She seasoned it with salt, Penzeys Sunny Paris Seasoning, shallots, a touch of sherry, and pesto.

It was most delicious! She cooked it on the slow-cooker setting for four hours, but then we had to pressure-cook it for another half an hour because the carrots were still crunchy.

Mmm-mmm, we're eatin' GOOD at this retreat. Getting a lot of writing done, too.

I'm posting on my blog today about a beef stew I made for the gang, also in the Instant Pot.

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

Friday, November 9, 2018

One-Pot Baked Pasta

Whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, parties just won't be the same without this easy baked pasta recipe that includes delicious sausage and invigorating broccoli rabe.


Kosher salt
12 ounces Fontina and/or aged cheddar cheese

6 garlic cloves

2 large sprigs sage

1 bunch of broccoli rabe

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups half-and-half

1 pound ridged medium pasta shells, or large tube pasta, such as lumaconi or rigatoni


1. Place racks in center and upper third of oven; preheat to 325°. Heat a large pot of water over high. Add several tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil (this is for your pasta).

2. Grate 12 oz. Fontina cheese on the large holds of a box grater (you should have about 4½ cups). Smash 6 garlic cloves, peel, and coarsely chop. Pick all sage leaves from stems and set aside about 10. Finely chop remaining leaves (you should have about 1 Tbsp.). Trim tough dried ends from 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, then cut stems into 2" pieces. Leave leafy ends long.

3. Heat a deep, large, ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add ¼ cup oil and swirl to coat. Remove 1 lb. sausage from casings and add to skillet. Break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until sausage is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir a couple of times and continue to cook, undisturbed again, until sausage is fully cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.

4. Add garlic, chopped sage, and ½ tsp. red pepper and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. 
5. Stir in 2 cups half-and-half and simmer until sauce is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. 
6. Gradually add about two-thirds of cheese, bit by bit, stirring constantly and letting cheese melt completely before adding more, until sauce is smooth and thick, about 3 minutes; season with salt and remove from heat. 
7. Meanwhile, cook 1 lb. pasta shells in boiling salted water 2 minutes shy of package instructions (8–10 minutes depending on type). During the last 2 minutes, add all of broccoli rabe to pot with pasta. Drain in a colander and shake several times to remove excess water. Return pasta and broccoli rabe to empty pasta pot. 
8. Add cheesy sausage mixture from skillet to pot with pasta. Stir until pasta and broccoli rabe are coated in sauce, then transfer everything back to skillet. 
9. Cover skillet tightly with foil and bake on center rack until pasta is tender and sauce is bubbling, 30–40 minutes. Let rest a few minutes while you heat broiler. 
10. Remove foil and top with remaining cheese. Toss sage leaves with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl and arrange over pasta. Broil until cheese is browned and bubbling in spots, about 5 minutes (depending on strength of broiler). 
11. Let pasta cool a minute or two before serving. 

Recipe by Claire Saffitz

*For step-by-step instructions with photographs, please visit Bon Appetit

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Leftover Stir-fry #food

I don't throw much away. If there's a tad bit of something we can't finish, I generally use it up the next day in soup or a casserole or a stir-fry. These guys ended up in a stir-fry.
Got some rice there, got some summer squash, got some fresh green beans and some mushrooms. Fried those babies in a splash of sesame oil and put some butter onna top. My, my.

I'm posting today on my own blog about a pescatarian feast we had.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

For those who love sweet potatoes but want them with a little kick. This twice-roasted sweet potato is perfect for all celebrations.

3 medium sweet potatoes or garnet yams, scrubbed (about 3 pounds)
1 Fresno or other red chiles, thinly sliced
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°. Poke holes all over sweet potatoes and wrap each in foil. Place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast until potatoes are tender, 60–70 minutes (if you have one, use a cake tester to poke right through foil). Unwrap and let sit until cool enough to handle. Increase oven temperature to 450°. Meanwhile, combine chile, honey, and butter in a small saucepan; season with salt. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Smash sweet potatoes with your palm, then tear into bite-sized pieces (including skin), the more irregular, the better. Place in a large bowl and add half of hot honey (do not include chile as it will burn); season with salt. Arrange pieces, skin side down, in a single layer on an unlined rimmed baking sheet and roast until browned and crisp around the edges, 20–25 minutes. Drizzle with remaining hot honey with chile.

* To see photographs and nutritional information, please visit Bon Appetit

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Half a BAUERNFRUHSTUCK Is Better Than None #Vegetarian

Charlie said he used to eat BAUERNFRUHSTUCK when he was stationed in Germany, so we have it now and then.

Here's a recipe for a real one, at Genius Kitchen.

Ours was not so hearty. We're cutting back on meat, so no bacon or ham. We're out of onions and the green pepper was hiding, and I forgot the cheese.

So what we had was fried leftover baked potatoes with eggs in, cooked in vegan margarine.
It was very tasty.

I'm posting at my blog today about another of our favorite dishes: roasty vegetables!

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Death By Pineapple

Sounds like a great title for a murder mystery set in Hawaii, doesn't it? BUT, NO! IT'S A TRUE THING! Well, no, it isn't a true thing, BUT IT COULD BE!

See, one of my business partners in Per Bastet Publications and I went to Magna cum Murder, the best mystery conference inna world, and I brought these dried pineapple chunks for snackies.
My partner and I each had some. When I got home, I read the label on the top:

My partner is gluten intolerant, many people are deathy allergic to peanuts, and I suffer extreme reaction from lack of a serial comma. Fortunately, she saw the label and calculated (I just checked with her and she was correct) that there wasn't enough flour to give HER trouble at HER particular level of sensitivity, as long as she only had a couple.

But, are these a death trap, or what???

I'm posting at my own blog today about another death trap that is most delicious: Nutella.

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Deadly Green Thing

Why did I even buy this stuff? Well, I bought it because Oldest Grandson recommended it to me. I should have been suspicious when he immediately joined the Navy and shipped out of state.
These are onion-skin-thin stiff squares of seaweed, lightly salted. Know what they taste like? Like lightly salted, crispy freakin' seaweed, that's what.

Nasty? OH, yeah.

The upside is that our kitten loves them. If we break them up into tiny enough pieces, she'll even swallow them. The downside is that she then unswallows them. So, no seaweed snacks for her.

Or, if I'm lucky, ever again for me. I may lay in a supply for Oldest Grandson, though, and make him a present when he comes home for Christmas.

Ho, ho, ho.

I'm posting at my own blog today about an old friend--SPAM!

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Cauliflower Breakfast Casserole

Is cauliflower still In? I dunno. But I had some cauliflower that was starting to go to Jesus, so I decided to make a hash brown casserole with it.

Core your cauliflower and break it into florets. Put it in a covered bowl and microwave it for about five minutes to soften it up.

Mix cauliflower, a little butter or vegan margarine, cream of chicken (or cream of some-kinda-veg) soup, cooked onion or onion powder, and shredded cheese. Bake until bubbly.

I had some for supper, and had some the next day with breakfast.
As you can see, I crumpled some crackers on top. If I should ever make it again, I would put crushed crackers IN it, 'cause I like crushed crackers in stuff.

ANYWAY, it was okay. Charlie wasn't nuts about it, so I probably won't make it again, but it was edible. If you're heavy into cauliflower, you would probably like it.

Yesterday, I accidentally posted my Tuesday post on my own blog about an Instant Pot one-pot supper that Charlie and I did like, enthusiastically.

So today, I'm posting about kudzu.

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Kinda Sorta Hot Browns

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, so I'm well aware of the famous Hot Brown. I've even had it at its place of origin, The Brown Hotel (dee-lish-us!). If you want the real thing, go there, or use the recipe at the link I just dropped and make it at home.

The version I made was little like that, but it was still good.

See, I had a memorial celebration of my late mother's life, and I had it catered, which means an awesome lady at church put it together for me. She overestimated the meat intake of Mom's friends and mine, so there was lots of lunch meat left over. I gave most of it away, but carried some turkey and ham home.

When I have both turkey (or chicken) and ham, I make a kinda sorta Hot Brown.

So, toast on the bottom. Then the turkey (or chicken) and the ham. Then white sauce, then cheese. Broil it until it's hot.

A real Hot Brown (as you'll see if you follow the link and read the recipe) has no ham and does have bacon. So maybe I should call this something else, but a Hot My House just sounds stupid.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Squashed Soup Not SQUASH Soup #Vegan

I went to the farmers market last Saturday and I bought a buncha tomatoes and I brought them happily home and I dropped them on the basement floor. On the bright side, they stayed in the bag. They did, however, crack, and one of them was flat-dab squashed.

So I did the only thing I could do: made sammiches with the cracked ones and put the squashed one into soup.

So this is cauliflower, a peeled, chopped (squashed) tomato, veg bouillon, and Italian seasoning. I believe I unveganated it by topping it with a little shredded cheese, but that was unnecessary.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a very UNvegan dish: ribs. [NOTE: Apologies to anyone who tried to follow this link between 9/21-9/26. My website was down.]

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pretty Damn Ghastly Potato Soup could be #Vegetarian or even #Vegan #GF

Oldest Grandson has joined the Navy and has been spending some time with us before he goes. He asked for potato soup, so I made some.

At the same time, Charlie found a recipe for potato soup that was very different from mine and suggested I try it, so I did.

It isn't really pretty damn ghastly, but we all agreed that we like mine better. The one I made comes from the Electric Consumer magazine and is called German Heritage Cheesy Potato Soup. Follow the link to the recipe. It looks like this:

If you leave out the ham, it's vegetarian. If you also leave out the cheese or use vegan "cheese", it's vegan.

My potato soup is NOT vegan, but it could be, and it IS vegetarian and gluten-free. You may be sure I'll make it before Oldest Grandson leaves.

Grandmar's Potato Soup

  • potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • salted water
  • onion powder or cooked onion or shallots
  • milk
  • butter or vegan margarine
  • parsley

Cook the potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain most of the water, unless it's cooked down until the potatoes are barely covered, or maybe even sticking up a little.

Mash the potatoes a little, leaving some chunks.

Add milk and margarine (or butter) and bring back to heat, being careful not to boil it. Add salt to taste.

Really easy, really simple, really quick, really good.

I'm posting at my own blog today about French Toast.

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Grilled Pork Chops With Smokin' Sauce

Homemade sauce makes these pork chops from Taste of Home memorable, and cooking them on the grill makes them quick and easy.

Grilled Pork Chops With Smokin' Sauce 


1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1-1/4 teaspoons mustard seed
1-1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-1/4 teaspoons whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 bone-in pork loin chops (7 ounces each)


In a small saucepan, mix first nine ingredients; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1/4 cup sauce for serving.

Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, crush seasonings with brown sugar. Rub mixture over chops.

Place chops on an oiled grill over medium heat. Grill, covered, until a thermometer reads 145°, 5-6 minutes per side, brushing top with remaining sauce after turning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Serve with reserved sauce.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Not Meat Meat

Our hick town grocery started stock more vegan stuff. More as in some. So, since we're eating less meat, I bought some to try.

I got some Beyond Meat beyond chicken grilled strips and some gardein meatless meatballs.

The chicken was pretty ... wait for it ... foul. Could be worse, but I've had much better. We could get used to it. It would have been better if we had cut it into cubes.

The meatballs were also not so great.

We had them another day, cut into pieces and on a pizza, and they were pretty good. So, a pretty lukewarm review, actually. Sorry.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a chicken curry I made with actual chicken.

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

Friday, September 7, 2018

Simple, Perfect Chili

The name of this recipe says it all. Chili is the perfect meal when it comes to one-pot
cooking. Simple ingredients combine to quickly satisfy even the heartiest appetite, and chili is one of those healthy meals the whole family will enjoy. This recipe comes from Food Network's Ree Drummond. (Click the link to watch a video of this dish being prepared.)

Simple, Perfect Chili


2 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup masa harina
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded Cheddar, for serving
Chopped onions, for serving
Tortilla chips, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving


Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed. 

After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tortilla chips and lime wedges.

2011 Ree Drummond, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Scrambled Eggs a la Man

Charlie often makes breakfast for us while I work. His range isn't wide (eggs), but it's always good. Here's what he made us the other day:
Yeah, this one was a little weird, but not bad. Very good, once you got used to it.

Eggs scrambled with chopped tomatoes and summer sausage.

I'm posting today at my own blog about another weird but delicious dish I had at a restaurant.

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Chicken Taco Pizzas

Combine three favorites with this tasty dish. This healthy pizza from Good Housekeeping cooks in about 12 minutes, and toppings can be easily added or subtracted to suit your family's needs.

Chicken Taco Pizzas


4 (6-inch) flatbreads or pitas
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 rotisserie chicken
1 chipotle chile in adobo
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. pickled sliced mild jalapeño chiles
1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
shredded lettuce and fresh cilantro, for serving
foil-lined baking sheet


Preheat oven to 450°F.
From one rotisserie chicken, shred 2 cups chicken meat. Add to medium mixing bowl.
Finely chop 1 chipotle chile in adobo and add to the mixing bowl.
Drain 1/2 cup pickled sliced mild jalapeño chiles. Set aside.
Arrange 4 (6-inch) flatbreads or pitas on a large foil-lined baking sheet. Spray bread with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together the 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat and chopped chipotle with 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
Divide evenly among breads.
Drizzle 1/2 cup sour cream on top of the pizzas.
Top each pizza with 2 tablespoons jalapeño chiles and 1/4 cup Cheddar.
Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake pizzas until the bottom is golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Garnish with shredded lettuce and fresh cilantro before serving.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Fork It Like a Salad, Chip It Like a Dip #Vegan

I love this dish, especially in the summer, but I have to be careful about the salsa I use, because my DH has a sensitive esophagus. Me, not so much, so, if I'm making this for just us two, I can use almost none in his and add some to mine.

This is called various things, but I call it black bean salad.
The picture was dark, and I fiddled with it to try to make it usable. Forgive my failure. This is really very good.


  • canned black beans, drained and rinsed and drained again (I used the southwest seasoned)
  • corn (cut fresh off the cob is best, or cut off leftover corn on the cob)
  • salsa, of whatever heat you like.

Mix these ingredients together in whatever proportions you like. Drain before serving.

I'm posting at my own blog today about a light but lovely summer supper.

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Extra-Easy Lasagna

This Italian classic is sure to please, and this one from My Recipes really is extra easy with only five ingredients. You don't even have to pre-cook the noodles!

Extra-Easy Lasagna


1 pound lean ground beef 
4 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce 
6 uncooked lasagna noodles 
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese 
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese 
1/4 cup hot water

How to Make It

Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pasta sauce.

Spread one-third of meat sauce in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish; layer with 3 noodles and half each of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. (The ricotta cheese layers will be thin.) Repeat procedure; spread remaining one-third of meat sauce over mozzarella cheese. Slowly pour 1/4 cup hot water around inside edge of dish. Tightly cover baking dish with 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Classico Tomato & Basil pasta sauce.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Another Summer Feast #Vegetarian #Vegan

As summer draws to a close, we're enjoying our fresh veg more and more, knowing we won't have it much longer.

Charlie doesn't care for eggplant, but he's a good sport and indulges my taste for it, since I only buy it fresh.

Eggplant rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with seasoned salt and grilled until it's blackened on the outside and creamy on the inside. Green beans and red new potatoes (or new red potatoes?) cooked with shallots.

Oh, fresh veg, how I'll miss you when you're gone!

I'm posting at my own blog today about a Mexican-ish vegetarian feast.

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

Friday, August 17, 2018

Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast

For classic one-pot cooking, you can't forget pot roast with all those delicious slow-roasted vegetables. Try using baby carrots instead of peeling and dicing regular carrots to save even more time. This recipe comes to us from Sabrina at Dinner then Dessert. You should click on the link to see all the mouth-watering photos.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast


4-5 pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 2" chunks
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
minced parsley optional, to garnish


Season the chuck roast with the Kosher salt, pepper, and thyme (if you are sensitive to sodium, adjust to your taste or you can even leave the salt out altogether since you're adding broth).

Heat your pan (or if you can brown in your slow cooker, do it in that) insert to medium-high.

Add the canola oil and when it ripples and is hot add in the roast and brown, deeply, for 4-5 minutes on each side.

In your slow cooker add the carrots, potatoes, and garlic.

Lay the beef on top, then add the beef broth and cover, cooking on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.

In the last hour mix your cornstarch and water and add it to the slow cooker to thicken the sauce or you can take the food out when done cooking, and add the leftover liquid to a small saucepan with the cornstarch/water mixture and cook on high for just 2-3 minutes until the liquid is thickened into a gravy.

Pour the gravy over the meat and garnish with parsley if desired.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

#Vegan Feast With Okra #OmitOkraToTaste

Me, I've come to like okra. Used to hate it. Slimy. Ugh! But now I think of it as liquid silk. Heavenly!

ANYWAY, we had this:
All from the local farmers market. Cucumbers and yellow tomatoes. Yellow squash sauteed in just a mere glaze of vegan margarine and sprinkled with Penzeys Old World Seasoning (I don't get paid to boost Penzeys, I just LOVE their seasonings). Small-to-medium okra pods drizzled in olive oil and salted, roasted at 400F for about 20 minutes, turning often. Just pick 'em up and bite 'em off at the stem. Yum!

I'm posting at my own blog about a NOT-vegan chicken stew.

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Pot pie is one of those quick and easy meals that everyone likes. This version from Betty Crocker can be even more of a time-saver if you use a rotisserie chicken. As an added bonus, you can throw in any leftover vegetables you have handy if you need to use them up.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie


1 2/3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup cut-up cooked chicken 
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup Original Bisquick™ mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg


Heat oven to 400°F. In an ungreased 9-inch pie plate, stir vegetables, chicken, and soup.

In a medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.

Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Benedictine #Vegetarian

I grew up in Louisville, so I've been eating Benedictine all my life. I was surprised to learn it wasn't universally known, but it was invented by Jenny Carter Benedict, a caterer and restaurateur in Louisville and is pretty much regional. Like Hot Browns, which is WAY NOT vegetarian.

ANYWAY, summer is the best time for Benedictine, because you can get fresh cucumbers.

Here's my Benedictine:
and here's how I make it:


  • 1 8-oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped or sliced
  • onion juice, powder, or minced
  • salt

Put the cucumber in a strainer or sieve over a bowl and sprinkle to taste with salt. Let sit for a bit so some of the juice runs out.

Miss Jenny only used the juice, but I and thousands like me use the cucumber, only adding the juice if necessary.

Put the cucumber, cream cheese, and onion to taste into a food processor and blend well. You can crush the cucumber with a fork, if you prefer, and mix everything with a fork. The result should be a very pale green. You can add a drop or two of food coloring, if you want to. I don't.

This is very refreshing, and great on toast, bagels, crackers, or croissants.

I'm posting at my blog today on the subject of a wonderful summer spread.

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

One-Pan Pasta

This one-pan pasta dish from Martha Stewart is a delicious time-saver that helps you include healthy, wholesome ingredients. It cooks up in under ten minutes.

One-Pan Pasta


12 oz. linguine
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 sprigs basil
Course salt and freshly-ground pepper
Parmesan cheese


Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated (about 9 minutes).

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Naan Pizza--YES!

Charlie has been buying commercially produced naan bread at the grocery, because they have it on sale nearly every week. In case you don't know what naan is, it's a flatbread, like pita.

He's still on his pizza kick, so we make pizza on naan bread.

We cut a piece in two, because he likes his with almost nothing on it, and I like mine piled with stuff. Here's a picture of mine:
That's olives, chopped summer sausage, and about fifteen cheeses. Ordinarily, I would also put mushrooms and onion on it, but I was too hungry to take the time to slice up the extra ingredients.

I'm posting today at my own blog about a new shipment from Penzeys Spices. Mmmmm.....

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Hamburger Steak With Sweet Onion-Mushroom Gravy

Leave it to Southern Living to come up with a simple but healthy meal which will also give you peace of mind when it comes to weeknight dinner preparation.

Below is the recipe, but please click on the link for photos and complete information:

Hamburger Steak with Sweet Onion-Mushroom Gravy


2 honey-wheat bread slices 
1 pound ground round 
1 large egg, lightly beaten
 2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1 (1.2-oz.) envelope brown gravy mix 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms 
1 medium-size sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced 

How to Make It 

Step 1 Process bread slices in a food processor 10 seconds or until finely chopped. Place breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl; add ground round and next 4 ingredients. Gently combine until blended, using your hands. Shape into 4 (4-inch) patties. 

Step 2 Whisk together brown gravy mix and 1 1/2 cups water. 

Step 3 Cook patties in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes on each side or just until browned. Remove patties from skillet. Add mushrooms and onion to skillet, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in prepared gravy, and bring to a light boil. Return patties to skillet, and spoon gravy over each patty. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. 

Step 4 Note: To make ahead, proceed with Step 1 as directed. Wrap each patty individually in plastic wrap, and place in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw frozen patties in refrigerator 8 hours; proceed with Steps 2 and 3. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cauliflower Masala #Vegetarian

I don't know where this stuff comes from, but our grocery store sometimes puts out clearance items that I've never seen on the shelves. Maybe they're there and I just don't see them.

ANYWAY, a week or two ago, I saw and bought this.

I should have known better. It says Medium Heat, right on the package. Indian medium heat is like super hot heat to Charlie. So he didn't like this dish, but I did. Yay! I got to eat most of it!

That's chopped mushrooms and cauliflower florets. I wanted some peas in there, but I didn't have any, alas!

I'm posting at my own blog about a non-vegetarian dish I made in the Instant Pot.

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches

I just found these, and they look AH-mazing!!! I love waffle cones. So when I saw this photo at The Sweet Escape, I had to find out more. I'd write the recipe below, but I can't possibly do it justice. You simply have to check out Melissa's mouth-watering tutorial HERE. Be sure and let me know if you try it and what flavors you choose!

Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe by The Sweet Escape

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Brown Smoothie #vegetarian #duh #notevenhealthy

We used to do green smoothies, but we ran out of kale, so I made one without the kale. Charlie liked it better.

So this is what I make now:
It contains: a frozen banana, a handful of peanuts or cashews, pineapple sherbet, and a sneaky stalk of celery.

It's very good! Kind of contrary to the original intention, but good.

I'm posting on my own blog today about some new spices and spice blends I got this week.

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

One Pan Parmesan Tuscan Chicken

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks delicious. And, it's a healthy alternative to the pasta dishes I love. The recipe comes from It's A Cheat Day Everyday, and I highly recommend that you visit the site for additional information on this recipe and many others.

One Pan Parmesan Tuscan Chicken


1 lb chicken breasts
1 tbs vegetable oil spread
8 oz sliced baby Bella mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbs cornstarch + 2 tbs water
1 tbs garlic powder
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
parsley (optional garnish)


Spray medium nonstick skillet and turn on the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook all the way through, approx 8-10 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate.
Melt the vegetable oil spread in the skillet and then add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and tender. Add the almond milk, Greek yogurt, garlic powder, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Whisk occasionally until the cheese has fully melted and the sauce begins to boil. Mix the cornstarch with the water to create a slurry and whisk into the sauce. Once the sauce begins to boil and thicken, reduce the heat to low and add the chicken back to the skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer until the chicken is warm, approx 5 minutes.


This creamy chicken is delicious served alone or on top of brown rice or quinoa. It will also make a delicious addition to any salad!

If you find the sauce to be a little too thick, simply add a little more almond milk until you have reached your desired consistency.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Nothing Like a Steak #Vegan

This was nothing like a steak, but it was good.
This was a HUGE portobello mushroom cap and a few pieces of fake-chicken seitan, pan-cooked in sesame oil and browning sauce. We had it with Jasmine rice.

As I said, it was nothing like a good steak, but delicious and satisfying in its own way.

I'm posting today on my own blog about a chicken dish made with actual chicken.

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

Friday, July 6, 2018

Watermelon Sorbet

These hot days call for frozen treats. Check out this watermelon sorbet recipe from Delish. It only takes two ingredients  (watermelon and sugar) and only five minutes to prepare--plus four hours to freeze. Yum!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Pasta Fazool Again! #Vegetarian

There's a basic recipe to pasta fazool (American for pasta e fagioli), but many variations. Sometimes, it's a soup; sometimes, it's not.

This is not:

The basic recipe is: pasta, beans, tomato sauce or paste. I used penne pasta, pinto beans, and pizza sauce, with a lashing of Parmesan cheese.

Filling and delicious!

I'm posting today at my own blog about a summer meal we had recently. Farmers Market! Yay!

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Spring #Vegan

Yes, I know it isn't spring anymore, but I fixed this dish in the spring and I'm just getting around to sharing it. When I say "dish," I'm stretching the definition, because it's a plate, actually.

First, I bought these, which makes this dish -- pardon me, plate -- vegetarian, now that I think of it.
But you could cook your own taters and leave the gouda out. Truth to tell, they weren't all that good. Fresh would be much better.

But we had some fresh asparagus and some cauliflower.

As Charlie's Aunt Ora Mae used to say, "Now, ain't that perty?"

I'm posting today at my blog about what I made with the leftovers.

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ice Cream Cake Roll

If you love ice cream cakes, and if you have more patience than I do, visit Smitten Kitchen for a video and step-by-step tutorial for making this yummy dessert.

 cookies and cream ice cream cake roll

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Side by Side Sides

I've been wanting one of those gizmos that make ribbons of veg. I found one in a catalog for next to nothing, so I bought one.

It's a little bitty thing, hand-held, and you just manually twist the veg in it. Works just peachy. The only drawback is that you can't push the whole veg through unless you want to risk auto-cannibalism. But that's okay -- leaving some whole veg, not auto-cannibalism -- because I just saved the tag end to make stir-fry.

So I made baked squoodles. You may have heard of zoodles: "noodles" made of zucchini. Well, squoodles are "noodles" made of summer squash.

So I put the squoodles in a buttered casserole, tossed with olive oil and Italian seasoning and grated Italian cheeses, and baked at 350F until the water cooked off. Out of one small summer squash, we were left with a couple of mouthfuls each. But good mouthfuls.

Alongside it, we had Jasmine rice with peas.

You be like, "Where's the meat?" We usually don't do meat. Sometimes, but not usually. We just like veg better, mostly.

I'm posting at my blog today about my first attempt at puff pastry. Pretty much successful, akshully.

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole

Try saying THAT three times fast! 😊 I'm guessing it's easier to make. Either way, check out this recipe from Southern Living.

Turkey-Noodle-Poppyseed Casserole

Click the link above for a video and more in-depth instructions.


1 (8-ounce) package medium-size egg noodles, uncooked 
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1/4 cup chopped green pepper 
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
3 cups milk 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 tablespoon poppyseeds 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon red pepper 
3 cups diced cooked turkey 
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained 
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

How to Make It

Step 1
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well, and set aside.

Step 2
Sauté onion and green pepper in butter in a Dutch oven until tender; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in noodles, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, poppyseeds, salt, red pepper, and turkey; add pimiento, and stir gently.

Step 3
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 12- x 8- x 2-inch baking dish. Cover and chill 8 hours. To bake, remove from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake, covered, at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Memorial Day #Vegan Casserole #AirFryer

Any time our vegan daughter is going to be at a family gathering, I make a vegan dish so she doesn't have to subsist on raw vegetables. I mean, she generally brings dishes to please others, dishes she can't eat, so it seems only right.

The vegan dishes generally get eaten by everybody, anyway.

I wanted to make a casserole, but I didn't want to heat up the oven. So, in part to test drive my new kitchen gadget, I used my hot air fryer to cook different veg in batches.

First, I put all the veges into a big bag with some olive oil and seasoned salt and smooshed them around. Then I separated them and fired up the hot air fryer.

As each finished, I put it in a vegan-margarine-greased casserole dish.

When all were done, I tossed them to mix them. I warmed up some Tofutti vegan cream cheese and stirred in some capers (I love capers!) and chopped green onions. Baked it to heat all the veg again and to sort of melt the "cream cheese".

That's yellow squash, broccoli, mushrooms, and potatoes. Any veg would do.

I'm posting at my blog today about something fancy Charlie and I had when our fancy lunch fell through.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Pimento Cheese Please!

One of our favorite restaurants is Luke's Cafe in Abingdon, Virginia. I almost always get the chicken salad. But the other day, I discovered Luke's pimento cheese. Now, the recipe below isn't for Luke's pimento cheese--you'll have to go to Luke's for that--but if, like me, you have a craving flung on you for pimento cheese and can't get to Luke's, this recipe from The Pinning Mama might be just what you need.

Homemade Pimento Cheese

(As always, I recommend you check out the link to get all the insights from the blogger, photographs, and serving suggestions.)


16 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated – Make sure to get sharp or extra sharp cheddar for the best flavor. You will want to use yellow cheese so that you will get the signature color. Also, you can use pre-grated cheese or grate your own. Both work great in this recipe.
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese– Make sure the cream cheese is softened so that it combines well. If you don’t have time to let it sit out, you can microwave it for a few seconds to soften it up.
1/2 cup mayonnaise- Use real mayonnaise in this recipe for the best results. It won’t have the same taste without it!
4 oz chopped pimentos- Find these in your grocery store near the olives, in the vegetable section near the artichokes, or in the specialty food section. I use the ones that are already diced, but if you can only find whole, just dice it up yourself with a knife or food chopper.
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. You can just dump them in, in any order. With an electric hand or stand mixer mix the cheese on low to combine and then on high for 1 minute. If you don’t have an electric mixer you can also combine by hand, but it takes a bit of elbow grease. Also if you hand mix, you will probably want to let it chill for a while longer and then mix it up again to really get the flavors combined well.
Place the cheese in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hours so the flavors can meld. This stuff will be good as soon as it is mixed but the garlic and onion flavor really distributes well when you let it sit a little bit. You can keep it in the fridge for up to a week, so you can make it in advance for a party or just snack on it all week long.
Serve with crackers, chips, as a sandwich, or on veggies. Most importantly… Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Instant Pot Cream of Asparagus/Mushroom Soup #Vegetarian Could be #Vegan

So I got another kitchen gadget, and I'm tellin' you what: This one is not a gadget; it's a wonder!

Everybody's been raving about the Instant Pot, so I found one on eBay for $30 less than in the store, shipping included. Sadly, when it got here, it was without the manual and without the cookbook. I contacted Instant Pot's Customer Service (yes, as radio comedian Fred Allen [no relation] would have said, I have more nerve than a bum tooth).

Instant Pot's Customer Service is great! The manual is online -- free -- and there's a website and app -- also free -- constantly updated with new recipes. There are also a million-billion (slight exaggeration) videos on YouTube.

I've made several things in the Instant Pot, but my fave-rave is soup. Soup made in the Instant Pot takes longer than I generally take on the stove-top, but the result is worth the extra time. Or, to put it another way, I don't generally take enough time with soup, and the Instant Pot achieves the result I should be going for in less time than I ought to be taking.

If you can follow that, you're better than I am.

So here's the pot. The display is telling me that I have to wait two more minutes before releasing the pressure, not that it's two seconds from explosion, the time (as we Galaxy Quest fen know) at which the ABORT EXPLOSION command will take effect.

ANYWAY, here's the Instant Pot.

So I used the handy Saute function to saute some onions and mushrooms while I chopped some fresh asparagus (from the store, alas!). Then I put in two cups of water, enough bouillon to flavor three cups of liquid, the asparagus, and some marjoram. When the water was hot, I cancelled the Saute function and engaged the Soup/Broth function, put on the lid (or am I supposed to say "lidded the pot" these days?), and turned the cock from Venting to Sealing. 

Countdown. Quick Vent -- STAND BACK! STEAM CAN BURN!

This is when I was supposed to pour it into a blender, but come on. I just mashed stuff up a bit with the potato masher. I cancelled the Soup/Broth function and re-engaged the Saute function. Mixed flour into a cup of milk and slowly added it, while stirring. That had to cook a little, to get the floury taste out. 

The result.
Yes, indeed, it was good! 

One of the YouTube videos said not to cook with dairy in the Pot, because the dairy might curdle, but I don't know that from personal experience, 'cause I didn't risk it. And I don't know if non-dairy "milk" would curdle or do something funky. This worked.

And good? This was gooooooooooood! The flavor was so rich and deep, it was almost swoon-worthy. I mean, I like soup okay, but if you offered me the choice of a restaurant steak or this soup, I would choose this soup.

I'm posting today at my own site about the very NON-vegetarian spareribs I made in the Instant Pot to take to the Memorial Day party. But I post something over there every day, so don't be a stranger.