Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New Look




Happy New Year Everyone!

As those of you who've been here before can see, there's a bit of a different look going on here at GATAB!  I've been thinking about making some changes for a while now and playing around behind the scenes with some photos in Picasa and Picnik, and I decided that there probably wasn't a better time to do it than now. After all, it is the start of a fresh, new year, right?

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions.  Probably because I'm not very good at keeping them. At 50 years old, I doubt that aspect of my personality will change much.

I'd rather look at it more as me, setting some new goals for myself in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cindy-Lou Who's Roast Beast (Rib Eye Roast)




The good folks of Whoville sure know how to put on a scrumptious Christmas feast, so who am I to argue?  (I know... pretty lame, but it is the holiday season, so what harm will it do to indulge me a teeny bit?)

So, since it was just the Mr and me here to partake in the yuletide feast this year, we decided to forego the usual whole roasted beef tenderloin and opted for a small boneless beef rib roast instead. In my book, there's nothing at all "grinchy" about a classic Roast Beast dinner, especially when it's accompanied by Au Gratin Potatoes and Sauteed Green Beans with Shallots and Garlic.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oven Roasted Honey Ginger Chicken Thighs


This chicken dish is super easy and a particular favorite around here and that's a win/win for me. The preparation is surprisingly simple, but the flavor that you get is amazing, considering the short amount of time that it takes from start to finish. By the time this chicken comes out of the oven, the skin is crispy and golden brown and the meat is moist, tender and practically melting off the bone. I use dried ground ginger, because the freshly grated stuff would overpower the other subtle flavors of honey and soy - and is more likely to burn and become bitter during cooking. I also slice the garlic instead of mincing or pressing it for the same reason. A little buttered white or brown rice and some sauteed carrots or steamed broccoli are perfect for a quick and really delicious weeknight supper.

Oven Roasted Honey Ginger Chicken Thighs
  • 4 to 6 **Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbls Honey
  • 1 Tbls Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tsp Dried (Ground) Ginger
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 2 to 3 Lg Garlic Cloves, sliced
** If using boneless chicken thighs, you'll need to reduce the cooking time to 30 to 35 minutes.


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the Olive Oil, Soy Sauce and Honey and whisk or stir it well to combine.  In a separate dish, mix together the Salt, Pepper and Ground Ginger. Peel and slice the Garlic Cloves and set them aside. (slice your Garlic somewhat thickly because this will be cooking for a while and you don't want it to burn)


Place the Chicken in a single layer, skin side up, in a heat proof glass or ceramic baking dish. Using a basting/pastry brush or spoon, spread the Honey/Soy Sauce mixture liberally over the Chicken. Season generously with the Salt, Pepper and Ginger mixture and place the slices of Garlic on top of each piece.

If you really prefer to use fresh grated Ginger, I would definitely suggest using less than the recipe calls for - about 1 heaping teaspoon - and mixing it in with the honey and soy sauce. Also, make sure to check your oven frequently toward the end of the cooking time, to make sure that it doesn't burn.


Roast the Chicken, uncovered, for about 55 - 60 minutes, or until the skin is a dark golden brown and Chicken is cooked through. About half way through, pull the pan out for a second and spoon a little bit of the pan juices over the chicken. (ovens vary, so you can test the meat with an instant read thermometer. You're looking for an internal temperature of 165 to 170 degrees)


I don't use my own nearly enough, but I'm sure this could be done in a crock pot or slow cooker as well. You probably wouldn't endup with the super crispy skin, but the meat would still be as succulent and juicy.

Either way, the pan juices are scrumptious spooned over hot buttered rice or roasted potatoes. I often cook several extra thighs and pull or shred the meat off the leftovers and freeze it for later use in soups, salads or casseroles. Enjoy!

That gorgeous dark golden brown color comes from the honey and soy mixture. It adds a deep, rich savory/sweet flavor to the pan juices, too! Mmmm Mmmmm Good!
Enjoy!

Mary






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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Seasons Greetings!







Wishing Everyone The Happiest, Merriest, Most Wonderful Holiday Season !!

~ From My Family To Yours

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chicken Diva(n)



No... That isn't a typo in the post title.  OK, So the dish is technically called Chicken Divan, but it's not the name that matters, is it?  What matters, is the taste. And, if I do say so myself, this makes for a pretty tasty meal.

It's a quick, delicious casserole that was served at our house on a regular basis when I was growing up.  I make mine just a bit differently than Mama did, but the basics are the same... and so is the comforting satisfaction that this old fashioned casserole provides.

I just call mine "Chicken Diva" to distinguish it from Mama's version. Oh, and because of me being a Diva and all...  ;~)

Mary's Chicken Diva

  • 3 Cups Cooked Chicken, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Medium Heads Broccoli Florets and Stems, steamed
  • 1 10.5oz Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 10.5oz Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 10.5oz Can Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonaise
  • 8oz Sour Cream
  • 2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 2 Tbls Yellow Onion, grated (with juices)
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 3 Cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

Layer the Chicken and Broccoli in a lightly greased baking dish.  Mix the next 10 ingredients and 2 Cups of the Cheddar Cheese together in a large bowl. This mixture will be very thick - Resist the urge to thin it out with any liquid.

Spread the mixture over the Chicken and Broccoli as evenly as you can.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 Cup of Cheddar Cheese over the top.

Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

I serve mine with steamed Jasmati Rice and a Green Salad, but you can serve it with Egg Noodles, Potatoes or thick slices of Grilled/Toasted Bread, with or without another vegetable on the side.  It's also just as good on it's own if you're cutting back on carbs.

In a pinch, I'll use a Rotisserie Chicken from the grocery store. It also freezes beautifully, either prior to or after cooking! (just don't add the extra cheese to the top if you're freezing it prior to cooking it)

Enjoy!


Linking up this week with:





Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brussels Sprouts With Fig Balsamic and Pancetta





Brussles Sprouts...  When I was younger, the mere mention of those two words was enough to send shudders of pure revulsion through my body.  I suppose that could have been because Mama, bless her heart, boiled the bejeebers out of them until they no longer bore any similarity to the cute little mini cabbages that they once resembled. Trust me. It wasn't pretty.  Unfortunately, more often than not, Mama murdered destroyed prepared the majority of vegetables that way.

As I got older and developed my love of cooking, (and a more adventurous palate) I learned that the way to get the best flavors and textures from vegetables was to cook them for shorter periods of time, with maybe a few added ingredients or basic seasonings. These days, I can't think of a vegetable (well, other than peas or lima beans, that is) that I don't like.

This is just one of the many ways that we love our Sprouts...


Brussels Sprouts With Fig Balsamic and Crispy Pancetta
  • 2-3 Lbs Fresh Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 Tbls Butter
  • 1/4 C Fig Balsamic Vinegar (you can substitute, see below)
  • 1/4 Lb Pancetta (Italian uncured bacon) chopped
  • Salt and Pepper



To Prepare Sprouts:

Carefully slice off a very thin piece of the stem end of each Sprout. You want to leave as much "stem" as possible so that they stay together when cooking.  Trim off any outer leaves that are damaged/brown or wilted.  Slice each Sprout in half, lengthwise.  Set aside.

(If you're not familiar with Pancetta, it's an uncured Italian bacon with a slightly salty and sweet taste. It isn't smoked. You can substitute regular bacon in this recipe, but I would highly recommend the Pancetta. For the sake of convenience, I buy it already chopped in my grocery store's pre-packaged deli department.)



For The Pancetta:

In a large skillet, cook the chopped Pancetta over medium to medium-high heat.  Watch it closely because just like any bacon, it can go from not quite done to burnt beyond all recognition in the blink of an eye. When it's crisp and golden brown, transfer it from the pan (with a slotted spoon) to a plate lined with paper towels to get rid of any excess fat.  Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat and return to pan to medium-low heat.




Add the halved Sprouts to the pan and saute them for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a little salt and pepper.  Cook them until they are just starting to soften up a bit and beginning to brown slightly.




Add the Fig Balsamic and the Butter to the Sprouts, cover the pan with a lid or some foil and continue to cook over medium heat for another 3-5 minutes.  Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium high and cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring the Sprouts to make sure they're coated with the Vinegar and Butter and to help them caramelize.



(If you can't find the Fig Balsamic Vinegar, you can substitute with a plain Balsamic and a tablespoon of Honey.  I've even used Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey in a pinch.)




Garnish the sprouts with the reserved crispy Pancetta and serve!

Enjoy!


Linking Up With:


And:



Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Prayer

For my December 12th  Meet Me On Monday post, please see my other blog. (link is also in the right side bar)


Yay!!! Time for another Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday! (Christmas Edition)

OK... So this isn't technically a Christmas song.  Well, maybe not everyone thinks of it as the typical "holly jolly" tune (and they're great too), but it has a very special meaning for me and that's all that matters, right?



I'd usually post quite a bit more here about the song and why I chose it, etc. but I have somewhere that I absolutely have to be this morning and I'm all like, way behind as far as Christmas is concerned and....  Well, I'll do my best to make up for it next week. Plus, since it's becoming more and more apparent to me that I can't seem to stay away from the interwebs for too long, I'll be back later this weekend to check in.

So, since you don't have to hang out here reading one of my usually long-winded posts, why not hop on over and pay a visit to Ginger and Becca and join in on the holiday fun!


Here's the link to the party:

click here

Friday, December 9, 2011

Old Fashioned Ginger Cookies



This has to be Hubby's favorite Christmas Cookie. Honestly, I think I'd be safe saying that it's his favorite cookie, period. Aside from the Holiday connection, we share a wonderful summertime memory attached to this sweet, spicy cookie, but I won't go into that here. If you'd like to read about it though, just click here and you can find out just why it's so special to us.  I spent years trying to find a recipe for these cookies and I was shocked when I found out that it was practically at my fingertips all along. The only name I ever knew for them was "The Ridge Road Lady's Cookies".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hungarian Goulash


Every year, once I've used up all we can bear of the Old Tom Turkey and his trimmings, I get a yen for something rich, hearty and as far away from the holiday bird as possible. I usually end up going in one of two culinary directions... A big pot of "Sunday Gravy" (aka spaghetti sauce) or the dish that I'm sharing here today.

Hungarian Goulash!  I mean, what better way can there be to satiate the burning desire to have a warm hearty gobble-free supper, than a plate full of buttery egg noodles, smothered in rich, tender, beefy goodness? Nuthin', that's what!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All Better Now... Phew!



Well, it looks like my computer problems stemmed from a sneaky little App that I'd downloaded from the Chrome App Store a couple of days ago.  It was a popular one that claimed to have almost 200,000 users and five stars across the board in it's reviews, but for some unknown reason my computer wasn't feeling very hospitible toward it.  So, the app is gone and I'm able to post again. Just one more example of the fact that you never know what can happen with these very necessary, yet often frustrating wonders of technology...

Now, on to the good stuff.  I was relieved to find that I had my computer back up and running in time to link up with my favorite new blog hop, "Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday".  It's a relatively new hop and lots of fun for those of us who are passionate about music. (I'd love to see more people link up each week. *wink*wink)

This great little hop has little to no rules or requirements, but this week there's a bit of a theme in place. (and I assume it will continue until the week of Santa's arrival)  What is it, you ask?  Why, Christmas songs, of course!  So, without any further jibber-jabber,  here's my all-time most favorite rendition of a Christmas song for your listening and viewing pleasure...  I have a separate music themed post on my other blog this week too, so feel free to pop over and check it out! (right sidebar) Well, I did say that I was passionate about music!





Hope you enjoyed it!

Here's the STMUSS Hop link:
(see you there??)


click here or here to link up

Friday, December 2, 2011

Computer Problems! GRRRR !!!



Howdy Folks...

Looks like we've been invaded by some  kind of virus or malware. UGH! A dear friend was kind enough to let me use her computer so that I could post this, so I won't take advantage of her kindness and go on with business as usual.

I hope to have this resolved as quickly as is humanly (or maybe I should say "cyber-ly"???) possible, so if you're the finger crossing type, I'd sure appreciate any good vibes that you might send my way.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Or, at least a better one than mine is shaping up to be. :~(

Thanks!

Mary

Monday, November 28, 2011

(Leftover Mashed) Potato Soup



Yay!  I'm actually down to the last few little containers of Turkey Day leftovers!  Seriously, we had so much food that I was sure we'd be eating turkey and all of the trimmings for the remainder of 2011. Thankfully, we had a bunch of hungry guys who had seconds and in some cases, thirds!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



Both of my folks are gone now and I do miss them terribly, but Thanksgiving is the one holiday that most represents the legacy of love and family that they left to all of us. As of last count this morning, we're expecting a record breaking 37 family members at our Thanksgiving "table" this year and although I'm admittedly a tiny bit stressed as I write this, I know in my heart that seeing everyone here together on Thursday will erase any anxiety that I'm having right now! (this is just my side of the family!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

When I Was Thirteen...

It's That Time Again... Time for Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday!

Do you remember the first time you fell in love?  I was thirteen years old when I felt the very first pangs of young love. I'd like to be able to say that my first love was my current and forever love, but that wouldn't be the truth. (My one true love became apparent to me a little later...)

courtesy of google images

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quick Rigatoni Bolognese



Yesterday, I just happened to be watching a recorded episode of a favorite Food Network show and one of the featured dishes was Rigatoni Bolognese. That's all it took.  The next thing I knew, I was headed out to the freezer to retrieve a quart of homemade "Sunday Gravy" and a pound of ground beef.  Now, Hubby's family is not Italian and I'm about as Irish as it gets, but my mother-in-law grew up in an all Italian neighborhood in Central NY and she learned a great deal about the food  and the culture of Italian America. This sauce was one of the first recipes that I asked for back when Hubbs and I were dating. It is the best red sauce I've ever eaten and we make it in huge batches, two or three times a year and freeze it in several different sized containers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not Just An Omelette

You say Frittata, she says Tortilla, someone else says Omelette...  No matter what you may call it, this eggy, sometimes meaty, usually cheesy slice of Heaven is delicious!  It's also much easier to master than most people think.


People tend to fear Omelettes.  I get it.  The classic French Omelette can seem pretty daunting if you want it to be parfaite.  It can't be too brown. It should slide out of the pan and fold over in the perfect shape when it's turned out onto the plate. You need a special omelette pan.... Well,

I say "Non! Ce n'est pas vrai!"  It's not true... A myth perpetrated by snooty chefs of yesteryear who didn't want us to make our own omelettes at home!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ms Paula's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake


Well folks... It's that time of year again.  Thanksgiving is next week!  I'm having a bit of a panic attack because I'll be having one of the largest crowds yet, at my house on Turkey Day this year... Thirty-five. Yep! err... um, Nope! That's not a typo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday



Seeing as how we have an older model car that isn't equipped with Satellite Radio, Hubby and I have a boatload of CD's in the car and we go through a stack of them whenever we're traveling. As is obvious by my music page here on my blog I love all genres of music, but Classic Rock is probably the nearest and dearest to my heart.  I'm sure the other cars that we pass (or that pass us if hubby is driving LOL) must think we're a little bonkers when certain tracks come up.

Hubby's all-time-extra-favorite-band is The Who.  He loved them in the 70's and the love is still alive and kicking. The first two songs are just a sampling of the iconic Who tunes that catapult him into frenzied fits of air guitar, air drums and his best Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend immitations. (No... Not while he's driving) Truth is, I secretly love these moments.  I watch his face and hear his voice, and my mind's eye travels back to a time where I'm sitting in the passenger seat of that old '74 Subaru wagon with a wickedly sticky clutch and more rust than paint, next to that 19 year old guy that I first fell head over heels in love with...  I'm still that girl, by the way.






These next two three songs are just a small sample of my favorites. Sometimes, in my dreams of long ago and far away, I still want to be Ann Wilson of Heart.  How cool was this 70's queen of rock, belting out hit after hit with her sister-queen Nancy, who's wild blonde hair and killer guitar licks were equally as awe inspiring? Heck, they're still about as cool as it gets in the world of music... and dreams.



Speaking of dreams......




Oh, what the hey... Just one more?





I'm linking up today with:

click here to join in


And:


As well as...
click here

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pasta With Prosciutto and Vodka Sauce



I created this recipe several years ago out of sheer desperation. It's adapted from a dish that I loved and ordered frequently at a fantastic family owned Italian restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY called The Elms. I was crushed when they closed and I had no other choice but to try to replicate it at home. Their dish was simply called Fusilli with Vodka Sauce, and that was well before Vodka Sauce started appearing on every menu in America.  It also wasn't anything like the versions I've been served anywhere else.  It wasn't a "pink" sauce.

Old Fashioned Cottage Pudding

photo credit: moderndayozzieandharriet.blogspot.com
This is one of the easiest "comfort desserts" that I make. My mother made it often when we were growing up (as did her mother before her) and I used to make it when our daughter was younger.  It might sound a little boring, but there's just something about that soft yellow cake and the warm, sweet, buttery sauce that makes me feel like I'm being taken care of.  It's been a long time since I've made it, but with the colder weather creeping in, I'm feeling the need for a little comforting.

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