Friday, March 30, 2012

We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook -- New Mom-Daughter Blog

For those of you who have followed this little home-cookin' blog of mine, I want to thank you so much! I love hearing of your successes with these recipes.

Exciting news around here! My daughter Rachel Randolph, who is a professional writer, a fabulous cook, a vegan, and the mother of the cutest grand-baby in Texas have created a new mom-daughter food blog together called We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook. (We're writing a book together, with the same title. Details to come soon!)

So please drop by and see us, where I will be posting all my recipes from now on, at Rach and I alternate days; I post recipes now, every week, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Each recipe comes with a little anecdote and the pictures are of much higher quality, now that we are "serious" about this blogging business:) We're having so much fun, and would love it if you would follow us and tell your friends about us.

Blessings and Happy Cooking to all!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Asian Chicken Meatballs in Savory Hoisin Sauce

Greg said these are the best meatballs he ever had and to put this recipe in the keeper file. I've made them twice now, to the same rave reviews from the Man on the Couch.

Good news: they are made with ground chicken so they are lean, but you'd never know it by the taste.

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Into a food processor put:

1 lb ground chicken (preferably ground chicken breast meat)

3 peeled cloves garlic
1/4 red onion
1/2 t. salt and 1 t. pepper
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. olive oil
1 egg
1 and 1/2 pieces soft fresh bread, torn into small pieces
1 inch square, fresh peeled ginger

Process the above into a thick meatloaf like mixture. Add more oil or a little water if needed to keep the processor moving.

Roll and pat this mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Mixture will be a little sticky so you may want to grease your hands with a little olive oil, to help the process. Don't worry, the meatballs firm up beautifully, but also stay moist, when cooked. )Bake uncovered 400 degrees in an oblong Pyrex pan that has been sprinkled with olive oil, turning periodically, and baking until the meatballs are golden on the outside and cooked on the inside about 20 minutes. If they are cooked through but not browned, run them under the broiler to get the outsides nice and brown and crispy!

Savory Hoison Sauce

Into a large skillet put:

2/3 c. bottled hoison sauce
1/4 white or rice vinegar
1 grated garlic clove
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 T. soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime

Stir and cook until just heated, through. Gently put cooked meatballs in sauce and cover them all with sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onion, to taste. Serve over rice (jasmine is our favorite) with any steamed or sauteed vegetables that you like and garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Serves 4

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things... in My Kitchen


Can you tell I love bright colors and vintage items? Red, aqua and yellow are perhaps my favorite colors together . On my first girlfriend outing to Canvas & Cocktails, I departed from the "designated picture" and under the influence of cocktails, let Inner Italian Artist loose and painted the wild colorful floral design. It is not going to win any art awards, but it is mine and I love it. Most of the items on this pantry shelf are estate sale finds that I could not bring myself to sell, they just seemed to say "Belongs in Becky's Kitchen" to me:) The big crystal bowl was a wedding present from my Nonnie, whose name I've adopted for my own grandchildren. (She looked like every charming picture you've ever seen of Mrs. Santa or Sweet Grandmother in any children's book. With the personality to match.)

The dessert plate and espresso cups in the upper right hand corner? These came from Holland. At a DOLLAR store in Holland. On a trip to Europe, my husband took off with the men in our tour for yet another war museum. I took off on the hotel's bicycle to explore the small town, and to my delight landed in the dollar store of ALL dollar stores....

The iron skillet with the wonderful domed tiered lid is my favorite vintage kitchen item scooped up at an estate sale for $4.00. I cannot believe I was in my 50's before I discovered the joys of iron skillets. I am only recently learning how to season them, how they cook food so evenly, what a good sear they will put on everything from meat to mushrooms, and that when you care for them correctly they are the best non-stick pan in the universe. That you'll never want cornbread cooked and served any other way once you've made it in a hot sizzling skillet. I leave two iron skillets on my stove top at all times now, for both the decor and the usefulness, since I use them almost every day.

And the red teapot is a gift from daughter. I love teapots. I love red. I love my daughter. I love tea. What more can I say? Always on permanent display.

Our kitchens are the heart and hearth of a home. What are some of things that make you smile in your kitchen?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easy Cheesy Idea: Tomato Soup with Cheese Popcorn

This will be shortest recipe I've ever posted! Made some tomato soup for lunch, and spied some cheese popcorn and thought, "Hmmm... that could be tasty!" And it was. A quick, easy, fun lunch for kids or grown-ups.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Iron Skillet Cornbread

Love this cornbread recipe from Alex of Food Network. Will be my go-to recipe from now on. Not too sweet, perfectly seasoned. Caste Iron Skillet makes it rock.


This is a great recipe and tastes better, I find, when cooked in a cast iron skillet and served hot tableside. I have also served this recipe for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Whether with jam and butter or fried chicken on the side, there are rarely leftovers!

1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tortilla Soup

I used Racheal Ray's wonderful recipe for tortilla soup as a foundation for the recipe below. Here's the link to her original recipe, but I made some changes to it for our taste. (Greg doesn't like pieces of onion or pepper, so I blend these up with the tomatoes. This also saves a little bit of time and chopping.)

This is great one-bowl meal for a cold evening and makes almost a gallon of soup, so would be fabulous for a crowd. Would be terrific as a tail-gate or Super Bowl party main dish.

1 - 1.5 pounds of chicken breast tenders or boneless thighs, seasoned and sauteed in about 2 T. olive oil (or diced/shredded chicken from a store-bought roasted chicken).

In blender or food processor put:
1 seeded red bell pepper
1/2 of 28 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 c. chicken or vegie broth
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. poultry seasoning
2 t. cumin
1 T. brown sugar
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (medium to hot heat level), available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market (I keep the leftovers in a small Ziploc bag in the freezer and break off what I need to add depth of flavor and heat to other Mexican dishes).

Blend well in blender or food processor.

Pour this mixture into big soup pot and add 3 more cups broth and the rest of the can of crushed tomatoes.

To this add:
1 c frozen corn
the cooked chicken
1 zucchini diced

Simmer over medium heat until zucchini is tender and soup is heated through. Season with Steak or Grill Seasoning (or salt and pepper). To make a creamier soup, you can add 1/2 cup of cream at this point.

Vegetarian Version: Use pinto, Ranch or black beans in place of chicken. Vegans omit cheese and cream

To serve:

Put a handful of crush tortilla chips in bottom of each soup blow. Carefully ladle on soup, then top with your choice of:

grated cheese
chopped green onions
diced avocados
sour cream or Greek Yogurt
wedges of fresh lime
Additional crushed corn chips

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Parmesan & Mushroom Stuffed Squash

(This is the basic recipe below but with Italian turkey sausage, walnuts and spinach added to make it a meal instead of a side dish.)
I created this stuffed squash recipe and it turned out so surprisingly tasty that I think I'll make it for my Thanksgiving Turkey stuffing next year! Moist, buttery... just right...

3 smallish to medium yellow and/or zucchini squash (I have found that the smaller ones, with thin skins are the best picks.)

Using a paring knife, cut each squash in half lengthwise, then carefully "carve" out the middle as you would a canoe, saving the "scraps." (You want your "squash canoe" to be about 1/2 inch thick all around.) Put the squash in a microwave proof dish (7 by 9 inch Pyrex works well), cut side down and nuke for about 3 minutes.

In the meantime, make the stuffing:

In a skillet, saute 2 grated garlic cloves and 1/4 red onion chopped fine in about 3 T. olive oil.
Dice 1 large Portabello mushroom, add to the skillet.
Chop the saved inner pieces of squash and toss into the skillet.
Next, toss in 3 slices fresh bread, made into crumbs (I used a multigrain bread in food processor)
Add 2 T. butter
Season with Grill or Steak Seasoning and a sprinkle of Italian herbs to taste
Take skillet off of the burner, add 1/4 fresh grated Parmesan cheese and stir.

Take squash from the microwave, turn right side up, fill with stuffing. Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until squash is tender. Uncover and broil until the stuffing turns golden and Parmesan cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!