Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts is our new favorite recipe, and it's so easy to prepare!

Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 55 min
Makes: 6 servings

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (can use chopped garlic in jar)
1 box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (4 oz)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Hot cooked rice or rice pilaf, if desired

Serve with...
Pine Nut and Green Onion Pilaf
Total Time: 30 min

***In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, reserving fat in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble and set aside.

***In same skillet, cook onion and garlic in bacon fat over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Remove skillet from heat; set aside. In medium bowl, mix spinach, egg, thyme and cheese. Stir in onion mixture and bacon.

***In thick side of each chicken breast, cut 3-inch-long pocket to within 1/4 inch of opposite side of breast. Spoon about 1/4 cup spinach mixture into pocket in each chicken breast. Sprinkle pepper over chicken.

***In same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook uncovered 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until light brown on all sides. Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook 10 to 20 minutes longer, turning if necessary, until chicken is no longer pink in center (170°F). Serve immediately with rice.

***This can also be cooked in a covered glass cooking dish in the oven. I prefer to do it in oven. Bake stuffed chicken breasts in a heavy sprayed (olive oil spray) dish at 350F for 45-60 minutes. Ovens vary for cooking time. Cook until chicken is done and stuffing is cooked. Enjoy!

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): In step 4, cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes, turning if necessary.

Friday, April 2, 2010

T.G.I. Fridays Jack Daniel's Sauce

For years this has been one of my favorite sauces. I just discovered their secret recipe, and wanted to share it. Try this favorite restaurant sauce on chicken, ribs, steak, shrimp or anything else you can think of. This thick and rich sauce/glaze is perfect for any protein and is a definite crowd-pleaser. ENJOY!!!

T.G.I. Friday's Original Jack Daniel's Sauce
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 Cup pineapple juice (Keep the small lunch-size cans on hand for cooking)
1/2 Cup whiskey (your favorite brand)
2 Cups brown sugar
2 Beef bouillon cubes
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and use as a sauce on a grilled meat. Can be refrigerated for later use.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Storage: Bath Linens

Storing extra bath linens a problem? Up until we did a remodel, our bathroom didn’t have a linen closet, and space was limited. I had to get creative to come up with a solution. No one wants to need a towel, and not have one available.

There’s several solutions for this problem no matter how limited the space may be. A small open shelf unit or a basket large enough to hold a few extra towels, can make great storage areas. If you only have a small corner area that’s free, then look for a corner shelf unit or cabinet to hold the linens. There’s also corner linen hampers. Rolled towels and wash cloths look better on the open shelves than folded ones.

Another great storage idea that is perfect for rolled towels is a wine rack, the kind that has the triangle slots—roll the towels and put one in each slot. If the towels are rolled tight, even the fluffiest ones should fit into the wine rack.

When restocking with clean linens quickly move the bottom linens to the top, and put the freshly laundered ones on the bottom. Most people will always reach for the top to remove a towel. By rotating the towels on laundry day, none of the towels will get dusty; the supply will always smell fresh.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kitchen/Entertaining Tip

Keeping Appetizers Moist Before Needed

When making appetizers ahead of time, and storing in the frig for later, they tend to dry out. This is true especially if kept for a day or two. Try wetting thick paper towels with tap water, wring out extra moisture, put towels on top of appetizer, and cover with plastic wrap or in plastic bags or containers. This works really well on mini sandwiches by keeping the bread moist; also with stuffed mushrooms and vegetable trays. Just make sure the paper towels are damp, not full of moisture.

Garden Pizza Bite

Try a make-ahead appetizer or snack with fresh-baked biscuits, and a veggie-packed topping.

Prep Time: 40 Min Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Min
Total Appetizers: 30
1 can (12oz) Pillsbury Grands Jr., Golden-Layers refrigerated flaky biscuits
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 Container (8 oz) spinach dip
1/2 cup shredded carrots (many markets have these already shredded in produce)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
4 medium green onions, chopped (1/4 cup)
Heat oven to 400F.
Separate dough into 10 biscuits; separate each into 3 layers. Arrange biscuit rounds on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle rounds with cornmeal.
Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until golden brown, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking. Remove from cookie sheets; place on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
***Spread each baked biscuit roundd with 1 1/2 teaspoons spinach dip. Sprinkle each evenly with carrots, bell pepper and onions.
***Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour until serving time. Can be made the day before and kept in frig, covered in plastic wrap.

Cheesy Sausage Pie

Here's a hearty old-fashioned meat pie made easy with refrigerated pie crust. Recipe can be doubled, and use the refrigerated pie crusts (2) to line a large rectangle glass pyrex dish. Can be made at home to take to a gathering, and warmed in microwave upon arrival.

Prep Time: 15 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 20 Min
Makes: 8 servings


1 lb bulk pork or turkey sausage
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup tomato paste (from 6-oz can)
1 cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ Niblets® frozen corn
2 cups Progresso® diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained (from 28-oz can)
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed
1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar Cheese (6-oz)


Heat oven to 350°F.

In 12-inch skillet, cook sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain and discard any drippings.

Stir in tomato paste, corn, tomatoes and olives.

Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. Spoon sausage mixture into crust-lined pan.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust in golden brown. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I don't plan to post many of these, but this sale is incredible. Coldwater Creek must be really hurting in this economy to put even their new merchandise on sale 50% off. This sale is only on line shopping, and ends 3-28-2010.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cooking Tip: RICE

Use fat-free chicken broth instead of water to cook your rice. It'll taste a lot better, especially if you're serving it with a chicken dish!

Mediterranean Chicken

***This is one of my favorite recipes, and it's quick!

Prep Time: 6 min/Cook Time: 15 min/Total Time 21 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings


1 cup College Inn Brand, Culinary Broth-White Wine & Herb
1 14.5 oz. Can Del Monte Canned Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, & Oregano No Salt Added
1 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Rosemary minced
1 cup Frozen Artichoke Hearts (can used canned artichokes, drained)
1/4 cup Black Olives

Rice or Couscous (In a hurry, use Uncle Ben’s, Microwave 90 seconds Rice—found in rice section. It comes in an orange bag, ready for the microwave.)


Cook Chicken in oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, 3 minutes. Add rosemary; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and broth. Simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve over couscous or rice.


The last couple of years I’ve had problems with my shoulders and neck, and had to do an extensive course of physical therapy (PT). Unfortunately, my problem couldn’t be fixed with surgery. Here’s a wonderful exercise I was taught in PT, and it helps the neck muscles too.


Test: Put one arm over your shoulder, and reach behind your back. Then bring your other arm up behind your back, and try to touch the fingers of the hand that went over your shoulder.

Goal: To increase the flexibility of your arms, especially your shoulders.

Exercise: The "test" is also an exercise. Perform it several times a day, holding the stretch 30 seconds, then reversing your arms. Soon your fingers will easily touch. At that point, it’s OK to reduce the frequency until you reach a level where you can consistently touch fingers.

***Do NOT force your fingers to touch in the beginning, as this can pull a muscle in your back. Gradually, work up to the fingers touching.
This has made a big difference for me. It’s been over a year since I’ve needed PT or a cortisone shot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Keep lettuce fresh by placing it in a Zip-loc bag with clean paper towels. I’ve kept lettuce for a week by replacing the towels every other day. The paper towels absorbs the moisture, and keeps the lettuce crisp.

This also works if you wash the lettuce, drain thoroughly, and wrap the lettuce in paper towels before placing in Zip-loc bag. Also, tear the lettuce and DO NOT use a metal knife which will turn the lettuce brown and cause it to wilt.

I do with the same with spinach.

Cooking Tip: HOT Chili Peppers

Buy disposable hospital gloves, and use them when chopping the peppers, making sure to throw them away immediately, so they don't get used or contaminate other items with the pepper.

Sometimes, I've found these at Sam's Wholesale Club in the Restaurant Supply area. They're used for food preparations.

Cooking Tip: Too Salty

If you happen to over-salt a pot of soup, just drop in a peeled raw potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt. This can be used in any recipe that has liquid.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tip: Keep Bugs Out of Dry Goods!

This is an old trick that I learned from my great-grandmother Ethel, who was born in 1890. She taught me this when I was just a kid hanging out in her kitchen. This really works!!!

Place “Bay Leaves” inside the container, on top of flour, sugar, or any dry ingredient, even in sealed containers. It keeps crawling bugs such as weevils from infesting the dry goods. If you keep your ingredients in their original package, place the “Bay Leaves” in the top of opened container, and seal the original container in a zip-loc plastic bag. Hefty makes a 2-gallon bag that will easily store boxes of pancake or Bisquick mix. It also helps to place a few leaves inside the cabinet or closet where you store the dry goods.

Recipe: Baked Cheese Olive Balls

***This recipe always gets many requests, and compliments. I’m actually making a new batch today for the freezer. This time I purchased almond stuffed olives, and think that’ll give a different twist to this favorite recipe.

Baked Cheese Olive Balls

1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (your favorite)
40 large green olives, with pimento

In a medium-size bowl, cream butter. Mix in flour, cheese, paprika, cumin, and hot sauce. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least an hour (can be made ahead a day ahead).

Dry olives on paper towels. With a ball of cheese mixture that is close in size to the olive, flatten the cheese mixture in your palm, plop the olive in the center, work the mixture up around the olive, and then very gently roll it around betwwen your palms. Make sure the cheese mixture completely seals in the olive. Repeat with remaining olives.

Place the cheese-wrapped olives on a parchment-lined (or wax paper) baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen. These can be stacked three layers, just put the paper between each layer, making sure they aren't touching. Once frozen, you can store in resealable plastic bags in the freezer until you are read to bake them.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you are planning to bake immediately, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Prior to baking, remove olive from the freezer and allow to stand at room temperature for approximately 15 minute (while the oven is heating). Place olives on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to slightly warm. Serve at room temperature to slightly warm.

Makes 40 cheese olive balls.

Note from Lady Trish

Things have been busy here, with Winter blossoming into Spring. It’s difficult to believe we’re quickly approaching the month of April. I’ve enjoyed the snowy winter days, but I’m ready for the warm weather, outdoor grilling and entertaining. Here in the Midwest, we’ll be planting our annuals in Mid-May, and that’s something I look forward to.

Now is the time to stock the freezer with appetizers to have on hand when the outdoor entertaining becomes possible, and friends gather. I always try to use the month of March and April to do this. In the next few days, I’ll post recipes for appetizers that’s easy to make, and can easily be kept in the freezer for several months. I love having them on hand, to pop in the oven or toaster oven for the last minute entertaining.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recipe: Salmon-Baked with Herb Mustard Glaze

½ cup smooth Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pickle relish
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish
1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 salmon fillets with skins
4 tablespoons of Herb Mustard Glaze

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the middle shelf height.

Prepare the Mustard Glaze by combining the Dijon, mayonnaise, relish, parsley, horseradish, dill, and pepper in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a baking dish and generously coat each fillet with at least 1 tablespoon of the mustard glaze. Extra mustard glaze will keep in a well sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Bake the salmon until it turns pink, or about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set it aside to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Buying Ham

Ham with a center bone is much more flavorable than one without the bone.

Recipe: Ranch Potatoes--Steamed in Microwave

Potatoes--Hidden Valley Ranch

1 pound Red potato pieces (approx. 1" x 1")
1 1/2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
Optional Chopped Italian parsley

ll: Place potatoes in a Glad® SimplyCooking™ Microwave Steaming Bag. Add olive oil, seal bag and shake to coat with oil. Open bag and sprinkle on Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. Seal bag and shake again.
ok: Microwave on High power (100%) for about 7–8 minutes*. Let stand 2 minutes before opening.
rve: Season with salt & pepper. Garnish with parsley.

2 Servings

*For 1,000 W microwaves (oven power varies, adjust times accordingly)

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be a big problem; they’re brought into the home on fruit and vegetables from the market. Pour wine (any type) in a cereal bowl, and place on the kitchen counter or in any infected area. The fruit flies will be attracted to the wine, and they’ll drown in the liquid! I’ve done this many times through the years, and it really works. If you don’t drink wine, I would imagine the same thing could be done with a fruit juice such as apple or pineapple juice.

***You may need to do this for several days to completely rid the area of those pests!!!

Itchy Scalp or Flaky Dandruff

The cold weather brings dry and itchy scalps, with a lot of flaky skin. Try the astringent, Sea-Breeze for Sensitive Skin. Yes, they still make it, and can be bought at Walgreen’s. A large 10 ounce bottle is only $4.99.

***After washing your hair, open the bottle of Sea-Breeze, and cover the opening with your finger allowing a small bit to trickle over your damp hair. Massage the astringent into the scalp, and dry hair as usual. Also, my hair color tech assures me this will not damage color treated hair or strip your color, but dandruff shampoos can do both.

***Sea-Breeze is great for removing deep trapped oil, dirt and makeup. Use after washing your face.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Appetizer: Individual Pizzas

4 English Muffins, split in half and toasted
24 slices pepperoni
1-1/2 cups (approximately) canned pizza sauce
Italian seasoning
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

***(You can alter these ingredients to your family’s taste-use the English Muffins for the crust)***

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer pizza sauce, pepperoni, Italian seasoning and mozzarella on English muffin halves.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Buying Fresh Bread!!!

***This is true, I called International Award Winner, Dorothy Lane Market to confirm it!

Have you ever noticed that bread has different colored twist ties or plastic clip? It means something that most consumers don’t know! It means when the bread was made. Most groceries have bread delivered daily except on Wednesday and Sunday. When the bread man stocks, he doesn’t have time to look for expiration dates on each loaf on the shelf. He would have to do this at every store he stopped at, and that would take forever! So stop squeezing the bread for freshness or softness—this really doesn’t tell you anything! Remember this code!

Each day has a different color twist tie. They are:

Monday = Blue
Tuesday = Green
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow

So if today was Thursday, you would want a red twist tie -- not a white tie which is Fridays (almost a week old)!

To remember the colors of the twist tie, they go alphabetically (B-G-R-W-Y) by color:


Match each to the days in order of the week, Monday—through Saturday, skipping Wednesday and Sunday!

When you think of the colors in alphabetical order and the days of the week (minus Wednesday and Sunday) in order, it’s easy to remember!

Shopping: Target Discounts

Love Target? Want the best deal? Go to this site to get printable coupons!

Tip: Fluffing Pillows

To fluff bed pillows or decorative accent pillows, throw them in the dryer on a low heat or air setting. It’ll help remove the dust and fluff the stuffing.

***If it’s a needlepoint, cross-stitched or tapestry type pillow, then make sure the dryer is set on ‘air’ without heat!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dusty Laundry Rooms

Did you know most of the dust in the laundry room is from cleaning the dryer filter?

Keep a spray-trigger type bottle handy, full of water. Every time you clean the dryer filter, first spray a fine mist of water on the lint-filled filter, then use your hand to remove the damp lint. Misting the lint before cleaning the lint off the filter will keep most of the dust a minimum! If you have a laundry room window with blinds or curtain, this will keep them practically dust free.

***Buy a brand new bottle for this purpose! DO NOT use one that has been used with anything other than water. Chemical residues can remain in the bottle, and transfer to your drying clothes! I would suggest not wetting the filter under a faucet in a laundry room sink. Over time, this can clog the drain with lint.

Also, buy a dryer vent brush. They’re small like a baby bottle brush, and on a long handle that is bendable. Remove the filter, and clean the dryer filter vent of extra lint. This will make your dryer more efficient, and less chance for dryer fires.

Entertaining: Fast Heavy Appetizer

We just had a few friends over this weekend, and everyone was supposed to bring a “heavy appetizer”. As I mentioned earlier, this is a fantastic way to make a gathering easy, and have a great selection of food. Everything was absolutely delicious—thanks everyone! One of my friends ran short on time, and I love her idea. I’m certainly keeping this one in mind the next time I have to bring something, and don’t have time to make my own appetizer!

Go to Subway, buy 3 or 4, foot long sandwiches, each one different. Cut them up into 2-3 inch widths across, insert toothpicks into each section, and you’ll instantly have a sub variety tray of appetizers! Thanks, Terri for this idea!

***These can be made the day before. We’ve actually bought Subway subs, and kept them until the next day. Somehow they’re better the second day, and more moist than the day they were bought. Just make sure you keep them thoroughly covered in the frig.

Decorating: Make Ceilings Taller

Install vertical striped wallpaper in a small area—keep stripes simple with small stripes. Apply a wallpaper with wider stripes in larger areas. This works on window treatments too—choose a striped fabric using the same rule.

Hang draperies from ceiling to floor, letting drapes puddle on the floor. Allow 12-18 inches of extra drape to create a generous puddle—if not they’ll simple look like you purchased drapes too long, and didn’t intend the puddle design. The puddle look is more European (
Old World), and may not be for everyone. The photo shows the luxury of puddled drapes. To create the puddle, fold the hem back under the drape, and let the drape slightly flow out from the wall base, allowing the drape to hang over the hem) Floor to ceiling drapes, even if they don’t puddle, will give the room more height.

Avoid valances which will produce a horizontal line before the eye travels to the ceiling, and will make the ceiling look lower. Swag and jabots will do the same thing. Unless your room is a large one, these types of window treatments look better on windows in rooms with high ceilings of 9 feet or taller. Swags with full length drapery panels will give a different look and actually give height to the room.

In a basement, with the standard ceiling height of 7-8 feet, add wide crown molding that are 5-6 inches wide. I prefer 6 inch, as the wider the molding the more distance the eye travels toward the ceiling making the walls look taller, lifting the ceiling. Consider putting molding on the ceiling just above the crown molding, around the entire perimeter of the room. This will again move the eye upward, giving an illusion of extra height.

I’ve seen basements with 2-3 inch crown moldings, and the thinner molding just emphasizes that the room is a basement, making the ceiling look lower. Just because your existing baseboards or door moldings are smaller in width, doesn’t mean you can’t install wider crown moldings.

Also use a neutral, light colored paint on the basement wall such as a light tan, and paint the crown molding a soft white—have the ‘flat’ ceiling paint tinted the same shade as the crown molding, so it flows from the molding to ceiling. A white ceiling will be stark, drawing the eye immediately upward, and that will visually lower the ceiling.

Pick artwork that hangs vertical instead of horizontal, especially in basements. The up and down length will draw the eye upward. Mirrors that are tall, hung in the vertical position can add light and height.

Don’t forget lighting—a floor lamp, the torch style that floods the ceiling with light will give the ceiling visual height—again, a very good thing to consider in a basement.

In basement rooms that have half, short windows, install the window treatments floor to ceiling (including blinds), and place a piece of furniture under the window, such as a chest with a lamp. Framing the chest with floor length drapes can give the the room the illusion that the room is not a basement.

Remember, any horizontal lines, whether artwork, long sofa tables against the wall, even the sofa will make a room look wider and longer. Vertical lines such as drapes, vertical hung artwork/mirrors, tall bookcases, and floor lamps will give the room visual height. Everything in your room will make a difference on how your room feels, so keep this in mind when you’re starting your next decorating project.