Sunday, April 5, 2020

Italian Sausage with Cheddar Grits and Cherry Tomatoes Topped with Fried Egg

I'm not a huge breakfast person or I should say, I don't like eating early in the morning.  After 10:00am is when I start getting hungry for breakfast.  Usually on Sundays, after church, we go out for brunch.  Now that we are watching church from our couch and restaurants are closed I've had to step up my game this Sunday to make a hearty delicious brunch, something a little different.  I'm blogging the recipe minutes after I've eaten because it's easy, delicious and took about 30 minutes.  Now that's a keeper!!

Ingredients (serves 4 large portions)


  • 3 cups, water

  • 3 tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 + 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

  • ¾ cup quick-cooking grits (or regular grits *)

  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage  (casings removed if using links)

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine

  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 3 tablespoons chopped jarred sweet cherry peppers, plus 1 tablespoon brine
  • ¾ cup beef broth

  • Serve sprinkled with thinly sliced scallions
  • 4 eggs
1.  Bring water, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to boiling in a saucepan over high heat.  Whisk in grits.  Cover, reduce heat to low, cook, whisking occasionally until grits are cooked through 5-7 minutes for quick cooking and *20-25 for regular grits.  Turn off heat and stir in cheddar.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.

2.  While the grits are cooking, cook sausage and onion in a skillet over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and onion is lightly browned 7-8 minutes, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon.  With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage and onion to a bowl, set aside.  Pour off most of the fat from skillet.

3.  Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cook until starting to brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in peppers another 2 minutes.  Add broth, pepper brine and reserved sausage mixture to skillet and cook 3 minutes to heat through.

4. In another skillet fry eggs over medium. (or however you like your eggs)

5. In individual bowls serve sausage over cheesy grits and top with eggs.
   **Recipe adapted from Cook's Country Magazine                                                 

Here's the ingredient list to serve 2

  • 1 1/2 cups, water

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon butter

  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 2.5 oz (a little over 1/3 cup) quick-cooking grits (or regular grits *)

  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)

  • 1/2 pound (or 2 links) sweet Italian sausage  (casings removed if using links)

  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped fine

  • 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 tablespoons chopped jarred sweet cherry peppers, plus 1/2 tablespoon brine

  • 1/3
    cup beef broth

  • Serve sprinkled with thinly sliced scallions
  • 4 eggs

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Instant Pot Yogurt - Cold Start

There are so many recipes and information for instant pot yogurt on the internet, it will make your head spin!  I settled on making the cold start method as it seemed the easiest.  This is the first recipe I tried and it turned out perfect.  Why try any other, one and done!  It's from the blog, Pipping Hot Curry.  Below I'm going to share the exact ingredients and instructions I use but if you need any more info check out Pipping Hot Curry.  She goes into detail about the kind of milk, starter, and sweetener you must use for cold start to turn out.  

*Very important before starting - sterilize your pot first.  It's not enough to just clean because you never want your yogurt tasting like last night's dinner.  I even went as far as having a designated pot just for yogurt.  To sterilize, you simply pour boiling water in the inner pot and discard it or pressure cook one cup water one minute to sanitize.  I'm not sure if this matters but I always make sure my pot is back to room temperature before I start.  Being a cold start method I don't want to start it out in a hot pan.  


  • 52-ounce Fairlife Whole Milk 
  • 2 tablespoons Fage Yogurt (*see note below)
  • 1/2 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk


  • Add milk, yogurt and 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk to Instant Pot insert. Whisk together very well to incorporate completely.
  • Place on instant pot lid or a glass lid.  (It doesn't pressure cook so you can use any lid)
  • Push the Yogurt button and use the +/- buttons and set time to 8 hours. (mine automatically sets for 8 hours)
  • When the yogurt cycle is completed and the Instant Pot beeps, DON'T (**see note) stir but carefully remove the lid not letting the condensation drip into the yogurt.  Remove the inner pot and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  (**see note) At this point, if it's not as thick as you like, strain in a yogurt strainer.  
  • Enjoy yogurt with your favorite flavor and toppings. 


*After you have made your first batch of yogurt, be sure to scoop 2 tablespoons of the yogurt into a small container and freeze to use for making the next batch.  This will be your new yogurt starter, you won't have to buy another container of yogurt again.  Just defrost in the refrigerator overnight and add to the milk and condensed milk.

**The yogurt needs several hours in the fridge to set up and thicken so don't be tempted to stir!

***Strain or not to strain - I've made it both ways and I prefer not straining.  Not straining you get a creamy smooth texture and straining it, it is thicker but not as smooth.  Recently I read you can use a hand mixer (a whisk just doesn't do the trick) to get the strained yogurt more smooth.  I'll have to give it a try and let you know.                                                                                                                                                                                             

Monday, March 23, 2020

Chicken Mango Avocado Salad

I've been asked what I'm making these days in isolation. Even for me, who enjoys cooking, having to prepare three meals a day and only going to the grocery store as little as possible is a huge ordeal.  I'm used to going to the grocery store almost daily but the new normal is stocking the freezer and using up the fresh ingredients I have so they don't go to waste.  It has taken a lot of organization.  I have a list on my fridge on what leftovers I have and meals I can make.  Each day I look to see what needs to be eaten first.  Today we had yogurt, fruit and granola for breakfast, this salad for lunch (below) and Italian meatloaf with roasted vegetables for dinner.  I got this salad recipe from Natashia's Kitchen.  On her blog, she makes a large salad that serves 8.  Here, I've adjusted it to make 2 meal-size portion salads for my husband and I.  When the day comes that I can have others over for dinner the full size will be on the menu.  It's delicious!  It has chunks of juicy mangos, creamy avocado, crunchy veggies, and the chicken makes it a hearty satisfying meal.  Right now, we all need the extra comfort good food can bring.  In a few days, I'll be back to share with you the instant pot yogurt I've been making.  It too is delicious, so easy and I make it often.  It's nice to always have fresh yogurt in the fridge for breakfast or a healthy snack.  Enjoy and stay healthy!!

I ended up making an extra chicken breast so that I could make it again the next day so to use up the 1/2 avocado and 1/2 mango.
The next day the mango was good but the avocado got a little brown, which was fine but next time I'll just buy a smaller avocado and use it all.  Avocados are best eaten fresh.

Chicken Avocado Mango Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 medium chicken breast (sprinkled with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper)
  • tsp olive oil (I like to use avocado oil as it has a higher smoke point)
  • 3-4 cups romaine lettuce rinsed, chopped and spun dry
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cucumber sliced
  • 1//2 mango pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 avocado pitted, peeled and diced (or 1 small)
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced 
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons almonds toasted, for topping

Honey Vinaigrette Dressing: (I make the full recipe for dressing as it's great on any salad)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard 
  • 2 tsp honey 
  • 1 garlic clove - 1 tsp minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 


How to Make Chicken Mango Avocado Salad

  1. Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise then season with garlic salt and pepper to taste and saute in oil over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan, cool for 5 minutes then slice into strips against the grain.

  2. In two large salad bowls, add chopped romaine. Top with cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, diced mango and avocado, red onion and cilantro.

How to Make Honey Vinaigrette Dressing:

  1. Combine the Honey Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  If not using dressing right away, shake well just before serving. Drizzle over salad. 


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Upside Down Baked Peach Pancake

This weekend we had a house full of good friends.  As much as I like to cook for my friends, I don't like turning into a short-order cook when it comes to cooking breakfast for a crowd.  Instead, I like to make something that comes together easily and all at once so that I can join everyone around the table.  This recipe does all that and is delicious! This recipe is adapted from the Cranberry Manor Inn, it's a keeper.

Prep Time:  15 Minutes
Serves: 6
Cook Time:  1 hour

Directions For Pancake Batter:  (make this first so that batter has time to thicken up while preparing the peach topping)
2 Cups Jiffy Mix Baking Mix
1 ¼ Cups Milk
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine Jiffy mix, milk and egg together.    Add in vanilla extract and stir in thoroughly.  The batter may be slightly lumpy, do not over mix.  As the batter sits it will get thick and fluffy.

Directions For Pancake:
1 – 15oz can of sliced peaches, drain well and slice in half lengthwise (May use fresh peaches if available or thawed frozen) 
3 Tablespoons of Butter 
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup of 100% Maple Syrup 
1 Tablespoons of Cinnamon Sugar 
Melt butter in 9” glass pie plate in the microwave for 30 - 60 seconds. Coat edges and bottom of the pie plate thoroughly with the melted butter.  Place Brown Sugar in the pie plate and add syrup.  Using a fork mix the Brown sugar and Syrup together and spread evenly across the bottom of the pie plate into a paste.
Place peaches around the pie plate in one outer circle and one inner circle on top of the brown sugar mixture.
Sprinkle the peaches with cinnamon sugar.
Next, carefully top peaches with pancake batter.
Place into the preheated oven on a baking pan to prevent splatters in the oven.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the top of the pancake is golden brown. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of the pie plate to loosen the pie before allowing it to cool.  IMPORTANT to let it rest 10 minutes before flipping.  If you don't let it cool you will have a runny mess.
Again before flipping run knife around edge of pie plate again. To flip, place a baking pan over the top of the pie plate.  Carefully hold top and bottom pan tightly flip the pancake over.  Use a knife to lift the edge of the pie plate and carefully remove the pie plate. Cut the pancake into 6 (or 8 smaller) slices and move to plates.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and then top with blueberries.  It's good as is but you can always add a drizzle of maple syrup to make it even better!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Baked Pineapple Asian Salmon

I'm always trying new ways to make salmon because we eat it at least once a week and this recipe is my new favorite!  The sauce is sweet with a little spice, it carmelizes onto the salmon making it so flavorful.   I first saw a video for this recipe on that came up on my Facebook page.  It's easy to make, easy cleanup (cover pan with foil or parchment paper) and delish!

When broiled the sauce will caramelize and this is why you'll want to use foil.  Easy cleanup!

This is the Sweet Chili Sauce that I use.

12-16 pineapple slices, fresh (3-4 slices for each piece of salmon)
4 portions of salmon fillet (skin off)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. melted butter
3 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro
cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/8 -1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion, for garnish

Lime wedges, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. On the foil, lay 3-4 pineapple slices per each piece of salmon.
  1. Season the salmon lightly with salt and pepper and place on top of pineapple slices.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, chili sauce, cilantro, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Brush all over the top of the salmon fillets.
  1. Bake until the salmon is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and broil for 2 minutes, or until fish is slightly golden. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve with lime wedges.
4 servings

  1. * - cooks one large (3lb) piece of salmon but I like to do individual pieces.  I think it's easier to serve, cooks more evenly, and everyone gets their own piece with 4 slices of pineapple.