BAKED PEANUT BUTTER WAFFLES

BAKED PEANUT BUTTER WAFFLES

¾ cup flour
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
3 tablespoon neutral oil
LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
PURE maple syrup

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Brush the Waffle Stick Pan with a neutral oil.

  • Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, vanilla, peanut butter, honey and eggs.
  • Whisk the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients JUST until combined.
  • Distribute the batter evenly among the wells.
  • Bake for 11–13 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Let the waffle sticks cool for 5 minutes before removing.

OPTIONS:

  • Add 1-2 tablespoons MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Add 2 tablespoons SMALL WILD blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon


SEVEN LAYER DIP TACO CUPS

SEVEN LAYER DIP TACO CUPS Servings: 12

6 flour tortillas (8-10 inch)
1 14-ounce can re-fried beans
2 cups grated Cheddar Jack cheese
1 cup guacamole
1 cup salsa
¾ cup sour cream
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 tomato, finely diced*

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Cut flour tortillas into large squares and then divide each into quarters, making 4 smaller equally sized square pieces, per flour tortilla.
  • Generously coat a standard-size muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Line each cup of prepared muffin tin with a tortilla sheet.
  • Spoon a tablespoon of re-fried beans into each sheet.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese over each sheet.
    Place another sheet of tortillas on top of the bean/cheese mixture and press so it flatten.
  • Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Spoon in a tablespoon of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa into each cup then top with green onions and tomato.
  • Enjoy!

NOTE: I sometimes skip the fresh tomato if I don’t have one and use a can of Rotel original tomatoes, drained WELL!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 7 of 2021

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up
with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Good morning dear friends. I had a busy week working on projects and took most of the weekend off, but still didn’t get all my computer visits caught up!  I apologize to anyone I didn’t get visited last week. I’m hoping to have the time to get a lot of things that are mid-project accomplished this week.

I also had my oncology check up last week that received a wonderful flying colors review!

The super bowl and the commercials was only so-so this year, but I am looking forward to NASCAR starting next weekend! Normally I have a LONG list of superbowl commercials I loved, but this year there were very few with the larger companies all putting their monies into COVID relief instead of commercials.  I did like the Matthew McConaughey/Doritos commercial, the Sam Adams Clydesdales commercial, the Rocket Mortgage Pretty Sure commercial, and the *ETrade commercial, but the Toyota Up Stream commercial with Jessica Long actually made me tear up. I think they’re trying to replace Hallmark 😀

The weather this past week and predicted again for this week are typical winter weather for the Pacific North West, but I sure wish it would make up its mind! I see Levis, flannels, hoodies and UGG’s in my future this week 😀

Last week the snow predictions came true to a point. We could see it ALL around us, but it never actually happened on the valley floor. So, it was chilly and a couple of days downright cold with the wind, but no actual snow stuck.  This week the temperatures are predicted a bit lower and 4 days of snow predicted again, so we’ll see!

Hot water, red pear and oatmeal

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I did a deep clean last week, so this week just needs some light dusting and vacuuming.  Just a couple loads of laundry also.
  • HOUSEHOLD Need to finish a couple pieces of molding and then do all the caulking and painting of the baseboards in both bathrooms and the laundry room. I’m still working at removing the old adhesive from those stupid fish on the shower floor! I’m giving myself this week off though as my  body is protesting scooting along the floor so much 😀 I’m also re-doing my spices and minamalizing.
  • CRAFT PROJECTS  I’m hoping to finish a couple of paintings I’m working on and start on the quilts I didn’t finish from Christmas.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS Hubby has 2 doctor appointments this week, but YAY I have nowhere to go!

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • NETFLIX We’re still re-watching Stargate SG1 I haven’t seen these since the original so it all feels new again!
  • PRIME I have Bliss to watch
  • DISNEY+ I started WANDA VISION and it’s pretty cute
  • RED BOX We rented Shadow in the Cloud which was amusing and fun and Let Him Go which was just downright sad as well as Breach which I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on.
  • CABLE – UNICORN, CALL YOUR MOTHER, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, YOUNG SHELDON 911, 911 LONESTAR, L&O SVU, NCIS, NCIS LA, NCIS NEW ORLEANS, BULL, GOOD DOCTOR, RESIDENT, CHICAGO SERIES

I’m did finish reading SINS by Nadia Lee and started SECRETS, the sequel to it.  😀 And of course now that I’m into it I am falling asleep quickly and not having much reading time.

It’s hard to get decent pictures of small rooms, but this is the last bit of flooring being finished up. Like so many projects these days, they are a domino of things to be done. Because the flooring was so thick we had to adapt the toilets and since they were off we went ahead and did all new bolts and hoses since the others were at least 20 years old and a bit funky.

New pieces of floor molding had to be added around the vanities and showers since the original linoleum went underneath them before they were originally placed.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
7 LAYER DIP TARTS & SALAD
FRENCH ONION MANICOTTI
PORK RAMEN
C.O.R.N. CLEAN OUT REFRIGERATOR NIGHT
BEEF YAKISOBA
FENNEL CRUSTED PORK with ROASTED POTATOES
APRICOT CHICKEN with COUSCOUS
DESSERT
MAPLE APPLE CAKE

  • FRENCH ONION MANICOTTI
  • MEXICAN MANICOTTI
  • 7 LAYER DIP TACO CUPS

SLOW COOKED SOY CHILE PORK CHOPS

SLOW COOKED SOY CHILE PORK CHOPS

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup SIR KENSINGTON ketchup*
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1-3 tablespoon red chile paste (I used Gourmet Garden)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 pounds boneless thick cut (1-1 1/2 inches) pork chops
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water

  • Add brown sugar, ketchup, liquid aminos, chile paste, garlic, salt and pepper (except pork chops and corn starch) in a 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Add pork chops, tossing to coat with the sauce.
  • Cook on low 3-4 hours.
  • Combine equal amounts cornstarch and water in a mason jar. Close the lid, to seal the jar. Shake until well blended and then shake again to create a slurry.
  • Add the slurry to the slow cooker.
  • Stir and cover, cook 1 more hour.
  • Check for doneness. If the pork chops need longer let them cook until tender and done.

NOTES:

  • SIR KENSINGTON Ketchup is a much lower sugar ketchup that is a cross between a regular ketchup and cocktail sauce – more of a kick 😀
  • Add chili paste according to your desired heat level. If you prefer it more mild add less, or omit it altogether.
  • Cook times DO vary based on your slow cooker and the thickness of your pork chops. You can also substitute thinner chops or chicken breasts, but you need to seriously alter your cooking times.

FRENCH ONION CHICKEN

FRENCH ONION CHICKEN

Adapted from Eliza Winograd at Marley Spoon

1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon cream sherry
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped thyme
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped small or sliced thin
1 + 1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon sugar
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
apple cider vinegar

  • Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high.
  • Add onions and sprinkle with sugar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  • Add garlic after 10 minutes.
  • Cook, stirring, until well browned, scraping up any browned bits for 12–15 minutes.
  • Transfer onions to a bowl. Wipe out skillet.
  • Preheat broiler with top rack 6 inches from heat source.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to skillet.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add to sizzling skillet and sear 2-3 minutes on both sides.
Transfer chicken to broiler proof skillet.
  • Return onions to the skillet you just cooked the chicken in.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to skillet.
  • Add chicken stock, cream sherry and chopped thyme and bring to a simmer.
  • Add onions and garlic back into sauce while simmering to desired thickness.
  • Pour sauce over chicken.
  • Top with onion mixture and cheese.
  • Transfer skillet to top oven rack and broil until cheese is melted and golden brown, 2–4 minutes.

BROWN BUTTER & SAGE GNOCCHI with SWEET POTATOES & PECANS

BROWN BUTTER & SAGE GNOCCHI with SWEET POTATOES & PECANS

Adapted from Marley Spoon’s Eliza Winograd

FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 + 3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
2-3 cups potato gnocchi
1 tablespoon FRESH thyme leaves
2 tablespoons FRESH sage, chopped
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 shallot, FINELY chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

  • You have to time this just right so that the gnocchi are not done too quickly. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil.
  • Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook, stirring, until tender and most of the gnocchi float to the top, 2–3 minutes.
  • Reserve 1 cup cooking water; drain gnocchi and return to pot.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
  • Add chopped pecans and sage. Cook, stirring, until nuts are golden brown and fragrant, 2–3 minutes (WATCH CLOSELY)
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer sage and pecans to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with a little salt.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high.
  • Add sweet potatoes and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until browned and almost soft, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Add 2 more tablespoons butter, thyme leaves and shallots. Cook, stirring, until shallots are softened and butter is browned, 2–3 minutes more.
  • Add reserved cooking water and most of the Parmesan. Cook over medium-high, gently stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Fold in MOST of the pecan mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Sprinkle with remaining crispy pecans, sage and Parmesan.
  • Serve immediately.

STILL LUCKY

10 YEARS ago I wrote the following post. The weeks leading up to it were some of the most difficult of my life. I struggled with whether to go public or not. In the end, I’m glad I did. Now 10 years later as I prepared during a pandemic to have my momentous follow-up exam I worried. I realized I was actually scared. You see I hadn’t told even my husband about the potential of the cancer in the beginning and I had faced that testing and visit alone. But, when I got home and told him, things changed. There was not one visit to the doctor or test that I did alone. He accompanied to EVERY single one. Now here we are and he isn’t allowed to accompany me. I have to admit it concerned me to face it alone. But, he drove me there and stayed in the car, I wasn’t actually alone, it just felt like it because of the pandemic protocols. Fortunately, my fear was just that FEAR, but unfounded or not it seemed like a good time to re-run this post and the beautiful story of Lucky the dog. 😀

I’ve been struggling with a way to get back into the swing of things here in blogland. You see just 2 months ago today I was struck with those words that we all fear hearing from our doctor. You know,  any phrase that includes the words cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. For me it was the worst Christmas present imaginable so I persevered and didn’t really let on to most of the family in the beginning – no sense ruining anyone else’s holidays since no further testing could be scheduled until after Christmas. 

You truly do go through the 5 stages of grief augmented with periods of disbelief and a lack of comprehension.  It doesn’t matter how well schooled you are or how intelligent you are, those words hit you like a ton of bricks.

Last year when I began my food blog, Always Eat On The Good China (now morphed into Savory Kitchen Table), I developed the name after reading a letter that Erma Bombeck wrote when she knew she was dying from cancer.  I even put a quote from her on my side bar that I found extremely poignant.

It was around that same time that I had an appendicitis attack – I still had my appendix and it had been chronic since I was 9 years old.  Or at least I thought I was having an appendicitis attack.  We now know that I was having pain from my ovary that was growing into what was being described as a cantalouped size mass.

Fortunately for me at my well woman exam the nurse practitioner noticed what she thought was an enlarged uterus and she ordered an ultrasound because she feared uterine cancer.

The ultrasound was on the Tuesday after Christmas. The words changed, but stayed the same, cancer was still in the phrase, but now it was ovarian cancer.  To it they added terms like tumor and oncologist.

My brand new doctor (I’d never met him prior to the ultrasound tech calling him into the exam) in a brand new town thought I was in shock because I didn’t cry and react hysterically. He just didn’t know  me well enough to know I was really okay.  But, I’m a fixer, so my next phrase is always, what next?  What next turned out to be a referral to MD Anderson Cancer Center and an oncologist, whom I adore by the way!.  She and her team made it possible for me to stay both positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their Motto is “making cancer history” which struck me as the right positive note for me.

The next 2 weeks and 5 days were a whirlwind of blood draws, X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, chemical stress tests, consultations, clearances and…I underwent surgery on the 1st knowing full well all the fine print, legal jargon and potential pitfalls of this diagnosis.  I also knew that because of the size, I would awake to only a possible pathology.  I awoke to hear things like “self-contained”, “non-invasive cancer” and “surveillance” as well as that the cantaloupe was actually a volleyball with a balloon twist.  While we are still awaiting final pathology I am now at home after a week in the hospital and catering to the whims of a 10 inch zipper through multiple layers of muscle and the needs to get my energy back and regenerate the tissue.

With that, for now, I’ll leave you with this email story that crossed my desk.  True or not, it’s heart warming and endearing and worth the read.  I choose to believe in the bright and positive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named ‘Lucky.’ 

Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her…what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad, but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body  felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.

He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.

Lucky… He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember….live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget….the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most Credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.

If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! 
Live simply. 
Love seriously. 
Care deeply. 
Speak kindly. 
Leave the rest to God.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 6 of 2021

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up
with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

I hope everyone had a GREAT week. I’m just going to jump in this week because I have a BUSY day ahead.

Imagine that, it’s gray, dreary and rainy in the Pacific Northwest 😀 LOL Highs are supposed to be in the 40’s and lows in the 30’s this week.  I don’t mind the cold or even the rain, but the bone chilling wet cold can be a little hard on the bones. But, it gives me the excuse to wear my favorite flannels, Levis and UGG’s. There is still a small threat of snow later in the week.

Hot water, oatmeal with bananas and yogurt

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING We’re still working on the flooring and LOL all the domino parts that it entails, so the cleaning this week is minimal and done as we go. Laundry is up to date, vacuuming is done, Christmas reorganization is almost done and donations are even dropped off.
  • FLOOR PROJECT Domino parts include the repairing molding or replacing it as well as adding the new pieces that are necessary because the original flooring was laid BEFORE the cabinetry, new thresholds that need to be stained and placed, doors that need to cut off to accommodate the new flooring and thresholds, painting, new caulking, new fittings for the toilets, etc…
  • APPOINTMENTS, GROCERIES & ERRANDS I like to get everything done in the real world all on the same day and then get back home to clean up and feel safe again. I will be doing ALL of my list today for the next couple weeks that includes groceries, drugstore, craft store, COSTCO and hardware store. I also have my 10 year oncology follow-up this week.  Unfortunately it is in a county that is under the “extreme” label so there will be no celebratory lunch as originally planned – just a get in and get out. Hubby can’t even go with me this year. I don’t have food delivery boxes coming this week or next so will be starting R.E.D. (Recipe Experiment Dinners) again.
  • PAPERWORK & PHONE CALLS I still have a few of each to make
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I have chosen several, but am still digging through my scraps for more

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • NETFLIX We’re still watching Stargate 1 as reruns, but we also saw the movies Outside The Wire and the 1st episode of Lupin
  • CABLE – UNICORN, CALL YOUR MOTHER, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, YOUNG SHELDON 911, 911 LONESTAR, L&O SVU, NCIS, NCIS LA, NCIS NEW ORLEANS, BULL, GOOD DOCTOR, RESIDENT, CHICAGO SERIES

I’m still reading SINS by Nadia Lee.  😀 And of course now that I’m into it I am falling asleep quickly and not having much reading time.

I took another painting class with a friend this past week and I’m actually beginning to enjoy these classes 😀 The daisy pail was last week and the Gnome on a stump in the snow was last Saturday.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP & CHEDDAR BISCUITS
BACON MAC & CHEESE POT PIE
SPINACH SALAD
C.O.R.N. CLEAN OUT REFRIGERATOR NIGHT
CHICKEN DOME POT PIES
BBQ RIBS & COLE SLAW
EVERYTHING BAGEL DUTCH BABY
DESSERT
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CRINKLES or PINEAPPLE CHEESE PIE

  • BROWN BUTTER & SAGE GNOCCHI with SWEET POTATOES & PECANS
  • FRENCH ONION CHICKEN

CHILI PORK STEAKS with CHEDDAR GRITS & GREEN BEANS

In just a few simple steps you can give your family a warm and satisfying food hug with these pork steaks coated in a warm spice rub that is seared until crusty and smothered in a rich onion gravy that tops the flavorful and cheesy grits.

CHILI PORK CHOPS with CHEDDAR GRITS & GREEN BEANS

Adapted from Marley Spoon and Theodora Kaloudis

1 tablespoon BETTER THAN BULLION concentrate
1/4 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
3 ounces grits
1/2+ cup grated cheddar
4 thin pork steaks
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 medium red onion, halved and thin sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
½ pound green beans, trimmed and halved
FRESH ground sea salt & ground pepper
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour

  • In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, FRESH ground sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Pat pork cutlets dry, then season all over with spice rub.
  • Fill a medium skillet with ½ inch water and bring to a boil.
  • Add green beans, half the minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt to skillet.
  • Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until green beans are just tender, 2–3 minutes.
  • Drain, transfer to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  • In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water and a pinch of salt to a boil.
  • Stir in grits.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until grits are tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Stir in cheese and butter until melted; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover to keep warm. 

  • Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add pork cutlets and seat until browned, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add onions to skillet. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

  • Uncover skillet; season onions with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3–5 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
  • Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in broth concentrate, water and broth, bringing to a SLOW boil.

  • Add pork and any resting juices to skillet and spoon gravy over each piece.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon butter; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve grits topped with pork cutlet and green beans, all smothered in gravy.

CREAMY CHICKEN & VEGGIES with GNOCCHI DUMPLINGS

CREAMY CHICKEN & VEGGIES with GNOCCHI DUMPLINGS

adapted from Eliza Winograd at Marley Spoon

1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme leaves
1 small can Le Seur peas, drained WELL
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound chicken breast strips
3 LARGE carrots, halved and sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups gnocchi
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour

  • Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  • Add gnocchi and cook about 3 minutes, stirring gently, until tender and most of gnocchi float to the top. Drain well.
  • Pat chicken dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • 
Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear chicken tenders 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Add carrots, onions and garlic, stirring occasionally and cooking until softened and lightly browned, 3–4 minutes.
  • Stir in flour and cook, about 1 minute.
  • Add chicken stock to skillet and return chicken to skillet. Bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in mascarpone cheese.
  • Fold in peas and gnocchi.
  • Simmer a few minutes more.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

CHOCOLATE CHINESE FIVE SPICE CAKE

So, I admit it, the Kid’s Baking Championship inspired me on this one! If they can do it, I can do it I figured and this time it worked! 😀

CHOCOLATE CHINESE FIVE SPICE CAKE

CAKE
1 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice Blend
1 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
2/3 cup finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup brewed coffee or espresso, Chai tea, or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, Chinese Five Spice Powder and baking soda in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl, mix the coffee (or chai tea/apple cider vinegar) and diced chocolate.
  • Stir vigorously until the chocolate has fully melted – don’t leave any lumps of chocolate.
  • Add vanilla extract and buttermilk to mixture, and blend well.
  • Set mixture aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg and sugar in a bowl until light and airy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the chocolate mixture and mix well with a large spoon.
  • Add the flour mixture and stir until fully mixed with no lumps.
  • Pour mixture into two well prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove cake pans from oven and let cool fully to room temperature.
  • Remove from cake pans.
  • When pans are cool to the touch, remove from pans and let sit on cooling rack at least another hour to cool, otherwise chocolate ganache will melt if cake is still warm.

GANACHE
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder

  • Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.
  • Sprinkle with Chinese 5 spice powder.
  • Heat heavy cream to JUST before boiling.
  • Pour over chocolate chips and spice and let sit for 4-5 minutes – do not stir.
  • Whisk the mixture until it thickens and becomes a rich, dark chocolate brown.
  • Pour a small amount of ganache over top of one layer of cake and top with other layer. Set aside to cool.
  • Let remaining ganache cool to room temperature, so it is thick, but still spreadable.
  • Generously coat cake in ganache, running a flat spatula along the sides and top to make a smooth cake.
  • Top with chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon Sticks, and a very light dusting or five spice powder or cinnamon sugar, or crushed walnuts.
  • Chill for 2 hours, up to two days before serving.
  • Cut into slices and serve.

STUFFED CHICKEN MARSALA

STUFFED CHICKEN MARSALA adapted from Tiffany at Creme De La Crumb serves 4

This is a match made in heaven with the perfectly seasoned chicken stuffed with mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and sun dried tomatoes and then smothered in a savory Marsala mushroom sauce that tastes like it came from your favorite Italian restaurant in less than an hour.

CHICKEN
4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices mozzarella cheese
1 12-ounce jar julienned sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, DRAINED WELL
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut a slit horizontally along one side of the chicken breast to make a “pocket”.
  • 
Fill each pocket with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and a quarter of the shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • 
Pinch together the open side of the chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.
  • Drizzle the chicken with oil, then sprinkle with FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and then rub in with your fingers.

  • Transfer chicken to a large enameled cast iron skillet.
  • Brown chicken over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer chicken on a plate while you prepare the Marsala sauce.

SAUCE
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken bone broth
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste, depending on taste

3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
FRESH chopped parsley or thyme for garnish


  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan, stirring to saute a few minutes.
  • Add garlic, stirring until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the Marsala wine, bone broth, salt and pepper, and heavy cream.
  • Stir and bring to a SLOW boil, cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  • Return chicken pan and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken.
  • Transfer skillet to preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked all the way through and cheeses are melted. Spoon sauce over chicken midway.
  • Plate chicken and spoon sauce over top.
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley or thyme if desired, and serve.



NOTES: Using sun dried tomatoes packed in oil adds another layer of flavor.