Sunday, September 25, 2016


I seldom buy spice blends because I don't use them very much AND you never really know what is in them; some are heavy on garlic, some are heavy on onion and even more of them are heavy on ..."what the heck is that?". When that happens, the $5 jar goes right in the trash, what a waste.  Nowadays, when the occasional recipe calls for Italian seasoning, I just mix up this one, it is excellent.

2  1/4  teaspoons dry basil
2  1/4  teaspoons dry oregano
2  1/4  teaspoons dry parsley
1/4     teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1/4     teaspoon onion  powder (not onion salt)
1/4     teaspoon fennel seed
1/4     teaspoon dry thyme
1/4     teaspoon dry rosemary
1/4     teaspoon black pepper
pinch   dry red chili flakes

Basically you just mix all of these ingredients together, however I do an extra step: I measure out the bulky spices, like the fennel seed, rosemary and chili flakes, THEN I work them over a little in my mortar and pestle so it breaks them up which helps distribute their flavor more evenly to the finished spice blend.  This step isn't absolutely necessary, but  it works well.


Friday, September 23, 2016


Crockpot chicken and noodles is pure comfort food in our home. Easy and inexpensive, it pleases everyone.........even picky-picky husband !!

This is one of those super yummy recipes that just doesn't photograph well......... but trust me, it's GOOOOOOD !!!

1 pound of boneless-skinless chicken breast
2  10.75 ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
4 cups of chicken broth or stock
1 small onion diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 large carrot grated
1 cup peas
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Flat wide egg noodles

Spray your Crockpot with a little cooking spray to make cleanup easier. This recipe (as written) requires a nice big Crockpot. If you only have a smaller one, just make half of the recipe.

Dice the onion and celery and grate the carrot. Sautee in a little butter until the onions and celery soften a little.

Put the sautéed veggies, soup, broth and pepper into the Crockpot and stir or whisk it around until it is smooth. Add whole (boneless-skinless) chicken breasts and cook on low for three hours.

After 3 hours, the broth will look a little thin, but that's ok because the noodles with thicken it as they cook. Remove the chicken and cut it into pieces, then return it to the Crockpot.

After 3 hours (on low), add about 3-4 cups UNCOOKED egg noodles and the peas. The noodles will expand (and drink up some of the gravy) so be careful how many noodles you add. It also depends on what KIND of noodles you use, so use your best judgment as to how many dry noodles you put in.    

Depending on what style noodles you are using, it can take as little as 20 minutes for the noodles to cook. If you use a thicker noodle like a Penne, it can take as much as 45 minutes.

If you use the flat egg style noodles, be careful how vigorously you stir them, because they break easily once they start to get soft.


Thursday, September 8, 2016


This French fry dipping sauce is a delicious condiment that is quick, easy to make and very versatile. It goes together in minutes and everyone loves it.

There are a MILLION fry sauce recipes out there; some have a TON of ingredients, some have just a handful. This is our recipe.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons finely minced dill pickles (see note below)
1 teaspoon regular old yellow mustard
dash of salt
scant 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

When I make this, I put the pickle into the food processor first and pulse it until it is finely minced (2 tablespoons minced pickle is about 1 large pickle). NOTE: You can also just use 2 tablespoons of your favorite pickle relish.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse them all together until the sauce is well mixed and smooth.  You can do this in a full size food processor, although a small food processor (or an hand held immersion blender) works even better.

This recipe makes one cup of French fry sauce. Keep chilled. It is excellent to dip just about anything in, but it is also good on hamburgers.