Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

AHHHHH… Asian BBQ Sauce

I have missed cooking lately.  We went on vacation 2 weeks ago to Kentucky with friends and had a great time.  Then last week I was in Vegas for work.  Vegas is not my favorite place, but the company was excellent and the food (thank you Mario Batali) was great, so I was able to try to overlook all the small children being drug through the casino’s!!  Seriously, Vegas is not a family vacation spot!  OK getting off soapbox before I really start ranting!

Last night I decided chicken was on the menu.  It was one of our first days of spring and all I wanted to do was grill!  So grill I did!

Asian Marinated Chicken with Asian Inspired BBQ

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 TBLS Mild Sweet Chili Sauce (Maggi Taste of Asia)

1 TBLS hoisin sauce

1 tsp sesame seed oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1 TBLS chopped garlic

Take all wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour over chicken and let sit for a good 3-4 hours (or while you are at work).

Remove chicken from marinade and grill till done.

Asian Inspired BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 TBLS Sweet Chili Sauce (mild)

2 TBLS soy sauce

1 TSP ground fresh chili paste (hot)

1 TSP sesame seed oil

Mix all the above and start to taste… if you like things hot, before adding more be sure to taste and breath in after swallowing.  The sweet chili sauce masks the heat and it will creep up.  So taste and adjust to your taste!

Sorry I don’t have more pictures… it was so good and tasty that we gobbled it up so quick.  Here’s a satisfied customer’s picture for the proof!

Actually I took the remainder of the sauce to work with some cold chicken and nearly licked the bowl clean.  I am planning to make a huge batch and can it for later use, it is just that yummy!

SO glad to be back!


Candis aka West


Chicken Pot Pie… More than just a Pie!

I have been itching to figure out something else I can freeze to have on hand for dinner.  I often go to my stocked freezer on nights when I want something homemade without the wait!  Usually these items involve red sauce… I want to have something new that doesn’t involve a tomato!  How about a chicken pot pie?  Perfect!

As a kid I LOVED the Swanson chicken pot pies.  We would get them on occasion and all I can remember is how LONG it would take to heat them up.  The wait was pure torture!  I want to say it took a good hour.  They were creamy and yummy and totally worth the wait.  But I am now an adult and need something yummy, fast and a little lower in calories.  Let me introduce you to a deconstructed pot pie!

Pot Pie Filling with Love

Step 1

  • 2 bone in skin on split chicken breasts
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 TBLS chicken base
  • 1 TBLS minced dried onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper

Place all in a pot and cook till chicken is no longer pink; should be a good 25 minutes on a medium boil.  Remove chicken and strain broth into separate container.  Discard the bits that are in the strainer.  De-bone the chicken and place in the broth.  Add all to a large pot (one that will hold a good 8-10 cups of liquid).

Step 2

  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (corn, beans, peas and carrots)
  • 1/4 bag of frozen peas (we love peas)
  • 1/4 bag frozen chopped spinach (optional but really yummy)
  • 2 cups of milk

Add to the pot with the stock and cook for 5 minutes till it starts to lightly boil.

Step 3

  • 1/2 a minced onion
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

In a separate pan add onion and butter and work the onions till they are translucent.  Add the salt, pepper and celery seed and give it a mix.  Then work in your flour.  You are making a roux to thicken your pot pie filling.  Cook the roux till you can’t smell the flour and it is a nice light tan color.

Spoon in a scoop of your stock and mix into the roux, mix till it is incorporated and it is not lumpy.  Add another scoop of stock and mix again till smooth.

Once you have a large ball size of roux, then take a scoop of the roux and add it to your pot of chicken and veggies.  Mix well with each scoop so you don’t end up with lumps.  Incorporate all the roux and keep your chicken and veggies on a nice light boil for a good 10 minutes.  The sauce should thicken up nicely.  If it does not you will need to reduce your flame and make a new batch of roux (half the size as stated above) and repeat the process.  You want it to be thick but not like mashed potatoes!

I decided to bake a ready-made pie shell in pieces to add to our bowls.  I like this option as it makes sure that you don’t over eat on the crust (which has most of the calories) and really looks pretty!

You could ladle this over mashed potatoes, over a nice piece of crusty bread or go traditional and put it in a pie shell and bake.  I have 3 containers of pot pie goodness in my freezer waiting for me next time I want homemade without the wait!


Candis aka West

A tribute to my favorite chef – Cooking together blog project.

Paying a tribute to each of our favorite chefs was the theme of our second cooking together blog project. I picked a remarkable chef and made an elaborate dish in her honor.

You can read about here!

I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed making the dish and writing about it.

Much love,


Meatloaf Monday

… well technically it is Tuesday.  BUT I made this little casserole on a Monday, so it is now known as Meatloaf Monday.

I was cleaning out my freezer on Monday afternoon.  I LOVE to organize my fridge and freezer.  So satisfying to see all the goodies that are waiting to be eaten!  I ran across some meatloaf that I had frozen back in November.  I was on a roll with meatloaf back in November so it is not a wonder that I ran across a package!  I thinking that I would let it thaw and fry it up for dinner when I had a V-8 moment.  I am going to just do a casserole!  There has to be other things to combo with the meatloaf!

So I dug further in the freezer and came up with some beef and onion gravy from a post roast a while back and a partial bag of peas.  So far so good!  Let’s whip this up!

Meatloaf Casserole

  • Leftover meatloaf
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas
  • 1 pint of leftover gravy
  • 2 baking potatoes shredded
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • 1 cup of cheese your choice

Chop your meatloaf into cubes and mix with gravy, top with peas.

In a skillet heat olive oil and add shredded potatoes and sprinkle garlic powder to taste.  Fry till crispy and potatoes are nearly done.

Put potatoes on top of peas, sprinkle with cheese and cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes till hot.  Serve with garlic toast and a salad.

It is a recycling kind of dinner!  Smiles and clean plates all around!  Dig around in your freezer and make a casserole of your own!  You might be surprised at what you can create!


Candis aka West

Spiced Shrimp with Ginger Rice and Peas

For the most part of last week, I took a break from cooking.  I really think the weekend before had done me in!  I got back on the wagon for tonight’s dinner and whipped up something light in calories.  I need to look good in my bikini when I’m in the Bahama’s soaking up the rays!

Spiced Shrimp with Ginger Rice and Peas – 362 calories

Yield: 4


4 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 scallions, white and green parts seperated and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 cup long-grain white rice

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 cup frozen peas

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

lime wedges, for serving


In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high.  Add scallion whites and ginger and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 minutes.  Add rice and 1 1/2 cups water and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until rice is tender, about 15 miutes.  Remove from heat and top with peas.  Let stand, covered, 5 minutes, then add scallion greens and fluff rice with fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss shrimp with cumin and coriander and season with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes.  Serve shrimp with rice and lime wedges.

I served this dish alongside some fresh spinach and a splash of Panera Bread Asian Sesame Dressing.

Thanks for stopping by!


Communication – the key to a successful marriage!

My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years now. Wow!! Time sure flies. And I can honestly say we have a great marriage.
I mean I do have the normal complaints of a wife. I complain when he forgets to make my coffee, when breakfast is 15 minutes later than usual, when the house isn’t clean as it should be etc etc
I get especially upset when he is watching his favorite show and I talk about my day and he just won’t listen. But I talk about it anyway.
Last week for instance, when he was watching his favorite show, knowing he is not listening, I told him about how I really liked the combination of green beans, sweet peppers and mushrooms in a dish. What I did not mention was that it was a LOT of effort and a LOT of dishes for me to go through the giant bags of each of those that he had gotten me from Costco. I mean, why should I tell that? It’s not like he listens right!? But one thing I am sure I did not mention or mean to mention was Africa.
Africa?? Why Africa you ask? Because, for my luck, he actually listened to me this time. He surprised me this past weekend with giant bags of, you guessed it, green beans, sweet peppers and mushrooms. Here’s where Africa comes into the picture. I can feed entire Africa using vegetable bags from Costco.
He came home with them and was so happy to have purchased my favorite things that I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I will be A-OK if I never ever eat green beans, mushrooms and sweet peppers. Like EVER!

And so here I am, plowing through my stock, dish after dish, while the whole time wanting to ask my husband “You chose to listen to that conversation?? What about the others which I actually wanted you to listen to?”
So you see my dear friends, always communicate with your significant other. Tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Or else, you will end up like me cooking through giant bags of “Oh no..not this again!!”. I am going to have to have the “vegetable” talk with him this weekend!
Sometimes though I am glad he listens. Like the other day, during his other favorite show, I complained about badly needing a mani-pedi and today he got a gift certificate for the same.
Maybe he is buying me giant bags of vegetables and a mani-pedi certificate so that I will just let him watch his show in peace. Could it be???

On that note,

Good night.

Who Want’s Pot Roast?

Up with the birds today. I had made a decision that I would start getting up earlier since spring is almost here. I need to cultivate some good habits before the weather turns and getting up earlier to accomplish something sounded really good!

It is 5:30am, I have been up for a total of 10 minutes and I am board already!  No noise, no one to “play with”, can’t make too much racket.  Hey, where is that crock pot?

I have always wanted to be a crock pot girl.  I want to prepare meals while I am at work. I want to walk into the house with the unbelievable smell of roast, chilli, cocovan… oh the thought of it all!  Pot roast is now on the menu!

Crock Pot Roast

  • 3 lb chuck roast
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • 6 carrots
  • 10 mushrooms

Sprinkle your roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder and brown in a little olive oil in a hot pan.

Once browned place in your crock pot and sprinkle the dry onion soup mix on top of your meat.  Next layer on the cream of mushroom soup.  Pour your water along the sides of the roast, not over top of the roast.  Place carrots as a ring around the roast and finally your mushrooms on the top of your roast.

Oh my goodness… isn’t it pretty!

Turn heat on low and let cook all day!  Mine was on from 6am till 6pm. At 6pm I removed the roast and the veggies and added some cornstarch (1 tbls starch to 4 tbls water) and made a nice gravy.  Dinner is served!

It was so tender.  It fell apart as I placed it in the serving dish.  I left the noodles to the side of the roast.  My girl LOVES roast, noodles and cooked carrots.  BUT she doesn’t like them all mixed up.  So for her we offer a fancy presentation in a large serving bowl so she can make sure to dress her plate without anything touching.  I am lucky that she eats whatever is presented for dinner.  But she has to keep it all separate.  I am good with that!

Tonight she did dip a noodle and a piece of bread into the gravy.  She declared that is was SO SO… I think we are making progress on the gravy front!


Candis aka West