Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Roasted Chicken with Balsalmic Vinaigrette

Posted by: Frances

January 19th, 2010 >> Cooking

This recipe is a little high maintenance, but very very good.  I made it and served it over rice with broccoli on the side and thought it was excellent.  The lemon zest is very important and makes the flavor just right in your mouth.  It doesn’t take a lot, just a pinch or so.


Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces (giblets, neck and backbone reserved for another use)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves


Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from the bag and arrange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Place the baking dish on a burner over medium-low heat. Whisk the chicken broth into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the broth and pan drippings. Drizzle the pan drippings over the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the chicken, and serve.

5 Cheese Lasagne

Posted by: Frances

January 12th, 2010 >> Cooking

5 Cheese Lasagne


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 11/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano, thyme and parsley)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) package lasagne noodles (which contains approximately 16 to 20 noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped plus about 12 small sprigs to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (about 2 or 3 sprigs stripped from stems)
  • 1/2 pound sliced provolone
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 8 ounces)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the lasagne noodles.

To make the sauce: Cook ground turkey meat with a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepot. Then add garlic and onions. Add crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.

Boil the lasagne noodles until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together. Let cool.

This lasagne will have 4 layers but 2 different types of cheese layers. One cheese layer will consist of mascarpone, ricotta, Parmesan and egg to bind. Combine these 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside briefly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Layer 4 to 5 lasagne noodles lengthwise side by side in an ovenproof lasagne dish with edges overlapping. Top with half of the mascarpone/ricotta cheese mixture. (It is easiest to drop evenly spaced spoonfuls of this over the noodles, and then spread it out.) Distribute half of the fresh basil and half of the fresh oregano over the cheese, then layer another 4 or 5 lasagne noodles over the cheese in the same fashion as the first layer of noodles.

The second layer of cheese will consist of provolone and mozzarella. Spread half of the provolone cheese slices over the second layer of noodles and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Repeat the process with the noodles, remaining mascarpone/ricotta and noodles for the third layer. For the last layer, spread out the remaining noodles, top with remaining provolone, but then ladle the tomato sauce over and finish with the remaining mozzarella.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs.



Oh my gosh this was soo delicious!  It was actually quite an easy recipe.  I had some garlic bread to go with it that just topped it off.  This is a definite must try!

Cream Cheese Chicken

Posted by: Frances

January 6th, 2010 >> Cooking


Cream Cheese Chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into strips or chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 – 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
  • 2 c of chicken broth (or 14-oz can), seperated
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp flour

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat, add the chicken to the pan.  Brown chicken on both sides.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom.  Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and chicken broth is reduced.  Remove chicken and set aside, keep warm.  Mix flour with remaining broth and add to pan; mix.  Add cream cheese, mix until thick and bubbly.  Add small amounts of  heavy cream and cook on low heat until it is at the desired thickness.  Return chicken to the pan and coat with sauce.  Serve with pasta and vegetables if desired.
I really enjoyed this meal.  I thought the sauce could have been a bit less thick.  Definitely recommend trying this!

Christmas & New Years Eve Party 2009-2010

Posted by: Frances

January 4th, 2010 >> Cooking, Holidays

Matt and I drove to Austin, TX to celebrate Christmas with my family on New Years Day and to celebrate New Years Eve with LC Rocks and my friends.  We also took my two dogs with us.  New Years Eve was a blast!  We went to the Double Tree to see LC Rocks and The NewsBoyz perform. Sherry from LC Rocks was making Purple Margaritas for all of us.  After the show was over, we all went upstairs to the suite for the after party.



The girls dancing on stage to Girls Girls Girls.


We went over to my sisters house and she her house was gorgeous.  She had Christmas stuff everywhere.  We opened gifts and we all got exactly what we wanted and more.  Then, we had an Italian style dinner.  She made this Spinach Artichoke Dip that was to die for.  It is definitely in my top 5 favorite foods!  The recipe is below.

christmas-on-new-years-jackie-tree-2 Her tree was massive and so awesome!  We had some good times and some laughs we won’t forget.

Matt and I also went to see Avatar at the Tineltown in Pflugerville in the IMAX 3D theater.  It was so intriguing.












Spinach Artichoke Dip By Jackie

  • 2 (10 oz) boxes frozen chopped spinach – thawed
  • ¼ c real butter
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 2 tbs minced onion
  • ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ c chicken stock
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp hot sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 2/3 c grated Romano cheese
  • 2/3 c grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ c sour cream
  • 1 c shredded white cheddar – set aside 1/3 c for top of dip
  • 12 oz jar artichoke hearts – drained and coarsely chopped

Strain spinach. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible using cheesecloth, papertowels, dish rag. Chop it and set aside.

In saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic and onions in butter until golden, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in cream and stock and continue cooking until boiling.

Once boiling, stir in lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, and cheeses (minus the 1/3 c set aside). Stir until cheese has melted.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Stir in sour cream, then fold in dry spinach and artichoke hearts. Transfer to serving dish.

Sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over top.

Microwave to melt cheese topping and serve.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips and bread for dipping.

Ricotta, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, & Broccoli Stuffed Chicken

Posted by: Frances

December 22nd, 2009 >> Cooking


So I made this recipe and I thought it was good, but not good enough to fix again.  It is worth trying though because the others that ate it loved it.

Ricotta, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, & Broccoli Stuffed Chicken:


  • 8 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 4 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 2 oz Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Head of Broccoli
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 eggs
  • bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • Boneless Chicken Breast

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Pound boneless chicken breasts until it is even in thickness.  Mix flour and flaxseed in one bowl, bread crumbs in another, and beat eggs in a third bowl.  Dip the chicken breast into the flour mix, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.  Lay chicken flat on a cutting board.  Mix in a bowl Ricotta, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Broccoli pieces, Parsley, and Basil.  Spread over chicken breast and roll.  Use a toothpick to hold together.  Line the rolled chicken in a pan sprayed with Pam non-stick.  When finished cook in the over for 40 minutes or until done.

Chicken Stuffed with Golden Onions & Fontina Cheese

Posted by: Frances

December 16th, 2009 >> Cooking


Chicken Stuffed with Golden Onions & Fontina

A semi-firm cheese that’s nonetheless quite creamy, fontina melts into pure heaven. Combined with caramelized onions, fontina becomes a nutty, gooey, irresistible filling for chicken breasts.


4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided

1/8 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

2/3 cup shredded fontina cheese, preferably aged (used smoked gouda)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat

1/2 cup white wine (used Sherry Vinegar)

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 teaspoons all-purpose flour


1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon rosemary; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool; stir in fontina.

2. Meanwhile, cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of each chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Stuff each breast with 1/4 cup of the onion-cheese mixture.

3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Add wine and the remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Whisk broth and flour in a bowl until smooth; add to the pan, reduce heat to low and whisk until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce. Cook, covered, until the chicken is just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve the chicken topped with the sauce.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, arguably the most versatile cut of chicken, are very low in fat, only 1 to 2 grams of fat per serving. Conveniently, one 4- to 5-ounce breast, tender removed, yields a perfect 3-ounce cooked portion. When preparing, trim any excess fat from the outer edge of the breast.

Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”

I thought this was quite tasty and highly recommend giving it a try!!!

Christmas Scent

Posted by: Frances

December 7th, 2009 >> Cooking

Christmas Scent

Place a sauce pan on the stove on low and add the following:

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 c of cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 apple

Then fill with water until it covers the top of all the ingredients.  You can leave on low heat when you are home and it will fill your house with a Christmas scent.

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

Posted by: Frances

December 2nd, 2009 >> Cooking

WOW, this was a magnificent dish!  It was incredibly appetizing and delicious.  Matt and I both made this dish and it took some prepping and some work to complete, but we had enough leftover to freeze for next time before baking.  I highly recommend you try this if you can find an evening to cook and spend some quality time with someone important to you.  Here is the recipe below (YUMMY):

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce (Pictures Below)


  • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended: Barilla)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows

  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the
pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite,
stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.

in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add
the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and
starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon
salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring
occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add
the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let

In a large bowl combine the
cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs,
basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish
with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand
and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2
tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue
filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells.
Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the
grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and
place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.

bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are
warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes
(20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

Arrabbiata Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups jarred or fresh marinara sauce

the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta
and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute
until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper
flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready
to use.

turky-stuffed-shells-2 turky-stuffed-shells-3

Wassail Spice Blend Drink

Posted by: Frances

December 1st, 2009 >> Cooking

My sister and i went to the Biltmore in North Carolina a few months back and we both bought the Wassail Spice Blend drink mix.  We were able to sample it in the gift shop and really loved it.   Well, tonight the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is on and I am watching it drinking my Wassail Spice Blend warm mix blend with Apple Cider and it hit the spot.

GO Angel Models and Black Eyed Peas!

California Dreaming Restuarant

Posted by: Frances

November 29th, 2009 >> Cooking

Matt and I went to California Dreaming for dinner one night and it was delicious. If you click California Dreaming, it will take you to their website and you can see their menu.  I had the Knob Hill Chicken and the Firesteed Cayalla Syrah Oregon Red Wine.  This was such a great dinner!  If you go, I highly recommend this dish and the red wine.  Matt had the Rodney Strong California Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine and steak, it was very satisfying.