July 26, 2015

Mini Fillo Shells Stuffed with Chicken Salad

I recently was invited to a Small Group at a good friend's house.  She fixed these mini fill shells stuffed with chicken salad.  They were delicious little appetizers.  This is exactly the type of thing I absolutely love to eat.

I made chicken breasts for Jambalaya, and I had enough chicken left over to make some chicken salad.  

These are so easy, and if I may say so myself, very impressive.

I made these for our lunch today with a slice of watermelon, but they would be a perfect appetizer for your next dinner party or get-together, or if you need to take something somewhere.  My friend told me she used canned chicken.  So that really cuts down on the time it takes to make these tasty little treats.

This is the first time I made these, and I always like to do a trial run on Cudjoe and myself before I make them to serve to family and friends!

Always a good idea if you get the recipe from Pinterest.  I've had a few Pinterest Fails.  Could be me.  Could be the recipe.  But it's always a good idea to try it out on your "immediate" family before serving it to others.

Mini Fillo Shells Stuffed with Chicken Salad

One bone-in, skin-on chicken breast
3 to 4 Tablespoons - Lite Mayonnaise 
1/2 cup - Craisins
1/4 cup - Pecan Chips
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Celery Seed

1.  Boil Chicken in boxed chicken broth with a couple stalks of celery and onion.  I always cook my chicken in the crockpot.  Let it cool, pull off the skin, debone, and shred chicken with a fork.
2.  Place chicken in a bowl.  Stir in 3 to 4 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of Craisins, 1/4 cup of pecan chips, pepper and celery seed.  (I did not measure the pepper and celery seed.  I just "eyeballed" how much).
3.  Fill *mini fillo shells with chicken salad.  Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
*I used Athens mini fillo shells

Serve to family and friends!!


July 25, 2015

San Francisco Food Scene - Days One and Two

I have read on the internet (which I'm sure has to be gospel) that San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States.  I certainly haven't been to every big city in America to gauge this for myself, but I will say San Francisco has a lot of restaurants.

Last week, my hubby and I traveled to San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary.  This was a first time trip there for us.  San Francisco is a very unique and beautiful city.  We loved our time spent there.  The weather was amazing!  72 and sunny every single day.  We crammed in everything a tourist could possibly do in the short time we were there!   I am sharing with you today some of the restaurants that we went to, and the food we ate while we were there.

Our flight got in at 6:00 p.m. on the day we arrived, and so by the time we checked into our hotel, we walked to a nearby restaurant that was recommended by someone from our hotel.  This restaurant was located at Fisherman's Wharf.  It was an Italian/Seafood eatery.  There's a lot of both of these in San Francisco, especially in this area of Fisherman's Wharf.

I didn't get a picture of the food, duh; but evidently, I did get a picture of my beer!  We ate outside.  It was  a perfect evening for dining outdoors.  Also, there was no wait for eating outside, and we, unfortunately, aren't patient waiters.

My hubby had the Fisherman's Platter, you know, a lot of fried stuff like shrimp, calamari, etc.  Disclaimer:  I don't like seafood, and I seldom eat deep fried foods.  Two exceptions:  Fried chicken and french fries, and that is in extreme moderation.   So, I would not have ever under any circumstances ordered or eaten that plate of food.  I had lasagna.  It was okay.  The best lasagna I have ever eaten in a restaurant was at Zia's on the Hill in St. Louis.

The next morning, I wanted to eat at Hollywood Cafe which was just a short walk from our hotel, but the line was very, very long, and we decided we didn't want to stand in line; so, we went to Darren's Cafe, which we just happened to find in a search for somewhere to eat breakfast.  There was no wait when we got there, and to our delight, we were seated immediately.

I had french toast.  This is a lot of french toast.  No way for me to eat it all, but no problem, Cudjoe helped me.  It was delicious.

The second night, we went to Scoma's for supper.  This restaurant opened in the 1960's and is very retro looking, as it probably hasn't changed much since it was opened.  It is right on the wharf alongside fishing boats.  White table cloths, and the servers all wear white jackets (very cool).  It was very nice.

I had one of my favorite meals at Scoma's.  This is chicken breast, orzo, mushrooms, and pickled ramps.  This dish had a lot of great flavor.  Cudjoe had a fillet.  He said it was very good.

And a latte after dinner.  WOW!  It was delicious.  

That's it for Days One and Two.  I do hope you enjoyed my sharing of our experience with the food scene in San Francisco, and I will be back to share more.  I hope you come back, too!!


July 22, 2015

From Farm to Table Heirloom Tomato and Feta Salad

In our mostly rural southern Illinois county, we grow some of the best fruits and vegetables in the tri-state area.  The fruits and vegetables raised here are shipped all over the Midwest.

For some reason, the Cobden, Illinois, area grows the absolutely best fruits and vegetables.  There are a couple of schools of thought about this:  that the soil is just right for growing tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, beets, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, squash, and many other vegetables.  The second school of thought is that it is a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation.  I think it's probably a combination of both.

We bought these heirloom tomatoes at the Farmer's Market, and I made this great little salad last night for supper.

We shared a ribeye steak, which my hubby grilled out, green beans, and this great tomato salad.

I cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl, added crumbled feta cheese, salt, pepper, and Olive Press Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil that we bought at the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the Sonoma Valley on our trip to San Francisco last week.  The Balsamic Vinegar is absolutely delicious.  I swear it's so sweet, you can eat it over ice cream!

How about these two tourists posing in front of this gorgeous winery? 

This is the view from the back of the winery.  It is absolutely beautiful.

We did tastings of several different wines, and this very nice lady gave us a history of the winery as well educated us about the wines we were tasting and how to pair them.  LOTS of fun!  It had a GREAT shop where you could taste olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

This is truly a great farm to table salad.  Such a super summer salad!!


July 21, 2015

Southwestern Dip

This is a great recipe that a friend e-mailed me several years ago.  I have made it for lunch and dinner parties at my house many, many times.

This past Sunday I had my mother and dad for lunch.  My hubby grilled out burgers, and I had fresh sweet corn, country-style potatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh sliced green peppers, and for a little starter, I made this tasty dip.

It is easy to make.  Just kind of throw everything together and stir.

It has actually been awhile since I made it.  My niece, who is 11 now,  and was just a little girl then, would sit at a chair at the kitchen table, pull the chip and dip bowl over towards her and eat until her heart was content and her belly full!!  She loved it!!

We all enjoyed it Sunday, and I am glad I remembered it.  I have so many recipes and always like trying something new, but sometimes, the tried and true is the best.

I highly recommend you try this easy and delicious recipe.  It makes a lot; so, it works well for a large group.  If you have a small group like we did on Sunday, you will have a lot left over, or you can always cut the recipe in half.

It didn't have a name for the recipe in the e-mail, which I have kept in my recipe binder, so I named it Southwestern Dip.

Southwestern Dip

(2) Philadelphia Cream Cheese - room temperature
3/4 cup of mayonnaise  (I used Lite)
3/4 cup salsa, medium (I used mild - I don't like anything very spicy)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 red pepper, diced
3 diced green onions (I left these out, as I don't like raw onions either)
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained

Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy then stir in mayonnaise and salsa.  Mix in the chili powder, diced onions and red pepper with the cream cheese mixture.  Add the garlic, using a garlic press.  (I used minced garlic from a jar).  Add the black beans and corn and mix everything together.  Chill and serve with tortilla chips.

Serve to family and friends!!

July 9, 2015

Blueberry Freezer Preserves

Fresh blueberries are officially gone until next year here in southern Illinois.  We are truly blessed with a beautiful abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  The Farmer's Markets are full of every vegetable and fruit you can imagine.

I missed making strawberry freezer preserves this year, which are my very favorite.  This is the first time I've made blueberry preserves.

For me freezer preserves are the way to go.  They are so easy and delicious and are very tasty on toast, pancakes, waffles, or ice-cream.  And great in cookie bars, as well!

The recipe is inside the box of Sure-Gel, and I used it.  No muss, not fuss.  Just do it!