Lemon-Pepper Cottage Cheese Dip with Fresh Veggies

  • 1 16 oz. container of Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 2-3 tsp. Lemon-Pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (do not used dried)
  • Carrots, Celery, Red Bell Peppers, Green Onions, Radishes, or whatever other fresh veggies you like. Cut into pieces big enough to dip and snack on.


  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients except the veggies used for dipping. Stir until combined. Taste and add additional Lemon-Pepper seasoning if needed.
  2. Serve with veggies.

That was hard wasn't it? This makes a great, flavorful low-cal appetizer.

What to do with leftover soup?

Being a single gal, I often find myself cooking for one. This either means I cook too often or don't date often enough. I'm guessing it's the second option...sorry, I digress. I also, however, have found it impossible to cook soup for one. Here is a suggestion for those of you who find yourself staring down the cereal box some nights because you don't feel like cooking a whole meal

When I make soups, I make enough to feed an army. This gives me dinner for that night, leftovers for another day or two and enough to freeze a few portions for later on. Soup freezes great and I like to freeze soup in individual sized portions. This makes for easy, quick meals when I get home too late to cook anything else! Like with the French Onion Soup, you just have to make the croutons, defrost the soup and you've got a great meal in less than 10 minutes.

Definition of the Day - Deglaze

Pronounced (dee-GLAYZ)

This is the process by which a small amount of liquid is heated (or added to a hot pan) after food (usually meat) has been sautéed and the food and excess fat removed from the pan. The liquid is stirred to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. This is generally done with wine or stock and the resulting mixture often becomes a base for a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan. This practice can also be done while leaving the food in the pan and using the resulting mixture as the base for a soup or stew.

French Onion Soup with Croutons

Makes: 6-8 servings
Total Time To Eating (TTTE): 1 hour

  • 3-4 Large white onions - I prefer Maui or Vidalia onions because they are sweeter but any white or yellow onion will work.
  • 3 sprigs of fresh Thyme or 1 tsp. dried Thyme
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • Water
  • Beef broth or Beef bullion
  • 1-2 cups Sherry or Dry Red Wine
  • Salt and Freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • EVOO
  • Flour


  • Sourdough bread or french baguette (cut into pieces). Allow 1 piece per serving.
  • Swiss or Gruyere cheese (I actually prefer Swiss Cheese)
  • Garlic


  1. Quarter onions and then slice into ~1/4" slices. Over med-low heat, coat a deep pan or soup pot with EVOO. Add sliced onions and cover. Let onions saute over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions have caramelized.
  2. Add ~2 tbsp. butter and lightly (I mean lightly here!) coat onions in flour (1-2 tbsp. tops!). Stir continuously until the flour has browned. Deglaze pan with 1 cup Sherry or Dry Red Wine. Add thyme and bay leaves to the mixture. Simmer on low heat until the liquid has been reduced by about half.
  3. Add water and beef broth or bullion until you have 6-8 cups of soup. Salt and pepper to taste. If taste needs adjustment, add additional water, broth or sherry.
  4. Over medium-low heat, let soup simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. While soup is simmering, peel a clove of garlic. Place your bread in the toaster for one cycle (or in the oven for about 2 minutes). Remove and rub the garlic over the pieces of bread. Cover each piece of bread with cheese and place in the oven at Broil until cheese has melted and bread is toasted.
  6. To serve: remove the bay leaves from the soup. Fill bowl with a serving of soup and place a crouton in each bowl.

Stuffed chicken or portabello mushrooms

4- Chicken breasts/thighs deboned
6- Portobello mushrooms with ribs scraped out
1- Container spreadable cheese (I use Aloutte) in the garlic and herb flavor or artichoke.
1/2 Cup- Shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 Cup- Italian bread crumbs

Combine all of above ingredients together (besides meat or mushrooms) in a small bowl. The mixture should be thick and formable. For chicken you will want to cut a hole in the middle an stuff the mixture inside of it tying with string to seal. Season the outside with more salt and pepper. For the mushroom you will want to first saute the mushroom on both sides until it is tender. Then place the mixture in the center of the mushroom and roll it up tying shut with string. Place both the chicken and mushrooms in a frying pan with some EVOO and cook until chicken is done or cheese is melted in the mushrooms. Cut off strings and serve. I like to serve this with a garlic cream sauce over it.

Garlic cream sauce
4 Tbsp- Butter
4 Tbsp- Flour
1 cup- Milk or cream
1 cup- Chicken or vegetable stock
6 cloves- garlic peeled and chopped.
2 Tbsp- EVOO

Saute garlic in EVOO until soft. Add flour and butter making a rue and cook until the mixture makes a nice tan color. Whisk in broth, salt and pepper and turn heat to high causing mix to boil once it reaches a boil reduce heat to medium low and continue whisking until mixture is thick and add milk or cream. If mixture is too thick add more broth. If it is too thin whisk in more flour! Pour over chicken or mushrooms.

A nice added flavor for the stuffing mixture is to dice up some marinated artichoke hearts and add those in with the soft cheese.

Shannons fried chicken

This is good fried chicken but you need to have some patience. This is one of the times you need to learn about the medium LOW function on your stove!

6- Pieces of chicken, bone and skin on
3/4 cup- Flour
2-3 cups- Vegetable oil
3 cups- Buttermilk
1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp- Tapatio (no it won't be that hot I swear!)
1- Egg
1.5 Tbsp- Salt
1.5 Tbsp- Pepper
1 Tsp- Cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp- Garlic powder
1 Tbsp- Ranch seasoning powder (I got a super good one from a craft fair but that Hidden Valley will do)
1 Tsp- Grill seasoning

In a bag or bowl pour 2 cups buttermilk and tapatio. Season chicken with some salt and pepper and toss in bag. Marinate at least 20 minutes over night is ever better. Pour oil into large pan and preheat to medium low. You want the pan to be at least half way full so you may need to add more or less oil depending on pan size. On a plate put all dry ingredients and mix together. STICK YOUR FINGER IN YOUR FLOUR MIXTURE AND TASTE! You want to be able to taste your seasoning right away. If you can't taste it add a little more of whatever your missing and mix it. Pour remaining cup of butter milk, egg and tapatio onto another plate and beat together till egg is mixed in. Pull chicken from marinade and roll in flour, then roll in new buttermilk mix and back into the flour. Place chicken into oil and let fry for about 10 minutes. You want the oil to slightly sizzle and make a frying sound but not be bubbling and popping that means the heat is too high. Flip after ten minutes and let the other side cook. Repeat the flipping process for about 30-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through (cut it open and make sure the juices are clear not pink). Place on paper towel to drain oil and enjoy!

Also if your in a hurry you can skip the marinating and simply roll the chicken right into the buttermilk and flour it just won't be as tender. Buttermilk is an acid and by marinating you break down the meat some thus getting tender chicken!

Salsa Corn

This is a great super quick and easy summer side dish. I use fresh corn but you can always substitute frozen or canned corn if you want this when fresh corn is not available.

  • Fresh White or Yellow Corn - the number depends on how many you are serving. I always figure on 1 cob of corn per person (unless you want leftovers then increase the number).
  • Fresh salsa - I prefer homemade but any fresh salsa (no Pace Picante here people!)
  • Salt

How much harder can you get?

Cut the corn off the cob and place in a medium saucepan. Combine with 1-2 tbsp. of salsa per cob of corn. Season with salt to your liking. Cook over medium heat until the corn is just cooked. You want the corn to remain crispy.

This is a great side dish for Mexican food (enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos); the sweetness of the corn is a great contrast to the spicy/saltiness of the salsa ingredients.

Chicken Quesidillas/Enchiladas

Chicken quesidillas/enchiladas (this is seriously so basic but really wows people for some reason)
the basis of what goes inside is this
Chicken. Now this is your preference. My husband ONLY eats dark meat. whatever I prefer white. Anyway if your going to do white meat (much easier) you will use boneless skinless chicken breast.

1- package boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 white onion
1 large can green enchilada sauce (found in any Mexican isle of the grocery store)
2 cloves garlic
Cheese (again preference my husband prefers mozzarella, I like yellow but I like how the mozzarella melts)
Tortilla shells (for the quesadilla buy flour burrito size, for the enchilada buy white corn)

Cut chicken into bite size cubes and throw in frying pan with enough oil to coat the bottom, chop up the onions so they are bite size (doesn't matter how they look no one will see em!), toss em in the pan, take whole cloves of garlic, lay on cutting board turn knife so that the whole blade is flat on the board, lift above garlic and whack! Wala you've peeled your garlic. Chop em up and toss in the pan with salt and pepper. Saute till done and pour in half can of sauce. let simmer for about five minutes.

For Quesidillas
In large frying pan put flour tortilla in bottom of pan, add layer of cheese to one half of tortilla, followed by layer of meat and then top with cheese, fold and cook on low to medium low till outside is crispy. Thats it your done! Serve with sour cream and salsa.

For Enchiladas.
Microwave shells for about 30 seconds and keep moist towel around em. Pour remaining green sauce (from one can) in a bowl (for this one I always get two cans). Take corn tortilla and dunk in sauce till coated (this helps them crack a little less). Put in bottom of Pyrex baking dish like 9x13ish or whatever you have that is a glass baking dish lay flat in dish put enough meat mixture to fill center of tortilla add some cheese, roll it up and place seem side down
repeat till you run out of room. Pour other can of sauce on top of enchiladas till mostly covered. Smother the rest in cheese and bake at 450 for about 15 minutes just to melt all the cheese.

Now this can also be covered this way and taken to a friend or refrigerated for another night. If it is refrigerated you will need to cook it longer since the meat will be cold.

I like to top with sour cream, green chilles, and olives (all out of a can cuz I be ghetto like that) and some salsa.

My recipe does not include beans because my husband won't eat them. However if you like them you can add some black and red beans to the chicken mixture. Also if you are a vegetarian you can throw the beans in a bowl, with some sauce, onion and garlic and microwave it for about 5 minutes till its hot and make either of these meals with that for a vegetarian version.

Lemon basil shrimp pasta

1- Pack bow tie pasta boiled and drained
1- Pound jumbo peeled & de-veined prawns + a few more for tasting
1- Lemon for zest and juice
10- Leaves fresh basil chopped or torn
1 cup- Pine nuts
3/4 cup- EVOO
1/2 cup- Parmesan cheese
1.5 cup- Ricotta cheese
3- Cloves garlic chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

In large saute pan add enough olive oil to saute shrimp and add garlic over medium low heat. When oil is hot add shrimp and saute until shrimp are pink and semi firm to touch. If you are unsure if your shrimp is done, simply taste a few! When shrimp is done add pasta to pan, with ricotta and zest of whole lemon and juice, pine nuts and basil and enough olive oil to coat all the pasta so it doesn't stick together. Toss it all together and allow to cook for about one minute to heat pasta through and distribute shrimp flavor through out. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve!

This dish is a great reheat and cooks in about 15 minutes depending on how long it takes you to boil your pasta! You can also substitute diced chicken for the shrimp. Goes great along side fish or served on it's own.

IF you are like me and don't eat fish or meat, simply set aside some of the pasta before you toss it in the shrimp pan and make your own individual serving!

Caprese sandwich (pronounced Ka-pray-say)

This is my favorite quick go to meal. It is caprese (pronounced Ka-pray-say) sandwich's. I have included stp by step photos of this process. This is the freshest tasting meal you will ever taste.
First take your fresh basil and roll it long ways

Then you take you knife and cut it down the roll so you have confetti type stuff (I woulda taken pictures of this but my husband wouldn't get off the Wii)

Here are all the ingredients you will need, fresh sliced mozzarella, tomatoes (I prefer smaller tomatoes they have more flavor), fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, fresh cracked pepper, and some of your favorite bread (I like sliced cibiatta or sliced sweet french), turkey if you have to eat meat!

Preheat a nonstick pan with a good amount of EVOO to medium low, closer to low

Start with your sliced bread

Liberally apply mozzarella to each slice

Then layer tomatoes

Add a generous amount of good Kosher salt and cracked pepper (normal salt will do just use less)

Add fresh sliced basil

Drizzle balsamic onto tomatoes (I do it this way so the tomatoes catch the vinegar and it doesn't get all over the bread and sog it up)

I usually stop here but my meatatarian husband likes the stupid turkey so whatever you can add some turkey.

Put the top slice on the turkey and press it together.

Place in preheated pan

Apply pressure, if you don't have a grill press use another heavy skillet

Cook till the bottom looks like this, and then flip

When both sides look like this, take it out, cut and enjoy!!!!!