My pantry looks a lot different than it did a couple of years ago. What is basic today would have been nowhere near my pantry yesterday. So when this week’s IHCC theme – PANTRY MAGIC!! – showed up I knew I had lots more choices of good things than I would have!! Now I keep more herbs and spices, several different types of flour (there are more than AP and Self-rising!), capers, BLACK RICE. And I grow more of my own veggies, too. Like Pumpkins. I decided to use some of those new goodies to make


    Pasta with Shredded Chicken and Fried Basil

Like most of Donna’s dishes this was very easy to put together. Cook pastas. Cook and shred some chicken. Toss with some basil – done! Easy AND tasty!!

    400g (14 oz) fresh pasta*
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    3 chicken breast fillets, halved
    2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
    1/4 cup basil leaves
    125g (4 oz) fetta cheese, chopped
    cracked black pepper

Place the pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 4-5 minutes or until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Remove, cool slightly and shred the chicken.
Add the extra oil to the pan and heat. Add the basil and cook for 2 minutes or until crisp.
To serve, drain the pasta and toss with the chicken, fetta and pepper. Pour over the oil and fried basil and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

I followed Donna’s recipe except I added some salt to the chicken before cooking it and I added some extra olive oil to the pasta after tossing everything together. It seemed a little dry.

This recipe came from Donna’s new food fast (page 30).

Check out I Heart Cooking Club for this week’s dishes from the other cooks/bakers of IHCC!

One of the cookbooks we are using for Wednesdays with Donna Hay is off the shelf: cooking from the pantry. The premise behind this book is how to fill your pantry with convenient and basic ingredients. Then you can whip together easy delicious meals EVERYDAY!! Okay. That’s fine, if you can actually FIND the ingredients to put IN the pantry!! And usually it is not a problem unless you live in a fairly small not very cuisine aware town. Like I do. I figured I just wouldn’t get to make this dish because I could not find Thai green curry paste. But as luck would have it, by the FOURTH store I found it. WooHoo!!



The recipe calls for coconut cream. I took that to mean cream of coconut and that is what I used. Maybe I should have used coconut milk instead. While Donna’s sauce looks rather white you can see mine is quite brown. That was due to the cream of coconut caramelizing as the chicken was cooking. It was delicious – sweet, spicy – but as it cooled it hardened a little. Still…it was very tasty. With the sweet potato and the jasmine rice it was quite filling. Definitely a repeat. But maybe with the milk rather than the cream.

The recipe is on page 134 of off the shelf: cooking from the pantry.

Check out how



liked this dish.

Last month we made Wonton Parcels filled with chocolate and apple. This meant we had wonton wrappers left over. I thought we would need to use them up so I chose dumplings for this week’s donna hay pick. I also thought it would be fun to make dumplings since I have never made them before. AND I do love Asian or Asian style food so it is definitely a win/win situation.


These were so easy to make. And they would have been lots easier if I had had all my ingredients. But I had the wrong recipe in mind so had to do with what I had. I thawed a chicken breast and ground up part of that. Didn’t have any Sweet Chilli sauce so I mixed my own (Honey with sriracha to taste and a touch of Rice wine vinegar). But they still came out just right. Simple ingredients – ground chicken, cilantro, Hoisin Sauce – in a wrapper and steamed.


It was fun making them. Just pinch the sides together and steam them for about 4 minutes. Then some dipping sauce – that same last minute chilli sauce – perfect with some fried rice.

You can find the recipe on page 124 of Donna’s off the shelf. And check out

Some times Life gets in the way. Such was true last week. A medical emergency took priority (GASP!!) so I didn’t get to the DH recipe which was Gaye’s pick.


    Bacon and Egg Pie.

Bacon and eggs are the quintessential breakfast foods. Bacon is really hot (haha) right now, add cheese and pastry and you have a winner!!!! I loved this. The partially baked bacon is layered with cheese, mustard (I don’t like mustard and left it out), and eggs in puff pastry and baked till the eggs are set. What’s not to like????

You can check out

You can find the recipe on page 158 of Donna’s Modern Classics 1

This week the recipe was chosen by Kayte.


A nice Chicken Spaghetti Salad served warm. The pasta is tossed with cooked chicken breasts, mustard dressing, spinach leaves, salt and pepper. Super simple. And I would like to say super tasty, but I didn’t care for the mustard dressing. I did make it, and I did taste it, but I didn’t use it. Sorry, Kayte. Instead I used a Vidalia Onion Dressing. It was good. The recipe for the salad is definitely repeat. You can find it on page 57 of Modern Classics ! I love pasta salads in the summer!! Thanks, Kayte.

Check out

This week’s Donna Hay dish is a nice little pasta dish that is easy and quick to make.


If you have some spaghetti (I used some homemade egg noodles), chicken, capers, and olive oil you are almost there. Now add some lemon juice, zest, and garlic and you have all the makings of this tasty dish. (It also calls for red chillies, but I left those out!!)

I liked it, but B wasn’t a fan. Made a good lunch since it was quick (and I had some cooked breasts.) The only problem, and it is probably because of the pasta I used, I found the dish to be a little dry. Next time I will add a little pasta water.

This was Gaye’s pick his week so amble on over and check out her pasta. And while you are wandering the internet check on Chaya’s and Kayte’s as well

The recipe is on page 22 of Donna’s Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry. It is also on Donna’s website, with tons of other delicious recipes.

Today is the first Monday in March (ALREADY!!??) which means its REVEAL DAY for the Secret Recipe Club. Each month the memebers are assisgned a blog to enjoy, cook from and drool over!! This week I had the pleasure of meeting Katherine of Katherine Martinelli. She describes herself as writer, photographer, wanderer. She is …”an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. A native New Yorker, she currently calls Be’er Sheva, Israel home.” Her recipes look delicious, her photographs are outstanding, and she has a cookbook – Puff Pastry at Brunch so cooking from her blog was a joy! And as usual it was soooo hard to pick one. Three was hard, but that is what I had to finally stop with.

Here in the south we don’t have much cold weather but when it is cold I love to make soup. Any kind of soup. So one of the recipes was easy.


    Chicken and Corn Chowder

While Gumbo is my first soup to make every winter I am always willing to try something new. Usually something full of goodies, thick, and flavorful. Can you see all the goodies in this one – chicken, potatoes, BACON, celery, carrots???

    1 tablespoon butter
    3/4 cup diced onion
    3/4 cup diced carrot
    1/2 cup diced celery
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    5 tablespoons flour
    6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    2 medium potatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
    2 cups whole milk
    ½ cup cream
    1 3/4 cups shredded cooked chicken
    2 cups corn kernels (frozen, canned, or fresh)
    1/4 teaspoon dried ground thyme
    Salt and pepper
    Chopped chives, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, Bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons of the flour and stir until fully incorporated.
Stir in the broth and potatoes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the corn, milk, and cream and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken and thyme and cook until chicken is heated through.
Put the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl and add a ladle full of broth. Whisk together to form a slurry and add back into the chowder. Stir to combine.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and top with chopped chives, if desired.

This soup was sooo good. Comfort food at its best. While Katherine did not put bacon in her version (which was in the original) I added it back in. The only change I would make next time would be to used cream corn rather than whole kernels. I think it would add more tender corn and creamyness. But this was deliclious.

Especially when I made her Garlic Bread Buttermilk Biscuits to go with it.


Yes, I said Garlic Bread and Biscuit at the same time. Made with chopped garlic and garlic powder there is plenty of flavor in these. These are different from any biscuit I have ever made. Instead of making a dough and rolling it out and cutting biscuits these are made from a batter poured into a pan and sliced after baking.

    1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons Kosher salt
    13/4 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400F.
Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Melt the butter and stir in the garlic, garlic powder and dried oregano.
Pour the garlic and herb butter into the prepared baking dish.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add the buttermilk and mix until you get a smooth, thick batter.
Spoon the batter on top of the garlic butter. Smooth as much as possible with a spatula so it’s evenly distributed.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place a plate upside down on top of the baking pan, then flip so the bread comes out with the buttery part on top.
Slice and serve.

Oh! My! All that buttery goodness. All that garlic taste. Oh! My! I love biscuits but don’t always have time when I am thinking of supper. With these I don’t have to take lots of time because they aren’t rolled and cut.

And then Katherine started coming up with variations she wants to try and now, if we meet, she will be my BFF! You have to visit this post to see what I am talking about!!

After the soup and biscuits we really needed (well, wanted) something sweet to end the day. Fortunately there are lots of sweets to choose from. And since I am retired with no children at home I have lots of time so of course I HAD to choose one of the more time consuming desserts.


Rakott Palacsinta aka Layered Crepe Cake.

It is a long process so I will let you look at her recipe and process pics instead. Making crepes. Filling crepes. Stacking crepes. Covering crepes with ganache.

If you look at her picture and then at mine you an see I need more practice with this one. but it was fun to try. And good, too. I made 1/2 of the total recipe (because we didn’t NEED a whole cake to tempt us) and ended up with 10 6″ crepes which I cut in half and stacked. I used strawberry preserves and ground chocolate/sugar between the crepes. Chocolate and strawberry is always a good combination. My problems came because while baking the fillings melted out from between the crepe layers and the crepes got tough. I will have to ask Katherine how to fix that problem. But it was still sweet and tasty.

I have several of Katherine’s recipes Pinned and have more I want to try – Wine braised chicken with saffron cream, Garlicky Shrimp Pasta, and her Cinnamon Bun Cake just to name a few. You really should visit Katherine, browse her RECIPES, and enjoy her photographs.

And if you want to join in the fun visit The Secret Recipe Club and sign up. You won’t be sorry! I mean, really, look at all the great dishes for March (Link below).

I have to say this was a ‘devilishly’ good dish.


And ‘devilishly’ simple. According to Dorie when you see diable on the menu you can be sure the dish has mustard in it. To make this dish you simply mix butter, olive oil, shallot, and garlic with white wine, cream, worcestershire sauce and a touch of mustard. I say a touch because while Dorie calls for 3 Tbl I only used 1 because we REALLY don’t care for mustard. But I had to put some in cause Dorie said so.

I admit I was surprised we liked this, well, I knew I would like it but I was surprised when B did. His food horizons have increased a lot in the last few years and is more willing to try new things. Including this dish – with mustard and Worchestershire sauce.

Since I wanted to highlight the flavor I served it with some simple butter and parsley noodles. With some of the sauce. I only used two chicken breasts but made the whole amount of sauce. One thing I dislike is not having enough sauce. It’s all gone now, but it was good to have extra.

You can find the recipe on page 217 of Dorie’s Around my French Table. And please check with the other members of doire FFwD for their diables.

This week it was Chaya’s turn to pick a recipe for us to have fun with. She chose…


    Soy-Simmered Chicken

It is a quick and easy recipe for a nice little chicken supper.

The chicken breasts are cooked in a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar along with a little Chinese cooking wine, star anise, and a cinnamon stick. I served it with some leftover saffron spiced rice (from Madjur Jaffrey).

I only made one small change – instead of simmering the chicken I baked it in the oven with some other chicken wrapped in foil. It was nice and moist. I added a little extra sesame oil and wine whick gave what I thought was the perfect taste.

You can find the recipe on page 100 of Donna’s Modern Classics Book 1 or on An Empty Stomach is the Best Cook.

See What Chaya, Kayte, and Gaye thought of this one.

The other day I was cooking with the Vanderbilts… okay, not THE Vanderbilts, but A Vanderbilt. It was Jessie of Vanderbilt Wife and believe me, her blog is as rich with delicious recipes as the Vanderbilts are with, you know……!! Which of course made it difficult to chose just ONE!! So, I didn’t…!!

Jessie says,

    “I started Vanderbilt Wife in 2006 as a way to make myself write more regularly. That is still my primary goal. I also want to support other women who feel more than a little imperfect, like myself.

Her first entries are little snippets of her life: Why I hate Bowling”; “Making Memories’:I don’t think being an introvert is a bad thing.” I loved reading each and every one of those.

But as time went by she started adding recipes. Thank you, Jessie!!!

It wasn’t easy picking the recipes – it never is- but I ended up with:


    Crunchy Panko Chicken Fingers



    Parmesan and Herb Chicken Fingers

Both used different methods to make but I decided to use the same method on both “finger groups” and try the different flavors. I used the milk and egg dip for both which gave me a nice solid coat for the chicken pieces. Then I used the differnt herb/spice mixes. Both were sooo good.

Crunchy Panko Chicken

    1 lb. chicken tenders
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 c. milk
    3/4 c. flour
    1 c. panko bread crumbs
    1 tsp. paprika
    1/2 tsp. cumin
    salt and pepper

Set up bowls, pie plates, or fancy-smancy Pampered Chef coating trays that I kind of wish I had. In the first, place flour. In the second, milk egg and milk. In the third, combine panko, paprika, and cumin.

Season tenders with salt and pepper. Dip in flour, then egg wash, then coat well with panko. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and coating is slightly brown.

For the Parmesan Herb Fingers:

    1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
    3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1 T Italian seasoning
    2 tsp. dried parsley
    1 1/2 T minced garlic
    3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    generous sprinkling of salt and pepper

    Mix all together with a fork.

Follow the recipe for the Crunchy Fingers.

They were both good and made great wraps:


When it turned cold, finally, I wanted something warm and comforting. What better than SOUP!


In this case, Farmer’s Market Soup or what Jessie referred to as “A Take on Ribollita” which is “simply a “next-day” kind of soup, made with leftovers.” While Jessie put beans and fennel in hers I left them out and added in some shredded cabbage. It was the perfect way to warm up on a cold day. And, better, it was nice and light after all the rich holiday food.

    3 T olive oil
    2 onions, chopped
    2 carrots, sliced
    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 celery stalks, finely sliced (I always add some of the inner celery leaves for flavor)
    1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (this post from Orangette has a good tutorial for cutting fennel)
    2 large zucchini, cut into thin half-moon slices
    14 oz crushed tomatoes
    10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
    4 cups vegetable stock
    14 oz can cannellini or Great White Northern beans
    salt and pepper
    grated Parmesan cheese and Texas toast — optional

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and fennel. Saute slowly for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and saute an additional two minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, basil, stock, beans and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, simmer 25-30 min. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve with Texas toast and Parmesan cheese sprinkled lightly over the top of the bowls.

Super simple, super delicous, super adaptable.

For more of Jessie’s recipes visit her website.

Jessie was my January Assignment for Secret Recipe Club. Visit below for all the other members.

My mother used to make curry. She would make a chicken or been stew and then add about 3/4 Tbl of yellow Curry Powder. We LOVED it! Now I know it wasn’t really curry, but at that time it was what we had. In the last few years I have been introduced to what curry really is.

    …a generic term primarily employed in Western culture to denote a wide variety of dishes originating in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southern and Southeastern Asian cuisines,…

And Curry Powder: Curry powder, a commercially prepared mixture of spices, is largely a Western notion, dating to the 18th century. Such mixtures are commonly thought to have first been prepared by Indian merchants for sale to members of the British Colonial government and army returning to Britain.Wikipedia

Now that I know about other spice mixtures not all of my curries are the same. {They also are NOT very photogenic!}
Like this one:

    Chicken with Cream
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
    1 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 kg 350 g (3 Ib) chicken pieces, skinned {I used boneless thighs}
    6-7 cloves garlic. peeled
    2.5 cm (1 inch) cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    320 ml (1 1/2 cups) water
    6 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
    2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
    4 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1 teaspoon garam masala
    6 tablespoons heavy cream

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of the coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric, V4 teaspoon of the cayenne, and some
black pepper on the chicken pieces. Mix well and set aside for at least 1 hour.
Put the garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender or food
processor. Add 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the water and blend until fairly smooth.
Put the oil in a wide, preferably nonstick, pot and set over medium-high heat.
When hot, put in as many chicken pieces as the pot will hold easily in a single
layer and brown lightly on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set
aside in a bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces the same way.
Put the chopped onion into the remaining oil. Stir and fry until the pieces turn
a medium-brown color. Add the garlic-ginger paste. Stir and fry until all the
water from the paste evaporates and you see the oil again. Put in the remaining
1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, V4 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon
cayenne. Stir and fry for about 20 seconds. Now put in the chopped tomatoes.
Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir and cook the spice paste for
3-4 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon as you
do so. Add the yogurt. a tablespoon at a time, incorporating it into the sauce
each time before you add any more. Put in the chicken pieces and any
accumulated juices, the remaining 200 ml (1 cup) water, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the
cover. Add the garam masala and cream. Mix gently.
Turn the heat up to medium high and cook, stirring gently every now and then,
until the sauce has reduced somewhat and has turned fairly thick.

I have made this dish from Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking {page 98} many times and it is always delicious. And warm. And spicy. And very comforting.

IHCC is cooking with Madjur Jaffrey for 6 months (October – March). Come join us.

« Previous PageNext Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 141 other followers