Cannellini Bean and Pasta Salad

We made some of those fantastic salmon patties tonight and decided to make a pasta salad to go along with.  The addition of cannellini beans, olives, and green onions made this a delicious side dish. Cannellini beans are one of my favorites; also known as white kidney beans they have a firm texture of a kidney bean and the coloring of a great northern bean. Either can be substituted if desired just keep in mind that great northern beans are a bit softer so add them near the end.

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  • 1 cup uncooked pasta
  • 1 can cannellini beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can sliced black olives – drained
  • 2 green onions – sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir together.  Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Blackened Herbed Chicken

I left Charles to fend for himself this evening and he created some delicious chicken.  A mix of spice and herbs for a tasty blackened style chicken.  Traditionally blackened dishes are cooked in a dry skillet; but we like to use some oil to keep the smoke to a minimum and create a better sear to the meat; plus I think the flavor is so much better this way.

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  • boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • salt and pepper

Combine spices and season the chicken breasts well; Charles used 3 pieces of chicken for this amount of seasoning.  Heat oil over medium to medium high heat in large skillet.  Cook chicken for 5 – 7 minutes each side or until cooked through.

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Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Skillet Stuffed Peppers ~ or simply Stuff

I love stuffed peppers but for the convenience of reheating and sending for Charles’ lunch making stuff is so much easier.  It’s quick and easy prep and it will reheat beautifully when he has his lunch tomorrow. I vary this recipe sometimes and simply use spaghetti sauce, but with all these fresh garden vegetables and herbs I decided to use fresh tomatoes, basil, and oregano instead of opening a jar.

Skillet Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic ~ minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 bell peppers; cut in bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes ~ peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

In large skillet over medium heat begin cooking ground beef.  Add garlic and onions and cook until meat in no longer pink about 7 minutes. Drain fat from beef and return to skillet.  Add peppers, tomatoes, and all spices and herbs besides basil.

Bring to simmer and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir in basil and cooked rice; heat through.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Gardening, Canning, Homemade Spice Blends ~ pickling spice recipe!

I grew up on a farm and participated in 10 years of 4-H.  We could pick our projects; being a bit of a girly girl I took sewing, cooking, foods preservation and such.  One thing mom always said was follow the recipe exactly and make sure you measure properly.  She didn’t get the opportunity to cook as a kid so she loved teaching us but was a stickler for doing it exactly as written.  I however am a rebel and like to make up my own concoctions and recipes.  Canning however is a bit more of a science and there are certain things you have to follow; if your acidity isn’t right or it isn’t processed correctly it can spell disaster.

A couple of years ago while flipping though my mom’s ball blue book I found a recipe for red hot sauce.  I love hot sauces but this one called for pickling spice …. weird.  I made it anyway wondering what on earth I would do with it; once I started smelling the sauce I was even more concerned about it.  One day however I was making a stir fry and decided to add it in; it is perfect in chinese style food.  Amazing even; I am sure it will be great on wings. I haven’t had any for quite a while but Charles is making a new batch or maybe 2 to can for the year.  It smells amazing; he’s documenting it as I type so I can share the recipe with you.  Today I am sharing our pickling spice blend.  I have one of those rare pantries with all of the odd herbs and spices so instead of buying a prepackaged blend he made his own.  I use a similar combination for my corned beef which helps me use up the random things like juniper berries and star anise.

Pickling spice recipe

  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves ~ crushed
  • 1/4 tsp dill seed
  • 7 cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 tsp whole coriander
  • 4 juniper berries
  • a pinch of mace
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Homemade Pizza ~ Part 2 …. The Sauce

The pizza adventure continues.  Now on to the sauce; I’ve always made a cooked pizza sauce.  Cooking down the tomatoes to thicken and simmering for hours.  I however have noticed a trend toward uncooked sauce and I must say I am a fan.  It’s easy and works very well.  The flavors are crisp and the seasoning was perfectly balanced yet easily adjusted to suit any tastes. It did make more sauce than I needed for the 2 large pizzas I made.  I may freeze the extra sauce or throw together with some pasta in a day or two.

Uncooked Pizza Sauce

  • 1 ~ 28 o.z. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp italian herb seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sugar

Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Taste for seasonings and adjust as desired.  Everything will mellow together as it sets so taste again after an hour or so in the refrigerator.  You could use a combination of basil, thyme and oregano in place of the italian herbs if desired.  Omit the cayenne if you prefer a milder sauce or use crushed red pepper for an extra spicy kick.

I will wrap it all up tomorrow and let you know what we thought.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Olive Oil and Herb Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken is one our favorite dinners. We make it quite a bit but have failed to post a recipe yet.  Our seasoning choices vary from time to time.  Today we opted for an olive oil and herb combination. Not the prettiest bird ever but oh so delicious.

Roast Chicken

  • 3 cloves garlic ~ minced
  • 1 Tbs dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Combine above ingredients in small bowl.

Prep a good-sized chicken (ours was 4 1/2 pounds) by loosening the skin from the meat on the breast, thighs, and legs.

Put plenty of the olive oil and herb mixture between the skin and meat.  Rub the outside as well.

Bake a 4 1/2 pound chicken at 375 degrees for about 1 hour 40 minutes. Adjust time as needed depending on bird size. Allow bird to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Homemade Herb Dressing ~ Stuffing Recipe

My mom makes the best sausage and sage dressing every Thanksgiving.  She doesn’t have a recipe she takes out and follows but it always comes out great; one of these days I’ll have to try to duplicate that.  Charles and I make dressing often sometimes we use sausage other times we jazz it up with cranberries or raisins.  Today I opted for a simple herb dressing with chicken stock.

Homemade Herb Dressing

  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup  celery
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 8 – 10 sliced bread

Finely dice onion and celery.  Over medium heat melt butter and sauté onion and celery for about 5 minutes.  Add seasoning and chicken stock; stir together.  Tear bread into medium bowl.  Pour stock and vegetable mixture over bread.

Stir thoroughly and pour into small casserole.  Bake 30 – 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly