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Roasted Chicken

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I grew up on a farm so don’t ask my views on chickens. To put it succinctly, I believe the only good chicken comes in cellophane. Having said that, chicken is one of my favorite foods to work with. It is easy and versatile.

I adore roast chicken and chicken is one of the few meats the baby will always eat. The only problem is that many recipes make something difficult out of what is very simple. To prove how easy this is I made it on a weeknight. Read through the directions first so you have an idea of how much time to set aside. The method may sound a little strange but trust me, it works! Save the leftovers and use them in things like chicken soup and chicken salad.

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen. They are always my go-to source when it comes to cooking!


Easy Roast Chicken

  • roasting chicken
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Heat oven safe skillet in 450 degree oven. I just set the skillet in the oven while it was preheating. Prepare chicken by rubbing it with olive oil and seasoning it liberally with salt and pepper. Place chicken directly onto hot skillet.

Roast chicken 30 minutes or until it reaches 120 degrees.

Turn oven off. Let it continue to roast 30 minutes or until it reaches 160 degrees. Remove chicken from oven and allow it to rest 20 minutes.


Cole Slaw

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As you know, it has been pretty warm here in Iowa so my oven is getting a little break from its usual workout. The grill on the other hand… well it is making up for a long winter hibernation. With all these steaks, burgers and other great grill treats you need some veggies and sides. Enter cole slaw. I know, I know, who makes cole slaw at home? I do! And being rather picky in the field of cole slaw that is no small thing. Cole slaw, like mashed potatoes, must be just so or it isn’t even worth my time.

This recipe is “supposedly” the same recipe as KFC. It tastes similar, in fact, I would argue better. But you decide. Just a couple of things: If you are lazy like me you might just buy bagged cabbage and carrots. If you do that, it is about two bags of cole slaw “mix” for this recipe. Also, this recipe gets better with time so keep that in mind when planning when to serve it.

Cole Slaw

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 cups finely grated cabbage (about 1 head)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots (about 1 carrot)

Combine chopped cabbage and carrots in large bowl. Mix together mayo, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over cabbage and carrots. Toss until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Ham and Green Beans

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We’ve established the fact that I am cheap, correct? I base many of our dinners off of what is on sale in the produce section or meat counter. Why waste money? So, having said that, Fareway had fresh green beans on sale for 78 cents a pound. I snatched them up and picked up some ham. Fresh green beans are delicious and when you don’t have to weed the little suckers they are that much more so. I still have nightmares about the mosquitos that used to swarm the green bean plants of my youth.

Cooking, unlike baking, is not a science but rather an art. Who needs a recipe when you have decent ingredients? So, this isn’t really a recipe so much as a “what I did.” Feel free to mess with this to your heart’s content. Like I said, when you have good ingredients, it is hard to mess it up.

Ham & Green Beans

  • 1 pound green beans, snapped (you could use frozen I’m sure)
  • 4-5 potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ham, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can chicken broth

Prepare crock pot (you know my love for crock pot liners). Put all ingredients into crock pot, cover with chicken broth and water (I just filled the broth can with water). Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

Lasagna- No Boil

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Does anyone remember when Garfield was on the air? I remember waking up on Saturday mornings and crawling into my parents’ bed with my sister to watch Saturday morning cartoons. We didn’t have cable and cartoon channels weren’t a thing for us. Garfield was a family favorite. You know you secretly wanted to be him. I will freely admit that I find being fat, lazy, and snarky tantalizing. Alas, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards as it is apparently a bad career move. I suppose it wouldn’t be good for my marriage either. But, like Garfield, I can take down a whole lot of lasagna.

This recipe is incredibly simple AND you don’t have to boil the noodles. I know that I shouldn’t think boiling noodles is a big deal but anything that saves a few dishes is for me. I like to swap out half the ground beef for ground pork and you could swap out the cottage cheese for ricotta if you are a purist. Just a thought. Also, if you like this recipe save it because it comes from a tattered old recipe of my mother’s and I have no idea where else it can be found.



  • 1 pound ground beef (or half beef and half pork)
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½  teaspoon basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 8 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded

Brown meat, drain. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and water. Simmer 15 minutes. Combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, egg and parsley. In an 11×7 pan put 1 ½ cups sauce, top with 4 noodles, ½ the cottage cheese mixture, half the mozzarella and 1 cup more of the sauce. Top with other 4 noodles, remaining cheese mixture, mozzarella and sauce. Cook at 350 degrees covered with foil (shiny side down) for 60-70 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes.

Crock Pot Rib-eyes

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My husband has a strict rule that once the grill cover goes on for the winter it doesn’t come off until spring. For someone who ADORES steak that’s a pretty tough rule to follow. When craving steak in the winter I can get pretty creative about how to go about getting it. I’ll make a rib-eye on the stove top but I really don’t like to. I prefer filets if I’m going to cook steak on the stove. Deep in need of a rib-eye in the middle of winter I devised a plan. Why couldn’t I just cook a steak in the crock pot. “Heresy!” you say and if I hadn’t been desperate I would agree with you. However, believe it or not, it really does work.

Just a few little notes: You could do this with any marinade, the following it just what I happened to use at the time. Next time I think I’ll try the balsamic glaze I used on the filet mignons a few posts back. Watch your steaks. It is easy to cook them too long. I like my steaks so rare they moo but you won’t get that with this cooking method. However, your steaks will be fall-apart-tender.

Rib-eyes in the crockpot


  • 2 ribeyes
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon steak sauce (A-1)
  • 1 tablespoon dijn mustard

Line crock pot with Ziplock disposable liner. Combine wine, steak sauce and mustard to create a marinade. Place steaks in crock pot and paint with marinade. Cook in crock pot on low for 3 to 4 hours, checking often.

Baked Mostaccioli

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Do you need a dish that ANYONE will eat? No matter how picky they may be? I know picky eaters; I married one. This dish may be one of his favorites. It is one of those meals that claims to be Italian but is really what American Midwesterners think Italian might be like. But hey, let’s be honest. When Americans imagine what other cultures’ foods might be like, they come up with some pretty darn good dishes. California Sushi Roll, anyone?

Depending on where you go or who cooks this for you it could be called a number of things: mostaccioli, baked ziti. Call it what you will it is pretty good. Another good thing? It makes leftovers so lunch the next day is covered.

Baked Mostaccioli


  • 1 pound ground beef, I sometimes do half beef, half pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar (1 pound 10 ounces) pasta sauce
  • pinch basil
  • pinch oregano
  • 1 package (16 ounces) ziti noodles
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Prepare noodles according to package. Cook the beef and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned. Drain fat. Stir in the pasta sauce, basil and oregano. Let simmer 10 minutes. Stir in ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and parmesan. Pour mixture into a 13x9x2 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Pasta al Pomodoro

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You know it is Lent when fast-food restaurants start advertising fish sandwiches. Somehow Lent showed-up even though I am completely unprepared. What are my Lenten disciplines for this year? Giving up cursing, preaching without a script and no meat on Fridays. They may not seem hard to you but trust me, they are to me.

Trying not to curse and preaching without a script are new this year but I follow the Lenten discipline of meatless Fridays every year. We have a pretty carnivorous household so it can get creative. Even if you aren’t practicing this discipline I recommend this recipe. My husband LOVES pasta and I’ll devour anything with garlic. It was featured in Bon Apetit back in May of last year. I’ve altered the recipe a little to make it easier for weeknight dinners or just lazy cooks like myself.

Pasta al Pomodoro


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs (it’s the middle of winter and my basil went south a long time ago so I used dried, just put it in when you salt the sauce)
  • 12 oz. spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp. cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Heat olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt (if you are using dried basil throw it in now); cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Season with salt; add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.

Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts.

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