Thursday, August 17, 2017

Milky Way Martini

I recently made this for fun, mostly because I bought the flavored vodkas and needed to use them. LOL. It's simple, easy and very yummy!

**Keep in mind that all the measurements in this recipe, especially for the vodkas, are up to you. This is basically a guideline. If you're a teetotaller, I'd start off on the easy side and not make this drink that strong to start with. Baby steps... ;)

Milky Way Martini

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Shot glass or jigger
  • 1-2 Tbsp simple syrup (depending on taste)
  • Caramel-flavored vodka
  • Chocolate-flavored vodka
  • Whipping cream (not the stuff in a can, the real stuff before it's whipped) ;)
  • Chocolate syrup (Hershey's or your favorite brand)
Fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the simple syrup. (Amount is to taste. If you like your drinks sweeter, go with 2 Tbsp.) Add 1-1½ shots of caramel vodka. Add 1-2 shots of chocolate vodka. Add a shot of whipping cream, then add a small squirt of chocolate syrup for color. Close lid tightly, then shake vigorously until well-blended. Strain and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired. Makes 1 martini.

Don't know what "Simple Syrup" is or how to make it? See the super-simple recipe here.


Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup is something that all cooks or "mixologists" should make ahead and keep on hand in their fridge. It's very handy whenever you need to add some sweetness to a recipe or a drink, and it's super-simple to make and store. You can also buy Simple Syrup in the grocery or in liquor stores, but why do that if you can make it for basically nothing? :)

This is a base recipe; it can be scaled up or down, but the important thing to keep in mind is the ratio -- 1:1.

1 C white sugar
1 C water

In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Let it boil and reduce for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. (Mason jars are WONDERFUL for this kind of thing.) Can be stored up to 2 months as long as it's in an airtight container.

Chicken and Dumplings

2-3 split chicken breasts (4-5 if they're the thinner fillets)
8 cups of water
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
4-6 chicken bouillon cubes (to taste)
26 oz chicken stock
½ C all-purpose flour (can substitute corn starch or rice flour)
1 pkg (8 oz) dumpling noodles
14 oz (3 cups) frozen mixed vegetables
½ tsp coarse ground pepper
1 tsp tarragon
2 tsp kosher salt or to taste


In a stockpot, add minced garlic and kosher salt to the 8 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add chicken breasts, let cook for at least 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly through. Remove from pot and set aside in a covered container to cool. Keep water boiling; add bouillon cubes, tarragon, and pepper. Let boil until bouillon is dissolved. While water continues to boil, make a slurry by whisking flour together with chicken stock until flour is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Set aside.

Add dumpling noodles to boiling water, let boil for about 7-8 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently so noodles don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add frozen vegetables. Veggies will lower the liquid temperature significantly, so it will take at least 5 minutes before the liquid is boiling again. While liquid is warming up again, shred chicken using two forks to desired size & thickness.

Add to stock pot. Stir frequently. When liquid is at or near boiling again, add in stock/flour slurry. Stir constantly.

Once soup has reached boiling point, turn heat down to low.  Cover and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes.  Ladle chicken & dumplings into bowls and serve hot.

Makes about 12 servings.  Soup can be stored in an air-tight container and frozen for up to 6 months.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Tasty Chicken Salad

This is very much a to-taste recipe.  You don't have to follow it to the letter...if you don't like something, omit or reduce it, or substitute with something else.

3 split chicken breasts
3-4 Tbsp kosher salt
1-2 garlic cloves, finely diced
4-6 C water

¼ C finely chopped celery
¾ C red and/or green grapes, cut in half
1 apple (can be sweet or tart), diced thinly
3-4 oz candied walnut or pecan pieces
¼ C dried cranberries (optional)
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic salt, or to taste (can also substitute with 2 tsp garlic powder)
2 C Miracle Whip light mayonnaise

In a large saucepan, bring water to boil with kosher salt and garlic.  When water is boiling, add chicken.  Let boil for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through; keep a close eye to make sure water does not boil over. Turn off heat, cover, and set aside to cool for at least 2 hours.

When chicken is completely cooled, remove chicken from saucepan and place on plate or cutting board. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. After pulling apart, dice meat so that there aren't any super-chunky or long pieces. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle chicken breast with garlic salt (or powder) and mix thoroughly. Then add celery, halved grapes, diced apple (first cut apple into slices, then cut cross-section those slices into no more than ½-in thick pieces), nuts, cranberries (if desired), paprika, and Miracle Whip. Blend together well until the mayonnaise is spread evenly throughout. Fork onto multi-grain bread (for a sandwich) or lettuce leaves (for a salad) and serve.

Makes 5-7 servings


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken breasts, finely diced into ½-in or smaller cubes
3 - 32 oz cartons of chicken stock (not broth)
3 C sliced carrots (¼-½ in thick, depending on how big the carrots)
2 C sliced celery
1 C diced onions
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2-3 Tbsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp tarragon
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 pkg (12 oz) egg noodles

Pour chicken stock into crock pot. Add spices and salt; stir well.


Add diced chicken breast, carrots, celery, garlic, and onions.  Cover.  Turn crock pot on. Cook 6-7 hours on low, 4-5 hours on high.  An hour before serving, add egg noodles and stir well.  Cover again.  Soup is done when noodles are limp and cooked through.

Makes 8-10 servings (can be frozen up to 6 months in an airtight container)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homemade French Onion Soup

This is one of my favorite things to make on a cold & snowy day...especially in the crock pot.  The house is FILLED with the delicious aroma of beef broth and onions, and it makes anyone who walks into our house instantly hungry.  (Hee hee!) This is not a difficult recipe, just time-intensive, especially since you'll want it to cook for as long as possible in order for the flavors to meld perfectly.  ;)

I hope you like it...

2-3 medium white onions
52 oz (2-26 oz containers) Beef Cooking stock
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp course ground black pepper
1 to 1½ Tbsp Kosher salt, depending on taste
4 C water
1 loaf French Bread
2-3 C shredded Gruyere cheese
2-3 C shredded Swiss cheese
6-8 slices of Swiss cheese

Advanced Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Cut French bread loaf into 1-in slices.  Toast 4-6 slices (depending on thickness of the bread) in pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove and set aside.

Soup Directions:
Chop onions into even quarter slices. Place in a medium to large sauce pan.  Add stock, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, pepper, salt, and water.  Heat on high.  When liquid comes to a boil, cover.  Turn heat down to medium-high and let simmer for 1-2 hours. After 1 hour, you will need to add 1-2 C more water, depending on evaporation rate.  Heat soup until onions are no longer firm but are translucent and limp. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  In 2 large oven- and broiler-safe ceramic bowls, place 2-3 slices toasted French bread slices. Ladle soup over slices, filling about ¾ full. add 1 C shredded Swiss, then 1 C shredded Gruyere, add one more ladle of soup, then top off with 3-4 Swiss slices, ensuring top is completely covered.  Place bowls on jelly roll pan or some other pan with shallow sides, then place pan in pre-heated oven.  Let bake for 10 minutes, then turn broiler on low. Broil for 5 more minutes, or until cheese top is bubbly and turns a golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes, then serve.  Be careful, as soup will be EXTREMELY hot.

*This soup can also be made in a slow cooker. Add all ingredients into pot, cover, and set temp to high.  Let cook 6-8 hours.  Follow the rest of the directions for placing in bowls.

Serves 3-4 people


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vietnamese-style Grilled Chili-Lime Wings

This is one of those dishes that try my patience.  Not because it's hard to make, but because it's easy.  Easy to prepare, easy to marinate, easy to ruin.  The high sugar content of this dish, due to both the honey and the brown sugar, lends itself to burning quite easily if you're not careful or impatient.  Therefore, don't try to force the chicken to be done right quickly, or you're liable to end up with charred skin on the outside and raw poultry on the inside.  The key to this is to cook it slowly, over indirect heat.  And to pack some patience in your back pocket, because this should be marinated overnight, and takes about an hour to cook.  But if you do it right, you will be in heaven.  ;)

Marinade --
1 C lime juice
2 C soy sauce
¼ C Thai chili sauce (NOT the same as Sriracha ... this is sweeter and not as hot)
½ C honey
1-2 Tbsp garlic (3-4 cloves), finely chopped
¾ C brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
Approx. 20 wings, cut up into sections (can also use a whole fryer chicken)

Finishing/Dipping Sauce --
1½ C warm water
½ C sugar
2 Tbsp Thai chili sauce
2-3 Tbsp fish sauce

Whisk all the ingredients for the dipping sauce together.  Pour into an air-tight container and set aside.

Whisk all the liquid ingredients for the marinade except the honey together.  Warm the honey in the microwave about 30 seconds, then add to the rest of the marinade and whisk well until fully incorporated.  Immerse wings (or chicken pieces) in the marinade overnight in an airtight container, turning over once after at least 6 hours and at least 4 hours before cooking time.

Preheat grill.  If using a gas grill, turn on all burners on high so that it gets nice and hot inside.  If using charcoal, use a large amount so that it gets really hot.  When grill is ready, move charcoal to one side, or turn off one set of burners on a gas grill.  Place wings on the side that no longer has direct heat.

Cover.  Let cook for 20 minutes, then flip and cook for another 25 minutes.  Be sure heat is an even temperature and does not cool off too much, or else it will take even longer to cook.  After the 45 minutes are up, wings (or chicken pieces) should be a nice caramel-brown color.  If there's still some pink in the chicken, flip and keep on the heat another 5-10 minutes. Place the wings over the side with the heat, 4-5 minutes, then flip and continue another 4-5 minutes.  Do not let the chicken burn, which is easy to do thanks to the high sugar content.

How a whole fryer looks after marinating and grilling.

Remove wings (or chicken) from heat and serve with the finishing sauce for dipping.  Ideal with grilled or roasted vegetables, plain rice or noodles.

Served with a side of roasted sweet potatoes with diced onions and bacon.


Serves 5-6 people (depending on how hungry they are!)  ;)