Olive Oil Braised Chick Peas with Feta

Last Monday Cousin Mary needed an easy dessert recipe for a work gathering of about 25 people.  I pointed her to the Mini Cheesecake recipe.  Then, incase she didn’t want to make that, I went to check out Joy the Baker for more suggestions.  But, you see, Joy is much more than a baker and her most recent post was for Olive Oil Braised Chick Peas with Feta.  I copied the link and sent to Mary knowing it would be, to quote her “right up my alley”!  I never did send her alternative choices for a dessert.

I thought about making this every day last week.  I could not stop thinking about how good it was sure to be.  I had everything on hand but a good loaf of bread.  So, on Thursday, I made it a point to pick up bread and Friday night I finally made it.  I’m telling you, it was crazy good.  It makes a lot but it reheats well and would make a great side dish to chicken.

One note on the smoky paprika – I beg you to purchase HIGH QUALITY (read: Penzeys) paprika.  Please, do not use the “red cap” brand – it is NOT good.  I’m as frugal as they come but there truly are times when you get what you pay for and I don’t want you to waste your hard earned cash and ruin this amazing dish by sprinkling sub-par paprika all over it.  After I did that to a baked chicken and rice dish, my dear friend Karen gifted me Penzeys Smoked Spanish Paprika and is now a must have pantry staple.

Other Joy the Baker recipes you gotta try:

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies


Slow Cooker Chicken and Stock

I don’t remember how I came to know about 100 Days of Real Food.  Maybe Cousin Mary; maybe a link from another blog.  That’s not important, but this recipe is: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot.  I have not purchased one box of chicken broth/stock since I started making this recipe.

All you need is 1) a crock pot, 2) an onion, 3) a whole chicken, and 4) spices.  I love Lisa’s spice mix and try to always have some made in advance.  If not, I just sprinkle with poultry seasoning.  Cook 4-5 hours and you have a whole chicken that tastes better than the grocery store rotisserie (and yields much more meat).

Then the best part: Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot.  Remove your perfectly cooked chicken from the crock.  Leave the crock on LOW.  Remove all the skin and edible meat from the chicken.  Return all the bones to the crock.  Fill with water.  IF you have a carrot, throw it in.  Celery, go for it.  Nothing to throw in – that’s okay – it’ll still taste amazing!  Leave the crock on overnight.  The next morning you’ll wake up craving chicken noodle soup!  Strain and refrigerate.  I put it in the refrigerator to make the fat easier to remove.  Then I portion into 2 cup freezer bags and freeze until needed.

Sunday I made the chicken.  Monday morning I strained and refrigerated the stock.  Tuesday I decided instead of freezing, I’d make chicken noodle soup for dinner.  I removed the fat, brought the stock to a simmer, added diced carrots, celery, chicken and orzo.  My daughter ate two bowls and my, very picky, son ate an entire bowl!


Happy New Year


Happy 2016 everyone! I like the fresh start, clean slate feeling of January.    I don’t make resolutions but if there is something you want to do more of, or less of, January is as good a time as any to start.

In July 2015 I posted the recipe for Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta.  In that post I mentioned how my cousin and I live too far apart.  Well, we live even farther apart now but I feel closer to her than ever.  She had a great idea for us to pick one or two recipes a month for us to make and discuss.  When I read the recipe from Cookie + Kate for Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas I knew we’d both love it.  I made it yesterday, texting her throughout, and sent her my final thoughts by e-mail.  She plans on making soon and I’m excited to hear how she likes it.  I LOVED it!

Now, I know that most people had more than enough cookies in December and have sworn them off for a while BUT I have to share these two new favorites.  I made a batch of each the other day and froze the scooped dough for baking on a snowy day or a day that just begs for a fresh from the oven cookie.  Salted Peanut Butter Cookies and The Browniest Cookies.

One more recipe to share.  A couple months ago my friend Stacey and her son visited and brought a very delicious corn and black bean dip.  I was instantly hooked.  I made it for Christmas and my sister-in-law and I ate the whole bowl.  This is great on its own, with corn chips, on a salad, and with chicken.  Ooohhhh, a salad with chicken, corn chips and dip. Hello lunch.

Stacey’s Corn and Black Bean Dip

  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 oz) can shoe peg corn, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP – 1/4 cup granulated sugar, to taste

Place beans, corn and feta in large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and 2TBSP sugar.  Taste it and add more sugar if needed.  Pour over corn, bean and feta. Mix well.

This keeps well for a week in the fridge.  Just let it warm up a little and give it a good stir.

Have a great 2016!

Carrot Souffle

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone got their favorite must-have holiday food.  We all have at least one.  My husbands family has a lot: Easter Bread and Scrippelle (crepes in broth) on Easter, Italian Turkey Stuffing on Thanksgiving and Holiday Soup on Christmas, and many others.  The only “must-have” I had as a kid was pineapple stuffing on Easter.  It was my dish to contribute to Easter until my sister-in-laws husband started bringing it.  I needed a new dish so  a couple years when I found this Carrot Souffle recipe I was excited to try it as the replacement.  I made a half recipe trial and it was delicious.  Still, I wasn’t sure it would be well received so I only brought a half recipe to Easter dinner and, happily, it was enjoyed by all.  It may not be a “must-have” but there’s never much left and my four-year old eats it so that’s good enough for me!

This recipe comes from Cooking Light.  The original recipe calls for fat-free sour cream; I use full fat.  It calls for 7 cups chopped carrots (about 2 pounds); to eliminate the scrubbing and chopping I use baby carrots.  To cut the recipe in half, halve all ingredients and use 2 eggs.

Carrot Souffle — 8 servings (serving size 1/2 cup)

  • 2 pounds baby carrots
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 2 quart dish.
  2. Cook carrots until tender, drain and cool under cold water.
  3. Place cooled carrots in food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  4. Add sugar through eggs and pulse to combine.
  5.  Pour into prepared dish and bake 40 minutes or until puffed and set.

NOTE: The last two times I made this I omitted the melted butter and it was just as good.

I just thought that it might be fun to cook these in individual ramekins!  The cooking time would be significantly less.  If I get around to trying it I’ll update this post.

Chicken and Noodle Casserole

My sister talked me into joining Pinterest a couple months ago so she could send me recipes.  She sends recipes she thinks I’ll like – pumpkin everything – and recipes she wants me to make for her.  So this week, when she went back to work after having an adorable baby girl two months ago, I wanted to make her one of the recipes she’d sent.  Chicken and Noodle Casserole sounded really good for that day.  I knew I could make it ahead and reheat.  Since I’d be watching my amazing new niece, make ahead was a necessity – you never know how much attention a two month old will require!  Unfortunately, the recipe she sent called for condensed soup and sour cream.  I don’t use condensed soup and I was out of sour cream.  I went to a few of my trusted recipe sources only to either get nothing or another recipe with condensed soup.  I searched for a recipe with no condensed soup and found one at cleverlyinspired.com.

It was a great starting point.  I needed to add onion and veggies and use approximately six times the pasta but it turned out good.

  • 12 oz Whole Wheat Egg Noodles, cooked al dente
  • 3 (4 oz) chicken breasts, poached and diced or two cups from a rotisserie
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 6 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cup chicken broth*
  • 1.5 cups milk*
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

*Measure out broth and milk in the same measuring cup. It makes adding the liquid easier!

Preheat oven to 350°F

  1. Poach and dice chicken.  *Poaching tips – my method, thekitchn’s method
  2. Cook pasta al dente.  Drain and set aside
  3. Return pasta pot to stove over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil.
  4. When butter is melted add onion and sauté until soft.
  5. Stir in flour.  Cook 2 minutes
  6. Add milk and broth – A SPLASH AT A TIME – stirring after each addition until thick.  After all the liquid is added add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook sauce 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the pasta, chicken and frozen veggies. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
  8. Mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle over top.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes; until browned.

Pumpkin Chili

The reason I started this blog is to share recipes with family and friends.  The reason I called it “uvegottatrythis” is because so many of my sentences start that way.  The reason it takes so long between posts is…well…I don’t know.  I’m busy (we all are) but that’s not the whole of it.  I’m torn with how to spend my time.  Most things I do are “have to” ; you know – dishes, laundry, cooking, etc.  Other’s are “have to/want to” – playing Avenger’s, reading Avenger’s, helping with homework.  And finally there’s the small, often overlooked, “want to” category – read a book, talk to a friend, post to this blog.  When I take the “want to” time, posting comes last. I feel guilty taking the time to sit and write.  There.  That’s the crux of it – guilt.  I could be doing – should be doing – something, anything more productive then writing this right now.  But my cousin recently moved and I miss her and I have new friend to share recipes with, SO…Mary and Stacey – enjoy this pumpkin chili!

  • 1 small/medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • chicken broth, vegetable broth or water for thinning

Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until tender.  Mix in diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, spices and beans.  Thin to desired consistency with broth or water.  I NEVER DO THIS BUT WE LIKE THICK CHILI.  Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

**The original recipe calls for green peppers.  I leave them out so my daughter will eat it.  If you’d like sauté a cup of diced green peppers with the onion and garlic.

**The original recipe also calls for a pound of ground turkey.  I started making it with out the turkey and we don’t miss it.  But, if you want, sauté the onion, garlic, and peppers (if using) then stir in a pound of ground turkey and cook until brown.  You may need to drain prior to adding the remaining ingredients.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables: After my first bite I was constructing a mental list of all my friends and family I wanted to e-mail “you’ve gotta try this!” when I remembered The Blog.  In the time since my last post I’ve tried many new recipes: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies, a brownie recipe so good I don’t want to share it (but I will…reluctantly), Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake and many more.  But this Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta, which I made to celebrate my husbands birthday, is the one.  The one that you have to thank for getting you the coveted brownie recipe.

My cousin and I live too far apart.  We share a love of food blogs and cooking but are rarely in the kitchen together.  We cook, in our separate kitchens, and share our successes and flops by text and e-mail.  It’s fun and I always enjoy getting a “this looks interesting” text with a link to a recipe.

That’s how I got to Cookie + Kate.  A text with a link to a Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffin recipe.  I made the recipe and reported back – they were really good.  I bookmarked the blog and periodically would check for recipes.  There are a lot of delicious looking recipes but the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta was a “must try immediately” for me.  So, here is a link to the recipe and my notes on making ahead.  Enjoy!


Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Make it ahead!

I try to make as much of our dinner as I can during my sons nap.  It is much less stressful and I make fewer errors!  Here is what I did and it worked out perfect:

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Prepare and roast the vegetables.  While vegetables are roasting, make the pesto.  Transfer pesto to glass bowl, cover and refrigerate.  Cool roasted vegetables, transfer to container, cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to make the pasta, take veggies and pesto out of fridge.  Cook pasta *RESERVE ONE CUP PASTA WATER BEFORE DRAINING* this is going to thin out the pesto.  Drain pasta, return to pot.  Pour in pesto, thin with reserved water to desired consistency. Stir in veggies, cover pot.  After a few minutes, take a bite to see if your veggies are warm enough.  If not, turn on to low heat for a few minutes.

**Note on vinegar: I just remembered that I chose to use Red Wine Vinegar in place of Balsamic.  My husband isn’t the biggest fan of balsamic.  So, if you don’t have or don’t like balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar will work great.

Mr. Smooth


I just asked my Kindergartener what to name the smoothie recipe she created and “Mr. Smooth” was her answer. She names a lot of things that way. She has stuffed animals with the following names; Lambie, Pink Unicorn, Baby Monkey, Momma Turtle, Whale Shark, Marine Dog, Pink Hippopotamus…you get the idea. What surprised me was when she decided to name her newest animal, a stuffed cobra, Peanut Butter. I thought for sure it would be “Snaky” or “Mr. Snake”.

She is great at helping make smoothies. She always knows when to add an extra frozen banana or a bit more spinach. Last week she came up with her best smoothie yet. We remembered to write the recipe down so we could share it with everyone. Enjoy “Mr. Smooth”!

You need:
2 oranges *we used clementines
5 red strawberries *we used frozen
canned pineapple, to taste
2 carrots, no need to peel
1 frozen banana

Blend and enjoy!

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce



A few years ago my MIL gave me a “Favorite Brand Name™ 3 Books in 1” cookbook. The 3 cookbooks are Church Potlucks, Sunday Suppers and Bake Sale.  I admit, it’s not a “go-to” cookbook but there are a couple good recipes that I’ve made a few times.

I love pumpkin.  And I love to use it in unconventional ways; pumpkin chili, pumpkin applesauce, pumpkin oatmeal, mixed in yogurt, and more.  So when I saw this recipe I was excited for yet another way to cook with pumpkin.  A lot of people expect anything made with pumpkin to be sweet.  Pumpkin isn’t sweet if you don’t add sweet.  So, if you like savory pumpkin, I think you’ll like this recipe!

The original recipe calls for 1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated cheese ravioli.  I’ve never made it with ravioli.  I prefer to use a whole wheat penne.  Also, if you don’t have shallots on hand you may omit or use a bit of diced white onion.  Feel free to use any cheese you’d like too.  I’ve made it with Parmesan and most recently with a left over bag of shredded Italian 5 Cheese blend. It’s a very forgiving recipe so use what you have on hand and what you like best!

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce (4 servings)

  • 1 box whole wheat penne
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup Panko
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 2-quart baking dish. Cook pasta according to package directions until tender; drain.  Place in prepared dish.
  2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add pumpkin, cream, 1/4 cup of cheese, salt, nutmeg and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook until cheese melts.
  3. Pour pumpkin sauce over pasta and gently stir.
  4. Combine remaining 1/2 cup cheese with the Panko.  Sprinkle over pasta.
  5. Bake 15 minutes or until sauce is heated through and topping is lightly browned.

Cinnamon Currant Quick Bread


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It has been so long since I’ve added a post, I had NO clue what my password was! Well, I’m in now and this is a good one. Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread from 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook by Lisa Leake via Mighty Nest. I love the Mighty Nest blog. Great ideas for healthy school snacks and lunches. My daughter started kindergarten a couple weeks ago. She has to take a small, healthy, nut-free snack. I made this quick bread yesterday and it is truly one of the quickest breads to put together. Bake time is close to an hour but so are most quick breads. Other snacks I’ve made include two from eating from the ground up: banana oat bars (replace peanut butter with sunflower seed butter. Can also be made gluten-free by replacing whole wheat flour with oat flour), and pumpkin spice bars (use half pepitas, half dried cranberries). All are freezer friendly. Cut the bars and bread to whatever size is appropriate for your little snacker, freeze for about an hour on wax paper lined cookie sheet, then place in freezer bag. Take one out in the morning, pair it with fresh fruit and they’re all set at snack time.

Cinnamon Currant Quick Bread from 100 Days of Real Food Cook Book

The only change I made was to use dried currants in place of raisins.

Makes one 9 x 5 loaf

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease 9 x 5 loaf pan.

One (1) stick butter, melted (I used unsalted)

Whisk together
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Use a fork to mix in
2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
and the butter

Fold in 3/4 cup dried currants or raisins

Bake 45 – 55 minutes until skewer come out clean.  *I started checking at 45 min but mine required the full 55 mins.