Loaded Italian Bread


So good, it’s almost a meal in itself.  This recipe is really easy to make and I think it would go with almost any main dish ~ I served it with pasta.  You can change up the bread or even the ingredients if they don’t work with what you are serving it with.

This recipe came from one of my cookbooks called The Wild, Wild West by the Junior League of Odessa, Texas.

Loaded Italian Bread

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup chives, snipped (I just use scissors to snip them into the bowl)
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 loaf Italian bread

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together EXCEPT the bread.

Slice the bread in half horizontally and spread the mixture evenly over both sides. Put the bread spread side up on a cookie sheet and broil until edges are browned and cheese is melted. Be careful not to burn it.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Mushroom Chicken


This is another recipe I found on Food.com.  It was posted by Charlotte J.  I’ve made it a few times over the years and we love it.  There’s something about the combo of chicken, cheese and mushrooms that I just go crazy for.  This is very easy to make comfort food and I wouldn’t hesitate to make this for company.  It’s great served with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Mushroom Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsps butter
1 cup mushrooms, sliced ~ I used an 8 oz. box of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese ~ I used more
1/3 cup grated Parmesan ~ I used more
1/4 cup sliced, green onions ~ I didn’t use this time

Heat oven to 375º.

Flatten chicken if thick. Place in a ziplock bag and add the flour and shake to coat the chicken.

Melt butter in a large skillet and brown the chicken on both sides and place in a lightly greased baking pan.

Saute mushrooms in the same skillet until they are tender. Add broth, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil Continue boiling for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Spoon or pour sauce over chicken and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheeses and return to the oven to continue baking until the cheese has melted.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Tart

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This is such a simple appetizer but packs loads of flavor.  It was a huge hit at our party and with my family.  I made it again the next day so we could have a bigger piece.  It would be great as a light supper as well as an appetizer.

Goat Cheese and Mushroom Tart

Mushroom Filling:
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
3/4 cup coarsely shopped onion
2 tbsps butter
salt to taste
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 refrigerated pie crust
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
Leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme

To make the spread:
Clean the mushrooms, remove stems and cut into quarters. Place the mushrooms and onions in a food processor and finely chop ~ I just chopped finely by hand.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the mushroom/onion mix, salt and thyme and saute for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and saute for 5 minutes longer or until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture is like a paste in texture.

Spoon into a small bowl and let it stand until cool. Add lemon juice, mayo and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.

This filling may be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated until needed.

For the tart:

Preheat the oven to 450º. Let pie crust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll the pastry on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Spread the mushroom filling evenly to within 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme. Fold in one edge of the pastry toward the center covering part of the filling. Work around the edge, pleating as you go.

Bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350º and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

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This is a super easy easy appetizer and the dip is spot on with the tortellini.  I am addicted to this stuff!  It’s perfect for a party or even as a side dish on your table.  I found the recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook submitted by Cheryl Lame.

I cut regular wooden skewers in half instead of buying some just for this and it worked out well.

Tortellini with Pesto Dip

4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsps olive oil, divided
1 pkg (10 ozs) refrigerated spinach tortellini
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/8 tsp pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes

On a double thickness of aluminum foil, place the garlic cloves and drizzle with 1 tbsps olive oil. Wrap the foil around and roast in the oven at 425º for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Cool for 15 minutes.

While garlic is cooking, cook tortellini according to the package, drain, rise in cold water. Toss with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, Parmesan, milk, pesto and pepper. Squeeze the garlic into this mixture and stir until combined.

Thread tortellini and tomatoes onto skewers and serve with pesto dip.

I made all of this ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 dozen skewers and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Happy Cooking!

Savory Cheese Ball


I like having a few recipes that I can turn to for parties that everyone loves and are easy to make.  This one fits the bill.  It’s equally perfect for a party, sports event or just to have in the fridge to snitch a bit from.

I make this the day before servings to let the flavors really meld together.

Savory Cheese Ball

1 (8 ounce) tub onion and chive soft cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) pkg cream cheese
I cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 fresh chives, snipped
1 package dry ranch salad dressing mix
Pecans, chopped or whole

Combine the cream cheeses, cheddar cheese, chives and salad dressing mix in a bowl mixing well.

Shape into a bowl and roll into pecans.

Serve with crackers.

Makes 10-12 (or more) servings

Happy Cooking!

More Potatoes ~ Cheesy Au Gratin Potato Casserole

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I have a serious addiction to potatoes.  I love them in any form and we have potatoes fairly often.  DH is not a fan but humors me.  I found this recipe on allrecipes and changed it around a bit to suit me and it’s delish!

This recipe is pretty easy even though you will have to make a cheese sauce.  Just take your time and it will work.  I especially love that it makes a small casserole so if you are a small family, it will work perfectly.

Cheesy Au Gratin Potato Casserole

4 russet potatoes, sliced into very thin slices
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsps butter
3 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400º and grease a 1 quart casserole dish. I used a 9×9 glass dish.

Layer half the potato slices in the bottom of the dish, top with all the onion slices, top onions with the rest of the potatoes and season with salt and pepper if desired.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Mix in flour and salt and whisk continuously for 1 minute. Stir in milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheese ALL AT ONCE and stir until the cheese melts, about 60 seconds or so. Pour sauce over the potatoes. Cover dish with aluminum foil.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Brown Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas

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I am always on the lookout for meatless recipes that my meat-eater will love and usually it’s a recipe that’s filling and on the spicy side and this recipe is a go on both counts.  It’s easy to make and spicy but not so spicy that I couldn’t eat it.  DH just added hot sauce to his to make them more spicy.  When I cook something like this, I measure the spices in my (clean) hand so I’m sure I add more that the recipe calls for.  I also used Ro-tel diced tomatoes with chilies.  This recipe is 5 stars according to the meat-eater!

Fresh from the oven:

Ready to eat:

Brown Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas

1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and chilies (any brand is fine)
1/4 cup picante sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked brown rice
8 (6 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used more)
3 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t use)

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and then saute the green pepper, onion, and garlic until tender. Add the beans, tomatoes, picante sauce, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and let it simmer,, uncovered until heated through and it thickens a bit. Mine never really thickened much. Add rice and cook 5 minutes longer or until heated through.

Spoon about 1/2 cup down the middle of a tortilla, roll up, and place in lightly greased pan seam side down. When all the tortillas are used and in the pan, spoon salsa over each tortilla.

Cover and bake at 350º for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Makes 4 servings of 2 tortillas each.

Happy Cooking!

Easy Frittata ~ Barefoot Contessa


Ina calls this an Omelet for 2 but it’s really more of a frittata.  Either way it’s a fairly quick and definitely easy recipe.  I make frittatas for dinner more than I do for breakfast and we really liked this one.  I served it with Raspberry-Blackberry Muffins and watermelon.

I was afraid that 5 eggs was not going to be enough to make the frittata, but it worked out great.  I used large eggs but extra-large would be great, too.

Easy Frittata
Barefoot Contessa

1/4 pound bacon, sliced crosswise into 1 inch slices
1 tbsp butter
1 cup medium-diced Yukon gold potato
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper, I used diced jalapenos from a jar
5 eggs
2 tbsps milk or cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
4 ozs extra-sharp Cheddar, plus extra grated cheese, for garnish, all grated

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Cook the sliced bacon in an 8-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the fat from the pan.

Add the butter to the pan, and then add the potato and onion. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion starts to brown and the potato is tender but firm. Add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 30 seconds until warmed through.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together with a fork. Stir in the scallions and diced Cheddar. When the potato is cooked, add the bacon to the pan and pour over the egg mixture.

Place the pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the omelet puffs and the eggs are almost cooked in the center. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Cheddar and bake for another minute.

Serve hot directly from the pan.

Makes 2 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Grilled Romaine Salad

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I hope everyone had a fun and safe fourth of July.  Ours was very quiet ~ Zippy played in his pool and then hid when the fireworks started.

I survived my fun day at the dentist but still have some pain ~ hopefully tomorrow will be better.

In the meantime, I made this salad last month and we really enjoyed it.  It was easy to make and tastes delicious.  I found the recipe in one of the Deen Brothers magazines.  My DH did the grilling and I did the rest.  I don’t remember what I served it with but it would go well with just about any protein.

Grilled Romaine Salad

3 tbps balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup olive oil

4 large portobello mushrooms
1 head Romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
1 plum tomato, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

For the dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard, and zest in a small bowl. Stream in the olive oil, whisking, until all well combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat your grill to medium high and grill mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Grill lettuce halves for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until browned. Cool.

Cut lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl. Slice mushrooms and add to bowl along with the tomato slices and then sprinkle with the cheese crumbles. Drizzle with the dressing.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!


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I served this along with a cheese platter and the peach and blueberry galette when our friends were visiting.  It was simple to throw together and tasted really good.  I found the recipe in an old Taste of Home cookbook.  I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it again.  I bought fresh sliced pepperoni since I only wanted a bit but I think salami would be good, too.


1 (24 oz) jar pepperoncini, drained
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups halved fresh mushrooms
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 pound provolone or mozzarella cheese (I forgot to add this to mine)
1 (15 oz) can pitted ripe olives, drained
1/4 pound sliced fresh pepperoni, halved or quartered
1 (8 oz) bottle Italian vinaigrette

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and as long as overnight.

Arrange on a lettuce-lined platter and serve with toothpicks.

Makes 14-16 servings.

Here is a picture of my cheese platter ~ I used three different kinds of cheddar. Irish cheddar (the white one), three English cheeses (the multi color one), and Tillamook.

Happy Cooking!