Category Archives: recipe

Pressure Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

Pressure Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

Since Christmas I have been using my electric pressure cooker at least once a week. It is a wonderful addition to my kitchen tools. It cooks meat so fast, even frozen chicken breasts. It’s also great with dried beans; cutting the cooking time by hours!

I had a busy day today and realized at about 3 this afternoon that I had forgotten to take anything out of the freezer for dinner. I found this recipe (I’ve adapted it to my family’s tastes and to my pressure cooker) and gave it a try.

Pressure Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 pounds frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (if thawed, reduce cooking time)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Green onions, chopped, as garnish
  • Sesame seeds, as garnish

Spray inside of electric pressure cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Turn pressure cooker on to high and add sesame oil and chicken breasts. In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger and hot sauce. Pour sauce over chicken breasts. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and set to cook for 20 minutes (or according to manufacturer directions).

Release the pressure according to your cooker’s quick release instructions. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water, then add to the cooker. Switch the cooker to saute mode and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Garnish with diced green onions and sesame seeds if desired and serve over cooked rice.

This was a huge hit with The Hubs, Daughters 3 and 4 and me. I used some of the sauce as a marinade for green beans that I cooked and they were equally as delicious as the chicken. This will definitely make it into the lineup, and if I remember to take the chicken out the night before it will cut the cooking time by half!

I absolutely love having an electric pressure cooker, and think every household should have one.

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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in recipe, Uncategorized


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Busy-ness of March

Busy-ness of March

When I recapped February I talked about how busy I had been. I have explained to several close friends and some of my family that when I say I have been busier this is what I mean. I was busier at work in January than I believe I was in the first 3-6 months of 2015. I was busier in February than I was in the month of January, and I was busier in the first 10 days of March than I was in January and February combined.

Yes, the Red Fire Monkey is working hard in my life! With that said, I still had time the first 2 weeks of the month to spend some amazing time in the kitchen. The three most exciting things I cooked were Beer Battered Chicken, Rattlesnake Eggs, and Falafel.

It had been a very long time since I had battered and deep-fried anything. I find when I am as busy as I was the first week and a half of March I want food that is unhealthy. I had some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge and a bottle (maybe 2) of beer. Chicken + beer = Beer Battered Chicken. I used a recipe my dad had created and perfected when I was a child. It takes no time to whip up, and the whole family loved it! I served our chicken with a side of mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. It was delish.

The first weekend of March The Hubs had to go out of town. Because of that I let Daughters 3 and 4 each have one sleepover guest Saturday night. After D4’s guest went home Sunday morning D3 and her guest asked if they could go “walk around”. We live in a rural town, population 1100. I couldn’t see much harm at 10 am on a Sunday of two 13 year old girls “walking around” town. I seized the opportunity for some one on one time with D4. I asked her if she wanted to help me make some Rattlesnake Eggs. Her initial reaction was priceless. There was no way this kid was going to eat a Rattlesnake Egg. Once I told her what we were going to cook, she was all for it. We made them together and ate them for brunch, with café con leche. It was all so good. Just in case you’re concerned about eating Rattlesnake Eggs, let me share the recipe!

Rattlesnake Eggs

  • 1 8-ounce package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage (your choice, I use turkey), browned, drained, crumbled
  • Canned jalapenos, diced, to taste (I used about ½ Tablespoon)
  • Jalapeno juice, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)

Preheat the oven according to crescent rolls packaging. Combine the sausage, cream cheese, and jalapenos in a bowl. Open the ‘can’ of crescent rolls. Unroll each, placing a heaping Tablespoon of sausage mixture on the wide end of each. Pull the pointed corners in toward the middle and roll the crescent toward the thin end, forming an oval. Leave a small “tail” unrolled at the end. Place crescent roll eggs on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake according to crescent roll package directions, or until outside is lightly browned.

Daughter Number Four was delighted that she stuck it out and tried these frighteningly named goodies. I have a feeling she will be asking for them again!

My next big cooking creation was Falafel. I love Falafel and have since my first bite. I was feeling adventurous after making the Rattlesnake Eggs and made a batch of Garbanzo beans in my pressure cooker. I searched recipes for Falafel and made that for Sunday dinner. Assuming The Hubs and the Daughters 3 and 4 would not like Falafel I also made a small batch of homemade pizza. I could have just made the Falafel. It was so good, that The Hubs and I had it the following night ~ only I added some pickled veggies to the pita!falafel

I used a combination of a couple of recipes to make the Falafel. I’m excited to make it again to change a few things in the recipe and in the cooking.

I will say that the beginning of March has been a success in all areas, and I am looking forward to what the Red Fire Monkey and I have on the road ahead!

I hope you take the opportunity to make yourself some Rattlesnake Eggs ~ they are a tasty morsel!


Posted by on March 16, 2016 in recipe, Uncategorized


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BBQ Chicken on Buns ~ Freezer to Slow Cooker

BBQ Chicken on Buns ~ Freezer to Slow Cooker

As the summer has moved closer to its end I have continued cleaning up after the flood and working on being the best me I can be. As work is a little busier than it had been during June and July I am finding myself relying on make ahead meals and freezer to slow cooker meals yet again.

It always surprises me just how much time and hassle pre-planning and prepping saves me. It may take a chunk of time one day a week (Sunday for me), but it makes weeknights so much better!

This recipe came from Daughter Number One who has been pre-planning and prepping, too. Last night was the first time I had made this recipe and knew from the faces around the table that it will make it into the rotation. Daughter Number Four actually had seconds.

Shredded BBQ Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (your choice)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Italian dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hamburger buns

Mix all ingredients in a gallon freezer bag. Freeze. Remove from freezer the night before. In the morning pour the contents of the freezer bag into the slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken while still in crockpot and let sit in BBQ mixture for about 30 minutes on warm. Serve on hamburger buns.

I served mine with coleslaw on the side. Well, for my own I skipped the bun and served my chicken over my slaw. It was delish and I cut out the carbs!

I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an easy weeknight make ahead meal! You will not be disappointed.


Posted by on August 11, 2015 in recipe


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More Mother’s Day Munchies

More Mother’s Day Munchies

After sharing the story of the Mother’s Day / Retirement party we had for my mother, I felt like I left people hanging without all of the good stuff.

So, I am going to share some of the other family favorites that were served that day! These hors d’oeuvres are not fancy, but they are delicious!

Cocktail Shrimp

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, cooked and peeled

Combine ketchup, chili sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill. Place softened cream cheese on a platter or bowl and cover with the chilled sauce. Arrange shrimp around the edge of the dish.

~This was made by my 2nd oldest brother ~

This recipe was given to my mother by her  brother and we have made it dozens of times and it is always a big hit! *Word of caution: please be careful about cross contamination of shrimp, shellfish, or other seafood if you have family members who are allergic! Always warn those family members of the ingredients in your dishes.* Although this sounds like common sense, in my family it has caused at least one (or 2) trips to the ER!

shrimp cocktail

Seven-Layer Dip

  • 1 16-ounce can refried beans
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • 1 12-ounce carton sour cream
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1 small can diced black olives
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 medium tomato, diced

Combine beans, taco seasoning, and Tabasco. Make a 1” thick layer of the bean mixture on a platter. Ice the bean layer with sour cream. Cover that layer with chiles, then olives, cheese, and lettuce. Garnish the top with tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips.

~ This was made by my oldest brother and his wife~

There are some optional ingredients that can be added, which may change the number of layers! If you want to add all of them for a 10 or more layer dip, please do! I’ve had it with chopped ham, browned and drained ground beef, avocadoes or guacamole, green onions, chopped red or white onion, jalapenos, and even crumbled bacon.

7 layer dip

Taco Pinwheels

  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ package taco seasoning
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped black olives
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • ½ can chopped green chiles

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning and Tabasco. Mix until smooth. Add cheese, olives, green onion, and chiles and mix thoroughly. Spread the cream cheese mixture over tortillas, leaving about ¼” uncovered. Roll up each tortilla. Slice into ½” pieces and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be served with toothpicks (for a group that isn’t your family!).

~This was made by my oldest daughter~

taco pinwheels

The next time you’re getting ready to host a get together and you need some quick, tasty, and fun recipes (I was going to say ‘killer’, but that hits too close to home for one of my brothers) give one or all of these a try.

Heck, if you don’t know what to take to your upcoming summer party (4th of July is just around the corner) now you’ve got some ideas!



Posted by on July 2, 2015 in recipe


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Mother’s Day 2015

Mother’s Day 2015

The day after my nephews’ graduation party was Mother’s Day. It was also the first Sunday after my mother retired. I had asked all of my siblings to come together to celebrate Mother’s Day as well as her retirement.

As long as I can remember my mom’s favorite food has been “hors d’oeuvres”. Her favorite part of going out to a restaurant is the appetizers and small plates and her favorite part of any party is the canapes, dips, finger foods, and the sort. I asked my siblings and daughters to assist me in making appetizers to bring. We all know what mom’s true favorites are, so it was pretty easy to lay out the menu. I asked everyone what they would be bringing and I would create around it.

I assured my mother that she would not need to cook for her party, that I had it under control. Every time she asked if there was going to be one thing or another, I had to tell her that it was covered.

The menu included:

Shrimp Cocktail

Seven Layer Dip

Taco pinwheels

Deviled Eggs

Homemade Pretzels

Vegetable Pizza

Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

Brandy Slush

The Shrimp Cocktail recipe came from my mother’s family, as did the Vegetable Pizza recipe and the Brandy Slush. I made up the Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle at the last minute because I realized no one was bringing a sweet. I will share the Vegetable Pizza and Brandy Slush recipes with you.

Vegetable Pizza

  • 8 ounces refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 3 raw carrots
  • 1/3 head raw cauliflower
  • 3 spears raw broccoli
  • 2 stalks celery (I omit)
  • 6 radishes (I use less)
  • ½ green pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat crescent rolls flat in ungreased 10X15 jelly roll or baking pan. Bake 5 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack. Wash, drain, and chop vegetables to approximately pea size. Toss together. Soften cream cheese and blend in mayonnaise. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and dill weed. Spread mixture over crust and top with vegetables. Pat vegetables lightly into cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares to serve.

Brandy Slush

  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 teabags
  • 2 cups brandy
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen orange juice
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade
  • Sprite or 7-Up

Combine 7 cups water and sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat to cool. Pour boiling water over teabags and let stand until cool. Combine simple syrup (sugar water), tea, brandy, orange juice and lemonade in a freezable container and place into freezer. When frozen put 2 – 3 Tablespoons of mixture into a glass, then fill with lemon lime soda.

brandy slush

(I like mine a little stronger, so I use more of the frozen mixture. No judgement, people!)

Mother’s Day Retirement Celebration was a huge success, and the food was a big hit with my mom. The biggest surprise for my mother came when her sister, who lives 600 miles away, showed up! I had managed to keep that secret for weeks, and it darn near killed me!

If you are a fan of hors d’oeuvres or summery cocktails, these are both musts! The vegetable pizza is a great little morsel or even a light summer dinner!



Posted by on June 29, 2015 in recipe


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Salmon and English Muffins

Salmon and English Muffins

I have never been one to shy away from making something new, but when it comes to baking I tend to stick with more of the tried and true; recipes that have been passed down from my parents or ones that I have made myself many times.

(Warning: this post may suffer from seemingly random thoughts and wandering. Stay with me.)

Last night The Hubs grilled a lovely, big piece of salmon for dinner. When I told him I had purchased some salmon and it would be great on the grill he didn’t look at it. Basing his coals and cooking estimate on the salmon I usually buy he miscalculated a bit. When he saw the big, thick piece of salmon I had purchased his initial grumbling and running (under his breath) commentary was that it was much bigger than he had thought and he hadn’t put enough coals in and it was going to take much longer than he had thought. His next concern was what I had paid for it. I assured him that not only was it sale, but it also pays (saves) to know your butcher! I got an incredible deal on the salmon! I should have cut it in half and frozen part of it, but it was too damn pretty!

As we were eating dinner and savoring the delicious grilled salmon (The Hubs and I and Daughter Number 4 were savoring. Daughter Number 3 was complaining about not liking fish, and we discovered later that one of our cats and our Chihuahua got the benefit of her dislike under the table.) I was already planning on making some of the leftover grilled salmon my breakfast today.

I have loved salmon for breakfast since my trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada in 2010. Prior to that trip I had the rare occasion to eat lox, cream cheese, and bagels, but nothing more exciting than that. I was introduced to salmon with poached eggs and hollandaise, salmon omelettes, and more; I digress.

When The Hubs asked what I was thinking about so quietly at the dinner table (yes, I was quiet) I told him I was planning my salmon breakfast. His eyes sparkled. “MY salmon breakfast?” he asked. I agreed that it would be OUR salmon breakfast. (Homage to Billy Madison)

I did not start thinking about breakfast as soon as I got up, but I did start thinking about it very shortly after. All during my workout I was thinking about what I was going to make with the salmon that would be simply amazing. I thought about crepe-eggs, a delightful fluffy egg/crepe served at “The Good Egg”. I thought about the poached eggs with salmon I had eaten in Banff. I decided that whatever I made there had to be a side of English muffins. Sadness hit when I realized I didn’t have English muffins. Happiness overcame when I decided to make my own. Although I had never made English muffins before, that became as much a part of the breakfast (which I knew would be brunch) as the salmon. I quickly found a recipe and got started on the English muffins. As with many baking firsts, they English muffins took longer than I had anticipated. Our brunch would be lunch at the rate I was going. (Thank goodness I can work from home.) I was delighted at how the recipe for English muffins was coming along and could not wait to try them. Once I placed the first batch on my hot, oiled griddle I was ready to start the rest of my breakfast / lunch.

The salmon dish I decided on was Salmon Omelettes. Since I was already trying something new I didn’t want to ruin one thing by becoming overwhelmed. The omelette filling was simple. I melted butter in a sauté pan, added some green onion whites, minced garlic, and some flaked, grilled salmon. Once that was sautéing I added a knob of butter to my omelette pan to melt. I whipped three extra large eggs in a glass bowl until frothy. Once the butter started to bubble I added the eggs to the pan. (Here’s just a quick run-down of omelette (omelet to most Americans) making.) Swirl the egg around the entire inside of the pan. Take a rubber spatula and carefully lift the edges away from the pan in a light swooping motion around the entirety of the pan. As you lift the edges continue to swirl the eggs lightly. When the edges are set, but still pull away from the pan add your filling ingredients to the still soft omelette, being careful to keep all of the filling on one side. The other side will be flipped over the fillings. To my omelette I added some cubed cream cheese, the salmon mixture, a bit of dill, and a small amount of grated cheddar. When the cheese melted I gently folded the unfilled side over the filling. After removing gently to a plate I topped with some chopped green onion.


During the cooking of the omelette I had turned the English muffins at the 10 minute mark. The timer went off after another 10 minutes and I removed the muffins onto a platter. I had more English muffins to add to the griddle, but I left some room. I added a small bit of butter to the griddle, split one of the already ‘baked’ English muffins and added it to the buttered griddle. I left it on to toast for a couple of minutes and then removed to the plate with my omelette.

The Hubs was very complimentary of the presentation of the omelette. He was even more impressed after he tasted it. I asked how he liked the homemade English muffins, and he asked if I was kidding. I hadn’t tasted mine yet, so I was getting ready to pout a bit when he clarified his comment. He couldn’t believe they were homemade. We will never buy English muffins again. These were incredibly delicious.


I followed this recipe exactly, and suggest you do the same when you make YOUR English muffins.

Also, I think everyone should make friends with a butcher! Even if you don’t get a super deal like I did, you will get better cuts of meat than the average customer.

A few morsels to chew on…while planning your next foodventure!



Posted by on April 14, 2015 in recipe


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Grandma’s Meatloaf

Grandma’s Meatloaf

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Many years I do the traditional “romance” dinners; steak,

lobster, appetizers, decadent chocolate desserts.

This year, I decided to change it up a bit. I made a gift from my heart to my husband. I made

good old-fashioned, classic foods. I made homemade meatloaf. For many people, meatloaf

would not sound like much of a gift. There are two reasons this was a gift for my husband. The

first; I am not a fan of meatloaf. I am not a huge fan of meat, so turning meat into a loaf does

not make me like it more. The second; my husband has always been kind about my meatloaf. I

have always made meatloaf similar to my mother’s meatloaf. I have mixed it up a little bit over

the years, but always seem to fall short of what he loves most in a meatloaf. When I have asked

in the past what his ultimate meatloaf would be, he says “my grandma’s”. I’ve asked him what

it tasted like, smelled like, what the texture was like. I would have called his Grandma to ask

her, unfortunately she is suffering from age-related dementia and is not able to share her

recipe. Instead, I did some research. I looked up about 15 recipes for meatloaf and using the

information he had given me about Grandma’s meatloaf, I discovered what makes a better

meatloaf and mixed up my meatloaf.

The first key I got to my success was when I called The Hubs up for dinner and he said, “It smells

like my Grandma’s house”. I’m sure he tried the homemade mashed potatoes and the broccoli

with cheese sauce before he tried the meatloaf. I’m not sure if he didn’t want to disappoint me,

or be disappointed himself. Finally, he tried the meatloaf. “This is it”, he said. “This is my

Grandma’s meatloaf.” He later asked me if I had gotten her to tell me her recipe. I explained

the process I had gone through to create his Valentine.

I am sharing the recipe I created, and the secrets to good meatloaf: fresh bread, sauteed

vegetables, and milk.

Grandma’s Meatloaf

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • ½ green pepper, chopped fine
  • ½ medium onion, chopped fine
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced and divided
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • Meatloaf juices, reserved
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add ½ Tablespoon olive oil to a saute pan, heat. Saute onion and

green pepper, and ¼ of mushrooms until soft. In a small bowl whisk egg and milk. In a large

bowl add ground beef, bread crumbs and chili sauce, egg mixture, and sauteed onion and green

pepper. Mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Shape into a loaf and bake in a 9X13 pan (I

prefer glass) for one hour, until cooked through (to 160 degrees internal temperature).

Remove meatolaf from oven, drain drippings into saute pan. Add remaining mushrooms. Cook

and stir until tender. Add broth, simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally. Combine water

and cornstarch in a small cup; stir into broth. Cook and stir continuously for 1 minute, or until


Remove meatloaf onto a platter, carefully, and cover with mushroom sauce.


Not gourmet, not fancy, not even complicated – just old-fashioned classic goodness. This

meatloaf recipe is certainly not going to stay in the special meals and holidays folder, it’s

making its way into the rotation for any occasion.

You should fit this into your rotation, too!


Posted by on February 15, 2015 in recipe


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