Skillet Chicken Parmesan

There’s nothing quite like starting your day with the sudden realization that you have just used your lip liner to line your eyes instead of your eyeliner.

I wondered why the color looked a little off….

Fortunately, I caught my error before I had done both eyes, so it was an easy fix. I just hope that it’a not a precursor to the rest of the day. I have a lot on my to-do list, starting with sending a short grocery list to Dad in preparation for our arrival next week. It’s The Queen Mother’s 75th birthday (shhhh, don’t tell her I mentioned it..), and we are all flying in to celebrate. I have the menu set for the party, and all I have to do is make her cake. I know what kind of cake I’m making (chocolate, obviously!), but I am still figuring out the design/details.


I want to make sure it’s amazing and  extra special, but since I’ll only have the day of the party to put it together, I have to make sure it’s doable with limited tools on hand.

Challenge accepted…

Skillet Chicken Parmesan – adapted from Food Network

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 10 ounces each)
1 8 -inch piece day-old baguette (about 4 ounces)
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 15 -ounce can tomato puree
1 small clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 thin cutlets. Put between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until 1/4 inch thick.

Cut any hard crusts off the bread with a serrated knife, then cut the bread into cubes. Add the bread cubes to a food processor with the motor running, a few pieces at a time, and process to make coarse crumbs (you will have about 1 1/4 cups crumbs).

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons parmesan and cook, stirring, until melted, about 1 more minute. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons basil; set aside. Preheat the broiler.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; add to the skillet (in batches, if necessary) and cook until golden and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the tomato puree, then rinse out the can with 1 cup water and add to the skillet. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon parmesan; reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil and season with salt and pepper.

Return the chicken to the skillet, turning to coat with the sauce. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan and all but a few tablespoons of the toasted breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and the remaining breadcrumbs. Broil until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.

Individual Double Chocolate Cake

To say that I am a choco-holic is, quite frankly, an understatement. I can, and do, eat chocolate in some form Sometimes twice a day.


Having said that, of course, making single serving desserts has become quite a thing for me lately. Alexander would rather eat ice cream, Sabrina dislikes “too much” chocolate (I swear she’s not related to me..), and J turns into a gremlin if he eats sugar too close to bedtime.

More for me, that’s the way I see it.


The original recipe for this includes placing a dollop of peanut butter in the center of the cake before baking – which, given my undying affection for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, is a very good idea indeed.

Individual Double Chocolate Cake – adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tbs. butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tbs. chocolate chips

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar until combined. Whisk in milk, butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into a microwave-safe ramekin. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Consume with gusto!

Double Chocolate Chia Pudding

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, life moves pretty fast around here … I can’t believe we have lived in our new house for almost 4 months now.

And in that four month time frame,  Zeus the Great Pyrenees has managed to chew up 4 window sills, two baseboards, and create several holes in the backyard.


And made himself quite comfortable on the sofa, much to my constant dismay. Life with a * very large * puppy is a daily adventure, to say the least.

Yesterday, we made a fun trip to the vet for the all important “fix”. Let’s hope that calms him down a bit. Yeah right – the only thing that will calm him down is a dose of Xanax. 


Thank goodness for long walks and copious amounts of chocolate pudding.

Double Chocolate Chia Pudding – adapted from How Sweet Eats

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup milk (or water)
1/4 cup chia seeds
4 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tbs honey
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped chocolate, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla until well blended.  Divide the mixture between ramekins or glass jars, cover,  and  place in the fridge to chill and thicken, for about 4 hours or overnight.

Serve topped with chopped chocolate.

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

They say that when the cat’s away, the mice will play.


In this house, when the proverbial cat (aka J) is away, the mice (aka myself and the posse) eat fish, which J abhors. Something about having to eat it 5 nights a week when he was a child completely turned him off of it.

Can’t imagine why….

So in his absence, we partake in crispy panko-breaded cod, spicy salmon filets and all the garlic butter rosemary shrimp we can eat.

Absolute gluttony…. but oh so delicious….

All of this makes me wonder what the posse will eat when J and I are away for a few days next week. I suspect they will celebrate their freedom with a covert run to the closest Whataburger.

Because nothing says “thank god Mom’s not here to cook” like a fast food run.

Spinach Mushroom Quiche – adapted from Valerie Bertinelli

1 tbs. canola oil
2 cups small mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups mixed veggies, such as raw spinach leaves and cooked broccoli and asparagus
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup light cream
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
5 to 6 grinds black peppercorns
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated white Cheddar
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 9″ pie crust, fully baked

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the quiche: heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until well browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Then add in the mixed veggies to cook out any excess water and wilt the spinach leaves. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, parsley, thyme and pepper in a large bowl and lightly whisk. Sprinkle half of the Gruyere, Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano on the crust, followed by the veggie mixture and then the remaining cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top and bake until set, about 35 minutes.

Cool for 15 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

I’m not a health food fanatic by any means, but lately I have become enamored with Quinoa, Freekah, and Chia Seeds.

Which, quite frankly, sounds like a pop/rap group…

Aside from their many health benefits, I’m doing my part to expand our culinary horizons and venture beyond the standard pasta/rice routine. What am I saying? Pasta is and will always be my go-to carb of choice. Besides bread. And chocolate. And wine.


Anyway, look beyond the plain, humble appearance of this casserole, and trust me when I tell you that it tastes way better than it looks. It would be most comparable to Mac and Cheese, but healthier.

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Casserole – adapted from buns in my oven

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup broccoli florets
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
1 cup milk
4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese, divided

Add the quinoa, water, onion powder, and garlic powder to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Place quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
While the quinoa is cooking, drizzle the broccoli with olive oil, season with a generous amount of black pepper, and roast in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes or until tender crisp. Add to the bowl with the quinoa.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking and whisking for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly, and continue cooking until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Gruyere and 2 ounces of the cheddar. Whisk until smooth and melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the quinoa and vegetables and stir to combine. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Serve immediately

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been an over-the-top organizer. I keep my clothes arranged by season, color, and style…. my shoes are kept the same way. Every six months I go through my closet and discard items that are past their prime, worn/stained beyond repair, and anything that is clearly out of my age range.

Cut off shorts were discarded years ago. Thank goodness.

I’m on the brink of driving J and the kids insane with my constant organizing and rearranging of the kitchen. I’m simply trying to find the best and most productive locations for everything, which includes putting frequently used food items in glass jars that are clearly labeled.

Clearly. Labeled.

“Mom, where are the chia seeds for my smoothie?”

In the jar. Labeled. Right in front of you. Organized with the mini blender, flax seeds and protein powder for your smoothie as well. Which are….wait for it…..clearly labeled.

Apparently I’m the only one that finds that amusing….

Anyway, given my long term habit of needing order amongst my things, I was highly intrigued when I read about the latest organizational phenomenon circling the web these days – the KonMari method of keeping your clothes folded and perfectly tidy. I’m not sure how I feel about folding versus hanging. But if you’ll excuse me I have some work in my closet I need to attend to…….

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread – adapted from Williams Sonoma

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder, plus more
    for dusting
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package (12 oz.) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup very hot water

Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the 2 1/2 cups flour, the 1/2 cup cocoa powder, the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and pepper.

In another bowl, toss the chocolate chips with the 2 tbs. flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a 4-cup glass measure or a bowl, whisk together the molasses and hot water. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the molasses mixture in 3 batches, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula and beating just until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and is firm to the touch, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.

To serve, lightly dust the cake with cocoa powder and cut into wedges.

Cheesecake Brownies

About a month ago, I realized just how appreciative I am for my blog. Oh sure, it’s “my space” and “my creative outlet” – but there’s a bigger, more important reason why.

Simply put, and I know I’ve said this before, it’s preservation of my/our favorite recipes.

I’m referring not only to safeguarding family recipes that could otherwise be lost without saving them here. I’m also referring to the fact the TWO cases of my baking books / cookbooks mysteriously disappeared during the move, along with recipes from those books that I haven’t had a chance to post yet.

And I’m still bitter about it.

Since I have an incredible kitchen to work in, I’ve found myself saying, wow, this is a great time to work on my bagel making skills again, or maybe whip up that delicious cheese danish that I haven’t made in forever. But I can’t, because I DON’T HAVE THE BOOK and therefore don’t have the recipe.


Enough whining, I know. But I’ll tell you this – my birthday wish list is going to include lots of books from my Amazon page.

Cheesecake Brownies – adapted from Nick Malgieri

About these brownies: Everything from Nick Malgieri is perfect. Follow the directions precisely and don’t overbake them. Use a knife dipped in hot water between slices and you’ll be rewarded with picture perfect squares.

Brownie layer:

  • 8 tbs unsalted butter
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake layer:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

To prepare oven, baking pan: Set rack in middle level of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees. Butter 9-by-13-inch pan. Line with buttered parchment or aluminum foil. Set aside.

To make brownie batter: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. (Note: If all chocolate has not melted, return pan to very low heat and stir constantly to melt chocolate.) In large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and vanilla until just mixed. Whisk in sugar in stream. Whisk in chocolate and butter mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold in flour. Set aside.

To make cheesecake batter: In bowl of standing electric mixture fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for about 1 minute or until smooth. Add vanilla. Scrape bowl. Beat well. Beat in 1 egg. Scrape again. Add remaining egg. Beat until just incorporated.

To assemble brownies: Scrape brownie batter into prepared pan. Smooth top. Drop tablespoons of cheesecake batter over brownie batter to cover completely.

To bake brownies: Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely on rack.

To cut: Wrap pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) so cake solidifies completely. (Note: This also makes brownies easier to cut.) Transfer brownies to cutting board. Using long knife or spatula, slide it under to loosen paper or foil, then pull it away. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares.