Category Archives: Recipes – Entrees

Kielbasa & White Bean Cassoulet

BLOG cassoulet










A cold winter’s day is the perfect time for hauling out your slow cooker and readying ingredients for this thick creamy cassoulet. The recipe, from Simple Living’s January 2016 issue, is one that turned out a total winner last week. If you have a slow cooker, put it to use; set-it-and-forget-It, then thoroughly enjoy!

The prep for this recipe is 20 minutes, tops. Chop the onion and mince the clove garlic, slice the kielbasa and you are ready to go. With a cooking time of 5-7 hours, there is plenty of time for preparing the baguette croutons needed when you are ready to serve. This recipe is so easy that I decided to give it a try one minute and had the cassoulet in the crock pot, heating up, then simmering, 20 minutes later. Nothing could have been easier.  I did use both dried thyme and parsley flakes and not the fresh called for in the recipe and both were perfectly fine substitutions.

The smoky kielbasa is a perfect complement for the creamy white beans and the diced tomatoes add their own tart flavor to the mix. I found the buttered and toasted baguette pieces a worthy, and tasty, contrast to the dish. Whether you want to add another vegetable on the side, or just treat this dish as a complete meal in itself, you will be feeling very accomplished and very satisfied if you give this one a try.

Slow-Cooker Kielbasa & White Bean Cassoulet


1-1/2 cups dried white beans
1 lb. kielbasa, cut into 1” pieces
3 cups chicken broth
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
8-1/2” slices of baguette, buttered & toasted, cubed
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions Combine beans, kielbasa, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, thyme, and ½ t. salt in a 4-to-6 qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans are creamy, on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 5 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Serve individual bowls of the cassoulet topped with baguette cubes and parsley.

Shrimp & Grits

This is one of my new favorites!  I tried this dish while on a “teacher trip” this summer; determined to re-create the dish, the first time I prepared it was at the Sharpes’ house in Florida in July.  Folks, if you are a shrimp lover, this dish rocks!

I will admit that this is a bit labor intensive so prepare it when you have plenty of time OR when you have someone to help you do the prep work.  Susie, prep help supreme, cut all the veggies for this and peeled the shrimp (YAY!).  When the prep work finishes, the cooking time is less than 30 minutes.

DO find and use the Andouille sausage when preparing the shrimp mixture as this spicy sausage from Louisiana’s Cajun cooking style provides the perfect punch to the dish. If you cannot find Andouille, use a highly seasoned bratwurst instead. Do also use the red pepper flakes for even more “hot”.  Not to worry, the creamy grits are a just-right complement for the spice of the shrimp and sausage mixture. All you possibly need to complete the meal is a leafy green salad or even a loaf of crusty French bread.

Get your shrimp and grits groove on today! You will not regret one minute of the kitchen time. This recipe easily serves 10-12 people. Four of us enjoyed two servings each in Florida with the bowl pictured above for the next day. Make a new pot of grits if having leftovers!  This is oh, so wonderful!

Shrimp & Grits

For the Grits

4 cups water
* 2 T. butter
* 6 small cloves garlic, minced (added from the shrimp pan)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 t. salt
1 cup uncooked grits (instant is fine)
2 cups Cheddar, shredded from the block

Directions: Keep the water warm on the stove in a pot with a heavy bottom so you can cook the grits quickly when the shrimp finishes cooking. When ready to serve, bring to a boil and add the cream. Stir in grits a little at a time; add the butter and sautéed garlic. Cook, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the cheese. Turn off the heat and allow to thicken. Add cream if too thick.

For the Shrimp

1 T. Wesson oil
1 cup Andouille sausage, sliced thin
2 #’s medium fresh shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and tails snipped
2 more T. Wesson oil
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, sliced thin
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded (or stewed tomatoes, 1 #10 can)
3 t. Cajun seasoning
1-1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T. butter
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Green onion, sliced, for garnish

Directions: Sauté 2 T. butter & 6 garlic cloves. Set aside for grits. Add oil to skillet and sauté sausage. Remove and set aside. Add 1/2 the shrimp and cook until pink. Remove to paper-towels and add the rest of the shrimp and cook til pink. Wipe skillet and add 1 T. oil and 1 T. butter. Stir in the 1 T. flour and cook 3-4 minutes until you have a dark roux. Cook 3-4 minutes on low. Add onion, green pepper, and celery and cook 3 minutes on med-high heat. Add the tomatoes and the Cajun season and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer all in skillet 10 minutes.

Rainy Day Fettuccini

You know how it is when you return from vacation. For several days you’re doing nothing but picking up, putting away, washing and folding laundry, storing the suitcase, and anything else you can think of before easing back into your regular routine in the kitchen. This recipe, as adapted from the book, Lunch in Paris, A Love Story with Recipes, served me well last night when heat lightning hovered and lit up the western sky, thunder rumbled overhead like bowling balls run amok, and the air itself filled with almost-raindrops just slightly smaller than those thunder balls.

I find myself craving soft comfort food lately; something easily prepared and easily eaten seems is what my body and my psyche wants and pasta is just such a comfort food. Minimal time in the kitchen is appreciated here so needing just 10 minutes to prepare the sauce, rich with butter, heavy cream, egg yolks, and loads of freshly grated Parmesan, you’re in business in a jiffy. You’ll be sitting down before the first fat raindrops fall to a fabulous meal. Light the lamps and pull up a chair. Just be sure to bring a hearty appetite because you’re going to need it for this rich dish.

I adjusted the recipe because the original called for 1-1/2 pounds of fettuccine noodles and I had only a third of that on hand. The sauce came out perfectly seasoned with the adjustments. Take your time then smother the noodles with the creamy sauce and toss gently to incorporate. I didn’t even bother with bread or a salad tonight. It was one of those noodles only please evenings.

Rainy Day Fettuccini Alfredo w/peas


6-8 T. salted butter
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks, unbeaten
1/2 lb. fettuccine noodles
Fresh or frozen green peas, to taste

Directions In a large stockpot, boil water for the pasta. Add salt liberally. Prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the cream and stir to heat through. Add the cheese, stirring until combined. Add the ground pepper. Don’t be stingy with it. Stir this mixture and cook for 5 minutes; it will begin to thicken.

Toss the pasta into the boiling water. Cook until al dente. Add the peas to the noodles for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta finishes cooking, whisk the egg yolks into the sauce, and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, 2-3 minutes.  Cook over low heat to prevent scorching.

Toss the sauce with the noodles and the peas in the pot and serve immediately. If you want to jazz this up, take the time to prepare a simple green salad for accompaniment complemented by a loaf of warm French bread then just dish it up and get your Ciao on!

Company Chicken

Don’t let the name fool you; this dish is so delicious you won’t need the excuse of company coming to wait to prepare this for your family! The recipe is from my mama’s recipe box and my sisters and I have been making this for many years because it is tried-and-true and there’s no way to make it without success!  This is a late post for sure as we enjoyed this dish when my friends, Micki and Mark, were here last week and it was mightily enjoyed!

Though the recipe calls for 8 pieces of chicken breasts, I normally use only 4 and those I cut in half if they are large because the soup-wine mixture adds bulk as well as the herbed stuffing mix so half a breast is usually enough for one serving. The prep is very quick: place the chicken in your baking dish, top each breast with a Swiss cheese slice, mix the soup and the wine, then toss the dry stuffing mix with melted butter. Layer in your dish in this same order and it’s ready to bake! The soup-wine produce a creamy gravy along with the melted cheese and the stuffing mix adds a buttery crunch. You won’t believe what fantastic results you get for such a small amount of effort! Cooks Note: I always buy just 4 large breasts, not the 8 that the recipe calls for but don’t change anything else. The “gravy” is delicious so I make it all!

This is truly one of my favorite dishes and it serves as the anchor of a delectable meal served with vegetables, a salad, and corn muffins. At least that was the menu on Tuesday, and I tell you, truly, it was marvelous, darlink!  Do give this one a try soon!

Company Chicken


8 chicken breasts, skinned and bones, cut in half if large
8-4” slices Swiss cheese
1-(10-3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups herbed seasoned stuffing mix, crushed
1/3 cup margarine, melted

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Arrange chicken in a lightly greased 9×13” glass baking dish. Top with the Swiss cheese slices. In small bowl, combine the soup and wine in a small bowl and mix well. Spoon evenly over the chicken in baking dish. Melt margarine and mix with the crushed stuffing mix. Drizzle this over the chicken pieces. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Do not over bake; just until golden brown and bubbly. Cool slightly before serving.

Beef & Broccoli

I needed to make a trip to the Pacific Rim Market for long rice, kamaboko, somen noodles, short-grain rice, good shoyu, ajinomoto, and a tin of savory curry powder and accomplished that yesterday then didn’t use any of that when making Beef & Broccoli today! No matter, this ono (good tasting!) dish was a popular and quick-selling daily special at my Kete-Yama’s Café on Maui. Thin strips of marinated flank steak with crisp-tender broccoli spears bound in a chicken broth and cornstarch based gravy, served over white rice, this dish is sure to please any palate.

Believe me when I say it’s a quick prep; I wouldn’t have the energy to make it tonight if it wasn’t quick to come together because I spent four hours planting in my flower beds just before coming into the house to have a shower and get my cooking hat on.  You can clean, trim, and slice the broccoli (I always include some of the broccoli stems, sliced thinly, for crunch) while the steak marinates.   Parboil the broccoli and drain and you are just 10 minutes from supper! Have your rice steaming while the meat marinates also, using short-grain rice if you have it for easier soaking up of the thin gravy, and grab pass out the hashi (chopsticks) and you’re ready to enjoy!  Use good (and pricey! sorry!) flank steak for the best results.  You’ll be so glad you did!

Beef & Broccoli


2 T. shoyu (soy sauce)
4 T. oyster sauce
1 lb. flank steak, sliced thinly
1 lb. fresh broccoli
2 slices fresh ginger, crushed and sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T. cornstarch


Directions In large bowl, mix shoyu and oyster sauce; add sliced meat and marinate for 15-20 minutes. Clean and chop broccoli and add to a pot of boiling water. Parboil for 2 minutes and rinse quickly under cold water; drain and set aside. Heat skillet and add 2 T. cooking oil. Add ginger and garlic to hot oil and cook about 30 seconds. Add and sautéed beef and stir until slightly cooked. Add broccoli and the chicken broth; toss and stir well. Dissolve cornstarch in 2-3 T. water; make a well in the center of skillet and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir until thickened. Serve with hot white rice.