Monday, May 30, 2011

Tyson Grilled & Ready

Tyson Grilled & Ready

As a Foodbuzz Tastemaker, I had the priviledge of trying out a new Tyson Grilled & Ready product.  I chose the Fajita Chicken Breast Strips, from the freezer section, and decided to make... no surprise here... fajitas.

Here's The Mister's fajita trio:

And a singleton, so you can actually get a glimpse of some of the chicken:

Overall, the chicken was a breeze to prep and great for when you need dinner ready in a few minutes.  Like all frozen chicken strips, however, I just feel like it's not a replacement for freshly cooked chicken.  There's something about it that just doesn't do it for me.  Would I buy these again?  Yes, because it's so nice to have something like this in the freezer, ready and waiting.  Would I serve this fajita meal to guests?  Eh, probably not.  I'd make the time to prep and cook some fresh chicken.

Looking for a fajita recipe?
Click on one of these:
Fajitas with Guacamole
Fajitas on the Grill 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Asian Turkey Burgers

Asian Turkey Burgers

Serves 4.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!!!
We really enjoyed these -- a great change of pace.
Source: The Grilling Bible cookbook

1 lb. ground turkey
1-1/3 c. French fried onions, divided
1 egg
1/2 c. finely chopped water chestnuts
1/4 c. dry bread crumbs
3 T. Oriental stir-fry sauce or teriyaki baste & glaze sauce
1 T. hot sauce
2 t. grated fresh ginger or 1/2 t. ground ginger
4 sandwich buns
Shredded lettuce, tomato, onion

Combine turkey, 1 c. French fried onions, egg, water chestnuts, bread crumbs, stir-fry sauce, hot sauce, and ginger in a large bowl. Shape into 4 patties.

Grill patties over medium coals 10 minutes or until no longer pink in the center, turning once. Serve on buns. Top with remaining 1/3 c. onions, as well as lettuce, tomato, and onion, if desired.

A Note From The Little Lady: We found this tasted good with additional stir-fry sauce (just a little!) on the bun, taking the place of ketchup's traditional role.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Time it Takes to Fall

The Time it Takes to Fall by Margaret Lazarus Dean

I usually research my book choices and then request them online via the library's website.  But this one I randomy picked up after spotting it in the "librarian's picks" section.  I didn't know what to expect, but it was great! Got me interested in researching the Challenger disaster...

Booklist review from

Dean's thoughtful debut novel revolves around the uncertainties of the 1980s space-shuttle program, and the effects on one Florida family. At 12, Dolores Gray dreams of becoming an astronaut, following in the footsteps of her idol, Judith Resnick, not an unrealistic goal for a "gifted and talented" student whose father is a NASA technician. But he is one of many NASA employees laid off that year, and this is the catalyst that catapults the family into a downward spiral. Dolores' mother goes back to work and becomes more and more distant from her family, eventually leaving, to "sort things out," as her father explains. Dolores skips classes, starts smoking, and abandons old friends, changes in her behavior her father does not notice. When the Challenger disaster occurs, all of these problems are exacerbated, with the addition of Dolores' constant worrying about her father's job. In spite of a few too many loose ends and unexplained incidents, this is an intriguing look at some previously unexplored repercussions of a historic event.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Makes about 8 sandwiches.

Sloppy Joes are easy and fast.  Kids like them; adults like them.  These specifically remind me of my friend, Stacey, who in high school would request these from my mom!
Source: my mom

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 large bottle Open Pit barbeque sauce
1 onion, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, brown ground beef and diced onions.  Cook until beef is cooked through and onions are tender, removing excess grease as you go.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add bottle of Open Pit BBQ sauce and stir to combine.  Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes (or longer) on the stovetop so that the flavors can combine.  Serve on hamburger buns.

A Note From The Little Lady: You could easily prepare this and then place it in a crockpot for easy serving during a party.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Magnum Ice Cream Bars

Magnum Ice Cream Bars

As a Foodbuzz Tastemaker, I've had the priviledge of trying out Magnum Ice Cream Bars.  I chose the Magnum Double Caramel, which is "silky vanilla bean ice cream enrobed in a luscious chocolately coating, rich caramel sauce and thick Belgian milk chocolate."

A little disappointing that there's only 3 in a box.  Makes for a semi-expensive treat.  They are, however, bigger than I expected:

Here it is out of its wrapper:

And after the first bite, the review is that it's terrific!  The caramel makes it for sure:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Lake of Dreams

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

There is a lot going on in this book. The whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking to myself, "I think I would pick up a lot of extra details if I opted to read this book a second, or even third, time." The story line seemed a little forced at times, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Publisher's Weekly review on

Bestseller Edwards's much anticipated second novel may disappoint fans of her first, The Memory Keeper's Daughter. When Lucy Jarrett returns to her childhood home in Lake of Dreams, N.Y., she learns that her brother, Blake, who's gone into the family business, and his girlfriend hope to drain a controversial marsh to construct a high-end property. Meanwhile, Lucy, who remains haunted by her father's death in a fishing accident years earlier, reconnects with her first boyfriend, Keegan Fall, now a successful glass artist. But when she sees something familiar in the pattern of one of his pieces, and discovers a hidden note in her childhood home, Lucy finally digs into her family's mysterious past. Unfortunately, the lazy expository handling of information mutes the intrigue, and readers will see the reignited spark between Keegan and Lucy coming for miles. All loose ends eventually come together with formulaic ease to rock the family boat. Edwards is at her best when highlighting the strain between her characters. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka

Serves 4.

Here's a recipe for Tandoori-style grilled chicken. If you like the flavor of buffalo chicken, you'll love this!
Slightly adapted from: The Grilling Bible cookbook

4 chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. Frank's RedHot Original cayenne pepper sauce
1-1/2 t. ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 t. paprika
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground coriander

Place chicken in a resealable plastic food storage bag or a large glass bowl with a lid. Combine yogurt, hot sauce, ginger, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and coriander in a small bowl; mix well. Pour over chicken breasts, turning pieces to cook evenly. Seal bags or cover bowl and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour or overnight.

Place chicken on an oiled grill. Grill over medium until chicken is no longer pink, about 12-15 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Serve warm.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

Serves 8.

Before she went to her eternal home, my wonderful and beautiful grandmother, Mimo, gave me some of her cookbooks. All of them I treasure because of who they came from, but a few of them I treasure even more because of their age and appearance. I found this recipe in a compilation cookbook published in 1948 in the same area my great-great-grandfather, Mimo's dad, built the summer cottage at Atwood Lake we continue to use and cherish today.
Slightly adapted from: Out of Tuscarawas County Kitchens cookbook
Crust recipe: Mimo

1-1/2 sticks butter
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. sugar

1 qt. fresh strawberries (I used 1-1/2 quarts)
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 T. butter

1 c. whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make pie crust by melting butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in flour until well combined. Press into a pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Cut 1/2 of strawberries in 1/2" pieces. Cut the remainer in half only. In a medium saucepan, cook diced strawberries with sugar, cornstarch, and butter over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add remaining halved strawberries to saucepan and stir to combine.

Pour strawberry mixture into baked pie crust. Chill for at least 6 hours, or until set. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream upon serving.

A Note From The Little Lady: The pie crust is Mimo's recipe and, in my opinion, really makes this pie. It's not hard and you'll get rave reviews, so don't skimp and use a store-bought crust!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I finally gave in to the trend of reading The Hunger Games trilogy and, as expected, was hooked about 1/3 of the way in. I'm patiently awaiting book #2 from the library wait-list, so I'm not as addicted as some readers, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next books. This is a young adult book, so it's a quick read. I've heard a movie is in the works. I'm curious how that's going to work, due to the graphic nature of the book, but we'll see...

School Library Journal review from

Grade 7 Up -In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins's characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'American Gladiator.' Book one of a planned trilogy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cheesy Enchilada Stack

Cheesy Enchilada Stack

Serves 3.

Oops - horrble phone picture. Good news is that it tastes good!
Slightly adapted from:

3 flour tortillas
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 can enchilada sauce
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook ground beef and onion in a skillet over medium high heat until beef is evenly browned and onion is tender. Remove from heat and stir in enchilada sauce.

Spray a pie plate or round cake pan with non-stick spray and place 1 tortilla in the bottom. Spread with 1/2 can of refried beans. Top with 1/2 of the ground beef mixture, 1/2 of the diced green chiles and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar. Repeat with another tortilla, beans, beef, green chiles, and cheese. Top with final tortilla and sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired.

Cover with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

A Note From The Little Lady: If you prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate, increase cooking time to 40-50 minutes. If you prepare ahead of time and freeze, thaw in refrigerator overnight and increase cooking time to 60 minutes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen.

Yum! Densely chocolately, soft, and scrumptious. Be sure not to overbake!

Source: Best-Loved Cookies cookbook

2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. cocoa

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1 c. butter or margarine, softened (2 sticks)

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. packed light brown sugar (I used dark brown and it worked equally well)

1 t. vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.

Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-9 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Blue Bistro

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

Planning a vacation? Go get this book and pack it in your bags right now. It's the perfect beach read. The setting is Nantucket Island, the main character works in a bustling, "to-be-seen" restaurant, and all the restaurant's guests are wealthy vacationers living the high life. It's got more depth than some stereotypical beach reads, but still light enough to keep you carefree on your vacation. My only disappointment? I wish the ending could've been a little brighter.

Publishers Weekly review from

The pricey, popular bistro of the title is the real star of Hilderbrand's fourth novel set on Nantucket. After years of hotel employ, peripatetic Adrienne Dealey, 28, lands her first restaurant job within hours of disembarking on the bucolic Massachusetts island. She's got a lot of learning to do as assistant to co-owner Thatcher Smith. Adrienne's soon attracted to the handsome Thatcher, and he seems to return her feelings. But just what is his relationship with his partner, the famous, utterly reclusive chef Fiona "Fee" Kemp? And why will no one talk about her? Hilderbrand specializes in beach reading (Summer People; The Beach Club); the plot doesn't go too far beyond standard romance and the characters don't reach beyond the conventional (though Adrienne does drink a bit more than the average heroine). But the complexities of running a bustling, ambitious restaurant in a summer hotspot are absorbing, and as Adrienne develops survival techniques with the customers and staff, readers follow her progress with genuine interest. Though the romance is a bit tepid and a subplot involving Adrienne's father's new girlfriend doesn't add much excitement, this is still a perfectly enjoyable beach book.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Easy Subs to Freeze

I keep these subs in the freezer for an ultra-quick dinner, spontaneous picnic, or, most often, weekend lunches for The Mister.

Italian Sub

6 hoagie buns
1/2 lb. Pastrami deli meat
1/2 lb. smoked ham deli meat
1/4 lb. Genoa salami deli meat
1/4 lb. sliced Provolone cheese (12 slices)
Creamy Italian salad dressing
banana pepper rings

Split hoagie buns and assemble sandwiches, distributing meats and cheese evenly among the buns. Add creamy Italian dressing and banana pepper rings, and top with other half of bun. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; freeze. When ready to enjoy, simply thaw in refrigerator overnight, or defrost in microwave for immediate consumption.

Buffalo Chicken Sub

6 hoagie buns
1 lb. Buffalo chicken deli meat
1/4 lb. sliced Provolone cheese (12 slices)
Buffalo sauce/marinade

Split hoagie buns and assemble sandwiches, distributing meat and cheese evenly among the buns. Add some Buffalo sauce and top with other half of bun. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; freeze. When ready to enjoy, simply thaw in refrigerator overnight, or defrost in microwave for immediate consumption.