Monday, October 18, 2021

Chicken Broccoli Divan

September 21, 2021

This is one of those easy weeknight meals, that you can get in the oven real quick.  It is filling, delicious, pretty sure your whole family will enjoy it, and when paired with a salad, it makes the perfect dinner.

Many people have made this dish, for many many years, and I think there are so many variations out there, but this specific recipe comes from Spend with Pennies.  There really is nothing to this dish, no extravagant ingredients, and everything is found in our pantry.

September 21, 2021
Chicken Broccoli Divan
 Source:  Spend with Pennies
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 cups cooked chicken cubed
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • ½ cup milk
  • cup sour cream
  • 10 ½ ounces can condensed Cream of Mushroom or chicken soup
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder onion powder, dry mustard and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon seasoning salt


  • 3 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place broccoli in a large pot boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes or just until tender crisp.  Drain well.
  • In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup cheddar cheese, milk, condensed soup, sour cream and seasonings.
  • Stir in broccoli and chicken and spread into a 3qt casserole dish (or a 9x13 pan).  Top with remaining cheese.
  • In a small bowl, mix the butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the chicken mixture.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the mixture is bubbly and hot.
  • Serve over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes, as desired.

September 21, 2021


Italian Beef and Sausage Pie


Meat, cheese, in the form of a pie.  That is basically my definition of a perfect meal.  I'm an easy to please gal, meat and potatoes, cheesy, bacon, whatever, and if it is shaped like a pie even better.
I came upon this recipe one night, while browsing different food blogs.  I immediately thought, that has to go on the menu, and very soon.  
It did not disappoint.  I made it a few days after bookmarking the recipe, and oh my goodness, was it delicious.  It was really easy to throw together, it was filling, and we got to enjoy some leftovers too. 


Italian Beef and Sausage Pie
Source:  A Family Feast 
Vegetable shortening or butter to grease a 9-10 inch spring form pan (pan should be at least 2 ½ inches deep)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef
½ pound Italian sweet sausage removed from casing
1 large sweet onion, diced into large half inch pieces, about 2 ½ cups
1 large green Bell pepper, diced into large half inch pieces, about 2 cups
1 teaspoon dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large eggs
1 cup Greek full fat yogurt
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ pound provolone cheese sliced
1 large bunch scallions diced, about one cup
1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with rack in center of oven.

Open a 9-10 inch springform pan and lay a piece of parchment over then snap the ring over so that the parchment covers the bottom and gets held in place by the ring. Use scissors to cut the outside parchment overhang. You should now have a round piece of parchment tightly held in place at the bottom of the springform pan.

Use vegetable shortening or butter and grease the bottom parchment and inside ring sides. Set the pan aside for now.

In a large saute pan, place two tablespoons of olive oil and over medium high heat and brown the beef and sausage meat. Pour into a strainer but save the liquid. Pour the liquid into a glass and remove and discard the fat that floats to the top with a spoon but save the liquid for later in the recipe.

In the same pan over medium heat, add the last tablespoon of olive oil and add the onions, peppers, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and pepper flakes and cook for about four minutes or until the vegetables are no longer crunchy but are still firm.

Add the garlic and cook one minute.

Make a space in the center and add the tomato paste and cook one minute.

Stir in two tablespoons of the reserved meat liquid and add all of the cooked meat and stir to combine. Set aside for now.

In a medium bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs then add the yogurt, salt, baking powder and flour and whisk to combine. The batter should resemble pancake batter.

Pour half of this batter into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and spread to the edges.

Add in half of the cooked beef mixture, again, spreading to the edges.

Sprinkle on all of the Parmesan then layer on all of the provolone cheese, overlapping the slices.

Add the remaining meat on top of the provolone and spread to the edges.

Add the scallions and mozzarella to the remaining batter and spread this mixture all over the top, spreading to the edges.

Cover a medium sheet tray with foil and place the pie in the center and bake 45 minutes. Spring form pans are notorious for leaking so the foil lined pan will save your oven from drips.

After 45 minutes, brown under broiler if the top needs it. I broiled ours for two minutes to brown the top further than it was.

Let sit 10 minutes in the pan.  If you press lightly on the center, it should feel firm like a quiche would feel when baked. If not, let sit five more minutes.

Run a small sharp knife around the inside edges to loosen.

Release the spring form outer ring then cut into eight pieces using a sharp serrated knife to cut through the top layer then down through the pie.

Serve hot.


Nectarine Brown Sugar Jam


We've reached the time of year that I absolutely love.  I go into turbo mode gathering all the garden has given us, and try to can or freeze as much as possible, to make use of everything, but also to have extra in our pantry and root cellar, for the winter months.
I had recently bought a bunch of nectarines, but for some reason, my family wasn't eating them and they were starting to go bad.  I wasn't about to lose all that gorgeous fruit, so I turned it into a delicious Nectarine and Brown Sugar Jam, that is so perfect for this time of year.
Can't even tell you how delicious it is spread on toast or a warm biscuit.   


Nectarine Brown Sugar Jam

4 pounds nectarines as purchased (about 8 very large nectarines, to yield 3 1/2 pounds prepared fruit)
1 1/2 cups lightly packed light brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar 
4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground dry ginger 
Wash and stem nectarines, but don't peel. Remove the nectarine pit and rough chop the nectarine fruit. You should have 3 1/2 pounds of prepared nectarines after the fruit has been taken off the pit. 
Add the nectarines, brown sugar and granulated sugar to a large, wide, non-reactive pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often so the nectarines don't scorch. Cook the nectarines until they are soft and surrounded by a juicy sugar syrup, about 10 minutes. If you prefer a smoother textured jam, break up any large pieces of fruit with a potato masher, whisk, or fork at this point. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger to your jam. 
Continue to cook, stirring often, until the jam reaches the gel point. Turn heat under the jam to low, then quickly ladle the jam into clean, hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, adjust head-space and wipe jar rims carefully. Lid your jars according to manufacturer's directions, then transfer your jars to your canner. 
Process jam ten minutes at a full boil. While jars are processing, set a kitchen towel on the counter in a draft free place. After jars have processed, turn off the heat under your canner and allow the jars to sit in the canner for 5 minutes. 
Remove the jars and set on the kitchen towel. Jars should begin sealing almost immediately - you'll hear a sharp ping! as they seal. 
Leave jars alone for 8 to 12 hours to fully cool and set their seals, then check seals. Transfer any jar that hasn't sealed to the refrigerator and use it within 3 weeks. 
Store remaining jars at cool room temperature away from direct light. Jam is best used within a year. 

Immune Booster Grapefruit and Lemon Drink


For many years, I have made a Winter Tea mix for my fridge.  It's just honey, lemon slices and ginger slices, all layered in a mason jar, and kept in the fridge.  You add about a tablespoon or two to tea, and it helps a lot with colds and flus.
This is another variation, but not to be used in tea, although you probably could put a spoon into yours, but it's meant to be taken as is.  
It is another amazing immune boosting drink that will get you through the winter season, and all the sniffles and colds.
Super easy to make.  Just dump everything in a slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. 


Sliced grapefruit and lemon, as well as cinnamon sticks and ginger, plus the added benefit of tonic water with quinine.
What you get is a powerful immune booster that knocks all the crud out super quick.

IMG_1709 IMG_1712 IMG_1713

I keep a big mason jar in the fridge, it lasts about a month, and when one of us has the sniffles or starts feeling like we're getting a cold, we take a tablespoon.  Repeat it a couple times during the day, and within a day or two, the sickies are gone.
Now, this makes enough of a batch, that I keep one mason jar in the fridge and another in the freezer for when needed.  

What exactly is needed to make this super immune booster?

3 grapefruits
3 lemons
2 cinnamon sticks
1 ginger root
2 bottles of tonic water, with quinine

Slice the grapefruits and lemons into quarters, remove the inside and keep just the skins.  I usually take the inside of the fruit, chop it and freeze it to use in my water.

Chop all the skins into chunks and place in a slow cooker.

Add in two cinnamon sticks.  Wash and slice the ginger root, and add to the same pot.  Next, pour in two bottles of tonic water.


Place the lid on, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.  Do NOT remove the lid at any time to prevent the tonic water quinine from escaping through the steam.
Once it is done cooking, turn off the slow cooker, and allow to cool completely.  Again, DO NOT OPEN.
Once completely cool, discard the skins, cinnamon and ginger, and pour the liquid into a clean mason jar.  I like to add honey and mix it well, before pouring into the jar, just because it is quite bitter and the honey not only helps to sweeten it slightly but is also another great ingredient to fight off colds and flus.

Bolo Bem Casado - Well Married Cake

Bolo Bem Casado

Think of a divine cake, vanilla, spongy, soft, with this dulce de leche filling.  I think it may be one of the easiest cakes to make, but one of the most delicious you'll ever eat.

The name is quite funny, if you translate it word for word from Portuguese to English, it will mean Well Married Cake.  Yep!!!

Which I can understand because the cake layer together with the caramel flavor of the dulce de leche, makes the perfect combination.

Bolo Bem Casado

I have been trying to make more easy, different desserts, for our weekends.  For that purpose, I've been tapping into my Portuguese and Brazilian roots, and bringing to life favorite recipes from long ago.  

The kind that were passed down from generation to generation, or even the one dessert that you remember eating as a child.  

I have many that my great grandmother used to make for us, and I wish more than anything that she was still around to help me in the kitchen, and to continue sharing with me her experience, trust and tried recipes and so on.

I may not have her, but I do have many of her recipes.  Can't wait to bring them here to the blog and share them with you all.

Bolo Bem Casado

Bolo Bem Casado 

For the cake:
4 eggs
1 and a half cups of sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and a half cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup of water

For the Dulce de Leche:
I cooked a can of condensed milk (please look online on how to do it, I used my instant pot for mine)
For the drizzle:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the eggs with the sugar until soft and pale yellow.  Add in the oil, vanilla and beat well for another minute.  Next, add in the flour, baking powder and water, and combine until well incorporated.

Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.    Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center, comes out dry.

Remove from oven and set aside until completely cooled.  Then remove from pan, and slice in half to create two layers.

Place one of the layers back in pan, then spread the cooked condensed milk (dulce de leche) over it.  Top with the remaining layer.

In a small saucepan, add the water, sugar and vanilla extract.  Mix well and then bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.   Drizzle onto the cake, making sure to cover it well, then pour any remaining syrup into the sides of the pan so the cake absorbs it.

Sprinkle on powdered sugar.  Enjoy!!!