January Is Already Over!

I can’t believe it! While I may have fallen down on recent challenges, I came much closer to success this month!

From the January Cooking Light:

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti (pg 114).  Pretty tasty! And didn’t take that long to make. Now, I used a jar of spaghetti sauce instead of making my own and I probably used way too much butter, but it was tasty!

Pork Tenderloin Paprikash (pg 64): Also pretty tasty! But alas (story of my life) the leftovers were not that hot. Over time the apple cider, thyme and paprika combined to something pretty weird tasting. Wound up throwing several servings away.

Chickpea and Sausage Minestrone (actually from the December cooking light, here’s a link: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chickpea-sausage-minestrone-50400000131750/): A keeper! This was easy to make and was tasty to reheating all week long. Great winter recipe that’s warm and filling, but not heavy (great for the first week back after Christmas 🙂 )

I only got 3 out of 4! But it’s a step in the right direction. Can’t wait to see what’s cooking next month!


~Morena Uno

Page 114: Savory Pan-Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce


Whoa. This was amazing. Delicious. Best fried chicken I’ve ever had. And I made it! At home! The magazine says it tastes like chicken from a bucket, but I think it’s even better. Just writing this post makes me want to abandon the ground beef thawing on the counter and fry up some chicken. 


4 chicken breasts (the magazine said 8 boneless thighs, but I didn’t have any)

2 large eggs (one didn’t cut it)

1/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

canola oil

hot sauce



Butterfly your chicken breasts and pound flat. Trust me, it’s worth the mess. 

Beat eggs in a shallow dish.

Mix flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black and red peppers. 

Heat oil in a pan over no hotter than medium. Dip chicken breasts in egg, then dredge in flour mix, then dip in egg again, and dredge in flour mix again. Cooking Light says to do it once. Probably doing it twice makes it less light, but it’s too good not to. Place chicken in oil. Once it’s golden brown, flip. Preheat broiler. When the chicken was good and fried, I realized that it wasn’t quite hot enough (I love my new meat thermometer! Thanks, Mama Morena!), so I popped it under the broiler until it was done.

I sprinkled mine with Tabasco. My husband ate his plain. We both thought it was better than eating out. Darn you, Cooking Light, you keep giving my husband reasons to say, “why don’t you just cook? Your food is better than a restaurant!”

Page 24: Seared Steaks with red wine, mushrooms, and onions


Well this one was very tasty. And I followed the recipe. Almost. I used Hormel teriyaki beef filets instead of New York strip steaks. They were eleven dollars a pound and I couldn’t bring myself to buy them. It was still tasty, but next time I would use a cut of beef that hadn’t been marinated to be part of a stir-fry.


2 New York Strip Steaks (or really whatever–if teriyaki filets were good, you’d probably be safe with anything)

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp pepper

4 tsp canola oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 pkg mushrooms

2 tsp flour

3/4 cup red wine (I used the sour bottom of a box…and it was still good)

1 tbsp butter



Season steaks with salt and pepper and massage with a little oil (or butter if you’re not actually cooking light)

Grill or fry until they’re as done as you like

Cook mushrooms and onions in oil. Sprinkle with flour, Add wine. Bring to a boil. Add butter, salt, and pepper.


Really it should be topped with a blue cheese compound butter, but that might undo the light part of Cooking Light.

Page 90: Quinoa with Strawberries and Buttermilk (or Blueberries and Soy Eggnog)

So this was one of those recipes where I realized I didn’t have any of the ingredients when I started making it, but it turned out okay. I wouldn’t make it again, but maybe if I had used strawberries and buttermilk I would have loved it. I don’t think so. The real problem was the quinoa was flavorless, even with the addition of all the goodies. However, it did not give me killer heartburn like oatmeal does, so maybe I’ll have quinoa for breakfast again.

Here’s my crazy version:

Top one cup of cooked red quinoa with 1/3 cup of blueberries, 1/2 cup of Silk Eggnog (which is amazing and only 90 calories…I didn’t even miss real eggnog!), and a quick squeeze of honey. I ate it cold, but you could zap it in the microwave. Not delicious, but it’ll do for breakfast.


January Challenge! Cooking Light!

We totally failed at December. I don’t even remember what the challenge was. Instead we all got together and played Chopped. That was more fun, anyways (as well as being a great excuse to play with a deep fryer).

January dawned and found us all a couple pounds heavier thanks to the deep fryer and deep glasses of malbec. Mama Morena solved the problem with subscriptions to Cooking Light magazine and a challenge to make and review four recipes in January. I didn’t lose 22 pounds like the editor did, but I did lose the 3 I gained over Christmas!


November Challenge

I thought I was late, but since I’m the first to post November’s challenge, I guess I’m early!

Podcast: The Satellite Sisters

I listened to their October 29, 2013 podcast “Lian and Liz tackle Dogs, Bitcoin, and How to Help us Win the Podcast Awards”. I had never even heard of this podcast before. They say in the podcast that they are a ‘general’ podcast but could have been considered comedy. If I had known that I probably wouldn’t have chosen it. It was fine. It’s kind of like The View or something for radio. They rabbled on giving their view of lots of different things, but nothing much of substance.

Podcast: Common Man Cocktails

I listened to several of these podcasts. The podcast is very loud, and they were probably a bit unnecessarily crude, but there were several cocktails I want to try. I’m especially anxious to have ‘Jen’s Hot Chocolate Butterscotch, Thanksgiving Cocktail’ with my daughters at Harriman!

Podcast : Christmas Old Time Radio


I love this one. It is reruns of (very) old time radio shows with Christmas themes.  The quality is very cleaned up easy to listen to. It is a fun podcast to clean to.


Caramel Apple Donuts

These donuts were delicious! I swapped the whole milk for coconut milk to make them dairy-free.



Warning: They are so good that you might eat too many have to have a dessert-free week to recover from your gluttony. Like I did.

–Morenita A

Pumpkin Waffles


I made this recipe and topped them with butter and real maple syrup. Delicious! My pumpkin-hater husband loved them!


-Morenita A

October in Idaho

apple tree apples

I have so many apples that I’ve been cooking apples all month, including:

Apple Butter (the yummiest and easiest apple butter recipe ever)

Apple Pie (I just know how to make this — no recipe needed.)

Apple Crisp — also amazingly good.

Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin

We also had Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin from the Food Network. It was a ton of work, but worth every minute.

Beer Cheese Soup and Grilled Bratwurst

And finally, we had an Octoberfest dinner of grilled Bratwurst, Beer Cheese Soup garnished with popcorn, and Samuel Adams Oktoberfest Beer. Yum!

~Nana Morena



Pumpkin soup for one of my entrees! This was pretty tasty… 2 or 3 times. Unfortunately it made a huge pot of soup. By rounds 4 and 5 it was tasting a lot less wonderful. Also, it was very fast to make. One danger: the pumpkin mix boils like a volcano. Had to use the lid pot to shield my face for a bit there. But it was worth it!

For my final contribution of October: a not so creative dinner of brats, baked corn yumminess (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/scalloped-corn/, I only put in a couple of the required tablespoons of butter and it still was the most tasty, least healthy way I’ve  had corn recently), and Lucky Bucket Oktoberfest Lager Bier. It was delicious! Maybe creativity is overrated 🙂



~ Morena Uno