Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad

I have been on hiatus.
The girls moved away temporarily and I found it difficult to cook for two.
They have since returned home and I have trying to get back into the swing of things.
Tonight, I opened up my massive Pinterest board and selected this tasty dish.
I found myself remembering how much I LOVE to cook for my family!

Tonight, WE ATE THIS…grilled chicken barly corn salad

Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad


4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup medium barley, rice or quinoa
2 cups fresh or frozen-then-thawed sweet corn kernels
1-1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup minced green onion
1 avocado, chopped
salt & pepper

For the Tomato Vinaigrette:

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon red onion
salt & pepper


Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor or blender, then process until smooth. Place 6 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette into a plastic bag and set the remaining aside. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt & pepper, then add it to the bag with the vinaigrette and marinate in the refrigerator while you make the Barley Corn Salad.

Cook barley, rice or quinoa with a pinch of salt according to package directions. Place into a large bowl to cool slightly.

Stir corn, cherry tomatoes, and green onion into the cooled barley. Add enough of the reserved tomato vinaigrette to coat and stir well. Gently fold in avocado then season with salt & pepper to taste. Place into the refrigerator.

Heat a grill to high and grill chicken for 4-5 minutes a side, or until cooked through. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes off the grill, then divide salads onto plates and top with grilled chicken.

[Adapted from THIS recipe]

Dairy Conversions | Substitutions

I found this on a board, so I don't know exactly who to credit... but thank you Karl on the Chowhound discussion!

Add the following to 1 cup of skim milk to approximate 1 cup of

1.5t heavy cream= 1% milk
1T heavy cream= 2% milk
2T heavy cream= whole milk
5T 1t heavy cream= half-&-half
9T heavy cream= light cream
1T light cream= 1% milk
1T 2t light cream= 2% milk
3T light cream= whole milk
5 oz light cream= half-&-half
2T half & half= 1% milk
3T half & half= 2% milk
4T half & half= whole milk

Chicken and Potato Chowder

From the looks of the date from my last post….
I have been gone for a while!!
There is an explanation for this!
My husband and I were temporarily empty nesters
and found it difficult to balance our eating schedules
when we had no children to be responsible for.
Recently, one of our daughters returned home
to finish here education at a local university
so I am {happily} back in the kitchen.
We kicked off soup season last night with this
delicious recipe found HERE.
Chicken and Potato Chowder
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk, or more, as needed
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in chicken and cheese, a handful at a time, until smooth, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I find myself waking up and craving hot, fresh cinnamon rolls but often lack the desire to spend the time it takes. My problem was solved when I came across a recipe for cinnamon roll muffins. With a little tweaking, I was able to make them more like the cinnamon rolls I often crave. Here is the result.

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

By request:
A tradition in our family! Enjoyed at Christmas or when feeding a crowd.

6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3-1/2 cups cubed potatoes
1-1/3 cups shredded cheese
bacon - cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 green onions, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Stir in the hash browns, 1 cup cheese, and about 1/2 of the bacon. Add seasonings. Pour into a 8" square baking dish coated with Pam.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 min or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon. Bake 3-5 min longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with green onions. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

* I usually double this and bake it in a 9x13 pan.

Beef, Black Bean & Barley Soup

It snowed today. First snow of the season.
This means it is soup season!

beef barly (3)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Beef Cubes (for Stew) or left over Roast
1 whole Large Onion, Medium Diced
2 cloves Minced Garlic
2 whole Carrots, Smaller Ends Cut Into Rounds, Larger Ends Diced
2 whole Potatoes, Large Dice
1-½ teaspoon Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon Sea Salt (or To Taste)
Ground Black Pepper To Taste
6 cups Beef Stock
2 cups Water Or As Needed
½ cups Pearl Barley
½ teaspoons Thyme
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Diced Tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.

Brown the beef cubes* for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking.
(*If using leftover roast, sauté the onions and garlic first… then add the beef)

Add everything** except the tomatoes and beans to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth.

(**if using quick barley… reduce the simmer time to 1 hour)

Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and rinsed beans and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.

adapted from THIS recipe

Homemade 5 Minute Mac N Cheese

Picky Palate is one of my favorite GO-TO sites for finding great recipes.
This one quickly became a family favorite… replacing even the irreplaceable Kraft Mac N Cheese!
I’m thinking it would be easy to bundle up the cooked pasta, premeasured  milk and cheese then mix and make fresh at the office for lunch.


1/2 pound cooked pasta of choice
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place pasta, cheese, milk, salt and pepper into a microwave safe bowl. Stir to mix. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Stir until creamy and smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings


I found this recipe and photo HERE

Baked Chicken Flautas

(Adapted from THIS recipe)

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (juice from half a lime)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Mexican flavored cheese
flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Once combined, stir in the cilantro and add the chicken and cheese; mix thoroughly.

(This can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.)

Working with a few tortillas at a time, heat them in the microwave between two paper towels until they are soft enough to roll (about 20 – 30 seconds). *** I used fresh tortilla dough and cooked them up fresh on my griddle… they rolled up perfectly!!

Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto the lower third of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla as tightly as you can.

Place the rolled tortilla seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas until the mixture is gone. Make sure the flautas are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until crisp and golden.

**To freeze: Before baking, freeze the flautas in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, then place in a labeled freezer bag and store up to 3 months. To bake a frozen flautas (no need to thaw first): Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Margarita Pizza

pizza crust dough
pizza sauce
medium ball of  fresh mozzarella cheese
2-3 roma tomatoes
fresh basil
salt and fresh ground pepper

Prepare you favorite pizza dough recipe. When is is ready, roll it out to your desired size and thickness. (I think this pizza is best with thin crust)

Slice the tomatoes and cheese into 1/8 inch slices. Chop the fresh basil.

Poke your prepared dough with a fork several times (to prevent bubbles) and pre-bake in a 375° for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with pizza sauce, tomatoes and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven, top with fresh basil, and ENJOY!

Greek Yogurt + Crystal Light

I have not tried this yet, but I am intrigued. The idea comes from HERE.

Adding Crystal Light drink powder to plain Greek Yogurt.  Brilliant!  Not only is the plain version more than twice the protein (23 grams per serving), adding the powder gives you so many flavor options while adding very few calories.

It takes time, but it is hands down, the best pie I've ever eaten.

Black Bottom Rum Pie
Clint's Family Recipie

Prep time is about an Hour.

3/4 Cup Sugar (or Splenda)
2T Cornstartch
1 Envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatin
2 1/2 Cups Milk (Skim)
3 Large Eggs
2 1oz Squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
2T Imitation Rum, (1 whole 1oz bottle)
1T Vanilla
1 Pint Whipping Cream
1 Regular Chocolate Bar (for Grating on Top)

Make your own Crust, or I use a store bought Chocolate Graham. Lightly brush it with melted butter to hold together better.

Equipment list:
Electric hand mixer
Pyrex measuring cup
Double boiler- 2 pots
Small fry pan
Hand grater
Wire whisk
Rubber scraper
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Large glass bowl
2 Small glass bowls
Butter brush
1 roll paper towels

While water is boiling on bottom,
MIX- Sugar, Cornstarch and Gelatin in a small bowl FIRST. Then pour into top of double boiler. Gradually stir in cold milk. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming.

Meanwhile, seperate eggs, saving the whites for beating later. Lightly beat the yolks. Spoon (into the yolks) some of the steaming mixture. This is so you don't cook the eggs. When the yolk mixture is heated up, then you can pour it all into the top pot. Cook this mixture 3-5 minuites untill smooth, then pour out 1 1/2 cups into a Pyrex measuring cup. Remove the rest from heat.

MELT- Semi-sweet Chocolate over the boiling water, then stir it into the 1 1/2 cups of mixture.Add Vanilla.
Now pour into the crust. This needs to cool for about 1/2 hour in fridge.
When the remaining mixture cools, add in the rum.

BEAT- egg whites, adding sugar gradually until soft peaks form. FOLD into rum mixture. AFTER chocolate layer cools, pour on top, then chill until firm.

WHIP- Cream by adding sugar gradually untill soft peaks form. Add to top of cooled pie.

GRATE- Real Chocolate Bar in top. Pretty.

Mom’s Orange Rolls

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 Cup water
1 Cup milk, scalded
1/2 Cup shortening
1/3 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs - well beaten
1/4 Cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons orange peel – grated
5 Cup flour
Soften yeast in warm water. Combine scalded milk, shortening, sugar, salt. cool to lukewarm. Add to  softened yeast mixture. Add eggs, orange juice and orange peel. beat well. Gradually stir in flour to form soft dough. Cover. Let stand 10 minutes. Knead dough 5-10 minutes on lightly floured surface. When dough is satin smooth and pliable, place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until double (about 2 hours). Punch down, let stand for about 15 minutes. Roll dough in rectangle 10x16 and 1/2 thick. Cut into strips and tie into knot. Arrange on greased baking sheet. Cover and rise until doubled. Bake 400°, 12 min.  Cool for 10-15 minutes the cover with Icing.
Icing: 2 Tablespoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon grated orange peel, 1 cup powdered sugar.

Japanese Chicken Salad

Another request.
2 Cups Cooked chicken
3 Tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2  head cabbage – chopped (or a bag of pre-cut coleslaw)
2 green onions—diced
1 package chicken raman noodles

1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon pepper
1 package raman seasoning (from the noodle pkg)
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons vinegar
Mix together first series of ingredients. Mix together 2nd series of ingredients for dressing. Stir together.

Old Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce

I have been looking for “the one” and I think I found it.
I tried this for the first time with one of our MANY Thanksgiving desserts.
It was the perfect topping for the Peppermint Ice Cream pie.

6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT sweetened hot chocolate mix)
1/3 cup boiling water
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoons. vanilla
Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil over high heat. Put the cocoa powder in a small pot.
When your water is boiling, measure it out. Pour about half of the boiling water into the pot with the cocoa. Stir until it forms a thick paste.
Add the rest of the water and the butter. Stir well. It will kind of look like a lumpy disaster at this point. That’s just fine. Keep going, it will smooth out as it heats up.
Set on the stove over medium heat. Add the sugar and corn syrup. Stir to incorporate.
This is important, so don’t skip this step…. As the mixture comes up to a simmer, brush down the insides of the pot with water to dissolve any rogue sugar crystals. (If you remember your high school science, one crystal will breed more, which will eventually turn your fudge sauce into solid candy.) Use a pastry brush dipped in a little cold water.
When the mixture comes up to a simmer, set a kitchen timer for 8 minutes. Simmer the sauce without stirring for the whole 8  minutes. Remove from the stove and add the vanilla. Serve hot (of course!)
Yields about 1 1/2 cups hot fudge
I found the recipe and wonderful photo instructions HERE.

Dijon Mustard

For the times you need just a bit (for a recipe and such)
and find that an investment in a full bottle
is a waste of money!!

1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar -- (or 1/2 white wine, 1/2 white vinegar
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch sugar

Mix all ingredients.

Yield: 2 tablespoons