Monday, December 21, 2009

last minute dinner reservations?

So, the other night I was a little low on grocery supplies. I peared into the empty refrigerator and found zuchini, garlic, and chives. In the pantry I found the all time staple of rice pilaf. What to do what to do? Then, it hit me. HOMEMADE CHINESE! So I quickly toasted the pilaf with extra butter and lemon juice like I've seen so many times with Asian Cuisine. Then I continued to cook the rice to the box's instructions. Then I pressed the garlic, diced the chives, and sliced the zuchini. I sauteed the veggies all together with lemon, water, and soy sauce dribbled about until the zuchs were nicely browned. Then I mixed it all about, heated it together, and topped each rice bowl off with two sweetly stolen fortune cookies from a previous actual asian cuisine encounter. Simple, off the cuff and quite successfully pulled off if I do say so myself. Enjoy this simple save and impress the fam for about 5 buckaroos!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It Warms The Soul.....

Oh where do I begin. This has become such a staple in my home during those "winter days" we have here in Florida. It is just so yummy and savory - not to mention filling. It is perfect topped with sharp cheddar, cilantro, tortilla chips, and a little sour cream if one prefers. Enjoy this recipe and enjoy the chilly breezes coming through the windows soon!

Grocery.............. $15.00
Skill Rating........ medium, lots of stovetop involved!
Serving Size...... 2-4 people for days and days
Prepare Time... 1-2 hours (allow s
oup to heat though)

(I usually double this recipe, you will need a LARGE pot)
  • 5-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 28 oz. Tomato Puree - very important, not minced or diced
  • 40 oz. College Inn Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 lb. of frozen corn (guesstimate half a bag)
  • 1 can regular black beans
  • 1 generous bunch of cilantro (use 3 when I doubling the recipe)
  • Minced Garlic (or fresh, just takes longer)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Sugar
  • Optional Toppings:
  • Shredded Cheddar (don't leave this out, please)
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Sour Cream

1. Cube chicken breasts and cook in olive oil coated pan.
2. Season with salt and pepper, garlic salt, and 4-5 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic.
3. Trim cilantro well, do not leave any stems. Mince.
4. In very, very large pot empty contents of tomato puree, broth, beans, and corn.
5. Add cooked chicken to pot and put on high on stove.
6. Taste. Add salt & pepper if desired. I usually add a teaspoon or two of sugar here.
7. Allow soup to come to boil.
8. Once soup comes to a rolling boil, add trimmed/minced cilantro. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP!

*Best enjoyed while watching Elf, White Christmas, or
Christmas Story surrounded by family, friends,
open windows,
and a fireplace lit to a dull roar.*

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Warm, Frosty, Sweet, Doughy.... Need I say more?

I visited IKEA this weekend and had (yet again) another incredible cinnamon roll. Since this occasion, I have decided that when I have a free day, I will make HOMEMADE gargantuan cinnamon rolls to blow the Swedes out of the water. Granted, IKEA's are fantastic, I am determined to master the art of said delicacy. Hence, the blog. Upon surfing the web to extinguish this need, I stumbled upon this recipe through a cute and tidy little blog entitled Inside A Black Apple and have included the link from which this sinful desert was nabbed. Enjoy! Oh and for those health nuts out there, sorry for the temptation!

Grocery.............. $8.00 (other ingredients common)
Skill Rating........ a sinch, kiddos can do it!
Serving Size...... 2 people for 2 days (unless you are insane)
Prepare Time... less than 1 hour

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C warmed milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • hearty amounts of cinnamon (adjust to your tastes)
Icing Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1. Set out butter to come to room temp!
2. Gather ingredients.
3. Fling all of your dough ingredients into a bowl, mixing thoroughly.
4. When you can pat it into a ball, put it back into the floured mixing bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.
5. If you're going to bake them immediately, pre-heat the oven to 400.
6. After it has rested, come back to your dough and roll it out into a rectangle on a floured surface.
7. Take your allotted softened butter, and spread it across surface with a spoon or spatula.
8. Then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and brown sugar.
9. Roll up into a roll, and then slice.
10. This is where you must decide whether or not to be insane. You can form this batch into two enormous rolls, or 4 smaller, more sane ones. I recommend the sane route. The huge ones are lovely and impressive to look at,  but they have trouble cooking to the center thoroughly, and quite frankly, might send you into a sugar coma.
11. Now, when you have your buns, you can either pop them into your preheated oven (using a greased pan) or, and this achieves slightly better results, put them in the refrigerator overnight and bake them the next
morning. Either way, you want to bake them for around 15 minutes (or slightly more if you made the huge ones).
12. Then, whip together the few frosting ingredients, and spread over the warm rolls when they emerge from the oven. ENJOY THESE BABIES!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Salty & Soft with a Side of Mustard!

I don't know about you, but I cannot neglect the aroma of soft pretzels wafting through the mall. It is the most appetizing smell, and yet the most overpriced appetizer. So, what is the solution to such a delectable and unquenchable desire? Make it yourself! And so I did with the help of food network's online recipes. YUMMO!

Randall Scale
Grocery.............. $3.00 for yeast (other ingredients common)
Skill Rating........ a sinch, kiddos can do it!
Serving Size...... 1-2 per person for 6
Prepare Time... 2 hours, (resting time for dough involved)


  • 1.5 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 4.5 cup flour
  • 2 onces butter
  • 1o addit. cups water
  • 5 Tablespoon baking soda (2/3 cup)
  • Course Salt (for topping) *optional*
1. Combine 1.5 cups warm water, sugar, salt and yeast.
2. Add room temperature butter and flour (a cup at a time)
3. You may need to add a little more water to this mixture.
4. Allow to sit for 40 minutes.
5. Combine 10 cups of water and baking soda in a large, stove-top safe pot.
6. Boil combination.
7. Drop pretzels into boiling water one at a time for 1 min 5 sec on each side.
8. DO NOT ALLOW PRETZELS TO SIT FOR MORE OR LESS TIME! They will toughen up or be too doughy if you are not accurate!
9. Once all pretzels have been dipped, place on oven-safe and greased cookie sheet.
10. SALT SALT SALT the pretzels; course salt works best but granulated will do.
11. Bake on 450 for 12-14 minutes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fruity Fruit To Boot

So this past week Pete has been on a MAJOR fruit kick. It has helped with Publix's amazing produce selection and the the many b.o.g.o offers. Thus far, we have decided these fruits are among the best drizzled with lemon juice to keep them as fresh as the day you cut them. Although you are free to pick and chose your favorites, this "salad" has become somewhat of a summer staple around our house. Enjoy nature's sweetest candy by adding a sprig of mint, or even a dash of sugar.

Randall Scale
Grocery.............. really however much you want to spend
Skill Rating........ a sinch, just know how to use a knife
Serving Size...... 2-3 days worth of fruit for 1 person
Prepare Time... 5-10 minutes

(our favorites anyways)

  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • pineapple
  • nectarines
  • watermelon
  • peaches
  • apples
  • melon
  • grapes
  • bananas
  • kiwi
  • lemon juice
  • fresh mint
1. Slice all fruit to bite size.
2. Pile into separate heaps.
3. Layer into container of choice. (we use regular ole' Tupperware)
4. Add chopped mint & sugar if wanted.
5. Squeeze lemon juice over all fruit. This keeps the fruit from turning brown.
6. Toss & Enjoy.

Emily's Healthy Coffee Cake

My dear sister-in-law, Emily, is a fantastic baker. She is quite knowlegable when it comes to homey-goods and delectable treats. She loves sweets, but enjoys eating with a nutritional mindset i.e. healthy coffee cake with struesel topping. Therefore, she turned a wonderfully fattening dessert into something, still fantastic, but with much less of a guilt trip. It is so tasty one would never know the difference! Who doesn't love fresh baked goods?

Randall Scale
Grocery............... $20 (or free, most have these ingredients)
Skill Rating......... Easy-Medium, must know baking terms
Serving Size....... 10-12 healthy (pun) servings
Prepare Time.... 45 minutes


  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • Flour (sub. whole wheat)
  • 1 T. Cinnamon
  • 1 T. Margarine
  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 egg white slightly beaten
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 Cup skim milk (can sub. soy milk, amount varies depending on flour type)
  • 3 T. Canola Oil
1. Stir together brown sugar, 1 T. flour and cinnamon.
2. Cut in margarine until crumbly.
3. Stir in nuts and set aside.
4. In new bowl, stir together 1.5 Cup flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.
5. In another bowl, stir together the milk, egg, sugar, and oil.
6. Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
7. Pour batter into well-greased 9x9 glass pan.
8. Sprinkle struesel topping over batter.

1. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.
2. Slice and serve warm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Classic Revisited

Ah, a sweet teriaki chicken kabob. Who doesn't love such a classic in Florida's hottest summers. Served hot, and great cold the next day. What could be easier or more sweet and savory at the same time?! Nothing fixes a grown mans yearning for meat or a women's petite waistline like this recipe! To boot, it only involves three ingredients, easy easy peasy!

Randall Scale
Grocery............. $15-$20 (depending on chicken prices)
Skill Rating....... Easy-Medium, hot flame involved
Serving Size...... 8 Hungry Men
Prepare Time... 8-24 Hours (marinating time)

  • 8-9 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Bottle Ken's Steak House Teriaki Marinade
  • Garlic (fresh or jarred, I used jarred)
  • Skewers!
1. Place wooden skewers on platter of water so they won't burn on grille.
2. Clean chicken and cut into bite size pieces.
3. Place into marinating tub or rubbermaid container w/ tight sealing lid.
4. Dumb entire contents of Ken's Marinade on top of chicken.
5. Add spoon fulls of garlic, this is a marinade, do not be shy!
6. Mix well & do not salt, lots of sodium in teriaki sauce.
7. Allow to sit for 3-8 hours, flip upside down, allow to rest again. The longer it marinates the better, but 3-4 total hours will do.
8. Put chicken onto skewers.
9. Ask husband/man/some who is skilled to grille to perfection.
  • Add sliced belle peppers, red onion, and any other veggies in between chicken for color and added layers of flavor!

Kick in the Romaine

Often times, I find myself at a loss for salad ingredients. Last fall Pete was on a huge salad kick, and would eat a whole head of romaine for lunch, with lots of variations in toppings. Needless to say, all this salad making, and I mean a lot of salad making, landed me the ultimate salad dressing recipe that has taken off into many different directions.

Randall Scale
Grocery.............. under $7 (depending on ingredient choices)
Skill Rating........ Easy As Pie
Serving Size...... Enough for a whole head, plus extra
Prepare Time... 5 minutes or less

(budget providing you already have most of this)
  • Your choice of 2 Favorite Store Bought Savory Dressings
  • (I use Caesar and Italian)
  • One Fresh Lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cracked Sea Salt
  • (but regular salt is fine if you don't have)
1. Pour equal parts of both salad dressings, and olive oil into container. I use a jam jar and fill it half way for this.
2. Emulsify.
3. Juice 1/2 of lemon into mixture and continue to emulsify.
4. Add fresh garlic (must use garlic press to combine flavors!)
5. Salt and Pepper to taste.
6. Crack Sea Salt onto Romaine (preferred) or Iceberg Lettuce.
7. Use other half of lemon and juice over lettuce.
8. Pour dressing over lettuce & toss well, or allow guests to dress their own salad.
*Optional Salad Toppers*
-belle peppers cut into julienne strips, grape tomatoes, bacon, lunch meat, provolone, slivered hard-boiled egg, chives, home-made croutons (see next blog), carrots, pine nuts, broccoli, etc...

Monday, July 13, 2009

It Only Happens Once A Week

If this doesn't put it from the lips to the hips, I don't know what does, but who can resist a crunchy, garlicky, warm piece of french bread seasoned to perfection? I can't no matter the cost. Here's my secret to embellishing any pasta memoir. Enjoy and experiment!

Randall Scale
Grocery............. $1.89-$2.19 (Publix Prices)
Skill Rating....... Easy Peasy
Serving Size...... 6-8 (1-2 pieces per person)
Prepare Time... 5-10 Minutes


  • your choice in crusty baguette or deli style loaf
  • Butter, Butter, Butter - room temperature
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, oh yes. (or more, I always use a ton)
  • DRY ITALIAN SPICES (oregano, parsely, garlic, etc....)
1. Slice bread in half, long ways.
2. Slather butter generously on both halves.
3. Generously sprinkle any Italian spices in your pantry.
4. Press Garlic (after using garlic press) onto bread; spread all over with fingers
5. S & P

6. Set Oven to BROIL & allow coils to become RED HOT!
7. Place bread on baking sheet, make as flat as possible, no hot dog bun forms!
8. Cook time is less than 5 minutes. Do not set timer and return! WATCH WATCH WATCH or your bread will burn!
9. Slice and enjoy!

Inovative Use for the Ole' Ice Tray

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for these fantastic ideas for the ye ole' ice cube tray. Upon sitting in Barnes & Noble after an evening out with Pete, I picked up my favorite & very expensive magazine titled 'Real Simple.' Needless to say, I really wanted to buy the issue, but decided to make mental notes instead of shelling out the $12.95. The two ideas that struck me most novel had to do with ice cube trays.

Idea #1

-Use it as a jewelry organizer in your dresser drawer!
  • How smart is that? Lots of people have fancy jewelry chests, and in turn never wear any of it. But with your favorite gems at your fingertips, who wouldn't love this idea?
Idea #2

-Fill the ice tray with..... drumroll..... ALOE VERA!
  • Everyone hates sunburns, but loves the look of sun-kissed skin. Solution: put on sunblock silly! but for those oops! spots, slather on some ice cold aloe cubes to sooth those tender spots!

Pollo Romano Alfredo Picollini

This dish is the glue that holds my marriage together. Wonderfully, fantastically simple and creamy! Makes my mouth water. It is a very simple dish that involves mostly prep work with little stove-standing time. This is the easier than my chicken fettuccine Alfredo staple, but just as tasty, with lots of variation possibilities.
*Warning* This dish has a kick of heat!

Grocery................ $15
Skill Rating.......... Easy-Mild, Hot Stove Involved
Serving Size........ 6-8, with leftovers
Prepare Time..... 1 hour (mostly baking time)


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 jars Classico roasted garlic alfredo sauce
  • 1 box Farfelle Picollini (mini bowties)
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Dried or Fresh Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Garlic Salt, S&P
  • Fresh Garlic

1. Salt half-full pot of water, set on high to boil for pasta.
2. Season chicken as preffered.
3. Cut chicken into cubes or julienne strips, saute in olive oil coated pan.
4. Saute until almost finished, remove from heat. It will continue to cook in oven.
5. Add pasta to water, cook to al dente. It will also continue to cook in oven while absorbing sauce.
6. Empty contents of both Alfredo jars into mixing bowl.
  • ADD:
  • .5 to 1 TB red pepper flakes
  • .5 TB dried basil (adjust if using fresh)
  • .5 TB dried oregano (adjust if using fresh)
  • .5 TB dried parsley (adjust if using fresh)
  • 1 TB garlic salt
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, pressed or minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Incorporate well.
At this point you can add any other ingredients you find tantalizing: capers, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, canned peas, broccoli etc..... anything pre-cooked.

7. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
8. Combine chicken, pasta, sauce in 9x13 glass or non stick baking pan.  MIX WELL!
9. Put on middle shelf and cook for 30-35 minutes dep. on oven power.
10. Top with grated/powdered Parmesan cheese.
11.  ENJOY.

fabulously refreshing

This is a yummy summer refreshment I often make when we are out of the favorite sweet tea, IBC, or the like. It does however, recquire a rasberry syrup, compliments of Starbucks Coffee Company. If this is unavailable to you, or out of your budget, you can substitute a rasberry or pomengranite frozen concentrate and add that to the grocery budget not included below.

Grocery............. $1 when lemons @ 3 for $1.00
Skill Rating....... A Sinch
Serving Size..... 4-6 Generous Portions
Prepare Time.. 5 minutes

  • 3 ripe lemons
  • 1 cup granulated sugar or truvia
  • rasberry syrup sweetener
  • water
  • shaved ice, ice cubes
1. Fill serving pitcher (standard gallon) half full with ice
2. Halve the lemons, juice 5 of the lemon halves on top of ice, keep seeds out.
3. Slice last half and put into pitcher for garnish. Add remainder of used lemon halves for more flavor and garnish.
4. Add cup of sugar, give or take for personal preference.
5. Add water to top of pitcher.  If using concentrate, add frozen mixture first, then water.
6. Splash syrup on top, stir, and taste before serving.
-Add chopped fresh mint for another layer of flavor.

uno padella gli spaghetti

This is a staple in my kitchen. If you enjoy Italian cuisine & are in a pinch, you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already.

Grocery............ Under $15.00
Skill Rating...... Easy-Mild, Hot Stove Involved
Serving Size..... 6-8, or 4 w/ leftovers
Prepare Time... 30-45 minutes


  • 1 lb. preferred ground beef (chuck works best)
  • 1 box preferred pasta (that is, one pound)
  • 1 jar preferred tomato sauce (publix tomato and garlic is awesome)
  • half white onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • italian seasonings, S&P
  • bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • water
  • grated Parmesan cheese

  • baguette of choice
  • salad, (i like to pick up a publix caesar kit)

1. Begin by salting half-full pot of water, put on high to boil for pasta.

2. Throw meat into mixing bowl.

  • ADD:
  • pressed garlic (or diced)
  • both eggs
  • handful breadcrumbs (don't be bashful)
  • your choice in seasonings, (again don't be bashful)
  • 1/2 Cup Water (why you ask? moist meat = tender meatballs)
  • S&P (do not taste! just guess)
  • Mix well, WITH HANDS to ensure best incorporation, form into meatballs.
3. Chop half of onion,

  • your choice in cut; dice, slice, mince, all your preference.
4. Coat non-stick pan (preferred with cover) with 1-2 TB Olive Oil,

  • put on medium high
5. Sear onions until transparent, add meatballs.

  • Reduce heat, when meatballs begin to brown.
  • If burning begins, add dash of water or white wine.
6. Add pasta to boiling water.

  • Cook al dente so that there is still bite to the pasta.
7. Drain grease from meat, add tomato sauce.
8. Add pasta to meatballs and sauce.

  • Allow to sit for 10-15min WITH LID so pasta absorbs yumminess.
9. When plating, top with Parmesan cheese; incorporate and enjoy!


  • 1. Prepare Salad
  • 2. Prepare Bread

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Welcome, Välkommen, Bienvenido!!!

Welcome to the cooking blog of Mrs. Kendra Randall. Here I will be introducing my cooking escapades and experiments. I will included clues to easy cooking, recipes, and new insights to failed attempts. Enjoy and check back monthly at :

Chef Kendi