Monday, July 31, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Pizza Style ( A New Favorite)

"This chicken parmesan pizza style is a giant golden fried chicken patty topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Drizzled with spicy honey this version of chicken parm will have you wishing you made more."

My brain's been travelling weird places lately. Just can't seem to settle it down but one thing's for sure... I've had this chicken parmesan on the brain. Ordinarily, I'm not a huge chicken parm fan but ever since reading about the chicken parmesan at the new Quality Italian restaurant that opened not far from here, I've become obsessed. Even the Cheesecake Company has a version so where have I been? Obviously not travelling to either of those places!

I know summer means I'm supposed to be writing abut fresh veggies and fruits but last week found it a touch chilly around here. OK. Chilly might be an exaggeration, but it seemed like I could turn the oven on, which in my mind meant time to make this chicken parm. Good thing I made it last week because my oven just went on the fritz last night and I'm not holding out high hopes that it will make it back to me. Ach! Just add it to the need money list which seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

But back to this golden, crispy patty of joy. No it's not pizza. It's like WAY BETTER than pizza. Totally hit the comfort spot-this sizzling individual covered with melted gooey cheese was a one person crowd pleaser. I guarantee this will be my next dinner party entree and am sure it will have folks begging for more.

Very simple to make this giant ground chicken patty is seasoned up, placed in a pie pan and frozen. No chicken breasts in this recipe. After this baby is frozen it's time to pat it with a bit of seasoned flour, brush it with some egg wash and then another dip into some panko crumbs. Make sure it's well coated because the crust is so good. Fry each patty and set aside until ready to bake. Spread with a bit of sauce, top with cheese and bake for about 10 minutes-assuming it's at room temperature. Then it's time to hit the broiler and brown that cheese golden.

While this is going on in your oven that hopefully works, it's time to make some spicy honey. Believe it. In my humble opinion this sweet elixir puts this dish beyond paradise. Sounds weird but I read that Quality Italian serves there parm with a Calabrian honey. Not having travelled to Calabria recently I decided to make my own version which was as simple as adding Thai chili paste (whose only ingredients were chili, garlic, onions and oil) to a bit of honey. I do believe even Sriracha would work or just some chili flakes. Oh man. One taste knocked me off my rocker.

Chicken parmesan is my new favorite recipe. Don't miss this one folks. It's a keeper. Keep the party going and serve this on a bed of pasta or not. I love it on a bed of arugula and for Manservant's sake I gave him both-pasta and arugula. I can tell you which he left on the plate. And that honey? Drizzle it over the top. Yeah, I know there's a lot going on in this dish. But a lot better on a plate than in your head. Mangia!

More to Try:
     Summer Tomato Lasagna              Greek Olive Bread (No Yeast)            BBQ Potato Bundles


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Yield: 4 Servings

Chicken Parmesan Pizza Style

This chicken parmesan pizza style is a giant golden fried chicken patty topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Drizzled with spicy honey, this version of chicken parm will have you wishing you made more.
prep time: 25 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 45 mins


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3 T parmesan cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t marjoram or oregano (Marjoram is a bit lighter and not as spicy as oregano. Try it for a change!)
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 1/2 c marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe's arrabiata)
  • 3 T parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Olive oil for frying (about 1/2" in skillet to cover)
  • Fresh Basil and Tomatoes for garnish (Extra sauce and cheese if you want.)
Breading and Egg Wash
  • 1/4 c flour seasoned with a touch of the above and 2 T parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten and mixed with 1 T of water
  • 1/2 c panko crumbs
Spicy Honey
  • 1/2 c honey (you will probably have some left over)
  • 1-2 t spicy chili paste


  1. Line 2 8" cake or pie pans with plastic wrap.
  2. Mix together ground chicken with seasonings. To test for seasonings, take about 1 t of the mixture and place in microwave or 20 seconds. Feel free to adjust seasonings if needed. Now divide chicken in half and pat each half into prepared pan. Freeze for about 4 hours.
  3. Prepare egg wash and breading. Remove chicken and dust with flour on top, bottom and sides. Brush well with egg wash on top, sides and bottom. Cover on all sides with panko crumbs.
  4. Heat oil in pan until shimmering. Add chicken patties to oil. (I did mine one at a time.) Fry until golden about 5 minutes on each side. Remove and drain.
  5. Preheat oven to 400. While oven is preheating cover each chicken patty with 1/4 c of marinara or to your discretion. I think it is better to add more sauce later. If you add too much now your patty will be soggy. Cover with parmesan. Then cover that with mozzarella.
  6. Place on a baking sheet in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Cheese should be melted, if not bake a few minutes longer. Remove from oven,
  7. Heat broiler to high. Slide baking sheet under broiler and broil for just a few minutes until cheese is golden and glistening. Garnish with basil and tomatoes. Serve with a pizza cutter.
  8. Feel free to serve over pasta or arugula or both!
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream (No Churn) and Wine (But not in the ice cream!)

"This rich chocolate ice cream filled with everyone's favorite cookie-well I'm assuming that is an Oreo-requires no ice cream machine and just 5 ingredients. This ought to get you through summer!"

So you must know that when my children are home I try to feed them well. So yes, you must have already figured out that this ice cream is one of the foods I fed Alex Odie San China Boy. It's not like there are a lack of Oreos in China. There aren't. Nor is there a lack of Snicker's bars, Pringles and M and M's. But there is a lack of ice cream in China. It's there; but mostly in fruit flavors or bar form. We Odenwalder's  prefer ours in chocolate. Form, that is. Of course it was possible to get soft serve at all the McDonald's, which did happen the night that Zoe could have been kidnapped-and that my friends is for an upcoming story! If I ever finish the China diaries...

This ice cream though is something that must be shared;  especially before National Ice Cream month is over which I hear ends at the end of July. Not that eating ice cream beyond July would be a national crisis, but one never knows. And this is what happens when one drinks too much wine on national tequila day in national ice cream month. I apologize if I hit your Instagram with a strange comment and for sure misspellings, but it is one of those days where wine happened to taste very good. And one bottle of wine between two people is a lot to consume in a short time but we did. Consume that is. But back to ice cream, which we all know Thomas Jefferson ate a lot of. Though he preferred vanilla-I have it on the best authority because I read two books about him this year even if one was read by accident.

In my case this chocolate ice cream filled with Oreos was quickly consumed by both of the men in my family. The weird thing is that I'm not much of an ice cream eater. Every now and then. On a circle graph I am found in the cookie and cake spectrum, with a glass of milk. (Which I couldn't find tonight. The cookie and cake that is... I can always find milk and it is lactose free.) But tonight I found wine - which I drank and it was good. A 2012 Barbera from DaVero wines with a rooster on the label. (I've always wanted to have chickens!) Hard to find but one of the owners gave it to Manservant awhile ago, though I would have preferred he gave him a job! And now I want MORE! More!!! I'm sorry Alex you missed this bottle. It would have been one you enjoyed. With me. But you aren't here. And I know you liked this ice cream. So here it is. I do believe that you could even make it in China.

Easy peasy. No churn which means no machine. Just a pan and a bowl. And condensed milk and cocoa. And Oreos. We all need Oreos. In fact I have a few left. Do they go good with wine?

P.S. We had this wine with an excellent chicken parmigiano. It was great. It was excellent. I know because I made it. You will love it. So tune in next time for a new take on this fantastico dish which we ate with our wine. But now you should make this ice cream. Really. You will love it too!

A Few More:
Maple Macadamia Ice Cream      Berry Chocolate Studded Cake         White Chocolate Crumbs


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Yield: 1 8 x 4 loaf pan

Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream

This rich chocolate ice cream filled with everyone's favorite cookie-well I'm assuming that is an Oreo-requires no ice cream machine and just 5 ingredients. This ought to get you through summer!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: total time: 15 mins


  • 2 c heavy cream whipped until stiff peaks form
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 12 oreos crushed plus more for on top!


  1. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. In a large bowl combine condensed milk, cocoa and vanilla. Stir well.
  3. Fold in whipped cream.
  4. Stir in 12 crushed Oreo's.
  5. Spoon into an 8 x 4" loaf pan. Top with more crushed Oreo's. Chill until frozen. This will take about 4-8 hours but if you want soft serve, I would lean to the lower side!
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Goat Cheese and Corn

"Stuffed Poblanos with goat  cheese and fresh corn are rich, spicy and sweet. These are perfect for a vegetarian main course or also as a side dish. Yes, these have been a family favorite for years!"

I just ate the last of the stuffed poblanos that I made when Alex was home. These are so good I can't believe I haven't shared them yet. This batch was made shortly after I received a text message from the top of Vail Mountain. It was quite succinct and only said, "stuffed peppers". And the next text said, "just thought of it." Whenever the kids come home I aim to please and always love suggestions. I detest general terms like chicken or fish or pasta. Tell me how you want it please and this kitchen will please you! In this case I knew he wasn't talking about stuffed green peppers because I've never made those. Poblanos are the only peppers I've stuffed except for the occasional jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter. Yeah, I know it sounds weird but it works!

Manservant and I first ate stuffed poblanos at "Stars" in San Francisco, many years ago. Before kids actually. Stars was wildly successful with Jeremiah Tower at the helm. He cooked with Alice Waters and both are credited with the beginning of California Cuisine. Jeremiah is someone I would have madly fallen in love with, but alas I am not his type. A truly fascinating guy you should check out the Anthony Bourdain produced documentary, "The Last Magnificent." In the 80's, Stars was the place to eat and we were lucky to have dined there several times.

His first cookbook, "New American Classics" has been on my bookshelf forever. I've made the stuffed peppers for years. Everyone loves them. But way back when this was a recipe I had never heard of, as were many from his book. Though lots are based on classics, I do remember thinking I'll never find these ingredients anywhere. I also remember thinking that many of them seemed past my abilities, but now they seem like a piece of cake.  Finding the ingredients is now doable, so I must revisit this book! Anyone up for a dinner party?

This is the original recipe from the book:

 As you will see, mine is similar but not the same. Both are awesome. I must admit that I rarely stuff the peppers the same way twice. I've used rice and beans and also plated them on top of rice and beans, but the one constant has been the use of goat's cheese. I promise that even if you aren't a fan of the goat's cheese you will be after this. The fresh tartness of the cheese goes perfectly with the spiciness of the pepper. And speaking of the peppers... Generally they are not too spicy, however every now and then you encounter one that is. Fair warning! If you are worried, make sure to take out the veins along with the seeds. I can usually tell if one is spicy by slicing one open and taking a whiff. Yes, you can smell the heat!

Though Jeremiah oils his peppers and broils them, I like turning the grill on and blackening them, that way. I do let them sit in a plastic bag to steam a bit and then slowly peel off the outer skin. From there it is a matter of making a slice from the top to the bottom of the pepper and removing the seeds and veins. I try to keep the top and stem on as I think it makes a prettier presentation. His are prettier than mine, but hey-mine does look like a stuffed pepper, right?

I love to serve these with a black bean sauce too. Using a jarred Chinese black bean sauce thinned with some chicken broth and heavy cream works well. The sauce is salty which compliments well with the peppers. I also love sweet chili sauce, too. And of course a bit of sour cream diluted with some lime juice and cream also makes a good drizzle. This is a fun recipe to play with but way better to eat!

So glad my boy thought of these. They are a perfect summer dish to use the fresh corn and peppers that are available right now. And it was a fun time to take out my old cookbook and revisit all the "new classics".

A Few More to Try:

           Baja Salsa                                   Poblano Cheese Casserole         Chipotle Shrimp and Corn

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Yield: 6 Servings

Stuffed Poblanos with Goat Cheese and Corn

Stuffed Poblanos with goat's cheese and fresh corn are rich, spicy and sweet. They are perfect for a vegetarian main course or also as a side dish. Yes, these have been a family favorite for years!
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 40 mins


  • 6 Fresh poblanos, skinned and seeded
  • 4 ounces of goat's cheese (I used the honey variety.)
  • 1/2 c minced onion
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and sliced from the cob (Grill it if you want)
  • 1/2 c fresh parmigiano
  • 2-3 T sour cream
  • 2 ounces of feta
  • Oil for greasing baking dish
  • Black bean sauce, chili sauce, or sour cream and lime for drizzling (See above for ideas.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.Prepare peppers for filling by grilling or broiling.
  2. Combine goat's cheese, onion, corn, parmigiano, sour cream and feta in a bowl. (I felt this was enough to stuff 6 peppers and serve them as a side dish. You may want two peppers of they are a main course, but it really depends on how big the pepper is. Some are big-some not so much.) Mash well with a fork until all is combined.Now stuff your peppers.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Drizzle with your favorite choice or eat as is.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Monday, July 17, 2017

Grilled Shrimp and Melon Salad with a Smoky Sweet Vinaigrette and #SchramsbergRose

"This special grilled shrimp and melon summer salad with is easily made. Feel free to substitute fruits and spices and make this your own. This smoky and sweet vinaigrette with a hint of spice will become a quick favorite!"

I hesitate to say that not much has happened since my sudden departure which kept me busy at home. I wish I could tell you that I've travelled around the world, eaten at Michelin starred restaurants, acquired a great tan on my best friend's yacht, but alas I've just been painting and cooking and staining floors. However that would not be quite true since  I  also enjoyed time with Alex Odie San China Boy who appeared for a very quick week.

His grandparents escaped Phoenix's summer heat  so they also could k'vell in his presence for a very brief shining moment. Of course this was all supposed to happen while still writing this blog but I'm afraid that Manservant's office -being prime real estate in our home, took gads more time than I expected it too. I am supposing that is always the case with home projects, especially when one does not quite know what they are doing.

Manservant's office is the magic spot where water chooses to often rear its ugly head so concrete seemed the perfect solution.The results speak for themselves. The floors are amazing and I wish I could lay concrete through the entire house and stain them all. No grout lines make this floor treatment incredible and you'd swear that high end stone was laid.  Since concrete was already there it was just a matter of cleaning and sanding and then 8 steps of stain, cleaner and sealer. Just.

And then painting involved painting twice because who knew that it's hard to match dark custom colors when one doesn't have enough paint.? Well not me for one.

So now that everyone has abandoned me, with Manservant going briefly to Mexico City for a meeting, it is up to me to try to sort though his 17 years of dusty files and crap. I'm not feeling very motivated except that it needs to happen to start basement project #2. Can't believe I'm considering this, but I am. And I will. BUT...most likely not until fall.

Enjoying Alex Odie means enjoying wine and we did. Drink a lot of wine, that is. He decided that with my parents arriving we should drink some of the more than drinkable, many past their prime wines, that my parents had collected over the years. They gifted us about 7 cases three years ago when they came to the conclusion that they would never be able to down all the bottles they owned in their lifetime. We became the proud owners  of  lots of old French burgundies and Bordeaux's and many other BIG reds. But thinking we needed BIG occasions to drink them we still have a lot of them left to drink. Well Alex Odie helped us with this. Being a level one sommelier and wishing he could take level two, he started opening bottles. If one wasn't just right we opened another. And another. "Don't be afraid to throw  out", he boldly advised. He even found a bottle given to my dad from my brother, that somehow ended up in our house.


We opened it. Alas it was past its prime which was his point. Keep track so you don't lose out. There are many great wine applications on the web.

While documenting what we had, he came across a bottle of Schramsberg that he had sent me for Mother's Day a few years ago. He kind of went ballistic when he saw that it hadn't been drunk. "If I send you something it needs to be drunk when I tell you or I won't send you anymore!" Manservant quickly pointed out we are storing his wine collection for his return from China and we deserve a second chance. It's not that this was an expensive bottle but somehow with champagne I always think one must save it for a really special occasion. After finding the bottle from my brother for my dad, I decided he was more than right. If someone gifts you wine that is a special enough occasion. From now on, dear son, we will drink what ever you send us, whenever you tell us. And actually what better moment could there be than Mother's Day? The most momentous event of my life? Of course it has taken me a few years to reach that conclusion.

Now don't go thinking this is an ad for Schramsberg. It is not-though if they ever wanted to gift me a bottle or two I would not turn it down. I decided in honor of this occasion of acknowledging that we must start drinking our wine, we best start with this worthy bottle. It was a busy Saturday as work still continues on the folly (though it is 90% finished) but we made time to pop the cork and earn our second chance. Delicious and perfect with this salad, we'd drink it all over again. Manservant even wished me happy mother's day and you can bet it was. Just like every day when I think about my two gorgeous childbeings and am grateful for their existence. Certainly every day deserves a celebration of  motherhood, don't you think? Dear Alex Odie San China Boy-could you please send more? And better yet-could you deliver it in person?

I spotted the perfect salad to serve with my Schramsberg Rose on my friend Shannon's blog. Wanting a light dinner and not wanting to spend too much time in the kitchen, I decided this was a perfect match. It is also a perfect example of showing you how recipes evolve. After running to Trader Joe's and thinking I came home with everything I needed and then discovering I didn't, this grilled cantaloupe salad quickly became a grilled shrimp and blueberry, cantaloupe and fig salad with a smoky sweet vinaigrette. Not having hot paprika I subbed in smoky. But not wanting this too smoky and not even having regular paprika, I added in some crushed Aleppo peppers for heat. It worked. Great and simple dressing! I then couldn't find grapes at TJ's, so I added figs. The figs were a perfect substitute but I wanted blueberries too. The combo of sweet, smoky and spicy was great! I threw in some spicy sweet glazed pecans also and called it a day. Check out the original recipe at Shannon's site and you can see the changes I made. Either salad is phenomenal but this is what happens when I cook. A few changes here and there make it yours, but it's always the inspiration that guides me. It's a perfect example of HOW I COOK.

A Few More Great Summer Salads:
Grilled Halloumi, Peach Salad  Kale and Cherries, Almonds and Feta  Blueberry Chicken Pesto Salad


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Yield: 2 Servings

Grilled Shrimp and Melon Salad with Smoky Sweet Vinaigrette

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 5 MINStotal time: 25 mins
This special summer salad with grilled melon and shrimp is easily made. Feel free to substitute fruits and spices and make this your own. The smoky and sweet vinaigrette with a hint of spice will become a quick favorite!


Smoky Sweet Vinaigrette
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 3 T good honey
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t smoky paprika
  • 1.4 to 1/2 t Aleppo pepper flakes
  • 1/3 c grapeseed oil or another flavorless oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Grilled Shrimp and Melon Salad
  • 10 large shrimp-peeled and deveined (I like the 16-25's Individually Quick Frozen, but they must be thawed to grill.)
  • 1 T oil for brushing shrimp with (I used garlic oil)
  • Salt to sprinkle on shrimp for seasoning
  • 1/2 cantaloupe sliced into 4 crescents -skin and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 T grapeseed oil to brush on cantaloupe
  • Champagne jelly (This is totally optional, but my cantaloupe was so bland that I brushed it with a bit of jelly to give it some flavor, after I took it off the grill)
  • 1 large handful each of mesclun greens and arugula
  • Small bunch of basil sliced into ribbons
  • 4 - 5 fresh figs, quartered or halved
  • 2 handfuls of fresh blueberries
  • 4 oz of young crumbly manchego
  • 4 oz of glazed pecans (I like Trader Joe's spicy sweet pecans.)
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. In a medium measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, honey and seasonings.Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in oil to form an emulsion. Allow to stand and let flavors develop.
  2. Preheat grill to medium high. Brush shrimp with oil and sprinkle with salt. Brush melon with oil also. Grill melon for about 1 1/2 minutes per side but melon should still remain firm. Place shrimp on grill and cook for about 1 minute on each side or until shrimp curls. Do not overcook it. Set both aside while assembling salad.
  3. I like to use individual bowls. Place handfuls of mesclun, arugula and basil in each bowl. Toss together. Top with blueberries, figs, melon and shrimp. Garnish with pecans and crumbled cheese. Drizzle with smoky sweet vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper if you'd like!
  4. Perfect with Rose, Champagne or Prosecco!
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