Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Happy Accident Italian Stew

Also known as “I cant’ read a recipe’ stew! I found a recipe for what they called ‘Italian Chili’ in a magazine. It sounded delish, I bought the ingredients, thought I knew what I was doing and started cooking. After I was beyond the point of no return, I realized that I had totally messed up the recipe, but didn’t want to waste the food, so I just carried on with what I thought would be good. I took some things from that original recipe and added others and ended up with something that my whole family raves about. It’s easily doubled and will feed a crowd. It’s hearty and flavorful and freezes well, all requirements in my kitchen. Serve it with some crusty bread and your family and friends will think you’re a genius!

Italian Stew

1lb ground beef

1lb ground Italian sausage

3 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)

1 can beef broth

2 cans tomato sauce 8oz each

1 fresh zucchini cubed

1 C chopped red pepper (or whatever color you have readily available)

1C fresh sliced mushrooms

2 stalks celery chopped

3 carrots peeled and sliced

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp Italian seasoning mix

3 to 4 (or more!) cloves garlic

1tbsp salt

1 C chopped onion

1C water

1/2C dittalini (tiny tube noodles)

1. Cook ground beef and Italian sausage with onion and garlic until browned. Drain.

2. In a large pot, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, seasoning, meat mixture and all veggies EXCEPT ZUCCHINI,  cook on medium heat until stew is bubbling. Simmer on low/med heat covered for 2 hours.

3. 20 to 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, add the zucchini (if you add it too early, it will be completely mush when you’re ready to eat).

4. in a small pan, bring 3C water to a boil and add the dittalini, cook until only partially done. Drain and add to the stew, it will finish cooking in the pot with everything else.

5. Serve with crusty bread and a nice dark red wine! A wonderful meal on a cold winter evening.


Awesome no-heat chicken!

So right now, in my little corner of the world, the temps get down to the bone chilling 80 at night and we have a heat index in the triple-digit teens. Needless to say, the grill, microwave and crockpot are my best friends right now. I pulled this recipe out of my archive and wanted to share. It’s really good, easy, and healthy to boot! Oh yeah, and it won’t heat up your kitchen, YAY!

Creamy Italian Chicken

4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 pkg dry Italian dressing mix

1 can (4oz) sliced mushrooms

1 pkg (8oz) reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1 can reduced fat & sodium cream of mushroom soup

1/4C water

1 to 2 cloves of garlic, pressed

2 C cooked brown rice

1. Place chicken in slow-cooker (I like to cut my pieces in half, easier for serving & quicker cooking)

2. Mix water and dressing mix and pour over chicken.

3. Place lid on slow cooker and cook 3 hours on low.

4. Combine cream cheese, cream of mushroom soup and garlic until well blended. Spread over chicken, sprinkle mushrooms on top.

5. Replace lid and cook 1 hour longer.

6. Stir to blend sauce and serve over rice.

Add some veggies steamed in the microwave and a green salad and you’ve got a nice dinner, all without heating your kitchen! YAY! Enjoy!

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My husband told me to!

Since returning from our vacation, i realized how much I’ve missed cooking. You know leading up to our trip, I intentionally didn’t do big grocery trips or much cooking, I didn’t want to leave lots of food to go bad while we were gone. Now I’m looking at my mags and books for interesting summer recipes. Here’s a surprise, my husband was looking at one of my mags and noticed a recipe contest for burgers. We started tossing about ideas for a recipe and I’ve decided to give it a try. I was watching Giada a couple of days ago and got some great ideas from her. She makes everything just look so wonderful, so I’m taking a few cues from her and going to give it my own little twist. I’ll let you know how it comes out. what we’ve come up with is an Italian burger. Will it be good? I have no idea, but I’m having a girls’ night next week and will let a couple of friends be my taste testers to see if what we’ve come up with is contest-worthy. You know, i don’t even know what the prize is, maybe I should look at that before I start going crazy trying to create something! If they turn out the way I hope they do, I”ll share the result! If they suck, well, I’ll just used my standard disclaimer, “It’s a new recipe, if it sucks it’s not my fault!”

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Well, I kind of expected it, I have to say.  I have  figured out how to make really good cookies and this new book I mentioned in a post a few days ago, “The Cookie Bible” is going to be my new fave I can tell already! Anything that expands my repertoire in the cookie department is a welcome inclusion in my kitchen!

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon.  My boy is playing at a friend’s house, my husband has had to go to work, so I told my daughter to look in this book and pick out a couple to make. 

Unfortunately, time ran out before we got to make the second recipe, but the first!  Wow!  Lemon poppy seed cookies!  YUM-O-RAMA!!!  I love lemon poppy seed muffins and bread, so naturally I thought we’d like this recipe and was I ever right!  I think the one saving grace about this recipe, it makes a small batch of cookies!  They’ll be gone by tomorrow night so I won’t have to disperse them to  friends.  On the flip side of that, they would make a really nice gift in some cute paper or box.

What I don’t know that I’ll ever understand is how I came to enjoy and be good at baking.  There wasn’t much of it in my house growing up that didn’t come from a mix.  Mom wasn’t much of a cook at all, let alone to bake something that required more effort than dumping ingredients from a box into a bowl and blending in an egg and some water.  Me, I must have fallen from the sky, I think sometimes.  I really love scratch baking and from what my friends tell me, I”m pretty good at it. 

Now I have to ask a silly question that I have not been able to get an adequate answer to.  What does that really mean?  Scratch.  from scratch?  I know what it means to scratch an itch, but the baking, I don’t get.  I don’t have scratch on my list of ingredients.  Maybe it should really be baking from the start. Or fresh baking.  Or real baking.  I don’t know, you tell me.  And if you happen to know the answer to my quandary, please let me know!

If you love to bake and would like the recipe, email me and I’ll send it to you. I don’t know if I can post a copyrighted recipe.

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