Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Pepperoni Pizza Paninis!

You try saying that three times fast!  I found, and knowing me, later altered, this recipe several years ago and we all just love it. You can easily change it to your tastes. If you don’t like pictures, well, stop here. This recipe is basically done with photos.

For each sandwich you will need:

2 slices Texas Toast

6 slices mozzarella

1tbsp shredded parmesan

9 slices pepperoni


garlic salt

pizza sauce

While you are assembling sandwiches, heat grill pan to med/hi

lay three slices of mozzarella on each slice of bread

arrange pepperoni in three rows, overlapping a bit, sprinkle with garlic salt and shredded parmesan

lay the last three slices of mozzarella over the parmesan, top with second slice of bread, butter and put butter side down on grill pan

now butter the side that is up and put grill weight on top

cut the sandwich and serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping

Here's my boy enjoying his dinner. YUM-O-RAMA!

I also made a lower fat/calorie version for myself using only 5 slices of pepperoni and three slices of mozzarella. Still tastes great, but with alot less guilt!

This can also be done on a skillet or griddle, I just like the grill marks/panini style sandwich.


Delish pasta for one!

I was hungry and I was solo. Something that doesn’t happen often in my world. Hmmm, what should I have for dinner? I am free! Free to eat things that are green, or sauteed, or steamed or spicy, without hearing, ‘eeewww I don’t like thaaaat!’ I opened my fridge looked around and had the usual, ‘there’s nothing in here’ moment. I wanted some simple pasta and remembered that I had blanched some fresh asparagus and put it in the freezer. Ok, now we’re talking. Here’s what I came up with.

8oz fresh asparagus, steamed and cut into 1″ pieces

3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces

1tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp butter

1 clove garlic

4 to 6oz whole wheat spaghetti

In a skillet, cook the bacon until it’s crisp, drain on paper towels.

In a large pot, cook the pasta until it’s tender

Put asparagus in skillet with bacon pieces, add butter, cook on low heat for just a minute or so to bring everything to temp. Press garlic into skillet and stir. Add a pinch of salt if desired.

Drain pasta and toss with asparagus/bacon mixture. Top with shavings of parmesan and/or asiago. Mmmm it’s nice and light, but packed with flavor and yummy goodness! Enjoy! This can easily be doubled to serve more, or altered to your tastes with more or less of the asparagus and bacon. This and a glass of wine and I was a happy girl!

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The Great Cheesecake Experiment

Something you may not know about me from my posts is that I love to bake. And I mean serious love! I would bake something sweet and decadent, or maybe not so decadent, but just yum, every single day if I could. Alas, summer has me avoiding the on switch of my oven as if it’s poison ivy. It just gets too hot in my little part of the world to add insult to mother nature’s injury!

There are occasional circumstances when temperatures be damned, I’m turning it on anyway! Like today. My husband’s boss has invited several other managers over to her house for dinner. And being the friendly, neighborhood domestic goddess, I volunteered to bring dessert, hence the title for this post.

I have only baked a cheesecake one other time, but I almost never burn anything anymore and my oven is my cooler weather BFF, so I’m not intimidated by many recipes. My friend posted a recipe for a key lime cheesecake. OMG, did I read that right? The marriage of two of my favorite things! I’ll eat just about anything that’s cheesecake! Would you like a slice of our cardboard cheesecake the chef has prepared today? Sure! Needless to say, I was up for the challenge. I broke out my trusty springform pan, dusted the cobwebs and dust bunnies out of it and went to work.

I have a theory on baking especially, but cooking in general. If you’re not making a mess, you’re not doing it right!

See what I mean? And this is a fairly mild mess, compared to some, it’s only on one counter! I followed the instructions, the graham cracker crust was lovely. I poured in the batter and popped it into the oven and set the timer.

About ten minutes before the timer went off, I checked my beautiful cake. Ruh roh Raggy! It had bubbled up the sides of the pan, there was a huge bubble in the center and when I moved the rack, I could tell it was still liquid under the dome. GRRR So I grabbed my phone and called Cheesecake 911, AKA my friend Anuschka, whom I”d gotten the recipe from. She walked me through the rescue of my cheesecake. I’m totally hoping it’s not terrible. It’s a bit scorchy on top, and the sides where it bubbled up above the crust, it had scorched. So not pretty. Oh yeah, and where the bubble had been, well, you can see for yourself.

Would you eat that?

Looks almost more like a pizza than a cheesecake. The brown part is all wrinkly and pruny. I”m debating whether I should cut that part off and just top it with lime jello like she suggested.

I need some suggestions from my baking friends! Has this ever happened to you? How did you recover? Did you give it cosmetic surgery or scrap it all together? I need help people, this dinner is tonite!

I think I may have figured out what to do. I’ll post pix and let you know later how it turns out. If nothing else, I can pick up a cheesecake at the grocery! Or use my standard new recipe disclaimer: It’s a new recipe, if it sucks it’s not my fault!


My BFF here suggested I use a star tip and decorate the top of the cake with whipped cream. Hmmm, that sounds like a good idea. I didn’t have time, dinner was the same day I made it. I was scrambling to make it appealing.

It looks much better now, don't you think?

You can’t even tell it was scorched! Everyone at dinner said it was delicious and that made me happy.

My review of the cheesecake: sadly the crust was soggy and I’m not quite sure why, which is kind of disappointing. The cheesecake filling was very tart and limey, not very cheesecake-ish, other than the texture, I really couldn’t taste the cream cheese, the lime was almost too overpowering. Will I make it again? Probably not, to me it was not my best work, but next time I know a cheesecake needs a water bath. Anybody want some, I’ve got a bit left over!


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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The Perfect Summer Meal! (And it’s EASY!)

The perfect summer meal is the one that I don’t have to cook! Just try to tell me I’m alone here! Even though my favorite thing to make is reservations, it’s not healthy or practical to eat out all the time, so my grill has become my new bestest friend. When it’s blazing hot outside, the very last thing i want to do is heat up my house by cooking. You see, there’s just one problem with that, we have to eat!  Last night’s dinner was prepared completely on the grill, except the salad, of course, but everything else was grilled.

Here’s what we had:

Marinated chicken breasts, roasted Vidalia onions, fresh corn and salad . YUM!  The only thing missing was fresh strawberry shortcake or some watermelon. But to be perfectly honest, after I finished my dinner, I was stuffed! So the dessert thing was only a nice idea!

The BEST chicken marinade ever!

1/4C balsamic vinegar

1/2tsp lemon pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2tsp lemon juice

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a large resealable bag mix the marinade ingredients and put the chicken  in the bag. Turn to coat and refrigerate at least 30 minutes turning once.  Discard marinade and grill over medium heat 5 to 7 min per side, or until juices run clear.

This recipe produces the juiciest chicken ever! I got it out of one of my magazines, I can’t remember if it was Simple & Delicious or Kraft, but we love it!

Roasted Vidalia Onions

4 to 6 Vidalia (sweet) onions

butter     salt    pepper

Cut the top off the onion and cut out the core,  making a little hole in the center of the onion. cut the onion four times without severing from the root part. In the little well, place 1tsp butter, salt and pepper to taste. Wrap onion in a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil and seal tightly to form a little packet.

Place on the grill over low heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until onions are soft. Be careful opening the packets, steam will escape when opening.

The corn I cooked in a pot on the side burner, but I have cooked the corn on the grill and it gives it a different, smoky taste. To cook the corn on the grill, leave the husks on, trim off the silk and any stray, hanging husks. Cook over medium heat 20 to 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to prevent scorching of the husks or drying of the kernels.

Voila! Dinner made entirely on the grill! YAY!

Check back, my next post I’ll share my recipe for Tomato & Mozzarella Salad!

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The Domestic Goddess Strikes Again!

Yes, it’s true! The DG was in my kitchen last night I am happy to say. How, you ask? Well, I had some ideas for dinner, but nothing solid and couldn’t find a recipe that I liked, so I just flew by the seat of my pants and the results were fabulous!

I had some orzo that I wanted to make as a side, and since the recipe I have for the orzo calls for parmesan and garlic, I decided it needed to be Italian. Love Italian food. Or what I think is Italian anyway. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Italy yet, so authentic may be way different from what I’m used to or make. But…I wanted to make a chicken parmesan, but couldn’t find a recipe that really looked good.

Oh, and I had what I call ‘free’ bread crumbs. Since most people in my house don’t like to eat the heel of a loaf of bread, I throw them in a freezer bag and toss it into the freezer. When it gets full, I toast the bread in the oven til it’s nice and crisp, then put it in my food processor to create the crumbs. I put the crumbs back in the freezer bag and back into the freezer to keep them fresh. Voila! Free bread crumbs!

I pounded out three chicken breasts to approximately the same thickness and dipped them in an egg wash. The bread crumbs I mixed with Italian seasonings, onion flakes, dried minced garlic, grated parmesan, and salt. From the egg wash, I dipped the chicken, both sides, in the crumb mixture and then sprinkled some shredded Italian 5 cheese blend on top and popped the tray in the oven @ 350 for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime I made the garlic/parmesan orzo, TDF! And a tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, yet more garlic, and a bit of salt.

I topped it off with steamed broccoli and some red wine. When my husband came down for dinner, I warned him about the garlic! there was a lot. I use fresh garlic when I can. I have a garlic press that I love and doesn’t require me peeling the little boogers, so it’s super easy. There’s nothing like fresh garlic, in my mind. And my other thought about garlic, too much is just about right!

Wow! I really impressed myself. The chicken was tender and juicy and the crust was nice and crisp. Of course, the orzo and tomato & mozzarella salad were wonderful as well. You know, I don’t cook like that every day, but when I do, I really love it! Feel free to try out my recipes, that’s why they’re here! But if you do, you have to tell me how it turns out!


If looks could kill….

So last night we went to a school foundation fundraiser dinner.  It was an adult-only affair, black and white and lots of fun. There was a silent auction that seemed to go on for days with baskets all contributed by the various schools and administrators, a live auction with things such as a 7 day vacation for 4 at Atlantis, and dinner that was not bad.

Our friends and neighbors who live two doors down were in charge of a corporate sponsored table, so we were invited to sit with them which equated to a free dinner and evening sans enfants.  We had been invited last year, but I managed to get the worst case of food poisoning in my life the night before and spent two days laid out on my couch.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but knew it would be a good time.  The doors opened at 6 and dinner was to be served at 7:30 with the live auction following.

My husband had to work all day, so I knew we wouldn’t be there at the crack of 6.  No big deal I thought, there’s an hour and a half between doors and dinner.

I was surprised to find out they closed two sections of the silent auction by the time we arrived just past 7 and the third closed within ten minutes of our arrival.  Oh well, saves me some money, right?

We buzzed through the remaining open silent auction sections then to our table for dinner. I was expecting rubber chicken, it’s normally what you get a at a hotel-catered event of this size, but we were pleasantly surprised to get prime rib in addition to our rubber chicken.  It was bland, but not bad once it had adequate salt and pepper.

Then the real excitement started.  They had a team of real-live auctioneers to do the live auction.  If you’ve never heard that, it’s really something.  Everything was just humming right along until they came to the puppies.  Yes, I said puppies.  OMG the cutest little balls of fluff.  There were two silky terrier pups that were only 10 wks old and just way too cute to be legal!  Our friends I referred to a moment ago already have three cats and two turtles.  The wife has no interest in a dog, and especially not a small dog.  She has said if they were to get a dog, she wanted a larger one, like a Lab.  Well, the husband just fell in love with these little puppies.  The first one went for $700.  Yes, I know, $700 for a puppy when there are loads of them in shelters, I’m with you on that one.  So bidding begins on the second, and I think the auctioneer realized he’d tapped out his audience on the first one dropped the bid to $300.  Then our friend took his life into his own hands, stuck up his hand and yelled “FOUR!”

I think if my friend’s head could’ve spun all the way around at any time in her life, it would have happened last night.  She gave him the evil eye and told him he’d better not get it.  Try though he did, the auctioneer didn’t get any other bids and our neighbors are now proud new owners of a $400 puppy.  At the moment when the auctioneer said “SOLD!” my friends eyes nearly popped right out of her head.  I have never in my life, in the whole 4-1/2 years we’ve known them, seen her that PISSED!  She refused to touch it, she told him they weren’t keeping it.  And all the while, he’s holding this puppy with a Cheshire-cat grin.

I haven’t seen them today, but I”m interested to see how he slept on the couch last night!  I always wonder what makes people do things like that when they know the consequences when they get home are going to be ugly.

Oh well, at least it wasn’t my husband buying something that I specifically asked him not to!  Maybe I should offer him the spare room!

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