Chicken and Dumplings



·         2 TBS olive oil

·         4 boneless chicken breasts, 6 thighs or 1 whole rotisserie chicken
(can also substitute with Turkey)
·         5 stalks celery
·         5 carrots
·         1 large white onion
·         2 quarts of Chicken broth or stock
·         3 cups water
·         2 tsp dried thyme or 4 TBS fresh
·         3 bay leaves
·         ½ cup of flour
·         4 TBS butter

Dumplings:(can substitute all ingredients for Bisquick with just mix/milk and Thyme)
·         2 cups flour
·         1 TBS baking powder
·         ½ tsp baking soda
·         6 TBS unsalted butter, melted
·         ¾ cup buttermilk
·         2 TBS chopped fresh parsley, some reserved


Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Brown in batches, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If you are using a premade chicken, chop up into large chunks or shred it with a fork and set aside.  Transfer to a plate and in the same pot add the butter, let melt then add the celery, carrots, onions and Thyme, season with salt and pepper, stir and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Shred the chicken with 2 forks or cut into small chunks and return it to the pot. In a separate small bowl, whisk together ½ cup of flour, 2 cups of the cooking liquid, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Slowly whisk the flour mixture back into the pot and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Make the dumplings: Whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter, buttermilk and parsley. Reduce heat to low and drop the mixture into the broth in 8 large spoonful or 16 smaller spoon fuls. Simmer, covered, until the dumplings are firm, 10 mins for larger one and about 5-8 for smaller ones. Serve sprinkled with parsley.


Valerie's Home Made Sloppy Joes

Recipe and picture courtesy of Valerie Alava Ross

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
Small onion chopped
2 stalks celery diced
Small red pepper chopped
5 -6 cloves garlic minced 
1/2 tsp cumin 
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes 
Black pepper
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dry mustard
Tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water


Brown ground beef and drain excess fat. Sauté veggies till tender. Mix in ground beef, seasonings, ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar and mustards, mix well. Add water a bit at a time till it's the right consistency. Add additional salt as needed. Serve on toasted buns


Lisa's Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

Recipe and picture courtesy of Lisa Miles O'Connor


I used a 3.5 lb eye round roast and did a dry rub around the whole roast of black pepper, salt, onion powder and garlic powder mix. Two medium onions and cubed them to bite size, 12 yukon gold potatoes and cubed them and used the already peeled small bag of carrots about 3/4 of a small bag. I mixed the veggies and put a few layers on the bottom and then I put the roast in the middle of the crock and surrounded it with the rest of the veggies and potatoes. I used about 3/4 of a largest can of beef broth to bring it to about 2 1/2 inches from the top of the crock. I turned on high for 2 hours, then on low for 8 more hours. I took out the roast, veggies and potatoes and kept the broth in the crock and added flour to thicken the broth to a gravy with a whisk. Put the veggie/potatoes back in crock on high for 10 minutes while carving the roast and served. The recipe I saw read 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low but I left it in a little longer for a more well done roast. It was so tender and had enough for the next few nights as well. Hope you like it.

Shauna's Shepard’s Pie

Recipe and picture courtesy of Shauna Yousef 

“Mine is super easy. You can vary the veggies to suit your family”.

1 pound of ground beef
Diced onion
1 can of corn
1 can of green beans
Mashed potatoes (I used almost 12 cups of instant; I modify mine and add extra butter and switch milk and water)
Shredded cheddar cheese
A-1 sauce (a couple tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Brown beef with onions. Season with salt pepper. Drain

Add corn & green beans. Also add A-1 sauce. Warm through.

In a 2 1/2 quart baking dish put a layer of mashed potatoes, meat, mashed potatoes and top with cheese. 


Juleigha's Dark and Semi Sweet Chocolate Cashew Salted Clusters

Recipe and pics courtesy of Juleigha Roberts Frick


3 one ounce squares of Bakers (brand) Semi Sweet Chocolate 
1 10 ounce bag of Nestles Dark Chocolate Morsels 
3 1/2 to 4 cups of whole salted Cashews Kosher salt for sprinkling 
Parchment papered baking sheet (cookie sheet) 


Place the 3 squares and the bag of chocolate in microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and fold (don't stir, as stirring will crystalize sugars) chocolate. 

Place back in oven and microwave again for 30 seconds. Remove and fold chocolate. Microwave one more time for 30 seconds and fold chocolate again until it's all melted and smooth. (Ovens may vary so you may need to adjust your melting time) Once chocolate is smooth add in all of the Cashews and fold together until all the nuts are covered. 

Drop by spoonful's onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt and let cool to harden. You can also place in the fridge for about an hour to speed up the process. Then store countertop in a zip

type bag or other container.

Carol's Italian rice balls (arancine di riso)

Pictures and recipe courtesy of Carol Mauro McKenna  

Cook the packaged risotto according to instructions on package and set aside to cool (2 packages will make approx. 14-16 arancine.) I use Premium Risotto Milanese style, so it already has saffron in it, which is the way it was originally made. I found it at my local Shop-Rite in the rice aisle. 
Meanwhile, I sweat half of a large onion finely chopped, along with 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, then add 1lb of ground beef and cook, salt and pepper to taste (I also use Adobo as a complete seasoning).Once almost fully cooked, I drain most of the fat, than add tomato sauce or plum tomatoes or diced tomatoes….whatever you have at hand….but just enough to coat the meat sauce…I would say about half of a 28oz can and stir well. Add more salt n pepper to taste (or Adobo). It is important to gently season every step of the way. Finally, I stir in about 2 cups of frozen peas (or more according to how you like it). Keep cooking it for a couple of minutes then turn off and set aside to cool off.
While the meat is cooling off, I prepare my assembly stations: a dish with 2 whisked eggs, a tbsp. of milk and salt n pepper, another dish with Italian style bread crumbs and a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese, and another dish with shredded or diced mozzarella. I then set a deep pan for frying. I like mixing 2 parts of vegetable oil to 1 part olive oil and let it warm up until ready for frying (I put a wooden spoon at the bottom of the pan, to see if it’s ready. If it looks like it’s bubbling around the spoon, then you’ll know it’s ready.) 
I assemble right next to the sink, because you need to continuously rinse out your hands…..plus keeping your hands wet, it allows for the rice balls to form easier (or if you prefer, you can add one whisked egg to the cooled rice, to help binding it – I don’t want to use the raw egg in it, so I just keep my hands wet, and since the risotto has a bit of a mushy/sticky consistency to it, it works fine with wet hands.) Now you take about 2 heaping tablespoon of risotto and put it in your hand as if you are forming half of the rice ball, by creating a small well in your hand. Make sure the layer of risotto used, it’s not too thick, to avoid a rice ball with too much risotto and not enough filing. Then, add 1 to 2 tsp of the cooled meat, a tsp or two of shredded mozzarella or a couple of diced pieces, then take another amount of rice, with your other wet hand, and cover the other filled part, by trying to create the filled rice into a ball shape. Your wet hands will help the process and also, a bit of patience. Once your ball is formed, I put it in the egg mixture, then bread crumbs mixture, and set aside. I cook them in batches of 2 or 3, just to make sure you don’t burn them, and to make sure the oil temperature stays consistent. I keep turning them in the oil for about 3 or 4 minutes each (it depends from the size), then take them out and let them drain on a tray lined with paper towel. 
Make sure to wait a couple of minutes before eating them. They taste better at room temperature than hot, but that’s just my opinion…..oh yeah, and make sure to make lots of them…..they are DIVINE!!!!!!


Laurie's S'mores Dip

Recipe and pic courtesy of Laurie Ferraro Wigglesworth


1/2 tbsp. butter 
1 1/2 cup choc chips (I use semi sweet)
 15 jumbo marshmallows cut in 1/2


Preheat 450 degree oven. Melt butter in bottom of 8 x 8 pan, then swirl it around to coat entire bottom of pan. Put choc.chips in even layer on bottom. Arrange marshmallow halves over the chocolate to cover completely. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Use graham crackers to scoop!


Rosa's Ricotta Cheese Cake

Recipe and photo courtesy of Rosa Velez
Filling: Ingredients:
- 2 cups of Ricotta cheese
- 1 cup of mascarpone cheese 
- 2 oranges zest and juice
- 1 cup of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp of orange extract
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Crust Ingredients:

-1 box of Nilla wafers
-1 stick of butter
Directions for crust:

Blend or smash cookies  until all crumbled.  Melt stick of butter and pour into crushed cookies.  Blend well. Put in the pan and pat down until it’s even in pan. Blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees until sides are slightly golden brown. Let cool before pouring in the filling.
Ricotta Filling Directions:
Mix sugar, ricotta and mascarpone until sugar is blended. Add eggs one at a time, add zest, the juice of oranges, vanilla extract and orange extract. Mix until all combined and bake at 350 for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Turn off oven leave for another hour in oven. Then refrigerate untill next day and enjoy!


Tina's Home Made Hummus

Recipe and pictures courtesy of Tina Giongetti Alessandro

So easy so delicious!  I followed this:

1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch paprika
16 oz can chick peas
If to thick I added 2 tablespoons water 
Your going to love it


Left Over Rotisserie Chicken Enchiladas

Recipe and picture courtesy of Amber Hopkins

Take left over rotisserie chicken and shred it up.
Add in enough sour cream so that all the chicken is moist. Add black olives, cilantro and diced red onions, just by sight no exact measurement. Add shredded Queso cheese as well as some shredded medium cheddar. Put the filling in soft taco size flour tortillas and rolled them like a burrito. Place them in a greased baking dish and then cover them with enchilada sauce and top it with the same cheese as the filling. 
Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375 for about 20 min until the sauce was bubbling. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 5 to 10 min to get the cheese nice and  melted with a little crust. Serve them topped with sour cream and cilantro. You can totally add anything else to the mixture that you may have on hand or like.. Green chiles or jalapeño for example 


The Barefoot Contessa’s Mustard-Roasted Fish

4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces crème fraîche
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons drained capers
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
 Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Combine the crème fraîche, two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it’s barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it’s done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top



Peter's Sherry Shrimp

Recipe and photo courtesy of Peter Francis Battaglia
Wild US caught shrimp, dusted with seasoned flour
Sauté till almost done in olive oil
Add more olive oil, a sliced clove of garlic, and deglaze the pan with some sherry
Reduce, then add the shrimp back and lightly cook on both sides for 1 min per side
Add a small pat of unsalted butter, mix around in the pan
Squeeze in some fresh lemon
Season with a little sea salt, black pepper and some chopped parsley
Serve on crostini.

Malisa's Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Recipe and photo courtesy of Malisa Thompson
8 oz. of cream cheese
8 oz. Of pepper jack shredded cheese
1 1/2 tbsp Taco seasonings
1 lb. Cooked chicken, shredded
flour tortillas
cooking spray
 shredded cheddar cheese
greens onions
sour cream and salsa
(I didn't use any seasoning I used red chilies instead)
Dice up raw chicken and boil till cooked. Mix together cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese (I used sharp white cheddar cheese or just sharp cheddar) green onions (optional chillies) and seasonings (I just use my hands).
Fold in your chicken after its cooked and shredded. Divide among your tortillas. Tuck in sides and roll up each tortilla.
Spray cookie sheet or casserole dish with cooking spray.  Put chimichangas with seam down spray the tops of chimichangas with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 15 minutes.
Serve with your choices salsa, sour cream, guacamole and enjoy.

Valerie's Crab Cake Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe and picture courtesy of Valerie Alava Ross

1 lb crab meat
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced celery
 (both quick sautéed in microwave or stovetop till soft)
 1 egg
 1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup panko
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Old Bay Seasoning
juice from 1/2 lemon
cayenne pepper
1 tsp worcestershire sauce  
dash of tobasco sauce
Combine ingredients. Wash and stem them. Fill each shroom with mixture, top with a melted butter/panko mixture (crumb topping). Bake @ 350 for 20 minutes.