…To be Continued


It’s time for some upgrades to That Cook Girl! My server goddess will be transferring my blog data to a new platform this week. What does this mean to you?

  • If you are a current subscriber, you will need to resubscribe once the new platform is up and running.
  • My posts-in-progress about the Farmers Market, Quiche, and my newest kitchen success (stay tuned! I’m excited about this one, and it is one that may surprise many of you!) are on hold until I come back up under the new platform.
  • And, I think that’s it. The web address will remain the same (www.thatcookgirl.com) and you can still find me on Facebook

I leave you now, with a picture of my Mothers Day dinner that I made yesterday, which I will tell you more about in my next blog post, once I return, which I think will be later this week? I don’t know anything about server stuff, etc… My Sis takes care of all that, for which I am always thankful!

Mothers Day Dinner… To Be Continued
Posted in Cooking With Love | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Puttin’ Up A Fight


 Life is never dull in our family, and I’m sure the same can be said for yours. I was just getting settled into our new “normal” (which is really just some level of crazy schedule that keeps us running, and we are now learning how to settle in for a totally different ride.

This ride means taking care of myself and my beautiful kiddos, as always. And we are now helping to gather the village around for my niece, who has just been diagnosed with Hodkins Lymphoma. She turns 15 this weekend and is a fighter. She fights like a girl, you know, and that means she’s filled with spirit and determination, and cancer’s gonna be sorry it ever heard her name, cuz she’ll kick it’s butt!  Supporters can get updates at Caring Bridge and contact Team Buggie for ways you can help her and her family.

So, you all know what I do. I feed people. It not only nourishes the body and helps you keep up the good fight, it nourishes the soul to help you keep up the good fight. It’s all about the food! But not just the food, the love that is behind that food. First thing’s first, I set to making a large batch of soup for the family so they’d have some good warm food to warm them up for the fight ahead of them. Knowing they need food more often than one person can provide for them, I rallied the villagers for help through TakeThemAMeal.com where they let you create calendars for when food is needed, customize the information you provide to volunteers and email directly from their website. All for FREE! A shining light in the middle of the darkness, there to help people in need.

Thank you to everyone who has given support for Team Buggie. Your prayers, thoughts, and kind words are priceless to Buggie and her family. GO TEAM BUGGIE!!!

Posted in Cooking With Love

Fortunate


“Kung Hee Fat Choy” (or Happy New Year… Chinese New Year, that is!)

I am fortunate enough to have been able to share a blessed Chinese New Year dinner with my 2 favorite kids. I hope you will all benefit from this fortune cookie message in this Year of the Rabbit: “You will enjoy peace and harmony in your home”

Posted in Food and drink | Tagged , , ,

The Year of the Rabbit


Today is the Chinese New Year. And I forgot all about it! I arrived at work this morning to find baskets filled with goodies and New Year wishes “Kung Hee Fat Choy”. It is now the Year of the Rabbit. A lucky year that will be followed by my personal favorite, the Year of the Dragon, next year (I was born in the Year of the Dragon and find the creature to be fascinating, but I think that’s a blog post for another day. 😉 ). This year, though… THIS year is my son’s year. The Year of the Rabbit. A lucky animal, indeed.

Several years ago, I began celebrating this holiday with my children, simply because we like to celebrate things and it’s a good excuse to eat Chinese food. Tonight’s dinner plans are now changed. The Tamale Pie will be frozen and can make it’s way onto next week’s menu instead. (It’s a lucky year already! I’ve got a dinner ready for next week, and it’s not even the end of this week, yet. 🙂 ) I will pick up some potstickers and some other of the kids’ faves on my way home. We would usually cook up a big Stir Fry, and had I remembered, I would have made some Chinese BBQ Pork as well. But tonight will be about sitting around and celebrating the New Year together with some fun Coloring Pages and crayons instead of making a mess of the kitchen.

Posted in Cooking With Love, Entertainment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Evolution of a Recipe


As a young Cook starting out in the kitchen, I was given a recipe from Mom that has stayed with me ever since. We made it together once, and she wrote it down for me. The original recipe she wrote out was not exactly what we cooked together. I think this must have been the beginning of the end of following recipes “to the letter” for me.

Over the years this recipe has served me well as a quick, “throw it together at the last minute” meal, and it is also a “company worthy” meal, especially if paired with a nice salad. What started in my kitchen as simply “Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli”, has evolved into something that I still call “Chicken & Broccoli”, and yet, it is a rare occassion that broccoli is the only vegetable in the pan/on the plate.

Tonight’s version included nearly 2 heads of garlic (much more than the 6 small cloves called for in the original recipe), carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, chicken, and angel hair pasta. Amounts? You got me! I have no idea, except that all of it together more than filled my very large Stir Fry Skillet and will provide leftovers for dinners and lunches this week.

 RECIPE EVOLUTION:

 ~Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli~

½ lb. spaghetti

¼ c. safflower oil

6 sm. cloves garlic, minced

2 bunches broccoli, cut into small pieces (3 cups)

3 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned, halved and cut into strips (1 ½ lb.)

¾ c. chopped fresh parsley

Black pepper

 Boil spaghetti until AL DENTE; drain. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add broccoli and sauté for 2 minutes, then transfer to a heated dish. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Toss pasta with broccoli and chicken. Garnish with parsley, sprinkle with pepper and serve.

 Serves 6

 cal. 421                        chol. 57mg

carbo. 37g                   sod. 79mg

prot. 28g                      pot. 802mg

t fat 18g                      fiber 2g

sat fat 3g                     calc 159mg

                                    iron 3.5mg

Mom’s notes:

When I made this, I sautéed the garlic along with the broccoli and sprinkled with lemon-pepper. If you use a salt-free lemon pepper, the sodium count from above stays the same. One with salt adds to the sodium content of the dish. I also sprinkled some lemon-pepper on the chicken as it cooked and skipped adding the pepper at the end of the recipe. Most times, my broccoli took longer than the 2 minutes to cook properly, too.

/end Mom’s recipe

For years I have posted online with a group of women. We are bonded together by our love of cooking, but our relationships have grown to be so much more than that. This is where the above recipe was in it’s evolution stage when I was still pretty new to online groups, and this is how I shared my recipe at that time.

Chicken And Broccoli With Pasta Recipe

broccoli flowerettes (approx 1 pound)
boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (approx 1 pound)
4 cloves garlic, pressed (I probably use more than that, b/c we like garlic)
angel hair pasta

In a large skillett cook broccoli until crisp-tender, chicken until done. cook each with as much garlic as you like (we use A LOT!!) cook pasta, toss all together. I sometimes add a little parsley, and lemon pepper. it’s fast and easy, total of about 15-20 minutes. I put soy sauce and parmesan cheese on the table, and everyone picks their own topping.

Serve with Garlic Toast (or Garlic Cheese Bread) and salad.

Fully grown now, and this is the first time I’ve looked at this recipe in, well, I don’t know how long. I wasn’t even sure I’d still have the original copy from Mom. And tonight, I made my much-loved “Chicken & Broccoli”. It was really just my way of using up the vegetables in the fridge that were in need of cooking and taking up my valuable fridge space. Yes, tonight, it was as my recipe above states, except that I used nearly 2 heads of garlic, and added to the pan a head of cauliflower and several carrots. I have been known to include mushrooms and/or zucchini, and any other stray vegetables that may be laying around, just wanting to be added to a sizzling pan of oil and garlic and tossed with pasta.

I have discovered that freshly grated/shredded parmesan is better than the powdery stuff from a can. (Although, I do prefer the powdery stuff from a can when making my garlic toast. A little garlicky butter spread on french bread, and sprinkled with that and then broiled until brown… it’s like a slice of heaven that reminds me of spaghetti dinners from my childhood!) I have served this up to many people, and everyone tops it differently. For a friend who likes spicy food, he would add chili paste to his portion. My kids eat it just as it is, no toppings. I like fresh parmesan *and* soy sauce sprinkled on mine.

My Notes:

If you start the water for pasta at the same time you start the cutting and slicing and dicing, you should be eating dinner by the time the pasta is finished cooking, if you’re using angel hair pasta, that is. I definitely prefer this with angel hair pasta!

I cook this now with extra virgin olive oil, and the pasta gets coated with a generous amount of same to keep it from sticking together in one big clump.

As I said, this is an easy way to use up whatever veggies are on hand. I’ve put just about any veggie you can think of into the pan, and always love how it turns out. I mean, really… it’s cooked in garlic! Everything tastes great cooked in a little (or a lot of) garlic, am I right? 😉

Posted in Chicken, Cooking With Love, Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Garlicky Goodness


I never get sick. Well, rarely, anyway… I just don’t. I have had the flu only twice that I can recall (and no, I don’t get the flu shot, never have). In recent years, I’ve suffered the symptoms of the common cold only a few times. Generally, I can recognize the onset, up my healthy food doses, get some extra rest and symptoms subside before I ever break open a box of Kleenex.

Not this time. No, this past weekend found me wiped out from exhaustion and the most awful cold symptoms I’ve had in a very long time. I tried to stop it. I did! I took extra vitamin-c, ate oranges, fresh veggies and tried to rest. It didn’t help. Not even a little bit. And I have spent 2 days trying to figure out why this cold hit me so fast and so hard that there was no way to stop it. It was at lunch today that it occurred to me.

Today was our company Christmas lunch. One of the menu choices was a crispy garlic chicken. I contemplated the steak or the sea scallops, but the garlic was just crying out to me. Garlic makes everything better. Including your health. Garlic has amazing healing properties. It has been shown to prevent things from the common cold to cancer. If you don’t have fresh garlic in your kitchen, go buy some TODAY and learn to cook with fresh garlic. Your health will thank you.

So, over the last couple crazy months, I have left a lot of the cooking to my kiddos. They are pretty good little cooks, but have a limited menu for items they can cook on their own with no supervision from me. This means my usual garlicky goodness dinners have not been abundant. There’s been far more convenience foods than I care to admit, as well.

When I realized today how little actual cooking I’ve done recently, and then realized that not only did this cold hit ME hard and fast, it had also hit my girl child earlier in the week, just as hard and fast, I decided it’s time to get some garlicky goodness back into our diets!

This week is crazy, but there’s no time like the present time to get our health back on track. Are ya with me?! What will YOU add garlic to this week?

Posted in Cooking With Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Imperfection at its Finest


I never said I’m perfect. I don’t even think I’ve ever hinted at thinking I’m perfect. I’m this imperfect little jumbled mess who wants to believe she can “do it all” and cook fabulous dinners every night, too. Yeah, well… I can’t. And I’m ok with that.

I made burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. The kids decided to take over the stove after I burned not only the first side of the sandwiches, but then the 2nd side, as well!!! I’m so glad I taught them how to cook. 😉

I will say that I think I made up for that mishap by making some really great bagels the following weekend.

This last weekend, I made spaghetti sauce. It took me 2 days to get the spices right!!! In the sauce, I used my freshly canned tomatoes from a few weeks ago. I think they lend a different flavor to the sauce, and I’ll have to remember to make adjustments to my cooking when using those in the future.

But… after spending 2 days getting the spices just right, I made a nice, big lasagne using the sauce, that is now lunches for the week with all the leftovers, and I froze 3 bags of sauce for later use.

And then there’s yesterday. The one day I wish nobody would have asked me the question… the ONE day I didn’t want to admit what I made my children for dinner… and the question was asked. And answered. My answer: corn dogs and tater tots… and the reply that came after that was: SHE’S HUMAN!!!! (And no… the corn dogs were not homemade, nor were they organic, blah, blah, blah… they were pure junk food and we loved them!!! But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on eating well and cooking fabulous meals. I still love to cook! I just needed a night off!)

Posted in Cooking With Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment