Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

December 31, 2014

Orange Honey Chicken - Home Cooked Recipe 60

While looking for new chicken recipe online recently, I came across a recipe for Orange Chicken that the Pioneer Woman posted.  You can find the original recipe HERE.  It looked so good, I had to try it.  It is really easy to make and super delicious.  The only thing I tweaked was that I added double the amount of honey (she used 1 tbs brown sugar, but I used 2 tbs of honey), and I omitted the vinegar because I didn't think the sauce needed it due to the acid in the OJ.  I even fresh squeezed my OJ since navel oranges are in season and I got 4 lbs for $1.99.  I squeezed 5 oranges worth, which was probably more than the 1/2 cup of OJ she calls for, but we like things really saucy around here.  Try it for a great weeknight meal!

Orange Honey Chicken
Sauce before thickened


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 cup OJ
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • crushed red pepper to taste (I used about 1 tbs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • veg oil (for frying)

Chicken in egg white mixture
Heat 2 inches oil in dutch oven until it reaches 350.
Whisk together 2 egg whites and 1 tbs cornstarch until frothy.  Place chicken cubes in mixture and let sit 5-10 minutes.  Meanwhile, make sauce.
In small non stick saucepan, combine OJ, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and red pepper.  Heat on medium until bubbling.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Stir together 1 tsp cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  Whisk in to sauce mixture.  Heat on medium low until sauce is thickened (about 5-10 minutes).
Thickened sauce
Fry chicken in oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.  
Chicken Frying
Serve chicken in sauce, with white rice on the side if desired (cook 1 cup rice in 2 cups water for 30 minutes).

Finished chicken

December 30, 2014

Beef and Potato Empanadas - Home Cooked Recipe 59

I adore empanadas! Little hand pies filled with meat, cheese, or even dessert fillings.  I am in love with Latin flavors, and these tasty little treats are easy to make if you take a little help from your freezer section.  As you know, I am not much into the pastry arts, so instead, I get the dough, already made and in perfect circles for only a couple of bucks from my freezer section (you can find them with international foods).  Easy to make for a snack, lunch, dinner... Any time really!  And I did mine with beef and potato since I saw a recipe that looked so good on Wishes and Dishes.  But really, you can fill them with chicken, cheese, or even chocolate for dessert.  Try them!

Beef and Potato Empanadas

1 package of 10 frozen empanada dough discs, thawed (for 1 hour at room temp prior to using)
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 small russet potato, diced into very small chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 packet of Goya Sazon

1 tbs of Goya Adobo seasoning
1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs dried cilantro
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper

1 small can tomato sauce 
1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of water

Preheat oven to 350.
Add caption
Brown ground beef in pan with potatoes.  After 5 minutes, add garlic and onions.  Cook another 5 minutes and add all the spices.  Cook another 5 minutes and stir in all the spices.  After 5 more minutes, add in tomato sauce, combine well, cook two more minutes and then turn off heat.  Let filling cool.  Fill each disc with a tablespoon or so of filling (be careful not to overfill).  Fold in half and seal edges together with a fork.  Brush tops with egg wash.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.

December 24, 2014

We Made Room For Dessert 20 - Xmas Sugar Cookies

I love a good sugar cookie.  I found an easy recipe for them online, and made them this year as my Christmas cookie of choice.  I also made the icing from scratch, and I am giving you that recipe today too as a bonus recipe!  Happy Holidays to all my blog readers!!!

Sugar Cookies


  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter together on low until completely combined.  Add extracts and egg, beat again for another minute.  Slowly fold in baking powder and flour.  Beat on low for a couple of minutes until dough is completely incorporated.  Roll out dough onto counter.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Let cool completely before icing.

Sugar Cookie Icing


  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 drops of food coloring (I used green for Christmas)

Combine all ingredients until smooth and completely combined.  Spread onto cooled cookies with knife.

December 22, 2014

Asian Beef Stew - Crock*Pot Cafe 4

I am a big fan of food that uses Asian flavors.  Recently I saw a recipe for beef and broccoli in the slow cooker that had a great Asian sauce.  So I adapted the recipe by using carrots instead of broccoli, and adding about a cup more beef broth to the sauce recipe, as well as adding some red pepper flakes for a kick.  The result?  A delicious Asian style beef stew that was hearty and comforting, with a great sweet and spicy sauce.  Served over rice it makes a great meal.

Asian Beef Stew

(for 2 people, double recipe for a family of 4)

  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chucks
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
***4 tbs cooking liquid
***2 tbs corn starch
***2 cups cooked white rice for serving

Mix together broth, soy, sugar, pepper, garlic, and sesame oil.  Pour into bottom of slow cooker.  Place stew meat on top, stirring gently to separate cubes and toss with sauce.  Top with carrot chunks, and gently stir.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  After 6 hours, remove 4 tbs cooking liquid.  This is also the time to start cooking your rice (1 cup white rice, 2 cups water, simmer for 20-30 minutes).  Mix the 4 tbs of cooking liquid with 2 tbs cornstarch. Pour back into slow cooker.  Stir well.  Continue to cook stew on low for another 30 minutes until rice is finished.  Serve stew with white rice.

December 19, 2014

Slow Baked Chicken Thighs - Home Cooked Recipe 58

Normally in my house when we have chicken it is boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  That's like 97% of the time.  One in a while we have chicken wings.  But I have heard so much about chicken thighs, that I finally decided to take the plunge and make a recipe where that is the main star.  I was perusing through the October issue of Cooking Light magazine and came across and article for slow baked chicken thighs.  You can find the original recipe HERE.  With a few tweaks, I made the dish my own and really liked it!  I think white meat is still the favorite around here, but I will definitely be making chicken things (boneless, skinless) again.

Slow Baked Chicken Thighs


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 1 packet Goya sazon
  • 1 tbs cajun or creole spice
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325.
Melt 2 tbs butter on the bottom of a baking dish (I used my trusty small glass Pyrex).  Next, layer onions on bottom of dish.  Place chicken thighs on top of onions.  Season all over with sazon, cajun spice, and salt and pepper.  Place lemons and garlic slices all around dish in between chicken pieces,  Cut remaining butter in to a small dice and sprinkle over top of chicken.  Cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Uncover, baste chicken, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, basting every ten minutes.  Serve with rice.

December 15, 2014

We Made Room For Dessert 19 - Birthday Cake

What's a birthday without cake?  I have made a couple of birthday cakes previously, but this year for a couple of friends birthday's I made my first layer cake.  I used a recipe for a chocolate cake with mayonnaise instead of oil.  It did come out so much more moist than my previous cakes!  As a short cut I used store bought frosting, but you can make your own if you so desire.  I might the next time, as the store bought kind was way too sweet for me.  Either way, this cake is easy, moist, and delicious!

Birthday Cake 


  • 1 box devil's food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 2 tubs vanilla frosting (I used Pillsubry, which came with sprinkles)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mayo (I used Hellmann's as it's the only kind of mayo I use)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350
Grease 2 8 inch cake pans
Mix together all ingredients except frosting on low speed for a minute, then on high for 3 minutes.  Equally divide cake batter between the 2 pans.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Let cake cool for an hour.
Frost cake, creating a layer of frosting in between the two cake layers, then frost the whole outside.  Decorate with sprinkles.

December 11, 2014

Simply Sides 14 - Baked Beans

What completes a BBQ better than the side items like coleslaw, mac n cheese, and baked beans?  I have already posted some great recipes for coleslaw (click HERE) and mac n cheese (click HERE), but not one for baked beans yet!  I was perusing Pinterest (you know it's my fav!) and found a great recipe on South Your Mouth.  I made them for a bonfire we recently went to and EVERYBODY absolutely LOVED them.  So next time you need and easy, delicious, and fairly inexpensive side dish, make these!

Baked Beans


  • 2 28oz cans baked beans (the original recipe calls for cheap pork and beans but I used Bush's Country Style baked beans and I am pretty sure it was worth it, plus they were 2/$4 at my grocer that week)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Kraft Spicy Honey)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs Cajun spice (my own addition)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 5-6 slices bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all ingredients except beans and bacon in a mixing bowl.  Combine well.  Fold in both cans of beans.  Pour in to a baking dish.  Top with bacon pieces.  Bake for 1 - 2 hours.  

December 8, 2014

Spanikopita - Home Cooked Recipe 57

Aaaaaahhh.  Spinach pie.  One of my absolute favorite dishes in the world. A Greek delicacy, laced with many flaky phyllo dough layers, tons of butter, spinach, and cheese.  What is not to like?  Recently I wrote about my trip to the Epcot Food and Wine fest, and mentioned how their Spanikopita was my favorite bite.  It inspired me to make my own at home.  This recipe is easy, but does require patience.  Serious patience.  Phyllo dough is delicate and you have to layer it with butter on each sheet to get a nice base.  And this requires many sheets.  But in my opinion? Totally worth the effort.  And once you get the technique down you could fill your phyllo with anything you like!


2 10oz boxes of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (make sure you wring spinach out in a towel)
1 roll of phyllo dough (1/2 a box, a box usually comes with 2 rolls)
1 stick of butter, melted
1 4oz tub of feta
4oz shredded mozzarella
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper
dash of garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.
For the filling: Combine egg, spinach, cheeses, and spices.  Keep in fridge until done with first half of phyllo crust.
For the crust: Start by spreading out phyllo dough.  Divide stack in half, keeping one half under a moist (but not WET towel).  In a well-greased baking dish (9x9), place one sheet of phyllo.  Brush on butter.  Place another phyllo sheet on top.  Repeat phyllo layers until your first half of the roll is gone. Then layer on spinach filling, spreading evenly.  Remove moist towel and place a phyllo sheet on top of spinach.  Brush with butter.  Top with phyllo.  Repeat with the rest of phyllo dough until all sheets are used.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

December 1, 2014

SPECIAL POST - Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving Spread
Ahhhh.  Another Thanksgiving is now behind us.  I do adore Thanksgiving, because it is a big food holiday!  This year, I made a couple of dishes to bring to the house we went to.  One of them is new (for me), and the other one my family has made every Thanksgiving and Christmas for 20+ years.  Now I am going to share them with you!!!  What could be better than 2 recipes in one post?  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and continue to have an amazing holiday season!

Dish #1 - Cornbread Pudding


  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 10 oz package frozen corn
  • 1/2 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together.  Grease 9x13 baking dish,  Pour batter into dish.  Bake for 1 hour.

Dish #2 - Cheesy Ritz and Broccoli Casserole


  • 2 10 oz packages of frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 2 8 oz packages shredded cheddar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350
Mix crushed crackers with melted butter.  Make sure crackers are completely coated in butter.  Mix together broccoli and cheddar.  Fold in 1/2 of cracker mixture and spread in greased baking dish.  Top with remaining cracker mixture (spread evenly over top).  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

November 20, 2014

Blue Cheese Meatballs - Home Cooked Recipe 56

Can you tell I am obsessed with the beef and blue cheese combination lately?  There is just something so satisfying and umami about those two together!  I love meatballs, and combining them with blue cheese seemed like the perfect thing to do.  They turned out great, and I recommend you try them! This recipe is so simple and takes almost no time.  You can serve them with your normal pasta sauce, or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Blue Cheese Meatballs


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/4 medium onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Form into golf ball size balls.  Place on a cooling rack you have put on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.

November 12, 2014

Simply Sides 13 - Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I have been struggling with potassium issues (muscle cramps, leg cramps, toe cramps, etc).  Tired of eating a million bananas, and one bout with Pedialyte (don't ask LoL), I was reading up on potassium rich foods and found out that sweet potatoes have the most potassium of all veggies/fruits!  Well, I love sweet potatoes so I bought some and we ate them mashed (which is my go to).  My bf said it felt too much like Thanksgiving, so I looked up some fry recipes that would make sweet potatoes more like an everyday side side dish for us.  Here's one that I tried that was delish!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 450.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place in oven to preheat.
In a bowl, mix sweet potato strips with oil and spices.  When oven is preheated, pull out baking sheet and place fries in a single layer on sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  

November 7, 2014

Black Bean Soup - Home Cooked Recipe 55

Weather is finally getting chillier here in FL (we actually reached 45 this past weekend -whoah!) and it's time to start cooking the recipes I reserve for winter cooking.  In addition to making old favorites, I like to try new ones as well.  Also, I am looking for meatless and/or gluten free recipes and this recipe for black bean soup fits the category!

Black Bean Soup


  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cajun or creole seasoning

Saute onion and carrots in 2 tbs olive oil until soft and tender (5-10 minutes).  Add in garlic and saute another minute.  Add salt and pepper, as well as creole/cajun seasoning at this stage.  Pour in 2 cups of broth and cook at a boil for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer and stir in beans, tomatoes, and remaining broth.  Simmer on low for 15 - 30 minutes.  I served mine with yellow rice and a caesar salad, but white rice, another kind of salad, and bread also make great additions to make this soup a main meal.  Hint, use a couple dashes of hot sauce to spice up this soup if you/your family can handle the heat.
I used an immersion blender to partially puree the soup.  You can also use a blender or food processor.  I would only puree half the soup though, you want some texture by leaving the other half unprocessed.

November 3, 2014

Special Post - Epcot Food and Wine Fest 2014

It has been a looooong time since I have been to Epcot for the Food and Wine Fest.  Probably at least 6 or 7 years.  So when I got the invitation to go to help celebrate a friend's birthday (accompanied by free entry courtesy of one of the birthday girl's awesome friend) I jumped at the chance.  I didn't have enough money (or room in my stomach!) to try everything I wanted, but thanks to a great group of people I got a taste of lots and lots of food and drink, and purchased some of my own to devour.  My favorite was the Spanikopita in Greece.  I am a sucker for an awesome spinach pie (stay tuned on this blog, I made my own spanikopita recently and will be sharing the recipe in a couple of weeks).  So let me take you on the journey I went on this year at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival!
Grand Marnier Slush

We started in France.  Our first order of business was to get a drink, a Grand Marnier slush to be exact.  This drink has Grand Marnier, Grey Goose orange vodka, orange juice, and rum.  Very delicious (but kind of priced too high at $9.86 + tax - $10.51).  

From France, our next stop was in Japan.  I did not purchase anything here, but was able to taste a bit of the Saki sampler and my favorite was the Hana Fuga, which is a peach flavored sparkly Saki.  I like my drinks sweet and fruity, and this fit the bill!
Sampling Saki in Japan - What a great group!

Limoncello Margarita
After leaving Japan and walking for a bit, our next stop was in Italy where I discovered the Frozen Margarita, which contained Limoncello and tequila.  I love me some Limoncello and this was by far my favorite drink in the whole festival.  Sweet, tart, and refreshing, I can definitely see myself lying on a beach somewhere sipping these all day.  I did not try any food here but some of my group had the Filetto di Pollo con Funghi al Marsala and they deemed it amazing.

Sauerkraut Pierogi with Pork Goulash
I jumped right from Italy to Poland (right next door) and purchased my first food bite.  The Sauerkraut Pierogi with Pork Goulash was like being right at home.  I am half Polish and pierogies and pork were a large part of my upbringing.  There is nothing I like better than a good pierogi.  If you've never had them, they are basically like Polish ravioli.  A pasta pocket filled with something (usually sauerkraut/potato, potato/cheddar, potato/onion, or some kind of meat, although really, you can fill them with anything, including dessert like fillings), they are little pockets of heaven. My favorite are generally the potato/cheddar variety, and we would boil them for 3-5 minutes and then saute them in butter and onions and lots of black pepper.  This sauerkraut pierogi was amazing, I am a big fan of sauerkraut.  The Pork Goulash was cooked perfectly, with the chunks of pork being tender and falling apart in a nice tomato sauce.  

Meanwhile, while I was sampling my Polish food, friends were congregating in Singapore, where someone tried the Lemongrass Chicken Curry (a gluten-free option, by the way), and in Germany, where there were beer samplers involved as well as noshes on Bratwurst.  I am not a huge curry fan, and I think by now all my blog readers know how I feel about sausage so I did not sample any of these but when we got to Africa and a group member purchased the (also Gluten-free) South African Bobotie (involving turkey and mushrooms) I did have a bite and enjoyed it.

After leaving Africa are next stop was in South Korea and I had a sip of the Bahae Blackberry Wine and thought it was delish.  

I cannot remember if anyone got anything in China, but I don't think so.  However, at the new Farm Fresh booth which features local delicacies and emobodies the Farm to Table movement, I tried a bite of the Pepper Bacon Hash (good) and I remember someone else trying the Yard Bird and saying it was wonderful.

From there we journeyed to Mexico, where we entered the Tequila Cave.  Everyone but me ordered some kind of Margarita, ranging from cucmber to one that also contained Rumchata.  I can only have limited amounts of tequila, and because my margarita from Italy contained some, I did not chance it in Mexico.  We also went on the boat ride there, which is just a nice way to cool off on a hot day and sit down and relax for a few minutes.  As we were leaving some group members ordered tacos and claimed them to be scrumptious.

Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney
In Australia, which was next, I had a sip of the Reisling, and while I like a sweet reisling this one was a bit dry for my taste.  I know several group members purchased the lamb, and one the shrimp, and I did get a small taste of the sauce on the lamb (very good), but I myself went over to New Zealand and grabbed the Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney.  Situated on a pastry shell, it was tender, moist, and tasty.

Frozen S'mores
After a few brief detours, (which included a sample of Ghiardelli chocolate), we made it to Scotland.  I had a bite of my friend's potato pancake (ok, but nothing to write home about) and watched more group members sample the scallop, which looked divine.  

At the Desserts and Champagne Booth, my friend and I each got a Frozen S'mores, which was a great sweet sipper that fixed my sweet tooth. 

Then we made it to Greece!  I indulged in my Spanikopita, which I have already told you is my fav.  Several group members got the Griddled Cheese with honey and pistachios and were gracious enough to give me more than one bite.  Yummy!  I also had a sip of the Tzatziki Martini which is not a bad drink (although the idea of it beforehand had me skeptical).  I would not drink them all the time but it was good, and definitely different.

In Canada a group member purchased the beer cheese soup and I had a taste of it and really enjoyed it.  In Ireland, my friend got the Warm Chocolate Pudding with a liquor custard sauce and that was just dreamy.  I would eat that again in a heartbeat!
Brazilian Cheese Bread

And that brings us back to France, where we started.  While people were ordering more slushies before we hit the road, I hopped over to Brazil, and purchased one of my favorite things, the Pao de Queijo, which is Brazilian Cheese Bread.  A great finish to a great day.

Sunset at Epcot
I love the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  I would go back all the time during it's course (usually a month or two every year around Oct/Nov).  It does get really expensive however, so be prepared if you decide to plan a trip.  The pass for the day runs you about $100 and that does not include any food or drink.  Thank goodness for the gracious free entry I received.  The bites range anywhere from $3-$10 or so, and the drinks depend on where you are but also around $3 to upwards of $20.  Each.  You can easily spend $100's on food and drink there in one day.  So plan what you really want to try on the neat little passports they hand out, or go in a group and you can split the cost up by each purchasing something and sharing.  The Festival also offers classes and demos, which you can purchase tickets to.  And there is always a band there that plays at different times of the day, check online for more details about that.  I know Smashmouth was playing the day we were there, but we ran out of time to go see them.  And don't forget about the Fireworks, every day at 9pm!

The festival is still going on until November 10th this year, so you have a week left to go if you choose.  Visit Epcot for more info!

Desserts and Champagne






New Zealand