Friday, June 26, 2015

Raspberry Almond Chocolate Mousse #SummerofPudding

Summer is here and it's time to celebrate! - Kozy Shack is hosting a 3 month celebration dedicated to enjoying the simple moments in life with delicious Kozy Shack pudding.  The Summer of Pudding kicks off with National Chocolate Pudding Day today!

KOZY SHACK is hosting giveaways on their social channels all summer long!  Find out more on:

Have you ever watched a kid (or yourself) scraping the corners of a bowl of chocolate pudding to get the very last bit?  Those are the simple moments in life that are comforting and we can easily recall.  Kozy Shack Pudding is made with real, simple ingredients - and the perfect way to make your summertime celebrations even more special.  Kozy Shack Pudding tastes delicious straight out of the fridge,of course, but you can turn your everyday pudding into a special treat or even a fancy dessert by adding fruit or topping that you already have at home.  Be creative!

How about a rich and creamy Chocolate Mousse?
Perfect to make ahead and keep chilled until you are ready!


1 22 oz. Kozy Shack Original Recipe Chocolate Pudding
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Raspberry preserves
Sliced almonds


With a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip heavy cream with sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy.  In a medium bowl, add chocolate pudding and 1/3 of the whipped cream and whisk to lighten the mixture.  Set 1/4 of the whipped cream aside for garnish.  Fold in remaining whipped cream until combined.

Spoon into dessert cups, a layer of raspberry preserves and remaining mousse to fill cup.  Garnish with whipped cream and sliced almonds.

You could even put this mousse into fancy glasses - it's that good!

Find out more at FACEBOOK and share your memories and ideas with the hashtag #SummerofPudding and #KozyShack on INSTAGRAM and TWITTER.

KOZY SHACK is hosting giveaways on their social channels all summer long!

Have a great summer!

Quick Zesty Garlic Dill Pickles

Quick pickling is a fast way to have tangy, crispy and crunchy pickles in as little as an hour without any special equipment.  Besides eating pickles straight from the jar as a snack, serve with sandwiches or cheese and meat trays.  I do a lot of pickling during the summer months and take advantage of all the best garden and farmer's market veggies before they go bad.


Kosher or pickling salt
6 Kirby or small cucumbers, trimmed and halved
8 sprigs fresh dill
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 cups water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 slivered onion
6 cloves garlic
4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. dill seeds
2 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp. mustard seeds

Sprinkle kosher or pickling salt over cucumbers in a colander; set aside to let drain 20-30 minutes.  Rinse salt from cucumbers and blot dry with paper towels; tightly pack in a clean jar, crock or glass bowl with dill springs and jalapeno.

Boil water, vinegar, onion, garlic, 4 tsp. salt, dill seeds, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a medium non-reactive saucepan, 5 minutes.  Pour mixture over cucumbers; let cool to room temperature.  Cover container and chill until cold.  Ready to serve!  Refrigerate up to 1 month. 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Crouton-Crusted Chicken Caesar Salad

In this recipe for Chicken Caesar Salad, the chicken is almost as crunchy as the croutons!  The secret to a crusted chicken breast that's crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.  This salad can be made easily on a work night.  Make extra and take for lunch the next day.

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast (6-8 oz. each)
1 cup coarsely chopped Texas Toast Croutons (any variety you like)  I used Garlic and Butter.
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of your favorite Caesar Dressing plus 2 Tbsp.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large head Romaine Lettuce
Extra croutons for garnish


Process croutons until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to paper plate or shallow dish.
Trim excess skin and fat from chicken.  Slice each breast in half lengthwise.  Place chicken in a plastic bag with a little water inside.  Lightly pound to an even thickness.  Season with salt and pepper. Dip both sides of prepared chicken into 2 Tbsp. Caesar Dressing.  Transfer the chicken to the dish containing crumbs.  Pat crumbs on both sides of chicken - it's OK if some crumbs fall off.

Heat oil in large non-stick pan.  Lay chicken in the pan.  Saute chicken until golden, 3-4 minutes.  Carefully flip chicken and saute until completely cooked.  
Slice romaine lettuce in half and remove core.  Slice into thin shreds.  Place in colander and rinse well with cold water.  Dry well with paper towel and refrigerate until ready to prepare salad.  I leave a piece of paper towel in with the lettuce while it's chilling to absorb excess moisture.

Slice chicken breast into strips or cubes.  Toss chilled romaine with Caesar Dressing - just enough to coat the lettuce.  Add chicken and croutons.  Drizzle with a little extra dressing and grate plenty of parmesan cheese on top.


Prep Time:  15 mins.
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings:  4 generous

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

This is a sweet, refreshing fruity salsa, perfect for summer entertaining.  Pineapple balances perfectly with tart lime and creamy avocado.  You can serve this as an appetizer with fresh tortilla or plantain chips, or part of a main meal over grilled chicken or shrimp.  Heck, you could even add some tequila in place of the pineapple juice!


2 cups fresh pineapple, diced reserving juice
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1/2 red onion, minced
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste


In a medium bowl, mix pineapple,  3 Tbsp. pineapple juice, lime juice, honey, olive oil, jalapeno, and red onion.  Add avocado and cilantro and gently mix to combine.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Serve with freshly fried tortilla chips.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Southern Italian Pasta Fagioli

Some recipes are one and done - but this one keeps you coming back for more!  An Italian comfort food favorite, Pasta Fagioli has been on many Italian tables on a weekly basis.  It's filling, nutritious, and if you can find the best ingredients, this is more than a simple pasta and bean soup.

San Marzano tomatoes, fresh rosemary and a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano can turn this soup into one of your favorite meals.

You can use whatever vegetables you would like.  I added one small zucchini.


2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
2 - 15 oz. cans cannellini (white) beans
1 - 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
2 cups water
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 cup dried ditalini or other small pasta
Fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Locatelli for serving

Heat a stock pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta.  Brown pancetta bits lightly.  Add herb stems, chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the beans, tomatoes, water and stock to pot and bring to a simmer.  Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Bring soup to a boil and add the pasta.  Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked.  Remove rosemary and thyme stems.  Add fresh basil, turn off heat and let soup rest for a few minutes.  Serve in warm bowls with plenty of cheese.

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  45 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...