Chicken Divan

© Can Stock Photo/
roxanabalint

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.

I’m not a big fan of frozen dinners, but my mother used to buy Stouffer’s Chicken Divan. It was awesome. I’m not sure if they still make it or not, however, I’ve tweaked a couple of Campbell’s Soup recipes to come up with my own version, and I think I’ve come pretty close. It’s easy to prepare, and tasty. Best of all, it uses ingredients most of us probably already have. Enjoy.

Gayle Martin

CHICKEN DIVAN

(inspired by Campbell’s Soup recipes)

  • 2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli (thawed)
  • 2 cups cooked noodles
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese blend
  • 1 small can fresh mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bread crumbs

Chop broccoli, (if using fresh), and prepare noodles according to package directions. Clean chicken breasts thoroughly and cut into small cubes. Saute in a skillet until they are cooked all the way through. Remove from heat.

In a 2-quart casserole dish stir milk, melted butter, and cream of mushroom soup. Add pepper and canned mushrooms, if desired. Add broccoli, cooked noodles and cooked chicken, mix well. Top with generous layer of grated cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top layer is brown and sauce is bubbling.

 

 

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

© Can Stock Photo / NorGal

Sometimes you want a chocolate chip cookie. Other times you want an oatmeal cookie. Why not have both at the same time? I can’t recall where I first found this modern day recipe, but like most cookie recipes, it’s easy to prepare, and delicious.

By the way, I use almond extract instead of vanilla, and it really gives the cookies some extra zing.

Gayle Martin

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla and stir. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and blend into butter mixture a little at a time. Mix in the quick oats and fold in the walnuts, (if desired), and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for about 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

*Almond extract may also be used.

If you like cookies, and who doesn’t, you’ll find even more delicious cookie recipes in  Rosie’s Riveting Recipes. Please click on the link below for more information.

Preview for Free on Amazon

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Larry’s Italian Wedding Soup

© Can Stock Photo/ bruhum

Writing is something I truly love doing. Along with writing Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I write contemporary romance novels under the name Marina Martindale. Each of my novels includes a scene in which a character cooks something wonderful, and I include the recipe at the back of the book.

This recipe is from my first romance novel, The Reunion. I love Italian wedding soup, so Larry, a seventeen-year-old aspiring chef, has prepared it for his ailing brother, saying it’s his grandmother’s recipe. In reality, however, this recipe is my own creation. It comes from a combination of several different Italian wedding soup recipes, along with a little trial and error.

Gayle Martin

Larry’s ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef*
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead together like a meatloaf. Roll into small meatballs, about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown. Set aside.

For the soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)
  • I package of fresh mushrooms (optional)
  • 10 cups, (2 1/2 quarts) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup small pasta (such as stars or small sea shells)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed**

While the meatballs are baking saute the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, (if desired), and fresh mushrooms, (if desired),  in olive oil in a stockpot for approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil. Once the soup mixture is boiling beat egg in a small mixing bowl with a whisk until slightly frothy. Pour egg slowly and incrementally into soup mixture, whisking the soup mixture continuously until all of the egg has been added. Add pasta, salt, (if desired) and pepper and allow mixture to simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until pasta is soft. Add meatballs and dill. Cover and simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Add spinach and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Once soup is ladled into bowls top with grated Parmesan cheese.

* Ground chicken or ground turkey may also be used, or 1/2 pound of your favorite ground meat can be mixed with 1/2 of ground pork.

**Frozen or canned spinach may be substituted for fresh spinach

 

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Million Dollar Pie

© Can Stock Photo/
Noppharat

This recipe takes me back.

I was in Toastmasters for a number of years. It’s a wonderful organization, and you learn all kinds of interesting things listening to other member’s speeches. One night someone did a recipe demonstration for an easy to prepare pie that tasted like a million bucks, which was why it was called, Million Dollar Pie. Or so he said. Now mind you, I’ve never actually tasted cash, but it certainly is a delicious pineapple cream pie that only takes a few minutes to prepare.

Gayle Martin

MILLION DOLLAR PIE

  • 1 premade graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 package vanilla flavored instant pudding mix
  • 1 12 oz can condensed milk
  • 1 8 oz container whipped topping

Whisk together canned pineapple, canned milk and instant pudding mix in a large mixing bowl for about one minute.  Fold in the entire container of whipped topping mix. Once mixture is thoroughly blended pour into pie crust and gently smooth until it is evenly spread.  Chill several hours. Serve.

 

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Alex’s Macaroni and Cheese

© Can Stock Photo / MSPhotographics

When I’m not in the kitchen I write romance novels under the pen name Marina Martindale. So far, each novel has included a scene where my characters enjoy a home cooked meal, and I include the recipe in the back of the book.

In my second novel, The Deception, leading man Alex has just been reunited with Carrie, his long-lost childhood friend. When he comes to her apartment to prepare dinner for her, he makes his mother’s macaroni and cheese; their favorite childhood dish.

They say art imitates life, and macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite childhood dishes too. Problem was, I had no family recipe, and, ding, ding, ding, I’d been buying the prepackaged mac and cheese dinners for years. I confess. It was a bad habit I picked up back when I was a starving college student, and the time had come to break it. So I compiled several different recipes, did some test runs and tweaks, and soon came up with a mac and cheese recipe that was absolutely delicious. No wonder Alex and Carrie loved it. You will too.

Gayle Martin

ALEX’S MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 2 cups macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 1/2  cups milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend
  • (or 2 1/2 cups cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350F and cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. While pasta is cooking whisk milk and sour cream together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add seasonings. Set aside. Chop two tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Chill in refrigerator until needed. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, blend thoroughly and set aside.

Layer half of the cooked and drained macaroni, butter and cheese into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Top with the remaining macaroni, butter and cheese. Pour in the milk mixture and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is crispy and brown.

If desired, ham or sausage may be added. Low-fat milk, sour cream and cheeses may also be used. Penne pasta may also be used instead of elbow macaroni.

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

© Can Stock Photo / NorGal

Chocolate may have been rationed in Rosie’s day, but fortunately for us, those days are long gone. There really is no such thing as too much chocolate, at least not when you’re a chocolate lover like me. During the holidays what better way to celebrate than to add a few touches to a classic recipe and go for the chocolate. This recipe is my own creation, inspired by the classic Nestle Toll House recipe.

Gayle Martin

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

• 2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup cocoa
• 2 tablespoons coffee (if desired)
• 2 1/4 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 large (12 oz) package of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Place flour, baking soda and salt on a piece of wax paper and set aside. Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl. Blend in eggs, mixing thoroughly. Add cocoa and coffee, if desired, and mix thoroughly. Blend in dry ingredients, a little at a time, until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoon full onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Note: If the batter should become too dry and crumbly after adding flour simply add small increments of coffee or water, (one tablespoon or smaller), until moistened.

For a little more zing, use pumpkin spice flavored chips, if available, or add a teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

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Turkey and Stuffing Casserole

© Can Stock Photo / MSPhotographics

Post-holiday leftovers are great, and, just like in Rosie’s time, we don’t want them going to waste. However, they can also take up a lot of space in your refrigerator, so here’s a delicious recipe to combine your holiday leftovers into a single casserole dish, saving space in the fridge.

Gayle Martin

 

TURKEY AND STUFFING CASSEROLE

• Vegetable Cooking Spray

• 1 can cream of mushroom soup

• 1 1/2 cups milk, chicken broth or water

• 1 package frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot combination, thawed, (or other leftover vegetables)

• 2 cups cubed leftover turkey

• 3 to 4 cups leftover stuffing

• 1/4 cup leftover cranberry sauce (optional)

• 2 tablespoons butter, melted

• 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400F and spray nonstick cooking spray into a 12 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish. Set aside.

Stir soup and liquid in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Add vegetables, turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, if desired, and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into baking dish. Melt butter in the microwave and add the breadcrumbs, stirring until they are moistened. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the turkey mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbling.

Note: If you’re short on stuffing slice bread into small cubes and add to stuffing. If you prefer a creamier casserole, add more broth or milk.

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Traditional Cranberry Sauce

© Can Stock Photo / margo555

I’m told the least popular Thanksgiving side dish is the dreaded cranberry sauce. And I have to admit, that jelly looking cranberry colored blob that comes out of the can, shaped like the can, is nasty. So who wants to eat that?? Yuck.

There is, however, a tasty alternative–making your cranberry sauce from scratch. It’s surprisingly easy to prepare, and you can make your cranberry sauce a day or two ahead of time. Best of all, it freezes well, so you can serve the leftover sauce at Christmas.

Believe me, once you’ve tried fresh, you’ll never go back to canned.

Gayle Martin

TRADITIONAL CRANBERRY SAUCE

• 3 cups fresh cranberries

• 1 cup sugar

• 1 cup water

Place cranberries in a colander or strainer and wash thoroughly, removing any damaged berries. Set aside.

Pour water into a 2 quart saucepan and place over medium high heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil and add cranberries. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally until cranberry skins begin to pop. Keep stirring for several minutes. If a smoother sauce is desired, keep stirring until most of the skins have popped. Remove from heat and set aside. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate sauce once it reaches room temperature.

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Quick Impromptu Spaghetti and Meatballs

© Can Stock Photo / pstudio66

I usually make my spaghetti sauce from scratch, but every once in awhile I’ll get a hankering for spaghetti and meatballs and I simply don’t have the time to prepare my signature sauce. That’s when I have to get creative, and I’ve came up with a tasty alternative. It takes about thirty minutes to prepare, and it’s delicious.

Gayle Martin

QUICK IMPROMPTU SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS

  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1  pound extra lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz) cans Italian style diced tomatoes*
  • 2 small (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • splash of red wine
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced**
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta

Blend bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, black pepper, egg and ground beef together in a large mixing bowl and knead until well blended. Break off small pieces of meat mixture and roll into 1-inch diameter meatballs. Place meatballs on a plate. Pour olive oil in a large, deep skillet or saute pan. Turn stove on medium and heat the oil for about two minutes. Add meatballs, onions and garlic and stir frequently but very gently until meatballs are browned on all sides.

Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, and a splash of red wine. Blend well, being careful not to break the meatballs. Once sauce starts to bubble reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If sauce is too thick add a little more wine or a small amount of water.) While sauce is simmering prepare your favorite pasta according to package directions. Yields approximately 24 meatballs.

*If using plain canned tomatoes add two teaspoons Italian seasoning to sauce.

**1 teaspoon of garlic powder may be substituted for fresh garlic.

 

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Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I love baking and finding new recipes. I then add my own touches to make it my own.  This is one such recipe. I made a few changes and tested it on a few musician friends. Musicians are great guinea pigs. They’ll try anything, and they’ll give you honest feedback. This recipe is musician tested and musician approved.

 

ORANGE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest*
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or white chocolate)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grate one medium to large orange into a small bowl and squeeze its juice into a separate small bowl. Set both bowls aside. Stir flour, baking soda and salt into a medium sized bowl and set aside. Cream softened butter, sugar and brown sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs and add orange zest and orange juice. Mix until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients in small increments until well blended. If dough is too stiff add small amounts of water until desired consistency. Add chips and walnuts, if desired. Drop tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets and bake 10 to 12 minutes.

*Orange zest is another name for grated orange peel.

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