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Showing posts from 2018

Fried Rice and Ginger Shrimp

I love holiday weeks.  There is always a festive feeling buzzing around.  Work always seems to be a little bit slower also; usually a great time to catch up on things I had been putting off.  Unwittingly, I ordered my first box from Green Chef this week - Thanksgiving week.  I probably should have ordered it for next since this week will be all about cooking and eating with family, but that is ok. 

I made this amazing fried rice and shrimp today.  I loved everything about this dish:  the colors, the crunch of the bok choy and edamame, the saltiness of the tamari sauce, and the rice and fried shrimp were great.  I am sure I could also make this with chicken or beef as I will definitely be making this again.  To spice this up, you could add some chili sauce as well.  YUM!

Happy Thanksgiving Fellow Foodies!

Crispy Shrimp and Fried Rice (serves 2)

10 oz Shrimp
1/2 C Basamati Rice
1/4 C Chopped Carrots
1/4 C Edamame
1/4 C Minced Yellow Onion
1 T Minced Fresh Ginger
1 Egg
1/4 C…

Quinoa, Rice and Toasted Chickpea Tabbouleh

I think I mentioned in prior posts that I am a member for the Daughters of Italy?  Anyway, it is a service club that was founded in 1919 for Italian immigrant women in the Copper Country as a support organization.  Now, we do fundraising for local Catholic charities and meet once a moth to visit and plan events.  Our monthly meeting is tonight and since I am an officer (secretary) I need to bring a dish.  Given I have a busy day at work, I needed to use what I had on hand so I made my traditional tuna noodle salad (not necessary to post about noodles, tuna, mayo, salt and celery) and a new dish I just made up and have posted here, a Tabbouleh made with quinoa, rice and chickpeas.

It turned out so good.  I am a big fan of toasted chickpeas for a snack, served warm in a couscous bowl or in this case, cooled and mixed into a crunchy salad.  When I roasted and toasted the chickpeas, I used more oil in this version than when I made the couscous bowl and I also reduced the oven temp and len…

Harvest Time... Lemon Piccata with Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

My friend Julie and her son Max are here for a few weeks from England and tonight I made dinner for them.  I made Chicken Piccata and Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto.  This risotto recipe came to me in a recent Hello Fresh box and it was so good that I repeated it 2 more times already.  The butternut squash and pepitas are perfect for a fall day. It also goes great with the chicken piccata.  One thing to note:  both of these dishes are a bit on the labor intensive side, right before serving, so there was a lot of juggling going on prior to plating.  But it was all great.  We had a fun night with good food and friends!

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto (for 4) - from Hello Fresh

2 Yellow onions
1/2 Oz Fresh Sage
4 Cloves Garlic
24 Oz Butternut Squash, cubed
6 C Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 1/2 C Arborio Rice
1 C Parmesan Cheese
2 Oz Pepitas
1 t Olive Oil
2 T Butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.Halve, peel and finely dice onions.Finely chop the sage leaves.Minc…

Risotto Isn’t so Scary After All.

I have a love/hate relationship with risotto.  I think I have had equally both terrible versions and delicious versions of this dish.  But the inconsistency it the scary part.  I hesitate to order risotto at restaurants.  All anyone says is how hard it is to make.  All that stirring, stirring, stirring.  Blah, blah, blah...

All of this discontent around the super stirred rice, all the fear of the gluey, gloppy starch or the burnt bottoms, has let me to NEVER try to make risotto.

Until one day this month.  I tried it.  I met my fear head on and entered into the vast unknown.

And the result was a smashingly yummy, creamy, light, smooth, earthy pot of risotto that I will remember all the days of my life.  Well, I doubt that, but it was pretty damn good if I say so myself.  I made this with scallops, but it can pair with any protein or be savored on its own.

Hope you like it.  Don’t be scared. :-0

No Fear Mushroom Risotto with Scallops (Serves 2)

5 Cups Chicken Broth2 Cloves G…

Barbeque with Foodie Mama: Red Garter's Ribs and Pulled Pork

When I was a teenager and into my twenties, there was a great restaurant in Calumet called the Red Garter.  It was an awesome place.  There were little alcove dining areas, a fun, fancy ambiance, a great bar crowd and the most delicious ribs my younger self had ever tasted.  But I wasn't the only one who thought so; people would consistently rave about them.  So tender and flavorful.  Not 'fall off the bone', however, they definitely had some substance.  I remember going there with my friend Lisa and her mom and dad a few times after watching a boy's basketball game or hockey game on Friday nights.   Then when Ron and I were dating and during the first few years of our marriage we went there often.  Tragically, the restaurant burned down in 1990 due to a fire in the kitchen.  The owners did not rebuild or reopen the restaurant, and sadly, the Copper Country never did replicate those ribs quite the same way anywhere else.

Ron's brother Donald worked in the kitchen …

Power Bowling

I have been enjoying a lot of rice, quinoa and couscous bowls lately.  They are so versatile and flavorful, and pretty much anything goes!  Today I'd like to share a delicious and healthy bower bowl, with couscous, protien powered chickpeas, zucchini and heirloom tomatoes.  The flavors combine so well; this is one of my favorite go to meals recently.  TIP:  toasting couscous before cooking makes it so delicious!

Mediterranean Chickpea and Couscous Bowl (for 2)
Ingredients: 1 medium zucchini1 medium Heirloom tomato or 4 oz Heirloom grape tomatoes1 t Thyme 1 medium onion2 cloves garlic1 lemon1 can chickpeas1 t paprika3/4 C Israeli Couscous2 t vegetable bouillon1/2 C feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Set one rack in upper position and one in middle.Cut zucchini into 1/2 inch cubes.  Chop tomato into chunks (or halve the grape tomatoes).  Finely chop a part of the onion the onion, making 2 T.  Cut the remaining onion into wedgesPlace zucchini, tomatoes, onion wedges …

Foodie Mama's 100th Post

I have been keeping this blog since 2011 as a venue to store as well as to share some of my favorite recipes along with my personal notes and anecdotes along the way.  This is my one hundredth posting.  I went around and around in my thought process about what profound thing to write about.  I ended up going with just another recipe, albeit a fabulously simple and delicious dessert.

In perusing my old posts recently, what I have gleaned, in addition to all the type-os I need to fix, is that I have matured in my cooking and in my eating habits.  We all have our old stand - bys, either recipes our mothers or grandmothers made or taught us to make, or the simple meals we make when we have children at home, especially fussy eaters.  There is that wonderful nostalgia that comes with creating those dishes.  But in the past couple of years, I really feel have come into my own as a cook. Regularly trying new recipes, using more herbs and varied spices, as well as inventing new recipes and add…

Midsummer Meals with Farro, the Other Grain.....

With the exception of the flood (you can reference my previous blog post) our Summer has been lovely.  The weather has been warm (between 70 - 80 degrees F) nearly every day with minimal rain.  I've been taking advantage of the nice days and evenings and spending as much time sitting on the porch and taking in the sun.

Summer means light simple recipes.  Here I will share two recipes made with a grain which I have not used before, farro.  I really enjoyed using it and these two dishes from Blue Apron were quite delicious.  The ingredients are very similar.  One is Middle Eastern and one is Mediterranean.  But both taste so unique.  I'd make these both again.

Farro is so easy to cook and it is really hard to mess up, unlike rice or pasta.  The black beluga lentils in the mujaddara were something I had never tried and they were so tasty.  Enjoy these.  The recipes look a bit fussy and involved, but they  really are not.  I used Blue Apron's recipe almost verbatim and they us…

The Storm of the Centruy and Two Variations on Cod Chowder

It is finally Summer in the UP.  We recently had some devastating floods here, which in itself is a major anomaly.  Hancock and Houghton are not on a flood plain; we are on hills, with a canal bisecting the two communities.  What happened in the early morning of June 11, 2018, was that over seven inches of rain came down in the span of about 4 hours.  Sunday morning (Father's Day) after the rain subsided is when the damage happened.  The storm drains gave way and roads washed out, bridges and footpaths were destroyed,  and several people were displaced from their homes.  It was a fluke and is being touted as the Storm of the Century.  Never in my lifetime have I seen such a thing.  Here are a few photos to prove my point.

The clean up is underway but it is going to be a long way to recover.  The National Guard was called out as well and they have been here repairing infrastructure for over a week.  #CopperCountryStrong

I wanted to share two great recipes that I have tried recently…

Memorial Day Getaway: Chefusion and the Creamery, Green Bay, WI

Our nephew graduated this weekend from Libertyville HS in Illinois; it was a very large school in a Chicago suburb.  510 graduates!  Quite a difference from the 50 or so we have commence each Spring in Hancock, MI.

We had Chicago Deep Dish pizza from Lou Malgnatti's (yum) for the Grad Party and on our way back home, we spent a night in Green Bay and visited with Ron's sister for a day.  Downtown Green Bay seems to be awakening somewhat; there are several restaurants and shops on the river and also, many of the previously abandoned and boarded buildings in the downtown streets have been re-purposed as trendy apartments and eateries.

We went to a small plates restaurant and  Jazz club.  The place was called Chefusion.  It is an eclectic and nicely upscale place located on the 2nd floor on an old downtown building.  The food and atmosphere were great.  I had a three course small plate meal consisting of choices of first course, entree and dessert.  I also added lobster bisque for…

Sole with Soul - Fab Foodie Mama is Eating Clean

I have blogged quite a bit in 2018 so far.  I don't create a post unless I have something to say or something to share that I think others may enjoy.  But gladly, I have been cooking quite a bit and have been adventurous in my cooking (and eating), therefore, I have been much more prolific recently.

I hope you are enjoying these easy and delicious recipes.  What you will see here is another meal from Sun Basket, titled:  Sole with Green Harissa and Warm Carrot-Celery Salad.  It was a very nice combination of flavors,  from the spicy harissa to the sweet currants in the warm carrot and celery salad.  I can tell when I am eating clean;  I have energy after eating instead of feeling bogged down.  This is another keeper.  I'd like to make again with trout or walleye, some of the great fish options native to Lake Superior.  The harissa sauce is common in North African cooking and is a chili pepper condiment that can be used on almost everything.  It is made from cayenne, parsley, …

#Sun Basket Meal Bags Have Arrived

I am really enjoying the meal boxes that I have been getting over the past several weeks.  I love the fact that food in not wasted; they only give you what you need to make the number servings you are preparing, and the variety of options has been quite appealing.  Foodie Mama is a FAN!

This week, I tried Sun Basket.  (In previous weeks I tired Hello Fresh and Home Chef).  Sun Basket markets itself as more of an organic choice over the others.  All of the fish is wild caught and all of the produce is organic.  The two dishes I have tried so far have been ones I would definitely make again - or order again in my next Sun Basket Box!

Sun Basket also allows you to choose from any of the meals form any type (vegetarian, pescetarian, meat lovers, gluten free, low carb, etc) so I liked that versatility, also, you can select as little as 2 meals per week, whereas the others I have tried, the minimum was 3 per week.  One more plus was Sun Basket allows you to change your protein (eg:  scallop…

Spicy Asian Cod Cakes - Thanks, Home Chef!

I made another Home Chef meal today for Mickayla and I.  Spicy Asian Cod Cakes.  They were excellent.  I had never made and fish cakes or crab cakes before.  These turned out delicious, except that I burned the green beans (so I substituted spinach in my version).  Some of the spice packets and mixtures didn't provide ingredients so I will guess here at the exact contents.

As I sit here writing this, about 20 minutes after eating, the noodles have almost immediately made me tired.  Ugh.  When will I learn?  But it tastes so darn good!  I could have left out the pasta and been satisfied with just the cod cakes.  I will definitely make these fish cakes again, perhaps next time with a honey mustard or lemon based dipping sauce instead of the Asian flavoring and skip the noodles.

Next week I will try a vegetarian Sun Basket brand meal kit.

Spicy Asian Cod Cakes from Home Chef (2 servings)
4 T Olive Oil5 oz Spaghetti4 oz Green Beans12 oz Cod (thawed, if frozen)1/2 C Panko …

Not Rocket Science...plants just make you feel better

I have blogged a lot recently about trying to eat more of a plant based diet.  I've been going along pretty consistently for a couple of months now and it is amazing how much better I feel when I eat mainly vegetables, lentils and (mainly gluten free) grains.

I have SO much more energy when I don't load up on the meats, the refined carbs and all the sugars I had been eating for so long.  Don't get me wrong, I do indulge.  In fact, I turn 51 on Friday and will make sure I have a piece of birthday cake.  My goals will simply be to EAT MOSTLY PLANTS and to GET LIGHT!

I made up this soup recipe this morning because I was craving something spicy and also wanted to have a vegan day.  This really was made from things in the cupboards.  Alter as you like.  It's just soup, you know.  Have fun with it. :-)

   - Foodie Mama

Spicy Bean Soup

2 T Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic or equivalent minced garlic
1 Can Diced Green Chilies w/ …

Home Chef Food Box - Meal #1:

Home Chef is another one of the food box companies and I just tried my first meal today.  It was a very comforting dish called:  French Onion Shrimp and Grits.  This was quite good.  I would say that if I were to make it again, I'd reduce the amount of grits to about 1/4 cup (vs about 1 cup)  and use larger shrimp.  The grits seem to overtake the meal, and I'd prefer the shrimp to be the star.  It still was quite tasty, and as I said, so comforting.

 - Fab Foodie Mama

French Onion Shrimp and Grits

6 oz Butter
6 Chives
1 Shallot
8 oz Shrimp
1/2 c Instant Grits
2 oz Grated Parmesan
1 oz White Cooking Wine
2 oz Sour Cream


Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small pot Peel and halve the shallot.  Slice into thin stripsMince chivesPat shrimp dry, and season both sides with 1/4 t salt and a pinch of pepperStir grits into boiling waterreduce heat to low and stir constantly until smooth (5-7 minutes)Stir in Parmesan, 3 oz of butter, 1/4 t salt, and a …

Food Mama loves Cinco De Mayo

I have been enjoying my food boxes.  I had my second week of Hello Fresh and now have also tried Home Chef.

In observance of Cinco de Mayo, which also happens to be my Mom's birthday, I made some Crispy Chickpea Tacos from Hello Fresh.  This dish was good.  It lacked some of the flavors from herbs and spices I came to expect from Hello Fresh, but good nonetheless.  The favorite thing for me about this recipe was the roasted chickpeas.  This was a nice, fresh dinner for 2.

To all my followers, I am now as well as  I just got another domain name.  Sadly, is too expensive for this mama to fork out the dough (ugh, sorry, but I love puns)

Crispy Chickpea Tacos
1 can chickpeas (~13.4 oz)
1 T Southwest Spice Blend - included with the box; I can't tell exactly what is in here but you could experiment with some chili powder, salt and pepper or google it
1 Bell Pepper
1 Red Onion
2 Scallions
1 Lime
1 Avocado
6 Flour Tortillas

Love the Grilling Cheese - Saag Paneer

When I received my Hello Fresh box a few weeks back there was a great recipe titled: Grilled Cheese and Veggie Jumble

That dish was just delicious and it was the 'grilling cheese' which was the best part.  I had not used it before in any of my cooking and after looking on line, it is just paneer, the Indian cheese that I love in my favorite dishes Saag Paneer and Palack Paneer.  I had noever tried to actually make either of these recipes, but I decided to give it a try.  Rachel and I found a recipe for Saag Paneer on and gave it a go!  We had it with naan and stuffed yellow peppers.   You can modify the heat to your liking.

Saag Paneer

12 - 16 oz fresh spinach
1/2 lb paneer, cubed into 1-1 1/2 pieces
3 T oil (vegetable oil or olive oil)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
2t cumin
1t ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2t garam masala
1 t tumeric
1-2 T sambal oelek (or other hot chili paste)
1/2 C whipping cream
salt to taste


Spring has Arrived

We have had a long, seemingly never ending Winter this year.  It just hung on and did not want to let us go.  Today however, we can say that Spring is here to stay - we saw 62 with blue sky abounding.  There were a few predictions of a Wintry mix on Friday, but nothing came to be.  It was sunny all weekend and it is still 48 degrees now, Sunday evening at 8:30 PM.

I had a busy weekend; cleaned some closets, loaded up bags of clothing for charity, gave my laundry room a good Spring cleaning and assorted other chores that I had been putting off.

It was also my nephew's 3rd birthday so I went to my brother's house for a little party.  He is a hoot and a cutie.  He was rushing through the pizza and cake to get to the presents!

Ron and Will have been in Chicago all weekend for the first Guts Frisbee tournament of the season; the Illinois Indoor.  They play on Team Shottle Bop; our party store being the sponsor.  And guess what?  THEY WON IT!  I watched the final match on a live str…

Home Made Indian Feast

I absolutely love Indian food, but here, in the Copper Country,  we have no Indian restaurants and to cook it is both an art and a science.

My brother John's girlfriend, Meena is from Mumbai, and last fall she cooked the entire family an Indian feast.  She made Chicken Biryani, Daal Mkhani (black lentils in tomato cream sauce), Chicken Tikka Masala (the Indian dish all Americans know), Paneer Tikka Masala, Naan, Basamati Rice and Mango Lassi.  It was like a dream come true and so very delicious.  She did a fabulous job and cooked for about 20 people.

From time to time, I make an attempt at preparing Indian food, either from package sauces or by following a recipe.  I have made butter chicken, chicken curry and a few other things with limited success. 

Tonight, I was looking for a recipe to use up a head of cauliflower I had to use within the next 1-2 days, so I searched on Pinterest and found this.  It was simple to make and the spices worked so well!

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian S…

Yellow Squash Flatbreads: #Hello Fresh Veggie Meal Number 2

I made my second Hello Fresh meal this morning for breakfast......yellow squash flatbread.  The assortment of ingredients and spices made this usually plain dish, quite nice.  The only thing I'd change is to really reduce or even remove the red pepper flakes - too overpowering in my opinion.

Another recommendation from Foodie Mama for Hello Fresh.

Here is the recipe.  Simple and quick.

Yellow Squash Flatbread
1 Yellow Squash2 Scallions1 Lemon4 oz Grape Tomatoes1/2 Fresh Basil1 oz Pine Nuts2 Flatbreads4 oz Fresh Mozzarella3 oz Mixed Greens1 t Chili Flakes1/2 oz Honey Directions:

1 - Preheat and Prep - Wash and dry all produce.  Adjust rack to upper position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Halve the squash lengthwise, then slice into thin half-moons.  Trim, then thinly slice scallions.  Halve lemon.  Halve tomatoes lengthwise.  Pick basil leaves from stems; discard stems.

2 - Toast Pine Nuts -  Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add pine nuts and toast, tossing freque…