Tag Archives: Vegetables

Dilly Mahi Mahi, Zucchini, and Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower

Dilly Mahi Mahi, Zucchini, and Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Dill… you either love it or you hate it. I used to hate it. So I resolved to try some new dishes and use this interesting little herb. After all, I did plant some in my garden this year.  When the delicate little sprouts started popping through the ground, I wondered what I would do with them. Here’s my first recipe using my fresh dill. Now that I’ve made this, I know it will feature a lot in my dishes. Dill is yummy!

Dilly Mahi Mahi, Zucchini, and Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

I sprayed heavy duty tin foil with olive oil in my Misto, laid down some beautiful Mahi Mahi – any fish would do – that I bought at Sam’s Club (I so wish we had a Costco!), and then brainstormed.

Dilly Mahi Mahi, Zucchini, and Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Here’s what I added to the fish:

  • Lemon juice and soy sauce (around the bottom and sides – this takes away a bit of the fishy taste in frozen fish.)
  • Mayonnaise (spread on top of the fish)
  • Dill – one good handful (sprinkled on top)
  • 2 medium zucchini

Then, I pulled the sides up and folded it into a packet, sealing everything inside. Make sure you seal it well so that the steam can’t escape. If not, you will be just baking, not steaming. This keeps in a lot of the moisture. Pop it in the oven on 400 degrees F. I did mine along with this delicious roasted  balsamic cauliflower. But put it in at the end; the fish only takes 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. Mine was a pretty thick piece, and took about 20 minutes.

Dilly Mahi Mahi, Zucchini, and Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Here’s how I made the cauliflower:

  • Cut/tear cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
  • Toss in a little EVOO.
  • Lay out on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment. (Easy clean up!)
  • Sprinkle with herbs of choice (I use rosemary) and very lightly salt. I use Celtic Sea Salt for flavoring, and table salt for baking – don’t forget, we still need some iodine in our diets; sea salts are iodine-free.
  • Sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes, turning once or twice.

Dilly Mahi Mahi, Zucchini, and Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

TaDaaa! You have a heart-healthy, deliciously moist, and flaky fish dish that your whole family will love. My 4- and 1-year-old loved it and chowed down.




Chicken and Handmade Noodles

chnAuthor: Cassie Stevens

One of my favorite dishes my mother makes for Thanksgiving is her turkey and homemade noodles. OMG! They are so good, she makes them the day before and lets them dry out overnight. Although I have tried many times, I don’t make them the same as my mama.  Well, this is a similar recipe to hers.  My chicken and noodles has veggies in it unlike my mama’s, but I think it adds a lot of flavor to the stock.

I start by making the dough for the noodles. It’s really very easy, all you need is

2 cups of flour

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

2 egg yolks and one whole egg beaten

1 tsp olive oil

Prep: In a large bowl stir together the flour and salt, then make a well in the center.  In another small bowl mix egg yolks, whole egg, water, and olive oil.  Add egg mixture to flour. Mix well. add a tsp of water at a time if too dry. On a floured surface roll out dough and knead until smooth and elastic. (8 to 10 minutes). Cover and let dough rest for ten to fifteen minutes.  Cut dough in half and roll out as thin as you want your noodles. Dust with flour on each side so the dough does not stick to the counter and cut with a knife, pizza cutter, or the nifty little roller cutter that I found at a thrift store never opened for fifty cents.

chn2I love that thing. I’m glad I picked it up. It also has another roller blade that tenderizes meat. I use it for pastas only. I tenderize my meat other ways.

chn3So after all your pasta is cut, it’s time to set it aside to dry.  I just place it on a parchment lined baking sheet to air dry. I turned it after an hour to help it dry out more evenly.

chn4I let mine dry for about two hours. It was dry enough by that time. As soon as it was dry I started the stock. I added a Tbsp of minced garlic and enough olive oil to cover a stock pot. Then I added the veggies:

chn5About three carrots, half an onion, and two stalks of celery. Dice them all up and sweat them out in the stock pot. I also, added two Tbsp butter, cause I can never cook without it. I love butter, real butter!  Once your veggies are sweatin’ add 3 cups water and simmer.

Next in a cast iron skillet or whatever pan you have (I love my cast iron skillet) brown your chicken. I used 3 boneless breasts and I seasoned my chicken with salt and pepper and a little bit of minced garlic in the bottom of the pan. Once browned on each side I set aside to rest for a few minutes. Then cut into small cubes and put inside stockpot to finish cooking for about ten to fifteen minutes.

chn7Drain the liquid from the stock pot into the skillet and bring to a boil, then add your noodles. Cook for about three minutes. Noodles will be done. Cook a little longer for thicker noodles.

chn6Once the noodles are done, add them to your stockpot. Before you add more water, make a slurry to thicken to a gravy.

chn8Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp flour and mix well in a measuring cup with just enough water to dissolve. Add to stock pot, then add more water to desired consistency. Let simmer for a few minutes and it will thicken up to a gravy consistency.


Looks yummy right? Time to eat! Pair it with your favorite dinner rolls and you have a great dinner your family will be talking about for a while!

chn10I hope you enjoy as much as we all did! Happy cooking!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


Author: Cassie Stevens

Good home cooking! Nothing helps get over a cold better than hot homemade chicken noodle soup. When one person in the family gets sick it usually passes through everyone in the whole family. Somehow, it’s inevitable no matter how careful and clean you keep yourself and other things. It’s even harder if you have little ones.  If you do then you know what I mean. So when I see the first sign of someone being sick I make a great big ol’ pot of soup. Which goes fast cause if you have a sore throat too, a hot brothy soup seems to be the only thing you can swallow.  This soup is sure to hit the spot. Light and tasty and packed with the good stuff your body needs. When paired with my 30 minute Garlic Parmesan rolls this dish is an absolute delight!


This is one of my favorite soups to make, my other being potato. I make mine in the crock pot.  I start by adding water about half full in the crock pot then start trimming and cubing 6 chicken breasts to add directly to the water. Turn your crock pot to high and cover while you get the rest of the ingredients together. I chopped three to four celery stalks, and used about half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. I use chicken bullion so I add one tablespoon for every two cups of water in this case I added four Tbsp bullion. I used about half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables I added after a couple of hours (once the chicken was cooked through). I didn’t want the veggies too soggy. I made the Orzo in a separate pot rinsed and drained then added it to the crock pot last. Very few ingredients but very good for your health and well being.  You will want to cook this for a few hours in your crock pot.

So the recipes is as follows: but you can add whatever you like to your soup.  Sometimes I will add stewed tomatoes and even potatoes to make it real hearty and delicious.


6 cubed chicken breast


4-5 Tbsp chicken bullion

half a big bag frozen mixed vegetables

2 Tbsp dried parsley

1 box Orzo

salt pepper to taste

Chopped green onions to top soup

So it’s that easy to have a great homemade soup that will cure anyone if they are feeling sick! After a few hours in the crock pot, the chicken will be so soft and tender.  When you bit into a piece it will fall apart and melt in your mouth, and you’ll be begging for more.  Soon you will have an empty bowl like mine, wishing you had two stomaches or something because you want more, more, more!


I hope you enjoy this with your family as I did mine. They are sure to love it! Anything made from scratch and from the heart for your family is worth the efforts. It’s much cheaper, and healthier than buying canned soups.


My Sunday Dinner

Author: Veronica Hilliard

If you’ve never oven roasted a vegetable, you’re missing the sweet, caramelizing, roasty-toasty goodness that graces my table on a near-daily basis. Roasting highlights the natural flavors of veggies so well. Some of my favorite veggies to roast are asparagus, broccoli, kale, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, any type of squash, beets, onions and peppers, brussels sprouts, and of course… cauliflower.

My Sunday Dinner :: Roasted Cauliflower ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Roasting veggies is just about the easiest of all kitchen preparations. All you need is a vegetable you already love, or even one you sort of tolerate. Add a little salt, some oil, and any number of added flavors (if you wish) and you have something really special to put on your table.

My husband spent a two-year mission in Northern Japan and then he took me there on our honeymoon so Asian flavors are usually our choice. But be playful with it and I’m sure you’ll always be impressed with what you end up with.

Roasted Cauliflower with Asian Flair


1 Head cauliflower

2 Tblsp soy sauce

1 tsp ground ginger

A few drops of sesame oil

Drizzle olive oil

Pull cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, toss to coat with the other ingredients. Place on preheated baking sheet in 350 degree F oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your caramelization preferences, turning once or twice.


My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

I’m always surprised when I talk to people who don’t know what to do with an artichoke. When I was a kid my mom would make artichokes like this for a special treat. Artichokes taste like home to me. They bring memories of sitting around the table for hours sharing space and life over food – something my family is very fond of.

So here is how I make steamed artichokes.

My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Cut off the bottom and shave off the tough leaves and the outer, more fibrous layer of the stem. Then cut it in half lengthwise.

My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Artichokes are just really big, edible thistles. When you cut it open, you can see a glimpse of it’s cousin. The hairy, innermost part, the “choke,” is inedible. I used to remove it with a spoon. You can do this but I found that I removed the soft purple leaves as well and that’s good food wasted! So I just cook it as-is and remove the thistle-y  fibers when I get to them as I eat. Some people also cut off the tips of the leaves because sometimes they can have a really poky spine or thorn at the tip. Mine wasn’t so bad so I skipped this step. But I have seen some gnarly artichokes that would leave you feeling like you just fought a velociraptor (or a toddler with un-cut fingernails!) Keep it in mind and make your choice wisely. Some people also cook them whole. But I think they cook a bit faster when cut in half and then they’re the perfect size to share (if you can handle sharing).

My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Steam in whatever set-up you have for steaming. Mine is a pot with a steamer basket and a lid. Boil these for about 25 – 45 minutes. They are ready to eat when one of the outermost leaves pulls off easily and tastes done; tender, but not so soft it’s mushy.

To eat, just remove one leaf at a time. Scrape each leaf along your bottom teeth to remove the soft flesh on the inside curve of the leaf. You can dip them in all sorts of stuff, from garlic butter to aioli, but I like mine plain… sometimes with a sprinkle of sea salt.

My Sunday Dinner  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

This is what we had for dinner tonight. My heart on a plate!

Counterclockwise: Delicious, steamed artichoke; sweet and savory roasted, Asian-style cauliflower; beautiful, nutty, black forbidden rice; and teriyaki-flavored pheasant and grouse breast that my husband shot last year here in Montana.

My Mont-Asian meal was a real hit here with all my peeps. What did you have for dinner?