You Can Make Your Own: Whole Grain Mustard

It may be too early for me to say this, but I think I am going to really like working on this project.  It gives me an excuse to make something that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I have a job!  Ok, so task is maybe a better term since it doesn’t pay anything and it doesn’t provide me with health or dental coverage.  But it’s something to complete, something that I have to work on and research and something that has tangible results.  If you are a stay at home mom or wife, you may feel like your days are a little monotonous.  Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is wonderful and rewarding.  But day in and day out doing laundry, washing dishes, grocery shopping, fixing meals, changing dirty diapers etc. sometimes starts to feel a little ho-hum.  Anyone with me?  I know those women who don’t need to do anything else but be at home, but I think a part of me needs a little something that is not baby or house related.  I know this is still technically a household task, and so I am a bit of a 50’s housewife cliche, but my place is in the kitchen and I’m OK with that.

I chose to make whole grain mustard.  I found a few recipes, all using the same basic ingredients and process.  There are some differences here and there and if I run out of this batch and feel like making some more I will think about maybe trying something a little different to see how it changes the results.

The recipe I ended up using was from The Feed, an America’s Test Kitchen blog, that I just came across and am now subscribed to.  America’s Test Kitchen is great.  I have about 3 years worth (2004-2007) of Cooks Illustrated that I go back to when I want some detailed and informative recipes complete with illustrated step-by-steps.  I would like to spend a day or two (or maybe a full week) with those people.  Testing recipes, kitchen gadgets, pots, pans, knives and food products.  What a life!  I wonder, does it even feel like a job?

This recipe uses yellow and brown mustard seed.  I found yellow at the grocery store, but had to order the brown seeds from My Spice Sage.  4 ounces of the mustard seed only set me back $3, which made me wish I’d bought my yellow seed there also.  I still have half the bag of brown seed left.  Each little jar of yellow seed cost me $2.50, so order all your seed in bulk if you have the time.  This site also has free shipping, but only if you spend $10, so buy some cinnamon and fancy salt!  My shipment came pretty quickly, which was really nice.

The other ingredients are probably things you have in your kitchen all the time; apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and beer.  The beer is optional, you can use water instead.  I used Shiner Bock, and while the mustard doesn’t taste like beer, I think it does add a nice flavor.  I let my seeds sit in the vinegar and beer for 24 hours on the counter.  I tasted the mustard right out of the food processor and it tasted spicy enough, so I put it right in the fridge.  The only thing I might do is to go back and process my mustard again as it is quite coarse.  The seeds might have softened more if I’d soaked them longer, so try to exercise some patience and let it sit for 2 days.

If you are almost out of whole grain mustard, don’t go buy a new jar, try this recipe.  A nice, 8 or 9-ounce jar of whole grain mustard can cost you $5.  I doubled the recipe and it made two 10-ounce jars.  I spent roughly $9 on ingredients. More mustard for a little less money, and you can say that you made your own mustard.  The recipe below is one batch, so double (or triple) if you want some to give away to friends and family.

Whole Grain Mustard

From America’s Test Kitchen


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seed (exactly one jar of the McCormick seeds)
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seed
  • 1/4 cup beer or water
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine vinegar, mustard seeds and beer or water in a bowl, stir, cover in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8-48 hours.
  2. Process soaked mustard seeds with sugar and salt in food processor until coarsely ground and thickened, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as necessary.
  3. Transfer mustard to container and let stand at room temperature until it achieves desired spiciness, then refrigerate for up to 2 months.


Daring Bakers: Scones (And By That I Mean Biscuits)

Today is January 27, 2012.  The posting day for Daring Bakers!  It is always the posting day for Daring Bakers.  But just yesterday, on the 26th of January, I decided I was going to get back on the Daring Bakers wagon and start participating again after a long hiatus.  I signed in to the site , read the challenge.  Scones.  I can do scones.  Then I started checking the ingredients, added a few special things to my grocery list, and then I checked the posting date and I thought, “I’ll have a few days to crank these out.”  Then I checked my calendar.  It was the 26th.  How did this happen?  How can I be so out of touch with reality to think it was somehow earlier than this?   Does this happen to anyone else?  The end of the month totally sneaks up on you and you’re left feeling like life is passing you by?  That’s a little dramatic, but I really did have that moment of, “WHAT?” when I figured out it was almost the end of January.  Basically, I am just an absent minded mess these days.  I was in pajamas until 1pm on Wednesday of this week…it’s no wonder I don’t know what day it is.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones, as I know them anyway, are those nice, slightly sweet triangular shaped breads, a little crunchy outside, soft and crumbly inside.  Sometimes plain, sometimes full of fruit, sometimes glazed, sometimes sugared, and always wonderful.  That is not a scone by English definition.  What Daring Bakers were challenged to do this month was to make what the Australian and the English call scones, and that is what we North Americans call biscuits!  Thanks you, Daring Bakers!  I don’t make biscuits often, so having an excuse to make myself a batch or two was going to be a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

Tender, flaky,so high they’re rising to the heavens biscuits are so very special and wonderful because they are so stinkin’ hard to achieve.  I made two batches, and I wish I’d had the time to make more because I could have figured out the secret to the perfect biscuit.  I’m going to have to keep making these until I get it right.  I don’t think anyone in my house will have a problem being the taste testers.  It is the ingredients, but it’s also very much the process.  Laminating, or folding, the dough gives the tender flaky layers I most associate with a good biscuit.  And be gentle with the dough.  You don’t want to overwork it.  At the same time, you don’t want to underwork it.  I know, that’s confusing.  But make a batch or two (or ten) and you’ll start to figure it out.

Here are my first and second batches together (first batch on top).  This experience made me so excited about baking!  I know this makes me a food nerd, but I like that just changing a few things can yield totally different results.

For my first batch I tried what is called an Australian Scone Ring, which is a nice little ring of biscuits.  The recipe uses less butter than the basic dough and the fat is worked into smaller pieces.  Total fail.  I worked the dough too much, and rolled them out too thin.  They didn’t rise much at all and they were a non attractive pale color with no semblance of biscuit texture.  Some of the differences are of course due to the differences in the ingredients and process, but I still think I screwed these up.

So I looked at some of the other variations and opted for a Buttermilk Biscuit.  Now these are biscuits, and good ones.  Still not with the height that I would have liked them to have, but with a great flaky texture, buttery flavor and a nice golden brown hue on top and bottom.  They also smell divine.  They are on the counter next to me at the moment and every time I get a whiff I want to eat another one.  With twice the fat of the basic recipe, buttermilk instead of plain milk and a folding process instead of a kneading one, these came out much more to my liking.

Below I am including the recipe and instructions for the buttermilk biscuits.  The basic recipe can be found here.

Buttermilk Biscuits


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (+ 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to make sour milk) or use buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled in the freezer


  1.  Preheat oven to 475°F
  2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
  3. Rub the frozen butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized.  (I used a pastry cutter to get it started, then used my fingers to get the right sized butter pieces.)
  4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough.  Knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
  6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
  7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish (I used a cast iron skillet) if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
  9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.


Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

I’m not sure who really gets the credit for sandwiching an Oreo between cookie dough, but I first saw this cookie on Picky Palate.  Since then I have seen it all over the place.  What a crazy and ridiculously delicious idea!  I made these cookies in February of last year and they were a huge hit.  When I told people that these cookies were in fact 2 cookies wrapped around an Oreo cookie they would kind of roll their eyes, as if to say “This is entirely too decadent for me, or any sane person at all concerned with their waistline.”  But the next thing I knew they’d eaten at least one of them (if not more).  I admit, this is not a cookie you just keep in the cookie jar as a daily treat.

Yesterday was a rainy day here.  I wanted to bake, but didn’t want to venture out.  Before my son was born I would have braved almost anything outside my front door if there was something I needed from the store.  Not the case anymore!  So I raided the pantry.  I had a half of a package of Oreos, but no chocolate chips.  I did have cocoa, butter, flour, sugar and eggs.  So I decided to make a chocolate cookie dough and use that to encase the Oreo.  I ended up with these little…ok, fine, rather large beauties.

These were good.  Gooey, chocolatey, decadent and perfect served with a cold glass of milk or a nice little scoop of vanilla ice cream.    If I had to choose between these and the chocolate chip version, I’d choose the chocolate chip.  I think the texture of the chocolate chip dough against the Oreo was better.  Adding chocolate chips to the chocolate dough might be a good way to get closer to the other version while still giving the chocolate lover in you a nice treat.

My first batch spread quite a bit, making the Oreo inside pretty obvious.  So, prepare the cookies, then chill them on the cookie sheets in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15-18 Oreo cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in eggs, one at a time, then mix in vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture on low speed until all flour is incorporated.  Use a spatula to get dough from the bottom of your bowl, then mix again until dough is uniform.  Chill dough for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Scoop 2 rounded tablespoons of dough, slightly flatten one scoop and place Oreo on top.  Cover Oreo with the other scoop of dough and press dough around edges, making sure the Oreo is enclosed and the cookie is even in thickness.
  7. Repeat, and bake cookies (about 6 to a sheet) for 11-13 minutes.  They will look done, but still be soft.  Let them cool on the sheets for 2-3 minutes, then move to cooking racks.

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Bites with Balsamic Glaze

While in college at Texas A&M in College Station, I used to meet a friend at a pizza place near campus that served pizza by the slice called Antonio’s.  I always got the margherita.  Nice thick slices of fresh mozzarella, perfect slices of red tomato and fresh basil on top of a delicious crust.  If I’m ordering pizza at a restaurant, margherita is always on the short list.  And when we make pizza at home, it’s one I know will be devoured.  There’s something wonderful about the fresh ingredients, the contrasting textures of smooth and creamy cheese, juicy tomato and the slight crunch of the spicy basil leaf.  And the bright colors can’t be beat either.

I made these small bites as part of an Italian appetizer spread.  Just take a small ball of mozzarella, snack size tomato and fresh basil leaf.  Add the sweet tang of balsamic vinegar and you have the perfect bite.  You want the mozzarella and tomato to be close to the same size.  Bocconcini are too large, so look for ciliegine, which are cherry sized balls of mozzarella and are perfect in size.  If you can’t find these, you could always cut the bocconcini into small chunks.  When I was skewering these I thought that the basil was going to be overwhelming since I had to use such large leaves to hold everything, but it was just right.

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Bites with Balsamic Glaze


  • 12 snack size tomatoes, cherry, grape, etc.
  • 12 small balls of mozzarella packed in water, patted dry with paper towels
  • 12-15 large basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 long toothpicks (2 1/2 inches)


  1. Make balsamic glaze: simmer vinegar in small saucepan over low heat for 10-15 minutes until thickened and reduced.  Swirl periodically, and be careful not to let it boil.  You will have a burnt mess on your hands.  I know this because I had to make two batches…
  2. While heating vinegar, make skewers.  Slide one end of the basil leaf on the toothpick, follow with mozzarella and tomato, keeping basil leaf underneath to create a boat.  Then attach the other end of the leaf.  Be careful not to tear the leaf.  Keep a few extra leaves on hand just in case.
  3. Lay bites on a platter, then drizzle each with glaze.  A little goes a long way.

You Can Make Your Own…

Last week we picked up Rudy’s BBQ for dinner.  Last minute plans had been made and I just couldn’t pull together a meal for 7 with what I had on hand.  And I can’t meal plan fast enough to just run to the store and pick stuff up.  I agonize over my meals.  It might be a problem, the amount of time and energy I spend thinking about what to make for dinner.  Anyway,  I love Rudy’s.  I really and truly do, but they can be stingy with their accoutrements.  I ordered almost 3 pounds of meat and they gave us bags with all of 9 dill pickle slices, 4 slices of onion, and 9 pieces of bread.  Really, Rudy’s?  We did have plenty of sauce, though.  The biggest problem for me was the pickles.  I would have pulled some out of the fridge, but we just moved into this house, and so I haven’t stocked up on stuff like that yet.  When we moved out of our other house I had 4 different kinds of pickles on hand.  I like pickles.  I bought a jar of dill pickles last night at the grocery store.  So we’re good now.

Photo from

This started me thinking about things I’d like to make from scratch at least once, just to see if it’s as good as store bought and worth the effort.  Of course I know that fresh pasta is probably better than the dry stuff, but I don’t know many people who make their own.  I think it’s just too much work, and possibly not worth the trouble.  Some people I know disagree with me…like old Italian grandmothers.

So, by the end of the summer, since many of these things are summer foods, I will conquer and report back to you the good, the bad and the ugly about making your own of the following foods.  Most of the foods I’m listing below are things I almost always buy at the grocery store, with little to no fuss, and ready to go.  Some of them are things I’ve just always wanted to make but never had the motivation to make.  If anyone has any other suggestions, tips, recipes, etc. please send them my way as I am always glad to get helpful advice!

  • Pickles (Dill and Bread + Butter)
  • Pickled Beets
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Gnocchi
  • Ravioli
  • White Sandwich Bread
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Pretzels
  • Flaky Dinner Rolls
  • Croissants
  • Baguettes
  • Beef Brisket
  • Soufflé (Savory and Sweet)

I am going to stop there.  I don’t want to get ahead of myself and then abandon this idea entirely when I become overwhelmed.  There will be no rhyme or reason in how I approach this, so don’t expect the order in which I make anything to make any kind of sense whatsoever.  Check back for the first “You Can Make Your Own…” post, which might just happen to be pickles…or might just happen to be something else.  Can you tell I haven’t totally thought this through?

Tilapia Packets with Potatoes and Haricots Verts in Lemon Wine Sauce

Last weekend we went out of town to visit family and I brought my camera.  I didn’t even take it out of the case the entire weekend, but still managed to leave it at my aunt’s house.  So, for the time being I will be using my iPhone to document my food.  This does bring me some relief since I will be able to put less pressure on myself to get the perfect shot.  No moving plates of food from room to room, turning on and off lights, standing next to windows and changing settings on the camera.  So I guess forgetting my camera is a blessing.

This meal was an adaptation of a recipe I found on epicurious, here is the link to the original recipe that uses snap peas and capers.  I used haricots verts, added cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced my potatoes and used some different seasonings.  Instead of grilling the packets, I baked them in the oven.  Many of the comments on the website talk about the variations on this dish and all the many things you can use to make these packets fit what you like or what you have in the kitchen.

Ben and I both thought it was a nice, light dinner.  We also liked the amount of clean up!  As long as you don’t cut through the foil (like I did on one of the packets) you won’t have any pots and pans to clean.  There are a few things I would do differently the next time I make these.  I’d probably skip the tomatoes.  While I love the color they add, they were just too mushy.  Maybe a few slices of sun-dried tomatoes would have been better, or roast them separately and toss them on after the fish is baked.  I’d also add less liquid, or serve with some nice crusty bread to soak up the sauce.  If you want it less saucy, shoot for the smaller amount of liquid listed below.  I did not make my foil long enough, so everything was really crammed together in the packets.

For the seasoning I used Citrus Seafood Rub from Adams Reserve seasoning that I bought at HEB.  The ingredient list printed on the label includes garlic, onion, coriander, dill weed, tarragon, pepper, paprika, fennel seed, lime and lemon oil.  If you can’t find this rub, but I would suggest you at least try to find it because it is so delicious, you could use some of the spices listed in the rub, or find another seafood rub or any spice mix you enjoy.

Tilapia Packets with Potatoes and Haricots Verts


  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 2-3 red potatoes, thinly sliced, larger slices halved
  • 1-2 cups haricots verts, cut in half
  • 12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • Adams Citrus Seafood Rub (or another seafood seasoning you like)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2-4 tablespoons white wine or chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Parsley, freshly chopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Toss potatoes and haricots verts with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Cut 4 pieces of heavy duty foil into 18-inch pieces, fold each in half, then unfold.  Spray one side with cooking spray and lay one fillet down.  Season with salt, pepper and between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of the spice rub.  Sprinkle with 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice.
  4. Take 1/4 of the vegetables and spread them around the fish.  Add halved cherry tomatoes now if using.  Fold up the sides of the foil and pour 1/2-1 tablespoon of wine around the edge.  Dot the top with a few small pieces of butter.  Fold the top of the foil down and crimp all the edges together.  Cut a small slit in the top of the packet and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Repeat with remaining fillets and bake packets for 15-20 minutes.  Check a potato slice for doneness.
  6. Open packets, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Chicken and Chickpea Stew

Houston received quite a bit of rain on Monday, and so that morning I began looking for good rainy day meals.  Of course soup came to mind, but then I came across this recipe for a chicken and chickpea stew on Epicurious.

The recipe is simple.  Sauteed veggies mixed with chicken in a simple chicken broth sauce spiced with cinnamon and cumin and served over whole wheat couscous.  I made things even easier by shredding a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the pound of chicken breasts the recipe calls for.  I also left out the tomato paste, did not drain the canned tomatoes, used 2 cups of broth instead of 1, and garnished with fresh cilantro and mint.  The combination of fresh herbs with the spices was wonderful.

You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the chicken, using vegetable broth, adding more tomatoes, zucchini, chickpeas, or trying some different veggies.  I guess you could use some type of mock meat…if you’re into that kind of stuff.  I have tried and actually liked some of those choices, like a Philly “Steak” made with seitan at a food truck called Counter Culture in Austin.  Thanks for taking me, Sarah!  It really wasn’t bad, but I don’t see myself ever cooking it.  If I am going to cook something vegetarian at home, I stick with veggies and protein packed beans.  Plus I don’t think Ben would ever go for it.  He had a hard time eating chicken sausage, so I don’t think he’d go for tofu or seitan in place of good ol’ reliable meat.

Chicken and Chickpea Stew

Adapted slightly from


  • 1 small rotisserie chicken, shredded (use 2-3 cups of chicken)
  • 1 box whole wheat couscous (prepare what you need according to the instructions)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 zucchini, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • chopped fresh cilantro and mint for garnish (0ptional)
  1. Heat oil in deep skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add in garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, cumin and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth and chicken.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Taste and season accordingly.
  3. While stew is simmering, prepare couscous according to package instructions.
  4. Serve stew on top of couscous and garnish with cilantro and mint.



Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs with Soy Ginger Sauce

The lovely aroma of fresh ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions and cilantro filled my kitchen when I made these for dinner a few nights ago.  Those ingredients alone make my mouth water.  I am almost always up for Chinese or Thai food, but thinking about how a lot of that stuff is prepared makes me have second thoughts a lot of the time.  It’s usually too oily and greasy and even if I opt for a dish with lots of veggies, it is often soaked in overly salty sauce.  And then I somehow find myself ordering egg rolls, fried spring rolls, or maybe an order of crab rangoon…oh, the deep fried goodness of it all.  These meatballs don’t quite measure up to the pleasures of pad thai and sesame chicken, but the flavors are there, and all without the guilt.

My dinner plans were to make these meatballs from this recent Smitten Kitchen post, Scallion Meatballs with Soy Ginger Glaze.  But after reading through the recipe I decided to look for a baked meatball recipe (instead of pan fried) with more substance that would serve as a meal and not a glorified appetizer.  That search led me to this recipe from Skinny Taste, Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce.  So I combined the two, and with a little tweaking here and there I wound up with these.

Serve these meatballs with some rice to soak up the delicious sauce.  We ate them with white rice, but brown would be a great choice, and a healthier one.  Simple steamed broccoli is a perfect side dish.  There is so much flavor in the meatballs that you don’t really need anything else.  I used a mixture of turkey and beef because I had an extra 1/2 pound of lean ground beef from another recipe I wanted to use, but use all turkey if you like.  Enjoy!

Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs with Soy Ginger Sauce



  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp peeled ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tsp sesame oil


  1. Combine ground turkey, beef, panko, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, and soy sauce.  Mix with your hands until combined well.
  2. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  3. Bake at 400°F until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.



  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, reduced sodium
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or mirin)
  • 1/4 cup peeled ginger, chopped


  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar melts completely.
  2. Reduce heat to a medium-low and add soy sauce, wine and ginger.
  3. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced, 20-30 minutes.  You can simmer it longer to get a thicker sauce.
  4. Serve sauce on top of meatballs and rice.  You can strain the sauce to get rid of the ginger pieces, but I left mine in the sauce.

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I haven’t been making meals at home much lately.  Lots of taking out, going out, vacation foods and eating holiday meals.  I’m trying to get back into meal planning, buying groceries for the week and hopefully feeling better.  We need to make the change from restaurant fare to home cooked meals.  That is my resolution for the New Year.  Just eat better.  I’m not going to be unrealistic and say I’m going to lose 10 pounds or run a marathon.  Who wants to set themselves up for disappointment?

This recipe is from a cookbook my mother-in-law gave me a few years ago called “Twenty Minute Chicken Dishes”.  If I had made this meal in one sitting, I think I would have been able to do it in twenty minutes.  But with a little guy around, I had to find a way to do some prep beforehand.  I made the sauce in a mini food processor (something I love having around), and kept in the fridge all day.  So all I had to do once we were ready to eat was pound the chicken out, cook it for 5 minutes per side, then warm up the sauce.  Easy.

Pouring this yummy sauce over chicken is but one of the many ways to use it.  It has great roasted pepper flavor, a nice creamy texture (without using any cream) and I think it would be great on beef, fish, vegetables and pasta as well.

This recipe serves 2 with some sauce leftover, probably enough for 2 more chicken breasts.  The sauce could easily be doubled, but I’m not sure if you could freeze it since it contains sour cream.  If you want to freeze the sauce, puree it without the sour cream, then add it in after thawing.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter and 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red (or red and yellow) peppers, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons salsa (I used Arriba Garlic and Cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil, cilantro or parsley (optional)


  1. Make sauce: Combine peppers, salsa, sour cream, flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth. Set aside (or refrigerate for up to 2 days).
  2. Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Pat dry, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken, 4-5 minutes per side, until done.  You may need to do this in batches if your chicken breasts are too large for your pan.  Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
  4. Add garlic to pan, cook for 1-2 minutes, do not let it burn.  Add red pepper sauce, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir until sauce thickens slightly, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with herbs and serve.