Friday, February 26, 2010

School Stuff

Well, those aren't the brains I am studying, but the brain was the topic in my Anatomy and Physiology class this week.

Word of the Day:
(I like the long, weird words)

corpora quadrigemina:

This structure is part of the brain stem. It has the reflex centers for hearing and vision. In other words, it initiates reflex responses to visual or auditory stimuli. For instance, when you hear glass break, it's a normal reflex to turn and look towards the noise.

Did You Know?
(interesting or amazing facts)

There's a part of the brain that's in charge of coughing, sneezing and vomiting.

Of the 12 cranial nerves, there is one that is entirely devoted to the muscles of the tongue.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fish Tacos

I didn't realize when I started posting recipes this week that it was going to be Mexican week. So, I guess this is third in the series. I actually made the last two recipes and this one over about two weeks time.


1 box (6 pieces) crunchy breaded fish fillets (don't use battered fish, crunchy breaded is best)
6 small flour tortillas (fajita size)
Chipotle Ranch dressing (recipe below)
Tropical Slaw (recipe below)
pico de gallo

Cook fish according to package directions.
(I used Gorton's Southern Fried country style crunchy breaded fish fillets this time.)

Spread dressing on each of the six flour tortillas. Add one piece of fish to each tortilla. Top with tropical slaw and pico de gallo. Fold or wrap tortillas.

Chipotle Ranch Dressing:

1/2 cup bottled Ranch dressing mix
1 canned chipotle chile, seeds removed, finely chopped
small amount adobo sauce from canned chipotles

Mix all ingredients well.
(Naturally, you can substitute this with Newman's Own Southwest dressing or Hidden Valley Ranch spicy ranch.)

Tropical Slaw:

2 cups shredded cole slaw mix
1/2 cup chopped mandarin oranges
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained

Mix all ingredients. Use just enough mayonnaise to barely coat the slaw.

Instead of pico de gallo, I just mixed diced tomatoes, onions and chopped cilantro.

Yield: 6 tacos

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Taco Salad

Not much of a recipe here today, more like a list of ingredients I like to use in my Taco Salad.


one can of black beans, drained and rinsed
one pound ground beef
taco seasoning packet
torn lettuce
chopped tomato
diced onion
sliced black olives
shredded cheddar cheese
chopped avocado
sour cream
lightly crushed tortilla chips

Cook the ground beef, drain, add black beans and taco seasoning and a little water. Cook a little more until water is absorbed and beans are warm.

Mix ingredients in portions and proportions as desired.

The ground beef/black bean mixture should make at least 4 servings.

Variation: Instead of salsa and sour cream, use Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy Ranch salad dressing or Newman's Own Southwest dressing or Salsa Ranch (can't remember the brand I found) or Chipotle Ranch (one of those refrigerated brands).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Black Bean and Rice Burritos

This is an easy weeknight kind of thing.

No meat, but very filling.


1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup salsa
1 bag “boil-in-bag” rice or small package yellow rice
4 large flour tortillas
sour cream
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
salsa or chopped tomatoes

In a saucepan, combine black beans, cumin and salsa. Heat thoroughly. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions. Mix cooked rice and black bean mixture. Spread sour cream on each tortilla. Spread rice and bean mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tortillas on microwave safe plates. Cover with chopped tomatoes or salsa and then cheese. Microwave individually for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 5 or 6 servings (depends on how fat you like your burritos)

That's how I like to configure my burritos and I just roll them up with open ends. I eat them with knife and fork. Eddie prefers to put everything inside, then attempts to roll them up, including folding in the ends. They fall apart as he eats them by hand. Whatever works for you!

I really like Newman's Own pineapple salsa for this!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Now I know why Woodrow sits at the back door like he's waiting on something, or someone.

I imagine the outdoor cat is taunting my indoor cats. I can hear it saying "Ha Ha. I'm outside having fun and you're trapped inside."

Then Woodrow says "How did you like that snow the other day??"

School Stuff

I thought I would share some of my newly obtained knowledge on a more regular basis...

This week, I have been studying the nervous system.

Word of the Day:
(I like the long, weird words)


This is one of the supportive cells that you have in nervous tissue of the central nervous system in addition to the neurons (pictured above). This supportive cell makes a myelin sheath around the axon of the neuron. The myelin sheath speeds up the electrical impulse, insulates the axon and conserves energy.

Did You Know?
(interesting or amazing facts)

Nerve cells can send 2500 impulses per second! (So, did we really need to speed it up with the myelin sheath?)

I have a test on Monday covering joints, muscle physiology, muscles and the nervous system. I hope I'll get another A.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore Bake

I wish seafood wasn't so expensive.

Chicken again...

I thought I'd show a few steps along the way to the finished product this time.

First, you're making chicken nuggets (only better!).

Then you will saute vegetables, put them in on top of the chicken. Dump in the black olives.

Pour a jar of sauce over everything.

After baking, serve over pasta. Eat!


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into one-inch pieces
Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 (8 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup diced yellow onion
2/3 cup diced green bell pepper
1 small can whole black olives, cut in half
1 (24 ounce) jar of pasta sauce (I recommend Newman’s Own Cabernet Marinara)

Beat egg and stir in 1/4 cup milk. Dip chunks of chicken in egg mixture and then into bread crumbs, coating well. Brown in a little oil until golden. (Chicken does not have to be completely cooked here, will complete in oven.) Place chicken in baking dish. Saute onions and bell pepper for 2 minutes then add mushrooms and saute 2 minutes more. Add onions, bell pepper and mushrooms to baking dish. Add black olives. Pour pasta sauce over all.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with bowtie or penne pasta.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I haven't made this recipe in about 10 years, so I felt the need to try it again just as it was written. It calls for Ritz crackers for the coating, but I think I'll use Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs next time. And more Swiss cheese inside.


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 pound honey cured ham, sliced thin
4 slices Swiss cheese
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness. Place ham and Swiss cheese slices on each breast and roll up tightly securing with toothpicks if necessary (I used about 5 toothpicks on each roll, tried to close up the ends, too, so the cheese wouldn't leak out). In a medium bowl, mix crushed crackers, basil and Parmesan cheese. In another bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Dip rolled chicken breasts into egg and coat well, then dip into crumb mixture until completely coated. Place in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and sprinkle any remaining cracker crumbs on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spicy Black Bean & Smoked Sausage Soup

What a surprise... another soup!

I don't know how this happened, this soup making obsession of mine. I guess because it's a good excuse to have grilled cheese sandwiches!


2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and divided
2 1/2 cups chicken broth or water, divided
8 ounces smoked sausage, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Place 1 cup beans and 1/2 cup water in a food processor and process until smooth. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sauté until soft. Add sausage, cook until browned. Add bean puree, remaining beans, 2 cups water or broth, chili powder and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Valentine's Day Dinner

Valentine's Eve Dinner to be exact... I don't get too concerned with celebrating holidays or birthdays or other occasions on the exact date. I prefer to celebrate when it's most convenient. Like on a Saturday night instead of a school/work night.

A pretty little salad with a heart carved out of red bell pepper. That just came to me at the last minute as I was preparing the salad.

Another creative idea that just popped into my head even after I had lit the candles... Recycling the Christmas candy canes.

I cooked the scallops (recipe here). Eddie grilled the steak. Kroger provided the bread.

Okay, so the next picture does not look as appetizing as the previous ones... Sorry about that... But it was delicious! Eddie surprised me with a Grilled Banana Split. He split the banana, put marshmallows, chocolate chips and walnuts inside, then wrapped it in aluminum foil. Grilled it for about 10 minutes. Served with vanilla ice cream and cherries on top.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow in Suwanee, GA

Remember back in January, when I was so dissapointed with the tiny snowfall we had.

We did much better this time!

See how happy we are about the snow...

Woodrow did not like walking in the snow. He headed right back to the house as quickly as he could.

We had a total of 3 1/2 inches.

It was really beautiful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What I've been up to...

This is what I've been up to this week:

Sternocleidomastoid... Tensor fasciae latae... orbicularis oculi...gastrocnemius... semimembranosus... pectoantebrachialis... xiphihumeralis...

Just a sample of the 130 muscles that I must commit to memory over the next few weeks.

And ---- they must be spelled correctly!

By the way, some of those listed above are cat muscles. I dissected a cat in lab yesterday. They get the cats from the Humane Society, the ones that are being euthanized anyway... at least they are used for a good purpose - my education. I gave my two cats big hugs when I got home after lab.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spinach & Artichoke Chicken

Trying to get a little more leafy green vegetable in the diet. Of course, the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo sort of offset it (even though I used a light version of all those).


6 ounces low fat cream cheese
1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach, drained, squeezed dry
1 (14 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness

1/4 Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in spinach and next 7 ingredients (through garlic powder). Set aside.

On a baking sheet, place chicken and season with salt & pepper to taste. Top each chicken breast with the spinach & artichoke mixture.

Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over the spinach & artichoke mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ham and Cheese Biscuit Cups

Sometimes, when hubby buys the wrong ingredient, you just have to improvise...

I usually make these in miniature muffin pans and that's the recipe I'm giving you, but these in the picture were made in full size muffin pans. Eddie bought Grands biscuits instead of the normal, smaller size biscuits. Still delicious, just not as cute. I like cute food!

Also, the recipe makes alot, but it's easy to make less, measurements aren't real important here.

Ham and Cheese Biscuit Cups

1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated flaky layered biscuits (like Hungry Jack)
1 (5 ounce) can refrigerated flaky layered biscuits
2 cups diced ham
2 cups shredded cheese (any kind you like)

Separate each biscuit into 3 thinner biscuits. Lay each biscuit piece over a mini-muffin pan cup. Press each biscuit into the cup like a pie crust. Fill each cup with ham and top with cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and serve warm.

Yield: 45 (see why you may want to make less)

Variation: Instead of ham, use crumbled cooked sausage or bacon.

Also good with a squirt of honey mustard in the biscuit before adding ham and cheese.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Smoked Paprika Roasted Salmon

Salmon's not really my favorite fish, but this spice rub makes it so much better.

That's sort of a healthy looking meal there, isn't it?


1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, divided
4 salmon fillets
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix orange juice and 1 teaspoon thyme in a small bowl. Place salmon in a large Ziploc bag. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate for at least one hour or longer for extra flavor.

Mix brown sugar, smoked paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and salt in a small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade. Place on a greased foil lined baking pan. Discard remaining marinade. Rub top of salmon evenly with smoked paprika mixture.

Roast salmon in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 4

Monday, February 1, 2010

Soup and Chili Recap

I wonder what the groundhogs will say tomorrow?

Personally, I think we could have many more cold days...

So let's make some soup!

Here's a recap of all the soups I have ever posted . Just click the link...

Taco Soup
Bean and Ham Soup
Five Bean Chili
Smoky Black Bean Soup
Smoky Chicken Chili
French Onion Soup
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Smoky White Bean Stew
Seven Can Chicken Tortilla Soup
Pasta E Fagioli
Veggie Beef Soup
White Chili
Split Pea Soup with Ham
Chicken Noodle Soup