Review: Chicken & Veg Stir Fry with Udon Noodles – Anne Burrell


Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with udon noodles – Anne Burrell

Recently my husband was out of town for a couple of weeks and I might have binge watched America’s Worst Cooks on the Food Network, ya now…maybe.  OK, I did!  I had never seen the show and enjoyed it, the mentors do a great job teaching basics like knife skills, definitions, and styles of cooking.  I have been holding my knife wrong and now when I stick my finger out on the the blade I can visualize Anne Burrell running down to paint my finger with red marker and I pull it back in.    I am a pretty decent cook and comfortable in the kitchen, but I was reminded that most of the difficulty in the kitchen is in our minds.  So, i encourage you to hop in there and be adventurous.  It just seems scary, but once you step out and try you will be surprised and delighted.

One of the recipes Anne Burrell made was a simple stir-fry.  I gave it a try this week and think you will find it an easy and yummy meal to fix any night of the week.

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Easy

Review:  This dish was made to be a substitute for Carry-out and I think it did a nice job.  It was quick and easy to prepare, full of flavor, and had that Take-away/Carry-out feel.  I realized a little too late that I had forgotten to buy edamame, but it still had a nice blend of textures and flavor.  I think this is a dish you will be able to play with and make your own.  Some of you will want a spicier dish, try adding chopped Jalapeños  as a garnish to complement the one in the dish.

Tips:  Mise en Place – A French term meaning “putting in place”.  You know all those little bowls with the prepped ingredients that you see on the cooking shows? That is a Mise en Place.  This is a huge time saver and sometimes a dish saver!  When you are cooking and a lot of things are going on you will be glad you already have your items prepped and ready to go.

  • Read your recipe
  • Prepare each recipe item and place in a small bowl or dish
  • Before you begin cooking, double check and make sure you have every ingredient that was listed prepared and ready to go in your dish
  • Keep the prepared items close by; at your stove, a nearby counter etc.  This way you save time by having it at hand.
  • Now start cooking.  As you get to each step just grab the right bowl and add it in.


Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and virtual health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.

All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

Roasted Green Pozole with Chicken & Grilled Mexican Corn – Date Night In

date night in

I just got a new cook book!  Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez, creator of .  It is a lovely book about nourishing your relationship through making a special date night in.  I have only tried 2 recipes, and 1 drink recipe, so far and will let you know how the others go, but these two were great.

The book is broken down into Spring, Fall, Summer, and Winter and each section contains subcatagories of menus with a variety of cocktails, salads, soups, main dishes, and desserts as well as introductions and stories.  This would make a great cover to cover read as well as a pick and choose book.

This book doesn’t have to be just for dates, though that is the purpose of the book.  It can be about making dinner a time of connection.  When my 23 year old saw the book she asked “Is this just for dates, or are you going to spread the love?”.  Yes, I’m going to spread the love!

Below are the three recipes we have tried so far:

Roasted Green Pozole with Chicken



Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ease: Simple – Moderate – the moderate side is simply because of some ingredients which may seem unfamiliar to some, but don’t be intimidated, just jump in and enjoy!

Review:  We all thought this was a good dish.  It is listed in the summer section, but would make meal a nice chilly fall night as well.  We used a jalapeno from our garden and this year they were a little hot, but you can adjust the heat by choosing your peppers based on heat.  This dish does take a little while to prepare and does not fall into a quick meal catagory, but it can be made ahead and reheated and the author said the flavor improves after a rest in the fridge.  Ours, didn’t make it for us to know- Gone!

Notes:  If you are not familiar with tomatillos ask your grocer for help.  They can be mildewed and too soft if you are not careful.

Pepitas are pumpkin seeds which are edible and yummy!  You can find them in the Hispanic section of your grocery and in the nuts section at places like Fresh Market.  They are good as a snack and in salads too!

Personally, I got lost in the directions of the recipe a few times, though it was well written and I’m not really sure.  I finally stopped and numbered my steps to help me.



Grilled Mexican Corn with Cotija and Lime



Time: 15-20 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This corn is fantastic! I have to admit I was skeptical, but the lime zest really jazzes it up!  I think you will find it to be a fun way to serve corn and wow your guests at the same time!  One response I got was DAAaaaAAA%%$%!  This is a good thing!


Cherry Lime Soda

cherry limeade

Time: 10 Minutes plus chilling time

Ease: Simple

Review:  The Cherry Lime Soda was given as a non-alcoholic drink with the suggestion of vodka, gin, or tequila to make it “adult”.   My husband made this while I prepared dinner and we just had a lot of fun in the kitchen!  It was easy and no Beetle Bailey swearing (#^@^&#).  My husband is prone to made up swear words with no real word in it, they sound like the top line of your key board-a.k.a Beetle Bailey!

Notes: Watch the level of lime juice it can overpower the drink, a little taste testing is recommended.

We used tequila, but meh,  we will make it again, but use vodka.


All in all I really like this book so far and I love the concept, as my readers know I’m all about bringing people together at the dinner table and this book does that.  It’s goal is for dates and connection, but it easily translates to larger groups.  I’m sure you will see more reviews of these recipes in the future!

All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach – a Burbachulous Photo.  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

One Pot Chicken and Potatoes

Sometimes you just need something simple and one-pot-meals are the way to go!  I am discovering that there are many meals that can be done this way.  Today we are looking at chicken and potatoes, but if you are interested in a pasta dish try this one from Martha Stewart.


One Pot Chicken and Potatoes

one pot chicken and potatoes


Time: 1 1/2 Hours

Ease: Simple

Meal: To show you how simple one-pot-meals are I just threw this one together last night and you can do it too! I used:

4 skinless Chicken Thighs

1 small bag of little red potatoes cut each in half

1 onion chopped

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup orange juice

Penzeys Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Chicken/Fish Seasoning

Penzeys Cajun Style Seasoning

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

In an oven safe pan saute the onion in 1/2 of the Olive Oil until translucent and move to the side of the pan.  Add remaining olive oil and sear the chicken until lightly browned on each side and remove from the pan.  Add the potatoes and mix in with the onions and sprinkle the spices to taste.  Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and season with more of the Penzeys spices to taste.  Add broth and juice to the pan and lightly spray the potatoes and tops of chicken with cooking spray.  Bake 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is done.

I used some spice blends that I had from Penzeys Spices, but you could use any spice you like.  You could try lemon and Rosemary, Curry, BBQ seasoning; the possibilities are limitless!

Review: I like the spices from Penzeys, they seem fresh and there is a good selection and are full of aroma and taste!  Spices are a great way to lower the fat in cooking by adding depth of flavor.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, your new favorite is waiting for you!

I served this with the curried carrots from last week!


I hope you enjoy!

Shrimp (almost) Tacos with Mango Slaw and Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Gremolata

Sometimes things just don’t go the way we plan.  This meal was one of those times!  To start with I am not making one big grocery trip any more and trying to be more diligent to use what we have and plan more carefully and for the most part it is working.  We are spending less and generally eating more healthy meals.  BUT, it means we do not have many groceries in the house.

I was all ready to make dinner, when I pulled the shrimp out, freshly bought shrimp, and it smelled awful.  I tried cooking it as planned thinking, maybe, just maybe it was my imagination.  Wrong, it still stunk when I pulled it off the grill.  Now we had tortillas and amazing mango avacado slaw and well…plates.  In the end I found a bag of frozen chicken nuggets, tossed them in seasoning and grilled them.  It was great!  Not so healthy, but great!

One of the good things about life not going as we planned is the adventure we get to take along the way.  A dinner adventure isn’t so bad, but even life’s bigger adventures can be tremendous, leaving us glad we didn’t go the other route!  Embrace your adventures and enjoy these shrimp “chicken” tacos!

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Citrus Slaw – Recipe Diaries

mango slaw taco


Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Yumm!!  This was fantastic!  The slaw is to die for and I could eat it straight out of the bowl.  I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. Jenna from Recipe Diaries gave us a simple, but elegant and fun taco that I think you’d be proud to serve to company.

Please note the story above, we actually ate it with chicken, but it was great and we can’t wait to try it again with shrimp and think it would be great with fish.  The only minor change I made was to add a little Sriracha to the dressing and  a little more acid (lemon juice), but that is personal preference.  I might add more Dijon instead of lime or lemon next time.  This was a very minor change.


Extra Recipe:

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Gremolata – Food and Wine Magazine



Time: 40 Minutes

Ease: Moderate

Review: O –  M – G!!!  This dish was a complete surprise to me.  I am pretty good at looking at a recipe and guessing how it will taste and what my family will think and I thought this would be good.  I waaaaaay underestimated.  There was not one little piece left!  Picked clean!

When you read the recipe you will make a face and think it is weird, I mean it has curry and carrot tops! It is so good!!

I forgot to add the gremolata to the top, so it isn’t in the picture,but  I served it on the side and let people sprinkle it on top.  The germolata, as strange as it sounds, really makes the dish sing!  It provides an acid to the overall dish that is not overwhelming, but just enough zing.  This is an out of the comfort zone dish for some, but I think you will love it and it just might become a regular on your table. – Enjoy!

What’s for Dinner? Pampered Chef Lemon Pasta Chicken Toss & Black Bean Pumpkin Chili by Kitchen Treaty

Summertime is full of vacations, staycations, running around and general busyness and can feel like we lose touch with each other, but with all of the parties, BBQs, picnics, pool parties etc.  It provides us with so many different ways to connect. So while summer is different from the rest of the year I encourage you to take advantage of the chance to connect, reconnect and just hang out with one another and build relationships as well as memories, so while this is a busy time remember you are still “Bringing Back Dinner”; food is the tool that gathers us.  Have fun and laugh a lot!

Pampered Chef – Lemon Pasta Chicken Toss

pampered chef chicken pasta

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I really do like Pampered Chef recipes, they are easy and always look like you worked much harder than y ou did.  This recipe is no different.  It was a quick and easy but still tasty meal.  We made an exchange though; spinach for broccoli.  You could use either vegetable or add something new.  This dish would be easy to play around with.


MEATLESS MONDAY – Kitchen Treaty – Slow Cooker Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

black bean and pumpkin chili

Time: 6-8 hours on low

Ease: Simple

Review:  This dish sounds weird, I’ll just say it, but it is really very good!  My family loved it and one of them even tweeted about it  “Let’s just make a deal to put pumpkin in everything. It makes food ten times better.”  You can’t get a much better review!  We were divided on one aspect of this dish – heat.  That is why they make Sriracha sauce.  Just serve hot sauce on the side for those who want a little heat.  Otherwise a perfect meal.

We often think of the slow cooker as a winter cooking device, but it is a great for the summer.  It doesn’t heat up the kitchen and frees you up to run around town all day and not worry about dinner.  Pull out your crockpot and have a great day at the pool!  Dinner will be waiting for you.


Share your favorite Summertime meal with us by posting to our facebook page or twitter or instagram using #bringingbackdinner.  We will post your comments here!

What’s for Dinner? Meatless Monday BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl, Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes, and Dijon Salmon

tea sick day

This week I was sick.  I managed to make three meals and then spent the rest of the week sucking down hot tea with honey and lemon and inhaling essential oils.  I stressed over coming up with extra meals for all of you and then decided the best thing is just to tell it like it is.  Let’s face it, we all have weeks like this or weeks where there is just too much going on.  When you have weeks like that and manage to get even one meal made and on the table I applaud you!  Judgement free zone here.

My job is to search the internet for yummy meals so that you don’t have to and hopefully you can use at least one meal to make your life easier and the rest of the week just do the best you can.  The goal is to make the effort and make a little progress at building relationships around your meals while you’re at it.  Remember bringing back dinner to your lives doesn’t have to stress you or be an impossible goal, even if you’re sick or busy!

So what did we do? We ate sandwiches, went out to eat and had take out for the rest of our week and we survived.  For the take out we still ate it together at the table and that is something.  Next week I have some awesome meals planned, but you know what?  Life happens if it derails your, or my, plans that’s OK.  Try again the next week.  Just relax and enjoy meal time.  I’m rooting for you!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.


The Meals:

Meatless Monday: BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl

bbq burrito bowl

Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Time:   30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon rice used and cooking method

Ease: simple

I am enjoying Meatless Mondays, but find it a challenge to make meals that my meat loving men will enjoy as well.  I find if it is hearty and flavorful they usually like it. So, this week we had a filling and tasty burrito bowl. I love a good veg burrito bowl, just pile it high and dig in.

Review: Everyone liked it!  Success.  This was an easy meal and one where you can set it up like a buffet and give people choices. Suggested items: cooked rice, squash and zucchini, roasted peppers and onions, caramelized onion, black beans, and corn with peppers and chipotle bbq sauce.  Recipes for the corn and bbq sauce below:

Corn with Peppers

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 poblano pepper finely chopped
  •  ½ -1  jalapeno pepper
  •  ¼ cup Red onion
  •  Cilantro
  •  1 Tbsp Lime juice
  •  Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and add peppers, red onion and corn and cook until lightly toasted in areas and heated through.  Add lime juice, salt and pepper and cilantro and toss through.  Serve.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  •   1 cup ketchup
  •   1 tbsp mustard
  •   1 tsp  garlic powder or sauté garlic with onions
  •   1 tsp onion powder or saute fresh onions to taste
  •   1tsp chili powder
  •   1/3 cup molasses
  •   1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •   1/2 tsp chocolate
  •   1 tbsp chipotle pepper w/sauce (more to taste)
  •   1 Tbsp brown sugar
  •   Salt & pepper

Heat the vinegar and add in molasses and brown sugar to dissolve, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Simmer 5 minutes. Done!  Easy!  If using fresh onions and garlic sauté them in 1 tbsp olive oil prior to adding vinegar and sweeteners.

This sauce is perfect for ribs, porkchops, anything! (for those meatfull other days!)

Rosemary Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

chicken and sweet potatoes

Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole30

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Preheat oven to 400.  I used the Pampered Chef Deep Baking Dish (stoneware), but  you could do this in a regular Pyrex dish or other baking dish with sides.

4-5 pieces chicken breasts or thighs

1 small onion cut in rings

4 small sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks


2 Tbsp Olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss the sweet potatoes in enough olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and place in the bottom of baking dish. Coat chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary and brush with olive oil and place over the sweet potatoes.  Place onion rings on top of the chicken and pour about 1/4 cup liquid (water or broth) over the chicken and cover.  Bake until the chicken is done in the center.  About 165 degrees F.  Here is a great guide from The Food Network.

Review: This was a simple dish with nice flavors, it sort of reminded me of Thanksgiving.  You could serve it with rice, dressing/stuffing, veg etc.

Dijon Salmon – Original Recipe from Trader Joes


dijon salmon

Paleo when following omitions, Gluten Free, 

Time:  15 Minutes

Ease: Simple


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (omit & increase olive oil for Paleo)
  • 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 lb Silverbrite Salmon (frozen or defrosted)
  • 1 tbsp honey (use raw, unfiltered for paleo diets)
  • 1/8 cup water

Review: This recipe was right on the package from the salmon we bought in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s.  I love the frozen food there, if you want convenience, but still want fresh taste and to feel like you are eating at least fairly healthy food, this is the way to go.  I found a link online for you to use.

This was very quick and easy meal to make.  It would be a great one to make if you have just a little time to make dinner.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: If it is a crazy week filled with take out try to put the food on the table and eat it together at least once.  That little bit of time to connect makes a lasting difference.  If you do it or make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Pinterest Meals: Potato & Cauliflower Pierogies, Swedish Meatballs, Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups, & Sweet Lemon Shrimp

orginal pinterest

Do you remember what pinning something to your board used to look like?  The picture above is my non-electronic board, still in use.  However, I have moved into the modern age and have a great time Pinning awesome ideas for meals, dreams,  DYI things, etc to my boards.  Pinterest is great, mostly!  It can suck you into it  and then hours will pass before you know it.  But, they are fun hours.

This week I thought I’d try some of those yummy Pinterest meals we all pin to our boards.  If you are like me you probably pin lots of great looking dishes to your boards, but never get around to making them.  So, this week I finally decided I would do it!   The verdict?  I’ll keep on pinning, but now I have incentive to try them since overall I really liked the results.  I found one pin that looked great in the photo, but I just couldn’t find a recipe that sounded like what I’d like the dish to be, so I used the picture as my inspiration and made a recipe to match.  The recipe can be found below.

I hope you enjoy this week’s recipes and please feel free to pin them to your boards, but remember to make them!

Note: One of my family members is doing the Whole30 plan which is a modified Paleo diet, so I am trying to make at least a few meals that are paleo/whole 30 acceptable.  There are 2 this week.  But for those not into Paleo, don’t worry they are still good recipes that we would all eat anyway, they just happen to work for paleo/whole30 as well.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.


The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Healthy Cauliflower, Potato, & Cheddar Pierogies – from


Time:   30 minutes

Ease: moderate

Review:   I love perogies!  This is a great recipe and I like mixing the cauliflower in with potatoes, as sort of a undercover vegi. It is easier than completely trying to sneak in cauliflower by itself.   I used wonton wrappers as the dough rather than make them just because I had a lot of them on hand.  This works well and cuts down on the prep, but I recommend trying the dough recipe.

We are doing pretty well on our Meatless Mondays, but my fellas would have liked this with a little meat, sausages were suggested! Mmm, that does sound good.  Bacon? I served this with a big salad.

Swedish Meatballs – from The Chew

swedish meatballs

Time: 30-60 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  Well, it isn’t quite Ikea, but not bad and certainly closer and with fewer lines. This Swedish Meatball dish was easy to make, but we found the sauce to be a little plain, I feel like I didn’t use enough worcestershire sauce.  I recommend playing with proportions, especially the Worcestershire sauce and make sure you use a good hearty broth.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps – from Bringing Back Dinner

(Paleo/Whole30 acceptable)

buffalo chicken

Time:  30-45 Minutes

Ease: Simple


1 pound ground chicken

½ cup chopped onion

1-2 cloves garlic

1 Bottle Franks Buffalo Sauce

Lettuce leaves (keep uncut to make small cups)

Blue Cheese and Ranch for toppings (optional)

Saute the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and cook until done, no pink.  Once the chicken is done stir in about half of the Buffalo sauce and stir through until heated.  Scoop into lettuce leaves and serve. Optional, top with blue cheese crumbles before serving. Serve with celery and carrots with Ranch and Blue Cheese dressings

This was a win!  Everyone loved this dish (almost, one doesn’t like buffalo) and requested we make this again.  It was easy and quick.  The coolness of the lettuce was a great compliment to the heat from the buffalo sauce.

Sweet Lemon Shrimp – from

(Paleo/Whole30 acceptable)

lemon shrimp pinterest

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: While this dish was simple and pretty tasty, We all felt like this dish was good, but probably not a keeper.  That said, everyone has different tastes and I recommend you give it a try, it could be your favorite dish.  It would be a great dish to throw together for unexpected company.  It is very quick and easy.

What do you think?

  • Do you have a favorite Pinterest dish You’d like to share?  Just copy the url and past into the comment area and tell us what you liked about it.
  • Do you try Bringing Back Dinner’s Meals?  I’d love to hear what you think of them.  Share your review with us here, on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Make your own “mystery box” like from the cooking shows.  Have each friend bring a mystery ingredient and then everyone brainstorm to create dinner using those ingredients.  If you do it share it on with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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What’s for Dinner? Taking it Old School – 5 Meals from the 1969 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook


When I was 20 I was given some new cookbooks and I found that they had great ideas, but often said things like “open a jar and add….”  I wanted to actually cook, not open a jar, where were the recipes!  I remembered the great sweet and sour sauce that my mom made when my brother and I were kids, I could drink that stuff.  I wanted to make things like that. So I asked my mom and she said the recipe had com from the “Old Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook” and I went on a search.  It took a few years, but I finally found the 1969 version at an estate sale and snatched it!  I’ve been cooking ever since.   I gradually moved on to more modern cooking and I’m glad to say that the culture has changed again, moving away from pre-packaged foods to fresh ingredients and there are many wonderful cookbooks out there allowing for great “scrach-made” dishes and there are also wonderful cookbooks for using those jars and adding to it.  I’ve since discovered that there is a place for both.

On a side note, I have 2 moms; my mom and my stepmom.  They are both my mom and have been wonderful about accepting my love for each of them without being jealous, but encouraging my relationships.  What a blessing!  My stepmom mom is the one above, who ironically hates to cook.  Some of my favorite dishes as a kid came from her though and they came from cookbooks that made it simple and fast.  My first mom, on the other hand, loves to cook and is great at it!  So, my other favorite meals come from her.  Her dishes tend to be those down home, southern, comfort foods and I am thankful for them.  Because of her I am a proper southern girl possessing all of the appropriate gear: Cast iron skillet, deviled egg tray, and string of pearls!  Because of their joint efforts I am the woman I am today.  They are very different from one another and I have benefited greatly from this.  I love you moms!

This week’s recipes are all from the 1969 “Better Homes and Garden’s New Cookbook”. Better Homes and Gardens was founded in 1922 by Edwin Meredith, the former Secretary of Agriculture under Woodrow Wilson and continues to help make the lives of women more manageable with great recipes, home ideas, and tips. Check out Better Homes and Garden’s today at  Thank you BHG!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 Note – I am trying to be careful of copyright laws and do not have permission to use the recipes directly from the book, so I have provided links found on the internet which are identical to the original recipes.  It is my understanding of the las that I may use a recipe if it is sufficiently adapted from the original, but that ingredient lists are not copyrighted. However, I didn’t want to make adaptations to the recipes as they were already simple and straightforward recipes.  Thank you.

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Speedy Chop Suey

I omitted the pork and added extra vegis to make this a nice vegetarian meal.

chop suey

Time:  25 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  When I was growing up my grandmother made chop suey a lot, but she always made biscuits with it.  I was grown before it occurred to me that the rest of the world didn’t eat biscuits with their chop suey.  Ah well, the rest of the world is missing out.   I think you will find this recipe to be easy to make, however it was a little bland.  I would suggest adding some extra seasonings.  The recipe calls for pork, but I used extra vegetables to make it meatless.  You can serve this with noodles or with rice.

Classic Chicken Divan

chicken Divan 2

Time: 30 Minutes (plus time to cook chicken. Try boiling, microwaving, or baking ahead of time)

Ease: Simple

Review:  In my second night of cooking through my 1969 Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook I am beginning to see the excitement that must have been held by the original owner of this book.  The dishes are explained in simple terms and really pretty convenient.  Dinner was ready in a flash!  This is a dish my mom made fairly often (first mom) and she called it Chicken Sofa. I’ll wait a minute while you finish snickering.  Another name for a sofa is…you got it, a divan, ergo Chicken Sofa. Ok, Chicken sofa, biscuits with chop suey, yeah I had an interesting childhood! I think you will enjoy this simple dish.

Tip: try adding cheese on top or mixed into the potatoes.

Meat Macaroni

Meat and Macaroni

Time: About an Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: I had to do one 1960’s classic recipe so here it is “Meat Macaroni”.  OK, so one thing Better Homes and Garden has improved upon is their titles for recipes. This was an interesting recipe and I couldn’t resist, I mean it has Spam!  That said, it wasn’t bad, as a matter of fact the recipe was pretty good, maybe minus the spam.  I think I’ll make it again and use kielbasa.  Like the other recipes it was amazingly easy.

Pork and Bean Bake

beans and porkchops

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review: Yummy! I can really get into how quick and easy these dishes are, I wonder if Rachel Ray’s mom used them.  I think if you held all the ingredients in your hands at once to carry to the counter you’d think you were on a her show! Ok, just being silly.  I find myself doing the same thing, but now when I do I think of her.  The one down side to the recipes in this book is lots of canned foods, but that is pretty easy to fix with an easy white sauce and fresh or frozen vegetables.

This was this week’s family favorite!  The flavor on the pork chop was a kind of simple barbecue sauce flavor.  This is one to keep on hand when you just need to throw something together and it would be great picnic food or even company food.

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review:  There are only a few ingredients in this recipe and the flavor, over all, was very nice.  The only thing I think I would change is the amount of butter.  The end result was a little too greasy and too much butter taste (shhhh, don’t tell Paula Deen I said that, I’d have to turn in my G.R.I.T. card.)  You could probably use half the amount of butter or use olive oil.  The next time I make it I will try just spraying the pan with olive oil and a quick spray to the chicken.  I served it with the awesome Sweet and Sour Sauce my mom used to make.

THE Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe  I love this recipe but we always omitted the green peppers and pimiento and often the paprika so that they don’t compete with the flavors of the things I’m going to serve it with.  I encourage you to try it both ways.

I hope you enjoy this step back in time!

We’d love to hear about your experience!

  • What cookbook did you grow up with?
  • What is your favorite cookbook now?

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Make it a Flashback Party

Ask your friends to each bring a vintage recipe from any time period you choose for a Flashback Party.  Everyone dress according to the time period and search for music and trivia from that era and have a blast from the past!

Next week: Picking Meals from Pinterest

 Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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What’s for Dinner? A Taste of Great Britain: Shepherds Pie, Moussaka, Curry, & Steak & Ale Pie

Look How Big I Am!It has been almost a year since we were in Great Britain and I am longing to go back.  I loved the people, the architecture, the history, I even enjoyed the rain (notice I didn’t say “love”) and we really loved the food.  We had been told that the food would be bland, but I completely disagree, we thought the food was wonderful and full of flavor and we felt connected at meal times! While we were there we had Italian food, pub food, sandwiches, pasties, you name it and enjoyed trying new flavors.  My husband even liked blood sausages, but I wasn’t so sure.  At least it wasn’t Marmite (yeecchhh)  I was told that you either love Marmite or hate it.  Yeah, I don’t love it.  It tastes like eating bouillon cubes (stock cubes) straight. yummm, but we tried it. If you love it, that’s ok.

 There are a few things that you can’t get here in the USA or they are hard to find; Pimms which is an alcoholic drink they love over there, lemonade which is fizzy and not as sweet as ours, a good pasty shop just to list a few. So for those things, I guess I’ll have to go back.  oh, and Primark and Marks & Spencer, and Pret a Manger and Yo Sushi.  and, and, and,  ok, ok, I have to go back! But you can make some of the wonderful things we tried.  This week’s meals are an attempt at recapturing some of the taste of Great Britain.  Enjoy!

You can read about our travels in three parts at Part 1 – Wales, Part 2 -Cambridge, Part 3 – London

This week includes recipes from Jamie Oliver, BBC Good Food, BBC Channel 4 and my own, Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Veg Moussaka – Jamie Oliver


Time: 2 hours

Ease: moderately difficult

Review:  This recipe is great, but a lot of work and a solid 2 hours of your time.  That said, it was very good, even with eggplant, which I am not a fan of.  I have no hesitancy giving this recipe a positive review, I think you’ll enjoy it and the meat eaters may not even notice it’s missing.  Just keep in mind it takes a good 2 hours and probably 2 ½ until it is on the table, but worth the time.

Shepherds Pie  – BBC Good Food

shepherds pie

Time:  1 hour 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This is really a very simple dish and it is comforting and filling.  My family likes things a little spiced up so I added rosemary, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  The result? Plates licked clean!  This is a great Sunday night, meat and potatoes dinner.

Tip: try adding cheese on top or mixed into the potatoes.

Steak and Ale Pie – BBC Channel 4

steak and ale pie

Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Ease: Moderate

Review: This recipe was pretty straight forward with easy instructions, I found that I had too much liquid and had to reduce it until it looked to be the right consistency, which added another 10 minutes.  Other than the issue with the liquid this was a great dish and another comfort food kind of flavor. I liked having puff pastry as the crust rather than pie crust, it added dimension to it. My husband thought this was a wonderful meal and informed me that we could most definitely have it again!  OK-I’m all about happy tummys and hubbys!

Curried Chicken

curried chicken

  •  6 Chicken thighs
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Corriander
  • 2 Tbsp curry (may adjust per taste)
  • 1 can plum tomatoes chopped
  • Rice

Sauté onion until it starts to caramelize, add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, add spices and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds to a minute), add sugar and vinegar and stir through.  Next add tomatoes and heat through then pour over chicken in a deep baking dish and bake until chicken is done, an internal temperature of 165-175. Serve with rice.

Note: for richer flavor try searing chicken in a hot pan before baking, but this dish works well without it.

Time: 35 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I was in the mood for some of the great flavors that come with curry, but couldn’t decide what to make and improvised taking bits and pieces from different recipes and then throwing in spices I thought sounded nice.  That means this is not a proper curry, but I think that it turned out nicely and my family loved it.  The leftover chicken made a great chicken salad the next day.  I hope you enjoy it.

Chicken, Spinach, Alfredo Pizza (ok, this one isn’t British)

chicken alfredo

There were a few things that I just couldn’t enjoy in England; pizza and coffee!  Stick to pasties and tea and you’ll be fine.  Friday night I just wanted a quick meal, so I left my theme and pizza it was.

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review:  I know I’m always telling you to “make it from scratch”, but let’s be real, we all just need something quick and easy sometimes so here it is, one of my Friday night, hanging in front of the TV easy meals! Go ahead, you have my permission.

  • 1 pizza dough. I use the dough made from the grocery stores that serve pizza, they will often store it in the freezer case or the deli case, or you can make your favorite recipe. (if your are from North Carolina Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods carry it)
  • Frozen, grilled chicken pieces, leftover chicken or chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
  • ¼ Red onion cut in rings or enough to evenly lay across the pizza
  • ¼ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze the liquid out
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough to make one pizza, top with several large scoops of sauce up to 1 inch from the edge, then place a layer of chicken nearly covering the sauce.  Grab spinach in pinches and place throughout the pizza and top with red onion rings.  Cover with cheese.  Brush olive oil around the edges of the crust and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Bake until golden brown on top and crust is browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes.

What are your favorite foods from around the world? scroll to the bottom to reply!

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Bring a little history and trivia to dinner

When planning out this week’s meals try looking up trivia about England and talk about it over dinner or ask each person to find one interesting thing about England that they would like to share, this gives everyone the chance to participate.

Next week: Going Old School; 5 meals from the 1969 Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook

 Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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What’s for Dinner? Potato Soup, Beef Tamale Bake, Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Braised Chicken Thighs plus some bonus sweets

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sticky lemon cakeLife is short, eat dessert first, or so they say and I am tempted to agree now that I’ve found this yummy recipe.  I’m starting this week’s post with this  “Sticky Lemon Cake”,  It is heavenly, sticky, rich…..mmmm.  I found the recipe in a mystery book I read called “Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea” by Nancy Atherton.  I love the books, but find that when you say , “yeah, I got the recipe from my murder mystery I’m readying” everyone acts just a little suspicious!  The genre is called cozy mystery, in addition to the dessert I highly recommend the Aunt Dimity series.

This week includes recipes from Williams and Sonoma, Pampered Chef, America’s Test Kitchen and my own, Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and family when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to include your friends.

The Meals:

Potato Soup: Meatless Monday

potato soupTime: 30-45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Potato soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  I love it when I’m sick, when I’m cold or just because.  I like to play around with recipes, but this week I just made a basic potato soup.  Feel free to adapt.  Try curry, chimichurri, pesto.  You make it something new every time.

5-6 medium sized potatoes cut into uneven cubes about an inch in size

Chicken or vegetable broth (enough to cover cut potatoes)

½ cup diced onion or 1-2 leeks, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup milk

1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter

Optional: celery, carrots, pesto, bacon, sour cream, cheese, poultry seasoning.

Melt the butter together with olive oil and add onions or leeks and any other vegetables and cook until translucent. Add any special spices and cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add peeled and cut potatoes to pot and cover with broth and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender then reduce heat and add milk and salt and pepper.  If you don’t puree the soup t add sour cream and cheese, if using, at this point. Cook until cheese is melted and serve.

In my house we have people who like it chunky and people like it smooth so we compromise.  I pull out half of the soup before adding cheese and blend until smooth (caution, do not overfill blender to avoid burns) then return it to the chunky soup left in the pot.  Everyone is happy or at least half happy!

 Braised Chicken Thighs and Potatoes (pressure cooker)

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Pressure Cooker Perfection – You can pick up a copy at

pressure cooker chickenTime: 1 Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: This is a very simple dish and can be adapted for the stove top.  The flavors are that of comfort food and the Tarragon adds a nice flavor.  If you have never tried tarragon, this is a great dish to have your first time with.  Remember to experiment with spices, you may be surprised at the flavors that you find.

8 (5-7 oz) bone in chicken thighs, trimmed

1 Tbs vegetable oil

1 onion , chopped finely

3 garlic cloves

2 Tbs flour

½ cup dry white wine

¾ cup low sodium chicken broth

2 pounds small red potatoes, halved

1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

Brown the chicken, skin on in the pressure cooker until golden brown (or in frying pan) then remove the skin.  Reserve 1 Tbsp of fat in pressure cooker (or pan) and sauté the onion until translucent then add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour until combined and stir in wine getting rid of any lumps, reduce slightly.  Add broth then add the chicken.  Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes with quick release.  You may also cook on medium high heat on the stove until chicken is cooked through.

Beef Tamale Bake – Pampered Chef

Beef Tamale Bake

Time: 45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I love pampered chef recipes and products. I’m not a rep, but just love the stuff!  One of the reasons I like the recipes is that they often give the illusion that I have slaved away in the kitchen to make some elegant dish, when if fact, I didn’t.  I love cooking, but not for the sake of cooking.  I love cooking because of how it makes people feel, so no need to be a gourmet chef, but it is ok if everyone thinks I am! Pampered Chef recipes are quick, easy and often beautiful dishes.  While this dish isn’t as much on the elegant side it is still quick and easy. It has great flavor, but watch the liquid to cornbread ratio, it can feel a little dry if not careful.

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce

pork tenderloin 2

Time: 1 ½ hours

Ease: Simple

Review:  Easy and wonderful.  We made this for family who had come into town and everyone was pleased.  After the 11 ½ hour trip they said it was worth the drive!  Well, maybe no true, but I think you will find this to be a great dish to make for company or your family.  My Pork loins were not very big so when I sliced it, it didn’t make nice spirals and was a little messy.  No one cared or knew that I didn’t mean for it to look the way I served it.  That is usually the case, so relax and act like you meant to do it!

Baked Potato and Salad Bar

potao bar

Time: 1 Hour (depending on method of cooking potatoes)

Ease: Simple

Review:  We do this every so often, and you have seen it before, but I post it as a reminder that dinner can be simple and still be fun.  Set up a buffet of salad toppings and potato toppings and let everyone make their own.  It is fun to see what some people come up with.  You will have the butter and salt and pepper people and then the Dagwood Sandwich type potato.  Try things like raisins, nuts, cheese sauce, salsa, horseradish, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, edamame, chickpeas, bacon, shredded cheese etc.  Check out some ideas from The Yummy Life and have fun.

Bonus recipe: Emeril’s German Apple Pancake

german apple pancake

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  yum, yum yum!  I made this for our guest this weekend and it was a big hit.  It is really pretty easy and gives you something to move beyond the plain pancake.

  • Do you have a recipe from a favorite book you’d like to share? If so, Scroll down to comment.
  • How do you like your potato soup? Scroll down to comment.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Tea Sandwiches and Hors d’oeuvres for Dinner

Everyone likes little things (well not always the guys, but they can adjust).  Try making dinner one night using salad plates and have a variety of tea sandwiches available, things like chicken salad, egg salad, ham, cucumber and add in some bite sized desserts and/or scones with jam and clotted cream. Visit BBC Good Food for some ideas.

If you aren’t  into the tea sandwich thing try heavy hors d’eovres such as mini roast beef sandwiches, little quiches, meatballs, mini beef wellingtons.  Visit Martha Stewart online for some ideas. Dinner doesn’t have to be a meat, potato, and vegetable.   Play with your food!

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.
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