30 September 2009

Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets 30 Sept 2009



This lampshade chef had a very long day at the hotel kitchen... - Photo by Tracy Hunter @ Flickr

From Denny: Had some fun today and put up a post chock full of funny cooking quotes! When it comes to cooking there are a variety of opinions. Here's a "chef's table" sampling of the cheeky quote menu:

* In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport. - Julia Child

* Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

* The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. - Calvin Trillin

* When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking. - Gail Sheehy

* Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. - G. K. Chesterson (1874-1936)

* Recipe For Chili: Put a pot of chili on the stove to simmer. Let it simmer. Meanwhile, broil a good steak. Eat the steak. Let the chili simmer. Ignore it. - Allan Shivers, former governor of Texas

* I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. - Woody Allen

* Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat. - Alex Levine

* In Mexico we have a word for sushi: bait. - Jose Simon

For more of Cheeky Quote Day, go here! :)

29 September 2009

Recipe: Paula Deens Chocolate Chip Cake

From Denny: I just love it when celebrity chefs come on TV morning shows to hawk their latest cookbook and give out some interesting yummy recipes! Here's the latest from chef Paula Deen from her down home Southern style of good food. She appeared on NBC's The Today Show this month. This recipe is an easy one made with a yellow cake mix.

From: "Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set"

INGREDIENTS

• Cooking spray
• Flour for dusting pan
• One 18 1/4 ounce yellow cake mix
• 1 cup sour cream
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• One 3 ounce package instant pudding mix
• One 12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
• Confectioners' sugar for dusting top of cake

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray then put about 2 tablespoons of flour in the bottom of the pan. Tap the pan and turn it all around until the flour coats all surface of the pan. Dump out any excess flour into the trash can.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, sour cream, eggs, oil and pudding mix. Combine with an electric mixer until very smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place the batter evenly in the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top appears set and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Have an adult help you remove the pan from the oven.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then take a butter knife and run it around the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the top by placing confectioners' sugar into a strainer, holding it above the cake, and tapping the sides of the strainer. Move the strainer from place to place until the cake is dusted.

Video and Recipe: Whole-wheat creamy fettuccine with chicken sausage, olives and rabe

From Denny: This looked really great! As a pasta lover, I've never quite adjusted to whole wheat noodles. However, one of the toppings that tastes good with the heavier more flavorful whole wheat noodles is anything with spicy tastes like sausage or olives and this recipe has both.

This is a healthy version made with chicken sausage and lots of yummy garlic. Any time you add greens you are addings lots of minerals like calcium to your diet. She's using milk instead of heavy cream like so many fettacine dishes. Whew! Tastes good and fewer calories, works for me. This is a great easy and quick dish for busy parents at the end of a busy work day!




Whole-wheat creamy fettuccine with sausage, olives and rabe

From: Chef Cat Cora

Serves: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 pound fennel or hot light Italian turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices

• 2 tablespoons minced garlic

• 1 pound fresh whole-wheat fettuccine

• 1/2 pound broccoli rabe, cleaned and rough chopped

• 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (about 1/4 pound)

• 1/4 cup milk

• 1 teaspoon pepperoncini or chili flakes

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

• Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Put water on to boil in a large pot or a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer.

Pour the olive oil into a skillet and set over medium heat. Cook the sausage slices just until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Toss the minced garlic into the skillet and cook just until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. If the water in the pot is boiling, add the fresh pasta to the pot. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Now add the olives to the skillet. Saute 1 minute, then stir in the milk. Strain the pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl. Add the olives to the pasta and toss. Season with oregano, pepperoncini, salt and pepper before serving.

3 Recipes and Video: Giadas Healthier Turkey Osso Buco For Sunday Dinner

From Denny: Giada is one of those few chefs that cooks healthy without sacrificing taste or texture. She also manages to figure out that fine line between what is easy to cook at home and what the family will actually enjoy. This is her interesting idea for a Sunday dinner.



Turkey osso buco with parsley and rosemary gremolata

From: Chef Giada De Laurentiis

Makes: 6-8 servings

Here's an osso buco everyone will love, even if they aren't big fans of veal. Consider this as the centerpiece of a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal; you'll get both dark and light meat without having to cook a whole turkey. Using a gremolata to spark up the flavor of a long-cooked dish like this one is a very traditional Italian touch that makes a huge difference in the finished dish.

INGREDIENTS

Turkey osso buco with parsley

• 1 half-breast of turkey (cut into 4 pieces, preferably by the butcher)
• 2 turkey thighs
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
• 1 celery stalk, finely diced
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
• 2 large fresh thyme sprigs
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 whole cloves

Rosemary gremolata

• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
• Pinch of salt
• Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pat the turkey pieces dry with paper towels to ensure even browning. Season the turkey with salt and pepper then dredge the pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.

In a heavy roasting pan large enough to fit the turkey pieces in a single layer, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the turkey to a plate and reserve.

To the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Season vegetables with salt and cook until they are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return the turkey to the pan. Add enough chicken broth to come two thirds up the sides of the turkey pieces. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaf, and cloves to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the pan tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Braise until the turkey is fork-tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes hours, turning the pieces after 1 hour.

When the turkey is just about done, combine the chopped parsley, lemon zest, garlic, minced rosemary, and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and cut in thick slices , then arrange the slices in shallow serving bowls. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and ladle some over each serving. Sprinkle each piece of turkey with a large pinch of gremolata. Serve immediately.

***

Prosciutto mozzarella pinwheels

From: Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 6-8

From Giada: I usually make this in one big log because it is so impressive when it comes out of the oven and you cut it into slices, but if the kids are helping put this together, why not make it as 4 individual rolls? That way everyone can stuff and roll their own selections. Let an adult cut the hot rolls, as the yummy molten cheese retains a lot of heat.

INGREDIENTS

• Flour, for dusting
• 1 pound purchased pizza dough
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• 7 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
• 1 cup coarsely chopped baby spinach (about 1 1/2 ounces)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 F and position a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 12 to 14-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella over the dough. Arrange the prosciutto over the cheese in a single layer.

Sprinkle with the chopped spinach, then top with the remaining cheese.

Roll the dough into a thin cylinder, gently tucking in the ends. Brush the entire roll with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place the dough, seam-side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Cool the roll for 3 for 4 minutes, then use a serrated knife to cut it into 3/4-inch slices.

***

Tuscan mushrooms

From: Giada De Laurentiis

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

From Giada: If you think stuffed mushrooms are bland, you'll find these a welcome change of pace — the flavors are quite robust. These are equally good right out of the oven or at room temperature and a nice hors d'ouevre option for non meat-eaters.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 cup diced jarred roasted red bell peppers
• 1/2 cup diced pitted green olives
• 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano
• 2 scallions, white parts only, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl mix together the roasted red bell peppers, olives, cheese, scallions, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange the mushrooms, gill side up. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities, mounding it slightly. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter, sprinkle with chopped basil, and serve.

28 September 2009

Video and Recipe: Paula Deen’s cheeseburger casserole for kids

From Denny: Always fun to cook with kids and cook dishes kids will like! Paula Deen is the ultimate indulgent grandmother who can cook. Take a look.




Cheeseburger casserole

From: "Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set"


INGREDIENTS

• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 8 ounces wide egg noodles
• Cooking spray
• 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

all of the pink is gone from the meat. Get an adult to help you drain off the fat.

Add the onion and green pepper, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, with juice, and the Worcestershire sauce, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes.

Fill the medium pot halfway full of water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the noodles and boil for about 8 minutes, until tender. Get an adult to help you drain the noodles. Return the noodles to the pot. Pour the tomato mixture over the noodles, and stir until blended.

Put the noodle mixture in the baking dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy it as a family meal, then refrigerate the leftovers.

Funny Chocolate Quote 1 Oct 2009



Chocolate Quote

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. - Judith Viorst - You got that right! :)

26 September 2009

Music Video: Thats What Love is About, Band from Utah

From Denny: Friend Mystic Dave - all the way across the country out in Utah - filmed a favorite band singing a really mellow song to end your day on a good note - That's What Love is About. For more of his music and video choices, go here.

25 September 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie



From Denny: When it comes to entertaining during the football season things can get hectic and we want easy recipes we can whip up in a hurry and are easy to make and take to a friend's house as our contribution to the gathering. This easy little pie uses cream cheese to give it awesome flavor. Martha White is a wonderful brand of flour often used for making biscuits. If you can't find it just substitute a similar chocolate chip muffin mix.


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

• Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Crust

• 1 (7.4 oz.) package Martha White® Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix

• 4 tablespoons butter, softened

• 1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Filling

• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 3 tablespoons milk

• 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Topping

• 2 tablespoons Smucker's® Hot Fudge Microwaveable Ice Cream Topping, warmed

Directions:

1. HEAT oven to 350º F. Spray 9-inch pie place with no-stick cooking spray. Combine muffin mix, butter and peanuts in large bowl. Blend with fork just until crumbly. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. If crust is slightly puffy, press down gently with back of a wooden spoon. Cool.

2. BEAT peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium high speed until smooth. Beat in milk. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spoon into cooled crust. Drizzle warm fudge topping over pie. Chill 3 to 4 hours or until serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

3 Easy Pork Chop Recipes: Italian Grilled, Autumn Glazed, Stuffed with Beer Glazed Onions



From Denny: Down South we love to grill and cook meat dishes with beer! It's become so popular nationwide that even the meat producers have polished some great recipes for us to enjoy.

The first recipe is ridiculously simple and quick to prepare. All you do is marinate with Italian dressing and fresh herbs of your choice and grill.

Since pork is coming into season this fall making it easier on the budget, now is the time to try your hand at something new! This second recipe is perfect for a Sunday dinner with family or for the holidays if you don't feel like cooking a large turkey because there are just the two of you. The pairing of cranberries and orange juice with pork is always a winner taste combination. I'll even throw in a small amount of garlic to counterbalance that tart and citrus taste though this recipe does not call for it.

The third recipe is a real show stopper! It's an OMG on the calorie meter but worth it because it combines the melting of fontina cheese, hickory-smoked bacon and onions sauteed until soft and sweet in a flavorful beer. This kind of "stuffing" helps to keep lean pork moist during the cooking process.

Pork is such a versatile and easy meat to cook for great flavor that can be short on time in this time conscious world. Also included are a few tips and suggestions about preparation and cooking.

Bon Appetit and Happy Grilling!

Herbed Pork Chops

From: Pork Information Bureau

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

4 (3/4-inch thick) pork chops

1 cup reduced-fat Italian dressing

2 tbls. chopped fresh herbs (chives, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary — any combination)

Directions:

1. Place chops into a resealable plastic bag. Add dressing and herbs; seal and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.

2. Remove chops from marinade; discard marinade.

3. Grill chops over medium-high heat (or broil 4 inches from heat) for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 170 calories, 6 grams fat, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 360 milligrams sodium and 1 gram carbohydrates.



Autumn Glazed Pork Chops

From: TheOtherWhiteMeat

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Salt, optional

1/4 cup apple cider or juice

1/2 cup whole-cranberry sauce

2 tbls. honey

2 tbls. frozen orange juice concentrate

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:

1. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of chops with pepper and salt, if desired. Brown chops on each side in hot skillet. Add apple cider or juice. Cover tightly; cook over low heat for 5 or 6 minutes or until chops are just done. Drain off juices.

2. In a small bowl, combine cranberry sauce, honey, orange juice concentrate, ginger and nutmeg. Pour over chops. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes or until heated through.

***

Stuffed Pork Chops With Beer-Glazed Onions

From: National Pork Board

Yield: 4. “A simple, but flavorful stuffing is a great way to keep chops ultra moist and flavorful while grilling. This stuffing delivers an intense trio of tastes by combining sautéed bacon, fontina cheese and meltingly tender beer-glazed onions.”

Ingredients:

Beer-Glazed Onions

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)

1 tbl. oil

1 tbl. brown sugar

1/3 cup beer (OR white wine if you prefer)

Directions:

In medium skillet, cook and stir onion in oil until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in brown sugar; cook for 2 minutes to caramelize. Stir in beer; simmer for 5 minutes or until there is no liquid. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

For pork chops:

4 slices hickory-smoked or peppered bacon

4 ozs. fontina or white Cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)

4 bone-in rib pork chops (1-1/2 inches thick)

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Cook bacon in skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels; crumble and add to Beer-Glazed Onions mixture. Stir in cheese; set aside.

2. Prepare pork chops for stuffing by inserting sharp paring or boning knife through side of each chop until tip touches bone. Carefully cut opening to width of about 1 inch. Swing knife tip through chop to create pocket, being careful not to widen opening. Turn knife and swing blade in opposite direction to make finished pocket as large as possible.

3. Divide Beer-Glazed Onions mixture among 4 chops (about 1/4 cup stuffing for each.) Carefully stuff the mixture into the center of each chop. Season both sides of chop with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat grill to 400 to 450 degrees. Spray chops lightly with nonstick cooking spray; place over hot grill. Cover and cook for 8 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees using an instant-read thermometer. Remove from grill; cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Useful tips about pork:

■ A spicy mustard, honey and vinegar mixture makes a wonderful marinade or sauce for pork chops.

■ Baste with thick sweet sauce only 5 to 10 minutes before chops are done. This prevents burning sugar-based sauces.

■ For easy preparation and cleanup, place chops in a resealable plastic bag, then pour in marinade. Turn bag frequently. Discard leftover marinade.

■ Pork chops absorb flavor of marinades and rubs in as little as 30 minutes.

■ Chops will have a slight blush of pink in the center when they are done. To be sure that you cook them perfectly to medium doneness, use a meat thermometer and cook to 160 degrees.

■ Spice up barbecue sauce with a splash of horseradish or stir in your favorite jam or preserves.

■ Make an extra chop or two for sandwiches or salad toppers the next day.

24 September 2009

Video and Recipe: Learn How to Make Slamming Chicken Wings at Wings Boot Camp

From Denny: This guy is touted as The Wing King and he shares some of his successful - and very easy - recipes with us. Make these favorites for all your friends and family during football season.



Wing King's BBQ Buffalo wings

From: Drew Cerza

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

• 2 T. butter
• 1 large shallot
• 2 garlic cloves
• Dark beer 2 oz.
• Chili sauce 1 cup
• BBQ sauce 1 cup
• (Stir up for 1 minute)
• Ancho pepper 1 1/2 t.
• Brown sugar 1/2 cup
• Honey 1/2 cup
• Cayenne pepper sauce 4 oz.

DIRECTIONS

Chop up and sauté butter, shallot and garlic cloves. Add dark beer, chili sauce and BBQ sauce — stir up for 1 minute. Add ancho pepper, brown sugar, honey, cayenne pepper sauce — stir for 2 minutes.

As you create the sauce, drop 50 chicken wings (the amount you drop in at one time will depend on the size of your fryer) in your table-top deep fryer.

Once wings are fully cooked, sauce the wings in a large mixing bowl. To plate the wings: Garnish the plate with celery and carrots and serve with a side of blue cheese dressing.
TIPS

Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. For equally crispy wings: Deep-fry wings at 375° F (High) 10 minutes until cooked and crispy; drain and serve.

***

Original Buffalo Wings

From: Drew Cerza

Makes: 24-30 individual pieces

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

• 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
• 1/2 cup hot sauce
• 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

DIRECTIONS

Split wings at each joint; discard tips. Place wings on rack in foil-lined pan.

Bake 20 minutes at 500° F until fully cooked and crispy, turning halfway.

Combine hot sauce and butter. Dip wings in sauce to coat completely.
TIPS

Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. For equally crispy wings: Deep-fry wings at 375° F (High) 10 minutes until cooked and crispy; drain and serve.

Awww Video: Go, Baby, Go! Baby Dancing with Beyonce

From Denny: This baby is too cute! He's just dancing away in sync with Beyonce. As a musician you know your music is good when little kids love it. It's the best compliment! He keeps trying to perform the dance moves but his muscles aren't quite developed yet to do what he wants. At the rate this kid is teaching himself he will probably be an excellent dancer by the time he is only five years old. This video will get you grinning! He reminds us to keep the joy in our lives.

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Commotion Bars

From Denny: This bar cookie holds the ultimate for the sugarholic, peanut butter, marshamallow, chocolate and - or all of the above - lover! This comes from the Jif site too, though without a delicious photo.


Chocolate Caramel Commotion Bars

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen bars

Ingredients:

• Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

BOTTOM LAYER

• 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1/2 cup butter

• 1 (14 oz.) canEagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

FILLING

• 1/4 cup (4 tbsps.) butter

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup heavy cream

• 1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream

• 1/4 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1 1/2 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped

CARAMEL LAYER

• 1 (14 oz.) package caramels, unwrapped

• 1/4 cup heavy cream

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

• 1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

• 3/4 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter


Directions:

BOTTOM LAYER

1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lightly with no-stick cooking spray.

2. MELT chocolate chips and butter in saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in flour. Spread in prepared pan.

3. BAKE 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool.

FILLING

1. MELT butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar and cream. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. STIR in marshmallow cream, peanut butter and peanuts. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Cool.

CARAMEL LAYER

1. MELT caramels and cream in small saucepan over low heat until caramels are melted. Spread over filling layer. Cool until set.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

1. COOK and stir all glaze ingredients in small saucepan over low heat until melted. Spread over caramel layer. Chill 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars.

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets! 24 Sept 2009



From Denny: Make sure you collect your work week laughs of funny quotes over at The Social Poets! I've been wrestling with my Twitter account for several months now and it's been slowing down my daily posting on time. Along the way of building a new account I've found a lot of funny quotes on Twitter to give you some grins! For your dose of cheeky quotes, go here.

Photo by I'm Fantastic @ flickr

23 September 2009

Recipe: Peanut Butter Muffins for Brunch or Breakfast



From Denny: I'm putting up two recipes today to fill the peanut butter craving for my friends! This is a wonderful breakfast or brunch or even a snack recipe for muffins. C'mon, when are muffins not enjoyed by us all? They seem to be the ultimate comfort food and this peanut butter version looked like a great one to add to this blog's recipe file. Enjoy!

Brunch Peanut Butter Muffins

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Ingredients:

• Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

BATTER

• 2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 tablespoon baking powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 large egg

• 1 cup milk

• 1/3 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil


TOPPING

• 3 tablespoons sugar

• 3 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

• 3 tablespoons Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
OR Jif® Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter

• 1/8 teaspoon salt


Directions:

1. HEAT oven to 400ºF. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with a no-stick cooking spray or line with paper cups.

2. STIR together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine egg, milk and oil in small bowl. Add liquids to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Divide batter evenly among cups.

3. COMBINE sugar, flour, peanut butter and salt in small bowl, mixing with fork until crumbly. Divide topping over muffins. Lightly stir into muffin with knife.

4. BAKE 18 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to rack to cool completely.

Recipe: Chewy Fudge Cookies



From Denny: Looking for a cookie with a bit less sugar? Pillsbury has a product called Reduced Sugar Milk Chocolate Brownie that you can gild the lily for presentation as well as great taste. There is even a Reduced Sugar Chocolate Fudge Frosting used to frost it. Give it a try if you are trying to reduce the sugar in your life.

Chewy Fudge Cookies

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 12 min

Ingredients:

• 1 (12.35 oz.) package Pillsbury® Reduced Sugar Milk Chocolate Brownie

• 1/4 cup Crisco® Butter Shortening, melted

• 1 large egg

• 1 (16 oz.) can Pillsbury® Reduced Sugar Chocolate Fudge Frosting

• 2 tablespoons chopped dry roasted peanuts


Directions:

1. HEAT oven to 350°F.

2. STIR brownie mix, melted shortening and egg in medium mixing bowl until evenly moistened. Scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls or drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3. BAKE 10 to 11 minutes or just until set. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to cooling rack. Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets! 23 Sept 2009



From Denny: Make sure you collect your work week laughs of funny quotes over at The Social Poets! I've been wrestling with my Twitter account for several months now and it's been slowing down my daily posting on time. Along the way of building a new account I've found a lot of funny quotes on Twitter to give you some grins! For your dose of cheeky quotes, go here.

Photo by I'm Fantastic @ flickr

22 September 2009

3 Funny Quotes About Human Nature



Photo by snuzzy @ flickr

From Denny: While I was setting up a new account on Twitter now called DennyLyon7 (the old one - warriorlight - got messed up from putting a badge of support on my avatar.

Note to self: Never put a badge of support on your avatar ever again. Write this 1,000 times on the blackboard or digital equivalent thereof. It was a lemonade badge to support kids with cancer. No good deed goes unpunished. :)

So, while I was laughing at myself (and groaning about all the tedious tech work for the past week this has required) I thought I'd fish around for some funny quotes about human nature so you could laugh with me! Even the dog is laughing...

Quotes

* Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, a sense of humor to console him for what he is. - Oscar Wilde

* All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it. - H. L. Mencken

And my absolute favorite:

* Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century. - Dame Edna Everage

Recipe: Peanut Butter Buckeyes Cookies Dipped in Chocolate



From Denny: Since I've learned so many of my readers enjoy peanut butter with their chocolate I'm working on loading this blog with lots of yummy recipes to satisfy that craving! :) Here's another winner from the Jif site (my favorite commercial peanut butter).

Warning: These super sweet cookies can be addicting! :)

Buckeyes Cookies

Prep Time: 30 min

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups Smucker's® Creamy Natural Peanut Butter, stirred OR Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1/2 cup butter, softened

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

• 1 (12 oz.) package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 2 tablespoons Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening


Directions:

1. COMBINE peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on LOW until blended. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until blended. Beat in additional powdered sugar until mixture, when shaped into a ball, will stay on a toothpick. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate.

2. PLACE chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Reheat as needed while coating peanut butter balls.

3. INSERT toothpick in peanut butter ball. Dip 3/4 of ball into chocolate, leaving top uncovered to resemble a buckeye. Remove excess. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Remove toothpick. Smooth over holes. Refrigerate until firm.

Video and Recipe: Learn How to Make Slamming Chicken Wings at Wings Boot Camp

From Denny: This guy is touted as The Wing King and he shares some of his successful - and very easy - recipes with us. Make these favorites for all your friends and family during football season.



Wing King's BBQ Buffalo wings

From: Drew Cerza

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

• 2 T. butter
• 1 large shallot
• 2 garlic cloves
• Dark beer 2 oz.
• Chili sauce 1 cup
• BBQ sauce 1 cup
• (Stir up for 1 minute)
• Ancho pepper 1 1/2 t.
• Brown sugar 1/2 cup
• Honey 1/2 cup
• Cayenne pepper sauce 4 oz.

DIRECTIONS

Chop up and sauté butter, shallot and garlic cloves. Add dark beer, chili sauce and BBQ sauce — stir up for 1 minute. Add ancho pepper, brown sugar, honey, cayenne pepper sauce — stir for 2 minutes.

As you create the sauce, drop 50 chicken wings (the amount you drop in at one time will depend on the size of your fryer) in your table-top deep fryer.

Once wings are fully cooked, sauce the wings in a large mixing bowl. To plate the wings: Garnish the plate with celery and carrots and serve with a side of blue cheese dressing.
TIPS

Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. For equally crispy wings: Deep-fry wings at 375° F (High) 10 minutes until cooked and crispy; drain and serve.

***

Original Buffalo Wings

From: Drew Cerza

Makes: 24-30 individual pieces

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

• 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
• 1/2 cup hot sauce
• 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

DIRECTIONS

Split wings at each joint; discard tips. Place wings on rack in foil-lined pan.

Bake 20 minutes at 500° F until fully cooked and crispy, turning halfway.

Combine hot sauce and butter. Dip wings in sauce to coat completely.
TIPS

Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. For equally crispy wings: Deep-fry wings at 375° F (High) 10 minutes until cooked and crispy; drain and serve.

21 September 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Nirvana Cake



From Denny: While I must admit the title had me curious, I just had to take a look at this delightful recipe over at the Jif site - and then laugh. Someone really knew what they were doing by giving it this title with the idea of dessert nirvana! :)

What are its awesome ingredients? Chocolate pudding, chocolate chips, Devils Food Cake and peanut butter are the winners combined to create dessert nirvana.

You might want to try out this easy recipe as a trial baking run before the holidays begin. After all, we do need to make sure it really is that good, right?! :) And practice makes perfect...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Nirvana Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 55 min

Ingredients:

CAKE

• Crisco® Flour No-Stick Spray

• 1 (18.25 oz.) box Pillsbury® Devils Food Cake

• 1/2 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil

• 1 1/4 cups water

• 4 large eggs

• 1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding and pie filling mix

• 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

FROSTING

• 1/2 cup Pillsbury® Whipped Supreme® Vanilla Frosting

• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter

• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

• 1/2 cup milk

• Chocolate curls or shavings for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-cup fluted pan with flour no-stick cooking spray.

2. COMBINE cake mix, oil, water, eggs and pudding mix in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. BAKE 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.

4. BEAT frosting, peanut butter, almond extract and milk in medium bowl with electric mixer until well combined. Spoon frosting over cooled cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Recipe: Chewy Peanut Brownie Bars



From Denny: Lately, I've noticed how many of you out there in blog land are looking for recipes that combine peanut butter and chocolate and today I found a yummy easy recipe at Jif. There is something magical about the marriage of peanut butter and chocolate! This would be an awesome make and take for your kids at school or for entertaining during the sports season.

Chewy Peanut Brownie Bars

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Yield: 50 bars

CRUST

• 1 (19.5 oz.) package Pillsbury® Classic Traditional Fudge Brownie

• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 large egg


FILLING

• 1 cup corn syrup
• 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
• 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


GLAZE

• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 (1 oz.) square unsweetened chocolate
• 7 1/2 teaspoons water
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:

1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Combine all crust ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Press mixture evenly over bottom of ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.

2. BEAT corn syrup and peanut butter in small bowl at low speed until well blended. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Spread filling evenly over crust to within 1/2 inch of edges.

3. BAKE 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are firm and center is just firm to the touch. Cool completely.

4. MELT 1 tablespoon butter with chocolate and water in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Using wire whisk, stir in powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; blend until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled brownies. Allow glaze to set. Cut into bars.

Note for High Altitude baking(above 3500 ft.):

1. ADD 1/4 cup flour to dry brownie mix. Bake as directed above.

Recipe: Simple Easy Creole Fried Fish



Photo by ViNull @ flickr

From Denny: This is a simple recipe typical of how people cook freshly caught fish on the weekend at their river camps throughout Louisiana. If you like yours spicier, then add your favorite Cajun spices to the flour dredge like we do at our house!

Catfish, farm raised filets from the grocery store or wild caught is commonly cooked this way. The cornmeal gives a roasted corn taste and lots of extra crunch for the fish. Because of the mustard, the fish inside is wonderfully moist and tender. Tenderness, taste and crunch: can't beat that! :)



Photo by danperry.com @ flickr

From: Thomas Gresham

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1-1/2 to 3 lbs. fish fillets, speckled or white trout, catfish, sacalait or bass

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbls. yellow mustard, such as French’s

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

Cooking oil

Directions:

1. Trim and wash fish fillets. Pat dry with paper towels. Place fillets in large bowl; salt and pepper generously.

2. Add mustard to fillets. Stir fish fillets gently to coat with the mustard. Let coated fillets sit for 30 minutes.

3. Blend flour, salt, black pepper, cornstarch and yellow cornmeal.

4. Heat cooking oil to 350 degrees.

5. Dredge fish pieces one at a time in meal mixture and place in deep, hot fat (a frying basket is excellent to use, also a 3-quart cast-iron saucepan for deep frying).

6. When fish pieces float to the top and are golden brown, remove them from the pot and place on paper towel-covered plate to drain. Keep warm until ready to serve.

20 September 2009

Awww Video: Making a Difference - Shelter Dogs Learn New Tricks

From Denny: Definitely qualifies as an Awwww video! :) Great work these people are doing to convince the public to rescue the 4 million dogs euthanized every year and turn them into great pets.

"An animal trainer in Chicago runs a theatre performance group that demonstrates how shelter dogs loved and trained by their owners make splendid pets."

Photos: Funny Food Flags From International Food Festival

From Denny: The International Food Festival held in Sydney, Australia this September 8th decided to create food flags for several countries. Thanks to toxel for posting these funnies.

You have to take a look at these creative offerings they are so clever and amusing! You will also leave hungry... :)



Brazil



Australia



France



Greece



Italy



India



Japan



Lebanon



South Korea



Spain



Switzerland



Vietnam

19 September 2009

Video: Making a Difference, Unknown Donors Can Help Those in Need

From Denny: These folks came up with a great idea of how to help a friend or neighbor without the embarrassment of knowing it was you - GivingAnon.com.

"From the desperation of an empty bank account came the inspiration Lionel Thompson needed to help others who were stuck in a similar situation."

18 September 2009

Video and Recipes: Chocolate Brownies with a Twist, Recipes for Easy Weekend Menu

From Denny: I don't know how I missed this little gem of a video. While it was set up for a Labor Day picnic this is a menu you can use anytime on the weekend when you want something tasty but don't want to spend a lot of time tending over the stove. The crispy not fried chicken looked great! What was especially clever - and tasty - is her idea of crushing Parmesan croutons and using them as her breaded coating for the chicken, awesome! Her idea for the simple made-from-a-mix brownies where she added some cherry pie filling. Take a look!




Easy creamy coleslaw

From: Chef Katie Brown


INGREDIENTS

• 4 cups preshredded cabbage for coleslaw
• 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
• 2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced in rounds
• 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon mustard
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Mix together coleslaw mix, carrots, and radishes. Set aside.

Mix all other ingredients except the salt and pepper together in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth. Add the dressing to the slaw and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Crispy no-fry fried chicken

From: Chef Katie Brown


INGREDIENTS

• 8 cups garlic and Parmesan croutons (2 packages)
• 4 tablespoons dried thyme
• 6 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
• 10 eggs, lightly beaten
• 5 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 cups flour
• 4 chickens, quartered
• Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Prepare the "assembly line" of ingredients that you will use to coat the chicken. First, place croutons and dried thyme in a food processor and pulse until chopped roughed. Transfer the crouton-thyme mixture to a large plate and mix with parsley. Set aside.

Make the "glue" that will hold crumbs on to the chicken parts. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, mustard, and oil. To finish the setup, place the flour on a plate and set the three elements of the recipe (flour, egg mixture, and crouton mixture) in a line.

Rinse the chicken parts under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season chicken skin and meat with salt and pepper.

Dredge a piece of chicken on both sides in the flour and shake to remove the excess. Dip the flour-coated chicken in the egg mixture. Dredge chicken on both sides in the bread crumb mixture, patting on more by hand if needed.

Place coated chicken, skin side up, on baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with knife.

Chocolate brownies with a twist

From: Chef Katie Brown


INGREDIENTS

• 1 box brownie mix
• Zest of 1 orange, plus the juice of 1/2
• 1/2 cup cherry pie filling, roughly chopped
• 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Make the brownie mix according to the directions and stir in the walnuts, orange zest, and juice.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and drizzle on the cherry pie filling. Using a knife, swirl the cherries into the brownie mixture, then bake until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

17 September 2009

Photos: Funny Food Flags From International Food Festival

From Denny: The International Food Festival held in Sydney, Australia this September 8th decided to create food flags for several countries. Thanks to toxel for posting these funnies.

You have to take a look at these creative offerings they are so clever and amusing! You will also leave hungry... :)



Brazil



Australia



France



Greece



Italy



India



Japan



Lebanon



South Korea



Spain



Switzerland



Vietnam

Video and Recipes: Easy Dips and Cool Appetizers

From Denny: While the weather is still warm we can have an end of summer party or two. Here are some simple popular recipes for just such a gathering of you and your friends! Listed are BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, Fresh Crab Dip and Avocado Dip and Torilla Chips and for your vegetarian friends: Vegetable Fritters. There is a little something to please everyone! This man really knows how to cook easy, simple and divine!



* If you don't have a mandolin, just use your box grater like for making coleslaw or shredding your favorite cheese! These look divine as he has a dip for them. They don't have any flour in them and are a quick cook for a warm appetizer.

Vegetable fritters

From: Chef Curtis Stone

Makes: 12

INGREDIENTS

• 1 russet potato, peeled
• 1 carrot, peeled
• 1 zucchini, ends trimmed
• 1 onion, halved and very thinly sliced
• 2 teaspoons sea salt
• 2 large eggs
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1/4 bunch fresh dill, leaves coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

DIRECTIONS

Using a mandoline or julienne peeler, cut the potato, carrot, and zucchini lengthwise into long spaghetti-like strips.

Toss the potato, carrot, zucchini, onion, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a medium bowl.

Let the vegetable mixture stand for 10 minutes, or until the salt has drawn out some of the moisture from the vegetables.

Place the vegetables in a colander to drain the excess moisture then squeeze the vegetables between your hands to exude as much moisture as possible.

Using a fork, beat the eggs and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl to blend well.

Add the vegetables and stir to coat with the egg.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Working in batches and using about 1/4 cup of the vegetable-egg mixture for each, spoon the vegetable-egg mixture into the pan forming thin patties that are about 3-inches in diameter.

Fry for 4 minutes on each side, or until the fritters are golden and crisp on the outside.

Using a metal spatula, transfer the fritters to paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Meanwhile, stir the sour cream and dill in a small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the fritters on a platter and serve with the sour cream-dill sauce.

***

Another fast preparation, a minute or two on each side of the tortilla to warm the chicken, melt the cheese and brown the tortilla and another awesome warm appetizer that is a big hit!

Barbeque chicken quesadillas

From: Chef Curtis Stone

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

• Four 10-inch-diameter flour tortillas
• 2 cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely shredded roasted chicken
• 2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
• Salt
• 1/4 cup barbeque sauce

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250F.

Arrange the tortillas on a work surface. Divide the chicken, cheese, cilantro, and jalapeno among the tortillas, scattering the ingredients over half of each tortilla.

Sprinkle with salt and drizzle a tablespoon of barbecue sauce over each.

Fold the uncovered half of each tortilla over the filling to form a half moon shape.

Heat a large flat griddle pan over medium heat.

Place 2 quesadillas on the griddle.

Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden and the cheese has melted.

Transfer the quesadillas to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven.

Repeat with the remaining 2 quesadillas.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve.

***

This looked simply beautiful. What is better is it's simplicity, all because they are the freshest ingredients!

Fresh crab and avocado dip with crispy tortilla chips

From: Chef Curtis Stone

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

• 4 firm but ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup fresh crabmeat
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
• 1 red jalapeno, finely chopped
• Canola oil, for deep frying
• 12 fresh corn tortillas, cut into 8 wedges each
• Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Mash the avocados, sour cream, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, and the chives in a large bowl.

Season the avocado mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mixture into a clear glass serving bowl, forming an even layer and smoothing the top.

Squeeze the crabmeat gently to remove any excess liquid.

Gently mix the crabmeat, mayonnaise, sliced basil, jalapeno, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice in another bowl.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the crab mixture over the avocado mixture, forming a second even layer and smoothing the top.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, add the tortilla wedges and fry, stirring often so that they cook evenly on both sides, for about 3 minutes or until they are crisp and golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, transfer the corn chips to paper towels to drain any excess oil.

While the chips are still hot, sprinkle them lightly with salt.

Garnish the dip with basil leaves and serve with the tortilla chips.

16 September 2009

Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets! 16 September 2009



Photo by *L*u*z*a* @ flickr

From Denny: Here's an idea of what Cheeky Quote Day is like over at The Social Poets, enjoy!

***

Since so much is up in the air with the economy worldwide, and my audience is an international one (BTW, thank you everyone for your great support!), I thought I’d put up some quotes about retirement. After all, we all are dreaming about that “one day” of what we would like to do without anyone telling us it can’t be done!

While I was driving all day Monday out of town on sales calls I saw a lot of travel trailers and motor homes towing SUVs. I sure wondered where they were going and what they were going to do when they got there. I’ve been seeing those happy people motoring down the road for several months now and it sure got my curiosity up and turned my mind to the subject of retirement.

The first comedian from the past that came to mind concerning retirement was George Burns. He was quite the character and well loved in America. As he aged he made a new career out of standing on stage with an unlit cigar, a sly grin, and cracked jokes in his understated manner until his late nineties. He was in show business all his life beginning in Vaudeville.

George Burns isn’t the only comedian to craft a whole routine around the subject of retirement. The following are all kinds of perspectives about what it is like to retire from your job – or what you thought it might be like to retire! :) Get a grin and think good thoughts for your future.

Quotes

Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples. - George Burns

The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does. – Anonymous

Retirement: It's nice to get out of the rat race, but you have to learn to get along with less cheese. - Gene Perret

Retirement is wonderful. It's doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it. - Gene Perret

When you retire, you switch bosses - from the one who hired you to the one who married you. - Gene Perret

I enjoy waking up and not having to go to work. So I do it three or four times a day. - Gene Perret

I'm now as free as the breeze - with roughly the same income. - Gene Perret

The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off. - Abe Lemons

The money's no better in retirement but the hours are! - Anonymous

When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income. - Chi Chi Rodriguez

A retired husband is often a wife's full-time job. - Ella Harris

I've been attending lots of seminars in my retirement. They're called naps. - Merri Brownworth

I'm retired - goodbye tension, hello pension! – Anonymous

Retirement itself is the best gift. No gold watch could ever top it. - Abigail Charleson

Retirement: World's longest coffee break. – Anonymous

Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself. - Hartman Jule

Middle age is when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work. – Anonymous

Life begins at retirement. – Anonymous

The challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money. – Anonymous

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. - Doug Larson

There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. - Robert Half

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. - J. Lubbock

When you retire, think and act as if you were still working; when you're still working, think and act a bit as if you were already retired. – Anonymous

The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income. - George Foreman, prize fighter

I'm not just retiring from the company, I'm also retiring from my stress, my commute, my alarm clock, and my iron. - Hartman Jule

Golf is played by twenty million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun. - Jim Bishop

Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness. - William Wordsworth

Retirement means no pressure, no stress, no heartache... unless you play golf. - Gene Perret

In my retirement I go for a short swim at least once or twice every day. It's either that or buy a new golf ball. - Gene Perret

The reason the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can't see him laughing. - Phyllis Diller, comedian

If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt. - Dean Martin, actor, comedian, singer

If you are going to throw a club, it is important to throw it ahead of you, down the fairway, so you don't have to waste energy going back to pick it up. - Tommy Bolt

Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did. - Malcolm Forbes

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. - Will Rogers, Autobiography, 1949

When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking. - Gail Sheehy

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. - Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, cartoonist

A gold watch is the most appropriate gift for retirement, as its recipients have given up so many of their golden hours in a lifetime of service. - Harry Mahtar

Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering. - Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

Retire from work, but not from life. - M.K. Soni

Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money. - Jonathan Clements

Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life. - Herbert Asquith

Retirement is the ugliest word in the language. - Ernest Hemingway, writer

First you forget names; then you forget faces; then you forget to zip up your fly; and then you forget to unzip your fly. - Branch Rickey

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. - Anonymous

In retirement, every day is Boss Day and every day is Employee Appreciation Day. – Anonymous

Retirement: That's when you return from work one day and say, "Hi, Honey, I'm home - forever." - Gene Perret

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow. - Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I'd Like to Give to You

*** Comedy writer Gene Perret has been writing television comedy since the 1960’s. For more about him, go here.

Have a great work week, everyone! Keep your head down and your attitude looking up! You never know when you will get to retire and add some cheeky quotes of your own to the funny category of life…

Recipe: Worlds Easiest Homemade Lasagna



From Denny: Found yet another great recipe for lasagna that is simple. This one has pesto in it, a real favorite of mine. This is also kid friendly and convenience oriented. Who said fast food had to be boring? Not this gem of a tasty recipe! Besides, we love Italian dishes at our house so you can never have too many versions of lasagna recipes (or chocolate ones either).

From Atlanta Journal-Consititution: To streamline the cleanup, we've devised this recipe using mostly ingredients that come in pre-measured containers that can be tossed away once emptied.

Hands on time:
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/4 cup prepared pesto
2 (28-ounce) jars (about 6 cups) pasta sauce
1 (8-ounce) box (12 pieces) no-boil lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend

Instructions:

In a bowl, combine the ricotta and pesto. In a 13-by-9-inch microwavable casserole dish, spread about 1 1/4 cups pasta sauce. Top with 3 pieces uncooked noodles in a single layer. Noodles shouldn't touch each other or touch the sides of the pan since they will expand as they cook.

Dot with 2/3 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread evenly with back of the spoon. Spread another 1 1/4 cups of the pasta sauce evenly over ricotta, covering noodles completely. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese.

Lay 3 more pieces of noodles on cheese, spread with another 2/3 cup ricotta, another 1 1/4 cups sauce and 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Add another 3 pieces noodles, remaining ricotta, 1 1/4 cups sauce and 3/4 cup cheese. Reserve remaining shredded cheese. Top with last 3 noodles and cover with remaining sauce.

Cover with microwavable plastic wrap and microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, turning twice.

Remove from microwave, carefully remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Replace plastic wrap, return to microwave and cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Remove plastic and let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Notes:

When layering the ingredients, there's no need to be a stickler for measuring; so long as you can eyeball the approximate amounts given, you can save yourself from washing a single measuring cup.

If you can't fit a 13-by-9-inch pan in your microwave, an 11 1/2-by-8-inch pan should work. Just don't overfill the pan when you get to the top layers and break the noodles to fit. Barilla makes no-cook lasagna noodles that work well in this recipe.

Nutrition:

Per serving: 333 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 18 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 20 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 64 milligrams cholesterol, 267 milligrams sodium.
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