Oven Roasted Turkey Legs with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes…..

Good morning!

It’s a crisp -5 degrees today.  Wow, that’s cold!  Time to stay in and make comfort food!

I wanted to share with you something I made last night for dinner that was absolutely delicious!  Oven roasted turkey legs.  Why only enjoy turkey during the holidays?  It is quite economical to buy turkey legs and thighs throughout the year without having to deal with the entire roasted bird.  The added bonus here is that your kitchen will be warm from the oven and the smell of roasting turkey will waft through your house, nice!  If you have frozen turkey legs, be sure they’re completely thawed before cooking.  You won’t believe how easy this!

I would put the potatoes on the stove about 1 hour before the turkey is done.  Once you mash them just keep them tightly covered on the back of your stove until ready to serve.

Serve this dinner with a simple salad or vegetable and you’re good to go.  Make enough for leftovers for sandwiches or turkey pot pie!

Oven Roasted Turkey legs

4 medium to large turkey legs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt & pepper


Drippings from roasting pan (about 1 cup, if you don’t have one cup add enough water to make it one cup)
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1)  Preheat the oven to 325′.  Best to cook the legs in a roasting pan that you can cover.
2)  Coat the legs with olive oil with one hand and season generously with salt, pepper and oregano with your clean hand.  Place in roasting pan and add 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom of the roaster.  Cover and place in oven.  Roast for an hour and check to be sure you have liquid in the pan.  Add enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan.  Roast covered another hour.  Remove lid and roast another 30 minutes uncovered all the while making sure there is liquid in the bottom of the pan.
3)  Remove the legs from the roasted and place onto a plate, cover tightly with foil.
4)  For the gravy.  Pour the drippings into a fat separator if you wish or pour right into measuring cup.  Add water to get to 1 cup of liquid.  Pour drippings into small sauce pan.  Mix the cornstarch with the 1/2 cup of water and stir until completely dissolved, pour into the drippings.  Cook over medium heat stirring often until it comes to a bubble.  Taste.  Add additional seasoning if you wish.  Serves 5-6

Sour Cream Mashed potatoes

2 lbs. russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/4″ inch
2 teaspoons salt
Water to cover
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup (or more) milk, zap in the microwave for a minute so that it’s warm

1)  Peel and slice the potatoes and put them into a large pot.  Cover with water and add salt.  Bring to a boil and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Poke a potato with a fork while in the pot to be sure they’re tender.  Drain well and put the potatoes right back into the pot.  Add the butter, sour cream and warm milk.  Cover with the lid and allow to stand for about 5 minutes. 2)  Beat with a hand mixer for about a minute so that it doesn’t have large lumps.  Add additional milk if too thick.  Taste.  Add additional seasoning if necessary.   Cover with the lid until ready to serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

**if most of the drippings have evaporated from the roasting pan, add a cup of water to the pan and put the pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.  You now have drippings ready to use.

Stay warm and enjoy!




Basketball Cookies…..

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Sports cookies!  I can’t stop myself!

I have this awesome bakery supply source.  They offer sanding sugars, gel food coloring, baking pans and tons of other baking supplies.  LOVE IT!  I received my first order yesterday, it felt like Christmas!

Have a great weekend!


Traditional Croatian Easter Bread (Sirnica)…..

I absolutely love learning about food traditions of other ethnicitys.    I think it’s my favorite part about being a cook.    Every week I try to make something I’ve never made before, sort of a dinner passport to different places all around the world.  This holy week, I’ll be making Croatian Easter Bread.   Check out another interesting version of this bread made with boiled, colored eggs, so interesting and beautiful!

Heather with her darling daughters Sadie,Clara, and Fiona.

I first had the pleasure of tasting this delicious bread when my friend Heather surprised me with a loaf right before Easter last year.  I was honored that she would share a loaf of her treasured family recipe.    It had a gentle yet distinctive citrus taste and was very pleasantly sweet without being too sweet.  Tender, moist, and delicious.   Of course, after the first bite I wanted to make this bread for all Easter Dinners going forward.  Heather kindly shared her recipe.

Try this Croatian Easter Bread.  It may become the next family tradition in your family:-)

Traditional Croatian Easter Bread


2 cups milk
1 package active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoon

½ cup softened butter (1 stick)
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half of a lemon and half of an orange
6 cups all purpose flour
Crushed sugar cubes or sugar for dusting

1) Slightly heat the milk in a microwave. Add the yeast and set aside. (about 10-15 minutes or until yeast is dissolved and a little bubbly)

2) Meanwhile, in a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter, and sugar, then add the eggs and salt, and zest, beat until well blended. Add the yeast-milk mixture and half of the flour, beat well. Add remaining flour gradually, until a smooth, soft dough forms. (you may not use all the flour or may require more)

3) Place the dough in a large greased bowl, burning to coat both sides, and let rise, covered, until doubled. Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.

4) Preheat oven to 375′.  Divide dough into 4 to 6 equal pieces, shape into a nice round ball. Cover and allow to rest 5 minutes.

5) Place dough on cookie parchment lined cookie sheet. Egg wash the dough with 1 large beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with crushed sugar cubes. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

*one way to check if a yeast bread for doneness is to thump it with your fingers, if it sounds hollow, it’s done. Be sure that you have a nice brown color was well.

New Years Day…..

Hi everyone!

What a great day!  Went to bed after midnight last night so it was nice to relax today.  Got up around 8:30 (that’s sleeping in for me!) and my kitchen was totally clean!  My honey got up before me and cleaned up, so nice!  I made delicious omelettes around 10:00.  I sauteed mushrooms, onions, and yellow peppers.  I stuffed my omelet with the veggies and sharp cheddar cheese, so good!  I had a little fresh fruit and a toasted cinnamon raisin english muffin.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

As I am typing, the smell of BBQ beefis wafting through the air.  I slapped that in the  oven about 2:00 today.  Should be fall apart tender in an hour or so.  I’ll be serving it with whole wheat buns, garlic oven roasted potato wedges and a simple cabbage salad.    Forgot to mention that I’m enjoying a little leftover Moscato…nothing like a little bubbly while on the computer:-)

So, let me tell you about last night.  We had a fire going in the livingroom and a our Christmas tree lit.  The smells in my house were as warm and cozy as the fire.  The appetizers and desserts I served were a hit!  Appetizer parties are my absolute favorite!  I made most everything ahead of time.  I just had to pop them in the oven and serve.  Easy peasy.  I always label my serving platters ahead of time so I don’t have to think about it when I have guests.  I also make  a “cheat sheet” that I tape to my kitchen cabinet.  I’ve forgotten to serve things in the past, huge bummer. 

The crab cakes were dynamite!  I made a lovely roasted red pepper aioli.  I did end up making fried calamari with a quick marinara sauce.  This was incredibly simple.  I dusted the calamari with a blend of flour, dried parsley flakes, salt, and pepper.  Right into the hot oil for one minute.  The parmesan stuffed mushrooms went like wildfire.  I baked them for 20 minutes in a small amount of beef broth in the bottom of the pan.  I also served ham and gruyere swiss cheese in puff pastry with whole grain mustard, savory and delicious.

The grand finale was fabulous.  I served the chilled cinnamon cheesecake squares, fresh berries with mascarpone, and chocolate chip cookies.  It was perfect.  Fresh berries, creamy cheesecake, and a little chocolate.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!  I’m looking forward to a schedule in my house!

Have a great evening!


Mock Praline Crunch Topping….

Good Black Friday Morning!

I am so not going out today!  Not my cup of tea.  Will have to do my grocery shopping this weekend but will save it till tomorrow.  

The question is….what will I be cooking today???  My oldest son Jack who’s home from college for the holiday is wanting tacos.  So cute!

I discovered that when I put my delicious crunchy Mock Praline Crunch topping on my pumpkin pie ahead of time the topping absorbed the moisture from the pumpkin, it was no longer crunchy:-(  So, I would recommend storing the topping in an air tight container after it’s completely cool and top just before serving.

Have a great day!


I’ve Missed You!!

Oh my gosh!  I’ve been without Internet for five days!  I felt like I was missing a limb!

Anyway,  look for a new post in the next day or so.

Have a great evening!


Our Whirlwind Vacation…..


We started out in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  We went to visit my brother Rich and his family.  I’m pictured here with Ryan and Rich’s niece, Penelope.  We traveled a couple of hours from Ft. Collins to the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Loved the scenic and relaxing ride!

The railroad was used in the late 1800’s for gold and silver mining.  Read more on the history of the railroad here.

It was great to spend time with my brother Rich (far right), and my nephews Cory (center), and Caleb (left).

Pictured here with my nephews is my sister in law Pam.  She is a massage therapist….total jackpot!  Yes, I received a glorious massage from her the day before my journey back to Chicago. 

My brother Steve also came along, he too lives in the Chicago area.  It was so great to be with my brothers!

The next day after our train ride, we ventured on to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.  In one word….BEAUTIFUL!  One of the things I noticed from the moment I arrived in Denver was the lack of trash on the road sides and in public places.  There is a great respect for nature.

 The entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park.

It was great to bring Penelope along, Ry had a pal for the trip!

Awesome Caleb….the scenery is pretty awesome too!

This picture was taken from my car, thank you very much!  There were people getting far too close for my comfort.  The rangers came along and made the spectators leave.

Here you see a herd of elk.  We saw other herds and smaller groups through out our ride through the mountains.

Beauty.  Pure and simple.

What would vacation be without some fun in the sun and swimming???

My big (soon to be) first grader….

Ryan and I returned to Chicago with my brother Rich and Caleb.  We were home for one night then off to Michigan for a couple of family reunion picnics.  So FUN!

Aren’t cousins the best???  Here we have Ryan, Caleb, Lucas, and Bianca.

So fun, so great to be back home!  Now it’s time to gear up for school!

Have a wonderful day!


Graduation Party Plan…..

Hard to believe Jack’s graduation party is this weekend.  Whenever I start planning for a party, I get all these grandiose ideas of more complicated things I can make.  Then I bring myself back to reality and decide on something simple, delicious, and easy to serve.  After all, I’ve got so many other things to think about.  Cleaning the house, setting up the yard with tables and chairs, decorations….who has time for a super complicated menu??

I’m going to serve some cold dips.  I’m thinking guacamole with chips and veggies with ranch dip, and maybe some sort of bean dip.  I may buy most of that.  I must remember….EASY!

I’ve decided on pulled pork.  I like to serve it with small buns, our guests can have a small sandwich or several depending on their appetite.  I can make it a day or two ahead and I’ll keep it warm throughout the day on low in a crock pot.  The party is an open house so I’d like for every guest to have fresh food available when they arrive.  I’ll be serving my offerings buffet style, in the cool house so that I can easily manage refilling salads.  This will help me to avoid wilty, funky looking food and outside pests.

What will accompany my pulled pork sandwiches?

Fresh Fruit Salad
Red Cabbage and Jicama Slaw (perfect with pulled pork)
Tabbouleh Salad
Bean Salad with Fresh Herbs

Beverages, yes, of course!

I’ll serve all beverages outside.  We’ll have everything in coolers readily available for self serve.

What’s a party without desserts???

I thought about a graduation “cake”.  This would entail waiting to cut cake…when do you cut a beautiful graduation cake at an open house??  I decided on delicious cupcakes in Jack’s high school colors.  I’ll do chocolate and vanilla.  That way no one will miss out on cake, it’ll be super easy to serve, and easy to eat.

We’ll need more treats.  Cookies!  My favorite!

Chocolate Chip with M & M’s
Raspberry Bars
Coconut Macaroons

Yeah, that’s the plan.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Happy Fourth!

 Hi Everyone!

Did you all have a nice holiday weekend?  Wasn’t the weather amazing?  What did you do?  How did you celebrate in the way of food?  Drink?

Well, I gave my new margarita recipe a try…pretty good, needs a little work.  Will keep you posted, these things take time, patience, and lots and lots of testing:-)

I made my famous Simple Barbecue Ribs.  Amazingly simple.  So delicious!  I tried something very new that I will  be sharing very soon.  Have you been to  Mexico?   Street vendors sell corn with mayonnaise, lime, cilantro, chili powder, and lime.  I made  a salad that is much easier to eat and is so delicious.  I started by grilling fresh sweet corn on the cob….well, more details later. 

I also served my latest salad, Chayote, Pear, and Avocado Salad with Lime Dressing.  My family loved it!  So fresh and different!

Soon we will spend a a week in St. Joe Michigan.  Perfect time to pick blueberries….perfect time for blueberry pie!  Isn’t anytime a perfect for homemade fresh blueberry pie?  I will be sharing my recipe for blueberry pie too:-)

So much to do, so little time.

God Bless America!


What’s On The Agenda…..

Good Morning-

I hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend!  We lucked out with gorgeous weather, the rain held off until today.   My husband Joe is on a well deserved fishing vacation in Canada, he’s in his glory!  He’s taken my son Jack as well, pretty spectacular graduation gift, don’t you think? 

I’m gearing up for my week of cooking.  What I’m most excited to get working on is my version of falafel.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy falafel, it’s a delicious Lebanese dish made of garbanzo beans.  Traditionally it is fried, but I want to make my own version of an “oven fried” falafel.  Garbanzo beans, onions, lots of garlic and spices go into a food processor.  It is then shaped into balls and fried.  In my opini0n, best enjoyed on whole wheat pita bread with fresh cucumber and onion with a delicious tahini sauce…can’t wait! 

I’ll also be working on a traditional Lebanese salad, tabbouleh.  Made of bulgur wheat this salad is the perfect accompaniment to a fabulous falafel sandwich. 

If you haven’t tried these Lebanese specialties, I think you should give it a try.  The flavors are amazing and you will not miss having meat.  Healthy and delicious.

Look for these recipes in a few days.

Have a great day!