Anna’s Orange Marmalade

I successfully made my own jam for the first time today. Naval  oranges were on sale and I’ve been wanting to make and can my own jam for awhile now. There were some learning experiences to go a long with making this recipe. Some, I’m not very proud of.

1. It takes almost an hour to get the jam to it’s proper temperature. The recipe called for 30 minutes but mine took twice as long.

2. Even though I started processing the jars a little bit to early, the temperature was around 210 degrees when I started to sterilize the jars.  Maybe next time, start sterilizing the jars at 215 degrees??? I think I ended up boiling those jars for almost 45 minutes. They’re pretty darn safe to eat it from by then. Better safe than sorry.

3. Once you fill the jam into jars, there’s still a little bit of the jam mixture at the bottom of the pan. I couldn’t get it all scooped out on time and a little amount of jam left at the bottom of the pan ended up burning. Ooops.  I put some water in the pan quickly so that it would come out. It’s working, cause the water is helping to loosen up the burnt sugar at the bottom.

4. Always, put a pan that hot on a hot plate. I was so frantically running around the kitchen trying to find something to put it on but I couldn’t find anything. If you don’t, something bad will happen to your counter top. Usually, I have dishes in that spot, so it’s not very noticeable, but still sucks.

5. This recipe calls for 8 cups of sugar. Yes, 8. Even by just reading that, you know it’s going to be a good recipe.

Ingredients from Ina Garten

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar


Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

Tequila Lime Chicken

tequila lime chicken 022


1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin-on


Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


I’ve never had a bottle of Tequila up until now. I’m not really much of alcoholic, but you should see our pantry down stairs. Full of different types of liquor!

On my facebook page, I put for my status one day that I really wanted a margarita. One person was rather in shock, that I put that there, because they thought I didn’t like to drink. WRONG. Which I don’t really, not a big fan of going to bars either. I like to drink when I go out to eat though. :)

Alcohol in food is a different story. Wine only tastes good to me when it’s made in Beef Bourguignon or some kind of stew or pasta sauce. Tequila isn’t a drink I like to take random shots of, but would rather use it in a marinade like this chicken recipe. We made this chicken when it was only 6 degrees outside. I’m desperately wanting it to be Spring again, but we still have oodles and oodles of snow mountains to get rid of.

Ina Garten’s Hummus

Ina Garten's Hummus


I’m addicted to hummus now. I’ve been finding lots of different hummus recipes to try too. There’s a black bean hummus recipe in the last issue of Cooking Light’s magazine and I want to try making hummus made with edamame. I bought a big frozen bag of it last week at Sam’s Club. Hummus is good with pita chips and any kind of veggie. I like carrots. It’s a good way of getting more veggies in and I’ve been meaning to eat more veggies lately.

I’m not a big fan of veggies. I think during the week I’ll have at least one serving and that is it. I take my gummy multivitamin at night. I hope that you’re as excited for getting more veggies into your diet like I am because there’s going to be a lot of posts about veggies coming your way. :)

Ina Garten's Hummus

Ina Garten's Hummus


Ina Garten's Hummus
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
  • 8 dashes hot sauce
  1. Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 12 Calories: 144.8 Fat: 5.6 g Carbohydrates: 19.5 g Sodium: 219mg Fiber: 4.1 g Cholesterol: 5.4 g

Ina Garten’s Croque Monsieur


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.


The French sure knew what they were doing when they made this sandwich. I didn’t add an egg on top of it though,  then it would have been a Croque Madame. Ham was even on sale this week at the grocery store, honey ham that is. Not Virginia Baked ham. Still good stuff. :)

We went to Sam’s Club this weekend and stocked up on a bunch of bulk items. I bought some gruyere cheese since it’s cheap. Even though I’ve made this sandwich and mac and cheese with my gruyere cheese, I did buy some healthier foods like Salsa, frozen  Jumbo shrimp, and Edamame. I love Sam’s Club, and I think my brother does a little bit too much. He walked out of there singing “We bought in bulk, we bought in bulk, yeah!”

Ina’s Rum Raisin Truffles


125 grams heavy cream (about 1/2 cup)
750 grams (about 26 ounces) milk chocolate, divided
15 grams butter (about 1 tablespoon)
40 grams raisins (about 1/8 cup)
60 grams dark rum, such as Mount Gay (about 1/4 cup)


In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, heat the cream until hot to the touch and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, chop 350 grams of the milk chocolate into small pieces. Add the chocolate and butter to the hot cream, and stir until the chocolate melts.

Place the raisins and rum in the bowl of a mini food processor or blender and process until the raisins are finely minced. Stir the raisin mixture into the chocolate mixture and set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight to cool.

Using a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, scoop balls of the rum raisin mixture and place them on sheet pans lined with parchment paper.

To make the tempered chocolate, chop the remaining 400 grams of milk chocolate and place 3/4 of it in a small glass bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds exactly. Stir the chocolate and continue to microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Add the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until smooth. The chocolate should register 85 to 89 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

With 2 small spoons, pick up each ball and cover it with tempered chocolate. (You can also use your hands to coat them.) They can look a little messy and “truffle” like. Place the truffle back on the parchment paper. Continue to coat each of the balls until they’re all coated with milk chocolate. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens. Serve at room temperature.


Rum and chocolate are two ingredients that go really well together. I had all the ingredients to make these truffles after I saw Ina make these on her show. Next time I make these I’m not going to process them so much. I’d rather bite into bigger pieces of raisins rather than little tiny ones. These truffles were really good, and maybe they could even be possible wedding favors?? That would be a lot of chocolate to get.

There was some left over chocolate after I got done dipping the truffles. We had some left over bacon from these burgers we had on Saturday night. We all know that bacon and chocolate go really well together. The burgers that we had were Chili Dog Bacon Cheese burgers from Rachel Ray. I know… I always complain about her recipes, but these were really good. She normally has good burger recipes.  I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture of them.

Ina’s Linguine with Shrimp Scampi


Vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
3/4 pound linguine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes


Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.


I love Shrimp Scampi, and it’s my favorite shrimp dish. I bought these shrimp at a very high end grocery store here in town and was kind of disappointed in how small these were. They were medium-large sized shrimp and at a another grocery store shrimp comes in that size there, and they’re  twice as huge. These were little tiny, itty bitty shrimp that almost looked like the baby ones you can buy. Not impressed! I think I will stick to buying Colossal shrimp at Sam’s Club.

Usually on the weekends, I like to try making something new. I’ll search for recipes to make during the week and then buy the ingredients at the grocery store on Friday mornings. Our usual day to go shopping. Hopefully, I find something soon so I’m not making multiple trips back. Anybody have any suggestions? I was thinking of making Hollandaise sauce. I’ve never had that before.

Weeknight Bolognese: Ina Garten

Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? Ina Garten
serves 4-5

2 TB good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
1 pound lean ground sirloin
4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 TB dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I will use 1/8 tsp next time for the kids)
1 ¼ cups dry red wine, divided
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 TB tomato paste
Kosher salt & black pepper
¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells (I used 1 pound)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more mintue. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 TB salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.


There is a blizzard in Fargo, ND right now. We were in the mood for an adventure, and daring enough to go out into the storm. Ben wanted to get some paint to match the nightstands we got for Christmas. He is making a head board for our bed. On our way to the hardware store we could hardly see where we were going. I should have taken some pictures. Darn it, again. The storm is so bad, that the mall was closed *gasp and the interstate was closed from Fargo to Jamestown.

It felt so warm and comforting to make this bolognese sauce for dinner tonight. Don’t forget the garlic bread too. That goes really well with pasta sauce. I didn’t use any wine, just added some chicken stock.

This is an another Ina recipe. I’ve been on an Ina kick and made her Lobster Mac and Cheese on Tuesday this week, and this Bolognese sauce for dinner tonight. Ben loved it. It calls for a cup of heavy cream, and I tasted it before adding it in. It doesn’t even need the heavy cream sauce. It was so good without it. So, if you’re looking to save a few calories just leave that out. You could also use turkey sausage instead of the ground sirloin for this as well. Heck, it isn’t the New Year’s yet, we’ve got a few days to go still. :)

Ina Garten’s Lobster Mac and Cheese

Ina Garten's Lobster Mac and Cheese

Ina Garten’s lobster mac and cheese is a fancy mac and cheese that will have your taste buds in delight. Lobster

takes this dish over the top.


Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.


Ever had mac and cheese with lobster in it? Think it’s too expensive for lobster? Well it isn’t, if you look for sales! I saw Ina make this quite a few times, and this episode was on, I think on Monday. I was drooling watching the TV and remembered that lobster tails were on sale this week.

I cooked them in boiling water until the shells turned bright red. I went to Sam’s Club to buy my gruyere cheese, and man, is the gruyere cheese ever worth the money. I feel like I’m a mac and cheese expert now. I halved this recipe, since Ben doesn’t like mac and cheese and I’ll be having this for dinner tonight.

Ina Garten's Lobster Mac and Cheese