Braised Chicken thighs photo

Braised Chicken Thighs

My husband has asked me to start posting how I cook certain things that he and the family like. I like to cook simply, with easy ingredients that I can throw together and have a meal in 30 minutes or less.

Braised Chicken Thighs


  • 1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or as many as your skillet will hold)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium/high heat til the oil shimmers. Place chicken in pan and brown each side for about 4-5 minutes. You want a nice crisp brown on both sides. Lower the heat to low, and pour in chicken broth until it comes up 1/2 to 3/4 up the sides of the chicken, do not submerge. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 12 minutes. You can check for doneness with a meat thermometer. (165 for chicken thighs)
  • Move the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to rest for 10 min. Serve with rice, vegetables, etc.
Halibut Stew

Halibut Stew

My brother sent us some halibut from Alaska, and I wanted to do something with one of the huge pieces. This stew was perfect for the cold day we had here.  Give it a try, let me know what you think.  I’m hooked!

The spoon stirs the soup.

Halibut Stew

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 10


  • 1-2 lb halibut fillet or salmon or any other fish you like cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 large carrots shredded
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 4 baby bokchoy or half a large, chopped
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 can corn or half bag frozen
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh parsley I use Italian
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream


  • Melt butter in a large pot, add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, bokchoy and carrots, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and potatoes and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add corn, and pour in the stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (until potatoes are soft). Add fish and cook about 10 more minutes, until fish is flaky.
  • Add milk and cream slowly to soup and mix thoroughly. (you can thicken with corn starch if you want it thicker). Add red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with crusty bread a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • One variation would be to add about 1 cup of shredded cheddar to the soup. I didn't have any onhand, but that would be a nice addition and add to the creaminess.
Avocado Salad

Joy’s (crack) – Avocado Salad

You will not be able to stop eating this, I guarantee it. My friend, Joy, makes this salad for every party we go to, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. We just ate it for lunch with chips, by itself. It sounds like regular guacamole, but the added corn gives it a sweetness, that makes it so delicious.

Also, check out, Joy is a mad derby girl.

Avocado Salad

Joy's (Crack) - Avocado Salad

This is a fresh take on guacamole, using chunky avocado, tomato and onion. It's a great side for any picnic!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Mexican


  • 3 med ripe avocados
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can white corn, drained
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4.8 oz grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut avocados in half, remove the pit, and slice them into small to medium chunks. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, squeeze lime over it all, add salt and pepper to taste and gently stir together with a large spoon. Serve with your choice of corn chips.
    Avocado Salad

The cake is decorated with frosting and a purple flower.

Pink and Purple Birthday Cake

OK, a cake artist – I am NOT.  But I do love to bake and make special things for my family.  My food usually tastes pretty good, so when the birthdays roll around, I try to make something for them homemade.  I let my kids choose what color and flavors of cake they’d like for their birthday, and try to accomodate that as best I can.  So here goes.  For this year’s birthday, the girl wants pink and purple cake with hearts on top.  With fruit in the middle.  and Whipped Cream.  I can do that.

I recently purchased a new set of food coloring gels – the nice professional grade stuff that makes awesome colors.  (I’m giving the Ameriprise colors a shot).  So far, they’ve created great colors with a tiny amount of gel.

The Cake

Store-bought cake mixes are ok with me.  Why mess with a tried and true recipe?  I used a Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix for this one (white).  I mixed it to the box directions, and then divided the batter into two equals parts.  Pink.  Purple.


I set them to cool on wire racks (and I frosted them the next night).


Layer 1 is the pink cake – I made whipped cream frosting (recipe follows).  Pink and Purple frosting, of course.  I frosted with 2/3 of the pink frosting and then put the raspberries on top.

Layer 2 is the purple cake – I added a bit more frosting on top of the raspberries, and then laid the purple down.

I filled in the holes with along the sides with more frosting.  I filled up the frosting decorator, and then used the remaining frosting to make a layer all over. After that, I put two heart-shaped cookies cutters on top, and the filled them in with purple sprinkles.  I used my Pampered Chef frosting thingy for the top.  That thing is fun to use!




It turned out ok – my kids will love it, it will taste great.  I’m not a cake artist by any means, but the colors are right!  I feel like I should put up a photo of what I think it looks like in head, but hey – I made it and it’s something that I can do to make my kid happy on her birthday.  Who doesn’t love a nice cake with whipped cream frosting?


Frosting recipe follows – this is a ‘stable’ whipped cream frosting, which means it will hold up for a few days without melting all over the place (yuck).


Whipped Cream Frosting (I made two batches of this to cover the whole cake, one pink and one, you guessed it, purple).

1 C. heave cream
1/8 tsp. creme of tartar
2 TB Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
a couple drops of the food coloring of your choice

Pour heavy cream into a stand mixer and use the wire wisk attachment.  I start the mixer on medium, and slowly add the cream of tartar, sugar and vanilla.  Once it begins to thicken, add the food color if you choose to use it.

Whip until stiff peaks form, and then stop and frost away.

UPDATE:  Here is a photo of the cake after we cut it, is that FUN or what?  It tasted divine.


shrimp n grits

Shrimp n Grits


Shrimp n Grits

There is very little food I miss from our time living in Knoxville, TN, which include amazing Mexican food and the grits at Puleo’s restaurant. Once in a while I get a hankering for shrimp n grits. I make my own version - which we love.  It's a pretty rich dish, but once in a while - it's ok, right? 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern



  • 1 cups quick grits (I use Quaker)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  • 1 lb large raw shrimp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/3 head fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)


  • In a saucepan, boil water and salt.  While you wait for the water to boil, begin the shrimp.  Add oil and butter to frying pan, and heat until butter is melted and bubble.  Add onion, saute the the onion in the oil and butter until onions are soft - 8 min or so, add garlic and cook for 1 min to release flavor.
    sauteed onions
  • Add 2/3 of the chopped parsley. Stir that up and then add white wine.  Cook until reduced by half, and then add the green beans. Saute this mix for 5 min or until the green beans are tender crisp.
    Onions and wine sauteeing
  • Move everything over to the side of the pan, and turn heat to high.  Add the shrimp to the empty side and cook for a 1-2 minutes per side.  Mix all the ingredients together to coat the shrimp.
    Maryann Reissig's Shrimp and Grits photo


  • In a medium sauce pan, add water and salt. When the water boils, slowly add the grits and stir continuously.  Lower the heat so that it's a rolling boil.  Cook grits according the package (mine are 12 minutes).
    Grits in a pan
  • When the grits thicken to a pasty consistency, add 1 C. shredded cheese. Turn heat to low and keep stirring so the cheese melts into a gooey mess.
    Adding cheese to grits in a saucepan
  • Plate it up!  Add a serving of grits to a pasta bowl or plate, and then spoon the shrimp mix over it.
    Maryann's Shrimp and Grits plated
Keyword cheddar, grits, Knoxville, Puleos, shrimp
white bean dip ingredients

The Best Superbowl White Bean Dip

white bean dip ingredients

Superbowl White Bean Dip

Super easy dip to serve for any party, or as a side to dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 15 oz cans canellini beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 head fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup sausage crumbled (optional – I had some cooked up from breakfast, so I threw it in for extra flavor – chorizo would be awesome here.)


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 min. Add the sausage if using, I precooked mine, so it was already drained. If you use it raw, cook it through and then drain off the fat.
  • Add the beans – I took out about half the water in each can. Add cumin, red pepper, and salt.  Continue to stir until it gets nice and bubbly. Then add in the cilantro.  Before adding the cheese, I hit it with the immersion blender. You could use a potato masher or pastry cutter to do the same job.  I blended just a bit to get that nice bean dip texture with a little chunkiness. Adjust any of spices and cheese to your taste.
  • Warm a bag of tortillas chips in the oven for 5-6 min, and serve with a bit of sour cream if you have that on hand.


Keyword bean dip