Barbeque Chicken, Cheese and Corn Chowder ~


Barbeque, barbecue, bbq..... it's all good!

I've been playing around with different flavors in corn chowder for a while now and I think I've finally hit a home run.  My youngest son loves corn chowder and so I've been on a quest to combine all of his favorite flavors.  So this chowder fits the bill.  It's smokey, with bacon and barbequed chicken too.  It's nice and cheesy with a whole pound of cheddar cheese and it has a little kick with cayenne pepper.  Creamy, cheesy and barbeque...... what's not to love.

So if you like all of these flavors, you'll love this soup.

Barbeque Chicken, Cheese and Corn Chowder

1/2 pound uncooked bacon, diced
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced

1 large red pepper, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubest
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cans (16 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans (16 ounces each) creamed corn
1 pound (16 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups of light cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

1 breast of chicken with skin and bone in, baked with 1/2 cup of good store bought barbeque sauce.  I used Hickory Flavored.

Turn oven on to 350 degrees F. and bake chicken uncovered for 55 minutes.  Remove from
oven, let cool, remove skin and bone, shred meat.  Set aside.

Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside on paper towels to drain.  Dice bacon finely.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Add the onion, carrots, celery, red pepper, and garlic to the drippings and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, stock, cayenne pepper, and coriander. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the whole kernel corn, creamed corn, cheese, and cream. Simmer an additional 7 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken and cooked bacon, stir and let sit for 10 minutes.  Stir, taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper if needed.

Serve with a nice, crusty bread.  Enjoy ~



A perfect Chocolate Cake ~

I love a good chocolate cake, but really don't like frosting at all.  To me, it makes any cake too sweet.  I decided to make this cake with chocolate whipped cream and strawberries, similar to strawberry short cake.  But I mascerated half of the fresh strawberries with a couple of tablespoons of strawberry preserves, because it's not summer and strawberries aren't in season. 

It worked perfectly and this cake was moist and delicious.  The chocolate whipped cream was heavenly.  And even better, this dessert was so, so easy.  The cake mixes in one bowl, gotta love that.  I froze the cakes after they cooled and saved it for a time when I wanted a special dessert.  Hersey's named this the Perfect Chocolate Cake, and I wholeheartedly agree.

The directions for the strawberries and whipped cream are below.
Hersey's Perfect Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cupmilk
  • 1/2 cupvegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoonsvanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 10 to 12 servings.

    ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

    THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

    BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

    CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

1 quart of fresh strawberries, washed.
2 Tablespoons strawberry preserves
2 Tablespoons water

Set aside 4 large, ripe strawberries.  Cut in half lengthwise, leave the steam attached.
In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat all ingredients to a low simmer.  Let cook down until nice and syrup-y. Stir, so it doesn't burn, about 5 minutes.  Let cool and set aside.  Or do as I did and cool to refrigerate.

Chocolate Whipped Cream:

2 cups of heavy whipping cream (cold)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt (I just used a pinch of kosher)
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Talespoons of cocoa powder

I used a stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer as well.
Put bowl and whisk attachment in freezer for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together cocoa powder, sugar and salt.
Add a couple of tablespoons of cream and hand whisk everything to a paste.

Remove bowl and whisk attachments from freezer. Add cream, vanilla and cocoa paste.  Turn on low for about 30 seconds, then turn to medium for another 30 seconds.  Next, turn on high for a minute.  Check to see if your peaks are starting to form by lifting the whisk out of the cream mixture.  Whipped cream takes about 2-3 minutes to get to the stiff peak stage, so watch it carefully.  You can even stop the machine and hand whisk the cream until stiff peaks.

To assemble:

Brush you cakes of crumbs and place on plate to serve.  Spread the strawberries mixture on the top right up to the edges.

Next, add half of the whipped cream in the center of the cake and spread out to the edges as well.

Place second cake on top of the whipped cream and top with the rest of the whipped cream.  Take the fresh halved strawberries and decorate the top.
Place cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.   This cake is absolutely yummy....  Enjoy ~


Dragon Fruit ~ at your local Asian Market....

This very pretty and delicious fruit is Native to Mexico, Central, South America and Southeast Asia. Taste: Drago fruit can be described as a cross between a strawberry and a pear. Its delicious red berry flavor can be enjoyed all by itself, infused with vodka or on top of any luscious dessert.

If you are looking for fruits that are filling and delicious, but will help keep your weight in check, dragon fruit is a perfect choice. A 100g serving of dragonfruit has only 60 calories.

Cut it in half length wise and see how gorgeous it is inside.

Run a small paring knife or spoon around the outer edge and into the bottom edges and the fruit will slide out beautifully.

And for a real wow factor.  Dice it up and place it back in it's own natural bowl.  Just beautiful, served all on it's own as a first course, even add a splash of light rum, vodka or pear brandy.   I just love how Mother Nature outshines itself.  Look at the beauty.....

This little gem is available from late June until December in Asian Markets.  And when you are choosing your dragon fruit, do so like an avocado.  They should be firm, with a little give to them when held in your palm.  A half of each makes one delicious serving.

Enjoy ~



Not your Yia Yia's Avgelomo soup ~

I love Avgelomo soup, it's fresh and delicious.  The original is made with lemon, chicken stock, eggs and rice or orzo pasta.  And while I love the flavor, I find that it really wasn't a meal for me.  I, of course want to change it to well, a meal... So, I did.  With the addition of grated carrots, chopped spinach and roasted chicken breast, it really makes it special.  All in all, it takes about 30 minutes and it's ready.  To make it an easy week night meal, roast your chicken breasts the night before and shred them while you prepare the soup.

Also remember not to let the soup come to a boil, because the eggs will curdle.  And then you would have egg drop soup and that's a different soup altogether....   Oh, I love the creaminess of this lovely soup, and all because of the addition of eggs.  Who knew?

Give this soup a try, you won't be sorry.  Trust me.


2 cups of grated carrots (box grated)
1lb. of baby spinach, chopped
2 eggs, whisked until foamy
2 whole lemons, juiced
2 cups of shredded, cooked chicken breast
8 cups of chicken stock
12 oz. of orzo pasta, cooked and set aside

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer on the stove top, on medium heat.  Add the grated carrots and cook on low for about 10-15 minutes.  Add spinach, stir and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add your chicken, stir and remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until foamy, about 1 minute.  Remove a ladle full of soup from the pot and put in a measuring cup with a spout.  While whisking your eggs, slowly add the soup into the bowl with the eggs to temper.  Now, slowly add your egg mixture to your soup, whisking while you pour a steady stream.  Taste and adjust your seasonings.  Add orzo into soup and stir. Pour lemon juice into soup and stir. 



Time to bake ~ Chcolate Banana Cake

Along with the Fall, comes the wind and sometimes the rain.
Yesterday afternoon, the weather turned windy and rainy.  A perfect time to bake.  One of my favorite cakes is this easy, chocolate, banana one.  I always have leftover ripened bananas.  And when they get to that stage, I either bake with them or throw them in my freezer, peels and all for later baking.
I made this cake in my loaf pan, it's moist and delicious.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.... I promise. 

Chocolate Banana Cake - Adapted from Tish Boyle

Makes one 9 X 5 inch loaf or a 9 inch round (serves 8-10)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 9 X 5 inch loaf pan or 9 inch round pan.

Sift together flour, coca powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using paddle attachment beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat at high until well blended, about 2 minutes. At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract and mix at low speed until blended. Add the flour mixture at low speed in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream in two additions. Remove bowl from the mixer stand and stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.

Bake cake for 55 to 65 minutes (loaf pan) or 45 to 50 minutes (round pan), until a cake tester into the center comes out clean (except for any melted chocolate.)
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.