Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
From the kitchen of Paula Smith

1 lb. ground round
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 - 15 oz. can all natural beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup white long grain rice
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. Minced garlic
1/2 tsp. Perfect Pinch Italian seasoning
1 small head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 package pre cooked bacon slices

In large skillet, brown ground beef & red onion, drain. Add tomatoes, beef broth, tomato paste, rice & seasonings. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover & cook 10 minutes. In 3 qt. Casserole, layer 1/2 of chopped cabbage. Top with 1/2 of the beef mixture. Repeat layers. Top with bacon. Cover loosely with foil. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover & bake 15 more minutes. 

A Wreath of Love

An online friend in another state is undergoing chemo after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer last fall.
I messaged her about the possibility of the board members contributing to make a rag wreath as a Wreath of Love during this journey. Elsa responded, I am NOT crafty at all!
So, suggested that we give all the opportunity to contribute and I would make the wreath. Board members responded wanting this to happen for Elsa, some sent scraps of material, others sent $$ and I began work on tying the scraps of fabric to the wire frame. Another made & sent the bow for the wreath. (Thanks, Eileen! )
Several weeks of working on it & this is the Wreath of Love for Elsa that is now hanging in her home! Love & prayers to surround you, Elsa, throughout this journey...Contessa Cafe.

February 2016 Newsletter

February 2016 Newsletter



You happen upon them when least expected...
friends from days gone by, sometime since you've seen them...
Yet that bond of friendship is rekindled in a moment...
Cherished memories recalled...some happy times, others trying
times that you have been through together.
Old friends and new friends are necessary in life...
They are the family we choose.

Paula 2011


Chicken Saltimbocca Casserole

Adapted from recipe by Gabriele Lanhan

You'll need 2 packages of THIN chicken breasts (cutlets)
a few slices of prosciutto
a half bag of fresh spinach
an 8 oz package of fresh sliced mushrooms
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secret's Savory Herb and Garlic (called for in recipe)


sub: 1 tsp. Chicken base, 1 shallot, minced, 1-2 tsp. Minced garlic, 1 tsp. Kosher salt, 1 tsp. Fresh ground pepper, 2 tsp. Each finely minced fresh herbs: Rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme

1/2 C White Wine 
1/4 C Olive oil
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
spray a 13x9 " pan with cooking spray (I use olive oil in a spray bottle)
put 2 layers of chicken in pan, cover with prosciutto, top with spinach, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and coarse black pepper
top with mushrooms
whisk together olive oil, wine and savory herb envelope then pour over everything.
Lay a piece of foil over (not tight)
bake for 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through
Uncover, top with cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.


Chopped Antipasto Salad

Adapted from Buca di Beppo
  1. Place the lettuce, pepperoni, mortadella, red onion, Provolone, 1 diced Roma tomato, cucumbers, Gorgonzola, feta, chopped pepperoncini and oregano into a mixing bowl. Toss.
  2. Add the dressing and toss again until fully incorporated.
  3. Mound salad mixture on a chilled plate, getting as much height as possible.
  4. Place the remaining tomatoes around the outside of the salad.
  5. Garnish with whole pepperoncini and olives, and serve.
*Gluten-Free Tip: Be sure to use GF deli meats and a GF Italian salad dressing.
Southern Living


1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits 
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1 pound unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp (4 1/50 count) 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
Vegetable cooking spray 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
1 1/4 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth 
1/2 cup chopped green onions 
garlic cloves, minced 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce 
2 cups firmly packed fresh baby spinach 


1. Prepare Parmesan Grits: Bring 1/2 tsp. salt and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in cheese and pepper. Keep warm.
2. Prepare Creamy Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt. Cook in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk in flour; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth and next 5 ingredients; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in shrimp and spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach is slightly wilted. Serve immediately over grits.

From Posed Perfection

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onions
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. cream cheese
1 sm. can chopped green chiles {reserve a little to garnish}
1/2-1 can diced tomatoes
1 sm. can tomato sauce
1/4 -1/2 tsp. cumin
1/3 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 pkg. farfalle pasta (1/2-3/4 pkg)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook onions in olive oil until translucent. Add in ground beef and cook until done. Drain off any fat. Cut cream cheese into a few pieces and add to beef. Stir in green chiles, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa and cumin. Allow the sauce to heat thoroughly. Mix in the cooked pasta {you may not need all of it if you want the pasta dish to be more saucy}. Top with shredded cheese and serve.

Skillet Blackberry Cobbler
From jiffy
Don't make this in anything but a big black skillet~it won't turn out the same!
1 box of 2 refrigerated pie crusts (I prefer Pillsbury)
2 (14-16 oz) bags frozen blackberries
1 stick butter, melted
1⅓ cups sugar (for berries)
½ cup flour
¾ cup sugar (for crust)
½ stick butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup water
1.Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Unroll one pie crust and place in bottom and up sides of 12 " cast iron skillet.
3.Pierce bottom and sides of crust with a fork.
4.Bake 7 minutes; remove from oven.
5.Increase oven temp to 400 degrees.
6.In a large bowl, mix melted butter, 1⅓ cups sugar, and flour.
7.Put berries in bowl with butter/sugar/flour mixture; toss until berries are covered and mixture is crumbly.
8.Gently pour berries into skillet; sprinkle water over berries.
9.Unroll second pie crust over top of berries, sealing at the edges of the skillet.
10.Scatter the small pieces of butter on top of the crust.
11.Sprinkle ¾ cups sugar on top of crust.
12.Cut tiny slits in top of pie crust.
13.Bake approximately 45 minutes or until bubbly at edges and beginning to brown on top.
14.(I highly recommend a pie shield to keep edges of crust from burning.)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

By Request aka Chicken Saltimbocca Casserole

By Request 
Gabriele Lanhan

By Request...per Gabriele
Good Lord in Heaven above where has this recipe been all of my life!!!! Share!!!

You'll need 2 packages of THIN chicken breasts
a few slices of prosciutto
a half bag of fresh spinach ( I used one bag of fresh baby spinach) 
an 8 oz package of fresh sliced mushrooms
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secret's Savory Herb and Garlic (I used 1 tsp. Organic chicken base, 1 tsp. Minced garlic, 1 tsp. Each kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, 2 tsp. Each  fresh herbs of parsley, rosemary & thyme)
1/2 C White Wine
1/4 C Olive oil
8 oz shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375
spray a 13/9" pan with Pam
put 2 layers of chicken in pan, cover with prosciutto, top with spinach, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and coarse black pepper
top with mushrooms
whisk together olive oil, wine and savory herb envelope (or herb/seasoning mixture) then pour over everything.
Lay a piece of foil over (not tight)
bake for 30 minutes ( I baked for 35-40 minutes) check chicken temp with thermometer
top with cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

ETA: I plan to use minced garlic, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh rosemary, thyme & parsley in lieu of the season packet. Making tonight with a side of risotto. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lasagna Florentine Skillet

compliments of Publix Apron Meals.

Made this last night, it was very tasty & went together quickly to make a satisfying lasagna meal!

 Skillet Lasagna Florentine

In addition to the instructions given, I also broiled the lasagna for 2-3 minutes to lightly brown the cheese.


1 lb lean ground beef, 7% fat

4 oz fresh pre-sliced baby portabellas
I used 8 oz. mushrooms
1/3 cup fresh pre-diced onions
1/3 cup fresh pre-diced bell peppers

1 (24-oz) jar onion/garlic pasta sauce

1 cup water

1 (9-oz) box no-boil lasagna pasta

3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

1 3/4 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese


  1. Crumble ground beef into microwave-safe bowl (wash hands). Stir in mushrooms, onions, and peppers, then cover; microwave on HIGH 8 minutes, stirring once, or until most of meat is cooked. Stir in pasta sauce and water until well blended. 
  2. Spread 2 1/2 cups of the meat sauce in bottom of large skillet. Then build layers: 4 noodles, spread with 1 cup meat sauce, arrange 1 cup spinach leaves over sauce, and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over spinach. Repeat layer two more times. Add remaining 4 noodles; top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. 
  3. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat or until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, most of liquid is absorbed, and cheese is melted. Serve. (Makes 6 servings.)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 2016 Newsletter not 15, Duh!

Food for Thought:
I  Awaken, to a New Year...
A new Chapter in my life...a new Venture...a new Pathway...searching and wondering what lies ahead.
As I turn the pages of life daily, new Chapters, new Ventures, new Pathways will unfold...
I will search diligantly to know that which is right and good for me, a new Chapter of happiness.
A new Venture to find love, laughter and contentment that I so desire.
A new Pathway...one that will open to trails of those things I have been missing in my life.
I  Awaken, To a New Year...a new Direction and Purpose for myself.  Fulfillment of the woman I am.
Direction, Purpose and Fulfillment  are those things that I find myself desiring.
Whether that Direction will be alone or shared with another, only time will tell.
Purposely seeking to make life worthwhile, seeking to enhance myself and others.
Fulfillment of knowing who I am, where I am going;  not compromising myself or my convictions.
I Awaken, To a New Year...completing old Chapters...having learned from life's experiences.
Ready to enter  new Ventures each day...seeking what Direction will be traveled.
Walking Life's Pathway with Purpose...enhancing life from day to day.
Finding Fulfillment...making a difference in my life and others...
I Awaken, To a New Year...a New Me, unfolding new Chapters, new Ventures and New Pathways.
Mushroom Puffs
from Patty Sandlin
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8-oz.) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 large egg
1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
Parchment paper
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
 Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Stir in mushrooms and next 4 ingredients. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
 Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 16- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut pastry in half lengthwise. Spread 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture down center of each rectangle; brush edges with egg mixture. Fold each pastry half lengthwise over filling, and pinch edges to seal. Cut pastries into 10 pieces each, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining puff pastry sheet, egg mixture, and cream cheese mixture.
 Brush remaining egg mixture over tops of pastry pieces; sprinkle with pepper.
 Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned. Serve immediately.
Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 3. Freeze pieces on baking sheet until firm (about 1 hour), and transfer to zip-top plastic freezer bags. Freeze up to 1 month. To bake, place frozen puffs on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and proceed as directed in Step 4.

Sarasota's Cheesy Ham Dip in a Bread Bowl
Kim Churchill

1 round loaf pumpernickel bread
crackers or bread sticks
vegetables of your choice
2/3 cup baked ham, diced (deli ham works great)
1 small white onion, diced fine
1/2 cup scallions, diced fine (white and green parts)
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (seeds and ribs removed)
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, drained
2 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
pepper to taste
pinch of salt
How To Make This Recipe
Step 1 Dip ... Add the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ham, green chilies, jalapeno, scallions, onion, garlic, worcestershire, pepper, salt (go easy); then mix well and set to the side. Make sure to taste for seasoning.
Step 2 Bread ... Cut off a thin slice from the top of the loaf and scoop out the bread from the inside. Using a knife and a spoon, cut and then scoop out as much of the bread as you can without cutting through the loaf. You still want to keep a nice layer of the bread on the inside, so it isn't too thin. Save that bread - it makes a great dipper.
Step 3 Fill the hollowed bread loaf with the dip; cover with top slice of the bread loaf and wrap the loaf in heavy duty foil - or 2 sheets of regular foil.
Step 4 Bake ... Preheat a oven to 350 degree oven and bake 1 hour on the middle shelf.
Step 5 Serve ... Enjoy with the bread scooped out, cut in small cubes; crackers, bread sticks, vegetables, broccoli, par boiled potatoes, and asparagus is a favorite as is broccoli. Basically any of your favorite dippers. ENJOY!
Step 6 A fun, easy, and different dip, which is just that little bit unique. And the best part is - it is kid and adult friendly which you can make it ahead. Just don't fill the bread bowl until you are ready to bake it. If I go to someones house, I usually bake it for about 45 and then finish it in their oven for the remaining 15-20 minutes, and it comes out great. Also, it will also stay warm wrapped up in the foil and then a towel wrapped around it for a good 30 minutes after you remove it from the oven. It is best served warm, but room temp is just fine for this dish. 
"This tangy, creamy dip tastes just like buffalo chicken wings. It's best served hot with crackers and celery sticks. Everyone loves the results!"
1.5 lbs. shredded chicken
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank's
Red Hot®) 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4
inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) box chicken-flavored
crackers (or your favorite)
1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers. 
Fiesta Shrimp Dip
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. lemon juice
1-5/8 oz. pkg. Italian dressing mix (like Good Seasons)
1-1/2 cups shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined and chopped (I cook mine in Old Bay)
Blend well cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and dressing mix. Fold in shrimp. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with crackers or chips.
Yields: 4 servings
p.s. you might want to double or triple the recipe!!!

Paula's Smoked Salmon Spread
Paula George
1 lb. flaked smoked salmon (Alaskan Smoked Salmon, preferred)
1 lb. cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. dried dill
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. worcestershire
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish (or more)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Delish, served with flatbread, crostinis or "good" crackers to spread on.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2015 Newsletter

December 2015 Newsletter


Lighten my heart today, Creator, with the beauty of Mother Earth.
Show me the "important" little things, that I'll recognize their worth.
Harken to my praise for the many gifts, You lovingly bestow...
All thanks & praise to Thee, I'll respond in prayer my thankfulness to show.

Paula 2003

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

One of my favorite sandwiches is a Triple Grilled Cheese that I served at Canebrake.
He used to order 2 of them every Saturday!  It also became a favorite of some customers from the Courthouse. The Creamy Tomato Basil soup is one of my
requested soups by a former customer at LuVici's.

Two slices wheatberry bread (preferably Rotella brand)
softened cream cheese
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices Colby or Cheddar cheese
sliced purple onion
sliced tomatoes
salt & pepper

Butter both sides of bread. Place on hot grill pan and brown. Turn and spread softened cream cheese on grilled side of bread. Top with onions, tomatoes, salt & pepper and remaining cheeses. Put sandwich together and grill remaining buttered sides until sandwich is browned and cheeses are melted.

Optional: Can also add ham or bacon to make them heartier!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Paula George Smith

4 Tbsp. butter
1 med onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 Tbsp. flour
28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 qt. chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup julienned, fine basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream or culinary cream, if available

In stockpot, melt butter. Saute onion, celery, carrots for 5 minutes. Add garlic
and cook 1 more minute. add flour and cook 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients
except basil and heavy cream, bring to slow boil and simmer for 30 minutes. With
immersion blender. puree. Stir in heavy cream and basil and heat through (about
5 minutes). Do not boil.

Rose & Ivy Southern Pecan Cheese Bake
1/2 cup mayonnaise
One 8 oz pack cream cheese
One cup grated cheddar cheese
2 green onions (chopped)
6 Ritz crackers (crushed)
8 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1/2 cup any Rose & Ivy Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze/Jelly
Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese and onions in greased quiche or pie plate. Top with
crackers and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with bacon.
Drizzle Rose & Ivy Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze or Jelly over all and serve with crackers.

Momma Box Cookies
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar (I use Dark)... 
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream together.
Fold in:
4 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Stir in:
4 cups oatmeal
4 cups crushed corn flakes
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or 2 cups dried craisins
Drop by 3-4 oz scoops on parchment sheet and bake at 325 in convection oven for 10-12 minutes.Dough may be frozen in scoops, removed to parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes and then baked.

Bang Bang Shrimp
Aka Paula's Mo' Betta Shrimp
Dipping sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. Thai chili sauce 
1 Tbsp. honey
Dash of Kosher salt
Few grinds of coarse black pepper
1 Tablespoon water

Whisk together ingredients for dipping sauce.

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-on
Bibb lettuce leaves, for serving
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Make the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, chili sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, Old Bay and 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl; set aside.

Prepare the shrimp: Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Meanwhile, pour buttermilk in a shallow bowl. Whisk the flour, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, Old Bay in another shallow bowl.

Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, dip in the buttermilk then return to the flour mixture, turning to coat each side. Fry the shrimp in the hot oil until lightly golden, 2-3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.

Arrange the lettuce in a shallow serving bowl or on individual plates. Top with the shrimp and garnish with scallions. Serve the dipping sauce on the side.