Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category
Posted: July 22nd, 2014

Avocado in any form. Vegetables dressed in bread crumbs and baked. Best of two delicious worlds. From www.myrecipes.com.

Avocado in any form. Vegetables dressed in bread crumbs and baked. Best of two delicious worlds. From www.myrecipes.com.

Barring McDonald’s, I’m not a huge fan of french fries. This is probably because about 90 percent of the time, they’re terrible. They’re hard to get right, frankly, and unlike my husband and son, I don’t like them undercooked, fluffy, bitter, burned or cold. I don’t like them out of the freezer AT ALL, and I’ve never made a decent batch myself. Even when they’re pretty good, they’re not really that good. Oh, I’ll eat them if they’re in front of me. Don’t get me wrong. But I’d just as soon eat Brussels sprouts. And I hate Brussels sprouts.
For some reason, however, I love other vegetables breaded and baked (or fried). This includes zucchini, green tomatoes and eggplant. When I was a kid, we went to a greasy spoon down by the lake all the time that had the most amazing breaded and deep-fried green pepper rings. I wish I knew how to make those. Or perhaps not.
Anyway, I think deep fried food is overrated in general. Drag veggies through breadcrumbs and bake them, though, and I’ll meet you at the oven, plate in hand.
Well, fresh local baby zucchini is coming into gardens and produce sections now, and will be unstoppable for the next few weeks.
I want to try this recipe for these Baked Zucchini Fries as soon as possible.
Also, in honor of the avocado recipes coming in Loaves & Dishes tomorrow, Avocado Fries are tantalizing.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 21st, 2014
It's not easy to put a new spin on grilled chicken. This one from allrecipes.com looks promising.

It’s not easy to put a new spin on grilled chicken. This one from all recipes.com looks promising.

Over the weekend, I had a sumptuous nectarine, and the flavor burst in my mouth and blew through my mid-summer stupor. All of a sudden, I can’t get enough stone fruit.
It’s just about time to start looking for local plums, peaches, etc. Well, maybe give or take a couple of weeks. As you can see, I’m waiting impatiently.
But I should say even the ripe ones in the grocery store are pretty good right now, and I desperately need a new way to dress up grilled chicken, which will be on the homestead menu at some point this week.
This recipe for Grilled Chicken with Peach Sauce from allrecipes.com is making it hard for me to concentrate this afternoon.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 16th, 2014

Can't wait to try this with some snips from my overgrown herb garden.

Can’t wait to try this with some snips from my overgrown herb garden.


This is the time of year when I start to feel guilty.
Well, I should qualify that. This is the time of year when I start to feel guilty about gardening.
I am, ostensibly, an avid gardener. I have vegetables and flowers and herbs and trees and bushes filling seven plots around our one acre.
I work hard all spring, or most of spring, well, some of it, to get the weeds out and encourage the good stuff to be good.
And then I think I’m done. The weeds come back, the vegetables ripen, the herbs flower. In truth, my herb garden has become more of a habitat than a cultivated plot.
Meanwhile, the trees and bushes reach out to be fixed and trimmed, and I walk past all of it every day after work, right into the house to put my feet up/make dinner/shop/drink beer/go on Facebook, and think about how I really need to get out there … just as soon as … whatever.
The herbs are the worst. I hate buying herbs. They cost too much and I never use them all. I try to dry the extras, but I’m pretty half-hearted about that, too. But just the thought of them going to flower gives me an instant shot of negative energy.
All this said, I do love going out the back door with a pair of shears and poking through the weeds looking for my thyme, mint, oregano, chives, etc. I also keep, somewhat successfully, when I think to water it, basil on the windowsill in the kitchen. Nothing gives me more embarrassment than waking up in the morning and finding that half dead.
What I need is something to put them all in.
Martha Stewart recently had a slideshow of ways to use leftover herbs that has re-energized my resolve to
actually use the fruits of my mediocre labor. I really want to try
Garlic-Herb Yogurt … just as soon as … whatever.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 9th, 2014

This Food Network dish is right in my wheel house. I even have the basil already.

This Food Network dish is right in my wheel house. I even have the basil already.

There are recipes, and then there are sun-dried tomato recipes. I have what can only be described as a mind-jerk reaction when I see sun-dried tomato in a headline.
It’s pretty much the same with pesto.
Imagine my delight at finding Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto in my inbox today.
There are few pasta recipes that can’t be improved with the addition of a handful of tangy, intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes. I have a baked penne casserole recipe that calls for them, a hummus recipe that’s downright addictive, and now I have this.
I can’t wait to get home and try it. I’ll even heat up a side of meatballs for my husband, who doesn’t think it’s dinner unless some animal died.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 8th, 2014

Hidden Valley recipe, plus a bit of goat cheese won over this kale hater.

Hidden Valley recipe, plus a bit of goat cheese won over this kale hater.

I’m not kale’s biggest fan. The few times I’ve used it, I was annoyed by the prep, of getting rid of that big, woody stem, and how it just never seems to soften like other greens. I even tried kale chips which everyone raves about, but they did nothing for me.
Last weekend, however, I saw the light.
First, my friend Amy made Fresh Strawberry Walnut Kale Salad for our July 4 party, and it didn’t last the night. It was just plain addictive. I found myself sneaking bites out of the bowl every time I walked by. She had added a few ounces of creamy goat cheese, which sure didn’t hurt.
With that fresh in my memory, John and I found a bag of dwarf kale at a farmers market Saturday. I loved it because the stems were much smaller and I didn’t even bother cutting them out. I put it in the blender with with frozen strawberries and Greek yogurt for a super-healthy Strawberry Kale Smoothie.
That might sound disgusting, but it sure wasn’t. It made about 5 cups, enough for two large glasses of yumminess, which I served with big, fat milkshake straws I got at a dollar store, that didn’t get plugged up with little chunks. We were soon making that straw-in-an-empty-glass sound — the universal sign of beverage satisfaction.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 2nd, 2014

Betty Crocker has officially sucked me in. I want to make this. It will probably be a disaster.

Betty Crocker has officially sucked me in. I want to make this. It will probably be a disaster.


I’m not going to lie to you. This flag-inspired layer cakelooks like a beast to make. Not easy, not fast, not lazy kitchen friendly. It looks like a intense adventure, lined with F-bombs and serious blasphemy.
But it looks so cool.
I have no evidence to support my theory that I can pull this off. My success with layer cakes has been spotty at best. I’m heading into this project armed with nothing but a misguided determination to try anyway.
Part of the problem here is that I’ve seen 100 similar ideas running through my inbox for weeks. There’s a limit to how many times I can look at something like this before I get sucked in.
I don’t even know if I have time to make this. But I will.
It’s bound to look a little more like the flag is, say, waving, than standing at perfect right angles.
But I’m going to try.
Then again, it’s possible that this is the coffee talking. We’ll see how I feel about it later.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 23rd, 2014

This Food Network recipe goes straight to my pile of faves .

This Food Network recipe goes straight to my pile of faves .

I’ve been gone awhile. Preparations for vacation, vacation itself and recovery from vacation took me offline for about two weeks that seem like years. We had a great time, but I didn’t have a chance to do much cooking, and really missed it. One meal stands out, though.
Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken was irresistible, especially the orzo, which has become my newest favorite comfort food. I could have eaten the whole dish myself, but John insisted on getting his share. Next time, I plan to hide it — in the refrigerator, behind something. He’ll never find it.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 10th, 2014
I can't wait to try this.

I can’t wait to try this.

I hate cauliflower. Really hate it. Like spit-it-out hate it. When it’s raw.
Cook it soft, though, with a sprinkle of salt and a little butter or cheese, I’m the biggest fan the little white trees ever had.
My husband, on the other hand, can eat cauliflower by the head if you give him a little onion or dill dip. He actually gets excited when I bring some home, and I have to physically fend him off until I finish cooking what I need of it.
I saw this Loaded Cauliflower recipe on Facebook last night, and read it to him. Boy did that get his attention.
I listed off the ingredients and I thought he was going to drool all over the couch. I took that as a mandate, and I’ll be happy to oblige him as soon as is physically possible.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 6th, 2014
I really screwed this up good -- meaning it came out OK, in spite of me.

I really screwed this up good. Meaning it came out OK, in spite of me.

Ever make a mistake and cringe, waiting for the blowback, and nothing happens?
Once in a while, yes, we catch a break.
I was following this recipe for Blueberry-Lemon Bread the other day, and got confused. Instead of reserving sugar for the glaze, I put it all in the batter. And of course I had doubled everything to make two loaves. When I realized my mistake, I scraped the batter out of the pans and threw in an extra cup of flour and another teaspoon of baking powder and prayed.
I figured I’d be tossing the results, but I’ll be (darned) if they didn’t turn out, well, pretty (darned) good. Maybe a a little too sweet, but moist and soft and tender and blueberry-y. Here’s a cautionary tale for my fellow imperfect readers: Don’t give up until you try it.
As a bonus, I’ll also share Strawberry Bread, which found its way into my co-workers’ tummies pretty quickly.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 2nd, 2014
Red Hot hot sauce helped me replace wings with chicken tenders in a hurry.

Red Hot hot sauce helped me replace wings with chicken tenders in a hurry.

Friday night was a whirlwind. We weren’t all home, finally until 7. We usually eat by 6:30 at the latest, but it just hadn’t happened. Nothing was ready and things were a little tense. There was some grouchiness.
We usually get takeout wings on Friday, but no one wanted to leave the house, so I improvised on the fly.
I had a package of chicken tenders, half a bottle of Red Hot and a few tablespoons butter.
A box of panko breadcrumbs raised its hand as I stared into the pantry. OK, ready set go.
I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, combined about 1/3 cup Red Hot with a roughly 3-tablespoon hunk of butter, microwaved it until butter had melted. Mixed about a cup of panko with some salt and pepper and spread it on a plate.
Tenders went into the Red Hot mixture, into the panko mixture and on to a baking sheet lined with foil.
When the oven was hot, I put the tenders in for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, we ate halved strawberries tossed with a little sugar, just to get something in our bellies while the chicken cooked.
The tenders came out great: spicy and just a little crispy.
They needed dipping sauce, and we were out of ranch, so I combined about half a cup of reduced-fat sour cream with some dry ranch dressing mix, salt and a little milk to thin it. Good enough.
Everyone left the table in a much better mood.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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