The First First Tuesday Recipes!

So my daughter, who is thousands of miles away, is sick. And the Dow fell off a cliff yesterday. And I was nursing a headache. And I forgot to schedule my car’s oil change. And today I have so much to do that I’ll never get it all done.

You know what?

I need food. And not just food–I need to cook.

Cooking is like food for the soul. I find it to be relaxing, meditative, comforting, and thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve wanted to share recipes on this blog for a long time, and this year when I realized I needed to do something new, food came to mind (as it always does).

So welcome to the inaugural edition of First Tuesday Recipes. On the first Tuesday of each month, I’ll be sharing some recipes I tried and liked over the past month and I hope you’ll share some, too. You can leave your recipes in the comments, or you’re welcome to email me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll include them the next month’s post.

This month I’ve got a fish entree, a soup, and a salad to share. Another soup recipe comes courtesy of Sharon Aguanno, who tells me it’s one of her favorites.

Fish entree: Pan-Roasted Salmon with Soy-Ginger Glaze

I found this recipe on Foodandwine.com. Click here to visit the page. This is the entree in the photo at the top of the post (now you see why I never became a food stylist).

1/4 c. soy sauce

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 six-ounce salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce and ginger. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in honey and mustard.

Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle fillets with pepper and put them in the skillet, skin side up. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Turn the salmon over and spoon the ginger-soy glaze on top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 5 minutes.

I served this with wilted spinach and Jasmine rice. It was a big hit!

Soup#1: Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I found this on allrecipes.com. You can click here to visit.

1 lb. ground beef

1 med. onion, chopped

1 can (16 oz.) chili beans–do not drain

1 can (15 oz.) shoepeg corn–do not drain

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

2 c. water

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) peeled, diced tomatoes

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles

1 pkg. (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix

corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

In a medium skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat. Drain and place in the bottom of a greased slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except corn chips, sour cream, and shredded cheddar, and mix. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. Serve with garnishes, if desired.

Soup #2: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Sharon Aguanno found this recipe on allrecipes.com. Click here to visit.

4 c. chicken broth

2 c. water

2 c. boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, shredded

1 pkg. (4.5 oz.) quick-cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

3/4 c. flour

1/2 c. butter

2 c. heavy cream

In a large pot, combine broth, water, and chicken over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice, reserving the seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.

In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then stir in contents of seasoning packet until bubbly. Reduce heat to low and, one tablespoon at a time, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture to form a roux. Whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and mixture is smooth. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir cream mixture into rice mixture. Cook over medium heat until heated through, about 10-15 minutes.

Sharon recommends adding vegetables to this soup, too. This is one I’m going to try before the end of February!

Salad: Rachael Ray’s Asian Charred Broccoli Salad

Thanks to my aunt, I get Rachael Ray’s magazine every month and I have to say I’ve never tried a recipe from that magazine that wasn’t a hit. This one, which I adapted a bit, is quick and easy. You can visit the page here.

3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. peanut oil

1 1/4 lb. broccoli florets

1 tbsp. ponzu sauce (I used a citrus one I found in the grocery store)

2 tsp. rice vinegar

1 tsp. finely chopped garlic

cilantro

chopped peanuts

In a wok or large skillet, heat 3 tbsp. oil over high heat. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until broccoli is crisp-tender and beginning to char, about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk ponzu sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and remaining 2 tsp. oil. Toss with broccoli and sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts.

I served this with a lemony breaded cod–another big hit!

I hope you get a chance to try a few of these recipes and that you’ll send in your own suggestions for next month’s First Tuesday Recipes post!

Until next time,

Amy

Advertisements

Shaking Things Up

I’ve been on vacation.

It was a much-needed, relaxing, and warm vacation in Hawaii and now I’m back home in New Jersey, freezing, sore from shoveling, and dealing with jet lag. But I’m not complaining–if that’s what it takes to go on vacation, sign me up.

So that’s why I haven’t posted in a few weeks, except for the #WATWB on the last Friday of 2017. But now I’m back with new energy and a couple new ideas for Reade and Write.

I would like to start an online book club. My idea is to host a book discussion on the last Tuesday of each month.

It wouldn’t start until March because I have the last Tuesdays booked up until then. But I figure that would just give us more time to read our first book. I’ll choose the first book and the second book, then take suggestions for the books after that. My plan is to ask readers to make book suggestions in the comments on the last Tuesday of the month, then I’ll pick a title out of a hat and schedule that book for two months later.

How does that sound to you? Would you be interested in participating?

Another idea I have is to make the first Tuesday of each month a day to share new recipes with readers. I figure this is a sneaky way to force me to put more new meals into my family’s monthly rotation. And I would love to share recipes that readers have tried, too. If you try a new recipe that’s a keeper (or if you have an old favorite that’s new to us!), email the recipe or the link to me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll print it in the first Tuesday’s post.

That leaves two, and sometimes three, posts in the middle of the month during which I’ll still showcase author interviews, book recommendations, and other posts. My goal is to inject some predictability into my weekly posting.

Do you have other ideas you’d like to see on Reade and Write? Please let me know in the comments below.

Here’s my pick for The Last Tuesday Book Club in March: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. It was written in 2013, so it should be available in most libraries.

Until next time,

Amy

 

Recipes Inspired by The Worst Noel

As you may know, I have a new book coming out on December 5th. It’s called The Worst Noel and it’s part of a 12-ebook set featuring Christmas-themed cozy mysteries. This is my first cozy mystery, and I have to tell you that I really enjoyed writing it.

One of the characters in my story, Noley Appleton, is a recipe developer for a magazine. Her job requires her to do a lot of cooking and Lilly (the main character) and her family are Noley’s happy guinea pigs.

This week I’d like to share some of the recipes that you’ll see mentioned in the book and a couple you won’t. The 12-book set comes with a bonus recipe book, but if I remember correctly, I only submitted one recipe–the rest I figured I could post here.

These are recipes that my family enjoys throughout the holiday season. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Maple Butternut Squash (adapted from The Red Lion Inn Cookbook)

3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped (if you cut the squash in half and microwave it for a few minutes it’s easy to chop)

1/2 c. butter, at room temperature

1/4 c. brown sugar

2 T. maple syrup

1 t. salt

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Boil the squash until tender, about 20 minutes; drain well.

While still hot, beat the squash with the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish; cover and bake for about 15 minutes.

 

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

2 lbs. 16-20U shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

1 T. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray foil lightly with cooking spray. Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them on the foil in a single layer. Roast for 8 1/2 minutes until just-pink and cooked through.

Serve at room temperature with your favorite cocktail sauce.

 

Sausage Bread

1 loaf frozen bread dough

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 egg, divided

handful grated Parmesan cheese

Thaw dough in microwave or in refrigerator; bring to room temperature. While doing that, brown sausage in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface roll out the dough into an oblong shape, about 14 inches long and 8 inches wide (these are just approximations). Sprinkle with the sausage. Smear with egg white (this works best if you use your hands). Sprinkle with cheese.

Roll up the dough starting with a long edge. Cut in half and place each half on a greased baking sheet. Brush each half with the egg yolk.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

 

Cranberry Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 can whole cranberry sauce

French dressing to taste (I use about 1/3 of a bottle)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Place chicken pieces in baking dish. Sprinkle the soup mix over the chicken. Spread the cranberry sauce over the chicken. Drizzle with French dressing.

Bake, uncovered, for about 90 minutes.

 

Enjoy! Until next time,

Amy

P.S. If you’d like to pre-order a copy (or ten) of The 12 Slays of Christmas for just 99¢ (and ALL the proceeds from the sale of the set go to animals in need), visit www.12slaysofchristmas.com and click on your reader of choice to order!

A Heavy Topic

photo courtesy of pixabay, JuAnnun

For those of you who may not be aware, I’ve been trying to lose weight.

It’s not easy. I’m not following any fancy diet or regimen, just eating less and exercising more. I have been building time into my day for more exercising (being a writer, I have a pretty sedentary job). It’s the “eating less” that gets me. I love to cook and bake, so it’s hard for me to avoid making the desserts I love. But I’m plodding along. Not losing weight quickly, but as they say, slow and steady wins the race. Right?

Right??

So my post today may seem a little counter-intuitive, but what I’m learning is that by keeping track of the calories I consume, I can budget room for small amounts of those things I love (chocolate and cheese, I’m talking to you) and still keep the pounds off.

I’m going to share with you two of my favorite recipes today, both of which still fit into my repertoire as long as I make sure I’m eating healthy (for the most part) and getting daily exercise. One is for a dessert that is pitifully easy and uses ingredients most people have on hand all the time. The other is for a salad that uses mayonnaise, but is so good I just haven’t been able to bring myself to substitute anything else.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

recipe courtesy of my mother

1 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

¾ c. sugar

¼ c. plus 2 T. cocoa powder, divided

½ c. milk

2 T. butter, melted

1 c. brown sugar, packed

1 ¾ c. hot water

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and 2 T. cocoa. Stir in milk and butter.

In another bowl, mix brown sugar and remaining ¼ c. cocoa.

Spread flour mixture in 9” square baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.

Pour hot water over entire batter. Do not stir. Bake about 40 minutes.

This is best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

 

Greek Chicken Salad

recipe courtesy of my father

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

3 c. diced cooked chicken

1 c. crumbled feta cheese

2/3 c. sliced black olives

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. plain yogurt

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. oregano

2/3 c. chopped fresh parsley (I use a sprinkle of the dried stuff)

pocket pita bread

Place cucumbers, chicken, feta, and black olives in a large bowl and mix well. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, oregano, and parsley. Mix well and fold into other ingredients. Chill before serving in pita pockets.

Until next week, everything in moderation!

Amy

My Three Favorite Book Club Recipes

20150905_185325

I heard from a reader last week who is planning to discuss Secrets of Hallstead House at her November book group meeting. She was wondering where to find questions that her group might discuss after reading the book. My first thought, no joke, was “I wonder if they have snacks at their book group meetings.”

After I emailed the reader a list of questions, I got thinking about a couple things:

First, I’d love to have book club discussion questions at the end of each of my books. I can’t do that for Secrets of Hallstead House or The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, but I quickly contacted my editor and he thinks he can get some discussion questions into House of Hanging Jade before we get any farther in the production schedule. So thanks, Susan, for the idea!

Second, I started wondering what I would serve at a book club meeting. I am not in a book club, but I’ve been to plenty of book club meetings. There’s always food. I’ve been to meetings with cheesecake samplers, pizza bites, cookies, chips, pretzels (the kind covered with chocolate and dipped in nuts and sprinkles), sandwiches, and other foods too numerous to mention.

I decided to come up with my three favorite appetizer recipes and I’m going to share them with you here. Please note, at least two of these recipes are not for people who are trying to diet!

 

Jalapeno Popper Dip (I got this from “EveryDay with Rachael Ray”)

3 slices bacon, chopped

1 c. panko

3 cans (4 oz. each) diced jalapenos, drained

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temperature

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1 small fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 2 T. of the bacon drippings; add the panko and stir to coat. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix half the bacon with the canned jalapenos, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and cheddar cheese. Transfer mixture to a 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with the panko, remaining bacon, fresh jalapeno, and Parmesan cheese.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips.

 

Tomato Sort-Of Bruschetta (I adapted this from “Food Network Magazine”)

2 lbs. tomatoes, cut into large chunks

3/4 t. Kosher salt

2 T. olive oil

1 T. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. chopped chives or basil

1 baguette, sliced

Toss tomatoes with the salt and set in a colander placed over a bowl: let drain for 15 minutes. Whisk the olive oil and the vinegar into the tomato juices. Toss tomatoes with chives or basil and serve with bread.

 

Fruit Dip

2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding

3 c. cold milk

8 oz. container whipped topping

almond extract to taste

cut-up fruit

Mix pudding and milk for about 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Add almond extract to taste. Serve with cut-up fruit.

 

What would you serve at a book club meeting?

Until next week,

Amy

P.S. Wine is also a staple at many book club meetings! If you’re interested in my thoughts on wine, please check out the “Wines” section of my blog or go to my website (http://www.amymreade.com) and select the “Home” tab then select “Wines.”

Ode to the Cookbook

Before I begin, I’d like to thank everyone who has purchased my book, either in paperback or ebook form. It’s getting some really nice reviews online, and I appreciate each and every one of you. And if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please consider putting up a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are greatly appreciated by all authors!

This week I am blogging about a subject near and dear to my heart: cooking. Specifically, cookbooks and how much I love them.

There are certain people in my family (they know who they are) who read cookbooks like novels, and I am proud to count myself among them. (Incidentally, my family is also made up of fabulous cooks, and I get my love of cooking from them. Note that I didn’t say I am a fabulous cook myself, but I do love the process). I like to curl up with a good cookbook just like many other people do with thrillers and romances. I love those books, too, but there’s just something about cookbooks that is different from any other type of reading.

Whenever I eat a meal at home by myself, there is always a cookbook or a cooking magazine next to me. When I need to take a break from writing or editing or research, I reach for a cookbook. Sometimes I’ll read a cookbook before I go to sleep at night.

Just today, my husband was trying to have a conversation with me while I perused the pages of a cookbook devoted entirely to macadamia nuts. I have casserole cookbooks, dessert cookbooks, an ahi tuna cookbook, a Halloween cookbook, a million Christmas cookbooks, and even a butter cookbook. I also have countless regular cookbooks- you know, the ones with thousands of recipes of every variety. Think Better Homes and Gardens with the red-and-white checkered binder. One of the things I love to do is to find new recipes for my weekly menu. If nothing in my millions of recipes sounds good at the moment I make my grocery list, I go with one of the tried-and-true favorites, like tacos or Greek chicken salad, but I do like to try something new as often as I can.

Cooking is how I relax. It’s how I show people I love them. I love to cook for friends and family; I cook as often as I can for people who have been sick and for mission groups that come to my church.

My favorite thing to cook, unfortunately, is dessert. I love making anything sweet. Luckily for me, my husband does not love dessert, so I don’t make it all the time. If I did, we’d all be fifty pounds heavier. The kids love it when I make dessert, though, so I do try to have it once in a while.

If any of you have visited my website, you’ll see that I have a section devoted to wines that I enjoy. The truth is that I also wanted to include a section devoted to the meals that my characters eat. My first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, has lots of meals in it. My hope was to include recipes for all the dishes I named in the book, but in the end I decided that I didn’t have the time to make up and test the recipes for those meals. My second book, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, has food in it, too, but not as much as in the first book. And I can’t wait to start writing my third book. I don’t have a name for it yet, but the main character is a personal chef in Hawaii. That’s right- a book that combines two of my great loves- Hawaii and food!

One of my favorite cookbooks (don’t laugh) is Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs. It’s full of recipes from the various Disney properties. It’s got everything in it from Coconut Curried Chicken Stew from Boma-Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to Fantasia Cheesecake from Plaza Inn on Main Street, USA, to Grapefruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from the Hollywood Brown Derby. But my hands-down favorite is Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier Steakhouse at EPCOT. My son, whose normal response to my home-cooked meals is “I hate chicken” or “can I just have cereal?” begs for this cheese soup all year long. Fortunately for our waistlines, I only make it in the fall.

There’s a movie out right now called “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” I can’t wait to see it. I don’t go to the movies often, but this is one I want to see in the theater rather than waiting for its release on DVD. It’s about a family from India that wants to open a restaurant in a small town in France. It’s actually based on a book of the same name by Richard Morais, and I may just have to read the book first.

So what’s on the menu at your house this week? Got any good recipes that you’d like to share?

Until next week,

Amy