First Tuesday Recipes for November

It’s that time of year again…the time when the calendar is in fast-forward from Halloween through the New Year. It’s a busy season, but try to slow down every now and remember to be thankful!

This week I’ve got a breakfast recipe that’s simple and delicious, a side dish, and an easy weeknight soup using convenience ingredients.

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Favorite Oatmeal

One serving of plain oatmeal, prepared according to package directions

1/4 c. half & half

1 banana

1 T. (or to your taste) brown sugar

Prepare oatmeal as directed. Place in a bowl. Pour half & half over oatmeal, but do not stir. Slice banana onto top. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar until golden and fragrant. Stir and enjoy!

If you don’t have a kitchen torch, place the oatmeal in a broiler-safe bowl, layer ingredients as above, and broil until sugar is golden and bubbly. Keep a close watch on it!

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Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Sour Cherries

This recipe comes courtesy of Chef Ed Daggers of the Atlantic City Country Club, with his permission.

3 med. acorn squash

2/3 c. dried cherries

1 c. frozen tart red cherries

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1 t. grated lemon peel

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. salt

1/4 c. lemon juice

3 T. butter

Cut each squash in half and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side up, in two 13 x 9″ greased baking dishes.

Combine the dried and tart cherries, brown sugar, lemon peel, nutmeg, and salt. Spoon into squash halves. Sprinkle with lemon juice and dot with butter.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until squash is tender.

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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 pkg. Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice original recipe (discard spice packet)

1 c. water

2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth

1-2 carrots, shredded

10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

onion flakes

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese

In medium saucepan, bring rice, water, and chicken broth to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Add carrots, broccoli, and onion flakes; simmer for 5 minutes.

Add canned soup and cream cheese; simmer until thickened.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Maria Grazia Swan

Today I welcome Maria Grazia Swan to Reade and Write. Maria is a mystery author with a novella in the soon-to-be-released collection Summer Snoops Unleashed. I’ve helped the authors of the collection promote it, and there’s one more post featuring two or three other authors coming soon.

Ready to learn more about Maria?

Tell me about your new novella.

Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye could be seen as a short book or a long novella. It’s about 24,000 words and will be released on July 23 as part of the boxed set Summer Snoops Unleashed, as you mentioned. The link to purchase the collection is https://books2read.com/SummerSnoopsUnleashed, and as you can see, for 99¢ readers will have plenty of stories to read. I’m honored to be in the company of such great authors.

Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye is part of my Baker Girls cozy mystery series. As you read this, books 1 and 2 of the series are available only on Amazon, but very soon (in about 10 days) all the books in the series will be available at all major online retailers.

Click this link to find Book 1, Cooks, Crooks and a Corpse, on Amazon.

Click this link to find Book 2, Foods, Fools, and a Dead Psychic, on Amazon.

Here are the covers of the books currently on Amazon:

I’m really excited to be able to share my new covers with you here! Drum roll, please…

Congratulations, Maria! I love the new covers!

Book 3 in the Baker Girls series, Wine, Dine, and Christmas Crimes, is available for pre-order now. Here’s a look at the cover and link to pre-order the book.

https://books2read.com/u/mY1NZV

Back to Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye. I wanted to write a short book for readers not familiar with the Baker Girls series. In this novella I introduce the main characters and the feelings driving their actions. I hope new readers will like the concept and read the rest of the series.

Readers, Maria is giving away two Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye today! All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post. I’ll choose the winners tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. EST.

Maria, tell us about your other books. 

Baker Girls is my 3rd series and the first one with a Phoenix/Arizona locale/settings.

My first series is the Mina Calvi Adventure mysteries. Anyone familiar with my books knows I only write about places where I have lived or at least visited personally. The Mina Calvi series has Orange County, California, as background because I lived there while writing most of the books…

…Except for book 3, Italian Summer. I wrote that back home in Italy and it’s 60% autobiographical as it pertains to settings, feelings, and habits. OK, I’m stopping here. You’ll have to read the book to fill the blanks…

My second series is the Lella York suspense series, and those books each have a different setting. Book 1, Gemini Moon: Murder Under the Italian Moon, was based on a real deadly event. A friend of mine was shot by the spouse and her blood spattered on one of my books she had on her desk at the time. It was returned to me years later and I just had to write about the shooting.

Describe yourself in three words

Loyal, passionate, truthful.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write from the heart: readers can tell. And keep in mind no one was born a writer. While some excel at it, it’s a craft. Practice makes perfect. Never give up.

Where can readers find you?

Email: mgsweb1@gmail.com

Website

Twitter

Amazon Author page

BookBub 

Subscribe to my newsletter

And where can readers find your books, besides the links you’ve already provided?

I’ve written short stories and non-fiction in addition to my mysteries. Check out my website for more information on my books.

Maria has graciously provided a recipe from one of her main characters, Monica, a cook who tends to take shortcuts. There are two versions of Pasta Primavera: the regular version and Monica’s shortcut version.

Monica’s Pasta Primavera

(This version works for vegetarians. If you are following a gluten-free diet, substitute gluten-free pasta for regular pasta. You can use your favorite brand. My choice is Barilla. ~Monica)

12 ounces of pasta (I use Barilla thin spaghetti)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

½ pound broccoli, trim thick stems

½ pound cauliflower

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

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Cook pasta according to directions.

While waiting for water to boil chop broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Once the pasta is in the pot, melt butter in large skillet over low heat, but don’t let it brown. Set aside.

Two minutes before removing the pasta from the boiling pot add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the boiling water/pasta.

Drain well pasta and veggies, transfer to the skillet with melted butter, toss well. Add heavy cream and cheese, toss some more and serve.  (4 servings)

Buon appetito!

 

Monica’s One-Pot 15-Minute version…if you dare…serves 2

8 ounces pasta (half a package) (Barilla thin spaghetti cooks in 5-6 minutes al dente)

Salt and pepper as needed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1-10 ounces package frozen vegetables (I like the Oriental Stir-fry plain, but any frozen vegetables would do)

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Cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, open frozen vegetables, discard wrapping and put vegetables in colander. Let hot water from kitchen faucet run over frozen vegetables. That way they will thaw but remain crisp.

When pasta is done, turn off faucet and pour pasta over vegetables in colander. Drain well.

Quickly return the pot in which the pasta was cooked to the same burner, add butter. Allow it to melt over a low burner but do not allow it to brown.

Pour pasta and vegetables on top of melted butter, add olive oil and toss well.

Serve with grated cheese to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds delicious! Thanks for visiting, Maria!

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

First Tuesday Recipes for March

Photo courtesy of pixabay/alexas_fotos

It’s the first Tuesday in March, so you know what that means…it’s time for a few new recipes to try. I’ve got some good ones for you.

The first one is good for nights when the weather is still cool during the early weeks in spring.

Chicken Vegetable Chili

If you’re a chili purist, call this a stew and enjoy! I adapted this recipe from one by Chef Ed Daggers.

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

olive oil

1 med. zucchini, diced

1 med. yellow squash, diced

1 onion, chopped

4-5 green onions, sliced

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped

1 can black beans

2 15-oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

4 T. chili powder (you can use a mixture of different types of chili powders)

1 1/2 T. cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings (optional): sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeno slices, corn chips

In a Dutch oven, cook chicken in olive oil over medium heat until browned. Add zucchini, yellow squash, onion, green onion, mushrooms, and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce; mix well. Add beans and seasonings (NOTE: if you don’t like your chili/stew spicy, adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes); simmer soup over low heat for 45 minutes.

Serve with cornbread or over rice. Garnish with optional toppings.

 

Porcupine Balls

I grew up eating these. The first time I made them for my own family, they were a huge hit!

1 lb. ground chuck

1/3 c. uncooked rice

1 t. each salt and pepper

1 t. dried basil

1/4 t. celery salt

1 T. canola oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

2 small cans tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8 x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together except for one can of tomato sauce. Form into loose meatballs. Place meatballs in baking dish and cover with remaining tomato sauce.

Cover and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Please note, these may fall apart when you serve them. They’re still delicious!

 

Pistachio Cake

Courtesy of my sister. This disappears in a jiffy anytime I take it somewhere.

Cake:

1 pkg. white cake mix

1/2 c. canola oil

4 eggs

1 c. sour cream

1 pkg. pistachio pudding

Mix above ingredients and set aside.

Filling:

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Mix filling ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a Bundt pan very well.

Layer the batter and filling as follows:

Bottom: 1/3 batter

2nd layer: 1/2 filling

3rd layer: 1/3 batter

4th layer: 1/2 filling

5th layer: 1/3 batter.

Bake for one hour.

Enjoy!

As always, please send me your recipes to share! And if you try any of these, please let me know what you think!

Until next time

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for January 2019!!

I know the First Tuesday Recipes are appearing on the Second Tuesday this month, but with last Tuesday being New Year’s Day, I figured you might want a break.

With that being said, Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to everything 2019 might bring and planning to share lots of good content with you.

For the first First Tuesday Recipes of the year, I’ve got a wonderful soup I made just a couple nights ago, a grab-and-go breakfast idea, and a dessert (at the request of Maggie King. Maggie, I hope I’m sharing the right recipe!)

Zuppa Toscana

This is one of my niece’s favorites, though my sister makes it a bit differently than I do.

1/2 lb. bulk sausage

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb. bacon

4 c. chicken broth

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 can white kidney beans, drained

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 c. heavy cream

4 c. baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage and onion in a skillet until sausage is no longer pink and onion is translucent. Set aside. Cook bacon and set aside (I prefer to cook the bacon in the oven). Crumble when cool.

Put chicken broth, potatoes, beans, garlic, and hot pepper flakes (if using) in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 12-14 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until about half of it is pureed. Leave about half of the potatoes and beans solid. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender–just be careful because the soup is hot.

Add sausage, onions, and crumbled bacon to soup; stir. Add heavy cream; stir. Bring mixture to a boil and let boil for one minute.

Add spinach, swirl around for about a minute, and serve. My sister serves it with garlic bread and it’s delicious that way!

* * *

Breakfast Burritos

10 slices bacon

12 eggs, lightly beaten (I do not add water or milk to the eggs, but I suppose you can if you want)

salt and pepper to taste

10 flour tortillas (8 inches)

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I use less)

5 scallions, sliced

Cook bacon until crisp; set aside to cool. Reserve 2 tbsp. bacon fat. When cool, crumble bacon.

In a large skillet, cook eggs in bacon grease and season with salt and pepper.

Set out the tortillas on a table or large counter space. Place appr. one scrambled egg on each tortilla. It helps to fill all the tortillas at the same time because if some have too little egg and some have too much, it’s easy to adjust. Top each egg with a bit of crumbled bacon. Top the bacon with a bit of shredded cheese and top the cheese with sliced scallions.

Roll up each tortilla, tucking in the ends, and wrap each one lightly in a paper towel. Then wrap each one in a small sheet of tin foil. Place in freezer.

When you’re ready to eat a burrito, remove the foil. Remove the paper towel, then wrap the paper towel around it again (this is just so the paper towel doesn’t stick to the burrito while it cooks). Place burrito in the microwave and cook for about a minute and 15 seconds (you may have to adjust this time, depending on your microwave).

This is delicious with salsa, but it’s also perfect to just grab and go. It can be easily adjusted–if you like sausage or ham instead of bacon, use that. No meat? Fine! Veggies instead? Fine! Just make sure they’re cooked and patted dry before adding them to the burrito. Lots more cheese? Fine! Less cheese? Fine! No scallions? Whatever you want!

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Hello, Dolly Bars (also known as Seven Layer Bars)

10 tbsp. butter

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1 c. chocolate chips (chef’s choice of kind–milk, semisweet)

1 c. butterscotch chips (This is the layer I skip, but feel free to use them)

1 c. flaked sweetened coconut

1 15-oz. can condensed milk

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Do not mix the layers in this dessert.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 13×9″ baking dish. Press graham cracker crumbs into melted butter.

Sprinkle graham crackers with chocolate chips. If using, sprinkle the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips. Sprinkle the layer (or two) of chips with the coconut.

Pour the condensed milk over the top of the coconut; sprinkle with pecans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool; cut into squares (small ones–a little goes a long way!)

Enjoy! Please remember that I always welcome recipes from readers, so let me know if you’ve got one you’d like to share!

Until next week,

Amy

Cover Reveal…Followed by First Tuesday Recipes for September!

It’s here! First my street team saw it, then my newsletter subscribers, and now it’s time to show the rest of the world. The cover of The Worst Noel is here and I love it! Are you ready?

The Worst Noel is available to pre-order as an ebook through all the major online retailers and, through some glitch that is no doubt my fault, as a paperback from Amazon. Other retailers will have the paperback in November.

Want to order a paperback copy? Click here.

Want to order an ebook from Amazon? Click here.

Want to order an ebook from another retailer? Click here.

If you’ve already ordered, THANK YOU! As we get closer to the ebook release date, I’ll be posting more about The Worst Noel, so stay tuned. And feel free to use the share buttons below!

And now for The First Tuesday Recipes for September. If you get my newsletter, you already have the recipe for Muddy Buddies. Here on the blog this month we’ve got a summery salsa, a dessert, and a fabulous side dish that’ll go with almost anything.

First, thanks to Maggie King for submitting her recipe:

Cucumber and Avocado Salsa

1/4 c. diced and seeded cucumber

1 lg. avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 sm. Roma tomato, diced

1 1/2 T. red onion, minced

2 t. Serrano chile, minced

1 t. fresh cilantro, minced

3/4 t. salt

2 T. fresh lime juice

Carefully fold all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, guacamole-style. If doubling, don’t double the lime juice.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Thanks to my mother for this side dish recipe:

German Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes

6 slices bacon

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 T. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 t. celery seed

dash pepper

1 c. water

1/2 c. (you may like a little less) white vinegar

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Cook potatoes until tender, then drain well, peel, and slice. Cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving 1/4 c. drippings. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Cook the onion in the reserved drippings until tender (and a little browned). Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add water and vinegar; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes more. Stir in bacon and potato slices. Heat through, tossing lightly. Add egg slices; toss gently just to mix.

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to Sharon Aguanno for contributing this dessert recipe she found here on allrecipes.com:

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Foil Packets

1 1/2 T. brown sugar

1 T unsalted butter

1 pineapple ring

1 maraschino cherry

1 shortcake dessert shell

Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional, but why wouldn’t you include it??)

Preheat grill to medium-high or an oven to 450 degrees.

Tear off a 12′ x 12′ square of aluminum foil.

Mound the brown sugar and butter in the center, then top them with the pineapple slice and the cherry.

Top with the dessert shell, flat side up.

Fold in the sides of the foil and seal to form the packet. Grill each packet for 12-13 minutes.

To serve, flip the cakes over. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed! And thanks for being part of my cover reveal for The Worst Noel. If you haven’t subscribed to my mostly-once-a-month newsletter, click this link.

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for July

photo courtesy of Pexels/pixabay

It’s summertime and, according to song, the living is easy. Actually, I don’t think it’s all that easy because I don’t love the heat and humidity. Give me cooler temperatures any day.

But this is the season for al fresco parties and get-togethers, so I’ve got a few recipes today that should make entertaining a little bit easier.

The first one was submitted by Sharon Aguanno–thanks, Sharon!!–and it sounds really good. She adapted it from a recipe she found online. You can read it here.

Crabmeat Dip

Ingredients:

11 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 (6 ounce) cans crabmeat, drained and flaked (packaged or fresh will work just as well)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
For additional flavor, try a little Old Bay Seasoning; for a kick, try a little cayenne pepper.
1 (1 pound) loaf round, crusty Italian bread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion, mayonnaise, crabmeat, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add Old Bay and cayenne if using. Spread mixture into a 1 quart baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes. While the dip is baking, cut a circle in the top of the bread, and scoop out the inside to create a bread bowl. Tear the removed bread into pieces for dipping.

Remove baked crab dip from the oven; stir well. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out loaf. Place bread bowl and chunks of bread on a medium baking sheet, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

I have a recipe to share this month that came from my grandmother. I don’t know if I’ve shared it before in my newsletter, but it I have, consider this a sign from the universe that you really need to try it.

Lemon Jell-O Cake

1 small box lemon Jell-O

1 package lemon cake mix

3/4 c. vegetable oil

3/4 c. cold water

4 eggs

Icing:

2 c. powdered sugar

1/4 lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Using an electric mixer, beat Jell-O, cake mix, oil, and cold water for 5 minutes. Beat the eggs and add to batter; beat again until well-blended. Pour mixture into an ungreased 13 x 9 baking dish.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until cake tests done. In the last few minutes of baking, mix together the icing ingredients.

While the cake is still hot, prick the top of it all over with the tines of a fork. Spread icing over the top and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes.

 

This next one comes from an old friend.

Tropical Fruit Salad

1 cantaloupe, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 small papaya, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 mangoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 kiwi, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained well

Sauce:

2 T. lime juice

1 T. honey

1/4 t. salt

Directions:

Mix fruit in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Pour sauce over fruit and toss gently to coat.

If desired, sprinkle some grated coconut over the top. Serves 6.

 

And last but certainly not least, is one I got from my mother. This gets rave reviews wherever I take it, and with good reason.

Ramen Noodle Salad

1 pkg. beef-flavored ramen noodles

1 bag coleslaw mix

1/2 c. slivered almonds

1/2 c. sunflower seeds

3 T. sesame seeds

Dressing:

flavor packet from ramen noodles

1/2 c. olive oil

3 T. rice vinegar

2 t. sugar

Directions:

Break noodles into small chunks while they’re still in the package. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk well. Keep salad and dressing separate until time to serve, then toss salad with dressing.

 

Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends!

Until next time,

Amy

 

First Tuesday Recipes for May

It’s the first Tuesday of the month again–that means it’s time to share a few recipes that readers have sent me. I’ve got a few of my own, too.

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The first recipe this week comes from my friend Sharon, who shares the recipe she uses for blueberry sauce. Sharon loves the sauce on pancakes, waffles, and ice cream, but her favorite way to have it is over lemon cake. She found the recipe on allrecipes.com. And when I read the recipe, I had to try it. It’s every bit as good as Sharon says.

Blueberry Sauce

2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 c. water (room temperature)

1 c. orange juice (I used the kind without pulp)

3/4 c. sugar

1/4 cup ice water

3 T. cornstarch

1/2 t. almond extract

1/8 t. cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine blueberries, 1/4 c. room-temperature water, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently and bring to a boil.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1/4 c. ice water. Gently stir mixture into blueberry mixture. Simmer until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir almond extract and cinnamon into sauce.

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My friend Maggie King, author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, featured a recipe on her blog that she invited me to share with you. I haven’t had a chance to try this one, but I’m going to.

Pumpkin Brownies/Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 c. vegetable oil

2 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

1 c. chocolate chips

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

1/2 t. salt

2 c. solid-packed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix (using a spoon, not an electric mixer). Pour batter into 13×9″ baking dish or 10″ tube pan.

Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes, then run a table knife through the batter to marble. Continue baking, uncovered, for another hour, or until cake tests done.

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I got this one from an old friend. It’s a breeze to make and my family loves it.

Sherry Chicken

4 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup, undiluted

1 t. grated onion

1 pint sour cream

1 c. dry sherry

generous dash paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in 13×9″ glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients, except for paprika. Pour mixture over chicken, sprinkle with paprika, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting often.

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I hope you enjoy these! There’s also one coming out today in my newsletter (Rhubarb Cake, anyone?) and I posted three recipes recently in my blog on Novel Spaces. You can find it hereIf you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can do so very easily by visiting my website at www.amymreade.com and clicking on the “Newsletter” tab.

If you try any of these recipes, let us know! And if you have a recipe you’d like to share, email me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll put your recipe in the next First Tuesday recipes. Thanks to those who contributed this month!

Until next time,

Amy