Tag Archives: fresh vegetables

Boursin Spinach Gratin

I just had to cook this spinach recipe when I first saw it on Kate in the Kitchen’s Blog. When I made it the first time I was talking to a friend about it and she said “Wanda, you have taken a very healthy food and made it not so healthy!”  I don’t look at it that way.  I just made it delicious.  You don’t have to eat all of it. But  I could eat it in its entirety. It is so creamy rich and flavorful. The spinach with the richness of the Boursin cheese and the crunchy panko bread crumbs.  Nothing could be better. You have to try this.  It is heavenly. 

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Filed under spinach, spinach au gratin

San Francisco Salad

For about six years GI Joe traveled to Savannah once a month for National Guard duty for the Air Force.  Many of those weekends I traveled with him and spent the time on Tybee Island.  One of our favorite restaurants to visit was the Sundae Cafe.  It is a little funny how we found out about this restaurant.  I was buying gas at the local BP station and when I paid I asked the clerk if she knew of some good places to eat.  She said, ” Well the place next door must be good because there is always a crowd there.”  I would never chosen the restaurant unless someone had recommended it.  It is located within a  a strip of four stores.  The local liquor store is on one side and the BP on the other. We became frequent customers because the food is excellent and it is very nice and elegant on the inside.  So you can’t judge a restaurant by the cover!   One of my favorite dishes to order is the spring salad.  I have tried many times to duplicate it, but failed.  Thanks to Anna,  I have found the recipe !!  

Last weekend we had dinner with our long time friends.  It was a fantastic meal!   Anna served this San Francisco Salad that was  extraordinary!  I love the flavors of the feta and the tart cranraisins with the texture of the toasted walnuts.  Together with the  salad dressing adding  the  right amount of sweet and tangy and red onion gives it the little kick.    So thanks to Anna we can all enjoy this scrumptious salad!    

San Franciso Salad

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/cup sugar
  • 1  tablespoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup cranraisins
  • 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 bag of mixed greens (or enough for 8 servings)

Melt butter.  Saute walnuts 5 minutes or until golden.  Drain.  Mix sugar and pepper together and roll walnuts in the mixture.  Cool.

Place cheese and nuts over mixed greens and pour dressing over salad.


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake until mixed well.  If preferred, dressing  can be  served separately and spooned over each salad.

Recipe can easily be halved for four servings.



The Teacher Cooks


Filed under easy, healthy, quick, Recipes, Salad, salad dressing

Vegetable Pizza


Here is the winner!

We are making vegetable pizza today in class.  Really it is salad on top of rolls with some original Ranch Dressing.  Very good!!

 The lab today was one of the best!  All was quiet on the work front as the students were dicing and slicing.  The results were fantastic as you can see.

Not all are created equal when working in the kitchen.  Some know very little and some know a lot.  With this in mind I try to give out as much information as I can to help the know very little.  Today it was all about buying, storing and preparing fresh vegetables with the accent on lettuce. 

The trick is to wash the lettuce at least a day ahead.  Wash in cold water and let it drain really well.  Wrap in paper towel and store in a ziplock bag,  It will keep for a week.  This works well with Romaine, Greenleaf and Redleaf lettuces. 

I rarely use Iceberg lettuce maybe for a  wedge.  For storing iceberg take the core out by hitting on the counter and give it a turn.  It comes out easily.  Run cold water where the core was, turn over shake the water out and let it drain.  Store in a lettuce keeper or in a bag with paper towel. 

Enough about lettuce.  Here is how to put together the Vegetable pizza which is a great appetizer to serve at  a holiday party having a lot of green and red!

Chopped vegetables

Chop vegetables of your choice with lettuce as the base

Use 8 oz. of softened cream cheese and mix part or all of a packet of the Original Hidden Ranch dressing mix.  I only use 1/2 the packet.  The flavor is very intense.  Make it to your liking.

Cream cheese on cooled crescent rolls

Ready to spread the cream cheese

Ahead of time bake two packages of crescent on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Just take your finger and lightly press the edges of the rolls together.  Bake according to the package and let them cool completely.   Dot with the cream cheese mixture.

Spreading the cream cheese

Just a thin layer of cream cheese

 Next put your lettuce then all other chopped vegetables of your choice.  Here is the finished product!

2nd Place

Voted as the second best by the viewers!

Happy cooking,

The Teacher Cooks


Filed under Appetizer

Paula Deen’s Szechaun Chicken

1st Block Kitchen 5

1st Block Kitchen 5

These last two days have been really crazy for me.  Yesterday the local government station here came to film my class.  Yes, they did!!  I have never done anything quite like this.  Years ago I was on WSB radio, but you know no one can see you. All you have to worry about is what you say.  On TV you have to worry about how fat you look, or did you have a stupid grin on your face or if you have lipstick on your teeth and much much more.   I was a little scared.  No ! I was alot scared. My Tennessee friend called the day before to see if she could help with makeup and hair.  I needed some mental help…….but  I made it through without doing anything really stupid.  At least I think I did.  We’ll see when the broadcast is played for God and everyone to see .  Oh my Gosh,  I don’t know if I can stand to watch myself.  I have never watched a video of myself.  I’m too scared!!

Because there were six extra  people in my room some of which had cameras or lights it was hard for my students to concentrate on my demonstration.  At least that’s the excuse  I’m using for why some of them had no clue as to what they were doing in class today.  Now mind you 60% of them knew when to add the soy sauce or how to mince the ginger, but the other 40% were really struggling and I do mean struggling.  I will say that they all finished in time to eat,  clean their kitchens and get to the next class on time.  That is a good  thing!!! We are definitely discussing why it is important to know what you are doing before class.  It was if someone hit instant replay on my name all morning.  I must have heard it a million times!

This recipe is from Paula Deen”s  first cookbook and it is delicious.  Very Healthy!!  Very Tasty!!

I did not take pictures yesterday. Too nervous and forgot!  So today I took pictures as my students prepared their meal. Great job!!

This should make it easy for you to prepare for yourself and guests.  Let me be the first to say that this recipe is going to get you a lot of compliments.  No more Chinese takeout for you.   By the way my perfume of the day was sesame oil and hot chili paste.  I was a walking advertisement for my class.

3- 4 Boneless Chicken Breasts Butterflied

Butterfly with kitchen shears

Green Onions

Slice a bunch of green onions

Yellow Pepper

Slice a Yellow and Red Pepper

Broccoli Florets

Need a bunch of broccoli Florets

Fresh Ginger

1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

Sesame Oil

1 T Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce

1/4 cup Soy Sauce

I did not take pictures of two items.  I was busy running around putting out fires.  Not really, just helping the lost.

4 Tablespoons of Chili Paste

                                                                                   2 Minced garlic cloves

Cooking Chicken

Cooking Chicken in Sesame Oil & 2 T chili Paste

What happened to this photograph?  Oh my!!!!!!

We used an electric skillet for convenience in class.  I recommend that you use a large skillet or wok.  Do not worry about the paste turning a dark color and sticking to the pan.  I panicked the first time I prepared it, but you will deglaze the pan in the end.  The flavor will be incredible.

Take the chicken out after cooking about 4 minutes on each side.  Let it rest 5 min. and slice with the grain into long strips.  Let your husband, children, or guests do this while you finish the vegetables.

Angel Hair Pasta

Keep Angel Hair Pasta Hot

The recipe calls for 1 lb. of angel hair pasta.  I found this to be too much.  The chicken and vegetables make about 6 servings so make pasta accordingly.

Cooked Vegetables

This looks so good!

Add broccoli, onions, and peppers to the skillet as soon as you take out the chicken.  Pour soy sauce, 2 T of Chili paste, garlic, and about 1/4 cup of water and cook vegetables until just tender.

Sliced Cooked Chicken

Good job slicing the chicken!!

Add the sliced chicken to the vegetables and serve over hot angel hair pasta.  This is too good to be true.

Thanks to Paula Deen .  Here is her original recipe.

Szechuan Chicken with Angelhair Pasta

  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chili-garlic sauce ( I found this in the vegetable section of the grocery.  It comes in a tube like toothpaste)
  • 4 boneless chicken breast ( I butterfly them so they will be thinner and cook faster)
  • 1 lb. of angelhair pasta ( I decreased the amount)
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns cut into florets
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips
  • 12 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 11/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup water ( I added this especially if the skillet is hot a lot of the liquid will evaporate and you will need more)

Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the chili sauce in a large skillet over medium heat: add the chicken, and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.  Add pasta to boiling water, cook as directed on package, and drain.  Remove the chicken from the pan and cut it into strips.  Add the broccoli, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, remaining chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger to the skillet.  Cook the vegetables stirring until they are crisp tender.  Add the chicken strips and cook until heated through.  Serve over the pasta.

Here is the 2nd place winner of the Iron Chef!

1st Block 3rd Kitchen

1st Block 3rd Kitchen

Happy Cooking,

The Teacher Cooks


Filed under Chicken, Chicken stir fry, Cooking, easy, quick, Recipes, vegetables

Tomato Okra Casserole— Summer’s Ending!!!!

This is sooo good!!!

This is sooo good!!!

This is going to be the  last of tomatoes and okra for a while.  At least fresh!   The Alabama girl gave me this delicious recipe.  She and I taught together for 3 1/2 years.  She is a great teacher and a great cook.  I miss her terribly,but that is another story.  Anyway,  last year we had a potluck dinner and she brought this dish and I am going to share it with you.

I get fresh vegetables from the CSA in our area and had a pound of okra to work with.  If you do not have fresh okra frozen will work. 

Tomato Okra Casserole

  • 6 Tbl. onion chopped
  • 2Tbl. Bacon grease
  • 1/4 t. curry powder
  • 1/4 t. red pepper
  • 2 1/2 T Parmesean Cheese
  • 1 qt. tomatoes peeled cooked or canned
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1  T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 8 Ritz crackers crushed

Saute onions in bacon grease.

Her is how I got the bacon grease.  Save the bacon for later.

Here is how I got the bacon grease. Save the bacon for later.


Sauteing onions

Sauteing onions

Add okra and cook until tender.

Add okra and cook until tender.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.  Stir well.

Add tomatoes and seasonings. Stir well.


Put in greased casserole

Put in greased casserole

Top with cheese and crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.  You are going to love this!!!  The okra is not slimy it is just plain good. 

Happy cooking,

The Teacher Cooks


Filed under Cooking, Recipes, Tomatoes & Okra