Coq Au Vin (My version)

You all know that Coq au vin is just a fancy French way of saying “Chicken Stew”, right? ¬†IDK… many of my friends don’t know that so forgive me when I seem like I need to be “Captain Obvious” ūüėČ

I’ve mentioned before that my Mom’s family is French. ¬†NOT the sophisticated eloquent French that you might be picturing… more like the poor kind. ¬†I’m proud of that though because along with being poor comes the need to be inventive. ¬†We’re ALL inventive when it comes to food. ¬†My grandmother had 10 children and that’s a LOT of mouths to feed when you only have 1 chicken! ¬†Grandma used to go out to her yard and choose a chicken, chop it’s head off and take the feathers off. ¬†Yummy huh? ¬†Thank GOD I never had to SEE it, much less do it. ¬†I’d probably never eat meat if I had to witness something like that. ¬†Coq au vin is one of those recipes that you can make your own and it’s inexpensive. ¬†It just takes a little bit of time.

Here’s my way… which, BTW, has been SO simplified but SO tasty! ¬†This is what we had tonight. ¬†I have to be in the right mood to want to go through a little trouble and tonight, while it’s cold and rainy, I’m in the right mood!

Coq Au Vin (Michelle’s Way)


2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken pieces (breasts, thighs or drumsticks) OR a whole chicken, skinned and cut up (I used 3.5 lbs chicken breasts, boneless)

2 TBSP cooking oil

salt and pepper

2 large vidalia or sweet onions, cut into 8 pieces each

1 1/4 cups Burgundy

4 medium, thinly sliced carrots

1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)

1 TBSP dried parsley

1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp dried marjoram

2 tsp dried crushed thyme

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb smoked bacon, chopped and cooked crisp, bacon grease reserved

5 TBSP flour

2 TBSP butter

16 oz cooked Penne pasta for serving


Cook bacon until crisp. ¬†It’s easier if you chop the bacon while it’s still a little frozen. ¬†Set aside.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown chicken pieces on all sides in hot oil, about 15 minutes.  Drain fat.  Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add onions, mushrooms, bacon, carrots, Burgundy, chicken broth, dried parsley, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer and cover.  Cook for around 50 minutes or until chicken is fork tender.

Take chicken and vegetables out of pot and set aside.  Discard bay leaf.

Heat reserved bacon grease and the 2 TBSP butter until hot.  Add flour and stir.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Once roux (bacon grease and flour) is made, add mixture to the juices from chicken.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.  Once thickened, cook for 1 minute more.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve over pasta.

*This recipe makes very generous servings for 6 people. ¬†The bacon makes this even more tasty than the other recipes I’ve tried. ¬†Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta & Broiled Shrimp

And in the midst of ALL this chaos… I’ve still had time to cook! ¬†Sometimes take out just is NOT satisfying and Lord knows we’ve been doing way too much take out lately! ¬†

Last night I made the most amazing dinner. ¬†I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve always steered away from this roasted red pepper sauce because it seems like anything you have to use a food processor with or a blender… well, it’s too complicated and creates too many dishes to wash later. ¬†Yeah, I’m lazy.. so what? ¬†lol ¬†This is WELL worth the extra step of pureeing the roasted red peppers and if you decide to make this, you’ll be SO thankful! ¬†Or maybe you’ve already tried it. ¬†Either way, it was new to me so I have to share ūüôā

Oh and as a side note, teenage munchkin had one of her bff’s over (another daughter to me) last night who is SO hard to please with food. ¬†Usually I have to end up making her a grilled cheese or throw in a frozen pizza because she won’t eat anything new. ¬†HOWEVER and Thank you JESUS, she LOVED this dish and asked me to keep it handy to make it for her again. ¬†Anything Shelby approved is a hit in OUR house ūüėČ


Roasted Red Pepper Pasta and Shrimp


1 lb large shrimp, raw and in the shell

16 oz pasta (I used Penne)

12 oz jar of roasted red peppers with juice

1 TBSP Olive oil

5 cloves minced garlic

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese

1 3 to 4 oz jar of Peproncinis  (Optional for garnish)

Fresh parsley for garnish


1.  Shell and devein the shrimp.  Spray a broiling or grilling pan with Pam and place shrimp (separated well) on pan.  Cook in oven on BROIL just until shrimp turns pink.  Immediately take off of pan (to stop cooking process) an place on a plate to cool.

2.  Cook and drain pasta.

3.  While pasta is cooking, remove about 1 roasted red pepper from jar.  Chop and set aside.  Place remaining red peppers with their juice into blender and puree.

4.  Heat olive oil in large non stick skillet.  Saute garlic.  Cook and stir on medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Be sure not to get too brown or it will taste burnt and bitter.

5.  Add the pepper puree, cream, salt and pepper.  Cook on medium heat, stirring until hot bubbly and thick.  About 6 minutes.

6. ¬†Stir in cheese and parsley. ¬†Stir until cheese is melted. ¬†Add shrimp for a second until it’s warm again. ¬†

7.  Add sauce to the pasta and mix.  Top with Peproncinis if you want and extra cheese.

*Tip:  Always boil pasta in salted water so that the pasta has flavor.  When I drain the pasta, I immediately add back into the pan and toss with a little olive oil.  I then add a little Parmesan Cheese to the pasta BEFORE the sauce is added so that the cheese sticks to the pasta.  



Fast Food at Home… Pasta Con Broccoli!

So, as usual, Tuesday nights are busy for me. ¬†Piano lessons at 4:30 and then rush home to make dinner quick! ¬†I can’t complain though because every other day for me is slow. ¬†Tuesday’s just give me a reason to have to use my brain and think outside my usual box.

Tonight’s recipe came from a little cook book from a French town nearby in Ste. Genevieve, MO. ¬†It’s my go to pasta con broccoli recipe. ¬†The one I use when I don’t want to spend a lot of prep time. ¬†Easy Peasy! ¬†There are several recipes I use for pasta con broccoli. ¬†I just like this one the best because of the few ingredients it’s PACKED with flavor!

Pasta Con Broccoli


12 oz large shell pasta (cooked aldente’)

1 10 oz package frozen broccoli (cooked)

1 stick butter

1 pint half and half

8 oz grated Parmesan (fresh is better)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

 1 tsp red pepper flakes


In a large stock pot, add butter, half & half, cheese and spices to hot noodles and broccoli.  Cook over low heat.  Stir and simmer until thickened.  Adjust spices as necessary.

*You could add cooked chicken and sauteed mushrooms.

*To reheat leftovers, be sure to add a little more milk or half and half.

I served with my own homemade garlic, cheese toast. ¬†Ummm Ummmm good! ¬†We only had a spoon full of leftovers ūüôā ¬†Enjoy!

On using what you’ve got … (Smoky Pasta Carbonara)

Always, on Tuesday’s, it’s busy at our house. ¬†I have piano lessons at 4:25 pm, right in the middle of when I’d usually do dinner. ¬†Last night was no exception. ¬†I’ve been kind of good, lately, about trying to have dinner ready to go before I leave so that the teenage munchkin can just take it out of the oven. ¬†It may sound silly to most of you organized people, like a no brainer, but to me? ¬†Yeah, not so silly. ¬†I’m the LEAST organized person I know. ¬†ADD makes my brain scattered so I have to practice being organized enough to have ANYTHING done on time.

Yesterday was a GOOD day. ¬†I was able to do a whole lot of chores which is kind of a huge deal to me. ¬†I don’t want to sound like a broken record but in the case that anyone reading this hasn’t seen, I’m battling an illness (bleeding ulcers) that has me pretty incapacitated. ¬†It’s hard for me to have enough energy to do chores so a lot of the time a lot of the work falls on my daughter’s shoulders. ¬†The house is clean, because I can’t stand a dirty house but still not up to my usual standards. ¬†Anyway, it’s difficult for me to live with the guilt of dumping so much work on my kids shoulders. ¬†I pay her well, but I feel like childhood shouldn’t be all about work. ¬†Although, she doesn’t complain. ¬†She has an Iphone that we pay for PLUS she’s saving her allowance to buy her first car and go overseas next year for a mission trip with church. ¬†In other words, she needs the money. ¬†lol ¬†I keep telling myself that she’s building character because we’re teaching her responsibility. ¬†That’s what I HAVE to tell myself. ¬†

Yesterday was different. ¬†Julia had SOME chores but most everything was already done when she walked through the door. ¬†Yay me! ¬†I love to see her smile ūüôā

We also have some extra mouths to feed this week. ¬†A friend of mine and her son are staying with us, ¬†They’re in between houses. ¬†They just need a place to lay their heads while they’re waiting for the perfect home. ¬†It’s actually been fun! ¬†During the day, I laugh because her 20 year old son keeps me laughing. ¬†He’s here with me for a while before he goes to work. ¬†It’s company and I didn’t realize that I was even lonely before they started staying here. ¬†I must have been though because I’ve noticed that my moods have been better now that they’re here. ¬†Note to self: ¬†Don’t get too used to it! ¬†lol ¬†This is not a permanent situation. ¬†I can enjoy it while it lasts thought, right?

With so many more mouths to feed, the grocery supply is running VERY low. ¬†I usually have enough food in the house to feed 10 families, because I’m a food hoarder. ¬†lol ¬†I’ve come to grips with that fact. ¬†Actually, even now, I have enough food to feed at least 5 families for a week but it’s food that you have to put together and actually THINK and PLAN what you’re going to do with it. ¬†Definitely not convenience food.

There’s a lot of pasta. ¬†So what do I do with pasta and hardly any meat? ¬†I asked the great Paula Deen! ¬†Remember the post where I told you about my awesome new Southern Cooking Bible? ¬†You wouldn’t think, normally, you’d find a good pasta recipe in a Southern cookbook would you? ¬†I’ve got MANY cookbooks and recipes, even some from Italy. ¬†The reason I didn’t use them was because Bryar, the 20 year old who’s staying with us doesn’t like chunky tomatoes or onions. ¬†I’m very limited in what I can get him to eat. ¬†Paula solved my problem.

Here’s what I came up with and it was delicious! ¬†It doesn’t call for it in Paula’s recipe but I sauteed 4 cloves of garlic ( because I doubled the recipe – only use 2 clovs if you’re going to make 1 batch) in the bacon grease so that Bryar wasn’t able to see it. I think ALL pasta should have some garlic. ¬†That’s just me though.

Smoky Southern Spaghetti Carbonara


1/2 lb bacon, chopped

1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 cup to make it creamier)

2 large eggs


Tobasco or other hot sauce 

black pepper

1 lb spaghetti (I used bucatini – the spaghetti that’s hollow like a straw because that’s what we had)

1 medium onion, finely chopped (I didn’t use onion. ¬†I used 2 cloves of garlic, minced and sauteed)



1. ¬†In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. ¬†Take excess grease off bacon with a paper towel. ¬†Don’t discard the grease in the pan.

2.  In a bowl, whisk together the Parmesan cheese, cream, eggs, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp hot sauce, and black pepper to taste.

3.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to directions on package.  Drain well.

4.  While the pasta cooks, return the skillet to medium high heat.  Add the onion (or garlic) and cook until softened, but not browned.  Remove the skillet from heat.

5.  Immediately add the hot pasta, the bacon and egg mixture to the skillet.  Toss everything together to combine.  The heat from the pasta and skillet will thicken the eggs into a creamy sauce.  Taste and add more salt, hot sauce or pepper if it needs it.  Serve hot.

Serves 4    (of COURSE I always double every recipe)

I served with garlic cheese toast.  Another win!  I love when a recipe calls for ingredients that we all usually have in our pantry.