Jill's Place

A life in progress, spent mostly in the kitchen

Pasta with bacon


a.k.a. pasta carbonara

I’m sure I had a recipe at one point, but now I just wing it. I’m also not much for measuring, when it comes to cooking (vs. baking). Come along for the ride.

I start by mixing 2 eggs slightly, and adding about a cup of freshly shredded parmesan, along with some pepper. I don’t add salt, because parm is usually pretty salty itself. Set that mixture aside.

I bring a pot of water to a boil and add a healthy pinch of kosher salt. In the meantime, I cut up about 6 or 7 pieces of turkey bacon in a small dice. I also mince a few cloves of garlic. 2 or 4, depending on their size and how many garlic lovers are eating that night.

I preheat a skillet, add some olive oil and then the bacon. Stir frequently for about 6-7 minutes.

When the water boils, I add the pasta. Tonight it was bowtie, Lauren’s choice. Cook however long the package says.

Once the bacon is super crispy, I add the chopped garlic. Sometimes I remove some of the bacon and set it aside, so we have some crispy bits to garnish the pasta. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Because burned garlic is nasty. Add, oh, I don’t know, 3/4 cup of dry white wine, stir well, and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally.

Once the pasta is done, drain it, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. By this time, the wine/bacon/garlic mixture should have reduced some. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add the bacon mixture to the pasta, along with the egg mixture. Work quickly and stir a lot, because you don’t want scrambled eggs. If its too thick for your taste, add some or all of the reserved pasta water.

Serve with extra shredded parmesan, salt and pepper.

Quick, easy, and delicious.



Dinner time!


Well, Mark is out at a bar watching the super bowl. Picky Boy is eating a grilled cheese. But the girl and I are having Thai style roasted chicken breasts, hasselbeck potatoes with garlic, parmesan, and rosemary, and roasted brussels sprouts. Yummmmmmm.

Also, damn that chicken is good. Please try it.

More pics:




Greek yogurt, honey, and fruit popsicles


I made these this morning with blueberries and strawberries. Based on the leftover mixture, they’re going to be delicious!! A lot of different fruits could be used – this is just what I had on hand.

Cranberry Bars


I love cranberries, so this recipe definitely appealed to me. Also, just a beautiful color. I could see this on a plate of holiday treats. And good luck finding fresh cranberries after the holidays! Mark found some today in the organic section, by some miracle, so of course I had to make them tonight.

I did make one change – I didn’t have graham flour or any graham crackers to grind up, so I substituted buckwheat.

They are cooling now, so we’ll find out in the a.m. in terms of taste!

More pics:





Shortcut gnocchi


Yum, yum, yum, and easy too. Here is the recipe. These came together in just a few minutes. I’d suggest using a stand mixer instead of a food processor. Or mine just has a leak. 😉

They did take a bit of practice to get the rolling right. I have never made gnocchi before, but they ended up all right! I made them in batches, and had one child asking for more. I thought this made way more than 2 or 3 servings. I ended up flash freezing a third of them.

Next time, I will try browning them in a bit of butter after they are boiled. I think it would add flavor and texture. But they are also good just boiled with a really good sauce.

Speaking of, I served them with some leftover tomato sauce with butter and onions.

That is our very favorite sauce, and I can only suggest you make it immediately.

More pics:





Taco salad

I did cook tonight. Nothing fancy, just tacos/taco salad. It had to be quick, so I could get to the shelter for my volunteer shift. But the homemade taco seasoning was very tasty, especially with the addition of some tomato paste with the ground turkey! No pics, because I just didn’t think of it. I also forgot to chop up the cilantro, so maybe not my best night!

I wonder what I’ll make tomorrow? I’d like to try the gnocchi recipe I found on Pinterest. I love gnocchi – I don’t know if the girl will like it. I *know* the boy won’t even try it. 🙂

Yogurt-marinated chicken with ginger and garlic


Here is the recipe. I did change a few things. I didn’t have time to marinate for several hours, just about one and a half. It still worked, although I’m certain it would have been even better with more time. I also roasted it, since even with the freakishly warm weather we’re having this year, I didn’t want to fire up the grill. I roasted it at 450 for 30 minutes in a baking dish lined with foil and covered the pan with foil, then cooked it uncovered for about 5. I like chicken to have some color, so I broiled it for a few minutes also because although it was cooked through, it didn’t look all that pretty until it was broiled. Be sure it gets up to at least 165 on a thermometer, rather than depending on the time alone.

I also made some roasted potatoes that are a little different. I don’t know where she got the technique, but my mom taught me how to make these several (*ahem*) decades ago. Cut a few potatoes into bite size pieces. Skin on or peeled – your call. Boil in salted water until just fork tender. Drain and place on a sheet pan, which has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with a little kosher or sea salt. Broil for a few minutes, watching closely to be sure they don’t burn up. I like them with some pretty good color, though. I don’t time them, I just watch them. Maybe 5-6 minutes. I usually leave the skin on and place them on the pan skin side down so that the flesh is closest to the heat. The outside of the potatoes gets crispy and crunchy and puffy, and the interior is soft. So, so good. Serve with plenty of butter or margarine.




The recipe is here. The only change I made was to add some salt to the caramel. Because sweet things need a bit of salt, and also because salted caramel is the best thing in the world.

I didn’t measure it, I just added a couple of heavy pinches of salt. Maybe a teaspoon or so.

I also doubled the recipe, since I’m taking it to work, and an 8 x 8 pan didn’t sound like enough. Melting the caramels took a while, as did unwrapping all 64 of them!

It’s cooling now, so I guess we’ll find out in the morning how it turned out. My coworkers are lucky.

More pics.









Homemade Pizza


And far better than most restaurants!

I used this recipe for the crust.

I split it into four individual pizza crusts, and everyone made their own pizza, choosing from spinach, onions, turkey pepperoni, turkey sausage, and of course lots and lots of mozzarella cheese. Next time, I’ll make them smaller, maybe into 6 portions. Very, very good. We all liked it better than most pizza places!

I also made some pepperoni roll ups, which were quite tasty. I think next time I’ll smear some sauce in there, maybe add garlic and oregano or basil. It could be because turkey pepperoni is a little more mild, but I would punch up the flavor a little. Those could make a meal, with a salad on the side.

Mark also made some delicious brownies, since my boy asked for some.

More pics:






A few recommended recipes

Mostly because I didn’t take any pictures of our versions, tonight you get links.

Why didn’t I take pics? Too busy stuffing my face.

This recipe for Bourbon Street Chicken turned up on Pinterest, and it was easy and delicious. I cut back on the red pepper flakes, because the girl child doesn’t like food that’s too spicy. I used about 1/4 teaspoon, instead of 3/4 t. I think it would have been better with a little more heat, so next time I’ll try 1/2 t.

Mark made these Cheesy Potato Cups, and they were sooo good. I realize that the recipe is members only. I’d suggest buying this issue or subscribing to the magazine. Yummy, simple recipes.

I also made some lima beans, one of my girl’s favorite veggies. I was fixing things she would like because she’s recovering from strep and hadn’t eaten a real meal in days!

Lastly, I decided to make a little sweet treat for the kids. We don’t usually have dessert, but every once in a while it’s nice. I was going to go with a simple chocolate snack cake, and then I remembered these individual microwave chocolate cakes. Quick to put together, rich flavor, couldn’t be easier. Pretty large for one person though – next time I would just make one for them to split. We all had a bit, and I have the entire second one left over. Since they were so rich, none of us could possibly finish a whole one!

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