Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake – Simple and Delicious

Rachel mentioned last night in our Facetime chat how she enjoys a Lemon Curd Cake she orders from a local restaurant. That reminded me how much I enjoy lemon desserts. Today I was looking through my Cooks Illustrated Cooking for 2 magazine. I came across this recipe and thought I would give it a try. It was super simple and DELISH!

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake


1/2 cup (2 ounces) cake flour (You can use all purpose flour. It will make a denser cake.)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1/2 teaspoon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used lemon extract. I love lemon!)

Lemon Glaze

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice


  1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 5 1/2 by 3 inch loaf pan. (You can use a 2 1/2 cup pan of similar shape for this recipe.)
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. In small bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon flour mixture and poppy seeds.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk sugar, melted butter, egg, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla together until smooth. Whisk in remaining flour mixture in 2 additions until few streaks of flour remain. Gently whisk in poppy seed mixture until most of lumps are gone (do not over mix). Give batter final stir with rubber spatula.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth with spatula. Wipe any drops of batter off sides of pan and gently tap pan on counter to release air bubbles. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30-40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan. Poke top and sides of cake with toothpick.
  5. For the Lemon Glaze: Combine sugar and lemon juice in bowl and microwave until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute, stirring halfway through microwaving. Brush top and sides of cake with warm glaze and let cool completely on rack, about 1 hour, before serving.


Rigatoni with Grilled Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Always trying to find new recipes for dinner. I get an actual hard copy, in the mail of Food Network Magazine. When I get it I eventually go through it to see if there are any recipes I want to try. This month I found 2 recipes to check out. Here is the first one. I did make a couple of changes since I didn’t have everything. Of course, it was #simpleanddelicious. Let’s get started;

Rigatoni with Grilled Sausage and Broccoli Rabe


6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I only used 4 Tablespoons)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed (I used a bag of frozen broccoli. Thawed out and chopped. Worked just fine!)
4 sweet/mild/hot Italian sausage links (I used sweet and mild combo)
10 ounces rigatoni (I used 8 ounces ziti. That’s the only tubular pasta I had in my pantry. 8 ounces was plenty for 2 people with leftovers.)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I replaced with fresh basil. I always have that herb in my kitchen!)
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese, for the topping


  1. Preheat a grill pan or skillet to medium high. (I used my grill pan)
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  4. Roughly chop broccoli and toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and pinch of salt. Set aside.
  5. Place sausages in grill pan or skillet, turning occasionally until done. 8-10 minutes. Transfer to plate. (more like 20 minutes)
  6. Place broccoli in grill pan/skillet. For the broccoli; I used a grill pan and did not drain the fat off the grill. If you are using a skillet you may want to drain off some of the sausage fat. Grill/cook broccoli til warmed through for 5-8 minutes.While broccoli is in grill pan/skillet halve the sausages lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Cover and keep warm.
  7. Add the pasta to boiling water and cook as label directs for al dente.
  8. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the garlic oil. Mix together.
  9. Add the broccoli, sausages, chopped basil or oregano and add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water, toss to coat well. (I also threw in the Parmesan cheese and mixed in with the pasta.) If pasta is too dry, add more cooking water, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  10. Time to serve and top with some Parmesan cheese.


Super Easy Focaccia

This is a super easy recipe and incredibly delicious.  You can put anything you want on Focaccia bread.  You choose what you want and make it as tasty as you want.  Here goes:

Herb Focaccia

eric birthday 026

2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Directions (Preheat oven 475 degrees)

1.  Place 2 cups warm water in a large bowl.  Sprinkle dry yeast over water and stir with fork.  Let stand until yeast dissolves and blooms, about 10 minutes.
2.  Add flour and salt to yeast mixture.  Stir to blend well.  Mix on medium in stand up mixer for 8 minutes. (You can mix and knead by hand or in a food processor.  You should mix until blended in the food processor. Pay attention as the food processor gets warm and you don’t want to over mix. When it is all blended together you can lightly oil a countertop and knead into a ball.)
3.  Oil large bowl; add dough, turning to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
4.  Punch down dough.  Coat 15×10 inch baking sheet with 1 Tablespoon of oil.  Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Let dough rest for 25 minutes.
4.  Using fingertips, press out dough to 13×10 inch rectangle.
5.  Drizzle 2 Tablespoons oil over dough.  Press fingers over dough, forming indentations.  Sprinkle herbs and cheese evenly over the dough.
6.  Bake bread until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes.  Serve bread warm or at room temperature.

This was fabulous.  Super Simple and very Delicious!  eric birthday 027 Ciao!!

Neopolitan Pizza Dough 2019

This has been my consistent pizza dough recipe for the last couple of years.  I go back and forth with a couple of others but this is my go to recipe.  Simple and Delicious!!

Neopolitan Pizza Dough
(this recipe makes 2 – 16 ounce pizza dough balls)



4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons warm water (100-109 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt (Don’t have Kosher salt.  Go to the Salt Conversion Chart and see what measurement you need for the salt you do have!)
1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting (or you can use all purpose flour)


  1. Be sure to preheat oven to 475 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking pizza.
  2. Put all dry ingredients in food processor and pulse a couple of times.  Put the lid on the processor.  Start it up and pour liquid through top.  The dough will form into a ball. Once the ball is formed it is mixed together.  You can take the dough out of processor.  (Generally, the food processor is the only appliance I use for pizza dough.  On occasion, I will use my stand up mixer with the dough hook.)
  3. I pour a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil on my counter and knead the dough a few times.  Then rub 1 teaspoon olive oil over the dough.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl which is lightly oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. You can place the dough in fridge overnight (or 2-3 days) OR let it rise a couple of hours in a draft free area and make your pizza(s) the same day.
  5. All set to get that pizza in the oven?!  Place parchment paper on pizza peel and lightly flour.  Place dough on parchment paper and spread out into 12-14 inch circle.  (I have a pizza peel because I make pizza ALL the time.  It makes it easy to transfer dough in the oven.  If you don’t have a peel you can use a flat baking sheet or flip one over and use the back side. Hope that makes sense!)
  6. Top with pizza sauce and cheese or whatever you desire.
  7. Place on pizza stone, pizza steel or baking sheet. Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

Did you know you can freeze pizza dough?  Bake one dough today, freeze the other and make it when you feel like it.  I wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. You can take it out the night before and let it defrost in your fridge overnight.


Spice Braised Pot Roast

Clearing out that freezer!  Kent found a chuck roast from December and this recipe from #tasteofhome.  I am not a fan of slow cookers but he wanted me to use it versus my dutch oven.  I seem to have better luck slow cooking in the oven.  I have no idea why. Anyways, I used my slow cooker for this recipe it worked well.  (Still not sold though.  Just sayin’!!) This recipe is definitely #simpleanddelicious.  So flavorful and the pot roast was really tender.  Served over noodles.  Here goes:

Spice Braised Pot Roast


1 – 2# boneless beef chuck roast
1 – 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar (I used 1/4 cup pomegranate balsamic vinegar with a splash of red wine vinegar. You could use any vinegar you like.  White vinegar seems blah to me.)
3 Tablespoons tomato puree (I used 2 Tablespoons tomato paste. I did not have puree.)
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 bay leaf (I used 3 – Why not?!)
2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic close, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (I used juice of 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Hot cooked egg noodles


  1.  Place roast in a 5 quart slow cooker. (If you like, salt and pepper both sides and brown before placing in slow cooker. That’s what I did!)
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients except noodles; pour over roast.
  3. Cook, covered, on low until meat is tender, 7-10 hours.
  4. Serve pot roast with noodles and ladle over with some of the juices.


Pecan Sandies

I had some ground pecans in my cupboard that I bought earlier this year for Pecan Scones.  I found this #simpleanddelicious cookie recipe online.  I was not so sure about this recipe but they turned out great.  (If you have whole or chopped pecans you can toast at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Be sure to watch so they don’t burn.  Then place in food processor and pulse until finely ground.)

Pecan Sandies
(compliments from juliasalbum.com)


1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (4 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
(I know – NO eggs)


  1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2.  In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add vanilla and mix together
  4. Add flour, ground pecans and salt and mix together.  It will form a slightly crumbly dough.  Do not over mix.
  5. Roll into a log.   Wrap in plastic or parchment paper.  Put in freezer for 15 minutes.
  6. Take out of freezer.  Slice into 1/4 inch rounds and place 1″ apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.  (I always rotate my cookie sheet 1/2 way through baking time.) Absolutely no longer than 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.





Honey Glazed Chicken Wings

We have done the same hot sauce wings for years.  Kent and I decided to try something new.  Found this recipe on Kroger’s website.  Since we have made it quite a few times in the last few months thought I would share this #simpleanddelicious recipe.  Give them a try!!

Honey Glazed Chicken Wings



2 pounds frozen chicken wings, thawed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup melted butter
SAUCE Ingredients
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce
Dash of Tabasco, if you like


  1.  Preheat oven 400 degrees
  2. Rinse wings and pat mostly dry.
  3. Combine flour, salt, garlic & onion powders and pepper in 1 gallon bag.  Add in chicken wings and shake well to coat.
  4. Spread wings on a foil lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Brush melted butter on wings and bake for 40-45 minutes, until wings are lightly browned. (I check at 20 minutes and flip them so they are evenly browned)
  6. Switch oven to broil and broil 2-3 minutes, until wings look more toasted.
  7. Combine honey, soy sauce, BBQ sauce and hot sauce.  Stir to combine.
  8. Transfer wings to a medium sized bowl and pour glaze on top, stirring until coated.
  9. Serve with a side of ranch dressing.


Cast Iron Potato Kugel

This #socialdistancing is getting me to try some different recipes. Hope everyone who checks in here are being safe and are well in these trying times for our world.  The reason for this recipe is I had some potatoes I needed to use up.  Saw this recipe on Instagram.  Simple and Delicious! Working on cleaning out the freezer for my next posting. Got a rump roast form September 2019 I am going to roast. Hey, not throwing it away that’s for sure. Recipe to follow!!

Cast Iron Potato Kugel
(Compliment of Cooks Country)


6 Tablespoons rendered chicken fat (schmaltz), divided (you can use any vegetable oil or shortening in replacement of schmaltz.  I used olive oil. EVOO as Rachel Ray says!!)
2 cups finely chopped onions
3/4 teaspoon table salt, plus salt for tossing potatoes
3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled (All I had was 2 1/2 pounds and that was plenty!)
4 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh chives (I did not have this in my fridge.)


  1.  Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat 2 Tablespoons chicken fat (or another vegetable oil/EVOO)  in 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use an oven safe non stick skillet instead.) Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-5minutes.  Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk 2 cups of water and 2 Tablespoons salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved.  Fit food processor with shredding disk (or use the large holes on your box grater). Peel potatoes and halve or quarter lengthwise as needed to fit through processor feed tube.  Shred potatoes. Transfer potatoes to salt water and toss briefly to coat.
  3. Drain potatoes in colander. Place one quarter of shredded potatoes in center of clean dish towel.  Gather ends of towel and twist tightly to wring out excess moisture from potatoes.  Transfer dried potatoes to now empty bowl.  Repeat 3 more times with remaining potatoes.  Stir eggs, pepper, onions, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt into potatoes until thoroughly combined.
  4. Heat remaining 1/4 cup chicken fat (or oil you have been using) in now empty skillet over medium high heat until just smoking.  Add potato mixture to skillet and distribute into even layer but do not press down or smooth top.  Cook for 1 minute to set bottom.
  5. Transfer to oven and bake until kugel is lightly browned on top, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges in skillet. Sprinkle with chives and serve.


Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef

With #socialdistancing for the last 3 weeks I have been trying to use up items that have been hanging around my pantry.  I saw a bag of Tostito’s I bought for Lily.  Since my kids have not been over for 3 weeks!!!!  I figured I would use up that bag of Tostitos.  Here is the #simpleanddelicious recipe that I whipped up for a light dinner. Don’t forget the guacamole!

Spicy Beef
(Compliments of America’s Test Kitchen)


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (If you don’t have you will be just fine!)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound ground beef


8 ounces tortilla chips
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese (4 cups)
2 large jalapeno chiles (3/4 ounce each), sliced thin (about 1/4 cup)
2 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


For Beef:

  1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering, but not smoking, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, spices and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and combined with onions, about 1 minute.
  4. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef in no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

For Nachos:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread half of the chips in an even layer in 13×9 inch baking dish or similar ovenproof platter.
  3. Sprinkle half of beef mixture on chips and cover evenly with 2 cups of cheese and half of jalapeno slices.
  4. Repeat with remaining chips, beef mixture, cheese and jalapenos.
  5. Bake until cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove nachos from oven, cool 2 minutes.
  7. If you desire you can then sprinkle with scallions.  Along edge of nachos, drop scoops of guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
  8. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.

Kent does not care for scallions so I skipped that step.  He topped his nachos with guacamole.  It may seem like a lot of steps but it was a quick, light dinner.

Enjoy!! (Guacamole was added after the pic!)


Creamy Aspargus Soup

I love asparagus. I had a bunch in my fridge and wanted to do something with it. Soups are always easy.  I went online and found some recipes.  I did a version of an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.

Creamy Asparagus Soup


Bunch of Asparagus (After chopping mine weighed 10 ounces), cut tips and chop stems to 1/2 inch pieces
3 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used buttermilk, that’s what I had in my fridge and worked great)
Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. COOK TIPS Cut tips off asparagus spears and chop stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in Dutch Oven or Stock Pot over medium high heat. Add asparagus tips and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. SOFTEN VEGETABLES Add remaining butter and asparagus pieces, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to empty pot and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. SIMMER SOUP Add broth to pot and bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in peas and Parmesan.  Puree soup in blender and return to pot. (I used my immersion blender.  You could also just mash it up in the pot if you don’t have a blender or immersion blender.) Stir in cream, lemon juice, and asparagus tips and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  4. THE END. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Soup can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days.)

That’s it.  Simple and Delicious.