Monday, January 31, 2011

Easy Elegant

Don't you just love meals that you can throw everything in the same dish?  Perfect for potluck.  Perfect to bring to a sick friend - what am I talking about? Casseroles! You gotta love 'em.  Everything you need in one dish - throw it in the oven - there's your entire meal! How easy and convenient is that. 

Today's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

Elegant Seafood Casserole

1 pkg lobster select (imitation lobster)
1 pkg crab select (imitation crab)
2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen broccoli spears
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 tablespoons each all purpose flour
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
Seasoned Salt

Spoon lobster and crab over broccoli in shallow baking dish.  Mix together skim milk, flour, butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbly.  Turn on low heat and add Swissh cheese.  Pour over seafood; sprinkle with paprika and seasoned salt..  Bake at 400 degrees, 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What to Take to the "Big Game"

The "Big Game" is next Sunday.  There are parties to go to and party food to make and take.  Are you one of those people who stops by the store and brings something that is already pre-made?  Way to take the easy way out!  Don't you feel guilty -even just a little.  I know we are all busy and it's very easy to grab a bag of chips and some French Onion dip while you're in the store getting a six pack of whatever barley included beverage you will partaking in during the "Big Game"

I found this wonderful no cook salsa that is very easy to make.  You should bring this to the Big Game party.  Won't you feel so much better?

Easy No Cook Salsa

2 cans 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly diced onion
1/4 cup parsley or cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp Green Pepper jelly
hot sauce to taste

Drain tomatoes reserving 1/4 cups liquid. Combine tomatoes and juice with remaining ingredients; cover and chill at least 4 hours.   Serve with tortilla chips

So quick and easy - good Super Bowl Party food.  Add to the recipe to make it as hot as you want.  This is so quick, easy, simple, yummy - last minute party food!!

And now I have provided you with some party food you can take to watch the football game on tv?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Light & Fruity

We went out to eat tonight, and I ate waaaaaay toooo much.  Oh well, it was worth it, but now I am sooooooooooo tired.  So, bloggery buddies, let me apologize again for the short bloggery.  Forgive me, but the sandman has found me.

Tonight's Feature Recipe at Table 4 Five:

Quick Fruit Dessert

2 small packages instant pudding - any flavor
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1 can fruit cocktail
1 container whipped cream cheee.

Combine pudding and fruit.  Mix in cream cheese.  Chill.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Would You Like Something From the Dessert Menu?

Mother's Club was tonight! So enjoyed a night out with friends!  The home guys were on their own for dinner - what did they have? Leftovers!! Woo Hoo!!! Oh, but wait,  I already blogged about the chowder.  So I have to cook on my night off? Hmmm what will it be?  I know! I know! CHOCOLATE!  I haven't posted any desserts yet.  It has to be a recipe that is quick, easy and can be made with the ingredients that I have at home.

Today's Feature Recipe:

Quick and Easy Bars

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 bag miniature marshmallows
1 cjup peanut butter minus 2 tablespoons

Melt chips, peanut buttter, and butter over low heat.  Stil until melted and hot, but not boiling.  Pour over small marshmallows into the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan.  Refrigerate.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Diggin' the Clams

Ok, so we've already established the fact that I love soup.  Tonight, I made a soup that I had never had before - Manhattan Clam Chowder.  I've had the other version many many times - New England Clam Chowder that is.  I never knew there was a different clam chowder.  So what's the story behind Manhattan Clam Chowder?  Are the clams from Manhattan? Are they from New England, but wanted to "move on up to the east side", to the thriving metropolis of Manhattan?  I'm sure someone knows the story behind the multiple clam chowders.  Honestly, I do not care - I am just thrilled that they both exist.  This was wonderful soup.  I definitely recommend it.

Today's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

Manhattan Clam Chowder

2 tablespoons chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
4 (6 1/2 oz) cans minced clams
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (5.5 oz) cans V8
4 small potatoes, cubed
1 small carrot, chopped
Dash marjoram
cayenne pepper
1 slice bacon cooked and crumbled (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Simmer covered for 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Easy Pleasey!

I'm learning with this bloggery commitment that even if I'm not going to be home for dinner, I still have to prepare something for the rest of the table.  Today was one of those days.  I wasn't supposed to be home for dinner, so I needed something quick, yummy, and easy.  Solution - Quesadillas.

You can make quesadillas out of just about anything.  Mix meat, veggies, cheese.  Put in tortilla and bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Can it get any easier?

Tonight at Table 4 Five, we had Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas and Salmon Quesadillas.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pasta By Any Other Name...

Sometimes bloggery buddies, it's about substitution.  Perhaps it is not the best practice when it comes to recipes, but if a recipe calls for penne pasta and I have rotini - guess what I'm going to use?  I won't substitute any pasta for another, it has to at least look a little bit alike. Nobody will ever know the difference unless you tell them.  A noodle is a noodle is a noodle.

Today's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

Rotini with Spinach and Feta

8 oz rotini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped tomatoes
10 oz frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz tomato basil feta cheese
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set Aside

Heat oil in large pot.  Add tomatoes, spianch, garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until mixture is heated thoroughly.  Add pasta and cheese; cook 1 minute.  Season to taste with salt and pepper

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where'd You Get That App?

Finger Food...why do they call it finger food? No, no I understand "why" they call it finger food - because you eat it with your "fingers" - but you don't call soup - "spoon food"; you don't call salad - "fork food".   Oh well, let's just call them appetizers. Small little bite size food wonders.  Other courses are probably jealous of appetizers - appetizers are THE party food.

Today's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

Spicy Seafood Shell Appetizers (

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
10 drops hot pepper sauce
1 (4 oz) can small shrimp drained
1 (6 oz) can crabmeat, drained and flaked
2 (2.1 oz) package mini phyllo tart shells

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.  Gently stir in shrimp and crabmeat.

Form phyllo dough into shells.  Fill shells with the mixture.

Arrange stuffed shells on baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yes I Can Can!!

When it comes to dinner, what's easier than opening a can?  I know that fresh is better, but some recipes do not call for fresh - they call for easy.  Easy can be healthy too, don't you think? 

As I said a few bloggerys ago, I love soup. There's nothing like hot soup on a cold winter's night.  One good thing about soup is that you can put pretty much anything in it.  Even if you don't like something, you can usually throw it is a pot of soup, and magically you will like it.  Soup has that kind of power.  Soup is also the ultimate for leftover concoctionery (I know you so enjoy these words that I make up) - just get a large pot and start throwing those leftovers in and heat it up.  Not only do you have some tasty soup, but your fridge is cleaned out too.  Two birds, one stone.  How wonderful.

Although leftover concoctionery soup is a fabulous meal, it is not the soup that we had tonight at Table 4 Five.  Tonight was all about opening a can. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't just open a can of Campbells, this is actually a recipe - a very good one I might add.

Tonight's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

Six Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can chunk chicken
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained

Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans and diced tomatoes with green chilies.  Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot.  Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I have got to start making my bloggery recipe before 11pm on Friday night.  As usual it is almost midnight and I'm posting away trying to beat the clock.  Sorry bloggery buddies, but this will be a quick post.

Tonight's late night snack at Table 4 Five:

Baked Scallops ( - submitted by John Bragg)

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pour melted butter into 2 qt oval casserole dish. Distribute butter an scallops evenly inside the dish.
Combine the bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika parsley, minced garlic and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle mixture over the scallops.
Bake in pre-heated oven until scallops are firm, about 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Under The Sea

Seafood - so many different creatures under the sea.  So many different kinds to eat.  Calimari, for example, sounds much better than "squid"  Squid sounds gross, but calimari sounds good.  My kids tried "calimari" and liked it - they asked me what it was - I said "You just ate Squidward"  - Cool.

Tonight we had seafood at Table 4 Five

Herbed Salmon

4 salmon filets
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons  white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons horseradish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place salmon in baking dish skin size down.  Mix remaining ingredients in bowl and spoon over each filet. Cook for 15-18 minutes or until salmon flakes

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quick, Quick, Quick

Busy Busy Busy.  The drive-thru was so very tempting tonight, but I passed right by.  Tonight's meal requirement - quick and easy, scratch that - super quick and super easy.  Even tonight's bloggery will be short and to the point.  Sorry bloggery buddies - more creative writing in days to come, just not tonight.

Tonight's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small bottle Italian dressing
1 pack pesto sauce mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken in glass dish. Mix dressing and pesto sauce in bowl.  Pour over chicken.  Cook for approximately 35 minutes or until chicken is done.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If At First You Don't Succeed...

...Try try again.  I wonder how many versions of a recipe successful chefs go through before they get it just right.  Are they so experienced that whatever they "create" is perfect the first time, or do they go through version after version after version before they get it just right?

Today, I made version 1.0 of the recipe concoction that was swimming around in my head.  I'm not even sure that it was a good idea.  It seemed like a good idea in my brain, but version 1.0 didn't really prove that it's a good idea on the plate.  Don't worry, I fed the family a regular meal and did not force them to try the rough draft of my recipe idea as it came to life for the first time. I did try it, and the jury is still out for me.  I like the concept, but something is missing.  I'll just keep versioning until I can figure out what that something is.  If you have any ideas, let me know.

Will there be a version 2.0?  Of course there will be. There will probably be a version 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 - who knows how many dot oh's there will be.  Who knows what this concoction will actually turn out to be on the final dot oh.  I think it's fun to create, and you know what they say - If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

Tonight's recipe feature at Table 4 Five is a little bit different - it's a rough draft recipe concoction, so measurements will need tweaking - I don't think the measurements are worth posting until they are just right.  I'm going to only post the ingredients.

Tonight's Recipe  Concoction:  Buffalo Chicken Pull-Apart Bread

 chicken diced finely
 carrots finely chopped
 cup celery flakes
 cup Frank's red hot sauce
4 cans biscuits
shredded cheese

Mix together chicken, celery flakes, carrots, hot sauce.
Grease a bundt pan.
Cut the biscuit into fourths
Place a layer of biscuit fourths on the greased bundt pan
Spoon a layer of chicken mixture onto the bisucuits.
Repeat until all biscuit portions and chicken mixture is used.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cakes?!? But It's Not My Birthday!

I am truly amazed at how much of a mess I can make when cooking.  Let's take one-dish meals, for example, the name indicates that you are supposed to use one-dish.  I believe this is some kind of false advertising, because somehow at least 5-10 dishes end up being used in a "one-dish" meal - and I'm not talking the dishes that the food is served on. 

Tonight's dish was not a one-dish meal so I had even more dishes to dirty, but this bloggery is not about my amazing ability to dirty way too many dishes in one meal preparation.  This bloggery is about food, glorious food.

Tonight's feature recipe at Table 4 Five:

Salmon Cakes with Sour Cream Dill Sauce

2 (14.75oz) cans of salmon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped scallions
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons corstarch
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup fat-free or low-fat sour cream (optional)
4 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)

Drain and separate salmon; set aside.
In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat, add 2 teaspoons of oil, scallions, garlic, and pepper flakes.  Saute' until scallions are soft, then set aside. 

In a bowl whisk together eggs, lime juice, cornstarch and salt and pepper. Add egg mixtrue to scallion mixture and gently fold in salmon.Form salmon mixture into 8 cakes and refreigerate for about 30 minutes. 
Add remaining oil to a large skillet over medium low heat and add chilled salmon cakes.  Slowly saute' cakes for about 2-3 minutes on each side until heated through.  Mix sour cream and dill together and serve each salmon cake garnished witha tablespoon of sour cream and dill sauce if desired.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Possibilities Are Endless

Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of food there are in the grocery store?  Have you ever just walked up and down the aisle and paid attention to the different things that you haven't tried?  There are hundreds, and that's just your neighborhood grocery store - that's not counting the specialty stores that focus on particular types of cuisine.  So so many different things to try.  I am very glad that I started this mission to try and prepare new and interesting recipes.  Today, I was feeling very generous and decided to make 3, that's right - 3 dishes that we had never tried.

For lunch, I prepared lamb burgers with  polenta chips

Lamb Burgers

1 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup chopped spinach
3 scallions finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together. Form into patties (I chose to make miniature patties for slider type burgers, but regular size patties would be good too, I'm sure).  Broil on each side for 6 minutes or until no longer pink inside.

Polenta Chips

You can find prepared polenta in the healthy food section at your local grocery store. To make chips, cut the polenta into 1/2 inch slices. Grill on George Foreman Grill or something similar on each side until slightly crisp (times vary - just keep checking). You can also toast in a toaster oven if your prefer.

Mediterranean Pinwheels (

1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/2 lb prosciutto
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.  Separate or cut dough into 4 rectangles; place on lightly floured surface.  If using crescent dough, firmly press perforations to seal. Press or roll to form 8x5 inch rectangle.

Arrange 1/4 of prosciutto slices evenly over each rectangle.  In small bowl, mix cheese, pepper and oil.  Sprinkle mixture evenly over prosciutto on each rectangle.  Sprinkle with basil.

Starting at short side of each rectangle, roll up; seal long edges.  With serrated knife, cut each roll into 5 slices.  Place, cut side up, on cookie sheets.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheets.  Serve warm

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This Chicken is Kickin' - Finger Lickin' Optional

So, it's Saturday and I'm all about doing nothing on a schedule.  It is my only day to not hear an alarm clock, and since I didn't have to chaurffer kids to any practice or any other kid related activity, I refuse to work by a clock.  Also, there was football on so I couldn't spend all day in the kitchen.

What better dish to make on a Saturday, than a sandwich.  I did not make my kids' favorite sandwich- peanut butter & jelly (actually I did make it, but I didn't think that you needed the recipe for PB&J).  Let me know if you do, and I will post the recipe.

I was in the mood for chicken salad sandwiches.  Chicken salad and tuna salad have never been two favorites, but I was introduced to a different type of chicken salad sandwich a few years ago.  This chicken salad has apples and grapes and cheese - and of course, chicken.  Now I like chicken salad.  The hubby also is not a fan of chicken salad was a bit skeptical when I told him that I made chicken salad - he had seconds. Can I get a Woot Woot?!   All the kids ate it without any complaints, and some even asked for seconds. 

I made some of the sandwiches on those cute little cocktail bread pieces - pumpernickel flavor, and I put some on regualr size whole wheat

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

2 packs oven roasted chicken breast pieces (found in deli meat section)
1 apple cored and diced
15 seedless grapes cut into fourths
1 tsp finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons reduced fat mayo (with olive oil)
dash of lemon juice
dash of black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and put on your choice of bread. 

This would also be great on croissant, pita pockets.  It would even make a great breadless sandwich.

Enjoy!  Until tomorrow...

Not So Fast

Oh well...if you read my last post and saw the time stamp, you noticed that I did not make the deadline.  My post published at 12:00:00 midnight.  So, it was already today when yesterday's post was in postland trying to make it's way on the screen.  I am really not happy about that.  As far as I'm concerned it is still Friday, January 14 because I haven't gone to bed yet.  Unfortunately the bloggery clock says differently.  Any way, I digress.  As I said earlier (yesterday) it was pizza night, and I didn't cook.  This crab dip is definitely a concoction of "what do I have in the fridge and pantry?"  Let me tell you - not too much - grocery day is tomorrow - what's a girl to do?

The "Beat the Clock" Dip Recipe:

12 oz imitation crab meat, chunk style
1 12 oz bottle Ranch dressing
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts (drained and chopped
1 pack Zesty Italian Dressing Mix
2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce
Garlic pepper (to taste)
Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)

Put crab meat, Ranch dressing, water chestnuts, Italian .dressing mix, hot sauce in a bowl and mix together well.  Sprinkle red pepper flakes and Garlic pepper to taste.  That's it.

Hurry Up The Clock is Ticking

Since tonight was pizza night, I did not cook.  Then I realized Oh no the BLOG. I threw together this crab dip at the very last minute.  Now it is 11:58 and I'm typing like a mad woman to get this posted in time.  I will post the recipe in a minute...tomorrow.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chili Caliente!!

Sometime when I wasn't looking, I became an autumn chicken.  I don't actually know if that is the correct terminology, but since a young person is called a "spring chicken" it only seems right that a not so young person is called an "autumn chicken"  Well, this autumn chicken stayed up too late last night, and once again went in search for those food fairies today.

Once again, tonight is about about quick and easy.  I needed the get outta the kitchen in 30 minutes recipe.  Well, here it is (along with a ridiculously short post.  I promise I'll do better0

Salsa Chicken Chili

1 pound cooked chicken, cooked and diced into smaill
1 can (16 oz) thick and chunky salsa.
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained

Put all ingredients in a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where Are Those Food Fairies?

Once again, I had a day where I just wasn't feeling the menu plan.  I wanted something quick and easy that I really didn't have to think much about.  Actually, I wanted the food fairies to come and prepare the meal for me, but unfortunately food fairies were not part of my resolution...I'll remember that for next year.  After consulting with cookbooks, many different websites, I finally found something that sounded good.  Most importantly, this dish was quick and easy and did not require too much thinking.

Tuscan Shrimp

1 10 oz package frozen shrimp peeled and deveined (thawed)
2 cups frozen normandy style vegetables (thawed)
1 cup Lawry's Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato marinad with minced Garlic and Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place shrimp and vegetables in 2 separate large resealable plastic bags.  Pour 1/2 of the marinade into each bag. Turn to coat well. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Remove shrimp from refrigerator and arrange marinade and shrimp in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Put vegetables and marinade in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 5 minutes.

Place the marinaded vegetables on the plate and top with the marinaded shrimp, and there you have it.  Quick and easy - exactly the dish I was looking for.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soup's On!

Don't you just love soup in the winter time?  So warm and tasty - I could eat soup every day!  If there was a breakfast soup, I would be set.  No, I'm not talking cereal, grits or oatmeal - real hot soup with breakfast food?  Is there a breakfast soup out there in recipe land? I haven't found it yet, maybe I'll come up with one...hmmmm....a personal challenge I think.

Tonight, we had minestrone - hearty minestrone, at least that's what the title of the recipe was.  What makes a soup "hearty?"  Are all soups hearty?

Hearty Minestrone Soup (From Favorite Brand Name 4 Ingredient Cookbook Fast and Easy Recipes)

2 cans condensed Italian tomato soup
3 cups water
3 cups cooked vegetables
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta

Combine soup and water in large saucepan.  Add vegetables and pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook until heated through, stirring often.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's A Wrap!

Well, today was the first snow day of the school year.  We live in the South - even the threat of snow and school is out for at least a day.  Of course with a snow day, there must be snow cream.  Snow cream came very close to being the recipe featured tonight at Table 4 Five, but I decided against it.  The family would try yet another new dish as part of the 2011 Table 4 Five experience,   but a bowl of snow cream would be served on the side.  The overall family feedback was good - at least half the family had seconds - so I count this dish as a success.

Tonight's feature dish at Table 4 Five:

Rice and Chicken Wraps (from Favorite Brand Name 4 Ingredient Cookbook)

8 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
1 box Fast Cooking Recipe Long Grain & Wild Rice
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing
1 cup shredded lettuce
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas

Cook chicken in olive oil until lightly browned on both sides (approximately 10-12 minutes). Add water, rice and contents of seasoning packet. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is no longer pink in center and liquid is absorbed.  Stir in salad dressing.

Spoon rice mixture evenly down center of each tortilla; top with lettuce.  Fold in both sides of tortillas; roll up tortilla tightly from the bottom, keeping filling firmly packed.  Slice each wrap diagonally into 2 pieces.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Oodles of Noodles

Have you ever noticed how many different types of pasta there are?  There are oodles and oodles of different kinds of noodles.  I have yet to try preparing pasta other than the common - spaghetti, rotini, fettucine, but that will change as part of this 2011 culinary adventure. That will change, but not today.  Today, I prepared one of the old stand-bys - spaghetti.  The thing about most pasta recipes is that you can interchange the pastas - at least the pastas that are the same shape.  For example, the recipe that I used tonight was for fettucine, but I used thin spaghetti instead. Hopefully, I did not commit some pasta faux pas that I am not aware of.

I did prepare tonight's pasta two different ways.  It was a pasta buffet tonight at the Table 4 Five!  Don't get too excited - the buffet consisted of one dish prepared with two different sauces.   If you don't like this type of sauce, well you are in luck because we have that type too.  After all, variety is what it's all about.

Tonight at Table 4 Five!, we had the following two options:

Scallop & Asparagus Pasta

12 oz uncooked whole wheat pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine)
10 oz frozen asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz package of frozen scallops - thawed
12 oz jar of prepared alfredo sauce or prepared tomato-based sauce
4 oz  jar sliced pimientos, drained

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparugus to water 8 minutes before pasta is done. Drain; keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add scallops and cook until scallops are opaque.  Drain excess liquid leaving scallops and about 2 tablespoons liquid in skillet.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in the sauce of your choice and pimiento.  Cover, cook 5 minutes. Do not boil.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mumbo Gumbo

Some of my favorite recipes are those with a small number of ingredients.  I also love those that don't require me to dirty a lot of dishes, pots and pans.  I did the menu planning and grocery shopping for the next seven days of this 2011 experience, and my focus was on fast and easy and few ingredients.  All of my recipes come from the cookbook Favorite Brand Name 4 Ingredient Cookbook...Fast & Easy Recipes.  Some recipes may be modified from what the book may suggest.

Tonight I made Chicken Gumbo - 4 ingredient chicken gumbo! No, it wasn't authentic New Orleans style gumbo, but it was still good.  The best part about this recipe was that I only used one pot, and it only took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Chicken Gumbo

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch piece
1 package chicken smoked sausage cut into 3/4 inch slices
1 12 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables with broccoli, corn and red peppers
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add chicken and sausage and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.

Add vegetables, tomatoes and water; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 3 minutes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Today's Recipe Is Brought To You By The Letter "C"

TGIF!  It's PIZZA DAY!  I was really excited about pizza day because all I have to do is open the box, remove some plastic, put in oven and dinner is served.  Well, hold on wait a minute, frozen pizza does not equal a  new recipe that I can post.  The resolution is a new and different recipe every day - inspired by the Mediterranean Diet. 

So the inspiration tonight was football.  There was a college bowl game on tonight, and the family intended to watch it.  I needed to make football watching food - nobody intended to gather around the dinner table tonight - tonight's dinner table was the television - that's where we were gathering.

All food tonight is finger food -  no utensils needed - isn't that what football food is all about - unless of course you are eating chili.

Tonight's Menu at Table For Five includes:

  • Kashi Mediterranean Pizza
  • 4C Crostini
  • Bean Dip

First, we had Kashi Mediterranean Pizza.  I know what you're thinking "First? How much did you eat tonight"  Well, Kashi pizza is about the same size as a small thin crust pizza.  According to the box, it serves 3 - so I cooked 2.  I really must recommend this pizza - it does not taste like cardboard. Very tasty indeed.

Then I made bean dip from the leftover 16 bean soup from last night. This was very easy - just drain the soup and put in a blender. Blend until desired dip consistency.  This was good and a quick and easy way to get rid of some of the leftover soup from last night.

Finally, the concoction - I am always looking up recipes - combining some of this recipe with some of that recipe, substituting ingredients - always hoping that my "creativity" tastes half way decent.

Tonight's "concoction" is 4C Crostini:

  • 2 small multi-grain baguettes
  • 2 tablespoon capers
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken - completely cooled 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teasoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Small cucumber - peeled, seeds removed and diced.
  • Softened cream cheese
Heat broiler on high. Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet. Broil until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Cool completely.

In medium bown, combine chicken, capers, oil, vinegar, marjoram, salt, pepper.

Spread  1 teaspoon of cream cheese on each baguette. Add a tablespoon of chicken mixture to each baguette.  This concoction was SO good (in my opinion).


Until Tomorrow...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sweet Sixteen

It really disturbs me that a lot of my food looks alike, maybe it's because I've cooked a few things in the crockpot.  Crockpot food always seems to look the same - I guess so when the majority of my crockpot meals look like some form of chili. 

Well tonight is not an exception - did I make chili:? No, I made soup, but it might as well be chili.  Oh well, my mission for next week's menu will be to cook no chili-looking food.

I made 16 bean soup tonight.  There were mixed feelings about this one. Some gobbled it up faster than you can say "cannelini bean" and some not so much.  Apparently, I must have a fear of vampires because I went a little crazy with the garlic.

Tonight's menu at Table 4 Five:

  • Crockpot 16 Bean Soup
  • Salad
  • Wine and Water

Crockpot 16 Bean Soup:

  • Package of 16 Bean Soup Mix
  • Pack of Onion Soup Mix
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Minced Garlic
  • Cajun Seasoning
Put all the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low all day.  It is actually a good winter time meal -very warm and filling., and most importantly very easy!

Until Next Time

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Let Them Eat Leftovers!

Sometimes you just gotta have leftovers. I can't do just plain old "take it out of the fridge, reheat it in the nuker and serve" version of leftovers. If I did that, what would I post about? I'm telling you, this resolution thing is work!

The plan was to do a soup and sandwich meal. Leftover cassoulet, and a chicken mix sandwich in a pita pocket. Yes, that was the plan until I couldn't find whole grain pita pockets at my local grocery at 10:30pm last night. What we did find were whole grain sandwich rounds - hmmm, these kind of look like pizza crusts - now my mind has gone in a completely different direction.

Tonight's Menu at Table 4 Five

  • Chicken Ranch Florentine Mini Pizzas

  • Cassoulet

  • Merlot

Chicken Ranch Florentine Mini Pizzas

  • Leftover Feta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken - cut into bite size pieces

  • Ranch Dressing

  • Leftover Texmati Rice

  • Shredded Mozzarella

  • Sandwich Rounds

Spread Ranch dressing on the sandwich rounds. Top with a teaspoon of Texmati Rice. Top with the chicken spinach feta mixture. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 35o degrees for 8 minutes or until cheese melts. And there you have it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Popeye Would Sooooo Love This Meal!

First, I would like to throw out a disclaimer - I am not a food photographer - I don't even claim to play one on TV.  The food photos that are posted on this blog are the results of some carefully planned iPhone photography - wink wink, nudge nudge.  I make this disclaimer because the first thing I thought when I saw tonight's photos was "Oh no, the food is all the same color - it's not pretty." 

That said, tonight's food may not win the presentation award in the food contest, but it did taste very good.  By the way, my "taste good" measurement is based on how clean the boys' plates are. Tonight, they did not lick their plates, so I can only give this a "very good"

I decided that I did not want to make the meal that was on the plan for today - I'm not even sure what that meal was now that all is said and done.  However, the new plan was to make chicken with Italian dressing, but I just wasn't feeling the plain Jane Italian dressing - so the search was on.

One recipe led to another - that sounds good, what about that  - let's figure out what ingredients I have on hand.  By the end of the search, I wasn't even using the Italian dressing.  Oh well C'est la vie.

Tonight's menu at Table 4 Five:

  • Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts - my version - not necessarily the recipe that I was following.
  • Texmati Rice with Cream Cheese, Spinach and Celery
  • Merlot
  • Milk/Water

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast - I used tenders because that's what I had.
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz frozen spinach - thawed
  • 6 oz fat free feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Prepare chicken for stuffing - flatten it. Put a spoonful of spinach mixture on the chicken breast
  3. Cook spinach in garlic on top of stove until done.
  4. Add feta chese to spinach mixture and mix well.
  5. Put a teaspoon of spinach mixture onto each chicken breast.
  6. Fold chicken breasts  (like a taco) and secure with a toothpick.
  7. Place chicken breasts in glass baking dish. Sprinkle with basil, Italian Seasoning, and Garlic Pepper.
  8. Cook for 30-35 minutes and serve.
This was a very quick and tasty meal,and is one that I would recomend you make for your family.

Until tomorow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hey Hey, It's Cassoulet Day!

Oh my - the first day back to the real world.  I was not excited to hear the alarm go off at 5:30 this morning. Waking up before the sun is just not on my list of favorite things to do, but neither is laundry, yet both have to be done.

Since I don't really like for my kids to eat dinner at 9pm on a school night, it was time to break out the old handy dandy crockpot.  What a nice feeling to walk in the door and have dinner practically ready.

Tonight's Dinner Special at Table 4 Five is:

  • Smoky Chipotle Cassoulet
  • Baby Arugula Salad
  • Multigrain French Bread
  • Merlot

According to Webster, a "Cassoulet" is a casserole of white beans baked with herbs and meat. I'm pretty sure that "Cassoulet" is French for chili, at least this smoky chipotle version seems to be. It was really good, though. When my picky five-year-old said "This is really good soup, Mom", I suddenly heard the Hallelujah Chorus playing in the background.

The recipe could not have been any easier, except for the chicken cutting part.  It's a shame that I am so knife challenged, since I love cooking so much. I made it through the poultry dicing with no accidents - Yay, me!

I found this recipe in my Crock-Pot cook book, but didn't have a couple of the ingredients. Would I let that stop me? No way, Cassoulet, that's how some of the best concoctions are made - substitutions.  Anyway, here is my version of the recipe:

Smoky Chipotle Cassoulet

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp Smoky Chipotle Flavored Hot Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1 can (15 oz) navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro

Combine all ingredients except cilantro in crock-pot. Cover; cook on Low 7 to 8 hours or on High 4 to 5 hours. Add cilantro at the end of cooking time.

How easy was that?  So, very easy - it should go on your bucket list of recipes.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Caribbean...It's not the Mediterranean But It's Still a Sea

So, my son bought DH a Caribbean Kabob Kit for Christmas -don't you just love the Santa Shops at the schools? Some of the sweetest gifts are the ones that our kids pick out all by themselves - at least I think so.

Anyway, the Caribbean Kabob Kit was the inspiration for tonight's dinner. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah - I know it's not Mediterranean, but the Caribbean is a sea too - so that's close enough.  Besides, I didn't break any Mediterranean rules - just used some different  other sea inspired spices.

In the land of unknown cooking knowledge, I also learned that kabobs don't have to be grilled.  They cook just fine in the oven - good news for winter weather kabobery. Just put those food swords in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes on each side and voila!

Tonight's dinner special at the Table 4 Five is..

  • Caribbean Shrimp Kabobs
  • Rainbow Rotini
  • Merlot (milk and water for those whose ages are still single digits or 2 digits beginning with a 1)

This was a very yummy meal, if I do say so myself.  The kabobs had shrimp, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers.  The Caribbean Kabob Kit marinade consisted of coriander seeds, salt, onion flakes, and sugar mixed with the favorite oil of the Mediterranean people - that which comes from the olive.  There was a little bit of the marinade left over, so I mixed it with the rainbow rotini to give this colorful pasta a little bit of zing.

Who knew this food bloggery would be so much fun?

Until tomorrow...

Regina Culina

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let the Games Begin

Happy New Year! 2011 has begun and thus so has my blog! Welcome to Table 4 Five.  As my family sets out on the Mediterranean eating adventure, I will share the experience with you here.

So I finally planned a week's worth of menus, and this week the crockpot is going to be a very good friend of mine.  Don't you just love the crockpot?  It is a working person's dream appliance. I wonder who invented the crockpot - maybe I'll have to look that up, and send the person a thank you note.

Today, however, was not about the crockpot. Today was about quick and easy.  It is 10:30pm now and I'm trying desperately to keep my head from falling on the keyboard.  I am no spring chicken, so ringing in the New Year definitely has its disadvantages.  Any way, I digress.

Today's Dinner Menus:
  • Quick Tuscan Bean Soup
  • Multi-grain French bread with olive oil
  • Merlot
I know that there are several recipes out there for not-so-quick Tuscan bean soup, and I'm sure I will try them too, but today I didn't get to the store until late and couldn't make the 8 hour crockpot version.  Thank goodness I was able to find a quick and easy version of this soup.

Without further adieu, here is the Quck Tuscan Bean Soup

It was very easy and the family seemed to love it. Thank you to Rebecca Ford for sharing this recipe on the interweb.


  • 1 onion – chopped (I prefer red)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1 large stick of celery - chopped
  • Handful of white mushrooms - washed and rougly chopped
  • 1 can  cooked cannellini (white) or borlotti beans
  • 1 can  chopped plum tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • tomato paste
  • large handful of fresh basil
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • Around 1/2 litre of freshly boiled water


  1. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil (vary amount to your taste). Then sauté the chopped onion until it’s golden brown. Add the chopped celery and mushrooms and sauté them too.
  2. When that has softened, add the can of chopped tomatoes - and a spoonful or a generous squirt of tomato paste (vary amount to your taste) - then crush the garlic cloves and add them too.
  3. Let it come up to the boil, turn down the heat, add the canned beans, stir them in and let the soup simmer away. As it starts to thicken, add the water gradually – if you want a thinner soup, add more. Season with black pepper - and salt if you wish - and simmer for around 30 minutes. Then tear the fresh basil leaves and add to the soup, together with the dried oregano. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  4. Serve drizzled with olive oil, a sprinkling of grated parmesan – and a hunk of crusty bread.

Well that's it for today - my first dinner menu for the Mediterranean adventure has been posted. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope I gave you an idea for dinner sometime in the near future.

Until tomorrow....