Monthly Archives: December 2003

I have a subscription to Cooking Light magazine – …


I have a subscription to Cooking Light magazine – which I love! I usually read it from cover to cover as soon as I get it, but I rarely try out the recipes. I saw one for New Mexican Chicken Chile Casserole that looked good. Just last month, my sister was looking for something like this – the King Ranch Casserole is what it is often called. In my new Dinner Doctor Cookbook, there is a simpler version. Here is one from the internet – it is also from Cooking Light, but it is different from the one I have at home:

Mexican Chicken Casserole

This extra-cheesy, enchilada-like main dish is sure to please the whole family. Makes 8 servings.

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2 (4.5 ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided

1 3/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup evaporated skim milk

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup tub-style light cream cheese

1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

cooking spray

1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed


1. Combine broth and 1 can of chiles in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Add chicken; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken once. Remove chicken from cooking liquid, reserving cooking liquid; cool chicken. Shred meat with two forks, and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 can of chiles and onion; saute 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce; stir well. Stir in shredded chicken; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Place 4 tortillas in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

My husband is also a fan of German food – his parents were in love with Austria, and never tired of visiting there. While his mother didn’t often have time to cook meals (she seemed to be a big fan of casseroles and TV dinners because she was a working woman!), she used to make a mean Black Forest Cake and Sauerbraten. I have a recipe for Sauerbraten in one of my Slow Cooker cookbooks, and have bought ginger snaps – I’d better make it soon, before all of the cookies are gone! Here is a similar recipe from the internet:

Crock Pot Sauerbraten


4 pounds beef rump roast

1 cup dry rose wine

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 large onions, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 clove of garlic

2 whole allspice

3 or 4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons water

1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies


1. Trim roast of all excess fat. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except roast, flour, water and gingersnaps; stir well. Place roast in marinade; refrigerate overnight.

2. Pour vegetable marinade into Crock-Pot. Place marinated roast in Crock-Pot with fat side up. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours.

3. Thirty minutes before serving, remove roast and turn to High. Make a smooth paste of flour and water; stir into Crock-Pot with gingersnaps. Cook and stir until thickened. Slice roast and return to gravy for serving.

A couple of weeks ago, I was surfing the internet, and found this recipe for Gratin aux Fruits Rouge. It sounds really good – but I need to try and find some gratin dishes – I used to have some: they are oval shaped flat dishes, usually about 8 inches long, that are oven safe. Star Provisions had some that would do, but they were expensive. I plan to go by T. J. Maxx or Marshalls to try and find some – they are usually there, at a good price!

Generally, people think that au gratin calls for cheese on top – that is not necessarily true!

Gratin de Fruits rouges (Berries gratin)

Extremely delicious, berries gratin is always impressive, though very easy and quick to make. You can replace the cherries and raspberries by other berry fruits (blueberries, blackberries…), but try to always keep a balance between the sweet and the sour.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cook Time : 10 minutes

Ingredients for 4 people :

– 300 gr (10 oz) Morello cherries (fresh or frozen)

– 300 gr (10 oz)raspberries (fresh or frozen)

– 70 gr (2 1/2 oz) caster sugar

– 5 tablespoons sour cream

– 2 egg yolks

– 40 gr (1 and 1/2 oz) granulated sugar

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Directions:

1. Evenly divide the fruits into the 4 ear-dishes (I think that any small oven safe dish would do) pre-heat oven to broil.

2. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the caster sugar sharply so that the mixture becomes clearer and frothy. Add the sour cream and mix some more.

3. Pour the mixture, dividing it evenly over the fruits in their dishes, then sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the tops of the custard and berries.

4. Put the dishes in the oven under the grill and broil until they get brown on top (about 10 minutes).

5- Serve right away.

Doesn’t that sound good?

One more thing – while at Star Provisions last week with my mother and sister, I purchased a whopping $14 worth of curry blends – I misread the quantity price (an ounce is not much!!). Now, I have enough curry to last for a long time! I also saw many little white ceramic dishes to covet! I was especially impressed with the lovely white tagines for sale there. A tagine is used in Moroccan and Northern African cooking. The large one was $30 and the smaller one was $20. Now, I suppose that I don’t really deserve one until I have used my paella pan, and I suppose that, since a “tagine” is really a stew, I could use my crock pot… But they are so pretty…

I DID IT!!!! No, I’m not finished, but I took a b…


I DID IT!!!! No, I’m not finished, but I took a break, because I reached my 50,000!!!! I received my T-Shirt yesterday as well! I printed out my certificate, and I also added this icon to my regular blog:

I also got this lovely note from the NaNoWriMo website:

Dear Novelist,

It is our supreme pleasure to inform you that our internationally renowned team of word-counting robots have completed their judicious assessment of your manuscript, and have passed on this final, binding decision:


Wow. You’ve really done it this time, writer. Where the vast majority of National Novel Writing Month participants abandoned ship at some point in the journey, you bravely persevered, continuing your literary quest in the face of ridiculously long odds.

In one month, you have written more fiction than most people create in a lifetime. You have dared to dream big, to throw long, to say: “Enough of the self-critical crap, and the hemming and hawing. This time I’m going for it.”

And you pulled it off with aplomb. In just four weeks, you built vast worlds and set them in motion. You created characters; quirky, interesting, passionate souls with lives and loves and ambitions as great as yours.

And most admirably, you managed to find time to do it all while juggling the demands of work, school, friends and family. Most people barely have the strength to make it through dinner at the end of a tough day. You dug deep, and found the energy and resolve to make wild, deliciously imperfect art in the midst of a horribly hectic life.

It’s an amazing accomplishment, and we’re proud of you for seeing it through.

Before we let you head off to your celebration (or nap, as the case may be), we have some NaNoWriMo Winners’ booty to share with you. The first is a small winner’s icon, meant to be posted on a website or blog. It was designed this year by artist Claire Robertson. You can find the icon, and instructions for downloading it here.

Since many people don’t have a website to call their own, we also commissioned an official NaNoWriMo 2003 winner’s certificate, which you can download and print out. It was drawn by illustrator Lindy Groening, and can be downloaded here.

And that’s about it. It’s been an unforgettable month, and we’ve been very glad to have you with us.

With warm regards (and much applause and whistling),

Chris Baty

Director, NaNoWriMo

Hooray for me! I still have to work on the March through June part, as well as the “epilogue” that tells what happened to certain people after our year in Angers. I was even inspired to try to contact the real-life “Pablo” – I hope it’s not spoiling too much to know that I am married to someone else (Big Surprise!)