Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Five Nights of Crock Pot Cooking

My 2017 New Years resolution was to simplify , the crock pot has been a huge part of that.
I love to cook and prefer to cook from scratch, but spending an hour each night with preparation and cooking is not enjoyable. Having dinner in the crock pot ready to go allows me time to enjoy more of my family, and farm. Additionally I have returned to menu writing and shopping once a week.

This is what the next five nights look like.

Tuesday : Crock Pot Mediterranean Chicken, Feta and garlic bread.

Wednesday: French Dip Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker, Roasted Zucchini .

Thursday: Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce, Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday: Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Chicken, Roasted Broccoli

Saturday:  Chicken  Stew in the Slow Cooker, egg noodles this works perfect on a Saturday for Bob , he can pop in the house to take the chill off and fill up at any time. It is ready to eat by noon , stays hot all day and uses up all left over chicken and veggies from the week.
Bonus if a friend stops in there is always enough to share.

Mediterranean Chicken

Fast Fred
In an attempt to "simplify" work nights, we have been eating crock pot meals about 5 nights a week. Before I left the farm this morning  , this is what I put into the pot:

Mediterranean Chicken

• 2 ½ lbs. boneless chicken breasts

• 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes

• 1 can stewed tomatoes

• 1 6 oz. can tomato paste

• 1 onion, sliced

• 1 small can sliced black olives

• 1 whole head of garlic, peeled but left whole
one half each red and green pepper diced

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• Feta cheese, and bread sticks for serving

Put the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the other ingredients on top and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours remove garlic head. Top with Feta cheese.

Feet not even touching the ground!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Roasted Pork Chops with Grapes

In this one-dish wonder (two if you add the glaze, cooked entirely on a single baking sheet topped with a simple Maple Glaze.
Roasted Pork Chops with Grapes

6 bone-in pork chops, each about 3/4 lb. and 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick
6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups seedless red grapes on the stems 
1/3 cup  fresh rosemary leaves
Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 475°F (245°C). Meanwhile, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Rub the chops with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil and the garlic, and season well with salt and pepper. In a bowl, toss together the grapes, the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil and the rosemary, and season with salt and pepper
Place the chops on a nonstick baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, turn the chops over, and place the grape mixture on the chops, dividing it evenly. Continue roasting until the chops are done to your liking and the grapes are starting to burst, about 12 minutes more. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve the chops and grapes drizzled with the pan juices and Maple Glaze

Maple Glaze


  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained 


  1. Whisk together the maple syrup, vinegar and dry mustard.
  2. Score the ham, brush on glaze and continue to brush as it bakes.
  3. If desired, insert whole cloves into the ham before glazing and coat ham with pineapple after first glazing.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pear-Bourbon Skillet Crisp in Cast Iron

Baked in a cast-iron fry pan with a bourbon-scented pear filling and a buttery-crisp topping, this simple dessert may well become a favorite.

Pear-Bourbon Skillet Crisp


Unsalted butter for greasing

For the filling:
  • 6 firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 3 Tbs. good-quality bourbon
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Team Mack and Mike

For the topping:
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) ) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup  rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving
Canvas available in The Studio


1. Preheat an oven to 375°F Generously butter a 10-inch  cast-iron fry pan.

2. To make the filling, in a large bowl, stir together the pears and bourbon. Let stand for 30 minutes. In another bowl, stir together the sugars, flour and cinnamon. Add to the pear mixture and stir until evenly coated. Add the pear filling to the prepared pan.

3. To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the melted butter and vanilla. In another bowl, using a fork, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt. Add the butter mixture and stir until evenly blended and crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the pears.

4. Bake until the pears are tender and bubbly and the topping is crisp and brown, about 30 minutes.
Our Outside kitchen

Any thing cast iron can also be done in the wood fired oven , in half the time.Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with scoops of ice cream, if desired. Serves 6.
Dutch Oven

Some of the collection

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hope you will plan to visit

Tom Boy
If you are planning a visit to the Farm , Welcome! 
These are some of the faces , waiting to greet you.

Thomas The Tank
 aka Big Mike


aka Mack A Million
The days are getting longer and soon spring will be here.
 We DO NOT have a sugar shack here at the farm, but if you are out and about checking out some of the sugar shacks
 plan a visit to the farm and studio.
Original Canvas available in "The Studio in the Barn"
Call or take a chance, look for the Open Flag.

Maine Maple Sunday

Maine Maple Sunday is a long standing tradition where Maine’s Maple producers open their doors to their sweet operations for a day of educational demonstrations, Sugarbush tours, fun family activities and samplings of syrup and other great maple products. Maine Maple Sunday is always the fourth Sunday in March!

The New Studio in the Barn will be open on both March 19th and March 26.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chicken Fajita's

 Last night after work I made Chicken Fajitas . I posted my favorite Fajita recipe below, but lets be honest that not what I used. I very simply picked up a package of grilled chicken , a boxed fajita kit and a package of sliced up pre cooked tri colored peppers. Heated it all in the cast iron Wok and topped it off with the fixings. After a week of heavy wet, snow removal it was a nice quick and satisfying dinner.


  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil (a high smoke point oil)
  • 1 large onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip) into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 bell peppers of various colors, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
Marinade or one packet of Fajita seasoning mix
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8-12 flour tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed lightly with salt and cider vinegar


1 Cut thick chicken breasts in half, horizontally: Chicken breasts come in different sizes. If you have chicken breasts that are around a half pound each or more, you will want to slice them in half horizontally, so that the center thickness is around 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick.
2 Marinate chicken: Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or plastic container. Add the chicken, mix well, cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or up to 8 hours in the fridge.
3 Wipe off most marinade, sprinkle chicken with salt: Remove the chicken from the marinade. Wipe off most of the marinade and sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt.
4 Sear chicken on high heat: Heat a large cast iron frying pan on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of canola oil (or other high smoke point oil) to the pan.
As soon as the oil begins to smoke, lay the chicken breast pieces in the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, and if you have had to cut the chicken breasts, you may have to work in batches.
Let the chicken cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, until you have a good sear. Once seared well on one side, turn the pieces over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until well seared on the second side.
5 Stack seared breasts, cover with foil and let rest: Once seared on the second side, remove to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 5 minutes.
Here's a tip: Stack the seared chicken breasts and then cover them in foil. Together they will retain heat better as you cook the peppers and onions.
If you want to test for doneness, cut into one piece with the tip of a sharp knife. It should be just done, if not, you can put it back in the hot pan for a minute or two.
6 Sauté peppers and onions: While the chicken is resting, cook the onions and peppers. Add another tablespoon of oil to the frying pan. Heat on high. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers to the pan.
Use a metal spatula to scrape up some of the browned bits from the chicken and stir to coat the onions and peppers with the oil and brown bits. Spread the onions and peppers in an even layer in the pan.
Let them cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. You want them to sear with some blackening. Stir the vegetables and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
7 Slice the chicken and serve: Slice the chicken across the grain into strips. Serve at once with the peppers and onions, some warm tortillas, and sides of shredded cheese, , and/or thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed with vinegar and salt.
If I am in the kitchen ,you will find Fred there!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cast Iron Cooking on the Grill

Cheesy Grilled Skillet Potatoes with Bacon and Herbs

Yield: 8 servings


  • 7 T. unsalted butter

  • 3 lbs. yellow potatoes, scrubbed, and then diced into 1/2" cubes or 1/4" slices

  • 1/3 c. water

  • kosher salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large sweet onion, diced

  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, and then chopped into 1/2" to 1" pieces (can be prepared a day or two ahead of time and kept refrigerated until ready to use)

  • 1 T. chopped fresh chives

  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley

  • 8 oz. (2 c.) shredded Italian Cheese Blend

  • 8 oz. (2 c.) shredded Cheddar


Heat grill to 325° F to 350° F.

Coat inside of 10" cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out in an even layer. Drizzle the water over potatoes. Dot 3 tablespoons of butter across the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, as desired. Add about 2/3 of the onion and then 2/3 of the bacon. Sprinkle on half of the herbs. Then add 1-1/2 cups of the 6 Cheese Italian and 1 cup of the Cheddar. Now add the remaining potatoes and dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the remaining onion, bacon, and herbs. Sprinkle the remaining 6 Cheese Italian over the top, finishing with the remaining Cheddar. Poke a few pieces of the bacon up through the cheese, for a pretty effect, if desired. Cover skillet loosely with foil, taking care to not let the foil touch the top of the potatoes (so the cheese doesn't stick to the foil). Set skillet on hot grill grates and check the potatoes after they have been on the grill for 30 minutes, adjusting temperature if needed. The pan should be sizzling, but make sure the temperature isn't too hot that the potatoes are burning. Let cook for about 50 to 60 minutes total, or until potatoes are very tender. Remove foil and let cook for a few minutes more to brown up the cheese, if desired. Remove skillet from heat and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional black pepper and chopped herbs, if desired.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Calzone

Taking the chill off with Buffalo Chicken

1 pound pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cooked cut up chicken
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/4 cup ranch dressing 
1 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons piri piri sauce or Tabasco sauce
Corn meal for dusting pan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle a sheet pan with a heavy dusting of corn meal. Roll out the dough to the length of your sheet pan. Brush the edges and the pizza dough with the olive oil. Mix the dressings and piri piri together in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the dough, sprinkle with garlic powder and top with the chicken pieces. Top with the piri piri and dressing sauce.
Top with cheese and then sprinkle the rest of the piri piri sauce.  You can use a much as you like! The hotter the better!
To make a Calzone, roll up the pizza dough gently pinching all sides. Make a batch of extra piri piri sauce (1 tablespoon piri piri, 1/2 cup blue cheese and 1/4 cup ranch dressing) for dipping.
Cook on center oven rack, for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown or 7 min. in the wood fired oven

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Post Sleigh Ride Pot Roast

We have been prepping for the Big February 2017 Blizzard, and I think we are as ready as we can be.
Early this afternoon Pre -blizzard we took our very first sleigh ride of the season.
Mack and Mike did a great job!

We went out and about , and then came home to , Sunday dinner of Pot Roast.

Sunday Pot Roast 
3 1/2 # Pot Roast trimmed and tied
1 packet onion soup mix
1 Jar Cranberry fruit Spread
I used a local Kountry Kettle Cranberry Fruit Spread, you can use chunky jar cranberry sauce.
Mix with one can water or beef stock pour over meat in crock pot.
Pour of drippings to make gravy.
I served with roasted baby potatoes and a horse radish sauce.
Now off to make whoopie pies.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Loaded Nacho Night

Today Bob is focused on storm clean up and a meeting with the farrier for the big's shoes .
So I have chili in the crock pot .Then tonight I will turn it into  loaded nachos .



lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
large onion, chopped (1 cup)
cloves garlic, finely chopped
can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
can (16 oz) chili beans in sauce, undrained
can (15 oz) tomato sauce
tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2
teaspoons ground cumin
teaspoon salt
teaspoon pepper



  • 1 In 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.
  • 2 In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, mix beef, onion and remaining ingredients.
  • 3 Cover and cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Work Night Dinner in 5 Minutes


Slow Cooker Chicken  and Frito Soup

• 32 oz. chicken broth

• 2 cans diced tomatoes

• 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

• 6 oz. tomato paste

• 2 cups frozen corn

• 2 cups cooked, diced chicken

one packet of Taco seasoning

• one bag Frito Chips

• Cheddar cheese, for serving
Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker, except chips and cheese. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8.

Serve the soup topped with chips and shredded cheese.
Serving Suggestion: Salad

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

His and Hers

HIS:Fried Chicken

Boneless Chicken Breast
3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Crystal or Tabasco
Peanut oil, for frying I used Crisco
¼ bunch fresh thyme
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ bunch fresh sage
½ head garlic (about 12 cloves), smashed, husk still attached
Lemon wedges, for serving

Brine the chicken: In a large  bowl or container, cover the chicken with Buttermilk .Add loads of fresh ground black pepper soak overnight.

Make the dredge: In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt and black pepper to taste until well blended.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Dredge the chicken: Remove the chicken from the butter milk . Working a few pieces at a time, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then dip them into the buttermilk, then dredge again in the seasoned flour. Set the pieces aside to rest on the parchment-lined sheet while you prepare the oil.

Fry the herbs: Pour about 3 inches oil into a large (at least 6-quart), deep pot. I use a cast iron Dutch oven outside on the grill. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, and garlic to the cool oil and gradually heat over medium-high heat to between 360°F and 365°F on a deep-fry thermometer (the herbs and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil heats).

Fry the chicken: Working in batches, add the chicken to the oil, 3 or 4 pieces at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 13 minutes. Remove the chicken and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and drain on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle all over with more salt and black pepper. Arrange the chicken on a platter and scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

Hers: Mushroom, Salami and Black Olive Pizza


For the pizza dough My Choice
  • Drive to your closest Pizza Place or Market Basket and buy frozen dough or
  • For the pizza dough:
    • 3 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/4 cup  whole-wheat flour
    • 1 package  quick-rise yeast
    • 1 Tbs. sugar
    • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
    • 1 1/4 cups  warm water ,plus more as needed
    • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1/4 cup  olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can  crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 lb white or brown mushrooms, brushed clean and thickly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups ) shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz.  salami, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) strips
  • 3/4 cup pitted, brine-cured black olives, halved lengthwise


1. To make the pizza dough, in a food processor, combine the flours, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse to mix the ingredients. With the motor running, add the water and olive oil in a steady stream, and then pulse until the dough comes together in a rough mass, about 12 seconds. If the dough does not form into a ball, sprinkle with 1 to 2 tsp. water and pulse again until a rough mass forms. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Process the dough again for 25 to 30 seconds, steadying the top of the food processor with one hand. The dough should be tacky to the touch but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk and spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. While the dough is rising, make the tomato sauce. In a small fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to let it scorch or the garlic will taste bitter.
Or take frozen dough out of freezer in the am , and set on top of refrigerator.

4. In a bowl, stir together the garlic-oil mixture, tomatoes, dried basil, oregano, thyme, pepper, 1/3 cup vinegar. Set aside 1 cup  to use for the pizza. The remaining 1 3/4 cups  can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and shape into a smooth cylinder. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, dusting with flour only if the dough becomes sticky. Cover both balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. If you are using only one ball of dough, place the second ball in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 months. (When ready to use, thaw the frozen dough for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.)

6. Place a pizza stone in the middle of an oven and preheat to 450°F  Once the oven has reached 450°F .let the stone continue to heat for 15 to 30 minutes longer, without opening the door.
I get I am super lucky and not every one has a wood fired pizza oven.

7. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until softened and slightly browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

8. On a floured pizza peel, stretch or roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch round. If the dough springs back, let it rest for about 10 minutes before continuing. Leaving a 1-inch  border, spread the sauce over the dough round and top with the cheese. Distribute the salami, mushrooms and olives evenly around the pizza. Brush the outside edge of the dough with olive oil and lightly season the whole pizza with salt and pepper.