Juanita's Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Red Pepper Vinegar Sauce

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I spend my quiet time, usually at night when my husband and sons are sleeping, developing recipes. Most of the time they are of foods I remember growing up on in NC. This one I created based on my Grandma Juanita's  bbq chicken. I have never tasted anything like it except when we would gather at her house in the summer. She made it a bit different than I do, using a huge pot and lots of chicken . I think there may have been broiling involved. I adapted the recipe from what I remember it tasting like. Trial and error. I ended up using chicken leg quarters . They are inexpensive and I have a house of hungry boys who can eat. No exaggeration when I say they are eating me out of house and home. This recipe I used 4 chicken leg quarters. the sauce can be doubled or tripled depending on how much you need. The sauce has a vinegar tang with a bit of heat from the crushed red pepper. I added extra pepper for my husband and I . We like hot. I also kept the skin on the chicken and roasted it. I prefer it that way. It cooks up crispy and when the sauce is poured over it, the flavor is incredible. I serve the chicken with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

Juanita's Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Red Pepper Vinegar Sauce

4 chicken leg quarters
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c white distilled vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes ( or more if you like it hot)

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 glass dish.
2. Place the chicken quarters in the dish. Sprinkle evenly with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, vinegar and red pepper. Using a brush, brush the chicken with the sauce. an even layer will do. Reserve the rest of the sauce.
4. Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, basting once after 20 minutes. 
5. When the chicken is done, pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve .

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

As  you have probably figured out by now, we grill often in the warmer months. It is so easy to marinate chicken, beef or seafood during the afternoon and grill it after  a  long day. This a simple marinade that  uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. I used large chicken tenders for this recipe (12 count) and it worked perfect. I have used chicken thighs and shrimp before and it has been wonderful with both. I have also left out the tequila (once) when there was none here, and it still turned out so yummy. Why not make a few extra pieces of chicken to toss on a salad or add to brown rice and black beans for a tasty lunch the next day.

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or tenders)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup tequila
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a large zipper bag. Shake to combine. Add chicken, turn to coat well. Refrigerate and marinate for about 3 hours.
Heat grill to medium high. Remove chicken and discard remaining marinade. Grill chicken 4-5 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear.


One of the joys of summer to me is the fresh produce. I am always making quick salads for our lunches and snacks throughout the week. This panzanella, or bread salad, is a favorite of mine. The vinaigrette is so simple, but so full of flavor. And it is a great way to use up leftover bread!



1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 c sourdough bread, diced
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
2 oz shaved parmesan cheese
1/4 c chopped fresh basil


In a small bowl, whik together the olive oil, red Wine vinegar, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a serving bowl, Toss together the remaining ingredients. Whisk the vinaigrette again and pour it over the salad.Gently mix all together and let it sit 10 to 15 minutes to let the bread absorb the vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh basil.

Rustic Peach Tart

Monday, June 19, 2017

This rustic peach tart is so easy to make. It is a perfect summer dessert when you use fresh peaches. You can make your own pie crust, but I cheat and use a premade one. If you do not have heavy cream, I would use an egg wash and not regular milk. It will seep into the dough and make it soggy.


9" pie crust
5 peaches,  sliced
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 T cornstarch
2 T heavy cream
2 T coarse sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment and roll out the pie crust. Set aside  in the refrigerator to stay cold while you make he filling.
2. In a large bowl, toss together peaches, lemon juice, vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cornstarch. Mix well.
3. Take the sheet pan out of the refrigerator and pile the peaches and juices into the middle.
4. Fold and pleat the crust over the peaches.
5. Brush the crust with the cream and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
6. Bake 40-45 minutes or until peaches are tender and the crust is golden.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

This is one of those recipes that take a short amount of time to make, yet it has the flavors that most everyone enjoys. Especially kids. Think taco pasta cups. The thing I love about this particular recipe is that I can make the individual toppings that make both kids and parents happy. Usually my kids load their shells with lots of cheese and sour cream. But I always dice a red onion and let it sit in lime juice for about 15 minutes, chop up a small bunch of cilantro and avocado for the adults. I served these shells with a cumin spiced black bean and corn salad, which I added to my shells before adding the sour cream. Super yummy meal to make on a weeknight.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1-2 T butter
1.5 lbs lean ground beef, turkey or chicken
2T taco seasoning ( I use Penzey's)
3 oz  cream cheese ( I use reduced fat)
1 c salsa
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded hot pepper jack cheese
1.5 cups tortilla chips, crushed ( I use tortilla strips)

Preheat oven to 350*. Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions.Drain shells, gently toss in butter and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the meat, turkey  or chicken. Season with the 2T taco seasoning. Stir in the cream cheese until well blended. Let the meat mixture simmer on low for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Fill each shell with meat mixture and set in a lightly greased casserole dish. (9 x 13 ). Spoon the salsa over the shells and top with the cheese and tortilla chips. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and the meat is warmed through. Serve with sour cream, onions, lettuce;or any other taco toppings you prefer.

Root Beer Float Popsicles

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One of the most requested foods at our house in the summertime is homemade popsicles. The boys love them and I try to make them at least every other day so they can enjoy them .  I have made these root beer float pops for years and they are always a hit. Especially with my youngest. They are his favorite flavor. You can use any brand root beer for these. I usually just grab a store brand one when I am out shopping. Super easy to put together. Just two ingredients and you are done. All you have to do is wait for them to freeze. If you guys have any favorite popsicles recipes, please send them my way! I am always looking for new ones to try out!

Root Beer Float Popsicles 
makes 6

3 cups root beer
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl, combine the root beer and the sweetened condensed milk. ( I use a whisk to make sure it is combined well)
Let it sit for a few minutes to let the foam recede.
Pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze.


Fresh Peach Cobbler

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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I get excited when the first peaches start arriving in markets in the summer. I love fresh peaches. I usually end up buying so many that we get burnt out on peach related dishes pretty quick. Which is fine, because it just makes us think of fresh peaches until the next year. I can a few quarts of peach pie filling , so we still have peach pie in the cooler months. (Which is awesome when I want a desert on a snowy night) . The first thing I usually make when I get my hands on peaches is a cobbler. Plain, simple peach summer goodness. Topped with vanilla ice cream, and you have an impressive, flavorful ending to  a meal.The sweetness comes from the peaches and a bit of sugar and cinnamon added to those before baking. The batter bubbles up and bakes over the sweet , juicy peaches to perfection! So head on out to your local farmers market and grab yourself fresh peaches. You can thank me later! :)

Fresh Peach Cobbler
3 cups fresh peaches, peeled , pitted and sliced
1/2 c sugar ( more or less depending on the sweetness of the peaches)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 c Bisquick
1 c almond milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 T brown sugar , packed
2 tsp cinnamon sugar (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.In a large bowl, combine the sliced peaches, sugar, cornstarch,nutmeg ,cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix well to incorporate the sugar and spices.
3.In a separate bowl, mix together the Bisquick,almond milk, butter and brown sugar.
4. Pour the Bisquick mixture into a 9x9 baking dish.
5. Pour the peach mixture over the batter. Do not stir.
6. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (optional)
7. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, or until bubbly and the batter is cooked through.
8. Serve warm with a side of ice cream or whipped cream (optional)