Pumpkin Rice

Oh yeah! It is Fall. This is my favorite season of the year. The leaves begin to change color, its the perfect weather to take a long hike, and it is PUMPKIN season!  I am a pumpkin fiend. Well, I’m a weird pumpkin fiend. I love pumpkin food, but I don’t like pumpkin pie or pumpkin drinks. I know, I’m weird!

Pumpkin Rice

1 1/2 cans of chicken broth (14.5 oz. cans)
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic; chopped
2 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz can)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper to taste

1-In a large, deep pot, add the olive oil and butter and heat over medium  heat.
2- Once the butter is melted, add the onion, garlic,and thyme, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent.
3- Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and oil.
4- Add the broth and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
5- Add the pumpkin puree and stir to incorporate. Add the spices and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6- Serve warm, sprinkle with as much Parmesan cheese as desired.

We paired this meal with an Achaval Ferrer 2012 Quimera which is a blend comprised of:
50% Malbec, Medrano and Luján from Cuyo
24% Cabernet Franc, from Tupungato
16% Merlot, from Tupungato
8% Cabernet Sauvignon, old vines of Medrano and Tupungato
2% Petit Verdot

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Disclosure of wine sample submission:  I received this wine at no cost from Achaval-Ferrrer and Protocol Wine Studio. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own. Read more about Malbec here


Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Author: Jen Nikolaus
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. pepper
⅔ cup Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (or and 1⅓ cup light brown sugar)
1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into tenders
bacon, with pieces cut in half


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously spray a broiling pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, pour in Truvia Brown Sugar (or brown sugar).
  4. Roll chicken pieces in chili powder mixture.
  5. Next, secure a piece of bacon around the chicken using a toothpick.
  6. Now roll in the brown sugar until well covered.
  7. Place on the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. If you like bacon crispier, place under broiler for a few minutes until bacon is brown and crispy.
    Watermarked Photo

We paired this meal with a 2013 Ehler’s Estate Cabernet Franc. Our tasting notes can be found on Delectable and a detailed post titled, “A Tale of Two Francs” can be found here.

Lori’s Chicken Diane

1/2 pound thin spaghetti
2 Tbs butter melted
2 Tbs Chef Paul Prudhommes’ Poultry Magic Seasoning
2 Tbs green onions
1 can 13 oz. chicken broth
1 pound boneless chicken breast cut bite size
1. Melt butter and pour over cubed chicken. Add Poultry Magic Seasoning and let marinate for at least an hour.
2. Cook pasta to al dente directions minus 1 minute and set aside.
3. Brown chicken until fully cooked.
4. Add pasta to chicken and pour chicken broth over combination.
5. Add diced green onion and simmer until boiling.
6. Serve hot.
Dracaena Wines

I Finally “Perfected” My DD Pizza Dough

I have been experimenting with pizza dough. I have been tweaking my recipe to try to get a deep dish dough that is delicious, yet can still be folded like us East coasters love to do. I think I have finally done it, so I wanted to share my recipe with you!

NY Style Deep Dish Pizza Dough

1 Cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs melted butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup wheat dough
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs milk powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp active yeast
I use a bread machine on the dough cycle, but you could use a Kitchen Aid and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
1 – Put ingredients in order into the bread maker. Choose dough cycle and let it run its course.
2 – after dough is done in machine (or has risen for 1 1/2 hours, sprinkle table with corn meal and spread dough to the size of your deep dish pan. (my pan is 14″ diameter)
3 – Cover dough (I use the deep dish pan) for at least one hour.
4 – Preheat oven with deep dish pan inside to 500oF.
5 – Remove pan from oven, and place dough in pan, cook for 5 minutes.
6 – Add sauce and toppings. (whatever suits your fancy – but cook the meat prior)
7 – Cook at 500oF for 8 minutes, spinning once.
8 – Cool on cookie rack prior to cutting and serving.


Colby Jack Mac & Cheese

Colby Jack Mac & Cheese


4 oz Colby Jack Cheese
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
12 oz. shaped pasta cooked al dente
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1/4 cup milk
20 oz can whole plum tomatoes
pinch of nutmeg, allspice and clove
breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese for topping

1. Make a rue with flour and butter add milk, mustard and spices. Heat until thickened.
2. Drain tomatoes, chop them and add to the seasoned rue. Continue to heat until re-thickened.
3. Add the mixture to the pasta and mix thoroughly.
4. Toss in finely chopped cheese. Stir to mix.
5. Add to greased 9 x 12 baking dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350oF until heated through and all cheese is melted. (approximately 15 minutes)

Dracaena Wines

We paired this meal with a 2012 Ehler’s Estate Cabernet Franc. You can read about the pairing in my post When Will Some Day Be? Open That Bottle Now.

Dracaena Wines



Frittata Primavera

Frittata Primavera

5 slices of bacon
1/2 pound pasta cooked al dente
1 small onion sliced
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup peas
6 eggs beaten at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook bacon (well done), drain and leave a little reserve in pan for onion and garlic. (use a oven safe non-stick frying pan)
2. Sauté onions until translucent, add garlic and sauté for minute or two. Do not let brown.
3. Add peas, carrots and broccoli, cover and warm through.
4. Add drained pasta, toss all together then add egg, Parmesan and milk mixture. Coat ingredients thoroughly.
5. Cover and cook on low heat until eggs are set.
6. Remove cover and place in broiler to brown the surface.
7. Remove, allow to cool then flip onto plate to serve.

Dracaena WinesDracaena WinesDracaena WinesDracaena WinesDracaena Wines

We paired this with a 2012 Lichen Estate Blanc de Gris.

I discuss this wine in further detail along with the pairing in my blog post  #WIYG this #NationalDrinkWineDay? I’m Lichen This Sparkling!




Bacon, Onion and Broccoli Pasta

Bacon, Onion and Broccoli Pasta

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

two medium onions, sliced
6 slices of bacon
3/4 pounds of pasta; cooked according to directions
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
tsp of fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup of chicken broth; with 1 tsp cornstarch mixed
1 clove garlic, diced
2 Tsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese

1. Cook bacon until crispy; remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Remove oil from pan but leave cooked bits in pan.
2. Add olive oil to pan and sweat the onions until translucent. Add garlic until browned. Add rosemary, oregano and chicken broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and concentrate stock to about half.
3. Toss in cooked pasta to coat.
4. Add crumbled bacon, top with parmesan cheese and serve warm. Dracaena Wines

We paired this meal with a 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir. Balletto Rose of Pinot Noir

You can read about the pairing in my post Need a Valentine’s Wine? As You Wish or gain a little more knowledge about this wine in Exploring the Wine Glass.