On Monday, January 18th, I will be back on Mornings with Fox 43 at 8:20 am making one of my favorite dishes…Veggie Stuffed Chicken Enchiladas!  This dish is not only delicious but only has 266 calories per serving!  Catch the show and then visit the blog Monday afternoon to get all this delicious recipe and tips!  See you then!


Yesterday, I made my favorite soup recipe but substituted venison that my husband provided for us after a recent hunting trip. It was much leaner and when he took it to work, no one knew it was deer! No matter what kind of protein you use, this recipe is a winner on these chilly winter days!


Everyone has their favorite soup recipe but with snowstorm Pax bearing down on us, I thought now would be a great time to share mine!  Soup is one of the first things I learned how to make when I was young…probably because you can literally do anything with it and it is so versatile.  Plus, a newbie cook always feels like they are doing something special when they are browning up onions and ground beef! (Love that smell!)

I eat this soup year round…as a matter of fact, if my husband is out of town, it is a must on my menu (except that I substitute one of his least favorite ingredients…ground turkey).  Gourmet?…not this soup!  Tasty?…very much so!  I use lots of shortcuts so I can whip this up quickly and I definitely change it up from time to time so feel free to experiment with your favorite veggies…

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As we complete one week into the New Year, many of us are focusing on eating healthier and making better food choices.  A great way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet is by using one of my favorite gadgets in the kitchen…the Spiralizer!  It takes ordinary vegetables and turn them in to delicious artsy curls and makes them more versatile so you can use them in so many different ways.  They are great to use on all kinds of vegetables like squash, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers (I can’t wait to share my Tuna/Cucumber Salad with you!), and many more!

Today’s recipe is Thai Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles.  It is a super easy  weeknight meal that is not only healthy and incorporates lots of wonderful vegetables but is so yummy!  It will become a family favorite instantly!  I like to take this basic recipe and substitute different veggies like peppers and mushrooms and even use a different protein like chicken.  It is so easy to make it your own!

Thai Shrimp with Zucchinni N


  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
 (sometimes I use the prepared squeeze kind found in your spice section in the grocery)
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 12 oz. package bean sprouts
3 small bunches of baby bok choy
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and cornstarch. Set the mixture aside.
  2. Place a large sauté pan or wok over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and and heat it for 1 minute. Add in the jalapeno and saute until tender (about 5 minutes)  Add in the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from pan and set aside.image
  3. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook, stirring as needed, until the shrimp are cooked throughout and pink on all sides, about 3 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and then transfer them to a bowl, leaving any liquid in the pan.image
  4. Increase the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add the sprouts, bok choy, and the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables are crisp but tender. Add the jalapeno/ginger mixture back in and cook an additional minute.  image
  5. Add the prepared sauce and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Return the shrimp to the pan, stirring to combine, and cook, tossing to coat, for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer the stir-fry to serving plates, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.image

Bottom Line:  This recipe is versatile, easy, and delicious and easily incorporates your favorite veggies.  I like to serve it with some steamed shrimp dumplings on the side.  If you don’t have a spiralizer, you could also use a mandolin or vegetable peeler.  I got mine at Williams Sonoma and use it all the time so I will be sharing more recipes with you soon. I hope you try this recipe and share some of your veggie and protein substitutions with me!  I am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun and cooking with wild abandonment!

You can find a great spiralizer here by following this link:  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/5965843/?catalogId=3&sku=5965843&cm_ven=MSN_PLA&cm_cat=MSN_Shopping&cm_pla=default&cm_ite=default&kwid=bingproductads-plaid^15536510254-sku^5965843@ADL10BMC-adType^PLA-device^c-adid^5879058197

Surgared Cranberries & Sparkling Cranberry Cups…A Holiday Visual on a Plate!

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year…the chill is in the air, the Christmas trees are going up, and the lights are twinkling….and of course, there is the food!  My latest holiday food obsession is Sugared Cranberries.  Not only are they so easy to make, but they are delicious and absolutely beautiful on the plate!

Sugared Cranberries

These little beauties have a wow factor on their own but can even make ordinary little cupcakes stand out even more by placing a few on top.  I even like to throw a few in our champagne for some added flavor in sparkle!  The recipe is actually so easy that the hardest part to it is to actually remembering to let the soak in the simple syrup mixture (I call this Sugar Water) overnight.

Sugared Cranberries


  • 12 oz package fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 – 1/2 2 cups of SUPERFINE Sugar (depending on how sugary you want them)

Wash and lace the cranberries in a medium bowl and set aside.

Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and 2 cups sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a few minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours).  Drain for 30 minutes.

Place the cranberries on a baking sheet toss them with the Superfine Sugar until they are well coated. Allow to dry for a couple of hours.  These can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.



A beautiful bowl of Sugared Cranberries ready to pop in your mouth!

These tiny bursts of sweet and tangy delight will be a hit with your whole family and if you can keep from eating them all, they are delicious in my next recipe…Sparking Cranberry Cups!


Sparking Cranberry Cups


  • Sugared Cranberries
  • Mini Phyllo Shells
  •  Brie Cheese Slices
  • Cranberry Jelly
  • Fresh Mint for Garnish


Preheat oven to 350.

Place about 1 teaspoon of Brie in each of the Phyllo shells.  Bake for 5 minutes or just until the cheese melts and fills the bottom of shell.  Allow to cool slightly.


Place a small spoonful of the cranberry jelly on top of the Brie.


Arrange 3 sparkling cranberries on top with a mint leaf to garnish.

Sparkling Cranberry Cups

Serve immediately.  A simple impressive appetizer that will wow everyone at your next holiday event!

Bottom Line:  These two recipes are too easy and delicious to pass up and it will seem like you put hours of effort into making them.  I won’t tell if you won’t!  I am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun and  cooking with wild abandonment!

Since I am not much of a baker, I am always on the lookout for easy “sweet treats” to serve at tailgates or parties that don’t take too much time.  Pinterest is always a great place to start and I found a recipe called Chocolate Coconut Chex Mix that looked really pretty and even better, something I could easily make!
Chocolate Coconut Chex Mix
I tried the recipe for the first time a few weeks ago just to test it.  It only had a few ingredients and the only cooking required was microwaving and melting the chocolate.  Easy Peasy!  The chocolate melted beautifully but then the recipe called for adding Coconut Extract.  I don’t know what kind of reaction happened but all of a sudden the chocolate became “gloppy” (not sure that is really a word but you get my meaning!). I continued on with the recipe but literally had to use my hands to get it to mix well.  The end result was “ok” but I knew it could be better.
First, I didn’t really think the recipe needed the coconut extract since it called for actual shredded coconut later so I omitted that.  I also decided to use Honey Chex Mix instead of the rice chex mix and I believe this little step took this recipe to another level! It was a hit at our tailgate party last weekend when my sister visited!
Since one of the main purposes of this blog is to test recipes for you, I present my updated version that several different people have told me is commonly known as “Puppy Chow”.
Chocolate Coconut Chex Mix

9 cups Honey Chex cereal (I think the Cinammon would be great, too!)
3 cups chocolate chips (I have used both milk chocolate and semi-sweet)
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pour the Chex cereal into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a medium microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate chips. Heat for 1 minute then stir. Heat for an additional 30 seconds and stir again. Continue with additional 30 seconds until completely melted and chocolate is smooth.
Pour the chocolate over the Chex cereal. Gently stir until cereal is well coated. image
Stir in the shredded coconut until the cereal is evenly coated.Pour the cereal onto two or one really large baking sheets. Sprinkle cereal with powdered sugar until well coated. Let the Chocolate Coconut Chex Mix sit until chocolate is dry, about 30 minutes.
Note-you can store the Chocolate Coconut Chex Mix in an air tight container for 3-4 days.
Bottom Line:  You know you have success when someone wants the recipe.  This is for you, Christy Hughes!  I am Chef Frankie…Always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with wild abandonment!

Usually my blog posts contain a recipe that I want to share with you but this one is a little different.  My former colleague and dear friend, Karen Holst, has taken on a new roll this year with the University of Tennessee as a Coordinator for University Assisted Community Schools and she recently shared with me a campaign that I knew I had to help with in any way I could.

I am asking my blog followers to help out with just $10 for the University of Tennessee’s Monthly Meals with a Mission for Pond Gap Elementary which “provides the opportunity for hard working parents to sit with their children and learn more about the programs and lessons their child participates in every day. It also allows for their parents to meet fellow community members and connect them with support services.”  They need $1000 to get the project launched but much more is needed to continue it.

Visit this site to find out more about this initiative and see the promotional video that Karen has done:


Being a former educator, I know the importance for children and families to get support from the community and what better way to do that than over a great meal!  Please join me in supporting this important cause!

Join me Wednesday on Fox43 Morning Show at 8:20 am when I make the perfect dish for this Saturday’s Tennessee tailgate when the Vols take on the Gamecocks…. Pulled Pork Sliders with a Mustard BBQ Sauce! Here is last year’s blog on this incredible recipe!


The Super Bowl didn’t turn out like I had wished for this Peyton Manning fan but this recipe ALWAYS WILL!  It originated from the Food Network Channel’s Money Saving Meals by Sandra Lee and it is always turns out perfectly. 

Her version has pickled onions but I generally prefer to serve mine with a crunchy vinegar slaw on top and a couple of kosher pickle slices.  It is a great option for tailgates, family get-togethers, or to take to your former Farragut Middle School colleagues for lunch (they loved it!)  I always make enough to have leftovers to freeze or use with other recipes like my famous Brunswick Stew!

One major change I have made in this recipe is in the choice of the marmalade.  I tried it that way and it was a little too sweet for my taste so now I use a Red Pepper Jelly and it truly…

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On this chilly, rainy day here in East Tennessee, I thought I would share a former post on my favorite beef stew recipe that is on our menu tonight! My house smells amazing as it cooks and it is a must try in your kitchen!


If you have been following my blog over the last year, you have figured out that my favorite foods are usually served in a bowl…the perfect vessel for delicious brothy bites!  One of my favorite recipes is actually probably one of the simplest…Beef Stew.  Although I have tried many other recipes with wonderfully exotic ingredients, I keep coming back to this one with a few “shortcuts” because it truly turns out perfectly every time.

Aunt Joyce's Beef StewAunt Joyce’s Beef Stew

This particular beef stew recipe was given to me right after I got married (29 years ago this weekend) by my mother-in-law’s twin sister, Joyce Self.  Aunt Joyce, much like her sister, is an excellent cook and I have gotten several great ideas from her over the years but this one is my favorite because not only does it taste so good, you don’t even have to brown the beef!  It is truly simple…

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I made this healing tonic last year and posted it on my blog. I am making this year’s this week because it truly worked! Check it out make some for your family to avoid this season’s illnesses!


Every year right around Thanksgiving, I get the crud and last year it was the worst ever!  The first “bout” came a week before Thanksgiving and by the day after had worsened into a sinus infection.  About the time, I started feeling better, I started the whole process again truly not feeling better until mid-January.  This year, I was determined that it wasn’t going to get me but I just didn’t know how until I saw a post on Facebook by “Heal Thy Self” called Fire Cider.  Could this be my answer?

Fire Cider by Mountain Rose as seen on Facebook by "Heal Thy Self"Fire Cider by Mountain Rose as seen on Facebook by “Heal Thy Self

Now the process was quite lengthy in that it would take at least two weeks to make but the theory was quite simple.  After the two week “prep period”, you take one tablespoon per day for prevention and if you feel something coming…

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Once again, I will be appearing on Fox 43’s morning show tomorrow at 8:20 making my most requested recipe…”Smokey” Jalapeno Poppers.  I hope you will watch!  In case you missed it, here is last year’s post on this delicious recipe!

"Smokey" Jalapeno Poppers
“Smokey” Jalapeno Poppers


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