Diva Tasting: Baked Spaghetti …

Baked Spaghetti 
1 (16 Ounce) Package Spaghetti
1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Pound Mild Sausage
1 Onion, Chopped
1 (32 Ounce) Jar Meatless Spaghetti Sauce
1 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
5 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
2 16 Oz. Container Of Ricotta Cheese
4 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, ( 1 Cup Reserved)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir beef, sausage and onion until meat is browned and onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and seasoned salt.
  4. Whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese, and butter in a large bowl. Mix in spaghetti noodles to egg mixture and toss to coat. Place the spaghetti mixture into a large mixing bowl, fold in the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and meat sauce. Mix well until combined. Pour all into the prepared 9×13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining Mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil sprayed with oil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes longer.
  6. Serve with Mediterranean salad with lemon vinaigrette and garlic toast.

Diva Musing: Doldrums…

Do you find yourself waking up in the mornings and feeling like you want to cry and don”t know why?  I’ve been that way for a week.  I’ve tired looking at happy pictures that I save for just such occasions, I’ve played with my puppies and planted plants.  No dice! The cosmos must be emanating some strange Ju-Ju, that is the only explanation I can think of for now.

I’m thinking next of taking my shoes off and walking in the grass, or maybe sitting by a tree trunk with my Chakras all positioned to feel the magic of nature.  I know a spa day would cure it but no spas in our area.  Anyway, If anyone has a suggestion to help us all remove the doldrums…send comments here. We love you for contributing!!!

Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Tasting:Braised Lamb Shanks with Pilaf…

Braised Lamb Shanks 
4 Lamb Shanks
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, Divided, Or To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions, Chopped
1 Small Bag Baby Carrots
1 Large Stalk Celery, Cut Into 1-Inch Pieces
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
4 Teaspoons Tomato Paste
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Sprigs Rosemary
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  1. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a deep-sided pan or pot over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, turning as needed, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and reduce heat to medium.
  3. Place chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in the pan. Season with a large pinch of salt. Cook and stir until vegetable juices start to come out, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat, about 1 minute. Pour in Balsamic and stir in rosemary. Raise heat to high and bring sauce mixture to a simmer.
  4. Toss lamb shanks in with the sauce mixture. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until lamb is nearly fork-tender, flipping lamb after 1 hour, about 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight.
  5. Skim the fat off the top of the sauce, if desired. Cover and bring lamb to a simmer over low heat. Flip and continue simmering until meat is fork-tender and nearly falling off the bone, about 45 minutes. Place lamb shanks in a bowl to keep warm.
  6. Bring sauce to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced by half but not too thick, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Plate the lamb shanks and spoon sauce on top.
Feta Rice Pilaf With Orzo
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Orzo Pasta
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Cup White Rice
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Chopped Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Bulgarian Feta Cheese
  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat; cook and stir orzo in the melted butter until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir onion into orzo and cook until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Cook and stir garlic into orzo-onion mixture until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Mix rice and chicken broth into orzo-onion mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach and feta. Cover and let stand until spinach is wilted and feta is melted, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Diva Musing: It’s a Southern Thing:

Something a Southern Mom Might Say…

Southern mamas don’t mess around when it comes to manners. From birth, our mothers have been telling us how to act with some of the most colorful phrases ever uttered.

Who has been told that we weren’t raised in a barn? Or not to look a gift horse in the mouth?

The answer is every single one of us. And not just by our own mothers. Mamas we’ve never met before have used these mom-isms on us. Because there ain’t no off-switch on being a mama.

When it comes to the South, manners are taught from birth.

That’s why there are so many Southern phrases about being polite and minding your manners, most of which we can still hear our mamas saying in that tone of all-knowing authority. After all, were you even raised in the South if your mama didn’t yell “were you raised in a barn?” at least once every weekend?

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the phrases Southern mamas live by when it comes to manners.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Meaning: Don’t assume something is going to happen before it does.

An empty wagon makes a lot of noise.

Meaning: people who don’t know what they’re talking abut tend to say the most.

Mind your P’sand Q’s

Meaning be on our best behavior

Buzzards and chickens come home to roost.

Meaning: What you do and say will catch up to you.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Meaning: Don’t assume something’s going to happen before it does.

You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Meaning: You get better results when you are polite.

Don’t get too big for your britches.

Meaning: Don’t be conceited.

Pretty is as pretty does.

Meaning: How you treat people is more important than how you look

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Meaning: Don t’ question the value of a gift.

Hold your Horses.

Meaning: Be Patient.

Were you raised in a barn?

Meaning: Close the door behind you.

Don’t let our mouth overload your tail.

Meaning: Don’t say anything you can’t back up.

Be like the old lady who fell out of the wagon.

Meaning: Mind your own business.

Don’t sit there like a bump on a log

Meaning: Don just sit there not doing anything.

Diva Tasting: Braised Oxtail….

Braised Oxtail
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar Or 2 Bottles of Red Wine
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
Salt And Pepper To Taste
5 Pounds Beef Oxtail, Cut Into Pieces
1/4 Cup Butter, Divided
5 Shallots, Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Carrots, Chopped
2 Celery Ribs, Chopped
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
2 Sprigs Flat-Leaf Parsley
6 Cups Beef Broth
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Simmer the balsamic vinegar and 1 cup of beef broth in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced by half. Meanwhile, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Dredge the oxtail in the seasoned flour, and shake off excess; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a roasting pan over medium-high heat. Brown the oxtail on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the oxtails from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat to medium-low and melt another 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Stir in the shallots, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook and stir until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, parsley, beef broth, and reduced liquids. Place the browned oxtail on top of the vegetables in a single layer, then bring to a boil.
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil, then bake in preheated oven until the oxtail is very tender and nearly falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Once the oxtail is tender, remove the meat to a serving dish, cover, and keep warm. Simmer liquid over medium-high heat until the sauce has reduced to 2 cups. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pour over the oxtail to serve.
  6. Serve with Green beans, garlic mashed potatoes and a spring salad with vinaigrette.

Diva Rambling: Is It Just Me?

Is It Just Me? I am having more and more trouble “peopling” these last few months.  I try to be a good customer, I try to be polite in traffic, I try to be civil to the idiots blocking me in the grocery isle for hours while discussing every ass ache they have ever had.  Yet, no one returns the favors in kind.  

One should have to send a memo or text when the day is all about them, or I don’t know, and am apt to get my sassy pants on real fast.  

I went to the Superstore Grocery pick up the other day and had a wonderful experience. The guys brought my order handled it perfectly and were absolutely delightful. Why can’t everyone be like them?  If I had more money I’d have gone online and shopped again because they made the experience so pleasant.  Business Organizations seem to have no clue that that is what it is all about, ultimately. Make me happy and I’ll spend my hard earned money with you and not someone else.  If NOT flapp in the wind all day; I won’t be back.  

Anyway, I want to thank the young men who were so helpful and hilarious.  It made me think I might be able to “people” again! 

Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Tasting: Tuna Steaks and Mediterranean Salad….

Dinner Time…Menu
Crusted Tuna With Salsa
1 Avocado, Mashed
1 Mango – Peeled, Seeded And Diced
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Wasabi Powder
Sea Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste
1/4 Cup Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 Teaspoons Canola Oil
4 (4 ounce) (1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick) tuna steaks
  • Preheat grill for medium heat. Lightly oil grate.
  • Mix together the avocado, mango, lime juice, ground ginger, and wasabi powder in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • Spread the sesame seeds over the bottom of a shallow dish. Brush the tuna steaks with the canola oil, and dip into the sesame seeds, evenly coating both sides.
  • Place tuna steaks on prepared grill. Cook until fish turns opaque, turning once, about 4 minutes for 1 inch thick steaks. Serve immediately with summer salsa and additional wasabi on the side.
Mixed Greens With Mediterranean Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tsp. sugar
1/4 Tsp. Pepper
1/4 cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Pkg. (10 Oz.) Torn Mixed Salad Greens
1 Pkg. (4 Oz.) Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
Blend first 5 ingredients in blender until well blended. Add oil; blend 15 sec.
Place greens in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat.
Top with cheese