Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

Making a sauce to top vanilla ice cream or gelato is an easy upgrade.

Husband had gotten the jumbo-sized bag of frozen wild Maine blueberries, and I thought about making a sauce. Healthy and delicious – score!

This sauce is fast and easy to make; it can cook while you’re making or eating dinner. It can be served warm or at room temperature, or even cold the next day.

Using a balsamic glaze instead of balsamic vinegar gives it a richness and depth of flavor that just cooking blueberries by themselves can’t.

I made it to go over ice cream, but I think it would also be delicious with a savory dish such as pork chops.

Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

2 C frozen blueberries

1 T sugar

1 Cinnamon stick, broken in half

1/2 t salt

1 T Balsamic glaze (found in the oil and vinegar aisle near the balsamic vinegar or salad dressing)

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and blueberries start breaking down. Remove from heat and let cool; remove cinnamon stick.

Spoon over ice cream and dust with confectioner’s sugar.


Skyline Chili

Years ago, when I worked for AT&T Communications, I spent several weeks in Cincinnati, Ohio. Skyline Chili was a revelation: spicy (there’s cinnamon in it), served over spaghetti, with different ways to garnish it.

The smell is distinctive. I had reheated leftovers at work and a co-worker came in and said, “Skyline Chili?”
I was thrilled to find it in the frozen food section in Publix (my local grocery store), and I’ve introduced my husband to it. It’s one of the fastest meals to prepare when I serve it over angel hair pasta, which takes four minutes to boil.
On this particular evening, I was in charge of dinner. Skyline Chili was suggested and accepted, so off to Publix after work. I thought frozen drinks would go well at the end of the week, so purchased accordingly.
Home and prepping dinner, I realized I had no cheese (for three-way) or onion (for four-way) to top the angel hair and chili. In Cincinnati, you’ll get this with spaghetti, but I like the finer angel hair.
Husband said I made the right call getting the frozen drinks, even though I forgot the cheese. It was one of those weeks for both of us.
Skyline Chili
1 package of Skyline Chili (check the frozen food section near the entrees)
1 package of angel hair pasta
Optional: shredded cheese; diced onion
Prepare the angel hair pasta according to package directions; drain, and toss with butter, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
While the water boils and the pasta cooks, heat the chili. In my microwave, it takes six minutes in a covered glass dish on a rotating plate.
To serve: Plate the pasta and top with chili. For three-way chili, top chili with shredded cheese. For four-way chili, top shredded cheese with diced onion.
Delicious any way you serve it.

What’s your easy go-to dinner?

Faux Chocolate Mousse

Have you ever felt dog tired, but wanted a sweet treat for dessert? I was not up to making a real chocolate mousse, whipping cream, beating egg whites, melting chocolate. I’m exhausted thinking of it.

I did have Neufchatel cream cheese (the 1/3 less fat kind because it’s made with only milk, not milk and cream). I always have Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder in the pantry, and thought I could make something with those two ingredients and the Cool Whip in the freezer.

Not the healthiest dessert, but not bad calorie-wise and definitely tasty.

Faux Chocolate Mousse

3 oz Neufchatel cheese, ideally at room temp (if it’s still chilly, it will become more pliable as you work the cocoa powder into it)

2 t cocoa powder (use your favorite; I use dark chocolate)

1 t vanilla extract

1 t vanilla paste

Pinch of salt

Cool Whip (I used fat-free)

Combine the first 5 ingredients; dollop Cool Whip onto chocolate-Neufchatel mixture and fold in. Use as much Cool Whip as needed to make the chocolate mixture light.

Let mixture sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, to let flavors meld. To serve, use an ice cream scoop to portion out into a pretty glass.

Do you have a fast go-to dessert?

Hot Scotch Toddy

Flu and strep throat have been making an appearance in my office. I’m lucky in that I have a door I can close to help keep germs at bay. I also use disinfecting wipes, wash my hands often, and take an essential oil combo that has (knock wood, fingers crossed, throwing salt over my left shoulder) kept me in relative good health since October 2016.

That being said, I found myself in need of remedial efforts when I was feeling punky. Hot Toddy to the rescue, with his friend Laphroaig single malt whisky. Laphroaig isn’t for everyone: very smoky, briny, one of the Islay malt whiskies.

I’m sure some would shudder at this recipe, but it worked for me and that’s really what counts.

Hot Scotch Toddy

Earl Grey tea

Scotch whisky

6 whole cloves

1 T honey

1 large piece of lemon rind, white pith removed as much as possible

I cut small slits in the lemon rind with the tip of a paring knife, to make inserting the cloves easy on my fingers. I let the clove-studded lemon rind steep in the tea for a few minutes, removed it, added the honey and the Laphroaig, and drank.

I felt so good, I thought another Hot Toddy was in order. Done and done. I think the combination of two Hot Toddies and an early night in bed for a good night’s sleep was the one-two punch for whatever punk I was feeling.

What’s your go-to when you feel like you’re coming down with something?