A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

A Very Merri Kitchen

A Very Merri Kitchen

A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.


Red Potatoes, Green Beans and Bacon-Updated

Red Potatoes, Green Beans and Bacon-Updated

Every once in a while I make a concentrated effort to use up what’s in the freezer or fridge. Last week, my focus was on a bag of blanched and frozen green beans from the freezer. It seems like a good time for that summer […]

What’s in the Fridge Chorizo and Shrimp Soup

What’s in the Fridge Chorizo and Shrimp Soup

I was home alone for dinner tonight so I looked in the fridge to see what I could make. This chorizo that I had bought at the Tower Grove Farmers Market in St. Louis caught my eye. So I rustled around and started cooking. First, […]

Easy Roast Chicken Updated

Easy Roast Chicken Updated

The roast chicken recipe my sister gave to me has been my go-to for years.  It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s reliable, the skin is crispy and the meat is juicy.

But tonight I removed the wrapper from my chicken and realized I had picked up a whole chicken—but one that was cut up.  So I decided to make it the same way, but just reduce the roasting time.

Now I think I’ll make it this way all the time!  More crispy skin and I don’t have to cut up the chicken when it’s done.

Easy Cast Iron Roast Chicken 

Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit. Place 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Pat dry your chicken or chicken parts. Roll the chicken in the olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with your favorite seasoning salt.

This is where my sister and I diverge. She likes Lawry Seasoning and I am addicted to Johnny’s.

Into the oven for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce heat to 325 Fahrenheit.

The whole chicken will take probably 1 and 1/2 hours.  (Check the temperature and don’t let it get above 180).

The chicken parts took 1 hour.

Let it rest 10 minutes before serving

The juices make a great gravy as well.


Gimme Some Oven Roasted Artichokes

Gimme Some Oven Roasted Artichokes

Gimme Some Oven is one of my favorite blogs to follow. I had noticed a post on roasted artichokes last spring, and it was at the back of my mind to make. Last week I was at Sprouts and they had gigantic artichokes so on […]

Enchilada Style Chili Rellenos

Enchilada Style Chili Rellenos

I had thawed a container of red chili sauce this week, intending to make something else, but never got around to it. I needed to use the thawed sauce though. I remembered that I had a block of Monterey Jack cheese that was getting rather […]

Vodka Suns aka Adult Capri Suns

Vodka Suns aka Adult Capri Suns

I don’t really get why everything is called a hack these days, but one so-called hack caught my eye last week—Adult Capri Suns. Mix vodka and lemonade, put it in a plastic bag with a straw, and you have your very own Capri sun!

And it was on.

I made lemonade:

I had one opened and one unopened bottle of vodka, and right beside them I had a bottle of limoncello. That sounded promising.

There was about a cup of vodka left in the opened bottle, so I poured it into the lemonade.

Then I poured in a couple of shots of limoncello. Then I poured some in a cordial glass. You know, to taste test.

Next I lined four small glasses with sandwich size plastic bags. This made it easier to fill the bags with the vodka mix.

All filled up and sealed.

And into the freezer they went!  I wanted them to be a slushy-like consistency when it was time to drink them.   The plan was to take them with us when we went golfing the next day.

I got them out that morning and packed them in a freezer bag with some ice packs and stainless steel straws.

As we started the 9th hole, it was time!  They were still a little solid so you had to squish them around a little. And then my golfing partner took a drink.

My other golfing partner also took a drink and declared, ‘This does not suck!’  So I’m thinking we should probably make them again.

Vodka Suns


4 lemons, sliced

3/4 cup sugar

4 cups ice water

Place the lemon slices in a large flat bottom bowl. Pour the sugar over them and let them sit for at least one hour. Take a potato masher or large spoon and mash the lemon to release as much juice as possible. Add four cups of ice water and stir.

Vodka Mix

1 cup vodka

4 cups lemonade

2 shots limoncello

Add the vodka and limoncello to the lemonade. You can add more of either, but it will probably change the frozen consistency.

Assembling the Suns

Place sandwich-sized resealable plastic bags into short glasses. Pour the vodka mix into the glasses, seal, and put them (glasses and all) in the freezer overnight.

When you are ready to drink them, take them out of the freezer a short time before serving. Knead the bag to make them more slushy-like. A stainless steel straw makes it easier to pierce the frozen drink.


Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and Peppers

Two weekends ago I went to St. Louis to visit my nephew and meet my new great-niece. While I was there I went to the Tower Grove Farmers Market, and while I was THERE I visited the Salume Beddu stand.  I bought four different types […]

Sungold Tomato and Basil Jam from Food in Jars

Sungold Tomato and Basil Jam from Food in Jars

I didn’t realize that I had never put this on the blog before until I started to make this jam last night. FoodInJars.com is a fabulous site, and I love the small batch recipes for canning. This is a particular favorite and one where I […]

Halloumi Cheese Sticks and Sweet Chili Sauce

Halloumi Cheese Sticks and Sweet Chili Sauce

Recently I made some fried Halloumi croutons to go in my tomato soup. When I posted it, a friend mentioned that she likes Halloumi fried and served with sweet chili sauce.

Since I had both the cheese and the sauce, tonight I decided to fry up some sticks and try it.

I heated up some olive oil in my All-Clad pan over medium heat.

While it was heating I sliced the cheese into sticks.

When the oil was hot I placed the sticks in the pan, leaving some room between them.

And then it was all about watching it and turning to each side as it browned.

I probably could have used just a little more oil, or maybe I should have dried the cheese before frying so they all browned more evenly.

Once they were all browned I removed them to a paper towel lined plate to get rid of any excess oil (there wasn’t much).

And served with some sweet chili sauce.

I shared them with Steve and this is all I ended up with:

But since the chili sauce was a little sweet for me, it gave me the opportunity to add a little Sambal Oelek for a touch of heat in the sauce.

This was so easy, tasted great, and I’ll do it again!

Fermented Ginger Turmeric Carrots

Fermented Ginger Turmeric Carrots

I’m still working on using that turmeric I bought at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica! I decided to give fermenting a try, using this recipe from The Wild Gut. First I had to buy a fermenting kit though, and I decided on The Easy […]