Monday, March 9, 2015

Gooseberry Patch Review and Giveaway: Mom Knows Best

It's always an exciting time when Gooseberry Patch releases a new cookbook. The first spiral-bound cookbook from Gooseberry Patch for 2015 is the Mom Knows Best Cookbook and it is filled with everything you've come to know and love from Gooseberry Patch. The recipes are simple and comforting and are created with easily accessible ingredients, the one thing I look for when choosing recipes to try. As you can see from these chapters, there are plenty of recipes to cover your cooking style.

  • Grab & Go Breakfasts
  • Brown-Bagging It
  • Healthy Bites for Snacking
  • Dinners for the Daily Dash
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Sweet Treats
It was refreshing to see so many recipes for wraps, roll-ups, sandwiches, and salads - perfect for those of us who carry a lunch every day and need ideas to break the monotony. The comforting dishes are the ones that I associate more closely with Gooseberry Patch and you'll find plenty of those here, too - casseroles, soups, and stews abound in Mom Knows Best.

The recipe I chose to feature here, Balsamic Chicken & Penne, appealed to me because I love the flavor of balsamic vinegar plus my favorite vegetable is asparagus. All of the flavors combined well and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

Balsamic Chicken & Penne
Submitted by Mary Nehring
Belmont, NC

Balsamic Chicken & Penne

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. country Dijon mustard
2 T. sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8-oz. pkg. whole-wheat penne pasta, uncooked
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, chopped and steamed
Optional: shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large plastic zipping bag, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, sugar, garlic and seasonings. Squeeze bag to mix well. Add chicken to bag; turn to coat. Seal bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight, turning bag occasionally. When read to prepare chicken, drain marinade into a saucepan; heat to boiling for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Broil chicken until chicken juices run clear, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. To serve, combine chicken, marinade, asparagus and pasta. Toss to coat. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Disclaimer: Gooseberry Patch provided me with a copy of this cookbook to review; however, the opinion expressed here is my own.


Gooseberry Patch has provided me with a copy of this cookbook to give away to one of my readers. Please enter to win with the widget provided. Be patient. It may take a few seconds to load. Deadline for entering is March 28, 2015. Thanks! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cookbook Review: Lighten up, Y'all

Ten Speed Press

I'm always drawn to cookbooks that feature southern cuisine. It's the food that I'm familiar with, the food that makes me comfortable. I've been following Virginia Willis for quite a while on Facebook and Twitter and am happy to see that she has released a new cookbook.

In Lighten up, Y'all, the author introduces herself to readers by sharing her weight struggles and explaining the misconceptions that some people may have about southern foods being unhealthy. She then sets out to lighten up classic southern recipes with the goal of keeping the delicious flavors of the dishes intact. Recipes are divided into ten chapters:
  • Starters and Nibbles
  • Salads and Slaws
  • From the Garden
  • Grains, Grits, and Other Starchy Goodness
  • Seafood and Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Pork, Beef, and Lamb
  • Soups and Stews
  • Biscuits, Bread, and Baked Goods
  • Sweet Indulgences
With easy substitutions of ingredients such as light mayonnaise, cheese, and Greek yogurt, the fat is reduced in classic dishes such as Sinless Seven-Layer Dip, Hot Mess Spinach and Feta Dip, and Lightened-Up Pimento Cheese. Vegetables and main dishes that are traditionally fried are prepared with a small amount of oil in a skillet or are baked in the oven. This cookbook proves that small changes can have a positive impact on your health without sacrificing flavor.

This cookbook is perfect for fans of southern cuisine as well as those readers who are trying to lightened up their cooking style.

From the Random House web site:

Virginia Willis is the author of Bon App├ętit, Y’all, which was nominated for the IACP Best American Cookbook award and voted the Comfort Food Book of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. She has been featured in Cooking with Paula DeenHouse BeautifulWashington PostHouston Chronicle, and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Willis has appeared on Real Simple TelevisionMartha Stewart LivingPaula Deen’s Best Dishes, and numerous local television shows across the country.

A graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, Willis has served as a television producer for Turner South and Shirley Corriher, was the kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living Television, and the executive producer of The Discovery Channel’s Epicurious. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at

For more information on this cookbook, please visit

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.