Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon Chicken comes in so many varieties, it took me a while to find one I liked! I’m not fond of the versions that have a thick, sticky-sweet glaze. My favorite mall version is “grilled” bourbon chicken in a light, thin broth-like sauce. This recipes comes pretty close!

This is one of those dishes that started out with a recipe I found on the internet, but by the time I finished tweaking it to my liking it doesn’t really resemble the original at all! But I still linked to the inspiration recipe at the bottom of the page; fair is fair!


  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 TBS fresh grated garlic (1 tsp garlic powder = 1 TBS fresh)
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger (1 tsp powdered ginger = 1 TBS fresh)
  • 1/2 cup Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil



  1. Sauté onions and garlic in a saucepan with oil or butter until soft and caramelized.
  2. Mix all remaining marinade ingredients and simmer on med, stirring until sugar is dissolved and onions are soft.  Allow mixture to cool,  then pour through a sieve to remove solids and pour strained marinade over chicken pieces in a bowl or other container.
  3. Cover and refrigerate (stirring occasionally) for several hours (best overnight).

[Cook The Chicken]

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade and place on large broiling pan (to contain juices that will render) in a single layer. Switch oven to Broil and cook chicken for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and browned/charred on edges.
  3. While chicken is cooking, pour remaining marinade into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to med-low and simmer until chicken in oven is done. (This ensures the raw chicken juice gets cooked and the marinade will be safe to mix with chicken and eat.)
  4. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and add to pot with marinade. Keep warm until ready to serve


I cook the chicken separately in order to achieve the “grilled” consistency of my favorite restaurant version. However, to make the dish less labor intensive you could simply place the chicken AND marinade in a deep dish and bake at 350 for an hour.

Original Recipe Source: Key ingredients – Cajun Cafe’s Bourbon Chicken by Kimvess
Image Credit: Combo #2 at Bourbon Street Grill by mtan14, CC BY-SA 2.0

Banana Bread

I love Banana Bread, but only when it’s super moist and as sweet as a cake. After some of my own tweaking I found one that fits the bill, and added an optional streusel topping that makes it even yummier!


  • 2 small (2lb) loaf pans (8inX4X2.5) or 12 muffin cups
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large overripe bananas, mashed (approx 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. banana extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • [For the (optional) Streusel Topping:]
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • (Double the streusel for muffins)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease small loaf pans (8inX4X2.5) and line with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Whisk together the flour and salt; combine with the butter mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, add 1 tsp. baking soda to the sour cream; stir well. The sour cream will react with the soda, making it light and foamy.
  5. Add in the bananas, vanilla and banana extracts, cinnamon, and walnuts; stir well.
  6. Add this mixture to the main mixture; mix well.
  7. Pour into prepared pans.
  8. [Optional: Add Streusel topping]
  9. Combine flour, butter and sugar until crumbly.
  10. Sprinkle on top of batter.
  11. Bake for 50-60 minutes, 35 -45 minutes for cupcakes (1/4 cup batter) and 25-30 minutes for mini muffins.
  12. Cool for 10 minutes and then turn the loaf out onto a rack.

Original Recipe Source: Reluctant Entertainer – Secret Walnut Banana Bread by Sandy
Image Credit: Freshly Baked by Ginny, CC BY-SA 2.0

One Pot Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

This vegan version of Stroganoff is my go-to recipe whenever I entertain vegan guests! It’s super simple to make in a single pot, and is one of the few vegan recipes I can stand to eat, LOL. I usually go ahead and cook up some real beef on the side for anyone who wants to add it (namely me).


  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced into strips
  • 16 ounces cremini mushrooms (Baby Bella), cut in chunky halves or quarters
  • 1 TBS cooking oil
  • 8 ounces dry pasta; about 4 cups
  • 2-3 cups imitation “beef-flavored” broth, BONE broth preferred for the extra flavor
  • 1 can of coconut CREAM 13.66os (not milk) or 1 cup vegan heavy cream substitute
  • 2 TBS Better Than Bouillon “No Beef” base (or similar beef bouillon substitute)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • [Optional]
  • vegan sour cream for garnish
  • 1 TBS corn starch if sauce is too thin
  • 1 lb vegan ground beef, precooked


  1. Sauté the Onion: add oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add in the sliced onions and salt and cook until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Cook the Pasta: Start by adding only 2 cups of the beef-flavored broth (reserve the rest) to your pot. Add in the pasta, mushrooms, coconut cream, bouillon, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. 
    *Add extra broth if needed to keep the sauce abundant. Different brands of pasta will absorb more or less liquid.
    **If sauce is thin, thicken with cornstarch slurry at the end.
    ***If you are using meat, add pre-cooked meat at the end.
  3. Serve: top with black pepper, and serve warm. 
  4. [Optional] Add a dollop of vegan Sour Cream on top to make the dish extra creamy

Original Recipe Credit: From My Bowl – One Pot Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff by Caitlin Shoemaker (tweaked to my preferences)
Image Credit: From My bowl by Caitlin Shoemaker 

Food, Fun & Friendship

Like most of us for the last 2 years, I haven’t done a lot of socializing or entertaining since the beginning of the Pandemic. Even an introverted hermit like myself was starting to feel the pressure! Although the Pandemic is far from over, I think things are starting to get back to normal just a bit, and it has been really nice to start having people over again.

Normally my motto is “Solitude equals Serenity”, but even I have my limits! I have always enjoyed cooking for people, and while I am far from a professional chef, my guests always seem thrilled with my culinary offerings! Without anyone else to cook for, I never really felt the urge to cook anything special, and I was getting tired of soup and sandwiches.

Now my skills are being put to the test again, especially since lately it seems all of my guests have dietary restrictions. I’m getting pretty good at cooking gluten-free and vegetarian, but vegan is a tough nut to crack (and all the dairy products are even made of nuts, lol)! Having to forgo my usual dairy staples is something I have a hard time with, so when I cook for vegans, I often cook 2 separate meals.

Once the food is put away, it’s time for the “fun” part of the evening, and out come the games! My sister has been bringing a whole new group of friends around, and it has been interesting meeting new people. I can’t count how many people we have introduced to the world of geeky strategy games! It’s not the hobby for everyone, but this new crew seems to really enjoy it, and we’ve been having get-togethers much more frequently than usual, which has been a nice change of pace. Food and Fun has led to new Friendships, and you just can’t beat that, can you?