Showing posts with label Confession Is Murder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Confession Is Murder. Show all posts

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Fish Tale

by Peg Cochran

Or, "A Fish Dish We Actually Liked."  I have to confess to not knowing a whole lot about cooking fish although I have zillions of recipes for beef, pork, lamb and chicken. In an effort to consume more fish I bought a bag of frozen "swai."  (Fresh fish is hideously expensive in Michigan because we are so far from the sea.) I had no idea what swai was, but it said it was mild and buttery tasting so I figured that would be good.  I later discovered (via the great Wikipedia) that swai is Vietnamese cat fish.  I did not tell my husband that before serving this to him!

I found this recipe online and scribbled down the directions without noting where it came from so I cannot give proper attribution.  But it was easy and we really liked it!  As a matter of fact, I made it twice in two weeks--a record for us.

The original recipe was for six fillets but I cut it down to two which is all we needed to eat.  Leftover fish isn't something you take to work the next day and heat up in the office microwave--not unless you really want to irritate your colleagues.


2 fish fillets (swai or tilapia or cod would all work)
olive oil
Fish seasoning
Lemon juice and/or white wine

Rinse and dry your fillets with a paper towel.  Then dry them with a second paper towel--it seems like overkill but they will brown better.  Either sprinkle the fish with a seasoning of your choice or mix the seasoning into a couple of scoops of flour that you've put on a plate.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Dip fish in flour and cover on both sides.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil (just enough to coat the pan) in a saute pan until shimmering but not smoking.  No need to set off the smoke alarm.  Place the floured fish in the pan and cook for three minutes.

Flip the fish (a metal spatula works best) and place 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each fillet.  Cook two minutes more.  Remove fish to a plate, turn down heat, and add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the pan.  If you don't have enough lemon juice, you can mix it with white wine.  Deglaze the pan and pour the sauce (there will be very little but that's okay) over the fish. 

Voila!  Dinner! Make some easy sides and you've got this on the table in less than half an hour.

I used a store brand fish and seafood seasoning that had bits of lemon and orange in it.

I mixed the fish seasoning in with the flour

Dip your fillets in the flour and cover on both sides

Brown one side, flip, and place 1/2 tablespoon of butter on top of each fillet


 Have you met Lucille and Flo from my Lucille series? Reviewers have called them "the Italian Lucy and Ethel" and "I Love Lucy meets Jersey Shore."  Hit and Nun is the latest--the first two, Confession Is Murder and Unholy Matrimony are only $.99 for all e-readers.


Pre-order now:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker

From the kitchen of...Peg Cochran

No, not really.  This is a Nigella Lawson recipe.  I saw her make it on television, and I thought no way!  It's that easy to make ice cream?  I made it the first time for Christmas dinner and served it with a chocolate roll cake with mocha filling.  Heavenly!  And soooo easy.  (The ice cream, not the cake!)

This would be great to impress guests with.  "Oh, yes, I whipped up the ice cream myself..." (wait for applause.)  You could serve it alone, sprinkled with some cocoa powder, on top of a store bought pound cake (I won't tell!).  The possibilities are endless.  She also made a Margarita flavored ice cream which I plan to try soon.  What fun for a Mexican themed party!  I'll share that if it comes out.

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (I used Medaglio D'Oro)
*2 tablespoons espresso liqueur like Kahluha

*This time I substituted Bailey's Irish Cream for the coffee liqueur--seriously, who doesn't love Bailey's?

Put all the ingredients into a bowl of your mixer.  I used a stand mixer.  Whip until soft peaks form--don't overwhip--you're not making whipped cream.

Freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

Seriously.  That's it.  Enjoy straight from the freezer--no need to let it soften.

Simple ingredients!

Add cream, condensed milk, espresso powder and liqueur to your mixer

Whip until soft and "voluptuous" as Nigella says (if you eat too much of this you will be very voluptuous!)

You can eat it straight from the freezer--in a midnight raid if that's your style!

Speaking of food...the character in my latest Lucille Mystery Series book--Hit and Nun--is a huge fan of food--pizza in particular which she is convinced is on the Paleo diet she is trying to follow!  Available now for all e-readers.

From a review at Marceline's Fan Zone: "From beginning to end I truly enjoyed each of Lucille’s attempts to rationalize what she was eating with the Paleo diet she was certain that she was using. I laughed out loud every time she tried to determine if the cavemen would have eaten the item that she was considering eating." 

ALSO!  The first two books in the series, Confession Is Murder and Unholy Matrimony are on sale this month for only $.99 each at all ebook retailers!  Here's your chance to catch up with Lucille, Flo and the whole gang! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Soup with Chicken, Pasta, Spinach, Beans and Tomatoes

by Peg Cochran

In other words, soup with everything but the kitchen sink.  This is a "what's in the pantry" kind of soup.  Today it was on the chilly side  --autumn is rushing in after an unexpected warm spell where all anyone wanted to do was grill because we knew the season would soon be over.  But today was definitely a soup day.  I absolutely adore soup, and it takes the sting out of the fact that winter is breathing down our neck. (Although PLEASE no ten foot snow piles this year, okay?)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (depending on how closely you are watching your calories!)
1 medium to large onion, diced
2 carrots shredded (easy peasy in the food processor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth (homemade or canned)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes plus juice
1 can cannellini beans 
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
1 cup elbow macaroni or ditalini or tubetini
1/2 5-ounce bag baby spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add onion, carrot and garlic and cook until wilted--about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cannellini beans and chicken and cook 10 to 15 minutes at a simmer to develop flavors. 

Bring soup to a boil, add pasta, reduce heat and cook according to pasta directions.  Just before the pasta is done, stir in about two handfuls of spinach and cook until spinach wilts. 

Spoon into bowls and add a healthy grating of fresh Parmesan cheese. 

Chop an onion

Shred a couple of carrots--a great way to hide veggies in a dish.

Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes 

You can use regular spinach, but baby spinach is so tender!


Full of delicious goodness!


Huh?  What does this have to do with soup?  Nothing.  But when I hard-boiled this egg I discovered it was double-yolked and I had to share this picture with you!

Have you tried the first book in my Gourmet De-Lite series?

Preparing calorie-conscious meals for the dieters of Woodstone, Connecticut, Gigi Fitzgerald knows a cheater when she sees one. And when murder is on the menu, she's ready to get the skinny on whodunit...
And the first in my Lucille series...
For middle-aged “Jersey girl” Lucille Mazzarella, only two things in life really count—her family and her friends. When her brother-in-law’s body falls out of a church confessional, everything she holds dear is threatened, especially when the police arrest her husband for the murder.

Plagued by hot flashes, a thickening waistline, a mother addicted to the home shopping channel, and a sexy old flame who’s come back to town, Lucille really has her hands full. And while she may not know much about solving crimes, this traditional churchgoer with very modern attitudes knows that with some prayers, some fast thinking, and some even faster talk she might just be able to nail the killer and restore order to her life.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Cake the Dog Ate

by Peg Cochran

The Cake the Dog Ate -- that sounds like the title of one of those moody, dark Swedish mysteries, doesn't it?  Actually, it's Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake.  Stick with me and I'll explain about the dog...

This recipe makes two single layer eight inch cakes.  I took one cake to a party we were going to that evening and left the other cake on the kitchen table to take to the picnic we were going to with my daughter for Father's Day.  Instead of all chairs around our kitchen table, we replaced two of them with a two person bench.  The dog, Reg, got up on the bench and ate a good bit of the cake while we were gone.  He also ate all the cat's food and knocked her dish off the bench (where we keep it so he doesn't eat it).  I guess he wanted something "savory" after the sweet!

This cake was really easy to make.  And if you like banana and coconut, it's a winner!


1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
6 bananas sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used 5 1/2 bananas actually)
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two eight-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.

Beat cake mix, eggs, oil, water and sour cream on low until mixed and then beat for an additional two minutes.

Beat ingredients for two minutes

Place banana slices on the bottom of each pan
Melt butter and stir in sugar and lemon juice and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour half the mixture over the bananas in each pan.
Sprinkle half the coconut over bananas in each pan
Pour half the batter into each pan and smooth. Bake 35 to 40 minutes let rest 5 minutes then invert onto plate

Before the dog

After the dog

Book #2 in my Lucille series--available for all e-readers

Book #3 in my Gourmet De-Lite series

Learn more by visiting my web site.  I'm also on Facebook and Twitter @pegcochran  Stop by and say hello!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Lucille Mazzarella, the character in my Lucille Series (Unholy Matrimony—just released—and Confession Is Murder) is a big believer in home cooked meals.  As Lucille would say, “I ain’t feeding my Frankie or my Bernadette no meals that come out of a cardboard box.”  Every Sunday Lucille cooks dinner for the whole family—husband Frankie, daughter Bernadette, her sister Angela and her husband, her best friend Flo (who is in charge of bringing the cannolis for dessert), Father Brennan from St. Rocco’s and Cousin Louis and Cousin Millie who are Frankie’s father’s cousins once removed.

But even Lucille sometimes doesn’t feel like running to the A&P to get groceries after a busy day of tracking down a murderer.  That’s when she assesses the contents of her pantry and figures out how to make something with what she has on hand.

This dish came about much like that.  I didn’t want to leave our warm, cozy home to brave the (interminable) cold and snow to buy something for dinner.  I rummaged around and found some boneless chicken thighs and a box of thin spaghetti.  I always have cans of diced tomatoes on hand, some wine or vermouth and onions. 

I’m sure there’s a “real” recipe for this type of dish and it may even have a name, but in this case it was a matter of pulling things from the pantry and freezer and coming up with something for dinner!

I’ve done something similar with pork chops, and I imagine you could use chicken breasts, but I think the thighs have more flavor.  You can add mushrooms or not…depending on whether you have any!

 Chicken thighs—I think I had around five
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
Dash of wine (red or white—about ¼ cup or so)
Mushrooms if you have some on hand
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
Salt to taste

Heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until onions are soft.  Push onions and garlic to one side and brown chicken thighs on both sides—about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Add mushrooms, if using, and saute briefly.  Add splash of wine to pan to deglaze, stirring to incorporate any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add tomatoes and cover.  Simmer for about 30 minutes until chicken is done and flavor has developed.

Serve over spaghetti or pasta.

Use a splash of red wine or white.

Simmer ingredients until chicken is done and flavor has developed

A tasty dinner without a trip to the grocery store!

The hilarious Lucille Mazzarella is back and planning a wedding. But even the worst Bridezilla can’t create the wedding drama she’s about to face in this second book in the series. 

Desperate to see her pregnant daughter Bernadette married before the baby comes, Lucille is engrossed in all things wedding. Nothing will distract her from planning this Mazzarella main event. Nothing, that is, except for the murder of the mother of the groom. 

Just when things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Lucille is named as the prime suspect, and it’s a race against time as she and her best friend Flo struggle with shady financial dealings, a family that isn’t at all what it seems, a groom that might not be all man, and a little bundle of joy that might make an appearance before the mother can say I do. 

Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Stop by my web site or catch up with me on Facebook @pegcochran

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Shepherd's Pie De-Lite

From Peg Cochran

Gigi Fitzgerald from my Gourmet De-Lite series delivers lower calorie meals to her group of clients.  One of the things she makes is shepherd's pie.  We've had some great shepherd's pie recipes here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, but if you want to try one that won't wreak havoc on your diet, here you go!

1 onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1.25 lbs. ground turkey

1 cup frozen peas

1 small container of fresh mushrooms, sliced 

1/4 cup ketchup

1 14.5-ounce can mushroom gravy (Campbells had only 100 calories for the whole can)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

5 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed with skim or 1/2 percent milk

First off, make your mashed potatoes.  This dish is so flavorful you won't miss having butter in them (I only put butter in the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving!)

Chop the onion and sauté in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft.  Add ground turkey and saute until turkey loses its pink color.

Add frozen peas and mushrooms

Stir in ketchup, gravy and Worcestershire sauce.  Place in a casserole dish--one that you can take straight to the table is great!

Spread mashed potatoes on top.

Cook in a 350 degree oven until bubbling and slightly browned on top--approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy free of guilt!  This is something the whole family will like.

If you want to read more about Gigi and her adventures, Iced to Death comes out on March 4.  Allergic to Death and Steamed to Death are out now.  Steamed to Death is available in large print.  All books contain more light recipes.

Coming March 4 - 4 stars from RT Book Review!

And if you'd like to read about the adventures of middle-aged Jersey Girl Lucille Mazzarella, check out Confession Is Murder, ("laugh out loud funny".) Available now.

Visit my web site or my Facebook page.  Or follow me on Twitter @pegcochran

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Heart & Soul Warming Crockpot Split Pea Soup

From Peg Cochran

Growing up, there was no way I would touch pea soup.  Yuck!  It's green.  My first exposure came from the canned variety, and I have to tell you that homemade is a world apart!  This soup can be put together in the morning, simmer in your slow cooker all day, and when you get home you have a delicious dinner waiting for you.  Top with a grating of parmesan cheese, a handful of croutons and serve with some crusty bread and butter.


1 onion, chopped
3 carrots peeled and chopped 
1 15-ounce can of chicken broth
3 cups water
2 or 3 turkey sausages, squeezed out of the casing and broken into small bits
1 16-ounce bag of split peas, picked over and rinsed

Chop carrots in food processor until desired size (or you can slice them thinly--my husband prefers his vegetables disguised!)  Add along with the rest of the ingredients to your slow cooker.  Cook on low until peas are tender--approximately eight hours.  Soup will be thick--add more water if desired.

Carrots chopped in food processor

Carrots can be chopped or sliced

Carrots and chopped onion ready for the slow cooker

1 lb. rinsed split peas

Carrots, onions, split peas and sausage in slow cooker

A delicious warm dinner on a cold night!

Sign up for my newsletter at my website and join me on Facebook or Twitter @pegcochran!

Coming February 4!

For Valentine’s Day, Emma Taylor and her aunt Arabella have organized a special evening for men only to shop for their sweethearts in the Sweet Nothings lingerie shop, complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. But when a former valentine shows up, Aunt Arabella is not her usual bubbly self.

Art dealer Hugh Granger is still a charmer, though. He invites the women to a ball he’s having to celebrate his birthday and his return to Paris, Tennessee. But when Granger is pushed from the balcony, it paints a sinister picture for Aunt Arabella, who gets framed…for her old flame’s murder.

Out now!

For middle-aged “Jersey girl” Lucille Mazzarella, only two things in life really count—her family and her friends. When her brother-in-law’s body falls out of a church confessional, everything she holds dear is threatened, especially when the police arrest her husband for the murder. 

Plagued by hot flashes, a thickening waistline, a mother addicted to the home shopping channel, and a sexy old flame who’s come back to town, Lucille really has her hands full. And while she may not know much about solving crimes, this traditional churchgoer with very modern attitudes knows that with some prayers, some fast thinking, and some even faster talk she might just be able to nail the killer and restore order to her life. 

Stop by my Facebook page and click on contest for further details!