Good Better Best Kitchen Helpers-Frontier Soups

While I try to cook most things from scratch, especially for dinner, sometimes we all need a little help in the kitchen.  When the temperatures drop, I love to put on a good pot of soup.  Most of the time I make my soups from scratch but every now and then I use a mix.  I have tried a lot of other soup mixes but the ones I think are the best are from Frontier Soups.

I have probably been buying Frontier Soups for almost ten years and they are always yummy.  They have some that take a couple of hours to cook and they also the Homemade in Minutes line.  No matter which you choose they are made with natural ingredients and are easy to Good, Better, Best.

It's so easy to Good, Better, Best with Frontier Soups as many of them start with Good, Better, Best staples such as the whole grain beans and wild rice.  Add in organic stock or chicken to these soups and you have an easy Good, Better, Best meal!

I recently purchased the Gluten Free sampler and have made basically one soup per week.  We had some crazy weather a couple of weeks ago with wet snow in October and a fun event at the Sweet Boy's school.  When we were finished with the event we all just wanted to get warm, so we all put on our house pants, turned on a movie and started a pot of the Wisconsin Lakeshore Wild Rice Soup.  It was very tasty and just the thing for a bad weather day.

The next Friday night I was having a girls night to help support my friend's business, so I made the Illinois Prairie Corn Chowder.  I put all of the ingredients in the crockpot and let it cook all day.  Perfect meal for shopping with a nice glass of white wine!

Last weekend, California Gold Rush White Bean Chili cooked all day in the crockpot while I worked the Open House at the Sweet Boy's school and was ready when we got home from hockey practice.

With the busy holiday season, these soups are just the thing to have cooking while you run errands or attend a nieghborhood gathering.  They also make great gifts, especially for teachers.  And many are gluten free!

So check out Frontier Soups and don't forget to Good, Better, Best them.  I am thinking the Chicago Bistro French Onion Soup for this weekend...Running Daddy loves French Onion Soup!

Enjoy the Best Food!

Pecan Turkey Breasts with Roasted Butternut Squash

Today felt like a wonderful fall day.  Perfect temperature and clear and crisp.  This was the Best meal to cap off such a beautiful day.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Preheat oven to 375

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Slice a butternut squash in half and then in half again.  Scoop out seeds.  Spray with olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, sea salt and nutmeg. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until tender. 

Once roasted, cut the outer skin off the squash and cut into small cubes and enjoy.

Pecan Turkey Breasts

4 boneless turkey breasts without skin
salt and pepper
3 Tbs butter divided
1 medium shallot
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1tsp dry rubbed sage
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup chicken broth

Season turkey with salt and pepper. 

Heat skillet and add 2 Tbs of butter over medium heat.

Add turkey breasts and cook for about 6 minutes per side until done.  Remove from heat and keep turkey breasts warm in foil.

Saute shallots, pecans and sage in remaining butter for about  2 minutes.  Add white wine and broth.

Increase heat and bring sauce to a boil.  Continue to boil the sauce for about 8 minutes until the sauce is thickened.

Spoon sauce over turkey breasts and enjoy.

 I also served this with sauteed zucchini. Running Daddy and I enjoyed this amazing meal with a Pinot Grigio from AmRhein Vineyards, a local Virginia wine.

To make this Better use organic turkey, organic or farmers market squash, or organic broth.  To make Best use multiple elements of organic turkey, organic or farmers market squash, or organic broth.

Enjoy the Best food!


September 26-Family Day, A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children

Tomorrow, September 26th is Family Day-A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children.  This day encourages families of all types to stop, take 30 minutes and eat dinner as a family.  To that I say...hurrah!

I remember where I was when I first heard about this concept.  It was 2006 and the Sweet Boy was a baby, less than two months old, and I was driving down the main road in our neighborhood.  I was struck by the idea that families had become so busy that they were not eating dinner together to the point that they needed to create a day for Americans to stop and spend time together at the dinner table.  The data on how adversly children can be impacted just by families not eating dinner together on a regular basis was astounding to me.

According to the statistics for Family Day, the CASA Columbia report finds " that compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are almost four times likelier to use tobacco; more than twice as likely to use alcohol; two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future." 

There is more information on the CASA Family Day website

There in my car with the Sweet Boy, I decided that was not going to be a problem for our family.  No matter how busy our family got with work, school or extracirricular activities, we were going to eat dinner together on a regular basis. And for the most part, we do a real dinner together almost every night.  I believe on this day, at that intersection, the seed for Good, Better, Best Food was planted.

Part of the reason why I am so passionate about Good Better Best Food is that I want people to understand that they can take 30 minutes or so and make a meal that will not only nourish their bodies but will also strengthen their family.  That it is not only important to their physical health but also to the health of their family structure.

Good, Better, Best is a resource to help busy people understand that with a little planning dinner does not have to be a big, stressful deal.  I hope that that after you read the information from CASA about the importance of eating dinner together as a family you too will make this commitment.  Good, Better, Best is here to help.

Feel free to leave me comments about what you are going to try and do to eat dinner as a family!

Happy Family Day!  Enjoy the Best Food!

Back to School with Good Better Best-Part 1 Snacks

So the sweet boy started kindergarten last week and with that big change comes a whole new challenge for the Good Better Best household...the lunch box!  Even though the sweet boy is in full day kindergarten, for the first week they had all half days, so we needed snacks only last week. 

This got me thinking about all of the great snacks we can do in the Good Better Best way!

Here are ten ideas aka two school weeks worth:

-Cucumber slices with either organic ranch dressing or hummus.  The sweet boy brought farmers market cucumbers one day last week.
-Switch the granola bars to either organic or whole grain.  We like the Annie's brand.
-Yogurt makes a great lunch box snack...go organic.
-Whole grain crackers with cheese.
-Edamame...the sweet boy loves edamame and it is great for a lunch box snack.
-Cut up market or organic.
-Organic raisins and other dried fruit.
-Every kid loves Goldfish...they make cheddar ones that are whole grain...go for those they will never know the difference.
-Brown rice cake with either organic jelly or cheese.
-Get your calcium on with organic cheese sticks.

So those are just some ideas to start with.  Feel free to add ideas in the comment section below.

Speaking of lunch boxes, this time of year we are all trying to make sure that all of the fun lunch boxes, water bottles, school uniforms and new school clothes make it home.  The best way to do that is with the labeling products from Mabel's Labels.  I have tried labels from other companies and they either don't stick the first time or fall off after a week or so.  Not with Mabel's Labels they are fantastic products. 

I especially like the shoe labels which can be used for so much more than shoes.  They are waterproof and dishwasher safe for things like sandwich boxes, ice packs, water bottles etc.  They have all types of great labels for both home and school.  You can check them out at this link and get a special deal on the Ultimate Back to School combo. 

Mabel's Labels <a href="" target="_blank" onmouseover="window.status='';return true;" onmouseout="window.status=' ';return true;"> Ultimate Back-to-School Combo </a> is back for a limited time only. Label your gear today!<img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0"/>

Enjoy the Best lunch box!

The Hurricane Irene Good Better Best Table

Last weekend brought Hurricane Irene to the Mid-Atlantic region, no real drama thank heavens, although we did have a 19 hour power outage in our neighborhood.  Since the day after any hurricane is usually beautiful weather it gave the neighbors time to chat while we all cleaned up our yards. 

While the Sweet Boy played with the kids across the street it gave the grown ups the idea that we should take whatever was in the fridge that might not make it due to the power outage and just throw together a fun lunch.  So that is what we did...Good Better Best style.

We didn't intend to make this Good Better Best...but it ended up that way.  I brought over some kosher hot dogs, farmers market cucumber, oganic tortilla chips and famers market apples.  Our neighbors had steaks, big salad and grilled peppers and broccoli.  Miss Judy brought over some deer dogs, yes deer dogs and we were good to go!  Grand finale, all of the ice cream that was about to melt.

It was a great afternoon with a big lunch, great beer and wine and the kids playing.  If we had tried to plan this it never would have worked out.

See, even post-hurricane you can enjoy a meal in the Good Better Best style!

Enjoy the best food.

Good Better Best Hurricane Style

Quick post as we get ready for Hurricane Irene.

Today I made a quick run to the farmers market pre-Hurricane Irene.  Was able to get fresh corn and also visit Big Riggs for apples, green squash, yellow squash, and green beans.  No reason why my hurricane preparedness can't be Good Better Best!

Everyone was in good spirits at the market today.  If you are going to be stuck inside for a few days why not have the Best produce! 

Enjoy the Best food!

The Good Better Best Grilled Pizza Experiment 2011

I have been intrigued by grilling pizza for some time now but I was a little intimidated by it.  At some point this summer Running Daddy and I saw a Bobby Flay show about grilling pizza and decided it was time to try it.  Well we did on Sunday night and it was so easy...and so yummy.  We did two grilled pizzas in the Good Better Best style, a grilled vegetable and fresh mozzarella for Running Daddy and me and a cheese for the Sweet Boy.  Here is how we did it.

With the crust, you can use any type of crust that you would like.  I used the recipe on the box of the Gluten Free Bisquick to make gluten free pizza crust and it was amazing.  But you could use a prepared shell or the pizza dough from Trader Joe's is very good!

Veggie Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella
1 cup each of eggplant, green pepper, yellow squash and zucchini
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup prepared tomato sauce
1 1/2 fresh mozzarella balls (large)
3 stalks of fresh basil
Sea Salt

Slice vegetables into small pieces and put in a bowl.  Add 2 Tbs of olive oil and toss to coat.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Grill vegetables until done over medium high heat until done, about 10 minutes.

If the dough is uncooked press out into a round pizza shape and brush lightly with oil. 

Add dough to preheated grill that is medium high in heat.Grill pizza dough on foil until throughly cooked about 5 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, thin slices of mozzarella cheese and the grilled vegetables.  Topped with fresh chopped basil.

Place the pizza, on the foil back on the grill and grill for about 4-5 minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from the grill and enjoy.
Grilled Cheese Pizza
1 cup prepared tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

If the dough is uncooked press out into a round pizza shape and brush lightly with oil. 

Add dough to preheated grill that is medium high in heat.Grill pizza dough on foil until throughly cooked about 5 minutes.

Add tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Place the pizza, on the foil back on the grill and grill for about 4-5 minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from the grill and enjoy.

To say we were raving about this on Sunday night would be an understatement.  The Sweet Boy was very hungry so I gave him a slice of cheese pizza first...he said to me "Mom, wait till you taste is soooo good."

To make Better use a whole grain crust, farmers market, organic or home grown vegetables, organic tomato sauce or organic cheese.  To make Best use multiple elements of whole grain crust, farmers market, organic or home grown vegetables, organic tomato sauce and organic cheese.

Enjoy the Best pizza!


Rosemary and White Wine Chicken

This recipe is so simple and so yummy.  You can whip this up on a week night and Good, Better, Best it in no time.  I made up this recipe trying to figure out what else I could do with all of rosemary taking over our garden...and it is taking over in a good way.

Ok, let's get this chicken going!

1 package thin sliced chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter divided
1 cup white wine
3 large springs of rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of butter.  Once melted add the chicken breasts.

Cook the chicken breasts until done about 8-10 minutes total.  Take chicken out of the pan and keep warm in aluminum foil.

Melt the second Tbsp of butter in the pan.  Once melted add the cup of white wine and bring to a quick boil.  After about a minute, bring the temperature down to a simmer and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the bits from chicken.

White the white wine is simmering, wash and dry the rosemary.  Remove the rosemary needles and run a knife through the rosemary needles for a course chop.  You will really smell the rosemary once you do this.

Add the rosemary to the wine sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the chicken on top of a bed of rice, I used white jasmine rice, and then add the rosemary wine sauce.  Serve with a simple vegetable such as steamed green beans or broccoli.

To make Better add one element of organic chicken, garden grown or farmers market rosemary, serve over brown rice or with organic or farmers market vegetables.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic chicken, garden grown or farmers market rosemary, serve over brown rice or with organic or farmers market vegetables.

Enjoy the Best Food!

Good Better Best: Easy Burger Night

Just wanted to share with you how easy a Good, Better, Best meal can be.  While I love to share my recipes with you, you can make even burger night Good, Better, Best.

Tonight we had cheeseburgers on the grill made with beef from South Mountain Creamery.  Running Daddy and the Sweet Boy had their burgers on a whole wheat bun.  For sides we had sweet potato fries and sliced cucumbers from our Good, Better, Best Organic Garden.

Enjoy the Best food!

Good Better Best Organic Garden 2011-The First Fruits...Make That Vegetables of My Labor

So today we returned from our annual Fourth of July Beach vacation.  Once Running Daddy, the Sweet Boy and I unloaded the car, I went to check the garden.  Oh my, so much had happened in the Good, Better, Best Organic garden since we left for the beach!  All of the vegetables have really taken off but so had the weeds. 

I truly think that the key to this years garden has been the Coast of Maine Lobster Compost that we added  when we planted the garden.  We have lived in our house five years this summer and I have planted a vegetable garden every year since 2007.  Until this year we have had pretty lackluster results.  A few tomatos here and there, maybe one pepper, one or two cumcumbers and that was it until this year.  We planted the same weekend as every year in the past, Memorial Day, but I truly think the Coast of Maine Lobster Compost is the key.

When I went to check the garden  today I immediately saw a large yellow squash plant and was very happy.  The cucumber vines were all over the right side of the garden and filled with flowers.  There were tons of green tomatoes on the vines.  Peppers are looking good. There is definitly something going on with the watermelon.  Basil looks healthy and of course the rosemary bush is taking over the garden.  I am definitly going to have to give away some of the rosemary this needs a haircut.

But...the weeds seem to love the Lobster Compost as well!  So after being home about an hour I headed out to the organic garden and began to pull the weeds and wild grasses that have found a home in our garden.  I certainly don't want those pesky weeds pulling all of the water and other nutrients from my victory garden!  It took about an hour but I got all of the weeds out. 

As I was carefully moving my healthy vines I also found three cucumbers that had grown while we were at the beach.  I was thrilled to have these three beautiful cucumbers and the yellow squash for the week ahead.

Now that we are home this week I look forward to serving up a great Good, Better, Best dish with these garden vegetables.  Thinking of sauteing the yellow squash with the basil, the Sweet Boy all of a sudden likes things with basil and he loves cucumbers.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Good, Better, Best Organic Garden 2011!  How is your garden going this summer.  Maybe you need some Lobster Compost!
Enjoy the Best Food!

The Good Better Best Organic Garden 2011

Good Better Best Organic Garden  2011 with the rosemary bush from 2009
that even survived Snowmagedeon 2010

Summer is a great time for Good Better Best.  All of the farmers markets are open, although mine runs all year, the produce is fresh and every year I try a garden which is a great source for Good Better Best

We have lived in our house for five years next month and except for the first year I have had a small vegetable garden.  Now, I will not say that it has been super successful but I do attempt it every year.  Frankly, the whole gardening thing has intimidated me.  I often feel like it is a lot of work without a lot of success for me.  I think part of my challenge is that I don't plant enough and part of the problem is that I don't fertilize with anything. 

So the first part is easier...plant more.  I have a whole new philosphy this year on gardening both for flowers and for vegetables.  Instead of being fearful that I make a new philosophy is "put it in the ground and see what happens".  So today the Sweet Boy and I purchased yukon gold potatos, Roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, peppers, basil, yellow squash, cucumbers and watermelon (for the Sweet Boy).  The yukon golds were a total inpulse buy..I saw them and the Sweet Boy said to me..."Mommy put it in the ground and see what happens."  So with all of the plants in the garden this year something has to grow!

The second part...fertilizer is tricky for me.  While I want big beautiful vegetables and fruits from my garden, the thought of putting commercial chemicals on there to make them grow big and strong kinda defeats the whole purpose of the backyard garden for me.  I just can't bear the thought of putting chemicals on this garden...although I did look at them.

My friend and neighbor Ward has been telling me for years about  a product that is basicaly crushed crab shells.  It is hard to find, but this is a little more what I had in mind.  So after a trip to Home Depot for the plants and not finding anything I would use for fertilizer on this garden, the Sweet Boy and I took a trip to our local hardware store in our quaint neighborhood.  Village Hardware is an old fashioned hardware store with amazing customer service in Alexandria, VA.  When we went in I told them I was looking for fertilizer for our vegetable garden that would be organic and that I had no idea what I was doing.  One of the people who works at Village Hardware recommended the "lobster mix" which sounded like what Ward was talking about..but even better for me because being from New England there is nothing more that I love than lobster!  So off we went with a bag of Coast of Maine Lobster Compost.

Today I spent a very hot Memorial Day putting in all of the plants and then adding in the lobster mix.  I had to do it in two shifts due to my health issues but all of the plants were in by dinnertime.  Clearly marked so that I do not forget what is planted where.  I hope that the plants did not get in too late..but I "put it in the ground and we will see what happens!

I will keep you updated on the Good Better Best Organic Garden 2011 and will share recipes as I hopefully use produce from the garden.  Please feel free to email me any tips or leave comments with helpful tips below!



Yellow Squash


Chicken with a mustard cream sauce


Long time no post.  So it was the holidays ( I know like a month ago) and I also had a double ear infection (like a 6 yr old).  Then I was about to buy a new laptop....bought a new laptop and then needed to deal with the installation etc.  So now it is the end of January and I am finally getting back to posting Good Better Best.

I hope that all of you are working hard and keeping your healthy living/healthy eating New Year's resolutions.  If Good Better Best can help in any way, let me know.  I can take requests for recipe makeovers.  Who doesn't love a makeover!

So this next recipe is chicken in a mustard cream sauce.  I love this recipe as does Running Daddy.  It is very tasty and seriously I can make this in about 25 minutes even when the traffic is really bad.  This recipe can come together even faster if you purchase the "thin sliced" chicken breasts at your local supermarket.

I are going to ask me about the cream.  I am all about real food...period.  I don't like all of these "fat free half and half" etc.  They take out the fat and then add things like chemicals and corn syrup.  I would rather see someone have a little cream in a dish and be fully satisfied than eat a bunch of substitutions that you cannot pronounce.   Plus in this recipe it is only 3/4 cup of cream split between 4-6 people.  You do not have to drown it in sauce.

Ok, so now that I am off my cream soap is the recipe!

Good: Chicken in a mustard cream sauce

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine (substitute chicken broth if you do not want to use wine)
3/4 cup cream
3 tbs Dijon mustard

Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally so that they are more like a scallopine.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once heated add the olive oil.

Add chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken about 3-4 minutes per size or until they reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Add white wine and simmer, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Keep doing this until the wine mixture is reduced by half.

Add cream and mustard and simmer for two minutes.

Remove skillet from heat.

Serve chicken over rice with steamed broccoli.

Better add one element of organic chicken breasts, server over brown rice or with organic broccoli.  To make it Best add multiple elements of organic chicken, brown rice and organic broccoli.

Traffic?  What traffic!

Enjoy the Best food!
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