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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Balsamic Red Onion and Sausage Tart Recipe

This recipe is guest approved.


It is savory with a touch of sweetness. It is the Balsamic Red Onion and Sausage Tart… With Fresh Herbs and Le Gruyère Cheese Perfectly Melted On Top.

But, you know, I had to stop the name somewhere.


  • 1 Pillsbury pie crust
  • One 14 oz. package smoked beef sausage
  • 1/2 large red onion
  •  8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon each finely chopped, fresh rosemary or basil, oregano, and thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

First spray a tart pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line pan with a pie crust. A Pillsbury pie crust rolled out a little bit will work just fine. (Pillsbury isn’t sweet like the off-brands). Bake pie crust for 15-20 minutes until done.

Cut beef sausage into large, bite-sized pieces.

Yeah. Like that.

Thinly slice red onion and then cut slices in half.

Finely chop fresh herbs.

Whisk eggs, milk, freshly chopped herbs and salt & pepper together.

Pour most of eggs into cooked pie crust.

Begin browning sausage pieces over medium high heat and then add onions.

Cook until onions are caramelized and then add balsamic vinegar. Allow to cook for a couple more minutes.

Place onions and sausage into tart pan with the eggs. Place tart pan into oven and then pour remaining eggs in. If pan is very full, place a half sheet baking pan underneath to prevent dripping. Grate cheese over the top.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife poked into the center of the tart comes out clean. Serves 4-5 people.

Le tart. Le sigh.

This recipe can also be made in a pie pan. Just add a couple more eggs to the recipe.


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Cinco de Mayo Fresh Fajita Pizza Recipe

This week I’ll be sharing some mix and match recipes.  We’ll put together recipes I’ve posted before that can be combined to make new, amazing fiestas. See what I did there?

Today’s mix & match:

     Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 11.43.35 AM     Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 11.45.18 AM

Pizza Crust + Fajita Chicken + Pico de Gallo = Cinco de Mayo Fresh Fajita Pizza

First, make a double batch of the pizza crust here. to fill a half sheet pan. I’ve used a round pizza pan that I bought at a garage sale in Montana about 10 years ago. One of those happy memories from when my kids were little. A fifty cent pizza pan can make one feel like one is winning the lottery. I bought two and won the lottery twice.

While the pizza dough is rising, you can prepare the fresh salsa. Stir and let it rest.  I replaced the cucumbers with tomatoes for this pizza.

You can find the fajita chicken here.

Bake the crust until light golden brown. I could just sit and eat this. By myself. While watching Celebrity Apprentice.

To prepare the “pizza sauce”, just add some salt & pepper to taste to about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of  Mexican crema.

Yeah. Like that.

To assemble the pizza layer as follows:

  • Mexican crema
  • Jack & white cheddar cheese, grated
  • Fajita chicken
  • Fresh pico de gallo (Give one last stir then use a draining spoon so that the excess juices can be discarded and won’t make your pizza soggy.)


Such a lovely and easy combination to start the week. Mucho delicioso.

Handy tip: When printing recipes, choose the “remove images” option to save on ink.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Steakhouse Pizza

Yesterday I wrote about my visit to Ree Drummond’s Seattle book signing this week. I thought you might enjoy a sneak peek at one of her latest recipes so I took one for the team and made the steakhouse pizza recipe (pages 141-144). This is the CliffsNotes version. You might like to enter to win the full version found in her lovely new cookbook by commenting on the book signing post here before midnight tomorrow – Friday, 4/27.

Cheese. Steak. Pizza.


  • 1 scant teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine yeast and water in a bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Add dry ingredients.

Turn mixer on low and slowly add olive oil.  Stop mixing when everything comes together. Remove dough from beater and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Place in a warm location and allow to rise for one hour.

Time for steak. The ignite button is broken on our grill so I asked son to light it for me. I may have handed him my pink lighter just so I could get this picture.


  • 1 skirt steak or flank steak (2 pounds)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 red onions, halved & thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (divided)
  • 2 cups good marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • Steak sauce to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

I also sent son to the store for groceries which means that he came back with flank ribs instead of flank steak. But he uses a Mac so it balances out.

Flank rib steaks it is. Sizzle. Sizzle. Season steak with salt & pepper. Grill both sides of steak over medium heat for about 2 minutes each. Steak should be nice and pinkish red in the middle, so don’t overcook.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and arrange oven rack to very bottom position.

Yeah, like that. Set steak aside.

Slice red onions thinly.

In a large pan, saute onions in olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

Slice steak thinly.

Stir 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar into marinara sauce.

Roll out pizza dough and place on baking sheet.

Spread sauce over pizza dough. I used all 2 cups but think we might have liked less.

But it was most certainly delightful in flavors.

Son also declares that our store does not sell fresh mozzarella so he brought back the squared stuff.

It worked just fine too. Layer pizza with onions and then cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is light golden brown and cheese is melted.

When it’s done, add steak and then fresh chopped green onions. I completely forgot the parmesan but I didn’t tell son or he might have realized that I make mistakes too. Add a dash of steak sauce here and there.

In the midst of a few mistakes, we found perfection. Thank you, Pioneer Woman. Thank you.

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Gruyère Filled Meatballs with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy Recipe

What does one do after a television appearance? I suppose one blogs about meatballs. One can never go wrong with meatballs. Well, unless, you know, one is feeding vegans or something like that.



  • 1 pound ground turkey (or chicken or country sausage)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (divided)
  • 1 small container of fresh mushrooms (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lemon pepper
  • House seasoning (Johnny’s or Lawry’s) – optional
  • Salt & pepper
  • 6 ounces of Gruyère cheese
  • 1 small package of croutons

Place turkey, hamburger, eggs, milk, Panko breadcrumbs, and seasonings in a large bowl. Set aside.

Dice onion & place all but about two tablespoons into the food processor.

Add all but a couple of tablespoons of mushrooms into food processor as well. Process on low until onions & mushrooms are ground together. Add to meatball mixture.

Combine meatball ingredients very well.

Place package of croutons into food processor and process until finely ground. Remove blade & set aside.

Cut Gruyère into small cubes. Preheat oven to 350F.

Create an assembly line: Meatball mixture then cheese then ground croutons then a baking sheet with edges sprayed with non-stick spray (for good measure) to bake the meatballs on.

And go…

While forming each meatball, place a piece of Gruyère in the middle. Roll meatball in the ground croutons and then place on baking sheet.


Bake for about 45 minutes. Cooking time varies depending on how large the meatballs are.

Red Wine Mushroom Gravy

Melt about 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Dice onion finely and place into hot pan. Cook onions until golden and somewhat see-thru. After onions are cooked, stir in diced mushrooms. Let mushrooms cook for about 4 minutes.

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of flour and stir together with the delicious butter, onions & mushrooms. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes. This is called a roux. It won’t be pretty, it will look scruffy even but it will make an incredible gravy.

After flour is cooked, add about 1/2 cup of red wine and stir. Then quickly add  1-2  cups of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of milk and continue to stir. As the gravy comes to a boil, check the thickness and add water if needed.

Stir in about 3 tablespoons of beef base and continue to season to your liking with salt, pepper, and a house seasoning. Chopped fresh herb leaves such as rosemary, thyme and oregano can be nice as well. When the flavors are to your liking, pour gravy over meatballs.

Listen for the oooos and ahhhhs as you serve these savory bites of deliciousness to your guests.

These can also be served over potatoes or noodles for a lovely dinner. Simply replace the the red wine gravy with homemade spaghetti sauce for an Italian dinner. So many options.

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How to Cook Filet Mignon Steak


Usually we grill our steaks.


Even in the Seattle sunshine.

Learn to Cook Steak

But today is different. Today, we shall learn to cook steak inside. We shall make it with butter. And wine. And butter.

First, the steak needs to sit out on the counter for about an hour so that it won’t be too cold to cook evenly.

Next, coat steaks in olive oil. And salt. And pepper. Preferably freshly ground salt and pepper.

Heat a medium-sized, oven-safe frying pan on medium high. Once hot, place steaks in pan. Preheat oven to 425F.


Brown steak well on every side (even the edges).

Yes, that’s it. Beautiful.

Place about 4-5 tablespoons of butter over the steak. Even more beautiful. Using same oven-safe pan, place steaks into oven. Allow to cook for about 6 minutes.

Place steaks on a clean plate & set aside to allow to rest.

Place frying pan with all its buttery goodness back onto burner onto medium heat. Slice a few cloves of garlic & add to butter. Whisk in about 1 1/2 cups of red wine and/or water (or chicken broth) to make a nice sauce. You can add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce. If you like mushrooms, a few sliced or chopped mushrooms are delicious too. Add any juices that have run off your steaks and salt & pepper to taste. Lemon pepper adds a lovely flavor. Allow sauce to simmer until it reduces to about 1/2 the amount you started with. Taste test to make sure your sauce is heavenly.

Pour sauce over steak. or serve on the side. Happy Making Steak Indoors Day. Happy filet mignon.

Learn to cook steak

The best way to know if your steak is to your liking is to measure the temperature with a meat thermometer before removing it from the oven:

  • Rare 126F
  • Medium rare 131F
  • Medium 145F
  • Medium well done 154F
  • Well done 163F
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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Garlic Bread Recipe


It’s a snow day here in the Seattle area.

I’m thinking about hopping onto a sled later. Or maybe I’ll just blog. Or maybe I’ll open the B&B for snacks & coffee to the people waiting on the side of the freeway for Snoqualmie Pass to open. Or maybe I’ll just blog. Yeah, I’ll blog.

Spaghetti Sauce:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 – 1 lb 12 oz. can Italian recipe crushed tomatoes
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 3-4 stalks fresh basil
  • 3-4 stalks fresh oregano
  • 1 – 187 ml or 6-7 ounces chardonnay or chicken broth (add more if sauce is too thick for your liking)
  • 1 can olives and olive juice, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: sliced mushrooms

To make the sauce, place Italian pork and ground turkey in pan to cook. Salt & pepper meat.

Chop herbs, mince garlic and dice onions while meat is cooking.

When meat is almost done cooking, add a few tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Then add diced onion. If using ground beef instead of turkey, drain meat.

After onions are golden and almost translucent, add garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, chardonnay, and salt & pepper to taste. Add drained & chopped or sliced olives with juice and, if desired, add mushrooms.

The Noodles:

Follow time instructions on package to cook noodles and remember not to add the pasta until your water is boiling. Keep things interesting by using different kinds of noodles when you make spaghetti. Penne, linguine or Cellentani are all fun options. If you decide to mix them, be sure to pay close attention to the cooking times. Add longest cooking first then add the noodles with the lesser cooking time as you count down. After draining the water off the pasta, stir in a bit of olive oil for added flavor and to prevent your noodles from sticking together.

Garlic Bread:

  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for frying onions)
  • 1/4 medium diced yellow onion, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh basil

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a small pan. Add diced onions and fry until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool onions.

Place butter and remaining ingredients in bowl.

Blend ingredients together until well combined.

Cut bread in half lengthwise.

Spread butter liberally onto bread.

Place in oven and keep oven door a wee bit open so you can keep an eye on your bread.

Remove from oven when golden brown and top is slightly crispy. Cut into slices for all to enjoy… except for the poor people sitting on the side of the freeway. In their cars. In the snow. I am a terrible person.

A terrible person who reeks of garlic and is enjoying her fireplace all to herself. Just for now.

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Tator Tot Casserole Recipe


Once upon a time there was a little girl who adored church potlucks. She really couldn’t decide which she loved best, hugs from snuggly grandmas or their comforting dishes that sat upon the potluck table. One dish always stood out in the crowd, okay, maybe two. The first was a blackberry crumble. I… er… she was old enough to bake and wanted so badly to ask for the recipe but somehow it felt inappropriate to do so at a funeral.

The other was tator tot casserole. Although anyone can throw together some tots and cream of mystery soup, homemade is always the very best.

 Tator Tot Casserole Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1 pound ground chicken, turkey or beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse pepper
  • 1/2 up flour
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon – chicken flavor
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • One 16 ounce package tator tots
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook onions in olive oil until golden brown (caramelized) then remove onions from pan and set aside.

Add and cook ground meat. Season with salt & pepper. I find ground turkey more flavorful than beef. Healthier too. We need all the health we can get because like I said, this dish is quite sinful.

Preheat oven to 350F.

If using ground beef, remove most of the excess grease, leaving a few tablespoons of it in the pan.

Sprinkle flour over meat & onions.

Stir flour into mixture and cook for about five minutes while continuing to stir so that flour cooks (otherwise your sauce will taste like raw flour).

After flour is cooked, add chicken (or beef) stock and chicken Better Than Bouillon. Continue to stir over heat.  Over time, the sauce will thicken.

Add fresh or frozen peas & carrots to your liking. Celery or water chestnuts can add a nice crunch if you like.

Fill the bottom of the dish with meat sauce. Place tator tots in an orderly fashion on top of sauce. I used two 8 inch pans (since I was taking one of them to a couple who is celebrating having their first baby) but this recipe works great for one 9 X 13 pan.

Bake about 20-30 minutes or until tator tots are golden brown & sauce is bubbly.

Do three hail Marys, take communion, complete one Zumba class and then add grated real cheddar cheese over tots.

Bake again until cheese is melted and bubbly and sign up to take Zumba class regularly.

Consider yourself snuggled by a grandma, then go eat an apple. I’m sorry. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.

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Individual Chicken Cottage Pies With Sage Recipe

There’s just something about meals that are served in individual servings that makes one feel special.

These individual buttery, sage chicken pies are a cozy treat that your family will appreciate after a long day of being lost in the crowds.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or ground beef)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or beef broth if making beef pies)
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots

Cook onion in olive oil.

Cook until caramelized, then remove from pan & set aside.

Cook ground chicken in same pan. If cooking ground chicken, add a little olive oil. Add onions back into pan. Cook until done. If cooking ground beef, drain most of grease.

When done, you should have a few tablespoons of oil in the pan with meat.

Sprinkle flour over meat. Stir well.

Stir flour into meat and cook for a few minutes.

Pour in milk and continue to stir. Quickly add broth and continue to stir until it becomes thick like a gravy. You can use water in place of the broth but broth is tastier. Thickening could take up to five minutes depending on how high your heat is.

For a fancier cottage pie, replace one cup of broth with red wine.

Add sage, salt, pepper, and Better Than Bouillon. Stir in and allow to melt in completely.

Stir in peas & carrots.

For chosen container/s about 3/4ths full with gravy. These short jars took about 3/4 cup each – enough gravy for about 6 servings.

Using a decorating bag (or a Ziploc bag with a hole cut out of the corner), swirl mashed potatoes over the top of the gravy.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes and then broil until tops of pies are golden brown. When done, top with a little butter and freshly chopped chives or parsley.

Serve hot and in front of a cozy fireplace. With family. And play games. And talk about your day. And share smiles. The end.


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Lasagna With White Wine Sauce Recipe

For the sauce:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 – 1 lb 12 oz. can Italian recipe crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 3-4 stalks fresh basil
  • 3-4 stalks fresh oregano
  • 1 – 187 ml or 6-7 ounces chardonnay (mini bottles from 4 packs work great)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: chopped olives, mushrooms
It’s easy to convert this sauce recipe into spaghetti sauce. Add one six ounce can of olives with juice. Just dice olives in food processor or blender for a few pulses & then add to sauce.


For layering:

  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces grated mizithra cheese (optional)
  • 4 ounces grated parmesan cheese

To make the sauce, place Italian pork and ground turkey in pan to cook. Salt & pepper meat.

Chop herbs, mince garlic and dice onions and turn oven onto 350F to preheat while meat is cooking.

When meat is almost done cooking, add a few tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Then add diced onion. If using ground beef instead of turkey, drain meat.

After onions are golden and almost translucent, add garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, chardonnay, and salt & pepper to taste. Add drained & chopped olives and mushrooms if desired.

In a 9 x 13 baking pan, layer all ingredients:

  1. Sauce (important to begin with sauce)
  2. Single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (almost 4 per layer)
  3. Sauce
  4. Cheeses (all four kinds)
  5. Single layer of lasagna noodles
  6. Sauce
  7. Cheeses
  8. Single layer of lasagna noodles
  9. Sauce

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Remove foil. Add grated parmesan on top of lasagna and return to oven uncovered for an additional five minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with your favorite bread and wine. Garnish with fresh basil.

Surely goodness and mercy.


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Near East Couscous Dinner Party

Near East Couscous gave me a gift to share with my friends. Food. Is there any better kind?


I was especially excited to try their products because I don’t think I’ve ever made couscous. Until now.



Spicy Beef Kebabs & Couscous

  • 1 pkg. NEAR EAST® Toasted Pine Nut Couscous
  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick
  • 3 tbs. zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (for kebabs); reserve 1/4 cup bell pepper, finely chopped (for couscous)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

1. Cut steak into 1 ¼-inch pieces. Add ground red (cayenne) pepper to zesty Italian dressing, and toss with beef, bell peppers and onion.

2. Alternately thread beef and vegetable pieces onto four 12-inch skewers. Grill over medium heat or broil 3-4 inches from heat 9-12 minutes for medium rare to medium, turning once.

3. While cooking kebabs, prepare couscous per range top directions on package using water and olive oil; stir in the finely chopped red bell pepper when adding the couscous to boiling water.

On a personal note, I recommend adding salt and pepper to beef kebabs before cooking to bring out all of the other delicious flavors.



Preparing Near East Toasted Pine Nut Couscous

In saucepan, bring 1-1/4 cups water, 2 t. olive oil & spice packet to a boil. Stir in couscous.

Remove from heat and cover. Let stand for five minutes. Fluff couscous lightly with a fork. And for this recipe, toss in 1/4 cup diced bell red pepper (mentioned above).

Again, I recommend adding salt and pepper to couscous to bring out all of the flavors. Had I only known this was so easy to make, I would have tried it sooner.
4. Serve kebabs over or next to couscous.

cous cous

Who knew couscous was so very beautiful and yummy?


Friends on Facebook and now in real life. Social networking with couscous.


Who put Margaret in charge of cutting the cake? Laughter with couscous.

Some of my dearest friends. They won’t go away. Crazy friends with couscous.

What a fun evening. Delicious food. Great conversation. An overdose of laughter. More couscous please?

Thank you, Near East Couscous

Thank you to Near East Couscous who sponsored this post and thank you so much to our dear friends who by attending our dinner party, inspired Near East Couscous to give 250 boxes of couscous to Northwest Harvest, Washington’s hunger relief agency.

Ways you can help

  • Like Near East’s Facebook fan page to trigger a donation of a box of couscous to Northwest Harvest.
  • Post a photo of their mobile food truck, the Couscous Caravan, to Near East’s Facebook wall. For each photo, they will donate two boxes of couscous. See Couscous Caravan’s schedule.
  • Tweet to @NearEastDish using the #CouscousCaravan hashtag and they’ll donate a box of couscous for each tweet. Add a picture of the Couscous Caravan to your tweet like Chef Jason Wilson did here and two boxes will donated!

I have received free Near East product an conjunction with this blog post. Near East did not influence my opinions expressed here as a result.

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© Deanna Morauski 2009-2017