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Category — Recipes

Mr. Elk

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

For the last post of the week, I have another fun wildlife story to tell and Howard family photos to share. Plus a recipe for chicken tacos thrown in for good measure. Rest assured, more wedding recipes will be posted next week along with beautiful photos of the gorgeous couple.

Late on Friday afternoon, while in the kitchen alone, another visitor came by. This majestic elk. He didn’t seem to care about the food, he was just walking by. No harm, no foul.

Paul and Kim’s fabulous four.  Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

Fast forward to Saturday. Kim had hired three servers for me for Saturday night, two women and a man. They were all in their late 20’s.

While the ceremony was happening on the hill above the kitchen, the four of us were busy loading my car to take down the hill to the reception site, which was in front of the three camping cabins on level ground.

First, we loaded up the signature cocktail mixtures, a huge stock pot full of boiling water that would be used to fill the seven chafing dishes, along with the nearly four-foot long Harmony Board I created for the appetizer/cocktail start of the reception. As you might imagine, it was slow and steady driving down the hill with the boiling water in the front, between the male server’s feet, and the fully assembled Harmony Board in the back.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

Chanté had a long table set out in front of the “Bar Cabin” for me to place the board on.

It was on the far edge of that area and just behind it were two pine trees that had a curtain of twinkle lights strung between them. I was busy setting up the board while the servers unloaded the cocktail mixtures and filled the chafing dishes with boiling water.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

We were just about to hop back in my car and go up the hill to load all the taco bar food when one of the band members, who was on the porch of the cabin next to the Bar Cabin, alerted us to the elk.

The same elk that I had seen the day before was now standing on the other side of the curtain of twinkle lights between the two pine trees with his eyes dead set on my Harmony Board!

I instructed the male server to stay behind to guard the food and reception area. I was too busy to ask how that went or how he scared him off but it easily could have been one of those horrible wedding stories that gets told over and over … “Yeah, remember that time when the huge elk destroyed the food at our wedding reception.”

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

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June 22, 2018   5 Comments

cooking day 2 – Saturday

Yesterday I posted the recipe for the Vegetable Tacos. That post was titled “cooking day 1”. Today we have the recipe for the Shrimp Tacos and I’m calling this post “cooking day 2.” That makes it sound as though the only thing I cooked on Friday was veggies and that the only I cooked on Saturday was shrimp. Far from it!

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

On Friday, I also cooked up the seasoned ground beef in the Instant Pot.  I shredded and put together the chicken for the chicken tacos, which I had grilled at home before we left on Thursday morning. I also made all sorts of fresh salsa, cilantro chimichurri, roasted peppers and onions, etc.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

And on Saturday, I not only made the shrimp, but also chopped and diced all the toppings for the tacos, made the guacamole and cooked the side dishes; beans, tomatillo rice and the Mexican corn.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

Plus there were the signature cocktails to make; Cody’s Skinny Margarita and Chanté’s Strawberry Vodka Lemonade.

Many of those recipes will be posted in the days to come.

Plus I have to tell you that I did have help from the family in the kitchen throughout. Kim and Paul each helped with prep, including chopping onions and cutting corn cobs into quarters. Thank you both for the much needed and much appreciated grunt work.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

On Friday, Cody’s Aunt Barbara squeezed so many pounds of limes. More limes than any human should ever have to squeeze! Kim’s long time BFF, Sandy, used her artistic flair to write out all the chalkboard signage for the buffet table. There were more than 30 little signs to make. Thank you, Sandy!

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

On Saturday, I realized I had a few more chalkboards that needed making, including the boards for the signature cocktails. My writing is awful, so that is one job I always want to farm out! Cody’s youngest brother, Trevor, has a gorgeous girlfriend, Clair.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

As you can plainly see, Clair also has gorgeous handwriting and chalkboard flair!  Many thanks to the friends and family of the Howard clan for pitching in! xoox

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June 21, 2018   3 Comments

Connor’s birthday pie

Connor asked for Banana Cream Pie for his birthday this year. He’s always been a chocolate sort of guy, but I’m thinking he gets enough chocolate at his job. Funny thing is, I love pie. I prefer it 100% over cake. But I don’t care for Banana Cream Pie. Any other cream pie, and I’m game, but banana, no thanks. Thing is, it wasn’t my birthday, so banana cream pie it was!

I used a Martha Stewart recipe. I think the only thing I changed was I did not make my pie crust. Instead, I used a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust. It is my recent go to and can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, near the “pop and fresh” rolls and such.

I intended to add shaved chocolate to the top before serving, but forgot. It would be a nice touch, if you’re so inclined.

Unfortunately, in the rush to get the candles on the pie and serve it, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.

Instead, please enjoy this photo of a half eaten pie. 🙁

Banana Cream Pie

  • 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 large whole egg, lightly beaten, plus 4 large egg yolks, divided
  • 8 medium-ripe bananas
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Shaved chocolate, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll refrigerated pie crust and fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Fold under overhang so it extends slightly beyond edge of pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Prick dough all over with a fork. Brush rim of dough with beaten egg. Chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Line the chilled pie crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust turn golden, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Return crust to oven, and continue baking until golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes more. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks; set aside. In a saucepan, whisk together milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes.

In a slow and steady stream, whisk about a quarter of the hot-milk mixture into egg yolks; whisk in remaining milk mixture.

Strain into a clean saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and bubbles appear in center, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set in ice bath until completely chilled, 30 to 35 minutes. (Filling can be kept in refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, up to 1 day.)

Cut 4 of the bananas into 1/4-inch slices, slightly on a diagonal. Beginning on the outside edge of the pie crust, arrange the slices, slightly overlapping.

Make another circle inside the outside circle and a few more in the very center.

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June 11, 2018   1 Comment

Creole Potato Salad

This is the last of the creole recipes from Connor’s birthday, which was now more than two weeks ago. Plus, I still need to post the recipe for the dessert he requested, banana cream pie. Oops.

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June 9, 2018   No Comments

better than cornbread

This may have been my favorite dish from Connor’s birthday dinner. I found the recipe on Saveur.com. It’s originally from Brigtsen’s Restaurant in New Orléans.

Baked in individual ramekins, this cornbread with jalapeño and shrimp, is so much more than cornbread.

To make them hot and fresh: Just before serving. I cooked the shrimp mixture and set it aside, whisked together the flour/corn meal mixture and set it aside. Then, combined the wet ingredients, covered and refrigerated that, all done in the late morning. Thirty minutes before we were to sit down at the table, I preheated the oven and put it all together. They were ready to serve at exactly the right time with very little last minute effort.

And, of course, I served Harmony Boards for his dinner too. I’m creating and serving them every chance I get. It helps to practice before Kim and I make our new business venture official.

These birthday boards were fruit and cheese, with only a few slices of salami thrown in for good measure.

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June 4, 2018   1 Comment

red beans and rice

Along with the Shrimp Creole that Connor requested on his birthday, I made him some classic Red Beans and Rice.

My recipe uses three types of pork; a ham hock, cured salt pork and andouille sausage.

The recipe calls for 12 ounces of cured salt pork. You’ll buy a 12 ounce package and trim off most of the fat. As you can see in the photo above, once you’ve done that, you’ll end up with about 8 ounces of pork to use for the beans. Discard the fat.

These red beans are even better if they are made the day before, refrigerated overnight and reheated before using. Just be sure to reheat slowly and add water, if needed, to prevent them from drying out.

Oh, and I just use a simple electric rice cooker for my rice. Generally speaking, rice will triple when cooked, so 1 cup of raw rice will yield about 3 cups cooked rice. I used 1 ½ cups dry rice for this recipe.

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June 1, 2018   1 Comment

the other entrée

I served these chicken breasts along with the pop-pop-popular Baby Back Ribs at my Memorial Day BBQ. People raved about the ribs but must have enjoyed these too, since they were all gone at the end of the evening.

I also made a couple of Harmony Boards, one fruit and one crudités.

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May 31, 2018   2 Comments

Linda’s ribs

These ribs were the hit of my Memorial Day BBQ. Today, I had planned on posting another recipe from Connor’s birthday dinner, but several of the guests asked that I post this recipe first and I love nothing more than pleasing my friends and family. <3

There is only about 15 minutes of hands-on prep time and another 15 or 20 minutes of grilling time, the rest of recipe  is hands-off time in the oven. See, easy!

You can use your favorite barbecue seasoning rub, or use my favorite Food Network rub. I’ve been using it for nearly 10 years. The recipe for that rub is included.

I used purchased BBQ sauce, but of course, if you have a favorite recipe, use that!

Linda’s Easy and Delicious Baby Back Ribs

  • 5 to 6 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 3/4 cup barbecue seasoning rub *recipe below
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottoms of two large baking sheets with heavy-duty foil.

Lay ribs out on the baking sheets. Season all over with the rub, using all 3/4 cup. Cover baking sheets tightly with heavy-duty foil.

Roast in oven for 1 hour.

Gently remove top foil and brush ribs with half of the barbecue sauce. Carefully and tightly re-cover with the foil and return to the oven for 30 minutes, ribs will be very tender.

Heat grill to medium-high. Grill ribs, brushing with sauce and turning several times, until slightly charred and glazed, 15 to 20 minutes.


Transfer ribs to a cutting board. Cut into one or two rib portions and serve.

Serves a crowd

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May 30, 2018   No Comments

shrimp creole

Thursday, May 24th, was Connor’s 27th birthday. He requested a Cajun dinner with a banana cream pie for dessert.

He specifically wanted shrimp and sausage, so Shrimp Creole fit the bill perfectly.

I especially love the vibrant colors of Shrimp Creole. It just screams, “celebration” and makes any occasion a party!

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May 26, 2018   3 Comments

Trader Joe’s quick app

In the span of seven days, I had people, mostly family, over for appetizers or dinner on four separate occasions. If it’s not the same people each time, I tend to repeat at least one or two of the dishes, over and over.

This time around, one of the easy appetizers I put out was a mix of two of my favorite frozen items from Trader Joe’s.

I like TJ’s frozen Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip and I love their frozen Mexican-Style Roasted Corn with Cotija Cheese.

I thought that they would be great mixed together and served warm with chips. I was correct!

First cook the corn according to package directions. It has yummy frozen sauce chunks just as their risotto and some of their other frozen products do … yummy!

Next, microwave the spinach-artichoke dip according to package directions, then add as much corn as you would like. I added about 1 cup of the corn.

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April 25, 2018   No Comments